Disconnect Between Designer's Intent and Player Intepretation

Thomas Shey

Legend
I'm not 100% sure I've followed this properly - but isn't it inherent to playing a vampire PC in a Vampire RPG that one is playing a murderer?

Not necessarily. Even VtM (earlier editons; the description of the current edition apparently makes not doing this much harder) a vampire's need for blood didn't necessarily translate into a need to murder; the latter was actually usually a failure state since it tends to leave a trail that attracts vampire hunters. Some vampires absolutely don't give a damn and like to show their power by feeding to death, but its hardly routine.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
The 'fail-state' dogma (which seems to be an OSR thing, i.e. invented after the fact) tends to neglect the effect of letting a bunch of twelve-year-olds play warriors with giant axes and wizards who can shoot flame from their fingers, and then putting a bunch of goblins in-between them and the treasure they want.
Interestingly enough (or not), the design philosophy that formed the kernel for the original Diablo game basically amounted to the bold. Dave Brevik said that they wanted to create a RPG that was closer to how they played D&D as kids, i.e., by hacking and slashing a whole bunch of monsters and then taking their loot.
 

payn

Legend
Interestingly enough (or not), the design philosophy that formed the kernel for the original Diablo game basically amounted to the bold. Dave Brevik said that they wanted to create a RPG that was closer to how they played D&D as kids, i.e., by hacking and slashing a whole bunch of monsters and then taking their loot.
Which is funny because old schoolers (maybe even Gygax himself) hated what Diablo did to D&D.
 


Staffan

Legend
I'm not 100% sure I've followed this properly - but isn't it inherent to playing a vampire PC in a Vampire RPG that one is playing a murderer?
V:tM vampires rarely kill when feeding. Usually, they have a "herd" they feed on who voluntarily offer their blood (because having your blood drunk by a vampire is apparently very pleasurable), or they use various mind whammies to make their victims forget they had their blood taken.
This is the chart for defeating foes by HD. One important thing to note here is you can't get XP for killing something without 'significant risk' to themselves. The GM has room to interpret what this means but the book says a 7th level character in need of one XP can't round up his friends and surround a single orc, expecting to get XP. And you don't have to kill the creature to get the XP, you just have to defeat it. The values below get much greater if a creature has good abilities. A mountain Loup Garou has 7 HD but is worth 4,000 in the Ravenloft monster section of the ROT boxed set.
As a first order of approximation, this is basically the same as the 1e table with averaged hp values (so in 1e, a 1-1 to 1 HD creature would be worth 10 XP + 1 XP/hp, but in 2e they just make it 15 XP). A little higher at higher levels, but not exceptionally so.

The difference that pumps the values up, particularly at higher levels, is that in 1e the table has additional XP values for each special and exceptional ability. So a 1 HD creature with something that counts as a special ability was worth an additional 4 XP, and something considered an exceptional ability an additional 35 XP (the difference between these two become proportionally less at higher levels, presumably because exceptional abilities become more common). In 2e, these instead counted as additional HD. Since the creature XP table has escalating numbers, something with multiple special/extraordinary abilities would be worth many more XP in 2e than in 1e.

For example, I think a ranged attack was considered a special ability. So a 1e 1 HD creature with a ranged attack would be worth 14 XP + 1 XP/HD, while it would be worth 35 XP (as a 2 HD creature) in 2e.
I should say I haven't been making heavy use of this (I've just been leveling the party at regular intervals because I am running them through an anthology adventure (and they need to be the right level to play each scenario).
IMO, milestone leveling probably doesn't work very well with 2e – or at least, it can cause weird effects. After all, XP was used to attempt to balance classes (as in "It's OK if a class is more powerful, we'll charge more XP to level up." It is debatable how well that worked.), and it's an integral part of how multiclassing works. If I was going to do story-based leveling, I'd do it via XP totals, not levels.
 

IMO, milestone leveling probably doesn't work very well with 2e – or at least, it can cause weird effects. After all, XP was used to attempt to balance classes (as in "It's OK if a class is more powerful, we'll charge more XP to level up." It is debatable how well that worked.), and it's an integral part of how multiclassing works. If I was going to do story-based leveling, I'd do it via XP totals, not levels.
I accounted for this (and agree XP differences for classes was a key balancing factor). Not everyone is advancing at the same rate (we are trying to approximates rates based on the differences in the XP charts). Back in the day I ran it as written, but in this case, I have a book of adventures I am running and need to roughly get the party to different break points for the adventures as they go through.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My experience with this back in the day was that it was too fiddly to actually use much in play. In practice, XP rewards were pretty arbitrary. Effectively, we just used milestone leveling with extra steps.

Regarding 'combat as a fail-state', I have to agree with Celebrim. I think it can be simultaneously true that combat in early editions was a lot more punishing, different tables played in different ways, and that frequent combat was expected by the designers. The 'fail-state' dogma (which seems to be an OSR thing, i.e. invented after the fact) tends to neglect the effect of letting a bunch of twelve-year-olds play warriors with giant axes and wizards who can shoot flame from their fingers, and then putting a bunch of goblins in-between them and the treasure they want.
Which raises another question, to which I don't have the answer: was Gygax designing with 12-year olds in mind, or was he designing for adults?

By 2e the answer is obvious, it's very much designed for 12-year olds; but 0e and 1e aren't as clear despite the age ratings on the boxes/books.
Also, it was always my experience (then as now) that characters became a lot more powerful around 5th level.
Casters in particular, as so many rockin' spells are 3rd level.
 

MGibster

Legend
Not necessarily. Even VtM (earlier editons; the description of the current edition apparently makes not doing this much harder) a vampire's need for blood didn't necessarily translate into a need to murder; the latter was actually usually a failure state since it tends to leave a trail that attracts vampire hunters. Some vampires absolutely don't give a damn and like to show their power by feeding to death, but its hardly routine.
You're right that they don't absolutely have to kill. Which is good, because as you pointed out, when the bodies start piling up it's going to draw unwanted attention to the vampire. But no matter how careful a vampire is, no matter how much they fight against their nature, they're probably going to kill someone at some point. Maybe one day they find themselves low on blood and accidentally drain too much from their vicitm. Or perhaps they frenzy and the poor meat stick with the misfortune to be nearby is suddenly having a very, very bad night. Every vampire is a predator. They're all killers.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
You're right that they don't absolutely have to kill. Which is good, because as you pointed out, when the bodies start piling up it's going to draw unwanted attention to the vampire. But no matter how careful a vampire is, no matter how much they fight against their nature, they're probably going to kill someone at some point. Maybe one day they find themselves low on blood and accidentally drain too much from their vicitm. Or perhaps they frenzy and the poor meat stick with the misfortune to be nearby is suddenly having a very, very bad night. Every vampire is a predator. They're all killers.

Wrong model.

They're parasites. But parasitism isn't a perfectly safe process either; even though killing a host is a failure, it still happens on occasion.
 




GreyLord

Legend
Which is funny because old schoolers (maybe even Gygax himself) hated what Diablo did to D&D.

No, not really.

We HATED that 3e was BASED on Diablo (and more so on Diablo 2).

Ironically, something very few of the hardcore 3e players caught onto or forgot when they went crying about 4e having ideas from WoW.

Whirlwind was such a direct nod to Diabo 2 among a ton of other items that you could find in 3e that many just shook their heads.

Of course, that same crowd also would say in many instances (and probably rightly) that 3e was a completely DIFFERENT game than what Gygax and Arneson designed, it was a game the MtG guys created and then bought the D&D name so they could slap the title onto their own home made game rules for their own RPG based LIGHTLY off D&D, and heavily off of Rolemaster.

The edition wars between 2e and 3e were FAR worse than anything I ever saw between 3e and 4e...but then again...

Over 24 million players drifted away from AD&D by the end of 2e.

3e brought in 5 million players (some say regained...but to the old guard who never came back...they'd probably say lost) but completely abandoned and lost 20 million players.

In comparison...3e to 4e only probably lost 3 to 4 million players total...small change to how many 3e lost.

5e has gained quite a gathering, regaining some of the old guard, but building a whole NEW generation of millions of players.

I think an edition change today akin to what 3e did, or what 4e did, would be the biggest disaster yet in regards to losing players. Good thing it's an update rather than a new edition, and it's going to all be under one banner (5e and the updated edition) of ONE D&D.

But yeah, it wasn't what Diablo did to D&D, but what the 3e designers used as direction and inspiration from Diablo to make 3e.
 

Aldarc

Legend
But yeah, it wasn't what Diablo did to D&D, but what the 3e designers used as direction and inspiration from Diablo to make 3e.
Whether it's blaming Diablo for 3e's direction, WoW for 4e's direction, or the MCU and anime for 5e's direction, all these accusations come across as people blaming changes that they dislike on whatever is the hot pop culture item. 🤷‍♂️
 

pemerton

Legend
Whirlwind was such a direct nod to Diabo 2 among a ton of other items that you could find in 3e that many just shook their heads.
I always assumed it was based on the kensai's Whirlwind Attack in the original OA (p 17):

At 11th level the kensai can make a whirlwind attack. This is an additional ki power. The kensai concentrates his bodily energy and bursts into a blurring whirlwind of motion. This ability requires all of the character's ki power for the day (i.e., he cannot have used any ki power previously that day). The whirlwind attack can only be made with the specialty weapon. Using this power, the kensai can attack all opponents within 10 feet of him once in the same round.​

This has a publication date of 1985 (and I bought a copy in 1986), which I think predates Diablo.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Whether it's blaming Diablo for 3e's direction, WoW for 4e's direction, or the MCU and anime for 5e's direction, all these accusations come across as people blaming changes that they dislike on whatever is the hot pop culture item. 🤷‍♂️

And let's not forget blaming 2e and 3e for players drifting away when all you need was the combination of people who no longer had time for the game or figured out that, hard as this is for some D&D fans to believe, that D&D fundamentally wasn't giving everyone what they wanted out of RPGing, and that was just as true of every edition; in some cases it just took a long time for some people to figure that out.
But no, it has to be the fault of changes in edition. No other explanation is possible.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Unintended consequences may be a thing (3e magic item creation rules and the Big Six + wands of CLW, I’m looking at you), but some of this discussion also sounds like the difference between players playing to the rules vs playing to the genre.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Whether it's blaming Diablo for 3e's direction, WoW for 4e's direction, or the MCU and anime for 5e's direction, all these accusations come across as people blaming changes that they dislike on whatever is the hot pop culture item. 🤷‍♂️
So then, should D&D try to follow the then-hot pop culture item or instead try to forge its own path and maybe become the hot culture item other things follow? I ask this because hot culture items don't always stay hot. (that, and I blame M:tG far more for 3e's direction than I do Diablo) :)

I would say in the 0e-1e days D&D forged its own path, then starting with 2e's response to the Satanic panic it started becoming a follower rather than a leader.
 

MGibster

Legend
This has a publication date of 1985 (and I bought a copy in 1986), which I think predates Diablo.
I think there's kind of a loop when it comes to video games and table top RPGS. It's fairly clear that video games like pedit5 were influenced by D&D and were quite popular on mainframes located on college campuses. But at some point I think pen and paper RPGS have been influenced by video games. I happen to think 4th edition D&D was highly influenced by MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. And I don't mean that as an insult.
 

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