Do TTRPGs Need to "Modernize?"

rmcoen

Adventurer
There are definitely things that I think improve the play experience that RPGs outside of DnD do/have done. On point 9: Dead Turns...

The current game I'm in is in a system I cobbled together from Blades in the Dark, Into the Odd, and a smattering of other ideas I grabbed from other games like Spire/Heart. One of the biggest changes I made, from the perspective of the other players in the game, is that you don't roll to hit when you attack with a weapon a la Into the Odd.

One player who usually doesn't like combat much (he's only played 5E) made sure to say after his first experience with that one rule change that he "hadn't realized that every martial character in our past games essentially had a 25-30% chance to just get 'counterspelled' whenever they went to do something," because essentially a miss means they did nothing with their turn.

He loves combat now and is bringing a lot of energy to those scenes.

I definitely think there are some adjustments that can be made to core assumptions of how DnD works. I also think that other games are already doing these things.
Sakana, I'd love to know what exactly you did such that "you don't roll to hit". I love the insight perspective on "martials get counterspelled on 25% of their actions"!
 

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Celebrim

Legend
If GMs can get their head around non-scaling difficulties, then the players can all participate.

As a 3rd edition player, let me say that I have always had my head around non-scaling difficulties. Difficulties are set by the demographics of the setting and not by the level of the PCs. There are if you will "zones" where the difficulties are higher whether it's the royal vaults or a liches tomb, but those difficulties are fixed to some reasonable standard prior to the game beginning and not the level of the rogue trying to break in.

What is really different in 4e/5e compared to 3e is the assumption that you have a reasonable chance of succeeding in things that aren't in your silo. In 3e, lock DCs were typically in the 21 to 30 range, and as such your Paladin without lockpicks had no chance of opening even easy locks and would need to find some other way to overcome the problem.

One area that I thought 3e was deficient in was not discussing enough what DC 5 or DC 10 was and when that applied. There were a lot of situations in 3e where I was applying DC 5 or DC 7 type checks where skilled individuals had no chance of failure and unskilled individuals had limited chance of failure that to me added a lot to the game.

As for "no player left behind", it is good in theory but in practice is a difficult problem of encounter design because without things like time pressure or multiple simultaneous problems or splitting the party or what not, there is no pressing reason why an unskilled party member needs to do anything and a strong reason why the rest of the party might want the Barbarian with no social skills to keep their mouth shut. It's not really something system alone can solve, as optimized play may well involve letting one player character do all the work while the rest watch and it's very hard to have verisimilitude and not have that occur. So as a GM you have to be trying to create complications that will force the party to have to work together on the problems they face. That's for various reasons I've discussed before easiest in combat situations, but you can if you work on it come up with strategies for encouraging everyone to participate. Albeit, some of those strategies like splitting the party will lead to you waiting 30 minutes for your turn, so there is still a need to cultivate both the enjoyment of watching other people play and the skill of being an entertainer to your fellow players so that your play is fun to watch.
 

rmcoen

Adventurer
As for "no player left behind", it is good in theory but in practice is a difficult problem of encounter design because without things like time pressure or multiple simultaneous problems or splitting the party or what not, there is no pressing reason why an unskilled party member needs to do anything and a strong reason why the rest of the party might want the Barbarian with no social skills to keep their mouth shut. It's not really something system alone can solve, as optimized play may well involve letting one player character do all the work while the rest watch and it's very hard to have verisimilitude and not have that occur. So as a GM you have to be trying to create complications that will force the party to have to work together on the problems they face. That's for various reasons I've discussed before easiest in combat situations, but you can if you work on it come up with strategies for encouraging everyone to participate. Albeit, some of those strategies like splitting the party will lead to you waiting 30 minutes for your turn, so there is still a need to cultivate both the enjoyment of watching other people play and the skill of being an entertainer to your fellow players so that your play is fun to watch.
You have good points. And I'll admit that sometimes I take a shortcut I've seen suggested here on ENworld a few times: assume success. I'll have the "master" PC roll Emphasis Dice (2d20, see if the most extreme die [compared to "10"] is higher or lower) and use that to quickly narrate the results, and we all move forward. Rogue's got a +9 Stealth? yeah, that beats the passive perception of everything in the camp. Okay, here's what you learn. Whoops, bad Emphasis roll? Okay, there's this one tent in the center that you just weren't able to get into... The rogue feels good because she got to quickly shine as the best, but we didn't have a 30-minute solo game which - dice being dice - probably resulted in enough skill checks that she eventually failed anyway. Now the PCs can plan what to do about the camp, or how to investigate that one mysterious tent, etc. [In this case, the bard finally got to trot out his Clairvoyance/Clairaudience spell!]
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Sakana, I'd love to know what exactly you did such that "you don't roll to hit". I love the insight perspective on "martials get counterspelled on 25% of their actions"!
Character A wants to hit a troll. They’re holding a one-handed melee weapon and a torch.

Their one handed melee weapon gives them a d8. The torch, an improvised weapon, gives them a d4. But trolls being weak to fire, they add a d12 to their pool of dice.

They roll their pool and come up with 5, 3, and 9. They take the highest number, 9, add 1 for each result of 4 or higher (bringing their total to 10), and let the GM know they’re dealing 10 damage.

The GM notes that the troll has 3 armor. The troll takes 7 damage.

If the armor had been higher than the damage dealt, the troll would have gotten a free counterattack in order to avoid the result of “you took a high stakes action and nothing happened.” This is more likely to come up when not hitting a weakness.

None of this is originally mine, this damage system in particular is very close to the Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland/Mythic Bastionland system. That said, we’ve had a lot more fun without the additional roll to see if a weapon user gets to do anything at all.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This is in the TTRPG forum so I will ignore the single pillar of D&D (combat) example since it's nigh meaningless to the question as such a hyperspecific example and address the full scope of the question.

But this whole question is absolutely bizarre to me. Like how it could be asked. Absolutely TTRPGs need to modernize. As in, they have been doing it for decades and the state of the industry is a moving target. They always have and always will moderize. There's no possible question here.

This doesn't mean every single RPG has to modernize - there's a lot of fun in older games too. Just that the TTRPG industry as a whole can not help but modernize unless you force it to become 100% stagnant. It just physically can't happen that people won't think and try new things, perhaps new opportunities that weren't there before or just thoughts that could have been there since the start. And of those new ideas, some percentage of them will be better. And of the ones better, some percentage of those will catch on and get used in later games.

It's like asking will cars modernize. Or smartphones. There's no possible way they won't, so the question is either meaningless or entirely trivial.
 


mamba

Legend
I don't know AGE. But in terms of modernity from least to most:
  • 3.X is a very 80s game with lost of grit and fiddly player elimination and rules that take a lot of time. Least modern.
  • 4e and 5e are about equally modern with minimal player elimination, and both of them suffer from long turn lengths and bullet sponge enemies (5e more than 4e as there's much more tactical depth to 4e)
    • 4e is much more cooperative, and with fortune in the middle much of the time
    • 5e is more streamlined with fewer modifiers to track, many of which were redundant
  • Dungeon World is D&D kludged with Apocalypse World
  • I went into why Apocalypse World is very modern here
that is kinda my point, this feels like you define modern as 'rules I like', including your 'why is AW modern' post, like

"10: Every campaign I've run has come to a natural end after 6-12 sessions with character arcs and character development that weren't pre-planned but are strong
9: Every roll has consequences. Success, success-with-consequences, or hard move
8: Everyone gets to cheat death a few times. Perma death is something I haven't seen."

why are 8 and 10 modern? Simply because it is different from how BX was played? I see no reason why 5e is more modern than 3e, to me it took a step back towards 1e/2e in many ways. Is it more modern than 2e? sure, More modern than 3e or 4e? Not really, just different.
 



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