Do TTRPGs Need to "Modernize?"

Wolfpack48

Adventurer
Or alternatively, to-hit is not connected with armor but with defense skill or the like. Honestly, having armor factor in to hit is pretty much a non-thing outside stuff very much in the D&D-adjacent sphere.
Ironically with heavy plate mail armor, you are probably easier to hit, just better protected. RQ got this right.
 

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Or alternatively, to-hit is not connected with armor but with defense skill or the like. Honestly, having armor factor in to hit is pretty much a non-thing outside stuff very much in the D&D-adjacent sphere.

OTOH, armor as damage reduction instead of AC has been a D&D variant since at least 3.0. I think it was also in some WEG d6 versions. I'm guessing it showed up even earlier than I can think of.

Whether you prefer that option or not, I don't think it falls into the "modern" category. It's a very old idea.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
OTOH, armor as damage reduction instead of AC has been a D&D variant since at least 3.0. I think it was also in some WEG d6 versions. I'm guessing it showed up even earlier than I can think of.

Whether you prefer that option or not, I don't think it falls into the "modern" category. It's a very old idea.

Sure. I was just noting it because it seems to be an entirely new idea to some people who only operate in the D&D sphere.
 

aramis erak

Legend
From where I sit, ther've been two modernizations that matter: the move to single rolling mechanic per game, and the more common use fixed difficulties. (Traveller 2300 and MegaTraveller both did both of these in 1987.)

Many games have two core mechanics: one for combat, one for non-combat; some have 3 or more. Amongst these are D&D prior to 3E, Palladium even now, The Arcanum, Tunnels and Trolls, The Fantasy Trip, Forward To Adventure, and many more.

BRP has three-to-four mechanics as well, but not the same split: Skills unopposed: 1d100 ≤ skill; Attribute Rolls unopposed either 1d20 ≤ Att or 1d100 ≤ Att × 5, by game; Opposed attribute rolls (cross index active vs passive and roll under the percentage listed); and the combat defense rolls (unopposed, but must get at least the same level of success as the attacker did). And that's not counting the "Roll > skill to advance it if you got a check this session in it." At least they're all roll low. (Except for Pendragon, which is high-but-under.)

Pendragon's another 1987 "Modernization" - All abilities are using the same "high-but under" on 1d20 ≤ ability+mods. It's not quite a single mechanic simply due to the effects of skills adjusted to 20+. But it's pretty close.

White Wolf used a single mechanic for resolution across all the WoD games, albeit VTM 1e was different from the rest (variable TN for ≥1 success vs fixed TN for successes ≥ difficulty).

Those two factors make many of the modern games, most especially the 5E derivatives, feel modern and streamlined. It's easier to teach one unified mechanic, and easier to run if there's a single clear difficulty scale.
 

Committed Hero

Adventurer
It's probably better to compare cooperative board games and RPGs. Just as it's probably better not to compare a turn in a board game to a turn in an rpg combat.
 

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.
I don't define it as "things I like". I do as a game design aesthetic; I think it's one that lets computer games do things computer games are best at.

And I don't see 5e as much more modern than 3.X other than letting computer games do things computers are best at - in this case all the faffy modifiers. The 80s and 90s really ran to big systems.
 

mamba

Legend
I don't define it as "things I like". I do as a game design aesthetic; I think it's one that lets computer games do things computer games are best at.
not sure what computers have to do with it, I assume it is much easier to implement 5e (or 3e for that matter) than AW, D&D is much more formalized.

So what are modern aesthetics, based on your AW post I gather (and agree with)

  • all rolls have consequences
  • characters are harder to (permanently) kill
  • only players roll dice
  • plenty of character build options

am I missing anything?
 

not sure what computers have to do with it, I assume it is much easier to implement 5e (or 3e for that matter) than AW, D&D is much more formalized.

So what are modern aesthetics, based on your AW post I gather (and agree with)

  • all rolls have consequences
  • characters are harder to (permanently) kill
  • only players roll dice
  • plenty of character build options

am I missing anything?
  • Characters are harder to permakill but there are consequences that don't involve permadeath.
  • Character growth is non-linear and not on rails. It's not a simple upward progression
  • Mechanics are simple to calculate and have success-with-consequences
What computers have to do with it is that calculating eight modifiers and running a physics sim is something computers can do better than any human.
 

MintRabbit

Explorer
I really like what's happening in the TTRPG scene right now, although I don't know if I would call it "modernizing." I think I'd call it "blossoming".

Lancer levels players up after missions via license levels, and as you collect license levels, you can switch between mechs and therefore switch between different fighting strategies.

Feedback is a solo game in which the entire loop revolves around drawing a chair. You sit and fill out a survey over 20 times.

In AGON you roll the dice before you describe what your character does, and come up with your description based on the outcome.

Clown Helsing resolves conflict through a series of rock-paper-scissors.

Spencer Campbell's LUMEN series uses approaches rather than action ratings or skills, and assumes that your characters are always competent: currently he's designing a diceless version of LUMEN that allows players to decide when they succeed and when they don't.

Last Fleet has a move called "Wait Helplessly" that asks a player to describe what they're doing, take 2 Pressure, and then give another character +1 to their roll.

In Cats of Catthulu, the rule of Wum Fing states that a cat can pick up an object in their mouth as long as the player puts a pencil in their mouth to replicate this. If the player opens their mouth (to speak, to snarl, sneeze, etc) and the pencil falls out, the item in the cat's mouth also falls.

Lyric games are games in which the act of reading the game is the experience of playing the game. In We Are But Worms, the entire game exists in one word.

Eerie Monsters and Nice Sprites is a game all about monsters finding partners to hook up with in a night club.

Decaying Orbit consists of 4 decks of prompt cards used to replicate a story of a failed space station, and takes place over the course of an hour.

Overpowered is a solo game with an online scoreboard where folks can post their high scores to see how they rank compared to other players.

I don't know what in this short list would count as "modernizing", but I think it's a very small sample of the kinds of games people can choose to play.
 

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