Do TTRPGs Need to "Modernize?"

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
When there are any Knowledge skills on a character sheet, that is how you solve the problem. If you don't use the skills on the sheet, then you might as well not have them. And you completely erase the need to take them in the future.
Either the rules are important or they're not.

Except there are very few of those spells in the game, fewer available at low level, and fewer still that are actually prepared. More than likely you don't have access to anything that can have an effect. Maybe you have Grease, Web, or Fog Cloud - but in those cases you're also messing over the party too.
And they're probably going to fail anyway.

But can you hit the AC? Can you get past the DR with a non-magical weapon? Can you do anything?
In my case of playing Numenera, no you couldn't. The DRs were so high that unless you were a warrior, you had no hope to do anything.

Being told to sit down and shut up at the local pub. The preliminary activities you mentioned would likely ruin the entire operation and blow all the cover. The barbarian would get discovered and it would be all for not.

Yeah. You can go that way. So then you can completely shut out the rogue. Or the paladin. Take your pick - it's a solo game at that point.

The example I gave was actually inspired from a medic I played in Traveler.
If you aren't maxxed out in social skills, you had better let the maxxed out social guy do it, or the mission will fail. It's better to just shut up.
The moment you bust out the dice for roleplaying, it becomes a win/lose game. The second you put skill points into "persuade" it becomes a quantifiable metric the same as an attack bonus is.
We either use the rules, or we don't. And if you're suggesting we don't use the rules, then you are with me in admitting that there are serious flaws with how these games are designed.

There's "star of the scene" and "my character is completely pointless for a big chunk of the game." The most popular RPGs on the market are designed so as to make characters pointless for hours each session. I think it's a bad return on investment. I think games can be made better, especially when we look at how the mainline RPGs haven't really changed their core design since the 1970s/80s.

And - yeah - some people are saying "obviously people love D&D - it's so popular." That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to improve the game experience for our players.
You improve your game experience by playing a game that better suits what you want out of it, or by fixing the game, either yourself or through 3pp. You don't insist the publishers change the game to suit your desires.

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I do think it means streamlined, simple and easy to learn. It’s really the goal of all these boxed starter sets we’re seeing and I do believe there are some good examples with 5e, RQ and CoC.
If that's true, than I re-iterate that RPGs don't need to modernize* as a hobby.

*Not their main rules anyway. Starter sets generally benefit from making the game easy to learn.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
As said, good movies are good movies. Same with any form of entertainment. People still enjoy books that are now centuries old. Good things stand test of time, bad tend to be forgotten and left in dustbox of history.

I heard term "modern sensibilities", but no one can clearly define what those are. FE, my friend and long time DM has new group of newbs. They are all early to mid 20s, he is "old man" ( just turned 30 this year). They play PF1. PF1 is 15 years old game ( and if we are being precise it's 15 year old update on 23 year old game). They are having a blast playing it. It suits their play stlye and his DM style.

On the other hand, i play with other group, we are all mid 30s to early 40s. 5e is our jam mostly for right amount of simplicity and complexity. I run some Mork Borg, Knave and Cairn. They liked it for fast one shots, but they all said it was to bare bones for longer games.

I'll gladly admit, i haven't played tons of games, and most of them i played back in college ( we played decent amount of 7th sea, Houses of the bloodied - by John Wick XD, oWoD, nWoD). My group just doesn't really have time to learn more complex systems. We are happy if we can scrounge up 3-4 hours per session and playing week after week consistently is already a win for us.

If by modern it means easy and logical plus decently fast char creation for starting characters, rulebooks with good layouts where rules are clear and concise and sorted in logical order, system is easy to learn ( not necessarily easy to master, just easy to learn without sharp learning curves), then sure, i'm for it. But i know there are groups who like rules heavy, crunch heavy, complex systems with lots of options to tweak around.
When I see the phrase "modern sensibilities" most often it seems to refer to social concerns.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I can live with some of them, but random character gen was annoying and still is (and yes, I know some people prefer it, but that's not me and I don't have much sign most people preferred it, even back then), gold for XP always struck me as kind of dumb (yes, I've heard the arguments for it, but its for a style of play I have no interest in) and Vancian casting strikes me even in retrospect as a quick and dirty solution to a problem there's much better ones.

But then, D&D isn't my first model for how an RPG should be structured in the first place.
I preferred it back then, and I prefer it now. I don't mind doing things the other way sometimes though.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Sure, if telling a story is the point. But sometimes (often, for me) it isn't.

So, you, too, apparently missed what I was replying to.
The question was, "Why would anyone..." Not why YOU, Micah Sweet personally, would.

And again, my response is the same - a technique doesn't have to be relevant to you, personally, or pass your personal muster, to be valid in general. There is no need for anyone to have to justify the technique FOR YOU. And there is no real news or interesting discussion to be had from you saying, "Yeah, well, I personally don't like it."

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