D&D General Games People Play: Looking at the Gaming Aspects of D&D


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Thomas Shey

Legend
And then finally we have to acknowledge that puzzle monsters are only interesting if they're both innovative and well sign-posted. Trolls aren't interesting anymore, and that's okay. They were cool in the 70s.

I'm not sure except as one-offs, puzzle monsters are ever that useful. Identifying what you're dealing with can sometimes be worthwhile play-cycle (though I think its more generally virtuous in things like modern horror-investigator games than most fantasy), but if you're going to have whole breeds of monsters rather than every one be a special case (which could be a thing, especially in some sorts of fairy-tale or mythology-inspired games) it doesn't make much sense that their major traits are a massive mystery to me. Its exactly the sort of thing that would tend to be deliberately be propagated as information.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The only games I can think of that aren't like that are match-based competitive games (Rocket League, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, etc.), or certain solo games based on sports (racing, golf, etc.).

In practice, I don't think its a big part of most large scale (not "grand") strategy games, if for no other reason often you figure out that the error was too far back to be able to easily figure out when it exactly happened, so it can make it unattractive. It seems more common to just throw in the towel and start over in a lot of those (though its not too uncommon for people to decide things like "maybe attacking this city right now was a bad idea, I'll go back a couple turns and do something else").
 

mamba

Legend
It also gets into some weird things where "intent" and "practice" are strangely divorced.
I guess I did not manage to make myself clear. There are games that expect you to try and fail, and try again until you make it. It is designed into the game, like Dark Souls, bullet hells, etc. For most games this try and try again is not the game loop, it happens infrequently and by accident.

If you cannot tell the difference, fine. Others can, that is why these are their own sub-genres.


“Soulslike games typically have a high level of difficulty where repeated player character death is expected and incorporated as part of the gameplay”

I am moving on, this always was just a sidetrack anyway.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
What VTT is that good and doesn't just demand a huge amount of detailed work up front to set everything up instead? I ran 4e in Maptool for YEARS, it has FAR more features than any web-based VTT ever dreamed of, and it required MANY hours per week of work to set everything up. Sure, combat could often go pretty fast (I mean, buggy macros and whatnot could kill that promise, but the potential was there). Other than that, it did nothing for play speed, and overall I found that my face-to-face games required 3-5x less prep and went at least as fast, usually faster.

I suspect you were overusing (in the sense of using tools you didn't really need to) Maptool. I use it regularly, and at worst it moves some processes to pre-game (setting up the map and layout) that otherwise I'd have needed to do in-game, which feels virtuous to me. I'd guess you were fiddling with lighting and such things which are cute and all, but really aren't necessary.

(The fact that some people are obsessed with having a VTT do a lot more mechanical lifting than they feel a need to have face to face constantly makes me shake my head. All I want it to do is support maps and moving tokens around. Maybe support fog of war which is easier to do on VTT than face to face. Past that, the rest of that seems a luxury, at best, not a necessity).
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
In practice, I don't think its a big part of most large scale (not "grand") strategy games, if for no other reason often you figure out that the error was too far back to be able to easily figure out when it exactly happened, so it can make it unattractive. It seems more common to just throw in the towel and start over in a lot of those (though its not too uncommon for people to decide things like "maybe attacking this city right now was a bad idea, I'll go back a couple turns and do something else").
Yea, fair, it's definitely not a part of any Paradox-like strategy game, or really any 4X game in general.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I am aware that most campaigns don't run that long. But for almost any length past a few games, or even if you simply aspire to a campaign when planning your character, most players are opting for D&D, and the distant runners-up are also basically D&D. Indie RPGs are generally designed for one-shots or limited campaigns (certainly Forge-type games are). It's possible that some of these games might serve these players...but most players aren't super interested in that style of play. Why not?

I think you're leaving out a hell of a big middle here, or defining things as "basically D&D" that really aren't, in some important ways. There's some pretty well-known trad games that aren't very D&D-like but are not specialized indie games, either.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I guess I did not manage to make myself clear. There are games that expect you to try and fail, and try again until you make it. It is designed into the game, like Dark Souls, bullet hells, etc. For most games this try and try again is not the game loop, it happens infrequently and by accident.

If you cannot tell the difference, fine. Others can, that is why these are their own sub-genre(s).

Its not that I can't tell the difference. Its that I think the difference is often mythological; i.e. in practical play, its done very regularly whether that's theoretically the 'intent" or not. I gave an example; if you want to tell me most people playing XCOM are just accepting a total squad wipeout and move on, it may be impossible to prove this, but I seriously, seriously doubt that's how its going in the wild, and I suspect the designers are well aware of that even if replaying those missions is not part of the assumed "loop", its still part of the actual practice.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yea, fair, it's definitely not a part of any Paradox-like strategy game, or really any 4X game in general.

Well, Paradox grand strategy games are really their own thing mostly, which is why I excluded them, but the latter is very much what I was thinking of. I'm willing to bet that most people are not playing any of the Civilization franchise or Age of Wonders with that degree of micromanagement, because often the mistakes that really matter don't show themselves for several turns and are often multi-part so knowing how to roll them back is difficult to impossible.

To bring this back a little more to topic, its theoretically possible to have the same sort of thing turn out to be a problem in an RPG, where to make what you're doing work out requires getting several things done beforehand, some of which may not be entirely obvious and some of which may require doing them in the right order, or when getting them done is time binding. Its pretty rare for someone to set up this sort of really hard edged "there's probably a very limited set of solutions" thing without telegraphing it extremely heavily, though, as in practice its a railroad in everything but name.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Was this the one you started with Worlds Without Number before you concluded it wasn't really giving you what you wanted?
That’s the one. WWN came pretty close to what we wanted, but there were a few things that lead me to doing my own thing. It’s definitely had an influence though.
 

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