Gritty gone?

Fallen Seraph

First Post
This is half on-topic, half-off. With most of my settings, I usually dislike giving my players lots of money. Generally they have the money they have prior too the game (or any money they gained during the prologue session) and that has to last them a while.

I like the idea that my heroes, have to steal horses so as too not walk everywhere, sleep in abandoned, ruined towers or stables, have to hunt their own food, having a pint of beer or wine is a blessing, etc.

Though in most of my settings my characters are outlaws so they don't have time for comfort :p

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First Post
For me, gritty is all in the roleplay. Rules don't really matter when the BBEG escapes then systematically hunts down and kills everyone that you love simply to exact revenge upon you.


ferratus said:
I really, really, get upset when I see people claim that people in the middle ages didn't know how to look after themselves. They bathed regularly, changed the straw they used for bedding and had remedies for fleas, and disposed of garbage in garbage dumps. Sure there was some filth around due to animals crapping in the streets, and bathing wasn't as easy as it was before indoor plumbing, but the hygiene 1000 years ago wasn't any worse than it was 150 years ago.

When did I say anything about the medievals in that post?

Actually, hygiene 1000 years ago was better than it was in Europe up until about 125 years ago. Nineteenth century European cities were filthy. The black death together with urbanization seems to have put an end to European hygiene until compartively recently. For this reason, the really filthy period in Europe is the Early Modern, and it is I would argue the early modern that most historically inspired campaigns are actually emmulating. The problem with doing a campaign in the middle ages is that its so caste based, so alien to our modern ideas, and so incredibly complex that your average player needs to read a freakin' manual before they can actually play correctly. At least by the early modern, some of thier unreflective assumptions actually are true.

But I'm not really denigrating anyone, least of all the medievals. Passing judgement on our ancestors is a silly pasttime. We don't have to deal with what they had to deal with.


First Post
Maybe I don't fully understand what 'gritty' really means but imho the 2E Darksun setting was very 'gritty', yet the pcs started at level 3 and were more powerful than characters in other settings. You have to consider the other part of the equation: How tough is the environment, how strong are the opponents?


First Post
Henry said:
And heroic means player characters killing men by the hundreds, consuming the English with fireballs from their eyes & bolts of lightning from their arses. :D

Actually, gritty is a play style that more than just sadistic DMs enjoy. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a small but loyal following for games like Call of Cthulhu, Grim Tales, Warhammer FRP, and Runequest. PCs can do things, just not a lot of things that would be considered cinematically flashy or gravity-defying -- more Raiders or 3:10 to Yuma than 300 or Hero.

My thoughts exactly. I especially like WFRP Second Edition, which modeled its action system from 3E but IMO managed to do it far more elegantly than I would have ever expected. It's quite simple, actually, because WFRP offers you so much tactical possibilities with its 20 or so potential actions in combat and yet retains a grim and gritty feeling that has always been an essential part of the game. Want to "shift" your foe and then attack him with a "Combat Advantage"? Use a Maneuver Action (Weapon Skills vs. Weapon Skill test) to move him next to your ally and you'll get WS+10% on your attack. Most of the combinations of tactical options in WFRP combat require you to take feats in D&D, or to have a certain class "attack power" in 4E to accomplish.

And I wish the designers had paid more attention to how weapons work in WFRP. All of them have 'Qualities' (e.g. Slow -- all your foes get +10% to Parry and Dodge) and this works really well in game-play: do you want to use a Claymore two-handed, which prevents you from parrying with your shield, but gives the sword 'Impact'-quality (i.e. you get to roll damage die twice, which is *really* effective and doubles your chance to roll for "Ulric's Fury")?

My only gripe with WFRP is that Dodge is an advanced skill, which means that while everyone knows how to parry, only certain characters know how to dodge. If this did not "downplay" the importance of Agility, in my experience it's more often beneficial to lose Initiative, because it gives you a lot more tactical choices and most of the foes have probably already used their parry/dodge attempts for the round.

'Fortune points' in WFRP work just like Action Points in 4E seem to do, but since the basic options in the game are less "cinematic" or flashy than in 4E, they don't make combats feel any less grittier.


WotC's bitch
Jhaelen said:
Maybe I don't fully understand what 'gritty' really means but imho the 2E Darksun setting was very 'gritty', yet the pcs started at level 3 and were more powerful than characters in other settings. You have to consider the other part of the equation: How tough is the environment, how strong are the opponents?
Or even better, seeing Exalted described as "gritty" because the population at large was living in misery, oppressed by evil dictators and rapacious monsters.

'Gritty', IMHO, is all about pacing. From the little I have seen regarding 4e there are potential tuning HRs that could make it relatively easy to present a 'gritty' game just as you can tweak to present a 4-color, skin tight costume game.

My benchmark for 'gritty' in RPGs is CP2020, the PCs are never the largest fish in the pond and rarely equiped with everything they want...but still have the power to affect some serious changes to the local area. They just have to watch out for attracting attention in the process. The mechanics support this with 'levels' only mattering in skills. You could be an experienced 'runner and still get taken out by some punk kid with a plastic knock-off pistol out of the Vendo-Gun machine.

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