How Crunchy is Too Crunchy, For You Personally

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I can second this. Rolemaster is waaay too crunchy for my tastes. Ditto for GURPS.

I like the wealth of options in say, 3.5 for Pathfinder 1e (but take serious exception to the "there's a feat for that" approach to it's design. Don't tell me my character can disarm or grapple or trip, then make the rules so tedious to use without specialization that it's not even an option!.
I'm less concerned with player options (after all, you only engage with those once per PC) and more concerned with rules on the DM/setting side.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I'm less concerned with player options (after all, you only engage with those once per PC) and more concerned with rules on the DM/setting side.
Oh sure, that's also an issue. I usually try to engage with a game as a player first before trying to run it these days- I still have PTSD from attempting to run games I've just bought....or GURPS.

Like, when playing Pathfinder or 3.5, I try to avoid using monsters that grapple because I have to drag the rules out EVERY SINGLE TIME to resolve them! It doesn't need to be that hard! When I saw how 4e handled grapple, I about fell out of my chair with how simple to resolve it was!

It's a paradox, I know. I want players to have all kinds of cool things they can do, but I want the game to be easy to run, lol.
 

aco175

Legend
I like having enough rules to avoid loopholes and friction. My group is not that much into maximizing them though and we generally just go with something. Too many rules is just as bad though. I want the dialogue to be understandable without being that technical.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I like having enough rules to avoid loopholes and friction. My group is not that much into maximizing them though and we generally just go with something. Too many rules is just as bad though. I want the dialogue to be understandable without being that technical.
But at the same time, maybe not so loose that you can't be sure what the intent of a rule is. The less rulings I have to make, the better, IMO.
 

Retreater

Legend
Honestly, it depends on the group's experience level and dedication to learning the rules. So I'd say somewhere between Candyland and Pathfinder 2. ;)

What I'd run...
Lowest - AD&D 2e
Mid - 4e
Highest - Pathfinder 2

Games I'd never want to run again: 3.5/Pathfinder 1, Warhammer Fantasy.
Games I'd run again (only if money exchanged hands): Savage Worlds.
 

The MCDM RPG campaign -- specifically the preview material on the backerkit page -- got me thinking about system crunch and where my personal limits are. So I thought I would put it up for discussion:

For you personally, what is your "crunch" limit in regards to RPGs? What level of moving parts, character abilities, rules subsystems, applied modifiers, etc... is too crunchy for you? What games would you say are where you top out? And does it matter whether you are a player versus a GM?

For my part, 5E is a little lighter than I generally like and am giving PF2ER a try soon as a GM to see if it is too much or not. Overall, I like having systems for things, but generally want them to be inutive and easy to remember. As a GM I don't really care for high PC crunch, but that is mostly because I play with a couple people that are very fond of and good at finding, er..., effective synergies.

At the same time, sometimes I want something super fast and clean like Shadowdark.

As to the MCDM game specifically: i think a lot of it will depend on how fiddly the core mechanics are. The Necromancer stat block looked just about right to me as far how much crunch I like in monsters as a GM, but since I don't know how statuses and such work, it is hard to tell.
Maths.

If I had to add up a bunch of different bonuses to a roll, I'm off the game. I don't enjoy it. It slows things down so much for me. This is the main reason I still can't get into PF2E. Having to remember circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, etc etc, for everything just feels pointless. Additionally, when I'm really just counting beans for literally +1's, I feel bored. If I'm doing math and getting a modifier, it ought to be significant, or there ought to be few of them (for my specific taste).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
For you personally, what is your "crunch" limit in regards to RPGs? What level of moving parts, character abilities, rules subsystems, applied modifiers, etc... is too crunchy for you? What games would you say are where you top out? And does it matter whether you are a player versus a GM?
It depends on the game and how the crunch is integrated and flows. I don’t like having a lot of fiddly bits with no purpose, but a game doesn’t have to be high crunch for that to be a problem. If the crunchy bits are structured well, then it’s fine

It’s usually a sign that a game is not going to work well for me as a GM if there are too many exceptions or options I have to keep in my head all at once. It’s one of the things I disliked about skill actions in PF2 (and all their enumerated degrees of success).
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
If the majority of bonuses are "always on" or can easily be tracked, I don't mind the math. When I played a Divine Metamagic Cleric in 3.5, I had notecards I handed out to everyone for their 24-hour buffs.

But when things can change round by round, and it's not something you do routinely (like Barbarian rage), absolutely. And while buffs get all the heat, there's debuffs to consider too!

"Ok, so...my Belt of Giant Strength +2 got dispelled, but I have a Bull's Strength for +4 from the Cleric, but I took 2 Strength damage and I just got hit by a Ray of Enfeeblement for 3 points, so my Strength is now 19+4-2-3 = 18 which means....I'm at -1 to hit and -2 to damage from where I'm normally at."
 

Andvari

Hero
I’ve found that engaging content is more interesting than rules. I find the crunch an annoying barrier that must be crossed to reach it. I’m running PF2 and I find it is definitely far too crunchy for my tastes.

Crunchy games feel too much like computer games to me. You have your hotbar with buttons to press and your pre-planned “spec.”

When I was younger, I would obsess over character builds and math, but now I prefer that done away with. Roll stats, pick a race, a class and go. I don’t need 4 different buttons to say “I attack.”

Having less spare time is likely a factor. Prohibitively huge rules tomes are less problematic when you don’t have lots of other things to do.
 
Last edited:

Pedantic

Legend
I generally find "crunch" such a subjective metric. Are we talking about how many action by action choices players can make? How many steps resolution has, or how much variability there is between different kinds of resolution? I don't generally think character creation should be lumped in, because it's a one-time cost, but a lot of people focus on it.

My preferred model for crunchiness has become "how many discrete and mechanically defined actions are available to a player at an average decision point?" From there, I think players should have something like 8-12 choices in the generic resolution system, and additional options from their build choices, which can vary in complexity (but should be signposted). From there, a player should be able to run a reasonable heuristic to narrow them further (that's unlikely to work, I'm not good at that, I'm very good at this) and get to a set of 5ish actions they're picking between most of the time.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top