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How important is "realism"?

MGibster

Legend
Another thing about realism, although a very subjective one, when you steal countries and cultures shamelesly from history, then I want you to get them right.
The beautiful part about borrowing from past or current cultures is that I end up with Not-Japan, Not-Germany, or Not-Scotland. It's great because I can borrow anything I want and if someone points out an inaccuracy I can just shrug and say "It's Not-Germany, what do you want?"
 

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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
For me, I found that started to happen around level 12 of 4E.
What level are some characters (who chose for that) flying under their own power aka via spells? It happens in 4e around mid paragon like 16 which is when flying mounts are du jour. This would be analogous to level 13 in 5e. A Fly spell is around at 5th level in 5e?

With some of the later feat and power options, it could happen earlier.

I can't offer much opinion on 2E because my exposure to it was very limited.

The D&D genre involves huge amounts of potential advancement 2e sort of gave lip service very pretty lip service, however casters are often the only place it panned out, stalling non-casters put them effectively in different stories than one another. My level 9 Ad&D fighter felt like a sidekick and the rogue useless(in 1e). And under the right DM were he dripping with magic items this may not have been the case but that is not the experience I had and with magic items being as DM dependent and unreliable in 5e or 1e D&D well.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The beautiful part about borrowing from past or current cultures is that I end up with Not-Japan, Not-Germany, or Not-Scotland. It's great because I can borrow anything I want and if someone points out an inaccuracy I can just shrug and say "It's Not-Germany, what do you want?"
I think you kind of have to unless you want to put in a metric ton of work :), which I guess some do indeed want.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

What the real question is, is: "How much fantasy is too much before the setting becomes to hard for a human player to recognize and react to"?

Realism (coin size/weight, physics in space, physics on a 1G planet, etc) is important to the point where it gives a foundation for everyone to partake in a shared imaginative story. But realism for the sake of realism...not very important IMNSHO.

If a GM is constantly saying "Well, no, you can jump three times that, because in this world, jumping isn't affected as much by gravity", "Er, actually, yeah, you can jump 30' into the air and land on the ground without hurting your feet because of the whole 'jumping and gravity' thing of the world", "Actually, you can jump out of water as easily as if you were on ground, it's just how it works on this world", "Oh man. I forgot to tell you...fish can all breath air for short periods of time. So yeah, the great white jumps out of the water and onto the deck of the ship and starts attacking. While I'm at it, I might as well tell you that all sharks have human intelligence and can understand all languages. Oh. And they can shape change once a day", "Lastly, sharks are also poisonous and many have psionic abilities, like most sea life....wait, I forgot to mention that too, didn't I?". ;)

If too many "realities" are played with or otherwise tossed aside ...but other "realities" are used as a basis for various rules or requirements, well, you end up with Synnibarr. ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Another thing about realism, although a very subjective one, when you steal countries and cultures shamelesly from history, then I want you to get them right.
Heh - I don't. The pop-culture versions do just fine for me, thanks. :)

I'm not in it for a history lesson.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
How important is it that your games reflect reality? Examples include making coins in a D&D game more closely reflect the size and weight of real medieval money, limiting the number of predators in an area to a realistic number, or not having sound in space. Are there some specific "realistic" elements that make the game more fun, but other things that always disrupt the story?
Realism is important only as far as it supports basic expectations from real life experiences.

These are not the same for all. Everybody expects basic stuff such as a falling object to accelerate or that when it's pitch dark you can't see. At the same time everyone accepts that magic and the supernatural can create different results.

But there's a deeper level of knowledge that only a few people have on specific topics. You might have a player who studied biology and can correct the DM who describes plants wrong such as putting the wrong species in a certain environment, or the historical expert who can lecture on medieval weapons and armors, or the architect who points out that a certain building is physically impossible...

Bringing out this sort of stuff at the table as a mere curiosity is a good thing, why wouldn't I want to hear from an expert and learn something new? Ideally I WANT to be as realistic as possible but I can't study all these topics before running a a game. But if the player makes their lectures more important than the game, then it means they are not into the right spirit, which is to put the game first (unless your original purpose is to gamify a lecture on biology or medieval weapons and armors). They can disrupt everyone's fun by shifting the focus away from what the rest of the group probably wants the evening to be about.

If I were a professional game designer I would certainly consult an expert source to make sure my publications comply as much as possible with realism in all relevant fields, because that would mean to provide DMs with a solid basis. But as a hobbyist I don't have that luxury, so I expect my players to help me with their expert knowledge but not be pretentious or disruptive. Besides, that biology expert player is likely an ignorant on medieval weapons and viceversa.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think enemies using or often even attempting the same moves when they are completely outclassed is less realistic and less genre supported and I prefer simplifications like minion to the complexity of adding desperation moves for outclassed enemies (which leave them taking much more damage).

Outclassed Enemy : Desperation Template.
A monster/npcs facing enemies who are 5 levels higher are always treated as bloodied for effects. Most are being influenced to even fight this adversary
While a few overconfident outclassed enemies are not treated as bloodied till they miss with what they see as their most assured attack.

Aggressive Desperation Stance
effect till the end of your next turn increase your attacks to hit by +5,
however but you may only perform your most basic attack powers. Attacks against you will delivered 2x the normal damage.

Desperation Defense Stance till the end of your next turn increase your defenses by +5, but if you are hit anyway the enemy doubles the damage they deal.

Special: Both stances may and usually are used in unison and attacks against the creature deliver 4 times the normal damage.

One might need or want more rules like restrictions on some other special abilities making them more complicated mechanically and but basically they would be more likely to just fail scaled outright on adversary competence.

Yeh I would rather skip that and use that premade ogre minion when he is fighting high level characters and an ogre standard at medium levels and an ogre elite at low levels.

Or for the Epic case make them a Squadron of Conscripted Ogres when the individuals are truly outclassed but able to fight in a team fashion with some form of powerful influence making them fight and a leader coordinating there fighting. Basically giving them effectively joint hit point pool.
My question is: why would I want or need to bother with any of that stuff? The ogre is the ogre. It has 45 HP, Str 19, AC 14 or by armour worn if better, 1 attack/round for d10+3 damage if using club, etc. no matter who or what it's fighting or is otherwise doing at the time.

It doesn't get any simpler than that, and as a pleasant side-effect internal setting consistency is upheld.

If the enemy's outclassed then it's outclassed. No need for all that "desperation" complexity - just kill it and move on. (note that I'll treat PCs the same way when, despite ample warnings, they put themselves in way over their heads :) )
 

"4E -> Dissociated mechanics like the cleric attacking and it healing everyone around him/her. What? Why? (Why was 'we want the cleric to do more with his encounter than heal,heal,heal,heal,heal!) The meta-game concern was a valid one for Clerics, but the mechanic provided was not really much good for in-universe logic."

First its bloody divine magic use your imagination .. and bleeding the life force out of your enemies into your allies is great and flavorful. Second an attack so awesome it inspires and invigorates your allies nearby wouldn't even have to be magic, but you know then we get this hit points are meat argument.... sigh
The problem with 4E healing for me as a player was that it used your healing surges... So the cleric casts CLW at me, and I lose a healing surge. If the character is invoking the divine, it being limited by my level makes no sense to me.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
If the enemy's outclassed then it's outclassed.
You will have them try and fight the same as they do when they outclass their enemies.
How like a computer game. Simplistic too... just big sacks of hit points, my 4e ogres (and other monsters) throw people around and knock them down and lots of interesting things when they are significant enemies. And require ways of dealing with them, and when out classed those options arent on the table.

Outclassed enemies fighting exactly the way when outclassed as they do when dominating is silly in an old fashioned how would these enemies behave and even a machine designed for fighting will adapt to the scenario. (an enemy so outclassed they should be reticent to commit to an attack or be there unless they are pressured or intrinsically zealot/or as I put it desperate or overconfident and when it does why would it look the same as when they are calm and in control ).

ie to me the roleplay is better for some people I guess they do not care about roleplaying in combat ie how the enemy behaves and how that affects their methods (and mechanics too because the roleplay is why the mechanics are different), but moreso in tropes it is better simulation, and yes mechanically its kind of silly to track a bunch of now very unlikely cruft and so I will go with 4e mechanical simplification.

Simplifying them down to minions or clumping them in swarms serves game simplicity and tropes (outclassed enemies exit the stage quickly and cleanly swarms support one another past when it is reasonable at individual levels to exit stage left) (the tracking of numbers and possibilities when they really are no longer reasonably possibilities) is silly in a game context.

It doesn't get any simpler than that, and as a pleasant side-effect internal setting consistency is upheld.
I guess the issue is your monsters are already over simplified "in my opinion of course" watches throwing dozens of dozens of dice while 80 monsters whiff whiff whiff against the heros... does not seem fun to me. But keep your philosophy of static unadapting mechanical simulation.

But monsters behaving the same way (and fighting is just a subset of that) no matter the circumstances is totally consistent but not very plausible, sentient beings adapt and the mechanics of what they do and how well, should reflect that in my opinion.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The problem with 4E healing for me as a player was that it used your healing surges... So the cleric casts CLW at me, and I lose a healing surge. If the character is invoking the divine, it being limited by my level makes no sense to me.
Divine being limited to x spell levels a day because of the priest involved makes no sense if you consider the divine completely unlimited. Sounds like the divine is limited by the vessel it is channeling through already, and this is just more of it.

Ever hear the saying "gods help those who help themselves" or some paraphrase. Those "unwilling" to get up and do... they stay down. For me tying primarily whether or not they can, to the characters themselves is more heroic too ( it emphasizes a difference between pcs and npcs... npcs generally only have 1 HS per tier).

To me out of combat I have rituals that will remove afflictions you know actual wounds with long term effects (those are the kinds of things which might just last until fixed --> the lingering wounds idea not made up by 5e the idea has been floated in various forms for every edition generally by homebrew and 4e even had a core with rituals to interact with it, just no method of inducing them), and in combat you have inspiration the pushes you on to fight for survival and that is less about stitching up boo boos and more about digging deep aided by inspirational words.

A 5e idea I had is to allow anytime one receives healing effects the subject can choose to spend HD up to some limit. (maybe 1 per 4 levels or 1 per 2) shrug.
 
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The problem with 4E healing for me as a player was that it used your healing surges... So the cleric casts CLW at me, and I lose a healing surge. If the character is invoking the divine, it being limited by my level makes no sense to me.
Well, as a real-world Christian, pretty traditional theology asserts that God’s ability to help you is limited by you yourself. For evangelicals, God will not “save you” unless you allow it, and there are numerous biblical and theological positions that say that God rewards people according to their faith. I’m not solidly in line with that way if thinking, but it is a very common doctrine that as you grow in faith, God helps you more.

So, for me, the concept that as you grow in level, the divine grants you more power/healing is the more realistic option.

My knowledge of other real-world religions is not deep, but my impression is that this is a pretty common position.
 

Argyle King

Legend
What level are some characters (who chose for that) flying under their own power aka via spells? It happens in 4e around mid paragon like 16 which is when flying mounts are du jour. This would be analogous to level 13 in 5e. A Fly spell is around at 5th level in 5e?

...

Flight wasn't much of an issue.

Back when I was consistently playing 4E with the home group, the main "problem" was that antagonists rarely got a turn (or even much of an action) during combat.

Later monster math started to help with that, but 4E was on life support by then.

I liked the concept of skill challenges, but felt that they functioned best if I ignored the official WoTC advice on how they should work.

On the player side of things, the combat strength of PCs seemed to make even engaging in a skill challenge undesirable sometimes.

Risk getting X before Y failures OR stunlock the room and murder everything?

A lot of the people I gamed with at the time would choose the latter as much as possible.

Later, when I would DM 4E, I handled skill challenges differently and reworked how Solos and Elites were built. That helped, but eventually 4E became Essentials (which I didn't particularly care for) and then 4E was dead.
 

payn

Legend
The problem with 4E healing for me as a player was that it used your healing surges... So the cleric casts CLW at me, and I lose a healing surge. If the character is invoking the divine, it being limited by my level makes no sense to me.
This was an attempt to provide a resource to manage on healing to pace the adventure day. In past, divine magic worked as long as you could muster it. So, I can understand how that might seem strange.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
In D&D? Not at all. For instance, some of the most popular D&D settings have historically been "high unreality" settings (Eberron, Mystara, Planescape, Spelljammer), to borrow a term from somebody else. Now, if I'm playing in a setting like Harn, I expect much more "reality" or, at least, verisimilitude.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
I'm all for realism when:
  • There is someone at the table who actually knows how it is in real life, and not just "it's common knowledge!"
  • The system we use doesn't oppose it and there's no need for a mechanical change
  • It still lies within genre conventions
If any one of these doesn't apply, hard pass.
 

This was an attempt to provide a resource to manage on healing to pace the adventure day. In past, divine magic worked as long as you could muster it. So, I can understand how that might seem strange.
Not strange, per se, but very "Un-D&D"...

I mean, I played GW's Inquisitor with friends in RP mode... I like tactical games...
D&D 4 didn't feel at all like D&D to me. It wasn't a bad game, but my expectations for D&D were largely unmet,
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
On the player side of things, the combat strength of PCs seemed to make even engaging in a skill challenge undesirable sometimes.
You sound like you had uber optimizers... later monster math actually made monsters less hearty but do more damage. They started introducing a few more ways built in for solos to prevent ahem so much locking. But level 12 I don't recall having but a few lock gambits (harder control just wasn't so available earlier). I guess you did say "started to show up" and I didnt have extreme optimizers.

but

In contrast I know DMs who killed more PCs in 4e than any edition previously because they felt they could pull out the stops and feel it was fair to do so not a product of random chance.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This was an attempt to provide a resource to manage on healing to pace the adventure day. In past, divine magic worked as long as you could muster it. So, I can understand how that might seem strange.
Or just raw cheap as hell potions ... though that is mostly a 3.x ism.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Not strange, per se, but very "Un-D&D"...

I mean, I played GW's Inquisitor with friends in RP mode... I like tactical games...
D&D 4 didn't feel at all like D&D to me. It wasn't a bad game, but my expectations for D&D were largely unmet,
4e felt very much like D&D to me and more like D&D which was following through on promises. It finally allowed me to play an effective Defender as inspired in part by Gygax writing in AD&D about the role of the fighter and a Warlord archetype promised in part by the 2e descriptions of character types one could be which very much evoke Warlord (the Clever/Tactical/Strategic Alexander the Great and Bellesaurus) but also advancing to the point where one was feeling more like Heracles and Perseus and Cu Cuhlaine mentioned alongside those. Very much promises kept. I was surprised it felt balanced instead of being a one wizard show at higher levels, so that it felt more like teamwork was the key, as it was always supposed to be (and the best optimization was now at a whole party level). I was pleased to have the tactical/strategic choices in the players hands (who weren't always the casters) instead of locked up in figuring out what a DM considered a good plan. I was pleased the game now tied gaining experience to challenging situations whether they involved combat or not. I was pleased that D&D could better model action adventure now and had finally caught up to how we used to try and play it with less drudging through nonsense tunnels but rather bigger feature combats at a pace that matched story.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Ultimately, I've played D&D since the days where the DMG hadn't come out yet. I've never found such a boring, flavourless version than 4E.

Mod note:
Folks,

This thread is not titled "General Criticism and Game Bashing". Keep to the topic, and keep it constructive, please.
 

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