log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Is 5e Heroic, or SUPER-heroic?

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This is just false. Combat has rules when people want to play a combat game. If they want to play a politics game, they have rules for politics. If they want to play a game of intrigue, they have intrigue rules. If they want to play a game about trading, they have trading rules.

People don't sit around and play Advanced Squad Leader and claim it covers elections, and building business empires and spying and then glibly state 'Ah we don't need rules for all that, because only combat is complicated."

Rules express preferences. Lack of rules also express preferences.
I don't want to play a "politics" game. I don't want rules for elections, I wouldn't use rules for intrigue even if they were there. I don't want many of the out of combat situations to be resolved by game rules at all. I want it to be a fantasy world simulator and there are not enough books or rules that could be printed to handle all the possibilities. A game that does do that is very constrained to specific scenarios and paradigms.

Out of combat is both easier to run and infinitely more complex than combat. To put it another way, what would you add? Specifically? Because every time this comes up it's always "add this please" with no specifics. But you want rules for elections, running businesses, spying, intrigue and on and on. What about rules for being a dog catcher or being a jockey (human and small sized mounts included of course)? Wait you missed those? But they're critical to my game! :mad: Oh, and BTW they have to work in Greyhawk, Eberron, Forgotten Realms, Wildemount and every home campaign out there while being simple to understand and easy to implement. Good luck.

You can't please everyone. I've never needed or wanted more out of combat rules yet there is plenty of intrigue, mystery and decision points in my games. It's just that I don't need nor do I want a mechanical resolution to that aspect of the game. I think you're asking for something that's virtually impossible. To each their own.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Fanaelialae

Legend
I didn't talk about table time. I rejected the idea that the presence or absence of rules could be discussed in terms of need.
This tangent arose from responses to the following quote:

You miss the point. We don't have "down time" between fights. Between fights is when most of the game happens.
Hence table time is relevant to the discussion.

I agree that an RPG doesn't NEED complex combat rules. How crunchy a person likes their combat rules (or any other rules) is simply a matter of preference.
 

pemerton

Legend
5E actually has a lot more dials to twist than RM.

You can alter class balance by altering (short/long) rest variance as well as by granting more (or fewer) rests.
I've got no view on this, nor how hard or easy it would be.

The dial we twisted in RM was trivially easy: don't allow any PP multipliers.
 

pemerton

Legend
I don't want to play a "politics" game. I don't want rules for elections, I wouldn't use rules for intrigue even if they were there. I don't want many of the out of combat situations to be resolved by game rules at all. I want it to be a fantasy world simulator and there are not enough books or rules that could be printed to handle all the possibilities. A game that does do that is very constrained to specific scenarios and paradigms.
This claim is obviously false.

Just to pick on three RPGs I've played recently (two as GM, one as player): Burning Wheel, Wuthering Heights and Classic Traveller are no more constrained than D&D to "specific scenarios and paradigms) and each provides better support for out-of-combat resolution than D&D 5e, handling a wider range of possibilities than D&D 5e is able to do without resort to "GM decides".
 

I have long ago described the different tiers of play as such to my players:
Tier 1 (1-4th level): Game of Thrones or any other fantasy one would describe as "gritty"

The characters are suicidal if they try to fight a high level fantastical threat without major help (usually in the form of armies).

Tier 2 (5th-10th level): Lord of the Rings
The players look like badasses and can handle small war bands or horses up until they can tangle full on warfare near the end. (Note the hobbits are lower level Tier 1 characters in over their heads).

Tier 3: Avengers (up until Endgame) (levels 11-15)

The players can fly around, cast powerful (yet not world ending) magic and are clearly supermen compared to mortals. Despite these strengths, problems that involve multiple realms or worlds would still be difficult, and end bosses should lead up to challenging them on character and philosophical differences of opinion than straight fights. The players can look like badasses when fighting armies of mooks, and it's also fair at this point for endbosses (Thanos) to pull out the REALLY broken shit they have have to actually think to beat (infinity stones).

Tier 4: (Demigods) levels 16+

The players at this point are basically greek heroes of myth. Legends should be told about them by normal people and they should have the struggle at this point should be more about knowing when NOT to use their powers than killing the bad guys. Most good content at this level will tend to be about fighting actual gods/cosmic beings, or dealing with others that used to look up to then start to question how long until they end up being the next biggest threat, especially if they still have any plot mcmuffins left from beating the boss that put them in this tier.
 

Campbell

Legend
On combat rules being required:

Tonight I got some feedback from one of the other players in the Lancer game I GM. They love direction of the narrative, the characters, and are intrigued by the setting. They enjoy the narrative mode mechanics, but not the detailed tactical combat.

So outside of mecha combat (including ground skirmishes) Lancer has a Blades in the Dark style system where based on fictional positioning the GM says a given task is standard, risky, or heroic and then says what the consequence will be.

On a standard roll you suffer the consequence if you do not match a DC of 10. If you beat you get what you were after.
On a risky roll you get what you were after if you meet or beat 10, but suffer the consequences if you do not meet or beat 20.
On a heroic roll it is 20 or bust for both success and consequences.

There are skill triggers that add to this that basically applied based on player/GM judgement.

Basically he wants mecha combat to feel as fiction first and fluid as the other stuff in the game.
 

Campbell

Legend
Also on that note. Previous editions of D&D had rules that covered exploration in depth, but had far more abstracted combat systems than what we see today. Was B/X wrong to have exploration turns or was it just focused on different things than the modern game?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I have long ago described the different tiers of play as such to my players:
Tier 1 (1-4th level): Game of Thrones or any other fantasy one would describe as "gritty"

The characters are suicidal if they try to fight a high level fantastical threat without major help (usually in the form of armies).

Tier 2 (5th-10th level): Lord of the Rings
The players look like badasses and can handle small war bands or horses up until they can tangle full on warfare near the end. (Note the hobbits are lower level Tier 1 characters in over their heads).

Tier 3: Avengers (up until Endgame) (levels 11-15)

The players can fly around, cast powerful (yet not world ending) magic and are clearly supermen compared to mortals. Despite these strengths, problems that involve multiple realms or worlds would still be difficult, and end bosses should lead up to challenging them on character and philosophical differences of opinion than straight fights. The players can look like badasses when fighting armies of mooks, and it's also fair at this point for endbosses (Thanos) to pull out the REALLY broken shit they have have to actually think to beat (infinity stones).

Tier 4: (Demigods) levels 16+

The players at this point are basically greek heroes of myth. Legends should be told about them by normal people and they should have the struggle at this point should be more about knowing when NOT to use their powers than killing the bad guys. Most good content at this level will tend to be about fighting actual gods/cosmic beings, or dealing with others that used to look up to then start to question how long until they end up being the next biggest threat, especially if they still have any plot mcmuffins left from beating the boss that put them in this tier.
All I can say is that I've never played or run a game where the PCs were fighting literal gods.

Different games, different experiences.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This claim is obviously false.

Just to pick on three RPGs I've played recently (two as GM, one as player): Burning Wheel, Wuthering Heights and Classic Traveller are no more constrained than D&D to "specific scenarios and paradigms) and each provides better support for out-of-combat resolution than D&D 5e, handling a wider range of possibilities than D&D 5e is able to do without resort to "GM decides".
So other games have rules. But do they have rules for my halfling dog jockey? Because if they don't they will be horribly incomplete. Risk has rules for resolving global warfare, it can even be fun. Doesn't mean it would be a good fit for a game with the style of D&D.

Every game has to have a focus, a goal, a style of play. If those other games have such fantastic rules, adapt them to your game. Can't do that? Maybe there's a reason. If there were a demand for what you want, if the potential sales could be justify cost of development then it would be added. In the TSR days where the cost/benefit analysis was frequently missing, they produced a lot of material that ended up losing money.

D&D is not aiming for the niche you want filled. Those games you mention? They have a fraction of the sales that D&D has. In any case, it's kind of pointless. Like the saying goes, if wishes were horses the streets would be full of horse poo and we'd have a horse over-population problem. Wait, that's not quite right. Let me try again: you may want those rules added to the books but there's not enough demand to justify development. Not enough people need or want that level of detail. It would be like going to a superhero movie and wanting it to also be a psychological thriller, a romance, a buddy comedy, a thought provoking intellectual film, a slasher movie, an arthouse movie, a noir detective story ... a movie can only be so many things. Same with a game.

But anyway keep wishing for those horse-poo filled streets. I'd rather have them focus on what they are good at, adding to and refining the core game.

P.S. I don't get much time to play a bunch of games. If there are specific rules or style of play those other games support, go into some detail. Heck, start a thread on what you would add to the game and discuss some specifics. I just get tired of people banging the drum of "the game doesn't do X" and then never giving any specifics on how X could be done.
 

pemerton

Legend
So other games have rules. But do they have rules for my halfling dog jockey?
If a "halfling dog jockey" is literally a halfling who rides a dog, then the answer for BW and Classic Traveller is yes. Wuthering Heights is aimed to be played in 19th century Western Europe as its setting, and so doesn't really do halflings.

Every game has to have a focus, a goal, a style of play. If those other games have such fantastic rules, adapt them to your game. Can't do that? Maybe there's a reason.
I don't quite follow this. I don't "adapt" them. I play them.

If there were a demand for what you want, if the potential sales could be justify cost of development then it would be added. In the TSR days where the cost/benefit analysis was frequently missing, they produced a lot of material that ended up losing money.

D&D is not aiming for the niche you want filled. Those games you mention? They have a fraction of the sales that D&D has.
This has no bearing on my post or @chaochou's post. No one was arguing that games without rules for combat are popular. But all that proves is that many RPGers like combat.

There is a lot of evidence that D&D play is combat-oriented at many tables. Nearly every thread on these boards that discusses class balance is about combat ( @Garthanos is one notable exception, frequently starting or intervening in threads to talk about out-of-combat class balance). If you read the "How was your last session?" thread, you will see that reports of combat encounter predominate.

But the popularity of this aspect of D&D doesn't show that other games with less market popularity are more narrow. Or that there is some inherent difficulty in designing a RPG which has rules for resolving non-combat challenges and interactions. Last weekend I ran a session of Classic Traveller for my daughter. There was one fight in that session, which took two rolls to resolve - an opposed check to see who got to make the first roll to hit, and then a successful roll to hit made by me for the NPC opposing my daughter's character. All the other checks made were for resolving interactions with NPCs (using the reaction roll and Admin skill systems), for making repairs to a broken vehicle (using the vehicle repairs system), for opening the exit from a domed city (an ad-hoc check built around the Jack-of-all-Trades skill), and a few raw stat checks (STR and INT) to resolve the consequences and immediate aftermath of a vehicular crash.

None of that stuff needs mechanics any less (or any more) than combat. The function of the mechanics is to come up with a different resolution framework from "GM decides". And of course "GM decides" is as fine a mechanic for resolving combat as for any other area of PC endeavour - in that session I used GM decides rather than the damage system to determine the outcome of the fight mentioned in the previous paragraph, given that it was a "friendly" fencing bout rather than a fight to the death.

Not enough people need or want that level of detail.
Detail has nothing to do with it. D&D is obsessive in the degree of detail it uses to resolve interpersonal combat - tracking positioning and interactions in six-second blocks and to at least a 5' resolution. It also tracks magical capability, weapon skills, and some aspects of personal prowess (eg personal strength and endurance) in great detail. In some of its versions (eg B/X, AD&D) D&D has been obsessive in the detail with which it treats doors and traps and architecture more generally. A RPG doesn't have to do these things.

The rules for Classic Traveller can be reproduced on fewer than 100 pages (I know, I've done it) - and this despite its overlap with D&D in some respects of concern for detail (combat rounds, weapon lists). The rules for Wuthering Heights can be reproduced on fewer than a dozen pages (again, I've done it, mixing bits of the French original into the less complete English version).

As @chaochou posted, the decision to have detailed rules for combat and few or no rules for anything else is a choice. Other choices in design are possible.

If there are specific rules or style of play those other games support, go into some detail.
I linked to an actual play report in the post you quoted. I've linked to another in this post. I think I have more actual play (not "story hour") posts on these boards than any other poster.

No one is keeping it a secret from you how Classic Traveller or Burning Wheel or Wuthering Heights plays.[/QUOTE]
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
...
I linked to an actual play report in the post you quoted. I've linked to another in this post. I think I have more actual play (not "story hour") posts on these boards than any other poster.

No one is keeping it a secret from you how Classic Traveller or Burning Wheel or Wuthering Heights plays.
[/QUOTE]

It may not be a secret, but I have no desire nor the time to play those games. If you did link to info, I can't see it.

Regardless, I don't want rules for what you want any more than I want more detailed rules for stealth. YMMV.
 

All I can say is that I've never played or run a game where the PCs were fighting literal gods.

Different games, different experiences.
Rise of Timat has you fighting one (Tiamat) and it was the first AP released. Demon princes have also featured (and taking on Orcus was a large part of 4E and AD&D in ToEE and Demon Lords are pretty close in power to Gods (and certainly worthy threats for Avengers level heroes).
 


TheBoredGM

Beneath our modern banality, we're just savages.
Rise of Timat has you fighting one (Tiamat) and it was the first AP released. Demon princes have also featured (and taking on Orcus was a large part of 4E and AD&D in ToEE and Demon Lords are pretty close in power to Gods (and certainly worthy threats for Avengers level heroes).
In concept, and in story, they are threats. But not in mechanics.
I know that it depends on the group.
As soon as the PC-oriented Tasha's Cauldron of everything is released the official monsters will feel even easier. As the players grow more powerful and gain more abilities, the monsters stay the same. 5e has been out for years now. Most people aren't beginners.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top