Looking for Advanced Role-Playing Content

Riley37

Villager
Am I the only one who finds this insulting?
Well, if Celebrim takes offense, I trust he'll say so. I read his passage, and I hope that you did. I'm nudging you to consider his point about means and ends, methods and goals.

The failure in this example isn't the methodology the GM used, it's being obvious about the process and the presentation.
I'm not asserting failure. I'm asserting that I would walk away from the table. If the DM didn't *announce* the process, I would still leave. There is some better way I can spend my evening, than a D&D session featuring five no-investigation no-negotiation no-wider-consequences no-story-arc zombie fights.

The players have a right to know that you're going to play fair.
You and I have a fundamentally divergent understanding of fairness, in TRPG and elsewhere. If you saw me picking grains of wheat in a field, directly from the stalk to my mouth, on the Sabbath, would you consider my action unfair, because I violated Rules As Written?

I'll say it again, for everyone who doesn't seem to be paying attention: the term "advanced" has been clearly defined. I appreciate that others may disagree with the term as I'm using it (even though I didn't make it up out of thin air), but so far, no one has offered a better definition.
If you walk into a library and ask the librarian for "advanced" books, you can define the term however you like. Few librarians will argue; they will mostly leave you alone, so that they can help library visitors who express their requests in more concrete terms.
 
Well, if Celebrim takes offense, I trust he'll say so.
Fair enough. The internet holds different standards, it seems. You're correct, he was the one who wrote it, so I guess it's no skin off my nose if he doesn't take offense.

I'm not asserting failure. I'm asserting that I would walk away from the table.
I know. I'm asserting that that presentation would be a failure because the GM lost a player at the table. Is there another measure for success we should be considering? (Apart from "everyone having fun," that is.)

You and I have a fundamentally divergent understanding of fairness, in TRPG and elsewhere. If you saw me picking grains of wheat in a field, directly from the stalk to my mouth, on the Sabbath, would you consider my action unfair, because I violated Rules As Written?
Adherence to religious rules is not comparable because religion isn't a game. If you were to it to rolling twice in Monopoly because you didn't like the outcome of the first roll, I would call that unfair ~ actually, I'd call it cheating and we would no longer play games together.

If you walk into a library and ask the librarian for "advanced" books, you can define the term however you like. Few librarians will argue; they will mostly leave you alone, so that they can help library visitors who express their requests in more concrete terms.
(Emphasis is mine.)

I'm struggling to understand. At first blush, I want to say that simply saying something doesn't make it so. I recognize that language is an ever evolving thing and that there's a constant dialogue going on when people are discussing stuff like this.

Waitaminute, let me check the thread...

Nope. No clarification on what "advanced" should mean. Just a lot of blank stares (metaphorically speaking) when I try to explain it.

Maybe a different approach...?

  • Advanced: ahead or far or further along in progress, complexity, knowledge, skill, etc.
  • Progress: forward or onward movement toward a destination
  • Complexity: the state or quality of being intricate or complicated
  • Knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject
  • Skill: the ability to do something well; expertise

Since I'm asking for examples of role-playing material that meets this criteria, are we agreed that these definitions are clear? Do we need to discuss additional examples in order to establish clarity?
 

Wicht

Adventurer
Since I'm asking for examples of role-playing material that meets this criteria, are we agreed that these definitions are clear? Do we need to discuss additional examples in order to establish clarity?
I've read through the entire thread, and all your definitions, and I am still not quite clear on what you are looking for. I think you are wanting graphs and charts to provide versimilitude, but at times it sounds like you might be wanting something a little different. The problem is that you are using words assuming a definition, aka. Progress means movement towards a destination, but not necessarily clarifying what destination you are wanting so as to make the definition meaningful to the rest.

That being said, I think you might be wanting to check out Raging Swan Press, if you have not already. They may be producing material you will find useful.
 

pemerton

Legend
if you game has advanced beyond the need for encounter tables, what does that look like? How do you go about determining what encounters should occur, and where or when?
I'm not [MENTION=46713]Jhaelen[/MENTION], but I can answer for my part: when I use systems that don't involve encounter tables (which is every system I run except Classic Traveller), I determine what encounters occur based either on adjudication of player action declarations for their PCs, and/or based on what I thik the demands of pacing, theme, etc require.
 

Jhaelen

Villager
Or, to put it another way: if you game has advanced beyond the need for encounter tables, what does that look like? How do you go about determining what encounters should occur, and where or when?
Okay, I lied: I still sometimes use (encounter) tables. But I never use them during a game session. I use them to prepare for a session. I use them for what they're best suited: to generate ideas. I then flesh out these ideas and create 'real' encounters from them. During the game I pick the encounters that make the most sense given the PCs current location and the actions they've taken.

See, roleplaying games are first and foremost games that feature a healthy amount of roleplaying, hence the name. They're not, nor are they intended to be, simulations. You sound like you strife after a 'perfect' game that doesn't involve any conscious choices. Well, somewhat surprisingly that doesn't necessarily translate into an engaging and entertaining gaming experience.

Striving for 'realism' in your encounter tables actually robs you of the most interesting kind of encounters: those that seem strangely out of place. It's the unusual encounters that spawn great stories.

But considering the gist of this thread, none of this will mean anything to you. I don't have anything to contribute to your quest for 'advanced' role playing content.
 
I think you are wanting graphs and charts to provide versimilitude, but at times it sounds like you might be wanting something a little different.
I think the discussion involving encounter tables took us that direction.

Charts and graphs are useful because they can be placed in a program which can automate the process. This automation means we can increase the complexity of our game; we can apply the knowledge we have available to us; but of course, all of this is just mental masturbation unless we have a clearly defined goal or end-state.

That said, we don't need to keep focusing on "graphs and charts" as the only example of advanced play.

The problem is that you are using words assuming a definition...
Yes. That's what people do when they communicate. The difference is that I've provided a definition and I'm asking if it's acceptable as-is.

... Progress means movement towards a destination, but not necessarily clarifying what destination you are wanting so as to make the definition meaningful to the rest.
Yes. Correct. 100%

This is a critical piece to this conversation: I accept that progress is a requirement for something to be counted as advanced, but I'm not married to any one specific concept of "destination." The examples I've provided were intended to illustrate what I consider is a desirable end-state; but if you want to propose something else, please do so. And then demonstrate how a particular product/author/creator/game/whatever manages to achieve that goal.

That being said, I think you might be wanting to check out Raging Swan Press, if you have not already. They may be producing material you will find useful.
I will do that, thank you.
 
I'm not [MENTION=46713]Jhaelen[/MENTION], but I can answer for my part: when I use systems that don't involve encounter tables (which is every system I run except Classic Traveller), I determine what encounters occur based either on adjudication of player action declarations for their PCs, and/or based on what I thik the demands of pacing, theme, etc require.
Can I to assume, given the context, that you would call your approach "advanced?" If so, why? What makes it advanced? What can you share about your game that might be of help to others?
 
... considering the gist of this thread, none of this will mean anything to you. I don't have anything to contribute to your quest for 'advanced' role playing content.
Part of this is due to the impression I've given, that I'm looking for something very specific and that that specificity is best embodied by the examples I've provided. That's my failure. Far as I'm concerned, you have the chance to go, "This is what I think progress looks like, this is how I apply knowledge and skill to my game, and therefore this is the kind of material we should count as advanced."

See, roleplaying games are first and foremost games that feature a healthy amount of roleplaying, hence the name. They're not, nor are they intended to be, simulations.
I agree that RPGs feature acting, getting into character, playing pretend and so on. Are you saying this the destination? That the purpose of RPGs is to immerse ourselves in our characters and act the part, as though performing on a stage?
 
Are you guys still feeding the troll?
In keeping with the rules for this forum, I'd prefer if you keep these opinions to yourself. I'm not here to troll. I want to engage in a discussion about our hobby. Your comment does nothing to contribute to the conversation and, indeed, goes very far to undermine it.
 
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pemerton

Legend
Can I to assume, given the context, that you would call your approach "advanced?"
Not really. I'd generally call it "story now" or "no myth" or an appllication of the "standard narrativistic model". (These labels aren't synonyms, but all "standard narrativistic" play is an instance of "story now", and "no myth" is one pretty common approach to "standard narrativistic" RPGing.)

I guess it's "advanced" in the sense that it offers something like what 80s/90s-style "storytelling" RPGing does, but without the railroad. But it's obviously not the only way to play RPGs.

What can you share about your game that might be of help to others?
I've posted quite a bit in three current active threads (and started one of them): the two "worldbuilding threads" and the social mechanics/"player agency" thread.

I also have a lot of actual play posts. Here are links to five.
 
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Wicht

Adventurer
This is a critical piece to this conversation: I accept that progress is a requirement for something to be counted as advanced, but I'm not married to any one specific concept of "destination." The examples I've provided were intended to illustrate what I consider is a desirable end-state; but if you want to propose something else, please do so. And then demonstrate how a particular product/author/creator/game/whatever manages to achieve that goal.
Ah. I think I understand better now.

The problem here is the use of the word "advanced," which it turns out, is meaningless, because you have no set destination in mind as to where an advanced game will take us.

I am not sure that there is such a thing as an "advanced" game, though I have a nostalgic interest in AD&D wherein the term "advanced" meant, "more complex."

But to me, the destination, the goal of the game, is not necessarily complexity. Not to be either trite or cliche, but the goal of the game is simply "fun," or "enjoyment." If the game produces a fun, memorable experience, then I think it succeeds, regardless of the complexity, or lack thereof.

But the rub is, that which constitutes fun is going to change from group to group, and even within a single group, that which consitutes fun might change from session to session. There is no one, single golden bullet approach which is going to make the game "advanced," as in, "more fun."

One of the best things I have ever written, in my opinion, is a little adventure called, "Up From Darkness," which relies not on verisimilitude, nor on complexity, but rather on a lack of knowledge on the part of the players, in order to achieve its effect. There is no complex biome in the scenario, no great focus on any particular details, except for an everpresent lack of light and the presence of monsters and traps; but, through the slow reveal of knowledge and backstory, the game achieves a rather memorable result which I (and almost everyone I have ever run through it) find to be great fun. The "advanced" part of the game is simply writing up snippets of PC memory and handing them out at appropriate times. Its simple, but highly effective within the parameters of the one experience. But that won't work for every scenario.

If the question then is, "what makes for a better playing experience," and we are focusing on the preperation of the GM, then the answer is going to be highly dependent upon what the goal is of a particular campaign, scenario or setting. Some campaigns, by their nature, my require more background details in order to enhance verisimilitude, while others are going to need a lot less detail in order to enhance the tension or the excitment. If one is going for a "Game of Thrones," sort of world, then the needs of the game are going to be quite different than if you are trying to recreate "Thor: Ragnarok."

A good GM, or perhaps I should say, a flexible GM, is going to recognize what effect he is trying to create and choose the tools most appropriate to the job.
 
The problem here is the use of the word "advanced," which it turns out, is meaningless, because you have no set destination in mind as to where an advanced game will take us.
Personally, I have an idea of the preferred end-state. For the purpose of our discussion, however, I'm willing to accept other ideas.

I am not sure that there is such a thing as an "advanced" game...
Any activity, hobby, job, pursuit, profession, etc., can be said to be advanced if we apply the effort necessary to make it so.

... the goal of the game is simply "fun," or "enjoyment." If the game produces a fun, memorable experience, then I think it succeeds, regardless of the complexity, or lack thereof.
Again, I defer to those who are better educated and more informed than myself on the topic of "fun."

But the rub is, that which constitutes fun is going to change from group to group, and even within a single group, that which consitutes fun might change from session to session.
Which is another reason that we shouldn't place "fun" as the end-state goal for ourselves.

There is no one, single golden bullet approach which is going to make the game "advanced," as in, "more fun."
And I never said there was. I will say that there can be many different ways to advance your game.

I should pause here to try and clarify an issue I see crop up (time and again) when people discuss gaming: we are not passing a moral judgment. By claiming that one game is more advanced than another, no one should construe that to mean that the less advanced game is inferior or unworthy of being played. If that's an acceptable status for you and your game, then have at it; if it isn't, then make an effort to improve your game. I have fun playing pretend with my kids because of the joy they experience playing with their father. I do not claim that play-time with my children is advanced in any way, shape or form (although I do try to create opportunities to teach them things); but I also don't play D&D with my kids because my game is too advanced for them, at this time.

One of the best things I have ever written, in my opinion, is a little adventure called, "Up From Darkness," which relies not on verisimilitude, nor on complexity, but rather on a lack of knowledge on the part of the players, in order to achieve its effect. There is no complex biome in the scenario, no great focus on any particular details, except for an everpresent lack of light and the presence of monsters and traps; but, through the slow reveal of knowledge and backstory, the game achieves a rather memorable result which I (and almost everyone I have ever run through it) find to be great fun. The "advanced" part of the game is simply writing up snippets of PC memory and handing them out at appropriate times. Its simple, but highly effective within the parameters of the one experience.
I do not doubt that it is effective. I will have to check it out. (I have some thoughts, based on what you've written here, that I want to share, but they're premature and reactionary, so it's more appropriate that I wait until after I've read the adventure.)

If the question then is, "what makes for a better playing experience..."
My question in return is: what is your goal or destination? To have fun at the table or to have a better playing experience?
 
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I guess it's "advanced" in the sense that it offers something like what 80s/90s-style "storytelling" RPGing does, but without the railroad. But it's obviously not the only way to play RPGs.
There's a difference between advancing your game and shifting to something on the same level. Seems like what you're referring to is more of a lateral move as opposed to an upward move.

Thank you for the links; I'll check them out, see what I can make of them.
 

pemerton

Legend
There's a difference between advancing your game and shifting to something on the same level.
I don't understand what you mean by "shifting to something on the same level."

I never GMed in an 80s/90s "storytelling" style, and played in such games only for relatively brief periods. But that style did exist, and as far as I can tell is still quite popular. I think that my method is, in comparison, "advanced". (Though as I said that's not a word I would normally use in this context; you are the one who asked me about it.)

If you think that playing "no myth" style is on the same level as (say) playing Dead Gods, or a typical contemporary AP, you're going to have to explain what you mean by that.
 

Wicht

Adventurer
My question in return is: what is your goal or destination? To have fun at the table or to have a better playing experience?
I cannot differentiate between those two options.

If I am having fun, then it is a good experience and if I am have a good playing experience, I will be having fun.

How do you have a good playing experience without having fun? And why do you want such a thing?

What is your idea of a good playing experience?
Without knowing this, it is impossible to engage you in a meaningful way regarding this idea of an "advanced" game.
 
I don't understand what you mean by "shifting to something on the same level."
It's as much my own gut-reaction as anything else. I think I get the concept of "story now" role-playing but I need to do more research.

... I think that my method is, in comparison, "advanced". (Though as I said that's not a word I would normally use in this context; you are the one who asked me about it.)

If you think that playing "no myth" style is on the same level as (say) playing Dead Gods, or a typical contemporary AP, you're going to have to explain what you mean by that.
I did ask. And I provided the definition. But since I'm not as familiar with the style as I'd like to be, it'd be inappropriate for me to speculate too much.

If you don't think the term applies to your game (and by extension, to similar games and products), that's fine. As I said, there's no moral judgment being leveled here; it's not advanced, it's just different.

But if it's different ~ if the core principles and concepts of "story now" and "no myth" RPGs can be accepted as a baseline standard ~ then there must be some advanced form of these games.
 

Wicht

Adventurer
On questions of design, and "advancement," there is a lot of wisdom in the well known quote: "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

Board games are my other hobby, and the mark of a good board game is not its complexity, but rather its elegance and smoothness of play. The same is true of RPG games, to an extent. Sometimes adding material to the game does not make the game more "advanced," rather it makes the game less elegant and less fun.
 

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