Of Mooks, Plot Armor, and ttRPGs

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Yeah, like I say, I certainly would never deny that people have the idea of emulating reality, but IMHO it is so utterly far from possible that it kind of isn't a real agenda. I mean, lets imagine we could actually do it, what would be the point of RPing that? What sort of 'game' would it be? We'd just be pretend living in the real world? And OK, we extend it a bit and we can all sort of 'get' the idea that its "reality but a lot more fantastic", but we can't even begin to simulate. You can say "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" but we're not even close to good! We're at 'meaninglessly bad'. So bad that we can predict nothing, extrapolate nothing, gain no insight into anything, etc. We, in effect, have a game world and, what 5 Wikipedia articles worth of text about it? OK, 50 Wikipedia articles worth. Wikipedia itself has millions of articles and we can learn very close to nothing about the world even by reading them all, not at the level of telling us details of anyone's life.

This is why I say, there is not, cannot be, any process sim agenda. Instantaneously it falls into the murk, we can imagine ANYTHING AT ALL, and so we do! We make up whatever we want, according to some other unexamined agendas, whether genre sim, concept sim, gamist, whatever.
Quite frankly, I don't see any value in continuing to engage with someone who rejects my entire preferred style of play as hopeless, and apparently thinks I'm delusional for favoring it. Thank you and good night.
 

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You know man, this is one of those cases where telling people they aren't doing what they think they're doing is not going to win you any good will or make any points in an argument, and the truth or not of your statement could not be less relevant to that.

So I'd rethink trying to make this argument in the future.
No no! Don't take it like that! When you understand that there is a whole new way to look at what you have been doing, that's when you achieve a whole new and more interesting view of it. Take the opportunity and run with it.
 

Quite frankly, I don't see any value in continuing to engage with someone who rejects my entire preferred style of play as hopeless, and apparently thinks I'm delusional for favoring it. Thank you and good night.
I will say the same thing to you, the chance to look at something like this in a whole new way is not insulting, its GOLD. Take advantage of it.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I have played a couple of PbtA games, know just a bit about FATE, and basically nothing about Stonetop, other than that posters who are known to be proponents of narrative mechanics-filled games seem to be fond of it. The factor that is most relevant to be me is that all those games, to my limited understanding, use game mechanics to facilitate telling a particular kind of story. This is a concept I don't generally find fun, so I am generally not interested in playing these games. If I'm wrong about that basic concept I apologize and will happily accept correction, but otherwise, the fact that those games use different mechanics from each other is not my primary issue with them.

Right here you are making the same sort of category error you excuse the essays of making. You place each game that does not meet your purposes into the same bucket without regard to differences between them. In terms of play agenda, roles and responsibilities of players/GMs, how play is structured, what play reinforces there could not be two games more different than Apocalypse World and FATE. Yet you cast all that aside in your analysis because it's not personally important to you. In the same way that the distinctions between say RuneQuest and Vampire were not seen as incredibly important to address by people who wanted to design games like Sorcerer and Burning Wheel.

In both cases these distinctions are important to make. If I only care about area control board games the differences between deck building and worker placement games might not be personally important to me but treating them as if they were the same thing does a disservice to an overall discussion about board games. Acknowledging the full diversity of play is important so we can value each sort of play experience for what it alone brings to the table.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Right here you are making the same sort of category error you excuse the essays of making. You place each game that does not meet your purposes into the same bucket without regard to differences between them. In terms of play agenda, roles and responsibilities of players/GMs, how play is structured, what play reinforces there could not be two games more different than Apocalypse World and FATE. Yet you cast all that aside in your analysis because it's not personally important to you. In the same way that the distinctions between say RuneQuest and Vampire were not seen as incredibly important to address by people who wanted to design games like Sorcerer and Burning Wheel.

In both cases these distinctions are important to make. If I only care about area control board games the differences between deck building and worker placement games might not be personally important to me but treating them as if they were the same thing does a disservice to an overall discussion about board games. Acknowledging the full diversity of play is important so we can value each sort of play experience for what it alone brings to the table.
I'm not saying those differences don't matter in general, and I have never attacked the fans of these games. I belive in diversity in gameplay and the gaming community. I have never said this was anything other than a personal concern, based on my own experiences and limited by my own history. What exactly is the problem with focusing on the aspects of an issue that matter to me? What exactly are you expecting from here? Are you asking me to disengage because my concerns are focused on what these games have in common instead of where differ? I'm confused about what it is you want from me.
 

Pedantic

Legend
In both cases these distinctions are important to make. If I only care about area control board games the differences between deck building and worker placement games might not be personally important to me but treating them as if they were the same thing does a disservice to an overall discussion about board games. Acknowledging the full diversity of play is important so we can value each sort of play experience for what it alone brings to the table.
There really isn't an analogous conversation in board game circles to the sort of thing we're doing here, unless maybe you want to get into more omnivorous hobby gamers vs. the people who just get every Zombicide release and are more or less happy to stop there? You have the occasional discussion of what the minimum viable product to constitute a game is, or whether party games belong in the same space as "gamer-y" games or what have you, but I don't think there's as heavy a dividing line running through "what is playing a board game?" The old Ameritrash/Euro divide is mostly dead or irrelevant, and it never really rose to that kind of discourse anyway.

No no! Don't take it like that! When you understand that there is a whole new way to look at what you have been doing, that's when you achieve a whole new and more interesting view of it. Take the opportunity and run with it.
You don't get to tell the people you're insulting not to feel insulted, and it's really not improving your argument that your fallback position is patronizing your audience for their lack of intellectual curiosity. Find a better way to make your point, or preferable, a better point to make. We're not delusional, we know what abstractions are, and we know what we're doing with them.

Unless you've got a better tool for achieving the stated goal, "simulate a fictional world players can run around in," than "stop trying to do it, it's impossible," you have nothing to add to that particular conversation, and you're just staking out the inverse polarity version of whatever nonsense @bloodtide is doing.
 

Speaking as a guy who has done a fair bit of scientific modeling, it's definitely true that no model can ever capture reality. With cleverness, hard work, and luck, though, you can model a particular aspect of reality in a way good enough for the purposes you need it for.

In much the same way that an RPG character isn't an actual person, of course RPG worlds aren't anything like as overwhelmingly detailed as the actual world. But obviously we can manage to get by for the purposes we want the game worlds for!

No doubt we can do better. If there's one thing I know about models, it's that they can always be improved. And the best improvements aren't incremental, they come at you from left field and make things drastically better. If you're lucky, you get one or two of those in a lifetime. Likewise, there have been some genuine improvements in RPG design over the decades - in sim games like any other. I personally would say that 5e's dis/advantage system is a genuinely elegant improvement, whatever else one might say about 5e.
 
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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I'm not saying those differences don't matter in general, and I have never attacked the fans of these games. I belive in diversity in gameplay and the gaming community. I have never said this was anything other than a personal concern, based on my own experiences and limited by my own history. What exactly is the problem with focusing on the aspects of an issue that matter to me? What exactly are you expecting from here? Are you asking me to disengage because my concerns are focused on what these games have in common instead of where differ? I'm confused about what it is you want from me.

I would like for you to do the same intellectual work that you are expecting others to do. We have had many discussions you have been a part of where the distinctions I am speaking to have come up, in extensive detail. I am asking that you attempt to understand what matters to other people to the same degree you expect others to do so when it comes to the distinction between process simulation you are looking for and sort of play experience engendered by 2d20 games for instance even when those distinctions do not matter to them personally.

At the very least I hope you can see how there is very little difference between the way you see The Forge's treatment of sim priorities and the way I view the way you speak about games you personally do not care for as if they were the same thing.

I do not want you to stop contributing. I would just ask that you show the same consideration (when it comes to distinctions that matter to other people) you are asking for (when it comes to distinctions that matter to you). It's fundamentally up to you how you choose to engage, but I believe we can all do better on that score (myself included).
 
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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
There really isn't an analogous conversation in board game circles to the sort of thing we're doing here, unless maybe you want to get into more omnivorous hobby gamers vs. the people who just get every Zombicide release and are more or less happy to stop there? You have the occasional discussion of what the minimum viable product to constitute a game is, or whether party games belong in the same space as "gamer-y" games or what have you, but I don't think there's as heavy a dividing line running through "what is playing a board game?" The old Ameritrash/Euro divide is mostly dead or irrelevant, and it never really rose to that kind of discourse anyway.

In general, I think we could learn some things from board gamers on this score. We could all benefit from treating roleplaying games as a broad category of games like we view board games, video games, etc. Most of our little slap fights come from chasing after some ideal instead of realizing that there are many ways to skin this cat that provides all sorts of different rather than better experiences. Like no one gets mad at Risk for being an area control game or tries to say it's better at being a worker placement game than Dice Hospital. We just let them be what they are.

This whole pursuit of the perfect game or trying to define roleplaying game to be one specific sort of experience is a fool's errand that just divides us.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
1e without a Cleric in the party - and so everyone has a backup character or two ready while there other recovers? It feels like some on here played games where that was the norm.
Still do. And the presence of a Cleric doesn't always help very much..... :)
 

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