D&D General On simulating things: what, why, and how?

This is weird. It largely contradicts the advice in the 4e DMG. I'm not surprised that the game was unsatisfactory when the play advice was not followed.
Yes, I know. I also knew you'd say that. My GM was obviously not following that advice, they were just using encounters they felt made sense in the fiction. And that the game cannot handle a super common fantasy trope (fighting one big monster) is a colossal design flaw. Again, with a shared power pool this would not be an issue.
 

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In 3E (or at least 3.5) dragons have damage reduction, which will protect them against random troops of archers. In 4e, tier considerations (ie a troop of ordinary archers is simply not a threat to an Epic tier foe) do the same work.

So this seems to be an AD&D and 5e thing. It's the dragon's version of not being able to flip the car!
Or it is mechanics working coherently for a setting where humanoid kingdoms exist everywhere and are not routinely overrun by invulnerable dragons!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I mean "no" we will never agree on this topic seems a fair assumption. ;)
I wasn't aware you and I were disagreeing... :confused:

by your definition
I never made one... 🤷‍♂️

Virtually all simulations simplify complex realities. It's just a matter of scale.
And yet this we agree on (I think)... :unsure:

:)

For example, if you shove a creature, knocking it prone, we know it is prone and you caused it. But the how you accomplished this is completely narrative.

Did you grab it and use your foot to trip it? Did you put both hands on it and just push it over? Since 5E's "shove" doesn't differentiate between a shove and a trip or do some sort of hip toss, we just don't know. So, this is the narrative provided by the player and/or DM as to the "how" is accomplished.

Was the attempt easy for you? Difficult? Again, we have no way of knowing this from the simple contested roll involved. Now, you could use a system where the closer the contested roll, the harder it was, but unless that also carries some impact there is little point in doing it so (in general) it isn't done. This is the matter of scale, you mention. It could be done, but what would the point be other than determining one aspect of the narrative--the difficulty. (Even with that, you still have to decide how granular you want it to be...).

Personally, I don't have any issue with this. The systems in 5E generate a very general and vague simulation in most cases, and the narratives fill in the details when needed or desired.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, simulation to you means "it can't ever be applied to RPGs because I say so, no matter how other people would view it." 🤷‍♂️
I've provided pretty clear evidence about why you can't call these mechanics a simulation. So, no, that's not true.

The gravity simulation only works at a visualization level, it doesn't address how it works. As far as determining outcomes that have uncertain results, simulations use random black boxes all the time. If all we care about is that the results on what we are simulating come close to reality, it's good enough. It's just silly that I can't say aspects of D&D are simulation and would have to say something like "D&D mimics aspects of the real world in a simplified manner that does not rely on the underlying physical interactions because we don't have a supercomputer to do the analysis." Because that, to me, seems to be the alternative.
So what? I don't need to know how gravity works in order to simulate the effects of gravity. Your own example SHOWS that you can simulate the effects of gravity and that simulation is not a black box at all. We can use the simulation quite effectively to demonstrate how gravity works. If I wanted to, for example, demonstrate what happens when a satellite is deorbited around a planet, this would work perfectly well.

"How it works" is something you're adding in, not a criteria I've ever even suggested. What I have suggested is that for mechanics to actually be simulationist, they actually have to simulate something. They can't be black boxes. A black box that only spits out results isn't a simulation.

Calling aspects of D&D simulation is not a judgement or a justification. It's not saying that it's better or worse. It has nothing to do with whether I "like" it or not. It's just saying that many aspects mimic reality. It's using common definition of what the word means to everyone not using an academic definition.
But, these aspects DON'T MIMIC REALITY. If it's a black box, and you seem to be agreeing that it is, then it's not mimicking reality. You can keep harping on this idea of "academic definition" all you like, but, it's not really helping your argument. I'm using the basic definition of simulation. The character standing at the bottom of the hill ---->cloud of completely unknowable probabilities---->character is at the top of the hill is NOT a simulation.
 

Speaking about characters being mythic badasses and able to do things beyond real world levels.

WOW.

You did, among other people.

You claimed:
Post #157: "I want sufficient simulation that I can use my own experiences to understand my character's capabilities. If my character needs to jump 10 ft., that shouldn't be too trying if my character is fit. If I need to jump 25 ft., my character had best be Olympic level in fitness and wholly unencumbered. Or, have an angle, magic or otherwise."

This is directly contrary to your character following genre conventions and because you are a mythic badass who can go toe-to-toe with dragons can also perform every other natural feat at mythic hero proportions.
Referring to first level, since we're talking D&D. At no time do I expect D&D PCs to remain wholly within typical mortal parameters throughout their adventuring carrier.

Granted, an important omission. Hopefully post #329 clarifies my position better. I imagine post #216 was insufficient.
 

Hussar

Legend
Personally, I don't have any issue with this. The systems in 5E generate a very general and vague simulation in most cases, and the narratives fill in the details when needed or desired.
See, this is where I just can't wrap my head around it. If all the details are just "filled in", that's not a simulation. Like you said, you have no idea how that target became prone. It's no different from my climb the hill example. It's 100% black box and the mechanics in no way actually tell you anything about what happens in that black box - only the results.

Which means that it's not simulating anything. The results are plausible and the table fills in the gaps to make it more plausible to that table, but, again, that isn't a simulation. It shouldn't matter what table you run a simulation at, if the initial parameters are the same, then once you start the simulation, you should get the same (or at least very close to the same) results. If I put the car in the wind tunnel, it shouldn't change how the air flows whether I'm standing there watching it or you are.

To me, this:
Not a simulation.png

Initial Point (known to everyone) --------> Engage mechanics (all points are unknowable) ========> Final Result (dictated by the mechanics and the points between the initial point and here are back filled by the participants)

Is not in any way, shape or form a simulation.
 

Not so weird. There are some Square-cube law relationships happening here.
I don't understand what square-cube law has to do with this. Except if we cared about it making exponentially scaling the same bodyplan totally absurd. But presumably we don't care about that. (Well, I do a little bit.)

The evidence for what I’ve written is in AD&D, then firmed up in 3.x and 4e Dragon books (and base texts). Those numbers I cited are D&D Red Dragons. Those pictures I cited and the scale picture is correct.
I don't even know where the kaiju dragon is from what it has to do with anything. Also, as person who has worked as professional illustrator, I can say with confidence that you shouldn't trust art for establishing coherent scale. Artists just draw things how it looks good in that pic. Hell, in films the exact same monster or starship can be completely different size in different scenes.

The squares are just weird abstractions for battlemats just like a PC doesn’t really occupy a 25 square ft space nor even really the square space the token/figure would be in at any given moment as melee combatants would be constantly circling left/right, feinting and retreating and advancing for distance management/control.

The squares are just used to manage the intricate combat rules and give us some abstract sense of spatial and size relationships so we can skillfully employ those intricate and intersecting combat mechanics.
Sure, it is an abstraction, but is should have some connection to what is being abstracted. How the hell are you representing a hundred foot dragon with a twenty foot square? What on Earth is even happening here? How are people meant to visualise this? o_O This is again the sort of disconnect between the fiction and its representation that massively bugs me.

EDIT - in case it’s not clear, if you wanted to accurately model Ancient Wyrms head < > tail and wing <> wing you’re talking a minimum 18x20 squares figure or max 24x30 squares. No battle mat could handle that and it’s not particularly useful as a position simulator.
Then either don't have kaiju dragons or write rules that can even remotely accurately represent kaiju dragons. Perhaps have tokens for the legs of the kaiju dragon or something. Or maybe the battlemat is the dragon and you fight on its back. :unsure:
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
If all the details are just "filled in", that's not a simulation
To me, the mechanics determine the outcome, which is part of the simulation IMO -- reaching the end state. Without the mechanics, you don't even know if the process worked, worked with complications, or failed entirely.

But even the last two states are up to the DM really. Like your climbing example, you rolled a 9. The DM decides if that is progress with a setback or complete failure.

I understand that lack of information on the black box process means it is not a simulation to you, but then what is the difference from the beginning state to the end state?

To me, it is simulating the action, but we agree the black box in between is the gray area--we know nothing about this. Anyway, that is why I said 5E is a vague simulation of such things and the rest (the bulk of it) is either narrated or ignored (if unimportant to the group).

FWIW, LOVE this stick figures LOL!!!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
As an aside:
T-Rex is the huge dragon, gargantuan is closer to some sort of a sauropod.
For reference (Tyrannosaurus | T-Rex Dimensions & Drawings | Dimensions.com):

1656253626181.png


Even removing the "tail" portion you would have about 20 feet from nose to back/hip. Although the width is narrow (just about 6 feet), it's occupying space IMO would be about 20x20 or Gargantuan by 5E standard. I know 5E's statblock has them at Huge, however, but a T-Rex in a 15x15 area might seem a bit cramped. 🤷‍♂️

Frankly, I wish the Colossal size was retained in 5E for even larger sizes.

Maybe something like this:
Tiny (2.5)
Small/Medium (5)
Large (10)
Huge (20)
Gargantuan (40)
Colossal (80)

with doubling each time?

So, each smaller size could have 4 creatures in the space of the next larger.
 

@DND_Reborn Yeah, the current 5e creature spaces are rather small. Though for creatures with reach I'm fine with imagining their extremities hanging out of their squares quite a bit, so I can see T-Rex in a 15 feet square. (The body from the hip to the collarbone roughly fits in that space, but it indeed is pretty cramped.)
 


Oofta

Legend
I wasn't aware you and I were disagreeing... :confused:


I never made one... 🤷‍♂️


And yet this we agree on (I think)... :unsure:

:)

For example, if you shove a creature, knocking it prone, we know it is prone and you caused it. But the how you accomplished this is completely narrative.

Did you grab it and use your foot to trip it? Did you put both hands on it and just push it over? Since 5E's "shove" doesn't differentiate between a shove and a trip or do some sort of hip toss, we just don't know. So, this is the narrative provided by the player and/or DM as to the "how" is accomplished.

Was the attempt easy for you? Difficult? Again, we have no way of knowing this from the simple contested roll involved. Now, you could use a system where the closer the contested roll, the harder it was, but unless that also carries some impact there is little point in doing it so (in general) it isn't done. This is the matter of scale, you mention. It could be done, but what would the point be other than determining one aspect of the narrative--the difficulty. (Even with that, you still have to decide how granular you want it to be...).

Personally, I don't have any issue with this. The systems in 5E generate a very general and vague simulation in most cases, and the narratives fill in the details when needed or desired.
Apologies for reading/responding before caffeine. :sleep:

So I think we agree. I think D&D has both simulationist aspects and narrative aspects. But I also think it's rather artificial to get too picky about what aspect is what. If it makes sense, the game tries to mimic reality in ways that I would call simulation. Gravity, barring magic or unique location, is assumed. In other aspects it relies on narration because it's just not worth having rules for all the details. In other aspects like initiative order things are simply game constructs because simplifies thing. Various areas bleed into one another and get tweaked to create a unique version of fiction.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Referring to first level, since we're talking D&D. At no time do I expect D&D PCs to remain wholly within typical mortal parameters throughout their adventuring carrier.
This comes across completely as a backpedal from our conversations, whihc were earlier in the thread than the post you called out. There was no point in any of our previous discussion was there any mention of that applying only to first level - the caveats were things like "Olympic training" and such.

And I gave examples like jumping down 40' and continuing to fight that would not have been possible at 1st level so there was ample opportunity to call out.

I can't tell if your position has shifted during this discussion - which is a good sign since an open mind can take in new information and reevaluate previous positions, or if this has been your position the entire time and you were just a poor communicator about it and read with low comprehension when I gave back examples that didn't apply to first level characters to call it out. I'd prefer to think you have an open mind.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I would definitely say this would fall through the roof of a modern house, let alone a cottage's. :)
You'd be surprised how much modern houses can hold, especially with supports every 12-16"!

I think a lot would depend on the size of the house. A 2000-sq ft could support about 40,000 (or even more!), but that is over its entire surface, and of course the weight of the T-Rex would be focused on its feet. I would imagine it falling through on its footfalls, but its bulk would probably be supported.

Regardless, I am sure if such a creature thrashed around on top of the roof, trying to free its feet/legs, it would break the supports and probably fall through eventually.
 

Oofta

Legend
I've provided pretty clear evidence about why you can't call these mechanics a simulation. So, no, that's not true.
By your definition. Not by most people's as far as I know. You certainly can't tell me what I think the word simulation means.
So what? I don't need to know how gravity works in order to simulate the effects of gravity. Your own example SHOWS that you can simulate the effects of gravity and that simulation is not a black box at all. We can use the simulation quite effectively to demonstrate how gravity works. If I wanted to, for example, demonstrate what happens when a satellite is deorbited around a planet, this would work perfectly well.
It's a pretty limited and imprecise version though. It doesn't take into account the affects frame dragging or time dilation for example. If I try to climb a cliff I either succeed or I don't. Whether I do is a combination of skill, the cliff I'm trying to climb, whether that rock I'm using for support just happens to break free at that moment after eons of weathering or not.
"How it works" is something you're adding in, not a criteria I've ever even suggested. What I have suggested is that for mechanics to actually be simulationist, they actually have to simulate something. They can't be black boxes. A black box that only spits out results isn't a simulation.
We're simulating a world and PC's interactions with it. Many things in simulations have black boxes that oversimplify aspects that the simulation isn't trying to simulate.

But, these aspects DON'T MIMIC REALITY. If it's a black box, and you seem to be agreeing that it is, then it's not mimicking reality. You can keep harping on this idea of "academic definition" all you like, but, it's not really helping your argument. I'm using the basic definition of simulation. The character standing at the bottom of the hill ---->cloud of completely unknowable probabilities---->character is at the top of the hill is NOT a simulation.

Most simulations do not directly simulate every aspect of what's happening. Black boxes and assumptions for things we don't understand are used constantly. If we simulate gravity at a large scale we throw in numbers that just happen to make the rest of the equations work. We have no idea where those numbers come from or whether the theoretical underpinnings are correct or accurate. Dark matter, dark energy? Black boxes we created so that the overall visual result of how the cosmos behaves work. By your definition most astronomical simulations are not really simulations because they don't mimic reality, they just get close enough.

D&D is not a cliff climbing simulation. It's a rough simulation of the real world + action movie logic + magic.
 

This comes across completely as a backpedal from our conversations, whihc were earlier in the thread than the post you called out. There was no point in any of our previous discussion was there any mention of that applying only to first level - the caveats were things like "Olympic training" and such.
True, it was an omission on my part. I am a bit surprised that you would assume an unchanging standard as levels increase, but, hey, so it goes. Missed cues abounded.

I can't tell if your position has shifted during this discussion - which is a good sign since an open mind can take in new information and reevaluate previous positions, or if this has been your position the entire time and you were just a poor communicator about it and read with low comprehension when I gave back examples that didn't apply to first level characters to call it out. I'd prefer to think you have an open mind.
I'm sorry to disappoint you. Yesterday was ungodly busy for me- I was unable to give your thoughts the proper focus. I feel I have vexed Ovinomancer as well.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
@DND_Reborn Yeah, the current 5e creature spaces are rather small. Though for creatures with reach I'm fine with imagining their extremities hanging out of their squares quite a bit, so I can see T-Rex in a 15 feet square. (The body from the hip to the collarbone roughly fits in that space, but it indeed is pretty cramped.)
You're taking this both ways. You're limiting dragon size to whatever grid space it's been assigned (in 5e only, even) and arguing that they cannot actually be bigger than this because that's how big the game says they are. But a T-Rex is a problem because we know how big they are and the game has them in a small space than you think is appropriate, so now the game is not a good source of information.

Consistency here would demand arguing that T-Rexes are only as big as the game says they are.
 

Oofta

Legend
You're taking this both ways. You're limiting dragon size to whatever grid space it's been assigned (in 5e only, even) and arguing that they cannot actually be bigger than this because that's how big the game says they are. But a T-Rex is a problem because we know how big they are and the game has them in a small space than you think is appropriate, so now the game is not a good source of information.

Consistency here would demand arguing that T-Rexes are only as big as the game says they are.

Look at this picture of a T-Rex (with curious cat for scale) that I just painted.
20220626_114001.jpg

The base, the area that the dino occupies on a mat is smaller than the actual critter. You can look at it and say "Obviously a T-Rex is bigger than huge." Or you can look at and say that the area it's standing is huge, and it's the space that the feet occupy, the room it needs to stand on and maneuver, is what makes it huge.

I think either way of looking at it is fine and don't have a problem with the latter. The reach exceeds the space it occupies by 10 feet which makes sense based on the mini.

P.S. No cats, or minis, were harmed in the production of this photo, although I did put the mini back safely behind glass before posting. :)
 

You're taking this both ways. You're limiting dragon size to whatever grid space it's been assigned (in 5e only, even) and arguing that they cannot actually be bigger than this because that's how big the game says they are. But a T-Rex is a problem because we know how big they are and the game has them in a small space than you think is appropriate, so now the game is not a good source of information.

Consistency here would demand arguing that T-Rexes are only as big as the game says they are.

I feel I've been pretty consistent about this:

It is true that gargantuan says 20 by 20 ft. or larger, but considering that the previous age category fits in 15 by 15 square (though I'd assume the tail and neck might overhang a bit to explain the reach) it would be weird if the next category actually was several magnitudes larger. Yes in art sometimes there are absurdly big dragons, but the rules really don't reflect those. So yeah, I'd assume that the body of the basic MM gargantuan dragon roughly fits in the 20 by 20 square.

I said the exact same thing about dragons than I said about the T-rex, only the body needs to fit in the square, neck and tail can overhang, and it makes sense as the creature has reach.
 

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