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

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Another thread just reminded me of one of the "simulationy" things that bugs me in 5E especially: the pace of advancement is such that you can have a bunch of novice adventurers head off toward the dungeon, terrified of meeting goblins in the woods, and literally a week later return at 3rd or 4th level and not be one bit worried about the stuff that a week ago scared them to death. it just feels off to me. But if you make the monsters in the woods werewolves or trolls to ensure the PCs will still be worried a week later, you've created a deathtrap for them on the way out should the random encounter appear. Of course as GM you can always put your finger on the scale, but that itself is anti-simulation.
Here, I think is an issue with time and leveling. We don’t let enough game world time pass between clumps of levels for the shifting context to make sense. WotC‘s adventures of course make a mockery of this with a single house exploration taking adventurers from 1st to 5th level (Death house I’m looking at you! :) )

I’m not sure how to fix this (or even if it needs to be fixed) but it also grinds my gears. The new starter set seems like it’s addressing it by limiting the leveling to 3rd with plenty of adventure in between.

I guess I would like the tier system to be more explicit in the leveling so that DMs know to make a periodic time break. It’s certainly how I’m going to try and structure things in my games going forward.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Reynard

Legend
Okay, I follow what you're saying. But then this is such a broad application of "simulation" that I don't know what games don't use it. And if that's the case, then I'm not really sure what your OP is asking.

So to try and help clarify....you asked about when it's good to use simulation. So let's flip that. When do you think we should not simulate things? What might be the benefit to do so as a game designer or as a GM/players?



Well, considering that "simulation" as you use it tends to restrict any fictional action that might be classified as "within limits of human performance" and then tends to go on a lunch break whenever "magic" shows up, I'd say that it's not really a case of other posters making this a point. I think it's a natural result of your logic. Characters who use magic are unrestricted by "simulation" in many ways that don't apply to "non-magic" characters.



That has interesting implications on how a game handles negotiations, let's say, or any number of other areas.
I think you are misunderstanding me, despite me having reiterated this a number of times in this thread: including some sim elements about specific things does not in any way preclude other things of more fantastical nature also existing in the same game or world. For example, wizards and dragons can exist, AND people can need to worry about having enough clean water to drink or risk dying of dysentery. I don't know how to make it more clear.
 



Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
When possible, I look to historical record, or game design based on it. When that isn't realistic, I go on what makes sense to me and my players. If there's a conflict, we discuss it and work it out. I like to think we're all reasonably knowledgeable folks.

Of course, that falls into the "making stuff up" category for a lot of you, and maybe you're right. But we all at least try to maintain verisimilitude as much as is practical. That we don't always succeed or that others have a different opinion doesn't invalidate the attempt, at least to us.
Verisimilitude is a different beast from simulation where simulation is defined as trying to be like the real world. Verisimilitude just means 'makes sense enough to suspend disbelief.' That can be based on many different things and not just 'real world'. Die Hard has a lot of verisimilitude while being quite short in many ways from real world, for example.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
That has interesting implications on how a game handles negotiations, let's say, or any number of other areas.

You've come to the wrong address if you're looking for me to say most games handle negotiations well. The fact that people don't in many cases, treat doing that a bit different from system to system and setting to setting outright tells you that its not the game that's doing that; its a parallel level of freeform roleplaying that has little or nothing to do with the game at hand.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I have expressed my reasons. Please see above.

My apologies about the rest of your message. I was unfortunately engaging in hyperbole in regards to, "literally no one". I still strongly believe its not a helpful sentiment.
It's not helpful to point out that there are games that actually address and handle the issues you're citing in this thread as friction points? I mean, heck, you don't even need to go play them, wouldn't looking at how they do it be helpful? I'm struggling with the concept of "it's not helpful to recommend possible solutions to my stated problems if it deviates from 5e." I mean, even if you have a strong and good reason to stick with 5e despite your listed friction points, how would looking at how a different game does the things be upsetting or harmful to your game?

Like, really. How could that possibly be harmful?
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Well, my ideas on shields landed like a wet towel. What if we go a little broader, to armor? Why does armor affect to-hit instead of being a damage reducer? It doesn't seem very realistic. That's a bigger change, but there are systems that do it. Unlike hit points, which permeate the game rules, armor class seems like it could be redone. Certain things would have more effect, or less, but the goal is more simulation, yes?

As someone who's not at all fond of the "armor makes you harder to hit" paradigm (though I can see what its trying to do) this is extremely fraught with a system with elevating level hit points and highly varied damage output among opponents. I was not enthused how it worked out with AGE in play as levels advanced.

(Its not a coincidence that almost all armor absorption systems work with fixed hit points, and it they deal with much variation in damage done, usually have some secondary method to avoid damage since armor isn't going to help much).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Here, I think is an issue with time and leveling. We don’t let enough game world time pass between clumps of levels for the shifting context to make sense. WotC‘s adventures of course make a mockery of this with a single house exploration taking adventurers from 1st to 5th level (Death house I’m looking at you! :) )

Its a side effect of trying to avoid the early D&D thing where most of the level range might as well have not existed for all the use many groups got of it. I suspect there's no way to avoid that problem and not have levelling feel sometimes surreally fast (it does so in most non-OSR D&D-adjacent games, too).
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
I think you are misunderstanding me, despite me having reiterated this a number of times in this thread: including some sim elements about specific things does not in any way preclude other things of more fantastical nature also existing in the same game or world. For example, wizards and dragons can exist, AND people can need to worry about having enough clean water to drink or risk dying of dysentery. I don't know how to make it more clear.
It's pretty clear that @hawkeyefan does understand, and is asking where does one draw the line? And so far the line at best seems to be around "magic" and "monsters", and no other kind of fantasticalness, even if genre-appropriate, need apply. Oh except I guess for specific exceptions granted by the rare non-magical class feature or feat that does so, like Uncanny Dodge and Evasion.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top