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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

4e really - really? - doesn't allow a PC to research and design a new spell and add it to the game/fiction?
Really really. OK, actually really/not-really, he doesn't need to add a new 'arcane power' to the game in order to add a new 'spell' to the fiction - game/fiction are readily separable in 4e, because rule vs fluff text is clearly presented rather than mixed together - introducing new fiction can often be accomplished by finding the best possible representation extant in the mechanics, and adjusting it's fluff. Thus instead of needing to research a new version of magic missile or cast 2e Sense Shifting or take 3e Spell Thematics, you just describe your mm as something else.

Or, another way to look at it is they're designing all their 'spells' (or other powers) 'new,' because the rest of the world isn't necessarily using PC classes. It depends on the DM's setting and the PC's concept. Just because a spell is in the PH or Arcane Power doesn't mean it has necessarily ever been cast before - the history of the setting is up to the DM.

Finally, it's not like the spell research system back in the day was all that - it could be used to research an extant spell the caster just didn't know fairly straightforwardly, if very expensively, but a genuinely new spell was simply kicked to the DM, he either approved/re-wrote it or declared the attempt a failure (without telling the poor sucker if he'd had a chance & just been unlucky, or if his spell was hogwash and would never work).
That level of arbitrary works in any system...

...hmm... I suppose in 4e a caster wanting to research a new spell or warrior working on a new maneuver could do anything from costly research to improvising actions (p42) in real fights. Research could buy you an Alternative Reward - much like a magic item - like Grandmaster Training for a martial trick. A new power could start as an improvised action, be 'researched' to purchase it as an Alternative Reward, then, if it worked out well in the game, swapped into an available slot as an Encounter or Daily power, making it 'official....'
… or maybe even 'sold' as Grandmaster Training' (though, making and selling items and their equivalents nets you 0 profit in 4e, because you're an adventurer, not a business man....)

Yeah, none of that probably helped, just thinking out loud.


The numbers and recovery rates etc. are different but 4e is still a resource management game, just like all the other editions.
Resource management is still part of the game, as it always has been. Maybe his point was just that the emphasis, in 4e, can shift off resource management more readily than in other eds because doing so won't shift encounter balance as profoundly, nor risk radical intraparty imbalances? ::shrug::

The inconsistency in the fiction is not that "a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC", it's that the ghoul itself has to be changed in the fiction in order to make this the case, rather than the ghoul just stay as it was and let the skill/level advancement of the PC cover this off.
The ghoul doesn't change 'in the fiction' it's the same ghoul (it could even be the exact same individual who had fought the PCs to a draw many levels back, for instance), the PC is just so much more powerful, that the DM, rather than play through the PC auto-hitting ghouls that (non-critically) hit him only on a natural 20, and slowly mowing his way through a mechanically tedious encounter, chooses an alternate resolution threshold to defeat it. Instead of hitting a low AC repeatedly, he hits an ~10 higher AC, once.
It's really no different than, in 1e, giving the fighter 1 attack/level vs less than 1-HD monsters, and taking the average on their pathetic attack chance vs him, rather than rolling to hit 20 times a round, similarly, the minion's fixed damage is analogous to that old taking the average trick. The basic D&D d20 resolution system is just limited in the disparity between combatants that it can handle, so, at some point, you have to do something, whether that's introducing called shots, contracting the scope of the game to fit the mechanics, taking averages for hordes instead of rolling dozens of times, or statting the (exact) same in-fiction monsters as minions - or even aggregating many into swarms (something 3e also did to good effect, and 5e hasn't tossed out that I'm aware of).

It's no different, in kind, to what DMs have always done. It's just a little more dramatic in the disparity it can cover while still retaining functional, engaging play - and is already done for the DM.
 
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Campbell

Legend
Yep, the issue I raised can be resolved with strict adherence to a game process. But, any time you engage in a game process, you are apt to lift a player out of immersion. This is hardly an issue with, say, a complicated D&D combat, where there are so many dice flying around that one more process bit won't harm anything in that sense. In the middle of a tense interpersonal role play, scene, though, asking a player to stop and restate their intents in specific game terms and format can be a total buzzkill, and worse if there's a bit of player-GM negotiation that goes along with it.

Real, practical play probably generally works in a compromise, or often taking on some uncertainty for sake of cognitively smooth play.

I believe the idea that formal systems always decrease rather than increase a game's sense of immersion is flawed. Apocalypse World is a game that is designed to be as immersive as possible. Things like always addressing the player by his or her character's name, ending GM moves with "Character name, what do you do?" and basic moves that are triggered by the fiction are all features that I consider to be immersion enhancing. Blades in the Dark's focus on risk vs. reward, flashbacks, and vice mechanics are also immersion enhancing for me. Dogs in the Vineyard conflict and escalation mechanics mirror the characters thought processes incredibly well.

All that being said I have my own issues with intent based resolution. I'm a big believer in character identification and advocacy without investment in outcomes. I believe there is a danger when it comes to intent based resolution to drift into story advocacy - trying to fulfill a certain preconceived character or story arc rather than playing with integrity. If you're disciplined about sticking to character intent it can be avoided, but is something I am wary of. Furthermore if a game is mostly about whose creative vision works out then the game itself is not really contributing very much to the process. I prefer if we end up with results that neither you or I would choose, but are otherwise compelling.
 

All that being said I have my own issues with intent based resolution. I'm a big believer in character identification and advocacy without investment in outcomes. I believe there is a danger when it comes to intent based resolution to drift into story advocacy - trying to fulfill a certain preconceived character or story arc rather than playing with integrity. If you're disciplined about sticking to character intent it can be avoided, but is something I am wary of. Furthermore if a game is mostly about whose creative vision works out then the game itself is not really contributing very much to the process. I prefer if we end up with results that neither you or I would choose, but are otherwise compelling.

Now this is an interesting bit.

Can you describe when you feel intent-based adjudication becomes degenerate? Here is what Strike(!) has to say about it; either (a) misaligned/inappropriate intent: task relationship or (b) the job is too complex for one roll. 4e, Torchbearer/Mouse Guard, and Strike(!) are exactly the same here (they should be, Strike(!) was inspired by 4e, Mouse Guard, and Vincent Baker's works); too complex = go to the conflict (Skill Challenge in 4e) rules and find out what the PCs and the obstacle are each trying to accomplish to confirm their antagonistic relationship (intent).

Strike(!) p 57

I’m going to state a rule here and then immediately contradict it. But it’s still a rule. The rule is Say Yes or Roll Dice. When a player wants to do something, either you just “say yes” and they do it, or they have to roll and see what happens. The immediate response that springs to mind is “Well what if they want to invent nuclear fission or jump to the moon or convince the king to marry his daughter to the town drunk?” Okay, settle down. Here’s the trick—it’s always the GM’s call whether a task and intent pair are appropriate. Getting to the moon is a valid intent, and jumping is a valid task for some intents, but together they are inappropriate. You can’t get to the moon by jumping. There is no roll. You can jump as high as you like, but you’ll never jump to the moon. It is inappropriate. Trying to get the king to give his daughter to the town drunk is a reasonable intent, but you could never achieve it by simply arguing with him no matter how much of a smooth-talker you are. It is inappropriate. Don’t demand nonsense!

So what if the player comes back next session and wants to invent and build a rocket to get to the moon? That’s actually a reasonable task and intent, but it’s too big for one roll. You’d have to start by learning chemistry, then spend months or years on experiments to make explosives, then find blacksmiths who can make you what you need to test simple explosive projectiles, etc. The player doesn’t get to just make one roll for it because it is too complex. That’s an extreme example, but similar requests occur all the time. As GM, the phrase you want to have ready for this is “Okay, but first you would need to….”

Is it trying to game the system that you're worried about or do you not like the cognitive workspace of advocating for "big picture" or "long view" goals? If so, do you feel that it diminishes some of the visceral experience or the immediacy of inhabiting this moment? Something like Yoda's lament about Luke's lack of mindfulness; "All his life has he looked away...to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing."
 
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pemerton

Legend
4e really - really? - doesn't allow a PC to research and design a new spell and add it to the game/fiction? That kinda puts a DM on the spot when she's asked "How were the spells I cast now first designed, and why can't I attempt the same thing?"
AD&D has no system for a fighter to invent a new weapon. If a player of a fighter wants to introduce a new mechanical element into the system that has a correlate in the fiction - like, say, a new design of polearm or a javelin with better flight capabilities or whatever it might be - s/he has to establish a house rule.

In 4e there is nothing stopping house rules. Two of the PCs in my game have themes that I houseruled for them, in consultation with their players; and this included making up some new powers. A GM and player could houserule a new power for a mage, or a new ritual.

But there is no ingame process for generating new houserule elements comparable to the spell research system in classic D&D. And the play of a 4e mage is not based around the "spell for every occasion" approach of playing a magic-user in AD&D.

The numbers and recovery rates etc. are different but 4e is still a resource management game, just like all the other editions.
Resource management is still part of the game, as it always has been. Maybe his point was just that the emphasis, in 4e, can shift off resource management more readily than in other eds because doing so won't shift encounter balance as profoundly, nor risk radical intraparty imbalances?
I can only report my play experiences. I've played a lot of AD&D. I've played a lot of 4e. The former has a strong resource-management element - worrying about hit points, managing spell load-outs, and - in some contexts, at least - managing inventory.

4e does not. Hit points are not precious as they are in AD&D, because of the very different healing mechanics. Healing surges are an important resource, but generate a very different dynamic from AD&D. The bulk of a PC's effectiveness in a non-combat situation comes from either skills or rituals, the former of which are not resource-limited and the latter of which are limited by components - in effect, money - and not by the sort of preparation that characterises inventory and spell load-out in AD&D. The bulk of a PC's effectiveness in a combat situation comes from encounter powers, which are a resource within the combat context but not beyond it: this is what makes 4e a scene-based game, whereas AD&D is not that.

If someone's only experience with 4e was playing 1st level PCs in a dungeon-crawl style scenario then maybe these significant differences from AD&D would not make themselves evident. But that is rather an edge case of 4e play, and not a reliable guide to what is typical for the system.

The inconsistency in the fiction is not that "a ghoul which is a handy challenge for a mid-heroic PC is little challenge to a mid-paragon PC", it's that the ghoul itself has to be changed in the fiction in order to make this the case, rather than the ghoul just stay as it was and let the skill/level advancement of the PC cover this off.
Changing the resolution numbers (AC and other defences, hp, to hit, damage) used to resolve the combat is not changing the ghoul in the fiction. This has been my point throughout this exchange.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I believe the idea that formal systems always decrease rather than increase a game's sense of immersion is flawed.

I didn't say "always decrease". I said that when you engage in a game process, you are apt to lift a player out of immersion. Please do not shove my position to an extreme by restating it incorrectly.

Apocalypse World is a game that is designed to be as immersive as possible. Things like always addressing the player by his or her character's name, ending GM moves with "Character name, what do you do?" and basic moves that are triggered by the fiction are all features that I consider to be immersion enhancing.

Yes, but moves are also the things that I've seen people find most immersion breaking - because they have to stop and translate from "what I want to do" to "game-defined moves". It is often not entirely clear how a desired action fits into the moves you have available, and working that out is generally an immersion breaker.

Blades in the Dark's focus on risk vs. reward, flashbacks, and vice mechanics are also immersion enhancing for me. Dogs in the Vineyard conflict and escalation mechanics mirror the characters thought processes incredibly well.

I have only played a session or two of Blades in the Dark based games, so I don't feel I can speak to them. And, I'm sorry, but for my money, Dogs in the Vineyard's dice mechanic is one of the most immersion-breaking I have ever seen. I have to sit and strategize which dice to use now as opposed to later, and then take authorial control to narrate bits that are sized just right so that I don't overstep to a conclusion that may not be determined yet. I have never seen it do well at keeping the player's mind in the emotional moment of an interaction.

All that being said I have my own issues with intent based resolution.

It ain't perfect, that's for sure.

I'm a big believer in character identification and advocacy without investment in outcomes.

Players will be somewhat invested in outcomes, no matter what you do. The trick is to manage everyone's expectations, and that's not always easy.

I believe there is a danger when it comes to intent based resolution to drift into story advocacy - trying to fulfill a certain preconceived character or story arc rather than playing with integrity.

Grr. The phrase "playing with integrity" is terribly emotionally loaded. And, I don't agree that trying to fulfill an arc is necessarily not playing with integrity. I think this assumes a definition of "playing with integrity" that isn't appropriate for all systems.
 

Aebir-Toril

J.C. Denton probably
Grr. The phrase "playing with integrity" is terribly emotionally loaded. And, I don't agree that trying to fulfill an arc is necessarily not playing with integrity. I think this assumes a definition of "playing with integrity" that isn't appropriate for all systems.

Exactly. [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION], I must ask, is it not "playing with integrity" to have a character with goals, or a character who is trying to fulfill an arc of some sort? In my life, at least, I wouldn't be a very natural character, as I actually planned what to do with myself, including an 'arc' of education beyond what others might achieve.

And, on the subject of story arcs, is it not okay for the villains to have such power (or, conversely, the players) that they can shape the world and the story?

Not all systems thrive on "natural" character resolution.

Now, my games actually do rely on "natural" resolution principles almost all of the time, but it seems terribly unfair to accuse of others of not playing with integrity because they guide stories rather than letting them evolve.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
Yes, but [PtbA] moves are also the things that I've seen people find most immersion breaking - because they have to stop and translate from "what I want to do" to "game-defined moves". It is often not entirely clear how a desired action fits into the moves you have available, and working that out is generally an immersion breaker.

For my money, Dogs in the Vineyard's dice mechanic is one of the most immersion-breaking I have ever seen. I have to sit and strategize which dice to use now as opposed to later, and then take authorial control to narrate bits that are sized just right so that I don't overstep to a conclusion that may not be determined yet. I have never seen it do well at keeping the player's mind in the emotional moment of an interaction

Umbran's comments on what breaks immersion for them is very helpful. There is always a big discussion whenever people talk about "immersion-breaking". For me, having played both the above systems about half a dozen times each, I found DitV much less immersion-breaking than PbtA. But when I look at the mechanics behind each of them, Umbran's position seems naturally stronger. I agree with the generally-stated position that the more system you have, the more apt it is to break immersion.

But I think we might be underestimating the differences between how people perceive system. For me, when i played DitV, I still felt strongly in character. When establishing the stakes, I am continually thinking about how much my character cares about this. When I raise the same question, with the rider that I am now thinking about if I care enough to risk the consequences, and the decision to escalate a conflict feels visceral to me. I imagine myself yelling at the opponent and my fist balling up, ready to move to brawling. (I note that I have just moved from 3rd person to 1st person immersion even while discussing this topic).

But moves in PbtA, while mechanically much simpler, always have me looking at the playbook in a mild state of despair. I just want to know where the target lives, but the playbook says I get two questions and my character feels focused on just finding the target, so I guess I'll spend a few minutes thinking what else I might ask.

I have a mathematically-inclined mind and am a professional statistician, so for me, judging probabilities and if/then rules are intuitive and natural. Maybe that explains why the Dogs rules are simpler for me to internalize -- not sure. But i think the search for a universal formula linking system to immersion is a chimeric one.
 

I didn't say "always decrease <immersion>". I said that when you engage in a game process, you are apt to lift a player out of immersion. Please do not shove my position to an extreme by restating it incorrectly.
That's not much of a distinction. You're at least implying that 'formal systems' as Campbell put it will more often break immersion, than, presumably, informal ones or lack of system. His restatement, that they would 'decrease' (rather than 'lift out of') is hardly more extreme, if anything, it carries less of an implication that immersion is an all-or-nothing stake.

Yes, but moves are also the things that I've seen people find most immersion breaking - because they have to stop and translate from "what I want to do" to "game-defined moves". It is often not entirely clear how a desired action fits into the moves you have available, and working that out is generally an immersion breaker.
Again, you're asserting that formal system of moves breaks (not merely 'reduces') immersion.

I'm sorry, but for my money, Dogs in the Vineyard's dice mechanic is one of the most immersion-breaking I have ever seen. I have to sit and strategize which dice to use now as opposed to later, and then take authorial control to narrate bits that are sized just right so that I don't overstep to a conclusion that may not be determined yet. I have never seen it do well at keeping the player's mind in the emotional moment of an interaction.
Now you're asserting virtual impossibility of a formal system providing immersion. Also far more extreme than merely 'always decreases.'


Grr. The phrase "playing with integrity" is terribly emotionally loaded.
Yeah, so's "breaks immersion."


Ultimately, IMHO/X, immersion is a rarefied, not merely subjective but intensely personal, fleeting state, and attributing attaining or losing it - whether you consider it a binary state, as everything in your post strongly implies, or a continuum that can merely 'decrease' instead of 'break' as Campbell implies - to a /system/ is probably a pretty weak correlation. It's much more an internal experience of the individual player, and it seems implausible that a system can be designed to enhance, diminish, break or evoke the that state across all gamers or even clearly-identifiable sub-groups of gamers, with any consistency at all.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That's not much of a distinction.

If you figure "always does X" and "creates a chance of X" are the same thing, then there isn't much of a distinction, I guess.

Now you're asserting virtual impossibility of a formal system providing immersion.

I think it is safe to say that game rule systems don't provide immersion. They may inhibit it, or encourage it, but they can't outright provide or create it.
 

If you figure "always does X" and "creates a chance of X" are the same thing, then there isn't much of a distinction, I guess.
Always diminishes could mean, to throw numbers at it, something as relatively trivial as reducing by 1%, while "apt to break" means a /likely/ to diminish by 100%.

So, yeah, in retrospect, there is something of a distinction, in that the latter could be /more/ extreme.

I think it is safe to say that game rule systems don't provide immersion. They may inhibit it, or encourage it, but they can't outright provide or create it.
Yet, you perceive one system - DitV - as maximally immersion-breaking, while GrahamWillis finds that same system enhances his immersion.

Consistent with immersion being a personal state, and the role system plays in it more to do with the how the individual feels about or engages with the system, than any specifics of the system, itself.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Bold emphasis mine. How is the change from x hit points to 1 hit point a change in the fiction?
Because toughness, in the fiction, is a constant: if it takes 35 points worth of damage for a merchant or a wolf or even another ghoul to kill Bob the Ghoul, that tells me it takes 35 points of damage for anything to kill that same ghoul, because that's how tough that ghoul is.

And sure, there'll be creatures and adventurers out there for whom dishing out 35 points of damage is a triviality, but that doesn't excuse them from still having to dish them out.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Really really. OK, actually really/not-really, he doesn't need to add a new 'arcane power' to the game in order to add a new 'spell' to the fiction - game/fiction are readily separable in 4e, because rule vs fluff text is clearly presented rather than mixed together - introducing new fiction can often be accomplished by finding the best possible representation extant in the mechanics, and adjusting it's fluff. Thus instead of needing to research a new version of magic missile or cast 2e Sense Shifting or take 3e Spell Thematics, you just describe your mm as something else.

Or, another way to look at it is they're designing all their 'spells' (or other powers) 'new,' because the rest of the world isn't necessarily using PC classes. It depends on the DM's setting and the PC's concept. Just because a spell is in the PH or Arcane Power doesn't mean it has necessarily ever been cast before - the history of the setting is up to the DM.
If they're already designing all their spells-powers as 'new' then the field's wide open to on-the-fly design whatever the frick we like, as this rationale immediately removes any requirement to stick to what's in the PH or other sourcebook(s). I'm not sure this would be viable in any edition. :)

Finally, it's not like the spell research system back in the day was all that - it could be used to research an extant spell the caster just didn't know fairly straightforwardly, if very expensively, but a genuinely new spell was simply kicked to the DM, he either approved/re-wrote it or declared the attempt a failure (without telling the poor sucker if he'd had a chance & just been unlucky, or if his spell was hogwash and would never work).
That level of arbitrary works in any system...
In the fiction it ought to be trivially easy for a DM to find a way to explain why a new spell failed, particularly if the player has the PC go and ask someone and-or has their PC do their research and design while in contact with other wizards. In fact I'd say a DM who doesn't explain why it went wrong is shortchanging the PC/player.

Resource management is still part of the game, as it always has been. Maybe his point was just that the emphasis, in 4e, can shift off resource management more readily than in other eds because doing so won't shift encounter balance as profoundly, nor risk radical intraparty imbalances? ::shrug::
Perhaps, though a DM/table can choose to ignore resource management in any edition should they so desire - nothing special about 4e in this regard. That said, doing so would have different knock-on effects in each edition and maybe these are fewer or more subdued in 4e?

The ghoul doesn't change 'in the fiction' it's the same ghoul (it could even be the exact same individual who had fought the PCs to a draw many levels back, for instance), the PC is just so much more powerful, that the DM, rather than play through the PC auto-hitting ghouls that (non-critically) hit him only on a natural 20, and slowly mowing his way through a mechanically tedious encounter, chooses an alternate resolution threshold to defeat it. Instead of hitting a low AC repeatedly, he hits an ~10 higher AC, once.
I see the game-play efficiency rationale but to me the internal consistency is paramount; and when it conflicts with efficiency, efficiency just has to take a back seat.
It's really no different than, in 1e, giving the fighter 1 attack/level vs less than 1-HD monsters, and taking the average on their pathetic attack chance vs him, rather than rolling to hit 20 times a round
Oh, I'll roll all 20 of those - if only because my game has crits and fumbles - and I'll also expect the player to roll for each attack vs. the mooks.
similarly, the minion's fixed damage is analogous to that old taking the average trick.
Fixed damage in physical combat is something else I'll never use.
The basic D&D d20 resolution system is just limited in the disparity between combatants that it can handle, so, at some point, you have to do something, whether that's introducing called shots, contracting the scope of the game to fit the mechanics, taking averages for hordes instead of rolling dozens of times, or statting the (exact) same in-fiction monsters as minions - or even aggregating many into swarms (something 3e also did to good effect, and 5e hasn't tossed out that I'm aware of).
You're right that the system sometimes isn't granular enough to do everything that's asked of it, but otherwise the answer is to simply take the time to do it right.

That, and in the 4e adventure modules I've seen (and run!) it's rare that the design calls for hordes of minions - more common seems to be that there's maybe one minion for each non-minion in a given encounter, which makes the too-much-rolling issue a moot point.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Is it trying to game the system that you're worried about or do you not like the cognitive workspace of advocating for "big picture" or "long view" goals? If so, do you feel that it diminishes some of the visceral experience or the immediacy of inhabiting this moment? Something like Yoda's lament about Luke's lack of mindfulness; "All his life has he looked away...to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing."
I'm neither you nor [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION] and thus stand to be corrected if I'm wrong here, but both the post you're responding to and your response made me wonder if this is what you're both kind of getting at: the issue isn't one of advocating for long-term goals, it's one of player expectation that those long-term goals will be achieved as desired as opposed to may be achieved and maybe not exactly as desired.

Because yes, if all a player is in effect doing is playing through her own conception of her character's arc and using the other PCs, the setting, and the adventuring as no more than a backdrop then - other than providing said backdrop - what's the purpose of the game at all?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
AD&D has no system for a fighter to invent a new weapon. If a player of a fighter wants to introduce a new mechanical element into the system that has a correlate in the fiction - like, say, a new design of polearm or a javelin with better flight capabilities or whatever it might be - s/he has to establish a house rule.

In 4e there is nothing stopping house rules. Two of the PCs in my game have themes that I houseruled for them, in consultation with their players; and this included making up some new powers. A GM and player could houserule a new power for a mage, or a new ritual.

But there is no ingame process for generating new houserule elements comparable to the spell research system in classic D&D.
Which is something of a departure not only from classic D&D; even 3e had rules and processes for generation of new houserule elements, mostly centered on magic item invention and construction.

As for fighters inventing a new weapon, it's a question of physical limitations. There's only so many ways to build a handheld device designed to hurt or kill other living things, and one can fairly easily assume in the fiction that most if not all of those ways have been tried (of course, if someone wants to try something new anyway, more power to 'em). But spells are much more wide open in what they can do, from the very mundane to the truly magnificent, and thus it's very reasonable to assume in the fiction there's still design space for new ideas.

And the play of a 4e mage is not based around the "spell for every occasion" approach of playing a magic-user in AD&D.
Depends how one plays them, I suppose; and on what the setting/DM allows.

I can only report my play experiences. I've played a lot of AD&D. I've played a lot of 4e. The former has a strong resource-management element - worrying about hit points, managing spell load-outs, and - in some contexts, at least - managing inventory.

4e does not. Hit points are not precious as they are in AD&D, because of the very different healing mechanics. Healing surges are an important resource, but generate a very different dynamic from AD&D. The bulk of a PC's effectiveness in a non-combat situation comes from either skills or rituals, the former of which are not resource-limited and the latter of which are limited by components - in effect, money - and not by the sort of preparation that characterises inventory and spell load-out in AD&D.
What this tells me is that much of the non-hit-point resource management side has been concatenated down into managing one's finances, and that managing healing surges has somewhat taken the place of - or augmented - managing hit points.

The bulk of a PC's effectiveness in a combat situation comes from encounter powers, which are a resource within the combat context but not beyond it: this is what makes 4e a scene-based game, whereas AD&D is not that.
Well, except for dailies, which do have to be managed if the DM is keeping the PCs under any sort of pressure through the day. And all classes have to worry about this in 4e, not just casters; so in that way at least 4e expanded the resource management game a bit.

Changing the resolution numbers (AC and other defences, hp, to hit, damage) used to resolve the combat is not changing the ghoul in the fiction. This has been my point throughout this exchange.
Already commented to this in other posts above.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Because toughness, in the fiction, is a constant: if it takes 35 points worth of damage for a merchant or a wolf or even another ghoul to kill Bob the Ghoul, that tells me it takes 35 points of damage for anything to kill that same ghoul, because that's how tough that ghoul is.

I suggest that "toughness" in the fiction is not an objective constant. A thing that it tough for a shopkeeper to kill may not be tough for a 10th level fighter to kill. When you were first level, the bugbear was tough. When you're 15th, not so much....

This is because "a point of damage" is not a thing in the fiction. The game abstraction may be a constant, but the fictional results are not. The fiction doesn't know from points of damage. The fiction knows of swinging swords and balls of fire. So, how much effort does a competent fighter need to put into killing it before it dies? That tells you how tough it is, not its hit points alone. A high hit point, low AC thing may be considered tough. So might a low hit point, high AC target. The in-fiction toughness can be gotten at through more than one mechanical approach.
 
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GrahamWills

Adventurer
Yet, you perceive one system - DitV - as maximally immersion-breaking, while GrahamWillis finds that same system enhances his immersion

Actually, no, I stated "I agree with the generally-stated position that the more system you have, the more apt it is to break immersion."; what I actually stated is that I find DitV's system less breaking than PbtA's version. Not that either is more immersive than no system at all.
 

Campbell

Legend
I'm neither you nor [MENTION=16586]Campbell[/MENTION] and thus stand to be corrected if I'm wrong here, but both the post you're responding to and your response made me wonder if this is what you're both kind of getting at: the issue isn't one of advocating for long-term goals, it's one of player expectation that those long-term goals will be achieved as desired as opposed to may be achieved and maybe not exactly as desired.

Because yes, if all a player is in effect doing is playing through her own conception of her character's arc and using the other PCs, the setting, and the adventuring as no more than a backdrop then - other than providing said backdrop - what's the purpose of the game at all?


There's more to it, but this is a big part of it.
 

Campbell

Legend
So when I talk about playing with integrity I am speaking to playing your character with integrity. What I mean by this is in the moment of play when you are making decisions for your character you should strive to only be guided by your sense of their hopes, dreams, goals and take on their emotions so they become your emotions and do this without regard for where you, the player, might hope things lead or some sense of "the story". To at all times be a curious explorer of the fiction, to finding out who this character really is when tested.

I'm not saying being guided by other things is universally bad play. I don't like really enjoy it, but everyone like has their own fun man. 7th Sea 2e and Fate are both really well designed games that cut against my interests. I'm glad they exist for people who enjoy them.

I would also add that I have nothing against characters with long term goals or capable antagonists. Both are things I celebrate and are welcomed whole heartily by me. I'm simply talking about a way of playing role playing games where we follow the fiction like a dog after a bone. Like, I want to feel the weight of my character's decisions in my bones. I want access to their unique insights. I want there to be actual weight to their relationships and emotions. I also want a commitment from the rest of the group to see what happens and not decide ahead of time what should happen. I want to be a fan of the other character and the world and see where journey takes us.
 

Because toughness, in the fiction, is a constant: if it takes 35 points worth of damage for a merchant or a wolf or even another ghoul to kill Bob the Ghoul, that tells me it takes 35 points of damage for anything to kill that same ghoul, because that's how tough that ghoul is.
That's really not "in the fiction," though, that's /in the system/.

In fiction, a creature that the hero has a hard time beating down, one time, might go down quickly, another. And, IRL, randomness of terminal ballistics and the remarkable resilience and frightening fragility of human life is much, much stranger than fiction.

If they're already designing all their spells-powers as 'new' then the field's wide open to on-the-fly design whatever the frick we like, as this rationale immediately removes any requirement to stick to what's in the PH or other sourcebook(s). I'm not sure this would be viable in any edition. :)
Page 42 could be interpreted that way, if you like. But it's very clear, in 4e, that you can 'fluff' a spell however you like so long as it doesn't cross the line of changing the mechanics. You don't /need/ a new arcane power to be published or a vague DM-fiat procedure to create a new mechanic in order to get a 'new' spell, /in the fiction/. You just take your idea for a new spell, pick an existing one with mechanics that fit, and re-skin it to match.

It's the same thing 3e did with weapons after trimming the list so heavily and - with the glaring exception of the Katana - that worked just fine. (Heck, voluminous as the 1e weapon list was, it /still/ used re-skinning equivalency.)

In the fiction it ought to be trivially easy for a DM to find a way to explain why a new spell failed, particularly if the player has the PC go and ask someone and-or has their PC do their research and design while in contact with other wizards. In fact I'd say a DM who doesn't explain why it went wrong is shortchanging the PC/player.
IIRC, the 1e spell-research rules specifically said the player wouldn't know whether he failed in his research because the DM deemed the spell impossible (unacceptable) or because he just got unlucky. Of course, it's been a while...

Perhaps, though a DM/table can choose to ignore resource management in any edition should they so desire - nothing special about 4e in this regard. That said, doing so would have different knock-on effects in each edition and maybe these are fewer or more subdued in 4e?
Not ignore in the sense of removing the resource restrictions, just shift the focus away from. That is, in 4e, if you shift the pacing of play away from challenging PCs on a resource-attrition schedule, the classes remain balanced & contributing alongside eachother, and only the relative difficulty of encounters and other challenges is impacted. In any other edition, deviating too much from expected pacing quickly makes resource-heavy classes overpowered - or, on the other extreme, overextended - compared to the resource-light classes, and the dynamic of play becomes uneven, with some players wondering why they even show up.

I see the game-play efficiency rationale but to me the internal consistency is paramount; and when it conflicts with efficiency, efficiency just has to take a back seat.
Just remember that internal consistency is internal /to the fiction/, not the system.

Oh, I'll roll all 20 of those - if only because my game has crits and fumbles - and I'll also expect the player to roll for each attack vs. the mooks.
That's fine for you. 1e didn't have crits or fumbles, and did recommend just 'taking the average' to save yourself rolling all those unlikely-to-hit/unlikely-to-miss attacks. So the precedent for alternate resolution is there.


That, and in the 4e adventure modules I've seen (and run!) it's rare that the design calls for hordes of minions - more common seems to be that there's maybe one minion for each non-minion in a given encounter, which makes the too-much-rolling issue a moot point.
You can have dozens of minions in a high level encounter, and they're quicker & simpler to deal with than dozens of wildly under-leveled monsters, while staying more relevant to the encounter. That's the point, and it works pretty well.

Classic D&D had a similar point - with fighters 1/level attacks, taking averages, and even falling back on chainmail (or later Battlesystem) - but successive eds were looking for better ways precisely because that didn't work so well. 4e found one. 5e tried something a little different (not /that/ different, for instance, all 5e monsters have a don't-roll-damage option like 4e minions) - BA, and TBH, it retains too many of the original issues, and introduces a new one: being outnumbered telling too heavily.
 
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Campbell

Legend
So when it comes down to intent based resolution I have no real issues with it if players stick to character intent and are advocating for their character. Most of my issue comes down to the possibility for intent or stakes negotiation to slide into what the player wants to happen for story reasons completely outside of what their character is attempting. In some rare cases they might declare an intent that is actually a loss for their character. Basically the danger of player side railroading. I mean it's easy enough to avoid if the play group is disciplined. Like I don't think it's an issue that [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] or [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] really have to deal with. Just like you can be disciplined and follow the fiction in GM mediated games.

In general I don't think we talk enough about player side railroading. Mostly because of the authority gap it tends to be highly dependent on the GM.
 

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