D&D 5E Realism and Simulationism in 5e: Is D&D Supposed to be Realistic?

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Lyxen

Great Old One
Hard disagree. If this thread should demonstrate anything, it's that it's not well-defined. I still don't really know what you personally mean by it, for instance. And I suspect you mean something a bit different than what other people mean by it. All that suggests it's not well-defined at all.

Have you read the definition by the person who coined it? I use that definition. Which one are you using ?

Are you suggesting it's okay to be uncharitable because others are also uncharitable? I don't think it should work that way.

And yet, it should show people the exact effect of what they are doing, and how their oversensitiveness negatively affects discussions.

I can't help but notice the blatant moving of goalposts here. You did not use the term "boardgaming" here. You said "miniature combat", which is a different term. Why did you use a different term?

I can use either or both depending on what I'm pointing out, you know, it's not a question of goalpost, I don't intend to prove that 4e is either, and don't need anyone to disprove it. I'm just pointing out that 4e diehards find either of these offensive when associated to their hobby.

It's no more the "basis of the combat" in 4E than it is in 3E, for example. In both, the system is designed with the assumption that most people will play it that way. But you don't need to use minis at all. But of course, it was the same way in AD&D. That's why all movement rates were listed in inches. The presumption of using miniatures in AD&D was so strong that they only provided distances in miniature scale. You had to convert them into "in-universe" distances yourself.

No, sorry. The scale are just what remains of the origins of the game, nothing more, and there is very little that requires miniatures, the assumption is Theater of the mind, just as in 5e - and we played it that way with minimal mapping for decades. 3e introduced grids, but 4e went even further, linking any use of powers to the grid.

As I explicitly said, there are some people who use it pejoratively. That does not mean you can assume that any particular use of the term is pejorative, since so many people use it in a neutral or positive manner.

And my point is that it's EXACTLY the same for boardgaming or miniature combat. Why is it that 4e fans jump[ down your throat as soon as you mention them, since, as you say "so many people use it in a neutral or positive manner." ?

You were addressing one specific poster who used the term once. Assuming that they must mean it pejoratively is very uncharitable. It's a very bad habit to make assumptions about what one poster means because some other posters have used a term in a particular way.

Exactly like some posters have the very bad habit of making assumptions about what other posters mean when they use "disassociated mechanics".
 

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Yes I do. The term "dissociated mechanics" is dissociated from its actual universal applicability. It is not applied consistently according to its own standards with adherents of the term frequently engaging in special pleading that fails to recognize their double-standards in how it is applied to games and mechanics. Furthermore, it should not be synonymous with your own subjective sense of "BADWRONGFUN" or anyone else's for that matter because that gatekeeping sentiment has no place in our hobby.


It's not my responsibility to do your work for you. If you have 30+ years having a problem with this phenomenon, then you should not be at a shortage of words or asking me to come up with a term for criticisizing it.
You want people to change a term they don't want to change. It is absolutely your responsibility to help with that if you want to get anything done, since you're the one who has an issue with the status quo.
 

Have you read the definition by the person who coined it? I use that definition. Which one are you using ?
You mean the one that has this whole thread about how badly-defined it is, because the person who defined it does not even use it consistently? That doesn't help your case.

I can use either or both depending on what I'm pointing out, you know, it's not a question of goalpost, I don't intend to prove that 4e is either, and don't need anyone to disprove it. I'm just pointing out that 4e diehards find either of these offensive when associated to their hobby.
It is a question of goalposts, because you claimed dungeon crawling is just as demeaning a term as boardgaming, and then in an attempt to demonstrate that you used an example in which you did not even use the term boardgaming.

As noted, 1E was built on the assumption that miniatures would be used. Many editions of D&D could be described as being heavy on miniature combat. Heck, that's where the game developed from in the first place. But people apply "boardgaming" only as a pejorative, and only to 4E (and 3E to a lesser extent).

No, sorry. The scale are just what remains of the origins of the game, nothing more, and there is very little that requires miniatures, the assumption is Theater of the mind, just as in 5e - and we played it that way with minimal mapping for decades. 3e introduced grids, but 4e went even further, linking any use of powers to the grid.
Yeah in 4E movement rates were tied to a specific scale of grid! Unlike 1E, where...movement rates were tied to a specific scale of grid. Huh.

And my point is that it's EXACTLY the same for boardgaming or miniature combat. Why is it that 4e fans jump[ down your throat as soon as you mention them, since, as you say "so many people use it in a neutral or positive manner." ?
That's precisely the opposite of what I said. which is that dungeon-crawling is often used in a neutral or positive manner, while baordgaming is not. It's always used in a negative manner. That was the entire point of my post explaining why one term (boardgaming) is demeaning but the other (dungeon-crawling) is not.

Exactly like some posters have the very bad habit of making assumptions about what other posters mean when they use "disassociated mechanics".
Again, "they do it too!" is not an excuse for poor argumentation. And as it turns out, no assumptions have been made. You claim to use the same definition as the coiner of the term, and you have this whole thread here explaining why their use of the term is not at all well-defined.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
This takes it all far too seriously for my tastes. :)

It's actually the description of the same theory-loop that we have always seen, whether it's "dissociated mechanics" or "The Forge/Big Model" or "Dogma 99" or whatever.

1. Someone (on a fanzine, BBS, listserv, web forum, facebook group, etc.) post a theory out to people in the RPG community.

2. This theory covers the same debates that have existed for 50 years; system typologies, player typologies, realism v. playability, etc. The post in question will respond dismissively to what people are doing/theorizing now, and try to focus you on what "really matters."

3. The third step is always the key; the theorist in question will always appear to be going for the high ground by saying that they are really trying to be tolerant and trying to end all those silly debates, but by disagreeing with the things that have come before, it's actually continuing the debate.

4. Finally, because of the fragmented (and hobbyist-centric) nature of TTRPG theorizing, it's not really a new theory, but is usually just rehashing the same points that have been made in various forms for 50 years. And, of course, when this is brought up, you always get some version of the same rejoinder- people are uninterested in the fact that this is just a reiteration of the same points or that this is well-trod ground. The personal experience trumps the repeated in-depth conversations about it, or even the (now numerous) scholarly articles.

Applying this to the Alexandrian Article, you can see the loop in action- I'll use the 2012 article, because the other ones are just too biased and painful to me.

1. A post on a personal blog putting out a theory to the TTRPG community.

2. The theory covers the same debates that have been well-trod; here, realism v. playability with a side dose of system typology. It is dismissive to what people were doing (4e and that type of design) and focused on what really mattered- having "associated mechanics" that assist you in "roleplaying."

3. The article claims to be going for the high road- it says it's not about realism ("My point is that the property of associated/dissociated is completely unrelated to the property of realistic/unrealistic") and not about 4e (the opening paragraphs state that the essay is being written to remove the idea from the context of just a "reaction to 4th Edition), and that "dissociated mechanics have always been part of roleplaying games." Yet the article is really slamming dissociated mechanics- after all, it spends a great deal of time explaining that if you aren't using associated mechanics, you aren't roleplaying! So it's not an attempt to end any debate- far from it. It's a continuation of the debate, especially for anyone who happens to like the games the author is (implicitly) denigrating.

4. Which leaves the final step- this is old ground. The idea of mechanics that feed into the game, or not, and what that even meant, was debated in the 'zines of the 70s, and as early as 1975 was already being discussed. If you replace the Alexandrian's dissociated mechanics paradigm with a "reality/abstraction" rules paradigm, you're already not far off from Don Miller in Alarums & Excursions.

Again, when I say this, I'm not necessarily being negative; it is helpful to try and understand why you react to something in the way you do, and I think the author of the article was honestly trying to come up with terms to describe his reaction to the underlying rules-grammar of a system he was bouncing off against. But by using (without even knowing it) the same loop that we see over and over again, it ends up not contributing very much to all understanding. IMO.

Or, you know, play the things you like, and don't play the things you don't like. That works too!


PS- I would finally close by saying that the loop described above isn't necessarily bad; after all, thesis-antithesis-synthesis is a well-known loop, but what marks TTRPG theorizing is the stubborn way in which it completely refuses to understand that there was a past. It's goldfish theorizing, where every five minutes, a person looks up and says, "Hey, a castle!"
 

You want people to change a term they don't want to change. It is absolutely your responsibility to help with that if you want to get anything done, since you're the one who has an issue with the status quo.
Much of this thread has already explained why this particular term shouldn't be used. Anyone who wants to use a term to mean something like what they mean when they use that term do, in fact, have the responsibility to come up with a new term for it then.

The idea that it's up to the people who believe that the concept itself is not really coherent should be responsible for naming that concept is baffling.
 

Much of this thread has already explained why this particular term shouldn't be used. Anyone who wants to use a term to mean something like what they mean when they use that term do, in fact, have the responsibility to come up with a new term for it then.

The idea that it's up to the people who believe that the concept itself is not really coherent should be responsible for naming that concept is baffling.
Again, there is a term in use, that is being used by people who are satisfied with it. Why would they change a term they are comfortable with? That is baffling, to use your term.
 

Or, you know, play the things you like, and don't play the things you don't like. That works too!
Very insightful post, thank you for that. It is a very common human foible to want to have good reasons for your subjective preferences. Accepting that your preferences are entirely subjective can be difficult, but it really helps in understanding why other people enjoy different things than you do.
 


Aldarc

Legend
You want people to change a term they don't want to change. It is absolutely your responsibility to help with that if you want to get anything done, since you're the one who has an issue with the status quo.
Coming up with a new term mostly kicks the can down the road. It doesn’t actually solve or address the core issues at stake. I don’t see value in coming with a new term because its descriptive value is pretty facile regardless of how we call it. As I said earlier, we are not talking about one type of mechanic here but a swath of mechanics and it’s not accurate to paint them all with the same brush, especially when done for the purposes of perpetuating prejudices.

Edit: As an amplify of sorts, this request for a new term feels less like a genuine desire for how a person would want to be called as a person with integrity and value but more like “pick a new slur we can denigrate you with.”

Again, there is a term in use, that is being used by people who are satisfied with it. Why would they change a term they are comfortable with? That is baffling, to use your term.
You mean diegetic and non-diegetic?
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
Insulting other members
You mean the one that has this whole thread about how badly-defined it is, because the person who defined it does not even use it consistently? That doesn't help your case.

Uh, no. The whole part of the discussion about the term on this thread (which is not the whole of the thread) is from some people who reject the term because they think it criticises 4e. None of the other have problems with the definition.

It is a question of goalposts, because you claimed dungeon crawling is just as demeaning a term as boardgaming, and then in an attempt to demonstrate that you used an example in which you did not even use the term boardgaming.

Again, I'm not asking anyone to do anything, so there is no goalpost. I just want people to stop being so oversensitive about terms and 4e, to the extent that they shut down discussion because they reject some terms.

As noted, 1E was built on the assumption that miniatures would be used.

Prove it. I'll be waiting.

By the way, this is a ridiculous assumption. The AD&D PH mentions miniatures 3 times as potential aids (and in particular one for marching order). 4e has it all other the place and says, explicitely: Miniatures: Each player needs a miniature to represent his or her character, and the DM needs minis for monsters. Official D&D® Miniatures are custommade to be used with the D&D game.

Yeah in 4E movement rates were tied to a specific scale of grid! Unlike 1E, where...movement rates were tied to a specific scale of grid. Huh.

You are obviously unable to think without a grid. A distance in inches does NOT mean along a grid. You have to have a grid to play 4e, I never used one before 3e, we can compute distances directly without using squares, you know, and this is what we did for the decades we spent playing AD&D, if we even used a map for the fight, as it's not even requested.

And in 4e, it's not only the movement, it's ALL THE POWERS.

Again, "they do it too!" is not an excuse for poor argumentation.

I'm not arguing, I'm showing some people how biased they are in their representation. Extremely different.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Because if they're interested in actually communicating, they will take well-reasoned criticism of the term seriously. Pretty simple.

Only it's not "well-reasoned", it's just that the term was used to criticise 4e. And that is the only unforgivable sin of it, at least for some people. Because, as @Snarf Zagyg points out, this is an old argument anyway, and all games and all editions of D&D have some part of it anyway.
 

Uh, no. The whole part of the discussion about the term on this thread (which is not the whole of the thread) is from some people who reject the term because they think it criticises 4e. None of the other have problems with the definition.
This is false. The criticism is that the term itself is vague and possibly incoherent, and the fact that even the person who coined it did not use it consistently is presented as evidence of that.

Prove it. I'll be waiting.
It's already been proven. Movement rates are in scale inches. If they did not assume that most people would be using minis, it wouldn't make sense to do that.

By the way, this is a ridiculous assumption. The AD&D PH mentions miniatures 3 times as potential aids (and in particular one for marching order).
...and lists every single distance in scale inches. So while minis themselves might not be asssumed, to-scale representation of the environment are. We used graph paper to map out environments in 1E a long time before we ever used any minis, for instance.

And in 4e, it's not only the movement, it's ALL THE POWERS.
And in 1E, it's not only the movement, it's ALL THE SPELLS. And ALL THE WEAPON RANGES.
 

it's just that the term was used to criticise 4e.
This is plainly false. One of the main criticisms is that by the definition as applied by the coiner of the term, all mechanics are dissociated, which makes the claim that only some are dissociated untenable. The criticism is that it's used synonymously with "abstraction" while failing to acknowledge that all ROG mechanics are abstractions.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
You are obviously unable to think without a grid. A distance in inches does NOT mean along a grid.
Mod Note:

You‘ve racked up a slew of reports for your posts in the thread. Some are not actionable, but others contain problematic language or rhetorical forms. Here, you made it personal. Perhaps you need to step back and reconsider your posting methodology.
 

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