Rules Aren't Important

MGibster

Legend
I'm running a Cyberpunk Red game, and one of the first rules of Cyberpunk is style over substance. It's right there in the book that looking good matters more than being effective. The rules as written make automobiles and even motorcycles completely unaffordable to any player. In fact, the special ability of a Nomad is that they have access to a vehicle. Not even a cool vehicle, but something like a small motorbike or a compact car. So tell me, choom, how cool does your character look while taking public transit to pull an extraction job at a Biotechnica lab? How stylish is it for your Fixer to show up to a meeting with a client 30 minutes late because the bus was late? The rules matter.
 

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bloodtide

Adventurer
I see the rules as suggestions. Rules are nice to have a light framework to play a game on.

Though too many players are way too into the rules. To the point they are not even role playing, they are playing a board game. There character moves one move space forward and takes the search action.

The perfect balance is the GM can do whatever they wish on a whim around the rules suggestions, and the players are locked into the rules frame work.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
But does it matter? Does it actually matter in play whether the ogre is a clock or is a bag of hit points? I don't think it does, except insofar the bag of hit points has a more narrowly defined set of applicable mechanically discrete PC abities that can be leveraged. Which really just shrinks the game. But otherwise, it's still some re that says some number of appropriately high dice rolls overcome the obstacle. So from that perspective @overgeeked is right: the (specific) rules don't actually matter.
What’s interesting is that if you dig into the math of say D&D 5E you can see that with little variation you might as well be using a clock instead of the bag of hit points. To hit is calibrated around 65% +/-5%. Normal monster damage is calibrated around doing about 1/4 of the average PC’s HP per hit. Etc. The fiddly details just hide that. So, strip away the details and go with the underlying math instead.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I'm running a Cyberpunk Red game, and one of the first rules of Cyberpunk is style over substance. It's right there in the book that looking good matters more than being effective. The rules as written make automobiles and even motorcycles completely unaffordable to any player. In fact, the special ability of a Nomad is that they have access to a vehicle. Not even a cool vehicle, but something like a small motorbike or a compact car. So tell me, choom, how cool does your character look while taking public transit to pull an extraction job at a Biotechnica lab? How stylish is it for your Fixer to show up to a meeting with a client 30 minutes late because the bus was late? The rules matter.
Did you use that obviously dumb rule because it was written in the book or did you ignore/change it because it clearly goes against the theme of the game?
 

Reynard

Legend
What’s interesting is that if you dig into the math of say D&D 5E you can see that with little variation you might as well be using a clock instead of the bag of hit points. To hit is calibrated around 65% +/-5%. Normal monster damage is calibrated around doing about 1/4 of the average PC’s HP per hit. Etc. The fiddly details just hide that. So, strip away the details and go with the underlying math instead.
The difference is that the clock being hit points constrains the methods by which players can engage the obstacle. As pure clocks, it keeps it open to possibilities that exist in the fiction without having to constantly ask the GM to adjudicate every potential attempt.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The difference is that the clock being hit points constrains the methods by which players can engage the obstacle. As pure clocks, it keeps it open to possibilities that exist in the fiction without having to constantly ask the GM to adjudicate every potential attempt.
Exactly. So instead of using the limited mechanic of hit points use the wide open mechanic of clocks. Instead of pointing out this one solution to overcome the obstacle, you open things up to any solution. It takes six successes to overcome the obstacle of the ogre, whether that’s combat or conversation or bribery, it’s up to the players.
 

MGibster

Legend
Did you use that obviously dumb rule because it was written in the book or did you ignore/change it because it clearly goes against the theme of the game?
I've ignored it. In Red, automobiles are so rare that there would be few opportunities to even steal one. So if you go by the setting, just figuring out how to get from point A to point B for the most mundane of tasks requires a lot of work. It's tedious and not at all fun. In all honesty, this is one of the few times I'd rather be player an earlier version of the game. I'd rather be playing Cyberpunk 2020.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I've ignored it. In Red, automobiles are so rare that there would be few opportunities to even steal one. So if you go by the setting, just figuring out how to get from point A to point B for the most mundane of tasks requires a lot of work. It's tedious and not at all fun. In all honesty, this is one of the few times I'd rather be player an earlier version of the game. I'd rather be playing Cyberpunk 2020.
Right. So the rule doesn’t matter because you can change/ignore it.

If you‘re into cyberpunk you should check out CY_BORG, a MORK BORG variant. Very style over substance. The layout and design are…interesting and reminiscent of what most would imagine a cyberpunk setting’s punk band’s posters would look like.
 

But does it matter? Does it actually matter in play whether the ogre is a clock or is a bag of hit points? I don't think it does, except insofar the bag of hit points has a more narrowly defined set of applicable mechanically discrete PC abities that can be leveraged. Which really just shrinks the game. But otherwise, it's still some re that says some number of appropriately high dice rolls overcome the obstacle. So from that perspective @overgeeked is right: the (specific) rules don't actually matter.
Except that some rules sets do not made NPCs just bags of hit points.
 

MGibster

Legend
Right. So the rule doesn’t matter because you can change/ignore it.
Why would I bother to change the rules if they don't matter? Anyone who changes the rules of a game are admitting that that they matter.

If you‘re into cyberpunk you should check out CY_BORG, a MORK BORG variant. Very style over substance. The layout and design are…interesting and reminiscent of what most would imagine a cyberpunk setting’s punk band’s posters would look like.
I just might check it out. I've seen the book, but I haven't taken a close look yet.
 

RivetGeekWil

Lead developer Tribes in the Dark
Recipes aren't important unless you feel they are. Or you want your food to not taste like ass.

While I'm very much on the side of not wanting rules that simulate reality, the foundation of the game's mechanics makes a huge difference. There is a fundamental shift in play style and overall feel between player-facing rules against a static threshold (Blades in the Dark), 4dF (Fate), and Cortex Prime's roll and keep 2 opposed dice pools. I run BitD, Fate, and Cortex Prime under similar fiction-first principles but the rules provide a lot of nuance.
 


That implies that all food not made to a recipe tastes like ass. That’s obviously false. Anyone who’s cooked regularly can whip up a tasty meal without a recipe in hand.
Well yeah. Because they remember Meal X needs 2 portions of A and 3 portions of B. Which is essentially a recipe or rules in effect.

Some kind of guideline is needed for all RPGs. Whether it's Witch:The road to Lindisfarne which has no 'mechanics', or D&D 5th which has few mechanics.

I like both.
 



Retros_x

Villager
Well yeah. Because they remember Meal X needs 2 portions of A and 3 portions of B. Which is essentially a recipe or rules in effect.
Knowlede =/= rules. Someone who follows a recipe could come to the same result, but the improvising cook having basic cooking knowledge and being creative with that is not following a rule. Rules/recipes/algorithms are pre-defined instructions, they are static. They ease the process of decision making or enforce a specific decision, but they are not needed for decision making.
 

Knowlede =/= rules. Someone who follows a recipe could come to the same result, but the improvising cook having basic cooking knowledge and being creative with that is not following a rule. Rules/recipes/algorithms are pre-defined instructions, they are static. They ease the process of decision making or enforce a specific decision, but they are not needed for decision making.
Utterly disagree. A game needs rules /guidelines /constraints or one of many other terms;
Successful cooking is the same.
 

Retros_x

Villager
Utterly disagree. A game needs rules /guidelines /constraints or one of many other terms;
Successful cooking is the same.
Successful cooking definitely doesnt need rules, it needs knowledge about how ingredients react in combination with heat and other ingredients. New dishes are made from experimentation, if the dish is good, we define the steps how we did get there as a recipe so other less knowing/talented can get to the same result more easily.

Playing games doesnt need rules. Just watch some children on the playground. They are playing dinosaurs. Suddenly they are now a family. Now they are building a sand castle in which the dinosaurs live. Than they flood the castle. There are no rules. Often rules emerge, because specific behaviours in games seem to be most fun/engaging. Also I would agree rules are needed for competitions. So if to a game a competitive factor gets added, then rules will emerge really quick. But they emerge from the game, not the different way around.
I would argue games only need some sort of interaction and a safe space, meaning no real life consequence. When I kill you in game, I do not kill you in real life, to have a drastic example.

edit: I just realized something. I am not an english native speaker. In Germany, where I come from, play and game are the same word. I just realized in English "game" has a slightly different meaning than "play", it is - according to wikipedia "a structured form of play". My argumentation was based on my German experience. With the english definition its pretty much defined that rules are needed. My bad.
 

All right.
Children in a playground have lots social rules for a ' successful' game.
RPGs I meant. Even as I said a game with no mechanics needs " something".

Otherwise is telling a story ( even with multi participants), or improv.

Which themselves, rather like cooking have rules, etc as I have stated.

They don't need to be written down. They may just be a social contract.

Anyway it's all down to people's definitions, which vary massively on the internet.
 

Retros_x

Villager
All right.
Children in a playground have lots social rules for a ' successful' game.
RPGs I meant. Even as I said a game with no mechanics needs " something".

Otherwise is telling a story ( even with multi participants), or improv.

Which themselves, rather like cooking have rules, etc as I have stated.

They don't need to be written down. They may just be a social contract.

Anyway it's all down to people's definitions, which vary massively on the internet.
I edited my last reply, as a non-english speaker I forgot about the different meanings of "play" and "game".
Improv is definitely playing (not a game though). Telling a story is different than playing without rules. One has interactions, the other not. Playing is not defined by rules, I will die on that hill. Its defined by having interactions and by beeing free of real life consequence. A literal playground. Games are structured, so with the English definition, I agree. In German playing and game are the same word, so my bad, I argumented on the behalf of my German background.
edit: The point of the whole argumentation anyway is not to get rid of all rules in games. It is to became aware that rules emerged to help us with the game, not to dictate. So we can change them, however it fits for our game, especially if we are the literal game master. Thats why rules discussion are sometimes a bit pointless. There is no need to prove to others that they are "playing wrong".
 

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