D&D General Supposing D&D is gamist, what does that mean?

I don't like the idea of deciding something in the physical world of the game to have always been true as an effort of player will when it would be advantageous. I know knowledge checks are conceptually similar, but they feel quite different. To expound further I feel would just lead to other posters explaining how my opinion is wrong, and I really don't need that today.

Also fair.
 

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Well, as I demonstrated in my last post, it wasn't even possible for me to know what was in my own carrying bag, lol. So I'm a bit dubious that simplistic sparse inventories with things like "Iron Rations" really tells us the whole story. The real world is just much more 'textured' than our descriptions of imagined worlds, and that has real consequence.

As I noted above, having a few extra random things in your pack that you don't know about is less likely to be something you pay attention to (or the lack of some things you might want) when you're a half hour from the nearest convenience store.
 

So, no, nothing about it is wrong at all! Neither is it 'right', it is just what it is. I do think, particularly back maybe 10 years ago or so, when a lot of us started talking here about different ways of playing there was a pretty strong backlash of people saying literally "THAT IS WRONG!" It seems like the leaf has turned largely at this point though. Many prefer older ways, which is cool though. Maybe even some newer types of play rely on linear time too, I'm not sure.

Well, you're absolutely going to get a thing where a place where a particular game system or family of game systems is the primary focus where some percentage of the vocal populace is going to think of its approach as a law of nature for various reasons. That's not limited to D&D and its still strongly trad approach, though; I've had to fight with people to explain that, no, the core assumption of PbtA games (that there's intrinsic value in a game system that pushes you toward things becoming "more interesting") really, really isn't what a lot of people want on occasion, often with some pretty dismissive pushback on it. That's more likely to just be in individual threads, though, as I'm unlikely to hang out at a place with a super-strong focus in that direction (heck, only reason I hang out here is that I find the tone of the board more pleasing than other places; I'd rather be on one without quite as D&D-centric a focus myself).
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I don’t know that knowledge checks function similarly to flashbacks. Knowledge checks seem like an acknowledgement that the character knows more about the world they live in than the player, because that world was created by the gm. Whereas with flashbacks, neither player nor gm knows how it is going to play out. That’s part of the fun of flashbacks—playing it out and figuring out together how it’s going to affect the story/score. I don’t know if it originated in blades, but its an innovative aspect of the game because it works differently than things like dnd knowledge checks.

If we break it down purely to game elements, both function like this: I have a thing written on my character sheet which may allow me to make the current obstacle easier.

Just because not everyone has the wherewithal to argue with you about it does not mean they're agreeing with you. I'll freely admit I'm quite a bit more willing to be confrontational at need than a lot of people. As such, when I think someone is essentially missing the point of someone else's position, I don't hesitate to say so even if its a position I don't agree with in whole or part.

We’re just spinning wheels here. I don’t think everyone agrees with me. I am well aware some people don’t.


That does beg the question though of why a system like BitD's is rejected, as it has sufficient plausibility (and certainly seems like it also invokes player creativity and skill). I still think the most significant factor here is just that people like what they are already comfortable with.

I think this is a huge part of it. People will often hold their first exposure to something as some kind of ideal. This is actually reasonable… until exposed to an alternate take, in their mind, that is “the way it’s done”.

As I posted upthread, I know people who had this reaction. We discussed it quite a bit when my group started playing Blades in the Dark. We worked through it all, and now we’re wrapping up a lengthy Spire campaign, and that game has a crazy amount of player authority to deal with, and they don’t flinch from it at all.

The way that classic D&D creates the illusion of a total inventory is by (i) being incredibly, implausibly sparse, and (ii) glossing over details (eg you have "iron rations" but we don't say anything about what they are, what sort of container they might be in, etc). And (ii) is just what BitD does, only more systematically and with a different rule for who gets to fill in the details when.

Honestly, the Blades system just seems more plausible to me. Not the chronology of what the player does, but what is happening in the fiction.

In the fiction, it’s clear if a Blades character is loaded for bear or not. They can only carry a reasonably limited number of things. The gear that they have is suited to what they’re doing.

With a lot of more standard inventory rules, I find there to be so many absurdities. Need a potion of healing mid-combat? Here it is right on my belt! No, of course it didn’t break when that ogre hit me with a tree! What’s that? You need an oil flask? I have one in my backpack, give me just a second I can always find everything in there immediately! Then I’ll sling my backpack on again because it won’t hinder my movement in any way! Anyone whose been on a subway with a backpack can tell you how easy it is to get around and never bump anyone or get caught on anything!

It’s why I can’t take appeals to realism very seriously.
 

If we break it down purely to game elements, both function like this: I have a thing written on my character sheet which may allow me to make the current obstacle easier.



We’re just spinning wheels here. I don’t think everyone agrees with me. I am well aware some people don’t.




I think this is a huge part of it. People will often hold their first exposure to something as some kind of ideal. This is actually reasonable… until exposed to an alternate take, in their mind, that is “the way it’s done”.

As I posted upthread, I know people who had this reaction. We discussed it quite a bit when my group started playing Blades in the Dark. We worked through it all, and now we’re wrapping up a lengthy Spire campaign, and that game has a crazy amount of player authority to deal with, and they don’t flinch from it at all.



Honestly, the Blades system just seems more plausible to me. Not the chronology of what the player does, but what is happening in the fiction.

In the fiction, it’s clear if a Blades character is loaded for bear or not. They can only carry a reasonably limited number of things. The gear that they have is suited to what they’re doing.

With a lot of more standard inventory rules, I find there to be so many absurdities. Need a potion of healing mid-combat? Here it is right on my belt! No, of course it didn’t break when that ogre hit me with a tree! What’s that? You need an oil flask? I have one in my backpack, give me just a second I can always find everything in there immediately! Then I’ll sling my backpack on again because it won’t hinder my movement in any way! Anyone whose been on a subway with a backpack can tell you how easy it is to get around and never bump anyone or get caught on anything!

It’s why I can’t take appeals to realism very seriously.
I don't actually CARE that much about the realistic feel of things, one way or the other myself. Its all about motives and figuring out who this character is, and how they'll handle things.
 

pemerton

Legend
When it comes to character knowledge, people often don't even know what they know in real life until its time to retrieve it in many cases. The way our "encumbrance" works in that area is complex and our retrieval of same is a linear process. Basically, the very question of whether you Know X is what let's you know if you Know X in some cases, and in some cases you have to "look" for it. This becomes very obvious to some of us as you get older and things get put "in the back of the closet" as it were. And that's with actual possession of the information, not just the emulation of it that is what's going on in an RPG.
You are not, however, someone who is dependent on the contents of your backpack being necessary to your survival, and being away from immediate resupply in a potentially hostile situation. I can promise you if you talk to people who do find themselves in that situation regularly, they'll have a very good idea what they have with them, and in fact check it quite regularly when setting out. This parallels what PCs in most games where inventory is relevant do quite well.
I'm dependent on knowing what I know for most of my professional activities - I'm an academic. The idea that what I might know is essentially random, and reliant on revelations by some oracle I appeal to, is for me far more unrealistic than finding unexpected stuff in my backpack.

That's before I get to @hawkeyefan's points about things not breaking or spilling, being easily found, etc.
 

pemerton

Legend
Maybe even some newer types of play rely on linear time too, I'm not sure.
Agon uses linear time.

Burning Wheel uses linear time for inventory. For who and what you know it uses knowledge/streetwise-type checks (Circles and Wises) but without relying on the GM's prior determination ("notes") to decide whether or not to say "no" prior to a roll. So it's the same as Streetwise in 1977 Traveller!
 



If you think that's parallel to people who literally can die from having forgotten to pack something, I really don't know what to tell you.

So here is a thought for you to interact with.

When you're a lead climber, there is kit that you pack out. Now this isn't offloaded onto automaticity in the way that (say) a morning drive might be (such that you get to work and you experience the peculiar cognitive state of having no recollection of the duration of the drive)...but when you're tenured and capable, the second nature of it becomes not terribly far afield once you've organized and packed out and put on and deployed your kit enough times.

Same thing goes when you're on the wall/face and you're developing (in real time) or deploying beta (the charted course/procedures/techniques necessary to ascend a climb). Now this development and deployment of beta is effectively "consulting your accumulated memory/knowledge" or, in D&D parlance, "a knowledge check."

All of this is to say that if you're tenured and capable, the cognitive state of pulling from your kit the thing you need (because you know you packed it) and pulling from your memory/knowledge the thing you need to ascend this climb (because you've metaphorically "packed it") is experientially pretty close to the same thing.

Transition to D&D Adventurer or a Blades Crew member. Is there really a huge swathe of daylight between these folks adventuring or heisting and a lead climber working a wall/face?
 

So here is a thought for you to interact with.

When you're a lead climber, there is kit that you pack out. Now this isn't offloaded onto automaticity in the way that (say) a morning drive might be (such that you get to work and you experience the peculiar cognitive state of having no recollection of the duration of the drive)...but when you're tenured and capable, the second nature of it becomes not terribly far afield once you've organized and packed out and put on and deployed your kit enough times.

Same thing goes when you're on the wall/face and you're developing (in real time) or deploying beta (the charted course/procedures/techniques necessary to ascend a climb). Now this development and deployment of beta is effectively "consulting your accumulated memory/knowledge" or, in D&D parlance, "a knowledge check."

All of this is to say that if you're tenured and capable, the cognitive state of pulling from your kit the thing you need (because you know you packed it) and pulling from your memory/knowledge the thing you need to ascend this climb (because you've metaphorically "packed it") is experientially pretty close to the same thing.

Transition to D&D Adventurer or a Blades Crew member. Is there really a huge swathe of daylight between these folks adventuring or heisting and a lead climber working a wall/face?

You can very much argue not (though I'd argue unless the heists are very consistent in what tools they need that there's some differences--and if they aren't, then it questions the need to fill after-the-fact. I think the differences are enough there that, in fact, that's usually what justifies the after-the-fact fill mechanic), but my argument here is that knowing what's in your kit is less uncertain than whether you will know the answer to a knowledge check, because your "kit" in the latter case is intrinsically more incomplete (unless its a very narrow and basic subject, in which case there should be no check in the first place.) One is far more deterministic from the get-go with people who's kit is literally life or death (and where its often pretty consistent from one time to the next).
 

If you think that's parallel to people who literally can die from having forgotten to pack something, I really don't know what to tell you.
I think what @pemerton is saying is that being told what you know by the GM is not at all like knowing something for yourself, and it breaks immersion, for him. I'm not sure how that relates to the pack comparison.

As for people packing carefully, sure there are some specific situations you can come up with, but they are pretty darn specific. Nor does it address the 'cloudiness' of what items in RPG inventory systems generally represent. Is my Iron Ration in a wooden box, wrapped in paper, leaves, nothing? Maybe I want to know, and at that point some sort of check is a VERY likely process.
 

pemerton

Legend
If you think that's parallel to people who literally can die from having forgotten to pack something, I really don't know what to tell you.
If you think I (and my colleagues) don't know what we know, I don't now what to tell you. Why is it important that players should always know what is in their backpacks (because, in your view, that emulates being a survivalist) but irrelevant that (say) the player of a wizard PC have an experience completely different from actually being a serious scholar?

my argument here is that knowing what's in your kit is less uncertain than whether you will know the answer to a knowledge check, because your "kit" in the latter case is intrinsically more incomplete (unless its a very narrow and basic subject, in which case there should be no check in the first place.)
And my question is, are you saying this as a scholar, or are you just making it up? Because it does not correlate to my experience at all, nor to what seems to be the experience of the other scholars I interact with. We know what we know. That's fundamental to being able to do what we do.
 

If you think I (and my colleagues) don't know what we know, I don't now what to tell you. Why is it important that players should always know what is in their backpacks (because, in your view, that emulates being a survivalist) but irrelevant that (say) the player of a wizard PC have an experience completely different from actually being a serious scholar?

Why? Because I have a rather in depth knowledge in a couple areas, and have helped researchers in others and, no, they don't always know what they theoretically could about elements of their specialty, because the specialty is too large. So I'm absolutely not accepting the premise that people always know everything relevant in their field, just to make it perfectly clear.

And my question is, are you saying this as a scholar, or are you just making it up? Because it does not correlate to my experience at all, nor to what seems to be the experience of the other scholars I interact with. We know what we know. That's fundamental to being able to do what we do.

Then, bluntly, I'd suggest your fields are narrow and very specific. I served as both a medical and legal librarian for a number of years and it wasn't a coincidence that I had people who were well thought of in both fields in doing additional research on topics regularly--because their fields were too large for anyone to cover all of them, and I'm not talking about "law" or "medicine" as broad strokes, but things as narrow as "cytology" or "commercial real estate law". That didn't mean there weren't certain common elements anyone in their field wasn't going to know (which is why I made the comment up-thread that a simple die roll without other controls doesn't represent checking to see what someone knows very well) but there were absolutely things that one of them might know and another not, and it had nothing to do with their level of training but simply that it was going to be difficult for any one person to know everything about even those subfields.

So, no, I don't buy into "Because you're defined as an expert in X, you're going to always know and/or remember everything about X". If that's your premise, ours are fundamentally at odds.
 

So, no, I don't buy into "Because you're defined as an expert in X, you're going to always know and/or remember everything about X". If that's your premise, ours are fundamentally at odds.
At the risk of speaking for @pemerton, that isn't what he's saying at all. He's saying he's quite sure that he DOES know some things, and DOES NOT know other things.

So, lets make an analogy, my character is a monster expert. He's not going to know everything about every sort of monster, but he's going to be darn sure he knows all about local orc tribes, and generally about 'orc stuff'. It wouldn't feel authentic for this 'orc expert' to be rolling dice about orc knowledge, because IN CHARACTER the player should be confident about what things he does and doesn't know.

The further claim is that some sort of a system like say Burning Wheel wises produces a feel of this situation, because the player says "I propose that I know that Orcs of the Red Hand Cult have a certain tatoo." Success makes this a fact, and the character always knew it. Failure doesn't necessarily mean he was wrong, but maybe the orcs in question in this case are not members of that cult. Maybe their members of a different cult that the character isn't knowledgeable about. Or maybe her reason for wanting to know cult affiliation is not actually useful, it doesn't advance the character's intent. Now we have a character which knows what it knows, and isn't being TOLD what it knows, but there's no such thing as the character "knowing everything", and what they don't know may be what challenges them.
 

At the risk of speaking for @pemerton, that isn't what he's saying at all. He's saying he's quite sure that he DOES know some things, and DOES NOT know other things.

So, lets make an analogy, my character is a monster expert. He's not going to know everything about every sort of monster, but he's going to be darn sure he knows all about local orc tribes, and generally about 'orc stuff'. It wouldn't feel authentic for this 'orc expert' to be rolling dice about orc knowledge, because IN CHARACTER the player should be confident about what things he does and doesn't know.

That's fair--to a point. But as I note, what people remember is not deterministic. Having known something and remembering it can be a different beast, especially when its a piece of knowledge you don't use regularly. And this can even apply within areas you know well.

The further claim is that some sort of a system like say Burning Wheel wises produces a feel of this situation, because the player says "I propose that I know that Orcs of the Red Hand Cult have a certain tatoo." Success makes this a fact, and the character always knew it. Failure doesn't necessarily mean he was wrong, but maybe the orcs in question in this case are not members of that cult. Maybe their members of a different cult that the character isn't knowledgeable about. Or maybe her reason for wanting to know cult affiliation is not actually useful, it doesn't advance the character's intent. Now we have a character which knows what it knows, and isn't being TOLD what it knows, but there's no such thing as the character "knowing everything", and what they don't know may be what challenges them.

I'm agnostic on that approach, because that's more about who gets to feed into the fiction. But I still stand by the opinion that "knows everything you know in a field of skill" is on a vastly different scale than "knows what's in your field bag". Its even possible to be aware that at one time you knew the answer to a question in the former case but can no longer remember it (though that's more commonly about extremely picky things about terms or locations than general data). And in some cases, you won't know if you remember it or not until it comes up, because sometimes its associational.
 

pemerton

Legend
So, no, I don't buy into "Because you're defined as an expert in X, you're going to always know and/or remember everything about X". If that's your premise, ours are fundamentally at odds.
As @AbdulAlhazred has pointed out, you're misreading my posts.

You asserted that it is (moderately) realistic to roll dice to see what a character knows; and have contrasted that with a survivalist who knows exactly what they have packed. I am denying your assertion and the contrast that you have drawn on the basis of it.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
As @AbdulAlhazred has pointed out, you're misreading my posts.

You asserted that it is (moderately) realistic to roll dice to see what a character knows; and have contrasted that with a survivalist who knows exactly what they have packed. I am denying your assertion and the contrast that you have drawn on the basis of it.

Considering D&D.

It feels like the point of rolling dice to see if a character knows something isn't to simulate something that happens in your brain when you encounter a thing and your brain either registers that it knows it or it doesn't (or maybe spins awhile first, likely with some small chance of a slip where you realize you did or didn't know it).

It feels like the point of rolling dice is to see if a character knows something is to simulate that in many cases when you encounter something that you don't have have control over whether the thing you've encountered is something you know. When someone asks me to AE or review a paper, I don't get to decide if I know the authors or subject of the paper that was sent to me. When I message the person in the herbarium a picture of something in my yard to ID, he doesn't get to decide if it is one that he's very familiar with or one that he doesn't know.

Say your character studies some art form and is able to identify the work of most current journeymen in your kingdom, almost all masters of the present and past century in your kingdom, half the masters of the century before that in your kingdom and half of the current ones in the surrounding kingdoms, and a progressively smaller fraction going back in time or further away geographically. The DM hasn't planned on you going shopping for your favorite art form in the small village you are in, and decides to roll if there are any samples currently for sale. They roll that there is. Does your character recognize the creator? Why or why not?
 

As @AbdulAlhazred has pointed out, you're misreading my posts.

You asserted that it is (moderately) realistic to roll dice to see what a character knows; and have contrasted that with a survivalist who knows exactly what they have packed. I am denying your assertion and the contrast that you have drawn on the basis of it.

And I've stated why I think they're different. If you disagree, you do.
 

pemerton

Legend
Considering D&D.

It feels like the point of rolling dice to see if a character knows something isn't to simulate something that happens in your brain when you encounter a thing and your brain either registers that it knows it or it doesn't (or maybe spins awhile first, likely with some small chance of a slip where you realize you did or didn't know it).

It feels like the point of rolling dice is to see if a character knows something is to simulate that in many cases when you encounter something that you don't have have control over whether the thing you've encountered is something you know. When someone asks me to AE or review a paper, I don't get to decide if I know the authors or subject of the paper that was sent to me. When I message the person in the herbarium a picture of something in my yard to ID, he doesn't get to decide if it is one that he's very familiar with or one that he doesn't know.

Say your character studies some art form and is able to identify the work of most current journeymen in your kingdom, almost all masters of the present and past century in your kingdom, half the masters of the century before that in your kingdom and half of the current ones in the surrounding kingdoms, and a progressively smaller fraction going back in time or further away geographically. The DM hasn't planned on you going shopping for your favorite art form in the small village you are in, and decides to roll if there are any samples currently for sale. They roll that there is. Does your character recognize the creator? Why or why not?
So what you're describing here is that here and now, in play, we make a roll that tells us something about what happened in the "past" of the fiction that is relevant to the "present" situation of the PC.

Eg you're rolling to see who created the artwork. Or to see what sort of plant grew here. So why is this framed as a knowledge check? Why does the fact that the PC is now inspecting the artwork affect who created it ("quantum collapse")? Why not have a list of all the artists, and then roll to see which artist painted it. Why is the GM not deciding all this in advance and putting it in their notes? (Just like the player does for their PC's inventory?)

Talk about a "dissociated" mechanic!
 

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