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

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.
Well, I think it is certainly possible to experience realizing you know something that you didn't think you knew. It is also certainly possible to discover that something you knew was actually false. Of course using an approach like the one @pemerton is proposing would handle those situations as well.
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.
Well, I don't think they need be IDENTICAL to be analogous situations though.
 

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Hussar

Legend
Heh, apropos of nothing, I'm playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen with a new DM - well, new to me DM, new group, DM is pretty experienced in the game.

So, we had a shopping scene last night. We had a GP limit and could draw equipment from stores. So, I spent a fair chunk of cash, but, wound up with about 50 gp (more or less) left over. I asked the DM if we could just abstract it and say that I can draw equipment as needed.

Nope. Not happening.

So, now I'm slogging through the equipment list in the PHB to spend down this 50 gp, playing "Hrm, wonder what I'll need" guessing games to buy a bunch of equipment I can virtually guarantee will never, ever actually come up in play.

I really do hate this kind of thing. It's just so mind numbingly boring, pointless and such a waste of time. At least he let me put it off as homework between sessions, so, at least I wasn't wasting table time. :ahem:

I do so wish D&D would adopt these kind of abstraction rules.
 


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).

Don’t you think “the knowledge kit’s” limits are contingent upon whose kit it is though?

Sherlock Holmes’ kit is vast beyond comprehension.

Multi-discipline scientists and forensic engineers are similar in real life (they know a lot about a lot of things and are able to/required to integrate it)

Same goes for cross-discipline athletes and martial combatants who are deeply engaged in the process (they know a lot about a lot of things and are able to/required to integrate it)

In TTRPG’s we can spot these guys by way of their PC build and the way the action resolution mechanics interact with that. For instance:

* Dungeon World - A Wizard with 18 Int is going to be rolling 2d6 +3 to Spout Lore (consult their accumulated knowledge) and with spending one of their Bag of Books (kit), that goes to 2d6+4. With Font of Knowledge, you're rolling 2d6+5 nearly all of the time. That means virtually every time you consult your accumulated knowledge, you can bare minimum (7-9 result) have something interesting about the subject stipulated into the play space. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of the time (83 % of the time), you're going to know something both interesting and useful (immediately actionable!)!

Further still, if that same character has Logical, they're rolling +Int for Discern Realities instead of Wisdom.

Further further still, even on a failure (6-) on Spout Lore, the GM is still stipulating something interesting that the PC knows on the subject...its just (a) not the exact information the player was hoping for or (b) it may be that the thing the player was hoping for is true, but there is some terrible truth associated with it that makes the pursuit of this avenue of knowledge dangerous/fraught.

This is as Sherlock Holmes a character as it gets in a game and this investment isn't particularly deep (level 4).

* Burning Wheel family of games is similar as is 4e D&D due to Fail Forward (and any other game where Fail Forward governs action resolution).




Regarding actual kit, multi-tools (or the proficient user's ability to use mundane tools in creative, multi-purpose ways) does a lot of heavy lifting. Blades in the Dark doesn't just emulate "the right tool for the job", but it also emulates this. Stonetop has very similar loadout handling to Blades (with a unique flourish in its "Small Items" rider to the typical "Have What You Need" handling of Loadout) for this. Dungeon World handles this with "Adventuring Gear" being the catch-all for "Have What You Need" (you purchase AG @ x uses + y Load and pull from it to "Have What You Need" in terms of basic tools and supplies).

Given what I see on these boards (and my own experience GMing) regarding 5e, the deployment (and skillful deployment) of equipment/gear/supplies in Dungeon World, Stonetop, Blades is a foundational aspect of play...while its effectively outright missing in 5e. That has to say something about the relative gameplay-facilitating functionality of this brand of loading out and inventory management, doesn't it?
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Living the immersionist dream!
Thats the way the game is designed. Like any other rule, if you can't convince the rest of the table (including the DM) to adopt your houserule, you either live with it or don't play.

I no longer understand the point of this discussion. I think everyone gets how abstract equipment works. Some people like it, others don't. Neither side is likely to sway the other, and indeed have said they aren't trying to. At this point, what ARE they trying to do?
 

Hussar

Legend
Thats the way the game is designed. Like any other rule, if you can't convince the rest of the table (including the DM) to adopt your houserule, you either live with it or don't play.

I no longer understand the point of this discussion. I think everyone gets how abstract equipment works. Some people like it, others don't. Neither side is likely to sway the other, and indeed have said they aren't trying to. At this point, what ARE they trying to do?

Well see, for me I’d like DnD to appeal to as broad a number of people as possible. So with abstract equipment rules, everyone gets what they want. The equipment lists are still there for the immersionists to go nuts with, tracking every single nut and washer the character is carrying.

At the same time,players like me get what we want too. We can abstract things away and do so in a structured mechanical framework instead of an ad hoc homebrew system that may not be well tested or thought out.

So the point is everyone gets what they want instead of one group forcing everyone to play the way they want to.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
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?

Because the chance of a randomly selected artwork having been done by a master the player knows is related to the amount of knowledge the player has, and so it seemed like a name to use for the die roll?

Why does the fact that the PC is now inspecting the artwork affect who created it ("quantum collapse")?
Because there was no reason to specify it before?

Why not have a list of all the artists, and then roll to see which artist painted it.
Because it would be pretty tedious to have detailed lists about everything in the world that a player might be interested in?

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?)

Because the list of things likely to be carried feels like a really small proper set of "everything in the universe the players might possibly care about and maybe know about?"

It feels like that question might have been a gotcha for someone who said loadout seemed like a really different mechanic than what a lot of 5e DMs might do by either letting a character have a really common item even if they didn't write it down or would give a chance the character or someone in the party would have it since the characters presumably were vaguely competent. I've said a few times I don't feel those two equipment related things (loadout for standard gear and allowing some looseness with D&D equipment) are that different.

Talk about a "dissociated" mechanic!

So the GM says sure, you find out there's a person in the town you're in who is known to have a nice specimen of artwork. Your source for that info doesn't know who the artisan is. And so you have your character do whatever and go to the location and looks at it.

Can the GM say it's by a young master Hergberty that your character doesn't know?

Does the answer depend at all on that being the GM determining something about your character's past? (That you weren't, say, one of the judges that decided Hergberty became a master.)

If it is ok, is it ok even if the GM made a roll based on your art knowledge skill to see if it was a master you knew or not, or are they not allowed to make such a roll?

If you are fine with the GM rolling themselves, but not asking the player to, please briefly elaborate. (If you previously objected, never mind).

If it is not ok for the GM to say your character doesn't know Hergberty without checking with you first, what mechanism could be used to make sure you didn't know them? (Can they ask you to name all the masters you don't recognize and which geographic regions your knowledge is less than 100% in?)
 
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So, now I'm slogging through the equipment list in the PHB to spend down this 50 gp, playing "Hrm, wonder what I'll need" guessing games to buy a bunch of equipment I can virtually guarantee will never, ever actually come up in play.
The equipment lists are still there for the immersionists to go nuts with, tracking every single nut and washer the character is carrying.

The downtime shopping in your game sounds like useless busywork where no meaningful choices are made. You have more gold than you know what to do with to buy items that will never come into play. I guess this is a function of the role of mundane equipment, encumbrance, gold, and maybe downtime in general in 5e: they are largely vestigial elements of the game. For it to be meaningful, there would have to be limits and tradeoffs that would be impactful later. I have a limited amount of gold, I can either purchase the services of this hireling or do some spell research, which will be more useful? I have a hard limit on things I can carry, and I can't see in the dark or magically conjure up food and water, how am I going to get to the dungeon and back? Having an abstracted inventory system negates the meaningfulness of those kind of choices.
 

Thats the way the game is designed. Like any other rule, if you can't convince the rest of the table (including the DM) to adopt your houserule, you either live with it or don't play.

I no longer understand the point of this discussion. I think everyone gets how abstract equipment works. Some people like it, others don't. Neither side is likely to sway the other, and indeed have said they aren't trying to. At this point, what ARE they trying to do?

So far as I can tell, "the point of (contentiousness within) the discussion" is roughly the same as it almost always is on ENWorld. The format is one of two things or both:

Thing x is nonsensical/unrealistic/lacking fidelity to internal causality of the imagined space/Shrodingers and damages immersion.

And/or

Thing x grants easy wins and therefore makes for EZMode play.


In terms of introducing items (both inventory and accumulated knowledge/memory that constitutes information within the imagined space) into the shared imagined space, I disagree with both of these assertions and have put forth my case.

Are both of those assertions either (i) tabled or (ii) resolved (such that when next we talk about these things it won't be yet another round of this same conversation)? If so...then "the point of (contentiousness within) the discussion" is at an end!

Huzzah!
 

Well, I think it is certainly possible to experience realizing you know something that you didn't think you knew. It is also certainly possible to discover that something you knew was actually false. Of course using an approach like the one @pemerton is proposing would handle those situations as well.

I never denied it was. I just noted that there's a big difference between "I have this finite selection of things in a bag that fits on my back" and "I have this collection of things I know, which ranges widely in whether I remember them, to what degree and to what accuracy".

Well, I don't think they need be IDENTICAL to be analogous situations though.

I think the analogy in this case would be, bluntly, pretty strained. Pemberton obviously doesn't, but that's as it is.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
From my vantage point this is not a conversation about preferences. I do not really care about what anyone's subjective aesthetic preferences are. I do have an interest an accurately depicting the actual differences in play approaches, rather than some bogus like real life framing that treats one sort of eliding of details as fundamentally more virtuous than another sort.

Given the medium none of us can accurately depict an entire fictional world. We all choose details to elide and others to focus on. That we all elide some details and foreground others does not mean there is no meaningful distinctions. Those distinctions have a demonstrable impact on play. Just not the ones being put forward in this thread.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Here's my personal take on knowledge checks - what a character knows is something I would prefer we use judgement and/or work together to establish as needed. The uncertainty we are resolving is not fictional uncertainty, but the uncertainty of the players at the table (including the GM). When running traditional games my solution is to largely consult skills and what has been established about the character in question to decide what they know. The roll is just white noise.
 

Don’t you think “the knowledge kit’s” limits are contingent upon whose kit it is though?

Absolutely. I've indicated repeatedly that there's intrinsic problems with how games handle knowledge skills in general. But I think anything that really did the job right would be very complex (because it has to deal with core data for a knowledge area, peripheral data, specialized data, and then the retrieval of same, not to mention as you averred in a prior post, whether some of what you remember is just wrong, or you remember it wrong).

This is not helped by the fact most games tend to have a relatively fixed-breadth of what skills cover, where in reality what a given area of knowledge covers can range from things that really are analogous to the backpack situation (because there's a very small number of extremely specific facts that are relevant to it) to things where no one in the field knows the whole of it because its too large, let alone always realizing where their knowledge exactly ends. Very few game skills are so narrow to land in the small-end of the case, and very few are set up so you can have various degrees (usually skills in user-defined cases either because the whole system rolls that way, or as with Hero knowledges and sciences because the category is generic and you pretty much decide how narrow or broadly to define it yourself when you take it). So when I'm talking about knowledge skills in games, I'm assuming the relatively broad skills that typical for the hobby, especially the D&D end of it.

Regarding actual kit, multi-tools (or the proficient user's ability to use mundane tools in creative, multi-purpose ways) does a lot of heavy lifting. Blades in the Dark doesn't just emulate "the right tool for the job", but it also emulates this. Stonetop has very similar loadout handling to Blades (with a unique flourish in its "Small Items" rider to the typical "Have What You Need" handling of Loadout) for this. Dungeon World handles this with "Adventuring Gear" being the catch-all for "Have What You Need" (you purchase AG @ x uses + y Load and pull from it to "Have What You Need" in terms of basic tools and supplies).

Given what I see on these boards (and my own experience GMing) regarding 5e, the deployment (and skillful deployment) of equipment/gear/supplies in Dungeon World, Stonetop, Blades is a foundational aspect of play...while its effectively outright missing in 5e. That has to say something about the relative gameplay-facilitating functionality of this brand of loading out and inventory management, doesn't it?

Absolutely. 5e has moved considerably away from the early D&D resource-management model that I gather some indie games have returned to, and is not really set up to support the sort of thing Blades does unless the players are all interested in and capable of engaging heavily with the prep end of it.

I'm just arguing that the people who do not want to engage with the solutions to that problem are not being inconsistent. The people trying to suggest they are simply aren't approaching it from the same angle, so it seems inconsistent to them.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Well see, for me I’d like DnD to appeal to as broad a number of people as possible. So with abstract equipment rules, everyone gets what they want. The equipment lists are still there for the immersionists to go nuts with, tracking every single nut and washer the character is carrying.

At the same time,players like me get what we want too. We can abstract things away and do so in a structured mechanical framework instead of an ad hoc homebrew system that may not be well tested or thought out.

So the point is everyone gets what they want instead of one group forcing everyone to play the way they want to.
That's understandable, although it sounds like it wouldn't have done you any good in the game you described.
 

From my vantage point this is not a conversation about preferences. I do not really care about what anyone's subjective aesthetic preferences are. I do have an interest an accurately depicting the actual differences in play approaches, rather than some bogus like real life framing that treats one sort of eliding of details as fundamentally more virtuous than another sort.

See, while I know some people may frame it as more "virtuous", that's not what I think its about; its about how disruptive one is to their engagement compared to the other. On those grounds, I think the lines can be usefully drawn for all the fact the matter to some people and not to others.

Given the medium none of us can accurately depict an entire fictional world. We all choose details to elide and others to focus on. That we all elide some details and foreground others does not mean there is no meaningful distinctions. Those distinctions have a demonstrable impact on play. Just not the ones being put forward in this thread.

Well, as I've noted, avoiding some kinds of abstraction and mechanical stylization makes some genres and kinds of games either difficult or impossible to execute. But all that means is that some people will find those particular types of genres and games ones they avoid. As I noted, I've had one reader of this thread in a different, related thread be quite honest about that, and I suspect others would too if pressed.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I think, since this thread was initially about gamism, I’d say that I wish game designers and players took that into consideration. How does the inventory aspect play as part of the game? Does it offer meaningul decision points? Does it create interesting events in play? Does it inform other elements of play? In short… does it matter?

Having encumbrance and tracked resources works for specific play modes like dungeon delving or wilderness travel. So for early editions of D&D or retroclones like OSE, that is an important part of the play experience; managing your resources versus acquiring treasure. That element is largely absent in 5e, which has a far less narrow focus.

As @Malmuria said, doing things that way is largely a lingering remnant of the earlier systems. But given the other changes in the game, it’s a remnant that doesn’t really make sense. The encumberance rules, the GP economy, the kits of equipment, and many many abilities that are immediately available at character generation… all of these things work against the kind of resource management that funcions as a gamist element. These different elements of the game are either not working in unison or are entirely at odds.

I’d rather have seen the designers either introduce rules of some kind, any kind, to make that part of the game meaningful, or else simply not worry about it at all.

I’ve run a lot of 5e. I’ve played a good amount as well. I’ve stopped worrying at all what gear is on the character sheets. Basically, if a player says they have something, I allow it. This has not really affected our games at all, other than I have players who are a bit less frustrated.

I think 5e does what it does because that’s the way it’s been done in the past, and they didn’t consider how other changes made would impact that (or perhaps more likely they realized and decided not to worry about it). I think this also applies to a lot of players and GMs. This is the way it’s always been done, and nothing else makes sense to them.
 

I think, since this thread was initially about gamism, I’d say that I wish game designers and players took that into consideration. How does the inventory aspect play as part of the game? Does it offer meaningul decision points? Does it create interesting events in play? Does it inform other elements of play? In short… does it matter?
[Much snippage]

I just wanted to note that I agree completely with this post. I really do think a lot of game design often does itself no virtues when viewed from the game end of things. Now, with some cases this is no surprise, since there are absolutely parts of this hobby that think the "game" in "role-playing game" should be taken out behind the shed and shot. But there's fair number of people who avowedly think the game elements have at least some import, without sitting down to decide what that means, and how much they want to give it attention.
 

Because the chance of a randomly selected artwork having been done by a master the player knows is related to the amount of knowledge the player has, and so it seemed like a name to use for the die roll?


Because there was no reason to specify it before?


Because it would be pretty tedious to have detailed lists about everything in the world that a player might be interested in?



Because the list of things likely to be carried feels like a really small proper set of "everything in the universe the players might possibly care about and maybe know about?"

It feels like that question might have been a gotcha for someone who said loadout seemed like a really different mechanic than what a lot of 5e DMs might do by either letting a character have a really common item even if they didn't write it down or would give a chance the character or someone in the party would have it since the characters presumably were vaguely competent. I've said a few times I don't feel those two equipment related things (loadout for standard gear and allowing some looseness with D&D equipment) are that different.



So the GM says sure, you find out there's a person in the town you're in who is known to have a nice specimen of artwork. Your source for that info doesn't know who the artisan is. And so you have your character do whatever and go to the location and looks at it.

Can the GM say it's by a young master Hergberty that your character doesn't know?

Does the answer depend at all on that being the GM determining something about your character's past? (That you weren't, say, one of the judges that decided Hergberty became a master.)

If it is ok, is it ok even if the GM made a roll based on your art knowledge skill to see if it was a master you knew or not, or are they not allowed to make such a roll?

If you are fine with the GM rolling themselves, but not asking the player to, please briefly elaborate. (If you previously objected, never mind).

If it is not ok for the GM to say your character doesn't know Hergberty without checking with you first, what mechanism could be used to make sure you didn't know them? (Can they ask you to name all the masters you don't recognize and which geographic regions your knowledge is less than 100% in?)
I don't think anyone suggested such a mechanic. I think the suggested mechanic was something like the player asserting (upon inspecting the work, or perhaps even when they hear about it inquire as to the painter) that it was painted by a master they know. If the answer is "you didn't achieve your intent" then sure, the GM could say "Some guy you never heard of, Hergberty painted it" assuming whatever you were aiming for relied on you knowing the artist was Samson. Nothing the character knows is in doubt in that case, and I'd note that there's no particular reason for this outcome to depend on any specific level of skill as an art expert. It could simply be a roll on a table, or something like PbtA's 2d12 kind of mechanics where it is probably true on a 7+.
 

The downtime shopping in your game sounds like useless busywork where no meaningful choices are made. You have more gold than you know what to do with to buy items that will never come into play. I guess this is a function of the role of mundane equipment, encumbrance, gold, and maybe downtime in general in 5e: they are largely vestigial elements of the game. For it to be meaningful, there would have to be limits and tradeoffs that would be impactful later. I have a limited amount of gold, I can either purchase the services of this hireling or do some spell research, which will be more useful? I have a hard limit on things I can carry, and I can't see in the dark or magically conjure up food and water, how am I going to get to the dungeon and back? Having an abstracted inventory system negates the meaningfulness of those kind of choices.
Right, imagine by contrast AD&D 1e. There is a LOT of valuable equipment which is well beyond the purchasing power of a level 1 PC when first rolled up (max fighter gold is 200gp and Platemail armor is 500gp for example). Furthermore you need money for henchmen, hirelings, transport, and possibly training if you use that rule. While most AD&D characters will probably amass sufficient gold to buy any equipment they wish by some point in the low-mid levels expenses are a non-trivial part of the game, and most every class has concerns there. Fighters need to amass a huge horde so they can build a freehold and attract followers. Wizards constantly need money to pay for spells, components, alchemical gear and such if they make potions, scroll materials, etc. Thieves also normally develop followers, needs for bribes and such, and eventually a whole guild to support. Rangers and Paladins have to give away most of their money, and STILL need support for followers, etc. Clerics pay tithes and also build bases and support followers, etc. etc. etc.

While you can kind of emulate some of that in 5e, it sure isn't built into the game, and I'd venture to speculate that in 90% of games the PCs just pile up treasure and have little use for it.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I don't think anyone suggested such a mechanic. I think the suggested mechanic was something like the player asserting (upon inspecting the work, or perhaps even when they hear about it inquire as to the painter) that it was painted by a master they know. If the answer is "you didn't achieve your intent" then sure, the GM could say "Some guy you never heard of, Hergberty painted it" assuming whatever you were aiming for relied on you knowing the artist was Samson. Nothing the character knows is in doubt in that case, and I'd note that there's no particular reason for this outcome to depend on any specific level of skill as an art expert. It could simply be a roll on a table, or something like PbtA's 2d12 kind of mechanics where it is probably true on a 7+.
I was kind of suggesting the random roll (in a D&D context) to see if the character recognizes who the craftsmen was, with the knowledge of the character serving as the modifier (higher knowledge going with knowing more of the masters).

Thank you for clarifying an alternative!
 

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