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The Death of Simulation

Charwoman Gene

Adventurer
Simulation has been eliminated as a design goal in 4e.

This is a fact.

D&D 4e is not ideally suited to sandbox play or rules-emergent world building.

We don't need 40 Threads that amount to whining about this fact. Butt-kicking and story building, it's got them covered although details there can be argued, but the only way to salvage simulation is to SCRAP 4e as it exists. That's not happening. I am really tired of people slagging on every detail that is run over by the non-simulation train.

I feel bad for simulation players and DMs, it reflects the sandbox experience I wish I could find others to enjoy with me. 3e was kind of a heyday for you. But its done, if you want to protest, speak with your wallet and voices, but let the criticism focus on what can be fixed.
 

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marune

First Post
Charwoman Gene said:
Simulation has been eliminated as a design goal in 4e.

This is a fact.

D&D 4e is not ideally suited to sandbox play or rules-emergent world building.

We don't need 40 Threads that amount to whining about this fact.

D&D was always more gamist than simulationist.

4E design rightly seems to be clearly/explicitly gamist, however I won't be sure until I read the DMG.

IMHO, that's a good thing because the gamist/sim mix in D&D was often incoherent.

Also, I don't like gamism called Butt-kicking, because solving mysteries for instance can be as much gamist as dungeon crawl.

Also, for story building, sorry but D&D never supported it and 4E won't change that.
 
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Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
Hit points and levels never made the game very "simulationist" in my opinion. The abstraction is just too far away from anything concrete in the real world as to be counted for simulating something.
 

Anthtriel

First Post
skeptic said:
D&D was always more gamist than simulationist.

4E design rightly seems to be clearly/explicitly gamist, however I won't be sure until I read the DMG.

IMHO, that's a good thing because the gamist/sim mix in D&D was often incoherent.
The argument is that people should accept it and move on. But given that they are a couple of people around here that openly state they have no interest in 4E (other than to complain about it), that appeal likely won't bear fruit.

Also, I don't believe any one is pure gamist, or pure simulationist. We don't know all the details yet, and 4E could still be interesting even for those leaning on the simulationist side, or be too gamist for the others.
 

Khur

Sympathy for the Devil
The only way to have raw simulation in any version of D&D was to scrap big chunks of it and rebuild.

I find it kind of strange that anyone thinks 3e was a heyday of D&D simulation, other than in very liberal comparison to earlier editions. D&D has never been a simulationist game, and 3e was no exception. Sure, you had rules that let a character die of exposure or from drowning, and neither subsystem felt very heroic or fun. As many others have pointed out on these very boards, such 3e rules were, at the very least, inconsistent. When they dealt with hp, they strayed from simulation as quickly as anything else that dealt with hp.

Take Sidewinder, Grim Tales, and Forbidden Kingdoms as public examples, and a version of the rules I did for a gritty Eberron campaign as an experiential one for me. Lots of changes were required to make the d20 system even approach a lower cinematic norm. Much more would be required to make it seem anything like realistic, or simulationist if you prefer.

I might take exception to the idea that the D&D game never supported story building, and the idea that 4e won't change that, but I'm not sure what that assertion really means. We'd need to start from a commonly defined "story building" and commonly defined "support."
 





WyzardWhately

First Post
A game being "simulationist" has nothing to do with realism.

The two concepts are largely unrelated. Simulationist arguments essentially mean that the rules are the game-world's laws of physics, and vice versa. So, essentially, what they are saying is that the rules should reflect the way things are supposed to work IC. You can run an absolutely simulationist game where a guy with a hundred hit points can fall a hundred feet onto a stone floor, take his 10d6, get back up, dust himself off, and be merely bruised. It doesn't have to reflect the real world at all. The simulationist, however, needs to have an explanation of why the game-world's physics feel like that, and the characters who live therein will be aware of it and know that that's how the world works. So, if someone who is known to be an all-star badass dies from falling off a horse, they're going to be rightly shocked and expect some deeper conspiracy, unlike in the real world where, to be frank, :):):):) happens.

Simulationism only requires that the game follow some kind of internal logic, and that the characters be able to determine what that is. What breaks sim is when gamist or other elements violate that internal logic, not when it violates real-world principles and experience.
 


Voss

First Post
Charwoman Gene said:
Simulation has been eliminated as a design goal in 4e.

This is a fact.

D&D 4e is not ideally suited to sandbox play or rules-emergent world building.

You can do it with any game. You can do it with D&D minis, or warhammer or even risk or axis and allies if you really want it to. It helps if the rules aren't jumping out at the player, kicking them in the head and shouting "You're playing a game, stupid", but it can be done.

We don't need 40 Threads that amount to whining about this fact. Butt-kicking and story building, it's got them covered although details there can be argued, but the only way to salvage simulation is to SCRAP 4e as it exists. That's not happening. I am really tired of people slagging on every detail that is run over by the non-simulation train.

So, essentially, don't post here if you have a different opinion? Nice.

I feel bad for simulation players and DMs, it reflects the sandbox experience I wish I could find others to enjoy with me. 3e was kind of a heyday for you. But its done, if you want to protest, speak with your wallet and voices, but let the criticism focus on what can be fixed.

Nurr. 3e? No. 3e was almost solely about number crunching and having the biggest pile of bonuses possible. Roleplaying of any sort was something you did on your own time, actively struggling against a rules set that didn't really care about it at all. Which, of course, is always possible, but its a far cry from a heyday. 4e actually looks to me like its trying to support both, but in different areas. And when it fails, its very, very gamist, to the point of kicking the player in the head. When it suceeds, it looks more promising than any edition of D&D since BXCMI.
 

IceFractal

First Post
Simulationist doesn't have to mean realistic, in any way relating to the real world. A system with giant space hamsters where gravity fluctuated based on the day of the week could be highly simulationist, if it had internal logic and stuck to it.

It just means that the system has internal "laws of physics" (metaphorically speaking), and it sticks to them whether or not that's balanced, whether or not it makes a good story. You can get several benefits from this, of which approximating reality more closely is only one possbility.


Another is emergent gameplay/properties. It's ironic that while many people are trying to put emergent gameplay into electronic games (see Spore, for example), it no longer seems welcome in "modern" tabletop RPGs. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about:

A while ago, in a thread not that far away, there was a discussion on how to visit other planets in a D&D setting, using existing material. Teleport requiring familiarity, a ship to actually fly around looking for them was needed. One of the proposals was, once the ship was in space, to use a large array of "Mage Hand" magical traps to propel the ship forward at high speed. This was made possible by the fact that once in space, the ship's lack of weight put it within Mage Hand's limit.

Not only was this an interesting idea, but it had emergent properties. Just like many hypothetical space propulsion systems in science fiction, it didn't work within a gravity well, and thus required the ship to stay in space and send down shuttles to explore planets. This wasn't something added to the rules, it naturally occured from the interaction of existing components.

Now this couldn't have occured in a purely gamist system - it relies entirely on the kind of loopholes and secondary effects 4E is trying to stamp out. And it would only occur by pure chance in a storytelling system - if having a starship is part of the story, you don't need to figure out the cheapest way to construct it.


That kind of creativity - not just thinking of an interesting thing, but figuring out how to construct it within the game system; and emergent gameplay, where unexpected things that neither the players, DM, or game designer expected can turn up - that's what I'm looking for in simulationism.

And while 3E certainly isn't pure simulation, and 4E doesn't discard it entirely, the amount of it does seem noticably reduced, from what I've seen.
 

Reynard

Legend
WyzardWhately said:
Simulationism only requires that the game follow some kind of internal logic, and that the characters be able to determine what that is. What breaks sim is when gamist or other elements violate that internal logic, not when it violates real-world principles and experience.

Thanks. You saved me a whole bunch of typing.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
IceFractal said:
Simulationist doesn't have to mean realistic, in any way relating to the real world. A system with giant space hamsters where gravity fluctuated based on the day of the week could be highly simulationist, if it had internal logic and stuck to it.

It just means that the system has internal "laws of physics" (metaphorically speaking), and it sticks to them whether or not that's balanced, whether or not it makes a good story. You can get several benefits from this, of which approximating reality more closely is only one possbility.


Another is emergent gameplay/properties. It's ironic that while many people are trying to put emergent gameplay into electronic games (see Spore, for example), it no longer seems welcome in "modern" tabletop RPGs. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about:

A while ago, in a thread not that far away, there was a discussion on how to visit other planets in a D&D setting, using existing material. Teleport requiring familiarity, a ship to actually fly around looking for them was needed. One of the proposals was, once the ship was in space, to use a large array of "Mage Hand" magical traps to propel the ship forward at high speed. This was made possible by the fact that once in space, the ship's lack of weight put it within Mage Hand's limit.

Not only was this an interesting idea, but it had emergent properties. Just like many hypothetical space propulsion systems in science fiction, it didn't work within a gravity well, and thus required the ship to stay in space and send down shuttles to explore planets. This wasn't something added to the rules, it naturally occured from the interaction of existing components.

Now this couldn't have occured in a purely gamist system - it relies entirely on the kind of loopholes and secondary effects 4E is trying to stamp out. And it would only occur by pure chance in a storytelling system - if having a starship is part of the story, you don't need to figure out the cheapest way to construct it.


That kind of creativity - not just thinking of an interesting thing, but figuring out how to construct it within the game system; and emergent gameplay, where unexpected things that neither the players, DM, or game designer expected can turn up - that's what I'm looking for in simulationism.

And while 3E certainly isn't pure simulation, and 4E doesn't discard it entirely, the amount of it does seem noticably reduced, from what I've seen.
What he said. I actually ran a short campaign in which spelljammerish space travel was important. And was surprised to find the favored method of getting down to the surface past about 10th level was Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, it made a perfect re-entry "capsule". I don't think these sort of things are going to be possible with the new magic system.
 

marune

First Post
IceFractal said:
Simulationist doesn't have to mean realistic, in any way relating to the real world. A system with giant space hamsters where gravity fluctuated based on the day of the week could be highly simulationist, if it had internal logic and stuck to it.

It just means that the system has internal "laws of physics" (metaphorically speaking), and it sticks to them whether or not that's balanced, whether or not it makes a good story.

Yup, and there is a even more subtle variation called "high-concept simulationism" where the goal is to re-create a particuliar genre/theme.

Dread is a good example of this kind of game (nice use of a Jenga tower btw)
 
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Remathilis

Legend
::golfclap::

Thank you for saying what must be said, CWG!

D&D has NEVER been about simulationism. It cannot be. It never tried to be. Oh, it had a brief, torrid affair with it in that dark time we call second edition, but like all bad marriages it ended and D&D and simulationism have gone their separate ways.

And really, how can you expect it to have? Wizards "memorize" spells during the day only to "forget" them later as they are cast, but to do that you first have to "learn" them. Right...

Oh, and defeating the dragon yielded a horde of magic, gold and treasure that could buy a small kingdom, but never seems to upset the local economy, let alone throw the aristocracy into turmoil.

Speaking of treasure, just where DID that weretiger keep those 12 gold pieces?

And lets not forget the grand-daddy of them all: a 10th level fighter puts on bulky metal full-plate armor to make him harder to hit in combat, can survive roughly x10 the amount of sword strokes a first level fighter with the same armor will, and fights perfectly fine until the final sword stroke kills him (0 or lower hp).

Oh, and a swashbuckler, a druid, a ninja and a warlock not only CAN adventure together, they make a balanced team.

So simulationism be damned. I welcome any changes to D&D that make the game more fun and easier to run.
 

IceFractal said:
A while ago, in a thread not that far away, there was a discussion on how to visit other planets in a D&D setting, using existing material. Teleport requiring familiarity, a ship to actually fly around looking for them was needed. One of the proposals was, once the ship was in space, to use a large array of "Mage Hand" magical traps to propel the ship forward at high speed. This was made possible by the fact that once in space, the ship's lack of weight put it within Mage Hand's limit.

not to do nitpicking, but there´s a difference between "mass" and "weight" and you are mixing them: mage hand limitation is measured in [lbs] this is a mass unit. weight is measured in newton (kg*m/s^2) so the loss of gravity doesn´t put anything into the mage hand's limit.

on topic: I hope there are rules for drowning. And I hope those rules are not using hp damage. (Con checks vs DC seems appropriate)
 

FourthBear

First Post
If simulationism has as its central conceit using the game rules strictly to model the worlds "physics", then I think that computer aided systems will be increasingly the way to go, where the calculations can be offloaded onto a system that never gets tired, judges constantly and won't allow cheating.
 

apoptosis

First Post
WyzardWhately said:
A game being "simulationist" has nothing to do with realism.

The two concepts are largely unrelated. Simulationist arguments essentially mean that the rules are the game-world's laws of physics, and vice versa. So, essentially, what they are saying is that the rules should reflect the way things are supposed to work IC. You can run an absolutely simulationist game where a guy with a hundred hit points can fall a hundred feet onto a stone floor, take his 10d6, get back up, dust himself off, and be merely bruised. It doesn't have to reflect the real world at all. The simulationist, however, needs to have an explanation of why the game-world's physics feel like that, and the characters who live therein will be aware of it and know that that's how the world works. So, if someone who is known to be an all-star badass dies from falling off a horse, they're going to be rightly shocked and expect some deeper conspiracy, unlike in the real world where, to be frank, :):):):) happens.

Simulationism only requires that the game follow some kind of internal logic, and that the characters be able to determine what that is. What breaks sim is when gamist or other elements violate that internal logic, not when it violates real-world principles and experience.

Sounds good.

Simulation is about simulating some genre (even if the game makes up its own genre). Things happen that would happen logically even the world played-out based on its rules.

It has always been a style that is hard to define in terms of mechanics quite often but people know it when they see it.

HP have always had sim issues because what they represent are gamist mechanics but what they try to represent is how hard you are to kill based off of toughness, luck etc.

I used to love games the more simulationist they were (loved old rolemaster which could be very sim if you used enough optional rules...boy i got too dumb to keep doing that, senility and all).
 

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