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The Death of Simulation

Lanefan

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

This is a fact.
This is a theory, as at this point is much of what we know about 4e. That said, the evidence is piling up fast...
D&D 4e is not ideally suited to sandbox play or rules-emergent world building.
What do you mean by "sandbox play"?
We don't need 40 Threads that amount to whining about this fact.
Yes we do. As it has been stated that initial design is even now still in flux - never mind secondary design for the second-third-fourth round of core releases - *and* that WotC are paying at least some attention to what is said here, then having 40, or 60, or 320 posts/threads asking "where'd the simulation (def.: realism) go?" would indicate there's at least some desire for them to keep it/put it back.
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.
I'm not sure 3e was the heyday here, as it was more rules-heavy. The lighter the rule-set, the more (or less) realistic things can be made, depending on the DM.

Lanefan
 

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Kunimatyu

First Post
UngeheuerLich said:
jep, but there is only one verb which is used for both^^ and lb is still a mass unit ;)

another problem is, that you can´t use enchanted mage hand things to propell your ship, because at least the magehand thingy is magical... so it doesn´t work even then.

But maybe you could try using a magic/antimagic drive and use the free energy... ;)

Or handwave it with an Eldritch Machine and get on with the damn story?
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
ThirdWizard said:
The ring thing is part and parcel for the simulationist/gamist divide.

The Simulationist sees that you can't wear Rings until 11th level and asks "Why is the character able to put on a Ring and nothing happen at 10th, but at 11th level the ring functions?" And from that starting point, the question is answered.

The Gamist sees that you can't wear Rings until 11th level and asks "What powers does a Ring have that make it inappropriate for a character of 10th level, but appropriate for a character of 11th level?" And from that starting point, the question is answered.

This is the true difference between the simulationist and the gamist. And, this is why I think, as far as the 4e rules are concerned, the designers are putting gamist questions ahead of the simulationist.

Well said....what shall we call a halfbreed with mixed simulationalist/gamist parentage?

Cause I think that's where I fall... :D
 

skeptic said:
In a clearly gamist RPG, the DM is a opponent, not a storyteller.

That's not true; even in a gamist RPG, the GM still has the fundamental duty of all GMs:

"Ensure everyone has a good time."

Now, when people pick "gamist" play, they're having fun facing down challenges presented by the GM, granting it a semblance of adversarial play. But the "everyone has fun!" objective is overriding.
 



mmadsen

First Post
SkidAce said:
What shall we call a halfbreed with mixed simulationalist/gamist parentage?
Normal.

Most people want a game that simulates a fantasy world full of adventure. They want a challenge, but they want it to be free-form enough that they can "think out of the box" and not just run the numbers within a well-defined list of options.
 

Alnag

First Post
D&D is pretty simulationist game and it always was. It is a simulation of specific genre indeed. Not real world physics. It simulates sword & sorcery fantasy. Heroic one. It do a great job. It works. And I see no big change in this paradigm...

D&D has a great element of gamism. Indeed. It has XPs and challenges... but it might not be used solely that way. And if it is not, the other part of it - the simulation one is stronger than.

There is not much of a drama, although one might speculate about this one as well, and I have heard pretty good specualtion about it too.

But please, spare us bitching about how the game is no longer simulationist. In your definition of that it never was in the first place. In mine it still is and will be.
 

Cbas_10

First Post
ThirdWizard said:
The ring thing is part and parcel for the simulationist/gamist divide.

The Simulationist sees that you can't wear Rings until 11th level and asks "Why is the character able to put on a Ring and nothing happen at 10th, but at 11th level the ring functions?" And from that starting point, the question is answered.

The Gamist sees that you can't wear Rings until 11th level and asks "What powers does a Ring have that make it inappropriate for a character of 10th level, but appropriate for a character of 11th level?" And from that starting point, the question is answered.

This is the true difference between the simulationist and the gamist. And, this is why I think, as far as the 4e rules are concerned, the designers are putting gamist questions ahead of the simulationist.

Well, if I had to label myself, this would firmly entrench me with the Simulationist crowd. Unless, of course, there is something in the game that would give some reason - from more of a character's perspective - why this phenomenon exists.

Wait....I guess that is still simulationist. But, I don't need realism as much as I want a sensible reason why something works like it does. "Wizards can make +2 armor once they reach 6th level because they are then able to channel that much energy and harness that power when they have sufficient skill" seems a lot more sensible and interesting in a story sense than "your Ring of Doing-Something-Interesting won't work until you have garnered a certain amount of skill and experience that has nothing at all to do with wearing and using that Ring."
 

apoptosis

First Post
Cbas_10 said:
Well, if I had to label myself, this would firmly entrench me with the Simulationist crowd. Unless, of course, there is something in the game that would give some reason - from more of a character's perspective - why this phenomenon exists.

Wait....I guess that is still simulationist. But, I don't need realism as much as I want a sensible reason why something works like it does. "Wizards can make +2 armor once they reach 6th level because they are then able to channel that much energy and harness that power when they have sufficient skill" seems a lot more sensible and interesting in a story sense than "your Ring of Doing-Something-Interesting won't work until you have garnered a certain amount of skill and experience that has nothing at all to do with wearing and using that Ring."

I think it is important to think why a rule is being made. All gamist rules can be explained retroactively and *seem* to be simulationist.

It is not necessarily always the result that is important but the intent.

"Why is the rule being developed that way"

For instance I believe spell memorization was really a way to balance magic-users with fighters. It could be explained and made sense (seemingly simulationist) but i think it really was a way to balance a wizard's power (though Gary would have to chime in on this if this is the case)

Use Magic device was similar. It could be explained away (like from the old Cugel stories) but it was to improve the effectiveness and desirability of rogues.

Gamism does not necessarily prevent good explanations, (of course you can explain anything away) but these ideas help figure out why a rule is being made.

All RPGs have some element of gamism and simulationism. These terms really just mean the underlying purpose of certain rules and game design choices.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Cbas_10 said:
Well, if I had to label myself, this would firmly entrench me with the Simulationist crowd. Unless, of course, there is something in the game that would give some reason - from more of a character's perspective - why this phenomenon exists.

Wait....I guess that is still simulationist. But, I don't need realism as much as I want a sensible reason why something works like it does. "Wizards can make +2 armor once they reach 6th level because they are then able to channel that much energy and harness that power when they have sufficient skill" seems a lot more sensible and interesting in a story sense than "your Ring of Doing-Something-Interesting won't work until you have garnered a certain amount of skill and experience that has nothing at all to do with wearing and using that Ring."

Really, thats no different than:

Bob, you gained 6,000 xp from slaying the mindflayers in the Evil Temple. You are now 9th level, and you get a bunch of followers who like you and follow your orders"

Bob: "Sweet. Where were they when I was SLAYING those mindflayers?"

Sorry, you weren't powerful enough then.
 

marune

First Post
Professor Phobos said:
That's not true; even in a gamist RPG, the GM still has the fundamental duty of all GMs:

"Ensure everyone has a good time."

I agree if I can rephrase it to : "ensure everyone has a fair share of the spotlight".

Professor Phobos said:
Now, when people pick "gamist" play, they're having fun facing down challenges presented by the GM, granting it a semblance of adversarial play. But the "everyone has fun!" objective is overriding.

I could agree that "opponent" may be too simple to describe what a DM is in a gamist play.

However, storyteller is far more troublesome.
 

Cbas_10

First Post
Remathilis said:
Really, thats no different than:

Bob, you gained 6,000 xp from slaying the mindflayers in the Evil Temple. You are now 9th level, and you get a bunch of followers who like you and follow your orders"

Bob: "Sweet. Where were they when I was SLAYING those mindflayers?"

Sorry, you weren't powerful enough then.

Actually, that can be easily explained....in terms of my gaming style. It might not apply to yours, which is cool. We are not forced to play by each other's styles.

One of my games.... said:
DM: "Now that your characters have gotten back from the Temple and we finished handling the stuff your characters were buying and selling, we'll end the session for today. Here's your XP....see you next game."

Bob: "Cool....6,000xp bumps me up to 9th level, which allows me to take a feat...specifically the Leadership feat."

DM: "Allright. Bob, your character's exploits, bragging at the tavern, and fearsome reputation have made all that time and effort trying to spread his name worthwhile...x-number of guys start to trickle in, wanting to follow your example and follow you for various reasons. That last battle with the mindflayers must have really impressed these guys enough to commit to you."

Aside from seeing the really annoying precedent in Neverwinter Nights (where I'd walk around with a +3 longsword that was highlighted red and unusable until I hit a certain level), I really don't "get" a justification that I can get my players to swallow when I say, "Sorry...that ring is inert until the game sheet that your character has no comprehension of has a certain number scrawled upon it."
 

Lord Sessadore

Explorer
I just have one question to pose to everyone desiring realism in the D&D ruleset (of any edition):

How do you propose to make a game in which heroes are expected to fight dragons and demons and such realistic in comparison to our world? If your heroes were of (real) human fragility, they'd be little more than the tomatoes to go in the monster's pasta sauce for supper.

"Hey Smaug, wanna chop up some of those elves to add a little spice to the stir-fry tonight?" "Sure thing, Ashardalon!"

~LS
 

Cbas_10

First Post
Lord Sessadore said:
I just have one question to pose to everyone desiring realism in the D&D ruleset (of any edition):

How do you propose to make a game in which heroes are expected to fight dragons and demons and such realistic in comparison to our world? If your heroes were of (real) human fragility, they'd be little more than the tomatoes to go in the monster's pasta sauce for supper.

"Hey Smaug, wanna chop up some of those elves to add a little spice to the stir-fry tonight?" "Sure thing, Ashardalon!"

~LS

Well, I'll reference back to my first post in this thread. This is a fantasy game that requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. However, we all have different degrees of this. The game should support a flexible enough system to support mine AND yours with some limited twealing.

To answer your question, Lord Sess....my game is not one where "heroes are required to do anything." Mine is one where relatively ordinary (relatively, in comparison to a world populated by elves, magic, and other-worldly contacts) people find themselves in relatively extraordinary situations. Characters are people in the world that become heroes by deed.....they are not heroes because they happen to be fully written up as PCs on a sheet of paper.
 

ThirdWizard

First Post
Cbas_10 said:
Actually, that can be easily explained....in terms of my gaming style. It might not apply to yours, which is cool. We are not forced to play by each other's styles.

It isn't really about explaining things, though. Anything can be explained. The questions "from where does this rule originate" is probably more accurate.

Larger creatures having -1 to AC is probably simulationist. People thought about big monsters and said "hitting bigger things is easier." And so they added a rule that makes it so.

Having to be higher level to craft a higher plus into a weapon is gamist, on the other hand. A developer decided that PCs shouldn't be able to make +4 weapons at 5th level because it would be unbalancing. Then later, fluff can be added to the rule for in-character explanation.

An RPG is not going to be purely simulationist or gamist. You'll always have things like both of these examples. And that's fine. Both simulationist and gamist philosophies, I think, must be in any roleplaying game for it to work. The question is the degree to which each is going to be held in importance by the developers. When will gamism trump simulationism and vice versa become important questions that must be answered. It looks like in 4e's case, gamism is taking the forefront, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

NOTE: I didn't mean to start up the Ring thing in this thread. I think it exemplifies the clash, and if we look at it dispassionately, then we can more easily come to an understanding between groups. I don't think that simulationists and gamists need be at odds, as I don't think anyone is just one or just the other. (Well, maybe somebody ;)).
 

apoptosis

First Post
Lord Sessadore said:
I just have one question to pose to everyone desiring realism in the D&D ruleset (of any edition):

How do you propose to make a game in which heroes are expected to fight dragons and demons and such realistic in comparison to our world? If your heroes were of (real) human fragility, they'd be little more than the tomatoes to go in the monster's pasta sauce for supper.

"Hey Smaug, wanna chop up some of those elves to add a little spice to the stir-fry tonight?" "Sure thing, Ashardalon!"

~LS

This goes back to simulationism is not realism.

The world is already fantastical, this we know almost by definition of the game.

The next question is what is the impact of fantastical elements.

WIth some it is straightforward...wizards use magic (not real)....

Otherways it could be less straightforward such as...heroes are more indestructible than non-heroes

If this is part of the "physics" of the world then it is still "real" based on the mechanics that shape that imaginary world.

That is why the use of simulationism is used vs realism. The game is not real. Many many things in the game do not resemble reality in any way, shape or form.

There is a drive for internal consistency though given that fantastical elements (whatever they are) exist.

This goes back to the falling issue. People want falling say 1000' to be lethal no matter the character level (not doing hp damage just killing the poor guy).

But being hit by an object in combat that is equivalent to falling 1000' they dont want to necessarily be lethal (just do hp damage).

Given that in both cases the guy got hit with the same amount of force, whiy should one be lethal and the other not.

Or if someone is dropped in lave (some think they should basically die instantly regardless of hp because being dropped in lava is deadly for anyone) but if a wizard creates a spell that is equivalent to being dropped in lava, very few think that instant death should be the result (regardless of hp).
 

Lord Sessadore

Explorer
Cbas_10 said:
Well, I'll reference back to my first post in this thread. This is a fantasy game that requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. However, we all have different degrees of this. The game should support a flexible enough system to support mine AND yours with some limited twealing.

To answer your question, Lord Sess....my game is not one where "heroes are required to do anything." Mine is one where relatively ordinary (relatively, in comparison to a world populated by elves, magic, and other-worldly contacts) people find themselves in relatively extraordinary situations. Characters are people in the world that become heroes by deed.....they are not heroes because they happen to be fully written up as PCs on a sheet of paper.
I would tend to agree with that, and that's the sort of basis for how I want my game to be as well. I was merely making the (apparently) same point you did earlier - that the game world is not like our reality, and so any attempt to model it as such is fairly ludicrous.

If you only want your PCs to ever battle goblins and orcs, and those in small numbers, then go merrily on your way with realism. However, to design a game in which there is the possibility of confronting enormously powerful mythological creatures with any reasonable hope of victory, realism must fall by the wayside.

Simulationism, though, I think could be attained. That is, to make the internal physics and laws of the game world consistent. I also think that most of the simulationism of a given game world can be reasonably back engineered from more gamist arbitrations and rules. You just have to get creative. The enjoyability of the system by the majority of the fans should be paramount to either design perspective though. Not saying definitely that they are or are not achieving that, just saying that concern should supersede all others. It is a game, after all, not a physics engine.

~LS
 

apoptosis

First Post
Lord Sessadore said:
I also think that most of the simulationism of a given game world can be reasonably back engineered from more gamist arbitrations and rules. You just have to get creative.

~LS

This is kind of the point i was trying to get at. It is really the intent in designing the rule and not the necessary effect of the rule.

Almost any gamist rule can be explained in a way to resemble it having been a simulationist decision.

It is really why was the rule made that is important when talking about simulationist and gamist designs as it can help let you know whether the game is good fit for your group based on what it focuses on.
 

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