D&D 5E We're Getting Old - and is WotC Accounting For That?

Starfox

Hero
I just need a game where the mechanics engender interesting stuff!

As a tangent to this, I find that I (and even more so [MENTION=60045]Tuft[/MENTION]) uses the resolution mechanics a little differently. Most tasks PCs perform are things they know fairly well how to do, so success is very likely. But we still roll the dice, to see if any "interesting stuff" crops up. Basically every task has 4 possible outcomes:

"Interesting" bad, also known as a fumble.

Failure - which can often be narrated as interesting in that it is not object failure, but introduces some complication or ongoing task. In general, it takes more than a single failed roll for something to actually fail.

Success - the expected result, and in many cases the least exiting "interesting" result, at least for the GM. The story progresses much as the player intended, which leaves the initiative in the player's hands.

"Interesting" good, critical success, or spectacular success. This is often where a complication crops up, but in a good way. The acting character gets a windfall, but must also decide how to use this, which can sometimes be a distraction from the main task. Teenagers From Outer Space (Talsorian games) was a humor game that had an interesting angle on this - if you succeeded by a big enough margin, you succeeded too well, which was actually counterproductive. All in the interest of "interesting results" comedy.

Let me give an example to illustrate this. Diggy the detective is asking about for the whereabouts of the villains hangout.

Fumble: The villains spot Diggy by chance and confront him.

Failure: Diggy gets no response and starts a few rumors himself - the GM tells the player that he can try again, but a repeat failure will count as a fumble.

Success: Diggy finds the information he seeks.

Critical success: Diggy overhear some villains talking, and get a chance to follow one of them back to the hideout - but they spoke of a murder, maybe following the other guy to see if he will attack someone is a better option? In TFOS this would have been something like the villains inviting the hero to be drinking buddies - all without recognizing him - leaving him with a few new villain friends and a hangover.

Few games talk a lot about this, but most systems can be played this way, it is more a question of GMing style than of actualgame rules.
 
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But I agree that DMing takes a lot of prep. As a result, most players don't want to be DMs, and many that do get burned out due to prep. I got burned out of 3rd Edition about 7 years ago (I ran about two years of d20 Modern), and a DM more enthusiastic got burned out by Pathfinder pretty recently, and is now thinking of running 13th Age instead. I wonder how many groups either didn't start, or fell apart, due to a lack of DMs.

Everyone in our group likes the *idea* of GM'ing, but for about 8 years only one person could actually stick with it before getting frustrated and quitting the campaign. When we moved to 4th Ed in 2008 I was able to more consistently GM (ran my first ever multi-session, non-abortive campaign; lasted a year), and now I share DM'ing duties co-equally.

Agreed - and the amount of prep different games take is different and this needs taking into account. I can run Fiasco on literally thirty seconds' notice and my smartphone, but that isn't a campaign game. 4e I've never been in a group that wasn't made up more than half of GMs. Making the game a joy to DM can only be a good thing.

I honestly think D&D Next's version of Encounters should be about "DMing 101"

That would be awesome.

I think what @pemerton is saying (and I agree 100% with this) is that, with a really great system for D&D, we are generating the "interesting stuff" with and because of the mechanics, not in spite of them.

This. And this is one reason I love both the Cortex+ family of games (Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Firefly (currently playtesting)), and the Powered By The Apocalypse Games (Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Monsterhearts, Monster of the Week, Tremulus). In the Cortex Plus family the players are encouraged to bring up the aspects of the scene that they find relevant and interesting in narrative descriptions - each scene element adds a dice to your dice pool, and in the PbtA family most of the successes are successes with consequences - which one the player picks is an interesting question, and every time you pick up the dice it matters.

(Other games that really bring things in from the mechanics include Dread, Dogs in the Vineyard, and Fate).
 

pemerton

Legend
one reason I love <snip> the Cortex+ family of games (Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Firefly (currently playtesting)),

<snip>

In the Cortex Plus family the players are encouraged to bring up the aspects of the scene that they find relevant and interesting in narrative descriptions - each scene element adds a dice to your dice
I don't think you ever commented on my MHRP post here. (And to make that less off-topic: even though I'm getting old I managed to GM a session of a new game!)
 

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