Why Do You Hate An RPG System?

Nagol

Unimportant
GM: "Then why did you select 'Insatiable Kleptomaniac' as the Trouble for your character?"

How is the GM taking control of your character? If you have Fate points, you can spend a Fate point to reject the complication. If you want the Fate point, you are accepting the complication presented to you, and you get the Fate point. If you want to steal, then you are accepting the complication presented to you, and you still get the Fate point. D&D has far more readily available ways for the GM to remove player agency than anything that Fate offers.
The aspect could be something like "Likes glittery things", too. Or the character is a hypocrite.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
What you're saying is that you have a poor imagination...
Mod Note:

Insulting people is a great way to get yourself dis-invited from the thread. Please find a topic you can discuss while also treating your fellow posters with respect, as you won't be part of this conversation going forward.
 

Aldarc

Hero
The aspect could be something like "Likes glittery things", too. Or the character is a hypocrite.
IMHO, that's the fun thing about Fate. You can write your character Aspects in a wide variety of ways, and the language of these Aspects impacts the interpretation of the character and their subsequent story complications.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
IMHO, that's the fun thing about Fate. You can write your character Aspects in a wide variety of ways, and the language of these Aspects impacts the interpretation of the character and their subsequent story complications.
I agree! The free-form attributes are a wonderful thing. I like FATE games though truth be told I've used and will likely to continue to use older variations more frequently than newer. I own Dresden Files, but the only games I've run and played in are based on Strands of FATE.

I prefer Pendragon and especially the Hero system. and run them much more frequently.
 

Aldarc

Hero
I like FATE games though truth be told I've used and will likely to continue to use older variations more frequently than newer. I own Dresden Files, but the only games I've run and played in are based on Strands of FATE.
I have looked briefly into Strands of Fate and heard good things about it. However, I find that the more elaborate Fate becomes, the more difficult it becomes for me to grok. But blessed be those who enjoy it, for gaming should be fun.
 
I think I'd rather have the dice make that determination than have the GM make it because he couldn't think of anything "cooler" than taking control of my character.
You do realise that in Fate you can refuse a compel? It's not the GM making the determination - it's the player who is deciding whether it's worth accepting.
 

Aldarc

Hero
You do realise that in Fate you can refuse a compel? It's not the GM making the determination - it's the player who is deciding whether it's worth accepting.
You can also negotiate a compel with the GM, especially if you believe that the nature of the compel is out-of-character or is incongruent with the wording/intent of the Aspect. This is even discussed in the Fate-SRD:
In order to compel an aspect, explain why the aspect is relevant, and then make an offer as to what the complication is. You can negotiate the terms of the complication a bit, until you reach a reasonable consensus.
And also later:
GMs, remember that a player is ultimately responsible for everything that the character says and does. you can offer decision-based compels, but if the player doesn’t feel like the decision is one that the character would make, don’t force the issue by charging a fate point. instead, negotiate the terms of the compel until you find a decision the player is comfortable making, and a complication that chains from that decision instead. if you can’t agree on something, drop it.
Consent as part of the social contract of gaming is kinda a HUGE part of Fate.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I like Fate aspects because of self balancing. If my trouble comes up in game, I get rewarded with a chip. If it doesn't, then I don't. I like how the aspects can be used, not just for complications, but as a way to get a boost too. They are game mechanics and describe your character's personality. The Fate points can also be used to help your buddy as well, which is classic TV drama. I caused trouble, but now my "flaws" are of great help to story, (Okay, now it sounds like Curious George.🤔)

And if a player prefers the more unflawed hero type, aspects like honourable, or never refuse aid to those in need, can be easily leveraged against the character.

It's not bribery, or GM controlling your character, or meta-gaming. It's just a cool mechanic. All RPGs have out of game mechanics. I mean we are sitting around a table, usually munching on snacks or drinking beer. There's only so much immersion that can be achieved. 😊
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
You do realise that in Fate you can refuse a compel? It's not the GM making the determination - it's the player who is deciding whether it's worth accepting.
You do realize that it's usually the GM who decides to compel, yes? And that if the player wants to refuse the compel, he pays a cost to do so? It contains elements of bribery, extortion, and the GM hijacking the player's character.

I've played FATE, and I've run FATE; while I'm a better DM for the experience, I'll never do the latter again (and I don't know that I trust anyone enough to do the former, but I suppose it's possible). In my experience, there's literally nothing I want to do in a TRPG that FATE does better than anything else. In the ideal world this would go without saying, but--obviously--your experience may be different.
 

pemerton

Legend
Making a Willpower check (or whatever) is not a voluntary choice. You can no more resist doing this thing, than you can resist bleeding out when you've been shot. You don't want to do it, but you do it anyway, because you have no choice.

Role-playing is only concerned with the process of making choices.
This doesn't make sense. If it's not voluntary then it's not a choice. I don't choose to sneeze, or to bleed when shot.

But the typical compulsion to steal that might be resolved in GURPS by rolling dice is not involuntary kleptomania. It is succumbing to temptation, which is a choice and hence, as @chaochou said, is not well-modelled as a saving throw.
 

pemerton

Legend
there are things that make me say a hard "NO" to a game:
  • Games that lie to me. This typically takes a form of the game being advertised or presenting itself in the book with "You can do X in this game" while the rules do not help do X or, in some cases, even get in the way of doing X. I "can" do anything, running a freeform. A game needs to offer significantly more to be worth my money and time.
  • Games that want me to lie (me as a GM, not my NPCs). If a game advises me to bait and switch or to railroad players while giving them an illusion of choice, I won't even try running it.
  • Games that offer a lot of options and expect me to balance them somehow. I don't want to review each character and make sure it's not too strong or too weak. If it is rules legal and fits the themes of the game, I expect it to work in play. Balancing things is the designer's job, not mine. And if someone does not want to put the effort into balancing their game, they should make is simple enough that balance is not a problem.
While I think a lot of people (including me) tend to agree with your list, I have a suspicion that if we were to specifically name some games and accuse them of such things, a lot of differences of opinions might suddenly surface :) (especially since I can't really come up with any game that does any of the things you say... I can come up with some adventures that do a few of those things, though)
My experience is that AD&D 2nd ed tends to tick all three boxes - the third depending a bit on what options are in use. Rolemaster has GMing advice that ticks the second box, although it can be ignored; and can incline towards the third box if the GM is not prepared to do the sort of work in curating options that @steenan wishes to avoid. By all accounts 3E D&D ticks the third box pretty strongly.

The above might be controversial. Even more controversially, I think Runequest somewhat ticks the first box, in that its actual mechanics, while elegant and simple, can struggle to deliver a game of bronze-age fantasy adventure.
 

Aldarc

Hero
The above might be controversial. Even more controversially, I think Runequest somewhat ticks the first box, in that its actual mechanics, while elegant and simple, can struggle to deliver a game of bronze-age fantasy adventure.
In your opinion, what sort of system would be more conducive for "[delivering] a game of bronze-age fantasy"?
 

pemerton

Legend
In your opinion, what sort of system would be more conducive for "[delivering] a game of bronze-age fantasy"?
It's a good question. I'm not sure what the answer is. My main issue with RQ - what creates the "gap" between the abstract perfection of the rules (which I say with all sincerity) and my issue with play is that the rules encourage caution and avoidance of danger, whereas I feel that bronze-age fantasy adventure should encourage facing danger rather than running from it.

I've never played Agon. But it's John Harper and so I imagine pretty good.

I've played one session of In a Wicked Age. It's very evocative, and I think could be fun over time, although its resolution system is a little abstract. (Vincent Baker talked a lot about this issue with the system on his blog, in the clouds/boxes/arrows series.)

I'm not a Fate person myself, but I imagine it could do it, though being Fate it wouldn't be distinctively bronze age.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
In your opinion, what sort of system would be more conducive for "[delivering] a game of bronze-age fantasy"?
RQ II and III were early iron age fantasy.

It strongly depends on what you mean by bronze age fantasy.

GURPS and Hero (both properly limited) do a great job. I suspect a Dungeonworld variant would be fantastic at it. The One Ring would also be a system I'd consider.
 
Regarding Bronze Age fantasy:

Whether we're talking Fantasy Ancient Greece or Conan's Hyborian Age, I think it really depends on what kind of feel you're looking for.

I think subbing in AW/Blades Harm for DW HPs would be a good idea. Then you would just have to rewire how Armor works (which can be done trivially). Then you would just have to figure out what kind of individual behavior and what kind of macro premise you're promoting and integrate your Basic Moves and Playbooks into that.

But honestly, you can get away with Conan's Hyborian Age in Dungeon World. The Barbarian class playbook is cribbed directly from Conan. You would just need to curate playbooks playable, alter the Alignments a bit to reflect the premise, and change the End of Session move (and a few others) to promote the play premise.

I think any new game of this variety though needs to also use Blades' Position and Effect tech. In my opinion, its simply better than orthodox AW/DW. In the course of that though, you would have to slightly update GM move structure.
 

chaochou

Adventurer
RQ II and III were early iron age fantasy.
You might think so. But my copy of RQ2, which I've had since about 1982, says on page 5: "Glorantha is a bronze age world." Clear as day.

If I think 'Bronze Age fantasy', I'd immediately think of Glorantha and then go for the most modern of the Gloranthan rpg systems - which would be something in the HeroWars-HeroQuest line.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
You might think so. But my copy of RQ2, which I've had since about 1982, says on page 5: "Glorantha is a bronze age world." Clear as day.

If I think 'Bronze Age fantasy', I'd immediately think of Glorantha and then go for the most modern of the Gloranthan rpg systems - which would be something in the HeroWars-HeroQuest line.
Which is weird because the metal armours and weapons were definitely early iron -- especially the two-handed swords. Luckily, I believe you because otherwise I'd have to dig through boxes of unsorted RPGs to locate my copy.
 

chaochou

Adventurer
Which is weird because the metal armours and weapons were definitely early iron -- especially the two-handed swords. Luckily, I believe you because otherwise I'd have to dig through boxes of unsorted RPGs to locate my copy.
I'm not being argumentative - I was simply a huge fan of RQ2 and a long-time player of all things Glorantha. In RQ2, iron was a rune metal for cults that could work it, rare and very dangerous. But no more rare and dangerous than lead weapons, or gold weapons, or wooden weapons.

Bronze was the default. The properties of other weapons and armour weren't envisaged as a function of metallurgy, but of religious and cultural blessing.
 

pemerton

Legend
In your opinion, what sort of system would be more conducive for "[delivering] a game of bronze-age fantasy"?
A further response: of course @chaochou is right to point to HeroWars/Quest for modern Gloranthan RPGing.

I also think that a properly-curated D&D 4e could do bronze age fantasy - keep the fighter, rouge, ranger, warlord and warlock from the PHB, add in the primal classes (maybe not wardens), and perhaps the invoker but with blast-y options taken out. Ignore the good-evil aspects of alignment even more than it's already easy to do, and play up the civilisation vs chaos element. Converting across Gloranthan creatures if one wanted to would be pretty straightforward (eg broos are, in stat terms, built on a gnoll chassis). Use the "alternative rewards" framework in the DMG, plus treasure parcels more generally, to represent rune/cult magtic, gifts etc - and just ignore, as is very easy to do in 4e, all the inherited D&D tropes of dungeons with monsters that drop loot etc.

I also should reiterate that I think RQ is a beautiful system. I just find it very punishing in actual play, moreso than Rolemaster (which is less elegant but somewhat comparable in its basic design ethos) which generates pressure towards GM steering of outcomes with a degree of disregard for the action resolution mechanics. Which is what @steenan had commented on in relation to a system that "lies" and that encourages the GM to "lie" to the players.
 

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