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Why Do You Hate An RPG System?

Nagol

Unimportant
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.

Nor am I! It caught me a bit off guard is all. I'm trying to imagine a bronze 2-handed sword being used for a 3rd strike. Either we glossed over the whole "it was made of bronze" or I let that detail go in the last 30+ years. I remember rune metal (vaguely).
 

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lordabdul

Explorer
I also should reiterate that I think RQ is a beautiful system. I just find it very punishing in actual play
I think RQ is mostly trying to model the brutal aspect of combat which you can find in many Bronze-Age treatments like Conan, 300, and so on. The side-effect is that it does indeed make some players avoid combat more than they should, but I'm not sure it can be helped. It's the same thing with, say, Call of Cthulhu's SAN mechanics which can make some players so overly cautious that they go out of their way to not read any books and not go into any basement or cave, therefore avoiding the very core activity that the game is trying to make you play. In some way, even though it's a perfectly understandable reaction, you could consider it a mild case of "premise rejection" on the side of the players. Thankfully, some other players are happy to read the books and go in the basement and gleefully go mad while saving the world (or not), and, similarly, other players are happy to get bloody in RQ, dancing around flying severed limbs. Also of note: the new recently released RQ edition is much friendlier with characters, giving them way better stats and access to magic, so combat is still dangerous but healing aftewards seems much better to me. But that's a whole other discussion.

For those who want the more "mythic hero" aspect of Bronze Age tales, yes, as people pointed out, HeroWars/Quest is a good choice because it was explicitly designed to play these kinds of narrative tropes. Most other narrative-driven systems would probably work well too.

Rolemaster has GMing advice that ticks the second box, although it can be ignored
Can you point me to the appropriate book for this? I'm curious.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think RQ is mostly trying to model the brutal aspect of combat which you can find in many Bronze-Age treatments like Conan, 300, and so on.

<snip>

the new recently released RQ edition is much friendlier with characters, giving them way better stats and access to magic, so combat is still dangerous but healing aftewards seems much better to me. But that's a whole other discussion.
Conan inflicts violence on others fairly frequently and effectively. But he himself is rarely hurt too badly. And even when he is - eg the crucifixion in A Witch Shall Be Born - he recovers.

There is an asymmetry in the effectiveness of "PCs" and "NPCs" that a strictly simulationist system like RQ struggles with.

Can you point me to the appropriate book for this? I'm curious.
I think I'm thinking of RMSS GM Law. It's been a while, though.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Not that there are too many more haters hating on the things they hate in this thread, but should I make a new thread to discuss Bronze Age Fantasy in TTRPG?
 



JeffB

Legend
FWIW- if RQ is too Sim and the narrative of HEROQUEST is not your bag, please don't overlook 13th Age in Glorantha, it's absolutely fantastic and likely more appealing to typical D20 game fans

.P.S. Bronze is mined from the bones of the dead gods as per RQ2. So while it's bronze, it's mythical bronze and pretty strong ;)
 
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Myth Master

Villager
Role-playing is only concerned with the process of making choices.

That is a very truncated view of role-play.

According to Merriam Webster (my favorite on-line dictionary), “role-play” is an intransitive verb meaningto play a role.
It can also have connotations of physically enacting a role, like an actor performing in a play in a theater or those who play in Live Action Role-Play (LARP), but both of those are a great deal more involved than what goes on in tabletop role-playing games.

Roleplaying for tabletop RPGs is much simpler.

The bottom line is: as long as the players are getting inside the heads of their characters to examine how their characters’ personalities affect their decisions, AND using that as a guide for stating their actions in play, they are role-playing.

When the point of role-playing is to address/confront some obstacle, this results in action-oriented decisions.
When it is to explore a PC’s emotions, backstory, or psyche, it is most likely represented through conversation with other PC’s or NPC’s. Some dismiss the latter as “acting” or simply “speaking in character”, not role-play, but such a nuanced distinction isn’t productive.
It's attempting to create a distinction where there is none.
If the role-play required to even engage in improvisational “acting” (projecting oneself into the character’s shoes to decide not only what to say but how to say it) isn't the very heart and soul of impromptu role-play (the very medium through which the game is played), then role-play doesn’t exist.

So, BOTH are clearly role-playing.

The only difference between these two applications of role-play is that action-oriented decisions arrived at through role-play require a player to step OUT of the role in order to follow the GM’s directions for resolving that action by rolling the dice.
Once the dice are in your hand, you are no longer role-playing. On the other hand, interaction between characters can be used to resolve some in-game matters without ever touching the dice.

If you are saying anything “in-character" — and staying there for the duration of the conversation — then you are projecting yourself into your character’s shoes by definition (or at least coming close), i.e., you are role-playing.
Affecting a (silly) accent is window dressing that has nothing to do with whether a player is role-playing or not. The players may do so, OR NOT, for their own amusement and/or perhaps that of their fellow players, but it is by no means required. Either way, its presence or absence doesn’t affect the quality of role-play at the table one whit.

WHY the players engage in role-playing in the context of game-play, their aim or purpose in doing so, is simply irrelevant as long as the result is germane to the plot line or the characters themselves or their relationships to the game world or any of its denizens.
 

Zoomer

Villager
I don't want to gum up the Dishonored thread with this tangent, but the fact that so many people expressed a revulsion for the 2d20 system got me thinking how I don't hate any system I can think of off the top of my head. There are some i prefer not to play, but no game makes me feel like the developers shot my dog (or favorite sci-fi franchise, as the case may be).

So if you HATE a system, why? Explain it to me.
I hate Fate. While other systems may not reward you enough for clever roleplaying, Fate, IMO is just a bunch of mental gymnastics. It is cleverness for cleverness's sake and undermines real emotion. In other games I've felt fear, anger, sorrow, confusion, joy, etc. In Fate all I ever feel is numb as we pile up Aspects and Fate Points so we can exploit them. Fate, to me, breaks the emotional continuity with a bunch of mechanics that monetize story arc and character development. Instead of freeing me I feel encumbered.
 

John Dallman

Adventurer
I think RQ is mostly trying to model the brutal aspect of combat which you can find in many Bronze-Age treatments like Conan, 300, and so on. The side-effect is that it does indeed make some players avoid combat more than they should, but I'm not sure it can be helped.
"Should" is an interesting word here. There are plenty of cults and associated character types in Glorantha who are not about fighting, and who would be wise to stay clear of it. Yet they have considerable story potential.
 

So if you HATE a system, why? Explain it to me.
There are two reasons I hate a system:
1) it mechanically focuses on hateful/toxic behaviors - non-consensual sex, non-consensual religious conversion.
2) the theme of the game is hateful or damaging behaviors from a standpoint of condoning and training said behaviors.

RaHoWa and FATAL hit #1 and #2.

DragonRaid hits severe disdain because it's intended to be used to encourage certain fundamentalist christian practices which I think are problematic. (Prooftexting/out-of-context quoting.) That said, the game engine's not horrible. Just the magic system.
 


AtomicPope

Adventurer
I can think of a couple of reasons for hating a game system:
1) Needlessly Complicated - Morrow Project immediately comes to mind where every little detail was tracked and accounted for yet rarely came into play. Do you want to know how many hit points your left pinky finger has? Well that's the game for you! Do you want to know the odds of getting your left pinky finger shot off? Assuming they're firing wild, about 1 in 200. BTW, it's one hit point. It's almost always one hit point.
2) Rewards Don't Incentive Play or Style - Champions comes to mind here where you have a 250 point character and you get 3 experience points after a session of play. That means you move the meter about 1% improvement (less if you took lots of disadvantages). Barely noticeable. Early editions of Shadowrun had this problem with Deckers where it split the party and forced everyone to wait while your decker went on a side quest in the Matrix. Then, outside of the Matrix the Decker is a schlub with mediocre skills and has to half-ass their way around. There was little incentive to play a Decker back in the day. The rules should reward behavior that reinforces a style of play. A bad playstyle reward system is Marvel Super Heroes where you lose karma for accidentally breaking things. It causes super heroes to walk on egg shells.
3) Unbalanced PCs/Trap Choices - As a player it makes it seem like you got cheated, or you made a dumb choice. In reality, you were sold a false bill of goods. Palladium games have this problem where in the same setting, same core book, same choices, one character has literally a thousand more hit points than another character and does ten times as much damage. Usually game systems are not that bad but apparently Kevin Siembieda doesn't GAF. There are absolutely "trap" choices for players in Palladium. If you take that spell, class, race, whatever, you lost out big time. The trap usually comes later. Sometimes in the beginning everyone is on a level field but later one you haven't improved with them.
4) Mechanics Don't Match the Fluff - Typically this isn't a system wide problem but appears in small sections where in actual gameplay success is very difficult when it's described as easy, or a power that's described as devastating is merely an inconvenience. This could overlap with any of the others really but I think it suits it's own section. I remember deadly weapons like the Harlequin's Kiss, which required exotic proficiencies and in game play it's less effective than your standard issue side arm. The description is a weapon that liquidates anything it touches. The reality is an unwieldy melee weapon whose damage dice are so swingy either it causes a little scratch or lots of damage but more than likely it survives. Also, don't have a critical fumble. It will kill you.
5) Updated/Revised - As someone who's been playing D&D since I was a kid, I've been through half-a-dozen editions of D&D and Gamma World, not to mention several other RPG systems, and not all of them are improvements. For some reason Gamma World kept getting worse. I actually think that latest "Wacky" edition is my favorite since the somewhat serious, deadly, and poorly edited 3e Gamma World. Ole #5 is best described as "Edition Wars" and every system has them. My own group refused to fully integrate our AD&D to 2e because it didn't include everything we were using from the PHB and UA (no Assassins, Barbarians, Cavaliers, or Monks).
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

I think I narrowed it down for me:

I hate when a system presents an "option" that, if anyone in the group opts to take it, forces EVERYONE else to take said "option" as well.

Other than that, I don't think I really "hate" any RPG or RPG mechanic. Some I don't like, sure, but 'hate' is a pretty strong word.

EDIT: If I had to choose on RPG I "hate"... it would be "Amber" (the 'first diceless RPG system'). Why? It's unplayable if anyone in the group is smart and knowledgeable. Basically, if a player has an IQ of 135 and the GM has and IQ of 102...the GM is going to "loose constantly"; meaning his/her NPC's will just not succeed because the PLAYER out smarts the GM and knows more about how stuff in the situation would work. It'd be like a chemist Player trying to tell the non-chemist GM how their PC is going to "use a base substance of X, add in an amount of Y and Z, and then slowly apply heat"...and the GM saying "Ok, it smokes a bit but doesn't explode"...and the Player being annoyed because they KNOW that it would explode. Now the Player has to explain WHY it would explode, in laymen's terms, to the GM who then has to just say "Oh, ok, guess it works then". But at that point... nobody is playing an RPG; they are just taking a chemistry lesson from a chemist. :mad:

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Hate is a strong word, I think, but there are games I don't want much of anything to do with. This usually comes down, in broad, to one of two things:

1. Mechanics that I dislike engaging with, and as a GM, are too core to the system to be easily houserules. A subset of this is games that are not mechanically interesting to engage with; I'm too gamist in my enjoyment to find "Its fast!" is any kind of counterweight for a game that's mechanically dull.

2. Tone or setting things I find actively unpleasant. I don't mind a certain degree of darkness in a setting, but if its too pervasive and unavoidable, I just don't need to inflict that on myself.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
EDIT: If I had to choose on RPG I "hate"... it would be "Amber" (the 'first diceless RPG system'). Why? It's unplayable if anyone in the group is smart and knowledgeable. Basically, if a player has an IQ of 135 and the GM has and IQ of 102...the GM is going to "loose constantly"; meaning his/her NPC's will just not succeed because the PLAYER out smarts the GM and knows more about how stuff in the situation would work. It'd be like a chemist Player trying to tell the non-chemist GM how their PC is going to "use a base substance of X, add in an amount of Y and Z, and then slowly apply heat"...and the GM saying "Ok, it smokes a bit but doesn't explode"...and the Player being annoyed because they KNOW that it would explode. Now the Player has to explain WHY it would explode, in laymen's terms, to the GM who then has to just say "Oh, ok, guess it works then". But at that point... nobody is playing an RPG; they are just taking a chemistry lesson from a chemist. :mad:

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Sounds less like an RPG problem and more like a player problem to me.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya.
Sounds less like an RPG problem and more like a player problem to me.
Have you ever read the rules or played it? But we attempted to even make characters once. During character creation, the rules SPECIFICALLY tell you, the GM, to try and cause Player strife so that they try and "compete against each other" to try and get the "best/highest stat". There are no dice in the game...stats are done via "Bidding" on them. "I bit 10 points", "I'll bit 20", "Fine, 25", etc....and the GM is supposed to try and get the players to out bit the others by goading them into it "You're gonna let him have it for 25? That's it? Really?...huh...I thought you had more moxie that than, Phil..." ... "FINE! 40 points!" ... "Ooooo... Dana, looks like you are out bid...again. Guess the MAN wins again...unless you wanna go for 50?" ...etc.

My players immediately ignored me and talked amongst themselves to assign roles and "stats" themselves, so that the group was covered by the Strong Guy, the Smart Guy, the Fast Guy, etc.. Then they all just told me what they bid for what and nobody did any 'outbidding the other'. This...well...sorta "wrecked" the game from the get go. It assumes the Players won't really work together like that. It's a very "adversarial in the extreme....but not really at all" game. Passive-Aggressive I guess I might term it. This allowed them to always have someone who was "the best" at something; so if a situation came up where they were fighting a super strong dude...well, the Strong Guy would take it and the rest would support. In D&D terms, it seemed like you would always have a completely min/maxed glass canon in the party, but for ANY situation. And if that glass canon went down...everyone dies.

As for the IQ/Knowledge... that's just human nature and limitations. If you were to try and have a debate with your cousin who has never played an RPG in his life about if a PC is considered Hidden or not for purposes of Sneak Attack Damage...he'd be at a sever disadvantage. Now imagine HE was the DM and you were playing a Thief. ...see what I was trying to get at?

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Hiya.

Have you ever read the rules or played it? But we attempted to even make characters once. During character creation, the rules SPECIFICALLY tell you, the GM, to try and cause Player strife so that they try and "compete against each other" to try and get the "best/highest stat". There are no dice in the game...stats are done via "Bidding" on them. "I bit 10 points", "I'll bit 20", "Fine, 25", etc....and the GM is supposed to try and get the players to out bit the others by goading them into it "You're gonna let him have it for 25? That's it? Really?...huh...I thought you had more moxie that than, Phil..." ... "FINE! 40 points!" ... "Ooooo... Dana, looks like you are out bid...again. Guess the MAN wins again...unless you wanna go for 50?" ...etc.

My players immediately ignored me and talked amongst themselves to assign roles and "stats" themselves, so that the group was covered by the Strong Guy, the Smart Guy, the Fast Guy, etc.. Then they all just told me what they bid for what and nobody did any 'outbidding the other'. This...well...sorta "wrecked" the game from the get go. It assumes the Players won't really work together like that. It's a very "adversarial in the extreme....but not really at all" game. Passive-Aggressive I guess I might term it. This allowed them to always have someone who was "the best" at something; so if a situation came up where they were fighting a super strong dude...well, the Strong Guy would take it and the rest would support. In D&D terms, it seemed like you would always have a completely min/maxed glass canon in the party, but for ANY situation. And if that glass canon went down...everyone dies.

As for the IQ/Knowledge... that's just human nature and limitations. If you were to try and have a debate with your cousin who has never played an RPG in his life about if a PC is considered Hidden or not for purposes of Sneak Attack Damage...he'd be at a sever disadvantage. Now imagine HE was the DM and you were playing a Thief. ...see what I was trying to get at?

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Yeah, I’ve played it and you’re describing the classic player problem of “not playing the genre”. They’re not really playing in good faith for that particular game. It doesn‘t mean they’re bad players in general, they’re just not sticking to the genre. It’s like playing a 4-color, silver age superhero game and showing up with characters designed for a wetworks campaign. You can do it with the rules, but it’s not the genre you expected when you chose the rule set. And it’s when you send the players back to the drawing board to start again or pitch a different game.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Yeah, I’ve played it and you’re describing the classic player problem of “not playing the genre”. They’re not really playing in good faith for that particular game. It doesn‘t mean they’re bad players in general, they’re just not sticking to the genre. It’s like playing a 4-color, silver age superhero game and showing up with characters designed for a wetworks campaign. You can do it with the rules, but it’s not the genre you expected when you chose the rule set. And it’s when you send the players back to the drawing board to start again or pitch a different game.
I can see how someone could come to that conclusion, and I'm not disagreeing with you on it. Definitely have seen my fair share of "genre/immersion breaking antics" from Players... usually not on purpose.

But when all is said and done...this IS a thread about "hating" some RPG system or aspect. By definition such strong emotions aren't typically rational. Hence... my post about my dislike of Amber as a whole, but the whole mechanical system built around Player/GM dynamic in that game just rubs me the wrong way. A game where if the Players talk and work together, they are actually "breaking the rules", so to say, is just...well...not my thing.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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