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Why Do You Hate An RPG System?

Arilyn

Hero
Hiya!

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
I've never played Amber, but it's been these aspects of the game that kept me away from trying trying it. I think I'd be turning it more cooperative!
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I've never played Amber, but it's been these aspects of the game that kept me away from trying trying it. I think I'd be turning it more cooperative!
That dynamic comes from the book series. The princes of Amber and Chaos weren't exactly trusting of one another, and they all had plots and more plots.
 


MGibster

Legend
I've never played Amber, but it's been these aspects of the game that kept me away from trying trying it. I think I'd be turning it more cooperative!
I was in a group that attempted to play Amber and the 4 other players all decided they wanted to be #1 in Psyche. My character ended up #1 in Warfare, Strength, and Endurance. For whatever reason that campaign never made it past character generation.
 

I've never played Amber, but it's been these aspects of the game that kept me away from trying trying it. I think I'd be turning it more cooperative!

The game somewhat encourages (to say quite a bit) inter-player rivalry.

And its the usual strength and weakness of almost pure narrative systems; if everyone is on the same page, and the GM is comfortable making constant judgment calls, many likely out of his areas of knowledge, it can be excellent.

I'm super-unconvinced that describes more than a pretty small subset of groups.
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
I will say that Shadowrun Anarchy is just about everything I actually want in a Shadowrun game, without the mess of rules to wade through. And without people spending an hour planning on how exactly they kick down the door and kill everyone, followed by the hour of people rolling a hundred d6's to resolve it.

For my part, and this ties to Shadowrun definitely, is that I can't stand double-indemnity in resolution. That is to say, if I attack a monster and have to roll against their roll to hit, then roll again against their roll to do damage.
I didn't like any iteration of Shadowrun until I got to playtest Anarchy. We were playing Shadowrun and when our DM was editing and writing for the Anarchy playtest he converted us over and we never looked back. Our characters just improved. They weren't "better" just more consistent in their design. Long gone were the days of rolling 40d6 and we were all happy to see them go.
 

John Dallman

Adventurer
Have you ever read the rules or played [Amber diceless]? 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.
The rules also tell you that it's a game that requires deviousness and pre-planning, but the examples are . . . like children trying to be cunning before they've learned to tell lies. The campaign I played in was pretty light on overt PvP rivalry, but almost everyone had a hidden agenda. That's far more like the source material than the introductory material of the game is.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
The rules also tell you that it's a game that requires deviousness and pre-planning, but the examples are . . . like children trying to be cunning before they've learned to tell lies. The campaign I played in was pretty light on overt PvP rivalry, but almost everyone had a hidden agenda. That's far more like the source material than the introductory material of the game is.
Now that I'm older, looking at it, I think I could probably play it for at least a session. I'm much less "sure of my self" in terms of what is "good" or "right" or whatever....more "grey", less "black and white". :)

I think if we all took the game as a sort of "RPG version" of playing one of those older "How to Host a Murder" dinner party games from the early 2000's, or as a sort of table top version of the video game "Among Us"...where the players are highly suspicious of others and at the same time trying to "win over" everyone else....that sort of a mindset might make for a very interesting game! :)

I'm normally not at all interested in PvP (in any sense), but if this was the 'groundwork' and everyone at the table knew what we were going to play and was all in for it...yeah, I can totally see your approach being kinda fun. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I didn't like any iteration of Shadowrun until I got to playtest Anarchy. We were playing Shadowrun and when our DM was editing and writing for the Anarchy playtest he converted us over and we never looked back. Our characters just improved. They weren't "better" just more consistent in their design. Long gone were the days of rolling 40d6 and we were all happy to see them go.

What I have read about Anarchy says that the book has lots of editing problems, though, which makes me hesitant to pick it up.
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
What I have read about Anarchy says that the book has lots of editing problems, though, which makes me hesitant to pick it up.
The editing is awful. Our DM was working freelance as an editor and he said they weren't updating or compiling the edits. He would have to resend his work over and over again. They were (are) completely disorganized. If it's any consolation, Anarchy is better edited than Gamma World 3e. It's been a while since we played it so I don't know if they've ever updated their latest edition with the errata.
 

I played Shadowrun back when it first came out, and have long felt that it was a great setting with a mediocre system. It's been so long since I looked at 1e, I don't recall if the problems it currently has were always there and I just wasn't critical enough at that age.

I do wish Anarchy had more support in Shadowrun's organized play.

I didn't like any iteration of Shadowrun until I got to playtest Anarchy. We were playing Shadowrun and when our DM was editing and writing for the Anarchy playtest he converted us over and we never looked back. Our characters just improved. They weren't "better" just more consistent in their design. Long gone were the days of rolling 40d6 and we were all happy to see them go.

The organization of it is what stood out to me. Making a character took way more work than it should have - there just wasn't a good path to follow to get the reader to the rules they need to know. Though once that's done, it runs pretty smoothly in play.

What I have read about Anarchy says that the book has lots of editing problems, though, which makes me hesitant to pick it up.
 

innerdude

Legend
The only thing that would cause me to "hate" an RPG is if the system wholly fails to accomplish what the mechanics plus the descriptive text say it should accomplish.

The only two systems I've tried that would fall into that camp would be GURPS and Fate Core, and even then I think my experiences (and group participants) color my opinions more than games themselves.

My biggest problem with GURPS is that every group I've played it with has gone completely against the system's strengths. Rather than trying to play grounded, semi-realistic games/settings, they instead want to amp up the action into mini-superhero territory---including with generic fantasy.

They don't want to play grounded fantasy. They want to play 350-point starting characters, who can completely counter-act GURPS' baseline lethality.

This impulse of the groups I've played it with further exacerbates my biggest problem with GURPS, which is the complexity of combat resolution. There's just so many things that I dislike about how combat resolves that add absolutely nothing to the "fun" factor of why I play RPGs. Playing with 350-point demi-god fantasy heroes only makes the overwhelming number of combat options worse.


With Fate, it's more a question of, I don't really know where it "fits" in terms of my game style. I've discovered through experience that I'm very comfortable with PbtA / FitD style games, and totally "grok" what they're trying to do. With Ironsworn, I found that I could completely divest myself from the "trad" mindset and really go where the mechanics were trying to take me.

But I can't really find that spot with Fate. It's clearly not supposed to be a "trad" game . . . though devoid of Aspects / Compels, the system itself looks a lot like a pretty "trad" style of game. I get the feeling that Fate is supposed to produce "high drama" / "high stakes" kinds of action, but in play it never really reached that for me.

Plus, in terms of "narrative" style systems, it's still a bit more mechanically complex than I would expect it to be, especially since the gameplay it produced was always a bit bland. In spite of the complexity, it lacked the narrative "heft" of PbtA / FitD, while also lacking the enjoyable tactical gamism of PF/3.x or Savage Worlds.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I played Shadowrun back when it first came out, and have long felt that it was a great setting with a mediocre system. It's been so long since I looked at 1e, I don't recall if the problems it currently has were always there and I just wasn't critical enough at that age.

The system had some great ideas, but in some cases the rules got too baroque with fiddly bits (firearms) or it had dials and levers the players could use that were awesome in theory, but less useful in practice (variable force spells and drain-based spellcasting).

Decking was also cool in theory, but enforced splitting the party in ways that dragged on play something fierce.

The setting, however, was great. Most of the concepts and plots of the published adventures were alao a lot of fun.
 

We just never played Deckers back then!

The ideas behind Shadowrun were cool as heck. I suspect that if it hadn't been for the inspired Tolkien + Gibson part, the game itself may have never gotten the traction it did.

Decking was also cool in theory, but enforced splitting the party in ways that dragged on play something fierce.

The setting, however, was great. Most of the concepts and plots of the published adventures were alao a lot of fun.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
We just never played Deckers back then!

We recognized it might be a problem, tried the experiment, found we were correct, and from that point on just made sure there were NPC deckers the PCs could call on for services.

The... 5th edition, I think, moved into the space of wireless decking, and how lots of items would be hackable. This made it so PC deckers could actually have a direct role in combat ("Oh, you think you have a Smartgun? Let me turn that into a brick for you!") and reframed security so that being physically present was the way to go, fixing some of the issues.

The base mechanic, unfortunately, was still kind of cumbersome.

It reminds me of Classic Deadlands, in a way. Awesome setting, baroque mechanics. My players put up with the baroque aspect for years, because at least it was baroque in ways that were thematically appropriate, and they loved the setting. Eventually, revamping that core led to Savage Words, which is more tractable. My group might want to play Deadlands again in the future, and I'd probably use the Savage Worlds version.

Shadowrun needs that kind of transformation - someone streamline the heck out of it, please!
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
We recognized it might be a problem, tried the experiment, found we were correct, and from that point on just made sure there were NPC deckers the PCs could call on for services.

The... 5th edition, I think, moved into the space of wireless decking, and how lots of items would be hackable. This made it so PC deckers could actually hae a direct role in combat ("Oh, you think you have a Smartgun? Let me turn that into a brick for you!") and reframed security so that being physically present was the way to go, fixing some of the issues.

The base mechanic, unfortunately, was still kind of cumbersome.

It reminds me of Classic Deadlands, in a way. Awesome setting, baroque mechanics. My players put up with the baroque aspect for years, because at least it was baroque in ways that were thematically appropriate, and they loved the setting. Eventually, revamping that core led to Savage Words, which is more tractable. My group might want to play Deadlands again in the future, and I'd probably use the Savage Worlds version.

Shadowrun needs that kind of transformation - someone streamline the heck out of it, please!
Was never able to play Shadow Run. Instead, I used Savage Worlds with the Interface Zero setting book. We had lots of fun.
 

I also thought that the idea of expanding the matrix to the entire world was a great way to incorporate deckers into the game without making their parts separate from what everyone else is doing. With the Internet of Things and the world of Shadowrun, it's a logical conclusion.

How it played out in the rules, though, just managed to slow the game down anyway, while the decker went and resolved the multiple checks needed to even do anything remotely cool.

We recognized it might be a problem, tried the experiment, found we were correct, and from that point on just made sure there were NPC deckers the PCs could call on for services.

The... 5th edition, I think, moved into the space of wireless decking, and how lots of items would be hackable. This made it so PC deckers could actually have a direct role in combat ("Oh, you think you have a Smartgun? Let me turn that into a brick for you!") and reframed security so that being physically present was the way to go, fixing some of the issues.

The base mechanic, unfortunately, was still kind of cumbersome.

It reminds me of Classic Deadlands, in a way. Awesome setting, baroque mechanics. My players put up with the baroque aspect for years, because at least it was baroque in ways that were thematically appropriate, and they loved the setting. Eventually, revamping that core led to Savage Words, which is more tractable. My group might want to play Deadlands again in the future, and I'd probably use the Savage Worlds version.

Shadowrun needs that kind of transformation - someone streamline the heck out of it, please!
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
We recognized it might be a problem, tried the experiment, found we were correct, and from that point on just made sure there were NPC deckers the PCs could call on for services.

The... 5th edition, I think, moved into the space of wireless decking, and how lots of items would be hackable. This made it so PC deckers could actually have a direct role in combat ("Oh, you think you have a Smartgun? Let me turn that into a brick for you!") and reframed security so that being physically present was the way to go, fixing some of the issues.

Shadowrun needs that kind of transformation - someone streamline the heck out of it, please!
Because we were playtesting Anarchy we had both a Decker and a Rigger in our group. Our Decker would go into the Matrix at least once a session, unheard of in previous editions. There were no problems. Furthermore, the mechanics and fluff matched up very well here. You could hack remotely but there were penalties, firewalls, and defenses. Plugging in directly would bypass the distance penalty and firewall. In game terms that meant when we were planning missions it made sense to break in to a facility and find a safe room so our Decker could plug in.

The mechanics between a Decker entering the Matrix and a Mage Astral Projecting are seamless. Both render the character unconscious. Both allow them to interact directly with a quasi-realm. Neither are allowed to affect the other: Matrix doesn't affect Magic and visa versa. As someone who suffered under previous editions, this was a welcome change.

Edit: If this is a little unclear, it's been a while since we played so my memory is a little fuzzy on other people's characters.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Because we were playtesting Anarchy we had both a Decker and a Rigger in our group. Our Decker would go into the Matrix at least once a session, unheard of in previous editions. There were no problems.

So, I'm sorry, but this does not suggest to me that what I fund was a problem was dealt with - in early editions, Deckers required the GM to, in essence, run a separate little matrix adventure for them. The spotlight sharing issues were severe. You telling me that happened every session does not suggest "no problem" to me.
 

Shadowrun needs that kind of transformation - someone streamline the heck out of it, please!

The problem is that a fair amount of the extent fandom would do some pretty heavy pushback if it was stripped down much in the process, and there's always a dynamic as to whether someone wants to potentially lose significant amounts of extent market to potentially get a different market (which may or may not be larger) all needing significant work.

Basically, it almost never seems worth the effort.
 

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