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Why Do You Hate An RPG System?

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Context now would be ramming Cthulu with the USS Nimitz and then having all of its reactors go super critical and explode on impact.
I forget who wrote it but there was a story written after WW2 where someone dropped a nuke on Cthulhu and he was given a mild headache as a result.
 

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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Context now would be ramming Cthulu with the USS Nimitz and then having all of its reactors go super critical and explode on impact.
I believe something to a similar effect was brought up in Cthulhu Now back in the day. Nuking Cthulhu may wreck him for a bit, but he will just reform and now be radioactive...
 

There's different takes on that. At least one of them says it'd have some serious effect because you've applied the power of Azathoth against him...
 

pemerton

Legend
In the writings of HPL Cthulhu was defeated by ramming him with a fishing boat. In pop-Cthulhu Cthulhu is on an unimaginable power scale and the fishing boat would just bounce.
In the H. P. Lovecraft story the Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu was rammed in the head by a steam-ship...and he instantly started regenerating. Like hitting a troll with a rock. So temporarily “defeated” by taking a steam-ship to the face. We should note that at the time the story was written, the steam-ship was the most powerful bit of water-borne technology invented by humans. The effect is different on modern readers from the original intent. Then it was meant to convey the horror that even our most powerful water-borne invention was only a split second reprieve, now it reads like “LOL, Cthulhu was taken out by a boat.” The ignored context matters.
Context now would be ramming Cthulu with the USS Nimitz and then having all of its reactors go super critical and explode on impact.
HPL wrote the story in the mid-1920s. The story "quotes" from the Sydney Bulletin for April 18, 1925. When "great Cthulhu slid greasily into the water and began to pursue with vast wave-raising strokes of cosmic potency" it was in pursuit of the Alert, a "heavily armed steam yacht Alert of Dunedin, N. Z."

Here is a web page about an Australasian steam yacht of the same general era: Ship specifications - Australian National Maritime Museum. Here is its Wikipedia page: SY Ena - Wikipedia. Given that the 11-man crew of "the two-masted schooner Emma" were able to take the Alert in a boarding action, I'm guessing the latter was comparable to the vessel on that web page.

The Ena displaces 76 tons; it's maximum speed is 12 knots. HMS Dreadnought, the famous battleship built in 1906, displaced 18,000 tons with a maximum speed of 21 knots. HMS Orion, built in 1910, displaced around 22,000 tons and also had a maximum speed of 21 knots. Another 5 years later the HMS Revenge displaced close to 30,000 tons with a maximum speed of 23 knots. And for purposes of comparison, the USS Nimitz displaces about 100,000 tons and has a speed of about 31 knots.

So no, to HPL and readers of his day Cthulhu being rammed by the Alert was nothing liked being rammed by a giant warship. If we think of it in terms of contemporary fiction, it's in the same general ballpark as being hit by a semi-trailer or a tank travelling at full speed.
 

pemerton

Legend
I say if you take any random group of D&D DMs of reasonable size, 80%+ have expectations that defeat-in-combat to advance is on the table with some regularly. It's not the only goal for combat, as a matter of fact combats are usually more interesting when there are different goals. And it's not the only resolution - a side could retreat, be captured, surrender, etc. But "kill the undead to get the macguffin" or something similar can show up even in the portfolios of DMs who try those, and much more often for DMs who don't.eath, but because of how played no actual death.
My point was more that consequences of a narrative sort can be present in just about any RPG. So D&D can indeed have these.

But once you move beyond that, there’s very little other than PC death.

<snip>

D&D relies almost entirely on HP loss for any/all danger, and no matter how many HP you may lose, there’s nothing that happens as a result.

<snip>

I think this is largely why you see folks claim that of you remove this consequence from the game then you’re taking away all of the challenge. It’s because in D&D and similar games, that’s largely true….you’d be taking away the consequence of losing your HP, and almost everything revolves around that.
Reflecting further in response to these posts . . .

Superhero comics are a genre in which fighting - "combat" - is a normal method for the protagonists to achieve their goals. The genre also includes scouting and infiltration, travel through dangerous places, weird traps, monstrous foes, etc.

But death is rarely what is at stake.

I think what makes D&D distinctive is not just it's use of combat as a site of resolution, but it's lack of a clear basis for establishing any consequence of combat, or of threats more generally, than the slide to death at zero hp. There's no injury, capture, being the victim of Arcade or Dr Doom getting the drop on you, etc. It's a very distinctive and peculiar approach to determining the outcome of physical threats and violent confrontation.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Superhero comics are a genre in which fighting - "combat" - is a normal method for the protagonists to achieve their goals. The genre also includes scouting and infiltration, travel through dangerous places, weird traps, monstrous foes, etc.

Tying into Cthulhu and tonnage... super hero comics also seem to have no fixed conception of how much things weight and/or how strong the heroes are!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Tying into Cthulhu and tonnage... super hero comics also seem to have no fixed conception of how much things weight and/or how strong the heroes are!
Fixed, no; but comparative, yes. Cam Banks, the designer of Marvel Heroic, said a few times that he basically used the 5-step ladder Marvel used to determine who was stronger than who in their comics. I forget what the original Marvel labels were, but in Marvel Heroic they became Weak d4, Human d6, Enhanced d8, Superhuman d10, and Godlike d12.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Fixed, no; but comparative, yes. Cam Banks, the designer of Marvel Heroic, said a few times that he basically used the 5-step ladder Marvel used to determine who was stronger than who in their comics. I forget what the original Marvel labels were, but in Marvel Heroic they became Weak d4, Human d6, Enhanced d8, Superhuman d10, and Godlike d12.
In the comics they seem to usually be ok with who is stronger, but it feels like the weights of cars, semis, locomotives, battleships, etc*... and effect of momentum, often don't come close to the weight lifting ranges the characters are usually ascribed in things like the OHOTMU and the like.

*Or landmasses that are gravitationally compressed as in Avengers 159? Or maybe Tony Stark and Simon Williams expertise as engineers/scientists doesn't include large size objects?

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
In the comics they seem to usually be ok with who is stronger, but it feels like the weights of cars, semis, locomotives, battleships, etc*... and effect of momentum, often don't come close to the weight lifting ranges the characters are usually ascribed in things like the OHOTMU and the like.

*Or landmasses that are gravitationally compressed as in Avengers 159? Or maybe Tony Stark and Simon Williams expertise as engineers/scientists doesn't include large size objects?

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View attachment 147953
Gotta love superhero physics. Flying fast enough to reverse time. Carrying a plane by the nose and it not breaking off. Pushing planets out of the way. So goofy and weird. I love it.
 

Darth Solo

Explorer
I hate games that create a certain culture which demonizes the rest of the hobby. White Wolf did this with Vampire: they were so special. They actually thought they were different in a way that made them the civilized folk of the hobby while the rest of us were tree-living monkeys. I get the same feel from D&D 5. It's like if you don't accept that 5e is the center of the rpg universe you're a f***ing OSR idiot. And while I get the marketing that drives the entire hobby by pushing D&D I HATE the D&D Nazis in the trenches shooting the knees out of other rpgs.

GURPS killed D&D a very long time ago in terms of character creation and genre verisimilitude. The Powered By the Apocalypse games redefined "classes" in a way D&D's designers missed the boat. D&D's STILL Vancian magic system is tired beyond reason - tired enough to allow Pathfinder's Spheres of Magic to present a better system.

This and how running Call of Cthulhu in the 20's and ignoring the rampant racism and sexism of the 20's is okay. As Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does". It's just dumb how gaming groups establish a culture that says "This is okay because we're better". How?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I HATE the D&D Nazis ...
Mod Note:
And I hate when people make an analogy between the deaths of millions of innocent people and petty squabbles over how to pretend to be elves.

There is no call for that comparison. Don't make it ever again, please and thank you.

And, by the way, don't use f-bombs, if you don't want a finger waggled at you about language use.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Fixed, no; but comparative, yes. Cam Banks, the designer of Marvel Heroic, said a few times that he basically used the 5-step ladder Marvel used to determine who was stronger than who in their comics. I forget what the original Marvel labels were, but in Marvel Heroic they became Weak d4, Human d6, Enhanced d8, Superhuman d10, and Godlike d12.

The original FASERIP labels were Feeble, Poor, Typical, Good, Excellent, Remarkable, Incredible, Amazing, Monstrous, Unearthly. The OHotMU and this system were largely in synch.

The charts had Shift X, Y, and Z for when you had one of the named ranks, and the mechanics had you shifting above them.

There was also Class 1000, Class 3000, Class 5000 for cosmic things, and Beyond for the Beyonder.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The original FASERIP labels were Feeble, Poor, Typical, Good, Excellent, Remarkable, Incredible, Amazing, Monstrous, Unearthly. The OHotMU and this system were largely in synch.

The charts had Shift X, Y, and Z for when you had one of the named ranks, and the mechanics had you shifting above them.

There was also Class 1000, Class 3000, Class 5000 for cosmic things, and Beyond for the Beyonder.
That was a cool game. Apparently I should have been more specific. Cam was working with Marvel Comics editors and writers and used the 5-step ladder that Marvel Comics editors and writers use to delineate their characters in house.
 

TreChriron

Explorer
Supporter
I tried to read the thread, but there was so much bickering (and side-treks from the original post) that I got lost.

IMHO this thread started with a terrible premise. Why do you care? I think we all have enough experience to know;
  1. If you tell someone you hate "their" system - they are going to rise to the challenge and refute you. With much vitriol.
  2. Telling people you hate a system is mean. It hurts people's feelings. This is a clear violation of Wil Wheaton's Rule. You don't want to be a violator of Wil Wheaton's Rule do you?!?!
  3. If someone hates "your" system, that does not mean;
    1. It will immediately or eventually lose all market share and be lost to time.
    2. Fans will immediately or eventually stop playing it.
    3. Players of the game will immediately or eventually be impossible to find.
  4. If crapping on systems you don't like brings you any joy - you should reassess your priorities.
  5. If you believe that everyone should be playing "your" game to the exclusion of all the other "bad-wrong-fun" games, you might consider turning the megalomania dial down a few notches. I also recommend turning up the personal-joy dial a few to compensate.
If you find yourself wandering the forum-lands of the wild InterTubes, and you see people crapping on "your" system - might I a make a suggestion? Ignore them. If you really want to espouse the glory of "your" system I would suggest talking about why you like it (not comparing it to others) and what brings you joy when you're playing it. This is what hobbies are for. Fun and Joy.

There are almost as many RPGs as there are players. Almost. So you can find whatever game you like. Your enthusiasm will bring others to your table. Fun and Joy are key to recruiting people and "selling" games. I recommend we stop talking about what we hate and instead spread a little fun and joy around.

Just my two cents...
 

Reynard

Legend
I tried to read the thread, but there was so much bickering (and side-treks from the original post) that I got lost.

IMHO this thread started with a terrible premise. Why do you care? I think we all have enough experience to know;
  1. If you tell someone you hate "their" system - they are going to rise to the challenge and refute you. With much vitriol.
  2. Telling people you hate a system is mean. It hurts people's feelings. This is a clear violation of Wil Wheaton's Rule. You don't want to be a violator of Wil Wheaton's Rule do you?!?!
  3. If someone hates "your" system, that does not mean;
    1. It will immediately or eventually lose all market share and be lost to time.
    2. Fans will immediately or eventually stop playing it.
    3. Players of the game will immediately or eventually be impossible to find.
  4. If crapping on systems you don't like brings you any joy - you should reassess your priorities.
  5. If you believe that everyone should be playing "your" game to the exclusion of all the other "bad-wrong-fun" games, you might consider turning the megalomania dial down a few notches. I also recommend turning up the personal-joy dial a few to compensate.
If you find yourself wandering the forum-lands of the wild InterTubes, and you see people crapping on "your" system - might I a make a suggestion? Ignore them. If you really want to espouse the glory of "your" system I would suggest talking about why you like it (not comparing it to others) and what brings you joy when you're playing it. This is what hobbies are for. Fun and Joy.

There are almost as many RPGs as there are players. Almost. So you can find whatever game you like. Your enthusiasm will bring others to your table. Fun and Joy are key to recruiting people and "selling" games. I recommend we stop talking about what we hate and instead spread a little fun and joy around.

Just my two cents...
Emphasis mine.

I think you misinterpreted the premise, then. I wasn't asking "Why do you hate MY favorite system?" I was asking why someone would bring the level of dislike up to HATE when discussing systems at all. And, by and large, this thread was quite instructive on the matter. Not in spite of all the angry tangents, by the way, but exactly because of them.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
I don't HATE any systems these days. It takes up too much energy. Many years ago I could do that. These days, I'm old and slow. I prefer to focus my energy on the things I like. I do still have games/systems that I prefer not to play for various reasons. For example, I feel that all Savage Worlds games are very same-y, perhaps even more so than things like GURPS and Hero, because there are considerably fewer mechanical options. But I don't HATE it.

That said, one of the big things that got me going back in the day were huge mechanical shifts between editions of a game that I'd played for years (so reeeeeeeeally not fond of the AD&D 2e to D&D 3e shift). Feeling like I had to learn an entirely new system to play a game that I already loved was... well, it wasn't ideal for me. I eventually came around, but this was due more to 3rd party products rather than the 3e core game (Green Ronin in particular published some outstanding OGL stuff).
 
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Emphasis mine.

I think you misinterpreted the premise, then. I wasn't asking "Why do you hate MY favorite system?" I was asking why someone would bring the level of dislike up to HATE when discussing systems at all. And, by and large, this thread was quite instructive on the matter. Not in spite of all the angry tangents, by the way, but exactly because of them.

I'm not actually sure I'd say I outright hate any game system, though some of them I certainly disdain, and there are others that are absolutely not what I'm looking for (the distinction is because I'm entirely capable of recognizing a system serves its intended audience well, but that audience is absolutely not me. As distinguished with game systems that seem to just be be or have signficant pieces that are generally bad ideas, or misdesigned for their apparent intended purpose).
 

TreChriron

Explorer
Supporter
Emphasis mine.

I think you misinterpreted the premise, then. I wasn't asking "Why do you hate MY favorite system?" I was asking why someone would bring the level of dislike up to HATE when discussing systems at all. And, by and large, this thread was quite instructive on the matter. Not in spite of all the angry tangents, by the way, but exactly because of them.
I get that. What I'm saying is that person A comes along and says "here's why I hate system A." (Answering your question) Person B reads that and it happens that system A is person's B favorite system. It's inevitable that person B is going to rise to defend system A.

My premise is that asking why someone would rise to that occasion is only going to show why it's a pointless question. People have opinions. Love and hate of something is largely subjective. It's just a roundabout way of igniting a conflict about who hates vs. who doesn't any particular system.

Did we learn WHY people hate systems in this thread? If so, could you summarize what we learned? I just saw a lot of "I hate FATE" and a bunch of "here's why you're wrong hating FATE" posts. Were we supposed to be learning a lesson from the conflict?
 

I think there's some legitimacy to the question he's actually asking, which is "Why do you respond strongly enough to a game system for it to reach the level of hate?"

I think there can be reasons that happens (usually really bad experiences which have as much to do with the dynamics of the group involved as the system per se), but some of it also comes down to questions of why people react as strongly as they do to, well, a lot of things.
 

Reynard

Legend
I get that. What I'm saying is that person A comes along and says "here's why I hate system A." (Answering your question) Person B reads that and it happens that system A is person's B favorite system. It's inevitable that person B is going to rise to defend system A.

My premise is that asking why someone would rise to that occasion is only going to show why it's a pointless question. People have opinions. Love and hate of something is largely subjective. It's just a roundabout way of igniting a conflict about who hates vs. who doesn't any particular system.

Did we learn WHY people hate systems in this thread? If so, could you summarize what we learned? I just saw a lot of "I hate FATE" and a bunch of "here's why you're wrong hating FATE" posts. Were we supposed to be learning a lesson from the conflict?
I am not going to accept responsibility for people that can't engage in a reasonable discussion -- and that has been more and more common here for a while now. The responses to this very thread inspired me to give myself a few months long break from here, in fact, just because it felt like it was harder and harder to enjoy vigorous but reasonable debate (along with just fun discussions about gaming and D&D). What I have realized recently is that it isn't just ENWorld, it is every space online. People are very quick to go on the attack, or get defensive, or just plain be rude.

I want to be able to talk about gaming and life as it relates to gaming, and so I will continue to try and engage my fellow community members in discussion. I will do my best not to be a jerk about it, too (I know I can sometimes get heated or feel put upon, just like everyone else). But I am not going to feel guilty for proposing a topic that someone else decides to use as a cudgel.
 

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