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D&D 5E Why not Alternity? (Or, will or how might WotC do SF?)

Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
If D&D had well-written guidance on how to adjudicate social skills and their limitations and so on, like say, Dungeon World, and when to roll and when to just RP, this would be a non-conversation.

This really seems like the crux of it, to me--the sense that D&D is just essentially perfect as is, and any retrograde design elements or major gaps in its ruleset are actually very good, smart, and intentional, and also who needs power windows in your car when you have these awesome cranks for rolling down the window by hand?
 

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This really seems like the crux of it, to me--the sense that D&D is just essentially perfect as is, and any retrograde design elements or major gaps in its ruleset are actually very good, smart, and intentional, and also who needs power windows in your car when you have these awesome cranks for rolling down the window by hand?
cracks are more reliable, power windows faster, this would work much better with something like airbags.
 

This really seems like the crux of it, to me--the sense that D&D is just essentially perfect as is, and any retrograde design elements or major gaps in its ruleset are actually very good, smart, and intentional, and also who needs power windows in your car when you have these awesome cranks for rolling down the window by hand?
Yeah and as I'm pretty old, I'm old enough to remember discussing D&D on the internet in the 1990s, and thus remember "it was ever thus".

People said the exact same thing about 2E and various issues it had, back then, i.e. "it's perfect as is, that's not a problem, that's intentional design!" (it definitely wasn't intentional lol, not in the way they meant). The whole "it's fine and intentional" thing is pretty much a moving target from edition to edition, and literally any badly designed, retrograde or missing rules elements can and will be claimed as "intentional" sooner or later. Sometimes it was even true that bad design was intentional - the infamous "trap feats" of 3E, but even then, that didn't make it "not bad design".

It's like, sometimes there's a case for more simple rules, or, if something occurs rarely and/or is a sort of "corner-case" thing, no rules at all. That's not what's going on here though. We have rules, just with little/no guidance on how to actually use them or what the limits of their "normal" usage might be - in contrast to a lot of other skills, I note. It would be very easy to add such.
cracks are more reliable, power windows faster, this would work much better with something like airbags.
Quite. But this is the eternal problem with metaphor and simile - it's never quite right.

(The temptation to add a bad simile to the end of that sentence was pretty extreme but I avoided it!)
 

Maybe it arrives sooner we could guess, but not in the way we are imagining. There are rumors about a cyberpunk version of Kamigawa, one of the worlds of Magic the Gathering. Kamigawa Neon Dinasty. Somebody said if Magic: the Gathering survives two Kamigawa then it will be eternal.

Cyberpunk-Planeswalker-Infiltrator.jpg
 



Maybe it arrives sooner we could guess, but not in the way we are imagining. There are rumors about a cyberpunk version of Kamigawa, one of the worlds of Magic the Gathering. Kamigawa Neon Dinasty. Somebody said if Magic: the Gathering survives two Kamigawa then it will be eternal.

Cyberpunk-Planeswalker-Infiltrator.jpg
can you explain as I do not get it?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This really seems like the crux of it, to me--the sense that D&D is just essentially perfect as is, and any retrograde design elements or major gaps in its ruleset are actually very good, smart, and intentional, and also who needs power windows in your car when you have these awesome cranks for rolling down the window by hand?
Man, some of y’all will really go to any lengths to ignore the idea that people just prefer things that you don’t prefer.
 

That guy meant if WotC "survived" Kamigawa, and the franchise isn't punished by the fandom with a second "Kamigawa" event, with high risk to be not a true success, then Magic: the Gathering will enjoy a long future, despise some "no-so-good" events.

Now I have got other of my crazy theories, but I don't remember Fantasy-Flight-Games publishing too many titles of RPG but Legend of Five Rings, and the Star Wars RPG hasn't got new sourcebooks since any time. Maybe we will see a Star Wars d20 again.
 

It most definitely is. But then I never said you can do without all player social skills, just the aspect of social skills described in the post I was responding to i.e the idea that in a system without social skills it is the charisma of the player that matters.

Unlike turning on the charm, being able to articulate a basic approach to argument and conversation is not something that you can play a social character without. Not if it matters at all what gets said. (And it's also a far lower barrier to entry)

Having expertise in Persuasion but being really clueless as a player doesn't really get you very far.
"Can I roll to persuade the lord?"
"Of course you can. How are you trying to persuade him?"
"?"

This may be ok I guess if all the social scenes are pit stops between combat (but it kind of gives the lie to the idea that you can play a highly capable social character without some kind of player skill in the area, as you're not really getting that fantasy), but in any kind of game with lots of social intrigue the precise things that get said are going to matter. They have consequences and they are part of the fiction. You can't do without it.

I've played in games with really socially awkward characters who play characters with high social skills. It usually doesn't go very welll. If they don't know what approach to take, then others will just basically do all the talking through them.

Really, if making social play easier for the player who doesn't have great social capabilities of their own, the key skill is not Persuasion or Deception, it's Insight. This is because Insight or skills of a similar nature are scaffolding skills, they can give you hints. eg "He looks like he's tempted to do what you want but he seems afraid", is a hint that you might want to say something to try and bolster his courage or reassure him.

I'll just note this is just as true about combat tactical choices, yet people are perfectly happy to just go "I aim at [Opponent X] and roll my hit." And people get really soggy when that isn't practical.
 

Yes, poorly play tested, if any.

I suspect its the problem of actively avoiding any real blindtesting (which is often endemic in the hobby, and I get the feeling WOTC has been very prone to): if all the people you go to to playtest work off the same assumptions you do, they aren't likely to find any problems you missed.
 

I always feel like this is a red herring. When I run social interaction scenes without dice I always adjudicate based on what the players say, not how they say it. They can even just describe the generel approach if they like.

The key is that you don't persuade the NPCs by making a dice roll, you do it by hitting the points you need to hit to persuade them.

This is at least better than the usual take, but again, see my comment about combat and tactics.
 

Stormonu

Legend
As a point of comparison, I HATED the 3E version of Star Wars, which was based off d20 modern. The system was a bad fit, Jedi were overwhelming, and the class/level structure did not fit how I envisioned the game world.

I felt the SAGA edition was much better done and felt more like Star Wars in actual play. To me, it felt like all characters could contribute without being outshone by jedi - but Jedi characters still felt cool and in-line with the universe.

With the further revisions 5E could bring, I'd be more open to it using that system for something Sci-Fi. Overall though, I'd rather something like Alternity or FASERIP-style game for a dedicated SciFi system. No interest in D&D in space, unless it's Spelljammer.
 
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Thing to notice about Starfinder was that Paizo brought it out after Pathfinder showed negative growth, because of competition from 5e. Then, when that didn't prove a massive hit, they brought out Pathfinder 2.
That's not exactly the sequence. Remember that making an RPG on that scale is a fairly long-term endeavor. It's more like:
1. Early plans are made for Pathfinder 2, because Pathfinder is getting real long in the tooth, and new releases are increasingly obscure because the low-hanging fruit has already been picked.
2. But hey, what about the time between PF2 is announced and when it's released? Sales are gonna tank!
3. And what if PF2 tanks as well? We need to have a backup!
4. Start design on Starfinder.
5. Start design on Pathfinder 2.
6. Announce and release Starfinder.
7. OK, now we have the backup/bridge plan in place, and it seems to be working OK.
8. Announce Pathfinder 2 playtest.
9. Do the playtest.
10. Release Pathfinder 2.

I am pretty sure I have seen blog or Twitter posts by either Owen K C Stephens or Jessica Price that support this rough sequence of events, but I can't find them at the moment.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Also @Staffan, it's likely Starfinder was a "1.5" - try things out that fix issues in Pathfinder and that they wanted to consider for use in Pathfinder 2.

On the WotC side, you can see, for example that SAGA was a sort of "4.5" step that built on what worked/what they wanted to fix from 4E D&D
 

Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
Man, some of y’all will really go to any lengths to ignore the idea that people just prefer things that you don’t prefer.
No one's telling you to prefer something different. But don't pretend this is the first time you've heard this criticism, or that it's any less real just because you might be tired of it.

But if your contribution is limited to "I likes what I likes," that's cool and all, but does it add anything to the discussion?

"I like X."

"I don't like X."

"Ok goodbye."

Another satisfying exchange!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No one's telling you to prefer something different. But don't pretend this is the first time you've heard this criticism, or that it's any less real just because you might be tired of it.

But if your contribution is limited to "I likes what I likes," that's cool and all, but does it add anything to the discussion?

"I like X."

"I don't like X."

"Ok goodbye."

Another satisfying exchange!
So far, I’ve contributed actual experiences. Your most recent contribution is to tell people they just don’t know enough to like the right things.

It’s not a legitimate “criticism” or argument. People aren’t broadly speaking from ignorance here.

I’ve played other games more than I’ve played D&D, especially before the 4e era, but even in the last ten years I’ve played other games nearly as much as I’ve played 5e.

I played 2e a couple times before I played GURPS and then VtM in the 90s. I disliked 3.5 so much I played a hacked WoD in fantasy worlds rather than mess with D&D. I’ve played Monsterhearts and Monster of The Week, Fate, Fantasy Age, The One Ring, Mouseguard, D6 Star Wars and Saga Edition and the FFG version (which right from character creation no one in my group liked at all, so I can’t say we gave it a fair shake), and others, in the last decade.

We semi-regularly play a game of mostly improv RP with a resolution system that is just a d6, rolled either flat, with advantage, or with disadvantage, depending on the narrative (I’m an expert swordsman, so I roll with advantage unless my opponent is also expert, sort of thing), and adjudication based on mixed results for anything in the middle of the die, and negotiated consequences.

Ive been building and iterating a modern fantasy game based on skill rank dice pools with no static numerical mods in the game at all and stats that are each a resource pool rather than adding directly to skills or secondary stats, and a process of play that mixes flashback-based “retroactive planning” with success ladder resolution and ability score point based resistance to consequences.

Whatever flaws may be in my arguments here, ignorance isn’t one of them.
 
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Also @Staffan, it's likely Starfinder was a "1.5" - try things out that fix issues in Pathfinder and that they wanted to consider for use in Pathfinder 2.

The Starfinder design would strongly suggest its an interim design, in fact, and I can't imagine they didn't feel it'd be a useful try-out for some concepts.
 

KainGuru

Explorer
With respect to Gamma World et al there are interesting things happening on Kickstarter through the likes of Troll Lords. They've redone Jim Wards original Metamorphous Alpha as 'Starship Warden': rules agnostic BUT prepped for use in TL's own Star Siege (being printed for delivery as I type). A lot of these old properties are being rebooted by their original authors using other systems (licenced or brand new). eg: Though not sci-fi, but a TSR non-fantasy original, Rasmussen re-did his original 'Top Secret' thru kickstarter - now called 'Top Secret - New World Order'.

But the market is niche and best served as kickstarter fodder. WoTC won't get The Expanse, that's already been RPG'ed, again thru kickstarter with heavy input from the series' authors. Modiphius has Star Trek and Fantasy Flight has a stranglehold on everything tabletop for Star Wars. I believe Modiphius has already scored the Dune IP (if someone knows I'd be glad of some clarification)

WoTC basically gave up the rights to 'Star Frontiers' ages ago: there's a website that's been running for 20 years now with all the original Star Frontiers stuff free to download with the permission of WoTC (the owner of the site specifically sought out WoTC's permission and it was granted provided the IP wasn't being distributed for profit - ie it has to remain free).

WoTC may have cornered the Fantasy RPG market but it appears for non-fantasy stuff most people go elsewhere. IMHO I think it's likely a long lasting reflex to the glut of D20 (3.x) IP conversions that flooded the market on the early 2000's . . . and didn't do very well - mainly (again IMHO) because the system that was a good fit for a certain type of genre fantasy didn't always translate well to other, IP specific, genres (I'm remembering the likes of Judge Dredd D20 and Call of Cthulhu D20 here).
 

I'll just note this is just as true about combat tactical choices, yet people are perfectly happy to just go "I aim at [Opponent X] and roll my hit." And people get really soggy when that isn't practical.
I'm not quite sure what you're saying here.

But in general people seem to argue that combat and social interaction should be viewed similarly. They are not similar however (Social interaction is also the medium through which the game is played, while combat is usually more self-containable). The best social mechanics I've seen (such as Exalted 3rd intimacies system) tend to begin with that recognition.
 
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