D&D 5E With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base

Underman

First Post
I'm not sure I'm able to do your post justice by responding to all of it, so let first make sure I understand this one point:
Since then, I've also observed that almost all people whom I come into personal contact with that are completey happy with some complex process sim--upon investigation do not follow the process.
Sure. In D&D, people often or usually roll a d20 and or take a hit or whatever and don't think about the process, they just gloss over it, is that you mean, in simple concise terms?

Do we have a mutual understanding that I do not require a high fidelity of process-simulation mechanics from my D&D? For example, I get that hit points is more process-sim if it had something like a vitality/wounds track.

And I believe that this attitude is the default mindset. I think it's an overstament to argue against a straw man who thinks D&D is the best process-sim game out there.

So do you think you were overstating my perspective? Or do you still think you have me pegged accurately on the whole "blindspot" thing?
 
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Crazy Jerome

First Post
What counts as embedded rules, though? Magic item creation? Teleport and fly spells? Save or die spells? High level spells? Monsters with high ACs that are really hard for anyone but an optimized fighter to hit? Scry/buff/teleport attacks? Monsters with really high grappling bonuses and improved grab? Wands of cure light wounds?

That will depend, of course, on what you want to do with the system. Like I've said before, I can solve the most balance objections I have to 3E/3.5 by simply excluding all full casters (or making them multiclass every third level, which amounts to turning them into bards), and then stopping play at around 15th level. That part works great for me. It doesn't work so hot for my players, who want to play full casters on up to about level 20. With a different group, I'm sure the above would help. That's pretty radical, but I'm not really touching the embedded part of the system. Since my players don't want to play that game, it becomes academic.

OTOH, I have a really fundamental dislike of the 3E/3.5 skill system that simply cannot be tweaked into acceptance for me or the players. I only tolerate the 4E simplification of it because it is so simple that I can just accept that it is just a patina of skills. Next is even further down this road. So for me, this is a case of less is more, since the "more" that WotC keeps coming up with is something universally disliked at our table thus far. So the d20 manifestation of skills is something that is so embedded for us, that the fallacy could be fairly invoked, if someone suggested we tweak the system to be more our taste.

Another group, that perhaps wants these 21 skills instead of that 17 or that other list of 30+, or merely wants no professions, or wants slightly lower skill numbers at higher levels--for them it's more a practical concern. It's a hassle to make those kinds of changes to the system, because the skills are replicated so much, but not conceptually difficult if that is what you really want to do.

I think we will find, if we examine closely, that when someone has a truly warranted objection to a system, that it is nearly always comprised of multiple elements, some practical, some for more embedded difficulty reasons. That is, if someone says they can't make a fighter in 4E without using these metagaming powers, they are objectively wrong. OTOH, if someone says that as an expression of a real dislike of 4E after having played it somewhat, it's also probably true that they have other, more serious disagreements with something else in 4E, not so easily disposed of. We can hardly cite, however, it as a fallacy that their stated objection is easily handled by a few considered exclusions.

Not that any of this is easy to communicate. I can state clearly my objection to 3E skills that it is impossible to tweak them to do what I want, practically difficult to rip them out to replace them with something I like better, and yet they are heavy enough that I can't simply ignore them. Which is entirely accurate, but gives you practically nothing to go on to evaluate my accuracy. :D To fully explain why this is so would take many posts, by me and others interacting, and would probably interest about two people on this whole forum. And when we got to the end, if you wanted to be nice and managed to read the whole thing, you might say something like, "Well darn, that explains why you don't like it. But I like that stuff!"

All kinds of complaints, on various versions of D&D, are voiced by those who haven't discovered that they are in an analogous position. But it's the journey, not the destination, that matters. :D
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Does D&D actually do process sim?

From my understanding of the terms and of D&D's mechanics, I don't think it does. Attack rolls, AC, and HP are too abstract. Even detailed resolution methods for grapples and trips are quite abstract - there's no "arm lock" going on there, just a grapple check. The same goes for saving throws - no one really cares how you leap out of the way with a Reflex Save or Save vs. Spells, and the process breaks down - do you draw an AoO for avoiding a Fireball, and if not, why not?

In contrast, henchmen loyalty in AD&D reads to me like process sim.

I could be wrong, but maybe the process sim = associated mechanics is a red herring.

When I read the following, I think dissociated mechanics have more to do with fictional positioning and their relationship to action resolution.

To take our One-Handed Catch ability, for example, we could easily say: The player activates his gravitic force gloves (which have a limited number of charges per day) to pull the ball to his hand. Or he shouts a prayer to the God of Football who’s willing to help him a limited number of times per day. Or he activates one of the arcane tattoos he had a voodoo doctor inscribe on his palms.

These all sound pretty awesome, but each of them carries unique consequences. If it’s gravitic force gloves, can they be stolen or the gravitic field canceled? Can he shout a prayer to the God of Football if someone drops a silence spell on him? If he’s using an arcane tattoo, does that mean that the opposing team’s linebacker can use a dispel magic spell to disrupt the catch?

(This is getting to be a weird football game.)

Whatever explanation you come up with will have a meaningful impact on how the ability is used in the game. And that means that each and every one of them is a house rule.

Why is this a problem?

First, there’s a matter of principle. Once we’ve accepted that you need to immediately house rule the One-Handed Catch ability, we’ve accepted that the game designers gave us a busted rule that needs to be fixed before it can be used. The Rule 0 Fallacy (“this rule isn’t broken because I can fix it”) is a poor defense of any game.

But there’s also a practical problem: While it may be easy to fix a single ability like One-Handed Catch, a game filled with such abilities will require hundreds (or thousands) of house rules that you now need to create, keep track of, and use consistently. What is trivial for any single ability becomes a huge problem in bulk.​

That, to me, is a question about how players make meaningful decisions in the game, and which kinds of meaningful decisions the game is asking players to make.
 


Crazy Jerome

First Post
Sure. In D&D, people often or usually roll a d20 and or take a hit or whatever and don't think about the process, they just gloss over it, is that you mean, in simple concise terms?

Do we have a mutual understanding that I do not require a high fidelity of process-simulation from my D&D? For example, I get that hit points is more process-sim if it had something like a vitality/wounds track.

And I believe that this attitude is the default mindset. I think it's an overstament to argue against a straw man who thinks D&D is the best process-sim game out there.

So do you think you were overstating my perspective? Or do you still think you have me pegged accurately on the whole "blindspot" thing?

First bit, no I mean something more like a person is unhappy with the nature or frequency of criticals happening on a natural 20--as this sometimes leads to results that they don't like. So the DM fudges die rolls or introduces some kind of damage resistance or includes enough healing to nullify the criticals. That is, they ignore or change (usually complicate) the process. Which is fine as far as it goes, but then they can't honestly say that the process was working just fine. And more important, they miss that their process changes would have unacceptable results at other tables.

To be precise, I'm not arguing against anyone who says that D&D is the best process sim out there. If I saw that statement, I wouldn't respect it with the dignity of an answer. :) I'm arguing against the attitude that D&D is more process sim than it can justly be said of it, and that if it were more process sim it would make the general D&D audience happier. There's really nothing there I can say that Gygax didn't tell them in no uncertain terms while 1E was still the latest thing, but since people ignored him then, I supposed they will certainly ignore the rest of us now. :D

As for you, no blindspot is not the term I would use. Bluntly, I think there is a hole in your understanding that would be best examined by trying another game or three, and is unlikely to be filled by merely talking with us. If there was a blindspot, you wouldn't be asking these questions. You are under no obligation to examine this hole, or even in any way to accept that it might be there, I hasten to add--much less do anything about it. However, that you are asking these questions makes me guess that you are aware of it, and would be pleased to fill it.

When I studied German, I didn't retain it, I never used it, and I didn't particularly like doing it. Just not my thing (and not the best choice for me to try). But I learned a heck of a lot about my native English while trying German. I think sometimes that a lot of the good bits of D&D are only fully appreciated from the perspective of someone who has given something different a good try. And often the limitations, too.

My comments on fidelity to process-sim are addressed to those with the blindspot. I think in your case, that you haven't really found out for yourself the necessary limits of process-sim, even though you can accept that there are limits for practical reasons. So again, if you are curious about those, don't ask me! Go exploring! You'll make your own conclusions, as everyone should.

I apologize in advance if that is patronizing. I don't mean it to be, but it's late, and maybe not worded as well as it could be. There's no easy way to say, "The questions you are asking make me think there is some experience you are missing," when I do think exactly that.:hmm:
 


Underman

First Post
First bit, no I mean something more like a person is unhappy with the nature or frequency of criticals happening on a natural 20--as this sometimes leads to results that they don't like.
Then either process sim doesn't mean what I think it is, or this subtopic has nothing to do with the bulk of this thread.

As for you, no blindspot is not the term I would use. Bluntly, I think there is a hole in your understanding that would be best examined by trying another game or three,
But I HAVE played another game or three, just not GURPS, etc.

I apologize in advance if that is patronizing.
Not sure. It did read as somewhat patronizing as much as I don't think you know what goes on in my head as much you think you do. Some of my questions are just to keep people honest, or to understand the usefulness of semantics like 'process sim', and not necessarily to fill in a hole in my understanding. And in all fairness, you only know me as well as by what I write.
 
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Underman

First Post
Only if it is a two-way street, and not always even then. I'd like you to go rate all the topics from 2009 and see how that worked out in practice. (Not really. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.) :p
If it's not a two way street, then there won't be mutual understanding, that's true, the mantra won't help. Or if the expectation is to get people exactly on the same page as you, the mantra also won't help and one would be here on Enworld for years. Otherwise, with the 'Assume Less', one would get along better in life otherwise, I believe.
 
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