D&D General Younger Players Telling Us how Old School Gamers Played

pemerton

Legend
Sure, there are other examples of similar statements as well. However, Gygax didn't use the training rules
I know. They're pretty obviously terrible.

The IDEA of 'how to play well' certainly was there. In the 2e rules this is kind of reformulated into the "give XP for character's aims" rule, which if you think about it is accomplishing a pretty similar aim in a simpler more direct way. The 1e version however is really not that practical, using the ratings as a multiplier to time/cost of training. Its just fraught.
A more natural implementation would be XP bonuses rather than training time modifiers.

The disadvantage of doing it in the 2nd ed way is that it becomes almost impossible to make sure the class-specific XP systems are balanced against one another.
 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Where I see over-hyping most often - and am frequently annoyed by it - is in weather forecasts/reports.
News reporting in general. It depends on advertising dollars, and their success is measured by that and viewer ratings, so they increasingly sensationalize to draw in and retain viewers. Hyperbole sells. Fear and outrage sell. :(
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Sure, there are other examples of similar statements as well. However, Gygax didn't use the training rules, he didn't even write it until he was working on the DMG. I know this, Mike Mornard told us flat out when we talked to him (I mean, its possible they were tested at some point, but Mike played with them a good bit). The IDEA of 'how to play well' certainly was there. In the 2e rules this is kind of reformulated into the "give XP for character's aims" rule, which if you think about it is accomplishing a pretty similar aim in a simpler more direct way. The 1e version however is really not that practical, using the ratings as a multiplier to time/cost of training. Its just fraught. I mean, try it and then see how well the players are likely to tolerate it. I mean, I work in Software Engineering, people constantly try to institute code review rules, it always turns pear shaped. Nobody likes to be critiqued in that way and rated. Especially not when it then punishes your character's wealth, AND LEVEL, both major play goals. lol. It might work better in more narrative focus games, maybe, but I doubt it would be really the best way.

This, by the by, was why I started ignoring the evaluation elements in what I refer to as "social engineering" experience rules in games that did them when they were all the vogue. While they might have occasionally produced some benign effects, they also produced a lot of hostility and general negative knock-on effects to go with it that I didn't think was even vaguely worth it.
 

I've got some sympathy for the idea that in a class-based game, with class-based differentiation of character functions, that rewards in the game should be related to performing those functions well.
This is a hard no for me, as too often, it entrenches the way the DM thinks a class should be played, regardless of whether the player chooses to play the class to be played that way.

If I pattern my rogue on Vidocq, thief-turned-detective (and inspiration for Javert), I don’t want to be penalized for not being a greedy bastard.

My bard sings hymns and seeks converts, I don’t want to be penalized for not seducing barmaids, writing terrible poetry or strumming a lute.

My barbarian represses his rage in most situations, and it only spills out in battle when he gives into it. I don’t want to lose XP because I don’t play him as an “ales and whores” cliche, or I didn’t take the DM’s bait when an NPC tried to antagonize my character.

Mechanically, my paladin has the Oath of Conquest subclass. Narratively, he follows the goddess of death, and has weaponized enemies’ fear of their own mortality.
 

This is a hard no for me, as too often, it entrenches the way the DM thinks a class should be played, regardless of whether the player chooses to play the class to be played that way.
this is something that needs to be walked through.

classes can have suggestions, things they do best (what I would call a role) but playing against type or even just a slight tweek of type should be fine and if it isn't the DM needs to be upfront about it... I love all of your examples but as a DM I want to bring up my own
If I pattern my rogue on Vidocq, thief-turned-detective (and inspiration for Javert), I don’t want to be penalized for not being a greedy bastard.

My bard sings hymns and seeks converts, I don’t want to be penalized for not seducing barmaids, writing terrible poetry or strumming a lute.

My barbarian represses his rage in most situations, and it only spills out in battle when he gives into it. I don’t want to lose XP because I don’t play him as an “ales and whores” cliche, or I didn’t take the DM’s bait when an NPC tried to antagonize my character.

Mechanically, my paladin has the Oath of Conquest subclass. Narratively, he follows the goddess of death, and has weaponized enemies’ fear of their own mortality.
so I had a 3.5 set of campagins... I was playing in 1 helping run 1 and about to start a 3rd. In the one I was helping run the idea the DM wanted was power house power game concepts... and I mean we used dumb Op Board stuff (hence why he needed some help) the second I was a PC cleric, and had a level or 2 before this time had taken leadership and by accadent made an OP druid that was better then the whole rest of the party put togather... so that is the type of things we had been talking about when I pitched my more normlish world.

So 1 player asked if I could have a barbarian tribe or two in the world before session 0... no big deal easy. I actually made an elf and a human set of barbarians along with the intermixing being half elves.

so session 0 (we just called it character creation night) rolled around and there were 4 players. (3+1 that had made request) and we went around discussing our ideas. We were starting at 5th level but no more then 2 allowed for race level adjustment... the first player pitched wanting to try to warmage or the warlock from arcane power. then the player I assumed would be a barbarian went next and said he would be a human barbarian 1/cleric 4. I was like "cool like a tribal shaman?" and he said something like that and went off to build... the other 2 now thinking we had a cleric made a Knight/Warblade and a Swordsage/psiwarrior. The orginal player settled on warmage and we took our stuff and the only item to really discuss was teh god teh barbarian cleric would worship he asked who teh god of war was, and I said all of them are warlike but here is my list... he chose one that had war healing and knowledge as domains and we Bsed a while.

game 1 he does this weird self buff thing and runsd in and basicly out fights our two warriors BUT at this point it is all high 5's and how amazing his character is... until the end of the first fight when the warmage asked for some healing...

"I don't heal"
I thought I heard him wrong "You are a worshiper of my god of healing knowledge and war (remember all of them had war) and you don't heal... you don't even need to prep the healing spells you can just spontaneously"
he interrupted me "I wont heal. My spell slots are for me an not a team resource, go get a wand"
so when the party got some loot before splitting it they bought 2 wands of cure light. then split the remaining money... that player complained he shouldn't be 'shorted' money since he COULD heal himself (and he did).
so they gave him the wands and he said "I wont use them to heal you I am not a healer" and the game blew up both in and out of game into a fight...

As the DM I layed down my ruling that this went against the table rule of playing as a team/group. the fact that we thought we we geting a shaman, the fact that he didn't say anything until healing was needed even as we all considered healing to be okay in the group was a violation....

I don't mind you going against type but you have to tell us. 4e (and we still use the terms now) helped with party role... You want to play a celric striker cool but be upfront don't let us build a controler/defender/striker party around your leader then refuse to heal.


As I ttyped this I am reminded of the guy who tried to charge party members for healing in 2e...
 



pemerton

Legend
This is a hard no for me, as too often, it entrenches the way the DM thinks a class should be played, regardless of whether the player chooses to play the class to be played that way.

If I pattern my rogue on Vidocq, thief-turned-detective (and inspiration for Javert), I don’t want to be penalized for not being a greedy bastard.

My bard sings hymns and seeks converts, I don’t want to be penalized for not seducing barmaids, writing terrible poetry or strumming a lute.

My barbarian represses his rage in most situations, and it only spills out in battle when he gives into it. I don’t want to lose XP because I don’t play him as an “ales and whores” cliche, or I didn’t take the DM’s bait when an NPC tried to antagonize my character.

Mechanically, my paladin has the Oath of Conquest subclass. Narratively, he follows the goddess of death, and has weaponized enemies’ fear of their own mortality.
For what you describe here, I don't see what class-based PC design is bringing to the table.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For what you describe here, I don't see what class-based PC design is bringing to the table.
The class gives the character a slate of abilities it can use within the setting - if it wants to.

The last four words there are the key. Just because a character has a slate of abilities doesn't and shouldn't dictate how, when, or even if those abilities are used; nor to what purpose their use is put.

If I'm a wizard and my only melee weapon is a staff, I shouldn't be prohibited from charging into melee rather than using spells if that's what I choose to do. Put another way, as long as I'm contributing in-character to the party's success I shouldn't be punished for that contribution being made in a clearly sub-optimal manner.
 

pemerton

Legend
The class gives the character a slate of abilities it can use within the setting - if it wants to.

The last four words there are the key. Just because a character has a slate of abilities doesn't and shouldn't dictate how, when, or even if those abilities are used; nor to what purpose their use is put.

If I'm a wizard and my only melee weapon is a staff, I shouldn't be prohibited from charging into melee rather than using spells if that's what I choose to do. Put another way, as long as I'm contributing in-character to the party's success I shouldn't be punished for that contribution being made in a clearly sub-optimal manner.
As I posted, I don't see the merits of class-based PC design if the class is not a set of expected functions.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
As I posted, I don't see the merits of class-based PC design if the class is not a set of expected functions.
Why is the "expected" in there?

The class is a set of functions. How or if those functions are used in play is (or should be!) entirely up to the player.

Given your usual pro-player-agency stance I'm somewhat surprised you're not backing me to the hilt on this. :)
 

pemerton

Legend
Why is the "expected" in there?

The class is a set of functions. How or if those functions are used in play is (or should be!) entirely up to the player.
If there is no expectation about the deployment of functions, then building characters around discrete functions/roles doesn't make much sense to me.

It's not like class/function/role is the only way to build a RPG character!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If there is no expectation about the deployment of functions, then building characters around discrete functions/roles doesn't make much sense to me.
It does to me.

If I "build" (gads, I've come to despise that term!) a Thief but decide that as a part of his character he will never in fact steal anything despite his having all sorts of baked-in abilities designed to help him do so, all I'm doing is playing against (stereo)type; and if playing against type has somehow become controversial then something's gone a bit wrong somewhere.

Same thing if I come in with a Thief, say, whose character flaw is a fear of being alone; and thus will never go out on solo scouting sorties even though within the party his baked-in abilities make him by far the best-suited for doing so.

The general expectations can be present, sure, but if one's not allowed to play against those expectations then it's more like "demands" or "dictates", which hammers one's ability to play one's character as desired.
It's not like class/function/role is the only way to build a RPG character!
True; but even if one starts at it from a different direction e.g. personality first or character-story-arc first or whatever, if the game is using a class-based system then class-function-role is still going to be in there somewhere.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
For what you describe here, I don't see what class-based PC design is bringing to the table.

One has to note that at least for several decades now, in the main line of D&D and immediately related games, one can very much argue that classes are a vestigial structure still there because people expect it in D&D, not something that is followed in terms of role behavior in any consistent fashion. That was inevitable as soon as significant design choice became available in character generation and progression. The only class you can reliably expect to still land in any consistent way near its original conception is the fighter line, just because enough of its specifics are baked hard into its core abilities instead of in anything that provides much choice; that's not been true with any of the spellcasters or rogue offshoots for a very long time (in fact, one can argue how much it was really true of any of those back in day one if a player was determined to work against the tide; there's a lot more opportunities to do that these days).

Essentially, class based design only reliably brings anything to the table as long as its pretty darn rigid, or no one has any tendency not to follow the obvious direction it points.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
RPGs will be so much more fun when the notion of optimal play is dead and buried.

Its not a question of whether its optimal play, just that the only real point in classes is having a bucketed set of abilities that point at a purpose. Its basically perverse to bother with that kind of structure if you're not going to use them that way; you might as well use a system that lets the player pick the abilities he wants and use the ones he picks rather than being saddled with whatever the system gives him.
 


pemerton

Legend
One has to note that at least for several decades now, in the main line of D&D and immediately related games, one can very much argue that classes are a vestigial structure still there because people expect it in D&D, not something that is followed in terms of role behavior in any consistent fashion.
Agreed. With the exception of 4e, which leans hard into class-as-function and makes it work! (This is why I liked 4e - it took all the classic D&Disms and actually made them work in the context of a modern RPG.)
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
As @Thomas Shey said, why use class-based PC building if class doesn't mean anything in terms of expected function?
Even if you don't use class-based building and the character gets its in-game abilities via other mechanics (I think it's safe to assume characters are ging to have some sort of in-game abilities), the question still remains whether the having of certian abilities carries a hard-coded expectation that those abilities have to be used by the character in a proscribed manner, or whether the player can choose to play against type and either use those abilities differently or not use them at all; and this is the question being side-stepped when asking whether class-based is useful.
 

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