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Author Topic: Sode #2) The Standard D&D Game  (Read 7866 times)
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Meg
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« on: November 26, 2007, 04:41:38 PM »

Discuss this episode here.  To respond to specific discussion points in the episode, check out:

D&D is too...?
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Meg
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 09:10:17 PM »

Quote from: Jim
Nice job, guys.  Interesting and fun.  Now I have another podcast to listen to besides Fear the Boot!
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 10:30:43 PM »

"Because you're playing a game!"

Well, arguably,

If the 'logic' of D&D game doesn't appeal to you (ie, slaughtering scores of things makes your lockpicking increase or if you ask questions like 'if hit points represent my ability to dodge damage, etc why must they be healed by a cleric?') then I'd suggest finding a skill based - rather than a level based game.  Might work better for you.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 10:47:02 PM by logan9a » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 11:13:21 PM »

"Because you're playing a game!"

Well, arguably,

If the 'logic' of D&D game doesn't appeal to you (ie, slaughtering scores of things makes your lockpicking increase or if you ask questions like 'if hit points represent my ability to dodge damage, etc why must they be healed by a cleric?') then I'd suggest finding a skill based - rather than a level based game.  Might work better for you.


One of the interesting systems for this is Burning Wheel.  In this game the only way to advance skills is to use them for rolls that are on the order of hard to impossible.  It creates a really interesting dynamic where you end up failing in order to get better.  A player will actually go into a hard task willingly. 

In many games the tendency is to try to mostly go for "sure things."  In BW you only advance if you try really hard tasks.  In effect it is win-win.  If you lose, you get better, if you win, you get better and you accomplish your task. 
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 11:22:34 PM »

In HC (Heroic Cthulhu) it uses a heavily modified BRP system.  You get better through succeeding on a skill check.  To me, it doesn't make as much sense to get better through failing your way up.  I suppose it does work in corporate America though...
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 01:58:26 AM »

In HC (Heroic Cthulhu) it uses a heavily modified BRP system.  You get better through succeeding on a skill check.  To me, it doesn't make as much sense to get better through failing your way up.  I suppose it does work in corporate America though...
You get better by taking on challenges, setting up a situation where the player actually pushes his character. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 08:23:49 AM »

Ah!  That's good then.
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 11:13:20 PM »

It is similar to the RuneQuest CoC (if I remember it correctly).  In that system you get to test a skill for advancement if you use it, no matter the outcome, and you get the advance if you fail in your check.  You need to use skills you are "bad" at if you ever want to get better.

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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 11:43:17 PM »

I could be wrong, but I thought that even in Runequest (modeled after the BRP system) that you got a check only if successful.
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2008, 02:41:33 AM »

It has been a long time since I played that system.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2008, 08:39:41 AM »

Ah.

/looks around.

...I like pie?
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 04:17:53 AM »

I wanted to post this in the Ep. 2 topic, but I got a warning in red ink which means thread necromancy is probably a no-no here.

Anyway, Meg talks about how she chatted with the author of the Serenity RPG to make sure he was a fan, which made her feel better about the game.

But do game designers really need to be fans of an IP before making a game based on it? Sure, they need to do legwork and be faithful to the source material, but being a good game designer is a much more relevant concern than being a fan when you're making a game.

Evidence:

1. The Serenity RPG. The writer was a fan; IMO the game's not so hot. I mean, it's not bad, but it's not particulary Serenity or Firefly.

2. Mouse Guard: Luke Crane was not particularly a fan of MG before he wrote the game (nor is he now, if all the interviews I've read and listened to are of any concern). And this game is hot shit. Because the man can design a game, and he did his work and respects the comics even if he doesn't luuurve them.

Prosecution rests.
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2009, 10:25:22 AM »

I think Meg's concern was more a fear of a mercenary adaptation of material she likes. Crane seems genuinely passionate about all of his game design, and fan or not, he certainly seems to know his source material. Still, your point is well taken, efficiency of design is in fact more important that love of source.
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 09:42:40 PM »

Meg, Charisma to Use Magic Device, to me, is the character enforcing his will on magic. Makes sense to me. Basically say magic items are all quasi-intelligent, even ones that aren't "Intelligent", and your Charisma represents willpower, and you are using your charisma to trick the item.

As far as Video Game based RPGs, Deathnet (IIR the name correctly), from the old Polyhedron/Dungeon days was kinda awesome.
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2010, 09:37:57 PM »

I hope it is still cool to reply to this topic. I am new to the boards, but it makes sense to me if I am commenting about this Ep. 

Anywho, in the course of this episode you mention that D&D 3 (or maybe 3.5) is "balanced".  I am not convinced this is the case.  It needn't be the case that you have each of the canonical roles filled.  If by balance you mean you need a party member of each role to have a good game that just seems false.  You can have a wizard that just fills every role.  Wizards are batman.  If you mean that the classes are balanced, try playing any level of samurai in a party with similarly leveled, any other class and tell me they are balanced.  There is a fundamental imbalance in games that involve magic for the simple reason that people who primarily swing swords are less powerful than people who break the laws of physics.  Now in 4th this is mitigated (somewhat) by how often we can use powers, but the "reality" is violated.   Maybe it is weird to talk about reality and magic in the same place, but I think you understand what I mean.  Only being able to swing your sword a special way, a certain number of times seems a bit odd. However, I digress, the point is that the balance you refer to in D&D does not appear, IMHO, to exist.
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2010, 01:17:48 PM »

I hope it is still cool to reply to this topic. I am new to the boards, but it makes sense to me if I am commenting about this Ep. 

Anywho, in the course of this episode you mention that D&D 3 (or maybe 3.5) is "balanced".  I am not convinced this is the case.  It needn't be the case that you have each of the canonical roles filled.  If by balance you mean you need a party member of each role to have a good game that just seems false.  You can have a wizard that just fills every role.  Wizards are batman.  If you mean that the classes are balanced, try playing any level of samurai in a party with similarly leveled, any other class and tell me they are balanced.  There is a fundamental imbalance in games that involve magic for the simple reason that people who primarily swing swords are less powerful than people who break the laws of physics.  Now in 4th this is mitigated (somewhat) by how often we can use powers, but the "reality" is violated.   Maybe it is weird to talk about reality and magic in the same place, but I think you understand what I mean.  Only being able to swing your sword a special way, a certain number of times seems a bit odd. However, I digress, the point is that the balance you refer to in D&D does not appear, IMHO, to exist.

Wizards are good, as are a number of other characters.  Just because you can play a wizard it does not invalidate any other characters.  So if you like wizards, play them.  I have seen too many non wizard kick ass build to think that wizards are the best.  However they have two big points:

1) A Wiz20 is pretty awesome.  A Fig20 sucks balls.  Wizards are easier to make kick ass.
2) Wizards are better at killing PC's in vs matches.  That makes them seem awesomer.

Also, wizards are cool.  I prefer to play them.
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2010, 01:52:23 PM »

Quote
A Wiz20 is pretty awesome.  A Fig20 sucks balls.  Wizards are easier to make kick ass.

That is exactly my point.  In this episode you say that D&D is a (generally) balanced game.  I actually agree with you, but not for the reason you said.  When you describe the reason you say (in general) an xth level Character is equal to other xth level characters.  This doesn't seem to be the case.  The balance in D&D seems to come from other factors.  Namely that wizards (read here as magic users) start out very weak and fighters start out relatively strong as low level characters.  This changes because (according to the popular phrasing) wizards grows quadratically, and Fighters grow linearly.  This isn't exactly true, I think a caveat needs to be added that wizards at full power grow quadratically, but the main point is still valid.  A wizard/cleric/druid will be more powerful than a fighter at certain levels and a fighter will be more powerful than a wizard and a druid at lower levels.  I am not convinced that clerics are ever weaker than fighters, but whatever.
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2010, 01:47:58 PM »

I am against the temporal balancing that was hardwired into AD&D's DNA.  The idea was, as Turing explains, that your Wizard would suck at low levels, but would achieve ultimate powah! at higher ones.  This screws up the power curve all the way through.  Early on, the player and by extension the party is "too" weak, and later on they run roughshod over everything.

But, I find talking about things at the level of class to be unhelpful.  Part of what I love and why I still play 3.5 is the richness of its character creation system, so talking about a "fighter" doesn't mean much to me.  I can also confidently make fighters, rangers, monks, etc. that can hang w/ well-built wizards, druids, etc. at pretty much all levels of play.  I played an epic level rogue for over a year and never felt outpowered by the massive spellcasters.

This thread did remind me about my forays into Burning Wheel and Mouseguard.  These were both based on BG's suggestions, and I picked up MG at Dragon*Con, got the beautiful book signed by the artist, played the Tolkien Hack there, etc.  And, back in NYC I tried out playing BW w/ some guys, picked up the 2 core burners, etc. 

I find Mouseguard extremely endearing and interesting, and someday I will run it in its native setting.  The thought that I would be really interested in running a game involving fluffy adorable mice (swords or no) is quite surprising to anyone who knows me. 

Burning Wheel, however, was a marked disappointment.  Don't get me wrong, I think the main innovations of the game -- the Beliefs and the Instincts, etc. -- are really great.  I like them quite a bit and the idea of how they would drive a game quite a bit, too.  And, they are worlds better than similar, ham-fisted attempts of games past. 

But, the game is essentially unplayable.  The guys I was playing w/, some of whom were BW veterans, were saying things like "yeah, we never really use the combat system," which indicates to me that it might be a bit flawed.  Likewise, character creation, pretty much anyone's first introduction to a system, is a nightmare.  It makes little sense, and I often found the system doing its best to get in my way from creating something.  That is, it wasn't good at enabling things. 

That, and I resent Mr. Crane's statement that "we don't have a setting for BW."  BW has one hell of a specific, intrusive, and particular setting.  I just wish it would come out and say it, that way I could build my character around that rather than ignorantly struggling against this particular take on 12th-century France.
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