Excellent gaming rant

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Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:32 am

that I find myself agreeing with most heartedly.

http://www.korpg.com/blog/?p=3181 wrote:This is another of my rails against the nature of where RPGs seem to be headed in my opinion. So if you’re not interested in reading my rant and joining in on what my horoscope says should be a lively discussion and debate, then move along, nothing to see here.

There’s been a lot of talk of late about the new Magic Item Rarity re-do by WotC and I wanted to voice my opinion too.

Let me point out first that I’m prepared for the possibility of being called a hater here. We all have our own opinions on what’s good for the hobby. I’m sure most of my beliefs are not mainstream, but perhaps there’s a hint of truth in them for everyone. Examine them closely and you may just find that I’m not as radical as you might first believe. And I have been known to laud as well as incorporate some of things some video games do right in my own RPG ruleset, so I realize that this may seem a bit hypercritical as well as hypocritical.*

But some things have been bothering me since the days of 2E. The seeds of my complaints go back a number of years and I’ve been moderately vocal about those things with my circle of friends, but the nature of the new Magic Item Rarity categorization article brought them to a head and I’m finally going to express them to the RPG public.

Furthermore, I completely understand that WotC has an obligation to their corporate interests to sell the most product and generate the highest revenue. Their motivations cannot always fall in line with what I might consider a better track for the hobby. But that doesn’t excuse them from being the target of one of my rants from time to time.

I should also point out that I left this topic alone for a while as I considered what really bugged me about the article, and after authoring this I left it un-posted for some time while I readdressed it. I think the time has come to say my peace.

Let me preface this rant with the following: I’m directing this at D&D because its the elephant in the room. For better or worse, WotC has the market share to drive the direction of the RPG gaming universe. So while it might not be the sole target of my annoyance, it will suffice as the broad side of the barn for this post.

Begin Rant Mode

Stop with the CRPG-ification of RPGs please!

This has to stop. A cancer has crept into the collective RPG consciousness that has to be pointed, and rooted-out. D&D appears to have been infected at a staggering rate. It started in 2E, metastasized in 3E, grew unchecked in 3.5E, found fertile ground in 4E and has now blossomed and engulfed yet another aspect of the game with Essentials. At every turn imagination dies and the game becomes more of a simulation than a game. This isn’t a step forward, it’s a step away. I’ve been marginally silent on this for a while because of my prior voiced issues with 4E and my opinion that it’s a card game masquerading as a tabletop wargame, but for the love of God, let’s start focusing on making a better game, not one with all the challenge and edges filed off, chock full of formulas in place of imagination to make it easier and fun for all.

I claim here and now that for all intents and purposes, imagination is essentially dead. What killed it? A lot of things, but here’s a brief rundown of my top 5.

1. It started innocently enough with the bloat that is 2E and its horde of supplements. No longer were we required to use our imagination to think up how certain roles should be described on our character sheets. We didn’t need to use our imagination to describe how the base numbers fit the differing styles of different types of classes. Subclasses and kits abounded to make sure that if we said we were a swashbuckler, by God you knew it! We didn’t need to roleplay a swashbuckler anymore, it said we were playing the one out of that nameless supplement. See, it even said “swashbuckler” right there on our sheet. Now we have all these feats and skills to help us define what a character can and can’t do without ever having to think something up ourselves or ask the DM if we can do something. Isn’t it so much easier like this? Players are no longer burdened with playing a role and the DM is no longer burdened with being a referee. All hail the Rules and Dice! They are the new masters of the RPG Universe. Imagination began to wilt under the pressure of all those supplements and optional rules.
2. It grew with the notion of Builds. As in, let’s ignore roleplaying history for a given powergamer recipe that will assure your character is the best “Whatever” she can be when she reaches level X. It doesn’t make sense that we’re picking up feats and skills that have no real bearing on the history of a character? Who cares. The build will show you the way to make that uber character you so desire. Sure, let’s put character development on training wheels so we can make sure we’re getting the most of our level-up points. Powergaming for the win and all that. 4E, in my estimation, took this idea to an extreme… and somewhere the RPG Reaper took a bit more imagination off the table.
3. But the cancer wasn’t happy with staying on the player side of the table. It found a way into the DM** thought-process too. Somehow it slithered onto the other side of the screen. Enter the manifestation of Challenge Rating (CR). With CR, we are taught that we mustn’t challenge the players by anything that can’t be handled by the numbers on their powergaming, build-oriented character sheets. God forbid we make the players play more than those builds they’ve decided. And besides, it’s easier on us DMs to make sure things are “level appropriate.” Apparently training wheels are all the rage now, so let’s apply them to our encounter and trap placement and makeup. It’ll all be easier if we just run the numbers against the numbers. Imagination be damned.
4. Along came Tiers which were basically a veiled effort to making sure we’re all playing rock-paper-scissors with out builds. Yep, we wouldn’t want anything other than the situation where the cleric outshines the thief who outshines the fighter who outshines the mage who outshines the cleric. Why to do anything other than that would be so inappropriate at any level wouldn’t it? Players would cry foul! Anarchy would ensue! Cats and Dogs would start living together… Yes, we mustn’t have a situation where someone is actually at a loss numbers-wise. That wouldn’t be fair to their choice of build now would it? Game balance must be the crowning achievement of all efforts in game design! Imagination might as well be dead.
5. And now we have formula for where a given magical item should fall within a given level range. Where will it stop? If imagination isn’t already dead, it doesn’t have long now.

Yes, yes, I know that the point of the new Magic Item rarity rules is supposedly to address concerns that magic items remain somewhat rare and players aren’t supposed to use the lists of items as wish-lists. I get that part. Couldn’t agree more actually. But how did this foolish idea take seed in the heads of so many players in the first place? Literal interpretation of the rules as written (RAW.) Was this interpretation flawed? Your guess is as good as mine. Why was this interpretation an obvious outcome? Because apparently the trend has been to rule everything and tighten things down more and more, not less and less.

The sum result of all these things is a game where players play their build-oriented numbers against the virtually risk-less level-appropriate challenges for rule-directed level-appropriate rewards… let’s plant some daisies on that mound of dirt where we buried imagination.

Oh sure, I know what some of you are thinking: bla-bla-bla, he’s just a hater, you can modify the rules to your own desires, etc. Yeah, I know. You probably figure I’m just trying to throw stones at the big boys to fill some deep-seated hole in my soul. You couldn’t be further from the truth. I already know I can modify the rules as I see fit. I think I do that enough already. Now it looks like I have a choice of either buying a ruleset and ignoring nearly all of it while fearing that someone will claim I’m playing it wrong, or not buying it at all… I think you can see where this is headed.

Somewhere in the past this kind of formula-based thinking has burrowed its way into our collective RPG-groupthink. I for one say its dug way too deeply and has now metastasized like the cancerous growth of training wheels-laden rules where failure and innovation are ignored and eschewed for making sure everyone has a fair and “level appropriate” good time. Where’s the challenge in knowing that the bulk of the game has now been made challenge-rating appropriate? Many of us who have been at this a while and recall the 3rd paragraph on the 2nd column of the first page in the Basic Rulebook that states:

While the material in this booklet is referred to as rules, that is not really correct. Anything in this booklet (and other D&D booklets) should be thought of as changeable – anything, that is, that the Dungeon Master or referee thinks should be changed… The purpose of these “rules” is to provide guidelines that enable you to play and have fun, so don’t feel absolutely bound by them. – Basic Rulebook, page B3

However, newcomers to this hobby from the CRPG-verse, more accustomed to following the strict rules generated by their medium, don’t have the benefit of this historical truth in RPGs and might read this stuff and think, “Oh that’s how the formula works…” That how it’s supposed to be played since these are the RAW. I’m honestly beginning to worry that someone new will sit down at my table, find the game not conforming to the formula and claim that I’m not playing the game correctly because I haven’t checked the CR of the encounter, or made sure to reward the characters with an appropriate level of magic for their level.

Think I’m out of bounds with my concern? I’ll quote the Mike Mearls, the author of the page I’m referencing as a shining example of what I mean:

A +1 flame-tongue longsword must sit somewhere between levels 1 and 5.

What the..? MUST!?! Says who? Mike Mearls? Why? Who gave him that authority? WotC? When did they decide where a given magical item MUST lie in my game? Is this the same game that claims its roots in the imagination of Gary and Dave? I cry foul! Keep your musts to yourself. I’ll have none of it thank you very much. And what feat of logic leads Mr. Mearls to this mandate?

Above that point, its enhancement bonus is too low to keep up with other weapons, even if it has a nifty activated ability.

Again I must ask, Why? Who decides what enhancement bonus is too high or too low for a given level range? Oh, that’s right. I do. I’m the DM so it’s my decision. And before you all start down the “He’s just an antagonistic DM who wants the game to foster his jerk tendencies” line of thinking, take a gander at the breadth of posts here where I declare my desire to grant license to the players. I’m arguably a as open a DM as you’ll meet. And as long as my players don’t object and leave en masse, then I must be doing something right. Following someone else’s formula for what they think the game dictates isn’t in my plan… nor should the language lead others to think it must be my plan.

Once again, yes, I, and those I play with, know enough to ignore the RAW. But the very reason WotC feel it’s important to have this new formula is to counteract those who apparently don’t. The funny thing about written text and choice of language is that it has a way of being interpreted literally. Even when that literal interpretation is wrong… or perhaps misguided.

Now let’s be fair, I don’t mind the descriptors of Rare, Common and Uncommon items. In point of fact I probably break up treasures of all sorts in similar categories. I’m not advocating for letting players run around like Christmas trees. But it’s the way the language and decision-making process seems to be directing the nature of the game that really bugs me so much. I don’t like feeling like I’m being dictated to. Nor do I like the possible ramification of what these “pseudo-mandates” will bring to those less familiar with the “feel free to ignore the rules” part of playing RPGs. So how about you simply describe the categories, maybe give examples, and let me decide what belongs in which?

Of late D&D has been a bit of a let-down for me. I was really excited and intrigued by 4E. Then I read it and was disappointed about the path it took and the decisions that were made. I won’t go over these issues in detail here, you can probably find the blog post where I spell out my opinion on these misguided changes. Comments are still welcome, though I find my opinion of the M:TG-ization of the game confirmed each and every day.

As an aside, I haven’t forgotten about my claim that I’ll post what changes I would have made instead. I just haven’t had the time (or inclination) to do so – perhaps that might change thanks to this bit of foolishness. – KO

I allowed myself to have high hopes for Essentials, but everything I read leads me to think it’s just more of the same – only now in spades. Someone please help me find a way to get that magic back because I’m about to give up on D&D altogether. But before I go, I’ll try to voice my concerns once again. How about going back to offering guidelines; drop all the musts and shalls in the books and related materials – it sets a bad precedence. Do a roll-back and cut the bloat. I can’t be the only one who still remembers when the game was devoid of so much extraneous material and such mandate-type language and DMs were lauded for removing or houseruling everything. These days it strikes me that WotC wants to make the prefect CRPG to conform to everyone’s vision of how they see the game must be run instead of a tabletop RPG where we’re given license (encouraged even) to use our imagination.

I know this post may appear to be all over the map, and to be honest I’m not really sure where I’m headed with this other than to hopefully foster some discussion and voice my grievances, but with the previous points in mind, here a few warnings to players at my table:

* Expect to be challenged… not just the numbers on your character sheet, expect to be challenged Yourself.
* Expect there to be limited balance. The world is a dangerous place for adventurers, deal with it or go back to being a farmer.
* Fail to meed the challenge and prepare to have your character suffer the consequences. See dangerous place cited above.
* Expect at times to be the bad-ass on the block since adventurers live on the edge of that danger in the world more than anyone else. As a corollary however, expect also to routinely find yourself outgunned and outclassed with those around you; be they monster, NPC or fellow party member. Making everyone the same level of special has a way of making nobody special.
* Expect me to deny you skills and feats if they “come out of nowhere” from a level standpoint. Your character has a history that is being written in-game – make use of it.
* Expect not to find some “Class Defining” Magical item just because it meshes so well with your character concept.
* Expect not to have the right to assume the adventure is level appropriate. Again, make stupid decisions and face the consequences. See dangerous place cited above again.
* Any expectation that there’s some magic formula that decides the challenge of the traps, the dangers posed by the monsters, the rewards both in magic and fortune, or anything remotely resembling anything else that might lead you to think we’re playing a computer game should be dropped immediately.

What you will gain by accepting these warnings:

* Attempt to cite something in a book to determine if you can do something (in the vein of: are allowed by the rules) and expect me to tell you to put the book down and just play the game (as in “don’t ask, tell me what you’re doing” and I’ll be the referee… that’s my job, not the rule book’s job.)
* Expect to discover the enjoyment of knowing when you’ve beaten something far beyond the capabilities described by the numbers on your character sheet.
* Expect to uncover the sense of wonder and marvel that can only come with actually being challenged; not facing a series of “level appropriate” challenge with your “level appropriate” gear and succeeding by expending the formulaic calculated resources before needing a rest as determined by some all encompassing equation designed to assure the character garner the appropriate level of advancement for the appropriate expenditure of resources.
* Expect to know that when you succeed, often you do it because you were innovative and worked beyond the numbers on the paper before you.
* Expect to find glorious treasures to evoke a sense of marvel and wonder. For such is the reward of the adventurer who successfully braves the dangers posed by the setting.
* And finally, and most importantly, expect to use your imagination. I can not assure that you’ll have fun, but I can offer the opportunity. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Maybe I’m way off base here. Maybe I’m just old and jaded. Maybe this is the core of why I say roleplaying is a dying art. Maybe I’m just full of anger and hate for anything new. Maybe I’m a rare bird who finds his imagination flourishes when the rules aren’t as strict and open to interpretation. Maybe new players take comfort in knowing that there’s a rule for everything and everything has been ruled upon. Maybe, but I doubt it.

For those who are ready to flay me on the stake, realize that I seriously love this game. I love roleplaying and all it brings to my life. I love it enough to have taken the time to craft my own ruleset and manage this blog. In homage to the D&D Basic Rulebook, readers of my ruleset will note that I refer to them as guidelines, not rules.

So for the love of all that’s holy, please stop bluring the line between CRPG and RPG and killing off imagination. If you want to create a CRPG, then just get on with it. But leave my RPGs alone. Make sure that in every stand-alone discussion of the rules you indicate that ALL rules are optional. Stop trying to turn the game into some unified RPG-theory magic formula in order to presumably dictate the assured “fun and happiness for all who play.”

Cause it ain’t ever going to happen.

Think I’m wrong here? Then speak up. I can take it.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:59 pm

Sorry I don't agree.

In the early 90's I was begging for these kinds of ideas to be incorporated into RPGs. Now that they are doing it more power to them. What gets me is the "CCG" like stuff is all optional, you don't have to get into it if you don't want to. There is nothing requiring you to buy into any of it, and it doesn't lessen the game if you don't. I actually find it extremely fun concept to have optional card packs for magic items or other mutations in Gamma World. Randomized "ooo let's see what I get" is fun and drags in new people into the hobby. And as I stated it's optional so if you can't afford it or don't want it....don't buy it.

I also don't agree with his ranting on how 4E classifies magical items by levels and power and such. He needs to take a look at his older versions again as this has always been. Certain levels have always been applied to magical items in some form whether based on monetary value, xp value, or even plan old level restrictions. Just because 4E has been written with the assumption that all players and GMs could use the "behind the scenes reasoning" does not mean it was not used or true of older editions.

So for the love of all that’s holy, please stop bluring the line between CRPG and RPG and killing off imagination.

That is one of the most asinine statements I have read in quite awhile. Where does he think CRPG's got their leveling systems from?

I think it funny that a lot of the modern RPG "bloggers" and posters seem to not know the history of the hobby and industry much at all. He claims he has had "some things bothering him since the days of 2E." That entirely surprises me cause he doesn't talk like he knows how games use to be in the least.

I am extremely tired of vocal RPGers on the internet trying to stop new ideas and different ways of playing RPGs all because ALL RPGs are "suppose" to be like golden template and anything else is BADWRONGFUN. The more games, the more I want to see new ideas, no ways to play, new concepts, new marketing ideas, etc... Will I enjoy them all? hell no, do I begrudge people that play them? hell no, am glad to see multiple types and ways to play RPGs in the hobby? HELLZ YEAH.

Nope don't agree with the OP in the least.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:47 pm

Ahh, i agree with the
1. It started innocently enough with the bloat that is 2E and its horde of supplements. No longer were we required to use our imagination to think up how certain roles should be described on our character sheets. We didn’t need to use our imagination to describe how the base numbers fit the differing styles of different types of classes. Subclasses and kits abounded to make sure that if we said we were a swashbuckler, by God you knew it! We didn’t need to roleplay a swashbuckler anymore, it said we were playing the one out of that nameless supplement. See, it even said “swashbuckler” right there on our sheet. Now we have all these feats and skills to help us define what a character can and can’t do without ever having to think something up ourselves or ask the DM if we can do something. Isn’t it so much easier like this? Players are no longer burdened with playing a role and the DM is no longer burdened with being a referee. All hail the Rules and Dice! They are the new masters of the RPG Universe. Imagination began to wilt under the pressure of all those supplements and optional rules.
2. It grew with the notion of Builds. As in, let’s ignore roleplaying history for a given powergamer recipe that will assure your character is the best “Whatever” she can be when she reaches level X. It doesn’t make sense that we’re picking up feats and skills that have no real bearing on the history of a character? Who cares. The build will show you the way to make that uber character you so desire. Sure, let’s put character development on training wheels so we can make sure we’re getting the most of our level-up points. Powergaming for the win and all that. 4E, in my estimation, took this idea to an extreme… and somewhere the RPG Reaper took a bit more imagination off the table.
3. But the cancer wasn’t happy with staying on the player side of the table. It found a way into the DM** thought-process too. Somehow it slithered onto the other side of the screen. Enter the manifestation of Challenge Rating (CR). With CR, we are taught that we mustn’t challenge the players by anything that can’t be handled by the numbers on their powergaming, build-oriented character sheets. God forbid we make the players play more than those builds they’ve decided. And besides, it’s easier on us DMs to make sure things are “level appropriate.” Apparently training wheels are all the rage now, so let’s apply them to our encounter and trap placement and makeup. It’ll all be easier if we just run the numbers against the numbers. Imagination be damned.
4. Along came Tiers which were basically a veiled effort to making sure we’re all playing rock-paper-scissors with out builds. Yep, we wouldn’t want anything other than the situation where the cleric outshines the thief who outshines the fighter who outshines the mage who outshines the cleric. Why to do anything other than that would be so inappropriate at any level wouldn’t it? Players would cry foul! Anarchy would ensue! Cats and Dogs would start living together… Yes, we mustn’t have a situation where someone is actually at a loss numbers-wise. That wouldn’t be fair to their choice of build now would it? Game balance must be the crowning achievement of all efforts in game design! Imagination might as well be dead.
5. And now we have formula for where a given magical item should fall within a given level range. Where will it stop? If imagination isn’t already dead, it doesn’t have long now.

part of what he said. I am not big on builds... I mean, I can if the game requires it, but I would really rather not. i did it once in your D&D game where I was building my char to be a Sandshaper, but it seemed rather... not right to me. And like, not a big fan of the classes in D&D, especially how the additional supplements really added to it, much like Rifts. And a fighter will soon be outclassed by most of the core classes at around 3rd level or so unless he multiclasses into a different core class, or at least so it seemed like to me. I guess I have not as much love for class driven games...
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:09 pm

verdilak wrote:part of what he said. I am not big on builds... I mean, I can if the game requires it, but I would really rather not. i did it once in your D&D game where I was building my char to be a Sandshaper, but it seemed rather... not right to me. And like, not a big fan of the classes in D&D, especially how the additional supplements really added to it, much like Rifts. And a fighter will soon be outclassed by most of the core classes at around 3rd level or so unless he multiclasses into a different core class, or at least so it seemed like to me. I guess I have not as much love for class driven games...


Oh I don't like the crazy "builder" type players 3.x was so full of either. I don't however blame the game for this. I liked players to play what they wanted too. For the most parts though Prestige classes prerequisites make sense, not a random bunch of stuff thrown together to make the best whatever that the OP seems to think. If you wanted to play something else that fits your own vision there is no reason to follow the decisions for a certain prestige class then.

I mean put the blame where it should go, it's not the games fault many RPGs out there have ideas, traits, classes, etc... that could be abused in similar or the same fashion. No it is the players that should get the finger pointed at them.

Even 4E with its very rigid paths of "powers" allows for all trappings to be changed if player or GM want. Still the "builders" or min/maxers or what gave you have been around since the beginnings of the hobby. I just don't see it as a specific games fault. More so a specific game is so popular as to seem to have so many.

Do I think it's the wrong way to play? no. Many people have fun playing that way. Do I like to play or run with players who play that way? no, it's not fun in the least to me. Still I don't blame the game.


Don't get me wrong though. That type of gaming is not fun to me at all. I agree with you there. I just don't agree with the OP's reasoning behind it and think it's a sort of passive-aggressive blame game targeted at the wrong thing.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Pyriel » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:52 am

once again, i repeat that 99% of the blame is on the players and GMs, not on the games.


-if i play a barbarian, i dont need to take fighter levels. i can. and it rules, its MUCH more powerful. but there's no *need to* . I *can* play a full raging barbarian.
-if i play a ranger, i *can* multiclass into rogue, and it rules. but i dont *have to*.
-if i play a fighter, i *can* multiclass into Monk to boost my saves vs spells. it rules. but i dont *have to*.
-if i play a dumb slow brute, i *can* take Improved Initiative to attack first, and i *can* take Combat Expertise/Improved Trip because it rules when you have great strength. but i dont *have to*.

nobody forces players to play "builds". they, themselves choose it.

my d & d character in solar's drow PbP is full sorcerer/dragon disciple. this is absolutely WORTHLESS as a build, as dragon disciple gives mostly strength-oriented boosts, while sorcerer realy benefits from maximizing casting potential. but hey- it didnt stop me from playing an "innefective" build because it made sense concept-wise.

my star wars character COULD get Force Sensitivity and then gain all force powers that jedi can get. AND retain his soldiery talents. it rules. but i didnt do it, because it wasnt in-concept. he also *could* get talents that drop ppl 2-conditions per hit . but i still didnt do it. because these stuff were not in-concept.

Hypotheticaly, my agile ninja in Palladium can get Boxing skill for +1 attack with his Ninjutsu. but if he's not a Boxer, i wont do it.

from all the useful abilities, i pick those in concept, and only them. how hard is that? if you dont do it, and powergamer plays with builds, and "according to minmaxing numbers", then the problem is not the game; its the fact that the guy is a powergamer. thats, like, common sense! what are you doing playing with him in the first place?

also, small objection on imagination: challenging a player as a player is a mistake *in my playstyle, which can be different in another person's style*. when a player is rp'ing, he is supposed to be playing the character, with the character's ideas based on the character's prior experiences. if he uses *player idea* as opposed to *character idea* thats metagaming. characters do what their life story makes them decide. if its cool storywise, OK. if its totaly uncool story-wise, then OK again. if its totaly wrong, boring, destroys the story, or whatever, it is STILL OK. roleplaying is ACTING, only difference being that you decide your role's characteristics. you still play that role. a Int 6 orc having an intellectual idea is, 80% of the time(exceptions always happen) BAD RP. if the idea is necessary to save the party and story, then the player must STILL, imo, let the character's low Int fail everyone in the direst hour.
(note: i repeat that this last part has to do with my main playstyle, as people can totaly have fun having their own different playstyles).
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:47 pm

I dunno, I do blame it on D&D.

For example, I am thinking of a wizard taught to be a wizard through a college. I could use that concept, but there is a feat in Complete Arcanum that is for that specifically. Now, why would I take that backstory if I know I cannot take that feat (when I could choose a different backstory that another feat would work with, even if it is not what i had in mind, but at least I get a bonus to something this way) or why would a GM that is using that book allow the backstory if the character is NOT taking the feat ("If you want to be a college boy, you have to use a feat to show that" sort of shit)? If the feat never existed, there would be no problem whatsoever. This is why I much prefer generic systems because there is no exacting-ness that occurs. Like, when I reviewed SpyCraft, I thought it was cool that every single thing seemed to be addressed in the rules... but I would rather saw my own leg off with a piece of paper than play in any game using such exacting rules.

It is a simple thing to say "The rules in the book are more of a guideline than actual rules. Use, change, and discard what you want." but if you have everything clearly typed out in exacting rules... It just makes the previous worthless.

Its like this to me: IMHO, its MUCH easier to add a rule to a system when the system doesn't have it than to take out a rule in a rule book that has shown itself to be very exact in its rules.

So yeah, comparing the above in D&D with a generic system like Tri-Stat, one is a clear winner over the other when it comes to role-play ability.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:19 pm

Well for one thing you are talking about a "Complete" book. The whole point of those was to put out "exacting" feats and such for people who wanted to follow those concepts exactly with those types of abilities. There is by no means any rules that say you have to take certain feats and such to have a backstory that includes things that feats might cover. The feats are there for very specific bonuses, not to represent every character that may have that area in their backstories. Having a wizard that went through magic school DOES NOT require a feat for it to be true of your PC. I don't understand where you have gotten the idea that if there is a feat for a certain idea, that it becomes THE rule for that idea?


EDIT: Also another reason I don't blame D&D is that I have seen it in too many games. Ones that are not structured anything like D&D, including Tri-stat. Rolemaster is particularly bad. Hell look at Gurps & HERO (both universal); they have forums dedicated to out building each other with their builds (actually Tri-stat did too at one time.) There's not too many games I can't say I haven't seen the mentality. No I think it's the player not the system. It's just a choice on what the player likes to do it with the most, and 3.x was a huge game for a long time so it had a lot of them. Still not the games fault to me.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:33 pm

verdilak wrote:For example, I am thinking of a wizard taught to be a wizard through a college. I could use that concept, but there is a feat in Complete Arcanum that is for that specifically. Now, why would I take that backstory if I know I cannot take that feat (when I could choose a different backstory that another feat would work with, even if it is not what i had in mind, but at least I get a bonus to something this way) or why would a GM that is using that book allow the backstory if the character is NOT taking the feat ("If you want to be a college boy, you have to use a feat to show that" sort of shit)?


Dunno, but it seems to me that has more to do with your own mindset. Seems like you're saying you need to be rewarded for having a certain background, and if you aren't, it's pointless, and that a system has to take away all temptation to make 'builds' or powerful combo's because if there's a chance of it, you will.
But i don't think it's the system's responsibility to do that, to me that responsibility lies mostly with the players.

There's nothing preventing you from taking any kind of background you want, and since i'm not using background feats, it won't affect your character at all. And if you 'really' feel it needs to be represented by a feat you could take say 'Diligence', but no one wants that one because it's not very good.
In fact you could say the fact that that feat is not allowed means you aren't deciding your background based on a powerful feat. And thus means your character's background is created fully by your imagination and therefor promotes roleplaying.

I remember we once discussed the benefits of point buy over rolling your stats, and you mentioned without rolling there's really no reason for a barbarian (I think it was barbarian, some fighter class) not to max out the 3 physical stats and dump the other 3. Which to me is also wrong.
To me it's similar to two players playing Risk, one player has to pee, and the other player says "Well, no reason for me 'not' to look at his cards". Sure you can do that, and maybe no one will ever know, but it goes against the spirit of the game.

Sure there's incentive to just put everything into those 3 stats and dump the others. But there should also be incentives not to, mostly a commitment to your other players.
When I make a character I try to make it fair and even handed, not just the best that I can get away with. I mean sure, I try to find some area's my character is good at too. Sometimes my character's aren't so strong, sometimes they are. But I always try to take the other players in consideration, how my character might affect them.

Of course your idea of making your own system isn't bad, I dare say it's probably a lot of fun. But I personally think it's better to spend your time finding a community, a group of players where you have that atmosphere of consideration, of restraint and good cheer.
Because even if you design an absolutely perfect system that you love and is just right. It will be just right for you, it probably still won't be exactly right for many other people.
To me it seems better to find a group of friends who you like, who you trust and with who you can sit down and play any game with, no matter how broken it is, because you know you don't have to be in competition with them and you're all just out to have a good time, and then you can go around and sample many different systems and still have a blast.

I remember when I was young, around 12 years old, me and my friends were playing super smash brothers melee on the gamecube, and one of my friends was extremely good with the 'kirby' character, leading us to proclaim the kirby character was overpowered and lame.
Now, we could have spend the next 5 years designing a better and improved super smash brothers melee, where everything is carefully balanced to suit our needs.
Or, what actually happened, our friend said "Alright, if you all dislike kirby so much, i won't play him anymore either." and we all had a blast.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:47 pm

NulSyn wrote:Well for one thing you are talking about a "Complete" book. The whole point of those was to put out "exacting" feats and such for people who wanted to follow those concepts exactly with those types of abilities. There is by no means any rules that say you have to take certain feats and such to have a backstory that includes things that feats might cover. The feats are there for very specific bonuses, not to represent every character that may have that area in their backstories. Having a wizard that went through magic school DOES NOT require a feat for it to be true of your PC. I don't understand where you have gotten the idea that if there is a feat for a certain idea, that it becomes THE rule for that idea?
I'm not doing that, I am just saying that the seeds for such thinking are there, and they are not all that hidden.


EDIT: Also another reason I don't blame D&D is that I have seen it in too many games. Ones that are not structured anything like D&D, including Tri-stat. Rolemaster is particularly bad. Hell look at Gurps & HERO (both universal); they have forums dedicated to out building each other with their builds (actually Tri-stat did too at one time.) There's not too many games I can't say I haven't seen the mentality. No I think it's the player not the system. It's just a choice on what the player likes to do it with the most, and 3.x was a huge game for a long time so it had a lot of them. Still not the games fault to me.
I can see that the player can be blamed, but I see some games that this sort of thing are just not available in, regardless of is that is the type of player that you are (ex. Wushu).
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
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Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:14 pm

Solar_Dawn wrote:
Dunno, but it seems to me that has more to do with your own mindset. Seems like you're saying you need to be rewarded for having a certain background, and if you aren't, it's pointless, and that a system has to take away all temptation to make 'builds' or powerful combo's because if there's a chance of it, you will.
But i don't think it's the system's responsibility to do that, to me that responsibility lies mostly with the players.
No, I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that if a system is giving bonuses for specific backgrounds, then it is in the player's best interest to take a specific background with a bonus, instead of taking a background without a bonus. If farmers and stableboys get a bonus, but there is no mention of squires and milkmaids then why would you choose to play one? This is what, in my opinion, games like D&D have done. It would be much simpler for the game to state "Each background gives you a bonus to a skill and a penalty in another one, skills choosen must be related to the background in question. Example: A stableboy will have a +1 to handle animals but a -1 to intimidation." sort of thing.

Do you see what i am saying? If you made a game about Warriors and Thieves and out of the two character classes, warriors and thieves, if the only background bonuses are for the thief class, then why would anyone be a warrior if they are going to start out less (even if it is marginally) than a thief? Shit, look at Tony Hawk games where you can pick your own skateboard or FPS's where you pick your weapon out of a mixture of ones available. In those games, the different guns and skateboards all have different stats, making you have to decide which is the best one to use for your character... but if there was a gun or board with no stats would you pick it, even if it fit your character perfectly? In Diablo and similar games, you only wear rags until you find armor that gives a better bonus... would you instead refuse all armor to wear rags at high levels because it fit your character, even though your character wouldn't be that damaged in the head not to wear armor that can keep him from dying?

There's nothing preventing you from taking any kind of background you want, and since i'm not using background feats, it won't affect your character at all. And if you 'really' feel it needs to be represented by a feat you could take say 'Diligence', but no one wants that one because it's not very good.
In fact you could say the fact that that feat is not allowed means you aren't deciding your background based on a powerful feat. And thus means your character's background is created fully by your imagination and therefor promotes roleplaying.
I was just using it as an example, I am not actually complaining c:_winkgrin

I remember we once discussed the benefits of point buy over rolling your stats, and you mentioned without rolling there's really no reason for a barbarian (I think it was barbarian, some fighter class) not to max out the 3 physical stats and dump the other 3. Which to me is also wrong.
To me it's similar to two players playing Risk, one player has to pee, and the other player says "Well, no reason for me 'not' to look at his cards". Sure you can do that, and maybe no one will ever know, but it goes against the spirit of the game.
It is the same, I agree. And I would state that trying to get an edge over your competitors, the other Risk player or the monsters in a D&D game, is part of playing the game. In games that are rules lite, this issue doesn't come up nearly as much, hence why i blame the game for it seems the crunchier the rules are, the more the game promotes builds and such thinking.

Sure there's incentive to just put everything into those 3 stats and dump the others. But there should also be incentives not to, mostly a commitment to your other players.
When I make a character I try to make it fair and even handed, not just the best that I can get away with. I mean sure, I try to find some area's my character is good at too. Sometimes my character's aren't so strong, sometimes they are. But I always try to take the other players in consideration, how my character might affect them.
I do not see there to not be an incentive to not dump certain stats, unless you are dumping a stat that everyone else is as well, making the entire party crap towards saves and effects that affect the dumped stat. Hence why groups are so important in games, since just as no simple character can take the role of healer, fighter, mage, cleric, thief, ect. with any success, nor can any single character have stats that are 20's across the board (and if they can, can mine be that one? lol).

Of course your idea of making your own system isn't bad, I dare say it's probably a lot of fun. But I personally think it's better to spend your time finding a community, a group of players where you have that atmosphere of consideration, of restraint and good cheer.
Because even if you design an absolutely perfect system that you love and is just right. It will be just right for you, it probably still won't be exactly right for many other people.
Hooboy do I know heh. Already have scrapped a few game thoughts due to how I've forseen how others would respond to it. I don't want a game that is just perfect for me, I want a game that works for me as well as others... and a game that can handle house rules so that I can turn the game into what i want perfectly.
To me it seems better to find a group of friends who you like, who you trust and with who you can sit down and play any game with, no matter how broken it is, because you know you don't have to be in competition with them and you're all just out to have a good time, and then you can go around and sample many different systems and still have a blast.
I actually think that the best way to make characters for any game is to have everyone make their characters at the exact same time. I also feel that this would curtail many issues, and plan on doing this for any future games that I run online.

I remember when I was young, around 12 years old, me and my friends were playing super smash brothers melee on the gamecube, and one of my friends was extremely good with the 'kirby' character, leading us to proclaim the kirby character was overpowered and lame.
Now, we could have spend the next 5 years designing a better and improved super smash brothers melee, where everything is carefully balanced to suit our needs.
Or, what actually happened, our friend said "Alright, if you all dislike kirby so much, i won't play him anymore either." and we all had a blast.

So, in the previous examples about backgrounds, you would say to scrap any and all bonuses about backgrounds? What about if someone said, "Wizards are too powerful at higher levels..", would your suggestion be to disallow wizards or wizards above a certain level?

See, I am the type of person that feels that if you have to heavily houserule a game system, then you should instead move on to a different one (and yes, my idea of saying no to certain source books for the same setting counts as heavily houseruling. If I were to run a Rifts game and said no rule books but the core and New West, I should instead just go on to a different system, whereas game lines like Savage Worlds doesnt have this problem since there are at best, what?, 3 sourcebooks for any given Savage Worlds setting?).
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:01 pm

No, I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that if a system is giving bonuses for specific backgrounds, then it is in the player's best interest to take a specific background with a bonus, instead of taking a background without a bonus. If farmers and stableboys get a bonus, but there is no mention of squires and milkmaids then why would you choose to play one? This is what, in my opinion, games like D&D have done. It would be much simpler for the game to state "Each background gives you a bonus to a skill and a penalty in another one, skills choosen must be related to the background in question. Example: A stableboy will have a +1 to handle animals but a -1 to intimidation." sort of thing.

Do you see what i am saying? If you made a game about Warriors and Thieves and out of the two character classes, warriors and thieves, if the only background bonuses are for the thief class, then why would anyone be a warrior if they are going to start out less (even if it is marginally) than a thief? Shit, look at Tony Hawk games where you can pick your own skateboard or FPS's where you pick your weapon out of a mixture of ones available. In those games, the different guns and skateboards all have different stats, making you have to decide which is the best one to use for your character... but if there was a gun or board with no stats would you pick it, even if it fit your character perfectly? In Diablo and similar games, you only wear rags until you find armor that gives a better bonus... would you instead refuse all armor to wear rags at high levels because it fit your character, even though your character wouldn't be that damaged in the head not to wear armor that can keep him from dying?


Even in that case, arguments can be made for taking things without a bonus. In Buffy, should I have made both my characters experienced hero's? It would have given the best benefits by far. But it didn't seem right. Allison isn't an experienced hero, and Eric isn't really a hero at all. So I picked the weakest of the character type's. because it fit.
Even you did that, when Pyr ran a buffy game, you and hippie both had white hat twins. My character was the only hero. According to your own reasoning that was crazy!

Of course, in theory classes should be fairly balanced, as much as possible, and it doesn't seem quite right if one get's a free bonus and another doesn't.

But most of all, I don't see how the argument applies to this situation.
You don't get the feat for free, you have to pay for it like everyone else. There are plenty of feats in another direction that are just as strong. This feat just happens to come with a hint of background.
Maybe a character was only there for a year, maybe he's a brilliant quick study, I don't see a different between that feat, and say mounted combat.
Just like your feat implies a wizard was part of an order, mounted combat implies that at some point, he learned to go into combat on a horse.
So as i see it, nearly every single feat affects your background.


It is the same, I agree. And I would state that trying to get an edge over your competitors, the other Risk player or the monsters in a D&D game, is part of playing the game. In games that are rules lite, this issue doesn't come up nearly as much, hence why i blame the game for it seems the crunchier the rules are, the more the game promotes builds and such thinking.


I very much disagree there, certainly, you are trying to overcome challenges, or overcome another player. It is also a 'friendly' game, not mortal combat. Since you're playing with friends you're expected to act according to the spirit of the game, not just it's rules. And one should behave honorably, not get ahead anyway they can.

I do not see there to not be an incentive to not dump certain stats, unless you are dumping a stat that everyone else is as well, making the entire party crap towards saves and effects that affect the dumped stat. Hence why groups are so important in games, since just as no simple character can take the role of healer, fighter, mage, cleric, thief, ect. with any success, nor can any single character have stats that are 20's across the board (and if they can, can mine be that one? lol).


Well to a point that's correct, all characters can be good at one thing and bad at another, that makes them interesting and fun to play. but there's a difference between having a decent set of physical stats as a barbarian, and just squeezing every single point out that you can, just so you can be the most insane combat monkey. Which comes back to what i consider a kind of 'player's code' i suppose. To me that just goes against the spirit of things.

Hooboy do I know heh. Already have scrapped a few game thoughts due to how I've forseen how others would respond to it. I don't want a game that is just perfect for me, I want a game that works for me as well as others... and a game that can handle house rules so that I can turn the game into what i want perfectly.


Well, even though I might focus my efforts elsewhere, it's great that you're working on a system, without people putting in the effort and thought into creating systems, the rest of us would have nothing to play. So I do think you should continue if you're having fun. It's just not so important to me. I'm having a lot of fun with the systems present.

I actually think that the best way to make characters for any game is to have everyone make their characters at the exact same time. I also feel that this would curtail many issues, and plan on doing this for any future games that I run online.


That's really not a bad idea at all, and I might start doing that too next time. But it still seems to be a measure to prevent people from thinking too hard and long about what would be the most badass combo, which can also be prevented by a player's code. You can 'make' yourself not do that.


So, in the previous examples about backgrounds, you would say to scrap any and all bonuses about backgrounds? What about if someone said, "Wizards are too powerful at higher levels..", would your suggestion be to disallow wizards or wizards above a certain level?


I think you missed the point of my example, my friend wasn't forced out of a 'class'. No supreme authority banned Kirby for him. He made a sacrifice so we all had more fun. Which is at the core of friendship, at the core of playing with a community. Sometimes you give a little and sometimes you get a little.
In my example, a GM wasn't required. In my example if the other players had said wizards were too powerful, yes there would have been no wizards, or perhaps wizards would have been changed a little. But not by supreme executive power, but by making a small sacrifice for your friends to reach a common ground. And that situation, to me, is infinitely more satisfying then playing a 'perfect' system.



See, I am the type of person that feels that if you have to heavily houserule a game system, then you should instead move on to a different one (and yes, my idea of saying no to certain source books for the same setting counts as heavily houseruling. If I were to run a Rifts game and said no rule books but the core and New West, I should instead just go on to a different system, whereas game lines like Savage Worlds doesnt have this problem since there are at best, what?, 3 sourcebooks for any given Savage Worlds setting?).


You absolutely have the right to feel that way, it's all good, but simply put, I disagree.
You could also say that if you want to play D&D, I should be playing fourth edition. The rules were updated and a new version brought and you can't just go back and pick and choose what edition was brought out.
But that's crazy, I like 3rd edition, I like the core rulebooks, and I don't like most of the supplements. And hey if there was a system I liked better then D&D 3.5 to tell my story. Obviously i'd be playing that, but there isn't. So I feel perfectly entitled to pick and choose what I want.
If tomorrow an expansion for Tri-stat came out with absolutely insane powers and combinations like you can do in M&M, I wouldn't be bothered if it was disallowed.
I'm just trying to have fun, not play with a completed 'set' of books. Hey, i don't care if a game is run with a D&D core book, the kama sutra, and the holy bible. As long as it works for people.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:28 pm

Solar_Dawn wrote:
Even in that case, arguments can be made for taking things without a bonus. In Buffy, should I have made both my characters experienced hero's? It would have given the best benefits by far. But it didn't seem right. Allison isn't an experienced hero, and Eric isn't really a hero at all. So I picked the weakest of the character type's. because it fit.
Even you did that, when Pyr ran a buffy game, you and hippie both had white hat twins. My character was the only hero. According to your own reasoning that was crazy!
No, it wasnt. White Hats get more Drama Points which makes them equal to the other experience levels.

Of course, in theory classes should be fairly balanced, as much as possible, and it doesn't seem quite right if one get's a free bonus and another doesn't.
Exactly. I would rather all characters were balanced in some way. If you are using a game with character points, then every character should start with the same.

But most of all, I don't see how the argument applies to this situation.
You don't get the feat for free, you have to pay for it like everyone else. There are plenty of feats in another direction that are just as strong. This feat just happens to come with a hint of background.
Maybe a character was only there for a year, maybe he's a brilliant quick study, I don't see a different between that feat, and say mounted combat.
Just like your feat implies a wizard was part of an order, mounted combat implies that at some point, he learned to go into combat on a horse.
So as i see it, nearly every single feat affects your background.
Yeah, I wasn't really thinking about the whole having to spend for it, but it still works out if characters get background feats for free! Though seriously, in games that work out like this, most GM become hampered by the rules. Sure, I could say i was in college, but never did well enough to get the bonuses, that certainly works. But what about if i wanted to say I could wield two weapons without taking the feat (and this might be possible, with a penalty, i dunno, but for the sake of argument, assume that you cannot wield two weapons, no matter what, unless you take said feat)?

I very much disagree there, certainly, you are trying to overcome challenges, or overcome another player. It is also a 'friendly' game, not mortal combat. Since you're playing with friends you're expected to act according to the spirit of the game, not just it's rules. And one should behave honorably, not get ahead anyway they can.
Heh, I have to say, I have never been accused of being honorable.


Well to a point that's correct, all characters can be good at one thing and bad at another, that makes them interesting and fun to play. but there's a difference between having a decent set of physical stats as a barbarian, and just squeezing every single point out that you can, just so you can be the most insane combat monkey. Which comes back to what i consider a kind of 'player's code' i suppose. To me that just goes against the spirit of things.
I agree, it does go against it and I am against playing in such games since they will suck. I feel that the liter in rules a game is, the harder and less beneficial it is to do such a think with your stats. take Tri-Stat for example... You could put all your points into Body and leave Mind and Soul at a 3, but then you will be easily taken out by a full 2/3rds of powers. In D&D and games like it, there is less of that going on, which makes it a viable option in character creation even if it sucks and is rather dickish.

Well, even though I might focus my efforts elsewhere, it's great that you're working on a system, without people putting in the effort and thought into creating systems, the rest of us would have nothing to play. So I do think you should continue if you're having fun. It's just not so important to me. I'm having a lot of fun with the systems present.
Thats cool, what works for one doesnt for another.


That's really not a bad idea at all, and I might start doing that too next time. But it still seems to be a measure to prevent people from thinking too hard and long about what would be the most badass combo, which can also be prevented by a player's code. You can 'make' yourself not do that.
You can, but I was actually thinking of it being better to make groups that are more meshed together: "I'm taking [suchandsuch]!" "Oh, if you are gonna take that, then I'm not going to take this and instead take [featnamehere] so that we can easily riff off of each other!" "Awesome!" sort of thing, instead of having the first few sessions being where everyone has to get a feel for not just their character but the group as large. Also, it should cut down on people taking high levels in the same skills/stats and tripping over each other to do the same thing: "I'll heal him!" "No, I can heal him, I have my surgical tools right here!" "But I have a +4." "And I have a +6!" "But my Intel is a +2 higher than you so we are even.." *both look at GM, who shrugs and says to flip a coin*

I think you missed the point of my example, my friend wasn't forced out of a 'class'. No supreme authority banned Kirby for him. He made a sacrifice so we all had more fun. Which is at the core of friendship, at the core of playing with a community. Sometimes you give a little and sometimes you get a little.
In my example, a GM wasn't required. In my example if the other players had said wizards were too powerful, yes there would have been no wizards, or perhaps wizards would have been changed a little. But not by supreme executive power, but by making a small sacrifice for your friends to reach a common ground. And that situation, to me, is infinitely more satisfying then playing a 'perfect' system.
Ah, I assumed he was forced out of playing Kirby, because his friends disliked playing with him when he played Kirby and probably would have stopped playing with him alltogether due to it (and assuming that he would have wanted to play with said friends).

I do get what you are saying, its just... In some games, that sort of thing can go easily, especially ones with a good amount of character choices like FATE, Tri-Stat, M&M, Wushu. But in D&D, with 6-8 core classes, taking one out of the picture kinda hobbles the game pretty badly, and to me, shows a large question mark over using the game in the first place if one character option out of the few given is that powerful.

You absolutely have the right to feel that way, it's all good, but simply put, I disagree.
You could also say that if you want to play D&D, I should be playing fourth edition. The rules were updated and a new version brought and you can't just go back and pick and choose what edition was brought out.
But that's crazy, I like 3rd edition, I like the core rulebooks, and I don't like most of the supplements. And hey if there was a system I liked better then D&D 3.5 to tell my story. Obviously i'd be playing that, but there isn't. So I feel perfectly entitled to pick and choose what I want.
If tomorrow an expansion for Tri-stat came out with absolutely insane powers and combinations like you can do in M&M, I wouldn't be bothered if it was disallowed.
I'm just trying to have fun, not play with a completed 'set' of books. Hey, i don't care if a game is run with a D&D core book, the kama sutra, and the holy bible. As long as it works for people.

I dont use BESM3, I prefer TSdX, i get what you are saying... but even with Tri-Stat, there arent more than 1 or 2 setting books for any given setting. I mean, with D&D, you have all three handbooks, all three DMG's, all three MM's, the Complete series, the Spell compendium... and what else for books that are meant to go with every single setting that is available for D&D fantasy? That is a good chunk of books to do completely away with, not because your players don't have access to them, but due to the unbalancing nature of the character options presented in those books... Thats why I say what i said.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:55 pm

verdilak wrote:See, I am the type of person that feels that if you have to heavily houserule a game system, then you should instead move on to a different one (and yes, my idea of saying no to certain source books for the same setting counts as heavily houseruling. If I were to run a Rifts game and said no rule books but the core and New West, I should instead just go on to a different system, whereas game lines like Savage Worlds doesnt have this problem since there are at best, what?, 3 sourcebooks for any given Savage Worlds setting?).

Just so you know Hellfrost is hitting into around 30 source books now. There are others with more than a few too.

Oh and Silver Age Sentinels has several source books and I own them all :s_biggrin

Also don't mistake a class having a Role as the class being powerful.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:10 pm

No, it wasnt. White Hats get more Drama Points which makes them equal to the other experience levels.


However, drama points cost 1 XP to buy back, and 2 for hero's or something? While attributes or stats, or whatever they are called in buffy cost like 40 XP to raise with a single point. So the hero still seems more potent. Even if they are exactly the same, i still think the example works, if you've got a fun group it isn't a big deal who's got 1 benefit more then the other.
It's not always bad having a simple character, but I agree that preferably, no one should feel their character is worth less then the others.


Yeah, I wasn't really thinking about the whole having to spend for it, but it still works out if characters get background feats for free! Though seriously, in games that work out like this, most GM become hampered by the rules. Sure, I could say i was in college, but never did well enough to get the bonuses, that certainly works. But what about if i wanted to say I could wield two weapons without taking the feat (and this might be possible, with a penalty, i dunno, but for the sake of argument, assume that you cannot wield two weapons, no matter what, unless you take said feat)?


True, and there is a special rule for character's getting 1 background feat for free, but i decided against it. You could say you were in college and completed it. Just because there's a feat doesn't mean everyone who ever did X should get the feat associated with X. It's just that if you took happened to take the feat, that means your character picked up something useful from that. Kinda like... me and all my friends all took french, but only one of my friends speaks french, the rest of us just grew dumb and forgot. We'd all have that in our background, but only he'd have the feat (French Surrender Monkey).

And yeah, there are rules for fighting with two weapons without the feat. But if something was impossible without a feat, I guess it'd be a choice between house ruling it or just filing it under the heading "nothings perfect".

I agree, it does go against it and I am against playing in such games since they will suck. I feel that the liter in rules a game is, the harder and less beneficial it is to do such a think with your stats. take Tri-Stat for example... You could put all your points into Body and leave Mind and Soul at a 3, but then you will be easily taken out by a full 2/3rds of powers. In D&D and games like it, there is less of that going on, which makes it a viable option in character creation even if it sucks and is rather dickish.


Well officially, it works the same in D&D, if your wisdom is crap as barbarian, and you meet an evil bard, you could be that bard's bitch for weeks, maybe forever. You got no chance of resisting charm spells. The only stat you can do this with is charisma, and that's only because a lot of GM's let you get away with it.. But like i said, I don't think the system 'has' to enforce something like that. It might be nice if it did, but players should already do this automatically.


You can, but I was actually thinking of it being better to make groups that are more meshed together: "I'm taking [suchandsuch]!" "Oh, if you are gonna take that, then I'm not going to take this and instead take [featnamehere] so that we can easily riff off of each other!" "Awesome!" sort of thing, instead of having the first few sessions being where everyone has to get a feel for not just their character but the group as large. Also, it should cut down on people taking high levels in the same skills/stats and tripping over each other to do the same thing: "I'll heal him!" "No, I can heal him, I have my surgical tools right here!" "But I have a +4." "And I have a +6!" "But my Intel is a +2 higher than you so we are even.." *both look at GM, who shrugs and says to flip a coin*


There's definitely something to that, but there's also a degree where it starts to feel like group min-maxing. "Everyone take one stat at 18 and dump all the others". But since I already feel players should behave properly, it's good. In fact, those kind of sessions were usually fun, especially in real life.
I think the problem is, especially online, and I think you're aware of this problem too, people take forever to decide what they want, people change their minds. People disappear, come back, are replaced. I'm not certain an online group could manage to make a set of characters in a single four hour sitting...

Ah, I assumed he was forced out of playing Kirby, because his friends disliked playing with him when he played Kirby and probably would have stopped playing with him alltogether due to it (and assuming that he would have wanted to play with said friends).

I do get what you are saying, its just... In some games, that sort of thing can go easily, especially ones with a good amount of character choices like FATE, Tri-Stat, M&M, Wushu. But in D&D, with 6-8 core classes, taking one out of the picture kinda hobbles the game pretty badly, and to me, shows a large question mark over using the game in the first place if one character option out of the few given is that powerful.


Well I never meant to say banning the wizard class is a good idea. I just mean to say that if you go into the game with a certain attitude, good things happen and fun is had by all. Maybe in your example the other players woulda said "hey wizard is a bit overpowered really, but no matter, it's cool, you can be a wizard and next time someone else will get to be"
If everyone wants things to work out and are looking for a good time. Often things will work out and people do have a good time.



I dont use BESM3, I prefer TSdX, i get what you are saying... but even with Tri-Stat, there arent more than 1 or 2 setting books for any given setting. I mean, with D&D, you have all three handbooks, all three DMG's, all three MM's, the Complete series, the Spell compendium... and what else for books that are meant to go with every single setting that is available for D&D fantasy? That is a good chunk of books to do completely away with, not because your players don't have access to them, but due to the unbalancing nature of the character options presented in those books... Thats why I say what i said.


It is a lot to toss aside. That's certainly true, I think I have more D&D books of 3rd edition then you and some of them I love, I love my Draconomicon. It's such a cool book, but it too has to sit on the shelf.
It just doesn't bother me in any way, seems kinda like... Cars, so now we should never walk anymore. Cars are great, but they're also noisy, smelly and poluting, as well as expensive.
Same with the supplements, sometimes they can be nice, and sometimes I just wanna go good old fashioned core. Especially when I haven't played in a while.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:14 pm

NulSyn wrote:Just so you know Hellfrost is hitting into around 30 source books now. There are others with more than a few too.

Oh and Silver Age Sentinels has several source books and I own them all :s_biggrin

Also don't mistake a class having a Role as the class being powerful.

Holy hell, I had no idea Hellfrost was getting that big, Last i checked, they were on three. :s_omg

Did the SAS source books add new powers and stuff, especially ones that are not seen in dX? I know that some of the other setting books have a power or three that are unique to them.

Oh no, just because a class has a role, it doesn't mean they are powerful as a whole, even if they are powerful within that role.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:22 pm

verdilak wrote:
NulSyn wrote:Just so you know Hellfrost is hitting into around 30 source books now. There are others with more than a few too.

Oh and Silver Age Sentinels has several source books and I own them all :s_biggrin

Also don't mistake a class having a Role as the class being powerful.

Holy hell, I had no idea Hellfrost was getting that big, Last i checked, they were on three. :s_omg

Did the SAS source books add new powers and stuff, especially ones that are not seen in dX? I know that some of the other setting books have a power or three that are unique to them.

Oh no, just because a class has a role, it doesn't mean they are powerful as a whole, even if they are powerful within that role.

Yeah Hellfrost is doing source books for each region even though the Gazetteer covers everyone broadly.

The SAS books don't really add powers per se to the core book, but they do give lots of "ideas" for altering things to fit archetypes and such... at least I don't remember them adding any powers...been a while since I read them.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:30 pm

Solar_Dawn wrote:
Well officially, it works the same in D&D, if your wisdom is crap as barbarian, and you meet an evil bard, you could be that bard's bitch for weeks, maybe forever. You got no chance of resisting charm spells. The only stat you can do this with is charisma, and that's only because a lot of GM's let you get away with it.. But like i said, I don't think the system 'has' to enforce something like that. It might be nice if it did, but players should already do this automatically.
Aren't there feats and PrC's set up specifically for using one stat in place of another?


There's definitely something to that, but there's also a degree where it starts to feel like group min-maxing. "Everyone take one stat at 18 and dump all the others". But since I already feel players should behave properly, it's good. In fact, those kind of sessions were usually fun, especially in real life.
I think the problem is, especially online, and I think you're aware of this problem too, people take forever to decide what they want, people change their minds. People disappear, come back, are replaced. I'm not certain an online group could manage to make a set of characters in a single four hour sitting...
Oh yeah, fully aware. And I think they could come up with a character in a 4 hour sitting or less if they were to be not allowed in to the game if they couldn't finish in time :s_biggrin



Well I never meant to say banning the wizard class is a good idea. I just mean to say that if you go into the game with a certain attitude, good things happen and fun is had by all. Maybe in your example the other players woulda said "hey wizard is a bit overpowered really, but no matter, it's cool, you can be a wizard and next time someone else will get to be"
If everyone wants things to work out and are looking for a good time. Often things will work out and people do have a good time.
bah, going all hippie on me now! Tricky tricky...

It is a lot to toss aside. That's certainly true, I think I have more D&D books of 3rd edition then you and some of them I love, I love my Draconomicon. It's such a cool book, but it too has to sit on the shelf.
It just doesn't bother me in any way, seems kinda like... Cars, so now we should never walk anymore. Cars are great, but they're also noisy, smelly and poluting, as well as expensive.
Same with the supplements, sometimes they can be nice, and sometimes I just wanna go good old fashioned core. Especially when I haven't played in a while.

With the internet, someone only has less books for a setting/system than others due to morality, download speeds, and links heh.

I get wanting to just play a simpler game, nothing against it. I'm just saying that what you feel towards the supplements, i feel towards just the core, especially in how the rant is about: Lack of roleplaying and D&D limits it. For example, in Tri-Stat dX, I can play any single race that I want. In D&D Core, I cannot play any race that i want, I am stuck with the handful of races. Not only that, but I am stuck with the abilities of how every single Elf is the same and every other Elf. I can't even be from a family of Northern Elves whose favored class is barbarian, no matter how good of a story I write up. In Tri-Stat dX, I sure can. Just the core D&D limits roleplaying options and suffocates flexibility and creativity, forcing those three within a structure and within controllable limits. Heck, how about a Half-Halfling? And classes are similar, though they do have more flexibility. However, anything you wish to play that isn't in the Core has to be pideonholed within a class, square peg meet round hole, or a PrC has to be scrounged up... which then leads to the vast amounts of supplements which break the game on a regular basis.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:15 pm

verdilak wrote:
I get wanting to just play a simpler game, nothing against it. I'm just saying that what you feel towards the supplements, i feel towards just the core, especially in how the rant is about: Lack of roleplaying and D&D limits it. For example, in Tri-Stat dX, I can play any single race that I want. In D&D Core, I cannot play any race that i want, I am stuck with the handful of races. Not only that, but I am stuck with the abilities of how every single Elf is the same and every other Elf. I can't even be from a family of Northern Elves whose favored class is barbarian, no matter how good of a story I write up. In Tri-Stat dX, I sure can. Just the core D&D limits roleplaying options and suffocates flexibility and creativity, forcing those three within a structure and within controllable limits. Heck, how about a Half-Halfling? And classes are similar, though they do have more flexibility. However, anything you wish to play that isn't in the Core has to be pideonholed within a class, square peg meet round hole, or a PrC has to be scrounged up... which then leads to the vast amounts of supplements which break the game on a regular basis.

I actually have to say that this paragraph, IMHO, shows you don't fully understand D&D and are particularly biased against it on some pretty unfounded beliefs. The D&D core does not prevent people from creating their own races by any means, just as the Tri-stat core provides generally no rules to do it at all. To say one provides the option and the other doesn't is asinine. To also say it makes one elf the same as any other elf is also wrong, the racial write-ups are only for what everyone of that race has unique to all of them, it does not limit the players to make all elves the same.

Now to say that everything has to be pidgeon holed into a class, um well yeah its a class based system. It's D&D! That's what type of game it is there. It doesn't make it a worse game. And it definitely doesn't lessen the fun. But I think you would have too much of a problem with it because you go into the game thinking "damn game doesn't let me do everything I want!!" and take everything set in stone. Nevermind the fact that D&D is pretty much the consistent game of RPG history for homebrewing, altering, and well look at all the d20 variants.

You know D&D is not my favorite, and it is obviously not yours either, but your ideas against it are coming across as *Literal interpretations of D&D* vs. *Cool I can do what I want with 'non-D&D game' leniency*. It's extremely biased fighting, and a lot of your complaints about D&D are not exactly true and based more on an odd-goggled look at the game.

Nothing personal or anything.... :s_crazy
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:57 pm

NulSyn wrote:
verdilak wrote:
I get wanting to just play a simpler game, nothing against it. I'm just saying that what you feel towards the supplements, i feel towards just the core, especially in how the rant is about: Lack of roleplaying and D&D limits it. For example, in Tri-Stat dX, I can play any single race that I want. In D&D Core, I cannot play any race that i want, I am stuck with the handful of races. Not only that, but I am stuck with the abilities of how every single Elf is the same and every other Elf. I can't even be from a family of Northern Elves whose favored class is barbarian, no matter how good of a story I write up. In Tri-Stat dX, I sure can. Just the core D&D limits roleplaying options and suffocates flexibility and creativity, forcing those three within a structure and within controllable limits. Heck, how about a Half-Halfling? And classes are similar, though they do have more flexibility. However, anything you wish to play that isn't in the Core has to be pideonholed within a class, square peg meet round hole, or a PrC has to be scrounged up... which then leads to the vast amounts of supplements which break the game on a regular basis.

I actually have to say that this paragraph, IMHO, shows you don't fully understand D&D and are particularly biased against it on some pretty unfounded beliefs. The D&D core does not prevent people from creating their own races by any means, just as the Tri-stat core provides generally no rules to do it at all. To say one provides the option and the other doesn't is asinine. To also say it makes one elf the same as any other elf is also wrong, the racial write-ups are only for what everyone of that race has unique to all of them, it does not limit the players to make all elves the same.

Now to say that everything has to be pidgeon holed into a class, um well yeah its a class based system. It's D&D! That's what type of game it is there. It doesn't make it a worse game. And it definitely doesn't lessen the fun. But I think you would have too much of a problem with it because you go into the game thinking "damn game doesn't let me do everything I want!!" and take everything set in stone. Nevermind the fact that D&D is pretty much the consistent game of RPG history for homebrewing, altering, and well look at all the d20 variants.

You know D&D is not my favorite, and it is obviously not yours either, but your ideas against it are coming across as *Literal interpretations of D&D* vs. *Cool I can do what I want with 'non-D&D game' leniency*. It's extremely biased fighting, and a lot of your complaints about D&D are not exactly true and based more on an odd-goggled look at the game.

Nothing personal or anything.... :s_crazy

Oh, i am biased against it. I also know that any game system you can hack and mess with stuff pretty easily (every system is generic, if you think about it and take some time with it), its just... have you ever seen a D&D game where players made their own races, complete with abilities and bonuses? If so, then awesome! But when i don't see those out there, when i see games being played with only the core races or core classes, or only the core books and certain supplements, and so on... where players can only pick from things that are authorized instead of being given a set list of what bonuses and abilities are kosher and allowing players to make their own races themselves, even if someone makes an Elf who can breathe underwater or a dwarf who has an affinity to the forests instead of stone!

My issue with the game does partly come from the lack of options in the core book alone (and I am not a fan of supplements because they really seem to encourage builds and whatnot, as well as being rather broken) because, hell, even you love the new soda machines with like 100+ flavors (would you willing choose a soda machine with 12 flavors rather than one with 100+ flavors? Thats how I view D&D vs generic/player-defined systems), but also partly to the d20 system itself (I think it would work better as a d10 system).
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
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Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:10 pm

I think part of it is I got started very much in a PRE-3.x era. It use to be common for people to make their own races, kits, etc... in D&D...then the OGL happened and the market got flooded with OGL and D20 system books....so everyone was publishing their own makes or quiting making their owns cause there were so many to wade through and find what you like, and for often damn cheap. 4E is swinging it more back towards the way it use to be with people making their own things, and 4E has so many classes and stuff to have as good bases to modify.

EDIT: Which reminds me I found an AWESOME Avatar the Last Airbender source book for 4E


But yeah, saw many MANY games with homebrewed races and kits and such. People who started with 3.x have odd visions of D&D compared to those who started earlier.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:27 pm

NulSyn wrote:I think part of it is I got started very much in a PRE-3.x era. It use to be common for people to make their own races, kits, etc... in D&D...then the OGL happened and the market got flooded with OGL and D20 system books....so everyone was publishing their own makes or quiting making their owns cause there were so many to wade through and find what you like, and for often damn cheap. 4E is swinging it more back towards the way it use to be with people making their own things, and 4E has so many classes and stuff to have as good bases to modify.

EDIT: Which reminds me I found an AWESOME Avatar the Last Airbender source book for 4E


But yeah, saw many MANY games with homebrewed races and kits and such. People who started with 3.x have odd visions of D&D compared to those who started earlier.

Yeah, that I can definitely see.

Also, when are you going to run a 4E Avatar game so we can all join in on the fun?!?
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Throol » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:09 am

Green Ronin's Advanced Players Manual has all sorts of options for making custom races, including custom variants of existing races, half-races and a variety of planetouched. Mind you, with all the broken supplements out there, most 3.5 DM's won't allow non-WoTC books, so I've never actually been able to play any of those variants. But the material's there, and from what I can see, pretty balanced.

If you'd like to see a lot of variants in a different system, check out Lady's Rock - they've got crossbreeds of all sorts, including dorcs (dwarf/orc) and quarterlings (half-halflings). Plus every spell has to be made from scratch, with rules on the rolls and decisions to be made in creating it - no spell lists whatsoever.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:27 am

Aren't there feats and PrC's set up specifically for using one stat in place of another?


There are, and I've never been a fan of them, but in general they only allow you to use one stat in place of another in a specific situation, and it's supposed to be off-set by the spending of a feat. But it happens when players use that to completely dump a stat.


With the internet, someone only has less books for a setting/system than others due to morality, download speeds, and links heh.

Very true, but I own a fair amount of them in real book form too, which one could say is money wasted if i don't use em. Anyway it doesn't really have any bearing on the discussion, I just wanted to say I do feel the loss of supplements too.


I get wanting to just play a simpler game, nothing against it. I'm just saying that what you feel towards the supplements, i feel towards just the core, especially in how the rant is about: Lack of roleplaying and D&D limits it. For example, in Tri-Stat dX, I can play any single race that I want. In D&D Core, I cannot play any race that i want, I am stuck with the handful of races. Not only that, but I am stuck with the abilities of how every single Elf is the same and every other Elf. I can't even be from a family of Northern Elves whose favored class is barbarian, no matter how good of a story I write up. In Tri-Stat dX, I sure can. Just the core D&D limits roleplaying options and suffocates flexibility and creativity, forcing those three within a structure and within controllable limits. Heck, how about a Half-Halfling? And classes are similar, though they do have more flexibility. However, anything you wish to play that isn't in the Core has to be pideonholed within a class, square peg meet round hole, or a PrC has to be scrounged up... which then leads to the vast amounts of supplements which break the game on a regular basis.


Well there is a certain degree of being put into a certain square, sure, like nul said, it's a class game, but I don't think it's that bad.
I also don't think limiting races or using classes is the same as choking creativity, I don't think 'rare' or 'unusual' is the same as creative.
I once played with a group of great players, where we weren't even required to turn in a background, even though we all did. One player had so many ideas for her elf, she wrote a 12 page background about the 200 years her elf had lived. To me, that's creativity.
She had a natural ability to come up with very good and interesting stories for their characters to have experienced in their lives, giving a great insight into the character.

If you look at the many books that are written about Faerun. Obviously they're more cinematic then the game, no dice are rolled but things flow from the writer's mind. But still, the ones i've read all use the laws of the D&D world. Magic works a certain way, has certain restrictions. The whole world just has certain laws of how things work, and the books I read always stick to those laws.

So yeah, i really don't see as having only a few races as a problem, there are games where there are 'only' humans, that doesn't mean they're dull or not allowing for creativity. Most books are about 'just' a human, that doesn't mean they're uninspired. Romeo and Juliet isn't dull because it lacks ogre's.
Elves and dwarves live even longer then humans, so why would it be impossible to be creative with 'just' them, when there's already so much creativity out there with just humans.

So I don't think having to work between guidelines means creativity is dampened, I think it's just an effect of playing in an established world. Now it's entirely possible that certain restrictions don't work well for 'your' creativity, which is totally fair. To some people ideas flow easily one way, to others it's entirely different, maybe you do your best work when there are no restrictions at all. Which is perfectly fine and understandable.
But I honestly don't think that having to work within an established world, having certain guidelines, or even having to work within the rules of a gaming system 'has' to choke down creativity by default.
But I do think creativity is more then just how 'unusual' something is. Is sherlock holmes less creative then the octopus captain from pirates of the Caribbean? There's already billions of humans around, not too many beings with an octopus for a face.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:38 am

Part of it could be that I know not one single setting of the D&D games. I mean, there was a movie, but that was more generic fantasy than anything else from what I could see. So I sort of see D&D as just a system for generic fantasy that can be used for a number of more specific settings. But since I don't know about said settings... I dunno. I look out there, see the different number of stuff that is published for D&D, and then look back at only the core, or core + a few supplements, or... and I see a hindering of creativity.

Hell, just a few hours ago, I was complaining to hippie about how bla it felt being only to pick from a few races, only to ask about monster races, look through the book, see the Satyr pic that looked awesome, and after checking that it was +2 and seeing I could play it, I went "Awesome!" Regardless of how odd the LA and ECL math wonkiness is, I had a whole backstory and personality set up for the Satyr. That would not have happened with a core race since its not fun anymore with the core races. There is lack of differentiation between people within the same race that no matter how you try to present yourself, it has normally all been done before, which makes it not creative, but cliche, unless you try to really go oddball with a combination that does more harm to your character than good since very few people will roleplay that out.

I mean, sure, you can write a poem about a chair.. hell, I HAVE done just that to prove to myself and others that I can write something good about anything no matter what it is. If you stick me in a room, I can write poems about the items in for some time... but sooner or later, it wont be creativity, it will be just me bullshitting and pulling crap outta my ass. When an actor has been type-cast and plays the same role over and over again, people dont think of that actor as creative.

Creativity is about creating something from nothing with the framework you have to work with. To me, that is the very definition of a point-buy system, where you have a pile of wood (character points), a great number of books on how to build everything from a bird feeder to a mansion (powers, attributes, and skills), and you create what you want. In class systems, you are given a number of pre-made houses (races), allowed to pick a theme for the house (classes) and choose a floorplan based on that (spells) theme if the theme supports it, chose a color palette for everything inside (feats), and determine your furniture (skills). The former is creativity, the latter is also creativitiy, but it is much more constrained, as well as contrived. With the latter, you have to create a story that helps everyone understand why you choose the aspects of your character the way you did because in class games, what choices you are allowed to make are very important since the major choices are limited by the book itself. Whereas with the former, everyone can easily assume you chose to make your character the way you did because you wanted to and because it fit your imagined ideal of your character. You cannot have an imagined ideal of a character with the latter, since you will have to change your ideal at the race selection, then again at the class, yet again at the feats that you are allowed to pick from due to your race and class choices, and lastly you will have to change it one last time when you choose skills.

Now, thats just my take on it. I think they could really change it up by letting you choose which race stuff you take. Have a few pages explaining how races are built so that everyone's race is balanced, and then let the players create them however they wish. For every +2 to give to a stat, you gotta lower another by -2, which means you can have I think 64 different race choices from that alone. Now, it isnt point-buy or player derived, but its more choices than the current system is all I am getting at, and that more choices offers a higher degree for creativity.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Solar_Dawn » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:34 am

Hell, just a few hours ago, I was complaining to hippie about how bla it felt being only to pick from a few races, only to ask about monster races, look through the book, see the Satyr pic that looked awesome, and after checking that it was +2 and seeing I could play it, I went "Awesome!" Regardless of how odd the LA and ECL math wonkiness is, I had a whole backstory and personality set up for the Satyr. That would not have happened with a core race since its not fun anymore with the core races. There is lack of differentiation between people within the same race that no matter how you try to present yourself, it has normally all been done before, which makes it not creative, but cliche, unless you try to really go oddball with a combination that does more harm to your character than good since very few people will roleplay that out.


I just feel very different there, I think even with the most stereotypical dwarf you can be creative and can still be lots of fun. Creativity to me does not mean something is new and never done before, I've always believed that no matter what you do, no matter what you make, someone, somewhere, has thought of it too.
I don't see a cliche as automatically uninspired, or boring.
Look at the law and order shows, it's all about a bunch of human cops, it's all a very similar premise, and yet there's creativity there, stories are invented and written and I personally like a lot of them.

I do think part of this discussion is similar to our star wars discussion. You want to be 'special' and stand out from the crowd. I'm perfectly fine being a regular elven warrior, like thousands of others but with my own personality and background.


I mean, sure, you can write a poem about a chair.. hell, I HAVE done just that to prove to myself and others that I can write something good about anything no matter what it is. If you stick me in a room, I can write poems about the items in for some time... but sooner or later, it wont be creativity, it will be just me bullshitting and pulling crap outta my ass. When an actor has been type-cast and plays the same role over and over again, people dont think of that actor as creative.


I'm not sure about that, sure to some point it's true, but what if instead of inventing constant new poems, you build upon the same story, if you continue building upon the very same story, eventually all the items will have such a rich history they'll stand out. This fork will no longer be a bland regular fork, it is the brave fork that battled with the coffee machine of angmar, married the spoon of Lezal, and saved the candle holder from certain death!

As for the second part, the first thing I should say is.... are actors ever really creative? To a degree sure, but I really think it's the storywriters who make the creativity, not the actors, they're just bringing the story into the medium of TV.
Kelsey grammer played frasier for what? 18 years? Granted the character went through a bit of a rewrite, but even so, i don't think of him as an uninspired actor, I think he's quite creative, and fun.



Creativity is about creating something from nothing with the framework you have to work with. To me, that is the very definition of a point-buy system, where you have a pile of wood (character points), a great number of books on how to build everything from a bird feeder to a mansion (powers, attributes, and skills), and you create what you want. In class systems, you are given a number of pre-made houses (races), allowed to pick a theme for the house (classes) and choose a floorplan based on that (spells) theme if the theme supports it, chose a color palette for everything inside (feats), and determine your furniture (skills). The former is creativity, the latter is also creativitiy, but it is much more constrained, as well as contrived. With the latter, you have to create a story that helps everyone understand why you choose the aspects of your character the way you did because in class games, what choices you are allowed to make are very important since the major choices are limited by the book itself. Whereas with the former, everyone can easily assume you chose to make your character the way you did because you wanted to and because it fit your imagined ideal of your character. You cannot have an imagined ideal of a character with the latter, since you will have to change your ideal at the race selection, then again at the class, yet again at the feats that you are allowed to pick from due to your race and class choices, and lastly you will have to change it one last time when you choose skills.


There's certainly truth to that, but that doesn't mean there can't be benefits to having a class system either. Your class based house will probably fit in better with the neighborhood, it might have a sturdier foundation. While your freeplay house might be completely crazy and draw eyes away from the entire neighborhood because of it's crazyness. Your freeplay house might fall apart at the seams from misery because you weren't the craftman you thought you were!

And in the end, you didn't mention the history of the house, how it came to be there, what it's endured, how it came to have the paint it did, was it ever repainted? is it a new house or a house that's seen much? What's the history of the furniture inside?
That history can be just as rich in either form.


Now, thats just my take on it. I think they could really change it up by letting you choose which race stuff you take. Have a few pages explaining how races are built so that everyone's race is balanced, and then let the players create them however they wish. For every +2 to give to a stat, you gotta lower another by -2, which means you can have I think 64 different race choices from that alone. Now, it isnt point-buy or player derived, but its more choices than the current system is all I am getting at, and that more choices offers a higher degree for creativity.


I totally agree, you 'can' do that, and it'd be a perfectly fine system, but then you wouldn't really be playing in the forgotten realms. You'd be playing in a forgotten realms inspired world.
Now that's fine, if that's what you want to do. But it's generally not what I want to do, if you start adding strange new races that you yourself invented to a world, you certainly add something to the world, but part of me feels you also take something away. Because the whole world is changed by this new race that doesn't belong. And unless the race comes with an entire book full of insights into the race and it's history, it's interaction with other races and place in the world, it'd just feel like it doesn't belong.

To me the forgotten realms are already an incredibly rich environment, and it's possible we'll never feel quite the same, which is fine to me. But i'm quite happy being just a regular person in that world, granted, i'd want to be an adventurer, not a farmer or a commoner. But other then that, my own creativity will make that character come alive to me, aided by the established world, and he'll shine just as brightly to me as any character who's type and race I've never seen played before.

You said the picture of the Satyr greatly inspired you, and that's awesome, it's cool, sometimes pictures do that to me as well. But the setting itself, the feel of the world itself, greatly inspires me in the same way.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by NulSyn » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:19 am

Don't forget that the MM is also Core rules. In D&D core rules are PHB, DMG and MM so any of the races in the MM with ECL ratings or whatever in 3.x are capable of being a PC race.

Also your idea about making your own races with bonuses and negatives is assumed in D&D. That was what I was talking about when I said you use to see players doing it all the time. Some editions DMG's even spoke at length about it. 4E even has a formula to follow. D&D has always been a game that gave bare basic rules and expected GMs and players to do what they want. It is not a game that expected to be taken literal and only literal. 3.x was sort of an odd case because of the OGL it had to make a base that was "official" which some people took this to mean "don't alter things anymore" as a consumer and "don't step on our toes with your product" for businesses. But I think the mentality still held true, D&D expects you to do what you want with it.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:20 pm

NulSyn wrote:Don't forget that the MM is also Core rules. In D&D core rules are PHB, DMG and MM so any of the races in the MM with ECL ratings or whatever in 3.x are capable of being a PC race.

Also your idea about making your own races with bonuses and negatives is assumed in D&D. That was what I was talking about when I said you use to see players doing it all the time. Some editions DMG's even spoke at length about it. 4E even has a formula to follow. D&D has always been a game that gave bare basic rules and expected GMs and players to do what they want. It is not a game that expected to be taken literal and only literal. 3.x was sort of an odd case because of the OGL it had to make a base that was "official" which some people took this to mean "don't alter things anymore" as a consumer and "don't step on our toes with your product" for businesses. But I think the mentality still held true, D&D expects you to do what you want with it.


Yeah, I was looking at M&M, but I have to say, that Palladium did something VERY right in that regard... all the monsters for PF are able to be used as character races from the start, no worrying about Level Adjustments+Hit Die+Combat Rating to determine what level you have to start as to even play the given monster like you do in D&D. That is something that made Palladium Fantasy really cool to play, and probably where some of my issues with D&D come from, since you cannot play whatever you want, unless you convince the GM to start everyone out at a high enough level so that you can play something that you want.

I think that too many people take games in general as literal in regards to the rules and everything. Even when people try to make a set of rules work for a different setting, they try to keep it within the literal rules as much as possible. I don't know why this is. Must be some type of human condition/mental thing.
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by verdilak » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:53 pm

Solar_Dawn wrote:
I just feel very different there, I think even with the most stereotypical dwarf you can be creative and can still be lots of fun. Creativity to me does not mean something is new and never done before, I've always believed that no matter what you do, no matter what you make, someone, somewhere, has thought of it too.
I don't see a cliche as automatically uninspired, or boring.
Look at the law and order shows, it's all about a bunch of human cops, it's all a very similar premise, and yet there's creativity there, stories are invented and written and I personally like a lot of them.

I do think part of this discussion is similar to our star wars discussion. You want to be 'special' and stand out from the crowd. I'm perfectly fine being a regular elven warrior, like thousands of others but with my own personality and background.

I get bored of playing the norm heh. I'll admit that straight up. I dont care if what I decide to play is less effective than a simple human, I like to be different and have some element of "cool", in regards to what I, personally, think is cool. I look at fantasy settings where there are hundreds of different races, then look at how I have 6 or so different racial choices, and I go "Bwuah?"

Sterotypical anything isn't really fun for me, unless I am specifically trying to go for sterotypical, which RARELY ever happens. If I can avoid it, I will never play anything sterotypicals (except for supers, supers are supposed to be sterotypical in regards to saving people, but I wont play a superman-type sterotypically, if you can see where I am going with this).

I'm not sure about that, sure to some point it's true, but what if instead of inventing constant new poems, you build upon the same story, if you continue building upon the very same story, eventually all the items will have such a rich history they'll stand out. This fork will no longer be a bland regular fork, it is the brave fork that battled with the coffee machine of angmar, married the spoon of Lezal, and saved the candle holder from certain death!
Eh, no, that to me is rather bland and uninspiring. Not for me in any way-shape-form.

As for the second part, the first thing I should say is.... are actors ever really creative? To a degree sure, but I really think it's the storywriters who make the creativity, not the actors, they're just bringing the story into the medium of TV.
Kelsey grammer played frasier for what? 18 years? Granted the character went through a bit of a rewrite, but even so, i don't think of him as an uninspired actor, I think he's quite creative, and fun.
True, the writers are the creativity behind the actor, but the actor is the one that is deciding to take the paying job that plays on what the audience expects out of himself. Grammer is pretty creative, but on the Fraisier show, I would have to say he really wasn't in regards to his character.

There's certainly truth to that, but that doesn't mean there can't be benefits to having a class system either. Your class based house will probably fit in better with the neighborhood, it might have a sturdier foundation. While your freeplay house might be completely crazy and draw eyes away from the entire neighborhood because of it's crazyness. Your freeplay house might fall apart at the seams from misery because you weren't the craftman you thought you were!
Thats what makes it fun! The uncertainty of it! I can make something that doesnt work at all, but it was all my choice.

And in the end, you didn't mention the history of the house, how it came to be there, what it's endured, how it came to have the paint it did, was it ever repainted? is it a new house or a house that's seen much? What's the history of the furniture inside?
That history can be just as rich in either form.
Eh, gonna have to disagree with you there. Creating my own house from scratch gives it a history that is completely created by me. Buying a house pre-made and just changing a few things around means that the history is not mine, but is from those who messed with the house before me and I get to be addled with all sorts of baggage as well.

In making a dwarf, I gotta deal with the setting's depiction of dwarves, how they act, where they live, their own personal history, how they interact with other races, and so on. Sure, I can create a history, but the creativity is nowhere near on the same level if its all mine. Even if a backstory for an individual dwarf comes out awesome, it will have less creativity put into it that if I did all the creation for that dwarf on my own (maybe my dwarf clan lives in the swamps and due to that, doesnt have the stoneworking bonuses and crap and has different stat bonuses... see?).

I totally agree, you 'can' do that, and it'd be a perfectly fine system, but then you wouldn't really be playing in the forgotten realms. You'd be playing in a forgotten realms inspired world.
I was just talking about changing the stat bonuses for the core races. Would you still say that me playing a gnome that had a +2 to Strength and a -2 to Constitution, instead of the other way around, would change the entire setting, when said setting has celestials and demons, and half-breeds of everything, and feats and different subtypes of races that do some of that stuff already, as well as being able to create new races completely though magical experiments gone wrong or right? That would play to my argument that D&D 3.0 hinders creativity.
Now that's fine, if that's what you want to do. But it's generally not what I want to do, if you start adding strange new races that you yourself invented to a world, you certainly add something to the world, but part of me feels you also take something away. Because the whole world is changed by this new race that doesn't belong. And unless the race comes with an entire book full of insights into the race and it's history, it's interaction with other races and place in the world, it'd just feel like it doesn't belong.
The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting doesnt give much information about Drow insights, history, interaction with other races, and their place in the world. Same for Gold Dwarves or the other races given on page 288 that can be used as player races within the setting. It gives a paragraph or two, at most, so would you say that if i made a new race called MobGobs with a paragraph or two on them would take something away from the setting when the setting itself gives that much information on the other races or less? Again, you are showcasing my argument, and the rant's, that there is a lack of creativity in D&D (since you are saying that adding a new race to the setting would not be allowed, isn't that restricting the creativity that even Nul says should be part of how D&D works and yet has been forgotten by more modern D&D players?).

To me the forgotten realms are already an incredibly rich environment, and it's possible we'll never feel quite the same, which is fine to me. But i'm quite happy being just a regular person in that world, granted, i'd want to be an adventurer, not a farmer or a commoner. But other then that, my own creativity will make that character come alive to me, aided by the established world, and he'll shine just as brightly to me as any character who's type and race I've never seen played before.
Oh, I am sure that it is a rich environment, but just because the setting is awesome, it doesnt mean you can't change things up a bit. Why can't there have been a lost dwarven tribe who has been lost in the desert for 1000 years and now have lost their ability to work with stone and instead have bonuses to work with glass? By sticking with the setting as is and never changing anything, the stories are stifled. I would be completely cool with playing a human farmer character, but in most games, that would equal quick death instead of a humble beginning to an awesome story like many great fantasy series begin with. I would be totally cool with some of the party starting at higher level than me, since if we all gained XP the same I would catch up quick, so that I could play the farmer boy that lost his family or whatever and learned to be a fighter from one guy and learned to read from another and so on. i would actually love to play in such a game, but it would have to be done with the right group and the right GM... Most couldn't handle such a thing.

You said the picture of the Satyr greatly inspired you, and that's awesome, it's cool, sometimes pictures do that to me as well. But the setting itself, the feel of the world itself, greatly inspires me in the same way.
yeah, I'm very visual as well as literary. The picture drew me in and then the fluff and powers drew me in further. When the picture is the only thing that draws me in, I immediately think of ways to change the fluff, make things different, put my own spin on an otherwise boring fluff to that it becomes different and cool... like I do with the core races. Dwarves, Elves, Half-Elves, Humans... they are used so much in every fantasy that they just get stale and boring for me, especially because in most settings, dwarves are the same across the board: Stoneworkers. Same goes for Elves and the like.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
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Re: Excellent gaming rant

PostPosted by Pyriel » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:57 am

so what if elves/dwarves are depicted as some role?
i like playing dex-10, strength-18 elven brutes. perhaps my most succesful character was a 15-ish lvl (started 1st lvl!) elf ranger that had 20 strength(26 with items) and like 16 dexterity.
i like playing drow with more constitution than charisma. especialy *good-hearted* drow, if it can fit in the party.
i like playing Half-Orc druids. a lot.
the most powerful low-level wizard i ever saw was a dwarf.

there is nothing wrong with a fighter that has 13 strength and 17 intelligence (and if you THINK fighters, and ESPECIALY barbarians dont benefit from Int, you are wrong. perhaps the only true "dump stat" in d & d is charisma. that i can admit, only very few classes can actualy use). there is nothing wrong with an elf with very poor dexterity and huge constitution. the fact that a race gives you a bonus doesnt mean you must put any points in that ability. the fact that gnomes get -2 strength doesnt mean you cannot start with strength 15/16. races are very, VERY customizable.
Pyriel
9th level Demi-God
9th level Demi-God
 
Posts: 820
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am
Location: Greece, various cities
Favorite System: Classic, but Cinematic is cool.


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