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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    I think the story of how Dungeons & Dragons started out as a mod to a war game. Which means the roots of the role-playing gene are very deep in the war game gene. Everything has to start from somewhere after all. But is time to cut those roots?

    There seem to be a lot of issues that stem from the conventions of war games that just don't work as well in the role-playing context. I have decided to divide this up by the resulting issue. First because they are more tangible and second because they give more granularity. And hence more opportunities for fun titles.

    Soldiers March to War
    Combatants, everyone players someone who can fight. Why can't I play the comms. guy, who could fire a gun (is in the army) but probably couldn't hit a moving target with it? Well because being a PC automatically gives me an accuracy bonus for some reason. I can play a hundred variants of soldier, battle cyborg or battle mage, but I have to stretch it to play a wandering crafter, a corporate sponsor or an academic.

    The Never-Ending Battle
    Combat becoming so common has several problems for role-playing characters. But wait! "Role-playing doesn't stop when you pick up the dice." Yes, I get it, that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how when you calculate a modifier you are not thinking about the character's character. If you spend a lot of time working out the best move in this situation, even if it is because your character is a brilliant tactician and would do that. The level of detail is unnecessary for characterization, but in systems with detailed combat you have to slog through it anyways.

    What's more is any single activity has a much narrower range of characterization opportunities than all of them. So focusing on any one can drain that range without exploring many other spaces, or doing so very sparsely.

    Downtime
    As much as combat gets detailed, other things are left vague and shallow. Meaning it is really hard to engage in many of those activities in a meaningful way. So even if you create a combatant with other skills important to their character, playing through those will likely be rather uninteresting.

    This compounds the above issues by guiding the game towards the mechanically interesting sections and character concepts. It also means the system overall is less likely to be able to handle the non-combat sections of story that are likely to crop up eventually.

    Front line & Special Units
    A contributing factor to the whole caster/martial thing. Some units hold the line, others do cleaver and complex things to change the flow of battle. It works in war games where everyone is a swarm of front line soldiers and a couple of special units. However that completely breaks down when you focus that in on single character (not necessarily of the same type) for each player

    Balance for the War God
    Now there are several meanings of balance in this context. "Equal ability to contribute in a fight" is possibly the least interesting and yet it becomes one of the most important once combat becomes common. Otherwise you are disconnected from the game for large sections while the combat plays out.

    The definition we are actually looking for might be better described in terms of spotlight time. But when the game is about half combat, those distinctions start to fall away and it becomes necessary for characters to be balanced in the combat sense to keep the game fun and active for all players.

    Missed Who for the What
    This may be just an order of operations thing but I still feel like character descriptions starting off with "Barbarian 2/Ranger 1" are kind of missing the point. Who is your character? A strong warrior who hunts to feed the members of her extended family. That gives me way more information.

    More than the others this one is kind of a soft line, but it does mimic a war game's "West Folk got a new stealth sniper solo" that probably does have some flavour text, but you flip through that in the lore later after figuring out if the new unit makes in into your army.


    So those are things that can be attributed to the war game roots of role-playing games. Most are dragging the hobby down to some degree. Or at least when unquestioned. I'm not going to say that every system with a separate combat role from a skill check is bad. Nor is it wrong to have a tactical game with some role-playing thrown on top.

    But these things should probably not be considered the standard for role-playing games. The time has come for role-playing games to be stand on their own, without using the crutches of their early development.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    This is simply a matter of picking the right game. D&D type fantasy games are about warriors fighting monsters, but there are already plenty of RPGs that are not designed on that basis and have been for many years now.
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This is simply a matter of picking the right game. D&D type fantasy games are about warriors fighting monsters, but there are already plenty of RPGs that are not designed on that basis and have been for many years now.
    Yeah. Maybe check out Toon

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Which means the roots of the role-playing gene are very deep in the war game gene.
    Role-playing's roots go much farther back than just D&D. If you think about it, the profession of acting is nothing more than role-play. That thousands of years.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    D&D is a game about adventurers going out and fighting potential dragons that may or may not be in dungeons or dungeon-like areas.

    Different tools, or systems in this case, for telling different stories.

    When I sit down to play a game, sometimes I just want lighthearted and dumb fun:

    -The party is yukking it up at a tavern
    -Some old man bursts in yelling "Da boggarts are baggin' muh babies!"
    -Party grabs their weapons, tosses a few gold at the bartender and pay for a round then go stop the boggarts from putting infants in burlap sacs
    -Return to tavern successful with a new story to tell

    Is my character Sol Fightman called that because he's the sole fighter in the group? Yes. Yes he is. Does he need a deeper characterization? For the theoretical game here? No. Sol is a guy with a sword who does things that are vaguely "right" because we're just here to have dumb fun and kick in goblin heads.

    Not every TTRPG follows that trend. Ryuutama is Oregon Trail, if it was told by Miyazaki. You're a group of people going from A to B and you're not Badass adventurers, you're like... a farmer, a merchant, a bright-eyed youth looking for adventure and a country girl who's going to join a convent and the game is basically the stuff that happens between A and B.

    Does that make Ryuutama the superior game because it lacks the wargaming roots? Well, it's a poor game if you're looking to tell a story about adventurers dungeon delving and kicking in faces, but that's not what the game is about. I'm sure you can make it work with some tinkering, but that's largely missing the point in my opinion. D&D is way better at telling that story out of the box.

    But the point is: use the system that best fits the story you want to tell.

    I like D&D because I like the stories it tells and the wargaming roots help tell them.

    But to focus on your points:

    Soldiers March to War: look three sentences up "use the system that best fits the story you want to tell". You have a square peg, you looked around, bought a board with a round hole and now you're complaining it's not fitting. Yes D&D is bad at telling stories about non-adventurers. That's because it's not supposed to be a game about a wandering crafter unless that crafter is also called Tony Stark/Iron Man.

    The Never-Ending Battle: D&D tries to emulate the legends of knights and heroes that go out to kill monsters that threaten people: Hercules and his Hydra, Beowulf and Grendel, etc... Combat is kinda important to some of these stories. Where you say "I'm talking about how when you calculate a modifier you are not thinking about the character's character" I would say you're simply missing the big picture and trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. You're looking at the fight on a round by round basis, but in truth you should be looking at 2 things: "what does how my character fight say about him?" and "how does my character feel about this engagement?"

    Do you focus on non-lethal takedowns? Do you use magic that incapacitates rather then hurt? Do you focus on ending the fight as soon as possible? Do you care about collateral damage?

    When a fight starts or you see a fight incoming (either because you're hidden or the enemy is clearly in the open) do you try to avoid a fight if possible? Do you feel the fight is pointless and both parties should stop? Are you willing to fight to the death in this engagement, is it worth it?

    This is the questions you should be asking: the context around the combat (or avoiding it or whatever), not the round-by-round.

    Downtime: that's one part "what kind of story do you want to tell" and one part "is this really the right game for you?". D&D can do non-combat, it just depends on what kind of non-combat you're looking for and the depth of those mechanics. If you're looking to play the wandering craftsman, assume basic competence where the character has the training to succeed at tasks around his trade barring times of duress and use the existing systems to work around those times, basically turning the act of crafting into an adventure. If you want to make a fancy sword+shield or a tapestry to present to a local lord...

    -History or Religion can be used to accurately convey a scene.
    -Thievery if you're looking to add very fine details.
    -Endurance if you're going to be burning the midnight oil or spending prolonged time by the forge.
    -You may need to help someone with a task or try to persuade them so you can get first dibs high quality materials which can potentially require the full use of the social skills: Diplomacy, Intimidation, Insight & Streetwise.
    -Worst case scenario, you may need to rough up a few punks.

    "Downtime" doesn't necessarily mean "nothing happens", you can frame downtime as you would an adventure, it just requires the GM and other players to buy into it.

    Front line & Special Units If you're going to play a class-based game, the classes should have something special about them. D&D is about a small squad of people who are good a thing and generally rely on each other cover the areas they're not good at. In D&D you're not just RandomFighter213547, You're Sol Fightman. You have cool things you can do that's different from 'ol Pious Pete because you're a fighter and not a cleric. If you want to a game with a more homogenous cast, many point-based games like GURPS can do this, but even then you'll likely end up with characters that have specialized roles within the team.

    D&D is just really bad at defining what it wants casters/noncasters to be good at. that's less a problem with the "derived from wargames" and more "cruddy design".

    Balance for the War God Yes, if your game has a high focus on "theme or trope X", all characters being able to contribute to "Theme or trope X" is a good thing. I... I don't see how that's a bad thing. I mean, if you want to go out of your way to be cruddy at X, that's your perogative, but the standard should be some amount of competence in the areas the game will focus on.

    In D&D that's adventuring, thus the characters have a certain amount of basic competence in combat and the skillset required to go in a cave, find a special mushroom so you can use it to lure out the Fanged Claw-Beast and kill it for it's pineal gland and mix up a potion to cure the disease threatening the princess.

    Missed Who for the What Ranger/Barbarian describes how your character will be working within the party. It tells you the skill set they bring that will help with the tasks the party will be facing within the context of "we're adventurers going on adventures". It doesn't tell me about their personality, sure, but "A strong warrior who hunts to feed the members of her extended family" doesn't tell my character why I should bring you along to go fight that Fanged Claw-Beast. Everyone has a story and they'll share it when and if they're ready. But until then, what do you bring to this adventuring party?

    Because if I'm throwing myself into danger, I'm much more willing to do so with confidence knowing I've got skilled tracker, hunter and outdoorsman who can swing a battle axe like nobody's business then "guy with a starving family".

    Characterization is fine and good, but a dead PC rarely tells anymore tales. Unless you do that whole "break into hades and drag them back to the living thing". Then you have an awesome story to tell.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This is simply a matter of picking the right game. D&D type fantasy games are about warriors fighting monsters, but there are already plenty of RPGs that are not designed on that basis and have been for many years now.
    You win the thread!

    I was a war gamer before being a role player. Think SPI and Avalon Hill games, chainmail and the like. I still war game today and likely will til the day I die.

    So, no it shouldn't and as Yora stated, you have plenty of other options.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Fate, Gumshoe, Ryuutama, Burning Wheel, Golden Sky stories, Whispering Road, Maid, Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine would like to say "hi" and "we already did that."
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Fate, Gumshoe, Ryuutama, Burning Wheel, Golden Sky stories, Whispering Road, Maid, Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine would like to say "hi" and "we already did that."
    Name 8 more!

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by FreddyNoNose View Post
    Name 8 more!
    Microscope, Kingdom, Follow, Fiasco, Eden, Downfall, Xxxtreme Street Luge!, Shock: Social Science Fiction.

    As I've said before, the conceptual space RPGs cover hasn't really shifted so much as it has grown, and while this growth has moved the center everything that used to be there is still there.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Microscope, Kingdom, Follow, Fiasco, Eden, Downfall, Xxxtreme Street Luge!, Shock: Social Science Fiction.

    As I've said before, the conceptual space RPGs cover hasn't really shifted so much as it has grown, and while this growth has moved the center everything that used to be there is still there.
    That reminds of the time when:

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Cluedrew, I think you are just playing with a group or DM that wants to play different than you.

    Would it make you happy to roleplay more? Perhaps run a sleuthing campaign? Maybe a campaign where unlike TV cop shows shots are only fired every so often?

    These require an above average DM and a good story.

    Perhaps someone knows of a module with about a 10 to 1 combat ratio.

    Personally I think "both ways" can be interesting.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Yeah. It turns out you were retroactively right! RPG designers listened to you, traveled back in time years (decades? Fate came out in 2003), and worked to spawn a staggering number of games that don't make combat a big thing.

    Sooo... yeah. Pick up a copy of Fate-- it's well-known, it's free, and it's a quite good introduction to more narrative-focused games.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    You're talking only about D&D and D&D-like games. There are lots of systems that can mechanically support a much wider range of things. Also, many of the issues you bring up are not really about the game but about habits of particular GM's. How much down-time role playing takes place and how relevant it is and whether it engages the players is something the GM is responsible for arranging.

    There is room in the world for role playing games of every description, and they already exist. If you can think of it, someone else has probably thought of it first, published a system for it, and then went out of business. If you think there's a market for some new sort of RPG, something everyone is clamoring for but doesn't exist yet, then write it up and get it out there!

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This is simply a matter of picking the right game. D&D type fantasy games are about warriors fighting monsters, but there are already plenty of RPGs that are not designed on that basis and have been for many years now.
    Quote Originally Posted by FreddyNoNose View Post
    Name 8 more!
    Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Monsterhearts... Continue naming PbtA games to heart's content. Except the Regiment, which I understand to be basically "PbtA, but what if it was a wargame?"

    Even more revolutionary, believe it or not... there are a lot of RPGs (including these ones) that don't even have an action economy.
    Last edited by BayardSPSR; 2017-06-24 at 07:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    I feel I should clarify it was a rhetorical question to set the stage for the conversation. In the original draft I had a spoiler with: The answer is no.

    Still it seems to have sparked the conversation none the less. I don't have much to say beyond that right now, because I agree with almost everything said.

    To MarkVIIIMarc: You will be glad to no my GM doesn't run war-game like systems. Actually that is part of what opened my eyes to it in the first place. However what do you mean by both ways.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I feel I should clarify it was a rhetorical question to set the stage for the conversation.
    Sure it was....

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Yeah. It turns out you were retroactively right! RPG designers listened to you, traveled back in time years (decades? Fate came out in 2003), and worked to spawn a staggering number of games that don't make combat a big thing.
    I have not seen it myself, but I believe Fudge was released in 1994.
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I have not seen it myself, but I believe Fudge was released in 1994.
    Call of Cthulhu was released 1981 and is not a combat game

    DnD is the most prevalent system and fosters the thought that combat has to be a big part of roleplaying

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Yeah. It turns out you were retroactively right! RPG designers listened to you, traveled back in time years (decades? Fate came out in 2003), and worked to spawn a staggering number of games that don't make combat a big thing.

    Sooo... yeah. Pick up a copy of Fate-- it's well-known, it's free, and it's a quite good introduction to more narrative-focused games.
    And it wasn't the first! But yeah, Fate is what I usually recommend to people staying out (specifically FAE), it focuses much more on emulating a story and uses the same mechanics for a heated argument as a series fight.

    Out of the games I have on my shelf and not in storage, Rocket Age heavily pushes solving problems without violence by making attacks the last thing to resolve reach round. Savage Worlds focuses on combat, but it's attempting to allow you to simulate larger fights within a few hours (i.e. it's explicitly putting the wargame back in). Victoriana has more rules for combat than anything else, but most of the abilities and pets aren't combat related (the idea is that combat happens enough to need rules for resolving it and special circumstances in it, but nowhere as much as D&D has). Including the ones in storage that's Fate, the Mistborn game, Vampire the Requiem 2e (as well as most of my oWoD, but that's more borderline), potentially GURPS (where the core files have lots for combat, but there's also a lot of times for everything else). If we add my digital collection I've got no clue how many noncombat/nonwargame games I own. I've also got a few that try to be noncombat but don't have the required rules.

    This sounds like more of an argument against D&D (which I'm all for) than roleplaying in general. I've played in a game with combat averaged so much we compulsively avoided it to get back to the GM's investigation bits (which the game should have supported more, potentially via failing forwards, seeing as it was homebrew).
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    I think it would be a good idea. There is little in the wargame vein which video games can't do better, and focusing on the wargame side of things weakens the aspects of TRPGs that video games simply can't emulate well. The question of whether it's possible/practical is a separate matter entirely.


    Quote Originally Posted by Various
    What about these basically-unknown games?
    "Ex Machina had a strong female character. Sexism isn't a problem in movies anymore! Never mind that it's clearly still an issue in most of the big movies, there's an example of a movie that doesn't have the problem, so it's solved!"
    The only ones of those games that I'd heard of before are Toon and FATE. FATE is basically Roll to Dodge with an ego, while Toon is...a cartoon. And still focuses more on combat than it should need to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Coventry View Post
    Role-playing's roots go much farther back than just D&D. If you think about it, the profession of acting is nothing more than role-play. That thousands of years.
    ...No. Just no. Equivocation fallacy, big time.


    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Call of Cthulhu was released 1981 and is not a combat game
    There are an awful lot of rules for shooting cultists, madmen, and even the "horrors" themselves for a non-combat game...

    Which gets at a bigger problem with these arguments. The wargaming roots of the TRPG genre haven't just affected the games, though that's a big part of it. They've also affected the players. When I talk about New Gods of Mankind—one of the few TRPGs that I feel actually is properly focused on something other than combat—people automatically assume that it's something like Exalted. And why wouldn't they? Basically every TRPG on the market gives more focus to its combat rules than other types of conflict. And why wouldn't they? That's what the market clearly wants, based not only on market data but on playtests and observing player stories and basically everything else.
    TRPGs have pigeonholed themselves, and it's going to take some serious work to dig them out. But hardly anyone cares enough to even start digging. If anything is going to kill this medium, it's apathy towards change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This is simply a matter of picking the right game. D&D type fantasy games are about warriors fighting monsters, but there are already plenty of RPGs that are not designed on that basis and have been for many years now.
    It isn't even a matter of choosing a game, it's a matter of choosing the right metagame and scenario design principles. I primarily play LotFP as it's written and it's pretty straightforward D&D retroclone. I acknowledge and embrace wargame roots of the game. Yet at the table I still don't play it as a wargame.

    Reverse is equally true. If I wanted to play wargames with Fate (etc.), I'd have no trouble doing it.
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    To Anonymouswizard: If this is an argument against anything, it is an argument against the so called fantasy heart breakers (and maybe those who describe D&D as generic). Those that take the very particular assumptions of the D&D system and use those as the base line for all other role playing games. These are problems "when unquestioned" so using them isn't a problem, but I think it is problematic when people use them because they don't realize there are other options, or discount the other options for bad reasons.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    TRPGs have pigeonholed themselves, and it's going to take some serious work to dig them out. But hardly anyone cares enough to even start digging. If anything is going to kill this medium, it's apathy towards change.
    I don't think that's how it works. Adventure RPGs have comfortably found their niche and are good at doing what they do for people who want to do just that. As long as people like Adventure RPG, Adventure RPGs can continue just as they always did.
    And heroic adventure is a genere with incredible staying power. It's the oldest known stories of human culture and they have never gone out of fashion in 4000 years. I don't see it disappearing anytime soon and leaving RPGs as a medium without a genre.

    Nobody is stopping anyone from making RPGs that go in other directions, but there is no obligation to stop playing the games we enjoy for other games we don't enjoy for the sake of ideology.
    Last edited by Yora; 2017-06-25 at 08:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Anonymouswizard: If this is an argument against anything, it is an argument against the so called fantasy heart breakers (and maybe those who describe D&D as generic). Those that take the very particular assumptions of the D&D system and use those as the base line for all other role playing games. These are problems "when unquestioned" so using them isn't a problem, but I think it is problematic when people use them because they don't realize there are other options, or discount the other options for bad reasons.
    Maybe, I just don't tend to view the hobby from a D&D perspective that much because I own so many games, and so tend to forget that people assume D&D is the only option (which is why I never use it as an introduction anymore). So when I see people listing Description&D assumptions I just think 'hang on, most of the hobby isn't that'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    No. If anything, it's time to cut from the hobby the more modern and mistaken ideas that talky-time, funny accents, or method acting = roleplaying.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    No. If anything, it's time to cut from the hobby the more modern and mistaken ideas that talky-time, funny accents, or method acting = roleplaying.
    I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not. While combat doesn't stop roleplaying I find roleplaying itself to be incredibly close to method acting (I don't do accents when I can avoid them, just too difficult for me). Roleplaying is certainly easier when you're able to talk for your character (I suspect even easier when LARPing, although I don't have the experience to tell), which is why I've played in quite a few games where rounds were lengthened to 30+ seconds (allowing everyone a decent chance to speak in character each round).

    At it's core roleplaying is literally what the name describes, playing a role. At least to me this is much more about how the character talks than how they fight, and I very much enjoy using method acting in this (although I know people who don't and are just as good or better roleplayers than I am). I'm a firm believer in more talk before the have starts, I'm much more likely to try and run a mystery campaign than an explorative one, and highly likely to include at least primitive firearms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    A. No. I enjoy the hobby today, so it is not time to cut away things I like.

    B. You will never succeed in cutting out what thousands or millions of people like anyway.

    C. The hobby has grown to include many other things, as documented by several people above.

    D. I have never had trouble role-playing during combat. If you know the mechanics of your character well enough, they are close to automatic, and you're the northern ranger fighting his favored enemies the Frost Giants.

    Fundamentally, it's fine to add on what you want. It is not fine (and fortunately, not possible) to cut out what I want.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    A. No. I enjoy the hobby today, so it is not time to cut away things I like.

    B. You will never succeed in cutting out what thousands or millions of people like anyway.

    C. The hobby has grown to include many other things, as documented by several people above.

    D. I have never had trouble role-playing during combat. If you know the mechanics of your character well enough, they are close to automatic, and you're the northern ranger fighting his favored enemies the Frost Giants.

    Fundamentally, it's fine to add on what you want. It is not fine (and fortunately, not possible) to cut out what I want.
    I wonder if the OP even likes DND. If he does love it, he shouldn't want to make a drastic change like this. If he doesn't like it the way it is, there are plenty of other options including making his own game.

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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Call of Cthulhu was released 1981 and is not a combat game

    DnD is the most prevalent system and fosters the thought that combat has to be a big part of roleplaying
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    ....There are an awful lot of rules for shooting cultists, madmen, and even the "horrors" themselves for a non-combat game...

    I remember Call of Cthullu as mostly running away from the monsters rather than fighting them.

    Incidentally I've long found CoC easier to gamemaster than all but the "Basic" (1977) or "Classic" (1994) versions of D&D .

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    It isn't even a matter of choosing a game, it's a matter of choosing the right metagame and scenario design principles. I primarily play LotFP as it's written and it's pretty straightforward D&D retroclone. I acknowledge and embrace wargame roots of the game. Yet at the table I still don't play it as a wargame.

    Reverse is equally true. If I wanted to play wargames with Fate (etc.), I'd have no trouble doing it.

    Despite being closer to Chainmail, and it's wargame roots, I found the pre 2e D&D I played, to be more about exploration (and running away from the monsters), and less about combat than the 5e D&D I now mostly play.
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    Default Re: Is it time to cut the war game roots of role-playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not. While combat doesn't stop roleplaying I find roleplaying itself to be incredibly close to method acting (I don't do accents when I can avoid them, just too difficult for me). Roleplaying is certainly easier when you're able to talk for your character (I suspect even easier when LARPing, although I don't have the experience to tell), which is why I've played in quite a few games where rounds were lengthened to 30+ seconds (allowing everyone a decent chance to speak in character each round).
    Partly. Also partly just posting controversial comments. But while method acting is one way to roleplaying, and in fact a version of it is one of my favorite ways to do it, it's not what makes it roleplaying.

    I generally enjoy the 'you + PCs motivations' method of roleplaying. In other words, know where your PCs personality is distinct from you, what their motivations are, when making decisions relevant to it. But otherwise just make decisions you feel best.

    At it's core roleplaying is literally what the name describes, playing a role. At least to me this is much more about how the character talks than how they fight, and I very much enjoy using method acting in this (although I know people who don't and are just as good or better roleplayers than I am). I'm a firm believer in more talk before the have starts, I'm much more likely to try and run a mystery campaign than an explorative one, and highly likely to include at least primitive firearms.
    At its core, roleplaying is the player making decisions for the fictional character in the fictional environment. That's a form of playing the role, but it does not require a fictional personality. While I'm not a huge fan of it, a player is still roleplaying if they are merely playing their own personality with different capabilities in the fictional environment. (Most often called an 'player avatar' or the like.) As long as they are making decisions for their PC in the fictional environment, they are still roleplaying.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-06-25 at 03:11 PM.

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