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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    When you read these forums then there are GM's who are waiting for the good parts, they're trying to build something up slowly at the expense that the players will get bored or the campaing will just deflate before they get to the good parts. How simple is this? Start at the good parts...if the good parts require the characters to start level 5 or 10 or 13 it doesn't ****ing matter, just start where the fun begins. I mean if you are at an amusement park why go 10 rounds with the merry go around when you can just head straight for the rollercoaster?
    And this is why movies today are 90% explosion and 10% plot. Casablanca would never get greenlit for production in todays market, because everybody wants the action NOW.

    Don't build suspense, or a plot for that matter. Just throw some monsters at me to hit with a sword/spell already!

    Even the rollercoaster gets boring after the first couple of rides....
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    And this is why movies today are 90% explosion and 10% plot. Casablanca would never get greenlit for production in todays market, because everybody wants the action NOW.

    Don't build suspense, or a plot for that matter. Just throw some monsters at me to hit with a sword/spell already!

    Even the rollercoaster gets boring after the first couple of rides....
    Really? I find combat maybe the least interesting part of roleplaying and my 5-6 hour sessions include maybe one combat encounter.

    The good part has NOTHING to do with combat

    I'm saying if you want to run a heroic adventure then start the PCs as heroes instead of running an uninspired filler just to so they can become the heroes they need to be.

    Those who play point based systems are used to this, you just allocate points based on what power level you need for your PC's

    So if I want to run an adventures about a black ops team working for the Argus Corporation, investigating mysterious cults, aliens and paranormal activities for the world goverments. Then I am bloody not going start the PCs in bootcamp

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Really? I find combat maybe the least interesting part of roleplaying and my 5-6 hour sessions include maybe one combat encounter.

    The good part has NOTHING to do with combat

    I'm saying if you want to run a heroic adventure then start the PCs as heroes instead of running an uninspired filler just to so they can become the heroes they need to be.

    Those who play point based systems are used to this, you just allocate points based on what power level you need for your PC's

    So if I want to run an adventures about a black ops team working for the Argus Corporation, investigating mysterious cults, aliens and paranormal activities for the world goverments. Then I am bloody not going start the PCs in bootcamp
    I like combat and action, but it needs to have some meaning. I see a lot of games just switch from 'downtime' to 'combat' with little in-between. And combat is just something fun, but pointless, to do.

    At best I like lots of role playing around the combat...the characters are fighting for a reason, as part of a plot and have some sort of goal. Not just ''randoms combatz!"

    Though having players start at the beginning with first level character makes a lot of sense. It gives players a chance to get to know their characters abilities and be able to play the character. To just take a player, and give them a powerful, experienced character is just asking for the game to fail.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Really? I find combat maybe the least interesting part of roleplaying and my 5-6 hour sessions include maybe one combat encounter.

    The good part has NOTHING to do with combat

    I'm saying if you want to run a heroic adventure then start the PCs as heroes instead of running an uninspired filler just to so they can become the heroes they need to be.

    Those who play point based systems are used to this, you just allocate points based on what power level you need for your PC's

    So if I want to run an adventures about a black ops team working for the Argus Corporation, investigating mysterious cults, aliens and paranormal activities for the world goverments. Then I am bloody not going start the PCs in bootcamp

    "The good part" sounds like shorthand for "what actually matters for the kind of campaign I want to run".

    An extreme parallel for the insistence some have for starting at level 1 -- it's as if a Vampire GM wanted to run a campaign about Elders who've all been undead for at least 200 years, but instead of giving the players extra "Freebie Points" or other stuff in character creation to make their characters appropriate to the concept, he instead told them that they'd be making their characters as Neonates and playing out everything that happened since 1800... before the campaign actually gets to the present-day events that the GM really wanted to focus on.

    This side-discussion illustrates a part of why I really dislike level-based systems and all the presumptions that go along with them. Such games are set up on a very specific model of what a character's "arc" should be like. Then players come along and insist that the rules must be adhered to and characters must start at the lowest level. Thus, character arcs and story arcs that don't fit the model that the game is based on the first place end up being crammed, shoehorned, and crowbarred into the structure of the level-based progression. It's akin to how The Hero's Journey, which was originally meant to be analytical and descriptive, has been mistaken as a prescriptive formula by far too many writers.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    "The good part" sounds like shorthand for "what actually matters for the kind of campaign I want to run".

    An extreme parallel for the insistence some have for starting at level 1 -- it's as if a Vampire GM wanted to run a campaign about Elders who've all been undead for at least 200 years, but instead of giving the players extra "Freebie Points" or other stuff in character creation to make their characters appropriate to the concept, he instead told them that they'd be making their characters as Neonates and playing out everything that happened since 1800... before the campaign actually gets to the present-day events that the GM really wanted to focus on.

    This side-discussion illustrates a part of why I really dislike level-based systems and all the presumptions that go along with them. Such games are set up on a very specific model of what a character's "arc" should be like. Then players come along and insist that the rules must be adhered to and characters must start at the lowest level. Thus, character arcs and story arcs that don't fit the model that the game is based on the first place end up being crammed, shoehorned, and crowbarred into the structure of the level-based progression. It's akin to how The Hero's Journey, which was originally meant to be analytical and descriptive, has been mistaken as a prescriptive formula by far too many writers.
    See, here's where we differ. A bit. I agree that insisting on starting at level 1 if you really want to run a different scale of game is silly. I do prefer to have a series of arcs--you're heroic at all times, but the scale of those heroics changes. I guess I'm just less tied to a particular concept/arc/whatever. I want to see what my players' characters do over the whole scale, leaving things very open-ended.

    I'm not playing "a bunch of heroes foil <a specific villain>'s plot" (singular), I'm playing "you're adventurers. Go adventure. There's evil deeds afoot in every direction you can think of." This lends itself well to a series of arcs that gradually increase in scope and complexity as plot threads get woven together. Heck--most of the time I'm making up the plot as we go, using the discoveries from the previous arc and trying to weave them into a coherent whole. This is helped by starting at lower levels (scopes, really) and gradually building outward. It also gives the players a sense of investment. They did build that.

    One side effect of this is that the players tend to be proactive and the antagonists must react to them. My villains usually play the long game--they're fine if their plot takes 2 years, 5 years, or 20 years to come about. This way, there's not the artificial "you always seem to discover the plot right at the critical moment" feeling. Of course, if the PCs get too visible, the enemies will shift their plots--currently they're accelerating one set of plots (going from the subtle corruption approach to a more brute-force plan) because the PCs started knocking off the auxiliary villains and so ended up on the BBEG's radar.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    This side-discussion illustrates a part of why I really dislike level-based systems and all the presumptions that go along with them. Such games are set up on a very specific model of what a character's "arc" should be like. Then players come along and insist that the rules must be adhered to and characters must start at the lowest level. Thus, character arcs and story arcs that don't fit the model that the game is based on the first place end up being crammed, shoehorned, and crowbarred into the structure of the level-based progression. It's akin to how The Hero's Journey, which was originally meant to be analytical and descriptive, has been mistaken as a prescriptive formula by far too many writers.
    Level-based systems are actually something that, like classes, should be used in design as a form of simplification for a game with a particular focus where sorting characters into roles for interaction with the primary mechanical setup saves time. In early editions of D&D this actually sort of worked. Since at the time, your class and level pretty much only dictated what you could do in combat (with the exception of utility spells). Pretty much everything else, since there was no consistent skill system or representation of non-combat abilities, was freeform. 1e and 2e sessions could go quite some time without anything being rolled outside of combat - since utility spells and magical items were mostly use/don't use options that didn't involve chance. Additionally leveling up in 1e and 2e was simple. You looked at a couple of tables, changed a few numbers, and if you were a spellcaster noted new spell slots and that was it. You didn't actually make any major choices - yes thieves allotted their points and clerics and druids got to decide which spells they would use if they had access to a new level, but it was still quick.

    Once the d20 system came in the simplicity vanished as each level came with a bewildering array of possible options - especially once you hit the mid-levels and prestige classes come into play - and the choices made each time you leveled up affected all future choices going forward. The classes also grew less flexible, because now skills and feats represented a huge array of out-of-combat options. In 2e the wizard could just be the party face, it was a role whomever in the party wanted to have got to take. In 3.X a wizard as the party face means a massive sub-optimal investment in skills at the least. Frankly 3.X is't even the worst. The classes in Star Wars SAGA are so opened ended as to be largely useless and the impetus for choosing which one to start with is more about the 1st level feats you get than anything else (many concepts in SAGA edition work best as 1/19 builds).

    So classes and levels make sense in a game where combat is going to largely be a discrete tactical situation and those capabilities aren't 'this is my character' so much as 'this is how my character fights.' And then characters who chose a certain fighting style progress a certain way and that's just how it works. Heck in most point-buy systems each player gives their character capability in one single fighting option - whether that's something absurdly broad like 'melee' in oWoD or something hyperspecific like 'Mounted archery' in GURPS - and then uses that relentlessly because point buy systems tend to reward specialization and most GMs are bad about taking away character's primary weapons as a balance measure.

    D&D 3.X is in a weird situation wherein taking a class level is actually like participating in point buy, but instead of being able to buy what you want you can only buy from a selection of packages that each provide different things. This isn't unique to D&D - Eclipse Phase has a character creation option that is exactly that - but it is not really a useful way to utilize classes. And of course the imbalance comes not really from deficiencies in any one class, but because the path to power is accumulating the highest spellcasting level possible using the smallest number of levels (yes it is possible to make builds that are more powerful than straight up Wizard 20, but at that point you're so far off the scale as it makes no difference anyway). D&D classes and levels are actually much more viable once you've restricted the tiers - in parties of all full casters it's descriptive of what kind of god your character intends to become; in half-caster parties what kind of epic hero; and in non-caster parties what kind of master warrior.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    @Mechalich

    I find that this insistence on the part of 3e to cram everything into one coordinated system (ie the d20 system itself) to have been a mistake. I prefer the older "your class sets your strengths, but everyone can attempt any in-game task" paradigm. 5e does a decent (albeit not perfect) job with this.

    Also of note is that leveling up in 5e is really fast (unless you're doing something crazy). Most levels you might get a new feature or your HP might go up. Numbers other than HP only change rarely (when proficiency or ability scores change, about 1x/4 levels). Casters get new spells every so often, but usually in small numbers. Features and spells are usually pretty independent, so you don't have to consider how a change in one interacts with the whole suite of other features. Even multi-classing isn't so bad to deal with, and is firmly optional (and not always the most powerful option).
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    I like combat and action, but it needs to have some meaning. I see a lot of games just switch from 'downtime' to 'combat' with little in-between. And combat is just something fun, but pointless, to do.

    At best I like lots of role playing around the combat...the characters are fighting for a reason, as part of a plot and have some sort of goal. Not just ''randoms combatz!"

    Though having players start at the beginning with first level character makes a lot of sense. It gives players a chance to get to know their characters abilities and be able to play the character. To just take a player, and give them a powerful, experienced character is just asking for the game to fail.
    I get what you mean. Another of my hobbies is tactical wargaming, when I was younger I had the time to play stuff like Warhammer Fantasy/40K but nowdays I don't have the time so my wargaming is done via the computer. If I want to play a string of fights I can just do that on the computer.

    So I do enjoy combat but it's not why I'm roleplaying. Fights may break out in the context of the plot but I find fights are best when something is at stake, not only the PC's life.

    Starting level 1 may be newbie friendly and helps them learn the ropes but players that have been playing for years shouldn't have any problem starting at whatever power level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    "The good part" sounds like shorthand for "what actually matters for the kind of campaign I want to run".

    An extreme parallel for the insistence some have for starting at level 1 -- it's as if a Vampire GM wanted to run a campaign about Elders who've all been undead for at least 200 years, but instead of giving the players extra "Freebie Points" or other stuff in character creation to make their characters appropriate to the concept, he instead told them that they'd be making their characters as Neonates and playing out everything that happened since 1800... before the campaign actually gets to the present-day events that the GM really wanted to focus on.

    This side-discussion illustrates a part of why I really dislike level-based systems and all the presumptions that go along with them. Such games are set up on a very specific model of what a character's "arc" should be like. Then players come along and insist that the rules must be adhered to and characters must start at the lowest level. Thus, character arcs and story arcs that don't fit the model that the game is based on the first place end up being crammed, shoehorned, and crowbarred into the structure of the level-based progression. It's akin to how The Hero's Journey, which was originally meant to be analytical and descriptive, has been mistaken as a prescriptive formula by far too many writers.
    I'm no fan of level based system but that's more because I feel shoehorned in during character creation and I feel I have to justify why my characters is getting this and that ability that doesn't quite fit the concept. I'll be travelling tomorrow to my home country and will be playing with my old group and they're testing out D&D so I rolled up a trash talking fistfighter based on Conor McGregor....monk seemed to be the obvious reason but D&D is kinda trying to force down my throat that I'm a shaolin kung fu monk. At level 11 my character got the "power" of tranquility...channeling his inner peace in a aura so others won't harm him, this is kinda jarring disconnect with my taunting fistfighter that I just want to flush that "power" down the toilet, so I'll just ignore it completely...I'm not even going to write it on my character sheet.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I'm no fan of level based system but that's more because I feel shoehorned in during character creation and I feel I have to justify why my characters is getting this and that ability that doesn't quite fit the concept. I'll be travelling tomorrow to my home country and will be playing with my old group and they're testing out D&D so I rolled up a trash talking fistfighter based on Conor McGregor....monk seemed to be the obvious reason but D&D is kinda trying to force down my throat that I'm a shaolin kung fu monk. At level 11 my character got the "power" of tranquility...channeling his inner peace in a aura so others won't harm him, this is kinda jarring disconnect with my taunting fistfighter that I just want to flush that "power" down the toilet, so I'll just ignore it completely...I'm not even going to write it on my character sheet.
    And that's also getting into the serious drawbacks of class-based systems. You end up trying to work the character through a set of preset concepts instead of building the mechanical side to reflect the actual individual character in question.

    Are there any Barbarian or Fighter "powers" around that level that might fit better with your concept? Is your GM in this case the sort who might let you kitbash a little and replace that power with something else?

    Or, could you reskin that power as an aura of confidence instead of tranquility, such that it opponents find themselves reluctant to take a swing at this guy because he's projecting his "awesomeness"?

    (Never mind that I find either concept -- tranquility or confidence -- a bit offputting if the opponent has no way to resist... I'm just going with it for the sake of the sidebar discussion.)


    E: Another example might be spellcasters in D&D. Some variation on Warlock might be the closest mechanical mapping of the character's intended abilities, but the conceptual mapping of someone who "made a bargain for power" doesn't necessarily fit the character. One could perhaps strip the "bargain" part out as "fluff" and simply use the mechanical parts, but there are players who would strongly object to such a thing, because they view the mechanical and conceptual parts of the Class as intrinsically interwoven.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-04 at 10:15 AM.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And that's also getting into the serious drawbacks of class-based systems. You end up trying to work the character through a set of preset concepts instead of building the mechanical side to reflect the actual individual character in question.
    Take a look at Shadow of the Demon Lord for a class and level-based system the can actually work with "growing with the character".

    In short, you don´t have "one class" but many of them over your career, which you start, begin to master and learn everything that there is to it over time, distributed along the levels.
    For example, you pick your novice class at 1st, advances at 2nd and 5th, mastered it at 8th, you pick your expert class at 3rd, advance it at 6th and master it at 9th, pick your master class at 7th and master it at 10th.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    And this is why movies today are 90% explosion and 10% plot. Casablanca would never get greenlit for production in todays market, because everybody wants the action NOW.
    Right, that would be why last year's Oscar winners included Spotlight, Inside Out, Ex Machina, and The Big Short, all of which were also commercially successful (smaller budgets help there). The year before that? Birdman, Imitation Game, Interstellar, and Big Hero Six make a showing. All of which are clearly explosion fests.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    And this is why movies today are 90% explosion and 10% plot. Casablanca would never get greenlit for production in todays market, because everybody wants the action NOW.

    Don't build suspense, or a plot for that matter. Just throw some monsters at me to hit with a sword/spell already!

    Even the rollercoaster gets boring after the first couple of rides....
    1. Get off your lawn?

    2. You seem to be conflating blockbusters with all modern movies.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Right, that would be why last year's Oscar winners included Spotlight, Inside Out, Ex Machina, and The Big Short, all of which were also commercially successful (smaller budgets help there). The year before that? Birdman, Imitation Game, Interstellar, and Big Hero Six make a showing. All of which are clearly explosion fests.
    Oscar bait movies tend to be their own thing mostly seperate from mainstream Hollywood. There is a bit of crossover, but if we were going by box office rather than awards I think you would find the "90 percent explosions" rule to hit a little closer to home.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    1. Get off your lawn?
    He isnt wrong though.

    Look at modern movies and compare them to older movies within the same franchise.

    For example I cant imagine one of the modern Planet of the Apes prequels having a twenty minute courtroom scene like the original.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Oscar bait movies tend to be their own thing mostly seperate from mainstream Hollywood. There is a bit of crossover, but if we were going by box office rather than awards I think you would find the "90 percent explosions" rule to hit a little closer to home.
    Maybe for movies alone (Though I wouldn't take that bet for all such combined - blockbusters are big but relatively few.) because that's what they bring to the table that TV doesn't.

    Most TV has little to no explosions and overall has far more viewership than movies do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    For example I cant imagine one of the modern Planet of the Apes prequels having a twenty minute courtroom scene like the original.
    And various incarnations of Law & Order have courtroom scenes that long on a regular basis.

    The sort of story once told in movies isn't gone - it has just shifted to TV. Because why would I pay $10 for a movie when I can get my fix for the same sort of story for free on TV?
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2017-12-04 at 04:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    So if I want to run an adventures about a black ops team working for the Argus Corporation, investigating mysterious cults, aliens and paranormal activities for the world goverments. Then I am bloody not going start the PCs in bootcamp
    Just think how pointless the Epic of Gilgamesh would be without the first 20 tablets telling how the future God-King of Uruk killed rats to level up!

    I agree, the whole 'EARN your fun, n00bs!' attitude is toxic. Even Blessed Saint Gygax often started his parties off at level 3 just to avoid the worst of it.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    And this is why movies today are 90% explosion and 10% plot. Casablanca would never get greenlit for production in todays market, because everybody wants the action NOW.

    Don't build suspense, or a plot for that matter. Just throw some monsters at me to hit with a sword/spell already!
    The fact you seem to think 'building suspense' or 'building the plot' couldn't be the fun part of a game says a lot more about yourself than society as a whole.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    The fact you seem to think 'building suspense' or 'building the plot' couldn't be the fun part of a game says a lot more about yourself than society as a whole.
    While I didn't necessarily agree with their point, I think they were being sarcastic.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    There is nothing about a class and level system that requires characters to be unnecessarily weak at level one and be suited only for fighting small animals or puny barely functional humanoids like goblins. It can be this way and most gamers are used to this because there's a temptation, especially in video games to use the leveling system as tutorials and to gradually ease characters into new options. However this is by no means a necessary thing. The 1st level Dragonborn in Skyrim is already capable of taking on multiple trained soldiers in combat, and the same can be true of tabletop characters. Star Wars SAGA edition, by the simple method of giving out triple Hp at level one made it perfectly possible for a level one party to fight stormtrooper squads and carry their weight. D&D simply has a peculiarity built in where characters start out absurdly weak and rise in power incredibly fast to the point that they quickly outgrow the game system. 3.X really only functions in half the level range, 3-12, but the other half is a nice space to dump content into in order to sell more books. Heck, WotC convinced people to buy the Epic Level Handbook.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    Maybe for movies alone (Though I wouldn't take that bet for all such combined - blockbusters are big but relatively few.) because that's what they bring to the table that TV doesn't.

    Most TV has little to no explosions and overall has far more viewership than movies do.



    And various incarnations of Law & Order have courtroom scenes that long on a regular basis.

    The sort of story once told in movies isn't gone - it has just shifted to TV. Because why would I pay $10 for a movie when I can get my fix for the same sort of story for free on TV?
    Just because it still exists in another format doesnt mean that movies haven't changed.

    Personally I like both spectacle and exposition, having to choose between one or the other is sad.
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  21. - Top - End - #231
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    New targets are a part of the escalation. In the context of things it really doesn't matter if the dungeon is occupied with goblins, orcs, gnolls, mummies, vampires or umber hulks or if Luke is fighting stormtroopers or mandalorians. The GM is simply reacting to the PC's increase in power. So in the context of things if the PC's level is X then the dungeon has adversaries of CR X, what the creature is, is merely fluff.
    Playing with most DMs i've played with (including myself), it actually does matter a lot if Luke is fighting mandalorians, because even if their strenght relative to him is now equal to what stormtroopers' strenght relative to younger-him used to be, their position in the game world is very different because of their strenght while stormtroopers are still out there, in the majority of the world, and what they used to rule is now Luke's to liberate, rule, or otherwise screw with at his non-stormtrooper-impaired leisure. Luke used to be a hero who can defeat a stormtrooper squad in combat (while having to run and hide from a stormtrooper army), now he can defeat a mandalorian squad in combat (while having to run and hide from a mandalorian army); it might feel the same while in a dungeon, but outside of a dungeon it makes for a qualitatively different gameplay experience (according to enough players' feelings that i don't think it can be tossed aside as mere self-delusion by fluff).

    Mandalorian being more powerful, more rare, less widespread, requiring more resourses to function in large numbers means Luke doesn't just run into them nearly anywhere he goes, but has to either be purposefully hunted by them or cross their path of his own volition. They aren't indle with their power; they're busy throwing it around to achieve their own ends, and they won't do garrison job or hyperpath flight lane patrol or contraband search — unless there is a damned important and valuable reason to temporarily allocate their best resourses to guarding/trying to intercept something (and where stormtroopers' valuable contraband would be something that can be sold for a high price, or a powerful personal weapon, mandalorians' valuable contraband could be a weapon of mass destruction, a cloning apparatus or something similarly moral choice-inducing, or at the very least something that has enough eyes on it that Luke gets offered an unlikely alliance — or several). Speaking of which, looking for competent allies against mandalorians won't longer lend Luke a group of people who felt what rebelling against the system is like and liked it (with egoistical scoundrels, treacherous scumbugs and enemy spies thrown in), but a selection of retired and acting badasses who will darn well demand Luke earns their darn respect, because they've lived dangerous for years and have (or need) a personal cause to keep living that way (with notorious wanted criminals, treacherous oracular Force sorcerers and Luke's old enemies' spies who care nothing about Luke because their mission is to spy on Mandalorians thrown in); maybe the proportion of loyal to treacherous stays the same (doesn't have to), and maybe earning their respect is just as hard as before, but the number of peculiarities and incompatibilities they can afford to have, the amount of influence and aces-up-their-sleeves they might have (and might very well play their cards close to their chest, working together with Luke yet withholding their most impactful capacities because they don't like the costs attached or aren't convinced enough yet or prefer to have their contingencies in place and not place all their stones in a single hat) — these can be wastly higher than a stormtrooper-level ally can realistically versimilitudely have, and Luke will have to weight his choices carefully because, unlike before, he can't just find another bunch of allies in a different Empire-oppressed place.

    And stormtroopers being far less of a threat… Man, even original D&D with its named levels, followers and castles celebrated the idea that if you've moved from fighting goblin armies to fighting gnoll armies, you can and should find some time to go back to goblins, roflstomp them with your loyal army of former goblinfighters (now grizzled veterans), keep that army and all the grateful people they've liberated, get written into history books as shining example of heroism, have free access to nearly any mundane resourses you might want to request (because if a man who freed you from the tyrany of goblins says even worse things will happen if you don't swiftly build a giant wall out of snow and ice along the entire northern border, you know they will), and be recognised as a political power by other political powers if you're interested in exploring that direction (and if you aren't, but then you suddenly need a bit of political leverage, you deserve to get a listening ear — and it's not like old "earn your audience first" crap will fly with you anymore if you don't).


    Sure, not every DM (and not every plot) will let you fully explore the plotline of "remember those enemies of level X-5 and their oppressive and injust empire? I attack the empire. 370 force damage. Is it dead now? Did it drop any good loot? Say, i've got some funny ideas about personal property that i'd like all those freed people to try out." But the impact of your actions is there, where it haven't been before — and if you care about the world you play in, it's a world of difference.
    Last edited by Lord Haart; 2017-12-05 at 01:30 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #232
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    The fact you seem to think 'building suspense' or 'building the plot' couldn't be the fun part of a game says a lot more about yourself than society as a whole.
    Actually, I think building suspense and building a plot are very important part of a game. That comment was a bit of snark, directed at the "just drop me into the middle of a story and let me start hitting things" mentality.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Haart View Post
    Playing with most DMs i've played with (including myself), it actually does matter a lot if Luke is fighting mandalorians, because even if their strenght relative to him is now equal to what stormtroopers' strenght relative to younger-him used to be, their position in the game world is very different because of their strenght while stormtroopers are still out there, in the majority of the world, and what they used to rule is now Luke's to liberate, rule, or otherwise screw with at his non-stormtrooper-impaired leisure. Luke used to be a hero who can defeat a stormtrooper squad in combat (while having to run and hide from a stormtrooper army), now he can defeat a mandalorian squad in combat (while having to run and hide from a mandalorian army); it might feel the same while in a dungeon, but outside of a dungeon it makes for a qualitatively different gameplay experience (according to enough players' feelings that i don't think it can be tossed aside as mere self-delusion.
    Like I said from a mechanical standpoint the GM is just throwing higher numbers at his players to keep them challenged. The GM adjusts the statblocks to keep up with the PCs.

    The rest is only fluff. Immersion does rely more on fluff than mechanics. If you name your statblock a dragon and your PCs defeat it then the players will cheer that they killed a dragon but in a mechanical sense they defeated your statblock.

  24. - Top - End - #234
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Like I said from a mechanical standpoint the GM is just throwing higher numbers at his players to keep them challenged. The GM adjusts the statblocks to keep up with the PCs.

    The rest is only fluff. Immersion does rely more on fluff than mechanics. If you name your statblock a dragon and your PCs defeat it then the players will cheer that they killed a dragon but in a mechanical sense they defeated your statblock.
    This is actually a key design question. In a system where the PCs are expected to gain significantly in mechanical capabilities during play, either those gains are largely an abstraction in which nothing but stats are being adjusted to provide a more intricate tactical scenario, or is actual power being gained and beings at the higher level and or point scale portions of the curve really are capable of mass slaughter of lower-level beings, oftentimes to the point of global annihilation?

    Both options create problems. For instance, Exalted is very clearly in the second camp, and as such, Exalted does not work at all. The big time NPCs who are actual players in the setting have stats that represent thousands of XP (in a system where a generous GM might give out 5 XP per session) and there are characters who could quite literally take on the entire reincarnated Solar host from chargen and slaughter them all. Thus, unless you GM fronts the PCs hundreds of XP at minimum your chances of stopping any of the crises imperiling the setting are quite literally nil (honestly this is largely the core problem of every WW game - there's always someone powerful enough to snuff the party out like bugs the minute they become annoying).

    The first course, which is perhaps exemplified by 4e D&D but is also commonly fuond in many JRPGs, is that combat is a sort of bizarre tactical sport and PC and NPC capabilities are highly abstracted and that the PCs were totally capable of fighting the final boss at level one because nothing about gaining 99 levels and a whole bunch of combat abilities in game was actually meant to imply any real change in their power level (the best example might be Final Fantasy XV, which some crazy gamer actually beat at level one).

    Taken seriously - which is totally optional by the way, there are massively successful fantasy franchises like Dragonball that fundamentally don't - this problem means that games that wish to retain verisimilitude and have functional settings have to limit scale. Working with the 3.X system, that means choosing E6, because that way you have a scenario where massive hordes of level 1 warriors still actually remain a potential threat to the most powerful monsters in the game.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Like I said from a mechanical standpoint the GM is just throwing higher numbers at his players to keep them challenged. The GM adjusts the statblocks to keep up with the PCs.

    The rest is only fluff. Immersion does rely more on fluff than mechanics. If you name your statblock a dragon and your PCs defeat it then the players will cheer that they killed a dragon but in a mechanical sense they defeated your statblock.
    Which is exactly the opposite of my approach. The important part is that the characters are confronting this dragon, and the statblock only exists to "map" the dragon into the mechanical system which will help adjudicate and "simulate" that confrontation. "Just throwing higher numbers" is meaningless, and "only fluff" misses the point entirely -- without the "fluff" there's just a bunch of numbers that don't mean anything.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Just because it still exists in another format doesnt mean that movies haven't changed.
    I'll agree with that. Every form of media changes over the decades. Modern plays and books also have a very different vibe than a century ago.

    I totally disagree with Mutazoia's initial premise that it's proof that modern viewers are impatient or his implication that they have somehow gone downhill over the years.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Which is exactly the opposite of my approach. The important part is that the characters are confronting this dragon, and the statblock only exists to "map" the dragon into the mechanical system which will help adjudicate and "simulate" that confrontation. "Just throwing higher numbers" is meaningless, and "only fluff" misses the point entirely -- without the "fluff" there's just a bunch of numbers that don't mean anything.
    I both agree and disagree (although it may be just semantics). A stat block should reflect the in-universe fiction to the degree that it's important for the task at hand. A stat block for a combat encounter will look very different than a stat block for a social struggle (opposing counsel at a trial, for example). I believe that the mechanical system is a UI for the game. This means that stat blocks should be adapted to the situation and contain only the necessary information.

    5e's solution to this whole situation (do you scale the challenges, leading to a treadmill effect, or do you leave them static and let the party ignore 90% of everything/get bored fighting goblins that aren't a threat) is one reason I like it. Where at level one a small group of goblins is a major threat, at level 10 a large group/small army is a threat, and at level 20 a large army is a threat. Increasing power mostly increases the scope of creatures you can fight, it doesn't mean that you can just ignore the lower stuff. I've found some of the more challenging fights come from having 2-3 monsters of CR ~ APL/2. You can also graft abilities pretty freely between monsters (or add your own) and adjust HD without changing other stuff. This makes monster design much more flexible than it was in the past.

    For example, I created a combination mechanical monstrosity--5 parts that were all one monster but took 5 separate turns. This emulates the idea of a monster that has to be disabled piece by piece. Each piece did its own thing and had it's own weaponry. Didn't take very long. I just took an Iron Golem and scaled it up and switched out the actions for more relevant ones. Sadly I never saw it in combat because the party decided to go straight for the BBEG's lieutenant (instead of the tertiary boss that this one was).
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    I'll agree with that. Every form of media changes over the decades. Modern plays and books also have a very different vibe than a century ago.

    I totally disagree with Mutazoia's initial premise that it's proof that modern viewers are impatient or his implication that they have somehow gone downhill over the years.
    Hm... Yes, sure. Thing is, a crude but entertaining story like most of the Marvel stuff can be done in the narrow time frame of a "movie". I actually enjoy stuff like Harpers Island, Banshee, American Gods, etc., that can´t be told outside the time-frame offered by a serial. That said, I´m always in awe of movies like Dead Man, Strange Days, Oceans 11 and so on, that manage to pack the full experience in the short time and fully reach out and ensnare me as customer.

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