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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    In order to use a character ability, the whole point of being that character, you need to kill yourself to do it. You lose hit points or take penalties to game statistics or lose the ability to do anything the following round or two or three. The game rules punish you for doing what you are supposed to be doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    On the flip side of the "unified mechanic" discussion, I've seen systems that seem to be a random assortment of tacked-on mechanics that each work differently, contradict or just plain fall apart when they overlap, and require X times the mental overhead because they have nothing in common.
    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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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    I think it's important to distinguish a few things regarding mechanics. All names subject to change.

    1) Randomization method (ie what do you roll). Percentile? d20? Dice pool? Bell curve (NdM)? Some mixture? Cards? Advantage/disadvantage?

    2) Modifiers (ie what modifiers are added to/subtracted from the randomizer, if any). Ability scores? skill values? Circumstance modifiers? Do they stack? Not stack? Sometimes stack? Conditionally present? Always present?

    3) Success determination (ie how do you decide what the randomizer result means). Roll under? contested roll? Fixed TN? Variable TN? degrees of success/failure?

    My preferences:
    1) Most things use the same randomization mechanic, possibly plus something like advantage/disadvantage. Occasional percentile rolls are fine, but if one thing uses 3d6, another uses 1d20, a third uses cards...no thanks.

    2) Choose one and stick with it. I'm not fond of circumstantial, stacking modifiers. Each type of action resolution can use a different modifier set, but those should be relatively static IMO. It's why I like advantage/disadvantage (or adding extra dice). Rolling dice is funner than doing conditional math.

    3) Broad categories of things should use the same determination method, but different categories can use different things. I'm fine with mixing Variable TN (AC/saves from a D&D perspective) with occasional contested rolls, but it should be a simple comparison (is X > Y? if yes, success). I'm not opposed to degrees of success/degrees of failure, but they should be narratively reasonable (fit with the fiction, not from some table).
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post

    1) Most things use the same randomization mechanic, possibly plus something like advantage/disadvantage. Occasional percentile rolls are fine, but if one thing uses 3d6, another uses 1d20, a third uses cards...no thanks.
    See but different die rolls get different types of results. Consider, D&D skills would be better as 3d6 rather than a d20 roll. The reason for this is skills are frequently one (or two) rolls at the most and are supposed to be trained things. The swinginess of a flat d20 roll means that we’ve invented all sorts of ways to “average” out D&D skills. We have take 10, skill challenges, massively escalating skill bonuses (with corresponding penalties for not having the skill). All of which are simply trying to address that any individual skill roll should fall into the average more often than not.

    By comparison it’s fine for combat to be swingy d20 rolls because an individual combat session will have multiple rolls, giving you the bell curve results over time in a way that the players can feel at the table and in a way that single roll skill checks don’t allow.

    Beyond that take old style D&D open doors checks. Everyone can make that check and succeed on a 1 or 2 in 6. If you have a high STR you can do that on a 3 or even a 4 as well. A moderately high STR character is 20% better at something they should be better at and the strongest are nearly 35% better. If on the other hand your door open check is a DC 10, your high STR characters need at least a +4 modifier for the same increase in effectiveness and your max modifier needs to be +7. So either only the strongest of the strong are better at opening doors or to accomplish the same result as having a different roll you have an “open doors” only special STR modifier.

    In fact it is my opinion that the plethora of modifiers and bonuses and such that many modern games have is a direct result of this fear of different rolling mechanics. Yes you have to remember different mechanics, but honestly I don’t think that’s really any harder than remembering all the special modifiers instead
    Last edited by 1337 b4k4; 2018-02-12 at 03:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    On the flip side of the "unified mechanic" discussion, I've seen systems that seem to be a random assortment of tacked-on mechanics that each work differently, contradict or just plain fall apart when they overlap, and require X times the mental overhead because they have nothing in common.
    That's more a by-product of the early "sim"-based approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    See but different die rolls get different types of results. Consider, D&D skills would be better as 3d6 rather than a d20 roll. The reason for this is skills are frequently one (or two) rolls at the most and are supposed to be trained things. The swinginess of a flat d20 roll means that we’ve invented all sorts of ways to “average” out D&D skills. We have take 10, skill challenges, massively escalating skill bonuses (with corresponding penalties for not having the skill). All of which are simply trying to address that any individual skill roll should fall into the average more often than not.

    By comparison it’s fine for combat to be swingy d20 rolls because an individual combat session will have multiple rolls, giving you the bell curve results over time in a way that the players can feel at the table and in a way that single roll skill checks don’t allow.

    Beyond that take old style D&D open doors checks. Everyone can make that check and succeed on a 1 or 2 in 6. If you have a high STR you can do that on a 3 or even a 4 as well. A moderately high STR character is 20% better at something they should be better at and the strongest are nearly 35% better. If on the other hand your door open check is a DC 10, your high STR characters need at least a +4 modifier for the same increase in effectiveness and your max modifier needs to be +7. So either only the strongest of the strong are better at opening doors or to accomplish the same result as having a different roll you have an “open doors” only special STR modifier.

    In fact it is my opinion that the plethora of modifiers and bonuses and such that many modern games have is a direct result of this fear of different rolling mechanics. Yes you have to remember different mechanics, but honestly I don’t think that’s really any harder than remembering all the special modifiers instead
    I have issues with trying to teach new players--training them to remember that it's always a d20 if I ask you to roll is painful enough. Saying "well, this is d20, that's 3d6, the other is ..." would be annoying.

    The probability changes are better (in my opinion) if you restrict the range of things that actually get rolled for. If the range is small enough, all distributions are linear. Most things should succeed without a roll; some should be impossible to do (so no roll, just fail). Even things that can fail should only be rolled if the consequences are interesting. Rolling to walk up stairs (or climb normal trees, or, for a modern example, drive a car under non-combat situations) is obnoxious. Roll for things that are a) in serious doubt, b) interesting, and c) non-repeatable (without interesting consequences anyway). Use features (class features, feats, skill tricks, whatever) to really say "you're an expert in X."

    If you need to have a more curved distribution, roll more separate checks, each one moving the narrative forward and changing the landscape. If you fail at climbing, you'll have to find another way up. But each success or failure should be small (more like hitting or missing, not like "roll to win").

    The less we try to simulate a detailed model, the better the model actually fits the fiction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I have issues with trying to teach new players--training them to remember that it's always a d20 if I ask you to roll is painful enough. Saying "well, this is d20, that's 3d6, the other is ..." would be annoying.

    The probability changes are better (in my opinion) if you restrict the range of things that actually get rolled for. If the range is small enough, all distributions are linear. Most things should succeed without a roll; some should be impossible to do (so no roll, just fail). Even things that can fail should only be rolled if the consequences are interesting. Rolling to walk up stairs (or climb normal trees, or, for a modern example, drive a car under non-combat situations) is obnoxious. Roll for things that are a) in serious doubt, b) interesting, and c) non-repeatable (without interesting consequences anyway). Use features (class features, feats, skill tricks, whatever) to really say "you're an expert in X."

    If you need to have a more curved distribution, roll more separate checks, each one moving the narrative forward and changing the landscape. If you fail at climbing, you'll have to find another way up. But each success or failure should be small (more like hitting or missing, not like "roll to win").

    The less we try to simulate a detailed model, the better the model actually fits the fiction.
    As long as the game provides examples of things that should succeed without a roll and things that should be impossible instead of the DM having to make everything up leading to my character can only do things based on who is DM that day, no problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I have issues with trying to teach new players--training them to remember that it's always a d20 if I ask you to roll is painful enough. Saying "well, this is d20, that's 3d6, the other is ..." would be annoying.
    I am so sorry that your players have trouble grasping this concept. I have taught multiple 7-year-olds to play 3e D&D competently. The unified d20 mechanic is a brilliant improvement over earlier editions, from a training PoV. It's why, even though I enjoy 2e more, I suggest new players learn 3e first.

    So... I suppose it depends on the purpose of the system. A "Basic" D&D should/could use the d20 system, then a more "Advanced" version could replace the d20 with 3d6 for skill checks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    As long as the game provides examples of things that should succeed without a roll and things that should be impossible instead of the DM having to make everything up leading to my character can only do things based on who is DM that day, no problem.
    Noted. We've had this conversation before

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I am so sorry that your players have trouble grasping this concept. I have taught multiple 7-year-olds to play 3e D&D competently. The unified d20 mechanic is a brilliant improvement over earlier editions, from a training PoV. It's why, even though I enjoy 2e more, I suggest new players learn 3e first.

    So... I suppose it depends on the purpose of the system. A "Basic" D&D should/could use the d20 system, then a more "Advanced" version could replace the d20 with 3d6 for skill checks.
    I think I wasn't clear enough. I basically agree here--having one mechanism (d20 + modifiers) over many is a great improvement. I don't want a bifurcated system, but if there is I'd rather put that elsewhere (among the different mechanical elements) instead of using different dice. I don't think that using different dice really adds anything.

    I find that an obsession with statistics and theoretical probabilities is a detriment to a game system. The difference between a flat roll and the bell curve of 3d6 is small over the expected number of comparable rolls during a session. How many skill checks do you make that have the same modifiers (including circumstantial ones) and the same DC? Certainly not enough to invoke the law of large numbers. The ballpark number for that (where you can reliably tell a bell curve) is somewhere around 30--that's 30 observations drawn from the same distribution including modifiers. That means that, for me, the type of dice you roll all comes down to simplicity. If you're going to roll a bunch of them, do something simple (2dX at most). Shadowrun-style massive dice pools involve either automated dice rollers or lots of time spent counting dice.

    I very much believe that trying to be "accurate" by having detailed rules is a trap in game-system design. Tighter rule-sets can't actually portray the underlying fiction that much better, and in exchange you make things complex and make the game about playing the rules, not the fiction. The more I play the more I appreciate lighter, more modular systems with fewer interacting parts. As someone said above, having "just like X, but..." means that you have to know both sets of rules. Flatten that exception hierarchy, please!

    Edit: And Quertus, I realize this wasn't intentional, but that opening couple of sentences came across as really condescending and belittling. "I'm sorry your players are morons stupider than 7-year-olds."
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2018-02-12 at 06:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    As long as the game provides examples of things that should succeed without a roll and things that should be impossible instead of the DM having to make everything up leading to my character can only do things based on who is DM that day, no problem.
    There's a pet peeve -- games that leave critical details unspoken either deliberately, or because the game's authors had so internalized their own assumptions that it didn't occur to them to that others have to start from a blank slate.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Edit: And Quertus, I realize this wasn't intentional, but that opening couple of sentences came across as really condescending and belittling. "I'm sorry your players are morons stupider than 7-year-olds."
    Yeah, that was kinda my first impression too.
    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.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

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    To be fair, if your players where dumber than 7-year olds, I would feel sorry for you too.

    Although I have found that role-playing games, because of their narrative components and soft edges, are very much a matter of "headspace". How you think about often has more to do with whether it works or not than any actual mechanical understanding. And that I have never quite figured out how to communicate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To be fair, if your players where dumber than 7-year olds, I would feel sorry for you too.

    Although I have found that role-playing games, because of their narrative components and soft edges, are very much a matter of "headspace". How you think about often has more to do with whether it works or not than any actual mechanical understanding. And that I have never quite figured out how to communicate.
    I'll admit that a lot of my struggles (which, by the way are way better playing 5e D&D than 4e) have to do with the nature of the games I'm running in those cases--max 1 hr, after school, at most 1x/week, with teenagers. Most of the kids don't own their own rulebooks, so it's not like they're immersing themselves in the game outside of play time. With 5e, the motivated ones pick it up (although oddly they have the worst time telling the dice apart...) within a couple sessions. And no, there's little interest in any non-D&D games and I have serious investment in D&D (and no time to learn another game system).

    This also feeds my need for simplicity--if a round of combat takes 15 minutes for people who know what they're doing, then that means that a single round of combat will occupy the vast majority of the time for a session. The fact that I have to remember all of it as the DM and have no experts to help me makes me very unwilling to deal with complexity for complexity's sake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Edit: And Quertus, I realize this wasn't intentional, but that opening couple of sentences came across as really condescending and belittling. "I'm sorry your players are morons stupider than 7-year-olds."
    Erm, I see how it can be read that way.

    My experience is, give some intelligent 7-year-olds some one-on-one explanations, have them make a few sample rolls before the actual game, and they'll play the game much more competently than many of the college-educated adults I've played 2e D&D with.

    Given that I've taught both editions to adults & kids alike, I see 3e as a great improvement from a teachability standpoint. But I still enjoy 2e more.

    Thinking about it, I must admit, the fact that your players seem to have had more trouble than 7-year-olds must say something, but what it says is open to debate. It could say something about your players, my 7-year-olds, or our teaching methods. Or, if my groups are any indication, it could just be the fact that my 7-year-olds aren't likely to be drinking during the game.

    But whatever the cause, I've lived through players never gaining a clue how to play the game back in the 2e and earlier era, so my sympathy for anyone going through that is genuine.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-12 at 07:48 PM.

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    Ive tried teaching kids under 10 how to play dnd before. It doesnt go well. I suspect the problem is my teaching skills.

    Strangly seberal times I've had mothers bring 8 or so year old children to official play games I'm running, and the kid who already know how to play teaches mom. 😂

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    I wrote a five-page response, trying to answer your every point. Then I tossed most of it, since there is a single issue on which our approaches differ, and which leads to most of our other differences. [Even this shorter reply is too long.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Where we most likely differ, though, is that you want the character to match the setting, whereas I explicitly want the character to be "not from around here", and to explore the setting. So, for me, such mismatch is not only fine, but actually desirable.
    "Not from around here" is fine. Many of my characters fit that mold. But I still need to know what it's like where he's from to develop his character.

    Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, Lucy Pevensie, Alice, Neo, Superman, Captain Blood, Ford Prefect, and D'Artagnan are all "not from around here," and that's crucial to their stories. But where they are from is still a large part of who they are, what they can do, and how they explore the setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I like to have developed the character "as an island", uprooted and transplanted to this setting. Some people seem to like to have the character start as a blank slate, and develop a personality and a backstory in play.
    These are two very different things. I have certainly developed characters as an island, uprooted and transplanted. But I developed them. Ornrandir’s first adventure was an ocean voyage to a new continent. But the fact that he was raised in an orphanage, didn’t even know he was an elf, knew nothing of elvish culture, and grew up as an outcast were important parts of who he was even when he was uprooted and transplanted.

    This is nothing like an adult character who is a blank slate. I have no interest in, understanding of, or ability to play, such a character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I suspect you find my desire to have my character find their place in the world as an emergent property developed in play as alien as I find the aforementioned players' development of a personality in play.
    Mostly I just find it impossible. When I sit down to play, he has motivations, or I wouldn't have him do anything. Those can be:
    1. just my personality, or
    2. a "generic adventurer", or
    3. an actual character that was conceived and developed in character generation.

    Yes, of course the character will develop, grow, and change in play. But develop, grow, and change from what?

    When Samwise Gamgee goes to Mordor, his personality grows, emerges and changes. But he's still clearly a hobbit gardener from the Shire. D'Artagnan grows and develops from the uninformed rural outsider who came to Paris, but who he is, how he changes, and who he becomes are all very much affected by the fact that he's a Gascon. Lucy Pevensie was uprooted and transplanted to Narnia in another universe. But her English culture, her relationship to her family, and even World War II, affect who she is, why she's there, and what she does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And, if I try to take that character to someone else's game, ...
    Here we really do disagree strongly. Unless these two DMs are running scenarios on the same world, or your character has universe-hopping abilities, this can't happen. The problem is that your character wasn't built for this game and this world.

    Captain Blood doesn't stop being a pirate in the Caribbean to go have a single adventure in Narnia. That's a bad Caribbean pirate and a bad Narnia adventure.

    [I should have listed people wanting to use the same character in different worlds as one of my pet peeves.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    It's hard to take the game seriously when, say, my weakling scribe is suddenly tossing planets because, oops, house rules.
    Yup. That's certainly one of the reasons not to put your weakling scribe in a game he wasn't built for. [But frankly, tossing planets isn't any more unlikely than being able to leap from universe to universe at will.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Give me compatible games, thanks. Let what my character is be what my character is, and let them and the world make sense, and their place in the world make sense, no matter whose game I'm in.
    Make up your mind. Either the character's place in the world makes sense, or nothing changes no matter whose game you're in. It can't be both. A successful wyvern-hunter's place does not make sense in a game with no wyverns.

    If my character was Frodo Baggins, I would want his connections to the Shire to be as real, and as important, as they are in Lord of the Rings, even if he's adventuring hundreds of miles away. If I'm running a D'Artagnan, then his origins as a Gascon, and how out of place he is in Paris, should be center stage. Captain Blood, a pirate on the other side of the world from where he became a doctor in Ireland, should still be Irish, a doctor, and out of place in the Caribbean. That's (part of) what it means to have a character.

    If I'm playing a wizard in Middle-Earth, he should be one of the Maiar (angels), with a staff, and with deep understanding of the universe. If I'm playing a Hogwarts wizard, he should have a wand, and not understand how the physics of the world works. A Discworld wizard should be very different from either of the above two.

    Enjoy the kind of games you enjoy, and that's great. But since you want the worlds not to have the kind of uniqueness I yearn for, it's no surprise that our approaches to character design are different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Here we really do disagree strongly. Unless these two DMs are running scenarios on the same world, or your character has universe-hopping abilities, this can't happen. The problem is that your character wasn't built for this game and this world.

    Captain Blood doesn't stop being a pirate in the Caribbean to go have a single adventure in Narnia. That's a bad Caribbean pirate and a bad Narnia adventure.

    [I should have listed people wanting to use the same character in different worlds as one of my pet peeves.]
    I'd consider most of this inapplicable to the thread because it's largely a matter of play style and not system, but the expectation within a system that this is how it's played is definitely a pet peeve. The whole model of players having characters that have to start at the beginning character standards of a system*, which can progress** at any table and switch between them has its place in the hobby. Living Greyhawk, AL, etc. existing works for a lot of people.

    It's just never going to happen anywhere near my table, and the few systems which encourage this as a default style of play*** all have that component as a major pet peeve. Similarly the whole idea of all settings by the rules being part of the same setting that facilitates this can similarly go away.

    *Let's be honest here, they start at level 1. I've never seen this phenomenon outside D&D.
    **Level up.
    ***Early D&D. As far as I know "early D&D" is a comprehensive list of these systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    ***Early D&D. As far as I know "early D&D" is a comprehensive list of these systems.
    Official play was huge in 4e and even bigger in 5e. The 5e PHB advertises it on the last page in a section titled "What Comes Next?"

    Edit: if you mean systems that assume convention play and special clubs with many members playing multiple sessions of one big campaign will be the normal situation ... I'm totally with you.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-02-12 at 10:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Official play was huge in 4e and even bigger in 5e. The 5e PHB advertises it on the last page in a section titled "What Comes Next?"

    Edit: if you mean systems that assume convention play and special clubs with many members playing multiple sessions of one big campaign will be the normal situation ... I'm totally with you.
    The expectation that that exists in home games seems to have been dropped though, as has the whole idea of the big campaign with lots of GMs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordCdrMilitant View Post
    I too would like HP to go away. It's a relic of battle occurring on the scale of a larger military formation representing an amalgamation of personnel remaining and troop cohesion, that does not belong on the "more detailed" scale of an RPG.


    I would like a system where all damage on all things is resolved on a module-basis, and you die when the table says you die. Here's what I would do in my ideal system:

    A creature's body would have a hit location table, used to determine where a non-called shot lands.

    Then, for each location, there'd also be a damage table, used to determine what the shot does to the target. Damage would apply as modifier to the damage table increasing result severity, Armor would reduce damage, and Penetration would reduce armor. The damage table would range from "Minor Scratch" to "Creature Dies". Most results would impose temporary or permanent penalties on the target. I would keep most of the descriptions mechanical. There'd be a set of general tables for common body parts, and some creatures may have unique tables for special body parts of because of their special defensive qualities.
    Isn't this basically an HP system where MAX(HP) is simply unknown? Other than the status effects (which you can add to an HP system) what would be the fundamental difference between a character suffering 10 "minor scratch results" followed by a "die" result and a character with 28HP taking 10x 2 DMG hits and a single 8 DMG hit? Don't get me wrong I'm all about experimenting with health mechanics, but to my mind any system that amounts to "take damage until you die" is indistinguishable from an HP system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Isn't this basically an HP system where MAX(HP) is simply unknown? Other than the status effects (which you can add to an HP system) what would be the fundamental difference between a character suffering 10 "minor scratch results" followed by a "die" result and a character with 28HP taking 10x 2 DMG hits and a single 8 DMG hit? Don't get me wrong I'm all about experimenting with health mechanics, but to my mind any system that amounts to "take damage until you die" is indistinguishable from an HP system.
    It´s actually a description of the Warhammer/Dark Heresy works. Overcome armor, break thru wounds threshold, then use the critical hits tables to determine the actual effect of an attack (instead of the hp abstraction).

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordCdrMilitant View Post
    I too would like HP to go away. It's a relic of battle occurring on the scale of a larger military formation representing an amalgamation of personnel remaining and troop cohesion, that does not belong on the "more detailed" scale of an RPG.
    One of the reasons a lot of people don't like playing the first level of D&D is that their character can be killed with a single strike.

    Unfortunately, this is an automatic feature of any accurate, "more detailed" simulation of combat.

    The major effect of hit points on higher levels is to have a combat system in which you can't be killed quickly. Many people want this aspect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    "Not from around here" is fine. Many of my characters fit that mold. But I still need to know what it's like where he's from to develop his character.

    Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, Lucy Pevensie, Alice, Neo, Superman, Captain Blood, Ford Prefect, and D'Artagnan are all "not from around here," and that's crucial to their stories. But where they are from is still a large part of who they are, what they can do, and how they explore the setting.

    These are two very different things. I have certainly developed characters as an island, uprooted and transplanted. But I developed them. Ornrandir’s first adventure was an ocean voyage to a new continent. But the fact that he was raised in an orphanage, didn’t even know he was an elf, knew nothing of elvish culture, and grew up as an outcast were important parts of who he was even when he was uprooted and transplanted.

    This is nothing like an adult character who is a blank slate. I have no interest in, understanding of, or ability to play, such a character.

    Yes, of course the character will develop, grow, and change in play. But develop, grow, and change from what?

    When Samwise Gamgee goes to Mordor, his personality grows, emerges and changes. But he's still clearly a hobbit gardener from the Shire. D'Artagnan grows and develops from the uninformed rural outsider who came to Paris, but who he is, how he changes, and who he becomes are all very much affected by the fact that he's a Gascon. Lucy Pevensie was uprooted and transplanted to Narnia in another universe. But her English culture, her relationship to her family, and even World War II, affect who she is, why she's there, and what she does.

    If my character was Frodo Baggins, I would want his connections to the Shire to be as real, and as important, as they are in Lord of the Rings, even if he's adventuring hundreds of miles away. If I'm running a D'Artagnan, then his origins as a Gascon, and how out of place he is in Paris, should be center stage. Captain Blood, a pirate on the other side of the world from where he became a doctor in Ireland, should still be Irish, a doctor, and out of place in the Caribbean. That's (part of) what it means to have a character.

    If I'm playing a wizard in Middle-Earth, he should be one of the Maiar (angels), with a staff, and with deep understanding of the universe. If I'm playing a Hogwarts wizard, he should have a wand, and not understand how the physics of the world works. A Discworld wizard should be very different from either of the above two.
    I know I didn't express myself as clearly as I'd like, but through all the above, I believe that we're in 100% agreement. I care about and need to develop the history and personality, the character of the character. (Incidentally, this is why about half of my characters are actually a god come down to play at being mortal, so that I don't have to actually come up with a "real" personality and history, and, instead, am simply playing one of my previous ascended characters. Much more expedient that way.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Here we really do disagree strongly. Unless these two DMs are running scenarios on the same world, or your character has universe-hopping abilities, this can't happen. The problem is that your character wasn't built for this game and this world.

    Captain Blood doesn't stop being a pirate in the Caribbean to go have a single adventure in Narnia. That's a bad Caribbean pirate and a bad Narnia adventure.

    being able to leap from universe to universe at will.]
    I mean, I prefer to play at high level so that my character does have the ability to leap from world to world at will, but that certainly isn't a requirement. There's always alien abduction, strange relics, portals to fall through, or just getting "Samurai Jacked". One of my characters has a habit of sometimes waking up in a new world when they sleep, for unknown reasons. Another has a habit of dying, and waking up in a different world. Some just travel, and don't even realize that they're on different worlds. Quertus, my signature character for whom this account is named, is one of my most aware characters, and has traveled to dozens of different copies of Toril, let alone hundreds of other worlds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    A successful wyvern-hunter's place does not make sense in a game with no wyverns.
    "Who is the X-hunter when he's not hunting X?" is a perfectly valid question to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    But since you want the worlds not to have the kind of uniqueness I yearn for, it's no surprise that our approaches to character design are different.
    Exploration is my favorite "aesthetic". I love unique worlds. But I enjoy exploring them as someone "not from around here".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    [I should have listed people wanting to use the same character in different worlds as one of my pet peeves.]
    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I'd consider most of this inapplicable to the thread because it's largely a matter of play style and not system, but the expectation within a system that this is how it's played is definitely a pet peeve. The whole model of players having characters that have to start at the beginning character standards of a system*, which can progress** at any table and switch between them has its place in the hobby. Living Greyhawk, AL, etc. existing works for a lot of people.

    It's just never going to happen anywhere near my table, and the few systems which encourage this as a default style of play*** all have that component as a major pet peeve. Similarly the whole idea of all settings by the rules being part of the same setting that facilitates this can similarly go away.
    Everyone had their blind spots. No GM will ever create as varied content as 20 GMs; no single GM will ever let me explore the various facets of a character as well as 20 GMs.

    I'll stick with the "one character, 20 GMs" model, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    One of the reasons a lot of people don't like playing the first level of D&D is that their character can be killed with a single strike.

    Unfortunately, this is an automatic feature of any accurate, "more detailed" simulation of combat.

    The major effect of hit points on higher levels is to have a combat system in which you can't be killed quickly. Many people want this aspect.
    Most people want this in video games, too. I'm baffled that HP aren't in higher demand in RPGs, where you're supposed to be more attached to the character, don't have a save option, and have to spend time actually creating a new character.

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    Someone "not from around here" is still from somewhere.

    Even a single world is still an entire world and has a lot of "not around here" for every instance of "here".

    I really don't see the need for characters to routinely be gods playing at mortal, or from an alien world or dimension, or whatever.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Someone "not from around here" is still from somewhere.

    Even a single world is still an entire world and has a lot of "not around here" for every instance of "here".

    I really don't see the need for characters to routinely be gods playing at mortal, or from an alien world or dimension, or whatever.
    Oh, you're conflating two different ideas. Sorry for not being clear.

    I enjoy playing "not from around here". There's a lot to that, and I'll happily go into detail on any questions you have, but... I prefer them to be from a "here" that I understand. And, IME, no GM who actually cares about their world will ever be satisfied with my understanding of their "here" any more than I am, so my characters, if at all possible, are never from the GM's world. EDIT: That wasn't as clear as I'd like, either. I prefer to learn about the GM's world in game, rather than beforehand. But, even when I try to learn beforehand, it never works out to both my & the GM's satisfaction. So, much better times all around for me to not even try, to not butcher the GM's world concept, and to enjoy Exploring the world.

    The whole "actually a god thing" is a different, but related, issue. I want to understand my character. Even in games with "simple" character creation, I want to spend days if not weeks building the history and background and personality of my character. But you* want to play right now. Fine, I'll make up a fake history for a fake character, and actually be playing one of my ascended deities who is just pretending to be this mortal construct that they've made up. That way, I'm still playing a character, not a character sheet, but I'm playing the game right now, so we're all happy. EDIT: And, of course, "Existing Character" is the simplest instantiation of "character I've already made", but this runs into the issue of "But I was on Toril #3488, not Toril #616. I guess I must have fallen through a portal or something."

    Clearer?

    * "you" in general, not you in particular.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-13 at 11:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Everyone had their blind spots. No GM will ever create as varied content as 20 GMs; no single GM will ever let me explore the various facets of a character as well as 20 GMs.

    I'll stick with the "one character, 20 GMs" model, thanks.
    And what if a GM tells you "your character doesn't work in this setting, and in this setting there are no other worlds for your character to be from"? That is, what if there's no way to get from your character's "here" to the "here" of the actual campaign?


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Most people want this in video games, too. I'm baffled that HP aren't in higher demand in RPGs, where you're supposed to be more attached to the character, don't have a save option, and have to spend time actually creating a new character.
    D&D-like big-scaling HP aren't in more demand for all the reasons repeatedly discussed here, which amount to "they're wonky and conflated as hell, and no one can agree on what they actually represent, and they only represent any one thing part of the time".

    There are better ways to represent characters who are hard to kill besides running up a massive total of Heisenberg Points that an opponent has to wade through (unless they don't in some special case-by-cases instances).
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I mean, I prefer to play at high level so that my character does have the ability to leap from world to world at will, but that certainly isn't a requirement. There's always alien abduction, strange relics, portals to fall through, or just getting "Samurai Jacked". One of my characters has a habit of sometimes waking up in a new world when they sleep, for unknown reasons. Another has a habit of dying, and waking up in a different world. Some just travel, and don't even realize that they're on different worlds. Quertus, my signature character for whom this account is named, is one of my most aware characters, and has traveled to dozens of different copies of Toril, let alone hundreds of other worlds.
    This is all contingent on the worlds still somehow being part of the same setting, and there's absolutely not always alien abduction, strange relics, portals to fall through, etc. These world hopping characters are making a lot of demands of individual settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "Who is the X-hunter when he's not hunting X?" is a perfectly valid question to ask.
    "Who is the X hunter when he's not hunting X" quickly becomes a much less reasonable question when X doesn't exist, unless they're supposed to be some level of crank or con man.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Everyone had their blind spots. No GM will ever create as varied content as 20 GMs; no single GM will ever let me explore the various facets of a character as well as 20 GMs.

    I'll stick with the "one character, 20 GMs" model, thanks.
    The thing about that model is that if you're maintaining the import standards I detailed (expecting to keep extant character things) and not just making the same character as a starting character elsewhere you're asking GMs to hand over partial creative control to some rando they've never met. That's a lot to ask. I wouldn't hand over partial creative control to a different version of myself running a different campaign, because there's no reason to think they'd be compatible, let alone someone I'd never even met.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And what if a GM tells you "your character doesn't work in this setting, and in this setting there are no other worlds for your character to be from"? That is, what if there's no way to get from your character's "here" to the "here" of the actual campaign?
    Well, that one's easy: that's probably not a setting I'll have any interest in in the first place.

    Let me know when there's a more interesting game to play.

    Because, yes, games like this is where I've learned that "from around here" with a GM that actually cares about their setting is a recipe for disaster. And that GMs that create such closed worlds - that think in terms of excluding things that they don't like - also rarely create content that interests me. See also "Railroading".

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    D&D-like big-scaling HP aren't in more demand for all the reasons repeatedly discussed here, which amount to "they're wonky and conflated as hell, and no one can agree on what they actually represent, and they only represent any one thing part of the time".

    There are better ways to represent characters who are hard to kill besides running up a massive total of Heisenberg Points that an opponent has to wade through (unless they don't in some special case-by-cases instances).
    I mean, I haven't actually done the math, but I think there's more complaints about SoD effects that just ignore HP and allow you to (maybe) one-shot someone than there are about HP, even on these boards. Thus, my confusion remains, unabated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    D&D-like big-scaling HP aren't in more demand for all the reasons repeatedly discussed here, which amount to "they're wonky and conflated as hell, and no one can agree on what they actually represent, and they only represent any one thing part of the time".
    Minimally scaling HP works pretty well though. It's also fairly common outside D&D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And that GMs that create such closed worlds - that think in terms of excluding things that they don't like - also rarely create content that interests me. See also "Railroading".
    True. Only WotC has the right to decide what setting elements belong in campaigns, only they can decide to include what they like and exclude what they dislike. They have inherited the mantle from TSR, and in so doing became the one true curator. Any mere GM who has the temerity to make a setting they're interested in without adhering to the mandates of the great sages at WotC is obviously going to railroad their players and make boring works. After all, who's ever heard of a good fantasy setting that doesn't contain elves and dwarves?
    Last edited by Knaight; 2018-02-13 at 11:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This is all contingent on the worlds still somehow being part of the same setting, and there's absolutely not always alien abduction, strange relics, portals to fall through, etc. These world hopping characters are making a lot of demands of individual settings.
    Having a way to get from place to place has never been a problem in any world I'd enjoy Exploring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    "Who is the X hunter when he's not hunting X" quickly becomes a much less reasonable question when X doesn't exist, unless they're supposed to be some level of crank or con man.
    Having everyone believe that my Exorcist is a kook would be a hoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The thing about that model is that if you're maintaining the import standards I detailed (expecting to keep extant character things) and not just making the same character as a starting character elsewhere you're asking GMs to hand over partial creative control to some rando they've never met. That's a lot to ask.
    No, I'm asking the GM to hand over COMPLETE creative control of the character to the player. They get the whole world, the player gets the character. I don't think that's a lot to ask.

    Still, I feel like there's some alien (to me) sentiment that I'm missing here. Care to help me Explore? I don't even know enough to ask you questions besides, "what am I missing?".

    EDIT: As to "creating the same character (as a starting character) in another world"... there's a lot of things for me to comment on here. As much as I care about background and backstory, actual played history is... "richer". If I'm not interested in giving up on even the lesser of the two, why would I want to give up the "good parts" of the character, their actual lived-though adventures? This mindset is equally baffling to me. I create characters for a reason, to explore certain facets of human psychology / the human experience. Quertus, my signature character for whom this account was named, was created because I was baffled that people could play the same RPG / War Game for years (or decades!) and still "not see the elephant", still not "get it". I built Quertus to help me explore that aspect of humanity. And I've gotten to play him enough that... hmmm... how to explain? That I know how it feels to be Quertus in a great variety of situations. Imagine an activity book that I get to stamp for every type of "encounter" I hit with a character. Or a huge picture that I get to color a section in with an experience. Having 20 Quertus' in 20 worlds would just have 20 mostly-blank pictures, but having 1 Quertus in 20 worlds gives a much more complete picture of what it means to be Quertus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I wouldn't hand over partial creative control to a different version of myself running a different campaign, because there's no reason to think they'd be compatible, let alone someone I'd never even met.
    Now, I've seen people running someone else's campaign. It was generally a disaster. That having been said, I've also been someone running someone else's adventure. There's one adventure I loved, stole (with GM's permission), and have run repeatedly. It's been loads of fun.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    True. Only WotC has the right to decide what setting elements belong in campaigns, only they can decide to include what they like and exclude what they dislike. They have inherited the mantle from TSR, and in so doing became the one true curator. Any mere GM who has the temerity to make a setting they're interested in without adhering to the mandates of the great sages at WotC is obviously going to railroad their players and make boring works. After all, who's ever heard of a good fantasy setting that doesn't contain elves and dwarves?
    IME, I've found that closed minds tend to create closed worlds, and that such closed minds tend to create tight rails, and otherwise create games that aren't worth my time to play of a style that I'll enjoy.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-13 at 11:38 AM.

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