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 71 
 on: May 30, 2012, 11:23:38 PM 
Started by Moreno R. - Last post by Moreno R.
Aargh! Having to rewrite something from scratch sucks! Writing the previous post from memory I made a blunder about the first mention of "Brain Damage" and now I can't edit the post...

I had completely forgotten three previous mentions, that I found out later searching the forum. The comment in Vincent's blog was MY first encounter with that polemic, I did read the precedent posts much later, so I tend to forget them...

Anyway, this is the REAL chronology:

The first mention in almost exactly one year before, on February 8, 2005: Ron wrote, in the thread [Sorcerer] Introducing a New Player:
"All of Judd's and Eero's advice is pure gold, and I hope that you are pretty comfortable with trying (a) lots of solid preparation but also (b) no pre-planned outcomes for any scene. You see, who  I'm concerned about isn't Sarah at all - it's you. All of my experiences with Sorcerer, and that's going on ten years plus now, suggest that newcomers to role-playing have no difficulty with it at all, but that most gamers are absolutely baffled - and unfortunately, that bafflement is hidden to them until the dice hit the table. They think they're all set, but they aren't, and in play, the net effect resembles brain damage. Yeah, it's that bad.

And this effect is most pronounced with GMs.

I know all about this because I'm no exception. From 1994 through 1998, my experiences with Sorcerer demonstrated to me that I was simply going to have to abandon most of the skills I'd developed in the previous decade and a half, and that all of my in-game practices about preparation and character and story were going to have to be re-tooled. Conceptually, I was on the right track - the various references and ideas currently expressed in my Narrativism essay were definitely my guiding aesthetic - but how to do it was ... not working. And every time I played Sorcerer, it worked a little better, often in spite of what I was trying to do at the interactive ground level.

All of the "but you didn't say it that way" objections to Sorcerer as a text are correct. That's because the game taught me, not the other way around. My answers to various queries, here in this forum over the last four years plus, are all derived from play-experience and were revelations to me at the time.

So I suggest that Sarah should be taken for granted as an effective, powerful, and prepared Sorcerer player, and that you should consider yourself to be, oh, a recovering crippled person, in terms of the game. Not very edifying, huh? I can only say that to you because that's how I had to consider myself in order to learn how to play this game.

[pause]

Assuming that you're still speaking to me after what might seem like gratuitously insulting you ... here are some practical suggestions.

-------

Go to the thread if you want to read the suggestions, this summary is not about Sorcerer. But this quote is REALLY interesting. Because it's the very first mention of "gamer brain damage" in the Forum, by anyone (this time I checked). And what we see, in the parts I have evidenced to make them stood out?

That from the very first mention of this, Ron specify that he is talking about himself, too.

So, if this was simply a thread to prove that Ron didn't "insult the people who don't play his games", as some people with the reading comprehension ability of a baboon scream even these days, I could stop now.  But I would not have wasted the time to write this to explain this simple thing to them, this is not the point of this thread. So let's continue...

The first point is that I encountered the same problems Ron talks about in that quote. With different games and different situations, maybe different bad habits, but I had to "unlearn" a lot of bad, awful, moronic and stupid habits before I could be able to run Dogs in the Vineyard (for example) as well as... my friend Claudia who had never, even GM'd anything before.  I had to un-learn twenty years of bad games simply to get to point zero, the starting point of "not damaged people".

Later (and we will see when , in this summary: we have already seen a little of it in his comments to Vincent's post) Ron will change the metaphor for these kind of common problems and limit "brain damage" to very few worst cases, but no matter, even if the metaphor change, the meaning is the same

So, it's the beginning of 2006, I am fighting against all my old GM habits and I am not making a lot of progress. Every time I try to GM these new games, that with other people running them works so well, I make a mess.  And it's at that time that I read Ron's post about these problems. And you can guess what jumped out to me. I was not some self-proclamed "good GM" that would see only an unforgivable insult to my overwrought ego, missing all the rest: what I did read was how everybody had these problems at the beginning, even Ron!

So this is part of the reasons I see that as a very optimistic and hopeful set of threads about the future role-playing games, and not as a menace to my ego. There are other reasons but before talking about them, let's continue the list of threads.

The next mention is in Narrativism and Simulationism a natural hybrid? (July 21, 2005):
Many of those confusions are based on, well, to put it bluntly, social and creative programming that produce something like brain damage.

Then, in the Lumpley games sub-forum: On removing homosexuality and violating gender roles as sins..., a thread that is a perfect example of "damaged clueless GM meet thematic play for the first time, and it's not pretty" if I ever saw one (OK, I saw really a lot of these threads in the italian DitV forum, almost all of them are perfect examples...)

------------------
Wow.

Sometimes you realize that someone just doesn't get it, and sometimes you don't have to realize it, he's standing on the Empire State Building and shouting it out.

Dude. There are no "demons" or "sins" when you play Dogs.

Those are terms people use in the game-world, and they think in those terms, yes. You can even dramatize those perceptions and attitudes all you want, by having magic flare up visibly and demons cackle and materialize.

But those are just dramatizations.

There is no in-game-world objective reality to which you must conform. There is no in-game-world morality. There is no in-game-world religious faith that is "true" in that game-world. When the Book that the Dogs carry says something in it (and who knows if it does, let's say it does) about how homosexuality is wrongly wrong ... well ...

... it's still up to the Dogs. It's their call, in that town, and in the face of this particular situation. You see? It's still up to the Dogs, and you play the Dogs' judgment.

I'm talking now to all the folks who keep posting here in what appears to be a state of RPG-induced brain damage. When the rules say, "What the Dogs decide is right," they are not talking about the in-game "reality" (which of course is not real). They are talking about you, the real people. It is on you to make the Dogs do what is right, and there is no in-game-world canon to turn to. The game-play process is asking you.

Say my Dog character, Jeremiah, drags that obviously demon-ridden Sally girl from her room, and prepares a terrible scorching exorcism to rid Sally of that demon who "obviously" made her do that awful act with her best friend Sue.

Now I, the player, and my friends, the other players, are about to find something out about me, and about one another. Do I have Jeremiah do it? Does he escalate to shooting if it goes sour? Perhaps he cannot. If he can't, does that mean he's a bad Dog? No - it means that's what I think is right, and Jeremiah has demonstrated it.

And it can be more subtle than that, too. Let's say I do go on with it! What kind of fallout does he take? If I pick something like "terrible scar," frankly, I just demonstrated that I, Ron, am comfy with a story in which homosexual acts are treated as demonic.

But what if I take "gnawing doubt" instead and pump it up to massive dice? See the difference in what that says about me? See how I just begged my GM to turn up the volume on later conflicts involving homosexuality? See how my fellow players are going to have to decide how their characters deal with my gnawing doubt?

From the text, p. 45:


Quote
Does this mean your character can't sin?

No. But it does mean that no one's in a position to judge your character's actions but you yourself. Your character might be a remorseless monster or a destroying angel - I the author of the game can't tell the difference, your GM and your fellow players can't tell the difference, only you can.

... Sin, arrogance, hate bloodlust; remorse, guilt, contrition; inspiration, redemption, grace: they're in how you have your character act, not (just or necessarily) in what's on your character's sheet. Those moments, in play, are what matters.

Your character's conscience is in your hands.

If I had my way, I'd insist that no one be allowed to post in this forum until he or she turned in a 500-word essay to demonstrate their understanding of that section, and had it critiqued. Lucky for you, I don't have that power.

But boy is it called for.

Best,
Ron

-------------------

That thread contains a lot of very good explanations (from Vincent and other people, too) about DitV, check it out!

After this thread, the next mention was in the "Anyway" discussion cited in the first post.  Next (finally!) the Brain Damage thread, itself!




 72 
 on: May 30, 2012, 09:25:52 PM 
Started by Moreno R. - Last post by Moreno R.
A polemic subject this time. I was not sure about tackling it into a summary thread: this is not the place to add new content or discussions. But I decided that I wanted to post "my chronology" of the events leading to the "Brain Damage" uproar, some years ago.  This is obviously a subjective view, but anybody can post another different version of the story if they disagree with me.

To add other problems to the delicate nature of the subject, today (as always at the very worst time) the Italian forum www.gentechegioca.it crashed, and I could not get to the Italian version of this chronology, that I posted there years ago. I thought that I could simply copy the links from there and translate some of the text, but now I have to search for the links and write the summary from scratch. (if you read Italian and you are interested in that version, you can read it here: http://www.gentechegioca.it/smf/index.php?topic=1097. When the forum will be up again, I mean)

Why I want to make that effort again, about a topic that is brought up by a lot of people elsewhere as the "secret shame" of the Forge? It would not be better to make people forget it?

Maybe. But the simple matter is..  that I don't think there is anything "wrong" in the Brain Damage posts. Far from that, I think instead that it's a very, very inspiring and farsighted series of post.

Really, one of my favorite threads at The Forge.

Offensive? Every child who has ever read a gaming forum for a single day has read much worse. The gamers culture basks in the pretense of being a "united" community of people who play the same kind of games, but then proceed to insult the way every other group on the planet play "wrong": the list of insults gamers created for other people in other groups is endless, and it's used very often everywhere.  There is no insults instead in what Ron said. The uproar that followed these threads is simply silly. And the way almost every outraged reaction managed to completely miss the points of the posts, screaming instead at two words, is a substantial proof of the reality of these points.

The title of this summary is a reference to a often-cited proverb, and the relevance to this thread I thinks has no need of an explanation.

Let's begin out travel, to that ancient time: 2006....

When people talk about the "golden years" of the Forge, they usually talks about 2001-2003, the most innovative and fruitful ones. They seldom cite 2006. I think instead that 2006 was in a lot of ways, the best year of the Forge.  Why? Because of what was put into policy at that time: the focus on actual play, the closing of the "pure theory" forum, the start of the Forge Diaspora that at that time had freed the forum from a  lot of disrupting elements, but there were still enough people left to keep up the conversation. So, at the start of 2006, the forge had a new focus, a minor number of threads, but more focalized on actual play,  and, having finally finalized "enough" the Big Model (that is really the start of gaming theory, not the end), the discourse was finally free to fly higher than having to explain another time that "narrativism" didn't mean "narrating the GM's story".

So, 2006. A year of big ambitions, a lot of games trying to push the envelope of "what you can do with a gdr", like for example Spione  And some months before, in 2005, there is a little, innocuous thread where, talking about Dogs in the Vineyard, someone asked "why should my character die if he lose a healing conflict? Isn't it the Protagonist of the story?" (not the exact words, I am paraphrasing a more complex statement) : Early death in Nar games.

- In January 2006, in his new blog "Anyway", Vincent Baker recall what he did wrote months before in that thread, and post 2006-01-24 : Still More Character Ownership.
Quoting:
------------
I was searching through the past of the Forge and I came across this that I wrote back in May of last year:
Quote
So here are two points for you:

    1. Sometimes it's fun and good for your PC to be a supporting character, not a protagonist. Thus, yes, prey to all the crap that befalls supporting characters, including random death.

    2. Sometimes, then, it's also fun and good to not know whether your PC is a supporting character until some moment of truth. In fact further: to not get to choose yourself whether your PC is a protagonist or a supporting character, to let the events of the game's fiction choose. Your PC's random death may well be just such a moment.

    There's no reason in the world why any gamer would recognize the truth of these two points out of hand. They're hard won. Having a gamer-like relationship with your PC makes them seem impossible, doesn't it?
   [from Early death in Nar games.]

Let me say in boldface:

Let the events of the game's fiction choose whether your character is a protagonist or a supporting character.

I know of only one game in development that's taking this on (Ron Edwards' Spione). Are we still obsessed with securing our personal characters' relevance? Is the threat that our personal characters will be somehow made irrelevant still so urgent?

--------------------

Let's put this statement in the context of the time.  In the previous years, a lot of Forge Games were created at least in part as a reaction to the omnipresent oppressive deprotagonistation that was widespread in "traditional" rpgs at the time. So, a lot of mechanics were used to guarantee that, no matter what happened in a game, the player characters would still be "the protagonists of the story". (Good examples of games that did it very well are My Life With Master, Sorcerer, Trollbabe, etc.). People who arrived at the forge (including me) were so hungry for some real "protagonism" in the stories we played that that alone was considered a little miracle, the pinnacle of rpg design.

But this was 2006, and people began to ask "why are we still so fearful of letting go of that guaranteed protagonism?"

As Vincent say in that post, the very first game that did "let go" of that safety net was Ron Edward's Spione. (and I think that Paul Czege's "Acts of Evil" tried to leave guaranteed protagonism too, but it was never finished) So, Ron was already going in that direction. And he did post some comments to Vincent's blog post, in January 24, 2006,  using the usual diplomacy he used at the time (don't you think Ron is mellowing out lately? There are too few flames around here these days...):

---------------------
My response, which is actually a diagnosis of the existing activity:

Yes, "we" are still obsessed, in the manner that you have described. It's a creative and technical illness, much in the sense that early cinema was hampered by the assumption that what they filmed should look like a stage-set, viewed front-on, from the same distance, at all times.

The design decisions I've made with my current project are so not-RPG, but at the same time so dismissive of what's ordinarily called "consensual storytelling," that I cannot even begin to discuss it on-line. I can see the influences of Universalis, The Mountain Witch, and My Life with Master, but I cannot articulate the way that I have abandoned the player-character, yet preserved the moral responsibility of decision-making during play. That's all I'll say here, and I won't answer questions about it.

More specific to your question, Vincent, I'll say this: that protagonism was so badly injured during the history of role-playing (1970-ish through the present, with the height of the effect being the early 1990s), that participants in that hobby are perhaps the very last people on earth who could be expected to produce *all* the components of a functional story. No, the most functional among them can only be counted on to seize protagonism in their stump-fingered hands and scream protectively. You can tag Sorcerer with this diagnosis, instantly.

[The most damaged participants are too horrible even to look upon, much less to describe. This has nothing to do with geekery. When I say "brain damage," I mean it literally. Their minds have been *harmed.*]

Perhaps Primetime Adventures, My Life with Master, Dogs in the Vineyard, Polaris, etc etc, are really the best available prosthetics possible, permitting the damaged populace to do X? If so, what will people with limbs prefer to use, to do X?

I don't know. I can see its parts forming, as with a mid-term embryo, but what it will be and how it will work, and who will use it for what purposes, I don't know. My current project may be right on track with it, or I may be veering off in a hopeless direction.

-----------------------------

(Yes, he said "brain damage". Before the "Brain damage" thread. This suggest that it was something he already talked about with Vincent. But this is the first public, written mention, I think.)

This comment provoked the first angry reactions, and two days after that Vincent posted the blog post that did stay for the next couple of years stickied on his blog (and was used much later as inspiration for the gente che gioca forum rules):  2006-01-26 : A Public Service Announcement: You are not safe here

After this, i should chronologically go to the Forge posts that started the bigger gamersrage, but before doing that, I would like to cite another of Vincent' blog post, posted AFTER the Brain Damage thread:

From 2006-02-12 : Brain Damage
I've been doing pretty serious RPG-as-fiction theory outreach for a couple years now, right?

Brain-damaged-as-such or not, some people have a really, really, really hard time understanding. I say, "look, here's a conflict" and they just can't read it.

It's not - I'm pretty sure - it's not because they can read it but they disagree. When that happens, they say "that's not a conflict, because blah blah." And I say "oh, you're right, how about this conflict instead?" And they say "cool, go on." Or else I say "it IS a conflict, because blah blah." And they say "oh, yeah, cool, go on." Or else they say "conflict, getcha, but I really don't care about conflicts" and I say "cool, to each her own."

No, as far as I can tell, it's because they just can't read it. They can read the words, but at a certain level they're functionally illiterate.

I'm not thinking of anyone in particular here. Just reflecting on my experience overall.

Is "functionally illiterate," I wonder, more offensive or less than "brain damaged"?


(End of part 1. Next post, in part 2:  Brain Damage at the Forge. Stay tuned, there is blood and thunder on that one)

 73 
 on: May 30, 2012, 05:40:36 PM 
Started by fodazd - Last post by Callan S.
Quote
So you're right: The problem here is not really "cheating" but GMs indulging on their own whims.
Just on this, I said nothing along those lines. A GM following their whims is all you ever have - the vaunted 'neutral GM' is a myth. If you want neutral, use a machine, not a human. Only use a human if you enjoy using something/someone that will indulge whims rather than be a machine. That's what I'm saying - if PC's are plotting against each other, it needs to be in regards to points or something that rules can and do deal with, or else if it's something only a GM can judge, then the players themselves have made it about something that will involve a GM indulging his whims.

Quote
Hmm... You still can't verify that the GM didn't manipulate anything with this method. If the GM knows when a particular secret roll will be made (which is usually the case), then the outcome could be statically determined without anyone noticing. Not really much better than just the basic method of hiding the rolls without the players being able to check.
Have the random dice rolls numbered. The players call out numbers at random. This determines what roll is used (GM can even note next to the number what it was used for in play)

Actually I wonder if I could use that for my rogue situation - might be fun to have the player call out a number, hoping it's the right one...hehehehe

 74 
 on: May 30, 2012, 04:26:33 PM 
Started by Gordon C. Landis - Last post by lumpley
They'll remain. You'll still be able to log in and read them, you just won't be able to make new posts of any kind.

Nevertheless, I'd encourage everybody to save what you need!

-Vincent

 75 
 on: May 30, 2012, 04:07:41 PM 
Started by daranp - Last post by pixel punk
I happen to be an artist. If you want to shoot me an email we could talk.

 76 
 on: May 30, 2012, 03:18:08 PM 
Started by fodazd - Last post by Daniel B
Nico, here's an idea that is a modification of Callan's suggestion; I'll give it in D&D 3.5/4 terms because I'm most familiar with those systems.

Each skill is rolled against a target DC. Generally, the players can discover the approximate range of the DC by asking questions. "How hard is it to break down the door?" is a pretty obvious question and the GM can almost spell out the DC by describing the door material, whether is it reinforced with metal, etc.

The penalty for failure comes well after the roll, and the GM doesn't want to tell the players the result. When sneaking past the sleeping dragon, were the PCs successful or is the dragon just really good at pretending to be asleep?

Here, the GM can again give a description of the DC, but secretly bump the DC with another die-roll. In this example, the DC for sneaking past the dragon may be DC 40. With bumping, the new DC is 36 + d8.

Of course, the DC and the die-size are still up to the whims of the GM, so bias may sneak in here, but the number showing on the die-roll may provide the GM with more force. "What?! You rolled an 8?? No wonder we failed."

Dan

 77 
 on: May 30, 2012, 03:09:46 PM 
Started by Gordon C. Landis - Last post by Gordon C. Landis
As the likely-stated end of winter is just a day or two away, it occured to me that it might be worth making sure folks are aware what the fate of their private messages would be.

I've been assuming they'll effectively dissapear/become inaccessible when the Forge goes archive-only.  If not, great.  If so . . .

I guess anyone who wants to salvage anything out of their private messages best do so Real Soon Now.

 78 
 on: May 30, 2012, 02:59:46 PM 
Started by Gordon C. Landis - Last post by Gordon C. Landis
Barwickian - I played MANY of the solo Tunnels and Trolls books, and remember trying to do "solo play" with other systems, but I never played with Traveller that much.  Thinking back, it would have been a good fit . . .

One of the main things I was trying to examine here for myself was how much of that clear rule/supplement "craving" I remember from the old days actually turns out to be problematic for the kind of play I'm interested in nowadays.  It took a bit of work (and definetly some support from this-here Forge thing to get clarity/polish to that work) to get my mind focused on the play styles and techniques that actually work best for me, so that I look back at the need for official word and wonder "what was I thinking?"

You remind me, though, that some good play and great experiences resulted anyway, so thanks for that!

 79 
 on: May 30, 2012, 11:40:49 AM 
Started by Gordon C. Landis - Last post by The_Barwickian
My route to RPGs is, perhaps, unusual. The only boardgames I'd played were things like Monopoly and other family games. I'd played toy soldiers with the lad next door as a kid, but we didn't really have any complex rules for that - we hid our soldiers around the room and called shots; any soldier spotted and shot was removed from play.

At school, we played little pen and paper games at breaks or in the back of dull classes. Squares, noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe to Americans), battleships and a kind of pencil-flick wargame I don't have a name for: each player draws a shoreline with gun emplacements on opposite ends of a sheet of paper. To attack, you place the tip of a pencil on one of you guns and flicked it out to leave a path across the paper, hopefully hitting (and thus destroying) one of your opponent's gun emplacements. The one with guns at the end is the winner (my Dad told me of playing the same game when he was at school in the '40s).

By the spring of '81 someone in our group came up with a game we called Mazes. Someone drew a maze, and someone else had to work their way through it, either to the centre or to the other edge. Then it started to get elaborate: if I fire was drawn you could only get through if you'd prevously found a fire extinguisher. You could only get past a dalek if you'd founf a gon (and of the guns a pistol could be used once and a submachinegun 3 times).

The mazes became bigger and more elaborate still. We reused them - if you drew a maze, each friend could try it. A lad called Jason Spence drew the biggest maze, I remember that clearly. It could take an entire maths class to run through it.

After summer, Jon Midgley came to school with a proper printed rulebook for something called Dungeons & Dragons (the Holmes edition, for those who keep track of such things), which he'd played with his cousin over the holidays. What is it, we wanted to know. "It's like mazes, only better."

I think I missed the first game, but a coupld of friends were keen for me to try it. I rolled up a character with some borrowed dice, we walked into a room in a dungeon and got killed by zombies with two-handed swords, I was hooked.

We were on the cusp of the first and second wave of gaming. A lot of the things in Jon's dungeon had been handed down like folktales. One room jad a sleeping giant called Jarl, who we never dared wake up. If we found a secret passage, a LIttle Old Man appeared and yelled "secret passage".

For my birthday, a few weeks later, I wanted nothing but a copy of Dungeons & Dragons of my own. I got the Moldvay version, with the Keep on the Borderlands, then the Expert set...

By the following Easter, we'd kind spread out, Some lads got AD&D. I got Traveller and RuneQuest. We looked forward to lunchtimes, when we'd find an empty classroom and play Car Wars, Melee, T&T, and later Rolemaster, Warhammer (the first edition), Call of Cthulhu and MERP.

A couple of lads joined a wargames club which allowed roleplaying. We were very much the newcomers, but I think they were keen to get us in and expose us to 'real' games - there was always an Ace of Aces crew there, but others did medeival skirmishes and napoleonic games, mostly using rules written by one of the established mamers, which used playing cards as the randomiser.

There were hobby game shops in abundance in those days, and even Woolworths and department shops stocked AD&D and scenarios. I avidly read White Dwarf and (later) Imagine, TSR UK's magazine, which exposed me to new games.

I've always tended to collect supplements to read when I'm not actively playing or GMing. I think that tendency started with Traveller, which I mostly played solo, friends being more into fantasy gaming rather than SF. I grew up in quite an isolated area, so solo gaming by creating Trav characters and doing trade and speculation was an enjoyable way to spend an evening I even played the Prison Planet adventure as a solo game.

When I really got into a game, I'd get everything I could find or afford. I still have a ton of MERP supplements, for instance, and a load of RQ2 and 3 stuff. But I liked setting or background supplements better than rules supplements.

But aside from the occasional adventure scenario, I don't remember ever using much more than core rules in play. If it came to looking up something obscure, we tended to wing it instead.

I still like supplements, but I have cut down the number of games I try to stay current with. I play 3.5, not 4th. I javen't really upgraded my GURPS tp 4th edition. My most recent edition of RUnequest is RQ3 (the Avalon Hill version). I'm up to date with Hero System, and I've just started Burning Wheel with the Gold version *and the Monster Burner and Magic Burner are now in the mail).

So there's me: not kind of wargaming experience, but an outgrowth of traditional schoolboy pen-and-paper games.

 80 
 on: May 30, 2012, 11:07:02 AM 
Started by [Y] - Last post by [Y]
About the class system... Since you said you don't have much experience with roleplaying other than D&D and mentioned "flexibility" as one of your goals, let me ask you this question: Have you considered abandoning classes entirely and switching to some other method to define the character abilities, such as pointbuy? I personally don't like class-based systems very much, because I feel like they are a bit unflexible compared to pointbuy.
I considered it, but I'm not much a fan of point-buy. Whereas point boy does grant ultimate flexibility, I feel as though it comes at the cost of wholesomeness. My own experience with point buy systems (largely virtual games) always left me feeling like my character lacked any real identity. While it surely was unique in a lot of ways, it largely felt as though it was simply an assortment of random stats and numbers. I do realize that his is a personal bias, but as I said earlier, at the moment I am designing this largely for entertainment, and I would not enjoy designing a point-buy based game. However, this is not the primary reason I stuck to a form of classes.

I should have elaborated on this aspect of my design in the introduction, and I apologize for not doing so. One reason I went with my design is because I would like to offer players different styles of playing the game. One thing I detest about 4th edition D&D is that all classes play alike. They may rely on different attributes, or have different flavors, but the actual gameplay remains the same. Wizard attacks have no variation from Fighter attacks, they are mechanically identical. Choice of class, while perhaps affecting your role in a group of adventurers, did not actually variate the way you played the game. In designing my game, I wanted to trump this flaw and find a way for every character to have its own playstyle, not just in terms of combat or social role, but also in terms of actual game play mechanics. Hence why I included two species of spellcasters, as well as why I included stamina: the different warrior classes use it differently, and depending on how you level your character, stamina might represent different things. And when you multiclass, the mechanical gameplay of your character becomes even more unique and interesting. Using this class system, the game does not only offer a huge variety of ways in which to imagine the gameplay, but also offers a huge variety of ways in which to actually play the game. I don't think there is a way that point buy can accomplish the same, or if it could, it would effectively have the same restrictions the class system does, albeit deceptively appearing more open ended. Overall, I think that keeping with the current class system is in the game's best interest. Of course, I am always to hear other people's opinions no the matter.

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About your stamina mechanic: Actually, some other big systems had the same idea, particularly GURPS and the dark eye. The main problem here seems to be that it feels like it was artificially glued to an existing combat system and doesn't quite "fit in", resulting in it being ignored most of the time. You might want to think about some ways to avoid that effect.
I haven't played either GURPS or Dark Eye, so I will have to look into those. However, I have to disagree regarding it's arbitrary nature in my game. Again, this is due to me not explaining it with greater detail in the introduction, which I should have done. In fact, looking at what I wrote, I realize that I did portray it poorly. The different warrior classes, besides having skills that allow them to "spend" stamina, are also passively affected by it. The Ferocious Warrior's ability to deal damage depends on his stamina, the Finesse Warrior depends on it in order to maintain its attack bonuses, and the Formidable Warrior relies on it to reduce damage. I have not yet settled on how exactly these passive uses of Stamina are going to be implemented, which is probably why I decided to leave it out, but it definitely will not be ignored.

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About the dice rolling: There are two factors to consider here, and they are expected value and variance. When you are in a system where you roll against a target number, then a higher expected value is always better, but a higher variance is not always worse. For example, if you succeed at a result of 3 or higher, then your chances of success with 1d10+1 (90%) is better than your chance with 1d12 (83.33%). However, if you succeed at a result of 10 or higher, then your chances of success with 1d10+1 (20%) are worse than your chances of success with 1d12 (25%). If you (as a system designer) want to minimize variance, then you could just abandon die rolls altogether and say "Ok, you succeed automatically on any task with a target number of 6 or lower, and automatically fail on any task with a target number higher than that".
Ahh! I completely failed to properly evaluate the variance, and I thank you for pointing out how the odds scale with the difficulty. Personally, I love variance, and I believe most players do--its why so many of us love table top RPGs and board games. With this correction in mind, I feel much more inclined to stick do the described system, but I am still hesitant due to the worry that it will stall the game. Players with less experience in statistics might take too long to figure out exactly what they want to proceed with their role. Describing the scaling of difficulty vs dice in the rules might help circumvent such issues.

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Hmm... Not really, honestly. I feel like I have seen enough "D&D done better" systems by now. However, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't be interested if it was really significantly better. Your current version seems a little too early to judge that.
Well, your uncertainty is being interpreted optimistically.:) Personally I believe that if the game gets developed decently enough, the class structure will be enough to challenge other RPGs. Then again, I do have the habit of being optimistic to a juvenile degree sometimes.

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