*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 01, 2014, 12:15:09 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 30 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Author Topic: Challenge the Player, not the Stat Block (D&D)  (Read 6917 times)
LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« on: May 12, 2009, 12:08:51 AM »



Just one more AP post (hopefully with more AP), since I seem to have a great deal of trouble falling asleep tonight….

Again, regarding AD&D and the “old school” insights of James Meliszewski…there’s this wonderful entry on his Grognardia blog that paraphrases the mindset of old school D&D games with contemporary RPGs (specifically “New D&D”):

Quote
The crux of it, though, is this: challenge the player, not the character's stats. That's probably the single most important difference between old school and contemporary roleplaying games. I think that it's at the root of why most old schoolers have an instinctive hatred of skill systems in RPGs. Skill systems often imply not just what your character can do but also what he knows. That creates both a powerful separation between player and character knowledge but also creates the expectation that a character's knowledge ought to be able to give the player the solutions needed to solve in-game puzzles, tricks, traps, etc.

Wow…for me, this really opened my eyes to the differences between past D&D games and ones I’ve played in recent years.

Case in point: old school adventure modules like…well pretty much any module pre-1983...is filled with tricks and traps that will kill characters dead without planning, caution, and or forethought.  Many folks have run (or run through) the Tomb of Horrors, and have war stories regarding it (I DM’d that module at least 4 times and I don’t remember any group “winning”).  But how about the Hidden Shrine of Tamochan?  Or White Plume Mountain?  Or Dwellers of the Forbidden City?  Talk about gamism at its most primal…players would talk and brag about the adventures they “survived” and or “defeated”…that’s what instilled such a love of the game in players.

My own group switch-hit between two DMs (I was one) and we used these adventure modules as dastardly inspiration for our own fiendish dungeons.  I clearly remember one my friend designed, based on a magic contest or tournament that required the characters to navigate a straight up labyrinth looking for some prize trophy…basically, now that I think of it, it was extremely similar to the Harry Potter Tri-Wizard Cup, if the whole thing had taken place in a hedge maze…and if Harry Potter had been around in 1986!  But I still remember coming up on dead ends with these statues that would ask riddles (in rhyming couplets!) that needed answers to proceed…what a bitch!  I mean: check out Trail of Cthulhu or Mutant City Blues whole philosophy about giving the players the clues they need to proceed (a philosophy I agree with FOR THOSE GAMES).  In D&D 4 you probably would need to make a Knowledge skill roll or some such shit.

No, in the old days it was…how the fuck smart are you, punk?  And if you couldn’t figure out a riddle or a puzzle, or map your way out of a maze, then who cares what kind of magic sword you were swinging? 

Ha! I remember a deadly maze I designed where the badass fighter got cornered in a dead end by a black pudding…she escaped using a potion of gaseous form, but all her gear got cooked!

Back then, you could have rope bridges over lava or bottomless pits, and someone in the party was always carrying a ten foot pole (and that poor sucker was always walking point!).  Sure, the game could be whimsical…but it sure did provide some great challenges for one’s inner gamist.  Hell, even a small dragon was going to cook most player characters, save or no save…there were real reasons to try to talk your way out of some encounters!

Ahhh…the good ol’ days.
: )
Logged

Jonathan
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 02:27:12 AM »

I think the need to generate material to actually play within plus the practical ramification that dead PCs might mean a significant portion of that material doesn't gets used or seen (and all the heart and effort in it essentially get discarded) was a conflict of interest against gamist play that was set to boil over, and eventually did so at a global level ("OMG, it's about the story!"). Or something else and I don't know what the hell happened? Anyway, that problems still there and in addition a culture where people make a dex guy (or similar) simply so he can be a guy who jumps over or dodges around things - not in the cause of winning, not as an attempted winning stratagem, but simply to depict a dex guy. Even if you solve the problem, there isn't a culture that's looking for a solution to it.
Logged

Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2009, 04:22:08 AM »

Hi Jonathan,

Good point, one that always strikes me, too, when reading all those “old school” manifestos of lately. Not so much because I played all those modules back in the day (I didn’t), but because I actually feel much the same way about story-oriented role-playing.

I sometimes have a feeling that in building all these nifty rules that facilitate and shape distributed authoring and conflict and significant choices(tm), some “modern” games are doing the same to human/moral challenges that “modern” trad games do to tactical/strategic challenges. You go through the motions, following the lead of the game system, but actually the system does it all for you, many choices are obvious and/or empty, you don’t really make the game your own, not the way you used to in the “old days”.

What I’m seeing from over here among the trad games in the US is a bunch of very well designed games that work in both directions, D&D 4E being the most prominent one of the “new school” and others like Savage Worlds or Labyrinth Lord presenting an “old school” that’s stronger and better than ever. I think what I would like to see, and maybe help create, are the Savage Worlds and Labyrinth Lord of story-oriented role-playing.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 07:09:09 AM »


Callan wrote:
Quote
I think the need to generate material to actually play within plus the practical ramification that dead PCs might mean a significant portion of that material doesn't gets used or seen (and all the heart and effort in it essentially get discarded) was a conflict of interest against gamist play that was set to boil over,


Well, one of the things I’ve realized from Mr. Maszewski’s blog (fairly well researched it seems to me) is the preponderance of the “mega-dungeon” as the central campaign piece to these earlier gaming groups…a dungeon (like “Blackmoor” or “Castle Greyhawk”) that could never be completely cleaned out and which would be constantly revisited by the player characters during the course of the campaign.

Actually, reminds me a bit of the background for Dragon Fire Castle if anyone’s familiar with the old Dungeon Quest board game.

Anyway, I can certainly say that when I created “dungeon adventures” back in the day, I put my coolest encounters/traps at “bottle neck” points which makes certain characters will encounter them if they are going to “complete” or “beat” the objective of the dungeon.  I believe this is inherent in old school game design…some encounters are neat may be circumvented, some cannot.  I recall specifically the Hidden Shrine of Tamochan…there is a vampire encounter (probably the strongest monster in the dungeon) that plays no central part to the adventure objective (i.e. “finding a way out before poison gas kills you”) and which can be completely bypassed without any repercussions in the game. On the other hand, some of the cooler traps/puzzles (the animated “ball game” the imprisoned quetzacoatl) require the players (note: PLAYERS, not characters) to solve them in order to progress…they cannot be avoided in game play.

Sure there are completionist-types who may want to poke and pry into every nook and cranny and pull out every last copper piece, but I don’t remember ever having those types of players.  As long as they were receiving rewards (i.e. a steady stream of treasure for challenges solved), they were content to move onto the next objective adventure.  Actually, I believe completionist behavior comes directly from video games (where there is only a finite amount of play available, one wants to squeeze as much gameplay/content as possible from the experience), but I could be mistaken.

Frank wrote:
Quote
I sometimes have a feeling that in building all these nifty rules that facilitate and shape distributed authoring and conflict and significant choices(tm), some “modern” games are doing the same to human/moral challenges that “modern” trad games do to tactical/strategic challenges. You go through the motions, following the lead of the game system, but actually the system does it all for you, many choices are obvious and/or empty, you don’t really make the game your own, not the way you used to in the “old days”.


You know, even in Story Now-type games (perhaps in all games that facilitate “story now”) it’s the same deal…challenge the player, not the character.  In this case, you’re challenging the player to address premise…either during character creation, in game play, or (preferably) both.  I think that games that give a system for this and provides direction in how to use that system is still keeping with the “old school” spirit, but the challenge (which leads to intense role-playing experience) must be to the player or yes, as you say, your “choices are empty;” you are going through the motions of creating story and addressing premise but getting none of the “juice.”

Hmmm…back to the subject at hand: just to give another AP example, I remember my old Stormbringer (1st Edition) games I used to run.  We used to love this game, and its inherent craziness…how one person could be playing a Young Kingdoms farmer while another had a Pan Tangian sorcerer with full on daemon equipment, yet either could get felled by a critical hit or falling off a cliff with an unlucky role. However, none of these games ever lasted more than one or two sessions, as there was nothing to it to sustain interest in a long term campaign…characters were completely random and with the Chaosium skill system, most of your challenge was trying to find the right skill for a task (i.e. playing your stat block against the game). 

Contrast this with a Basic D&D game wherein I penned a castle under siege and directed the players to find a way to break in and sabotage the defenders fortifications. How were the players going to do this?  I had no idea (honestly, I hadn’t really thought that much ahead…I just drew a cool map with some encounters).  The players simply had to come up with plausible ways to do this and I said “ok.”

I suppose that some might say any stat/skill-based game could be played the same…or the complaint could be made that when DM fiat has to come into play the game is too “incomplete” or is ripe for abuse by breakdowns in social contract.  Personally, I think this misses the point.  The SPIRIT of the game which I think is implicit in the language of the design is to challenge the players…and with a sparse set of rules (you’ve got armor class, hit points, saving throws…now go!) it IS the players that get challenged. A poison arrow that has a chance to KILL you is a lot scarier to deal with then one that causes “D6 damage to Strength,” and encourages a different kind of behavior because of it.  Games that only challenge the stat block of a character simply become games of resource management…and if I wanted to do THAT I’d be playing one of those German style board games.
: )

Logged

Jonathan
Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2009, 09:29:26 AM »


My experience with those old modules was markedly different.  When we played we very rarely found the modules to be challenging.   I dont know if it was a comprehension problem on my part as a young teen reading these modules and running them for my friends but I never got that impression of how to run the game.  Of course I was big into Tolkien and fantasy novels in general so that influence affected me, how do you get play like those fantasy novels if you are trying to challenge the player and risk the characters death at every turn? 

So when I ran games they werent really challenges, they seemed like challenges that threatened the characters but they didnt really.  With the general power creep that happened in Ad&d products (and it was there in dragon magazine at least long before 83) it became easier and easier to have situations that seemed dangerous but really werent.  The death at -10 hp rule was a big one and that came in the DMG, characters could be bashed around and knocked unconcious but it never really hampered the game.
Logged
LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2009, 12:43:38 PM »


Hmmm…while I remember seeing the Hobbit animated film probably BEFORE I picked up my 1st D&D set, I had neither read the Lord of the Rings, nor knew its story.  But check out how the Hobbit informs game play:

-   You have basically a one-off adventure (sure there are a bunch of wilderness encounters along the way, but there’s only one campaign objective)
-   More than half the characters die, including at least one of the main ones (i.e. Thorin)

Nothing about the story indicates players have a particular right to survive and see the “story” to completion.

Of course, rolling up characters was pretty quick in the old days, and survivability wasn’t a big deal until a character had some XP under his or her belt…and by the time a character had developed a history and “personality” they generally had more options (e.g. raising the dead) for increasing character survivability.  But I digress…I’m pretty much in agreement with the Mr. Meliszewski that old D&D wasn’t designed to play out huge story arcs or metaplots (like the Lord o the Rings or even Dragon Lance…though the latter DID inform play when I was younger).  Without a need for metaplot or “epic storytelling” the dungeon environment can be used to challenge the players who, inevitably, will use their favorite characters. 

The only time players of my old campaigns worried about story arcs and metaplot was AFTER retiring from standard dungeon delving (i.e. as part of high level, “end game” play).  Then there’d be intrigue and machinations between domain holders and rival rulers.  Again, this was still a challenge to players rather than characters, though one may accuse our campaigns of suffering from narrative agenda drift.



Logged

Jonathan
Caldis
Member

Posts: 392


« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 01:35:28 PM »

Hmmm…while I remember seeing the Hobbit animated film probably BEFORE I picked up my 1st D&D set, I had neither read the Lord of the Rings, nor knew its story.  But check out how the Hobbit informs game play:

-   You have basically a one-off adventure (sure there are a bunch of wilderness encounters along the way, but there’s only one campaign objective)
-   More than half the characters die, including at least one of the main ones (i.e. Thorin)

Nothing about the story indicates players have a particular right to survive and see the “story” to completion.

Again different perspective.  All the characters survive until the very end where some end up dieing in dramatically appropriate fashion after they do the right thing and come out of the mountain to help battle the goblins.  Along the way the main character pc finds a magic item just lieing around that helps him survive and makes his further adventures possible, the characters are rescued by an npc if they screw up (the Trolls) or are in over their heads (the eagles rescuing them from goblins).  There's not a lot there to suggest they should pay for their mistakes.

I guess my point is that the "old school" style of play wasnt universal and from what I remember of the books not really indicated as the default style of play.  Many people I gamed with and talk to had a different version and it was closer to what 2nd edition D&D drifted towards although what I think I was always looking for was something that supported narrativism in the vein of Tolkien/fantasy adventure rather than the gamism that "old school" style play supported or the simulationism that we managed to drift the D&D system to.

Logged
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 387

a.k.a. Frank T


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 01:42:07 PM »

Quick correction: I actually mixed the trad games up there, Labyrinth Lord is an OD&D retro-clone and not a new design, what I meant was Castles & Crusades. Whatever, you get what I mean.

- Frank
Logged

BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


WWW
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 02:47:11 PM »

Quote from: Callan
I think the need to generate material to actually play within plus the practical ramification that dead PCs might mean a significant portion of that material doesn't gets used or seen (and all the heart and effort in it essentially get discarded) was a conflict of interest against gamist play that was set to boil over,


Well, one of the things I’ve realized from Mr. Maszewski’s blog (fairly well researched it seems to me) is the preponderance of the “mega-dungeon” as the central campaign piece to these earlier gaming groups…a dungeon (like “Blackmoor” or “Castle Greyhawk”) that could never be completely cleaned out and which would be constantly revisited by the player characters during the course of the campaign.

Actually, reminds me a bit of the background for Dragon Fire Castle if anyone’s familiar with the old Dungeon Quest board game.

Anyway, I can certainly say that when I created “dungeon adventures” back in the day, I put my coolest encounters/traps at “bottle neck” points which makes certain characters will encounter them if they are going to “complete” or “beat” the objective of the dungeon.  I believe this is inherent in old school game design…some encounters are neat may be circumvented, some cannot.  I recall specifically the Hidden Shrine of Tamochan…there is a vampire encounter (probably the strongest monster in the dungeon) that plays no central part to the adventure objective (i.e. “finding a way out before poison gas kills you”) and which can be completely bypassed without any repercussions in the game. On the other hand, some of the cooler traps/puzzles (the animated “ball game” the imprisoned quetzacoatl) require the players (note: PLAYERS, not characters) to solve them in order to progress…they cannot be avoided in game play.
The root problem isn't so much funneling play toward content once play is underway. The problem is the group gets killed in the first corridor/misses alot of material and doesn't play again. Or they decline to play at all. These are valid gamist outcomes. But they clash with having prepped all that material - without play, it's like a canvas half painted and uncompleted. Atleast if you write short fiction but no one reads it, you can say you did finish writing some short fiction. With the dungeon material, you can't say to yourself you've completed anything - it sort of sits in limbo. Add on top of it the heart and effort often use and it's a major clash with gamist priorities. Bottlenecks and forced challenges work to show material only if someone is playing at all.

So that hasn't solve the problem, except perhaps in the commercial area, ie modules were sold - the writer being paid for his work regardless of whether it was played, and the group being able to write off an expense should they wish not to play it.
Logged

LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 06:46:45 PM »


Callan:

Ahh...I see your point.

Yes, I guess for the thing to work, you have to have players willing to play the game, and the challenge presented has to be commensurate to the players' ability (note: PLAYERs' ability, not characters).  Certainly, I can recall players that would horribly fail/die no matter how many what cool magic items they or exaggerated ability scores they possessed...for the most part, though, the challenge was just about right, perhaps because my friends and I were all within about the same age, from the same socio-economic background, and educated in the same type of schools...we had a certain pool of (real world) experience to draw upon, so it was a fairly even playing field with regard to player ability.

Still, while you'd need to gage the abilities of your players (perhaps with a warm-up adventure or two), and gradually scale up your challenges (certainly many of the old adventure modules with connecting threads did this).

But if your players are just going to throw up their hands and leave, or if they are looking for a different style of gameplay, well then "old school" D&D is NOT necessarily the right game for them.

Still, I really do think it's a worthwhile notion to keep in mind with regard to game design...do you want your game to challenge the player or the character?  Does your system appear to (inherently) skew towards one or the other?  Or to put it another way: do you need to do a lot of EXTRA work to facilitate one form of play?  With the original D&D game, I think that the same amount of work gets used whether you're challenging the player OR the character (whether you're stocking an adventure with a devious trap or a devious monster makes no nevermind).  On the other hand, I think it is much harder to craft a D&D3 adventure that challenges players and not just their character stats...and you have to really work hard if you want to find non-rule breaking ways to pull off certain effects.





 
Logged

Jonathan
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2984


« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 08:54:28 PM »

So that hasn't solve the problem, except perhaps in the commercial area, ie modules were sold - the writer being paid for his work regardless of whether it was played, and the group being able to write off an expense should they wish not to play it.

Thats not a terrible solution though, modules - parting with a few bucks is very different from spending hours with the graph paper and filling notebooks with details, and much morte accessible.  The inability to play and continue is much less onerous if its "only money" rather than personal investment that is lost.  Sometimes we sit through a movie we don't, or get a computer game we can't comnplete, and for the most part we just treat that as unfortunate outcomes, and fire up the next one.  It's the combination of personal creation and wasted material that was explosive; if that creation is impersonal and external, it's much more palatable.
Logged

http://www.arrestblair.org/

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2009, 06:55:53 AM »


You know, thinking back on those old games, even our personal dungeons/creations were impersonal. That is to say, we (well, me for sure) had no emotional investment in what I had created.  For example, the biggest, baddest dungeon I designed…a sprawling double or triple digit encounter scenario featuring a twice- or thrice- powerful beholder as the big bad…was only ever used once and the was never completed.  The party suffered too many losses early on and then we never got around to returning to the dungeon at a later date.  The group just got preoccupied with other dungeons to explore.

Did I feel me investment of time and energy had been wasted? No.  The adventure simply got filed along with my other adventure modules to be played at a later date…presumably with the same players, perhaps with the same characters though maybe not.  Adventures, especially purchased modules, were easily and often recycled for repeat play. If the Tomb of Horrors had never been conquered in a particular game world, then it sat there like a blight on the land…perhaps ignored or avoided, but still available for adventure.  This is one of the great things about the “locale based” adventure…and one of the fun things about old school D&D.  Your “party” is basically a group of looter/merc types looking for their next score.  This aspect of game play is definitely informed by Howard’s Conan stories, even as the party of strange classes/races is informed by Lord of the Rings.

No, I perhaps misspoke when I was talking about “bottle-necks”…I never used them myself in adventures, though several old school modules did (the throne room in Tomb, the riddling sphinx in White Plume Mountain, the gateway to the Abyss in Vault of the Drow). I was just tossing the idea out as a stop-loss to save on...uh…”emotional investment.”  But really, the original game was NOT to be played with a lot of emotional attachment.  I mean your characters DIED (at least they did in my campaigns).  A resurrection spell was used as another gamist measure to try and “win” the game (a more powerful and useful version than “raise dead”)…it was not specifically designed to save a beloved character (though I know even we gamist-types used it for this).  Characters were cheap (time-wise) to make, back them…it didn’t take hours to select skills and feats and class options and back story.

Anyway…challenging the players, IMO, gives you much more bang for your buck as far as intense entertainment.  I think it showcases what a table-top RPG can do (as opposed to a video game).  Old school D&D was encouraging and (by example) masterful of this style of game play.  And it attracted a lot of players to it that didn’t simply “give up” when a paper avatar went down with a poison needle in his neck.


Logged

Jonathan
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2293

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2009, 09:19:12 AM »

Hrm, but isn't the stat block the method through which one challenges the player? I guess, for me at least, I like skill lists and character-based challenges. I'm still the one using the pieces I have to solve the puzzles, after all.

And I say that because I don't like being relied on myself to come up with solutions that my character would know even if I, the player, am clueless or unskilled. Such as my guiding example: the social arena. I'm no smooth-tongued diplomat, but if I run a character that is? Then they better BE, regardless of my personal ability or performance (I'm not LARPing, fer chrisakes).

I've been burned in the kind of games you mention when my high CHA character fails because I stutter and bumble, which I found incredibly distasteful. In some cases to the point where I don't even feel like playing any longer because my character wouldn't stutter, or my character WOULD know what to do even though I don't (that's why I took those skills, after all).

My question always has been: why should my character's success depend on player skill at some task?

Seriously, I'm not asked to actually learn orcish in order to have my character know orcish, and if I manage to solve a piece of the dungeon puzzle because my character has the key to it (knows orcish, or has an 18 intellect, or is a puzzle-master, etc), I don't see that as not challenging me. I'm winning through the use of an optimal character build for the situation, which is itself a challenge: "Oh yeah? Let's see how THIS works in your grimy dungeon!"

Because what's the point of "Intelligence" or "Charisma" or whatnot, if all such really is are stats for "extra languages" or "spell power" and "number of henchmen"? Why not just call it that, then, and avoid the whole illusion of it being something it isn't? If "Intelligence" doesn't really mean how smart your character is?

Note I say all this coming from an old school background: I loved and played the heck out of old D&D and AD&D. I still love OD&D, dungeon crawls, pure Pawn-stance Gamism. So I really wonder if this is "the difference" because I'm not attracted to what you're saying at all, yet love the same old stuff. I'm guessing I'm the flip-side of the old school that James is presenting, and I--well, I'm surprised to admit--I guess I find it slightly distasteful(?) that he's presenting his version of old school play as THE way we did it or thought about it back-in-the-day.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
LandonSuffered
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 10:55:01 AM »


Heh…don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying JM’s blog is THE way to play.  I’m just saying I think some of his observations are right on…and I don’t think he’s presenting something as THE way to play (his whole Dwimmermount campaign is an “experiment in organic rules evolution,” after all).
: )

Still, I think that some of your concerns are un-founded. For example, all the old school versions I played had NPC “Reaction” tables that were modified by a character’s CHA value.  If you wanted to interact with an NPC (as opposed to charging, sword drawn), you’d roll the dice and hopefully your suave-tongued character would talk his way out of a bad situation.  Depending on your DM, you might receive a bonus to this roll depending on how you phrase your negotiation (backed up with armed might or convincingly with bribe in hand)…all without requiring you to put on a performance or use a fake accent.

When I say challenge the player, I’m talking intellectual challenge…I mean, it’s an intellectual game right? Hitting monsters isn’t based on your ability to do push-ups and a bard’s charming ability isn’t based on YOUR ability to sing!

Yes, any action that requires a random roll is going to based on some “stat” of your character (one of the reasons characters have stats…to determine game world capabilities)…I suppose the “fleshing out” of characters with extensive skill lists could be seen as a way to reduce negative reaction to DM fiat (“I have craft boat at Rank 12…I should definitely be able to build a raft out of these giant mushroom stalks!!”), but it also has an unfortunate tendency to become a crutch that waters down the game play, IMO…at least with regard to “challenging the player.”

I guess my point (as relates to the Forge) is that from a design standpoint, I think it is an interesting design choice and one that doesn’t get enough consideration in 21st century game design.  I remember getting a copy of Dragon Quest (the RPG) and thinking it was cool that there was no “Intelligence” stat…I assumed that characters were simply as smart as their players, which fit with my perspective of RP’ing at the time.  But looking back at as an adult, I can’t help but think D&D modeled things just fine with its limited attribute list.  I know plenty of “Intelligent” people that are not particularly clever or quick-witted…some that aren’t even well educated, and certainly ones that don’t speak well.  Likewise, I know people that are charismatic and very likeable without being able to write a speech, improve a rhyme, or form a logical argument.

Limiting the amount of info on a character sheet PLUS adding challenge forces players to come up with creative solutions.  They WILL find a way to use that 10’ pole or that sack of iron spikes, necessity being the mother of invention and all.  As long as there is an understanding between the folks at the table (i.e. players are going to be challenged, DM should allow leeway for creativity), I think great fun can be had by all.

You can stat up your character to the Nth degree, but I’m not sure it’s going to improve the “fun” quotient. Or to be perfectly blunt, I’ve found in my DND3+ games that it doesn’t. 

Logged

Jonathan
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W


« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2009, 11:45:46 AM »

Do you think there is any way to make rules for this stuff? As in GM prep aids that help them to build internal logic to their dungeons so that people can work out puzzles from each other, or flag systems so that GMs can see what kind of puzzles they like defeating? See to me that sounds like a perfect use for the mental stats! Or something close to them. So if my character has high tactics rating, then put in more grid combat, if he has a high linguistics or literary-ness or whatever, give him more word puzzles. If you allow players to choose say 3 of these and rank them, then you can use them as a way of keeping track of GM loads. I'm not sure which is harder, lots of players who are good at the same stuff, or who are good at everything. But perhaps there are methods that could be used to make a GM who is good at dealing with one better at another.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!