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Author Topic: [D&D 4e] Combat and Reward Systems  (Read 4341 times)
Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« on: March 10, 2011, 02:34:29 PM »

The poison'd thread interested me. I've tried to draw a system diagram for D&D 4e: (forgive the horrid drawing quality, I made it in paint). I'd love a critique of it, partially so I can better learn how to use the idea behind one- for one, I think mine is way too simplistic. I love the idea behind them though!

http://projectcloudbuilder.blogspot.com/2011/03/4e-system-diagram.html

note: fame is a mechanic I added- it determines whether NPCs will give you quests. It's going well so far. In my game the PCs have earned fame by killing solo monsters and finishing quests. One PC's taken to marking every body he kills with his insignia, and another's multiclassed to bard to help spread the news about themselves.

To motivate them, I had the barkeep refuse them various quests because they were "nobodies." Now that they're level 4 fame, he's willing to take them treasure hunting!

******************************************************************
My conclusion is that 4e's system is about as gamist as you can get- like I said in the balance thread, it seems almost like a combat board game where the DM is expected to add a layer of story and setting. The D&D miniatures game basically distills the gameplay as presented in the rules.

I only mean to talk about how the system promotes and supports play, not how people actually play. We've roleplayed a lot and we often make underpowered characters for the fun of it. It's just that the system doesn't support it- it actually punishes you for it. In our group's experience, powergamed character creation is one of the most important parts of 4e play... :( It's fun enough that I've had players make dozens and dozens of characters that they may never even use!

What I sort-of mean is that if a player min-maxed in a "well-designed" game for roleplaying, to "powergame" that game he ought to have to roleplay as part of his min-maxing. In LostSoul's 4e hack he does that by requiring NPC interactions and a relationship with the community to recharge daily powers.

There's no significant mechanics that reward anything but fighting and looting- it heavily reminds me of Torchlight or Diablo. Originally I meant to take advantage of this and run an extremely gamist game, but I think it's "incoherent" in that it promotes simulationist play while not supporting it- the game group doesn't sit down to "win" the game, they sit down to roleplay in a gamist way.

For an actual-play example, it's not hard. In my recent games the group's accomplished various things but the game doesn't really reward them for it- I had to add fame for some of it. They saved a princess, recovered 20 corpses to be revived of her retinue, shut down 2 groups of local pirates-  however, this is all only worth about 500xp according to the DMG. The reason they're level 3 is because they've killed so many monsters- they could possibly level up faster by just grinding nearby. It's not a reward mechanic that I particularly like. Ive switched to giving out loot as quest rewards primarily, but they keep robbing non-human merchants, so they're pretty well stocked- again, a reward mechanic exists to rob merchants blind in 4e if you can get away with it, which is annoying.

I'd love a critique of these ideas btw- I'm still learning about this stuff.

**************************************************************************

I'm not crazy about the game as. Some changes occurred to me:

1- remove the reward mechanics from fighting. In order to get XP the players need to find "XP containers" (like Zelda Heart Containers), and to do so they need to investigate, explore, problem solve and hunt them down. I can make these containers "god shards" or something- some god died and his essence rained down upon the world, and consuming these crystals boosts a characters power and prowess. For gold, no decent loot will come from generic fighting- it will come in layers and treasure troves and certain NPCs, different than the XP leads- that way the PCs need to choose how they want to approach improving their characters. Fighting becomes undesirable as it's an obstacle to achieving their goals.

This also adds win/lose conditions. If the party fails to get a shard in one go, it's owner will probably flee and it will be lost to them. Thus, they can "lose" without a TPK.

2- To reinforce the idea that fighting is undesirable, I would reduce the regen of healing surges to 1/full day's uninterrupted rest. That way the fights wear them down without aiding them, unless well-chosen.
3- I'd like to make the NPC/community support network crucial to the PCs so they'll integrate and invest into it. LostSoul seems to have done it, I may copy a similar approach.
4- replace the d20 with 3d6- this is just a bell curve thing to make the results vary less. slightly off-topic, but quite reasonable!
5- I need a workable death mechanic- some way for the PCs to lose fights without TPKs.


I play again tomorrow when I'll introduce 1-3 of these. I can post to say how it goes. Ideas?
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Phil K.
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 03:39:54 PM »

Nate,

What's the goal for the hacks to 4e? Do you want to lower the gamism, add narativism/sim or what?

Just want to get an idea of what you hope to achieve. I'm interested to hear how things go, certainly.

-Phil

Full disclosure: I've actually had a really good time playing and GMing 4e over the last three years.
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 04:34:20 PM »

I think I'd like to add a degree of sim.

I'd also like to change the style of gamism from fight/fight/fight to explore/scheme/thwart/execute! The one in huge doses I find repetitive and dull, the other intellectually stimulates me a bit more.

I'd considered running pure-gamist 4e, but in that case I'd be playing a combat board game. I'd rather play explore/scheme/thwart/execute!
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LostSoul
Member

Posts: 10


« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 06:06:56 PM »

Hey Nate;

You can call me Dave.

Let me share some of my experiences with 4E.  I want to highlight how I feel 4E deals with Step on Up play, and the reason I called my hack "Fiction First".

I started playing back when the game was first released.  My regular gaming group fell apart - school, children, that sort of thing.  There were two of us left, me & Mark.  I'd been feeling the pangs of nostalgia in the lead-up to 4E.  I wanted to get a game going, so I posted on a local RPG board that I was looking for players.  I got a number of hits.  I was glad that Mark wanted to play some D&D as well.

For the first few games I was learning the system.  Nothing too surprising since I'd had a lot of experience with 3E.  I figured that powers weren't that important; what really mattered was the action.  I thought that any action - including yelling or talking to someone - could deal HP damage without breaking the game.  We saw a bit of that in the first few games.  I recall a good skill challenge with an interesting use of a ritual in the middle, and describing a treasure parcel as a gift from grateful townspeople.

After a few games in, I wasn't sure what sort of enjoyment I, as DM, was supposed to be getting from the game.  It was clear to me - having access to all the opposition's stats - that the expected range of challenges were almost always going to result in PC victory, assuming half-way decent tactics.  (Perhaps that's just because I'm not the best at tactical play.)  Add to that unlimited refreshment of resources - there's no talk in the DMG about limiting Extended Rests - and I could see, before the encounter began, how it was going to turn out.

That struck me as boring.  I didn't want to know what was going to happen; I had no story to tell, no care as to how things played out.  I wanted players to make choices about the level of risk they were willing to face and be rewarded - or penalized - for those choices.  I wanted to play the impartial referee, but it seemed as though 4E was asking more of me.  I probably should have read the DMG more closely!

What I found interesting was when players made unexpected choices in combat.  When they didn't go to their powers, but instead used the environment to their advantage.  I started adding things such as wandering monsters in order to put pressure on Extended Rests, to make the loss of Healing Surges matter.  Eventually we house ruled Extended Rests to refresh either a single Daily Power or a single Healing Surge, but this didn't stand well with some of the players.  After a couple of poor sessions - the players didn't seem to enjoy themselves and I wasn't sure why - I decided to end the game.

At that point I wanted to hack the game to emphasize what I really liked about 4E - the ability to easily adjudicate any action the PC took in the game world.  I also wanted to make the game explicitly about challenging the player.  This took about 6 months.

After that I had something worth playtesting.  Stealing a lot from Sorcerer, guided by Vincent Baker's blog, I had a system that required players to pay attention to the fiction we were creating.  Inspired by the OSR blogosphere (especially Planet Agol), I created a system that was not "balanced" to PC level; instead, player ability would be the defining factor in PC success.  (Treasure was no longer tied to character level, but instead encounter level.)  They (and Eero Tuovinen) taught me what the DM's responsibilities were in such a game.  I stole ideas from Burning Wheel to give players a reason to drive towards their own goals.  I stole ideas from The Shadow of Yesterday about how to integrate PCs into the setting.

I formed a new group (around one of the guys from my old group - Erik).  I was explicit about what the focus of the game was about - challenging the players.  (Acting on metagame information was allowed - no, not just allowed, but encouraged!)  Players made poor choices and died.  The fiction mattered.

We've been making changes over the months, refining the game.  It's working out well; players engage with the fiction, drive the game, get tied to the setting, judge each other on their play, make difficult choices, take risks and are (sometimes) rewarded for them, and I never feel (as DM) that I have to rely on fiat to make my judgement calls.  When there's an issue with the rules I talk it over with the players and we work it out.

It's been a lot of fun.

*

There are lots of things to discuss there; the most relevant issue is probably why I don't think that 4E supports Step on Up play very well.  Nate, let me know what you want to talk about and we'll go from there.
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Dave Lucas
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 07:49:16 PM »

Hi Nate,

Quote
5- I need a workable death mechanic- some way for the PCs to lose fights without TPKs.
What's the genre of magic in D&D these days? I mean to me, there seems all sorts of magic stuff in some handy pendent form one could make up. Pure teleportation back to a base and some sort of reviving magic circle there. Or it turns you to gas and it flies you back to a base, magic circle, etc. Or it just flies your body (back the way you came - hopefully no doors got closed (or perhaps the magic bashes your body against wooden doors until they split - lol! That'd be pretty hilarious!)). All of this actually seems pretty day to day as far as D&D magic goes?

And when sent back this way, they are unconcious for a few hours, during which the baddy goes "No WAE! I'm taking my treasure and running now!". The pendant that does this for players recharges for free after, say, two hours, or they can have it recharged earlier than that for $$$. It runs on death magic (spent HP!), so you can't fire it early unless you start maiming each other and yourself.

Also I think this would be a good idea - You set up a sort of turbo stat boost for monsters and when the players encounter them, roll say 1D6, on a 1 to 3 or 4, the turbo stat boost is added to the monsters. This stat boost will most likely mean the players auto loose and end up magically bashed through several doors and sent back to base. Or if they still beat it, congratulate them and admit you hadn't calculated the stats well enough!

That will kick their arse and send them back to base quite often.

Quote
I'd considered running pure-gamist 4e, but in that case I'd be playing a combat board game.
I've kind of studied gamist design for awhile and I'd say actual gamist play needs the support to be able to go full on board game (what the gamism essay calls the hardcore, but I think probably, if it gets a name, is better named the normal core). And fiction is is a method of trying to gain further advantage in that board game (via some mechanic that gives the GM currency to hand out based on his reactions to spoken fiction by players). Ie, the fiction is one means to the end and NOT the only means (though it just may end up being the more efficient path to the end of winning). I suspect trying to put fiction first...well, does just that! And fiction becomes more and more the end sought itself, rather than a means to an end.

Finally, I'd really suggest trying to find the quick start for the game 'The riddle of steel'...though I just googled around and didn't have much luck. Basically in the riddle of steel, roleplaying IS power gaming! Nuff said.
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 08:34:00 PM »

I've given out treasure based on encounter level for a while now. I use this program:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/4e-fan-creations-house-rules/239461-random-treasure-generator-version-2-now-available.html

It's just the PHB1 and AV 1, but it's treated us well.
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 08:49:20 PM »

Quote
What's the genre of magic in D&D these days? I mean to me, there seems all sorts of magic stuff in some handy pendent form one could make up. Pure teleportation back to a base and some sort of reviving magic circle there. Or it turns you to gas and it flies you back to a base, magic circle, etc. Or it just flies your body (back the way you came - hopefully no doors got closed (or perhaps the magic bashes your body against wooden doors until they split - lol! That'd be pretty hilarious!)). All of this actually seems pretty day to day as far as D&D magic goes?

I've tried 2 mechanics in my campaign to prevent character death.

1 a parrot cult that teleported the dead to the parrot
2 a mob of ghosts that would storm the island and recover the bodies of the dead- the dead PCs keep returning as ghosts on their ship, it's fun.

Strangely my players rebel against them- they feel that they should stay dead when they die. One player is strongly in favor of frequent TPKs that result in complete character turnover. They think I'm being too soft on them by saving their characters or preventing TPK.

The problem with constant character death is that there's no persistent PCs to tie the campaign together- it's just the story of a setting then. It takes a lot away from the game's continuity. I like how in Elfs the PCs don't usually die- they're usually just horribly embarrassed and left to wake up somewhere undignified :)

It's a weird conflict- they dislike character survival because it stinks of DM fiat and degrades the quality of the roleplaying- however, by swapping characters all the time it also degrades the roleplaying...

Obviously you can argue that I should just let them die. I just find the game a lot more interesting with persistent characters.

Quote
I suspect trying to put fiction first...well, does just that! And fiction becomes more and more the end sought itself, rather than a means to an end.

I didn't think of it like that quite before. I had thought the FF hack was more of a simulationist hack- but in many ways it seems like it uses the fiction in a gamist way.

If you find a link for  riddle of steel do let me know!

Quote
There are lots of things to discuss there; the most relevant issue is probably why I don't think that 4E supports Step on Up play very well.  Nate, let me know what you want to talk about and we'll go from there.

Well lets start there- how come 4e doesn't support Step on Up play very well? I mean, using standard encounters and treasure parcels it sure doesn't- but what about a campaign with an indifferent world of varying level? Or a megadungeon similar to Diablo or Torchlight?
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Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 09:15:49 PM »

Quote
Strangely my players rebel against them- they feel that they should stay dead when they die. One player is strongly in favor of frequent TPKs that result in complete character turnover. They think I'm being too soft on them by saving their characters or preventing TPK.
Ah, now I see it more!?

Perhaps they are trying to preserve the lose condition that actually makes play uncertain for them. I'd really try out that 'You get one shot at the treasure only' thing with them atleast a couple of times, see if they get that they have lost? And the 'ouch' of play has been preserved. That or I don't know what they on about? I'm hoping they are just trying to preserve a capacity to lose, because that makes it pretty simple and compatable. If you try the one chance only treasures (ooh, tell 'em up front, let 'em writhe in the knowledge...) it'd be great if you could tell us how it goes! :)
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2011, 01:10:55 PM »

Gamed yesterday for a meager 5 hours; full group (1 DM, 3 players plus my girlfriend). They didn't much help her understand how to play, which was annoying, but my ex-girlfriend (another player) actually stepped up after a while and sort of coached her.

Changes Executed:
1- Regain 1 surge per one day's uninterrupted rest. An extended rest merely resets action points, dailies and freely heals you to full.
2- I allow players to roll either a d20 or 3d6 for most rolls (may force the 3d6 eventually).
3- I implemented a voting system for social skills: if the group votes somebody's argument to be excellent, +5 to the roll. If they vote it is horrible, -5 to the roll. This is a pretty big modifier. The vote ensures that, even if the players think an argument is retarded, if they need to preserve the fun they're able to- but for the vast majority of the time they voted "horrible" rather than "excellent."
4- Gave out "well-formed" quests on index cards: name of quest, required fame to undertake, specific objectives and other conditions (time), and specific reward.
5- Death mechanic- If you die from here on out, and stay dead, you randomly roll starting stats and your character options are limited to heroes of the fallen lands. The Players make too many new characters- limiting the creation options ought to make them stick with something. I think it's a case of the peanut butter dilemma.
6- Win/lose conditions. Sort of part of 4, they are able to succeed at a quest or fail at it. If they fail they don't get much by way of reward. A condition might be a time limit or something similar.


Results-

Infighting and Surges

2 party members are blatantly evil. Their hireling (good-aligned) priest tried to leave them (to make room for my gf's character) and keep the magic armor he'd won in a fight. The psion reacted by convincing the tavern orc that the priest was a vampire (she rolled 2 20s for bluff and diplomacy, wow), and her and the ranger attacked the priest, killing him. That psion has worked with that orc before to hunt "vampires" and the psion's actually getting a reputation as a vampire hunter of sorts in the region...

Our other PC is good. He attacked the orc, the other PCs, and tried to save the priest. A long fight ensued in which the good PC (a warden) was knocked unconscious by the other PCs and along the way lost half his healing surges. He awoke on another island and was convinced to cooperate with the group while they pursued one of their quests.

Normally their little fight would have lacked consequence, but now their defender was down half his surges and had an axe to grind against 2 other PCs. The quest they'd undertaken had approximately a 3 day time limit, so they didn't have time to heal up before departing.

Lots of chances to use social skill voting. I'm relieved to say that it helped prevent SOME stupid arguments from prevailing, and did help another to succeed- something that 4e mysteriously doesn't help out with on it's own...

Dungeon Crawling

To finish one quest they had to recover some mushrooms from a previous dungeon. Along the way the defender "accidentally" dropped the rope that held the psion while they crossed a deadly drop. The psion survived (backup rope), but could potentially have died- it was a huge drop. Nice.

I think party coherency will establish itself over time and necessity.

Later, they remembered an underwater region where some ghouls had attacked them and they had to flee. Armed with scrolls of underwater breathing they planned to attack the ghouls- however, the defender stated his healing surge total and refused to participate. He wanted to be in top form for the actual quest.

So, the surges mechanic is already affecting the game a lot.

Treasure Hunting

The quest was to recover the ruby sword from a shipwreck using underwater breathing and some exploration. They found a looted ship, followed a coin trail to an underwater cave and fought some lizardmen.

They didn't speak draconian so they never learned that the lizardmen were other adventurers and had been trapped in the cave for a day now by ghouls.

The party blew all it's dailies on the lizardmen, and the confident psion only used 1 surge after the fight- she then had 7hp. She expected to regain the rest of her health from an extended rest on board their ship. However, the actual threat emerged, 4 ghouls, and there was almost a TPK. I didn't pull any punches and they just barely barely survived. They had almost zero surges at the end, and fled to the ship with the treasure.

The players remarked how nervous they felt when i picked up a pile of dice and rolled for attacks, etc. The 3d6 mechanic is nice that way. I'm also beginning to prefer attacks like 6d6 to 1d20+12- better bell curve, more omnious to players.

=======================================

I enjoyed the session, but I frustrated my players. They seemed happy, but less so than usual and one complained about the rules changes.

1- the ranger said that the 3d6 is a bad strategy when trying to hit high-AC targets. I agree, but I'd rather send the party against lower ac targets with the bell curve in effect. I've used 3d6 vs the PCs and I think in a game or two I'll replace the d20 permanently with 3d6 most of the time. The other players prefer the 3d6.
2- Healing Surges- the ranger said my change to healing surges was "angry." He said "you do realize that's 12 days in town to heal up, right?" I said I know. He dislikes it right now- I think it's because he realizes that the reward mechanics of the game hinge upon successful fights. Therefore, he see's a conflict, and one that hurts him a lot. I'm going to use the "heart-container" xp system soon to remove that conflict- that way, they're rewarded for hunting down targets, and fighting is merely an obstacle.
3- They liked the quest cards, but they stink a little bit of railroading. I'd prefer to give a handful of quests at a time and make them all totally optional, just "stuff they can do that would earn fame." I'll aim for that next game
4- The Death Mechanic- not really a death mechanic, but they accept that it makes sense and don't want to die now.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2011, 04:55:18 PM »

Hi Nate,

With #1, didn't you say they can choose between a D20 and 3D6? Personally your desire for a bell curve and to 'correctly model skill' smacks of heading toward simulationism, to me? Just wondering how far you'll take it?

#2, Have you looked at the Gamism vs Simulated Gamism thread? I proposed to Cliff that he use a mechanic where, when the character would die, the GM, in secret, writes on a scrap of paper whether the character would in these circumstances, die or not. Then the player chooses between two tokens, one that indicates he dies if the GM's note says he dies, and one where he lives regardless of what the GM's note says. Cliff tried it and the player hid the death token!!!

I'm just wondering what the player of the ranger would do? Particularly because of this: "I think it's because he realizes that the reward mechanics of the game hinge upon successful fights. Therefore, he see's a conflict, and one that hurts him a lot.". Gamism pretty much involves the hurt of losing at some point. This sounds like he's complaining about the very principle of gamist conflict and the hurt of losing? I mean, I've done that at times - one time in warhammer quest board game a random travel encounter had a fire melt half my gold. Not a big issue at first level, but at around 5th level that's multiple sessions of gold gone in an uncontrollable instant (and gold is the same as XP in that game). Slammed my fist onto the table! So I'm not pretending to be a saint on the matter myself. But it seems like if he can't win D&D at character creation, like he did with the ranger before, he's not really interested in engaging conflict and hurt?
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 06:12:14 PM »

Quote
This sounds like he's complaining about the very principle of gamist conflict and the hurt of losing?

At the moment, he's rewarded with XP almost only through fighting. Most of his loot comes indirectly from a fight, but I changed that- but still, at the moment, he levels up by fighting, and leveling up is part of the goal in D&D.

However, fighting weakens you and causes seemingly unnecessary pauses in gameplay- a week or two in town to recover. Returning to town and reengaging over and over seems like a pointless complexity without time-limited quests.

Given time-related quests, it still seems like a pointless and angry complexity, because entering combat is both the source of XP, yet also the source of game failure due to attrition- you fail your quests because you want to grow stronger. That's not a very good conflict- it's a really annoying choice to have to make. It might be an okay choice, but I don't want to reward combat too much- I want a game where combat is the means to other ends, like quest completion or exploration or treasure hunting. That's why I want to use "XP bombs"- that way, fights are nothing but obstacles or means to an end, and the game revolves not around fighting but around achieving goals.

Quote
With #1, didn't you say they can choose between a D20 and 3D6? Personally your desire for a bell curve and to 'correctly model skill' smacks of heading toward simulationism, to me? Just wondering how far you'll take it?

Yeah. Not just simulationism though- it helps cut back on weird moments where a level 1 character can backhand a dragon out of the air 5% of the time. Helps with game balance.

Quote
But it seems like if he can't win D&D at character creation, like he did with the ranger before, he's not really interested in engaging conflict and hurt?

Less interested. To be fair, the bulk of a player's success in 4e depends on character creation. Further, the greatest bulk of ruled, interesting choices are also in the character creation component. More of the PHB is dedicated to char creation than to anything else. The game provides for players who want to succeed by min-maxing.

I just don't like that sort of game. I want in-game skill to replace out-of-game skill. I think he recognizes that the out-of-game options available to him are "richer" by default.

To play based on in-game skill rather than char builds is to play an entirely different game than before. That works for me because the other way I dislike.

On another note, since they're so lazy and refuse to DM, yet like D&D so much, I sort of get free reign to change the game as I need to in order to enjoy it myself. The main limiting factor is what the players will accept. I've asked them to DM- if they want to have a certain kind of game they'll have to negotiate with me, or run it themselves.

Sounds iron-handed, and it is, but I also consider the game a failure if nobody enjoys themselves so I'll aim for a really fun game nonetheless.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 4268


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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2011, 06:59:22 PM »

Quote
Given time-related quests, it still seems like a pointless and angry complexity, because entering combat is both the source of XP, yet also the source of game failure due to attrition- you fail your quests because you want to grow stronger. That's not a very good conflict- it's a really annoying choice to have to make.
I don't understand? They don't fail because they 'want to grow stronger'. They fail because either their in the moment skill wasn't sufficient, or the gods of fate were against them in the gamble elements of play.

Well look, if I were a player in your game, all I see is that your taking the difficulty meter and sliding it upwards. If I can't handle that, I wont complain, I just wouldn't play - not because the game is bad, but because I'm not tough enough to handle it. But since I think I can take it, I'd play! >:) Which sort of player do you want - one that acts like me, or acts like them, when the difficulty slider is pushed up?

Quote
Not just simulationism though- it helps cut back on weird moments where a level 1 character can backhand a dragon out of the air 5% of the time. Helps with game balance.
No, that's the entirety of simulationism (well, the seeds of it). Change to mechanics purely for avoiding damanging the dream/the package.

Quote
Sounds iron-handed, and it is, but I also consider the game a failure if nobody enjoys themselves so I'll aim for a really fun game nonetheless.
To be honest, you don't sound iron-handed enough.

Look at your goal post that you've set yourself here - that the game is a failure if nobody enjoys themselves.

Okay, guess what - the players know how to shift the goal posts. They know how to be sad to try and get what they want, sending you in the direction they want simply by pushing the goal post that way. The fact is, this isn't 'bad players'. This is standard human behaviour, to game ambiguity and socially manipulate. humans always do this sort of stuff. By default, anyway.

I don't think you can win this. They will act sad every time you change play to in game tactical skill - you will then see them not enjoying themselves and try and change something, but it'll go against what you find fun (that in game tactical skill).

While I think these guys could play chess with you alright, it takes a certain sympathy with the other person to think 'okay, they want X and I don't really want that, but I'll compromise toward it a bit'. I don't think these guys have any such sympathy. That's not the mark of a bad person, BTW, it actually just means such sympathy, where it's found, is to be treasured instead of treated as ones due.

Anyway, I think they can and will keep shifting the goal posts on you. You can't conquer this with the goal post you've set yourself. Though it probably sounds like a gamist come on to say you can't, so it might just prompt you to try harder.
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2011, 11:34:51 AM »

I'm beginning to realize how "incoherent" my game is in GNS terms and I'm noticing the arising problems.

For one, there's a conflict between powergaming and playing well, not so much between me and the players as between the players themselves. The things they say about each other...

Could somebody recommend a coherent simulationist RPG similar to D&D and a coherent gamist RPG similar to D&D?

The only alternative I can think of besides splitting the game into two or redefining the game is to make the players roleplay power game characters- ex, roleplay a character who is essentially a power gamer.
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Chris_Chinn
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Posts: 280


« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2011, 12:14:33 PM »

Hi Nate,

Some good gamist games to look at:

Agon - Agon does a neat trick of putting players against each other in play, even as they're cooperating to beat the monsters.  Like 4E, it's pretty easy to put together fiction-first actions, though players will often try to angle for their best skills often.  The trick around this is smart use fo Vows between players to get opponent's to help you on your weaknesses.

Beast Hunters- Beast Hunters is very much in the model of "old school" D&D, except it explicitly tells you the process of play is to come up with actions/plans and the first step is the GM applies common sense to say, "Oh, I guess that just works!" or ask you to go to dice.

Rune- Rune has players take turns GMing.  They actually earn xp while GMing, based on this criteria- you get the MOST points by almost killing the PCs, but you get the LEAST points by actually killing them.   So it becomes a thing about trying to balance the encounters to be as close to deadly without actually making it so.

Mostly, though, the thing is, 4E is pretty coherent on it's own.  The question is whether your group can come to a common place to play.

Chris
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Natespank
Member

Posts: 97

I usually use the male pronoun to mean either sex.


« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2011, 01:38:49 PM »

Quote
4E is pretty coherent on it's own.

Every rule is gamist and oriented towards combat or skill challenges. However, over half the books are about flavor and setting information. There's extensive information about role playing and staying in character. New versions of the monster manuals (monster vault) imply a lot of setting information, and there's a lot of new information about monsters' personalities. It's a gamist system portraying itself as a roleplaying system- ie, simulationist (unless my terminology is mixed up). That created some playing conflict within the group.

For example, one player made a character strictly who would be interesting to roleplay. 1 purely powergamed a character, and the other compromised and is sort of roleplaying a powergamer. They complain about each other all the time- the other's aren't "playing right."

Sounds incoherent to me. I'll need to blatantly reframe the entire game to deal with it- we're not playing an RPG, we're playing a game with win conditions, etc- or, we're not playing a game, we're role playing (sim).

Know what I mean?

Of the games you mentioned, which are the coherent sim, which are the coherent gamism ones? I'll check em out sometime.
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