|Eow Links 65|
Eow Links 65
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 65.
My favourite for this week is Making Combat Meaningful, "They're moving to flank you guys, they have bows. You see more coming around the corner..."
Such attentiveness to science feels more appropriate in a contemporary setting, where the understanding of scientific laws is equivalent to our own. In a fantasy setting based on medieval times, it feels more fitting to be dealing with fire, water, air and earth than the periodic table. But a scientific treatment of magic is still possible in fantasy, when it is considered as operating within its own internally consistent laws.
I’ve long suspected that one of the reasons Magic (and some video games) became popular at the expense of roleplaying games in the nineties was that players were starved for having experiences that happened, not just were created. You’re down to your last life and you manage to draw that Wrath and turn the game around.
Trade Common, a signed language. This has several implications:
It normalizes signed languages.
Makes PCs have to drop their weapons to be able to communicate. Better chances of negotiation and faction play.
Implies that mostly humanoids will be using it. To speak with dragons, unicorns, oozes, etc you better come prepared and bring a wizard linguist or translator. Another money sink for wealthy adventurers!
Plotsploration is directly relevant secrets and clues for the current plot. By exploring the dungeon, the city or the world you uncover secrets and clues that either bring you closer to the confrontation, or provide an advantage in it.
high skill decides initiative. In combat, the higher Attack skill should always get the choice to attack first or anytime afterwards.
Don’t Try To Change Players. The more arrogant side of me thought I could change players through play; like get a player to like a class other than what they really enjoyed playing. What I learned was, don’t. Just don’t. If someone really wants to play Wizards and that is what they derive joy from in a game, then not only let them do it but do what you can in the game to make sure they can really enjoy it. Trying to change people through play is just manipulation, and it’s wrong.
The real key to understanding why old school games demand teamwork isn’t that each character has something to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the party; It is that each character has a fatal weakness and they rely on the other party members to survive.
I just talked to the unwashed mendicant of Vile Cult of Shapes, and then they post wonderful blog post about talking and fighting. Well, the part about talking at the beginning is very short, but I like it very much.
Combat almost never lasts more than three or four rounds because things are always moving. Each round is a pick or push "the monsters are doing this what are you going to do to stop them? They're moving to flank you guys, they have bows. You see more coming around the corner."
the current dynamic of binary hit points leads to fewer interesting tactical decisions. It is almost always better to wait until the last minute (or even a few seconds thereafter) to heal someone, and there isn’t much benefit to being proactive. Everything is more interesting when there isn’t an obviously correct answer.
Players gain an incentive to heal their allies before anyone drops to 0, losing the incentive to let party members drop and revive in a macabre dance.
when I want to introduce some amount of uncertainty in a game that doesn’t depend specifically on player actions. (This is distinctly not blorby but sometimes I want to be surprised!)
It will shut doors, it will lock them. It will turn off the lights and blow out your torch. The floors will fall beneath you and walls will shift. Its pitch will terrify and haunt you. It will send countless hordes against you and then send countless more.
It is fascinating to come to this system relatively cold, after 20 years of 3.5e and more recently 5e. Elements like THAC0, sure those were famous, but things like the tables of percentage chances to get things done. The purge of % rolls and focus of everything onto d20 was one I had forgotten. There are some classic elements like prime-requisites for characters and stat requirements for classes or races that I had also forgotten.
If you focus on giving players a clear idea of the vibe you are looking for in the style of play you intend to create, they will take it and run with it in amazing and unexpected directions.
the original Legend of Zelda because I think it did an excellent job (maybe it's been long enough to say it did a legendary job) of having an "open plan" with "immediate access to most rooms". You "need to explore", and there "are relatively few locked doors or hard blocks". Of course, Hyrule isn't a house, but I think it fits the bill for this.
Frankly, what I've often found with OSR design, is that it is so open-ended, that most people aren't clever enough (or at least not clever enough on the spot) to actually think through the possibilities and do something interesting with them, so they all kind of play out the same way, not unlike sub-par RNG Dungeons in some videogames. That actually probably comes off more insulting and provocative than I intend, it is genuinely difficult for to work without constraints, and some people perform better under those conditions than others, and I don't mean to suggest that they aren't at all clever, but anyway...
It's not that people are driven to play D&D by fear and loathing of video games; most people who enjoy the former also enjoy the latter. It's just that D&D's more tactile, meditative, bookish elements are thrown into relief when set against a backdrop of primarily digital pursuits.
Do ye not look longingly at the gleaming game system in the parlors of drive-thru, thinking it will bring you success where other systems have failed. Do ye not flit from game to game and group to group like a nervous sparrow. I say ye must be diligent in your efforts, and pick your system well, and refine it over months and years and in that manner gather great craft.
The morale score of a retainer is based on the Charisma score of the player hiring him (or her). Retainers must check morale after each adventure; If the morale check is failed, they will not adventure with their employer again.
all of this stuff that happened before the game starts is delivered to the player in written notes. It's the polar opposite of the exposition-dump; rather than getting a single long, boring account of the world from a third-person narrator, it's delivered in bits and pieces by a multitude of (sometimes unreliable and conflicting) in-world sources.
il est important de noter qu’une partie des problématiques qui viennent régulièrement perturber l’histoire de la théorie rôliste apparaissent avant même la publication du premier jeu de rôle. En effet, ces dernières sont indubitablement héritées du wargame, déjà latentes dans Diplomacy