Author Topic: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75  (Read 6531 times)

ckenp

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Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« on: March 12, 2013, 04:11:32 PM »
One of the things mentioned in this episode is the need for mechanics and rules to cover important things, and finding the balance of governance (between fascism and anarchy). I have a question:

What is the difference between a situation not covered in the rules (that you feel should be) and a situation that's best covered by role-play and/or "rulings" instead of by the book rules?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 04:17:30 PM by ckenp »

clockworkjoe

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 04:50:13 PM »
That's hard to answer without talking about specific game systems or campaigns/scenarios. Do you have some examples?

ckenp

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 05:35:13 PM »
During the episode Tom mentioned that there were things not covered by rules/mechanics in the Palladium system that are part of why it's broken. Could that be elaborated on? I'm curious about game systems that feel broken because they don't have enough mechanics, and ways to improve them.

Conversely a roll applies but the character's description of the attempt is imaginative and/or detailed enough to waive or modify the roll: finding traps, searching for clues, or trying to negotiate with or bluff/trick NPC's, combat abstraction (clever use of scenery and/or strategy) by the player characters to create advantages or opportunities.



clockworkjoe

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 07:25:15 PM »
During the episode Tom mentioned that there were things not covered by rules/mechanics in the Palladium system that are part of why it's broken. Could that be elaborated on? I'm curious about game systems that feel broken because they don't have enough mechanics, and ways to improve them.

Conversely a roll applies but the character's description of the attempt is imaginative and/or detailed enough to waive or modify the roll: finding traps, searching for clues, or trying to negotiate with or bluff/trick NPC's, combat abstraction (clever use of scenery and/or strategy) by the player characters to create advantages or opportunities.

Palladium? Hahahahahah let me count the ways

No straight attribute checks. Want to kick a door down? Solve a Rubik's Cube? Grab a potion you dropped before it hits the ground? Good luck, cuz the GM will have to make up mechanics on the spot to cover things not explicitly covered in the skills/attributes

Stunts in combat: Want to do something other than attack, parry, dodge, or roll with damage? HAhahahaha no.

Crafting mechanics: Want to forge a magic sword or build a robot? Ehhhhhhhhhhhh, better not.

those are just off the top of my head

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 07:32:34 PM »
Well, any game without social mechanics is probably a good example. Some games seem to lean on the idea that players and the GM will resolve social conflicts... socially. The system seems to expect them to roleplay the entire thing with no mechanical support or for it not to come up at all. This may be an intentional element of the design or it might be an oversight.

Some systems hide their responsive tools. Using World of Darkness as an example, the game provides a simple combat engine which generates a static number (called "Defense") which is subtracted from most incoming combat rolls. However, Defense is not designed to model an active effort to avoid incoming danger. Specifically mentioned dangers, such as magical powers or traps, include their own Attribute + Skill roll to avoid being caught but little is said for general avoidance. It's easy to default to the Skills provided, making Dexterity + Athletics the go to "avoid large thing landing on me" roll but the game doesn't actually tell you to use that, you have to make that assumption.

Now, World of Darkness actually intends for this kind of thing in it's design. It defines a large number of skills and tells you to combine them with Attributes to form die pools for various taskes. The book provides dozens of potential tasks (ones common to the default game style), but not nearly all of them. This is a middle ground between the options presented in the episode: it's house ruling but within the designed space of the game.

Were you leave this is when you discover a task to which no Skill is clearly suited. For example, horse riding. Would that be Wits + Drive? Dexterity + Athletics? Presence + Animal Ken? I'm not sure. It probably depends on circumstances and the game provides you with no advise on that specific task because it's likely not one the developers though to include for a modern gothic horror experience.

(Note: In some World of Darkness settings a "Ride" skill is, in fact, added to the game, solving the above problem; I think my general point still stands).
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 07:36:17 PM by Tadanori Oyama »

Flawless P

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 02:03:39 AM »
I haven't looked into it too far but it seems that a lot of people are upset that 4th Ed DnD doesn't have rules for crafting.
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SageNytell

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2013, 11:08:51 AM »
D&D 4 absolutely has rules for crafting magic items, and any character can do it via a feat. As for crafting miscellaneous objects, this is better handled under the umbrella of a broader skill so that you do not pigeonhole yourself by allocating scarce resources (IE skills) to something that is not actually useful in the vast majority of situations the system is trying to cover (IE murderhoboing).

Flawless P

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 02:19:38 AM »
D&D 4 absolutely has rules for crafting magic items, and any character can do it via a feat. As for crafting miscellaneous objects, this is better handled under the umbrella of a broader skill so that you do not pigeonhole yourself by allocating scarce resources (IE skills) to something that is not actually useful in the vast majority of situations the system is trying to cover (IE murderhoboing).

Are there explicit explanations for which broad skills should be used for crafting mundane objects?

I'm all for condensing skill lists but damn if 4E doesn't feel anemic. Like I've said a million times, love the combat system... reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics.

I just can't get into it as a Role Playing game... Which is ok because I don't hate on those that can.
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Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Plot vs Polish/Episode 75
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 11:34:26 AM »
4th Edition doesn't have crafting rules for simple objects because they would be irrelevant after 1st level. Magical gear is an assumption in the game so the ritual that enchants equipment is the only useful crafting thing to have. The game treats mundane crafting as a narrative excercise on the same level as purchasing the item from a shop.

Basically it puts crafting firmly in the "plot" area.

On the other hand, something like Exalted has an extremely complex crafting system with no only eight different subcrafting skills and specific requirements based on what you want to make but dozens of magical abilities related to your ability to craft.

Want to make a magic sword? Ok, you'll need to gather the stuff you'll need and then spend about six months working on it. Or three weeks if you have magic powers. Or a few minutes if you jump through enough rules exploit hoops.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 11:40:22 AM by Tadanori Oyama »