This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.

Author Topic: Hypothesis  (Read 1275 times)

Gabriel

  • Guest
Hypotheses
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2006, 10:54:10 am »
Quote from: obryn
OK, others have already pointed out that (2) does not necessarily follow from (1).  (2) is a conclusion all its own which would require a logical argument.

-O


Perhaps what the original poster meant was:

1. A roleplaying game is an organized activity in which the participants play disparate imaginary characters in an imaginary world.

2. Because of the disparity of the characters above, no RPG has ever been balanced, nor will any RPG ever be balanced.

Which is a thesis I don't believe is a universal truth.

flyingmice

  • Flunchist-Cruftist
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9757
    • View Profile
    • http://www.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Hypotheses
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2006, 10:59:58 am »
Quote from: Gabriel
Because better play leads to increased effectiveness in game.  I can't think of ANY experience system which doesn't create this effect.  Players are always implicitly in competition because of this kind of structure.

If a game is about combat, then the players should generally start off with a more or less equal ability to participate and influence combat.  The idea is that the game should give everyone an equal chance to participate at the start, so it is vitally important there be an initial balance.  After that, better play will ultimately be rewarded.


What about games without an experience system?

-mice
clash bowley * Flying Mice Games - an Imprint of Better Mousetrap Games
Flying Mice home page: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Currently Designing: StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire
Last Releases: SC4 - Dark Orbital, SC4 - Out of the Ruins,  SC4 - Sabre & World
Blog: I FLY BY NIGHT

John Morrow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6254
    • View Profile
Hypotheses
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2006, 11:01:08 am »
Quote from: Gabriel
Because better play leads to increased effectiveness in game.  I can't think of ANY experience system which doesn't create this effect.  Players are always implicitly in competition because of this kind of structure.


I disagree with the idea that the purpose of balance is solely or primarily to balance the players' characters against each other.  I think that's a goal.  I think it's also to make it easier for the GM to provide appropriate challenges that are neither too easy nor too hard and also to make sure that everyone's character can play a significant role in dealing with the challege.  Not so much that the characters are competing for attention or screen time but that the players can all do something to contribute to the team effort.
Robin Laws' Game Styles Quiz Results:
Method Actor 100%, Butt-Kicker 75%, Tactician 42%, Storyteller 33%, Power Gamer 33%, Casual Gamer 33%, Specialist 17%

Mcrow

  • The Mountain That Rides
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2211
    • View Profile
Hypotheses
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2006, 11:15:11 am »
I think the best use of balance in RPGs is to make sure that each player has equal (or as close to it as possible) chance to shine, in there area of focus.

So you don't the do it all character that dominates play just because the rules dictate it.

It's not so much about keeping characters from becoming powerful but goving players equal chance to contribute.

However, the system can only influence balance. In the end much of the "balance" of play is regulated by the GM.

mythusmage

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • m
  • Posts: 850
    • View Profile
    • http://www.mythusmageopines.com/mt
Hypotheses
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2006, 08:39:22 am »
Balance

An RPG is not a traditional game. There is no competition, there are no victory conditions. It is assumed that the player will cooperate in attaining any goals, thus a session is marked by cooperation. In effect, the players have mutual goals and not competitive goals.

There can be situations where this may not be the case, but insofar as there is no competition designed into the game it cannot be a traditional game.
Any one who thinks he knows America has never been to America.

mythusmage

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • m
  • Posts: 850
    • View Profile
    • http://www.mythusmageopines.com/mt
Hypotheses
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2006, 08:53:01 am »
In this post I'll be expanding on the first statement in the hypothesis. This should, I hope, clarify matters for the reader.

I. A roleplaying game is an organized activity in which the participants play imaginary characters in an imaginary world.

---A. "Organized Activity" means that the RPG has a set of rules which serve to describe how things work in the imaginary world, and govern what is possible in that world.

---B. "Imaginary Characters" means that the players assume the role of make believe people living in a make believe world. People who have talents and abilities, and who vary in those talents and abilities as people do in real life.

---C. "Imaginary World" means that the action during a game session occurs in a make-believe reality where much is like the real world, and much is different. It also means that the immediate environment can, and will, pose challenges of varying degrees of difficult. And that those challenges will not always be commisserate with a person's ability.

---D. The Player is therefor engaged in living an imaginary life, with all the inequities, challenges, needs, and dreams of such a live. With limitations and opportunities established by that world and the way it works.
Any one who thinks he knows America has never been to America.

mythusmage

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • m
  • Posts: 850
    • View Profile
    • http://www.mythusmageopines.com/mt
Hypotheses
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2006, 08:55:29 am »
Quote from: droog
Could you define 'adventure'?


A series of uncomfortable and, very likely, hazardous events happening to some poor bastard a long, long way away. :)
Any one who thinks he knows America has never been to America.

TonyLB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • T
  • Posts: 2274
    • View Profile
Hypotheses
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2006, 09:07:18 am »
Quote from: mythusmage
A series of uncomfortable and, very likely, hazardous events happening to some poor bastard a long, long way away. :)
So, bare minimum (if we ignore the "very likely" as something that might not happen, and abstract "long, long way away" to mean "fictional") you're saying "A piece of fiction which includes adversity"?  i.e.  "A story"?

Is a story, set in a local, totally mundane high school, of how Kelly works up the nerve to ask Joe out to the homecoming dance an Adventure?
Superheroes with heart:  Capes!

Caesar Slaad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3585
    • View Profile
Hypotheses
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2006, 09:31:15 am »
Quote from: mythusmage
Balance

An RPG is not a traditional game. There is no competition, there are no victory conditions. It is assumed that the player will cooperate in attaining any goals, thus a session is marked by cooperation. In effect, the players have mutual goals and not competitive goals.

There can be situations where this may not be the case, but insofar as there is no competition designed into the game it cannot be a traditional game.


I think the error in thought here is that the only role that balance plays is in making competition interesting. That is, IME, incorrect.

I've wanted to start a thread on this, but I'm not quite ready to. A breif summary of why I think you off the mark here:

There are other reasons to balance characters:
1) Balancing player contribution / "spotlight time". If players lack the capability to contribute to the game in comparison to their peers, their involvement and appreciation of the game tends to diminish. If players have vastly different levels of ability to influence the setting, sometimes the GM can compensate, but it consumes time and effort and is sometimes untenable.
2) Making acceptable challenges for the group as a whole. If characters have divergant power levels in activities which the entire group is expects to participate (this usually means combat, but could also mean social situations), characters with more limited capabilities could actually be slain when (for example) the weak character engages the enemy intended for the strong character in combat.
The Secret Volcano Base: my intermittently updated RPG blog.

Running: Pathfinder Scarred Lands, Mutants & Masterminds, Masks, Starfinder, Bulldogs!
Playing: Sigh. Nothing.
Planning: Some Cyberpunk thing, system TBD.

Gabriel

  • Guest
Hypotheses
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2006, 02:44:48 pm »
Quote from: flyingmice
What about games without an experience system?

-mice


In any game there will be a reward system.  Characters will be rewarded with better equipment, more influence, greater freedom to do things of greater scope, etc.  The better players will always achieve these awards more quickly than the lesser players, and the players can and will most definitely compete to achieve these rewards.

mythusmage

  • BANNED
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • m
  • Posts: 850
    • View Profile
    • http://www.mythusmageopines.com/mt
Hypotheses
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2006, 07:52:41 pm »
Heads Up

I'm going to be re-writing the hypothesis. Narrowing it down to a basic one sentence thesis, with supporting statements. It'll work better that way.

The new hypothesis will start a new thread. My thanks to all who responded and gave their feedback, advice, and input in this one. Since this thread has performed it's task, I ask that the admins close it so people can focus on other threads in this forum.
Any one who thinks he knows America has never been to America.