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Author Topic: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?  (Read 1596 times)

HappyDaze

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #90 on: April 30, 2021, 06:12:15 PM »
I'm really looking for an argument why unified mechanics are better. Because a lot of people seem to think it's obvious they're better, but I almost never see anyone express why.

Unified mechanics are better because they make it easier to learn the game and make playing the game faster as well.

That argument sound compelling in a theoretical sense, but I've learned a lot of games and I really don't recall the ones with unified mechanics being any easier to learn.  Actually, in unified mechanics games, all the different types of checks are so similar that they kind of blur together and are harder to keep straight.  Different mechanics makes the details easier to remember for me.

And I have played games with different mechanics where you constantly have to tell the players which dice they have to roll which is super not fun.

Actually that could be the reason why you remember those games - I always remember the game where you can roll triangle.

Earthdawn is the poster boy for this lol.  The math was really quite elegant and was purpose built but man was it hard for new players to get their heads wrapped around the Steps and which dice to roll.  And that was a Unified Mechanic system  ;D

If you thought Earthdawn is difficult now, imagine if it introduced another two different systems to learn.
Like.Pathfinder and Savage Worlds?

Shasarak

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #91 on: April 30, 2021, 06:38:43 PM »
Like.Pathfinder and Savage Worlds?

I dont know much about Savage Worlds.  Something something beanies I think.
There will be poor always,
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look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

VisionStorm

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #92 on: April 30, 2021, 06:51:35 PM »
And your post made a claim I've seen come up before in these discussions about the idea that disunified mechanics are easier to remember, which is an objective claim, since you're saying that something IS a certain way (Different Mechanics = Easier to Remember). And memory isn't just an opinion but a mechanism for recalling information. But that claim goes against my personal experience, so it can't be right. Then it occurred to me that different people have different learning styles so it might be possible that some people use different mnemonics to remember unified vs disunified mechanics in RPGs. Which would explain differences in perception when judging either style of handling mechanics, at least as far as remembering them is concerned.

I'd be interested in an actual psychology experiment done on this issue.  It doesn't seem like it wold be too hard to do.  My expectation is that memory of rules would be boosted by using a different physical mechanism for most but not all people, but I wouldn't be shocked if I were wrong either.

If we have any psych grad students on the boards:  here's a great idea for your thesis.  Do it, because I want to know.

One of the challenges would be separating general system complexity from mechanical style, since (as some posters, like Kyle Aaron, have pointed out), a lot of games using unified mechanics trade the minimized page count needed to explain task resolution mechanics for a bunch of additional subsystems, like extensive skill lists, power creation systems, etc. that could add to overall system complexity and learning material. So that a more simple game, like D&D 0e could still potentially be simpler to learn (even if unified mechanics are truly easier to learn, as I've claimed), despite having different mechanics for different stuff in the game.

Krugus

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #93 on: April 30, 2021, 07:27:04 PM »
I'm really looking for an argument why unified mechanics are better. Because a lot of people seem to think it's obvious they're better, but I almost never see anyone express why.

Unified mechanics are better because they make it easier to learn the game and make playing the game faster as well.

That argument sound compelling in a theoretical sense, but I've learned a lot of games and I really don't recall the ones with unified mechanics being any easier to learn.  Actually, in unified mechanics games, all the different types of checks are so similar that they kind of blur together and are harder to keep straight.  Different mechanics makes the details easier to remember for me.

And I have played games with different mechanics where you constantly have to tell the players which dice they have to roll which is super not fun.

Actually that could be the reason why you remember those games - I always remember the game where you can roll triangle.

Earthdawn is the poster boy for this lol.  The math was really quite elegant and was purpose built but man was it hard for new players to get their heads wrapped around the Steps and which dice to roll.  And that was a Unified Mechanic system  ;D

My group played a ton of Earthdawn 1E back in the day.   I still use some of the magic concepts from the game world in my current PF2e campaign.   Good thing there are no Lawful Neutral Paizo fans on this board or they would roast me alive for changing the game system to my liking :) 

VisionStorm

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #94 on: April 30, 2021, 07:31:32 PM »
I'm really looking for an argument why unified mechanics are better. Because a lot of people seem to think it's obvious they're better, but I almost never see anyone express why.

Unified mechanics are better because they make it easier to learn the game and make playing the game faster as well.

That argument sound compelling in a theoretical sense, but I've learned a lot of games and I really don't recall the ones with unified mechanics being any easier to learn.  Actually, in unified mechanics games, all the different types of checks are so similar that they kind of blur together and are harder to keep straight.  Different mechanics makes the details easier to remember for me.

And I have played games with different mechanics where you constantly have to tell the players which dice they have to roll which is super not fun.

Actually that could be the reason why you remember those games - I always remember the game where you can roll triangle.

Earthdawn is the poster boy for this lol.  The math was really quite elegant and was purpose built but man was it hard for new players to get their heads wrapped around the Steps and which dice to roll.  And that was a Unified Mechanic system  ;D

My group played a ton of Earthdawn 1E back in the day.   I still use some of the magic concepts from the game world in my current PF2e campaign.   Good thing there are no Lawful Neutral Paizo fans on this board or they would roast me alive for changing the game system to my liking :)

Changing the game system to your liking is what the RPG hobby is all about.  ;)

Ratman_tf

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #95 on: April 30, 2021, 07:40:01 PM »
I'm really looking for an argument why unified mechanics are better. Because a lot of people seem to think it's obvious they're better, but I almost never see anyone express why.

Unified mechanics are better because they make it easier to learn the game and make playing the game faster as well.

That argument sound compelling in a theoretical sense, but I've learned a lot of games and I really don't recall the ones with unified mechanics being any easier to learn.  Actually, in unified mechanics games, all the different types of checks are so similar that they kind of blur together and are harder to keep straight.  Different mechanics makes the details easier to remember for me.

And I have played games with different mechanics where you constantly have to tell the players which dice they have to roll which is super not fun.

Actually that could be the reason why you remember those games - I always remember the game where you can roll triangle.

Earthdawn is the poster boy for this lol.  The math was really quite elegant and was purpose built but man was it hard for new players to get their heads wrapped around the Steps and which dice to roll.  And that was a Unified Mechanic system  ;D

My group played a ton of Earthdawn 1E back in the day.   I still use some of the magic concepts from the game world in my current PF2e campaign.   Good thing there are no Lawful Neutral Paizo fans on this board or they would roast me alive for changing the game system to my liking :)

Changing the game system to your liking is what the RPG hobby is all about.  ;)

I used ascending AC in 2nd edition and a bunch of demons flew out of the rulebook...
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Chris24601

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #96 on: April 30, 2021, 07:52:52 PM »
One of the challenges would be separating general system complexity from mechanical style, since (as some posters, like Kyle Aaron, have pointed out), a lot of games using unified mechanics trade the minimized page count needed to explain task resolution mechanics for a bunch of additional subsystems, like extensive skill lists, power creation systems, etc. that could add to overall system complexity and learning material. So that a more simple game, like D&D 0e could still potentially be simpler to learn (even if unified mechanics are truly easier to learn, as I've claimed), despite having different mechanics for different stuff in the game.
I’d put a vote towards using Vampire the Masquerade (or the Hunter’s Hunted mortals add on) as a unified system comparison point as they use the bulk of their saved pages for excessive fluff text instead of lots of subsystems. Indeed, when I had to create a rules document for Mage players in the days after NWoD, but before the rise of easy to acquire PDFs, the entire package, including all the pre-built tasks (i.e. what’s the difficulty for tailing a suspect?), merits and flaws, magic, spirit rules, equipment and vehicles took about 60 printed pages... comparable to an OSR ruleset and it had the rules for everything I could imagine the players ever needing.

In the case of a VtM game I was able to condense all the relevant rules for players down to about five pages, though you’d need the full book for all the merits/flaws, rank 6+ (i.e. mostly NPC only) powers and the like... but as a general “these are the rules you need to remember” it’s damned simple and uses a unified mechanic.

Shasarak

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #97 on: April 30, 2021, 07:59:44 PM »
I used ascending AC in 2nd edition and a bunch of demons flew out of the rulebook...

So thats where they came from!

I thought it was just some bad pizza.
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look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

HappyDaze

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I used ascending AC in 2nd edition and a bunch of demons flew out of the rulebook...
I'm pretty sure all of the demons flew out of that rulebook. Just some Tanar'ri poseurs left in their place.

Shawn Driscoll

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Why did it take 26 years to make that happen?

Because the "to-hit" roll was first. And no one knew any better to do things differently. Besides, the shiny d20 dice attracted the most fidget lovers to gaming tables.

Zalman

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #100 on: May 03, 2021, 10:08:29 AM »
We have this assortment of six Platonic solids for entropy generation.

5 Platonic solids and one ... d10. Maybe it's become an honorary Platonic solid?

I can speak to my observations ...

And what fantastic observations they are. This post was a thread-ender for me.
Zal

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Jam The MF

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Re: Why didn't earlier editions of D&D use some type of unified mechanic?
« Reply #101 on: May 03, 2021, 12:40:10 PM »
In celebration of Unified Mechanics and the D20 System; I created a D&D 3.5 Half-Orc Monk 1 / Cleric 1 / Rogue 1 from scratch, considering all the PHB options.  By the time I wrote down all of my choices and relevant modifiers, I realized that had taken me too dang long to do.  Pre-generated characters sure do save a LOT of time and effort. 

With Pathfinder; I could have selected a single class pre-gen out of the NPC Codex, at any level of play.  I guess I need to get some 3.5 pre-gens?

At some point it might be interesting to convert this character into D&D 5E, and compare the two versions head to head?

* The Character would have gotten more Skill Points, by taking a level of Rogue first; but that's not how this character's background story played out.

* The Character is also limited as a Cleric, because of having really low Charisma; but low scores must be placed somewhere.

He trained as a Monk to Level 1 and found temporary work as a Bouncer in a local Tavern, then became a Convert of a Good Deity and trained as a Cleric to Level 1; and was then befriended by a talented Rogue, and trained to Level 1.

I'm just using the D&D 3.5 rules to tell this character's story, without Min / Maxing.  He's pretty versatile, though.  In a small adventuring party, he should come in handy; but he won't dominate the game.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 02:24:17 PM by Jam The MF »
I need you to roll a perception check.