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Messages - robiswrong

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1
The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Re: Covid, the "lockdowns" etc.
« on: September 02, 2020, 09:39:14 am »
Which is what's most important here regarding CoronaChan. It's just a "flu variant" - and so laughably obviously so - and if we weren't bullshitting the numbers left and right, we'd see 2020 was nothing more than a bad flu year.


Look at "excess deaths".  It's the most interesting, and hardest to bullshit, stat.


If anything it would underestimate covid deaths due to people being under various levels of lockdown and so fewer people dying from other causes, other diseases being spread less, etc.


https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-excess-deaths-tally-in-the-us-is-204691-in-7-months-so-covid-19-deaths-might-be-undercounted-2020-08-13

2
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;1143565
If anything I feel like I have many more non-railroad options than in the 90s or mid 2000s.

Yeah, it's still fairly prevalent in published modules (arguably by necessity), but there's two whole design movements that have emerged as a reaction to the 90s/00s stuff - the storygame movement and OSR both seem pretty anti-railroad.

I do feel like organized play has taken a more central place in the overall landscape, and prepared/railroady stuff seems kind of inevitable there.

Also, I have to wonder if things like Critical Role tend towards railroady (to focus on the chatter rather than 'uh what do we do' for hours), and so have created that impression.

But regardless, I do think that there's more design movement away from railroads now than there has been since the early/mid 80s when DragonLance started the whole trend.

3
Quote from: Shasarak;1130844
According to the GNS theory the most simulationist system that I have run would probably be DnD 4e.

Wha?

By GNS terms (barf, puke) it would seem to be gamist more than anything?

4
TPKs are fine.  They should just be the result of poor or risky player decisions, and preferably a chain of them.

As an example, rolling 1d6 and on a 1 you die at the beginning of every session is dumb.

If you choose to get in a game of Russian Roulette, you're dumb and should die on a 1 on a 1d6.  But the GM saying that you need to do that out of the blue isn't really good gameplay.

If you make one poor/risky decision after another, and are eventually placed in a position where you either need to do something you don't want to do, or play Russian Roulette?  Make your choice and take your chances.  That's a series of bad luck and screwups, and you still have a choice.

Quote from: Graytung;1128477
The second and most important reason is that OSR games should have as few skill checks as you can manage. What I would propose is that when the crew want to enter hyperspace, it takes 1d4 "space combat turns" to calculate a safe trajectory. If the crew just wait the turns out, the green light on the console comes on saying warp speed ready, and it works 100% this way. However, if the players want to go NOW, because perhaps they are being bombarded, then that's where you roll the percentile dice... Why? Because the players made that choice themselves, not the dice.

I 100% agree with this (and it's super similar to what I suggested earlier in the thread).  Games usually are best when they're focused on player decisions rather than mathematical mechanics.

5
Quote from: Jamfke;1128357
Working up some rules for my OSR sci-fi game and writing up the entry for Astronavigation. Failure puts the ship off course by 1d10 lightyears. Failure with a roll of 95-99% puts the starship in imminent danger (comes out in an asteroid field, or just inside the atmosphere of a planet, etc). I've chosen to make a fail with 100% indicates that the starship comes out of hyper and collides with something, taking serious damage, or they phase back into real space within an object (an asteroid, another vessel, a planet, etc.), killing everyone inside.

Would this be too much for most gamers in the modern world? TPKs through combat with a superior force is one thing, but being due to the failure of a skill check by one player could be devastating for some folks, maybe. Thoughts?

I wouldn't, especially if they're expected to do so as part of normal gameplay.

Teleportation had a death percentage in D&D, true.  But that was because it was a shortcut and an escape clause.  The death percentage kept it from being abused trivially - you couldn't just go "oh, it doesn't matter if we get into a tough spot, we'll just teleport out" or "oh, we'll just teleport down there".  It was available as a last resort, and could be used if you thought the overall odds were better than of surviving the trip to where you were going, but it wasn't a freebie.

If the only way to get from planet to planet is Astronavigation, then basically having a 1% chance of dying every session isn't very good design.  I'd think about the overall structure of the game (what do players spend time doing?) and not put up artificial barriers to getting to the gameplay.  If gameplay is "each session, go to a planet, explore around, and then go back" (the space equivalent of a dungeon crawl) then having a percentage chance of just nuking the session when there's no way to avoid it isn't fun.

If Astronavigation is something that the players can choose to do, then it's fine for it to have more risk.

If I wanted something like that, I'd probably allow the Astronavigation roll to determine basic range that you can safely pilot, as well as extended range.  Traveling within basic range is safe and not an issue, and no roll is required.  Traveling outside of that range has whatever failure chances you want (though I'd still avoid the TPK on this one).

In this case the tradeoff would be that you can either do one big jump with an incurred risk, or several smaller jumps, which could have whatever complications are associated with refueling/etc.  That makes it more of an interesting choice and less "roll every time to see if we end the campaign".

Also, I'd keep in mind that it's generally better to have negative consequences for bad decisions rather than bad rolls.  (Though, to be clear, choosing to engage in a mechanic that can have a bad roll is a decision, if it's actually a decision.   Llike, if you play Russian Roulette, that's a decision even if the roll ends up being the thing that kills you).

6
Quote from: Toadmaster;1061075
Reading through this, I also think there needs to be a distinction between finding casual players and bringing lapsed gamers back into the hobby. They are not the same thing, and treating them as though they are is not likely to work.

Lapsed gamers are quite likely to remain lapsed gamers if casual one shots is their only option. Casual gamers are unlikely to become more serious gamers if they are given a hard sell at their introduction to gaming.

What we need is variable commitment.  We need structures that allow people to play at the commitment level they're willing to sink into the hobby, and switch that commitment level as their life circumstances change.

If you play hockey, you can play pickup once in a while.  Or you can join a league.  Or you can run a team in a league.  You can drop out and come back in, leave your team after a season and play pick up for a while, or then come back into a league.  You can be in multiple leagues if you want.  You can be on a team that practices.  But you can choose the level of commitment you want to put in the hobby, and get rewards appropriate to that commitment.

That's what the hobby needs, and ideally would have in a way that's easily discernible to people.

7
Quote from: tenbones;1061014
I have no evidence that easy-mode keeps players playing longer. I have a lot of evidence that hard-mode does. As I have three groups of different players that I now have been GMing for *multiple* decades with some filtering in and out at various points (thanks technology!). And the GM's in these groups all do it a little different - but are in it for the same reasons and have the same goals.

I'd agree with that.

But there's a difference between how to keep people involved, and how to get them involved.  That's the whole thing with player acquisition - what are the needs of new players, and how can you meet them, while over time providing for the needs of long-term players?  Are long term players willing to heavily commit time and schedule to play a game, because to them, the rewards are worth it?  Of course they are, and do.

But if you take a new player, and have this conversation:

Player: "I wanna play D&D, mind if I come?"
GM: "Sure!  It's four hours every Saturday, and you're expected to be there no matter what.  We'll see you then!"
Player: "But... I don't even know if I like it yet...."

... do you think that player is going to play?

You play WoW.  Great.  I'm in the MMO business myself.  What time commitment does being in your raiding guild have?  Is that the time commitment you started with on your first MMO?  I'm willing to bet it's not.

8
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 18, 2018, 03:42:02 pm »
Quote from: Alderaan Crumbs;1060848
I don't think removing dog death was the problem it was the assertion that her feelings trumped the table's fun. Provided the table's fun isn't something awful, she might not need to play in that game. But that's the real issue, isn't it? What's defined as awful is subjective and nowadays, far too wide. Which leads to issues of what's acceptable socially and so on. It becomes this mental and emotional mine field that can be so stressful you might as well not play.

Her feelings don't trump the table's fun.

Her feelings make playing in a game including dog death not tenable.  X-Card or not doesn't change that.  The table that can either accommodate that, or not.  If they don't want to accommodate it, then she shouldn't play at that table.  If they want her to keep playing, they have to accommodate it.  It's like any other thing in a game - if you have a person that does/doesn't want something in a game, and others with the opposite view, you either compromise or don't game together.

Beyond that, it's just a matter of being judgemental about her reaction.  And I usually try not to do that, because I have no idea what that person has been through.  Maybe they put down their dog that day.  Maybe they watched someone kill their dog as a kid.  I don't know.  But their reaction is their reaction, and isn't going to change.

Now, if a person is constantly breaking down at every little thing?  Yeah, then "okay, go deal with your issues, this is not making the game fun for anyone" is the response.  But for that singular issue?  I've never had a game where dogs dying was integral to the table's fun.

9
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 18, 2018, 12:36:59 pm »
Quote from: sureshot;1060815

I was once told on another forum by a fellow player that one of his players cried because a random dog was killed in a module. All because his player liked dogs and she hated seeing even a imaginary one killed off by a imaginary npc. Only to be told not only was she allowed to do that non-stop at the table. we HAD to accept that players behavior no matter how disruptive. Anyone telling her to stop because it was disruptive he would consider a terrible person and a misogynist. All dure respect one is playing a rpg where one kills others other creatures for XP. Busting into tears every time a helpless imaginary animal is killed off in a game of D&D at my tables would get you the three strikes rule then ejected from our table. If the DM was going into graphic detail of the butchering of the dog then by all means raise the X-card because that kind of stuff is disturbing. Raising a X-Card at leas at my table because random animal noc was stabbed by a sword would be ignored by myself at least. So the example of being bothered by the hooting Owl may not be so far fetched after all.


If someone really can't deal with dogs being killed, okay... I can't remember the last time I had a dog die in a game I've run or played in.  Taking dog death out doesn't seem to be an issue, unless they try to game it by then using dogs for critical tasks (in which case they can basically fuck off).

I don't like dogs dying.  It bugs me.  It bugged me when I played Tomb Raider, and it bugged me when I watched John Wick.  I didn't break down in tears or anything, to be clear, and I wouldn't X-Card it in a game.  But if someone really hated it that much, it seems an easy thing to accommodate.

Quote from: Alderaan Crumbs;1060842
As far as the general pushback against things like X-cards, I'm hoping you can see it's largely a reaction to the hardcore control-crazies that says, "No more! Your taken inch is now a bloody mile!". Do X-cards hurt me? No, as I don't use them. Do they work? I dunno, but probably, at least for some. Are they a Left-wing tool of hatred? I seriously doubt it. Have there been rampant Left-created group attacks within our nerd hobby that are meant to control others in speech and actions? Absolutely. It's this final bit I believe is attached to X-cards and why they're immediately disliked.


Yeah, it clearly seems to be a tribal thing.

Me, I'd have some level of suspicion, but would allow it.  And then if it was used as a way to dictate how the game ran I'd politely discuss things with the player, and then figure out if they're a good fit for the game or not.  Not every game is for every person.

10
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 17, 2018, 05:58:51 pm »
Quote from: jeff37923;1060726
Why would you want to game with someone who is so psychologically fragile that they get triggered by a tabletop role-playing game?

I dunno, man, people are different and have different thresholds.  As I said, I personally don't see any need for one, but as long as it's not abused, no skin off my nose.

11
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 17, 2018, 04:57:22 pm »
Quote from: Steven Mitchell;1060706
No not destroying.  It's nothing but a signal after all.  The GM thinks the game will about something rough, thinks that other players might have reservations about it, or is being cautious.  The GM might be correct or incorrect in any of those assessments.

The game (with or without an X-card) might be explicitly about horror or sports or modern commando missions or any number of other things that don't particularly appeal to me.  A game might be strictly played in first person voice or strictly theatrical improvisational rules.  Also doesn't appeal.  

It's certainly possible that I might have fun in any of those games, with a good group, but the chances are much lower than some other options.  If any of those things are signaled, I'm out.  The X-card is another such signal.

Am I correct in interpreting this as "any game that the GM feels requires an X-Card is likely a game I don't want to play anyway."?

12
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 17, 2018, 03:34:53 pm »
If someone has issues with a type of content, you would either respect that or ask them to leave the game, right?

The X-Card does nothing but formalize the process.

The problem wouldn't be the X-Card itself, it would be weaponized use of the X-Card to control a game beyond tolerable limits.  Which is dealt with the same way you would if the X-Card wasn't there:  "Yeah, I don't think this game is for you, I think you should find something you'd be happier playing."

There's a bit of "finality" and unilateral power implied in how the process is described, but I'd see it less as "use of X-Card is absolute and final" and more like "use of X-Card means we're not doing it for now, but will probably discuss what the game is and is not later."  I mean, that's how we usually deal with rules disputes, right?  "Accept this ruling for now, and we'll discuss it later."  I can see how the description of it makes it sound like handing over an inappropriate amount of unilateral power, but I certainly wouldn't use it that way, and I wouldn't tolerate somebody abusing it.

If someone is abusing the X-Card to "control" the game, they'd probably try it with or without the X-Card, so I'd deal with them the same way.  I prefer to have games that work with reasonable people, and mechanisms for reasonable people, and kick out unreasonable people.

To be clear, I'm not an X-Card "fan".  But neither do I see it as some kind of game-destroying thing.

13
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 17, 2018, 12:51:11 pm »
Quote from: Xuc Xac;1060537
I've never used the x-card thing, but I don't see the big deal. Saying "hey, knock that out" interrupts the flow of the game and breaks the mood. A nice non-verbal signal that lets you wave the DM away from something that grosses you out keeps things moving smoothly for everyone.


Did you miss the part where I said:

Quote from: robiswrong;1060525
But if someone feels that they need it, and can't game without it?  Weird, I guess, but fine.


or are you just agreeing with me?

Quote from: Xuc Xac;1060537
Also, just because one player taps out, that doesn't mean they're a special snowflake. It just means they tapped out first. Maybe all your players think you're a creep who needs to back off the lovingly detailed description of cannibal clown rape, but they didn't all use the x-card simultaneously so you just see the first one.


Again, I never said anything of the sort.  I never said that needing an X-Card meant you were "a special snowflake" or wasn't legit, for whatever issues you might be dealing with.

Again, maybe you missed the part where I said:

Quote from: robiswrong;1060525
The idea that the people playing would need a hard "rule" saying that they would have to listen to that is, also, foreign to me.


implying that GMs should listen to their players and take out things the players aren't comfortable with, and respect their boundaries?

I mean, the whole point of my post was that while I don't personally see a need for an X-Card, if someone really does, then it doesn't cost anything to put it in (outside of extreme boundary weaponization tactics), so why not just do it?  That really the point was that I don't have to understand something myself to acknowledge that others have some kind of valid need for it.

14
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / X-Cards and things
« on: October 16, 2018, 05:32:19 pm »
The idea that I'd be so sensitive to something that I couldn't just say "hey, knock that out" is foreign to me.

The idea that the people playing would need a hard "rule" saying that they would have to listen to that is, also, foreign to me.

But if someone feels that they need it, and can't game without it?  Weird, I guess, but fine.  

Quote from: Alderaan Crumbs;1060507
It seems there's a bigger issue of being poorly-socialized people than a problem gaming needs to fix.

I've played hockey (on hiatus).  I play video games (hell, I make 'em).  I play music.  I've flown model planes.

TTRPGs have the highest percentage of people with horrible, tremendously horrible, social skills of any hobby I've dealt with.  Computer games are a reasonably close second.

15
Quote from: fearsomepirate;1060150
1. Make a game that can be played casually.

I've introduced a lot of people to D&D who had fun the first couple sessions, then dropped out when they realized this is the kind of thing that goes on for years with no real "end."

I agree with this.  And I think a lot of it is creating an expectation that you have to be there every session.

Quote from: Razor 007;1060152
Find a way to have a fun 2 hour session.  4 hours is a hard sell to most people who haven't played before.

Agreed.

Quote from: Ratman_tf;1060160
?

I never see people quit knitting because they never reach the "end of knitting".
I can understand that someone might not be interested in a whole campaign right off the bat. A first adventure should probably have a clear goal and a path to reach it in a session or two.

But at the same time, when you knit you're done with that thing reasonably quickly.  And then you can start a new thing, or not.

Quote from: AsenRG;1060170
One-shots have been a thing for decades now;).

Open table, meaner "we play with whoever shows up" and no more rules crunch than they want to handle, is the way to go. That, and presenting a living world which reacts dynamically to the actions, for good and ill.

Open table is a great thing.  "Sure, come play, whenever you want.  And come back whenever you want.  No pressure."

As far as crunch, I think the ideal situation is a game which can be played in a way that the players can describe what their characters do in terms of the game world, and leave the mechanics to someone else (the GM, likely).  Sure, they'll learn the mechanics over time, but "just tell me what you're doing" is a great way to make things accessible.

Quote from: Ratman_tf;1060325
This thread made me think about Justin Alexander's blog post about open tables, and how to approach casual commitment players.

https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/38643/roleplaying-games/open-table-manifesto

Agreed.  Open tables also have the benefit of being really, really resilient campaign structures.  An open table doesn't die because one key player quits, or even two or three.

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