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Author Topic: Rules: Light, Medium, Heavy  (Read 2146 times)

beejazz

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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2006, 01:57:13 AM »
Quote from: Yamo
1. Lots of dice to buy.

2. Lots of dice to carry around.

3. Time involved in repeadedly counting-up the result of a 10-12 die throws versus, say, 1-3 dice ones.

4. It's physically awkward to roll tons of dice at one time. You may have to use a cup or two hands and they often will bounce off each other en masse upon striking the table and go ricocheting   in every direction (and often off said table).

5. There's no demonstrable design or play benefit to using shitloads of dice, so "Why?" is the real question, not "Why not?" There's simply no good answer for "Why?"


You know, the same could be said of spell damage in DnD. I roll how many d6 for my fireball? And if you used energy admixture... oie.

Not a critique of DnD by the way. Just noting that your average spellcaster wouldn't mind getting more dice.

As for dicepools... if they work and they're fun (which, from what I've heard about d6 StarWars is affirmative).

The Yann Waters

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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2006, 04:50:53 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Finally, there's systems where the basic mechanics are simple but nonfunctional and the rules on top create an unmanageable mess (such as Nobilis).
That's presumably a matter of taste: still, what "rules on top"? Except for the Simple Rites, every single action in the game is handled through that same resolution mechanic, from writing presidential campaign speeches to beating people up Matrix-style to magically granting human intelligence to all the rats in the world.
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kryyst

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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2006, 08:29:25 AM »
The problem with SWD6 is that it's a clunky and silly way to work with that many dice.  A dice pool system is a love hate thing but they are easy to use roll the dice look for certain type of dice and count the success.  In SW you roll a pile of dice have to add them all up which is a pain and then go from there.  Low level characters not huge deal the math isn't bad but start getting into 10+die rolls and it's annoying and a big waste of time.

Most WEG players have grown to accept this and I can't remember if it was WEG that put it out or home brewed but there are charts that speed the math up and make larger pools averaged.  Anytime you need to take your mechanics and just start slashing them to make them more reasonable you have a problem.
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Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2006, 09:20:04 AM »
First, certainly responding to this thread wouldn't be any fun without tacking on my own perception:

Rules Heavy and Well Designed: Spycraft 2.0, HERO. Hero actually gives you a reason to be rules heavy. It puts the tools in your hand, doesn't just give you an end result.
 
Rules Heavy and Poorly Designed: GURPS 3e (can't really comment on 4e), Rolemaster, Shadowrun 3rd.

Rules Medium and Well Designed: D20. nWoD, Burning Empires. I'll reserve judgement on BRP. It was good for it's time, but the skill resolution is so antiquated, compared to modern games, I can't consider it good.
 
Rules-medium and Poorly Designed: oWoD (egads, learn some probability!), Savage Worlds (does not live up to its promise of providing sufficient depth for PCs, sorry), the D6 system (totally agree... nice beginner game, but for regular play, it sucked arse).

Rules-light and well designed: (empty set) I keed, I keed. FUDGE, Dream Park.
 
Rules light and Poorly designed: The Window, Over The Edge. I differ with you on OTE because I can't take any system with a "pluck skills/traits out of the air" seriously, as this has "problems at playtime" written all over it.

Second:

Quote
Finally, I will note that D20 itself can end up leaning, in some of its more altered forms, toward the "lighter" or "heavier" side of things.


I also think it varies on the well and poorly designed side. Many designers (especially in the early going) either or both lacked the bravery to make the needed changes to the system to realize a new setting or genre, or the system-writing skillz to make those changes successfully.
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Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2006, 09:23:36 AM »
Quote from: Yamo
I can't think of a single criticism of it that doesn't also apply to the d20 version


How about NPC "star" characters that are so utterly overpowered compared to characters the game tends to naturally produce that you could never hope to emulate them without either years of play or totally monty haul GMing? How about fistfuls of dice? How about the implicit problems of a difficult to understand "shifting bell curve" of the additive style dice pool?

All problems I will never experience in d20 SW.
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Yamo

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« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2006, 09:53:16 AM »
Quote from: Caesar Slaad
How about NPC "star" characters that are so utterly overpowered compared to characters the game tends to naturally produce that you could never hope to emulate them without either years of play or totally monty haul GMing?

I've never paid any attention to this section in any of the Star Wars rulebooks. Waste of space on principal regardless of how it's executed.
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Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2006, 10:01:34 AM »
Quote from: Yamo
I've never paid any attention to this section in any of the Star Wars rulebooks. Waste of space on principal regardless of how it's executed.


This almost deserves its own thread in the design forum... but let's just say I think that any game based on a given topic in fiction or legend should have stats for its key heroic figures.
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Yamo

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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2006, 10:04:24 AM »
Quote from: Caesar Slaad
This almost deserves its own thread in the design forum... but let's just say I think that any game based on a given topic in fiction or legend should have stats for its key heroic figures.

And I say that the defining litmus test for worthwhile RPG material is utility.
In order to qualify as a roleplaying game, a game design must feature:

1. A traditional player/GM relationship.
2. No set story or plot.
3. No live action aspect.
4. No win conditions.

Don't like it? Too bad.

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Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2006, 10:10:56 AM »
Quote from: Yamo
And I say that the defining litmus test for worthwhile RPG material is utility.


Emulating the topic is the central use of a game based on a specific franchnise or myth. You fail that, there is no reason you should be playing Star Wars over any of a dozen other SF games. You lack that use, you lack the intended utility of the game.
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fonkaygarry

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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2006, 01:47:40 PM »
Slaad, your comments about at "shifting bell curve" wrt dice pools intrigues me.  You have a link or anything to a discussion thereof?
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jrients

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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2006, 02:30:32 PM »
Quote from: Yamo
And what's wrong with RISUS? It's a lighthearted comedy game in the proud tradition of Twerps and Toon. It's neither narrow in scope nor pretentious and has nothing to do with the Forgey games you mentioned in the same sentence.


I'm as confused as Yamo on this one.  I like several systems you list as poor (Rolemaster, Savage Worlds, Champions), but they have their flaws.  Knocking Risus baffles me.  I've only played it 2 or 3 times but it delivered excellent results with a very elegant little mechanic.  And the Risus Companion, while totally unnecessary to run Risus, is one of the best GM's advice books I've ever read.
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flyingmice

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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2006, 02:37:46 PM »
Quote from: jrients
I'm as confused as Yamo on this one.  I like several systems you list as poor (Rolemaster, Savage Worlds, Champions), but they have their flaws.  Knocking Risus baffles me.  I've only played it 2 or 3 times but it delivered excellent results with a very elegant little mechanic.  And the Risus Companion, while totally unnecessary to run Risus, is one of the best GM's advice books I've ever read.


That was jarring to me too. Risus is a lovely little rules-almost-nonexistant game which is otherwise very traditional. It's probably the best rules light game I have ever played - very simple and flexible. It's also by default funny as hell, but you can play it straight too.

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Caesar Slaad

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« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2006, 02:56:58 PM »
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Slaad, your comments about at "shifting bell curve" wrt dice pools intrigues me.  You have a link or anything to a discussion thereof?


Well, I rail on this point over at RPGnet from time to time, but considering their suck-arse search feature, I doubt I could pull it up.

Short take: I think that being able to understand the odds of the dice roll are a substantial boon to the GM of any game where dice roll contribute substantially to the course of the game. That is, most gamist or sim games (in GDS sense) that run with little fudging.

For games with one dice, it's pretty trivial to understand the odds.

Games using multiple, but fixed, dice are more complicatad "triangle" or "bell" curve, but you can usually come to a pretty good understanding of the odds in short order.

But when you have dice pools, this situation becomes hopeless because every dice you add represents a DIFFERENT bell curve. So to understand the odds, you have to get a knowledge or feel for multiple bell curves, one for each dice combination. That makes it difficult for the GM to develop a feel for the odds, and multiple bell curves are difficult to draft and memorize as a play aid as well. (I used to chuckle at oWoD GMs who'd tell me how simple there game was, but carried around cards with them with the odds.)

As far as dice pools go, simple binomial* with difficulty scaled to successes (instead of changing the target number, as in nWoD or Burning Empires**) can be TOLERABLE in this regard, but other variants, like additive, "binomial with shifting target numbers", or "roll and keep" variants are very difficult to determine or learn the odds for.

* - Binomial is the sort of system where you count "successes", like WoD.
* - But note that luke puts a (rather simplified) table right in his book.
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fonkaygarry

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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2006, 07:16:16 PM »
Thanks for the breakdown.

I think I understand why I never had a problem going from straight dice to dice pools: I don't look at the numbers.  I'm one of those GMs who almost always sets his (d20) target numbers at 15 or 20.  Maybe as time goes by and I'm able to run more games more often I'll form a real preference.
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