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Subject: Did I just delude myself into thinking I like RPGs? rss

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Brian M
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I've been an RPG fan since...well...a darn long time. I've got a hefty RPG shelf at home with a wide array of games on it.

So why is it, that when Tony posted an RPG Poll, I rated almost every RPG I've played a 6 or less?

The games I played extensively? Low score.

The games that really offered something new at the time and changed how I roleplay? Low score.

Every RPG I've played now seems to have major problems, or at least one fatal flaw.

Am I spoiled by Euros? Are RPG mechanics really just not that good but I can overlook them because the RPG experience is fun? Does anyone else have any idea what I'm talking about?
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Eric Jome
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StormKnight wrote:
Are RPG mechanics really just not that good but I can overlook them because the RPG experience is fun?


You know, a lot of times I see two parts.

Role Playing. Game.

Sometimes I like a rules set with emphasis on the first - Wushu Open, Over The Edge, that sort of thing. Sometimes I like a rules set with emphasis on the second - DnD 4ed, Palladium, that sort of thing. It's rare that these things mix well together.

Perhaps that's why I've been so happy with Savage Worlds lately.
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Jason Sadler
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I don't understand what a fatal flaw would be in a non competitive roleplaying system. If you played them extensively, did you not enjoy them while you played them?

In WFRP, every player is going to die a brutal meaningless death, probably at the hands of a stupid goblin. That would be a flaw in a board game, but fits perfectly into the milieu of Warhammer.
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Brian M
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cosine wrote:
Perhaps that's why I've been so happy with Savage Worlds lately.

Heh. Savage Worlds is the RPG I'm playing lately, that I started out pretty excited about and have been rapidly losing confidence in.

BeatPosse wrote:
I don't understand what a fatal flaw would be in a non competitive roleplaying system.

A fatal flaw can be anything that prevents a system from being fun.

Dragon Storm I enjoyed a lot, but they lost all sense of game balance with it, which really hurts it.

IronClaw is great...for a player...but I found it incredibly hard to manage NPCs while running the game.

Savage Worlds is so lucky heavy that you easily spend many turns with both sides bouncing attacks harmlessly off each other (pretty boring), while other times the big nasty villain goes down the first time its attack. Pretty boring - and anticlimatic.

Quote:
If you played them extensively, did you not enjoy them while you played them?

But I enjoy socializing with friends, and roleplaying and using my imagination. There are a lot of games - non RPG games as well - that can be immense fun because of the people involved, but that simply aren't very good games. So, if I enjoyed it, but look back and say "wow, this game isn't any good", was the game really providing any of the enjoyment?
 
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Jason Sadler
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I hope you don't stop enjoying other things when you realize they aren't good boardgames. Like movies or food.

Maybe you could try 4th edition D&D for a game system that strives to be balanced and tactical?
 
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mike hibbert
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cosine wrote:


Role Playing. Game.

Sometimes I like a rules set with emphasis on the second - DnD 4ed, Palladium, that sort of thing. It's rare that these things mix well together.



I'm not really sure how a system can influence how much roleplaying you can do in a game. If you let the mechanics dictate how much roleplaying you are doing then I think you are coming from the wrong angle.

We play D&D4th, and apart from the change in mechanics, I see no difference in the way we do the roleplaying between 4th, and 3rd (or 2nd and 1st). It makes no sense to me.
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stephen
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I think there is room for a much higher level of expectation and disapointment in rpgs. The amateur nature of the material most of us play, we write our own scenarios etc means there can hugely varying quality in games. Most scenarios are playtested only once with the group, and stand and fall by how well that goes. Sometimes a great scenario is ruined by players having off days, or some fluke of the rules.

I also think most of us still looking for the perfect game system, that magic blend of easy to run, realistic yet totally unbreakable tool that brings to the table the games we run in our heads. This also inevitably brings disappointment in that such a thing is impossible to deliver.After a long time in the hobby you learn to appreciate the foibles of lots of game systems and I dont think I would rate many games especially high either.
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David Onstott
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StormKnight wrote:

BeatPosse wrote:
I don't understand what a fatal flaw would be in a non competitive roleplaying system.

A fatal flaw can be anything that prevents a system from being fun.

Dragon Storm I enjoyed a lot, but they lost all sense of game balance with it, which really hurts it.

IronClaw is great...for a player...but I found it incredibly hard to manage NPCs while running the game.

Savage Worlds is so lucky heavy that you easily spend many turns with both sides bouncing attacks harmlessly off each other (pretty boring), while other times the big nasty villain goes down the first time its attack. Pretty boring - and anticlimatic.


Sounds like you need to play some IronDragonClaw StormWorlds
 
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Jon Y.
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Dude, just quit RPGs altogether. All that you're looking for can be found in CIVONY.

Get on that.
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Maybe you just aren't an RPG fan. I've never really found "flaws" in any Role Playing game I've ever played, unless the storyline is weak. Mechanics are just a way to keep the continuity of the story moving along.

But if you are rating on game play over plot line, I think RPG's are not for you.
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Eric Jome
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mikehibbert wrote:
I'm not really sure how a system can influence how much roleplaying you can do in a game.


When there are a lot of rules to follow, it cuts into your time to role play. It adds a lot of complexity and takes away from storytelling - people are not satisfied to be told they are too far away to strike with weapons or cannot catch the fleeing villian, they must be shown on paper and count squares and insist on game rules over good story.

This is a well established and common problem. We always have people saying rules get in the way, followed always by people who say rules don't get in the way. And here's how it usually breaks down;

I bet you never run the game. I bet you are always a player. I am never a player. I always run the game.

From my perspective, rules get in the way of play. Players use rules to force the situation in their favor, to game the system to their benefit. They aren't interested in good role play, good storytelling. They just like winning.

Quote:
We play D&D4th, and apart from the change in mechanics, I see no difference in the way we do the roleplaying between 4th, and 3rd (or 2nd and 1st).


Go out and download Wushu Open and read those rules. Tell me if you think the experience you have playing that game will be similar to the experience you have playing DnD4.
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francois Tayar
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What do you all have with DD4?
It's a bloody boring heroquest, no space for imagination, dream or narrative pleasure in it. The simple fact that you cannot forget the board if you want to use properly your special abilities is a real pain in the ass. A board in RPGs should be necessary only in a few very complex situation.

DD4 : low grade, for me. Childish.
 
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I completely understand how you feel.

After roleplaying for awhile, getting re-introduced to boardgaming, and especially after encountering Euro-style designs, I realized how much I appreciate a tight design, something decidedly lacking from most roleplaying games.

I was hoping Descent might fit the bill for me (as a non-RPG alternative), but I don't think it does. It's own rules systems are a bit of a mess and the mechanics encourage gameplay that isn't the direction I really want to go (I'd rather have the heroes fight the monsters, not sprint past them!)

I know my response has been to rethink my own RPG design from top-to-bottom and try to imagine it all in a much leaner, cleaner fashion. The exercise has been quite frustrating to be honest: I think my goals exceed my skills [That being said, I have come up with a few innovations I really like - if I can just tie it all together well]

You can also see essentially the same concept in D&D 4E, with a stronger dash of influence from online MMOs. Unfortunately, while there are some simple core ideas in D&D, the total system doesn't hit what I want either: it's much too fiddly at times and still leaves me with the dreaded post-game headache from trying to mentally juggle just too many factors.

So, back to my own design again. It keeps inching forwards, but I am worried about many of its aspects.

 
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Eric Jome
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StormKnight wrote:
But I enjoy socializing with friends, and roleplaying and using my imagination.


I think you need to find a system with lighter rules and more freedom. Consider something like Over The Edge, if you can find a copy of that. Wushu Open is free to download.

If you still like rules, but want to really integrate the roleplay experience into the rules, consider Burning Wheel.
 
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Matthew Watson
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mikehibbert wrote:
cosine wrote:


Role Playing. Game.

Sometimes I like a rules set with emphasis on the second - DnD 4ed, Palladium, that sort of thing. It's rare that these things mix well together.



I'm not really sure how a system can influence how much roleplaying you can do in a game. If you let the mechanics dictate how much roleplaying you are doing then I think you are coming from the wrong angle.

We play D&D4th, and apart from the change in mechanics, I see no difference in the way we do the roleplaying between 4th, and 3rd (or 2nd and 1st). It makes no sense to me.


This sums up my feelings. The roleplaying is something the players bring, not the ruleset.
 
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Matthew Watson
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Monsieur F wrote:
What do you all have with DD4?
It's a bloody boring heroquest, no space for imagination, dream or narrative pleasure in it. The simple fact that you cannot forget the board if you want to use properly your special abilities is a real pain in the ass. A board in RPGs should be necessary only in a few very complex situation.

DD4 : low grade, for me. Childish.


What are you saying? That you need to be TOLD how to roleplay by the rules?
 
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Eric Jome
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HisDivineShadow wrote:

What are you saying? That you need to be TOLD how to roleplay by the rules?


I feel confident in saying that what you think is role playing and what I think is role playing are too very different things.
 
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cosine wrote:
Wushu Open is free to download.


You sure do push that Wushu RPG a lot.
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MWChapel wrote:

You sure do push that Wushu RPG a lot.


The price tag has a lot going for it.

Frankly, I prefer Over The Edge, but telling everyone to go out and buy a 10 year old indie (is it even in print?) is not likely to result in success.

Wushu Open is a good treatment of extremely rules light games. If all you've ever played or seen is stuff like DnD or Gurps or Palladium, it's going to seem like the Game From Another Planet.

And it's free.
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cosine wrote:
HisDivineShadow wrote:

What are you saying? That you need to be TOLD how to roleplay by the rules?


I feel confident in saying that what you think is role playing and what I think is role playing are too very different things.


Entirely likely.

My opinion about roleplaying has been formed from playing many different systems, starting with D&D in 1977.
 
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cosine wrote:


Frankly, I prefer Over The Edge, but telling everyone to go out and buy a 10 year old indie (is it even in print?) is not likely to result in success.


It's actually still in print. It's been 10 years since I played it, but it was pretty cool.

I usually don't recommend a "system" to people, as most people are driven by a "theme". i.e. I wouldn't recommend Traveller to someone when they are big fantasy fans.

While Wushu may have some interesting game play, there is like no supporting back story, and the DM would really have to do a lot of work putting together a session. Some people like myself, that isn't a big deal. But that is one thing D&D does provide, a lot of back end plots.
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Eric Jome
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MWChapel wrote:
While Wushu may have some interesting game play, there is like no supporting back story, and the DM would really have to do a lot of work putting together a session.


Testify, Brother Chapel! Amen.

There are published worlds for Wushu. I've never seen them or bought them, so I don't know much about them. And Over The Edge is like 1 page of rules and 90 pages of background... that's the sexy part of that whole game too.

For years GW has made bank on great background. We don't love movies because they are filmed well, we love em because they tell a great story. And that's the essence of really great role playing...

Tell me a story. A really great story. With heroes and villians and tragedy and love and revenge. Tell me what happens when the hordes come over the hills, when the burning ships fall from orbit, when the two lone gunfighters face off at high noon in a dusty street.

That. That's role playing.
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cosine wrote:
Go out and download Wushu Open and read those rules. Tell me if you think the experience you have playing that game will be similar to the experience you have playing DnD4.


surprise Wow, that's f'ing cool man, thank for the tip. I'm enjoying the hell out of D&D 4e, but wow, that'd certainly be a change of pace, not to mention an entirely different experience.





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StormKnight wrote:
I've been an RPG fan since...well...a darn long time. I've got a hefty RPG shelf at home with a wide array of games on it.

So why is it, that when Tony posted an RPG Poll, I rated almost every RPG I've played a 6 or less?

The games I played extensively? Low score.

The games that really offered something new at the time and changed how I roleplay? Low score.

Every RPG I've played now seems to have major problems, or at least one fatal flaw.

Am I spoiled by Euros? Are RPG mechanics really just not that good but I can overlook them because the RPG experience is fun? Does anyone else have any idea what I'm talking about?


StormKnight, I recommend going to The Forge and asking for advice there.

Or if you want to stay here and risk substandard advice, then that's fine too.

I think that if we're going to make headway on diagnosing your problem and prescribing a cure, we need to have more information. Thus:

1. What exactly do you see as the major mechanical problems or fatal flaws of the last five (or so) RPGs you've played?

2. What's the most fun you've ever had in an RPG session? What was the situation (game/setting/coplayers)? Why exactly was it fun for you?

3. What do you want out of an RPG session? E.g. the GNS Model suggests that people primarily like either:
- the challenge of having their characters overcome tough obstacles.
- the emotional drama of telling a great story.
- the escapist fun of exploring a beautifully-realized fictional world.
Does one of these appeal to you more than the others? (With the understanding that most RPGers generally like all of them at varying times.) Or is there something else entirely that pushes your buttons, in a good way, about RPGs?

4. How's your relationship with the rest of your group? Do you like everyone there? Do you like their play styles? Do they all come ready to play?
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BeatPosse wrote:
I hope you don't stop enjoying other things when you realize they aren't good boardgames.

Heh. Its not that RPGs 'aren't board games'. It might be that I've been spoiled by games that just work and are fun straight out of the box. Games with elements that all mesh together smoothly, and that don't require constant rulebook referencing. Games I don't have to beat with a hammer to get to work.

MrSkeletor wrote:
...but for AT stuff you seem to be rather... hard to please...

I think my requirements are pretty light. I want a game to work and be fun to play. FFG is just very bad at delivering in that area

MatchStickMan wrote:
Are you sure the flaw lies with the RPG system you're playing and not the GM/players you're playing with?

Quite sure Not that I haven't had plenty of games ruined by groups, but I try not to blame the system for those.

As for just homebrewing a game, its an option, and I've done it in the past, but these days I just don't tend to feel like spending the time. I'd rather be playing games

MWChapel wrote:
But if you are rating on game play over plot line, I think RPG's are not for you.

I can't imagine how you would rate an RPG on 'plot line'. Do you mean the background and setting of the system? To me, the 'plot' or 'story' is almost entirely a factor of the group playing and exists mostly independently of the system. Its entirely possible to have a great story and great roleplaying without any system at all.

However, an RPG system can provide fun and add interest. I enjoy freeform roleplaying; I hate combat in freeform roleplaying, so if I want a 'story' with a lot of fighting, I want a system that will make fights fun and interesting. If a fight in the system drags on and isn't fun, that's a flaw in the system.

I also, for example, find it fun to 'build' characters. If a game system presents a system that's unbalanced so that options for building characters are inferior to others, that interferes with the fun of building characters - its a flaw in the system.


cosine wrote:
Fill us in here. I'd love to hear more about what you've played, what you've liked about it, and what you've disliked.

That's a tall order, as there have been a lot, and its often hard to define what works and doesn't.

Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium 4th edition) was one of the games I rated highly. The game system has always worked well for me. I guess that's an easy task; it doesn't have to deal with a lot of special abilities, and its a fairly narrow genre.

Dragon Storm was a game I played a lot of, and we had a lot of fun playing. It suffered from problems as the game went on; the balance went to hell, such that most of the later stuff is practically unplayable with the newer stuff. (Note that this doesn't mean I can't just play with the early stuff, but it hurts my opinion of the game a lot).

Hm, and I'm running out of time before I need to do other things, so I'll return to that later
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