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Imbibovita
02-14-2007, 02:21 PM
Here is an area to ask about how different GM's handle various rules questions or challenges. Discuss!

Edward
02-14-2007, 11:56 PM
Do you mean D20 rules?

Imbibovita
02-15-2007, 06:37 AM
Any rules... it doesn't have to be D20

Edward
03-03-2007, 01:40 PM
Personally, I favor skill-based systems. Classes restrict your options too much. A good skill-based system will allow you to develop virtually any type of character you want, without letting you become unrealistically powerful. (There are always skills you can't afford, and you'll gradually forget skills that you don't use often.)

The disadvantage of skill-based systems is that it takes a long time to roll up characters: perhaps 1-2 hours or even longer. The solution is to have classes, but use them only as templates. If you don't want to customize your character, you could pick, say, a warrior, use the template, and have a character in fifteen minutes. The template does not give any advantage or extra points; you could get the exact same result by customizing your character and making the same choices as the template. It just saves time.

In terms of dice, I use only d100. Putting everything in percentage terms makes it easy to understand, and avoids having to convert back and forth between different types of dice.

SilverDragon
03-06-2007, 02:34 PM
Here is an area to ask about how different GM's handle various rules questions or challenges. Discuss!

Rules questions cannot bog down play, I usually only allow rule discussions if you believe you can prove your argument in about two minutes otherwise it will be handled after the game and any agreement will be in effect from then on (no retroactive fixes). The only exception to this is if a character death is involved, then rules discussions are free to interrupt play and may go on as long as is deemed necessary for clarification but there will still be no retroactive fixes so it needs to be settled then and there.

Edward
03-08-2007, 12:08 AM
Rules questions cannot bog down play, I usually only allow rule discussions if you believe you can prove your argument in about two minutes otherwise it will be handled after the game and any agreement will be in effect from then on (no retroactive fixes).

Good point. Whether you're a referee making a ruling or a player choosing tactics, the wrong decision made quickly is often better than the right decision made too late.


The only exception to this is if a character death is involved, then rules discussions are free to interrupt play and may go on as long as is deemed necessary for clarification but there will still be no retroactive fixes so it needs to be settled then and there.Yes, once you start allowing retroactive changes, there's no end to them. The ripple effects can be mind-boggling. My policy on reality shifts is that reality doesn't shift. :)

Imbibovita
03-08-2007, 12:28 PM
Rules are always being questioned by players and GM's alike. I think its in our nature to want to clarify things that are somewhat vague or want to question the best way of doing things. Thats why house rules are so common in games. I have seen house rules that are wonderful additions to game (all of mine are, of course :p), and I have also seen games so fraught with added rules that it might as well be its own system. Its an interesting balance to find. And even in the case where its a whole new system, if those involved enjoy that system, then really... why not! The game is all about enjoying it, the rules are just there for guidance, nothing more.

Personally I would rather see the extreme lean towards house rules than towards slavish devotion to the rules in the books. Not that the system isn't well written, but that it can always be customized to the players.

A Perfect example of this is when I GM. I am, by no means, attached to the statistics for the creatures in the books. Often times I will keep them alive well after they should have died simply because its more of a challenge for the players. I have have other GM's almost appalled at the prospect. Or be so devoted to the stats that combat was either a breeze, or there were total party kills. This has always been interesting to me why a GM would choose that over keeping the game in balance.

Thoughts?

Edward
03-09-2007, 01:50 AM
I have seen house rules that are wonderful additions to game (all of mine are, of course :p), and I have also seen games so fraught with added rules that it might as well be its own system. Its an interesting balance to find. And even in the case where its a whole new system, if those involved enjoy that system, then really... why not!

I've always been quick to add house rules when I find a weakness with a system, or an area I don't like. At a certain point, though, you're better off switching to a different system that better matches your needs, or writing your own from scratch. There are a ton of good open-source RPG's out there that can be freely customized.

Many people stay with one game just because it's well-known. Before you spend a lot of time and effort adding house rules to move a system in a sharply different direction, you should take a close look at some of the other systems out there. Learning a new game isn't difficult, and most players are willing to try something new. In the end, the refereeing style is much more important than the particular game being played.


A Perfect example of this is when I GM. I am, by no means, attached to the statistics for the creatures in the books. Often times I will keep them alive well after they should have died simply because its more of a challenge for the players. I have have other GM's almost appalled at the prospect. Or be so devoted to the stats that combat was either a breeze, or there were total party kills. This has always been interesting to me why a GM would choose that over keeping the game in balance.

I'd say it depends on the GM. As with anything, what works well for one person may not work for another (because of different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities). My own refereeing style is almost the exact opposite. I don't use the concept of game balance; I focus on realism. My philosophy is, "Let the chips fall where they may." If the party wants to take over the world, that's fine, as long as they do it realistically. If the party gets wiped out in the first adventure, that's fine too. I never try to prevent the party from acquiring powerful magic items that would upset the game, and I don't make sure they have a weapon that can affect the lich in the next room. And if they kill the chief bad guy in the first five minutes, thereby ending the module, no problem; I have another module ready. (I try to always have two modules ready so that I don't force the party in a certain direction.)

The important thing is to make sure the players know what to expect when they join the game. Different campaigns have completely different flavors, and the players need to be comfortable with the flavor of the game they're in.

Imbibovita
03-09-2007, 10:19 AM
Very good point. If the players take on more than they can handle I have no issue with letting them fail. I have killed party members for many unwise decisions. One of my favorites was when a player assumed there was an invisible bridge across a chasm.... not a good assumption to make....

More often than not I would say I make battles harder, not easier. Though there have been a few times where the party got over their head through no fault of their own and I realized too late that the battle was a little TOO challenging so I scale it back. So the critical hit just lops off a hand instead of a head :D