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Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 04:08 AM
My Apologies
I apologize for how ridiculously long this post is. I anticipated a great deal of responses and questions. I wanted to make sure I was thorough and provided enough information to justify my claims. This thread was created for a select few who have taught me so very much during my time here. Much time and thought went into researching and writing the information below. Nothing is said lightly or without being given a great deal of thought.

Introduction
Well we all knew this day would come. The day I put aside my D&D non-tested theories of game mechanics and ideals. Previously wiki's, user opinions, and the perusing of core books was the basis for all of my opinions on D&D and why it wasn't the system for me. Such times are over however, as I played my very first D&D game last night. To save time for those of you who just want to know the end result and not how it was reached, some quick Q&A and reading the final section of this post will give you what your looking for ;).

Is D&D The System For You?
No. I find that my research gave me a very clear picture of what a D&D game would actually be like and it still is not the game for me.
Will You Be Playing D&D In The Future?
Yes I will. On a regular basis, no. From time to time? I am quite open to it should anybody care to extend the invitation ;)
So What Is Your System Of Choice?
Currently GURPS. This could change in the future but for the time being GURPS suits me in a way no other system can come close to. I also plan on mixing GURPS with several different wargame systems in order to add RP to otherwise RP-less games.D&D Is More About Combat Than Role Playing
Previously I felt that D&D was not the game for me because it was not designed well for role playing. The chance for RP was there but was highly dependent upon the GM to flesh out. While the GM can incite RP to his hearts desire, I feel class-based systems in general do not make RP as attractive for the PC's, nor as easy to establish. In my opinion D&D is a wargame at its core, the entire game system designed to offer the largest multitude of choices for combat themed encounters, adventures, and campaigns.

Role Playing Is What I Want, Amazing Combat Systems I Have
As many of you know I am a wargamer. I was brought to pen and paper through wargaming and, until coming to this website in late 2007, it has been the only way I have experienced pen and paper gaming. Wargames offer me strategy that I cannot find in a simple board game. The additional complexity and diversity is delicious and stimulates my mind in a way that no other medium has achieved. The lack of a RP element in my favorite wargaming systems (VOR, Warhammer FRP/40K, BattleTech, Heavy Gear) was something I always missed. Why couldn't I easily run a campaign where I play the person piloting my Mech? Why couldn't they have adventures outside of the Mech that were not combat oriented? The list of why's could go on forever but suffice it to say the yearning was there and I finally decided to do something about it.

Point Based Systems Are More RP Friendly Than Class Based
In the end I fell in love with point based systems in general. I don't think many would disagree GURPS is the most diverse, time tested, popular, and well rounded point based system around today. The books for GURPS are more about concepts, scientific theory, storytelling methodology, and known facts than open ended stories or adventures; the primary subject matter for D&D. While D&D is much easier to get up and running than GURPS, in any conceivable situation I imagine, I find that GURPS better suits what I am looking for; storytelling, homebrew settings, and thorough role playing. By definition D&D is indeed a role playing game, no doubt about it. Where role playing with real depth in concerned, I believe such instances are far and few to the average D&D veteran... nearly unheard of for the casual D&D gamer. While I could go into greater detail as to why GURPS is right for me I will leave it at that or at least wait for a request for further description.

My D&D Game And My Thoughts Concerning The Experience
Now lets get onto the actual game. I played a rogue and was in a party of six other players. We played using MapTool and TeamSpeak. The GM was our very own DrAwkward (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php?u=2423). I've got to say that this was probably the best case scenario for me. Various house rules were in place to "speed things up" and the game flowed at a pretty steady pace. The game itself was about five hours of straight gaming, just about all of which was actual gaming. The other players were extremely nice, talkative, and very fun to play with. For me the greatest thing about last night was getting to play with and converse with these fine people.

The game started out with the party entering the city in which I resided. They met me at an inn where I overheard them talking. I had come to those lands looking for adventure and my uncle told me where to go and who to contact to "find some trouble" :p. Upon overhearing the name of one of the characters I asked them if they knew my uncle and the story took off from there. I really enjoyed the conversation in the beginning. I had only been given enough information to get me to the party and start a conversation. From there on I was pretty much on my own. DrAwkward offered me advice from time to time through private messages when I was unsure what to say (there had already been several games before I was introduced and I neglected to read the massive campaign logs provided before joining :o).

Once I joined the party we debated, quite extensively, on how exactly we would gain access to the basement of a local bakery. The party was searching for a necromancer and believed they would find him or at least some information in that location. We made our way to the bakery and had a blast talking to the owner there. We wanted to either keep her distracted long enough for us to look around or possibly gain her trust enough to let us take a look around. After much hilarity ensued from trying the different "cuisines" the baker had to offer, we finally found out the Baker had been told we were coming and it was alright to let us into the basement :rolleyes:.

The first long hallway I came across I bolted down, of course falling right into a trap. This necromancers lair was full of traps, something I was quite grateful for as my character saw a lot of action. There were traps galore, a little combat, and plenty of detective work to be done on the necromancers belongings while he was away. We ended up ending our game session for the night without going very far into the lair at all. I felt the experience was very well rounded, with just a tad more emphasis on story and character development than combat; just the way I hoped it would be :cool:.

I felt DrAwkward and his lovely group of gamers were perfect for my introduction to D&D. I don't think I could have asked for a better game to lose my innocence to. The only bad things I have to say are for the game mechanics themselves. The ideas I had in my head about the D&D system turned out to be picture perfect and in some cases worse than I had imagined. I couldn't imagine playing without the house rules that were in place. There were two big problems I had with the D&D system last night.

1. Combat Is Overcomplicated And Thus Slow
The D&D game system as a whole is overcomplicated. Emphasis has been put on realism, thoroughness, and completeness. The system is more concerned with defining options to account for every perceivable situation and possibility and as a result you are left with a lot of crunch that most casual gamers will never use. One thing I enjoyed about BattleTech is you had three rule levels. Level 1 was pretty much the quick play rules, less phases and greatly toned down game mechanics. Level 2 was the ruleset most people would use, from the casual gamer to the BattleTech veteran. Level 3 were the rules that added little to insane amounts of completeness and complexity. Want to know the rules for walking sideways on ice, which is covered in patches of thick mud, while it is raining sleet, standing on a hill with a 45 degree downward slant, a humidity rating of 210%, on a world with 2.5 times the earths gravity? Level 3 rules have the answer!

What I loved so much about that system is the game was made up of a set of basic core mechanics. Even 40% of the Level 2 rules were for optional situations that you could easily look up when needed, like Death From Above, Clubbing, Charging, and Tripping. I know much of D&D is considered optional but unless you have a rule guru present you'll be doing A LOT of book referencing, sometimes through multiple books. Even all of the Level 3 BattleTech rules could be found in easy to reference tables, all in one place, in a single book. Their usage was black and white, no room for personal interpretation. D&D leaves much to personal interpretation and reference tables would be vast enough to fill small books themselves. Versus two or three sheets of double sided paper for ALL of BattleTech Level 3 rules, which were extremely extensive indeed.

One might argue that D&D is a bigger game than BattleTech but the core WOTC product list couldn't be more than 130+ books could it (actually asking)? Unlike the additional D&D supplements ALL BattleTech products were designed to be used together. I know many would argue that most BattleTech rules are so much simpler to understand than D&D spells, feats, etc... That is the whole point of my argument. D&D is downright overcomplicated and much to its detriment.

I find that most wargames are well balanced, operate off of simple core mechanics, and offer simple to extremely complex optional rules. The wargames that aren't are the simulation wargames, like most of those produced by Avalon Hill. These games were never fun for me because they were too complicated for their own good. They lacked streamlining and were more interested in reality and completeness than on "flow" and combat that was fun. Even streamlined wargame systems would have you spending weeks on a single large scale battle. Simulation wargames would have you spending months, and not by choice, by design. I feel that D&D falls into the simulation wargame category. It is just too complicated for its own good. It lacks streamlining in many areas which leads me to my second major problem.

2. Class Based Systems Have Too Much PC "Down Time"
Last night the only time the party was truly gaming together was during the RP sections. When I was scouting ahead, looking for traps, "roguing" in general, they all had to wait for me to finish before they could continue to play (by choice of course). During the time they were investigating the Necromancers things, this took nearly an hour, I was sitting around with noway to help them (seeing as his things were protected with a magic barrier). Class Based Systems are great in that everybody has a defined role and is almost, depending on the setting, equally important. However this leaves room for PC's to regularly be useless in any given situation. Unless the GM plans everything out ahead of time, taking away a good chunk of room for PC spontaneity and free will, I think just about any setting will suffer hugely from constant PC "down time".

In Conclusion
In the end I believe D&D to be a game suited better for fantasy extremists and completests than the average fantasy gamer. Obviously with the right GM, house rules, and/or system tailoring the game could fit what I am looking for. However, given the amount of time it would take, especially when using published adventures, modules, supplements, and rule conversions (Arcana Unearthed, TBO Eldritch Might, TBO Iron Might, etc...), the task is not only time consuming but unnecessary when point based systems can so readily meet my needs. D&D was fun to play but I feel the best parts of it can be done much better, more easily, and more extensively in another system. For my needs, point based systems are choice Grade A meat :cool:

Maelstrom
02-04-2008, 06:53 AM
Interesting assessment, but somehow you are still in the minority. How is it that so many people play and enjoy D&D, if it can be compared in complexity to the most complicated wargames of today?

I agree that a lot of D&D is centered around combat, which in the worlds the game is set in is a very common occurance. A lot of what happens is either direct combat or trying to avoid combat through sneakiness and diplomacy. The combat that the system offers however is very interesting and dynamic though, if people actually role-play the combat instead of treat it as a wargame. If dynamic high magic combat is not for you, I can see why D&D isn't as inviting.

Could you explain how the point based systems are so much better at role playing? I haven't played them to see, but a mechanic is a mechanic, and I don't see how other systems' mechanics can do things that D&D could not. How does D&D get in the way of role-playing? True role-playing doesn't even need dice.

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 07:20 AM
Interesting assessment, but somehow you are still in the minority. How is it that so many people play and enjoy D&D, if it can be compared in complexity to the most complicated wargames of today?There are few wargames that are set in a Fantasy setting by default. Many systems can do fantasy but none can do Fantasy like D&D. D&D is one of the most popular games, not just pen and papers, in the entire world. Many know of it but have no idea it is played with pen, paper, dice, and your imagination. When it comes to high magic, D&D cannot be beaten. Its extensiveness stretches close to the known borders of imagination itself in my opinion. Whichever reason(s) you play it for, D&D is a tasty option indeed.


I agree that a lot of D&D is centered around combat, which in the worlds the game is set in is a very common occurance. A lot of what happens is either direct combat or trying to avoid combat through sneakiness and diplomacy. The combat that the system offers however is very interesting and dynamic though, if people actually role-play the combat instead of treat it as a wargame. If dynamic high magic combat is not for you, I can see why D&D isn't as inviting.Dynamic high magic is not my cup of tea. I love magic but not as thoroughly as the creators behind D&D do. I enjoy fantasy for the setting, including its magic, and everything contained within it. Magic is not a pro or con for me when considering D&D as a system to play in.


Could you explain how the point based systems are so much better at role playing? I haven't played them to see, but a mechanic is a mechanic, and I don't see how other systems' mechanics can do things that D&D could not. How does D&D get in the way of role-playing? True role-playing doesn't even need dice.In my opinion D&D's heavy focus on combat is what gets in the way of RP. The templates that make up D&D classes cloud the mind of and greatly influence the perception of PC's, regardless of whatever background has been defined for that PC. I think this is one of the greater strengths of class based systems. Just by getting a little bit of information (class, level, profession, race) about a character you already know a great deal of information about them, their personality, and their preferences.

When I think of role playing I consider true role playing to make a character your own. You give it a detailed background, maybe an accent, characteristics, memorable personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, etc... You become the character. Don't get me wrong, I don't understand the joy of LARP'ing anymore than the next non-LARP'er. But I believe that predefined ideas that come along with races, classes, professions, etc... make "owning" a character much more difficult. Can you imagine a rogue that hates stealing, wears big floppy shoes that make lots of noise, is scared of knives, and enjoys being the life of a political banquet? I find such a character extremely hard to believe.

In a point based system you create a character from scratch. You define its personality, strengths, weaknesses, race, profession, social class, etc... by buying them with points. The different possibilities for possible configurations of a 25 point character in GURPS are in the tens of thousands. How many different ways can "own" a Lv1 Human Rogue? That is pretty much left up to your character sheet, which few people would really pay attention to, and how you present the character in game through actions and role playing. Most D&D'ers are extremely casual when they role play. "Owning" a character in a class based system and a point based system are two very different things. I agree that true role playing doesn't require dice but how many pen and paper games that use them have you played where no dice were used? You may get the occasional session once in a while, but they are rare indeed.

rabkala
02-04-2008, 07:49 AM
I have played gurps rifts/infinite worlds and space. I found the games just as crunchy and possibly more cheesy than most of the D&D games I have played.
I came from a very strong RP background, but as I get older I want more action. I want to get things done, now! I want to play games where I felt I have accomplished something and advanced in some way. I have tried several different systems and never found the RP potential versus actual implementation of it differed that much other than diceless games. Maybe, subconsciously that is why most of my gaming has been D&D.

For me RP is motivation, but can not be the reason to play. I have played in D&D games for weeks on end where nothing was accomplished other than buying clothes and talking to shopkeepers about the weather. WTF!

I don't consider myself an expert in every available system. I guess, in the end play what makes you happy. Try a GURPS game and definitely a few other game systems. Hey, maybe hook up with some LARPers to see if that is your calling. Maybe Unisystem or Amber are better for you. When you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, go for it.

I think you are still a way off from deciding the best system from an informed perspective...

DrAwkward
02-04-2008, 11:01 AM
I can picture a rogue being the life of high society, and neither sneak nor steal.
If I was a rich noble, for example, I'd prefer a rogue bodyguard to a thug in most civilized gatherings. The lovely lady hanging on my arm?.The one making delightful small talk? She's watching everything and everybody looking for signs of trouble brewing. She says a code phrase, and I excuse myself before the sniper she spotted lines up his shot.

Fighter bodyguards are there to save your bacon after the trouble starts. They usually are very good at avenging your death.

The very successful merchant? The one that every likes dealing with, because he's so honest? Sure, he drives hard bargains, but his word is good.

I think rogue is one of the most versatile classes in D&D. The trouble is adventuring rogues are expected to be sneaky trap monkeys. The NPC rogues get to have all the fun.

I do agree that its hard to feel any ownership of a starting rogue, though (especially one the DM made for you). At first level they do kind of fall out of the cookie cutter looking the same, as do most classes.

cplmac
02-04-2008, 11:33 AM
Before saying much more, I'm wanting to just make sure I am thinking that this was played online, as opposed to the group of people meeting and playing at one table together.

gdmcbride
02-04-2008, 11:58 AM
Sounds like overall you had a gooding gaming experience. Really that's all that matters. But I am unclear on one point -- how do point buy systems encourage roleplaying more than class systems?

The amount of roleplaying is surely much more a function of the GM's story than any system choice.

For Example -- Bob has a story he's entitled Dungeon Death Match 3000. This story is only about combat with hardly a shred of roleplaying to be seen. Bob wants death death death in a dungeon dungeon dungeon and nothing but! Bob decides that the best system for his game is Fantasy HERO (perhaps the purest of point buy systems). How does Fantasy HERO (or GURPS for that matter) get in the way of Bob making Dungeon Death Match 3000?

Gary

MortonStromgal
02-04-2008, 12:29 PM
Interesting assessment, but somehow you are still in the minority. How is it that so many people play and enjoy D&D, if it can be compared in complexity to the most complicated wargames of today?

Could you explain how the point based systems are so much better at role playing? I haven't played them to see, but a mechanic is a mechanic, and I don't see how other systems' mechanics can do things that D&D could not. How does D&D get in the way of role-playing? True role-playing doesn't even need dice.

For me there are two things I like about D&D 1. nostogia and 2. the monster manual. Otherwise I find alot of other fantasy RPGs superior. D&D is the old girlfriend you remeber the good times so you get back togeather and then you re-live the bad times and remember why you left to begin with.


I would say point vs class depends on the type of gamer you are. I, for example, can go into a game and have a concept already and then use my points to build that concept, thus a superior system for me as I am not shoe horned into a role. Other people need a bit of guidence and a class/clan/whatever allows them to pick a role then fill in a few bits for personal taste.

Riftwalker
02-04-2008, 12:43 PM
I assert that the following is true:

Point-based systems and class-based systems both allow for the same degree of complexity and customization in character development. However, in a class-based system, you may have to create your own class to achieve the desired results if no existing class is suitable.

Further (to build on what others have already said in this thread):

Class-based where the existing classes already fit the character concept: Low investment
Point-based: Medium investment
Class-based where the existing classes do not fit the character concept: High investment

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 12:52 PM
I have played gurps rifts/infinite worlds and space. I found the games just as crunchy and possibly more cheesy than most of the D&D games I have played.I've already played several games in GURPS with my wife. With the exception of some kind of freakish super campaign where every single advantage/disadvantage/quirk/etc... is used, how can you say GURPS is just as crunchy as D&D? There are maybe one or two other point systems that are as extensive as GURPS and try to cover everything like GURPS. The rest of the point based systems are created around one or two specific types of settings. D&D is just for fantasy and is one of the crunchiest systems in existance (in its 3.X incarnation at least). Can you please provide examples of what you are referring to?


I came from a very strong RP background, but as I get older I want more action. I want to get things done, now! I want to play games where I felt I have accomplished something and advanced in some way. I have tried several different systems and never found the RP potential versus actual implementation of it differed that much other than diceless games. Maybe, subconsciously that is why most of my gaming has been D&D.Sounds like we definitely have different "needs" from our game systems. I'm very curious what you mean by "came from a very strong RP background". Could you elaborate? I figure your talking about acting, theater, or the drama club. However, I'm not sure what it relates to pen and paper gaming. You aren't an ex-LARP'er are you?! :eek:


For me RP is motivation, but can not be the reason to play. I have played in D&D games for weeks on end where nothing was accomplished other than buying clothes and talking to shopkeepers about the weather. WTF!Weeks on end buying cloths and talking to shopkeepers about the whether? I seriously doubt that :rolleyes:. As far as a game not being the reason for playing the game, that is the basis of the homebrew settings I'm creating. It is the basis for my homebrew GURPS fantasy system. It is the only reason I put wargaming on the side to pursue role playing pen and paper systems. It is the overcomplication of D&D's game mechanics that lead to slowness which bring role playing to a screeching halt. It is the number one reason I'm choosing not to play D&D.


I don't consider myself an expert in every available system. I guess, in the end play what makes you happy. Try a GURPS game and definitely a few other game systems. Hey, maybe hook up with some LARPers to see if that is your calling. Maybe Unisystem or Amber are better for you. When you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, go for it.I've pointed out my fear of LARP'ers in a lot of threads and you know it lol :p *shutters at the thought*. I've thoroughly researched and played D&D and GURPS. I own Amber, Unisystem, and several other game system core books. I've perused them all and I honestly don't see how a diceless game system cannot suffer from bloated game mechanics like anything else. Even dice systems use some form of randomized system (like rock/paper/scissors) to make decisions. Dice, hand puppets, horse shoe tossing, it is all about making decisions one way or another in the end.


I think you are still a way off from deciding the best system from an informed perspective...I agree that any system could prove to be "more for me" than GURPS when tested in the future, I can't imagine a better starting place for me, for all reasons listed thus far, than GURPS. While I may be new to pen and paper role playing games, I am not a virgin to gaming in general. I've been playing RPG's, MMORPG's, and RTS's for close to 22 years of my life (I'm 26). While I may not yet know what the best system is for me, I have a pretty well defined and time tested idea of what I am looking for and what I enjoy when gaming ;)

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 01:13 PM
I do agree that its hard to feel any ownership of a starting rogue, though (especially one the DM made for you). At first level they do kind of fall out of the cookie cutter looking the same, as do most classes.I was actually quite pleased with the rogue you created for me. The only thing really lacking was a nice character bio and extensive game experience to help flesh her out. One thing many here might not know is that I have been a D&D fan since I was a child. I've played any fantasy based video game you can name that released in USA, no matter how crappy or underrated. I've been reading fantasy themed and D&D branded novels since I was five. I still remember reading Nintendos Wizards & Warriors book set like it was yesterday. I have not played every PC fantasy game created as I got into PC gaming when I was in my teens. However I did dig back to play the classics all the way up to the hottest titles in 2007. My experience with class based systems is EXTENSIVE from literature and gaming alone.

Please don't shake your head at video games and just write them off. They may not as be as vast as the human imagination but you still get a lot of experience playing tens of thousands of hours in MMO's, RPG's, and RTS's. Some examples of PC games and MMO's:
Elder Scrolls series
Dues Ex
Freedom Force
World Of WarCraft
EverQuest
Dungeons & Dragons Online
Ragnarok Online
Lord Of The Rings Online
Guild Wars
Star Wars KOTOR series
Darge Age of Camelot
Might and Magic series
Fallout series
Jade Empire
City Of Heroes
Wizards & Warriors
Final Fantasy series
Star Wars Galaxies
EVE Online
Septerra Core
Anarchy Online
Grandia series
Lineage series
Ultimate Online
Vampire The Masquerade series
Asherons Call
Pool of Radiance
Phantasy Star Universe
RF Online
Icewind Dale series
Baldur's Gate Series
and Neverwinter Night Series
this is just a few of the hundreds I've played since childhood (not an exaggeration)While D&D has the potential to offer me more as I get to interact with real people, which provides spontaneity and randomness, I have quite a bit of experience with immersive role playing. Thanks to games like Dungeons & Dragons Online, Pool Of Radiance, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, and Baldur's Gate (not to mention countless novels) I am intimately familiar with D&D's core races, classes, and "fantasy" settings. I am not a virgin to gaming in general. I've been playing RPG's, MMORPG's, and RTS's for close to 22 years of my life (I'm 26). I have a pretty well defined and time tested idea of what I am looking for and what I enjoy when gaming ;)


I would say point vs class depends on the type of gamer you are. I, for example, can go into a game and have a concept already and then use my points to build that concept, thus a superior system for me as I am not shoe horned into a role. Other people need a bit of guidence and a class/clan/whatever allows them to pick a role then fill in a few bits for personal taste.I couldn't agree more. Point serves my need much better than class does. Keep in mind I'm looking for 75% to 100% role playing and the majority of my settings will be purely homebrew. Point just feels oh so right :cool:


Before saying much more, I'm wanting to just make sure I am thinking that this was played online, as opposed to the group of people meeting and playing at one tabletogether.Yes it was. We played using MapTool and TeamSpeak.


Sounds like overall you had a gooding gaming experience. Really that's all that matters. But I am unclear on one point -- how do point buy systems encourage roleplaying more than class systems? The amount of roleplaying is surely much more a function of the GM's story than any system choice.Maelstrom asked a question along the same lines earlier in the thread (the answer is the last three paragraphs of this thread (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21387&postcount=3)). I'm not sure if you saw it but if you did and are still wondering, could you expand on your question or rephrase it?

boulet
02-04-2008, 01:47 PM
Mulsiphix, I'm glad you had an experience at playing a pen and paper role playing game finally. I read your report with curiosity.

On one hand I share your lack of enthusiasm for D&D, especially the consideration about the classes and creation system. I started to lose interest in D&D almost as soon as I realized other game systems existed (it was like 20 years ago and I believe it was Call of Cthulhu that opened my eyes then). I would try every few years another D&D game and just like MortonStromgal mentioned it was a predictible disappointment every time. Even if I enjoyed D&D in a far past, it really felt like trying to resurrect my first love story. Except the girlfriend was still 14 years old and still needed clearasil badly... I would compare the magic and combat systems to a town that was small and orderly a century ago. And then demography, economics and lack of urbanism policies transformed it into a chaos of skycrapers and oddly shaped streets. People still love the town, maybe for the very charm of its weird look, maybe because they have their roots there. Other will move to a place where a mayor decided at some point to put some order and make the city more human friendly.

On an other hand there are a few issues you mentioned you attribute to D&D system which are kind of unfair. Any game, whatever the system, may have down time every once in a while. It may be about a magical barrier that only magic class PCs may deal with, or it may be about hacking a computer database when only one PC has a the computer skill. It's not related to D&D and classes. It's more about the GM paying attention to players and trying to keep all of them interested. Like cplmac said, it was an online game session and it probably played a big part in why you had an hour of down time.

Role playing isn't a microwavable dish. It's not enough to unwrap the book, gather people and serve everybody a warm plate of "let's have an adventure". It takes time to have a decent dynamic in group of players. It takes time to build social relationship, get to know each other's tastes. It's about luck sometimes too : some of the best planned game sessions may end up with a feeling of waste. It just wasn't the day, will do better next time...

Until the day you're running a game I think you should be indulgent with the next few GMs you're going to play with. Running a campaign is tough sh*t and if the players aren't supportive there's no way it's achievable. I'm not going to tell an old big guy like you that you're not untitled your opinion. Unlike a teenager you obviously have more detailed expectations of what good RPG should be for you, maturity compensating experience in your case. But please give more than one try to that GM or this game system before you ditch them. Playing at a real table should be much better IMO, especially with new systems and/or group of players.

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 02:01 PM
On an other hand there are a few issues you mentioned you attribute to D&D system which are kind of unfair. Any game, whatever the system, may have down time every once in a while. It may be about a magical barrier that only magic class PCs may deal with, or it may be about hacking a computer database when only one PC has a the computer skill. It's not related to D&D and classes. It's more about the GM paying attention to players and trying to keep all of them interested. Like cplmac said, it was an online game session and it probably played a big part in why you had an hour of down time.I agree that every last system and individual game will suffer from down time, especially as the player count increases. I feel that class based systems, in theory, are more susceptible to frequent "down time" than point based systems. I agree fully that no system is "down time" free and I can't imagine any game session that involves multiple players taking turns that doesn't have some sort of down time.

I also agree that in a real life situation the down time would be greatly minimized. When typing and/or voice communication software is used, the rate of communication for any person (especially the GM), is greatly reduced. It becomes a chaotic mess of questions, details, and requests. If order is applied to this chaos then the down time only increases as one must wait for their turn to be heard. The same is true for real life games but usually the brain can interpret multiple streams to some level and multi-tasking becomes limited by the brain and vocals, not the ability to type, available bandwidth, or garbled voice communication.


But please give more than one try to that GM or this game system before you ditch them. Playing at a real table should be much better IMO, especially with new systems and/or group of players.I actually plan to continue playing with this group until they end their campaign. I honestly wish they played more than twice a month but understand that real life responsibilities and situations make that impossible. I'm actually looking for another online game right now while I get better aquainted with GURPS and start working on my Ptolus to GURPS conversion :p. I have the utmost respect for GM's and the hard work they put into creating their game worlds. I very much look forward to playing more in the future and expanding my knowledge and experience.

TAROT
02-04-2008, 02:29 PM
Interesting assessment, but somehow you are still in the minority. How is it that so many people play and enjoy D&D, if it can be compared in complexity to the most complicated wargames of today?

All those complicated wargames have an audience. Having lots of rules is an attraction to some players. Gamers have an arcane/secret jargon which they speak and there is an appeal to being "in the know." When I was ten, I found D&D very appealing, the bloom is off the rose now.

For me, it isn't a matter of D&D being complex, it is a matter of where it chooses to add complexity and the methods by which it does it.


Could you explain how the point based systems are so much better at role playing? . . . How does D&D get in the way of role-playing?

I don't think that it really comes down to point based vs. D&D here. A lot of it stems from the XP systems. D&D rewards you for killing things (and in previous editions taking their stuff). Other games reward players for showing up, staying in character, being entertaining and overcoming obstacles. Palladium, another class/level system has a very nice XP system.

(I realize that in 3.x, D&D now says "defeat" rather than "kill", but if the Fighter with a -5 on his Move Silent check wakes up the ogre, you're going to end up in a fight anyway.)


Many systems can do fantasy but none can do Fantasy like D&D.

D&D is its own genre.


For me RP is motivation, but can not be the reason to play. I have played in D&D games for weeks on end where nothing was accomplished other than buying clothes and talking to shopkeepers about the weather. WTF!

Chances are that the merchants were planning to assassinate the prince or something, but you all failed your perception check, or failed to ask the right question.


I think you are still a way off from deciding the best system from an informed perspective...

I agree with this, but I also think that raw enthusiasm can carry Mulsiphix for a couple of solid years.

tesral
02-04-2008, 02:40 PM
"Role-playing isn't a microwave dish." I like that.

Mulsiphix glad to see you got to play a game even if it wasn't face to face, still the purest form and for me the most preferred. I see you did have fun. That is the good part.

I'll say it again, system is not role-playing. In fact when you dig into into the systems they are nearly all crunch. It doesn't matter what the system is, class, point, fluffy bunnies, the "system" part of the system is crunch. A method for handling the random events produced within the game.

I'm not going to tout a best system or defend D&D. I don't agree with me on a single best system. Each has advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want your system to do for you. I only run D&D simply so I don't squander limited time and energy all over the map with multiple systems. Not becase D&D is the ultimate best system, it isn't. I'll play damn near anything. (Except Harmmaster, the pain the pain)

What I will defend is role-playing. System doesn't matter. I can role-play in a straight up war game and do. Why are these guys fighting this battle? What do they hope to accomplish? And so forth. Some systems give you better hooks in the core books to hang your role-play off of, but no system is better at role-play. I have played more than a few of them.,

Players and Game Masters make for good role-play. The worst resolution system in the world can have great role-play with the right people. The best system in the world can have lousy role-play with the wrong people. It is simply how it works. How good the role-playing is will depend entirely on what you and your fellow players bring to the table, that simple.

As an example when I started my most recent game I handed the DM a fairly vague background full of plot hooks. I was vague because I didn't know his world, and wanted him to be able to fit my ideas into his existing structure. As the game has progressed we firmed up those details with names and places.

Now my fellow players have mentioned how the plot so far has centered around Raphael. Well, I told them, I gave Mike a bag full of plot hooks. Create some background for your PC, and you to can be the center of attention. The DM needs something to hang the game off of and I have facilitated that. Ergo, I get attention. Give Mike an excuse to build adventure around your PC and I'll gladly take my turn at second fiddle. Damn straight I will. Being the target is wearing.

I am the only other DM in the group. I am also the most experienced gamer in the group and I am working overtime to not "make the game mine". However I know what a DM needs, and I am handing that to Mike in shovel loads and encouraging my fellow gamers to do the same. The game is not the sole work of the Game Master, it is a collaboration of all the participants. At this point two of the other players have also created backgrounds for the PCs. Things are looking up.

Mulsiphix
02-04-2008, 03:01 PM
Entire Post (theme/moral)So are you saying that you believe that any system is equally capable of facilitating RP? Game mechanics are boundaries for those of us who don't live and breathe house rules like yourself (I consider you a house rule guru based on various posts around the forum). For those who abide strictly to those boundaries, I do believe that some game systems make RP easier than others. Many systems offer rewards for those who "get into character" and many D&D GM's offer incentives to players who adhere strictly to their alignment. The alignment system is a good example of a system that facilitates RP. As a set of standard guidelines it really helps a player get a feel for a character, especially for those of us who enjoy the alignment descriptions. I agree that any system, in the right situation, can provide an equal level of RP. Some systems make "the right situation" much easier to facilitate.

DrAwkward
02-04-2008, 03:22 PM
So are you saying that you believe that any system is equally capable of facilitating RP? Game mechanics are boundaries for those of us who don't live and breathe house rules like yourself (I consider you a house rule guru based on various posts around the forum). For those who abide strictly to those boundaries, I do believe that some game systems make RP easier than others. Many systems offer rewards for those who "get into character" and many D&D GM's offer incentives to players who adhere strictly to their alignment. The alignment system is a good example of a system that facilitates RP. As a set of standard guidelines it really helps a player get a feel for a character, especially for those of us who enjoy the alignment descriptions. I agree that any system, in the right situation, can provide an equal level of RP. Some systems make "the right situation" much easier to facilitate.
I think the best RP experience I've had from any system was with Kobolds Ate my Baby. The system was a tiny little booklet about a rediculous premise, and nothing was well defined at all. Mulsiphix has a point in that a system that has a large, intricate set of rules about combat is going to encourage combat. KAMB encourages not taking it seriously, and that encourages (campy, pun-filled) roleplaying.

Tesral has a point in that you aren't going to find a system that las a large intricate set of rules about roleplaying. Any system that did would appeal to at most 20% of the market and alienate at least 50%; we all see this touchy-feely stuff differently.

And I agree that online gaming is less RP-friendly that in-face gaming. One of my earlier players bowed out because he just couldn't get into the interface/experience of Maptool+Teamspeak.

Finally, my table is not a heavy RP crowd. Most of them come from the Living Greyhawk convention gaming, which doesn't encourage RP at all.. I think you helped them roleplay more than the other way around.

tesral
02-04-2008, 03:33 PM
So are you saying that you believe that any system is equally capable of facilitating RP? Game mechanics are boundaries for those of us who don't live and breathe house rules like yourself (I consider you a house rule guru based on various posts around the forum). For those who abide strictly to those boundaries, I do believe that some game systems make RP easier than others. Many systems offer rewards for those who "get into character" and many D&D GM's offer incentives to players who adhere strictly to their alignment. The alignment system is a good example of a system that facilitates RP. As a set of standard guidelines it really helps a player get a feel for a character, especially for those of us who enjoy the alignment descriptions. I agree that any system, in the right situation, can provide an equal level of RP. Some systems make "the right situation" much easier to facilitate.

Exactly, the game mechanics do not affect the role-play, or shouldn't. If they do affect the role-play my experience has been to the negative. They constrain or limit. I have yet to see game rules flexible enough to handle personal interactions outside of combat. That is why CRPGs don't. You can't really role-play in a computer game, only make a choice from a list of multiple choices predetermined for you.

System is for things that should be random or cannot be fairly decided outright. This is a matter of style. I prefer minimal system interaction. I know people that wear dice out using them to determine everything their character does. Not my style. A good game can not touch dice for sessions at a time.

As to house rules I can't leave anything alone. I am constantly looking for the better mouse trap and I have never considered the rules of the game something sacred. There is a better way and I will find it. You need to be careful. A change in the rules can unbalance things. Any rule I use has been tested. Not every idea makes the cut.
First rule of house rules is the play value of a rule must exceed the complication. If a rule adds complication, it must add considerable play value. I have not used a number of neat ideas because they didn't meet that criteria. If a rule lowers complication, it mustn't lower play value.

My first game was a starship combat game. Frankly it worked exactly as designed. However, it was way to complicated. It required math and much record keeping and calculation. Needless to say that game system is no longer with us.

My holy grail is the one roll system that doesn't have a book of charts. I freely admit that it is most likely impossible. It doesn't keep me from looking.

DrAwkward
02-04-2008, 04:01 PM
My holy grail is the one roll system that doesn't have a book of charts. I freely admit that it is most likely impossible. It doesn't keep me from looking.

I've been trying to come up with a clean system with light mechanics, myself.

Can't quite get it down to one roll, though. In its current incarnation it's:

"You roll a die (d4 through d12) that represents your skill. Your target rolls a die that represents the skill they are opposing with. High roll wins, and the difference of the rolls (+/- weapon and armor modifications) is the damage."

I'm building it up on a wiki, but its a long way from being ready for prime time.

tesral
02-04-2008, 04:38 PM
I've been trying to come up with a clean system with light mechanics, myself.

Can't quite get it down to one roll, though. In its current incarnation it's:

"You roll a die (d4 through d12) that represents your skill. Your target rolls a die that represents the skill they are opposing with. High roll wins, and the difference of the rolls (+/- weapon and armor modifications) is the damage."

I'm building it up on a wiki, but its a long way from being ready for prime time.

Sounds like a variation on "Window". Google it. It's not just a lousy computer OS, it's a game system too.

DrAwkward
02-04-2008, 05:28 PM
Sounds like a variation on "Window". Google it. It's not just a lousy computer OS, it's a game system too.

Interesting. It's a little more "the RP justifies the means" and less "Rules" than I had in mind. Still, its something to chew on. Thanks for the link.

Stride
02-04-2008, 06:07 PM
And I agree that online gaming is less RP-friendly that in-face gaming. One of my earlier players bowed out because he just couldn't get into the interface/experience of Maptool+Teamspeak.

Finally, my table is not a heavy RP crowd. Most of them come from the Living Greyhawk convention gaming, which doesn't encourage RP at all.. I think you helped them roleplay more than the other way around.

hi DocAwk, hi Mulsiphix,
Synecai here.

my favorite RPG system is ShadowRun. i think MapTools would suck the life out of a ShadowRun game completely. MapTools definitely amplifies the wargame aspects of D&D3.5. hell, it's like a constant reminder that the universe is governed by what moves into or out of a 5' square. but, hold off your decision til you get a broader sampling of our sessions.
:)
those 2 combats were more like a fishing hole and a trap that gets an attack roll. and i can take some blame if you thought there wasn't enough role-play. i was drunker than usual so i was rolling my social skills instead of role-ing them.


i totally understand your feelings about "Class Based Systems". i gave up on D&D for awhile cuz of it. when DocAwk brought me back with 3.5 i was skeptical. at first i throught i'd go with the flow and make a stereotypical cookiecutter archtype...
"i'm a cleric, see! look at my mace and sub-par equipment that keeps me in my place."
...i was so wrong. D&D3.5 let me flesh out any character concept i could come up with; AND i could build my concepts using almost any class or classes.
i have a Gnoll Ronin. by using various feats and options i could have used any Class except Wizard or Sorcerer to flesh it out. i chose Militant Rogue/Paladin. his Rogue levels alone are a great example because all of the skill points went to knowledge and social skills; no 'thief' skills at all.

wait til you make your own character. we pushed you into 'thief'.:)
D&D3.5 gives you enough options that it feels just like a 'Point Buy' system.

DrAwkward
02-04-2008, 07:10 PM
MapTools definitely amplifies the wargame aspects of D&D3.5. hell, it's like a constant reminder that the universe is governed by what moves into or out of a 5' square. It does hexes too. You can pre-define tables for hit locations -- I think it'd be a decent venue for B-tech. Not so much for Vampire: the Masquerade. Shadowrun might be doable if you turn off "snap-to-grid".


but, hold off your decision til you get a broader sampling of our sessions.
Yeah, you caught us going in to a dungeon. We'll have entire sessions where no dice get rolled.

* I avoid super long dungeons, for the most part. Long dungeon crawls bore me.

* I avoid truly random encounters. If you encounter something, I planted it there. I do make a list of random things to encounter, but there is no endless supply of 1d4+1 kobolds. You kill kobolds, I mark off that patrol.

tesral
02-04-2008, 08:03 PM
Oh yes, "the grid"....

Sitting around the camp fire Bob the Cleric holds forth. "My friend, have you considered some of the greater mysteries of our world? Yea, the very fact that we cannot move but in increments five? And that our entire world is laid out on a grid of five foot squares? Yea, great mysteries these."

Joe Fighter: "You would almost think that some greater beings controlled our fate."

I want to buy everyone a ruler, really.

Drohem
02-04-2008, 09:06 PM
In a game where spells and missile weapons have range and/or area of effect, then it is necessary to have a standard measurement of movement and distance. Using a board or matt that have distance already laid with square or hexes is only a tool to aid in the visualization.

I would respectfully decline your ruler and continue to use a board or battlematt.

tesral
02-04-2008, 09:58 PM
In a game where spells and missile weapons have range and/or area of effect, then it is necessary to have a standard measurement of movement and distance. Using a board or matt that have distance already laid with square or hexes is only a tool to aid in the visualization.

I would respectfully decline your ruler and continue to use a board or battlematt.

I've never found a grid of any shape necessary to visualize something. Each to their own. However, I do find the artifical limitations the D&D square grid imposes on combat frustrating, inorganic, and nonintuitive. Hexes are slightly better, no grid is best of all.

I own a mondomat, I'm not an anti mat fanantic. Only battlemat I have ever mopped on the kitchen floor.

rabkala
02-04-2008, 10:12 PM
With the exception of some kind of freakish super campaign where every single advantage/disadvantage/quirk/etc... is used, how can you say GURPS is just as crunchy as D&D?
Perhaps not at its core, but the games I played in had many house rules even imports from WH 20K(?). They were played as heavy duty combat games despite rule system.


I'm very curious what you mean by "came from a very strong RP background". Could you elaborate?
Just as I stated, D&D games where the goal was 80-100% role play in my early years.


Weeks on end buying cloths and talking to shopkeepers about the whether? I seriously doubt that :rolleyes:.
No, seriously. An inexperienced mostly female group who had no desire to combat icky things and progress, especially if they would get their cool clothes (that were custom designed to look as their character sketches) dirty. I know it may sound horrible and stereotypical to some, but true.


I've pointed out my fear of LARP'ers in a lot of threads and you know it lol :p *shutters at the thought*. I've thoroughly researched and played D&D and GURPS. I own Amber, Unisystem, and several other game system core books. I've perused them all and I honestly don't see how a diceless game system cannot suffer from bloated game mechanics like anything else.
Well, some LARPers are good people too.
Using your logic as to why Gurps is better than D&D should continue to lighter systems that were designed to be cooperative story telling with heavy RP potential.

I have a pretty well defined and time tested idea of what I am looking for and what I enjoy when gaming ;)
I wish you luck.
I can only relate my experience, which may be very different than others who have done very similar things. Results vary...

It is like food. Have you ever tried somebody's version of chili (or insert other widely changing food) and hated it, only to find another that was awesome and very different. One small taste may not be representative. In fact, tastes do change over time. That is all I'm saying.

Drohem
02-05-2008, 12:59 AM
I've never found a grid of any shape necessary to visualize something. Each to their own. However, I do find the artifical limitations the D&D square grid imposes on combat frustrating, inorganic, and nonintuitive. Hexes are slightly better, no grid is best of all.

I own a mondomat, I'm not an anti mat fanantic. Only battlemat I have ever mopped on the kitchen floor.

I don't see how a square grid or hex map is an artificial limitation. I don't find it frustrating at all. As you said, to each their own.

tesral
02-05-2008, 03:30 AM
I don't see how a square grid or hex map is an artificial limitation. I don't find it frustrating at all. As you said, to each their own.

Rigidity of movement on the grid is my problem. Using a grid to visualize things is fine, as long as I can move 2.5 feet if that suits me. It's the D&D snap grid I find anti-intuitive. It don't like the limited lines of movement. Hexes are slightly better. There is nothing about the D&D combat system that demands a grid be used. I know the rules suggest one and give examples based on the square and hex grid. It can be played without same.

For years we have run combat with no minis at all. I like my minis, but playing around my living room makes using minis difficult.

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 07:11 AM
I just want to apologize if I have come off bull headed or as a jerk. This board is primarily populated by D&D fans and I expected a great deal of "keep playing until you like it" attitudes. I started off on the defensive. I apologize for that :o

As much as I hate to admit it Rabkala has pointed out something that makes perfect sense for somebody in my position. Why not continue to lighter systems that were designed to be cooperative story telling with heavy RP potential? Good news is I plan to. I'm quite interested in Amber and The Burning Wheel.

However at this point I fear I've researched just about all I can at this time. That is further research probably won't be very beneficial. I am well educated on my options and have many different game systems in my home. I think the number one thing I need to do is immerse myself in gaming. One of the more attractive things for the GURPS system, not in a point system kind of way, is that it is designed for a multitude of settings. The more settings I can play in, the more I can get a feel for what I like and what I don't like.

Until I start playing enough that I start to see flaws in GURPS that I feel the need to house rule, I probably haven't played long enough :). I plan to pursue my gaming with DrAwkward and his group. I am also going to see if I can't find at least one other online D&D game that is newbie friendly. While I'm not sitting down and learning D&D the way I will be learning GURPS, I feel playing in multiple systems is a big priority. With GURPS I will be self tought. With D&D I will learn through trial and error, as well as with help from my fellow gamers.

My wife and I also can't seem to stay away from Exalted. While we won't be picking this up right away it and Amber are probably the next two systems we will be learning. I seek to get plenty of real world experience. I can't thank you all enough for providing me with genuine feedback and reading my insanely long post and replies. It is threads like this that make this that my PnPG magical for me. Thank you all ;)

Maelstrom
02-05-2008, 09:49 AM
Complexity is an interesting beast. Some see a system as incredibly complex because it has so many alternate rules. Others see the system as elegant, giving them options in layers.

Mul's description of having Battletech in multiple layeres of complexity is a good point. To him (and myself), Battletech is king when it comes to its style of combat. But to others it comes off as overkill (seperating weapons into different body parts, having to go through armor and then suddenly starting to damage internal systems, parts specifically designed to redirect ammunition explosions, etc etc).

For those that grew up with D&D 3.5 doesn't seem complex because they grew up with Armor Classes and attack rolls, spells and skills.

Not sure exactly what my point is, but I've been holding it in too long :)

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 09:58 AM
Growing up with a system is a really good point. BattleTech was my first game and I was eager to learn everything about it as I had never seen anything like it before. With so many wonderful PnP systems to choose from I'm finding myself doing a lot of speculation, tabulation, and guesstimation that I never had to do with BattleTech. Trying to break everything down in to Pro's and Con's isn't fair to any system as many systems feel much different in use than they look on paper. D&D, for me anyway, was exactly what I expected. Maybe I've played one to many games that use the D&D license? Maybe I've read to many fantasy books? Maybe I've looked at too many supplements and the lines that separate products are becoming blurred.

I may not think D&D is the system for me but I'm feinding, similar to substance withdrawl, to play again. I'm so very sad the games only take place bi-weekly. If I wasn't planning a series of games with my wife this week I would be in the player registry and campaign invitations right now looking for a newb friendly D&D game. May not be for me but it is still a lot of fun :)

Maelstrom
02-05-2008, 10:07 AM
With age comes a more closed mind... so much research is impressive, but it also might give impressions that will be hard to let go of.

I admit, I fight for D&D partially because of nastalgia of remembering the good times I've had. If I started researching another alternative such as GURPS, I'd probably end up the same way, declaring it's faults shamelessly on their boards :p

All in jest of course. These discussions are very interesting.

MortonStromgal
02-05-2008, 10:11 AM
My holy grail is the one roll system that doesn't have a book of charts. I freely admit that it is most likely impossible. It doesn't keep me from looking.

Heh thats my goal! You can't have it! seriously though I hear Godlike uses such a system (I have not played it) but for right now I'll stick to nWOD MET version for my "Holy Grail".

rabkala
02-05-2008, 10:33 AM
I wish I had resources like the computer and great sites like these around when I started playing 29 years ago. The face of gaming could be a very different place if everyone had the opportunity to shop around for the best fit armed with information. I commend your open minded and well informed attempt to make your game the best.

If things had been a little different, most could all be playing Wraeththu and I could have grown up to be Mod of World of Synnibar. Who knows, without good information we would like it!

Inquisitor Tremayne
02-05-2008, 11:04 AM
Sorry but I have not read all of the posts in this thread. I just wanted to comment on the following:




1. Combat Is Overcomplicated And Thus Slow
The D&D game system as a whole is overcomplicated. Emphasis has been put on realism, thoroughness, and completeness. The system is more concerned with defining options to account for every perceivable situation and possibility and as a result you are left with a lot of crunch that most casual gamers will never use. One thing I enjoyed about BattleTech is you had three rule levels. Level 1 was pretty much the quick play rules, less phases and greatly toned down game mechanics. Level 2 was the ruleset most people would use, from the casual gamer to the BattleTech veteran. Level 3 were the rules that added little to insane amounts of completeness and complexity. Want to know the rules for walking sideways on ice, which is covered in patches of thick mud, while it is raining sleet, standing on a hill with a 45 degree downward slant, a humidity rating of 210%, on a world with 2.5 times the earths gravity? Level 3 rules have the answer!

What I loved so much about that system is the game was made up of a set of basic core mechanics. Even 40% of the Level 2 rules were for optional situations that you could easily look up when needed, like Death From Above, Clubbing, Charging, and Tripping. I know much of D&D is considered optional but unless you have a rule guru present you'll be doing A LOT of book referencing, sometimes through multiple books. Even all of the Level 3 BattleTech rules could be found in easy to reference tables, all in one place, in a single book. Their usage was black and white, no room for personal interpretation. D&D leaves much to personal interpretation and reference tables would be vast enough to fill small books themselves. Versus two or three sheets of double sided paper for ALL of BattleTech Level 3 rules, which were extremely extensive indeed.

One might argue that D&D is a bigger game than BattleTech but the core WOTC product list couldn't be more than 130+ books could it (actually asking)? Unlike the additional D&D supplements ALL BattleTech products were designed to be used together. I know many would argue that most BattleTech rules are so much simpler to understand than D&D spells, feats, etc... That is the whole point of my argument. D&D is downright overcomplicated and much to its detriment.

I find that most wargames are well balanced, operate off of simple core mechanics, and offer simple to extremely complex optional rules. The wargames that aren't are the simulation wargames, like most of those produced by Avalon Hill. These games were never fun for me because they were too complicated for their own good. They lacked streamlining and were more interested in reality and completeness than on "flow" and combat that was fun. Even streamlined wargame systems would have you spending weeks on a single large scale battle. Simulation wargames would have you spending months, and not by choice, by design. I feel that D&D falls into the simulation wargame category. It is just too complicated for its own good. It lacks streamlining in many areas which leads me to my second major problem.

2. Class Based Systems Have Too Much PC "Down Time"
Last night the only time the party was truly gaming together was during the RP sections. When I was scouting ahead, looking for traps, "roguing" in general, they all had to wait for me to finish before they could continue to play (by choice of course). During the time they were investigating the Necromancers things, this took nearly an hour, I was sitting around with noway to help them (seeing as his things were protected with a magic barrier). Class Based Systems are great in that everybody has a defined role and is almost, depending on the setting, equally important. However this leaves room for PC's to regularly be useless in any given situation. Unless the GM plans everything out ahead of time, taking away a good chunk of room for PC spontaneity and free will, I think just about any setting will suffer hugely from constant PC "down time".


After SW Saga Edition came out and I played about 3 games with it these two points became glaringly clear to me. I then realized that I had always had these problems/concerns with D&D.

This is the reason I am looking forward to 4th Edition. If it can solve these 2 problems then I think D&D will be exciting and fun to play again.

So don't throw in the towel yet! Find yourself a 4th edition game. My group however has no plans of switching to 4th edition until we reach epic levels, we are only 8th, 9th, and 10th right now.

Anyhow, this was an excellent post, thanks for posting and I hope you got some good feedback.

I'll go read some more posts!:D

Inquisitor Tremayne
02-05-2008, 11:25 AM
I assert that the following is true:

Point-based systems and class-based systems both allow for the same degree of complexity and customization in character development. However, in a class-based system, you may have to create your own class to achieve the desired results if no existing class is suitable.

Further (to build on what others have already said in this thread):

Class-based where the existing classes already fit the character concept: Low investment
Point-based: Medium investment
Class-based where the existing classes do not fit the character concept: High investment


This is much less true when compared to SW Saga Edition. Multiclassing offers the most versatility in this game. I would say it is much more on terms with a medium investment like point-based systems.


As a side note:
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has sucked all my time and life! That game is the best video game RPG I have ever played. Talk about freaking in-depth! Want combat? There is plenty of that! Want all Roleplaying? You can spend ALL of your time going to towns and talking to everyone! Awesome!


Back on topic:
I do like the fact the D&D 3.x covers everything that a player could possibly do but it has the negative effect of kind of forcing DMs to enforce those rules, and in my xp, no DM knows ALL those minor details which means you spend a considerable amount of game time looking up these minor rules. The fact that this minutiae is left out of Saga allows or forces (depending on your pov) a GM to adhoc these rules. This generally keeps the game flowing more quickly.

cplmac
02-05-2008, 12:24 PM
Yes it was. We played using MapTool and TeamSpeak.

Realizing that I maybe considered archaic since my background of D&D is with 2E until the new 4E comes out and I can get the new books to learn its system, I also believe that there is a difference in playing online and sitting at the table in a large group meeting. I have also never had the opportunity to play an online game of D&D myself. I am however inclined to think that no matter what game you are playing, whether it's D&D, Gurps, or any of the others, the basic premise is the same. Everyone is going to have their oppinion as to what they think is the better game system. Most likely it will be the system that they have played the most.


What I find intriging is that a lot of people on here say about problems with systems being "broken" or "not good for higher level characters" but the same person will tell another poster of a way to overcome their problem. I would think that these people would be able to work out their own problems & questions without the need of new systems or versions to solve the problems & questions. From what I have read on here in the short time I've been on, there is a lot of intelligent thinkers here that I feel have the ability to fix anything they might run into.

Inquisitor Tremayne
02-05-2008, 12:35 PM
What I find intriging is that a lot of people on here say about problems with systems being "broken" or "not good for higher level characters" but the same person will tell another poster of a way to overcome their problem. I would think that these people would be able to work out their own problems & questions without the need of new systems or versions to solve the problems & questions. From what I have read on here in the short time I've been on, there is a lot of intelligent thinkers here that I feel have the ability to fix anything they might run into.

Indeed!

But I don't like having to "fix" a game I just paid money for.

For example, my only house rules are rules that I have added to the game, nothing I have "fixed". Aside from these few rules I run the game according to RAW.

Farcaster
02-05-2008, 12:37 PM
For those that grew up with D&D 3.5 doesn't seem complex because they grew up with Armor Classes and attack rolls, spells and skills.

It especially seems streamlined to those of us who "grew up" using THAC0 and Save-vs-Whatever. :cool:


My group however has no plans of switching to 4th edition until we reach epic levels, we are only 8th, 9th, and 10th right now.

Are you going to try to convert your characters into the new system or start new ones? Apparently, there will be no direct conversion as there was for 2e to 3e.

Drohem
02-05-2008, 12:44 PM
I have been playing online for several years now with the same group that I used to play face-to-face with, and there is definitely a different dynamic to online game play.

Farcaster
02-05-2008, 12:54 PM
I would have to agree, Drohem. When I moved from Dallas, Texas to Seattle, Washington earlier last year, I was in the midst of a D&D campaign that I really wanted to finish. So, the group and I worked it out where we played online. They still got together in one place and we used webcams over Skype so that they could see me and I could see them. Instead of using a battlemat, we used KloOge, which worked great. Still, it wasn't the same. Close, but not the same.

Maelstrom
02-05-2008, 01:08 PM
Ditto. If nothing else the atmosphere is not controllable by the DM, and that makes it more difficult. There are not just distractions in the room to deal with, there are distractions at each player's location you can't do anything about.

This alone makes it less possible to get drawn into the imagination that makes the experience. Not impossible, but more difficult.

Inquisitor Tremayne
02-05-2008, 01:08 PM
Are you going to try to convert your characters into the new system or start new ones? Apparently, there will be no direct conversion as there was for 2e to 3e.


I assume we will probably start anew or just create higher level heroes. But I do not even see this in the future.

I joined this group in 05 I think and since then I have gained 2 levels. I started at 7th level and am only 9th now. So 2 levels in 3 years, the future doesn't look good. We did discover that our DM was awarding xp wrong. At the time we had a party of one 7th level character, two 8th, one 10th. And we was giving everyone the same amount of xp so the higher level character managed to still level as we were leveling.

But now we are all pretty much 8th or 9th level as players have come and gone.

Sorry to get off topic.

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 01:46 PM
I then realized that I had always had these problems/concerns with D&D. This is the reason I am looking forward to 4th Edition. If it can solve these 2 problems then I think D&D will be exciting and fun to play again. So don't throw in the towel yet! Find yourself a 4th edition game. I plan to play a 4E game as soon as all three books are released. I am very eager to see how they have streamlined so many parts of the system. Many are concerned that it will change the game dramatically but my interest is sparked more than enough to find out how. I'm very excited about trying 4E. I will be continuing my 3.X game with my group until it ends, whenever that time comes.


What I find intriging is that a lot of people on here say about problems with systems being "broken" or "not good for higher level characters" but the same person will tell another poster of a way to overcome their problem. I would think that these people would be able to work out their own problems & questions without the need of new systems or versions to solve the problems & questions. From what I have read on here in the short time I've been on, there is a lot of intelligent thinkers here that I feel have the ability to fix anything they might run into.That is quite funny. Now that I think about it I do see a great deal of this happening and know I am quite guilty of this myself. Maybe many of us suffer from tunnel vision? Or maybe we're just more concerned with helping others out than fixing our own problems. I think its probably a tad of both :p

tesral
02-05-2008, 04:50 PM
Why not continue to lighter systems that were designed to be cooperative story telling with heavy RP potential? Good news is I plan to. I'm quite interested in Amber and The Burning Wheel.

Take a look at True 20 by Ronin Games. It is purported to be d20 done very system light. It is their Blue Rose system with the fluff scraped off. Too light for my tastes. But everything is worth a look.



Until I start playing enough that I start to see flaws in GURPS that I feel the need to house rule, I probably haven't played long enough :). I plan to pursue my gaming with DrAwkward and his group. I am also going to see if I can't find at least one other online D&D game that is newbie friendly. While I'm not sitting down and learning D&D the way I will be learning GURPS, I feel playing in multiple systems is a big priority. With GURPS I will be self tought. With D&D I will learn through trial and error, as well as with help from my fellow gamers.

As I said; there is no substitute for actual gaming experience. Research will not teach you everything. You can only get that by sitting down at the table.

I strongly recommend not learning a game by reading the books. Play the game, learn the system from using it. Indeed it can well be argued that the books are not the game. The books are only an ingredient list for making a game. "The Game" is the art as practiced by each gaming group. Each of which will have a different flavor.

Mulsiphix
02-05-2008, 05:31 PM
I strongly recommend not learning a game by reading the books. Play the game, learn the system from using it. Indeed it can well be argued that the books are not the game. The books are only an ingredient list for making a game. "The Game" is the art as practiced by each gaming group. Each of which will have a different flavor.Already plan on it. I don't think reading any system will prove all that useful unless I can see it in action first. I have read the GURPS basic set books all the way through once. Now I am going to be running a series of very short adventures in a myriad of settings so I can get a look and feel of the different advantages, quirks, combos, etc... I have a decent knowledge of the game mechanics and will now truly learn them through countless sessions of trial and error. The only way anybody can truly learn something in my opinion.

nijineko
02-11-2008, 07:14 AM
i was 'raised' in roleplaying a system hopper. i started with starfrontiers, then 1st ed d&d, then 2nd ed d&d, car wars and autoduel:champions, then marvel, dc, palladium, gurps, tmnt, then battletech and mechwarrior (roleplaying the pilot of the mech, surely you didn't miss this one, mul?), and teenagers from outer space, then rolemaster, and on to others like fung shui and serenity. that's all roughly chronological. plus the ones i've missed or forgotten.

i think that i find that roleplaying depends solely on whom one plays with, not the system. however, systems do have their emphasis. and that emphasis does influence the general player outlook. i enjoy d&d because it provides simplistic strategic gaming. and i like strategy games. always have. from checkers, to backgammon, to chess, to go, to shogi, to video game versions and varients, i like strategy.

but when i roleplay with my friends, it always turns out to be heavy roleplaying... until the combat breaks out, which is when it turns into a strategy session with one-liners and friendly oneupmanship and good natured trash talk. quite enjoyable in both forms.

we will try out all sorts of wild maneuvers in combat, and if there are no rules for it, we'll just make it up as we go. same thing happens in gurps or d&d. occasionally we'll use house rules. for example, the dm wanted to try limiting transportation type spells to a single person. (telekinesis and teleportation effects mostly...) it's changed our strategy and tactics, but i find the game no less enjoyable for all that!

for the experienced dm/gm and players, roleplaying will come easy, if that's what everyone wants. for the inexperienced or we-don't-know-each-other-well-yet group a system that encourages rp can be beneficial.

i can't recommend one system over another. i like most all the systems i've played. for different reasons. =D and i would play them all again, too.



i found your thoughts insightful and honest. thanks for that! i enjoyed reading it very much. no matter which you ultimately choose, it won't affect how much i enjoy playing gurps, or d&d, or any other system i play. (something we all should remember, one persons choice isn't a slam on the not chosen thing, ne?) i'll play gurps with you anytime, mulsiphix!

Mulsiphix
02-11-2008, 11:36 AM
then battletech and mechwarrior (roleplaying the pilot of the mech, surely you didn't miss this one, mul?)Actually the first and second editions of MechWarrior RPG were aimed at role playing the pilot. The systems were not well received and sales were much less than expected. When they released the third edition of MechWarrior RPG they trashed the entire "play as your pilot" theme and instead had you playing everybody in the BattleTech universe, from Adept to Janitor to Self Appointed God Of The Universe. They even went as far to state that this system was not designed for and would probably flop horribly if you chose to use it to play a MechWarrior. It did much better.

I've looked over the first and second editions of MechWarrior RPG and found them to be quite incomplete and underdeveloped. I wish they had spent more time fleshing out the pilot theme rather than scraping it all together. It would have been really nice if they had detailed rules for recreation, adventuring outside the cockpit, advanced salvage, etc... I hope to recreate the MechWarrior experience using GURPS and BattleTech. When that time comes I will post extensive information here on the forums ;)


i found your thoughts insightful and honest. thanks for that! i enjoyed reading it very much. no matter which you ultimately choose, it won't affect how much i enjoy playing gurps, or d&d, or any other system i play. (something we all should remember, one persons choice isn't a slam on the not chosen thing, ne?) i'll play gurps with you anytime, mulsiphix!Many thanks nijineko. I was worried the thread would not be well received because it was just too long. The fact that so many people read the entire thing and provided me with so much feedback is truly inspiring. Just one more example of how this forum is going to be the last one I visit for quite a long period of time. I'll be sure to look you up when I have some late night GURPS sessions starting up ;)