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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mlangsdorf wrote:
You do understand that the units are entirely abstract and we're not putting minis for each unit on the board?


Yes. Though I don't see why that'd make a difference, same as you can run a party vs a band of orcs with or without minis.

mlangsdorf wrote:
Also, the Exalted solution that you're proposing where units are suits of armor worn by PCs doesn't work at all.


Why not? Not that I'm saying I disagree with you there, just wondering what and why things would go wrong. Or rather, more wrong than other approaches. Turning units into bonuses or abilities for PCs doesn't seem a good approach, but, IMHO, it seems better than the other way around, as it'd allow them to keep playing.

Way back when, I remember playing in the FF RPG, where the PCs join a battle and get to be modifiers to someone else's dice rolling, and there was an outcry from all the players when they heard that, IIRC. Even a bad system seems better than that sort of thing. Admittedly the character in charge in that game was a DMPC, IIRC though.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
Sure, having 'objectives' that help their army do better is good design. Determining 'how much better' should include elements of chance (ie die rolls). There has to be an underlying system for those die rolls to mean anything.


The issue here - and this probably answers Dimmy's tangent and bewilderment - is that the Den has always had a presumption that there is an inherently adversarial relationship between the DM and the players, and that to ensure fair play a system must be in place to basically legislate fair play into the game.

In reality most DMs know that they will "lose" every single encounter to the PCs because otherwise the campaign ends with a TPK. Hence the DM is more often than not a collaborative rather than adversarial agent at the play table; and that the context of the situation is more important than any specific rules.

Indeed in most cases the best RPG rules are in fact those that gives guidelines and examples for the DM and players to get ideas from. The point of having 20 different die roll modifier for army command in the book isn't the expectation that they'd be used - but rather the DM or party may browse through those 20 different entries and get ideas on how actual armies are actually run.

Again there nothing wrong with wanting to play wargames. I almost certainly play more wargames than most members of the Den. I am not telling people to not try to combine an RPG and a wargame if they really want to.

But a wargame is also a very, very different beast from an RPG; which is why I am doubtful that it will actually appeal to the players even if the game turns out to be balanced. A balanced game is not synonymous with a fun game, and there is very often a gulf between what the players expect and what the rules actually do.

Regardless, I've said my piece and the tired old Den hubris is kicking in. Good luck on the latest attempt to "solve" a RPG system problem where you will yet again collaboratively create a solution that wows the RPG world and finally get widespread appeal. Rolling Eyes
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
The issue here - and this probably answers Dimmy's tangent and bewilderment - is that the Den has always had a presumption that there is an inherently adversarial relationship between the DM and the players, and that to ensure fair play a system must be in place to basically legislate fair play into the game.


No.

The point is that "MC makes something up" isn't a game at all. It's somebody telling you a story. It doesn't matter if they are in an adversarial or supportive role or some combination thereof, to the extent that the result of an action is just "The MC makes something up" you aren't actually playing a game.

We could narrate how we are attacking Ogres with swords and then have the MC narrate our hits and misses according to their whim, but we don't. We don't do that because that's obviously just magical teaparty. Suggesting that the course of the battle should just be narrated is exactly that. It's a very weird thing to suggest or defend, because it's simply the complete abdication of designing or playing a game.

-Frank
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Niles
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If people really need more information on mlangsdorf's campaign, I'm just going to put up these links to his blog posts on the subject and his campaign wiki.
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Uh, thanks, Niles, I guess?

Anyway. The campaign is currently on hiatus while we do some playtesting for another project, and will continue on a slower schedule in 2018 as we alternate with another game. I haven't updated the blog because I got crazy busy at work over the summer and fell out of the habit, but the wiki is mostly up to date through all 41 sessions.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

*Gasp*

Frank is right.

But it's more than that. This isn't about making a 'fair' wargame. In a typical wargame, bot sides show up with balanced forces whether through point totals or assigned starting forces (army list) or maybe just different objectives (ie, one side is smaller but 'wins' by succeeding on a raid). There are all kinds of different ways of running wargames, but they all generally start with the idea that either side could win.

In an RPG, we'd expect the players (like any real general) to try to create a situation where they can't lose. Even if the decision is effectively known in advance, there's still an advantage to knowing to what degree you were successful.

In the Lord of the Rings there were three major battles in short order - Helm's Deep, the Siege of Minas Tirith and the battle at the Gates of Mordor. While the third was more or less a distraction, the number of surviving troops from the first battle had an impact on the second battle.

Outside of that, players tend to get attached to 'pets' which can be units of an army. When their formation survives three separate engagements, they tend to get attached. A lot of an RPG comes from those types of emotional attachments players form and having a system to determine the success or failure becomes important - just like with their own character. Even if the DM is a benevolent dictator, players want to succeed or fail on their own merits. This is true whether it is for their character or their army.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm somehow of the suspicion that the most succinct treatise on warfare, especially "total warfare" (i.e. how it impacts economy/ecology of nations engaging in it), might have some good ideas to mine.

https://www.sonshi.com/original-the-art-of-war-translation-not-giles.html

However parsing the text (as little as it is compared to Clauswitz's notes turned incomplete book, it's not like it's a lot of text); and then turning it into game-useable mechanics takes more time.

Right now, I'm seeing concepts like


Planning, Diplomacy & Espionage

Strategic War, Rulership, Statedom
-If the army is involved in a long campaign, the nation's resources will not suffice

Tactical War, Generalship, Deceiving your troops into succeeding
-"If ten times the enemy's strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, divide them; if equal, be able to fight them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if weaker, be able to avoid them."

Other repeating themes: Deception; Speed, Harass active enemies, treat captured enemies well.

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  8. Nine Changes
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  9. Army Maneuvers
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  10. Ground Formation
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  13. Using Spies
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
[02.08] Therefore, I have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen military campaigns that were skilled but protracted. No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare.


Getting a bit off-topic, but I'd dispute this bit. The Fabian strategy of protraction allowed Rome to resist Hannibal, and had Washington not adopted it millennia later, the Americans might speak English (so to speak). To say no nation benefits fails to take into account that you only have to benefit more than your opponent's nation.

Of course, Sun Tzu wouldn't have known of those examples.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You're actually agreeing with Sonshi, not disagreeing. The Art of War is one of the earliest books describing the effectiveness of guerilla war in the face of a larger enemy force. Then there's the fact that Sonshi also literally spells out that besieging cities is the worst strategic choice, and that fighting "every" army is an incorrect idea to have (e.g. "some armies should not be fought").

In the lines preceding and following line [02.08], Sonshi is referring to the conduct of protracted invasions into foreign territory, and the economic costs distant campaigns incur. A literal warning against the dangers of being enmeshed by an opponents Fabian doctrine. In both cases, the Carthaginians and the British were ground into defeat becuase they were conducting protracted wars on foreign soil.

Mao Zhedong also used Fabian strategies when applying Sonshi to their revolutionary war for China.

The US' 10+ year invasion/occupation of Afganistan & Iraq after 2000, are a more contemporary example. Those wars resulted in massive detriment the the US' economic value.


Sonshi may not know of examples after the 5th century BC; but China had had some of the largest wars conducted on Earth until that point within/around it's geographic region. That copies of The Art of War are required reading for US Marine officer training, considered acceptable library material in US military libraries, as well as widely recognized and used in China, Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries means that Sonshi's abstract observations on conflict are still considered valuable learning material by notable contemporary militaries.

While say, Clauswitz's much more 'modern' "On War" (which was both post-Fabian, post-Washington, and post-Napolean) is largely relegated to being studied academic military historians, not at military academies.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One might say that rather than re-designing D&D to support Armies and Heroes having different things they can defeat, ...

Maybe armies beat everything. They have siege weapons and a magic renting budget and eventually the siege of the giant fucking dragon nest works and it dies. But armies also cost, well, population, production, all that foraging and billeting, koku, whatever. So if you want to army the dragon to death, because the dragon nest existing in your realm costs you -1k koku per season, and it turns out that would cost 100k koku of army time and also 20 barrels of cock, well, no.

So instead you get adventurers to do it, because they don't cost any koku at all, only 50 barrels of cock, and you have more than enough cock to spare.

Adventurers can then be like, well, differently resourced to armies, with various tasks armies can do for much less koku because they're not foraging or dying in dragon-vomit, and even net positive barrels of cock for assisting in the tax collection, where PCs are bad at those things, and then you have a sort of a game that makes sense.

The necromancer raids your lands with an skeleton army because it costs the owner of the terrain koku, but only costs the necromancer a few barrels of cock. Adventurers can even have a "no you can't" when it comes to defeating armies, and they have to target the leadership and break the resource chain that keeps them in the field, so we can play D&D.

Then the armies can be dangerous terrain for the bit of the game were PCs fight their leaders.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
In the lines preceding and following line [02.08], Sonshi is referring to the conduct of protracted invasions into foreign territory, and the economic costs distant campaigns incur.


Not how I read that, but then I'm only reading a translation, so fair enough.

Judging__Eagle wrote:
That copies of The Art of War are required reading for US Marine officer training, considered acceptable library material in US military libraries, as well as widely recognized and used in China, Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries means that Sonshi's abstract observations on conflict are still considered valuable learning material by notable contemporary militaries.


Oh, certainly, I'd not discount the entirety of his work because of one sentence I disagree with. The parts on deception, in particular, could be written much the same today.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Thaluikhain wrote:

Not how I read that, but then I'm only reading a translation, so fair enough.


Specifically b/c Chapter 2 begins with the statement:

[02.01] Generally, the requirements of warfare are this way: One thousand four-horse chariots, one thousand leather chariots, one hundred thousand belted armor, transporting provisions one thousand kilometers, the distribution of internal and on-the-field spending, the efforts of having guests, materials such as glue and lacquer, tributes in chariots and armor, will amount to expenses of a thousand gold pieces a day.

Emphasis mine, implies that the chapter is mostly talking about foreign campaigns.

Quote:

Oh, certainly, I'd not discount the entirety of his work because of one sentence I disagree with. The parts on deception, in particular, could be written much the same today.


Some other highly applicable factors from Sonshi: warfare is the last of seven political options; force should always be directed where the enemy is not able to project force (as Frank said in an other thread some time ago, most conflict is about "bellies & points", and obfuscating real ones while creating ruses of false ones).
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
In both cases, the Carthaginians and the British were ground into defeat because they were conducting protracted wars on foreign soil.


But the British protracted military campaigns in Scotland were very successful and ultimately very valuable in terms of power and wealth. Spain's protracted military campaigns in South America were so lucrative that the value of gold and gems had to be radically re-evaluated in the Spanish Empire. It's difficult to make the case that the United States' generations-long occupation of the lands of the tribes of the Great Plains wasn't a net economic-positive.

Long occupations or protracted military campaigns are very capable of being profitable if you're willing to just absolutely loot the place you're invading or you have a realistic long term investment and development plan.

Ultimately, an RPG is going to want to support both options. Sometimes you want to sack the Serpent Temples with real sacks and pry the ruby eyes out of the statues. Sometimes you want to build a keep and develop a town around it in the Bane Mires you've been fighting in.

-Frank
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Stubbazubba
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
While say, Clauswitz's much more 'modern' "On War" (which was both post-Fabian, post-Washington, and post-Napolean) is largely relegated to being studied academic military historians, not at military academies.


No, the basic curriculum at West Point still teaches Clausewitzian Critical Analysis in its very first military course, although they don't read the whole thing. Sun Tzu, OTOH, is only studied by name in electives, according to the course catalogue. It may be true that The Art of War is more widely read in its entirety than On War, but that's likely due to the fact that The Art of War is exceedingly pithy, basically a glorified pamphlet, while On War is a sprawling tome.
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Dimmy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:
So. What. The rules can have it be fast enough for the anti-wargamer to take a piss (weird Venn diagram intersection, that guy), and that's not against anyone's sensibilities.


The "so what" is that fast rules are exactly the opposite of what people here seem to be aiming for. Whatever you come up with, this forum is going to call it "magic tea-party" because it's not detailed enough. And by the time you get it detailed enough, it's not an RPG at all anymore...it's a completely separate game. It's Warhammer; it's Axis and Allies; it's De Bellis Antiquitatus. Which, as you may recall, defeats the very purpose of this thread.

Quote:
Somebody likes their intentionally obtuse hyperbole.


I mean, I'm not the one claiming RPGs should be able to model literally anything that happens in the Universe. Now that's being obtuse. And when you reach that level of obtuseness, the only possible response is hyperbole. (Or just playing GURPS.)
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Dimmy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:

Your argument here is that because you, personally, are too stupid to come up with a solution, it must be impossible and we should all give up. Really, when stated outright rather than merely implied, it pretty much defeats itself.


No. My argument is that you, personally, are too stupid to see that war-games and role-playing games are different things. As should be obvious -- even to stupid people like you and me -- from their having different names, indicating that they simulate different activities.

And insofar as I had anything to add, it was: because RPGs are played on the scale of individual PCs, massive set-piece battles are always going to boil down to individual encounters/duels/interactions. Which is exactly what happens anyway in all the stories fantasy RPGs are meant to emulate, from The Hobbit all the way back to The Illiad.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dimmy wrote:

The "so what" is that fast rules are exactly the opposite of what people here seem to be aiming for. Whatever you come up with, this forum is going to call it "magic tea-party" because it's not detailed enough. And by the time you get it detailed enough, it's not an RPG at all anymore...it's a completely separate game. It's Warhammer; it's Axis and Allies; it's De Bellis Antiquitatus. Which, as you may recall, defeats the very purpose of this thread.


This is not true. Again, this is something we addressed for our heartbreaker and we used in a campaign. One player directed one army and the GM directed the other. Each 'round' covered in one roll the actions of an entire unit. Running through the entire battle took less time than a typical battle. Incidentally, neither side knew how the battle would end and the consequences absolutely did matter (remember, this campaign was about who to install on the throne).

Dimmy wrote:

No. My argument is that you, personally, are too stupid to see that war-games and role-playing games are different things. As should be obvious -- even to stupid people like you and me -- from their having different names, indicating that they simulate different activities.

And insofar as I had anything to add, it was: because RPGs are played on the scale of individual PCs, massive set-piece battles are always going to boil down to individual encounters/duels/interactions. Which is exactly what happens anyway in all the stories fantasy RPGs are meant to emulate, from The Hobbit all the way back to The Illiad.


I think you're the only one that got the impression that anyone wanted to turn an RPG into a wargame. You've been pretty generous with calling other people idiots - you might want to reconsider.

Follow my logic here:
I) It is possible using an RPG mechanic to have a one-on-one or a one-on-several battle, or even a dozen versus a dozen.
2) It is actually possible, using those same rules to have 10,000 people fight 10,000 other people. However, the amount of rolling quickly becomes prohibitive.
3) Since the rules do support any number of foes fighting any other number of foes but the resolution system is very granular it would be nice to 'zoom out' and use just a few rolls to simulate the tens of thousands or rolls that you'd use if you resolved these actions at PC levels. In so much as the 'units' are undifferentiated you don't need to know if 'John' survived, just how many total casualties the unit took.

A mass-combat system isn't a wargame. It's a way to resolve the actions of a large number of people in a way that would be generally consistent with resolving all of those actions independently.

This is why our system used attack rolls with the 'too hit' number representing 50% hits and decreased or increased the number by 5% increments.

If you need at '15' to hit the opposing unit and you roll a '15', 50% of your squad hits. If you roll a 17, 60% hit; if you roll a 12, 35% hit. This allows for a single round to diverge pretty significantly from the average without rolling 10s of thousands of dice.
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Dimmy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

And while we're calling each other stupid...

FrankTrollman wrote:
Units in the sense of "a unit is 10 troops" or "a unit is 100 troops" or something can't work. However many units you think the sweet spot of the game is, you will be confronted with scenarios in RPGs where the number of soldiers is orders of magnitude larger than that.


...this is BIG DUMB. Once combat starts involving thousands of participants, it's not just "small unit tactics, but more of them". There's an emergent property to fighting on that scale. I see a lot of people talking about Clausewitz and Sun Tzu here. Well, half the point of their manuals was to bash it into the reader's head that commanding an army has nothing to do with individual courage, or individual skill -- i.e., the stuff that PCs and detached squads care about -- but with fiddly tedious shit like logistics, and alliances, and constant practice drills, and consistently enforcing military regulations.

You're literally playing by different rules.

So you can have a game that simulates heroic individuals and detached squads...or you can have a game that simulates the whole Ptomainian Second Regiment of Foot. But you really do have to pick one.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
No.

The point is that "MC makes something up" isn't a game at all. It's somebody telling you a story. It doesn't matter if they are in an adversarial or supportive role or some combination thereof, to the extent that the result of an action is just "The MC makes something up" you aren't actually playing a game.

Suggesting that the course of the battle should just be narrated is exactly that. It's a very weird thing to suggest or defend, because it's simply the complete abdication of designing or playing a game.


That's a really bizarre outlook that really doesn't reflect how most RPG sessions are actually played.

Just because the MC "makes something up" doesn't mean that it isn't a game. Indeed, the whole premise of a roleplaying game is that it is made-up - with the DM being generally charged with creating the world and the context while the players create individuals who can progress and change the said world. Otherwise every DM should never deviate from printed Adventures or Settings, while players are never allowed to come up and execute any brilliant plans but are straight jacketed into just two actions per round.

The reality is instead this: Rules exist to adjudicate the interaction between the DM-created elements and the player reactions to them. And that's because DMs and players will constantly be making things up as they go along, and some of these ideas will clash. The PCs want treasure, but the DM thinks they need to earn it. Hence, an encounter with a party of Orcs that the PCs have to defeat first - with die rolls and hit points and mechanics to adjudicate it.

My suggested rules - which is an encounter generation system that contributes to the tug-of-war of battle - does nothing to remove the adjudication. It is not the removal of rules in favor of pure narrative, because the encounters still have rules and their results still affect the battle.

Its point rather is much simpler: People are playing an RPG about individuals. Therefore the adjudication of great events around them must still focus on the said individual; rather than suddenly zooming out into a bird-eye view of the battlefield with a tactical wargame mini-game. Because as I've said - despite liking them and playing them a lot a wargame is a very different thing, and is much more about dehumanizing the individual rather than emphasizing them.

And again, just to be clear - I'm not saying that people shouldn't try if they really want to, which is why I'm not criticizing any specific ideas or implementations.

But if it's to be successful and not another set of largely unused and forgotten rules then it has to actually address this core disconnect between the two systems. Arguing with me or convincing yourself that I'm wrong isn't addressing that disconnect. You have to resolve this gameplay style disconnect - meaning watching how people actually play and react to sudden changes in genre or tone - and it will take much more than just mechanical tinkering or innovation.


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virgil
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dimmy wrote:
I mean, I'm not the one claiming RPGs should be able to model literally anything that happens in the Universe.
You're claiming to be hyperbolic because you literally believe your hyperbolic claim to be true rather than hyperbolic? Man, that's impressive obtuseness.
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Dimmy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
This is not true. Again, this is something we addressed for our heartbreaker and we used in a campaign.


But you accomplished this by tacking on an entirely different game. You can call it a "homebrew" if you want, but when your homebrew reaches the point that it apparently requires a separate SRD...and its "rounds" have nothing to do with the original game's definition of "rounds"...and damage is being multiplied and divided by factors that are unrelated to anything in the original text...then that is, in fact, a different game. I'm sure it was a very good game, and I'm glad your players enjoyed it. But you're not saying "here's how to do the Battle of Austerlitz with D&D"; you're saying "play this other thing instead, and then go back to D&D".

Quote:
You've been pretty generous with calling other people idiots - you might want to reconsider.


If Chamomile can't take it, he shouldn't have dished it out. The rest of us learned that lesson in kindergarten.

Quote:
Follow my logic here:


Yes. Please. I am begging you.

Quote:
1)It is possible using an RPG mechanic to have a one-on-one or a one-on-several battle, or even a dozen versus a dozen.


With you so far!

Quote:
2) It is actually possible, using those same rules to have 10,000 people fight 10,000 other people. However, the amount of rolling quickly becomes prohibitive.


And this is where you, and Trollman et al., are incorrect. It is not possible. You think it's possible, and to be fair, that's a very reasonable mistake to make. All kinds of famous philosophers and thinkers have made this same mistake before you: imagining that just because you can put certain words together in a certain way, they must correspond to something real. "A circular square"; "green ideas sleeping furiously"; "mass-combat role-playing". But it's an optical illusion; it's a logical impossibility; it's a contradiction-in-terms. Like I said a few minutes ago -- and like Clausewitz and Sun Tzu and blah-blah-blah said, long before I came along -- small unit tactics are not the same thing as mass combat. I'm sincerely sorry that I can't seem to communicate that without being condescending as all hell...but it's still true. The very nature of RPGs means that they can't do what you want them to do. Every time you try, you end up with something that isn't satisfactory, or something that isn't an RPG, or something that fails on both fronts at once.

And not only is it impossible, it's unnecessary. Because -- one more time for the guys in the back! -- epic heroes solve their problems with epic duels. Or midnight cattle raids, or saving Private Ryan, or summoning angels, or riding BMX bikes, or...whatever. The kinds of activities that RPGs are already designed to simulate. So rejoice! This isn't actually a problem! O frabjous day!
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virgil
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hey, let's ignore Dimmy for this thread. They're obviously the opposite of helpful.


I'm still trying to think of how to handle mixed morale in attrition, and I began to consider an alternative. What if morale simply acted as conditional modifier when defeated? For example, your army fails its charge maneuver, so you retroactively reduce your kobolds' contribution to the effort, which makes the final accounting of the maneuver even worse.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:

Just because the MC "makes something up" doesn't mean that it isn't a game. Indeed, the whole premise of a roleplaying game is that it is made-up - with the DM being generally charged with creating the world and the context while the players create individuals who can progress and change the said world. Otherwise every DM should never deviate from printed Adventures or Settings, while players are never allowed to come up and execute any brilliant plans but are straight jacketed into just two actions per round.


But that's exactly it. The players need to be able to progress and change the world. That is why the correct flow chart is this:

  • MC makes up starting inputs (example: "there is an Ogre").
  • The Players declare their actions and responses (example: "I attack the Ogre with my crossbow")
  • Abilities, rules, and die rolls determine how those actions affect the starting input (example: "The Ogre takes 12 damage and has 14 hit points remaining.")


That is a game. It's a game where technically the MC has unlimited power and could crush you at any time by declaring that there were five, seventy-five, or five thousand Ogres as needed, but it's still a game. The players still have meaningful impact and the numbers on their character sheets matter. They can make intelligent and reasonable decisions. They can guess that given normal die rolls their party can probably beat 3 Ogres and probably can't beat 13 Ogres.

The following is Apocalypse Fucking World:

  • MC makes up starting inputs (example: "there is an Ogre").
  • The Players declare their actions and responses (example: "I attack the Ogre with my crossbow")
  • MC makes up affects, continue from step one. (example: "The crossbow bolt sticks into the Ogre, and it bellows in rage!")


That's not a fucking game. The Ogre dies when the MC is bored of it, and the numbers on your character sheet mean nothing. The players can't make intelligent or reasonable choices because nothing fucking matters. Their chances against 3 Ogres or 33 Ogres are exactly the same, since it's just up to the MC's whim whether they win or lose either way.

Obviously you reject the second model for fighting an Ogre or for fighting six Ogres or 16 Ogres. Why do you think it's remotely acceptable to switch to that method for fighting sixty or six hundred Ogres? Why is it OK in your opinion to switch to the "system" of "your actions don't matter and the MC makes up whatever they feel like" on any scale that the players are attempting to act on? If the players want to take actions to materially affect the outcome of a battle or a war, why do you think it's remotely acceptable to tell them that they cannot?


Zinegata wrote:
My suggested rules - which is an encounter generation system that contributes to the tug-of-war of battle - does nothing to remove the adjudication. It is not the removal of rules in favor of pure narrative, because the encounters still have rules and their results still affect the battle.

Its point rather is much simpler: People are playing an RPG about individuals. Therefore the adjudication of great events around them must still focus on the said individual; rather than suddenly zooming out into a bird-eye view of the battlefield with a tactical wargame mini-game. Because as I've said - despite liking them and playing them a lot a wargame is a very different thing, and is much more about dehumanizing the individual rather than emphasizing them.


You still have to have a system to determine the results of the battle or your "encounter" can't affect those results. If the battle results are "whatever the MC goddam feels like" then winning or losing your mini-encounter is meaningless. The results of the battle are "whatever the MCgoddam feels like +/- 1." But you know what? That doesn't change C! Adding or subtracting a fixed number from an arbitrary constant just leaves you with an arbitrary constant.

Virgil wrote:
Hey, let's ignore Dimmy for this thread. They're obviously the opposite of helpful.


Agreed. There isn't even the pretense of being an honest actor there. Just fuckery all the way down.

-Frank
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To me the clearest litmus test of whether a game is going to be tolerable is simply whether DM fuckery can at least occasionally be distinguished from normal play. In post-Gygax D&D you can cast Spider Climb and tell Climb checks to fuck off and while the DM can try to drop his dick on the table and fuck with you if he really wants to he can't really do so without giving away the game. He either obviously cheats and risks player revolt or at least accepts that some of the obstacles on the field mean dick diddly to your character because of the abilities you chose to activate. Mind you, things aren't perfect. Some subsystems are much easier to cheat at then others, but in many situations there are at least basic agreed upon terms of engagement to deal with in the first place and that can allow you to make informed decisions about what to do with your character instead of just bumbling around.

Whereas in games like Apocalypse World you've got a situation where it's unclear what DM/PC fuckery even looks like in the first place. It encourages you to honor the spirit of what people intend to accomplish but the result of virtually everything you do requires a DM judgment call of some sort in a setting that the group threw together on the fly in a short session. So I don't really have the foggiest idea of what tasks the "average" Apocalypse World denizen should reliably be accomplishing and you fucking don't either. Things are vaguely Mad Max-ish but otherwise it's super easy for everyone at the table to have wildly different expectations about what should be going on at any given time and that makes sessions far more fragile than AW fanboys are used to admitting. Rules don't just prevent disagreements by stopping your DM from being a bad meanie, they prevent disagreements by giving some clear common ground to start with in the first place.
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phlapjackage
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Joined: 24 May 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dimmy wrote:
And not only is it impossible, it's unnecessary. Because -- one more time for the guys in the back! -- epic heroes solve their problems with epic duels. Or midnight cattle raids, or saving Private Ryan, or summoning angels, or riding BMX bikes, or...whatever.
...or epic...battles?

Whipstitch wrote:
In post-Gygax D&D you can cast Spider Climb and tell Climb checks to fuck off and while the DM can try to drop his dick on the table and fuck with you if he really wants to he can't really do so without giving away the game. He either obviously cheats and risks player revolt or at least accepts that some of the obstacles on the field mean dick diddly to your character because of the abilities you chose to activate.
I think this is the easiest way to tell if a GM is someone you want to play with or not. Have a situation that the GM has spent a lot of time/effort setting up, then bypass/solve/win it with some unforeseen coolness. If the GM laughs with the rest of you, they're a keeper. If they get upset at you, it's time to leave...
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Last edited by phlapjackage on Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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