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Why is math so underrated?
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Voss
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:
1 Hit = Edible, 2 Hits = fast food good

I think you reversed these.
But regardless, the problem is in most games this doesn't matter at all. A GM calling for a cooking roll at all is deliberately wasting your time, except in absurd corner case scenarios.


deaddmwalking wrote:
Craft rules determine how quickly you create an item based on cumulative checks. A really good roll can allow you to create the item significantly faster than 'normal'. Something about converting the price into silver pieces etc.


Eh. There are limits on how reasonable that is. An increase in quality (or value) makes more sense. When it comes to hand-crafting stuff, the labor isn't really avoidable in any meaningful sense. You're going to have to fuss with every single fucking link of chain mail, and there isn't any way around that. But with enough skill you can make it better than Jimbo the Apprentice can.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Like hyzmarca said: degrees of quality for the hamburger, from "barely edible" to "meatgasm". Orthogonal/time sensitive checks for the lockpick example. If it's something where there's no time constraints or threat, then the roll can either be abstracted like Take X or the roll determines how long it takes to do the thing.

Voss, cooking a burger is a stand-in for "something that requires a roll and produces a gradation of quality," like your crafting example.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Before you start talking about degrees of success in making burgers the first question you should ask is whether or not a roll is necessary at all. Does anyone care that you are cooking a burger? No. There are not going to be degrees of success for making a sword either. The quality of that sword is going to be determined just by how you decide to craft it and the length of time it takes to make that thing is going to be adjusted just by that. Even so, just like the burger, no one cares that you you are making a sword and no one wants to sit around waiting for you to roll it out. People care that you can and how long it takes to do so but that is not a reason to make that into a roll.

Rolls really should only be reserved for more dynamic instances like when failure impedes you from doing the thing at all/for a significant amount of time or has done other significant consequence, combat k which largely just follows with what I said but I figure I should mention it), direct competition, and time sensitive scenarios. Otherwise why would you waste your time? After you've decided whether you roll or not then you can decide whether or not you care about degrees of success for that thing. Again, no one cares that you made the burger or the sword. No one cares whether the burger was particularly good (that's just flavor text) and the quality of the sword you make is determined just by you deciding to make it in that way. There's no need to plot it degrees of success for either thing. There are cases where you might want to do that like when determing at what distance you spot an ambush, there are other cases that would make the game a little more dynamic like bring able to scout farther into enemy territory with a high enough stealth check. I figure it's best to do degrees of success only when you can imagine making rules that deliver concrete and significant advantages and disadvantages for the degrees of success/failure. A lot of the time a simple y/n will do the job and you don't have to worry about bear based scenarios.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Motherfucker what if we were actually making Burger: the Flipping? Or an Iron Chef RPG?

Stop nitpicking examples when you agree with the conclusions, i.e.; there are situations where gradations of quality/success can be concrete and necessary that an elfgame can map. Like broad-form diplomacy/propaganda. Or an abstracted sapping of forces before a major offensive. Or even a weapons display/courtly pageant where you want to know how good you did since it determines how much gold/whores/golden whores you get as the prize.
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More concrete examples would be useful here.

Diplomacy combined with "Degrees of Dispositions" make a good case for gradations.
Deception with "Degrees of Confidence" (ugh, merge those two).
Intimidation with... I dunno, Intimidation is a shit skill. Can this even be under the same system as the above two? Abstract even harder? Seems like Diplomacy and Intimidation are mutually exclusive.
Performance has objective measurements of how well you perform depending on how high you roll. The effects of that degree of performance are context-dependent (e.g. peasant tavern will go nuts and give you a combined 1g or something, an aristocratic court will clap politely and give you a combined 3g).
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd try for a Toriko game, personally. Where you kill legendary monsters, gods, and demons, and use them to make awesome food.

You could ascend to the top of Mount Celestia and butcher Zadkiel, then descend into Hell and kill Asmodeus, and use their meat to make the ultimate heaven and hell fusion dish.

Cervantes wrote:
an aristocratic court will clap politely and give you a combined 3g).

I think you're seriously overestimating how boisterous aristocrats could get.


Anyway, the most obvious roll that has degrees of success is damage. It's kind of obvious when you think about it like that. Variable damage is a degree of success test, and a really good example of one where you get immediate obvious benefits from bigger success without invoking bears.

In any case where your potential results have numbers, and some numbers are better than others, you've can easily have degrees of success, where better rolls give you a result with better numbers.


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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:
I'd try for a Toriko game, personally. Where you kill legendary monsters, gods, and demons, and use them to make awesome food.

You could ascend to the top of Mount Celestia and butcher Zadkiel, then descend into Hell and kill Asmodeus, and use their meat to make the ultimate heaven and hell fusion dish.

Cervantes wrote:
an aristocratic court will clap politely and give you a combined 3g).

I think you're seriously overestimating how boisterous aristocrats could get.


Anyway, the most obvious roll that has degrees of success is damage. It's kind of obviously when you think about it like that. Variable damage is a degree of success test, and a really good example of one where you get immediate obvious benefits from bigger success without invoking bears.

In any case where your potential results have numbers, and some numbers are better than others, you've can easily have degrees of success, where better rolls give you a result with better numbers.


That's probably the best place to put them. Maybe abilities related to different tasks that let you do things by having a certain number of degrees of success in the roll? And maybe some baked-in as things that anyone can do with it with that many.
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zugschef
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Die rolls are not inherently problematic. Indeed, die rolls are necessary if there is any disagreement possible as to the outcome of an action.

Rolling dice can be fun but it can also be stupid and it doesn't necessarily remove the MTP. The hard part is figuring out when there is no stupid and no MTP involved. On top of that it's mandatory to have varying degrees of success for burger cooking in a burger cooking simulator while it's mostly pointless for a game like D&D. Where you really need varying degrees of success in D&D is hiding and sneaking, for example. The guard could outright spot you, he could see the grass (through which you are sneaking) moving or he could hear your footsteps.

The question is if your mechanics can remove MTP from the story. Since you can sneak in many different terrains and situations and characters can all be different, the truth is that you need extreme abstraction if you want to get rid of the "make believe" completely. That's because even if you are using a rng to determine varying degrees of success, the MC will have to make shit up (because there might be no grass in your situation or the guard might not have conventional means of perception). I seriously doubt that you can cover all the cases in your rules, which means you're back to binary in all these cases. Unless you want to make an empiric study with several hundred gaming groups playing several hundred games, you won't get a definite list of standard situations (which you would cover in your rules and deliberately fall back to binary in all the others), and then you might as well go all the way and get rid of the rng.

The hardest part of RPG design is removing MTP while still not making a boardgame or a dice fest. So the mechanics probably shouldn't leave any doubts about the outcome (even if that means you can only offer binary outcomes). Or you simply accept it as a part of your game and live with some degree of MTP, just like it's always been...
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mask_De_H wrote:
Motherfucker what if we were actually making Burger: the Flipping? Or an Iron Chef RPG?
What if we were? Would you then be talking about how to model basket weaving? Geez it's as if I didn't write a whole bunch of other shit laying out when it is worth and not worth making rolls with a measure of degrees of success along with better examples.

There 'are' reasons to simply not require a roll and to not bother measuring degrees of success and a much, much better conversation to have is where these things are even beneficial and necessary and when they are not. Bringing up burgers, making swords, or other stupid ass shit is a waste of motherfucking time because the response is legitimately "NO ONE CARES" in capital concrete letters and there will never be another appropriate response unless you are making a cooking game and THEN read what I have to say about direct competitions. Once you've found an actual example that people fucking care about 'THEN' the matter of whether or not that example needs to be rolled should be asked and THEN you ask whether or not anyone cares about how much you succeed by.

3 of the examples I used were Burgers, Crafting Swords, and Stealth. Burgers is a flat no. Swords get a yes on the question of whether or not it actually matters but a no on if it needs to be rolled. Stealth gets a yes on whether or not it is important, a yes on whether or not it should be rolled (it always is at the very least in competition with other people) and a yes on the question of whether degrees of success should be measured (in certain scenarios it can be useful). And by thinking about that you skip a lot of useless discussion based around shit examples.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ROFL

Sorry, but I find it hilarious that this "discussion" kept on going and going and going over the holiday season because certain posters kept insisting on their bad-faith notion that math / system was ever an explicit marketing point rather than an implicit one.

Again, look at the actual cover of the books and the back blurbs. You won't find "Math works" there. If you want to insist that it was a "guerrilla" campaign, that's up to you -again just realize that WotC would have been incredibly stupid to use "Math Works" as an actual marketing talking point in any kind of campaign.

Here's the actual reality from an actual marketing professional (Yes, I work in marketing).

"Math Works" is a bad copy point because it doesn't tell the customer about the benefits he will be receiving from the product. It's instead the enablers to those unspecified benefits. A few posters here have picked up on this, which is why they realized (correctly) that "Math" is in fact an interchangeable concept with "systems" or "rules".

Indeed, just imagine if we apply this sort of thinking to another product line - say a restaurant. Would you really trust a restaurant that loudly proclaims "Our Meat is Cooked!" as an advertising point? The answer is no, because "The Meat is Cooked" is a basic requirement that should be fulfilled for the restaurant to deliver its core benefit (making you enjoy a good meal). Indeed, bannering "The Meat is Cooked" will only make people question if your restaurant is competent enough to cook meat properly!

Instead most successful restaurants show pictures of the food they are serving. Or they describe how good the food tastes when you're eating it (e.g. "best-tasting chicken"). Because again humans are incredibly visual-driven creatures and they are motivated with how a product benefits them and not how the product is made to work.

But hey, sure, let's completely deny these realities of the human condition and pretend I am lying or have the mind of a child. All the other tabletop gaming genres - Miniatures, Wargames, and Boardgames - are only making huge amounts of money because they actually understand that "Math" is a bullshit advertising point and it's themes and concepts that sell. Heck, 7th Sea only raised over a million dollars based on concepts apparently suited for 2 year olds.

Or maybe some people here are just too damn insecure and can't stand real success, or worse have simply forgotten why games are fun to begin with. Frankly the first time I played the original 7th Sea I was skeptical because of all the gloom and doom here about its "math", but once play started it was clear that being able to play as PIRATES easily trumped all that.

Indeed, trying to argue with people that a game's math is broken isn't remotely related to fun; and many would probably consider such an argument obnoxious and would just turn off people from the idea of buying a game based on an arbitrary evaluation of its "math". It's not what the players are buying to begin with.

===

Oh, and as for the back-and-forth about D20 die rolling - what you're all missing about 3rd edition is that it "worked" primarily because the resolution was much more transparent compared to the older THAC0 system. It's easy to figure out success chances when every +1 is basically a 5% increase in success.

In many other ways the math / rules were broken, but because of the transparency it was relatively easy to incorporate adjustments based on the preferences of the group.

Which again points to how people should pay more attention to how people actually choose, buy, and play RPGs. It is not just about the math. Indeed, it need not be so obsessively fine-tuned like Magic.

Finally, I would note that it's extremely telling that dice-rolling it still seen here as purely as a conflict-resolution system; when game design in a broader sense has come to recognize that dice-rolling - particularly in a co-op environment (which RPGs are) - are also tension-builders.

You want moments in a game where everyone is standing on their feet and hoping for a specific die roll, because that's what makes a gaming session memorable and enjoyable. By contrast you're all still stuck trying to argue how degrees of success should work; when these are inherently subjective things to begin with and should be dependent on the campaign's tone and the player preferences (e.g. a Dark-Souls type of game will have very punishing failures that can escalate the lower you roll whereas a RomCom RPG will be very forgiving).

By contrast games of Risk still exist because the game - for good or ill - can convey so much emotion even with a few die rolls. Will one player be able to completely wipe out another this turn? Is one player rolling particularly fiercely because he's angry that he was betrayed by an "ally"? Risk is one of the most archaic games out there but watching a game play out and taking note of the emotions on the table will teach people way more about what makes a game tick than arguing among yourselves about what a +5 success threshold means.


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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Looks like you completely missed the timeline AGAIN.

The discussion over the holidays wasn't about whether there was a slogan of 'the math just works' but I assume you aren't old enough to remember whether that was or was not. Your argument of the moment is 'that's a stupid marketing stunt so why would anyone do it'? And if you remembered the transition to 4th edition you'd remember that it involved nothing but stupid marketing stunts. Without further commentary, see: Gleemax.

Are you familiar with the term 'cognitive dissonance'?

For a game to work, you need to have an exciting premise (like Pirates). For people to keep playing that game, you need your game to work (otherwise people play something related but very different). When the game promises something and the resolution fails to deliver that, you have cognitive dissonance. Some people will accept it and some people will stop playing. If you want your game to be popular (which is helpful if you're trying to make money from it) addressing that is something you do.

Buyers of RPGs are accustomed to the product they purchase being incomplete - some even consider that a virtue. If you ran a chain of 'Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza' and the premise to that point was you picked up an uncooked pizza and heated it up in your oven, it wouldn't be crazy if they had a slogan 'now available freshly baked for pickup'. You're clearly making it 'easier' for the customer without changing your core product.

If you're a marketing professional, I'd expect you could understand the differences between a business model that serves you a complete product (restaurant) and something like gaming which gives you pieces and expects you to assemble them yourselves. Of course, I'd also expect something better than 'best-tasting chicken'. McDonald's didn't say 'best tasting French Fries' - they said 'America's Favorite Fries'.
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erik
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zine, are you seriously arguing that something didnít happen because it is stupid?

Youíre running the risk of your post being a paradox.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

erik wrote:
Zine, are you seriously arguing that something didnít happen because it is stupid?

Youíre running the risk of your post being a paradox.


He's arguing something didn't happen because he is stupid.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
Oh, and as for the back-and-forth about D20 die rolling - what you're all missing about 3rd edition is that it "worked" primarily because the resolution was much more transparent compared to the older THAC0 system. It's easy to figure out success chances when every +1 is basically a 5% increase in success.

It was really good for playing D&D with up to around 10th to 13th level, and especially so in the 2nd to 6th level range. The actual rules, other than say Grappling and a couple spells on a conceptual level, worked very well for the sort of things players were expected to be doing,

Even skills, when everyone in the party has from about +0 to +15 and the target number is 15 or 20, the skills people have matter, work about as often as expected, and the things they did were at least useful for a big chunk of the time the game worked well.

Having +14 Tumble in 3.0 was just fun, it turned off all those bullshit AoO rules for you, but the guy with +1 Tumble could try too! And people bitched so much about the existence of a skill that did anything at all and made Rogues and Monks work for a tiny number of edge cases, the designers killed that for 3.5. Sad

Quote:
Which again points to how people should pay more attention to how people actually choose, buy, and play RPGs. It is not just about the math. Indeed, it need not be so obsessively fine-tuned like Magic.

In 4th edition when players found ways within the rules to actually kill monsters and get on with anything at all that wasn't mid-numbing at-will grinds, the designers would ban that because ... I don't fucking know, that was just bad, they wanted the limited power choices to be balanced or whatever, but their balance point was a shit sandwich.

Really, fine-tuning the thing before it comes out, so the rules provide desirable outcomes in reasonable time, of course they should do that. Just aim a little higher, so the monsters die at all, locks are bypassed, secrets are uncovered, and people can move the fuck on.

Quote:
Finally, I would note that it's extremely telling that dice-rolling it still seen here as purely as a conflict-resolution system; when game design in a broader sense has come to recognize that dice-rolling - particularly in a co-op environment (which RPGs are) - are also tension-builders.

You want moments in a game where everyone is standing on their feet and hoping for a specific die roll, because that's what makes a gaming session memorable and enjoyable.

Oh, fuck off. You're actually promoting fucking 4e skill challenges as a desirable outcome, where people are rolling dice over and over to get a particular ... just fuck off.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
ROFL

Again, look at the actual cover of the books and the back blurbs. You won't find "Math works" there. If you want to insist that it was a "guerrilla" campaign, that's up to you -again just realize that WotC would have been incredibly stupid to use "Math Works" as an actual marketing talking point in any kind of campaign.


See, that would be an acceptable point of view, except that The Gaming Den never came up with the idea that WoTC was using "the math just works" as some sort of marketing statement.

It was used lots of times, and there are even more examples that I haven't previously linked showing up online on sites that have no affiliation with TGDMB.com that demonstrate "the math just works" actually was a marketing ploy.

A 4e prerelease hype post by Eric Vespe on aintitcool.com

Post 1: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35776
Specifically
Eric Vespe wrote:
Life is just easier this way. EVERY RULE CHANGE IS LIKE THIS. It all just works. Fluid, intuitive and fun. And man is it fun. The new tactics are incredible. Anyone who thinks simple rules mean simple combats is in for a shock.


Post 2: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35799
Post 3: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35811

[Posts 2 and 3 have a lot of totally inept statements about how 4e will revolutionize, simplify, and improve your game (and will probably give you blowjobs too, but I was skimming and not scanning)]


On GiTP forums [Ctrl-F "The Math]

PairO'Dice Lost wrote:
2012-11-28, 12:53 AMThe math works--not in the marketing-speak "the 4e math just works!" sense, but in the sense that it doesn't collapse under scrutiny like bounded accuracy and the fact that the concept of the "sweet spot" exists at all.


From RPG.net

Beginning of the End wrote:
04-12-2009, 01:57 AMSkill challenges were a part of this publicity campaign. Another big part of the publicity campaign was talking about they'd "fixed the math" or "made the game more balanced".


The idea that "the math just works" would be on the covers of 4e books is honestly really weird, but the rest of your posts about how WoTC didn't attempt to use "the math just works" part of their marketing and is some sort of TGD hivemind invention makes me feel like you not have ever paid much attention to the rpg industry. Which would explain why you somehow presume that RPG game book covers might have flashy blurbs that cover and detract value from the vastly more expensive cover art.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

2008 was 9 years ago. It's perfectly OK to not remember what marketing strategies various companies were using nearly a decade ago when we were worried John McCain might become president and start a war with Iran. I couldn't tell you what Coke or Pepsi were putting on TV back then. D&D is important to me, so I can actually recall the "Math Just Works" essays and the "Tiefling vs Gnome" video. But I don't think there's anything wrong with people who can't remember those things, it was marketing bullshit from nearly a decade ago.

But Zinegata's bizarre gaslighting is truly next level denialism. His argument is that he doesn't remember some obscure marketing bullshit from nearly a decade ago and that therefore it never happened? What the fuck? I don't remember Coca-Cola ads from nine years ago, but I don't make the positive claim that there weren't any, because I'm not a fucking insane person.

Anyway, before Zinegata's incomprehensible screed about how we all just can't accept that 2008 was an overlapping historical revision and didn't actually occur, we were talking about something actually interesting: the function of die rolls and thus the range of acceptable die roll outputs.

I held, and still hold even after Zinegata's insane historical revisionism tirade, that the purpose of a die roll is generally to answer the question of "How well did that action go?" And that the acceptable range of answers therefore usually includes room for comparative answers like "better" and "worse" and rarely includes room for binary answers like "yes" or "no."

-Frank
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ROFL

erik wrote:
Zine, are you seriously arguing that something didnít happen because it is stupid?

Youíre running the risk of your post being a paradox.


No, I'm saying that it's stupid for WoTC to pick that slogan even if it did happen. It's a slogan that makes you question the basic competence of the product. It's therefore self-defeating.

Again, what I actually said:

"If you want to insist that it was a "guerrilla" campaign, that's up to you -again just realize that WotC would have been incredibly stupid to use "Math Works" as an actual marketing talking point in any kind of campaign."

That there has been a collective meltdown over this simple fact from the usual suspects and erik's is the least hysterical reaction is little more than a demonstration of why people should not base their own self-validation and image on something as silly as a pointless flame war (which the whole hallowed 4venger/Math Works period of the Den really was.).

Do yourselves a favor. Stop trying to re-validate past glories from however years ago that the majority of the world frankly doesn't gives a shit about.

RPGs have changed. Quite a lot and in many ways for the better, in large part because the tabletop hobby as a whole has progressed. The idea that art and themes sell more than math shouldn't be cause for a collective meltdown if you hadn't been living under a rock for the past decade. It should have been relatively uncontroversial even during the 4E launch.

But because people here cling to meaningless "Internet cred" on how they are awesome designers based on MAAATH they'd rather shut out the realities of modern game design in favor of trying to pretend this is a continuation of a flame war from 10 years ago.

Anyone who isn't familiar with this forum's history would find this bizarre and myopic; the equivalent of grandad rambling about the time he did something that nobody cares about.

I simply find it pitiful at this point.


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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

tussock wrote:
Oh, fuck off. You're actually promoting fucking 4e skill challenges as a desirable outcome, where people are rolling dice over and over to get a particular ... just fuck off.


How you went from tension-building of dice-rolling from Risk to claiming I am promoting 4E skill challenges (I've played 4E exactly twice and never liked it) is really just further demonstration of how, for many in this forum, their interest lies not in game design. Rather, it's just an opportunity to endlessly pretend it's still 2000-something, 4E/D&D is still the great enemy, and anyone who disagrees with them is a dirty 4venger.

Again, it's simply pitiful.


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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

do you understand how your statement could be construed as "WotC obviously did not use that as a marketing statement because it's stupid" as opposed to "if they chose to use that as a marketing statement then it would be stupid", especially since the first clause of that statement is "If you want to insist that it was a "guerrilla" campaign, that's up to you"

furthermore, that the discussion went on so long without it being obvious that you were not denying that it was used in 4e's marketing is an indictment on you for not being clear?
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tussock
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

@Zinegata, Risk is not a cooperative game, my experience with it is that the tension does not build with dice, it builds with the reinforcement phase when everyone's bluffs get called because obviously that agreement to not attack from Brazil is as good as dead. Similarly with the end-of-turn troop movements.

The dice resolve that tension, and rarely even matter, they either brought enough mens to secure Africa or they just set you both up for someone else to take it and either way it's the next big troop drop that shakes things up from there, not if you were left with 2 territories in Africa or 3. It's only rarely a point of interest in the late game if you can finish a player and steal their cards before the next player around does it, because that's not a good gamble to take most of the time. You basically win Risk by being the last one to break the various truces, and you really only get to take people's cards by finishing a fight that someone else started for you.

I guess if your Risk experience comes down to a last man fight for a key territory, but really those people just don't know how to play Risk well. Sometimes you want to reduce someone's troop holdings in Australia, because you're stuck with Asia, but you've already lost in that case too.

--

And yes, 4e tried that shit where they thought rolling dice over and over to get a certain result, like you suggested, would enhance their non-combat encounters. But it didn't. That aspect of the game was wildly unpopular, because RPGs are not about rolling dice, even though rolling dice is fun and good for the game.

--

@Frank, I'm not convinced on the quality of result argument. It's useful in combat because there is an obvious total everyone is working toward, cooperatively, damage adds up and then things change in a way that is good for the players. The way damage adds is fairly abstract, but it works better that way.

But unless you've got time limits and opposed actions and stuff, building social credit toward a game-changing total more quickly by cooking better food is probably nonsense, Certainly giving a thousand apples one at a time as gifts to the same teacher is garbage, there has to be limits.

I like the idea for in-combat traps like 4e tried to do, those things could just have hit points that Rogues do a lot of damage to by disarming them, they even have sneak attack dice for that in 3e. It's not completely out, it's just most situations outside combat don't have obvious time limits and opposed actions, and it quickly gets in people's faces to have arbitrary limits instead. Like: even if the mechanics of a game were to allow you to pressure the king into providing you an army inside a time limit, why can't he just change his fucking mind later? Combat ends because the other guy is dead and has to stop, that doesn't really generalise.

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In the same way that failure has to be meaningful and tightly defined, a degree of success mechanic seems like it works great if it's building to some defined point in somewhat limited time (even if that is simply before the problem kills you), and is a bit shit otherwise.

Swimming out out of the drowning chamber by getting enough swim successes before you drown is ... sadly it's probably very deterministic and not actually interesting enough to roll a bunch of dice for even though you might die, because you're just swimming and the water doesn't have a face to punch.

Who's the best tv-kitchen cook tonight, who jumped the best in six tries, those can work. Did I succeed better than you, that's your opposed action, time limit once only. That's it working at all. And you've got to be careful with the math for those sorts of mechanics because otherwise it quickly becomes stealth not working at all, despite where the text suggests that it should.

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Which gets back to where people like a sense of failure chance, but not actual failure, and rolling enough dice gets them there, it's just that rolling a lot of dice is a bad experience if each one isn't at least as valid a story as stabbing a dude in the face before he stabs you in the face. Rolling diplomacy again until you succeed enough is fucking awful.
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maglag
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

I held, and still hold even after Zinegata's insane historical revisionism tirade, that the purpose of a die roll is generally to answer the question of "How well did that action go?" And that the acceptable range of answers therefore usually includes room for comparative answers like "better" and "worse" and rarely includes room for binary answers like "yes" or "no."


Out of curiosity, what made you suddenly change your mind from "it's wrong for organized armies to pose any kind of threat to super demons" to "when any archer shoots the super demon they should rarely ever miss and almost always deal non-zero damage"?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

maglag wrote:

Out of curiosity, what made you suddenly change your mind from "it's wrong for organized armies to pose any kind of threat to super demons" to "when any archer shoots the super demon they should rarely ever miss and almost always deal non-zero damage"?


Out of curiosity, have you stopped beating your wife yet?
Do you have any other inane and intellectually empty attempts at gotchas you want to throw around? Honestly, the thing you just said is so stupid and so obviously disingenuous that I'm not going to even bother repeating the simple counter-argument that I already pre-posted to this very thread were your objection in any way a genuine discussion of game design. Fuck off.

Zinegata wrote:
RPGs have changed. Quite a lot and in many ways for the better, in large part because the tabletop hobby as a whole has progressed.


Actually... no. RPGs are in a literal dark age. The most successful games of the last ten years have been chincy licensed crap. The major RPG lines have all almost or actually collapsed.

Dark Heresy isn't "better" in any way than what came before it. It's a shit game that uses a crap engine that was crap when it was devised before I was born in fucking Rune Quest. It's almost unplayable and no one really likes it and there isn't a thriving Dark Heresy discussion community here or anywhere because it's basically a failure that was only ever the best selling RPG for any period of time because it was attached to a popular licensed brand and the mainstream RPGs had messily killed themselves by making shitty editions that no one liked.

Edge of the Empire is not "better" than other systems. It is a dog with fleas that is almost unplayable. And it was the best selling RPG for quite a chunk of the last decade because it was attached to a popular licensed brand and had no real competition.

You can't name one positive development of the RPG industry of the last five years because there isn't one. Not in a "you youngsters need to get off my lawn" sort of way, in a "the RPG industry is fucking dying and not one company has produced one fucking thing that even slows that process down in the last five years." Dungeons and Fucking Dragons is asking for high fives and handjobs all around because they produced one book in three fucking years that managed to sell through a fifty thousand book print run in a month.

-Frank
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virgil
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Can the death of the RPG industry be reversed, as opposed to slowed down, by good design? Or is the tabletop medium simply unable to keep up in the long run?

Related question: what do tabletop RPGs bring to the table that isn't covered by board games (from Descent to Munchkin), video games (from WoW to Fallout), and fan fiction (from Fiasco to fanfiction.net to Munchhausen)?
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Antariuk
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:
Can the death of the RPG industry be reversed, as opposed to slowed down, by good design? Or is the tabletop medium simply unable to keep up in the long run?


Not as long as crowdfunding is as popular as it is today. Between crazy overfunded projects from the likes of Monte Cook and the umpteenth small project under $10.000 and a few dozen backers, the surviving publishers and their portfolios from the olden days just look archaic and boring. Wrongly so, probably, but acquiring RPGs has become this insane and inane process of backing some random game on KS because glitzy presentation, and never really caring about the game you receive in a year or so. That bubble needs to burst before you can change anything.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Virgil wrote:
Related question: what do tabletop RPGs bring to the table that isn't covered by board games (from Descent to Munchkin), video games (from WoW to Fallout), and fan fiction?


RPGs are the cheapest hobby. Cheaper than magic cards, cheaper than model trains, cheaper than fucking video games. They are cheaper than video games, even if you already own the computer/console. You can be heavily into RPGs and have an outlay of less than $5 a month. RPGs are so cheap as a hobby that the fact you are often too busy to cook while playing them and end up getting takeout instead of staying in and making whatever the fuck you eat on a night in is probably a larger expense than the books and dice of the hobby itself. If you buy the big main book for some new game and then play it for six months before going on to the next game, you have change from a $2.50 weekly entertainment allowance. Going to the movies once per month is significantly more expensive than that.

If you get one booster box of Magic cards per set or you have one MMO that you pay month subscription for, you are spending significantly more moolah than if you bought a sized RPG hard back every semester. RPGs can be as enjoyable as any other hobby. And they simply cost less to get into or keep up with than any other hobby you could name. A night of RPGs costs less than a night of drinking in bars, a night at the movies, a night skiing, a night at an amusement park, a night at the opera, or fucking anything else you could possibly do as a regular social thing. Even going to church on a regular basis is more expensive (even if you don't go to the prosperity gospel take-all-your-money churches).

Virgil wrote:
Can the death of the RPG industry be reversed, as opposed to slowed down, by good design? Or is the tabletop medium simply unable to keep up in the long run?


The lack of cost also means that there is a lack of budgets. A truly great selling edition like the 3e PHB sold a few million books. And that's great. As a percentage of its cost to produce, 3e was obviously crazy profitable. But more normal books sell a few tens of thousands or even less. That doesn't give you a massive budget for writing, editing, typesetting, and art. You could probably get top industry talent (such as it is) at 5 cents a word, and a 150k book would set you back $7,500 for writing. Obviously you can make a profit unloading 30k copies at that rate, but there isn't a lot of room to go up from there. Fantasy artists tend to go for like $50-100 per picture and there isn't a whole lot of room for that to go down because artists have to eat food and buy pencils, but you're also talking about like $10k to fill a book - not a lot of room for that to go up, either. You obviously aren't going to be able to afford to fill your book with full color Alex Ross paintings at $10,000 per page. That would be awesome, but you aren't going to be able to do that on the kinds of budgets RPGs actually have.

The creation of better and cheaper publishing methods made for a brief golden age of RPGs in the late nineties and early naughties. And improved cheap digital art could potentially bring that back around.

The reality is that an RPG has a total production budget of like twenty five thousand dollars, and no RPG is going to have the chance to become a big thing if that isn't enough to look "not embarrassing" on the shelf. But equally, games don't stick around if their design isn't good enough. So a new generation of RPGs needs two things to reverse the collapse: decent design, and production values that aren't horrible. There's no prospect in sight for those things happening, but there's no reason they couldn't. Ultimately we're talking about the kinds of money that some random medium-rich dude could just randomly throw at a project if they happened to like RPGs.

True story: the cost to film the scenes of people playing D&D in Stranger Things was higher than the production costs to launch an RPG.

-Frank
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