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Why is math so underrated?
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
So a new generation of RPGs needs two things to reverse the collapse: decent design, and production values that aren't horrible.

I think you also need to be able to reach out to, engage with, and build RPG communities. That's obviously easier in the internet age, but you still need people to do it.

It's another advantage the big names have; local folks will line up to volunteer to be the rep for D&D or Pathfinder. Somebody's heartbreaker is probably going to have to actually pay people to do it, even if it's just in comped product.
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MGuy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If we're just talking about making sure the industry doesn't die then to reverse it's slow death it just needs to be made more popular. Improving the maths for these games doesn't necessarily matter. For instance, as much as I avoid playing it, I think 5E is a fine fit for getting people to play DnD. It is simple as hell and most people do not give a shit about the rules and even if some sense that something is wrong the 'fix it yourself' rhetoric does fine for most groups as far as I can tell. Accessibility is important for newcomers and 5E is really accessible seeming. A good community couldn't hurt either. Despite how much I really disagree with a lot of the prevailing ideas the facebook groups that focus on Pathfinder or DnD float around I have seen a lot of nervous newbies become huge fans of the game over time and with a lot of positive community support/encouragement (so places like the den definitely wouldn't help this).

I think what DnD, or really any ttrpg, really needs is the kind of heated promotion it gave itself when 4E came out but better. I remember there being a fuck of a lot of promotion stuff for 4e leading up to its release but I don't remember half that for 5E. More representation in popular media would be great. Like a decent movie series or streaming exclusive show 'about' one of the various olde popular ttrpgs I think would be good. I don't follow marketing trends for this hobby but the number of newcomers who got curious about DnD based off of it being featured in Stranger Things was somewhat inspiring. If a ttrpg was the subject of a popular show like this or another DnD game could get off the ground and get really fucking popular on something like twitch there'd be a lot of new faces at the hobby stores poking around.

This wouldn't necessarily make the ttrpgs that are sold any better mathematically but you don't need that to get people buying them.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

D&D was having a slow death in the 90's, because competition from other fantasy hobbies (Magic cards, basically) and ... well, there's words to the effect that they sold some things at a loss, but basically 2nd edition AD&D was a dumpster fire of not-even-rules and people who played it a while figured that out and stopped playing it. You just need the approval of the DM to do way too much basic stuff. Not to mention all the secret fuck-you things build into the rules if you read Alignment or the Paladin's code differently to your DM or whatever.

Specifically people ran to play a hugely expensive card game instead of D&D because the card game had rules and you could just play it without some random person's fucking permission every step of the way.

--

When the people who made that card game bought out the bankrupt TSR and made a new D&D for 3e, they gave it rules. Not all of those rules were great, but everyone could agree on what they said (almost completely so, there's not many exceptions for a work that size). It sold a lot of copies. Party because it was a lot cheaper than Magic cards but a lot because you could just sit down and play D&D without anyone's fucking permission as to what would work and what would not, it was just obvious because of the rules.

Then over time as 3e printed more, you know, less well developed rules extensions, by which I mean they printed stuff like Divine Metamagic and just added it to the core rules, and people found the kinks in the rules and, well higher level also doesn't work for most classes, but yeah, a lot of the content sort of stops working because a small fraction of it is very good by comparison, and it's only really for a couple of the classes that it even works at all.

Which, in fairness, 3e monsters are mean as, it takes a lot of optimisation to chop up the high end ones before they kill your whole party. But a handful of functional builds taken from thousands of pages of options, it's hard to get into as a game, there's too much to buy and no one's playing the same game and that basically means there's no rules any more, despite all the rules, you end up needing the approval of the DM to do anything, or at least to build a character, and then if it works will it get the nerf? Ew.

--

Which, cool, you reboot it. New core rules. But 4e, despite being very rules structured, is a terrible game. The prided themselves in one of the previews that their test party had fought an old dragon and the fight went on for hours until the last standing PC was pulling some random at-will move trick (that was later removed from the game because it was effective at all) to plink it death and so it left.

But that's all of 4e, if you try to make a tough fight, the monsters just don't fucking die at all, the combats get slower for the players over time because of the power use rules, and the monsters grew quicker than the player damage output, so it got worse the longer you played it. Eight hobgoblins at low level was the stupidest fucking snore-fest ever, until you did a similar fight at higher level and it was worse. 4e characters felt like they were going backwards.

And so it had some initial sales and then died. Because people played it and it wasn't fun, got worse if you stuck at it, and there wasn't even functional rules for anything outside combat. There was certainly rules, but they didn't work at all. 4e is the D&D game where if you meet a dragon in a dungeon it gets bored after four hours of rolling dice and leaves, and the rules for doing anything about chasing it or tracking it don't even fucking work.

--

5e decided the solution to 4e's rules not working was they shouldn't have any rules. At all. The DMG is a book telling the DM to ignore the dice and just do whatever. Hit points don't even worry, just have monsters die when it's suitable. It's not quite bear world, but it's not far off. Lots of people try 5th edition, there's not many regular players though, except where the DMs basically hand out lots and lots of candy and let players do whatever, even though it's turtles all the way down.

--

I think it's the lack of good rules. Good rules being ones that work, let you do things as a player that work like they say they work, and people agree what they all mean. Does what it says on the tin, that's what an RPG should be, all the way through. That's the basics of an RPG instead of playing make believe, it's the rules, we're not just playing pretend like a little kid, there's a game and you can be good at it, plus pizza.

If you get people buying 5th edition, really, it's not a good game, because there ultimately isn't any rules, despite all the rules they throw at the players. It's not a completely terrible PHB, the MM is much better than 4th edition at least, but that DMG, that's not even a game. Eventually most people notice that and stop trying to play it.

That's what the industry needs, a set of rules in a name property that solve the actual problems of the previous few sets of rules.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Which basically implies [Tome] D&D is still the most playable version of D&D anyone can play.

That's understandable, and I think that I've seen more people come back to D&D after stopping in 2e specifically for [Tome] D&D than any other edition has accomplished.

However, it's not really encouraging b/c it's a bunch of hot-fixes for a system with flaws that (from what Frank & Keith stated in the past) can't be rooted out without rewriting every monster entry.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In the RPG industry, word of mouth matters a lot. People play the RPGs they play because other people play them. The standard game happens because one person lends their book to 2-5 friends and convinces them to play. A punchy hook, whether it be badass art or a cool rant on the jacket may get one person to buy the book, but it does little to get them to the point of organizing a game, and does nothing to hold a game together long enough for other players to want to buy books or recruit still more players.

Ultimately, it is system quality and the quality of the player character adventure hooks which keep an edition going. Games like Dark Heresy have sales spikes, but they don't last long. Heck, as far as I can tell there hasn't been a release for Dark Heresy of any kind for over five years. Games that don't have good systems just don't survive any more. The days when games like Vampire could get by with a tire fire of a system and a double fistful of attitude are simply over. As evidenced by the fact that Vampire is not in fact getting by and new editions of it were dead on arrival.

-Frank
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maglag
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

40k rpg rights got acquired by a new company in 2017 that promised to release something with it this year, wrath and glory. Switching to d6 dice pools. Loyalist scum focused but seems like you'll be able to play some xenos too.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

maglag wrote:
40k rpg rights got acquired by a new company in 2017 that promised to release something with it this year, wrath and glory. Switching to d6 dice pools. Loyalist scum focused but seems like you'll be able to play some xenos too.




Oh man. So the makers of Dark Eye (an RPG that never penetrated English speaking markets because it is terrible) have picked up some guys from the FFG Warhammer 40k RPG to make a new Warhammer 40K RPG because it's been over five years since anyone has done that and FFG gave up the license in September 2016 after GW started playing hardball about license renewal (but hadn't actually made any new 40K RPG books for nearly 4 years at that point).

This will totally end well.

-Frank
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Tannhäuser
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

http://www.ulisses-us.com/wrath-glory-designer-diary-november-2017/

The dice roll system seems like bullshit: d6 hits system, 1-3 are blanks, 4-5 give 1 hit, 6 gives 2 hits, and you always roll the "wrath" die, which screws your results on a 1 with complications, and a 6 similarly boosting it and giving you a metagame resource called "glory".
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Tannhäuser wrote:
http://www.ulisses-us.com/wrath-glory-designer-diary-november-2017/

The dice roll system seems like bullshit: d6 hits system, 1-3 are blanks, 4-5 give 1 hit, 6 gives 2 hits, and you always roll the "wrath" die, which screws your results on a 1 with complications, and a 6 similarly boosting it and giving you a metagame resource called "glory".


Having the dice read 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 2 is perfectly reasonable. Increasing the average number of hits per die makes it easier to "scale" the game without running into unwieldy numbers of dice; and having some faces give two hits and relatively more give zero hits preserves variance that you'd otherwise lose if dice gave hits more often than not. If I was asked to hack Shadowrun to do Imperial Guardsmen fighting Orks and Space Marines fighting Daemons, I'd probably do something similar.

Where it falls off the rails is the everything else. First, the Hits and Misses nomenclature has been around for twelve fucking years, and there is absolutely no excuse to use terminology that is less clear than that. Failures and Icons on individual dice resulting in Failure or Success on the overall roll is fucking nonsense. The dice that don't contribute to success need to not be called the thing where you don't get enough total dice that do; and... Icons? Are you fucking kidding me? That name is terrible.

Secondly, as we saw in Dragon Age, having a d6 rolled alongside your normal dice that determines whether you get criticals is fucking bullshit. Because 1s and 6s come up way the fuck too often on d6s for that to be a major turning point of anything. And also too, we're playing a fucking dicepool system and we already have a means of determining degree of success called counting the fucking hits on the dice.

And while we're on the subject, what the fuck is up with having a separate degree of success pile that we can transfer our Exalted Icons into? Why not just have the extra hits be the degree of success?

All told, that writeup has way too fucking many gradations of success for simple rolls. I fucking defy anyone to be able to meaningfully and consistently determine the difference between:
  • Failure with Wrath
  • Simple Failure
  • Failure with Glory
  • Success with Wrath
  • Simple Success
  • Success with Glory
  • Success with 1 transferred Greater Icon and Wrath
  • Success with 1 transferred Greater Icon
  • Success with 1 transferred Greater Icon and Glory
  • Success with 2 transferred Greater Icons and Wrath
  • Success with 2 transferred Greater Icons
  • Success with 2 transferred Greater Icons and Glory
    etc.


The example was of someone making a Persuasion test to try to impress the local governor. The MC is supposed to have 12+ meaningfully different results queued up for that? Fuck right off.

As we saw with Edge of the Empire, having lots of fiddly complications and boons cropping up all the time doesn't make the game more interesting, it makes the game exhausting to run.

-Frank
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Frank, do you think that modify a d6 hit-based dicepool (like After Sndown's the TN5; TN6 = x2 Hits) such that it's slightly more variable could bring anything to the narrative?

What if the "modifier" dice didn't only care about a 1 or a [Max] result, but rather, each value on the modifier dice modified the dice roll in some way?

I'll admit that even trying to narrate an 8 hit result in After Sundown (when the whole party assisted the Khaibit in their purification ritual to be granted access to the Ressurection Necromancy sorcery) was difficult b/c "2 stages more magic than blatantly supernatural" is not easy to conceptualize.

However I could see the value in modification dice for supernatural effects that functionally limit narrative results in some manner.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
Frank, do you think that modify a d6 hit-based dicepool (like After Sndown's the TN5; TN6 = x2 Hits) such that it's slightly more variable could bring anything to the narrative?

What if the "modifier" dice didn't only care about a 1 or a [Max] result, but rather, each value on the modifier dice modified the dice roll in some way?

I'll admit that even trying to narrate an 8 hit result in After Sundown (when the whole party assisted the Khaibit in their purification ritual to be granted access to the Ressurection Necromancy sorcery) was difficult b/c "2 stages more magic than blatantly supernatural" is not easy to conceptualize.

However I could see the value in modification dice for supernatural effects that functionally limit narrative results in some manner.


Having die results that give 2 hits has the same effect as making the chance of a hit on each die low. Which is to say that it means that there is a small chance of the game outputting numbers that are very much higher than the average. And as you've noted, that puts a strain on the MC, because they are required to potentially narrate effects of significant excess success that probably won't happen.

So when you're rolling TN 5 dice and the average result is 4, the maximum result is 12. If you're rolling TN 4 dice with 2 hits on a 6 and the average is 4, the maximum result is again 12. But if you were rolling TN 3 dice with an average of 4 hits the maximum would be only 6.

If the goal is to eliminate tail risk of anomalous very high results, you want a tn of 4 or 3 with no exploding dice or double hit numbers.

-Frank
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