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Innovation in tabletop RPGs
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CapnTthePirateG
Duke


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 1466

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So I'm probably gonna get shit on for this, but the last time I can remember innovation being attempted was 4e D&D. I don't think much of it was particularly good innovation, and a lot of it was known to be bad before 4e came out, but that is the last time I remember people actually going "we are going to try new things and here is why."

Now 4e had a bunch of good concepts shackled to godawful execution, but you can see they were trying to change the game. Sure, the innovation that you didn't need any out of combat abilities was shit and deserves everything mean we said about it on these boards, but as 95.5% of groups are playing with extreme railroading, premade adventures, etc it really doesn't matter. The MMO roles are dumb and mostly unneeded, but I'd bet somebody realized that making a nuker wizard wasn't nearly as good as making a mind controller.

Really this is a lot more evident when you dive into 5e at all - one has mediocre (but new!) ideas and the other is a pile of rehashed watered down crap.
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zeruslord
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 577

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Apocalypse World's playbooks are really nice for the first session, but I don't think they're actually sufficient as character sheets for a long-running game. As you "level up", you can get mechanics from other playbooks, and there isn't room on the playbook to fit all the relevant text for them. Even the five session campaign I ran IRL was enough that a couple players were barely fitting everything relevant on their original playbook. At that point, it would be better to have a class-specific double-sided character sheet with half a page of blank space, plus a one-page printable character creation guide for each playbook.
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FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27313

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

4th edition D&D had power cards, which as kind of insulting as they were, they did in fact successfully thread the needle of having the full text of your abilities pre-printed so you didn't have to flip through the book during the game while still being extensible to match campaigns of any length.

Apocalypse World style playbooks only work if every a character type could possibly ever do even after advancement could fit on a single page. And while anus world games are almost bullshit enough and simple enough for that to be true, they actually aren't. Once you get a little bit of advancement under your belt they don't function anymore.

There is a need for pre-made character sheets with decent playable builds that have the fulltext of what their abilities do on them. That need is because of new players and one-shots. But for characters who have any reasonable amount of play time under their belts, no one has ever devised anything that was an improvement over a blank piece of paper.

-Frank
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Mask_De_H
Duke


Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 1822

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd make a joke about Bear World campaigns not lasting long enough to have space be an issue (they die quick and one of your final advancements is "stop playing, lol"), but I'm not going to discard zeruslord's experience. Bear World's Moves/GM playbooks are in fact a mechanics cheatsheet, and when taking other classes' shit, I wrote on the back of my class playbook.

The "choose name, choose stat array, choose gear package, choose starting abilities from this list" was nice chunking for starting a game with new players, too.
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mlangsdorf
Master


Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 244

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

zeruslord wrote:
Apocalypse World's playbooks are really nice for the first session, but I don't think they're actually sufficient as character sheets for a long-running game. As you "level up", you can get mechanics from other playbooks, and there isn't room on the playbook to fit all the relevant text for them. Even the five session campaign I ran IRL was enough that a couple players were barely fitting everything relevant on their original playbook. At that point, it would be better to have a class-specific double-sided character sheet with half a page of blank space, plus a one-page printable character creation guide for each playbook.


My limited experience with AW and DW was that you still needed to pass the rule-books around, because the wording on the playbooks was so vague that everyone still wanted to look up the rules to get more information. Of course, the rule books were crap, too, so that didn't help much.

I think that even if you did a playbook style set-up for D&D3e, you'd still need cheat sheets and DM screens.
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Almaz
Knight


Joined: 14 Mar 2011
Posts: 391

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

My experience was with Blades of the Dark, and for me, the wording on the abilities was actually quite satisfactory (but wording on equipment wasn't, when equipment was important, so that was a problem).

I think actually having a "level 1" character sheet that then gets discarded by advancement is fine. The purpose of the playbook is not necessarily to survive a long-running campaign, it's to accelerate you into playing the game RIGHT FUCKING NOW so you don't spend hours on chargen and you can get down to looting the town.

Sure, give me any experience and blank paper wins, but if you're selling me a new game system...

I think what Mask_De_H mentioned about the chargen chunking is possibly the bigger part of how speeding things up worked. Clearly defined chunks with big decisions made all at once.
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Guts
Apprentice


Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Almaz wrote:
I think actually having a "level 1" character sheet that then gets discarded by advancement is fine. The purpose of the playbook is not necessarily to survive a long-running campaign, it's to accelerate you into playing the game RIGHT FUCKING NOW so you don't spend hours on chargen and you can get down to looting the town.

Yeah, this.
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Prak
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, I think I sort of subconsciously stole the idea of the playbooks when I was working on my Christmas one-shot. I was using pre-made characters, so I just did up character sheets on 5.5x8.5 booklets so I could print them out and hand them to people to take a look at.

I think they work really well for one shots or starting games.
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Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Whipstitch
Prince


Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 3044

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I just have a hard time giving the dude credit given that one of my oldest gaming memories was my cousin pulling a pre-gen character for me from one of those old trapperkeepers that looked like a checkeboard in space.
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Prak
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I think the credit is really more for the form, the character booklet with everything you need to play the character, including class feature text, in one place.

Bringing an extant idea into broader recognition is still worth some credit, if this sort of thing was around before him.
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Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Guts
Apprentice


Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Does Mutant Year Zero's Civilization-like community improvements (School, Tribunal, Suffrage, Communism, etc) counts? To be honest I don't think the idea really works in that game, but hey, the thread is about innovation, regardless if it works or not. Mr. Green

Last edited by Guts on Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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