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Made in nz
Stealthy Dark Angels Scout with Shotgun






Crispy78 wrote:
I've not played any really modern RPGs, but I have a fair bit of experience with older D&D, Shadowrun (2nd Ed), World Of Darkness and Call Of Cthulhu.

One of the most interesting mechanics I've seen in terms of forcing players to think about their characters, and encouraging roleplaying instead of playing a list of abilities, is that of Wraith: The Oblivion.

For those not familiar, Wraith is one of the White Wolf World Of Darkness games, in the same game world as Vampire: The Masquerade and so on. Characters play the recently deceased, who are still bound to the world of the living and are unable to transcend to the next plane of existence.

During character creation, you have to detail:
Who were you while you were alive
How did you die
Personality archetype(s)
Your Regret - summary of why are you still interested in the mortal world
A list of Fetters - these are physical items that still bind you to the mortal world. You have to explain what they are, how important they are and why.
Passions - these are the emotional motivations binding you to the mortal world, things like 'avenge my death' or 'publish my unfinished novel'

It's all built around providing motivations for how the characters behave, and hooks for the GM for the story.

Where it gets really interesting is that each Wraith also has a Shadow - this is the dark, nihilistic aspect of its personality, which craves failure and self destruction. The Shadow has its own character sheet, its own goals, abilities, Fetters, Passions and so on. In moments of high stress, failure, insurmountable odds etc the Shadow can take over. And the idea is that the Shadow is played by another player in the group...


Dude! That sounds frigging amazing.

"The best way to lie is to tell the truth." Attelus Kaltos.

My story! Secret War
After his organisation is hired to hunt down an influential gang leader on the Hive world, Omnartus. Attelus Kaltos is embroiled deeper into the complex world of the Assassin. This is the job which will change him, for better or for worse. Forevermore. Chapter 1

 
   
Made in gb
Savage Khorne Berserker Biker




Southampton, UK

It's an amazing game, but it takes a lot of work. I think when we tried to play it last, we weren't really ready for it.

Kind of want to give it another go - but my current RPG group only meets 2-3 times a year and we've already technically got 3 games on the go.
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka






For me, the mechanics of an RPG have to be incredibly terrible to spoil it, and I can't think of one that really has done so far. SR5 came closest, in that chargen was painful, but once we sidestepped the issue the game was fun.

The closest mechanics have come to breaking any of our games is when the GM (in this case, me) wasn't as familiar with the rules as would be ideal - stopping to flick through the book kills the mood.

The main mechanic I think people should bear in mind is the ability to ignore the bits you can't be bothered with. For example, in our Dark Heresy game we ignored the group mechanics - the Subtlety score. Instead we just let the GM handle that sort of thing as part of GMing the setting. We also partially ignored the ammo limits; we used magazine size, so we had to stop and reload, but we essentially had infinite ammo. Combats never lasted so long for it to become immersion-braking, and if it made the game as a whole more action-packed than usual? So be it.

I don't think I've ever played in an RPG where we used any resources outside the core rules, either. Partly that's because the way we play, the GM has the rules, the rest of us just wing it, so there's an incentive to keep it simple, but also because it's often easier to just make something up on the fly. FFG's Star Wars is an example of that, where whether a gang of mooks are humans, rodians or mon calamari is basically irrelevant, so their stats are the same no matter what they are for low-level goons. If I need a higher-level villain of a species from some random splatbook? I'll just invent one; doesn't take too long and the players don't care. Again, in our Dark Heresy game we went up against Chaos Space Marines, genestealer hybrids, Orks and Eldar aspect warriors without having any of the bestiary books.
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Yeah, ammo tracking is something I've never bothered with except if it's something more specialised like silver bullets or explosive arrows. I assume if you're familiar enough with the weapon to use it, you're familiar enough to know to collect your arrows after a battle, and repair or replace any missing ones for a handful of currency in town.

I also tend to apply the same to provisions and such; if you want something specific or more fancy then you might pay for it, but for ales in taverns or a simple set of meals for the road, I don't bother. When the PCs carry round multiple thousands of gold pieces, the few copper it'd cost them for lodgings, supplies, ammo ect is negligible and pointless to the storytelling.

   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






 Paradigm wrote:
I totally agree that the GM should be able to have fun to the same extent as the players, but I don't necessarily see that that requires them to have a mechanical force to push back against the players or anything that makes the game more adversarial or combative. The GM should never be trying to beat the players, even though characters they play obviously are, and I think a GM that derives fun from an attempt to engage in a game against them is missing the point.

The fun of GMing comes from the ability to play a multitude of characters, to shape the story and the world and, yes, from seeing other people enjoy what you create. I can see how some sort of mechanical back and forth might be more appealing to those who take the view that the GM shouldn't have a story to tell, or create a narrative, and should only ever react to what the players are doing, but I really think that approach is deeply flawed one for a multitude of reasons (though obviously, if you're having fun then it's all good).

I think of the mechanics mentioned so far, the GM Intervention one is the one that I find most unnecessary and strange. Not only does it further the acquisition of XP even more from the in-universe reason people get better at things, which is by doing them and learning about them, but it's just not needed. To take the example given, to say 'you get a bonus XP if the at guards are alerted', why does that need to be there? Presumably, the game has some kind of contest between perception and stealth that covers situations like this, so if the guards do well trying to find the PCs or the PCs make a mess of their stealth, then it's only natural that the guards are alerted. By the sound of it, this is saying to the players 'sure, you did really well with your stealth, but it'd be really handy if the guards knew you were here, so have this XP bribe and pretend you totally failed that roll'. Just seems very strange to me to play a game in which the dice arbitrate things, and then have a mechanic to overrule them.


It's only adversarial if the GM and players are being that way.

The difference between a GM going... And there is a spike trap there! or... I spend 2 points... spike Trap! is that the first DM is just pulling gak out of his ass and the second has a mechanical restriction/option that allows him to spring things into situations. To the players it shouldn't make any difference at all. The trap exists regardless. To the DM they have options laid out before them with mechanics to guide when and how to use them.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

GMs should be able to pull Gak out of their ass. That is their role. Additional mechanics around it only limit the players and GM instead of freeing them.

If the GM needs my character to encounter a spike trap, then he can just have me encounter a spike trap. Anything else is overcomplicating it really.

As an RPer and GM I want my games to be less limited and not more limited. I don't want my players or GM spending the session digging through rules mechanics or splat books to find out what is what. Just get on with things!

The more mechanics involved the more restrictive the game.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Or alternatively, you GM from the approach that what you prepare is what exists, so if Character X put a spike trap in the top left corner of Corridor Y in Location Z, and another two rooms away in the bottom right, then that's where the spike traps are, whether the PCs run into them (or even go to those locations) or not.

But whether you take the stance that what you prepare is what exists, or that nothing exists until you say it does and thus traps can be pulled from thin air, or fall somewhere between those, I still don't get the point of these mechanics that let you 'buy' twists or hazards or developments, because as GM you have control over those things anyway.

I wonder if this ties into a broader question of fairness? Whether you have players that feel what the GM can and can't do should be governed by rules/mechanics/currencies to limit abuses and avoid perceived 'unfairness'? Which again goes back to gamifying things, and the idea that the GM and the Players are opposing sides and as such should be on a level so that when one or the other wins you can point to a rulebook and explain why. Which, of course, is an idea I totally disagree with, but maybe it's one that's out there.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/09 17:42:27


   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






It is one thats out there but its not one that is inexorably tied to the gm having a currency to do things with. The gm is not playing against the players. The gm is playing with the players to tell good stories. Providing them with tools to do that doesnt suddenly make the gm an enemy.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

No, but if the aim is to tell good stories (and I totally agree with that), then I don't see why the mechanics are necessary.

If you're trying to create a narrative, then surely the best way to achieve that is to have a process that goes 'this makes a better narrative, therefore it happens', rather than 'this makes a better narrative, but let me just check to see if the rules let me do it'. I just don't really see what it adds to proceedings.

   
Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

I think some of my favorite GM actions have been the ones that outright ignored the rules, because it was better that way.

I think rules are useful. They provide structure whether otherwise you'd mostly have controlled chaos. A group of close friends can collaborate easily, but one of the nice things about TT games is that you can pick up and play with anyone and try. For that you need some kind of mutual framework.

So rules are useful. But I think smart people know when to throw them out because the story is better without them... maybe make that a rule

   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






 Paradigm wrote:
No, but if the aim is to tell good stories (and I totally agree with that), then I don't see why the mechanics are necessary.

If you're trying to create a narrative, then surely the best way to achieve that is to have a process that goes 'this makes a better narrative, therefore it happens', rather than 'this makes a better narrative, but let me just check to see if the rules let me do it'. I just don't really see what it adds to proceedings.


Sure. We could all just play pretend too. No charactersheets no dice. Just everyone says who they are and what they do. Its called an improv class. Just get your friends and do that. But since we have some rules whats the problem with having some rules over there too? I am not debating the merits of freedom. Im simply stating that being upset about rules is silly when you already accept them.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/09 19:20:27



These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in us
Napoleonics Obsesser




MN

 Paradigm wrote:
No, but if the aim is to tell good stories (and I totally agree with that), then I don't see why the mechanics are necessary.

If you're trying to create a narrative, then surely the best way to achieve that is to have a process that goes 'this makes a better narrative, therefore it happens', rather than 'this makes a better narrative, but let me just check to see if the rules let me do it'. I just don't really see what it adds to proceedings.


Exactly! Better said than I have been able to manage.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Lance845 wrote:


Sure. We could all just play pretend too.


Isn't that basically what we are doing?

The rules are only there to arbitrate a decision if players need to accomplish something that is not an automatic or in opposition. Everything beyond that is chrome. The resolution mechanic could be as simple as Paper, Rock, Scissors and the winner dictates the result and that would be just as an effective of a mechanic as roll a d20, add modifiers, and then see if you meet or exceed a target number set by the difficulty of the action as shown on this chart of difficulty levels.

My thought is that the players will use the mechanics as "how the game is played". Your mechanics need only be in the spirit of what you wish the game to do. Therefore, if you add a restrictive set of mechanics, expect your players to be restricted. Therefore, RPG mechanics have a big impact in how the players/GMs play the game.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/09 19:25:12


Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






 Easy E wrote:
 Paradigm wrote:
No, but if the aim is to tell good stories (and I totally agree with that), then I don't see why the mechanics are necessary.

If you're trying to create a narrative, then surely the best way to achieve that is to have a process that goes 'this makes a better narrative, therefore it happens', rather than 'this makes a better narrative, but let me just check to see if the rules let me do it'. I just don't really see what it adds to proceedings.


Exactly! Better said than I have been able to manage.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Lance845 wrote:


Sure. We could all just play pretend too.


Isn't that basically what we are doing?

The rules are only there to arbitrate a decision if players need to accomplish something that is not an automatic or in opposition. Everything beyond that is chrome. The resolution mechanic could be as simple as Paper, Rock, Scissors and the winner dictates the result and that would be just as an effective of a mechanic as roll a d20, add modifiers, and then see if you meet or exceed a target number set by the difficulty of the action as shown on this chart of difficulty levels.

My thought is that the players will use the mechanics as "how the game is played". Your mechanics need only be in the spirit of what you wish the game to do. Therefore, if you add a restrictive set of mechanics, expect your players to be restricted. Therefore, RPG mechanics have a big impact in how the players/GMs play the game.


Agreed that mechanics impact how gms and players play the game. So, if the gm is given mechanics instead of infinite freedom, doesnt that have the same effect on the gm as it does the players? In the same way that some mechanics are really good for the players couldnt there be good mechanics for the gm? In the same way that no mechanics for the players can be bad, couldnt no mechanics for the gm also be bad?


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

That's fair to some extent.

My take is that rules are necessary, only in so far as they facilitate cool stuff and good storytelling. Success and failure being governed by rules is important, because that can throw fuel on the narrative fire and adds a pleasing element of randomness that in turn engenders emotion (rolling a critical hit is exciting, simply deciding that you hit a thing real hard isn't because you already know the outcome). Progression is also important on some level, it facilitates a developing story and can be fun in its own right in terms of player experience, though as discussed in some forms it can actually hamper immersion.

But past that, the less intrusive they are the better. To me, there'd be nothing more immersion breaking than the GM breaking character to say 'if I give you 2XP will you let there be a spike trap there?' Because as part of the story the GM is telling, either that thing already existed because it was appropriate for it to have been placed there, or they introduced it to further the drama and tension. Whichever it is, the job of the GM is to create the illusion that the world with which the players are interacting is as believable and entertaining as possible, and I just don't see how that tallies with immediately taking the players out of that immersion to offer meta-currency in exchange for a challenge.

I guess a good example of my perspective on it is that the rules are the mo-cap suits and digital artists and script-writers and actors, and the game experience is the movie you get at the end of that. So having these mechanics come up when they don't need to is like having a blockbuster action sequence suddenly cut to the same scene, but with all the wires and green screens and scripts fully visible and none of the effects rendered. That might sound hyperbolic, but that's how it comes across to me, nothing less than a big old flashing reminder that you're playing a game when, in the same way that the best movies are the ones where you forget you're watching one, the best RPGs and the best GMs are the ones where you forget it's a game.

   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






I agree that the asking about exp for things is weird. Ive never heard of that system before this thread.

But the darkness points of coriolis could be.... Your gun games. An environmental effect triggers. Many monsters special abilities cost dp. So a dragon breathing fire doesnt just do it every x rounds the gm is spending resources to trigger those abilities. Your space ship has a quirk in character creation. You could have an eccentric a.i. dp can trigger it during times of crisis so that it starts blabbing on about nonsense when you asked it to take over flight controls and now you cant rely on it.

He doesnt have to tell the players hes spending dp or how much. The dp pool could be hidden behind the gm screen. The gm doesnt generate his own dp, the players do by certain actions. It checks all your boxes.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Fair enough, I will concede that I've probably focused too much on the example that leapt out as most egregious, the others are probably easier to hide and keep in the background.

However, I'm still not convinced that they actually add anything. If the ship AI going haywire could make a scene more tense or interesting, then why not... just do it? As the GM, you have that power, and no one is going to call you out on it or demand that you justify why you chose for it to happen at that particular moment.

And with the monster attacks, I guess it's just a case of dissonance for me. Surely whether or not a creature can do a certain thing depends on its own capabilities rather than coming as a result of point earned for the players doing something totally unrelated? 5e has a Dragon's breath weapon on a Recharge (d6 each turn, roll a 5 or 6, it can use it again) and the number on that recharge represents how much control the creature has over regaining the use of that ability. That makes far more sense to me than the Dragon being able to use a Breath Attack because in the last room the players hit an ancient button or were touched by some dark force. Now, the caveat to this (as I mentioned before) is that if it suits the setting, it can make sense. If that particular setting relies on a tangible karmic balance or whatever, then sure, it makes some degree of sense that certain actions on one side of that equation fuel actions on the other in pursuit of that balance, but that's so specific that for me to accept it it'd have to be literally written into the premise of the world and game (a la Light and Dark Side mechanics in Star Wars).

I guess this sort of comes down to how you view the rules in relation to the GM and players. I see that hierarchy as Players < Rules < GM, because the rules govern what the players can do and the GM governs how the rules are applied. In this version, the GM should be beholden to as few rules as possible, as it is their role to apply rules to things in the world rather than have rules apply to them. The rules govern things that exist in the world, and the GM does not exist in that world and therefore is not affected by its rules.

Would it be fair to say that your take is more players< rules >GM, with the rules exerting influence on both sides equally?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/07/09 21:37:56


   
Made in us
Horrific Hive Tyrant






I dont have a particular stance on it either way. I have gmed where as gm i am god and that means the referee stance you take. The game is litterally benieth me and beholden to my choices so the players play and i arbitrate.

But i am starting to get into games where as the gm i also have rules to follow and its making me the gm more of a player too. And i LIKE playing games. Not just overseeing them.

Neither has ever had a perfect experience for me. And when the second option goes wrong mechanically it goes REAL wrong. But that doesnt mean the underlying philosphy of it is without merit.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in us
Sneaky Sniper Drone




United States

So I went back and reread the rules on the GM Intrusion in Numenera after I saw all the discussion it sparked.

It isn't so much used as a way to just insert drama, but as a way to auto-pass or auto-fail dice rolls, and handwave mechanics in the interest of the story.

So one of the things I said as an example was "drop the priceless artifact". The intrusion would be:

Prompt: An NPC attacks player holding artifact
Player: Can I roll to see if I hold onto the artifact?
GM: Will you accept 2XP to drop it?

Another one is:
Players set off trap door trap
GM: (to the player who previously expressed he was standing in the doorway) Will you accept 2XP to have moved out of the doorway and get caught in the trap door as well?

I'm not sure how I feel about the intrusion, my draw to Numenera is the setting. However, I will say that XP in Numenera is a strange beast. So that fact that its the reward for these intrusions isn't game breaking or anything. Most of the XP given in intrusions will end up getting spent to avoid more of them. As "saying no" to an intrusion costs 1 XP.

I agree with Lance. I DM as the arbitrator mostly, so finding these games where I truly am a "player" in the story with mechanics to support me is really cool.
   
 
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