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The difference between gaming cultures

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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Pentallion » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:51 am

Matt_E wrote:
What do the PC's NEED to develop their characters?


Well, if development is measured solely or chiefly in money or gear, then I would suggest that the characters are not very deep--and maybe the game's framework in which they exist is not, either. To me, a character is more than an equipment roster and a set of Feats. If money/gear is a means to an end, fine, but when it is the end, I lose interest.

I am personally much more interested in what a character can accomplish without much gear or money. That is a measure of grit and determination, to me. What is left when those things are stripped away, eh?

This may go back to that other discussion we had about whether you're a gamist, narrativist, or whatever.

Nonetheless, no matter how well developed and thought out the characters are, they will need certain things merely to survive so the story doesn't suddenly end on a bad dice roll. If they're going to have combat, they'll need defenses, healing, etc. If the story has werewolves, they'll need a way to deal with them, either silver or magic. These are valid considerations. Not every campaign is a low level adventure or remains low level. How they reach the ability to deal with stronger obstacles and enemies sometimes requires a bit more than "grit and determination", it requires training - which means money - or magical items which can aid them.
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Matt_E » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:40 pm

At some level, yes these are valid considerations. Personally I find them tertiary, or at most secondary, and definitely not primary, for most of a campaign (though there may be moments when they temporarily become primary). The original paragraph seemed to put them close to primary, all the time.
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Bilharzia » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:03 pm

Matt_E wrote:
Pentallion wrote:
but it doesn't matter how rare treasure is in your campaign if the one time you give out a magic item it destabilizes the balance of the game.


Yes, that would be a problem for me, but, reading the rest of the article I excerpted, I do not believe that was on the writer's mind as a potential pitfall. ;-)



It's a bit annoying then, if you don't post the source of the article.

Also, you can have a bit of both
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby threedeesix » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:01 pm

Matt_E wrote:threedeesix, what do you think? I pick on you because you sort of have a foot in each world, as creator of Classic Fantasy.


Well, having not read the original post, only the small snippet provided, I would say how it relates to D&D does make sense. I mean, D&D, and therefore by extension Classic Fantasy does tend to place more emphasis on magic items and other treasure then most d100 derived games. And while I would never say to disregard putting a lot of time into crafting interesting NPCs, I would say that care SHOULD be taken when adding magic items and treasure to an on going campaign. A standard NPC may be around for a short while, but adding one or more powerful magic items to a game could completely break it. Therefore, yes, I do agree that it should involve a lot of thought before giving something to your players that you may regret later. That's why in Classic Fantasy, while tables have been provided to randomly determine magic items, their power is still solidly grounded on the Rank of the party.

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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Matt_E » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:19 pm

Bilharzia wrote: Also, you can have a bit of both


Yeah, good thing introducing those magic items didn't destabilize that campaign... Destabilize, define a fated endgame--potayto, potahto...

OK, sorry to annoy; since more than one of you has brought this up, I will link to the source:
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/208 ... April-2017?

It's free. See pages 8 and 9. The article is, in fact, about not destabilizing a game with too much loot, as several of you have presaged. I reiterate that what got me was the underlying assumptions about what is most interesting and important in gameplay. It would never occur to me to quantify how much a 4th-level, er, Rank 2 character "should be worth", to the nearest 500 gp.

Maybe it's just me. So be it.
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Dan True » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:07 am

threedeesix wrote:but adding one or more powerful magic items to a game could completely break it. Therefore, yes, I do agree that it should involve a lot of thought before giving something to your players that you may regret later. That's why in Classic Fantasy, while tables have been provided to randomly determine magic items, their power is still solidly grounded on the Rank of the party.


Back when I was doing my Eberron conversion, I found a line in the Sharn supplement that amused me to no end. I'm paraphrasing, but it was essentially the designer telling the reader to ignore the standard treasure tables, since fighting that amount of classed NPCs instead of monsters (Sharn being a city) would quickly overload them with wealth and magic items. Those tables in standard D&D was always ignored by me.

I always thought D&D (3.x at least) worked best on level 1-5. After that the weird focus on magic items made everything weird. I never understood why they decided to break the attack/defense imbalance by adding more defensive magic items, instead of just fixing the imbalance from the outset.. But I've had great fun with D&D in the past.

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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby camocoffey » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:14 am

Even playing and running D&D, I've rarely concentrated on treasure in my games - but I have been bitten a couple of times where the treasure really should have been considered more. In an old game, my L4 paladin/rogue recovered a +3 frostbrand greatsword from a dragon scrap; that weapon ended up defining my character, 'cos suddenly I went from "a corrupt spy who had since converted to a righteous cause and now suffers continual challenges to his new faith" (i.e. quite an interesting role to play) to "that guy with the big sword that does lots of damage" (i.e. dull).

I thought 4E managed treasure better than 3.5; oddly, given how boardgame-y everything else in that system was. The focus was very much more on what each character could do rather than what equipment he was carrying. Most items boosted PC abilities rather than gave new powers.

I quite liked Earthdawn's take on magic items, having them grow with the PCs, developing alongside them.

On the other hand, I have had some fun deliberately messing up with the expected conventions on loot. I once began a campaign by handing a L1 rogue a 10,000 GP inheritance ... and then suggesting that he might want to try somehow to defend his sudden windfall from his much higher level enemies.
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Matt_E » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:44 am

hahah Nicely done. Yes, in that case the loot is a MacGuffin: not actually of interest in and of itself, but rather for its utility/necessity in driving a plot. That's different. :-)
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Re: The difference between gaming cultures

Postby Stuart Coyle » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:13 pm

The quote is reminiscent of games I played in the very early 1980s. I'd like to think that the art of roleplaying games had moved forward since then, but for many it has not.

I suppose there's a couple of things in gaming culture that create this attitude. One is the various 'RP' video games which for the most part tend to be of the pure hack, slash and grab the cool loot variety. These have set the expectations for many in the tabletop game setting. The second is a shift I have noticed to 'retro' gaming, where the style of original D&D is seen as a goal.

Anyway if you flesh out the NPCs then the players are afforded opportunities that they may not otherwise have had to negotiate, cajole, trick, bribe or blackmail them into what they need. This of course is given an advantage in a system like RQ where the combat option pretty much always carries some risk to the player character. So I would not ignore them.
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