Dunjinns and Draggins

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Ishpeck
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Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

I've been playing a D&D game for the past few months. I've had a right thorough good time of it, too. This weekend will be our 6th session. As I look forward to the coming session, the only things that I can think to anticipate are all the bad guys I'm gonna kill. In other games, I anxiously await the drama of everything my character wants to do and how it plays with (or doesn't play with) other players and NPC's stated unstated goals.

I'm not one of those thespian roleplayers who masks is lack of math skills behind a pretentious preference for story. But it is true that D&D seems to be openly antagonistic toward story. Our entire group has been rather dedicated to crafting a fun drama. But the best we tend to come up with in D&D is meaningless antics.

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Ravil
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ravil »

...wow, you could be describing the game I run.

Namrok
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Namrok »

I always hear about how D&D 4th focused almost entirely on tactical combat over story. Complete with a line of official miniatures and maps. Which is too bad in a way.

I was reading over at Filfre that D&D was always a bit schizophrenic about whether it was for acting and story, or numbers and simulation. Looks like simulation finally won out.

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

Namrok wrote:I was reading over at Filfre that D&D was always a bit schizophrenic about whether it was for acting and story, or numbers and simulation. Looks like simulation finally won out.
That's the funny thing. 5th edition (the one we're playing) is actually a step MORE toward story-driven stuff.

Part of the problem is that Forgotten Realms was always part of the old D&D tropes and that's the setting we're playing in at the moment. The campaign material we're running is certainly geared toward the age-old cliche of a band of homeless murderers collecting ancient treasure from random tunnels they encounter.

For whatever reason, even as we --- very character-driven players --- press on, our desire to advance the campaign means that the only way we can express our characters' personalities is through spurious noise ...

We're having fun. Lots of it. But it's certainly not as awesome as the L5R stories we have come up with.

One of the things I think that's missing is the sense of a _home_.

In L5R, each character has a home. When you pick your character class (your dojo), you already know where you grew up and you get a rich history to go with it. This alone makes you WAY more of a person. When you wish to advance your character's school rank (level) you must return to your sensei and beg permission to learn the next techniques.

But in Forgotten Realms, locations only exist as a pretext to throw a dungeon crawl someplace. The way your character gets more badass is simply by being a hobo troweling around in caves someplace prying everything open looking for organs/XP or gold. The theme -- even if you make deliberate effort to overcome its pitfalls -- kinda pervades everything.

I was a pure and committed role-player! BUT THE UNIVERSE GETS TO YOU EVERY TIME!

https://youtu.be/oE6MQvNQRYo

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

By contrast, I've found that FATE is almost as uncompelling to me for the same reason. Pretty much all of the things worth telling about were the silly term we used when creating situation aspects. It wasn't really _meaningful_ but it makes for hilarious one-liners and can probably form good click-bait on a blog post headline. FATE's commitment to soft mechanics did not help emphasize the story any better than D&D's commitment to mechanics did.

More and more, I'm coming around to the notion that the only way to make the game really interesting is by a blissful marriage between mechanics and setting. If your setting is a thin contrivance to express mechanics, you have D&D. If you mechanics are a thin contrivance for literary LOL/wow factor, you have FATE.

Getting the world and mechanics to work _together_ is very tricky. It requires both good writing and good game design dancing together like no expert writer nor fantastic game designer could do entirely on their own.

I think L5R has succeeded. World of Darkness and the Storyteller system might come close but they lean far enough into mechanical sterility that I'm not certain. I really wish the Warhammer RPG's had succeeded because I think the potential was there --- but I don't think that Fantasy Flight games has room for this.

WHY ARE RPG'S SO HARD?

Namrok
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Namrok »

I did really enjoy the Warhammer RPG that Fantasy Flight did, but it definitely suffered from being very combat mechanics heavy. Which is to say, it was 99.999% combat mechanics, cards for combat abilities, cards for combat locations, NPCs with combat stats exclusively, etc, etc.

They let you roll up a non-combat social character. Then you quickly discovered there were no good skills for you to acquire, no way to pull your weight and/or avoid combat even in the introductory scenario the game comes with, and you are pretty much dead weight.

I could also just be a terrible, uncreative GM. But I was hard pressed to find any mechanics that were applicable to social situations besides basic skill checks.

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

Namrok wrote:I did really enjoy the Warhammer RPG that Fantasy Flight did, but it definitely suffered from being very combat mechanics heavy.
I don't mind combat centricity in the mechanics as long as the combat _means something_.

And that's the trick. Providing a situation in-which combat has meaning is hard.

In L5R, courtiers mostly matter as a means of giving storyverse meaning to the fights you get into. So even though courtier mechanics are laughably boring on their own and combat mechanics are still most of the game, it's interesting to see what happens in both.

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

Our Dragonborn cleric stated raping prisoners. My cleric grabbed his tonker and said "give me that. You can't be trusted with it."

He laughed and said "I can't be trusted with a lot of things." Then winked.

I asked OOC: "so you don't stop me from grabbing your dick?"

The player says "I don't stop you."

I turn to the GM: "I cast inflict wounds for 3d10 damage."

Namrok
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Namrok »

Please tell me you were chaotic good.

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Ishpeck »

Namrok wrote:Please tell me you were chaotic good.
My character is Chaotic Evil.

He's become a sort of sensei for the other characters; trying to explain to them the right way to be evil.

Any idiot can stab holes into people and rape the wounds. To be truly evil, you have to establish enough trust that they don't stop you from Inflict Wounds'ing their penis off.

Namrok
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

Post by Namrok »

The proper way to be evil huh?

So you then proceeded to play good cop to the rape victims, earned their trust, made sweet tender love to them, had a family, and then slowly sucked the life out of them through endless nagging and complaining, until they drank themselves to an early grave?

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Ishpeck
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Re: Dunjinns and Draggins

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Namrok wrote:The proper way to be evil huh?

So you then proceeded to play good cop to the rape victims, earned their trust, made sweet tender love to them, had a family, and then slowly sucked the life out of them through endless nagging and complaining, until they drank themselves to an early grave?
Um... your mother? Not exactly.

My character just hates the vulgarity. He thought it was an infantile imitation of evil. Pain and horror are the punchline that need good setup to have any punch. What he was seeing was the equivalent of running into the room screaming "WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE!" over and over again.

He knew in this situation that the effort was entirely wasted. The people they were torturing were just crazy. There was no psychology and hardly any physiology left to damage.

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