• @Rheios
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    9 months ago

    Simple rules that can describe almost every situation are also rules that over-generalize characters to the detriment of options (everyone’s noticing the same things, instead of perception allowing more observant characters to do what they could do), over-include the player’s capabilities in place of the character’s. (Players conversational skills failing to match with those of the character they intend to play), overly abstract what they describe (a monster’s “power” or a character’s actual abilities meaning something in adjudication but nothing consistent/concrete enough in-world), or demand a DM adjudicate without reinforcement or restriction (In the absence of rules every corner case ruling risks the danger of turning the table into a debate between PCs and the DM, inviting rapid ends and either producing embittered DMs or embittered players* - especially under the “pack it up” approach the video suggests - and helping to increase combative tables in the future.)

    The games that OSR takes inspiration from did a lot right in their mortal power-level, reasonable growth, real risk of danger, and humanistic tones but if you’re trying to sell me that the growth of rules that followed aren’t a direct result of weaknesses in those games? I don’t think we’ll agree.

    *The “Dorkness Rising” problem, for a slightly more light-hearted allusion.

    • InsurgentRat
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      29 months ago

      I might be misunderstanding but what you’re talking about is basically just failures of a DM.

      DMing osr style games requires being more than a simple automaton applying the rules. The systems are simple to allow you to spend your energy elsewhere. I’ll use OSE as an example as that’s what I’m currently DMing.

      Let’s take perception. Firstly if something matters from a fun perspective it should be obvious. For example, if overcoming a trap is fun then the overcoming should involve play, not dice rolls which are there to abstract over tedious or uncertain play. For example a large magical fire blocking the corridor requires no perception but will involve a lot of experimentation to find a way past.

      Or if we are wanting a perception roll like event: Lets say players are stuck and have no ideas for finding a secret door they think is likely there. Who are the characters? not their stats who are they? Ok someone was a farmer prior? huh ok. Give them a clue to follow like “hey Jake the farmer, you notice the air in this room smells familiar, there’s a maddening scent of petrichor which has no place on a dry stone chamber like this one” see what happens. Alternative if Jake asks for a clue ask Jake to describe some way in which who he is applies to the context and set an ability check for a true or false clue. Suddenly a lack of rules is freedom for players to build up their character mythos on the fly.

      Likewise for player skill stuff. No reason a player needs to narrate a conversation anymore than swing an actual sword. If a player asks me if they can make an impassioned arguement based on legal precedent, a sense of justice, and the illegitimacy of a ruler who cannot protect their vassels to the King’s guard then they make such an argument as appropriate to their character’s level of skill.

      • Neiter you nor the person you’re replying to is wrong, but the way I see it you’re coming from different angles.

        You’re coming from the view of an experienced GM, while the person before you worries about people getting in the game or struggle with their social skills.

        Imho, both ruleset have their place and everything depends on the group, what they want, what their personalities are and how experienced they are.

        I would never run a table because I don’t think I could handle it if one of the players got combative, and that danger is higher when you go rules light I would guess.

        • InsurgentRat
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          9 months ago

          I’m not experienced at all! I’m dming my first campaign at the moment. I did play as a teenager in the 2000s but that was pathfinder which worked quite differently.

          It does ask more of players, and it wont work with a group that doesn’t have the confidence to ask meta questions about the game but you can definitely foster that! when disputes come up there are multiple ways of handling things, I haven’t had any bad ones but 2 come to mind.

          In one I didn’t adequately communicate to the players the threat of a foe and they felt frustrated, we just rewound time and tried again after a brief chat about non combat options. In another I just asked a player what they thought was fair and they ended up coming up with something reasonable.

          I think there’s a harmful view that ttrpgs are like a meal the GM cooks and delivers to the players which they either enjoy or not rather than a collaboratory effort of mutual play. Players should add to scenes etc (e.g. “Is there/could there be a window we could jump from?”), be part of adjudication when it wont kill pacing or during tricky situations.

          Like all play it requires trust, but that’s true in modern DnD too with all sorts of broken interpretations of rules and zany magic items etc. All games where players and DMs are adversaries break down.

          • You are just bringing examples where insecure people who struggle with social skills (hi, nice to meet you) would not be able to handle it.

            You kinda completely blazed past my point while confirming it. Clearly for you rules light is great. I’m trying to tell you there’s people who are not you and who need more rules to even dare to try.

            • @cyberdecker@beehaw.org
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              49 months ago

              insecure people who struggle with social skills

              Hi, also me. Nice to meet you.

              This is why I run “rules-light” systems and why you won’t find me running (or playing, anymore) games like DND. The complexity of rules is just too much for me to remember and memorize. I don’t have it in me to argue and debate about applying a rule and would prefer not to interact with someone who is rules lawyering. I find that having those rules there is more intimidating to me than anything else. I feel like I have to work with rules first and then find ways to be an agent of my character within that.

              Because of my own insecurities, I tend to lean on systems that require more collaboration, discussion and openness. I can’t really be wrong if we have collectively decided on a choice about our story. And even in that, calling it, our story carries so much power and lifts a huge weight off of my shoulders in terms of pressure for both playing and running a game. This is how I can skirt around my own insecurities and work with the kind of social skills that I have and prefer to use. I want collaborators rather than adversaries since that is socially much safer. Consequently, this also leads to very rich storytelling.

                • @cyberdecker@beehaw.org
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                  19 months ago

                  It’s taken a while to find “my people.” I try to surround myself with good people both ocially and professionally. And the kind of people I like to be around tend to be good discussion partners and usually make great collaborators and storytellers. I hope you can find your people someday too! Keep looking, they are out there.

            • InsurgentRat
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              29 months ago

              But I’m an insecure person. I speak maybe 100 words aloud a week outside of gaming.

              It’s not easy to enforce rules without confience, much easier to build consensus than be a dictator

              • The easiest way is to say “this is the rules as written, deal with it, we don’t do homebrew here” for me. The people I met in game spaces where not the type to reach a consensus quickly. I guess I’ve just been unlucky.

          • @cyberdecker@beehaw.org
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            29 months ago

            I think there’s a harmful view that ttrpgs are like a meal the GM cooks and delivers to the players which they either enjoy or not rather than a collaboratory effort of mutual play.

            This is beautifully said. The kind of adversarial approach we see so often, and I see it quite often with DND, is harmful. Of course this is not the only way things have to be, but the context seems to set it up like that more often than not.

            Complexity of rules and mechanics tend to lead to adjudication because of the way it can be interpreted. I find that in other systems, particularly in OSR style stuff, you get a different kind of thing. It’s not a rule, but a tool. This is kind of what I have loved about games like Mork Borg lately. Rules are simple, easily applied, and when you start to look into the world of supplemental material, there’s thousands, if not tens of thousands of additional rules and tables, you can apply to any situation. Take them or leave them. Apply them or don’t. Use them once, never or every time.

            Ultimately, you do what the situation calls for to make for an interesting story, and just like you said, that takes trust between you and the players to talk about and determine what that is.