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    Number Crunch vs Narative

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    Kj_leigh

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    Join date : 2016-11-29

    Number Crunch vs Narative

    Post by Kj_leigh on Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:47 pm

    So I think an area that we may be confused on is what is meant when saying we want an engaging or involving system.
    With the huge variety of game styles out there, what each player wants to experience and what each GM wants to offer can change drastically. Not to say any one type of game is better than the other though.

    I know for my players, story involvement is key, while combat comes 2nd if not last. They would much rather be solving puzzles in a dungeon than fighting minions every session. Not to say combat never pops up.

    Others I know play almost exclusively for combat. Grinding for higher levels, gear, and abilities is what they live for. Once puzzles or NPCs come into play, they are suddenly quiet or on their phone.

    So, they question is: Who do you want the system to appeal to most?

    Do you want a crunchy system with deep involved character generation to appeal to the min-maxing power gamers and munchkins? Or a more narrative driven system that focuses on character development instead of stats, puts emphasis on RP instead of combat, and appeals to the Thespians and story seekers?

    Hero system is a good example of a crunchy system, as everything in it is geared toward combat and has one of the best damage rules I've seen.

    But systems like gumshoe, fate, and amber have proven that good systems don't need to be drowned is stats and die rolls. (Amber doesn't even use dice)

    Generic systems like SW and GURPS do a pretty good job at letting the GM decide how the game is played, with GURPS being on the crunchier side of things.

    So, I don't think its impossible to have both a deep set of rules for character advancement as well as rules that encourage RP. But I do think that it's hard to balance them well, and in turn that makes it daunting to GM and play.

    I think examples of well balanced games are L5R, SW, Pathfinder(d20 3.5), and mongoose traveller. To name a few.

    So, what do you all think? What type of game are you hoping to run with this system? Because once that's settled, it will be easier to decide what direction to take the dice and leveling system.
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    Sithlyone
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    Re: Number Crunch vs Narative

    Post by Sithlyone on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:35 pm

    You bring up a great point. I know when I think of being a PC I want to build the best version of my character possible. I map out my characters far in a advance and I power level. That's not to say that I don't enjoy puzzles and story arch. Some of my best games have been when I've thrown a puzzle at the group and let them hack away at it.

    My only issue as a player is that when those sessions come around, a lot of GM's don't know how to or they don't bother to give out XP based on the PC's involvement or the success of the puzzle. A lot of GM's only base their XP on combat or skill based actions and that is extremely frustrating for me as a player when I've spent the last 2 hours working on this puzzle and have nothing to show for it.

    Now that is another topic for another day, but my point is, that I like both styles. I want to power level my character AND have a good character/story arch. I don't need to just fight, I can puzzle away with the best of them, just don't hold back my XP.

    So can't we create a system that allows the players to have immense control over their character build without making it solely a number crunchy game? I want my cake and Dang it... I want to eat it too!!! Laughing




    Kj_leigh

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    Re: Number Crunch vs Narative

    Post by Kj_leigh on Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:39 pm

    I understand not feeling rewarded for story progression. But I think that mostly falls on the rule set having faulty systems for XP distribution. Personally, I don't like the way d20 handles it, doling out XP for skill checks and combat. I prefer how some more modern games award it at the end of the session based on overall performance. SW for instance, awards a base level of 2xp, with 1-3 extra xp being awarded for RP or combat. Level up happens every 5xp, so awarding 5 all at once would be a special occasion. I find that much easier to manage and explain than awarding hundreds of xp based on arbitrary rules.

    I think it's deffinitly possible to have both a crunchy system and one that promotes story and character dev. The problem is that if the system is crunchy, it's crunchy for everyone. Now even the players who just want story are forced to wade through all the numbers and balance or risk being useless. Or the opposite, and the GM has no interest in balancing combat or even running combat at all. Then you have angry power gamers that have spent all their time plotting how to level their character to be the best fighter possible, only to sit and listen to the talky characters because they don't have an ounce of charisma.

    Generally I would want to build a system I would want to run, not necessarily one I would want to play in. I would never run Hero or Exalted or a number of other systems, because too much prep would be absolutely required to run a game. Balance balance balance. Whereas a game like Fate, SW, Traveller all can be pretty flexible. Adlibing is quite easy when you can whip up a balanced character in a matter of minutes.

    But I think mostly it just comes down to a matter of opinion. I know a lot of GMs that love having binders full of detailed plot elements and fully stated out enemies and all sorts of combat encounters. I am not one of them lol. My campaigns consist of bullet points and pre gen minions. The only characters that I bother fully stating out are mid-boss level or above + NPCs that may join the players. I like my players to work in a sandbox not a story arch. There are quest lines they can follow, but generally they don't have an end goal until the party starts pursuing it. But that's just my style. Some like pathfinders organized play, with everything outlined in pregen quests. Not my style though.

    I think in the current system economy its important for the system to be foremost approachable. No one really wants to do math if possible to avoid it. It's the reason d&d has revised the d20 formula so often. AD&D was balanced but too complicated, 2.0 fixed some things and broke others, 3.5 stays easy to learn hard to master but is perfectly balanced, 4th end broke everything, next and 5th further simplified and balanced.

    So, I think you can have crunchy and story driven, but you can't have crunchy and approachable. The higher the crunch, the more limited the player base, and GM base, will be.
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    Sithlyone
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    Re: Number Crunch vs Narative

    Post by Sithlyone on Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:39 am

    Kj_leigh wrote:I understand not feeling rewarded for story progression. But I think that mostly falls on the rule set having faulty systems for XP distribution. Personally, I don't like the way d20 handles it, doling out XP for skill checks and combat. I prefer how some more modern games award it at the end of the session based on overall performance. SW for instance, awards a base level of 2xp, with 1-3 extra xp being awarded for RP or combat. Level up happens every 5xp, so awarding 5 all at once would be a special occasion. I find that much easier to manage and explain than awarding hundreds of xp based on arbitrary rules.

    I think it's deffinitly possible to have both a crunchy system and one that promotes story and character dev. The problem is that if the system is crunchy, it's crunchy for everyone. Now even the players who just want story are forced to wade through all the numbers and balance or risk being useless. Or the opposite, and the GM has no interest in balancing combat or even running combat at all. Then you have angry power gamers that have spent all their time plotting how to level their character to be the best fighter possible, only to sit and listen to the talky characters because they don't have an ounce of charisma.

    Generally I would want to build a system I would want to run, not necessarily one I would want to play in. I would never run Hero or Exalted or a number of other systems, because too much prep would be absolutely required to run a game. Balance balance balance. Whereas a game like Fate, SW, Traveller all can be pretty flexible. Adlibing is quite easy when you can whip up a balanced character in a matter of minutes.

    But I think mostly it just comes down to a matter of opinion. I know a lot of GMs that love having binders full of detailed plot elements and fully stated out enemies and all sorts of combat encounters. I am not one of them lol. My campaigns consist of bullet points and pre gen minions. The only characters that I bother fully stating out are mid-boss level or above + NPCs that may join the players. I like my players to work in a sandbox not a story arch. There are quest lines they can follow, but generally they don't have an end goal until the party starts pursuing it. But that's just my style. Some like pathfinders organized play, with everything outlined in pregen quests. Not my style though.

    I think in the current system economy its important for the system to be foremost approachable. No one really wants to do math if possible to avoid it. It's the reason d&d has revised the d20 formula so often. AD&D was balanced but too complicated, 2.0 fixed some things and broke others, 3.5 stays easy to learn hard to master but is perfectly balanced, 4th end broke everything, next and 5th further simplified and balanced.

    So, I think you can have crunchy and story driven, but you can't have crunchy and approachable. The higher the crunch, the more limited the player base, and GM base, will be.

    Well I think our metaphors are getting out of hand here. I'm not looking for a math heavy game. However I do like the ability to add specials to my characters that allow them to become more powerful in whatever their strengths are (I played a silver tongue swindler before and he was quite useful, couldn't fight at all but he could stop his enemies from attacking him by just suggesting it).

    If we just have abilities with no bonuses that can attach to it then I feel it will make the game to simple and the players will max out their characters very quickly.

    Since I think what Im saying is a not really being explained well I'll give an example. My most recent character (in Pauls game) is a tank. One of the better abilities to build up as a tank is the 2nd wind ability. Each player normally gets a second wind option, once per day. However my character is really focusing on this ability and making it one of his strengths (2nd wind grants you 1/4 hp once per day if you are knocked down below 1/2 your total HP).

    He has taken a feat called: (oddly enough) "Extra 2nd wind" - This allows him to take two 2nd winds per day; He has also taken a talent called "Tough as nails" - This allows him to take a 3rd second wind per day; He has also taken another feat called "Unstoppable combatant" - This allows him to take multiple 2nd winds per Encounter (normally he would not be able to take more than one per encounter, just per day); The next talent he is going to take is "Fast Surge" - This will allow him to take a 2nd wind as a free action so that he can take a second wind even if it is not his turn; He will also be taking "Recovering Surge" - This allows him to gain +1 up the condition track when he takes a 2nd wind.

    So you can see that not all extra abilities make you "Crunch" numbers. They do allow extra depth and give interesting little side bonuses. I'm not saying we need to make it like saga or D20 at all, but there is some good things in here that I feel are being overlooked because it is being classified as being to "Crunchy".

    Putting in extra feats/talents doesn't have to be number crunchy and it will add depth.

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    Re: Number Crunch vs Narative

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