Expectation for RPG

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Expectation for RPG

Post by Dangerous » Wed Jan 19, 2022 6:14 am

At first I wanted to write this in a discussion of the new Village Mechanics, but then I found it better to make it a separate topic in the general section - it goes well beyond the PBF itself and its verdict system.

Views on the very idea of ??what an RPG is are different - no matter if someone is a newbie or an old goat, among players, MGs and creators everyone has their own views in the discussion. Wanting to learn from Osk how to lead, I realized how many things I simply would not accept, because they contradict my expectations for the entire field.

I am going to list here a handful of the most important discrepancies, different axes of choices in the expectations of RPGs, which I notice, which still cause lively discussions and sometimes divisions among fans of role-playing games. I will address everything personally and I am curious about your opinion. Some questions are related to the expectations of systems, others also to the way of driving and playing, some of only the latter things.

The mechanics have ...
1. ... be used absolutely or at discretion?
The question concerns both the approach of the creators of the system and the attitude of the players and MG using the system, who may, after all, ignore the idea from the manual.

So is the mechanics what the board game rules and the computer game engine are, an integral part of the game, or should it function as a tool that GMs and players use when deemed necessary or useful?

Personally, I prefer to stick to the mechanics rather tightly and all the time, as long as they are not too exaggerated. If a mechanic is introduced, it is precisely so that the verdicts are not issued at will, therefore it should not depend on such someone's decision when we look at the rules. Of course, you can't go overboard here, especially in exuberant systems. However, sticking to the rules is simple honesty and the certainty that we will not disturb the balance to someone else's disadvantage. I will also develop this approach in response to question 6.

2. ... leave space or decide unequivocally?
This question concerns purely systemic issues, otherwise the question moves to point one.

It is quite clear - we expect a mechanics that only resolves to someone's advantage or disadvantage, or rather gives us a specific recipe, an exact picture of what happened? It only tells us that a critical hit excluded the opponent from the fight, leaving us a narrative, or rather gives us a clear answer that the blow cut off the antagonist's right arm at the elbow?

I think there is no need to overdo it in describing everything that can happen, because you will never foresee every possibility anyway. As long as something has a clear meaning from the perspective of the mechanics themselves, let the mechanics talk about it, but resolving purely cosmetic issues by mechanics will always translate into something. It's better for players to have fun deciding what they've accomplished.

3. ... decide actions or have power over the plot?
Again, a purely systemic issue and it really concerns an idea that can turn an RPG into a slightly different kind of entertainment.

The traditional mindset in RPGs is that the mechanics describe the events or let the GM take care of it as long as he doesn't cheat, i.e. if the player has defeated the enemy, the GM describes what happened to the enemy. But recently, more and more games in which the mechanics, instead of keeping the power together with the leader, have it among all participants of the entertainment. In a mild form, it means that a player who has achieved some success in mechanics can describe the course of an event and the effects of this success with more or less freedom depending on specific ideas in the system. In a more advanced edition, we get to the deeper blurring of the division between players and MG, the disappearance of the idea that an ordinary participant only plays his character and decides for it. The player, through some strengths or successes, gains influence on the gameplay at the meta level - he describes the world presented at will, the plot, the environment, and the rest, including the GM, are to accept it and adapt to it. The RPG becomes an interactive story-building here, of course, this advanced variant also has different editions. Interestingly, in some trace amounts, the idea that the player successfully builds the world happens even in very traditional RPGs, depending on the will of the GM.

I am a supporter of the fairly mildly introduced division of narrative between the GM and the players. A mechanical winner should have a lot of fun describing what he actually did. However, more interactive story-building in my opinion is no longer an RPG and requires a completely different mindset, with different goals.

The goal of mechanics is ...
4. ... fun and history or realistic simulation?
It is about what is expected of the system.

Does the mechanics serve to play by creating justice among players, forcing them to think tactically, awakening creativity, or is it a realistic simulation tool that allows you to reliably and honestly reproduce the reality in the game world?

Yes, I formulated the description biased, unfortunately I did not succeed

to be impartial, because I'm in a hurry. The fun mechanics win over the simulation not only because it's more fun, but also because the simulation has no chance to predict everything without huge scripts. Because there are FPS and other computer games from realistic physics simulations etc. Because a game that does not focus on reliable rules of the game, but predicting all the possibilities and imitating every little detail, gives much more opportunities to smarts looking for loopholes in the system to simply cheat in the game. This is not an obvious and straightforward phenomenon, but I can explain somewhere later if anyone is interested. Simply put, the more confusing rules, the more gaps. The more you pay attention to small things, the greater the possibility of choosing each small thing to your advantage, meta-game.

5. ... something interesting about the criteria of the game or decision making in the narrative?
This also applies to systems.

Should the game be fun to do with dice fumbling, handling chips, cards, successes, and so on, or shouldn't it distract you from the story and immersion? Does it make sense to introduce tactics at the meta level, that is, in the mere use of these mechanical elements, and not only from the level of characters inside the world of the represented world?

My feelings on this point are somewhat ambivalent. I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I am tired of the mechanics, where the player is helpless in the face of his results - he can only declare his hero's decision, roll the die and wait for the judgment of stiff numbers and an unbending judge in the person of MG. It is good if the mechanics involve the player in what is happening in the verdicts, so that this throwing does not routinely perform a boring procedure with a possible thrill caused by randomness. However, if the system puts too much of the participants' interest on all these numbers, tokens and various tricks, it is easy to lose all immersion, plot and thinking from the character level somewhere. And then we will realize that our RPG falls within the competences of board games and that in this field it suffers a disastrous defeat.

6. ... setting the course of the narrative or supporting it?
Theoretically, these issues are sometimes presented in textbooks, but the key issue here depends on the attitude of the Ministry of Economy.

Does the mechanic have power over the narrative? Many players and the GM make it clear that you cannot be a slave to the rules, that playing is the most important thing. The best example is the diplomacy dilemma - whether the proper success in persuasion should require, above all, good arguments and nice expression on the part of the player, allowing him to jump over the mechanics or rely only on the numbers in KP and dice, and maybe somehow add these factors together or require success on both levels?

Somewhat contrary, I believe that mechanics should be a priority in dilemmas. We don't require the player to have the ability to fight with a two-meter ax or throw fireballs for their character to do so, so why punish the character for the player's incompetence in developing convincing arguments in the discussion and neatly presenting them? Does it make sense for a character with no understanding of anatomy, no combat experience, and no composure in an attack to get bonuses for the player's precise description of what blows and what vital zones he is targeting? When we can ignore the concept of a character and make up for its flaws with our own strengths, the balance collapses and it pays off in mechanics to think only about the hack'n'slash side of the game, to create tanks focused only on strength. Playing a character with great charisma does not make sense, because we can play a powerful wetboy with great charisma, eating a cookie and still having it. The player should be rewarded for commitment to acting and rich descriptions (although not necessarily, depending on our attitude on issue number 9), but firstly, it is better if it is done somewhere higher and broader than the bonus in a specific test, and secondly, playing to your advantage against the concept of the character is not a good act, but rather a subtle cheat.

7. The Game Master is the opponent or ally of the players?
A question of part of the system, but mostly of the attitudes of the participants.

So does MG rather create something cool with the players and let them fulfill what they want, does it create an intrigue for them, multiply complications and make it uphill to challenge them and evoke some emotions in them?

In my opinion, you shouldn't just overdo it in either direction. I am a supporter of the definition of RPG, in which players are primarily responsible for their character, who is to find themselves in the situation presented by MG, where they are largely recipients of its plot. However, this approach is archaic nonetheless, and any presenter should understand that players are not there to be demeaned. When a player has an idea for a character, he should be able to implement it. If the GM wants to create challenges for players, the challenges should aim to create an interesting storyline that players should have a chance to learn regardless of how

they will go badly in fights and figuring out secrets. If the GM does not intend to give players an interesting story, he has no right to make their lives difficult.

8. Is the action of the game supposed to create a colored story or a tangible simulation?
It concerns the convention, so mainly the approach.

On the one hand, the story should be colorful, expressive, it must contain some extraordinary things that will make it interesting, it is impossible to interest anyone with a story in which all events are as rational and probable as possible. On the other hand, in the interactive creation of narratives on a regular basis, maintaining a reasonable approach and striving to faithfully simulate tangible reality allows you to fully empathize with the role and the world and severely limit the meta-level plays - both those leading to mechanical success and those aimed at focusing getting attention and going out on the main character.

In my opinion, in spite of everything, the pursuit of colorfulness and panache in the story prevails over realistic imitation and insistent "but in such a situation my character would definitely sit still, do not disturb my immersion". I do not like behavior on the part of players that comes down to cowardice and waiting for events. Especially when the character is not described as a coward and his "reasonable" behavior is simply due to the lack of any distinct character. Likewise, I expect from MG and systems that the world and the story will be first of all addictive and unusual, and only then realistic.

9. The plot, narrative and characters should be characterized by the complexity and richness of the background, or should they focus on the main action?
It mainly concerns the approach of the participants, but also the construction of the setting.

Do you prefer a world whose description touches on a lot of issues, providing inspiration in every matter, making it more tangible and avoiding misunderstandings, or rather one that is defined by basic aspects and allows participants to have fun with their imaginations, leaving room for free interpretation and reality? new ideas?
The narrative should be beautiful and full of ornaments, decorating the world with descriptions of the background and side events, episodes of simple everyday life, or rather focus on the main line of action, allowing you to focus on the key elements in the game?
The plot should focus on the challenge to the players and the plot they solve or the challenge being performed, or does it require the planning of numerous plots and circumstances?
Characters should be armed with a background composed of biographies and characters, built through past events and motivated by complex mechanisms, or should their story take place in action?

I definitely prefer complexity and artistic charm - the decorated narrative may not be important to me, but tangible, vivid characters are crucial, and a plot with many plots is very much needed. From playing straight to the goal, there are board games and computer games.

10. The game is supposed to profile the characters and the story or provide freedom?
It mainly concerns the system, and to a lesser extent the Ministry of Economy.

Should the game world and mechanics open up as many options as possible in free character and story building, or rather their role is to provide inspiration and build something interesting through a specific concept devoid of a shallow "do what you want" concept?
Freedom in creating everything possible is fun, but a game whose solutions are perfectly matched to specific assumptions, and the profiling of characters for the idea forces players to go beyond their favorite scheme, can be much more fun and relies less on the quality of driving.

Personally, I prefer games with full freedom, where you can first have an idea and then adapt it to the world and mechanics. However, I have very pleasant memories related to more specific ideas and I think that some requirements for the characters or the plot makes sense.
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Expectation for RPG

Post by Irakhash » Wed Jan 19, 2022 6:48 am

No, you just ask a question that covers a broad spectrum overlapping the rest of the questions first, followed by fifteen more questions. Vicious circle.

So I ignore these questions and just describe how I like to play RPGs, because I don't think you understood my answers at all.

For me, RPG is a standard, in which we have a clear MG as the world and players as the main characters of the story who are at the center of the events taking place in the session. Due to this fact, MG is not an opponent of the players, because he is at the same time everything that surrounds them, so it is impossible to clearly define who he is.

Players cannot influence the plot other than by using their characters directly. But they create the plot, because it depends on their decisions. However, they have no influence on the narrative itself, they do not take a role from the Ministry of Economy, there is a clear line between them. If GMs have more freedom and overlap with the role of GM in certain places then this is an Indie RPG for me.

One more thing about acting out the characters - I like scenes to happen during the session. This means that the heroes talk to each other through the players and the GM, not just declaring. Declarations may only refer to unspoken activities or moments when the conversation itself is of little importance and only takes unnecessary time. Ah, and remember that what is grotesque to you, people normally do it in dubbing games / movies and in theaters. It is simply thanks to such details that the characters are recognizable and distinctive.

As for the mechanics, I like one that only resolves disagreements or conflicts, and doesn't tell the GM or heroes what to do. First, someone wants to do something and when he tries, the mechanic has to find out if he has succeeded or not. And the narrative depends on the GM or the player, depending on what the throw was about (when a player throws himself to persuade or attack someone, he can describe what it looked like, and why not?).

I still don't understand how a mechanic can take over from MG. What, there would be a table saying "if the players do this, roll a d10 and read here"? As for who the players can play, I just like being able to play whatever they want. But if the premise of the game is that they play Hogwarts wizards, I don't change that, because that's the premise of the game, not the mechanics. The mechanics only reflect the assumptions of the game. If there is no profession in nWoD and you can play everyone, it means that you can play everyone, but when you play Vampire: Reqiuem, you play a vampire, because that's what he is for.

The most important thing in the end - the goal of the game: have fun. No matter how much freedom we give players, no matter what the mechanics are, it's important that everyone feels good. Therefore, some topics are irrelevant as they are set before each campaign. The best option is chosen, the concept of the game so that the players get the game they want.
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