Topic-icon kalnaren's characters

1 year 4 months ago #2778 by Kelemelan
Kelemelan replied the topic: kalnaren's characters
There, looks better.

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #2779 by kalnaren
kalnaren replied the topic: kalnaren's characters

Kelemelan wrote: Basically you don't like magic that is magic, hey ;) :P

If it's all defined and controlled, it sounds very much like science to me. ;)

Magic is more like Art in my mind, but fine, it's your world. :)


Even art has rules.

Colour mixes, forced perspectives, quadrants (photography specifically). You can slap some paint on a brush and drag it across paper, it might be "yours", but it likely isn't going to accomplish what you want without following some well-established conventions.

More specifically though it's required in writing to keep the story grounded. Why would a reader ever worry about the safety of the characters if magic has no limitations? As long as they have a competent mage with them they'll never be in danger from most worldly threats. Magic becomes a plot device rather than an element of a grounded world.

And therein lies one of main things that sets high-fantasy apart from other types of fantasy.

If you're going for a Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms/Golarion
/whatever setting than it doesn't overly matter. But if you're going for something a little darker and more relatable to the reader, you need to tone that down.

Even magic Lord of the Rings was significantly less powerful than that (there was a great article written quite a while ago called "Gandalf was a Fifth Level Wizard").

Otherwise when something bad happens to a good character the reader goes "Why didn't the sorceress just teleport them out?" rather than "Oh Shit! Even the sorceress can't deal with that!"

If you pick and choose when that sorceress can teleport based on when it's convenient for the plot it becomes incredibly transparent to the reader, leads to aforementioned "deus ex machina", and frankly, is bad writing. Quite a few fantasy works fall victim to this line of thought; "It's magic! It doesn't need to be explained!", and the author finds themselves using magic as a convenient solution to the MC's problems rather than having it as a living, breathing part of the world.

I'm not saying you have to spell out your magic system to the reader, but it makes for a far more interesting work if you as the author put your characters in a position where you want to solve by magic, reference your notes, and realize you can't (or realize they can try and it will likely fail). Now you actually have to write your characters coming up with a solution to that problem or situation -giving you a ton of opportunities for character and plot development- rather than just using some wand-wavium and *poof!* next chapter. Snore.

If you want a very high level of magic where demons or super-mages or other outworldly stuff is involved, great, that's your story. But it doesn't work at all in a lower fantasy setting.

At the end of the day, all my characters I've posted in this thread are part of that setting, where magic has consistent limitations.

Note that I never used the word freeform, I said max freedom would be up to the GM, and I'm using such powers (I'm using them anyway, but still :P ), so if a game gave me the power to do anything I wanted, I'd feel extremely comfortable. So why bother ? It makes things easier for you. You don't have to develop everything about the rules, and all things considered, you can always add that later if you need or want to. What's the rush ?

My perspective is, for instance: If you developed something for d20 I wouldn't be interested because I'm not using d20 (I'm using some OGL clones or so, but not d20/D&D itself so, not interested). However, a setting without system could be interesting because I wouldn't have to get rid of all that useless rule system I've no use for. If the setting or scenario or whatever itself is fun, I'd buy it. I already bought several of these.

Of course, that's only me talking :)


Well, I like rules :)

I like complexity and gritty.

But more specifically my world has rules that govern how certain things in it work. Thus there has to be a framework that can be used to place hard limitations on those aspects.

Otherwise it ceases being my world and is just some rando-generic fantasy setting.

No offense meant but did you try to look out of the D&D/d20/OD&D/AD&D/D&D Next/etc bubble ? All things considered, you can always add that later if you need or want to. What's the rush ?


I have, I'm also looking at OD6 as it strips out a lot of the magic complexity and other stuff. Haven't gone too far outside of that because, like I mentioned in the previous post, I don't really have the time to learn a completely new system to the point where I can extensively houserule it without breaking it.

Designing a system from the ground up is complicated. It's not a simple matter of "just add stuff if you need it". Regardless of how simple or complex it is, everything has to work together. So simply saying "Huh, I need a rule to govern this, lets add one!" can have significant consequences across the entire game. You need a base framework to work from.

Most d20 based systems are horrible to modify for this reason -the underlying math is stupid complex, hard to understand, and often isn't balanced well anyway.

D&D Next (5e) actually fixes a lot of this. It's really an elegant evolution of the classic d20 genre into more modern conventions. You can actually invent a monster in that and balance it properly in 10 minutes or less. I've borrowed some aspects from that in one of my other boardgame projects.
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by kalnaren.

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1 year 4 months ago #2780 by Kelemelan
Kelemelan replied the topic: kalnaren's characters
I suggested the GM went withe flow and even without rules, but he's the GM. He can deny and limit magic for the players at any point.

That's his job and his prerogative anyway, and he or she'll have that prerogative no matter what's in the rules. So why bother with a complex set of rules ? That's all I'm saying.

At least while you're building your world and setting. You can always add the system later or different systems. If the rule is: no healing magic and fire magic is dangerous. It doesn't matter what system I'm using. Everybody understands that magic doesn't heal for instance. And I didn't choose a game system. GMs can adapt these choices to their own game systems.

Btw, there's very little magic in Lord of the Ring. It's epic, yes, but not magical. Nobody is throwing fireballs around. Magic is in the world, not something available to the PCs.

Modern readers keep thinking of magic as a kind of science and I'm still saying it's (could be, depending on the setting) an art. And of course, no, I'm not thinking about art in a modern scientific way like you are. ;)

Now, in a D&D setting, since there's a rulebook somewhere with plenty of spells, it's going to be a science. With art comes doubt.

That's what new artistic schools keep doing: changing or ignoring the previous established rules of art, just because they an. :)

Oh, I definitely think magic needs to be explained... to the GM. Which is to the buyer if you write down your setting for commercial purpose.

I said it doesn't need to be explained in game terms. That's different.

Nah, Low-level magic is fine too. I'm GMing both very (and I mean very, wait for it ;) ) high level of magic, in supers settings, so that's far beyond fantasy, and low-magic settings in howardian fantasy ambiance were magic is something you shouldn't play with unless you're ready to deal with demons.

To me, anything is okay if players and GM are fine with it. But I'm being consistent with the principles of the setting. Nothing not appropriate to the "mood of the world". ie: no elves or fire bolts in hyboria. Howard never did that. (And I can do that without game system, once again :) ).

About the rules as rules. d20 next may be fine. Never read it. And if I do, tbh, that will be because of some generic version applied to something I'm doing (same thing happened with OGL/d20 so I'm talking out of experience there ;) ). But it's crazy complex and with so many spells and feats and etc... that's an awful lot of work if you want to adapt it to a setting of your own.

That's why I was suggesting you didn't forget about other stuff. Just because they might be simpler and easier to use than a several hundred pages long rulebook. ;) :P

I'm nostalgic of those times where everything was in V&V's 45 pages rulebooks ;)

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #2781 by kalnaren
kalnaren replied the topic: kalnaren's characters
Well if I remember right you're more of a fan of classesless or less bounded systems anyway. Nothing wrong with that of course, lots of flavours of RPGs, but I wouldn't blame you if you never touched newer versions of D&D for that reason :P

It's all fine to say "there's no healing magic". Even saying "more powerful magic drains mages, makes the weary, etc." and hope the GM has enough sense to keep in the bounds of the setting.

But I'm not looking to just create a setting. I'm looking to create a game designed to be played in that setting.

If I was just doing something like a setting book or campaign guide.. I wouldn't care. The Inner Sea World Guide is 315 pages, with 275 of those having zero rules in them. But I'm looking to create an actual game that gives players a grounded framework to play a character that fits into my setting.
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by kalnaren.

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1 year 4 months ago #2782 by Kelemelan
Kelemelan replied the topic: kalnaren's characters
Well, are you asking me as a player or as a GM ?

As a player, I think the GM is what matters, so I practiced games I had little interest in because I trusted the GM, and I've never been wrong on that point. The GM's ability to make something interesting overules the worst games/setting/system/whatever.

As a GM, I prefer classless system but I like them to have rules. I have been a HERO GM for decades for instance. No class there, but rules & bounds aplenty. ;)

What I keep saying is that you don't need these rules to be *that* defined while the game's beginning. The GM or Game designer can set them as the need arises.

And so, as I understand it, you don't want any setting, you want a setting for D&D Next, and nothing else. So, since everything I was talking about was what kind of system you may use and do you need any, at first. It looks like you answered the question. ;)

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #2783 by kalnaren
kalnaren replied the topic: kalnaren's characters
I don't want a setting for D&D next.

I flat out said it won't work, nor will any of the other rulesets I'm familiar with. I stated this several times.

I said D&D Next is probably the closest I could make work out of the systems I'm familiar with because of two very specific features of that ruleset: Bounded accuracy and magic/martial scaling. That's it. That doesn't mean I want a setting for it. Because I don't. Because it won't work. I'd have to modify so much else I'd serious break it.

It's really not that complicated.

I'm not creating a simple setting and going "oh well the GM can figure out what works and what doesn't within whatever ruleset they want."

As I stated several times: There's no ruleset I'm familiar with that will allow me to do what I want, and I don't have the time or inclination to learn another ruleset well enough that I can modify it without seriously breaking it (and relying on the GM to "cover" or "fix" those problems through arbitrary rulings is a cop-out and antithesis to good game design).

What I keep saying is that you don't need these rules to be *that* defined while the game's beginning. The GM or Game designer can set them as the need arises.


If the GM has to add rules to make the system work, it's terrible design.

The rules have to be well enough defined to give you a core to work from.

For example, you want tactical grid movement? Well here's what you have to think about:

How are you managing speed? Via character ability? How are those abilities created? What is average? Does that average work for all creatures in the setting? How does is change? Is encumbrance going to effect movement? Yes? What is the average encumbrance? What governs that? How does that trait relate to the trait that governs speed? Etc. Etc.

Arbitrarily or ad-hocing these values without grounding them in solid math is how you design a broken system.

You're correct that you don't need to figure out all the exact details from the start, but you absolutely have to have a feel for how values relate to each other and how they interact with each other.

You can strap on rules 'as the need arises' without consideration to that fact, but that leads to disjointed and disconnected design, and frankly, RPGs stopped being designed that way in the early '90s (well, good ones, anyway).

Trust me on that.. the first real tabletop game I designed was done that way, and at the end of it I ended up with a 65 page rulebook and a system that was completely impossible to balance because nearly every mechanic in it was completely unrelated in any way to every other. It was seriously a collection of "we'll add rules and layers as the need arises". And it was a disaster.
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by kalnaren.

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