What are "Rules"

Seems to me, before any of these "rule" debates about D&DNext can be addressed, we need clarification on two fronts: what is a rule and why is it needed?

The first seems to be easy.

The second seems to be the point of contention. 

If I am right in my assumption, why? 

I think when that question is answered, the real point of debate may actually be revealed.
There are people looking at rules as a kind of "laws of nature", defining the world they are living in. There are people looking at rules as a mean towards conflict resolution. The first one are normally called simulationists, and have certain needs. The second ones are generally called narrativists, and have different needs.

...I think that pretty much covers most of it, at least from what I have seen on these boards. 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
There's more than one kind of rule, and the different kinds of rules are needed for different things.

In roleplaying games, there's generally at least two broad categories of rules. One set of rules for generating dynamic scenarios and populating them, and another set of rules for determining the outcome of decisions made within those scenarios.

The general things the first set of rules are often supposed to accomplish: Creating an interesting world, and interesting characters, and interesting places and things for those characters to interact with, and making it all seem alive and consistent without requiring too much work on the part of the DM.

The general things the second set of rules might be supposed to accomplish: Allow the decisions of the players to meaningfully affect outcomes, without being so complicated as to bog things down, or being so arbitrary as to render decisions meaningless.
If it isn't math, it's fluff.
I could easily make an entirely rules-based RPG without using math. I don't think it'd be that fun for me - because I like dice. But math's not necessary to have rules.
Rules are the methods of scenario creation, conflict resoltion, consistency maintanence that the players of a game agree on.

We buy rulebooks so we dont have to spend the years creating and figuring out our own rules.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Game-world and real-world rules seem to answer commonly occurring questions.  In a game's environment, those questions might be:

How far can I walk, jog, or run in a short span of time?  How does weight affect my movement?

How much damage does a steel weapon cause to a creature?  How does armor and/or agility affect, impede, or deflect this damage?

How does a spellcaster create, channel, manipulate, and discharge magical energies?  How can potential targets overcome such energies?

When I verbally interact with a sentient being, how do I guage my success?   How can the sentient being disregard my attempts toward diplomatic, devious, threatening, or callous remarks?

And the questions would go on.  For each question that arises, an answer is found, and those answers would become the rules by which the game is played.  

As we approach 5E, we are seeing that multiple answers exist for singular questions, so the questions (thus, the rules) must be asked with a caveat: how does situation X affect item/creature/situation Y in this particular game's environment?  The standard rules would emerge from such questions, and modular rules would arise from other ways of answering similar questions.
There are people looking at rules as a kind of "laws of nature", defining the world they are living in. There are people looking at rules as a mean towards conflict resolution. The first one are normally called simulationists, and have certain needs. The second ones are generally called narrativists, and have different needs.

...I think that pretty much covers most of it, at least from what I have seen on these boards. 



I don't think there's any reason that a solution can't be found that makes both the simulationist and the narrativists happy at the same time. Thats what we need to work towards.
Reading the GNS stuff on the Wikkypeeja, I find it difficult to imagine a more... silly way of trying to divide up roleplayers.
There are people looking at rules as a kind of "laws of nature", defining the world they are living in. There are people looking at rules as a mean towards conflict resolution. The first one are normally called simulationists, and have certain needs. The second ones are generally called narrativists, and have different needs.

...I think that pretty much covers most of it, at least from what I have seen on these boards. 



I don't think there's any reason that a solution can't be found that makes both the simulationist and the narrativists happy at the same time. Thats what we need to work towards.



While I agree, it seems that some rules that players deem superfluous, others deem a necessity.  This creates a conflict.  You often hear, just don't use it.  But for a game that utilizes a lot of rules, players view those rules as standardized.  This seems to put the camps at odds at times. 
Reading the GNS stuff on the Wikkypeeja, I find it difficult to imagine a more... silly way of trying to divide up roleplayers.


Yeah. The Morm's particular mention of this theory isn't really grating, but overall I see these labels used in the most superficial ways possible.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

There are people looking at rules as a kind of "laws of nature", defining the world they are living in. There are people looking at rules as a mean towards conflict resolution. The first one are normally called simulationists, and have certain needs. The second ones are generally called narrativists, and have different needs.

...I think that pretty much covers most of it, at least from what I have seen on these boards. 



I don't think there's any reason that a solution can't be found that makes both the simulationist and the narrativists happy at the same time. Thats what we need to work towards.



While I agree, it seems that some rules that players deem superfluous, others deem a necessity.  This creates a conflict.  You often hear, just don't use it.  But for a game that utilizes a lot of rules, players view those rules as standardized.  This seems to put the camps at odds at times. 



Not only that, but oftentimes rules designed to cater to one camp are an anathema to the other. This is particularly evident on a few issues, which are roughly those which lead to the most conflict here on the boards (health system, magic system, parity and balance, combat complexity, socialization rules, spotlight balance, reflavoring and flavor in general, monster design and monster abilities...). 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?
... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?



"Random" character death, like in 1e, is a good start. (note: I fully understand you can have a 1e game without random character death, but it is pretty much assumed by the system that you will die a lot and won't come back easily)
Lack of balance and parity between characters, which leads to an unbalanced cast of characters (poor for a story). This extends to out-of-combat, though D&D has always lacked in that department (I'm hoping for a better Next).
Magical superiority, it gets in the way of the above balance and generally produces poor situations at the game table.
Difficulty in retexturing and flavor heavily bound to the mechanics, stuff like 3.5's Entangle spell which requires plants (it can't be described as fire tendrils quite as easily as one would wish).

In general, the fact that narrativists view rules as a mean towards conflict resolution means we want rules which have good effects on the gameplay (from our perspective), and don't really care if these represent the world or not. Take 4E's marks to use an example I've seen recently on the boards. The first thing a simulationist asks is "how does a mark look like?", or if he's a bit more relaxed "how does a fighter marking a creature look like?". He'll find the obvious answer (the fighter is using his combat prowess to make sure the opponent is focused on him and preys upon his opponent whenever he is distracted to do something else), and the first instinct he has is to say "but what if a fighter throws a javelin on his opponent? He's still marking him by RAW, so how does that look?"
From a narrativist point of view, the discussion on the mark mechanics goes something along the lines of: "Hey, the fighter marks his opponent. Wow, a reason to focus on the fighter, and it works. The mechanic produces an effect on the gameplay which is appreciable. Cool!". He probably won't even think about ranged marking for a while. Say a simulationist pops up and talks about it, or he encounters it during gameplay. Narrativist's answer: "Eh, it works pretty well as a mechanism for the fighter class. If it comes up in a game we'll see how to describe it, but it isn't really important. Mechanics do not really represent what happens in the game anyway, so I'm cool with this, I'll imagine it in a way that makes sense."
Questions like "but how would a fighter be able to mark from a distance" don't really pop up in my mind, because I don't think "marking" is something that happens in the game reality. The fighter is going to protect his allies, and the mechanics lead to a story that goes like that. They're cool for that reason. Marking doesn't actually happen, there's no giant neon "-2" that pops on the head of the fighter's enemies, it's just a mean towards conflict resolution. The conflict is going to be resolved differently because of this mechanic, and in a way that gives the fighter character a cool role in the story: he's the one protecting the rest of the group and tackling the foes head on.

Of course, most people are not pure narrativists (I'm not, though I'm pretty far on that side on the spectrum). Most people look for a middle ground. The mechanics also dictate part of the story (the fighter actually did throw the javelin et cetera), but if you look at it with a narrativist eye, most things just fade in the background. You focus on how the story goes, the mechanics help it go in a certain direction. They influence the results. They don't really determine how you do stuff, just what you manage to accomplish.

I hope I made my point clearer.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?



Mormegil did a good job, but as another narrativist I thought I'd contribute as well.

If magic is just "better" and Martial characters are confined to only "real world" stuff I'd be out.

I do acknowledge that that sucks for the producers of the game. In order to keep the simulasionists happy the martial characters can't do anything unreal. To keep me happy they must have equal narrative power. (which means able to affect the game world) That would often times require unreal things.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

It should though that the GNS is by now obsoleted and discontinued, so the page on wikipedia should be ignored. The actual theory is the Big Model, wich incorporate the GNS in a more efficent way.

Gamism, Simulationism and Narrativism are only a small part of the whole, and they refer more to the why we play, not how. So it can exist a game that pushes for a Gamist agenda without dice (like 1001 nights) or simulationist games that are not really that "realistic" (basically all of them, really, to create a simulationist experience you basically have to throw away real life anyway). Heck, The Riddle of Steel is a Narrativist game and has a combat so complex and deadly that D&D compared is a walk in the park...

So really, it's more complex that "How much dice I have to throw?". By the theory, rules are basically anything that interacts with the fiction and modify it in any way, some rules are built in the game (you have to roll a die to hit something), some rules are not (swearing is forbidden, since the kids are at home).

Rules that try to recreate real world physics are bound to fail because it turn out that real world physic is a tad bit more complex than "Throw a d20". Also, because they don't take in account the story, the characters and hinder the creation of a meaningful tale at every corner. The GM must then alter or twist the results to create a decent sotry, wich at this point invalidate the supposed "reality" of the rules (if the GM manipulates resuts, the rules are "irrealistic" by definition).
Of course, there are some gamers that like to go around throwing dice without caring for the story and only interested to see how long the character survives and how many problems he can solve. But I don't think they are the majority, and the game at this point is really closer to an extremely complex boardgame than a rpg...
... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?



Mormegil did a good job, but as another narrativist I thought I'd contribute as well.

If magic is just "better" and Martial characters are confined to only "real world" stuff I'd be out.

I do acknowledge that that sucks for the producers of the game. In order to keep the simulasionists happy the martial characters can't do anything unreal. To keep me happy they must have equal narrative power. (which means able to affect the game world) That would often times require unreal things.



I say you the player needs to have equal narrative power, its slightly different. It can come from mechanics where you can manipulate the story in ways that hinge around your characters nature but which are not explicitly a capability of your character.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?



I think anything that bogs the story down too much in minute details and slows the action, especially in combat, would be hated by the Narry's (i'm already tired of typing that word ).

And I think the Simmy's don't like rules that gloss over things too much and don't mesh with other rules in a logical way.

So we just need to make very logical rules that are fast and resolve conflicts easily without having to read too many lists or charts or sub-rules. 
... I still don't really get it. Can you give me an example of something that every narrativist would hate and revile, to such an extent it would keep him out of a game?



Mormegil did a good job, but as another narrativist I thought I'd contribute as well.

If magic is just "better" and Martial characters are confined to only "real world" stuff I'd be out.

I do acknowledge that that sucks for the producers of the game. In order to keep the simulasionists happy the martial characters can't do anything unreal. To keep me happy they must have equal narrative power. (which means able to affect the game world) That would often times require unreal things.



That doesn't necessarily mean to be able to effect the game world in the same ways though.
Magic isn't "better" really. Its a crutch for weaker men who otherwise would be librarians and apothecaries ; not men of power. Its that physical frailty that balances a wizards magic. 
  Its that physical frailty that balances a wizards magic. 



The most potent armor and hardiest character is the one who is never in reach of his enemies

Supernatural mobiity and ranged multitarget fighting capability? who the hell needs to be tough. And the more absolute any of those factors are the less you can pretend physical frailty is important.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

So here is my take on it....I agree everyone is all of them to some degree so I will describe.  Note in some cases this is a D&D specific perspective.

Gamist, step on up! 
Gamists want to win.  They use the rules to win the game.  In roleplaying this is achieving clear goals and getting the rewards.  In D&D this is accruing power via equipment and levels.   Gamists are very concerned about balance among the PCs because it is only fair that all parties have equal chances to achieve the goals and get the rewards.   Gamists want the dice to be completely neutral.   

Simulationists, the right to dream!
Simulationists want to interact with a world.  The rules simulate the world whether abstractly or less abstractly.  They want consistency.  They often like to explore the world to learn about what it contains and how it works.  Simulationists want the dice to be neutral but only if the rule is correctly adhering to reality.  Since rules systems don't always pull this often a DM may decide that "that's just not realistic and allow or not allow something".  Simulationists are not always concerned with balance because reality isn't always fair.  

Narrativists, Story Now!
Narrativists want an exciting memorable story.  They want each player in this drama to have equal chances to be stars.  They want mechanics that help them tell the story but mechanics are not reality.  They are tools to help tell a story.  The world is often less important as a distinct concept independent of the players.  Narrativists are ok if the DM changes the dice on occasion to further the story.  If it's not right that a character die at this moment then the damage is reduced or the bad guy misses.  Narratives find pleasure in the imagining of their actions taking effect.  

Here is a brief table with the three camps and how they view it.   An X would mean it's important.

                              Gamist     Simulationist    Narrativist
Combat Balance        X                                       X
Social Balance                                                    X
Reflavoring                                                         X
Combat Hard             X            
Verisimilitude                                 X
Detailed World                               X

When I say detailed world, I mean the parts the character does not or has not interacted with and may not.  For example does the DM know that the King has one daughter and two sons.   (Just an example but you get the idea).   This is more a quantity thing than an absolute thing.  No one details everything but it is level of non-interactive detail.


Edit:  titles above come from Ron Edwards articles.
  Its that physical frailty that balances a wizards magic. 



The most potent armor and hardiest character is the one who is never in reach of his enemies

Supernatural mobiity and ranged multitarget fighting capability? who the hell needs to be tough. And the more absolute any of those factors are the less you can pretend physical frailty is important.



I see your point. So the problem is then that a wizard needs to be limited in some way on how many of these things he can do at once.
If he has to concentrate on flying, should he be able to erect an impervious force field and shoot magical bolts at the same time?
Yes... I suppose if he's skilled enough.
But he shouldn't be able to do it easily, on a whim and with no repurcussions.
Thoughts? 
So here is my take on it....I agree everyone is all of them to some degree so I will describe.  Note in some cases this is a D&D specific perspective.

Gamist, step on up! 
Gamists want to win.  They use the rules to win the game.  In roleplaying this is achieving clear goals and getting the rewards.  In D&D this is accruing power via equipment and levels.   Gamists are very concerned about balance among the PCs because it is only fair that all parties have equal chances to achieve the goals and get the rewards.   Gamists want the dice to be completely neutral.   

Simulationists, the right to dream!
Simulationists want to interact with a world.  The rules simulate the world whether abstractly or less abstractly.  They want consistency.  They often like to explore the world to learn about what it contains and how it works.  Simulationists want the dice to be neutral but only if the rule is correctly adhering to reality.  Since rules systems don't always pull this often a DM may decide that "that's just not realistic and allow or not allow something".  Simulationists are not always concerned with balance because reality isn't always fair.  

Narrativists, Story Now!
Narrativists want an exciting memorable story.  They want each player in this drama to have equal chances to be stars.  They want mechanics that help them tell the story but mechanics are not reality.  They are tools to help tell a story.  The world is often less important as a distinct concept independent of the players.  Narrativists are ok if the DM changes the dice on occasion to further the story.  If it's not right that a character die at this moment then the damage is reduced or the bad guy misses.  Narratives find pleasure in the imagining of their actions taking effect.  

Here is a brief table with the three camps and how they view it.   An X would mean it's important.

                              Gamist     Simulationist    Narrativist
Combat Balance        X                                       X
Social Balance                                                    X
Reflavoring                                                         X
Combat Hard             X            
Verisimilitude                                 X
Detailed World                               X

When I say detailed world, I mean the parts the character does not or has not interacted with and may not.  For example does the DM know that the King has one daughter and two sons.   (Just an example but you get the idea).   This is more a quantity thing than an absolute thing.  No one details everything but it is level of non-interactive detail.


Edit:  titles above come from Ron Edwards articles.



It's funny, but as a DM I feel much stronger about the simulationist point of view; however, as a player I fall into the narrativist camp.  Neither are 100%, but the leaning is there.  Anyone else notice this?
It's funny, but as a DM I feel much stronger about the simulationist point of view; however, as a player I fall into the narrativist camp.  Neither are 100%, but the leaning is there.  Anyone else notice this?


Yes, it's almost as if this GNS stuff tries to separate non-conflicting desires that all of us here have and tries to create simple oppositions where none may exist.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

It's funny, but as a DM I feel much stronger about the simulationist point of view; however, as a player I fall into the narrativist camp.  Neither are 100%, but the leaning is there.  Anyone else notice this?


Yes, it's almost as if this GNS stuff tries to separate non-conflicting desires that all of us here have and tries to create simple oppositions where none may exist.



They are legitimate forces in the game.  When they come into conflict is when it's a problem.  For some people they are middle of the road enough they don't hit these conflicts.  I personally have seen it a good bit.

Here is one example.  I'd like an age effects chart in the DMG.  A chart that tells me some negative effects that happen to characters.   It could be a -1 every decade after 40.  

A narrativist would likely oppose this being a rule in the book.  He wouldn't want an arbitrary rule that might conflict with the story.  He'd say let the DM decide it on the fly based upon the story concept he has.

 
Here is a brief table with the three camps and how they view it.   An X would mean it's important.

                              Gamist     Simulationist    Narrativist
Combat Balance        X                                       X
Social Balance                                                    X
Reflavoring                                                         X
Combat Hard             X            
Verisimilitude                                 X
Detailed World                               X


A table detailing what they 'typically' hate would be more useful.  For example, a gamist would be indifferent about reflavoring (it's pretty much game-neutral), but may want arbitrary story-codification like alignment restrictions (and alignment traps) excised entirely.

It's funny, but as a DM I feel much stronger about the simulationist point of view; however, as a player I fall into the narrativist camp.  Neither are 100%, but the leaning is there.  Anyone else notice this?


Yes, it's almost as if this GNS stuff tries to separate non-conflicting desires that all of us here have and tries to create simple oppositions where none may exist.



They are legitimate forces in the game.  When they come into conflict is when it's a problem.  For some people they are middle of the road enough they don't hit these conflicts.  I personally have seen it a good bit.

Here is one example.  I'd like an age effects chart in the DMG.  A chart that tells me some negative effects that happen to characters.   It could be a -1 every decade after 40.  

A narrativist would likely oppose this being a rule in the book.  He wouldn't want an arbitrary rule that might conflict with the story.  He'd say let the DM decide it on the fly based upon the story concept he has.


I think that last sentence is a stretch. I agree with you that age rules are arbitrary though. As someone who finds himself labeled a narrativist, I'd wonder about the purpose and context of such a decision.

This is because I do actually like realism, but only when it is realistic in some way AND suits the story. Physical attributes could dip well before forty. Mental ones could arguably go up over time - I've never seen a 20 year old with the charisma of someone twice his age. The problem with charts and formulae is that they're basically the rulings of some other DM who is not in the room and has no idea what's going on. Sometimes that's OK - a long sword can just do 1d8 damage all the time, since both hit points and damage are silly made-up systems anyway. It would seem strange if a dagger also did 1d8, but otherwise my limited knowledge of medieval weapons won't be offended.

It's different with rules like age. We all have experience here. We can see people who leave the army at 25 and are out of shape by 30. Others never seem to age. We all feel wiser when we look back at our younger selves, not that D&D Wisdom equate well to real wisdom. We think we're smarter, but maybe we just have more experience, which doesn't fit on a character sheet in any obvious way.So if I'm making a character who is 20 or 40 or 60, I feel I'm better off assigning ability scores in ways that fit my concept of the character and how he ages, rather than assigning them based on how he was at age 18 and adjusting from there based on a formula. If my character is a 60 year old cleric who says he used to be a warrior (but now has 10 Str), do I need to care how strong he was in his youth and then model his physical decline? I don't see the point.

On the other hand, if my 24 year old fighter takes a long hiatus and resumes adventuring a decade later, I'd like to think about how his time was spent. Was he swilling wine and spending his gold, or was he building cabins and climbing mountains? If I believe certain changes to his ability scores are appropriate because of his pursuits, what am I? Do I call myself a narrativist for not wanting a blanket rule? Or do I call myself a simulationist because I want the numbers to reflect the in-game events? Or would a simulationist only want to follow a formula in the DMG? I have a hard time believing anyone would prefer that - is that how simulationism really works? If so maybe I am ignoring a valid definition that applies to actual people.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

It's funny, but as a DM I feel much stronger about the simulationist point of view; however, as a player I fall into the narrativist camp.  Neither are 100%, but the leaning is there.  Anyone else notice this?


Yes, it's almost as if this GNS stuff tries to separate non-conflicting desires that all of us here have and tries to create simple oppositions where none may exist.



I don't know if you were being sarcastic, but in doubt I'll say it. The Big Model (and I suppose even the GNS) say explicitly that these three groups are not conflicting between each other. It's reeeeally rare (almost impossible) that you as a person only play in a Gamist, Narrativist or Simulationist way, those are basically corner case.
As a human being, your desires change constantly and sometimes you play for the simulationist side, sometimes for the narrativist and so on. You change not only day by day, but you cange desires even in a single session!

That's why saying "I'm a narrativist guy" it's a bit silly (by the theory at least), the theory does not describe peoples, but games. A game can push your desire in a way similar to the rest of your friends, achieving a sort of "Harmony".
In short, the reality is (shockingly) a lot more muddled than one can think, a game that follows the Big Model puts the player on a similar "Wavelenght", so everyone has similar expectations and can play in a productive way without losing time arguing.

Where is the "clash", or opposition? When the game does NOT put gamers on the same wavelenght (because it's too vague, the rules are crappy or nonexistant, it tries to do too much and fails at everything, etcetera) and the players starts the game with different expectations and, of course, this is a problem.

The typical example is Vampire, where the game is not really clear on what kind of game want to be and you can have one player that wants to bash skulls that puts on the table a fighter vampire, one that wants the intrigue that puts on the table a social vampire and one that wants to "explore the nature of the beast" that puts on the table a vampire with complex issues and whatnot. Those are three widly different characters played by players that want different things (since the manual does not say how you are supposed to approach the game, everyone is "correct" and "wrong" at the same time here), to add insult to the injury, the Storyteller role is not clearly defined and he has no real tools to aid him except "Make up some rules on the fly if you want, thanks for the money! Bye!", and the responsability to make this crazy setup work is entirely on his shoulders...

This is only one of the problems that a haphazard development creates, but it's the one more connected to the whole GNS thing.

I think that last sentence is a stretch. I agree with you that age rules are arbitrary though. As someone who finds himself labeled a narrativist, I'd wonder about the purpose and context of such a decision.



I hadn't figured out your camp yet to be honest.  To me the most glaring narrativists are theMormegil and Salla.  Not everyone who is pro-4e is a narrativist.  The designers definitely approached it from a more narrativist position than they had previously.   That doesn't mean though that other gamers aren't playing 4e.  

I just threw out the idea for the penalty and the DC.  Obviously I wouldn't be against a better chart.  But simulationism is about how believable it feels as much as it is about true reality.  We are talking fantasy world here.  That is why even amongst themselves simulationists can disagree on particular elements.  

Here is another good example.  I love love love the Wilderness Survival Guide from 1e.  Why?  Because it has really detailed tables for weather, climate, etc...   A DM can roll for weather and it can have a feeling that this world is real.  A narrativist might own the book and they might use it.  But they'd hardly think it was awesome or an essential tool.  (Unless there are some good narrativist stuff in the book that's unrelated to what I'm talking about here).








 
I don't know if you were being sarcastic, but in doubt I'll say it. The Big Model (and I suppose even the GNS) say explicitly that these three groups are not conflicting between each other. It's reeeeally rare (almost impossible) that you as a person only play in a Gamist, Narrativist or Simulationist way, those are basically corner case.
As a human being, your desires change constantly and sometimes you play for the simulationist side, sometimes for the narrativist and so on. You change not only day by day, but you cange desires even in a single session!

That's why saying "I'm a narrativist guy" it's a bit silly (by the theory at least), the theory does not describe peoples, but games. A game can push your desire in a way similar to the rest of your friends, achieving a sort of "Harmony".
In short, the reality is (shockingly) a lot more muddled than one can think, a game that follows the Big Model puts the player on a similar "Wavelenght", so everyone has similar expectations and can play in a productive way without losing time arguing.

Where is the "clash", or opposition? When the game does NOT put gamers on the same wavelenght (because it's too vague, the rules are crappy or nonexistant, it tries to do too much and fails at everything, etcetera) and the players starts the game with different expectations and, of course, this is a problem.

The typical example is Vampire, where the game is not really clear on what kind of game want to be and you can have one player that wants to bash skulls that puts on the table a fighter vampire, one that wants the intrigue that puts on the table a social vampire and one that wants to "explore the nature of the beast" that puts on the table a vampire with complex issues and whatnot. Those are three widly different characters played by players that want different things (since the manual does not say how you are supposed to approach the game, everyone is "correct" and "wrong" at the same time here), to add insult to the injury, the Storyteller role is not clearly defined and he has no real tools to aid him except "Make up some rules on the fly if you want, thanks for the money! Bye!", and the responsability to make this crazy setup work is entirely on his shoulders...

This is only one of the problems that a haphazard development creates, but it's the one more connected to the whole GNS thing.


If you think I'm being sarcastic, you're almost always right

So yeah, I agree that GNS as described doesn't attempt to make people into one thing or another. Like a lot of models for personality types and so on, it does lend itself to easy stereotypes and generalizations. But maybe I shouldn't conflate the content of an idea with the words of those who use the idea.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.