Hot-Button Debate

Last few hours, it occurred to me that some of the more passionate debates are derailed over terminology.

We've (some of us) reached a point where use of certain terms rarely fosters more open debate. Instead, some hot-buttons actually act as impediments to the very ideas these terms represent.

That sucks. In some sense, we need a shorthand way to get an idea across. But what we've got now is just sparking reactionary defense or attack.

Some people are on the other side of the edition aisle from me but I still want to hear their best ideas. Only I can't b/c the good is drowned-out by the noise of war.

I'm not convinced that new terms are going to be any better than the old ones. And examples seem always to prove more than a handful of points to either side of a debate.

So I really don't have a solution, here - but I'd really like to get back to sharing the D&D love. (Shout-outs to the cool threads that are doing this). And I'd like to quit being angry at my should-be-allies.

(Please assume the usual caveat-language "for me," "at my table," "to me," "IMO." Etc.)

-Brad

 

Bawylie's Dungeon Mastery blog!

 

If this thread became a sort of repository for agreed-upon definitions that would be very constructive.  I might even do a little digging and pitch in with a few terms, or at least suggest a few definitions, so we may then argue endlessly over which best applies. 

But I urge you to at least consider the solution I developed recently.

Don't post in any of those threads.  These days I'm so used to it they're like blank spots on the forum first page.  The moment something crests 10 pages, or 1-2,000 views, the unfortunate odds are that the grand majority of the attention will be placed on invective.  And at that point I simply tune out of that thread.

There are always a handful of small, interesting topics that haven't been pounced on by the biomass.  Yet!
I completely agree with you.

Another thing I've noticed here is that some people are, for some reason, almost intolerant of the words "opinion" or "preference" here. In many threads, I have seen someone share something that is their personal preference or opinion, and then be treated as if they just told everyone that disagrees with them that they are "wrong." Stating an opinion or preference doesn't automatically equal telling people with other views that they are wrong.

Now granted, there are certainly posters who have stated their preference and actually treated others as inferior or stupid for not agreeing with them. Unfortunately, those few people have caused an awful lot of forum members to assume everyone who shares an opinion is doing this, when very often they are not.

People need to realize that we need to be tolerant of each other's opinions, and that they are just that; opinions. It's OK for us to have differences on what we like, it's what makes life interesting. In fact, the very nature of this forum's existence is to provide feedback, and since we all have different preferences, the very nature of the discussions are going to be about what we like and dislike. If we can't tolerate individual thought, the discussion aspect of this forum might as well not exist.
Would my own term metagame dissonance work in place of dissociative mechanic?


On a related note:

I think the two opposing groups should be...
1.  The group that wants inclusivity and modularity.  You can have it and I don't have to have it.  And the reverse of course.

2.  The other group is the one way truism group that wants to destroy all opposing voices.



Now in my thinking there are plenty of people that prefer an edition that fit into both group 1 and group 2.   I am very definitely in group 1.  You don't have to like everything to be in group 1.  You just have to be willing to tolerate other removable stuff that you don't like.




 
I'd prefer not to have camps or terms at all.

They don't have a history of serving us well.

How often, Emerikol, do you find yourself repeating & defending N instead of sharing ideas about improving it!

You're the guy who ought to be finding a way for martial characters to accomplish EXTRAORDINARY feats in a way that doesn't break character. Instead, you have like 5 threads where you have to explain over and over why N is a fact and people have a problem to an audience of people saying N may be a fact, but you apply it subjectively.

N is now firmly in the way of any understanding or solution. It has become unhelpful. "If we can't do N, what CAN we do?" probably describes the bulk of opposition. That's where the conversation needs to go - not more and more about N.
I'd prefer not to have camps or terms at all. They don't have a history of serving us well. How often, Emerikol, do you find yourself repeating & defending N instead of sharing ideas about improving it! You're the guy who ought to be finding a way for martial characters to accomplish EXTRAORDINARY feats in a way that doesn't break character. Instead, you have like 5 threads where you have to explain over and over why N is a fact and people have a problem to an audience of people saying N may be a fact, but you apply it subjectively. N is now firmly in the way of any understanding or solution. It has become unhelpful. "If we can't do N, what CAN we do?" probably describes the bulk of opposition. That's where the conversation needs to go - not more and more about N.



Well I am for just giving the people who want powers, powers.  Just make the game such that I can avoid them.  A long time ago I came up with some ideas for solving this issue.  Some accepted them but others did not.   I had an ephiphany along the way though.  I don't need powers in the fighter class to have fun.   In fact even my system, which didn't have problematic mechanics, probably still wasn't worth the effort.  Would I rather play my proposed system or just play a fighter from 1e/2e?  I probably would rather just play 1e/2e.

 
I completely get your reasoning.

And you should feel completely comfortable with a game sans powers.

Now, where you're fine with the 2E fighter, you KNOW some people aren't. We know why you don't like the 4E fighter by now. But where you could shine is in promoting a way for fans of a complex fighter to have agency and extraordinary actions without breaking character.

What happens though is that you appear dismissive of martial dailies to the point where people believe you want them gone (vs ignorable). I know you are inclusive, btw, but that message gets lost.

Basically, I want to have a discussion that goes: issue -> discussion -> solutions.

What we have is: issue -> no it isn't -> yes it is -> flame war.

You feel me on this? I want to hear your ideas. They might be freaking great. But we can't get anything if we're always going round and round on why martial dailies do or don't break character.

I think a good way to approach a topic that you don't like is to start of every post with I don't like this, but for those that do it should be an option.


Like this: I don't like vancian casting, but for those that do it should still be an option. For people like me and others who do not like vancian casting, I think we should have a simple Mage class. Etc Etc

Lawolf, lets shorthand that to "[usual disclaimer]" - and let it cover everything.
You're absolutely right. Shortcut terms like "dissociative", "simulationist", and others I'm not thinking of, will always carry baggage. Their strength (that they carry an entire concept in a single word or phrase) is exactly what makes them controversial, because people can easily project unintended meanings onto them. I will resolve to avoid using such loaded terms, and in cases where I feel they are necessary, I will be sure to thuroughly explain my meaning, and clarify that I do not mean any disrespect to those whose opinion of N is different than mine, and those people's preferences are equally valid.
Also, I don't think the [usual disclaimer] solution really works. It's a lot like saying "no offense, but [offensive statement]." I think instead we should avoid using hot button terms when possible, and when we must use them, be very clear why we feel they're necessary in context.
Would my own term metagame dissonance work in place of dissociative mechanic?


The term is irrelevant.  The issue is, and always has been, that you think that whatever term we use can be objectively applied.  And since getting into it again is completely not in the spirit of this thread, I won't comment further on this subject, but I felt the need to answer the question you asked.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?
Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?


....now that is an interesting question
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?



I think its more that we seldom get to use the terms for things we do like because people aren't talking about the parts that make them happy (much).  I mean, I love giving something the Chunky Salsa Effect, but it just doesn't come up often in rules discussion.

Maybe it should.   Someone toss a grenade down that hallway, quick!

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Oh yeah? Then explain "amaze-balls."
Kidding- that's an adjective.
Oh yeah? Then explain "amaze-balls."



*Insert Mand-approved Cube notation.*

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?



I think its more that we seldom get to use the terms for things we do like because people aren't talking about the parts that make them happy (much).  I mean, I love giving something the Chunky Salsa Effect, but it just doesn't come up often in rules discussion.

Maybe it should.   Someone toss a grenade down that hallway, quick!




I'd bring up the chunky-salsa effect more, but it's not something that regularly comes up in a D&D game.
Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?



I think its more that we seldom get to use the terms for things we do like because people aren't talking about the parts that make them happy (much).  I mean, I love giving something the Chunky Salsa Effect, but it just doesn't come up often in rules discussion.

Maybe it should.   Someone toss a grenade down that hallway, quick!




I'd bring up the chunky-salsa effect more, but it's not something that regularly comes up in a D&D game.



Which is -exactly- why fireballs should have explosive pressure!  "10x10' room with a kobold in the middle?  My fireball will hit him...then rebound 6 times...so that's what, 70d6 damage?"

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

No the "because magic" rule is in effect. The magical fire ONLY deals 20d6 regardless of application or physics.
No the "because magic" rule is in effect. The magical fire ONLY deals 20d6 regardless of application or physics.



...per direction.  See?  It says right there! *scribbles it in the Player's Handbook*

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Why is it people only come up for terms for things they don't like?



I think its more that we seldom get to use the terms for things we do like because people aren't talking about the parts that make them happy (much).  I mean, I love giving something the Chunky Salsa Effect, but it just doesn't come up often in rules discussion.

Maybe it should.   Someone toss a grenade down that hallway, quick!




I'd bring up the chunky-salsa effect more, but it's not something that regularly comes up in a D&D game.



Which is -exactly- why fireballs should have explosive pressure!  "10x10' room with a kobold in the middle?  My fireball will hit him...then rebound 6 times...so that's what, 70d6 damage?"




We need something a little more complex than that. This is magic!

You need to figure out the cubic area of the blast and what it is contained in. So 10x10x10 room has 1000 cubic feet of space. The fireball is 30x30x30 or 27,000 cubic feet of space. The ratio is such that you increase the blast damage 27 times.

Instead of 10d6, you deal 270d6 damage.

When you get it into a 5x5x5 room, it gets really entertaining (2160d6), and when you decide you're going to cast a fireball into that blue dragon's mouth (which we'll call equivalent to a 5ft cube, it's a big dragon!), well sucks to be that dragon.

And that's where the chunky salsa effect comes in.

I love when nerding comes full circle.
I approve of this thread.

And I agree with bawylie: I think it would be great to see Emerikol's ideas on making a complex, exciting fighter that doesn't involve breaking character.

I also fully agree that desires for inclusion get drowned out by pointless arguments.  For example, I was surprised to learn that you are all for inclusion, even for things you don't like, Emerikol.  If we all stop adding to the noise, following the wise advice of Ironblue, then we might actually learn something from one another.  And then we can actually talk about solutions (such as making a Warlord class that even people who dislike the Warlord don't mind) instead of just going back and forth about things (typically about N, which I think should be an official code from now on).
We need something a little more complex than that. This is magic!

You need to figure out the cubic area of the blast and what it is contained in. So 10x10x10 room has 1000 cubic feet of space. The fireball is 30x30x30 or 27,000 cubic feet of space. The ratio is such that you increase the blast damage 27 times.

Instead of 10d6, you deal 270d6 damage.

When you get it into a 5x5x5 room, it gets really entertaining (2160d6), and when you decide you're going to cast a fireball into that blue dragon's mouth (which we'll call equivalent to a 5ft cube, it's a big dragon!), well sucks to be that dragon.




...math people.  So fun sometimes...so annoying to run a game for.  (2160d6...does that qualify as a dumptruck of dice?  Screw the handfuls!)

Reminds me of the character who (without knowing how far down it was or what was at the bottom!) leaped down a well with his sword pointing straight down, bracing his feet on the crossbar.  What he didn't know (and I could never imagine someone doing that for the heck of it!) was that at the bottom, directly under the well...was the sleeping dragon's head.  He wanted me to determine the damage of him, in plate armor, at maximum terminal velocity.  I said the calculated damage was Splat.  To both of them.  

Gah, sorry to wax nostalgic with a warstory.  Isn't there something we can argue about?!

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

And then we can actually talk about solutions (such as making a Warlord class that even people who dislike the Warlord don't mind)


See, this just confuses the hell out of me.

Why should the people who don't like a thing get to decide what it should be?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Nobody said they should decide anything. Just that they may have insight into what would be workable and interesting.

I'm interested in panning for gold, Mand12, and not fighting over the mud.
Right, but the end result of that process will be mud.  Whatever the final, post-"solution" state of (insert issue here), the people who didn't like it in the first place are going to be in a "meh, I guess it's not all bad" state.  They still probably won't want to use it.  And for that, we should risk the people who like it going from "This is perfect!  Best ever!" to "Well, I guess it still has most of what I wanted..." ?

How is that a solution?


To put it another way, why not have things that absolutely thrill the people who want to use them, and anybody who doesn't like them just doesn't use them?  Why seek common ground, when the ground (i.e., the playing tables) isn't actually common?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
We need something a little more complex than that. This is magic!

You need to figure out the cubic area of the blast and what it is contained in. So 10x10x10 room has 1000 cubic feet of space. The fireball is 30x30x30 or 27,000 cubic feet of space. The ratio is such that you increase the blast damage 27 times.

Instead of 10d6, you deal 270d6 damage.

When you get it into a 5x5x5 room, it gets really entertaining (2160d6), and when you decide you're going to cast a fireball into that blue dragon's mouth (which we'll call equivalent to a 5ft cube, it's a big dragon!), well sucks to be that dragon.

...math people.  So fun sometimes...so annoying to run a game for.  (2160d6...does that qualify as a dumptruck of dice?  Screw the handfuls!)

Math to the rescue!  Given the size of an average d6 (1.6 cm/side), 2160 dice would take up about 8.85 liters (2.3 gallons).  Once again, math solves the problem that math caused.
We need something a little more complex than that. This is magic!

You need to figure out the cubic area of the blast and what it is contained in. So 10x10x10 room has 1000 cubic feet of space. The fireball is 30x30x30 or 27,000 cubic feet of space. The ratio is such that you increase the blast damage 27 times.

Instead of 10d6, you deal 270d6 damage.

When you get it into a 5x5x5 room, it gets really entertaining (2160d6), and when you decide you're going to cast a fireball into that blue dragon's mouth (which we'll call equivalent to a 5ft cube, it's a big dragon!), well sucks to be that dragon.

...math people.  So fun sometimes...so annoying to run a game for.  (2160d6...does that qualify as a dumptruck of dice?  Screw the handfuls!)

Math to the rescue!  Given the size of an average d6 (1.6 cm/side), 2160 dice would take up about 8.85 liters (2.3 gallons).  Once again, math solves the problem that math caused.



Translation: It is in fact not a dumptruck of dice. But it is several gallons of dice. I guess we could call it a keg of dice.
2 gallons of d6s? Rolling/pouring would be easy. Re-loading not so much.
In other news, I once played a druid (back in 3.5) who flew directly above a dragon, wildshaped into a rhinoceros, and then cast Iron Body.

And then asked how much damage the poor thing took.

DM broke out the "falling weights" table, calculated the difference in density between iron and a rhinoceros, multiplied the weight of a rhinoceros by that factor, and then used the table to find the damage.

I can't remember an exact number, sadly.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
2 gallons of d6s? Rolling/pouring would be easy. Re-loading not so much.


Not so much.  If the d6s are packed together, as in a block of cubes, then they won't roll/pour out well at all.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
And then we can actually talk about solutions (such as making a Warlord class that even people who dislike the Warlord don't mind)


See, this just confuses the hell out of me.

Why should the people who don't like a thing get to decide what it should be?

What Bay said.  I never said that they are "deciding" it.  None of us get to "decide" anything on our own.  But in order to have a productive discussion, it would be very useful to get actual input from as many people as possible, and that includes those who disliked the mechanic/feature/whatever in the past.

For example, take Vancian casting.  I'm not a huge fan, and some of the ways I would adjust it include: less automatic scaling of spells, fewer spell slots, reduced power of spells, and declining usefulness of lower level combat spells at higher levels.  The current playtest packet has a number of these features, and as a result I actually find myself liking the mechanic a bit more.  Add in the fact that memorization/casting works differently now and I actually really like it.

Well Mand12 I feel like we've tried catering to enthusiasm and we got a 4E/PF split.

I'm looking for a way for discussions to be inclusive, have all participants have buy-in, and find a way to generate and refine good ideas.

Maybe that's impossible. But I'm tired of the flame-method of conversation, so I'm advocating something else.

As an addendum to my OP - I also dislike the snark post for the sake of snark. Too-clever-by-half stuff. (Leave it to the politicians - bam!). Funny is awesome, snarky/snide personal attack (even if funny) sucks.
And then we can actually talk about solutions (such as making a Warlord class that even people who dislike the Warlord don't mind)


See, this just confuses the hell out of me.

Why should the people who don't like a thing get to decide what it should be?

What Bay said.  I never said that they are "deciding" it.  None of us get to "decide" anything on our own.  But in order to have a productive discussion, it would be very useful to get actual input from as many people as possible, and that includes those who disliked the mechanic/feature/whatever in the past.

For example, take Vancian casting.  I'm not a huge fan, and some of the ways I would adjust it include: less automatic scaling of spells, fewer spell slots, reduced power of spells, and declining usefulness of lower level combat spells at higher levels.  The current playtest packet has a number of these features, and as a result I actually find myself liking the mechanic a bit more.  Add in the fact that memorization/casting works differently now and I actually really like it.



Right, but why should that input be acted upon?  I mean, in the really contentious cases, we're not talking about the convertables.  The people who were as you put it, "not a huge fan" and then with some minor tweaks then like it.  I'm talking about the people who refuse outright the concept behind whatever feature is in question.  Any "improvement" happens by making it less like it was before.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Well Mand12 I feel like we've tried catering to enthusiasm and we got a 4E/PF split. I'm looking for a way for discussions to be inclusive, have all participants have buy-in, and find a way to generate and refine good ideas. Maybe that's impossible. But I'm tired of the flame-method of conversation, so I'm advocating something else. As an addendum to my OP - I also dislike the snark post for the sake of snark. Too-clever-by-half stuff. (Leave it to the politicians - bam!). Funny is awesome, snarky/snide personal attack (even if funny) sucks.

Not everyone should have buy-in, is my point.  The people expressing negative, "this sucks and I won't ever use it" viewpoints don't have to be included in a discussion about things. 


It doesn't matter that someone hates something:  that's no reason to act - neither to remove the thing, nor to change it to avoid the hate

It does matter that someone loves something:  that's reason to include it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Which *may* be an improvement. Or may be a springboard to a better idea.

This isn't a vacuum or a continuum.

Ideally, the brainstorming discussions should be like a fireball of ideas set off in the mouth of a huge blue dragon. 2106d6 ideas originating from one weird one.

Chances are, something there will be useful.
Only kegs.  Or drums.  I are sad.  I was getting a kick out of that dumptruck idea.

How about 2106d6 ideas for a Summoner class with an active pet and limited spellcasting? *cough shameless bump for my most-desired 'new' class*

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Your most desired class is Pokemon trainer?

Awesome.

How do you resolve the action economy? Give up actions to your pet? Or combo actions/moves from a shared pool?

Are you commanding the pet to act or working with it?

Describe. Input! Input!