DDN: the advantage of complex play in simple systems.

Chess has pretty simple rules, yet complex game play. Likewise poker, Blokus, charades, and Rory’s story cubes. DDN seems to be shaping up along those same lines; clear, concise rules that support complex gameplay.   


So what exactly are the concerns when it is said that DDN may be too simple or “dumbed down”? It seems to me that during play the system can be very tactical and crunchy, yet learning the rules and initial setup is pretty easy. 

Elves, Gates, Book-binding and Doom On the Rocks: Breaking rules and lichen maps Is character development killing exploration in our games?
The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.
So the main issue is character development. I wonder if there is some other outlet for that which could replace continual expansion of mechanical complexity. Maybe quantified advantages for character growth that are created adhoc as the campaign progresses.
Well, I wouldn't say that Chess has simple rules.  

You have 6 different pieces, each with a different set of move options (including Pawns which have the most complex set of moves).  

Then you get into pawn promotion, castling, en Passant, check and check mate and what you can do during those actions.  Compared to a roleplaying game, yes there are less rules, but trying to explain these aren't simple.  Just take a look at castling - a quick look for the rules and there are 7 things that have to be met before you can even do it.  Granted, I'm just beating up the example that your using but in a way I think it's important to point it out that what may seem simple really isn't.  

In any case, the concern I have with rules simplification is that it can promote sameness of mechanics.  Pointing to many MMOs that have taken this route, there may be multiple stats in the game, but only 1 or 2 may be important to any given class. This results in all characters of that class just stocking up that stat and in the end you just get a single build that is good.

I know there are two sides - one side is more than happy to have very simple rules, and just take it upon themselves to use their stats and gear as variation.  At the same time, sometimes mechanics can be very good inspiration.  

I'll use an example from AD&D 2e.  I knew most players that would stick with standard Sword/Board or 2hd weapons, because Strength was the prime requisitie.  Some players would go down a slightly different path - making a "ranger" style character who just didn't have the magical abilities.  But one of the most interesting characters I ever found was the dart throwing character. 

A fighter with enough weapon proficiencies into the specilazation of dart throwing was able to do a pretty amazing 4 attacks per turn (IIRC) - and you were doing 1d3 damage base, +2 damage from specialization, and +Str Mod damage (Let's say it's a +2).  That's 5-7 damage per attack, 4 times a round, for a total of 20-28 damage per round.

Granted it's really silly, and many people feel it's abusive (I do as well), but the idea and the ability to do something creative like that wouldn't be possible without the rules for multiple attacks and weapon specialization.  

Roleplaying reasons to do something aren't enough for me if I feel that it can also be represented by a (balanced) mechanical approach.

 
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The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.

BA doesn't have anything to do with complexity.

BA doesn't invalidate progression, either; it simple makes progression something that is solely in the arena of PCs (and NPCs).

Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.

Well, I wouldn't say that Chess has simple rules.  

You have 6 different pieces, each with a different set of move options (including Pawns which have the most complex set of moves).  

Then you get into pawn promotion, castling, en Passant, check and check mate and what you can do during those actions.  Compared to a roleplaying game, yes there are less rules, but trying to explain these aren't simple.  Just take a look at castling - a quick look for the rules and there are 7 things that have to be met before you can even do it.  Granted, I'm just beating up the example that your using but in a way I think it's important to point it out that what may seem simple really isn't.  

...
 




Thats the beauty of the rules for chess; they can be written out in a few pages, but the depth and complexity of gameplay presented by those rules is very far reaching. 

You mention that sometimes mechanics can be inspiration. I think this is the reason why we see rules bloat in modern systems, many people need the rules for inspiration. Its like miniatures painting, theres some great painters who can't sketch at all, the blank canvas is just too open. Chess may be the same way, a lover of chess needs a great deal of internal inspiration to see the game as something other than an 8x8 table with some rules.  


 

I wonder if it would work to let the characters write up there own desires for developmental powers and feats. The DM could stat them and then pace them throughout the game in the form of magic items or boons granted by the weird.


I think players get over stimulated navigating the kind of skill tree's and magic item combo's presented in PF and 3.0/3.5. If they had to write their own then they would be limited by and forced to use their own imaginations. So they still get to choose a progression path but they don't get all rabid about "power builds."

Well, I wouldn't say that Chess has simple rules.  

You have 6 different pieces, each with a different set of move options (including Pawns which have the most complex set of moves).  

Then you get into pawn promotion, castling, en Passant, check and check mate and what you can do during those actions.  Compared to a roleplaying game, yes there are less rules, but trying to explain these aren't simple.  Just take a look at castling - a quick look for the rules and there are 7 things that have to be met before you can even do it.  Granted, I'm just beating up the example that your using but in a way I think it's important to point it out that what may seem simple really isn't.  

In any case, the concern I have with rules simplification is that it can promote sameness of mechanics.  Pointing to many MMOs that have taken this route, there may be multiple stats in the game, but only 1 or 2 may be important to any given class. This results in all characters of that class just stocking up that stat and in the end you just get a single build that is good.

I know there are two sides - one side is more than happy to have very simple rules, and just take it upon themselves to use their stats and gear as variation.  At the same time, sometimes mechanics can be very good inspiration.  

I'll use an example from AD&D 2e.  I knew most players that would stick with standard Sword/Board or 2hd weapons, because Strength was the prime requisitie.  Some players would go down a slightly different path - making a "ranger" style character who just didn't have the magical abilities.  But one of the most interesting characters I ever found was the dart throwing character. 

A fighter with enough weapon proficiencies into the specilazation of dart throwing was able to do a pretty amazing 4 attacks per turn (IIRC) - and you were doing 1d3 damage base, +2 damage from specialization, and +Str Mod damage (Let's say it's a +2).  That's 5-7 damage per attack, 4 times a round, for a total of 20-28 damage per round.

Granted it's really silly, and many people feel it's abusive (I do as well), but the idea and the ability to do something creative like that wouldn't be possible without the rules for multiple attacks and weapon specialization.  

Roleplaying reasons to do something aren't enough for me if I feel that it can also be represented by a (balanced) mechanical approach.

 



Dart grandmaster dual wielding + haste spell= machine gun. Add girdle of giant strength for extra cheese. C&T had an optional rule limited the max damage bonus of a weapon  to its max damage. 1d3+3 would have been the limit.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 


I wonder if it would work to let the characters write up there own desires for developmental powers and feats. The DM could stat them and then pace them throughout the game in the form of magic items or boons granted by the weird.


I think players get over stimulated navigating the kind of skill tree's and magic item combo's presented in PF and 3.0/3.5. If they had to write their own then they would be limited by and forced to use their own imaginations. So they still get to choose a progression path but they don't get all rabid about "power builds."




Well, what you're suggesting is in sounds similar to the "wish list" that many people thought was a bad thing from 4e (and likely older editions as well, 4e was the first one I hear suggest it as an idea).

And having options wasn't always about power builds, and actually in my experience was very rarely about power builds.  What it was about is helping understand the scope of the world and things that can happen in it.   

Here is another reason why I like more complex rules - it gives me consistancy, and assuming the rules are balanced, it aids me in ensuring I'm running a fair game, for all my players, every time.  If I had to get all "Business"-ish, that would be my mission statement in all my games:
"To run a game that is fun for all players - free of any type of sexist, racists, or other hateful comments -, where players can reasonally expect that published rules will be followed so they can anticipate in most situations how the game will be adjudicated, and where the players have the freedom to play the character type they want within the bounds of the agreed upon campaign setting and rule set."

There are ways around it of course, since I started playing AD&D I would write down any rulings that I made during a game that was not directly out of a book and they would be photo copied for players and that ruling would be used going forward - so there won't be a case where I rule in one instance that a player makes a Strength check but in another makes a constitution.

I think what it boils down to is that WotC is trying to design rules that will appeal to multiple personality types (Using the MBTI Personality types)

For example, lets take a look at the Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving personalty (ISFP)
ISFP
Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them.Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.

 
This person, who based on that bolded statement may not want to even be a DM, may have difficulty with making rulings that aren't clearly defined in a rule book because they don't want to force their ruling on the other players.  They could do better with a very complex, well writen rule book since everything is writen in the rules.

The Extrovert, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving player may be a bit different
ENTP
Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another. 


This player on the other hand may feel restrainted by complex rules and would rather look at each situation on a case by case basis.

Personality is going to make a big impact into the playstyle of the DM and the Players.  This goes back to much of the previous discussions people have had, that WotC should go back and do a Core Basic game and a Core Advanced game - and then have splat books that are moduar that add to either of the two possible games.    This way they can cover the bases for a far larger range of play styles and personality types.

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The simplicity of the rules aren't a factor, it's the simplicity or complexity of the total system that matters. While its rules are simple, Chess, as a game system, is actually quite complex.
Think about it:


  • Each player has hundreds unique and meaningful of options every turn.

  • Capturing another player's piece significantly alters that player's capabilities.

  • Just the positioning of your pieces can dramatically alter the capability and incentives of the other player.


Essentially there are (almost) countless Chess scenarios that arise from those simple rules. And each turn, each moment, is important because you have to consider where everything is and how your opponent is going to react. This is why it's somewhat impressive to write AI that plays chess well.

I wouldn't be able to write that AI, but I could easily design an program that makes combat decisions for me in D&DN. This is not to say that there are no tactics, but the results of your decisions rarely impact the DM or any other participant's choices. It is fundamentally a very simple and banal system, even where its rules aren't that simple.
Its good to hear your POV Reinhart. I'd hoped that you were still kicking around.

The fact that an AI for DND combat is simpler than one for chess is very interesting, maybe right into mind blowing!

In relation to Scotts post;chess is also one of the most  "fair" game systems out there.  I wonder why modern day RPG's don't follow that kind of structure.
Its good to hear your POV Reinhart. I'd hoped that you were still kicking around.

The fact that an AI for DND combat is simpler than one for chess is very interesting, maybe right into mind blowing!

In relation to Scotts post;chess is also one of the most  "fair" game systems out there.  I wonder why modern day RPG's don't follow that kind of structure.



Because fair doesn't equal fun. Balance to a degree equals fun, but a game can only be completely fair if both sides have the exact same "pieces". That would mean that a standard party of fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric would only be able to fight another group of a fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric. Also because you're rolling dice there is always going to be a little bit of unfairness, unlike in chess where every piece does X damage (instant kill).

A fair game, like the one you are describing would be more correctly described as a wargame, and I don't think anyone wants that out of D&D.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.

In relation to Scotts post;chess is also one of the most  "fair" game systems out there.  I wonder why modern day RPG's don't follow that kind of structure.



Perhaps, but there is one aspect that is not equal between both sides of the game: who goes first.  I have heard in the past that White has the advantage in chess by having the opening move and establishing the direction of the game.  Doing a quick google search, this has been debated quite a bit - but looking at the results they had posted (if they are accurate), white overall had between 2-5% higher win record than black.

Now, Chess is a player vs. player game while roleplaying is not (I won't even try to give it a designation).  I bring this up because it goes to the argument that have circled D&D for some time: the power of casters compared to non-casters.  Are casters the white side of chess?  Mathmatically speaking, if you compare the characters in a vacuum the results are pretty clear.  A low level wizard has higher odds of survival when facing off against a high level fighter vs. a low level fighter facing off a high level wizard. Of course the game is not played in a vacuum, so hence the argument on the game (And the resuliting opinions going back to the whole personality types and experience). 

Now as to why modern RPGs aren't designed that way?
1. The designers don't realize it and unintentionally build it that way.
2. The designers don't care.
3. The designers had that as the vision of the game and think that the game will run fine that way since the DM will controll it.

I can't imagine that #2 happens very often, where they are building a game but just don't care how it comes out.

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Because fair doesn't equal fun. Balance to a degree equals fun, but a game can only be completely fair if both sides have the exact same "pieces". That would mean that a standard party of fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric would only be able to fight another group of a fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric. Also because you're rolling dice there is always going to be a little bit of unfairness, unlike in chess where every piece does X damage (instant kill).


Even real fighting has an element of rock paper scissors (perfect imbalance = balance) ... due to simultaneous vying for position and incomplete knowledge/perceptions. Chess gives full upfront fore-knowledge.

Hmmm not sure what a chess alike might look like translated in to an rpg context. 

  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
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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.
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"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."

 

Chess has pretty simple rules, yet complex game play. Likewise poker, Blokus, charades, and Rory’s story cubes. DDN seems to be shaping up along those same lines; clear, concise rules that support complex gameplay.

I'm not surprised that the rules in the Next playtest don't seem clear at all.  It is in development, they do keep changing.  I explect that will improve, but I don't expect the final product to be concise.

In another thread I said that our Next Encounters combats were ending faster than 4e Encounters were. The reason is that Next doesn't support the "complex gameplay" that 4e does.  
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Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.


Bonuses are always important, even under editions without Bounded Accuracy. When dealing with a d20 random roll, like an attack roll, a +1 bonus will generally always result in +5% hit rate (it only doesn't when you already have a 100% hit rate, or maybe 95% hit rate with automatic misses on a 1). It might not seem as "special" to get a +1 bonus if you already have +25 on your attack roll since your total bonus does not go up by much, but if you are attacking a creature with a an AC of 40, that bonus would be just as useful as if you had an attack bonus of +0 against an AC of 15.

Bounded Accuracy just makes it so that low level PCs, NPCs, and monsters can still hit higher level ones and apparently makes you think that small bonuses are more important.

Now, something that might make a small bonus feel more special would be its rarity. If very few things ever provided a bonus of any kind to attack rolls, then they might feel special. For example, if cleric spells were the only place to get attack bonuses outside of attributes, than those spells would feel more special.
Go (aka baduk or weiqi) might be a better analogy for simplicity of rules and variance of strategy. In go, there are less specific rules than chess, which means you are thinking of less rules at any one time, and your choices at any one point in time are more varied in where they'll lead. That means The rules are quick to learn, but there are many strategies of playing to get a feel of before you become good at it.

Because one can effectively make up moves in TRPGs - and that's a precious feature - I'd go the way of go: extreme variance within a spare and general ruleset. Let me define "specific" and "general" according to how many points we need to keep track of when using a rule. You could also say "fiddly" and "not-fiddly". I'll contrast 2 martial feats:

Specific:
Hold the Line feat (prereq: proficient with shields)
When a creature of your size or smaller moves within your reach while you are wielding a shield, you can use a reaction to cause the creature to end its movement for the turn.
Stipulations:
1. proficient with shields
2. of your size or smaller
3. moves within your reach
4. while you are wielding a shield
5. the special ability: it stop that creature's movement
(We have 1 thing to check before we can gain this ability, and 3 things we must check during play before we can even use it.)

General:
Lunge feat
As an action, you can make a single melee attack, and increase your reach for that attack by 5 ft.
Stipulations:
1. only a single attack this action
2. it's a melee attack
3. the special ability: increase melee reach by 5 ft
(We have fewer things to check before using it; as a result, it is useful in a wider range of situations.)

Unlike feats, class abilities aren't optional, so I'd hope they'd be more widely useful with less things to check. Currently, class signature abilities (Spellcasting, Channel Divinity) are complex, but what about other class abilities?

The Barbarian has one ability with a number of things to check (Rage, its signature), but its other abilities are all fairly simple (Fast Movement). The Fighter (previously the simplest class in the whole game), got a lot more fiddley: Expertise, Death Dealer, Superior Defense, Unerring Attacker, and Multiattack all have a handful of things to check before using, like the most complex of feats.

It's like the Fighter has a handful of very specific signature abilities, and I'd say this is a problem not only for playing a Fighter, but for the Fighter's class identity too. We can fix this by stepping back and picking a more general, single thing that makes a Fighter a Fighter.
The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.

BA doesn't have anything to do with complexity.

BA doesn't invalidate progression, either; it simple makes progression something that is solely in the arena of PCs (and NPCs).

Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.



BA does influence complexity, because if the bounds of accuracy are narrow in range then AC, difficulty checks and related items have to fall in line. So there is less variance in types of armor, or other modifiers. This in turn leads the game to be more abstract (add hit points to monsters) or less detailed or complex. It is not the sole influence on complexity, but it does contribute.
The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.

BA doesn't have anything to do with complexity.

BA doesn't invalidate progression, either; it simple makes progression something that is solely in the arena of PCs (and NPCs).

Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.



BA does influence complexity, because if the bounds of accuracy are narrow in range then AC, difficulty checks and related items have to fall in line. So there is less variance in types of armor, or other modifiers. This in turn leads the game to be more abstract (add hit points to monsters) or less detailed or complex. It is not the sole influence on complexity, but it does contribute.



Higher numbers = more complexity?
I would actually go the opposite direction and say that BA increases complexity. In 3e, you have to keep upping your attack scores, saves etc. just to keep up with the monsters you're fighting. This doesn't add more complexity because +1 hitting AC 12 is the exact same as +11 hitting AC 22.

In a BA system however, you don't need to pour all of your abilities into getting a higher and higher attack score. Abilities can then instead give you more options for your character, instead of purely focusing on base attack progression which is pretty boring. 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Hitting different ACs had to account for attributes, magical bonuses, different type of armor, other bonuses like luck, or other qualifiers. So it definitely was more complex. It was less likely those come into play at lower levels, but the game is more complex the higher you level in 3e.
Hitting different ACs had to account for attributes, magical bonuses, different type of armor, other bonuses like luck, or other qualifiers. So it definitely was more complex. It was less likely those come into play at lower levels, but the game is more complex the higher you level in 3e.


You are correct 3e has more complexity, but that has nothing to do with the bounded accuracy system. Having three different defences(normal AC, touch and flatfooted) does lead to more complexity in the game, but adding more static modifiers doesn't make the game more complex just more complicated because there's more you have to keep track of.

Complexity=more choices and more interactions.
Complicatedness=more static bonuses from different sources that lead to a larger end number. 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Complex is complex, but I can appreciate your definition, so we are not going to agree. I don't mind bounds on accuracy, I just want it to allow for a larger range of values.
So to this point does DDN give us more tactical options during gameplay with fewer rules to keep track of than any other iteration of D&D? 
So to this point does DDN give us more tactical options during gameplay with fewer rules to keep track of than any other iteration of D&D? 



Just looking at today's broadcast of the playtest I can definitely say that DDN is not giving us more tactical options during gameplay. At the moment, most of the class abilities are very passive or reactive and allow minimal player agency. In other words, there's very little a non-spellcaster can do to directly influence the situation in a meaningful way.
Simply because I don't think anyone thinks this group of designers can write the next chess. So, because of that, we're scared the game isn't going to have any depth because of how simple the rules will be made. I like depth when I'm spending hours with a game.
The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.

BA doesn't have anything to do with complexity.

BA doesn't invalidate progression, either; it simple makes progression something that is solely in the arena of PCs (and NPCs).

Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.



BA does influence complexity, because if the bounds of accuracy are narrow in range then AC, difficulty checks and related items have to fall in line. So there is less variance in types of armor, or other modifiers. This in turn leads the game to be more abstract (add hit points to monsters) or less detailed or complex. It is not the sole influence on complexity, but it does contribute.



Higher numbers = more complexity?

Not so much the higher numbers as the fidgitidy way you get to that number (i.e. feats and ability and feature and magic and skill and synergy and boon and and ad nauseum).

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

Complex is complex, but I can appreciate your definition, so we are not going to agree. I don't mind bounds on accuracy, I just want it to allow for a larger range of values.

up to what? currently the best possible roll for a PC is 37, right? (natural 20 +d12 +5 ability). So we change the DC scale to 40 is impossible?
Not opposed, just asking you to define your suggestion... 

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.


Just looking at today's broadcast of the playtest I can definitely say that DDN is not giving us more tactical options during gameplay. At the moment, most of the class abilities are very passive or reactive and allow minimal player agency. In other words, there's very little a non-spellcaster can do to directly influence the situation in a meaningful way.



It seems to me that the straight forward rules for DDN open up some options for players; bake some pies full of sleeping potion, stampede a herd of sheep into a trapped labyrinth, light a smoky fire and pile a bunch of poison ivy on it, hire a thousand workers and redirect a river to flood out a cave complex, etc. Simple, easily understood rules which can cover a wide range of actions allow for greater agency than a few hundred situational powers.  
The biggest problem is when the complexity varies from class to class, where some do not have any type of depth, or choice to expand. The caster being the primary example of the later (expandability). And then you add BA into the mix that forces the system to remain simple and invalidates progression or any type of distinctions being meaningful with bonuses.

BA doesn't have anything to do with complexity.

BA doesn't invalidate progression, either; it simple makes progression something that is solely in the arena of PCs (and NPCs).

Bonuses are actually more meaningful with BA, since they are not nullified or minimized by ever escalating numbers.



BA does influence complexity, because if the bounds of accuracy are narrow in range then AC, difficulty checks and related items have to fall in line. So there is less variance in types of armor, or other modifiers. This in turn leads the game to be more abstract (add hit points to monsters) or less detailed or complex. It is not the sole influence on complexity, but it does contribute.



Higher numbers = more complexity?

Not so much the higher numbers as the fidgitidy way you get to that number (i.e. feats and ability and feature and magic and skill and synergy and boon and and ad nauseum).



I can agree with that.

I don't like number inflation, mainly because when you get a +1 to hit and the monsters you're fighting get a +1 to AC, you really haven't gone anywhere. Sure, you can almost always hit lower levels. But I would like to see a little bit wider of a range on AC.

It seems to me that the straight forward rules for DDN open up some options for players; bake some pies full of sleeping potion, stampede a herd of sheep into a trapped labyrinth, light a smoky fire and pile a bunch of poison ivy on it, hire a thousand workers and redirect a river to flood out a cave complex, etc. Simple, easily understood rules which can cover a wide range of actions allow for greater agency than a few hundred situational powers.  



Those are very narrative actions that I'd point out that D&DN mechanics don't really adequately cover though. Most of the class features certainly don't make someone more or less adept at this, (although an argument could still be made that spellcasters would have a leg up on many of these tactics since they can teach themselves to fly, teleport, summon and control plants and animals, control minds, etc.)

I can already spontaniously use any die and modifier and create a simple pass/fail mechanic, so what exactly does D&DN give my players that makes that more interesting and tactical?
So to this point does DDN give us more tactical options during gameplay with fewer rules to keep track of than any other iteration of D&D? 



Just looking at today's broadcast of the playtest I can definitely say that DDN is not giving us more tactical options during gameplay. At the moment, most of the class abilities are very passive or reactive and allow minimal player agency. In other words, there's very little a non-spellcaster can do to directly influence the situation in a meaningful way.



The playtest had three very weak encounters and one mediumish one in tight quarters so I wouldn't say it was a good representation of anything. In the smaller fights you're always going to have the same repetative attack cycle, and that's fine for taking out a couple goblins (or 4 orcs as the case was).

I see a well functioning party as a tank. You've got the heavy armor (fighter cleric), the giant gun on top (wizard) and then some tactical infantry support (rogue). The rogue scouts out the area to give the party the best tactical advantage going into combat. Once in combat, the fighter and the cleric should be creating a wall that protects their heavy weapon, the wizard. Yes a lot of the fighter's abilites are reactive, but in large fights where to postion him to both deal damage, serve as a functioning wall and still allow for a line of sight for the wizard can be very complex and interesting.

~boinchese who thinks the wizard needs to go back to d4 HD and be a glass cannon 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
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I can already spontaniously use any die and modifier and create a simple pass/fail mechanic, so what exactly does D&DN give my players that makes that more interesting and tactical?




Well that’s basically what DDN is; a pass fail mechanic and mods presented in an easy to understand and apply format. It can be used to quickly model all kinds of activities in the game world with very consistent results.


 In DDN players manipulate and interact with the game world in order to build their mechanics. As opposed to a “powers and feats” model where they manipulate and manage the mechanics in order to affect the game world. 

I think the first model has more options, tactical and otherwise, and hence greater player agency.  




Well that’s basically what DDN is; a pass fail mechanic and mods presented in an easy to understand and apply format. It can be used to quickly model all kinds of activities in the game world with very consistent results.

 In DDN players manipulate and interact with the game world in order to build their mechanics. As opposed to a “powers and feats” model where they manipulate and manage the mechanics in order to affect the game world. 

I think the first model has more options, tactical and otherwise, and hence greater player agency.



I would argue that players are still manipulating and managing the mechanics of a pass/fail die roll. The optmized strategy just becomes pick the ability score with the highest modifier and rationalize to the DM why the target number should be low. The problem though is that there's no reliable or consistent outcomes from such a mechanic. That's why I can't really categorize binary pass-fails with undefined outcomes as a system, per se. 

What I (and most of my players) want is a good framework of rules so that the game isn't just the DM arbitrarily handing out lime light to whoever calls out the biggest number. Agency generally requires the DM to cede some of the circumstancial influence over to the players. For that purpose the best way to keep player influence both limited and interesting is for a well defined system. Sharing a complex system of solid game mechanics improves our appreciate of the ludic, simulationist, and even narrative aspects of the game because it gives us a common ground and set of tools to work with. Unfortunately, D&DN just isn't there yet, at least not yet for most classes anyway.
I explain the situation and let the players call their own DC's. Whoever bids it highest gets to roll first, if they succeed then they get xp for the task. If they fail the next person gets to try, but they roll on the highest DC that was bid. Does that qualify as ceding some control to the players?

I'm not currently playing DDN, I just stopped by to see how things were going. I am playing Lamentations which is a very simple OSR system. I like it very much and have really come to enjoy the minimalist rules set. It keeps the focus on the game world and what is happening there, and there have been more of the crazy hairbrained schemes that I used to enjoy enacting when playing D&D as a kid. 
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I can already spontaniously use any die and modifier and create a simple pass/fail mechanic, so what exactly does D&DN give my players that makes that more interesting and tactical?




Well that’s basically what DDN is; a pass fail mechanic and mods presented in an easy to understand and apply format. It can be used to quickly model all kinds of activities in the game world with very consistent results.


 In DDN players manipulate and interact with the game world in order to build their mechanics. As opposed to a “powers and feats” model where they manipulate and manage the mechanics in order to affect the game world. 

I think the first model has more options, tactical and otherwise, and hence greater player agency.  







I don't agree with your conclusion, but I'll address your premise instead.  See, this is the source of our disconnect.  I simply don't agree it's ideal for "players [to] manipulate and interact with the game world in order to build their mechanics."  Theoretically, I think it's the sign of a poorly developed game.  But others might understandably disagree, so I won't belabor the point.  Practically, it's got potential, but that potential's only realized if both the DM and the PCs are seasoned vets. 


It seems to me like lotsa people in favor of DDN (and the pre-4E editions) routinely play with or are themselves good DMs.  Many of us, however, aren't so fortunate.  Very few people with whom I've played actually enjoy DMing, and those who'd been happiest to volunteer were the least competent.  One guy, for example, knew the game inside and out but acknowledged he wasn't a bit imaginative, so he refused to create encounters or, really, do anything other than run adventures outta the box.  I'm hesitant to give a person like this final say on matters of creative problem solving.  And I'm equally hesitant to do the same for people at the other end of the spectrum, who might be super imaginative but who are nevertheless too aloof or too inexperienced with the game to understand how his/her world's mechanics might work.   


Not only is DDN's open-endedness a real concern for those of us who've not already formed perfect gaming groups, but it's very intimidating to both new players and potential customers.  It's hard enough for a first-time DM to get a grasp on what actually happens during a DC check.  And now we're expecting him/her to determine its value?  This is far less user-friendly than a lotta people have been willing to admit. 

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Not only is DDN's open-endedness a real concern for those of us who've not already formed perfect gaming groups, but it's very intimidating to both new players and potential customers.  It's hard enough for a first-time DM to get a grasp on what actually happens during a DC check.  And now we're expecting him/her to determine its value?  This is far less user-friendly than a lotta people have been willing to admit. 





Welcome to the discussion 5ft, and thank you for the input. I remember the days when no one wanted to DM =-) Long time ago for me now, and you are correct that it is easy to forget how tough it is to start. 


One thing that helped me to start Dming was to use my characters as villains. I would give them a few minions and just have the party fight them. They got killed a lot, but that was OK I just brought them back from the dead, and the next week they were mad! 


Its late here, I have to get to sleep. My youtube channel has some good vids for new DM’s. “Inspiration for game-masters” “shake and bake world building” and “source material for story telling and Gming” are all pretty good. You can get there through the links in my sig or just google the titles with bluespruce786 and youtube, they should come right up.

www.youtube.com/user/bluespruce786 


 


O/




I explain the situation and let the players call their own DC's. Whoever bids it highest gets to roll first, if they succeed then they get xp for the task. If they fail the next person gets to try, but they roll on the highest DC that was bid. Does that qualify as ceding some control to the players?

I'm not currently playing DDN, I just stopped by to see how things were going. I am playing Lamentations which is a very simple OSR system. I like it very much and have really come to enjoy the minimalist rules set. It keeps the focus on the game world and what is happening there, and there have been more of the crazy hairbrained schemes that I used to enjoy enacting when playing D&D as a kid. 



That is definitely ceding some control of the players in that you're allowing them to define their own difficulties. Simulationist and Narrative players might have some issue in that the actions that occur might still seem quite disconnected from a consistant setting and story. However, I think the major issue with such a system is that XP generally translates to better modifiers which allow players to succeed more often at higher DC's. Essentially you've created an incentive structure that could cause players to stratify and compete for lime light even more. I generally see roleplaying as a mostly cooperative exercise and increased player competition could be quite counter productive.

I think if you want a game that gets out of the way and grants players some interesting mechanics for authorial influence, you might want to consider FATE. It's the only non-uniform dice system that I commonly recommend to people. It's extremely minimalistic, but its mechanics equitably balance frequency of participation while encouraging actions that are creatively connected to character and plot.



Welcome to the discussion 5ft, and thank you for the input. I remember the days when no one wanted to DM =-) Long time ago for me now, and you are correct that it is easy to forget how tough it is to start. 


One thing that helped me to start Dming was to use my characters as villains. I would give them a few minions and just have the party fight them. They got killed a lot, but that was OK I just brought them back from the dead, and the next week they were mad! 


Its late here, I have to get to sleep. My youtube channel has some good vids for new DM’s. “Inspiration for game-masters” “shake and bake world building” and “source material for story telling and Gming” are all pretty good. You can get there through the links in my sig or just google the titles with bluespruce786 and youtube, they should come right up.

www.youtube.com/user/bluespruce786



Thank you for the welcome.  It's much appreciated. 

To be clear, I've been playing DND for roughly 25 years.  I'm a passable DM; I just don't like being one.  And, because I've moved a lot over the course of the past couple decades, I've not had many opportunities to find good, stable gaming groups.  I imagine that, for similar if not the same reasons, other people here can empathize. 

This is why lots of us really are suspicious of the kinds of latitude you're willing to give the players, generally, and the DM, more specifically. 

Not only is DDN's open-endedness a real concern for those of us who've not already formed perfect gaming groups, but it's very intimidating to both new players and potential customers.  It's hard enough for a first-time DM to get a grasp on what actually happens during a DC check.  And now we're expecting him/her to determine its value?  This is far less user-friendly than a lotta people have been willing to admit.


What you find intimidating, I believe new players and DMs will find liberating. What is not user friendly about letting people "do it their way"?
What you find intimidating, I believe new players and DMs will find liberating. What is not user friendly about letting people "do it their way"?


Liberating from what?  They've not had 25 years of experience with the game to feel unnecessarily bound by its rules. 

I'll try and illustrate by way of analogy.  You give me the kind of camera professionals use to make triple-A movie titles.  Obviously, I'm completely unfamiliar with that piece of equipment.  But you tell me, "Go ahead and shoot a two-hour film."  Wait, what?  I can't even turn on the camera.  


It'd be much more helpful if you first explained to me the fundamentals of how to operate the bloody thing.  Give me an easy assignment.  Let me shoot a minute of some still-life, get acquainted.  Then explain to me things like lighting and what's pleasing to the eye, etc., etc.  Give me another assignment.  Let me shoot a sunset scene and figure out, for instance, whether I'm using the right exposure.  After a couple more assignments, sure, you can start asking me to conceive and then execute my artistic vision.  But until then I didn't even know what was possible.  I didn't know what my artistic vision could or could not be. 


Telling first-timers to just go ahead and set the DC checks as they see fit seems awfully like telling me to shoot a feature-length film when I've never before held, let alone used, a professional camera.