Hey everybody, remember me? :)
I've just launched a Kickstarter for a brand-new family-friendly RPG called Rodent Rangers!
Rodent Rangers is a game in which players take on the role of heroic mice (or other small critters) living in a society which exists in secret right under the noses of oblivious humans. Think The Rescuers, The Great Mouse Detective, An American Tail, and so forth.
It's a lightweight system with an emphasis on cooperation and all that 80s cartoon mousey goodness that many of us have fond memories of.
To help make this project a reality, and even get an early playtest version and be thanked in the credits, check out the Kickstarter HERE.
Don't forget to spread the word as well!
I hope they make this new edition intelligent, not simple.
There's no direct correlation between intelligence and complexity in game design. For example, last I checked, the interface in Dwarf Fortress was simultaneously complex and stupid.
Sometimes a complex design choice is stupid, sometimes it's intelligent. Sometimes a simple design choice is stupid, sometimes it's intelligent.
The best part is: that's okay! The people who are enjoying simpler games than you do aren't a threat to you, so you don't need to manufacture a way to feel superior to them. You can just announce your preferences as preferences and your opinion will still be valid.
Own your desires! Declare them proudly! You can just say "I want a complex game" and that's great! You don't have to make it about your superior intelligence in order for it to be okay that you like complex games!
Relax, breathe, be liberated. :)
So from my point of view I keep hearing that Pathfinder needs to be streamlined to allow for ease of teaching new people to play but lets explore that idea. Is Pathfinder to hard for people to learn how to play? I can prove that its not.
I doubt it, but I'll give you a fair shake. Let's proceed.
In september I started a new group after not having a Real life group for several years. I took the role of the GM and I admit I have years worth of experience under my belt with 2nd edition D&D, 3.0, 3.5, Exalted 2E, World of darkness 2E (mostly werewolf, mage and changeling splats), Shadowrun 3rd edition, and even some Rifts games.
Here's our first problem: it's wrong to assume that all (or even most) new players are going to be introduced to the game via hand-holding from a GM with your incredible level of experience. You can't assume that's the norm. Especially nowadays, as nerdiness gets more and more publicly acceptable, people are livestreaming RPG sessions on popular YouTube channels and newbies are trying out the hobby based on seeing those games or being told by their newbie friends who saw those videos.
HearthStone players who follow Geek & Sundry are seeing Critical Role and deciding to try D&D, video gamers who love the Game Grumps are seeing Dragons in Places and deciding to give it a go, and so on. The playerbase is not just expanding through friends of existing GMs, but through groups of friends who have only heard about TTRPGs secondhand.
How easy is it for THOSE people to learn Pathfinder? Because if your legendary experience is what's necessary to make it go smoothly, then that only proves that Pathfinder IS hard to learn. If Pathfinder were easy to learn, you could have told the same story even if you'd never touched an RPG before.
Okay, how long did this take? Did you devote an entire session to it?
How much decision-making did the players themselves actually engage in? Did they give you a vague idea of a concept that sounded cool and you just rattled off what they should write down on their sheet? Did you point to the list of Combat Feats and tell the fighter "Here, pick one of these for your bonus feat" and let him decide? Something in between?
Since this is your attempt to "prove" that Pathfinder is not hard to learn, what did they actually learn in this process?
That said, if I can take 2 players with no experience and turn them into competant players then why cant anyone else?
By what metric did you determine that they were "competent players"? Did they actually learn how to go through their whole turn themselves without help or correction? Or did you have to keep telling them which dice to roll and what actions were being used up? What is a "competent player"?
Even if your assessment of competence is legitimate, how much of that 3 months had passed by the time they reached that point? Can you demonstrate that the length of time it took for them to reach competence was short enough to support, rather than refute, your assertions about Pathfinder's ease of learning?
IMO Pathfinder teaches perfectly well as its written and I have proven that we dont need a new edition for that reason.
You have done no such thing.
So far, all you've established is that two newbies who join the game of an immensely experienced GM can receive an unspecified amount of hand-holding and thereby achieve an undefined level of competence over the course of a three-month period.
There's not enough information there to prove ANYTHING, and what little data you did provide leans more toward disproving your assertion than proving it.
Fill in the gaps and we can talk.
Here's a fun tidbit for your (rather clever, to be honest) stress-test: There's a tabletop RPG that I've run/played with three different groups, whose characters included the following:Flying animal-whisperer
Pretty crazy, right? And they were all viable, contributing party members right out of the gate at 1st level.
But the thing is, this game was simpler than Pathfinder by an order of magnitude. Teaching these newbies a system they'd never seen, letting them build their own characters, and then also playing the full intro adventure took about 3 hours for each group.
Three hours to learn, build, and play.
How many of those characters can you even build AT ALL in Pathfinder 1E, making them viable and on-concept at 1st level? This game has PF beat in flexibility, yet also leaves PF in the dust on simplicity.
I'm sorry, but your understanding of simplicity as being on the opposite end of a spectrum from flexibility is simply wrong. Not all complexity produces the same proportion of depth. Part of good game design is finding ways to get the most depth for the least complexity. Will PF2 do well in that regard? That remains to be seen.
But simpler does NOT automatically mean less flexible.
Only if you first play and test.
The Sideromancer wrote:
Credit where credit's due: Kobold Cleaver was the one who did the cataloging work. I've spoken on the subject quite a bit, and wrote a long post trying to help get people past some of the "sticking points" that typically prevented productive discussions about it, but I didn't catalog anything.
But anyway, yes, that's the subject I'm talking about. Pretty much every time the subject came up, there would be people insisting that it didn't exist, and/or was a self-created problem as a result of players being terrible people who don't understand the point of the game and everything would be fine if they just learned the meaning of "team" and so on and so forth.
And yet here we are, with that disparity being explicitly listed as a problem that 2E tries to address. Reminiscing about certain old forum posts just keeps me smiling and laughing. :)
I have now published my first title under the Purple Aether Games name: Best Served Cold!
Sure is. :) If any of your friends are ST nerds who also play D&D, share that link with them (or just point them to the DM's Guild, as mine is the only product there called a Zoomer).
Oh, and even if everybody takes it for free (which is fine), please do so individually rather than by sharing with each other, so that I have more "sales" on my record. Don't forget reviews, as well!
Mark Seifter wrote:
I'll ask him, thanks!
And if you start a Patreon, lemme know, and I'll definitely share your link with what small number of followers I have. :)
For the dream not to end.
See, I just quit my soulless corporate job so I can work on game design full-time. In about a year, my money runs out. So I've got to reach a point of bringing in a livable income between now and then, or else I have to abandon my dream and go back to life-squelching drudgery to survive.
So what I want next Christmas is for that not to happen.
I've finished designing a new RPG, and I'm moving on to playtesting!
This is a game which unshackles fantasy roleplaying from the frequent assumption that such games have to be about plundering dungeons or defeating ancient evils. Instead, Journey Away (working title; subject to change) leaves you free to explore a fantasy world as you please, facing whatever sorts of challenges you and your group enjoy.
This is accomplished with a clean, unified action resolution mechanic that's a breeze to pick up and can be used consistently for everything you do, rather than a complex system that's 80% combat-centric.
To put it another way: in Pathfinder and D&D, even the basic act of character creation makes it clear that you're either going to spend a lot of time in combat, or else get very little use out of most of the rules you had to learn to play the game. But in Journey Away, your adventures can be anything you want, and the same basic mechanics will support you regardless!
The system is also open-ended enough that you can swap in your own settings with ease, and lightweight enough that you can show it to your non-gamer loved ones without putting them to sleep so they can finally understand what's so great about roleplaying.
Interested? Post questions here, and/or send me a PM if you'd like to help playtest it!
I was careful to remain conscious of diversity when designing my new RPG, and the result is a game where there's nothing holding you back in terms of the details of your character's identity.
If you like the idea of a fantasy RPG where you can be, say, a brown woman with pointy ears and a tail, check out my profile for ways to stay up to date on development. If you'd like to help playtest the game, send me a PM. :)
EDIT: Oh, also, I plan to represent women and minorities thoroughly in the art, and commission said art from women and minorities as well.
There's a great video from some game design experts on the concept of "Depth" versus "Complexity". It's really important to understand both the difference between the two things, and how they interact.
"Complexity" refers to all the rules, mechanics, expertise, and work that are required in order to play the game. Anything that requires either mental real estate or player action is complexity. For example, the fact that a shortsword and a longsword have different stats is a form of complexity.
"Depth" refers to how many meaningfully different gameplay experiences a game (or aspect of a game) provides to the player(s). If making a different decision makes the experience feel different, that's depth. For example, critting 25% of the time with your keen scimitar feels like a different play experience than critting 5% of the time with your club.
Here's the relationship:
Every attempt to add some depth to a game (that is, to add the possibility of additional distinct experiences) has a "cost" in the form of increased complexity (because you had to add a mechanism by which that depth would be created, and that mechanism has to be learned and executed by the players). This is important to understand because any given player has a limited "budget" of how much complexity they're willing to deal with at the top end, as well as a minimum requirement of depth they demand at the bottom end.
Therefore, it's important that when designing (or houseruling) a game, you try to "get the most bang for your buck" by finding things with a good depth to complexity ratio. (Either that, or find players with ludicrously high "budgets".) Generally, a mechanic that adds very little complexity while adding a good deal of depth is likely to be worth keeping in, but a mechanic that adds more complexity than depth is a good candidate for cutting.
For example, consider all the weapon stats in Pathfinder: size, weight, handedness, damage dice, threat range, crit multiplier, etc. Consider also the number of weapons with unique combinations of these stats. That's the complexity. The depth is when using one weapon actually feels different from using another: when the 2d6 of a greatsword feels different than the 1d4 of a dagger, or when the few massive hits of a two-hander feel different than the endless rolling of a TWF routine; that's the depth. The complexity of the weapon stat tables purchased the depth of those different gameplay experiences. (And in this case, I'd call it price gouging.)
To bring it back to your question of realism and spell component pouches and whatnot, you can apply this same principal to each houserule you're considering: how much complexity does your wear-and-tear system add (both in learning and in execution)? How much depth does it get you? Are you and your players happy with the answers to those two questions?
I think if you approach it like this, you'll come to a decision you can be satisfied with. :)
less wise than they should are.
I generally tend to play characters with options, such that I have some means of contributing meaningfully in most situations. In Pathfinder, that required playing spellcasters (or sticking to very low levels with non-casters). Same goes for 5E, though less rigidly. Outside of the D&D tradition, it depends on the system. For instance, I recently started a Mutant: Year Zero game, where versatility mostly means having well-rounded stats, but I'm also a Gearhead maxed out on Jury-Rig so I can build tools/equipment for whatever we want to do.
Just to throw in another perspective here, when I've been the GM, I've never felt like I needed the players to do anything in particular in order for me to have fun. Any player behavior I can think of that might disrupt my fun as a GM is also something that disrupts my fun as a fellow player, so it's not GM-specific.
And speaking from my background in psychology, I think that if the players are having fun but the GM isn't, then that's probably a red flag that there's some sort of dysfunction in the relationship: maybe the GM and the players weren't on the same page about what kind of game it was going to be, or the GM didn't really want to be the GM in the first place, or maybe there's even been a misunderstanding of what the GM's role is supposed to be. Whatever the reason, if I see a table full of happy players and an unhappy GM, my reaction is that I want to ask the GM what they were expecting to go differently.
You know how in adventure movies, you've usually got a party of greenhorns and then that one seasoned adventurer who's already been around the block and isn't surprised by anything and is properly prepared for all the weird crap they run into (and provides helpful exposition on each such encounter by explaining it to the others)?
Yeah, apparently the only way you're allowed to play that character past like 3rd level or so is as a spellcaster who carries an assortment of scroll of overcome obstacle variants. If instead of a wizard or bard you wanted to do a version of this character who overcomes the same obstacles via grit and wit, well, tough.
@WormysQueue — I think we may be having a miscommunication here. First of all, in case there's any confusion on this point, I wasn't saying that the older community was racist, or even that whatever unhealthy attitudes existed among them were comparable to racism. Rather, the analogy was about how the absence of conflict does not indicate an absence of toxic mindsets or factually incorrect beliefs. Or to put it another way, an increase in arguments on topic X might not be due to people getting more argumentative or the community having more argumentative people in it; it might be due to the original population mostly agreeing with each other on the same wrong idea about X, never encountering any resistance to their belief until the community started to fill with larger numbers of people who had a better understanding of X. If you'll permit a bit of oversimplification: a community where everybody's right and a community where everybody's wrong will both have the same level of apparent "peace". But the bigger the community, the less likely it will fall into either category.
Second, please note that I specified I was only referring to a subset of topics, not everything. Perhaps this would have been clearer if I had listed out the specific topics I had in mind, but at the time I was concerned this would start fresh arguments here, so I hoped that simply announcing that the scope of my assertion was limited would be sufficient. Apparently it wasn't.
Does that help?
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I think Jiggy is busy with 3PP work (or I'm misremembering again).
I'm flattered that my decline in posting frequency was noticed. :)
Although I've done a little 3PP work, I'm not currently working on 3PP stuff (unless you count a massive independent project I'm slowly grinding away at), and that's not the reason for my absence. Rather, there was a convergence of factors (abandoning the deeply-sick PFS culture, fatigue with fundamental issues with the Pathfinder ruleset, and frustration with certain elements of the forums) that led to me abandoning Pathfinder altogether. As a result, spending time on the forums (outside of PbP games) shifted from being a meaningful priority to being something I do when I unexpectedly have a few minutes to kill. More recently, holidays and workplace transitions reduced that free time significantly.
On topic, I don't think the forums have gotten worse (since I've been here, at least). Rather, I think that the mindsets and attitudes that are at the root of a lot of the issues were always here, but weren't causing "problems" because those toxic mindsets were shared by what used to be a majority. Then, as new blood came into the community, that majority status diminished, and those toxic mindsets started to feel some serious pushback for the first time.
It's not unlike what might happen if more and more persons of color moved into a racist, historically white town: instead of 95% of your neighbors nodding along in support of a person's BS, 50% of them are calling it out. The result is a perception among the original residents that the town has "gotten worse", when really all that happened is that the original toxicity stopped having majority approval.
Obviously not all of the forum's issues come down to that; there's always going to be some number of people behaving poorly for all kinds of reasons, just like not all of the above hypothetical town's crime rate would be race-related. But many of the key topics (including ones that have already been mentioned in this thread) can, in my opinion, be linked to this phenomenon in some capacity.
Sorry for the sudden silence; the wife ambushed me with a late Christmas present that involved some surprise travel.
Teo looses a glob of acid at the nearest enemy!
Fin readies an arrow, but holds for the opportune moment.
Gwen fires off an arrow:
Alex tries her best to supplement the boat's momentum with a bit of rowing, closing some of the distance!
The zombie guards rise, bows in hand, and Fin takes his shot and puts an arrow squarely into the chest of the one Teo had burned!
This gets some attention, as all three then fire back at Finlogan!
Party up! The boat is now only 80ft from the wharf, and starting to go a bit crooked from one-sided rowing.
Seems like a lot of folks are conflating "scared" with "endangered". Facing a monster with +99 to hit for 1d10+999 damage and 99 AC and +99 to all saves will certainly endanger your 1st-level party, but does it actually make you feel scared?
I find that the difference is in knowledge. If an enemy engages the party and quickly establishes a straightforward strategy (such as "attack for damage" or "cast save-or-suck spell X") then I find there tends not to be fear, but mere threat assessment. You get a feel for the likelihood of the enemy landing their hits/spells, and how severe their hits are, and you adjust accordingly. It's all just a bunch of calm decision-making.
But what if you don't know what sort of danger you're in? In my experience, it's far scarier if the enemy's initial actions set you up to demonstrate that something bad is coming, but you don't know exactly what. That lack of knowledge, that requirement to act without knowing the details of the situation, that inability to find the most efficient route to victory; that's where I think the actual fear comes in.
This makes me curious about where you shop. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Target and Aldi.
At Target, bagging your own groceries isn't an option: the cashier sets an open bag right next to the scanner, and they bag as they scan. Fortunately, this also means that the process is relatively efficient, dodging the twice-the-time scenario you described. But still, there's no choice to be made.
At Aldi, it's the other way around: the cashier is scanning your stuff and chucking it back into your previously-emptied cart, and the moment everything's paid for you're being sent off to a counter at the side to handle your acquisitions however you see fit while the cashier moves on to the next customer. Again, efficient; again, no choice/option.
I honestly can't think of a time I've been in a checkout lane where there was actually a choice to be made between self-bagging or waiting for the cashier to do it after the purchasing process was complete.
Warlocks seem to be the perfect dipping class for charisma classes. No real reason NOT to take it, it seems.
I actually went the other way around: my warlock has a 1-level dip in bard (mainly for Cure Wounds and Bardic Inspiration). He has 8 WIS and believes he's a cleric of a "good" deity whom nobody's heard of and whose name sounds suspiciously like that of an archfiend.
No, but I do have to pack it all up into boxes. In the morning, the boxes (along with computer, chair, phone, etc) should all be sitting at my new spot, waiting for me to unpack it.