4E's Rejection of Gygaxian Naturalism


3.5/d20/OGL

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And when talking about naturalism, I think it is best to talk about concrete concepts on how a world should be created, and how players may interact. Once we agree on the core concepts, then let each decide how that applies best to the game they are playing. You may see naturalism expressed by a certain type of mechanic in 3.5, while others have no problems expressing that idea in 4E. Some would say it only exists in 1E.

Because like it or not, all versions of D&D have more in common, at least 3.5 and 4E, then what seperates them.

As to being a 4E advocate, I have stated multiple times in the past what I don't like about it. But I agree with Troy, that there are plenty of positives that keep me playing. And I had a really hard time accepting it at first, but with some persistence via my friends, I was able accept it as an alternative method of playing D&D.

But my honest opinion is this thread is more of a debate on using a theory to show how one game is superior versus the other, or how one fails, where I would take the concept and apply it to my game as stated above without any problem.

The Exchange

Uchawi wrote:
But my honest opinion is this thread is more of a debate on using a theory to show how one game is superior versus the other, or how one fails, where I would take the concept and apply it to my game as stated above without any problem.

Gygaxian Naturalism is about Symbiosis (A relationship that may or may not be of benifit to all parties).

All you really apply in terms of Gygaxian Naturalism is the above concept. That trancends Rules Editions through Simple Association of Monster manual Entries with each other... The problem occurs when the creators of the Edition ramble on about concepts they have no Idea about.
I could hit Rich Baker over the head with his 'Points of Light' Memo. We all know that systems do not function in isolation of one another but it seems to have slipped past him as a concept.


I'm behind in responding to this thread, but I will catch up soon, now that I seem to being getting over my virus.

But for now, I thought I'd post this in case it's hasn't made the rounds. A young fellow among the Necromancers of the NW wrote this. Unfortunately, he shows no sign of having wrestled with Maliszewski's contributions to the subject of Gygaxian Naturalism. At least this reflects some interest among younger gamers in the Gygaxian legacy.

ADD: The navigation for past weeks is not real convenient, but if you look through the separate archives for articles the week of June 21st, the other articles for the week all are attempts to incorporate Gygaxian elements into their normal offerings (traps, monsters, etc.)


I read the latest post on "constructive simulation" and the orignal link to at the beginning of the thread on gygaxian naturalism, with that I am also doing a brief review of 1E, which in my opinion best reflects the theory of naturalism in its purest form; before all the mechanics of various systems started to take a more predominant role.

The main points of 1E were random generators, whether is it character generation, dungeons, cities, NPCs, treasures or monsters. There is also save or die affects, and no skills or mechanisms like feats found in later versions. In regards to monsters they offered frequency (common, uncommon, rare, very rare) and number appearing (dice roll), percentage of being in lair, and more standard items like number of attacks, special abilities, monster description, etc.

So what really strikes me as the core of naturalism is randomness that you will find in the real world, and the threat of death that can be instantaneous. It is interesting to note you were not limited by skills or feats in regards to what a character could do in 1E, as it was based on your class and abilities and where you and the DM were willing to take it (roleplay).

If I were to implement the components of naturlism into others games, it would probably be better to scrap skills, except for combat related items like concentration, and implement spheres of knowledge via character background and class. You could then add a mechanism for a standard difficulty check based on your level, and ability to determine a success. Or you could make it ability alone if you don't like level association with NPCs. I would also continue the save or die affect, but some would argue damage and character death meets the same goal, so that is a preference. As to random generators, whether I roll up an encounter and state it is random, or just create the world to be as friendly, or unforgiving as possible, is just an argument on how to do it.

Those of some basic thoughts, but I am sure my opinion may change, as I am currently going back to basics to review how I handle my games as a DM, to see if old school experiences or systems may add value.


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:


But for now, I thought I'd post this in case it's hasn't made the rounds. A young fellow among the Necromancers of the NW wrote this. Unfortunately, he shows no sign of having wrestled with Maliszewski's contributions to the subject of Gygaxian Naturalism. At least this reflects some interest among younger gamers in the Gygaxian legacy.

The definitions seem mostly fine for what they are. I mean I suppose one could really discuss Gygaxian naming conventions...not really sure why one would want to but its a reasonable definition.

My main issue with the article is that it considers Gygaxian Naturalism, in terms of DMing, to be a reflection of Mr.Gygax's opinions circa August 2000 when he wrote an article on DMing in Dragon.

I feel we can't effectively come to understand the DMing mentality of ODD or 1st edition D&D by basing our views on what the author considers true 25 years later. Everyone's opinions grow and change as we age and I'm certain that Mr. Gygax's did as well - especially in terms of gaming and game design where there was some obvious upheaval over the years. Hence his opinion on DMing in 2000 was not likely the same one he had in 1978.

If the article being descussed was actually focused on how his opinions had changed over the years or since he left TSR then we'd have a gold mine but as it stands basing 'Gygaxian Naturalism' as it pertains to DMing on something Mr. Gygax wrote in 2000 is iffy at best.

The Exchange

Uchawi wrote:
what really strikes me as the core of naturalism is randomness that you will find in the real world...

What some here are refering to as 'Gygaxian Naturalism' is starting to include information networking.

It isnt really Gygaxian Naturalism - Its Monster Manual Naturalism.

Monster Manual Naturalism
The Dominating features of Monster Manual Naturalism includes:


  1. Symbiosis of creatures in the Ecosystem. Darkmantle use Shriekers as a Wake up alarm to tell it when potential food is available, Bob the Kobold Uses Shriekers to tell him that Someone is Moving through the lower Caverns and as a food crop, The Shriekers grow in the Tunnels made by Purple Worms feeding on the Slime trail left behind.
  2. The Scarcity of individual creatures (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Unique) in the D&D ecosystem can determine what the Environment looks like but in never questions their availability below the concept of ONE. Kobolds have the phrase "There will always be More - That is what 'More' Means!" scratched into the stone above the Entrance of their caverns and it is never asked "what happens when the Kobolds Run out?"

Unfortunatly what is becomming confused with the concept of Monster Manual Naturalism is Information Theory.

IN LANDS WHERE CHAOS REIGNS:

CAMPAIGN EVENT HANDLING

APPLYING A MESH
We apply a mesh to our campaign map linking every point of light including the small isolated locations that may have already fallen off the map. A temple buried millennia beneath a hill of dirt and trees thanks to a landslide far in the past may not seem like a point of light but it is as much a point of light as a cave behind a water fall and a fishing village on a stretch of isolated coastline. This allows us to use a simple hexagonal grid which we can lay over the campaign world.
We can also apply this mesh to a city and place on it the diverse buildings and locations relevant to an adventure.

POINTS ON A MESH
Just because a location is a point of light in a wilderness of chaos and darkness doesn’t mean it is any safer. So we are free to pretty much put every location that is known and leave holes where anything could be going on because even a ruined castle can be safer than the village it overlooks. For the most part those points on the mesh are stationary but not always.
The peatbogs located at the south-east end of Penn valley which conceal an entrance to the shrine currently buried beneath the hill beyond it.
The point in muddy wood where the trail from the village of muddy meets the old road.
The horse fair located outside the walls of Ryun (which can move to another settlement if Master Thaket decrees it).

OBJECTS IN MOTION
These are the source of those events that will affect all those points of light to be found sitting across your mesh. When they are interacted with during the ongoing campaign and under what grounds they will show up.

A CATACLYSM COMMETH
It is best to work backwards from the big picture, so let us look at the end of the World. Our cataclysm choice for the coming millennia of the campaign setting is the death of the Moon. Now we look at the role of the moon in our campaign setting. She keeps the tides moving in and out and the Werewolves get one night a lunar month to roam the country side; but what of our Cataclysm? Something is hurtling out of the darkness of the heavens and it will collide with the Moon and destroy it utterly.
The PCs will have front row seats to the destruction of their home world.

THE FALLOUT
This is the world affecting stuff that is going to happen in our campaign world as a direct consequence of the destruction of the Moon.
Freed from the lunar cycle that has dominated their world since the beginning, Werewolves are now unleashed to transform freely every night. No longer will they be the enraged and rabid beast with little to no control over their actions.
Every night will become a Moonless night. This will make every night a night in which the forces of chaos are able to move about freely. The imbalance that once favoured Civilization is now balanced out. Chaos once again rules the night.
The tides cease to function as the lunar cycle ends. From this point onward, oceans begin to stagnate and corrupt. This is going to be the basis for the emergence of a dark and corrupt sea-god later in the campaign.
There are many effects due to the presence of the Moon but these three will immediately exert themselves on the campaign world so they have the most relevance to the lives of the PCs.

LARGE OBJECTS ORBIT THE HUGE
Now that we have our world-shattering Cataclysm, we can look at the large objects in motion about our Cataclysm. These create change on our campaign.
The Warlord of the Shad has been troubled for several months by dreams that he is going to be attacked by Werewolves in his bedchambers. He has decided to invade the Kingdom of Isolde and (having armed his Skeleton Woodsmen with Axes of Axe-stone) log the forest of Wolves in order to exterminate the Werewolf population that is known to dwell there. Secondly, all harvested wood found there will be converted to charcoal for use in the smelting of iron ore and the manufacture of iron weapons to fight the War he knows will come from his actions.
The worshipers of the Stranger have roamed the world in search of the ancient temples that existed when the forgotten one was known. They know that the coming of the Stranger will not go unnoticed. A number have financed bounties and others have advocated the slaughter of known Witches (they have done this through agents in assorted churches and merchant houses over the last few centuries) creating a culture of religious paranoia and fear in many towns and villages.
Witch burnings have been on a slow rise and what records there are describe most as children who have gone insane – a few spoke of dreams about wolf-men on a moonless night, others screaming, driven mad by the lack of sleep, but many more were simply the victims of hysteria.

THE SMALL ORBITS THE LARGE
The players will notice otherwise localized events are appearing on the mesh at odd moments and locations. Small objects are orbiting a larger object and every so often the larger object changes dropping these small objects onto the mesh where they create events related to their nature.
Thanks to the war, werewolves have been pushed across the border into this kingdom because their forest has been cleared for firewood by the raiding army. They have attacked the village of muddy and the entire village is infected. They have come through muddy wood down the old road from Kailsford (the citizens there are still being terrorized by attacks). The werewolves have cut the old road at the north end where it passes through the Muddy-wood. Isolated Kailsford sits on the old road about halfway through the Muddy-wood.
The kobolds sniffing around the peat-bogs at the far end of Penn valley are looking for ancient weapons abandoned in the bog. They are resisting the presence of the werewolves in the
Muddy wood (our local area – near the old road where it cuts north into Muddy-wood. They can become part of the PC’s dynamic depending on how the initial interaction is handled.
Good diplomacy may provide intelligence, trade, and even a future of relations. Violence on the other hand may provide may provide little more than a few very old bog-weapons. destroying the kobolds will remove their presence as a resistor to the activities of the werewolves in this region and will ultimately prove to be a problem at a later date when the pc’s are too overcommitted to hold back the tide of evil on multiple fronts.
Slavers have been active in the last few months just north of the river Kail. Currently they are planning to sweep up the old road, enslave the populace, and invade our local valley. They will then pull out all the stone plundered from the castle ruins to build some of the village buildings (in our village of pigpen) and rebuild the castle. There is enough stone to build a small castle, and they will use laborers to fell pines for the construction of a wooden wall and dirt palisade. The villagers will be located to a slaver stockade at the foot of the old quarry face below the castle.
The green smoke coming from the ruins is Sherm the gnome who is brewing green ale. He must brew the ale in the ruins for several reasons. Firstly because the village elders banned him from doing so in the village limits and secondly because of the green slime found a dungeon wall below the surface. PCs or some militia NPC may think that Sherm was acting with the slavers to draw off the militia at the time of the attack. Sherm claims the ale has been ordered by a wizard living in a tower somewhere in the forest because his regular supply has been disrupted.

OBJECTS ORBITING THEMSELVES
Of course there is always a group of objects orbiting a common centre where no such larger object exists. This can be seen as unrelated events interacting with each other to make it look like there is a larger conspiracy going on yet it can be the orbital debris of a previously functional object.
Bounty hunters looking for a single individual by the name of Kurr Arran begin raiding villages and interrogating their citizens. Someone has offered a bounty of a hundred thousand gold pieces for Kurr Arran to draw attention from the bounty on their own head.
A farmer named Kurr Arran lives near the village of Pigpen (the name is common in these parts - one of the PCs is a cousin). He must be protected from bounty hunters who are moving through the region.
In the village of Dogwater, a man named Kurr Arran is killed and his head taken. Adventurers might be called in to investigate the murder.

CHANGE AND THE DEBRIS OF CHANGE
When an object changes, there are several important effects.
That which it used to be collapses. This means it vanishes from the past, present, and the future. This can be seen as confusion in the part of soothsayers who were predicting a certain event and suddenly they no longer see that event in the future.
It leaves behind debris which provides a connection to the moment of change. If this debris can be found in the past and future then a massive object might alter events by causing the object of the war to become a suborbital. An opportunity presents itself where a powerful individual might make the war their own and shape any changes to their own ends.
Those left behind are effectively locked out of accessing the past before things changed and will only have access to the debris of possibility in the future. Perhaps an individual or group might sack a temple full of gold that avoided being sacked because the larger object changed direction.
Small objects orbiting the large object might suddenly appear on the mesh as free objects or as a consequence of a direction change. Slavers might become free agents or the warlord might provide them with new resources consistent with the larger change.

RESISTANCE AND THE ALTERNATIVE
With the PCs thrust into a world of change, they are presented with a few options as to their own future in this world. They must make choices as to which side they are on because that is the nature of their situation. Resist the change that is happening or be prepared to accept it. In both cases there will be consequences to their actions, and their world will never be the same again.

RESISTING
Resisting these minor effects will only prevent them from happening locally. While they are unique to the larger cause, these events are recurring and will continue to emerge elsewhere. Overly large and successful resistance itself will change future events in the local area. The larger object will alter minor objects and sent them against the source of resistance but it also changes direction.
In response to victories against the slavers, a large band of raiders are sent to crush resistance in the Penn valley and claim the castle which is regionally significant to events yet to happen.
Displaced peoples converge on this bastion of resistance seeking refuge and safety but they are not all coming for the same purpose. Some will be the worst and some the best.
The kobolds seeing the help the characters gave them in cleansing their forest of the threat of lycanthropy may decide to become scouts for the PCs as long as they are in-charge of the region and find fair treatment and benefit from the ongoing relationship.

GOING WITH THE FLOW
Of course resistance is not always the path chosen.
The PCs sensing the enslavement of the village might decide not to save the day. This can have consequences later.
The party decides to flee for the coast and make their way to Ryun. The fact is that they might in the course of their adventures discover that the region is about to become involved in a war that they want nothing to do with.
The party might make them-selves available to the slavers becoming a sub-orbiting object.
The party might become a roving war-band like the many bandits and war-bands now at large in the Kingdom and find themselves classed as outlaws and Bandits – even to the point of being hunted by Bounty Hunters and Killers.

AN INROAD TO ADVENTURE
So there are a number of ongoing events in the Valley of Penn when the PCs start out. For the people of the Village of Pigpen, these events are for the most part seemingly ordinary events that might appear unrelated to each other or even larger more obscure events, yet they can be the tip of larger campaign icebergs, some of which have been in motion for a long time.
Kobolds have been seen loitering near the peatbogs. Kurtis Strang (a peat digger) returned from the bogs yesterday complaining of Kobolds. A group of miliia will be dispatched to the peatbogs to find out what they are up to and drive them off.
An eerie green smoke has been seen coming from the ruins of castle Penn since the morning. A few militia reserves will be sent to investigate the ruins and make sure it isn’t the Kobolds sniffing around the peatbogs.
A child named Kaiya is turned into the wilderness as a witch by the village elders. She has been troubled by dreams that an elderly lady is murdered by a stranger in a tavern in some unknown village or town. A band of militia will be tasked with taking her by palanquin to a location beyond Muddy wood and abandon her on the old road.

DELVING DEEPER INTO THE CAMPAIGN
As the party (and others) move through points on the mesh they exert change on objects they encounter. Object shadows sit waiting to be interacted with while other events can already be underway and exerting their influence on the surrounding areas.
Visiting the town of Kailsford and putting a stop to the werewolf attacks can open the way for alternative events to reveal themselves. These events may well have been pushed aside or overshadowed by the presence of the werewolf. Perhaps a few of the werewolf killings were in-fact assassinations designed to take advantage of the situation.
Overthrowing the slavers and claiming the stronghold opens the prospect for population growth as people seeking safety and refuge (they are in fact changing direction in response to the existence of your stronghold) arrive.
Aiding the kobolds in their fight against the werewolves occupying muddy wood and the village of Muddy; or having killed the kobolds, face these dangerous opponents without this unlikely support.

NEVER A CLEAN VICTORY
Ultimately once the larger event (the war) ends, these minor events will disperse leaving some residue of their passing. Either the war is successful or it fails.
Numerous bandits made of displaced peoples will continue to roam the region even after a few have gone off to settle in safe areas with their accumulated wealth.
Mercenaries who feel that they have better prospects by not staying with the enemies who employed them, or departing for elsewhere when the local king is done employing their services might become free-roaming war-bands or settle in the area. Either way, they are free men who band together in unity and will resist a return to serfdom.
Lycanthropy will never be gone, even when the party thinks it has exterminated the last werewolf. The same can be held for the many plagues that will surface during the campaign.

QUID PRO QUO
Of course there is always a trade-off. Improving your understanding of Points of light, and how they interact as well as improving your tracking of group objects is going to require a higher level of mental discipline, organization, and pre-game preparation on the part of the DM. It will develop your storytelling skills yet force you to base your actions on a consistent rule-set.

Erata

Information exchange on a Campaign Mesh
These are in direct opposition to the Points of Light Concept. Rich Baker's Memo implies an idea that one node does not exert change on the nodes around it. The fact is the campaign setting is an interconnected Network. The rules for this function at the communities are points of lights level and the Cave six and cave seven are points of light. The nodes exchange information - Life responds to change in information creating change.

By What Formula does it function and how is it used?

information=(Factor of Isolation x ( Population of Source/(SQRT(Distance from Source)))

The Factors of Isolation
This can be a variable simply because you are off the main road by which information travels. The Coast Road will carry a higher informaion traffic between the Cities of Thyatis and Specularum than the dirt track through Muddy Wood to the little Hamlet of Walter's Landing.
Isolation is also about language differences, Political and Nationality Differences, but most importantly it is the capacity to comprehend the value of Information (a mix of Intelligence and Experience).

ex. Here are the Caves of Muddy Rock - a three cave network. with the Caves offset from the Dungeon Corridor rather than flowing through them.

Cave 1: A 3HD PC ambushes and Kills a 2HD Goblin named Burk here. The Sound carries into the rest of the Caves.

Cave 2: 75 feet from cave 1 Mudk the Goblin (8 INT, 2HD) checks to identify the value of the Sounds of Burk's Demise. against his awareness of Surroundings i=(Mudk's int x HD) x ((HD of PC & Burk)/SQRT (distance)) = 9.23
This is the value of Burk's death to Mudk.

Had Mudk been in Cave 3 some 105 feet from cave 1, this value would have been less (7.83).

Cave 3: 105 feet from cave 1 (65 feet from cave 2) the Sworder Kovo (12 INT, 7HD) checks to identify the value of the Sounds of Burk's Demise. against his awareness of Surroundings i=(Kovo's int x HD) x ((HD of PC & Burk)/SQRT (distance)) = 40.98

How would we use these numbers? Well we might say they represent the percentage chance of the NPC of identifying the noise they may have heard as being the Death of their Companion Burk. While Mudk has say 9% chance of realizing Burk was just killed, the very experienced and intelligent Kovo has about 41% chance of realizing what he just heard. Even if both were to fail to correctly value the information of Burk's Death- and the PCs move along to Cave 2 and Kill Mudk, Kovo would add the death of Burk (41) to the new information of Mudk's demise (52) which becomes 93% chance of understanding that both his companions have been killed one after the next and he is next.

Kovo quickly pulling on his shield and sword, looks down the tunnel toward Mudk's cave. He comes down the Tunnel in the hopes of Ambushing the PCs while they are picking over Mudk.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


I feel we can't effectively come to understand the DMing mentality of ODD or...Blah, blah, blah.

OK I went back and read the piece by Mr. Gygax in question and while I still think my above point stands I don't think its germane to this article.

Mr. Gygax's one page piece in 2000 does not really address Gygaxian Naturalism at all. The author of the Blog Post makes the assumption that Mr, Gygax has ceased to advocate (or maybe never did advocate) a player vs. the DM style of gaming based on an article that simply does not address that topic one way or another. The article in question pretty much states obvious truths like the DM should stay on top of his game and watch out for burn out, he should always be learning and he should pay attention to his players and watch them for burn out (there are some other themes as well but it is only about a single page).

Sure Mr. Gygax more or less says if the DM fails to make the game fun for the players then he soon has no players but I fail to see how we get from that to an argument that DM vs. Players style DMing is not Gygaxian. That requires us to believe that this style of gaming, so common in 1st edition, was somehow not 'fun' for the players - its a flawed presumption. A great many players very much enjoy a gaming environment that really challenges their characters and forces them to play to the best of their ability or face defeat. Nothing in Mr. Gygax's 2000 article is a knock against that style of DMing it simply does not address the topic one way or another.

The Exchange

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


I feel we can't effectively come to understand the DMing mentality of ODD or...Blah, blah, blah.

OK I went back and read the piece by Mr. Gygax in question and while I still think my above point stands I don't think its germane to this article.

Mr. Gygax's one page piece in 2000 does not really address Gygaxian Naturalism at all. The author of the Blog Post makes the assumption that Mr, Gygax has ceased to advocate (or maybe never did advocate) a player vs. the DM style of gaming based on an article that simply does not address that topic one way or another. The article in question pretty much states obvious truths like the DM should stay on top of his game and watch out for burn out, he should always be learning and he should pay attention to his players and watch them for burn out (there are some other themes as well but it is only about a single page).

Sure Mr. Gygax more or less says if the DM fails to make the game fun for the players then he soon has no players but I fail to see how we get from that to an argument that DM vs. Players style DMing is not Gygaxian. That requires us to believe that this style of gaming, so common in 1st edition, was somehow not 'fun' for the players - its a flawed presumption. A great many players very much enjoy a gaming environment that really challenges their characters and forces them to play to the best of their ability or face defeat. Nothing in Mr. Gygax's 2000 article is a knock against that style of DMing it simply does not address the topic one way or another.

Which is why Gygaxian naturalism is a false Concept - DMs and Players assume (incorretly) that Gygax created the game on his own and the concepts that are seen by DMs and Players to exist in the Game are his genius. You see a Naturalism where a Dragon exists as a near unique entity in which a clan of Kobolds live in symbiosis - not necessarily equaly beneficial, but in symbiosis none the less. It is meerly the nature of the relationship we assume exists.

The Exchange

DMG, Climate & Ecology p.88 "Dungeons likewise must be balanced and Justified, or wildly improbable and caused by some supernatural entity which keeps the whole thing running - or at least has set it up to run until another stops it. In any event, do not allow the demands of 'realism' or impossible make believe to spoil your milieu. Climate and Ecology are simply reminders to use a bit of care."

Liberty's Edge

I used to really go out of my way to try and emulate Gygax Naturalism then it occured to me that unless a monster is important to the advenutre as a whole who cares about its ecology. It's not going to last more than a few rounds so why go through all the mental hoops to try and make it fit in the background or ecology. Creatures that I know will last longer of course I try to fit in yet the ones that are supposed to be takne out quickly why bother.

While I am not as big of a fan of 4E as I used to be I totally understand why they went for a more simplified monster description. It amkes the DM life easier. Not to mention in my years as a dM unless a monster was important to the the adventure almost none of the groups I ran were really worried about ecology.

The Exchange

memorax wrote:

I used to really go out of my way to try and emulate Gygax Naturalism then it occured to me that unless a monster is important to the advenutre as a whole who cares about its ecology. It's not going to last more than a few rounds so why go through all the mental hoops to try and make it fit in the background or ecology. Creatures that I know will last longer of course I try to fit in yet the ones that are supposed to be takne out quickly why bother.

While I am not as big of a fan of 4E as I used to be I totally understand why they went for a more simplified monster description. It amkes the DM life easier. Not to mention in my years as a dM unless a monster was important to the the adventure almost none of the groups I ran were really worried about ecology.

I know what you mean there...We didnt even think about concepts like: What happens when the Kobolds Run Out. I suppose we should have ran adventures where the PCs fought NPCs for the ownership of the last breeding Pairs of Kobolds.


So perhaps what we strive for is a naturalism that makes a fantasy world appear to be seemless and integrated, where rules become secondary to the experience of roleplaying. Part of that may be tools to generate items on the fly when something is not prepared. As to how naturalism applies today, versus 20 years ago, remains to be seen. What is hard to avoid today, versus 20 years ago, is a preference or bias on mechanics, since they have exploded into a multitude of systems.

However you can break the areas down into world building (geography, countries, cities), monsters and NPCs, player characters, attributes, and interactive mechanics (spells, combat, skils). I am note sure if there is roleplaying game guide or standard similar to those listed above.

But if this discussion is specific to what Gary thought, then I am afraid I have nothing else to add.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terquem wrote:

My ability to hold that 4th edition D&D could be considered "logical within its own conceptions" ended when fighters started moving opponents around the battlefield through some sort of "martial magic".

You're probably not that big on the Nickolodeon series, Avatar either. :)

Disclosure: I am. :)

The Book of Nine Swords had lots of martial magic effects though. The idea in 4e is everyone is touched with magic now... much like the old Dragonquest and Element Masters RPGs.

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
Terquem wrote:

My ability to hold that 4th edition D&D could be considered "logical within its own conceptions" ended when fighters started moving opponents around the battlefield through some sort of "martial magic".

You're probably not that big on the Nickolodeon series, Avatar either. :)

Disclosure: I am. :)

The Book of Nine Swords had lots of martial magic effects though. The idea in 4e is everyone is touched with magic now... much like the old Dragonquest and Element Masters RPGs.

I am also fond of Avatar...but I hear bad things about what is happening to the Movie.


Here's a good blog post on the subject that I overlooked until recently.

The Exchange

Fantastic Naturalism

Before Gary Gygax & Co put it down in a book and called it D&D, The Fantastic world sat in both word of mouth legends and Fairy Tales, as well as in our everyday language. Consequently It all wound up in those big Dictionaries that weigh more than a Halfling.

Entire Genealogies of Fantastic Creatures are detained there.

KU
|
|->Kobolt->Kobold
|
|->Gobelin->Goblin->Pooka/Bugbear/Knocker

Kobolt=Gobelin
|
|->Gremlin

In That Darwinist Family Tree is an entire fantastic history.


  • Ku are simply described as 'those who dwell in the Hollow Places'. There is some Cataclysm or event that forces this group to divide.
  • The Kobolt migrate into Mines bringing ill luck to Human Miners. While the Gobelin migrates to the Surface taking with it an invisibility where they can only be seen when behind cloth.
  • At a certain point there is an attempt by some Gobelin to rejoin their Kobolt Cousins beneath the ground. This is short lived and their Offspring - The Gremlin, as well as the offspring of the Kobolt line (The Kobold) migrate out of the Mine to a more Urban setting. The Gremlin with invisibility and ill luck plague early industry, while the Kobold inverts the ill luck to Good Luck becomming a residential House dwelling entity.

  • Those Gobelin who made no attempt to return to the hollow places and reconnect with their Kobolt Cousins give rise to the Goblin. Goblins do not have the Invisibility of their fore fathers and seem to have no discernable abilities.
  • Goblins do however give rise to three lineages: The Pooka (a Goblin in Horseform with some degree of Selective Invisibility - known to dwell in Bogs and Fens), The Bugbear, and The Knocker (a Goblin that dwells in Mines and Caves and knocks on rocks and cave walls to find/detect Minerals).
  • Goblins also branch off to intermingle with the Hob (A Dhwergher Subspecies and Ancestor of the Elf) creating the HobGoblin -> the Scarecrow -> and Samheim.

Liberty's Edge

yellowdingo wrote:


I am also fond of Avatar...but I hear bad things about what is happening to the Movie.

Eh.

If you liked the TV show, you'll think it was alright at best. If you've never seen the show, then you'd probably think it was pretty cool. I have mixed feelings, but thought it was alright.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Here's a good blog post on the subject that I overlooked until recently.

Essentially what the post seems to say is that the game left naturalism when it went beyond 1st edition AD+D, which includes Pathfinder in that charge. I also agree that the games since First Edition don't exactly "reject" naturalism but leave that responsibility up to the Dungeon Master. It does makes sense in that the later stages of D+D spawned a lot of world settings which don't have the same types of ecology.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Studpuffin wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:


I am also fond of Avatar...but I hear bad things about what is happening to the Movie.

Eh.

If you liked the TV show, you'll think it was alright at best. If you've never seen the show, then you'd probably think it was pretty cool. I have mixed feelings, but thought it was alright.

I won't get into the Racebending issue, but Shamalyan's story decision that Earthbenders could be confined by dumping them in a Pit of Earth goes beyond Fridge Logic. Just hearing the man talk about how he decided to change certain things did not make me eliminate seeing the movie, but I did wind up deciding that I'd wait for RedBox.

He also seems to forget that his style of soft focus does not mix well with 3D.


Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
Here's a good blog post on the subject that I overlooked until recently.

Interesting article. I mostly buy whats being sold there but then it does pretty much follow my own style in terms of gaming which involves taking elements of old school, especially elements of Gygaxian Naturalism, and essentially running newer editions under that paradigm.

Something the author, Philippe-Antoine Menard, feels is possible as well but is generally not fully endorsed by James Maliszewski who feels that the mechanics are part and parcel of the whole experience. A point most probably even agree with - leaving the whole debate down to semantics of whether something can or cannot be 'close enough' to fall into the category of Gygaxian Naturalism.


I think it is much easier to support naturalism as a philosophy versus a game mechanic, because the later can always be shown as going to far, or not doing enough, or limiting the experience within a ruleset. But for those that expect rules to cover a large expanse of the gaming experience, I can understand using it as a guage.

Whatever works to keep you gaming, continue to do so.

The Exchange

Uchawi wrote:

I think it is much easier to support naturalism as a philosophy versus a game mechanic, because the later can always be shown as going to far, or not doing enough, or limiting the experience within a ruleset. But for those that expect rules to cover a large expanse of the gaming experience, I can understand using it as a guage.

Whatever works to keep you gaming, continue to do so.

Monster Manual Naturalism:

The Dominating features of Monster Manual Naturalism includes:

  • Symbiosis of creatures in the Ecosystem. Darkmantle use Shriekers as a Wake up alarm to tell it when potential food is available, Bob the Kobold Uses Shriekers to tell him that Someone is Moving through the lower Caverns and as a food crop, The Shriekers grow in the Tunnels made by Purple Worms feeding on the Slime trail left behind.

  • The Scarcity of individual creatures (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Unique) in the D&D ecosystem can determine what the Environment looks like but it never questions their availability below the concept of ONE. Kobolds have the phrase "There will always be More - That is what 'More' Means!" scratched into the stone above the Entrance of their caverns and it is never asked "what happens when the Kobolds Run out?"

Unfortunately what is becoming confused with the concept of Monster Manual Naturalism is Information Theory. Both of these points above are aspects of Information theory – they are about how the monsters in the Monster Manual interact with each other, and the range of their interaction based on some concept of influence –a measure of both their power and their intelligence providing both distance in spatial as well as distance in temporal reach.

Naturalism should be about the evolution of the Monster through its lifecycle. It’s Sources of preferred food, its preferred environment, or its evolution and position on the tree of life (how is your Kobold related to your Goblin).

Sovereign Court

Imagine a fantasy world. Now imagine 3 to 20 different instances of it. Now image just one of those is the original D&D that continues to spark the imaginations of the world. That particular instance, penned by its creators Gygax and Arneson, has certain perameters set for the permutaions of the instance i.e. any Dungeonmaster can run an adventure in that realm, and each realm may be different from one another, yet the perameters are the strong matrix that binds the milieu together.

Imagine that set of tropes and perameters believing that whether or not adventurers are in the main city, there are clerics doing vespers around the clock, and the streetfires are lit for security around the same time each night by one, William of Thusslebury, who's feat of levitation to reach the nightlamps on the main thoroughfair have won him a modicum of acclaim.

Now imagine these things being described in some of the most descriptive prose--an evocative one that conjurese the imagination at every turn. Thus the city men are known, enemies of the city exist, and the cant spoken underground by the city's dark citizenry facilitates the trade of drugs, exchange of monies, items, and slaves each night, whether or not the "main heros" of the campaign are around or not.

Finally imagine the Dungeonmaster knowing that the sames of those underground dwellers sound a certain way, the slaves are of a particular racial stock, and if left unchecked for three months of game time - a crisis of incredible magnitude could cause irreprable mass devastation.

The Dungeonmaster runs encounters and quests around, near, or in the city - and based on the "living" nature of the NPCs, things will happen with or without the players, that is, until, or unless the players intervene to change things.

Thus Gygaxian Naturalism is not unlike Dickens' ghost of Christmas Future in the book, A Christmas Carol. The Dungeonmaster knows the writing on that stone - and it is up to the players, just like Scrooge, to see that action occurs to sponge that writing away, else what was fortold will come to pass.

The art of Dungeonmastering isn't about creating statblocks, nor knowing all the mechanics of the game. The true art of Dungeonmastering is the ability to "know" things about your milieu, and if wishing to bear some authenticity to the Gygaxian Milieu, it becomes essential to think along Malisewski's naturalistic lines to achive the same ART that Gygax performed when dungeonmastering.

This is the very art of knowing the naturalistic elements of one's own campaign world that requies a lot of intelligence, and wisdom, along with patience, and forethoght to make the game come alive and believable in the pseudo-reality it represents. The players more quickly suspend disbelief when monikers of actual realities, like shadows of the non-fantastic, still govern the fantasy realm.

Like a god who is greatest, the Dungeonmaster himself gives away power to the social habits, and naturalistic elements of the game, and allows himself to be governed by them, while allowing the characters flow through them in ways that "appear" unrestrictive.

Regards,
Pax Veritas


Jesus, you're just babbling.

Like, literally, nothing you just said had any meaning.


Jesus posts here? Does he play D&D? Jack Chick is gonna be PISSED.


onesickgnome wrote:
Jesus posts here? Does he play D&D? Jack Chick is gonna be PISSED.

Yeah, he's the ultimate Rules lawyer.

"You're dead dude!"
"Nope! I cast Resurrection from a scroll!"
"What scroll?"
"The one my henchman hid in the tomb when they sealed it up!"
"Ok, how do you cast Resurrection on YOURSELF?"
"Uh, well the henchman hid in the tomb too! I mean, what else is a 25 CHA good for if your minions don't have your back?"
"Yeah but you're the cleric."
"Uh, but .."

The Exchange

Evil Monkey wrote:
onesickgnome wrote:
Jesus posts here? Does he play D&D? Jack Chick is gonna be PISSED.

Yeah, he's the ultimate Rules lawyer.

"You're dead dude!"
"Nope! I cast Resurrection from a scroll!"
"What scroll?"
"The one my henchman hid in the tomb when they sealed it up!"
"Ok, how do you cast Resurrection on YOURSELF?"
"Uh, well the henchman hid in the tomb too! I mean, what else is a 25 CHA good for if your minions don't have your back?"
"Yeah but you're the cleric."
"Uh, but .."

I know this one: Six burly Cult members came and removed the stone and stole the body from the crypt.


ProfessorCirno wrote:

Jesus, you're just babbling.

Like, literally, nothing you just said had any meaning.

+1


And he faith unto them that any other Fun is Bad and Wrong.


The threefold model of The Forge, stripped of its mystic wonder and Pretentiously Capitalized Words looks like this to me:

Gamism: The game rules must be consistent with each other.
Narrativism: The plot must be consistently put together and enacted by people with motives that are comprehensible and predictable from their prior actions.
Simulationism: The verisimilitude of the world must enhance player immersion, or, at the very least, not detract from it. Random dungeons where Huge dragons live in 20x20 rooms with 5' doors, next door to a Kobold tribe and an efreeti are examples where it breaks down.

I call "Simulationism" "Explorationism", because as a wargame designer and someone who does simulations for a living, the term means something different to me. It also tends to sidestep the issue of "Realism" which is one sort of explorationism.


AdAstraGames wrote:

The threefold model of The Forge, stripped of its mystic wonder and Pretentiously Capitalized Words looks like this to me:

Gamism: The game rules must be consistent with each other.
Narrativism: The plot must be consistently put together and enacted by people with motives that are comprehensible and predictable from their prior actions.
Simulationism: The verisimilitude of the world must enhance player immersion, or, at the very least, not detract from it. Random dungeons where Huge dragons live in 20x20 rooms with 5' doors, next door to a Kobold tribe and an efreeti are examples where it breaks down.

I call "Simulationism" "Explorationism", because as a wargame designer and someone who does simulations for a living, the term means something different to me. It also tends to sidestep the issue of "Realism" which is one sort of explorationism.

I'm not really fond of a scale like this. It kind of implies that your trying to make a game 'with perfect 10's' in the sense that you can have a game that perfectly fulfills all the categories. By the method your describing one can but I don't really see that as true at least not in the sense of comparing and contrasting a role playing game like Dungeons & Dragons where I feel its more like a continuum. More simulationsism means less gamism and while you can have Narrativism with either it gets harder as you move toward the extremes of either Gamism or Simulationism.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
AdAstraGames wrote:

The threefold model of The Forge, stripped of its mystic wonder and Pretentiously Capitalized Words looks like this to me:

Gamism: The game rules must be consistent with each other.
Narrativism: The plot must be consistently put together and enacted by people with motives that are comprehensible and predictable from their prior actions.
Simulationism: The verisimilitude of the world must enhance player immersion, or, at the very least, not detract from it. Random dungeons where Huge dragons live in 20x20 rooms with 5' doors, next door to a Kobold tribe and an efreeti are examples where it breaks down.

I call "Simulationism" "Explorationism", because as a wargame designer and someone who does simulations for a living, the term means something different to me. It also tends to sidestep the issue of "Realism" which is one sort of explorationism.

I'm not really fond of a scale like this. It kind of implies that your trying to make a game 'with perfect 10's' in the sense that you can have a game that perfectly fulfills all the categories. By the method your describing one can but I don't really see that as true at least not in the sense of comparing and contrasting a role playing game like Dungeons & Dragons where I feel its more like a continuum. More simulationsism means less gamism and while you can have Narrativism with either it gets harder as you move toward the extremes of either Gamism or Simulationism.

I think if it more as a triangular grid system, like we used for calculating the properties of alloys.

In general, going towards one of the three corners of the diagram results in lessening the utility of the other two. The main beef about 4e (from my perspective) is that it moves so much more firmly towards Gameism that the rules of the game themselves break Explorationism and Narrativism.

I've also played strongly Narrativist games where the "Let's structure the story!" part kind of overwhelmed Gameism or Exporationism.

I don't think I've ever played a game where Explorationism overwhelmed the other two to the detriment of the game. Perhaps because games where this is likely to result look so horrifyingly cumbersome that nobody puts them on the table. (I'm looking right at you, Aftermath!) :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And I've posted before in my belief that even Gygax did not take his Naturalism that seriously, or that he used it as a vehicle to justify the way he set up dungeons. Most good modules will have pretty much all the naturalism that you should care about. After all we're playing this game for excitement and adventure, not D20 Discovery Channel.


Ugh, the threefold model.

It's inaccurate and completely unuseful. It was created as nothing more then as a way for the Forge to :smug: at everyone else.

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
And I've posted before in my belief that even Gygax did not take his Naturalism that seriously, or that he used it as a vehicle to justify the way he set up dungeons. Most good modules will have pretty much all the naturalism that you should care about. After all we're playing this game for excitement and adventure, not D20 Discovery Channel.

I assume it suited control of the setting. If the setting called for a Spaceship smashing into a Forest Moon and discminating Terraform Pods which produced all monster species and planar critters thanks to the possibility drive that melted its way into the lunar core...then that would have been the Origin of the Species for the awesome setting of 'Endor - the Forest Moon'.

The Exchange

Evil Monkey wrote:
onesickgnome wrote:
Jesus posts here? Does he play D&D? Jack Chick is gonna be PISSED.

Yeah, he's the ultimate Rules lawyer.

"You're dead dude!"
"Nope! I cast Resurrection from a scroll!"
"What scroll?"
"The one my henchman hid in the tomb when they sealed it up!"
"Ok, how do you cast Resurrection on YOURSELF?"
"Uh, well the henchman hid in the tomb too! I mean, what else is a 25 CHA good for if your minions don't have your back?"
"Yeah but you're the cleric."
"Uh, but .."

Hold on...the henchman who hid in the Tomb needed only be a thief (read spell scrolls ability)


yellowdingo wrote:
Hold on...the henchman who hid in the Tomb needed only be a thief (read spell scrolls ability)

Someone get St. Dismas on the line!


Studpuffin wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:


I am also fond of Avatar...but I hear bad things about what is happening to the Movie.

Eh.

If you liked the TV show, you'll think it was alright at best. If you've never seen the show, then you'd probably think it was pretty cool. I have mixed feelings, but thought it was alright.

the show was very well done. I loved the part where they run into a bear. Just a bear, nothing else. Not an Owl-bear. Not a kangaroobear. Just a bear, and it caused them to loose sanity points because it was not normal to them.

Dark Archive

Evil Monkey wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:
Hold on...the henchman who hid in the Tomb needed only be a thief (read spell scrolls ability)
Someone get St. Dismas on the line!

It's not March man!


The Crimson Jester, Rogue Lord wrote:
Studpuffin wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:


I am also fond of Avatar...but I hear bad things about what is happening to the Movie.

Eh.

If you liked the TV show, you'll think it was alright at best. If you've never seen the show, then you'd probably think it was pretty cool. I have mixed feelings, but thought it was alright.

the show was very well done. I loved the part where they run into a bear. Just a bear, nothing else. Not an Owl-bear. Not a kangaroobear. Just a bear, and it caused them to loose sanity points because it was not normal to them.

The original animated series is great and one of my favorites. The writing and the voice acting in it are many times superior to the acting and writing (don't even bring up editing) of the movie. It made me want to do terrible things to MNS. Before he may have disappointed me, this time, he awoke the beast.


Pax Veritas wrote:

Imagine a fantasy world. Now imagine 3 to 20 different instances of it. Now image just one of those is the original D&D that continues to spark the imaginations of the world. That particular instance, penned by its creators Gygax and Arneson, has certain perameters set for the permutaions of the instance i.e. any Dungeonmaster can run an adventure in that realm, and each realm may be different from one another, yet the perameters are the strong matrix that binds the milieu together.

Imagine that set of tropes and perameters believing that whether or not adventurers are in the main city, there are clerics doing vespers around the clock, and the streetfires are lit for security around the same time each night by one, William of Thusslebury, who's feat of levitation to reach the nightlamps on the main thoroughfair have won him a modicum of acclaim.

Now imagine these things being described in some of the most descriptive prose--an evocative one that conjurese the imagination at every turn. Thus the city men are known, enemies of the city exist, and the cant spoken underground by the city's dark citizenry facilitates the trade of drugs, exchange of monies, items, and slaves each night, whether or not the "main heros" of the campaign are around or not.

Finally imagine the Dungeonmaster knowing that the sames of those underground dwellers sound a certain way, the slaves are of a particular racial stock, and if left unchecked for three months of game time - a crisis of incredible magnitude could cause irreprable mass devastation.

The Dungeonmaster runs encounters and quests around, near, or in the city - and based on the "living" nature of the NPCs, things will happen with or without the players, that is, until, or unless the players intervene to change things.

Thus Gygaxian Naturalism is not unlike Dickens' ghost of Christmas Future in the book, A Christmas Carol. The Dungeonmaster knows the writing on that stone - and it is up to the players, just like Scrooge, to see that action occurs to sponge that writing away, else what was fortold will come to pass.

The art of Dungeonmastering isn't about creating statblocks, nor knowing all the mechanics of the game. The true art of Dungeonmastering is the ability to "know" things about your milieu, and if wishing to bear some authenticity to the Gygaxian Milieu, it becomes essential to think along Malisewski's naturalistic lines to achive the same ART that Gygax performed when dungeonmastering.

This is the very art of knowing the naturalistic elements of one's own campaign world that requies a lot of intelligence, and wisdom, along with patience, and forethoght to make the game come alive and believable in the pseudo-reality it represents. The players more quickly suspend disbelief when monikers of actual realities, like shadows of the non-fantastic, still govern the fantasy realm.

Like a god who is greatest, the Dungeonmaster himself gives away power to the social habits, and naturalistic elements of the game, and allows himself to be governed by them, while allowing the characters flow through them in ways that "appear" unrestrictive.

Regards,
Pax Veritas

I've recently reread Mr. Maliszewski's post How Dragonlance Ruined Everything (skim the comments as well because there is a lot of good clarification in them) and feel its germane to this idea.

Now parsing Pax's post is a tricky affair and I'm not sure there is exactly a concrete theme or argument in it but there are at least hints at such a theme which, if I understand correctly, would seem to argue that the art of DMing revolves around an interesting and believable narrative. I don't really disagree but its the kind of statement that almost everyone agrees with. The real element that tends to be in contention is how one gets to there from here.

Mr. Maliszewski puts forward a very specific idea on how one got to this narrative in old style D&D. To compare and contrast I'm going to introduce some terminology I once heard on Fear the Boot because I think the terminology was excellent.

RPG narratives come in three types. Story Before, Story Now, and Story After.

Story Before - This might be what one thinks of as the new tradition in gaming. The story of a campaign or a large part of it is designed prior to the players setting foot into the story itself. A Paizo AP is an excellent example of Story Before. Dragonlance was, in some sense, the very first example of Story Before. Pax when you mention the idea of a future that the DM knows will take place if the PCs don't intervene your moving into the realm of Story Before.

Story Now - this is the sandbox that has become such a talking point with the release of Kingmaker. In Story Now there is no real set plot the PCs are free to make up their own goals and agenda's and try and carry them out. To play in this style its critical that a DM either be really good at improvising on his feet or, more likely the game is set in a specific geographical location and the Players agree to almost never leave said geographic location. In this case the DM develops the living heck out of the geographic location (say a city) so that he knows everything there is to know about it. Who the movers and shakers are, what kinds of organizations can be found in the area, who has what agenda's and on and on. The idea is that no matter what the players do the DM can quickly figure out what the consequences are likely to be and react in a seamless and believable manner. We often think of Kingmaker as such a campaign and it definitely bears some strong elements but in reality its strong internal themes its probably still Story Before with a very large helping of Story Now thrown in.

Story After - This is your basic dungeon of the week type campaign. The DM does not have a whole campaign arc worked out ahead of time but neither are the players expected to create the story by pushing their own agenda's to drive the plot. Instead the story is pieced together after the fact. This is not really narrative in the sense of a novel but it is pretty much how history works. Things happen and there are consequences and when the dust settles we can tell and retell what went down.

The interesting point to consider is that the way many of us play D&D today really is not that reflective of how it was done in the past as Mr. Maliszewski eloquently points out. Traditional ODD, BECMI, and 1E play was dungeon of the week. Hence the, near antiqued term, modules. They where in fact Story After by and large with some Sandboxy Story Now thrown in for some of the larger environments (really big dungeons, large wilderness areas like Isle of the Ape). The design of worlds like Greyhawk where examples of the sorts of themes inherent to this style of play. The original World of Greyhawk is a place packed with history and it plays and reads much like a historical local with some classic swords and sorcery fantasy plopped in on top of it. Its a world of human migrations and the struggle of nations. It has a look and feel one might find if one picked up a history book that covered, in a basic way, the nations of an area during the 11th century (probably Europe, North Africa, as well as the steppe and right down into the Near and Middle East).

Note however that this began to change as time went on. Dragonlance is the single most powerful example of that change but it happened even with Greyhawk. Sagan's Out of the Ashes supplement for the World of Greyhawk very significantly moves the world from being one that is 'like history' into one that is excellent as the setting for a narrative. Its now a world dominated not by history itself but, instead, by story elements.

There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate. In reality what we currently play, if one uses either Paizo's products or follows 4Es underlying philosophy's is not so much Gygaxian D&D but what might be termed Hickman D&D since, by and large, the kind of story driven worlds and campaigns we know participate in really all go back to Hickman and Dragonlance.

These days most of us on this message board, whether we play Pathfinder or 4E are really participating in worlds and adventures that are best classified as Story Before with, maybe, a helping of Story Now.

Grand Lodge

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate. In reality what we currently play, if one uses either Paizo's products or follows 4Es underlying philosophy's is not so much Gygaxian D&D but what might be termed Hickman D&D since, by and large, the kind of story driven worlds and campaigns we know participate in really all go back to Hickman and Dragonlance.

I think that this line could be drawn back a year further, and connect with the "classic module" I6: Ravenloft (also by Hickman)...

This module changed how monsters were perceived within the game (at least from my perspective)...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-


Digitalelf wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate. In reality what we currently play, if one uses either Paizo's products or follows 4Es underlying philosophy's is not so much Gygaxian D&D but what might be termed Hickman D&D since, by and large, the kind of story driven worlds and campaigns we know participate in really all go back to Hickman and Dragonlance.

I think that this line could be drawn back a year further, and connect with the "classic module" I6: Ravenloft (also by Hickman)...

This module changed how monsters were perceived within the game (at least from my perspective)...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

Not really a point I would argue against in any real way but I6: Ravenloft is slightly beyond my point. Its still really just a module, albeit an extremely narativist one. Its possible to include it into a campaign that is fundamentally Story After. Its tight theme is really not so far from something like Dungeonland (well except that I'd not call Dungeonland a phenomenal adventure while I might agree to the contention that I6: Ravenloft was the best adventure ever created for D&D). I6: Ravenloft is a sign of things to come and a significant example of Mr. Hickman's talents but we don't really get to the true branching of the ways between Gygax's D&D and Hickman's D&D until after Dragonlance.


I love creating the "backstory" to my npc's and monsters in my home campaign, I love having a reason why the kobolds and the dragon "hang out", but it seems more often than not my hard work creating an elaborate history of the "Black Fang" orc tribe gets totally ignored by the players whos sole purpose is to slaughter the "Black Fangs" and enslave the children so that they, the orcs, can build their, the players, mega awesome keep, that players never seem to ever visit.

*sigh*


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate.

This should be somewhat self evident by the fact that Gygax hated 3e (and was also rather un-fond of 2e).

Seriously if you play 3e and you invoke the name of Gygax as you would scripture, you aren't helping your argument. He didn't like the game you're playing.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate.

This should be somewhat self evident by the fact that Gygax hated 3e (and was also rather un-fond of 2e).

Seriously if you play 3e and you invoke the name of Gygax as you would scripture, you aren't helping your argument. He didn't like the game you're playing.

Something's not quite right with this logic...


Kryzbyn wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate.

This should be somewhat self evident by the fact that Gygax hated 3e (and was also rather un-fond of 2e).

Seriously if you play 3e and you invoke the name of Gygax as you would scripture, you aren't helping your argument. He didn't like the game you're playing.

Something's not quite right with this logic...

Let me rephrase it then:

It's kinda hard to trace a line from Gygax to Pathfinder when Gygax hated 3e, which Pathfinder is built on.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate.

This should be somewhat self evident by the fact that Gygax hated 3e (and was also rather un-fond of 2e).

Seriously if you play 3e and you invoke the name of Gygax as you would scripture, you aren't helping your argument. He didn't like the game you're playing.

Something's not quite right with this logic...

Let me rephrase it then:

It's kinda hard to trace a line from Gygax to Pathfinder when Gygax hated 3e, which Pathfinder is built on.

He didn't like the complexity and a lot of the ways in which it affected the game, that's true.

But a line may still be drawn, because whether or not he approved, much of the spirit he put into the original game carried through to Pathfinder.

We may not like seeing what our children have become, in some cases. They are our children, nonetheless.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
There is a tendency to draw a line from Gygax to the product put out by Paizo but I think this line is inaccurate.

This should be somewhat self evident by the fact that Gygax hated 3e (and was also rather un-fond of 2e).

Seriously if you play 3e and you invoke the name of Gygax as you would scripture, you aren't helping your argument. He didn't like the game you're playing.

I don't really think it matters whether he would have liked a given RPG or not when considering the points I'm making.

Sovereign Court

ProfessorCirno wrote:


It's kinda hard to trace a line ...

Not true.

Its easy to trace a line... just consider this quote from a famous D&D/Pathfinder RPG player:

Originally Posted by Clark Peterson
"That's right.

I am swearing off 4E. You heard it first here.

I'm about to start up a new RPG campaign and you want to know what I am playing? What Clark Peterson the President of Necromancer Games is playing? PATHFINDER.

Why? Because Pathfinder is D&D--its the D&D that I love.

Now don't get me wrong. There are lots of things I like about 4E. But when push comes to shove and I have to choose a rules system to use for my home game its Pathfinder. 4E may work for you, I am not criticizing. But for me, its Pathfinder.

And I am going to run the Legacy of Fire Adventure Path (updated to Pathfinder) from Paizo and with a first adventure by my pal Erik Mona.

Clark"

**** If Necromancer Games isn't testimonial enough, just speak with the boys at Troll Lord games. They'll tell you about bus rides past the old TSR building, and gaming on Gary's front porch - and while the core siege engine mechanic of Castles & Crusades was a preference due to its kinship to first edition D&D, they'll all attest that Monte's game was also carried the legacy of D&D. The fundamental difference between the directions of C&C and D&D in the 2000s was either the progress toward complexity and options (a sign of the times, and this was Monte's D&D), versus a retrograde to the Prime Attribute system and simplicity of making your character in 15 minutes and starting to play (and this was Chenault's D&D).

In context, and context is king, Gary's rebuttle to the progressvie D&D of the 2000s was still true today of most systems that carry a complex ratio of subsystems along with the core mechnic. Gary, the father of D&D, knew how to straddle the line between ambiguity (which caused tension at the game table) and the use of rules (that served to provide the illusion of a game). This type of game has evolved. Campaigns have evolved. Today's D&D is Pathfinder RPG.

Everyone loves new shiney, but leafing through the pages of the Core Rulebook provides immediate sense that this is a better, more refined, polished, beautiful D&D than v.3.5, although backward compatibility is its prime feature.

When wotc ostensibly burned our .pdfs of the legacy games, they stold the very history of gamers. For those who do not recall the sudden midnight announcement that was sent to third party publishers to remove all legacy .pdfs from sale - then they vanished from the face of the earth, and a witch hunt was conducted to erradicate them from all 4shared type Web sites.

Now, it is fair to say that Gary, who was no longer working for wotc, and simultaneously promoting Lejendary Journeys and working with the boys at Troll Lord Games, had felt that third edition on the whole was too complex, to cumbersome with rules. Yep, that's fair to say. Just as his words are relevant today to all game masters within earshot of my voice - - - you know that when the game begins, all the rules in the world aren't as important as the special craft of "DMing", and the execution of story as it unfolds at your hand. Good DMs know implicitly what Gary meant, and understand that its not an affront to Third Edition so much as a clarion bell rung to remind DMs that the true game lies underneath and above the ruleset.

When Clark Peterson raises his glass to toast those who now possess the mantle of Gary's legacy, I believe he means it. And this is why Pathfinder RPG is so very special. Its an in-print continutiy with the past. Its the surviving and thriving legacy of the D&D we love. Whilst playing we share in common the tradition and 30+ year history of the worlds oldest roleplaying game.

But don't take Clarks word alone, nor mine, million play Pathfinder RPG and see it as the hier of Gygax, and rightfully the game is also literally dedicated to him.

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