Old School Gaming ?


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for me, oldschool gaming means tabletop games (yes even new ones, they're still a part of the same proud old tradition), abandonware, and any videogame from before the 21st century (since nethack is not abandonware)

and even though development for dwarf fortress started in 2002, I lump it in the old school category anyway by virtue of being a roguelike

EDIT: So i guess my definition also includes genres of videogames that had their heyday before the 21st century (so this would include interactive fiction/text adventure games as well as roguelikes) and since then have been a niche interest.


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I used to think that Old School meant a game had various different subsystems for task resolution and New School meant the game had a single unified mechanic. Then I realized that meant Classic Traveller, published in 9177, was new school, and it's really not.


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Hitdice wrote:
Classic Traveller, published in 9177

seven thousand years from now, long after humanity has taken to the stars and empires and nation-states have fallen, people still play tabletop rpg, and Classic Traveller has risen to become the prevailing system.

Liberty's Edge

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No, it'd die during char gen.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Chainmail wrote:
I remember starting in a setting called Dragonlance. The story begins where clerics do not get to have any spells at start until the Disks are found in the adventure. I do not think this would fly today.

I can tell you now it totally would fly today.

The key thing is that the GM would be expected to announce before people made characters that clerics would start without spellcasting and it would have to be earned mid-game.

This might mean that none of your players choose to take clerics and that's ok.

Lots!!!! of fun, if you consider resting for days after every little combat= "fun".


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Classic Traveller, published in 9177
seven thousand years from now, long after humanity has taken to the stars and empires and nation-states have fallen, people still play tabletop rpg, and Classic Traveller has risen to become the prevailing system.

*Sigh*

. . . Alright, lookit, dude.

That was just a typo; if I'd been using the Third Imperium's dating system I would have said "-2,543." :)


DrDeth wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Chainmail wrote:
I remember starting in a setting called Dragonlance. The story begins where clerics do not get to have any spells at start until the Disks are found in the adventure. I do not think this would fly today.

I can tell you now it totally would fly today.

The key thing is that the GM would be expected to announce before people made characters that clerics would start without spellcasting and it would have to be earned mid-game.

This might mean that none of your players choose to take clerics and that's ok.

Lots!!!! of fun, if you consider resting for days after every little combat= "fun".

Only if every combat does significant damage to the party and the party has zero means of healing.

Pathfinder does have Infernal Healing as a fallback.

Actually it might be interesting to play a Thassilonian Sin Conjurer who focused on keeping his party going [Infernal Healing] and on battlefield control to mitigate incoming damage.


DrDeth wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Chainmail wrote:
I remember starting in a setting called Dragonlance. The story begins where clerics do not get to have any spells at start until the Disks are found in the adventure. I do not think this would fly today.

I can tell you now it totally would fly today.

The key thing is that the GM would be expected to announce before people made characters that clerics would start without spellcasting and it would have to be earned mid-game.

This might mean that none of your players choose to take clerics and that's ok.

Lots!!!! of fun, if you consider resting for days after every little combat= "fun".

What it means is that; no combat is a little combat.

I am actually using a set of house rules for 5e that will mean that natural healing is an important aspect of the game.


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Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Also older editions had a lot of "gotcha!" Creatures. I remember reading an article where they were talkin about some of the rediculous things in DD, like how you can have a whole room try and.kill you with "trap monsters". Between mimics, that which lurks above/below, the ooze that looks like a normal wall, and Gelatinous Cubes you can easily have a literal attempt to kill ypu...

Aren't there still creatures like this in Pathfinder? Mimics, Lurking rays, and gelatinous cubes, etc, etc?

Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:


And as I alluded to earlier, RP was there... so long as you followed the tropes established by Gygax. Want to play an Elf druid? WELL SCREW YOU NO! (Well in 2e).

Actually, elf druids were introduced in Unearthed Arcana in 1985. In a book written by Gygax. Its true that some class/race combinations were against the rules, though.

Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:


Oh and the old DD is qhere the idea of "you need a fighter to hit things, a rogue for traps, a wizard to answer non combat threats like chasms, and a cleric to ne healer" came from. You NEEDED rogues since they are the only trap guys. You NEEDED a healer cleric. Unless you wanted to die... a lot... (now a days, there are so many options that you do not needed a dedicated healer, amd this was intentional)

This is true. The party had to work together (or die) because each had skills/abilities that the others needed. Not a bad model, IMO. YMMY.


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BigDTBone wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

Maybe I'm misinterpreting what it means, but I find attacks on "special snowflakism" far more worrisome than the "snowflakism" itself, which I'm not sure I've ever even seen, at least not in a way I see anything terribly wrong with. It's okay to be special - more than okay. This "snowflake"-bashing I see from time to time just sounds to me like a way of picking on made-up people instead of real ones at best, and overt fascism at worst.

Maybe I should ask: What does it mean?

It means, "a character that wasn't seamlessly tailored for my special snowscape."

The special snowflake is the guy who comes to a party and complains about the kind of alcohol being served.


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My experience with snowflakes is those characters that need to be special, and whose players seem to expect much more of the game to revolve around them and their backstory than is intended or fair to the other players. Basically, they need to be the center of attention and the focus of events and consciously or not try to dominate the game and don't really care if the character actually fits the setting or game terribly well.

DM: "So in this classic D&D game of rags to riches heroes, who are you?"
Player 1: "My PC is the 7th son of poor farmers, kicked out into the world to make his own way"
P2: "My character is an orphan raised in the temples, out to do good works"
P3: "My character is the eldest child of a minor noble fallen on hard times"
Snowflake: "My character is a half-dragon magic princess with an ego the size of a truck, a snobbish attitude you won't believe, a pain in the arse, whose father is king in a far away country, and she ran away from home and has to avoid people sent to bring her back. She also stole this really powerful plot device thing which everyone wants."

Or in L5R, yet another non-Phoenix Ishiken who is self-taught and special, and the nephew of some clan champion or other, with blackmail on a Scorpion daimyo.


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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

My experience with snowflakes is those characters that need to be special, and whose players seem to expect much more of the game to revolve around them and their backstory than is intended or fair to the other players. Basically, they need to be the center of attention and the focus of events and consciously or not try to dominate the game and don't really care if the character actually fits the setting or game terribly well.

DM: "So in this classic D&D game of rags to riches heroes, who are you?"
Player 1: "My PC is the 7th son of poor farmers, kicked out into the world to make his own way"
P2: "My character is an orphan raised in the temples, out to do good works"
P3: "My character is the eldest child of a minor noble fallen on hard times"
Snowflake: "My character is a half-dragon magic princess with an ego the size of a truck, a snobbish attitude you won't believe, a pain in the arse, whose father is king in a far away country, and she ran away from home and has to avoid people sent to bring her back. She also stole this really powerful plot device thing which everyone wants."

Or in L5R, yet another non-Phoenix Ishiken who is self-taught and special, and the nephew of some clan champion or other, with blackmail on a Scorpion daimyo.

Ive never had that experience. I would agree that would be a "snowflake."

More commonly (read: has actually been a real thing) is that a DM will declare snowflake on a character because they don't like furries, don't like eastern weapons, don't like Dwarves unless they are drunken, bearded, axe-wielding, impulsive, and inferior in every aspect to another player's elf character.

IE, to many DM's snowflakes are defined as not inline with Tolkien fantasy or (even worse IMHO) not inline with Peter Jackson's caricature of Tolkien fantasy.

Or, as I put it in my post, "That character doesn't blend seamlessly with my special snowscape (read: middle-earth clone)."


"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

Shadow Lodge

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BigDTBone wrote:
don't like Dwarves unless they are drunken, bearded, axe-wielding, impulsive, and inferior in every aspect to another player's elf character.

And orc-killing.

Of course, Peter Jackson let his raging hardon for Orlando Bloom / Legolas ruin that in the movies, where Gimli became absolutely nothing more than comic relief. F#@&in' Pippen was more useful than Gimli.

Shadow Lodge

Brother Fen wrote:
Characters were rarely planned out from day one

That's kind of a necessary evil in 3.x, given the fact that so many prerequisites exist, as well as so many trap options.

It's kind of a wonder that 3.x sparked an upswing in the RPG market, given that the system is purposely designed to be unfriendly towards beginners.


Brother Fen wrote:
"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

That was also in a system where there were very few choices to be made during character progression, it was incredibly difficult to 'screw up' a character.

I'd like to see that ease-of-play returned, without removing player choice from the equation.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

That was also in a system where there were very few choices to be made during character progression, it was incredibly difficult to 'screw up' a character.

I'd like to see that ease-of-play returned, without removing player choice from the equation.

I'm not sure that's a reasonable request.

I think player choice in character building mechanics requires it to be possible to both screw up or min-max a character. If the choices are meaningful, they're going to allow that.

That said, it's possible to have less traps and sneaky broken combinations than 3.x has without reducing choice too much. But you're not going to get back down to AD&D levels of ease.


thejeff wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

That was also in a system where there were very few choices to be made during character progression, it was incredibly difficult to 'screw up' a character.

I'd like to see that ease-of-play returned, without removing player choice from the equation.

I'm not sure that's a reasonable request.

I think player choice in character building mechanics requires it to be possible to both screw up or min-max a character. If the choices are meaningful, they're going to allow that.

That said, it's possible to have less traps and sneaky broken combinations than 3.x has without reducing choice too much. But you're not going to get back down to AD&D levels of ease.

Let not the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Setting design objectives- even if they ultimately prove a bit beyond reach- can still move the project in the proper direction.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

That was also in a system where there were very few choices to be made during character progression, it was incredibly difficult to 'screw up' a character.

I'd like to see that ease-of-play returned, without removing player choice from the equation.

I'm not sure that's a reasonable request.

I think player choice in character building mechanics requires it to be possible to both screw up or min-max a character. If the choices are meaningful, they're going to allow that.

That said, it's possible to have less traps and sneaky broken combinations than 3.x has without reducing choice too much. But you're not going to get back down to AD&D levels of ease.

5e does a pretty good job of simplifying the character creation / leveling up process, while still allowing customization, and making unlikely to screw yourself over. It has less choices than Pathfinder, that's true, but the playing field is a LOT more even when you eliminate Pathfinders trap options and the choices that don't have to be made in 5e (such as Dex to damage) becaues they're just an option that eveyrone has by default..


Kthulhu wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
Characters were rarely planned out from day one

That's kind of a necessary evil in 3.x, given the fact that so many prerequisites exist, as well as so many trap options.

It's kind of a wonder that 3.x sparked an upswing in the RPG market, given that the system is purposely designed to be unfriendly towards beginners.

There are no trap options, except a few errors, like "Prone shooter". Some are more powerful than others, but sometimes you want one for RP and other reasons.

Nor is 3.x "purposely designed to be unfriendly towards beginners". Some people think that due to a misreading of "Ivory Tower Game design".


Indeed it's not specifically designed to be unfriendly towards beginners.

That's a side effect of designing the game to reward deep and thorough study, as nerds... I mean scholars... unearth the greatest mysteries of these dusty texts.


"They aren't loop-holes; they're special rules for people who are willing to check carefully enough!" --Bryan, KODT.


I've been playing for three and a half decades, but I definitely prefer new-school. It's not that old school is badwrongfun, it's just not my cup of tea.

I've had too many cases where the communication between the GM and the player broke down. When the message that comes across is not the one transmitter. While this is a problem in new-school games, it's a bigger problem in old-school games. I know I've spent a long time trying to find the secret catch only to find that the GM skipped a part of the description. Without that, we couldn't know to search the statue's base because we didn't know it existed.

I also prefer putting more time into my character and therefore don't like random deaths. I don't mind dying for something important, but dying because I happened to pick up the cup with an ungloved hand is a bit much for me.

Liberty's Edge

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thejeff wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
"Old School", to me, recalls memories of long running campaigns with the same characters built from the ground up. Characters were rarely planned out from day one, but instead evolved through adventure after adventure until there were no corners of the realm left to explore.

That was also in a system where there were very few choices to be made during character progression, it was incredibly difficult to 'screw up' a character.

I'd like to see that ease-of-play returned, without removing player choice from the equation.

I'm not sure that's a reasonable request.

I think player choice in character building mechanics requires it to be possible to both screw up or min-max a character. If the choices are meaningful, they're going to allow that.

That said, it's possible to have less traps and sneaky broken combinations than 3.x has without reducing choice too much. But you're not going to get back down to AD&D levels of ease.

There are games out there that are descended from 3.0, that have more, and more meaningful, choices in character creation and advancement and do not have any trap options.

Meaningful choice does not require good and bad options, just options that have an actual effect.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been playing and GMing since 1980. I have literally had my fill of AD+D first and second edition, and and probably will never play them again. As for 3.X, any reason I'd play it is superseded by Pathfinder and it will most likely be a venue I won't visit again either.

I would however like to get some more non-D20 play, in systems like Storyteller, Ars Magica, Shadowrun, and Amber Diceless. I'm a firm "new school" gamer despite my age.


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Old School - Characters became heroes because of their Deeds

New School - Characters become heroes because of the abilities they build into their level progression


Under that paradigm, Terquem, Fate is an Old School game. As would any other game lacking levels and predefined abilities. Whereas many classes in early D&D had abilities built in to their level progression.


Heck, the AD&D 1e PHB says that a 4th level fighter is automatically a
'hero', and an 8th level fighter is automatically a 'superhero'.
So in Terquem's land, AD&D 1e is a new school game, while STaRS 5th edition, a game released in 2014, is old school.

Grand Lodge

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137ben wrote:
Heck, the AD&D 1e PHB says that a 4th level fighter is automatically a 'hero', and an 8th level fighter is automatically a 'superhero'.

Level titles in 1st edition were just that, and for the most part they meant very little. The two titles you used, as you stated, were specific to the Fighter, but if you look at the title for a level 5 Fighter, you'll see that he has now transitioned from a mere "Hero" to a "Swashbuckler"! Impressive! A level 9 Fighter is called a "Lord", which in this case had some meaning, as a Fighter of this level was supposed to start building a stronghold, and he would therefor be it's "Lord"...

But let's look at some of the other class's titles: A level 4 Druid's title is "Initiate of the 2nd Circle", while at level 9, he is now only an "Initiate of the 7th Circle". A 4th level Paladin is a "Defender" - Which begs the question of what exactly is he defending now that he has not been defending up to this point in his career? But it gets better, because at 9th level he can now "officially" call himself a "Paladin(®)"...

So no, Terquem's post is still a valid one concerning AD&D 1st Edition IMHO (which you can obviously take with a grain or two of salt). :-)


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Eh, Terquem's post is still completely off, unless he's trying to make the claim that in Old School games your characters didn't even have class abilities.

Like in 1E, here's some stuff your character got just for being a fighter:

1) You could use all weapons and armors.

2) You could have an 18/01 to 18/00 Strength score (because goofily enough, having exceptional strength was restricted to specific classes).

3) You could get more than +2 hp per level from a high constitution (though of course that stopped applying once you stopped rolling dice).

4) You got 3 melee attacks every 2 rounds at 7th level, eventually improving to 2 melee attacks per round around 13th or so.

5) At 9th level, you automatically attracted a small army of followers if he obtained a stronghold. (Most of other classes got something similar at 9th level - thieves could found thieves' guilds, wizard could attract apprentices, etc. Some of amusing that Leadership used to be something you were entitled to, rather than something you have to take =P)

It's a dreadfully paltry list compared to what you'd get in a "new school" game, but it's still there.

Whether old school or new school, it's still a character's deeds that make him a hero. The game system just determines the character's toolbox to do those deeds with.

Fast talking your GM is a tool that's available in all systems =P


You say potato

I say supersonic omni-directional jet

Shadow Lodge

Zhangar wrote:

Eh, Terquem's post is still completely off, unless he's trying to make the claim that in Old School games your characters didn't even have class abilities.

Like in 1E, here's some stuff your character got just for being a fighter:

1) You could use all weapons and armors.

2) You could have an 18/01 to 18/00 Strength score (because goofily enough, having exceptional strength was restricted to specific classes).

3) You could get more than +2 hp per level from a high constitution (though of course that stopped applying once you stopped rolling dice).

4) You got 3 melee attacks every 2 rounds at 7th level, eventually improving to 2 melee attacks per round around 13th or so.

5) At 9th level, you automatically attracted a small army of followers if he obtained a stronghold. (Most of other classes got something similar at 9th level - thieves could found thieves' guilds, wizard could attract apprentices, etc. Some of amusing that Leadership used to be something you were entitled to, rather than something you have to take =P)

It's a dreadfully paltry list compared to what you'd get in a "new school" game, but it's still there.

Whether old school or new school, it's still a character's deeds that make him a hero. The game system just determines the character's toolbox to do those deeds with.

Fast talking your GM is a tool that's available in all systems =P

Number 1 is only partially correct. Unlike 3e and beyond, 1e characters had a limited number of weapon proficiencies they could know. 1st lv fighter got the most at 4 and then gained another one every 3 lvs there after.

Edit: I personally like the 1e weapon proficiency better.


thejeff wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
And as I alluded to earlier, RP was there... so long as you followed the tropes established by Gygax. Want to play an Elf druid? WELL SCREW YOU NO! (Well in 2e).
Personally I see being able to play an elf druid as completely orthogonal to having roleplay in the game. Character design isn't roleplaying.
You want yo play a nature.worshipping and theme Elf (you know... like how the race was portryed in the first place... still never understood this...). I.e. you want to play a druid. But you cant... and no matter how hard you try, thr cleric is nothing like the druid in 2e. Their spell lists were VERY different. They had WAY differnt XP tracks, and they were just... very differrnt. And it was much harder to play a "nature themed cleric" since domains an such didnt exist yet, so most all clerics hadt he same spells.
Wanting to play some character that doesn't exists in the rule system might suck. It might lead you to not want to roleplay (or play at all), but it still doesn't have anything to do with actually roleplaying. It's character creation. It's an entirely different part of the game. Building a character, even a character with an elaborate backstory and all sorts of cool reasons for having all his mechanics choices, isn't roleplaying. Roleplaying happens when you actually play that character in the game.

No.

Character creation is roleplaying, it's the very genesis of how you're going to play the character and is a series of lasting decisions that should impact nearly all future decisions made through the character. Is every little act within character creation roleplaying? Not necessarily, but taken as a whole, it is very much the act of roleplaying.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

My experience with snowflakes is those characters that need to be special, and whose players seem to expect much more of the game to revolve around them and their backstory than is intended or fair to the other players. Basically, they need to be the center of attention and the focus of events and consciously or not try to dominate the game and don't really care if the character actually fits the setting or game terribly well.

DM: "So in this classic D&D game of rags to riches heroes, who are you?"
Player 1: "My PC is the 7th son of poor farmers, kicked out into the world to make his own way"
P2: "My character is an orphan raised in the temples, out to do good works"
P3: "My character is the eldest child of a minor noble fallen on hard times"
Snowflake: "My character is a half-dragon magic princess with an ego the size of a truck, a snobbish attitude you won't believe, a pain in the arse, whose father is king in a far away country, and she ran away from home and has to avoid people sent to bring her back. She also stole this really powerful plot device thing which everyone wants."

Or in L5R, yet another non-Phoenix Ishiken who is self-taught and special, and the nephew of some clan champion or other, with blackmail on a Scorpion daimyo.

I don't consider the half-dragon a special snowflake, but rather the issue of that player effectively playing the game by themselves prior showing up to the table.

Also, if you have to add 'yet another' to a description, it's clearly not a snowflake, but a common occurrence.

I do like playing strange characters. Mostly because I'm bored of standard D&D fantasy. Extremely bored. The way I can keep my own personal interest is to throw twists into it. It's been done to death and I'd rather play in settings that are more original and have different dynamics.


Irontruth wrote:

Also, if you have to add 'yet another' to a description, it's clearly not a snowflake, but a common occurrence.

Snowflakes are quite common in blizzards. Doesn't mean anything. It's about how you fit in with the group and the setting, not how common it is that some annoying person tries to pull off this s@@%. Something commonly attempted by a certain group of people in no way removes the snowflake status. Think Drizzt clones. They were rather common, doesn't mean they weren't snowflakes.

The point of of this example is that Void shugenja are rare. Very rare. They are pretty much only found amongs the Phoenix clan, the only ones who have the knowledge and talent to train them. People born outside Phoenix who have the talent to hear the Void are vanishingly rare and upon discovery are always taken in the Phoenix, trained and adopted by them (because an untrained Void talent often results in an unpleasant time for everyone and a bad end). In fact, canoncially (that I am aware of) there has been exactly one Void shuggie who managed to partially master his gift outside of the Phoenix. So when players want to have this really awesome character who is so different and special and awesome and breaks the rules of the setting and society, you have special snowflakes. Exactly how many do it is irrelevant unless you get to the point where that is now the norm for the setting.

Irontruth wrote:


I do like playing strange characters. Mostly because I'm bored of standard D&D fantasy. Extremely bored. The way I can keep my own personal interest is to throw twists into it. It's been done to death and I'd rather play in settings that are more original and have different dynamics.

That's the point - if you feel the need to stand out from the crowd in very obvious ways, if you can't follow the expectations of the game, if you need to make something radically different from everyone else's character just because, then you're making a special snowflake. You don't have to like whatever setting is being run, you don't have to play in it, but the moment you start making snowflake characters is when you should either correct yourself or get out of the game because it's f!#@ing annoying.

I'll spell it out: snowflakes aren't what you make; if it were then every D&D character we make would be special snowflake because they are literally the protagonists, often heroes, of the game and get amazing abilities and tons of focus and special treatment from the game, the DM and the players.
A special snowflake is what you make in relation to what others make and the setting and how the game is played. There are games where "a half-dragon magic princess with an ego the size of a truck, a snobbish attitude you won't believe, etc." is positively pedestrian and in those games is perfectly fine.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

People that b$%$@ about "snowflakes" just make themselves look like a%$&##&s.

SPOILER ALERT!!

Not everyone wants to play generic elven wizard #892 or Scottish accented dwarf #7,562. Using derogatory terms to describe a person's characters won't help them make "better" characters.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But, as protagonists shouldn't such characters be allowed to make unique choices?

To use your L5R example, a non-Phoenix Void Shugenja would be breaking the lore, but as a player character there are immediate plot hooks. If she refuses to be adopted by the Phoenix, because the clan committed some terrible sin against her family and her honor dictates she will not join them?

So maybe they look to "forcibly adopt" her during the campaign, BOOM instant antagonists. Maybe during the campaign she learns about other Void Shugenjas who tried the very thing she's trying, and sees the results of their failures (corrupted and tainted lands, ghost haunted mansions). Will her pride be her own downfall? Or is she able to do as she hopes and become the second person in all of Rokugan history to master the Void without the interference of the Phoenix masters? Or maybe she swallows her pride and joins the Phoenix clan, becoming haunted by her betrayed ancestors.

So sure, she's a special snowflake, but hot diggity if that isn't a great character that any GM would love in their campaign. You just have to pepper her stuff in with the main campaign plot, along with the revenge story for your cookie cutter Crab Samurai, and the Rise of a Merchant Prince for your Crane Rogue, and Spirits are restless story for your Hengeyokai Shaman.

Just because you spend most of your time with the PCs doesn't necessarily mean that their unusual choices are the norm. Because demographically, they are literally one of a kind, and exploring the consequences of that leads to interesting campaigns.

Also, if a player looks to make a half-dragon princess in your rags to riches story, then you can say no on account of: Half-Dragons are not a playable race. But perhaps you'd like to be a Dragon-Blooded Sorcerer, and perhaps your bloodline might play a big part in some political stories down the line. Most players are fairly reasonable when it comes to refining their ideas.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with wanting to be special.

I just think it's wrong to get hostile, instead of constructive.


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captain yesterday wrote:

People that b*&#$ about "snowflakes" just make themselves look like a@*+%!~s.

SPOILER ALERT!!

Not everyone wants to play generic elven wizard #892 or Scottish accented dwarf #7,562. Using derogatory terms to describe a person's characters won't help them make "better" characters.

Because as we all know there is nothing between generic elven wizard #892 or Scottish accented dwarf #7,562 and the most extreme weird monstrosity you can throw together with no reference to the setting or campaign.

Any GM who will ban any character concept will ban everything but the most generic ones.

Grand Lodge

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
but hot diggity if that isn't a great character that any GM would love in their campaign.

Um, no, not really...

Such a character, would tend to disrupt the types of campaigns that I normally run. In my campaigns, just because you're character is a PC, does not necessarily make him special or unique.

That being said...

thejeff wrote:
Any GM who will ban any character concept will ban everything but the most generic ones

I will ban concepts, but what I will or will not allow within the campaign, depends upon the setting that I am using.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Also, if you have to add 'yet another' to a description, it's clearly not a snowflake, but a common occurrence.

Snowflakes are quite common in blizzards. Doesn't mean anything. It's about how you fit in with the group and the setting, not how common it is that some annoying person tries to pull off this s#@$. Something commonly attempted by a certain group of people in no way removes the snowflake status. Think Drizzt clones. They were rather common, doesn't mean they weren't snowflakes.

The point of of this example is that Void shugenja are rare. Very rare. They are pretty much only found amongs the Phoenix clan, the only ones who have the knowledge and talent to train them. People born outside Phoenix who have the talent to hear the Void are vanishingly rare and upon discovery are always taken in the Phoenix, trained and adopted by them (because an untrained Void talent often results in an unpleasant time for everyone and a bad end). In fact, canoncially (that I am aware of) there has been exactly one Void shuggie who managed to partially master his gift outside of the Phoenix. So when players want to have this really awesome character who is so different and special and awesome and breaks the rules of the setting and society, you have special snowflakes. Exactly how many do it is irrelevant unless you get to the point where that is now the norm for the setting.

Irontruth wrote:


I do like playing strange characters. Mostly because I'm bored of standard D&D fantasy. Extremely bored. The way I can keep my own personal interest is to throw twists into it. It's been done to death and I'd rather play in settings that are more original and have different dynamics.
That's the point - if you feel the need to stand out from the crowd in very obvious ways, if you can't follow the expectations of the game, if you need to make something radically different from everyone else's character just because, then you're making a special snowflake. You don't have to...

It just seems like your misapplying/using the term.

If something is 'common' it's not a 'special snowflake' because those two terms mean the opposite thing. If you're trying to use the term ironically, that's different, but an ironic usage of a term does define the term, and assuming that your ironic usage (which is an inversion of the definition) is the common usage is going to lead to misunderstandings.

I'm not arguing with you that this problem exists. I'm suggesting that a better term could be used.

Also, please don't foist your baggage and assumptions onto me for this conversation. It's disrespectful, toxic to the conversation and in no way relevant to anything about me.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
A special snowflake is what you make in relation to what others make and the setting and how the game is played. There are games where "a half-dragon magic princess with an ego the size of a truck, a snobbish attitude you won't believe, etc." is positively pedestrian and in those games is perfectly fine.

I REALLY fail to comprehend why you have a problem with this backstory. Could you elaborate for me?

Usually the best campaigns I ever run are the ones where the players come up with characters with this much detail in their backgrounds.

It's the 'farmerboy who picked up a sword' or 'standard academy wizard' characters I struggle with.


As I said, this was chosen as an example because it does not fit in with the others in my first example, nor the expressed theme of the game.
How hard is that to understand?


I didn't see an expressed theme of the game above.

I saw a bunch of boring characters and one that interests me as a GM.

EDIT: wait, was 'rags to riches' supposed to be the theme? Because that's true of ALL PC's.

The princess in question may have been born in money- and may be desperately clinging to her pride- but since running away from home hopefully she's experienced a fair portion of that 'rags' state of existence.


Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Oh and the old DD is qhere the idea of "you need a fighter to hit things, a rogue for traps, a wizard to answer non combat threats like chasms, and a cleric to ne healer" came from. You NEEDED rogues since they are the only trap guys. You NEEDED a healer cleric. Unless you wanted to die... a lot... (now a days, there are so many options that you do not needed a dedicated healer, amd this was intentional)

True or not (and I don't think it is), this is just as applicable to new editions as old. I can't count how many times I've heard complaints of "oh, man, I have to be the cleric AGAIN because we need one and all the other classes are taken!" or seen players getting together and assigning classes based on the fighter/cleric/mage/thief paradigm for 3.x/Pathfinder games.

In part, any class-based game will have this issue, because that's what the classes are for. But a lot of it depends on the GM. A game with a GM that runs a game with no regard to party composition probably does require a fighter, a mage, a cleric, and a thief, regardless of which ruleset the game uses. Likewise, a GM who fits the game to his or her players can use any ruleset and run a game where the four-class paradigm is not needed.


Alathea Neribar wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Oh and the old DD is qhere the idea of "you need a fighter to hit things, a rogue for traps, a wizard to answer non combat threats like chasms, and a cleric to ne healer" came from. You NEEDED rogues since they are the only trap guys. You NEEDED a healer cleric. Unless you wanted to die... a lot... (now a days, there are so many options that you do not needed a dedicated healer, amd this was intentional)

True or not (and I don't think it is), this is just as applicable to new editions as old. I can't count how many times I've heard complaints of "oh, man, I have to be the cleric AGAIN because we need one and all the other classes are taken!" or seen players getting together and assigning classes based on the fighter/cleric/mage/thief paradigm for 3.x/Pathfinder games.

In part, any class-based game will have this issue, because that's what the classes are for. But a lot of it depends on the GM. A game with a GM that runs a game with no regard to party composition probably does require a fighter, a mage, a cleric, and a thief, regardless of which ruleset the game uses. Likewise, a GM who fits the game to his or her players can use any ruleset and run a game where the four-class paradigm is not needed.

Not true in the slightest as regards Pathfinder itself [other 'New School' games I can't speak to.]

Four Wizards? Works and is stronger than the classic party by level 7 if not level 5.

Four Witches? Works and is stronger than the classic party by level 7 if not level 5.

Four Clerics? Works and is stronger than the classic party by level 7 if not level 5.

Four Druids? Works and is stronger than the classic party by level 7 if not level 5.

One of each? Works and is stronger than the classic party by level 7 if not level 5, and significantly stronger than any of the above.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I know for a fact 4 Bards in Skull and Shackles is ridiculous :-)


I've both played-in and ran games for all-sorcerer parties, starting from level 3. It would probably work from level 1, although I don't care enough to try it.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Four Druids? Works and is stronger than the classic party for all 20 levels of play

FTFY


kyrt-ryder wrote:

I didn't see an expressed theme of the game above.

I saw a bunch of boring characters and one that interests me as a GM.

EDIT: wait, was 'rags to riches' supposed to be the theme? Because that's true of ALL PC's.

The princess in question may have been born in money- and may be desperately clinging to her pride- but since running away from home hopefully she's experienced a fair portion of that 'rags' state of existence.

Way to make assumptions. There are games where PCs start out pretty damn wealthy. I happen to play in a game, running off and on for more than a decade now, where all PCs are either the ruling family of the empire or closely related to it (cousins or thereabouts) and part of powerful households. Money and political power are part and parcel of the characters' backgrounds from conception. Because all characters are by almost any standards in the setting, ridiculously wealthy and influential, they aren't special snowflakes in comparison to eachother or the theme of the game.

As for 'boring characters/interesting character', what makes a boring character isn't how common the background is, and what makes an interesting character isn't how different it is from the norm; what makes an interesting character is how it is played. Someone who has to resort to making a snowflake to feel special generally needs to work on making an interesting personality, not rely on external stuff to stand out from the rest.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Pigeonhole much.

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