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Subject: Why RPGs Suck rss

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Dutys_Fist wrote:
chuckdee68 wrote:

I posit that this doesn't make either suck. It just makes them different experiences.
Well, yeah. As I said in the foreword, I too play RPGs. But I think that the difference in the experience can often be ignored.

SteamCraft wrote:
Not to derail this, but given the emphasis on choice, this would mean that railroading is bad because it takes away the advantage RPGs have.
Haha. Very punny.

But yeah. That was basically my point. There are indeed wrong ways to play RPGs.

Clickbait title aside, I agree with you. Although I wouldn't say "wrong," because I am not as naturally contentious as you whistle so maybe I'd say "suboptimally." I.e. not playing to the strengths of the form. Yes, you can use a coin to turn a screw, but you're probably better off with a screwdriver.
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The problem with ASD (Aspergers) is one doesn't realize thing you take for granted aren't obvious. So I'll try to be clear though my autistic brain thought it was obvious (which it really isn't).

I see published adventures as (at best) guide lines for my own things and at worst, that "Evil of evils" the thing you have no control over, but that's only if you're still stuck in the beginner idea trap of being slavishly pedantic to what is published. While that's a perfectly fine way to play it IS the sorts of things the OP brought up as "sucking" in his opinion.
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pestigor wrote:
I see published adventures as (at best) guide lines for my own things and at worst, that "Evil of evils" the thing you have no control over, but that's only if you're still stuck in the beginner idea trap of being slavishly pedantic to what is published. While that's a perfectly fine way to play it IS the sorts of things the OP brought up as "sucking" in his opinion.

I find published adventures to be more trouble than they are worth. Many are railroady, which goes against what the OP wants. Those that are not railraoady require so much more prep to learn everything. On top of that, I still have to deal with players when they go off track.

It is far easier to just start out with what I have in mind and go from there.
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StormKnight wrote:
Odd comparisons to be making. You play an RPG to play make-believe and get to take the part of an imaginary character. Movies/books/TV aren't that sort of experience at all. Computer games barely touch on it.

I agree, but as far as I've understood, some people play tabletop RPGs like a video game, i.e. level'n'loot, and not necessarily as improvised theater. In that aspect – if detailed number crunching in fighting is your thing – then video games are usually always doing better.

But yeah, I find it a strange way to play RPGs. I'm more of focusing on the narrative.
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Zimeon wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Odd comparisons to be making. You play an RPG to play make-believe and get to take the part of an imaginary character. Movies/books/TV aren't that sort of experience at all. Computer games barely touch on it.

I agree, but as far as I've understood, some people play tabletop RPGs like a video game, i.e. level'n'loot, and not necessarily as improvised theater. In that aspect – if detailed number crunching in fighting is your thing – then video games are usually always doing better.

But yeah, I find it a strange way to play RPGs. I'm more of focusing on the narrative.
I've run games for players who use D&D as a board game with more details.
Same kind of people who play Inquisitor or other tactical minis boardgames.

It's not a way to "play RPGs" so much as it is using the RPG rules to play a tabletop skirmish battlegame.

It's worth noting that...
...The rules of Savage Worlds are based upon a Minis Game, itself derived from Deadlands.
...The Classic Traveller combat systems had boardgame versions released
...The Fantasy Trip core was two skirmish boardgames and a book for everything else, then the boardgames replaced with "Advanced" book
...Mechwarrior grew out of Battletech, apparently with a dose of GURPS. Then adjusted with Chargen concepts from Shadowrun for the 2nd edition.
...WFRP 1E shows very very clearly its derivation from WFB. And Inquisitor (a minis game) shows its origins in WFRP1 and WFRP2... And the BI Dark Heresy shows relationship to WFRP2, W40K, and Inquisitor.

The line is blurry between the two genres.
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aramis wrote:
I've run games for players who use D&D as a board game with more details.
Same kind of people who play Inquisitor or other tactical minis boardgames.

So I've understood, and I've heard from many sources that D&D 4th is an excellent skirmish board game. But I also hear it wasn't very appreciated in Sweden (to the point where some claim "it's the most hated version of D&D ever"). It might be because our first domestic RPGs (Drakar och Demoner, Mutant, Chock) were all based on Basic Roleplaying, i.e. skill-based RPGs, and the books focused more on the narratives and adventures, and not XP or loot.

So I worded it badly. It's not "a strange way to play RPGs". It's a perfectly fine way to play. Rather, I find it "not aligning with what I feel is a 'roleplaying game'"

It's true, they blur quite a lot.
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StormKnight wrote:
Odd comparisons to be making. You play an RPG to play make-believe and get to take the part of an imaginary character. Movies/books/TV aren't that sort of experience at all. Computer games barely touch on it.

I would flip these around on the spectrum. There are enough CRPGs with character customizability that I have no problem identifying with my on-screen persona.
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This to me is the RPG way of doing things.

How do you measure the height of a building with a barometer?
Answer: Take a reading on the 1st floor and then run up to the roof and take another reading. Do the math related to air pressure and done…
But….
You could also drop it from the roof and see how long it takes to hit the ground….do that kinda math and done…
(they have up to 15 answers now)
http://www.esmerel.com/circle/question/building.html

I believe this list was inspired by a true story where a college student answered the question with #2.
The professor marked it wrong as he was looking for #1. The student appealed and he actually won.
The professor that granted the appeal starting listing all the ways you could do it and it has been added to ever since it appears.
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Choice and creativity are how a RPG shines and blows away the competition. Maybe one day in the future we'll have fully dynamic worlds built into a game system in which the participants have absolute freedom. I hope that occurs in my lifetime.

As for how can any RPG player experience the depth of such worlds, I think it would depend upon the players and the DM. I think that the right group could indeed experience such a wide open scope.

Have you read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series? Authored by two individuals who built the world in their RPG sessions. Immense backstory and richness. Probably my favorite books series of all time due to its depth and I loved the main story arc.

I wish I could have played in those sessions.
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Dutys_Fist wrote:
What RPGs are
Could we agree that the bulk of RPG systems on this site are a way for a group of people to each have an experience as if they where a character in a setting, and in a way that the group shares the experience as any group of people together would normally do?

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I'd like to think that an RPG is more than just a ruleset and an adventure.
See above.

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When we compare entertainment media to each other, it turns out that some are really good at doing certain things better than others. For instance, TV and movies have always struggled with how to portray a character's inner thoughts and conflicts, something that books do really well with, just as books fail to capture the engagement and choice that a video game does. And the silver screen is really able to do suspense and shock and thrill far better than books and video games, because of the control that editors and directors have over timing. Plays, well, erm... We'll skip that one.
So do you mean that you wish to discuss what things other media are good at that RPGs suck at?

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Video games are way better at mechanics than an RPG could ever hope to be. A computer can easily take complex mechanics, and take away a whole lot of bookkeeping, and more tables, and, because of the way it's built, get more feedback and balancing. Building classes in Pathfinder? MMOs can have tons more complexity - I mean just look at the weapon varieties in Destiny or Anthem. Or check out the crafting systems in these games that I often see players talk about.
Video games can calculate faster where calculation is required. RPGs should avoid the need to do such calculation as part of play. RPGs don't suck at this when they allow the game master and players to use their understanding of how things should work, rather than being computationally correct. This is an advantage of RPGs, not a suckness, a feature, not a bug. In a video game you are constrained by the mechanics, in an RPG you can say "look it should be possible to do this in this situation" and if everyone agrees then off you go.

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They can craft a story that thousands get to witness
A broadcast RPG can easily be witnessed by thousands. Go and watch any of the RPG podcasts out there.

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, and are far better at setting up narrative beats than RPGs are, because a vidya RPG can control timing, set a picture by actually setting a picture, and generally use images to convey moods and feelings far better than words often can.
This comes down to the skill of the GM and players. They can do all that where applicable. However "narrative beats" are a different kind of animal in RPG. (see The Art of Pacing)

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In terms of lore, who can rival RRs Tolkien or Martin with the depth of their world. What player in an RPG would ever get to experience that.
Thousands and thousands of players have experienced deeper and richer lore from their games. As with any tale you experience it piece by piece as your adventure continues. I would suggest that the experience of lore in an RPG is much deeper and memorable because you encounter it as a personal experience.

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Even if we just like the clatter of dice, board games can deliver that, often with their own mix of lore, story, or mechanics.
Not sure if this is furthering the "what RPGs suck at" thing.

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True, an RPG is relatively easier to make than a movie, yes. It takes thousands of people hundreds of hours to make a movie, whereas it takes 5 people about 4 hours or so to crank out a session. Nonetheless, each movie can be seen by hundreds of millions of people, whereas an RPG session is witnessed by usually about 5.
Again, no. RPGs can be watched with as much enjoyment as with a movie. RPG watching is less controlled an experience than most big budget films but again that's not a suckiness.

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Plus, with movies and video games, it's the most talented (supposedly) writers the studio could find, mixed in with the best coders/actors/editors etc. they could find that create a product that's widely viewed. Whereas, with an RPG, you're really relying on your friend Steve ^5 to GM a session for you. And hey, Steve's probably good ^6. But each Steve can only GM for about 6 players at a time, so inevitably, some people play with GMs who aren't as utterly amazing as Steve, whereas if Steve wrote and directed a movie, we'd all get to see Steve's movie.
Movie makers and Steves both hone their craft and get to go again when people like their potential or where they are going. GMs that suck find it hard to get a new game group, the same as people that make not quite the worst movies of all time. However there are millions more really good Steves than successfull film makers. So the number of people that get to play with a good Steve is probably far more than get to watch a good movie.

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And yet, here we are, stuck in our basements, hewing away at a product that will only ever be witnessed by ourselves.
Again, no.

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So, it turns out that there is in fact, a tiny little thing that RPGs blow every other media out of the water at.

Choice. Bounless choice. Even the choice offered by video games is at best, numeric. Choose one of X options. It's an inherrent limit of a machine which functions in 1s and 0s. And sure, a board game might offer you more, but nothing comes close to a player telling a GM that they'd like to try to put their helmet backwards on the enemy mage in order to blind him, and to actually be able to have that play out.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that choice lies at the heart of RPGing, and without it, there's not much of a reason to play, is there? If you strip choice from an RPG, you're left with what's essentially a live reading of a choose-your-own-adventure book.
To some degree. However that is ignoring the non sucky experience of play itself. Of suspense and tension. Of good humour and camraderie with the people you are playing with. I think you have narrowed down way too far.

So I am not sure you have shown us talking points about where RPGs may suck compared to other "media". Let me try.

1) Effort. Most other media are passive at the "entertain you" end. (not so for film directors or video / board game producers). RPGs require effort from the GM before play (which is why there is lots about trying to reduce prep load) and during play from everyone. However I acknowledge that is a bit like saying the hard work of doing ice skating or playing base ball is sucky. If the effort is skilled its pretty rewarding.

2) Culture Dissonance. People are used to movies and what its like experiencing them. Those saturated in that may try to play RPGs as though they were movies and expect movie like experiences. This is not the experience RPGs provide. That really sucks and causes problems with people getting to what is good about RPGs. Similarly for video games, which dumb the player down to the game's level so that the game can handle them properly. There are plenty of tales of video game players having trouble getting into table top RPG, because they are expecting the UI / sim constraints, and the system making certain decisions for them.

There may be more suck things but maybe someone else would care to add to the list?
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DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
What RPGs are
Could we agree that the bulk of RPG systems on this site are a way for a group of people to each have an experience as if they where a character in a setting, and in a way that the group shares the experience as any group of people together would normally do?
Actually, no, we can't. Because Board Games also do that. Take Imperial Assault with the app, for instance. It's a cooperative experience, where everyone gets a character, but I (and the site) don't define it as an RPG.

There have been, I feel, a spate of other similar games released that are RPGs by your definition, which I find are evidently board games, and that do the "Shared experience as a character in a setting" as well as RPGs if you don't care about the decision-making aspect of it.

The same can be true of video games like MMOs if you play with your friends. Simiarly, no ability to go outside the bounds, but if you're happy with that, then that's a medium which does everything an RPG does, plus graphics, can transfer to join another group with your character, and considerably more ease running combat than in an RPG.



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When we compare entertainment media to each other, it turns out that some are really good at doing certain things better than others. For instance, TV and movies have always struggled with how to portray a character's inner thoughts and conflicts, something that books do really well with, just as books fail to capture the engagement and choice that a video game does. And the silver screen is really able to do suspense and shock and thrill far better than books and video games, because of the control that editors and directors have over timing. Plays, well, erm... We'll skip that one.
So do you mean that you wish to discuss what things other media are good at that RPGs suck at?
Well, yes. Essentially, when you want to buy a car, you might want to buy a truck, an EV, an SUV, a sports car, or other stuff. It'll depend on what you're looking for in the car. Similarly, we're looking for different kinds of experiences when we choose to play an RPG. What I am suggesting is that certain mediums are better at achieving certain experiences, and that RPGs are really only better than other media under a specific set of circumstances.


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Video games are way better at mechanics than an RPG could ever hope to be. A computer can easily take complex mechanics, and take away a whole lot of bookkeeping, and more tables, and, because of the way it's built, get more feedback and balancing. Building classes in Pathfinder? MMOs can have tons more complexity - I mean just look at the weapon varieties in Destiny or Anthem. Or check out the crafting systems in these games that I often see players talk about.
Video games can calculate faster where calculation is required. RPGs should avoid the need to do such calculation as part of play. RPGs don't suck at this when they allow the game master and players to use their understanding of how things should work, rather than being computationally correct. This is an advantage of RPGs, not a suckness, a feature, not a bug. In a video game you are constrained by the mechanics, in an RPG you can say "look it should be possible to do this in this situation" and if everyone agrees then off you go.
Yes. Well, yeah, that's a big part of my point. Because you can go "off the rails" so to speak. But that in terms of doing combat or sneaking or other stuff and making it exciting, it's far easier than RPGs (again, if you don't care about that unconstrained choice thing).
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They can craft a story that thousands get to witness
A broadcast RPG can easily be witnessed by thousands. Go and watch any of the RPG podcasts out there.
Doesn't count. That's like saying that any board game can be played by thousands: 2 people playing and 998 watching. They're different experiences.
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, and are far better at setting up narrative beats than RPGs are, because a vidya RPG can control timing, set a picture by actually setting a picture, and generally use images to convey moods and feelings far better than words often can.
This comes down to the skill of the GM and players. They can do all that where applicable. However "narrative beats" are a different kind of animal in RPG. (see The Art of Pacing)
Eh. Look, I'm a big Justin Alexander fan, but I'm not talking about pacing here. Video Games, due to the presence of imagery and the tight control of what the player sees and hears, and the tight constraint on choice, are far better at making the player feel an emotion. That's what I meant by narrative beat. In retrospect, I should have clarified.
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In terms of lore, who can rival RRs Tolkien or Martin with the depth of their world. What player in an RPG would ever get to experience that.
Thousands and thousands of players have experienced deeper and richer lore from their games. As with any tale you experience it piece by piece as your adventure continues. I would suggest that the experience of lore in an RPG is much deeper and memorable because you encounter it as a personal experience.
Eh. So, it takes so much longer to develop lore. I'n not disagreeing that it's something that happens. But there's so much more in the FR, or Tolkein, just because lore in RPGs is a slow drip. Even if as a GM, you were constantly delivering information orally for the whole game, it would take years of play to give your players the whole Forgotten Realms.
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Even if we just like the clatter of dice, board games can deliver that, often with their own mix of lore, story, or mechanics.
Not sure if this is furthering the "what RPGs suck at" thing.
Upsides of RPGs (if those are the upsides we want) + fewer downsides = better than RPGs.
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Again, no. RPGs can be watched with as much enjoyment as with a movie. RPG watching is less controlled an experience than most big budget films but again that's not a suckiness.
I've tried, and then, maybe it's a personal thing, but I disagree with this statement in whole. What is better about watching an RPG than watching a movie?
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Plus, with movies and video games, it's the most talented (supposedly) writers the studio could find, mixed in with the best coders/actors/editors etc. they could find that create a product that's widely viewed. Whereas, with an RPG, you're really relying on your friend Steve ^5 to GM a session for you. And hey, Steve's probably good ^6. But each Steve can only GM for about 6 players at a time, so inevitably, some people play with GMs who aren't as utterly amazing as Steve, whereas if Steve wrote and directed a movie, we'd all get to see Steve's movie.
Movie makers and Steves both hone their craft and get to go again when people like their potential or where they are going. GMs that suck find it hard to get a new game group, the same as people that make not quite the worst movies of all time. However there are millions more really good Steves than successfull film makers. So the number of people that get to play with a good Steve is probably far more than get to watch a good movie.
I disagree here. And furthermore, 1 film filmmaker serves a bigger audience than 100 Steves.
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And yet, here we are, stuck in our basements, hewing away at a product that will only ever be witnessed by ourselves.
Again, no.
Are you saying anything here not reiterated from above?
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To some degree. However that is ignoring the non sucky experience of play itself. Of suspense and tension. Of good humour and camraderie with the people you are playing with. I think you have narrowed down way too far.
I can get that in a co-op board game.
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So I am not sure you have shown us talking points about where RPGs may suck compared to other "media". Let me try.

1) Effort. Most other media are passive at the "entertain you" end. (not so for film directors or video / board game producers). RPGs require effort from the GM before play (which is why there is lots about trying to reduce prep load) and during play from everyone. However I acknowledge that is a bit like saying the hard work of doing ice skating or playing base ball is sucky. If the effort is skilled its pretty rewarding.
Well, if you're not looking to throw or bat balls, why be a good baseball player? If board games meet your need better than RPGs, why play RPGs?
Quote:
2) Culture Dissonance. People are used to movies and what its like experiencing them. Those saturated in that may try to play RPGs as though they were movies and expect movie like experiences. This is not the experience RPGs provide. That really sucks and causes problems with people getting to what is good about RPGs. Similarly for video games, which dumb the player down to the game's level so that the game can handle them properly. There are plenty of tales of video game players having trouble getting into table top RPG, because they are expecting the UI / sim constraints, and the system making certain decisions for them.
So, you're saying that videogames are badwrongfun always? Because that's the vibe I'm getting from this, and I disagree here.
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There may be more suck things but maybe someone else would care to add to the list?

So, to be clear, you're saying that if not for 1 and 2, there should be no reason why anyone should read fiction, watch movies, or play board games?
I get that you disagree with me. But you're disagreement is so strong and absolute that I feel like you're arguing that point (and I'm not trying to straw-man. I just want to know what distinction exists between your points and the statement above).

Also, you realize that I'm an avid RPG fan, right?
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Dutys_Fist wrote:
DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
What RPGs are
Could we agree that the bulk of RPG systems on this site are a way for a group of people to each have an experience as if they where a character in a setting, and in a way that the group shares the experience as any group of people together would normally do?
Actually, no, we can't. Because Board Games also do that. Take Imperial Assault with the app, for instance. It's a cooperative experience, where everyone gets a character, but I (and the site) don't define it as an RPG.

There have been, I feel, a spate of other similar games released that are RPGs by your definition, which I find are evidently board games, and that do the "Shared experience as a character in a setting" as well as RPGs if you don't care about the decision-making aspect of it.

The same can be true of video games like MMOs if you play with your friends. Simiarly, no ability to go outside the bounds, but if you're happy with that, then that's a medium which does everything an RPG does, plus graphics, can transfer to join another group with your character, and considerably more ease running combat than in an RPG.

So are you saying that the definition of an RPG cannot be one that works for specific board games or video games as well, or that it cannot have anything in common with those games, or that it needs some extra stuff that those games don't share?

If the later then perhaps just add "the ability to take actions outside the base game mechanics, using judgement".

For example Battlestar Galactica is close to being an RPG itself. But what if a player wanted to try and steal a nuke away from the admiral? In the board game there is no ability to do that, but in a full RPG a player could suggest it and the GM would make a ruling. So game master ruling flexibility might be part of the definition.

I don't want to nail it down exactly. This is peripheral to the discussion you are trying to have. It just needs to be proximate enough to have the discussion about suckiness vs other games and entertainments. (speaking of which, did you want to include sport, like football, and live games like paint ball?)
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Dutys_Fist wrote:
Doesn't count. That's like saying that any board game can be played by thousands: 2 people playing and 998 watching. They're different experiences.
They are experiences, nevertheless, that RPGs and boardgames and video games and football and robot wars can provide. Where they are different to film production is they are not prescripted, and they can be viewed as they are being created. So RPG doesn't suck at providing a viewing experience, it provides them but has some added value.

Where the viewing experiences suck is that the tension and drama is specifically aimed at the players, wether they make good viewing or not. However filming a game doesn't absolve the film producer of editing the film. RPGs themselves suck heavily in that respect because they are not designed for being watched and have no process for managing such production experience.

This makes me think there could be a small industry in doing good RPG watching film production.
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Dutys_Fist wrote:
Quote:
2) Culture Dissonance. People are used to movies and what its like experiencing them. Those saturated in that may try to play RPGs as though they were movies and expect movie like experiences. This is not the experience RPGs provide. That really sucks and causes problems with people getting to what is good about RPGs. Similarly for video games, which dumb the player down to the game's level so that the game can handle them properly. There are plenty of tales of video game players having trouble getting into table top RPG, because they are expecting the UI / sim constraints, and the system making certain decisions for them.
So, you're saying that videogames are badwrongfun always? Because that's the vibe I'm getting from this, and I disagree here.
No, I'm saying a thing that sucks about RPG is that its intent, its value, is different from that of movies and video games (the very thing I think you are trying to uncover). However the distinction is not well understood. So you get people who like movies, or video games, come to RPG and don't get the experience they are expecting and sometimes go away with a bad taste in their mouth. That's something about the RPG industry generally that sucks, communicating and expectations.
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Dutys_Fist wrote:
So, to be clear, you're saying that if not for 1 and 2, there should be no reason why anyone should read fiction, watch movies, or play board games?

Que? I don't understand how you get there? At what point in anything I said am I saying anything at all about weather you should watch movies or play board games? I'm trying to find things about RPG that suck compared to those movies and games, in line with your intent for this thread.

I think the difficulty is that, at this point, this thread is intended to be about what is cool about RPG that those other entertainments don't share in anyway. Is that what you really want to discuss?
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DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
What RPGs are
Could we agree that the bulk of RPG systems on this site are a way for a group of people to each have an experience as if they where a character in a setting, and in a way that the group shares the experience as any group of people together would normally do?
Actually, no, we can't. Because Board Games also do that. Take Imperial Assault with the app, for instance. It's a cooperative experience, where everyone gets a character, but I (and the site) don't define it as an RPG.

There have been, I feel, a spate of other similar games released that are RPGs by your definition, which I find are evidently board games, and that do the "Shared experience as a character in a setting" as well as RPGs if you don't care about the decision-making aspect of it.

The same can be true of video games like MMOs if you play with your friends. Simiarly, no ability to go outside the bounds, but if you're happy with that, then that's a medium which does everything an RPG does, plus graphics, can transfer to join another group with your character, and considerably more ease running combat than in an RPG.

So are you saying that the definition of an RPG cannot be one that works for specific board games or video games as well, or that it cannot have anything in common with those games, or that it needs some extra stuff that those games don't share?

If the later then perhaps just add "the ability to take actions outside the base game mechanics, using judgement".

For example Battlestar Galactica is close to being an RPG itself. But what if a player wanted to try and steal a nuke away from the admiral? In the board game there is no ability to do that, but in a full RPG a player could suggest it and the GM would make a ruling. So game master ruling flexibility might be part of the definition.

I don't want to nail it down exactly. This is peripheral to the discussion you are trying to have. It just needs to be proximate enough to have the discussion about suckiness vs other games and entertainments. (speaking of which, did you want to include sport, like football, and live games like paint ball?)

Right. Sure. But when we disagree about whether something is a strength of RPGs, because of the things we consider to be RPGs, then the definition becomes important. I consider BSG to be fully a board game. Even if you added a way to steal a nuke from an admiral, that would really be a house rule, but still a board game. But it would begin to become borderline.
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DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
So, to be clear, you're saying that if not for 1 and 2, there should be no reason why anyone should read fiction, watch movies, or play board games?

Que? I don't understand how you get there? At what point in anything I said am I saying anything at all about weather you should watch movies or play board games? I'm trying to find things about RPG that suck compared to those movies and games, in line with your intent for this thread.

I think the difficulty is that, at this point, this thread is intended to be about what is cool about RPG that those other entertainments don't share in anyway. Is that what you really want to discuss?
I'm getting there because you seem to insist that RPGs have no downside, except for those. So, if RPGs don't have any drawbacks, and they are superior in all ways to Board Games, Video Games, and movies (save for 1 and 2), then shouldn't everyone play RPGs?
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DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
Quote:
2) Culture Dissonance. People are used to movies and what its like experiencing them. Those saturated in that may try to play RPGs as though they were movies and expect movie like experiences. This is not the experience RPGs provide. That really sucks and causes problems with people getting to what is good about RPGs. Similarly for video games, which dumb the player down to the game's level so that the game can handle them properly. There are plenty of tales of video game players having trouble getting into table top RPG, because they are expecting the UI / sim constraints, and the system making certain decisions for them.
So, you're saying that videogames are badwrongfun always? Because that's the vibe I'm getting from this, and I disagree here.
No, I'm saying a thing that sucks about RPG is that its intent, its value, is different from that of movies and video games (the very thing I think you are trying to uncover). However the distinction is not well understood. So you get people who like movies, or video games, come to RPG and don't get the experience they are expecting and sometimes go away with a bad taste in their mouth. That's something about the RPG industry generally that sucks, communicating and expectations.

Oh, sure. I agree. But funnily enough, I think you also see people who want things that don't work in RPGs to be present in RPGs. Like, for instance, the ever-wanted "crafting system". It's totally needless, but people still pine for it.

I believe those people should really not be playing RPGs if the crafting is what they really want to do.
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DanDare2050 wrote:
I think the difficulty is that, at this point, this thread is intended to be about what is cool about RPG that those other entertainments don't share in anyway. Is that what you really want to discuss?

So, actually, what I think I actually wanted to discuss is that there's this pervasive attitude that "there's no wrong way to play an RPG". But I think there are. For instance, railroading is a silly and way to play an RPG. I guess fundamentally, it's that if you aren't leveraging the fact that RPGs provide total unconstrained decisionmaking, then you'd probably have a better time engaging in a different activity.

Also, the fact that people always seem to try and replicate experiences from movies, books, etc. in RPGs when it's prone to failure because RPGs aren't movies (and here, I acknowledge that I think we are in agreement).
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If I want to hear a pal tell a story that I can involve myself in, and try to discern the puzzles and go through the adventure, an RPG is the only way to do that. No other media comes close.

This also tangents on the issue of video games vs boardgames. Why would anyone ever want to do the horrible and boring setup and upkeep of, say, Agricola, when you could have a table-sized tablet do that, and just play the game electronically?

Answer: Because we like to do things ourselves.
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DanDare2050 wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
Doesn't count. That's like saying that any board game can be played by thousands: 2 people playing and 998 watching. They're different experiences.
They are experiences, nevertheless, that RPGs and boardgames and video games and football and robot wars can provide.
But...so could mowing the lawn or watching paint dry. You could film literally anything and watch it - doesn't mean it makes for a good viewing experience.

Quote:
That's something about the RPG industry generally that sucks, communicating and expectations.
Now that's something I resoundingly agree with! Also very bad about communicating rules and how to play the game.

Dutys_Fist wrote:
Oh, sure. I agree. But funnily enough, I think you also see people who want things that don't work in RPGs to be present in RPGs. Like, for instance, the ever-wanted "crafting system". It's totally needless, but people still pine for it.
I admit I'm not sure what a crafting system is, but is there any reason it wouldn't work in an RPG? If one can make a fun game about crafting, why couldn't one make a fun RPG about crafting?

Dutys_Fist wrote:
So, actually, what I think I actually wanted to discuss is that there's this pervasive attitude that "there's no wrong way to play an RPG". But I think there are. For instance, railroading is a silly and way to play an RPG. I guess fundamentally, it's that if you aren't leveraging the fact that RPGs provide total unconstrained decisionmaking, then you'd probably have a better time engaging in a different activity.
"Railroading" is a poorly defined concept that many people interpret in different ways. To me, "railroading" is when a player wants to have their character do something that would be plausible and reasonable for the character and genre, but the GM doesn't allow it. And I would agree that is a bad event - but that's not really so much a "way to play" as just bad GMing.

But to some people railroading is any restriction on the characters at all. If you sit down to play a super-hero game, and the GM presents them a villain with a nefarious plan, some players may would consider it railroading that their character's are supposed to go stop the nefarious plan, while I wouldn't consider that railroading at all.

Regardless, as pertains to your "then you'd probably have a better time engaging in a different activity.", this makes the assumption that there's some other activity that better captures what you want do, railroad or not. If the main thing you want to do is roleplay; get into a character, talk in character, make decisions as that character would, what would you suggest as an alternative? I don't know anything else that would work better.
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StormKnight wrote:
Dutys_Fist wrote:
So, actually, what I think I actually wanted to discuss is that there's this pervasive attitude that "there's no wrong way to play an RPG". But I think there are. For instance, railroading is a silly and way to play an RPG. I guess fundamentally, it's that if you aren't leveraging the fact that RPGs provide total unconstrained decisionmaking, then you'd probably have a better time engaging in a different activity.
"Railroading" is a poorly defined concept that many people interpret in different ways. To me, "railroading" is when a player wants to have their character do something that would be plausible and reasonable for the character and genre, but the GM doesn't allow it. And I would agree that is a bad event - but that's not really so much a "way to play" as just bad GMing.

I propose Messersmith's Corollary to Godwin's Law.

Messersmith's Corollary to Godwin's Law

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