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D&D 3E
d20 isn't the only Game 
5th-Mar-2005 03:23 pm
Red Spot
Okay. I know this is a 3rd edition community. I know we are suppose to be propagating D&D 3rd ed, or 3.5 as the case may be.... but I'll be damned if thats the bread and butter of gaming.

Let me start from the beginning. I've been playing D&D since 1993, back in the days of 2nd edition. We were a group of kids at the age of 10. My first character was a dracionian Mage with a domingo familiar (ever play Shining Force 1?). It was fun and as we aged so did our game. The plots became more complex and so did our characters etc. We stuck with D&D because thats what we knew and we enjoyed. When 3rd edition came out we play tested it, and I remeber the first time some goblin charged us in battle and everyone recieving the charge got an attack of oppertunity (yeah...combat relfexes was the shit until we learned better). Good times. Hell even my highest level character was the from the 1st 3rd ed campeign we ran (after a few tests ;)....and that was level 13.

Now. I like D&D. Its a fun system and I enjoy it. I know most of you do too, or else you would be here. But it is also not the end all be all of gaming. I hate, with a bloody passion, the open-gaming license. Now don;'t get me wrong. It has produced some fantastic material, especially by Sword & Socrery and Mongoose publishing. But at the same time it has produced things (some of the times by the same companies ) that are broken, cracked, and just plane stupid. Now any GM worth his weight in dice will deny the cracked stuff, but then there are things like d20 Modern, or BESM d20. Those annoy the hell out of me.

Have you looked at these rediclous systems that are just a hinderance to game play more then anything else. The rules should not be this clunky thing. d20 Modern can easily be replaced by the generic whitewolf system (1.0, but more likely 2.0), or Alternity. One campeign we actually played a fantasy / Sci-fi game (in the same world where we previously played D&D) in the Altetrnity system and it was great! The system only enchanced our game. This could have worked in the shadowrun system as well. But d20 Modern?

A better example. Has anyone here ever played "Call fo Cuthulu"? Its a scary fucking game where all you have to do is survive. The rules for Cuthulu and many deamons "Kills 1d4 PCs a turn". No stats....its just a horrific game where you are trying to survive and stave off insantiy. Cathulu d20..... You can actually try and fight some of the lowest end monsters...... yeah the power gaming system of levels and concepts do not compliment the horrific setting that is Lovecraft.

Whitewolf is another. I could go on and on. On the great ideals of point based over level based systems in chgaracter customization and realism. I mean can a 10th level mage who spent more time in a library then outside take more physical punishment then a military soilder who happens to only be 2nd level? But that too is another rant. Just keep in mind kids that d20 is not the end all be all system of role-playing. If power gaming and gaining levels is your thing, and you have fun like that. Cool beans, and stick with D&D. if your looking for a more simulationist or narritivist style.... one may suiggest switching from D&D to compliment that style.

Peace
Comments 
5th-Mar-2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
Not sure what your complaint is with D20 Modern, it works pretty well and fairly directly addresses your issue with HPs that you mention in your last paragraph (the massive damage thresholds are vastly lower and base of your Con).

On the GNS front, well, duh, Those terms were invented after D&D, with gamist being the term meant specifically to cover D&D and D&D like game systems. So yeah, it inherently isn't going to be as N or S as some other systems straight out of the box.
6th-Mar-2005 08:32 am (UTC)
My complaint is actually more with wizards then anything else. I don't like how alot of ganre's that have been traditionally not D&D are becoming d20, or d20ized. And honestly...I think role-playing as a whole suffers because of it.
6th-Mar-2005 09:27 am (UTC)
Explain.
5th-Mar-2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
When I play any incarnation of d20, I do so with the full knowledge that it isn't realistic. But that's okay - it is not supposed to be realistic. But it is fun, which is the main thing.

When I want to play something approximating realism (and I frequently do), I play GURPS, and I am fairly happy with that, too. It just depends on what I want for a particular campaign...
5th-Mar-2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
Agreed. D20 was never meant to be realistic. It's a game, and a game is supposed to be fun before anything else.
6th-Mar-2005 10:04 am (UTC)
You've just stated the REAL Rule 0! If it's not fun, it's a waste of time.
5th-Mar-2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
And lo a voice from the sky spoke saying "D&D is for munchkins." Seriously though, any game no matter what company developed it or what points you use and how is only as good as the GM who runs it and the PC's who play it. Comparing different systems is a bit like apples and oranges, it really isn't going to make anywhere near the difference that a different GM or PC will make. Different ways of determining your stats is really just icing on the cake that is the story.
6th-Mar-2005 06:26 am (UTC)
totally off-topic, but did you know there is a real liger in existance? There was a thing up outside one of my professor's offices. I was like Holy Crap Napolean Dynamite!
6th-Mar-2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah I did. A liger's father is a lion and the mother is a tiger. Interesting fact: since lions get the gene when to thell them when to stop growing (when they reach adulthood) from their mother and tigers get that same gene from their father, a liger does not stop growing.
7th-Mar-2005 12:45 am (UTC)
oh wow. Thats cool.
6th-Mar-2005 08:36 am (UTC)
it really isn't going to make anywhere near the difference that a different GM or PC will make.

True Dat! but those stats and whatnot can either help the game move along... or as in the case of BESM d20.....there are systems much mucyh better then d20 that would compliment the PCs & GM much better then the d20 version.

But yeah...a bad GM or players will ruin a game, or make a game fantastic regardless of system. Its more about how the system will make that better or worse.
5th-Mar-2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
I agree with the above comments and will add this: Who doesn't customize their game/characters? It's part of the allure of the game. You adjust to the situation and your individual gaming style. As far as the effects they produce, D20 isn't much different from AD&D but D20 makes it more effecient.




Just my two cents.
6th-Mar-2005 08:38 am (UTC)
But does the system advance the idea of character customization? or hinder it. Especially compared to point buy systems. Im not against D&D.... but for some ganres (like Modern day or BESM) it's not ideal

And yeah. the d20 system I mean D&D 3.5 or what have you. And both blow away 2nd edition....as much as I really do miss THACO.
5th-Mar-2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
You can actually try and fight some of the lowest end monsters...... yeah the power gaming system of levels and concepts do not compliment the horrific setting that is Lovecraft.

Your point is fundamentally flawed.

D20/D&D is one of the few game systems that is broad enough to have a real "feel" of reality in the game. A few other games come close--GURPs and Storyteller being two much-argued examples--but D&D's the base that all others are judged against.

If I was the kind of person who scared the bejeezes out of my friends in an RPG session, I think I'd rather start out with a game that they already know, and know well, and just make everything go from there. So, they'd have D&D-like stats, a clear "mere-mortal" power level, and if they happened to fight the Elder Gods, they'd be facing something that even their D&D characters would lose against.

"Cthulu ignores your attack and, btw, you're dead" doesn't bring about a strong reaction in the gamers I know. OTOH, "I roll a 20! I roll 40 damage!" "Cthulu doesn't notice your attack at all; he looks at you, blinks his eye, and you explode for 200 damage" does.

The same "known feel" allows D&D to be used for simulationist games--it's just a lot of work and a very small market to do them in the first place, but they're out there.

And, of course, most of the RPGs that are often touted as better for "narrative feel" or whatever are played just like D&D. Especially Storyteller. (I have *never* seen someone run a stroyteller game that wasn't the same "here's my story, there are your combats" boondoggle that teenage DMs do in D&D.)
7th-Mar-2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah storyteller system is very cinimatic and combat oriented. Not AS much as D&D's dungeon hacking, but its definatly there.

but systems like BESM, or GURPS (I completely forgot this when writing my shpeal) have that feel. Also I just don't like D&D being the only option, because people "feel comfortable with it" maybe for a bunch of newbies to role-playing in general, but once your past that people should vroaden their horizens. Its a big world.... live a little huh ;)
5th-Mar-2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
Why is it that the people I hear complaining about d20 system are the fans of White Wolf and Tri-stat and the people I hear complaining about White Wolf and Tri-Stat are the fans of White Wolf and Tri-stat?
7th-Mar-2005 03:47 pm (UTC)
HAHA! Actually I am a fan od D&D. I have played it and run it much more then Tri-stat and white wolf. I just don't think its for every type of game and ganre, and don't like the idea of it replacing these systems as they too have their niche and fill it well...better then D&D does and would anyway.
7th-Mar-2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's replacing anything, it's just trying to find its space in the same niche.
5th-Mar-2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
I'll admit d20 does seem to be a lot more gentle to PCs than AD&D but honestly I've grown to really love this. I'll admit I wasn't too keen on 3rd Ed. when it first showed up but I really did learn to love it. I no longer feel compelled to have PCs start off with an extra level or two just so that they have more of a fighting chance. Games aren't supposed to be all that realistic, and PCs although typically mere mortals aren't average folk either. They're proto-heroes so they do need to have a fighting chance if this is gonna work. And as for a level 10 mage taking more damage than a level 2 fighter.. of course. Sure the mage was never trained in combat but at level 10 arguably he's seen a lot more combat than our little fighter so by now he probably would be tougher.

I really think your problem isn't with d20 though. Your problem is that so many games now feel compelled to use it. This is pretty understandable, however it's not d20 or the Open Gaming License's fault, it's game devs who might take a system that doesn't work for their setting and uses it anyways out of convinience. In places where d20 is being used well I happen to love it. (Right now I'd kill to find a group to lemme be a PC in a Warcraft RPG compaign! XD) If you're trying to give your PCs an utterly hopeless feel they need to have a system that really is stacked against them. You could still do this by modifying d20 somewhat or you could just layout a new system. Though really if the game was gonna be that tough I'm not so sure I could get into it, and I like Lovecraft. :x
5th-Mar-2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
I wasn't going to reply, but I'd like to add something since I come from the other end.

I grew up roleplaying, not D&D, but MUSHes. They are, in my opinion, the COMPLETE other end of gaming, because there ARE no stats. None. You roleplay in its strictest sense, and it is one massive collaborative story creation. When there is conflict or physical interaction in game - an argument, a joint cooperative physical effort, a physical fight, whatever - you work with the other players out of character, and decide how you all think it will play out. In MUSHes, my characters have competed in Quidditch tournaments, gotten into fist fights and heated arguments and one has even been arrested and been put on trial. And everyone involved has had a great time, with just a little of forethought on how characters will contribute. It requires that players be considerate of other players and their characters, but that makes it a great deal of fun.

That said.....

I started playing D&D two years ago and I love it. I disagree with your statement that the d20 system is shallow and shortsighted. On the contrary, I feel like it has something that the completely statless system is without. It allows players to realistically explore all the conflicts and physical interactions that we otherwise have to 'muddle' through. And though muddling can be fun, I would like to point out that when you get a good group of roleplayers, there are very few stat systems that can ruin it. Just because the d20 system allows us to gain levels and increase our power doesn't mean that the people who play it would rather powergame than roleplay - the friends that I play with is a perfect example.

So, I guess my point is my general philosophy of life - don't judge a book by its cover. It is the players that make the game fun. Not the world. Not the system. Not even the characters or the level of the characters. It's the players. So, who cares what we use? So long as we have fun.
6th-Mar-2005 01:58 am (UTC)
I haven't played D20 cthulhu, I really don't understand why they bothered changing it the original system was easy and fit well. Having said that I think it's excellent for D+D.
The other points people have made about GM/players making the game are also true; but I do get your point-there are other systems that are just as good or better for some purposes.
6th-Mar-2005 04:18 am (UTC) - -1, Troll
First, use a spell-checker next time.

Second, it is self-evident that d20 rules work for certain styles of gaming over others. However (and this is a big however), the ruleset restricts you only as much as you let it.

Third, if you don't like 3.$ ed or d20, no one is forcing you to be in this community. Kindly FOAD rather than wasting my time with your stupid crap.
6th-Mar-2005 08:44 am (UTC) - Re: -1, Troll
  1. Spelling and grammer are irrelivant so long as communication is achieved. besides.... Im tried and no one cares.

  2. Rule 0. This is true. very true, but is it better to have a system ytou need to modify alot to play in, or modify a little

  3. okay....this last thing stuck me. When did I say I don't like 3rd edition? or d20? Although this rant is about that as a whole enjoy D&D, else I wouldn't be a part of this community. However I find problems with people using it in way and methods where another system will problem suit their needs in a better fashion. And if you don't like my crap, no one is forcing you to read it... so bugger off
6th-Mar-2005 08:56 am (UTC)
Ah. Another one who is too lazy to learn the language and states that spelling and grammar are irrelevant. By saying "lazy" I am giving the benefit of the doubt. This statement says to me that you could care less so I am not even going to try to tell you how wrong you are. As it is I am pretty sure you lost at least a few of us because you couldn't care to simply press that spell check button and clean up that post.

Your whole post is a wee bit out of place in a community by and for players of 3rd Edition D&D. You're barking up the wrong tree.

I agree with the original comment in this thread. It looks to me like you are merely trolling.
6th-Mar-2005 10:03 am (UTC)
Ah. Another one who is too lazy to learn the language and states that spelling and grammar are irrelevant. By saying "lazy" I am giving the benefit of the doubt. This statement says to me that you could care less

lol...

To be fair, this post wasn't that bad; it was just above the annoyance threshold for me.
7th-Mar-2005 03:30 pm (UTC)
LOL.... fair enough and too bad :P.
6th-Mar-2005 09:59 am (UTC) - Re: -1, Troll
1. Wrong answer. First, if your post is so full of crappy errors that I have a hard time deciphering your gibberish, I'll simply write you off as a complete and utter moron right then and there (not that your post was that bad, but hey, you got on my nerves). Second, you need to learn how to count.

2. Does it really matter? Play whatever system you like the most and stretch it as needed.

3. Your whole (lame) rant was about things you don't like about d20. If your crap weren't wasting space in a community on my friends list, then I would indeed not be burdened with it. However, you're kind of forcing it on me by posting it in the community, asshole.
6th-Mar-2005 11:30 am (UTC) - Re: -1, Troll
2. Or more importantly, play whatever system your players know, and stretch it as needed. There's no point finding the perfect system for the campaign you want to run if there is going to be a big learning curve at the beginning because all your players know d20. Unless, of course, you plan to buy all the players the necessary books to be able to learn the new system.
6th-Mar-2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Quite true. Tweaking a system is a lot easier than trying to force your players into plunking down $$$ to switch to some unknown new system.
7th-Mar-2005 03:33 pm (UTC) - Re: -1, Troll
Thats a good point. However it goes for the same in terms of d20 modern or BESM d20. Many of which have a new rules or spells and stuff.

Familiar isn't always best. Although i do understand if finaces are involved, getting the new d20 modern book will cost the same as say the Whitewolf mortals book, or BESM d20 will cost more then the BESM core book. etc.
7th-Mar-2005 09:35 pm (UTC) - Re: -1, Troll
I got BESM d20 for $10 new
6th-Mar-2005 08:39 am (UTC)
Wow....so many comments. I started to respond, but I am tried as all hell right now and get to the rest later.

Keep in mind. Im not against D&D, or d20 or what have you. I just don't think that alot of the d20 incarnations are better (in fact i think they are worse) then what they are trying to replace.
6th-Mar-2005 11:27 am (UTC)
Just because this community is about D&D/D20 games, doesn't mean that people here think that D20 is the be all and end all of games. I've played lots of different systems. I've liked, and disliked, lots of different systems. The D20 system is most definitely not the best system I've played, but I've done a helluva lot more "role"playing in D20 than in any White Wolf settings despite the fact that White Wolf is more "role"playing centred. For me, the system doesn't matter as long as the players are all in the same mind as to what they want out of a game.

I created this community, not because of a love of D&D, but because it's what I was playing. I wanted a community where people could discuss D&D - be it questions on rules or ideas for new classes. It wasn't designed to advocate D&D as the best system. But there were no other communities that addressed D&D, and I felt it better to have a community dedicated to the system than having people bug general forums with questions where a lot of the people don't play D&D.

While I think you have valid points, I think your post would have been better suited to a community that is designed to discuss a variety of systems. Rather than posting something that effectively "has a go" at players of D&D who probably know full well the disadvantages and advantages of different systems. Please remember in future posts what this community is for. I don't appreciate trolls, even if they are well-meaning trolls.
6th-Mar-2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
While I disagreed with quite a bit of tomcat5453's opinions, I feel it was appropriate, especially with the subsequent posts about not totally despising d20. What I find inappropriate are the comments that attack a person (this doesn't include you draconid, even thought I'm replying to your post). True, no one is making anyone play d20, but it is also true that no one is making anyone read through the replies or even post a reply. You can usually tell by the first few replies, if not the original post, if you want to continue with the thread.

Now back to the thread itself. As a few have said, I will reiterate that it is the players and the DM that make or break the game. I like d20 and I love the OGL. I also modify the crap out of the rules to suit me and my group. d20/OGL provides me with oodles of material. Yeah, a lot of it is junk and much of it is unbalanced, but some of it is really good, and some of it can be tweaked. d20 gives a lot of people a common "language" to work with. If we all publish material in a similar format, it is easier to "translate" to whatever rules you want to use. Even if you don't use Hit Points, it helps you know that something with 100 is tougher than something with 20.

When I was translating Jorune to d20, I found it frustrating that there was no universal ruleset or standard for a lot of things. A text block might mention how "strong" or "tough" a creature is, but what does that mean when compared to another entry with similar words? The ones that did have it, I was able to translate into the format I wanted. I picked a few baseline creatures (like humans) and figured it out based on the relative differences.

With all d20's rules, books, add-ons, etc. I find myself and my group making things up on the fly. "I don't know, I'd guess you'd make a Dex check to do that." On the flip side, we also ignore a lot of rules if they get in the way of having fun. We might go 3 or 4 sessions without drawing a sword or casting an offensive spell. Now we rarely go more than an hour without rolling the dice for something.

That's another point I'd like to make. (I seem to have a lot of them today.) =) While stat-less systems are creative, sometimes the stats and the dice add a level of realistic randomness. When you were young, did you ever play some game ("cops", "army", etc.) where there was one kid who was always better than everyone else basically because he said so? You draw your "guns", point, and shoot. You're faster, but he says you missed and then he says that his shot hit. Well, the literal d20 doesn't lie. My 16 beats his 3. Similarly, the "betrayal" by the dice can add humor or some unexpected twist to a situation. "Make a Bluff check." "I rolled a 1." "You just said something bad about his mother..." It can go the other way too. "It is physically impossible for you to get through his armor." "Let me roll anyway." "OK." "I rolled a natural 20." "Your first strike bounces off his shield with a clang. As he throws wide your sword, you notice a small gap right below his helmet. You thrust the dagger in your other hand right into his throat..."
6th-Mar-2005 06:10 pm (UTC)
The issue is not about reading an entire thread. It's about the post being on a friends page. People signed up to a D&D community, not a community for rants about percieved d20 problems. That should be respected.
7th-Mar-2005 03:40 pm (UTC) - many points.... still tired......try to respond.
I wouldn't go so far as stat-less systems, but definatly point based systems are far more custimizable and realistic in terms of definning a character.

Also things like "A bluff check" also detract from the role-play. (which is odd, because it is ofthen that your character is more or less convincing then you are). Like you roll the bluff check then role-play the situation based on that check. That irks me as something that ditracts from the whole concept of role-playing and turns it into roll-playing.

However I do like thre dice rolls in there. It adds luck and the ever present randomizing factor to the game; which is about as real as life. Your states make this easier or harder. There needs to be a balance of IC and OOC skills of role and roll playing. Personally i prefer the former over the latter, but thats just me. Someone may want to handle the guard witha diplomacy check, while others may want to go through it role-playing.
7th-Mar-2005 01:27 am (UTC)
I think it'd be silly to deny the existence of other systems. I know that my original system of choice was GURPS, though that was because GURPS was really the system that my first RP-oriented friend put me through. I've gotten into DnD 3.5 because another bunch of my friends play it and I was interested in playing with them.

I just wish I had enough experience with both to weigh pros/cons, but either way I have found both fun to play, so...
7th-Mar-2005 03:29 pm (UTC)
I, for one, enjoy seeing the status quo challenged, especially when it's a status quo to which I belong. D&D isn't sacred, and to criticize it isn't blasphemy. I'd much rather be part of a community where there was a lively discussion about something rather than people who hold contrary opinions being afraid to voice them.

That said, I've been playing D&D snce about 1980. Yes, 1980. D&D was the first, and when the designed made D&D3e, they made it fairly faithful to the original, with the concept of classes, levels and hit points increasing as your levels increase. Yes, it's a game and should be fun first and formost, but some realism helps ground it in the real world (which is the reason I don't like superheros, but that's another story). Other systems have come and gone that have been more realistic, insofar as an experienced character can still be felled by a dagger in the throat. (Such as DragonQuest) The idea being, even someone like Gen. George Patton, a very experienced warrior, would still die from a single bullet as easily as a buck private. Oringially, the concept was that hit point didn't represent just injuries, but was also general fatigue, etc., that comes from a lengthy battle. Melee rounds in 1st ed. were one minute, and it was assumed that there was much clanking of swords in addition to actual attacks that were rolled for.

So, D&D is like the Beatles: not necessarily the best, but definitely the first, and has influenced everyone that has come after, directly or indirectly.

Oh yeah, why does the_elephant have to be such a dick?
7th-Mar-2005 08:22 pm (UTC) - Ditto on the elephant
I started in 80 or 81. Our main thrust was to have fun. Messing with the rules to suit the group was a given. My first character was not allowable under 1ed AD&D rules; but my Dwarven Cleric had a good if short life, and we all enjoyed it. Tinkering with rules is a staple of the game for most gamers and it is the fuel that makes all the other games out there. Tinker on.
7th-Mar-2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
Please put posts this long behind a cut.
7th-Mar-2005 03:41 pm (UTC)
How about I put everything beyond the 1st paragraph behind the cut.
7th-Mar-2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
Hilarious.
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