The Lemon LeCroix of Mythras
- May 15, 2017
- Reaction score
Hmm.On another forum I posted something about that tried to outline some preliminary thoughts I've had about what 'crunch' actually does from a design standpoint, and this seems like the right thread to drop it into. So without further blather...
I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between crunch and how players represent their characters (as well as what crunch actually means in terms of design goals and resolution). In the TTRPG sphere we have character sheets running from index card-sized to sheets that are four or more pages long. If we want to parse what 'crunch' means in terms of characters we have two main axis - first we have what I'll call breadth, which appears as long lists of skills, spells, gear, or whatever - but in all cases the (I'll assume) goal is to institute a certain level of coverage in terms of what the character can do mechanically speaking. The premise there is that increased crunch, so more skills or whatever, has the specific (but not solitary) goal of making more granular the number of mechanical button the player can press to alter the game state. In terms of modern of Sci-Fi settings this makes a lot of sense, so don't take this as a criticism.
The second axis is depth, which I'll identify as specific mechanics and subsytems designed to model/represent/handle/whatever certain specific actions. The low hanging fruit here is combat, which often gets far more mechanical attention than other things. To take Mythras for example, you have a bunch of special actions designed to make combat more granular and controllable for the player. Some might blanche at my assertion that granular equals player control, but I think it is a supportable position. If we take some thing like Free Kriegspiel as one end of the TTRPG spectrum, and with something in a crunch-drenched BRP game at the other end, I think this idea becomes pretty uncontroversial. The more skills, the more mechanics, the more specific buttons a payer can push to effect diegetic change the more specific control the player has. Why more specific control? Because that granularity takes some parts of the adjudication process out of the hands of the GM. A specific example might be the notional difference between adjudicating a roll vs a generic 'knowledge' skill in some sort of OSR game versus the cornucopia of academic skills present in a game like CoC. In the first instance the GM has rather a lot of latitude about what the PC might or might not know, but which becomes more fixed as the range of skills gets more and more specific. This isn't a value judgment, nor even something I'm completely sure of, but it makes enough sense for me to toss it out here and let people pull at the flaky bits.
I have more to say, but I suspect I'll start to ramble, so I'll stop here and let people stress test the idea above (if they feel like it).
Well, Destined as a game is highly focused on the meta of simulating the genre of Superhero Comics. But, the Lucky power does state it can be the character subtly editing reality, it doesn’t have to be player using the power in a 3rd person way with the character just knowing they’re Lucky as hell.depends on which one you are playing I'm playing in a Destined game with a Lucky character, and it is remarkably similar. Specifically, adding a detail to a scene comes up all the time.
The example of the character sheet was just that, an example. The idea of breadth is, to me, pretty evident in the main rules of a game as well. It's what describes the sheer weight of lists and subsystems a game contains. For me, the existence of lists (skills, gear, slepps, whatever) past a certain point is 'crunch'. To address your specific point from above, I would agree that the mere existence of long lists does not always mean the presence also of mechanical (or susbsystem) crunch. However, I find both contribute to crunch and do often appear in the same game. The 'crunch' of breadth comes more from first, the need by players and GMs to memorize long lists of information, and second, from the related need to flip through rule books on a regular basis because you don't remember how a taser works, or whatever. That's not my whole chocolate box of reasoning, but it's the broad strokes.i agree with the depth part, not so much the breadth. How many stats/skills whatever make up a character sheet may likely indicate the degree of crunch in a system, but not necessarily. If you have a laundry list of skills that all work the exact same way, that is less crunchy than a game with only a handfull of skills, but each is it's own subsystem. Crunch comes down to how much a player has to engage with the system during play, the way a system divides up/categorizes definitions of characters is completely surface-level.
Constraint there is not to be taken too far. What I was getting at is that with loads of specific skills comes slightly less wiggle room for adjudication. For one, there is far less room to decide that one skill 'counts as' for a given action - the whole point of highly detailed skill lists is obviate that idea. The way in which that gives a certain amount of agency back to the players is that they have a very detailed picture of exactly which skills they have and are less likely to need to want to creatively colour outside the box (not a bad thing). When the relationship between skill and action is specific there's less chance for the GM to simply decide that won't work, or even to creatively make it work, but leaves the job more as a deciding about modifiers sort of thing.Hmm.
I think the dichotomy needs work. Taking adjudication from the referee and defining things in the system to a degree aids GMs as it simply becomes rules of the game. Also, if defined mechanics reduces GM Fiat, I’m not sure that places the power in the hands of the players. I’ll grant you, one of the paths of design certainly is “constrain the GM through rules” however, I don’t know about that becoming a blanket “rules constrain the GM”.
Obviously, I see a crucial defining difference in choices possibly made by the character and ones solely made by the player.
You’ve read the samurai duel online?So on a completely different note, I have a request for all the Mythras enthusiasts here. I am tinkering on a roll under d20 version of Mythras combat, just to see what might be made of it. Sadly, my experience with actual Mythras play is pretty limited and I've found that reading a game and knowing the rules is often a different thing than playing it extensively. So, if anyone wanted to post some of their thoughts on Mythras combat in play I'd love to read them.
I would say the big thing for new players is that special effects easily lead to analysis paralysis. There are quite a few, and knowing the best in a situation can be hard. I like to recommend a simplified list of special effects for a player who is new. Pick something likeYup (once anyway), and I have played some, but not enough to have deep insight into the differences between rules in print and in practice. Well, not that they are different, just about the realities of the game in actual play.
There are a lot of factors, but in white room one on one combats it’s a huge factor. In group battles, it’s less of one. It’s less of one between 3 and 4 action points (if you are playing classic fantasy or an elf) than it is between 2 and 3. I recommend fixed action points out of the gate. I love calculated action points, but it requires real system mastery and a good tactical head to overcome 2 vs 3 action points.One issue I'd like to hear people's thoughts on is Action Points. Reading the rules it seems like having additional action points is a huge difference maker, but whether that's completely borne out in play I'm not sure.
Leading Edge published spiral bound RPG books, granted it’s been a couple years since they have been in business…The only RPG books I have in this format are pdf's I have had printed myself at local print shops. It's more common in wargame rulebooks, in my experience.
You can get spiral-bound books from Lulu (I've got a BFRPG version), but I haven't seen any "normal" hole-punched books yet (like HarnMaster or AD&D 2E had). Way back when I worked in Print on Demand, I saw a lot of textbooks done that way, and it's easier to integrate in the process than hardcover.
This has never bothered me, although now you mention it I can see what you mean. I suppose most of my books printed this way happen to be fat enough relative to the width of ring binding for it not to be an issue.While ring-bound books are very practical in use they don't fit neatly side by side on a bookshelf.
As an old wargamer, I like ring-bound books that lie open easily!
If wind up using a new system for a campaign, I will go through the PDFs and compile a set of digest sized references to put into a mini binder which I use during sessions. Sometime it amount to a new layout of an existing chapter. A benefit of this is that doing things this way allows me to learn a new system fact AND gets me a useful play reference in the end. So a two for one deal.
Yea, it's been down since yesterday. Questions have been asked on the Facebook groups but as of yesterday I didn't notice any response from a Chaosium person. Time to look closer...anyone else having problems getting into basicroleplaying.org? it's been down for several days.
if you aren't using any of their words and you don't care about branding, I believe the last option there is a good choice. no copyright issues, no licensing issues.There are a lot of versions of the D100 system out there. Let's say you had some adventures or similar material with a broadly-historical setting that you wanted to work up in proper form and make available on Drivethru, probably for free. Which version of D100 would you choose? I realize the answer could simply depend on your favorite iteration of the system, but I'm actually more interested in which version makes it easiest for a fan production to say 'this is compatible with/based on system X' without jumping through a lot of hoops. Or would it be better just to claim the material was usable with 'the D100 system of your choice' or something like that (as OSR adventures sometimes do with D&D)?
I think it just comes down to the stat block format. I’m imagining that BRP with the hit location options turned on might work best.There are a lot of versions of the D100 system out there. Let's say you had some adventures or similar material with a broadly-historical setting that you wanted to work up in proper form and make available on Drivethru, probably for free. Which version of D100 would you choose? I realize the answer could simply depend on your favorite iteration of the system, but I'm actually more interested in which version makes it easiest for a fan production to say 'this is compatible with/based on system X' without jumping through a lot of hoops. Or would it be better just to claim the material was usable with 'the D100 system of your choice' or something like that (as OSR adventures sometimes do with D&D)?