Game Design Sins

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Baulderstone

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To bring in a new problem, game designers need to be careful about falling so in love with a clever mechanic that they overuse it. The usage die is a good example of that. In general, I like it. It's a cool mechanic for dealing with a spendable resource when you aren't entirely sure how long it will last. It works great for charges on magic items, to give an example.

The problem is when The Black Hack tries to stuff it everywhere, like using it to track things like arrows. There is the obvious issue that an archer looks foolish when they don't know how many arrows they have, but it doesn't even make any sense as good game design either.

The classic way to track arrows is just to right the number of arrows you have. As you use arrows, make hash marks next to the number. When your hash marks equal the number, you are out of arrows. It's easy and accurate.

If you use a usage die, you need to add an additional die roll to combat, slowing it down, and you still need to track the current size of the usage die on your sheet, so it isn't even like it's keeping you from record keeping. And it doesn't work as well anyway.

It's a great mechanic when used appropriately, but stop trying to shove it in everywhere.
 

Nobby-W

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Another sin is overdoing mid-level world building. It's possible to be very self-indulgent in this regard, and I have come to look a bit sideways at settings with a load of lore that sits at a level divorced from play. I think that mid-level lore of that sort serves more as a vehicle for gatekeeping and encourages online wittering about its minutae amongst true fans, q.v. Tekumel, Glorantha, Star Wars, Star Trek etc.. In a lot of ways I think it's better to let the true fans speculate and fill in the gaps with their own fanon.
 

Nobby-W

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I really like FATE but hell yeah... And not only weird jargon but the way the rules are explained is really poor.

The funny thing is once you get your head around them it's dead easy, but there is a barrier to learning the actual system.

Yes. I think FATE's biggest sins are how badly the explain the rules and their use of needless FATE-specific jargon. FATE is a pretty decent system in practice. Really it should come with a warning along the lines of 'Trouble Aspects: Impenetrable jargon and annoying fanboys'
 

VisionStorm

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The GM has to perfectly balance three personalities: Antagonist, Ally, and Arbiter.
If you don't act as a true Antagonist, NPC opponents tend to be caricatured or woefully incompetent.
If you don't act as Ally, NPCs allies cannot establish trust when necessary.
If you don't act as Arbiter, your players cannot rely on you to interpret the rules consistently and thoughtfully.

My belief is you need to invest fully in each of these aspects to get the most out of sessions.

Antagonist tends to be the aspect I suck at the most. I tend to be too fair minded, plus too preoccupied with managing the players plus all the enemies and any allied NPCs to remember to play to the enemy's strengths or have them pull off clever strategies unless a player does something so stupid that they walk right into it.

Arbiter is probably my main focus, though. I try to interpret the rules consistently as possible all the time and to go with what "makes sense" in the situation. If it makes sense for enemy reinforcements to arrive they arrive—I don't need any metacurrency or even random rolls to tell me I'm allowed to do that. If there's supposed to be other enemies in the area and enough time has passed for more to arrive and notice a battle is going on, they show up—screw Doom points or dice rolls. If there's no more enemies around or PCs have already slaughtered everything else none will show up, though.
 

Silverlion

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I like Fate, but I like the simplest version (Fate Accelerated) and fewest stunts/aspects you can do for the genre and do it well. But, it all of Fate can indeed be every obtuse. Sighs. It's like there are elements of a great game there, but in trying for clarity it went backwards.
 

Shipyard Locked

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I've never seen those ads, they certainly would tugged at my imagination!
I suppose I'm odd... being the sort who watches James Bond movies and feels bad for the nameless mooks who get mowed down unceremoniously. I always wonder about their childhoods... did they want to grow up to be minions of a supervillain? Will there be anyone who cares that they died?
It's one of the things I loved about the No One Lives Forever games... you could sneak up and listen to the conversations between evil minions... usually about what they were planning for their day off, complaining about the commissary at the secret lair, or other mundane stuff.

You're not that odd, I've been having those thoughts a lot lately too. As a matter of fact, I'm playing my way through Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory right now specifically because I was informed I could do a no-kill run (except for a very few required assassinations). That game also does a good job of building empathy and a sense of common humanity for the various mooks between you and your objectives. You generally feel better for sparing their lives.
 

xanther

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I hate "One Spell with a Hundred Different Skins" with fury of a thousand thousand suns.

Mein Gott in Himmel, is there a better way to suck all soul out of a game than generic magic? No, no there really isn't.

Magic is is one of, if not the primary defining element of Fantasy, and you're going to have every single magician from a High Thaumaturgist to The Speaker in Dreams to the Arch-Clerist of Ghyala cast Magic Missile? Why even have a setting at that point?
I call that a distinction between rules and setting. The referee facing stuff can be (and I think should) be minimalist and a base spell. Then the skins and differences between them can be defined by setting and that is what the players see. Sure provide a setting book with it pre-done but would still prefer the base design be given as one persons "cool" take on magic can be "lame nonsense" to someone else.

That is with respect to mechanics of spells, which I do think is good design. If each spell is designed uniquely and just pulled out of a hat you run the risk of having certain spells that just far outclass all others of its level. A design map or philosophy helps you avoid that.

Now to "High Thaumaturgist to The Speaker in Dreams to the Arch-Clerist of Ghyala cast Magic Missile", a generic magic system wouldn't require that every caster get every spell, perhaps Magic Missile is not available to The Anti-Clerist. Nor does having a generic base spell with base mechanics prevent you from having variations that are succinctly described in the base spell or the character "class" Like for the High Fire Mages of Xenqua fire magic spells do extra damage and cost less but they can never use water magic or benefit from water magic and suffer extra damage if attacked by water magic, or if the Life Givers of The Upper Vale use any magic that inflects harm they too suffer one point of damage...

Personally I don't need the rules themselves to have evocative descriptions for the spells or different versions for me to feel the magic. My own imagination can do that just fine...I'm a die hard spell caster player, will almost always make that character choice. Me and my friends who are also die hard spell caster players look for other things in a magic system. Perhaps variations from the base depending on which magic road you follow, but usually more flexibility on how the magic unfolds (e.g. can adjust range, area, number of targets, etc.) and a system not exclusively focused on attack, buffs or healing. Two of the biggest areas for me are divination and illusion magic, getting those just right as to not be overpowered or near useless is a rare thing.
 

xanther

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This actually speaks directly to my post above. Why not just have one damaging spell that scales with 'spend' (whatever that is) and that can have environmental riders like AoE and damage type added to it? I'm sure I don't know and neither do those designers.
How did you hack my computer? :smile: Spell effects that vary with "spend" is the cornerstone of my own approach. Suspect it is not unique but was verbotten spell point design when started it in '79. Damage, range, area of effect, duration, saving throw modifications, etc. can all be tied to spend (best to have a base default effect) or in more evocative terms the amount of energy the caster channels through themselves and how much energy they are willing to use to do so and thus deplete their very magical essence.
 

xanther

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That would be far more simple, streamlined and consistent than having hundreds of variants of every spell type to cover every eventuality. Just define the core effects, then whatever you pile on top of it adds to the effect's cost when casting. Range/AoE, Duration, plus additional details, like whether the AoE is Discreet (friend or foe only), or has extra effects (like Damage+Knock Down, or Damage+Blinded), etc. Then each stuff adds a set amount to the spell's cost, and damage always inflicts X per level, or Y per level if it's damage over time, etc.

But the way games like D&D handle it you have hundreds of spells, with inconsistent characteristics and little balance between each other arbitrarily assigned to different spell levels. So that you end up with some spells that are more powerful or useful in the same level, or even more powerful than higher level spells (one of the reasons everyone remembers Fireball in D&D; it's better than anything else), and everything is so inconsistent you have to check the book every time you're going to use something that isn't Fireball (or any of the tiny handful of spells everyone uses all the time) to see how it works.
This
 

xanther

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My principal criticism of 5e is the proliferation of specific, named effects, and rules for spells and the like that interlock with those effects. It tends to encourage rules lawyering. I get that this is sort of by design for certain demographics of the D&D fan base, but you wind up with a 300 page player's handbook and endless looking up the specifics of spell effects.
Not just spells, but races, classes, and feats. And that is just the basic level not all the sub-races, etc. It also tends to encourage and greatly reward min-maxing.

I really don't think this aspect of 5e (or 3e after a time or 4e) has anything to do with game design. It's all marketing (players like options!) and money making....spend money get a spalt book with a power increase and force your DM to use it. In that sense, it is not a design sin but design genius.
 

Simlasa

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As a matter of fact, I'm playing my way through Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory right now specifically because I was informed I could do a no-kill run (except for a very few required assassinations).
The (mostly) no-kill option is something I appreciated in the original Deus Ex. I generally found it more challenging/interesting/satisfying to take that approach.
 

sharps54

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To bring in a new problem, game designers need to be careful about falling so in love with a clever mechanic that they overuse it. The usage die is a good example of that. In general, I like it. It's a cool mechanic for dealing with a spendable resource when you aren't entirely sure how long it will last. It works great for charges on magic items, to give an example.

The problem is when The Black Hack tries to stuff it everywhere, like using it to track things like arrows. There is the obvious issue that an archer looks foolish when they don't know how many arrows they have, but it doesn't even make any sense as good game design either.

The classic way to track arrows is just to right the number of arrows you have. As you use arrows, make hash marks next to the number. When your hash marks equal the number, you are out of arrows. It's easy and accurate.

If you use a usage die, you need to add an additional die roll to combat, slowing it down, and you still need to track the current size of the usage die on your sheet, so it isn't even like it's keeping you from record keeping. And it doesn't work as well anyway.

It's a great mechanic when used appropriately, but stop trying to shove it in everywhere.
I don’t disagree that the usage die is a clumsy way to track arrows but you don’t roll it during combat in The Black Hack, the rules specifically say you roll after combat is resolved.
(Edit to add that I am referencing the second edition)
 
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Sharrow

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For all that I prefer generic spells, I will always hold that D&D's inconsistent mishmash always feels more like magic should.
It certainly feels like the body of knowledge that a bunch of mages would have available in a setting where magic isn't fully understood, half the spells are inherited from/dug up from the ruins of civilisations past, and most mages won't share any really interesting spells so nobody really has a chance to line up all known magic and work on any sort of Theory of Magic.

It also captures the arbitrary nature of magic in a lot of fiction (especially pre-D&D fiction), and it has flavour and what I call 'texture', where things that are in many ways similar (in role, power, etc.) have meaningful differences due to mechanical variations (like some spells having no saves and others of the same general power having saves but more base damage, for example).
 

Sharrow

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My principal criticism of 5e is the proliferation of specific, named effects, and rules for spells and the like that interlock with those effects. It tends to encourage rules lawyering. I get that this is sort of by design for certain demographics of the D&D fan base, but you wind up with a 300 page player's handbook and endless looking up the specifics of spell effects.
And it's not as bad for this as D&D3.5!

This 'exception-based' design is in some ways a work of genius - it makes for a simple core that's easy to explain and learn, that you can hang a couple of interesting exceptions off for starting characters, and then work up into more and more complexity as characters advance.

It's also a pain in the arse, as it makes playing and GMing such a game difficult if you want to start out further down the intended progression/learning path. It makes hacking it seem easy (just swap in and out the little modules that give out the exceptions), but in practice it's very difficult because all those little modules interact, and there are so many modules interacting with so many other modules, and in many different ways.

In actual play high level D&D3.x, PF, and D&D5 are more complex than those games of Ancient Days such as Space Opera and Aftermath! that have reputations for incredible complexity. At least those old games were less likely to allow degenerate builds if you hacked a few things (and they were much less concerned about 'balance' anyway). Which is another thing - if you want good, tight, balance in character power and utility, you really shouldn't be writing a game with hundreds of moving parts.
 

Baulderstone

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I don’t disagree that the usage die is a clumsy way to track arrows but you don’t roll it during combat in The Black Hack, the rules specifically say you roll after combat is resolved.
(Edit to add that I am referencing the second edition)
That just makes it even worse from my perspective. Why even track ammo if it can never run out in a dramatic, mid-combat situation?
 

ffilz

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That just makes it even worse from my perspective. Why even track ammo if it can never run out in a dramatic, mid-combat situation?
Agreed. Or know you only have 3 arrows left.

I think the usage die could work ok for torches but I would dislike it for arrows except in a very abstract system where using a bow isn’t a distinct action.
 

DeadBob

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Usage Dice remind me of the old ammo check rules from 1e Necromunda, although that would be after each attack.
 

3rik

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To me the usage die sounds like it would only make sense if you use it to track some kind of resource, rations, fuel or ammo that's not clearly trackable for your character. Otherwise, simply tracking it is about the same amount of work and requires less die rolling.
 

CRKrueger

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I call that a distinction between rules and setting. The referee facing stuff can be (and I think should) be minimalist and a base spell. Then the skins and differences between them can be defined by setting and that is what the players see. Sure provide a setting book with it pre-done but would still prefer the base design be given as one persons "cool" take on magic can be "lame nonsense" to someone else.

That is with respect to mechanics of spells, which I do think is good design. If each spell is designed uniquely and just pulled out of a hat you run the risk of having certain spells that just far outclass all others of its level. A design map or philosophy helps you avoid that.

Now to "High Thaumaturgist to The Speaker in Dreams to the Arch-Clerist of Ghyala cast Magic Missile", a generic magic system wouldn't require that every caster get every spell, perhaps Magic Missile is not available to The Anti-Clerist. Nor does having a generic base spell with base mechanics prevent you from having variations that are succinctly described in the base spell or the character "class" Like for the High Fire Mages of Xenqua fire magic spells do extra damage and cost less but they can never use water magic or benefit from water magic and suffer extra damage if attacked by water magic, or if the Life Givers of The Upper Vale use any magic that inflects harm they too suffer one point of damage...

Personally I don't need the rules themselves to have evocative descriptions for the spells or different versions for me to feel the magic. My own imagination can do that just fine...I'm a die hard spell caster player, will almost always make that character choice. Me and my friends who are also die hard spell caster players look for other things in a magic system. Perhaps variations from the base depending on which magic road you follow, but usually more flexibility on how the magic unfolds (e.g. can adjust range, area, number of targets, etc.) and a system not exclusively focused on attack, buffs or healing. Two of the biggest areas for me are divination and illusion magic, getting those just right as to not be overpowered or near useless is a rare thing.
Heh, your own imagination can do that just fine...to explain an entirely metagame argument on mechanical balance.

There is a distinction between rules and setting...particularly with regards to balance. The Fire Spells of the Fire God don't have to be balanced on a scale by how they cast Water Spells. If the fire spells are pound for pound "better" mechanically, that's balanced by you having to be a worshipper of the Fire God to cast them - no mechanical tradeoffs needed.
 

sharps54

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To me the usage die sounds like it would only make sense if you use it to track some kind of resource, rations, fuel or ammo that's not clearly trackable for your character. Otherwise, simply tracking it is about the same amount of work and requires less die rolling.
I personally like it for tracking variable length effects such as torches, spell length (I like games with unpredictable magic) length of poisons or diseases and things of that nature. It saves the DM from tracking those things and keeps the length a mystery from the players increasing suspense or risk when it gets low.
“How much longer will the web spell hold them?”
 

CRKrueger

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I personally like it for tracking variable length effects such as torches, spell length (I like games with unpredictable magic) length of poisons or diseases and things of that nature. It saves the DM from tracking those things and keeps the length a mystery from the players increasing suspense or risk when it gets low.
“How much longer will the web spell hold them?”
How long between die drops is random, but you know what die it's on. You're never going to match the suspense of the GM keeping track.
 

DeadBob

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To me the usage die sounds like it would only make sense if you use it to track some kind of resource, rations, fuel or ammo that's not clearly trackable for your character. Otherwise, simply tracking it is about the same amount of work and requires less die rolling.
" 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself."

I dunno if I think of usage dice a sin, but just one of several possible design choices that are about equally good at the end of the day.
 

Baulderstone

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I personally like it for tracking variable length effects such as torches, spell length (I like games with unpredictable magic) length of poisons or diseases and things of that nature. It saves the DM from tracking those things and keeps the length a mystery from the players increasing suspense or risk when it gets low.
“How much longer will the web spell hold them?”
It also feels better for magic items with charges. The players know the die type means the user has vague sense of how much magical juice they can squeeze out, but the wand doesn't have an LED display on the side with the charges listed.

" 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself."

I dunno if I think of usage dice a sin, but just one of several possible design choices that are about equally good at the end of the day.
I take your general point, but come on. Callahan knew exactly how many bullets he had left. He was just messing with the guy.
 

Dammit Viktor

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" 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself."

I dunno if I think of usage dice a sin, but just one of several possible design choices that are about equally good at the end of the day.

It meshes well with the ridiculously low rate-of-fire of modern firearms in games with six second (or longer) rounds and a fuzzy connection between "successful attacks" and "injuries". I'm not a well-trained combat or competition shooter, but I can put a controlled triplet in center mass of three targets at close range in under six seconds.

Of course, going by AD&D's (optional-but-not-really) Weapon Proficiency rules, I'm a name-level Fighter and I can guarantee you, my friends, that I am not.
 

Bunch

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It meshes well with the ridiculously low rate-of-fire of modern firearms in games with six second (or longer) rounds and a fuzzy connection between "successful attacks" and "injuries". I'm not a well-trained combat or competition shooter, but I can put a controlled triplet in center mass of three targets at close range in under six seconds.

Of course, going by AD&D's (optional-but-not-really) Weapon Proficiency rules, I'm a name-level Fighter and I can guarantee you, my friends, that I am not.
But can you do it with someone shooting at you?
 

Dammit Viktor

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But can you do it with someone shooting at you?
That's the sort of thing everyone thinks they know the answer until they've actually tried it. I like my odds, but I don't know.

I shoot better than most pogues and police at the range, but I don't know how I'd do in an actual firefight and I'd prefer not to find out.

On the other hand, the people who can outshoot me and have proven it on the battlefield... are still not higher-level than the ttrpg (let's be honest, mostly D&D) characters I'm talking about.
 

opaopajr

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I really like FATE but hell yeah... And not only weird jargon but the way the rules are explained is really poor.

The funny thing is once you get your head around them it's dead easy, but there is a barrier to learning the actual system.

Whenever we ever get someone curious about FATE I recommend Burning Wheel. :evil: Mwa ha ha ha! :devil:
 

David Johansen

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I always recommend Rolemaster!

So, here's an abomination, designed to sell the next edition. The game is set up, with deliberate flaws and weaknesses to correct in supplements and the next edition. In some cases this is somewhat mild, the Mongoose school of editing where you let the fans do it after the book is released. In other cases like Games Workshop's endless codex grind where armies are deliberately and constantly nerfed and buffed to drive sales. But I think pretty much everyone who isn't benefiting from the payouts this creates can agree it's an abomination.

I won't include editing disasters like Traveller the New Era because I don't think they were planning for it to be such a mess but I do think T5 was hella sloppy and got away with reselling the new 5.1 version somehow.
 
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AsenRG

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Or re-naming things which have fairly standard names in the hobby just to be different, when in fact they function the same way as they do in most systems.
Like "katana" for a saber:devil:?

Scaling exp costs. More specifically, scaling exp combined with non scaling character generation costs.

Vampire is a good example. Don't make it so it's far more optimal to min max at character gen then to buy up your stats more evenly as the game progresses.
I like the more modern version when "disadvantages" are "this will grant you a bonus EXP if it both comes up in play and makes your life more difficult".
Meta-currency... for GMs.

Look, a GM's role is very complex. Fun! But very detailed and demanding.

To create a game system in which the GM has to "earn" permission to do their job... I think that's just plain awful now.

I get that people seem to love this in games like Fate Core. And I don't mind it if certain special dice rolls by PLAYERS generate their own narrative triggers (e.g. critical success or failure, complications on success, boons on failure etc...) but having a game shackle the GM's freedom to be creative...

Thanks, I hate it. And I hate that our current community makes modern game designers and players feel that the necessity to implement this trust system.
I think the biggest "Game Design Sin" is a lack of questioning why you are doing what you're doing during the design process, or maybe "making a game, but not designing it." Basically, somebody has a genre or setting idea they love, they take an existing game or game engine, and paint in the numbers. Like a PbtA game that is just AW with new playbooks, or a D&D-like that swaps out a set of classes to become a Noir game or something. Like, you could be in 2004 making a Noir game with giant chapters detailing partial actions and 5 ft. steps & Feat trees for Femme Fatales & Saving Throws. Is that the best way to evoke the vibes you are going for with your setting? Or is it cargo cult design, where you cobble together something in the shape of 5e and hope the money starts flying in?
Don't put something in your flavour text which isn't supported by the character generation or even in the rules.

Don't put something in your art which isn't achievable by the players.

Don't put something on the back cover (or Drivethru description) which is not supported in the game.

Oh....and please stop telling me you have 150 classes and 2000 skills and 1500 spells and 30 martial techniques. Seriously. I'm way too old for that shit. Don't tell me and for your own sake, stop making games like that.

As for my own contribution to this discussion...

Rules crunch hidden in flavour text. Learn from CCGs! Make the rules as clear as possible and entirely distinct from fluff or colourful prose. White Wolf/Onyx Path, I'm looking so fucking hard at you right now!!
Yes, having a thousand and one variations of what's essentially an "Inflicts damage", "heals wounds" or "summons creature" spell, then having to bring the game to a screeching halt to look up the spell description—sifting through literally hundreds of pages and spell entries, just so that you can finally find this spell and figure out the artificial way this one variation differs from all the rest, so you can finally use it and get the game going again.

These. All of these:thumbsup:!

Symmetry is a trap. We love symmetry. It gives things a semblance of order. It is aesthetically pleasing. But when designing mechanics, you I think you need to put that aside. Just because you have rules for critical successes doesn't mean you have to have critical failures. Having Advantages doesn't mean you need corresponding, comparable disadvantages. I am also of the view that NPCs don't need to be built the same as PCs, though I can understand many have more substantial objection about that latter than just mere lack of symmetry.

As we are talking about Disadvantages in systems, I do a lot of hacking with Fudge. One of the default characteristics of Fudge are Gift (advantages) and Flaws. And in the vanilla rules they work much the same and you get more points by taking on more Flaws, as with many other games. I was not happy with that.

After many iterations I've come to a simple solution. In my rules players can choose as many or as few Flaws as they like, even none. You get not points, no extra XP, bribes or cookies for you taking up or playing out your Flaws. Choose a Flaw if you think it is interesting and you want to roleplay it, or don't. And a lot of folk do.
Funny, I thought you're talking about the NPC design. I can actually see better arguments for keeping disadvantages...

But then my first GURPS character had epilepsy in a low-magic setting. Hey, it worked for Alexander the Great:grin:!
And yeah, I was fine with him having a seizure if he failed the IQ/Will roll (GURPS 3e, I don't remember what you were rolling against).

Along the lines of chargen and lethality, the depth of a sub system should be no more than proportional to how much you expect to see it used. No need for 7 charts on detailed wall crawling if the game is about dueling mages.
Funny enough that might well be a sign of the playtesting, with one player having made a mage who had a "Wall Crawl" spell to surprise other mages...:grin:

Ignorance: failure to study and learn from the history and practice of the discipline. Stupidity is defined as the repetition of past failure with the expectation of different results.

Greed: design choices driven by the overweening love of money.

Sloth: failure to playtest and copy-edit to the best professional standards. These standards are well known and easy to understand.
Lust: Trying to write a game in order to get laid. Also see: Stupidity.
You know that game you wrote? With that system? Yep, that's the one.

When you write a scenario to show how it all fits together complete with appropriate pre-gens, would it be possible for you to stick to the system? You know, the system you wrote back there, in the book. That's the one.

And, when you demonstrate the game by running it can you not handwave the rules aside? Yes, it's those rules and system you wrote back there. Yep, in that book (rrp £39.99).

Because otherwise it looks like even you think it's cack.

Thanks.
Huh, I made that same argument to a publisher of gamebooks who told me to "just make it up", in the 90ies, i.e. years before I got to play an RPG...:shock:

Oh yeah, and to piggyback on this theme:

If you are making an RPG about an established IP, don't present the writeups for the main characters as impossible to create using your own character creation rules

Man, you have no idea how much that drives me absolutely batshit. Same with D&D and every. single. NPC. having stat arrays more than double the standard point buy for player characters.
What, you don't like the argument that "you can make a Conan character, you just need straight 18s across the board":skeleton:?

I showed my D&D fanatic GM how Sorcery and Theistic magic work in Mythras (especially regarding recovering power). He loved how that system could reinforce the setting’s ideas on sources of arcane and divine power.

He now wants to run D&D with the Spell points variant and have casters recovering their points through in-character means rather than just automatically every rest.
Next step: show him how Special Effects work...:gunslinger:

That reminds me of the time I told a certain indie game designer I was going to run his game at a con. He said, "Cool; let me know how it actually runs!"

That was a pretty WTF moment for me, and eye-opening too.
Well, to be honest, he might have had in mind "when someone else is running it"...

I mean, Baulderstone Baulderstone put it best when talking about the Frei Kriegspiel: you can give people mechanics, you can't give them life experience (though handling them a GURPS sourcebook and telling them to read just the fluff could make for a decent substitute). So there might well be things that don't work quite well for other GMs and that you can't see yourself.
Alas, not all designers can get other GMs to run their games before publishing them.
I see the logic of what you are saying, but I'd offer a counter argument. It is not a universal rule, but generally games with lighter tone favour lighter systems. Comedy games in particular often have rules-light system and, Paranoia aside, rarely leathal. You don't want to sweat the details, you just want to keep things moving and allow the players to do crazy things.

Where crunchy rules often tend to come into their own is when you want a degree realism. And with more realistic combat comes more realistic consequences, including death or permanent disability.
Indeed.
I've never seen those ads, they certainly would tugged at my imagination!
I suppose I'm odd... being the sort who watches James Bond movies and feels bad for the nameless mooks who get mowed down unceremoniously. I always wonder about their childhoods... did they want to grow up to be minions of a supervillain? Will there be anyone who cares that they died?
It's one of the things I loved about the No One Lives Forever games... you could sneak up and listen to the conversations between evil minions... usually about what they were planning for their day off, complaining about the commissary at the secret lair, or other mundane stuff.
I normally agree, but...
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lol, nothin does a worse job of explaining FATE to players than FATE
True story: I was totally unable to get how Fate works until I read some posts on TBP by a Fate fan.
Make of that what you will...which is to say, as much mockery towards me and vitriol towards Fate...as you'd like!

For all that I prefer generic spells, I will always hold that D&D's inconsistent mishmash always feels more like magic should.
I don't think even Pundit would claim he forgets his spells after casting them...:shade:

Let's agree to have different views on the subject of metacurrency. :thumbsup:
...what's this crazy talk?!?
 
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