thread: 2011-09-08 : Trad vs Indie: FIGHT! pt2

On 2011-09-30, Vincent wrote:

Not very! I bet you understand the story in the OP better now that I've made my comment #61.

The other thing to plan is the bounds on how encounters and scenarios become outcomes. The purpose of the game's rules, here, is to make sure that the questions and their answers are both fit, right? So your rules for creating encounters and scenarios have to make sure that they raise fit questions, and your rules for resolving them have to make sure that they become fit answers.

So check this out. Tactical D&D's rules for creating encounters - its monster manual, essentially - are all tactical. The question tactical D&D raises isn't "will the willow tree swallow Merry and Pippin to death," it's "can it?"

Then, its resolution rules aren't dramatic or thematic either, they're all tactical too. The Lord of the Rings gives us answers like "no, it won't, for there are ancient, wild forces in the earth that care for the helpless" and "no, it won't, because your friends are there when you need their help." But D&D just gives us answers like "sometimes it can, sometimes it can't. Husband your hit points and good luck!"

This is the dissatisfaction that you describe in your comment #51, right? People who want something a bit like Lord of the Rings don't get it from D&D, because all D&D knows how to do is count your resources, calculate your advantages, and see who would win in a fight.

So to make don't-plan-outcomes play that's nevertheless more like Lord of the Rings, you need to set your game up so that its resolution rules are savvy about the kinds of questions you're really asking, so that they help provide the kinds of answers you're really asking for.

Make sense so far?

The next step is to talk about those questions and their possible answers in more detail, I think. Are you still interested?


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