Recently, I was kicking around the web looking at things written about
No, I didn't find it surprising that anyone should happen to not like
But I did find it odd that Mark Hughes would go to such lengths to trash
A reader who knows the rules of
Now, while I grant the truth of the statements pointing out possible potential problems, and agree such things ought to be better explained, I whole heartedly disagree they can't possibly be explain or justified - as most of his contributors say - simply because some fools didn't bother to try - and I say fools, no matter what degree or title they may wish to lay claim to. Also, I agree some attempts at justifying some of these rules are indeed lacking - even some offered in the book - but those suggestions are not to be confused with 'rules.' Again, this doesn't mean a consistent justification can't be found, but only the one offered is somehow lacking.
And it is probably true many of these problems arise due to attempts at game balance. Unfortunately, if we wish to play different roles with actual differences and characters with different abilities, this is bound to happen - especially in a game with many such choices, while less frequently in a game with fewer choices. So no argument against the need for game balance will be accepted. We need game balance, lest too many players gravitate toward the same choices and nearly identical roles. Thus, we must find a way to justify the rules we make to acquire this balance, and that is not always easy.
The simple fact of the matter is this. It's a fantasy setting, and therefore, the underlying rules of the universe are a bit more flexible and malleable than some would have you believe. For example, if magic appears to work differently for one race than it does for another, there is nothing in the actual rules that says all magic works the same way for everybody. In fact, the rules imply, obviously, that there are differences.
Now one would be free to invent possible reasons why this may be so - just like any scientist might try to explain any empirical data, rather than ignore the data in favor of what they already believe or want to be true. Instead, the contributors disputed the data on its face and did not look for reasons, or try to invent them, despite having incredible freedom to do so. That's fine, too. It actually takes more brains and imagination to see possible solutions to some of these potential problems, and if one is lacking in these departments and just falls short of having actual creativity, then naturally they may wish to a play a different game where they are not expected to have these qualities, and that's fine.
However, as an experienced gamer, I've yet to see any system of fantasy that doesn't require tweaking or adjustment, or see any system that absolutely personifies realism so clear that there is little doubt to its unwavering consistency. In short, any system can be torn apart if one is allowed to make stupid assumptions and bad conclusions about what the rules say, and then attack them such that one's own stupid assumptions are proven inadequate. You just have to think of better reasons - that's all. This would be like saying no building plans are good if you can find any ground where the building will collapse should you build it on that ground. The problem doesn't lay with the plans - (the rules) - but the ground where you build the building - (the assumptions). In this case, the foolish assumptions they make about the rules, and the arguments they subsequently build on them, can't help but fall apart. However, contrary to what they would have you believe, the fault doesn't lay in the rules, necessarily, but most often can be traced directly back to some erroneous assumption of their part.
I'm a fair and honest critic, and as I combed over Mark's page, there wasn't a single problem any of his contributors brought up that I couldn't answer. I agree, many of their points do need to be addressed, but that's completely different from saying they can't be addressed.
And, quite honestly, even if Mark could come up with an instance in the rules for which I had to agree I could see no solution - which he didn't - I would simply alter that bad rule. His solution, sadly, is to scrap the entire game, which is a poor solution unless you have an alternative system that is free of any imperfections or inconsistencies. For myself, I suspect this is an impossibility if one wants to deal with fantasy - let alone a realistic simulation upon which even the experts all agree, and that never happens, either.
In short, if we want to play a fantasy game, there are bound to be problems and inconsistencies or anomalies, but turning your back on them is not the solution since no other systems out there are free of these problems - despite what Hughes may claim - and thus, though it is not perfect,
But mostly, I was also disturbed to see Hughes's insistence anyone who likes or defends
If you or others prefer other games, I think that's fine and encourage you to play them. Mark, however, seems unable to live with the fact some are still having great fun with
But why does his page bother me? Well, mostly it's because what he says about the rules is not true, even remotely in some cases, and I find it offensive that anyone would willingly publish lies. And make no mistake, for they are deliberate lies since he has been told where and how what he says is untrue. He simply does not seem to care, and continues to ask for nothing but contributions that belittle the
Yet since the author of that page did invite comments and submissions for his page, I wrote to him about it. I wanted to know why he did it or felt compelled to do it. A few letters back and forth quickly degraded into, well, let us say something less than an exchange of ideas so much as an exchange of insults.
Despite his claims of being open mined and looking for honest contributions for his page, it seems he was only looking for other people to help slam a great system like
As a great man once said: "The very powerful and the very stupid do have one thing in common; they don't alter their views to fit the facts so much as they try to alter the facts to fit their views." (And I must confess, Mark there doesn't strike me as a very powerful person, therefore . . .)
As such, I wasn't particularly surprised when he refused to include my examples, or counter arguments, or answers to 100% of the arguments on his page, but only that he wanted to post silly points of view about
In any event, he refused to put another contrary point of view out there, even though he claimed to want one - seems he was lying, but he did that a lot, as it turned out.
So, since I had it handy and I thought it might be interesting, I decided to put a very edited version - I'll admit editing it, though mostly for space rather than content - out here so others might see it. Below, please find the exchange. It may be gritty and a bit real and I do probably cross the line I'd normally not in a debate, for example, but this was hardly that, even from the start. Yet it is what it is. It contains his Webpage's postings, my responses, his answers, and my responses to those, though they are arranged differently for greater clarity, and it ends there since he refused to keep up his end of the 'Fair Exchange' and I told him I wouldn't read any subsequent letters of his unless he first fulfilled his promise of a fair exchange and published my letters to his page - the counter point view which HE asked for, but apparently didn't REALLY want. Since the publication of a counter POV wasn't forth coming, I deleted his last letter without reading it, and that should be the end of it.
I have no desire to belittle the actual man himself, no matter how much he may deserve it - hence his name and URLs are omitted - but I did keep the exchange between us virtually intact so you could read it if you wish to do so.
NOTE: Since I first wrote this, Mark himself has placed a link from his page to my page, so one may now see his name and/or visit his site if they wish. Also, he has added other articles, but they, too, are rife with erroneous assumptions about the rules - which they then attack - rather than addressing the rules themselves.
Mark Hughes' Irrational Point Of View (The most willing and deliberate blindness toward the game I have ever seen published on the web).
I think this man's narrow POV might be indicative of why some other people don't like
Also, some may dislike
My letters and comments will be in BOLD face, while his are in plain text. So, without further comment on the upcoming event, let's proceed to the exchange.
I am sending this letter to this address rather than the complaint address since I would like to contribute - just not in the way you may have expected. Please post it, if you dare, but if you do not wish to do so, please do not write back to me either since it is plain you are not interested in a fair exchange.
Manifesto: So why do we do this? Why do we tell
I have no doubt that
Fantasy gaming will always fall short of reality, and any system that doesn't take into account the MILLIONS of little variables that go into EVERY encounter fails to live up to some high standard, but that is hardly the point. We accept these shortcomings in any game in the name of simplicity and ease, but if you can't do that - if you are unwilling or unable to do that - then no system will be good enough. Sure, you may have other systems you like better, but as
It is, however, always possible to organize your own game, find your own players, teach them the rules, give them characters - probably pre-made to start with, for many such skill based systems are too complex to learn all those overlapping skills in a short time - and you'll run the game yourself rather than play it. But if you want to find and PLAY in a game rather than run it, forget it. The order of probability is rather low for that - for now.
Also your premise that your game system is 'more fun' is not a fact, as you seem to think, but a highly subjective opinion. Going out of your way to claim
The point is simply having your own preferences in no way makes them superior to other people's preferences. We want, from our games, what we like. Obviously,
I have noticed your own criticism often looked to tear apart stupid explanation or ill-conceived justifications for this or that, rather than the actual rules. One wonders if you put in as much effort to try and explain why something may be so in
I am interested in fair exchange, but only if it's something new that I haven't seen before, and preferably if the other person knows how to attack ideas without making ad hominem attacks.
Believe me, I know HOW to make points without resorting to ad hominem attacks. I just didn't think your page deserved better since it seemed, for the most part, you were not attacking the
'Ipse dixit accounts are hardly proof, and though it's fun to dust off the Latin every now and then, even if only in support of 'currente calamo,' it still doesn't make your pretentious claims true.
You frequently only took one interpretation of the
Besides, your page began as mud slinging, didn't it? You shouldn't make it sound like I was trying to slide one by on you. Don't cry if you take damage in a battle that you initiated, and from ammunition you, yourself, brought into the arena. I didn't even expect a return letter UNLESS you posted mine - you didn't, despite the fact YOU asked for submissions. Very telling indeed. You think my letter is so obviously wrong, specious, and ill conceived, put it out there and let your readers see it and they'll know I'm full of shit, wouldn't they? And wouldn't this make your point even better? Just don't edit it first like a little worm might. Edit for space, fine, but leave the content untouched.
. . . if you think you're man enough for it, put up your own "What's good about
You are a long way from getting any apology from me. Demand? WTF do you think you are? If YOU make an apology on your page to all
As for my need to curb an alleged tendency to insult people, you are not people - despite the fact you seem to think you are, and you do not speak for all other gamers. You aren't even indicative of ALL other players, and you don't speak for them. At best, you are one person - singular - and drawing such generalizations about me from an example or population of one is never a very good idea - certainly not something a clever or wise person would do.
As to the point of my arguments being specious, if you wish to be taken seriously, you can't say things like that without making your point and demonstrating which ones and how they are allegedly specious. I see you didn't bother to even try to explain what arguments or how they were supposed to be specious - again, rather telling.
About my URL for my WebPages, I still think it a waste of time to send it to you. You still haven't demonstrated you'd have any other intentions but to attack it - and with lies, no less. You even explicitly state you are uninterested in 'MY personal' approach to
As for being man enough to post it, it is not only out there, but also has been for over a year now. Many visit my site and send praise, frequently telling me they have but begun to scratch several hundred pages of articles and commentary and suggestions and game ideas, but love everything they have seen so far. Though this doesn't prove anything in and of itself, it's better than getting letters saying I'm full of crap, or posting how I'm no longer interested in other people's POVs, and I've yet to get one of those kinds of letters, despite the huge number of hits I get - maybe it's huge for such a page, but even that is relative. So I'll continue to keep that off the shelf and away from your twisted delight, whatever may be the source of that little compulsive need of yours, unless I first get a different impression of you.
Abstract Saving Throws: Believe it or not, this came from the (an
Good questions all, but I feel several erroneous assumptions plague your analysis from the start, and these erroneous assumptions can't help but lead to ridiculous conclusions. Yet, it mostly just depends on how you approach the game. Is the written word the do all and tell all of a system, or can one supersede a few stupid suggestions even if made by the very authors themselves? There is a lot of crap in the
As for me, I expect anyone who reads your page and believes it is, in fact, probably an idiot themselves, or at the very least, closed minded about
Again, you ask, why alter a system at all when I can play a 'good' system to begin with, and even if a good DM can make an
NOTE: Rule # 1, in case you don't know, is the notion that all rules are guidelines and not absolutes. They may be used, altered, or omitted as seen fit by the GM of that particular game. Games without rule #1 are called dogmatic games. These dogmatic games MUST be played by the given rules without exception. Otherwise you are not playing that game but some perversion. No matter how much the DM may alter
Try to understand even if one player enjoys spending hours on a random encounter in a combat situation, that doesn't mean everyone lives for combat or enjoys that kind of game or needs game mechanics that do that sort of thing differently or in more detail, even if you do. Perhaps your true problem is envy. You envy
And as long as we speak of reality, what is so real about magic anyway? It is what you make it in a game, and no one is going to run out and perform a few magical experiments to prove their position is more realistic when it comes to magic.
And you persist in calling subjective things 'good' or 'terrible,' as if YOU AND YOU ALONE have the only take on the matter, like any who disagree with you are obviously defective in their thinking. What's up with that?
You have played
No. Gamma World was first, then Star Frontiers. I played D+D once before that, and have played D+D and
Your argument would only follow if you found me bad mouthing Apple II computers or refusing to recognize their contributions. Maybe you need more practice in drawing analogies. People do owe something to history. Even if they don't wish to pay, it should at least be an acknowledgment of the truth of it. I never suggested you shouldn't use upgrades IF they were better - subjective as that term is. You make it sound like I'm the one who tells people that they shouldn't have fun with something they enjoy, and that they can't have fun with other stuff just because somebody else doesn't happen to like it. I don't do that; you do. I love Apple. Besides, if Apple wanted anything from me, it wouldn't be to use their old computers but to buy their new ones and use their new software, and I do.
I've always felt the saving throw to be a character's innate ability to resist certain things from outside. What is a fireball? It CANNOT simply be fire, else the Globe of Invulnerability would NOT stop it unless it also held back normal fire - and it doesn't do that. The magical component to a Fireball's existence still endures, and it is little wonder a mage knows more about resisting such things than most - i.e. has better saves vs. magic. All of that should have been immediately apparent to you, thus you could lose 90% of your above paragraph, but instead you were too eager to find fault rather than search for a plausible explanation.
The very idea of aiming a fireball better is laughable - 33,000 ft^3 or so will fill most things and hit them, prone or not. If the DM wishes, yes, he can add +2 to a saving throw if a character is already prone and covered, or offer bonuses for good terrain, or give whatever other modifiers he feels are appropriate. Aside from creating the scenarios, that's the entire point of having GMs, to make judgment calls for their world's reality. Is your game so perfect we can do without the GM? Neat trick, that.
Also your conclusion that there is nothing random going on here is erroneous as well. Perhaps how well a fireball works - a function of dice in this game - is a function of the ethereal wind, the shifting density on the elemental plane of fire, or numerous other factors that change from place to place or time to time since they ARE random. A fireball this second may be low powered compared to the same fireball 20 seconds from now in the same spot by the same mage. Yet, higher in intensity is just one factor. It may also be easier or harder to resist, harder for a mage this time but easier for a warrior, or perhaps harder for John but easier for Jim and not especially, or certainly not solely, a class dependence at all that factors into the saving throw this time.
Numerous explanations can be conceived as to why things happen, ad hoc or otherwise. Even identical twins of the same class and level may be affected differently, perhaps simply because one had beef and the other had pork for breakfast. And this is not to say that these random factors that made beef better would always hold true at all places or all times. Any function that has random game qualities to it - represented by using dice - is bound to have random real qualities to it, perhaps well beyond one's normal ability to calculate. For each die roll in this world, there are at least one and perhaps more RANDOM factors involved in the game world. Randomness is realistic. This is true in the real world; otherwise we'd know what the weather would be EXACTLY for years to come instead of only having an educated guess at the next few days.
But I think you dislike the open ended system since you never know where you stand and perhaps feel you are being picked on by the whims of the DM with no way to protect yourself without a complete knowledge of the rules you could use to bash your DM over the head if he gets out of line. Is that it? Maybe you have an odious little personality, or you are paranoid and you think everyone is out to get you, and if some ruling is made not in favor of your character, you take it personally. I mean, the rules didn't stab you in the back, so it must have been the DM - and the other players probably encouraged it too, didn't they? You, it seems at least to me, act as if you've never had a good DM you could trust. Of course, I'm belittling you for no particular reason, as you can see, just to piss you off and have a little fun. I mean, that is the point of your web page, isn't it? Just to piss people off. It sure isn't to offer constructive criticism, no matter what you may initially claim - that much is certain.
Dodging? This skill in
Most of your entire paper seems to take this position. I hate
If your system - or whatever it is you wish to promote - is so much better, give concrete examples of that system, build it up, and try to entice others to play it, not by finding fault with
If you want to promote your game, talk about your game. Of course, I was only kicking around the Internet when I found your page, so if you have a better page out there that promotes your game, I suggest you spend more time to make it better and delete this one. It hardly helps, in my opinion, to blow out some else's candle to make your own shine more brightly. There will just be less light in the world - not more.
FUDGE is an excellent game for beginning players, as is Palladium, and The Guide To Adventure. I hate to say it, but even GURPS Lite would be a usable first game.
I took a quick look at FUDGE on your page, but to be fair didn't give it all the attention it required to make a fair assessment of it. Initially I found it difficult to understand due to lack of blow-by-blow examples through the point-by-point explanations. It was like reading in a vacuum. I imagine reading it several times would help - and who among us hasn't read the rules several times? - but even to do that seemed pointless and a waste of my time. For even if the mechanics did eventually prove themselves to have some merit in some instances, it didn't improve roleplaying, nor did it indicate something that couldn't be done in
Gurps Lite, I still believe, is a poor choice for beginning players, and I have some experience with that. And the fact you lump Gurps in with the others makes me believe the others may well have a similar problem after all. Character generation is much more complex and takes a great deal more time. The rules overlap and affect one another too much for a beginning player not to make mistakes or omissions. Though I have no doubt it could be used, I wouldn't recommend it. As for you HATING to say anything that you feel helps your case, please. Next time, either don't say it then, or just quit lying. Finally, I've seen highly experienced players of Gurps bicker and argue for hours about how to do things 'properly' or interpret the rules 'correctly,' so it's hardly perfect even after years of experience for the advanced player, let alone the newbie.
Note that even you, a complete
Please stop telling me what I know. You're not very good at it. Also, I'm a game junkie, not an
Considering that your making exactly the kind of suggestions I criticize, and that you yourself characterize as "idiots" . . . You fill in the rest.
Exactly? I didn't see any of the arguments you bothered to post - just so you could subsequently tear them apart to seem as if you had proven your point - that even resembled careful thought. Exactly? And there is a MAJOR difference between me characterizing them as idiots and me claiming YOU have characterized them or their ideas as idiots or idiotic. If the distinction is lost on you, I'm sorry.
[[[Working Within the Abstraction: Many recent RP games base themselves very strongly on what the characters can or cannot *do*, as opposed to
What utter nonsense and complete crap you sling. Do you believe in determinism or what? What makes you think a mage could learn so much about the inner workings of the universe that they could predict what is, essentially, RANDOM behavior? Do you not even consider the possibility that there may be random factors in the fantasy world just as there are in our own, and that the mages may actually already know about it and NOT feel the need to find out why it worked this time but didn't another??? Sure, the mage is trying to learn more - hence he will gain experience - and with levels will come greater understanding and greater resistance - i.e. better saving throws. Yet you seem to think since he cannot do it right this second the system is flawed.
Your funny way of looking at these problems in a preconceived manner has been the root of your problem more than the actual rules. Taking a different approach, you can find logically consistent answers to why things work the way they do in the game world, even if it ultimately means there is a certain amount of randomness involved in the universe. Quantum mechanics and chaos theory aside, one wonders why you even began to go down this path. Obviously, too many slipshod explanations have been tossed your way, or you somehow think some game systems are free of these problems. I've yet to see one - even though I haven't looked at more than a dozen or so - and I feel these allegedly perfect systems do not exist, and that they cannot they exist without random factors involved since randomness is the core of realism in many instances. You ignore randomness only at the expense of realism.
To reduce reality into a game, one must make compromises or have super computers to crunch the millions of variables, as well as all the time in the world to put that data in. Oops! Even then it wouldn't be perfect, would it? Think of the time and effort it would take to put in all that data - more like your life's work rather than a quick, fun game, isn't it? I have seen systems, however, that do some things better, but this is usually a matter of adding extra bookkeeping steps and subsequently slowing down the game. It is, in the final analysis, a personal choice. How much bookkeeping is one willing to stomach to add a little extra realism? You have made your choice, and that's fine, but to deride the choices of others simply because of your inability to make a go of it, well, that's just plain wrong.
Son of Abstract Hit Points: Although it is accepted that some of the hit points represent dodging or luck, a character is required to save against the effect of poison or suffer level draining whenever a monster with poison or drain capability lowers the character's hit points! Why is this the case? Both injecting poison and administering a draining touch require physical contact; how does the system know that the hit points deducted weren't ones representing dodging? It becomes even more comic when you consider the implications. A warrior against one of these creatures would be explicitly trying to dodge, and (presumably) would therefore want to ensure that hit points expended would be dodging ones rather than physical ones. However, since the touches evidently do work, all hit points are physical ones, meaning the ones left afterwards must be mostly dodging ones: witness the fighter who walks over to the creature with a dangerous touch, lets it beat on him, defeats it, and then (battered and bruised from all the physical damage) continues to dodge at maximum potential versus the next safe creature.
It is true
Fatigue is a fair attempt to approximate this factor, but even it falls short. And yet that little bit of extra encumbering rule slows the game down too much as it is for many. Hit locations, fatigue, field conditions, dust in a weapon or the air, orientation of the light, shadows, how well your breakfast is sitting in your guts, all of this plays a major factor, but few systems go to this length, and without doing so they can hardly claim to be realistic either - at least not with a straight face. A realistic game would make you fight less effectively when you had a paper cut than when you didn't, and if the paper cut was in the right spot, it could actually make a huge difference, but what game system goes into that detail?
Most people I know prefer the story line and roleplaying component to fantasy roleplaying games, rather than loving to dwell on minute details of battle or game mechanics. Those who like that should instead devote their time to playing computer games that take thousands of variables into account, and run combat millisecond by millisecond. Less than this and you still fall far short of reality, and any fool can point that out.
Wizards: One thing about
I've yet to play in a game - even after 20 years - where mages are treated in this fashion. As a general rule, however, I don't play with dumb fucks. Nevertheless, I've heard similar stories about the schools of high magic. On my world and in most games I've been in, most mages learn their art from their single mentor, probably holed up somewhere, serving them since they were a wee snip of a lad, or lass. Eventually they are sent out into the world because book learning can only take you so far before you will need practical experience, or learn better how to apply what you have already learned. Periodically, they can return for training - go up a level - or they can make their own way - via research - but then find they must again adventure to practice more, apply their art, see what works, learn some practical experience, and then maybe do this some more. Besides, they have to pay their bills, too. There are other ways to do it as well. In the game I'm currently playing in, my character taught herself the rudiments of magic after years of study over some lost arcane books she found. She furthers her magic by trial and error and experimentation. In another game, another mage had an awareness or gift and experimented to learn these things. In yet another, the secrets of the universe came to him in dreams as he progressed in levels. In most
Now it's true that walking around with a bunch of people just so one can kill monsters isn't exactly the height of good play or a very reasonable explanation as to how one learned fighting, another learned thievery skills, yet another learned how to commune better with god, all while a wizard learned how to cast spells better. Yet if one realizes all adventurers learn many of the same things and have more in common than they have differences, 80% of the xp could be adventurer stuff and only 20% might be applied to their personal class related stuff. After all, they all learn how to augment their hit dice, gain levels, resist things - i.e. saving throws - improve THAC0, learn weapon and non-weapon proficiencies, etc., etc. It is assumed, however, that they learned something about their own art as well, and then retreated for training and thought of how best to glean their lessons from their experience and how to practically apply their knowledge in similar but future situations. And one must always remember, the majority of time, training, and learning a PC does is NOT actually roleplayed, so one may easily miss its justification if they somehow erroneously thought what they roleplayed was the only basis for how their PCs learned things. Most of it, you never really see. Why? Because we, the players, are not our characters, and only share a small portion of their lives - hopefully the more interesting and exciting parts. That's all.
I can't justify the experience system in
And, of course, only an inexperienced dweeb would claim the ONLY way to earn xp in
Once a single aspect of how to award xp is broken down into rules, anyone can abuse them, whether in
Another good thing about
Spelling out the rules in nauseating detail in a book, as you can see, is one way to stifle creativity. This assumes, of course, the GM feels compelled to follow the book and not treat the rules as guidelines, but rather more dogmatically. I think you seem to be saying this is what you want or what your game offers and why this makes it better than
Evil Characters: Evil characters tend to be high-level. The high-level evil wizard is a favorite villain for
Huh? Good at some point to become high level? Huh? Your erroneous assumptions here are too deep or buried for me to even begin to dig them out. Unlike most of the other problems you have had to this point, I don't even see WTF you are talking about here. Huh??? Clearly, you are CLUELESS, and not competent to make worthy comment on
What's so hard to understand about - another contributor's name and URL omitted here -point? You get EP for killing *evil* monsters. So how do high-level evil mages get to be high-level when they're getting penalized EP every time they kill an innocent peasant?
You do not get xp for killing monsters if and only if they are evil, neutral, or otherwise. The alignment has nothing to do with it. An evil wizard can get xp for studying, talking to PCs or NPCs, finding treasure, killing creatures - even if the creatures are evil - and a host of other ways, just like most others. You do not get penalized for killing innocent peasants if that's in your character either - in fact, an evil character might well get xp for offing a peasant, particularly if done for a logical reason instead of pure wanton destruction. What's so hard to understand about the argument? It seemed as if the person who made it didn't have clue one as to how the
What really concerns me here, however, is the notion the PC's biggest problem when they murder some innocent peasant is some xp penalty rather than, oh, I don't know, say - the DEATH PENALTY! Man! These are some hard 'realistic' games you play in, huh? And you claim to like realism. Liar! Kill an innocent peasant and my good character is worried mostly about his experience??? Does that seem real to you? As if! Not only should the PC NEVER be considering his xp - a game concept outside character knowledge - he should be worried about that corpse at his feet. I mean, if the corpse was a farmer, your PC should at least plant him and try to hide the evidence, don't you think? Man!
Experience Points for Treasure: In at least one game I played, it was ruled that you received experience points equal to the GP value of any treasure you obtained - but that the GP value was only established when you sold the item (since, after all, the value is nothing more than what you got on the market). This meant that a more charismatic seller would lead to a higher value - and therefore meant you learnt more in the process of acquiring the treasure. This lead to the plot to conspire with a merchant: obtain a pebble from a dungeon, have the merchant buy it for 10 Million gold (it is now *obviously* treasure, since it was found in a dungeon and was worth 10 Million gold), and then buy it back from the merchant for the same 10 Million. Neither person loses any money, but both of you have sold treasure for 10M, meaning that you both gain 10M experience points - you're now a considerably better warrior or mage, and the merchant . . . well, he's a level 11+ merchant, which can presumably mean he'll get better deals from his suppliers
Are you really that desperate to attack
Hey, it's *IN THE RULES*. If the rules allow it, it's a valid activity. The title of the page is not "What's Wrong With
You continue to treat the rules as if they were gospel, sacred things unto themselves, and as if the PCs themselves are well versed in these game rules. I know your top 10 list belittles rule number one of
Furthermore, and this is disturbing, even if the rules say this and claim it is more than just one possible suggestions to how one MIGHT award xp, you still have characters in the game shamelessly manipulating the rules in the game as if they are aware of the rules of the game, and I know the rules do not say that. This is so far off the beaten path of ROLEPLAYING games, one wonders if you are a roleplayer at all. Oddly enough, it occurs to me for the first time that most people who have difficulty embracing "ROLE" PLAYING are "ROLL" players. These people seem to need more detailed rules more than most since that is where they find comfort in the game, particularly since they have no gift for roleplaying, much preferring the ROLL of the dice to determine nearly EVERYTHING rather than playing a ROLE. Ad Hominem? I'm not sure, but it is generally true. I've even seen such idiots roll the dice to decide if their PC liked another person or not. What's wrong with you people? Don't you want to play a roleplaying game?
Thieves: The guidelines are there. It took me a few seconds after I dragged the DM's Guide out. Quick reasoning would say that the chance for anybody to perform a thief skill is equal to the base score listed on PHB table 26. Ah, so now here's YET ANOTHER house-rule mechanism someone derived from the
Truly, it would be astounding anybody was still playing
I allow humans to multiclass - if they accept those normal limitations for reason I won't go into - and I allow non-humans to dual class, if they accept the fact their racial level limits will still be in place. Furthermore, I allow all classes to pick up additional skills.
Usually it is just a matter of game balance what your DM should or should not allow. You want a fighter who can sneak around, fine, just pay for it. Perhaps while learning all this stealth, his fighting skills suffer a bit in other areas. What's that you say? Why should he be less skilled as a fighter simply because he used his time to learn something else instead? Come on.
Not everybody can do everything. Even with all the time in the world, you tend to forget skills you do not use nearly everyday, languages you haven't used in years, how to make a compound in a lab years after you've stepped out of the lab, or how to solve a particular integral equation since you rarely need to integrate things, etc., etc. There are only so many hours in a day, and the
There are basic concepts in game balance, that's all; you want more power here, pay for it with less power there. A good DM will allow it, no matter what the guideline rules may say. But small-minded DMs might not if they have no sense of game balance and/or no clue as to how to make adjustments to the rules.
It seems as if this is your problem. You have a problem with stupid gamers and stupid DMs more than
Abstract Hit Points (again): If HPs represents luck, dodging, favor of the gods, actual toughness, damage resistance, etc., then why can all this be cured with a few simple Cure Light Wounds spells? Is the "favor of the gods" so easily bestowed by first level clerics? Can an uninjured gambler receive a few Cure Light Wounds before entering the casino to better his odds? If Cure Light Wounds really affects all of these things, rather than just restoring damaged flesh and bone, then why can't it be cast before the combat to bolster the combatant's luck, dodging, favor of the gods, actual toughness, damage resistance, etc.? If things like luck or favor of the gods are part of HP, then why are rogues and clerics penalized with respect to common ordinary warriors?
Yes, the favor of the gods is easily bestowed by first level clerics compared to non-priests - within the constraints normally applied, and more so by higher-level clerics, and even more so by higher-level clerics still. They can rest the body, extract the acids in the muscle that cause fatigue, add to your luck, or whatever they need they to do to replenish LOST hit points. They can even heal torn flesh, replace lost blood, and perhaps mend broken bones. CLW is a surprisingly powerful spell, considering.
Can a gambler better his odds? No, that is not the sort of luck one has with hit points. It can't be cast before damage - and expected to have an effect - since one is already at their current maximum. A CLW will not heal you or give you hit points beyond your max, that's why. Finally, the favor of the gods is important, but one builds with the material they have, and a fighter with great constitution or physical conditioning has more to start with AND, there is no reason to believe the favor of the gods, to the extent it plays in hit points, is not available to the common warrior as much as it is available to his priests. Just because a cleric has god's ear doesn't mean he has better skills than a fighter, even if some of those fighter skills may rely on god.
Abstract Hit Points: Q: Why do abstract "to hit" rolls and hit points cause problems? I use them all the time and don't have problems. A: It is an inadequate model. The only way not to have problems with them is to deliberately avoid the situations that cause trouble. This restricts your role-playing options for no good reason. The actual problem is poor interaction between the halves. "To hit" in
I have to disagree here, since it would be relatively simple to say when you physically touched someone, depending on what level of touch you require. Just hit AC 10, or give them only their dexterity bonuses. Then, if you hit that AC, you have touched, even if that touch would fall short of a penetrating attack. Or, depending on how you envision various magical aids to AC, let them have rings, cloaks, or whatever else the DM feels wards off a touch rather than helps prevent penetration. Mostly, it seems hitting AC 10 less dexterity bonus would normally suffice for the counting coup society thing. If you needed to touch for a touch attack, the spell might require contact with the skin. If the DM feels this is the case for that particular spell, one would have to hit AC 10 less dexterity bonus - if any - with a -4 penalty for an aimed attack - or however he wishes to do it - and it need not be necessary to hit the actual AC of the target in a penetrating manner. But a spell like Shocking Grasp probably wouldn't need to touch skin when touching the metal armor would do it, so again hit AC 10 less dexterity bonus less warding magic. These things are easy to do in the system as it already is now, and I'm surprised any experienced DM wouldn't know how. Maybe you are not as experienced as you claim. Is that it? It would certainly fit the facts here, and a petty type of personality would want to claim superior knowledge to make their position seem better, wouldn't they? Suspicious, that.
The Top 10
To be sure, most of these are just excuses, and stupid ones at that, but not all of them are without merit.
It may be easy to grab up your local cronies and teach them all the same game - and this is highly recommended - but don't expect to walk into such a game just with luck. If you want that game, then you round up the players, you teach them the rules, you supply the materials and rulebooks, and you run the game. This is not always so easy to do, but when you hate
Yes, they are entirely without merit when discussing *the quality of a game system*. We're not interested in how YOU say you play. We're interested in what the rules say, which is how convention games and new players are going to use them. None of those excuses change the fact that almost every page of the
We? Do you often think you speak for others in these instances? How many people in this 'we' did you consult about my letter before you made this reply? Do you actually hear their voices? Maybe this is why you thought you were 'people' earlier and not just some guy with a narrow point of view with a compulsive a need to piss on the enjoyment of others. I suppose it comes in handy if WE have more than one dick and WE can piss on more people that way. LOL.
And again, you are NOT talking about the rules of
Every page or nearly so? You exaggerate, I'm sure - you probably even feel a need to exaggerate to make it seem your point is even close to being true. Contrary to logic and reason? I've seen examples of your so-called 'reasoning' and find it seriously lacking in critical analysis, and based on faulty premises to boot. Not only is it 'unsound,' it is completely 'invalid' in the Aristotelian sense of the word, even under your own questionable premises.
Yet, even if you feel you are on the money, I'm sure if I had the inclination to bother, that I could tear any rule system a new one, especially if my characters were allowed to walk around as if they knew the game rules like a player might know them. A clever player allowed to get away with that sort of non-roleplaying type behavior can do some pretty awful things to expose game problems - or just ruin the enjoyment of the other players since he's not getting his own way, like some childish temper tantrum - especially if that's want they want to do. Fortunately, I don't indulge in roleplaying games to do that, even if you apparently do.
First of all, using your top 10 list as excuses for not answering questions is stupid and shows a lack of understanding. Not everything is so neatly wrapped up in a number, and every question, if you bother to answer it at all, deserves better than to have you flippantly toss a number at them 'Quod Erat Demonstrandum, or Q.E.D.' If it applies as you say it does, explain how, and further explain how this makes the point valid or invalid as the case may be. Assuming you can, of course, for if you can't, chucking numbers at people is your only choice.
What I think about your top 10 SARCASTIC reasons of why
10. Most characters wouldn't want to do/be X, so it makes sense that no characters can.
The rules do not say this. You attack a lame bit of reasoning often offered for "Why can't my character do X outside of my class?" This is not an attack on
9. It's fantasy; it's not supposed to make sense.
The rules do not say this either. Again, the attack is at a lame excuse and not something inherent in the rules. It's indicative of something a fool would say - in any game system or about any piece of fiction - and by placing it in some lame top 10 reasons given to defend
8. It's just being true to some unspecified source material.
I don't see that one a lot. I guess it could be used to explain why a rule is the way it is, but in and of itself, this still doesn't attack a rule that I can see. What's the Latin for arguments attacking the source when the source isn't a man? ad ludus? (Against the game) I suppose the principle of the fallacy of ad hominem still applies, in any event. And here's the kicker. You seem to suggest one shouldn't feel the need to be true to the source material, yet you also chastise those who will change it since altering rules is a bad thing. Moron!
7. You can pretend it's more detailed than it is.
Or you can pretend more detail is intrinsically important, superior, necessary, or even the entire point of roleplaying games, but you'd be wrong. Remarkably wrong. Stunningly wrong. Mind bendingly, slack jawing, rubbing your crotch to think better, wrong.
6. You can buy Player's Option book X, which fixes it.
At best, option X may do things differently or more explicitly and they may help someone out who didn't like the rules as written, but this, too, is more for those who have a real need for such things - more detail, less detail, a DIFFERENT approach rather than one that is necessarily BETTER, it addresses, more often than not, demands for different styles and emphasis. Now, if option X were actually required to make a go of the primary game system, then you'd again have made your point, but it doesn't, and you haven't.
5. The game designers didn't mean for you to apply it as written.
The game designers of
BTW, does this game you hawk not have rule number 1 incorporated within itself? It seems not - what would be the point of such a rule for an ostensibly perfect system? I like the Constitution of the United States, but it isn't perfect. Notice how this acknowledgment of imperfection DOESN'T mean I should leave the country, and isn't tantamount to saying the U.S.A. is a horrible country. Thankfully, the founding fathers used rule #1 and made provisions for change WITHIN the system. Thus, I think the game designers, seeing as how they made the same provision, both expected and encouraged its use. You again seem to suggest THEY did not expect you to alter rules as each DM saw fit. The 5th reason is another lie, for the game designers did intend for this. Why would they have included it if they didn't?
4. Every other system has bad rules, too.
This point is a truism, and you attack the truth? However, if some fool does claim that A, rife with problems, is better than B simply because B may not be perfect, then you'd be right. I do not, however, claim
There is a certain amount of wisdom in the saying "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," but only if you apply the saying appropriately - and only if he who is WITH sin doesn't just up and commit another sin by chucking the stone, anyway. I continue to maintain you are casting quite a lot of stones at
3. The system sells better than any other system.
Like it or not, this is a valid reason. I may not like IBM or windows machines as well as a MAC, but even I acknowledge the benefits they have with 90%+ of the market, and with the software being designed there first. I can only take solace in the fact that 90% of that software is crap and only the good stuff eventually gets translated to MAC, though it is a year behind the other stuff. At least I don't need to buy it and test it and weed it out since only the good stuff makes it that far. And, of course, the fact 99+% of all viruses don't affect MACs since they are mostly written to exploit system flaws in those systems that MAC machines don't share - ha ha ;-)
Sure, your local group needn't be so confined, but when reaching out - on the internet or at conventions - it will be more likely to find more
Even then, they won't learn the rules well enough to generate their own characters at that time, but will instead need to have pre-made characters shoved down their throats - how fun, I don't get to create a role but have to play one somebody else made. Sort of defeats the purpose of a roleplaying game for most roleplayers, but it may do for the ROLL players. The order of probability of walking into a game you like other than
2. Lots of people have fun playing the game.
You make it sound like a bad thing that people actually have fun doing something you do not enjoy. At best, this is a left-handed way of saying most people are dopes compared to you - if they like a game you do not like. My, what a high opinion you must have of yourself to think that. Telling, very telling indeed.
and the number one reason that the
1. You can change it if you don't like it.
Again, this is a great reason to play
I can teach someone everything they will ever need to know to play FUDGE (with a pre-generated character) for a pickup game in 10 minutes, because there are really only two rules to teach (the task system and the damage system). Explaining character creation takes maybe another 15 minutes.
Fine, but be sure to lug around copies of the rules, tables, etc. so you have enough since your newly discovered players won't have them handy or keep them afterwards, or be able to find them later - unless they tuck them away in their PHBs :-). And even though I think you underestimate the time it would actually take, this isn't a problem, even if off by an order of magnitude, since it still misses my point and doesn't address the issue. YOU will have to teach them and YOU will have to run it more often than not. If you want to play that game instead of run it, good luck.
I guess what I meant there was to teach them about roleplaying and the basics to the point they could generate a character with help and start playing. Gurps Lite, on the other hand, is move involved, takes a lot more time to generate a character, and you have to read and understand all the skills before you can make an informed decision. Or you could toss them a pre-made character, but that isn't what I meant. In
Every other system does have its flaws, this is true, but pointing out the flaws of one system is NO way exonerates or elevates a different system.
But it does mean that you shouldn't play the flawed system.
It does? OK, I'll take your word for it, and since no system is without flaw - except perhaps in the minds of the deluded - I guess we aren't playing at all then, for we have no need to play a flawed system. Ah, sarcasm! Oh wait, it doesn't mean that at all. Thank the gods I don't feel the need to be perfect before I'll try to have some fun. Thank the gods even more I'm not deluded into believing in perfection within a game system.
Choosing the "play something else" option makes more sense.
If and only if you cannot find enjoyment in the first system AND the other new system is so wide spread every one has heard of it, if not played it a lot as well. "Can't have fun in the game?" For you, this seems to be true, yet for others, it isn't. Yet you continue to fail to understand how anyone could enjoy something you don't, and I continue to fail to understand why you think that to be the case. In fact, you actually go out of your way to attack something you can't enjoy, perhaps trying to make it less enjoyable for those who like it. Why? I still do not know. Misery loves company??? You may as well claim 'butter brickle ice cream is the best' and deride any who prefer a different flavor, then go on and on about how strawberry ice cream - something you happen to hate - shouldn't be eaten by anyone, no matter how much it may suit their pallet - saying strawberry ice cream is intrinsically or universally inferior and that there's something decidedly strange, unnatural, or even dangerous about those stupid people who like strawberry ice cream. Peculiar point.
Now who here knows of any system that is so perfect it requires no alterations to make it better for you and your style or can not be improved at all in any way?
I can think of three offhand: FUDGE. Guardians of Order's anime games. Feng Shui.
Perfect, really? Not a single thing worthy of change, not a single instance of how it could be done better? Heretofore I had thought you wouldn't be taking this unrealistic position. Wow, perfection in a game. I have to hand it to you. You really have something there, don't you? If the rest of your reasoning is as good, now I'll know what to do with it. I have to laugh out loud now that I see FUDGE II is coming out. LOL. What is this for? Aren't we already perfect, or is this another one of those supplements one can buy that you claim will only damn a game? LOL.
"What did they call her captain?" The captain looked at him and smiled. "The unsinkable II," he replied.
Why are there three of them anyway? If perfect, wouldn't one suffice? How are they different from one another anyway? I mean, if A does something differently, it obviously is better - else do it the other way found in one of the other perfect systems, B or C. And if system A is better than B or C, the others are less than perfect so you can scrap those games too. Ah, perfection, what a concept.
*None* of the people I've played with in the last 10 years have played
Well, most people outgrow toys and games - so 'they' say - and may even claim 'true adults' put their toys away and stop playing games. Hmmm. Are you really saying that? And the suggestion that people who like
Imagine if you had a good DM or two who could hold your interest in
Ultimately, anyone who will stand and say there is nothing wrong with
That says nothing about the quality of
That was MY point. So even your 'Great' system is as nothing when played by the right people - or wrong people, as the case may be. And if I gathered the comments made by the few idiots among all who played your game, and went out of my way to post them, and then took time to tear them apart, claiming they were more indicative of the game rather than those players who made them, one might get the idea your game was idiotic, too. But in truth, it isn't your game so much as the comments made by idiots. Engaging in that sort of behavior says little about the actual game, but does speak volumes about the personality of the person who feels compelled to do it. Don't you see that? To maintain your page AFTER this has been pointed out to you shows me you are not interested in the truth at all, but just want to get your rocks off belittling others and trying to smash any fun they may be having with something you loath. You're sick. You know that, don't you?
What this boils down to is: Me: "
My point was and continues to be this, despite your flawed and overly simplistic summary - perhaps indicative of your flawed and overly simplistic mind.
You say your system is perfect and no one should play an imperfect system. I claim no system is perfect - i.e. no system can fulfill everyone's subjective needs - and if you think your game is perfect, you, like any who claim
I say a good GM can make any game great. To believe your position, you seem to be saying a good GM is not required for your system - i.e. it is so perfect that it can overcome that 'little problem,' or something akin to that.
Ultimately, I say the thing in a roleplaying game is in the essence of roleplaying, and that the game mechanics that support it are secondary at best. You seem to think without mechanics that support your subjective needs and desires, the game cannot work - or is it, should not work? This would only be true if nearly your entire enjoyment in the game was derived from manipulating game mechanics - and considering you even have your CHARACTERS doing this, when it's bad enough if a PLAYER does that, maybe this is true - but this only demonstrates a truth for you and your desires and doesn't even begin to come near the point of making it a universal truth. Yet, I suppose you can still have fun making light of the people who are quite 'beneath' your high-exalted gaming standards, relative as they may be. After all, the higher up you are, the further you can piss.
My point was your WebPages attacked specious arguments sometimes made on behalf of
I strive to maintain an open mind at all times, which is why I wrote this letter to you to see if you could answer my points or show me where I perhaps had missed something, but you didn't; not really. Hell, you didn't even try. Of course, since you couldn't, in retrospect that's not so surprising.
Now I can only use you as source material for one particularly strange unsupported point of view - not that I'd use your name, mind you. Then you suggest if I go back to read
Though your vision is clearly obstructed by your colon wall, even you should be able to see and understand from that vantage point your needs weren't being met, either by your DM's explanations, your friend's explanations, or even the
I'm a gamer. I play games.
The primary fault most people have with
All this shows the primary problem with any roleplaying game is a poor to moderate GM long before the rules become an issue, and most of your page seems to take exception not so much with the
If you wish to take pleasure in showing the world you can make fun of those less intelligent than yourself - though I do question your so-called intelligence - or at least those you describe as less than you in some other mysterious but indefinable quality, that's your business, but don't expect a good gamer to pat you on the back and say, 'Well done.'
Normally, I'd give you the URL for my
I invite constructive criticism, always, but criticism for its own sake is pointless. I'd rather feel we are just both looking for different things in our games rather than assigning blame. I wish you luck, however, despite the slams I may have made against your very character - mostly done in fun or in response to your peculiar need to launch an unsolicited attack against innocent people - in finding enjoyment in the game you do play and with the payers who will still associate with you. I wouldn't wish to curtail your fun in anyway. I haven't the need.
Do note, however, that though I am not above attacking the aggressor on a personal level, my arguments are more than just that - each containing logical points you refuse to address.
Unless you'd really like to better explain why you have this need to attack
Let your readers decide, for you have already made up your mind, and if I'm so far wrong as you say, this will only strengthen your point. I await the posting. Failing that, don't expect another reply even if you do send another letter. I'd probably delete it without even reading it since it would be pointless to continue your one-sided version of a 'Fair Exchange.'
Mark Hughes Is Lying Through His Teeth!I suppose this could escalate even further into more childish antics as we shoot barbs at each other via web page content rather than private Emails, but I would like to make something perfectly clear. Mark Hughes is lying if he says I wrote him more Email quite removed from our initial encounter back around February of 2000. The last direct contact we had was then when I simply deleted his last Email to me since he failed to keep his promise of including a counter point of view on his page. I had no reason to read his last letter in the face of such stunning proof he was not a man of his word, and therefore, I knew whatever it said would mean little to me. Thus, it was deleted. But that was back in February of 2000, and no Email has passed between us since.
Yet, for some inexplicable reason, I'm told his latest addition to his AD&D hating rant intimates I recently wrote back to that loser, and somewhat badly at that. I didn't. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he may simply be confused, however, as to whom he was speaking, or perhaps someone even misrepresented himself or herself as me, or as speaking for me. If so, they weren't.
Or maybe he doesn't care who wrote, feeling anyone who likes AD&D is a psycho and they all fall under the same heading and can thus be collectively referred to or thought of as a single interchangeable entity.
But if someone did write to him and he took them as me, he is mistaken. I never use html Email either, except to businesses, or when no other choice is readily available.
So I'd like to assure anyone reading this that I have no knowledge of the recent letter of which he speaks. Even so, I find it interesting the worst he can say about the letter, and whoever wrote it, is nothing more than picking on some typos and taking such things as indicative of a lack of intelligence. Still, what else can you expect from someone who hasn't got anything substantial to say about the substance of the letter, whatever it may have said?
In fact, recently - while cleaning up a few items - I revisited his page and discovered the badly spelled excerpt he claims I wrote was altered to include even more typos than he originally published. It seems he wanted to make that person look even more a fool - but I suspect, since I did not write that letter, or even anything remotely similar to it, that Mark simply made it up, so he should feel free to alter it later since it seems to be his own work. But I digress.
He's also a hypocrite in that regard, I guess, for I saw when I ran his own page's content over a spell checker, several errors were revealed. No matter. Such things happen even to the best of us, which is why the wise don't pick on such meaningless trivialities, lest others pick on our own similar shortcomings.
I can only reiterate, the mangled text he claims I wrote wasn't my work at all, nor does it even remotely sound like me, or attack points I'd ever bother to mention. Alas, the letter was not mine, so it's really not my place to defend it; I can only make clear it's not my work.
Yet, given Mark's apparent track record, I can honestly say he is hardly above outright lying through his teeth, too, and perhaps even making things up to try to make his point seem legitimate or valid. If so, maybe no one wrote to him at all, but rather he just wants to invent more lies to lampoon my character or me or damn by association anyone and every one who finds value in a game he can't stand. He might even have deliberately misspelled words and used them incorrectly to make someone who liked AD&D seem like a fool, just so he could lampoon him or her, just as I suspect he made up some stuff about 'what AD&D players really believe.' The rules certainly don't insist on many things that he claims they do. And all this from a man who claims an ad hominem attack is wrong? Can you say hypocrite? I knew you could. No matter.
I sincerely hope he reads this and corrects this misrepresentation on his site. It could just be a question of pronouns and misunderstanding. But he did refer to me as a 'psycho' when he linked to my site, and such a reference is ok with me. He feels that way. I also relate how I feel about him. But when he speaks of the 'psycho' - apparently still meaning me as it links down to the link to my site - as writing back to him, he is either mistaken or blatantly lying.
I promise I have not written back him, ever, and I have no desire to write back to him even now to 'debate' further with a closed minded dolt. At best, I might write asking him to correct this personal lie about claiming I recently wrote to him, but I doubt he'd do it. He never struck me as the sort who was scrupulously honest in anything he does or says. Still, if anyone else wishes to put him on notice while writing him something you planned on writing anyway, I suppose it at least would call his attention to the problem.
And if you, Mark, ever read this or delete this intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of me recently E-mailing you when, in fact, I haven't, I will of course delete this particular page in kind upon notification.