Tuesday, September 9, 2008

EC Speaks the Truth

It is unrealistic to require characters to qualify for a character class: many people are very bad at what they do. Certainly, nobody asked us if were qualified to design this game.
--Hank Riley and Jim Ireland, Encounter Critical (1979)

6 comments:

  1. Terrific quote. So true, and I never thought of it that way.

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  2. It's a strangely insightful quote, but then I find EC to be a strangely insightful game.

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  3. Awesome, especially since being characters themselves makes Hank and Jim uniquely qualified to speak to this issue!

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  4. I agree with it on some level, but I disagree with it on another level. I mean, if you were playing star wars, and you were a Jedi, one would expect you to be reasonably capable of using the Force. And 3e's prestige class system sort of makes sense if you think of it less as joining a particular order, and more honing one's particular abilities toward a specific goal.

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  5. I agree with the senitment. One should have the freedom to choose to be rubbish at their class, either through mechanics, or even a little ineptitude played out at the table.

    Trying to shoot this through my old-school prism, I can see how being poor in class skill can be overcome through skilled play. A fighter with a STR of 5 can survive if the player uses their wits to their advantage.

    As games have become more complex and complete in regard to the rules, mechanical weaknesses are magnified.

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  6. As games have become more complex and complete in regard to the rules, mechanical weaknesses are magnified.

    That's the crux of it, I think. What I love about simpler games is that they're actually much more amenable to unconventional characters, because their mechanical elements are far less punishing. A fighter with a Strength of 5 in OD&D does suffer a -20% XP penalty to his advancement, but he otherwise is no worse than most other members of his class.

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