Monday, June 29, 2009

A Good Post

I'm not usually one to point out good posts on other blogs, since we all pretty much read the same ones anyway, but I'm going to make an exception in the case of Delta's latest entry on "games within games," because he articulates very well some thoughts I've been having lately. It's well worth your time to check it out.


  1. Well, yeah!!!!
    In role playing, you are modeling some aspect of reality, no matter how fantastic it may be. The AD&D DMG1 approach was that it did not leave blank spots for improvisation, as did the basic/expert game, nor did it reduce everything to a "core mechanic" as did WoTC. What Gygax did instead, was to write articles to cover a wide variety of situations that might arise in the course of the game. Hence the different dice to cover all sorts of radom number ranges. The role of the DM is to adjudicate the story events by the best means possible, which means that a DM will eventually have to adapt his own games witin games in his/her campaign. The ebst exampe of this is the way Gygax has written the non-weapon proficiences - Unlike other skill-based systems, Traveler, Runequest or D&D 4th, in Gygax's AD&D description of each indivdual proficiency was its own detailed article abou the uses of that skill in the game and it often had its own game emchanic. That's what makes AD&D great.

  2. Delta's Hotspot is among my favorites - totally worth reading from start to finish (when you've got several hours at hand).

  3. Thanks! That was a very good read. Hell yeah.

  4. That was really interesting.

    I still feel like there is an interesting post to be written that focuses on merits of "infinite scalability vs. game-within-a-game" and everything in between. Both have pros and cons in different situations and it;d be nice to hear your thoughts on when to use which kind etc.

  5. I tend to see the best game systems as a sort of programming language that helps the minds of the participants simulate/emulate the given topics in a concise and practical manner.

    While it is certainly possible to mix programming languages and scripting languages, and their hybrids, it makes for a mess in maintaining and upgrading them as new features become desirable.

    I suppose I am fairly firmly on the 'side' of Scalability over (Ga[game]me). I don't like distractions or digressions when my own native ability as Referee is enough to suffice.

    The strength of Tunnels & Trolls, and its descendent, BRP, is that sub-game-level of detail is built into the scalar nature of those systems.
    --Need to figure out how many Orcs are shaken loose from the bridge when the Ent sways it with its great strength? Each SR Level achieved is nd6 worth of Orcs, for example.

    > shrug <

  6. I think that an infinite scalability should apply to things that can be described in terms of statistics, and since the real world (especially individual behavior, luck and courage, societal dynamics, small unit behavior and what happens in combat) are too complex to be described in terms of simple statistics, a game within game approach is more appropriate to running an RPG game as a whole. A good DM will model and run the fantasy world events in his or her campaign according to the best of their ability, and hence every good campaign will be "House" customized and will be a game within a game. Furthermore, DM referreeing a game is somewhat similar to judiciary adjudicating cases in court in that the system will adopt different miodels and strategies to representing real world events in terms of legal terminology in the court room, hence the real world equivalent of DM adjudicating and the use of the game within game approach. Personally, I'd much rather read Gygax's discourses on various tpics affecting the D&D game as opposed to learning some Core Mechanic that will turn my creation, my world, my story into a game board.