Old School Perspective

ZorValachan
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Old School Perspective

Postby ZorValachan » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:20 pm

This thread is basically in reply to a lot of comments made in other threads that I didn't want to disrupt. I'll try hard not to be an old curmudgeon, but wanted to add my opinion (probably stated in bits and pieces in other threads)... This might seem a bit like "In my day we didn't have X and we liked it" or "up hill in the snow both ways", but hopefully it gives food for thought.

I've been around RPGs something like 36 years now, so yes it dates me. I started at 10 years old. I lived in a town of 200, out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest book store was a 15 minute drive through country and they had a little tiny selection of D&D/AD&D stuff (from no on, i'll lump them together as "D&D"). The nearest actual RPG shop was a 45 minute drive that I discovered only years later. No internet, Amazon, Etc. Before finding that LFGS, I would send checks (my mom wrote, because I was too young) to RPG companies after seeing advertisements in comics. Wait weeks or months and get books in the mail.

In those days, the mindset was that only people who came to the game got XP. Characters lost attributes, skills, in D&D even levels when bad things happened. If your characters died they started at level 1 (or equivalent) and you spent the campaign always behind. It was a "natural" thing you just accepted. Not because you had to, but because no one thought to do things differently. Everyone house ruled. Even if it wasn't a known term. even if you thought you were playing RAW, your interpretation was you and your group's and without the instant communication of the internet, no one realized what they read and seemed logical was different than what other people read and seemed logical to them.

old Torg (OT) was one of those games. The infiniverse was cool, but not everyone got it (I didn't until years later when WEG was selling books for $2.50 a pop trying to liquidate). Character dies or a new player showed up, start them with a template and they began a new character, never mind that i had players with characters that had been around for years. OT was cool in a way that even new characters with the right cards could keep pace with established characters. Characters being behind was a simple fact.

Over time, we grew up. People got families and real life interferes. Game designers started seeing missing games/starting new as an uneeded punishment for those of us who wanted to game, but because of life might miss sessions. Now many games, including TE have everyone advance together. And with it is a lot of complaints about "lost XP" due to permanent injuries, starting your attribute spread "wrong", and that replacement characters are better optimized than ongoing characters. When did GMs lose the ability to run their games and think outside the box?

I had players with characters all the time who would persevere with missing limbs, attributes, etc. because they liked the character and wanted that character to live. I had others who "retired" the character to start again at that starting place, be it level 1 or fresh off an OT template. I've had stories where a character lost a hand in a game system that had no rules for it. It was cool in the story, fit what was happening, and after a while, the character found a magical replacement. Others kept their losses and played on, creating characters with character and rich in-game stories we still talk about years later, not pre-game back stories that most players don't care about other than their own.

Realize, we are all playing an unofficial game (except the rare USNA games ran that decide the official timeline),a nd even if you think you are going "official" you are not. OT and TE both are based on an infiniverse. We GMs have our own cosmverses where there are both great and little differences, but they all make up the infiniverse. Heck TE even says it in the book about another cosmverse where the goods guys won. The official OT timeline was its own cosmverse, a part of the Infiniverse. The official TE is another. Each GM has their own. Open up those possibilities and run with it.

If you want to go old school, and give XP to only those that attend, do it. It'll keep those with injuries, etc. ahead of the new players/characters. Sure, it's not "official" but your game isn't either. Another said they had a house rule that in the next act or after time, they let the injuries heal or allow after each act/adventure to redistribute XP. Go with that. GMs, come up with quests (sessions/adventures) to find that magic item/cyberware/mcguffin that takes away the negatives and for whatever reason doesn't cause contradiction, but through a successful story. There are so many possibilities. The rules are a great framework, but they can't and I argue shouldn't cover every single thing that might happen. That's where your GM creativity comes in.

I use TE adventures modified. My God Box's last act took place in Azteca a completely different realm. I adjusted it to fit my world. if you don't like that adventure X does "this", do "that" instead. Change it. USNA is not going to raid your game and arrest you. You know your players better than them, they won't know anything is different (unless they peeked at the adventure, SHAME on you peeking player!) if you want to add an actual change to the rules, just notify the players. No one like surprise rules.

But seriously GMs, don't lose your creativity because TE doesn't have a rule for it or the rule doesn't match what you like. Just do it and move on. It's fine to say, "Yes, the TE rule is X, but I use Y instead". Such as I use the fatigue condition at the beginning of the H/V's round because I'll probably forget it at the end. I bet even the developers GM with their own little house rules. not because TE rules are bad, but USNA is trying to set out for a global audience and the developer GM can fine tune things for their own style in their own group.

Asking questions for an official rule is great. I do it all the time. but complaining that rule X ruins your game or causes some characters to fall behind... sorry that is on you, not the system. This isn't a board game. You are the GM, you have the power, He-Man style.

If you got this far, thanks for reading my "rant" and I hope you might get another way at looking at TE rules and other game rules.
- Leamon Crafton Jr.
Infiniverse Exchange author:

The Paraverse: An entire alternate Cosmverse
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/237607/

The Knights of the Road: Archtypes designed as a Storm Knight group
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/228365/

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Count Thalim
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby Count Thalim » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:42 am

Oh for the ability to upvote a topic/post. ;)

I agree with almost everything you have put down, with one caveat: Experience.

That of the GM and their players, not the characters.
You've been gaming for over 3 decades, from an age when we naturally question things and without anyone telling you you're wrong.
GMs and players who are 'new' (insert preferred time period here) take time to build up the courage to question a rule and decide to junk or modify it. As a 10 yr old kid just starting out playing would you have ripped out a section of rules and reworked it to suit your play style? A few years later though and you may have decided to do so.

The internet both helps and hinders here. If a character loses a hand they can go online and see how other GMs have reacted. Some will run with it as above, but they will also see someone referencing Rule 46b, paragraph I) clause h) (Takes me back to trying to work out Union Nightshift rules... :shock: )
Back in the day (showing my age as well) if you couldn't find it in the book at the table the GM had to make a call and we moved on. Nowadays there are more options. We can go on the forums and pester Deanna until she caves and gives us a ruling. :oops:

Basically I think you are right, but a lot of it is down to groups finding their own path and that will come in time. Playing different systems helps as you can compare and contrast. The number of games my first GM modified the Destiny deck for is unreal. TorgE will hasten it for some groups with rules like 'Players Call' that are intentionally woolly and will push GMs and Players into finding third ways.

In the mean time we veterans can huddle around the campfire and swap stories about how we fought in the V:tM campaigns of the early 90's or were on the frontlines when 3rd edition was released onto the battlefield (now that was a game with a rule for everything). They'll find their own style as they gain in experience and level up. :lol:



Separately I do wonder if we manage to make a millennium of RP experience on the boards. Just between Zor and myself we are over 60 yrs
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GeniusCodeMonkey
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:10 am

Rules are more like guidelines, especially in role playing games.
Question everything.
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TorgHacker
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby TorgHacker » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:51 am

Count Thalim wrote:Back in the day (showing my age as well) if you couldn't find it in the book at the table the GM had to make a call and we moved on. Nowadays there are more options. We can go on the forums and pester Deanna until she caves and gives us a ruling. :oops:



I literally LOLed.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

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Count Thalim
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby Count Thalim » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:08 am

TorgHacker wrote:I literally LOLed.


My work here is done. :lol:
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fougerec
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby fougerec » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:17 am

The only thing I would add would be to let your players know ASAP about rules changes or rulings you're making. Players make their characters based on the rules in the book and (reasonably) expect to be able to do the thing the rules say they can do. If that's not how things work in your game then let them know as soon as you can.

ZorValachan
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby ZorValachan » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:10 pm

Count Thalim wrote:As a 10 yr old kid just starting out playing would you have ripped out a section of rules and reworked it to suit your play style? A few years later though and you may have decided to do so.



Actually yes, that's exactly what I did at 10 years old. My first intro to RPGs (D&D) was with a GM who would buy an adventure and only use the maps. he would insert his own monsters. I only played a couple games before I decided to GM. I didn't understand leveling. I just assigned levels to the party and we went from there doing stories. It took a while for me to even realize AD&D wasn't D&D. I thought the "Advanced" was just better stories or something. I used AD&D adventures for D&D games. Heck, I used them for the first edition of Palladium Fantasy as HP, damage, AC (AR in PFRPG) was so close I didn't even modify monsters. I just converted on the fly. Some games didn't even have rules for stuff that I didn't realize because they were based off D&D and I just took that information and transplanted it without thought.

And yes, I made up documents on which rules we would use and passed them out to players for all the games I run. I give that info before we play. and if I think something needs to be changed (or if I misunderstood a rule and decide to go that way), I inform everyone ASAP. if it messes with a character, I allow the player to adjust.

Currently in TE, I use my Paraverse supplement and when new realm books come out, I allow players with character from that cosm to adjust accordingly. My current group started with OT characters about 6 months before TE came out. I had done the Possibility/XP split already, so we just converted over with 2 "free" perks and some rules for the stuff that wasn't in TE (yet). The weird scientist has gone through 2 major revisions. Once on the TE conversion and the next when we got the PDF for Nile.

One of the main points is that just because there isn't a rule for it doesn't mean it can't be done. Don't stifle creativity because you can't find it in the book. especially in Torg (either version), where different realities are present. TE has a nice robust rules system IMO, but it's not the nit-picky of 3.X/Pathfinder (thank Dunad). Things like Player's Call really support it. Use it elsewhere. Learn from us older players, both the good and the bad.
- Leamon Crafton Jr.
Infiniverse Exchange author:

The Paraverse: An entire alternate Cosmverse
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/237607/

The Knights of the Road: Archtypes designed as a Storm Knight group
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/228365/

vaminion
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby vaminion » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:40 pm

fougerec wrote:Players make their characters based on the rules in the book and (reasonably) expect to be able to do the thing the rules say they can do.


This is why after gaming for 25+ years I'll still post on forums and ask for the official way things work. I've played in way too many games where the GM will simultaneously tell me "The rules don't say you can't" or "They don't say you can" based on whatever's convenient. If I get screwed because Fireball ignores armor entirely, Mind Control is cast without LoS, or Pan Pacifica weapons are identical to Core Earth except for the disconnection risk, I want to know whether it's the system or the GM punishing me.

ZorValachan
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby ZorValachan » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:47 pm

vaminion wrote:
fougerec wrote:Players make their characters based on the rules in the book and (reasonably) expect to be able to do the thing the rules say they can do.


This is why after gaming for 25+ years I'll still post on forums and ask for the official way things work. I've played in way too many games where the GM will simultaneously tell me "The rules don't say you can't" or "They don't say you can" based on whatever's convenient. If I get screwed because Fireball ignores armor entirely, Mind Control is cast without LoS, or Pan Pacifica weapons are identical to Core Earth except for the disconnection risk, I want to know whether it's the system or the GM punishing me.


That's fine. I understand that. My point was what the book doesn't say. The book has rules for gaining permanent injuries. It doesn't have rules for getting rid of them. I want GMs not to feel that they can't make an quest/adventure to get rid of that injury, especially if the player is just going to trash the character to make Clone #1, just because of an "XP gap", The first adds to the character's story, the second is just gaming the system and adds little or nothing to the game story wise.
- Leamon Crafton Jr.
Infiniverse Exchange author:

The Paraverse: An entire alternate Cosmverse
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/237607/

The Knights of the Road: Archtypes designed as a Storm Knight group
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/228365/

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Count Thalim
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Re: Old School Perspective

Postby Count Thalim » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:44 pm

ZorValachan wrote:Actually yes, that's exactly what I did at 10 years old. My first intro to RPGs (D&D) was with a GM who would buy an adventure and only use the maps. he would insert his own monsters.


Sounds like you had an experienced GM that you learnt from. A lot of our RPing and GMing styles are learnt from our first GM.
I know that my personal style has a lot to do with the first true GM I played under, rather than the crude flailing about myself and my friends did when we discovered RPGs with no one to learn from. I still look back and cringe at some of the games we ran then.

If you learn from a GM who treats the written adventures as guidelines you are likely to have a different outlook on gaming than one who has a stack of rulebooks next to them for reference purposes.

And I also acknowledge that one general rule or anecdote will not fit everyone's personal circumstances. Humans are a diverse bunch after all.
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