Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's An Orc Baby's Maximum Strength Score?

New official LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing rule:

Anyone offended that WotC would even joke about including sex-differentiated ability score maximums in 5e gets a -1 to their Strength score, and that's after checking that the character's bonuses are sufficient to keep the character.

God forbid that the people in charge of the new edition look back at the history of the game and have a chuckle at some of the unnecessary things that have been included over the years (like FEATS). Or have any chuckles at all, right? THEY MUST BE STONE-FACE SERIOUS.

I can't wait until people see the reprinted AD&D books and see that stuff is actually in there. And lots of tits. And random prostitute tables. And that fucking initiative system, that'll really open up the outrage.

(If they edit all of that stuff out I recommend tearing out the edited pages and mailing them to WotC, demanding proper replacements. Seriously.)

Me, I voted before the poll changed and the only votes I made were to bring back the sex-differentiated ability score maximums, THAC0, weapon speeds, weapon vs AC, and system shock. Why? Because I damn well ignored that shit when I was 10 years old* and would ignore that shit now no matter what's in the book... but the fury that would erupt by their inclusion would be more fun to watch than any gaming could ever be.

Not to mention the poll is pretty irrelevant. Game design is not a checklist, and a good game is more than the sum of its mechanics.

Questions like "Do female dwarves have beards?" and "Do dragonmen exist as part of the basic assumed setting?" are more important than any mechanic. What the world is, the types of places the game assumes you'll be adventuring in, the culture you attempt to create surrounding the game, those are much more important things than any dice stuff. If you screw up your setting and atmosphere then the coolest mechanics on Earth can't save it. You make it come alive for people and make it a place people want to adventure, the shittiest mechanics on Earth won't stop it. (Rifts!)

Fucking hell people.

* I used the to-hit charts and not THAC0 as included in the DMG back then because the multiple 20s in the charts make THAC0 inaccurate.


  1. Damnit.

    I knew it was going to happen.
    You posted something I agree 100% with.

    Obviously it was only as serious as it was there to get people inflamed so everyone would be talking about it and linking to it.
    IT's advertising people. I know Marketing 101 is boring, but don't sleep through it next time.

    Personally I come down on the side of no level limits, no strength limits (since these are for characters not the "normals") and bearded dwarven women. But back in the day we also gave female characters a bonus to their chance on psionic talent (double what males got) because psionics are linked to the X chromosome. It made perfectly good sense then.

    These polls are not part of the design process, they are part of the advertising process. Sure they might glean something out of them, but nothing that a handful of playtests would give them better data for.

  2. I don't have any problem with what you're saying, but as an aside: why do people continue to refer to THAC0 as if it were a game mechanic? It was just a quickie formula people figured out to help the game move faster. It had no impact on game play whether you were doing the math in your head or looking on the to-hit chart.

  3. I'm not offended by it, but it does introduce an extra level of complexity I have no interest in. In my upcoming OQ game, I've abolished almost all differences between species, let alone genders, while in my current Swords and Wizardry game I tossed out the "regular" species rules and made up my own simpler set.

    1. Cool. I'm a little tired of "demi-humans" defined by +/-10% differences in basic stats and a few minor kewl powers. Differentiate "races" by culture, not mechanics, unless they're *very* far from human baseline in some way or another: giants, multi-limbed insect people, talking animals, inorganic or insubstantial creatures, or simply an alien mindset or lifecycle. (Needless to say, the "real weirdies" will require GM approval.)

  4. Stupid or disagreeable rules don't bother me in the least. Ultimately the GM and players can ignore any rules they care to. My main peeve with anyone's rules is the pretense that all of them are equally important. Anyone who absolutely NEEDS his square-based tactical movement, flanking bonuses, sex-based limits, fireball spells, level limits, and all the rest ... well, not at my joint. (Nor should anyone expect sword-fodder orcs, poncy pretentious elves, grumpy dwarfs, sneak-thief halflings, disposable villagers, and all the other cliches.)

    Give me the basic engine first, and then pile in non-humans, weapon vs. armor tables, tactical movement, power fantasy magic, and any rules marked "advanced". Let me decide what is and isn't in the game. Otherwise I'll look elsewhere, or go back to one of my old standards.

  5. Fucking initiative? I think FATAL already did that.

    PS Of course female dwarves have beards. The dwarf culture has a long way to go in accepting homosexuality.

  6. “bring back the sex-differentiated ability score maximums”

    Ok, you lost me. I just don’t want anything to do with a game that does this.
    Bring the ruckus with traps and death and monsters and danger, sure, but sexist culture? That’s something I game to get away from.

    “bring back [various messy rules, b]ecause I damn well ignored that shit”
    I can more agreebly disagree with that. I think it’s easier to add things to a simple system than read through a big book of complex things that I’m just going to remove anyway, but I get that that’s a personal preference.

    But unnecessary complex rules are not the same thing as a rule that burns like a slap in the face.

    1. I'm pretty sure he didn't mean that he wanted to play with those rules. He said he ignored them in the past, and I extrapolate that to mean that he would ignore them in the future.

      Maybe you should read this again:

      Why? Because I damn well ignored that shit when I was 10 years old* and would ignore that shit now no matter what's in the book... but the fury that would erupt by their inclusion would be more fun to watch than any gaming could ever be.