Author Topic: I disagree with a statement by Josh  (Read 41396 times)

Offline Marco0042

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I disagree with a statement by Josh
« on: November 24, 2011, 11:01:40 AM »
I have played WoD for years. I have had fun, because of the people I play with. I don't like the system. Mostly because the math doesn't work. As you gain a certain amount of expertise in a skill/power your chance of failure increases. This is just plain stupid. Plus I'm not interested in the flavor of the game and want to do other more interesting things with my limited gaming time. However I have heard Josh say on numerous occasions that WoD doesn't have a social mechanic. My contention is that it does, it's a bad one, but it's there. As I said in other places, I have read Burning Wheel but have not played it .... yet. I have also listened to the podgecast and heard about Diaspora. These games have very intricate and interesting social mechanics. But I don't think that because other games have a better social mechanic doesn't mean that WoD doesn't have one. Social Attribute + Skill vs. Social Attribute + Skill IS a mechanic. And there are in fact 3 social attributes, rather than the 1 that exists in most of the older games. There are also numerous skills and powers that are dependent on a characters social stats.
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Offline SneeR

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 10:20:55 PM »
Josh doesn't come onto the boards very often, but I hope he addresses your contention soon!
He really does kind of dis that poor system.
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Offline Unbeliever

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 02:37:36 PM »
As an old WoD fan who despises the system, I imagine that Josh was being hyperbolic, but only slightly.  There isn't much in the way social mechanics.  I will assume that Marco is right with regards to the mechanics of WW, it's been a long time to me, but that's a social mechanic on par with D&D's Diplomacy and Bluff mechanics.  In other words, it's all very very thin.  There isn't much in the way of any extended system to persuade people, make someone look bad, and so forth.  I happen to think such things can be extrapolated fairly easily from the core WW mechanic.  But, it was easier to justify that back when there were very few systems and subsystems in the game.  Oh, and I hear there is a social dueling system in Requiem, which is essentially what there is in BW. 

That being said, I hate Burning Wheel's system (in general, the social mechanics are actually one of the strongest parts of it), too.  I guess I'm hard to please. 

Offline zeke

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 08:51:55 AM »
Our contention, ( and yes I'm speaking for Josh) is that you could have played any other game (or no game at all, just sat around and talked to your friends) and had the same experience. I think Josh would agree with you that it does have a social mechanic, but that mechanic is so common in other games, that it kind of gets edited out in both mine and Josh's perceptions.

Offline RedWarlock

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 10:03:42 AM »
This is kind of off the side, and not in WoD core, but in the nWoD book Mirrors (basically Unearthed Arcana for the nWoD) they have a rules subsystem called Sway, which, I think, is pretty awesome. Basically, use of a social skill (or power) generates points of Sway, which can be Casual, Intimate, or Unnatural. Each point allows you to influence the other party to do specific, itemized actions, or extend those actions so they don't immediately reverse or question them. the other character's player can choose to resist the sway by spending their own willpower, draining their resources.

I've been working on building a similar mechanic into my own custom-built system, though I'm only using one type of influence, but allowing it to be spent on declared relationships (similar to the fate/DF-RPG's aspects), to exert higher levels of influence.
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Offline veekie

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 12:13:27 PM »
Well, White Wolf CAN do social mechanics, Exalted has one, though whether its effective is kinda up for debate.
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Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 10:02:50 PM »
So let me first answer the contention and then let me hit the real point.

Q: Does WoD have social mechanics?
A: No,

What is a social mechanic?  Social mechanics are how player characters can influence other player characters (and NPC's).  What WoD (and diaspora/fate) are are action adventure games.

The conflict is PC's vs environment when you look at AA games (DnD, WoD, Shadowrun, Fate).  Most games have a simple(skills) system for a range of environment challenges and complex system for combat.  I call them Skills and combat.  Fate and a few others throw in a "social combat". 

WoD has a few "social" skills but they are poorly executed and they are not a "social mechanic".

Also, there is no specific mechanics to cover other social type situations.  For example, if I want to play a political game, I can't.  We can talk politics, but when we *play* the tools are skills and combat. 

So, the actual point.  You say "I have had fun, because of the people I play with."  So basically, no matter what you played, you would have fun.  So why not play a good game?  First off you will have more fun, and secondly you will have more kinds of fun.  Thirdly you will do less things that irritate you.  It's simple math when you break it down.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 04:22:08 AM »
So, the actual point.  You say "I have had fun, because of the people I play with."  So basically, no matter what you played, you would have fun.  So why not play a good game?  First off you will have more fun, and secondly you will have more kinds of fun.  Thirdly you will do less things that irritate you.  It's simple math when you break it down.

Josh, this has always been my biggest problem with your posts.  You don't know the OP, you don't know his group, and so you can't effectively tell him what he will find to be more fun. 


Sorry for the off-topic post.

Offline InnaBinder

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 08:11:08 AM »
Quote from: BG_Josh
So, the actual point.  You say "I have had fun, because of the people I play with."  So basically, no matter what you played, you would have fun.  So why not play a good game?  First off you will have more fun, and secondly you will have more kinds of fun.  Thirdly you will do less things that irritate you.  It's simple math when you break it down.
And what happens when the game is switched to one that's "better" by the standards you put forward, and the amount of fun at the table decreases?  I've seen it happen.  Please don't say something about "statistical outliers" or similar, either.
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Offline Unbeliever

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 10:47:20 AM »
...
What is a social mechanic?  Social mechanics are how player characters can influence other player characters (and NPC's).  What WoD (and diaspora/fate) are are action adventure games.
...
WoD has a few "social" skills but they are poorly executed and they are not a "social mechanic".

Also, there is no specific mechanics to cover other social type situations.  For example, if I want to play a political game, I can't.  We can talk politics, but when we *play* the tools are skills and combat. 
...
This confuses me.  I don't know how you separate out "skills" from "social mechanic" when some of those skills are social ones.  D&D (3.5) has a social mechanic(s):  diplomacy, bluff, intimidate, and so on.  You can arguably add Charm, et al. spells to that list, too.  I'm playing Witcher 2 nowadays, and that's a good example of implementation charm as a social skill. 

By comparison, Burning Wheel and Mouseguard have what is essentially social combat (which I believe is better implemented than BW's normal combat but that's neither here nor there). 

Does Josh just mean by "social mechanic" something like social combat?  Or, maybe more correctly, that it has to involve something along the lines of different "maneuvers" like rebuttal, etc. so that D&D's admittedly paltry skill checks don't qualify as a "mechanic"?  I'd say that they are both mechanics, as I think that term is quite general, just one set is much more elaborate than the other, but it could be a terminological confusion.  Further, I'm also confused b/c, if I am recalling correctly, BW's and MG's social combat really is just a set of stringed skill checks with maneuvers to modify them -- that's how everything in that system (more or less) works. 

If what is meant that they don't have an elaborate or really well-developed social mechanic, or even that a real social mechanic is buried in a splat book somewhere (Requiem for Rome, I believe, or Mirrors), then I think those are true statements.  I just think it might be confusing to other people when you frame it as "they do not have a social mechanic" -- that doesn't seem strictly true or at least requires a very specific meaning of the term "mechanic" that is not obvious to me.  Although to be fair, I've heard this quote totally out of context.

And, further, I agree that White Wolf is, mechanically, an action-adventure game that often tries to want to be a political social intrigue game but doesn't actually do much to support it.  It mostly just supports mind-whammy action-adventure.

P.S.:  what games have good social mechanics in them?  Besides Burning Wheel, which I am already familiar with and may decide to cannibalize anyway.

Offline sirpercival

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 10:48:55 AM »
The Fate System (i.e., Dresden Files RPG) also implements social combat similar to physical combat (and mental combat, incidentally).
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Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 10:40:26 PM »
Quote from: BG_Josh
So, the actual point.  You say "I have had fun, because of the people I play with."  So basically, no matter what you played, you would have fun.  So why not play a good game?  First off you will have more fun, and secondly you will have more kinds of fun.  Thirdly you will do less things that irritate you.  It's simple math when you break it down.
And what happens when the game is switched to one that's "better" by the standards you put forward, and the amount of fun at the table decreases?  I've seen it happen.  Please don't say something about "statistical outliers" or similar, either.

So let me get this straight:

What if the group played a game they liked, and they had less fun?

A: They wouldn't
B: One or more people in the group are socially dysfunctional.



Offline Nanshork

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 10:55:08 PM »
Your problem is that you're automatically assuming that you are right and that they would like whatever your suggestion is. 

You don't offer suggestions, you don't say hey you like A well then you'd probably like B more because of X.  You drop commandments on people, telling them that A sucks and if they don't play B then they are doomed to a less fun gaming experience.

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 11:17:23 PM »
...
What is a social mechanic?  Social mechanics are how player characters can influence other player characters (and NPC's).  What WoD (and diaspora/fate) are are action adventure games.
...
WoD has a few "social" skills but they are poorly executed and they are not a "social mechanic".

Also, there is no specific mechanics to cover other social type situations.  For example, if I want to play a political game, I can't.  We can talk politics, but when we *play* the tools are skills and combat. 
...
This confuses me.  I don't know how you separate out "skills" from "social mechanic" when some of those skills are social ones.  D&D (3.5) has a social mechanic(s):  diplomacy, bluff, intimidate, and so on.  You can arguably add Charm, et al. spells to that list, too.  I'm playing Witcher 2 nowadays, and that's a good example of implementation charm as a social skill. 

By comparison, Burning Wheel and Mouseguard have what is essentially social combat (which I believe is better implemented than BW's normal combat but that's neither here nor there). 

Does Josh just mean by "social mechanic" something like social combat?  Or, maybe more correctly, that it has to involve something along the lines of different "maneuvers" like rebuttal, etc. so that D&D's admittedly paltry skill checks don't qualify as a "mechanic"?  I'd say that they are both mechanics, as I think that term is quite general, just one set is much more elaborate than the other, but it could be a terminological confusion.  Further, I'm also confused b/c, if I am recalling correctly, BW's and MG's social combat really is just a set of stringed skill checks with maneuvers to modify them -- that's how everything in that system (more or less) works. 

If what is meant that they don't have an elaborate or really well-developed social mechanic, or even that a real social mechanic is buried in a splat book somewhere (Requiem for Rome, I believe, or Mirrors), then I think those are true statements.  I just think it might be confusing to other people when you frame it as "they do not have a social mechanic" -- that doesn't seem strictly true or at least requires a very specific meaning of the term "mechanic" that is not obvious to me.  Although to be fair, I've heard this quote totally out of context.

And, further, I agree that White Wolf is, mechanically, an action-adventure game that often tries to want to be a political social intrigue game but doesn't actually do much to support it.  It mostly just supports mind-whammy action-adventure.

P.S.:  what games have good social mechanics in them?  Besides Burning Wheel, which I am already familiar with and may decide to cannibalize anyway.

In an AAS&C (Wod, Shadowrun,DnD 3rd or 4th etc) the game works only when the players do not engage in PvP (combat excluded kinda).  Players are not intended to engage in PvP and the system fails when they do.

In the world of DnD diplomacy is essentially climbing or basket weaving.  The GM presents a challenge, the player rolls skill, and then the player gets the win or the lose condition.  All challenges are Player vs Environment.  Just sometimes it a wall, a goblin or a king.  I don't settle a Player argument by rolling (RAW) for example. 

BW or Mouseguard work differently.  You get what you want when you win rolls, rather than get the GM picked win condition.  It is a vastly different game. 

As for games with good social mechanics: 

Burning wheel and Mouse guard

Story mechanics that are close to social mechanics:

apocalypse world, Misspent youth, Free Market, shock

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 11:30:22 PM »
Your problem is that you're automatically assuming that you are right and that they would like whatever your suggestion is. 

You don't offer suggestions, you don't say hey you like A well then you'd probably like B more because of X.  You drop commandments on people, telling them that A sucks and if they don't play B then they are doomed to a less fun gaming experience.

Nope.  Again your issue is that you are not even trying to understand.  This is extremely clear cut.  I am literally saying "if you have more fun, you will have more fun." And you are saying "shut up, you don't know that."

So here is the thought exercise.  Assume I am correct and try to understand what I am saying.

its like this:

Quote from: BG_Josh
So, the actual point.  You say "I have had fun, because of the people I play with."  So basically, no matter what you played, you would have fun.  So why not play a good game?  First off you will have more fun, and secondly you will have more kinds of fun.  Thirdly you will do less things that irritate you.  It's simple math when you break it down.
And what happens when the game is switched to one that's "better" by the standards you put forward, and the amount of fun at the table decreases?  I've seen it happen.  Please don't say something about "statistical outliers" or similar, either.

He did not get the whole discussion.  The likely reason for this (that I have seen many times before) is that he is applying my answer to his imagined question, rather than the original posters question.  The original poster knew that WoD is sub standard not only in the abstract, but in his specific case.

And fyi, I don't recommend anything originally because I have no information to make that recommendation.  And later I recommend what is asked for.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 11:33:43 PM »
I give up on trying to debate this with you Josh.  I'm attempting to discuss your posting style as a whole, not just in this thread.

Just as you say I'm not trying to understand you, you're obviously not understanding what I'm talking about.  I've had this discussion with you multiple times now, and it never goes anywhere.  I'm just going to go back to avoiding you like I did on bg, no offense.

Offline Unbeliever

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 11:34:25 PM »
EDIT:  this post refers to #13 above

But, I feel compelled to point out that is not what I think the vast majority of people mean by a social mechanic.  Furthermore, when we're talking about affecting NPCs, that distinction collapses, doesn't it? 

If I can stray into the critical, I have noticed on a lot of Josh's gaming theory/design posts he has a very particular idea of what he means by the terminology.  This isn't bad, it can often be quite helpful, but it can get in the way if you're using a very precise language that none of the interlocutors are clued in about. 


P.S.:  this: 
...
BW or Mouseguard work differently.  You get what you want when you win rolls, rather than get the GM picked win condition.  It is a vastly different game. 
seems very much a 4E skill challenge type of thinking, or at least what I'd consider poor DMing (or GMing or whatever), even in games with fairly anemic rules for such things.  But, query how much of that is baked into the rules or not.

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2011, 12:16:00 AM »
I give up on trying to debate this with you Josh.  I'm attempting to discuss your posting style as a whole, not just in this thread.

Just as you say I'm not trying to understand you, you're obviously not understanding what I'm talking about.  I've had this discussion with you multiple times now, and it never goes anywhere.  I'm just going to go back to avoiding you like I did on bg, no offense.
Ah, that's the issue then.  See I am trying to communicate something I know, and you don't. The comments about my style are off topic, so I am not going to follow those threads, I have been treating you like you were actually involved in this conversation.  Rather than your own.  I would say that's my mistake, but I don't think it is.

If you have a different question or comment about the way I present ideas, that belongs elsewhere.  Stay on topic.

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2011, 12:53:37 AM »
EDIT:  this post refers to #13 above

But, I feel compelled to point out that is not what I think the vast majority of people mean by a social mechanic.
Not really. There is no standard so in an ad hoc situation you are compelled to match terminologies.

What WoD lacks is player compelled goals and the ability to affect other players (including the GM).  Call that ham sandwichism if you like, that's what WoD lacks.

The reason I say it lacks an actual social mechanic is because it does not really do what people who want to play a social game would like to do.  Do you see the distinction?

Quote
Furthermore, when we're talking about affecting NPCs, that distinction collapses, doesn't it? 
No.  In AA S&C games NPC's are structurally part of the setting.  They cannot compel the character socially or story wise so they are not "characters"(in the literary sense).   

Quote
If I can stray into the critical, I have noticed on a lot of Josh's gaming theory/design posts he has a very particular idea of what he means by the terminology.  This isn't bad, it can often be quite helpful, but it can get in the way if you're using a very precise language that none of the interlocutors are clued in about. 
Message Boards allow for two way communication.  If you don't understand the way to find out is through dialogue, as you have done (and in doing so helped others) and others have done.  What not to do is anything that does not further your understanding.  You can ask questions, restate things or even explain what you mean. 

But the second a person stops trying to understand and try's to win, they are not going to understand.   

I'm not out to get anyone here.  My goal is to help people have more fun and to understand the world around them.

I don't have the time to make intricate posts that cover everything.  I try to be succinct and direct and expect that people will ask questions. 

Quote
P.S.:  this: 
...
BW or Mouseguard work differently.  You get what you want when you win rolls, rather than get the GM picked win condition.  It is a vastly different game. 
seems very much a 4E skill challenge type of thinking, or at least what I'd consider poor DMing (or GMing or whatever), even in games with fairly anemic rules for such things.  But, query how much of that is baked into the rules or not.
I don't understand the question here.

Offline ImperatorK

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Re: I disagree with a statement by Josh
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2011, 01:46:10 AM »
Quote
P.S.:  this: 
...
BW or Mouseguard work differently.  You get what you want when you win rolls, rather than get the GM picked win condition.  It is a vastly different game. 
seems very much a 4E skill challenge type of thinking, or at least what I'd consider poor DMing (or GMing or whatever), even in games with fairly anemic rules for such things.  But, query how much of that is baked into the rules or not.
I don't understand the question here.
Because you're not trying to understand it. :smirk
BTW. The constant talking about "not understanding" sounds like "I'm right, you're just too stupid to understand it" to me. Might be my imagination, though. :eh
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 01:49:21 AM by ImperatorK »
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