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It's about the story...

My opinion of Role-Playing games has come down to the notion that the most popular systems push the "What cool things can I get for my character next level" mentality instead of the story being the driving force behind the game.

My hatred of d20 hinges on this premise, the Feat system specifically, and the hordes and hordes of additional feats created by WotC and third party authors. And with the addition of Talent Trees (which are really just more feats) in d20 Modern and Future, the gimme mentality prevails.

It's possible that video games have contributed to this mentality, possibly because there are so many lame stories in video games, goodies for characters are their only redeeming features.

I have to admit to being suckered into this mentality at times. But I think having played mainly play-by-post for the last 6 years has mostly cured me of it.

Am I off base?


sithgod's picture
Joined: 10/18/2007

When I first started playing at 12 it was most certainly NOT about the story, If you look at most [not all] adventures from that era it was very heavily based on a "There be old ruins just outta town. Go up there and get your gold and trinkets and murder all you find within."

But as gamers started to get older I think the game was evolving and I found stories were becoming more important. As well as some more realistic systems like Rolemaster. Which I think still stands as the most lethal RPG of them all.

Many of todays games are trinket loaded. D20 the worst of them all. While its been popular to slam D20, many of the comments as to why seem to stem from a dislike of Wotc rather than the system itself. But I dislike the system. Feats are so crap. With all the new ones they release you end up not being able to take something because you needed to take abunch early on.

But that creates a new problem. Instead of sitting down and making a character around a concept, something interesting and clever, you end up making a character around the ruleset. You want to be a knight? Then you have to start looking at what feats you need at the start and later on. Horsemanship, mounted attack and on and on. The essence of the character is being replaced by the need to do mechanics to get where you want to be.

I also here "Its all about the RP" all the time. Yet the amount of time those people hand me a character that is a walking death machine. Seems its all about the RP can only happen if the char has a bonus on every stat. Would it be fun to play a weak character? Sure depending on the game and the story. Look at Rasitalin in Dragonlance. His pursuit of power destroyed his body and left him sick and weakly often having to be supported by his brother. But for all that he was a powerful mage and one of the most popular characters in the series. He's flawed and interesting. Perfect characters tend to get dull in my opinion.

Having refound Palladiums Fantasy game I am really starting to love it. 25 base classes which even at first level you are a fully fledged character. Not a 1st level dunce with a wooden sword like I often feel with D&D chars. however having said that you can make a flawed and interesting character. There is insanity rules from compulsions, phobias and more extreme. You can take a low stat in something. P.E. of 4 like something Rastalin might have.

A return of RuneQuest is welcomed by me. Its another of the lethal rpg's. Which has to be handled carefully as when a player knows a game is lethal then he is going to be wanting a tough character and I can't blame him for that thinking.

I think there are now some good alternatives to the D20 style games. Games which can push story over stats. Unfortunately a lot of the games I like are using it like Star Wars.

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