Author Topic: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?  (Read 5330 times)

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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2022, 07:41:56 PM »
  I had a friend on Steam recently message me concerning a game he's playing, Warframe, a FPS he likes. I'm HORRIBLE at these games so I had to decline. I have neuropathy in my hands, feet and eyes (retinopathy) where the nerves are deteriorating. I retired because my job was document intensive and since I could no longer touch type, my ability to produce pages of material was severely reduced. In FPS games, having to look down at my keyboard slowed my ability to keep up with other players, so I prefer to play more casual games that don't require furious keystrokes.

  The above being said, I'm guessing that video game culture has also had an effect on gamers. In a computer RPG, a player is given a menu of options to choose from, so in any question, the answers are multiple-choice and sometimes there is no choice. The games tend to be quest driven, with simple goals, like killing something or fetching something...a few have puzzles to solve and often a walkthrough is readily available for those who don't want to devote time into thinking.
  A tabletop RPG is not a video game but I've had players treat it like one. Some players wonder why they don't kill with one shot or get big payoff treasure. I've had a party member ready to fight a whole town because somebody killed the party's horses and he didn't bother to look at the evidence or clues. The he started to badger the party members, calling them cowards for allowing the town to kill the horses and doing nothing, then wanted to attack random people... While fantasy games serve as a brief escape from reality, I seriously don't need players who use my game as a playground for their delirium. 
  In a fantasy game that just has a player smacking monsters around, the fantasy part is window dressing. Substitute monsters with Nazis and you have Wolfenstein, or terrorists/zombies and you have just about every modern FPS on the market in the past decade or two.
   
  As a longtime wargamer, I have seen how computers have affected tabletop wargaming and COVID has all but ended the ability of gaming clubs to hold large tabletop gaming sessions we used to have. (One of my fellow fencing instructors had a neighbor who'd call the police when he had 2-3 students at his home for practice...Seriously? We all wear masks...).
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Offline rdanhenry

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #41 on: January 05, 2022, 12:18:21 PM »
Well, given that players with impatience with puzzles, whining about monsters being too tough and treasures too rare, and turning to murder as the solution to everything are complaints GMs have had almost from the beginning of the hobby, I don't think it is fair to blame video games. These have been main tropes of gamer comedy for decades, and at least the second of these is directly addressed in the original DMG.
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Offline EltonJ

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2022, 06:31:45 PM »
Well, given that players with impatience with puzzles, whining about monsters being too tough and treasures too rare, and turning to murder as the solution to everything are complaints GMs have had almost from the beginning of the hobby, I don't think it is fair to blame video games. These have been main tropes of gamer comedy for decades, and at least the second of these is directly addressed in the original DMG.

You can't blame video games at all.  They work differently than a normal RPG. I think RPGs should inspire more creativity.

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2022, 06:46:28 PM »
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You can't blame video games at all.  They work differently than a normal RPG.
  That's the point. The people raised on vid games develop a different mindset, different expectations. In 1974, a group of players would calmly sit through six hours of adventuring, meet NPCs, go shopping and plan for a dungeon dive.
  The last time I played a MMORPG the dungeon run was more a sprint -A rush to get to the boss room where monsters, drops and treasure was ignored to get to the finish and the main prize. I could barely keep up with the pace.
  I've met tabletop players who want the same -run through the dungeon, forget about searching for hidden doors and clues, get to the end of the adventure. Of course, I have the only character with social skills so asking NPCs questions is a waste of time to the other players...
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Offline jdale

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2022, 08:45:26 PM »
I certainly have players who are ready to skip the social parts in favor of combat, but they would be appalled at the suggestion to skip the treasure! That's crazy talk. That's been true for decades.

I will say, though, that in the LARP (over 25 years) I think players have gotten less tolerant of losing. They're not any worse about roleplaying and story (some great, some not so much), but when the whole town gets streamrolled and dies, they are more whiny about it. Take what you will from that.
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2022, 12:24:33 AM »
That's perhaps one side effect of video gaming that's often overlooked but pretty much prevalent: with the exception of PvP games, video games present situations where you can fail temporarily, but you're expecting to win in the end - "beat the game" as it is. Having to deal with a loss permanently is seldom an option - you try again, reload a save, or start an new game. You can even check several outcomes and "choose" the one you prefer. Walkthroughs describe the various possible endings and the "true endings" (supposedly the 'best' one) and you're supposed to go there and do that.

to be honest, having "adventure" format games where each scenario is independent from the other and the overall game world does not really care if you succeed or not in the long run also emphasises that aspect.

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2022, 12:28:07 AM »
I certainly have players who are ready to skip the social parts in favor of combat, but they would be appalled at the suggestion to skip the treasure! That's crazy talk. That's been true for decades.

I will say, though, that in the LARP (over 25 years) I think players have gotten less tolerant of losing. They're not any worse about roleplaying and story (some great, some not so much), but when the whole town gets streamrolled and dies, they are more whiny about it. Take what you will from that.
  I GMed a mercenary campaign were everybody wanted to a god on the battlefield but nobody wanted to have social skills or command. Since none of them could negotiate contracts or even administer a unit, they wound up as (underpaid) hirelings for a NPC, which let me toss in a few curves, like modeling the unit after the cartoon "Archer", where the unit was made up of incompetent malcontents and sociopaths. I'd write more but the name of the unit, as well as the names of most of the PCs were not for a family site. One of the female NPCs was named Gloria Snockers, for example...
  In one scenario, the commander was called away and left the PCs on their own...they tortured and executed prisoners, allowed infiltrators into the unit who later stole vehicles and one of the officers was kidnapped...and later paraded through an enemy city through jeering crowds.
 
  They asked for it...
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Offline EltonJ

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2022, 02:33:43 PM »
The point is in a RPG, you can do anything you imagine.  You can make your own story  and world.  Even toss out a few rules.  Because everyone is competing with D&D, there are a plethora of RPGs out there that you can try.  Computer games change everything, though.

A computer game gives you a set world, a set story, with scripted outcomes. And yes, if there is a bad end, you can start the game over again.  Over time, a computer game can get boring -- you've been through the quests before and can do them without blinking.  An RPG is more fluid, and if your game master is a good one, will never disappoint.


Offline Vladimir

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2022, 07:02:33 PM »
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A computer game gives you a set world, a set story, with scripted outcomes.
  There are a number of sandbox games that have open ended outcomes from getting along with the various factions or warring against all of them to a genocidal outcome. The alternate endings are only limited by the number of saves you wish to make.

  I prefer thinking games while my players, not so much...So out go the puzzles, riddles and NPCs that don't give straight answers... I mean, they gladly accepted a NPC commander who dictated missions, conditions and strategy, which I never would have tolerated as a player...but those are the conditions they wanted, as long as I pointed them at an enemy and let them loose...until they chose to bite off more than they could chew by picking a fight (despite repeated warnings, not hints but warnings) with a unit of much larger size and losing. Cest la vie.
   
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2022, 10:23:49 PM »

I prefer thinking games while my players, not so much...So out go the puzzles, riddles and NPCs that don't give straight answers... I mean, they gladly accepted a NPC commander who dictated missions, conditions and strategy, which I never would have tolerated as a player...but those are the conditions they wanted, as long as I pointed them at an enemy and let them loose...
   

I've had a similar experience. I see a lot of criticisms of railroading, but my players not only don't mind it, they actually prefer it. The like to have clear missions and know what they're 'supposed to be doing'. Different groups are different!
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Offline metallion

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2022, 12:58:40 PM »
Are people not understanding the fantasy in Fantasy Roleplaying any more?

I looked at the Dark Elf thread, and I understand it was locked. What I mean is it's okay to have a race of villains in your own campaign setting.  It's a fantasy, something people make up.  When did someone's fantasies become political? I think people are confusing politics with fantasy.

When were someone's fantasies not political?  Are you going to seriously suggest that Tolkien's politics didn't inform how he created Middle Earth and get reflected in that creation?  Gygax's in Dungeons and Dragons?  More close to home, Terry's in Shadow World?  Come on!

Politics have always been in fantasy.  The only thing that's changing is whether you get to see your politics as politics or simply the way things are.

Offline Jengada

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2022, 01:50:49 PM »
I'm seeing several different tentacles to this thread, all of them interesting.
1. Historic games and current culture/politics: I know that some of the historic elements have racial/racist foundations. If we know those and perpetuate them, we are participating. But I think 90% of these situations are unknown to the players, and it takes a fair bit of effort to assign blame to them. I'm really not a big fan of "the sins of the father are visited upon the son" or inheritance of guilt/blame. I'm also not a big fan of what I consider "reflexive self victimization," where individuals look at an issue and their first reaction is to look at how it makes them a victim.
2. Thinking games, challenges, and railroading: I've run into this a bit in my latest campaign. I give the party 3 or 4 plot threads to entice them, allowing choice. They get frustrated that I'm not giving them a clear direction. On top of that, I'm finding them more and more risk-averse. I've threatened them that the next adventure will be getting out of the retirement home for unadventurous adventurers.
3. My politics in my campaign: I deliberately put politics in my campaign, but not just those I agree with. I put elements that I like, and elements that if I were in that culture, would infuriate or terrify me. It's a way to experiment and explore the ideas, and how I and the players react to them. I have theocracies, homophobic cultures, racially/culturally split cities, misandrist or misogynist cultures. I do listen to players and try not to hit any really big triggers or personal issues, but I've been very fortunate to have players who also want to challenge whatever the norm or idea is. Even when I don't know it's there, they bring something to the surface. (They were in the middle of a turf war between two gangs and their first plan was just to create a social safety net to help the merchants who were suffering, rather than try to stop the war or become a third faction in the war. Not the direction I was expecting!)
I will borrow Cory's "Fun>Balance>Realism" line, and just say that yeah, if the realism of the cultures/politics is destroying the fun, the realism needs to go. But it all depends on the players, collectively.
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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Are people having trouble with Fantasy?
« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2022, 03:43:41 PM »
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Politics have always been in fantasy.

  As a student of the Milton Friedman school of economics, I have also noted that fantasy has been an integral part of politics...but I'll end there before I tread deeper into banhammer territory...

  Tailoring a campaign to suit players was never an issue when I first started RPGs in 1974. There were no scenario books, just rules and very cheap dice that wore off their corners after a few months' use. The players were just happy to play every weekend, so we solved riddles, read puzzles in the form of poems (one GM was good at long poems where the answers were spelled out using the first letter of every line) and do the math (the same GM would design dungeons using mathematical formulae to place traps) and we'd have a blast with anagrams, cryptograms and even foreign languages (we were lucky to have Russian, German, Latin and Japanese speaking players) which added significant depth to the game.
  If my last group of players ran through the Xai campaign, they wouldn't have the patience to make it past the (puzzle operated) front door of a dungeon without trying to blow it up. As a long-time advocate of "Victory Through Superior Firepower" a fantasy world can easily trump that overused card.
  While GMing a dumbed-down mindless campaign is very simple (all I had to do is present a series of targets for the players to kill until they finally faced one they couldn't beat.) Their answer was building bigger and bigger units without the bother of having to administer or command them. In short, they wanted a huge army to throw at an enemy but didn't want to have the power or responsibility of command. I them had to remind them that no matter how large the army was, none of them were qualified to command more than a tiny fraction of it, if at all (we had one player unable to figure out the sequence of combat over months of play, and his math was atrocious). In short, I was doing all the admin work to run a military unit that was normally the players' responsibility. And they paid for it. They had no idea that all of their benefits came out of the paychecks, the food, medical treatment, legal fees, equipment maintenance, the mobile brothel, they paid for all of it. They had to pay insurance for everything they possessed or did. The NPC commander became incredibly wealthy because the players didn't care about accounting or management.
They still have no idea how much they were exploited...but as a GM, gaming was almost like babysitting and I suddenly realized that since the group was mostly younger veterans, I could see what a modern NCO has to put up with...Lol.   
   
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu