Sunday, May 30, 2010

Really? You're Effing Kidding Me.

Some well meaning reader has pointed out to me that there was a protracted discussion on another blog regarding my erstwhile post a couple of weeks back about peasants and my world's class structure.  I am loathe to post the link, given that my regard for the blogger has dipped about as low as is possible, but you can find it on Monsters and Manuals.  That's as much advertising as I intend to do.  I wouldn't recommend chasing it down ... the discussion is between a very silly person and a person who is obviously intelligent (since he has, rightly, a very low opinion of me) but whose willingness to beat his head against the wall baffles me utterly.

It seems to me that I've made a very poor choice in choosing the word 'peasant' to refer to the most impotent member of the society - the word itself is charged, it seems, with so much meaning that I was a fool to call my weakly minded, poorly educated, unhealthy, socially distasteful world inhabitants by that name.  I should have picked some other moniker ... but I did not see any need to refer to 68% of my population as the 'snot-people.'  Still, that might have provoked less reaction.

It has been argued by some that I am trying to create a 'ultra-realistic model of the world,' and that it is impossible to do that, and therefore I am deluded and wasting my time.  Huh.  I'm not sure where it came from that the real world was remotely of any interest to me.  I am trying to create a D&D World.  I am not trying, on any level, to create a representation of the actual world in any way, shape or capacity.  Where it comes to D&D, and to this blog for that matter, I really don`t care if I`m creating an 'accurate' model in any sense of the world.  What I am actually doing is creating a basis for rolling dice to determine what type of person one might encounter.  If you are on a random road somewhere in my world, I'm suggesting that it's grossly more likely that one would meet a peasant before one met any other type of person.  And if you were in a throne room, on the other hand ... well, that should be obvious.

What the difference between this model and any other encounter table would be, I haven't a clue.  I only want a little more rationale for why the number is '01-68' than that I pulled it out of my ass.

It has also been argued - with the fervor of dogmatic belief - that 3d6 is somehow the only legitimate basis for rolling stats, period.  I am astounded at this, for even the Dungeon Master's Guide, written by that asshole Gygax, says quite clearly (p.11):
"While it is possible to generate some fairly playable characters by rolling 3d6, there is often an extended period of attempts at finding a suitable one due to quirks of the dice.  Furthermore, these rather marginal characters tend to have short life expectancy - which tends to discourage new players, as does having to make do with some character of a race and/or class which he or she really can't or won't identify with."
He then goes on to suggest four methods of rolling characters, all of which are designed to make characters which are clearly above the average ... plus other comments about NPCs that suggest from the outset that player characters are clearly meant to be 'better' than the common man.  Then there is this little gem, same page:
"You should, of course, set the ability scores of those NPCs you will use as parts of the milieu, particularly those of high level and power.  Scores for high level NPCs must be high - how else could these figures have risen so high?"
Now, certainly Gygax gives further rules for how to do this, but frankly I came to the conclusion that his rules were shit and rather simple-minded.  So taking the spirit of what he wrote above (the boldface is my own), I came up with my own methodology in order to create a more meaningful D&D world.

Not, as has been suggested, to make any 'model' for anything else.

Now and then, I firmly believe these bloggers get their heads so far and deep up their own asses that they fail to remember that the reason we do all this work is to create a more playable, deeper game.  And not to satisfy the rectum-derived philosophical leanings of people (names not given here) that have zero to do with D&D.

So, to recap:
  • Heard: a lot of noise about the way die rolling has always been done.
  • Not Heard: specific reasons why the players would find the modified stats for NPCs unplayable or impractical.


fauxcrye said...

If it makes you feel better someone once told me villain was a classiest word.

noisms said...

Leaving aside all your customary bluster (you're so clearly a perfectly nice person when not in this internet persona it's impossible to take offence at entries like this), I understand perfectly the goal of wanting to create a more playable and deeper game.

In my opinion randomness provides this by providing a springboard for creativity which artificially restricting the range of possibilities does not provide to as great an extent. The argument is almost entirely about the playability of D&D, not about philosophical leanings (rectally derived or otherwise), though philosophical skepticism/pragmatism provides a backdrop.