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Thread: What Happened to The Elder Scrolls and Hardcore Crawlers?

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    Default What Happened to The Elder Scrolls and Hardcore Crawlers?

    To start with a pedantic point I refuse to call any computer game an RPG. Milton-Bradley has produced more RPG-like games than any computer claimant. Thesr are adventure and dungeon crawl games.

    That aside, someone mentioned in a thread mentioned that early Elder Scrolls game bore a resemblance to RuneQuest rules, which honestly never occurred to me. It led to a question I am not the first NeoGrog to wonder: what happened to computer crawlers?

    Compare: Fallout to Fallout 3, Baldur's Gate to Dragon Age, Daggerfall to Skyrim, Goldbox to Neverwinter Nights.

    In every case these properties and developers went from hardcore (no 'world levels with you' nonsense) as o what are basically a linear, impossible to lose version of God of War with more dialogue. I'm not even saying the latter games are bad, but they have basically nothing in common with their predecessors except spells and swords.
    There are still independent companies producing these hardcore sandbox games - Avernum comes to mind - but they're comically niche. It looks like not only thr broader world of gaming but the originators of hexcrawl/tabletop rulesets have utterly abandoned all pretence of making anything like the classics. Is it just me or did the exact same thing happen to Wizards of the Coast?

    To speculate why I might say: 1. early computer crawlers were run on machines generally owned by nerds, who were also in the height of the classic Glorantha and D&D tabletop craze; 2 fantasy fiction was a lot less stereotyped and a lot more brutal at the time; 3 old computers couldn't handle more graphics. An expansion meant more mechanical and object content that didn't have to be loaded unless a player had it or was near it (towns, monsters, npc dialogue). This meant that a new rpg or expansion would be almost entirely real content, I.e. not skins for your character or shinier mountains; 4 back then gamers didn't have a lot of options, people who didn't like high lethality games requiring a ton of thought and even mapping skills simply whined and got ignored.

    You fast forward and the industry is catering to masses who have access to computers, who don't care about tabletop RPGs and would rather have dynamic lighting for the trol ls ballsack than options like climbing and door busting (and it is the 3d environments that are the biggest constraint on replicating and the huge scale and interactivty of old games).

    Though not exactly parallel, I do feel like the same thing happened to the RPG market. I have talked to both tabletop and PC gamers who can not imagine anyone would want high lethality, interpretative rules and 'unbalanced' character races. On the tabletop front, the castration of GM authority by rules mongering and concessions to players who want to play unique superheroes have also altered the expectations of many gamers, in part because they are drawing on video game and softcore fantasy tropes.

    Of course there's nothing to stop us from playing old games, tabletop or computer, (aside from an inability to find and run them) but I think that the days of me caring about new, mass marketed products are over.

    And Chaosium does seem like an exception, tabletop wise, as does GURPS, but though I know there are players I've never met a single one at the local hobby stores. Its almost ALL Pathfinder and World od Darkness.
    Last edited by QueenJadisOfCharn; December 20th, 2013 at 17:25.

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    As a matter of interest, where are based? D100 games are fairly popular in the UK and the rest of Europe.

    Gaming has moved on over the years. No longer does every adventure need to be dangerous to have an impact, the constant threat of death has been replaced with the constant moving-ahead of the storyline. It's not a bad thing, really.

    If you play BRP/Legend/RQ then you can make things as deadly or soft as you want, mainly by varying the use of Hero Points and their equivalents. My players get just as big a rush from avoiding a deadly situation using a Hero Point than from making a critical roll to do the same.
    Simon Phipp - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982.
    Many Systems, One Family

    RQ Merrie England (Medieval RPG): http://www.alephtargames.com/index.p...land&Itemid=57 and http://merrieengland.soltakss.com/

    RQ/BRP: www.soltakss.com/index.html
    RQ Alternate Earth: Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/alternateearthrq/ Website: http://alternateearthrq.soltakss.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenJadisOfCharn View Post
    You fast forward and the industry is catering to masses who have access to computers, who don't care about tabletop RPGs and would rather have dynamic lighting for the trol ls ballsack than options like climbing and door busting (and it is the 3d environments that are the biggest constraint on replicating and the huge scale and interactivty of old games).

    Though not exactly parallel, I do feel like the same thing happened to the RPG market. I have talked to both tabletop and PC gamers who can not imagine anyone would want high lethality, interpretative rules and 'unbalanced' character races. On the tabletop front, the castration of GM authority by rules mongering and concessions to players who want to play unique superheroes have also altered the expectations of many gamers, in part because they are drawing on video game and softcore fantasy tropes.

    Of course there's nothing to stop us from playing old games, tabletop or computer, (aside from an inability to find and run them) but I think that the days of me caring about new, mass marketed products are over.

    And Chaosium does seem like an exception, tabletop wise, as does GURPS, but though I know there are players I've never met a single one at the local hobby stores. Its almost ALL Pathfinder and World od Darkness.
    You're preaching to the choir here. From my experience, the only way to get good players these days is to cherry pick the best and then retrain them with a good system, like BRP or RuneQuest. A good example of the attitude to which you refer, I've noticed, is in regard to interactions with civil authorities in games. I have found that many young RPGers feel entitled to having the GM hand wave consequences with authorities; something I never do.
    You can follow me on Google+ here: https://www.google.com/+PaulVasquezE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_Va View Post
    You're preaching to the choir here. From my experience, the only way to get good players these days is to cherry pick the best and then retrain them with a good system, like BRP or RuneQuest. A good example of the attitude to which you refer, I've noticed, is in regard to interactions with civil authorities in games. I have found that many young RPGers feel entitled to having the GM hand wave consequences with authorities; something I never do.
    I am sort of an anti-narrativist when I've had a chance to GM, I don't impose any story and just let the players do what the want. However, this means the world has to respond in order to make the game meaningful and it's also highly dependent on playerz who can cast themselves in the role of a sword and sorcery protagonist without convenient moral tropes or plot prodding. A lot of players would flounder, as many do in sandbox video games, but those cherry picked players make up for it. The trouble is finding them!

    As dor Soltakks and Fate Points, as with my lack of narrative drive I also lack a desire to narrativise combat. I've hardly ever played BRP, but I've played AD&D and Hackmaster and the game wouldn't be the same to me without the potential to die in one hit (granted it's very abstract in AD&D). Fate points/hero points just don't suit my taste, if you get blinded by a spear, tough luck buddy! Now you're a blind hero.
    Last edited by QueenJadisOfCharn; December 21st, 2013 at 12:04.

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    On top of that, I find that players who are most likely to be into special snowflakes and 'narrative' stuff are also the ones most likely to be hypersensitive liberals who whine about ingalitarianism and intolerance in games, as though some orc or noble has some obligation to pander to their political neurosis. People who get offended by 'sexism' in ARPGs can **** right off, I'm with Hackmaster on STR penalties for women. I should know, I'm 4'10" and under 90, anyone who thinks I have an equal chance to be as strong as Ragnar Bloodaxe is a freaking nutjob.

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    Well, you lost me there. I'm as liberal as one can get; I consider myself a narrativist; and I hate players who whine about game balance, grittiness, etc. Moreover, most of the players I've known who do so are conservatives who egocentrically expect the universe to revolve around them a la Ender's Game.
    You can follow me on Google+ here: https://www.google.com/+PaulVasquezE

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    The American political ideology is one big mass of egalitarian nonsense IMO, I don't really distinguish them. They all complain about conspiracies against the beknighted masses. I lean more nihilist/egoist myself. So when I say, 'liberal' I mean it quite accurately, as anyone espousing any variant of liberalism, whether they be Jacobins or Neocons (same difference to me). I probably have more in common with Conan or Melkor than I do with any existing political or moral ideology.

    I basically refuse to play with people who expect moral scruples to be reflected in the Universe. Ruthless, indifferent and all about power - that's what makes S&S so much better than high fantasy.

    The SN and user title aren't entirely tongue-in-cheek for me.
    Last edited by QueenJadisOfCharn; December 21st, 2013 at 18:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenJadisOfCharn View Post
    On top of that, I find that players who are most likely to be into special snowflakes and 'narrative' stuff are also the ones most likely to be hypersensitive liberals who whine about ingalitarianism and intolerance in games, as though some orc or noble has some obligation to pander to their political neurosis. People who get offended by 'sexism' in ARPGs can **** right off, I'm with Hackmaster on STR penalties for women. I should know, I'm 4'10" and under 90, anyone who thinks I have an equal chance to be as strong as Ragnar Bloodaxe is a freaking nutjob.
    I read this yesterday and said "yup, this is the dumbest thing I'll hear today." Then I said, "No, Chaot. The day is early. You're going to hear a ton of stupid things before it ends." How naive I was! It was, indeed, the dumbest thing I had encountered.

    This board is really lightly moderated. I don't think I've ever seen the Mighty Beetle (may he thrive in chitinous glory) come down and tell people how to post. It's not really needed as we are a congenial bunch. Personally, I find flinging around political insults from either sides of the isle not only toxic to a community but actively counter productive to making a point. So I ask that you channel your energies into more productive channels, just as I would if the good Mr. Paul_Va decided that to say that being a Goldwaterites or Randians inherently means your elves suck eggs.

    So can we knock out the political screeds and get on with pretending to be elves please?
    70/420

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenJadisOfCharn View Post
    To start with a pedantic point I refuse to call any computer game an RPG. Milton-Bradley has produced more RPG-like games than any computer claimant. Thesr are adventure and dungeon crawl games.
    We've lost the exclusivity to the RPG title. I personally think that's fine. People are so much more receptive to the idea of RPGs because they've been exposed to them in other media. There was a time when I grew up in the eighties where you were a pariah if you played. I've consigned myself to adding tabletop to the description of my hobby.

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenJadisOfCharn View Post
    Compare: Fallout to Fallout 3, Baldur's Gate to Dragon Age, Daggerfall to Skyrim, Goldbox to Neverwinter Nights.

    In every case these properties and developers went from hardcore (no 'world levels with you' nonsense) as o what are basically a linear, impossible to lose version of God of War with more dialogue. I'm not even saying the latter games are bad, but they have basically nothing in common with their predecessors except spells and swords.
    I'll try, I don't really play computer games much. Baldur's Gate definitely leveled up with your character though. Daggerfall absolutely did! In fact, I'm trying very hard to remember a game that didn't 'level up' with the player in one way or another. One thing I think is missing from todays games is the challenge of figuring out how to 'break' them. I gain a lot of pleasure in pushing the system and figuring out where the holes are, then exploiting the hell out of it. Today's kids just have to do a search and to figure out the optimum approach.

    Actually, this keys into one of the reasons why I don't like D20. To make an effective (in my view) character you need to plan out 20 levels ahead of time or you become sub optimum game system wise. It's too much work.

    Quote Originally Posted by QueenJadisOfCharn View Post
    Though not exactly parallel, I do feel like the same thing happened to the RPG market. I have talked to both tabletop and PC gamers who can not imagine anyone would want high lethality, interpretative rules and 'unbalanced' character races. On the tabletop front, the castration of GM authority by rules mongering and concessions to players who want to play unique superheroes have also altered the expectations of many gamers, in part because they are drawing on video game and softcore fantasy tropes.
    When I was young the whole point of playing was to not invoke the rules. You acted outside the rules so the DM had to make stuff up. If the DM picked up the dice the PCs were one step closer to death. So I would argue that modern rules systems are actually BETTER at addressing game issues than they were in the past.

    BUT, it all depends on what type of mood your in. I don't think you can categorize people as ONLY liking one style of game. If they do only like one style of play then I think they are missing out.
    70/420

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaot View Post
    This board is really lightly moderated. I don't think I've ever seen the Mighty Beetle (may he thrive in chitinous glory) come down and tell people how to post. It's not really needed as we are a congenial bunch. Personally, I find flinging around political insults from either sides of the isle not only toxic to a community but actively counter productive to making a point. So I ask that you channel your energies into more productive channels, just as I would if the good Mr. Paul_Va decided that to say that being a Goldwaterites or Randians inherently means your elves suck eggs.
    Yes, by and large this is a friendly forum, friendlier than most.

    In fact, BannedBeetle started the forum in response to an unfriendlier forum, as I remember, so he is especially tolerant of people's views and actions.



    Quote Originally Posted by Chaot View Post
    So can we knock out the political screeds and get on with pretending to be elves please?
    No need to be a troll when we can pretend to be trolls in Glorantha.
    Simon Phipp - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982.
    Many Systems, One Family

    RQ Merrie England (Medieval RPG): http://www.alephtargames.com/index.p...land&Itemid=57 and http://merrieengland.soltakss.com/

    RQ/BRP: www.soltakss.com/index.html
    RQ Alternate Earth: Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/alternateearthrq/ Website: http://alternateearthrq.soltakss.com/

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