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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:55 pm 
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The pretentiousness that brought us the classic Usenet post is back again, with a vengeance!

Also man i didn't know the 80s in gaming were nothing but dungeon delving and dragon fighting as far as the eye could see. Guess that Traveller (1977), Call of Cthulhu (1981), Champions (1981), Mekton (1984), Paranoia (1984), Twilight 2000 (1984), MechWarrior (1986), Star Wars (1987), Cyberpunk (1988), and Shadowrun (1989) were all some kind of collective delusion. That's just the games i know, and i wasn't even born then! Hell even the specific thing that World of Darkness is, playing supernatural predators in the a dark vision of the modern world, was done first by Nightlife (1990), from which Vampire the Masquerade borrows heavily.

It's true that White Wolf was a really big deal in the 90s and had a lot of influence on the gaming industry, and arguably even pop culture, but get a grip man. It wasn't the second coming, the reality is that it was the right thing at the right time. It didn't create the wave, it just happened to get on the surfboard just as it was cresting and then stayed on it all the way down. That's certainly notable and something to be proud of, but the tone of that trailer almost makes it sound like White Wolf invented punk and goth.

That entire thing is nothing but hilarious self-masturbatory bullshit. Not even mad, just: :lol: :rofl:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:06 am 
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Those games existed, but dungeon crawling a la D&D really dominated the 80s. It was the WoW of 80s table top RPGs, it got the big share and everyone else got crumbs. You'll notice that Shadowrun and Cyberpunk came in at the end of the 90s. Vampire really surged when D&D hit the dulldrums in the 90s. They may be full of shit, but they're not wrong when they say the 80s was dominated by dungeon crawling and that Vampire had a big impact in the 90s.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:33 am 
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The thing is that even D&D there had already been a shift away from just dungeon crawling and towards more story based approaches, most evident in the Dragonlance setting and its modules. It's not that White Wolf didn't have a big impact in the industry and became the big thing of the 90s. As i recall the World of Darkness did surpass D&D's sales, until the publication of D&D 3rd Edition revitalized the franchise enough to take back the top spot. The problem is that they're overstating the case. Again i feel that while the WoD is legitimately innovative, it also benefited immensely from coming out at a time where it could take advantage of building trends that were not being adequately fulfilled by existing products.

It's one thing to fluff your feathers about being a legitimately awesome game that had a big impact on the industry (for example, it brought a lot more women into gaming). It's another thing to be so pretentious about it as to put forth the notion that the gaming world was a dull wasteland barren of innovation and populated only by losers, until you came along as the glorious saviour to make gaming good and cool.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:58 am 
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Yes, there were more story based games in the 80s like Dragonlance, but Dragonlance modules were story linked dungeon crawls so yes dungeon crawling was still the thing. Yes, they're exaggerating but they're still basically right.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:39 am 
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Well sure, Dragonlance was still D&D, and D&D has always been centred around dungeon crawls. The point is that the trend toward more story based approaches was already there, to the point that even D&D was trying to adjust to it, even if poorly. There were also all these other games which were not dungeon crawling, some of which did have primarily narrative focus. Pendragon comes to mind, as it's mainly about telling romantic tales of bold knights and fair ladies. It even has a more developed personality mechanics than Storyteller games ever did. One of the reasons why Vampire got so huge it got its own TV show, while Pendragon remains obscure, is that Pendragon didn't have any growing subcultures it would appeal to, while Vampire did. Other reasons include that while D&D is a clunky system for doing Arthurian Romance, you can do it, while you can't do Anne Rice with it at all. Also that D&D had not yet gotten stale in 1985 the way it had by 1991.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:15 am 
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Yeah, they existed but D&D was still the big kid on the block. You're right, the trend toward more story based games was there but it didn't really hit until the 90s. There summary, although self serving, is still basically correct. They just overplayed their part.

By the way, I have seen d20 try to do World of Darkness. It's horrible, even by d20 standards.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:08 pm 
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Yes well my argument is not that they're fundamentally wrong, but that they're overplaying their part to a degree that goes past bragging and into overwrought pretentiousness. As i said repeatedly, White Wolf was genuinely a big deal which had lasting effects on the industry. It just wasn't a sudden ray of light that parted the dull fog of design stagnation, and lifted roleplaying out from the loser pits and up into the heights of coolness.

You mean Monte Cook's World of Darkness? That one is amusing for the sheer scope of its multilevel failure. Not only can it not manage even passable mechanics for doing d20 WoD, which is pretty impressive considering one of d20's few virtues is its flexibility. It also completely butchers the WoD setting in a way that shows utter incomprehension of what its appeal is in the first place. If it had just been WoD with d20 mechanics it would have been dull and pointless at worst, but instead it's a hackish not-WoD with shitty d20 mechanics to boot. It had no redeeming features or appeal to any sector of the gaming community, which is why it quickly died an ignoble death.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:53 am 
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Correction: d20 is not good at flexibility. It can do a mediocre job or bad job at a variety of settings. The assumptions baked into the mechanics suck less at epic fantasy than most other settings, so its wretchedness is semi-hidden. One of the reasons 5th edition is better than other types of D&D was the designers stopped and considered the possibility that having everything advance linearly to infinity might not be a good idea.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:19 am 
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No, the fact that d20 can be consistently mediocre at everything it does while still remaining comfortable and familiar to those who are used to it is precisely what makes it flexible. If you can't manage to deliver a mediocre but familiar playing experience with d20 then you are full of suck and fail and i will laugh at you. Which is one of the reasons why Monte Cook's World of Darkness gets my mockery until the end of time. The other is that holy shit how can you fail to get a setting at such a fundamental level? That said, it is possible to actually make a good game with d20, because Mutants & Masterminds exists and it is legit amazing. By some strange coincidence, it's the only d20 game i have ever actually played. However, its awesomeness required enough changes to the system that it loses some of the familiarity that makes d20 so bankable. Needless to say, that's not a downside as far as i'm concerned.

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Last edited by Lys on Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:27 am 
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d20 isn't consistently mediocre. It can rise as high as mediocrity, but being bad to mediocre at anything doesn't make you good at being flexible.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:51 am 
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Perhaps you have a wider exposure to d20 systems than i do, but consistently mediocre has been my experience reading them. As far as i can tell the entire point d20 is that it can deliver mediocre but familiar in a variety of contexts. It rarely has anything else to offer beyond that, and when it does it's usually by sacrificing many of the similar to D&D aspects.

Also correction to the above, i also played Star Wars d20 (pre-SAGA). While i remember it being okay, it was so long ago and i was so young that i do not trust my judgement on that. At the very least splitting Hit Points into Vitality and Wounds was a significant improvement over normal approach. Which reiterates the point that d20 is only good when it steps away from D&D.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:01 am 
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d20's strength isn't its performance, it's players' familiarity with the system. d20 is consistently pretty terrible unless its hacked until it isn't d20 anymore. It sucks slightly less as epic fantasy where you wade through a millions orcs. The pre-Saga edition SW was playable, but it was still problematic.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:30 pm 
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This thread amuses me. First we disagree about exactly how pretentious New White Wolf is being, and then we disagree about how exactly how bad d20 is. We don't actually disagree on whether the one is pretentious and the other bad.

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