Demographics 14: Mechanics!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Brovo, Jul 20, 2016.

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What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?

  1. I only play in role plays which contain stats & traits.

  2. I prefer role plays with stats & traits over those without them.

  3. I prefer role plays without stats & traits over those that have them.

  4. I only play in role plays which do not contain stats & traits.

  5. I've never played in a PbPRP (Forum) roleplay with stats or traits before.

  6. I've never played in a PbPRP (Forum) roleplay without stats or traits before.

Results are only viewable after voting.
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  1. @Staff: Keep in mind that (with Diana's permission and Astaroth overlooking it) I'm posting threads in GC first, leaving them there for a week, and then moving them to RP Help & Discussion after! This way, my demographics threads can have the widest breadth of community input without asking for unfair administration favouratism. Thanks. :ferret:

    Special Thanks: @Hana & @RedWillow who are helpers on the Demographics project.

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    Demographics
    Demographics threads are, essentially, an attempt to record the community's thoughts and feelings on RP-related subject matter via a series of votes. Iwaku's tastes, habits, et cetera. If you want further information on prior demographics threads, you can find the demographics hub thread here.

    Demo threads are not an appropriate place for hardcore multipage debates. You can ask questions about each other's positions, but keep them professional in tone. Otherwise, the spirit of the demographics threads will be lost. They're meant to sample the community and put it into an easily digestible form of numbers that anybody can look at later when creating their own RP threads or when curious about Iwaku's general demographics. If you're really interested in discussing the subject matter, create your own discussion thread. I would be delighted if demographics threads started to spawn further topics of interest by the community itself.


    Previous Community Choice Poll

    • A. Pace: 1
    • B. Politics: 0
    • C. Mechanics: 2 (Winner--Coin Toss!)
    • D. Power Levels: 0
    • E. RP Completion: 1
    • F. Romance: Pursuer vs Pursued: 1
    • G. Good vs Evil: 0
    • H. Relationship Types: 2
    • I. Surprise me: 1


    If you want to know why there were no demographics threads for a month, simply look at the latest update post (update 16) in the Demographics Hub thread to get your answer why.

    Question: What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?
    Clarity: Essentially, what is your general preference for role plays? Do you prefer role plays which contain stats & traits to fill out, or do you prefer role plays without them? If so, how strongly do you prefer one or the other? There is no neutral option to prevent indecisiveness from bludgeoning the poll's results.

    Additional Questions
    • Q. Would you prefer a stats & traits system that is static (without dice) or dynamic (with dice)?
    • Q. What do you feel is the most appropriate use of stats & traits systems in a forum-based role play?
    • Q. Do you think certain genres fit stats & traits better than others? If so, give an example of a genre where it's better used, and a genre where it's not appropriate.
    • Q. Do you think tabletop systems port over well to a forum? Do you prefer to create your own, or use a system custom-crafted by a GM?

    Notice!: The Community Choice Poll is being redone into a second version next week. Next week, I'm going to rerun demographics 09--roleplay longevity to un-fuck the poll from a mistake I made that allowed it to be trolled into uselessness. At the same time, the new CCP will be released. Assuming nothing goes terribly wrong like it did last month, expect things to come out Sunday. :ferret:
     
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  2. Question: What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?
    Clarity: Essentially, what is your general preference for role plays? Do you prefer role plays which contain stats & traits to fill out, or do you prefer role plays without them? If so, how strongly do you prefer one or the other? There is no neutral option to prevent indecisiveness from bludgeoning the poll's results.

    It depends if you're talking about Tabletop Roleplays or Forum Roleplays.
    For Forum Roleplays I'd rather go without mechanics for two main reasons.

    1. Forums RP's are more Narrative based by nature. Where I feel trying to stat it only put's a restriction on one's ability to write.
    2. Mechanics to be enforced often require back and fourth management to make sure no one's breaking anything mechanically. Or alternatively two players can't engage without each other independently much because so much is reliant on GM approval. And because of the nature of time-delays between posts on a forum that can be rather cumbersome.

    Granted, most people address #2 by following KISS. Where it's not really a system in itself but just a general baseline like "5 points in blade" or "Proficiency in Engineering". Which works a lot better, but still suspect to the same problems just on a much smaller scale. So simply going without said mechanics are still preferable.

    Tabletop however has the real time interaction in place, so #2 isn't a problem at all. And #1 isn't much a concern either because by nature those RP's are more Mechanic focused, because it's a lot less like writing a book and a lot more like playing a game. It just happens to be a game where you make your own story as you go.


    Q. Would you prefer a stats & traits system that is static (without dice) or dynamic (with dice)?

    With Forums: Just keep it Static. The simpler you can make the mechanics the quicker people can focus on the Narrative.
    With Tabletop: Dice. Since it's more of a game by nature you need add some degree of chance to it or else it becomes more formula based than interactive.

    Q. What do you feel is the most appropriate use of stats & traits systems in a forum-based role play?


    If it has to be used? Just go with Proficiency levels. Not so few that it becomes too vague to be useful, but not too abundant that it floods it.

    Something like this could work:
    Naturally Bad < Not Proficient < Some Training < Proficient < Master

    That gives enough that people have a good idea of what each mean, but not so many it becomes redundant. Plus, if the GM could site examples of each of these per skill that could do wonders to clarify confusion.

    Q. Do you think certain genres fit stats & traits better than others? If so, give an example of a genre where it's better used, and a genre where it's not appropriate.

    Usually when you're using Mechanics it's because some major conflict is to be expected, may it be hero vs villain, some war, players fighting each other etc. So what you really need to look for is Genre's that involve constant conflict on a scale where stating it might be useful. And those genre's generally seem to be Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Investigation or some sort of Historical Conflict.

    Genre's that doesn't become too useful in though is Real Life Simulators (School RP, Family RP etc.) cause those are much more about writing mundane day to day life where the worst conflict one might get is taxes, or the straightener burned your hair.

    Q. Do you think tabletop systems port over well to a forum?

    Not at all, for reasons I mainly addressed above that basically boil down to reaction time from mechanic interactions. Where in D&D a Survival check may take 5 seconds because you only need to roll and get approval, it might take several hours (or days) for the GM to see the attempt and respond.

    And that's just assuming you're one of the shorter post RP's where posts describe individual actions. If you're in the more advanced levels where a ton of different actions come in the same post? You either need to plan specific times to meet up and effectively collab, or you have to break those posts up into tiny segments to be approved one at a time.

    Qa. Do you prefer to create your own, or use a system custom-crafted by a GM?'

    I'm a big fan of making my own systems in general (hell, a current project I'm working I hope to make a living off of is doing exactly that for tabletop) so usually if I'm able to get my hands on it I'd rather just take charge of said mechanics myself. That being said though, the GM has a specific vision in mind for their world and need the mechanics to be rather specific to have it work then I have no issues letting them design it, I could learn some things from it any ways.

    This is all being assumed we have to do mechanics in a forum RP though mind you, because if we're focusing on forums specifically my ideal thing is always going to be no Mechanics. This is the wrong type of RP for it.
     
  3. I prefer to have them, but they're not mandatory for me. Traits are the more important one. They give a character clearly defined strengths (and ideally weaknesses too) that the GM and other players can glance at for a quick reference of what exactly the character can do, and that's nice to have.
    I lean slightly toward preferring a dynamic system with dice. Having an objective judge for success and failure of important actions is nice. I like it when my characters can actually fail, rather than just having everything go their way as tends to happen in some roleplays. That said, I'm perfectly happy with a static system so long as I'm confident in the GM's ability to be reasonable about deciding how things go.
    Combat and survival stuff. Stats and traits are a nice way of making sure combat power is reasonably balanced, and if a roleplay also has important survival elements (say needing to scrounge for food in a post-apocalyptic world) then being able to have a firm list of what character can and cannot do well is useful. Note that both of these areas are closely linked to character death chances, and I would say that stats and traits work best in roleplays where character death is a very real possibility.
    Oh, for sure. They work very well in the fantasy genre because they're a firm list of capabilities in worlds that are often very different than reality, everything from superhuman powers to magical artifacts, and in a world were you have that kind of shit floating around it's good to know what each player character actually has. Such systems have little to no place in roleplays that are mostly romance stuff, since that should come down to personality and character interactions rather than "oh, Jimbob has 19 Charisma and rolled an 18, so Susan is totally smitten with him." Also, to go for more movie/TV genres than literary, action is great for stats and traits whereas they're unnecessary for slice of life things.
    They do not port over well, but they can sort of work with some simplification. Most tabletop systems revolve around live play and turn-based combat, and that's kind of a pain in the ass for forum-based roleplaying. Trying to straight port something like D&D onto a forum would be a nightmare, but if you trim some of the fat and tweak combat to involve everyone acting at once rather than one at a time it can be fine. I think minimalist ports of tabletop systems work the best really, such as taking only the stats from D&D and using them alone for skill checks, then simple contested rolls of whatever makes sense when it comes to a confrontation (a barbarian's strength for an attack versus a paladin's constitution for attempting to block, a bard's charisma to persuade versus a wizard's intelligence to recognize the bullshit, etc).

    In the end though, I prefer systems that are custom-crafted for the forum environment. You really don't need much more than a balanced trait system (roughly equal number of strengths and weaknesses for each character) and a simple dice system to make it work well.
     
  4. Stats and traits; including personality traits and likes/dislikes, or just typical stats like you would find in an RPG?

    Where's the option for liking both equally? ):
     
    1. Typical stats like in an RPG. (Str/Agi/Wis/et cetera.)
    2. Generally, people will use neutral options in polls when they don't want to take a particular side in an issue. It's the "I don't give a fuck" or "I refuse to take sides" option. Which, for some things, is fine. However, mechanics... It's... Not, really okay. You need to pick'n'stick to a formula, even if you have only a slight preference, it's generally preferred to express that preference than to choose a neutral option. It tells GM's which way to throw their dart if they want to aim for the popular choice, or that they may need to angle differently to reach a niche crowd. Same goes for 1x1 players. :ferret:
     
  5. Hmm I see. I personally disagree and am strongly neutral to the whole concept (I'm happy with/without stats depending on whether or not it suits the roleplay in question), but thanks for answering. ^^
     
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  6. I hesitated with this poll, only because of my Altera Arcana RP, which some could argue does have "traits"... But, I've emphasized many times before that AA really isn't mechanics-based at all, and so I wouldn't consider the traits in that RP to be the same as the traits I would immediately think of with "traits and stats" in a tabletop setting. So, I voted "I've never done a forum RP with stats or traits before".

    I'll echo what others have said about tabletops not porting over to forums very well. Having participated in tabletop games in-person before, I have a hard time imagining that in a forum setting -- unless it's the sort of thing where everyone has to be online at once to progress, sort of like a CHARP, and with short, simple posts instead of long, descriptive ones. But even then, I just wouldn't have the mental stamina to even participate in a game like that for too long. There's a reason I don't do tabletops super often -- they take a lot out of me. o_o

    In any case, I just think forum RPing is much more well-suited to free-form RP's that are more dependent on the players' imaginations and narratives than on numbers and mechanics.
     
  7. Never been into the stats thing. Only do it in actual video RPGs. Plus basically zero of my role-plays occur in a setting where fleshing out stats would make sense.
     
  8. I voted this option: I prefer role plays without stats & traits over those that have them. Soo I guess that's my preference. But I don't really dislike stats and traits.
    I'd prefer a system with dice, that's for sure.
    I'd say in combat for the most part, along with survival.
    Definitely! Superhero RPs for example. A slice of life romance RP doesn't have any need for stats. :bsmile: Not in my opinion anyway.
    Hm, I can't comment much on this because I've never used such a system before. I'm guessing anything really can work, depending on the GM and the players.
     
  9. What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?
    Clarity: Essentially, what is your general preference for role plays? Do you prefer role plays which contain stats & traits to fill out, or do you prefer role plays without them? If so, how strongly do you prefer one or the other? There is no neutral option to prevent indecisiveness from bludgeoning the poll's results.
    • In forum roleplay I don't really like to have stats. It makes the characters feel too rigid, in my opinion. Traits on the other hand, I quite like. Like Jorick said, having strengths and weakness clearly defined are a great thing to have for everybody involved in the game.

      Additional Questions
    • Q. Would you prefer a stats & traits system that is static (without dice) or dynamic (with dice)?
      • In a written role play I prefer it to be static. It makes for a better narrative and is easier to write.
    • Q. What do you feel is the most appropriate use of stats & traits systems in a forum-based role play?
      • Probably anything relating to combat.
    • Q. Do you think certain genres fit stats & traits better than others? If so, give an example of a genre where it's better used, and a genre where it's not appropriate.
      • I've played Sci-Fi games where the stats and traits worked really well, but really it comes down to how it's implemented and if it's more of a boon than a hindrance. Off the top of my head the only genres that I can think of that stats and traits wouldn't work well in, even if well implemented, are Slice of Life, and Romance.
    • Q. Do you think tabletop systems port over well to a forum? Do you prefer to create your own, or use a system custom-crafted by a GM?
      • It depends on the GM. And the game. And the players. There's so many variables that this question that it would take me a while to break it down and come up with a coherent answer.
     
  10. I answered to preference to roleplays without them.

    I know, who am I and what have I done to Kestrel?

    Just the truth of the matter is, systems are just another way to mess up your roleplay. When it's done well, it adds a great level of fun, keeping track of progression, encourages, goals, gives rewards for accomplishments, etcetera. And then there's EXP per post systems, which I can confidently say suck, because I tried it. As well as a gazillion other ways to fuck up in an RP climate where RP's in general suffer enough issues that the average game doesn't make it past it's two to three week life expectancy. A good system enhances a good game with a good GM, but a bad system ruins absolutely everything. Aaaaaand since you didn't specify he details or supposed quality of said system, I'm just gonna go by personal experience.

    idgaf. As long as it's with good measure. Like if Jimmy charges naked into an armed frontline, natural 100s aren't gonna save him. Likewise, if the GM is capable, I'm fine with them deciding outcomes also, but it's nice to throw a little randomness in there sometimes.

    Behind closed doors in a private room.

    Er, I mean... General skill-checks, X requirement to carry out Y action with Z rate of success. Don't apply this to charisma checks as hard cause then players get lazy with their writing, but would apply to more basic concepts like can John hit his target if he is only this dexterous? Most obvious use is combat, but lots of sports would work as well.

    Generally where skill checks are important, so RPs with a focus on physical actions. Whereas RP's that don't focus on skill checks to succeed at all are better off not using them. So, more action-based RP's work well with them. Those that focus more on dialogue exclusively, less so.

    Come to think of it, what about skill checks in Libertine RP? Please tell me I just gave someone ideas with that. It would be hilarious.

    Lack of experience with tabletop obviously prevents me from answering this question.
     
  11. Question: What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?

    I prefer Forum Role Plays without stats and traits, since my approach is always to see forum gaming as a way to collaboratively write a novel, rather than go dungeon crawling.

    That being said, straight-up turn-based D&D-style games based on an actual tabletop game absolutely require stats and traits, since all you're doing is taking the tabletop experience and translating it into what's essentially a Play By Post.

    Additional Questions
    • Q. Would you prefer a stats & traits system that is static (without dice) or dynamic (with dice)?
      • Static

    • Q. What do you feel is the most appropriate use of stats & traits systems in a forum-based role play?
      • Only use them in games that use an appropriately supported source. I.e., D&D, Pathfinder, GURPS, etc. Mainly because all you're doing is taking the tabletop experience and converting it into a Play By Post experience.

    • Q. Do you think certain genres fit stats & traits better than others? If so, give an example of a genre where it's better used, and a genre where it's not appropriate.
      • Nah. I've come to learn that pretty much anything can be turned into a tabletop game. And all tabletop games can be turned into Play By Post. So all are appropriate. Its just I prefer not to play them.

    • Q. Do you think tabletop systems port over well to a forum? Do you prefer to create your own, or use a system custom-crafted by a GM?
      • Tabletops port over just fine. I just prefer not to play them on the forum.
     
  12. Question: What is your preference concerning stats & traits in role plays?
    It is entirely dependent on if it makes the RP more fun. Having stats and traits is only interesting if they exist for a specific reason and do not cause undue creative restriction or delay.

    Additional Questions

    Q. Would you prefer a stats & traits system that is static (without dice) or dynamic (with dice)?

    The thing you have to realize with dice is that it is a tool to remove player agency from the success or failure of an action. You always have to ask yourself, "Would using dice in this situation could the player to lose immersion?" If the answer is yes, consider a different solution.

    Q. What do you feel is the most appropriate use of stats & traits systems in a forum-based role play?

    Stats and traits are a great way to have a non-arbitrary way of describing the differences between characters. This is especially important if you want players to take roles and exploit their character's strengths. Conversely, avoid stats/traits in any RP in which specialization and emphasis on character differences are nonmaterial.

    Q. Do you think certain genres fit stats & traits better than others? If so, give an example of a genre where it's better used, and a genre where it's not appropriate

    I think so, but it might be misleading to say it that way. Some genres happen to fit the strengths of stat/trait systems more often than others because some genres more frequently place emphasis on specialization and character differences. This is why Fantasy has a high likelihood of using stats/traits, while the Horror genre rarely has such a systems. In horror, the characters and their differences tend to take a backseat to the attribute of the challenges they face. In fantasy, there is generally a lot of time and attention focused on the attributes of characters. However, the genre doesn't determine if a stat/trait system is appropriate. Rather, the importance of character difference determines if stats/traits are important. (even if they are, such a system might not be introduced in favor of simplicity)

    Q. Do you think tabletop systems port over well to a forum? Do you prefer to create your own, or use a system custom-crafted by a GM?

    I haven't tried this, but just as a shot in the dark, I couldn't imagine it working well. Tabletop systems are very much about playing a game, while forum RPs are about writing a narrative. If you've ever seen what happens when people try to turn successful video games into movies, you encounter a similar transition problem. What made one successful might not translate to making the other successful. I think the transition would be easier than that of a game to a movie, but difficult nonetheless.
     
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