Month: October 2016

Why are “rules for rules” important, especially for RPGs?  Because it enables greater player agency in the game.  A card game like “War” has rules, but there are no decisions to be made, so it’s just taking the player along for a ride.  “Monopoly” lets the player make a few decisions, but there’s so much randomness that agency is almost nullified.  You buy and improve the best property you can afford as soon as possible, because to do otherwise is to lose money in the long term.


Rule coherency is more important as the rules become more complex.  “Monopoly” is a simple game:  Roll dice for movement, and where you land has a limited set of results (buy property, pay rent, draw card).  Because of this simplicity, these rules’ interactions do not need to be “internally consistent”;  they can be arbitrary, yet they also do not conflict.  There are no meta-rules needed.  Dice rolling does not interfere with rent, etc.  However, if you were to evolve more rules, or add new branches, these would either need to be organic and consistent, or would require meta-rules to resolve conflicts.

Sneak attacks and attacks of opportunity, or really any combat advantage that applies to thieves/rogues only, are asinine.  Warriors/fighters are supposed to be the epitome of martial combat, so why would a class defined by stealth and finesse have any kind of combat skill not available to a warrior?  Yet another ridiculous legacy from even pre-1e, when fighters were presumed to have some sort of code of honor that made something like a backstab “illegal”.  Now in these days when thieves’ roles are so poorly served that they must be provided with more combat utility, BS/AoO is just a crutch to do so.

The reason we codify a game’s rules is so that we can enjoy again something that we’ve already discovered we enjoy.  It would hardly be fun or efficient if every time we got together with friends to play, we had to invent or re-assemble the rules from scratch.  We’re okay with a few house rule variants here or there, but for the most part, when we sit down to play poker or warhammer or d&d, we like to assume a reliable foundation.  This is one reason why I dislike it when companies reinvent a game under the same name.

Following up on the previous post, BG has similar divisions in the types of mods, but there’s much fewer of certain types, while some are obsessively overrepresented.  Because IE is not friendly to “hardcoded” modding like engine tweaks or new animations, there are a paltry selection of these.  Taimon and Ascension64 gave us the best of the the former, and Erephine, Miloch, and others tried to make the latter easier, but both are still a pain in the ass.  You’d think a game nearly two decades old would be friendlier to mod by now, especially with it still being actively developed.