Monday, September 24, 2012

Generating My Dungeon World Character Wrong


Ok, I gotta make a Dungeon World PC for Ian's game...
Let us now turn to the Character Generation section...
Making Dungeon World characters is quick and easy. You should all create your first characters together at the beginning of your first session. Character creation is, just like play, a kind of conversation—everyone should be there for it.
Well they aren't.
Look over the character classes and choose one that interests you. Everyone chooses a different class; there aren't two Wizards. 
Fuck that noise forever twice.

So far we have 2 ideas, one is unfeasible and one is terrible, but...hey, maybe these are both hack-around-able and inessential to the game. I am hoping they are. Really I am.

Now some people will tell you you should always play a game as-written first because by ignoring rules I am stacking the deck against it and it will break and then I won't like it and it's not its fault. Well, you got a choice: I play a version of Dungeon World where I can make up a character in the privacy of my domicile and we can have two wizards or I go "What a boring game, let's not play it." Like everyone does with all the millions of games they aren't playing because they don't sound fun.

In other words, I am being really nice to Dungeon World by not holding the obvious unappealingness and impracticality of these rules against it. Me not holding it against it and ignoring these rules may mean I somehow break some essential somethingness deep within the game, but I wasn't going to play anyway otherwise so I don't have much of a choice.
Anyway, class picked, I'm a goddamn paladin like everyone didn't already know that.

2. Choose a Race

Every class has at least two race options. Choose one. Your race gives you a special move.

Uh, wait, it only has one race under paladin which is human. I'm confused. I will live with my confusion.

3. Choose a Name

Choose your character’s name from the list.

Yes, kids, that's what it actually says: "from the list." There are 11 (deeply turgid and Latinate) choices, and if you want to be female it's down to about 4.

Now this rule is kind of like having the cover of your rulebook drawn by Jon Bogdanove--yes, it has no effect on the actual game since everyone in their right mind will ignore it, but it is such a stupid idea  (I'm gonna go ahead and call this objectively stupid, not even subjectively stupid. Like if this were Paranoia? Sure, it's funny to play a character with one of 11 names. But in this game it isn't a joke.) it suggests the people writing the game are not good at making things that are good. If anyone can think of any context where this idea is not stupid, please let me know.

This is the storygamey "game book as complete recipe" thing taken to an extreme so extreme you kind of wonder if the game will be shipped with mittens and a packed lunch.

Ok, you get it: I'm kind of terrified by this name thing.

I am pushing through it though, ok? All my favorite games have some stupid rules.

I'm trying to be fair.

I'm trying to be fair.

I'm....deep breath...ok....


4. Choose Look

Your look is your physical appearance. Choose one item from each list.

Choose one for each:

Kind Eyes, Fiery Eyes, or Glowing Eyes

Helmet, Styled Hair, or Bald

Worn Holy Symbol or Fancy Holy Symbol

Fit Body, Bulky Body, or Thin Body

Oh my god. Christfuckhatedeathfuck...

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths are now being taken by me...

They're really doubling down on this "mechanically irrelevant but aesthetically revolting" thing aren't they?

Did I mention bard is a core class? Ok...
Let's at least try to understand the logic here:

"People come to RPGs in order to emulate stories they've seen outside RPGs!" (Not true, only some people do.) (And these people are often disappointed unless they're playing storygamey games and then they're really happy.)

"Each RPG should be designed to emulate a certain genre of story!" (Ok, if you are the kind of person who is into premise 1, then I guess that would make sense.)

"D&D inaugurated its own genre of story!" (Pretty much true.)

"Let's make a game that gives you the ability to emulate that story!" (Uh....ok. I mean, there's already a few of those, but rock on, guy...)

"The best way to emulate a genre is to not just start with- but use all the cliches in it!" (Oh dear.)

Storygamey design can and has been done better than this.

Whereas a well-designed traditional RPGs gives you the cliches like a set of tools to use, not use, or replace (goblin, sword, tentacle), a well-designed story game works by pushing toward the kinds of underlying set-ups that generate genre cliches.


Unless it's a game with a comic edge like Primetime Advetures or Toon.
In literary terms saying your Paladin is named Horatius and has  "Kind Eyes, Fiery Eyes, or Glowing Eyesisn't about helping you put a story in a genre (the genre called D&D-style fantasy) it's about giving you a pastiche of D&D-style fantasy.

Deep breath.


Ok my human paladin has

Shifty eyes

Awesome hair

An off-the-rack holy symbol, and

A body like seriously why do you care, character sheet?

None of this is so bad, really, I guess. It's just a game for people who aren't like me (so far).

Hilarious note: the game instructions demand you pick which of the three kinds of eyes you have and how old your holy symbol is but nowhere does it say you have to decide whether you're male or female or some other thing or neither.

Alright, Step 5 is stats. I am allowed to roll these in order instead of try to figure out the relative importance of all this stuff during character generation (yay!) ...

STR: 12
INT: 11
WIS: 9
DEX: 10
CON: 11
CHA: 12

HP: 21

Damage: d10

Moves: detect evil, heal a motherfucker, ignore "clumsy" tag on armor, tell NPCs what's what on account of God, aaaaand when I dedicate myself to a holy mission I may choose 2 bonuses from the list which I am not bothering to read right now but which are things like "invulnerable to fire"

Your Load is 18 (I think I was in that movie). You start with dungeon rations (5 uses, 1 weight), scale armor (2 armor, 3 weight), and some mark of faith, describe it (it looks like the thing on the cover of God Hates Us All (0 weight). 
Long sword (Close, +1 damage, 1 weight) and shield (+1 armor, 2 weight)


Choose one...

  • Adventuring gear (1 weight)
  • Dungeon rations (1 weight) and healing potion

  • _____

    Adventuring gear is a collection of useful mundane items such as chalk, poles, spikes, ropes, etc. When you rummage through your adventuring gear for some useful mundane item, you find what you need and mark off a Use.
    Well that's suboptimal. Not even the option to buy stuff separately.

    Article of faith over here is it's fun to have texture and tactics instead of an out-of-the-box package: you have a slim amount of gold--spikes or a grappling hook? Huge thing there when you're running from the giant rat you just set on fire.

    But y'know what? Lotsa D&D games aren't about that. Even ones I run. You can do that if you have to, Dungeon World.

    The only actually annoying thing about it really is it does suggest that the people who say "Oh you wanna play D&D? Dude, play Dungeon World! It's the same thing only better!" are missing some obvious reasons people who aren't them might wanna play D&D or another D&Dlike instead...

    11. Introduce Your Character

    Now that you know who your character is, it's time to introduce them to everyone else. Wait until everyone's finished choosing their name. Then go around the table; when it’s your turn, share your look, class and anything else pertinent about your character...

    This is also the time for the GM to ask questions. The GM's questions should help establish the relationships between characters ("What do you think about that?") and draw the group into the adventure ("Does that mean you've met Grundloch before?"). The GM should listen to everything in the description and ask about anything that stands out. Establish where they're from, who they are, how they came together, or anything else that seems relevant or interesting.

    Now this is just a cultural difference. Storygamey games usually assume everybody has time to have a whole character generation kibitz and sit around and talk about everybody's dwarf for a while instead of assuming that players show up after getting off a delayed flight from San Francisco after shooting for for 6 hours and left their character sheet under a table in the Burgundy Room and need a character now because they need to fucking fight monsters in a dungeon before their deportation hearing in 2 hours.

    But hey, different strokes, fine with me...
    Once everyone has described their characters you can choose your Bonds. You must fill in one bond but it's in your best interest to fill in more. For each blank fill in the name of one character. You can use the same character for more than one statement.

    Wait, it's in my "best interest" to fill in more? Does that mean "it makes the game more fun" or "it makes the game mechanically easier for my PC"? Because I want the game hard for my PC, not easy, otherwise I am going to be bored.

    Reading down....ah, Bonds make things mechanically easier for my PC. So let's have as few as possible...

    Rey's paladin "has stood by me in battle and can be trusted completely."

    Easy, can I play now?

    13. Get Ready to Play

    Take a little break: grab a drink, stretch your legs and let the GM brainstorm for a little bit about what they’ve learned about your characters. Being the GM is a big responsibility! Once you’re all ready, grab your dice and your sheet and get ready to take on the Dungeon.

    Oh good.

    Now whenever I write anything about any game that is currently being published people pop up in the comments who make up things that are not in the blog entry, decide that I wrote them, then get mad at me for writing the thing they just made up.

    Like here's me having mad fun playing Burning Wheel and people deciding I didn't like it and whining about it. Here's me saying I liked 4e and would play it again and someone thinking I said I didn't like it and wouldn't play it.

    This phenomenon will, no doubt, take place now. 

    However, for the sizable not-stupid contingent in the audience I will sum up where we are now on Dungeon World, as of the end of character generation:

    -There's stuff which is totally appalling but, practically-speaking, optional. 
    -There are some moves my paladin gets which might be fun.
    -This game was written for people with way different D&D priorities than me.
    -I haven't played it yet or read the rest of the rules so I am suspending judgment on the rest of it until after we actually roll.


    Olav N said...

    I think the key problem with "choose name/appearance" is that the game must provide really awesome items to choose from; not "bald w/kind eyes". And this also goes for all other things that a game makes you choose. The game says "hey, my imagination is better than yours so don't even bother using your own cause you'll only end up making an ass out of yourself" And that fine, but it'd better prove it.

    That said, in some games this choose something from a list-thing has worked great for my group. Even names.

    Unknown said...

    "Your Load is 18 (I think I was in that movie)."

    Yeah, I almost did a milk and cereal spit take on that one.

    Overall, this sounds like the sort of game I might be able to play with my young daughter. It might help her "get" some of the genre backstory that the rest of us take for granted.

    However, I think I'm just gonna go ahead and let her play DCC instead. Life's hard. Kid's gotta learn it at some point. :)

    Unknown said...

    Why don't you like dungeon world!? Just kidding. I think there are people out there who would really enjoy this format of game, not people like myself, so I give you kudos for giving it a try. No my post has nothing substantial to it. I am just bored on ky psych ward.

    Gregor Vuga said...

    I want to see part II.

    Roger G-S said...

    Is this another Helm of Opposite Alignment post where the original game said "Indie story games are great because they empower players and unleash their unlimited creativity?"

    Necropraxis said...

    The "choose a look" thing could have been awesome with slightly different wording. Such as: if you're having trouble thinking of character details, roll on the following table of cliches. Like you write though, easy to put into manual override mode.

    Unknown said...

    I can't wait to see you play Dungeon World! There's some pretty cool stuff in there. Yeah, I'm totally biased because I play this game all the time (usually with my copy of Vornheim and a half-dozen other books propped open in front of me), but I think you'll have fun.

    Munin said...

    Like Tony I am curious to hear your play report. We ran the Vornheim Library with DW and we do pick up games in and around Vornheim with DW and World of Dungeons (stripped down DW).

    Áine said...

    I had a couple quick thoughts:
    1. It adheres too closely to the AW format in some ways, because it's stylised and the AW "classes" are less archetypal and familiar. There's so many ripsheets floating around with options. I think the idea is that soon enough there will be like 100+ (free) ripsheet character choices.
    2. Doesn't the PICK SOME NAMES AND EYES lists make it FASTER to whip up a character without having to pre-plan it?
    3. Finally, if you are following the rules, you're probably overthinking it. :-) Once you've tested the waters you won't need most of them because you'll know what kinds of things you want to be swinging for. It's hand-holding, and it might seem weird and rules-y because its unfamiliar. Think of all the D&D stuff you are so soaked in that it's second nature. You don't need those rules no more, you already got it.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    2. No. Plus if speed were a priority, they fucked up all the other steps.

    3. I already said words to that effect in the post that you are now commenting on that you theoretically just read.

    Nagora said...

    Is this a real game or some strange drug-induced dream you had? I'm confused.

    More constructively: this sounds like it might work as a "introduction to role-playing for the under-10s" which may for all I know be a niche crying out to be filled.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    1. 10 year olds really should be allowed to play whatever class they want even if someone else already is playing it, and
    2. It's being marketed as for grown ups

    DaveL said...

    Too many rulesets are just like this, irksomely condescending to anyone who has ever played a game before. Intro to rules should be more utilitarian: What is the game, How do you play it, what do I do next? Like bullet points with one or two sentences explaining stuff.
    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Rafu said...

    The majority of Zak's concerns I find positively thought-provoking. It would make for a great discussion to have, if only there were places for such a discussion to happen — I mean, places where the locals are not prone to pollute it by throwing wild generalizations around.

    scrap princess said...

    I couldn't even humour the choosing the looks thing. It's just about the worse thing ever in a roleplaying book that was not a insect that got smushed in their by mistake. MOnsterhearts is even worse in this regard.
    So I'm playing a pangolin dwarf or a dwarf pangolin (MYSTERY). I would be complete unable to make a class in this game as written. Like my eyes would fall out. I haven't done the bonds yet because they are so greeting card and I don't want to.

    Jeremy Deram said...

    It sounds similar to Old School Hack in a lot of ways. Basically D&D for people that don't really dig D&D so much.

    Necropraxis said...


    Check out this thread:

    Spitting Trashcan said...

    Not everything is amenable to being Apocalypse World. D&D in particular already has a rulesystem well suited to it - it's called D&D. That said, I think Apocalypse World is good at being Apocalypse World.

    Nobody I have played with has ever liked the rules as written for name and appearance selection in AW, which is why I love them. It's just really interesting to me to see people accept limited choices in one arena because they're used to them, and then be shocked and offended when a choice they're used to being open is suddenly limited. I don't know that it works as a rule, but as a (because I cannot think of a better term) artistic statement I like it a lot.

    Asking a couple of stupid questions: have you played Apocalypse World, and if so, does Dungeon World bug you more for inviting comparisons to D&D where AW does not?

    Zak Sabbath said...

    neither bugs me

    Zak Sabbath said...

    I think your analysis of the "limited choices" thing is inaccurate.

    The appearance descriptors aren't literal choices about what the phenotypic possibilities are in an invented world (which would be ordinary) they're literary descriptors.

    Letting the game designer specify an object is normal. Letting them tell you how it feels to you is something else, and at least as in in DW, it is limiting something that gains nothing buy having a limit put on it.

    Rafu said...

    OK, so, about the limited-choices descriptors…
    The short is: I haven't played DW, I've played AW. Those limited options are exciting in AW.* If those choices are instead *bland* in DW, then DW fucked it up big time — sorry, DW.

    * = don't just take my word for it, check those out:

    What do those parts of the playbook accomplish in AW? In my experience, they accomplish a lot. First, they communicate a setting, making an unfamiliar world immediately just-familiar-enough to make a character in it, somehow integrated in it — the above at a glance. Not that they're about "phenotypic" possibilities in AW: they're about flavor and style — a similar kind of communication as what illustrations more commonly accomplish in role-playing texts (take LotFP for an egregious example). This doubly means that DW fucked it up big time, if their choices are cliché and communicate a cliché setting.
    Second, they provoke and ask implicit questions. At least one of the lines is guaranteed to be about some part of the character you wouldn't have thought up by yourself — like, for example, I never give the appearance of a character's hands much thought except in AW, and I tend toward picking cliché body types if not asked the AW way. Most often striking is a line which in most playbooks reads something like "Male, female, ambiguous or androgynous", plus on occasion some additional choices such as "concealed" or "hermaphrodite" — I know this positively affected the PC-demographics of my AW games and, who knows, maybe even the way some players think about gender (I sure ruminated about the difference between ambiguous and androgynous a lot).
    Third, it's really quick to do — if compared to rpgs where you're supposed to provide this sort of information at character creation but you're not given lists to pick from. One has to understand, here, that Vincent Baker was not coming from an old-school-D&D, roll-3d6-in-order background when writing AW, but more like from an Ars Magica/World of Darkness "you're supposed to bring a fully detailed fictional character to the table" milieu. But OTOH, how may people do you know who are like that even when playing D&D, and won't in fact settle for a quickly and randomly rolled up character? It's quite common around my parts.

    But if the lists in DW are so bland (I haven't checked them out), then here's the easiest, quickest way to hack a "campaign setting" of your own into DW… Sounds like an opportunity. Zak, what would the lists for a *Vornheim* paladin read like?

    Rafu said...

    More of the above:

    Playing AW, I never got a negative vibe from people about picking option from the lists, except for the occasional player getting all stuck-up about names. "Why the fuck do I have to pick my name from a list?!", they ask. All of the above reasons, actually: the name lists in AW are flavorful, they give texture to a weird an unexpected world making it more alive, they suggest ideas which may be new to you, plus some friends of mine usually take ages to come up with a name and they think a list to pick from is a huge benefit.
    Some opinion I've heard thrown around is that the "name" part is actually an entrance test: if you don't like it, then you won't like what follows either, and you'd rather play some other game. I'm not completely convinced, but it's true that a lot of AW is picking options from lists.
    There's a different way for the disappointed player to ask, though: "Do I absolutely have to pick my character's name from the list?" To which the answer is "No, d'uh, of course you don't". Because (and here's a very poorly guarded secret) it won't break your game if you come up with a name on your own. It won't break your game if you pick your character's appearance from another playbook. It won't break your game, in fact, if you arbitrarily assign attribute scores to your character regardless of the spreads on your playbook, or if you come up with a new Move (as long as you're familiar enough with the game to know how to come up with a *good* Move, I guess). Is it dumb to expect "experienced players" of role-playing games to already *know* this?

    Necropraxis said...


    See, what we did was we designed a lot of a game, like all the pieces you'd usually use if you play it the way we do, but really, realistically, you're not going to do that. You're going to play it the way you want to play it which will, because you are awesome, involve coming up with stuff we never could have dreamed of.


    Zak Sabbath said...


    Well, as you said and as many other people said:

    This isn't Apocalypse World and giving only cliche choices does not work here. In AW it sounds like it was used as a literary device to show a unique environment, here is it used to simply communicate cliche.

    That is a mistake. I did well to point it out.

    Thank you for explaining the genealogy of that mistake.

    And, yes, DW is "dumb" (or at least, doing something worse for no gain) to make this part of the rules rather than optional.

    As are all games (including AD&D) which make things that should be optional part of the rules.

    The choice to include stupid rules is stupid.

    Does that ruin the game? No it does not.

    It's a really good thing I never claimed it did ruin the game.

    Does it hint that other, more functional parts of the game may have been lifted thoughtlessly from AW without understanding their role there?


    Does it guarantee that?


    skinnyghost said...

    The thing about the names and looks list is that it's, on the one hand, about solving the "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO NAME MY GUY" problem (that not everyone has) but it's more about establishing some specific flavour and setting. The game itself has no setting, but there is one implied in the fact that you can be elves and dwarves and wizard and so that stuff exists in the world. It makes questions like "why are the Paladins all named this way?" valid things to answer in-game. Same thing re: why only humans can be Paladins and why there aren't any halfling clerics. What's the deal? Figure it out in-game.

    The thing is, of all the rules to ignore, the name and look list is the one least likely to break the game. Dungeon World is meant to be hacked, and that's a fine place to start. Maybe that's a rule you want to ignore or change. Maybe you want there to be five Paladins in the party. That's fine. That's a drift, but it's a supported drift. We wrote a chapter specifically devoted to hacking DW. You guys just didn't necessarily read it (or maybe even need to).

    So anyway, the look and the name thing - the GM often comes to the table saying "Okay, this time we're going to play in a weird 80s pastiche where you're all time travelers from the real world in a fantasy wasteland" and so your names are like, Lisa and Steve and Dustin and your looks are "Ray Bans" and "Gelled hair" instead.

    Setting stuff. Hackable and removable as needed.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    we;ve already talked about this on G+ but

    If you think those default names (or people who would use them) are an acceptable part of your game experience, then you ar elooking for a different thing than me.

    Rafu said...

    Zak, I agree with you that you did well to point it out. All of your other conclusions (regarding this specific point) I'd call extremely hurried, though.

    As a non-native English speaker, I'm in doubt whether your "Thank you for explaining the genealogy" was ironic or not. If you're not interested in genealogies, I'll shut up, no hard feelings.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    If you think anything I say anywhere ever is "hurried" and if you think "hurried" means "inaccurate" then:

    Quote the thing you think is inaccurate

    Give evidence of why you think I was wrong

    Zak Sabbath said...

    The author;s opinion is that he could happily play at a table where everyone was happy with these cliche names.

    That's him.

    I am not.

    My assessment of this as a bad choice turns on that point of taste.

    Rafu said...

    Zak, I did not state your conclusions were "inaccurate", nor did I say you're wrong. I used the word "hurried" to signify that you sound like you're in a hurry to draw conclusions. I admit it makes me slightly uncomfortable to be in a conversation with someone who's in a hurry to conclude it — but this is of course a point of taste: obviously, we have different tastes in conversation. I'm in it because I like the foreplay and cuddling parts, mostly.
    In other words, while the points your rise are often interesting to me, the style of conversation on this site is not to my taste; little wonder I'm usually a silent reader here. Oh, well: thank you for rising those points in the first place, anyway.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    The only point of thinking or discussing something is to reach conclusions.
    Discussion is not an end in itself.

    As for "hurrying"--this is not an emotional need we're talking about. Coming to conclusions is useful so that you can then act on them and improve things.

    Rafu said...

    Actually, I believe we usually (should) act on provisional conclusions while keeping the discussion alive because we're aware we can later reach more significant conclusions (which sometimes confirm, sometimes contradict the provisional ones). Can we agree to disagree?

    Zak Sabbath said...


    We should _always_ be able to change our minds based on new evidence--that's basic scientific method.

    By your logic that makes all conclusions "provisional".

    Whether you want to call it a "conclusion" or a "provisional conclusion" a desire to reach it is the only reason to talk in this case. I do not know what fault you are attempting to describe when saying "hurried".

    There is, for me, now, in 2012, absolutely no "conclusion"/"provisional conclusion" I reached that does not stand up to my own scrutiny. Especially now that I have discussed all these things with fans and designers.

    If you have a conclusion that I reached that you believe was reached prematurely, _quote it now_ then explain why it is "hurried".

    Rafu said...

    So, we can't agree to disagree? It's not like I ever meant to attack you, on any level. I just happen to be put off by your tones.

    Zak Sabbath said...


    We don't talk about "tones" here. We talk about: facts, conclusions drawable from facts, and and actions you could take from those conclusions.

    You either believe what I say or you don't. And if you don't then there is no purpose to talking about it unless you want to create more knowledge and understanding by communicating.

    You can "agree to disagree" about matters of taste, or speculations. But not about facts.

    If you have something to say, say it, then say why, then be willing to have your why's discussed. Otherwise there is no point in talking or me even having comments.

    More info:

    Rafu said...

    Also, in the interest of showing good will (and that I'm not an Internet troll):

    > This isn't Apocalypse World

    I agree.

    > and giving only cliche choices does not work here.

    Sure! It would not work in AW either, nor in any game which is not about cliché (which would not be a very interesting game, as far as I'm concerned).

    > In AW it sounds like it was used as a
    literary device to show a unique environment,

    That was my point, indeed.

    > here is it used to simply communicate cliche.

    I take your word for it (I really do!).

    > That is a mistake.

    Unless what they were aiming for was communicating cliché in the first place! Though, on a gut level, I totally agree with you. I wouldn't be interested in a game about cliché.

    > I did well to point it out.

    I agree.

    > Thank you for explaining the genealogy of that mistake.

    I really can't tell whether you're being ironic here or not, and I'd really like to know.

    > And, yes, DW is "dumb" (or at least, doing something worse for no gain) to make this part of the rules rather than optional.

    HERE is where you're hurrying up at a crazy speed! What you're saying here does not actually follow from your previous statements alone. There are a number of other assumptions involved here which haven't been unpacked, because they weren't an explicit part of the conversation up to now. Assumptions which, if unpacked, are worth challenging — if anything, to show that there are a variety of opinions regarding "optional" vs "non optional" in RPGs, and even regarding the meaning of "optional".
    In fact, I am even a bit surprised (which is in fact exciting) that you appear to be expressing a literalist/dogmatist position regarding instructions: that not having something explicitly labeled "optional" makes it compulsory. Part of why it's surprising is that this is a position usually encountered in the Internet-posturing fringes of Forge-style-games advocacy communities (note: not between the game designers themselves, usually). But, more to the point, this implied statement seems to directly contradict the behavior you display toward game rules in the OP, where you talk about deliberately ignoring those elements of stated procedure which you feel don't suit you ("no duplicate character classes", for example).
    The amount of non-disclosed information included in that short paragraph of yours is confusing, and from there you proceed to draw conclusions, but I'm not able to follow you anymore.

    TL;DR = "And, yes, DW is "dumb" (or at least, doing something worse for no gain) to make this part of the rules rather than optional." is where you lost me.

    Rafu said...

    Zak! I crossposted with you, of course.

    I do want to create more knowledge and understanding by communicating. I was in fact put off by your tones and got to doubt *you* wanted to create more knowledge and understanding by communicating! is a brilliant piece and I assure you it goes both ways: I'm feeling exactly like that towards you.

    Thus I think I'm going to stay, for good or ill. Bear up with me.

    And, by the way:
    > You can "agree to disagree" about matters of taste, or speculations. But not about facts.

    Indeed. But the object of discussion here is, basically, akin to art critique - which amounts to speculations over matters of taste, no matter how grounded in objective facts.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    "And, yes, DW is "dumb" (or at least, doing something worse for no gain) to make this part of the rules rather than optional."

    Then you give a long spiel about optionality which I already know.

    Yes: you can create a dumb monster (an owlbear, for instance) and then I can leave it out, but this is still dumb in DW's case for 3 reasons, from greatest to least:

    Even having these cliche, turgid names at all is dumb because genericness is dumb. (again: subjective)

    *Recommending* these names is dumber because recommending genericness is even dumber than suggesting it. The designers have expressed an assertion that they and their players like genericness in this case. That's their business. I don't.

    *Making them part of the rules* "(do this") is therefore triple dumb. But it's merely a double magnification of the original dumbness of including them period.

    As for your spiel about the genealogy of DW's name choices: I do not know whether you or someone else were the first to point them out. Whichever of you did performed a useful service in this discussion, but it is totally irrelevant here.

    Rafu said...

    On dumbness: I probably have a problem parsing "this thing is dumb" as an appropriately expressed conclusion for a discussion. It's probably, again, just a problem of tones, and maybe a problem of second language, so it's entirely my problem (and being such I don't think you can take any action to solve it: it's on me). This may help explain the communication shortcut between the two of us, though.

    On relevancy: I can't tell. I can only measure relevancy with regards to a stated objective. Would you (as the conversation starter) please state your intended goals for starting this conversation in the first place? For example:
    - Understanding how comes DW developers made the choice they made?
    - Helping DW developers improve their product?
    - Finding ways DW developers may make their product more attractive to you personally?
    - Reviewing or judging DW as a product?
    - Learning how to hack DW to your tastes?

    I can then better tailor my posts so that they contribute to the end goal(s) (or decide that this is a conversation I can't benefit and withdraw from it).

    Zak Sabbath said...


    The point of reviewing things is twofold:

    1. To enable potential consumers or players of the game to know what they're getting into and not waste their money and/or time.

    2. To begin any conversation starting with true facts on the ground and analysis that might be useful to anyone taking action in any way, especially me.

    So far, both goals have already been achieved in spades.

    Rafu said...

    OK, this makes it clearer! I'm currently not at all interested in writing, or contributing to, or reading product reviews for "role-playing games". This implies the things I found interesting in the OP, to begin with, and in the discussion are side-effects of your reviewing intent, some of them unintended.
    I hope I somehow contributed to analysis, anyway, and of course I'll chime in whenever I happen to believe what I have to say *may* be useful in order to take action, no strings attached.

    Zak Sabbath said...

    I hate it when people post bullshit in my comments, then I explain/remind them they're talking shit and they don't even, months later, have the courtesy to thanks me.