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Author Topic: Great Game, Lame Rule?  (Read 3336 times)

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Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Great Game, Lame Rule?
« on: September 15, 2008, 05:43:34 AM »
There are a lot of great roleplaying games out there.  Even the best games tend to have some suspect rules, however.  My question to you is this: What do you consider to be the worst rule in your favorite game?  I'm talking about a real flaw in a real gem.  I'm talking about the rule that makes you throw down your dice, not toss them.  I'm talking about the rule that makes your fellow players shout, "The same mind who came up with that smooth combat system came up with this?"  I'm talking about the rule that makes your perplexed game master carefully read the passage in which the rule appears, then reread it, then reread it again, then finally close the book and quietly say, "You know, let's just ignore that one for now."

Maidens and monsters, I ask you: What's the lamest rule in your favorite game?

Spel

Offline Xillen

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2008, 08:58:20 AM »
Rolling for HP.

Seriously, how can someone that has a permanent influence on your character be so completely flunky?

Offline Jeramiahh

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 08:00:12 PM »
Hell, rolling for most permanent attributes. I know, I know, it's a holdover from the days of 1e, when you rolled everything straight. But, damn... nothing says 'fun' like having a guy with 4 18s team up with the guy who rolled no more than a 16. >_< Oh, and rolling HP can bugger off, too. I use 3/4 hp, at my meanest, and max, or max plus something, for most games.

Reminds me of one game I'm in; I, the party wizard, scored a marvelous 16 for my highest roll. The other two Int users (Beguiler and Duskblade) both scored an 18, AND took the campaign specific +2 Int race. >_< It came back to bite them, though; Plot favored me, significantly, I got one of the only stat increasing items we've looted, and when we converted to Pathfinder, free Int for being human, putting me ahead of all of them for Int.

As far as the question at hand: D&D's Grapple rules. I am intimately familiar with them, by now, and they, along with all other special combat maneuvers, go in a list of things my players agree neither side will abuse, for the sake of sanity.

Offline Flying Tengu

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2008, 03:03:42 AM »
Actually, you know, one time I did have 4 18s?  It was for a ranger, and I ended up with 18,18,18,18,16,14.  I ended up dropping out of the game due to boredom.  Being underpowered compared to the others is lame, but I was bored when everyone else was lame, and my character could pretty clearly beat the hell out of and out-think Batman.

Offline Xillen

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2008, 01:52:20 PM »
Point buy is so standard for me, that I don't even think of that anymore. (Well, actually, I did think about rolling for stats, but since I never ever roll for stats and always use pointbuy, it doesn't bother me, since I don't use it.)

I'm also one of the few people that considers the D&D 3.5 Grapple rules to make sense :P

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 07:15:34 PM »
One of the biggest knocks against the older versions of D&D, IMHO, was level limits for non-humans.  Not so much in the tabletop games (which seldom lasted long enough for level limits to be butted up against), but in the Gold Box games like Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds.

As far as hit points, I modded them in games I ran.  For the first two levels, characters got max.  For third level, best of three die-tosses.  For fourth and fifth level, best of two.  After that, the standard single toss.

For later versions of D&D, my pet peeve is damage caps on fireballs and lightning bolts.  Dammit, if a 26th-level wizard throws a fireball, it oughta do 26d6 damage, and in my games it does!

Offline shadowheart

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 08:12:26 PM »
*puts on flameproof coveralls*

Lame rules, not so much, but 3.5E has so -damn many- of them that it's not enjoyable for me.  I find GURPS and HERO to be far better at handling skills because those systems aren't tied to levels and classes.  The idea of having so many skills, and feats, and exceptions, and etc.etc. makes no sense in a level-based game.

I stick with AD&D 1E and earlier, or use Castles and Crusades which gets it right.  It's level and class based, and has a skill system of a sort, but it isn't so complex as to bog the system down to a virtual crawl.

I will agree with Ty that I've never liked level limits for demi-humans, and either houserule them out of existence or modify them so that advancement doesn't stop dead for demi-human PCs.

Offline Paradox

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 09:19:24 PM »
I haven't played in a few years, but the old rule of "the spells in a wizard's spell-book fill a page for each level of the spell" always annoyed me. Another rule that I considered to be downright broken was the fact that even e-friggin-normous creatures could only overrun one creature at a time.

Offline Revolverman

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 01:06:04 AM »
There are alot of stupid rules in alot of stupid games, but for a stupid rule in a great game I would have to saaay....

Most Call of Cthulhu gun rules.

Especially the one that says a bolt action rifle can only be fired once per 2 combat rounds.  If I recall correctly, a CoC combat round is 4 seconds, so that means a bolt action rifle can only be fired once every 8 seconds. What are CoC characters doing, taking a drag on their cigarettes between every shot?


well, if its Fire, open the bolt, remove round, place new round in, and then close the bolt, reaim, then fire.


that could be 8 seconds.


Offline kongming

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 01:40:28 AM »
Hmm, particularly bad rules that ruin an otherwise great game...

Note that anything I say below is my opinion, and therefore more valid than anyone else's opinion. But I can usually provide references to people who are better at arguing than me.

Mutants and Masterminds is pretty awesome. But it does have a problem (besides the "Balance? What balance" inherent to class-less, which is at least puts a roof on with the "numbers are capped by power level", though other things can work around them). Toughness saves. I didn't like the idea that any attack could potentially take you out of the game, and a few play attempts confirmed that it was annoying.

I then realised "If you play this, you will max out your Toughness save with forcefields or whatever." That made it better, but meant you had to spend resources on it. I *then* realised that thanks to Invulnerable Toughness, designed to make you immune to mooks, you can seriously benefit more from having a bad Con score:

Toughness save can be no higher than Power Level + 5 (IIRC)

It is equal to Con mod + power bonuses

Therefore, if it's PL 10, and you have a Con of +5, you can have a total of "Protection 10". If it's Invulnerable Protection (it is), that means you ignore attacks with a strength of 10 or less.

So let's take a Con of -4. You can now buy a total of Protection 19 (19-4 = 10+5). Make that Invulnerable and suddenly, you're outright immune to any attack with a strength of 19 or less. Here's the kicker: no-one can actually have an attack strength of 19 or higher at PL 10.

So essentially, the mechanic as a whole was annoying, and their solution to it (everyone buys protection, and probably makes it invulnerable so that minions can't hurt them) created its own balance issues.

That's the best I can think of. I mean, BESM I loved, but that could barely be considered a coherent set of rules, I used to love Rifts despite there not being a single good (sensible, easy-to-understand, well-implemented etc.) rule in the whole lot. 3E has a lot of minor annoying rules, but nothing that would piss me off enough to set it all on fire and play "Fuck-off Edition". And most of those have been handled by Frank & K, anyway. As for "Fuck-off Edition", well, I consider it to be built out of pure unadulterated fail.

Oh, and White Wolf games also fall into the category of "Plenty of rules I hate. But they don't spoil an otherwise good game: it wasn't good to begin with."

I can't think of anything particularly rage-inspiring in Maid, Panty Explosion, CoC or SLA Industries, the other main systems I know about.

Offline Canuckian

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Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 01:54:51 AM »
I think I'm the only person on the face of the roleplaying Earth that likes  random dice for attributes/HP/skill points/etc.  Yes, you read that right.  I like it.  I enjoy trying to play characters with less than ideal attributes and coming up with creative solutions to compensate for them (sadly, my RP group is pathetically knowledgeable about how to break the games with uber-gear).

As for lameness breaking a great game, I'm gonna have to go with "the whole freaking system" when it comes to Rifts.  I adore the setting and just love the thought and effort that goes into that game.  But then I started playing D20 for about four years and tried to roll up my first Palladium Book's character when I bought the new Robotech RPG.  Oh gawd it was horrible.  The combat system for the mecha is so broken that it can take hours to resolve if the dice don't like you, there's very little customization possible.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 02:52:42 PM »
I also like random rolls sometimes in order I remember in Palladium Fantasy 1e I rolled horrible but decided I would be a witch, heck demon lords don't care if your all that exceptional and a sould wasn't doing her much good. If you don't like rolling for HP they have in DnD fixed average as an option where you just get the average for your class die and add con (or subtract) and there you go. But I must note when they first had DnD and the rules are kind of imitated in the Basic Fantasy RPG you only needed a 9 to qualify for any class. In 1e and later stats mattered more having value for a high stat.

If I had to say broken game rules I would say the table system for Rolemaster AKA Roll Master it was hideous when I played it I was going these people thought DnD was bad? geeesshhhhhh I'm attacking with my dagger against AT15, roll (then check a book to see what happened). Now roll her for the effect of the critical result on piercing. ARGHHHHHHH!!!! I love the classes, spell concepts and special abilities you could get but the tables blew it for me.

Offline shadowheart

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 05:04:39 PM »
I rather like random rolls myself for stats.  Ditto for hit points after the first level.  Makes for some interesting roleplaying, in my opinion.

OH!  Speaking of broken systems.

Anyone remember Fantasy Wargaming?  Probably have to be an old-schooler to remember it.

Missing tables, missing items on tables that were present, rules that were vague or again missing.  And the most draconian rules for creating female  characters that I've ever seen (minuses to almost all attributes, including CON and CHA! cannot use weapons or be fighters, etc.)


Offline Revolverman

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2008, 05:06:12 PM »


Missing tables, missing items on tables that were present, rules that were vague or again missing.  And the most draconian rules for creating female  characters that I've ever seen (minuses to almost all attributes, including CON and CHA! cannot use weapons or be fighters, etc.)




sounds like sexism, the RPG

Offline shadowheart

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2008, 05:10:50 PM »
Sexism the game pretty much sums it up, with the excuse that "Well, this is how the Medieval era saw women."


Offline Revolverman

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2008, 05:14:17 PM »
Sexism the game pretty much sums it up, with the excuse that "Well, this is how the Medieval era saw women."



That sure is a lame excuse for a fantasy RPG

Offline Jefepato

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2008, 05:25:32 PM »
Mutants and Masterminds is pretty awesome. But it does have a problem (besides the "Balance? What balance" inherent to class-less, which is at least puts a roof on with the "numbers are capped by power level", though other things can work around them). Toughness saves. I didn't like the idea that any attack could potentially take you out of the game, and a few play attempts confirmed that it was annoying.

I then realised "If you play this, you will max out your Toughness save with forcefields or whatever." That made it better, but meant you had to spend resources on it. I *then* realised that thanks to Invulnerable Toughness, designed to make you immune to mooks, you can seriously benefit more from having a bad Con score:

Toughness save can be no higher than Power Level + 5 (IIRC)

It is equal to Con mod + power bonuses

Therefore, if it's PL 10, and you have a Con of +5, you can have a total of "Protection 10". If it's Invulnerable Protection (it is), that means you ignore attacks with a strength of 10 or less.

So let's take a Con of -4. You can now buy a total of Protection 19 (19-4 = 10+5). Make that Invulnerable and suddenly, you're outright immune to any attack with a strength of 19 or less. Here's the kicker: no-one can actually have an attack strength of 19 or higher at PL 10.

So essentially, the mechanic as a whole was annoying, and their solution to it (everyone buys protection, and probably makes it invulnerable so that minions can't hurt them) created its own balance issues.

You're reading it wrong, KM.

If you're reading 1st edition, there's no absolute cap on Toughness, but rather on bonuses from powers, and a PL 10 character can never have more than 10 ranks in a power.  One of the big flaws in 1st edition M&M was that your "mundane" attributes were totally outside all the PL caps, so dumping Constitution would put your Toughness well below that of absolutely everyone else (because they all bought CON 20 unless they were speedsters).

If you're reading 2nd edition, the cap on Toughness is PL, not PL + 5.  You can trade Defense down in favor of more Toughness, but then you can trade your attack bonus down in favor of more damage exactly the same way.  More to the point, you can buy the "Impervious" extra on your Toughness bonus even if that bonus comes purely from Constitution, so it really doesn't matter.

And in either edition, attacks can be Penetrating so as to defeat Protection (in 1st) or Impervious Toughness (in 2nd).

Offline kongming

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2008, 08:56:58 PM »
Thanks, Jefe. It's been a while, and I forgot the bit on trading off one stat for another. Which does sort of defeat the entire point of having the maximums there at all. Still, Penetrating attacks were there, true.

And yeah, it was 2E.

---

As for sexism the RPG, try looking for F.A.T.A.L. That takes sexism and racism to entirely new levels, while still claiming to be both historically accurate (this is what is known as a lie) and mature (this is possibly an even bigger lie).

Some of the spells were so racist that I imagine I wouldn't even be allowed to re-print them here without them being edited out (so I'll save time and not put them up). I'd also feel dirty just typing it. Someone actually made their own game, where you flip to a random page, and if it has nothing that offends you (some circles change this to "nothing racist/sexist" for the easily/not easily offended, others to "nothing that mentions sex or sex organs") then you win a point. Keep going until you get to a page that does not win you a point. At that page, you lose the game. Who ever has the most points at the end loses the least (but can hardly be called a winner).

Offline Vekseid

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2008, 11:10:33 AM »
I think FATAL and RaHoWa could go without in-depth discussion in polite role-playing forum circles...

Regardless, the main thing that bugs me about my favorite game - Legend of the Five Rings - is mostly that it drifted from the first edition era, which I firmly believe was a mistake.  Most of the rules adjustments I make to it tend to either be rather simple or oriented to that end.

Exalted, on the other hand... so hard to pick one, I'd have to say the entire Charm system in general.

Offline ZK

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2008, 12:31:03 PM »
The entire Charm system from Exalted? Pshah, Charm system in 1st Ed was easy. But relearning the whole damn thing for 2nd Ed was a headache as it leaves a lot of questions and "huh?"

I'd vote for Exalted 2nd Edition Charm System. More so when it comes to making Combos for anything that isn't a Dragon-Blood. *shudders*

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Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2008, 10:23:21 PM »
I think I'm the only person on the face of the roleplaying Earth that likes  random dice for attributes/HP/skill points/etc.  Yes, you read that right.  I like it.  I enjoy trying to play characters with less than ideal attributes and coming up with creative solutions to compensate for them (sadly, my RP group is pathetically knowledgeable about how to break the games with uber-gear).

We actually had an option in our house rules that you could choose to discard your lowest or highest roll when rolling stats.  After all, an 8 is merely low average, but a 3 is a challenge!  At one point, we had a character that had a low enough Intelligence that "invisibility to animals" worked on him. 

Offline Grimm

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2008, 01:23:32 AM »
Wish some of my friends played tabletop rpgs.  Then I could know some rules.  Sadly, that aspect of my nerd education has been neglected.   :'( 

Offline kongming

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2008, 01:37:49 AM »
We actually had an option in our house rules that you could choose to discard your lowest or highest roll when rolling stats. 

One of my DMs had the roll "Roll 4 dice, and keep up to 3". So you could drop the highest, the lowest, or one in between. And you could drop multiple dice if you wanted - so if you really really wanted that Wisdom of 1, you could do it.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2008, 06:28:38 PM »
Exalted has a GREAT setting, and on the surface the system is OK, once you REALLY get into it (Like after one session) the game just breaks down.  The Storyteller System was never designed for a Super campaign, and unless you hand wave or ignore most of the problems, it shows.  But damn if the setting isn't spectacular, though...

The one thing that drives me bonkers in D&D is the AC as an abstraction rule.  Mainly due to the fact that it's a binary effect.  Either you hit and do damage, or you don't.  Simple, easy...  Annoying because it doesn't cover things like...  Lemme use an example:

Suppose I have some one strapped to a chair.  I punch them.  They go 'Ow!' and wonder what the hell's wrong with me.  Next up they're put into a leather jack.  I punch them again, they go 'Ow!' but find it doesn't hurt as much.  Then the chain shirt replaces the leather and I hit them again.  This time they grunt with the impact, but...  It doesn't hurt!  Finally someone puts said victim into a full suit of plate.  I swing!  I hit!  I swear and shake my hand in pain, and my victim took NO DAMAGE.  Not because I missed, but because the harness absorbed the full amount of damage given by my fist.

AC doesn't do that, it's either hit or miss.  Can't really do much with the system that requires heavy armour to AVOID getting hit.  No swashbucklers, no barechested barbarians, not even samurai outside a battlefield.  Gah.

Offline shadowheart

Re: Great Game, Lame Rule?
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2008, 06:47:01 PM »
Well, the abstraction of the D&D system is based on combat not being a single blow per roll, but a series of blows.  In your example, the last one (plate) would be a "miss" in D&D terms. 

Damage reduction is, of course, missing.  A hit, but not as painful.  *shrug*  Then again, it's still the oldest RPG system, and based on miniatures wargaming on a scale where such distinctions are unimportant.