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I wouldn't worry about that

9th Jul 2014, 12:00 AM

I wouldn't worry about that
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kidra on 6th Aug 2015, 8:01 AM

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Today I wanted to talk about things that we tend to ignore in games. Most of the things on this list are ignored because there's really no game mechanics behind then. Here's my list

Weather: unless it's changed due to a spell the weather tends to be sunshine with a few clouds. An exception to this is when you're in an area that implies a different default, such as being in an arctic wasteland.

Illness: when was the last time your character got a cold? Probably never. Maybe all the germs in RPGs got wiped out by the magical illnesses.

Birthdays: depending on how long your campaign goes for, you would think that a birthday would happen every once in a while. But considering there isn't really a system for dates at all, maybe this isn't too odd.

Bathroom breaks: apparently all RPG characters have bowels of steel. Can you imagine if during the boss fight you suddenly had to use the little adventurer's room?

Maintenance: I don't think I've ever heard of anyone taking time to clean their weapons or repair their equipment. As long as you didn't roll a 1 your stuff is apparently indestructible or self repairing.

Now I'm not saying that any of this stuff needs to be included, which is why we tend to ignore it. But putting this kind of stuff in occasionally could be fun. Like if they visit a monastery and someone there happens to pass on the flu to a party member.

What do you guys think, anything I missed? Anything that you actually do take into account and apparently only I ignore?

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hiei82 on 6th Aug 2015, 9:26 AM

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No; all of those seem pretty spot on.

The birthday one is particularly interesting since characters do have a "maximum age" in some game (like D&D/Pathfinder) and there are abilities (e.g. Timeless Body), magic items (e.g. Nacreous Gray Sphere), and spells (e.g. Resurrection) that are affected by it and there are rules for aging (if not birthdays).

That said, I'm not sure I would include any of these in my games; I feel like most players would be amused for a few minutes before being annoyed about having to make "Bladder Checks" :p

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kidra on 6th Aug 2015, 11:14 AM

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Lol bladder check. I might use that sometime.

The thing with birthdays is that you rarely have a campaign that spans years in game time. So most of the time aging doesn't matter.


hotduelist on 6th Aug 2015, 9:52 AM

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I had a DM that gave us penalties on attack and damage rolls if we didn't take a moment to at least wipe the blood off our weapons and such between encounters. He thought it made it more realistic.

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kidra on 6th Aug 2015, 11:16 AM

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Because it needs to be realistic when you fight ogres :)

That's the thing about all of these points, they would definitely make it more realistic, but oh man would it be annoying to keep track of all your equipment along with making sure you use the restroom frequently enough.

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Barreytor on 6th Aug 2015, 11:27 AM

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Yeah, those are all things that are usally skipped in most games because they are either handwaved for convenience or just flat out skipped for a more fun game.

Cue someone somewhere getting his character to accidentally disembowel himself because he sneezed too hard after staying in the rain too long.

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anamiac on 6th Aug 2015, 12:09 PM

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Sometimes whether comes into factor when people are traveling. And besides changing the mood of the characters, it can also provide encounters for them. I've thrown my characters into a big rainstorm that resulted in a flood, for instance.

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Otaku on 6th Aug 2015, 12:46 PM

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If "in games" you mean table top RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons... your mileage may vary.

I have very little D&D experience, but nearly all of those are covered in other RPGs systems I've played. Shock of shocks, GURPS talks about most, if not all of them, if not having rules for them.

I don't think we use them very often; they add an additional layer of complications and tend to make things less enjoyable for both the players and the Game Master. Weather often brings various penalties, be it for travel, combat or just about any other activity (at least with certain kinds of weather). If the group is good enough to soak those penalties, then you risk them being overpowered without bad weather hammering them. @_@

You want to get the fight going or do you want everyone to have to worry about the current lighting and wind penalties due to the current storm, and the soon-to-be terrain (as dirt turns to mud) penalties and slippery gear (from rain or mud) penalties?

Illness is covered in GURPS but most don't sweat the small stuff because a "cold" usually doesn't present the kind of opportunity or challenge that significant illnesses do. Many adventuring types are the ones with good enough health scores that they might rarely ever have anything minor and there actually are people like that in real life. ;)

No clue about why birthdays aren't covered. In GURPS either you set one for your character or some arbitrary day is noted down (usually the first adventure your character participates on) as your birthday. This is because birthdays often have important (both good and bad) social ramifications and of course, eventually you risk decline due to aging. Most campaigns I've been a part of haven't gone on long enough for it to matter.

Bathroom breaks: This is the where I don't know of any rules. Most people don't want to worry about it and do you really want someone wasting time to find "fair" rules for when the GM will tell you "You'll have a -2 to hit and a -1 to damage because you're trying to keep it in while fighting!" If at all relevant, its the kind of thing to just wing with a random roll... like when whoever does have to go do some business is the one who is going to get ambushed.

Maintenance: Again, only skipped in the name of simplicity and fun; otherwise its covered in the actual rules.

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Newcago on 6th Aug 2015, 4:33 PM

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I think weather is the unique item on your list. While the others would probably just slow the game down, I think changing up the weather adds to the flavor. I try to remember to give my worlds varying weather when I'm GMing, if only for sake of keeping the players on their toes. If I don't you get player comments like, "Shoot, guys, it's raining today! Expect war/combat/evil weather spirits/flood/other rain related evil." My goal is to avoid giving away dramatic scenes by dissassociating rain (or similar types of "bad weather") from dramatic events. Which means that when I do want to have evil weather spirits attack, the rain isn't an instant give away.

On a side note, I played in a game once where we had to keep track of EVERYTHING. Bathroom breaks, food breaks, clean weapons, baths (if we didn't want to fail every diplomacy check), etc. The session was meant to be clunky on purpose, and it was certainly amusing. But I would get sick of that very quickly if I had to deal with that every session.

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kidra on 6th Aug 2015, 5:36 PM

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I agree, out of all these the one I think would actually be the most useful is weather. While there's probably info about what weather does to players, but there's not really anything about how to generate weather. And to be honest, I'd bet that 85%of the time weather is in a story of "default" state, so it'd be as easy as adding a random table to roll for each day.

GAZZA on 6th Aug 2015, 8:23 PM

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With the exception of bathroom breaks, I've used all of these from time to time. But it really depends on what you get out of the game.

For a lot of players, gaming is somewhat akin to action movies; none of these elements are particularly prominent in action movies, so many players are happy to assume that these things happen occasionally "off screen".

On the other hand, if you look at games more as a simulation, then mechanics for maintenance and illness are not difficult to find. 1st edition AD&D had tables for diseases; there was an old White Dwarf with "Armour Class Disintegration Points" that covered maintenance (and could easily be converted for the current edition of rules). Birthdays are trivial to include if you keep track of time - and in my experience many GMs do. I don't recall ever seeing rules for bladder control, but I must confess I haven't looked - if that sort of thing is your bag, I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

GAZZA on 6th Aug 2015, 8:24 PM

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Oh, and as for weather, the old Wilderness Survival Guide had GREAT charts for that.

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Disloyal Subject on 7th Aug 2015, 11:56 PM

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When the environment has weather, I and most of the DMs I've been fortunate enough to play with try to vary it, but partly overcast sunniness with varying degrees of wind seems to be the default.
Most of the rest I generally assume happens 'off-panel,' as it were, and some players like to reference that, such as having one character emerge from the guilhouse's bathroom at the start of the session or a Fighter honing his blade at camp while the soup cooks. Heck, stripping and cleaning equipment is a staple of downtime for me in sci-fi or modern games if I'm playing an even remotely martial-minded character like, say, an assassin or soldier. I also usually make a point of making sure someone digs a latrine whenever a fantasy party stops to set up camp, but the actual use of it has only ever been implied so far, for obvious reasons. It's just one more task that's assumed to happen alongside pitching the tents, gathering firewood and tinder, lighting the campfire, and cooking food (unless someone decides to conjure it). Birthdays seem to happen during timeskips, so they can be ignored or brought up as is seen fit, but mundane illness only ever seems to come up if a player is unusually into roleplaying or the GM is feeling vindictive.
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