Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Great Gaming Quote for D&D

From Old Geezer, one of the original Gygaxian players and whose real name escapes me, from over on Big Purple. Paraphrased very slightly

Abstraction, is the font of realism.

For D&D this perfectly suitable and true. Better armor is more effective, more skilled people are harder to kill (more HP) , better weapons are better at killing, combat is sometimes random.

Its not a reality simulation but it provides perfectly playable results that are not that far off from the haphazard nature of a real fight.

This is why I think that despite tons of excellent more "realistic" systems D&D endures. Its good enough and its fun, and thats plenty.


  1. For years I played in a LARP where a blow to an unarmored head or torso incapacitated a combatant.You learned to not get hit. (game elements added a tiny number of magical spells which in the main were useless in direct combat)

    Experienced and talented fighters could take out 3,5, even 10 opponents quickly if they were inexperienced,ill prepared and surprised. 2 or 3 skilled fighters could mow down 2 dozen people if they couldn't work together.
    But one stray arrow or a stab in the back could still take out the most experienced fighter.
    D&D does a pretty good job of most of that without worrying about a million little variables, except for those stray arrows and daggers in the back.

  2. I agree with you JD. If that was a concern I think I'd be inclined to do what some of the OSR rules hacks do and allow anyone to backstab for say 2x damage under the right circumstances anyway

    Also even 1st and 2nd level guys are not hard to take down with single blow.

    Assuming Greyhawk Average HP, a man at arms has like 5. This is well within range of a single sword blow.

    Its gets easier in later editions as well, an experienced 2nd level warrior with average HP, decent Con and the toughness feat has 13hp.

    Thats within warrior damage range with something like power blow and within rogue damage with a good sneak attack

    Tough L1 Warriors, by far the most common have 8HP IMC (Greyhawk Average +Toughness) thats an average longsword blow or a solid dagger strike with sneak attack.