The troof hath been spoketh

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The troof hath been spoketh

Post by Mesiphidon on Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:44 pm

Really I have to say following this thread is like watching the History Channel. I’ve seen this exact same conversation ten years ago on many other sites when they were on the verge of reforming from the Prep system. It’s really actually pretty amazing how secluded and cut off this site is from the rest of the RP world. It’s almost like North Korea. I am impressed that the isolation lasted as long as it has.



The only difference between ten years ago and now is that anime is so much more mainstream, and this place has actually managed to warp the prep system to incomprehensible levels of something it has never been. It is kind of startling to see the differences in mindset and the way people think from those who grew up on books and those who grew up on anime. But I have seen a glimmer of hope in a few people here, perhaps that is why I keep coming back to a place that’s literally a decade behind the curve in terms of the progression of RP combat.



I’m finally at a computer with a little free time so I will lay this out hopefully in a way that some people will understand.



To begin, stop calling this a moderate powers tournament. It’s not, it really isn’t even close. All anyone has to do is take a passing glance at the roster of characters who signed up to realize that calling it a moderate powers tournament is either a cruel joke, or the definition of moderate here is absolutely absurd. All the banned list has done is rule out characters from Genres that are more or less just God Mode characters. At least within the confines of the systems you all know and use.



And on the topic of God Modding, it baffles me that time manipulation is allowed at all. Prep, no prep, however you want to cut it. Time Manipulation is just another form of God Modding, especially the ability to STOP or REWIND time. It’s a form of indirect character control. And even if the opponent is capable of attempting to counter the Time Play, all it does is lead to arguments about who has more capability in making the Space Time Continuum their bitch.  The vast majority of tournaments ban time manipulation outright. Because there is zero fair way it can be used in competitive combat. NPC/Storyline stuff fine, have your way with it. But in fights based on skill, and competition absolutely not. On almost every other site even the vast majority of the worst possible Power Players ban time manipulation. So do yourself a favor and do the same.



Before I get into the flaws of the Prep system and how it can be remedied by not using prep as a system but simply as a method in another system. There is another primary issue. The players. I said earlier that competitive RP combat requires the players to actually have knowledge about things. And they do. Here is why.



You make a character, you claim he’s the best and most distinguished swordsman in all the lands. Everyone in your universe treats you like the best there ever was with a blade. The NPC minions cower in fear, your plot demands you win at sword fights. (I hate this but can accept it closed settings). But now the root of the problem, you the player don’t know the first damn thing about swords. You wouldn’t know the difference between the hilt, the pommel or the foible if it bit you right in the ass. But you decide you want to enter a competitive Ominverse tournament. Like this one for example. And in your verse you are used to just typing up some flashy looking moves and everyone falling down like bowling pins.



But here, in the omniverse, in a competitive tournament. Your character is a vessel of your knowledge. You are the pilot so your characters skill is only as good as your ability to write it. And if you don’t know what a draw cut is, a triangle step or half-swording (to use Longsword references). Then quite frankly you are going to get your ass handed to you by anyone who knows the first thing about swordplay. It doesn’t even matter what character attributes are at that point. Or what your character is –supposed- to be. You the player simply do not know how to properly react to a given situation, even if your character would know. And that my friends is a huge problem. That is why if you wish to enter competitive tournaments you need to do your homework and learn some things about what you want to do.



Now let’s translate this into the prep system. And how it applies to things beyond basic melee. The prep system allows you to forgo having any knowledge at all. You only need to explain what your ability does and what it looks like and prep takes care of the rest. So let us break this down further. It honestly doesn’t even matter what your move sets are, what your abilities are. Because Prep determines all. 2>1. You could be talking about fluffy bunnies and magic unicorns for powers. But at the end of the day all that matters is who used their prep first and who has more when that clash of bunnies and unicorns meet. It makes fights so two dimensional and boring and predictable I’d frankly rather get a lobotomy play basic addition.



But this translates further beyond just combat, it goes directly into character creation. People no longer need to think about their characters. They don’t make well rounded characters with abilities that make sense. They don't even consider how their characters would interact with the world or others. Their entire purpose is I want this, and this and this and this. And the prep system lets you do that. Because you don’t need to make sense, you don’t need to develop a character that is actually is a PART of the world, instead of expecting the world to accommodate your new abomination of world ending abilities that are ‘perfectly fair’ because they take 5 preps to use.



It was said earlier that RP combat is a gentlemans game, and it is. We are all bound by an honor system to stay within our character limits and capabilities. But how can anyone do that if they don’t have a properly made character in the first place? How can they define those limits if they don’t actually know because they have no idea how anything they do actually works other than the number of preps says, Super Flash Seismic Nut Punch Delux Version 3 indeed goes off. And your measly shield can’t stop it because it has no prep.



Then you can get into the fact that prep doesn’t even make sense in most cases. I don’t care how much you prep an egg, it’s not going to break down the Great Wall of China when you throw it. Pumping some energy into a butter knife isn’t going to let you cut a sword in half. Maybe if you took the time to explain what the energy you were putting into the butter knife actually did. Does it create a vibrational edge that destabilized the molecules in the opposing sword so that it can actually weaken its structural integrity? Maybe, but we’ll never know because it doesn’t matter so long as it’s prepped right? And when you take a moment to think about it, if you just explained what you funneling energy into the knife did, then prep is less important over all is it not?



That’s not to say Prep is a bad thing, if used CORRECTLY. And as another means within a system. But not as a system itself. Prep, short for preparation was originally created to do just that. You sacrificed the bulk of your actions, so you could dedicate additional time/energy/effort into another attack or defense to make it stronger. It was never originally intended to be uses as a battering ram to just brute force everything down with the myriad of outlandish and ridiculous powers the majority of players come up with these days. Worse now prepping is just a passive thing. So people are prepping super attacks while flying around and going balls to the walls with ‘other powers’. I don’t know about you but when you prepare something you actually need to be focused on the task. It’s not something that just happens so you can sucker punch some dude with your 15 prep super hadouken after he fended off all your other blows.



Proper use of actual prep, when utilized in a system that’s balanced around the use of basic logic and application of knowledge and abilities goes a significantly longer way in playing a role in balancing. More importantly, logic based systems bolster intelligent designs in character creation because people actually need to think about how they interact with the world. Their character then becomes a PART of the world, instead of trying to be the main attraction. You all suffer from too many chefs in the kitchen. Face it, no matter what you want in an open verse you are not the main character. No matter how strong you are, how bad ass you are, how important you think you are. You are just another cog in the story. You might be a more important cog, but you wouldn’t be anything without anyone else. And a lot of you forget that.



You don’t approach a character creation with ‘I want to the best and better than anyone else at X’. You approach them with the mentality of ‘this character will focus on this, and are better there. But they will have less focus here so their ability isn’t as good. But you can’t stop there, your character needs motivations and reasons for doing what they do. If your character is a master fire manipulator… why? HOW do they manipulate fire, what draws them to it. But you STILL can’t stop there. You need to give them a reason for existing beyond fighting. Give them a personality, what are their goals in life, what drives them. Do they have a family, a history an ancestry ect. So many ‘fighter characters’ have the exact same personality it’s mind numbing.



Here’s an example: Super Prodigy, master of multiple skills, only 18-21.  (Seriously this is a joke, you aren’t a master of 10 skill at 18) Super arrogant and cocky but somehow is still nice and cares about people.  Warm when you get to know him/her. Woah so much depth bro. And I just described probably half if not more of the Original Characters in here, and more than likely how most of the anime characters are played too. It’s called a Trope for a reason, stop feeding it.



Now if you approach character creation properly, including taking the time to learn something about what it is you want to do. If you want to manipulate fire, learn how heat works. At least the basics. Now if you can do that, and you have a fleshed out three dimensional character. You can pretty much engage anyone with minimal conflict if you just follow common sense and logic. Because you know how your stuff works, they know how their stuff works. ALL YOUR WORK BEFORE DOES ALL THE WORK FOR YOU NOW.

I am going to repeat this. ALL THE WORK YOU SPENT ON YOUR CHARACTER DOES THE WORK FOR YOU WHEN IT COMES TO CONFLICT IF YOU USED LOGIC AND REASONING AND MADE A TRULY BALANCED CHARACTER.



That means they already have a ‘stat’ system built into them inherently. Because you will have references and limits to their capabilities. At their max strength they can lift a car with one hand. OKAY, good, now we know. That’s your limit, that’s your ability. You don’t need to create ‘ability scores’ because you have an actual logical reference that can be used to determine the outcome if you clash with someone who’s max strength can only lift 400 pounds. Or maybe they can lift a house. You know where you stand. It’s easy because you did the legwork.



This brings me to ability score systems like you are all talking about now. Absolutely great for games, especially with dice or video games. Open Roleplay not so much. Because those ability scores are not standard across all characters and all universes. 10 in one world is different than 10 in another, so on and so forth. These systems work in closed settings where everyone is adhering to the same format, but outside of that they fall short.  Especially the way some of you are approaching and telling people to basically RADICALLY alter their characters abilities to fit into a single mold. Simply follow the outline I’m giving you now and well… it all works out. Really it does. The number of combat issues we have on my site from all walks of characters is all but none.



Congratulations, you developed a well-built character, you can now participate in Logic Based combat. Or TBL as it’s taken to being called. And now I’ll explain a system like this works. Billy, can lift a car and is pretty tough, but slow. But Bob can only lift 400 pounds and is average at everything else, however Bob has the ability to manipulate energy so he can enhance his physical stats. At a cost proportional to the increase. Now if you’re a fair and decent player and not a douchebag. (This is what judges are for in TBL, to call out the bullshit not to determine outcomes.) Then you’ll have a loss of energy at a rate proportional to what you would need to spend so Bob could say Arm wrestle Bob and tie him. Maybe even win. So sure Bob can momentarily surpass Bill’s strength but then it’s gone. It has a cost. Maybe instead Bob wants to increase his speed or agility. Whatever the case he has a logical system in place that limits his character. So that he can’t just keep increasing particular stats endlessly. This makes their fight interesting because they have to approach it differently. Bob has to figure out how he can make Bill expend energy until he can’t pump his stats up enough to counter Bill. And Bob has to figure out a way to defeat Bill within his limited time frame. One is playing the fast game, the other the long game. Who wins is now entirely dependent on the characters SKILL and ability to outplay their opponent.  


So how does Prep play into all this? Simple it becomes another factor in all the variables. Maybe Bob can’t use energy to actively increase his attributes like Bill can. But what he can do, is use the natural energy from his super strength and pool it. Basically not using that power, and ‘charging it up’ so that he can unleash a particularly devastating move. And this part is key here. At the cost of actions. Passive prep is not a thing, there needs to be a focus and effort associated with it.  So because of this Bob will need to play more defensive, which was his plan in the first place. Creating hey another dynamic for Bill to worry about. Do you see how this goes now? Do you see how every single variable creates endless combinations? And most importantly how no matter what those variables are, because each character is well designed and not reliant on a numerical number of ‘preps’ or ‘counters’ to say their ability is ready to go off. Every single possibility has a ready answer, by simply using sound reasoning and logic.



That doesn’t mean you can’t build a character that functions around Prep, but it means you need to think beyond just Ability A requires 1 prep, Ability B requires 4 prep. So on and so forth. Put in the effort, learn what you need to know, and it does all the work for you afterwards. Most importantly of all it allows SKILL to shine through in all situations.



The only ‘flaw’ in a logic based system like this is that, people with more knowledge have the ability to play a wider range of characters in a competitive setting. And that’s where not being a dick comes in, just because I have a working knowledge of quantum mechanics doesn’t mean I should use that knowledge to just confuse the hell out of my opponent with things they don’t understand. Can I use that knowledge for some of my abilities? Certainly, so long as I make it easy to understand for everyone else. And they are abilities other people can actually respond too.


Again this is for competitive settings. If you don’t want to put in the legwork and the effort. By all means make your world’s greatest swordsman/super mage. Just don’t expect them to actually work in any fashion outside of their closed setting. Or to get very far with them in the omniverse where they are just another cog in the machine.  



So yeah the Prep System is ‘easier’. Because it requires no actual thought application at all. And it doesn’t even come close to governing all potential conflicts. What happens when Lightning strikes a lightning Rod? Well in the prep system, the magic prep number decides. In every other system and use of logic in existence, the Lightning Strike is funneled through the rod and grounded. Maybe it was intense enough to melt the rod or shatter it. But regardless, the MECHANICS still determined the most reasonable and logical outcome. Not how many turns you spent passively gathering a particular ‘energy type’. Energy is energy is energy. And you can’t argue otherwise no matter how you try.



Either way, it’s up there, I explained the flaws. I gave you a solution. Take it or leave it. But my sincere hope is that at least some of you decide to move out of the past and advance beyond the dark ages. Because if we’re being real, even a modified T-1 System without post length and intro requirements is better than the abomination of a prep system you all use now.
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Mesiphidon
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