The Dice/Damage/Power Creep Kludge

When I was a young gamer, and Champions was a young game, characters were built on about 225-250 points. A character threw between 8-10d6, had maybe three attacks total, and a speed between 4 and 5. Special defenses were rare. Heck, even Mechanon only did 12d6, and he had two attacks.

A 10th level character in Dungeons and Dragons was very powerful, and a really tough character would have about 80-90 hit points and about 3-4 magic items. It took years to reach that lofty goal, too.

Now, characters in Champions start at 400 points, have between 3 and 6 attacks total, a speed between 5 and 6, and at least one special defense is usually present. A starting character throws 12d6, literally throwing around 16x the weight that they threw around 25 years ago. Mechanon pretty much does whatever he wants to your starting character, and he has more attacks than most GMs will ever use. In Dungeons and Dragons, people have more hit points, less attacks, and now THEY have super powers instead of ordinary swords and sorcery (As if this was somehow not extraordinary enough in a fantasy game). Combat takes longer. You reach 10th level in about 4 months.

The philosophy of gaming has changed, and I don’t necessarily feel it’s for the better. Do we really need to roll more dice than we did 20-25 years ago? It’s my contention that people wanted to roll more dice than we did 20-25 years ago, and that has somehow factored in to the mentality of game designers around the world. It used to be that when someone had a 10th level character, we all stood and stared in awe. Now we just pooh-pooh and go on about our business, as if the person was chewing gum in the middle of a gum chewing contest, and it had only started 3 minutes ago. Power creep used to be a complaint. Now it’s a reality. And many game designers seem to be trying to find ways to out-power creep each other, as if the goal of gaming itself were to have that power creep built into the system.

I don’t feel this is emotionally positive for role playing games. I’ll be completely honest. The “bigger, better, faster, more powerful” mentality has taken over the industry, and not necessarily in a good way. MMO’s have created a situation where characters can be 80th-85th level in just a matter of weeks. I feel that people don’t want to work hard for their victories anymore. Instead of trying to figure out a way to out-smart the bad guy, or out-think the bad guy, the players think “This isn’t balanced. If only I had two more levels, this would be easy.” or “If only my character had another fifty experience points.”

My philosophy of gaming states that working for your victories still matters. If they are rarer, they are sweeter, and you feel like you earned them. A good victory is like a badge of pride. You carry it with you for the rest of your life. They tell the best stories that gamers still talk about, and that’s what makes gaming fun, the memories of those great victories and losses.

Lately, I’m hearing less of them.


1 Comment

  1. I lefe my comment on this thread here

    It is in response to Wolf’s post.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • Upcoming Appearances

    Heroicon, Decatur, Illinois, May 15-17

    Michael will be appearing at Heroicon as a Special Guest, where he will run games and appear on panels. All proceeds from this convention go to benefit troops overseas with games, both donated and purchased, sponsored by a group called Games for Troops. I know it's a trek. Come join me anyway.

    Nexus Game Fair, Milwaukee, WI, June 25-28

    Michael will be appearing at Nexus Game Fair as a Special Guest, where he will run games and appear on Panels.

    Gencon, Indianapolis, IN, July 29-August 2.

    Michael will be attending Gencon and representing Blackwyrm Games, where his latest products will be playtested and he will have at least one signing.