Monday, June 04, 2012

The Caustic Elf on "Bounded Accuracy"

I just read the latest scroll from Seabattle titled Bounded Accuracy and for all the wisdom granted to me at birth by the tree gods I can't make sense out of what they're saying.  It seems to be a collage of the undecipherable and the obvious.  I'll try to interpret it again after casting read bullshit on it as a 12th level magic user.

Let us start with this: "Conventional D&D wisdom tells us that the maxim "the numbers go up" is an inherent part of the class and level progression in D&D. While that might be true, in the next iteration of the game we're experimenting with something we call the bounded accuracy system." Let me try casting that read bullshit again.  Something must have gone wrong with the spell because I can't make shit of what they're saying.  Are they implying that progression now means numbers going down?  I can come up with a few cases in which numbers going down is a mark of progression: credit card payments, weight loss and unemployment rates.  None of which seems to apply to D&D.  So what the fuck are they coming up with?  Another number to hide a value that's already hiding another value?  Mhhh, I'm confused.  Did someone cast a baffle spell on me?  I don't recall rolling the saving throw.


"The basic premise behind the bounded accuracy system is simple: we make no assumptions on the DM's side of the game that the player's attack and spell accuracy, or their defenses, increase as a result of gaining levels.", but the numbers increase do wether you make the assumption or not. " Instead, we represent the difference in characters of various levels primarily through their hit points, the amount of damage they deal, and the various new abilities they have gained. ", vs prior editions which represented it how? Did you notice how it's all about damage and health and being strong to survive damage.  Where the fuck has role play gone?  Oh yea, probably scattered among those "new abilities".  "Characters can fight tougher monsters not because they can finally hit them, but because their damage is sufficient to take a significant chunk out of the monster's hit points; likewise, the character can now stand up to a few hits from that monster without being killed easily, thanks to the character's increased hit points."  This is wrong on so many levels its fucking infuriating.  We start out reading about the "bounded system", but they they forget about the 'no assumptions' on player's attack accuracy and defenses half way through the fucking paragraph.  How do they come about to deliver more damage?  Better hit bonuses, that's how.  How are the more resistant?  More hit points.  All those are increased numerical values that increase with level.  It's not due to a skill gained called "open your eyes" or "grip a sword tightly".  It's pure numeric advantage so I don't see the point in this 'Bounded accuracy' labeling they've got.  " Furthermore, gaining levels grants the characters new capabilities, which go much farther toward making your character feel different than simple numerical increases."  Wrong again. Two characters can have the same numerical values and still be two different characters altogether.  That's what role play is about.  Look it up for fuck's sake.  You're overstepping by trying to make the rules and mechanics fill in for role play.  It's not, get over it.


"Now, note that I said that we make no assumptions on the DM's side of the game about increased accuracy and defenses. This does not mean that the players do not gain bonuses to accuracy and defenses.", what?  I think these smart fellas mean to say that the DM should make no assumption as to 'the value' increase as clearly there is an increase.  It's the assumption on the rate or value that's in question.  So is this turd thought called Bounded Accuracy about increase or rate of increase.  It seems bounded accuracy is about bounded increases per level as we'll see next. " It does mean, however, that we do not need to make sure that characters advance on a set schedule, and we can let each class advance at its own appropriate pace. ", holy shit!!!  I sure hope they didn't do some uber long quest to an oracle to figure that one out.  Isn't that the point of class differences?  If classes didn't advance at their own appropriate pace, but rather at some other pace they'd be another class.  A class which advances at said other rate.  For example :" Thus, wizards don't have to gain a +10 bonus to weapon attack rolls just for reaching a higher level in order to keep participating; if wizards never gain an accuracy bonus, they can still contribute just fine to the ongoing play experience.", no fucking shit Sherlock.  A wizard doesn't have to gain a +10 bonus to weapon attack in order to keep participating.  If it did have to it wouldn't be a wizard class it would be a fucking fighter class!!!!  Holy shit this read bullshit spell is really kicking in.


"This extends beyond simple attacks and damage. We also make the same assumptions about character ability modifiers and skill bonuses.", you mean "not make the same assumptions", right?  Your editor should cast the read bullshit spell before editing this because it seems he's getting tangled in it.  You start off by making no assumptions about increased accuracy and defenses, but now you are making assumptions?  Which way is it? " Thus, our expected DCs do not scale automatically with level, and instead a DC is left to represent the fixed value of the difficulty of some task, not the difficulty of the task relative to level.", holy crap isn't this obvious?  I mean since when did DC checks increase with character level.  Isn't this stating the obvious?  You're making this whole article because your players increase DC values for the same exact physical lock as characters raise in level?  Fix that then.  

The article then goes on for quite some length touching other topics.  I'll go over them briefly as there is no fucking way this read bullshit spell lasts long enough to cover it all thoroughly.

Benefits of the Bounded Accuracy:

Getting better at something means actually getting better at something

Holy shit they figured that one out on their own?  Shit I could read that one out without the read bullshit spell.  Must be the one logical thing in the whole article.

Nonspecialized characters can more easily participate in many scenes

You can do that with a little thing called "role play".  Not everything needs to be about attack or defense.  In a role play game it is actually a good thing to once in a while get some role play done.  Secondly the issue with low level characters failing skill tests is due to the poorly done linear probability distribution mechanism.  Not the "bounded accuracy".

The DM's monster roster expands, never contracts

This one is always a kicker for me.  I remember back in the day I always asked were the fuck those goblins hid away.  When I was first level I'd go out of the city walls and encounter a couple of goblins that afternoon.  A year later I'm 6th level, I step outside the bastion towers and holy shit 25 goblins meet me.  Where the fuck where they?  What did they eat?  It's this lack of world economics that lets DMs do this and the truth is it gets boring after time.  It's a flaw in the system.  The increase in hit points to represent better fighting skills leads to monster inflation.  Fix hit points and you fix a lot of issues.

Bounded accuracy makes it easier to DM and easier to adjudicate improvised scenes

Crap.  I couldn't understand that even with the read bullshit spell.  

It opens up new possibilities of encounter and adventure design

Shit, have I been dungeon crawling so long?  Back in the day it was called henchmen.  What happened to those?  It was usually a good idea to engage a superior enemy with large numbers of sellswords.  Heck I even lead armies to battle.  As in real army combat system rules.  Is that gone now?  Shit.

It is easier for players and DMs to understand the relative strength and difficulty of things

This is sad.  Not only has mass combat systems been discontinued.  Simple math is a goner too?!?!!?  It's fucking easy to understand relative strength.  One creature has 1d8 damage and one attack another has 1d10 damage and 2 attacks.  That's 2.5 times more max damage 8 vs 20.  

It's good for verisimilitude

I love this part.  Even with the read bullshit spell at full blast I had trouble getting this.  It seems we need the "bounded accuracy" so easy things stay easy and hard things stay hard. So I enter a dungeon at first level and the chest is easy to open.  Then I go back five levels later and the same exact chest is now hard to open.  What the fuck happened there?  Are we adding a "bounded accuracy" system because some stupid player forgot the "common sense" system during playtest?  

I'll give you my version of the "bounded accuracy".  Play, plan and use common sense.  If you can't figure that one out no amount of added rules will fix it for you.

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