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Old 02-21-2006, 12:35 PM   #51
Kromm
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding
Our paranoia is somewhat justified. For years people complained about the armor weights in 3e. TBTB said, "We'll fix it in Low-Tech." But the playtest draft of Low-Tech had the same incorrect weights. No problem, the playtesters fixed it but somehow the published book was accidently based on the pre-playtest draft and had the wrong figures. No problem say TBTB, we'll fix it in 4e. 4e came out and still had the wrong numbers! And Kromm says, "That's because, no one ever told me there was a problem. Don't worry, we'll fix it in Low-Tech." Only now there isn't going to be a Low-Tech.
Low-Tech didn't have a version-control problem. I was the Line Editor then and it was on my watch -- I know the facts. There were a few playtesters who recommended different changes to armor weights, and they didn't reach a consensus in time to affect the published book . . . and there were just as many people who wanted to leave the stats alone. The author couldn't do a lot with multiple, conflicting claims. I didn't read the claims; I simply declared that the book had to get to the printer and cut the Gordian knot by saying, "Too bad they couldn't agree. Leave things alone." Moreover, SJ Games doesn't keep ancient playtest archives. The results of that playtest were gone by the time David and I were drafting 4e, and it's unfair to imply that we were somehow aware of long-lost Low-Tech playtest reports and chose to ignore them. In fact, neither of us even read them the first time. The first genuine opportunity to fix certain items -- if they're indeed broken -- will be the book on low technology for 4e. And whether we title it Low-Tech, Fantasy-Tech, or Cabaret Chicks on Ice is wholly immaterial to the issue of whether we make fixes or not.

I'm quite open to criticism and suggestions, but please don't pass off theory as fact or suggest that we deliberately ignore input just because we can. That's unfair and incorrect. Armor weights were nowhere close to being a solved problem during the Low-Tech playtest, and the Basic Set, Fourth Edition wasn't a natural continuation of that playtest. For the most part, that playtest reached no consensus on armor and its lack of consensus wasn't exactly a great inspiration for David and I to revisit some zipped, 8,000-item news archive from a third party.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:39 PM   #52
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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Originally Posted by Rev_Pee_Kitty
In other words, yes, things like armor weights, etc., should be as accurate as possible. However, if there's ever a need to choose between a 100% accurate presentation of something and a gameable and fun presentation of it, GURPS should/will choose the latter.
For the most part I agree with you. However I do think Luther's right in that "Fantasy" can easily become an excuse for zero historical accuracy. We were told armor weights might be fixed in Low-Tech. Now there is not going to be a Low-Tech. Are the following topical for Fantasy-Tech?
  • Accurate Armor Weights
  • Armor and Weapons Customization
  • Civillian Technology (especially agriculture, medicine, finance, and manufacturing)
It seems to me that to each of these you could say "this book is Fantasy-Tech so that real-life stuff isn't relevant."

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Old 02-21-2006, 12:41 PM   #53
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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You seem to be misinterpreting what Andrew said for your own argument.

As I read it, he's saying (to paraphrase), "Gameability and fun should take precedence over simulationism in GURPS." You're interpreting this as, "Simulationism should not be a consideration."

In other words, yes, things like armor weights, etc., should be as accurate as possible. However, if there's ever a need to choose between a 100% accurate presentation of something and a gameable and fun presentation of it, GURPS should/will choose the latter.
Yes. While focusing on historical accuracy and simulationism has garnered GURPS a lion's share of the historical, simulationist gamer crowd, that's a huge share of one of the smallest demographics in gaming. We must reach other gamers or we can say kiss RPGs goodbye at SJ Games. It's like that. The games market is too "soft" for us to afford to rank gameable fun behind anything else. If somebody in the historical simulationism crowd wants to put up $1M-$2M, we'll reconsider.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:41 PM   #54
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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I'm quite open to criticism and suggestions, but please don't pass off theory as fact or suggest that we deliberately ignore input just because we can. That's unfair and incorrect.
Sorry Kromm, I guess I'm out of line. I'll edit my posts. Just please, take a look at actual museum collections before deciding not to change the armor wieghts this time.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:43 PM   #55
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding
For the most part I agree with you. However I do think Luther's right in that "Fantasy" can easily become an excuse for zero historical accuracy. We were told it would be fixed in Low-Tech. Now there is not going to be a Low-Tech. Are the following topical for Fantasy-Tech?
  • Accurate Armor Weights
  • Armor and Weapons Customization
  • Civillian Technology (especially agriculture, medicine, finance, and manufacturing)
It seems to me that to each of these you could say "this book is Fantasy-Tech so that real-life stuff isn't relevant."
Didn't you read this post?
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:48 PM   #56
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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Didn't you read this post?
Yes, I did. I'm just being overly excitable today I guess. Sorry. Luther got me all worked up. :)
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:16 PM   #57
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

With regards to fantasy tech are we talking about TL x+y items, like in the steamtech book?

Shouldn't High-Tech and Ultra-tech also include 'fantasy' items? 'Magitech' or whatever constitutes fantasy items are equally valid for all tech levels?

Then again can magical items be given a tech level? A palantir that allows remote viewing and communication is what TL for example?
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:28 PM   #58
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

Fantasy Tech also includes the possibly of items that are whole realistic for low tech materials, but require High Tech understandings to conceive 8)
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:18 PM   #59
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

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Originally Posted by Arawaen
Then again can magical items be given a tech level? A palantir that allows remote viewing and communication is what TL for example?
Don't we have the "Magic Items" series for this stuff?

BTW how popular was Low-Tech? What percentage of fantasy roleplayers (particularly those who don't play GURPS) bought the book and got some use from it? If it was a popular title then it doesn't make sense to upset a winning formula. Make the 4e version the same as 3e but expand it and fix the inaccuracies - such as weapon and armour weights. Scatter a few textboxes with suggestions on what to do if you want to replicate low-tech gear with fantasy materials such as mithril swords, or spidersilk armour, or Essential Wood boats, and it is done. Keep the magic stuff for "Magic Items" or the various Fantasy world books.

Personally I'd rather see a layout that has a separate chapter for each technology rather than for each TL. Have separate chapters on warfare, navigation and sailing, engineering, metallurgy, agriculture, etc. and describe the tech advancement of each technology in the same chapter. Low Tech 3e was no good for world building. If I wanted to work out what sort of agriculture I might want for a certain culture, I have to go through the entire book and pull out the relevant info. Once I have it in front of me then I can decide how advanced to make this culture regarding this particular tech.

Last edited by DanHoward; 02-21-2006 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:56 PM   #60
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Default Re: [PURE THEORY] Low-Tech vs Fantasy-Tech

Oooohh... Please tell me you're gonna name it Cabaret Chicks on Ice. That'd settle the title question immediately. Or, I suppose CCoI might make a good title for a Munchkin RPG sourcebook <grin>.
...
Seriously, my 2 cents says go ahead and throw the fantasy stuff in. Make sure that said fantasy stuff is marked as such (TL^ or TL* notation). On the other hand, I'd buy a Tech Through the Ages product (for GURPS or otherwise) that covered the realistic development of technology (and it's related tools, weapons, and equipment). I'd especially like to see something that broke the TL system down a bit into seperate scales:(for example) Materials, Power, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Architechture, Transportation, Communication, Medicine, Social Orginization, etc...

Then you could include a block on each piece of equipment that listed which categorical TL's were necessary to make that equipment possible, available, or easy to get. For instance, no glass and silver mirrors until Materials-3, Manufacturing-5... Aluminum goes from being more valuble than gold to cheap enough to throw away at Materials-5, Power-6. As an assist to the worldbuilding crowd, you can even throw in trinkets like "Social Orginization doesn't go to TL-4 until Agriculture hits TL-4, representing the invention of the horse collar. Once Social Orginization-4 is in place, fewer farmers can feed more non-farmers, so the number of specialists (including full-time troops) goes up by 70%."

And if you ever get the urge to print a 4e GURPS Timeline product, you could throw in a running graphic that shows which categorical TL's are available to which societies at which points in history.
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