Saturday, July 4, 2009

Roleplaying & Rubric

Noisms at Monsters and Manuals posted a link to an absurd thread over at RPGnet that breaks Dungeons and Dragons character classes down into three or four categories. Here is an excerpt:
Anyway, A-shaped classes are those that use one primary attribute for all attacks and relegate secondary attributes to other effects. The fighter's an example of this. V- and Y-shaped classes refer to the same thing: a class that has attacks based on two different attributes. The ranger and the paladin are examples of V-shaped classes.

MAD = Multiple Attribute Dependency (or Disorder, if you like), in reference to V-shaped classes.

The thread reminded me of J. Evans Pritchard, PhD's soulless essay "Understanding Poetry" from the movie Dead Poets Society, the one that Robin Williams makes his students rip from their textbook. Pritchard proposes a measure for tallying the greatness of a poem by marking "how artfully the objective of the poem has been rendered" on the x axis and "how important is that objective" on the y axis. The TSR fanboys over at RPGnet are doing to the paladin and the ranger what Dr. Pritchard's formulaic approach to literature would inevitably do to a reader's love of Byron, Shelley, and Keats -- namely, suck the ever-lovin' life out of it.

One 4Eer posted that, "rangers are technically H shaped. Two builds that are for the most part nearly interchangable but viable by themselves." Can someone who posits something like that be having half as much fun as I did in 1982 when I decided to "roll up a druid" because I had just seen the movie Beastmaster and thought it'd be cool? I think not.

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