GnomeBoy wrote:If I say all tanks are fighters, but not all fighters are tanks, does that clarify anything?
Not at all - not all tanks are fighters, in my experience. Sometimes tanks are clerics, and even occasionally thieves or a wizard here and there.
Anybody in the party that manages the durability needed to be able to wade into enemies (or send spell-conjured critters in your stead) and survive a while is a tank.
GnomeBoy wrote:• A module may suggest that there be a fighter in the party -- but that need not be a heavily armored melee combatant. It might be just that, but it could be a swift, ranged fighter. For one example.
Right, the module says "you need a fighter," and a fighter is predisposed to do those two things you mention... which some would call "meatshield" and "damage dealing" because that's the shorthand... the phrases that became "tank" and "dps."
GnomeBoy wrote:• It might suggest a wizard -- but it doesn't insist that fireball be a memorized spell.
I know what you are getting at, but most the hard-core "we need all the roles filled" player don't delineate which class must be which role... and those that do certainly don't try and turn wizards into DPS machines. So, bad example but your point stands... I've only see like two modules every suggest that certain spells be available to the party.
GnomeBoy wrote:• It might call for a thief, but that thief might be best at the disable/disarm stuff -- or best at scaling walls and creeping around, without much mechanical expertise.
I refuse to believe that the tendency of people to make certain demands of a thief's skills has anything to do with video games - if anything it is because the entire party can get into some really terrible situations while playing your typical module if they don't have a thief or if that thief is not able to deal with the traps they run into adequately.
Video games tend not to have instant death traps with no hope of reloading and retrying, old school D&D modules do, so players say "hey thief, get as good as you can at the one thing that there is no other way to prevent from killing us."
GnomeBoy wrote:Meanwhile, MMORPG-style players strive for a fixed and inviolate group of a tank, a dps source, a healer, etc, as c'darren suggests. I'm not here to say which style is better -- but your post suggests that there is no stylistic difference, and never has been. I'm saying otherwise, because I've lived it.
No way in the whole of Tarterus am I saying there is no stylistic difference between table-top and video games.
What I am saying is that "tank" came from "meatshield" and "dps" from "damage dealer" and "healer" from, well "healer" - and even "debuff" came from a shorthand of a particular style of wizard or cleric. MMORPGs didn't invent
roles no matter how heavy and influence
they have been to them in modern gaming.
GnomeBoy wrote:If I had to guess -- and of course, I don't have to -- I might be tempted to suppose that you are in the camp of seeing things in that predefined structure anyway. Nothing wrong with that -- but please don't say there is no other vision. I cut my gaming teeth on that other approach, man. It's real.
None of this has bearing on what I am getting at - and no, I don't pitch my tent in that camp.
I'm off in the woods, alone, playing the old school way of no particular necessity being cast upon the party while still able to acknowledge that a big HP, high AC melee character is describable as a "tank" or "meatshield" and has been since before such a thing as an MMORPG even existed.
I don't even play MMORPGs, never really got interested in them, but I refuse to sit by as people unfairly scapegoat them for things they dislike which have been in the hobby since before I was born.