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Crow
2009-11-12, 10:53 PM
I have been sitting around thinking about all the changes that D&D has gone through in my (rather short) memory. Reading books from the likes of Feist, and Tolkien really inspired me to play the game when I was starting out, and I remember way back reading those books how "cool" magic was. It could be subtle, or it could be world-shattering, but either way, it was something special.

Now I remember in what I played of 2nd edition AD&D, there were no real easy magic shoppes where you could just run down and pick up whatever you needed. Maybe this was a function of how my DM ran the game, so maybe and oldster can come in here and clear things up. I also remember that crafting magic items wasn't as easy as picking up a feat and learning a quick spell. You had to collect all sorts of rare crap that you really had to go out of the way for. In my mind, this was actually pretty darn cool. Every item was a potential adventure hook.

Spells were powerful, too. Much like in 3.x, magic could do some insane things. Saving throws worked a little different, but what a spellcaster could do was terrifying. They could do things that other characters simply could not do. On top of that, some spells would actually age the caster, making their use potentially dangerous! Of course, some characters would never get access to those spells, because your maximum level could be capped depending on your race. Humans didn't have this limitation, but then that aging thing came up again. I could go on, but the bottom line is that magic was special.

Then 3.x came along. The spells were still really powerful, but a great deal of it's limitations were removed as well. Now anybody could go out and learn to stop time, and they could do so at any time, without any thought to its future reprecussions beyond losing that 9th level slot. Crafting became easier. Anybody with a spare feat and the ability to cast certain spells could start up a magic shoppe. And they did. It became assumed that all characters would have access to certain magic items at set points within their career. They weren't an edge, they were an essential. By this time, magic was no longer scary, difficult, and dangerous, but just scary. It remained "special" only because of the scope of what it could accomplish.

For 4e, even more characters gained access to magic of a sort. Rituals would allow any character to perform minor magical effects at the cost of a feat. Characters were still expected to have certain items at certain points during their careers, but now it was even more critical. The mathematics that hold together the game's balance almost require it. Spells were drastically reduced in scope and power. To further aggravate this, everyone has "special effects" which while thematically are quite different, mechanically share much with their "magical" counterparts. Magic, which in previous editions had been stripped of the extra trappings which made it special, had now lost it's last bastion. It's power.

So does anybody else feel the same way about this that I do? Do you prefer the new-look magic, and like the way things have progressed over the years? Or do you prefer it the old way, as I do?

1stEd.Thief
2009-11-12, 11:12 PM
I don't know anything about 4e, but I have never (even in 3.x) had a DM who would allow the kind of crazy RAW action I hear bandied about here. Basically DM >>> RAW.

Examples:
Buy a wand of CLW? Sooooooo...... where do you expect to get that? 'Cause the Cleric of Pelor who has one isn't letting hers go.

Want a PrC? Do you know anyone to teach you?

15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle.

etc...


EDIT: uhhh... to the original question: Yes, magic should be special. You should not be able to buy a Candle of Invocation at any town, a +3 sword should be atop a dragon's hoard, not in a shop window, and for heaven's sake, make damn sure there's a TPK before the Wizard gets silly.

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 11:18 PM
It sounds like you prefer low-magic settings. Low-magic is fun when done right.

I on the other hand, am a fan of high-magic.

Crow
2009-11-12, 11:25 PM
It sounds like you prefer low-magic settings. Low-magic is fun when done right.

I on the other hand, am a fan of high-magic.

You are right, for the most part. I like my magic to be rare, but when it is encountered, powerful. There aren't a lot of +1 swords laying around. Chances are, that enchanted sword you found is going to be something special.

But as a fan of high-magic, it sounds like you like a setting where magic is profound in it's effects on the world around it. What do you think of the current flavor of magic where this has been minimized? Or do you disagree in my assertion that it has?

Mando Knight
2009-11-12, 11:26 PM
For 4e, even more characters gained access to magic of a sort.

That's because 4e starts with the assumption "Player Characters are Player Characters because they're the guys who are supposed to be the Fellowship." Some areas like the Feywild are magical places by nature, but the main World (I'll call it the Material Plane, even though 4e as far as I've read hasn't specified such a simple name for it) isn't so magical. It's got heroes and legends and dragons, yes, but that's because you're the heroes and you're making the legends. Not every Greek was a son of Zeus or a famous philosopher, but no one cares about Cephas The Shepherd Who Never Did Anything Interesting.

BobVosh
2009-11-12, 11:26 PM
Buy a wand of CLW? Sooooooo...... where do you expect to get that? 'Cause the Cleric of Pelor who has one isn't letting hers go.
{Scrubbed}


Want a PrC? Do you know anyone to teach you?
meh, just hit up the bard for directions


15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle.
Rope Trick


I like my fantasy high. I like my wizards with world shattering powers if they work for it, however for this to happen I feel magic items should be very available.

Er, late for work, finish later.

SurlySeraph
2009-11-12, 11:34 PM
I agree with this to an extent. I don't want there to be a lot of "minor" magic items; I prefer for magic to be relatively rare but powerful. Now, interesting minor magic items like Immovable Rods and such are fun, but simple +1 weapons and armor aren't. I prefer for all magic weapons to have some associated special power or random quirk, something that makes them more than just an unusually effective tool.

Now, if I were running a campaign I'd let you get up to +5 enhancement bonuses on weapons and armor by different degrees of masterworking. A mundane sword that's just that good is something that fits well in my conception of fantasy. A magic sword that doesn't have any traits but being really accurate and powerful is boring. And I'd have a large random table to roll on for little quirks for magic arms and armor, and possibly for wondrous items as well. Stuff like +1 fire damage, glows blue when orcs are nearby, shrieks when it hits, feels awkwardly balanced but always seems to hit anyway. Things to give them a bit of character. I don't mind the normal Shop o' Magic world that by-the-book 3.5 envisions. It's just that I'd like something a bit more interesting better.

And I definitely agree on the spells. What 3.5 and 4E did was make spells reliable, with minimal drawbacks. From a gamist perspective, I like this. But I think I'd have more fun if wizards had to keep track of the duration on their Fly spells and you'd have to think carefully about whether casting certain powerful spells was worth the risk.

Moff Chumley
2009-11-12, 11:44 PM
I'm kind of fond of the high-magic, 4e setting. Sure, I may have a bunch of magic abilities and items, but the average person is just as freaked out by them as they would've been in 2e. I want to PLAY as Gandalf, not watch him do cool things.

CarpeGuitarrem
2009-11-12, 11:48 PM
It's really just that magic has become "do shiny stuff", instead of a tool of the mythic. Yeah?

Sir Homeslice
2009-11-12, 11:50 PM
But as a fan of high-magic, it sounds like you like a setting where magic is profound in it's effects on the world around it.
I do. Magic is great.


What do you think of the current flavor of magic where this has been minimized? Or do you disagree in my assertion that it has?

Love/hate. On the powers side of things, I like it because you always have magic at your fingertips, and it's not overwhelmingly powerful to the point where if you don't have it, you're a chump. I don't like it, because it doesn't quite do enough, damage and effects wise. I might be unpleaseable, but I want the combat magic to really ruin things for the opponent when it gets off, but not to the point of the aforementioned chump-creation.

Rituals on the other hand, are how I like my important magic spells. It should take time to do, and cost resoruces. However, what I didn't like is 4e's execution of them taking too much time and too much money, while not doing enough to justify the cost in time and resources. There also aren't options for sacrificing more/less time/resources to increase/decrease the effects of the spell.

I want the wizad to walk around and basically bend the concept of magic over a table and screw it brainless. Trawling storms of lightning, localized blizzards, rains of fire and lava, causing people to go mad, or just jerking them around like a crazed puppeteer making his puppets dance.

So I'm pretty neutral on 4e, all things considered. It's done things fine, but it can always do much better and I'm always leery about that.

hiryuu
2009-11-12, 11:54 PM
I'm tired of people assuming that "low magic" or "I want magic to be special" immediately means "you're not getting any."

I know that in most games I run, you're not going to be buying any, but if you made a wizard, you're probably the highest level wizard in the freaking kingdom. If you have a PrC, you're probably the only guy in the world to have it. If you have a magic item, you either found it or made it yourself.

Dracomorph
2009-11-13, 12:01 AM
I think of it as a paradigm shift, from myths to soft Sci-Fi. Sometimes poorly-thought-out soft Sci-Fi from a setting perspective, but that's how I think of it.

I prefer the soft Sci-Fi, because it spreads out the ability to perform miraculous feats, but there's also a lot to be said for the mythic, where the deeds of the party shine brighter in a mundane world.

Zeful
2009-11-13, 12:02 AM
It sounds like you prefer low-magic settings. Low-magic is fun when done right.

I on the other hand, am a fan of high-magic.

There are several different kinds of High magic. The Diadem series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diadem_%28book_series%29) is an example of a high magic setting with several internal limits and consequences on magic. While The Wiz Biz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wiz_Biz) is a high magic setting where spells can solve everything to the point where anyone can learn magic.

3.X tries to be both and fails miserably. Spell casting classes are on the consequence free side of the High magic spectrum, while the entire rest of the system isn't. 4e takes and ramps everything up to the same level of consequence free magic, so it's pretty balanced. 2e treats magic as, while not special, dangerous, so that it's not the obvious for everyone to take.

FoE
2009-11-13, 12:04 AM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

CarpeGuitarrem
2009-11-13, 12:05 AM
I think of it as a paradigm shift, from myths to soft Sci-Fi. Sometimes poorly-thought-out soft Sci-Fi from a setting perspective, but that's how I think of it.

I prefer the soft Sci-Fi, because it spreads out the ability to perform miraculous feats, but there's also a lot to be said for the mythic, where the deeds of the party shine brighter in a mundane world.

QFT, people ought to start seeing the "soft sci-fi" aspect more. 'twould help characterizing things better. Like, it explains why I don't like that sort of fantasy nearly as much (my tastes are heavily mythic).

Mongoose87
2009-11-13, 12:41 AM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

They have it in Call of Cthulhu!

Oracle_Hunter
2009-11-13, 12:43 AM
Oldster arriving!

Yes, 2E had rare magic - it said so right in the DMG. Item creation was a matter of time, luck, and lots of quests to gather the required materials. Yeah, have fun when your DM decides that your Cloak of Displacement needs to be washed with the essence of the Demiplane of Shadow - for a start :smallamused:

Actually, pull out your old DMG and re-read it. In retrospect, 3E was all about looking at the DMG and then doing exactly what it warns against.

Seatbelt
2009-11-13, 12:49 AM
I like the idea that magic is powerful and rare. I like how they handle it in Dragon Age: Origins. Everyone has nifty powers that all do sort of the same thing. Everyone has status affects, debuffs, buffs, etc. Wizards get those too but they also have world-shattering powers. However a lot of them are dangerous AOE that can really mess up the party. So you get your ultimate cosmic power, and limited opportunity to use it. Thats really more a facet of the game mechanics and it wouldn't work so well in pen and paper.

But they fluff it well too. You have ultimate cosmic power. But if you abuse it, there are people who have the sole purpose in life of hunting you down, stripping your magical protections, and killing you.

Doc Roc
2009-11-13, 01:09 AM
It's really just that magic has become "do shiny stuff", instead of a tool of the mythic. Yeah?

In a week, I'll have something really cool to show you. :)

Zeful
2009-11-13, 01:10 AM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

You're referring to me right? If so, then no, you're wrong. I prefer a game where magic is limited in what it can do but still mysterious. I'd rather play Score or Pixel over Wiz (for those that don't know who those are, I provided links to the series they're from). The apprentice, working his way to becoming the master, that kind of thing. 3.5 does not run this style very well, if at all.

elliott20
2009-11-13, 01:12 AM
hell, wizards in a lot of fantasy fiction were more like plot devices than actual characters. And some of the stuff you see in say, Arthurian legends or in Tolkien aren't even THAT powerful.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:16 AM
I don't know anything about 4e, but I have never (even in 3.x) had a DM who would allow the kind of crazy RAW action I hear bandied about here. Basically DM >>> RAW.

Well, yeah...and keep in mind that some of the stuff here is pure TO. However, Ive played in campaigns that allowed RAW levels of magic.


Examples:
Buy a wand of CLW? Sooooooo...... where do you expect to get that? 'Cause the Cleric of Pelor who has one isn't letting hers go.

If magic items are in that short supply...where you'd have to search someone out, and offer them piles of gold to get a trivial item, the correct thing to do is grab a crafting feat, and announce that you're selling your items for piles of gold in each town.


Want a PrC? Do you know anyone to teach you?

This is ridiculous. I mean, advancing in the vanilla classes is really no different from advancing in PrCs.


15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle.

In practice, parties will continue adventuring until they feel it's too dangerous to continue. 15min adventuring day is one extreme end of that spectrum, and yes, sometimes it makes sense. Other times, it's either not possible due to plot requirements, or just isn't needed.

And at about level 5, an extended rope trick will cure all environmental issues, and that's core.


EDIT: uhhh... to the original question: Yes, magic should be special. You should not be able to buy a Candle of Invocation at any town, a +3 sword should be atop a dragon's hoard, not in a shop window, and for heaven's sake, make damn sure there's a TPK before the Wizard gets silly.

Im a fan of the restrictions that already exist for most expensive item available in a town of a given size. It makes sense that a bustling metropolis would have some specialized gear that hicksville #213 would not.

However, Im also a fan of allowing purchasing. Take that away, and you screw over melee types pretty hard.

Yahzi
2009-11-13, 01:30 AM
Now I remember in what I played of 2nd edition AD&D, there were no real easy magic shoppes where you could just run down and pick up whatever you needed. Maybe this was a function
It was a function of the fact that there were no rules for making magic items. At all. Magic items were things you found, not made. You couldn't even recharge a wand.

This was perfectly in keeping with the Vancian air of grave-robbing adventurers digging through the ruins of grand civilizations. It doesn't really work so well with Imperial France.

And of course the players are part of the problem - we're so used to continual progress that we can't even relate to the medieval mind. A historical example: when Alfred Krupp cast the first steel breech-loading cannons, he sent one to the Czar of Russia. The Czar's generals tested it, discovering it could shoot 3 times farther and faster than their old bronze muzzle-loaders. When Krupp got back to them to ask how many they wanted to order, the told him they were so impressed with it that they put it a museum for military oddities.

It wasn't until tiny Austria humbled mighty France that armies actually started buying these demonstrably superior weapons. Imagine having your NCPs be that hidebound in your D&D game - your players would throw dice at you.

3E created rules for making items - which was nice, since we GMs needed some. But then they made them easy - you can craft items as low as 1st level. The sole limiting factor on casters was spells per day, and wands and scrolls simply erased that. Any wizard who doesn't have a scroll of every single spell he knows, and a wand or three of the spells he uses the most often, is too stupid to be a wizard. There is no running a wizard out of spells, or catching him with the wrong spells. There is only the DM forcing the wizard to ignore the crafting rules and common sense so the game can be about something other than how much gold the wizard has.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:35 AM
Actually, WBL should prevent you from keeping scrolls of everything around. Keep scrolls only for those situationally awesome spells that you very rarely need. Keep wands for non-CL dependent things like buffs. The rest...prepare.

Vortling
2009-11-13, 01:37 AM
My personal "magic isn't special" take is that it's the + items causing the problem. A character's ability to hit, do damage, avoid hits, and avoid magical effects should be inherent to the character, not something provided specifically by magic items. I prefer to have magic items be things like immovable rods and decanters of endless water that allow you to do something new and different rather than "oh you're level x, guess you need to find yourself gear of +y to be effective". In short, I hate how both 3.5 and 4e run their magic items, even though those are the only two editions of D&D I've played.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 01:45 AM
Well, it's not so much that +stats are bad...it's just that it's boring. By itself, it has no flavor.

I recommend you dump +stat items entirely, but use the MiC rules of adding +stats to existing magical items. That way, players can still get the benefit if they wish, but it's in a somewhat more interesting way.

I also do agree that focusing on rarity to make something "special" is certainly not the only, and probably not the best way to do it.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-13, 01:51 AM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

Actually, from what I read of the Conan Tabletop gaming rpg book (d20 one, I suspect there are others?) Magic EXACTLY like that does indeed work very well.

FoE
2009-11-13, 01:52 AM
You're referring to me right?

What? No, I wasn't referring to you, Mr. Thinks-the-World-Revolves-Around-Him. :smalltongue:

JonestheSpy
2009-11-13, 02:30 AM
Actually, pull out your old DMG and re-read it. In retrospect, 3E was all about looking at the DMG and then doing exactly what it warns against.

Oh yeah.

Definitely in Crow's camp here.

Draz74
2009-11-13, 02:34 AM
My personal "magic isn't special" take is that it's the + items causing the problem. A character's ability to hit, do damage, avoid hits, and avoid magical effects should be inherent to the character, not something provided specifically by magic items. I prefer to have magic items be things like immovable rods and decanters of endless water that allow you to do something new and different rather than "oh you're level x, guess you need to find yourself gear of +y to be effective". In short, I hate how both 3.5 and 4e run their magic items, even though those are the only two editions of D&D I've played.

+1. (Heh, irony not intended!)

In my system, I'm making it so magic items only add a maximum of a +1 bonus to basic things like attack/damage/AC/saves. And a lot of them won't even do that.

Overall magic items should be a lot rarer, but if you want an example of a "common" magic weapon? OK. Here's a Flaming weapon. No, it doesn't deal +1d6+1 damage. It just deals the same amount of damage as normal, but Fire damage instead of Slashing damage. Now, while it's useful, its uses are situational. And therefore the high-level character with no magic items is still much more powerful than the uber-wealthy Level 2 character.

(Congratulations, you have completed a difficult quest and have found Ignatinate, the legendary Spear wielded by the pyromaniac hero Verimaakk! This isn't your average Flaming Ranseur. No, this one gives you a +1 bonus to attack and damage! And +1d6 damage against Ice Devils! And lets you commune with Verimaakk's spirit and ask him one yes/no question once per adventure! And all of those benefits are only after you spend a week Attuning yourself to the weapon, and you can only have a limited number of items Attuned. So yeah, the weapon is certainly useful, but magic items are still a small fraction of your character's total power.)

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-13, 02:59 AM
+1. (Heh, irony not intended!)

In my system, I'm making it so magic items only add a maximum of a +1 bonus to basic things like attack/damage/AC/saves. And a lot of them won't even do that.

Overall magic items should be a lot rarer, but if you want an example of a "common" magic weapon? OK. Here's a Flaming weapon. No, it doesn't deal +1d6+1 damage. It just deals the same amount of damage as normal, but Fire damage instead of Slashing damage. Now, while it's useful, its uses are situational. And therefore the high-level character with no magic items is still much more powerful than the uber-wealthy Level 2 character.

(Congratulations, you have completed a difficult quest and have found Ignatinate, the legendary Spear wielded by the pyromaniac hero Verimaakk! This isn't your average Flaming Ranseur. No, this one gives you a +1 bonus to attack and damage! And +1d6 damage against Ice Devils! And lets you commune with Verimaakk's spirit and ask him one yes/no question once per adventure! And all of those benefits are only after you spend a week Attuning yourself to the weapon, and you can only have a limited number of items Attuned. So yeah, the weapon is certainly useful, but magic items are still a small fraction of your character's total power.)"Time to go sell it to go get something actually useful. Or strip it of its power to embed in something else."

Really, that's a very dull, useless item, even in a low-magic setting. I think I'd rather give it to some freezing peasants to warm themselves with during winter than keep it.

DragoonWraith
2009-11-13, 03:00 AM
You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle.
Not that I entirely disagree with you (though some of it I do), but did you just advocate telling your players what their characters do or do not feel like doing?

Frosty
2009-11-13, 03:01 AM
The problem is now you have to tone down all the monsters in the game so that they reflect the lower power level and power-selection of the party.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-13, 03:04 AM
The problem is now you have to tone down all the monsters in the game so that they reflect the lower power level and power-selection of the party.Doesn't hurt the wizard's power much, though. You can still instagib anything you want with no save. It's the fighter-types that get screwed, and they can't afford to be any moreso than they already are.

Frosty
2009-11-13, 03:06 AM
ToB would do alright except for the lack of access to flying and dealing with ranged threat.

Draz74
2009-11-13, 03:14 AM
"Time to go sell it to go get something actually useful. Or strip it of its power to embed in something else."

Really, that's a very dull, useless item, even in a low-magic setting. I think I'd rather give it to some freezing peasants to warm themselves with during winter than keep it.

Haha. Well, if I ever DM for you, we'll see if you hold to that, or change your mind. :smallamused:

Keep in mind, there are a LOT of other rules changes that I was assuming would be part of the campaign where this example item appeared. Most relevantly, there aren't many magic items better than this. :smallbiggrin: I wouldn't say it's a low-magic system; spellcasters are still powerful. But it's definitely an anti-Christmas-tree-effect system.

That said, I came up with this example item on the spot, and I'm still very early in the development process of magic items in my system. I may well decide that you're correct, and it is a boring item, and give it some more powers (when Attuned). But not mostly in the form of numerical bonuses.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-13, 03:14 AM
ToB would do alright except for the lack of access to flying and dealing with ranged threat.True, but they'd probably be banned due to being 'too magical'. And yes, I know that they really aren't ('cept maybe swordsage, but their awesome-quotient is too high anyway).

Killer Angel
2009-11-13, 03:37 AM
{Scrubbed}


There's no need to be a jerk. I DMastered a campaign low magic, with the art of crafting magic items lost long time ago (aka no item creation feats).
Magical objects were RARE and precious treasures, often in the hands of high priests or in royal treasury. And certainly no wands of CLW were at disposal.
As the group grows in power, the pcs acquire the benevolence of Princes and Clan Chiefs, and they were equipped for the missions. Sometime, one third of their magical equipment (wands, etc.) change from mission to mission.In the end, they had their WBL in magical objects, in a world almost without magical objects.



This is ridiculous. I mean, advancing in the vanilla classes is really no different from advancing in PrCs.


Why? it depends on the campaign.
In a campaign I was the DM (the same as above), the prcs were limited to one per pc.
This was justified by the fact that the Prc are usually tied with a specific organization, with specific training, almost always at the service of kingdoms.
If a pc is trained by such an organization, almost certainly will not be trained by another specialized group.
Exceptions exist, but are rare and justified with good background or in-game developement.

When i presented the background of the campaign, my players vote for it. They enjoyed such low-magic world, with few PrCs.
The following campaign, we played Eberron.
So, it's certainly possible and not absurd, neither ridiculous, 'til all the players agree on it.

Edit: PCs totally unoptimized, so this helped; the casters in the group were all dual-class: a cleric 3° / monk; a cleric / sorcerer, and a fighter / sorcerer

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 03:43 AM
"Time to go sell it to go get something actually useful. Or strip it of its power to embed in something else."

Really, that's a very dull, useless item, even in a low-magic setting. I think I'd rather give it to some freezing peasants to warm themselves with during winter than keep it.

Agreed. Im once again astounded that people equate making magic items worthless with making them special.

Temet Nosce
2009-11-13, 03:47 AM
(Congratulations, you have completed a difficult quest and have found Ignatinate, the legendary Spear wielded by the pyromaniac hero Verimaakk! This isn't your average Flaming Ranseur. No, this one gives you a +1 bonus to attack and damage! And +1d6 damage against Ice Devils! And lets you commune with Verimaakk's spirit and ask him one yes/no question once per adventure! And all of those benefits are only after you spend a week Attuning yourself to the weapon, and you can only have a limited number of items Attuned. So yeah, the weapon is certainly useful, but magic items are still a small fraction of your character's total power.)

I'm with Lycanthrope here mate. I'd be tempted to chuck that thing on general principle, and not because of a lack of +s. It's just... boring. Sorry mate. Maybe stick it in a game heavy with Ice monsters and make it constantly try to force the user to hunt them down (with the ability to locate them) I suppose.

To give a counter example of what I would consider something interesting to find in P&P, lets steal from Pullman and consider Æsahættr. Now there's an item I'd think was cool to find in a game of D&D. No pluses, but well... It's a malevolent weapon capable of cutting holes between realities and releasing monsters. Who would not want it?

Anyways, @Op I do to an extent agree and it's definitely part of what turned me off of 4E. I don't really have a problem with how 3E does it per se, but I would definitely enjoy magic more if it felt more special. My personal tendency would be towards a setting where magic is incredibly powerful but equally rare and dangerous (with reasons for these things). No + anything weapons, nor pitiful spells.

Tiktakkat
2009-11-13, 03:53 AM
Oldster arriving!

Yes, 2E had rare magic - it said so right in the DMG. Item creation was a matter of time, luck, and lots of quests to gather the required materials. Yeah, have fun when your DM decides that your Cloak of Displacement needs to be washed with the essence of the Demiplane of Shadow - for a start :smallamused:

Actually, pull out your old DMG and re-read it. In retrospect, 3E was all about looking at the DMG and then doing exactly what it warns against.

Older oldster arriving!

Concerning rare magic in AD&D (1st and 2nd ed):
Piffle.

Stuff and nonsense.

Balderdash.

And assorted other dismissive terms.

Yeah, yeah, the DMG "warned" about it, commentary was written on it, blah, blah, blah.
Try reading some of those old adventures and counting up the treasure in them. And I mean the ones by Gary Gygax and his cronies. There is enough magic loot in those suckers to choke a T-Rex, sometimes even two.
Then go further and read some of their old stories. The one I like is where Gary talked about the dragon they subdued, and how they put it in a covered wagon and went out trying to have random encounters with bandits because bandits had Type A treasure, and that meant a 30% chance of any 3 magic items. Seriously. As blatant a motivation as that. And do not forget, an entire adventure was created, with tons of background, just to get rid of the two vorpal swords that one character wound up with. Two vorpal swords!

Yes, item creation was an excercise in jumping through gratuitous hoops.
Why?
To stress that heroes should be out adventuring, not most of the party (the non-spellcasters) vegetating while the rest (the spellcasters) created endless magical trinkets.

Yes, buying items was an excercise in getting laughed at.
Why?
To stress that heroes should be out adventuring, not playing merchant to get their next cool item.
Not that such stopped Gary from using such in his fiction, where the eponymous character in a Gord the Rogue novel buys a magical dagger that cuts through any armor to replace a longtooth dagger he lost in a fight with a monster. The scene featured blatant magic shop discussion, stopping just short of overt meta-game terminology.
Besides, you usually needed every gp you acquired to pay for upkeep and training, leaving nothing for magic items, so it was rarely an issue anyway.
Well, except when the PCs had a ton of magic items to sell. Oddly, they was never an issue with random NPCs buying from the PCs, only a severe dearth of NPCs willing to sell to the PCs.

Overall, magic items were just as numerous in AD&D as in D20 D&D. The only difference is that you are expected to purchase specific ones in D20 D&D, while being expected to rely on random accumulation in AD&D.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 05:45 AM
I'm tired of people assuming that "low magic" or "I want magic to be special" immediately means "you're not getting any."
Precisely.

On the one hand, it means that your rogue isn't going to start with a Standard Magical +1 Dagger that he bought at the Standard Magical Dagger Shop.

On the other hand, since he's a protagonist, he'll find a mystical weapon at some point. Only it's going to do something more flashy and impressive than give a mechanical bonus to a die roll, since magical items are unique rather than standard.

"But the PCs are supposed to have +X weapons by level Y" is easily adjusted for by picking the monsters they fight.

Satyr
2009-11-13, 06:52 AM
I don't like magic items en masse, for a very simple reason: It makes them less interesting for each other. Magic Items are pretty much like cake. Cake is great, and there are many different and inteeresting ones, but when you are eating cake every day, you will quickly develop a dislike for it.

The way I run campaigns (and my players seem to like it), pretty much every magic item is considered a minor artifact, has its own legend. A good magic item should add to a character and become a relevant part of it; if the equipment actually turn it into a glorified hatstand with a few tricks, the props become more important than base, and that always seem odd to me.

Cool magical items are those who will be remembered even years after a campaign. This is pretty much the most important trait they should have - if they are recongnizable, they add to a campaign and create a certain legacy. If they are just there but are ultimately forgotten, it doesn't an item was, or how great bonuses it brought. One moe dice of damage or a neat bonus to some abilities or other is nice, but nobody (okay, nobobody) would exchange anecdotes about having an unusal high to hit bonus. But being able to do stuf what does not usual appear or having an axe who channels the spirit of an ancient berserker spirit gives a good story to tell. And that's what#s all about.

It's similar with the general appearance of magic. Experiencing something unknown, strange and even somewhat disturbing supernatural appearance (and remember it's called supernatural because it is "not supposed to happen, but does happen") is awesome. Recognizing the ever same collection of spells is about as interesting as looking at an Ikea catalogue.

In both cases, unusual, inexpected, and surprising stuff will always beat the standardised catalogue contents. Not because of it is more powerful, or less powerful for this regard, but because it is more interesting.

A part of this is to make it somewhart rare, because unique stuff is very likely to be more interersting as mass products. The same way THE real cool monster is an awesome opposition. An army of the same monsters is just dull. Like ninjas, if you think about it.

Ergo, magic is like ninjas.
magic is like cake.
Therefore, ninjas are ade out of cake.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 07:12 AM
Now I remember in what I played of 2nd edition AD&D, there were no real easy magic shoppes where you could just run down and pick up whatever you needed. Maybe this was a function of how my DM ran the game, so maybe and oldster can come in here and clear things up. I also remember that crafting magic items wasn't as easy as picking up a feat and learning a quick spell. You had to collect all sorts of rare crap that you really had to go out of the way for. In my mind, this was actually pretty darn cool. Every item was a potential adventure hook.


True, but did you read many 2E modules magic itemds were very, very, very common. Heck, most XP came from gear so they had to give you stuff if they expected you to level up.

While you couldn't buy it: you most likely didn't need to.
Making stuff was DM dependent so all that rare crap was the DM's choice.



Not that I entirely disagree with you (though some of it I do), but did you just advocate telling your players what their characters do or do not feel like doing?

He is just saying they are a very specific type of tired.
Too tired to go on, but not tired enough to sleep in the mud.
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=615

Roc Ness
2009-11-13, 07:51 AM
Magic should be treated as we treat technology. When there was not a lot of it, people killed to gain it. When there was a lot of it, people of virtually all walks of life would have found a bit to assist them.

In a high magic scenario, every single thing that could possibly benefit from technology will benefit from magic. How many low-level (or even high level) spellcasters in the world over the course of say... 100 years are willing to churn out items for trade? A lot. The easiest thing to do is to simply take an example of technology today and find a magic equivalent. In this fashion, every single peasant farmer will have some sort "golem of burden" or "automatic watering device" or even some sort of accurate weather prediction device. Rogues will all have something to aid stealth, cobblers will have magic alarm systems to reduce shoe thefts and lords and nobles will have their magic weapons and mystic charming cloaks. The PCs? Still have no more than what they would usually have, as there is no neccessity for more.

In a low magic scenario, magic is rare. But, for the protagonist, it won't change anything. As mentioned, you won't say "This is low magic, you won't get that." but instead characters will respond to "You are special." Low magic really only affects unimportant NPCs. Farmers will no longer have their arcane harvesting aids, and cobblers may have to use dogs to gaurd against rogues, but that will be it. NPCs won't experience any change larger than easily replaceable small details, and in the end they are just a little easier for the PCs to trump.

Neo Black
2009-11-13, 07:51 AM
I agree with the original poster somewhat,

I believe that magic should be rare and when encountered one should tremble in their boots at the thought of it. Also to be honest I think that the ability to have special powers in 4e does make magic seem like an easily atainable ability, not something that requires years of practice and thought to master. However, I think that because magic is rare that those with the ability to use should be able to preserve that ability. If everytime you cast Time Stop you lost a 9-level slot Time Stop would become highly unused, because as said before magic is rare and 9-level spell slot is of the rarest.

So I do agree with you that magic should not be something that is easy to do but I don't think that magic users should be penalized for using their powers at the best of their abilities. Well at least that's my two GP.

Neo

taltamir
2009-11-13, 07:55 AM
magic = special could make for some really cool games...
but I think the first step is taking it away from PCs. at least, take it away as a playable class.

in a way, we cheat somewhat... somehow killing monsters makes the wizard learn magic... and better than he did during decades of study.

But if you adhere to such "realistic" and "special" magic system, then you are not really playing DnD anymore... people want to be special... they can be non special in their 9 to 5 job... Playing a wizard is damn rewarding on my off time.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0016.html

Eldan
2009-11-13, 08:07 AM
And I'd have a large random table to roll on for little quirks for magic arms and armor, and possibly for wondrous items as well. Stuff like +1 fire damage, glows blue when orcs are nearby, shrieks when it hits, feels awkwardly balanced but always seems to hit anyway. Things to give them a bit of character.


Would anyone be up to heading over to the homebrew forum, sitting down and write a table with, let's say for starters, writing up 100 such effects?

Dimers
2009-11-13, 08:08 AM
I remember in what I played of 2nd edition AD&D, there were no real easy magic shoppes where you could just run down and pick up whatever you needed. ... I also remember that crafting magic items wasn't as easy as picking up a feat and learning a quick spell. You had to collect all sorts of rare crap that you really had to go out of the way for.

It was a difficult enough process that wizards gained XP for doing it, rather than losing XP. On the other hand, it took months to complete the enchantment itself, so the wizard wasn't getting adventuring XP during that time. But it's the thought that counts. :smallwink: One thing that helped keep magic rare (aside from countless deaths of 1d4-hp adventurers) is that your die rolls for attributes were supposed to be kept in the order you rolled them -- meaning your Int or Wis might not be high enough to do squat.


I could go on, but the bottom line is that magic was special.

I agree with your premise and generally feel the same. I felt a sinking feeling when I first read about clerics' spontaneous conversion to curative spells in 3.0 -- I could just see the healbot coming. No more worries about losing hit points; you'll just get them right back, magically, without even needing to wait until the cleric can pray for spells again.

For another world in which magic is special and dangerous, check out the Black Company series of books. Already seen it and like it? Green Ronin put out a worldbook for it, with considerably different rules for casters and item creation.

Edited to add: Access to spells and enchanted items isn't all there is to talk about in terms of magic being 'special'. Social impact is important, too. If wizards are shunned and avoided and lied to because everyone is terrified of them, if you have to lose your family and friends to form a close enough bond with your diety that you get spells from it ... you'd see far fewer wizards and clerics in the gameworld. Social impact is harder to quantify and make into a mechanic than combat is -- especially given that social activity is so hard to represent mechanically without allowing it to be broken (*cough*Diplomacy*cough*).

Satyr
2009-11-13, 08:12 AM
That's not a question of absolutes. It i not like that there is either magic anywhere and and is so common that there is nothing special about it anymore, or magic is so rare that it doesn't matter at all. Both versions are looking not very appealing to me.
Like everything that matters, it is question of finding the right mixture for yourself, or your group and make sure that you enjoy the game.



But if you adhere to such "realistic" and "special" magic system, then you are not really playing DnD anymore...

It is absolute irrelevant how the system is "supposed" to be played. The rules are there to be adapted, adjusted and if the case need be, vivisectioned and put together in an unholy abomination of a monster powered by lightning.

I also found the notion that peope want to be something 'special' in the free time is a depressing one. I mena, roleplayng (like pretty much every hobby) is a form of escapism, but what kind of a self image do you need to think that you have to be the invicible protagonist of your personal epic to compensate for your usual life?

Morty
2009-11-13, 08:13 AM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

Nobody said the PCs are required to use magic, you know. If the game flat-out tells the players that magic isn't the universal and necessary wonderful tool they know from D&D - like Riddle of Steel for instance - it's going to work fine.
Myself, I'm fine with magic like presented in D&D 3.5, only on a much lower power level and with much bigger risks. Kind of like in WFRP, only not necessarily with color-coded wizards. Of course, I'm a fan of low-power settings in general, where PCs don't get to be powerful just because.

Oslecamo
2009-11-13, 08:19 AM
And what's exactly wrong with there being magic, and then magic?

A CLW wand may indeed be a common item developed by clerics to help ease pain in mass, but sometimes you find sometimes you will find true magic. Like a wand that talks and refuses to heal people it doesn't like and will greatly buff those who amuse it.

Like in most fantasy video games, where there are mass produced magic items, but now and then you find that unique super sword of awesome, wich you can't buy anywhere, and offers special abilities.

lesser_minion
2009-11-13, 08:23 AM
I also found the notion that peope want to be something 'special' in the free time is a depressing one. I mena, roleplayng (like pretty much every hobby) is a form of escapism, but what kind of a self image do you need to think that you have to be the invicible protagonist of your personal epic to compensate for your usual life?

I would hope that people don't 'need' to fantasise about being an invincible protagonist of some kind of grand epic, and I certainly don't see why anyone would think they have to be.

At the same time, however, PCs are special. They are the people we're writing a story about here. You can play whatever interests you, whatever pulls you into the story, and whatever lets you have fun while doing so.

How much you go for any of the three is going to be coloured by the game you are playing, and the narrator.

Zombimode
2009-11-13, 08:28 AM
It was a function of the fact that there were no rules for making magic items. At all. Magic items were things you found, not made. You couldn't even recharge a wand.

I wish people would do the research before posting about things apparently out of their knowlegde.

If you didnt get the meaning of above sentence: Every single sentence in the quoted passage is wrong. Reread the 2e DMG.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 08:31 AM
Most DMs never followed what the book said Zombimode. Every DM in 2E houseruled so these people think they know how 2E worked.

But they don't. Probably only were player characters never DMs.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 08:33 AM
Yes, 2E had rare magic - it said so right in the DMG. Item creation was a matter of time, luck, and lots of quests to gather the required materials. Yeah, have fun when your DM decides that your Cloak of Displacement needs to be washed with the essence of the Demiplane of Shadow - for a start :smallamused:

Actually, pull out your old DMG and re-read it. In retrospect, 3E was all about looking at the DMG and then doing exactly what it warns against.

Yep. And as a poster points out above, D20/3e catered to a popular style of play that ignored the warnings in AD&D, and was often discussed in Dragon. Although my memory is hazy on the details, I definitely read a lot of articles that took the premise "magic is too common in many AD&D campaigns" and looked for a solution. In my campaign, magic is uncommon, and that is probably directly related to that discourse during my formative years.



It was a function of the fact that there were no rules for making magic items. At all.

This is incorrect, but a strangely common assertion. You can find guidelines in the second edition DMG and more detailed versions in the first edition DMG. By the mid nineties the second edition supplement High Level Campaigns had expanded on the subject.



3E created rules for making items - which was nice, since we GMs needed some. But then they made them easy - you can craft items as low as 1st level. The sole limiting factor on casters was spells per day, and wands and scrolls simply erased that. Any wizard who doesn't have a scroll of every single spell he knows, and a wand or three of the spells he uses the most often, is too stupid to be a wizard. There is no running a wizard out of spells, or catching him with the wrong spells. There is only the DM forcing the wizard to ignore the crafting rules and common sense so the game can be about something other than how much gold the wizard has.

The sort of rules D20/3e presents for magical item creation can also be found in the Rules Cyclopedia (1991), which is presumably from where they borrowed most of the concept.



Most DMs never followed what the book said Zombimode. Every DM in 2E houseruled so these people think they know how 2E worked.

But they don't. Probably only were player characters never DMs.

This is likely true; I also find quite a lot of people who talk about AD&D are only really familiar with the computer game versions.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 08:51 AM
If I remember right: while there was rules for creating magic items: you had a chance to lose Con (permanency).
I think it was a low chance like 10%, but still that might scare some people from doing it often.

FoE
2009-11-13, 09:00 AM
Nobody said the PCs are required to use magic, you know. If the game flat-out tells the players that magic isn't the universal and necessary wonderful tool they know from D&D - like Riddle of Steel for instance - it's going to work fine.

My point is that if you want magic to MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL! then the very act of putting down rules for that magic — and what's more, trying to allow magic to be used by anyone — is going to negate that "specialness".

Conan hated magic because he didn't get it. Nobody in his world really did, outside of a few very rare and special individuals. And then, magic ranged from laughably pathetic — potions, hypnotism and the like — to earth-shatteringly powerful. But there were no set guidelines for using magic, no Idiot's Guide to Summoning Yuor Own Demon, and as such it was MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL!

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 09:05 AM
My point is that if you want magic to MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL! then the very act of putting down rules for that magic — and what's more, trying to allow magic to be used by anyone — is going to negate that "specialness".
Well, yes. That is why magical items used to be in the DMG. Of course, that assumes that players won't read the DMG, which is not a particularly safe assumption.

I prefer the method of giving the PCs magical items with strange powers and let them figure out what to do with that, to letting them cherry pick from a list to get the items that would give them the biggest bonus.

Oslecamo
2009-11-13, 09:05 AM
Conan hated magic because he didn't get it. Nobody in his world really did, outside of a few very rare and special individuals. And then, magic ranged from laughably pathetic — potions, hypnotism and the like — to earth-shatteringly powerful. But there were no set guidelines for using magic, no Idiot's Guide to Summoning Yuor Own Demon, and as such it was MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL!

Actualy, I remember Conan having trouble taking two steps whitout finding a cult of magic developing new spells and training new wizards/sorcerors.

And then said spellcasters always would have a weak point wich could be exploited by an item Conan had just recently acquired, or he would spot a certain patern on his oponent's magic and thus be able to go around on it.

Reinboom
2009-11-13, 09:06 AM
My point is that if you want magic to MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL! then the very act of putting down rules for that magic — and what's more, trying to allow magic to be used by anyone — is going to negate that "specialness".

Conan hated magic because he didn't get it. Nobody in his world really did, outside of a few very rare and special individuals. And then, magic ranged from laughably pathetic — potions, hypnotism and the like — to earth-shatteringly powerful. But there were no set guidelines for using magic, no Idiot's Guide to Summoning Yuor Own Demon, and as such it was MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL!

Says you! we've already been graced (http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpg/series.php?qsSeries=7#) by the presence of the otherworldly and painful mysteries of sorcery in the Conan world!
And it is infinitely easier to do than Schwarzenegger punching out a camel!

-edit-
Ah, right. An opinion to the topic at hand.
I feel that, on a game mechanics sense, magic should not be married to the core (hit/miss) mechanic. That is what defines dependency the most. Even a masterwork scaling +1 up I have an issue with.
Instead, magic should be something that item can't do naturally. It should be unique, and special.

On a related note, I find the whole "does fire damage instead of slashing" to be silly. If you have a sword, and it's lit on fire... it is still a sword, and it is still slashing. Fire is by incident. Unless you have Flametongue or something. That's a completely different concept though.

FoE
2009-11-13, 09:16 AM
A lot of stories did involve Conan taking on some pretty fantastic creatures and powerful sorcerors, don't get me wrong. But the gods were (effectively) real in Conan's world, and what's more, his universe had some pretty close ties to the Cthulhu mythos. But it wasn't the norm for Conan. He didn't like it and didn't understand it. And quite frankly, the rules seemed to change from place to place and from magic-user to magic-user.


And it is infinitely easier to do than Schwarzenegger punching out a camel!

Go back to juggling apples. :smalltongue:

truemane
2009-11-13, 09:17 AM
If I remember right: while there was rules for creating magic items: you had a chance to lose Con (permanency).
I think it was a low chance like 10%, but still that might scare some people from doing it often.

In 2e there was, in fact, a spell. It was 6th level and it was called 'Enchant Item' and the explanatory text was very , very long and it actually explained very little.

The rules hinted that you needed to cast Permanency to make the item actually, you know, permanent. The Permanency spell caused you to lose a point of Constitution. But the Enchant Item spell said that you had a 5% chance to lose a point of Constitution. Which of these two rules was the right rule was anyone's guess.

And the DMG added a few other layers of explanatory text that, again, explained nothing.

And this was all before the internet, remember. So you didn't have a magic pipe-line to the role-playing community where all these things could be discussed in committee. Your 'community' was the other five guys who couldn't get dates in High School.

jmbrown
2009-11-13, 09:20 AM
Yep. And as a poster points out above, D20/3e catered to a popular style of play that ignored the warnings in AD&D, and was often discussed in Dragon. Although my memory is hazy on the details, I definitely read a lot of articles that took the premise "magic is too common in many AD&D campaigns" and looked for a solution. In my campaign, magic is uncommon, and that is probably directly related to that discourse during my formative years.

2E's system of governing items wasn't helped that DM's were given the option to reward experience based on the gold piece value of treasure but I too fell into the trap of handing out too much junk when I first played 3E. I remember creating a party of 10th level characters for the first time and the DM basically said "Look through the DMG and pick what you want."

Such bad habits.

Morty
2009-11-13, 09:20 AM
My point is that if you want magic to MYSTERIOUS! UNUSUAL! UNNATURAL! SPECIAL! then the very act of putting down rules for that magic — and what's more, trying to allow magic to be used by anyone — is going to negate that "specialness".


Riddle of Steel dealt with this neatly, I think - there were rules for magic, but they were flexible and the game flat-out told the GM and the players that it's supposed to be unbalanced and dangerous, much more powerful than anything an non-sorcerer can do and that only one person in thousands can learn magic. So it can be done.

t_catt11
2009-11-13, 09:31 AM
I agree with you 100%, Crow. I despise the concept that magic items are so dirt common that you cannot function as an adventurer without them.

High magic worlds are fun to play in, but I prefer magic that is... magical.

Wands of cure light wounds? Heh, you wish. Boots of speed? Okay, do your (clearly expensive) reaearch. Go collect the sweat of a cheetah and the cry of a falcon. Spread the sweat on your boots at the precise moment the sun hits its apex in the sky, then release the cry as you cast your spells. Make sure you are of high enough level to apply permenancy, obviously.

Or, go pick some up at Crazy Renfrir's Magic Shoppe.

Metamagic feats are undoubtedly cool, but they make magic so much less impressive, so much more commonplace.


Meh. Give me old school magic with an evil DM.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 09:31 AM
If I remember right: while there was rules for creating magic items: you had a chance to lose Con (permanency). I think it was a low chance like 10%, but still that might scare some people from doing it often.

Every casting of permanency on a living being lowers the constitution of the magician by one point, but in the case of items it only happens 5% of the time; of course, he has to be sixteenth level to even gain access to such a spell to begin with, which is required for the creation of permanent magical items. On the other hand, clerics can sidestep that issue, as they need only lay the item upon an altar and spend 15-115 days in spiritual retreat. Afterwards, both magicians and clerics must rest for 1 day per 100 GP value of the magic item created.

Basically, creating magical items in AD&D is hard, expensive, time consuming, and dangerous.



In 2e there was, in fact, a spell. It was 6th level and it was called 'Enchant Item' and the explanatory text was very, very long and it actually explained very little.

The rules hinted that you needed to cast Permanency to make the item actually, you know, permanent. The Permanency spell caused you to lose a point of Constitution. But the Enchant Item spell said that you had a 5% chance to lose a point of Constitution. Which of these two rules was the right rule was anyone's guess.

When enchanting an item, the risk is reduced from 100% to 5% apparently. They moved the explanatory text from the DMG to the PHB for second edition for some reason, obscuring the prioritisation:

DMG, p. 46:

"Permanency: There is only a 5% chance of the spell caster actually losing a point of constitution if the spell is cast upon a non-living thing."

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-13, 09:44 AM
Process for making a magic item in my games:

Establish a connection of some sort: an adventurer's guild, a mage's guild, an independent trade network, et cetera. This can be done with money and maybe a little quest.
Express desire to make a magic item.
Do research into what materials are required. For wizards, this may be a knowledge check followed by some library research. For others, this will likely entail paying a sage, probably found through your connections.
Use your connections to get the materials. Buy from the guild surplus, use the connections to hire out somebody to get them, et cetera.
Wait. You can go out and quest for quicksilver-plated dragon ovaries if you want to speed it up.
Get everything and make the item.

How this works in practice: Pay a percentage of the item price, wait, pay another percentage, wait, pay another percentage, get the stuff, make the item. Listen to fancy fluff about shadow essence and powdered beholder stalks throughout the process.

Easy and flavorful.

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 09:49 AM
"Time to go sell it to go get something actually useful. Or strip it of its power to embed in something else.Based on what the text you quoted, neither of these are particularly viable.

The first option (sell it and buy something else) isn't going to work; even if you can find a buyer for a legendary item, there isn't likely to be anything more useful for you to buy in the world as presented.
The second option (strip it of it's power and make something else) is even less likely to be possible, since the lack of plentiful magic items in that world means that item creation is not something that is going to be much of an option.



True, but they'd probably be banned due to being 'too magical'. The fact that they are fluffed as being powered by awesome rather than powered by magic doesn't make them any less magical.

Telonius
2009-11-13, 09:55 AM
IMO there's some amount of tension between how "special" magic is, and how "special" PCs can be if they're able to use it.

Let's say you are in a setting where magic is exceedingly rare. Magic is weird, unusual, and earth-shatteringly powerful when it happens.

Such a setting makes it extremely difficult to balance players being able to actually use magic. If your player wants to be a standard D&D wizard, he's going to be even more vastly disproportionate in power to the rest of the group - and to the setting as a whole - than he already is. If you don't mind playing as Pippin when Gandalf is in your party, that's not a problem; but most groups don't actually function like that.

Earlier editions mitigated this somewhat by making a Wizard take more XP to level. But unless you want to make "Wizard" a +x LA Template, there's not much support for it in 3.X.

I do think that there is some amount of a magic weapon glut, but there are ways around this. Personally I love the "Ancestral Relic" from BoED and "True Believer/Relic" from Complete Divine. These can make a weapon really feel special to the character. Yeah, they might loot that +3 shock burst longsword from the BBEG's lieutenant, but it's just not the same as Grandpa's mace, or Kord's Toothpick. (Alternately, if a lot of people use this mechanic, the BBEG's lieutenant's weapon might be just an ordinary longsword in the hands of anybody but him - the magic came from within).

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 10:02 AM
That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.It works fine in tabletop gaming systems, as long as that matches everyone's expectations. Certainly, you'll run into big problems if you have people who want to kick in the door, kill the monsters and take their stuff, but the further you get from that mindset, the better the low, gritty magic system works.

I seem to recall that the original TSR Conan RPG worked a bit like that; the side effects to using magic could be gruesome indeed.

Satyr
2009-11-13, 10:09 AM
It works fine in tabletop gaming systems, as long as that matches everyone's expectations.

That's essentially right for every depuiction of magic. Just imagine a D&D-style fireball-hurler in a Call of Cthulluh campaign. It just wouldn't fit in. Magic is a completely fictional concept and as such, it can take every shape, laws, trappings or rituals you ever want to. There is no need to make it fit any prescriptive formula.
Unlike other aspects of a roleplaying game which are somewhat based on reality (like bashing other people's head in with a lumb of metal) magic is pretty much anything you want it to be.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 10:14 AM
Nah. There are plenty of depictions of magic that translate poorly to games. Say, any of the ones where using magic rapidly and irreversibly ages you. That's not going to work well in any game where you intend to use a character for a while.

Likewise, nobody is actually going to roleplay the ridiculous amounts of learning required for the typical "magic requires tons of research" trope. Have you ever seen anyone playing a loremaster or archivist that really followed the class description of such? Study gets skimmed over, if it even gets addressed at all, because it makes for poor gameplay.

Yes, you *can* describe magic as anything. However, not all systems are equally translatable to a game.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 10:14 AM
Unlike other aspects of a roleplaying game which are somewhat based on reality (like bashing other people's head in with a lumb of metal) magic is pretty much anything you want it to be.
Most fantasy settings disagree with that. It is considered a hallmark of bad writing to have magic be the kind of Deus Ex Machina that does "pretty much anything you want it to".

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 10:22 AM
Most fantasy settings disagree with that. It is considered a hallmark of bad writing to have magic be the kind of Deus Ex Machina that does "pretty much anything you want it to".

Magic is usually consistent within a setting, but across settings? No matter what the setting, you can expect certain effects when bashing someone on the head but that doesn't hold true for magic, which is much more setting specific. Casting a fireball in Randland is quite different from casting a fireball in Lovecraft country.

I think that's what Satyr meant by "magic can be anything". Depending on your setting, magic can do totally different things and follow completely different rules, while a sword swing is going to be pretty consistent in any setting.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 10:25 AM
Magic is usually consistent within a setting, but across settings?
Magic is not usually consistent across settings, no. It is, however, generally consistent across an RPG system.


Casting a fireball in Randland is quite different from casting a fireball in Lovecraft country.
Actually, bashing someone on the head in Lovecraft country is quite likely to drop or kill him, whereas bashing someone on the head in D&D does 1d6+3 damage and dazes (save ends). So combat physics are also consistent in a setting or system (usually, with certain notable exceptions) but not consistent across settings.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 10:38 AM
Magic is not usually consistent across settings, no. It is, however, generally consistent across an RPG system.


Actually, bashing someone on the head in Lovecraft country is quite likely to drop or kill him, whereas bashing someone on the head in D&D does 1d6+3 damage and dazes (save ends). So combat physics are also consistent in a setting or system (usually, with certain notable exceptions) but not consistent across settings.

Well, let's use degrees of consistency then. Things we can do and relate to in real life usually have a higher degree of consistency across fantasy settings than magic. (BTW: are we talking about literature or RPGs. Literature has settings, RPG has systems. And sometimes literature settings get shoehorned into RPG systems that doesn't model it well.) Bashing someone in the head isn't suddenly going to reduce your sanity or require you to sacrifice a virgin in any setting/system. Compare with casting spells in D&D and CoC.

lesser_minion
2009-11-13, 10:39 AM
Likewise, nobody is actually going to roleplay the ridiculous amounts of learning required for the typical "magic requires tons of research" trope. Have you ever seen anyone playing a loremaster or archivist that really followed the class description of such? Study gets skimmed over, if it even gets addressed at all, because it makes for poor gameplay.
.

Bizarrely, parts of D&D 3rd edition are very loosely based on Ars Magica, where wizards were expected to advance in power over time, by spending time in labs or researching other people's work.

It actually worked extremely well, although I'll admit that the training wasn't actually roleplayed.

White Wolf games also have a training time system.

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 10:41 AM
Nah. There are plenty of depictions of magic that translate poorly to games. Say, any of the ones where using magic rapidly and irreversibly ages you. That's not going to work well in any game where you intend to use a character for a while.I've played in such systems, and enjoyed it; it turns magic into an emergency measure rather than something you whip out to deal with day to day problems.


Likewise, nobody is actually going to roleplay the ridiculous amounts of learning required for the typical "magic requires tons of research" trope. Untrue, specifically due to the word "nobody".

There's the same sort of variation in roleplaying as the fighter spending ridiculous amounts of training to be the worlds best swordsman: some people play through the key portions where there is lots if player interaction, and gloss over the uneventful portions; Some people spend far more time roleplaying those moments than others. There a re certainly people who enjoy spending a lot of time on that sort of roleplaying (both for scholars and fighters)


Have you ever seen anyone playing a loremaster or archivist that really followed the class description of such?Yes, several times; one of those cases was in RIFTS as a matter of fact, where there were 3 people in the group in powered armor, including a Glitterboy pilot.


However, not all systems are equally translatable to a game.Not equally translatable does not mean that they aren't all viable; certainly some work better for certain styles of gaming.


Most fantasy settings disagree with that. It is considered a hallmark of bad writing to have magic be the kind of Deus Ex Machina that does "pretty much anything you want it to".I can't really agree with "most" ... It's really not that uncommon in popular fantasy series: Pug, Belgarion/Belgarath/Polgara/Beldin/etc, Sparkhawk, Any of the color adepts of Phaze (and especially Sheen with the book of magic), S. Carolinus, the Sourcerer (8th Son of a wizard) are all pretty much at the "pretty much anything you want it to" level of magical power and certainly the power they wield is not based on any kind of reality. And those are just off the top of my head.

Satyr
2009-11-13, 10:49 AM
Most fantasy settings disagree with that. It is considered a hallmark of bad writing to have magic be the kind of Deus Ex Machina that does "pretty much anything you want it to".

I was reffering to the creation of the setting and its parameters. IOnce there are some rules established, they should be binding, I absolute agree. But it is pretty much up to the author/GM/group to establish these parameters in the first place. Once they are established, though, they are either binding or useless. There is a beautiful quote from Umberto Eco in this regard, but I can't find a good english translation. To paraphrase it:
"To be able to spin a tale, you need to restrict yourself. In the epic, these restrictions derive from the based world. This is not a question of realism, even though it also explains realism: You can easily create a completely fictional, irreal world, here are donkeys can fly and princesses are awakened through a kiss, but even this purely fantastic and 'only potential' world must be based on certain rules which are laid out before. For example, you need to know if the princess can only be awakened by the kiss of a prince, or through the kiss of a witch, or if the kiss of a princess can only turn toads into princes or, say, armadillos."

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 10:49 AM
(BTW: are we talking about literature or RPGs. Literature has settings, RPG has systems. And sometimes literature settings get shoehorned into RPG systems that doesn't model it well.)
That's a good point...

Settings, then. With the footnote that many RPG systems are written for a particular setting, and vary in how accurately they model that setting and other settings.


Well, let's use degrees of consistency then. Things we can do and relate to in real life usually have a higher degree of consistency across fantasy settings than magic.
Agreed.

Getting back to the statement of "magic is pretty much anything you want it to be", I may have misread that. I do prefer magic to behave consistently within the same setting; so I do think there is a "need" to make it fit a prescriptive formula (although that doesn't imply that the readers or players need to be told what the formula is).

"Magic is bad for you" is certainly workable in an RPG. It implies that the PCs most likely won't be using magic, at least not often and not for long.

(edit) likewise, physical effects like hitting someone on the head should be consistent throughout the setting for the same reason, and I believe that most readers or players will assume these effects to match Real Life by default (or at least, the movie version of Real Life). For instance, if you put a bar of dynamite west of a rock, you would expect the rock to fly east, and if it flew west, that would be jarring.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 10:50 AM
I can't really agree with "most" ... It's really not that uncommon in popular fantasy series: Pug, Belgarion/Belgarath/Polgara/Beldin/etc, Sparkhawk, Any of the color adepts of Phaze (and especially Sheen with the book of magic), S. Carolinus, the Sourcerer (8th Son of a wizard) are all pretty much at the "pretty much anything you want it to" level of magical power and certainly the power they wield is not based on any kind of reality.

I would like to add that what is possible or easy to do with magic can be widely different across settings. In some settings, shapechange is impossible while telepathy is simple. In other settings, it's the other way around.

This makes it really hard to create a generic fantasy RPG system that can cater to multiple established settings. What does happen is what happens with D&D where you create the system first and then create settings to fit that system. This, of course, isn't what happens with fantasy literature.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 10:55 AM
"Magic is bad for you" is certainly workable in an RPG. It implies that the PCs most likely won't be using magic, at least not often and not for long.

No Warcraft d20 had magic is bad for you (except Divine). Sure it made Codzilla even better, but it did have functional "Magic is bad" but still PC useable.

You see every spell had a corruption issue when cast (arcane) the amount was based on spell lv. Every day you could meditate a certain amount away of corruption.
So it was an extra limiting factor. Granted it acted like the Dark side: when reach certain limit: can't be a PC anymore: taken over by the corruption.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 10:55 AM
(edit) likewise, physical effects like hitting someone on the head should be consistent throughout the setting for the same reason, and I believe that most readers or players will assume these effects to match Real Life by default (or at least, the movie version of Real Life). For instance, if you put a bar of dynamite west of a rock, you would expect the rock to fly east, and if it flew west, that would be jarring.

What? You never fumbled with a grenade so bad that it flew backwards at your party? :smallbiggrin:

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 10:55 AM
Getting back to the statement of "magic is pretty much anything you want it to be", I may have misread that. I do prefer magic to behave consistently within the same setting; so I do think there is a "need" to make it fit a prescriptive formula (although that doesn't imply that the readers or players need to be told what the formula is).


They do need to be told what the formula or methodology is if they're supposed to use it. I mean, you don't need to know every single detail, but you can't use the vancian system if you don't know how that system works, and the same is true for...every other magic system Ive ever seen.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 10:56 AM
No Warcraft d20 had magic is bad for you (except Divine). Sure it made Codzilla even better, but it did have functional "Magic is bad" but still PC useable.

You see every spell had a corruption issue when cast (arcane) the amount was based on spell lv. Every day you could meditate a certain amount away of corruption.
So it was an extra limiting factor. Granted it acted like the Dark side: when reach certain limit: can't be a PC anymore: taken over by the corruption.

Clearly, everyone missed the "irreversable" caveat listed. When you can meditate away a certain amount per day, then the "corruption" is simply a way of limiting total usage.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-13, 10:59 AM
Not equally translatable does not mean that they aren't all viable; certainly some work better for certain styles of gaming.
Yes.



I can't really agree with "most" ... It's really not that uncommon in popular fantasy series: Pug, Belgarion/Belgarath/Polgara/Beldin/etc, Sparkhawk, Any of the color adepts of Phaze (and especially Sheen with the book of magic), S. Carolinus, the Sourcerer (8th Son of a wizard)
Okay, you can take "most" as a figure of speech, because obviously I haven't counted every single fantasy setting existence and measured 50 percent :smallbiggrin:

Anyway, just because users of magic can be supremely powerful doesn't mean that magic follows no rules. Belgarion's Will And The Word has clear rules, which none of the magicians are capable of breaking (and this becomes a plot point alter on). Pug has clear limits to his power, and while these limits expand throughout his studies, they aren't arbitrarily contradicted. Sheen is, admittedly, a deus ex machina. The sourcerer is notable because Discworld magic usually follows strict rules, and he does not (and he's still not a DEM - this is why Pterry should be considered a better writer than Anthony :smalltongue: )

I don't think any of the books you list are good examples of "magic does whatever we feel like". Rather, this happens in series like the Sword of Truth, where established rules are arbitrarily broken to advance the plot somehow.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 11:06 AM
They do need to be told what the formula or methodology is if they're supposed to use it. I mean, you don't need to know every single detail, but you can't use the vancian system if you don't know how that system works, and the same is true for...every other magic system Ive ever seen.

I think this is the biggest hurdle for mysterious magic in RPG systems. The rules for magic has got to be laid out somewhere, whether in a player book or a DM book. Once you have rules, you can analyze those rules. Sure you can have huge drawback or random effects associated with magic to discourage PCs from using it. But that just becomes another layer to analyze. The drawbacks/random effects are never going to be beyond what is set out in some random table or the DM's willingness to screw you over.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 11:24 AM
Anyway, just because users of magic can be supremely powerful doesn't mean that magic follows no rules. Belgarion's Will And The Word has clear rules, which none of the magicians are capable of breaking (and this becomes a plot point alter on). Pug has clear limits to his power, and while these limits expand throughout his studies, they aren't arbitrarily contradicted. Sheen is, admittedly, a deus ex machina. The sourcerer is notable because Discworld magic usually follows strict rules, and he does not (and he's still not a DEM - this is why Pterry should be considered a better writer than Anthony :smalltongue: )


Let's take a look at the Belgariad coz I'm very familiar with that. I remember three rules: You can't unmake anything. Magic tires you out. Doing magic makes a "noise" that can be heard.

The first rule is easily circumvented. You can't unmake something, but you can set fire to it, you can blow it up, you can seal it inside the earth etc.

The second rule seems to becomes less and less important as the books go on. At first, it's stated that doing something by magic takes almost as much effort as doing it physically. But then the sorcerers seem to have almost unlimited stamina compared to a normal human (yes, I remember Belgarath in the beginning of the fourth book, but that was a unique case in the entire series). At the very least they could lift enough air to create a windstorm, which is well beyond what a normal human can ever lift. Garion+Orb is a walking natural disaster.

The third rule is almost as easily circumvented since you can reduce your noise by being careful when using magic. The protagonists are usually careful not to use magic when around enemy casters, but when they really need to do something "quietly" they still can.

All in all, just because there are rules for magic doesn't mean that magic can't be so powerful that it's a virtual deus ex machina for any problems encountered within the story.

Ashiel
2009-11-13, 11:31 AM
Just thought I'd throw my 2 coppers into this mix.

I read several of the 2e Manuals because a friend of mine has 'em from his older gaming days. The whole lot of magic item creation is a load of crap. Now before you get carried away with pitchforks 'cause I just squashed someone's fond memories, let me break it down to you.

None of it made any sense. Much of it was flavorful, to be certain. One that rings out in my mind was that you needed a pint (or quart, or something) of kraken ink, the tooth of some nasty creature, and some other equally silly thing to make a magical 1st level scroll.

The above exhibits a trend of absolute idiocy. Really, you're going to be a powerful spellcaster who decides he's going to make a scroll for his later use, so he's got to go out and wrangle a kraken, find a tooth of a dragon to be the inkpen, and sprinkle the page with pixie dust? F*** no. Magic Missile aint worth it.

It also pretty much sucks if, y'know, there are no krakens or pixies around (I dunno, maybe they had planar krakens in planescape, or wasteland pixie-fey in darskun). With such silliness, there wouldn't be any scrolls for anyone to find because it's too stupidly hard to make them and they're destroyed when you scribe them.

3E did it right, IMO. They gave you mechanical rules to use. They slapped limits on how much shwag you could get (WBL), how powerful you can make it (CL limits), the occasional spell required (you need magic weapon?), and then let you decide exactly HOW that magic item was created. And they even gave you rules for building communities which determines their community GP limit. Y'know, since you really can't find a fully charged 1st level wand in a hamlet, and your best bet is the old witch at the edge of town for your potion needs (but nothing higher than 300gp now). Might not have everything you want, but she can craft it up to that point, but no higher.

Side Note: Check out the Red Hand of Doom adventure path by WotC. It shows a fine example. It uses the GP limits based on community size, and the most powerful spellcasters in town are only about 5th level, and they peddle in basic magical sundries (1st-3rd level scrolls, a potion or two, etc).

Sure, the Ear-Cleaver of Grom'thak was crafted from the blood and bones of hapless elves, and their riches melted down to form the lattice-work of metallic webs that course over axe from shaft to blades' edge. In combat, it glows like fires from which it was forged, with hieroglyphs telling of the fall of the forest keepers...

Of course, I'm happy jotting it down as my +1 Elf-bane Great-axe which provides a 20ft light radius as 20% of magic weapons do.

Sure, the rules mention the cost in gold pieces that you must spend for the materials, but it never mentions what those materials actually are, so a magic sword made by goblin shamans, or a magic axe made by dwarves may have drastically different lore and flavor, but mechanically it's still a +1 weapon of wounding.

If you particularly want to add flavor to stuff, why not take the suggestion for optional metamagic spell components and take it a bit further with magic items? If you want your party to "wash a cloak in the essence of planar shadow", then have them find some sort of raw essence of planar shadow as equivalent treasure. Maybe it reduces the cost of making any magic item that uses illusion spells to create by a certain amount, and sells for half that if the party doesn't want it (y'know, like a magic item-a-thingy).

Ok, I'm done. Have fun ya'll.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 11:45 AM
I read several of the 2e Manuals because a friend of mine has 'em from his older gaming days. The whole lot of magic item creation is a load of crap. Now before you get carried away with pitchforks 'cause I just squashed someone's fond memories, let me break it down to you.

None of it made any sense. Much of it was flavorful, to be certain. One that rings out in my mind was that you needed a pint (or quart, or something) of kraken ink, the tooth of some nasty creature, and some other equally silly thing to make a magical 1st level scroll.

The above exhibits a trend of absolute idiocy. Really, you're going to be a powerful spellcaster who decides he's going to make a scroll for his later use, so he's got to go out and wrangle a kraken, find a tooth of a dragon to be the inkpen, and sprinkle the page with pixie dust? F*** no. Magic Missile aint worth it.

It also pretty much sucks if, y'know, there are no krakens or pixies around (I dunno, maybe they had planar krakens in planescape, or wasteland pixie-fey in darskun). With such silliness, there wouldn't be any scrolls for anyone to find because it's too stupidly hard to make them and they're destroyed when you scribe them.

Sounds like you probably need to read them again. Ingredients for making "magical ink" or what have you were just suggestions, and not limited to one specific possibility. It is up to the game master to make it as easy or hard as he wants.



3E did it right, IMO. They gave you mechanical rules to use. They slapped limits on how much shwag you could get (WBL), how powerful you can make it (CL limits), the occasional spell required (you need magic weapon?), and then let you decide exactly HOW that magic item was created. And they even gave you rules for building communities which determines their community GP limit. Y'know, since you really can't find a fully charged 1st level wand in a hamlet, and your best bet is the old witch at the edge of town for your potion needs (but nothing higher than 300gp now). Might not have everything you want, but she can craft it up to that point, but no higher.

The difference between earlier editions and D20/3e is the mindset of "these are the rules".

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-13, 11:58 AM
The difference between earlier editions and D20/3e is the mindset of "these are the rules".

Most definitely yes. "Old-school" is a state of mind. Tends to get lost in the endless RAW discussions of 3e. Think outside the box (of cliches, and of the rules) and great benefit can be derived. Then again, think outside the box of "old-school" brutality while you're at it.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 12:18 PM
Clearly, everyone missed the "irreversable" caveat listed. When you can meditate away a certain amount per day, then the "corruption" is simply a way of limiting total usage.

*Shrug* Star Wars allowed you to mediate Dark Side points away as well.

Mark Hall
2009-11-13, 12:27 PM
*Shrug* Star Wars allowed you to mediate Dark Side points away as well.

Not in WEG... another old-school game.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 12:39 PM
I've run low magic games where casters don't get bonus spells. it was alot of fun. most of the players liked it. wizards could still tell the universe to shut up and sit down. yet they had to realy think do i want to blow this spell right now or should i wait. It made them think more which to me is very wizardly. Also made a nice contrast between the sorcerer and the wizard... sorcerer would hap-hazardly throw spells around where the wizard would be more tight about spells he slung.

interesting dynamic.

Ashiel
2009-11-13, 12:55 PM
Sounds like you probably need to read them again. Ingredients for making "magical ink" or what have you were just suggestions, and not limited to one specific possibility. It is up to the game master to make it as easy or hard as he wants.

My point being, the suggestion was insane. It literally makes the concept of a low-level spell scroll (and by that extention, the low-level wizard) completely impossible. Instead of providing something that was actually useful, and then explaining how to dress it up, they just told you how to dress it up badly.

On another note, 2E was indeed full of rules telling how to do things. One of the worst gaming experiences of my life was trying to roll up a character with my 2E DM (who openly hated 3E for no specified reason), who proceeded to disallow character after character after character 'cause "that's not in the rules". For the record, I wanted to make a human whose father was a skilled swordsman and his mother a mage, and both of them insisted on him learning their respective arts. Of course, the rules said I couldn't be a multi-class fighter/mage and be a human, and dual-classing reeks of meta-gaming (oh, purposefully choosing not to swing your sword that you're an expert with while your party is getting slaughtered and you've run out of your only 1st level spell for the day is a great rule and totally makes sense and feels special). :smallconfused:

His justification for everything was "that's not in the spirit of" or "classic fantasy literature" or "that's some stupid 3E thinking", and while insistent that everything be followed to the letter of the books, he also didn't allow any 2E splat-books (for stuff like weapon mastery for fighters).

I think we're both interpreting things differently. :smallsigh:

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 01:06 PM
My point being, the suggestion was insane. It literally makes the concept of a low-level spell scroll (and by that extention, the low-level wizard) completely impossible. Instead of providing something that was actually useful, and then explaining how to dress it up, they just told you how to dress it up badly.

On another note, 2E was indeed full of rules telling how to do things. One of the worst gaming experiences of my life was trying to roll up a character with my 2E DM (who openly hated 3E for no specified reason), who proceeded to disallow character after character after character 'cause "that's not in the rules". For the record, I wanted to make a human whose father was a skilled swordsman and his mother a mage, and both of them insisted on him learning their respective arts. Of course, the rules said I couldn't be a multi-class fighter/mage and be a human, and dual-classing reeks of meta-gaming (oh, purposefully choosing not to swing your sword that you're an expert with while your party is getting slaughtered and you've run out of your only 1st level spell for the day is a great rule and totally makes sense and feels special). :smallconfused:

His justification for everything was "that's not in the spirit of" or "classic fantasy literature" or "that's some stupid 3E thinking", and while insistent that everything be followed to the letter of the books, he also didn't allow any 2E splat-books (for stuff like weapon mastery for fighters).

I think we're both interpreting things differently. :smallsigh:

Actualy the whole dual classing for humans made sense... it was your character trying to break old habbits to learn new ones... he could swing his sword if his party was dieing he'd be penalized for it but nothing is stopping him... I think thats one of the problems with 3rd ed is that there aren't enough drawbacks for the power you get.

Lamech
2009-11-13, 01:33 PM
I hate the whole concept of magic never being for sale. If a king gets his hands on a wand of magic missles, do you think he will value it over weapons for two dozen men, a couple siege weapons or some kingly luxuries? No if he can sell it for a pile of gold he will procede to do so, and convert that gold to more mundane things. So powerful rulers won't hold on to semi-useless trinkets if they are so valuable. Even if magic toys come from only powerful casters, guess what? Their people too. They too will want a nice mansion or a lordly title. Their magic will be for sale.

If you have the rules for 2E items? If a spiders voices and krakens blood and medusa venom is needed? Production lines will be set up. Churches will start churning out magic items so they have money to (help the poor/build a church/corrupt people). The first wizard who has a spell that makes spiders speak will sell spiders voice to everyone. Someone will capture a kraken and charm a medusa.

Really the only option is that magic can't be made for this no economy stuff. Some artwork isn't for sale because its rare and non-reproducible. You can't buy a mona lisa. But stradivariuses are for sale. So magic has to be really, really rare. And then you still have the problem of the fact that if the party wants to sell people will jump for magic toys half off.

--------
I guess the message of all this is the economy works. Sure PC's might not be able to get specilty toys. There is a good chance wizard will be making rings of posion detection and collars of fox tracking. (Guess who has the money to hire wizards?) The dragon teeth needed to make magic swords are probably controlled goods. Churches can probably pick their clients. (What do you mean you won't quest for us?)

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 01:37 PM
My point being, the suggestion was insane. It literally makes the concept of a low-level spell scroll (and by that extention, the low-level wizard) completely impossible. Instead of providing something that was actually useful, and then explaining how to dress it up, they just told you how to dress it up badly.It doesn't seem all that bad to me. The suggestion didn't say that you needed to be the one to gather the ingredients yourself; nor is there any reason to assume that low level wizards need to be the one making the scrolls.

Nor do I see how making the ingredients for scrolls difficult to obtain makes low level wizards "completely impossible" ... scrolls aren't necessary, and it certainly isn't necessary for low level wizards to be making their own scrolls.


On another note, 2E was indeed full of rules telling suggesting how to do things. Generally, 1e and 2e were makign suggestions, not telling you how things must be done.


For the record, I wanted to make a human whose father was a skilled swordsman and his mother a mage, and both of them insisted on him learning their respective arts.There are several ways of doing that in 1e/2e, in many different flavors. It's fine to blame yourself for being to rigid in your mechanical requirements, or the DM for not allowing you to use the system to it's fullest, but it's kind of ludicrous to blame the system.


I guess the message of all this is the economy works. Not really; there are plenty of things that people won't sell even though they could make a great profit; this is especially true when you are talking about things that can be used to harm people, and magic certainly fits into that category. Historically, people have refused to sell advanced weapons to other countries in order to protect their own power.

So the idea of a king holding on to powerful magic items rather than selling them for quick cash, even though it would sell for a lot, is very realistic.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 01:38 PM
My point being, the suggestion was insane. It literally makes the concept of a low-level spell scroll (and by that extension, the low-level wizard) completely impossible. Instead of providing something that was actually useful, and then explaining how to dress it up, they just told you how to dress it up badly.

It wasn't for low level wizards; you cannot scribe a scroll until ninth level or so in AD&D. To put it another way, it is intentionally difficult to make magical scrolls. Even so, the examples provided are not as difficult as you are making out.



On another note, 2E was indeed full of rules telling how to do things. One of the worst gaming experiences of my life was trying to roll up a character with my 2E DM (who openly hated 3E for no specified reason), who proceeded to disallow character after character after character 'cause "that's not in the rules". For the record, I wanted to make a human whose father was a skilled swordsman and his mother a mage, and both of them insisted on him learning their respective arts. Of course, the rules said I couldn't be a multi-class fighter/mage and be a human, and dual-classing reeks of meta-gaming (oh, purposefully choosing not to swing your sword that you're an expert with while your party is getting slaughtered and you've run out of your only 1st level spell for the day is a great rule and totally makes sense and feels special). :smallconfused:

His justification for everything was "that's not in the spirit of" or "classic fantasy literature" or "that's some stupid 3E thinking", and while insistent that everything be followed to the letter of the books, he also didn't allow any 2E splat-books (for stuff like weapon mastery for fighters).

I think we're both interpreting things differently. :smallsigh:

Just sounds like you had a game master who did not share your view of the potential of the game. It happens, if the group does not share the same perspective on the game then you will be constantly butting heads. That is why D20/3e went to a much more rules led system, the idea being to keep everybody on the same page as to what is and is not possible. That particular game master apparently had no interest in creating a class to suit your character concept, using the guidelines provided.

It also sounds like you walked into an AD&D game with a D20/3e attitude, which pretty much scuppered your chances of enjoying the game right off the bat.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 01:39 PM
On another note, 2E was indeed full of rules telling how to do things. One of the worst gaming experiences of my life was trying to roll up a character with my 2E DM (who openly hated 3E for no specified reason), who proceeded to disallow character after character after character 'cause "that's not in the rules". For the record, I wanted to make a human whose father was a skilled swordsman and his mother a mage, and both of them insisted on him learning their respective arts. Of course, the rules said I couldn't be a multi-class fighter/mage and be a human, and dual-classing reeks of meta-gaming (oh, purposefully choosing not to swing your sword that you're an expert with while your party is getting slaughtered and you've run out of your only 1st level spell for the day is a great rule and totally makes sense and feels special). :smallconfused:

Dude, that isn't a Fighter/mage: that was a bard.
Remember Bards cast Mage spells (and level faster).
Yes, you have to give up mastery: only specialize possible, but not that different.

Ashiel
2009-11-13, 02:01 PM
It also sounds like you walked into an AD&D game with a D20/3e attitude, which pretty much scuppered your chances of enjoying the game right off the bat.

Actually, I used to love playing BG on the PC, so I figured it would be great to try a game of 2E with less restrictions than a console game, so that I could focus more on the roleplaying development of a character. How silly I was. Also, no, there were plenty of things telling you how to do stuff in 2E. Going through the PHB alone there were charts and graphs and all kinds of stuff that were rules. Such things are no more or less suggestions than 3E's versions (just 3E actually quantifies more things so you don't have to guess, like magic items).

On a side note, not swinging my sword pretty much meant completely scrapping the concept of a daring sword & sorcery styled lad. Maybe bard was a good idea for it, but the DM just told me how it wasn't do-able to have a lightly armored fighter/mage kinda guy who got by on his clever use of swordplay and the occassional grease or sleep spell. The stupid dual-class rules meant that I would pretty much cease to ever gain experience points for playing the character the way it was meant to be played, and in a logical manner.

Also, the idea that "breaking old habits" makes dual-classing make sense is even more astounding to me. People learn new things all the time (y'know, 'cause we're cool like that). Someone who's an Olympic athlete can learn to program computers. Someone who can cast a spell can learn to swing a sword. Somehow swinging a sword after all your magic is used up making you somehow suddenly incapable of learning more about either of them is strait up stupid.

Don't get me wrong though. When I think of "Old School", I think of a buddy of mine who played as far back as 1E, and he said it doesn't matter which system you're playing as long as you're having fun (and he said it was totally dumb that you couldn't play an elven paladin). I wish I had gotten him to DM a 2E game for me before our schedules got in the way of our game-times.

EDIT: Uhh, just pointing out, I'm pretty much indifferent to the subject past what I've already tossed in. For those who like 2E, power to you. I won't tell you how to play it. :smallsmile:

JonestheSpy
2009-11-13, 02:10 PM
Magic should be treated as we treat technology.

See, this is what I see as the crux of the argument - magic is NOT technology, it's something (ideally) mysterious, awesome, and y'know, magical. It should not be easily replicated with the exact same effect like cars aon an assembly line.

I think I can say I speak for a lot of folks when I say the big problem we have with 3rd edition is that magic is treated as just another mass-produced consumer item, available to anyone who's got the cash. And that leads to all this attitude of spending an assumed amount money trumps character development - i.e. I won't bother taking X feat or Y spell or Z skill because I can just automatically buy this magic item that does it better.




The problem is now you have to tone down all the monsters in the game so that they reflect the lower power level and power-selection of the party.

Actually, I think this a a great benefit of low-magic campaigns. Low level monsters stay threatening for much longer, and you don't need to constantly pull new tentacled rabbits out of your hat. A single giant or mind flayer will be a big challenge when it shows up - cause hey, monsters are magical too, and should likewise be less common in a world designed more like classic fantasy literature.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 02:15 PM
Actually, I used to love playing BG on the PC, so I figured it would be great to try a game of 2E with less restrictions than a console game, so that I could focus more on the roleplaying development of a character. How silly I was. Also, no, there were plenty of things telling you how to do stuff in 2E. Going through the PHB alone there were charts and graphs and all kinds of stuff that were rules. Such things are no more or less suggestions than 3E's versions (just 3E actually quantifies more things so you don't have to guess, like magic items).

Baldur's Gate is not AD&D, it is a CRPG based on AD&D with a very cool plot (and music, and graphics at the time). Yeah, there are rules in AD&D, but they are all framed as guidelines, and that is the mentality that you seem to be having trouble getting your head around. It is not a game system so much as a game design kit.



On a side note, not swinging my sword pretty much meant completely scrapping the concept of a daring sword & sorcery styled lad. Maybe bard was a good idea for it, but the DM just told me how it wasn't do-able to have a lightly armoured fighter/mage kinda guy who got by on his clever use of swordplay and the occasional grease or sleep spell. The stupid dual-class rules meant that I would pretty much cease to ever gain experience points for playing the character the way it was meant to be played, and in a logical manner.

The game master had plenty of options, he just did not exercise them, mainly it seems because he did not want to; that is an issue between his style of play and your expectations, not an issue with the system, except to the extent that the system is game master led.



Also, the idea that "breaking old habits" makes dual-classing make sense is even more astounding to me. People learn new things all the time (y'know, 'cause we're cool like that). Someone who's an Olympic athlete can learn to program computers. Someone who can cast a spell can learn to swing a sword. Somehow swinging a sword after all your magic is used up making you somehow suddenly incapable of learning more about either of them is strait up stupid.

Dual classing is just a system to allow players to change classes; it is purposefully difficult to do because it makes characters more flexible and powerful in the long run. I personally am not a fan of dual classing, there are better expedients.



Don't get me wrong though. When I think of "Old School", I think of a buddy of mine who played as far back as 1E, and he said it doesn't matter which system you're playing as long as you're having fun (and he said it was totally dumb that you couldn't play an elven paladin). I wish I had gotten him to DM a 2E game for me before our schedules got in the way of our game-times.

To some extent that is true, and of course second edition discusses the subject of elven paladins, level limits, training times, and all the stuff that people consider unnecessarily restrictive, but was part of the original design.

ghashxx
2009-11-13, 02:29 PM
I like magical items. Magical items make me a very happy melee type class. Without yummy magical items my melee type dude gets his but whipped by all spell casters. But at the same time I remember playing Baldur's Gate II. I loved it whenever I came across a weapon or really anything which had an actual name, even if it wasn't all that great. Give me something with some real back story that actually means something and I'm like a kid in a candy store. So when I was wanting some magical stuff for my character in world where magical items that are anything greater than +1 are rare, I just talked to my DM and started role playing someone who was looking for "Gorillion's Boots" or some such name that would allow some short range teleportation. So my nifty magical items didn't come from a shop or anything like that, but instead I would visit the library, or pay someone to research the items, and then just keep my eye out for anything that sound's like what I was looking for. The DM would drop hints here and there and so long as I had some common sense then I could figure it out and work/kill/bargain for the items (killing for an evil guy I did once...bad idea). It worked out really well and was some fun role playing for the whole group.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 02:36 PM
See, this is what I see as the crux of the argument - magic is NOT technology, it's something (ideally) mysterious, awesome, and y'know, magical. It should not be easily replicated with the exact same effect like cars aon an assembly line.


That's the big question isn't it. Does magic follow a set of rules that you can form hypothesis and theories with? Can you clearly link cause and effect? Is it replicable with a large degree of certainty? If two mage does exactly the same thing after correcting for temporal and spatial differences, does it produce the same effect? If it does, it's a science that can be studied, observed and predicted. If it doesn't, it's a crapshoot.

As I said before, RPG magic is usually not mysterious because if nothing else, the rules for magic is written down in some rulebook. For it to be "mysterious" you'd have to allow a large degree of DM adjudacation in order to create non-rule based effects.

Choco
2009-11-13, 02:40 PM
I'm a fan of giving good parties (and I empasize the GOOD part) some magic WMD's. Like the ability to call down a meteor to destroy everything within a couple hundred square miles with the usual negative environment effects following.

Sound overpowered? It is in the hands of an evil party, but a good party will never really have a chance to use it. Things would have to get REAL bad for them to justify wiping out a nation :smallbiggrin:

That, and they usually acquire stuff like that specifically to keep the evil guys from getting it. And it's funny giving them something so powerful, always get reactions like:

Me: "Congratulations, y'all have successfully beaten the BBEG's minions to the Staff of Big-Ass Meteor Bombing!"
Party: "So we now have a staff that can call meteors from the sky?"
Me: "Yes, from the legends you recall you now have the power to level nations."
Party: "Seriously?"
Me: "Yup"
Party, to eachother: "Check it for traps, curses, etc."
Me: "Nothing"
Party: "There HAS to be a catch..."

And they are right, there IS a catch. They are holding onto a WMD that they cannot realistically use but that the BBEG (among many others) wants and does intend to use. Oh, and did I mention that items of this epic, "special" power are all but indestructable (kinda like the One Ring)? Fun times for all!

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 02:43 PM
I'm a fan of giving good parties (and I empasize the GOOD part) some magic WMD's. Like the ability to call down a meteor to destroy everything within a couple hundred square miles with the usual negative environment effects following.

Sound overpowered? It is in the hands of an evil party, but a good party will never really have a chance to use it. Things would have to get REAL bad for them to justify wiping out a nation :smallbiggrin:

That, and they usually acquire stuff like that specifically to keep the evil guys from getting it. And it's funny giving them something so powerful, always get reactions like:

Me: "Congratulations, y'all have successfully beaten the BBEG's minions to the Staff of Big-Ass Meteor Bombing!"
Party: "So we now have a staff that can call meteors from the sky?"
Me: "Yes, from the legends you recall you now have the power to level nations."
Party: "Seriously?"
Me: "Yup"
Party, to eachother: "Check it for traps, curses, etc."
Me: "Nothing"
Party: "There HAS to be a catch..."

And they are right, there IS a catch. They are holding onto a WMD that they cannot realistically use but that the BBEG (among many others) wants and does intend to use. Oh, and did I mention that items of this epic, "special" power are all but indestructable (kinda like the One Ring)? Fun times for all!

Cool idea but that would never works for me. My players are all heroic sociopaths at best.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 02:46 PM
Ditto. Learning they could level nations would be immediately followed by testing it out, "just to make sure". After the first nation is gone, they'd start holding the others hostage for ransom. Until someone gets bored and ends the world.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 03:04 PM
Actually, I used to love playing BG on the PC, so I figured it would be great to try a game of 2E with less restrictions than a console game, so that I could focus more on the roleplaying development of a character. How silly I was. Also, no, there were plenty of things telling you how to do stuff in 2E. Going through the PHB alone there were charts and graphs and all kinds of stuff that were rules. Such things are no more or less suggestions than 3E's versions (just 3E actually quantifies more things so you don't have to guess, like magic items).

This alone shows that you really haven't read the 2nd ed books. A lot of those tables are optional rules.
What we are trying to say is that you should give it another shot and truly understand whats going on before saying its dumb because not only you but it sounds like your gm didn't have a full grasp on the rules.



On a side note, not swinging my sword pretty much meant completely scrapping the concept of a daring sword & sorcery styled lad. Maybe bard was a good idea for it, but the DM just told me how it wasn't do-able to have a lightly armored fighter/mage kinda guy who got by on his clever use of swordplay and the occassional grease or sleep spell. The stupid dual-class rules meant that I would pretty much cease to ever gain experience points for playing the character the way it was meant to be played, and in a logical manner.

Also, the idea that "breaking old habits" makes dual-classing make sense is even more astounding to me. People learn new things all the time (y'know, 'cause we're cool like that). Someone who's an Olympic athlete can learn to program computers. Someone who can cast a spell can learn to swing a sword. Somehow swinging a sword after all your magic is used up making you somehow suddenly incapable of learning more about either of them is strait up stupid.


Well as a programmer i have not really met any body builders in this field. Mainly because both are such demanding activities. I have seen a few who dabble in both. Which is accurately portraide in the system. Also using your example if a body builder wanted to become a good programmer he would need to think differently and try to change the way he views things as alot of coding is more about concept then actually syntax. seeing as systems can't be infalable 2nd ed chose to portay the characters mentality change via the you don't get any exp for this if you start swining you sword.

Also what you are describing for the character you wanted would be a 2nd ed bard. which again shows that you have not read the rules very well.. though your gm was dumb for not pointing out that to you.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-13, 03:10 PM
This alone shows that you really haven't read the 2nd ed books. A lot of those tables are optional rules.

All the 3E versions are also optional rules. The entire concept of prestige classes? Optional. Every book outside of core? Optional, attested somewhere in the copypasta at the fine print beginning of the book. Because people nowadays don't think like they used to, they assume the 3E versions must be followed. However, strictly speaking, the 2E rules are no more or less suggestions than 3E versions - and they're both suggestions.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-13, 03:12 PM
Technically, the MiC does provide official item creation rules, not "suggestions" like much of the DMG(and certain parts of them are legit too).

So while in a practical sense, it may be optional since you can ignore anything, 3.5 does have official item creation rules.

Truwar
2009-11-13, 03:24 PM
You cannot divorce magic items and spellcasting when you are talking about a "low magic" setting. I played 2ed (And basic, expert and 1st ed AD&D, for that matter) and I always wondered how it made sense that in every party there was a guy that could summon monsters and shoot fireballs out of his fingers but a sword that gave +4 to hit and damage was some kind of super near-relic. Really?

That is not low magic, that is high magic for the spellcasters and low magic for everyone else. How does it make sense that you have a cleric in nearly every town that can make wounds magically heal and who can turn zombies to dust but wands of cure light wounds can only be found at the bottom of a monster-infested dungeon.

If you want low magic, do it. But the spell casting classes in ALL editions of D&D are inherently high magic.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 03:34 PM
All the 3E versions are also optional rules. The entire concept of prestige classes? Optional. Every book outside of core? Optional, attested somewhere in the copypasta at the fine print beginning of the book. Because people nowadays don't think like they used to, they assume the 3E versions must be followed. However, strictly speaking, the 2E rules are no more or less suggestions than 3E versions - and they're both suggestions.

I agree a lot of the 3e versions are optional rules. However large swaths of the core rules in 2nd ed where optional. if you look at the 2nd ed book and the 3rd ed book there where a lot less optional rules in there.
And I agree prcs are optional.

I am away from my books right now. but i believe there where chapters that where optional in 2nd ed.

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 03:42 PM
I agree a lot of the 3e versions are optional rules. However large swaths of the core rules in 2nd ed where optional. if you look at the 2nd ed book and the 3rd ed book there where a lot less optional rules in there.
And I agree prcs are optional.

I am away from my books right now. but i believe there where chapters that where optional in 2nd ed.

At least half of the 2nd ed stuff in PHB/DMG were optional. I often wondered how 2nd ed players from different groups find enough common grounds to discuss their games.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 03:44 PM
At least half of the 2nd ed stuff in PHB/DMG were optional. I often wondered how 2nd ed players from different groups find enough common grounds to discuss their games.

All the GM's I had ususaly would eather have some sort of right up that had optional rules they allowed or like my last one it was all of them cept x, y, and z.

Some where also assumed. Like proficiencies I have yet to see any one not run with them.
I actually liked them... but then again i never saw a problem with thaco

Cybren
2009-11-13, 04:09 PM
What kind of jerkass DM doesn't allow a wand of CLW?


meh, just hit up the bard for directions


Rope Trick


I like my fantasy high. I like my wizards with world shattering powers if they work for it, however for this to happen I feel magic items should be very available.

Er, late for work, finish later.

"high fantasy" has nothing to do with how much magic it has. What separates high and low fantasy are the stakes for the story.

Conan is low fantasy, all that's at stake is his own life and fortunes. He encounters strange creatures, dark gods, and powerful wizards frequently but is still low fantasy.

Lord of the Rings is high fantasy. "Magic" is a rare and vague thing, though there are many creatures and myth-forces at work. It is high fantasy because the entire world is at stake.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 04:12 PM
Lord of the Rings is high fantasy. "Magic" is a rare and vague thing, though there are many creatures and myth-forces at work. It is high fantasy because the entire world is at stake.

No, Third Age has rare magic. 1st Age was super high magic. 2nd age was D&D Magic. Third is low magic.

All are high fantasy yes.

Cybren
2009-11-13, 04:13 PM
No, Third Age has rare magic. 1st Age was super high magic. 2nd age was D&D Magic. Third is low magic.

All are high fantasy yes.

Which one was the Lord of the Rings set in?

Matthew
2009-11-13, 04:13 PM
I often wondered how 2nd ed players from different groups find enough common grounds to discuss their games.

Generally, we discuss the optional rules and the default rules as separate parts of the same game. Optional rules are treated the same as house rule discussions, because most discussions revolve around getting the game to run a certain way or else actually playing the game. Since the game has a very basic framework, the subsystems can be discussed as discrete elements. Very little discussion occurs with regard to optimisation or character builds.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-11-13, 04:33 PM
I don't know anything about 4e, but I have never (even in 3.x) had a DM who would allow the kind of crazy RAW action I hear bandied about here. Basically DM >>> RAW.

[...]

Examples:
Buy a wand of CLW? Sooooooo...... where do you expect to get that? 'Cause the Cleric of Pelor who has one isn't letting hers go.

Want a PrC? Do you know anyone to teach you?

15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle.
There needs to be a balance. A good GM can set their magic level anywhere and run a balanced game. But by 'good' I mean one with quite a bit of experience and an intimate knowledge of the rules. If this doesn't describe your GM, then you'd better hope that the GM is giving out magic items as per RAW, or your characters will be either be underequipped or overequipped for what should be appropriate level content. This isn't rocket science, a +2 sword more or less amongst the group won't make or break the balance. But things need to be close.

"Buy a wand of CLW" can be one of those things which are weighed in the balance. It's a low power item which can very easily reduce a lot of tedious downtime.

"Want a PrC" shouldn't be a matter of questing to find a trainer, it should be a simple matter of does the GM allow that PrC. If s/he does, then it should be available. Unless you'd similarly restrict training availability for any class? Which is not very typical.

But "15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle." Well, here you are railroading. Is it a very specific level of tired? (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=615) The players decide if their characters feel like resting in this mud puddle, not the GM. Don't like it? Deal. It's the GMs role to describe the setting and provide adventure options. It's the players role to decide how they approach those adventure options, and nothing is more reasonable than a caster who is out of spells being unwilling to push on. It'd be exactly like asking the Fighter to push on with 3 HP out of 35. This is not something that the GM decides for the characters.

Edit: Damn.... Ninja'ed by something like 10 hours. Twice. :)

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-13, 04:42 PM
"Buy a wand of CLW" can be one of those things which are weighed in the balance. It's a low power item which can very easily reduce a lot of tedious downtime.


I disagree. It can also make players bolder. Taking on challanges above what a gm may want or even a higher cr just because they have that extra bit of healing with out having to worry about natural healing... Its realy a level of grittyness.





But "15 minute adventuring day? You are in the middle of a dark forest, it is raining, and you don't feel like resting in this mud puddle." Well, here you are railroading. Is it a very specific level of tired? (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=615) The players decide if their characters feel like resting in this mud puddle, not the GM. Don't like it? Deal. It's the GMs role to describe the setting and provide adventure options. It's the players role to decide how they approach those adventure options, and nothing is more reasonable than a caster who is out of spells being unwilling to push on. It'd be exactly like asking the Fighter to push on with 3 HP out of 35. This is not something that the GM decides for the characters.

I disagree with this completely.
If as a gm i said your characters don't want to sleep here... yes a player can say to bad but then its the GMs responsibility to penalize the characters for sleeping in the rain/mud/ what not (aka the rules on not getting good sleep). If any thing a gm saying that is more trying to describe the cold muddy area that its not a good place to rest. I don't realy see any thing wrong with this... I meen i guess if the gm was adamant about players not sleeping there.

I know my players have slept some where because it was convient for them in a metagame sense rather then a player sense.

Sinfire Titan
2009-11-13, 04:45 PM
Actualy the whole dual classing for humans made sense... it was your character trying to break old habbits to learn new ones... he could swing his sword if his party was dieing he'd be penalized for it but nothing is stopping him... I think thats one of the problems with 3rd ed is that there aren't enough drawbacks for the power you get.

I personally hate the concept of having penalties on everything when your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

There, I said it. That's been bugging since I read your post, Ragnarok, because its an asinine concept for a fantasy game. I put up with the restrictions of the real world all of the time, every damn day. I play DnD to ignore those rules for a short amount of time. I don't mind following the rules of the game, provided they don't try to emulate the real world. I'm a Player Character, not some random peasant with a sword. I view my players the same way, and DM in that method. I do not enforce realism in my campaigns because they are supposed to be a fantasy, nothing more.


Screw the penalties, I'm GOD.

urkthegurk
2009-11-13, 04:47 PM
It sounds more like you wish magic was "unknowable" and "mysterious". You want Conan-style magic where "wizards" are barely more than scholars grasping at the secrets of the infinite. Where magic is not expressed in the blasting of lightning bolts and magic missles, but where true magic involves rituals and effects that are near earth-shattering, and common men quail at the sight of sorcery. Where magic is near useless, and yet where it can do virtually anything.

That sort of magic works well ... in fiction. Not so great for a tabletop gaming system. Try freeform role-playing.

This is great, right up 'till the end. Its like... you understand perfectly, but you don't. You just explain why this form of magic is the best, and then dismiss it as impossible. Have you tried it? If you have, and it all went horribly wrong, I'd like to hear about it. The information could be valuable to all of us who are currently trying it.

Quite a lot about D+D is freeform anyway, or open to wide interpretation on the part of both players and the DM.

One way to make magic scary is to make cosmic and hostile creatures interested personally in the performance of arcane magic in the campaign world. If there are demons looking over your shoulder every time you cast wish and entities respond when you mention them by name, then you start to worry about the safety of casting spells. The more powerful ones essentially become rituals, because of all the wards you have to put up. The world of magic is not a safe place, and mortals that choose to step into it should recognize that they are taking stakes in a cosmic war.

Doug Lampert
2009-11-13, 04:51 PM
Older oldster arriving!

Concerning rare magic in AD&D (1st and 2nd ed):
Piffle.

Stuff and nonsense.

Balderdash.

And assorted other dismissive terms.

Agreed and seconded. I started in 1975 with Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasure, and Wilderness Adventures and the rest. i.e. the original game.

I remember a duel, between two PCs, probably before 1976 given the group it was in.

The two level 12 or so characters stood at opposite sides of the arena, and pulled magic weapons out of their bags of holding to throw at each other. They didn't bother to pick up the weapons and throw them back. Each character had dozens spare low level weapons. We'd used the random treasure tables from the rulebooks, and you got so much magical CRAP that it was a bad joke.

AFAICT no edition since fixed this. 3.0 simply gave a world where item creation was easy enough that the INSANE number of items made some sense, and allowed that the items could be bought and sold (at a steep discount) making cash money actually valuable.

It's an amazing improvement over what ACTUALLY happened if you played by the book or out of modules with previous editions, where making a +1 sword was insanely difficult, and the things were a massive glut on the market (except when the PCs wanted to buy one, then there'd be none available).

Starbuck_II
2009-11-13, 04:54 PM
I remember a duel, between two PCs, probably before 1976 given the group it was in.

The two level 12 or so characters stood at opposite sides of the arena, and pulled magic weapons out of their bags of holding to throw at each other. They didn't bother to pick up the weapons and throw them back. Each character had dozens spare low level weapons. We'd used the random treasure tables from the rulebooks, and you got so much magical CRAP that it was a bad joke.

AFAICT no edition since fixed this. 3.0 simply gave a world where item creation was easy enough that the INSANE number of items made some sense, and allowed that the items could be bought and sold (at a steep discount) making cash money actually valuable.

It's an amazing improvement over what ACTUALLY happened if you played by the book or out of modules with previous editions, where making a +1 sword was insanely difficult, and the things were a massive glut on the market (except when the PCs wanted to buy one, then there'd be none available).

I thought you'd save the items to give your hirelings. But throwing like Yu-Gi-Oh cards is awesome too.

Sinfire Titan
2009-11-13, 05:04 PM
This is great, right up 'till the end. Its like... you understand perfectly, but you don't. You just explain why this form of magic is the best, and then dismiss it as impossible. Have you tried it? If you have, and it all went horribly wrong, I'd like to hear about it. The information could be valuable to all of us who are currently trying it.

Quite a lot about D+D is freeform anyway, or open to wide interpretation on the part of both players and the DM.

One way to make magic scary is to make cosmic and hostile creatures interested personally in the performance of arcane magic in the campaign world. If there are demons looking over your shoulder every time you cast wish and entities respond when you mention them by name, then you start to worry about the safety of casting spells. The more powerful ones essentially become rituals, because of all the wards you have to put up. The world of magic is not a safe place, and mortals that choose to step into it should recognize that they are taking stakes in a cosmic war.

I'm not him, but I have tried. It ended up feeling like a dues Ex, and I felt dirty for the rest of the week (for the record, I hate saving the party's ass when I DM, especially if they didn't specifically ask me to).

One of my players confronted me about it and asked what happened during that portion because he wanted to read the rules on it. When I told him I BSed it, he looked disappointed, even telling me that it was very out of character for me to DM like that. I have avoiding doing so ever since.

This game is meant to be played for fun, not for the DM to power trip.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 05:08 PM
I thought you'd save the items to give your hirelings. But throwing like Yu-Gi-Oh cards is awesome too.

Heh, heh. Before AD&D tried to reign in the excesses of OD&D there were groups with level 100 characters and 40th level spells being published in fanzines, all of which Gygax came down hard upon with his "Dungeons & Badgers" condemnation. Nonetheless, it is true that his own modules contain a startling amount of treasure and magical items that runs contrary to the official "advice", and that the later tendency was to increase the power of characters available. That, of course, is what D20/3e gave free reign to, and in removing condemnation of that style of play encouraged it still further. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends entirely on your own style of play, there has certainly always been a tension between such preferences.

Lamech
2009-11-13, 05:12 PM
I disagree with this completely.
If as a gm i said your characters don't want to sleep here... yes a player can say to bad but then its the GMs responsibility to penalize the characters for sleeping in the rain/mud/ what not (aka the rules on not getting good sleep). If any thing a gm saying that is more trying to describe the cold muddy area that its not a good place to rest. I don't realy see any thing wrong with this... I meen i guess if the gm was adamant about players not sleeping there.

I know my players have slept some where because it was convient for them in a metagame sense rather then a player sense.
What is this metagame sense exactly? The wizard knows he will be getting his spells back, everyone knows the cleric will be able to heal. If pushing ahead in forests, dungeons whatever, has frequently led to monster attacks or whatever in the past the characters will know that it is dangerous. If it hasn't the players probably won't bother. How is resting to regain spells any worse than landing to get more fuel? I'm not seeing it. Or resting in a puddle of mud because you think its safe worse than sleeping in a trench cause you think its safe.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-11-13, 05:15 PM
I disagree with this [not railroading your players by declaring their characters unwilling to sleep in a wet forest] completely.
If as a gm i said your characters don't want to sleep here... yes a player can say to bad but then its the GMs responsibility to penalize the characters for sleeping in the rain/mud/ what not (aka the rules on not getting good sleep). If any thing a gm saying that is more trying to describe the cold muddy area that its not a good place to rest. I don't realy see any thing wrong with this... I meen i guess if the gm was adamant about players not sleeping there.

I know my players have slept some where because it was convient for them in a metagame sense rather then a player sense.What you've said isn't quite the same as what you're objecting to. I said that the GM should not be telling the players what their characters want to do and don't want to do. It's a different thing for the GM to apply whatever penalty their choice of action might invoke, but the GM shouldn't even open his mouth if he's going to speak words like "You don't feel like", rather than "The forest is cold and damp, and not an ideal campsite."

And think of the precedent this would set. The players would naturally expect that this wasn't some arbitrary decision by the GM that they shouldn't camp in the wet forest just because he was frustrated that they had expanded all their spells and didn't feel like pressing on. And so at any time in the future when the terrain wasn't ideal they'd be left wondering if they should make camp or trudge on looking for a better place to lay their heads. Not a good situation at all.

To give a counter example of what I would consider something interesting to find in P&P, lets steal from Pullman and consider Æsahættr.Heh. I'm not familiar with your reference, and I read that as a semi-disguised "asshat." :)

"But the PCs are supposed to have +X weapons by level Y" is easily adjusted for by picking the monsters they fight.Not so much. Hitting things with a sharp object is a class feature for all non-caster classes. Not being hit is also a class feature of all melee classes. This is how they contribute to the effectiveness of the group. PCs having level appropriate magic, including level appropriate + weapons and + armor allows them to maintain a balance which would otherwise be completely thrown off by the fact that the casting classes are not anywhere near as reliant on magic items for their effectiveness.

Taken to an extreme as an example, in a totally no magic item setting, Wizards and other casters will be even far more effective when compared to the non-casting classes. A 4th level spell works as described and the saving throw isn't based upon the casters magic items (although they can modify it in a setting with magic items, it's more icing than real mechanical need), but a 7th level Fighter with no magic weapons or armor is going to be hit far more often and will hit far less often, reducing him to a point of near uselessness.

Jayabalard
2009-11-13, 05:20 PM
At least half of the 2nd ed stuff in PHB/DMG were optional. I often wondered how 2nd ed players from different groups find enough common grounds to discuss their games.I remember quite a few discussions that were basically focused on finding that common ground, and then the merits of the way each group plays the game. There lots of discussions on house rules. I don't really remember many people holding up the rules like they were some sort of holy relic until 3e.

that might just have been my experience though.


I personally hate the concept of having penalties on everything when your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.I personally hate the idea that your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

Edit: VERY well said by Satyr below.


Which one was the Lord of the Rings set in?The end of the 3rd age.

Doug Lampert
2009-11-13, 05:22 PM
I thought you'd save the items to give your hirelings. But throwing like Yu-Gi-Oh cards is awesome too.A few levels later one of the characters was a major king and we equiped a small battalion with all magical gear out of the surplus. Everyone kept half a dozen items for themselves of course, but a few hundred spare low level items weren't actually worth anything to the PCs.

Played BtB or out of modules "rare magic" in any D&D edition is one of the worst jokes in the history of gaming.

The DMG could give any advice it wanted, but because it and the monster manuals ALSO gave treasure tables and because advancement was almost solely a function of how much magical swag you got, from level 5 or so on you ALWAYS had gobs of ****. If the DM downgraded XP from loot (we had one campaign that simply didn't give any XP for loot) you simply NEVER advanced past about level 4. If the DM gave XP from loot then that meant XP for the next level pretty well implied a bunch of magical gear or one MASSIVELY overpowered item.

Satyr
2009-11-13, 05:40 PM
I personally hate the concept of having penalties on everything when your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

I personally Hate the concept that characters are supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

It doesn't add anything to any character, in fact it takes something away from them. By declaring characters to be oh so special by default, it is no achievement to actually become an outstanding individual. It takes away the achievement and the feeling of victory and reduces it to a small, and unimportant background trait. A character who starts as a pretty normal person and becomes a hero, an outstanding character through his own efforts, hard work, gritted teeth and sacrifices so much more rewarding.
Basically everything is only as precious as the effort you put into to get it. And free giveaways are never on the same level of emotional importance as the stuff you know you have earned through shedding your sweat and blood.

Yes, a player character should be able to become an outstanding, gloroious and great apperance, a larger-than-life lgend. But that should be an achievement, not a free morsel. And that also always include the chance of failure. Because if you could not fail, what kind of achievement was it anyway?

Sinfire Titan
2009-11-13, 05:43 PM
I personally Hate the concept that characters are supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

It doesn't add anything to any character, in fact it takes something away from them. By declaring characters to be oh so special by default, it is no achievement to actually become an outstanding individual. It takes away the achievement and the feeling of victory and reduces it to a small, and unimportant background trait. A character who starts as a pretty normal person and becomes a hero, an outstanding character through his own efforts, hard work, gritted teeth and sacrifices so much more rewarding.
Basically everything is only as precious as the effort you put into to get it. And free giveaways are never on the same level of emotional importance as the stuff you know you have earned through shedding your sweat and blood.

Yes, a player character should be able to become an outstanding, gloroious and great apperance, a larger-than-life lgend. But that should be an achievement, not a free morsel. And that also always include the chance of failure. Because if you could not fail, what kind of achievement was it anyway?

The fact that they are the exception to the normal is what enables them to do these things. Failure means someone else or the circumstances you faced were more exceptional than you were. Not that hard to understand.

Edit: BTW, I never said that the achievements your character accomplished were given to you at no penalty; I was trying to imply that character options should not have an opportunity cost attached (Power Attack and Combat Expertise). If every feat and skill had a cost like that, the game would be a headache.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 05:46 PM
A few levels later one of the characters was a major king and we equipped a small battalion with all magical gear out of the surplus. Everyone kept half a dozen items for themselves of course, but a few hundred spare low level items weren't actually worth anything to the PCs.

Played BtB or out of modules "rare magic" in any D&D edition is one of the worst jokes in the history of gaming.

The DMG could give any advice it wanted, but because it and the monster manuals ALSO gave treasure tables and because advancement was almost solely a function of how much magical swag you got, from level 5 or so on you ALWAYS had gobs of ****. If the DM downgraded XP from loot (we had one campaign that simply didn't give any XP for loot) you simply NEVER advanced past about level 4. If the DM gave XP from loot then that meant XP for the next level pretty well implied a bunch of magical gear or one MASSIVELY overpowered item.

That is quite a bit of exaggeration there; a much more significant source of experience points was gold, and in OD&D you get loads of experience points from killing stuff, so much so that it was rescinded. Actual experience of play differs over the spectrum of folks involved, and I can certainly testify to the opposite experience of play. The "monty haul" game could certainly be a result of playing some of the modules (not all, mind you), and it certainly cannot be denied that many campaigns were played (and still are played) in that mode, but it is not "by the book" to let things get out of hand on the scale you imply.

Morty
2009-11-13, 05:48 PM
Yes, a player character should be able to become an outstanding, gloroious and great apperance, a larger-than-life lgend.

I'd argue against even that, myself. For a large amount of players, their characters becoming larger-than-life legends is very much undesirable.

Doug Lampert
2009-11-13, 05:49 PM
That is quite a bit of exaggeration there; a much more significant source of experience points was gold, and in OD&D you get loads of experience points from killing stuff, so much so that it was rescinded.

The original game you got 10 XP for an orc or similar, you needed 32,000 or so for level 6. Good luck. Even dragons and the like were TRIVIAL sources. I don't know what OD&D you're talking about, but it wasn't the actual original game. And the book gave random treasure tables that resulted in EXACTLY that sort of thing. Gold was trivial in value compared to items if you rolled randomly, it was items that gave the XP to advance UNLESS you houseruled it otherwise or didn't follow the rules as written.

Matthew
2009-11-13, 06:04 PM
The original game you got 10 XP for an orc or similar, you needed 32,000 or so for level 6. Good luck. Even dragons and the like were TRIVIAL sources. I don't know what OD&D you're talking about, but it wasn't the actual original game. And the book gave random treasure tables that resulted in EXACTLY that sort of thing. Gold was trivial in value compared to items if you rolled randomly, it was items that gave the XP to advance UNLESS you houseruled it otherwise or didn't follow the rules as written.

See Men & Magic (p. 18) and Supplement I, Greyhawk (p. 12), experience points in original D&D were 100 EP per hit die slain. The random tables for treasure generation will not result in the sort of returns you are suggesting, unless you are perhaps rolling on the treasure by lair for individual monsters.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-13, 06:29 PM
Why did we start discussing whether or not one's characters ought to be "normal"? It was discussing whether a human should be able to cast spells and fight well. If you think your character should be special, she should be able to cast spells and fight due to her exceptional nature. If you don't think your character should be special...
A) Don't let him use magic, because wizards are inherently special. OR
B) Just let him, because once he's a mage, learning his way around weapons the way Gandalf did with Glamdring is nothing so spectacular.

It's a valid argument, but the way it's going seems to be "old-school versus new-school", and the potential psychological associations (i.e. prejudices) are troubling.


it was items that gave the XP to advance UNLESS you houseruled it otherwise or didn't follow the rules as written.

Houserules and deviations from RAW in OD&D. Who'd'a thunk it.

Reinboom
2009-11-13, 06:30 PM
Actualy the whole dual classing for humans made sense... it was your character trying to break old habbits to learn new ones... he could swing his sword if his party was dieing he'd be penalized for it but nothing is stopping him... I think thats one of the problems with 3rd ed is that there aren't enough drawbacks for the power you get.

Except the penalty was outrageous.
In 2E:
"But if he uses any of his previous class's abilities during an encounter, he earns no experience for that encounter and only half experience for the adventure"

Or, in OSRIC (I do not own 1E books, so, not sure if that's different at all):
"He or she can use the particular abilities of the original class, but doing so will cause the character to forfeit all experience points from that adventure (as determined by the GM)."

Both of these are mentioned as restrictions only when the new class is lower level than the first class, however, it still does not excuse the absurdity of the penalty (especially the 2E one).

You are studying day and night to be a swordsman (fighter), trying to make a name for yourself more than a nobody thief. You become noticed, and get asked by an adventuring group if you would honor them as being a front guard for their party while they go dig in to this old tomb, riches shared.
Of course, this is break to be noticed, so of course. The tomb appears to be much larger and more trap filled than previous expected, however. You get caught in an unfortunate trap where manacles grasp your legs, and you are hefted and dragged through the dungeon and heading straight into an iron maiden, already twisting a closing vice. On top of this, the vice has a chained ghoul readying to feast (probably was some other unlucky adventurer before).
You try to break the manacles with the sword, but alas, you just don't have leverage at this awkward angle. So, instead, you pull a small hair pin press it into the lock, and steadily work at each lock rod, finally, barely getting the bar to click just before you would be swung in to the torture device.
Falling on to your ground, you stand, and charge the ghoul. A small bout occurs leading to the removal of its foul presence. You then collect the treasure it had left over on it, and leave.

In OSRIC:
The fighter centric fight with the ghoul was worthless, as well as the attempts at breaking the manacles first. Even though, both of these were very unique challenges one would assume they would walk away with experience from.
In 2E:
Even if that was the only time you ever pinned a lock in the whole dungeon, just even thinking about carrying such a thing means that the (fighter centric) battle with the dracolich (wtf?) means half as much.

Absurd!
When playing 2E, I usually opt to, or try to convince the DM to, mess around heavily with class restrictions because of things like this.

Set
2009-11-13, 06:48 PM
The second magic was written with rules and mechanics, it became 'un-special.'

On the other hand, the 33,000 cubic foot expanding fireballs and bounding and re-bounding lightning bolts of 1e feel, to me, *less* magical than the ones of 3rd edition, more like exercises in calculating angles and working out volume mathematics than *magic.*

Oh, don't get me wrong, I *loved* moving around as necessary to position myself to bounce a lightning bolt through the BBEG twice and have the rebound stop mere inches in front of my own face, but that wasn't magic, that was tactical min-maxing.


White Wolf games also have a training time system.

GURPS 1st - 3rd editions had 'time-use forms' where you take your time off, remove the time you have to spend on your 'job' (if any) or on status-related duties to maintain a wealth advantage, and time for sleep, upkeep, etc. and then use whatever hours a week you have left to train various skills. Free character points! (But only when the GM gives you time off...)

I was always a fan of spell research in 1st and 2nd edition. *All* of my magic-user / mage characters researched a spell or two, here and there.

I'm surprised there isn't more focus on that in 3rd edition.

Moff Chumley
2009-11-13, 07:37 PM
I just think that so much of this discussion is based on completely aesthetic qualities that there isn't much of a point. There are reasons for having high magic games, and for low magic games. They're both fun. There are arguments for unique, special PCs and ordinary, average ones.

The one thing that's pissing me off, though, is the assumption that the rules dictate the fluff. The way I see it, they're independent of each-other. When I'm playing my 4e sorcerer, sure. I have standard sorcerer abilities and magic items. But there's no reason I can't roleplay them into being something bigger. What's the difference, really, between "I hit the ogre with my +3 axe" and "I hit the ogre with The Axe of Thingy"? The way I play, "the glowing axe emits magical sparks as it cleaves through the ogres arm" is the kind of roleplaying that matters. And you can say that weather or not its a +3 axe with roleplaying effects you came up with, or the Axe of Thingy, with a lengthy history your DM wrote.

Ya'll dig?

Dracomorph
2009-11-13, 09:00 PM
I personally Hate the concept that characters are supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

It doesn't add anything to any character, in fact it takes something away from them. By declaring characters to be oh so special by default, it is no achievement to actually become an outstanding individual. It takes away the achievement and the feeling of victory and reduces it to a small, and unimportant background trait.

Siegfried from the Volsung saga seems to be an excellent counterpoint; he was a fantastic swordsman more or less from the beginning of the story, and doesn't get all that much better as it goes, and he's literally an epic hero. He in fact becomes even more epic as it goes, and still it's a fascinating read. There's not a huge step up from "nigh-invincible swordsman" to "nigh-invincible swordsman with some extra out-of-combat tricks."

For that matter, what about Beowulf, Hercules, Theseus, or Odysseus? All of them had extraordinary abilities that they made every effort to exploit in their adventures, and they are classic examples of fascinating heroes.

Pieces of their legends even play to their strengths fully, and those are often the best parts. Everyone remembers Odysseus' encounter with the cyclops, which was entirely in the realm of his legendary cleverness.


A character who starts as a pretty normal person and becomes a hero, an outstanding character through his own efforts, hard work, gritted teeth and sacrifices[sic] so much more rewarding.
Basically everything is only as precious as the effort you put into to get it. And free giveaways are never on the same level of emotional importance as the stuff you know you have earned through shedding your sweat and blood.

Yes, a player character should be able to become an outstanding, gloroious and great apperance, a larger-than-life lgend. But that should be an achievement, not a free morsel. And that also always include the chance of failure. Because if you could not fail, what kind of achievement was it anyway?

Your character can develop, even if he begins the game as a literal god of war, even if he never finds anyone to match his prowess, even if no magic sword can match his own. On the other hand, you could just make the challenges more epic. If Hercules can fight the gods easily, set him against the titans.

The epicness of a character has no relation to that character's level of magic available, and everything to do with taking whatever abilities they have above and beyond their current standing. If their deeds are too easy, then you should ramp up their enemies. It's that simple.

Moff Chumley
2009-11-13, 09:03 PM
Agreed. And, may I add, your sig link is scarily tempting... :smalleek:

Dracomorph
2009-11-13, 09:08 PM
Agreed. And, may I add, your sig link is scarily tempting... :smalleek:

Join us... we have cookies... and euphemisms...:smallbiggrin:

Crow
2009-11-13, 09:13 PM
The fact that they are the exception to the normal is what enables them to do these things. Failure means someone else or the circumstances you faced were more exceptional than you were. Not that hard to understand.

Can you clarify this a little bit for me, because i am not sure exactly what you are saying.

Let's talk football; What are the chances of a football player making it into the NFL? Pretty damned daunting. If you think it isn't, you're a fool.

An athlete wants to play professional football. He was a standout in High School, loads of natural talent. When he gets to college, he never misses practice, he trains hard, he watches tape, he eats right. One day he declares for the draft. When draft day comes, he gets picked.

Another athlete wants to play professional football. He was a standout in High School, loads of natural talent. When he gets to college, he skips practices, he sandbags in the gym, zones out at the tape, and doesn't watch his diet. For some reason he still declares for the draft. When draft day comes, he gets skipped over.

The first athlete wasn't any more exceptional than the second. They both play the same game with the same rules. But the first athlete put forth more effort, hard work, and sacrificed more of his own time than the second. He earned what he became.

I find this idea that people need to somehow be inherantly exceptional to accomplish anything special to be really sad. Maybe it is just a microcosm of a larger cultural thought trend. Something about lazyness and entitlement. I don't know.

Dracomorph
2009-11-13, 09:32 PM
Can you clarify this a little bit for me, because i am not sure exactly what you are saying.

Let's talk football;
...stuff...
The first athlete wasn't any more exceptional than the second. They both play the same game with the same rules. But the first athlete put forth more effort, hard work, and sacrificed more of his own time than the second. He earned what he became.

See, the thing is, his devotion makes him exceptional. Not everyone can or will do that. The willingness to put forth that effort is a mandatory part of being above and beyond normal limits, and often the only necessary part.

Additionally, the whole "naturally talented enough to make the NFL" thing sets them both apart quite far from almost everyone in the world.


I find this idea that people need to somehow be inherently exceptional to accomplish anything special to be really sad. Maybe it is just a microcosm of a larger cultural thought trend. Something about laziness and entitlement. I don't know.

That's not what he said. What he said is that exceptional people accomplish exceptional things. You assume that PCs are exceptional, because the rules tell you so, because they act in ways that make them so, and because they are exceptional, they bypass many of the difficulties others would face.

I.E., because your football players have natural gifts for football, they are able to bypass many of the hurdles less talented people would find in trying to play for the NFL. Those hurdles just don't occur.

SmartAlec
2009-11-13, 09:34 PM
I find this idea that people need to somehow be inherantly exceptional to accomplish anything special to be really sad.

It's probably a lot simpler than that; to do with Heroes, and The Stuff They Are Made Of. It's not any social construct you're seeing here, just narrative conventions.

Volkov
2009-11-13, 09:38 PM
There are several different kinds of High magic. The Diadem series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diadem_%28book_series%29) is an example of a high magic setting with several internal limits and consequences on magic. While The Wiz Biz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wiz_Biz) is a high magic setting where spells can solve everything to the point where anyone can learn magic.

3.X tries to be both and fails miserably. Spell casting classes are on the consequence free side of the High magic spectrum, while the entire rest of the system isn't. 4e takes and ramps everything up to the same level of consequence free magic, so it's pretty balanced. 2e treats magic as, while not special, dangerous, so that it's not the obvious for everyone to take.

Pfft. Balance.

Crow
2009-11-13, 10:09 PM
See, the thing is, his devotion makes him exceptional. Not everyone can or will do that. The willingness to put forth that effort is a mandatory part of being above and beyond normal limits, and often the only necessary part.

I have to disagree with you a little here. I disagree that not everyone can show the kind of devotion in my example. I do agree with your assertion that not everyone will. Maybe putting forth that extra effort does make him an exceptional person due to his devotion alone, but in making that effort he is restrained by the same set of rules as the non-exceptional man. He isn't playing by a different "ruleset" as some seem to think he should.


Additionally, the whole "naturally talented enough to make the NFL" thing sets them both apart quite far from almost everyone in the world.

To be fair, the natural talent portion was just to show that both of these guys were not exceptional in context to one another. That it was in fact the effort (exceptional as you say it is), of the one athlete over the other that set them apart.


That's not what he said. What he said is that exceptional people accomplish exceptional things. You assume that PCs are exceptional, because the rules tell you so, because they act in ways that make them so, and because they are exceptional, they bypass many of the difficulties others would face.

There is nothing that says that they shouldn't accomplish exceptional things. I can see situations where the PC's should be able to bypass some difficulties (We're the half-god children of Zeus!), but I don't see it as a fundemental element of fantasy roleplaying. If Hank is a human Fighter, and wants to win the princess' hand in the upcoming joust (an exceptional deed!), he does not need to have an "ace up the sleeve" just because the player sits behind his sheet instead of the DM. His accomplishment should be won by virtue of his effort, cunning, whatever.

It's really a matter of degrees, and it's going to differ depending on who you talk to. Not many people are going to have a problem with PC's ability scores being generally higher than the general populace. When it starts becoming "PC's work on a different set of rules than the rest of the world", then you will start to hear groans. Unless you're playing the half-god children of Zeus again.


I.E., because your football players have natural gifts for football, they are able to bypass many of the hurdles less talented people would find in trying to play for the NFL. Those hurdles just don't occur.

Again, the natural talent was just to illustrate that both of these guys could have made it if they tried. The intent was not to compare both of them to the rest of the world. Besides, there are plenty of people who have made it to the professional level without natural ability, which makes their accomplishment that much greater. Still, even those players played by the same rules as everyone else.

Volkov
2009-11-13, 10:14 PM
I have to disagree with you a little here. I disagree that not everyone can show the kind of devotion in my example. I do agree with your assertion that not everyone will. Maybe putting forth that extra effort does make him an exceptional person due to his devotion alone, but in making that effort he is restrained by the same set of rules as the non-exceptional man. He isn't playing by a different "ruleset" as some seem to think he should.



To be fair, the natural talent portion was just to show that both of these guys were not exceptional in context to one another. That it was in fact the effort (exceptional as you say it is), of the one athlete over the other that set them apart.



There is nothing that says that they shouldn't accomplish exceptional things. I can see situations where the PC's should be able to bypass some difficulties (We're the half-god children of Zeus!), but I don't see it as a fundemental element of fantasy roleplaying. If Hank is a human Fighter, and wants to win the princess' hand in the upcoming joust (an exceptional deed!), he does not need to have an "ace up the sleeve" just because the player sits behind his sheet instead of the DM. His accomplishment should be won by virtue of his effort, cunning, whatever.

It's really a matter of degrees, and it's going to differ depending on who you talk to. Not many people are going to have a problem with PC's ability scores being generally higher than the general populace. When it starts becoming "PC's work on a different set of rules than the rest of the world", then you will start to hear groans. Unless you're playing the half-god children of Zeus again.



Again, the natural talent was just to illustrate that both of these guys could have made it if they tried. The intent was not to compare both of them to the rest of the world. Besides, there are plenty of people who have made it to the professional level without natural ability, which makes their accomplishment that much greater. Still, even those players played by the same rules as everyone else.

That's not special at all, Zeus literally has forty billion illegitimate kids.

SmartAlec
2009-11-13, 10:17 PM
Maybe putting forth that extra effort does make him an exceptional person due to his devotion alone, but in making that effort he is restrained by the same set of rules as the non-exceptional man. He isn't playing by a different "ruleset" as some seem to think he should.

So how does this example translate into game mechanics terms? How would you differentiate the first Athelete from the second? Higher level, better optimised...?

Volkov
2009-11-13, 10:17 PM
So how does this example translate into game mechanics terms? How would you differentiate the first Athelete from the second? Higher level, better optimised...?

Better physical scores...doi...

Swordguy
2009-11-13, 10:56 PM
This is probably going to turn into a rant. Sorry in advance.

Honestly, I've moved back to 2e. I'm tired of hearing players complain that they aren't "special enough" - they always want more. More spells. More options. More classes. More of everything...as long as that "moar" grants them ever-increasing mechanical bonuses. The bonuses - the ever-increasing numbers on their sheets - seem to be the only thing that matters.

It's "Gimme Dungeons & Dragons" (GD&D). Each edition has seemed to have an increase in the number of players who feel that simply by playing the game, they inherently deserve to be special. And TSR (and later and most especially WotC) - like a good company - listened to the clamoring masses and gave them more, and more, and more stuff.

It's always about "fun". "Wah! Penalties aren't 'fun'" - OK, says WotC, we'll get rid of penalties, even when verisimilitude would imply penalties should exist. "Wah! We want to use magic with no drawbacks whatsoever" - OK, says WotC, we'll give you this new edition of Vancian magic with no drawbacks for casting spells. "Wah! We don't think that DM's should be able to throw tough creatures at us that we might no be able to kill!" - OK, says WotC, here's a CR guideline that we'll say a DM is supposed to stick to.

It's about players wanting their risk removed from the game. "Special" magic demands it be, to a degree, unknowable and not entirely controllable. Use it too often, and it'll do Bad Things to you...but that's OK, because you're aware of the risk when you choose to play the Magic-User. You're making an informed choice that you understand magic may - no, will! - eventually backlash upon you, and in return you get a shot at an Ultimate Cosmic Power a non-magic-user will ever know. But this falls under the "penalties" guideline removed from the game above. Has no-one thought about the logical conclusion here?

If you feel that you're entitled to play an epic (not Epic) character from the get-go, who wades though armies at a whim and controls the forces of the cosmos unto a tiny god - if you feel that you can't have fun unless you're better than everyone else...why play? Why build a character from low-level at all? Why not simply sit down and have the DM say "Congratulations! You're so awesome, you win!", and save all that difficult time and thought involved in scraggling your way up from the gutter to become an Epic hero? Why not just have a game where you win as soon as you sit down to play?

The disappearance of "Special" magic, as Crow describes it, is, I believe, directly correlated to the rise of a culture of entitlement - "I deserve to win" - that has grown up over the last 25 years (and is certainly not limited to the gaming community). People, by and large, don't seem to want to work for anything. Gamers are no exception; having magic that impedes a player's inexorable progression towards "winning" runs completely counter to that culture.

Is there a time and place for playing "AWESOME" characters? Certainly. But I vehemently disagree that it should be the default expectation in gaming. It should be, appropriately enough, something rare; something "special". You'll appreciate it more if it's not something you get to play every day.

After all, if everybody is special, is anybody really special?

Dracomorph
2009-11-13, 11:00 PM
I have to disagree with you a little here. I disagree that not everyone can show the kind of devotion in my example. I do agree with your assertion that not everyone will. Maybe putting forth that extra effort does make him an exceptional person due to his devotion alone, but in making that effort he is restrained by the same set of rules as the non-exceptional man. He isn't playing by a different "ruleset" as some seem to think he should.

Well, when it comes to mental things, there is often a fine line between can and will. Whether people break under torture, for instance, can be based on an acquired skillset or a natural state.


To be fair, the natural talent portion was just to show that both of these guys were not exceptional in context to one another. That it was in fact the effort (exceptional as you say it is), of the one athlete over the other that set them apart.

See, but that's part of my point. Adventurers in general are already exception, because surviving to be one is a ridiculous feat. The PCs are adventurers, almost by definition. That means they're members of a group which can be assumed to be mentally capable of enduring great hardship and pushing themselves to their limits. Which puts them well above your average commoner or noble, because most people would go on one dungeon delve at most, and if they lived, that would probably be it. (NB: dungeon delve is my example, but any high-risk situation would probably work instead)

The thing is, not only do exceptional people do exceptional things, they are defined as exceptional because they do those things.


There is nothing that says that they shouldn't accomplish exceptional things. I can see situations where the PC's should be able to bypass some difficulties (We're the half-god children of Zeus!), but I don't see it as a fundemental element of fantasy roleplaying. If Hank is a human Fighter, and wants to win the princess' hand in the upcoming joust (an exceptional deed!), he does not need to have an "ace up the sleeve" just because the player sits behind his sheet instead of the DM. His accomplishment should be won by virtue of his effort, cunning, whatever.

But his cunning, effort, or whatever is what makes him exceptional; dismissing primary power sources out of hand leaves us all weak.

Remember, physical/combat prowess is not the only thing powerful individuals might have.


It's really a matter of degrees, and it's going to differ depending on who you talk to. Not many people are going to have a problem with PC's ability scores being generally higher than the general populace. When it starts becoming "PC's work on a different set of rules than the rest of the world", then you will start to hear groans. Unless you're playing the half-god children of Zeus again.

But... they don't work on a different set of rules. There are other people than the PCs with class levels, and they might be just as mighty/epic as the PCs. Or they might be nondescript scholars or drill sergeants, if they don't have the drive to accomplish things.


Again, the natural talent was just to illustrate that both of these guys could have made it if they tried. The intent was not to compare both of them to the rest of the world. Besides, there are plenty of people who have made it to the professional level without natural ability, which makes their accomplishment that much greater. Still, even those players played by the same rules as everyone else.

But PCs are naturally talented. That is, they have a leg up on the competition because of talents outside of their control. They don't get some tremendous leap ahead, but they are gifted.

They are the candidates for the NFL; whether they get there is dependent on their own further qualities.

@Swordguy: I think one of the great leaps from 2e to 3e was that there was an effort made to make PCs viable from the get-go, as represented by stat generation: 4d6 arranged is better than 3d6 in order, but 3d6 in order can easily generate unplayably bad characters.

Also, given the number of splatbooks around for 2e, how do you see it as any better than 3e? There was at least a comparable amount of power-grabbing nonsense, by the end.

And the answer to your rhetorical question at the end there, is "maybe."

There's such a thing as division of labor, after all.

SmartAlec
2009-11-13, 11:08 PM
Better physical scores...doi...

Hm. That doesn't seem right, as they're both equally physically gifted.

I guess what I'm saying is, the way the example is described is that these guys have the same stats, the same level, and the same skills - but somehow one is lesser than the other. How do you represent Athelete A's dedication, in a mechanical sense?

nightwyrm
2009-11-13, 11:14 PM
Hm. That doesn't seem right, as they're both equally physically gifted.

I guess what I'm saying is, the way the example is described is that these guys have the same stats, the same level, and the same skills - but somehow one is lesser than the other. How do you represent Athelete A's dedication, in a mechanical sense?

A higher level for Athlete A would be a better representation. He spent more time grinding XPs.

Tiktakkat
2009-11-13, 11:48 PM
Agreed and seconded. I started in 1975 with Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasure, and Wilderness Adventures and the rest. i.e. the original game.

I remember a duel, between two PCs, probably before 1976 given the group it was in.

The two level 12 or so characters stood at opposite sides of the arena, and pulled magic weapons out of their bags of holding to throw at each other. They didn't bother to pick up the weapons and throw them back. Each character had dozens spare low level weapons. We'd used the random treasure tables from the rulebooks, and you got so much magical CRAP that it was a bad joke.

AFAICT no edition since fixed this. 3.0 simply gave a world where item creation was easy enough that the INSANE number of items made some sense, and allowed that the items could be bought and sold (at a steep discount) making cash money actually valuable.

It's an amazing improvement over what ACTUALLY happened if you played by the book or out of modules with previous editions, where making a +1 sword was insanely difficult, and the things were a massive glut on the market (except when the PCs wanted to buy one, then there'd be none available).

Wow, someone who actually ranks me on the geezer scale. I started in 79 with the first Basic set (the Holmes version with the washed out blue cover) and the 1st printing of the PHB.
My experiences are similar.

I remember running Temple of Elemental Evil and the players making an effort to recruit every possible prisoner found. By the time they hit the lowest level the group of half a dozen PCs was easily able to outfit the half dozen NPCs with cast off magic weapons and armor.

And again on the loot. AD&D ran almost exclusively on collecting treasure. Gygax even said as much in one of the later run Up on a Soapbox articles he did. (The ones during the Paizo years.) If you used the training costs given in the DMG, it was blatantly obvious that the overwhelming majority of xp you needed to advance a level was always going to come from the loot you took, if only to ensure you had the bare minimum to pay to advance that level.

Ultimately, 3E just switched magic items from discovery by random roll and claim to player driven selection. The raw amount of magic available did not change.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-14, 12:18 AM
I personally hate the concept of having penalties on everything when your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

There, I said it. That's been bugging since I read your post, Ragnarok, because its an asinine concept for a fantasy game. I put up with the restrictions of the real world all of the time, every damn day. I play DnD to ignore those rules for a short amount of time. I don't mind following the rules of the game, provided they don't try to emulate the real world. I'm a Player Character, not some random peasant with a sword. I view my players the same way, and DM in that method. I do not enforce realism in my campaigns because they are supposed to be a fantasy, nothing more.


Screw the penalties, I'm GOD.


ya see i don't want that i don't play roll playing games to be god if i wanted that i would go play an FPS or an RPG and put on god mode or cheet. I prefer to think out side the box about creative solutions to the problem at hand. Its a GMing style that is fine. Its one of the reason i can't stand the exhalted system/setting for exactly the reasons you quote... I would rather play that peasent with a sword who does heroic things by over coming adversity... again stylistic differences.. I wouldn't say its asinine... Its a difference of opions. I find being god with no penalties boring... why would i want that. hey i win k so there realy is no challange. but to each his own just understand 2nd ed was written in a way that was not the way you want to play.

to each his own.


Edit:
Swordguy just wow... can't agree with you more. he basicaly sums up how i feel about it.

JonestheSpy
2009-11-14, 12:31 AM
Ultimately, 3E just switched magic items from discovery by random roll and claim to player driven selection. The raw amount of magic available did not change.

I actually agree with this to a large extent. As another old fogie who started playing with the Basic Set, I can't deny that there was a huge disparity between what the DMG preached about the scarcity of magic items and the amount of said items in the treasure hoards of the published modules. And one of the things that I like most about 3rd edition is that it incorporated the skill systems and special traits (translated into feats) found in other RPG's that made each character highly individual - cause it's true, 1st edtion characters were just differentiated by race/class/ some small stat bonuses, and then their collection of magic items.

However, I agree completely with Swordguy that the shifting of magic item aquistition from the DM's call to the player's has created a monster of entitlement and pwer-gaming unseen in previous editions, and even though magic might not be any more common than it was in earlier versions, the assumption that anything you want is always available to someone with the gold really has stripped 'magic' of it's magic.

And as for Crow's thought about 'special' vs 'non-special' characters - that's what levels are all about, aren't they? There are lots of would-be Beowulfs - only a few reach that level of prowess. The idea that PC's start out as automatically special is ridiculous - maybe they've got a little bit of an edge due to natural talent or drive, but they ain't all that special at level 1. The way they prove they're special is by surviving, and that shouldn't be easy.

Dimers
2009-11-14, 02:01 AM
After all, if everybody is special, is anybody really special?

*over loudspeaker* "You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake!" :smalltongue:

Fhaolan
2009-11-14, 02:03 AM
Another grognard here.

Re: Entitlement

I remember when character creation was considered part of the game, part of the gamble of playing. Random stats, in order. Why? Because it was a game. You roll them bones, you take them chances. Heck, D&D was relatively *nice* about it, Traveller it was possible to flat out die during character generation.

Basically it was like a lot of other games of the era. You may not be able to 'win' at D&D, but you could definately lose! That risk of losing, added to the level of complexity of the game, make it what it was. A difficult game. There were tons of 'easy' games out there. And we didn't play those. We played D&D *because* it was hard to understand.

Re: Magic level in games.

The more common magic is, the less 'magic' it is. This goes not only for magic items, but magic in general. Heck, it also goes for science. Play a sci-fi game, and you quickly discover the exact same problems with the high-tech equipment. As long as your 'power' is determined more by your bankroll than your innate abilities, you're not really playing a character. You're playing an animate object that is a delivery vehicle for your equipment.

The Joker Monk, or whatever it's called, that's bizarrely common on this forum, is based on the idea that UMD is the trump card. It really doesn't matter what class you stick in the middle of that build, because the UMD is what makes it work. The magic items are more important than the character that's wielding them.

And when you make that realization, the game... loses it's charm. I want to play King Arthur. I don't want to play 'the guy who's weilding Excaliber'.

sonofzeal
2009-11-14, 02:16 AM
*over loudspeaker* "You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake!" :smalltongue:
"You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else!"

Jack_Simth
2009-11-14, 02:35 AM
Late to the conversation here, I know, but...

Consider from a game balance perspective (Yeah, I know, failed badly in most editions of most games, but bear with me) - when game mechanics allow "fun" , it generally happens when things are difficult but not impossible (it's generally considered "not fun" if you walk over everything thrown at you, and it's generally considered "not fun" if everything thrown at you walks over you).

If you design the game to be balanced without Cool Toys (TM) (be they called Magic Items, Science!, technology, whatever), but have Cool Toys (TM) in the game, it becomes much harder for the DM to gauge what will be "fun" - as after a point, you'll just walk over everything that's been designed into the game based on the game's balance. But your character sheet defines the character, mechanically.

If you design the game to be balanced with Cool Toys (TM), then they become part of the system, and required for the characters to be at the expected level of play - which, as a side effect, means that if you're not getting your allotment of Cool Toys (TM), it becomes much harder for the DM to gauge what will be "fun" - as after a point, you tend to be completely slaughtered. But the Cool Toys (TM) go a long way towards defining the character, mechanically.

Sure, a skilled DM can eyeball it and adjust for imbalances (on either side), but you only get skilled DM's by training up unskilled DM's by practice - which means there's a rather lot of unskilled DM's. Challenge Ratings, Wealth-by-level, and such? They're there to help the less-skilled DM's until they can eyeball it and adjust for imbalances. They also have a habit of becoming a crutch - the less skilled DM's have less need to learn on how to eyeball balance, and so learn less on how to eyeball balance.

It's double-edged; there's not really any good universal solution, although there can be for individuals, or individual groups.

Catch
2009-11-14, 03:24 AM
Jack said it, it's about fun. Enjoyment - perhaps not lasting, but at least more than momentary - is the specified intent of playing a game. We choose this hobby because it can be relaxing or exciting, it lets us purge pent-up creativity (and maybe aggression too), it lets us tinker with numbers or invent whole new worlds. D&D is playing pretend, for big kids.

With that said, allow me one brief moment of candid vehemence, speaking to everyone from the grognards to those new on the bandwagon.

Stop telling me how to have fun.

I am blithely - occasionally spitefully - apathetic to how you feel the game has changed (or hasn't) and how it "should" be. Every rant, diatribe or polemic, no matter how elegant or crude, can be reduced to the fundamental, erroneous notion that you have the right to tell people how D&D should be played. And I don't care what you think. Really and truly, I don't.

If your enjoyment as a player or a DM isn't harmonizing with the rest of the group, you have two reasonable options. Those are, as you might expect, syncretise or leave. Sometimes, a certain play environment just isn't for you, but I honestly feel that everyone ought to expect from a game what they will enjoy most, and it's the responsibility of the group (including the DM) to decide what they want, and how to make everyone relatively happy. Compromise is going to happen, and not everyone will be completely satisfied, but as long as the group is collectively having fun, the rules can be fluid.

However, from what I've been reading, this discussion amounts to D&D "purists" telling others how the game "should" be, and why their iteration is "better." And it's not. A successful game has a single qualifier, and it's not verisimilitude, or difficulty, or accuracy, or adherence to the rules. It's fun. Rules to make the game more challenging or accurate only are effective if the experience is enriched by them. You could design what you feel is a near-perfect set of house rules, from combat to treasure, but if the players aren't happy, you've failed as DM, for missing the one single purpose of the game.

So here's me, thumbing my nose at accuracy and game balance. It only matters if you make it matter.

Matthew
2009-11-14, 07:01 AM
@Swordguy: I think one of the great leaps from 2e to 3e was that there was an effort made to make PCs viable from the get-go, as represented by stat generation: 4d6 arranged is better than 3d6 in order, but 3d6 in order can easily generate unplayably bad characters.

That is a bad example; in AD&D/1e "Method I" was the same as in D20/3e, it seems to have been changed in A&D/2e mainly for aesthetic reasons [i.e. because B/X used 3d6 in order]. The fact is, first level characters are fragile and die easily, whether from a critical hit from a falchion or a failed saving throw versus poison. A game that has as one of its central components vast power increases via level advancement will always have trouble making characters at the bottom of the scale comparatively "viable".



Stop telling me how to have fun.

Thing is, fun is all relative. When you have one group saying "this is fun" you will always have another saying "no it is not" and it goes in cycles of popularity. Certainly, there is nothing inherently wrong about a "magic mart" approach to D&D, or indeed the Monty Haul campaign, but they are only fun for groups for whom that style of play suits. The way the discussion in this thread has essentially gone is:

1) Is it me or would it be more fun if magic was rarer and more dangerous to the user, like my experience of previous editions?
2) It sure would.
3) No it would not, and anyway it wouldn't make sense.

Morty
2009-11-14, 09:16 AM
*snip*

Allow me to just say I agree with it in all entirety. I'm tired of how the word "fun" is used to describe a certain playstyle - apparently, if I play a game like I like, that is realistic, with risks and low-powered characters, I'm not having "fun". The word has been turned into some sort of universal handwave.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-14, 09:46 AM
Allow me to just say I agree with it in all entirety. I'm tired of how the word "fun" is used to describe a certain playstyle - apparently, if I play a game like I like, that is realistic, with risks and low-powered characters, I'm not having "fun". The word has been turned into some sort of universal handwave.

agreed. The "fun" factory is used as an argument about weather a play style is lagitimate... I have to sadly admit i've falled to that argument a few times i belive even in this thread though i stand by the fact that there opinions and it is just my opinion.

Though i guess i pose the question to you how do you judge a systems goodness with out determining its fun level?

Morty
2009-11-14, 10:02 AM
Though i guess i pose the question to you how do you judge a systems goodness with out determining its fun level?

If the system plays smoothly and achieves its purpose, it's good. Of course, even if a system is good, doesn't mean everyone will enjoy it. There is no such thing as "fun level" and games aren't inherently more or less "fun". This is what annoys me in such arguments.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-14, 10:13 AM
"Wah! We want to use magic with no drawbacks whatsoever" - OK, says WotC, we'll give you this new edition of Vancian magic with no drawbacks for casting spells.
What does this have to do, necessarily, with verisimillitude? Logic demands that there be penalties for certain actions - our RL experience tells us this. Logic demands that there be threats beyond our scope - our RL experience tells us this. What does RL tell us about magic? Well, based on the closest to magic we have, high technology; RL tells us that "magic" is fairly reliable and will not cause random hazards for the user unless you get in over your head.

Magic as just another technology, as the newer editions have pushed forth, is not logically inconsistent. Do I want risk removed from the game? Yes, much as I would not want to play a modern commando game where my rifle has a chance of exploding beneath me whenever I shoot. Do I want all risk removed from the game? No, much as I would not want to play a modern commando game where you're a bullet-sponge with regenerating HP (damn FPS players) that can just smash through the mission.


Has no-one thought about the logical conclusion here?
It's magic. It doesn't have to be "special" magic. Logic does not force it to be unknowable and uncontrollable. If you have assembly-line magic and use it to make a soft sci-fi setting you've come to a logical conclusion.


The disappearance of "Special" magic, as Crow describes it, is, I believe, directly correlated to the rise of a culture of entitlement - "I deserve to win" ... People, by and large, don't seem to want to work for anything. Gamers are no exception; having magic that impedes a player's inexorable progression towards "winning" runs completely counter to that culture.

There are some things people are entitled to. Are they entitled to everything? No. But in the context of RPGs, at least the default D&D-type campaign, they have a few basic entitlements.
1) To start the game with relatively healthy and sane characters
2) To face challenges that they have a decent chance of winning (i.e. not in the ballpark of .017% chance of success)

Between these basics and the I WANT IT ALL LULZ extreme, there are many possible things that one can be entitled to. Modern, non-"Special" magic has as a premise that players are entitled to using spells without harming themselves. How does this tie to wanting no challenge? Time for a not entirely fitting analogy.
If I lose a major contest because I'm just not smart enough, I can know I tried my best. If I lose a major contest because I became ill, I'd be pissed but suck it up, because life does random things like that. If I lose a major contest because my computer malfunctioned....
My reaction would go something like this: Damn ********ing sons-of-******* mentally retarded mother******* computer designers making such a damn useless computer can go suck the sweat-covered lice eggs off a syphilitic harlot's *** hair...
If my character fails in his quest because I wasn't innovative enough, I can know I tried my best. If my character fails in his quest because his teammates were being fools, I'd be pissed but suck it up, because they're my friends. If my character fails in his quest because he can't even perform his basic functions as a mage without risk of catastrophe...
Well, I wouldn't be too mad, because I consented to have that risk of failure by making a mage character; but I'd prefer to have a system where I can use my tools reliably and test my skil more than my luck.


Though i guess i pose the question to you how do you judge a systems goodness with out determining its fun level?

IMO a system is effective inasfar as it fills its niche well. For example, 4E tries to indulge the more "mainstream" crowd by having a video gamey (or at least just "gamey") style while showing them some of the freedom of an RPG. If it fills the niche well, it will be quite fun for those who like the niche. If somebody doesn't like the niche, he goes and plays a game system more suited for his style.


PS: Random question: How many of you have seen "mage marts"? How many of you have used them? I've seen magic shops referenced often but never actually seen any, even in higher-magic and common-magic settings such as Eberron. I suspect they may be (unintentional) strawmen, but I need to see.

Mark Hall
2009-11-14, 10:21 AM
*over loudspeaker* "You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake!" :smalltongue:

You're all individuals!
Yes, we're all individuals.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-14, 10:32 AM
IMO a system is effective inasfar as it fills its niche well. For example, 4E tries to indulge the more "mainstream" crowd by having a video gamey (or at least just "gamey") style while showing them some of the freedom of an RPG. If it fills the niche well, it will be quite fun for those who like the niche. If somebody doesn't like the niche, he goes and plays a game system more suited for his style.


PS: Random question: How many of you have seen "mage marts"? How many of you have used them? I've seen magic shops referenced often but never actually seen any, even in higher-magic and common-magic settings such as Eberron. I suspect they may be (unintentional) strawmen, but I need to see.

I guess... I meen its fun value is more then just if it fills a nitche.
as alot of systems are versitile enough to change a nitche (some times)


as far as your PS. Yes i have seen them and used them in games depending on the setting...

If you have played ebberon and not seen a magic show i would guess you gm didn't understand ebberon.. Especialy if you go to sharn or stormreach. they have tons,.. i belive thats clearly defined in the books though im away from my books.
also in FR waterdeep does, as wall as haulra or what ever it calls does as well...
I belive the city of the spider queen supplement has a few magic item shops...

I use them only.. only in high magic settings. or where magic is common where peasents can identify that that person cast spells vs peasents running in fear when you cast dancing lights.


Morty:
See there is a level of fun in a system or setting... example is. I'm a big fan of call of cathulu though i would play d20/2ed over it any day of the week... I like them both i have fun in both but d20/2ed > call of cathulu as far as funness..

Satyr
2009-11-14, 10:35 AM
It's a marketing gag, but unfortunately a well-working one. Just look at Savage Worlds - a bland, mediocre game of suerficiality which repeats so often that it is fast, fun and furious, that the authors certainly started to believe itself.

Fun is neither measurable nor can be transfered to other people as well; it is ridiculously pretentious to assume that anything that is fun for you is fun for anybody else, as well. Fun is absolutely and purely subjective and therefore one of the worst measures for quality.

There are few fallacies as big as "I like it, therefore it must be good."

Catch
2009-11-14, 10:37 AM
Thing is, fun is all relative. When you have one group saying "this is fun" you will always have another saying "no it is not" and it goes in cycles of popularity. Certainly, there is nothing inherently wrong about a "magic mart" approach to D&D, or indeed the Monty Haul campaign, but they are only fun for groups for whom that style of play suits. The way the discussion in this thread has essentially gone is:

1) Is it me or would it be more fun if magic was rarer and more dangerous to the user, like my experience of previous editions?
2) It sure would.
3) No it would not, and anyway it wouldn't make sense.

See, I'm fine with that discussion, because each person prefers a different style of play. Some enjoy the statistics, others the story, most enjoy both, and the preferred degree of challenge, accuracy and treasure availability varies too. My point was, there is no single "right" way to play D&D, no "one game to rule them all." I think low-magic settings have their place, and can be fun, but what got me all irritated is the notion that everyone should play that way, and people who prefer commonplace magic (Uh Eberron, anyone?) or the Wiz-Mart style of play are greedy and wrong.

Basically, it comes down to the difference between "I like playing this way" and "You should too."


Fun is neither measurable nor can be transfered to other people as well; it is ridiculously pretentious to assume that anything that is fun for you is fun for anybody else, as well. Fun is absolutely and purely subjective and therefore one of the worst measures for quality.

There are few fallacies as big as "I like it, therefore it must be good."

And it's pitifully dense to ignore the prime reason for playing a game, implying that it doesn't matter. A well-balanced system with years of development and testing is a failure if people don't enjoy it, and what game companies are constantly trying to do is make the game more enjoyable. Fun can't be quantified, but it still matters, and the simplest method to find out what your players want is to ask them, rather than decide for them.

There are few conclusions as arrogant as "I think this is the best, so you should like it best."

Matthew
2009-11-14, 10:52 AM
My point was, there is no single "right" way to play D&D, no "one game to rule them all." I think low-magic settings have their place, and can be fun, but what got me all irritated is the notion that everyone should play that way, and people who prefer commonplace magic (Uh Eberron, anyone?) or the Wiz-Mart style of play are greedy and wrong.

Basically, it comes down to the difference between "I like playing this way" and "You should too."

I think it is all too easy to read messages like that into discussions like this, but I am not really seeing much of it here, just people venting about their preferences and the lack of support for it in a brand that was once nominally managed with a different philosophy. Whenever game systems are under discussion that cater to different modes of play "better" is only ever going to be a subjective statement.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-14, 01:02 PM
If you have played ebberon and not seen a magic show i would guess you gm didn't understand ebberon.. Especialy if you go to sharn or stormreach. they have tons...

They have magic items for sale, yes. They don't stack them all up in an easily burgled shop and offer convenient exact RAW descriptions of Tordek's +3 Light Fortification Full Plate of Nimbleness.


I am not really seeing much of it here, just people venting about their preferences and the lack of support for it in a brand that was once nominally managed with a different philosophy.

I don't post to say "you should agree with me". Because of the nature of debate, I might accidentally phrase it that way; but since "you should agree with me" rarely works on the internet, my theoretical motivation for debate is elaborating on my opinions.
And the D&D brand has indeed moved in a direction off-putting to many. Good, I say - D&D can survive the losses, and the players being lost will hopefully diversify their systems. WW games, indie games... heck, maybe even old D&D.

Fhaolan
2009-11-14, 01:02 PM
Stop telling me how to have fun.


And if I have ever done that, I apologize. My description of how it was 'way back when' was simply that. I haven't played that version of that game for a long time. When I said 'I remember when', I mean that literally, I do remember when. I remember why I played the game then, and I know that if the game had not existed in that form at that time, then I would likely have not continued playing it. However, I am not sure I would be playing it now if it had not changed to AD&D, 2nd edition, or even 3rd. Each edition has added ideas and options that I find enjoyable. Each edition has also taken away some stuff, but given that I *know* what was taken away, it's not that hard to put it back in or adjust things to my liking.



So here's me, thumbing my nose at accuracy and game balance. It only matters if you make it matter.

Correct. What I find fun in not necessarily what you find fun.

For example, I find playing Star Fleet Battles fun. My wife, however doesn't like wargames as such. She likes playing WoW, and I dislike MMOPGs because I don't really like people that much.

We together play with two separate PnP RPG groups, who like the switch up which system we're using on occasion. D&D of various editions, GURPs, TMNT, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, and a variety of indie publishers. We offically ususally deal with 3.0 D&D because that's the edition nearly everyone in the various groups have the books for. The groups as a whole didn't upgrade to 3.5 because to be brutally honest, we realized that if we actually have to refer to the 'rules' when we play because of some esoteric situation, then we've departed from what had become our normal playstyle. In our playgroups the system truely doesn't matter. As long as the flow of the game is consistant *in our heads*, the fact that it was a 1 in 6 chance to find the secret door one day and 3 in 20 the next time we game is irrelevant to us. Since the 3.0 D&D designation is mostly arbitrary for our purposes to provide a loose framework for the character generation, paying more money for more rulebooks with rules that we won't acutally use is kinda pointless. In fact, one of the players in one of the groups was using the 3.5 PHB for months, and we only figured out that there was an issue when she, out of curiousity, asked about a rule and her wording was different than the one in rest of our books. That's how rare it is for us to actually pull the books out.

Not everyone plays like that, of course. But we do. We don't expect game companies to cater to our needs, but we appreciate it when they do and buy their products when that happens. We don't tell other people how to play, because that would be impossible. Our play style is based upon the fact that the various people in the groups have been playing RPGs for anywhere from 20 to 30 years, are all part-time actors (which is how we all met), and the indiviuals are engineers, doctors, horse trainers, circus performers, policemen, etc. in their day jobs. Nobody else has that specific blending of skills, experience, and knowledge, so how could any game company cater specifically to us?

However, we don't like people telling us that the edition of the game we are using is 'wrong'. That we have to upgrade to 4th edition because it's universally 'better'. How do they know it would be better for us? If it was phrased as 'You might want to take a look at this, it might be interesting for you' then we'd accept the advice in the spirit it was given. But when it's '3rd sucks. It's unbalanced. 2nd sucks. THAC0's hard. Classic sucks. Races as classes is wrong.' that irritates us.

Somebloke
2009-11-14, 01:56 PM
Funny, but I am playing a low-magic 4e campaign. Use only the martial character classes + wizard (re-styled with most of their attacks dependent on alchemy and most 'real' magic confined to poorly-understood rituals- 'real' mages use the dragon solo stats as a base) and the alternate rewards as outlined in the DMG. So far I haven't run into any problems.

While the baseline for 4e is moderate magic, there are methods out there.

HamHam
2009-11-14, 02:20 PM
Any magic system is going make magic not-special because by definition it's going to give magic concrete rules and structure. Okay, so I can cast X spells per day and I have a Y% chance of something horrible happening, so if the odds of dieing in this fight are Z% then I should cast this spell only if Z > Y. Once you make it a magic system as opposed to a plot device you are opening up to being analyzed and spread sheeted and dissected. That's just how games work.

Personally, I'm not going to play low-magic DnD. It just doesn't work, and makes balance a huge head ache and you might as well make your own system from scratch considering the amount of work you will have to put into it to make it work.

If I want to play a low magic game, I'll use a system actually built with that in mind like LotR or L5R or something like that. Though I was in a Monty Haul LotRs campaign once and it was pretty funny. I ended up with an Iron-Man-suit powered by a Silmaril.

Tiktakkat
2009-11-14, 03:40 PM
However, I agree completely with Swordguy that the shifting of magic item aquistition from the DM's call to the player's has created a monster of entitlement and pwer-gaming unseen in previous editions, and even though magic might not be any more common than it was in earlier versions, the assumption that anything you want is always available to someone with the gold really has stripped 'magic' of it's magic.

For the most part, that is due to what they did to the magic items.
With the changes in 3E, it is all about the raw bonus items, with the funky, quirky items that you used to rely on for desperation saves in AD&D being significantly reduced in relevance. As long as you had the big stat bump, AC, save, and attack/damage bonus items, you rarely, if ever, got to a situation where needed any of the others.
That is why I like the MIC so much. It makes it a lot easier to get those quirky items back into play.


And as for Crow's thought about 'special' vs 'non-special' characters - that's what levels are all about, aren't they? There are lots of would-be Beowulfs - only a few reach that level of prowess. The idea that PC's start out as automatically special is ridiculous - maybe they've got a little bit of an edge due to natural talent or drive, but they ain't all that special at level 1. The way they prove they're special is by surviving, and that shouldn't be easy.

Well, I have a different take, and rant, on this.
If functionally the game is about playing those cool characters in all the fantasy books we read, whether they be epic high fantasy, swords and sorcery, or whatever, then there is a serious disconnect in asserting that any character is ever "non-special".
Conan was not "non-special" in his first adventure.
Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser were not "non-special" in their first adventures.
Even Bilbo was more than a tad above "non-special" in his first encounter with the trolls.
And if they were, who would really want to play them? Yeah, yeah, feats or even prestige classes for the guard or the sidekick or whatever, but ultimately such characters are far from second fiddle in overall power if they are PCs.
The fact is the PCs are special simply for showing up at the first session, and they remain special every session after that. If they did not, they would just be part of the usual faceless horde of NPCs, and there would be no real relevance in having them gain experience. Just replace characters every adventure with other pre-gens.

Matthew
2009-11-14, 03:49 PM
I don't post to say "you should agree with me". Because of the nature of debate, I might accidentally phrase it that way; but since "you should agree with me" rarely works on the internet, my theoretical motivation for debate is elaborating on my opinions.

No doubt; what I find is that discussion on the internet can be very slow and difficult, but if you put in the time and effort it can very often be fruitful, at least to the extent that you understand why people have the opinions that they do, and more usefully perhaps even come to better understand your own. Debates like these certainly helped me to understand my own preferences with regards to Dungeons & Dragons and other adventure games.



And the D&D brand has indeed moved in a direction off-putting to many. Good, I say - D&D can survive the losses, and the players being lost will hopefully diversify their systems. White Wolf games, indie games... heck, maybe even old D&D.

It has certainly been interesting to read about disaffected D20/3e players trying out, or returning to, new and old systems. Initially more surprising, perhaps, was the number of players openly hostile to attempts to perpetuate the game, such as Path Finder. At this stage it probably would not bother me in the least if the Dungeons & Dragons brand disappeared, but that is pretty unlikely in the near future, as far as I can tell.



However, we don't like people telling us that the edition of the game we are using is 'wrong'. That we have to upgrade to 4th edition because it's universally 'better'. How do they know it would be better for us? If it was phrased as 'You might want to take a look at this, it might be interesting for you' then we'd accept the advice in the spirit it was given. But when it's '3rd sucks. It's unbalanced. 2nd sucks. THAC0's hard. Classic sucks. Races as classes is wrong.' that irritates us.

Indeed. Reminds me of the "I hate fun" controversy. :smallbiggrin:

Devils_Advocate
2009-11-14, 04:15 PM
Why not just have a game where you win as soon as you sit down to play?
Because that wouldn't be entertaining.

I tried it. I said to myself "Congratulations. You win the Win Game, the game where you immediately win and nothing else happens." It wasn't terribly fulfilling. I mean, sure, there was a certain amount of wry humor in the postmodern absurdity of it, but I imagine that it would get old fast.

Next, I tried predicting the result of a coin toss, to see whether the introduction of a possibility of failure would make success more rewarding. I correctly guessed tails. This was nevertheless less fulfilling than the Win Game. It lacked the absurdity.

Suppose that the design team for a popular MMORPG announces, surprisingly, that they are changing the game so that player characters no longer conveniently come back from death. Instead of a minor speed bump, dying is now the end of the road. In addition to increasing verisimilitude, this makes it much more important how you play the game because there are now significant long-term consequences to your actions. Skill, luck, and effort are suddenly very important.

I'd bet that the game's players would be upset by this announcement. To put it mildly. And that they'd be upset way before any of their characters got killed. Because they don't want to lose all of their progress, they dislike the possibility of losing all their progress. The potential for meaningful failure would make them unhappy. It would not cause them to enjoy the game more.

It's pretty simple, really. People play games for Fun. Many people have observed that they find losing to be Not Fun. It's frustrating. Losing is a Bad Thing. The potential of having a Bad Thing happen to them is also Not Fun. It's stressful. It doesn't create an environment in which they can relax and enjoy themselves. Ergo, they prefer games in which they don't lose.

Or maybe it's that a small chance of an insignificant setback makes a game exciting in an enjoyable way, while a large change of crushing failure makes a game exciting in an unpleasant way.

Most people, I think, attach a sense of accomplishment to artificial victories not so much because of any potential for failure, but because the victories require time and effort, or extraordinary skill.

But fun doesn't even have to come from victory. It can come from other things. Discovery, for example. Feelings of exploration and surprise can be quite entertaining.


You'll appreciate it more if it's not something you get to play every day.
People do tend to appreciate the things they like more when they get them less. But restricting access to liked stuff also reduces enjoyment during those times when people do not get to have the stuff which they like. It seems like this might be the bigger influence on total fun. Maybe it would be best to let people decide for themselves. But if you're in a position that allows you to restrict entertainment, you do have the option of deciding that you know what will bring other people the most fun better than they do.


After all, if everybody is special, is anybody really special?
Well... A setting in which someone can fly and has laser eye beams is interesting mostly because it's so different from real life. Giving everyone in the setting flight and laser eye beams just raises the weirdness factor even higher. Giving everyone different superpowers makes things less predictable and makes individual characters more interesting, all else being equal. I'd even say that it makes each individual character more special.

On the other hand, it's logically impossible to make everyone better than everyone else, which is maybe more what you were getting at.

We could categorize stories based on the relative power of

(A) The protagonists
(B) The antagonists
(C) The common people of the setting
(D) The reader/viewer/player.

A = B > C = D, for example, describes Comicbookworld with superheroes and supervillians.

In addition to relative power, there's the element of how different the setting is from what the reader/viewer/player is familiar with.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-14, 04:33 PM
Because that wouldn't be entertaining.

I tried it. I said to myself "Congratulations. You win the Win Game, the game where you immediately win and nothing else happens." It wasn't terribly fulfilling. I mean, sure, there was a certain amount of wry humor in the postmodern absurdity of it, but I imagine that it would get old fast.

Next, I tried predicting the result of a coin toss, to see whether the introduction of a possibility of failure would make success more rewarding. I correctly guessed tails. This was nevertheless less fulfilling than the Win Game. It lacked the absurdity.

Suppose that the design team for a popular MMORPG announces, surprisingly, that they are changing the game so that player characters no longer conveniently come back from death. Instead of a minor speed bump, dying is now the end of the road. In addition to increasing verisimilitude, this makes it much more important how you play the game because there are now significant long-term consequences to your actions. Skill, luck, and effort are suddenly very important.

I'd bet that the game's players would be upset by this announcement. To put it mildly. And that they'd be upset way before any of their characters got killed. Because they don't want to lose all of their progress, they dislike the possibility of losing all their progress. The potential for meaningful failure would make them unhappy. It would not cause them to enjoy the game more.



well to be honest some of the older MMORPGS did have hardcore servers that worked like that. The only way to come back was via a resurrect by a fellow player. Made clerics a lot more in demand.

but alas with the new style casual gaming that most appeal to because they can hit a larger market. it does suspend verisimilitude but you don't play mmo's for realty.. you play them to play a diablo 2 like game with more people.. there realy not RPG's so much as action adventure games. or a new style rogue type game.






It's pretty simple, really. People play games for Fun. Many people have observed that they find losing to be Not Fun. It's frustrating. Losing is a Bad Thing. The potential of having a Bad Thing happen to them is also Not Fun. It's stressful. It doesn't create an environment in which they can relax and enjoy themselves. Ergo, they prefer games in which they don't lose.

Or maybe it's that a small chance of an insignificant setback makes a game exciting in an enjoyable way, while a large change of crushing failure makes a game exciting in an unpleasant way.

Most people, I think, attach a sense of accomplishment to artificial victories not so much because of any potential for failure, but because the victories require time and effort, or extraordinary skill.

But fun doesn't even have to come from victory. It can come from other things. Discovery, for example. Feelings of exploration and surprise can be quite entertaining.


People do tend to appreciate the things they like more when they get them less. But restricting access to liked stuff also reduces enjoyment during those times when people do not get to have the stuff which they like. It seems like this might be the bigger influence on total fun. Maybe it would be best to let people decide for themselves. But if you're in a position that allows you to restrict entertainment, you do have the option of deciding that you know what will bring other people the most fun better than they do.

I think the fact that those set backs are what we are talking about it. It seems to me that people are arguing about weather or not they want to waste an entire dungeon single handedly as a wizard... back in the day it didn't happen because of the bad things that could happen from casting spells. so realy i think its a difference of being able to easily over come obsticles or it being more chalanging... i look at the different version of dnd like a video game.
4th ed -easy to medium
3rd ed medium to hard
2nd ed hard to extreme
1st ed good luck.

just some thoughts on it.

Matthew
2009-11-14, 04:39 PM
It's pretty simple, really. People play games for Fun. Many people have observed that they find losing to be Not Fun. It's frustrating. Losing is a Bad Thing. The potential of having a Bad Thing happen to them is also Not Fun. It's stressful. It doesn't create an environment in which they can relax and enjoy themselves. Ergo, they prefer games in which they don't lose.

It depends on the game to some extent, and also the context. Losing for no apparent reason is not usually considered fun, losing as a consequence of playing badly is typically more acceptable, much like winning after playing badly is often reported as being "unfun" or "too easy". The actual event of losing can often be stressful, but in retrospect it can be more fondly remembered than the victory:

"Hey remember that time we opened that seal and released that freakin' demon thing. Man, we were lucky to escape with half the party. Remember how it tore the paladin in half? Yeash, that was brutal."

Sometimes games are built around the premise, such as Call of Cthulu, but it will eventually come down to preferences.

SimperingToad
2009-11-14, 04:58 PM
Stop telling me how to have fun.

Hmmm... just thinking out loud here. But isn't a set of game rules, regardless of Edition, doing just that?

Regarding the OP: One thing which has been lost over the years has been the control of limitations to the character. Ability scores go from 'you can't get stronger than Conan without a lot of powerful magic' to being able to twist a giant into a pretzel with your big toe from diet and exercise. Fighters go from standing toe-to-toe with the baddies to quietly backstabbing due to class-dipping. Save vs. Death has become Save vs. Inconvenience.

But one major control is the sheer amount of material available. A dozen or two 1st level MU spells has become, what, a couple hundred? Swords with special abilites goes from several to dozens. It gets more difficult to find a situation where the PCs do not have a magic item, spell, or 'power' to overcome it rather than use ingenuity or common sense (i.e. RUN!) as the amount of said magic known increases. Having more 'options' available invariably means more 'options' will be used in lieu of other, more mundane things.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-14, 05:58 PM
Suppose that the design team for a popular MMORPG announces, surprisingly, that they are changing the game so that player characters no longer conveniently come back from death. Instead of a minor speed bump, dying is now the end of the road. In addition to increasing verisimilitude, this makes it much more important how you play the game because there are now significant long-term consequences to your actions. Skill, luck, and effort are suddenly very important.

I'd bet that the game's players would be upset by this announcement. To put it mildly. And that they'd be upset way before any of their characters got killed. Because they don't want to lose all of their progress, they dislike the possibility of losing all their progress. The potential for meaningful failure would make them unhappy. It would not cause them to enjoy the game more.


There's no need for supposition, this is not at all a hypothetical situation, but one that's been done many times. Typically, it's something that a server has from the start, instead of something randomly imposed without notice, though.

Yes, changing the rules of the game part way through would generate outrage, and rightfully so. But is the change the problem or are the rules the problem?

Permadeath servers are popular with a segment of the gaming community, and yes, not everyone likes them. They tend to draw those players who are not brand new to the game, and thus, want more challenge. They also tend to have a more cautious playstyle than normal servers. Leroy Jenkins and co do not exist here, and those that try to cause mass deaths for "fun" are usually killed mercilessly. Players typically seek to eliminate luck from the game via caution and skill as much as possible, and are quite willing to kill off possible threats, including other players, pre-emptively. It's an interesting gamedecision, and fun to study, but it does not support your conclusions.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-14, 06:02 PM
However, I agree completely with Swordguy that the shifting of magic item aquistition from the DM's call to the player's has created a monster of entitlement and pwer-gaming unseen in previous editions, and even though magic might not be any more common than it was in earlier versions, the assumption that anything you want is always available to someone with the gold really has stripped 'magic' of it's magic.

You say powergaming like it's a bad thing. Most of the time, and especially if I'm rich enough to be investing in magic items, powergaming is in-character. If I have lots of money, and am an adventurer, I'd want to use the money to increase my personal power - so I can, you know, survive. Given the appalling weakness of technology, this means buying magic.
Now, it's not as simple as strolling into Ye Olde M4G1< 173M Shoppe and scooping up the latest half-price sale - that would indeed be monstrously demanding. But people answer to money, and with enough man-hours and determination you can get the items you want. And PCs are nothing if not determined. Hire an adventuring group to smash through some ruins to find the McGuffin magic item you want. Pay some determined detectives to trawl through the city and find a mage that knows how to make items, and provide bribes or diplomacy to get the item commisioned.

Anonymouswizard
2009-11-14, 06:29 PM
The Midnight campaign setting makes magic rare but powerful, they personally call this a "rare magic game" instead of a low magic game, as you find few magic items, but those you do find are quite powerful.

So if you don't like free-form crafting, maybe you could incorporate some aspects from the setting. Magic items can only be forged in certain places, which all have a certain amount of magic within them. When they still have magic the regenerate it at a certain rate, but if it's gone its gone. Also: conevert (or something like that) items: items that increase in power as you level, so at 1st level your magic quiver always has arrows in it, but at 4th level it also lets you cast greater magic weapon on the arrows inside it 3/day as a standard action.


Just look at Savage Worlds - a bland, mediocre game of suerficiality which repeats so often that it is fast, fun and furious, that the authors certainly started to believe itself.

Savage worlds may not be the best game on the market, and it is not fun for all people, or even furious most of the time, but the original rulebook does make a quite fast system: fights might get drawn out, but using cards for initiative makes it easier to tell who goes when, and when the joker comes up it gives bonuses. The toughness and wounds system might make you more resilient, but when you are hurt it makes it harder to do things. It also has good rules for both magic and super powers in the same book: there is no difference in mechanics between your psion and my sorcerer.To quote "Smiling Jack":

WHEN DOROTHY'S CARD COMES UP, BARK AT HER LIKE A RABID DOG IF SHE'S SITTING THERE BABBLING INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING. AND IF SHE TAKES TOO LONG, SKIP HER! START COUNTING DOWN FROM FIVE. THAT'LL MAKE HER WET HER BLOOMERS OR GET HER CHARACTER MOVING IN HIGH GEAR.
Yes, that is a direct quote.

Also, with no rules for crafting magic items it is up to the GM to decide what they can and cant make. If you want items to be created by spells, make a power called enchant item. Make them take a penalty to the amount of XP they gain for so long if you want. You don't need to go through the DMG to find the rules on items either, that is what is so handy about having one book.

And an interesting stupid fact: savage worlds came out of an idea to make a D20 game.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-14, 07:08 PM
While we're discussing ways magic is handled, I have to say that actual Vancian magic sounds nice. You get the quirky feel of ricocheting lightning bolts and massive fireballs without the hassle of trying to calculate exact triangulations (don't bother, because the spell has power of its own and won't have an exact radius like that). Also explains the scarcity of magic items, because of the way spell words act.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-14, 08:04 PM
PS: Random question: How many of you have seen "mage marts"? How many of you have used them? I've seen magic shops referenced often but never actually seen any, even in higher-magic and common-magic settings such as Eberron. I suspect they may be (unintentional) strawmen, but I need to see.

I've seen magic shops...I've never seen a single location where I can buy every single magic item in the game, and I've played a *lot* of games under a *lot* of systems. The closest I've seen to that is when kitting out a brand new character at a level other than first. Still, it's usually assumed that this gear is what you've picked up along the way in previous adventures, not that you just walked out of a MagicMart with shiny new gear.

IMO, the unlimited magic mart is generally a straw man, as very few people actually play at such an extreme. It may all be available yes, but generally not all in one place, and certainly not in every town you happen accross.

HamHam
2009-11-14, 08:09 PM
I've seen magic shops...I've never seen a single location where I can buy every single magic item in the game, and I've played a *lot* of games under a *lot* of systems. The closest I've seen to that is when kitting out a brand new character at a level other than first. Still, it's usually assumed that this gear is what you've picked up along the way in previous adventures, not that you just walked out of a MagicMart with shiny new gear.

IMO, the unlimited magic mart is generally a straw man, as very few people actually play at such an extreme. It may all be available yes, but generally not all in one place, and certainly not in every town you happen accross.

Honestly, in most games I play if you are in a city you can just pull out the MIC, subtract the gold, and get whatever you want. We don't really even bother checking community gold limits or whatever, any reasonable sized city will just have stuff.

Akisa
2009-11-14, 08:14 PM
Honestly in any group I played we just open the MIC talk to the shop keepers and then they start or get someone to cast sending to find out who has the item or see if they can make it for me. Once in a blue moon that npc has it available for sale. There has been no game to date where I can open the DMG or MIC and just pick any item I want, even the Monty haul ones.

Fhaolan
2009-11-14, 08:55 PM
Just replace characters every adventure with other pre-gens.

Which is how tourney play is done (or at least it was. Haven't played in a tourney for a decade or so, it might have changed). Not advocating this for long-term play myself, but just pointing out that some people do this. It's all a matter of taste.

I like playing heroes rather than Heroes when the mood strikes me (capitalization deliberate). Guys who don't have the silver-spoon-syndrome. Who are doing the best they can, and have to struggle to survive, and it's *my* wits that keep them alive and going, not a collection of uber-items or because the character has some innate magic win button.

'course I don't play those kinds of characters in D&D anymore. No point, it's not worth the effort with the design of the system really. GURPs does that kind of game better.

When playing D&D, I tend to pull out the crazy-ass stuff like the Goth Paladin, riding a Dire Bat or some such nonsense, right off a cover of a heavy metal album. Why? Because I'm complex and like multiple different things at the same time.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-15, 03:11 PM
After all, if everybody is special, is anybody really special?

"I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics they've ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so everyone can be superheroes! Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super, no one will be."

-- Syndrome, The Incredibles

Swordguy
2009-11-15, 03:46 PM
"I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics they've ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so everyone can be superheroes! Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super, no one will be."

-- Syndrome, The Incredibles

My point exactly.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-15, 04:06 PM
Wait, what? "If everybody is super, then nobody is super". Nice conditional, but without any premises supplied no point can be made.
And if nobody is super, doesn't that bring us back to true heroism?
It's like Jill Peasant, Joe Librarian, Bob Blacksmith, and Thomas Herbalist banding together to go after the bandit troupe that's terrorizing their town.
Except instead, it's Jill, High Mistress of the Three Clouds; Joe, Archmage of the (e^pi)th Circle; Bob, Exarch of Hephaestus; and Thomas the Southern Messiah banding together to go after the First and Forsaken Lion.
And in reality, it's something more like Jill-who-can-use-druid-spells-without-penalty, Joe-who-can-cast-wizard-spells-without-penalty as well as hold his own in a sword duel, Bob the Warblade, and Thomas-who-can-use-cleric-spells-without-penalty.

Tiktakkat
2009-11-15, 05:26 PM
Which is how tourney play is done (or at least it was. Haven't played in a tourney for a decade or so, it might have changed). Not advocating this for long-term play myself, but just pointing out that some people do this. It's all a matter of taste.

Right, tournament play, not regular play.
And the difference is why Living Campaigns were created, because people liked having characters that were special and that they could develop over time, rather than just using the next in a series of pre-gens.


"I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics they've ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so everyone can be superheroes! Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super, no one will be."

-- Syndrome, The Incredibles

Which is quite relevant.
Except . . .
It fails to account for the difference between everyone in a campaign setting being special and every character in separate and distinct campaigns being special.
Just because all 6 PCs out of 6 million people in 100,000 different campaigns are special, does not mean that it is really 600,000 PCs out of 6 million people in a single combined campaign setting are special, making the Syndrome Syndrome irrelevant.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-15, 05:51 PM
Which is quite relevant.
Except . . .

Except that it's really not. I know, but I couldn't resist quoting an awesome movie.

Myrmex
2009-11-15, 06:46 PM
This is probably going to turn into a rant. Sorry in advance.

Honestly, I've moved back to 2e. I'm tired of hearing players complain that they aren't "special enough" - they always want more. More spells. More options. More classes. More of everything...as long as that "moar" grants them ever-increasing mechanical bonuses. The bonuses - the ever-increasing numbers on their sheets - seem to be the only thing that matters.

It's "Gimme Dungeons & Dragons" (GD&D). Each edition has seemed to have an increase in the number of players who feel that simply by playing the game, they inherently deserve to be special. And TSR (and later and most especially WotC) - like a good company - listened to the clamoring masses and gave them more, and more, and more stuff.

It's always about "fun". "Wah! Penalties aren't 'fun'" - OK, says WotC, we'll get rid of penalties, even when verisimilitude would imply penalties should exist. "Wah! We want to use magic with no drawbacks whatsoever" - OK, says WotC, we'll give you this new edition of Vancian magic with no drawbacks for casting spells. "Wah! We don't think that DM's should be able to throw tough creatures at us that we might no be able to kill!" - OK, says WotC, here's a CR guideline that we'll say a DM is supposed to stick to.

It's about players wanting their risk removed from the game. "Special" magic demands it be, to a degree, unknowable and not entirely controllable. Use it too often, and it'll do Bad Things to you...but that's OK, because you're aware of the risk when you choose to play the Magic-User. You're making an informed choice that you understand magic may - no, will! - eventually backlash upon you, and in return you get a shot at an Ultimate Cosmic Power a non-magic-user will ever know. But this falls under the "penalties" guideline removed from the game above. Has no-one thought about the logical conclusion here?

If you feel that you're entitled to play an epic (not Epic) character from the get-go, who wades though armies at a whim and controls the forces of the cosmos unto a tiny god - if you feel that you can't have fun unless you're better than everyone else...why play? Why build a character from low-level at all? Why not simply sit down and have the DM say "Congratulations! You're so awesome, you win!", and save all that difficult time and thought involved in scraggling your way up from the gutter to become an Epic hero? Why not just have a game where you win as soon as you sit down to play?

The disappearance of "Special" magic, as Crow describes it, is, I believe, directly correlated to the rise of a culture of entitlement - "I deserve to win" - that has grown up over the last 25 years (and is certainly not limited to the gaming community). People, by and large, don't seem to want to work for anything. Gamers are no exception; having magic that impedes a player's inexorable progression towards "winning" runs completely counter to that culture.

Is there a time and place for playing "AWESOME" characters? Certainly. But I vehemently disagree that it should be the default expectation in gaming. It should be, appropriately enough, something rare; something "special". You'll appreciate it more if it's not something you get to play every day.

After all, if everybody is special, is anybody really special?

You know, with the huge amount of material in 3e, you can start as a level 1 commoner if you really want that authentic, old timey feel of DM-rape, or a level 35 wizard crafting epic spells and battling demon princes.

That is, if you can say "no" to your players. If you don't have a spine, it's harder to run the games you want to with such a big rule set without being able to say no.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-11-15, 06:58 PM
Any magic system is going make magic not-special because by definition it's going to give magic concrete rules and structure. Okay, so I can cast X spells per day and I have a Y% chance of something horrible happening, so if the odds of dieing in this fight are Z% then I should cast this spell only if Z > Y. Once you make it a magic system as opposed to a plot device you are opening up to being analyzed and spread sheeted and dissected. That's just how games work.
This is not so.

Magic A is Magic A (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicAIsMagicA) merely means that Magic is a consistent system. Consistent systems that are either require great mastery to use (IRL - playing music) or tremendously risky to attempt can still be awesome, and special. IMHO, the most important part of making something special is making it inaccessible.

AD&D Magic was special because (1) PCs had few, if any, ways of gaining magic at-will and (2) Accessible magic was costly to use.

The DM (and, really, the d%) controlled what magic items you found, and when you found them; the player had no way of controlling what magic they had access to, nor a way to customize their magical selection. If you really wanted a Shortsword of Quickness, but all you found was a Flaming Voulge +2, then that's what you used when the werewolves attacked. Now, if the PC (not the player) wanted a different magic item, he could work, in character, to secure it - it took actual, concrete work to gain what you wanted. Hauling a cart of GP to the local Magic-Mart is not the same.

For the actual casters, gaining magic power was risky, and using it was difficult. To start with, the only way you learned new spells (for Magic-Users) was either by finding them (DM's fiat) or researching them (:smalleek:) - and even then, you had a chance of being unable to learn that hard-earned spell! Next, you could only actually know a set number of spells of any given level - bounded by Intelligence. So every wizard not only has a unique spellbook, but they spend most of their time running around, looking for the spells they truly desire.

Now, casting. Wizards got a ridiculously small number of spells to use per day, and they could only be prepared once per day - every spell you memorized imposed a huge opportunity cost. Worse, it was possible for your carefully-chosen spell to be spoiled by something as simple as getting shoved to the ground while casting it; you were even at risk trying to cast from a moving wagon!

And, most importantly, choosing to learn magic was a risky profession. You had d4 HD, no armor, few weapons, and little ability to use them. Every time you went into a dungeon for that all-so-important forgotten lore, you relied almost entirely on the strength of your allies to survive. This is the very reason that powerful wizards were so rare - you needed to adventure to gain useful spells, and every adventure meant a great chance of death for you; moreso than the rest of the party.

This magic is special; it is hard to get what you want, difficult to use when you get it, and the amount of it available to you at any one time is small. Plot-based magic isn't "magic" in a gaming-sense, it's a Deus Ex Machina.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-15, 07:08 PM
Now, if the PC (not the player) wanted a different magic item, he could work, in character, to secure it - it took actual, concrete work to gain what you wanted. Hauling a cart of GP to the local Magic-Mart is not the same.

You can engage in actual, concrete work IC that amounts to inputting (lots of) GP, waiting with little to no personal risk, and getting your magic items. Shameless self-plug:

Process for making a magic item in my games:

Blah Blah Blah


Even though it says making magic items, the process is quite similar for buying them.

Mike_G
2009-11-15, 08:37 PM
I am not sure I would be playing it now if it had not changed to AD&D, 2nd edition, or even 3rd. Each edition has added ideas and options that I find enjoyable. Each edition has also taken away some stuff, but given that I *know* what was taken away, it's not that hard to put it back in or adjust things to my liking.




Exactly.

It's easy to play 3.5 with the same style and feel of AD&D, if you cut your teeth on the older system. Nobody put a Vorpal Sword to your head and made you put a magic mart in every thorp.

When I DM, I keep magic item creation on a tight leash, because I don't want an assembly line mentality for magic items in my game. PC's have to go loot tombs to get most of their stuff, or go on a quest to find components or to get people to make them stuff.

Now, that's just my preferrence. It's not, in my experience, higher magic in 3e vs 1e. I saw plenty of Monty Haul dungeons in AD&D.

I think, on this forum, there is a feeling that if it's in the books, then that's the way it should be played, but that's never the way it's gone in any group I've ever played in.

Magic is as rare and wondrous as the DM wants it to be.

Yes, there are consequenmces to changing the level of magic from the "offical" WBL guidelines (Note it says "guidelines" right there. Not "rules") but a good DM can roll with that.

I think my experience has changed less between systems and editions that people here seem to feel theirs has.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 03:55 AM
Now, that's just my preferrence. It's not, in my experience, higher magic in 3e vs 1e. I saw plenty of Monty Haul dungeons in AD&D.
That's true. What Swordguy calls the "Gimme D&D" style has existed since first edition, at least (although, to be fair, the 2E DMG suggests giving out random loot, whereas the 4E DMG suggests giving the players making a list of items that they want, and giving them those).

However, it does strike me that if you let players pick their items, only a few of them will generally get picked out of the hundreds available (for instance, in 4E LFR, everyone who uses a weapon wants the Bloodclaw or the Reckless). Whereas if you hand out randomly selected items, greater diversity may appear, and whatever weird ability they have may in some situation become awesome.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 06:18 AM
I am not sure that anybody is asserting differently as to long history of the style of play, the number of Dragon articles addressing the issue pretty much attest to that, rather it is a perceived shift in culture from condemnation to a neutral or approving stance from the brand holders. Whether that has an impact on your actual game or not is a related issue; it is not likely to affect the guys I have been playing with for years, but it may influence the attitudes of new players, especially younger ones.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 06:20 AM
Exactly.

It's easy to play 3.5 with the same style and feel of AD&D, if you cut your teeth on the older system. Nobody put a Vorpal Sword to your head and made you put a magic mart in every thorp.

When I DM, I keep magic item creation on a tight leash, because I don't want an assembly line mentality for magic items in my game. PC's have to go loot tombs to get most of their stuff, or go on a quest to find components or to get people to make them stuff.

Now, that's just my preferrence. It's not, in my experience, higher magic in 3e vs 1e.


This is my experience, too. And guess what? For this, and other measures, 3.x works fine for me. Really, really fine.

Of course, it's maybe because I started with BECMI and AD&D, too, so I keep that mindset.

On the other hand, IMO, people misunderstand 3.x DMG when talks about magic item availability. It simly says where is reasonable to find an item - not that there's a magic mart. Simply, you can find a local guild of thieves, or a wizard enough "pro" to bring you the item only in certain places, not in the village of farmers.

The assumption that a lot of people make, that "the combination XYZ is strong/availble/broken" always made me :smalleek: Regardless what people say, the DM have the last word, regardless the edition.

Of course, as someone said, there is not the "right" way to play a game, so, until everyone is having fun, it's ok. One should be only enough wise to understand what change when there is a problem.

BTW, I consider the adaptability to several gamestyle an important feature, this is why, even if I will always try to keep AD&D mindset, I've chosen 3.5, and that's why the assumption that some designer made introducing the new edition completely p** me off :smallwink:

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 06:27 AM
BTW, I consider the adaptability to several gamestyle an important feature, this is why, even if I will always try to keep AD&D mindset, I've chosen 3.5, and that's why the assumption that some designer made introducing the new edition completely p** me off :smallwink:

This statement, with much of the rest of the post, I agree with completely.

I love the 3.5 mechanics. However, I miss the "Optional" statements from 2E on anything, and its ability to honor that there are indeed many ways to play.

Of course, I do not think even 4E is without some merit. Structure (and balance, though I disagree with their method) as well as constructive use of jargon makes it a rather comfortable read.



On magic items, I honestly have the opinion that most editions of D&D did it wrong in one way or another. However, what I see as the biggest reason is sticks out more sorely for 3.x and 4E players is due to the whole CR / Monster level thing. There is suddenly a direction to balance gear to, and people realized that to that direction gear wasn't balanced.
While in AD&D, without a CR system, you have "I can't hit this thing... lets run away." *come back later with better enchanted weapon* "Yay! I can hit this thing!"

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 07:08 AM
Of course, I do not think even 4E is without some merit. Structure (and balance, though I disagree with their method) as well as constructive use of jargon makes it a rather comfortable read.

Actually, even if my adversion fo 4th is well known :smallwink:, I was referring to several sentencies in Races&Classes, not to the edition itself.



While in AD&D, without a CR system, you have "I can't hit this thing... lets run away." *come back later with better enchanted weapon* "Yay! I can hit this thing!"

I think that "PCs flee" is doable in every edition. Nevertheless, in AD&D was so much easier.

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 07:10 AM
I think that "PCs flee" is doable in every edition. Nevertheless, in AD&D was so much easier.

Oh well, of course. It's just player the expected player mindset has changed a bit.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 07:53 AM
While in AD&D, without a CR system, you have "I can't hit this thing... lets run away." *come back later with better enchanted weapon* "Yay! I can hit this thing!"
Indeed. One of the problems of the CR system is that it gives the notion that everything the PCs meet must be something they can defeat in combat without excessive trouble.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 07:56 AM
Indeed. One of the problems of the CR system is that it gives the notion that everything the PCs meet must be something they can defeat in combat without excessive trouble.

I disagree. The DMG states that above a certain CR, the PCs should flee (and in case the monster is defeated, the XP are "ad hoc", IIRC).

Nevertheless, since players have a lot of spel slot, items, moves, maneuvers, skill triks, and oher things, maybe they feel less "unarmed".

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 08:01 AM
I disagree. The DMG states that above a certain CR, the PCs should flee (and in case the monster is defeated, the XP are "ad hoc", IIRC).

The DMG states this. But perhaps, the PHB should state this too.
*takes notes*

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 08:17 AM
The DMG states this. But perhaps, the PHB should state this too.
*takes notes*

I see..:smallsmile:

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 09:21 AM
I disagree. The DMG states that above a certain CR, the PCs should flee (and in case the monster is defeated, the XP are "ad hoc", IIRC).
I don't mean that this notion is universal. But it is frequently said on these very forums that "PCs are expected to have four level-appropriate encounters per day".

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-16, 09:23 AM
I disagree. The DMG states that above a certain CR, the PCs should flee (and in case the monster is defeated, the XP are "ad hoc", IIRC).

And every single idiotic 3e module designer, including the official WotC ones, completely ignored that part of the DMG. This lead to the monotonous "4 level-appropriate encounters per day", which contributed to the 15-minute adventuring day. The one time WotC put an "overpowered" monster was with a chuul IIRC, and the reviewers massacred the module. Words cannot describe my disappointment.
Reminds me of a few nice games that were slammed for their poor graphics by the same people that lament the game industry's obsessive focus on graphics. Idiots.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 09:23 AM
I don't mean that this notion is universal. But it is frequently said on these very forums that "PCs are expected to have four level-appropriate encounters per day".

Indeed, a case of the average coming to be regarded as the "norm".

Optimystik
2009-11-16, 09:24 AM
I personally hate the concept of having penalties on everything when your character is supposed to be an exception to the normal rules.

There, I said it. That's been bugging since I read your post, Ragnarok, because its an asinine concept for a fantasy game. I put up with the restrictions of the real world all of the time, every damn day. I play DnD to ignore those rules for a short amount of time. I don't mind following the rules of the game, provided they don't try to emulate the real world. I'm a Player Character, not some random peasant with a sword. I view my players the same way, and DM in that method. I do not enforce realism in my campaigns because they are supposed to be a fantasy, nothing more.


Screw the penalties, I'm GOD.

Yeah, so, I was wondering if you had a newsletter I can subscribe to.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 09:41 AM
Well, that's regarding penalties at character generation.

On the other hand, I consider penalties during gameplay to be a good thing. I am referring to e.g. the penalty to attack someone behind cover. Or to shoot an arrow at somebody who is prone. And so forth. That is, penalties you can inflict on your opponents in combat through clever use of tactics.

If the penalty for being concealed is significant, then this increases the tactical value of concealment. If, on the other hand, the penalty is something small like 10%, then this means that certain clever tactics are not usually relevant.

Optimystik
2009-11-16, 09:49 AM
On the other hand, I consider penalties during gameplay to be a good thing. I am referring to e.g. the penalty to attack someone behind cover. Or to shoot an arrow at somebody who is prone. And so forth. That is, penalties you can inflict on your opponents in combat through clever use of tactics.

I haven't read the whole thread, but I can't imagine anyone would have a problem with tactics like those. Everything you've mentioned is an option for both the players AND the DM, after all.A player can make his rogue throw himself prone as a move action before the enemies pepper his square with arrows, or a beguiler can blur herself to gain concealment before running past an angry bugbear, for instance. Tactics like those spice up the game, I agree.

I think Sinfire was referring more to arbitrarily stymying player concepts to keep them from becoming, you know, heroes. Only a sadist could prefer 2e's byzantine multiclassing system to 3.x, imo.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-16, 09:50 AM
Well, that's regarding penalties at character generation.

On the other hand, I consider penalties during gameplay to be a good thing. I am referring to e.g. the penalty to attack someone behind cover. Or to shoot an arrow at somebody who is prone. And so forth. That is, penalties you can inflict on your opponents in combat through clever use of tactics.

If the penalty for being concealed is significant, then this increases the tactical value of concealment. If, on the other hand, the penalty is something small like 10%, then this means that certain clever tactics are not usually relevant.
I think the penalties people where talking about where specific to magic... like between how magic was in 2nd ed vs 3.5

an example or two:
Lighting bolt and how it arc'ed
haste and how it took x time off your characters life

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 10:08 AM
And every single idiotic 3e module designer, including the official WotC ones, [/B][/U][/I]

One could say that a lot of late designers of 3.5 didn't understood, or read (complete champion), their colleagues' work.

I see your point madams and messieurs, anyway.


Well, that's regarding penalties at character generation.

On the other hand, I consider penalties during gameplay to be a good thing. I am referring to e.g. the penalty to attack someone behind cover. Or to shoot an arrow at somebody who is prone. And so forth. That is, penalties you can inflict on your opponents in combat through clever use of tactics.

If the penalty for being concealed is significant, then this increases the tactical value of concealment. If, on the other hand, the penalty is something small like 10%, then this means that certain clever tactics are not usually relevant.

Seconded.

Jayabalard
2009-11-16, 10:20 AM
You know, with the huge amount of material in 3e, you can start as a level 1 commoner if you really want that authentic, old timey feel of DM-rape, No, that really doesn't capture that feel very well at all.

AllisterH
2009-11-16, 10:34 AM
PCs were always supposed to be special.

Take the following statement from the 1st edition PHB.


"The premise of the game is that each player character is above average - at least in some respects - and has superior potential. Furthermore, it is usually essential to the character's survival to be exceptional (with a rating of 15 or above) in no FEWER than two ability characteristics"


That doesn't strike me as Gygax wanting/expecting people to play Joe the regular old Farmer.

Choco
2009-11-16, 10:45 AM
And every single idiotic 3e module designer, including the official WotC ones, completely ignored that part of the DMG. This lead to the monotonous "4 level-appropriate encounters per day", which contributed to the 15-minute adventuring day. The one time WotC put an "overpowered" monster was with a chuul IIRC, and the reviewers massacred the module. Words cannot describe my disappointment.
Reminds me of a few nice games that were slammed for their poor graphics by the same people that lament the game industry's obsessive focus on graphics. Idiots.

QFT, all of it.

This also feeds the mentality that a lot of players have, where they assume that everything the DM throws at them is for them to squish and though it may be difficult they are always able to squish it. I have seen players that would attack gods at lvl 5 if the DM placed them in their way. And then be mad at the rest of us for not helping, saying we could have won if we all fought.

And, what you mentioned about good video games being slammed, that's one of the reasons I dont even look at reviews anymore. About the 50th time that a game I really enjoyed got a 3/10 rating, while a game that bored me to tears got a 9.5/10, I realized that my tastes are miles away from the mainstream and just gave up on reviews entirely. Now if I read a review it is just to sift out the few facts floating in a sea of opinion if I am on the fence about buying a game.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 10:47 AM
PCs were always supposed to be special.
Take the following statement from the 1st edition PHB.


I think that PC must be special, in some way. But:

- One thing, is start with "something more" than other people, but follow the same rules (the fighter is a more skilled guardsman, the wizard is an educated commoner) and BECOME very special.

- One thing is start to be badass from level 1.

Simply, me, as a DM, not only accept super-badass PC at high level: I want my players experience unmatched badassery immune to mistakes when high level (what high level is, it depends from the campaign).

Nevertheless, I consider important they EARN it. That they swear for it. In that way their world makes more sense, and they appreciate more the power wielded.

BTW, If one day I will be father, I would choose to buy or not buy a game for my son on this basis. Because I could considerate it educative or not on this basis.

See, it's a matter of tastes I guess. Nevertheless, if you want a PC more badass, start from level 2-3.

A system with badass level 1 does not allow me the opposite :smallbiggrin:

Jayabalard
2009-11-16, 10:52 AM
PCs were always supposed to be special.

Take the following statement from the 1st edition PHB.There's a huge difference between "each player character is above average" and "Screw the penalties, I'm GOD." ... which I think was the main comment that spurred on all of the "players are inherently special" discussion over the last few pages.

Matthew
2009-11-16, 10:57 AM
See, it's a matter of tastes I guess. Nevertheless, if you want a PC more badass, start from level 2-3.

Quite so; there is a reason that level four has the the title "Hero" and why Gygax advises allowing experienced players to start at higher levels when joining a campaign.

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 10:58 AM
I believe the game system should support more levels of play, inherently.
If someone wishes to start off strong, they request the GM to start the campaign at a higher level. However, I like the survival game. I want to first be simple, and then eventually play the class lego game.
I want to be a commoner, have my town get sacked, and then get rudimentary training in order to fend myself. Become a fighter.

3.x didn't really have the whole from nobody to something thing. Mind, the moment you have a level of a commoner, that'll haunt you for the rest of your life. 4E divides this up even further. AD&D more suggested "you exist" (which I prefer more).

I've always wondered why these systems didn't take the obvious route and do a level 0.

AllisterH
2009-11-16, 11:04 AM
But Kaiyanwang, this is Gygax himself.

He explicitly is saying "look, PCS are supposed to be METAL from day 1 but not just metal, Jack Black/Brutal Legend level of METAL"

BD&D, where your race basically determines your class, I can see average stats (a.k.a 12 as highest single stat), but in AD&D where anything outside of the core 4 classes required significant stats?

Druid which required a minimum of 15 Cha and 12 WIS
Paladin, 17 Cha, Str 12, Int 9, Wis 13, Con of 9
Ranger 13 Str, 13 INT, Wis 14, Con 14
Illusionist 15 Int, 16 Dex
Monk Str 15, Dex 15, Wis 15, Con 11

Then there's UA
Cavalier 15 Dex, 15 Str, 15 Con, 10 Int, 10 Wis
Barbarian 15 Dex, 15 Str, 14 Con
Thief-Acrobat 15 Str, 16 Dex

Those don't look like no Joe Blow average scores.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 11:07 AM
I believe the game system should support more levels of play, inherently.
If someone wishes to start off strong, they request the GM to start the campaign at a higher level. However, I like the survival game. I want to first be simple, and then eventually play the class lego game.
I want to be a commoner, have my town get sacked, and then get rudimentary training in order to fend myself. Become a fighter.

3.x didn't really have the whole from nobody to something thing. Mind, the moment you have a level of a commoner, that'll haunt you for the rest of your life. 4E divides this up even further. AD&D more suggested "you exist" (which I prefer more).

I've always wondered why these systems didn't take the obvious route and do a level 0.

Well, Dragon's lair, an italian website of D&D fan, built the "Manuale dei Livelli Infimi" (Least Levels Handbook), with rules for our heroes before they become heroes. You could take it here (http://www.dragonslair.it/index.php?categoryid=7&p13_sectionid=26&p13_fileid=135) for free (no worries it's not a chaotic act) but is in italian...

Nevertheless, matter of tastes again - For me, the difference between commoner and wizard, or warrior and fighter at level 1 is enough..

Expecially for the "die with a blow" thing, common for everybody :smallwink:

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-16, 11:10 AM
But Kaiyanwang, this is Gygax himself.

He explicitly is saying "look, PCS are supposed to be METAL from day 1 but not just metal, Jack Black/Brutal Legend level of METAL"

BD&D, where your race basically determines your class, I can see average stats (a.k.a 12 as highest single stat), but in AD&D where anything outside of the core 4 classes required significant stats?

Druid which required a minimum of 15 Cha and 12 WIS
Paladin, 17 Cha, Str 12, Int 9, Wis 13, Con of 9
Ranger 13 Str, 13 INT, Wis 14, Con 14
Illusionist 15 Int, 16 Dex
Monk Str 15, Dex 15, Wis 15, Con 11

Then there's UA
Cavalier 15 Dex, 15 Str, 15 Con, 10 Int, 10 Wis
Barbarian 15 Dex, 15 Str, 14 Con
Thief-Acrobat 15 Str, 16 Dex

Those don't look like no Joe Blow average scores.


And they wheren't supposed to be. I remember playing 2nd ed and when some one would roll high stats they where almost obligated to play one. seeing as they are so rare.
I loved that stat restrictions from 2nd ed I wish they brought them back or atleast had an optional rule for them in 3.5

Matthew
2009-11-16, 11:10 AM
I've always wondered why these systems didn't take the obvious route and do a level 0.

They did, you can find the details in Greyhawk Adventures and also for cavaliers in Unearthed Arcana (unless you mean D20/4e and D20/3e, in which case I don't know, but there was some sort of apprentice system in 3.0 if I recall correctly).



But Kaiyanwang, this is Gygax himself.

He explicitly is saying "look, PCS are supposed to be METAL from day 1 but not just metal, Jack Black/Brutal Legend level of METAL"

BD&D, where your race basically determines your class, I can see average stats (a.k.a 12 as highest single stat), but in AD&D where anything outside of the core 4 classes required significant stats?

Druid which required a minimum of 15 Cha and 12 WIS
Paladin, 17 Cha, Str 12, Int 9, Wis 13, Con of 9
Ranger 13 Str, 13 INT, Wis 14, Con 14
Illusionist 15 Int, 16 Dex
Monk Str 15, Dex 15, Wis 15, Con 11

Then there's UA
Cavalier 15 Dex, 15 Str, 15 Con, 10 Int, 10 Wis
Barbarian 15 Dex, 15 Str, 14 Con
Thief-Acrobat 15 Str, 16 Dex

Those don't look like no Joe Blow average scores.

The published pre generated characters tend to look similar to that as well. There is little doubt that high attributes were expected for surviving characters. That said, average NPC attributes were generated so that only results of 6-15 were obtainable, so player characters were also special in that they could have scores below 6, and such was expected since the PHB indicates what classes are not permissible with such a low score. AD&D had a bad case of mixed messages.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-16, 11:21 AM
Allister H: I see your point. And I'm sure that everybody agree that PC should be somewhat special (even if Sweetrein raised a good point).

Nevertheless, I'm sure that the topic "how special should the PC be" could be very "flame hazard".

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 11:41 AM
That's actualy dependant on how the DM builds the world.

If the NPCs bow down to the players as they pass or resit and get one shoted, dragons are bumps on your road and evil archmages make nice trophies, then the PCs are clearly special.

If the town guard kicks your ass out of town with ease if you make trouble, if you learned the hard way to run away from dragons on sight and you need to kiss the evil archmage's feets to see if he throws you a trinket or two, then the PCs aren't that special.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-16, 11:48 AM
That's actualy dependant on how the DM builds the world.

If the NPCs bow down to the players as they pass or resit and get one shoted, dragons are bumps on your road and evil archmages make nice trophies, then the PCs are clearly special.

If the town guard kicks your ass out of town with ease if you make trouble, if you learned the hard way to run away from dragons on sight and you need to kiss the evil archmage's feets to see if he throws you a trinket or two, then the PCs aren't that special.

Ya but when your pc's kill that dragon, slay the evil archmage... its going to be remembered alot longer then if they where speedbumps.

Choco
2009-11-16, 11:58 AM
That's actualy dependant on how the DM builds the world.

If the NPCs bow down to the players as they pass or resit and get one shoted, dragons are bumps on your road and evil archmages make nice trophies, then the PCs are clearly special.

If the town guard kicks your ass out of town with ease if you make trouble, if you learned the hard way to run away from dragons on sight and you need to kiss the evil archmage's feets to see if he throws you a trinket or two, then the PCs aren't that special.

A good campaign IMO starts with the PC's on the bottom of the food chain, at the mercy of local guards and even average bandits, and has them work their way up to where dragons and archmages are nothing but bumps on the road.

AllisterH
2009-11-16, 12:02 PM
That's actualy dependant on how the DM builds the world.

If the NPCs bow down to the players as they pass or resit and get one shoted, dragons are bumps on your road and evil archmages make nice trophies, then the PCs are clearly special.

If the town guard kicks your ass out of town with ease if you make trouble, if you learned the hard way to run away from dragons on sight and you need to kiss the evil archmage's feets to see if he throws you a trinket or two, then the PCs aren't that special.

Isn't this more a function of LEVEL?

For example, 4e is being used as an example of "PCs are TOO special" but run of the mill town guard is higher level than a starting character and WILL kick your butt unless you bust out your big guns a.k.a dailies. Similarly, the classic pirate captain and crew will slap around any low heroic character in 4e if you use the 4e Monster Manuals as your guide.

Conversely, in the 2e MM, a town guard and a pirate were all modeled as 1HD monsters that would be relatively shanked easily enough by 3rd level characters and only had a 50/50 chance of being beaten by 1st level characters (Sleep at low levels was an auto-killer)

EDIT: Pre-Generated Characters in modules

Yeah, those were no "averageman" among those set. It was worse in the accessories. I remember distinctly 2e source accessories like the Volo Guides where nobody had a score lower than a 13 and NPC detailed in such tomes were rocking multiples scores of 16 and higher...

There was some distinct talking sideways out of their mouth going on there...

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 12:06 PM
For example, 4e is being used as an example of "PCs are TOO special"
That's because the PHB asserts that they are, and that Joe Average Villager simply does not compare even to a 1st-level character in any fashion.


but run of the mill town guard is higher level than a starting character
That depends. If the PCs are expected to be able to fight the town guards, then they are going to be a level-appropriate challenge, regardless of what the PC's actual level is - which means that the PCs are expected to be able to defeat four groups of town guards per day.

AllisterH
2009-11-16, 12:09 PM
That's because the PHB asserts that they are, and that Joe Average Villager simply does not compare even to a 1st-level character in any fashion.

But the Joe Average Villager doesn't compare AT ALL to even the other detailed example humans in the monster manuals.



That depends. If the PCs are expected to be able to fight the town guards, then they are going to be a level-appropriate challenge, regardless of what the PC's actual level is - which means that the PCs are expected to be able to defeat four groups of town guards per day.

If we're going by the Monster Manuals then, the "average" pirate is a 9th level character and the average town guard is a 3rd (or is it 4th?) level monster

What 4e seems to be saying is that the Joe Average farmer is nothing compared to anyone that sees any type of adventuring/excitement. .

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 12:27 PM
Isn't this more a function of LEVEL?

Two words: tucker kobolds. Low level monsters in 3.5 can still be a threat if used smartly.

On the other hand, if you play a dragon like he's just like an overgrown lizard that breathes energy, then it will be much easier to kill than Gromat the black dragon who uses hit and run tactics combined with his SLAs and sorceror casting to cripple the party's ability to counter attack.



For example, 4e is being used as an example of "PCs are TOO special" but run of the mill town guard is higher level than a starting character and WILL kick your butt unless you bust out your big guns a.k.a dailies. Similarly, the classic pirate captain and crew will slap around any low heroic character in 4e if you use the 4e Monster Manuals as your guide.


Except that in 4e you never find a monster who's more than 5 levels away than the part as far as the books care.

Plus no more tucker kobolds. Once the party levels up, the only chance the captain pirate has is if the DM gives him a +X to hit and defences out of nowhere.

AllisterH
2009-11-16, 12:33 PM
Except that in 4e you never find a monster who's more than 5 levels away than the part as far as the books care.

Plus no more tucker kobolds. Once the party levels up, the only chance the captain pirate has is if the DM gives him a +X to hit and defences out of nowhere.

Tucker's Kobolds seem more a case of TACTICS than level which is irrespective of the game system.

Um, why exactly can't you use a higher level monster more than 5 levels higher? The book says using such a monster will result in the PCs getting their butt kicked but I assume you WANT to get get their butts kicked if you're using a higher level monster.

Similarly, there are rules for said pirate captain to have magic weapons higher than normal so again, not sure why the pirate captain encountered at 9th level is not a threat at 14th level (the pcs only gain roughly +3 to attack and defence over those 5 levels)

(Most of the monster entires have a wide range of possible levels that they could be encountered as)

Kurald Galain
2009-11-16, 12:46 PM
Tucker's Kobolds seem more a case of TACTICS than level which is irrespective of the game system.
No, it's not. In certain systems, tactics have a much greater effect than in others.

Jayabalard
2009-11-16, 01:14 PM
I've always wondered why these systems didn't take the obvious route and do a level 0.AD&D 1e had several sets of rules for doing that.


He explicitly is saying "look, PCS are supposed to be METAL from day 1 but not just metal, Jack Black/Brutal Legend level of METAL"No, I'm pretty sure he didn't explicitly say anything of the sort.


in AD&D where anything outside of the core 4 classes required significant stats?That was to make them rare, not because those sort of stats were common.

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 01:19 PM
AD&D 1e had several sets of rules for doing that.

Ah, I only played 2E, of which I can't seem to find any references to (though, I may be missing it). I apologize for my ignorance.

Oslecamo
2009-11-16, 01:24 PM
No, it's not. In certain systems, tactics have a much greater effect than in others.

This.

In 3.X kobolds can, like, build tunnels, and make traps that are actualy a threat and not just "X damage and minor ailment". Kobold damage can be greatly increased giving them xbows whitout actualy inscreasing their CR. Arrow slits allow to shoot whitout being shot back. Webs and splash weapons. All kinds of toys to allow nasty tactics.


Captain pirate in 4e needs to pray to the gods for them to rain magic swords for him and his crew. And even then he can just swing a litle better.

SmartAlec
2009-11-16, 02:10 PM
For Tucker's Kobolds 4th Ed style, I'm thinking minions would be appropriate. One of the strong points of Tucker's lot was that they found ways to minimise the chances of a PC killing one of them, and minions that did the same thing would be almost as dangerous as regular monsters.

lesser_minion
2009-11-16, 02:13 PM
And every single idiotic 3e module designer, including the official WotC ones, completely ignored that part of the DMG. This lead to the monotonous "4 level-appropriate encounters per day", which contributed to the 15-minute adventuring day. The one time WotC put an "overpowered" monster was with a chuul IIRC, and the reviewers massacred the module. Words cannot describe my disappointment.
Reminds me of a few nice games that were slammed for their poor graphics by the same people that lament the game industry's obsessive focus on graphics. Idiots.

QFT, although there are some mitigating factors here.

WotC wrote a module in 2000 called The Forge of Fury for 3rd-5th level PCs, including an encounter with a CR10 Roper (that thing you just avoid and ignore for the rest of the game). Apparently, there was an instant internet backlash, which is why WotC never tried it again.

The four encounters per day rule doesn't even exist really - the rule is actually that an equal-EL encounter requires a party to burn about a fifth of its juice.

I agree with the idea that a game should never lose sight of its primary purpose, but I really don't believe in handing out a tonne of items to players.

One thing I totally find issue with is the idea that players have any right to be annoyed when they lose items. I have nothing against sending Rust Monsters after players, and I don't mind occasionally having villains use sunder attacks or thieves to deprive players of their precious magic items.

Saying that, there is a fine line between setting out to screw over the PCs and trying to use NPCs properly. If a player character grows dependent on a magic item, it's a weakness and it will be exploited by an enemy somewhere. That doesn't mean players never get any breaks though.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 02:41 PM
I believe the game system should support more levels of play, inherently.
If someone wishes to start off strong, they request the GM to start the campaign at a higher level. However, I like the survival game. I want to first be simple, and then eventually play the class lego game.
I want to be a commoner, have my town get sacked, and then get rudimentary training in order to fend myself. Become a fighter.

3.x didn't really have the whole from nobody to something thing. Mind, the moment you have a level of a commoner, that'll haunt you for the rest of your life. 4E divides this up even further. AD&D more suggested "you exist" (which I prefer more).

I've always wondered why these systems didn't take the obvious route and do a level 0.

Level 1 play is really brutal. You've got a slight edge over NPCs of the same level, thanks to your PC level and slightly better ability scores, but that just means you can win two fights today instead of one.

Seriously, level 1 is really hard as is. Any more nerfs would make it too hard, imo. As in, you'd lose a lot of characters and continuity.

Reinboom
2009-11-16, 02:44 PM
Level 1 play is really brutal. You've got a slight edge over NPCs of the same level, thanks to your PC level and slightly better ability scores, but that just means you can win two fights today instead of one.

Seriously, level 1 is really hard as is. Any more nerfs would make it too hard, imo. As in, you'd lose a lot of characters and continuity.

Which edition are you speaking about?
2E 1st level was extremely brutal. Especially since I preferred wizards usually. What, with my random spell and all.
3.x 1st level was more sane, you just had to be careful.
4E 1st level... has never felt that deadly or risky to me.

I want somewhere between 2E and 3.x. With a couple of silly situations removed.

Myrmex
2009-11-16, 03:28 PM
Third.
First level in third edition is brutal.

In 2ed, it's almost unplayable.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-11-16, 03:38 PM
Third.
First level in third edition is brutal.

In 2ed, it's almost unplayable.

its not unplayable.
its hard definitely not unplayable.

realy it depends on your group make up and how well/what your escape plan is... hit and run tactics are great at that level.