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Mark Hall
2010-01-25, 11:08 PM
http://rpg-crank.livejournal.com/33377.html

So, I've frequently referred to Pathfinder and Wizard's of the Coast's versions of D&D (WD&D) as "too fiddly" for me to ever want to run. I'll play in them, sure, but there's a couple meanings in "too fiddly" that I want to talk about.

1) Character creation as a winnable mini-game. In AD&D and C&C, you create a character of X race and Y class, at Z level. For the most part, that mechanically defines your character. Unless you're a human dual-class in AD&D, you're not going to significantly change beyond that from level to level... you'll learn new weapons, and new spells, and various numbers will improve, but you're essentially the same set of mechanics throughout. For me, this frees me to think about that story and interactions of the characters, both in character and out of character, and to make a mechanically ineffective character, you've more or less got to make a thief with a low dex, a wizard with a low int, or a cleric with a wisdom below 13. Beyond that, you're going to be at least moderately effective, unless played poorly. The chink in this part of the argument is, of course, Skills and Powers. However, it is not as bad as you might think. While it allowed each character vary quite a bit, the characters did not appreciably mechanically evolve from level to level. Fighter A may have a variety of abilities that Fighter B does not, but Fighter A's variant abilities will remain largely the same across levels. Aside from new spell levels, the only truly game-changing ability that happens in core AD&D is when the druid can finally shapechange (or the heirophant stuff, which I have never seen in play).
In 3.5 and Pathfinder, however, that's just the beginning. Once you've chosen X and Z, you have to choose multiples for Y, and a myriad of choices. What's your Y for Z1? For Z2? Are you going to change to something else at Z6, and if so, what choices do you have to make at Z 1-5? In these two games, it is very possible to make a character who, though they seem interesting, are mechanically unfeasible. If you mess up in one of your choices, you can screw yourself out of a prestige class, or even wind up preparing for one that doesn't really help you do what you want to do. There's a dizzying array of options, and some of them are simply mechanical traps... they work poorly or not as well as some other option that you overlooked (or was in some splatbook that you didn't have). The phrase "build" comes into play because that's what you do, level by level... mechanically put together your character, making changes with each level so that, for me at least, there's a space of 2-3 levels where the character is like I pictured him... and then he's changed to something else, because of mechanical choices that came up.
4e tries to fix this, and does, to some extent. While you usually have at least one choice at every level (feat, power, path or attribute), most of them are relatively balanced with each other, and it takes a little bit of work to make a mechanically unfeasible character (i.e. putting your highest stat as something other than your attack... or at least secondary... stat; maybe choosing feats that will be absolutely useless to you, or one of the powers that simply does not work well). While a new level in 4e seldom radically changes the capabilities of your character, it is still a game that places a fair amount of emphasis on your mechanical build.

2) Overall mechanics. In 3.x, Pathfinder, and 4e, you have a plethora of bonuses and situational modifiers. "I was bloodied this turn, so I get a +2 to damage, and I spent an action point so I get +2 to every die of damage... I can't stack Paragon Defenses and Iron Will because they're both feat bonuses, but I can stack these three because one's an armor bonus and the other's a natural armor bonus and the last one's an enhancement to my natural armor bonus... but I don't get that one on this attack because he has combat advantage until I save against it." In both my Pathfinder games and my 4e games, a frequent lament is "Crap, I forgot I had this bonus, I probably would have (saved/hit/killed him/not died). Round to round, even with combat cards and the like, this becomes a LOT to keep track of at once, especially if you're DMing. You have to trust that the players know their characters very well, because each is a special and unique snowflake that, despite using unified mechanics, has completely different sets of modifiers to keep track of... as do most of the monsters. This is still a mountain of information to juggle at any given moment.
Compare this to AD&D or C&C. Modifiers tend to be fewer, and they tend to be more standardized across classes. While this slightly narrows tactical options (and, IME, it is only a slight narrowing), it keeps game play much faster... with fewer tactical options, players dither shorter periods of time, and calculate effects MUCH faster when they don't have 4-5 different numbers and modifiers to keep track of. Especially with AD&D, you do have different mechanics being handled with different systems... but those systems, once learned, remain the same. There's not a point where you have to change how a surprise check is done because of a new class ability, or find yourself facing an ever-changing array of modifiers.

Despite AD&D's convoluted mechanical eccentricities, I maintain that it was inherently simpler than Pathfinder, 3.x, or 4e. Once the mechanics of the system were learned, they could be subsumed; their few modifiers either learned or placed for reference. With WD&D and its successors, you are instead presented with mechanics that may revolve around a central, unifying die roll... but where each roll is subject to a unique set of modifiers, from many different sources (PCs, NPCs, environment) which are not so easily memorized because they frequently change with each roll. This does not say that AD&D is "better" than the other games... that is, in many ways, a subjective measurement... but it is simpler, especially on the DM side of the screen.

Milskidasith
2010-01-25, 11:11 PM
http://rpg-crank.livejournal.com/33377.html

So, I've frequently referred to Pathfinder and Wizard's of the Coast's versions of D&D (WD&D) as "too fiddly" for me to ever want to run. I'll play in them, sure, but there's a couple meanings in "too fiddly" that I want to talk about.

1) Character creation as a winnable mini-game. In AD&D and C&C, you create a character of X race and Y class, at Z level. For the most part, that mechanically defines your character. Unless you're a human dual-class in AD&D, you're not going to significantly change beyond that from level to level... you'll learn new weapons, and new spells, and various numbers will improve, but you're essentially the same set of mechanics throughout. For me, this frees me to think about that story and interactions of the characters, both in character and out of character, and to make a mechanically ineffective character, you've more or less got to make a thief with a low dex, a wizard with a low int, or a cleric with a wisdom below 13. Beyond that, you're going to be at least moderately effective, unless played poorly. The chink in this part of the argument is, of course, Skills and Powers. However, it is not as bad as you might think. While it allowed each character vary quite a bit, the characters did not appreciably mechanically evolve from level to level. Fighter A may have a variety of abilities that Fighter B does not, but Fighter A's variant abilities will remain largely the same across levels. Aside from new spell levels, the only truly game-changing ability that happens in core AD&D is when the druid can finally shapechange (or the heirophant stuff, which I have never seen in play).
In 3.5 and Pathfinder, however, that's just the beginning. Once you've chosen X and Z, you have to choose multiples for Y, and a myriad of choices. What's your Y for Z1? For Z2? Are you going to change to something else at Z6, and if so, what choices do you have to make at Z 1-5? In these two games, it is very possible to make a character who, though they seem interesting, are mechanically unfeasible. If you mess up in one of your choices, you can screw yourself out of a prestige class, or even wind up preparing for one that doesn't really help you do what you want to do. There's a dizzying array of options, and some of them are simply mechanical traps... they work poorly or not as well as some other option that you overlooked (or was in some splatbook that you didn't have). The phrase "build" comes into play because that's what you do, level by level... mechanically put together your character, making changes with each level so that, for me at least, there's a space of 2-3 levels where the character is like I pictured him... and then he's changed to something else, because of mechanical choices that came up.
4e tries to fix this, and does, to some extent. While you usually have at least one choice at every level (feat, power, path or attribute), most of them are relatively balanced with each other, and it takes a little bit of work to make a mechanically unfeasible character (i.e. putting your highest stat as something other than your attack... or at least secondary... stat; maybe choosing feats that will be absolutely useless to you, or one of the powers that simply does not work well). While a new level in 4e seldom radically changes the capabilities of your character, it is still a game that places a fair amount of emphasis on your mechanical build.

2) Overall mechanics. In 3.x, Pathfinder, and 4e, you have a plethora of bonuses and situational modifiers. "I was bloodied this turn, so I get a +2 to damage, and I spent an action point so I get +2 to every die of damage... I can't stack Paragon Defenses and Iron Will because they're both feat bonuses, but I can stack these three because one's an armor bonus and the other's a natural armor bonus and the last one's an enhancement to my natural armor bonus... but I don't get that one on this attack because he has combat advantage until I save against it." In both my Pathfinder games and my 4e games, a frequent lament is "Crap, I forgot I had this bonus, I probably would have (saved/hit/killed him/not died). Round to round, even with combat cards and the like, this becomes a LOT to keep track of at once, especially if you're DMing. You have to trust that the players know their characters very well, because each is a special and unique snowflake that, despite using unified mechanics, has completely different sets of modifiers to keep track of... as do most of the monsters. This is still a mountain of information to juggle at any given moment.
Compare this to AD&D or C&C. Modifiers tend to be fewer, and they tend to be more standardized across classes. While this slightly narrows tactical options (and, IME, it is only a slight narrowing), it keeps game play much faster... with fewer tactical options, players dither shorter periods of time, and calculate effects MUCH faster when they don't have 4-5 different numbers and modifiers to keep track of. Especially with AD&D, you do have different mechanics being handled with different systems... but those systems, once learned, remain the same. There's not a point where you have to change how a surprise check is done because of a new class ability, or find yourself facing an ever-changing array of modifiers.

Despite AD&D's convoluted mechanical eccentricities, I maintain that it was inherently simpler than Pathfinder, 3.x, or 4e. Once the mechanics of the system were learned, they could be subsumed; their few modifiers either learned or placed for reference. With WD&D and its successors, you are instead presented with mechanics that may revolve around a central, unifying die roll... but where each roll is subject to a unique set of modifiers, from many different sources (PCs, NPCs, environment) which are not so easily memorized because they frequently change with each roll. This does not say that AD&D is "better" than the other games... that is, in many ways, a subjective measurement... but it is simpler, especially on the DM side of the screen.

So it's inherently superior because it is so simple that you have no mechanical choices, they don't change, and you're always doing the same thing? It's a matter of opinion, I suppose; I have no trouble keeping track of modifiers, and I'd prefer to have actual options after picking a race and a class.

Seatbelt
2010-01-25, 11:13 PM
You seem to have a pretty solid grasp of the mechanics involved. Can't be that fiddly.

Rixx
2010-01-25, 11:19 PM
I always considered this a flaw of the d20 system, but I've never been able to theoretically keep d20's level of character customization and earlier edition's speedy play.

The best I can think of is a set of pre-figured modifiers figured out during character creation instead of modifiers dynamically applied during play, but of course that would require a rewrite of the entire system.

Gorgondantess
2010-01-25, 11:20 PM
Ah, but its fiddliness is its good side. You can't have everything, and because of its lack of fiddliness, AD&D "frees you to think about that story and interactions of the characters", whereas in D&D 3.5, making characters is half of the game- there are so many choices, and there's a beauty in that.
D&D 4e is an efficient battle simulator, D&D 3.5 is a limitless creation engine, and AD&D is the foundation on which to build an epic story. They're all good systems in their own right- it just comes down to preferences. So, you prefer storytelling and interaction over building cool characters.:smallsmile:

Inyssius Tor
2010-01-25, 11:27 PM
You seem to have a pretty solid grasp of the mechanics involved. Can't be that fiddly.

!

"You seem to have climbed Mount Everest successfully. Can't be that arduous."

"You seem to do pretty well without legs. Can't be that annoying."



(Not gonna participate in the larger discussion, I'm just saying.)

Kylarra
2010-01-25, 11:37 PM
So it's inherently superior because it is so simple that you have no mechanical choices, they don't change, and you're always doing the same thing? It's a matter of opinion, I suppose; I have no trouble keeping track of modifiers, and I'd prefer to have actual options after picking a race and a class.He said inherently simpler, not necessarily superior, although that caveat is only mentioned in the very last line.

Mark Hall
2010-01-25, 11:43 PM
So it's inherently superior because it is so simple that you have no mechanical choices, they don't change, and you're always doing the same thing? It's a matter of opinion, I suppose; I have no trouble keeping track of modifiers, and I'd prefer to have actual options after picking a race and a class.

I'm not quite sure how you got that out of what I wrote. For one thing, I disclaimed "better"... "less fiddly" and "faster playing", perhaps, but not "better". For example, in one of the named games (Castles and Crusades), any race can be any class, without restriction; while some races are better at some classes (lower dexterity hurts dwarven rogues, for example), there's no restriction on playing them. In a game I consider to be AD&D descended (Hackmaster Basic), certain races pay more for certain classes, but anyone can, in theory, be anything.


You seem to have a pretty solid grasp of the mechanics involved. Can't be that fiddly.

"Solid grasp of the mechanics" does not equal "fast and easy to use in play" or even "enjoyable to run."


I always considered this a flaw of the d20 system, but I've never been able to theoretically keep d20's level of character customization and earlier edition's speedy play.

The closest I can come is actually Skills and Powers... at least in concept, since the execution was, in many ways, severely flawed (in many cases by not enough options, especially to fighters). It lets you customize your character to a very large degree, but once your character is created, things are pretty well pre-figured. It even included a system for drama-type dice (in the form of character points... though that, too, had some flaws in execution).


D&D 4e is an efficient battle simulator, D&D 3.5 is a limitless creation engine, and AD&D is the foundation on which to build an epic story. They're all good systems in their own right- it just comes down to preferences. So, you prefer storytelling and interaction over building cool characters.:smallsmile:

Don't get me wrong, I like building cool characters... I think one of 4e's strengths is that you can sit and look at your character sheet, thinking "look at all the cool stuff I can do!"; and if you look at some of my other threads, I enjoy the heck out of playing it. I just find that the mechanics tend to make it a game that is mechanically harder to handle than one with fewer, and less variable, modifiers.


He said inherently simpler, not necessarily superior, although that caveat is only mentioned in the very last line.

I figured he saw that since, ya know, he quoted the whole thing.

Tavar
2010-01-25, 11:47 PM
If you say it only once, at the end of a rather large piece of text, I wouldn't be surprised if someone missed it. And for the quote, well, that just means that he hit the quote button, not that he necessarily carefully read the whole thing.

ApatheticDespot
2010-01-26, 12:55 AM
In AD&D and C&C, you create a character of X race and Y class, at Z level. For the most part, that mechanically defines your character. Unless you're a human dual-class in AD&D, you're not going to significantly change beyond that from level to level... you'll learn new weapons, and new spells, and various numbers will improve, but you're essentially the same set of mechanics throughout.

To each their own I suppose, but I honestly can't fathom how this could be a good thing. I've never played AD&D, but in 3.5 I once designed an awakened squirrel mad scientist who rode around in an armoured wand turret mounted on the head of his flesh golem creation. The way you describe it, in AD&D I could play a wizard. Whee :smallconfused:. Even if you don't mind giving up the ability to implement a character concept in a variety of qualitatively different ways (and I for one absolutely would), there doesn't seem to be much point in freeing your attention character interactions at the expense of being able to create your character in the first place.

Seatbelt
2010-01-26, 01:02 AM
!

"You seem to have climbed Mount Everest successfully. Can't be that arduous."

"You seem to do pretty well without legs. Can't be that annoying."



(Not gonna participate in the larger discussion, I'm just saying.)


Exactly! You understand 100%. I climbed Mt Everest in my wheel chair this weekend and it was no big deal. :D

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 01:15 AM
To each their own I suppose, but I honestly can't fathom how this could be a good thing. I've never played AD&D, but in 3.5 I once designed an awakened squirrel mad scientist who rode around in an armoured wand turret mounted on the head of his flesh golem creation. The way you describe it, in AD&D I could play a wizard. Whee :smallconfused:. Even if you don't mind giving up the ability to implement a character concept in a variety of qualitatively different ways (and I for one absolutely would), there doesn't seem to be much point in freeing your attention character interactions at the expense of being able to create your character in the first place.

Tell me, though... did you come up with that concept independently (coming fresh to D&D with the idea of a squirrel mad scientist who rode the wand-turret of his flesh golem, and really wanting to implement it), or did you see that it was possible from the options presented, and it came to you that way.

If you were to come to me with an awakened squirrel wizard who rode his flesh golem from the wand turrent, the main question is "What do you want to accomplish with this?" Is it because you like the idea of having a mini-me run around from time to time? Do you just like the visual (the easiest to solve)? Or are you looking for an excuse to dump strength and con and still have a good strength and con? Was it the concept or the build that was foremost?

I had a similar argument with a friend of mine, you see, regarding a kit in the Complete Elves. Her assertion was that, without Complete Elves being allowed, she couldn't be a blade singer. My contention was that she certainly could... make a fighter/mage and call him a bladesinger, and he's a bladesinger. A lack of mechanical (i.e. build) options doesn't prevent a character from being played... it just means that there may not be a tremendous advantage to playing that particular concept.

Seatbelt
2010-01-26, 01:30 AM
Except that a certain package of abilities makes certain concepts more viable than they would otherwise be. Yes, I can be a perfectly viable War Wizard by taking levels of wizard and fighter. But I can't wear fullplate without levels in Spellsword, and my ideal of a war wizard is a mage decked out in heavy armor.

ApatheticDespot
2010-01-26, 02:01 AM
Tell me, though... did you come up with that concept independently (coming fresh to D&D with the idea of a squirrel mad scientist who rode the wand-turret of his flesh golem, and really wanting to implement it), or did you see that it was possible from the options presented, and it came to you that way.

If you were to come to me with an awakened squirrel wizard who rode his flesh golem from the wand turrent, the main question is "What do you want to accomplish with this?" Is it because you like the idea of having a mini-me run around from time to time? Do you just like the visual (the easiest to solve)? Or are you looking for an excuse to dump strength and con and still have a good strength and con? Was it the concept or the build that was foremost?

I had a similar argument with a friend of mine, you see, regarding a kit in the Complete Elves. Her assertion was that, without Complete Elves being allowed, she couldn't be a blade singer. My contention was that she certainly could... make a fighter/mage and call him a bladesinger, and he's a bladesinger. A lack of mechanical (i.e. build) options doesn't prevent a character from being played... it just means that there may not be a tremendous advantage to playing that particular concept.

The concept came first (how exactly could one look at the 3.5 rules and say "this just screams squirrel bent on world domination"?), and the rules allowed me to create that character in such a way that the concept and the build were in perfect concert. I can't say that the fact that you immediately thought I just wanted better stats and nothing else comes as a complete surprise, it seems to come up every time I have this conversation. I'll tell you what I've told everyone else who's gone that route, it's rude and frankly casts your position in a bad light.

I can make a commoner who throws knives and call him a wizard casting magic missiles, but should I? Why is the number of "spells" he can "cast" determined by his carrying capacity rather than his level or intelligence? Why does he have to prepare his "spells" at a weapons store rather than from his spell book? Why can he "cast" when in front of a beholder's central eye but not in a strong wind? Shoehorning concepts into unsuitable mechanics detracts from both.

As for your question, here's what I would want to accomplish: I want, at a minimum, to be able to use the game's mechanics to create the character I described in such a way that the mechanics accurately model my character in every situation. I can do that in 3.5, and I can do it with virtually no divergence from the standard character creation rules (a single d% rolled 100 in my backstory and I'm good to go); can you say the same about AD&D?

Draz74
2010-01-26, 02:03 AM
4e tries to fix this, and does, to some extent. While you usually have at least one choice at every level (feat, power, path or attribute), most of them are relatively balanced with each other, and it takes a little bit of work to make a mechanically unfeasible character (i.e. putting your highest stat as something other than your attack... or at least secondary... stat; maybe choosing feats that will be absolutely useless to you, or one of the powers that simply does not work well). While a new level in 4e seldom radically changes the capabilities of your character, it is still a game that places a fair amount of emphasis on your mechanical build.
Yeah, I see where you're coming from with the whole first half of your complaint, even if I don't quite agree. 3e does have so many options it's ridiculous. Sometimes even when I'm bored, I have to skip this Forum just because I don't want the headache of digging into yet another optimization puzzle over something random that I've never heard of before.

That said, I do really like having to make meaningful choices often, and not only in the roleplaying aspects of the game. It makes me feel like my characters are progressing, becoming more powerful, and that's addictive. So I don't really want to go back to the amount of progress that my 2e characters had.

I guess, in this specific aspect of the game, that 4e is more or less my target. But it's still just a little bit less customizable than I would like (when played RAW; with a DM who's willing to do a bit of creative homebrewing it's ok).


2) Overall mechanics. In 3.x, Pathfinder, and 4e, you have a plethora of bonuses and situational modifiers. "I was bloodied this turn, so I get a +2 to damage, and I spent an action point so I get +2 to every die of damage... I can't stack Paragon Defenses and Iron Will because they're both feat bonuses, but I can stack these three because one's an armor bonus and the other's a natural armor bonus and the last one's an enhancement to my natural armor bonus... but I don't get that one on this attack because he has combat advantage until I save against it." In both my Pathfinder games and my 4e games, a frequent lament is "Crap, I forgot I had this bonus, I probably would have (saved/hit/killed him/not died). Round to round, even with combat cards and the like, this becomes a LOT to keep track of at once, especially if you're DMing.

Ugh, yeah. Tell me about it. This is probably my #1 complaint with 4e.

Getting rid of this effect is one of my primary goals in my homebrew system ...

So yeah, in short, I guess I agree with you about these editions being more "fiddly" than I would like. I just think there's enough good things about 3e, too, too make it my favorite (so far) in spite of its fiddliness.

Satyr
2010-01-26, 03:13 AM
Its probably a matter of perspective, but I find any edition of D&D very restrictive and strongly limited in character options, either because there aren't just many, or because the system has the tendency to punish players for playing interesting, but not powerful characters (e.g. melee fighters). While there are many options, the system still shoehorns you into one roll, which leads to a number of mechanically complex yet flat characters.
That is even worse in AD&D, where you are shoehorned into a role and have no chance whatsoever to adapt (unless you are a human, of course, and don't mind the issues of changing you class) or actually develop your character - you just get bigger numbers.

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 03:39 AM
Tell me, though... did you come up with that concept independently (coming fresh to D&D with the idea of a squirrel mad scientist who rode the wand-turret of his flesh golem, and really wanting to implement it), or did you see that it was possible from the options presented, and it came to you that way.

If you were to come to me with an awakened squirrel wizard who rode his flesh golem from the wand turrent, the main question is "What do you want to accomplish with this?" Is it because you like the idea of having a mini-me run around from time to time? Do you just like the visual (the easiest to solve)? Or are you looking for an excuse to dump strength and con and still have a good strength and con? Was it the concept or the build that was foremost?

I had a similar argument with a friend of mine, you see, regarding a kit in the Complete Elves. Her assertion was that, without Complete Elves being allowed, she couldn't be a blade singer. My contention was that she certainly could... make a fighter/mage and call him a bladesinger, and he's a bladesinger. A lack of mechanical (i.e. build) options doesn't prevent a character from being played... it just means that there may not be a tremendous advantage to playing that particular concept.

This is something I've wondered at many times on these forums: The mindset that in order to play an idea - you need to back it up with mechanics.

When someone states that they want to play a necromancer, people will recommend a wide array of feats, prestige classes and spells from obscure sources - where I'd say: How about a wizard specialized in necromancy. The rest you can just as easily roleplay.

It winds up feeling as if people are really challenged roleplaying something they cannot back up with mechanics.

Of course I'm aware that necromancy specialization makes for a weak necromancer compared to a druid - but that in itself doesn't change the point.

Tavar
2010-01-26, 03:43 AM
Okay, so, using the warwizard example, Roleplay having a wizard in Platemail, but he actually isn't because you lack the option.

Not quite the same thing at all. Sure, I can roleplay that my character is the strongest man in the world, but if he has a Str of 3, it's not going to seem very truthful in the game world.

Weimann
2010-01-26, 03:57 AM
The fiddlyness is why I have problems with too complicated systems as a whole. I think the best solution is to just not have so damn much die rolls around :D

olentu
2010-01-26, 04:32 AM
Ah this thread returns my appointment that I was never able to play my awakened cat psion. And I even went through all the trouble of rolling an 18 for int.

Kurald Galain
2010-01-26, 04:38 AM
This is something I've wondered at many times on these forums: The mindset that in order to play an idea - you need to back it up with mechanics.
Not entirely. The reason people get annoyed is when they're given mechanics to back it up that do not actually do that.

For instance, if you want to play a necromancer for the ability to animate skeletons, and you are given a class that is renamed to "necromancer" but cannot actually do anything with skeletons. Essentially, the game does have rules for animate skeletons, but you're not allowed to used them for some reason.

pasko77
2010-01-26, 05:08 AM
The question is what do you want to sacrifice for simplicity's sake.
I personally find unbearable the concept that you CANNOT change. Life IS change!
So I welcomed 3rd edition as the best invention since sliced bread. (and i don't like 4th for the same reason, multiclassing is too narrow).

Hawriel
2010-01-26, 05:11 AM
One of the things Ive noticed about 3rd ed (and other games just as fiddly) is that the players focus is on michanics and not the enviornment. Search, and spot rolls replacess actualy looking behind book cases, under rugs and behind picture frames. DMs are less likly to make a room based on how a person living in it would think and how a search skill effectes it.

Another example is deplomacy. A michanic does all the work so the player is less likely to engage in a conversation.

Some times I wonder off all of the rules and expantion of them by splat books confine players more than they give opptions.

pasko77
2010-01-26, 05:22 AM
One of the things Ive noticed about 3rd ed (and other games just as fiddly) is that the players focus is on michanics and not the enviornment. Search, and spot rolls replacess actualy looking behind book cases, under rugs and behind picture frames. DMs are less likly to make a room based on how a person living in it would think and how a search skill effectes it.

Another example is deplomacy. A michanic does all the work so the player is less likely to engage in a conversation.

Some times I wonder off all of the rules and expantion of them by splat books confine players more than they give opptions.

You have a point, but why some actions should have mechanics, while others don't?
If I want to roleplay, say, a wizard, the game provides me the mechanics for doing things I cannot actually do (magic).
But, if I want to roleplay a cunning diplomat... I'm suddenly expected to be able to talk my way around NPCs. But you know... I'm not a diplomat, in the same way I'm not a wizard, so I'd like to have a mechanics that proves that my Character can actually do diplomacy.
In your example, you expect the player to say: "I search under the rug" instead of "search check, please".
But maybe I don't imagine that the "rug" is a good place to hide something, while my Character, who is a skilled rogue, knows it is an obvious place.

Premier
2010-01-26, 05:46 AM
Just a note:

The whole side argument about the system allowing or disallowing extravagant squirrel characters is sort of irrelevant. Some of the statements in it are also incorrect.

The very first, original edition of D&D already mentions its possible to play balrogs and other monsters as characters if the DM is willing to write up their abilities, and IIRC 1E AD&D also has a line or two to that effect. Therefore, the whole "old D&D doesn't allow for my weird PC concept" argument is invalid.

Having said that, it's true you generally don't see such characters, but that's for a completely different reson: genre emulation. Most pre-WotC systems just happen to assume (and/or publish) settings where golem-riding squirrels would be a jarring stylistic incongruity. If people were sitting down specifically to play a Lord of the Rings game, you surely wouldn't insist to play a Vietnam veteran with a machine gun. A Hundred-Years-War English longbowmen is not a suitable PC for a 21st century cyberpunk game. Same thing here: the vast majority of settings are just not compatible with outlandish, genre-alien character concepts. Doesn't mean you couldn't play a squirrel wizard in someone's homebrew Druginducedland setting using AD&D rules.

Killer Angel
2010-01-26, 05:51 AM
Exactly! You understand 100%. I climbed Mt Everest in my wheel chair this weekend and it was no big deal. :D

ahah! but you weren't discussing D&D rules and builds, while you were climbing, don't you? :smalltongue:

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 06:15 AM
Okay, so, using the warwizard example, Roleplay having a wizard in Platemail, but he actually isn't because you lack the option.

Not quite the same thing at all. Sure, I can roleplay that my character is the strongest man in the world, but if he has a Str of 3, it's not going to seem very truthful in the game world.

Why does wizard+platemail=roleplaying?

To me, a wizard in plate armor feels like a build, possibly with a backstory to fit. But primarily a build. If you want to roleplay a wizard, why not wear a robe? Or why not make it work with something besides a build? It is most certainly doable in core.

pasko77
2010-01-26, 06:18 AM
Why does wizard+platemail=roleplaying?

To me, a wizard in plate armor feels like a build, possibly with a backstory to fit. But primarily a build. If you want to roleplay a wizard, why not wear a robe?

Because he does not want a cookie cutter PC.

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 06:21 AM
Not entirely. The reason people get annoyed is when they're given mechanics to back it up that do not actually do that.

For instance, if you want to play a necromancer for the ability to animate skeletons, and you are given a class that is renamed to "necromancer" but cannot actually do anything with skeletons. Essentially, the game does have rules for animate skeletons, but you're not allowed to used them for some reason.

I'm by no means denying the rules make us leap through some strange loops from time to time. It's not either or, sometimes it just looks like a lot of people are unwilling to go the straight road.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Yes, people are unwilling to go the straight road. I am that way too. But what it sometimes looks like is: The reason to not go the straight road is the pursuit of powerbuilds - with some rp justification strapped on with duct tape and sticky-tack.

Which by the way is also fine, if somewhat dishonest. Just call it powerplay, it's ok. No one minds, really.

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 06:42 AM
Because he does not want a cookie cutter PC.

That's fine, neither do I. But there really is no reason for 'non-cookie cutter' to specically equal 'wearing plate armor'. And even if, for some reason, that is exactly what you want to play - you don't need to go outside core to do it.

And I must admit, I do consider the very vast majority of non-core to be utter crap. I read complete psionics, and it truly made me want to bash my brains in with a brick, it's that bad. Uninventive, retarded, unbalanced, obviously not playtested. At all. Gah.

*mumbles incoherently*

*goes away to sulk*

[/rant]

=)

potatocubed
2010-01-26, 06:42 AM
I'm by no means denying the rules make us leap through some strange loops from time to time. It's not either or, sometimes it just looks like a lot of people are unwilling to go the straight road.

Because, as Kurald said, the road is labelled 'straight road' but it goes straight in the wrong direction.

If I want to play a necromancer and jump on the specialist wizard necromancer, what I'm playing is a wizard dressed in black. I'll be using more rope tricks than animate dead. The road is labelled 'necromancer' but doesn't go to necromancy-town.

Or, sticking with core, I could play a sorcerer and take nothing but necromancy spells. It's not labelled necromancer, but it's still more necromantic than the specialist wizard option.

Or I could go splatbook-surfing and play a dread necromancer. How unwilling to travel the straight road this is is debatable, since it's a class labelled 'necromancer' in a big book of necromancy. In any case, it fits my concept of necromancer far better than the specialist wizard option. Its relative power level is irrelevant.

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 06:45 AM
Because, as Kurald said, the road is labelled 'straight road' but it goes straight in the wrong direction.

If I want to play a necromancer and jump on the specialist wizard necromancer, what I'm playing is a wizard dressed in black. I'll be using more rope tricks than animate dead. The road is labelled 'necromancer' but doesn't go to necromancy-town.

Or, sticking with core, I could play a sorcerer and take nothing but necromancy spells. It's not labelled necromancer, but it's still more necromantic than the specialist wizard option.

Or I could go splatbook-surfing and play a dread necromancer. How unwilling to travel the straight road this is is debatable, since it's a class labelled 'necromancer' in a big book of necromancy.

Read my post. I know the necromancy specialist isn't much of a necromancer. I specifically pointed out that in itself, that doesn't invalidate the example.

And also, while it's harder than making a plate wearing wizard, you can make a working necromancer - in core.

Dyllan
2010-01-26, 06:52 AM
It seems to me everyone always assumes that a player either is a "true roleplayer" who has a character concept and tries to make the rules fit it as best as he can, or a "powergamer" who finds the best character build he can and makes up a roleplay reason to justify it. Why can't someone be both?

In one of my campaigns, a player found a race in some monster book... I honestly don't remember where... with a small shapeshifting class. After reading over that class, he came up with the idea of playing a squirrel sorcerer. He was from another plane, and was previously the familiar of a powerful wizard. The wizard died doing some kind of magical experiment, which in the process gave his familiar some inherent magical powers, and shunted him to the material plane.

So he played a squirrel sorcerer, who initially didn't know he could use magic (until he saw someone use a spell, he didn't try it himself... not optimal, as his spell list was self-limited to things that the party wizard or NPCs cast in his presence). He accepted a level adjustment to do this, and the first time he used his shapeshifting powers (quite a way into the campaign), the players (not to mention their characters) were genuinely surprised.

He went by "Tweleve" because the first thing he did in this plane was walk into a bar, and overhear someone saying "It's Twelve O'Clock." He assumed they were talking about him, so that must be his name.

Yes, he had some mechanical advantages being so small, and having shapeshifting abilities. But none who's utility could not have been easily emulated by low level spells (reduce person and alter self). But he gave up casting progression to get them. It was a mechanically inferior build that was inspired by the fiddly mechanical options of third edition D&D.

This is why I love third edition. The mechanics can inspire richer roleplaying as much as roleplay can lead to mechanical choices.

Zincorium
2010-01-26, 06:57 AM
Read my post. I know the necromancy specialist isn't much of a necromancer. I specifically pointed out that in itself, that doesn't invalidate the example.

And also, while it's harder than making a plate wearing wizard, you can make a working necromancer - in core.

Yes, it's a cleric. Which is horribly unintuitive.

Core only isn't a solution. It barely qualifies as a stopgap measure.

bosssmiley
2010-01-26, 07:18 AM
Picking class and race? Madness I say! :smalltongue:


Why does wizard+platemail=roleplaying?

To me, a wizard in plate armor feels like a build, possibly with a backstory to fit. But primarily a build. If you want to role play a wizard, why not wear a robe? Or why not make it work with something besides a build? It is most certainly doable in core.

Elric. Red Kane. Gaznak from Dunsany's The Fortress Unvanquishable. All armoured wizards; all pretty bad-ass.

BD&D Elf class (the original gish) goes "Wuh?" at your belief that magic = robe.

Kesnit
2010-01-26, 07:43 AM
Why does wizard+platemail=roleplaying?

Because that is the way he wants to play his character.


To me, a wizard in plate armor feels like a build, possibly with a backstory to fit. But primarily a build. If you want to roleplay a wizard, why not wear a robe? Or why not make it work with something besides a build? It is most certainly doable in core.

Why shouldn't a wizard wear full plate? In D&D, there are restrictions in the form of Arcane Spell Failure. In Dragon Age, you can put a Mage (with Arcane Warrior spec) in the heaviest armor in the game. In Elder Scrolls, you can wear heavy armor as a caster from the start of the game. (One of the pre-built classes in Oblivion has all the magic schools and heavy armor as major skills.)

Is D&D "better" because there are restrictions on casting arcane spells in armor? Are DA or ES casters any less casters because they can cast in armor?


And I must admit, I do consider the very vast majority of non-core to be utter crap. I read complete psionics, and it truly made me want to bash my brains in with a brick, it's that bad. Uninventive, retarded, unbalanced, obviously not playtested. At all. Gah.

Is one of your arguments against CP really that it is unbalanced? As opposed to core, which everyone knows is completely balanced for all 20 levels..? :smallfrown:

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 08:21 AM
Because that is the way he wants to play his character.

Why shouldn't a wizard wear full plate? In D&D, there are restrictions in the form of Arcane Spell Failure. In Dragon Age, you can put a Mage (with Arcane Warrior spec) in the heaviest armor in the game. In Elder Scrolls, you can wear heavy armor as a caster from the start of the game. (One of the pre-built classes in Oblivion has all the magic schools and heavy armor as major skills.)

Is D&D "better" because there are restrictions on casting arcane spells in armor? Are DA or ES casters any less casters because they can cast in armor?

Is one of your arguments against CP really that it is unbalanced? As opposed to core, which everyone knows is completely balanced for all 20 levels..? :smallfrown:

Well ... you either love or hate the archtypes. I like wizards in robes and knights in armor - but if someone likes wizards in armor and knights in robes, fine. That's not very inventive to my eyes, but who cares?!

That still doesn't change that - to me - a wizard in plate feels like catering to mechanics, rather than to roleplay. Which is also fine, just call it by name.

Now, balance issues are tricky. I don't experience core as unbalanced. But that has to do with how my group plays. And while maybe I could, I'm not going to go into how that works, exactly. Maybe it's enough to say that there is easily enough stupidity in core - we don't really need to import more from other sources. Especially not now that we're rooted out the most blatant mistakes in core.

All pertaining, naturally, to my group.

Zom B
2010-01-26, 08:32 AM
In AD&D and C&C...

I was reading through this whole post wondering what in the Nine Depths of Nerull Command & Conquer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Command_%26_Conquer) had to do with anything. I had to google to find out what was going on.

potatocubed
2010-01-26, 08:53 AM
Alright, let me try to clarify myself.


It winds up feeling as if people are really challenged roleplaying something they cannot back up with mechanics.

The challenge in roleplaying something you cannot back up with mechanics, is that then those mechanics can invalidate your roleplaying.

If I sit down to make a D&D character and want to play a necromancer, I want to be able to do the sorts of things that necromancers do. For example: It is central to my concept that I am able to animate the dead.

I can roleplay 'being a necromancer' - spooky voice, pale skin, unhealthy obsession with natron - with any base class I like, even something like fighter or commoner. Animating the dead, however, is a mechanical exercise. If I don't have the mechanics I can't animate the dead. If I can't animate the dead I'm not roleplaying a necromancer; I'm roleplaying a delusional goth.

My point, such as it is: If part of a character concept involves being able to do something (necromance, armour-cast) or not do something ("I'm fearless!") it is worthless without mechanical backup.

It's probably worth noting while I'm thinking about it that any and all editions of D&D are very bad for this sort of thing because of the rigid class/level structure. For real concept stuff you want to play something like FATE, where you can just write 'necromancer' or 'tankizard' on your character sheet and have it be so.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-26, 09:18 AM
Basically this whole thread seems to touch on the balance between fluff and crunch. My own view is that crunch can be quite versatile as far as fluff is concerned, more then some in fact, but it sure nice to have some bones to support the fleshing out of an idea. I can play a barbarian just as easily as a man at arms with the Fighter class, but I wouldn't try to stick wizardry to those bones.

Zen Master
2010-01-26, 09:22 AM
The challenge in roleplaying something you cannot back up with mechanics, is that then those mechanics can invalidate your roleplaying.

Naturally. And that can be the case for the necromancer. It takes some work to make it playable. However, I have not even a seconds doubt that I can make a better job of it myself than the people they drag kicking and screaming off the street and pressgang to write stuff like Complete Psionics.

And still - for roleplaying reasons, I see very little reason to want to play a plate wearing wizard. That just smells to me of wanting the mechanical advantage, and hammering a role into the mould that fits.

Even so - achieving a plate-wizard is easy. But slightly pointless.

Anyways - in all discussions such as this it should be noted that I rarely play above level 12 or so.

Kurald Galain
2010-01-26, 09:31 AM
When writing some trait on your character sheet, there is a key difference between a trait that has no mechanics, and a trait that contradicts mechanics.

For instance, if I write on my character sheet that the character is "good at knitting" then that should cause no problem: most systems have no rules for knitting in the first place, so I can simply assert to be good at it.

On the other hand, if I write on my character sheet that he can "hold my breath for ten minutes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MonkeyIsland)", then this contradicts the fact that many systems do have rules for holding your breath. For instance, if I try this in D&D, the first time I actually try holding my breath, the actual rules will point out that no, you cannot hold it that long.

For instance, in D&D, you cannot have a low-level character who is an olympic level acrobat. You can claim to be an olympic acrobat, but as soon as acrobatics come up in the game, you'll find that you cannot reliably pass a moderate-to-difficult DC.

This isn't a big problem since D&D isn't about the olympic games, but it does mean that either the player must be aware (or made aware) that no, he cannot play an olympic acrobat (just like he cannot play a robot in most fantasy games), or the player may be disappointed as soon as he finds out that his character doesn't actually have the skill he thought he has.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-26, 10:09 AM
And still - for roleplaying reasons, I see very little reason to want to play a plate wearing wizard. That just smells to me of wanting the mechanical advantage, and hammering a role into the mould that fits.


Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.

Doc Roc
2010-01-26, 10:24 AM
Gentlefolk.
You are all playing the wrong game!
What if I told you that there's a chance, an opportunity to play a game that isn't fiddly, that allows deep and meaningful choice during character creation, and runs blazingly fast?

Likely, you would balk.

But let me share with you a secret:
Savage Worlds pwns your manifold D&Ds.

Doc Roc
2010-01-26, 10:26 AM
Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.

Maybe platemail hardly matters because it's trivially easy to get AC ~60 from just spells? Platemail is worthless, anyway. Mithril Breastplate FTW.

hamlet
2010-01-26, 10:30 AM
Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.

You see, there really isn't an issue here, at least for a DM who is amenable to the idea.

AD&D doesn't dissalow it, just doesn't have it pre-written. Want a wizard who wears plate mail? Fine, but you're going to lose the ability to cast spells from the Divination and Enchantment schools, and probably one or two others. You're allowed to use some selection of "martial" type weapons, but you're still limited to Wizards' combat tables.

Done.

Next please.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-26, 10:33 AM
Maybe platemail hardly matters because it's trivially easy to get AC ~60 from just spells? Platemail is worthless, anyway. Mithril Breastplate FTW. And maybe you want to wear full plate. And cast arcane spells. What's wrong with that?

Thrawn183
2010-01-26, 10:33 AM
I blame the whole mechanical representation of characters issue on full casting progression PrC's.

My opinion of how it should be: the reason a wizard has weak HD, and no combat ability is that he has spent literally all of his time training to be a wizard. This leads to the wizard being the best possible caster with PrC's showing interesting things that you can get by sacrificing some of that time spent trying to become the ultimate caster possible.

With this assumption in place, it isn't a big deal to have a wizard in fullplate, he just takes a couple of levels in fighter.

As for the fiddliness? Yeah, I really think that a lot of the things out of combat should be purely RP'd. Maybe some people are good at handling mechanics, but I've found that far too many simply shut down their brain the moment there is a mechanic resulting in a roll to allow them to do what they want to do.

I like that 4e doesn't have too many mechanics. You can learn how your own character works quite easily. I try and introduce people to 3.5 and it's... ugh, there are so many different mechanics going on just in core that they can't keep them all straight.

Seatbelt
2010-01-26, 10:46 AM
That's fine, neither do I. But there really is no reason for 'non-cookie cutter' to specically equal 'wearing plate armor'. And even if, for some reason, that is exactly what you want to play - you don't need to go outside core to do it.


[/rant]

=)

Yes, there is a reason "non-cookie cutter" is specifically equal to "wearing plate armor." The reason is that I want to play a mage who wears plate armor. He doesn't have to be a 9th level Batman Wizard and he doesn't have to have the feats and damage output of twinked barbarians or fighters. But he has to cast spells, have an acceptable BAB, and wear plate mail. I really enjoy the mental image of a wizard walking around in a giant suit of armor. I didn't just make this character up, btw. His name is Salazar Zend (whenever I roll a mage in a new system that is his name). His father was a powerful lord and his mother was a respectable mage. Not powerful but not just your average hedge wizard. His mother taught him some magecraft and his father taught him some martial arts. He thought it was perfectly natural to combine the two. He has a personal fondness for animal tatoos, and has a roaring tiger tatooed on his back. Before leaving on an extended forray into the underdark, his mother gifted him a beautiful suit of fullplate of a midnight blue color and specked with dozens of tiny crystals. The effect reminds viewers of the night sky.

Is this character playable in core? Yes. Is this character mechanically more powerful outside core? Yes. Can I fully realize my ideal version of this character in core? No, because there are no ways to reduce arcane spell failure of fullplate to reasonable levels, reliably, within core.

Edit: I just realized my armor description fits the twilight enchantment from the MiC. I dunno if I thought of it first or if the enchantment (which I use) put the idea in my head. Take from that what you will. Just thought I'd add it in the interest of full disclosure. :)

Thrawn183
2010-01-26, 11:27 AM
You know there really is a way to do this in core: Still Spell. You want to have a caster in plate mail? Gotta pay the cost.

Doc Roc
2010-01-26, 11:34 AM
And maybe you want to wear full plate. And cast arcane spells. What's wrong with that?

The whole part where it's nigh-pointless is generally a sticking point for people, but even so, there are plenty of ways to do it if you want to for flavor reasons. Which, frankly? I think are perfectly good reasons.


I don't talk about core, have no interest in just talking about core, and frankly think core is the least balanced part of 3.x besides maybe savage species. To put it gently, Core 3.x is pretty naff, and I'm gonna just leave it at that.

dsmiles
2010-01-26, 11:40 AM
http://rpg-crank.livejournal.com/33377.html

So, I've frequently referred to Pathfinder and Wizard's of the Coast's versions of D&D (WD&D) as "too fiddly" for me to ever want to run. I'll play in them, sure, but there's a couple meanings in "too fiddly" that I want to talk about.

1) Stuff.

2) More Stuff

Despite AD&D's convoluted mechanical eccentricities, I maintain that it was inherently simpler than Pathfinder, 3.x, or 4e. Once the mechanics of the system were learned, they could be subsumed; their few modifiers either learned or placed for reference. With WD&D and its successors, you are instead presented with mechanics that may revolve around a central, unifying die roll... but where each roll is subject to a unique set of modifiers, from many different sources (PCs, NPCs, environment) which are not so easily memorized because they frequently change with each roll. This does not say that AD&D is "better" than the other games... that is, in many ways, a subjective measurement... but it is simpler, especially on the DM side of the screen.

I agree. 1,000,000% agree.

Person_Man
2010-01-26, 11:52 AM
I basically agree with you. I was hoping that 4E would consolidate all the best/most interesting parts of every previous edition, and abolish all of the fiddly situational bonuses and penalties that basically make the game a bookkeeping exercise. Instead, it eliminated the best parts of the previous editions, and multiplied the fiddly situational bonuses and penalties.

For 5E, I hope they follow a simple set of rules:

1) Each character can have a single "always on" power, like a Tome of Battle stance. This could be a buff, a debuff, defensive or offensive, situational, or whatever you can dream of - but each character can only have one at a time. There shall be no other racial, class, or feat ability that impacts your dice rolls on a non-permanent basis. Let's call it your Continuous Power.

2) All offensive Powers follow a single unified game mechanic: d20 + ability score + battlefield modifiers (flanking, prone, higher ground, etc, which will be summarized on a short and simple chart which everyone has in front of them) + always on continuous power benefits vs one of four defenses. There is no reason to have proficiency, implement, magic item, or the other misc modifiers, as they're essentially a tax on builds required

3) Each Power/Feat/Ability/Whatever should add a new game option, instead of fiddling with a game mechanic, should scale with your levels, and be as unique as reasonably possible. There is no reason to have 100 duplicative and mostly boring powers that you swap out every level, or Feat taxes, etc.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-26, 12:33 PM
I'm curious about the OP's 4E "fiddly bonuses" example.

I was bloodied this turn, so I get a +2 to damage, and I spent an action point so I get +2 to every die of damage... I can't stack Paragon Defenses and Iron Will because they're both feat bonuses, but I can stack these three because one's an armor bonus and the other's a natural armor bonus and the last one's an enhancement to my natural armor bonus... but I don't get that one on this attack because he has combat advantage until I save against it."
To begin with, the defenses listed are all pre-calculated - you're not going to be getting, say Armor and Enchantment bonuses on the fly. If you find totaling them yourself confusing, then let the free Character Builder do it for you. If your character is higher than 3, shell out $10 to get the full version - it's cheaper than buying even a single book, and it continually updates.

Aside from that we have:
(1) A situational Feat Bonus
(2) A situational Racial Bonus
(3) A save condition

If you can't remember your feat and racial bonuses, perhaps you shouldn't choose feats and races that provide them. Many races have only pre-calculated bonuses (e.g. permanent skill bonuses) and a single racial power, which you can print out as a power card. It's not like you have to take Action Surge or play a Dragonborn - there are plenty of other valid choices to make.

After that, all you have is the particular power description (which is printed, in full, on your power card) and a save modifier. Yes, keeping track of Save conditions is somewhat taxing, but surely it can't be hard for someone who remembers whether or not they've used their Shield this round (and which bonus to apply) and what their modifiers are to attack due to facing? :smalltongue:

In short: I feel like you must be exaggerating your 4E experience - and if not, then know that there are plenty of characters to play with limited "situational modifiers" to keep track of.

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 01:53 PM
I'm shrinking the texts I'm responding to because this is a long post responding to a lot of people.


Except that a certain package of abilities makes certain concepts more viable than they would otherwise be. Yes, I can be a perfectly viable War Wizard by taking levels of wizard and fighter. But I can't wear fullplate without levels in Spellsword, and my ideal of a war wizard is a mage decked out in heavy armor.

-In 1st edition, this is the base multiclassed Fighter/Wizard (once you have enough money for fullplate, that is).
-In 2e, this would be the War Wizard kit from Complete Wizard, or certain, specific, plate armors from Complete Elves (though you'd still need a class that knew how to wear armor, so a level in either a Warrior class or Cleric); if you've ever played Strahd's Revenge (the old SSI computer game), you can actually get a set of elven full plate that, IIRC, allows casting. In Skills and Powers and Spells & Magic, this is also possible from the get-go.
-In 3e, you can play your wizard in full plate... eventually. At 1st level, you've got to be X, continue on until you add class Y, until you can finally combine X and Y with prestige class Z.

If you're starting from scratch in 3e, you don't get to play the character you envision. You get to play a step on the way to the character you envision. In general, with AD&D the idea is that you will be able to play the character you want from the get-go, or at least an approximation of him (i.e. you might not be able to afford plate-mail at 1st level, but you don't have to wait for the ability to wear and cast... you either start with it or you do not). This means your character doesn't change as much with time... but it also means you're playing the character you want.


The concept came first (how exactly could one look at the 3.5 rules and say "this just screams squirrel bent on world domination"?), and the rules allowed me to create that character in such a way that the concept and the build were in perfect concert. I can't say that the fact that you immediately thought I just wanted better stats and nothing else comes as a complete surprise, it seems to come up every time I have this conversation. I'll tell you what I've told everyone else who's gone that route, it's rude and frankly casts your position in a bad light.

So does your straw man. I presented several reasons why someone may want to play a squirrel mounted in a flesh-bot, of which "dumping strength without dumping strength" was one. I've played characters based on mental images before, and I suggested (tongue in cheek) to my DM that my recent Warforged was actually a gnome in a battlesuit... but I've also seen people tweak a character mechanically so hard it screams (including myself; one of the main reasons I don't like point-based games is because I'm a total points-whore).


As for your question, here's what I would want to accomplish: I want, at a minimum, to be able to use the game's mechanics to create the character I described in such a way that the mechanics accurately model my character in every situation. I can do that in 3.5, and I can do it with virtually no divergence from the standard character creation rules (a single d% rolled 100 in my backstory and I'm good to go); can you say the same about AD&D?

What starting level? Can you do it at 1st level in 3.x? I'm not even sure HOW the standard character generation rules in WD&D could be used to create such a character... an awakened squirrel, sure, but the flesh bot... are we talking a flesh golem? In that case, we're looking at a minimum level of 7, and a fair amount of WBL being sunk into having a flesh golem. At earlier levels, you might be able to pull it off with a zombie, meaning you need no more than 1050gp to afford the flesh bot, plus the cost of a wand.

Using standard character generation in AD&D, I'd probably have to say no... but if my DM devised a method, I'd be that from level one, instead of starting off as a guy with a dream of replacing his brain with a squirrel.


Yeah, I see where you're coming from with the whole first half of your complaint, even if I don't quite agree. 3e does have so many options it's ridiculous. Sometimes even when I'm bored, I have to skip this Forum just because I don't want the headache of digging into yet another optimization puzzle over something random that I've never heard of before.

That said, I do really like having to make meaningful choices often, and not only in the roleplaying aspects of the game. It makes me feel like my characters are progressing, becoming more powerful, and that's addictive. So I don't really want to go back to the amount of progress that my 2e characters had.

And I think that's a major portion of the appeal of WD&D and Pathfinder... the feel that you're making meaningful choices often. The difficulty, from my point of view, is how to avoid these meaningful choices becoming a large mess of circumstantial modifiers.


That is even worse in AD&D, where you are shoehorned into a role and have no chance whatsoever to adapt (unless you are a human, of course, and don't mind the issues of changing you class) or actually develop your character - you just get bigger numbers.

I mostly agreed with your earlier part, but this I have to disagree with. In AD&D, while you may not have the ability to learn new class skills and the like (which is its own form of "get bigger numbers", you certainly have the ability to adapt and develop your character. What doesn't significantly change is your build... the fighter remains a fighter, but that doesn't mean that the character of Bob the Fighter hasn't changed and grown.


The question is what do you want to sacrifice for simplicity's sake.
I personally find unbearable the concept that you CANNOT change. Life IS change!
So I welcomed 3rd edition as the best invention since sliced bread. (and i don't like 4th for the same reason, multiclassing is too narrow).

Characters in AD&D do change. They get better at their professions at time goes on. It's a rare person, even in today's world, who radically changes their field, or studies to radically different things; you see plenty of Physics/Math double majors, but how many do you see who simultaneously major in Law and Naval Engineering? Or are Olympic Gymnasts while running Fortune 500 companies?


One of the things Ive noticed about 3rd ed (and other games just as fiddly) is that the players focus is on michanics and not the enviornment. Search, and spot rolls replacess actualy looking behind book cases, under rugs and behind picture frames. DMs are less likly to make a room based on how a person living in it would think and how a search skill effectes it.

This is always a possibility, but it's not a necessity; a lot of that comes to play style and mechanical support. White Wolf's Old World of Darkness, for example, could be played with just such a problem, and it's a relatively unfiddly system... most Difficulties are set, with only a few modifiers.


I was reading through this whole post wondering what in the Nine Depths of Nerull Command & Conquer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Command_%26_Conquer) had to do with anything. I had to google to find out what was going on.

Haha! That's great.


Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.

"Playing D&D wrong?" D&D can only be played your way, now?



In short: I feel like you must be exaggerating your 4E experience - and if not, then know that there are plenty of characters to play with limited "situational modifiers" to keep track of.

There is a degree of hyperbole in the example, but not much, and while the Character Creator can track a lot of these (I use it myself), it doesn't cover the ones that happen each round. "I hit him with a rattling power and my Furious Assault, so he has a -2 to strikes and a -1 to defenses." However, I'd like to see a character... or a party, for that matter... that can get away with few situational bonuses. Heck, each of the conditions is a situational bonus or penalty.

sofawall
2010-01-26, 01:58 PM
"Playing D&D wrong?" D&D can only be played your way, now?


Kind of the exact opposite of what he said.

Also, for those folks out there, how would one make an intelligent robot in AD&D? Complete with no drowning, no need for food, able to be fixed without magic, no natural healing, heal spells don't heal/heal poorly (no flesh, you see) etc.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-26, 02:00 PM
"Playing D&D wrong?" D&D can only be played your way, now?

If that's what you got out of that, quote mining to boot, I don't see any point in continuing this conversation. I did not say that. I used those words, but in conjunction with other words in the quote that I thought it made it clear that that was not what I meant at all. Good day.:smallfrown:

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-26, 02:08 PM
There is a degree of hyperbole in the example, but not much, and while the Character Creator can track a lot of these (I use it myself), it doesn't cover the ones that happen each round. "I hit him with a rattling power and my Furious Assault, so he has a -2 to strikes and a -1 to defenses." However, I'd like to see a character... or a party, for that matter... that can get away with few situational bonuses. Heck, each of the conditions is a situational bonus or penalty.
Well now, there are the situation modifiers you have to track as a player, and those you have to track as a DM.

While it would be nice if players could remember who they Marked and what modifiers they inflict on enemies, it is ultimately up to the DM to keep track of combat. As far as DMing goes, the amount of modifiers I need to remember to run a 4E game is far less than a 2E game - save effects mainly, and I track those with counters (OK, little colored pipecleaner rings - they're handy!).

As for low-attention characters - well, the standard Brutal Rogue comes to mind. All he needs to check for is if he has CA (and he can ask the DM if he can't remember the rules for that) and then roll the damage on his Power and his Sneak damage. He'll be plenty effective even without bothering with the various status-effects. Rangers (TWF or Archer) work well too - but it might be taxing to recall who is Quarried or not :smalltongue:

A whole party though... well, I'd go with Fighter, Brutal Rogue, Archer Ranger, Lazor Cleric. The most taxing would be the Fighter (did you hit him? Then he's Marked. If he tries to move or attack someone else, you hit him) and the Cleric - but surely you can get one person who can remember who he gave a one-round bonus to? :smallamused:

EDIT: My very first 4E game involved a party of people who never read to rules and didn't even have access to Character Builder. Since I had read the rules, I could remind them of their basic powers for the first few games - after that, they got along just fine reading their powers out of the book. I guess after that experience, I feel like anyone could keep track of their modifiers as a player.

And yes, I was the Lazor Cleric in that party :smalltongue:

fusilier
2010-01-26, 02:47 PM
. . . In both my Pathfinder games and my 4e games, a frequent lament is "Crap, I forgot I had this bonus, I probably would have (saved/hit/killed him/not died). Round to round, even with combat cards and the like, this becomes a LOT to keep track of at once, especially if you're DMing. You have to trust that the players know their characters very well, because each is a special and unique snowflake that, despite using unified mechanics, has completely different sets of modifiers to keep track of... as do most of the monsters. This is still a mountain of information to juggle at any given moment. . . .

This is something I've noticed as a player. It can get really confusing when a lot of the powers are similar, but not the same. I've actually added extra damage which I shouldn't have, and vice versa.

I thank you for the well thought out review of some of the core differences in the versions of D&D.

I, personally, was never a big fan of D&D but that's what all my friends play. Lately, I've found myself pining for AD&D and I wasn't too sure why. I think you have hit upon some of the issues I have with newer versions. I've always approached character creation in a different manner than I think D&D expects (GURPS is perfect for me). In 3rd and 4th, I feel that I can take a lot of options for fluff reasons that result in a sub-par character (and GM's are eternally frustrated by me). AD&D doesn't really allow me to do that, but at the same time it (mostly) prevents me from screwing up the character.

Also, the amount of work that goes into making a 4e character (choosing from any number of attacks, feats, etc.) leaves me feeling as though I've created a very complicated chess piece, and not a "character."

huttj509
2010-01-26, 03:19 PM
And yes, I was the Lazor Cleric in that party :smalltongue:

Light Amplification by Ztimulated Omission of Radiation?

Is that a nucular effect?

randomhero00
2010-01-26, 03:23 PM
Shrug, what you call fiddly I call fun.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-26, 03:35 PM
Light Amplification by Ztimulated Omission of Radiation?

Is that a nucular effect?
No no, it's Lulz Amplification by amaZing Oscillating Radness.

Try to keep up :smalltongue:

Doc Roc
2010-01-26, 03:37 PM
And, frankly?

2e is fiddly as all get out. I don't even know which version you're playing, naturally, because there's so many different games wedged in under that versioning number. Maybe you're running OSRIC? Or maybe you're running 'cyclopedia? Or maybe you're running S&W which is supposedly just a fork off the 2e model? What setting are you playing? Because all of them have different environmental rules, some replace whole classes, change entire subsystems.....

I have no clue what you are talking about when you suggest that modern games such as 3e or 4e are fiddly compared to your beloved woobie of a system. Because I don't even know which 2e\old-school D&D you are playing. Literally, 2e is so labyrinthine that it has literally swallowed whole other games.

Zeful
2010-01-26, 03:56 PM
This is something I've wondered at many times on these forums: The mindset that in order to play an idea - you need to back it up with mechanics.Sometimes the current mechanics suck. If i wanted to play a holy defender of righteousness with magic powers I should really shy away from the Paladin class, because, on the whole, to be effective in even 80% of situations, all the mechanics I'm using are not part of the "holy defender of righteousness with magic powers"' schtick, but rather the "Mounted Fighter with a stick". I'm better off playing almost any other class and simply saying that the character's a holy defender of righteousness with magic powers. This is because, on the whole, 3.x is a very poorly constructed system. It was designed similar to 2.e with all of the 2.e limitations and costs removed, destroying the balance of the entire system in the process.

SaintRidley
2010-01-26, 04:04 PM
-In 1st edition, this is the base multiclassed Fighter/Wizard (once you have enough money for fullplate, that is).
-In 2e, this would be the War Wizard kit from Complete Wizard, or certain, specific, plate armors from Complete Elves (though you'd still need a class that knew how to wear armor, so a level in either a Warrior class or Cleric); if you've ever played Strahd's Revenge (the old SSI computer game), you can actually get a set of elven full plate that, IIRC, allows casting. In Skills and Powers and Spells & Magic, this is also possible from the get-go.
-In 3e, you can play your wizard in full plate... eventually. At 1st level, you've got to be X, continue on until you add class Y, until you can finally combine X and Y with prestige class Z.

If you're starting from scratch in 3e, you don't get to play the character you envision. You get to play a step on the way to the character you envision. In general, with AD&D the idea is that you will be able to play the character you want from the get-go, or at least an approximation of him (i.e. you might not be able to afford plate-mail at 1st level, but you don't have to wait for the ability to wear and cast... you either start with it or you do not). This means your character doesn't change as much with time... but it also means you're playing the character you want.


I see. Watching your character grow is a bad thing. I'm so glad I have learned character development and growth is bad. This will save me a lot of time in writing novels.

Talya
2010-01-26, 04:17 PM
I don't like divorcing "fluff" and "crunch." Furthermore, I want both the stated fluff and the existing crunch to represent my character in a detailed way. Lastly, I want choice. LOTS of choice. I want every character to be mechanically different...i want thousands, perhaps millions of possible viable variants, all mechanically sound and flavored in different ways.

I really liked D&D 3.5 for this reason. I've never really looked into pathfinder.

Calimehter
2010-01-26, 04:18 PM
I see. Watching your character grow is a bad thing. I'm so glad I have learned character development and growth is bad. This will save me a lot of time in writing novels.

He's not saying character growth is bad, merely noting some of the oddities and clunkiness that can come with the 3e mechanics. 2e was not without its own foibles, but character generation and levelling (i.e. development) was a lot more "natural" even if it wasn't as flexible. The Giant has made fun of it too:

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0126.html

As a DM, I have moments where I share the sentiments of the original poster, especially when I spend about 5x the amount of time generating NPCs and worrying about keeping the loads of "fiddly" options in balance than I used to have to . . . and that's even with my group of mostly-core E6'ers, where I don't have to worry too much about Hex2/Wiz2/Rog2/ClClr2/BFF2/War5/Org5 or their ilk causing further grief. The CharOps builds seen often on this forum are interesting exercises, and necessary ones in some groups that expect that level of mechanical optimization to be effective, but you can't tell me any newbie who sat down to play a game has said "I want to play a character who has always wanted to be Com3/Rog1/Drmwv4 . . . . /Etc7 ever since he was a little boy . . . " because its not a natural progression, its a mechanical one.

-----------------------

That said, there are still a lot of mechanical things I like about 3e vs. 2e, and I have a group that plays well with the rules, so I don't pine too often for the old days. A lot of *any* system is having a group that all wants the same thing out of it. :)

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:35 PM
If that's what you got out of that, quote mining to boot, I don't see any point in continuing this conversation. I did not say that. I used those words, but in conjunction with other words in the quote that I thought it made it clear that that was not what I meant at all. Good day.:smallfrown:

What I got from your exact words was "If you don't want to play D&D as a no-holds barred, any concept open, you are wrong." Not everyone wants to play in Eberron, or wants squirrels mounted on flesh golems as PC options in their version of Greyhawk.

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:38 PM
I see. Watching your character grow is a bad thing. I'm so glad I have learned character development and growth is bad. This will save me a lot of time in writing novels.

And this is more or less the opposite of what I said. Characters can learn and grow, but, in AD&D, their essential mechanical nature rarely changes. They don't gain any radically changing abilities (with a couple, aforementioned, exceptions). If you start as an apprentice warrior, chances are that you'll end your life as a warrior (retired, veteran, or bleeding). It's only a very rare individual who can radically change their life path midway. That doesn't preclude character growth... just radical mechanical changes.

Hzurr
2010-01-26, 04:41 PM
Not everyone wants ... squirrels mounted on flesh golems as PC options in their version of Greyhawk.

Ok, let's be serious here. Everyone wants this, whether they admit it or not.

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:45 PM
And, frankly?

2e is fiddly as all get out. I don't even know which version you're playing, naturally, because there's so many different games wedged in under that versioning number. Maybe you're running OSRIC? Or maybe you're running 'cyclopedia? Or maybe you're running S&W which is supposedly just a fork off the 2e model? What setting are you playing? Because all of them have different environmental rules, some replace whole classes, change entire subsystems.....

Usually, when I talk about AD&D, I'm talking about 2nd edition, and fairly close to core; I also specifically mentioned Castles and Crusades as a game with a similar philsophy. As I said in my original post, "fiddly" in this case does not refer to the number of different subsystems, but rather to the number of situational modifiers that are likely to apply to any roll... a feature on which 2nd edition has a lot less of.

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:46 PM
Ok, let's be serious here. Everyone wants this, whether they admit it or not.

So I should get rid of Begby? ;-)

Tavar
2010-01-26, 04:49 PM
What I got from your exact words was "If you don't want to play D&D as a no-holds barred, any concept open, you are wrong." Not everyone wants to play in Eberron, or wants squirrels mounted on flesh golems as PC options in their version of Greyhawk.
Let's compare Ravens_cry's post to the post he/she was quoting;

Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.



And still - for roleplaying reasons, I see very little reason to want to play a plate wearing wizard. That just smells to me of wanting the mechanical advantage, and hammering a role into the mould that fits.

Even so - achieving a plate-wizard is easy. But slightly pointless.

Anyways - in all discussions such as this it should be noted that I rarely play above level 12 or so.

I don't think Ravens_cry can be accused of saying "You'er playing DnD wrong". Seems it was more a reply to Acromos, who seems to be saying exactly that. Funny that you're not accusing him of anything.....

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:54 PM
I don't think Ravens_cry can be accused of saying "You'er playing DnD wrong". Seems it was more a reply to Acromos, who seems to be saying exactly that. Funny that you're not accusing him of anything.....

He wasn't addressing me in the post, so I didn't say anything to him. That particular post caught my eye as I was going through, however. In any case, I apologize to Raven's Cry if I misconstrued your argument.

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 04:56 PM
Shrug, what you call fiddly I call fun.

Which is fine. I've never said "Your game is bad if it's fiddly." I've said "I dislike games that are fiddly, and here's what I mean by that."

hamlet
2010-01-26, 05:08 PM
And this is more or less the opposite of what I said. Characters can learn and grow, but, in AD&D, their essential mechanical nature rarely changes. They don't gain any radically changing abilities (with a couple, aforementioned, exceptions). If you start as an apprentice warrior, chances are that you'll end your life as a warrior (retired, veteran, or bleeding). It's only a very rare individual who can radically change their life path midway. That doesn't preclude character growth... just radical mechanical changes.

The problems comes when some (a seeming majority now) define "growth" precisely as mechanical change, radical or otherwise. Always sounded odd in my ear, especially when one of the selling points of the new editions was it being less about hack and slash and more about story and plot.


Usually, when I talk about AD&D, I'm talking about 2nd edition, and fairly close to core; I also specifically mentioned Castles and Crusades as a game with a similar philsophy. As I said in my original post, "fiddly" in this case does not refer to the number of different subsystems, but rather to the number of situational modifiers that are likely to apply to any roll... a feature on which 2nd edition has a lot less of.

I have found that you really have to specify that here, especially nowadays. Many just assume when you say "AD&D2ed" that you mean ALL books. Many others know nothing about the system other than what they saw in Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale computer games. Many are, frankly (and with no insult intended) completely ignorant of the actuality of AD&D in the first place, but aren't hesitant to chime in about how awful it is.


EDIT: And, for the record, I do not want a squirell riding a flesh golem for a character, NPC, or monster anywhere near me.

arguskos
2010-01-26, 05:12 PM
EDIT: And, for the record, I do not want a squirell riding a flesh golem for a character, NPC, or monster anywhere near me.
Wait, why not? It'd BE AWESOME. Make it a Skurid and we're in business. :smallcool:

hamlet
2010-01-26, 05:17 PM
Wait, why not? It'd BE AWESOME. Make it a Skurid and we're in business. :smallcool:

I honestly have no interest in such strange and freakish things as PC's (or NPC's, or monsters, though I MIGHT possibly acceed in the case of a monster if I were playing a system/setting that was strange enough that it wouldn't be too terribly outside of the norm). I much prefer role playing characters who are effectively human. It's more engrossing and more fun, especially when I don't have to deal with a walking necromantic junk pile with a sentient rat riding around on top.

I prefer to suspend my disbelief, not hang it by the neck until dead.

Oh, and also for the record, a warforged could easily be created in AD&D. Would just require the creation of a customized race in core. Would take, maybe, 20 minutes to hash it out on paper.

Tavar
2010-01-26, 05:19 PM
Cause, you know, making giant balls of flame appear when you say some gibberish and wave your hands is much more realistic.

Yora
2010-01-26, 05:30 PM
I always considered this a flaw of the d20 system, but I've never been able to theoretically keep d20's level of character customization and earlier edition's speedy play.
Star Wars Saga is d20, but I think it's much less complicated. Races usually grant you +2 to one ability, -2 to another, and one minor special ability. If you stick to the core book and maybe one or two splatbooks, chosing feats is not that difficult and talents have almost no prerequisites, so just pick one you like. No need to work with skill points and even if you're a force user, force powers are so much more easier to organize than spells. There are no magic items at all and if you want to have a special weapon, it gets a +2 bonus to hit or damage, and that's it.

But of course, all this only works if it fits the style of your campaign. If you want to include lots of supernatural powers in the setting, this approach would probably not work at all. It's not meant for creating demon lords with cartloads of magical abilities or spell duels. But if all the PCs and NPCs are essentially just "people" with different degrees of training in aiming weapons or using skills, I think you really do not need to go with all the baggage from the basic d20 rules.

hamlet
2010-01-26, 05:32 PM
Cause, you know, making giant balls of flame appear when you say some gibberish and wave your hands is much more realistic.

Again, difference between suspension of disbelief, and slaughter of it.

It's easier to manage with wizards calling balls of flame into existance than it is to deal with sentient necromantic rodents riding something out of the nightmares of Herbert West.

There are acceptable breaks with reality that make for a fun fantasy game for me, and then there's "What the hell are you smoking?".:smalltongue:

arguskos
2010-01-26, 05:33 PM
I honestly have no interest in such strange and freakish things as PC's (or NPC's, or monsters, though I MIGHT possibly acceed in the case of a monster if I were playing a system/setting that was strange enough that it wouldn't be too terribly outside of the norm). I much prefer role playing characters who are effectively human. It's more engrossing and more fun, especially when I don't have to deal with a walking necromantic junk pile with a sentient rat riding around on top.
Well, I was kinda assuming a setting where such a thing would make some modicum of sense, not your average Greyhawkesque setting. Something like a world where Dr. Frankenstein runs rampant and such things are the norm. I think that might be amusing to try once or twice.

Personally, I like playing humanoids as well, though I branch out past humans frequently. Elves, dvati, warforged, humans, and tibbits are probably my favorite player races. Lumi and minotaurs would make that list, but they're a bit trickier to use as PCs.

olentu
2010-01-26, 05:42 PM
I would probably find an intelligent squirrel pretty reasonable in any setting that has owl bears.

hamlet
2010-01-26, 05:43 PM
Well, I was kinda assuming a setting where such a thing would make some modicum of sense, not your average Greyhawkesque setting. Something like a world where Dr. Frankenstein runs rampant and such things are the norm. I think that might be amusing to try once or twice.



In such a case, as I said, then yeah, I probably wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. However, I largely enjoy the "Greyhawkesque" types of settings. In fact, I'm grognardy enough most days to dislike most things outside of the basic 5, but hey, that's just me. Most times, I just like to keep it simple. Start with a basic roster of "acceptable PC races" and do not open it up to "all and sundry" because somebody has an itch to play an Ogre Magi. Of course, the core roster isn't always elf, human, dwarf, gnome, halfling.

Kalamar is, to me, probably the best setting going. Even better than Greyhawk on some levels, though inferior in some. Simple, engrossing, and inspiring. That's acheivement.

Susano-wo
2010-01-26, 05:50 PM
As a current Full-Plate wearing Gish, I must ride in to defense of our honorable kin!

Seriously, though, casting in full plate in 3rd is, if anything, underpowered. I still do it, though, because I enjoy my knight who struggles with what truly is or is not honorable. This started with magic--he rarely used magic in combat, and certainly not in duels. He still wouldn't in a duel, but has grown comfortable with using his sorcerous powers in combat with his companions. Now the issue is assassins. Moral assassins. It breaks his brain :P

It started as a mechanical idea. Using still spell to cast in full plate, but that doesn't mean it stops there, or even if it was supposed to be a power-play.

As far as fiddling and playing your character go--I want a balance. Its frustrating to have to keep track of so many bonuses, but I want something I can customize--even change as I level up. I am going to be learning the assassins ways soon (though Jasonis, the character, doesn't know it yet >.>), something that NEVER would have happened by the original concept. I'm afraid tacking 'knows the assassin's ways' onto his clang clang clang 0 Sneak just wouldn't cut it :P

arguskos
2010-01-26, 05:56 PM
In such a case, as I said, then yeah, I probably wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. However, I largely enjoy the "Greyhawkesque" types of settings. In fact, I'm grognardy enough most days to dislike most things outside of the basic 5, but hey, that's just me. Most times, I just like to keep it simple. Start with a basic roster of "acceptable PC races" and do not open it up to "all and sundry" because somebody has an itch to play an Ogre Magi. Of course, the core roster isn't always elf, human, dwarf, gnome, halfling.

Kalamar is, to me, probably the best setting going. Even better than Greyhawk on some levels, though inferior in some. Simple, engrossing, and inspiring. That's acheivement.
See, I'm not that grognardian in nature. I like me some Faerun-style, higher fantasy, settings. Hell, the game I'm DMing right now is set in a world that is heavily inspired by the Elric Saga's world, right down to the claiming of the world from Chaos and everything.

As such, I have a lot of races/classes/stuff in my worlds. There's always a place for something new and exciting. But then again, the classics are the best in many ways, it's true.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-26, 06:09 PM
In both my Pathfinder games and my 4e games, a frequent lament is "Crap, I forgot I had this bonus, I probably would have (saved/hit/killed him/not died).

Is this such a bad thing? So you forget bonuses, and therefore diverge from what the mechanics said you "should" have gotten. People should suck it up and stop whining. The result of all this forgetting and stuff is that your bonus is listed as N, but actually ranges from (N-4) to N. That's awfully random - just like reality. Just shift the power level up (easily doable by raising stats) so that the range is from (N-2) to (N+2), and you're set.
Basically, people who lament like that are too caught up in what the rules "should" be. Suck it up, move on, and retcon it. You got unlucky IC or something. Playing a tactical gestalt campaign has taught me that whining about these things will kill your game. When you're drowning in mechanical modifiers, you tend to realize their proper place - namely, as part of a combat minigame. Since the story is more important, little goof-ups in the minigame are unimportant.

Irreverent Fool
2010-01-26, 06:11 PM
I enjoy the mechanical challenges of 3.5 etc. but given the fact that it can, with moderate effort, be broken completely, it forces one to artificially limit oneself in the metagame.

Moreover, if you are playing with a group of people who have varying levels of understanding of the craziness of the system or simply better access to resources (books, forums), it becomes difficult for their characters to exist in the same game world without ruining the fun for the players.

I agree with Mark Hall. He's put it better than I ever could. Someone is bound to cry 'Stormwind Fallacy' but it's true. When the game is less about mechanical choices, it defaults to becoming more about story and character which is what drew me to the game in the first place.

Now if only I could convince someone to play older editions of the game with me.

obnoxious
sig

Susano-wo
2010-01-26, 06:15 PM
Hmm, I didn't get the impression that people were whining, just frustrated when they 'mess up."
I really like your idea, though, of treating it like its a part of the randomization. it puts a lot of pressure off of memories, and allows things to move along. You still have what to do about X or Y condition itself, which sometimes might break suspension of disbelief, but can sometimes still be worked with.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-01-26, 06:16 PM
Do you really need to go to an earlier edition for this?
My 3e games have gone like this: Work on optimized character builds, finish characters, run some combats early in the campaign so we memorize our tricks, and then move on to the story and not get bogged down in mechanical nitpicking.
An old-edition game would skip the first and third steps. Is that really such a benefit that you need to "convert" to older editions? Do you really feel the need to write rants about the new editions and establish yourself as a grognard? If mechanics take a backseat to story, why does it matter so much what edition you use?

Note: "you" does not refer to any individual. The "you" of this post would not be playing Pathfinder or 4e. It's a combination of gripes I have about the (not unified) group of "old-schoolers".

Old-school is a state of mind. You don't need to revert to the old RPGs to use it. IMHO, since doing so severely limits potential players, it really isn't worth it.

sofawall
2010-01-26, 06:34 PM
Oh, and also for the record, a warforged could easily be created in AD&D. Would just require the creation of a customized race in core. Would take, maybe, 20 minutes to hash it out on paper.

I am honestly sad that you said this instead of Mark Hall, but my reply is the same.

You can't really do it in the system, but you can make it work perfectly with fiat, eh? Kinda like how you can fiat away all the fiddly numbers, eh?

Aldizog
2010-01-26, 06:58 PM
I am honestly sad that you said this instead of Mark Hall, but my reply is the same.

You can't really do it in the system, but you can make it work perfectly with fiat, eh? Kinda like how you can fiat away all the fiddly numbers, eh?
How can you fiat away the fiddly numbers in 3.5? Ban buffing and situational modifiers?

Adding things by fiat is generally much more accepted by players than taking away things by fiat.

Lapak
2010-01-26, 07:19 PM
You can't really do it in the system, but you can make it work perfectly with fiat, eh? Kinda like how you can fiat away all the fiddly numbers, eh?1e and 2e are systems intended to be meddled with by each group of players; rule 0 was not something intended to deal with particular rulings, but entire aspects of gameplay. 3rd and 4th edition are intended to be complete, internally consistent systems that only require fiat to cover hazy parts of the rules.

You're arguing against improvisation in a system where improvisation was explicitly expected as part of the normal experience.

HamHam
2010-01-26, 07:38 PM
You see, there really isn't an issue here, at least for a DM who is amenable to the idea.

AD&D doesn't dissalow it, just doesn't have it pre-written. Want a wizard who wears plate mail? Fine, but you're going to lose the ability to cast spells from the Divination and Enchantment schools, and probably one or two others. You're allowed to use some selection of "martial" type weapons, but you're still limited to Wizards' combat tables.

Done.

Next please.

You know what the difference is between you homebrewing a solution and you getting a solution from a splatbook?

None, except that later can be more reasonably expected to be in line with the rest of the system in terms of balance (which in DnD means that some things will be horribly broken, and everything else will be only slightly broken, because their playtesters don't actually know how to play the game and/or don't exist; but that's no different from Core).

Many people have neither the time or inclination to come up with and playtest homebrew solutions to their problems. Having rules available is a great asset, as is having access to a homebrewing community.

Irreverent Fool
2010-01-26, 08:03 PM
Many people have neither the time or inclination to come up with and playtest homebrew solutions to their problems. Having rules available is a great asset, as is having access to a homebrewing community.

How can one have the time to go through books with a fine-toothed comb for the best stacking modifiers and combos and not enough to use a little imagination?

Inclination, I can understand and in that case, those many people are free to play the fiddly system which is enjoyable in its way.

obnoxious
sig

Mark Hall
2010-01-26, 08:31 PM
I am honestly sad that you said this instead of Mark Hall, but my reply is the same.

Honestly, I looked through the post trying to find the original statement, but couldn't find the post. His answer was about what I would say... design a race that does that, if that's what the player wants to. However, I probably wouldn't design the race that way, if I were making it fresh instead of porting back the Warforged.

Edit: Found it now. Wow, really overlooked that one.

HamHam
2010-01-26, 09:27 PM
How can one have the time to go through books with a fine-toothed comb for the best stacking modifiers and combos and not enough to use a little imagination?

Inclination, I can understand and in that case, those many people are free to play the fiddly system which is enjoyable in its way.

obnoxious
sig

You don't need to go through every detail of every book to find a PrC here and a feat there that will enable whatever character you are trying to make.

Knaight
2010-01-26, 09:45 PM
And this is more or less the opposite of what I said. Characters can learn and grow, but, in AD&D, their essential mechanical nature rarely changes. They don't gain any radically changing abilities (with a couple, aforementioned, exceptions). If you start as an apprentice warrior, chances are that you'll end your life as a warrior (retired, veteran, or bleeding). It's only a very rare individual who can radically change their life path midway. That doesn't preclude character growth... just radical mechanical changes.

Characters learn and grow, but how they learn and grow is entirely just gaining levels, gaining more levels, all without much in the way of a choice. Radical mechanical changes frequently make sense within a story, just like radical character changes. They just need a reason, and have to come from somewhere.

X is an ex-soldier, who ultimately failed in retiring away from a warriors path, finding civilian life fake, and intolerable. He switched professions to a caravan guard when he got the chance, making friends with several of the other guards. (Presumably X, and some of the other guards are PCs). Then, in a fateful battle, a stray sling stone punches through the ribs of one of his friends. They are able to patch it up, but it is still a nasty wound, and the friend dies before they are able to get to a real healer.

(Caravan guard bits are all played)

With a friend dead, X takes responsibility. He should have been able to detect this, should have intercepted with a shield, should have fought better so his friend could focus more on distant foes. Torn inside, he decides that what he really needed to do was become a healer. At the next opportunity X buys a collection of writings on magic, and healing. Whenever he can he talks to local herbalists, tribal shamans, even university educated magicians. He comes to understand everything (takes magical theory type skills in most systems), at a basic level, but can't get magic to work.

Eventually it happens again. Another friend falls, this time to a spear thrust that came just a little too quick. Driven, he rushes to his friend as another kills the spear man, and finally manages to get the magic to work. This time he won't die, and X has taken his first steps as a healer. (Multiclass into Cleric, although it is clumsy in D&D).

........

Now to clear something up. Systems that are versatile don't need to be heavy. Lots of lightweight systems have this sort of thing. Case in point, a certain Fudge build. http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/05/05/fudge_on_the_fly.html

Mike_G
2010-01-26, 10:35 PM
http://rpg-crank.livejournal.com/33377.html
.

Despite AD&D's convoluted mechanical eccentricities, I maintain that it was inherently simpler than Pathfinder, 3.x, or 4e.


I'm going to have to disagree, at least on teaching a new player.

Teaching someone AD&D was like teaching the Imperial system of measures, or English. The rules are wildly inconsistent. 3e is like the Metric System, or German. The basic rules always apply to every roll/increment of units/sentence.

As far as mindset, I've repeated myself hoarse on these boards, I don't think it's as different as everyone makes it to be. My 3.5 group is almost all AD&D veterans, (except for the one newbie whose eyes glaze over at the mention of THACO, Monks not adding their Dex bouns to AC, level limits for demihumans, the fact that in 1e you couldn't even play an Elf Ranger FFS) and we play the way we always have. Sword and board, blaster Wizards, healer Clerics, Rogues with no UMD. Screw the optimization boards, I'm making a Fafhrd style hero and he thinks spiked chains are for Sallies.

I found AD&D very confining, due to the very thing you seem to like, that all you got to pick was class and race, and played a lot of classless systems back in my youth. Today I play D&D because it's well supported, easy to find a group, and I know the rules well, and I like that 3e gives you more flexibility.

Zeful
2010-01-26, 11:01 PM
Teaching someone AD&D was like teaching the Imperial system of measures, or English. The rules are wildly inconsistent. 3e is like the Metric System, or German. The basic rules always apply to every roll/increment of units/sentence.

Not really. 3e is more like Japanese, it's internally consistent, but there are so many different groupings of rules to make things confusing. 4e is the metric system, the rules apply to everyone, equally.

Dimers
2010-01-27, 12:48 AM
Didn't read past halfway through the first page -- I have to sleep occasionally. (My application will be reviewed by the elan council within the century.) Mark, my thoughts: yup, you're right, WOTC and subsequents are fiddly as heck. I sympathize about keeping track of modifiers, splatbook explosion, treating chargen as a game in itself, and having only a small "sweet spot" in many cases for when the character really looks like you intend (an interesting insight that I never noticed on my own). Me, I like to fiddle and modify and I'd rather have a small sweet spot than none at all, so I enjoy the WOTC stuff more than I did AD&D ... but I really do grok ya. Wanted to let you know I think your post was well-written.

Satyr
2010-01-27, 02:10 AM
Teaching someone AD&D was like teaching the Imperial system of measures, or English. The rules are wildly inconsistent. 3e is like the Metric System, or German. The basic rules always apply to every roll/increment of units/sentence.

Seriously, that's not how German works. It is truly not a very exact language. What you mean is probably Latin. Most native speakers don't speak full, proper German, using all forms or have ver strong regional accents - and even in the one area where the language is comparatively clear (pronounciation and orthography match), there are way, way too many exceptions and weird atavisms.

In many ways though, the later D&D editions combine two problems: They somehow manage to be confusing and unclear and restrictive at the same time. Yes, there are loads of stuff you can add to the game, but that's just quantity. The core system is ipso facto so restrictive and limited, that the sheer amount of material doesn't change that much about the outcome. It's just a very large collection of different coloured straightjackets.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-27, 02:59 AM
Not really. 3e is more like Japanese, it's internally consistent, but there are so many different groupings of rules to make things confusing. 4e is the metric system, the rules apply to everyone, equally.
Unless your an NPC. Then it's like. . .actually, I think the metaphor breaks down there. One thing I like in 3.x compared to 4.0 is almost all rules apply to everyone, NPC and PC alike. There are some exceptions to facilitate the fantasy, because we are not all as inspiring as Winston Churchill, as seductive as Casanova, or as silver tongued as Anansi. But for the most part, while there are exceptions within exceptions, those exceptions when applied apply to all. I don't want to make this any more of a forum war then it already is, but this is my opinion, and I stand on it as my opinion. It may not be much, but it's mine.
***
Thank you for the apology, Mark Hall. And I apologize for bristling.
Cheers.:smallsmile:

pasko77
2010-01-27, 03:16 AM
Characters in AD&D do change. They get better at their professions at time goes on. It's a rare person, even in today's world, who radically changes their field, or studies to radically different things; you see plenty of Physics/Math double majors, but how many do you see who simultaneously major in Law and Naval Engineering? Or are Olympic Gymnasts while running Fortune 500 companies?

Lol.
If you are really convinced of it, i'm sorry for you.
And, your examples are pretty bad. You don't need to be olympic level to do 2 things well. Life is change, are you are stuck with stereotypes.



"Playing D&D wrong?" D&D can only be played your way, now?

Well, you should really put an effort to read the whole post. The person you are misquoting said exactly the opposite.

Zombimode
2010-01-27, 05:07 AM
You can't really do it in the system, but you can make it work perfectly with fiat, eh?

This statement jumped to my eye as remarkably illogical. I asked myself "How could anyone possibly come to this conclusion?"
But then I realized, that maybe there are different definitions of "system".

Let me explain my view on the term "system":

The system is composed of the base mechanics, the categories and rules.
How an attack action opperates is part of the system (hit: AB + d20 >= target AC).
Taking the attack roll example, hitting an AC of 20 with an AB of 0 with anything less than a 20 is impossible within the system, and only possible with fiat.

On the one side we have a system, but on the other side we have content. Content are specific instances of the system in the game.
Lets take a look on another example for better illustration:
Weapons. On the systems side, we know what defines a weapon. A weapon consits of a damage dice, at least one damage type, a proficiency category, crit range and multiplier, is one or twohanded, plus possibly a number of abilities.
This is the system of a weapon in 3e.
Now imagine the longspear would not have been included in the weapon lists for whatever reason. A shortspear, yes, but no longspear. But there is someone who really want to play a character fighting with a longspear.
The DM takes a look on the weapon system and says: "sure, no problem, give me a minute"
He than writes:
"Longspear:
simple two handed weapon, 1D8 (medium size) x3, piercing, has reach"
(I forgott weight, but my point stands)

Form my prespektive the longspear fighter is entirely possible within the system, the DM just created some content for a better mechanical representation.
This is of course in analogy to the warforged example.

Now, if you dont follow this definition of "system" I would like to hear YOUR definition and why :smallsmile:

pasko77
2010-01-27, 07:12 AM
This is the system of a weapon in 3e.
Now imagine the longspear would not have been included in the weapon lists for whatever reason. A shortspear, yes, but no longspear. But there is someone who really want to play a character fighting with a longspear.
The DM takes a look on the weapon system and says: "sure, no problem, give me a minute"
He than writes:

[omitted]

Form my prespektive the longspear fighter is entirely possible within the system, the DM just created some content for a better mechanical representation.
This is of course in analogy to the warforged example.

Now, if you dont follow this definition of "system" I would like to hear YOUR definition and why :smallsmile:

I think your example is a homebrew. If the system does not have a particular weapon/feat/spell/whatever and you write it, it is definitionally out of the system. 3rd ed has written rules for warforged/awakened chipmunks/whatever, or at least precise guidelines to build them, while 2ed does not.
IHMO this is a big difference. It is better to have an option and choose not to use it, than have not, and being obliged to homebrew if necessary.

My 2cp.

Tehnar
2010-01-27, 07:44 AM
I would say that one of the things that make a good system is how easily you can incorporate homebrews in it (so they still make sense within the system).



IHMO this is a big difference. It is better to have an option and choose not to use it, than have not, and being obliged to homebrew if necessary.


Agreed. The only problem is when options are very complex (difficult to learn) or poorly presented. I find this is not true with 3.5 though with some other systems it is.

Jayabalard
2010-01-27, 07:45 AM
I'll tell you what I've told everyone else who's gone that route, it's rude and frankly casts your position in a bad light.It seems to be a quite pertinent question to me, and I don't think it casts is position in a negative light in the slightest.

It seems pretty clear from the rest of the post that the build options drove a lot of the character concept. That isn't to say that there's anything wrong with coming up with that, just that you're saying that's not what you're doing even though it really does look like that's what you're doing.

Zen Master
2010-01-27, 09:32 AM
Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong. Sure, the typical wizard wears little more armour then a goat, but why should the typical way be the only way? Maybe he was a frontline Battle Mage? Maybe he just doesn't like the idea of being hit, and is a bit insecure about his magic's ability to protect him? Vanilla can do a lot, but some like to be a bit more mechanically secure in their options.

No. I think I was fairly specific about that: There is nothing wrong with wanting ... whatever. But I think you should call it by name.

Calling it roleplaying doesn't work for me. I'm sorry, but I simply don't see how an irrelevant mechanic adds to character. Sure, there is stuff you can do with it, rp-wise - I just don't see how you couldn't also do that with something else.

And so, the only other reason I can fathom for wanting it is ... you know - rollplay. Which - and I've said this too - is also fine. Just ... call it by name.

frogspawner
2010-01-27, 10:00 AM
Despite AD&D's convoluted mechanical eccentricities, I maintain that it was inherently simpler than Pathfinder, 3.x, or 4e. ... This does not say that AD&D is "better" than the other games... but it is simpler, especially on the DM side of the screen.
Yes: Simplicity is a virtue. AD&D was indeed simpler than the more modern varieties of D&D, but had plenty of other shortcomings.

But D&D - in any form - is not the only game on town.

BRP (using the same core system as RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu) is much simpler, without being simplistic. So the mechanics don't get in the way of the roleplaying. (See my sig - and give it a try!)

tbarrie
2010-01-27, 10:19 AM
Unless [you're] an NPC.

Except, by definition, you're not.

Xenogears
2010-01-27, 10:20 AM
Except, by definition, you're not.

Unless your the DM.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 10:38 AM
I am honestly sad that you said this instead of Mark Hall, but my reply is the same.

You can't really do it in the system, but you can make it work perfectly with fiat, eh? Kinda like how you can fiat away all the fiddly numbers, eh?


1e and 2e are systems intended to be meddled with by each group of players; rule 0 was not something intended to deal with particular rulings, but entire aspects of gameplay. 3rd and 4th edition are intended to be complete, internally consistent systems that only require fiat to cover hazy parts of the rules.

You're arguing against improvisation in a system where improvisation was explicitly expected as part of the normal experience.

Exactly that, Sofawall. As I've said before, many suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of some of the most basic principles of the AD&D (and 0D&D) games. It is not a complete or comprehensive ruleset. In fact, it's not a rule set at all. It's a set of common guidlines that form a framework and backbone upon which the players and DM were expected to build the meat and muscle of the beast. Creativity and homebrewing are not just acceptable, but completely expected and even required.

As a matter of fact, if you look close enough, you'll realize that AD&D 1ed is little more than 0D&D with Gary Gygax's house rules (largely listed in the various supplements to 0D&D) for the Greyhawk campaign setting. Essentially, it's D&D Greyhawk edition.

By the way, throwing the word "fiat" at me like it was a curse word? Really not something I care for.


You know what the difference is between you homebrewing a solution and you getting a solution from a splatbook?

None, except that later can be more reasonably expected to be in line with the rest of the system in terms of balance

Huh? You mean, rules I pulled out of a book are inherently superior and more balanced than rules I created specifically to reflect the tone and habits of my own game? Really?


X is an ex-soldier, who ultimately failed in retiring away from a warriors path, finding civilian life fake, and intolerable. He switched professions to a caravan guard when he got the chance, making friends with several of the other guards. (Presumably X, and some of the other guards are PCs). Then, in a fateful battle, a stray sling stone punches through the ribs of one of his friends. They are able to patch it up, but it is still a nasty wound, and the friend dies before they are able to get to a real healer.

(Caravan guard bits are all played)

With a friend dead, X takes responsibility. He should have been able to detect this, should have intercepted with a shield, should have fought better so his friend could focus more on distant foes. Torn inside, he decides that what he really needed to do was become a healer. At the next opportunity X buys a collection of writings on magic, and healing. Whenever he can he talks to local herbalists, tribal shamans, even university educated magicians. He comes to understand everything (takes magical theory type skills in most systems), at a basic level, but can't get magic to work.

Eventually it happens again. Another friend falls, this time to a spear thrust that came just a little too quick. Driven, he rushes to his friend as another kills the spear man, and finally manages to get the magic to work. This time he won't die, and X has taken his first steps as a healer. (Multiclass into Cleric, although it is clumsy in D&D).


You've just described a 1st level Cleric in AD&D.

Kylarra
2010-01-27, 10:41 AM
The DM has never been constrained by player build rules though. :smallconfused:

Frankly, I've never understood the sense of entitlement some players have towards being able to play anything and everything, and how a system isn't good if it doesn't let them do that.

Now, admittedly, you play the system that lets you do what you want, because that only makes sense, but this idea that in order to be "good" a system needs to allow you to play <specific concept> is rather arrogant.

Xenogears
2010-01-27, 10:52 AM
The DM has never been constrained by player build rules though. :smallconfused:

Frankly, I've never understood the sense of entitlement some players have towards being able to play anything and everything, and how a system isn't good if it doesn't let them do that.

Now, admittedly, you play the system that lets you do what you want, because that only makes sense, but this idea that in order to be "good" a system needs to allow you to play <specific concept> is rather arrogant.

I was just pointing out that being a PC is not inherent to the example.

If my definition of a good game is one in which I can play any thing I can concieve and a game cannot do that then it is not a good game. Granted no system could really let you play absolutely anything without homebrew. So really the best way to judge a system is how easy homebrew/refluffing/3rd party material/whatever else is to incorperate into the system.

jseah
2010-01-27, 11:42 AM
Huh? You mean, rules I pulled out of a book are inherently superior and more balanced than rules I created specifically to reflect the tone and habits of my own game? Really?
Unpredictability?

I mean, if something has to be hombrewed, you don't know how it's going to work until you've played it. If enemies get homebrew abilities that open new options, then it gets even more unpredictable.

For the planning type of gamer (like me) who decides moves two steps ahead of the action, knowing what you can do and as much as possible of the setting and enemies is extremely vital to doing anything effectively.
We just don't like "going with the flow"; we, through our characters, have to have a direct impact on the plot's overall direction rather than something pre-decided or it's too boring.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 11:46 AM
Unpredictability?

I mean, if something has to be hombrewed, you don't know how it's going to work until you've played it. If enemies get homebrew abilities that open new options, then it gets even more unpredictable.

So . . . what?

If I homebrew something that, later on in play turns out to not work, I simply step back and say, "hold on guys, that doesn't work, let's take a second to figure out what to do here."

It ain't rocket science.




For the planning type of gamer (like me) who decides moves two steps ahead of the action, knowing what you can do and as much as possible of the setting and enemies is extremely vital to doing anything effectively.
We just don't like "going with the flow"; we, through our characters, have to have a direct impact on the plot's overall direction rather than something pre-decided or it's too boring.

So if you can't make reliably predictive mathematical models ahead of time, it's bad?

Ok, got it.

Mike_G
2010-01-27, 11:51 AM
Not really. 3e is more like Japanese, it's internally consistent, but there are so many different groupings of rules to make things confusing. 4e is the metric system, the rules apply to everyone, equally.


I should have known better than use an analogy on the Internet. Posters would spend time critiquing the inexactness of the analogy, and ignore the point of the post.

My point is, for a new gamer, AD&D is tough to grasp, since everything works on its own subsystem. Attacks are d20, high is good. Thief Skills are D100, low is good. Usually, high values are good (level, attributes, modifiers) except for AC, where lower is better (and a +2 Shield actually subtracts from AC).

Yes, you can get used to it, and we did, but it's like I got used to feet and inches and yards and miles, but I can convert cm to m to km easier than I can teach a Swede to convert 12 in = 1 ft = 1/3 yd = 1/5280 mi. You can calculate the speed of light in furlongs per fortnight, but why would you?

I don't miss the AD&D system at all. There were too many inconsistencies, holes in the rules and outright prohibitions that I found confining or frustrating. I can see missing the feel, since I hate the entitled optimization heavy RAWtards that show up on boards.

Since I play with a bunch of AD&D veterans, {Scrubbed} my games still feel much the same, and I am much happier with 3e, since it allows easier multiclassing, and more customizable characters, and has a generally consistent mechanic.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 11:58 AM
You know, it isn't that mindbending. Really.

I honestly marvel when people tell me that AD&D is so obtuse that they can't understand it or teach it to a new player. Takes me about 15 minutes to explain the very basics to a new player (i.e., this is your saving throws, roll over to succeed, this is how you roll an attack, this is how you might cast a spell, etc.). What takes time and effort is mastering the rules.

Really, and honestly, it puzzles me that people with educations past the 5th grade simply do not grok the basics of AD&D/0D&D. It was more difficult to learn how to use the internet, but now most people use it like second nature.

Zeful
2010-01-27, 12:04 PM
Unless your an NPC. Then it's like. . .actually, I think the metaphor breaks down there. One thing I like in 3.x compared to 4.0 is almost all rules apply to everyone, NPC and PC alike.

All the rules never applied to everyone in 3.x. If you were a caster, you had your own ruleset which was different from every other caster, if you were a fighter you had a different one, which was identical to every other melee character's rules. Further NPCs had the same ruleset as PCs, meaning that the game was designed with a very deliberate PVP element and as such player classes should be inherently balanced with each other. Given that 7 of the 11 core classes stop being useful for anything other than minions at about level 6 they're not.

In 4e, which was not designed to have PC classes fight each other, (neither was 3.x for that matter, which is another problem with the system) a more useful ruleset was developed to make the DM's job easier, not harder.

So yes, 4e is more comparable to the metric system, and 3.x is more comparable to the Japanese language, based on the level of complexity involved. Based on the number of errors in both systems, 4e is still the metric system, and 3.x is the Imperial system.

dsmiles
2010-01-27, 12:22 PM
Smells to me like someone saying someone is playing D&D wrong.

The only wrong way to play any rpg is for people to not have fun. As long as everyone is having fun, "ur doin it pretty good, akshully."

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 12:22 PM
You know, it isn't that mindbending. Really.

I honestly marvel when people tell me that AD&D is so obtuse that they can't understand it or teach it to a new player. Takes me about 15 minutes to explain the very basics to a new player (i.e., this is your saving throws, roll over to succeed, this is how you roll an attack, this is how you might cast a spell, etc.). What takes time and effort is mastering the rules.

Really, and honestly, it puzzles me that people with educations past the 5th grade simply do not grok the basics of AD&D/0D&D. It was more difficult to learn how to use the internet, but now most people use it like second nature.
Now, to be fair, "mastering the rules" includes remembering the various combat rules (facing, shield usage, fractional attacks per round), learning the ins-and-outs of the various spells (lightning bolts bounce?!), and the finicky subsystems (encumbrance, NWPs, etc.). Oh, and whatever houserules your particular DM is using.

And, of course, explaining is the best way to learn it because the 2E books are poorly arranged at best.

I'm not saying there isn't some exaggeration out there, but 2E is not exactly checkers.

jseah
2010-01-27, 12:24 PM
So . . . what?

If I homebrew something that, later on in play turns out to not work, I simply step back and say, "hold on guys, that doesn't work, let's take a second to figure out what to do here."

It ain't rocket science.
But we might have initiated a plan that relies on it working in a particular way that it was claimed to work.
When it doesn't, either it gets changed (which might screw up other bits that were right) or the plan goes awry when it shouldn't have.

Changing right in the middle of a session makes it even worse. I'd take the reliably sub-par ability over the does-something-different-every-session ability.


So if you can't make reliably predictive mathematical models ahead of time, it's bad?

Ok, got it.
Not that accurate. Just an eyeball estimate.

Yes, I expect systems to be reliable enough for an intelligent guess. When the system claims "Ability X works like this and is intended to be used this way", I expect it to perform correctly (barring mitigating circumstances).
There is a reason why I don't play freeform and that I hate Rule-of-Cool/Drama/whatever-pleases-you. They may as well be as good as random to me and often involve OOC information.

Most of abilities are fine, but homebrew makes it more complicated. If I ask for some ability X, is it possible? You'd say it depends on the ability.
How do I know what kind of abilities might be acceptable then? It's not something that is simple to work out.
- This is important even after character creation as asking NPCs for help, or looking for someone with a specific spell/ability/class feature is always an option

hamlet
2010-01-27, 12:26 PM
Now, to be fair, "mastering the rules" includes remembering the various combat rules (facing, shield usage, fractional attacks per round), learning the ins-and-outs of the various spells (lightning bolts bounce?!), and the finicky subsystems (encumbrance, NWPs, etc.). Oh, and whatever houserules your particular DM is using.

And this is different from 3.x and 4.0 precisely how? Perhaps there aren't really as many "subsystems" in D20 as there are in AD&D, but seriously, people can take years to successfully intuit the rules just like AD&D.




And, of course, explaining is the best way to learn it because the 2E books are poorly arranged at best.

No. The 2nd edition rule books are very well organized. You may be thinking of the 1st edition rule books, which were a little more scattered, though not terribly so. If you really get down to it, 0D&D was the one with REALLY bad organization. The others only took a while to figure out where stuff was at, to understand where Gygax put stuff, and then it wasn't that hard.



I'm not saying there isn't some exaggeration out there, but 2E is not exactly checkers.

And 3e is so much easier? Really?

dsmiles
2010-01-27, 12:30 PM
Now, to be fair, "mastering the rules" includes remembering the various combat rules (facing, shield usage, fractional attacks per round), learning the ins-and-outs of the various spells (lightning bolts bounce?!), and the finicky subsystems (encumbrance, NWPs, etc.). Oh, and whatever houserules your particular DM is using.

And, of course, explaining is the best way to learn it because the 2E books are poorly arranged at best.

I'm not saying there isn't some exaggeration out there, but 2E is not exactly checkers.

Definitely not checkers, but at the ripe old age of 7, I had more trouble learning how to play Monopoly than I did AD&D.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 12:41 PM
But we might have initiated a plan that relies on it working in a particular way that it was claimed to work.
When it doesn't, either it gets changed (which might screw up other bits that were right) or the plan goes awry when it shouldn't have.

Changing right in the middle of a session makes it even worse. I'd take the reliably sub-par ability over the does-something-different-every-session ability.

Eh? Well, first off, that your plans may not work as you thought they would and you would either have to change them, or suffer is pretty much the nature of the game. That's how it works.

If a rule I changed or created has an unanticipated and negative effect, there's nothing at all stopping me from halting the game for a few minutes to determine what happened and, possibly, undoing some of the bad things. That's what being a DM is about.

And it's not like I change rules without telling the players. Anything I change that they have a right to know about (i.e., when I'm not making an alteration to a monster or treasure or something like that), I tell them about it. We have a document that explicitly calls out any changes that have been implemented. Seems to work out just fine for all involved.



Not that accurate. Just an eyeball estimate.


And you can't make plans and estimates and eyball results in AD&D? I must remember to tell my gaming group. We must have been doing something wrong for the last 7 years.







Most of abilities are fine, but homebrew makes it more complicated. If I ask for some ability X, is it possible? You'd say it depends on the ability.
How do I know what kind of abilities might be acceptable then? It's not something that is simple to work out.
- This is important even after character creation as asking NPCs for help, or looking for someone with a specific spell/ability/class feature is always an option

How do you know? Well, you could communicate with the DM. Guy ain't gonna bite your head off for asking a question like that. In fact, as a DM, I LOVE IT when players ask me this kind of stuff rather than just assume. It helps me to help them enjoy things more.

Seriously, this is why you need to talk to the DM and not assume he's a moron who's out to get you. It's a disease practically that is prevalent on these boards.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 12:47 PM
Definitely not checkers, but at the ripe old age of 7, I had more trouble learning how to play Monopoly than I did AD&D.
I also learned to play D&D early on - yet I never played it correctly.

I just ignored most of the number-tracking and more arcane combat rules, and didn't even notice until I re-read the books this year. Even though we "used" NWPs, I'm pretty sure we didn't bother applying all the modifiers to ability checks nor did we consider the finer details of some of the skills.

I have no doubt I could teach a child to play 4th Edition (3rd, I'm not so sure) yet I'm not about to insult the intelligence of other posters who find it too complicated to learn. Different strokes for different folks.

Tehnar
2010-01-27, 12:47 PM
I think that a important part to remember as a DM is that you don't have to follow the rules, just give the players the illusion that you are. This alone makes the DMs job much easier, when you realize you don't have to be very pedantic. I like a system that lets you be pedantic, but at the same time allows you to fudge the rules.

Mike_G
2010-01-27, 12:50 PM
You know, it isn't that mindbending. Really.

I honestly marvel when people tell me that AD&D is so obtuse that they can't understand it or teach it to a new player. Takes me about 15 minutes to explain the very basics to a new player (i.e., this is your saving throws, roll over to succeed, this is how you roll an attack, this is how you might cast a spell, etc.). What takes time and effort is mastering the rules.

Really, and honestly, it puzzles me that people with educations past the 5th grade simply do not grok the basics of AD&D/0D&D. It was more difficult to learn how to use the internet, but now most people use it like second nature.


It's not all that tough, but it's unnecessarily complicated. Both 1e and 3e resolve a melee attack by using a D20 roll plus bonuses to overcome the targets defense. They're both an abstract die roll, modified by your good stuff, against a target number modified by his good stuff. Yes, you can learn either way pretty readily, if you put in the effort, and it does help if you find math easy.

Let me give two actual examples from my experience working with a new player:

Mike brings a new player to AD&D:

Liberal Arts Major Mike was Sleeping With in the 80's: I want to hit that Orc.

Mike: OK. Roll a d20 *points* Now, you have a +2 sword, so add 2 to the total, and you are behind him, and a Thief, so you get +4 to backstab. Ok, that's 14, +2+4 is 20. Looking at your THAC0 of 17, minus his AC of 6, you only need better than an 11, so you hit.

LAMMWSWIT80's: Cool.

LAMMWSWIT80's: Now I'll try to sneak up on his friends *grabs D20*

Mike: No, for that you need these.

LAMMWSWIT80s: OK. *rolls* 2 and 5. I got a seven.

Mike: That's a 25. That how we read those particular dice.

LAM...: O...K. What do I add?

Mike: You don't add anything to the roll, you just roll lower than that number on your sheet.

LAM: I though I had to roll high.

Mike: Not on skills.

LAM: I..see? You know, we could still go catch a John Hughes movie and make out to the Clash.

Mike: ...Yeah, that works.

Mike teaches 3E:

Graphic Artist Mike is Sleeping with in 2000 (sue me, I have a type): I want to Sneak Attack that figure in Chartreuse. (told you she was an artist)

Mike: That's an Orc. OK, Roll a D20 *points* then add your attack bonus, and +2 for flanking. You need to beat his AC, which is 16.

GAMISW: 12, + 4 for my attack bonus, and +2 for the flank. That's an 18.

Mike: You hit.

GAMISW: Cool. Now I sneak up on his buddies.

Mike: OK, roll the same d20, and add your skill bonus. You need to beat the guy's Listen roll.

GAMISW: Cool. Maybe after this we can catch a Guy Ritchie Movie and make out to Green Day.

Mike: Cool.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 12:52 PM
I think that a important part to remember as a DM is that you don't have to follow the rules, just give the players the illusion that you are. This alone makes the DMs job much easier, when you realize you don't have to be very pedantic. I like a system that lets you be pedantic, but at the same time allows you to fudge the rules.
Meh, the ability to cheat isn't the same as a license to cheat.

It is much harder to convince the players that they have agency when they find the DM is constantly breaking rules to make the story go "just so."

IMHO if you don't want to use the rules, use a different system. There are plenty of rules-light systems out there which are far cheaper (and quicker to learn) than any of the D&D product line.

jseah
2010-01-27, 01:07 PM
hamlet:

Of course plans go wrong. That's why we play the game. XD
But plans go wrong because of enemy action or mistakes. (which isn't an on-the-spot thing, but coming from their actual goals and strategy)
Plans going wrong because "this doesn't work like it says it should when it said it should" isn't nice.
Furthermore, the judge of a "failure that merits changing abilities" and a "failure that doesn't" is the people around the table.

********

Of course you can make plans. You can even make plans when there's homebrewing going on all the time.

They just have to incorporate an unusually high amount of unreliability, making them more and more useless.

********

I've tried that in a freeform game (that wasn't ever going to start but that's besides the point).

Two years on, I've made an entire magic system from the basic elements, including some nifty physics. (I actually have numbers I can run calculations on if I can be bothered to)
I'm about halfway done to a proper long-term character.

Building it was fun, but that wasn't a game.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 01:07 PM
<snip a whole lot of stuff>

Yeah, that's moderately accurate, except you've idealized the D20 example.

But anyway, yeah, when teaching somebody AD&D, I frequently run into the "but I thought I had to roll high?" and "why does this work this way and that the other way?" stuff. But my response for the first two or three sessions is simple, and almost always works: "don't worry about why things work the way they do right now, for the moment, just worry about the how and I'll explain why later." Almost always works, and the only times it doesn't work is when I'm faced with a player being brought "backwards" from 3.x who is determined to dislike AD&D and gripes continually about "antique" systems.

And there are plenty of similar pitfalls for learning D20. I consider myself an educated man, but when somebody tries to explain to me the finer points of the multiclassing system, the CR system, or the LA system, I want to hit them with a cricket bat.

On a totally unrelated note, do you realize how strange it is for me talkign to you? Calling you by my own name hurts my brain.

And don't worry about having a type. Most of us do. Mine happens to be evil gold digging witch.

Tehnar
2010-01-27, 01:08 PM
Meh, the ability to cheat isn't the same as a license to cheat.

It is much harder to convince the players that they have agency when they find the DM is constantly breaking rules to make the story go "just so."

IMHO if you don't want to use the rules, use a different system. There are plenty of rules-light systems out there which are far cheaper (and quicker to learn) than any of the D&D product line.

The point is that the players will not be aware of your fudging, or that your fudging is believable. To be able to do this you need a very good knowledge of the rules.

Lets say I have Ogres that live in a ordered military society. I want to stat them out and for them to be a improvement on regular ogres. Now I can add HD, class levels, or templates and calculate the CR from there; or I can say they have +2 to hit, +10 hp and +2 to all saves and +1 to CR. Its not pedantic, or you might label it cheating, but it is quick. You don't even have to write it down.

I am not advocating gross cheating such as fudging dice rolls, or making up monster abilities on the spot (such as the monster is suddenly immune to grappling).

What I am saying is that if you have a good, solid, consistent system (and you know its rules well) it is easy to improvise when such things come up. The rules are there to give you shall we say "boundary conditions",

hamlet
2010-01-27, 01:16 PM
hamlet:

Of course plans go wrong. That's why we play the game. XD
But plans go wrong because of enemy action or mistakes. (which isn't an on-the-spot thing, but coming from their actual goals and strategy)
Plans going wrong because "this doesn't work like it says it should when it said it should" isn't nice.

I fail to see your point. It's not like there aren't things in 3.x (core even) that don't work as they're supposed to. I cite the entirety of the Fighter and Monk classes as evidence. Not to mention CR, LA, and a number of Prestige Classes.

And when something goes wrong because the rule didn't work as advertised, there are any number of things that can happen. Either it's because somebody didnt' read how it actually works and didn't understans. Or it actually is a problem, and then it gets fixed.



Furthermore, the judge of a "failure that merits changing abilities" and a "failure that doesn't" is the people around the table.


Yes, precisely. What, exactly, is wrong with that? Or is this a case of the DM not being permitted to actually make decisions?




Of course you can make plans. You can even make plans when there's homebrewing going on all the time.

They just have to incorporate an unusually high amount of unreliability, making them more and more useless.



Again, how is this any different than WOTC's D20?




I've tried that in a freeform game (that wasn't ever going to start but that's besides the point).

Two years on, I've made an entire magic system from the basic elements, including some nifty physics. (I actually have numbers I can run calculations on if I can be bothered to)
I'm about halfway done to a proper long-term character.

Building it was fun, but that wasn't a game.

And I'm not talking at all about free form or systemless games.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 01:17 PM
The point is that the players will not be aware of your fudging, or that your fudging is believable. To be able to do this you need a very good knowledge of the rules.
You also need to make sure your players don't have a good sense of what the rules should be.

Anyhow, it looks like you were applying a more mechanistic view of "the rules" than I was - building monsters from scratch or modifying the ones in the MM is hardly cheating.

Tehnar
2010-01-27, 01:35 PM
It isin't really a question of the players rule knowledge.

Its really more in the vein of the rogue deciding to rob a random mansion in the city that you haven't prepped. So when he tries to pick a lock you can decide the DC is 27, even though there are no DC 27 locks listed in the DMG. Even if the player knows that, he will appreciate the time you saved by not looking up the exact DC in the DMG.

My point is really that DMs shouldn't be scared of too much rules. That not getting the exact target number won't be the end of the world. As long as you can in the same ballpark it will be ok. Thats why I like systems which are self consistent and the rules are neatly organized. In that case more rules = good.

jseah
2010-01-27, 01:52 PM
I fail to see your point. It's not like there aren't things in 3.x (core even) that don't work as they're supposed to. I cite the entirety of the Fighter and Monk classes as evidence. Not to mention CR, LA, and a number of Prestige Classes.

And when something goes wrong because the rule didn't work as advertised, there are any number of things that can happen. Either it's because somebody didnt' read how it actually works and didn't understans. Or it actually is a problem, and then it gets fixed.
The failing points of 3.5 are known. They fail reliably.

You can count on melee guards at the gate with little magic being vulnerable to flying attackers. That is "good".

When they suddenly sprout wings because the DM thought fighters were too weak, that is not good. (unless the hint that some races have hidden wings is dropped long enough before the fighters started to matter)
Giving them +X to hit/dmg isn't that bad. Modifying game-changing abilities is bad.

---Example---
Player A: "I climb up the tree to ambush the orcs"
DM: "Well, trees are easy, so I guess DC 5 climb check"
Player B: "Wait... so you mean we needn't have bothered with the ladder and could have simply cut down the apple tree earlier? Anyone could make a DC5 Climb with a few tries. How come we didn't know trees were easy to climb?"
Others: ...


Yes, precisely. What, exactly, is wrong with that? Or is this a case of the DM not being permitted to actually make decisions?
I meant that the deciding process is human, and thus not going to give the same answers each time.


Again, how is this any different than WOTC's D20?
In 3.5, (and in 4) it's easier to not use homebrew at all, by the wide variety of strange things you can do.

If many concepts are covered, the need to homebrew those are gone. Especially if the concepts are the commonly-used ones. (I am not talking about the squirrel here)


And I'm not talking at all about free form or systemless games.
It applies. My point was that I have too many questions as I would almost certainly try to map out what is possible in the game.

Mostly by asking questions of "can I do X?"

Susano-wo
2010-01-27, 01:55 PM
"You've just described a 1st level Cleric in AD&D."
NO, no, not really. He's just described a X level fighter who just Dual Classed into Cleric. Oh..but what if he wasn't human? Snap! he can't dual class. I guess he can't ever gain cleric powers....

I know you can modify the rules, and I can appreciate a rules light, make a ruling and move on philosophy. But this is about whether or not someone can make a dramatic character change mid campaign and have it warrant multiclassing, etc. IE the argument that you don't need to make any choices except at character creation, since a character concept really won't need it.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 01:58 PM
I meant that the deciding process is human, and thus not going to give the same answers each time.




Yeah, and this is where I realize that there's no point in talking to you about this. If this is your point of view, then there's no way in any reality that we'd be able to understand each other on this topic. I'd be surprised if we could agree on the color of a blueberry.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 02:03 PM
"You've just described a 1st level Cleric in AD&D."
NO, no, not really. He's just described a X level fighter who just Dual Classed into Cleric. Oh..but what if he wasn't human? Snap! he can't dual class. I guess he can't ever gain cleric powers....

Or . . . you could talk to the DM and tell him that you think that your demi-human character (elf, dwarf, whatever) has found religion and that he'd like to pursue a career as a cleric at this point in time and would he please allow the character to dual class. You know, actually communicate.



I know you can modify the rules, and I can appreciate a rules light, make a ruling and move on philosophy. But this is about whether or not someone can make a dramatic character change mid campaign and have it warrant multiclassing, etc. IE the argument that you don't need to make any choices except at character creation, since a character concept really won't need it.

And the argument being made on this side at least is that AD&D does, actually permit that. It simply must be cleared with the DM first rather than assumed.

If I have an idea for a character that can't be realized in D&D 3.x (or 4), does that make it an objectively bad system?

jseah
2010-01-27, 02:05 PM
Yeah, and this is where I realize that there's no point in talking to you about this. If this is your point of view, then there's no way in any reality that we'd be able to understand each other on this topic. I'd be surprised if we could agree on the color of a blueberry.
Well, it might very well be true that we play very different games.

I tend to play my games very high on the simulation side. No overall plot/theme, just a setting, NPCs (and their goals) and various historical things. Whatever happens, goes. (Of course, some plot hooks have been built in, but that's how it goes)
EDIT: I have homebrewed stuff. But always put them in the at the start of the game and never changed it afterwards.
Houserules are virtually always interpretations of lines that are unclear. (eg. IHS)

What I also meant by "give the same answers each time" should also be qualified by "to within reasonable standards". Identical answers aren't needed.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-27, 02:05 PM
The only wrong way to play any rpg is for people to not have fun. As long as everyone is having fun, "ur doin it pretty good, akshully."
That was my point. And to some, 'fiddly' is FUN.

All the rules never applied to everyone in 3.x. If you were a caster, you had your own ruleset which was different from every other caster, if you were a fighter you had a different one, which was identical to every other melee character's rules Further NPCs had the same ruleset as PCs, meaning that the game was designed with a very deliberate PVP element and as such player classes should be inherently balanced with each other. I felt it was more to do with verisimilitude. Mr. Commoner may only have 5 hit points, but they are the same KIND of hit points as me. Would you expect an architect have the same job procedures as a plumber? An NPC wizard will follow the same rules as PC wizard. We are both part of the same world.

Given that 7 of the 11 core classes stop being useful for anything other than minions at about level 6 they're not.
That really depends on the level of optimization. A a single class fighter in our group, with only one outside of Core feat, was able to pulp anything that was thrown at us in one or two hits. Two if it was an uber boss, one if it was anything else.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 02:09 PM
Well, it might very well be true that we play very different games.

I tend to play my games very high on the simulation side. No overall plot/theme, just a setting, NPCs (and their goals) and various historical things. Whatever happens, goes. (Of course, some plot hooks have been built in, but that's how it goes)
EDIT: I have homebrewed stuff. But always put them in the at the start of the game and never changed it afterwards.
Houserules are virtually always interpretations of lines that are unclear. (eg. IHS)

What I also meant by "give the same answers each time" should also be qualified by "to within reasonable standards". Identical answers aren't needed.

Personally, I don't care overly about most rules "inconsistancies." As long as they function adequately and stay quietly in the background where I dont' have to look at them all that often while the game is actually going on, then I'm happy. I don't care a whit if a rule doesn't produce the same result every time, or even often. If I dont' like it, I'll change it.

Too many rules in a system, too much "comprehensiveness and consistency" intrudes upon the game for me. In short, D20 is just too dang fidly.

Jayabalard
2010-01-27, 03:12 PM
Granted no system could really let you play absolutely anything without homebrew. Arguably, any of the generic systems (ie GURPS, etc) can do that.


You also need to make sure your players don't have a good sense of what the rules should be.No, you just need to make sure your players aren't the sort of people who get hung up on what the rules should be.

Matthew
2010-01-27, 03:31 PM
Let me give two actual examples from my experience working with a new player:

Mike brings a new player to AD&D:

Liberal Arts Major Mike was Sleeping With in the 80's: I want to hit that Orc.

Mike: OK. Roll a d20 *points* Now, you have a +2 sword, so add 2 to the total, and you are behind him, and a Thief, so you get +4 to backstab. Ok, that's 14, +2+4 is 20. Looking at your THAC0 of 17, minus his AC of 6, you only need better than an 11, so you hit.

LAMMWSWIT80's: Cool.

LAMMWSWIT80's: Now I'll try to sneak up on his friends *grabs D20*

Mike: No, for that you need these.

LAMMWSWIT80s: OK. *rolls* 2 and 5. I got a seven.

Mike: That's a 25. That how we read those particular dice.

LAM...: O...K. What do I add?

Mike: You don't add anything to the roll, you just roll lower than that number on your sheet.

LAM: I though I had to roll high.

Mike: Not on skills.

LAM: I..see? You know, we could still go catch a John Hughes movie and make out to the Clash.

Mike: ...Yeah, that works.

Dude, the player doesn't roll his move silently check, you do. :smallwink:

Seriously, though, one of the major differences between AD&D and D20 is that the mechanics of the former were largely hidden from the players and in the hands of the game master. I still play that way, never ask new players to learn the rules, only if they ask questions about them are they really discussed beyond the very basic stuff.

nightwyrm
2010-01-27, 03:37 PM
I felt it was more to do with verisimilitude. Mr. Commoner may only have 5 hit points, but they are the same KIND of hit points as me. Would you expect an architect have the same job procedures as a plumber? An NPC wizard will follow the same rules as PC wizard. We are both part of the same world.

The problem I find is that due to the skill system being tied to the level system which is tied to BAB etc., your master architect would have way more hp than the apprentice architect and would probably have more hp and fight better than my first level fighter.

hamlet
2010-01-27, 03:37 PM
Dude, the player doesn't roll his move silently check, you do. :smallwink:

Seriously, though, one of the major differences between AD&D and D20 is that the mechanics of the former were largely hidden from the players and in the hands of the game master. I still play that way, never ask new players to learn the rules, only if they ask questions about them are they really discussed beyond the very basic stuff.

I've usually been fine with players being fully aware of the rules (since, after all, what person playing AD&D generally isn't already completely aware of how the system works and probably has large tracts of it commited to memory?), but hide most rolls from the players.

Yeah, that thief/player is always sure he's being stealthy. The dragon might have a differing opinion.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-27, 03:54 PM
The problem I find is that due to the skill system being tied to the level system which is tied to BAB etc., your master architect would have way more hp than the apprentice architect and would probably have more hp and fight better than my first level fighter.
It''s not perfect, but it works better for me then 1 hit point monsters being summoned into existence.JUST for us to fight. It's back to the old 'orc in a 10 foot by foot room guarding a chest' mentality. If that's what you want to play fine, your fun is your fun, but it just doesn't work for me personally.

dsmiles
2010-01-27, 04:03 PM
That was my point. And to some, 'fiddly' is FUN.

Meh. I personally dislike 'fiddly' systems....strangely, I never saw AD&D as 'fiddly' like some people here. A fighter is a fighter is a fighter...character creation was very roleplay driven (because that's pretty much all that differentiates between Bob the Fighter and Jimbob the Fighter). Thieves had a little more leeway with mechanical differentiation, and Magic-Users had their spell selections. Psionics was pretty random, and you couldn't just be a psionic, you were a psionically gifted Fighter (or whatever). It was great...
Nowadays, give me Call of Cthulhu 6e or the original Marvel Superheroes (1980's version)...all straightforward d% rolls. Barely any bonuses or penalties. Roll, look on a chart, tell the GM what the chart says, done.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-27, 04:05 PM
Good for you, enjoy your fun. :smallsmile:

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 04:08 PM
Good for you, enjoy your fun. :smallsmile:
How dare you tell me to enjoy my fun! I'll experience my fun any way I like :smallfurious:






:smalltongue:

dsmiles
2010-01-27, 04:09 PM
Maybe that's why I enjoy AD&D better...more story driven. Ahhhh...nostalgia.

:smallfrown:

Makes me wonder why I ever updated.

Matthew
2010-01-27, 04:14 PM
I've usually been fine with players being fully aware of the rules (since, after all, what person playing AD&D generally isn't already completely aware of how the system works and probably has large tracts of it commited to memory?), but hide most rolls from the players.

Yeah, that thief/player is always sure he's being stealthy. The dragon might have a differing opinion.

Certainly; I have no problem with the players knowing the rules (often, I prefer that to be the case), but the point is that they do not really have to. My mate's wife can sit down and game with us and never have a clue what the rules of the game are, but have a spiffy time role-playing her human illusionist, or whatever.

faceroll
2010-01-27, 04:26 PM
The only wrong way to play any rpg is for people to not have fun. As long as everyone is having fun, "ur doin it pretty good, akshully."

What if I like to not have fun?

arguskos
2010-01-27, 04:27 PM
What if I like to not have fun?
...uh, I can safely say you are in the veeeeeery small minority?

hamlet
2010-01-27, 04:30 PM
What if I like to not have fun?

You can play The World of Synnabar then.

Zeful
2010-01-27, 04:32 PM
What if I like to not have fun?

FATALTen characters

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 04:43 PM
Certainly; I have no problem with the players knowing the rules (often, I prefer that to be the case), but the point is that they do not really have to. My mate's wife can sit down and game with us and never have a clue what the rules of the game are, but have a spiffy time role-playing her human illusionist, or whatever.
Hmm...

This is very true, isn't it?

As a side question: how much information does she have to know in order to play a game of TSR D&D?

Blackfang108
2010-01-27, 04:57 PM
FATALTen characters

I actually brought this up in conversation yesterday. Topically, even.

No, you don't get to know how.

Matthew
2010-01-27, 05:31 PM
Hmm...

This is very true, isn't it?

As a side question: how much information does she have to know in order to play a game of TSR D&D?

Good question. As I recall, she rolled up her attributes, noted them down, wrote down her equipment and took a cursory look at the spell descriptions of the spells she knew. I think I wrote down her armour class, hit points, fighting ability, damage, and saving throws on her sheet, but I kept a separate copy of those (as I do for all players on a quick look-up sheet). So.. probably spells, equipment, and attributes, roll d20 to attack, high is good, roll X for damage, high is good, I might ask you to test an attribute by rolling under it, or make a saving throw where you will need to roll high to avoid some bad effect. That is about it, I think (we were using spell points, so it was just a matter of you can cast X spells per day from the one's you know, but that's not too different from the default).

On other occasions we have had new players, sometimes the girlfriend of an existing player, express more or less interest in the rules. Usually, if they are playing a fighter type they are more interested in what armour class is and the numbers involved in calculating a hit, but I know at least one guy who played a fighter for two years with us, regular every week, who claimed he did not really know the combat rules (though he definitely knew which damage dice to roll).

Oracle_Hunter
2010-01-27, 05:48 PM
Good question. As I recall, she rolled up her attributes, noted them down, wrote down her equipment and took a cursory look at the spell descriptions of the spells she knew. I think I wrote down her armour class, hit points, fighting ability, damage, and saving throws on her sheet, but I kept a separate copy of those (as I do for all players on a quick look-up sheet). So.. probably spells, equipment, and attributes, roll d20 to attack, high is good, roll X for damage, high is good, I might ask you to test an attribute by rolling under it, or make a saving throw where you will need to roll high to avoid some bad effect. That is about it, I think (we were using spell points, so it was just a matter of you can cast X spells per day from the one's you know, but that's not too different from the default).

On other occasions we have had new players, sometimes the girlfriend of an existing player, express more or less interest in the rules. Usually, if they are playing a fighter type they are more interested in what armour class is and the numbers involved in calculating a hit, but I know at least one guy who played a fighter for two years with us, regular every week, who claimed he did not really know the combat rules (though he definitely knew which damage dice to roll).
Hmm...

You see, I've been craving an Old Skool game and AD&D is one of the systems I'd been considering. However, I was concerned about trying to teach the players the rules - particularly since several in my group either have very little head for such things or really hate thinking about them.

A "spell point" system might not be a bad idea either - do you have a link to this variant rule?

Susano-wo
2010-01-27, 06:17 PM
"And the argument being made on this side at least is that AD&D does, actually permit that. It simply must be cleared with the DM first rather than assumed."

Though its always nice to have the RPG Standard Anti-Rules Lawyering Clause (the rules are to have fun, change as you wish), if you have to utilize it, its still changing the system.

I'm not saying that makes 3.5 superior to 2AD&D. Just saying that you can't do a lot of mid-stream adjustments with the 2nd ed system.

(and yes the skills issue/hp issue breaks my brain. The problem with any level-progression system.>.>)

Matthew
2010-01-27, 06:36 PM
Hmm...

You see, I've been craving an Old Skool game and AD&D is one of the systems I'd been considering. However, I was concerned about trying to teach the players the rules - particularly since several in my group either have very little head for such things or really hate thinking about them.

A "spell point" system might not be a bad idea either - do you have a link to this variant rule?

I tend to do most of the arithmetic in my head and use sketch maps, so we do not even worry too much about movement distances. Under that paradigm I would not think you would have much trouble bringing new players along for the ride who did not want to learn a new rule system. Usually, though, I have one or two veteran players available, but on the other hand they often forget how the system works themselves. As long as you know what you are doing it should be fine.

The spell point system was probably adapted from Spells & Magic; we basically use [Level + (Level − 1) + Int/Wis bonus 13-15 = +1, 16-17 = +2, 18 = +3], though recently I have been considering just using [2(Level)]. Spells cost their level to employ, but spells that get more powerful with the level of the caster tend to cost more (Magic Missile, mainly, durations are not usually a concern in that regard). You end up with flatter spell slot curve, basically. The other option I have experimented with is "free magick" where players can choose whether to prepare a spell or trade two slots to be able to cast any spell they know of that level.

You might want to limit cleric spell selections with new players, as giving them the entire list can be daunting.



Though its always nice to have the RPG Standard Anti-Rules Lawyering Clause (the rules are to have fun, change as you wish), if you have to utilize it, its still changing the system.

I'm not saying that makes 3.5 superior to 2AD&D. Just saying that you can't do a lot of mid-stream adjustments with the 2nd ed system.

(and yes the skills issue/hp issue breaks my brain. The problem with any level-progression system.>.>)

With second edition that is not really the case. It is not a proper system in the sense of being "complete", huge sections of it are entirely optional, including spell lists and magical items. The books actually say stuff like "there is only one person to blame for letting a spell in this book overpower your game, and that is you for letting it in." It puts almost all of the onus for the success and balance of the game on the shoulders of individual game masters. Mid stream adjustments in AD&D are part and parcel, as far as I understand the term as you are using it.

Susano-wo
2010-01-27, 06:48 PM
I'm not talking ab out approving or disaproving spells etc.
I'm talking about mid stream adjustmens in a character and/or his concept.
In the example of the fighter-turned cleric, yif he is non-human, you have to modify the game rules to allow such a thing, either by allowing him to change to multiclass, or allowing a non-human to dual class, or adding cleric powers to a fighter.
Ok, with that said I guess you could make him a Paladin...that's kind of what they are:P
Oh yeah, non-humans can't be Paladins, can they :smallredface:

Matthew
2010-01-27, 06:57 PM
I'm not talking about approving or disapproving spells etc. I'm talking about mid stream adjustments in a character and/or his concept. In the example of the fighter-turned cleric, if he is non-human, you have to modify the game rules to allow such a thing, either by allowing him to change to multiclass, or allowing a non-human to dual class, or adding cleric powers to a fighter. Okay, with that said I guess you could make him a Paladin...that's kind of what they are. :P Oh yeah, non-humans can't be Paladins, can they :smallredface:

Ah, you mean changing the building block level of the game? No, once you start allowing characters to switch between classes you are pretty much leaving AD&D land. The dual-class rules themselves are not very workable, I certainly would not advise using them. Slapping a few extra abilities onto an existing class midstream for an experience penalty would probably be fine, though.

HamHam
2010-01-27, 07:17 PM
Huh? You mean, rules I pulled out of a book are inherently superior and more balanced than rules I created specifically to reflect the tone and habits of my own game? Really?

Statistically, for the average DM who is not a CO veteran and an expert in homebrew, yes.

Matthew
2010-01-27, 07:38 PM
Statistically, for the average DM who is not a CO veteran and an expert in homebrew, yes.

Like anything else, it is a learned skill, and a big part of running a flexible old school style game, to be sure. That said, recognising the design weaknesses of material provided is also a necessary skill to develop if you mainly use published stuff, which should itself help you develop the skill to ad hoc and homebrew. Nonetheless, for beginning game masters or those who never really develop that skill set, having access to large amounts of material may be useful, if potentially somewhat overwhelming, given their novice status to begin with.

Mark Hall
2010-01-27, 11:16 PM
I'm not saying that makes 3.5 superior to 2AD&D. Just saying that you can't do a lot of mid-stream adjustments with the 2nd ed system.

I disagree. I can probably whip up something reasonable for 2nd edition in very little time, for pretty much anything you ask.

DarklingPerhaps
2010-01-27, 11:34 PM
Look up the StoryTeller system. It's kinda older and didn't catch on much, but the mechanics and character creation system are amazing and simple. I got to play it recently and a convention and it was excellent.

Mark Hall
2010-01-27, 11:40 PM
Look up the StoryTeller system. It's kinda older and didn't catch on much, but the mechanics and character creation system are amazing and simple. I got to play it recently and a convention and it was excellent.

The Storyteller system? The one that led to Vampire and Werewolf and the like?

Knaight
2010-01-27, 11:40 PM
You've just described a 1st level Cleric in AD&D.

Which works really well, if all of that had happened as the background. But if that stuff happens within the game, you don't really have an option to become the character. Basically, whether or not you can play this character depends entirely on when the campaign starts. Where in 3.5 you could just take cleric as your next level, along with the healing skill. You won't be able to do much, but stabilization is, for now, all that is needed. That it works perfectly as a 1st level Cleric in AD&D, but doesn't work if you didn't know it was going to happen ahead of time and were already a 1st level Fighter is moronic. If all major changes in life must start before the game(and thus the story), it is cheapened. Either there is failure on the part of the mechanics to do something they should be able to do, or you bend to the mechanics and don't allow the characters to grow in abilities like they should.

Agrippa
2010-01-28, 12:17 AM
The Storyteller system? The one that led to Vampire and Werewolf and the like?

As well as Changeling: The Dreaming, Mage: The Ascension, the fanwork Genius: The Transgression, complete with Hallow World Nazis and their catgirl legions, and Exalted.

Mark Hall
2010-01-28, 12:23 AM
As well as Changeling: The Dreaming, Mage: The Ascension, the fanwork Genius: The Transgression, complete with Hallow World Nazis and their catgirl legions, and Exalted.

I asked because I have trouble with that one "not catching on too much" since it was one of the most popular systems of the 90s, until the new ST system displaced it in the aughts...

DarklingPerhaps
2010-01-28, 12:31 AM
Oi, that was a typo on my part mixed with me being decidedly vague and too lazy to look up a link.

*ahem* The Story Engine system and here's even a complimentary link: Story Engine (http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=2957)

I wasn't thinking, and I know I've played enough WoD to make that mistake look even more foolish. :smallsigh:

Mike_G
2010-01-28, 12:55 AM
Dude, the player doesn't roll his move silently check, you do. :smallwink:

Seriously, though, one of the major differences between AD&D and D20 is that the mechanics of the former were largely hidden from the players and in the hands of the game master. I still play that way, never ask new players to learn the rules, only if they ask questions about them are they really discussed beyond the very basic stuff.


None of this changed the fact that, in my opinion, having multiple resolution systems is unnecessarily complicated, doesn't really bring any advantage, as abstracted percentile rolls don't serve skills better than abstracted D20 rolls, and just bad design. THACO is certainly no better than BAB versus ascending AC. I've seen people claim it's no worse, but even that is a stretch, since explaining that +1 Chainmail subtracts 1 point from AC can confuse a novice.

I played a lot of systems, and almost all used a single resolution mechanic for attacks and for skills, and pretty much anything that needed a success roll. RuneQuest, GURPS, CoC, Hero system, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few, had a unified mechanic. AD&D is almost unique in having a separate and incompatible system to solve any new problem.

As far as the players not needing to understand the mechanics, that doesn't work for everyone. Knowing what's going on is important to a lot of players. And if I'd pointed out that the mechanics of AD&D were, as someone said, not hard for anyone with a 5th grade education, I'd probably be telling stories about the Liberal Arts Major Mike Blew a Chance to Sleep With. Ain't no system worth that.

I do agree that 3e can foster a certain kind of play that I don't enjoy, and AD&D didn't, but I really put that on the players and DM, not the system. I find the actual mechanics of 3e to be far easier to adjudicate. Playing 3e "Old School" is no problem for a group that wants to.

Now, if half of the group wants to play AD&D style and half want to play Batman Wizards, CoDzillas, uberchargers and tripmonkeys, well, yeah you're screwed.

Matthew
2010-01-28, 06:51 AM
None of this changed the fact that, in my opinion, having multiple resolution systems is unnecessarily complicated, doesn't really bring any advantage, as abstracted percentile rolls don't serve skills better than abstracted D20 rolls, and just bad design. THACO is certainly no better than BAB versus ascending AC. I've seen people claim it's no worse, but even that is a stretch, since explaining that +1 Chainmail subtracts 1 point from AC can confuse a novice.

I played a lot of systems, and almost all used a single resolution mechanic for attacks and for skills, and pretty much anything that needed a success roll. RuneQuest, GURPS, CoC, Hero system, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few, had a unified mechanic. AD&D is almost unique in having a separate and incompatible system to solve any new problem.

I just do not see that it matters. In most cases it is roll high when you use the old D20 and damage and all that, sometimes you roll low, when you are trying to get under a percentage or under when you test an attribute score. Makes sense to me. Yeah, sure, magic armour and shields can potentially be confusing, but it would be more confusing if weapons were +1 and armour −1. I have no problem either way with it myself, ascending armour class, fighting ability and saving throws expressed as bonuses or descending armour class, fighting ability and saving throws expressed as target numbers.



As far as the players not needing to understand the mechanics, that doesn't work for everyone. Knowing what's going on is important to a lot of players. And if I'd pointed out that the mechanics of AD&D were, as someone said, not hard for anyone with a 5th grade education, I'd probably be telling stories about the Liberal Arts Major Mike Blew a Chance to Sleep With. Ain't no system worth that.

Indeed, and that is going to be different from group to group, and person to person. There is no one system that suits everyone equally, for sure.



I do agree that 3e can foster a certain kind of play that I don't enjoy, and AD&D didn't, but I really put that on the players and DM, not the system. I find the actual mechanics of 3e to be far easier to adjudicate. Playing 3e "Old School" is no problem for a group that wants to.

Now, if half of the group wants to play AD&D style and half want to play Batman Wizards, CoDzillas, uberchargers and tripmonkeys, well, yeah you're screwed.

As I have said before, I agree with that. The group matters far more than the system, even if the system can help foster certain play attitudes.

Satyr
2010-01-28, 07:08 AM
None of this changed the fact that, in my opinion, having multiple resolution systems is unnecessarily complicated, doesn't really bring any advantage, as abstracted percentile rolls don't serve skills better than abstracted D20 rolls, and just bad design.

Certainly, but if this is true, than D&D 4 is a vast step forward again, using a unified approach for both magical and non-magical abilities. It still has a different approach for skills, but at least they use the same mechanics.

Otodetu
2010-01-28, 07:14 AM
I find 3.5 to be superior but harder to master, but if you have good memory regarding such things (and a lot of free time) even the seemingly limitless options are no problem to keep track off.

Unless you for example dm for people that have just made a character on their own with no input from you from an unknown number of splat books...

dsmiles
2010-01-28, 07:24 AM
I find 3.5 to be superior but harder to master, but if you have good memory regarding such things (and a lot of free time) even the seemingly limitless options are no problem to keep track off.

Unless you for example dm for people that have just made a character on their own with no input from you from an unknown number of splat books...

Eeeewwwww...:smalleek:

Mike_G
2010-01-28, 08:29 AM
I just do not see that it matters. In most cases it is roll high when you use the old D20 and damage and all that, sometimes you roll low, when you are trying to get under a percentage or under when you test an attribute score. Makes sense to me. Yeah, sure, magic armour and shields can potentially be confusing, but it would be more confusing if weapons were +1 and armour −1. I have no problem either way with it myself, ascending armour class, fighting ability and saving throws expressed as bonuses or descending armour class, fighting ability and saving throws expressed as target numbers.



There are people for whom this is no problem, and I include myself, and there are people, generally those who really aren't adept at math, for whom this just doesn't sink in. I've played with a lot of those people, and AD&D often broke down while we had remedial rules explanation.

D20 does not confuse these people, and therefor, for me, it is a superior system.

Matthew
2010-01-28, 08:58 AM
There are people for whom this is no problem, and I include myself, and there are people, generally those who really aren't adept at math, for whom this just doesn't sink in. I've played with a lot of those people, and AD&D often broke down while we had remedial rules explanation.

D20 does not confuse these people, and therefor, for me, it is a superior system.

Except... I know at least one person who for the opposite is true, and that is the problem with discrete samples. I was quite surprised at the time, because up until then I agreed with you, but I cannot overlook it. One theory is that it is just how the brain is wired up, but I think it is purely a matter of practice and what you are used to.

hamlet
2010-01-28, 09:12 AM
Which works really well, if all of that had happened as the background. But if that stuff happens within the game, you don't really have an option to become the character. Basically, whether or not you can play this character depends entirely on when the campaign starts. Where in 3.5 you could just take cleric as your next level, along with the healing skill. You won't be able to do much, but stabilization is, for now, all that is needed. That it works perfectly as a 1st level Cleric in AD&D, but doesn't work if you didn't know it was going to happen ahead of time and were already a 1st level Fighter is moronic. If all major changes in life must start before the game(and thus the story), it is cheapened. Either there is failure on the part of the mechanics to do something they should be able to do, or you bend to the mechanics and don't allow the characters to grow in abilities like they should.

Yeah, but all you really have to do in AD&D is talk to the DM. If he says no, which is his right, then no, you can't do it.

However, many DM's, including myself, will definately look at it and consider it, though they might not simply permit you to suddenly change classes. As Matthew said, he might add a couple of abilities on for a small XP penalty. I might consider letting the character (say, an elf) dual class even though technically they are not permitted to do so, or I might consider "upgrading" the character into a Paladin, even though technically you have to be human to do so.

Again, people have a strange notion concerning AD&D. The books specifically state that one of the prime duties of a DM is to alter and tailor the rules to suit the game in play. It's not changing the system since that change is actually an anticipated part of the system.

hamlet
2010-01-28, 09:27 AM
There are people for whom this is no problem, and I include myself, and there are people, generally those who really aren't adept at math, for whom this just doesn't sink in. I've played with a lot of those people, and AD&D often broke down while we had remedial rules explanation.

D20 does not confuse these people, and therefor, for me, it is a superior system.

I find quite the opposite. D20 confuses the hell out of me for all its talk of being simpler, more intuitive, and superior. To me, AD&D is far more intuitive.

EDIT: And of course ninja'd by Matthew.

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 09:48 AM
I find quite the opposite. D20 confuses the hell out of me...
You might prefer BRP then. All skills expressed as percentages, roll that or less on d100 to succeed.


So, I've frequently referred to Pathfinder and Wizard's of the Coast's versions of D&D (WD&D) as "too fiddly" for me to ever want to run.
Sadly, I think the fiddliness of D&D (any version) suits the publisher's money-making objective too well for them to have any interest in fixing it.

hamlet
2010-01-28, 10:40 AM
You might prefer BRP then. All skills expressed as percentages, roll that or less on d100 to succeed.



Haven't read BRP, couldn't say.

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 11:08 AM
Haven't read BRP, couldn't say.
Then have a look at the BRP QuickStart linked in my sig! (At the very least, it's got 7 mini-adventures...)

WalkingTarget
2010-01-28, 11:42 AM
Haven't read BRP, couldn't say.

Quick (Call of Cthulhu) version: you roll up your 3d6-based attributes (similar to D&D, but not completely identical) and then choose your character's profession. The profession gives you a loadout of skills that your character can allocate some points to (total points based on your rolled Education attribute). You then get a second batch of skill points (based on your Intelligence attribute) that you can assign wherever you want to show what your character's interests are beyond simply education/profession.

That's it. All rolls (besides damage) are percentile roll-under or, if an opposed attribute check, you roll percentile and look at a matrix showing what you need to roll under based on the opposed attribute scores.

There are no experience points, classes, or levels. Your character, mechanically, is a collection of skills and advancement is rewarded in the skills you use over the course of play. If the GM rules that your successful use of Library Use, Mechanical Repair, or whatever other skill you used that adventure was a learning experience you can roll to increase the skill between adventures.

Edit - just clarifying that this is specifically for Call of Cthulhu, the generic BRP might be different in how you choose skills or whatever. I'm sure that the available skills to choose from are probably less static in a generic system.

hamlet
2010-01-28, 11:51 AM
Then have a look at the BRP QuickStart linked in my sig! (At the very least, it's got 7 mini-adventures...)

Can't. Office has great firewall of doom protecting us from the internet. Chaiosium, for some unknowable reason, is blocked, just like WOTC website and blogspot.

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 12:15 PM
...just clarifying that this is specifically for Call of Cthulhu, the generic BRP might be different in how you choose skills or whatever.
BRP is very similar. (EDU is optional, so the base build-points are a flat number, 250 or more, according to how "heroic" a level the GM decides the campaign should be. Then the Int-based personal skill points on top, like you said. IIRC).


Can't. Office has great firewall of doom protecting us from the internet. Chaiosium, for some unknowable reason, is blocked, just like WOTC website and blogspot.
Have you actually tried? The link isn't to Chaosium, but BRP Central...

hamlet
2010-01-28, 12:22 PM
Have you actually tried? The link isn't to Chaosium, but BRP Central...

Yes, I've tried. Yes, it's still blocked.

fusilier
2010-01-28, 03:41 PM
There are people for whom this is no problem, and I include myself, and there are people, generally those who really aren't adept at math, for whom this just doesn't sink in. I've played with a lot of those people, and AD&D often broke down while we had remedial rules explanation.

D20 does not confuse these people, and therefor, for me, it is a superior system.

I played AD&D for years with the DM just telling me what to do (i.e. when to roll what). Admittedly, I consider the fact that you can't simply pick up the game by playing it for a session or two to be something of a detriment, although I don't feel like the newer versions are much better.

As for the particular issue of sometimes wanting to roll high, sometimes wanting to roll low - it's not that bad once you understand you are rolling for different aspects. 3rd edition really annoyed me though. They made odd(?) numbered attributes no more than stepping stones. That made no sense to me. Why have a two numbers that give the same benefit? Why not remove the redundant numbers? Some times I like the way a spread of numbers that are all odd look, but then I realize that my character is essentially gimped. The obvious answer is that eliminating the odd numbers would change the "scale" of the attributes, and then it would "look different" from an AD&D character sheet. So, while they made serious changes to how the game worked, they wanted to retain superficial similarities, which resulted in a fairly lame hack. I don't like that from a system design perspective.

While AD&D's design may have involved wanting to roll high for some checks, and low for others, it was consistent about it, and didn't have "dead spaces" like 3e+. Certainly, 3e and 4e can't be called failed systems, but it was always something that bugged me, personally.

Jarawara
2010-01-28, 07:13 PM
The obvious answer is that eliminating the odd numbers would change the "scale" of the attributes, and then it would "look different" from an AD&D character sheet. So, while they made serious changes to how the game worked, they wanted to retain superficial similarities, which resulted in a fairly lame hack. I don't like that from a system design perspective.

Back in the late 80's I redesigned the AD&D ability scores to reflect a bonus of 1 point per ability score (above 10, and -1 per point below 10). The whole chart was scrunched down, I was already using a point-buy system, so I didn't have to worry about high dice rolls. Most ability scores came in a range of 8-13, for a range of -2 to +3, with a few rare 14's for a +4.

The players complained about how the ability scores didn't have a proper range of 3-18, so I expanded the range out to a 1pt bonus per 2 points of ability score. Therefore, a 6 (about the lowest you would see for an adventurer), would have a -2, while 16's were common at +3 and the mighty 18 would come in at +4. Same range, but it 'looked' right.

A decade later, 3E caught up to us.


While AD&D's design may have involved wanting to roll high for some checks, and low for others, it was consistent about it, and didn't have "dead spaces" like 3e+. Certainly, 3e and 4e can't be called failed systems, but it was always something that bugged me, personally.

Uhhhh....

No dead spaces? You mean, like the range of 7-15 for strength, which gave no penalties nor bonuses? Pretty much the same for all the other ability scores, as bonuses didn't kick in until 15, at which point they skyrocketed. This was exactly why I developed the rules I cited above (and why 3E eventually did the same). In fact, Basic D&D had it much better than AD&D, with a range of 9-12 being 'normal', 13-15 giving a +1, 16-17 a +2, and 18 with a +3. Still had 'dead space', but the ranges relative to each other made alot more sense. There was a benefit to being above average strength, without resorting to being Conan.

*~*~*

Overall, just to place my vote, I prefer AD&D over the newer systems. I still haven't figured out how to use the books to make a character in 3E. I find myself searching throughout the rules to find one modifier or rule subset. I'm not sure if AD&D was any better formatted, but with far less modifiers, I could memorize the ruleset and make up a character in a few minutes time.

And players shouldn't be asked to "roll this dice and add these modifiers". They should be asked "what are you going to do?", and the DM tells them if it works or not.

I tried to explain the apparent benefit of the d20 system, with it's unified rulesets revolving around the 20-sider. New player asks me: "If we always use the d20, then what did I buy all these other dice for?" He then insisted on rolling the d20 for damage, since "you roll a d20 for everything, right?" Yeah, he's an ass, but he's got a point.

AD&D: It ain't that hard to learn to roll other dice. I particularly like the d12.

fusilier
2010-01-28, 11:01 PM
Uhhhh....

No dead spaces? You mean, like the range of 7-15 for strength, which gave no penalties nor bonuses? Pretty much the same for all the other ability scores, as bonuses didn't kick in until 15, at which point they skyrocketed. This was exactly why I developed the rules I cited above (and why 3E eventually did the same). In fact, Basic D&D had it much better than AD&D, with a range of 9-12 being 'normal', 13-15 giving a +1, 16-17 a +2, and 18 with a +3. Still had 'dead space', but the ranges relative to each other made alot more sense. There was a benefit to being above average strength, without resorting to being Conan.

Ummm. So my knowledge of the intricacies of AD&D is pretty weak, not having played it in ages and probably not understanding it completely when I played it. However, if you needed to perform some attribute "check", like a strength check, you simply attempted to roll under the stat (case where you wanted to roll low). So yeah, there were no dead spaces. How things like strength effected THAC0 or damage may have been different, and that may have had gaps in the progression. But when you needed some sort of basic attribute check, the odd numbered values mattered. Didn't they? Now they don't.

Perhaps in AD&D straight up attribute checks were just more common?

olentu
2010-01-29, 02:02 AM
Ummm. So my knowledge of the intricacies of AD&D is pretty weak, not having played it in ages and probably not understanding it completely when I played it. However, if you needed to perform some attribute "check", like a strength check, you simply attempted to roll under the stat (case where you wanted to roll low). So yeah, there were no dead spaces. How things like strength effected THAC0 or damage may have been different, and that may have had gaps in the progression. But when you needed some sort of basic attribute check, the odd numbered values mattered. Didn't they? Now they don't.

Perhaps in AD&D straight up attribute checks were just more common?

Well in 3.5 an odd score would provide a buffer against several effects of odd numbered ability damage, ability drain, and penalties to ability scores. So they do matter to some degree.

dsmiles
2010-01-29, 09:14 AM
Perhaps in AD&D straight up attribute checks were just more common?

Yeah, especially if your DM used the "secondary skill" system instead of NWPs.

Mike_G
2010-01-30, 12:48 PM
Ummm. So my knowledge of the intricacies of AD&D is pretty weak, not having played it in ages and probably not understanding it completely when I played it. However, if you needed to perform some attribute "check", like a strength check, you simply attempted to roll under the stat (case where you wanted to roll low). So yeah, there were no dead spaces. How things like strength effected THAC0 or damage may have been different, and that may have had gaps in the progression. But when you needed some sort of basic attribute check, the odd numbered values mattered. Didn't they? Now they don't.

Perhaps in AD&D straight up attribute checks were just more common?

They were, largely because there was no other ion game system to resolve skills, other than the Thief Skills. Attribute checks started out as an ad hoc suggestion for resolution.

I dislike them because they ignore training and experience. A 10th level character has the same chance to roll under his dex as does a 1st level character. I like a system where the more time and study a character has put into a skill (via spending Skill Points) matters. Yes, yes, we always have DM fiat, but as often as that is invoked, AD&D might have bee printed on a 3x5 index card for the amount of DM fiat that seems inherent to the game.

That said, it's hard to get excited about the granularity of the attribute tables in a game where the spaghetti armed guy with the Strength of 8 hits you just as hard as the quite brawny guy with a Strength of 15. And anything above 16 Con was a "dead space" for all non fighters, as far as extra HP went. And while an 18 Str gave you +2 to damage, a 19 gave you +7.

I like the fact that the 3e attribute tables are a nice, smooth, constant progression, and the price of bonuses only at even numbers seems a small one.

dsmiles
2010-01-30, 01:10 PM
[QUOTE=Mike_G;7792972]And while an 18 Str gave you +2 to damage, a 19 gave you +7.
QUOTE]

You're forgetting all the numbers between 18 and 19 (i.e. 18/01 - 18/00).

Aldizog
2010-01-30, 02:13 PM
That said, it's hard to get excited about the granularity of the attribute tables in a game where the spaghetti armed guy with the Strength of 8 hits you just as hard as the quite brawny guy with a Strength of 15. And anything above 16 Con was a "dead space" for all non fighters, as far as extra HP went. And while an 18 Str gave you +2 to damage, a 19 gave you +7.

I like the fact that the 3e attribute tables are a nice, smooth, constant progression, and the price of bonuses only at even numbers seems a small one.
I prefer the BECMI tables, where there is a good progression but a hard cap. 13-15 is a +1, 16-17 is a +2, and 18 is a +3. Being above average does give you superior performance, but Strength never gets so high that it overwhelms base weapon damage. Dex never gets so high that, even if the system used Max Dex bonus, you could be better off naked than in armor. Con bonus won't exceed the base HD total in any but a few rare cases. The modifiers don't get so high that the dice become irrelevant.

Mike_G
2010-01-30, 06:20 PM
[QUOTE=Mike_G;7792972]And while an 18 Str gave you +2 to damage, a 19 gave you +7.
QUOTE]

You're forgetting all the numbers between 18 and 19 (i.e. 18/01 - 18/00).


Which non fighters weren't allowed to have. And only 18 got broken into a handful of categories. 3-17, and 19-15 were one number with one value.

Madness, I tell you. Madness.

I really don't believe anybody finds this more intuitive. Sure, you may like it better, but it just isn't more intuitive.

Matthew
2010-01-31, 10:40 AM
Which non fighters weren't allowed to have. And only 18 got broken into a handful of categories. 3-17, and 19-15 were one number with one value.

Madness, I tell you. Madness.

I really don't believe anybody finds this more intuitive. Sure, you may like it better, but it just isn't more intuitive.

I am with you there; I have never been a fan of the organic disorder of the AD&D attribute tables. Interestingly, the strength table in Greyhawk was slightly less insane than the revised version that made it into AD&D:

{table=head]Attribute | To Hit | Damage | Weight | Open Doors

3-4 |
−2 |
−1 |
−100 |
1 in 6 |

5-6 |
−1 |
− |
−50 |
1 in 6 |

7-9 |
− |
− |
− |
2 in 6 |

10-12 |
− |
− |
+50 |
2 in 6 |

13-15 |
+1 |
− |
+100 |
2 in 6 |

16 |
+1 |
+1 |
+150 |
3 in 6 |

17 |
+2 |
+2 |
+300 |
4 in 6 |

18 |
+2 |
+3 |
+500 |
5 in 6 [/table]

and exceptional strength looked like this:

{table=head]Attribute | To Hit | Damage | Weight | Open Doors

18/01-50 |
+2 |
+3 |
+500 |
5 in 6 |

18/51-75 |
+3 |
+3 |
+600 |
5 in 6 |

18/76-90 |
+3 |
+4 |
+700 |
1(1 in 6) |

18/91-99 |
+3 |
+5 |
+900 |
1(2 in 6) |

18/00 |
+4 |
+6 |
+1,200 |
1(3 in 6) [/table]

Slightly less wacky, but I still prefer the B/X version:

{table=head]Attribute | Modifier

1 |
−5 |

2 |
−4 |

3 |
−3 |

4-5 |
−2 |

6-8 |
−1 |

9-12 |
+0 |

13-15 |
+1 |

16-17 |
+2 |

18 |
+3 |

19 |
+4 |

20 |
+5 |

21 |
+6 |

22 |
+7 |

23 |
+8 |

24 |
+9 |

25 |
+10[/table]

Nice and simple, and mathematically regular. As it happens I just posted a short article on this subject to my Silver Blade Adventures blog the other day: Attributes & Abilities (http://silverbladeadventures.blogspot.com/2010/01/article-attributes-abilities.html).