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Oracle_Hunter
2013-08-17, 08:54 PM
The title is in reference to WotC's GenCon announcement that they're done with this lousy public playtest idea and are going to continue their excellent development work in secret.

As is (by now) well known to every RPGer who hasnít spent the past year hiding under a rock, a new edition of D&D is coming out. When? Well, theyíre not telling us. What they are giving us is an open playtest, which you can sign up for right here (http://dndplaytest.wizards.com/).

Use this thread to discuss the playtest, the weekly mostly-weekly Legends and Lore update articles from Mike Mearls, and other news relating to D&Dís new edition.

Useful (and freshly updated!) links:
Playtest Signup (http://dndplaytest.wizards.com/)
Legends and Lore Archive (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Archive.aspx?category=all&subcategory=legendslore)
EN World D&D Forum (http://www.enworld.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?3-D-amp-D-and-Pathfinder&prefixid=dndnext)
Penny Arcade / PvP 5e Podcasts:
Part 1 of 4 (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pod/20120806)
Part 2 of 4 (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pod/20120813)
Part 3 of 4 (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pod/20120820)
Part 4 of 4 (http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4pod/20120827)
Previous threads:
First Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218549)
Second Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231033)
Third Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242069)
3.5th Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245504)
Fourth Edition (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244672)
D&D 5th Edition: the fifth edition of the discussion thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245600)
D&D 5th Edition: 6th Thread and counting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252870)
D&D 5th Edition: Thread #7 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257952)
D&D 5th Edition: 8th Revision and counting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=265084)
Pathfinder, Next, and the Future of D&D (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271218)
D&D 5th Edition IX: Still in the Idea Stage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277822)
D&D 5th Edition X: Where's the Craft (RPG System) skill? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=284560)
D&D 5th Edition XI: The 15-Minute Designer Workday (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=288661)
D&D 5th Edition XII: Peasant Militias Can Defeat Smartphones? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=293519)

Raineh Daze
2013-08-17, 09:00 PM
Huzzah, the name I came up with as part of random conversation has been chosen! XD

Flickerdart
2013-08-17, 09:38 PM
Pretty sure June 14th is not the latest packet.

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-17, 09:45 PM
I would like to note that any game system is always unfinished without a game scenario to accompany it. So any edition of D&D only becomes complete when a proper adventure is supplied.

Because of this, I hope Next will provide much better guidelines for making scenarios than... pretty much any version of D&D? And I don't mean "this is how much money you grant to characters" or "this is how you make a level-appropriate encounter" - I mean "here are things you need to consider when planning a combat/stealth/diplomatic scenario and a couple of examples".

The guy who said in the last thread that abilities can't be balanced in a vacuum was right. If you want to give all classes a shot in solving a scenario, there must be ways to approach a scenario in multiple ways - threats for the fighter to face, opportunities for the rogue to exploit, spiritual conflicts for the cleric to mediate and arcane mysteries for the mage to solve.

DeltaEmil
2013-08-17, 09:50 PM
So, has obryn written a full review of the latest packet?

How does Next feel?

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-17, 10:12 PM
Because of this, I hope Next will provide much better guidelines for making scenarios than... pretty much any version of D&D? And I don't mean "this is how much money you grant to characters" or "this is how you make a level-appropriate encounter" - I mean "here are things you need to consider when planning a combat/stealth/diplomatic scenario and a couple of examples".

For what it's worth, 4E's DMG2 did a pretty decent job at this. Granted mostly by repeating advice and ideas that everyone else figured out a decade ago but hey, progress.


Those mysteries are solved by the city guard, not PC's. PC's dont get called into solve "this cheating wife with an angry husband was murdered, gee sarge who do you think did it?"

PC's are called into difficult cases where the short of obvious suspects was already eliminated. Or didnt exist in the first place for some reason.

Now if you really want to play your level 10+ party as first day detectives solving first day detective crimes maybe some of the spells would make them easier. But why the hell are you doing that?

Or maybe the PCs decide, without a questgiver having to ask them and offer a reward, that they care about this mystery and want to resolve it? When a character reaches 10th level they don't just stop caring about 1st-level problems, especially when those problems affect them personally (like if the angry husband was a friend of the PC's and they want to clear his name).

PairO'Dice Lost
2013-08-17, 10:28 PM
I'm not going to do a line-by-line reply to everything from the last few pages of the last thread since we've switched over, but I'll hit the highlights.


It simply is more overhead. Push X and Ongoing Fire X are the entirety of the rule; there's nothing you need to look up for either, once you know the basic vocabulary of the game. Improved Grab, OTOH, gets you into the morass of grappling along with the exceptions for where it's different from your normal grapple. Swallow Whole is likewise an entire separate subsystem ("muscular action" lol) that requires reference.

As Siuis noted, "3e grapple is sooo hard" is one of the 4e marketing memes that has taken on a life of its own. The grapple rules in a nutshell:

1) Make a melee touch attack that provokes an AoO. A successful AoO or a missed attack stops the grapple.

2) Roll opposed BAB + Str + size (Ī4 for each size category above/below Medium). Deal unarmed damage and move into the target's square if you win, you're grappling; if you lose, you're not grappling.

3) While grappling, you don't threaten, lose Dex to AC, and are immobilized. Being pinned is like being grappled plus you take -4 to AC and may be unable to speak at your opponent's option.

4) While grappling, you can attack with your or your opponent's weapon or pin someone with a grapple check as an attack action and draw a weapon with a grapple check as a move action.

5) While grappling or pinned, you can use a non-scroll magic item or cast a non-somatic spell, move the grapple with a grapple check as a standard action (enemy gets +4), or retrieve a spell component as a full-round action.

6) Going from pinned to grappling or grappling to free requires a grapple check as an attack action or an Escape Artist check as a standard action.

7) You can be in a grapple with up to four Medium-equivalent combatants and must beat all of them to escape, otherwise you make checks against one opponent at a time.

More complicated than it needs to be? Yes. More complicated than 4e's Grab? Hardly; Grab is in 4e terms (Str vs. Ref, Acrobatics to escape) instead of 3e terms (opposed grapple checks, Escape Artist to escape), but it's the same procedure.

The double standards here regarding standardization are kinda starting to tick me off.
4e Grab is in a bulleted list while 3e Grappling is in prose, both editions use high-level function calls to grab/grappling in player-side powers and monster-side features, and both function basically the same way, yet Grab is simple and elegant while Grapple is insanely difficult.
4e has a 6-page "how to read a power" section and its powers are all nicely self-contained, 3e has a 5-page "spell descriptions" section and its spells are too complex for monster use.
4e boils everything down to packages of keywords and it's innovative and fast, I suggest boiling things down to packages of keywords and it requires too much system mastery.
4e has a fighter class template that adds +2 Fort, +2 saves, 1 action point, +8+Con HP, two skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and three class features and it's a refreshing breath of simplicity in monster customization. 3e lets you add a level of barbarian to a monster to give it +2 Fort, +1 attack, 1d12+Con HP, 2+Int skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and two class features and it's "a ridiculous amount of overhead to give your monster a few more hit points and Rage."

Well, people, which is it? :smallannoyed:



Actually 3e Fireball (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/fireball.htm) is more than that - but that would be an objective improvement on the fireball that can melt lead.

I realize it's more than that, because the entry you linked is the one I copied and modified. You'll note I said that that entry contains all the important parts of fireball assuming you have standard rules for fire (which the game should) and a base spell template.


Indeed. There are ten different pairs of orcs and a further ten different sets of three orcs. Add in the single type of orc and you have twenty five distinct combinations there. They will eventually become very repetative but it takes twenty five times as long to get as used to the combinations as it would the single orcs.

There are 8 unique abilities among all seven MM1 orcs, which boil down to some combination of "heal when hitting someone", "attack when hit", "let another orc attack", and "ranged AoE". You can get more variety than that by adding a single level of warblade or crusader--or heck, even fighter!--to a 3e orc.


That wasn't a grace. It was a curse.
[...]
And above all it cramped DMs rather than just allowing them to give whatever they thought the monster should do as abilities to that monster.

:smallsigh: As noted many times before, "make stuff up" is a valid tactic in any edition of any game. You can whip up a pure-fiat monster in 3e if you really want to, and for those who like to follow the rules or who want to draw on existing material, it's all there.

Here, let me do that now: the Nightblade is an evil creature of evil that sneaks up on people at night and kills them dead. Outsider, maxed Hide/MS, improved grab, sneak attack where rogue level = HD, greater invisibility 3/day, dimension door at will, 1d6 Con/1d6 Con poison (Dex based), immobilizes and silences creatures for 1 round on a hit with its claws (Ref negates), death attack; set HD and ability scores based on how tough and cunning you want it to be, e.g. 6 HD and 14/20/12/18/16/12.

For someone who knows 3e well, you can literally write down the above paragraph and use that in combat because all of those effects are defined and well-known. For someone who doesn't, you can write up a stat block where all of those effects are spelled out...and then when a more experienced DM (or the same DM later on) uses that stat block, they can condense the full stat block into the above paragraph in their notes or just glance at things during combat and know exactly how everything works.

Why on Oerth would having more standardization between monsters and between player and monster abilities be a bad thing?


I don't find it offensive or whatever, except insofar as it constrains the DM's flexibility to a specific pre-set list of "stuff monsters can do."

Hardly. 3e monsters have plenty of unique and diverse abilities, but all of the generic stuff that lots of monsters use is standardized so you only need to read a few abilities for each new monster you come across despite the monster actually having plenty of abilities at its disposal.


Even if we can't agree over which system (3.5 or 4e) is better in a vacuum, I hope we could at least agree that cutting down the complexity of 3.5 monster creation would be a good thing.

Definitely. The actual 3e rules as they stand are certainly full of fiddly bonuses, exceptions and corner cases, and other needless complexity, but I think the general design philosophy behind them is superior.

New stuff:


Because of this, I hope Next will provide much better guidelines for making scenarios than... pretty much any version of D&D? And I don't mean "this is how much money you grant to characters" or "this is how you make a level-appropriate encounter" - I mean "here are things you need to consider when planning a combat/stealth/diplomatic scenario and a couple of examples".

This could be accomplished with a few paragraphs in the DMG explaining that PCs go from being very human to debatably human to superhuman in D&D (insert crack about commoners vs. Asmodeus here :smallwink:), some plots are only relevant or possible at certain levels, and you need to look at what PCs can actually do when designing scenarios. Maybe some examples of how to handle high-level adventures would be good (e.g. "PCs are now powerful enough to be more proactive than reactive, railroads won't work anymore), but really, all of the "here's what you need to consider" advice always reads to me as "Protips: don't pretend a wooden door is an obstacle for the Hulk, breaking the Voyager's replicators because plot for the umpteenth time this season is nothing but fake drama, and Batman will find out whodunnit."

tasw
2013-08-17, 11:07 PM
For what it's worth, 4E's DMG2 did a pretty decent job at this. Granted mostly by repeating advice and ideas that everyone else figured out a decade ago but hey, progress.



Or maybe the PCs decide, without a questgiver having to ask them and offer a reward, that they care about this mystery and want to resolve it? When a character reaches 10th level they don't just stop caring about 1st-level problems, especially when those problems affect them personally (like if the angry husband was a friend of the PC's and they want to clear his name).

In that case the short list of suspects is wrong. So the spells that rely on confirming it dont short circuit the adventure at all.

Alternately, why are you presenting level 1 style adventures to characters who can cast contact other plane and vision?

Whats next, giant rats under the tavern for a bag of shiny copper pieces and a free bed?

Flickerdart
2013-08-17, 11:20 PM
Whats next, giant rats under the tavern for a bag of shiny copper pieces and a free bed?
Ratsmodeus under the billion-soul deep freeze spelljammer, for interstellar salvage and not being kicked out into the void between worlds. :smalltongue:

Grod_The_Giant
2013-08-17, 11:25 PM
In that case the short list of suspects is wrong. So the spells that rely on confirming it dont short circuit the adventure at all.

Alternately, why are you presenting level 1 style adventures to characters who can cast contact other plane and vision?

Whats next, giant rats under the tavern for a bag of shiny copper pieces and a free bed?
An investigation with a limited set of suspects is not a level 1 style adventure, it's every form of crime fiction in existence;*. Mystery as a genre is about the characters as much as anything-- not just whodunnit, but why. You get a much more interesting story-- not to mention something the players can keep straight-- when you can take the time to actually develop characters. It's also about the only way you can actually have useful clues that the players (not characters) can interact with.

Is "Joe the cobbler was killed in a locked bedroom, and the three suspects are his scorned wife, his abused apprentice, and the customer who owes him money" an appropriate mystery for high-level characters? No. But "King Joe was killed in a warded bedroom, and the three suspects are the ambitious Grand Vizir, the Ambassador for a country on the edge of war, and the impatient prince" is, thanks to the added layers of magical and social protections. And "Joe the archmarge was killed in his private demiplane, and the three suspects are a demon lord he was known to bargain with, a rival mage he'd been feuding with for a hundred years, and a black dragon he had enslaved" could work for near-epic level characters.


(Also, please try and dial back the scorn. It's not conductive to a productive discussion.)


*Slight hyperbole for effect.

DeltaEmil
2013-08-17, 11:33 PM
Behold. Twitter.


any plans for more world and setting books? (https://twitter.com/Wizards_DnD/status/368800428546211840)


while we can't talk about products, we do want to embrace all the #dnd settings that we can. (https://twitter.com/Wizards_DnD/status/368800738832424960)


we've been seeding stuff from different settings into the packet. For example the next packet will have the kender and the warforged. (https://twitter.com/Wizards_DnD/status/368800961373818881)

The New Bruceski
2013-08-18, 12:03 AM
For what it's worth, 4E's DMG2 did a pretty decent job at this. Granted mostly by repeating advice and ideas that everyone else figured out a decade ago but hey, progress.


Something we often forget is that other folks don't have ten years experience, or don't have the same ten years experience. DMG1 had a lot of "these are suggestions for figuring out what you want to do, and how to keep different people engaged," it even has a section of "published adventures suck in a vacuum, here's suggestions on how to improvise when your players leave the rails." Then the DMG2 tries to revise some things, taking another stab at skill challenges (the epitome of "good idea, hard to put in writing") and various DM hurdles (say "yes, but" instead of "no" when a player has an idea), giving examples of how to build different creatures around a unifying theme or design traps (since it was the first edition of D&D to embrace Dungeonscape's idea of interactive traps instead of "remove it or take damage and done").

Neither one is perfect, but they are both very good attempts and I recommend them to people running any game system.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 06:06 AM
I think it's fine to have a book with DM'ing advice but no actual rules, as long as it's clear that this book is crucial to beginning DMs and kind of redundant to long-term experienced DMs. The 4E DMG more-or-less fulfills this role, and I think that's better than earlier editions which e.g. put the magical item section in the DMG.

Jacob.Tyr
2013-08-18, 07:55 AM
I'm not going to do a line-by-line reply to everything from the last few pages of the last thread since we've switched over, but I'll hit the highlights.



As Siuis noted, "3e grapple is sooo hard" is one of the 4e marketing memes that has taken on a life of its own. The grapple rules in a nutshell:

[spoiler]1) Make a melee touch attack that provokes an AoO. A successful AoO or a missed attack stops the grapple.

2) Roll opposed BAB + Str + size (Ī4 for each size category above/below Medium). Deal unarmed damage and move into the target's square if you win, you're grappling; if you lose, you're not grappling.

3) While grappling, you don't threaten, lose Dex to AC, and are immobilized. Being pinned is like being grappled plus you take -4 to AC and may be unable to speak at your opponent's option.

4) While grappling, you can attack with your or your opponent's weapon or pin someone with a grapple check as an attack action and draw a weapon with a grapple check as a move action.

5) While grappling or pinned, you can use a non-scroll magic item or cast a non-somatic spell, move the grapple with a grapple check as a standard action (enemy gets +4), or retrieve a spell component as a full-round action.

6) Going from pinned to grappling or grappling to free requires a grapple check as an attack action or an Escape Artist check as a standard action.

7) You can be in a grapple with up to four Medium-equivalent combatants and must beat all of them to escape, otherwise you make checks against one opponent at a time.

More complicated than it needs to be? Yes. More complicated than 4e's Grab? Hardly; Grab is in 4e terms (Str vs. Ref, Acrobatics to escape) instead of 3e terms (opposed grapple checks, Escape Artist to escape), but it's the same procedure.

See, I've done grappling builds and they somehow manage to be different than how you described. Mainly, I did not know you got to deal unarmed damage on a successful grapple. Also, one of my favourites revolved around a set of rules you didn't mention: Moving an enemy during grapple. Grabbing an enemy, pinning them, and dragging them around a rogue with combat reflexes.

So, in a nutshell, we both didn't know parts of grapple rules

1337 b4k4
2013-08-18, 08:39 AM
Mystery as a genre is about the characters as much as anything-- not just whodunnit, but why. You get a much more interesting story-- not to mention something the players can keep straight-- when you can take the time to actually develop characters. It's also about the only way you can actually have useful clues that the players (not characters) can interact with.

Mystery as a genre also involves a lack of information, and a lack of easy means to get the information, whether by specific actions on the part of the criminal or by the nature of the environment or time period. A murder mystery written in and about village people from medieval England will be considerably different and require different preparations, actors and challenges than one written in and about the party members of 1984's Oceania. So if you want to write a mystery that challenges 10th level parties, you have to write a different mystery than one that challenges 1st level parties. It's essentially the same problem that led to bounded accuracy for skills.

This to me is actually in part a problem caused by the compressed leveling system that D&D has developed over the years. There's nothing wrong with having certain styles of adventure and play be appropriate for certain levels (and even spelling it out that way) but when you compress the time it takes to level up, then you reduce the amount of time the players can spend in each genre's level range, and thus have more people trying to run 2nd level adventures at level 13 because they haven't told that part of the story yet.

obryn
2013-08-18, 09:57 AM
So, has obryn written a full review of the latest packet?

How does Next feel?
Tackling this first. It reads ... okay? The play is the thing, and I'm not playing this one until Wednesday. The PCs are more interesting than in previous packets, and I've gotten on board with simple staring PCs. But the whole system, as in how easy/fun is it to DM on my side? Dunno yet. I'm reserving judgment.

Now going back to silly quote wars. I think things have gotten dumb when there's more than 3 quote blocks, but here we go...

Oh? How does forced movement interact with opportunity attacks? Damaging zones? Movement triggered abilities? Because I'm pretty sure there are some important fine details in there; slide doesn't trigger OH, but does push/pull?
Once again, this is the fundamental vocabulary of the game - the rules used in absolutely everything. I am not arguing that 4e is a rules-light game. But comparing this to specific spells used in spell-like abilities is either facetious or intellectually dishonest. Unless you think the entire spell list is a part of the fundamental rules of the game, in which case, wow.


This is false, and can be proven so. You want to give a monster rage and some HP? Do it. The 3.5 monster system can entirely mimic the 4e system. The 4e system Cannot Handle The 3.5 System AT ALL. I find the much more adaptable system with the more powerful engine to be inherently better. Just trim it down and throw some training wheels on it. Learn from 4e.
This sounds suspiciously like a rule zero fallacy. What I've seen over and over again is that the 3e system's strength is that you can reverse engineer monsters and that players can pick up their tricks right there in the rules. Just adding 50 HP seems ... not really in that list.

But in answer - what do you need in 4e other than knowing what bits and pieces of a class you want to swipe? What is gained by saying, "2 levels of barbarian" that isn't gained by a simple Rage power and a trait?


So? That's how prep work is in 3.5. You need to compare monster creation! How do you build a monster from the ground up? You pick it's type, referencing a chart. You figure it's level, then needed expressions. How do you pick it's special abilities? Is there a list somewhere telling you the appropriate slidin distance for a 13th level monster?
Again, I'm not arguing it's rules-light. It's a lot easier than the make-work that 3.x monster design pushes you into, but between using existing monsters for examples and learning from a few sessions, it does the job. But better guidelines would definitely be helpful re: special abilities.


This is making more work for yourself. If in a given encounter the monster won't use certain abilities, then you don't need to know them for this fight.your prep work doesn't have to exceed the 4e level at all.
How do you know this until you read the spell description? :smallconfused:


All this "grappling is haaaaaaard" crap is just that. It comes from kids who gloss over at three paragraphs and ne'er put the knowledge to work. It's a trigger for me; grapple is easy. You're just lazy.
Oh, I understood it well enough and used it often when I was running 3e. It's a clunky morass of opposed rolls, however, with a few too many steps with the roll to hit, opportunity attack, roll for grapple, figure out what you do with grapple every round, interactions with attackers, etc.


More complicated than it needs to be? Yes. More complicated than 4e's Grab? Hardly; Grab is in 4e terms (Str vs. Ref, Acrobatics to escape) instead of 3e terms (opposed grapple checks, Escape Artist to escape), but it's the same procedure.
Eh? It's nowhere near as complicated as the 4e grab. Nowhere close. Are you reading the same rules I am?


4e has a 6-page "how to read a power" section and its powers are all nicely self-contained, 3e has a 5-page "spell descriptions" section and its spells are too complex for monster use.
You never once need to look up a power as the DM in 4e. That's the difference, and it's hardly a double standard.


4e boils everything down to packages of keywords and it's innovative and fast, I suggest boiling things down to packages of keywords and it requires too much system mastery.
Because you're putting detailed rules into those keywords rather than using them as "tags" as (current) 4e does. Keywords (nowadays; MM1 was crappy about this, as Ashdate pointed out) are labels with no game effect unless something specifically leverages them. Like lightning attacks are just attacks until a PC has lightning resistance. There's no general rules about what happens when you are hit with lightning damage.


4e has a fighter class template that adds +2 Fort, +2 saves, 1 action point, +8+Con HP, two skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and three class features and it's a refreshing breath of simplicity in monster customization. 3e lets you add a level of barbarian to a monster to give it +2 Fort, +1 attack, 1d12+Con HP, 2+Int skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and two class features and it's "a ridiculous amount of overhead to give your monster a few more hit points and Rage."
Oh lord, no it's not. Those templates are a terrible, terrible idea that showed up in DMG1 back before the designers knew anything about the system. It was an attempt to cram inappropriate 3e-isms into 4e monster design. And that terrible, terrible idea made terrible, terrible monsters.


I realize it's more than that, because the entry you linked is the one I copied and modified. You'll note I said that that entry contains all the important parts of fireball assuming you have standard rules for fire (which the game should) and a base spell template.
Why use a base spell template and descriptors like "long range" when you can just put the ranges and full description right there?


There are 8 unique abilities among all seven MM1 orcs, which boil down to some combination of "heal when hitting someone", "attack when hit", "let another orc attack", and "ranged AoE". You can get more variety than that by adding a single level of warblade or crusader--or heck, even fighter!--to a 3e orc.
At which point you've gone through the hassle of adding class levels, adjusting saving throws, attacks, calculating DCs, etc. With less hassle in 4e, you take flavorful neat thing as inspiration from a class and put it into 4e monster terms. Done; no overhead.


:smallsigh: As noted many times before, "make stuff up" is a valid tactic in any edition of any game. You can whip up a pure-fiat monster in 3e if you really want to, and for those who like to follow the rules or who want to draw on existing material, it's all there.
Explain how this isn't a rule zero fallacy?


Why on Oerth would having more standardization between monsters and between player and monster abilities be a bad thing?

Hardly. 3e monsters have plenty of unique and diverse abilities, but all of the generic stuff that lots of monsters use is standardized so you only need to read a few abilities for each new monster you come across despite the monster actually having plenty of abilities at its disposal.
The standardization nets you zero benefit if you spell them out precisely, as you should in the stat block.

-O

lesser_minion
2013-08-18, 11:10 AM
The standardization nets you zero benefit if you spell them out precisely, as you should in the stat block.

Standardisation is not just about saving space. It also makes the system as a whole easier to balance, easier to learn, easier to understand, easier to reason about, and more flexible in what it can handle.

And regardless of other considerations, it is the height of pointlessness to take essentially a single concept from the game world and then model it in twelve different ways within the rules.


Explain how this isn't a rule zero fallacy?

Because you were pretending that rule zero didn't exist at all.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-18, 11:46 AM
Something we often forget is that other folks don't have ten years experience, or don't have the same ten years experience. DMG1 had a lot of "these are suggestions for figuring out what you want to do, and how to keep different people engaged," it even has a section of "published adventures suck in a vacuum, here's suggestions on how to improvise when your players leave the rails." Then the DMG2 tries to revise some things, taking another stab at skill challenges (the epitome of "good idea, hard to put in writing") and various DM hurdles (say "yes, but" instead of "no" when a player has an idea), giving examples of how to build different creatures around a unifying theme or design traps (since it was the first edition of D&D to embrace Dungeonscape's idea of interactive traps instead of "remove it or take damage and done").

Neither one is perfect, but they are both very good attempts and I recommend them to people running any game system.

I don't disagree, I was just being snarky that it took WotC so long to get a clue.

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-18, 12:25 PM
Standardisation is not just about saving space. It also makes the system as a whole easier to balance, easier to learn, easier to understand, easier to reason about, and more flexible in what it can handle.

And regardless of other considerations, it is the height of pointlessness to take essentially a single concept from the game world and then model it in twelve different ways within the rules.




How does standardisation make the system easier to balance, or more flexible?

What about making monsters and players draw from the same pool of abilities is easier to make balanced than being able to modify those abilities as the situation requires it?

Similarly, how is a system that doesn't let you give monsters things that don't work as player abilities more flexible?

These ideas, coincidentally, are the reason multiple models of one concept are not pointless.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 12:39 PM
How does standardisation make the system easier to balance, or more flexible?

What about making monsters and players draw from the same pool of abilities is easier to make balanced than being able to modify those abilities as the situation requires it?

Similarly, how is a system that doesn't let you give monsters things that don't work as player abilities more flexible?

These ideas, coincidentally, are the reason multiple models of one concept are not pointless.

I think the standardisation in question is that, rather than each monster having a slightly different fireball ability that are all called 'Fireball', you just have the one Fireball ability and that's the same across all monsters. Nothing to do with players and monsters sharing abilities.

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-18, 12:44 PM
I think the standardisation in question is that, rather than each monster having a slightly different fireball ability that are all called 'Fireball', you just have the one Fireball ability and that's the same across all monsters. Nothing to do with players and monsters sharing abilities.

Ah, my mistake. Is there an edition that does that?

DeltaEmil
2013-08-18, 12:49 PM
Fireball was not even consistent in D&D 3.x. A level 5 wizard's fireball deals less damage and has less range than that of a level 6 wizard, or a level 10 wizard.

So it's really nonsense to clamor for all fireballs to be the same, when they're not.

Woe befalls us when the fireball was also modified through metamagics, a feat, and could become either a spell-like or supernatural ability, psionic, psi-like, and stuff like that.

Fireball is not equal to fireball, except that fireball should deal fire over a large area.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 12:51 PM
Ah, my mistake. Is there an edition that does that?

I think the examples that keep getting used are Improved Grab and Pounce from 3.5? You get the full ability writeup for the monster, but if you know the ability the names are enough, as it's consistent across the different enemies.

Also Swallow Whole.


Fireball was not even consistent in D&D 3.x. A level 5 wizard's fireball deals less damage and has less range than that of a level 6 wizard, or a level 10 wizard.

... it was an example. Nobody claimed that all fireballs were the same. :smallsigh:

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 01:14 PM
I think the standardisation in question is that, rather than each monster having a slightly different fireball ability that are all called 'Fireball', you just have the one Fireball ability and that's the same across all monsters. Nothing to do with players and monsters sharing abilities.

(As an aside Raineh, I don't know which side you end up on this, so please take this reply to the idea, rather than whatever position you have on it.)

The problem, as has been pointed out, is that even if we accept that Fireball is a simple ability (and it really isn't), DMs without the system mastery to understand what a Fireball does are going to have to look it up. And even if we decide that it's okay to simply write "Fireball" on a monster's stat block (with perhaps a few notes to indicate strength), then what other spells should WotC be comfortable using in such a manner, and how many?

What I (and I believe, obryn) am suggesting is that worrying about every Fireball being identical to every other Fireball is a lot of work for relatively low benefit. I think the most important parts of Fireball to a player who is facing one (not casting themselves), are the following:

1) Does the effect feel like what I expect a Fireball spell to feel like?
2) Is this going to hurt me?

If you wish to have a monster use the Fireball spell (and noting that you, as a DM, might have good reasons to modify such a thing), I think I'd rather see it spelt out in the monster's stat block in full:


Fireball (standard action): Range 50ft, 20ft radius burst (8x8 squares), each creature in the burst. DC 13 Reflex check.
Hit: 6d6 fire damage.
Miss: half damage.
Effect: Fireball ignites flammable objects not being worn or carried.

(The same goes for traits; if "Swallow Whole" means something, then write out on the monster somewhere, in full, what it does.)

Is this going to require longer stat blocks for creatures that are supposed to cast spells or have several abilities/traits? Yes. But I would hope that rather than stretch a stat-block onto two pages, WotC recognizes that figuring out how to capture the essence of a creature in a manageable space. If spelling things out takes too much room, either cut the abilities out, or do what 4e did and take the opportunity to split them up into different monsters.

And from the DM monster creation side, ideally you would have some guidelines that suggest that for a level X monster (5?), having the ability to use an attack that hits multiple creatures for 6d6 damage is appropriate for them to have once per encounter/day. Then you, as the DM, can either make that a Fireball, or something more appropriate to the creatures (a breath attack? Poison spore? Whirlwind of blades?). The monster math seems sufficiently complicated that I don't know if this is the direction they are going, but I think it should be the direction they do go.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 01:23 PM
If you wish to have a monster use the Fireball spell (and noting that you, as a DM, might have good reasons to modify such a thing), I think I'd rather see it spelt out in the monster's stat block in full:

But I think I keep seeing that it should be both--you get the short statblock with just the names in it, and then the full abilities spelled out below. It ends up being possible to read monster entries without looking at the full ability writeup, because you know what they do, and if you don't then you just read a bit further.

Which means that things like Pit Fiends and other high-powered baddies, that accrue abilities like mad, do not require you to read through a dozen ever-so-slightly-different-from-other-monsters abilities because they wrote them out from scratch each time.

I guess if a monster had a more powerful fireball it'd be labelled Improved Fireball or something.

For reference: my position on this is 'I don't really care about monster abilities'.

obryn
2013-08-18, 01:27 PM
I think the standardisation in question is that, rather than each monster having a slightly different fireball ability that are all called 'Fireball', you just have the one Fireball ability and that's the same across all monsters. Nothing to do with players and monsters sharing abilities.
Then you rapidly run out of namespace. There's only so many ways to say "fireball."

I think it's only good sense to try and limit the namespace collisions in monsters you're likely to find with one another (really, the cyclopes from MM1 are terrible in many ways; evil eye is just the tip of the iceberg), but past that it's not really a big deal. Because, like I said, everything you need to know about it is right there, spelled out for you.


Standardisation is not just about saving space. It also makes the system as a whole easier to balance, easier to learn, easier to understand, easier to reason about, and more flexible in what it can handle.
In what way is it easier to balance, learn, more flexible, etc? Using 3.x for 8 years and 4e for 5, it's simply none of the above. I don't need to learn every firey burst-ish spell; I just need to know what it does. Which is spelled out in the stat block.


And regardless of other considerations, it is the height of pointlessness to take essentially a single concept from the game world and then model it in twelve different ways within the rules.
Again, not if you spell it out in precise terms where it appears.


Because you were pretending that rule zero didn't exist at all.
If you need Rule 0 to fix a rule, you should just make the rule properly in the first place. You can say "3e monster design is fine ... if you ignore all the rules about monster design," but you're implying that 3e monster design is specifically not fine by doing so.

-O

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 01:30 PM
Ah, my mistake. Is there an edition that does that?
Second edition, actually. Third edition made it more difficult by making things like saving throw depend on the caster's stats. Fourth edition made it even worse by having it sometimes target fort instead of ref, sometimes dealing Xd8 instead of Xd6 and so on.

Regardless, just because it isn't perfect in <insert edition here> doesn't mean it's a bad idea for future design. Indeed, we expect future design to improve over past editions.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 01:30 PM
Then you rapidly run out of namespace. There's only so many ways to say "fireball."

I think it's only good sense to try and limit the namespace collisions in monsters you're likely to find with one another (really, the cyclopes from MM1 are terrible in many ways; evil eye is just the tip of the iceberg), but past that it's not really a big deal. Because, like I said, everything you need to know about it is right there, spelled out for you.

... why do you need that many variations of fireball? If you have a base fireball, then you can append basically any adjective you feel like to it. But if you need that many different ways to basically have a spherical flaming projectile explosion, then you might be using it too often.


If you need Rule 0 to fix a rule, you should just make the rule properly in the first place. You can say "3e monster design is fine ... if you ignore all the rules about monster design," but you're implying that 3e monster design is specifically not fine by doing so.

... but it's not fixing the rule, in this case, is it? I think the original statement was something along the lines of 'You can do it properly, with PC classes and everything, or you can just add the stuff you want if you want to do it quickly'.

PairO'Dice Lost
2013-08-18, 01:41 PM
See, I've done grappling builds and they somehow manage to be different than how you described. Mainly, I did not know you got to deal unarmed damage on a successful grapple. Also, one of my favourites revolved around a set of rules you didn't mention: Moving an enemy during grapple. Grabbing an enemy, pinning them, and dragging them around a rogue with combat reflexes.

So, in a nutshell, we both didn't know parts of grapple rules

Au contraire. "5) While grappling or pinned, you can use a non-scroll magic item or cast a non-somatic spell, move the grapple with a grapple check as a standard action (enemy gets +4), or retrieve a spell component as a full-round action." As with my modified fireball example earlier, I took the SRD entry and compressed everything, so it's all there.


Eh? It's nowhere near as complicated as the 4e grab. Nowhere close. Are you reading the same rules I am?

The 3e description has more fiddly details, but the general structure is the same. To grapple, make a touch attack (stopped by AoO) and then grapple check against a creature of [your size + 1] as an attack action; if you win, you're both immobilized, you can attack the grappled creature or use a spell, you need to make grapple checks to move on your turn, you don't provoke AoOs from each other but you do from anyone else, the grappled creature can make an Escape Artist check to escape on its turn, and the grapple ends if you release it or are unable to continue the grapple.

To grab, make a Str vs. Ref check against a creature of [your size + 1] as a standard action; if you win, you're both immobilized, you can attack the grappled creature or use a power, you need to make Str vs. Fort checks to move on your turn, you don't provoke AoOs from each other but you do from anyone else, the grabbed creature can make an Athletics/Acrobatics check to escape on its turn, and the grab ends if you release it or are unable to continue the grapple.

The differences are (A) grapple requires a touch attack first, but you also deal unarmed damage so it's more like adding a free attack (like if grab also let you make a free melee basic attack) than requiring an extra roll, and (B) grapple is maintained as an attack action while grab is maintained as a minor action, which means grab is better at low levels and grapple is better at high levels when people start getting multiple attacks, (C) grapple has a list of allowed actions, which is basically 4e's "you must have one hand free and be able to act unhindered" rule that enumerates everything instead of leaving things up to the DM, and (D) you can pin in grapple but not in grab, so a grapple is harder to escape.

A and B are tossups, C is an advantage for grab in simplicity, D is an advantage for grapple in usefulness. Now, grab is definitely a streamlined version of grapple, but the idea that grab is "easy" and is used a lot while grapple is "hard" and never used is simply hyperbole.


Because you're putting detailed rules into those keywords rather than using them as "tags" as (current) 4e does.

The keywords I'm referring to are things like push, ongoing, grab, zone, etc., not Martial or Healing or the like. Those keywords do have mechanics attached, and the rules behind them are described elsewhere, just like their 3e counterparts.


At which point you've gone through the hassle of adding class levels, adjusting saving throws, attacks, calculating DCs, etc. With less hassle in 4e, you take flavorful neat thing as inspiration from a class and put it into 4e monster terms. Done; no overhead.[

Explain how this isn't a rule zero fallacy?

If something here is an Oberoni fallacy, it's your statement that 4e is superior because it requires a DM to make stuff up and alter monsters by fiat rather than providing a system to do so.

Once again: you can make stuff up in any system. If you want to make a fighter-like monster in 3e, you can easily take a "flavorful neat thing as inspiration from a class" and slap it on a monster. Whether you prefer to make stuff up or follow a monster-building system is up to personal taste, but for someone who does like to make stuff up having a monster-building system to fall back on or use for examples and guidance is not a drawback and for someone who likes to use a monster-building system having no system in place is not an advantage.


The standardization nets you zero benefit if you spell them out precisely, as you should in the stat block.

As Kurald said in the last thread:

The point of standardization is to make things easier to remember, which makes combat faster to run.

Take a look at Magic cards: they'll say things like "Flying (cannot be blocked by non-flying creatures)". This is spelled out, so it's useful for beginning players; but it's also standardized, which means that advanced players can stop reading after the word "flying".
Similarly, a D&D creature could read "Pack tactics (+1 to hit for each ally adjacent to the target)" and then use this for multiple creatures. What 4E is doing wrong is that they would give "pack tactics" a different effect on other creatures. One of the earlier playtests of 5E said that Turn Undead would have its effects spelled out in each undead creature and they could be different for each; that is completely missing the point of centralized design.


Fireball was not even consistent in D&D 3.x. A level 5 wizard's fireball deals less damage and has less range than that of a level 6 wizard, or a level 10 wizard.

So it's really nonsense to clamor for all fireballs to be the same, when they're not.

Woe befalls us when the fireball was also modified through metamagics, a feat, and could become either a spell-like or supernatural ability, psionic, psi-like, and stuff like that.

Fireball is not equal to fireball, except that fireball should deal fire over a large area.

CL 6 fireball == CL 6 fireball

empowered CL 5 fireball == empowered CL 5 fireball

(Su) fireball == (Su) fireball

All of those things have standardized rules, and if you know what fireball does and empower does, you can combine them to get an empowered fireball.

neonchameleon
2013-08-18, 02:02 PM
First on the current state of Next:

If the current playtest packet had been the first, second or even third playtest packet I would be looking forward to Next. It has some interesting stuff in there and for an early Alpha isn't bad.

However it's literally the last-but-one playtest packet, and if Wizards want Next out by GenCon 2014 then there really isn't much time left. (4e was released 11 months after the end of the intensive 3 week playtest). For where it's at it's a hell of a lot better than the previous packet, but is about a year late.

Now for replies:



Oh? How does forced movement interact with opportunity attacks? Damaging zones? Movement triggered abilities? Because I'm pretty sure there are some important fine details in there; slide doesn't trigger OH, but does push/pull?

If you do not understand very basic concepts in 4e, concepts that are used by almost every PC, this merely says that you don't understand very basic concepts in 4e and should probably work out how the game works before trying to ask questions.

Forced Movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. Damaging zones are written on a per-zone power and refer to forced movement.

The only rules difference between a push, a pull, and a slide is the direction they may be in. A slide can be in any direction. A pull must be towards the origin and a push must be away from the origin. (The origin is normally the character triggering, but can be the epicentre of a spell or explosion). Other than pulls and pushes restricting which direction you can move someone, the rules are exactly the same.

So no there aren't important fine details in the distinction between pulls, pushes, and slides. There is an important major difference; restrictions on the direction you can use. But they all otherwise use the same forced movement rules.


This is false, and can be proven so. You want to give a monster rage and some HP? Do it. The 3.5 monster system can entirely mimic the 4e system. The 4e system Cannot Handle The 3.5 System AT ALL.

Ding, dong, the witch is dead. You can match literally any outcome 3.5 can bring you in 4e. And vise-versa if you choose to ignore the rules in 3.5. But you don't have to go through the stupidly long winded process of creating monsters in 4e. Saying "4e doesn't give you the option to run three times round the block before opening your front door" is not a problem.


I find the much more adaptable system with the more powerful engine to be inherently better.

4e. Where you can and are encouraged to do whatever you want. Far more adaptable than deriving your output values.


So? That's how prep work is in 3.5. You need to compare monster creation! How do you build a monster from the ground up? You pick it's type, referencing a chart. You figure it's level, then needed expressions. How do you pick it's special abilities? Is there a list somewhere telling you the appropriate slidin distance for a 13th level monster?

Given that "a 13th level monster" is not a thing that actually exists within the fiction of the gameworld other than in certain rare explicitely D&D universes no there isn't. In 4e you start with the picture of the monster. It slides people as far as you think it should slide them.

How do you design a monster in 3.5? You start with the 3.5 rules. And if your monster is a bad fit for the 3.5 rules? Too bad.


I find the idea that we should eliminate niche monsters because they aren't common enough to be an uncomfortable one.

And I find your claim here to be a complete straw man. The context of you talking about niche monsters is several of us saying that the DM should not have to remember the Swallow Whole rules because they are niche and seldom used. Which means that in SiuS-land the 4e Purple Worm (https://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ex/20101105b) should not exist. But literally no one is arguing for that. What is being argued for is that the Swallow Whole rules, because they are rare, should be a part of the monster rather than the standardised set. The argument isn't that no monster should swallow people whole. It's that when you have the rare monsters that can swallow people whole the rules should be right there.


The overhead on swallow hole is "you're permagrappled. You take damage. You can crawl out te mouth with a grapple check or cut out the belly with a weapon." If that's too hard for you, don't use any non-fighter NPCs!

Oh rubbish. There is no one rule that is the problem. The problem is that there are fifty eight little rules you believe that a DM should need to memorise in order to become a DM. Feats. Spells. Special Abilities. Conditions. Every single one of them is going to have an overhead. And I don't know which one is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Me, I believe that there are many skills that are useful to a DM, and it's a relatively rare combination. The ability to improvise. The ability to entertain. The ability to keep things consistent. The ability to call things back and keep plots in the air. The ability to write flexibly and then bring what they write to life.

The ability to memorise half a ream of unnecessary rules is nowhere on that list. And cutting out a large swathe of your potential DMs simply because you decide to unnecessarily weigh them down with fiddly rules is IMO a bad idea.


All this "grappling is haaaaaaard" crap is just that. It comes from kids who gloss over at three paragraphs and ne'er put the knowledge to work. It's a trigger for me; grapple is easy. You're just lazy.

Grappling rules in 3.5 aren't hard. They are merely fiddly and annoying. To illustrate how fiddly and annoying the grab and grapple rules are in his summary of the grapple rules Sean K Reynolds manages to get the Improved Grab rules wrong in his attempt to make them clear on his website (http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/misc/grappling.html) (for the obvious mistake Improved Grab (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#improvedGrab) (the text is the same in 3.0) does not prevent you from counting as grabbed unless you only use a body part against a smaller foe, and take -20 to the grab check).


Every game, every fight, often multiple times. And there isn't much to learn, you're right Ė just like slide/push/pull. But it establishes a keyword for other things to work off of. Just like slide/push/pull. I though you wanted that level of 4e coordination?

I have no objection to standardised grappling rules. I just object to any standard set of rules that in one turn involve a touch melee attack, an AoO, and an opposed check. (And that make a pixie easier to hold on to than a same strength human). That's three sets of rolls, two against unusual target numbers.


How does "you have any and all possibilities available" equate to a limited number of archetypes?

Because you only have the classes available. And there is plenty that they don't do.


How so, and how is this in contrast to 4e? My experience shows otherwise.

As you don't even know the push and slide rules in 4e but know the grapple rules in 3.5 cold, I'm going to suggest that you might possibly have an extremely lopsided understanding of the two systems. Of course you're going to be able to do more in the system you understand than the one you don't.








As Siuis noted, "3e grapple is sooo hard" is one of the 4e marketing memes that has taken on a life of its own. The grapple rules in a nutshell:

Fiddly, obnoxious, annoying, and take four times as long as they need to. And rely on attributes that sometimes change in the course of play. They aren't terribly hard (ask me about GURPS vehicles sometime...). But they are fiddly and require multiple rolls as part of the same action.


More complicated than it needs to be? Yes. More complicated than 4e's Grab? Hardly; Grab is in 4e terms (Str vs. Ref, Acrobatics to escape) instead of 3e terms (opposed grapple checks, Escape Artist to escape), but it's the same procedure.

You mean other than:
Grab in 4e using standard numbers that are used elsewhere. (Ref rather than using a specific grapple modifier never used for anything else as well as a Touch attack)
Grab in 4e being a single roll to apply.
Grab in 4e not requiring an opposed roll
Grab in 4e not giving people different modifiers based on whether they are inside or outside the grab
Grab in 4e not inflicting an extra special penalty to attacking your opponent either with unarmed or native attacks.
Grab in 4e not provoking opportunity attacks (now there's a fiddly list: things that provoke in 3.5 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions))

So yes, the 3.5 rules are significantly more complicated than the 4e rules - that's half a dozen clear ways off the top of my head. You can say they aren't all you like - but when I can come up with this many things in the 3.5 rules that do not have an equivalent in the 4e rules you are simply objectively wrong. Are the 4e grab rules a pretty obvious streamlining of the 3.5 grab rules? Yes. But they are a quite deliberately streamlined version that don't use extra special numbers for most people, or as many die rolls or steps to remember.


The double standards here regarding standardization are kinda starting to tick me off.

Then stop trying to create double standards as you did above by misrepresenting the two sets of rules to claim they were equivalent. As far as I can tell every single one of your supposed double standards involves either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation:


4e Grab is in a bulleted list while 3e Grappling is in prose, both editions use high-level function calls to grab/grappling in player-side powers and monster-side features, and both function basically the same way, yet Grab is simple and elegant while Grapple is insanely difficult.

As I've gone into above Grab is simpler than Grapple in at least half a dozen ways. Grapple takes a minimum of 3d20 to initiate, and there in addition to escaping and moving are three special moves that are only ever used in a grapple:
Pin
Break another's Pin
Use Opponent's Weapon

There are also special rules when grappling on both drawing a weapon and drawing a weapon from a spell component pouch.

Yes, they both function basically the same way. But then 3.5 decides to tack on a mountain of junk that 4e doesn't. Which is why grapple is considered insanely difficult - people think they need to know the rules for using opponents weapons, and for counter-pins.


4e has a 6-page "how to read a power" section and its powers are all nicely self-contained, 3e has a 5-page "spell descriptions" section and its spells are too complex for monster use.

You are missing the point here. This is largely a matter of presentation; 4e monster spells are right there in the monster statblock where as 3.5 monster spells are stored in another book entirely. The problem almost vanishes if you copy every spell the monster needs to be able to cast into the monster statblock.


4e boils everything down to packages of keywords and it's innovative and fast, I suggest boiling things down to packages of keywords and it requires too much system mastery.

4e boils them down into a small handful of keywords, with all the damage keywords having no direct in game effect. There are ten damage types, three forced movement types, a small handful of movement modes (teleport, climb, swim, fly, shift, move), and almost a couple of dozen conditions like dazed, stunned, ongoing, prone, invisible. And 4e still has too many conditions. And a number of bad keywords like Rattling, Reliable, and Invigorating that should be in the effect portion rather than keywords.

You, on the other hand, I think want to make fireball into a keyword. 4e already has more keywords than it should. This is not a double standard. This is you wanting to take somewhere where 4e is already bursting at the seams and make the whole problem an order of magnitude worse. "Keywords" are not a magic talisman that allow you to add a further few dozen to the system.


4e has a fighter class template that adds +2 Fort, +2 saves, 1 action point, +8+Con HP, two skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and three class features and it's a refreshing breath of simplicity in monster customization. 3e lets you add a level of barbarian to a monster to give it +2 Fort, +1 attack, 1d12+Con HP, 2+Int skills, a bunch of proficiencies, and two class features and it's "a ridiculous amount of overhead to give your monster a few more hit points and Rage."

Hint: 4e has some monster design templates to give them PC classes that almost no one uses because they are fiddly and annoying but were presented as a slightly obscure option in early 4e and never followed up on after the DMG 2 as far as I am aware because no one used them and because they are fiddly, obnoxious, and annoying. (I've once or twice used the more interesting templates like the Invisible Blade, but not for years now).

Literally no one I have ever seen claims that 4e is a breath of fresh air in terms of monster design simplicity because it has those templates. People consider 4e a breath of fresh air because you do not have to use such templates. Saying "4e has this optional tool that resembles 3e that no one likes therefore 4e does things the 3e way" is IMO just a little ridiculous.


Well, people, which is it? :smallannoyed:

That almost all of your claims about double standards are, as I have just shown, based on you not understanding things and because of this you misrepresenting the opposing position :smallannoyed:

Please stop doing this.

lesser_minion
2013-08-18, 02:05 PM
How does standardisation make the system easier to balance, or more flexible?

You have fewer different things to consider in balancing, and when you do make a mistake, you only have to fix it once. Likewise, it becomes easier to write new, truly distinct abilities because there are less other abilities to consider, thus making the game more flexible.

And please remember that 3e failed at standardisation -- recall the "Resist Energy neuters meteor swarm" thing from last thread?


In what way is it easier to balance, learn, more flexible, etc? Using 3.x for 8 years and 4e for 5, it's simply none of the above. I don't need to learn every firey burst-ish spell; I just need to know what it does. Which is spelled out in the stat block.

In a standardised system, there is only one firey burst-ish spell for you to learn. In the non-standardised system you propose, every monster that you use that uses a firey burst-ish spell means a completely new spell for you to learn, because you cannot assume that one monster's firey burst-ish spell will be much like any other monster's -- and despite that, those different abilities probably will be similar enough that any balancing errors with one have a good chance of being repeated in others.

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 02:09 PM
I don't think Magic: the Gathering keywords are a great example to use for "standardization". Keywords are great as long as players aren't overwhelmed by them. The "evergreen" keywords, as they're known by (flying, trample, haste, etc.) certainly convey information quickly, but they're also relatively small in number. What makes keywords like push, pull and slide work in 4e is that while each has different rules, they show up enough as to not be overwhelming.

And while Magic adds new keywords practically every block (e.g. shadow, affinity, double-faced cards), they tend to do so in a very limited manner (keywords rotate out every year), because experience has shown them that too many keywords can be problematic. Magic's Time Spiral block had problems connecting with new players as an example because they threw in nearly every gosh darn keyword they could. Rosewater also mentioned that the last set in the latest block (Return to Ravinca), has had problems as well due to the amount of keywords (11!) that they added on top of the evergreen ones.

(also worth noting: while flying is easy enough to understand without rule text, note that other keywords - Reach and defender as examples - have the rules spelt out on the cards in the latest Core 2014 set).

I think if there is a lesson that D&D brings from Magic, it's not to flood the player with "keywords", it's to be very critical about the ones they do use. I think there's an argument to be made for keywords such as dazed, push, and teleport. I don't know if there is a very good argument to be made for fireball, charm person, and polymorph.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 02:19 PM
I think if there is a lesson that D&D brings from Magic, it's not to flood the player with "keywords", it's to be very critical about the ones they do use. I think there's an argument to be made for keywords such as dazed, push, and teleport. I don't know if there is a very good argument to be made for fireball, charm person, and polymorph.
Yes.

But 4E would have been clearer if it had just a few keywords. For example, "-2 to hit" should have been a keyword, and there is no real need to have three separate situations for "-2 to your attacks", "-2 to your next attack" and "-2 to your next attack roll", especially as a Rattling build will likely have a mix of all three.

For that matter, when you use keywords like "combat advantage" it doesn't really help to add complications like "combat advantage but only to YOU" or "combat advantage to the next attack that deals fire damage". That misses the point of having keywords in the first place.

The bottom line here is that 4E/5E would have benefited from somebody from the Magic The Gathering team.


You have fewer different things to consider in balancing, and when you do make a mistake, you only have to fix it once. Likewise, it becomes easier to write new, truly distinct abilities because there are less other abilities to consider, thus making the game more flexible.

Come to think of it, one of the worst rulings by the 4E errata team was to, instead of ruling that damaging zones hurt any creature only once per turn, to clunkily errata every single zone power (and miss a few, too).

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-18, 02:20 PM
You have fewer different things to consider in balancing, and when you do make a mistake, you only have to fix it once. Likewise, it becomes easier to write new, truly distinct abilities because there are less other abilities to consider, thus making the game more flexible.

And please remember that 3e failed at standardisation -- recall the "Resist Energy neuters meteor swarm" thing from last thread?

What sort of balance mistake, in a non-standardized system, would require more than one fix? Wouldn't most balance issues be edge cases, that can be fixed by fixing one monster, rather than having to change every other instance of the effect in the entire game?

Edit: On seeing Kurald Galain's example above, I've gotten a slightly better idea of what you may have been talking about. Although, honestly, I'm not sure what it was about the system which made them try to fix that the way they did (individually per skill) instead of the way Kurald suggests (just change how zone damage works.)

And I'm sorry, but I'm not getting what you're saying about flexibility at all. There are fewer abilities, but roughly the same number of "truly distinct" abilities, correct? What about that says more flexibility to you?

obryn
2013-08-18, 02:27 PM
... why do you need that many variations of fireball? If you have a base fireball, then you can append basically any adjective you feel like to it. But if you need that many different ways to basically have a spherical flaming projectile explosion, then you might be using it too often.
Not saying you do. But if I want a burst 3 for a monster I'm making, I should not need to go through the rules and try and figure out what you call a burst 3 fire attack vs. reflex.


The 3e description has more fiddly details, but the general structure is the same. To grapple, make a touch attack (stopped by AoO) and then grapple check against a creature of [your size + 1] as an attack action; if you win, you're both immobilized, you can attack the grappled creature or use a spell, you need to make grapple checks to move on your turn, you don't provoke AoOs from each other but you do from anyone else, the grappled creature can make an Escape Artist check to escape on its turn, and the grapple ends if you release it or are unable to continue the grapple.

To grab, make a Str vs. Ref check against a creature of [your size + 1] as a standard action; if you win, you're both immobilized, you can attack the grappled creature or use a power, you need to make Str vs. Fort checks to move on your turn, you don't provoke AoOs from each other but you do from anyone else, the grabbed creature can make an Athletics/Acrobatics check to escape on its turn, and the grab ends if you release it or are unable to continue the grapple.

The differences are (A) grapple requires a touch attack first, but you also deal unarmed damage so it's more like adding a free attack (like if grab also let you make a free melee basic attack) than requiring an extra roll, and (B) grapple is maintained as an attack action while grab is maintained as a minor action, which means grab is better at low levels and grapple is better at high levels when people start getting multiple attacks, (C) grapple has a list of allowed actions, which is basically 4e's "you must have one hand free and be able to act unhindered" rule that enumerates everything instead of leaving things up to the DM, and (D) you can pin in grapple but not in grab, so a grapple is harder to escape.

A and B are tossups, C is an advantage for grab in simplicity, D is an advantage for grapple in usefulness. Now, grab is definitely a streamlined version of grapple, but the idea that grab is "easy" and is used a lot while grapple is "hard" and never used is simply hyperbole.

That's amazing, because...

3e (spoilered because holy crap)
Grapple
Grapple Checks
Repeatedly in a grapple, you need to make opposed grapple checks against an opponent. A grapple check is like a melee attack roll. Your attack bonus on a grapple check is:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + special size modifier

Special Size Modifier
The special size modifier for a grapple check is as follows: Colossal +16, Gargantuan +12, Huge +8, Large +4, Medium +0, Small -4, Tiny -8, Diminutive -12, Fine -16. Use this number in place of the normal size modifier you use when making an attack roll.

Starting a Grapple
To start a grapple, you need to grab and hold your target. Starting a grapple requires a successful melee attack roll. If you get multiple attacks, you can attempt to start a grapple multiple times (at successively lower base attack bonuses).

Step 1
Attack of Opportunity. You provoke an attack of opportunity from the target you are trying to grapple. If the attack of opportunity deals damage, the grapple attempt fails. (Certain monsters do not provoke attacks of opportunity when they attempt to grapple, nor do characters with the Improved Grapple feat.) If the attack of opportunity misses or fails to deal damage, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2
Grab. You make a melee touch attack to grab the target. If you fail to hit the target, the grapple attempt fails. If you succeed, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3
Hold. Make an opposed grapple check as a free action.

If you succeed, you and your target are now grappling, and you deal damage to the target as if with an unarmed strike.

If you lose, you fail to start the grapple. You automatically lose an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than you are.

In case of a tie, the combatant with the higher grapple check modifier wins. If this is a tie, roll again to break the tie.

Step 4
Maintain Grapple. To maintain the grapple for later rounds, you must move into the targetís space. (This movement is free and doesnít count as part of your movement in the round.)

Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents, but not from your target.

If you canít move into your targetís space, you canít maintain the grapple and must immediately let go of the target. To grapple again, you must begin at Step 1.

Grappling Consequences
While youíre grappling, your ability to attack others and defend yourself is limited.

No Threatened Squares
You donít threaten any squares while grappling.

No Dexterity Bonus
You lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if you have one) against opponents you arenít grappling. (You can still use it against opponents you are grappling.)

No Movement
You canít move normally while grappling. You may, however, make an opposed grapple check to move while grappling.

If Youíre Grappling
When you are grappling (regardless of who started the grapple), you can perform any of the following actions. Some of these actions take the place of an attack (rather than being a standard action or a move action). If your base attack bonus allows you multiple attacks, you can attempt one of these actions in place of each of your attacks, but at successively lower base attack bonuses.

Activate a Magic Item
You can activate a magic item, as long as the item doesnít require spell completion activation. You donít need to make a grapple check to activate the item.

Attack Your Opponent
You can make an attack with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, or light weapon against another character you are grappling. You take a -4 penalty on such attacks.

You canít attack with two weapons while grappling, even if both are light weapons.

Cast a Spell
You can attempt to cast a spell while grappling or even while pinned (see below), provided its casting time is no more than 1 standard action, it has no somatic component, and you have in hand any material components or focuses you might need. Any spell that requires precise and careful action is impossible to cast while grappling or being pinned. If the spell is one that you can cast while grappling, you must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level) or lose the spell. You donít have to make a successful grapple check to cast the spell.

Damage Your Opponent
While grappling, you can deal damage to your opponent equivalent to an unarmed strike. Make an opposed grapple check in place of an attack. If you win, you deal nonlethal damage as normal for your unarmed strike (1d3 points for Medium attackers or 1d2 points for Small attackers, plus Strength modifiers). If you want to deal lethal damage, you take a -4 penalty on your grapple check.

Exception: Monks deal more damage on an unarmed strike than other characters, and the damage is lethal. However, they can choose to deal their damage as nonlethal damage when grappling without taking the usual -4 penalty for changing lethal damage to nonlethal damage.

Draw a Light Weapon
You can draw a light weapon as a move action with a successful grapple check.

Escape from Grapple
You can escape a grapple by winning an opposed grapple check in place of making an attack. You can make an Escape Artist check in place of your grapple check if you so desire, but this requires a standard action. If more than one opponent is grappling you, your grapple check result has to beat all their individual check results to escape. (Opponents donít have to try to hold you if they donít want to.) If you escape, you finish the action by moving into any space adjacent to your opponent(s).

Move
You can move half your speed (bringing all others engaged in the grapple with you) by winning an opposed grapple check. This requires a standard action, and you must beat all the other individual check results to move the grapple.

Note: You get a +4 bonus on your grapple check to move a pinned opponent, but only if no one else is involved in the grapple.

Retrieve a Spell Component
You can produce a spell component from your pouch while grappling by using a full-round action. Doing so does not require a successful grapple check.

Pin Your Opponent
You can hold your opponent immobile for 1 round by winning an opposed grapple check (made in place of an attack). Once you have an opponent pinned, you have a few options available to you (see below).

Break Anotherís Pin
If you are grappling an opponent who has another character pinned, you can make an opposed grapple check in place of an attack. If you win, you break the hold that the opponent has over the other character. The character is still grappling, but is no longer pinned.

Use Opponentís Weapon
If your opponent is holding a light weapon, you can use it to attack him. Make an opposed grapple check (in place of an attack). If you win, make an attack roll with the weapon with a -4 penalty (doing this doesnít require another action).

You donít gain possession of the weapon by performing this action.

If Youíre Pinning an Opponent
You can attempt to damage your opponent with an opposed grapple check, you can attempt to use your opponentís weapon against him, or you can attempt to move the grapple (all described above). At your option, you can prevent a pinned opponent from speaking.

You can use a disarm action to remove or grab away a well secured object worn by a pinned opponent, but he gets a +4 bonus on his roll to resist your attempt.

You may voluntarily release a pinned character as a free action; if you do so, you are no longer considered to be grappling that character (and vice versa).

You canít draw or use a weapon (against the pinned character or any other character), escape anotherís grapple, retrieve a spell component, pin another character, or break anotherís pin while you are pinning an opponent.

If Youíre Pinned by an Opponent
When an opponent has pinned you, you are held immobile (but not helpless) for 1 round. While youíre pinned, you take a -4 penalty to your AC against opponents other than the one pinning you. At your opponentís option, you may also be unable to speak. On your turn, you can try to escape the pin by making an opposed grapple check in place of an attack. You can make an Escape Artist check in place of your grapple check if you want, but this requires a standard action. If you win, you escape the pin, but youíre still grappling.

Joining a Grapple
If your target is already grappling someone else, you can use an attack to start a grapple, as above, except that the target doesnít get an attack of opportunity against you, and your grab automatically succeeds. You still have to make a successful opposed grapple check to become part of the grapple.

If there are multiple opponents involved in the grapple, you pick one to make the opposed grapple check against.

Multiple Grapplers
Several combatants can be in a single grapple. Up to four combatants can grapple a single opponent in a given round. Creatures that are one or more size categories smaller than you count for half, creatures that are one size category larger than you count double, and creatures two or more size categories larger count quadruple.

When you are grappling with multiple opponents, you choose one opponent to make an opposed check against. The exception is an attempt to escape from the grapple; to successfully escape, your grapple check must beat the check results of each opponent.
vs. 4e:


By using the grab power, any creature can try to seize a target bodily and keep it from moving. Although class powers and monster powers are usually more effective than grab at locking a target down, the advantage of grab is that anyone can use it, regardless of class.

GRAB: STANDARD ACTION

Target: You can attempt to grab a creature that is smaller than you, the same size category as you, or
one category larger than you. The creature must be within your melee reach (donít count extra reach
from a weapon).

Strength Attack: Make a Strength attack vs. Reflex. Do not add any weapon modifiers. You must have at least one hand free to make a grab attempt.
Hit: The enemy is immobilized until it escapes or you end the grab. Your enemy can attempt to escape on its turn.

Sustaining a Grab: You sustain a grab as a minor action. You can end a grab as a free action.

Effects that End a Grab: If you are affected by a condition that prevents you from taking opportunity actions (such as dazed, stunned, surprised, or unconscious), you immediately let go of a grabbed enemy. If you move away from the creature youíre grabbing, you let go and the grab ends. If a pull, a push, or a slide moves you or the creature youíre grabbing out of your reach, the grab ends.
But please, tell me more about how 3e grapple is no more complicated than 4e grab.


The keywords I'm referring to are things like push, ongoing, grab, zone, etc., not Martial or Healing or the like. Those keywords do have mechanics attached, and the rules behind them are described elsewhere, just like their 3e counterparts.
It's the basic, fundamental vocabulary of the game. "Chaos Hammer" is not part of the basic, fundamental vocabulary of 3.x unless you want to argue that every single spell description is part of the core rules every DM and player should know by rote. Because I know 3e is rules-heavy, but that's a few dozen bridges too far.


If something here is an Oberoni fallacy, it's your statement that 4e is superior because it requires a DM to make stuff up and alter monsters by fiat rather than providing a system to do so.

Once again: you can make stuff up in any system. If you want to make a fighter-like monster in 3e, you can easily take a "flavorful neat thing as inspiration from a class" and slap it on a monster. Whether you prefer to make stuff up or follow a monster-building system is up to personal taste, but for someone who does like to make stuff up having a monster-building system to fall back on or use for examples and guidance is not a drawback and for someone who likes to use a monster-building system having no system in place is not an advantage.
So ... are you saying, "It works fine so long as you ignore the game's actual rules?" Because that's not at all what I'm saying.


CL 6 fireball == CL 6 fireball

empowered CL 5 fireball == empowered CL 5 fireball

(Su) fireball == (Su) fireball

All of those things have standardized rules, and if you know what fireball does and empower does, you can combine them to get an empowered fireball.
Or... you can just spell out exactly what the effects are in the stat block and you don't need to.

e:
The bottom line here is that 4E/5E would have benefited from somebody from the Magic The Gathering team.
We agree here 100%. That's where all their best designers with the firmest grasp of system mechanics are working.

-O

Kuroshima
2013-08-18, 02:41 PM
I would like to note that any game system is always unfinished without a game scenario to accompany it. So any edition of D&D only becomes complete when a proper adventure is supplied.

Meaning that generic systems are unfinished? A scenario is, or should be, an example of what the characters adventures could be. Also, on all but the simplest scenarios, you need first a setting, though it might be an implied one.

Anyway, why would the system need a scenario? By definition, a scenario uses the system.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 02:42 PM
Edit: On seeing Kurald Galain's example above, I've gotten a slightly better idea of what you may have been talking about. Although, honestly, I'm not sure what it was about the system which made them try to fix that the way they did (individually per skill) instead of the way Kurald suggests (just change how zone damage works.)
AFAIK, it's because they just released the RulCom, and management had decided that there must never be errata to the RulCom.

Anyway, just try playing a build that has a few "mark until end of next turn" abilities, a few "mark until start of next turn" abilities, and a "mark (save ends)". It gets confusing real fast, and there's no discernible need for that.

(edit) For that matter, most older 4E zones damage on "enter or start turn", but some don't, whereas most newer 4E zones damage on "end turn" or on "enter or end turn", but then there's a few exceptions that damage as an opportunity attack, and a few that damage on "enter or stand next to" (just make the zone 1 size bigger already) or that damage on "enter or start turn or fall prone". There's really no need for those distinctions, and they significantly slow down gameplay at times.

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 02:42 PM
Yes.

But 4E would have been clearer if it had just a few keywords. For example, "-2 to hit" should have been a keyword, and there is no real need to have three separate situations for "-2 to your attacks", "-2 to your next attack" and "-2 to your next attack roll", especially as a Rattling build will likely have a mix of all three.

For that matter, when you use keywords like "combat advantage" it doesn't really help to add complications like "combat advantage but only to YOU" or "combat advantage to the next attack that deals fire damage". That misses the point of having keywords in the first place.

The bottom line here is that 4E/5E would have benefited from somebody from the Magic The Gathering team.

I mostly agree, although I don't know why you'd make "-2 to attack rolls" a keyword, unless the issue was just about reducing the amount of fiddly bonuses/penalties that could be laid upon an enemy. Keywords should be used to reduce complexity, not to keyword a simple concept for the sake of keywording.

"Combat advantage" is also a 4e "keyword" I don't have a problem with as it means something specific (a non-stackable "+2 to hit"). I assume you'd prefer something akin to "combat disadvantage" in 4e (a non-stackable "-2 to hit")?

I think if there's a lesson from 4e that we can agree upon, it's just that when using keywords, there should be more thought put into the when and where they're applied. We can probably agree that there are too many "fiddly bits" in 3.5/4e that could be excised to make for a cleaner experience.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 02:46 PM
I mostly agree, although I don't know why you'd make "-2 to attack rolls" a keyword,
Simplicity. It's easier to write that a creature "is frightened" than that the target "takes a -2 penalty to all attack rolls". Furthermore, once it's a keyword, you can have other things trigger off it; e.g. a power that deals more damage to frightened creatures just like how Sneak Attack deals more damage with combat advantage.

Flickerdart
2013-08-18, 02:48 PM
You'd want a generic keyword, though. Otherwise you get things like sickened and shaken that basically do the same thing but have completely different condition tracks and fluff.

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 02:55 PM
Simplicity. It's easier to write that a creature "is frightened" than that the target "takes a -2 penalty to all attack rolls". Furthermore, once it's a keyword, you can have other things trigger off it; e.g. a power that deals more damage to frightened creatures just like how Sneak Attack deals more damage with combat advantage.

I think Next already can do this with advantage/disadvantage.

I suppose if 4e was designed differently where they envisioned something that gives a -2 penalty to attack rolls would be common they might have added it, but as is the -2 penalty is given out so uncommonly that I don't know if the game would benefit from adding one, save for (like Combat Advantage) preventing multiple penalties from stacking. As is, I don't see the benefit (but again, perhaps if the game were designed differently, a keyword for a -2 penalty might be appropriate).

(and yes, this is why 4e keywords like "deafened", "variable resistance", and "aquatic" are bad, because they don't come up enough to warrant their own keyword).

Kurald Galain
2013-08-18, 03:00 PM
I suppose if 4e was designed differently where they envisioned something that gives a -2 penalty to attack rolls would be common they might have added it, but as is the -2 penalty is given out so uncommonly that I don't know if the game would benefit from adding one, save for (like Combat Advantage) preventing multiple penalties from stacking.
I think that was true when the PHB1 was first printed, but it's no longer true now with all the various splatbooks.

Something else that should have been keyworded in a central place is companion characters. I actually made a list once; it turns out that summons, riding animals, spirit companions, animal companions, conjurations-with-an-attack, familiars, other kinds of summons, and figurines of wondrous power all work slightly differently with respect to when they can move, whether they can spend your surges, whether they use your skills and defenses and so forth, and all for no good reason. Again, needlessly confusing if you have a character that uses two or more of them (which is not unlikely for e.g. a wizard or druid archetype).


(and yes, this is why 4e keywords like "deafened", "variable resistance", and "aquatic" are bad, because they don't come up enough to warrant their own keyword).
Absolutely. Furthermore, I think 4E's multiple-element-type damage rules are unnecesary and needlessly complicated.

Note that I'm taking examples mostly from 4E simply because it's the game I've been playing most for the past year; I'm sure 3E also has numerous fiddly bits that have no reason to be there and that slow down gameplay for no good reason.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 03:02 PM
Not saying you do. But if I want a burst 3 for a monster I'm making, I should not need to go through the rules and try and figure out what you call a burst 3 fire attack vs. reflex.

Why would you go through the rules to find such a thing? You are not, I believe, writing out statblocks for a D&D sourcebook. Standardisation is so that the published books are easier to read and don't contain a dozen slightly different abilities all under the same name.

I think the important thing to remember about ability standardisation is that it does not exist to facilitate a DM's creating monsters with highly specific abilities.

... also, I don't have a clue why you would want to be so specific about the exact details of a fire attack. You can just purloin things from existing monsters that fit what you're creating. :smallconfused:

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-18, 03:24 PM
AFAIK, it's because they just released the RulCom, and management had decided that there must never be errata to the RulCom.

Anyway, just try playing a build that has a few "mark until end of next turn" abilities, a few "mark until start of next turn" abilities, and a "mark (save ends)". It gets confusing real fast, and there's no discernible need for that.

(edit) For that matter, most older 4E zones damage on "enter or start turn", but some don't, whereas most newer 4E zones damage on "end turn" or on "enter or end turn", but then there's a few exceptions that damage as an opportunity attack, and a few that damage on "enter or stand next to" (just make the zone 1 size bigger already) or that damage on "enter or start turn or fall prone". There's really no need for those distinctions, and they significantly slow down gameplay at times.

I agree completely, here. Tiny, mostly inconsequential distinctions that create bookkeeping headaches are absolutely something we're better off without.

neonchameleon
2013-08-18, 03:54 PM
The bottom line here is that 4E/5E would have benefited from somebody from the Magic The Gathering team.

On a side note 4e actually had someone from the Magic: The Gathering team as lead designer. Until they threw out his version with a dozen different condition tracks and each class having its own recharge mechanics for being unworkably fiddly.

Next also had someone from the Magic: The Gathering team - but it's suspected he was there on punishment duty (Tom LaPille).

And yes, Rattling is a problem keyword (as are its martial-only companions Reliable and Invigorating, which is why they stopped doing that after Martial Power 1). And the zones and expirations arguably need cleaning up. On a case by case basis there is almost always a reason they are the way they are. But it's obnoxious and fiddly.

navar100
2013-08-18, 03:57 PM
You'd want a generic keyword, though. Otherwise you get things like sickened and shaken that basically do the same thing but have completely different condition tracks and fluff.

A separation of a physical cause of -2 to everything and a mental cause of -2 to everything was warranted because many monsters are immune to the mental cause while other monsters are immune to the physical cause; hence the need to have both "sicken" and "shaken". I don't see that as a bug difference.

lesser_minion
2013-08-18, 04:05 PM
A separation of a physical cause of -2 to everything and a mental cause of -2 to everything was warranted because many monsters are immune to the mental cause while other monsters are immune to the physical cause; hence the need to have both "sicken" and "shaken". I don't see that as a bug difference.

Couldn't the actual source of the effect just be a separate keyword? It's not like there's any particularly good reason why hitting someone three times with the weakest possible fear effect causes them to piss themselves, after all.

jindra34
2013-08-18, 06:25 PM
Couldn't the actual source of the effect just be a separate keyword? It's not like there's any particularly good reason why hitting someone three times with the weakest possible fear effect causes them to piss themselves, after all.

So instead of potentially having 2 keywords for when it matters (which might or might not be very often) now every effect NEEDS two keywords? Which need to be kept in their matching pairs, meaning a slip in recording (or a pause do to session change) might cause confusion?

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 08:15 PM
A separation of a physical cause of -2 to everything and a mental cause of -2 to everything was warranted because many monsters are immune to the mental cause while other monsters are immune to the physical cause; hence the need to have both "sicken" and "shaken". I don't see that as a bug difference.

I think you could run into memory issues, particularly with regards to effects with different durations. Especially with Disadvantage already present, I think being able to "stack" multiple -2 penalties might be too strong.

If you were going to have some sort of keyworded +2/-2 in Next (and with Advantage/Disadvantage already in the system, it's probably just more trouble than it's worth) I think you have to err on the side of simplicity. Players either have/can give/receive <+2 bonus keyword> or <-2 penalty keyword>, and leave it at that.

tasw
2013-08-18, 09:24 PM
Ratsmodeus under the billion-soul deep freeze spelljammer, for interstellar salvage and not being kicked out into the void between worlds. :smalltongue:

Awesome sounding dungeon crawl.

Terrible investigation plot


An investigation with a limited set of suspects is not a level 1 style adventure, it's every form of crime fiction in existence;*.

Actually no its not. Crime fiction is about the difficult crimes that require unusually talented protagonists who do things outside of the box solving crimes that elude other investigators. Not about rookie detectives solving formulaic cake walk crimes.

Pretty much the complete opposite of what your claiming. Might try reading some crime novels sometime. It would help.


Is "Joe the cobbler was killed in a locked bedroom, and the three suspects are his scorned wife, his abused apprentice, and the customer who owes him money" an appropriate mystery for high-level characters? No. But "King Joe was killed in a warded bedroom, and the three suspects are the ambitious Grand Vizir, the Ambassador for a country on the edge of war, and the impatient prince" is, thanks to the added layers of magical and social protections.


Exactly, magical and social protections which render most of the spells in question moot. Thus the problem does not exist unless your grand vizier, high ambassador and impatient prince also happen to be cheap morons.

Good luck sitting the prince down and mind raping him with detect thoughts.....


(Also, please try and dial back the scorn. It's not conductive to a productive discussion.)

Absurd internet hyperbole and a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the rules as written for spells are also NOT productive to a discussion. So sorry but those things will continue to get an appropriate level of scorn.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-18, 09:42 PM
Actually no its not. Crime fiction is about the difficult crimes that require unusually talented protagonists who do things outside of the box solving crimes that elude other investigators. Not about rookie detectives solving formulaic cake walk crimes.

Pretty much the complete opposite of what your claiming. Might try reading some crime novels sometime. It would help.

Quite aside from your excessively patronising attitude, I have to ask if you understand the meaning of 'limited'. Even if--and this would be a bit ridiculous--every human on the face of the planet was a suspect, that is still a limited pool. And things are much narrower than that, I must say. Even if you cut it down to 'everyone mentioned in the book', that's still only thirty to fortyish at most, and a lot of them can be discounted due to not having the faintest connection to the plot. :smallamused:

Grod_The_Giant
2013-08-18, 09:59 PM
Actually no its not. Crime fiction is about the difficult crimes that require unusually talented protagonists who do things outside of the box solving crimes that elude other investigators. Not about rookie detectives solving formulaic cake walk crimes.

Pretty much the complete opposite of what your claiming. Might try reading some crime novels sometime. It would help.
Believe it or not, I have read a few-- more than a few-- mystery novels. I've also spent three years writing and acting on a Guy Noir style radio drama, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. And you know what? You can't have a story without characters. A good mystery features intrigue, double crosses, unexpected relationships that can't exist if you don't have a suspect list. Yes, it's (usually) more complicated than "here's the crime, here are three suspects, whodunnit?" but having suspects is not the same thing as having a formulaic cakewalk.


Yes, there are things you can do to cut through a mystery like hot butter. If you want to have a mystery plot, you have to account for things like divination magic, and the GM's Guide should advice for dealing with it, but... if your players are going to go around dominating or torturing every potential suspect until they get an answer, they probably didn't want to play a mystery in the first place.

SiuiS
2013-08-18, 10:13 PM
See, I've done grappling builds and they somehow manage to be different than how you described. Mainly, I did not know you got to deal unarmed damage on a successful grapple. Also, one of my favourites revolved around a set of rules you didn't mention: Moving an enemy during grapple. Grabbing an enemy, pinning them, and dragging them around a rogue with combat reflexes.

So, in a nutshell, we both didn't know parts of grapple rules

You roll grapple; on success, damage. This is what makes power attack fun! No real penalty.

Movement was covered. Did you know a pinned enemy is helpless against anyone but you? That -20 on grapple to not be considered grappled yourself means you can grab someone, hold them down, and drive a knife into them for a coup de grace.

Of course, by the time you can do that it doesn't matter anymore.


Once again, this is the fundamental vocabulary of the game - the rules used in absolutely everything. I am not arguing that 4e is a rules-light game. But comparing this to specific spells used in spell-like abilities is either facetious or intellectually dishonest. Unless you think the entire spell list is a part of the fundamental rules of the game, in which case, wow.

I already said, there's a middle ground everyone can agree on. At this point y'all are complaining about semantics. One side says "X is easy and basic and okay to reference, so is X+1" and the other side says "But X+7 is not!"

Spell like abilities are too big because, why?
Because there are too many spells! Not a guarantee.
Because spells are too complicated! Not if you standardize them as suggested.
Because it could just be in the statblock! Standardization is REQUIRED for that to work without being a waste of time.

Standardizing how spells are (pardon) spelled out woulkd do wonders to fix the problems you're complaining about. And you're, here, telling me that because a broad subsystem has emergent problems, I shouldn't waste my time on the efficient fix which clears up that whole subsystem? I have to assume you're conflating my stance with someone else's, or else not really giving my thoughts a fair shake. Po'DL is describing a gestalt version of the 3.5 nuance with 4.5 ease of use, and te response seems to be a knee-jerk.



This sounds suspiciously like a rule zero fallacy. What I've seen over and over again is that the 3e system's strength is that you can reverse engineer monsters and that players can pick up their tricks right there in the rules. Just adding 50 HP seems ... not really in that list.

But in answer - what do you need in 4e other than knowing what bits and pieces of a class you want to swipe? What is gained by saying, "2 levels of barbarian" that isn't gained by a simple Rage power and a trait?

I would like the same level of intricacy to be applied to monsters on occasion without breaking the system entirely. I apparently cannot.



Oh, I understood it well enough and used it often when I was running 3e. It's a clunky morass of opposed rolls, however, with a few too many steps with the roll to hit, opportunity attack, roll for grapple, figure out what you do with grapple every round, interactions with attackers, etc.

Figuring out the grapple isn't really a problem. You grapple or escape. But too many steps, aye.



You never once need to look up a power as the DM in 4e. That's the difference, and it's hardly a double standard.

That's what we're going for, aye.



Because you're putting detailed rules into those keywords rather than using them as "tags" as (current) 4e does. Keywords (nowadays; MM1 was crappy about this, as Ashdate pointed out) are labels with no game effect unless something specifically leverages them. Like lightning attacks are just attacks until a PC has lightning resistance. There's no general rules about what happens when you are hit with lightning damage.

That is what we are going for, aye.



Oh lord, no it's not. Those templates are a terrible, terrible idea that showed up in DMG1 back before the designers knew anything about the system. It was an attempt to cram inappropriate 3e-isms into 4e monster design. And that terrible, terrible idea made terrible, terrible monsters.


Here's the deal. Yes, those were terrible in 4e. But in a game like NEXT, which should have things for everyone, the concepts need to shift. I think folks are forgetting that; OI think folks are forgetting to see how far from center they can go and still have fun, instead insisting on Next being X edition two-point-oh.


Why use a base spell template and descriptors like "long range" when you can just put the ranges and full description right there?

Ease of modification. "Long Range" is a keyword with it's own parameters. You don't need "Long range is always five hundred feet", but a note that "any power with a range between ten and 30 is Long Range" means you can hang later effects on Long range. Just like Fire, Burst, and Evocation.



At which point you've gone through the hassle of adding class levels, adjusting saving throws, attacks, calculating DCs, etc. With less hassle in 4e, you take flavorful neat thing as inspiration from a class and put it into 4e monster terms. Done; no overhead.

Not accurate. It's not mandatory, so if you choose to do it it's not a hassle. It's something you chose to do for the benefits of higher granularity. There's no binary switch where you must have one or the other, you can have eight guys using quick "give em a fire power, fire resist five and +1 AC" and the one god emperor of the fiery wastes can get the whole treatment, when "slap on a neat flavorful thing" is insufficient.

The argument is "You lose nothing, why are you trying to prevent me from also having a thing I want?" And so far the 4e crowd hasn't actually provided an answer as to why optional granularity is a bad thing. You just say "it's so hard!" and leave it there.




It's not hard. It's not mandatory. It can be useful. Why not have it?


Fireball was not even consistent in D&D 3.x. A level 5 wizard's fireball deals less damage and has less range than that of a level 6 wizard, or a level 10 wizard.

Consistent, not static. A fireball was an artillery spell available early on that hit in an area for xd6, always. it was never single target, never d10s, never had rider effects. Any alterations, then, became flavor; An enemy whose fireball deals more damage has a trick that defines them (not possible with arbitrary damage lists), a mage who shoots a fireball that animates the corpses it leaves behind likewise becomes that necromancer murderer guy, a fireball that guaranteed sets you on fire and blinds you likewise gets it's own benefit. You know this is special. you don't get that in 4e.

And it's a balancing mechanic. You know fireball is consistent, so the alteration is balanced to be worth one of the enemy's or character's Resources. 4e did this, too, so you can't say 4e is different in that regard (better though, I'll give you).



Woe befalls us when the fireball was also modified through metamagics, a feat, and could become either a spell-like or supernatural ability, psionic, psi-like, and stuff like that.

Fireball is not equal to fireball, except that fireball should deal fire over a large area.

Why is that a problem? Psionic fireball is fireball. SLA fireball is fireball. Su fireball is fireball. Psionic, psi-like, su, and spell-like are only tags you can hang other mechanics on. This isn't an argument, you're pointing at a rules feature and saying it caused the fall of Rome.



If you do not understand very basic concepts in 4e, concepts that are used by almost every PC, this merely says that you don't understand very basic concepts in 4e and should probably work out how the game works before trying to ask questions.

Ad hominum? Come on, you know darn well I know the rules for 4e. The basic language of the game is what we are talking about, do keep up dear. Telling me what the topic is isn't a refutation, it's stating the obvious.

When defining how the game works, defining what level of granularity are possible in the language is FUNDAMENTAL. "Long range is a thing" is an example of this.

And 4e had to actually change some of the details on movement, like making it so you could only take damage from a zone once, because some powers allowed players to bounce an enemy througha single square for massive damage and some didn't. The player's handbook gives you wrong information, because some people took this self-same attitude and didn't examine the language conventions of the game close enough.



So no there aren't important fine details in the distinction between pulls, pushes, and slides. There is an important major difference; restrictions on the direction you can use. But they all otherwise use the same forced movement rules.


the fact that they changed the basic rules of forced movement early on means you're wrong enough that the company fixed an issue.



Ding, dong, the witch is dead. You can match literally any outcome 3.5 can bring you in 4e. And vise-versa if you choose to ignore the rules in 3.5. But you don't have to go through the stupidly long winded process of creating monsters in 4e. Saying "4e doesn't give you the option to run three times round the block before opening your front door" is not a problem.


Alright, build for me in 4e an enemy dragon striker who is a multiclass bard/warlord/psion. Use the player stuff, and do be sure to keep it within the power constraints for it's arbitrarily assigned level (let's say 16).

Meanwhile, I'll just slap some neat effects onto a 3e monster. We'll compare which breaks the game more when you're done~



Given that "a 13th level monster" is not a thing that actually exists within the fiction of the gameworld other than in certain rare explicitely D&D universes no there isn't. In 4e you start with the picture of the monster. It slides people as far as you think it should slide them.

How do you design a monster in 3.5? You start with the 3.5 rules. And if your monster is a bad fit for the 3.5 rules? Too bad.

This is a fallacy. I've repeatedly told you all about my own exploits doing exactly this "not possible" method of 3e character creation for monsters.



And I find your claim here to be a complete straw man. The context of you talking about niche monsters is several of us saying that the DM should not have to remember the Swallow Whole rules because they are niche and seldom used. Which means that in SiuS-land the 4e Purple Worm (https://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ex/20101105b) should not exist. But literally no one is arguing for that. What is being argued for is that the Swallow Whole rules, because they are rare, should be a part of the monster rather than the standardised set.

The argument from the 3.5 end is Swallow Whole should work fundamentally the same for every monster that has it, even if there are only evern 3 in the game. This is what standardization means.

Refute this point, not the misunderstanding, and I'll accept my defeat.



Oh rubbish. There is no one rule that is the problem. The problem is that there are fifty eight little rules you believe that a DM should need to memorise in order to become a DM. Feats. Spells. Special Abilities. Conditions. Every single one of them is going to have an overhead. And I don't know which one is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Like all the chaff in the character builder?


As you don't even know the push and slide rules in 4e but know the grapple rules in 3.5 cold, I'm going to suggest that you might possibly have an extremely lopsided understanding of the two systems. Of course you're going to be able to do more in the system you understand than the one you don't.

Honey, you do remember I'm one of the pro-4e folks, right? As you seem to remember internet arguments but not he people who make them or the context of any given debate, I'm going to suggest you've got a lopsided view of what's going on.







As I've gone into above Grab is simpler than Grapple in at least half a dozen ways.

Then why does Obryn say they are more complicated than grapple?


You are missing the point here. This is largely a matter of presentation; 4e monster spells are right there in the monster statblock where as 3.5 monster spells are stored in another book entirely. The problem almost vanishes if you copy every spell the monster needs to be able to cast into the monster statblock.

Exactly! Now, if I want to give every monster a feat, and have it interact with their keywords! Can't without standardized spells.

obryn
2013-08-18, 10:31 PM
Then why does Obryn say they are more complicated than grapple?
I'll get to the rest later, but no, I didn't. Not intentionally. I did call it "3e grab" instead of "3e grapple", so I'll fix it.

Flickerdart
2013-08-18, 10:37 PM
A separation of a physical cause of -2 to everything and a mental cause of -2 to everything was warranted because many monsters are immune to the mental cause while other monsters are immune to the physical cause; hence the need to have both "sicken" and "shaken". I don't see that as a bug difference.
[Physical][Hindered] and [Mental][Hindered]

Hindered: -2 to attack rolls.
Physical: Incorporeal creatures are immune to these effects.
Mental: Mindless creatures are immune to these effects.

Then you can inflict [Physical][Hindered] with anything from poison to hamstringing to a solid blow to the head, and [Mental][Hindered] with mind games and magic and misdirection.

huttj509
2013-08-18, 11:04 PM
Believe it or not, I have read a few-- more than a few-- mystery novels. I've also spent three years writing and acting on a Guy Noir style radio drama, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. And you know what? You can't have a story without characters. A good mystery features intrigue, double crosses, unexpected relationships that can't exist if you don't have a suspect list. Yes, it's (usually) more complicated than "here's the crime, here are three suspects, whodunnit?" but having suspects is not the same thing as having a formulaic cakewalk.


Yes, there are things you can do to cut through a mystery like hot butter. If you want to have a mystery plot, you have to account for things like divination magic, and the GM's Guide should advice for dealing with it, but... if your players are going to go around dominating or torturing every potential suspect until they get an answer, they probably didn't want to play a mystery in the first place.

There's also "We know Mr. X did it, but how can we prove it?" Magical means might not be allowed as evidence (though they can certainly point in the direction one ought to look), especially when "we had some adventurers here last week who outright offered to give false testimony for coin, I'm sorry, we'll need something better than your mage's word on the spell result."

SiuiS
2013-08-18, 11:20 PM
I'll get to the rest later, but no, I didn't. Not intentionally. I did call it "3e grab" instead of "3e grapple", so I'll fix it.

Alright. I saw a "not simpler than grapple by a long shot", but it may have been contextual.

Ashdate
2013-08-18, 11:31 PM
Alright, build for me in 4e an enemy dragon striker who is a multiclass bard/warlord/psion. Use the player stuff, and do be sure to keep it within the power constraints for it's arbitrarily assigned level (let's say 16).

Meanwhile, I'll just slap some neat effects onto a 3e monster. We'll compare which breaks the game more when you're done~

Two things (two very long things):

a) it's possible to do the above if you wish in 4e. Like in 3.5, you would have the hassle of building a character rather than a monster, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it. In some ways it would be easier than making a 3.5 character (you don't need to worry about calculating defenses, attack and damage bonuses, feats, etc.), in some ways it would be more difficult (you would end up picking about ten powers for it, on top of whatever dragon-y things you'd have it do. Of course, that might be comparable to picking Bard/Psion spells/psionics).

I don't know about the "balance" comment, as there's nothing inherently unbalancing of creating such a monster, as all its powers would scale accordingly. It would be unwieldy, but not because it's too powerful, but rather, it would be unwieldy because you have a monster that can do ten+ different things, but only be able to use one/round, which (if we're being honest) describes every enemy caster I faced as a 3.5 player (but I digress). If anything, the lack of being able to assign it a CR that would be worth a damn is a 3.5 problem that 4e doesn't have (4e doesn't have racial CR modifiers, racial hit dice, or things like favoured classes to worry about).

b) if we wanted to quickly make a balanced creature, then I have a hard time accepting that the offical 3.5 method has many virtues over the official 4e method. The 3.5 method asks you to figure out - well, tons of things. Stats, levels, powers, feats, size, etc. For the above, it would be a pretty substantial list.

4e merely asks that you choose/make up abilities that feel right. In the above example, the question you ask as a DM is: if I want players to think that THIS creature is (as an example) a Solo Skirmisher with leader capabilities that FEELS like some hybrid of Bard, Warlord, and Psion abilities, how do I portray that? An example:

(as an aside, choosing to make this creature a "striker" - in 4e monster terminology, something like a brute, skirmisher, or lurker) rather than a "controller" seems needless, like demanding a wizard being amazing at melee combat. But it could still be done. I'm going to go with "Lurker")

The obvious Bard one would be to have some sort of implement attack, perhaps using a musical instrument as the implement. Perhaps something dragony that is an illusion? So perhaps the dragon creates a zone that creates glittering illusionary treasure that causes the creatures to grant combat advantage, cannot take attacks of opportunity, and gives creatures in the zone a -2 to attack rolls while in it, sustain minor. For the lurker aspect, while completely within the zone, the Dragon is considered to be invisible. The description the DM gives indicates that the dragon appears to be singing (perhaps directly into their mind; see below).

The obvious 4e Warlord ability would be granting allies to the dragon extra attacks. Perhaps as a minor ability (it IS a solo monster after all), or as a standard action AoE effect that allows allies to attack. Perhaps something similar to Inspiring Word if desired.

The Psion ability meanwhile, could be partially transmitted through roleplay (the dragon speaks to you directly into your mind; perhaps even the song they hear above is directly sent, so covering your ears doesn't work/give a save!). Choosing a daily power straight from the Psion list could work (the "Missile" line is a favorite from the PC psion in my last campaign), adjusting the damage/to hit values as per appropriate for the monster.

Next, it's a dragon, so give it a claw and bite attack, an appropriate breath weapon and resistances, some of that groovy Monster Vault Dragon mojo, and make up some stats for it that are unlikely to matter.

Ultimately, the point isn't "can 4e do it?" (the answer is: yes, yes it can), but should the DM be encourage to? And I think the answer to that is, "sometimes!"

I've been there as a 3.5 DM and player where sometimes strange and wonderful combinations have been created. I'm sure most DMs who read Complete Warrior saw a spot for an Eye of Gruumush in their campaign, just like my last 3.5 DM thought that combining a Green Star Adept with a Beholder would be fun.

But 4e is simply asking you "is it worth it?" Sometimes that answer is "yes". In my first 4e game, I created a pretty bad-ass necromancer BBEG that had her abilities stated out pretty early. She was based off a 4e wizard with a lot of her powers refluffed and redesigned (unsurprisingly, she had a lot of powers that gained the "necrotic" keyword), and - adding a homebrew curse that made her powers even more deadly - the players ran in fear whenever she showed up.

Sometimes the answer is "no". For the same campaign, I built a complete rival to the two-weapon frost cheese ranger, an assassin (the one from dragon magazine; yes, you can laugh but I managed to get that assassin a rocking AC by-the-book against his one-trick pony-ness). But while the Rival was a good foil, over half the powers I gave him never came up in play. I could have accomplished the same thing by making him a higher level monster, jacking his AC up a couple of extra points, adding a trait or two, and picking three powers. He'd also have had more HP so as to maybe have survived that Daily power that turned him into a smear on the wall (maybe not, Rangers are pretty OP in 4e).

And for most other enemies? I don't need to do much work for them. If an existing monster doesn't exist, then refluffing an existing one is simple (they've even got an online tool to do the math for the DM), and failing that, the guidelines are pretty easy to follow. I don't think the same can really be said for 3.5 monster design.

People might not like the concept/I] of how 4e builds monsters (No PC/NPC Symmetry!?) but they're as flexible as you want to be with them. The system says "here's the math you should use, now build around that." That's a much different (and in many ways, more liberating) way of building monsters than asking DMs to start with a base creature, add race/classes/templates/etc. and [I]then see what the math says.

Could 4e monster design be better? Sure. But certainly, I hope we can agree that 3.5 monster design could be better too (e.g. it's too complicated, CRs aren't worth a copper piece, and giving creatures spells/spell-like abilities really drags on gameplay). To me, the real question is, "which is more DM-friendly?"

And well, 3.5 monster creation ain't DM-friendly. At the very least, thinking about ways to improve 3.5 monster creation would be a very good thing.


There's also "We know Mr. X did it, but how can we prove it?" Magical means might not be allowed as evidence (though they can certainly point in the direction one ought to look), especially when "we had some adventurers here last week who outright offered to give false testimony for coin, I'm sorry, we'll need something better than your mage's word on the spell result."

While amusing, I hope we could agree that "balancing" people who use spells with those who do not, does not require finding in-game reasons to stealth-nerf them. If abilities are problematic to functional gameplay, then they probably shouldn't be in the game in the first place.

Ashdate
2013-08-19, 12:34 AM
Apologies for the double post; a quote from Mark Rosewater's latest column (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/261), about Magic card creation pitfalls. I feel it captures what I'm talking about when I talk about monster design/creation. You might feel that 4e monster design doesn't capture it, but I would ask if it doesn't, where does it fail? And if you prefer 3.5's way of doing things, where can 3.5 monster design/creation be trimmed?



Your goal when you are designing a card, much like a painter painting a picture, is to get your audience to recognize the thing you are making. It is not to be as thorough as possible. In many ways, card design is a lot like the line sketch from art class. You are trying to create an object using as few resources as possible.

Why is that? Because elegance is important in game design. The more you have, the more text is needed to convey it and the more complicated the card becomes. To quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery (a French writer and poet from the early twentieth century): "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

When trying to capture something on a card, especially in top-down design, remember that you do not need to capture everything, just the essence. The flavor of the card will help fill in the audience. They will not expect exact duplication but rather a feel that matches expectation. Let's say you are trying to make a slingshot. The audience doesn't start with "Well, what would a slingshot do?" Players look at your card and ask themselves, "Is this a slingshot?"

To get a "yes," you need to capture some essence of a slingshotóyou do not need to capture every essence. The key to this lesson is figuring out the more important aspect and focusing on that.

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 02:06 AM
Apologies for the double post; a quote from Mark Rosewater's latest column (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/261), about Magic card creation pitfalls. I feel it captures what I'm talking about when I talk about monster design/creation. You might feel that 4e monster design doesn't capture it, but I would ask if it doesn't, where does it fail? And if you prefer 3.5's way of doing things, where can 3.5 monster design/creation be trimmed?

We both homed in on the same part, here. The second is Killing Cards. There's a place for throwif up ideas, and letting your baby die if it doesn't compare. It's obvious that some of the market is not satisfied with 4e design alone; the problem is this response is binary but the truth is not. The 4e process falls below the "acceptable" threshold, but if it falls below by one, five, fifteen or two hundred arbitrary points, you'll get the same answer Ė it is not enough.

The purpose of starting with 3.5 is to trim it down to acceptable ease of use while maintaining the feel and effectiveness o it's predecessor. Starting at 4e and adding stuff until it could work for the other half is terrible, because not only are you kicking a working system until it no longer functions elegantly, you may not hit the sweet spot and please no one.

A simplified system based off of the 3.5 engine can be pared down in complexity and needless detail to an elegant system, but not if the immediate response is "don't bother carving down, toss out your entire thing and take my system". Those who advocate most strongly are those who can glimpse the elegant skeletal structure, and get irritated when pointing out a bone is answered with 'but all this soft tissue is crap so your bone must be more trouble than it's worth'.

It also ties into another part, there.

"One of the things they have you do in art class is draw objects: a bowl of fruit, a vase, a model. Early on, the goal is getting you to try to capture something on paper that looks a lot like what you are drawing. Can you capture the image as faithfully as possible? Then, though, they start trying to get you to represent the image using less. A popular assignment is to get you to draw something using as few lines as possible. Why do they do this? Because they want you to understand that you don't need all the information to convey what something is.

Here's a similar experiment you can do yourself. Write your name in big block letters in pencil. Now start erasing bits of lines using the following criteria: Try to make sure your name is still recognizable. That is, if you showed it to someone else, that person could read it. What you will find is that you can actually erase quite a lot and still have the name be readable. Why is that? Because the human brain is very good at filling things in, especially things it's familiar with.


Click

So what does any of this have to do with Magic design? A lot. Your goal when you are designing a card, much like a painter painting a picture, is to get your audience to recognize the thing you are making. It is not to be as thorough as possible. In many ways, card design is a lot like the line sketch from art class. You are trying to create an object using as few resources as possible.

Why is that? Because elegance is important in game design. The more you have, the more text is needed to convey it and the more complicated the card becomes. To quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery (a French writer and poet from the early twentieth century): "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the supposed ease and elegance of fourth edition comes from rules which are vectors rather than lines on a grid. They give you the feeling, the idea, and like an optical illusion you follow those non-existent paths in your head. The core of the game is emergent; you shoot a bunch do keywords and a few mechanics into the mix and they Crete the structure for you. This is the ideal goal for a 3.5 system; not a billeted encyclopedia of exceptions and case law, but a system which gives you information and creates a rich, emergent structure.

Current third edition had this, and then drew the emergent structure, and then embellished little areas with pretty but empty detail. We want a game engine with all the possible complexity and nuance of third edition dungeons and dragons. We do not want all the excruciating detail of third edition dungeons and dragons. It cannot be said any clearer! But there is another requirement; we do not want all the past baggage that we say openly and repeatedly is bad, irrelevant and needs to go thrown into the ring as some reason to toss the baby as well as the bath water.


Everything I and Pair o' Dice Lost have said moves to this effect.

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 02:17 AM
I don't know if unified PC/Monster creation is really the right route for a game to take. On the one hand it is easier because everything in the game utilizes the same system but on the other hand it is more difficult because you often have to jump through far more hoops to get what you want (many of which are completely meaningless for what the monster needs to do).

Regardless of the method selected, I really think templates should become even more common than they were in 3.5. Not in the complex sense of a Zombie (where you have to change a lot of the base monster) but ones that take you to where you really want to go, meaning something that straddles, what in other editions would have been either class levels and racial templates.

Like, let's say you have a Human but you want to make him into a Berserker. So the Berserker template would have:

+3d12 HP
+2 Strength
+1 to hit
Berserk: Three times per day a Berserker can fly into a Berserk Rage that lasts for 4+CON Bonus rounds. While in the Rage the Barbarian gains +10 feet of movement, Advantage on all melee attack rolls and Disadvantage on all saving throws. At the end of the rage, the Berserker suffers disadvantage on all attack and ability/skill checks until it takes a short rest.

That's super easy to layer onto an existing creature and really makes it stand out.

huttj509
2013-08-19, 02:34 AM
While amusing, I hope we could agree that "balancing" people who use spells with those who do not, does not require finding in-game reasons to stealth-nerf them. If abilities are problematic to functional gameplay, then they probably shouldn't be in the game in the first place.

I agree. I was attempting to expand on the idea that the goal of a mystery is not always simply to discover "whodunnit." My apologies for the miscommunication.

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 02:41 AM
I don't know if unified PC/Monster creation is really the right route for a game to take. On the one hand it is easier because everything in the game utilizes the same system but on the other hand it is more difficult because you often have to jump through far more hoops to get what you want (many of which are completely meaningless for what the monster needs to do).

Regardless of the method selected, I really think templates should become even more common than they were in 3.5. Not in the complex sense of a Zombie (where you have to change a lot of the base monster) but ones that take you to where you really want to go, meaning something that straddles, what in other editions would have been either class levels and racial templates.

Yes. The Frank & K books actually had a damn solid idea here; make each monster a class/race combo. A dragon has base dragon traits, a list of it's advancements, and that's it. Perfectly modular. You want a 7th level dragon? There's now no big issue giving it two levels of sorcerer; it's a dragon 5/sorcerer 2 (or a dragon with the sorcerer multiclass feat). The monster is a projection; they should include the bare bones equation as well, and the equations should be balanced enough that swapping in parts of other equations is okay. That's what they're going with for next anyway.

It also happens to be a clean way to get things in 3.5 to work.

icefractal
2013-08-19, 03:20 AM
Is "Joe the cobbler was killed in a locked bedroom, and the three suspects are his scorned wife, his abused apprentice, and the customer who owes him money" an appropriate mystery for high-level characters? No. But "King Joe was killed in a warded bedroom, and the three suspects are the ambitious Grand Vizir, the Ambassador for a country on the edge of war, and the impatient prince" is, thanks to the added layers of magical and social protections. And "Joe the archmarge was killed in his private demiplane, and the three suspects are a demon lord he was known to bargain with, a rival mage he'd been feuding with for a hundred years, and a black dragon he had enslaved" could work for near-epic level characters.See, that feels a bit "palette-swap adventures" to me. I don't see why a demon lord wouldn't be qualitatively different to investigate than an apprentice cobbler. In the latter case, maybe the demon lord has no interest in assisting your investigation, the rival mage is in his own tower (which he will not reveal the location of) and only communicates by projecting an illusory copy of himself, and the dragon has a powerful geas that prohibits it saying anything about the mage (so it couldn't reveal his secrets if captured by someone else). Sounds better than "and now solve this exactly the same way a 1st level character would, but with fancier descriptions".

Stray
2013-08-19, 04:16 AM
New Legends & Lore (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130819). Mike Mearls knows what YOU want from D&D!:smalltongue:


You like simplicity. You want to jump into the game quickly, create characters, monsters, NPCs, and adventures with a minimum of fuss, and get down to the business of playing D&D.
You like that every class has the potential to contribute in most situations, but you're OK with some classes being better at certain things if that fits the class's image. You see balance on a larger, adventure-based or campaign-based scale.
You want rules that make it easy to build adventures and encounters. You want to think about the story or your setting's details, rather than fiddle with math.
You value flexibility in rules. You prefer an ability or a rule that's easy to adapt or that leaves space for creative applications, rather than rigidly defined abilities.
You aren't edition warriors. You want the game to support a variety play styles in equal measure. You're not attached to any specific ways of doing things as long as the game works.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-19, 04:31 AM
New Legends & Lore (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130819). Mike Mearls knows what YOU want from D&D!:smalltongue:

Well, he's clearly wrong at the last point :smallbiggrin:

I think he's also wrong about the "flexibility in rules". At least, it's trivially true that people like flexibility, but I'd wager that many people also want rule that aren't vague. Leaving a rule mostly open and letting the DM figure it out is technically flexible, but also completely unhelpful.

And I think he's wrong about the first point. People who truly like rules-light RPGs do not play D&D. At any rate, it's pretty easy to write down some trivial truths based on market research; it's a bit harder to write rules that actually do that.

Yora
2013-08-19, 04:40 AM
Well, there seems to be a considerable amount of people who like the basic idea of D&D with its classes, levels, spells, and skills, but really aren't too fond of the complex and detailed tactical wargame combat rules. If such a game would exist, I would play it and drop Pathfinder immediately.
However, you either get the full d20 load (noteable exception being Star Wars Saga) or some game in which your characters abilities are defined by his backstory and motivations. The alternative is going way back to AD&D, which just has horribly convoluted math.

I would say demand for such a game certainly is there and there doesn't seem to be any competition so far. Only question is, if they can do it well.
Which I very much doubt, because that would go against their entire business model of splatbook, splatbook, splatbook, splatbook!

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 04:46 AM
Well, there seems to be a considerable amount of people who like the basic idea of D&D with its classes, levels, spells, and skills, but really aren't too fond of the complex and detailed tactical wargame combat rules. If such a game would exist, I would play it and drop Pathfinder immediately.
However, you either get the full d20 load (noteable exception being Star Wars Saga) or some game in which your characters abilities are defined by his backstory and motivations. The alternative is going way back to AD&D, which just has horribly convoluted math.

I would say demand for such a game certainly is there and there doesn't seem to be any competition so far. Only question is, if they can do it well.
Which I very much doubt, because that would go against their entire business model of splatbook, splatbook, splatbook, splatbook!

4E was the tactical wargame with classes, levels, spells and skills. :smallfrown:

Kurald Galain
2013-08-19, 04:49 AM
The alternative is going way back to AD&D, which just has horribly convoluted math.

You can fix all of AD&D's math problems with less than a single page of house rules. It mostly consists of switching the d% rogue skills to d20 rolls and switching AC from a subtractive roll to an additive roll. Wow, that sure was horribly convouluted. If anything, these many 5E threads have convinced me to look into playig 2E again.

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 04:51 AM
You can fix all of AD&D's math problems with less than a single page of house rules. It mostly consists of switching the d% rogue skills to d20 rolls and switching AC from a subtractive roll to an additive roll. Wow, that sure was horribly convouluted. If anything, these many 5E threads have convinced me to look into playig 2E again.

Since the Rule Books were recently re-released, I bet you'd have an easier time of finding a group (compared with a year ago).

Yora
2013-08-19, 05:04 AM
I just looked at the last playtest version and I'm not exited.
Humans still get that silly +1 to everything, there's still Expertise Dice, and classes seem to be once more all about class features. All the things I don't want from a game.

Morty
2013-08-19, 05:05 AM
Well, he's clearly wrong at the last point :smallbiggrin:

I think he's also wrong about the "flexibility in rules". At least, it's trivially true that people like flexibility, but I'd wager that many people also want rule that aren't vague. Leaving a rule mostly open and letting the DM figure it out is technically flexible, but also completely unhelpful.

And I think he's wrong about the first point. People who truly like rules-light RPGs do not play D&D. At any rate, it's pretty easy to write down some trivial truths based on market research; it's a bit harder to write rules that actually do that.

Jokes aside, the last point really is wrong. People do care about how the game works, and there's a not insignificant part of the player base that does care for depth and complexity. Which means that a game tailored for simplicity won't "support a variety play styles in equal measure".

BayardSPSR
2013-08-19, 05:06 AM
New Legends & Lore (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130819). Mike Mearls knows what YOU want from D&D!:smalltongue:

I like what he's describing, but it doesn't sound anything like D&D to me. :smalltongue:

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 05:07 AM
New Legends & Lore (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130819). Mike Mearls knows what YOU want from D&D!:smalltongue:

To be fair, he probably does have an accurate aggregate of the folks who responded. I agree with just about everything in there except the condescending tone.


You can fix all of AD&D's math problems with less than a single page of house rules. It mostly consists of switching the d% rogue skills to d20 rolls and switching AC from a subtractive roll to an additive roll. Wow, that sure was horribly convouluted. If anything, these many 5E threads have convinced me to look into playig 2E again.

There are actual problems involved in the math and presentation, they just aren't as egregious as we would expect. There are also issues like potion making being a proficiency that accomplishes alchemy for cheaper, and also better. Etc.

Also, glad to have you on board, friend :smallwink:

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-19, 05:16 AM
Well, there seems to be a considerable amount of people who like the basic idea of D&D with its classes, levels, spells, and skills, but really aren't too fond of the complex and detailed tactical wargame combat rules. If such a game would exist, I would play it and drop Pathfinder immediately.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess?


some game in which your characters abilities are defined by his backstory and motivations

What's so wrong with that!?

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 05:29 AM
What's so wrong with that!?

At the extreme end, it forces every player who wants to do Z to be Y, on top of being class X and race W. It forces everyone down a similar, narrow narrative niche.

Kuroshima
2013-08-19, 05:57 AM
There were a couple of posts in the previous thread that I think were interesting:


Theoretically this is how GURPS is supposed to work, but AFAIK (never played the system myself) it doesn't really work out that way.


IMHO, GURPS' problem is one of presentation. It really is a very modular system, but the core book (or in 4e books) contains almost EVERYTHING you could ever want to do. It sort of has to what with being a "universal" system and all, but it leads to a very strong feeling of needing to know everything in the book before you can begin playing. It took me a long while to realize you really could just let it go and things would work out ok 95% of the time.

My hope for Next is that they very heavily emphasize how modular the system is (assuming that it is). I would go so far as to say they should strive to fit the very core of the system in the first 20 pages or so and follow it up immediately with a quick example adventure before bringing in the rest of the system.

As a GURPSoid that publishes for SJGames (Pyramid articles so far), I must say that this is the real problem with GURPS. You need to master GURPS to realize that you didn't need to do it. This is why I was ecstatic with the "minimal assembly required" lines of Dungeon Fantasy, Action and Monster Hunters.

Mind you, GURPS books are optimized for quick access at the table (with some notable exceptions, such as GURPS Magic and GURPS Supers). I don't know about 4e, but 3e did something similar IIRC, with all the feats and spells being put together in the same alphabetized list, so you can quickly locate one when you don't exactly remember the details on how it works. It doesn't mean that as a fighter, you should spend time memorizing what the meta-magic feats do. It might have been more useful for the newbie to have all the wizard spells and only the wizard spells in one big list, sorted by level, and then all the bard spells (including duplicates), again sorted by level, and then all the cleric spells, with domain lists with fully spelled out spells (no go to p. X), and then the paladin and ranger spells... Same with the feats. Now, when you've got to look for divine Spell X on a scroll, and you don't remember if it's paladin, ranger, cleric or domain, you need to go through a lot of lists.

Of course, the solution is to abandon dead tree as a base format, and go for something more akin to a wiki. Dead tree is then printed on demand, and thus can accommodate different organizational needs. The problem with this is that if the digital resources are locked in the company servers (DDI) you can't use them if you don't have net access, and even the best handheld devices take longer to locate the stuff than a proficient user with a good index. Any resource that is both cross platform and resides in the the user's device will be required to be loaded to the brim with DRM by the suits (even if DRM costs more than what profits the product produces, and only makes paying users miserable while barely bothering the freeloaders). For something that IME works well and requires little technical knowledge, I like Tiddlywiki. I use them as non-linear notebooks to keep my campaign notes and house rules. I feel that they could be awesome to put at least the classes/traits/spells/etc parts of the system, and the import functions would allow you to have documents with only the rules you are going to use.

Any system that is modular will have to give you both stuff you won't use, and multiple takes on the same problem, that give different flavor or resolution. If you keep expanding the system so it can handle more and more edge cases, you end up with GURPS ;)

EDIT: Also, for those of you on the verge of trying GURPS, I recommend that you pick the new Discworld once it's out (I was a playtester). It's probably the best introduction to GURPS you'll ever see, fits the setting very well, and while it's GURPS 4e compatible, the system fades into the background most of the time.

neonchameleon
2013-08-19, 06:07 AM
4E was the tactical wargame with classes, levels, spells and skills. :smallfrown:

oD&D was a tactical wargame with classes, levels, and spells. AD&D used measurements in inches - as in tabletop and tapemeasure. 3.X officially mandated a grid and minis. To claim that 4e is a tactical wargame does not make it different than any other edition that there has ever been.


Apologies for the double post; a quote from Mark Rosewater's latest column (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/261), about Magic card creation pitfalls.

Thanks for the link.


I already said, there's a middle ground everyone can agree on. At this point y'all are complaining about semantics. One side says "X is easy and basic and okay to reference, so is X+1" and the other side says "But X+7 is not!"

Indeed. I'm going to present a simple rule of thumb.
If you can't fit all the keywords and their rules text on the back of one pannel of a standard size DM screen in large font you have too many.


Spell like abilities are too big because, why?
Because there are too many spells! Not a guarantee.

Merely something every single edition of D&D has done. There are more first level spells in AD&D than there should be keywords.


Because spells are too complicated! Not if you standardize them as suggested.

Evokers all the way. Kinda like the disappointing PHB only 4e wizard.


Because it could just be in the statblock! Standardization is REQUIRED for that to work without being a waste of time.

Yes. But not standardising spells.

Now. There's a huge thematic reason you shouldn't use spells as the basic building block of the game. When a dragon breathes fire, that should be the archetypal firebreathing of the game. The Breathe Fire spell should be an attempt to copy the dragon, not have the dragon copy the wizard. The basic abilities like fire breathing, shapechange, and invisibility should be the natural ones - and the spells should be copying the abilities not the abilities copying the spells.


Standardizing how spells are (pardon) spelled out woulkd do wonders to fix the problems you're complaining about. And you're, here, telling me that because a broad subsystem has emergent problems, I shouldn't waste my time on the efficient fix which clears up that whole subsystem?

I am telling you that expecting a DM to memorise an entire morass of spells and feats is a waste of time, effort, and brainpower. It's pointless busywork for the GM that makes their job harder to no good result.


I would like the same level of intricacy to be applied to monsters on occasion without breaking the system entirely. I apparently cannot.

You can apply whatever levels of intricacy you like. Just do not make these levels of intricacy anything like a default. Take them and drop them into a supplement. "The Monster Designer's Bible." I don't care. But keep them far away from the core system. Keep them away from anything new DMs think they need to engage with. Keep them away from anything you need to do to learn the system or play the game.


Here's the deal. Yes, those were terrible in 4e. But in a game like NEXT, which should have things for everyone, the concepts need to shift.

You really think Next is even paying lip service to that any more?


Ease of modification. "Long Range" is a keyword with it's own parameters. You don't need "Long range is always five hundred feet", but a note that "any power with a range between ten and 30 is Long Range" means you can hang later effects on Long range. Just like Fire, Burst, and Evocation.

If you're serious about theatre of the mind you don't need exact ranges other than buried deep in the books. Plenty of games don't have them. But D&D is, as I said above, a hacked tabletop wargame - and those do need ranges.


The argument is "You lose nothing, why are you trying to prevent me from also having a thing I want?" And so far the 4e crowd hasn't actually provided an answer as to why optional granularity is a bad thing. You just say "it's so hard!" and leave it there.

As I said above. If you want to put this all in a very optional module (and remember that we haven't seen modules even mentioned recently) and leave it there so that it is nowhere near the core system you're welcome to it. I don't care what is in the optional rules as long as they are strictly optional.

As far as I'm concerned it's pointless busywork that leads to less realistic monsters. It's also fiddly, detailed, and time consuming.


It's not hard. It's not mandatory. It can be useful. Why not have it?

Because it is hard to get right. And if it goes anywhere near the core system it brings a high overhead. If it's tucked away in a module and strictly labelled as optional, that's fine. I expect it to be paid as much attention to as the PC class templates in 4e in that case.


Consistent, not static. A fireball was an artillery spell available early on that hit in an area for xd6, always. it was never single target, never d10s, never had rider effects. Any alterations, then, became flavor; An enemy whose fireball deals more damage has a trick that defines them (not possible with arbitrary damage lists), a mage who shoots a fireball that animates the corpses it leaves behind likewise becomes that necromancer murderer guy, a fireball that guaranteed sets you on fire and blinds you likewise gets it's own benefit. You know this is special. you don't get that in 4e.

You don't get that in any other edition of D&D either. And no, metamagic doesn't count (for that matter most of the interesting 3.X metamagic is in 4e). And in 4e you literally get mages whose fireballs set the ground (and sometimes the victims IIRC) on fire. Far from not getting what you want in 4e, 4e is the only edition where you do get something like that.


And it's a balancing mechanic. You know fireball is consistent, so the alteration is balanced to be worth one of the enemy's or character's Resources.

Because blinding an enemy is worth more than a handful of damage - what you are proposing is a Spike-heavy combo-tastic system that appears to give CharOp a field day.


Why is that a problem?

Because
1: It makes characters less distinct rather than more. They are all casting damn fireballs
2: It adds a layer of pointless rote memorisation for everyone. You need to know all the common spells (give me a definitive and exhaustive list of them please)
3: It adds a whole layer of extra complexity.
4: It adds little extra consistency
5: It makes everything in the entire gameworld revolve round mages and their spells rather than the distinctiveness of an exotic world.

That's five reasons your idea is a bad one. I have yet to see one single idea your idea is a good one.


Ad hominum? Come on, you know darn well I know the rules for 4e.

I thought you did. If you're asking about pulls and pushes with respect to opportunity attacks, either you were making a ridiculous hyperbolic rhetorical point that backfired or you genuinely don't. Now I choose to believe you were arguing in good faith rather than trying to make stuff up. But in order to do that I have to conclude that you are unaware of how things under the forced movement header work and that you never get opportunity attacks for forced movement.


the fact that they changed the basic rules of forced movement early on means you're wrong enough that the company fixed an issue.

That they had to fix emergent problems is an issue. The opportunity attacks one is not.


Alright, build for me in 4e an enemy dragon striker who is a multiclass bard/warlord/psion. Use the player stuff, and do be sure to keep it within the power constraints for it's arbitrarily assigned level (let's say 16).

OK. Now either you don't understand 4e rules or you're just being silly once again.

1: Striker is not a word with any actual rules meaning.
2: There's no such thing as a bard/warlord/psion in 4e and hasn't been since they ditched Windrise Ports. (For what it's worth, "Ardent" is right in that design space - a psychic leader who inspires others to greater feats).
3: Classes are a metagame mechanic not an in-game thing. Can you tell whether a rich man known for duelling with a rapier is a fighter, a knight, a swashbuckler, a rogue, a warrior, or an aristocrat?

Sure, you can barf forward a handful of meaningless buzzwords that are literally incompatable with each other and say I can't build a combination of them. I'm going to now ask you to build a Lawful Chaotic character using the 3.5 rules.


The argument from the 3.5 end is Swallow Whole should work fundamentally the same for every monster that has it, even if there are only evern 3 in the game. This is what standardization means.

Standardisation is not the same as keywording. If you wish to set the default for Swallow Whole to be a certain set of rules, fine. I don't care one way or the other. But the game should not be written so that the DM is expected to either remember them or look them up in the course of play.

And I do not believe that there is any good reason why Swallow Whole from a Purple Worm should be the same as Swallow Whole from a Bag of Devouring/Extradimensional Devourer. For that matter I don't see why a Gannet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gannet) swallowing a fish is should be the same asa Pelican (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican) and a snake that distends its jaw can be different again.


Like all the chaff in the character builder?

That's just it. No one remembers the chaff in the character builder. and no one needs to.


Exactly! Now, if I want to give every monster a feat, and have it interact with their keywords! Can't without standardized spells.

With all due respect why the hell do you want to give every monster a feat? You can't see a feat, you can't touch a feat. A feat has no direct impact on the game world. If you want to give a monster an ability that's fine.


The purpose of starting with 3.5 is to trim it down to acceptable ease of use while maintaining the feel and effectiveness o it's predecessor. Starting at 4e and adding stuff until it could work for the other half is terrible, because not only are you kicking a working system until it no longer functions elegantly, you may not hit the sweet spot and please no one.

In short you start with the system that is broken by design and take bits away hoping to remove the broken bits. Wait, what?


Those who advocate most strongly are those who can glimpse the elegant skeletal structure, and get irritated when pointing out a bone is answered with 'but all this soft tissue is crap so your bone must be more trouble than it's worth'.

The problem is that you might be able to glimpse the skeletal structure. But some of us have x-rayed it. The whole thing has osteoporosis. There are bits of 3e that are worth salvaging. Monster design is not one of them.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the supposed ease and elegance of fourth edition comes from rules which are vectors rather than lines on a grid. They give you the feeling, the idea, and like an optical illusion you follow those non-existent paths in your head.

That's a pretty good summary, yes. 4e is set up for a multi-dimensional mapping of effects at a specific level of granularity. It gets things like vanishing points then leaves a fairly sparse framework with a few details to build on.


This is the ideal goal for a 3.5 system; not a billeted encyclopedia of exceptions and case law, but a system which gives you information and creates a rich, emergent structure.

The problem is that you've already stepped into rules and case law. You want the precident of Fireball to be a precident that affects the entire system. Further you want to use the precident of Fireball to create "Necromancer's Fireball" through the Necromancy modifiers.

If you don't want a billeted encyclopaedia of rules and case law stop trying to suggest monster design that is quite literally a billeted encyclopaedia of rules and case law in the form of spells, feats, and modifiers.


Current third edition had this, and then drew the emergent structure, and then embellished little areas with pretty but empty detail. We want a game engine with all the possible complexity and nuance of third edition dungeons and dragons. We do not want all the excruciating detail of third edition dungeons and dragons.

If you want everything to follow the precidents of Fireball and other Spells and Feats then you are setting up a system with much more excruciating detail than 3e. Your idea is making the problem worse. Much worse. It is doing the opposite of what you want.


Everything I and Pair o' Dice Lost have said moves to this effect.

The things the two of you have said that are being objected to lead to a precident driven legalistic game of case law with a higher memory and rules overhead than 3.5. You are starting at 3.5 and setting off in a direction that will make the parts you claim not to want far, far worse.

Yora
2013-08-19, 06:33 AM
What's so wrong with that!?

Nothing wrong, it's just not what I like. I like picking a race, class, and skills, and then have the numbers improve automatically as the character gains levels and adds special items.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-19, 06:52 AM
*SNIP*

You appear to have grasped the wrong end of the stick entirely. Standardisation would not be there just so the DM has to memorise things. It would make it easier, but it wouldn't require it.

You also seem to think that standardisation = monster abilities are based off spells. No, standardisation just means that they all work the same. Giving monsters spells is just one way of doing that (also, why WOULDN'T a spell and the ability it copied have the same effect?)

And I can't wrap my head around the idea that things aren't unique enough because the fireballs are mathematically identical. Does the fireball having a bigger explosion or using different dice or a different NUMBER of dice or weird extra effects make so much difference?

Kurald Galain
2013-08-19, 06:56 AM
You appear to have grasped the wrong end of the stick entirely. Standardisation would not be there just so the DM has to memorise things. It would make it easier, but it wouldn't require it.

You also seem to think that standardisation = monster abilities are based off spells. No, standardisation just means that they all work the same. Giving monsters spells is just one way of doing that (also, why WOULDN'T a spell and the ability it copied have the same effect?)

I agree. What's the opposite of a false dichotomy? As in, "if the system has <thing I'm neutral about> then it MUST therefore also have <thing I hate>, and therefore it should have neither instead of both". There's a lot of conflating of issues going on here; just because <system I dislike> has both <A and B> doesn't mean they can't be separated.

Kuroshima
2013-08-19, 07:04 AM
You appear to have grasped the wrong end of the stick entirely. Standardisation would not be there just so the DM has to memorise things. It would make it easier, but it wouldn't require it.

Personally, I would welcome standardization from the point of view of the supplement writers. Not in the fact they use keywords, but in the fact that they are consistent in what things do.

Mind you, as a GURPSoid, I would love to have access to the "super secret feat/power/spell/Supernatural ability/Extraordinary Ability building manual". I don't expect to get it (I've got GURPS for that). I just expect that it exists.

Tehnar
2013-08-19, 07:33 AM
Standardization, when done right, is a strong tool that allows for easier system mastery.

Standardization is Short range for spells, push/pull/slide riders for powers, etc. Having a bunch of standard descriptors that mix together well, aside from being easy to use and understand, also facilitates customization.

neonchameleon
2013-08-19, 07:54 AM
You appear to have grasped the wrong end of the stick entirely. Standardisation would not be there just so the DM has to memorise things. It would make it easier, but it wouldn't require it.

One of the two of them was quite literally saying that learning the Fireball rules and the Expand Spell rules was something DMs should be expected to do. And was proposing that people should know the fireball rules off the top of their head.

If they just work the same way and the actual rules are presented every time the rules are used this isn't a problem. And the standardisation document is optional for DMs - and only mandatory for WotC staff writers.


You also seem to think that standardisation = monster abilities are based off spells. No, standardisation just means that they all work the same.

The way it is presented the abilities are explicitely based off the spells, not the other way round.


Giving monsters spells is just one way of doing that (also, why WOULDN'T a spell and the ability it copied have the same effect?)

Why wouldn't a bird and the plane that was designed looking looking to the bird's ability to fly for inspiration work the same way?


And I can't wrap my head around the idea that things aren't unique enough because the fireballs are mathematically identical.

It's not that the fireballs are mathematically identical. It's that in what SiuS was presenting everything's a damn fireball. Right up to the point where some version of Raise Dead is a fireball. Everything is yet another damn fireball.

If more than one fight in four throws a fireball-variant at almost all levels no matter what the opposition, things are getting monotonous. If fewer than one fight in four throws a fireball you get very little benefit in standardising the fireball and hardcoding it inot the rules - it's simply an overhead.


Does the fireball having a bigger explosion or using different dice or a different NUMBER of dice or weird extra effects make so much difference?

Weird effects do. But from SiuS' description, we're adding Raise Dead to fireballs as part of the standard effect. Which is only thematically appropriate if you've somehow decided to build your magic system round a tiny handful of effects like fireball (with fireball being the simplest energy burst). This is an entirely different magic system from anything D&D has seen so far.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-19, 08:18 AM
One of the two of them was quite literally saying that learning the Fireball rules and the Expand Spell rules was something DMs should be expected to do. And was proposing that people should know the fireball rules off the top of their head.

Given that that's one person, and that I think at least five people have basically said they like the idea of standardised abilities, basing your entire argument on 'One person says DM's must learn all abilities!' is arguing against omitting information... not arguing against standardisation.


The way it is presented the abilities are explicitely based off the spells, not the other way round.

... how about we go back to talking about Improved Grab, then, since you seem fixated on SLA's right now and how it is apparently ALL WRONG for an ability to work the same way as a spell? :smallannoyed:


It's not that the fireballs are mathematically identical. It's that in what SiuS was presenting everything's a damn fireball. Right up to the point where some version of Raise Dead is a fireball. Everything is yet another damn fireball.

... what? What SiuS said is that the base fireball is identical between monsters and enemies. Any enemy that has a fireball ability? Same fireball. Any alterations you make to the fireball therefore serve to make the enemy unique.

Every enemy having a slightly different way of tossing a ball of fire that explodes makes things less unique.


If more than one fight in four throws a fireball-variant at almost all levels no matter what the opposition, things are getting monotonous. If fewer than one fight in four throws a fireball you get very little benefit in standardising the fireball and hardcoding it inot the rules - it's simply an overhead.

... okay, you're either really confused, or reading a different conversation. 'Standardise' does not mean 'write it into a huge list of base rules'. It means 'every time you give an enemy this ability, it functions the same'. There is no downside to having a fireball effect, or a grab effect, or lightning breath working the same way between monsters. The plus sides? If you use them a lot, you don't have to read the entire statblock, gauging ability strength is somewhat easier, and it means making monsters does not require making up the full details of their abilities.


Weird effects do. But from SiuS' description, we're adding Raise Dead to fireballs as part of the standard effect. Which is only thematically appropriate if you've somehow decided to build your magic system round a tiny handful of effects like fireball (with fireball being the simplest energy burst). This is an entirely different magic system from anything D&D has seen so far.

So... because SiuS said that any effect you added to a fireball would serve to add flavour if the base fireball is the same across monsters--such as having a necromancer's special fireball raise the corpses it burns--you have leapt to the conclusion that there must only be a very few effects? What.

1337 b4k4
2013-08-19, 08:41 AM
People who truly like rules-light RPGs do not play D&D. At any rate, it's pretty easy to write down some

They do, they just play OD&D.

obryn
2013-08-19, 08:51 AM
If anyone's waiting for replies from me, I'm stepping out of this argument for a bit. Because (1) I hate quote block wars with a passion - I think it's a completely degenerate state of message board debate - but I did it anyway, and don't see how to continue these conversations without more, so I'd rather let it rest. (2) I'm actually running a game of Next in a few days, and will get a better feel for how it (currently) accomplishes everything then. (3) My time is better spent preparing for that.

If there's anything I can reply to without slicing and dicing a conversation into teensy weensy bits, I'll see if I feel like it, then. :smallsmile: Otherwise, expect a report in a few days.

-O

neonchameleon
2013-08-19, 09:03 AM
Given that that's one person, and that I think at least five people have basically said they like the idea of standardised abilities, basing your entire argument on 'One person says DM's must learn all abilities!' is arguing against omitting information... not arguing against standardisation.

Unless you can actually practically use the standardised parts there's no benefit to standardisation.


... how about we go back to talking about Improved Grab, then, since you seem fixated on

OK...


SLA's right now and how it is apparently ALL WRONG for an ability to work the same way as a spell? :smallannoyed:

I'm saying that if the ability and the spell work in the same way the spell works the way the ability does. If there is any referencing going on at all you start with the ability and then the spell references that. SLAs should not be a thing. ALSs possibly should.


... what? What SiuS said is that the base fireball is identical between monsters and enemies. Any enemy that has a fireball ability? Same fireball. Any alterations you make to the fireball therefore serve to make the enemy unique.

Every enemy having a slightly different way of tossing a ball of fire that explodes makes things less unique.

And once you do this you have lost any advantages you'd gain. If you write the code out for the fireball you're writing the code out so you might as well just use the code and ignore that it's a hacked fireball. If you don't write the code out then you're adding irritation and load to the DM because they need to do the tweaking in their head with the only benefit being saving paper.


... okay, you're either really confused, or reading a different conversation. 'Standardise' does not mean 'write it into a huge list of base rules'. It means 'every time you give an enemy this ability, it functions the same'. There is no downside to having a fireball effect, or a grab effect, or lightning breath working the same way between monsters.

You are simply wrong that there is no downside - it makes the world more cookie cutter. Fire breath from a red dragon and fire breath from a salamander being different has its advantages. A fireball from a small imp and a fireball from a balrog being different sizes and strengths has its advantages. A purple worm having slightly different Swallow Whole mechanics to a Saarlac has its advantages. See my bird and plane or my pelican and gannet examples.


The plus sides? If you use them a lot, you don't have to read the entire statblock, gauging ability strength is somewhat easier, and it means making monsters does not require making up the full details of their abilities.

Gauging ability strength should be done based on the output.

Standardising the inputs only adds a very slight strenght. And making monsters up becomes no easier. You need to say "A fireball, Level 5, 20' blast, standard" which is no easier than "Burst 2 vs reflex (save halves), 5d6 fire damage". You do, however, need to jump through one more hoop.

It only gives you an extra list of abilities if you have no idea what the monster is meant to do in the first place.


So... because SiuS said that any effect you added to a fireball would serve to add flavour if the base fireball is the same across monsters--such as having a necromancer's special fireball raise the corpses it burns--you have leapt to the conclusion that there must only be a very few effects? What.

I leapt to there being two conclusions.
1: There are literally dozens if not hundreds of standard effects. In which case you've lost almost all the benefit from standardising your parts
2: There aren't. In which case you have very few effects


They do, they just play OD&D.

If and only if they have never seen a genuinely rules light RPG - or have internalised the conceits of oD&D so that they do not notice that it isn't terribly rules light.

Grod_The_Giant
2013-08-19, 09:04 AM
See, that feels a bit "palette-swap adventures" to me. I don't see why a demon lord wouldn't be qualitatively different to investigate than an apprentice cobbler. In the latter case, maybe the demon lord has no interest in assisting your investigation, the rival mage is in his own tower (which he will not reveal the location of) and only communicates by projecting an illusory copy of himself, and the dragon has a powerful geas that prohibits it saying anything about the mage (so it couldn't reveal his secrets if captured by someone else). Sounds better than "and now solve this exactly the same way a 1st level character would, but with fancier descriptions".
Err... yes, that's my point exactly? Higher-level PCs have more important cases with bigger and stranger obstacles.

1337 b4k4
2013-08-19, 09:21 AM
If and only if they have never seen a genuinely rules light RPG - or have internalised the conceits of oD&D so that they do not notice that it isn't terribly rules light.

How so? The basic information that players need to know from 0 to playing is contained in about 18 pages (Labyrinth Lord), going from Level 1 to Level 20 can be done in the span of 42 pages including all the equipment lists and all the spell lists. Can it go lighter? Sure, my first D&D was actually not D&D at all but rather Microlite20 which distills D&D down to 3 pages. But there's always a rules lighter game so asking whether it can be lighter is pointless.

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 09:43 AM
I know the nature of English makes word scanning flow based on dirt and lay letter and everything in between bein close enough, but my name is a palindrome, folks. :smallwink:



Indeed. I'm going to present a simple rule of thumb.
If you can't fit all the keywords and their rules text on the back of one pannel of a standard size DM screen in large font you have too many.

Sounds good. No one is arguing that.



Yes. But not standardising spells.

Now. There's a huge thematic reason you shouldn't use spells as the basic building block of the game. When a dragon breathes fire, that should be the archetypal firebreathing of the game. The Breathe Fire spell should be an attempt to copy the dragon, not have the dragon copy the wizard. The basic abilities like fire breathing, shapechange, and invisibility should be the natural ones - and the spells should be copying the abilities not the abilities copying the spells.


Something is lost in translation. I don't want a dragon's breath to be "fireball; comes from dragon" I want both fireball and dragon breath where appropriate to behave the same as involves [Fire]. Resist: fire lets you resist both. Both have a chance of combustion. Etc.



I am telling you that expecting a DM to memorise an entire morass of spells and feats is a waste of time, effort, and brainpower. It's pointless busywork for the GM that makes their job harder to no good result.


Which is in no way a response to anything I've said. I do not ask for rote memorization. I ask nothing more than your very own knowing the base language of the game; and I ask that we write that language holistically. Which you've interpreted as building monsters off of spells with long lists of arcane rules despite my explicitly decrying both of those.

I am quote confused as to how you even came to this conclusion, honestly.



You really think Next is even paying lip service to that any more?


Yes. I think you Are too worked up to see it.



You don't get that in any other edition of D&D either. And no, metamagic doesn't count (for that matter most of the interesting 3.X metamagic is in 4e). And in 4e you literally get mages whose fireballs set the ground (and sometimes the victims IIRC) on fire. Far from not getting what you want in 4e, 4e is the only edition where you do get something like that.

I am afraid I'm going to have to stop you here. It's my example. I specifically used meta magic in my example. But meta magic doesn't count?

You're a reasonable chap usually. Please, take some time. Calm down. I think you're more interested in Winning than in discovering which side works best; you're literally dictating an argument for me for you to rail at.



Because blinding an enemy is worth more than a handful of damage - what you are proposing is a Spike-heavy combo-tastic system that appears to give CharOp a field day.

Blinding an enemy only has the value the tag gives it.
Now, reread that. You have an attack. Adding a rider to that attack is worth X (feat, level, item, spell, whathaveyou). You have no basis to say that one X is worth less than another X, not do you have any basis for comparing X to a handful of damage. Being blind is just as bad as being dead, after all Ė both interfere with your action economy.


2: It adds a layer of pointless rote memorisation for everyone. You need to know all the common spells (give me a definitive and exhaustive list of them please)

How so?


4: It adds little extra consistency

Arguable, but unprovable in either direction.



5: It makes everything in the entire gameworld revolve round mages and their spells rather than the distinctiveness of an exotic world.

How so? Demonstrate this.

From where I'm standing, this is ridiculous. All fireballs being the same is like all long swords being the same, and you don't see game worlds bein run by fighters and their swords instead of the distinctiveness of an exotic world do you?



I thought you did. If you're asking about pulls and pushes with respect to opportunity attacks, either you were making a ridiculous hyperbolic rhetorical point that backfired or you genuinely don't. Now I choose to believe you were arguing in good faith rather than trying to make stuff up. But in order to do that I have to conclude that you are unaware of how things under the forced movement header work and that you never get opportunity attacks for forced movement.

Pointing to an error in the rules that was so obvious the company had to crank out a fix as soon as possible is neither a lack of knowledge, nor a backfired rhetorical point.

Further, any argument that is basically "I thought you were cool! You're not cool!" Is banking on Ethos you don't have.



2: There's no such thing as a bard/warlord/psion in 4e and hasn't been since they ditched Windrise Ports. (For what it's worth, "Ardent" is right in that design space - a psychic leader who inspires others to greater feats).

This is factually incorrect. Bards, warlords and psions all exist, as does multiclassing. Bards even get a bonus to multiclassing.

Striker also has rule weight. It pains me to see you stoop to either lying or purposeful ignorance to win an Internet argument.


3: Classes are a metagame mechanic not an in-game thing. Can you tell whether a rich man known for duelling with a rapier is a fighter, a knight, a swashbuckler, a rogue, a warrior, or an aristocrat?

Irrelevant. Building a character is an inherently metagame thing. Obfuscation will not change the challenge. Do it or admit you cannot.


Sure, you can barf forward a handful of meaningless buzzwords that are literally incompatable with each other and say I can't build a combination of them. I'm going to now ask you to build a Lawful Chaotic character using the 3.5 rules.

Perceived alignment feat, twice. Be a native outsider. You have the [Chaotic] and [Lawful] descriptors, and your alignment is simultaneously Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral.

For fun, be an Incarnate. And take Necrocarnum Acolyte. You can now use three alignment specific power sets which are supposed to be mutually exclusive (four, actually) and can overcome any alignment DR with your weapons.



Standardisation [b]is not the same as keywording. If you wish to set the default for Swallow Whole to be a certain set of rules, fine. I don't care one way or the other. But the game should not be written so that the DM is expected to either remember them or look them up in the course of play.

Of course.



That's just it. No one remembers the chaff in the character builder. and no one needs to.

Unfortunately untrue. The collossal amount of refuse in the options, along with the disparity between digital and analogue, is a large detriment to new players entering the game, even though most of those feats are all +1 to X keyword.


Standardization, when done right, is a strong tool that allows for easier system mastery.

Standardization is Short range for spells, push/pull/slide riders for powers, etc. Having a bunch of standard descriptors that mix together well, aside from being easy to use and understand, also facilitates customization.

Basically, yes.


One of the two of them was quite literally saying that learning the Fireball rules and the Expand Spell rules was something DMs should be expected to do. And was proposing that people should know the fireball rules off the top of their head.

This is misrepresentation. The literal extent of it was "A DM should know a fireball explodes for fire damage in a radius." You are acting like this is some egregious thing. Fire ball is sphere of fire, Lightningbolt is line of electricity is not rules overhead. It is literally as complex as your 4e keywords and forced movement. Shouting about memorizing fireball does not change what we have actually suggested, which is, to paraphrase Neonchameleon, knowing the basic language of the game.

Raineh Daze is correct in her summation of my points. Or at least her understanding.

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 09:48 AM
They do, they just play OD&D.

Heh yeah~


If anyone's waiting for replies from me, I'm stepping out of this argument for a bit.

Please do. I continue because of a literal inabity to stop; I'm trying to get better at summation but it requires practice.


How so? The basic information that players need to know from 0 to playing is contained in about 18 pages (Labyrinth Lord), going from Level 1 to Level 20 can be done in the span of 42 pages including all the equipment lists and all the spell lists. Can it go lighter? Sure, my first D&D was actually not D&D at all but rather Microlite20 which distills D&D down to 3 pages. But there's always a rules lighter game so asking whether it can be lighter is pointless.

The little brown books are absurdly large text, poorly formatted, etc. and can be run off of a few sheets of typing paper.

Dungeon world has the keys to even easier play though. 2d6, allow custom modifiers in areas of expertise, done.

obryn
2013-08-19, 09:53 AM
Please do. I continue because of a literal inabity to stop; I'm trying to get better at summation but it requires practice.
Yeah, it's going in annoying circles.


Dungeon world has the keys to even easier play though. 2d6, allow custom modifiers in areas of expertise, done.
DW is stellar, yeah.

-O

Raineh Daze
2013-08-19, 10:21 AM
Please do. I continue because of a literal inabity to stop; I'm trying to get better at summation but it requires practice.

You have that problem too?

It's why I dislike the existence of quote buttons. It dissolves into a back and forth on every point, and woe betide anyone who dares include more than one point in their rebuttal--it will multiply into two or three blocks of text, which shall then be multiplied further in individual responses, until the world lies buried in quoteboxes.

Like rabbits, but digital.


I know the nature of English makes word scanning flow based on dirt and lay letter and everything in between bein close enough, but my name is a palindrome, folks. :smallwink:

I never noticed that second i. I blame the S overshadowing it. :smallbiggrin:

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-19, 10:59 AM
Meaning that generic systems are unfinished? A scenario is, or should be, an example of what the characters adventures could be. Also, on all but the simplest scenarios, you need first a setting, though it might be an implied one.

Anyway, why would the system need a scenario? By definition, a scenario uses the system.

You need a scenario for a game. At least, to me, a finished product in this case is a game, and you don't have one if you don't have a) an explicit, ready-to-play scenario or b) detailed rules as to how create one.

D&D has historically varied between how complete it is off-the-shelf. No printed version of D&D has been completely without content-creation rules. For just the system, you'd have to take a look at the d20 SRD.

The SRD has almost the whole system, the rules for adjucating various in-game events, but is has precisely zero advice on how to piece them together into a game scenario.

I find many RPG systems are very much the same - in fact, generic ones are often more so than narrower concept games. Narrower games are often accompanied by setting, scenario and heavy central theme from the get-go, so they are more playable out-of-the-box.

Oh, you can treat the scenarios and settings that come with a system as examples. That's part of the point, even. Without such examples, without guidelines and rules, a game is unfinished. For near-perfect analogue, you can talk of Quake the game, or the Quake engine. One of these is the product that is sold to the consumer. One is sold to the developers for making future products. Just replace "developer" with "game master" to get the situation as it is in RPGs.

obryn
2013-08-19, 11:05 AM
It's why I dislike the existence of quote buttons. It dissolves into a back and forth on every point, and woe betide anyone who dares include more than one point in their rebuttal--it will multiply into two or three blocks of text, which shall then be multiplied further in individual responses, until the world lies buried in quoteboxes.

Like rabbits, but digital.
Yeah, that's more or less it. I don't think I have anything worth saying if I'm using more than, say, 3-4 quote blocks, because at that point I'm nitpicking and not debating. (Not saying anything about anyone else here; this is just my own thoughts about my own posts.) Like I said, I think it's a degenerate state of message board discussion and nothing good can possibly come of my perpetuating it.

But condensing these wacky huge annoying posts into that smaller, manageable size is a lot more trouble than it's worth, and I particularly don't think it's worth the effort here when I'm just repeating stuff that's been repeated ad nauseam. :smallsmile:

-O

Saph
2013-08-19, 11:49 AM
Yeah, that's more or less it. I don't think I have anything worth saying if I'm using more than, say, 3-4 quote blocks, because at that point I'm nitpicking and not debating. (Not saying anything about anyone else here; this is just my own thoughts about my own posts.) Like I said, I think it's a degenerate state of message board discussion and nothing good can possibly come of my perpetuating it.

The solution to this that I've found works best is not to respond to all of a post. I usually just pick the 2-3 individual points that I care about/am interested in and leave the rest. (I find long multiquote arguments kind of boring and generally skip them when someone else is doing it, and I suspect most other posters do the same.)

I also stop responding to debates as soon as they hit edition war territory, but that's just me. :smalltongue:

Flickerdart
2013-08-19, 11:50 AM
I also stop responding to debates as soon as they hit edition war territory, but that's just me. :smalltongue:
I dunno, I think 5e has united the fanbase of all editions...against it. :smallamused:

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-19, 11:59 AM
D&D 5th Edition XIV: United in Apathy

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 12:05 PM
I dunno, I think 5e has united the fanbase of all editions...against it. :smallamused:

I think the vocal minority on the internet dislike it for various reasons (most of which stem from it's not enough like the edition I love). However, having watched the Devs play the game in their Livestreams, it's pretty easy to tell that this game is going to be good. Perhaps not as amazing as everyone was hoping for but still good (and far more appealing to a wider segment of the community than 4E was).

obryn
2013-08-19, 12:05 PM
I dunno, I think 5e has united the fanbase of all editions...against it. :smallamused:
All I can say is that the latest packet shows enough improvement to give me some modicum of hope that the final product will be a game worth having on my shelf. And I've been a major critic, to the point where I wasn't even sure anymore if I was being honest with myself about the packets being bad and if I was just hating on Next for some other reason. It turns out I wasn't; this one's better enough to merit another look.

It's very far from perfect, and I could make a long list of bad stuff. But it's several unexpectedly giant steps in the right direction, at least. If the internal playtesting and polishing do a good job, it even has the potential to be legitimately good. (And I'll be frank - I trust a fairly extensive internal polishing a lot more than this weird continual too-many-cooks playtest.)

I don't know that it will ever be my game of choice, mind you, but as long as it does something well that's uniquely its own, it'll be worth owning.

-O

Kurald Galain
2013-08-19, 12:06 PM
D&D 5th Edition XIV: United in Apathy

I approve!

neonchameleon
2013-08-19, 12:24 PM
How so? The basic information that players need to know from 0 to playing is contained in about 18 pages (Labyrinth Lord), going from Level 1 to Level 20 can be done in the span of 42 pages including all the equipment lists and all the spell lists. Can it go lighter? Sure, my first D&D was actually not D&D at all but rather Microlite20 which distills D&D down to 3 pages. But there's always a rules lighter game so asking whether it can be lighter is pointless.

The thing about oD&D is that there was a vast amount that the rules didn't cover. What they did - it's a relatively heavy combat engine with some exploratory bits tacked on. Lookup tables for to hit (IIRC Labyrinth Lord did the smart thing and turned it into ascending AC?)


Please do. I continue because of a literal inabity to stop;

I mostly continue because otherwise I'd be thinking about things I don't want to think about and can't do anything about (family medical issues). My apologies


Something is lost in translation. I don't want a dragon's breath to be "fireball; comes from dragon" I want both fireball and dragon breath where appropriate to behave the same as involves [Fire]. Resist: fire lets you resist both. Both have a chance of combustion. Etc.

In short you want to say that fire is fire. Which is why we have keywords.


You're a reasonable chap usually. Please, take some time. Calm down. I think you're more interested in Winning than in discovering which side works best; you're literally dictating an argument for me for you to rail at.

On re-reading I think the problem is that you are misusing jargon and I'm responding to the suggestion you are making with the jargon used correctly rather than the suggestion you're intending to make. What I think you are doing is saying you want to use fireball as a keyword rather than as a benchmark. And I have absolutely no problems with using fireball as a benchmark, and can think of no better spell.

To illustrate the difference, let's say we have a third level spell. Scylla's Manyheaded Devouring. Which opens a hole in space and time through which an overgrown hydra reaches and starts chomping anything on the far side of the hole.

If we are using keywords the way they are used by normal definitions - tags, then fireball isn't a keyword. It has the [fire], [ball] (or [spread] or [burst]), [long range], and possibly [targetted] and [instantaneous] keywords.

To use [Fireball] as a keyword, Scylla's Manyheaded Devouring would have the [fireball] keyword and reference the fireball spell. This I have a huge problem with.

If on the other hand we are using Fireball as a benchmark Scylla's Manyheaded Devouring would operate probably over a 20 foot radius. Each head would make an attack roll - and the probability of that hitting would be set to be balanced against reflex or dexterity saves. If our standard fireball does 6d6 damage, Scylla does something like 2d10+10 to each target she hits. (This is a simple version to be tied closely to the benchmark - other versions might have grapple and ongoing effects).

Yes, we'd drift further from the benchmark spell for most things, but that's a simple example. At no point does the description for Scylla's Manyheaded Devouring need to mention Fireball - it isn't a keyword. But the spells are roughly equivalent in effectiveness - Scylla's was benchmarked against Fireball.

And if what you mean by keywords are in fact benchmarks then I see why we were getting utterly confused.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-19, 12:38 PM
I thought that what we were saying is that if three monsters of the same power all have a fireball attack, the fireball would be the same between all of them. As in, monster abilities do not suddenly change properties in small and easily-missed ways when going from one monster to the next, which is just plain confusing.

vasharanpaladin
2013-08-19, 01:03 PM
For what it's worth, I at least look forward to Next as an excuse to FINALLY dump Fourth under the bus where it belongs.

jaybird
2013-08-19, 01:22 PM
I thought that what we were saying is that if three monsters of the same power all have a fireball attack, the fireball would be the same between all of them. As in, monster abilities do not suddenly change properties in small and easily-missed ways when going from one monster to the next, which is just plain confusing.

This would be rather nice, considering the thread in the 3.5 section identifying no less than three different versions of Hide In Plain Sight.

Draz74
2013-08-19, 02:29 PM
All I can say is that the latest packet shows enough improvement to give me some modicum of hope that the final product will be a game worth having on my shelf. And I've been a major critic, to the point where I wasn't even sure anymore if I was being honest with myself about the packets being bad and if I was just hating on Next for some other reason. It turns out I wasn't; this one's better enough to merit another look.

It's very far from perfect, and I could make a long list of bad stuff. But it's several unexpectedly giant steps in the right direction, at least. If the internal playtesting and polishing do a good job, it even has the potential to be legitimately good. (And I'll be frank - I trust a fairly extensive internal polishing a lot more than this weird continual too-many-cooks playtest.)

I don't know that it will ever be my game of choice, mind you, but as long as it does something well that's uniquely its own, it'll be worth owning.

I feel better about the latest packet too (which is part of why I've been skimming this thread again, after boycotting the last few) ... but I'm curious to learn what in particular you feel is an improvement.

Because I'm not sure why I'm liking the latest packet better, myself.

obryn
2013-08-19, 02:53 PM
I feel better about the latest packet too (which is part of why I've been skimming this thread again, after boycotting the last few) ... but I'm curious to learn what in particular you feel is an improvement.

Because I'm not sure why I'm liking the latest packet better, myself.
Sure. Here's what I put together for another site. Basically, it's the case Next is making for itself, insofar as I see it, and what it has to offer that I kind of like.

(1) Every PC has an easy on-ramp, only a bit more complicated than you'd find in AD&D or RC D&D. Sure, spellcasters are still a pain, but compared to both 3e and 4e, getting a character ready is quick and simple. Both 3e and 4e hit you in the face with every player-facing option you will ever see in your character's career right at first level. I don't think that's a good thing, and I tend to like how Next is doing it better, even if it means a few sessions have training wheels on your PC. (If you start at 1st.)

(2) Feats are not (yet) the huge terrible chain of fiddly bonuses you saw in 3e or 4e. They're mostly pretty good, and also mostly standalone. With the exception of a chain that kind of lets you do 4e-style spellcaster multiclassing, each one is kind of a self-contained feat chain. Oh, and you don't pick one until you're 4th level at the earliest. Having to work with 4e's wall of feats recently and 3e's wall of feats before that, this has appeal.

(3) Caster/Non-Caster parity looks ... well, it's hard to say yet, but it looks a lot better than I expected out of Next. It's no 4e, here, but from what I can tell, playing a Fighter to level 20 should be a legitimately good option, unlike in 3e. Most martial classes get some nice bonuses to saving throws, too, which is a breath of fresh air. And it's nice that if you want to bring a Wizard down, it makes sense to bring a Fighter.

(4) There's a possibility for small encounters to mean something in the course of the game. I love my 4e, but it does short, random encounters with a handful of orcs very badly. Right now, when I want a game that does that, I go to 1e AD&D. Next may do that, too.

(5) No skill points or trained skills or even detailed skill system thank god. I hate skill systems in D&D. I'd rather they leverage class a lot more in Next, but the backgrounds work pretty well, overall. Lores are like "skill system light" and only for knowing stuff.

(6) Classes actually do seem pretty unique and distinctive from one another, which is cool. And the subclass/specialty bit has a lot of potential for modularity.

(7) Bounded accuracy, if they can get the math right. It's pretty fine for combat, but it falls apart terribly for out-of-combat stuff. They need to un-bind it. I think the lores show they know this; +10 is huge for a d20 roll.

(8) A minor detail, but bashy-types don't need to specialize in a specific weapon to maintain viability. Sure, the feats give them perks on styles, but they will remain pretty deadly anyway.

Note that nowhere in there is "pleases fans of all editions!" :smallsmile:

It still has some bad stuff. A lot of it, really. But the strides in this packet were strong ones, and it looks more like a new edition of D&D than it does a milquetoast compromise between several.

-O

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-19, 04:07 PM
I think the latest packet is an improvement simply because it's the first packet we've seen in a while that actually tries to take some creative steps that aren't just retreads of 3rd edition. The last time was when we got the martial expertise dice.

icefractal
2013-08-19, 09:51 PM
Err... yes, that's my point exactly? Higher-level PCs have more important cases with bigger and stranger obstacles.Maybe I misread your post. I though it was the "spells like Detect Lies shouldn't exist at any level because they mess up my plot" stance. Also seen referring to teleportation, flight, and many other things.

SiuiS
2013-08-19, 10:01 PM
I find it vindicating that only you misunderstood or have a different understanding of what I was saying. Fireball isn't important; it's the example everyone latched on to.


Yeah, that's more or less it. I don't think I have anything worth saying if I'm using more than, say, 3-4 quote blocks, because at that point I'm nitpicking and not debating. (Not saying anything about anyone else here; this is just my own thoughts about my own posts.) Like I said, I think it's a degenerate state of message board discussion and nothing good can possibly come of my perpetuating it.

But condensing these wacky huge annoying posts into that smaller, manageable size is a lot more trouble than it's worth, and I particularly don't think it's worth the effort here when I'm just repeating stuff that's been repeated ad nauseam. :smallsmile:

I disagree, in that I've had a lot of productive quote discussion, in general. In specific, this thread does not seem predisposed to useful quoting, however.


I think the vocal minority on the internet dislike it for various reasons (most of which stem from it's not enough like the edition I love).

I'm with you there.


However, having watched the Devs play the game in their Livestreams, it's pretty easy to tell that this game is going to be good.

And here you've lost me. Are there any other good podcasts you could direct me to? The one I saw was heart breaking


This would be rather nice, considering the thread in the 3.5 section identifying no less than three different versions of Hide In Plain Sight.

What, really? Can you show me?

Stubbazubba
2013-08-19, 10:11 PM
Well, I don't want to change the subject too much (who am I kidding, yes, yes I do), but I've been cooking up a little idea spawned from one of the previous discussion cycles of this thread's last iteration.

We were talking about the RNG for D&D, whether d20 + mods was suitable for most things, and I came down as a strong proponent for d20 + mods. I still stand by that; it has a blissful transparency that can go a long way towards keeping future material and adventure-planning clear-cut and easier to "balance," inasmuch as that is a goal.

That being said, someone happened upon the idea of simply rolling 1d20 + Nd6, where N was 0-4 based on skill. This reminded me very much of the RNG for another game that I have almost nothing but praise for, The One Ring. Now, while adding up up to 5 numbers does noticeably slow down resolution time at the table, and the odds now become totally and irredeemably obfuscated without a calculator or a chart, I was nevertheless intrigued, because I think it has the potential to take on even more characteristics from TOR and other games to enrich the RNG that might make up for it.

With all that in mind, I fleshed out something more of an RNG based on that:

All rolls are 1d20 + a number of smaller dice (Skill Dice) equal to your degree of training (0-4). What dice are rolled are determined according to the following:

Untrained, but with Ability Bonus = d4
Trained, with Ability Penalty = d4
Trained, without Ability Bonus = d6
Trained, with Ability Bonus = d8

You're likely to have several types of Skill Dice in each roll (i.e. 1d20 + 1d8 + 2d6). That's pretty much it. Anything else (magic items, spells, circumstantial modifiers, etc.) would effect these, either adding cumulative Adv/Dis (up to 3d20 either way), or upgrading/downgrading your Skill Dice. DCs range from 5 (Easy) to 30 (Superhuman).

This is inspired partially from the EotE method of upgrading dice based on skill+ability synergy, which I thought was an elegant way of representing it, but didn't care for the RNG as a whole.

However, there's another very important part to this that makes the distinction between d4's, d6's, and d8's far more significant. Landing a nat 6 (or higher) on one of your Skill Dice either upgrades your success one degree or otherwise triggers a bonus effect. Ergo, d4's are actually incapable of achieving that, while d8's make it much more likely than normal.

So, you might, for instance, roll 1d20 + 1d8 + 2d6 (if you have 3rd degree training and 1 Ability Bonus). Or 1d20 + 1d6 + 1d4 (if you have 2nd degree training and 1 Ability Penalty). Or 1d20 + 3d6, or 1d20 + 2d8 + 2d6, or 1d20 + 2d4. There are quite a few combinations, which makes keeping track of probabilities challenging, but within the same degree of skill training, there's actually very little variation. The real difference in probabilities is in the number of nat 6+'s that can turn up.

You would have to reign in Ability Mods/Bonuses somewhat; instead of starting with a 3-4 in your primary stat, more like 0-2 would have to be normal. Getting 4 would be more of a major accomplishment.

What advantages does this RNG have? It maintains an almost-flat floor: at 4th degree skill training, you now automatically succeed at Easy (DC 5) tasks. That's the highest skill in the game. But that's not really anything to write home about. What this does is provide meaningful skill progression in chunks that are big enough to potentially matter often, while still leaving lows and highs on the table, while at the same time adding another layer onto it - that of nat 6+'s - that can be wired into the rest of the game, to replace as many numeric bonuses as possible and act as triggers for a lot of game elements. And all of this + Adv/Dis can hopefully replace all other forms of numeric bonus, making for one clean character sheet.

How might these be useful, you ask? A thief who succeeds a Stealth check with a nat 6+ might be able to cause a distraction for free that gives the next party member to act a Skill die upgrade or Advantage on that check. Or a Barbarian who succeeds an Intimidate check with a nat 6+ can change the target's feeling an extra notch on the inspired/intimidated scale, or maybe affect an extra target for free. Basically it gives you degrees of success while keeping the DC pass/fail, which is a powerful and intuitive mechanical combination.

tasw
2013-08-19, 10:33 PM
Believe it or not, I have read a few-- more than a few-- mystery novels. I've also spent three years writing and acting on a Guy Noir style radio drama, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. And you know what? You can't have a story without characters. A good mystery features intrigue, double crosses, unexpected relationships that can't exist if you don't have a suspect list. Yes, it's (usually) more complicated than "here's the crime, here are three suspects, whodunnit?" but having suspects is not the same thing as having a formulaic cakewalk.
.

Eh, get better at it then .

Those "characters" are characters because they are unusually talented and/or suited for the task at hand.

Not because they are rookie detective #2 who always follows the book.... and the book leads to the criminal and solves the mystery.

jaybird
2013-08-19, 10:34 PM
What, really? Can you show me?

I can't seem to re-find the thread, but here's two different versions of the same ability, from Shadowdancer and Ranger, respectively. I don't remember the third.


Hide in Plain Sight (Su)
A shadowdancer can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, a shadowdancer can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.


Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)
While in any sort of natural terrain, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Hide skill even while being observed.

They're called the same thing, despite being triggered differently and even having different ability codes.

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 10:37 PM
And here you've lost me. Are there any other good podcasts you could direct me to? The one I saw was heart breaking


I cannot link you to those podcasts and vids because they violate the rules against profanity. You can find them on D&D's official Youtube Channel and on their site under the podcasts section. :smallfrown:

tasw
2013-08-19, 10:40 PM
New Legends & Lore (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20130819). Mike Mearls knows what YOU want from D&D!:smalltongue:

Except for the last line I would agree. Although his ways of trying to make that happen have ranged from weak and uninspired to truly terrible so far.

Grod_The_Giant
2013-08-19, 10:48 PM
Maybe I misread your post. I though it was the "spells like Detect Lies shouldn't exist at any level because they mess up my plot" stance. Also seen referring to teleportation, flight, and many other things.
Oh, god no. I'm a firm member of the "if flight and teleportation mess up your plots, write better plots" school. Internet misunderstandings is misunderstood.


Those "characters" are characters because they are unusually talented and/or suited for the task at hand.

Not because they are rookie detective #2 who always follows the book.... and the book leads to the criminal and solves the mystery.
I think we both may be missing something here. You're missing that I'm talking about supporting, non-player characters. I'm missing how having definite suspects is the same thing as a cookie-cutter procedural missing that any halfwit could solve.

tasw
2013-08-19, 10:52 PM
I think the vocal minority on the internet dislike it for various reasons (most of which stem from it's not enough like the edition I love).


The only people who know 5e even EXISTS are the vocal minority on the internet. And the handful of people who we told about it, and who cared enough to pay attention.

I know 13 other regular D&D players all long time players. I'm the only one whose downloaded a single playtest yet.

I started a thread on the local D&D meetup.com forum which is pretty active, the best response was "huh a new edition was announced last year? Does barnes and nobles have it?"

Most of the rest were along the lines of "jesus not again. I'm not buying new books. "

tasw
2013-08-19, 11:01 PM
Oh, god no. I'm a firm member of the "if flight and teleportation mess up your plots, write better plots" school. Internet misunderstandings is misunderstood.


I think we both may be missing something here. You're missing that I'm talking about supporting, non-player characters. I'm missing how having definite suspects is the same thing as a cookie-cutter procedural missing that any halfwit could solve.

We probably are both missing something.

To me I rarely want to make supporting NPC's overly important. The session is about what the PC's do. Not having actual players listen to me lay out a long, complicated list of NPC's with deep personalities and motivations.

Most of us have pretty mixed groups. I've got people who love RP ( one just started a fate game on off weekends because he likes the idea of RP influencing the mechanics so much he thought it was the best system ever after reading it) , 2 players who will spend a whole 4 hour session planning out how to start up a market stall business to sell their loot, hiring and interviewing NPC's and setting up a market strategy (happened a few months ago) and a couple whose eyes start to glaze over the second they arent rolling dice.

The idea of getting this group to go through a deep mystery novel is akin to me jumping up and grabbing some blue cheese off the moon.

About the ONLY way I'm getting them through a mystery is if they can use spells and class features too all stay interested rather then expecting everyone to get into deep roleplaying.

What your missing is that having a list of pre ordained suspects pretty much makes the mystery a cakewalk assuming the guilty person is actually on that list.

I've got 2 players who even without magic would just snatch and torture all the suspects until someone confessed without blinking an eye. And probably kill the people they couldnt find a way to mind wipe to cover their crimes.

Pretty much every group i've been in for 20 years has had players like this. And it basically de-rails any real mystery.

I mean honestly, if the cops could just stick bamboo shoots under your fingernails until you talked very few criminals would get away. Lots of innocent people would suffer, but the bad guys would get caught most of the time. And thats something that all PC's, no matter the class have a way of doing to suspects.

Felhammer
2013-08-19, 11:03 PM
The only people who know 5e even EXISTS are the vocal minority on the internet. And the handful of people who we told about it, and who cared enough to pay attention.

I know 13 other regular D&D players all long time players. I'm the only one whose downloaded a single playtest yet.

I started a thread on the local D&D meetup.com forum which is pretty active, the best response was "huh a new edition was announced last year? Does barnes and nobles have it?"

Most of the rest were along the lines of "jesus not again. I'm not buying new books. "

Considering how popular the Acquisitions Incorporated Podcasts have been, I think there is a much larger number of people who are aware of the edition than you think.

tasw
2013-08-19, 11:43 PM
Considering how popular the Acquisitions Incorporated Podcasts have been, I think there is a much larger number of people who are aware of the edition than you think.

Out of 360 million Americans, plus all the D&D players in other countries. Whats your definition of popular?

Snark aside. What percentage of active gamers do you actually think know this thing has even been announced, much less actually downloaded a playtest or seen any of the rules?

Felhammer
2013-08-20, 12:00 AM
Out of 360 million Americans, plus all the D&D players in other countries. Whats your definition of popular?

Snark aside. What percentage of active gamers do you actually think know this thing has even been announced, much less actually downloaded a playtest or seen any of the rules?

More than the 0-1% of potential playing community that you seem to think.

You have the Acquisitions Incorporated Podcasts (which include very famous people), the Mines of Madness (more famous people), everyone who stops by the D&D booth at Gencon and the PAX-es, all the people involved with D&D Encounters, at least 75,000 playtesters (official number given at last year's GenCon), etc.

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 12:08 AM
I disagree, in that I've had a lot of productive quote discussion, in general. In specific, this thread does not seem predisposed to useful quoting, however.

You wrote a reply to one of my posts with excessive quoting recently and honestly... I can't even bother. It's a turn off for me in terms of discussion. But to each his own.

On the topic of whether this game is popular or not, I don't really know if that's really an important metric. I would hazard a guess that outside of the public playtest, they will probably be pushing some large-ish amount of advertising dollars into promoting the new edition once the game (and release date) become firmer.

I think the news is probably like any hobby in cyberspace these days; if you're someone who still plays D&D (regardless of edition or Paizo knock-off), you've probably heard that there is a new edition coming out. Whether you care enough to participate in serious internet forum argument is pretty separate from whether you know of it or not. Certainly, all of my players know of the new edition (I ran two sessions of it, using the first and the second last playtest packages), but as far as I know they're not online talking about it.

Moreb Benhk
2013-08-20, 01:10 AM
What your missing is that having a list of pre ordained suspects pretty much makes the mystery a cakewalk assuming the guilty person is actually on that list.


One solution I'd love is options that dilute the effects of such abilities without making them completely useless. Counterspells of protectiveness Perhaps the 'locate' spell gain some uncertainty in place. Scrying gets awful blurry, etc. Heck, if you have a suspect (based off roleplaying info), maybe part of the mystery mission is finding a way to lower the defenses etc. But with powerful tools it's hard to find that place where options exist to temper their effectiveness without resorting to 'yeh. no. The spell fails because he's got protection'. Which isn't much funz either.

SiuiS
2013-08-20, 01:27 AM
I can't seem to re-find the thread, but here's two different versions of the same ability, from Shadowdancer and Ranger, respectively. I don't remember the third.

Huh. That's interesting but not in the way you probably find it.
The third comes from shadar-Kai, I think.



They're called the same thing, despite being triggered differently and even having different ability codes.

Heretically, I disagree. Both of these do the same thing; allow hiding without cover. One is triggered by terrain and the other lighting, but that's all.
Standardization; if hide in plain sight was "can hide without cover" and the ranger had "gain Hide in plain sight while in natural environments" and the shadow dancer had "gain hide in plain sight when not in bright illumination", would that have the same effect while still being basically easier?


Fun fact: that note is retarded, in the literal sense of causing backward thinking. "Shadow dancer cannot hide in own shadow" is an exception. Which means, somewhere, something can hide in it's own shadow because it wasn't told not to. The game would have been better with not adding that and just expecting DMs to play the game, not the mathematical precision formula.


I cannot link you to those podcasts and vids because they violate the rules against profanity. You can find them on D&D's official Youtube Channel and on their site under the podcasts section. :smallfrown:

Huh. Okay, well, thank you.
Profanity. Haha.


You wrote a reply to one of my posts with excessive quoting recently and honestly... I can't even bother. It's a turn off for me in terms of discussion. But to each his own.


I also gave you a clear rephrasing of my stance and you haven't responded to that either. :smalltongue:
Honestly, I suspect fatigue. It goes around. If you feel others have covered your point well enough, we'll call it good :smallsmile:

Balor01
2013-08-20, 04:58 AM
So ... How is the situation on breaking the Next? Any known builds? Other shennanigans?

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 05:03 AM
So ... How is the situation on breaking the Next? Any known builds? Other shennanigans?

A level-1 character with decent charisma can, over time, persuade enough random villagers to become his army, and this flock of level-1 nobodies can take down Asmodeus in fair combat. Isn't bounded accuracy the greatest? :smallbiggrin:

Balor01
2013-08-20, 05:51 AM
A level-1 character with decent charisma can, over time, persuade enough random villagers to become his army, and this flock of level-1 nobodies can take down Asmodeus in fair combat. Isn't bounded accuracy the greatest? :smallbiggrin:

How exacty is this mob ob mooks resistant to splash damage spells? Or dragonbreath?

Tehnar
2013-08-20, 06:10 AM
Quantity is a quality on its own.

Its basically a reductio ad absurdum argument about the silly rules, demonstrating the stupidity of 5E implementation of bounded accuracy.

Balor01
2013-08-20, 06:21 AM
Quantity is a quality on its own.

Its basically a reductio ad absurdum argument about the silly rules, demonstrating the stupidity of 5E implementation of bounded accuracy.

Can you be a bit more specific? I'd really like to know how this mechanic works/breaks the game?

Tehnar
2013-08-20, 06:32 AM
You can use charisma checks to inspire commoners to follow you. Since bounded accuracy that means a DC within reach, so given enough time (and commoners) you can have a reasonably high enough amount of them.

So if you can theoretically get around 2000 commoners near Asmodeus, even with all his abilities, enough will be able to sling their stones to drop him in one round. Because of bounded accuracy. You can take less commoners, but the fight will be longer then.

Its because of their implementation of bounded accuracy, silly stuff like that can happen. Now of course that won't happen in any non silly game (same as things like Pun Pun didn't happen), but its a demonstration of how the system is broken.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 06:37 AM
Can you be a bit more specific? I'd really like to know how this mechanic works/breaks the game?

It's really very simple. Any task that is possible, can be succeeded at by a level-1 novice character at least 10%-20% of the time. Conversely, any such task can be failed at by a level-20 world-class expert at least 10%-20% of the time. That is the intentional design feature. In combat, a weak rookie could still manage to wound a huge ancient dragon flying far away in the dark while he's cowering, whereas the best warrior in the world with his mighty magical sword could still miss a kobold. Likewise with skills, a clumsy oaf has a chance of climbing a backwards-sloping ice wall, whereas a world-class elven ranger will sometimes fail to climb a regular old tree.

In all cases, of course, except if the DM decides to ignore the rules. But "if the rules give silly results you can always ignore them" is the classic definition of the Oberoni Fallacy.

Balor01
2013-08-20, 06:43 AM
Cool. Thanks.

But this still means that all 2000 commoners must all at the same time pop-up next to Asmodeus and ...

Yeah. I see this is highly theoretical and not taking into account everyone that wants to undermine "that nagging Priest", trying to round up a mob in Dirtwille.

It can be broken, but only if DM is lobotomised.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 06:48 AM
It can be broken, but only if DM is lobotomised.
The point is that it will be broken in regular gameplay, all the friggin' time. For example, whenever the DM asks "everybody makes a stealth check", it will commonly happen that the clumsy dwarven barbarian gets a higher result than the sleek elven rogue. Or, indeed, any character will commonly fail at easy routine tasks, unless the DM remembers that this particular character shouldn't have to roll for that particular task.

The results of the system are that characters can never become good at anything. A high-level character isn't much better than a low, and a skilled/trained character isn't much better than a clueless rookie. Investing in your character's numerical abilities simply doesn't work by RAW.

deuterio12
2013-08-20, 07:40 AM
You can use charisma checks to inspire commoners to follow you. Since bounded accuracy that means a DC within reach, so given enough time (and commoners) you can have a reasonably high enough amount of them.

So if you can theoretically get around 2000 commoners near Asmodeus, even with all his abilities, enough will be able to sling their stones to drop him in one round. Because of bounded accuracy. You can take less commoners, but the fight will be longer then.

Its because of their implementation of bounded accuracy, silly stuff like that can happen. Now of course that won't happen in any non silly game (same as things like Pun Pun didn't happen), but its a demonstration of how the system is broken.

So a disciplined army is a "silly" concept now?

But Asmodeus siting in an open field, alone, just twidling his thumbs while enemies form up around him and take aim is totally serious business of course.

EDIT: Plus, it works the exact same way in 3.5

Naked wizard in an open field that doesn't use any spells and just twidles his thumbs. 2000 commoners will instagib him as well. Ditto for druid, cleric, you name it.

It's absurd to expect for an opponent that takes no effort to defend itself to survive an organized opposition that's actively tryng to hurt them.

obryn
2013-08-20, 08:01 AM
The point is that it will be broken in regular gameplay, all the friggin' time. For example, whenever the DM asks "everybody makes a stealth check", it will commonly happen that the clumsy dwarven barbarian gets a higher result than the sleek elven rogue. Or, indeed, any character will commonly fail at easy routine tasks, unless the DM remembers that this particular character shouldn't have to roll for that particular task.
You're leaving out a critical part, here.

The designers are well aware the check/DC system as published in the most recent packet is broken. I'm hoping we see some big improvements on that in the final playtest packet, but it may not be until release. Some improvement has been seen on that front already; Lores give you a +10 to knowing stuff. That's significant enough to make a stark difference between trained and untrained.

(Also, I really, really hope they get rid of opposed checks. Mathematically, they're terrible.)


The results of the system are that characters can never become good at anything. A high-level character isn't much better than a low, and a skilled/trained character isn't much better than a clueless rookie. Investing in your character's numerical abilities simply doesn't work by RAW.
Define "much better"? Because high level characters look pretty beefy to me. It's just not scaled as much by d20 modifiers; it's more horizontal advancement than vertical. That's the design philosophy.

As for the rest, peasants vs. Asmodeus, etc. It's basically Next's "bag of rats" at this point. A corner case of deliberately trying to push the rules into situations the rules aren't meant to cover. Next is not a game of Peasant on Archdevil combat. (It may be a game of Army on Asmodeus combat, but I find that quite a bit less ridiculous.)

-O

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 08:05 AM
EDIT: Plus, it works the exact same way in 3.5

Naked wizard in an open field that doesn't use any spells and just twidles his thumbs. 2000 commoners will instagib him as well. Ditto for druid, cleric, you name it.
The difference is that in 3E, a random level-1 character will not be able to recruit an army of mooks because the DC for that is too high; and furthermore a random mook will not be able to hit Asmodeus because his armor class is too high.

That is the difference. 3E believes that certain tasks in the game should be so hard that level-1 characters can never do them, as well as that some tasks are so easy that high-level characters cannot fail at them. 5E believes treats both of these as anathema.

That is why. Do you want to play a character that's a confident expert at some skill and that won't fail at routine tasks, nor lose against a rookie in a fair contest? Well, in 5E you can't.

Tehnar
2013-08-20, 08:09 AM
So a disciplined army is a "silly" concept now?

But Asmodeus siting in an open field, alone, just twidling his thumbs while enemies form up around him and take aim is totally serious business of course.

EDIT: Plus, it works the exact same way in 3.5

Naked wizard in an open field that doesn't use any spells and just twidles his thumbs. 2000 commoners will instagib him as well. Ditto for druid, cleric, you name it.

It's absurd to expect for an opponent that takes no effort to defend itself to survive an organized opposition that's actively tryng to hurt them.

Unless you go for the commoner railgun, there is no way a infinite amount of peasants can harm Asmodeus in 3.5 even if he just stands there.

What I meant by silly is that the situation itself is ridiculous, not that organized armies are. Fighting high level foes with adventuring parties is one of the tropes of DnD...defeating a lord of Hell with peasants is not.

The point is not how to get the peasants near big A, but that if you got them there somehow he would be dead in one round! Thats why the situation is ridiculous.

Friv
2013-08-20, 08:10 AM
So a disciplined army is a "silly" concept now?

But Asmodeus siting in an open field, alone, just twidling his thumbs while enemies form up around him and take aim is totally serious business of course.

EDIT: Plus, it works the exact same way in 3.5

Naked wizard in an open field that doesn't use any spells and just twidles his thumbs. 2000 commoners will instagib him as well. Ditto for druid, cleric, you name it.

It's absurd to expect for an opponent that takes no effort to defend itself to survive an organized opposition that's actively tryng to hurt them.

The key point is that there isn't anything Asmodeus can do, under the RAW, to protect himself from an angry mob of peasants other than flee in terror. He can't kill enough of them in one round to survive to a second, and he doesn't have any protections that can invalidate their attacks.

The much larger extension of this problem is the fact that a squad of fifty bowmen can take out most of the threats in the game, begging the question of why heroes are necessary at all.

deuterio12
2013-08-20, 08:18 AM
Replying to one person should answer the others too.


The key point is that there isn't anything Asmodeus can do, under the RAW, to protect himself from an angry mob of peasants other than flee in terror. He can't kill enough of them in one round to survive to a second, and he doesn't have any protections that can invalidate their attacks.

5e Asmodeus can summon some of the strongest monsters on the book every 3 rounds in average. They're permanent. Just like a 3.5 wizard spends a couple hours preparing spells and loading himself with buffs, 5e Asmodeus spends a couple hours in his safe house summoning his personal army of hundreds of infernals, that can then stablish a safety perimeter and fireball to death any concentration of pesky farmers. You simply don't get to Asmodeus whitout somehow overcoming an ever-regenerating army of Balors first, just like you don't get to a 3.5 wizard whitout somehow overcoming his stacks of buffs first.



The much larger extension of this problem is the fact that a squad of fifty bowmen can take out most of the threats in the game, begging the question of why heroes are necessary at all.

Because the game is called Dungeons and Dragons, not open fields with clear lines of sight and sitting ducks. Monsters don't lurk in dark cave tunnels because they enjoy the enviroment after all. :smallsigh:

Plus most 3.X monsters can be overcome by a single guy with an heavy crossbow and an horse as well.

obryn
2013-08-20, 08:20 AM
Unless you go for the commoner railgun, there is no way a infinite amount of peasants can harm Asmodeus in 3.5 even if he just stands there
So then the real problem is Asmodeus's stats and not bounded accuracy? :smallamused:

-O

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 08:21 AM
The much larger extension of this problem is the fact that a squad of fifty bowmen can take out most of the threats in the game, begging the question of why heroes are necessary at all.

Exactly.

Note that this is not possible in earlier editions due to (gasp) scaling attack rolls!
It's actually hilarious how the 5E devteam suddenly realized in the last playtest that not having scaled saving throws (as in the prior playtest) doesn't work and results in a level-15 party running away screaming from a level-8 dragon :smallamused: Maybe they'll clue in to attack/defense math in the next playtest?

obryn
2013-08-20, 08:28 AM
The key point is that there isn't anything Asmodeus can do, under the RAW, to protect himself from an angry mob of peasants other than flee in terror. He can't kill enough of them in one round to survive to a second, and he doesn't have any protections that can invalidate their attacks.
...Other than Wish? :smallamused:

And again, this looks a whole lot more like a specific issue with Asmodeus's stats than a critical flaw in bounded accuracy.


Note that this is not possible in earlier editions due to (gasp) scaling attack rolls!
In what way? Seems to me like you always hit on a 20 in every edition but AD&D, which basically counts a 20 as a 25 on the attack tables. So a few hundred bowmen can pretty much trash just about everything in any edition ... if you can handle the logistical nightmare of getting 10,000 bowmen in shooting distance of whatever you want to take down.

Or, of course, if you just give things blanket immunity or DR or what-have-you. Which again makes it a specific problem with Asmodeus's stats than a generalized problem about the math.

-O

Person_Man
2013-08-20, 08:55 AM
A level-1 character with decent charisma can, over time, persuade enough random villagers to become his army, and this flock of level-1 nobodies can take down Asmodeus in fair combat. Isn't bounded accuracy the greatest? :smallbiggrin:

True. But that's a creative writing failure, not a math failure. If the writers created more interesting and functional roleplaying mechanics, then a first level Paladin couldn't raise an army without a meaningful justification. If Asmodeus had Damage Reduction 30/Magic and a powerful Fear aura, he'd have nothing to worry about from all the commoners on the planet.

Although it needs a bit of tweaking, Bounded Accuracy is very solid, and I don't want D&D Next to be about the accumulation of bonuses. Of course, rumor is that they're going to severely water down Bounded Accuracy in the next Playtest Packet. So you're probably going to get your wish, and I'm probably going to hate it.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 09:00 AM
Although it needs a bit of tweaking, Bounded Accuracy is very solid,
Perhaps so, but not for an epic fantasy game.


I don't want D&D Next to be about the accumulation of bonuses
It strikes me that the better way to do that is to limit the number of sources of bonuses, instead of limiting the size of them. For example, I'm fine with skill rolls only having three types of bonuses ever (attribute, training, and the tool you use). Since it is obvious where to get these, you don't get to maximize your skill roll with extra bonuses from synergy, feats, sacredness, arbitrary-skill-boosting headgear, and so forth.

Yora
2013-08-20, 09:22 AM
And this is where people get wrong:

D&D has rules for high levels which might have been intended as an epic fnatasy game, but there seems to be an appearance that a vast majority of actual gameplay takes place in the 1st to 8th level range, which isn't meant to be epic at all.
And apparently they just decided to ditch that little epic segment at the top and instead focus fully on the parts that the audience seems to be the most interested in.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 09:24 AM
:smallconfused: I always thought easily-killable gods were a tradition of D&D?


I do think it's true that bounded accuracy would be bad in an epic fantasy game - I just don't think of D&D as an epic fantasy game. Murderhobos becoming deicidal murderhobos may be fantasy, and may arguably be epic, but I wouldn't categorize it under my understanding of epic fantasy.

Edit:

And this is where people get wrong:

D&D has rules for high levels which might have been intended as an epic fnatasy game, but there seems to be an appearance that a vast majority of actual gameplay takes place in the 1st to 8th level range, which isn't meant to be epic at all.
And apparently they just decided to ditch that little epic segment at the top and instead focus fully on the parts that the audience seems to be the most interested in.

The counterargument to this is that levels 9-20 are arguably more than half of the game, rather than a little epic segment. I disagree that they're epic fantasy in the first place - epic fantasy isn't just low fantasy with bigger monsters, it's a completely different genre.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 09:44 AM
D&D has rules for high levels which might have been intended as an epic fnatasy game, but there seems to be an appearance that a vast majority of actual gameplay takes place in the 1st to 8th level range, which isn't meant to be epic at all.
And apparently they just decided to ditch that little epic segment at the top and instead focus fully on the parts that the audience seems to be the most interested in.

So where 3E has twenty levels (not counting epic), 4E is explicitly designed to take its "sweet spot" of levels 5 - 12 and stretch that over 30 levels, and now 5E is implicitly designed to take levels 1 - 8 from 4E and stretch that over 20.

Yes, that seems to work out well; twenty levels of character progression in 5E is comparable to three or four levels of progression in 3E, and the rest of the game is deemed not interesting.

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-20, 09:59 AM
It appears I didn't deconstruct this whole "mobs vs. single big monster thing" enough with my dragon examples. So let's go at it again.


The key point is that there isn't anything Asmodeus can do, under the RAW, to protect himself from an angry mob of peasants other than flee in terror. He can't kill enough of them in one round to survive to a second, and he doesn't have any protections that can invalidate their attacks.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

You're wrong.

Let's, for a moment, assume we need 1000 peasants. Our hero, John Doe the Peasant, succeeds on a check to convince people to join him 20% of the time. Let's assume one check takes 10 minutes and each check can only target one person at once. This means our hero is taking, on average, 34 days to gather his force. Let's further assume he can only make the check once per person. This means he has to go through 5000 potential recruits.

Now, he has his army, but now what? How will they find Asmodues, and where will they have to go to do that? They are just commoners, after all, their speed is not exactly impressive, and they must move by land. Any improvements to this army will cost a ton of money, plus each day, food has to be provided for 1000 men.

How rich is John Doe feeling?

Meanwhile our Villain Asmodeus can... do exactly the same thing! Outfit an army that is. Let's assume he has 50% chance to convince people to join him, otherwise following same rules as John.

So what's the end result? The end result is, Mr. Asmodeus has his army of 1000 ready in just 14 days, compared to John's 34. If he keeps gathering troops as he waits for John to come to him, he will have more than double the amount of peasants flocking under his banner.

More to the point, as Prince of Darkness, Asmodeus likely has considerable material and spiritual wealth. So he can actually pay his army.

Conclusion: John Doe loses the army gathering game to Asmodeus. Always.

Also, I don't find this to be breaking the game at all. Big bads are pretty much defined by having vast supply of expendable minions at their disposal. That they might actually have them because they are actually valuable in Next is better, in my opinion, than having them just because of genre convention. :smalltongue:

The much larger extension of this problem is the fact that a squad of fifty bowmen can take out most of the threats in the game, begging the question of why heroes are necessary at all.

Those 50 bowmen are your heroes when this happens. Duh. :smalltongue:

Besides, I'm not actually convinced by this "50 bowmen can kill anything!" argument before someone takes the numbers from Next and actually stats up an encounter with them, like I did with LotFP. Math, people, let me see math!

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 10:06 AM
So where 3E has twenty levels (not counting epic), 4E is explicitly designed to take its "sweet spot" of levels 5 - 12 and stretch that over 30 levels, and now 5E is implicitly designed to take levels 1 - 8 from 4E and stretch that over 20.

Yes, that seems to work out well; twenty levels of character progression in 5E is comparable to three or four levels of progression in 3E, and the rest of the game is deemed not interesting.

I notice that you're using 3e's levels as you're starting point. Where would the earlier editions fit into this comparison?

@Frozen_Feet: Math is something the designers don't want us to worry our pretty little heads with. It has explicitly been said that they're only starting work on it once the public playtest is done. Maybe math will be an optional module...

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 10:07 AM
Let's assume one check takes 10 minutes and each check can only target one person at once.
Well, the thing is that that's not actually in the rules.


Let's further assume he can only make the check once per person.
Oh wait, that's not in the rules either. Repeating a roll until you get it right has been a staple of the game since at least 3E.


How will they find Asmodues, and where will they have to go to do that?
Presumably by making knowledge checks. Since this task is possible, 5E's bounded accuracy guarantees that a 1st-level character can do it. And since we have a couple thousand of those, by RAW hundreds of them will know exactly where to find Asmodeus.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 10:14 AM
Or, of course, if you just give things blanket immunity or DR or what-have-you. Which again makes it a specific problem with Asmodeus's stats than a generalized problem about the math.

-O

Problem is anything you give Asmodeus to make him immune to commoners also makes him immune to 20th-level adventurers. And need I reiterate that we still have no idea what the levels are even supposed to MEAN in 5E.

(Really though, the bigger problem is that the charisma check rules make everyone into a crazy Diplomancer by default...)

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 10:16 AM
(And need I reiterate that we still have no idea what the levels are even supposed to MEAN in 5E.)

Hypothetical question: what would 5e look like if there were no levels? If there was no vertical progression?

lesser_minion
2013-08-20, 10:20 AM
I completely agree with Frozen here that it would be better for minions and redshirts and other henchmen to actually be valuable than for them to be there because of genre convention.

As for "since the task is possible", I wasn't aware of any result on a Knowledge check that allowed a character to will or narrate a large, nearby, conveniently-accessible, and unguarded portal into hell into being.

Felhammer
2013-08-20, 10:23 AM
You can use charisma checks to inspire commoners to follow you. Since bounded accuracy that means a DC within reach, so given enough time (and commoners) you can have a reasonably high enough amount of them.

So if you can theoretically get around 2000 commoners near Asmodeus, even with all his abilities, enough will be able to sling their stones to drop him in one round. Because of bounded accuracy. You can take less commoners, but the fight will be longer then.

Its because of their implementation of bounded accuracy, silly stuff like that can happen. Now of course that won't happen in any non silly game (same as things like Pun Pun didn't happen), but its a demonstration of how the system is broken.

That's why there is a DM there to say, "No, that doesn't happen."

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 10:26 AM
Hypothetical question: what would 5e look like if there were no levels? If there was no vertical progression?
Pretty much the same as it looks now.


That's why there is a DM there to say, "No, that doesn't happen."
Which proves that the rules don't work, which was the point.

obryn
2013-08-20, 10:32 AM
So where 3E has twenty levels (not counting epic), 4E is explicitly designed to take its "sweet spot" of levels 5 - 12 and stretch that over 30 levels, and now 5E is implicitly designed to take levels 1 - 8 from 4E and stretch that over 20.

Yes, that seems to work out well; twenty levels of character progression in 5E is comparable to three or four levels of progression in 3E, and the rest of the game is deemed not interesting.
Serious question - have you even looked at the most recent packet? Because you're so focused on escalating d20 numbers that I think you're missing ... well, 90% of the system.


Problem is anything you give Asmodeus to make him immune to commoners also makes him immune to 20th-level adventurers. And need I reiterate that we still have no idea what the levels are even supposed to MEAN in 5E.

(Really though, the bigger problem is that the charisma check rules make everyone into a crazy Diplomancer by default...)
Nope, you can easily find ways to make him immune to a horde of commoners if you feel you really need to and that it's not solvable by simple common sense like "How are you getting 10,000 commoners with a hundred feet of Asmodeus and why is he just standing there anyway and are they all mindless idiots who don't fear for death?" Stuff like immunity (rather than resistance) to non-magic weapons is one potential step. Giving him more defensive spells (ugh) is another one, though he already has Wish so I don't know what more you need?

The diplomancer nonsense is really just that. Nonsense. Let's look at the actual rules of Next here in this packet instead of going by (wrong) forum wisdom about what it supposedly says. First off, you're making a Charisma check; there's no Persuade skill. The DC isn't set, but I'd say, "Come with me and abandon your farm to go fight an arch-devil on the lowest plane of the Nine Hells! Bring your bow!" has a "Nearly Impossible" DC of 35. Oh, and there's no automatic success on a 20 for ability checks. Go ahead; persuade those commoners. Roll a 35 on 1d20.

Folks, there's some actual bad rules in Next. We don't need to make up new strawmen to knock down.

-O

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-20, 10:36 AM
Well, the thing is that that's not actually in the rules.

I know it isn't, so I used the 3e assumption here. I think we can agree each check is going to take some time, so convincing 1000 people to join will take a while.


Oh wait, that's not in the rules either. Repeating a roll until you get it right has been a staple of the game since at least 3E.

Correct, but it doesn't make a difference in average number of checks required (and hence, time required). I added this rule since a) "no retries" is one of the most common rulings in these situations and b) to give a sense of scope. Finding those 1000 peasants is a non-trivial task. Average village has around 200 people. My whole home county (an area comparable to Hong Kong) has just a bit over 6000 people. If he only gets to try once per person, John Doe in our example would have to travel and preach a lot to just find the requisite people.


Presumably by making knowledge checks. Since this task is possible, 5E's bounded accuracy guarantees that a 1st-level character can do it. And since we have a couple thousand of those, by RAW hundreds of them will know exactly where to find Asmodeus.

Sure... but Asmodeus still gets his peasants together faster, and so will also know John is coming. This means, on average, Asmodeus has 20 extra days to prepare over John.

You can nitpick about what is or isn't in the current rules all you like. I only filled in what I had to in order to make an example that could happen in actual game. Changing the parameters of a) how much time it takes for one check and b) whether you can retry doesn't alter the outcome, though. The 20% vs. 50% difference in ability still means Asmodeus will always win the army-raising game. Which is, you know, how it is in the standard setting. John Doe is lucky to own the land he lives on, while Asmodeus rules over legions of Hell. I hardly find this conclusion "game-breaking". :smalltongue:

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 10:41 AM
I know it isn't, so I used the 3e assumption here. I think we can agree each check is going to take some time, so convincing 1000 people to join will take a while.

True, but you can stop right there. The fact that a random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score can recruit an army just like that already shows that the DC system is completely borked.

lesser_minion
2013-08-20, 10:44 AM
True, but you can stop right there. The fact that a random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score can recruit an army just like that already shows that the DC system is completely borked.

In real life, didn't the equivalent of a "random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score" do precisely that in order to end the hundred years' war?

obryn
2013-08-20, 10:46 AM
True, but you can stop right there. The fact that a random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score can recruit an army just like that already shows that the DC system is completely borked.
He can't. Please explain what DCs you're looking at, and in what sense a DC of 20 (given the guidelines in the new packet) is reasonable for "Come with me and abandon your farm to go fight an arch-devil on the lowest plane of the Nine Hells! Bring your bow!"

-O

Kurald Galain
2013-08-20, 10:52 AM
In real life, didn't the equivalent of a "random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score" do precisely that in order to end the hundred years' war?
Yes. Which is why this system works well for a gritty real-life setting (or, for that matter, for a slapstick setting), but not for an epic fantasy.

To be clear: the issue is not that peasants can kill Asmodeus; that's just a symptom. The issue is that every character can succeed at every check. That disallows quite a number of character archetypes, and gives all kinds of silly results.

And yes, I'm perfectly aware that some people don't mind this at all. But other people do, and in that, 5E is utterly failing at its stated goal to unite all the fans.

Perseus
2013-08-20, 10:53 AM
I notice that you're using 3e's levels as you're starting point. Where would the earlier editions fit into this comparison?

@Frozen_Feet: Math is something the designers don't want us to worry our pretty little heads with. It has explicitly been said that they're only starting work on it once the public playtest is done. Maybe math will be an optional module...

Bah you should know that D&D started with 3.5 and WoTC.

/facetious

Sadly many 3.5 fans do think that way, I keep hearing comments about 4e and Next (in person especially) that apply to 3.5 as well (when someone says WoW I cough and say Diablo).

As someone who likes every edition of d&d, I'm liking what I see from next so far. I don't compare it to a previous edition but as a game that stands alone. I want each edition to be radically different, od&d/1e to 2e to 3.x to 4e and to Next I love how radically different the crunch is while tying in the fluff of Dungeons and Dragons.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 10:54 AM
That's why there is a DM there to say, "No, that doesn't happen."

And if the DM has to say that, there is a problem. If the DM asks the rules for help on how to resolve a situation, and the rules return a nonsensical result, then the rules have failed. In extreme edge cases this is forgivable, but the problem with 5E's attribute check system (since there are no skills anymore) is that these sorts of nonsense results happen all the time.

Like, the persuasion rules in general. Our 1st-level character with 16 CHA tells our average 10 WIS commoner "Be my slave forever." Our character has roughly a 62% chance of the commoner saying "Okay, you own me now." There's no penalty to the NPC's attitude in the rules for failing this check either so the character can just pester the commoner over and over until they agree. The conversation looks like this:

Character: "Hey you, be my slave forever!"

Commoner: "No."

Character: "Be my slave forever!"

Commoner: "No."

Character: "Be my slave forever!"

Commoner: "Okay!"


You can fix this with DM fiat but, by the rules, this is how it's supposed to work. The problem with relying on DM fiat for this is that it fails when the case is ambiguous: What if we're not dealing with a 1st-level character, but with a 20th-level Greater Deity of trades and deals with 30 CHA? If anyone has a decent chance of convincing the commoner, they do, so do we roll or not?

The problem arises because there are no guidelines for modifiers depending on how reasonable or unreasonable the request is. I can do better than 5E literally off the top of my head: Persuader gets a bonus to their CHA roll depending on how much they're offering to give up in the exchange, the persuadee gets a bonus to their WIS roll depending on how much they're being asked to give up. As a guideline, each +1 is roughly equal to 10 GP worth of material goods (if unclear, ask yourself "How much gold would the NPC accept for whatever the PC is asking, and how much gold would she be willing to pay for what the PC is offering?"). If the persuader fails the roll they can try again only if they failed the first roll by less than 10, and if they improve their offer to gain at least another +1 bonus to the roll. If they fail to meet these requirements and try again anyway, the NPC turns unfriendly or even hostile.

With these new rules, let's look at this again: The character is offering absolutely nothing, and the commoner is being asked to give herself up into slavery for life. Let's say she'd accept a price of 500 GP, because that'd be enough for her family to retire and live well for the rest of their lives, so that's a +50 bonus to her WIS roll. Now the conversation looks like this:

Character: "Hey there, be my slave forever!"

Commoner: "Get lost, creep."

Character: "Be my slave forever!"

Commoner: "Guards! Help!"


(This system still has the issue that characters can't get any better at persuading as they advance in level, but one problem at a time.)

obryn
2013-08-20, 11:02 AM
Holy cow, folks. Am I just spitting in the wind here? Because, really, read the new packet. Read the stuff in the DM's packet about setting DCs and in How to Play packet about ability checks. Either everyone is a few packets behind or making stuff up or repeating forum misinformation as actual fact or whatever. Regardless, you're all getting it wrong.


Like, the persuasion rules in general. Our 1st-level character with 16 CHA tells our average 10 WIS commoner "Be my slave forever." Our character has roughly a 62% chance of the commoner saying "Okay, you own me now." There's no penalty to the NPC's attitude in the rules for failing this check either so the character can just pester the commoner over and over until they agree. The conversation looks like this:
This result does not happen at all, much less "all the time." The DC is not based on the commoner's Wisdom or any sort of opposed check, it's based on how difficult the task is. And that DC is no less than 35 for something like "be my slave forever."


The issue is that every character can succeed at every check.
No, they quite simply can't. Because that's not how the DCs work.

-O

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 11:09 AM
I also gave you a clear rephrasing of my stance and you haven't responded to that either. :smalltongue:
Honestly, I suspect fatigue. It goes around. If you feel others have covered your point well enough, we'll call it good :smallsmile:

I can't find either at this point!

You're right about fatigue. I suspect we're unlikely to come around to the other's point of view.


On the topic of Asmodeus...

The point of figuring out if 2667 commoners (of whatever) could kill Big D has nothing to do with tactics, logic, or common sense. I don't think the goal of any system should be to figure out if it breaks under the extremes. Just like the 3.5 Peasant Railgun is merely a humorous application of the game rules (or in some cases, the lack of rules), figuring out if 2667 peasants would have a good shot at gibbing Asmodeus in ideal conditions should be for fun only, not nerd arguments.

That said, as has been pointed out, that doesn't make your average human commoner a force to be reckoned with.

A group of 6 allied commoners that sticks together tosses rocks at a +6 to hit (thanks to pack tactics) for 1d4 damage.

Regardless of what we might think about the health and safety of your average commoner, this has pretty large ramification on world building, as we can probably assume that human commoners are, in fact common, and that in the world of DnD Next, 6 attacks at +6 to hit at 20/80ft for 1d4 damage makes them an incredibly cheap and potent military force.

Ogre trying to bully your town? Pelt him with stones! Ogres only have an 11 AC and 32 hit points, so on average, only eighteen stones (at +6 to hit, so the commoners have about a 75% chance of hitting) are needed to paste that Ogre. Surely a town in fear has a dozen commoners with a free throwing arm?

Troll (11AC, 66hp)? 36 stones thrown on average (plus one commoner lighting a torch to burn it). Possibly two more stones if it takes more than a round, but that's okay; the potential loss of 3-6 peasants in the meantime shouldn't stop them from pasting the troll.

Hill Giant (11AC, 76hp)? 41 stones thrown on average.

What does this all mean? It means that any monster that doesn't have strong AoE attacks is potentially taking their life into their own hands by trying to fight a city with a population great than 100. One must assume that races like goblins and orcs have learned the folly of underestimating the sheer power of a small group of stinking peasants, for even with their higher AC (13), their low average hit points and cost per-arming each individual with armor and weapons is outweighed by supplying the county's commoners with a 1cp sack (to hold their rocks in).

deuterio12
2013-08-20, 11:10 AM
Holy cow, folks. Am I just spitting in the wind here? Because, really, read the new packet. Read the stuff in the DM's packet about setting DCs and in How to Play packet about ability checks. Either everyone is a few packets behind or making stuff up or repeating forum misinformation as actual fact or whatever.

They don't even know the 3.X Aid Another rules that allowed a family of commoners to easily outskill the best adventurer out there (and to actually make 3.X Asmodeus their loyal slave). Why do you expect them to have actually read the playtest packet?

EDIT:



A group of 6 allied commoners that sticks together tosses rocks at a +6 to hit (thanks to pack tactics) for 1d4 damage.

Hold it right there!

Commoners only get the pack bonus for each friendly creature that is within 5 feet of its target.

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 11:11 AM
This result does not happen at all, much less "all the time." The DC is not based on the commoner's Wisdom or any sort of opposed check, it's based on how difficult the task is. And that DC is no less than 35 for something like "be my slave forever."

In fairness, these commoners are going to be blindfolded. We might be leaving out some... details... to get them to come with us.

deuterio12
2013-08-20, 11:17 AM
In fairness, these commoners are going to be blindfolded. We might be leaving out some... details... to get them to come with us.

Blinded creatures automatically fail checks based on sight. Meaning they can't spot Asmodeus. Or anything at all. Can't throw rocks at what you can't see.

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 11:20 AM
Blinded creatures automatically fail checks based on sight. Meaning they can't spot Asmodeus. Or anything at all. Can't throw rocks at what you can't see.

Where in the rules does it say that attacking a creature requires being able to see them?

For the record, our commoners are hearing where Big A is.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 11:23 AM
Holy cow, folks. Am I just spitting in the wind here? Because, really, read the new packet. Read the stuff in the DM's packet about setting DCs and in How to Play packet about ability checks. Either everyone is a few packets behind or making stuff up or repeating forum misinformation as actual fact or whatever. Regardless, you're all getting it wrong.


This result does not happen at all, much less "all the time." The DC is not based on the commoner's Wisdom or any sort of opposed check, it's based on how difficult the task is. And that DC is no less than 35 for something like "be my slave forever."

DM Guidelines, 80213 packet (AFAIK the most recent one), page 9, under "Persuade"


Contest: Persuade someone to do something (Against Wisdom).


As far as I can tell the guidelines for this stuff hasn't changed at all since skills were removed. Maybe the next packet will fix it, but for now, I don't see how these rules are anything but dysfunctional.

deuterio12
2013-08-20, 11:30 AM
Where in the rules does it say that attacking a creature requires being able to see them?

For the record, our commoners are hearing where Big A is.

You need a target to attack. And most of your commoner are inside a mass of hundreds of commoners, so hearing won't do, unless Asmodeus has some secret entry that says he's always making an infernal noise that gets over the sound of a thousands-strong mob.

And you still didn't explain how your math holds up considering that the commoners only get the pack bonus for each friendly creature that is within 5 feet of its target (meaning they have to be able to swarm around the ogre/troll, eating aoos along the way, to get the full +6 bonus).

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 11:34 AM
Maybe math will be an optional module...

D&D 5th Edition XIV: Math will be an optional module

Perseus
2013-08-20, 11:37 AM
D&D 5th Edition XIV: Math will be an optional module

You have my vote

+1

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 11:42 AM
You need a target to attack. And most of your commoner are inside a mass of hundreds of commoners, so hearing won't do, unless Asmodeus has some secret entry that says he's always making an infernal noise that gets over the sound of a thousands-strong mob.

And you still didn't explain how your math holds up considering that the commoners only get the pack bonus for each friendly creature that is within 5 feet of its target (meaning they have to be able to swarm around the ogre/troll, eating aoos along the way, to get the full +6 bonus).

There is nothing about being inside a mass of hundreds of commoners that prevents hearing. There is nothing in the rules that says you need to be able to see your target to attack them, you only need to know what square they're in (which your 2000+ peasants pinpoint). Why are you trying to apply logic here!?

And opportunity attacks only trigger if you move out of their reach.

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-20, 11:44 AM
True, but you can stop right there. The fact that a random 1st-level nobody with a half-decent charisma score can recruit an army just like that already shows that the DC system is completely borked.

By "just like that" you mean "spending more than a month and travelling from village to village doing nothing but preaching". There's a word for that: campaign. Also, as I pointed out, a random 1st level no-body doesn't have the funds to upkeep the army he has raised, so the whole issue solves itself in couple of days.

The issue you claim breaks the game, doesn't.


Yes. Which is why this system works well for a gritty real-life setting (or, for that matter, for a slapstick setting), but not for an epic fantasy.

At least I think huge-ass armies are par for the course for epic fantasy. See: Tolkien. :smalltongue:

If you wish to illustrate a problem with bounded accuracy, you have chosen your battleground poorly. Huge armies vs. single targets is not where the system breaks, because those situations almost never happen if you follow the rules to their logical (and genre-appropriate) conclusion. Neither is any case where a low-level character can replicate higher-level results by spending several times more time and resources (especially the latter, since low-level characters don't have such resources).


To be clear: the issue is not that peasants can kill Asmodeus; that's just a symptom. The issue is that every character can succeed at every check...

... with extreme effort and time taken. When a specialist still can do these things four to eight times more efficiently (8o% vs. 20% or 10%), how does this disallow character archetypes? Or rather, which character types does it disallow, and why should I even be bothered by losing those?



@Frozen_Feet: Math is something the designers don't want us to worry our pretty little heads with. It has explicitly been said that they're only starting work on it once the public playtest is done. Maybe math will be an optional module...

Sarcasm aside, if you can't be bothered to show mathematical basis for your criticisms, I will continue to take them with a grain of salt. I am not one of Next's designers, and I very much want you to worry your pretty little heads about it. :smalltongue:

Morty
2013-08-20, 11:50 AM
And this is where people get wrong:

D&D has rules for high levels which might have been intended as an epic fnatasy game, but there seems to be an appearance that a vast majority of actual gameplay takes place in the 1st to 8th level range, which isn't meant to be epic at all.
And apparently they just decided to ditch that little epic segment at the top and instead focus fully on the parts that the audience seems to be the most interested in.

Then they should come out and say so, instead of pretending their low-level game can run the same gamut of power levels the previous editions have.

obryn
2013-08-20, 12:03 PM
DM Guidelines, 80213 packet (AFAIK the most recent one), page 9, under "Persuade"
And you don't see "be my slave forever" as a somewhat... egregious reading of this?

I mean, Swim (DC 10): Tread water in rough conditions. I can do that while carrying the rest of the party on my back because it doesn't say I can't!


For each of the six ability scores and the common tasks associated with them, this section offers guidelines for how difficult various tasks might be. Some examples of tasks a character might improvise are also included. As always, use your good judgment when applying these guidelines. They are meant to provide storytelling and adjudication options to you, not to tie your hands creatively.

This is seriously an infinite oregano moment.

-O

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-20, 12:16 PM
Not to mention, three lines later:


Hazards: The most likely hazards associated
with a Charisma check are attracting unwanted
attention, arousing suspicion, or angering
someone.

So, no, the rules don't say that there's always a penalty for failing a charisma check... but they do say that every charisma check can have penalties, and the penalty is left up to the DM.

navar100
2013-08-20, 12:22 PM
Bah you should know that D&D started with 3.5 and WoTC.

/facetious

Sadly many 3.5 fans do think that way, I keep hearing comments about 4e and Next (in person especially) that apply to 3.5 as well (when someone says WoW I cough and say Diablo).

As someone who likes every edition of d&d, I'm liking what I see from next so far. I don't compare it to a previous edition but as a game that stands alone. I want each edition to be radically different, od&d/1e to 2e to 3.x to 4e and to Next I love how radically different the crunch is while tying in the fluff of Dungeons and Dragons.

Nothing "sad" about it at all. For many players, 3E was their first game of D&D never having played any previous editions at all, regardless if they even know they exist. As for myself I started with 2E and know it well enough but couldn't tell you a thing about playing 1E or the so called Box Set.

They are not wrong to compare 5E to 3E to determine what they like and don't like and ignore whatever came before due to definitive ignorance. You can't know what you never knew.

obryn
2013-08-20, 12:25 PM
Then they should come out and say so, instead of pretending their low-level game can run the same gamut of power levels the previous editions have.
I don't think they're pretending that, though? In all the talk about Bounded Accuracy, the basic thought is that an orc (really, lots of orcs) can still be a threat when you're level 20. That's not an unintended side effect. That's the mission statement.

But! High level characters still look quite epic. It's just more horizontal growth than vertical.

-O

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 12:39 PM
I don't think they're pretending that, though? In all the talk about Bounded Accuracy, the basic thought is that an orc (really, lots of orcs) can still be a threat when you're level 20. That's not an unintended side effect. That's the mission statement.

But! High level characters still look quite epic. It's just more horizontal growth than vertical.

-O

I've have mentioned before (last thread I think) that I worry that the method for building encounters doesn't really reward using low-level monsters, because even if they're still "threatening", the rules say they still make up a paltry portion of the XP reward, particularly as levels increase and the system appears to want to shift from roughly equal numbers of PCs versus roughly equal numbers of monsters, to what might as well be thought of as 4e "elites" and then to 4e "solos" (the amount a monster is worth in XP grows faster than the recommended XP budget, to the point where instead o using 4-5 equal levels monsters, you begin to use 2-3, and eventually, 1).

Putting it another way, if you want to make a group of orcs threatening to a level 20 party, that's fine, but hopefully it's because each individual orc is threatening (that's part of the point of bounded accuracy, isn't it?) and not because the system says you need to use 86 of them.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 12:45 PM
And you don't see "be my slave forever" as a somewhat... egregious reading of this?

I mean, Swim (DC 10): Tread water in rough conditions. I can do that while carrying the rest of the party on my back because it doesn't say I can't!

Actually, the rules do have something to say about swimming while carrying weight. It's a strength check, and if you're carrying more than your strength score * 10, you're encumbered and have disadvantage on your strength check. If you have 10 STR (let's assume the party weighs over 100 pounds), you have a 25% chance of treading rough water successfully. If you have STR 20 this chance increases to 56%.

It only works if you say "That doesn't make any sense" and rule it out with DM fiat, and I think we've already explained why we find this unsatisfactory.


This is seriously an infinite oregano moment.

-O

The thing is D&D Next doesn't even work as a rules-light game. A good rules-light system uses its rules as a seed to help spark creativity. D&D Next does none of this, it just says "When you get a result that doesn't make sense, use common sense to arbitrate instead."

Perseus
2013-08-20, 12:47 PM
Nothing "sad" about it at all. For many players, 3E was their first game of D&D never having played any previous editions at all, regardless if they even know they exist. As for myself I started with 2E and know it well enough but couldn't tell you a thing about playing 1E or the so called Box Set.

They are not wrong to compare 5E to 3E to determine what they like and don't like and ignore whatever came before due to definitive ignorance. You can't know what you never knew.

You missed my point.

I can't explain it without sounding as if I'm edition warring (which as I said, I play 3.5) so I'll keep it off the thread.

But really as an april fools joke next year i hope they in the name of trying to satisfy everyone just print into phb1 three optional rules for playing the game. "Thac0 subtraction is scary" , "d20 tier 1", and "d20 omg I don't like it even though I never tried it".

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-20, 01:01 PM
Actually, the rules do have something to say about swimming while carrying weight. It's a strength check, and if you're carrying more than your strength score * 10, you're encumbered and have disadvantage on your strength check. If you have 10 STR (let's assume the party weighs over 100 pounds), you have a 25% chance of treading rough water successfully. If you have STR 20 this chance increases to 56%.

It only works if you say "That doesn't make any sense" and rule it out with DM fiat, and I think we've already explained why we find this unsatisfactory.


How about just "that's incorrect." Maximum carrying capacity is twenty times your strength score. So, 400 lbs at 20 strength.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 01:04 PM
Sarcasm aside, if you can't be bothered to show mathematical basis for your criticisms, I will continue to take them with a grain of salt. I am not one of Next's designers, and I very much want you to worry your pretty little heads about it. :smalltongue:

All I mean to say is that I don't see math as the best basis for criticism at this point, since they have apparently been ignoring it thus far. Whether the math is or is not good doesn't tell us much yet.


For the 'convincing peasants to do absurd things (again)': NONE of this would be a problem if the game was to abandon the binary success/failure mechanic. If a person is told to do something, there should be more responses allowed than 'yes' or 'no'. The entire problem wouldn't exist if we didn't have to think of all successes and failures as absolute - which we do with the current ability check mechanic, and have in every edition so far (I think).

That, above all else, should change.

Felhammer
2013-08-20, 01:06 PM
Which proves that the rules don't work, which was the point.

A system doesn't need to account for every wild/fringe scenario you can throw at it.

obryn
2013-08-20, 01:08 PM
Actually, the rules do have something to say about swimming while carrying weight. It's a strength check, and if you're carrying more than your strength score * 10, you're encumbered and have disadvantage on your strength check. If you have 10 STR (let's assume the party weighs over 100 pounds), you have a 25% chance of treading rough water successfully. If you have STR 20 this chance increases to 56%.

It only works if you say "That doesn't make any sense" and rule it out with DM fiat, and I think we've already explained why we find this unsatisfactory.

The thing is D&D Next doesn't even work as a rules-light game. A good rules-light system uses its rules as a seed to help spark creativity. D&D Next does none of this, it just says "When you get a result that doesn't make sense, use common sense to arbitrate instead."
I want to be sure we're on the same page, because from where I'm sitting it looks like you're arguing that "I want X to be my slave forever" is just a simple opposed check if you are correctly applying D&D Next rules.

-O

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 01:18 PM
A system doesn't need to account for every wild/fringe scenario you can throw at it.

In practice, no. But it would be nice if it accounted for more of them. This particular example may not be the best, but a system should try to account for those scenarios that are more likely to occur.

This is, of course, subjective. But even this example doesn't seem too distant from what PCs may try to do.

Regarding rule zero, it's useful in practice, but it's not good design for a system to rely too heavily on it.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 01:24 PM
How about just "that's incorrect." Maximum carrying capacity is twenty times your strength score. So, 400 lbs at 20 strength.

So you're in the water and the entire party crawls onto your back. What happens?


I want to be sure we're on the same page, because from where I'm sitting it looks like you're arguing that "I want X to be my slave forever" is just a simple opposed check if you are correctly applying D&D Next rules.

Yes, if by "correctly applying" you mean "using the guidelines in the packet as presented."

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-20, 01:26 PM
All I mean to say is that I don't see math as the best basis for criticism at this point, since they have apparently been ignoring it thus far. Whether the math is or is not good doesn't tell us much yet.

All playtest packages so far contain math. If you want me to take your argument seriously, illustrate how playtest packages up to this point fail at it. Repeating "they haven't finished it so it doesn't tell anything" removes any reasonable ground from discussing much of the system, or the direction it is going to.

obryn
2013-08-20, 01:39 PM
Yes, if by "correctly applying" you mean "using the guidelines in the packet as presented."
The guidelines that are prefaced by, "As always, use your good judgment when applying [them]?" That's a rule, too.

I don't know how to interpret your argument other than a dedicated and intentionally misleading case of rules lawyering. Given a choice between "rather light and generalized list of tasks with DM judgment for the weird stuff" and "OCD-like assignage of DCs to every conceivable task," I fall firmly on the former side.


Regarding rule zero, it's useful in practice, but it's not good design for a system to rely too heavily on it.
I haven't seen any sign they are, other than the folks who want to season with infinite oregano because the rules don't say they can't.

-O

Lord Raziere
2013-08-20, 01:40 PM
How is the rules unable to cover for certain things a failure of them?

I mean, the rules are abstractions. you CANNOT design rules for literally everything in RPG's! I mean what are you going to do, make the game designers sit around thinking up endless scenarios and whatnot until they write a rule in for every possible fringe trick until the book is over-expanded or something? get real.

the closest you can get is the Rule of Common Sense. If it sounds silly/ridiculous, its probably not going to happen, with a possible Awesomeness Exception, where if the thing is awesome enough it happens anyways.

a good roleplayer knows when to turn off the targeting computer and trust in their feelings y'know what I mean?

BayardSPSR
2013-08-20, 01:43 PM
All playtest packages so far contain math. If you want me to take your argument seriously, illustrate how playtest packages up to this point fail at it. Repeating "they haven't finished it so it doesn't tell anything" removes any reasonable ground from discussing much of the system, or the direction it is going to.

Hang on - do you want me to show you how the math fails? I'm personally not overly interested in whether or not it does fail, for reasons I've said. I'm not making an argument about the quality of the math at all.

And/or are you saying that math should be a valid target of criticism? Sure, I guess so, though I do think other elements may be more important. I shouldn't have implied it doesn't tell us anything, though

Edit:

I haven't seen any sign they are, other than the folks who want to season with infinite oregano because the rules don't say they can't.
I don't disagree, but I want to caution against the logic that fiat can make a system flawless.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 01:55 PM
The guidelines that are prefaced by, "As always, use your good judgment when applying [them]?" That's a rule, too.

I don't know how to interpret your argument other than a dedicated and intentionally misleading case of rules lawyering. Given a choice between "rather light and generalized list of tasks with DM judgment for the weird stuff" and "OCD-like assignage of DCs to every conceivable task," I fall firmly on the former side.

Well, there's a spectrum between "Complete freeform" and "Hybrid", and you don't have to pick one or the other. There's a middle ground here, and my opinion is that D&D Next could benefit a great deal by giving more guidelines and structure.

SpacemanSpif
2013-08-20, 01:59 PM
So you're in the water and the entire party crawls onto your back. What happens?



You can't carry it, so you can't move. Max lift weight is Strength times 50, so if the entire party exceeds that, you collapse.

I'm really not sure what you're trying to show here.

Edit: remembered that the character in question is trying to swim. That's a swim check you can't succeed at, so you sink.

obryn
2013-08-20, 02:05 PM
I don't disagree, but I want to caution against the logic that fiat can make a system flawless.
RPG systems are a balancing act. The game's rules should be focused on likely activities to occur over the course of play. For example, if you have a spy game, you need detailed car chase rules. For a fantasy RPG, you might not. But I think you know this.

Every system has areas where you can poke & prod until you get something wacky and say, "OMG IT IS TERIBAL!" For example, a bat cannot eat from a swarm of flies in 3.5. The "commoner railgun." A rogue standing in the middle of an empty room full of fireball, unharmed. Sending 29th-level minions to get ganked by a 1st-level Mage's Magic Missile. And, here, "It's super-easy to get bakers and basket weavers to shoot bows at Asmodeus!"

This doesn't mean that the system relies too much on fiat. It's deliberate corner cases, because the rules simply can't cover everything without being overlong and over-detailed. There are two ways to handle these: Fiat (even in the form of adjustable general guidelines), or else table consensus. Relying on fiat for corner cases isn't a system failure.

If D&D Next relied on Rule 0 and arbitrary fiat for standard adventuring tasks - like a group of adventurers fighting a group of orcs - that'd be a pretty obvious shortcoming. When it's fringe nonsense like "become my slave forever!" then relying on DM judgment is fine. Especially, like I said, when the rules aren't even in a finished state.

Now! With that in mind! This is still a playtest. It'll have even more rules holes than a complete game will. That isn't a vice or virtue of the finished system, merely a factor to keep in mind when providing feedback. Is it wrong to say to WotC, "Guys, tighten up this persuade thing ASAP, plz?" Nope; that's perfect feedback. But is it a reasonable criticism of how a DM is expected to run the game? IMO, not even a bit.

I have other issues with the ability checks in this packet. For example, I think its DCs for some tasks are too arbitrarily high. And that's feedback I'll send, too.

Edit:

Well, there's a spectrum between "Complete freeform" and "Hybrid", and you don't have to pick one or the other. There's a middle ground here, and my opinion is that D&D Next could benefit a great deal by giving more guidelines and structure.
Maybe! And that's fine feedback! But I think it's a terrible mistake to assert that a DC 10 for "be my slave forever" is a reasonable statement or example of Next's bounded accuracy design philosophy. Just as is the commoner horde vs. Asmodeus.

-O

lesser_minion
2013-08-20, 04:01 PM
Yes. Which is why this system works well for a gritty real-life setting (or, for that matter, for a slapstick setting), but not for an epic fantasy.

I wasn't aware that artificially depowering everything that isn't a designated hero or villain was something to be celebrated, whether this is supposed to be 'epic fantasy' or not.

obryn
2013-08-20, 04:43 PM
Okay, so Amazon delayed my shipment of Murder in Baldur's Gate for some reason, so I picked it up at B&N (the FLGS is too out of the way for where I was) for ... well, a lot more money than Amazon was charging.

Anyway, I sat down and read it for about an hour, hour-and-a-half. And ... well, leaving aside the complete weirdness that Level 1 PCs are inserted into a probably high-level situation, dealing with craziness like Bhaalspawn, it's remarkably good so far. WotC has a terrible track record with adventures, and despite the lack of stats, this looks expertly done. The joint DM/Player screen is excellent, the campaign sourcebook is compelling, and the adventure is so open-ended it's probably replayable with the same group. So I'm pretty impressed. It will actually be hard to run it by tomorrow, between kids tonight and work tomorrow; it's a lot more involved than I expected my playtest to be.

So that's going well. I think it may take more than the 3-4 week interlude I was planning.

For FR fans, the adventure tiptoes so far around the Spellplague it's crazy. I haven't found a reference to it, even in the city's history. According to my 4e FRCS, Baldur's Gate was largely untouched by that particular RSE, so it's not a huge omission, other than noting that now Baldur's Gate is more influential than Waterdeep, IIRC.

So... it looks good. Looking forward to it tomorrow.

-O

Raineh Daze
2013-08-20, 05:19 PM
Anyway, I sat down and read it for about an hour, hour-and-a-half. And ... well, leaving aside the complete weirdness that Level 1 PCs are inserted into a probably high-level situation, dealing with craziness like Bhaalspawn, it's remarkably good so far. WotC has a terrible track record with adventures, and despite the lack of stats, this looks expertly done. The joint DM/Player screen is excellent, the campaign sourcebook is compelling, and the adventure is so open-ended it's probably replayable with the same group. So I'm pretty impressed. It will actually be hard to run it by tomorrow, between kids tonight and work tomorrow; it's a lot more involved than I expected my playtest to be.

Are you sure this isn't evidence that levels are meaningless? :smallconfused:

obryn
2013-08-20, 05:30 PM
Are you sure this isn't evidence that levels are meaningless? :smallconfused:
I think it's evidence that they wanted to open with a bang, and damn the consequences. You need to start with level 1 characters for something like this, and get the characters connected to the Sundering events.

The adventure has stats for 3e and 4e, too, after all. (All three need downloaded separately.)

-O

Whiteagle
2013-08-20, 05:34 PM
People might not like the concept/I] of how 4e builds monsters (No PC/NPC Symmetry!?) but they're as flexible as you want to be with them. The system says "here's the math you should use, now build around that." That's a much different (and in many ways, more liberating) way of building monsters than asking DMs to start with a base creature, add race/classes/templates/etc. and then see what the math says.

Could 4e monster design be better? Sure. But certainly, I hope we can agree that 3.5 monster design could be better too (e.g. it's too complicated, CRs aren't worth a copper piece, and giving creatures spells/spell-like abilities really drags on gameplay). To me, the real question is, "which is more DM-friendly?"

And well, 3.5 monster creation ain't DM-friendly. At the very least, thinking about ways to improve 3.5 monster creation would be a very good thing.
But isn't Player Character Generation much easier in Next?


I dunno, I think 5e has united the fanbase of all editions...against it. :smallamused:
Then I shall fight for it, for it shall be... MY EDITION!


Sure. Here's what I put together for another site. Basically, it's the case Next is making for itself, insofar as I see it, and what it has to offer that I kind of like.

(1) Every PC has an easy on-ramp, only a bit more complicated than you'd find in AD&D or RC D&D. Sure, spellcasters are still a pain, but compared to both 3e and 4e, getting a character ready is quick and simple. Both 3e and 4e hit you in the face with every player-facing option you will ever see in your character's career right at first level. I don't think that's a good thing, and I tend to like how Next is doing it better, even if it means a few sessions have training wheels on your PC. (If you start at 1st.)

(2) Feats are not (yet) the huge terrible chain of fiddly bonuses you saw in 3e or 4e. They're mostly pretty good, and also mostly standalone. With the exception of a chain that kind of lets you do 4e-style spellcaster multiclassing, each one is kind of a self-contained feat chain. Oh, and you don't pick one until you're 4th level at the earliest. Having to work with 4e's wall of feats recently and 3e's wall of feats before that, this has appeal.
Indeed, I love how making Feats an Optional component not only simplified the Character Creation process, but also how the Feats themselves were retooled into actually useful perks.


(5) No skill points or trained skills or even detailed skill system thank god. I hate skill systems in D&D. I'd rather they leverage class a lot more in Next, but the backgrounds work pretty well, overall. Lores are like "skill system light" and only for knowing stuff.

(7) Bounded accuracy, if they can get the math right. It's pretty fine for combat, but it falls apart terribly for out-of-combat stuff. They need to un-bind it. I think the lores show they know this; +10 is huge for a d20 roll.
While I like skills, I understand removing them from Character Creation along with Feats to streamline the process, and hope that any reintroduction will separate their progression from Class and deal more with Backgrounds.

I also agree with unbinding accuracy from Out-of-Combat actions, since the whole point of specialized skill checks is to represent how your character is better suited to a task due to whatever it is they do when not crawling Dungeons or Stabbing Dragons.


(6) Classes actually do seem pretty unique and distinctive from one another, which is cool. And the subclass/specialty bit has a lot of potential for modularity.

(8) A minor detail, but bashy-types don't need to specialize in a specific weapon to maintain viability. Sure, the feats give them perks on styles, but they will remain pretty deadly anyway.

-O
Indeed, only Monks seem to have been given the short stick in this reguard from what I've heard, while Ranger's Favored Enemy paths make him the guy who actually makes a living killing something instead of just a Ranged Fighter.


Although it needs a bit of tweaking, Bounded Accuracy is very solid, and I don't want D&D Next to be about the accumulation of bonuses. Of course, rumor is that they're going to severely water down Bounded Accuracy in the next Playtest Packet. So you're probably going to get your wish, and I'm probably going to hate it.
Well I wouldn't mind watering it down for Non-combat checks, but for Combat...


Also, I don't find this to be breaking the game at all. Big bads are pretty much defined by having vast supply of expendable minions at their disposal. That they might actually have them because they are actually valuable in Next is better, in my opinion, than having them just because of genre convention. :smalltongue:

I LIKE this!
I like that Mooky Mookerson, City Guard, is not only a viable threat to Epic Player Characters but also has JUSTIFICATION for becoming one himself.
PCs shouldn't get where they are because they are ordained by fate, but because they were legitimately skilled in their adventuring and didn't stupidly get themselves killed.


My whole home county (an area comparable to Hong Kong) has just a bit over 6000 people.
Holy frack your country is TINY!


[I]That said, as has been pointed out, that doesn't make your average human commoner a force to be reckoned with.

A group of 6 allied commoners that sticks together tosses rocks at a +6 to hit (thanks to pack tactics) for 1d4 damage.

Regardless of what we might think about the health and safety of your average commoner, this has pretty large ramification on world building, as we can probably assume that human commoners are, in fact common, and that in the world of DnD Next, 6 attacks at +6 to hit at 20/80ft for 1d4 damage makes them an incredibly cheap and potent military force.

Ogre trying to bully your town? Pelt him with stones! Ogres only have an 11 AC and 32 hit points, so on average, only eighteen stones (at +6 to hit, so the commoners have about a 75% chance of hitting) are needed to paste that Ogre. Surely a town in fear has a dozen commoners with a free throwing arm?

Troll (11AC, 66hp)? 36 stones thrown on average (plus one commoner lighting a torch to burn it). Possibly two more stones if it takes more than a round, but that's okay; the potential loss of 3-6 peasants in the meantime shouldn't stop them from pasting the troll.

Hill Giant (11AC, 76hp)? 41 stones thrown on average.

What does this all mean? It means that any monster that doesn't have strong AoE attacks is potentially taking their life into their own hands by trying to fight a city with a population great than 100. One must assume that races like goblins and orcs have learned the folly of underestimating the sheer power of a small group of stinking peasants, for even with their higher AC (13), their low average hit points and cost per-arming each individual with armor and weapons is outweighed by supplying the county's commoners with a 1cp sack (to hold their rocks in).
EXACTLY!
D&D 5th Edition: RISE OF THE MOOKS!

Flickerdart
2013-08-20, 05:50 PM
Holy frack your country is TINY!
County, as in a subdivision of a state.

Ashdate
2013-08-20, 06:14 PM
But isn't Player Character Generation much easier in Next?

Sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean that using PC classes is an appropriate way to build monster (and noting that many classes take at least 3 levels to really get into the swing of things). You should capture the feel of what you want a monster to do. It's like the example I stated (somewhere) earlier, about capturing what a "slingshot" should do on a Magic card. If you, as the DM, want to create (as an example) a tribe of troll barbarians to throw at your PCs, then you don't really need much other than some sort of "rage" mechanic. Barbarian might be known for their increased movement speed and improved criticals, but I think there's something kind of off if you can't represent that on a monster without adding 5 levels of Barbarian to it.

In either case, you don't (in my eyes) really gain much by doing the math/work to add all that stuff onto the creature, when you could simply just take a base creature and add something that captures the feel. As an example, you could the base troll, call it a Troll Berserker, and give it a two-handed weapon instead of two claw attacks (perhaps a two-handed axe, 1d12+4 damage). It always has advantage on the axe attack. Have the description be of a troll that looks like its Hulkamania'ing out, with a wicked two-handed axe (two-handed for a troll!), and extra slobber and foaming. The multiattack can turn into bite-axe rather than bite-claw-claw.

If you wanted to be extra fancy, add 10ft of movement, and give an extra +5 damage on any critical hit it deals.

(Rage gives resistance too, but I would be careful about giving a creature in this system both resistance AND regeneration. That's a lesson from 4e right there!)

What's that mean from an encounter perspective? I don't know entirely, at least without them releasing more guidelines for monster creation/advancement. But I would hope the above would give a troll a barbarian feel without resorting to giving it 5 levels of barbarian. Using class levels as a basis for achieving the above, I believe, is using a sledgehammer to pound in a small nail.

Given the direction the bestiary is going thus far (where monsters like Human Commoners exist with an ability that PCs don't have access to) I believe they are choosing to go with an approach that is more 4e than 3.5. Their math however, seems all over the place, so it's current a wait and see I guess.

Flickerdart
2013-08-20, 06:40 PM
I think it's a little indicative of a deeper issue if you need any more than 1 level of barbarian before the base creature starts feeling like one.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 07:56 PM
I think it's a little indicative of a deeper issue if you need any more than 1 level of barbarian before the base creature starts feeling like one.

If you want the monster to feel like a Barbarian, just make up some barbarian-y abilities to add to it!

obryn
2013-08-20, 08:04 PM
If you want the monster to feel like a Barbarian, just make up some barbarian-y abilities to add to it!
I don't know why that's sarcasm? That's just sound advice.

-O

Raineh Daze
2013-08-20, 08:06 PM
I don't know why that's sarcasm? That's just sound advice.

... why would you make up barbarian-y abilities? Even if you're not adding the class, there's the class features. I think it's the 'make up' bit that's sarcastic. :smalltongue:

1337 b4k4
2013-08-20, 08:10 PM
... why would you make up barbarian-y abilities? Even if you're not adding the class, there's the class features. I think it's the 'make up' bit that's sarcastic. :smalltongue:

I really don't get why asking DMs to make stuff up is such a horrible thing. Should the tools be there for the DM to build something if they want them, sure, but I see no reason for them to be mandatory nor do I see a reason to view that as superior to something the DM makes up because it's cool / fits with the story / whatever.

Raineh Daze
2013-08-20, 08:16 PM
I really don't get why asking DMs to make stuff up is such a horrible thing. Should the tools be there for the DM to build something if they want them, sure, but I see no reason for them to be mandatory nor do I see a reason to view that as superior to something the DM makes up because it's cool / fits with the story / whatever.

I think generally the hope is that the monster abilities already IN the game are either more numerous or better balanced than stuff GM's could make up.

Anyway, the point there was 'make up barbarian abilities' when there's a barbarian class to borrow from is A) Redundant and B) silly.

DeltaEmil
2013-08-20, 09:07 PM
Because all NPC barbarians are always all the same, and must be built like player characters, and Wizards of the Coast will never ever release supplemental books with future alternate class features.

Craft (Cheese)
2013-08-20, 09:12 PM
I don't know why that's sarcasm? That's just sound advice.

-O

Just to express my contempt that the thread is headed right back into that go-nowhere monster design discussion again, really.


...In retrospect, it probably didn't help. I'm just in a passive-aggressive mood today, I'll stop. My apologies.

SiuiS
2013-08-20, 09:56 PM
Cool. Thanks.

But this still means that all 2000 commoners must all at the same time pop-up next to Asmodeus and ...

Yeah. I see this is highly theoretical and not taking into account everyone that wants to undermine "that nagging Priest", trying to round up a mob in Dirtwille.

It can be broken, but only if DM is lobotomised.

Basically, yes.
The math rundown shows that success falls into the range of many zeroes after the decimal, when you look at the whole scenario of convince town, arm town, supply town, identify Asmodeus, locate Asmodeus, locate portal to hell, get to portal to hell, survive travel trough hell, get to Asmodeus, surround Asmodeus, blindfold everyone, begin rock cascade.

But some folks never let logic or proof get in the way of a point, y'know?


Perhaps so, but not for an epic fantasy game.

Is Dungeons and Dragons an epic fantasy game?
"It is when I play it" doesn't count, because its possible for D&D to be a sci-fi erogi game when you play it, too, but that's not what it is.
Dungeons and dragons lends itself so-so to epics. OD&D, D&D, AD&D and 3e D&D lend themselves to lower, slower pulp adventure. 3e and 4e D&D lend themselves to epic adventure, as does AD&D 2e especially towards the planescape end of things.


:smallconfused: I always thought easily-killable gods were a tradition of D&D?

Only in the same way vandalism is a tradition of association football. Hooligans aren't in the rules or part of the spirit; gods laying likewise is an emergent pattern of Missing The Point.



Wrong, wrong, wrong.

You're wrong.

Thank you.


Well, the thing is that that's not actually in the rules.

Neither is getting to hell, commoner army or permanent social enslavement. You cannot quibble about someone using the same level of leeway as yourself.



(Really though, the bigger problem is that the charisma check rules make everyone into a crazy Diplomancer by default...)

Not so.
Assume you're correct, and you can convince someone to be your slave. They can later convince themselves to leave.
Assume you have an army of ten thousand peasants. One stubs his toe; he mentions how terrible this marching is (persuasion) someone within earshot will agree. Your entire army disbands.

These "rules" you're operating with cannot hold. This is not a simulation system. It is not a computer program. Good sense is not DM fiat.

Menteith
2013-08-20, 10:30 PM
Rather than pulling up extreme examples which do nothing to further the discussion (as is the case with assassinating a deity using Commoners), I'll simply point out that a level 20 Rogue has a reasonably high chance of being detected while trying to break into a random bank with mundane guards, a master Ranger may drown while crossing a rushing river, and an expert swordsman may be upstaged by a completely untrained drunk.

The core issues present with this implementation of Bounded Accuracy are still present, and I believe that there is a non-trivial minority who have been turned away from the game, as they've been told - in both design choices and outright in Legends and Lore - that their style of play is wrong. This issue is the core one which is likely to prevent myself or my playgroup from purchasing the product - that the game advertised as appealing to all D&D demographics has as a core element a design choice telling us our style of play is wrong.

I'm not saying the game is badly designed, and I'm not saying that it's wrong to enjoy it or anything like that. I'm saying that there is an alienating design decision which strictly limits the range of games the system can support at the core of the system, which makes the game not suitable for the games I enjoy the most. If WotC is alright with that, more power to them, but I'm a bit disappointed.

All the discussions in the world can't change the fact that they have so far designed a game which is uniquely (as compared to other modern editions) unsuitable for the entirety of their fanbase which enjoyed higher power, higher level games.

PairO'Dice Lost
2013-08-20, 10:50 PM
Because all NPC barbarians are always all the same,

While you're obviously being flippant about that, there's a kernel of truth here as far as the "standardization is best" argument is concerned.

I mean, D&D characters are basically composed of big building blocks of integrated flavor and mechanics. Races, classes, spells, feats, ACFs, etc. are all grab-bags of mechanical benefits attached to a certain flavor. Feats are on the much more scanty/mutable/ignorable flavor end of things and PrCs are on the opposite end of things, but they each have a certain associated flavor nonetheless. So if a player wants to make a berserker PC, they don't start with that concept and build up the mechanics to express it like they would in a point-buy system, they choose from among the existing classes, feats, etc. that come closest to expressing it, reflavoring a bit if necessary. PC barbarians are all the same (regarding basic class features and before further customization), why not all NPC barbarians?

If you see a skinny pointy-haired snob who says he's an elf, you expect him to be good with a bow, have great eyesight, catch colds more easily, not sleep, and so forth; you don't expect him to be hardier than normal, have average eyesight, be more resistant to a dagger in the gut, and not breathe because he's actually a warforged reflavored as an elf 'cause, hey, they're both standoffish and untiring and the player wanted the mechanics of a warforged but the flavor of an elf. The labels of "elf" and "warforged" mean something in the game and players begin to get a sense of how things work in- and out of game, so if you have a Barbarian class and an orc racial paragon class which are the only way for a player to get their Hulk on, and they run into non-orc non-barbarians who can do their fancy rage thing and/or run into barbarians whose fancy rage thing works differently than any of the 3-4 PC-usable version of rage, the player might (justifiably) wonder why the handful of player-side ways to accomplish/represent a certain thing aren't good enough to accomplish/represent it on the DM side of things--and if they indeed aren't, why they aren't available to the player who is trying to accomplish/represent the same thing.

There are very few reasons why a DM would really really need a slightly different berserker or a slightly different fireball or whatever, and all the reasons presented thus far seem to boil down to arguments along the lines of "because I find the existing several dozen classes and several hundred feats/spells/monster abiliites to be too limiting" or "because I feel varying the range and damage of different fire-breathing monsters' breaths makes them meaningfully different." Why should an Orc Chieftain have a "like PC rage plus DR" power or a Goblin Shaman have a "like PC fireball but with d8s" power or whatever when it's the PCs who are supposed to be the Special Snowflakes, and why should a Kobold Thief have a "like PC sneak attack but with d4s" power or a Goblin Shaman have a "like PC lightning bolt but 1/3 range" when they can use the standard version and not pull their punches?


I'm not saying the game is badly designed, and I'm not saying that it's wrong to enjoy it or anything like that. I'm saying that there is an alienating design decision which strictly limits the range of games the system can support at the core of the system, which makes the game not suitable for the games I enjoy the most. If WotC is alright with that, more power to them, but I'm a bit disappointed.

Agreed. I've said before that one of the big reasons my group uses D&D as its main fantasy RPG is that we like that you can go from everyman to local hero to world-shaping demigod within one game in a reasonable timeframe as opposed to starting the dial off at 11 like in Exalted or taking forever to go from 0 to 60 like in GURPS. Other people don't have to like that at all, it's all up to taste, but there are plenty of other people who do like that progression as well and if that playstyle isn't supported (or is badly supported) in 5e then WotC isn't going to be able to convince those people to switch over.

obryn
2013-08-20, 10:58 PM
Rather than pulling up extreme examples which do nothing to further the discussion (as is the case with assassinating a deity using Commoners), I'll simply point out that a level 20 Rogue has a reasonably high chance of being detected while trying to break into a random bank with mundane guards, a master Ranger may drown while crossing a rushing river, and an expert swordsman may be upstaged by a completely untrained drunk.
For out-of-combat stuff - skills, if you will - at least a third of the issue is their insistence on using opposed rolls instead of changing one to a static DC. (My preference is generally for the players to do most of the rolling, but I can handle "active character rolls," too.) Opposed d20 rolls are probability purgatory, and never favor the more skilled character despite any trivial curve generated with d20-d20 rolling.

Another third of the issue is that the DCs need seriously tweaked. My favorite is DC 30 for climbing an oiled rope, which is - no joke - either basically or outright impossible for a Rogue of even 20th level.

The last bit is that they're hanging onto "expertise dice" for added swinginess instead of a potent, increasing flat bonus.

The good news is that the designers have said several times recently that they are aware that their DCs are wrong and that people don't all care for expertise dice. It's just not fixed this packet. Acknowledging the issue is the first step to fixing it. In what I think is a show of good faith, Lores in the most recent packet give you a +10; this shows that they're not completely wedded to bounded numbers for attribute checks or skills. That's good news, IMO.

My hope is that they also get sensible about what I consider ridiculous contests. These sorts of things have never been handled properly in the history of D&D. For example, arm wrestling shouldn't require die rolling most of the time to adjudicate. Nor should lifting a portcullis. The rules for automatic success need to be explicit, and not just a class feature a Rogue gets at high level. Next has an opportunity here, and I hope they take it.

-O

Menteith
2013-08-20, 11:03 PM
My hope is that they also get sensible about what I consider ridiculous contests. These sorts of things have never been handled properly in the history of D&D. For example, arm wrestling shouldn't require die rolling most of the time to adjudicate. Nor should lifting a portcullis. The rules for automatic success need to be explicit, and not just a class feature a Rogue gets at high level. Next has an opportunity here, and I hope they take it.

-O

Regardless of the flawed nature of contested rolls (which I do agree with you on - I'd much rather that Stealth by contested against a static 10+Wis Mod+Misc Mod than against a separate pool), and regardless of the completely broken DCs currently in the packet, the CORE design choice of Bounded Accuracy - or at least WotC's interpretation of it - prohibits certain styles of play. My idea of what a level 20 character should be able to do is at odds with D&D Next's implementation. This isn't just a difference of skill DCs; I fundamentally don't agree with the idea that a nonunique Orc should be a legitimate threat to a maximum level character under pretty much any circumstance.

This pervasive idea has colored all of D&D Next's design choices, and is incompatible with what I'd want from an RPG. I'm not sure what else there even is to say about it, other than me expressing my disappointment toward them about it. I don't believe that WotC is going to be capable of creating a skill system which I find appealing if they continue to use their current interpretation of Bounded Accuracy. Nor do I believe they've created a unique game system which appeals to any playstyle I enjoy to a greater degree than present products. At best, they'll create something that has elements I'll port into either 4E or 3.P games.

I know that I'm being dismal right now, which is part of the reason I've commented rarely in these threads despite keeping up with all of them, but since WotC has decided to declare victory on their playtest, and are rapidly running out of time beyond that, I decided that I might as well. I apologize if my attitude bothers anyone. I really, honestly wanted to be enthusiastic about D&D Next, I've been following it very closely both here and elsewhere, and WotC has decided that my idea of fun was wrong. I really wanted to love another D&D.

Whiteagle
2013-08-20, 11:29 PM
For out-of-combat stuff - skills, if you will - at least a third of the issue is their insistence on using opposed rolls instead of changing one to a static DC. (My preference is generally for the players to do most of the rolling, but I can handle "active character rolls," too.) Opposed d20 rolls are probability purgatory, and never favor the more skilled character despite any trivial curve generated with d20-d20 rolling.

Another third of the issue is that the DCs need seriously tweaked. My favorite is DC 30 for climbing an oiled rope, which is - no joke - either basically or outright impossible for a Rogue of even 20th level.

The last bit is that they're hanging onto "expertise dice" for added swinginess instead of a potent, increasing flat bonus.

The good news is that the designers have said several times recently that they are aware that their DCs are wrong and that people don't all care for expertise dice. It's just not fixed this packet. Acknowledging the issue is the first step to fixing it. In what I think is a show of good faith, Lores in the most recent packet give you a +10; this shows that they're not completely wedded to bounded numbers for attribute checks or skills. That's good news, IMO.

My hope is that they also get sensible about what I consider ridiculous contests. These sorts of things have never been handled properly in the history of D&D. For example, arm wrestling shouldn't require die rolling most of the time to adjudicate. Nor should lifting a portcullis. The rules for automatic success need to be explicit, and not just a class feature a Rogue gets at high level. Next has an opportunity here, and I hope they take it.

-O
Well I agree with you on everything but the Expertise Die...
Thing is, while you are correct they only increase swinginess, that is a result of Expertise Die upgrading by increasing their denomination.
This doesnít make you better at something, just allows you the possibility of doing better.
If they had increased the NUMBER of die, then youíd be getting that flat bonus by virtue of a higher minimum roll.

Arm Wrestling, though, should probably still be a Contest RollÖ

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 12:33 AM
Rather than pulling up extreme examples which do nothing to further the discussion (as is the case with assassinating a deity using Commoners), I'll simply point out that a level 20 Rogue has a reasonably high chance of being detected while trying to break into a random bank with mundane guards, a master Ranger may drown while crossing a rushing river, and an expert swordsman may be upstaged by a completely untrained drunk.

See, these all balance out. They are extended contests. That favors the pro, drastically. A master anything has advantage and several bonuses, the opposition usually has a flat die or in some cases disadvantage.
Stealth involves avoiding line of sight, obviating rolls, as often as just not being seen.
Swimming is not a ranger-specific skill, and a longbow with a rope arrow and a bladder can solve this issue.
A master swordsman gets average 20+expertise versus the drunks average 5+ability score over several rolls. The odds of the fool winning a single roll are above decimals, sure, but all of them? No.

In short, this is not a problem. It works. It achieves it's desired goal. It may not be to taste, but do not like != bad.


While you're obviously being flippant about that, there's a kernel of truth here as far as the "standardization is best" argument is concerned.

I mean, D&D characters are basically composed of big building blocks of integrated flavor and mechanics. Races, classes, spells, feats, ACFs, etc. are all grab-bags of mechanical benefits attached to a certain flavor. Feats are on the much more scanty/mutable/ignorable flavor end of things and PrCs are on the opposite end of things, but they each have a certain associated flavor nonetheless. So if a player wants to make a berserker PC, they don't start with that concept and build up the mechanics to express it like they would in a point-buy system, they choose from among the existing classes, feats, etc. that come closest to expressing it, reflavoring a bit if necessary. PC barbarians are all the same (regarding basic class features and before further customization), why not all NPC barbarians?

If you see a skinny pointy-haired snob who says he's an elf, you expect him to be good with a bow, have great eyesight, catch colds more easily, not sleep, and so forth; you don't expect him to be hardier than normal, have average eyesight, be more resistant to a dagger in the gut, and not breathe because he's actually a warforged reflavored as an elf 'cause, hey, they're both standoffish and untiring and the player wanted the mechanics of a warforged but the flavor of an elf. The labels of "elf" and "warforged" mean something in the game and players begin to get a sense of how things work in- and out of game, so if you have a Barbarian class and an orc racial paragon class which are the only way for a player to get their Hulk on, and they run into non-orc non-barbarians who can do their fancy rage thing and/or run into barbarians whose fancy rage thing works differently than any of the 3-4 PC-usable version of rage, the player might (justifiably) wonder why the handful of player-side ways to accomplish/represent a certain thing aren't good enough to accomplish/represent it on the DM side of things--and if they indeed aren't, why they aren't available to the player who is trying to accomplish/represent the same thing.

There are very few reasons why a DM would really really need a slightly different berserker or a slightly different fireball or whatever, and all the reasons presented thus far seem to boil down to arguments along the lines of "because I find the existing several dozen classes and several hundred feats/spells/monster abiliites to be too limiting" or "because I feel varying the range and damage of different fire-breathing monsters' breaths makes them meaningfully different." Why should an Orc Chieftain have a "like PC rage plus DR" power or a Goblin Shaman have a "like PC fireball but with d8s" power or whatever when it's the PCs who are supposed to be the Special Snowflakes, and why should a Kobold Thief have a "like PC sneak attack but with d4s" power or a Goblin Shaman have a "like PC lightning bolt but 1/3 range" when they can use the standard version and not pull their punches?

Interesting.

Menteith
2013-08-21, 12:36 AM
In short, this is not a problem. It works. It achieves it's desired goal. It may not be to taste, but do not like != bad.

Just out of curiosity, did you continue to read my post? I'm saying this not out of unkindness, but genuine curiosity. I'm specifically referring to;


I'm not saying the game is badly designed, and I'm not saying that it's wrong to enjoy it or anything like that. I'm saying that there is an alienating design decision which strictly limits the range of games the system can support at the core of the system, which makes the game not suitable for the games I enjoy the most. If WotC is alright with that, more power to them, but I'm a bit disappointed.

EDIT
To expand further on your points.

With regard to stealth, I would point out that a highly skilled individual is assumed to be making use of cover, avoiding line of sight, and otherwise acting "stealthily". The overall process of concealing oneself is abstracted by the stealth roll. The issue is that the system does not support the idea that an individual could reach a point where they do not run the risk of being seen by a mundane individual. I find such a system unappealing. The same is true with regard to your other objections - Yes, a highly skilled ranger could make use of equipment to lessen the danger in fording a river, but what if I wanted to have a character who is skilled enough that they have no danger from crossing a relatively common environmental challenge? Even in relatively gritty settings, there exist individuals who simply will succeed at certain tasks barring radical circumstances. Jamie Lannister at the start of a Song of Ice and Fire is going to be successful in a fencing match against the dregs of King's Landing. There isn't a question involved in doing so, even though Jamie is but human. D&D Next does not support this idea.

There is no such thing as an inherently good or bad design choice, which is why I have attempted to refrain from such language. All I can claim is that the design choices that WotC has chosen make for a game which is unappealing to me. I'm not sure if you're arguing about whether or not I like the game, and if you are I'm not certain as to why.

Incidentally, if you have nothing to contribute with regard to PairO' Dice's post, aside from an insultingly dismissive word, please don't post about it.

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 02:06 AM
Just out of curiosity, did you continue to read my post? I'm saying this not out of unkindness, but genuine curiosity.

Yes, and the point was made not just to you but to the thread at large. Sorry.



The overall process of concealing oneself is abstracted by the stealth roll.

No it is not. In some games this is true, but D&D does not do this, and as far as my reading, Next is no exception. Next is very literal. If you are being observed, you don't take an abstracted penalty, the observer gets a shot to see you - every observer does. If you are blocked from one observe by cover, and not another, only one gets a chance to see you. Moving out of cover invalidates being hidden completely, and going back into cover immediately afterwards may involve abstractions, but clunky ones (See the 3.5 "You can go back to hiding but take a -20 penalty").

I don't have the rules for hiding in front of me, but assuming they require concealment still, hiding is still a very boardgame-esque scenario where careful positioning, planning and obfuscation can obviate the need for stealth.

In next, throwing a rock at some bushes to distract the guards may involve an attack roll at disadvantage and force you to reroll a steady hide check or something. Ideally, you would roll a Persuasion skill check keyed off dexterity or maybe intelligence or wits, to "persuade" the guards to look over yonder, but that is not how the system, currently operates.


The issue is that the system does not support the idea that an individual could reach a point where they do not run the risk of being [countered in some fashion] by a mundane individual. I find such a system unappealing.

That is fine. :smallsmile:


The same is true with regard to your other objections - Yes, a highly skilled ranger could make use of equipment to lessen the danger in fording a river, but what if I wanted to have a character who is skilled enough that they have no danger from crossing a relatively common environmental challenge?

Dragon Ball Z? Then play exalted. :smalltongue:
D&D was never supposed to be the game where you show how badass you are by taking a tank shell to the face and merely grunting. That's an interesting but very definitely different genre approach. Professionals aren't pros because they can tough it like an Olympic god, they are pros because they minimize risk and maximize their effectiveness. Who is the better ranger, the guy who dives in like Beowulf in full gear and fights against the current, or the ninja who makes a zipline and uses the current to propel him to the other side? I'm sure you won't argue ninjas aren't hard core, after all~!


Of course, this falls into grey area immediately upon leaving combat. Fording a river in your trews with an axe in your teeth is pretty close to pulp adventure, and definitely in line with the genres D&D (used to) pull from, and I myself am guilty of doing things like that because they fit. I would say "you want to be that good, invest the resources", and if you said there weren't enough resources to invest, that would be a conversation worth having. We would then look at the math, tally things, take into account side resources like spells and encumbrance, and come to conclusions based on the data.


Even in relatively gritty settings, there exist individuals who simply will succeed at certain tasks barring radical circumstances. Jamie Lannister at the start of a Song of Ice and Fire is going to be successful in a fencing match against the dregs of King's Landing. There isn't a question involved in doing so, even though Jamie is but human. D&D Next does not support this idea.

I disagree.


Incidentally, if you have nothing to contribute with regard to PairO' Dice's post, aside from an insultingly dismissive word, please don't post about it.

I try to be very clear when I am being derisive. I find dishonesty and prevarication to be morally repugnant. You would be better served asking me if I were being dismissive - I was not - than assuming so and making a righteous statement about it.

What word do you say when you reflect on something? Not quoting it would leave it out, which I find damaging to the statement. Quoting with no response looks like an egregious typographical error.

Tehnar
2013-08-21, 03:01 AM
No it is not. In some games this is true, but D&D does not do this, and as far as my reading, Next is no exception. Next is very literal. If you are being observed, you don't take an abstracted penalty, the observer gets a shot to see you - every observer does. If you are blocked from one observe by cover, and not another, only one gets a chance to see you. Moving out of cover invalidates being hidden completely, and going back into cover immediately afterwards may involve abstractions, but clunky ones (See the 3.5 "You can go back to hiding but take a -20 penalty").

I don't have the rules for hiding in front of me, but assuming they require concealment still, hiding is still a very boardgame-esque scenario where careful positioning, planning and obfuscation can obviate the need for stealth.


In the case you are suggesting, why do you need a stealth skill at all, if you can roleplay your way out of it?

To me it sounds as if your are advocating MTP approach skills, which to me is a clear indication that they do not work, or rather the math behind them is bad.




Dragon Ball Z? Then play exalted. :smalltongue:
D&D was never supposed to be the game where you show how badass you are by taking a tank shell to the face and merely grunting. That's an interesting but very definitely different genre approach. Professionals aren't pros because they can tough it like an Olympic god, they are pros because they minimize risk and maximize their effectiveness. Who is the better ranger, the guy who dives in like Beowulf in full gear and fights against the current, or the ninja who makes a zipline and uses the current to propel him to the other side? I'm sure you won't argue ninjas aren't hard core, after all~!


I don't know what type of DnD you were playing, but that runs contrary to my experience of DnD. High level characters routinely survived getting hit by 50 pound rocks, falling from a high distance, getting swallowed by a 50' dragon, etc...

Swimming across a raging river should not be a problem for a high level character that invested in swimming. It is not a defining feature of a ranger, but it is a defining feature of investing in swimming.



Of course, this falls into grey area immediately upon leaving combat. Fording a river in your trews with an axe in your teeth is pretty close to pulp adventure, and definitely in line with the genres D&D (used to) pull from, and I myself am guilty of doing things like that because they fit. I would say "you want to be that good, invest the resources", and if you said there weren't enough resources to invest, that would be a conversation worth having. We would then look at the math, tally things, take into account side resources like spells and encumbrance, and come to conclusions based on the data.


In 5E there are situations where you cannot invest resources to beat DCs. Example: climbing a oiled rope.

Sure they said they will fix the math and the DC's are not final. However I can't look into the future and see what they will do, I can only argue about how things are right now.

Given their track record though I expect the DC's to be "fixed" sometime in 2021 in DMG 5.

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 03:13 AM
In the case you are suggesting, why do you need a stealth skill at all, if you can roleplay your way out of it?

To me it sounds as if your are advocating MTP approach skills, which to me is a clear indication that they do not work, or rather the math behind them is bad.

I understand what you're saying, but you do realize that by this definition, being behind cover to survive a fireball or avoid getting shot by archers is also Roleplaying your way out of a combat situation, right?

I'm talking about tactical movement on the tactical grid which we are, unfortunately, stuck with. Moving that grid to mental-only does not make it into Roleplaying when it was not before.



I don't know what type of DnD you were playing, but that runs contrary to my experience of DnD. High level characters routinely survived getting hit by 50 pound rocks, falling from a high distance, getting swallowed by a 50' dragon, etc...

First, what happens to you in completely different game systems shouldn't be your basis for this one. In world of darknessy starting wizard can create mind control ghost armies, and I can't do that in D&D.

That is possibly taking a boulder into your face and grinning. It's also possibly (and usually, given the advice in four DMGs) "narrowly avoiding getting squished and instead takin a graze and dislocate shoulder" or similar. It's fluff; your superpowers are potentially there, but should not be.



In 5E there are situations where you cannot invest resources to beat DCs. Example: climbing a oiled rope.

Sure they said they will fix the math and the DC's are not final. However I can't look into the future and see what they will do, I can only argue about how things are right now.

Given their track record though I expect the DC's to be "fixed" sometime in 2021 in DMG 5.

You changed what I was going to respond to! Well done.
Ah, no you didn't. I just read it differently in raw text...

Oiled rope: stick knives into it; you're now climbing a ladder by strength of upper arms. Carry a wine skin in your teeth and wash off the oil as you go up. Burn it away and try to extinguish the fire before it consumes the rope (unlikely, but hey!). Scrape the grease off with a knife. Use jump checks instead if you're climbing a wide chimney.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-21, 03:18 AM
Is Dungeons and Dragons an epic fantasy game?
"It is when I play it" doesn't count, because its possible for D&D to be a sci-fi erogi game when you play it, too, but that's not what it is.
Dungeons and dragons lends itself so-so to epics. OD&D, D&D, AD&D and 3e D&D lend themselves to lower, slower pulp adventure. 3e and 4e D&D lend themselves to epic adventure, as does AD&D 2e especially towards the planescape end of things.

That's interesting and good to know. For the sake of the discussion, what is it about some editions that makes them better for epics than others? I still don't believe that pulp with bigger monsters = epic.


Only in the same way vandalism is a tradition of association football. Hooligans aren't in the rules or part of the spirit; gods laying likewise is an emergent pattern of Missing The Point.

Haven't there been modules that culminated in deicide, though? My impression has always been that gods are meant to be killable entities in D&D. I'm not trying to say this is bad, it's a style of play - but isn't it intentional?

I'll step away from the oh-so-tempting football vandalism thing, for the sake of not confusing my tone. :smallsmile:


Assume you have an army of ten thousand peasants. One stubs his toe; he mentions how terrible this marching is (persuasion) someone within earshot will agree. Your entire army disbands.

Actually, that seems fairly realistic for an army composed entirely for peasants.


I'm going to be as unambiguous as I can here. I don't like the way non-combat things work. I think it's absurd that we can only measure 'success' or 'failure' with no room for subtler interpretation. I think bounded accuracy as currently applied makes this worse, but isn't the source of the problem.

But given that we're working with those mechanics, this particular scenario doesn't seem that unreasonable. I mean, to put it more abstractly, we're talking about a peasant uprising that might start easily but will be constantly on the verge of collapse, that might succeed if it actually reaches its objective but will have to overcome immense logistical and organizational hurdles to get there. That seems okay to me.

I don't like that a sufficiently large peasant uprising can, if it reaches them, kill gods, but I can see that that's a natural consequence of having mortal immortals in the first place, which strikes me as characteristic of D&D.

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 03:43 AM
That's interesting and good to know. For the sake of the discussion, what is it about some editions that makes them better for epics than others? I still don't believe that pulp with bigger monsters = epic.


I'm going off epic being something like Gilgamesh or the Sagas, personally. 3/4e can handle these well across their entire run, whereas other editions have a "this tall to ride" requirement (or alternately, require you to squish down the numbers), where you do an entirely different genre until you get to name level, and then you can have sagas and epics happen.

Would you consider Perseus and the Medusa an epic? That would be an example of the game reducing numbers to make that possible; chimera and manticore are both in the 5HD range, and suitable boss monsters. They fall apart when you put them next to 3+1 HD bugbears and such though, because one is a dangerous moon and the other is a rampaging countryside ravaging beast!

This hearkens back to another poor of old games I miss, namely that bein in a book does not mean it exists; in2e the monster manuals were a cherry pick source book, not an encyclopedia of all things.



Haven't there been modules that culminated in deicide, though? My impression has always been that gods are meant to be killable entities in D&D. I'm not trying to say this is bad, it's a style of play - but isn't it intentional?

There was an entire line whose goal was to culminate in deification and rising to Immortal status. Gods having stats is a Thing; gods being just another encounter however, is the same principle as Unique Monsters like the Chimera or Nemean Lion eing close in scale to generic Orcs and Bugbears.

I feel it's akin to having Sword of Kas (or even Vorpal Sword) next to long sword +1, giving the impression of homogeny and regularity.



I'm going to be as unambiguous as I can here. I don't like the way non-combat things work. I think it's absurd that we can only measure 'success' or 'failure' with no room for subtler interpretation. I think bounded accuracy as currently applied makes this worse, but isn't the source of the problem.

Allowing extended actions and grades of success solves these. Extended cations and grades of success are not prohibited by the rules. The simple truth is that the rules MANDATE a medium between strict RAW (which is recursive trash) and free form fiat. If the rule says "you are required to make stuff up" then a certain amount of doing so is RAW.

"Home brew" is not a dirty word. Making something easier or harder than a binary pass:fail is not fiat, or breaking the rules. It's playing the game to taste, as it is supposed to be.

Yora
2013-08-21, 04:29 AM
I'm going off epic being something like Gilgamesh or the Sagas, personally. 3/4e can handle these well across their entire run, whereas other editions have a "this tall to ride" requirement (or alternately, require you to squish down the numbers), where you do an entirely different genre until you get to name level, and then you can have sagas and epics happen.
Really, I got the impression that 3rd Edition/Pathfinder is particularly guilty of this. There are so many types of creatures you simply can't touch or defend against at in any way until you have reached certain attack bonuses, caster levels, and powerful magic items. Not sure how much of an issue that was in AD&D, but I think damage reduction and spell resistance didn't really change effectiveness as you advanced in level. I think DR was alway half damage and SR a flat percentage. After 10th level, you didn't even get additional hit dice and only 1 or 2 hp per level so the amount of damage you could take didn't really continue to grow. And unless I am mistaken, there was no assumed wealth by level but PCs simply had whatever the GM put into monster treasures.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-21, 04:32 AM
I'm going off epic being something like Gilgamesh or the Sagas, personally. 3/4e can handle these well across their entire run, whereas other editions have a "this tall to ride" requirement (or alternately, require you to squish down the numbers), where you do an entirely different genre until you get to name level, and then you can have sagas and epics happen.

Would you consider Perseus and the Medusa an epic? That would be an example of the game reducing numbers to make that possible; chimera and manticore are both in the 5HD range, and suitable boss monsters. They fall apart when you put them next to 3+1 HD bugbears and such though, because one is a dangerous moon and the other is a rampaging countryside ravaging beast!

I think I get what you're saying.

Tangentially, I feel like epic shouldn't be a transitional thing. It isn't the monster that's epic, it's the hero. While I realize certain editions can model a random warrior eventually being like Beowulf, for instance, I feel like it's outside the specific genre for Beowulf to have ever been a random warrior. For me, epic heroes don't become epic heroes by working hard - they're born that way. And for me, the possibility of one Myrmidon becoming Achilles cheapens Achilles.

I realize that's not everyone's preference.


There was an entire line whose goal was to culminate in deification and rising to Immortal status. Gods having stats is a Thing; gods being just another encounter however, is the same principle as Unique Monsters like the Chimera or Nemean Lion eing close in scale to generic Orcs and Bugbears.

I feel it's akin to having Sword of Kas (or even Vorpal Sword) next to long sword +1, giving the impression of homogeny and regularity.

Maybe the problem is that having supposedly unique things in the books inherently genericizes them (if that's not a word it should be). Like having it written up and handed out implies "here's one more thing you can expect to see". Of course, there's no real way around that - how do you design a game to include unique elements when including those elements means they're not unique?

I suppose that's the same issue as the question of 'epic'. If being an epic hero is something doable with enough work, is that really an epic hero?


Allowing extended actions and grades of success solves these. Extended cations and grades of success are not prohibited by the rules. The simple truth is that the rules MANDATE a medium between strict RAW (which is recursive trash) and free form fiat. If the rule says "you are required to make stuff up" then a certain amount of doing so is RAW.

"Home brew" is not a dirty word. Making something easier or harder than a binary pass:fail is not fiat, or breaking the rules. It's playing the game to taste, as it is supposed to be.

I agree. Every group of players should modify any RPG's crunch, fluff, etc. to their preferences. I believe that's practically a requirement for optimal qualities of fun (such as we can say that at all). And of course, making stuff up is the most fundamental part of any RPG by definition. I'm still hesitant to say that this absolves the rules of any obligation to be as good as they can be for their intended purpose.

As they stand, RAW is not inclined to facilitate partial success in the case of opposed checks in particular, though there are mechanics in which the binary could be broken.

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 04:44 AM
Really, I got the impression that 3rd Edition/Pathfinder is particularly guilty of this. There are so many types of creatures you simply can't touch or defend against at in any way until you have reached certain attack bonuses, caster levels, and powerful magic items. Not sure how much of an issue that was in AD&D, but I think damage reduction and spell resistance didn't really change effectiveness as you advanced in level. I think DR was alway half damage and SR a flat percentage. After 10th level, you didn't even get additional hit dice and only 1 or 2 hp per level so the amount of damage you could take didn't really continue to grow. And unless I am mistaken, there was no assumed wealth by level but PCs simply had whatever the GM put into monster treasures.

I find that growth is relatively small. Either you start out strong and stay that way, or you start out gritty and stay that way. A first level party handling DR and SR is rather easy if that's the game they are having.

It's entirely possible for level 1 paladin in 3.5 to be Moegan Relaw, Townsaver, journeyman knight of the Three Rivers who beads a troll in three strokes, who journeys with One-Two Hugh, who set down his sword and took up the hammer after a visit from an Angel. In fact; Ive done it! It reads like a high level game because of clear resource use.

I've also seem Luther Slash the fifth and his rogue ally Ricard, who were pretty mundane even at eleventh and twelfth level.

DMs who start you off small tend to think a chimera is crazy awesome, so your benchmark is chimeras. The game self corrects for play style if everyone is on the same page. AD&D was more lethal in general, and so stuck to gritty usually.


Usually.


I think I get what you're saying.

Tangentially, I feel like epic shouldn't be a transitional thing. It isn't the monster that's epic, it's the hero. While I realize certain editions can model a random warrior eventually being like Beowulf, for instance, I feel like it's outside the specific genre for Beowulf to have ever been a random warrior. For me, epic heroes don't become epic heroes by working hard - they're born that way. And for me, the possibility of one Myrmidon becoming Achilles cheapens Achilles.

I realize that's not everyone's preference.

Ah. I don't mean the monster is epic, I mean the difference between crashing a dungeon and Going On An Epic Quest. The nemean lion would be 4th level, 6th tops in 3.5. Going after it is still a potential campaign, instead of just a story.


I also did not mean to imply an epic is transitional; just the opposite. In older editions, you had to get to a certain level to survive epics. In modern ones, a certain OP threshold does it. You can maintain power level across fifteen levels or so in 3e.



I agree. Every group of players should modify any RPG's crunch, fluff, etc. to their preferences. I believe that's practically a requirement for optimal qualities of fun (such as we can say that at all). And of course, making stuff up is the most fundamental part of any RPG by definition. I'm still hesitant to say that this absolves the rules of any obligation to be as good as they can be for their intended purpose.

As they stand, RAW is not inclined to facilitate partial success in the case of opposed checks in particular, though there are mechanics in which the binary could be broken.

There is precedent for slowly changing someone's attitude. There is precedent for setting the DC high and having a saving grace if you just barely miss. There i precedent for scaling bonus if you exceed the DC by benchmarks. How does this not allow partial success?

Kurald Galain
2013-08-21, 04:53 AM
Rather than pulling up extreme examples which do nothing to further the discussion (as is the case with assassinating a deity using Commoners), I'll simply point out that a level 20 Rogue has a reasonably high chance of being detected while trying to break into a random bank with mundane guards, a master Ranger may drown while crossing a rushing river, and an expert swordsman may be upstaged by a completely untrained drunk.
Precisely.


regardless of the completely broken DCs currently in the packet, the CORE design choice of Bounded Accuracy - or at least WotC's interpretation of it - prohibits certain styles of play. My idea of what a level 20 character should be able to do is at odds with D&D Next's implementation. This isn't just a difference of skill DCs; I fundamentally don't agree with the idea that a nonunique Orc should be a legitimate threat to a maximum level character under pretty much any circumstance.
And also QFT. And not even at maximum level, either. I want to be able to make an expert that can automatically defeat a rank amateur at the skill of his expertise.



I agree. Every group of players should modify any RPG's crunch, fluff, etc. to their preferences. I believe that's practically a requirement for optimal qualities of fun (such as we can say that at all). And of course, making stuff up is the most fundamental part of any RPG by definition. I'm still hesitant to say that this absolves the rules of any obligation to be as good as they can be for their intended purpose.
That's correct, and it boils down to the question of, if you have to make up so much of your own rules for 5E, why exactly would we want to pay WOTC for it?

The question has never been whether 5E "is playable" or whether it "can be fun". Everything can be fun with the right group. The question is, given the RPGs we already have, is this one so much better that we should pay for it.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-21, 04:57 AM
There is precedent for slowly changing someone's attitude. There is precedent for setting the DC high and having a saving grace if you just barely miss. There i precedent for scaling bonus if you exceed the DC by benchmarks. How does this not allow partial success?

There are precedents, yes. But the standard expectation is that an action succeeds or it fails. Even those precedents are built from that assumption - that once we've determined which side of the binary a result is on, we can determine just how far on that side it is. It's still built out from binary, which I feel is problematic.

Maybe it's just an issue in the interpretation, that I've too often played with people who interpreted a missed DC to climb as 'you fall' rather than 'you can't find a good hold and are stuck or forced to backtrack'. Or whose NPCs answer in "sure!" and "never!" not "I don't understand" or "I need to think about that".

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 05:45 AM
There are precedents, yes. But the standard expectation is that an action succeeds or it fails. Even those precedents are built from that assumption - that once we've determined which side of the binary a result is on, we can determine just how far on that side it is. It's still built out from binary, which I feel is problematic.

Maybe it's just an issue in the interpretation, that I've too often played with people who interpreted a missed DC to climb as 'you fall' rather than 'you can't find a good hold and are stuck or forced to backtrack'. Or whose NPCs answer in "sure!" and "never!" not "I don't understand" or "I need to think about that".

I understand. I am often surprised at the language; unearthed arcana's "did you know you could do things like require five successes to win? Isn't that neat?!" Totally threw me; I had been doing that since 1.375e!

Failing a climb check being "you fall" is directly against the rules. That always irritates me. "I need to think about it" should be default, because they go home, find their tools for circumstance boosts and take ten.

Menteith
2013-08-21, 08:30 AM
D&D was never supposed to be the game where you show how badass you are by taking a tank shell to the face and merely grunting. That's an interesting but very definitely different genre approach. Professionals aren't pros because they can tough it like an Olympic god, they are pros because they minimize risk and maximize their effectiveness. Who is the better ranger, the guy who dives in like Beowulf in full gear and fights against the current, or the ninja who makes a zipline and uses the current to propel him to the other side? I'm sure you won't argue ninjas aren't hard core, after all~!

"Supposed to be" is a very tricky question. While your interpretation of what D&D "should" be current seems in line with what WotC agrees with, that doesn't mean that your viewpoint is correct in defining what D&D "should" be for everyone. Especially as the defining factor of this edition was (supposedly) it's inclusive nature, telling everyone to get lost and play a different game when they point out that their preferred style of play isn't supported seems....misguided.

I don't disagree with you - I fully intend to continue to play other systems. I have no intent to purchase D&D Next after this playtest, though I would have done so if WotC had provided me no information. But I find it discouraging that the only response you provide to my legitimate issues during an open beta are to play a different system, rather than modify the existing system to support a broader amount of playstyles.

And with regard to your hypothetical - it's not about what you personally consider badass, or more impressive. Whether or not you personally find using a zipline to cross a river more interesting than having an individual who's simply powerful enough to walk along the bottom and emerge unscathed doesn't matter in the context of game design. What should be possible (to me) is that both playstyles would be supported, and both of those situations could occur with different people. It's about have a game whose mechanics are capable of supporting a wide range of playstyles, rather than forcing everyone to play it the "correct" way. An RPG which advertises itself on inclusivity and acceptance of all playstyles but which contains an alienating element such as Bounded Accuracy seems poorly constructed.

What kills me is that Bounded Accuracy is exactly the sort of thing that a module could cover well. Having an alternate system which limits vertical progression - like E6 in 3.5 - is perfect for having a grittier game, and could expand upon what games Next could cover without affecting anyone else's games. I'm baffled why it's been forced upon everyone in Next, however.

And I do a apologize for assuming that by saying "Interesting" after quoting an expanded idea you were being dismissive of it. Tone and body language, alas, are poorly translated over the internet, and I assumed a negative attitude where there wasn't one. I'm sorry, SiuiS.

EDIT
I'm going to expand on what I see as the core area in which we disagree;



Is Dungeons and Dragons an epic fantasy game?
"It is when I play it" doesn't count, because its possible for D&D to be a sci-fi erogi game when you play it, too, but that's not what it is.
Dungeons and dragons lends itself so-so to epics. OD&D, D&D, AD&D and 3e D&D lend themselves to lower, slower pulp adventure. 3e and 4e D&D lend themselves to epic adventure, as does AD&D 2e especially towards the planescape end of things.


D&D Next has always had as its explicit motto "We want to unite all the playerbases". If they had a different design paradigm, I'd be judging the product perhaps less harshly than I am. Unfortunately, they have created a product which is not capable of supporting an epic fantasy game, which is a relatively common gametype for a significant amount of the current playerbase of D&D (4E, 3.5, PF). So yeah, I do think that D&D is an epic fantasy game - it's a lot more than that too, from dungeonpunk to tactical wargame to urbane mystery and many, many other games - but it doesn't seem like it will be in Next. A unifying game which has enshrined as a core mechanic a feature which inherently stops a nontrivial amount of games is not well thought out.

Grod_The_Giant
2013-08-21, 08:33 AM
That's correct, and it boils down to the question of, if you have to make up so much of your own rules for 5E, why exactly would we want to pay WOTC for it?

The question has never been whether 5E "is playable" or whether it "can be fun". Everything can be fun with the right group. The question is, given the RPGs we already have, is this one so much better that we should pay for it.
Agreed. I enjoy messing with the rules of systems as much as the next man on the Homebrew forum, but there's a difference between a game that requires tweaking to fit your table and one that requires major houseruling to function.

I'm not convinced that Next is at the "requires major houseruling" stage, mind you-- fringe cases are fun to talk about but fixating on them, ultimately, on the same level as dismissing 3.5 because you can make Pun-Pun. The game needs to be evaluated on its own terms-- a medium-weight swords-and-sorcery adventure game. It's not trying to offer 3e's 0-to-god gameplay, and comparing it to that is futile.

obryn
2013-08-21, 08:48 AM
the CORE design choice of Bounded Accuracy - or at least WotC's interpretation of it - prohibits certain styles of play. My idea of what a level 20 character should be able to do is at odds with D&D Next's implementation. This isn't just a difference of skill DCs; I fundamentally don't agree with the idea that a nonunique Orc should be a legitimate threat to a maximum level character under pretty much any circumstance.
I guess at that point it depends on what you mean by a legitimate threat.

With bounded accuracy, they're not numerically cut off. Like, they still have a chance to hit you and do damage.

But a single orc is not a legitimate threat in the sense that you have any actual risk of falling in single combat against one. At 20th level, your Fighter (for example) is going to have a +11 attack bonus, before magic items. 3 attacks per round, minimum. A minimum AC of 20, also before magic items. Several impressive tricks. Hit points well over a hundred. A single orc has no chance; bounded accuracy is only bounded in math. With sufficient horizontal advancement, it (theoretically) makes for powerful characters with simpler math.

On the other hand, a horde of orcs - since Next so far eschews such things as "swarm" or "horde" stats - may be a legitimate threat (as with Asmodeus or anything else). I don't consider this necessarily a bad thing. It's a different thing, and if a new edition of D&D isn't giving me different things, I don't have a use for it.


Nor do I believe they've created a unique game system which appeals to any playstyle I enjoy to a greater degree than present products. At best, they'll create something that has elements I'll port into either 4E or 3.P games.
Jury's still out for me and my group, too. Don't get me wrong. If I sound like a cheerleader, it's probably only in stark contrast to ... well, everyone else here. I'm just trying to look at it from a blank slate and ask, "Is this a game I want to play? Not instead of something else, but in addition to it?"

-O

Menteith
2013-08-21, 08:56 AM
It's a different thing...



Which is precisely why I'd be highly supportive of a Bounded Accuracy module, which would both support this playstyle of game without telling everyone who doesn't want it to go away (which is what they're currently doing). BA is exactly the sort of thing that a module should support, for the individuals who doesn't want their characters to scale beyond a certain point.



It's not trying to offer 3e's 0-to-god gameplay, and comparing it to that is futile.

Given the amount of individuals still playing Pathfinder - hell, the amount of people still playing 3.5, which is completely unsupported - you'd think they'd take into account that there might be some people who are interested in that style of play, since, you know, it was that demographic not changing to 4E which seems to have prompted this whole thing. I don't understand why they aren't offering any real support for that style of gameplay if they want to make a game which is attractive toward the 3.P crowd. I'm not discussing specific choices with regard to grappling rules or anything like that, I'm concerned that one of the more prominent playstyles of that edition is being told it's playing the game bad-wrong, and that anyone interested in that playstyle should find another game.

Kurald Galain
2013-08-21, 09:30 AM
I'm concerned that one of the more prominent playstyles of that edition is being told it's playing the game bad-wrong, and that anyone interested in that playstyle should find another game.

Because telling players they're Doing It Wrong worked soooo well for converting them to 4E when that was launched :smallamused:

SiuiS
2013-08-21, 09:43 AM
I don't disagree with you - I fully intend to continue to play other systems. I have no intent to purchase D&D Next after this playtest, though I would have done so if WotC had provided me no information. But I find it discouraging that the only response you provide to my legitimate issues during an open beta are to play a different system, rather than modify the existing system to support a broader amount of playstyles.

Your legitimate issue breaks down to your desires and the pylons of the game s mission being at odds. It is not without sadness that I say it, but you and Next do not seem to be compatible. It is because you are looking at the core of the thing and demanding change; if it were at a different level of ratification, not so much, but it honestly looks as if you, I don't know, want L5R to shift gears because you don't want pseudo Japanese customs and samurai in the game.



And with regard to your hypothetical - it's not about what you personally consider badass, or more impressive.

No, it is not. I do not find that impressive, myself. I do however note it is much, much smarter, more efficient, and I would put money on the smart efficient man over the brute. It also served to highlight my point, that using tools cleverly is often seen as better than not needing tools.

But that is all beside the point, I think.


D&D Next has always had as its explicit motto "We want to unite all the playerbases". If they had a different design paradigm, I'd be judging the product perhaps less harshly than I am. Unfortunately, they have created a product which is not capable of supporting an epic fantasy game, which is a relatively common gametype for a significant amount of the current playerbase of D&D (4E, 3.5, PF). So yeah, I do think that D&D is an epic fantasy game - it's a lot more than that too, from dungeonpunk to tactical wargame to urbane mystery and many, many other games - but it doesn't seem like it will be in Next.

That is a fair point. I continue to justify it as WotC having to compete with it's own successes and thus doing the same thing as either 3e or 4e being a tacit failure, but I get the principle.

The idea is that you cannot represent the game you want. I disagree, in that it can be run, I believe Ė though based on presentation in the future I may change my mind. In truth however, I would prefer a narrower game which is good at it's focus (and an eventual return to the 3.5 system).



I'm not convinced that Next is at the "requires major houseruling" stage, mind you-- fringe cases are fun to talk about but fixating on them, ultimately, on the same level as dismissing 3.5 because you can make Pun-Pun. The game needs to be evaluated on its own terms-- a medium-weight swords-and-sorcery adventure game. It's not trying to offer 3e's 0-to-god gameplay, and comparing it to that is futile.

Aye.



Given the amount of individuals still playing Pathfinder - hell, the amount of people still playing 3.5, which is completely unsupported - you'd think they'd take into account that there might be some people who are interested in that style of play, since, you know, it was that demographic not changing to 4E which seems to have prompted this whole thing. I don't understand why they aren't offering any real support for that style of gameplay if they want to make a game which is attractive toward the 3.P crowd. I'm not discussing specific choices with regard to grappling rules or anything like that, I'm concerned that one of the more prominent playstyles of that edition is being told it's playing the game bad-wrong, and that anyone interested in that playstyle should find another game.

I am confused by your assumption. You already have Your Game. This one not catering to you means you can continue with Your Game; you are not being liked out or told to find another one, you're being warned of dissatisfaction.

I would honestly kill for a reboot of 3.5 though (not literally of course, but as an idiom) even with some power reduction polish. Maybe some incarnum support.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-21, 09:44 AM
I feel like some people are saying that if it's different from 3.5 in any way, that's bad - that it should basically be identical to 3.5 as a base, and that other things should be optional. Why should that be the case? Why shouldn't it be its own thing first, with options to make it more 3.5-like after the fact? The fact that 3.5 is still popular doesn't mean that it should be the only thing on offer.

Edit: What is it that people like so much about 3.5, anyway? It's always seemed like a scattered mess, to me.

Edit 2: But I promise not to argue. Just curiosity.

Menteith
2013-08-21, 10:01 AM
I am confused by your assumption. You already have Your Game. This one not catering to you means you can continue with Your Game; you are not being liked out or told to find another one, you're being warned of dissatisfaction.

Oh, indeed, I do already have a game I'm comfortable with (though it actually isn't either 3.5 or Pathfinder). I was simply hoping that D&D Next could be an improvement on that game, and allow me to experience and enjoy the next generation of D&D as much as I have in the past. Whether or not I'm explicitly being told the game isn't for me isn't relevant - being told that the game won't support my favored playstyle is discouragement enough implicitly. I think you and I agree on most points, and understand each other's positions. You're correct in saying that there's not a whole lot else for me to say.

@BayardSPSR

If you're referring to me, then you would be incorrect in saying that my claim is "if it's different from 3.5 in any way, that's bad - that it should basically be identical to 3.5 as a base, and that other things should be optional." My point has always been that an edition out to unify a fractured fanbase should make an effort to support as many different playstyles as possible. One of the most core games in 3.5/PFer is the "0 to hero", and to allow players a huge amount of flexibility in creating their own unique vision of a champion to play. D&D Next does not support this playstyle to a great degree, due largely to Bounded Accuracy. This is not an inherently good or bad thing - the only reason I find it objectionable is due to their stated design choice of attempting to unify the fanbase, which this design choice precludes.

The reason that I find 3.5 appealing is the absolutely staggeringly large amount of flexibility in gametypes and characters. I can support a game with the players as low level kobolds defending their ancestral home from enterprising dwarfs, a game where a united coalition of champions from around the world band together against the Mother of Monsters landing on the most populous city in the world, or a game where immortal demigods fight against Tharizdun breaking out of the Demiplane of Imprisonment in order to preserve existence itself. The game values creativity and intelligent use of abilities and spells both on the Player and DM side, and the games that can result exceed what would be possible with a more limited system. It is a mess - a glorious mess from which some of my most memorable and fantastic games have emerged.

Felhammer
2013-08-21, 10:13 AM
Wow, Mearls said that there were 150,000 accounts for the Playtest!

Morty
2013-08-21, 10:15 AM
That's correct, and it boils down to the question of, if you have to make up so much of your own rules for 5E, why exactly would we want to pay WOTC for it?

The question has never been whether 5E "is playable" or whether it "can be fun". Everything can be fun with the right group. The question is, given the RPGs we already have, is this one so much better that we should pay for it.

Yep. So far, the best D&D Next could do is "not that bad", in some of its aspects. But 'a decent rehash of the old 3e and A&D ideas'... isn't really good enough.

Person_Man
2013-08-21, 11:08 AM
I feel like some people are saying that if it's different from 3.5 in any way, that's bad - that it should basically be identical to 3.5 as a base, and that other things should be optional. Why should that be the case? Why shouldn't it be its own thing first, with options to make it more 3.5-like after the fact? The fact that 3.5 is still popular doesn't mean that it should be the only thing on offer.

Edit: What is it that people like so much about 3.5, anyway? It's always seemed like a scattered mess, to me.

Edit 2: But I promise not to argue. Just curiosity.

I'm a big 3.5/PF guy. I grew up playing 1st/2nd ed, but recognize that it can get very boring if you're not a magic user, and magic users can be dramatically more powerful then everyone else unless you're all grinding though a very large dungeon together and don't leave/rest until you've accomplished your mission. I tried 4E and hated it, because the Powers/Feats were very fiddly and duplicative, and the fluff was terrible.



Things I like about 3.5/PF:

Tier 3 play in general. Every class has something they're good at, and are rarely entirely useless, without completely breaking the game or becoming a boring slog.

Lots and lots of material/supplements/additional rule sets to draw upon. If there is a play style or mechanic or thing you want to do, it's probably been published somewhere. And even if you don't like it, you can use it as the basis for your homebrew fix (instead of having to create it entirely on your own). I can use these things to build whatever game I want.

"Big" signature class abilities. Spells, Psionics, Vestiges, Incarnum, Wildshaping, etc.



Things I wish they would ditch about 3.5 when creating D&D Next:


The jumble of bonuses/penalties, and highly flexible/unknowable math in general. (That's why I've generally been a proponent of the highly contentious Bounded Accuracy. If you keep Bounded Accuracy in place and limit the sources of bonuses and penalties, then it should be a lot easier to publish a lot of supplements without breaking the game).

"Junk" and duplicative abilities. I hate dead levels. I do not need or want to be 5% better at some situational task. Nor do I need 10 slightly different versions of the same ability. (Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Cure Critical Wounds, etc. Just make a single balanced Cure Wounds spell, and have it scale appropriately). This has always been a part of D&D. But there is no logical reason for it to be so, and it's his was what I hated most about 4E. Every class ability, Feat, Trait, skill, etc, should be meaningful and worth taking.

The general lack of meaningful crunch for Exploration and Roleplaying. D&D started out as an Exploration game, with a strong focus on cleverness (traps, riddles, puzzles, listening at doors, poking things with 10 ft poles, etc) and resource management (primarily hit points, hirelings, and spells). Combat was an important part of Exploration, but it was brutal, quick, and generally avoided when possible. It then added Roleplaying, and over time dramatically expanded the Combat mini-game to the point where it was basically 80%+ of the rules/mechanics of the game. I would like Exploration and Roleplaying to be fully fleshed out in a meaningful way, and for every class to have some important role in those aspects of the game.

Tehnar
2013-08-21, 11:13 AM
I don't really find the number of 150k playtest accounts all that impressive. Even assuming that 1 million people worldwide play some edition of DnD (and I am probably severely lowballing it), that means only 15% of people were willing to sign up, at one point, for a free look at the upcoming edition.

It seems very low.

Yora
2013-08-21, 11:37 AM
Also, signed up. That was like two years ago. Actual number of downloads for the latest packages might be something entirely else. I would assume lots of people downloaded it once out of curiosoty, but don't really follow it since.

Whiteagle
2013-08-21, 11:50 AM
For me, epic heroes don't become epic heroes by working hard - they're born that way. And for me, the possibility of one Myrmidon becoming Achilles cheapens Achilles.
"I use to be an Epic Hero like you, but then I took an arrow to the heel..."


I guess at that point it depends on what you mean by a legitimate threat.

With bounded accuracy, they're not numerically cut off. Like, they still have a chance to hit you and do damage.

But a single orc is not a legitimate threat in the sense that you have any actual risk of falling in single combat against one. At 20th level, your Fighter (for example) is going to have a +11 attack bonus, before magic items. 3 attacks per round, minimum. A minimum AC of 20, also before magic items. Several impressive tricks. Hit points well over a hundred. A single orc has no chance; bounded accuracy is only bounded in math. With sufficient horizontal advancement, it (theoretically) makes for powerful characters with simpler math.

On the other hand, a horde of orcs - since Next so far eschews such things as "swarm" or "horde" stats - may be a legitimate threat (as with Asmodeus or anything else). I don't consider this necessarily a bad thing. It's a different thing, and if a new edition of D&D isn't giving me different things, I don't have a use for it.

-O
Indeed, which is why I like Bounded Accuracy for Combat; While everything has a chance of hurting you, they can't necessarily KILL you by their lonesome.
This means that even the lowest level of encounter is still viable to use up until the end of a campaign, they just need to come in numbers that can chip at you long enough to bring you down, and honestly being able to triumph over innumerable odds in a setting where even LORDS OF HELL can be brought down by the peasantry of a small country is far more EPIC sounding then killing a single scary monster.
(In fact, what about a Dungeon where the BBEG isnít ONE guy, but a hive mind of 666 individual bodies?)

But I do see the issue with Non-Combat Skills using Bounded Accuracy, namely that certain test such as lock picking suffer from the lack of flat bonuses that leave a supposedly highly skilled Rogue only slightly more effective then another random PCÖ


Things I like about 3.5/PF:

Lots and lots of material/supplements/additional rule sets to draw upon. If there is a play style or mechanic or thing you want to do, it's probably been published somewhere. And even if you don't like it, you can use it as the basis for your homebrew fix (instead of having to create it entirely on your own). I can use these things to build whatever game I want.

I know right?
If you can stat it, you can PLAY it!

...Speaking of, since we know that a Human Commoner and a Basic Kobold are equals (Both are Level 1, 10 XP), you think we could hash out the stat adjustments on Kobold PCs?


Things I wish they would ditch about 3.5 when creating D&D Next:


The jumble of bonuses/penalties, and highly flexible/unknowable math in general. (That's why I've generally been a proponent of the highly contentious Bounded Accuracy. If you keep Bounded Accuracy in place and limit the sources of bonuses and penalties, then it should be a lot easier to publish a lot of supplements without breaking the game).

The general lack of meaningful crunch for Exploration and Roleplaying. D&D started out as an Exploration game, with a strong focus on cleverness (traps, riddles, puzzles, listening at doors, poking things with 10 ft poles, etc) and resource management (primarily hit points, hirelings, and spells). Combat was an important part of Exploration, but it was brutal, quick, and generally avoided when possible. It then added Roleplaying, and over time dramatically expanded the Combat mini-game to the point where it was basically 80%+ of the rules/mechanics of the game. I would like Exploration and Roleplaying to be fully fleshed out in a meaningful way, and for every class to have some important role in those aspects of the game.

Yeah, this is the big issue with Skills in 3.5; They are what you are suppose to use for Exploration and Roleplaying but the points put into them were determined by Class and Intelligence Modifier, meaning your world-weary Fighter had to ask for bonus languages on a DM fiat if he also wanted to know how to tie knots...

Hopefully Backgrounds will be able to shift Skills away from a Player's Class, making their non-adventuring history more important for filling out their present abilities.


I don't really find the number of 150k playtest accounts all that impressive. Even assuming that 1 million people worldwide play some edition of DnD (and I am probably severely lowballing it), that means only 15% of people were willing to sign up, at one point, for a free look at the upcoming edition.

It seems very low.
Actually that's a pretty good survey size, normally you have to extrapolate from a much smaller percentage of your overall population.

Frozen_Feet
2013-08-21, 12:19 PM
With regard to stealth, I would point out that a highly skilled individual is assumed to be making use of cover, avoiding line of sight, and otherwise acting "stealthily".

Hold on. Why do you want to assume this? Why do you want to abstract playing the game away?

SiuS was not advocating "magical teaparty", as someone put it; no, he was/is advocating playing stealth scenarios as essentially a mini-boardgame, where Stealth checks are essentially a saving throw made if the player screws up or is unlucky enough to be seen.

I find SiuS's approach much more entertaining than just deciding a whole scenario with single dieroll. In fact, that's why I'm building a Stealth system myself based on similar premises.

Yes, it places more strain on the player's skill (as opposed to a character's skill, the number on a character sheet), but it also engages the player more and helps to build suspension. When a player's way is blocked by a guard, the player's own wits and decisions will actually affect the scenario; if his character is assumed to do everything possible from the get-go, all there is for the player to do is to roll the dice and hope the arbitrary check DC / perception roll bonus the GM has assigned to the guard will not be too tough to pass.

Re: Bounded Accuracy: Some people here keep arguing that there should be a point where a high-level character can't be won by any number of low-level characters. While this might be awesome from a player's point of view, it is absolutely horrible from both GMing and setting-building perspective. If the rules allow for this at any point, following the rules to their logical conclusion will lead to absurd outcomes. And by "absurd outcomes", I mean stuff much, much worse than "Asmodeus can be killed by army of commoners".

I mean stuff like the Shadow-calypse in 3e.

You should have heard of this. There is nothing, absolutely nothing a group of non-magical characters of any size or any level can do against it, because it is incorporeal. This means introducing even a single shadow in a game requires a magical counter to be placed somewhere near it. Otherwise, it can destroy societies all by its lonesome.

That it also creates spawn as it goes, or that it's just a CR 3 creature (etc.) are really just tangents. They serve to underline the problem, but the real issue is the incorporeality, and immunity to non-magic attacks that follows.

And do not think it's okay to give such immunities to higher-level characters either! To give the baddest of bad examples, let's take a 3e god. A mid-rank god can rather trivially make itself unassailable to any number of pre-epic adversaries. But that is only half of the problem; the other half is that this same god, by the rules, will know if any character could ever grow in power enough to oppose it. And due to the first half, it can always, with guaranteed success, stop any other character from becoming a threat to it.

The famous "if it has stats, it can be killed" line is a fallacy. At least in 3e, it just plain doesn't work that way. Following the rules, the first character to reach divinity wins the damn game, and from there on all other characters only exists on his mercy. All settings using such rules must assume a very particular sort of god (=non-interventionist), or else the setting only works by GM fiat.

Bounded accuracy exists to prevent this sort of absurdity. By creating an environment where a low-level character can make a difference, it simultaneously creates an environment where those same characters can live long enough to reach the high levels. That's right; it actually creates an environment where there's a logical reason and incentive for those high-level characters to exist, and for high-level characters (read: main villains) to have armies. Even more importantly, it creates an environment where the people in power can change; if the players want to topple the evil empire, they can start doing it at level 1 (though at lessened chance of success), instead of having to wait to level X.

Now, a point can be made that the range for bounded accuracy should change. If 10% vs. 80% is too narrow, maybe broaden it to more traditional 5% vs. 95%. If 1000 peasants sounds too little to take down Asmodeus, adjust the numbers so it becomes 2000, or 10 000, or one million.

But don't, for the love of God, don't create rules where numbers cease to matter. That way lies a boot stomping on the players' face forever.

BayardSPSR
2013-08-21, 12:20 PM
Actually that's a pretty good survey size, normally you have to extrapolate from a much smaller percentage of your overall population.

150,000 accounts does not mean 150,000 people offering feedback. I imagine most of the accounts, as has been said, were created with the intention of accessing accessing information, not providing it. Look at this forum: I imagine most of the accounts have exactly one post.

@Frozen_Feet: You explained that well. Thanks.

Also, a stealth system in general definitely sounds fun. It would be nice if it didn't have to be an optional module, since it could be used to balance classes in ways other than combat.

obryn
2013-08-21, 12:25 PM
I feel like some people are saying that if it's different from 3.5 in any way, that's bad - that it should basically be identical to 3.5 as a base, and that other things should be optional. Why should that be the case? Why shouldn't it be its own thing first, with options to make it more 3.5-like after the fact? The fact that 3.5 is still popular doesn't mean that it should be the only thing on offer.

Edit: What is it that people like so much about 3.5, anyway? It's always seemed like a scattered mess, to me.

Edit 2: But I promise not to argue. Just curiosity.
Well, one thing to keep in mind is that this is an excessively 3.5/PF-centric board. Probably the most weighted in that direction next to Paizo's. I'm one of a handful of people here who frankly don't care for 3.5/PF much at all; in fact, it's far and away my least favorite edition of D&D (and one of my least favorite RPGs in general) at this point.

I'm mainly both a 4e D&D fan, an oldschool D&D fan (especially AD&D 1e, RC D&D, and their nearby clones like OSRIC/Dark Dungeons), and a Modern Gaming fan (FATE Core, Dungeon World, Savage Worlds, etc.) I can say that Next is not offering much right now that I would look for from a 4e perspective.

However, "A whole lot like 4e!" is not necessarily a selling point for me for a new RPG. I'm a polygamer by nature, kind of a system-head, and love buying RPGs to dig into and run. It's most important, for me, that a game does something better than any other game I have. That it has its own particular niche. That's all I need to put it on my shelf and maybe run it. For me, my campaign idea comes first, and then I try to find a system to run it with. For example, when I wanted to run Temple of Elemental Evil a ways back, I pulled out 1e AD&D; I don't think the Temple can be done better under any other edition. For my pulp-action Cthulhu game, I've switched to Savage Worlds from d20 CoC. And so on...

Next has next to zero chance of becoming my group's main game at this point. But it might be a game we like to play. That'd make me happy enough, you know?


150,000 accounts does not mean 150,000 people offering feedback. I imagine most of the accounts, as has been said, were created with the intention of accessing accessing information, not providing it. Look at this forum: I imagine most of the accounts have exactly one post.
It's also assuming every player has made an account. Not all of my players have. (GASP! VILLAINY!)

-O

Menteith
2013-08-21, 12:34 PM
Frozen_Feet, what I have been saying repeatedly is that there is no one appropriate gamestyle that WotC should be attempting to default in a modular system which is attempting to unite a wide range of gamers with different preferences. There absolutely are games where it makes sense for thousands of low level peasants to pose legitimate threats toward beings capable of creating universes. There absolutely are games where it does not. The issue that I have had is that D&D Next has decided to make a decision which is inherently alienating toward a non-trivial amount of gamers, rather than create a truly generic default with use of modules to differentiate playstyle preferences. This decision limits their audience and is at odds with their original design intent.

Everyone arguing about what is more fun in a game is bound to be at odds with someone else as we are discussing inherently subjective issues. It's unlikely you're going to successfully convince me that I actually haven't been enjoying playing 3.5 for precisely the reasons you seem to take issue with it, just as I'm not going to be able to use those reasons to insist you actually like it. The whole point of D&D Next was to create a truly unifying system by allowing individuals to play the games they found most appealing; which is something that the playtest has failed at. D&D Next is a game that I could play and have fun with in its current state, but that's true of pretty much every system that's not F.A.T.A.L. for me, and it certainly isn't appealing to me as compared to other systems that currently exist.

The entire selling point has been "People who like AD&D, PF, and 4E could all sit down at the same table and have a great time" which isn't shaping up to be the case. And the system isn't robust enough or unique enough right now (at the end of the open playtest) in my opinion to be considered as a serious option if that isn't true.

Morty
2013-08-21, 12:41 PM
Hold on. Why do you want to assume this? Why do you want to abstract playing the game away?

SiuS was not advocating "magical teaparty", as someone put it; no, he was/is advocating playing stealth scenarios as essentially a mini-boardgame, where Stealth checks are essentially a saving throw made if the player screws up or is unlucky enough to be seen.

I find SiuS's approach much more entertaining than just deciding a whole scenario with single dieroll. In fact, that's why I'm building a Stealth system myself based on similar premises.

Yes, it places more strain on the player's skill (as opposed to a character's skill, the number on a character sheet), but it also engages the player more and helps to build suspension. When a player's way is blocked by a guard, the player's own wits and decisions will actually affect the scenario; if his character is assumed to do everything possible from the get-go, all there is for the player to do is to roll the dice and hope the arbitrary check DC / perception roll bonus the GM has assigned to the guard will not be too tough to pass.

Re: Bounded Accuracy: Some people here keep arguing that there should be a point where a high-level character can't be won by any number of low-level characters. While this might be awesome from a player's point of view, it is absolutely horrible from both GMing and setting-building perspective. If the rules allow for this at any point, following the rules to their logical conclusion will lead to absurd outcomes. And by "absurd outcomes", I mean stuff much, much worse than "Asmodeus can be killed by army of commoners".

I mean stuff like the Shadow-calypse in 3e.

You should have heard of this. There is nothing, absolutely nothing a group of non-magical characters of any size or any level can do against it, because it is incorporeal. This means introducing even a single shadow in a game requires a magical counter to be placed somewhere near it. Otherwise, it can destroy societies all by its lonesome.

That it also creates spawn as it goes, or that it's just a CR 3 creature (etc.) are really just tangents. They serve to underline the problem, but the real issue is the incorporeality, and immunity to non-magic attacks that follows.

And do not think it's okay to give such immunities to higher-level characters either! To give the baddest of bad examples, let's take a 3e god. A mid-rank god can rather trivially make itself unassailable to any number of pre-epic adversaries. But that is only half of the problem; the other half is that this same god, by the rules, will know if any character could ever grow in power enough to oppose it. And due to the first half, it can always, with guaranteed success, stop any other character from becoming a threat to it.

The famous "if it has stats, it can be killed" line is a fallacy. At least in 3e, it just plain doesn't work that way. Following the rules, the first character to reach divinity wins the damn game, and from there on all other characters only exists on his mercy. All settings using such rules must assume a very particular sort of god (=non-interventionist), or else the setting only works by GM fiat.

Bounded accuracy exists to prevent this sort of absurdity. By creating an environment where a low-level character can make a difference, it simultaneously creates an environment where those same characters can live long enough to reach the high levels. That's right; it actually creates an environment where there's a logical reason and incentive for those high-level characters to exist, and for high-level characters (read: main villains) to have armies. Even more importantly, it creates an environment where the people in power can change; if the players want to topple the evil empire, they can start doing it at level 1 (though at lessened chance of success), instead of having to wait to level X.

Now, a point can be made that the range for bounded accuracy should change. If 10% vs. 80% is too narrow, maybe broaden it to more traditional 5% vs. 95%. If 1000 peasants sounds too little to take down Asmodeus, adjust the numbers so it becomes 2000, or 10 000, or one million.

But don't, for the love of God, don't create rules where numbers cease to matter. That way lies a boot stomping on the players' face forever.

See, I agree with you, and I still think bounded accuracy is a bad idea. Because I think that some tasks really should be impossible to accomplish for people below a certain level of ability. It's not even about magic or super-human prowess - there's plenty of realistic tasks that you need a certain skill to attempt. Ideally, it shouldn't mean the character can't possibly succeed - it should mean they need to try another way.

In combat, I suppose it's a different story. Here, bounded accuracy might work better. But I think WotC's idea that even low-level opponents can hit a high-level powerhouse but will only make a small dent in their bloated HP is... pretty terrible. The AC/HP combat model in general is stale and should be swapped for something that works - not that WotC will ever do that.

I fully agree that flat immunities are bad and should have been buried with AD&D. I can't really remember how D&D Next approaches them, though.