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Deepbluediver
2017-10-12, 01:50 PM
Most standard PC races are either Medium or Small (although I think there should be at least a few Large for variety's sake) and monsters come in every shape and size. But there's plenty of size-changing magic around, and there tend to tradeoffs in combat depending on how big your are. Being bigger tends to give you more weapon damage and sometimes reach, but being smaller gives you bonuses to Attack Rolls and AC, so overall it seams like a being bigger is kind of a higher-risk-higher-reward tactic. That seems fair.

But there's not really any corresponding exchange for magic as far as I'm aware. Fireball when cast by a pixie is the same as when cast by a giant, and because of the other mechanics, this really seems to favor smaller spellcasters. You tend not to worry about weapon-damage, and the modifiers to Attacks and AC still benefit you both defensively and offensively, so all other things being equal, there's a noticeable disadvantage to being a Large-sized caster.

So first, let me ask if this issue has ever been raised in any of your games, and if so how did you address it?
And next, how would you feel about attempts to correct this imbalance? (if it can be called that)


Because spells and magic take so many different forms, it's hard to come up with universal rules that work out for all of them. Ideally I'd have some fix that meant AOE spells covered a larger area and summoning spells created larger constructs or something like that, but for the moment I'm thinking about something much simpler:
Larger creatures get a bonus to spell-save DCs, kinda like they get a bonus to grapple checks (and by the same token, smaller creatures get a penalty).

Special Size Modifiers


SIZE
Regular
Inverse


Fine
+10
-10


Diminuitive
+6
-6


Tiny
+3
-3


Small
+1
-1


Medium
+0
+0


Large
-1
+1


Huge
-3
+3


Gargantuan
-6
+6


Colossal
-10
+10


Titanic
-15
+15


The Regular Modifier affects: Attack rolls, AC, Feint attempts, Acrobatic* checks, and Stealth* checks
The Inverse Modifier affects: Grapple attempts, Trip attempts, Athletic* checks, and Spell-save DC
[larger creatures also wield larger weapons which deal more damage]
*I'm working on a Skill fix, too. Acrobatic checks include what was formerly, Balance and Tumble. Stealth is both Hide and Move Silently. Athletics is Jump, Climb, and Swim.


This seems reasonably balanced to me, but I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this, in whatever form it might take.

rferries
2017-10-13, 01:49 AM
1) Never really come up in games, except for basic stuff like penalties/bonuses on touch attacks.

2) I don't think size should affect magic, personally. Magic is the great equaliser - the 20th-level gnome druid's spells should be just as powerful as those of the Colossal red dragon (if not better!). I *do* think size penalties on big creatures should be relaxed... from my recent homebrewing experience it's a real pain making a Colossal creature anything other than a dragon or a monstrous humanoid, if I want them to have a reasonable melee presence.

Knitifine
2017-10-13, 01:56 AM
I address this by removing size modifiers as I find them to be largely not worth the trouble. I also add another size (Big) that functions the same as small, but for larger creatures, keeping the 5 ft. by 5 ft. square and 5 ft. reach.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-13, 11:52 AM
1) Never really come up in games, except for basic stuff like penalties/bonuses on touch attacks.

2) I don't think size should affect magic, personally. Magic is the great equaliser - the 20th-level gnome druid's spells should be just as powerful as those of the Colossal red dragon (if not better!).
Ignoring that magic tends to be one of the most drastically OP things in 3.5, I want to focus on the fact that there are already differences in size, and taking that away would cause more problems with verisimilitude, I think. When you tell players that they are facing larger or smaller creatures, it helps if game mechanics can back that up by making certain actions feel different.

I realize that, objectively, the difference of +/-2 to attack rolls and AC between Small and Large creatures is relatively minor when it comes to the power and versatility that magic can bring to the table. But it still bugs me- I don't want players to feel like they are being punished for making a Large-sized Wizard or something like that.

You could, if you wanted, design a world that encourages size as a determinant of class- the Gnomes and Elves are wizards, the Orcs and Ogres are barbarians, etc. Except I really like the freedom and versatility that D&D offers and I prefer to encourage that. Right now it's not to much trouble to make a small-sized melee combatant, because like I said there are tradeoffs. But there's basically no reason at all to not make a caster as the smallest sized creatures your GM will allow (pixie druid, anyone?). And I think that's a design flaw that I should attempt to correct.


I *do* think size penalties on big creatures should be relaxed... from my recent homebrewing experience it's a real pain making a Colossal creature anything other than a dragon or a monstrous humanoid, if I want them to have a reasonable melee presence.
I'd be interested in hearing more about that. There are a couple different categories for size modifiers for various mechanics in D&D; they work on different scales and apply to different things and some are penalties for being bigger and some are bonuses and it's all just a terrible hodge-podge. For the moment I've condensed everything into just two sets of numbers: a "regular size modifier" and an "inverse size modifier". The two use the exact same scale, just with the former giving bonuses for being smaller, and the latter giving bonuses for being larger (and penalties, too).

The regular modifier applies to Attack Rolls, AC, Acrobatic (skill) and Stealth (skill) checks.
The inverse modifier applies to Grapple checks, Athletic (skill) checks, and now (maybe) spells DCs.
And you can add on to that that larger creatures deal more weapon-damage.

Overall I think it's a pretty decent breakdown and a fairly balanced set of tradeoffs.




I address this by removing size modifiers as I find them to be largely not worth the trouble. I also add another size (Big) that functions the same as small, but for larger creatures, keeping the 5 ft. by 5 ft. square and 5 ft. reach.
That's...actually amazing. Adjusting the size-parameters for certain creature-categories would be awesome, and yet I never really considered it. I'll have to crunch some numbers and see how I want certain things to unfold, but I'm pretty sure most "Large" humanoids wouldn't really have trouble fitting in a 5x5 box.

I'd already changed the reach rules so that Large creatures only get extra reach with two-handed weapons (there's a file on my computer with some really silly math computing how long a minotaur's arms would have to be to attack a gnome in a non-adjacent square) and this just takes that one step further, so thank you for that suggestion.

I also had one additional size category- Titanic, for those rare instances when you want a mountain-sized monster (https://i.imgur.com/u4g4cJw.jpg), though at that scale I think the normal combat rules start to break down anyway, and it's never really seen use in a game.

jqavins
2017-10-13, 02:09 PM
I see the issue, but it seems to me only a matter of abstract balance, and I personally place much lower value on abstract balance than some do.

Let's take a poll.





Name



Has this matter ever come up in your games?



If so, has it been a problem?



Deep Blue Diver

Not specified




rferries

No




knitifine

Not clearly specified, possibly implied no




J Q Avins (me)

No




That's a darn small sample, but it looks like a non-issue to me.

I also place higher value on verisimilitude and fluff than some people do, relative to the value of crunch, and I don't, for myself, see any problem with verisimilitude and fluff in the way things are. If there are tweaks to the status quo that would increase verisimilitude, I'd be happy to discuss, and probably all for them.

aimlessPolymath
2017-10-13, 02:57 PM
Aw, I thought it was a neat discussion on theorycrafting.

For what it's worth, size categories of generic effects (not necessarily magic) have come up when I was homebrewing a (currently unpublished) engineer PrC, and needed to scale bombs and guns up and down as needed. My solution was to have each size category of increase:
-Increase area in approximate proportion to size categories
-Increase the damage die (nd6 -> nd8) in approximate proportion to natural weapon size increases
-Reduce Reflex save DCs in approximate proportion to the attack roll penalty. Provisionally, reducing this below a certain level would convert it into an attack roll. (I'm working on an alternate sizing system for d20 physics)

Deepbluediver
2017-10-13, 02:58 PM
I see the issue, but it seems to me only a matter of abstract balance, and I personally place much lower value on abstract balance than some do.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "abstract balance"- what other kinds of balance are there?
Are you saying that I'm looking at this from a mechanical balance perspective first, instead of trying to get mechanics to fit fluff?


Let's take a poll.





Name



Has this matter ever come up in your games?



If so, has it been a problem?



Deep Blue Diver

not much

Yes



rferries

No




knitifine

Yes

Yes


J Q Avins (me)

No




Updated table for accuracy.
I appreciate your scientific approach to the issue, but I think it may be missing an important point- how often do people actually get the opportunity to play Large-sized races? I don't actually know of any standard Large-sized races- even Goliaths from the Races of Stone supplement are medium-sized.

Most of the large-sized humanoids you could potentially play as are actually Monstrous Humanoids from the Monster Manuals, and a good number of them have Level Adjustment requirements. The RHD, stat-bonuses, and various racial abilities sometimes make up for the loss of class levels for something like a Fighter or Barbarian, but it absolutely KILLS Caster-level and Spell slots.

Part of what I want to do is to give players Large-sized LA+0 races in the character-building stage, and not have them complain that anyone who wants to play a caster is shoehorned into picking a gnome or halfing or kobold, instead of an Ogre or Minotaur or something like that.


I also place higher value on verisimilitude and fluff than some people do, relative to the value of crunch, and I don't, for myself, see any problem with verisimilitude and fluff in the way things are. If there are tweaks to the status quo that would increase verisimilitude, I'd be happy to discuss, and probably all for them.
When I talked about verisimilitude I meant with regards to how the various size modifiers affect mechanics. One way to solve the problem would be to just treat everything of different sizes the same except where you absolutely couldn't, such as squeezing through a tight space, but I feel like doing that WOULD break a lot of people's verisimilitude. Maintaining verisimilitude is kind of what has lead to this issue (as I see it anyway) in the first place, and I don't want to break verisimilitude, so I'm looking for something I can slap on mechanically that will balance out the incentives people have for picking smaller races to be casters.

Knitifine
2017-10-13, 04:22 PM
Part of what I want to do is to give players Large-sized LA+0 races in the character-building stage, and not have them complain that anyone who wants to play a caster is shoehorned into picking a gnome or halfing or kobold, instead of an Ogre or Minotaur or something like that.
Let me chime in again with more details.

The 'casters are always better when they're small' problem has come up numerous times in my games. If you want small - medium - large PCs, like I've had in my games numerous times I strongly push forward making the Big size category, and removing size bonuses and penalties (at least for small and big).

Deepbluediver
2017-10-13, 04:25 PM
Aw, I thought it was a neat discussion on theorycrafting.
...sorry? I'm down to talk about pretty much anything, though I don't claim to be any kind of an expert when it comes to theorycrafting.

The way I was thinking of it was kind like this: for a melee hero, there are tradeoffs for being Small vs. being Medium. Everything else being equal, a Gnome would deal less damage when he hit than a Human, but he'd hit more often and get hit less often, so there was some kind of exchange going on there. You'd have to do some serious number-crunching to figure out which was "best", especially since in 3.5 offensive tactics tend to be more optimal than defensive ones.

For magic though, there seems to be a definite advantage to being smaller. It's slight, especially if you're using only the core races, but it's enough to bug me and since I wanted to include a greater range of sizes in my standard races for players to choose, I figured I'd raise the point and see what other people thought.


For what it's worth, size categories of generic effects (not necessarily magic) have come up when I was homebrewing a (currently unpublished) engineer PrC, and needed to scale bombs and guns up and down as needed. My solution was to have each size category of increase:
-Increase area in approximate proportion to size categories
-Increase the damage die (nd6 -> nd8) in approximate proportion to natural weapon size increases
-Reduce Reflex save DCs in approximate proportion to the attack roll penalty. Provisionally, reducing this below a certain level would convert it into an attack roll. (I'm working on an alternate sizing system for d20 physics)
Ideally I'd take to the time to go through every single spell and decided how and if it should change based on size (for example, should the Summon Monster line let larger creatures magically create larger minions?), but I was hoping for a simpler solution here. Size comes up much less for casters than it does for melee heroes- with good positioning and a solid frontline, it's possible that the caster might not ever be the direct target of an attack with a weapon. And it's easy enough to avoid picking spells that require attack rolls if you don't want them. So I'm not looking to majorly change magic, I just want to tweak something so that if a player thinks this is potentially a problem, there are other options to compensate.

If I used my suggested solution that there's a small bonus/penalty to spell DCs, it might encourage Large or Small casters towards certain types of spells, but I think I'm ok with that, because overall I believe balance would be better.

Alent
2017-10-13, 04:51 PM
I don't remove size modifiers entirely, but in my own homebrew, I've stratified the weapon scaling. Small~Large use the same damage dice, Tiny and below use one size down, Huge and above use one size up. (when push comes to piercing damage, it's usually the wielder instead of the size of the weapon actually doing the damage.)

I also consider Magic to be a concept unaffected by size, and so leave it the same size for all unless the spell explicitly mentions it varies by size, such as when a spell creates a physical weapon. Most places where it makes sense to affect a spell by the traits of the creature casting it, that creature should already have spell modifiers like +CL effects and such.

jqavins
2017-10-13, 07:09 PM
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "abstract balance"- what other kinds of balance are there? Are you saying that I'm looking at this from a mechanical balance perspective first, instead of trying to get mechanics to fit fluff?Abstract balance (perhaps "academic" would be a better word) is the idea that, if this race of that class has some advantage, then the other race or class has to have something comparable to balance it. Practical balance is making sure that some race or class isn't so weak that no one plays it even though someone would like to, and that no race or class is so powerful as to dominate the game. In short, ask if there is some sort of imbalance that makes the game less fun.

I've found myself, from time to time, drawing into discussions with myself and others about abstract balance, but I remind myself that it really doesn't matter. Balance is overrated. The bottom line is whether or not some player who would like to play an ogre wizard is deterred from doing so, and so has less fun. I suspect that will not happen.


Most of the large-sized humanoids you could potentially play as are actually Monstrous Humanoids from the Monster Manuals, and a good number of them have Level Adjustment requirements. The RHD, stat-bonuses, and various racial abilities sometimes make up for the loss of class levels for something like a Fighter or Barbarian, but it absolutely KILLS Caster-level and Spell slots.Now this, on the other hand, would make people not play very big races as casters (where I don't think attack rolls, AC, saves, etc. would.) The simple thing would be to do away with the LA, but then big casters get a great advantage, i.e. being a low level caster who's also as good in a fight as a low-to-mid level fighter. The only solution I see is to only play these in a game where the starting level allows for a decent class level in spite of the LA. But that's not really a satisfactory answer. Still, as long as the LA is 0 (as you talked about further on) I just don't think the rest matters enough to bother with.


When I talked about verisimilitude I meant with regards to how the various size modifiers affect mechanics. One way to solve the problem would be to just treat everything of different sizes the same except where you absolutely couldn't, such as squeezing through a tight space, but I feel like doing that WOULD break a lot of people's verisimilitude.100% agreement.

Maintaining verisimilitude is kind of what has lead to this issue (as I see it anyway) in the first place, and I don't want to break verisimilitude, so I'm looking for something I can slap on mechanically that will balance out the incentives people have for picking smaller races to be casters.
For me, changing how a spell, or magic in general works based on the size of the caster breaks verisimilitude, and for only an academic gain. Finding a better way to handle level adjustments could be important.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-13, 07:36 PM
The 'casters are always better when they're small' problem has come up numerous times in my games. If you want small - medium - large PCs, like I've had in my games numerous times I strongly push forward making the Big size category, and removing size bonuses and penalties (at least for small and big).
Just to clarify, do you still have a "Large" size-category and those creatures typically fit in a 10x10 ft square? Have you changed anything else about the size categories?

I don't think I want to remove size-modifiers entirely; I think it aids in verisimilitude and gives people options. Most of the bonuses/penalties are fine, and in fact I expanded some of their uses (adding to the skill-checks it affects, for example), this was just one area where it seemed to distinctly favor one group of players at the expense of a different set of character-builds.



I don't remove size modifiers entirely, but in my own homebrew, I've stratified the weapon scaling. Small~Large use the same damage dice, Tiny and below use one size down, Huge and above use one size up. (when push comes to piercing damage, it's usually the wielder instead of the size of the weapon actually doing the damage.)
I had my own recent thread about weapon-damage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?534853-Weapons-amp-Upgrades-Fix-(for-use-with-3-5-amp-Pathfinder)), and while I prefer to take things in a different direction, size was one of the issues that was repeatedly brought up.


I also consider Magic to be a concept unaffected by size, and so leave it the same size for all unless the spell explicitly mentions it varies by size, such as when a spell creates a physical weapon. Most places where it makes sense to affect a spell by the traits of the creature casting it, that creature should already have spell modifiers like +CL effects and such.
Yeah, but not for size. By RAW, size doesn't affect magic directly, but other mechanics mean that casters benefit from being smaller. I picked spell DC just because it was something that I figured would be minor enough to not push things back to far the other way.

It's kind of like this- suppose there was a rule that all Large characters got a +1 on skill checks. (we're ignoring the how and why for the moment, just go along with it) We're assuming that everything else for any mechanic either didn't depend on size or balanced out with something else, except for this. It would be pretty blatant that the game pushed players towards picking Large-sized races, especially if they were a class for whom skill-checks were important. And if balance as well as freedom for players to choose whichever race they wanted was important to you, you'd probably want something done about it.
That's how I feel about Small casters.



Anyway, I held off on this originally because I hate making tables, but this is how I condensed the various size-related modifiers, and what they apply to.

Special Size Modifiers


SIZE
Regular
Inverse


Fine
+10
-10


Diminuitive
+6
-6


Tiny
+3
-3


Small
+1
-1


Medium
+0
+0


Large
-1
+1


Huge
-3
+3


Gargantuan
-6
+6


Colossal
-10
+10


Titanic
-15
+15


The Regular Modifier affects: Attack rolls, AC, Feint attempts, Acrobatic* checks, and Stealth* checks
The Inverse Modifier affects: Grapple attempts, Trip attempts, Athletic* checks, and Spell-save DC
[larger creatures also wield larger weapons which deal more damage]
*I'm working on a Skill fix, too. Acrobatic checks include what was formerly, Balance and Tumble. Stealth is both Hide and Move Silently. Athletics is Jump, Climb, and Swim.

This feels reasonably balanced to me. I'm still debating something like an HP bonus/penalty for creatures based on size, but either I'd not have it affect Small and Large creatures (so it only started coming into play at the Tiny/Huge categories) or specify that it only applies to NPCs. That's just so I can make something like a high-HD pixies without it having 7 times as much HP as the party-Barbarian. Or so I can make a mountain-sized monster without needing to give it 628 HD.



Edit: Dammit! Every time I go to make a post, someone else posts one while I'm typing. :smallfurious:
jqavins, I'll work on a reply to you as soon as I can.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-13, 09:06 PM
Abstract balance (perhaps "academic" would be a better word) is the idea that, if this race of that class has some advantage, then the other race or class has to have something comparable to balance it. Practical balance is making sure that some race or class isn't so weak that no one plays it even though someone would like to, and that no race or class is so powerful as to dominate the game. In short, ask if there is some sort of imbalance that makes the game less fun.

I've found myself, from time to time, drawing into discussions with myself and others about abstract balance, but I remind myself that it really doesn't matter. Balance is overrated. The bottom line is whether or not some player who would like to play an ogre wizard is deterred from doing so, and so has less fun. I suspect that will not happen.
Well, it was important enough to me to make a thread about, and Knitifine said it's come up repeatedly in his games. Also, by RAW attempting to make a Large-sized caster was nearly impossible, so it's not like many people have had the opportunity to try. If WotC wasn't so terrified of letting players play Large-races, and/or the LA+RHD rules didn't suck a mountain of ass, I suspect you'd see it come up far more often.

And in the end, knowing that I'm penalizing myself by picking a Large race as the chassis for my Wizard/Beguiler/Healer/Bard/whatever just isn't fun for me.


Now this, on the other hand, would make people not play very big races as casters (where I don't think attack rolls, AC, saves, etc. would.) The simple thing would be to do away with the LA, but then big casters get a great advantage, i.e. being a low level caster who's also as good in a fight as a low-to-mid level fighter. The only solution I see is to only play these in a game where the starting level allows for a decent class level in spite of the LA. But that's not really a satisfactory answer. Still, as long as the LA is 0 (as you talked about further on) I just don't think the rest matters enough to bother with.
But even with LA buyoff (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm) (which is complicated and I'm still not sure I understand it) you're still behind for large chunks of your campaign AFAICT. And I don't know what, if anything, you can do about the RHD. That's not really important to me though- I want to make Large size LA+0/0RHD creatures that my players can pick up and roll with right from level 1 that they can choose to play as primary casting-classes without gimping themselves.


Finding a better way to handle level adjustments could be important.
In my setting there's three races that are Large sized all the time: Tauren (minotaurs), Loxodons, and Ogres. There are also three races that have variants that can be Large: Goblinoids, Yaun-ti, and Warforged.
All of them are just standard races with the same sorts of ability-score bonuses/penalties and class-features as the standard core races. Making a Tauren Fighter 1 is exactly as complicated as making a Human Fighter 1.

For the moment, I'm hoping that by increasing the options available as "Standard races", it will keep players from getting bored even when the GM vetoes their request to play as a Thri-keen or Night Hag or whatever imbalanced monster the latest sourcebook they picked up includes.


For me, changing how a spell, or magic in general works based on the size of the caster breaks verisimilitude, and for only an academic gain.
Yes, fun is paramount above all else. But in my hierarchy, balance trumps realism. If I have a choice between making something that's slightly-wonky-but-balanced, and making it seem perfectly-natural-but-unbalanced, I'm likely to go with the first option. I am not trying to make a gameworld that is 100% realistic- we left that behind around the time the Wizard started shooting fireballs out his elbows. If someone is curious about something, I will do my best to justify it fluff-wise, but at the end of the day there is a certain amount of abstraction as well as rules that exist just because they are what I need to make my gameworld run. Afterall, imbalance is hardly ever fun for anyone.

Also, why exactly does magic being affected by the caster's size bother you? Why do two creatures who are orders of magnitude different in mass have exactly the same effect when casting a spell? A pixie who mis-aims a Burning Hands spells could annihilate half her village. The storm-giant who miscasts the same thing won't even knock over his own teacup. The pixie casts Summon Monster and she and several of her friends ride the resulting creature into battle as a war-mount/mobile-siege-weapon. The storm-giant casts Summon Monster and his wife decides to carry his new minion around in her purse as a fashion accessory.
I could go on- but do none of these vastly different effects of the same spell seem the slightest bit odd to you?

rferries
2017-10-13, 11:22 PM
Also, why exactly does magic being affected by the caster's size bother you? Why do two creatures who are orders of magnitude different in mass have exactly the same effect when casting a spell? A pixie who mis-aims a Burning Hands spells could annihilate half her village. The storm-giant who miscasts the same thing won't even knock over his own teacup. The pixie casts Summon Monster and she and several of her friends ride the resulting creature into battle as a war-mount/mobile-siege-weapon. The storm-giant casts Summon Monster and his wife decides to carry his new minion around in her purse as a fashion accessory.
I could go on- but do none of these vastly different effects of the same spell seem the slightest bit odd to you?

Well, I think the general concept is that magic (whether spellcasting, supernatural abilities, etc.) is reflective of a creature's willpower rather than their physical stature. A pixie has just as much Int/Cha/Wis/"willpower" as a larger creature and can dominate it; a storm giant will be trounced by a relatively diminutive conjured pit fiend even in melee. Big creatures get Strength and Con, smaller creatures get magic.

EDIT: I love the examples you described though - the pixie pyromaniac massacre, the pet leonal in the wife's purse :D

nonsi
2017-10-14, 12:25 AM
.
I see no reason why a spell cast by a larger creature would be any harder to resist.
OTOH, it's well within reason that each size modifier would increase/decrease spell ranges and AoEs by 20%.

Alent
2017-10-14, 01:36 AM
I had my own recent thread about weapon-damage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?534853-Weapons-amp-Upgrades-Fix-(for-use-with-3-5-amp-Pathfinder)), and while I prefer to take things in a different direction, size was one of the issues that was repeatedly brought up.

I've seen it, in a vacuum it seems quite nice, but the dice bloat seems a little incompatible with D20. (Ideally, I'd like for damage in general to de-escalate some, but that ship has long sailed.)

Also, I love the dueling shields. I knew Star Trek didn't invent the Bat'lethdueling shield, but couldn't quite place what martial art it resembled before that youtube vid you linked in that thread gave me the right terminology.


Yeah, but not for size. By RAW, size doesn't affect magic directly, but other mechanics mean that casters benefit from being smaller. I picked spell DC just because it was something that I figured would be minor enough to not push things back to far the other way.

It's kind of like- suppose there was a rule that all Large characters got a +1 on skill checks. (we're ignoring the how and why for the moment, just go along with it) We're assuming that everyone else for any mechanic either didn't depend on size or balanced out for other reasons, except for this. It would be pretty blatant that the game pushed players towards picking Large-sized races, especially if they were a class for whom skill-checks were important. And if balance as well as freedom for players to choose whichever race they wanted was important to you, you'd probably want something done about it.
That's how I feel about Small casters.

I don't know that that's a fair analogy. I would argue that most large+ creatures in D&D are fine benefitting less because of their roles- They typically represent primitive giant humanoids, beasts and constructs, only with some exceptions such as dragons do they actually wield magic, and in that edge case, dragons tend to use spells that actually benefit them. (Or as is the case with that one set of dragon web supplements, invent spells that benefit themselves.)

If D&D was a little looser with allowing players to be Large or Huge, I could see it being a potential balance issue, but I have no qualms with the idea of Storm Giants seeing Scorching Ray as little more than a firestarter for the camp stove, or summon monster as being used to retrieve things that fell down in the crack between the cabinet and the wall, like obnoxious low level adventurers. Those creatures exist with Mundane benefits and detriments from their size, it makes sense that would carry over to magic. If you want a Storm Giant to terrifychallenge the party, give him the leap attack from ToB, some levels in dungeon crasher, and a knockback enchanted weapon. Give them a way to counter freedom of movement and start using the party wizard as a club to beat the fighter's brains in with. I think that angle makes more sense to explore to create a more asymmetrical balance (EG: Rock/scissors/paper) that makes the world feel deeper, rather than worrying about parity type balance.

D&D overvalues Large size due to perception that physical abilities are more useful than they ended up being, what's wrong with scaling those up and actually making them match their perceived value? You've already got some massive upscaling going on in your basic weapons.

Edit:

.
I see no reason why a spell cast by a larger creature would be any harder to resist.
OTOH, it's well within reason that each size modifier would increase/decrease spell ranges and AoEs by 20%.

Don't Breath weapons tend to be scaled by creature size? That would be precedent if you were really looking for it, I'd think.

nonsi
2017-10-14, 02:04 AM
Don't Breath weapons tend to be scaled by creature size? That would be precedent if you were really looking for it, I'd think.


That's basically the motivation for my suggestion.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-14, 11:20 AM
Well, I think the general concept is that magic (whether spellcasting, supernatural abilities, etc.) is reflective of a creature's willpower rather than their physical stature. A pixie has just as much Int/Cha/Wis/"willpower" as a larger creature and can dominate it; a storm giant will be trounced by a relatively diminutive conjured pit fiend even in melee. Big creatures get Strength and Con, smaller creatures get magic.
Fair enough, though AFAIK there's nothing specificially stopping a pixie from having the same strength score as a storm-giant. The differences in mass tend to come out in other mechanics, such as the size-modifier to grapple checks or carrying capacity. That's sort of how I view this- both the pixie and the storm-giant can be 20th level wizards, but it's easier for the pixie to hit targets with some spells, and easier for the storm-giant to affect things with others.


EDIT: I love the examples you described though - the pixie pyromaniac massacre, the pet leonal in the wife's purse :D
I'm a storyteller at heart- plus I try to keep my threads from getting to serious, this is supposed to be all about fun after all. :smallwink:



I see no reason why a spell cast by a larger creature would be any harder to resist.
It could depend on how magic works in your setting. In my world, a crude description (that no Wizard would ever admit to agreeing with) is that "magic" is basically shouting at the universe until it stops doing what it had been planning on doing, and does what you want it to do instead. And larger creatures are just better at affecting the world around them (shouting louder), whether that's by throwing rocks or throwing fireballs.

I fully admit though that's it's a change for mechanical balance first, and fluff second, and I'd be happy to discuss any other ideas that people have.


OTOH, it's well within reason that each size modifier would increase/decrease spell ranges and AoEs by 20%.
Also workable, probably. The only potential problem I could see is that if you don't also adjust spell-area, there might be some scenarios where you have to cast from inside the affected area of your own spell.

The other thing is, I believe range would affect more spells than save-DC. One of the reasons I liked save-DC is that if it proves to be an issue, you can work around it. Just like you can avoid spells with attack-rolls if that's not something you character is skilled at.



I've seen it, in a vacuum it seems quite nice, but the dice bloat seems a little incompatible with D20. (Ideally, I'd like for damage in general to de-escalate some, but that ship has long sailed.)
The link was mainly just to show that I do take size and damage and things like that into consideration.
Anyway, I don't believe it's any more out of line than other stuff that you can do (look at how many dice Meteor Swarm required you to roll, for example), especially compared to some of the later supplements like ToB. And it was intended so that you could effectively veto things like the cheesy shock-trooper style builds. Damage is appealing to a lot of players because it's almost never not-good, but it's also kinda boring sometimes. One of my goals was that by putting more damage on weapons, I could free up feats, class abilities, maneuvers, magical artifacts, etc, for more interesting things.

And I do encourage GMs to cap weapon quality in their world at whatever level they think is good enough- you don't NEED to go all the way to Legendwrought if you think that's getting out of hand. I wanted options and it's possible I might have gone a little overboard, because by RAW, there were basically none. None if you really wanted to improve weapon-quality anyway. As nonsi pointed out, there are people who prefer that all your character's power increases come from the hero themselves, rather than their gear. And I think that's a valid design strategy, just not one I prefer to use. Ideally I have a mix of both.


I don't know that that's a fair analogy. I would argue that most large+ creatures in D&D are fine benefitting less because of their roles- They typically represent primitive giant humanoids, beasts and constructs, only with some exceptions such as dragons do they actually wield magic, and in that edge case, dragons tend to use spells that actually benefit them. (Or as is the case with that one set of dragon web supplements, invent spells that benefit themselves.)
Sure, if you're only talking about NPCs and monsters (defined as things PCs fight). But I want to offer Large-sized standard races to my players, and not have them feel compelled to only make Ogre Barbarians and Gnome Wizards. I like the idea of an Ogre Sorcerer or Gnome Fighter or things like that.


If D&D was a little looser with allowing players to be Large or Huge, I could see it being a potential balance issue,
Yes, that's exactly what I want to do, and the issue I want to avoid.


but I have no qualms with the idea of Storm Giants seeing Scorching Ray as little more than a firestarter for the camp stove, or summon monster as being used to retrieve things that fell down in the crack between the cabinet and the wall, like obnoxious low level adventurers. Those creatures exist with Mundane benefits and detriments from their size, it makes sense that would carry over to magic.
I can agree with that to some extent, even most of it in fact- I'm NOT looking to revamp all of magic based on size. I don't really see my proposed change as more than a tweak, which would leave most things in line with exactly what you described.


I think that angle makes more sense to explore to create a more asymmetrical balance (EG: Rock/scissors/paper) that makes the world feel deeper, rather than worrying about parity type balance.
...
D&D overvalues Large size due to perception that physical abilities are more useful than they ended up being, what's wrong with scaling those up and actually making them match their perceived value? You've already got some massive upscaling going on in your basic weapons.
If the whole game were designed around that concept, I think I'd be more on board with it. But most archetypes don't have a preference- it only seems to come up for this one combination as far as I'm aware. So in addition to being a simpler fix, this version also seems to give players more options rather than shoehorning specific races into specific roles*. And IMO, more options are always better.

*I am aware that there are games that basically equate race to class, like the original AD&D. Again, I'll admit that it's a valid design choice if you want to build your world that way, it's just not to my preference for a typical D&D style setting.



That's basically the motivation for my suggestion.
I will consider it, definitely. Sometimes I have to let ideas percolate through my brain for a while before I either get on board or decide to reject them. One thing I wanted to change about magic was to reduce the ranges for most spells, and I want to scrutinize how this might play out with that in mind.

jqavins
2017-10-14, 06:51 PM
(Sorry it took me a bit of time to respond.)

First, let me say that I never wanted to start an argument, or discourage you from dong with your game what you want to do. So after answering you question below I'll stop talking about why I don't think it's necessary or why for me it breaks verisimilitude; the matter at hand is the method you might use, and my opinions on the merrit of the notion are rrelevant.


Also, why exactly does magic being affected by the caster's size bother you? Why do two creatures who are orders of magnitude different in mass have exactly the same effect when casting a spell? A pixie who mis-aims a Burning Hands spells could annihilate half her village. The storm-giant who miscasts the same thing won't even knock over his own teacup. The pixie casts Summon Monster and she and several of her friends ride the resulting creature into battle as a war-mount/mobile-siege-weapon. The storm-giant casts Summon Monster and his wife decides to carry his new minion around in her purse as a fashion accessory.
I could go on- but do none of these vastly different effects of the same spell seem the slightest bit odd to you?
In my mind, casting a spell is releasing and steering an effect that comes from outside the caster. Energy is tapped from another plane, or a creature is contacted, or some such. The caster's magical power and skill affect the strength of the effect, but the caster's physical attributes just have nothing to do with what happens.

Think f it this way. A blacksmith at his forge may accidentally cause a fire by dropping or flinging a bit of burning coal. Once the fire starts, it grows and spreads according to what fires do, not who the blacksmith was. A simple accident like this might burn down a human smith's shop, destroy a pixie smith's whole town, or singe a giant smith's beard, but that's just the natural consequence their respective sizes, and has nothing to do with how fire works. To say that, in the name of balance, a giant smith's accidental fire will be bigger than a pixie's would shatter verisimilitude leaving only sad little shards.

I and most of the peple I play with, if we had the idea to play a stone giant wizard, might have an internal conversation something like "Gee, there's this subtle quirk in the rules that would make my wizard more effective if he's a gnome. Ah, screw it, a giant wizard sound like fun; I'm gonna go for it." And if that's what people do, that is when I would call the imbalance academic.


*I am aware that there are games that basically equate race to class, like the original AD&D. Again, I'll admit that it's a valid design choice if you want to build your world that way, it's just not to my preference for a typical D&D style setting.That was original D&D, not AD&D.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-14, 09:57 PM
First, let me say that I never wanted to start an argument, or discourage you from dong with your game what you want to do. So after answering you question below I'll stop talking about why I don't think it's necessary or why for me it breaks verisimilitude; the matter at hand is the method you might use, and my opinions on the merrit of the notion are rrelevant.
On the contrary- I wanted to have a discussion about this and I've enjoyed reading and responding to everything people have posted. When I started out I thought I needed a large-scale change where size affects many different aspects of magic for the game world to maintain verisimilitude, but what you and other people have said makes a lot of sense and I now believe I'd be happy with it either way.


In my mind, casting a spell is releasing and steering an effect that comes from outside the caster. Energy is tapped from another plane, or a creature is contacted, or some such. The caster's magical power and skill affect the strength of the effect, but the caster's physical attributes just have nothing to do with what happens.
Ok, but by RAW there are spells that require attack rolls, which Smaller(er) creatures get a bonus to and Large(r) ones get a penalty (you also have the bonus/penalty to AC, but I kinda view that as two sides of the same coin). So that's a creature's size already having some affect on magic- how do you explain that? Or are you just one of those people who removes all the size modifiers from the game?


I and most of the peple I play with, if we had the idea to play a stone giant wizard, might have an internal conversation something like "Gee, there's this subtle quirk in the rules that would make my wizard more effective if he's a gnome. Ah, screw it, a giant wizard sound like fun; I'm gonna go for it." And if that's what people do, that is when I would call the imbalance academic.
I'm glad for you- I myself don't need to play super-optimized characters all the time or I'd play nothing but Wizards. However, if I have a choice between something that's possible-but-imbalanced and something that's possible-and-balanced, I tend to go for the later.

I get that the imbalance is small enough that you'd play a giant (the race) wizard, but what I don't get is how you think size-affecting-magic is such a suspension-of-belief breaking issue, when that already happens. You just admitted it, afterall, that you'd play a Large sized caster despite it being un-optimal. It's like you're saying "we should avoid fixing this imbalanced quirk because it makes the game less believable if we do, because...." and that's the bit where you loose me. Especially since it seems like we've already agreed that size can impact the outcome of magic.

Edit: Size doesn't have to have a BIG impact- I think my suggested fix, and some of the other stuff people have offered (like adjusting range) are relatively minor. Nor does it have to be spell-save DC. If you can think of something else to address the disparity between large and small casters, I'm all ears.


That was original D&D, not AD&D.
I stand corrected then. I still think that there was a very good reason for moving away from that paradigm, and I see no (good) reason to go back.

jqavins
2017-10-15, 10:29 AM
On the contrary- I wanted to have a discussion about this and I've enjoyed reading and responding to everything people have posted.Well, OK, if you say so.


Ok, but by RAW there are spells that require attack rolls, which Smaller(er) creatures get a bonus to and Large(r) ones get a penalty (you also have the bonus/penalty to AC, but I kinda view that as two sides of the same coin). So that's a creature's size already having some affect on magic- how do you explain that? Or are you just one of those people who removes all the size modifiers from the game?
The effect of the magic is to create something whch, in a few edge cases, requires a physical task - a ranged touch attack - as well. The caster's size affects the outcome of that physical thing, but doesn't affect the magic that leads to it.


I get that the imbalance is small enough that you'd play a giant (the race) wizard, but what I don't get is how you think size-affecting-magic is such a suspension-of-belief breaking issue, when that already happens. You just admitted it, afterall, that you'd play a Large sized caster despite it being un-optimal. It's like you're saying "we should avoid fixing this imbalanced quirk because it makes the game less believable if we do, because...." and that's the bit where you loose me. Especially since it seems like we've already agreed that size can impact the outcome of magic.
But we haven't agreed on that at all. (See above.)

Perhaps the asnwer is to create a new cetegory of attack rolls. One's strength mod is added to the roll for melee attacks, one's dex mod is added for ranged attacks, and no ability modat all is added for ray attacks; maybe add caster level instead. No dex mod means no efect from a difference in dex, which means no benefit in being small. Fluff-wise, pointing the ray has to be done, but that's such a simple thing that a high or low dex doesn't really make a difference. (Not always an easy thing, or there's be no roll, but just pointing is really simple.) You could have a feat that gives an additional modifier for ray attack rolls, or even a skill that adds your ranks in it (or a fraction thereof, say +1 per two ranks.)


I stand corrected then.Not important.
I still think that there was a very good reason for moving away from that paradigm, and I see no (good) reason to go back.
Agreed. I just don't think a tiny advantage (no pun intended) in a few edge cases comes anywhere near doing that.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-15, 12:27 PM
Well, OK, if you say so.
You say that like you don't believe me. :smallconfused:


The effect of the magic is to create something whch, in a few edge cases, requires a physical task - a ranged touch attack - as well. The caster's size affects the outcome of that physical thing, but doesn't affect the magic that leads to it.
Except it's not just "a few edge cases"- think of every spell that requires a verbal or somatic component, or an arcane focus, or has some reagent that's consumed in the casting.

You might think of magic as mystical energy manipulated with sheer force of will, except that's not just how it's presented most of the time. And neither does it exist in a vacuum. Magic might be playing by a different set of rules, but the effects are still largely centered on the physical/mundane world and it tends to behave in ways people are familiar with for existing natural laws. Whether it's generating energy (evocation) or creating matter (conjuration) or tweaking brain chemistry (enchantment) or messing about with light and sound (illusion) or breaking apart and reforming atomic bonds (transmutation), nearly all magic interacts with physicality on a regular basis.


Agreed. I just don't think a tiny advantage (no pun intended) in a few edge cases comes anywhere near doing that.
*note* I rearranged your reply a bit for clarity.
Again it's not "just a few cases" though- size affects literally every caster. Even if you don't use spells that require attack rolls, there's still the issue of AC. Now, it's normally minor because in 3.5 magic is incredibly OP, but if you had a system that was less unbalanced, squishy casters would probably care more about innate defenses. And balancing magic is an end-goal of mine, too.


Perhaps the asnwer is to create a new cetegory of attack rolls. One's strength mod is added to the roll for melee attacks, one's dex mod is added for ranged attacks, and no ability modat all is added for ray attacks; maybe add caster level instead. No dex mod means no efect from a difference in dex, which means no benefit in being small. Fluff-wise, pointing the ray has to be done, but that's such a simple thing that a high or low dex doesn't really make a difference. (Not always an easy thing, or there's be no roll, but just pointing is really simple.) You could have a feat that gives an additional modifier for ray attack rolls, or even a skill that adds your ranks in it (or a fraction thereof, say +1 per two ranks.)
If you removed the bonus/penalties to Attack rolls and AC with regard to spells, I guess that would also address the issue. Especially if I combined with the earlier suggestion to revise the size-categories so I could have Big (bigger than medium anyway) races that still fit in a 5x5 foot box. Would that kind of thing be more acceptable to you in terms of maintaining verisimilitude? There's still the problem of AC, and how casters are far more likely to be the target of melee attacks than to be making them, but it narrows the discrepancy a bit.

And if it turned out to be necessary, you could have some kind of bonus to attack rolls for spells come from a casting stat, like adding Wisdom to spellcraft attack rolls instead of Strength or Dexterity.

jqavins
2017-10-15, 05:36 PM
You say that like you don't believe me. :smallconfused:Oh, no, I believe what you say implicitly. I just thought that this is getti g further and further off topic, since the topic is how to, not whether to. Also, I hope I'm able to work throught disagreement without turning combative. Let me know if I start to slip.


Except it's not just "a few edge cases"- think of every spell that requires a verbal or somatic component, or an arcane focus, or has some reagent that's consumed in the casting.

You might think of magic as mystical energy manipulated with sheer force of will...No, I see it as by a combination of will and physical actions like the wiggling of fingers and the intoning of special gibberish. But verbal*, somatic, and focus components have nothing to do with size. As to my sense of what's easy or hard to believe, it's much harder for me to accept that the size of the fingers doing the wiggleing or the depth of the voice doing the intoning will change the magnitude or other aspects of the magical effect created than to accept that they do not. That leaves only the attack roll cases where size makes any difference in the outcome of the spell.

And then there's the AC thing. I do get your original point that the AC advantage for small races is countered by disadvantages in martial classes but not in casters. And this comes to the fundemental, irrecocilable difference between us: I don't care.


Magic might be playing by a different set of rules, but the effects are still largely centered on the physical/mundane world and it tends to behave in ways people are familiar with for existing natural laws. Whether it's generating energy (evocation) or creating matter (conjuration) or tweaking brain chemistry (enchantment) or messing about with light and sound (illusion) or breaking apart and reforming atomic bonds (transmutation), nearly all magic interacts with physicality on a regular basis.Energy is evoked or matter created, and then that energy or matter does its thing. Energy, such as sound, light, heat, or other types, is redirected to do something different. Matter, such as brain chemicals or other objects, is altered. Some of this, especially the last, has an effect that depends on the target's, but not on the caster's physical characteristics.

* I had to fix a typo here; I first typed "berbal" rather than "verbal." Describing the "special gibberish" as a "berbal component" seemed so appropriate that I was tempted to leave it be.:smallsmile:

Deepbluediver
2017-10-15, 08:08 PM
Oh, no, I believe what you say implicitly. I just thought that this is getti g further and further off topic, since the topic is how to, not whether to.
http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/06/0606dc9e03f7bd8f603e121d2d8f9bb36b98fb7a8a2540ff35 757bd10a91d8c0.jpg

Seriously though- I'm normally very open to discuss whatever musings the conversation wanders towards. You never know when someone is going to say something that makes you consider a particular factor in a way you never viewed it before. Or when something is going to inspire you to head down a previously unexplored pathway. That's why I love these discussions.


No, I see it as by a combination of will and physical actions like the wiggling of fingers and the intoning of special gibberish. But verbal*, somatic, and focus components have nothing to do with size. As to my sense of what's easy or hard to believe, it's much harder for me to accept that the size of the fingers doing the wiggleing or the depth of the voice doing the intoning will change the magnitude or other aspects of the magical effect created than to accept that they do not. That leaves only the attack roll cases where size makes any difference in the outcome of the spell.

And then there's the AC thing. I do get your original point that the AC advantage for small races is countered by disadvantages in martial classes but not in casters. And this comes to the fundamental, irreconcilable difference between us: I don't care.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like it might be more accurate to say that we prioritize things differently- after all, if you didn't care you wouldn't have raised the point.

For you, it seems as if your sense of immersion, the verisimilitude, the suspension-of-disbelief is paramount.* For reasons that I still don't entirely get (or maybe just don't agree with), having magic be affected by size breaks that for you, and disturbs your enjoyment of the game.

Personally, I've reached the point where I don't think the size-debate would bother me either way regarding believability. Size can have a big affect, or no affect, or anything in between and I'd be alright with it. For me, the most important thing is balance.* You might go so far as to say that imbalances break my sense of immersion/verisimilitude/whatever. Not in that they make a gameworld less believable, but that once I notice these things I have a hard time putting them out of my mind. The group can be discussing tactics for taking on a horde of orcs, and meanwhile I'll be rolling ideas around in my head for how to get the Monk and the Cleric to play nicely together on the same ball-field.
Bigger imbalances obviously distract me more, but even little ones are going to keep drawing me back until they are addressed, one way or another. I think it's in part due to my innate desire for order and fairness. (and goodness don't I know that "fair" can be such a loaded term)


*I'm assuming for both of us the actual most-important aspect of the game is "fun", but there can be many different ways to achieve "fun".


Energy is evoked or matter created, and then that energy or matter does its thing. Energy, such as sound, light, heat, or other types, is redirected to do something different. Matter, such as brain chemicals or other objects, is altered. Some of this, especially the last, has an effect that depends on the target's, but not on the caster's physical characteristics.
Ok, I see that, mostly, but the issue is that you CAN'T really control what sort of enemies the GM throws at you. The only thing in the gameworld that you do have absolute control over is your own character. Your character is pretty much the foundation of the whole gaming experience, which is why it's so crucial to me to get it right, and I'm generally less-willing to let things stand with a "meh" or a *shrug* as I would be for other aspects of the setting.


I had to fix a typo here; I first typed "berbal" rather than "verbal." Describing the "special gibberish" as a "berbal component" seemed so appropriate that I was tempted to leave it be.:smallsmile:
Hehehehe :smallamused:

jqavins
2017-10-16, 09:54 AM
And this comes to the fundamental, irreconcilable [spelling corrected] difference between us: I don't care.Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like it might be more accurate to say that we prioritize things differently- after all, if you didn't care you wouldn't have raised the point.
True. I should have written "I don't care much." Or even more thoroughly, "It seems to me like such a minor issue that, if addressing it means even a small reduction in my feeling that magic makes some sort of sense, and the sense that I feel like it makes, then this doesn't rise even close to being worth it." But I've often been accused of overexplaining things, and this seemed like a place for brevity.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-16, 01:23 PM
True. I should have written "I don't care much." Or even more thoroughly, "It seems to me like such a minor issue that, if addressing it means even a small reduction in my feeling that magic makes some sort of sense, and the sense that I feel like it makes, then this doesn't rise even close to being worth it." But I've often been accused of overexplaining things, and this seemed like a place for brevity.
You don't gotta justify yourself to me- I write posts like I bought my words during a firesale at Walmart. :smallbiggrin:

Anywho, I linked this in another thread and a couple other people pointed out that it gives a certain incentive for large or small casters to alter their spell-loadout. Big creatures prefer some spells and little creatures prefer other, and of course there's still a bunch in the middle that don't matter either way. Does that preference for a certain type of magic do anything (either way, good or bad) with regards to your sense of immersion?

jqavins
2017-10-16, 01:46 PM
Does that preference for a certain type of magic do anything (either way, good or bad) with regards to your sense of immersion?Sorta, not really, but I like it.

It makes sense that, since this difference exists, casters of various sizes would adapt to accommodate and even exploit it. That's good in general, but as to immersion in particular, since it's a character decision, it doesn't really make a difference either way. What I mean to say is that if casters were to fail to adapt, I would find that surprising. If casters were unable to adapt for a reason that seems arbitrary, that would hurt. Mind you, I'm not saying that what you're doing prevents them adapting; I'm just explaining what would and wouldn't bother me.

I also like when a lot of differences appear between characters. Optimized characters tend to be very similar by class, so if adapting to a factor like this brings about more diversity then I'm all for it. Not an immersion issue, but another sort of preference.

Deepbluediver
2017-10-16, 05:52 PM
It makes sense that, since this difference exists, casters of various sizes would adapt to accommodate and even exploit it. That's good in general, but as to immersion in particular, since it's a character decision, it doesn't really make a difference either way. What I mean to say is that if casters were to fail to adapt, I would find that surprising. If casters were unable to adapt for a reason that seems arbitrary, that would hurt. Mind you, I'm not saying that what you're doing prevents them adapting; I'm just explaining what would and wouldn't bother me.

I also like when a lot of differences appear between characters. Optimized characters tend to be very similar by class, so if adapting to a factor like this brings about more diversity then I'm all for it. Not an immersion issue, but another sort of preference.
That definitely makes sense.

Anywho, I think I'm running out of things to add to the conversation, but I wanted to thank you for all your feedback- its been very enlightening and helpful.