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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Ehh, I'm completely fine with dipping. If you want to make a character that does X and you figure out the best way to do X is to take a few levels of varying classes I don't see the problem.
    I'm normally pretty tolerant of fluff/op divides, but this rustles my jimmies. That you can get a disproportionately huge return on investment by dipping is bad design, plain and simple, besides the often glaring divide between fluff and crunch these builds usually represent, with the former contorted to service the latter. While I understand some classes must be necessarily frontloaded so that they can have a certain playstyle out of the box, powerful frontloaded elements should have minimum level requirements relative to your other levels.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    One way of making that referenced 'starter deck' concept viable without having ivory tower-style bad feats, is to have feats that supplement general flavor concepts, rather than pushing a specific mechanical. They're still good, just not the absolute best possible choice for a specific strategy in mind.

    For instance, a hypothetical 'woodland archer' theme might include a few bow/ranged-spell-enhancing feats, but then throw in a feat that enhances wilderness mobility (fitting with the general theme but not the mechanical focus) rather than that next ranged-specific feat. The newcomer player still feels he has a flavor-appropriate choice, but the experienced player might choose to step out of the theme and go for another ranged feat that fits the mechanics better. That wilderness mobility feat is still viable, not a 'bad feat' in general, but not perhaps the best choice of all possible options.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    The benefit derived from a class should be proportionate to your level investment in it whenever possible.
    I would kind of like to see them use specialties and feats as the only real means of "multi classing". So you want to be a wizard that can mix it up occasionally, great, take some of the fighter specialties and feats, maybe even make some that can grant you some AC or ATK bonuses if you're below X, but no dipping into the fighter or barbarian class itself. Basically mechanically enforcing the idea that sure you can multi class, but you'll never be as good as the real thing, and its more than just an equal division of your attention.

    Alternatively, I suppose you could build a system where by the difference between your highest level class and your lowest level class becomes a modifier to all checks, skills and powers associated with ANY of your lower level classes.

    My point is Defender and Arcane Dabbler should be equally viable for both Fighters and Wizards to take. I agree with you that it's impossible without dramatically changing the system as they currently have it, but it has nothing to do with balance.
    Why should Defender and Arcane dabbler have the same viability for different classes though? I've never understood what is so wrong with the idea that some classes just won't or can't be as good as others at certain things. It's no different than real life. No matter how many laps I swim, I'll never compete in the olympics, it's just not in my class. That doesn't mean that swimming in the pool is useless to me, or that I don't derive a benefit from it, but certainly a more athletic person will benefit more. There's nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited by 1337 b4k4; 2012-09-05 at 11:58 AM.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Why should Defender and Arcane dabbler have the same viability for different classes though? I've never understood what is so wrong with the idea that some classes just won't or can't be as good as others at certain things. It's no different than real life. No matter how many laps I swim, I'll never compete in the olympics, it's just not in my class. That doesn't mean that swimming in the pool is useless to me, or that I don't derive a benefit from it, but certainly a more athletic person will benefit more. There's nothing wrong with that.
    Thing is we're not talking about real life, we're talking about game design. If Arcane Dabbler is always going to be a useless trap option for a Fighter, then don't let fighters take that feat.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Thing is we're not talking about real life, we're talking about game design. If Arcane Dabbler is always going to be a useless trap option for a Fighter, then don't let fighters take that feat.
    I think there is a wide, wide range between useless trap and everything is perfectly balanced. I can think of several reasons why a fighter would want Arcane Dabbler or a wizard would want Defender. Why restrict someone?

    That said, I do also see the use of at least stating what the more optimal and less optimal choices are. Which so far they're doing with the Suggested Background/Specialty/whatever they have for each class.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Ideally, pre-selected choices would be unnecessary because optimization should be intuitive and fun even for new players. Think about it as more like Dominion than MtG: there is still a vast range of possible strategies for experienced players to explore, but even relatively new players can pick up on powerful choices, and the process of discovery is fun at essentially every stage.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    Ideally, pre-selected choices would be unnecessary because optimization should be intuitive and fun even for new players. Think about it as more like Dominion than MtG: there is still a vast range of possible strategies for experienced players to explore, but even relatively new players can pick up on powerful choices, and the process of discovery is fun at essentially every stage.
    What does that have to do with Dominion? Of course character optimization should be as fun and intuitive as possible, but ultimately no matter what you do, it's going to end up being complicated and take a significant amount of time. Specialties allow players to move into the system more gradually, or to avoid it altogether if they wish.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Why should Defender and Arcane dabbler have the same viability for different classes though? I've never understood what is so wrong with the idea that some classes just won't or can't be as good as others at certain things. It's no different than real life. No matter how many laps I swim, I'll never compete in the olympics, it's just not in my class. That doesn't mean that swimming in the pool is useless to me, or that I don't derive a benefit from it, but certainly a more athletic person will benefit more. There's nothing wrong with that.
    Think of it like the difference between summon monster I and Power Attack on the one hand, and silent image and Elusive Target on the other.

    For a wizard, summon monster spells are quite handy for a bunch of reasons: having minions, accessing SLAs, having a meatshield, etc. For a fighter, Power Attack is a bread-and-butter feat that is the basis for many builds. However, if a fighter picks up summon monster via some means, it's not very useful to him because (A) usually martial types picking up spells get low CLs and uses per day, meaning he can't use it to good potential even at higher levels, and (B) casting it will directly compete for actions in combat with something he can actually do well; if a wizard picks up Power Attack, his low BAB and lack of synergizing abilities means it's usually a waste of time to use it, unless he's using magic to get more use out of it (e.g. true strike) in which case he's essentially casting a spell to get some benefit, and needing a feat to get an extra benefit from that spell is a waste when he could just cast a useful spell.

    In contrast, if you give a fighter silent image, he can use it to very good effect, just as much as a wizard can, because (A) "make a picture of whatever you can think of" is more player-dependent than class-dependent, (B) the duration of Concentration means both fighters and wizards of any level can use it for a meaningful length of time, and (C) it's not competing for combat actions, his main schtick. Likewise, if you give a wizard Elusive Target, he'll not only get the same benefits out of it that a fighter does (negating PA damage), but it's actually useful to him because avoiding PA damage is something anyone wants to do regardless of class.

    Same thing with 4e examples: Ritual Caster is something any class can take and anyone might want, because "do things out of combat" is class-, role-, and schtick-independent, while a Leader picking up a Striker-y power or vice versa via multiclassing just gives you something that either is useless to you or is useful but competes for actions with your Leader-y powers that you actually specced for and intend to use. Picking up an X Expertise feat will enhance your class's primary schtick regardless of class, while Blade Opportunist is a feat that greatly benefits many weapon-using classes but, though being a feat implement-users can take, is basically a waste of a feat slot for most of them. And so on and so forth.

    So we have an example of some abilities that wouldn't be good to get when multiclassing because of level-dependent variables and lack of usefulness when they're not relevant to your primary schtick, and some abilities that could be good to get when multiclassing because they're level- and class-independent and expand your capabilities rather than competing with them. If you're going to make abilities that should be in theory equally accessible to and viable for any class, they should be more like the latter than the former. There's no sense in making specialties like the former, because other classes aren't going to take them in the vast majority of cases; those are good candidates for class-specific features like combat styles or traditions, where they can be tied into other class abilities better and where they'll see more use.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Thing is we're not talking about real life, we're talking about game design.
    Sure, and games aren't fun if your choices have no meaning. When you design a system where every single possible combination is perfectly balanced against all other possible combinations, you have a game where your choices don't really matter, and that's just not fun.

    Thing is we're not talking about real life, we're talking about game design. If Arcane Dabbler is always going to be a useless trap option for a Fighter, then don't let fighters take that feat.
    As Dienekes said, there's a wide gulf between useless, and equally balanced for all classes. Every option should have some utility, but there's nothing wrong with the amount of utility you have being a factor of the class you chose. Though perhaps I might see more of your point if you could explain what you consider to be a "useless trap" (in particular, are there any in the current playtest). I ask because I never spent much time with 3.x and I avoid all char op discussion like the plague because it bores me to no end, and because I can't stand to read character descriptions that look like A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H with P, Q, and R feats

    [quote]Ideally, pre-selected choices would be unnecessary because optimization should be intuitive and fun even for new players.[quote]

    You still need (or should have) pre-packs because there are just some people who don't find optimization fun, no matter how intuitive it is. I have one player in my group for whom just the description of how CS dice work (as written in the playtest) is boring and eye-glazing, having to read through a massive set of skills and feats to decide a character would be worse for them. Much easier just to say "Heres a list of (commonly defined) styles, what would you like".

    Incidentally, I would love to see a module or rule option for allowing background-less and specialty-less characters the ability to play with other characters. Perhaps some simple (dissociated) mechanic such as characters without backgrounds and specialties may, 2 times per day (+1 per level or so), add 1d4 (increment 1 die size each 5 levels) to any check or damage roll. Alternatively, just allow them to apply advantage or disadvantage to any roll (including the DM's rolls)

    So we have an example of some abilities that wouldn't be good to get when multiclassing because of level-dependent variables and lack of usefulness when they're not relevant to your primary schtick, and some abilities that could be good to get when multiclassing because they're level- and class-independent and expand your capabilities rather than competing with them. If you're going to make abilities that should be in theory equally accessible to and viable for any class, they should be more like the latter than the former. There's no sense in making specialties like the former, because other classes aren't going to take them in the vast majority of cases; those are good candidates for class-specific features like combat styles or traditions, where they can be tied into other class abilities better and where they'll see more use.
    Ah, now here we can generally agree. I think most of the (lower level) specialties and the feats should be largely static (if they're numeric at all) abilities and bonuses. Doesn't mean certain classes still won't benefit from them more than others.

    On the other hand, there's a good argument to be made that dividing your power, attention or training over multiple things absolutely generate a situation were you aren't nearly as good as the specialist, and your also taking away from your specialties too. This is how life is, you can't do everything, and so I generally have no issue with the fact that it is mechanically possible to generate a jack of all trades and master of none. Mastery comes from specialization, and versatility has its costs. Of course, I also strongly believe in randomly generated stats, so a high STR, DEX, CON and INT fighter should be within the realm of possibility, and I certainly think they should be better at dabbling in magic than the fighter with low INT. The fact that they're rarer and harder to get is to me a feature, not a bug.
    Last edited by 1337 b4k4; 2012-09-05 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Sure, and games aren't fun if your choices have no meaning. When you design a system where every single possible combination is perfectly balanced against all other possible combinations, you have a game where your choices don't really matter, and that's just not fun.
    This is absolutely absurd. White and Black in chess are balanced and almost completely identical, the only difference between them being that White goes first and Black goes second. Does that mean it doesn't matter what side you play? Hell no: There are entire books written on how just to play the Black side. That one tiny factor affects strategy significantly.

    In other asymmetric games there's way, way more variation between options than there is between white and black. Of course your choice matters. Balanced options does not mean identical options.


    Really, I think you're confusing character creation choices with a player's skill at char op. In a theoretically perfectly balanced system, yes, your skill at character optimization doesn't matter because you can't use your character creation choices to get an advantage over another player. But is this really such a bad thing? Just because your character creation choices can't give you an advantage doesn't mean they're irrelevant.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    On the other hand, there's a good argument to be made that dividing your power, attention or training over multiple things absolutely generate a situation were you aren't nearly as good as the specialist, and your also taking away from your specialties too. This is how life is, you can't do everything, and so I generally have no issue with the fact that it is mechanically possible to generate a jack of all trades and master of none. Mastery comes from specialization, and versatility has its costs. Of course, I also strongly believe in randomly generated stats, so a high STR, DEX, CON and INT fighter should be within the realm of possibility, and I certainly think they should be better at dabbling in magic than the fighter with low INT. The fact that they're rarer and harder to get is to me a feature, not a bug.
    It's perfectly fine to have specialists in an area be better than generalists in that particular area while also enabling master-of-none dabblers, and I agree that any detour from your specialty will probably make you weaker at it. What I'm talking about is the degree to which a detour punishes dabblers. If your class and specialty don't match, there are a few ways that could work out in the system: having a specialty with a different focus could benefit your class's focus, harm your class's focus, not really interact at all, or something else.

    To put it in 3e terms, if you want to be a spellcaster with some combat ability there are huge differences between any of the following approaches: a wizard 15/fighter 5 (pursuing a secondary focus cripples your primary focus), a wizard/fighter/abjurant champion (pursuing a secondary focus reinforces your primary focus), a wizard/fighter/eldritch knight (you have a secondary focus, but it's fairly weak compared to your primary one), a wizard with some combat feats (your secondary focus just sits there mostly unused), a Snowflake Wardance bard with utility spells (you have two foci, but you only do one at a time), a wizard with lots of combat-focused self buffs (you can sacrifice some of your primary focus to enable a secondary focus), a duskblade (you have two foci that synergize incredibly well), and a hexblade (you have two foci and suck at both of them).

    What I'm essentially saying is that specialties that, when combined with classes outside their focus, would work more like the duskblade, abjurant champion, or bard (either the specialty synergizes with your class and reinforces it, or it doesn't compete with your class at all) are good ones to have as specialties, and any that would work like the wizard/fighter, hexblade, or eldritch knight (either the specialty is basically a formality and not useful enough to bother with, or it actively detracts from your class in terms of actions or other character resources) should be bundled in with classes within their focus. Having both sorts of specialties essentially brings back the "trap options" problem where some combinations are very good, some are very bad, and it's not always obvious which are which, and that conflicts with the stated desire to have any class/specialty combination be at least viable, if not amazing.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Ehh, I'm completely fine with dipping. If you want to make a character that does X and you figure out the best way to do X is to take a few levels of varying classes I don't see the problem.
    Well to put it simply, if you were using Prestige Classes (chapter 6 is nothing but variants, PrCs are in chapter 6, thus are not standard rules) the progression of every class essentially stopped at 6. The rest of the printed material for a class was essentially worthless information.

    d20 modern actually went with that as part of the ruleset, and the "base classes" were deliberately designed to be nothing but stepping stones to what you wanted to actually do in game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeful View Post
    Well to put it simply, if you were using Prestige Classes (chapter 6 is nothing but variants, PrCs are in chapter 6, thus are not standard rules) the progression of every class essentially stopped at 6. The rest of the printed material for a class was essentially worthless information.

    d20 modern actually went with that as part of the ruleset, and the "base classes" were deliberately designed to be nothing but stepping stones to what you wanted to actually do in game.
    And that's a neat idea--only three or four base classes, which lead into specialisation. "Fighter", "mage", "skillmonkey", and "healer" would be the archetypes there, I think.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    And that's a neat idea--only three or four base classes, which lead into specialisation. "Fighter", "mage", "skillmonkey", and "healer" would be the archetypes there, I think.
    I've heard this before and I understand the attractiveness of that kind of system, but I've always felt the same way: it's simply not why I play D&D. I play D&D to experience many different systems of play together and to see how they interact with each other; so, a system that reduces those systems of play is simply something that I wouldn't like to see in the core rulebooks.

    Core aside, though, I think it could be entertaining.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Surrealistik View Post
    Concerning optimization, there is one thing I never want to see again, and that is 3.5 style dip whoring.

    I personally enjoy optimizing and making powerful characters, but a dip composite Frankenstein fringing on the nigh inexplicable as anything other than a char op thought experiment completely nauseates me. The benefit derived from a class should be proportionate to your level investment in it whenever possible.
    I did mention before that they are looking at making specific changes to some of the classes for multi class characters, to avoid characters gaining to significant of a boost from class dipping. They said it's like the version of the class for single class characters and the version for multiclass will have some differences. They want a single class character to feel powerful and complete from level one, but they don't want someone to say, gain all those rogue abilities at level one. They also don't someone who dips a level of wizard at late levels do get a couple of non scaling level 1 spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    Ideally, pre-selected choices would be unnecessary because optimization should be intuitive and fun even for new players. Think about it as more like Dominion than MtG: there is still a vast range of possible strategies for experienced players to explore, but even relatively new players can pick up on powerful choices, and the process of discovery is fun at essentially every stage.
    Read Robin's Laws for Good Gamemastering. Specialties are not just about new players, they are about attracting different types of players. There are two kinds of players D&D has never been good for, Casual Gamers and Storytellers. A casual gamer mostly wants to hang out with friends, and as a rule they hate making tough choices, and it's terribly GMing to force tough choices on them. By allowing them to make one broad choice instead of dozens of specific choices, you've made the game better for them.

    Storytellers care very little for the game mechanics, they just want to be part of a good story. To them, game mechanics are, at best, a necessary evil. A system which allows them to build story elements into their character, and have game mechanics provided to them could go a long way to making D&D more attractive to them.

    You have to remember that not everyone sees the core engagement of RPGs to be building characters. D&D isn't niche or cult anymore, they have to try to appeal to more than just hardcore gamers and tacticians. Considering I like to share my hobby, I'm all for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Incomparable options can still be balanced or imbalanced against one another. My point is Defender and Arcane Dabbler should be equally viable for both Fighters and Wizards to take. I agree with you that it's impossible without dramatically changing the system as they currently have it, but it has nothing to do with balance.
    Unfortunately, I don't think reality will ever match up to the fantasy you desire. The fact is, some feats will always be better for some characters. A feat that helps you in melee is inherently worse for a wizard than a fighter as a wizard, due to low AC and HP, tends to avoid melee as a rule. Not to say you can't make a melee wizard, but a fighter will always find more use for said feat. Similarly, feats that give spells or enhance magical abilities will always be more useful to classes that are good at magic.

    If a fighter takes arcane dabbler, they gain a couple cantrips that give them cool abilities and make them more versatile as a character, but it doesn't really increase their offensive or defensive ability in a fight. The feats in the Defender Specialty will be better at making the fighter a better front line combatant, but arcane feats will make the character more versatile over all. Sometimes you'll have to give up pure effectiveness and power for versatility, and different classes will get different exchange rates for different feats. Saying every feat should be equal for everyone is like saying every magic item should be equally useful to everyone, or everyone's abilities should work the same. They tried to do stuff like that for 4e.
    Last edited by TheOOB; 2012-09-05 at 06:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    I did mention before that they are looking at making specific changes to some of the classes for multi class characters, to avoid characters gaining to significant of a boost from class dipping. They said it's like the version of the class for single class characters and the version for multiclass will have some differences. They want a single class character to feel powerful and complete from level one, but they don't want someone to say, gain all those rogue abilities at level one. They also don't someone who dips a level of wizard at late levels do get a couple of non scaling level 1 spells.
    This, I feel is a very good thing to do, as long as it is done right. Leveling into a class needs to feel organic, not "I read over the wizard's shoulder & he showed me some things about magic, now I am just as competent as he is after spending his entire childhood training"

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Unfortunately, I don't think reality will ever match up to the fantasy you desire. The fact is, some feats will always be better for some characters. A feat that helps you in melee is inherently worse for a wizard than a fighter as a wizard, due to low AC and HP, tends to avoid melee as a rule. Not to say you can't make a melee wizard, but a fighter will always find more use for said feat. Similarly, feats that give spells or enhance magical abilities will always be more useful to classes that are good at magic.
    I think it's definitely possible, but I will say it'll require a fundamental rethinking of how D&D works (and the slaughter of many, many sacred cows).

    If a fighter takes arcane dabbler, they gain a couple cantrips that give them cool abilities and make them more versatile as a character, but it doesn't really increase their offensive or defensive ability in a fight. The feats in the Defender Specialty will be better at making the fighter a better front line combatant, but arcane feats will make the character more versatile over all. Sometimes you'll have to give up pure effectiveness and power for versatility, and different classes will get different exchange rates for different feats. Saying every feat should be equal for everyone is like saying every magic item should be equally useful to everyone, or everyone's abilities should work the same. They tried to do stuff like that for 4e.
    I'm not asking for "A character who puts every last point into combat (A) will be just as good at combat as a character who spreads all their points evenly (B)", I'm asking for "A and B are just as worthwhile to have in the party."

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    I think it's definitely possible, but I will say it'll require a fundamental rethinking of how D&D works (and the slaughter of many, many sacred cows).



    I'm not asking for "A character who puts every last point into combat (A) will be just as good at combat as a character who spreads all their points evenly (B)", I'm asking for "A and B are just as worthwhile to have in the party."
    Yes, but who is to measure what is worthwhile to the party. In a combat heavy campaign, a fighter taking summon familiar is only screwing him and his party over, but in a campaign focused around stealth and intrigue it could be one of the best feats in the game. WotC can't balance every feat for every possible occasion. And while I agree that preserving sacred cows for the purpose of tradition alone can be silly, you also have to remember that there are literally hundreds of RPG's out there, and if D&D changes too much too fast it risks losing it's identity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    This, I feel is a very good thing to do, as long as it is done right. Leveling into a class needs to feel organic, not "I read over the wizard's shoulder & he showed me some things about magic, now I am just as competent as he is after spending his entire childhood training"
    Yeah. Imagine taking a level dip in rogue. You'd gain 2d6 sneak attack, a rogue scheme, skill master(both the min ten and the +3 or ability mod thing). That's insane, you'd be a fool not to take it. The implication I got is that if you start as a rogue, you get all that at once, but if you enter rogue later, it'll take a few levels until you get all those abilities.

    On the other hand dipping spell casters they said will be more viable, as a higher level character might get slightly higher level spells than just level 1. Since spells don't scale with level 3 level 1 spells would be pretty useless to a level 15 character.
    Last edited by TheOOB; 2012-09-05 at 08:30 PM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Something that always influences optimization and good choices is power level of the campaign.

    Some people just like high-powered campaigns. This is their fun. Due to the larger amount of magic and effects getting tossed about in those games, and the merciless optimization that running those characters requires, what makes an effective character changes. Perfectly reasonable choices in moderate games become traps in high-powered games.

    After much polling of the game-playing populace, the designers have chosen to design for the low-to-mid power players. They are designing a game where the sub-optimal player is assumed as the average player. When you play in that very popular mode, then you should see a game that agrees with that aesthetic. In short, the lower powered players are the majority of their customers. The majority of their player base likes having room to make character choices rather than combat choices.

    You can certainly still play a high-power game, but the designers are leaving that up to you to work out.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Clawhound View Post
    You can certainly still play a high-power game, but the designers are leaving that up to you to work out.
    I agree in the way that they are designing the game for low-mid currently.

    But I think they think that its easier to have the core system to be low-mid and introduce high level in a module. They say that modules are a key aspect of the system, and I think that is a great way of doing it.

    Personally I think its easy to go from low (in core) to high in a module then the other way around.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Imagine taking a level dip in rogue. You'd gain 2d6 sneak attack, a rogue scheme, skill master(both the min ten and the +3 or ability mod thing). That's insane, you'd be a fool not to take it. The implication I got is that if you start as a rogue, you get all that at once, but if you enter rogue later, it'll take a few levels until you get all those abilities.
    Tirade time.
    3.x a level 1 character gets 4x normal skill points, 4x normal feats (one plus his level counts toward the usual 1 per 3 levels), his good saves are 5x normal, his HP are greater than normal, if he's a caster he gets full access to two levels of spells (0 and 1) which is usually about 4 levels worth of stuff. If he's a fighter he gets a ****-load of proficiencies and about 3 levels worth of fighter feats.

    None of this is particularly subtle or hidden. Level 1 on almost every class table in 3.0 gave about 4 times as many features as the average level. 3.5 TRIED to spread that out, which mostly meant that levels 1 and 2 both gets loads of stuff.

    The fact is that level 1 in 3.x is worth about 3-4 levels of "stuff" for both class features and for most general character features. So why not start PCs at level 4 and balance around that?

    Baseline damage can be 2-3 times as high if you like fragile characters at start. (No max HP at level one, so you don't need 4x damage.)

    Doing this makes playing an apprentice easy. It makes it possible to start as a multiclass if that's important to your concept. It largely eliminates the need for NPC classes (you might still want one for skilled non-combatants, but the rest can go away). It eliminates dips as a way to get massive bonuses and leaves it as a way to develop two classes at once. It lets you model children and adolecents better (NPC adults of PHB races are now level 3+, so adolescents are level 2, children are level 1). It lets you model weaker monsters without needing fractional HD or CR. It makes playing a starting character from a race with a couple of racial HD or a small level adjustment possible.

    You still need to fix the interactions of caster progression and multiclassing. But if they'd gone with "start at level 4" or even "start at level 2 or 3" rather than "start at level 1" then they'd have fixed most of their multiclassing problems and made the system simpler and more consistent.

    Starting at level 1 is a sacred cow, but its a stupid one. Ballance the system arround the assumption that players start at whatever level makes sense based on the power you're giving them and the amount of power you're giving per level.

    5th edition is still doing this, rogues get an absurd amount at level 1 (including 2 levels worth of sneak attack and other stuff). Fighters start with 3 uses for a superiority die (and look like they need 6 more levels to double that). Skills look like they start with 24 levels worth of bonuses! Start at a higher level and you can spread stuff out appropriately and give slightly higher base damages (or more dice from powers) to make up for the higher base HP.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Pulling some numbers out of thin air, I would guess that of all game sessions played 60% are low level, 30% mid-level, and 10% high level. Though in reality it might lean even stronger to low-level games.
    So getting low-level to work is the most important. Unless campaigns start at higher levels, everyone else has to get through the low levels to even get to the high ones. If high level play doesn not work, that's unfortunate but 90% of all players will never encounter it. But when low-levels are bad, it affects all players and that really damages your chances to get people to buy any more books after the core rules. High level is good when it works, low-level must work!
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    It seems a lot of the discussion on this thread revolves around optimization and how the designers can handle that.

    I wonder, when did this phenomenon of optimization first start? Has it been a part of the game since the outset? Or has it really taken off since the rise of the internet (and boards/forums on optimizing builds) coupled with D&D 3.x, with easy multi-classing and a 100,000 PrCs?

    I honestly don't know the history of high-power gaming. My guess would be that in 2nd Edition and earlier, it was less of an issue. Sure, you had character kits and such, but nothing really like the PrCs of 3.x, plus it was much harder to reach out to the gaming community and get feedback on character builds back then.

    I think WotC didn't anticipate how powerful an element of the game optimizing would become when they first released 3.x, because no-one really understood the impact the internet would have on gaming, especially a version of D&D with 100,000 PrCs.

    Now it looks like they are trying to put the genie back in the bottle with D&D Next... it seems like it will be difficult.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    The day the 3.0 Player Handbook was on bookshelves.

    In AD&D, you rolled your stats, picked your race and PHB class, and that was it. You might later gain proficiency to more weapons or improve your proficiency level with existing ones, but the number of proficiency points was fixed. Everything else was customizing equipment.
    And then 3rd Edition had the great idea of introducing PrCs and Feats and putting lots of new Classes, PrCs, and Feats into every single book.

    It can be contained in 5th Edition, simply by not putting feats, races and classes into every book but keep the game limited to the PHB races and classes and main campaign setting books.
    But that would be the opposite of the entire business model of 3rd and 4th Edition.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    It can be contained in 5th Edition, simply by not putting feats, races and classes into every book but keep the game limited to the PHB races and classes and main campaign setting books.
    But that would be the opposite of the entire business model of 3rd and 4th Edition.
    It's also a game I would have trouble buying. I mainly pick up new books for mechanical options (races in particular), not story or setting, because I don't need to pay $30 a pop for what I can just write for myself or scavenge from novels.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    And that's the corner they painted themselves into.

    They ended up with two opposing interests their customers have.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    So, I haven't been paying attention to this whole 5th Edition thing, and I only recently heard about it.
    I guess this is terribly lazy of me but; Could someone explain to me the basic difference between this and 3.5/Pathfinder?
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The day the 3.0 Player Handbook was on bookshelves.
    More like the day GURPS 1e was released, and calculation on attribute-skill distribution for point conservation started.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeivar View Post
    So, I haven't been paying attention to this whole 5th Edition thing, and I only recently heard about it.
    I guess this is terribly lazy of me but; Could someone explain to me the basic difference between this and 3.5/Pathfinder?
    It's a completely different game from the ground up, that keeps a lot of stylistic similarities (classes, fantasy races, the same attributes, feats, etc.).
    Last edited by Knaight; 2012-09-06 at 01:05 PM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    More like the day GURPS 1e was released, and calculation on attribute-skill distribution for point conservation started.

    It's a completely different game from the ground up, that keeps a lot of stylistic similarities (classes, fantasy races, the same attributes, feats, etc.).
    Not really... I'd rather say it's taking the best parts of 3rd Edition, but changing them so the game is overall more similar to 2nd Edition.

    It is very similar to 3rd Edition is many, maybe even most ways. The main difference is, that base attack bonus and saving throws do not increase with every level. Base attack bonus increases very slowly and there are no saving throw bonuses at all. Instead you simply roll 1d20 plus your ability modifier and in many situations, you do not use just Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom, but sometimes also Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma when it makes most sense.
    The skills are very similar to 3rd Edition as well, but there are no skill points. Instead you start with 3 skills that have a modifier of +3 plus ability modifier. Rogues start with 6 skills. A system to learn new skills later on is not yet really there (there are ways, but they are really not much developed yet).
    Feats are just as they always were.

    And I guess that's really 90% of the game as in the current test version.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Tirade time.
    3.x a level 1 character gets 4x normal skill points, 4x normal feats (one plus his level counts toward the usual 1 per 3 levels), his good saves are 5x normal, his HP are greater than normal, if he's a caster he gets full access to two levels of spells (0 and 1) which is usually about 4 levels worth of stuff. If he's a fighter he gets a ****-load of proficiencies and about 3 levels worth of fighter feats.
    I'm going to stop you right there. First of all, most of your numbers are either wrong or horribly misleading. The skill points is true(though a level 1 character has the lowest skill cap for those points). By default a level 1 character only starts with 1 feat. I don't know where you got that 4x number, but it's just a feat, and it's available to everyone. Good saves are plus 2 over 0, which once again isn't a multiplier at all, and it's something you can get at later level via multi classing. Max HP at level 1 is normal, and depending on the campaign they may continue to get it. 0 level spells are not a whole level a spells, and weapon proficiencies are normal.

    Like I said, most the numbers you put out are either wrong or meaningless.

    If every character gets something at level 1, that's not really something of note. The problem is when a class provides a lot of front loaded unique abilities for multiclassing. Like the 3.0 ranger, which had three feats right at level 1. In 3.5 they changed that, making you take 2 levels to get those feats. It balanced ranger multi classing, but punished single classed rangers who already kind of sucked.

    Anyways, WotC tried making starting characters more powerful, it was called 4e, and there were a lot of complaints about combat taking two long, and the players being invincible. So in this edition they are turning things down. Characters are relatively fragile at all levels, but between hit dice and powerful healing they should still be able to adventure for awhile before running out of steam. They are trying to make it so combat is dangerous, without making the PC's run home and rest every encounter.

    By definition, level 1 is the starting point. You may be suprised to find many people like playing characters who are only slightly better than an average person, slowly gaining in power until they become like gods. You can certainly start at a higher level, and I'm sure those rules will be around eventually, but the option to start at level 1 should both exist and be the default. From a design standpoint, it's easier to add something than take it away, and it's easier to make something stronger than make something weaker. That's why no magic items is going to be the base, and they'll have rules for making encounters tougher based on how many magic items you're giving them.
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