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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Certainly, but it still didn't feel right to lump it with the others.
    In my experience the older editions (especially oD&D) could be pretty light.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    I suppose in part it depends upon what you consider "crunch". For GURPS (admittedly - I've read but not played) it seems that you need to know the bulk of the rules before playing anything, while in 3e you can play with knowing a small % of the rules, gaining system mastery through play and mostly just in relation to your own class/abilities. (And - if like most games you stay in single digit levels - you never need to know many of the rules.)

    Even if GURPS has somewhat less rules overall - it makes the barrier to play much higher. So - which is 'crunchier' depends upon your definition.

    With Gurps nobody can just dig up an obscure feat or rules from a myriad of splatbooks, the GM will tell what books are in use so when playing fantasy a players that has used Gurps supers to make his character will be vetoed (unless playing high level D&Desque fantasy?maybe?). What Gurps has is a lots and lots of rules that cover everything and you'll never ever use unless you have a huge stick up your ass and love rules.

    Do you really want to calculate how big a hole 3 people can dig in an hour? How far exactly you manage to hike with your hiking skill in 5 hours through difficult terrain? Your chances of catching malaria and how it affects you when traversing the jungle? What happens to your character when he gets booted out of an airlock with no spacesuit on? How far and how much damage your Strength 12 character does when throwing a 0.5lbs bottle? What is your velocity after falling 27 yards in 0.5G and how much damage you take when you impact on the ground?

    Half the book in Gurps is filled with rules I'll never use.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    @RazorChain: I totally ask and answer questions like that.

    Joke being, I play LotFP and freeform, that is, game with light or no rules, and use real math and research for such. I don't consult rulebooks, I consult Wikipedia or my Scout's handbook, and a pocket calculator.

    ---

    Anyways... reading through this thread, some things seem worth of commenting.

    First, the idea Quertus has displayed here and in other threads, that of using modules (etc.) as a balance benchmark, is in the right direction. The reason is simple: game system =/= a game. For an actual playable game, you need a scenario.

    But therein lies the catch: D&D, and majority of other popular game systems are set so that the actual playgroup, usually the GM, is expected to build the scenarios. And it increasingly appears to me that a lot of people aren't aware of a really basic thing:

    1) Scenario design is game design.

    Corollary to 1): On the level of actual, tangible table play, scenario design often has much greater influence on game balance than the system

    A lot of people have (correctly) observed 2): most people suck at game design. This is true of most hobby skills. But put together, 1) and 2) have a corollary that deserves more attention: even if a system is balanced in a vacuum, no guarantee exists that the balance will remain extant in any given scenario.

    Classic examples of balance problems which are caused by shoddy scenario design: 15-minute work days, limited use abilities being just as good as unlimited use due to too few targets, limited use abilities being better than unlimited use because of too few targets and the limited use ability being much cheaper, some classes and class combinations rendered entirely unusable because of too many enemies with arbitrary immunities, etc.

    People look at these and blame the system, not realizing that these are scenario dependent features and can occur in almost any system.

    Spoiler: Tangent
    Show
    Related: some people have noted that 4e D&D was really well balanced on a system level. But they forget what the cost was.

    No, it was not that the classes were samey. It was that the scenarios were samey. I've not played 4e, but those 4e modules I've seen & seen analyzed were strictly formula. Literally. The price of balance in 4e was making system math the gospel for GM scenario design. A great idea had they aimed for a computer game scenario design program, but a waste of human resources for tabletop roleplaying games. It's wrong paradigm for the medium.

    Why? Because scenario design in tabletop games can be open ended The scenario doesn't have to be complete: bugs can be fixed, content added and solutions invented on the fly.

    Scenario design in computer game is typically closed. Everything that's desired to be in the scenario has to be input before playing starts, or at very least algorithms put in place to fill in for imagination.

    A living human can adjust on the spot in ways a computer can't. On the flipside, a computer is much better at crunching numbers, so trying to make a human into a computer these days is counter-productive. 4e was a step towards that direction - towards closed design and number crunching - and as a result didn't play into strengths of a human GM.

    Now, older versions of D&D, and old wargames, were not exactly perfect in this regard either - but looking back, they had an excuse: computation wasn't as well developed in the 70s and 80s as now, and some unwieldy parts which would be better done by computers now were only possible for humans back then. Indeed, one of the reasons why computers are so good at those things now is because lonely nerds of old realized how cumbersome AD&D rules (etc.) were and spent a lot of effort to outsource the burden of the running the game on a machine.


    So the question is: who is going to make the scenario at your table? The game system designers? The module designers? Or the unlucky sof you voted as a GM? Or you, the masochist who wants to be a GM?

    Well, that person needs to read up on some game design, esp. scenario design, and start thinking about how to balance it for whatever subset of allowed characters. And as long as you're dealing with a fundamentally incomplete game, that is, a system without a scenario, then playing a blame-shifting game is waste of time. The buck stops on someone on your table. No way around kt.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Scenario design being game design doesn't stop the system from needing to be well-designed.

    If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out that everybody must fly or I must keep player characters who have been built to fly from flying, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out none of them can look like the scenarios shown on the book's cover or the other in-game art or the types of stories the game purports to generate, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    If the system assures me that something will be balanced, like with a level system or challenge rating system, and it turns out that these systems meant nothing, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Spoiler: Tangent
    Show
    Related: some people have noted that 4e D&D was really well balanced on a system level. But they forget what the cost was.

    No, it was not that the classes were samey. It was that the scenarios were samey. I've not played 4e, but those 4e modules I've seen & seen analyzed were strictly formula. Literally. The price of balance in 4e was making system math the gospel for GM scenario design. A great idea had they aimed for a computer game scenario design program, but a waste of human resources for tabletop roleplaying games. It's wrong paradigm for the medium.

    Why? Because scenario design in tabletop games can be open ended The scenario doesn't have to be complete: bugs can be fixed, content added and solutions invented on the fly.

    Scenario design in computer game is typically closed. Everything that's desired to be in the scenario has to be input before playing starts, or at very least algorithms put in place to fill in for imagination.

    A living human can adjust on the spot in ways a computer can't. On the flipside, a computer is much better at crunching numbers, so trying to make a human into a computer these days is counter-productive. 4e was a step towards that direction - towards closed design and number crunching - and as a result didn't play into strengths of a human GM.

    Now, older versions of D&D, and old wargames, were not exactly perfect in this regard either - but looking back, they had an excuse: computation wasn't as well developed in the 70s and 80s as now, and some unwieldy parts which would be better done by computers now were only possible for humans back then. Indeed, one of the reasons why computers are so good at those things now is because lonely nerds of old realized how cumbersome AD&D rules (etc.) were and spent a lot of effort to outsource the burden of the running the game on a machine.
    Spoiler: Tangent
    Show

    4e was not like that at all.

    It's not my favorite game, and I'm not interested in running it going forward, but I did run it for ~2 years and it was absolutely brilliant for human DMs, especially coming off of high-level 3.5e.

    Machines do things like track %damage to your weapon every time you swing a sword (IIRC Diabolo 2 did that), or a machine can roll on a location-specific armor chart for every attack, or use complex formulae to apply critical hit results. 4e did none of that. 4e was a human-centric game, which allowed a player or DM to pre-calculate as much as possible for speedy combat at the table, and gave DMs the freedom to innovate with confidence because encounters could be planned with predictable results.

    As a tactical skirmish combat game, D&D 4e was more interesting and enabled the fairest DM creativity that's ever been seen in D&D.

    You know who benefits from ballpark estimates & back-of-the-envelope calculations? Human DMs. Machines don't need estimations, they can just plug in numbers and get exact results. Humans need estimates. 4e gave humans the tools to choose a baseline, and innovate off of that. It gave DMs a firm place to stand.


    As a 4e DM, I could tweak monsters in unique ways and have a reasonable expectation that I wasn't screwing over the PCs. Can 3e do that? Hell no.

    Moreover, small per-monster abilities -- like the Kobold's Shifty ability vs. the Goblin's miss-triggered movement ability -- made even simple monsters feel distinct from each other.

    3e Kobolds felt exactly like 3e Goblins unless the DM put in effort to make them distinct. 4e did not have that problem.

    Same-feel encounters was not a 4e problem. It was a 3e problem, though.


    4e was an excellent tactical skirmish game. (D&D is a lot more than tactical skirmishes, of course...)

    4e had plenty of problems, and as mentioned I'm not interested in running it as-is, but your guess about why is absolutely wrong.

    The reason that I care about this topic is that 4e got some things right, and I'd like to keep the good parts of 4e, while learning from the edition's various mistakes.

    Encounter design was one of the good things about 4e, and one of the things that I wish 5e did better... not to mention every other game out there. Encounter design isn't easy, especially not with wacky systems like Exalted or Mage.


    Just my 2cp.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out that everybody must fly or I must keep player characters who have been built to fly from flying, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out none of them can look like the scenarios shown on the book's cover or the other in-game art or the types of stories the game purports to generate, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    If the system assures me that something will be balanced, like with a level system or challenge rating system, and it turns out that these systems meant nothing, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.
    I would strongly disagree with your first example but strongly agree with the second and fall somewhere in the middle on your third.

    In the first example it truly seems as though the fault lies in the scenario designer rather than the system. I would be hard pressed to name a system which doesn't fall into the "PCs may or may not be able to fly" zone. In short the fact that they are having a problem with it means that they didn't design a well-balanced scenario. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you?

    In the second example that is indeed a fundamental fluff/crunch disconnect which has plagued a great many games since the start of this hobby.

    For the third it really depends on the promises that the system makes. I can name several systems which have level mechanics implemented but have also flat out said that the systems are there for character growth purposes NOT balancing purposes. In which case I tend to cut them a bit more slack since at least they are warning you.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Agreed on balance being scenario dependent, and even more so campaign-style dependent.

    Consider, for example, an Ubercharger and a Batman Wizard. Which one is more of a balance problem?

    For me it's the former, although I'm sure many people would disagree. That's because my GMing style for 3.5/PF is fairly sandbox/improved. So:
    * Some spell let the party short-cut a bunch of obstacles? No big deal, we'll take a snack break and I'll figure out what happens as a result.
    * I can't use any monster stats from the book because they all die instantly? BIG problem - no way am I going to custom-build every possible encounter.

    But for someone who already does hand-craft every encounter, it's the reverse. Undercharging is a lot easier to plan around than utility spells.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    IMHO, this is, at best "Power Gamer" thinking, or at worst, it's "Munchkin" philosophy. The "I'm not having a good time unless my character is the most powerful entity in existence, I don't care if I overshadow the rest of the characters" style that seems to be becoming more and more common. The whole idea of a group of players, is that they work as a group, not a bunch of individuals who just all happen to be doing the same things at the same time.
    It's kind of impressive the way you jump from "I'd like to be able to do something useful in most circumstances" to "I AM THE SUPREME GOD-KING OF THE OVERCOSMOS".

    For player-characters in combat-intensive games, powergaming IS roleplaying. Most combatants DON'T WANT TO DIE, and will do what they can to minimize that possibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Balance (here) means each member of the party has a job to do, and does it. And ONLY that job (with maybe a slight overlap in case of emergencies).
    And this is where D&D balance fails: The Fighter's job is to hit and get hit, the wizard's job is to DO EVERYTHING.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Every character, in every edition, got to kick a lot of ass on the way down....you didn't really hit the "save or die" options very often. Again...unless you had a douche-nozzle for a DM. And then you didn't play with Sir Douch-nozzle for very long.
    I'd like to bring back my first 3rd ed Fighter so you could tell him that to his face, but you can't use Raise Dead on someone who died to a Death spell.

    And you are very wrong. The whole point of first level O/AD&D is for the players to do whatever they can to AVOID using the actual rules in the book, because if they do interact with the rules, their characters have significant chance of being killed. So players come up with Rube Goldberg plans involving flaming oil, ten-foot-poles, and expendable NPCs in hopes of getting the DM to throw up their hands and say "FINE! All the giant rats are dead."
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    But for someone who already does hand-craft every encounter, it's the reverse. Undercharging is a lot easier to plan around than utility spells.
    I agree with the rest of the post, but I disagree with this. It's actually very easy to get Wizards to engage in fights. All you need to do to get a Wizard with teleport to fight some enemy is to give her an affirmative reason to do that, rather than assuming "it's in the way" will suffice. You still have to actively plan around the Ubercharger, which is non-trivial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    For player-characters in combat-intensive games, powergaming IS roleplaying. Most combatants DON'T WANT TO DIE, and will do what they can to minimize that possibility.
    Powergaming (within your concept) is roleplaying. Period. Your character has goals. If they have more and more useful abilities, they will be better able to achieve those goals. The notion that powergaming is incompatible with roleplaying isn't just wrong, its backwards.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerer View Post
    In the first example it truly seems as though the fault lies in the scenario designer rather than the system. I would be hard pressed to name a system which doesn't fall into the "PCs may or may not be able to fly" zone. In short the fact that they are having a problem with it means that they didn't design a well-balanced scenario. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you?
    Well let's say you have a game where characters of a single class can get to fly.

    Let's say based on the way the game was written, there were no rules to prevent the flier from staying out of reach and casting spells or shooting missiles at everything below until they were dead.

    Now let's say the options for an earthbound character to reach a flier was severely limited in this system. Most characters do not have a ranged attack, or ranged attacks were prohibitively difficult to use for characters not specialized in it, and even if a character was specialized in it, it wasn't as effective against the flier as the flier's stuff would be against that specialist character.

    So now despite a whole slew of other character options existing in the rulebook, I have this one schtick of flying that I must give to every character in order to make things interesting, or I must prevent my specialist character from having it, negating the entire reason for that character to exist. Neither of these results is preferable to the system just changing flight to be more limited.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    So now despite a whole slew of other character options existing in the rulebook, I have this one schtick of flying that I must give to every character in order to make things interesting, or I must prevent my specialist character from having it, negating the entire reason for that character to exist. Neither of these results is preferable to the system just changing flight to be more limited.
    Making flight more limited is equivalent to taking flight away from the specialist. "Flight, but gimped so you can't kite non-fliers" is a very obviously different ability from "flight". Now, it's possible that this difference is acceptable, but you shouldn't pretend it isn't there.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Talyn View Post
    I think you harmed your argument there, mate, because Avengers is my go-to example of a great table-top dynamic where everyone has fun even though everyone isn't on the same power level.

    Captain America's player is THE roleplayer, he's got the lengthy tragic backstory that ties into the DM's world. The other players aren't annoyed that he "gets extra respect from NPCs," they are excited to have a party face that will interact with the world and, at times, almost co-DM in providing backstory, context and motivation. He's the one who will have in-universe debates with the NPCs about whether they are doing the right thing, and is happy to play the righteous foil to a table full of snarky wiseasses. In combat, he's not a super-optimized heavy hitter, but he's a bard-type character who coordinates and boosts the other combat characters.

    Iron Man, on the other hand, is the power-gamer who is in it to be super-cool. He's got feats and abilities from a dozen splat-books, and if he doesn't have the raw power of Thor or the Hulk, he's got versatility like you wouldn't believe. He's the Batman wizard who has prepared for just such an emergency, and is really excited to put his contingencies in play. When it's his turn to RP, he makes a point of how cool and rich and sarcastic he is, so the NPCs can be appropriately annoyed/impressed. The DM rewards him by making the big climactic fight smack dab in the middle of his home town, where all of his preparation can pay off.

    The Hulk is the guy who, frankly, just plays the game because his friends do. He's probably Iron Man's buddy (or maybe his boyfriend/girlfriend) - he creates a backstory that gives him a reason to hang out with Iron Man when they aren't saving the worlds, has a few non-combat skills that let him support Iron Man's out-of-combat shenanigans, and lets his super-cool optimizer boyfriend make him an extremely powerful character that is (and this is important) REALLY EASY TO PLAY. When he Hulks out, he attacks the enemy Captain America tells him to attack, and then rolls the dice Iron Man tells him to roll. It's easy, it's fun to see everyone else at the table cheer when he gets some hella big numbers, he's just here for the pizza and beer and companionship, guys.

    Hawkeye and Black Widow are the rogues. In a straight fight, they'd get slaughtered, but remember that there is a lot more to the movie/campaign than just combat. They are the ones who infiltrate enemy compounds, grab the intel, translate the foreign language, place the bugs, steal the artifact, whatever. From their player's perspective, they are the ones who "win" the campaign while the combat guys distract the evil hordes. They are having fun because, from their perspective, success around the table isn't rolling the highest damage numbers, or winning the evil minion body count competition, but instead it is interacting with the DM's world to solve the puzzle of "how do we accomplish our end goal."

    Thor, on the other hand, IS in it to win the body-count competition. He's the char-op munchkin with a build from the forums who handed the DM his character sheet and said "you tell me my backstory, dude, I'm here to roll some effing dice and punch some tickets." So he just shows up, says he's an alien god, and everyone just rolls with it because hey, we're all here to have fun. Then, he gets a fun non-lethal punchup with the other players so that he can show off his build's chops (Captain America's player is bored with this, but he goes with it because it gets him back to his story), spars a little more seriously with the Hulk so that they can both roll some big numbers at each other, and then gets to shine in the fight against the enemy army at the big finale where he kills more minions than the rest of the group combined. He's having a blast swatting dozens of bad guys down every round while Cap and the Rogues do the "boring stuff" of actually resolving the campaign.

    TL:DR version: the Avengers is actually a GREAT example of wildly different playstyles and power levels sitting around the same table and having a good time.
    That's awesome when you can get it to work and play all those types off each other to make a great campaign.

    In a way it reminds me of the core characters from the old Vampire campaign that ran over a decade.


    • The gunslinging bad*** who wanted to show off his shootin' and punchin' skills. (Brujah) Player liked being a bad***.
    • The neonate college boy with tons of charm and ambition, but in over his head. (Ventrue) Player liked social interaction and networking.
    • The coffee-shop owning outdoorsman, equal parts poet, warrior, and revolutionary. (Gangrel) Player liked scheming and changing the world.
    • The investigator with gobs of Auspex, Fortitude, Celerity, and Melee... police contacts, and no Fs to give about your silly politics. (Caitiff) Player liked solving mysteries and uncovering plots.


    Each of them got what they wanted out of the game, and the GM didn't force a ton of the stuff that each player didn't care for onto that player. So the "investigator" didn't get a lot of interpersonal complications or angsty stuff piled on, frex -- but she was the one who rooted out Sabbat infiltrators, who uncovered strange plots, and that other vampires hid behind when a werewolf went on a rampage.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-11-20 at 06:30 PM.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    @Nifft: your 2cp are appreciated. As noted, I don't have direct experience with 4e. However, your opinion is pretty much unique among those I've seen of people who played 4e extensively. Maybe a problem with small sample size.

    The crux of disagreement might be encapsulated by the words, "tactical skirmish". Yeah, 4e is good for those. But those are also a minority part of what I use RPGs for. What I've observed of 4e modules, they suffer from making their scenarios nothing but a string of those.

    Of course, it may also be you didn't use such modules; official modules across editions have been fairly crappy. 3e's were even worse than 4e's.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    Scenario design being game design doesn't stop the system from needing to be well-designed.
    Well duh. Did you expect me to disagree? I'm not arguing against that. I'm saying that even if the system is fine, all bets are off for ultimate balance untill you have a scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by VitruvianSquid
    1) If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out that everybody must fly or I must keep player characters who have been built to fly from flying, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    2) If I start to craft well-balanced scenarios for a game, and it turns out none of them can look like the scenarios shown on the book's cover or the other in-game art or the types of stories the game purports to generate, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.

    3) If the system assures me that something will be balanced, like with a level system or challenge rating system, and it turns out that these systems meant nothing, then the system has not allowed good scenario design.
    It sounds like you're talking of D&D 3.x.

    Out of these, only 3) is actually a real flaw with it. You are forgiven for thinking 1) and 2) are as well, because 3) directly causes the impression that they are.

    Spoiler: rambling
    Show
    If you actually utilize the basic rules of d20 D&D, and cherry-pick the option bloat exceptions, it's possible, even easy, to build balanced scenarios which resemble the inspiring fiction, or where some people can fly and some can't.

    One reason why balanced games using the rules are so rare is because metagame stupidity habit of going hog-wild with the option bloat exceptions untill they drown the basic rules. I once put in effort to rewrite a big fraction of SRD options (feats etc.). In the process, I was surprised how extensive the rules for mundane, low-level play (among other things...) actually were. I'd forgotten those parts of the rules... and so have, from the looks of it, most others, as those basic rules get obviated by option bloat exceptions, the faster the more you allow them feature in a scenario. Hence, despite its age and popularity, I find D&D 3.x. to be criminally under-utilized in many respects.

    Of course, I will never fix this, as I'm busy over-utilizing LotFP.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2017-11-20 at 06:27 PM.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    It's kind of impressive the way you jump from "I'd like to be able to do something useful in most circumstances" to "I AM THE SUPREME GOD-KING OF THE OVERCOSMOS".

    For player-characters in combat-intensive games, powergaming IS roleplaying. Most combatants DON'T WANT TO DIE, and will do what they can to minimize that possibility.
    Not all that impressive, really. Stating something along the lines of "everybody wants to be the most powerful" kind of leads to that conclusion.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    And this is where D&D balance fails: The Fighter's job is to hit and get hit, the wizard's job is to DO EVERYTHING.
    No. It's not.

    A Fighter has:
    • High end defense.
    • decent, consistent per round damage (physical)
    • No high burst damage.
    • low end, or no utility abilities.


    A wizard has:
    • Low end defense (they're squishy)
    • low end consistent per round damage (physical)
    • High end burst damage (magic)
    • mid rage utility that eats up burst damage capacity (each utility spell replaces a damage spell)


    A rogue has:
    • Mid to higher range defense (mostly dex) but not as good as the fighter.
    • mid range consistent per round damage (physical)
    • low end burst damage (edition dependent/sneak attack)
    • Midranged (but slightly niched) utility capabilities.


    A Cleric has:
    • High end defense (on par with the fighter)
    • mid range consistent per round damage (physical) better than the rouge but worse than the fighter.
    • mid range burst damage (magical) such as flame strike.
    • High end utility capabilities, such as buffs and healing.


    As you can see...a wizard is about the high end burst damage. He doesn't need to do everything....he actually gimps himself when he tries, as the more things he tries to do, the less spell slots he has to use for that high end damage. But once he shoots his wad, he's down to throwing darts. Or expending charges on a magic item that costs a fortune to recharge.

    The Fighter is indeed there to hit things and get hit, his schtick is to hit things with his stick, and deal consistent damage per round, every round, and generally punish anybody who tries to gang rape the squishy wizard. He can't run out off attacks...as long as he's still standing, he's still dealing damage. Not as high as the wizard, but it's constant and consistent. Long after the wizard runs out of spells, he's can still swing a sword.

    The Rogue is there for the traps and locks and stealth duties, as well as (edition dependent) setting up flanking boni for the other melee types.

    The Cleric is there to do a little melee damage, but mostly to heal and buff, with the occasional flame strike.

    Each class has their niche to fill, the wizard doesn't need to do it all. That is an attitude that came about in 3.X's horrible mechanical balance. But this thread (didn't start out to be at least) about mechanical balance as much as party balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    I'd like to bring back my first 3rd ed Fighter so you could tell him that to his face, but you can't use Raise Dead on someone who died to a Death spell.

    And you are very wrong. The whole point of first level O/AD&D is for the players to do whatever they can to AVOID using the actual rules in the book, because if they do interact with the rules, their characters have significant chance of being killed. So players come up with Rube Goldberg plans involving flaming oil, ten-foot-poles, and expendable NPCs in hopes of getting the DM to throw up their hands and say "FINE! All the giant rats are dead."
    I would argue that OD&D rewarded players for gold acquired....GP= XP, so there was just as much incentive to find a way to avoid combat, as there was to engage in it. And the practice was well ingrained by AD&D and 2nd Ed (even though the GP=XP mechanic was dropped). Players actually had (wait for it) FUN getting clever and finding sneaky ways around encounters. It was 3.0 that gave rise to the "I must kill everything I see" mentality.

    And if your Fighter died due to a Death Spell....you have a Douche Nozzle for a DM. For some, the "DM" stands less for "Dungeon Master" and more for "**** Munch".
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2017-11-20 at 07:45 PM.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    A wizard has:
    • Low end defense (they're squishy)
    • low end consistent per round damage (physical)
    • High end burst damage (magic)
    • mid rage utility that eats up burst damage capacity (each utility spell replaces a damage spell)
    This low end defense involves Stoneskin, Mistform, Mirror Image, and a dozen other spells vastly better than anything a Fighter brings to the table. D&D's balance is way out of whack.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post

    Well duh. Did you expect me to disagree? I'm not arguing against that. I'm saying that even if the system is fine, all bets are off for ultimate balance untill you have a scenario.
    I think at the point when you are blaming scenario design by the GM for the 15 minute work day, you are stretching this idea to the limit. I don't really want to play a system that breaks down when the PCs are not on a time limit all the time.



    It sounds like you're talking of D&D 3.x.

    Out of these, only 3) is actually a real flaw with it. You are forgiven for thinking 1) and 2) are as well, because 3) directly causes the impression that they are.

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    If you actually utilize the basic rules of d20 D&D, and cherry-pick the option bloat exceptions, it's possible, even easy, to build balanced scenarios which resemble the inspiring fiction, or where some people can fly and some can't.

    One reason why balanced games using the rules are so rare is because metagame stupidity habit of going hog-wild with the option bloat exceptions untill they drown the basic rules. I once put in effort to rewrite a big fraction of SRD options (feats etc.). In the process, I was surprised how extensive the rules for mundane, low-level play (among other things...) actually were. I'd forgotten those parts of the rules... and so have, from the looks of it, most others, as those basic rules get obviated by option bloat exceptions, the faster the more you allow them feature in a scenario. Hence, despite its age and popularity, I find D&D 3.x. to be criminally under-utilized in many respects.

    Of course, I will never fix this, as I'm busy over-utilizing LotFP.
    If I was talking about D&D 3.x, I would've specified D&D 3.x. Flight is in this case used as an example for any kind of overly powerful ability not accessible to all characters.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    But this thread (didn't start out to be at least) about mechanical balance as much as party balance.
    Yeah, those are two massively different things, my impression of the situation was very different, I certainly though Quertus was talking about mechanical balance in the OP.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    A wizard has:
    • Low end defense (they're squishy)
    • low end consistent per round damage (physical)
    • High end burst damage (magic)
    • mid rage utility that eats up burst damage capacity (each utility spell replaces a damage spell)
    In what edition? 1e/2e, yes. 3e and later, no. 3e damage spells aren't good burst damage. Not only compared to other classes (Barbarian and Rogue, for instance), but compared to the increased HP of monsters. People didn't switch to non-damage spells for no reason, they switched because most damage spells are anemic against comparably powerful foes.

    Now yes, with enough optimization you can be a Mailman and damage becomes king again, but at that level of CO they're not squishy any more either.

    In 4e they're neither particularly squishy or particularly damage-oriented (no more than most other classes, anyway), and in 5e I haven't played one but they seem even less bursty than 3e.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2017-11-20 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This low end defense involves Stoneskin, Mistform, Mirror Image, and a dozen other spells vastly better than anything a Fighter brings to the table. D&D's balance is way out of whack.
    Spells which take up spell slots, which could be used for offensive purposes. Whereas the Fighter get's a high end defense just by wearing armor.

    Stoneskin spells were notoriously easy to bypass, just by flinging a handful of gravel at Mr. Wizard...even in 3.X it only prevents 10 points of damage per caster level (to a max of 150)...that can easily be burned through rather quickly if Mr. Wizard is mobbed by melee types.

    Mirror Images pop out of existence after a successful hit..again a handful of gravel defeats the spell, as you don't actually have to do any damage.....

    Mistform is nice...but then you don't get to attack either, so you are effectively out of the fight, the same as if you were K.O.'d....

    But yes...3.X is pretty much the version where the new kids at the wheel decided to give massive buffs to wizards, while reducing their balancing nerfs, and then realized that the wizards were now OP, and instead of un-buffing the wizards, they buffed everything else to compensate. Which left the martial characters in the dust. But then there are dozens of threads on this forum alone that are devoted to how mechanically messed up 3.X is....

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    In what edition? 1e/2e, yes. 3e and later, no. 3e damage spells aren't good burst damage. Not only compared to other classes (Barbarian and Rogue, for instance), but compared to the increased HP of monsters. People didn't switch to non-damage spells for no reason, they switched because most damage spells are anemic against comparably powerful foes.

    Now yes, with enough optimization you can be a Mailman and damage becomes king again, but at that level of CO they're not squishy any more either.

    In 4e they're neither particularly squishy or particularly damage-oriented (no more than most other classes, anyway), and in 5e I haven't played one but they seem even less bursty than 3e.
    See above.

    Wizards are squishy for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, their lower average HP, and lower average AC. Few wizards can survive getting surrounded by melee types for very long, which is why the Fighter needs to make sure that doesn't happen.

    But they are still burst...they are unable (or shouldn't be able) to cast fireball every round for the length of an entire battle (unless said battle lasts one round). If the fight lasts long enough, or is on a scale much larger than a group skirmish, the wizards damage falls off rather quickly as he runs out of spells to cast. Especially if he has spent slots on spells that replicate abilities of other classes (I'm looking at you Batman Wizard).

    So in small, short fights, a wizard will prevail....expand the scope and/or the time scale, and he loses out to the fighter in damage capability.

    Now, once you get into the higher levels (that the game was never originally intended to reach), this model breaks down...but then the entire game tends to break down once you get too much past 10th level. Traditionally, even with 2e, Characters were meant to be retired around lvl 18. At that point, the were paragons of their class, with their own strongholds and lands and titles and such. TSR just kept tacking on more levels to sell more stuff (kinda what a company needs to do, yeah?) that really just kept getting further and further out of hand on a framework that wasn't meant to support power levels of that magnitude. 3.X just grandfathered that in, but with a framework that was even less able to withstand it than the old one was, and broke much sooner. Don't even get me started on 4e.
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2017-11-21 at 01:37 AM.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    I think at the point when you are blaming scenario design by the GM for the 15 minute work day, you are stretching this idea to the limit. I don't really want to play a system that breaks down when the PCs are not on a time limit all the time.
    The 15-minute workday can literally happen in real life when boundary conditions for it exist, namely, when a worker's output exceeds the amount of work to do and there's no penalty for resting when exhausted. Any idea of it being system specific is WRONG.

    The corollary to that is that 15 minute workdays can be averted in any system by having the amount of work be more than can be achieved in 15 minutes and by penalizing wanton resting. A simple time limit is the lowest bar to pass, so if that's too much effort for scenario design, you're just being lazy.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    The corollary to that is that 15 minute workdays can be averted in any system by having the amount of work be more than can be achieved in 15 minutes and by penalizing wanton resting. A simple time limit is the lowest bar to pass, so if that's too much effort for scenario design, you're just being lazy.
    This use to be called the "Wandering Monster" table...
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    This use to be called the "Wandering Monster" table...
    No way man. Wandering monsters are boring. These days every scene in the game must have some important narrative impact. Wandering Monsters are teh lame.

    With that in mind, why are we wasting time traveling? Just warp us to the next scene and get on with the story.

    How dare my DM let my character die in a random encounter. I quit. Only I should be allowed to decide when my character dies, which is never.

    I DM'd a 12 hour session the other day that was entirely dialogue and I couldn't be prouder of my group

    I failed a save in the first round and had to sit and watch my friends play for 20 minutes. How can the DM ignore me for so long? Doesn't he realize I'm special? I'm ditching this killer DM. Don't @ me.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    No way man. Wandering monsters are boring. These days every scene in the game must have some important narrative impact. Wandering Monsters are teh lame.
    To hell with that! Monsters should only show up when I'm fully rested and ready for them. None of this "two combat encounters in a row" or "Surprise round (that I'm not instigating)" crap!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    With that in mind, why are we wasting time traveling? Just warp us to the next scene and get on with the story.
    Why can't the monsters (and treasure) just come to me?

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    How dare my DM let my character die in a random encounter. I quit. Only I should be allowed to decide when my character dies, which is never.
    Wait...my character DIED?! From WOUNDS?! What the actual ****, man?! My character isn't supposed to break a sweat!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    I DM'd a 12 hour session the other day that was entirely dialogue and I couldn't be prouder of my group
    What's with all this talking crap?! I'm not playing a role playing game to talk to people, I'm here to kill **** and steal it's treasure!

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    I failed a save in the first round and had to sit and watch my friends play for 20 minutes. How can the DM ignore me for so long? Doesn't he realize I'm special? I'm ditching this killer DM. Don't @ me.
    My build is super optimized! I'm winning, right? I'm winning, 'cuz I'm using a build off of a forum that wins.....
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-11-21 at 07:55 AM.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    Scenario design being game design doesn't stop the system from needing to be well-designed.
    It can help and greatly effect the game in such a positive way that the balance is near perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    And this is where D&D balance fails: The Fighter's job is to hit and get hit, the wizard's job is to DO EVERYTHING.
    Other then the Big Problem here is the One Way people choose to play the game, this is a perfect spot to point out that the DM, but designing the game setting can handle this ''balance problem'' and make it not exist.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    *Reads the burning trash-heap of generalisation that is this thread*

    Oh yeah... This is why I don't read gitp threads very often anymore.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    With that in mind, why are we wasting time traveling? Just warp us to the next scene and get on with the story.
    This is a fairly legitimate complaint. "White room" random combats out in the wilderness can be fun, but only if they are interesting. "Ten goblins attack you on a field! Roll initiative and hit them until they fall down!" is not very interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    I DM'd a 12 hour session the other day that was entirely dialogue and I couldn't be prouder of my group
    If that's what the players want to do, why is it badwrongfun?

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    I failed a save in the first round and had to sit and watch my friends play for 20 minutes. How can the DM ignore me for so long? Doesn't he realize I'm special? I'm ditching this killer DM. Don't @ me.
    Legitimate complaint. Why would you set aside hours every week to join in a social gaming environment when you can't play?

    There's a current of elitism and gatekeeping running through this thread.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    The 15-minute workday can literally happen in real life when boundary conditions for it exist, namely, when a worker's output exceeds the amount of work to do and there's no penalty for resting when exhausted. Any idea of it being system specific is WRONG.

    The corollary to that is that 15 minute workdays can be averted in any system by having the amount of work be more than can be achieved in 15 minutes and by penalizing wanton resting. A simple time limit is the lowest bar to pass, so if that's too much effort for scenario design, you're just being lazy.
    You're throwing out the word "lazy" as if it isn't a fine thing for a system to let GMs be lazy.

    But GMing is a difficult and time consuming job at minimum, and anything a system can do to reduce that much time is good, in my book.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    *Reads the burning trash-heap of generalisation that is this thread*

    Oh yeah... This is why I don't read gitp threads very often anymore.
    And nobody noticed that you were gone.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post
    Legitimate complaint. Why would you set aside hours every week to join in a social gaming environment when you can't play?
    This is super true. There's a limit to how long you can keep people involved in a game they are nominally playing when they can't take actions, and many RPGs don't pay nearly enough attention to it.

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