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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    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.
    I think this needs to be said more often. A lot of us who are adults, well, "game design" falls on the priority list behind things like "earning money" and "cooking food" and "getting skills to earn better money" and all those annoying things that adults have to do.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    And nobody noticed that you were gone.
    Funnily enough, that's not actually true. Though I would find it amusing if Darth Ultron remembered me, in so many discussions he claimed my playstyle was ficticious and that I was lying to myself or that I was basically a slave to my players.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    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.
    There is a difference between wanting the system to not requite a whole lot of effort from you, and wanting it to require practically no effort from you.

    What is the thing you need to set a time limit for an adventure? Come up with one important event the players will miss if their characters go home after 15 minutes. It is that low a bar to pass.

    If you're going to GM at all, you will have time to think of that for your scenario. Don't pretend otherwise. It is a trivial amount of work. If you need the systems designer to do it for you, then yes you're being god-damned lazy.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    What is the thing you need to set a time limit for an adventure? Come up with one important event the players will miss if their characters go home after 15 minutes. It is that low a bar to pass.

    If you're going to GM at all, you will have time to think of that for your scenario. Don't pretend otherwise. It is a trivial amount of work. If you need the systems designer to do it for you, then yes you're being god-damned lazy.
    Ok, now do that for every session of a multi-year campaign without it coming across like you're trying to use the same few tricks over and over and over again.

    Not so easy.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Been there, done that, it is exactly as trivial as I make it to be, and it doesn't even matter if you're reusing the same tricks over and over, because many of the simplest tricks are generic enough to use over and over again.

    For example, any senario with mobile antagonists: "you realize that if you stop now, the enemy's going to get away?"

    Any mass battle: "you realize that if you stop now, the enemy's going to regroup, regain iniative and mount a counter-attack?"

    Any exploration mission where the player characters are not the only ones who know of the goal: "You realize that the longer you drag your feet, the more likely it is your rivals will get there first?"

    Any travel scenario with finite supplies: "you realize that if you drag your feet, you will not have enough supplies left for the return trip?"

    No player I know of ever complained, because complaining of obvious common sense things as these are akin to complaining about the sun rising and setting in the game.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Milo v3 View Post
    Though I would find it amusing if Darth Ultron remembered me, [...]
    Can't speak for Darth Ultron, but I just saw your name and the pink pillar jumps to mind immediately. More so than the swashbuckler kobold. Anyways I would agree this thread has problems, but I don't think making a blanket statement about there being problems is not going to help it. I mean this post might not help either, but I realized I'm not sure what the original topic was supposed to be, so rescuing it is a bit beyond me right now.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Can't speak for Darth Ultron, but I just saw your name and the pink pillar jumps to mind immediately. More so than the swashbuckler kobold. Anyways I would agree this thread has problems, but I don't think making a blanket statement about there being problems is not going to help it. I mean this post might not help either, but I realized I'm not sure what the original topic was supposed to be, so rescuing it is a bit beyond me right now.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Been there, done that, it is exactly as trivial as I make it to be, and it doesn't even matter if you're reusing the same tricks over and over, because many of the simplest tricks are generic enough to use over and over again.

    For example, any senario with mobile antagonists: "you realize that if you stop now, the enemy's going to get away?"

    Any mass battle: "you realize that if you stop now, the enemy's going to regroup, regain iniative and mount a counter-attack?"

    Any exploration mission where the player characters are not the only ones who know of the goal: "You realize that the longer you drag your feet, the more likely it is your rivals will get there first?"

    Any travel scenario with finite supplies: "you realize that if you drag your feet, you will not have enough supplies left for the return trip?"

    No player I know of ever complained, because complaining of obvious common sense things as these are akin to complaining about the sun rising and setting in the game.
    A lot of those have counters in higher-level play. Who cares about supplies when you can summon food? Who cares about people getting away when you have 20 means of instantaneous or near-instantaneous travel at your disposal?
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    To answer one of the first questions posed (why are the simple solutions not common), it helps to reflect that almost every rule for a game is designed to solve an interpersonal problem. In a perfectly ideal world, we wouldn't need rules. People would get together, they would magically know what everyone wants to do, they would all be in perfect agreement and then they would make it happen. GMs would make perfectly fair rulings, and there would never be contention over whether or not a given attack hit, or whether or not a given success or failure occurred.

    Of course we don't live in that world, so rules exist, and early on, the rules were around the basic mechanics of how to move, how to fight and how to explore, with minimal thought given to balancing either PC vs NPC or PC vs PC. As noted, it was assumed that the individual groups would figure that out, and doing so allowed the game to be a very open ended thing.

    But not everyone was fortunate enough to play with all friends, who all agreed all the time. People ran into GMs that were abusive of their powers, ran into players that wouldn't self-balance against the party, and into players and gms alike who were still figuring this stuff out and making mistakes. Flexibility was great, but it hurt table to table portability. So we built more rules. But instead of rules about how to do things in the world, they were rules about how the world should be run. Classes were more locked down, as were skills. Enemies were ranked and scaled. Balance became important to allow people to follow a "by the numbers" approach either when they were new and lost, or as a way to keep difficult players and GMs in check.

    3.x locked down the GMs, everything in the world had a system that justified its existence or it was against the rules. 4e completed the journey and locked down the players. No more could you have wildly disparate builds, every class and every feature was carefully constructed just so. And the end result was a very restrictive game. Don't get me wrong, 4e was an EXCELLENT tactical skirmish game. But it didn't have much flexibility to go outside of that, by which I mean if you cut combat completely out of an AD&D game, you'd be wasting about 1/3 your character sheet. Cut it from 4e and you're wasting 50%+. Good game, but balanced at the expense of flexibility. And to be fair balance is hard, just look at fighting video games. In an environment where every possible move and every possible action can be known, where it is impossible for players to do something outside the games assumptions, there are still tiers. Still characters that are better than all the others, even though balance is a holy grail for these sorts of games.

    Which is a long and rambling way of saying the reason modern games don't rely on player and module level balance is because they have intentionally crafted rules to eliminate that as best as possible in order to improve consistency between tables.

    As a side note, it's amazing to me how much damage D&D 3.x did to TTRPG discussions. Here we are 2 editions and almost 10 years later and the problems that version caused are still a big sore point. Imagine if in 2010 we were still discussing 2e's failings, and it was the assumed baseline when having a discussion about D&D.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    As a side note, it's amazing to me how much damage D&D 3.x did to TTRPG discussions. Here we are 2 editions and almost 10 years later and the problems that version caused are still a big sore point. Imagine if in 2010 we were still discussing 2e's failings, and it was the assumed baseline when having a discussion about D&D.
    That's not damage inflicted by 3.X, that's damage resulting from the massive commercial failure of 4e combined with the downfall of White-Wolf and the minimal support and rollout of 5e. Taken together, the combination of 3.X games and Pathfinder games (with Pathfinder as basically just a specific 3.X variant with a lot of support) is still the big dog of tabletop. None of the other big names has managed to grow market share in any significant way, instead most have just declined themselves with a series of buyouts and re-orgs being the rule in the hobby. The few new arrivals of note, like FATE, tend to be systems of limited rules complexity products with comparatively reduced monetization capacity. There are countless other games out there, but most of them have minimal market exposure (and many are simply outgrowths of variant rules for earlier D&D editions anyway) so it's difficult to have a mass discussion.

    D&D is also a natural place for system-principle discussions to gravitate towards because it is by far the largest system that is not directly tied to a setting. That makes it possible to at least theoretically discuss system balance issues using D&D examples in a way you simply can't do with games that combine system and setting like Exalted. Exalted absolutely has huge game balance issues (to the point that the initial 2e core basically degenerated into an unplayable mess once players acquired any system mastery whatsoever) but since they were intrinsically tied to the setting you couldn't make rules changes in a vacuum and any time you made a house rule it had a possibility of causing a cascade that tore creation apart, or if you ignored consequences severely damaged verisimilitude.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    A lot of those have counters in higher-level play. Who cares about supplies when you can summon food? Who cares about people getting away when you have 20 means of instantaneous or near-instantaneous travel at your disposal?
    And at high levels, those counters have counters. Also, did you see me write "food"? No, you did not. I said supplies. That term covers things well beyond the point where food ceases to matter.

    Just to name one example, by the time you have Teleport, the opposition has potential access to Non-Detection, Obscure Object, etc. And you just gave them 8 hours head start to find and apply those spells. As well as to hire someone who can themselves cast Scry, Teleport etc. combination to find you and screw you over.

    So blowing your resources on the first obstacle and going home after 15 minutes? To paraphrase Tony Stark, "not a great plan".

    Now, there frequently are counter strategies to counters of counter strategies. But if your players are playing at that level, why are you even complaining of 15 minute work day? Your players are clearly spending way too much time to win at elf games interested and invested in your scenario. Just let them eat their god damn cake, they've earned it.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Old-school D&D had a really elegant solution to this problem: it's the players' problem. They need to build a team that can do the recon, and accurately determine whether or not something is a valid challenge for them, or whether they should high-tail it out of there, and let sleeping dragons lie....
    .
    FWLIW, in the old D&D games that I remember playing (IIRC), mostly "balance" was simply handled by most every PC being Fighters (usually humans, sometimes Dwarves rarely anything else), as other classes were perceived as weaker.

    When one of us played a different class, either we had exceptional "stat" rolls, or we just liked the "fluff" or the challenge.
    Also, "optimization" was a matter of what equipment you carried, "builds" were for Car Wars and Champions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    ...So why isn't this the "state of the art", or at least the "state of the practice"? Why, instead, does working together to balance a party seem like such a foreign concept to most gamers? Why has the idea of "balance to the group" or "balance to the module" fallen out of favor with the RPG community?.
    .
    In my case, because doing what you suggest @Quertus sounds like even more work on my part to get to the point of the GM asking "What do you do?, and I respond, "I stab ' em in the eye!!!"

    Really, I now find PC creation tedious, can I just play a pre-gen?

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    What in the name of Crom's untrimmed toenails is that?

    ....

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

    Would love for Quertus to enter back into te discussion, still curious at to wheer the OP meant mechanical balance or party balance and the details about character creation in Marvel superheroes.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is pretty standard in a point buy game.

    IMO the problem only really crops up in class based games (and really only becomes an issue in 3.X D&D) because "class" encapsulates not just character power but also game role, character concept, and mechanical play-style and the game likely doesn't have an option for most people to play the way they want to play at the power level that the game is designed for.
    You can very easily have interparty unbalancing in point buy games - there are just as likely to be trap and high-op options in such games as in class-based ones, and they can be just as cleverly disguised (if not more so). It just becomes a feature-by-feature balancing issue rather than a class-by-class balancing issue, which is actually just a feature-by-feature model hidden by premise groupings. Look at peoples’ attempts to make various versions of Dungeons and Dragons point-buy affairs for some examples.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    You can very easily have interparty unbalancing in point buy games - there are just as likely to be trap and high-op options in such games as in class-based ones, and they can be just as cleverly disguised (if not more so). It just becomes a feature-by-feature balancing issue rather than a class-by-class balancing issue, which is actually just a feature-by-feature model hidden by premise groupings. Look at peoples’ attempts to make various versions of Dungeons and Dragons point-buy affairs for some examples.
    Of course it is, which is why I said that it is pretty standard to work together to make a balanced party when playing a point buy game.

    The problem with class based games is that difficulty, character concept, party role (both in and out of combat), and play-style are all predetermined based on your choice of class, in a point buy game you are generally free to determine each of these thing independently of once another.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Of course it is, which is why I said that it is pretty standard to work together to make a balanced party when playing a point buy game.

    The problem with class based games is that difficulty, character concept, party role (both in and out of combat), and play-style are all predetermined based on your choice of class, in a point buy game you are generally free to determine each of these thing independently of once another.
    I don't think choice informs the difference so much that the greater independence of traits in a point buy system makes it easier to adjust for specific problem traits by banning them outright - whether they are too powerful or too weak. For example, in any given superpower game there's bound to be a power write-up that is blatantly OP because someone just didn't quite get the implications or simply screwed up the math. GMs can simply house rule said power out of existence and now you just have one less power in the matrix for your game. In a class based system you can't do that, because once you start banning traits you're pulling pieces out of classes and the intended balance of the system starts to fall apart.

    This why in D&D it is generally much easier to address specific emergent at-table issues by banning certain feats or spells (which are chosen in a fashion much closer to point buy) than it is to meddle with the class constructions.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    I don't think choice informs the difference so much that the greater independence of traits in a point buy system makes it easier to adjust for specific problem traits by banning them outright - whether they are too powerful or too weak. For example, in any given superpower game there's bound to be a power write-up that is blatantly OP because someone just didn't quite get the implications or simply screwed up the math. GMs can simply house rule said power out of existence and now you just have one less power in the matrix for your game. In a class based system you can't do that, because once you start banning traits you're pulling pieces out of classes and the intended balance of the system starts to fall apart.

    This why in D&D it is generally much easier to address specific emergent at-table issues by banning certain feats or spells (which are chosen in a fashion much closer to point buy) than it is to meddle with the class constructions.
    It's also easier to correct by giving someone else a nice power, rather than having to redo the entire concept. Part of the problem with 3.5 is the lower tier classes are built to focus on one thing and one thing only, and there's no good way to add things to them.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    I don't think choice informs the difference so much that the greater independence of traits in a point buy system makes it easier to adjust for specific problem traits by banning them outright - whether they are too powerful or too weak. For example, in any given superpower game there's bound to be a power write-up that is blatantly OP because someone just didn't quite get the implications or simply screwed up the math. GMs can simply house rule said power out of existence and now you just have one less power in the matrix for your game. In a class based system you can't do that, because once you start banning traits you're pulling pieces out of classes and the intended balance of the system starts to fall apart.

    This why in D&D it is generally much easier to address specific emergent at-table issues by banning certain feats or spells (which are chosen in a fashion much closer to point buy) than it is to meddle with the class constructions.
    Point buy games are not immune to balance issues any more than class based games are. For example, I figured out that a M&M character with about 200 points, can cause an extinction level event, just buy buying 1 point of FTL flight and spending the rest of his points on Mass Increase and flame immunity (works even better if he absorbs the flame damage and feeds it into his Mass Increase). Do a quick orbit around the moon, and slam into the Yellowstone Caldera at FTL speeds with your mass jacked up to several hundred tons...there goes all life on earth....

    Sure...ban FTL flight.

    Any decently powered earthquake like power centered on the right fault line (or Yellowstone again), and you have the same result....so now your banning earthquakes.

    I'm sure you get the point.

    If you don't pay close attention when you design the core rules, you are going to have this issue no matter whether you are designing a point buy, or a class based system.

    Currently, with 3.X, the issue is that casters, more specifically wizards and sorcs, have too much power readily available, with very little to balance that power out. Which is why we have Batman wizards, and mailman wizards, and very little reason to play a mundane class.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Point buy games are not immune to balance issues any more than class based games are. For example, I figured out that a M&M character with about 200 points, can cause an extinction level event, just buy buying 1 point of FTL flight and spending the rest of his points on Mass Increase and flame immunity (works even better if he absorbs the flame damage and feeds it into his Mass Increase). Do a quick orbit around the moon, and slam into the Yellowstone Caldera at FTL speeds with your mass jacked up to several hundred tons...there goes all life on earth....

    Sure...ban FTL flight.

    Any decently powered earthquake like power centered on the right fault line (or Yellowstone again), and you have the same result....so now your banning earthquakes.

    I'm sure you get the point.

    If you don't pay close attention when you design the core rules, you are going to have this issue no matter whether you are designing a point buy, or a class based system.

    Currently, with 3.X, the issue is that casters, more specifically wizards and sorcs, have too much power readily available, with very little to balance that power out. Which is why we have Batman wizards, and mailman wizards, and very little reason to play a mundane class.
    In my experience, most superhero games specifically say the GM can and should ban any game-breaker powers or characters. Unlike D&D, which seems to have this odd legalistic notion that if Pun-Pun CAN be done by the rules, then the GM is REQUIRED to allow it, on pain of... I dunno. Having their HackMaster GM certification revoked, or something.
    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 Mutazoia View Post
    Point buy games are not immune to balance issues any more than class based games are. For example, I figured out that a M&M character with about 200 points, can cause an extinction level event, just buy buying 1 point of FTL flight and spending the rest of his points on Mass Increase and flame immunity (works even better if he absorbs the flame damage and feeds it into his Mass Increase). Do a quick orbit around the moon, and slam into the Yellowstone Caldera at FTL speeds with your mass jacked up to several hundred tons...there goes all life on earth....

    Sure...ban FTL flight.

    Any decently powered earthquake like power centered on the right fault line (or Yellowstone again), and you have the same result....so now your banning earthquakes.

    I'm sure you get the point.

    If you don't pay close attention when you design the core rules, you are going to have this issue no matter whether you are designing a point buy, or a class based system.

    Currently, with 3.X, the issue is that casters, more specifically wizards and sorcs, have too much power readily available, with very little to balance that power out. Which is why we have Batman wizards, and mailman wizards, and very little reason to play a mundane class.
    In a system with all powers possible then yes, it's pretty easy to break the world in half if the GM doesn't put their foot down. You can do this in even theoretically low-powered games like Mage: the Ascension where players make arguments about using Entropy 2 to kill stars if you manage to get enough successes. Such a game requires a different managerial style: for instance if Quake is going to try and use her powers to trigger the Yellowstone supervolcano she's going to have to hit the fault line just right which in practice means a roll so difficult it will have a probability of success of effectively zero (I have run mage games where people have tried to do something absurd and the natural response is, 'okay, get twenty-five successes at diff 10').

    In a system with a discrete set of available powers, point buy has managerial advantages over classes in terms of blocking builds. For example, in VtM, a simple move to improve game balance is to forbid any character from having excessive dots in any one background, because a character with Resources 5 or Backup 5 (or 6+ dots in any background) can potentially replace the entire party using just those traits.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    In my experience, most superhero games specifically say the GM can and should ban any game-breaker powers or characters. Unlike D&D, which seems to have this odd legalistic notion that if Pun-Pun CAN be done by the rules, then the GM is REQUIRED to allow it, on pain of... I dunno. Having their HackMaster GM certification revoked, or something.
    Rule Zero. 'Nuff said :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    In a system with all powers possible then yes, it's pretty easy to break the world in half if the GM doesn't put their foot down. You can do this in even theoretically low-powered games like Mage: the Ascension where players make arguments about using Entropy 2 to kill stars if you manage to get enough successes. Such a game requires a different managerial style: for instance if Quake is going to try and use her powers to trigger the Yellowstone supervolcano she's going to have to hit the fault line just right which in practice means a roll so difficult it will have a probability of success of effectively zero (I have run mage games where people have tried to do something absurd and the natural response is, 'okay, get twenty-five successes at diff 10').

    In a system with a discrete set of available powers, point buy has managerial advantages over classes in terms of blocking builds. For example, in VtM, a simple move to improve game balance is to forbid any character from having excessive dots in any one background, because a character with Resources 5 or Backup 5 (or 6+ dots in any background) can potentially replace the entire party using just those traits.
    Have you ever looked at the Yellowstone Caldera Fault Map? There are enough there, that it wouldn't be hard to trigger a quake if you had the necessary super power...

    But the point I'm trying to make, is that any system is open for abuse, because no game designer can possible predict from the get-go, every possible combination for powers and skills, and player deviousness to find a loop hole that can possibly predict. This problem gets compounded every time a new splat is released, no matter if it's a point buy or a class based system, as the new splat adds new powers/skills/abilities that were never considered during the initial conception of the game. Your only true method of controlling this, is to disallow all splats, and just play "core only"
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2017-11-28 at 02:07 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Point buy games are not immune to balance issues any more than class based games are. For example, I figured out that a M&M character with about 200 points, can cause an extinction level event, just buy buying 1 point of FTL flight and spending the rest of his points on Mass Increase and flame immunity (works even better if he absorbs the flame damage and feeds it into his Mass Increase). Do a quick orbit around the moon, and slam into the Yellowstone Caldera at FTL speeds with your mass jacked up to several hundred tons...there goes all life on earth....

    Sure...ban FTL flight.

    Any decently powered earthquake like power centered on the right fault line (or Yellowstone again), and you have the same result....so now your banning earthquakes.

    I'm sure you get the point.

    If you don't pay close attention when you design the core rules, you are going to have this issue no matter whether you are designing a point buy, or a class based system.

    Currently, with 3.X, the issue is that casters, more specifically wizards and sorcs, have too much power readily available, with very little to balance that power out. Which is why we have Batman wizards, and mailman wizards, and very little reason to play a mundane class.
    You can do the same thing in Gurps, by taking a lifebane power that covers 100 miles and does 1 in damage and then you just travel around killing all insects and microbes and laugh as you have upset the balance of life on the planet.

    But this isn't really what upsets any balance at all....pulling stunts like that is just about being ********. If I make a character that can make nukes just to blow up the planet or in a super game push a giant asteroid to collide with eath then I'm simply playing an villain and you can be sure that a hero is going to stop me.


    Back to topic though. In pointbuy games you have more freedom and the GM should put clear boundaries what's allowed and what isn't. If I'm running a fantasy Gurps game and a player shows up with a character that has 100 of his 200 points in a sword skill and that's his only skill then it would be a common courtesy of me as an GM to advise him to change his character before some NPC puts a crossbow bolt in the back of his head because I didn't want that character in play.

    Most people are worried about combat balance, I'm used to playing point buy games where some players make PC's with crappy combat skills because they are good at other things. When something is considered OP in such a game either the point price is readjusted to represent its value or some other limit is imposed. In many games it's smart play and a smart player that get the spotlight and nobody cares if Mr. Shy in the corner has a character that is can really wreak havoc when it's clobberig time. It's when Mr. Smart has rules mastery in a game where balance is all over the place and exploits the system to his advantage to stay perennially in the limelight that balance becomes a problem.

    If I make a pacifist PC that holds all life sacred and seeks nonviolent solutions but he has the powers of one punch man then balance is achieved, even if he can one punch everything.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Game balance has always been an issue.

    I don't think I've ever seen an RPG that successfully mapped X characters with Y resources to Z challenge.
    I´d say that some of the roots of the hobby are what causes issues - namely the simulation aspect of wargaming, still prevalent in turn-based combat (meaning we try to map "I poke it with a stick" and "I cast wish" to individual effects and actions)

    In addition, newer games try to be more inclusive to different kind of gamers, from the more competitive types, to "short play" (like delves, missions, organized play), as well as your classic sandbox, long campaign or hex crawl.

    Now looking at things like the "Delve" format, which should be done in roughly 2 hours, is very focussed as nothing exists outside the "Delve", then sure, every individual action counts and should in a way be "balanced", as spotlight is defined by a limited number of rounds to play.

    Also note that non-sim games don´t tend to run into balance issues, as they focus more on "impact" than "action".

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Back to topic though. In pointbuy games you have more freedom and the GM should put clear boundaries what's allowed and what isn't. If I'm running a fantasy Gurps game and a player shows up with a character that has 100 of his 200 points in a sword skill and that's his only skill then it would be a common courtesy of me as an GM to advise him to change his character before some NPC puts a crossbow bolt in the back of his head because I didn't want that character in play.
    I really, really like the game "Splittermond", as it uses a hybrid of class and point buy. You build your character through various stages (Race, Background, Occupation, Training), each stage giving you an equal amount of fixed and free-floating points, as well as an limit on point allocation. Second thing, the game is divided into three more or less equal subsystems (Combat, Exploration, Social), with each skill having one application for each of the three subsystems (Example: Being a trained sailor gives a combat bonus on moving ground and helps talking about mercantile matters), so whatever you build, a character can always participate in all three areas.
    Last edited by Florian; 2017-11-28 at 05:27 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    You can do the same thing in Gurps, by taking a lifebane power that covers 100 miles and does 1 in damage and then you just travel around killing all insects and microbes and laugh as you have upset the balance of life on the planet.

    But this isn't really what upsets any balance at all....pulling stunts like that is just about being ********. If I make a character that can make nukes just to blow up the planet or in a super game push a giant asteroid to collide with eath then I'm simply playing an villain and you can be sure that a hero is going to stop me.
    I think there's a relevant distinction to be made here. There are powers that you look at and think, well, if I wanted to be a jerk, I could combine X and Y and a little creativity and do something game-breaking.

    There are also builds where two players can both go "oh hey, this looks like a fun option" and it turns out one of the players is relevant 85% of the time, and the other is only relevant 10% of the time, or something.

    I don't think you necessarily need to defend against people trying to break the game. The fix for that is to tell your player to stop being a jerk. What you need to watch for is when people are building their characters to do things that make sense in the system, around concepts that they enjoy and that aren't necessarily obviously imbalanced, and it ends up with one person being able to do everything.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Honestly, if someone tried to dump one of these worldbreaker powers/stunts on my campaign and destroy the planet, I'd say something like "Congratulations, your character split reality and dies in an alternate reality all alone, the rest of the world stays in this reality and never notices anything but the distant sound of thunder. If you want to keep playing, make a new character... who can't do what you just did."
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    You can do the same thing in Gurps, by taking a lifebane power that covers 100 miles and does 1 in damage and then you just travel around killing all insects and microbes and laugh as you have upset the balance of life on the planet.
    Oh, you can do WAY worse than that in GURPS.

    Quote Originally Posted by 53 points to kill the entire universe
    Munchkin's Universe-shaking Nondirectional Cosmic Hyperluminal Kinetoelectromagnetic Interference Neurodisrupter (M.U.N.C.H.K.I.N.) (+5190%):

    Toxic Attack 1 point (Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Area Effect, 2475880078570760549798248448 yards (about 74 gigaparsecs), +4550%; Cosmic, Irresistible attack, +300%; Emanation, -20%; Rapid Fire, RoF 300, +300%; Selective Area, +20%; Underwater, +20%) [53].

    Notes: It's a cosmic attack, literally. Pulses of cosmic energy that radiate from the attacker (reaching 74 gigaparsecs in a flat second) burn out the neural system of living beings in the affected area, and remember that even the edge of our universe is "merely" about 10 gigaparsecs away from Earth. Also note that an Area Effect attack with Emanation involves no to-hit roll and simply affects anyone in the area. Furthermore, it allows victims only to dive for cover, and actually there's no effective cover since this Cosmic, Irresistible attack ignores DR. In conclusion, the user can attack every living thing in our entire universe, with 1 point of damage, 300 times per second. Have fun. 53 points.
    IIRC, the rulebook for Wild Talents includes a 'Turn off the Sun' power as an example, just to get it out of everyone's system.
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  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    I think I believed parties MUST be balanced until I played Vampire the Masquerade. Here you didn't have classes, though you had clans and they were similar but the roles were quite versatile. We NEVER thought about balance, it was more about how we all fit together and play the game. Those games were much more stable and ran much longer than ANY D&D game I ever ran, as the players were fully immersed in the world and had a sense of ownership and belonging.

    I'm taking the thread off topic a little bit, but what I'd like to say is that I don't think parties should worry about balance at the outset. People naturally take different roles during play, so I would allow players to "remap" to a different class to match the role they play, as until you know the party dynamics, it's hard to know what you want to do. That is to say I think parties will balance themselves, in so much as they'll hate being weak in one area or another.
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Part of that has to do with what the campaign is going to spotlight. If half of every session will be combat, then being "balanced" by being the smooth talker or the tech expert who is weak in combat isn't much consolation.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    It's also easier to correct by giving someone else a nice power, rather than having to redo the entire concept. Part of the problem with 3.5 is the lower tier classes are built to focus on one thing and one thing only, and there's no good way to add things to them.
    Not from the class, but it's fairly easy to throw underpowered characters magic item powerups. Give the Barbarian an artifact ax or club or whatever.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Part of that has to do with what the campaign is going to spotlight. If half of every session will be combat, then being "balanced" by being the smooth talker or the tech expert who is weak in combat isn't much consolation.
    This.

    You don't need combat balance so long as the other pillars are large parts of the game and the roles don't step on each-others' toes.

    VtM is so easy to break though - I can only think that you and your friends weren't really trying to optimize much. (Which is great and the only good way to play such a poorly balanced system.)

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