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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    SamuraiGuy

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post




    Whatever you are running is "the module".

    If your module is "escape the space ship before it crashes", and someone brings "I teleport everyone out. Done." then their character singlehandedly handled and trivialized the module, and is probably not appropriate for the module. If someone brings, "but... I am the ship", they make the module nigh-impossible, and are probably not appropriate to the module (if success is the only acceptable option, that is).

    If everyone brings fast time aliens attempting to escape detection while simultaneously escaping the ship, that's fine. But if one person wants to run a normal time human in that group (you know, the expected crew compliment), that's still fine - unless someone has an issue with the group dynamic. That someone probably has good reason to be upset that the human gets out one syllable in the time that the aliens reinvent 50 different alien devices out of toothpicks and dental floss.

    So, IMO & IME, you balance to the module, and to the group. Why is this not common practice?
    Some people like to play in sandboxes where nothing gets tailored to the party in a combat as war game. If there is an hostile orc tribe there with 100 warriors the GM doesn't tailor it according to party power. If the fat hobbit flubbs his stealth he can't run very fast from the orcs then he'll get eaten, the GM isn't going adjust their move speed to accomodate the hobbit.

    That said most GM do plan and adjust according to the party power...else the games would be very short, very boring or the players are very clever.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I heard my cue to say, "never get in an arms race with your players, because they cannot win".

    Have a conversation with your players, and ask them to build things at the module's level.

    Mind you, that's a broad range, IMO. So long as everyone gets to contribute to a reasonable extent, and everyone is happy, anywhere between "the party has no chance to succeed" and "the party steamrolls every encounter" can be fine, if everyone is onboard with that. Personally, I prefer just about anywhere in between those two extremes.
    That is the gist of it. Once you understand that leveling up or getting more points or toys is mostly just an arms race between the GM and the players it starts to matter less. Psychologically most players like to get rewards...everybody likes rewards but I just like them smaller because it suits the adventures and the campaign I run. My campaigns aren't about poor farmboys who become billionaire superheores but this is more about campaign balance than anything else. The more power the PC's gain the less relevant everything else becomes which means that the GM has to introduce new adversaries, npcs and places.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I was with you until that last sentence.

    Let's say you have the option of a game that allows you to play any 16 chess pieces you want, vs one with a very specific point value of pieces. Why would you want the latter, when it's obviously a subset of the former? That is, you can have any kind of fun with the former, but only a small subset of that with the latter. Why would that ever be a good design goal, to limit the types of fun the players can have?
    Not what I meant, what I meant about game designers should strive for balance is that if immortality costs 1 point and darkvision costs 150 points then something is wrong with game balance. If a mace does 3d8 in damage and a sword does 1d4 then something is wrong with the game balance. If one class gets mind control, teleportation, flying, scrying, summoning, invisibility, his own pocket dimension, wishes and the ability to throw an meteor on his foes and the other class just get the ability to hit harder then some might argue that something is wrong with game balance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Why should someone being competent make the world less believable?
    It isn't but let's say that the party comprises of Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl and you show up with your character where you have used every rule in the book and all the exploits to make your character more powerful and show up with Superman. Then you would just make the others irrelevant as you clean up all crime in Gotham in a 15 minute adventuring day. That wasn't what the other players signed up for, they wanted to take down the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker but you singelhandedly with your minmaxed munchkin character just threw them all into the sun. When the other players get pissed then you just shrug and say "well my character has a weakness, the bad guys should just have stocked up on cryptonite which incidentally doesn't exist in our solar system"

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    So, IMO & IME, you balance to the module, and to the group. Why is this not common practice?
    A lot of GM's have gotten weak, spineless and casual. You got the flood of the GM must be nice, is just a player and as a player must do what the other players want..always. And sure, such GM's have always existed...but after 3X they really moved into the spot light.

    To any Classic GM, the ones who are not players, it is very obvious what to do and how to do things. And few such GM's have the sort of problems you see in modern games. Like the player wants to have a teleport guy on a sinking ship? GM just says ''no''.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Yeah, no. I can't attest for anything else historically, but I can say that Optimization has been a thing since I was sentient, and was applied to RPGs since the moment I first saw them.
    Agreed it has always been around, what has changed is the Way people play the game.

    It is bad enough that the vast majority of optimizers think they ''must'' optimize to have fun...and it is worse when you here the crazy whine of how they can't role play unless their character is all powerful mechanically.

    And things just get piled on from there: Optimizers feel ''targeted and attacked'' if anything happens to their character. Optimizers feel cheated when the whole game world does not work and flow the exact way they want it to. And so on.

    And on top of all that: you get the wacky player-gm's that agree with them.

    Just take something simple: losing an item. An optimizer and their warcky-player GM will both say a characters super special needed items must never, ever be lost to the character as that would ruin the roll play usage of the character and prevent the player from ''playing the character they say they must play''.

    Others would just say loss of a item is something that can and might happen...and if it does, just keep on gaming.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I consider that bit a feature.

    In Star Control, the Hierarchy was Power, and had a high floor, low ceiling. Whereas the Alliance was Finesse, and had a low floor, high ceiling.

    I preferred the Hierarchy, as their ships were cooler. And, eventually, new players would gain skills, and learn how to defeat me.

    I find that so much better than the noob option lording over everyone forever. (Mewtew uses psychic. It's very effective)
    First, comparing a competitive game to a cooperative one is a bad idea. The ideas from one don't carry over well at all. First.5, Star Control is a fun game (SC2 was even better).

    Second, if there's a large discrepancy in the optimization potential, and optimization is required (as it is once you're in an optimization arms race), you're strongly limiting the number of viable builds. That person who likes the idea of a fighter? He's useless. Only the "on-meta" builds are viable--the ones with an unrestricted (or very high) optimization ceiling.

    Third, the current set-up is exactly that the noob option (follow this CODzilla guide) lords over everyone without requiring active thought, and the best players playing the harder-to-optimize builds can't even really come close without serious shenanigans. In fact, the optimization floor (pick what looks good) of most druids is higher than the "normal" (ie not PO/TO) ceiling for monks. And that's a serious, inherent problem.

    All archetypes should be able to be successful at the same challenges. The difference should be in how they conquer the challenge, not what challenges they can attempt. Relying only on inter-player (group level) balancing will fail without some level of system balance. For example, a new player might stumble across a "broken" (in either direction) combo and not know enough to avoid it. At a table with experienced, helpful players, they can guide him out of that trap. At a table with new players, or unhelpful (competitive) players, bad things happen. If the default is competent (but not overwhelming), the differences in build skill are much less pronounced and new players can co-exist with all sorts of players and have fun.

    "Git Gud" is a toxic attitude in a cooperative game. It's a large part of why the LoL/DoTA communities are so abhorrently toxic--you're relying on other players for a competitive environment and there's a strong attitude of "Git Gud oar Get Out" (spelling intentional), backed up by liberal use of profanity and immature shrieking.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    For that matter, what you're describing, finesse vs raw strength, *is* a balance method—can't speak to Star Control, since I haven't played it (I'm a bad geek, I know), but still, in principle it can be. E.G., Rogues are speedy but fragile; fighters are tough and hit often for less damage per hit, but can take a lot of punishment. If finesse is still viable compared to raw strength assuming equal player skill, there's balance between the two. Both can function.

    It's like comparing the slow bruiser who hits like a freight train to the agile, quick character who doesn't hit as hard but can hit faster in a fighting game. Put two players of equal skill against each other using those options and it's a 50/50 chance for either, if the balance is good.

    If it's not balanced, putting two players of equal skill against each other using those options, and one will win, or at least win a statistically-significant number of times more often. Maybe the speedster is *too* fragile, or the bruiser *too* slow, to be viable, or maybe the speedster does less damage per hit but still enough damage that their increased attack speed lets them just steamroll any other opponent. That's bad design, not "increasing options."

    It gets exacerbated when players of unequal skill go against each other, and even worse when the disparity isn't clear until later or with extensive system mastery.
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    SolithKnightGuy

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    It's like comparing the slow bruiser who hits like a freight train to the agile, quick character who doesn't hit as hard but can hit faster in a fighting game. Put two players of equal skill against each other using those options and it's a 50/50 chance for either, if the balance is good.
    The extremes don't necessarily have to match up. In a lot of such systems, you want to be somewhat more X than your foe.

    Foe example, maybe if your foe is only a bit more agile and you're beefier, you can still hit them consistently but since you hit harder you win. But if they're much more agile, you can never hit them so it doesn't matter how beefy you are.

    So - you would generally want to be either slightly beefier or much more agile than your foe.

    (Not really the same - but most wargames' mechanics give the edge to being either slightly more elite or much more numerous than the enemy army. I doubt that it's intentional - that's just the way the mechanics play out.)

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    So long as both options are viable/functional. If one just wins, to the point that the other isn't even a consideration in high-skilled play, there's a problem.

    Balance doesn't need to be perfect, and I don't think anyone's suggesting so on the "system balance is a good thing" side. If Class A is slightly better than Class B, with some optimization, but Class B works both in terms of ability to overcome challenges and in terms of not being obsoleted by Class A, there's no problem.

    Let me pose another question to Quertus—since you've asked why balance is good and you favor the "option" to have wildly different power scales in the same game (to my understanding)...why is that a good thing? Why is it bad for a game to focus in on doing certain things well? Would trying to represent Exalted Solar power levels (i.e., you're a god in the common-usage definition, even if the setting lore is that "gods" are weaker than Solars), Scion power levels (i.e., you're a demigod, but definitely not a full-fledged deity), B/X D&D power levels (i.e., sword-and-sorcery classic), and Call of Cthulhu power levels (e.g., you're squishy and will probably go insane and die) in the same game be a good idea, or could it be a better idea to separate those power scales into different games that can model them more effectively with a degree of parity between characters? Why do it all in one system?
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  7. - Top - End - #187
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    If your character is meant to be a skilled martial-artist, and one option is nigh-unworkably mechanically weak/weird (3.5 monk) whereas another is fairly competent (3.5 unarmed swordsage), how is it "roll-playing, not roleplaying" to pick the one that actually works?
    The "roleplaying" question should simply be "is my character believable?" Are the actions needed to gain all those specific skills justified within the character?

    There really isn't nothing stopping you from roleplaying a planar sheppard, pun-pun, or other broken class/build, but your roleplaying is will be made much more difficult due to complete lack of game-derived conflict.

    Optimization damages the "game" part of the game (and of course any conflict that happens during the game gives opportunities for roleplaying), making a character either too strong or too weak compared to the rest of the party breaks the "tactical simulation" part of the game. The roleplaying difficulty is that such things often require "weird builds" that may be profoundly difficult to justify for a character (not to mention might not work well during the leveling process*). The flip side is that if there are "easy button" means to OPdom (such as the planar sheppard, I'm furiously ignoring pure Wizard or CoDzilla) you would expect far more NPCs taking such a route (of course if you are in a world such as Forgotten Realms, perhaps most of the NPCs *are* that powerful).

    * Oddly enough, in the Dungeons & Dragons Online permadeath scene (probably long since dead thanks to DDO bugginess), weird builds were vastly more common there than in "standard" DDO (which of course is what the devs balanced the game around). Those "weird permadeath builds" *had* to be strong at every level (and moreso until raise dead was available, typically "permadeath" only meant "unless raised within standard D&D rules") where "standard builds" could simply power through poor levels and ignore deaths until the meat of the build (and then start raiding and whatnot). Note that DDO never had a roleplaying scene, it really doesn't work for that.

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

    @ PhoenixPhyre -- can't find the post, not sure it was even in this thread now, but you said something about presenting challenges as what needs to get done, and character abilities as how things get done, but not linking the two. Thinking about it, that might be one of the gaps in these discussions -- I think some gamers look at challenges and character abilities as directly and inherently linked, such that at least one character in the party must have X ability at >= R potency to solve problem A; whereas others (including me) view the two as discrete and separate, with the players responsible for creatively using character abilities to solve the challenges they face.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    @PhoenixPhyre -- can't find the post, not sure it was even in this thread now, but you said something about presenting challenges as what needs to get done, and character abilities as how things get done, but not linking the two. Thinking about it, that might be one of the gaps in these discussions -- I think some gamers look at challenges and character abilities as directly and inherently linked, such that at least one character in the party must have X ability at >= R potency to solve problem A; whereas others (including me) view the two as discrete and the separate with the players responsible for creatively using character abilities to solve the challenges they face.
    I think this also depends on the system. Like in 3.5, there are certain spells that can only be countered by other spells. If the system is built such that "The counter to X ability is Y ability and nothing else," then you need Y ability.
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    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    @PhoenixPhyre -- can't find the post, not sure it was even in this thread now, but you said something about presenting challenges as what needs to get done, and character abilities as how things get done, but not linking the two. Thinking about it, that might be one of the gaps in these discussions -- I think some gamers look at challenges and character abilities as directly and inherently linked, such that at least one character in the party must have X ability at >= R potency to solve problem A; whereas others (including me) view the two as discrete and the separate with the players responsible for creatively using character abilities to solve the challenges they face.
    I've said that in both of the current "balance" related threads. I agree that there is a disjunction here. I personally believe that challenges should be built (and powers should be built) so that any rational combination is doable. More "unusual" combinations might require significant cleverness, but I'm a huge opponent of "you must have plot ticket ability X" ("You must be this tall to ride") design.

    I've seen it in MMOs (usually older ones)--it strongly restricts the number of possibilities and increases friction between "good" players and "bad" players--the "good" ones know the appropriate builds and rage at the "bad" ones for playing some wacky build (like a Vanilla WoW paladin that wasn't a buff-bot), the "bad" ones complain that the "good" ones are elitist and are "un-fun." Both are wrong, but the system that incentivizes this is even wronger. They've moved strongly away from this in most modern MMOs--you can get by with any combination of the appropriate range of healers, tanks and DPS. People complain that it waters down the game (makes all of them too similar), but I'm a big fan of that style.

    Basically, the group/module/DM sets what challenges are encountered; players use their character to decide how they tackle those challenges. Any reasonable combination (so a bunch of pacifists in an all-combat module don't count) should work. Essential tactical abilities (condition removal, movement, damage, survivability, etc) should be spread out among the possible archetypes so that you have to work to not have one available when needed.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I think a lot of the complaint is that building to this sort of balance is something that itself (depending on the system) takes a lot of skill. It's actually as I've become more adept with 3.5, that I'm actually able to to build a character to fit the power level I want to fit to. My first game, we just kind of built characters that filled classic fantasy niches and all looked roughly even, and the result was wildly imbalanced. That's been my experience - that a lot of balance problems tend to arise unintentionally, when players don't understand the system well enough to fix it.
    Well... You're not wrong. My experience and contention include the possibility of the entire group being utterly clueless, but using trial and error to have a players eventually create a group of character that fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Some people like to play in sandboxes where nothing gets tailored to the party in a combat as war game. If there is an hostile orc tribe there with 100 warriors the GM doesn't tailor it according to party power. If the fat hobbit flubbs his stealth he can't run very fast from the orcs then he'll get eaten, the GM isn't going adjust their move speed to accomodate the hobbit.

    That said most GM do plan and adjust according to the party power...else the games would be very short, very boring or the players are very clever.
    Back in my day, not attacking 100 orcs head-on with a group of non-coms, or having an exit strategy for when your overweight hobbit fails a stealth check, was considered a very low bar for competence.

    Hmmm... This may be related to part of the problem, actually. If people want to be so unfathomably lazy as to just pick anything and expect it to automatically just work... Well, to me, that's crazy talk. Of course you can't bring your 20' combat monster to a tea party. Of course you can't play a 2e D&D Barbarian in a party of wizards. Of course I can't bring Armus in a high-power superhero game.

    Why would anyone expect any character to just work in any game?

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    That is the gist of it. Once you understand that leveling up or getting more points or toys is mostly just an arms race between the GM and the players it starts to matter less. Psychologically most players like to get rewards...everybody likes rewards but I just like them smaller because it suits the adventures and the campaign I run. My campaigns aren't about poor farmboys who become billionaire superheores but this is more about campaign balance than anything else. The more power the PC's gain the less relevant everything else becomes which means that the GM has to introduce new adversaries, npcs and places.
    Um... I'm not the type to agree to disagree, but I think we have different goals / perspectives here. Scaling numbers is just an arms race. New capabilities / toys, however, are new stories you can tell. And, even better, they're versatility - that thing people constantly complain that muggles lack in 3e D&D.

    I can't see many people complaining about giving 3e D&D muggles more toys just being an arms race against the GM.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    It isn't but let's say that the party comprises of Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl and you show up with your character where you have used every rule in the book and all the exploits to make your character more powerful and show up with Superman. Then you would just make the others irrelevant as you clean up all crime in Gotham in a 15 minute adventuring day. That wasn't what the other players signed up for, they wanted to take down the Penguin, the Riddler and the Joker but you singelhandedly with your minmaxed munchkin character just threw them all into the sun. When the other players get pissed then you just shrug and say "well my character has a weakness, the bad guys should just have stocked up on cryptonite which incidentally doesn't exist in our solar system"
    Let's alter these assumptions slightly.

    Let's say those are all characters straight out of the book, no exploits or book diving - or even character creation - necessary.

    Different characters work for different styles of game. If the style of game was "Gotham villains", one of these characters does not match the module.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    Just take something simple: losing an item.
    Losing an item is not something simple, at least not in 3e D&D. Having items is part of the expectation & basis of game balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    First, comparing a competitive game to a cooperative one is a bad idea. The ideas from one don't carry over well at all. First.5, Star Control is a fun game (SC2 was even better).
    That's fair, on both counts.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Second, if there's a large discrepancy in the optimization potential, and optimization is required (as it is once you're in an optimization arms race),
    If you're in an arms race, just like if someone's character doesn't match the module, it's time to have a little talk.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    you're strongly limiting the number of viable builds.
    Having a game where you care about balance limits the number of viable builds. Pretty definitionally true, no matter the balance level of the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    That person who likes the idea of a fighter? He's useless.
    That's the common opinion. If it's true, he'll fit right in with my signature wizard, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Only the "on-meta" builds are viable--the ones with an unrestricted (or very high) optimization ceiling.
    Again, true at any level of optimization, if you are playing a game that cares about balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Third, the current set-up is exactly that the noob option (follow this CODzilla guide) lords over everyone without requiring active thought,
    And this is (not) why I don't publish my builds.

    But, snark aside, this is an interesting point. Is the internet giving noobs access to powerful builds the reason people don't just say, "that character doesn't fit the game, noob"? If so, I can't quite make that logic leap yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    and the best players playing the harder-to-optimize builds can't even really come close without serious shenanigans. In fact, the optimization floor (pick what looks good) of most druids is higher than the "normal" (ie not PO/TO) ceiling for monks. And that's a serious, inherent problem.

    All archetypes should be able to be successful at the same challenges. The difference should be in how they conquer the challenge, not what challenges they can attempt. Relying only on inter-player (group level) balancing will fail without some level of system balance. For example, a new player might stumble across a "broken" (in either direction) combo and not know enough to avoid it. At a table with experienced, helpful players, they can guide him out of that trap. At a table with new players, or unhelpful (competitive) players, bad things happen. If the default is competent (but not overwhelming), the differences in build skill are much less pronounced and new players can co-exist with all sorts of players and have fun.

    "Git Gud" is a toxic attitude in a cooperative game. It's a large part of why the LoL/DoTA communities are so abhorrently toxic--you're relying on other players for a competitive environment and there's a strong attitude of "Git Gud oar Get Out" (spelling intentional), backed up by liberal use of profanity and immature shrieking.
    This will need it's own post to address, I believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    For that matter, what you're describing, finesse vs raw strength, *is* a balance method—can't speak to Star Control, since I haven't played it (I'm a bad geek, I know), but still, in principle it can be. E.G., Rogues are speedy but fragile; fighters are tough and hit often for less damage per hit, but can take a lot of punishment. If finesse is still viable compared to raw strength assuming equal player skill, there's balance between the two. Both can function.

    It's like comparing the slow bruiser who hits like a freight train to the agile, quick character who doesn't hit as hard but can hit faster in a fighting game. Put two players of equal skill against each other using those options and it's a 50/50 chance for either, if the balance is good.

    If it's not balanced, putting two players of equal skill against each other using those options, and one will win, or at least win a statistically-significant number of times more often. Maybe the speedster is *too* fragile, or the bruiser *too* slow, to be viable, or maybe the speedster does less damage per hit but still enough damage that their increased attack speed lets them just steamroll any other opponent. That's bad design, not "increasing options."

    It gets exacerbated when players of unequal skill go against each other, and even worse when the disparity isn't clear until later or with extensive system mastery.
    I hate such obfuscation. No argument there.

    In SC, the floor / ceiling was not initially obvious to anyone I played with. I figured it out pretty quickly, but stuck with the side I liked (the bad guys, go figure), because that's what I liked playing, despite it being a losing proposition. Because fun trumps victory in my book.

    Who would win with players of equal skill depends on the skill level of the players. At low level, the Hierarchy won. All high level, the Alliance won.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    Let me pose another question to Quertus—since you've asked why balance is good and you favor the "option" to have wildly different power scales in the same game (to my understanding)...why is that a good thing? Why is it bad for a game to focus in on doing certain things well? Would trying to represent Exalted Solar power levels (i.e., you're a god in the common-usage definition, even if the setting lore is that "gods" are weaker than Solars), Scion power levels (i.e., you're a demigod, but definitely not a full-fledged deity), B/X D&D power levels (i.e., sword-and-sorcery classic), and Call of Cthulhu power levels (e.g., you're squishy and will probably go insane and die) in the same game be a good idea, or could it be a better idea to separate those power scales into different games that can model them more effectively with a degree of parity between characters? Why do it all in one system?
    An excellent question. Thank you for the challenge.

    First off, you're just assuming that you cannot model those power scales equally effectively in the same system, and I reject that assumption. That is, while that may be provably true, I reject just accepting that as a given.

    For the sake of clarity, let's assume for the moment that all these concepts are all well modeled. Why would you want them in the same system? Well, that's easy: what if you don't want to play demigods - what if you want to play a game of one mortal and a group of demigods?

    For another reason to appreciate a broader range of power, I need only look to my character Armus. I used superior player skills to take an unoptimized commoner (or equivalent) to often accomplish more than the "demigods" he adventured with. Having that range of power levels was a great handicap to let me finally play all-out without unbalancing the game.

    EDIT: yet another reason is because some players are reluctant to learn new systems. If you can play at all these levels in the same system, that's a win in my book.

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    The "roleplaying" question should simply be "is my character believable?" Are the actions needed to gain all those specific skills justified within the character?

    There really isn't nothing stopping you from roleplaying a planar sheppard, pun-pun, or other broken class/build, but your roleplaying is will be made much more difficult due to complete lack of game-derived conflict.

    Optimization damages the "game" part of the game (and of course any conflict that happens during the game gives opportunities for roleplaying), making a character either too strong or too weak compared to the rest of the party breaks the "tactical simulation" part of the game. The roleplaying difficulty is that such things often require "weird builds" that may be profoundly difficult to justify for a character (not to mention might not work well during the leveling process*). The flip side is that if there are "easy button" means to OPdom (such as the planar sheppard, I'm furiously ignoring pure Wizard or CoDzilla) you would expect far more NPCs taking such a route (of course if you are in a world such as Forgotten Realms, perhaps most of the NPCs *are* that powerful).

    * Oddly enough, in the Dungeons & Dragons Online permadeath scene (probably long since dead thanks to DDO bugginess), weird builds were vastly more common there than in "standard" DDO (which of course is what the devs balanced the game around). Those "weird permadeath builds" *had* to be strong at every level (and moreso until raise dead was available, typically "permadeath" only meant "unless raised within standard D&D rules") where "standard builds" could simply power through poor levels and ignore deaths until the meat of the build (and then start raiding and whatnot). Note that DDO never had a roleplaying scene, it really doesn't work for that.
    ... Ok, I agree about characters being believable, with the caveat that different people have different ideas about what is believable. And I agree that you can roleplay anything.

    Where I disagree is in regards to the necessity of challenge to roleplay. I once spent a season where the players just roleplayed having their characters chat while around the campfire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    @ PhoenixPhyre -- can't find the post, not sure it was even in this thread now, but you said something about presenting challenges as what needs to get done, and character abilities as how things get done, but not linking the two. Thinking about it, that might be one of the gaps in these discussions -- I think some gamers look at challenges and character abilities as directly and inherently linked, such that at least one character in the party must have X ability at >= R potency to solve problem A; whereas others (including me) view the two as discrete and separate, with the players responsible for creatively using character abilities to solve the challenges they face.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I've said that in both of the current "balance" related threads. I agree that there is a disjunction here. I personally believe that challenges should be built (and powers should be built) so that any rational combination is doable. More "unusual" combinations might require significant cleverness, but I'm a huge opponent of "you must have plot ticket ability X" ("You must be this tall to ride") design.

    I've seen it in MMOs (usually older ones)--it strongly restricts the number of possibilities and increases friction between "good" players and "bad" players--the "good" ones know the appropriate builds and rage at the "bad" ones for playing some wacky build (like a Vanilla WoW paladin that wasn't a buff-bot), the "bad" ones complain that the "good" ones are elitist and are "un-fun." Both are wrong, but the system that incentivizes this is even wronger. They've moved strongly away from this in most modern MMOs--you can get by with any combination of the appropriate range of healers, tanks and DPS. People complain that it waters down the game (makes all of them too similar), but I'm a big fan of that style.

    Basically, the group/module/DM sets what challenges are encountered; players use their character to decide how they tackle those challenges. Any reasonable combination (so a bunch of pacifists in an all-combat module don't count) should work. Essential tactical abilities (condition removal, movement, damage, survivability, etc) should be spread out among the possible archetypes so that you have to work to not have one available when needed.
    Hmmm... This is, IMO, a matter of play style. I've been a proponent of both ends of the scale. I love the "how do we make a workable plan with this group of abilities" minigame. Yet, at the same time, I have advocated Tier 1 versatility as a good design goal (this got amended to QT1, as none of the existing tiers posses the exact level of power and versatility I was describing).

    But guaranteeing everyone can solo every encounter? Even I didn't go that far.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2017-12-01 at 08:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well... You're not wrong. My experience and contention include the possibility of the entire group being utterly clueless, but using trial and error to have a players eventually create a group of character that fit.
    My experience with a class-based system is that, unless people are willing to keep retiring and rebuilding characters, that trial and error may not happen well. Because there's no good fix for when two characters are unbalanced, especially once you also take into account what different people want out of the game.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    I think the root of a lot of these discussions is the idea that we need to have "one game system to rule them all."

    All of this talk about different scenarios with drastically different power levels and expectations would, in my mind, be better served by simply using different game systems.

    D&D is primarily a game about characters from levels 1-10 exploring dungeons and killing monsters for treasure. And it works great for that. I think all of the real issues with the system come about when trying to get it to do something it was never meant to do, and I think most people would be better served trying to find a game that is designed to do what they want rather than trying to stick a square peg in a round whole.

    Of course, as it is near impossible to find players for anything that isn't D&D, I can sure see why they try.
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well... You're not wrong. My experience and contention include the possibility of the entire group being utterly clueless, but using trial and error to have a players eventually create a group of character that fit.



    Back in my day, not attacking 100 orcs head-on with a group of non-coms, or having an exit strategy for when your overweight hobbit fails a stealth check, was considered a very low bar for competence.

    Hmmm... This may be related to part of the problem, actually. If people want to be so unfathomably lazy as to just pick anything and expect it to automatically just work... Well, to me, that's crazy talk. Of course you can't bring your 20' combat monster to a tea party. Of course you can't play a 2e D&D Barbarian in a party of wizards. Of course I can't bring Armus in a high-power superhero game.

    Why would anyone expect any character to just work in any game?
    I play with engaged players most of the time and closer to combat as war than sport but combat is like 10% of our games. Some groups I've played with just wanted to kick down the door, kill the monsters and grab the loot and not think too much about it. Some players never read the rules and just ask the GM what is a good thing to choose so their barbarian can smash things harder when they level up. Some people just like to play Grog the barbarian that has no exit strategy and is expected to win all fights he partakes in, the GMs jobs is to assure him that his victories were hard won when they weren't. But then again some players just want to pick a class and want it to work.

    Character growth in the group I'm playing with right now doesn't involve system mechanics, in fact half of them probably couldn't care what system we're playing as long as the system doesn't gets in the way. For me my players system mastery doesn't matter at all, those who don't care about the system know the basics, else they just ask me. "I want to sneak behind the guard with a garrotte and take him out quietly and preferably that he doesn't make too much sound" is enough explanation for me to tell them what they roll. Luckily I mostly run systems that play up to my players realistic expectations, I hate when systems block the flow of actions

    The fat hobbit is the exit strategy. You don't have to outrun the monster, you just have to outrun the fat hobbit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Um... I'm not the type to agree to disagree, but I think we have different goals / perspectives here. Scaling numbers is just an arms race. New capabilities / toys, however, are new stories you can tell. And, even better, they're versatility - that thing people constantly complain that muggles lack in 3e D&D.

    I can't see many people complaining about giving 3e D&D muggles more toys just being an arms race against the GM.

    Yes scaling numbers is an arms race, in many sci-fi settings or dystopian future settings bigger guns and armor don't bring anything new. Would it matter if Luke had put on armor and his upgraded his lightsaber to do extra damage? Not really, the GM would have just fielded Storm Troopers with repeating blasters and thermal detenators to even the odds.

    I never run D&D and very seldom play it. In the systems I play the PC's most often start competent so a mage specializing in movement spells might have flight and teleport from the get go. A very large portion of systems doesn't give you any extra powers to play with as you "progress". In majority of games I play my characters don't get anything extra that is a game changer, maybe extra skills or manouvers. Nothing as drastic as now you can fly or turn invisible.

    But you are right we seek different things from games, our styles would probably clash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And, even better, they're versatility - that thing people constantly complain that muggles lack in 3e D&D.
    I can't see many people complaining about giving 3e D&D muggles more toys just being an arms race against the GM.
    This just warrants it's own answer, the psychology of D&D is for the lack of a better word about progress. While you chip down the bloated HP pool of the monster that's progress. You overcome obstacles to progress through the dugneon. You kill the endboss and that's progress, you grab the loot and that's progress. Clearing that dungeon is progress, levelingt up is progress, getting better items is progress. You are constantly climbing to the top of that mountain, getting better and more powerful. That is called being goal oriented, even the modules are like that, do A to progress to B to progress to C. You see in D&D failure isn't usually an option only progress.

    Making everybody magical or giving everyone cool powers doesn't warrant a more interesting game it just changes the game into something else. I've never tried to hide the fact I consider the progression in D&D to be that of superhero game and I dont want my fantasy game to become a superhero game. In fact it seems that lot of people struggle with the progression from zero to superhero.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Let's alter these assumptions slightly.

    Let's say those are all characters straight out of the book, no exploits or book diving - or even character creation - necessary.

    Different characters work for different styles of game. If the style of game was "Gotham villains", one of these characters does not match the module.
    True, Superman doesn't fit in. If he's a player character option in the book then something is wrong with balance. If he's meant to be played alongside Green Martian and Wonder Woman then the balance is mostly right. If the group decides to include Superman as a PC in Gotham villains then everyone knows what to expect. I believe it's the GMs job and up to the group to preserve whatever game balance they want to have and blind adherence to raw just ****s things up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    .....Some players never read the rules and just ask the GM what is a good thing to choose....

    .....some players just want to pick a class and want it to work....

    ...Character growth in the group I'm playing with right now doesn't involve system mechanics, in fact half of them probably couldn't care what system we're playing as long as the system doesn't gets in the way....
    .
    I'm finding some insight here.

    I had vastly more fun playing Shadowrun than I did Cyberpunk in the late1980's and early 1990's despite only using the "Cyberpunk" setting elements, none of the Fantasy elements of Shadowrun.

    So the difference was the rules?

    In a way.

    I bought and studied the rules for Cyberpunk but not Shadowrun which I played "blind".

    Not knowing the rules helps my immersion, and makes the game more fun for me.

    Also I just don't find the "mechanical" character creation "mini-game" much fun, it is a means to get to the part where the GM asks "What do you do?", little more.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    ...I consider the progression in D&D to be that of superhero game and I dont want my fantasy game to become a superhero game. In fact it seems that lot of people struggle with the progression from zero to superhero..
    .
    "Leveling up" in D&D is fun....
    ...at first.

    But I find it has diminishing returns, even more in (W)D&D than (T)D&D, and playing "high level" superpowered PC's is dull for me.

    Getting to 2nd level is great!

    Getting to 11th?

    Meh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I think the root of a lot of these discussions is the idea that we need to have "one game system to rule them all."

    All of this talk about different scenarios with drastically different power levels and expectations would, in my mind, be better served by simply using different game systems.

    D&D is primarily a game about characters from levels 1-10 exploring dungeons and killing monsters for treasure. And it works great for that. I think all of the real issues with the system come about when trying to get it to do something it was never meant to do, and I think most people would be better served trying to find a game that is designed to do what they want rather than trying to stick a square peg in a round whole.

    Of course, as it is near impossible to find players for anything that isn't D&D, I can sure see why they try.
    Yes, it is generally much easier to maintain game balance when you keep your game within a smaller conceptual box. This is why video games - though they retain balance issues - have much better balance overall than TTRPGs, because the overall number of parameters is smaller. This doesn't always work - White Wolf was notorious for building games whose mechanical basis actively impeded trying to deliver the experience the fluff suggested to you - but it does help, and pretty much every system other than D&D that purports to offer a level of universality makes it clear that you're going to have to significantly modify the game mechanics in some way either by adding custom rules for the cool stuff in your setting (FATE) or by only using the modest percentage of the total rule set that actually applies t your game (GURPS).

    Of course, the economics of gaming don't really reward this. For most games, the majority of players never buy anything beyond the core book. Heck, in the case of many games the average player may not own a book at all. Instead, the balance of the money is being spent by a small number of people - most of whom spend at least some time as GMs - who collect obsessively and buy books of full of material they will probably only ever use tiny bits off. Given that there's little to no cost to publishing huge quantities of material that simply isn't playable. For example, Paizo published Pathfinder's Bestiary 6 earlier this year at any asking price of $45. That book contains 21 monsters with CRs >25, most of whom have two page entries and who have no business whatsoever being monster entries. The game does not even come close to functioning at the level of fighting CR 30 Charon, but because people are willing to claim that it can they can publish a whole bunch of material for the non-viable power levels to pad out book lengths and thereby sell more books to GMs.

    It's kind of weird. In online MMOs, the economic incentive is towards game balance - because the minute one class or build becomes too powerful all the competitive players (who are the ones who complain to the parent company and therefore matter) switch to that class and it ruins the gameplay. In tabletop, the incentive is against it, because keeping balance tight makes it much more difficult to churn out books to earn you money (perhaps the ultimate example is Rifts, which by utterly disregarding balance and frankly conceptual sanity spewed forth text at an almost unimaginable rate).
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    It's kind of weird. In online MMOs, the economic incentive is towards game balance - because the minute one class or build becomes too powerful all the competitive players (who are the ones who complain to the parent company and therefore matter) switch to that class and it ruins the gameplay.
    "Sloppy balance is punished because play is competitive."

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    In tabletop, the incentive is against it, because keeping balance tight makes it much more difficult to churn out books to earn you money (perhaps the ultimate example is Rifts, which by utterly disregarding balance and frankly conceptual sanity spewed forth text at an almost unimaginable rate).
    "Play is not competitive; sloppy balance is not punished."


    Sloppiness shouldn't be rewarded anywhere. It's just not punished very hard in table-top design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Losing an item is not something simple, at least not in 3e D&D. Having items is part of the expectation & basis of game balance.
    This falls on the Way the Game is Played.

    Sure, Billy is a Optimizing Roll Player who must have his Special Weapon to do tons of damage and his ''expectation'' of play is him being an all powerful damage dealing character.

    And worse, yes, in 3x and Pathfinder a lot of things are a trap. You build a character that is a one trick pony, then lose that one special item...and the character is useless.

    Both the above are just playing one way. And yes, it is the popular way that Everyone plays...or at least everyone follows.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    This falls on the Way the Game is Played.

    Sure, Billy is a Optimizing Roll Player who must have his Special Weapon to do tons of damage and his ''expectation'' of play is him being an all powerful damage dealing character.

    And worse, yes, in 3x and Pathfinder a lot of things are a trap. You build a character that is a one trick pony, then lose that one special item...and the character is useless.

    Both the above are just playing one way. And yes, it is the popular way that Everyone plays...or at least everyone follows.
    That´s too harsh a judgement and a bit unfounded.

    You´d do well to remember that "player empowerment" in AD&D 3rd (aka 3E) was introduced as a reaction to the vast majority of gms being either young, inexperienced or plain incompetent and unable to deal with the necessary judgement calls and rulings, so those got replaced by hard rules.

    Part of those "hard rules" are also codified expectations on what level of to hit, damage, AC and such are considered to be acceptable performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    My experience with a class-based system is that, unless people are willing to keep retiring and rebuilding characters, that trial and error may not happen well. Because there's no good fix for when two characters are unbalanced, especially once you also take into account what different people want out of the game.
    It is very difficult to run the party of Mr Tibburs, the animated tea-dining stuffed bear that loves giving hugs, Gug, the uncouth illiterate ogre barbarian, and Raymond, the telepathic vampire merchant. Regardless of whether they were built in a class-based or point buy system. Ya gots ta set expectations, and talk it out.

    Yes, when you have absolutely no skills to apply to the situation, it takes trial and error, and trying different things until something works. Yes, that generally means making new characters. Hopefully, people will be motivated to learn the appropriate skills. I'm a fan of player skills - skill at making the game run smoothly is no exception.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Some people just like to play Grog the barbarian that has no exit strategy and is expected to win all fights he partakes in, the GMs jobs is to assure him that his victories were hard won when they weren't.
    I'm not the GM for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    But then again some players just want to pick a class and want it to work.
    Again, this is crazy talk. A homicidal vampire-slaying werewolf and a homicidal werewolf-slaying vampire don't "just work" as a party. Games take work. See my tales of the party of the Paladin, the Assassin, the Undead Hunter, the Undead Master... and my character.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    The fat hobbit is the exit strategy. You don't have to outrun the monster, you just have to outrun the fat hobbit.
    Fair enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Would it matter if Luke had put on armor and his upgraded his lightsaber to do extra damage? Not really, the GM would have just fielded Storm Troopers with repeating blasters and thermal detenators to even the odds.
    I disagree with this strategy. If Luke upgrades, the storm troopers should stay the same. Luke should either steam roll them, or fight more of them, or find new targets.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I never run D&D and very seldom play it. In the systems I play the PC's most often start competent so a mage specializing in movement spells might have flight and teleport from the get go. A very large portion of systems doesn't give you any extra powers to play with as you "progress". In majority of games I play my characters don't get anything extra that is a game changer, maybe extra skills or manouvers. Nothing as drastic as now you can fly or turn invisible.

    But you are right we seek different things from games, our styles would probably clash.
    So... the stories you can tell after years of play are the same as the stories you can play when you first create the characters? Doesn't that make the characters lose their replay value / have planned obsolescence? If they can tell story X from the get-go, why not tell story X?

    In this scenario, the optimal path is to tell the best stories first, meaning everything after the first story is just a letdown. Certain Prestige classes, with their "my capstone power is...something you've already passed up several times" have demonstrated that this is a bad plan.

    Why would you choose regression rather than progression for your games?

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    This just warrants it's own answer, the psychology of D&D is for the lack of a better word about progress. While you chip down the bloated HP pool of the monster that's progress. You overcome obstacles to progress through the dugneon. You kill the endboss and that's progress, you grab the loot and that's progress. Clearing that dungeon is progress, levelingt up is progress, getting better items is progress. You are constantly climbing to the top of that mountain, getting better and more powerful. That is called being goal oriented, even the modules are like that, do A to progress to B to progress to C. You see in D&D failure isn't usually an option only progress.
    I don't disagree. "usually winning" is usually nice. It isn't strictly required in D&D, though, as resurrection is a thing. Even without resurrection, the party winning doesn't necessitate a lack of casualties.

    Armus' political maneuvers in D&D certainly weren't all successful. And the world feel into war. And blew up. So success, even in D&D, isn't strictly required.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Making everybody magical or giving everyone cool powers doesn't warrant a more interesting game it just changes the game into something else. I've never tried to hide the fact I consider the progression in D&D to be that of superhero game and I dont want my fantasy game to become a superhero game. In fact it seems that lot of people struggle with the progression from zero to superhero.
    It doesn't have to be magical, or even powers. My Shadowrun character buying a yacht is an upgrade in capabilities, and expands the range of possible stories he can reasonably interact with.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    True, Superman doesn't fit in. If he's a player character option in the book then something is wrong with balance.
    That's biased. If bats and the big S are both valid characters, balance isn't assumed. There's nothing "wrong" with the balance, it just isn't inherent in the core of the game. You have to create it (if you care about it), just like you have to create every other part of the group.

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    If the group decides to include Superman as a PC in Gotham villains then everyone knows what to expect. I believe it's the GMs job and up to the group to preserve whatever game balance they want to have and blind adherence to raw just ****s things up.
    There was a thread about defining what rules are inherent to the GM - while I agree that the GM usually fills this role, I put it on the group as a whole to "preserve game balance". Especial by slapping any GM that gets into an arms race with the PCs. And group is trump, even RAW is second to that. So... I aggressively agree?

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

    Is this much an issue for games beyond 3.x D&D?

    In the 0e/1e D&D games I played Magic Users were weaker than Fighters until you got to rarely played levels, but that was known early.While in theory Magic-Users became the most powerful characters (it even suggested so in the rules:

    1974 - Dungeons & Dragons Book 1: Men & Magic,
    (Page 6)

    "Magic-Users: Top level magic-users are perhaps the most powerful characters in the game, but it is a long hard road to the top, and to begin with they are very weak, so survival is often the question, unless fighters protect the low-level magical types until they have worked up."...)

    IIRC, in practice Mages were so weak that no one I knew played them long. We only did it when we rolled badly or (briefly) wanted a challenge, so I never saw any Mages past second level that weren't NPC's at my usual tables.I can very much remember how in 70's early 80's it was hard to get anyone to play a "Magic User" (even when the Intelligence score roll was higher their Strength), simply because at low levels they had the least they could do (and the lowest hit points).
    Most everyone played "Fighting-Men" to start, but those few who played for "the long game" found that "Magic Users" vastly overpowered other classes at high levels. Thematically and for "world building" it made sense, magicians should be rare, and "the great and powerful Wizard" should be more fearsome then the "mighty Warrior". But as a game? Having separate classes each doing their unique thing is more fun, and always hanging in the back while another PC does everything isn't.....anyway, it was such a long slog before a Magic User PC became less weak than the other classes that if they survived to become poweful it seemed like a just reward in old D&D.

    Unlike D&D, in Stormbringer, on the other hand, you became a Sorcerer when you had really lucky rolls (high POW), which made the other PC's sidekicks, which for a player was LAME! But a low POW caster was almost useless if they weren't a viable "mundane", unlike a high POW sorcerer which was OP compared to other PC's, but this was the result of random character creation not a players choice of how to fit "the group power level.

    In 4e Pendragon (the only edition with caster PC's), waiting for the "stars to be right" made being a caster too dull to play anyway.

    In Traveller, a Player could keep killing off PC's during creation until they got a more powerful PC, but that was tedious, and the power (skills really) difference wasn't that much.

    You could make different "builds" with Champions point buy system, but character creation was a long "mini-game" (like custom car builds in Car Wars), and it's comic book superheroes setting really wasn't to my taste so I don't have much experience with it.

    In Call of Cthullu every PC was "squishy".

    Ringworld like Stormbringer had potential vast differences due to random rolls, but those weren't a matter of choice.

    5e D&D seems pretty balanced at low levels, and every class is too OP at high levels, which makes me want to start at 1st level again regardless.

    What games besides 3.x D&D, and point buy GURPS and HERO is it even necessary to care about "group power level"?

    @Quertus, I have no interest in the "build mini-game", nor in playing a superpowered "god wizard", I just want to role-play a Fafhrd, Gray Mouser, Robin Hood, or Sinbad-like "guy with sword", and having to even think of "group power level" sounds like a chore.

    Other than having so many tables, why would I want to play 3.x D&D?
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  22. - Top - End - #202
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post

    You´d do well to remember that "player empowerment" in AD&D 3rd (aka 3E) was introduced as a reaction to the vast majority of gms being either young, inexperienced or plain incompetent and unable to deal with the necessary judgement calls and rulings, so those got replaced by hard rules.

    Part of those "hard rules" are also codified expectations on what level of to hit, damage, AC and such are considered to be acceptable performance.
    Odd, I don't remember that?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Is this much an issue for games beyond 3.x D&D?

    In the 0e/1e D&D games I played Magic Users were weaker than Fighters until you got to rarely played levels, but that was known early.While in theory Magic-Users became the most powerful characters (it even suggested so in the rules:
    My experience with oD&D and 1e Magic-Users is that they were strategic assets, much like artillery.

    A level 1 Magic-User had one spell, which was often sleep, and in those editions sleep was AMAZING.

    You got a screaming horde of 20 goblins bearing down on you? Sleep, suddenly you've got none.

    That was all the M-U did that day (aside from throwing a few darts) so the PC was a bit of a one-man emergency button, but it was a devastatingly effective button.


    And yeah, it was tough to get a PC up to Name Level (~10 or so), even tougher to get a M-U that high, and it's not like the save-or-die rolls got less frequent afterwards.

    3e changed that -- characters were able to survive better as they got to higher levels -- partly that was the game, partly the Internet.

    I never saw a whole party of teen-level characters in an actual game of D&D until 3e.

    Maybe my experience is atypical? But it's at least one datapoint.

  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    I never saw a whole party of teen-level characters in an actual game of D&D until 3e.

    Maybe my experience is atypical? But it's at least one datapoint.
    .
    That was my experience as well.

    I just prefer to play martials.

    I want to play Captain Sinbad the hero,



    not the villainous Sokurah the Magician!



    ...so old D&D or 5e is a better fit for me.

    Over and over people indicate that Wizards are more powerful in 3.x than in other versions of D&D:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    Building on (and in agreement with) this, it's quite hard to update the game without the setting changing massivly due to NPC power as much as anything - for example, by 3.5 standards, 5e wizards aren't wizards, they're adepts on an ego trip. On that basis, it's not quite as easy to justify 3.5-style magocracies in a world where spellcasters really can be stopped by inserting pointy metal, nor is it possible to justify a fair few of the other facts of a setting which are artifacts of the way that 3.5 magic works (as an extreme example, if your campaign was set in the Tippyverse, you'd end up losing a lot of the setting's credibility because it's based on specific examples of what 3.5 wizards can do).
    Many disliked how weak Magic Users were in TSR D&D:

    Quote Originally Posted by ImproperJustice View Post
    What if fighter’s got tired from swinging their weapons?

    Like a stamina bar?
    That would help limit their Shenanigans with all this unlimited weapon swinging they do.

    For my two cents as someone who started in this hobby with the red box set:

    No, no, no.
    We should not go back to the days of wizards who can be murdered by their familiars and throw darts at people all day long, because they only have two spells a day, that have complex and esoteric limitations that may or may not make them worthwhile.
    So instead, you act as the cheering section for the fighter with his high AC and hit points as he mows through everything without breaking a sweat (or weapon for that matter).

    While you whisper to yourself, just wait, just wait, one day I will be awesome.....

    Phooey!
    Let all PCs feel powerful and heroic. It’s why people choose this hobby. No more nerf bats.
    Martials and Finger wigglers both work fine at all levels of play here.
    ...since I don't want to play "Casters" I'm fine with how TSR D&D did it, I'm also fine with WotC 5e D&D (at low levels).

    I'm hesitant to try 3.x D&D.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I think the root of a lot of these discussions is the idea that we need to have "one game system to rule them all."

    All of this talk about different scenarios with drastically different power levels and expectations would, in my mind, be better served by simply using different game systems.
    Agreed. Trying to make one-size-fits-all RPG systems seems to be an exercise in frustration, as there's always SOME settings/genres it just can't do well. (GURPS doesn't do comic-book superheroes well, for example.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    That´s too harsh a judgement and a bit unfounded.
    Darth Ultron knows that all players are powergaming scum who have to be kept in line so they don't destroy the game with their antics.
    (I can't decided if this should be in Sarcastic or not.)
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
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    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    It is very difficult to run the party of Mr Tibburs, the animated tea-dining stuffed bear that loves giving hugs, Gug, the uncouth illiterate ogre barbarian, and Raymond, the telepathic vampire merchant. Regardless of whether they were built in a class-based or point buy system. Ya gots ta set expectations, and talk it out.

    Yes, when you have absolutely no skills to apply to the situation, it takes trial and error, and trying different things until something works. Yes, that generally means making new characters. Hopefully, people will be motivated to learn the appropriate skills. I'm a fan of player skills - skill at making the game run smoothly is no exception.

    Again, this is crazy talk. A homicidal vampire-slaying werewolf and a homicidal werewolf-slaying vampire don't "just work" as a party. Games take work. See my tales of the party of the Paladin, the Assassin, the Undead Hunter, the Undead Master... and my character.
    We agree there. I put a lot of work into my games and make sure that everybody is on the same page. The skill I value with my players has nothing do to with system mastery and I think that our opinions about what being a good player differ. But we can't discount that there are games were the players and the GM just suppose that things will work out.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I disagree with this strategy. If Luke upgrades, the storm troopers should stay the same. Luke should either steam roll them, or fight more of them, or find new targets
    New targets are a part of the escalation. In the context of things it really doesn't matter if the dungeon is occupied with goblins, orcs, gnolls, mummies, vampires or umber hulks or if Luke is fighting stormtroopers or mandalorians. The GM is simply reacting to the PC's increase in power. So in the context of things if the PC's level is X then the dungeon has adversaries of CR X, what the creature is, is merely fluff.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So... the stories you can tell after years of play are the same as the stories you can play when you first create the characters? Doesn't that make the characters lose their replay value / have planned obsolescence? If they can tell story X from the get-go, why not tell story X?

    In this scenario, the optimal path is to tell the best stories first, meaning everything after the first story is just a letdown. Certain Prestige classes, with their "my capstone power is...something you've already passed up several times" have demonstrated that this is a bad plan.

    Why would you choose regression rather than progression for your games?
    As I've gotten older quality has an increased value for me. When I was younger or a teen I would game every weekend from friday to sunday and sometimes we would game in the middle of the week as well. With a career, wife, kids etc. I don't have time for that so why the **** should I spend time in a cellar killing rats when I get to game? Just start at the good part and keep going, just start at story "X".

    There is no best first, I aim for quality all the way. If you write a 100 books and the first 5 are good does it mean that the other 95 will be a let down? Sure I'll use all kind of tricks for pacing during individual adventures but I aim for quality in all my sessions, that's how I have managed to keep my players interest through multiple 1-2 year campaigns.

    The other thing is I don't play the same system, genre or world. I've played D&D, WHFRP, RuneQuest, Cyperpunk 2020, Ars Magica, Shadowrun, CoC, WoD (VtM, WtA, MtA), Deadlands, Gurps, Theatrix, Primetime adventures, Twerps, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Amber, Exalted, Toon, Pendragon, Fuzion, L5R, 7th Sea, Star Wars (the old d6 and edge of empire) and Earthdawn so there are never the same stories...there are different systems and different campaign settings and then there are all the other systems that I've just tried 1 or 2 times.

    When you read these forums then there are GM's who are waiting for the good parts, they're trying to build something up slowly at the expense that the players will get bored or the campaing will just deflate before they get to the good parts. How simple is this? Start at the good parts...if the good parts require the characters to start level 5 or 10 or 13 it doesn't ****ing matter, just start where the fun begins. I mean if you are at an amusement park why go 10 rounds with the merry go around when you can just head straight for the rollercoaster?
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2017-12-03 at 02:19 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    As I've gotten older quality has an increased value for me. When I was younger or a teen I would game every weekend from friday to sunday and sometimes we would game in the middle of the week as well. With a career, wife, kids etc. I don't have time for that so why the **** should I spend time in a cellar killing rats when I get to game? Just start at the good part and keep going, just start at story "X".

    There is no best first, I aim for quality all the way. If you write a 100 books and the first 5 are good does it mean that the other 95 will be a let down? Sure I'll use all kind of tricks for pacing during individual adventures but I aim for quality in all my sessions, that's how I have managed to keep my players interest through multiple 1-2 year campaigns.

    The other thing is I don't play the same system, genre or world. I've played D&D, WHFRP, RuneQuest, Cyperpunk 2020, Ars Magica, Shadowrun, CoC, WoD (VtM, WtA, MtA), Deadlands, Gurps, Theatrix, Primetime adventures, Twerps, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Amber, Exalted, Toon, Pendragon, Fuzion, L5R, 7th Sea, Star Wars (the old d6 and edge of empire) and Earthdawn so there are never the same stories...there are different systems and different campaign settings and then there are all the other systems that I've just tried 1 or 2 times.

    When you read these forums then there are GM's who are waiting for the good parts, they're trying to build something up slowly at the expense that the players will get bored or the campaing will just deflate before they get to the good parts. How simple is this? Start at the good parts...if the good parts require the characters to start level 5 or 10 or 13 it doesn't ****ing matter, just start where the fun begins. I mean if you are at an amusement park why go 10 rounds with the merry go around when you can just head straight for the rollercoaster?
    Answers I've seen to this before (none of which I agree with):

    "That's not how the game is played."
    "You haven't earned those levels.""
    "It's not a good story if the characters start out powerful."
    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.

    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 RazorChain View Post
    When you read these forums then there are GM's who are waiting for the good parts, they're trying to build something up slowly at the expense that the players will get bored or the campaing will just deflate before they get to the good parts. How simple is this? Start at the good parts...if the good parts require the characters to start level 5 or 10 or 13 it doesn't ****ing matter, just start where the fun begins. I mean if you are at an amusement park why go 10 rounds with the merry go around when you can just head straight for the rollercoaster?
    Kinda reminds of some similar advice I've seen for writing: Ask yourself, is this the most exciting portion of our character's lives? If not, why aren't you showing us that?
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Answers I've seen to this before (none of which I agree with):

    "That's not how the game is played."
    "You haven't earned those levels.""
    "It's not a good story if the characters start out powerful."
    .
    While I prefer higher levels in TD&D (so I may expect to PC to survive), I do find higher level WD&D play a bit dull and unrelatable (same with superhero RPG's like Champions and Villians & Vigilantes).

    I prefer playing PC's that are closer to regular humans, but exploring a fantastic world.

    I just don't find curbstomping a world exciting, I'd rather play Call of Cthullu than "Epic".
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    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
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    Default Re: What's happened to gaming - balance point

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Answers I've seen to this before (none of which I agree with):

    "That's not how the game is played."
    "You haven't earned those levels.""
    "It's not a good story if the characters start out powerful."
    I know, it's often the preconceptions that you HAVE to start at level one and is straight out of D&D school of thought where the creator thought you really had to go through the meatgrinder to earn those levesl. I mean if everybody would have thought like that then a lot of fun systems would never been made. I prefer to start characters from normal to heroic depending on what I'm runnig. It's only when I run supers that the characters have the option to be superheroic. I also like a slow but gradual buildup in power instead of starting as a farm boy and then suddenly you're punching the gods in the eye.

    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    Kinda reminds of some similar advice I've seen for writing: Ask yourself, is this the most exciting portion of our character's lives? If not, why aren't you showing us that?
    Well establishing normalcy shouldn't be underrated either or a gradual build up to a conflict/climax but that doesn't have anything to do with the heroes competence. If what leads up to the climax is boring then you've kinda shot yourself in the foot as a GM anyway. IMO the campaign should be engaging from the start not "wait guys don't leave, the campaign really takes off when you hit level 5"

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    While I prefer higher levels in TD&D (so I may expect to PC to survive), I do find higher level WD&D play a bit dull and unrelatable (same with superhero RPG's like Champions and Villians & Vigilantes).

    I prefer playing PC's that are closer to regular humans, but exploring a fantastic world.

    I just don't find curbstomping a world exciting, I'd rather play Call of Cthullu than "Epic".
    I prefer to run grim, gritty dark fantasy where the characters are closer to normal humans than epic superheores that don't identify with the unwashed masses. I find it makes better plots, better emergent stories and forces the players to be clever and promotes smart play. Not just in what order do I have to push my win buttons to get past the opponents you lose buttons.
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2017-12-03 at 02:49 PM.

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