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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    Interesting, I find the opposite to be true: there are many high magic systems, but very few low magic ones; almost none, in fact. Fairly sure Shadow of the Demon Lord, and Lotfp, aren't low magic (havent looked into them too closely however).

    The main reason I want low magic is, ironically (?), to make magic "magical". When magic is everywhere, and reliable, it just becomes a kind of science. And gritty, because I want to feel like I earned my victories. I am a gameplay > story guy. Dont get me wrong, I want a bit of story, but not at the cost of genuine risk and potential PC death/TPK.

    You might also check out Godbound, I think that's a epic power dnd game.
    Well, I do understand that approach to magic — it's not what I'm going for in my games, but I can dig that. The trick is that if you give PCs access to magic, it's really hard to make it mysterious and unreliable. It's possible, but it usually discourages people who play magic-users.

    As for grittiness, I meant mostly how people present it - wounds don't heal easily, equipment is scarce, etc. So basically trying to run a survival game at lower levels or even at all levels. You've described something that fits into "higher risk deadly encounters" which are possible in many environments, and I actually love those too.

    I've seen Godbound, and it's a bit too high-power for my needs. The trick is, there are two sides of the axis — the "we're playing barely surviving all too mortal chumps" crowd and the "we're playing gods from the get-go" opposite. What I like D&D, 3.5 in particular, is the growth from 1-2 on that scale to 7-9. I don't need either extreme, and "fantasy superheroes" who are still involved in their world but are way above the normal human is not as well-represented, unless one converts actual superhero systems to fantasy or something.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    You might also check out Godbound, I think that's a epic power dnd game.
    Definitely seconding Godbound. It's basically Exalted's level of power and tone, but with old-school D&D-style mechanics (albeit much more streamlined and easier to play), along with some neat rules for how PCs of that powerlevel can change and influence different factions and the world at large. The full, basic game is even completely free, with a paid deluxe version including additional rules for mortal player characters than can become gods later in-game, supernatural martial arts, and divine mechas.


    On how to fix D&D......well, bring back psionics. Make them feel distinct from magic. Done. That'd be enough for me. 5th edition otherwise has been pretty enjoyable for me so far.

    Edit: And Swordsage'd. Dang. Still, I will recommend the Godbound Mortals rules. They even differentiate between common and heroic mortals, depending on how gritty you want the low levels to be.
    Last edited by Theoboldi; 2018-06-09 at 08:16 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    How I would fix dnd, wide ranging changes - overall objective, make it gritty, low magic - see Low Fantasy Gaming in my sig.

    How I would fix 5e with minimal changes: see 5e Hardmode in my sig.
    Haha I at least you can put money where your mouth is. I just play other systems that have grittyness and low magic
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I'd actually argue that there's a lot AD&D does best out of all the editions, at least at the conceptual level if not in the implementation.
    Possibly. Certainly, some of the things you've outlined seem reasonable.

    multiclassing vs. dual-classing to enable you to handle both "I'm an equally good fighter and wizard!" builds and "I'm an X who dabbles in Y!" builds
    I agree that those are things you want to handle, but I disagree that the game handles them well. The brute reality is that being a Wizard 8/Fighter 8 is not balanced with being a Ranger 10. There are too many potential pitfalls, and the workload you have to do is combinatoric. Balancing arbitrary class combinations at arbitrary rations is NP hard or harder.

    random magic item tables that explicitly favor noncasters
    I don't think that's a good thing. It's an outgrowth of the idea that casters are supposed to be baseline better than martials. Biasing treasure against casters just makes casters care less about adventuring, and it mitigates the important role of arbitrary treasure piles -- letting the DM give pity items to whichever character happens to be underperforming.

    2e gives specialty priests and priest spheres that make different divine casters feel distinct
    AD&D still has a unified Priest list with both animate dead and plant growth.

    kits allowing PrC-like customization of characters from 1st level instead of 5th or 6th
    That's just ACFs or Archetypes or whatever you want to call it. Those exist in 3e, Pathfinder, and 5e. It's an idea that AD&D did first, but it's not really a particularly uniquely AD&D idea.

    The reason I'm not sold on Gish is precisely because it's exclusive to githyanki in a way that other classes aren't, so "I'm a gish specializing in spell channeling!" doesn't work in-character in the same way "I'm a wizard specializing in evocation!" or "I'm a priest/champion of Pelor!" does. But there's definitely no other term that comes close to replacing it, so I'm using it for now.
    Sure it does. You can either retcon the name to being a general term for something Githyanki simply happen to do a lot of, or declare that the Githyanki invented the technique. Any number of real world general terms come from specific cultures.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    I agree that those are things you want to handle, but I disagree that the game handles them well. The brute reality is that being a Wizard 8/Fighter 8 is not balanced with being a Ranger 10. There are too many potential pitfalls, and the workload you have to do is combinatoric. Balancing arbitrary class combinations at arbitrary rations is NP hard or harder.
    It's no harder to balance wizard 8//fighter 8 with ranger 10 or druid 8//ranger 8 with wizard 10 than it is to balance wizard 4/fighter 4 with wizard 2/fighter 6 with wizard 8 with ranger 3/druid 5 with druid 1/ranger 7 with ranger 8. Which is to say, neither case is at all feasible to balance on a level-by-level basis, no designer is ever going to go through combinatorially like that for either version, and figuring out which combos are amazing, terrible, or somewhere in between is something to be left to the hive mind of the internet to figure out years later. The best you can do is look at combinations holistically: is there any obvious synergy or anti-synergy with a Class A//Class B multiclass, are there any obvious breakpoints at level X for Class A such that Class A X//Class B [20-X] is always better than Class A 20, and stuff like that.

    So that's a great argument for not actually having multiclassing at all (which isn't an option if you're trying to be D&D; even 4e had it, and it obviously didn't want to), but if you are going to have multiclassing then the bad parts of having both versions are really no worse than the bad parts of having either one, and there are definite benefits to having both like supporting more concepts at lower levels, not needing to have dual-progression PrCs or the equivalent, reducing the number of hybrid classes you need to support, and so forth.

    I don't think that's a good thing. It's an outgrowth of the idea that casters are supposed to be baseline better than martials. Biasing treasure against casters just makes casters care less about adventuring, and it mitigates the important role of arbitrary treasure piles -- letting the DM give pity items to whichever character happens to be underperforming.
    It's not a good thing if you somehow end up balancing casters and noncasters, but in the context of a game where you haven't managed to do that it helps the balance a bit.

    More generally, though, the benefit there is biasing the treasure tables to give players items they'll find useful. While the 3e random weapons tables do have varying d% ranges for different weapons, the one in the DMG gives you an equal chance of finding a luck blade (really good for anyone), a holy avenger (generally useful, but really good for a paladin), and a trident of fish command (seriously?). Meanwhile, the 1e tables skew heavily towards generally useful items (and toward a few specific types of armor and weapons, making it easier for fighter types to decide what they want to specialize in). The idea is not necessarily to favor one class over another, but to favor items that PCs are likely to want (and therefore not sell to craft their own items).

    AD&D still has a unified Priest list with both animate dead and plant growth.
    No, it has a single page where all the priest spells are listed by level, but it's not like the 3e cleric list in that all priests can access all spells; in fact, there's not a single 3rd-level PHB priest spell in the All sphere that all priests could access. Animate dead is in the Necromantic sphere and plant growth is in the Plant sphere, so no priest could cast both of those spells unless they worship one of only a handful of gods of the hundreds published that grant minor access to both of those spheres.

    It's a common complaint that 3e clerics of different religions feel too same-y, and a commonly suggested fix to have them cast domain spells from their general slots and general spells from their domain slots. Spheres are like that, except with much larger domains and a much, much smaller general list.

    That's just ACFs or Archetypes or whatever you want to call it. Those exist in 3e, Pathfinder, and 5e. It's an idea that AD&D did first, but it's not really a particularly uniquely AD&D idea.
    It's not unique, but it is different. AD&D kits are more extensive in their changes and benefits than 3e ACFs and substitution levels, and they're optional and cumulative with subclasses/archetypes/etc. unlike the mandatory and singular PF and 5e versions. I'm not saying the AD&D version is necessarily best (maybe you don't want the complexity of class/subclass/kit for everything), but it is another approach that you miss if you only look at 3e and later.

    Sure it does. You can either retcon the name to being a general term for something Githyanki simply happen to do a lot of, or declare that the Githyanki invented the technique. Any number of real world general terms come from specific cultures.
    Considering the githyanki are known to kill anyone who takes something from them without permission....

    But seriously, I agree with you that it works in general, which is why I'm using it. It's jut not final in the way Warrior, Priest, Champion, or Trickster are, that's all.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    No, it has a single page where all the priest spells are listed by level, but it's not like the 3e cleric list in that all priests can access all spells; in fact, there's not a single 3rd-level PHB priest spell in the All sphere that all priests could access. Animate dead is in the Necromantic sphere and plant growth is in the Plant sphere, so no priest could cast both of those spells unless they worship one of only a handful of gods of the hundreds published that grant minor access to both of those spheres.
    AD&D added spheres and specialty priests in 2e. In 1e there were just clerics, and they all had the same spell list.
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    Actually, I've been ruminating on this for a long time and had asked friends and acquaintances on how they would fix D&D, and based on how much I see this on the forums and in people's answers...

    Not sure if this merits a separate thread, and I want to ask - why so many people wish for D&D to be a gritty low magic fantasy game? .

    Because I want "Dungeons & Dragons" to feel more like the D&D I played again (but not all of the way, having most of my new PC's survive till second level is an exciting novelty).

    It hasn't been that for ages,

    I suppose, but that change was while I wasn't playing, so it seems like a big adjustment.

    and there are literally dozens of those on the market, as far as I'm aware, and they have been designed as such from the start.

    As was D&D, at first.

    I've heard lots of good things (bad things too, though) about LotFP, some good remarks on Shadow of the Demon Lord or something like that, etc. Most heartbreakers of older D&D versions also attempt to skew the board towards "gritty realism".

    Meanwhile, my project of remaking D&D only exists because there is no game I know of in the genre of "superpowered fantasy heroes"

    1985's Fantasy Hero leaps to mind

    aside from Exalted similar in tone to what I want to play and DM, and Exalted's mechanics are kinda bad and would require much more work to redo properly, while higher-level D&D would work quite well for that with a full progression in 20 levels from mortal to demigod.

    Why does "E6" exist?

    Above 10th level WD&D just seems weird to me, and apparently (according Mike Mearls) most 5e WD&D is played no higher than 7th level, which seems believable to me).

    TD&D definitely had "power creep" over it's 25 years, but nothing like the giant jump that was 3e WD&D (and I presume 4e).

    That a common complaint about 5e WD&D is that it is too "low power" seems amazing to me as, while fun, it seems more like 3e WD&D to me than TD&D.

    In most things 5e WD&D seems like a "compromise edition" designed to be "everyone's second favorite: and, judging by how many new players there are, it seemd to be working.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    I've seen Godbound, and it's a bit too high-power for my needs. The trick is, there are two sides of the axis — the "we're playing barely surviving all too mortal chumps" crowd and the "we're playing gods from the get-go" opposite. What I like D&D, 3.5 in particular, is the growth from 1-2 on that scale to 7-9. I don't need either extreme, and "fantasy superheroes" who are still involved in their world but are way above the normal human is not as well-represented, unless one converts actual superhero systems to fantasy or something.
    Ah right gotcha sure I can see what you're going for. Yeah I'd like to see what you create for that, keep us posted :)
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    On Favourite D&D: 5e might actually be my favourite version of D&D. Mind you I haven't played the pre-3 versions, set up a game in one though, but we never got to play that. On the other hand of systems I've played 5th only ranks above a friend's homebrew and other editions of D&D. So I'm not sure what that says. Except that there are a lot of great systems out there that are not D&D. I should play more of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    But seriously, I agree with you that it works in general, which is why I'm using it. It's jut not final in the way Warrior, Priest, Champion, or Trickster are, that's all.
    Did you see Soldier, Theologian and Mage-knight?

    Mage-knight is definitely the weakest of the three, that one is hard. I can think of one setting that gave them a name and that used the term hybrid. They didn't have mixes in the same way.

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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    I strongly urge people to drop the goal of "fixing D&D", and set a new goal of running a fun game.

    If broken D&D leads to a fun game, then broken D&D is fine.
    If "fixed " D&D leads to a dull game, then fixed D&D is a problem.

    The goal should never be to fix a game system. The goal should be to run a fun game.

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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    What I would do with D&D would probably render it unrecognizable and cause people to abandon ship. Most things that make it what it is are completely contrary to good game design. But, here we go: First off, before we go into classes or whatever, the basic systems have to be redone.

    • Combat. For a game that focuses so much on it, D&D's model of fighting is dreadful. Without magic, there's just one thing to do: hit AC, deal HP damage. Every mundane form of defence is boiled down to AC or HP. Then there's the issue of HP being sometimes luck and gumption and sometimes durability, but really neither.

      What D&D needs is a proper split between "mushy" health that can be lost and gained easily and "meaty" health that means you're actually hurt. Starfinder had it. Why isn't it going to be in PF2e? I guess tradition. Of course, even the "mushy" HP shouldn't bloat nearly as much as HP do in D&D. I think we need to start from assuming your starting HP won't change and see how much it breaks things, then work from there.

      There needs to be an actual difference between trying to hit someone clad in plate, a robe-clad martial artist running rings around you or a wizard hiding behind a shield spell. And everything in between. If they all boil down to trying to hit the same static number, we're not going to get anywhere. It's just going to amount to depleting HP and everything remotely interesting requiring you to spend build resources on it.

    • Levels. D&D has a power curve no other system really has. You start out as a nobody or a decently competent adventurer, depending on the edition - then grow into massive power just by fighting progressively more dangerous enemies. And the game has never really known what to do with the power it gives PCs above level 7 or so. They turn into world-shaking superheroes and then just straight-up demigods - a high-level fighter might be pathetic compared to spellcasters or level-appropriate opponents, but compared to 90% of the people in the world, they're unapproachable.

      So there's two layers here - the power progression and how to represent it mechanically. Regarding the latter, I honestly have a hard time seeing a benefit to levels, except that people would flip their lids if they were gone. What do levels even help with? They make it a bit easier to compare characters, but they suffocate and restrict progression. You always get this many feats, skills, spells and so on. No wriggle room. You can't advance in one thing without improving a bunch of unrelated ones. This is especially aggravating when combined with the endless HP inflation. You can't get better at anything without also acquiring superhero-like durability.

      Regardless of whether we ditch levels or not, the power progression has to be cleaned up. And decoupled from levels at least somewhat. D&D has a massive problem of half of its published material not seeing much play, since few campaigns even get that far. On the flipside, a long-running campaign can often take players into power levels they're not enthusiastic to deal with. Your humble wizard apprentice will eventually become Dr. Strange (sidenote: I know very little about Dr. Strange, don't quote me). Your tough and dependable fighting man/woman/person... well, they're still going to be inept compared to most fictional martial heroes, and most elite fighting forces of the real world, but still perfectly capable of taking on a small army and winning. You can't really play them the same way after that, and the world won't react to them the same way.

      So what do we do with this? D&D has to embrace variable power levels. E6 did that, so let's roll with it. Let players pause and slow down progression past a certain level. If we assume 20 levels, level 10 seems like an obvious cutoff point. Past that point, you either keep advancing and become a superhero, or slow down and focus on developing your influence, reach and diversity. You'll be a major part of the setting without necessarily being able to solo an army. It can happen earlier, if you want.

      I feel like the game should also really encourage starting out on a higher power level, though. Honestly, the idea that you gain levels instead of just having them is kind of problematic in general. But people need to be able to play a more heroic game without having to go through the low levels first. Whether that means just starting out at higher level and spending more time at chargen, or something else.

      Above else, be honest. Stop trying to pretend all those epic heroes, villains and people in-between have no effect on the world beyond just what the plot requires.


    So once we get that out of the way, we can delve into classes, magic and stuff.

    • Classes need a... very thorough reworking. Like, we need to decide on what a class even means. Which has to cover all its level progression. As Cosi said earlier, "fighter" just isn't a concept that goes beyond level 5. Or 10, on a good day. What does a class gives us? What doesn't it give us? Is the be-all, end-all defining power of a D&D class anything more than a fossilized relic? Maybe the world won't end if a martial-oriented class can pick up some magic without multiclassing. Or, rather... some spells. Whether or not they should use magic without using spells is a whole other question. A model I considered was:

      Three martial classes - one "defender" one, modelled after the 4e fighter. One "vanguard", which is like the barbarian only not stupidly narrow; it's all about being aggressive and disruptive while being capable of limited "bursts" of power. One "warlord" that's a leader and tactician. Then three magic classes... either wizard/druid/cleric or something else. More on that below. Druids don't need to be spellcasters, though. We can have a nature-oriented "wilder" class without tying it to spells. There needs to be more "expert" classes than the rogue, as well. But we do need to decide if we want different classes to have different amount of non-combat, non-magical skills. Even if we decide to decouple those proficiencies entirely, there still need to be classes who rely more on misdirection and preparation than martial or magical power. Rangers can be folded into druids and whatever "physical expert" class we end up having; this class has no reason to exist. Paladins, though, can remain as a hybrid class of a martial zealot whose oaths and beliefs give them divine power.

    • Magic, likewise, needs a good looking at. A lot of the assumptions of what D&D magic can do are simply detrimental to a good game, or good world-building. I don't think daily spells are salvageable, but spell preparation could work without tying it to long rests. Do we need the arcane/divine split? Maybe. I'm leaning more towards a learned/granted/innate power. One is power you develop yourself through study and practice, like a wizard or occultist. One is gained from a patron, like a cleric or warlock. And the third one is power that comes from the inside, like a sorcerer or maybe psion.

      Apart from that, there needs to be less of a focus on "I can fix it easy, so long as I've got the right spell". Magic has to be fun and powerful, but it needs to enable stories, not bypass them.

      There needs to be a greater focus on magic activities that aren't spells. This means both "rituals" or generally long-term magic projects required to accomplish some effects. It also means that you can interact with magic without necessarily casting spells. Maybe it means accomplishing supernatural power through martial arts - but also an experienced cat-burglar being able to disable and disrupt magical effects with enough skill and elbow grease. Or someone who does just straight-up do magic that no one is going to call anything else, but doesn't use spells the way a wizard does.


    There you go. A not particularly coherent ramble that boils down to starting from scratch without a very clear goal of what to do from there. But I don't think anything short of that would be ultimately worth the effort - more like painting over a rusted car whose engine is leaking.
    Last edited by Morty; 2018-06-09 at 08:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psikerlord View Post
    Ah right gotcha sure I can see what you're going for. Yeah I'd like to see what you create for that, keep us posted :)
    I will, once I get it done. Thanks :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I strongly urge people to drop the goal of "fixing D&D", and set a new goal of running a fun game.

    If broken D&D leads to a fun game, then broken D&D is fine.
    If "fixed " D&D leads to a dull game, then fixed D&D is a problem.

    The goal should never be to fix a game system. The goal should be to run a fun game.
    That's the point. Fixing D&D means turning it into a game that's easy to run as something fun for you and your players. That's why nobody can agree on all the points about how D&D should be fixed.
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    AD&D added spheres and specialty priests in 2e. In 1e there were just clerics, and they all had the same spell list.
    Yes, I know; I specifically noted spheres as one of the benefits of 2e AD&D in my original post. Though I guess some people think of AD&D as just 1e, and he could have mixed those up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    There needs to be an actual difference between trying to hit someone clad in plate, a robe-clad martial artist running rings around you or a wizard hiding behind a shield spell. And everything in between. If they all boil down to trying to hit the same static number, we're not going to get anywhere. It's just going to amount to depleting HP and everything remotely interesting requiring you to spend build resources on it.
    3e is actually most of the way there, with AC, Reflex, and miss chances mapping nicely to the slow-and-heavily-armored, fast-and-dodgy, and magically-deflective archetypes. You could also add in parrying, as a defense that's not quite the sit-there-and-take-it of AC and not quite the missed-him-by-a-mile of miss chances and is suited well to a skirmisher character. If different kinds of attacks were nicely distributed among these defenses, either on the offense end (e.g. allowing a broad sweeping strike to target Reflex) or the defense end (e.g. letting certain characters go into "dodge mode" and start miss-chance-ing and Reflex-ing attacks normally directed at AC or parry defense), that would give you some nice tactical depth there.

    Rangers can be folded into druids and whatever "physical expert" class we end up having; this class has no reason to exist. Paladins, though, can remain as a hybrid class of a martial zealot whose oaths and beliefs give them divine power.
    Why oh why does everyone want to get rid of the poor ranger while keeping the paladin? The ranger is to the druid what the paladin is to the cleric, the psychic warrior is to the psion, the soulborn is to the incarnate, the duskblade is to the wizard...if the other partial casters have a sufficiently strong archetype to exist on their own, so can the ranger, and if they don't (er, soulborn aside) then the ranger shouldn't be the only one going away.

    And I do think the ranger can fill its own niche, just like the paladin as a smiting, self-healing, aura-granting machine can have a distinct existence from both a combat-focused cleric and a faithful fighter. While animal companions, special fighting styles, terrain-specific abilities, and the like can and have been done by the fighter and druid, the "dedicated X slayer" parts of ranger (whether that's monster types, specific organizations, specific individuals bounty-hunter style) really don't fit into either niche as well (being more of a rogue or assassin thing), and the "supernaturally stealthy in natural surroundings" and "one with nature" parts don't fit either the druid (who, despite all the one-with-nature rhetoric, is really more of a commander of nature with scary beasts and flashy weather magic and such) or the fighter (who doesn't have a nature theme at all).

    Basically, to hit all the high points of a traditional ranger, you'd need to mix parts of fighter, rogue, and druid, and that's a good sign it could remain its own class, in the same way that the bard grew to have much more of its own identity than just a fighter/thief/druid in the 1e days.

    [*]Magic, likewise, needs a good looking at. A lot of the assumptions of what D&D magic can do are simply detrimental to a good game, or good world-building. I don't think daily spells are salvageable, but spell preparation could work without tying it to long rests.
    I always like the AD&D "every spell takes 10 minutes per spell level to prepare" option, with the alteration that you don't need to rest 8 hours to re-prepare spells as long as you keep preparing the same spells in the same slots (so you can cast/prepare/cast/prepare/cast/prepare all day if it's the same spells, but swapping spells requires rest). At low levels, wizards with their one or two spells can take 10-20 minutes between combats and be good to go, basically being per-encounter casters; at high levels, it can take over a day (roughly 2.5 days for high-level 1e wizards) to prepare a full spell allotment, enabling wizards to prepare a couple spells here and a couple there without trouble but requiring a bunch of downtime if they run through everything.

    That setup does what spell preparation is intended to accomplish compared to point-based or other spellcasting models (forcing you to have both high- and low-level abilities instead of nova-ing high-level ones, making you choose a smaller subset of known spells for each phase of an adventure, etc.) without being able to refresh everything each day as 3e lets you do.

    Do we need the arcane/divine split? Maybe. I'm leaning more towards a learned/granted/innate power. One is power you develop yourself through study and practice, like a wizard or occultist. One is gained from a patron, like a cleric or warlock. And the third one is power that comes from the inside, like a sorcerer or maybe psion.
    The two are mostly orthogonal issues, I think. For each of arcane, divine, and psionics, you can have learned (wizard/archivist/psion), granted (warlock/cleric/ardent), and innate (sorcerer/favored soul/wilder) power. Heck, it continues for other power sources: incarnum sorta has it (the flavor's a bit muddled and has incarnum itself being all three, but they lean toward incarnate being more wizard-y and learned, soulborn being more paladin-y and granted, and totemist being more barbarian-y and innate), a hypothetical separate nature power source would have it (druids are strictly granted at the moment, but since druids are basically three classes I could see a "beastmaster" [companions] being learned, a "druid" [casty] being granted, and a "shifter" [wild shape] being innate), a "spirits" power source could have it (binder is learned, shugenja is granted, and the spirit shaman with its spirit guide being tied to the spirit shaman's soul is kinda innate if you squint), and so forth.

    That's one reason why I like the class/subclass/kit model. You can have Mage, Priest, Druid, and Psionicist classes that do the basic arcane, cleric-divine, nature-divine, and psionic spellcasting/manifesting, then subclasses for each can set the ability-learning and -recovery methods, swap key ability modifiers, and so forth. Or you can do it the other way, and have Scholar, Mystic, and Wilder classes for learned/granted/innate respectively that grant basic powers like, I dunno, knowledge stuff, healing stuff, and basic magic blasting stuff, and then you layer different power sources on top of those.

    Either way, the class/subclass design style works well for patterns of classes like that--and for the three martial and three skills classes you mentioned before, which if you think about it also kinda fall into the learned/granted/innate buckets like that, with warlord/vanguard/defender for martial and maybe factotum/monk/rogue for skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    That's the point. Fixing D&D means turning it into a game that's easy to run as something fun for you and your players. That's why nobody can agree on all the points about how D&D should be fixed.
    Agreed. There are some parts of D&D that can be objectively fixed and pretty much everyone agrees how to do it, but most things in D&D can only be "fixed" in different ways for different tastes, and while some of those fixes may work for very large groups of people there's no single right answer for most of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Basically, to hit all the high points of a traditional ranger, you'd need to mix parts of fighter, rogue, and druid, and that's a good sign it could remain its own class, in the same way that the bard grew to have much more of its own identity than just a fighter/thief/druid in the 1e days.
    To be fair, maybe part of the problem is that we still really only have 1 iconic Ranger to draw from. Does Aragorn really merit his own class?

    That said, if all you want was a nature based Rogue Fighter, then Scout can fill that concept just fine.

    So maybe Ranger, to step away from the Aragorn limitations, should get renamed as "hunter/slayer" and incorporate more abilities like an off brand Witcher.

    In fact, I think it'd be cool if this "hunter/slayer" class chose its theme based on its favored enemy type. If you favored enemies are humanoids, you're an assassin (or bounty hunter). If it's animals, you're a hunter. If it's magical beasts, you're a witcher. If it's undead, you're a ghost buster. And so on.
    Last edited by Pleh; 2018-06-10 at 07:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    That's the point. Fixing D&D means turning it into a game that's easy to run as something fun for you and your players. That's why nobody can agree on all the points about how D&D should be fixed.
    More importantly, I've had fun with it for over 40 years. I've played, and run, games with specific home-brewed fixes built in. I've played new versions intended to fix the problems of old versions. I've played with supplements intended to fix the problems.

    And I've had fun each time - and not significantly less or more fun than any other time.

    Recognizing all the flaws, I still maintain that there's nothing to fix.

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    Starting from a base of 5e, I don't think it needs fixes per se.

    I would like to see something done to reduce the ravioli nature of spell selection. Instead of broad lists from which you can pick and choose (so your worshiper of the god of fire and burnination has that really OP ice spell always prepared, or your blasty evocation specialist also has equal facility with polymorph and teleport as a specialist in those areas), I'd like more constrained choices. Not quite to the level of a fixed-list caster (which requires a profusion of classes with small differences) or a specialist wizard (because the schools are badly balanced and really not designed for that).

    My thought has been more of an intermediate or union-list caster.

    1) create lots of mini-lists, each fitting a theme. No expectation that each list is balanced against all other lists. Spells may occur on multiple lists.
    2) grant each class a choice of a couple of these lists from a restricted subset.
    2a) either just union the lists together to make the full list
    2b) or chose one as primary and give selections from the others at certain points
    3) There is no 3.
    4) Profit.

    I have a very rough initial pass at this in my signature (for 5e). Doing this for 3e would be way too much work--too many spells out there.

    I've also been thinking about giving each class a selection of talents. These would be mini-things that either grant new alternate uses for existing features or give passive benefits for using features.

    My current (very rough) implementation would involve something like

    1) Four categories: Physical, Equipment, Skill, and Magic
    2) Each class would get one talent every X levels (leaning toward 2, on the evens).
    3) Classes would have restrictions--a fighter might have "Must have more equipment than anything else, and fewest magic", while a wizard must have "more magic, least physical". Or something like that. As I said, it's a rough thing for now.
    4) Some classes might get bonus talents in a particular category.
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    The Rules Cyclopedia is print on demand now.

    You can go back and play BECMI with one book and there is a good chance that you never get past the BE part.

    What I find interesting is that Basic D&D had the most comprehensive magic item creation rules of any edition and still includes things like domain management that isn't always included in an edition. Combine this with actual dungeon exploring rules and a "skill system" more fleshed out than 5e (IMHO), it's one of my favorite editions of D&D right up there with 3.x.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Everybody and their DM has thought about fixing D&D, even though most of us will never complete their fix for one reason or another. Not all of us even agree on what must be done. So I though it might be fun to discuss how you would fix Dungeons & Dragons.
    I spent about 5 years slowly doing that with 1E: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/d...uildingdnd.htm
    I only use part of what I came up with but have still grown a bit weary of having so many house rules in running it.

    Doing that with 3E basically amounts to E6: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...Inside-D-amp-D
    Most of the remaining issues I have with 3E pretty much CANNOT be fixed beyond that - 3E gave up control of the game to the players - who were given no motivation to stop breaking it.

    4E I completely, deliberately avoided.

    5E I am late to start playing, so actually not yet familiar enough with to see issues needing change, much less propose solutions.

    Any fix to any edition of D&D is decidedly personal project. What some see as fatal flaws others consider a saving grace or a feature to be championed.

    So the rules are simple. You must simply explain the changes you'd make and why you'd make them while still keeping: a class and level structure, the ability to explore dungeons and fight monsters, and tactical combat.
    What I would say generally, no matter what version of the game you're perfecting, in addition to those restrictions I'd add that backward compatibility must NOT be a concern (if you're going to make changes, make changes), and spells/magic is always going to kick your butt. Spells and magic serve to create exceptions to every possible rule and without a doubt are the factor that most readily causes the game to become imbalanced, radically change tone and style of play, and/or generally spiral out of control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    3e is actually most of the way there, with AC, Reflex, and miss chances mapping nicely to the slow-and-heavily-armored, fast-and-dodgy, and magically-deflective archetypes. You could also add in parrying, as a defense that's not quite the sit-there-and-take-it of AC and not quite the missed-him-by-a-mile of miss chances and is suited well to a skirmisher character. If different kinds of attacks were nicely distributed among these defenses, either on the offense end (e.g. allowing a broad sweeping strike to target Reflex) or the defense end (e.g. letting certain characters go into "dodge mode" and start miss-chance-ing and Reflex-ing attacks normally directed at AC or parry defense), that would give you some nice tactical depth there.
    It's true, and 4e is the closest D&D got to letting you target other defences than AC without magic. Still, I don't think armor should translate into being hard to hit. That's shields, parrying and dodging. Armor, or spells that imitate it, blocks attacks that do hit you. The only other system I can think of that just makes armor reduce to-hit chance is nWoD, and even that went away in second edition (AKA Chronicles of Darkness).

    Why oh why does everyone want to get rid of the poor ranger while keeping the paladin? The ranger is to the druid what the paladin is to the cleric, the psychic warrior is to the psion, the soulborn is to the incarnate, the duskblade is to the wizard...if the other partial casters have a sufficiently strong archetype to exist on their own, so can the ranger, and if they don't (er, soulborn aside) then the ranger shouldn't be the only one going away.

    And I do think the ranger can fill its own niche, just like the paladin as a smiting, self-healing, aura-granting machine can have a distinct existence from both a combat-focused cleric and a faithful fighter. While animal companions, special fighting styles, terrain-specific abilities, and the like can and have been done by the fighter and druid, the "dedicated X slayer" parts of ranger (whether that's monster types, specific organizations, specific individuals bounty-hunter style) really don't fit into either niche as well (being more of a rogue or assassin thing), and the "supernaturally stealthy in natural surroundings" and "one with nature" parts don't fit either the druid (who, despite all the one-with-nature rhetoric, is really more of a commander of nature with scary beasts and flashy weather magic and such) or the fighter (who doesn't have a nature theme at all).

    Basically, to hit all the high points of a traditional ranger, you'd need to mix parts of fighter, rogue, and druid, and that's a good sign it could remain its own class, in the same way that the bard grew to have much more of its own identity than just a fighter/thief/druid in the 1e days.
    I can see the reasoning behind rangers being hybrid classes. The problem is that while paladins did finally become more than a sum of their parts in 5e, rangers... didn't. They're just an awkward pile of features stapled together. "Slayer of a specific thing" doesn't really work as a class, because if you're not fighting that particular thing, it just doesn't do much for you. And it's not like you need to be a ranger to have it out for a particular species, group or individual.

    "One with nature" might do us more good, but it needs to be something more than the ranger has always had. "Sneaking and surviving in the wilds" just doesn't scale upwards - see my previous post. Eventually you can stroll naked through a desert, never get lost and be perfectly quite while running at full-tilt through the woods. Where do we go from there? It's something that a proficiency covers, we don't need a class for it.

    I could see rangers inheriting pets from druids, who are bloated with features, and becoming a "beastmaster" class with focus on commanding beasts and becoming like them. That's something you can stretch from level 1 to 20.

    I always like the AD&D "every spell takes 10 minutes per spell level to prepare" option, with the alteration that you don't need to rest 8 hours to re-prepare spells as long as you keep preparing the same spells in the same slots (so you can cast/prepare/cast/prepare/cast/prepare all day if it's the same spells, but swapping spells requires rest). At low levels, wizards with their one or two spells can take 10-20 minutes between combats and be good to go, basically being per-encounter casters; at high levels, it can take over a day (roughly 2.5 days for high-level 1e wizards) to prepare a full spell allotment, enabling wizards to prepare a couple spells here and a couple there without trouble but requiring a bunch of downtime if they run through everything.

    That setup does what spell preparation is intended to accomplish compared to point-based or other spellcasting models (forcing you to have both high- and low-level abilities instead of nova-ing high-level ones, making you choose a smaller subset of known spells for each phase of an adventure, etc.) without being able to refresh everything each day as 3e lets you do.
    I can see that. The problem is not so much how inconvenient it is for casters, but rather that there's no humanly way to balance abilities that can be used at-will or every now and then (like per encounter) with those that have to be recharged daily. They eclipse everything else and every challenge boils down to "can the caster(s) afford to blow through their spells here?".

    The two are mostly orthogonal issues, I think. For each of arcane, divine, and psionics, you can have learned (wizard/archivist/psion), granted (warlock/cleric/ardent), and innate (sorcerer/favored soul/wilder) power. Heck, it continues for other power sources: incarnum sorta has it (the flavor's a bit muddled and has incarnum itself being all three, but they lean toward incarnate being more wizard-y and learned, soulborn being more paladin-y and granted, and totemist being more barbarian-y and innate), a hypothetical separate nature power source would have it (druids are strictly granted at the moment, but since druids are basically three classes I could see a "beastmaster" [companions] being learned, a "druid" [casty] being granted, and a "shifter" [wild shape] being innate), a "spirits" power source could have it (binder is learned, shugenja is granted, and the spirit shaman with its spirit guide being tied to the spirit shaman's soul is kinda innate if you squint), and so forth.

    That's one reason why I like the class/subclass/kit model. You can have Mage, Priest, Druid, and Psionicist classes that do the basic arcane, cleric-divine, nature-divine, and psionic spellcasting/manifesting, then subclasses for each can set the ability-learning and -recovery methods, swap key ability modifiers, and so forth. Or you can do it the other way, and have Scholar, Mystic, and Wilder classes for learned/granted/innate respectively that grant basic powers like, I dunno, knowledge stuff, healing stuff, and basic magic blasting stuff, and then you layer different power sources on top of those.

    Either way, the class/subclass design style works well for patterns of classes like that--and for the three martial and three skills classes you mentioned before, which if you think about it also kinda fall into the learned/granted/innate buckets like that, with warlord/vanguard/defender for martial and maybe factotum/monk/rogue for skills.
    I've thought about how those intersect, yes. I don't know which of those I'd prefer to make the "main" axis, but I agree that subclasses help us here. It's just a matter of distilling the core features of each class and then adding the subclass abilities organically.

    I also agree that each of the druids' main features are enough for a whole class or subclass, so I could see rangers being one of those, as above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    More importantly, I've had fun with it for over 40 years. I've played, and run, games with specific home-brewed fixes built in. I've played new versions intended to fix the problems of old versions. I've played with supplements intended to fix the problems.

    And I've had fun each time - and not significantly less or more fun than any other time.

    Recognizing all the flaws, I still maintain that there's nothing to fix.
    So... go play it and keep having fun while we're here armchair-designing improvements? I'm not sure why you even care.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pleh View Post
    To be fair, maybe part of the problem is that we still really only have 1 iconic Ranger to draw from. Does Aragorn really merit his own class?

    That said, if all you want was a nature based Rogue Fighter, then Scout can fill that concept just fine.

    So maybe Ranger, to step away from the Aragorn limitations, should get renamed as "hunter/slayer" and incorporate more abilities like an off brand Witcher.
    Not "nature-based" in that it runs around in nature, "nature-based" in that it has nature-based magic. (Unless you want to magic up the scout and make it more of a druid//rogue than a fighter//rogue, which is also an option.)

    In fact, I think it'd be cool if this "hunter/slayer" class chose its theme based on its favored enemy type. If you favored enemies are humanoids, you're an assassin (or bounty hunter). If it's animals, you're a hunter. If it's magical beasts, you're a witcher. If it's undead, you're a ghost buster. And so on.
    Yep, that's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of when I said to emphasize the "dedicated slayer" aspect of the ranger. A ranger is distinct from a druid/fighter in the same way a duskblade is distinct from an evoker/fighter: the druid/fighter and evoker/fighter can fight and also use magic, but the ranger and duskblade (A) have a much more focused magical theme and (B) blend their magic and combat skills in a unique way such that their magic supports their bladework.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I would like to see something done to reduce the ravioli nature of spell selection. Instead of broad lists from which you can pick and choose (so your worshiper of the god of fire and burnination has that really OP ice spell always prepared, or your blasty evocation specialist also has equal facility with polymorph and teleport as a specialist in those areas), I'd like more constrained choices.
    [...]
    My thought has been more of an intermediate or union-list caster.

    1) create lots of mini-lists, each fitting a theme. No expectation that each list is balanced against all other lists. Spells may occur on multiple lists.
    2) grant each class a choice of a couple of these lists from a restricted subset.
    2a) either just union the lists together to make the full list
    2b) or chose one as primary and give selections from the others at certain points
    3) There is no 3.
    4) Profit.

    I have a very rough initial pass at this in my signature (for 5e). Doing this for 3e would be way too much work--too many spells out there.
    This, once again, looks a lot like 2e Priest spheres:
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e PHB
    All priests spells are divided into 16 categories called spheres of influence. Different types of priests have access to different spheres; no priest can cast spells from every sphere of influence. The 16 spheres of influence are as follows: All, Animal, Astral, Charm, Combat, Creation, Divination, Elemental, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic, Plant, Protection, Summoning, Sun, and Weather.

    In addition, a priest has either major or minor access to a sphere. A priest with major access to a sphere can (eventually) cast all spells in the sphere. A priest with minor access to a sphere can cast only 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-level spells from that sphere.

    [...]

    A priest of a particular mythos is allowed to cast the spells from only a few, related spheres. The priest's deity will have major and minor accesses to certain spheres, and this determines the spells available to the priest. (Each deity's access to spheres is determined by the DM as he creates the pantheon of his world.)

    [...]

    Druids do not have the same range of spells as clerics. They have major access to the following spheres: all, animal, elemental, healing, plant, and weather. They have minor access to the divination sphere.
    Of course, you'd probably want to make some changes to the sphere list like splitting up the Elemental sphere into four for the different elements and splitting up Combat into one for buffs like divine favor and prayer, one for weaponlike spells like spiritual weapon and blade barrier, and one for battlefield-level cooperative spells like spiritual wrath and unearthly choir.

    And AD&D priests only went up to 7th-level spells, so minor sphere access granting 3rd level spells meant they got roughly half of the spells; a 3e version of spheres would want to either make minor access allow 0th-4th level spells, or add a "moderate" access level that went up to 6th-level spells. That would be nice for greater differentiation, so you could have a priest of a fire god get major access to Fire, a priest of a nature god get moderate access to Fire and the other elemental spheres, and a priest of a sun god get minor access to Fire.

    Otherwise, this system works pretty well as-is in a 3e context, you just need to go through and categorize all the spells into the appropriate sphere, and which sphere a given spell falls into is usually pretty obvious--aside from the "All" sphere, which is a very small sphere for those spells that absolutely every divine caster needs, since you'd have to decide whether you want to keep that at all and if so what spells are must-haves. Yes, there are a lot of 3e spells, but if you pull up a full list of cleric spells like DnDtools or the one here, it's the work of a couple afternoons to throw that list in a spreadsheet and then go through it ticking off which sphere a spell should go in.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre
    Not quite to the level of a fixed-list caster (which requires a profusion of classes with small differences) or a specialist wizard (because the schools are badly balanced and really not designed for that).
    For the former, I'm going to once again plug the class/subclass/kit structure. You can achieve the benefits of wizard-/cleric-/druid-style open spell lists (you can keep supporting classes in later books so they're not left high and dry like the late-3e alternate magic systems were) with the benefits of fixed lists (you can give a class a strict theme and stick to it) by writing up different tiers of lists that are composited for different classes, similar to spheres except that they're themed differently and some are exclusive.

    So you can write an Arcanist spell list that wizards, sorcerers, bards, and so forth all get access to; these are your bread and butter spells like mage armor, prestidigitation, dispel magic, and others that you were going to give pretty much all the arcane casters anyway. Then you write a Wizard list with Mordenkainen's lucubration, a Sorcerer list with manifest dragon heritage, a Bard list with summon instrument, and the like that only those specific classes get access to, to reinforce their particular themes and to restrict some of the more useful spells so not all arcanists get access to them. And finally you write a Shapeshifter list with polymorph any object and shapechange, a Shadowcrafter list with shades and simulacrum, a Demonbinder list with gate and planar binding, a Mage Slayer list with battlemagic perception and Mordenkainen's disjunction, an Artificer list with fabricate and wall of stone, and so forth, to restrict the most powerful or generally useful spells to characters focusing on that particular archetype.

    This setup can make a beguiler-style character (with, say, the Arcanist, Bard, Mindbender, and Arcane Trickster lists) feel quite different from a warmage-style character (with the Arcanist, Sorcerer, Battlemage, and Invoker lists) or a dread-necromancer style character (with the Arcanist, Wizard, Arcane Leader, and Reanimator lists) without having to either shove all of those things into specialist wizards and leave nothing for other classes or to actually write up a bunch of separate fixed-list casters.


    For the latter, it's certainly possible to revamp the schools, their subschools, and the spells assigned to each to balance out the schools. Conjuration and Transmutation being do-everything schools is more an artifact of the late 3e designers getting lazy and chucking everything into those schools by default than of the school system itself, and when you do that the narrower schools like Evocation and Enchantment can pick up a lot of the slack and become more well-rounded. I have a set of revised schools and subschools that I use for my games that works quite well for my group, but the specific revisions made depend, as always, on individual tastes.

    Quote Originally Posted by D+1 View Post
    Most of the remaining issues I have with 3E pretty much CANNOT be fixed beyond that - 3E gave up control of the game to the players - who were given no motivation to stop breaking it.
    Speaking as someone who's almost always the DM and who prefers 3e to AD&D, I prefer to view it as 3e having baked the role of rules judge or referee into the rules themselves so there are objective shared benchmarks that my players and I are aware of and implicitly agree on upfront by using the 3e rules. I never really agreed with AD&D putting certain rules for things in the PHB and then having corresponding entries in the DMG basically saying "That's what we told the players, heh heh, but the real rules are...."

    And nothing stops me from houseruling or homebrewing 3e the way I used to do the same for AD&D--heck, my current game is Norse-/Vikings-themed so I've rewritten the "backgrounds" (races), classes, PrCs, skill system, "worlds" (planes) and ways to travel between them, the way "runic" (arcane) and "godly" (divine) magic work, monster types, monsters, and more to feel more Norse-ish--but when I do it's because I deliberately want to change the underlying mechanics for some reason, not because there are fuzzy areas in the rules that just say "ask your DM."

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It's true, and 4e is the closest D&D got to letting you target other defences than AC without magic. Still, I don't think armor should translate into being hard to hit. That's shields, parrying and dodging. Armor, or spells that imitate it, blocks attacks that do hit you. The only other system I can think of that just makes armor reduce to-hit chance is nWoD, and even that went away in second edition (AKA Chronicles of Darkness).
    Armor doesn't at all make you hard to hit, it makes you hard to hurt; missing an attack against a guy in plate armor doesn't mean you didn't hit him, it means you smacked him right in the chest and it didn't go through the armor. Going right back to AD&D:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2e PHB, Equipment
    Armor is the easiest and cheapest way to improve your character's chance of surviving the more violent dangers of the adventuring life. Clearly, the better the armor the character possesses, the less likely he is to be hurt. Armor protection is measured by Armor Class (AC), a number rating; the lower the Armor Class number, the better the protection.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2e PHB, Glossary
    Armor Class (AC) is the protective rating of a type of armor. In some circumstances, AC is modified by the amount of protection gained or lost because of the character's situation. For instance, crouching behind a boulder improves a character's Armor Class, while being attacked from behind worsens his AC.

    Armor provides protection by reducing the chance that a character is attacked successfully (and suffers damage). Armor does not absorb damage, it prevents it. A fighter in full plate mail may be a slow-moving target, but penetrating his armor to cause any damage is no small task.
    That's also why 3e has a difference between normal, touch, and flat-footed AC. If someone just needs to make contact, not get through armor, then that portion of your AC doesn't do any good, and if you can't dodge effectively but are wearing armor then your armor still provides some protection. Doesn't mean that's the best way to represent dodging vs. parrying vs. withstanding an attack, but there was certainly an attempt to represent that.

    I dislike the common suggestion to swap out AC bonuses for damage reduction or the like, for a couple of reasons. First, they work differently mechanically: AC provides a proportional reduction in damage (percentage hit chance times damage inflicted) while DR is a flat reduction, unless you go with a basic three-quarters/half/one-quarter proportional reduction which gives you really large jumps between categories of armor. Second, if armor is just DR--or worse, grants DR while increasing the chance someone is hit through some misguided idea that armor makes you slow and clumsy--then it's hard to strike a balance between "a guy in plate armor is better protected than a guy in leather armor" and "a guy in plate armor can walk through a battlefield and not suffer any harm" without very finely-tuned DR numbers.

    Much better, I think, to keep AC as-is to represent the shrugging off of blows that hit and also add DR to represent the fact that even a successful hit is mitigated by armor. And the damage type association of DR allows you to represent things like maces being particularly good against plate, arrows going through mail more easily, and so forth.

    I can see the reasoning behind rangers being hybrid classes. The problem is that while paladins did finally become more than a sum of their parts in 5e, rangers... didn't. They're just an awkward pile of features stapled together. "Slayer of a specific thing" doesn't really work as a class, because if you're not fighting that particular thing, it just doesn't do much for you. And it's not like you need to be a ranger to have it out for a particular species, group or individual.
    Ironically enough, I think that's because the Oath of the Ancients paladin stole some of the ranger's thunder. I mean, come on, fey knights who care about nature and beauty more than law and good, who wear leaves and antlers on their armor, who have class-specific spells dealing with plants and animals, and who turn into plant creatures as their capstone? Sounds pretty darn ranger-y to me. Next to that, and given designers who didn't have any particularly interesting ideas for rangers, yeah, the ranger's gonna look bad.

    You can be themed as a monster slayer even if others also hate monsters, in the same way that a paladin can be a knight in shining armor even when faithful fighters and warlike clerics exist. And "slayer of a specific thing" doesn't mean you should only get benefits against that particular thing (much as Favored Enemy in all editions have been very unimaginatively limited to that. ). Dragonslayers can get energy resistance and the ability to hide from super-sensitive dragon senses, giant-slayers can get benefits against larger creatures and better ability to dodge projectiles, ghost hunters can get the ability to strike incorporeal and ethereal beings and a resistance to life-draining effects, wizard hunters can get casting-disruption abilities and protection from illusions and enchantments, bounty hunters can get the ability to bind and subdue foes easily and track particularly sneaky creatures, and so forth.

    Whether each of those is a subclass and grants a wide variety of themed benefits, or whether it's like Favored Enemy and the ranger picks up multiple of these ability packages, that can still strongly theme the ranger as the dedicated monster slayer without pigeon-holing him into anything.

    "One with nature" might do us more good, but it needs to be something more than the ranger has always had. "Sneaking and surviving in the wilds" just doesn't scale upwards - see my previous post. Eventually you can stroll naked through a desert, never get lost and be perfectly quite while running at full-tilt through the woods. Where do we go from there? It's something that a proficiency covers, we don't need a class for it.
    It scales upwards just fine if you focus on the "sneaking" and "tracking" parts of wilderness survival as much as the "in a particular Material Plane terrain" part. Low-level rangers stroll naked through the desert or the tundra; mid-level rangers can survive in the pressure of the ocean depths and the heat of the Plane of Fire; high-level rangers can shape Limbo into perfect facsimiles of the Prime and do backstrokes through the River Styx. Low-level rangers never get lost and can follow animal tracks; mid-level rangers can find their way to nearby portals and see through all variety of disguises and tricks for shaking pursuit; high-level rangers can find a target wherever in the multiverse it tries to flee and track immaterial things like teleportation spells and very faint auras. Low-level rangers run quietly through forests and hide in foliage; mid-level rangers can tap dance around dragons and bulettes and not be found and become unseen against any background with a moment's notice; high-level rangers can run across a lake without leaving a ripple and stand so still as to become practically invisible.

    Really, take a look at the kinds of things high-level spells can accomplish in the way of finding things, being stealthy, adapting to environments, and other things within the ranger's theme. There's no reason those couldn't be taken away from the wizard or druid and given to the ranger (and, if he's feeling nice, shared with the rogue).

    I can see that. The problem is not so much how inconvenient it is for casters, but rather that there's no humanly way to balance abilities that can be used at-will or every now and then (like per encounter) with those that have to be recharged daily. They eclipse everything else and every challenge boils down to "can the caster(s) afford to blow through their spells here?".
    I mean, you never hear people complaining that the paladin, monk, or bard is forcing the party to rest because they've run out of smites/turn attempts, Stunning Fist uses, or bardic music, yet those are daily resources.

    The difference between daily spells and those other daily resources that make spells seem much more precious are twofold: first, those other resources are pools of the same thing where spells are partitioned into levels and slots, so a paladin can smite if he has all, some, or none of his daily smites left but a given spell might be the only copy that a prepared caster has available and a given slot might be the last one of a certain spell level that a spontaneous caster has available. Second, at some point along the line an expectation arose that a caster has to cast a spell or do some other magic thing every single round in every single encounter or they're not sufficiently "being a spellcaster," so a caster with 10 spell slots is somehow only good for 10 rounds per day (whether that's 10 rounds of combat or 6 rounds of combat and 4 utility spells or whatever) and then they're done.

    The change I suggested is a good way to handle the first point (you can easily get back a specific spell with a few minutes' downtime, so you don't have to worry about casting a spell early in the morning and not having it in the evening without a full rest), but isn't the only way; things like casting directly from your spellbook, combining or splitting slots a la Versatile Spellcaster, and the like can help reduce the anxiety about that one spell being inaccessible. Reserve feats were a good way to handle the second point, providing a nice incentive to actively avoid casting spells and providing you with something magical to do in the meantime, as were Devotion and Divine feats to let clerics supplement their spells with other magical effects using their languishing turn attempts. Basically, address the psychological issues of "I might need this later" and "I'm a wizard, I should be magicking things" and you can reduce the overemphasis on spells.
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    This, once again, looks a lot like 2e Priest spheres:

    Of course, you'd probably want to make some changes to the sphere list like splitting up the Elemental sphere into four for the different elements and splitting up Combat into one for buffs like divine favor and prayer, one for weaponlike spells like spiritual weapon and blade barrier, and one for battlefield-level cooperative spells like spiritual wrath and unearthly choir.

    And AD&D priests only went up to 7th-level spells, so minor sphere access granting 3rd level spells meant they got roughly half of the spells; a 3e version of spheres would want to either make minor access allow 0th-4th level spells, or add a "moderate" access level that went up to 6th-level spells. That would be nice for greater differentiation, so you could have a priest of a fire god get major access to Fire, a priest of a nature god get moderate access to Fire and the other elemental spheres, and a priest of a sun god get minor access to Fire.

    Otherwise, this system works pretty well as-is in a 3e context, you just need to go through and categorize all the spells into the appropriate sphere, and which sphere a given spell falls into is usually pretty obvious--aside from the "All" sphere, which is a very small sphere for those spells that absolutely every divine caster needs, since you'd have to decide whether you want to keep that at all and if so what spells are must-haves. Yes, there are a lot of 3e spells, but if you pull up a full list of cleric spells like DnDtools or the one here, it's the work of a couple afternoons to throw that list in a spreadsheet and then go through it ticking off which sphere a spell should go in.
    Somewhat. Except with many many more spheres (I have 30 for 5e in its current incarnation, although some of those don't have enough spells to warrant a separate theme) and for all casters. I'd like it if you can have two wizards (for example) who have completely disjoint spell lists. I want to require specialization. Different classes would be differentiated by which themes (spheres, basically) they'd have access to as well as their class features, rather than by spell list. I dislike the idea of classes whose primary (or only!) class feature is their spell list.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    For the former, I'm going to once again plug the class/subclass/kit structure. You can achieve the benefits of wizard-/cleric-/druid-style open spell lists (you can keep supporting classes in later books so they're not left high and dry like the late-3e alternate magic systems were) with the benefits of fixed lists (you can give a class a strict theme and stick to it) by writing up different tiers of lists that are composited for different classes, similar to spheres except that they're themed differently and some are exclusive.

    So you can write an Arcanist spell list that wizards, sorcerers, bards, and so forth all get access to; these are your bread and butter spells like mage armor, prestidigitation, dispel magic, and others that you were going to give pretty much all the arcane casters anyway. Then you write a Wizard list with Mordenkainen's lucubration, a Sorcerer list with manifest dragon heritage, a Bard list with summon instrument, and the like that only those specific classes get access to, to reinforce their particular themes and to restrict some of the more useful spells so not all arcanists get access to them. And finally you write a Shapeshifter list with polymorph any object and shapechange, a Shadowcrafter list with shades and simulacrum, a Demonbinder list with gate and planar binding, a Mage Slayer list with battlemagic perception and Mordenkainen's disjunction, an Artificer list with fabricate and wall of stone, and so forth, to restrict the most powerful or generally useful spells to characters focusing on that particular archetype.

    This setup can make a beguiler-style character (with, say, the Arcanist, Bard, Mindbender, and Arcane Trickster lists) feel quite different from a warmage-style character (with the Arcanist, Sorcerer, Battlemage, and Invoker lists) or a dread-necromancer style character (with the Arcanist, Wizard, Arcane Leader, and Reanimator lists) without having to either shove all of those things into specialist wizards and leave nothing for other classes or to actually write up a bunch of separate fixed-list casters.
    5e already does the sub-class thing, and it helps a lot. It has its limits, however.

    Pushing the thematics into the sub-class requires having class-options (sub-classes, etc) to cover the entire possible character space. That's a lot of repetition, and coming up with unique class features becomes very difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    For the latter, it's certainly possible to revamp the schools, their subschools, and the spells assigned to each to balance out the schools. Conjuration and Transmutation being do-everything schools is more an artifact of the late 3e designers getting lazy and chucking everything into those schools by default than of the school system itself, and when you do that the narrower schools like Evocation and Enchantment can pick up a lot of the slack and become more well-rounded. I have a set of revised schools and subschools that I use for my games that works quite well for my group, but the specific revisions made depend, as always, on individual tastes.
    I just don't think that the schools themselves give you enough diversity to allow truly thematic casters. Why would my pyromaniac (or worshiper of the god of Fire and Burnination), both Evocation specialists, have access to ice spells? One wouldn't research such things, the other's god would be loath to grant such blasphemous spells. But they're all evocation spells.

    Spoiler: Current implementation
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    This is for 5e, and is provisional. The Thematic Magic Revamp link in my sig has the spell assignments for each of the themes.

    And with only 600-ish spells, assigning them to themes was a pain in the hind-end. With who-knows-how-many spells in 3e, that would be prohibitive.

    Spoiler: Themes
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    Themes marked with an * probably need to be folded into other themes--there aren't enough spells to make them a viable theme on their own.

    Aeromancer, Alchemist*, Animalist, Anti-Mage, Communications Mage*, Conjurer, Cryomancer, Divine Warrior, Gardener, Geomancer, Guardian, Healer, Hydromancer, Illusionist, Infernal, Kineticist, Light-bringer, Mesmer, Necromancer, Planeswalker, Purifier, Pyromancer, Seer, Shadow-dweller*, Spiritualist, Temporalist*, Transmuter, Transporter, Void-walker, Witch

    Spoiler: Classes
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    Bard
    Primary themes: Illusionist, Mesmer
    Secondary themes: Communications, Healer, Kineticist, Light-bringer, Spiritualist, Transmuter
    Spells Known at 1st level: Choose 3 from your primary theme and one from any of your secondary themes.
    Spells Known at higher levels: Choose from primary theme. Every even level (2, 4, 6, etc) you can choose from any of your secondary themes. You may exchange one spell for another from the same theme.
    Magical Secrets: Choose one spell from any theme.

    Cleric
    Primary themes: Divine Warrior, Light-bringer, Spiritualist
    Bonus Theme: Healer
    Secondary themes (by domain):
    *Arcana: Seer, Planeswalker, Conjurer
    *Death: Conjurer, Necromancer, Shadow-dweller
    *Forge (XGtE): Transmuter, Geomancer, Guardian
    *Grave (XGtE): Spiritualist, Purifier
    *Knowledge: Seer, Infernal, Planeswalker
    *Life: Guardian, Mesmer, Purifier
    *Light: Illusionist, Pyromancer, Purifier
    *Nature: Animalist, Conjurer, Guardian, Gardener
    *Tempest: Aeromancer, Pyromancer, Conjurer
    *Trickery: Illusionist, Mesmer, Shadow-dweller
    *War: Guardian, Infernal, Purifier
    At 1st level: Choose a primary theme and one of the secondary themes from your chosen domain. You always have access to the spells of the Healer theme.
    Spells prepared: Choose cleric level + WIS mod spells to prepare from any combination of your primary and secondary themes. You can change these every day.
    Domain Spells: Removed. Domain choice sets range of secondary themes available.

    Druid
    Primary themes: Animalist, Conjurer, Gardener, Geomancer, Spiritualist, Transmuter
    Unrestricted secondary themes: Healer, Purifier
    Circle themes:
    *Dreams (XGtE): Witch
    *Land--Arctic: Cryomancer
    *Land--Coast: Hydromancer
    *Land--Desert: Light-bringer
    *Land--Forest: Gardener
    *Land--Grassland: Illusionist
    *Land--Mountain: Geomancer
    *Land--Swamp: Witch
    *Moon: Guardian
    *Shepherd: Conjurer
    Prohibited themes: Infernal, Necromancer
    At 1st level: Choose a primary theme and one of the unrestricted secondary themes.
    At 2nd level: you gain the secondary theme of your chosen circle.
    Spells prepared: Choose druid level + WIS mod spells to prepare from any combination of your primary and secondary themes. You can change these every day.
    Land’s Guidance (new Circle of the Land ability): After you finish a long rest, you can change your attunement to the land type where you currently are, removing all prepared spells of the old secondary theme and gaining access to those of the secondary theme of the new terrain.

    Fighter (Eldritch Knight)
    Primary themes: Aeromancer, Cryomancer, Guardian, Pyromancer, Geomancer
    Secondary themes: Anti-mage, Kineticist, Light-bringer, Mesmer, Transmuter, Transporter
    Prohibited themes: Animalist, Gardener
    At 3rd level: Choose a primary theme; you gain two cantrips and two 1st level spells from it. Your 3rd 1st level spell can come from any secondary theme.
    Beyond 3rd level: All your spells come from your primary theme except those gained at 8th, 14th, and 20th level which can come from any of your secondary themes.

    Monk (Way of the Four Elements)
    Primary themes: Aeromancer, Cryomancer, Geomancer, Hydromancer, Pyromancer
    Prohibited themes: Infernal, Mesmer, Spiritualist
    At 3rd level: You have access to all 5 primary themes. At 3rd, 7th, 13th, and 19th levels you gain access to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level spells (respectively). At each of those levels, choose two spells; you may also switch one known spell for a new spell when you increase in level. Casting spells costs ki points equal to the spell level (including upcasting).

    Paladin
    Primary themes: Divine Warrior, Guardian, Light-bringer, Purifier
    Secondary themes by Oath:
    *Conquest (XGtE): Infernal OR Mesmer
    *Devotion: Healer OR Spiritualist
    *Ancients: Animalist OR Gardener
    *Vengeance: Anti-mage OR Transporter
    *Oathbreaker: Necromancer OR Infernal
    *Redemption (XGtE): Healer OR Mesmer
    At 2nd level: Choose a primary theme.
    At 3rd level: Gain one of the two secondary themes for your chosen Oath.
    Spells Prepared: Choose ˝ paladin level + CHA mod spells (minimum 1) to prepare from your primary and secondary themes. You can change these every day.
    Oath Spells: Removed.

    Ranger
    Primary themes: Animalist, Spiritualist, Transmuter
    Secondary themes: Divine Warrior, Gardener, Geomancer, Healer, Shadow-dweller, Witch
    Prohibited Themes: Infernal, Necromancer
    At 2nd level: Choose a primary theme and gain two 1st level spells from it.
    At higher levels: Whenever you gain access to a new spell level (5th, 9th, 13th, 17th), you can choose your new spell from your primary theme or any of the secondary themes for the class. At other levels you gain spells, choose your new spell from your primary theme.
    XGtE bonus spells: Removed.

    Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
    Primary themes: Illusionist, Mesmer
    Secondary themes: Alchemist, Communications Mage, Kineticist, Pyromancer, Seer, Shadow-dweller, Temporalist, Transporter, Witch
    At 3rd level: Choose a primary theme; you gain two cantrips and two 1st level spells from it. Your 3rd 1st level spell can come from any secondary theme.
    Beyond 3rd level: All your spells come from your primary theme except those gained at 8th, 14th, and 20th level which can come from any of your secondary themes.

    Sorcerer
    Primary themes: Aeromancer, Cryomancer, Geomancer, Hydromancer, Kineticist, Pyromancer
    Secondary themes: Special
    Prohibited themes: Healer (except Favored Soul), Anti-mage
    At 1st level: Choose a primary theme and gain 3 cantrips and 2 1st level spells from it. The 4th cantrip can come from any non-prohibited theme.
    At higher levels: Choose your spells from your primary theme.
    New ability (level 3): Spell Emulation: Your mastery of the magic in your blood allows you to mimic spells you’ve heard of. You may attempt to cast any spell from any non-prohibited theme, using the regular casting time, concentration, and components. The spell emulated must be at least one level lower than that of the highest spell slot you have. Once you use this feature, you must wait until after a short rest to use it again. At 13th level, you gain an extra use of this feature per short rest. Metamagic can be applied as normal.

    Warlock
    Primary themes: Kineticist
    Secondary themes by Patron:
    *Fiend: Infernal OR Planeswalker
    *Fey: Illusionist OR Shadow-dweller
    *Great Old One: Mesmer OR Void-walker
    *Celestial (XGtE): Divine Warrior OR Guardian
    *Hexblade (XGtE): Witch OR Guardian
    Spells Known: Your primary theme is kineticist; choose one of the secondary themes granted by your patron. Choose your spells known from this list; you can trade out one per level.
    Patron Bonus Spells: Removed.

    Wizard
    Primary themes: Conjurer, Illusionist, Kineticist, Necromancer, Transmuter
    Secondary themes: Any non-prohibited.
    Prohibited themes: Animalist, Divine Warrior, Gardener, Healer, Purifier
    Spells at 1st level and above: Choose a primary and a secondary theme. Your 2 free spells per level (as well as those at 1st level) come from these themes. You can scribe any spell you find from a non-prohibited list into your spellbook, paying the usual costs in gold and time.

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  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    5e already does the sub-class thing, and it helps a lot. It has its limits, however.

    Pushing the thematics into the sub-class requires having class-options (sub-classes, etc) to cover the entire possible character space. That's a lot of repetition, and coming up with unique class features becomes very difficult.
    Keep in mind that in this setup the 5e classes would be subclasses, with overarching classes like Mage (wizard, sorcerer, and warlock), Warrior (fighter, barbarian, and ranger), and so forth. They already have class options for further customization, like warlock pacts, paladin oaths, and so on, so adding those kinds of things isn't all that hard.

    I just don't think that the schools themselves give you enough diversity to allow truly thematic casters. Why would my pyromaniac (or worshiper of the god of Fire and Burnination), both Evocation specialists, have access to ice spells? One wouldn't research such things, the other's god would be loath to grant such blasphemous spells. But they're all evocation spells.
    That's because you're misunderstanding the point of arcane schools and subschools. Schools have nothing to with character concepts at all, they're about how magic works, and wizards specialize in schools rather than themes because their class concept is "academic caster who gets their power from study and research." Evocation is different from Necromancy in the same way (and to the same degree) that physics is different from biology, and Evokers focusing on fire or ice spells is like someone with a biology degree choosing to either become a medical doctor or a botanist: they have the same theoretical underpinnings from their years of study, so if a geokinetic evoker wanted to pick up a lightning spell or a surgeon wanted to brush up on pharmaceuticals they're perfectly able to do that...and if a pyromancer Evoker wouldn't want to research an ice Evocation, he just doesn't research it.

    That's also why Evokers are "focus on Evocation, but cast anything except from prohibited schools X and Y," not "Evocation only, period," because "evoker" is not a character concept, it's a starting point from which you can build a character concept. A weather-themed wizard is going to want air, water, ice, and lightning spells from various schools, but only those with weather themes (as opposed to things like wall of ice or control water), so that's mostly Evocation but also Transmutation for fly, Abjuration for endure elements, and so forth. An earth-themed wizard is going to want to Evoke blasts of earth, Conjure earth elementals and walls of stone, Transmute their skin to stone for protection and earth mounds to stone for barricades, and so on.

    Sorcerers and warlocks have much weirder specialties--they're less likely to be themed around things like fire or darkness or summoning and more likely to have themes like "dragons" (anything from from cones of fire to enhancing their senses to granting flight to turning their skin to scales) and "chaos" (anything random) for sorcerers and "demons" (summoning demons, fire, curses, mind-control, fear, pain, etc.) and "aberrations (anything that looks creepy, no matter what it does) for warlocks. Bards, likewise: aside from the stereotypical illusions and enchantments, they want divinations (Bardic Knowledge!), abjurations (Countersong!), transmutations (Inspire Greatness!), and evocations (anything sound-based!), but only small thematic subsets of those things, none of which would fit into a "bard" grouping without ending up way too large and none of which can be achieved by compositing large numbers of thematic groupings without defeating the purpose of those groupings.

    As you said yourself:

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Different classes would be differentiated by which themes (spheres, basically) they'd have access to as well as their class features, rather than by spell list. I dislike the idea of classes whose primary (or only!) class feature is their spell list.
    You can't just use spell lists to determine concepts; that's why 2e specialty priests all had religion-specific benefits, carried forward in the form of 3e domain powers and cleric Initiate feats, and why the 2e Tome of Magic introduced different ways of categorizing spells for other kinds of magic-users than just the "scholarly wizard" archetype. So trying to handle every single caster class with the same groupings of spells (whether schools or spheres) is kind of a lost cause, and that's why I like keeping class-specific lists around.

    (...well, you could make it work by slicing things up finely enough, I suppose; there are 130-some domains in 3e, and looking at Tiamat as an example, her list of cleric domains--Destruction, Dragon, Evil, Greed, Hatred, Law, Pride, Scalykind, Trickery, Tyranny, and Wrath--gives a very good idea of where she's coming from in a way that "Major access to All, Astral, Law, Guardian, Protection, Summoning; minor access to Combat, Creation, Divination, Necromantic" for 2e spheres or "Divine Warrior, Spiritualist, Seer, Shadow-Dweller" for your revision does not. But domains only have to support one spell per level, so having narrow domains is fine, while avoiding too much overlap for larger groupings of spells would be nontrivial.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    It's no harder to balance wizard 8//fighter 8 with ranger 10 or druid 8//ranger 8 with wizard 10 than it is to balance wizard 4/fighter 4 with wizard 2/fighter 6 with wizard 8 with ranger 3/druid 5 with druid 1/ranger 7 with ranger 8. Which is to say, neither case is at all feasible to balance on a level-by-level basis, no designer is ever going to go through combinatorially like that for either version, and figuring out which combos are amazing, terrible, or somewhere in between is something to be left to the hive mind of the internet to figure out years later. The best you can do is look at combinations holistically: is there any obvious synergy or anti-synergy with a Class A//Class B multiclass, are there any obvious breakpoints at level X for Class A such that Class A X//Class B [20-X] is always better than Class A 20, and stuff like that.
    No, the best you can do is not allow open multiclassing. Allowing open multiclassing in 3e did not result in people playing characters like a Monk 1/Sorcerer 2/Rogue 1/Fighter 1/Ranger 1/Cleric 1/Horizon Walker 3/Tatooed Monk 1/Dragonslayer 1. Mostly, open multiclassing resulted in CharOp builds (which exist because people like CharOp, not because they particularly enjoyed open multiclassing), builds that tried to emulate a concept that there wasn't a base class for (for example, the plethora of Gish builds), and characters that dipped another class early in their career. None of those require open multiclassing, and open multiclassing makes balance functionally impossible.

    So that's a great argument for not actually having multiclassing at all (which isn't an option if you're trying to be D&D; even 4e had it, and it obviously didn't want to), but if you are going to have multiclassing then the bad parts of having both versions are really no worse than the bad parts of having either one, and there are definite benefits to having both like supporting more concepts at lower levels, not needing to have dual-progression PrCs or the equivalent, reducing the number of hybrid classes you need to support, and so forth.
    The problems of validating an exponential number of builds only apply to open multiclassing schemes. If multiclassing is a binary subclass option, the amount of work you have to do is reasonable (particularly if subclasses are mechanically consistent). Checking the 110 possible class/subclass options for 11 classes over 20 levels is doable in a way that checking the 11^20 possible open multiclass combinations is not. Also, subclassing makes it easier to support monster PCs, and allows you to support things like "Vigilante" and "Priest" without making entire classes for them.

    It's not a good thing if you somehow end up balancing casters and noncasters, but in the context of a game where you haven't managed to do that it helps the balance a bit.
    I don't think the problem of balancing martials and casters is mechanically hard. There are large numbers of classes that are balanced with martials (most of which are not casters) and there are large numbers of classes that are balanced with casters (most of which are casters). The problem is that designers are unwilling to expand the Fighter's concept to include high level abilities. If you did that, I don't think there's any reason to assume the Wizard would be better than the Fighter any more than there's reason to assume the Wizard is better than the Cleric.

    More generally, though, the benefit there is biasing the treasure tables to give players items they'll find useful. While the 3e random weapons tables do have varying d% ranges for different weapons, the one in the DMG gives you an equal chance of finding a luck blade (really good for anyone), a holy avenger (generally useful, but really good for a paladin), and a trident of fish command (seriously?).
    I kind of disagree. If you are doing random items, that requires the assumption that there aren't gear check monsters (or at least, whatever gear check monsters there are only check gear you can buy). In that environment, any magic item is basically a nice bonus, and I think more specific items lend themselves to better stories. A Luck Blade just makes you slightly better at whatever it is you normally do. That's not really interesting. On the other hand, the Trident of Fish Command is not going to do anything in most campaigns, but its better than a normal weapon and sometimes you'll end up using your army of fish to save the merfolk prince, and that will be a way better story than the Holy Avenger making the Paladin better at Paladin-ing.

    No, it has a single page where all the priest spells are listed by level, but it's not like the 3e cleric list in that all priests can access all spells; in fact, there's not a single 3rd-level PHB priest spell in the All sphere that all priests could access.
    Oops, my bad. I assumed it was like the 3e domain lists. That said, still think most of the problems I expected where there. The All sphere includes things that definitely should not be universal for Priests (purify food and drink) and excludes the stuff that all Priests should be doing (god-bothering, dealing with outsiders). Also, it's better for the game if you layer Priest on top of Necromancer rather than vice versa, because that makes it easier to have non-denominational Necromancers. All the priests of Boccob are Wizards, but not all the Wizards should be priests of Boccob (or Mystra, or Wee Jas, or whatever).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    The goal should never be to fix a game system. The goal should be to run a fun game.
    "The goal should never be to create a successful product, it should be to create a product people buy."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Every mundane form of defence is boiled down to AC or HP.
    I'm confused if you mean "defenses mundane characters have" (which is false because they still get saves and evasion among other things) or "defenses mundane characters target" (which is mostly true, but not entirely).

    There needs to be an actual difference between trying to hit someone clad in plate, a robe-clad martial artist running rings around you or a wizard hiding behind a shield spell. And everything in between. If they all boil down to trying to hit the same static number, we're not going to get anywhere. It's just going to amount to depleting HP and everything remotely interesting requiring you to spend build resources on it.
    There's a finite amount of complexity you can put into the resolution of a single attack before the game starts becoming stupid, and having most of that complexity be on the offensive end of the attack is a defensible choice. I'm not really sure why the game needs there to be different ways of being defended against swords as opposed to having more attacks that aren't swords. I think that having 3e's four defense model of AC/FORT/REF/WILL works fine. The guy in full plate has Good/Good/Bad/Bad defenses, the martial artist has Average/Average/Average/Average defenses, and the Wizard has Average/Bad/Bad/Good defenses (or whatever setup). That seems way better to me than narrowing in on what exactly the difference between a mystical shield and a mundane shield is.

    So there's two layers here - the power progression and how to represent it mechanically. Regarding the latter, I honestly have a hard time seeing a benefit to levels, except that people would flip their lids if they were gone. What do levels even help with? They make it a bit easier to compare characters, but they suffocate and restrict progression.
    That's the benefit. The benefit of levels is that they provide structure and mandate minimum degrees of investment across different areas of the game. That allows you to build systems like CR which make it easier to build encounters.

    You can't get better at anything without also acquiring superhero-like durability.
    Yes, that's a genre conceit of the particular kind of fantasy D&D is. Go read some Xianxias or something. That said, you're not entirely wrong. Some things (e.g. knowledge skills) should be decoupled from level.

    So what do we do with this? D&D has to embrace variable power levels. E6 did that, so let's roll with it. Let players pause and slow down progression past a certain level. If we assume 20 levels, level 10 seems like an obvious cutoff point. Past that point, you either keep advancing and become a superhero, or slow down and focus on developing your influence, reach and diversity. You'll be a major part of the setting without necessarily being able to solo an army. It can happen earlier, if you want.
    If you've reached a point you like, why are you progressing at all? The guy who invented E6 made a big mistake when he added the "keep gaining feats" thing at the end. If you like 6th level gameplay, there's no reason to gain extra feats. Conversely, if you don't like 6th level gameplay, keep progressing. The appeal of D&D is doing zero to hero stories like The Wheel of Time of The Matrix where a random dude rises to world-conquering power.

    I feel like the game should also really encourage starting out on a higher power level, though. Honestly, the idea that you gain levels instead of just having them is kind of problematic in general. But people need to be able to play a more heroic game without having to go through the low levels first. Whether that means just starting out at higher level and spending more time at chargen, or something else.
    There are several parts to this. Most pressingly, characters should probably start out stronger than they do. From 3e characters dying to housecats to AD&D casters starting with a single spell per day, the game is littered with characters that just don't start with enough power to be heroes. Being an adventurer should make you at least as hard core as an action movie hero before you start gaining levels. But yes, the game needs to emphasize that while playing from 1st level to 20th level is an acceptable way to play, it is not the only way to play. Some fantasy stories take the farmboy all the way up to demigod (The Wheel of Time, Cradle, The Codex Alera). Some follow an established hero who never really gains or loses power in the long run (Conan). Some follow a hero who starts out capable, but gains greater abilities over the course of the story (Dresden, The Second Apocalypse). The DMG should probably have a whole section on different modes of advancement and the kinds of campaigns they lend themselves to.

    Three martial classes - one "defender" one, modelled after the 4e fighter. One "vanguard", which is like the barbarian only not stupidly narrow; it's all about being aggressive and disruptive while being capable of limited "bursts" of power. One "warlord" that's a leader and tactician. Then three magic classes... either wizard/druid/cleric or something else.
    Without commenting on the quality of those classes: that is not enough classes. I think 4e pretty clearly demonstrated that people are not going to play a D&D that launches with less classes than the previous D&D, which means that whatever you are offering as 6e needs to provide at least a dozen things or people to be.

    Rangers can be folded into druids and whatever "physical expert" class we end up having; this class has no reason to exist.
    "wilderness warrior", "beastmaster", and "mobile combatant" are all roles classes could have that the Ranger has at least some claim on. Certainly, the guy who runs around the battlefield harrying monsters could be a Scout, but he could also be a Ranger, and Aragorn was a Ranger in LotR.

    I don't think daily spells are salvageable, but spell preparation could work without tying it to long rests.
    Daily spells are interesting. Lots of spells don't really care about daily limits. You probably run out of situations where you would like to use burning hands before you run out of uses of burning hands, so it doesn't really matter if burning hands refreshes per day, per long rest, or on some other schedule. But some spells do need daily limits. wall of stone a couple of times a day is a useful BFC effect that allows the Wizard to build himself a tower if he spends a couple of months of downtime. wall of stone every 15 minutes replaces every stonemason in the world. I think the answer is probably to pull anything that breaks the game at will out into rituals/incantations/invocations (note that you can do this very finely -- temporary wall of stone is fine, so you can have that as a spell and permanency as a ritual).

    I'm leaning more towards a learned/granted/innate power.
    Granted power is conceptually problematic because it puts limits on how powerful a character can become. It's debatable whether the party should be able to aspire to overthrow the gods (I lean towards yes, but some people disagree), but killing a Demon Lord has been party of D&D since the fight against Lloth in Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The problem of how someone whose power comes from a deal with Lloth can defeat Lloth is not intractable, but it requires some consideration.
    Last edited by Cosi; 2018-06-10 at 10:42 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    No, the best you can do is not allow open multiclassing. Allowing open multiclassing in 3e did not result in people playing characters like a Monk 1/Sorcerer 2/Rogue 1/Fighter 1/Ranger 1/Cleric 1/Horizon Walker 3/Tatooed Monk 1/Dragonslayer 1. Mostly, open multiclassing resulted in CharOp builds (which exist because people like CharOp, not because they particularly enjoyed open multiclassing), builds that tried to emulate a concept that there wasn't a base class for (for example, the plethora of Gish builds), and characters that dipped another class early in their career. None of those require open multiclassing, and open multiclassing makes balance functionally impossible.

    The problems of validating an exponential number of builds only apply to open multiclassing schemes. If multiclassing is a binary subclass option, the amount of work you have to do is reasonable (particularly if subclasses are mechanically consistent). Checking the 110 possible class/subclass options for 11 classes over 20 levels is doable in a way that checking the 11^20 possible open multiclass combinations is not.
    Ah, I see the misunderstanding. I'm not talking about slapping 1e multiclassing onto 3e open multiclassing as-is, that's basically just using gestalt in a non-gestalt game. I'm talking specifically using 1e-style multiclassing with 1e-style dual-classing, where you get exactly two classes for multiclassing (or three, but allowing just two is fine if you have hybrid classes already) and exactly two for dual-classing (hence dual-classing; bards were a special case, of course), and you can't jump around arbitrarily like in 3e.

    Again, not talking about using the specific implementation details, with prime requisites and restricted access to old class features, just the "always two there are, no more, no less" part. (Though keeping the part where a dual-classed character catches up quickly to the rest of the party and figuring out how to let someone start off dual-classed and end up multiclassed would be kinda nifty as a thought exercise.)

    So at, say, 4th level, the complete set of options for combining fighter and wizard to some degree are fighter 6, fighter 5/wizard 1, fighter 4/wizard 2, fighter 3/wizard 3, fighter 2/wizard 4, fighter 1/wizard 5, and wizard 6; you don't have to worry about fighter 2/wizard 2/[something] 1/[something else] 1 or whatever. At that point, you're not doing level-by-level balancing for every possible combination of classes, you're basically taking each pair of classes and looking at starting packages (e.g. is fighter 1/wizard X-1 generally superior to wizard X because the high starting HP balances out being one level behind on casting?), obvious breakpoints (e.g. does every Dex-based character want to take 2 levels of rogue because Evasion is super useful?), and obvious synergies (e.g. is paladin X/sorcerer [Y-X] generally better than either sorcerer Y or paladin Y because of the all-around strengths and Cha synergy?).

    It ends up being basically pairwise comparison like your subclass suggestion, and not too much harder considering that Wizard (Fighter) is probably going to end up being different from Fighter (Wizard) so you're doing multiple comparisons anyway. I tend to like doing it that way instead of subclass multiclassing because in that setup you can either subclass your main class or multiclass, not both, so you can have a Wizard (Evoker) or a Wizard (Fighter) but not an Evoker (Fighter) or a Fighter (Evoker). At least that's the common proposal; I suppose you could set it up such that you could be a Wizard [Evoker] (Fighter [Cavalier]), but at that point you're juggling enough combinations that you're back to analysis paralysis and subclass multiclassing doesn't gain you anything.

    Also, subclassing makes it easier to support monster PCs,
    Definitely true. I do think, though, that it's easier to AD&D multiclass/3e gestalt a class onto a monster (like my upthread example of an ogre being a Giant and an ogre mage being a Giant//Wizard) than to have monster subclasses you'd swap out for player-class subclasses because it makes writing monsters easier (you don't have to worry about which of their abilities might get swapped out in a multiclass scenario and how integral those are to running the monsters, it's a complete unit on its own and you can add on whatever you want) and modifying monsters easier for DMs (strictly adding abilities and increasing some numbers is easier to do on the fly than trading abilities and adjusting things up and down).

    and allows you to support things like "Vigilante" and "Priest" without making entire classes for them.
    Also, it's better for the game if you layer Priest on top of Necromancer rather than vice versa, because that makes it easier to have non-denominational Necromancers. All the priests of Boccob are Wizards, but not all the Wizards should be priests of Boccob (or Mystra, or Wee Jas, or whatever).
    Vigilante is definitely best as, at most, a 3-level kit/ACF/etc. since it's a fairly narrow concept, but I think Priest can support its own class and subclasses just fine. Not all clerics of Boccob are just wizards with a couple priestly class features on top in the same way that not all paladins of Heironeous are just fighters with a couple priestly class features on top--and, for that matter, priests of Wee Jas aren't just priests with a couple necromancer-y class features on top, either.

    Classes are supposed to not just provide a theme, but also provide different resource subsystems (or lack thereof, in the case of some classes) and different mechanical ways to express the same flavor. Yes, you could boil down all magic-using classes to "wizard with one or two extra class features," and the same with a single noncaster class encompassing all martial/skills classes, but that loses a lot of variety even if the flavor is superficially similar; a duskblade, a self-buffing kineticist, a warmage, and an Evocation-focused battle sorcerer are all variations on "lightly-armed and -armored guy who chucks fire and lightning at people," but they all give a very different play experience in a way that simply slapping Warmage Edge onto a psion or Arcane Channeling onto a sorcerer doesn't get you.

    I don't think the problem of balancing martials and casters is mechanically hard. There are large numbers of classes that are balanced with martials (most of which are not casters) and there are large numbers of classes that are balanced with casters (most of which are casters). The problem is that designers are unwilling to expand the Fighter's concept to include high level abilities. If you did that, I don't think there's any reason to assume the Wizard would be better than the Fighter any more than there's reason to assume the Wizard is better than the Cleric.
    Yeah, it's the conceptual block I was talking about, not the mechanical part--it's not that you can't balance them, just that up to this point the designers haven't, so they've used magic items to sneakily give the fighter magic with varying levels of success.

    I kind of disagree. If you are doing random items, that requires the assumption that there aren't gear check monsters (or at least, whatever gear check monsters there are only check gear you can buy). In that environment, any magic item is basically a nice bonus, and I think more specific items lend themselves to better stories. A Luck Blade just makes you slightly better at whatever it is you normally do. That's not really interesting. On the other hand, the Trident of Fish Command is not going to do anything in most campaigns, but its better than a normal weapon and sometimes you'll end up using your army of fish to save the merfolk prince, and that will be a way better story than the Holy Avenger making the Paladin better at Paladin-ing.
    The main benefit of the luck blade in this scenario is actually the wishes it potentially comes with; the trident comes in very handy in certain campaigns, and the holy avenger comes in very handy for certain classes, but there's no class for whom or scenario in which the luck blade doesn't come in handy (albeit only 1 to 3 times). I wasn't even thinking about the boring bonuses part, and am definitely in favor of ditching those for the most part and making "+X weapon" one weapon option among many (and not a particularly appealing one) rather than a default part of every magic weapon.

    Oops, my bad. I assumed it was like the 3e domain lists. That said, still think most of the problems I expected where there. The All sphere includes things that definitely should not be universal for Priests (purify food and drink) and excludes the stuff that all Priests should be doing (god-bothering, dealing with outsiders).
    Agreed; as before, it's the concept that's worth salvaging (having priests of different religions use multiple thematic and non-overlapping spell lists, designed to be modular and composable in such a way that you don't have to design a class from scratch for each new god), not the specific spell lists. Were I to make a serious effort to port 2e spheres to 3e, I might even ditch the All sphere and have zero spells common to all priests, since not all gods care about outsiders in the same way (e.g. Pelor might send an angel to help out planar ally-style, Hextor might require his priests to prove their worth and planar bind a fiend, Ehlonna might allow summoning nature's allies and not have any non-Material Plane servants to use at all, and Moradin might send the spirit of a might dwarven warrior and screw all those meddling un-dwarflike archons), not all gods are as communicative to their followers, and so forth.

    There are several parts to this. Most pressingly, characters should probably start out stronger than they do. From 3e characters dying to housecats to AD&D casters starting with a single spell per day, the game is littered with characters that just don't start with enough power to be heroes. Being an adventurer should make you at least as hard core as an action movie hero before you start gaining levels.
    Disagree; there's nothing wrong with enabling people to play pre-Trench-Run Luke, pre-unplugged-from-the-Matrix Neo, pre-Eye-of-the-World Rand, and other characters who are still more "commoner swept up in larger events" than action hero. But the game should definitely make clear that that is what 1st level represents, that 3rd level (or whenever) represents more capable heroes, and that it's perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to start above 1st to get the particular feel you're looking for, instead of making it seem like you have to start at 1st or you're doing it wrong (which none of the editions really do, but they don't do anything to argue against that common perception, either).

    Granted power is conceptually problematic because it puts limits on how powerful a character can become. It's debatable whether the party should be able to aspire to overthrow the gods (I lean towards yes, but some people disagree), but killing a Demon Lord has been party of D&D since the fight against Lloth in Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The problem of how someone whose power comes from a deal with Lloth can defeat Lloth is not intractable, but it requires some consideration.
    AD&D had a way of handling this, sort of. You didn't gain cleric spells in one big group from your god, you gained low-level spells from your own faith and knowledge of theology, mid-level spells from outsiders and other divine minions, and high-level spells directly from your god. One could certainly come up with a system where priests and others with granted powers gained their highest-level powers from their patron, but lower level ones were part of them, with that particular bar raising as they level and gain monk-style personal understanding and enlightenment or similar to power their abilities on their own.

    So a 3rd-level priestess of Lolth who pisses off Lolth may be stripped of power entirely and out of luck, but a 17th-level priestess of Lolth may be able to head down to the Demonweb Pits and kick Lolth's mandibles in while only losing access to her 8th- and 9th-level spells and half her rebuke undead attempts or something like that. It still gives noticeable mechanical consequences for the "I used to worship this god and now I'm trying to kill them" scenario but doesn't render the character entirely useless.
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  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    What I would do with D&D would probably render it unrecognizable and cause people to abandon ship. Most things that make it what it is are completely contrary to good game design. But, here we go: First off, before we go into classes or whatever, the basic systems have to be redone.

    [LIST][*]Combat. For a game that focuses so much on it, D&D's model of fighting is dreadful. Without magic, there's just one thing to do: hit AC, deal HP damage. Every mundane form of defence is boiled down to AC or HP. Then there's the issue of HP being sometimes luck and gumption and sometimes durability, but really neither.

    What D&D needs is a proper split between "mushy" health that can be lost and gained easily and "meaty" health that means you're actually hurt. Starfinder had it. Why isn't it going to be in PF2e? I guess tradition. Of course, even the "mushy" HP shouldn't bloat nearly as much as HP do in D&D. I think we need to start from assuming your starting HP won't change and see how much it breaks things, then work from there.

    There needs to be an actual difference between trying to hit someone clad in plate, a robe-clad martial artist running rings around you or a wizard hiding behind a shield spell. And everything in between. If they all boil down to trying to hit the same static number, we're not going to get anywhere. It's just going to amount to depleting HP and everything remotely interesting requiring you to spend build resources on it.
    Emphasis added in bold.
    I was thinking about this post this morning and it reminded me of something I've thought about in relationship to 4e, namely the term 'bloodied.' What if bloodied means physical damage and becomes either a status effect and/or a keyword? If bloodied comes to mean the first time in a combat that you take actual physical damage, the "meaty" part of HP that Morty mentions, it provides an easy way to distinguish between the "meaty" and non-meat/"mushy" parts of HP.

    I see having bloodied be a status effect/keyword offers other benefits as well:
    It allows for different kinds of healing. Easy HP gain can mostly become the 'non-meat' part of HP that does not remove the bloodied status even when healing half or more of a character's total HP. This means that some healing spells/abilities could remove the bloodied status and some don't allowing for different types of healer type characters.

    For those in favor of a more gritty D&D, being bloodied could offer a place to start having wound penalties of some kind or another. I am not yet sure how I would implement wound penalties in D&D. Would it make sense to have a minus to all roles while bloodied, a CON penalty or something more fluid depending on the class?

    The third benefit I see to a bloodied status effect would be in encouraging combats to end before one side or the other wipes their opponents out allowing for other victory conditions. For example, there could be fights that are explicitly to 'first blood' or some groups of enemies could start trying to flee once some set percentage of their group is bloodied.

    Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I dislike the common suggestion to swap out AC bonuses for damage reduction or the like, for a couple of reasons. First, they work differently mechanically: AC provides a proportional reduction in damage (percentage hit chance times damage inflicted) while DR is a flat reduction, unless you go with a basic three-quarters/half/one-quarter proportional reduction which gives you really large jumps between categories of armor. Second, if armor is just DR--or worse, grants DR while increasing the chance someone is hit through some misguided idea that armor makes you slow and clumsy--then it's hard to strike a balance between "a guy in plate armor is better protected than a guy in leather armor" and "a guy in plate armor can walk through a battlefield and not suffer any harm" without very finely-tuned DR numbers.
    Can't help with the first, but just having DR reduce damage to a minimum of 1 HP instead of 0 HP pretty much covers that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OACSNY97 View Post
    Emphasis added in bold.
    I was thinking about this post this morning and it reminded me of something I've thought about in relationship to 4e, namely the term 'bloodied.' What if bloodied means physical damage and becomes either a status effect and/or a keyword? If bloodied comes to mean the first time in a combat that you take actual physical damage, the "meaty" part of HP that Morty mentions, it provides an easy way to distinguish between the "meaty" and non-meat/"mushy" parts of HP.

    I see having bloodied be a status effect/keyword offers other benefits as well:
    It allows for different kinds of healing. Easy HP gain can mostly become the 'non-meat' part of HP that does not remove the bloodied status even when healing half or more of a character's total HP. This means that some healing spells/abilities could remove the bloodied status and some don't allowing for different types of healer type characters.

    For those in favor of a more gritty D&D, being bloodied could offer a place to start having wound penalties of some kind or another. I am not yet sure how I would implement wound penalties in D&D. Would it make sense to have a minus to all roles while bloodied, a CON penalty or something more fluid depending on the class?

    The third benefit I see to a bloodied status effect would be in encouraging combats to end before one side or the other wipes their opponents out allowing for other victory conditions. For example, there could be fights that are explicitly to 'first blood' or some groups of enemies could start trying to flee once some set percentage of their group is bloodied.

    Thoughts?
    Low Fantasy Gaming does something kind of like this. On a short rest (5 mins, up to 3/day) you get back half of your damage suffered (the non-bloodied half, if you like), and make Will checks to get back used abilities. It also has an injuries & setbacks table you roll on at zero hp (assuming you make the con check and live).
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    Oh boy, here we go. Not that I'm not enjoying the discussion but big quote-blocks give me a headache.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    I'm confused if you mean "defenses mundane characters have" (which is false because they still get saves and evasion among other things) or "defenses mundane characters target" (which is mostly true, but not entirely).
    Both, really, but mostly the latter.

    There's a finite amount of complexity you can put into the resolution of a single attack before the game starts becoming stupid, and having most of that complexity be on the offensive end of the attack is a defensible choice. I'm not really sure why the game needs there to be different ways of being defended against swords as opposed to having more attacks that aren't swords. I think that having 3e's four defense model of AC/FORT/REF/WILL works fine. The guy in full plate has Good/Good/Bad/Bad defenses, the martial artist has Average/Average/Average/Average defenses, and the Wizard has Average/Bad/Bad/Good defenses (or whatever setup). That seems way better to me than narrowing in on what exactly the difference between a mystical shield and a mundane shield is.
    There's a finite amount of complexity, sure, but some of it has to go towards the basic system non-magical characters interact with if they're going to be worthwhile. Other systems manage to split hit chance and armor just fine, and for the most part they're less complex than D&D, not more.

    That's the benefit. The benefit of levels is that they provide structure and mandate minimum degrees of investment across different areas of the game. That allows you to build systems like CR which make it easier to build encounters.
    Those are benefits, yes. I'm honestly not sure if they're worth the drawbacks, especially considering how wobbly the CR system has always been.

    Yes, that's a genre conceit of the particular kind of fantasy D&D is. Go read some Xianxias or something. That said, you're not entirely wrong. Some things (e.g. knowledge skills) should be decoupled from level.
    Is it? Or is it just something people have taken for granted because that's what the rules result in?

    If you've reached a point you like, why are you progressing at all? The guy who invented E6 made a big mistake when he added the "keep gaining feats" thing at the end. If you like 6th level gameplay, there's no reason to gain extra feats. Conversely, if you don't like 6th level gameplay, keep progressing. The appeal of D&D is doing zero to hero stories like The Wheel of Time of The Matrix where a random dude rises to world-conquering power.
    Once again, I'd argue if it's the appeal of D&D. If this thread has shown us anything is that it's many things for many people and maybe it should finally acknowledge that. Why do people want to progress but more slowly? Because they want to see their characters improve, just not in a way that renders the world around them increasingly obsolete. Why not try to accommodate both kinds of progression?

    There are several parts to this. Most pressingly, characters should probably start out stronger than they do. From 3e characters dying to housecats to AD&D casters starting with a single spell per day, the game is littered with characters that just don't start with enough power to be heroes. Being an adventurer should make you at least as hard core as an action movie hero before you start gaining levels. But yes, the game needs to emphasize that while playing from 1st level to 20th level is an acceptable way to play, it is not the only way to play. Some fantasy stories take the farmboy all the way up to demigod (The Wheel of Time, Cradle, The Codex Alera). Some follow an established hero who never really gains or loses power in the long run (Conan). Some follow a hero who starts out capable, but gains greater abilities over the course of the story (Dresden, The Second Apocalypse). The DMG should probably have a whole section on different modes of advancement and the kinds of campaigns they lend themselves to.
    This I can mostly agree with, but the logical conclusion is that low levels can remain low-powered and people who want to be action heroes right off the bat can just start at a higher level.

    Without commenting on the quality of those classes: that is not enough classes. I think 4e pretty clearly demonstrated that people are not going to play a D&D that launches with less classes than the previous D&D, which means that whatever you are offering as 6e needs to provide at least a dozen things or people to be.
    This wasn't meant to be in any way an exhaustive list of classes I would put in.

    "wilderness warrior", "beastmaster", and "mobile combatant" are all roles classes could have that the Ranger has at least some claim on. Certainly, the guy who runs around the battlefield harrying monsters could be a Scout, but he could also be a Ranger, and Aragorn was a Ranger in LotR.
    Those are roles that can and should be covered. But whether or not they deserve entire classes is another question altogether. If we're going to have, say 12 classes, then we really do need to decide which ideas deserve them and which can be covered by subclasses, feats or something else. Creating Aragorn should be possible - whether or not you need a whole class called "ranger" to do that is a different question.

    Daily spells are interesting. Lots of spells don't really care about daily limits. You probably run out of situations where you would like to use burning hands before you run out of uses of burning hands, so it doesn't really matter if burning hands refreshes per day, per long rest, or on some other schedule. But some spells do need daily limits. wall of stone a couple of times a day is a useful BFC effect that allows the Wizard to build himself a tower if he spends a couple of months of downtime. wall of stone every 15 minutes replaces every stonemason in the world. I think the answer is probably to pull anything that breaks the game at will out into rituals/incantations/invocations (note that you can do this very finely -- temporary wall of stone is fine, so you can have that as a spell and permanency as a ritual).
    That's probably the answer, yes. Magic that seriously and permanently affects the world needs to be the domain of rituals, sorcerous workings or however else we call them.

    Granted power is conceptually problematic because it puts limits on how powerful a character can become. It's debatable whether the party should be able to aspire to overthrow the gods (I lean towards yes, but some people disagree), but killing a Demon Lord has been party of D&D since the fight against Lloth in Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The problem of how someone whose power comes from a deal with Lloth can defeat Lloth is not intractable, but it requires some consideration.
    I've never thought about it this way. It's a fair point, but I'm not sure how I feel like designing things around high-end play. Power granted by deities or otherworldy patrons is a staple, so should we restrict players from using it because of something that might happen on a level of play that they will likely never see?

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Armor doesn't at all make you hard to hit, it makes you hard to hurt; missing an attack against a guy in plate armor doesn't mean you didn't hit him, it means you smacked him right in the chest and it didn't go through the armor. Going right back to AD&D:

    That's also why 3e has a difference between normal, touch, and flat-footed AC. If someone just needs to make contact, not get through armor, then that portion of your AC doesn't do any good, and if you can't dodge effectively but are wearing armor then your armor still provides some protection. Doesn't mean that's the best way to represent dodging vs. parrying vs. withstanding an attack, but there was certainly an attempt to represent that.

    I dislike the common suggestion to swap out AC bonuses for damage reduction or the like, for a couple of reasons. First, they work differently mechanically: AC provides a proportional reduction in damage (percentage hit chance times damage inflicted) while DR is a flat reduction, unless you go with a basic three-quarters/half/one-quarter proportional reduction which gives you really large jumps between categories of armor. Second, if armor is just DR--or worse, grants DR while increasing the chance someone is hit through some misguided idea that armor makes you slow and clumsy--then it's hard to strike a balance between "a guy in plate armor is better protected than a guy in leather armor" and "a guy in plate armor can walk through a battlefield and not suffer any harm" without very finely-tuned DR numbers.

    Much better, I think, to keep AC as-is to represent the shrugging off of blows that hit and also add DR to represent the fact that even a successful hit is mitigated by armor. And the damage type association of DR allows you to represent things like maces being particularly good against plate, arrows going through mail more easily, and so forth.
    I'm not a huge fan of directly translating AC to DR, myself. It's too simple. And I certainly agree that armor being clumsy and hard to move in is a myth as ridiculous as it is persistent. I feel like the way DR works should change, in general, but I'm not sure where to start.

    I also agree that if armor provides DR, the character should also have a defence that prevents them from being hit, though. Whether it comes from armor or parrying with their weapons/shields.

    Ironically enough, I think that's because the Oath of the Ancients paladin stole some of the ranger's thunder. I mean, come on, fey knights who care about nature and beauty more than law and good, who wear leaves and antlers on their armor, who have class-specific spells dealing with plants and animals, and who turn into plant creatures as their capstone? Sounds pretty darn ranger-y to me. Next to that, and given designers who didn't have any particularly interesting ideas for rangers, yeah, the ranger's gonna look bad.
    I would say that if a ranger subclass steals the rangers' thunder so effectively, it says something about the rangers.

    You can be themed as a monster slayer even if others also hate monsters, in the same way that a paladin can be a knight in shining armor even when faithful fighters and warlike clerics exist. And "slayer of a specific thing" doesn't mean you should only get benefits against that particular thing (much as Favored Enemy in all editions have been very unimaginatively limited to that. ). Dragonslayers can get energy resistance and the ability to hide from super-sensitive dragon senses, giant-slayers can get benefits against larger creatures and better ability to dodge projectiles, ghost hunters can get the ability to strike incorporeal and ethereal beings and a resistance to life-draining effects, wizard hunters can get casting-disruption abilities and protection from illusions and enchantments, bounty hunters can get the ability to bind and subdue foes easily and track particularly sneaky creatures, and so forth.

    Whether each of those is a subclass and grants a wide variety of themed benefits, or whether it's like Favored Enemy and the ranger picks up multiple of these ability packages, that can still strongly theme the ranger as the dedicated monster slayer without pigeon-holing him into anything.
    True, you can create enemy-themed powers that work against others as well. I could see that as a class in its own right, maybe.

    It scales upwards just fine if you focus on the "sneaking" and "tracking" parts of wilderness survival as much as the "in a particular Material Plane terrain" part. Low-level rangers stroll naked through the desert or the tundra; mid-level rangers can survive in the pressure of the ocean depths and the heat of the Plane of Fire; high-level rangers can shape Limbo into perfect facsimiles of the Prime and do backstrokes through the River Styx. Low-level rangers never get lost and can follow animal tracks; mid-level rangers can find their way to nearby portals and see through all variety of disguises and tricks for shaking pursuit; high-level rangers can find a target wherever in the multiverse it tries to flee and track immaterial things like teleportation spells and very faint auras. Low-level rangers run quietly through forests and hide in foliage; mid-level rangers can tap dance around dragons and bulettes and not be found and become unseen against any background with a moment's notice; high-level rangers can run across a lake without leaving a ripple and stand so still as to become practically invisible.

    Really, take a look at the kinds of things high-level spells can accomplish in the way of finding things, being stealthy, adapting to environments, and other things within the ranger's theme. There's no reason those couldn't be taken away from the wizard or druid and given to the ranger (and, if he's feeling nice, shared with the rogue).
    That's kind of the problem here. Why shouldn't the rogue be able to do all that? Or anyone with proficiency in survival and/or stealth? Also, I have a problem with low-level abilities completely bypassing certain challenges and modes of play.

    That being said, it's not like the rogue is standing on very form ground, either. I feel like maybe rogues and rangers should be merged as a "stealthy problem-solver and scout" class, with subclasses providing different flavors thereof. The more outright fantastical varieties of ranger, like beasmastery and such, can be their own class, or a subclass. Or a druid's subclass, or something.

    I mean, you never hear people complaining that the paladin, monk, or bard is forcing the party to rest because they've run out of smites/turn attempts, Stunning Fist uses, or bardic music, yet those are daily resources.
    Because their per-day resources have a way smaller impact.

    The difference between daily spells and those other daily resources that make spells seem much more precious are twofold: first, those other resources are pools of the same thing where spells are partitioned into levels and slots, so a paladin can smite if he has all, some, or none of his daily smites left but a given spell might be the only copy that a prepared caster has available and a given slot might be the last one of a certain spell level that a spontaneous caster has available. Second, at some point along the line an expectation arose that a caster has to cast a spell or do some other magic thing every single round in every single encounter or they're not sufficiently "being a spellcaster," so a caster with 10 spell slots is somehow only good for 10 rounds per day (whether that's 10 rounds of combat or 6 rounds of combat and 4 utility spells or whatever) and then they're done.

    The change I suggested is a good way to handle the first point (you can easily get back a specific spell with a few minutes' downtime, so you don't have to worry about casting a spell early in the morning and not having it in the evening without a full rest), but isn't the only way; things like casting directly from your spellbook, combining or splitting slots a la Versatile Spellcaster, and the like can help reduce the anxiety about that one spell being inaccessible. Reserve feats were a good way to handle the second point, providing a nice incentive to actively avoid casting spells and providing you with something magical to do in the meantime, as were Devotion and Divine feats to let clerics supplement their spells with other magical effects using their languishing turn attempts. Basically, address the psychological issues of "I might need this later" and "I'm a wizard, I should be magicking things" and you can reduce the overemphasis on spells.
    I feel like that could work, along with cantrips, reserve feats and rituals.

    Quote Originally Posted by OACSNY97 View Post
    Emphasis added in bold.
    I was thinking about this post this morning and it reminded me of something I've thought about in relationship to 4e, namely the term 'bloodied.' What if bloodied means physical damage and becomes either a status effect and/or a keyword? If bloodied comes to mean the first time in a combat that you take actual physical damage, the "meaty" part of HP that Morty mentions, it provides an easy way to distinguish between the "meaty" and non-meat/"mushy" parts of HP.

    I see having bloodied be a status effect/keyword offers other benefits as well:
    It allows for different kinds of healing. Easy HP gain can mostly become the 'non-meat' part of HP that does not remove the bloodied status even when healing half or more of a character's total HP. This means that some healing spells/abilities could remove the bloodied status and some don't allowing for different types of healer type characters.

    For those in favor of a more gritty D&D, being bloodied could offer a place to start having wound penalties of some kind or another. I am not yet sure how I would implement wound penalties in D&D. Would it make sense to have a minus to all roles while bloodied, a CON penalty or something more fluid depending on the class?

    The third benefit I see to a bloodied status effect would be in encouraging combats to end before one side or the other wipes their opponents out allowing for other victory conditions. For example, there could be fights that are explicitly to 'first blood' or some groups of enemies could start trying to flee once some set percentage of their group is bloodied.

    Thoughts?
    I don't think it's enough and it doesn't really address the systemic problems HP have. It's also pretty static to always have that kick in when you're at half health.
    Last edited by Morty; 2018-06-12 at 06:47 PM.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Gulaghar and Ashen Lilies.

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Both ways actually make sense, but you need the right system.

    In D&D, where we don't care about where you hit, armour as defence class makes sense, and is what I'm using. Because lots of armour can absorb or deflect blows to such a degree that you don't take meaningful damage we're just simplifying by sorting into 'no meaningful damage' and 'got through/avoided armour'.
    I'm generally on board with armor as added defense, but D&D is one of the cases where this works the worst*, given the plethora of monsters where going right through armor makes a fair amount of sense.

    That said, there's a way around this with multiple defenses, GURPS style. If you have Reflect (parrying, taking hits on armor, blocking with shield) and Evade (just dodging) defenses you can have armor add to Reflect, then take size into account. The armor will always still technically help at least a little, but Reflect quickly becomes useless once the size difference gets drastic enough. This is also no more complicated than having AC plus Reflex/Dex Save/Whatever, and less complicated than AC, touch AC, and Reflex.

    It also creates some interesting options for magic items. Take the immovable rod - among other things that could act as an AC 0 shield that mitigates the size difference. Brilliant Energy gets simplified, as something that can only be countered with Evade. A whole new set of defensive items opens up as things that boost Evade (though the existence of Dex/Reflex saves/defenses mitigates this).

    Speaking of size - one of the other things I'd change is the size categories. That D&D quantifies basically everything then uses ordinal qualifiers for size, something that can actually be quantified easily, has always annoyed me. Stealing Fudge's Scale system and plugging it in directly fits that, and with the magic of the OGL it's even kosher to do so.

    *In fantasy anyways - genres likely to have vehicles can be at least comparable. I don't care how good your armor suit is, if you get shot by a starship it isn't helping.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: Fixing D&D: YOUR WAY

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    But some spells do need daily limits. wall of stone a couple of times a day is a useful BFC effect that allows the Wizard to build himself a tower if he spends a couple of months of downtime. wall of stone every 15 minutes replaces every stonemason in the world.
    Wall of stone twice a week replaces every stonemason in the world, unless it's really expensive.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I've tallied up all the points for this thread, and consulted with the debate judges, and the verdict is clear: JoeJ wins the thread.

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