The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 2 of 16 FirstFirst 123456789101112 ... LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 470
  1. - Top - End - #31
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bamako

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Sure, no argument, but again magicals can contribute to non-combat just as well as mundanes. Plus while mundanes must interact with the world via skill checks, magicals can do that and interact with it in ways skill checks can't even comprehend. Charm. Divination. Find the Path.

    They can do travel better, in the form of summoning mounts which don't need food and never tire. Or creating portals to skip travel entirely.
    -The Fighter still has to feed his horse and he has to let it rest and make Handle Animal checks just like everyone else and the horse may make his travel faster, but it will never be "instant".

    They can do camp better, in the form of nigh-impenetrable extra-dimensional huts.
    -Even the Ranger still needs to set up tents, find a safe location and take watches. Short of a wizard attack or magic shenanigans, nothing breaches the wizard's hut.

    They can do survival better, summoning food and water from thin air.
    -The Barbarian still has to hunt for his supper and if he gets nothing, he goes hungry. Heck, "create water" is a cantrip!

    And lets not forget that magicals favor mental stats. And our poor little fighter getting only 2+int skill points. Only our dear rogue really cares about int at all and that's only because of his massive skill point pool and equally massive spread of skills. Any mundane who is investing into their mental stats is putting their other roles at a disadvantage, while any magical who favors their mental stats is...likely just boosting scores they already care about.

    Again, maybe not right away. Which again was my point with high/low level balance points. Mundanes are likely to perform longer and better at lower levels, while magicals will take the lead at higher ones (basically, level 10 and the game splits). Which was also my point with the "dual balance points".
    I think that is a wrong way to look at it. Sure you might be better at something than the other guy, but by doing something that someone else can do, even if not as good, you forego an opportunity to allocate resources to things that no one can do in your party.
    It is better to see it in terms of comparative advantage. Sure the wizard can open locks with magic, but if they have a rogue around, they can use those spell slots for something different. Your party mates don't need to be necessarily better at something, just good enough so frees up resources (spell slots) to more and different things raising overall party efficiency.
    Last edited by Corneel; 2019-09-15 at 03:12 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    One player, or a few players are vastly stronger than the others, but each player has a lane to stay in and something that the other players can't do.

    IE: the wizard can stop time and incinerate a squad of dudes. The theif can back stab to assassinate 1 Target, but it's probably better for him to slip away during combat and use it as a distraction to steal the documents.

    The barbarian can slaughter a dragon, but the general can issue strategic orders that buff the party and lead everyone to victory.

    We see this dynamic in all our favorite stories: Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Star wars etc.
    I feel you, it really bugs me when I get criticized about "party balance"
    in the game I currently run for my players, they have:
    a life cleric
    a sorcerer
    a wizard
    a monk
    and another cleric joining soon
    not a "balanced" party all.
    the cleric uses almost exclusively spells, and so will the new cleric. a party of full-casters, and a monk. I've been told time and again that I'm a bad DM for letting it get this far gone.

    But I don't get what's so bad about it. My Players are happy, these are there characters. Who cares if its my game, its there story, I want them to actually like the characters they play instead of worrying about "Party Balance".
    I don't pull punches as a DM. their last fight was against 50 bandit captains, 50 level 8 wizards, and 100 bandits. They won. Not a single permanent casualty.

    Forget party balance. Its a stupid figment that the DnD community came up with for reasons no one could fathom. "party balance" is a way to make us scramble to fit in and be what others want in an frigging RPG. That isn't right.

    as for feeling different, every fighter I've played feels unique, different than my last, or than my buddies. every wizard has different spells, different flavor, and different way of operating. If a party is actually playing the game right, no ones toes are stepped on, because you work as a team. The best games I've played in revolve around party identity. It's like each of you are part of one big character. who cares if you and three other guys all use broadswords? they have your back against orcs, and you all have fun.
    my campaign logs
    Spoiler
    Show

    my homebrew
    Spoiler
    Show

    kobold inventor class
    [url]http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?587315-kobold-inventor-class-5E-(opinions-wanted)[/url

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Banned
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    Forget party balance. Its a stupid figment that the DnD community came up with for reasons no one could fathom. "party balance" is a way to make us scramble to fit in and be what others want in an frigging RPG. That isn't right.
    It's the same old story:

    Lots and lots of people have bad gaming stories: game where they just had no fun. But one guy out there had a good game where everyone had fun. So when asked ''why is your game good?" , Bob tried to give an answer, but it's not like he was an expert or anything. And his answer had the word ''balance" in it, likely taken out of context. But it did not matter ''They" had their answer: "A good game is one with a balanced party".

    They have spoken, so let it be so....and so now nearly everyone follows the 'party balance' idea and game stlye.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, I think the problem with "lane"-based thinking is that it is complicated by two opposed schools of thought: rules-first and character-first.

    Suppose I want to make a Hermione espy (sp?) in 3e D&D. Well, clearly, she's a Wizard (Harry). Or witch, but 3e doesn't really have a witch class. Without brewing new spells, about the most iconic spell she can replicate at low levels is Aloha Mora. So, clearly, opening locked doors is her big thing. Then some Rogue player is a jerk, and goes and puts ranks in Open Lock, becoming the party goto lock opener, with the party only falling back to the Hermione espy rare occasion. His flimsy defense for his **** move? It's not because his character actually cares about it. No, it's just because "that's what Rogues do".

    Here, the Wizard's player was thinking in terms of their character; the Rogue's player was thinking in terms of the rules.

    IMO, neither are "right". IMO, noone has any "right" to a lane. If your fun necessitates your character fulfilling a particular role (that's your problem, and) you either a) need to optimize sufficiently that you defacto fill that role, or b) get "character X fills role Y" added to the gentleman's agreement.
    That's not even really the problem, though. The big problem is that, say, you have two people thinking in character types. One player wants to be a gruff mercenary with a big sword. So he plays a fighter. The other player wants to be protector of the wilderness who draws magical power from the land. So he plays a druid. Entirely character-based.
    Neither optimizes much, so the fighter gets a sword and board, and the druid gets a wolf animal companion, because wolves are cool.

    And here the problem starts. Because that wolf, that the druid just selected from the random list and puts no resources into? It's almost as good as fighting as the fighter. Slightly lower armor, about the same offence, and also higher speed, scent and free trip.

    The druid, without wanting to, and without putting resources or thought into it, has invalidated the fighter.

    But it goes further. The druid looks at their list and thinks "If I cast these three spells, I can fight better than the fighter". That just always hangs over the group. The druid can be nice and not invalidate the fighter, but everyone at the table knows they could, casually, while also doing 20 other things. The fighter is only relevant at the druid's behest.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Drascin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Under Mt. Ebott
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    one way to work around this is the gentlemen agreement, where everyone agrees to stay in their lane. casters could probably fight better than fighters with the right buffs, but they choose not to, and to do their thing instead.

    and really, it's not easy to "accidentally" outperform a reasonably optimized fighter with a decent equipment. barring some of the crazier combos, you're not invading their lane much.
    It still feels pretty bad when you realize your party members could obviate you entirely with a lot less investment than it's taking you to be helpful to the party though, even if they make a point of avoiding all the choices that would obviate you.

    Like, for example, I remember I was playing Exalted. I was playing a Lunar sage and crafter. I had spent pretty much the entirety of my character on those angles, to the level that her contribution to combat was to literally hide in a barrel while combat was going on. And yet, the knowledge that any of the Solars in the party could be geometrically better at crafting than my character could ever reach simply by spending 24 XP (which in terms of investment, for the D&D-only crowd, is a bit like taking a small one or two level dip) was annoying.
    Last edited by Drascin; 2019-09-16 at 04:04 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That's not even really the problem, though. The big problem is that, say, you have two people thinking in character types. One player wants to be a gruff mercenary with a big sword. So he plays a fighter. The other player wants to be protector of the wilderness who draws magical power from the land. So he plays a druid. Entirely character-based.
    Neither optimizes much, so the fighter gets a sword and board, and the druid gets a wolf animal companion, because wolves are cool.

    And here the problem starts. Because that wolf, that the druid just selected from the random list and puts no resources into? It's almost as good as fighting as the fighter. Slightly lower armor, about the same offence, and also higher speed, scent and free trip.

    The druid, without wanting to, and without putting resources or thought into it, has invalidated the fighter.

    But it goes further. The druid looks at their list and thinks "If I cast these three spells, I can fight better than the fighter". That just always hangs over the group. The druid can be nice and not invalidate the fighter, but everyone at the table knows they could, casually, while also doing 20 other things. The fighter is only relevant at the druid's behest.
    Are you only engaging the party with single monsters? I ask, because having more people able to go toe-to-toe with enemies has honestly never been a problem in a game I've run ever.

    The more front-line combatants the party has, the more foes you can throw at them, and allow the differences between those combatants to come to the fore. Sure, if the party is facing one ogre/troll/other iconic hard-hitting big-guy, of course there is going to be some jostling for the position of face-tanker, but throw in a couple of light-armoured skirmishers that need to be held up from getting to the parties casters, and a tough low-damage reliable-hitter, and suddenly your Fighter, animal companion, and any other melee combatants are spread out handling the fires they are better suited to (that Fighter has a higher AC, have him hold up the big guy while the wolf is judiciously tripping the skirmishers for the heavy damage dealer to finish off).

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Asmotherion's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    it's mostly a matter of CR. if one player optimises and the rest of the players don't the DM will either have to account for the player and throwing monsters that only he can manage (leaving the rest of the party useless and at higher danger) or NOT account for the 1 player and have the party fight lower power monsters and the player that optimised the most won't feel challenged and get bored of the game fast.

    Please help/contribute in creating the: Complete list of Magically Created Constructs, Elementals etc

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    That's not even really the problem, though. The big problem is that, say, you have two people thinking in character types. One player wants to be a gruff mercenary with a big sword. So he plays a fighter. The other player wants to be protector of the wilderness who draws magical power from the land. So he plays a druid. Entirely character-based.
    Neither optimizes much, so the fighter gets a sword and board, and the druid gets a wolf animal companion, because wolves are cool.

    And here the problem starts. Because that wolf, that the druid just selected from the random list and puts no resources into? It's almost as good as fighting as the fighter. Slightly lower armor, about the same offence, and also higher speed, scent and free trip.

    The druid, without wanting to, and without putting resources or thought into it, has invalidated the fighter.

    But it goes further. The druid looks at their list and thinks "If I cast these three spells, I can fight better than the fighter". That just always hangs over the group. The druid can be nice and not invalidate the fighter, but everyone at the table knows they could, casually, while also doing 20 other things. The fighter is only relevant at the druid's behest.
    That… really misses the mark.

    My point was, the Generic Rogue and Hermione Espy Wizard disagree on whose role opening locked doors is.

    In your example, both players agree that the Fighter's role is to deal damage. Thus, they can either a) retool their characters until the Fighter plays that role, or b) realize that the Fighter *is* playing that role - even if the wolf is *also* playing that role - because that role isn't an exclusive role.

    Now, where you get into trouble is when that 1st level Fighter Druid party also has a Wizard, who, because Wizards have finite resources, is agreed to have the role of "burst damage specialist", who can deliver the big hits a few times per day. The game just doesn't allow the 1st level Evoker to optimize sufficiently to fulfill that role.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    The druid can be nice and not invalidate the fighter, but everyone at the table knows they could, casually, while also doing 20 other things. The fighter is only relevant at the druid's behest.
    I disagree. The fighter still fights. Having a turn adds to the action economy, his higher AC and HP can make him a valuable damage soak, mixed with his class abilities and weapon choice giving him better damage output.

    Even if someone is better at fighting, it doesn't mean the fighter is useless. The best soccer player on the team still needs the team. If one forward is better than the other, it doesn't mean the other forward is a waste of space.

    In short, there is no I in team.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Mid-Rohan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    I disagree. The fighter still fights. Having a turn adds to the action economy, his higher AC and HP can make him a valuable damage soak, mixed with his class abilities and weapon choice giving him better damage output.

    Even if someone is better at fighting, it doesn't mean the fighter is useless. The best soccer player on the team still needs the team. If one forward is better than the other, it doesn't mean the other forward is a waste of space.

    In short, there is no I in team.
    The Fighter might feel a bit left out if both the druid and the druid's animal companion each contribute more to the Fight than the Fighter does. To be fair, this is a reason to be upset with the rules, not the fellow player (unless they are actively trying to cut out the significance of their playmates).
    Last edited by Pleh; 2019-09-16 at 07:06 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Asmotherion's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drache64 View Post
    I disagree. The fighter still fights. Having a turn adds to the action economy, his higher AC and HP can make him a valuable damage soak, mixed with his class abilities and weapon choice giving him better damage output.

    Even if someone is better at fighting, it doesn't mean the fighter is useless. The best soccer player on the team still needs the team. If one forward is better than the other, it doesn't mean the other forward is a waste of space.

    In short, there is no I in team.
    A full caster can summon a bunch of better fighters than the fighter as a full round action. Or Planar Bind a few as bodyguards. Just to state 2 simple examples.

    Unless you min/max a fighter to do 900+ damage a turn he's going to contribute minimally past level 6 and it's only going downhill from there.

    Please help/contribute in creating the: Complete list of Magically Created Constructs, Elementals etc

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Okay, a bit more time than my last response. A lot of good discussion overall, amidst a little straw.

    As others have mentioned, individual instances of people playing characters with different levels of... overall mechanical capability to effect the outcome of in-game situations (let's shorthand that to 'agency') does not inherently make the game unplayable or universally unfun. This is especially true if:
    • The game as being played is not relying overly on mechanical solutions (examples include social or problem solving scenarios where dice aren't being picked up at all)
    • There is a reward other than feeling like you contributed as much as others (your character got to be the roleplaying spotlight while others got to 'do' more stuff, although this edges in on the 'non-mechanical contributions' bullet point)
    • There is a promise of future agency (you're starting over at 1st level, so you aren't contributing as much, but you're levelling faster, and thus catching up. And that is an alternative good feeling).

    That said, in general, people want to be able to contribute vaguely as much as the person sitting next to them. More specifically, if they open a gaming book, and they have a choice between picking A, B, or C types of character, it's rather nice if those overall options are relatively balanced (and if you end up in an unbalanced situation after that, perhaps for in-game or in-group reasons, then that's fine). Particularly if they are coded as the same in some way -- cost the same number of points in a point-buy game, have the same XP cost to level up in a levelled game, or even moreso, be able to either level up in an additional level of X, or take a level of Y instead. And that's really where I think people mostly look for balance-- at the raw initial choice phase.

    At the very least, people want to be told that something being weaker than another is in some way by design. If you're picking to play as a weaker choice, you are doing so because that's what you are specifically looking for (the "it's quite exciting to take a party that's below the adventure's balance point, and struggle to succeed anyway" model Quertus posited). Certain games have that -- the 90s White Wolf World of Darkness games had sub-games where you played as the vampire characters' enthralled humans, or the werewolves' family members, or a Whoopi Goldberg to the Wraith's Patrick Swayze, and I'd make a fair guess that no one picked up those splatbooks and tried playing one of those without knowing that their mechanical agency would be less than other options.
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2019-09-16 at 12:18 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I like to liken an RPG to putting on a play.
    ...except in all the meaningful ways that it isn’t. If I sign up to play “Macbeth” and I am cast as Murderer no. 3, I really have no cause to complain that Macbeth is a more interesting role and gets more lines.

    But RPGs aren’t nearly so clear about who is Macbeth and who is Murderer no. 3. Maybe I’m a new player who doesn’t know about the tiers. Maybe I know about the tiers, but don’t have the time or inclination to optimize. Or maybe I just think it is BS that there are a handful of martial builds (who may or may not be fun to play) that can compete with the baseline power level of casters.

    Perfect balance doesn’t exist. Reasonable balance is far from a niche concern.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    My general rule of thumb goes something like this: "spells have the potential to do anything, but they shouldn't be capable of doing everything."

    A wizard/druid/etc. who can do the fighter's job or their own job isn't the problem in my eyes - the problem is when they can do both, especially with no (or very few) tradeoffs or consequences.

    I'll illustrate with this earlier example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Suppose I want to make a Hermione espy (sp?) in 3e D&D. Well, clearly, she's a Wizard (Harry). Or witch, but 3e doesn't really have a witch class. Without brewing new spells, about the most iconic spell she can replicate at low levels is Aloha Mora. So, clearly, opening locked doors is her big thing. Then some Rogue player is a jerk, and goes and puts ranks in Open Lock, becoming the party goto lock opener, with the party only falling back to the Hermione espy rare occasion. His flimsy defense for his **** move? It's not because his character actually cares about it. No, it's just because "that's what Rogues do".
    Putting aside the confrontational way in which the players went about this (which is a separate problem) - had the players talked it out with one another and agreed that picking locks should be primarily the rogue's chance to shine, I wouldn't have minded that at all. In fact, in D&D, Alohomora would have several drawbacks:

    - You have to say it out loud (most of the time, picking a lock is/should be a stealthy activity).
    - You need a wand and a flourishing motion, which isn't much help if it's confiscated and/or you're tied up.
    - In D&D, spells are a limited resource, so while the rogue can theoretically pick infinite locks, Hermione would be more limited. Spells are also prepared/selected in advance, so she runs the risk of either not having enough uses, or of overprioritizing it and ending up with not enough of something she actually needs.

    These and other factors mean that, even though the wizard can do both jobs, they're better off in most cases just letting the rogue do that one and using their slots for something else. BUT, if for some reason the rogue can't solve the problem (e.g. they got captured or knocked unconscious), the party isn't stuck either.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    Forget party balance. Its a stupid figment that the DnD community came up with for reasons no one could fathom. "party balance" is a way to make us scramble to fit in and be what others want in an frigging RPG. That isn't right.

    as for feeling different, every fighter I've played feels unique, different than my last, or than my buddies. every wizard has different spells, different flavor, and different way of operating. If a party is actually playing the game right, no ones toes are stepped on, because you work as a team. The best games I've played in revolve around party identity. It's like each of you are part of one big character. who cares if you and three other guys all use broadswords? they have your back against orcs, and you all have fun.
    Agreed! +1 to this so much.

    A group is a team, and if you focus on working together as a team, there will be a lot less stepping on other people's toes.
    RHoD: Soah | SC: Green Sparrow | WotBS: Sheliya |RoW: Raani | SA: Ariste | IG: Hemali | RoA: Abelia | WftC: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
    Mystara: Othariel | Vette | Scarlet

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    ...except in all the meaningful ways that it isn’t. If I sign up to play “Macbeth” and I am cast as Murderer no. 3, I really have no cause to complain that Macbeth is a more interesting role and gets more lines.

    But RPGs aren’t nearly so clear about who is Macbeth and who is Murderer no. 3. Maybe I’m a new player who doesn’t know about the tiers. Maybe I know about the tiers, but don’t have the time or inclination to optimize. Or maybe I just think it is BS that there are a handful of martial builds (who may or may not be fun to play) that can compete with the baseline power level of casters.

    Perfect balance doesn’t exist. Reasonable balance is far from a niche concern.
    "Balance" is only a concern if you make it so. Parties do not need to be balanced to have fun, unless you make balance a requirement for your fun. You can absolutely play murderhobo #3 and have a blast! You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations.

    Yes, when you're clueless as to your role, your ignorance can lead you to false expectations, and to not enjoy the game. That's… true of just about everything, really, and not unique to RPGs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I'll illustrate with this earlier example:



    Putting aside the confrontational way in which the players went about this (which is a separate problem) - had the players talked it out with one another and agreed that picking locks should be primarily the rogue's chance to shine, I wouldn't have minded that at all. In fact, in D&D, Alohomora would have several drawbacks:

    - You have to say it out loud (most of the time, picking a lock is/should be a stealthy activity).
    - You need a wand and a flourishing motion, which isn't much help if it's confiscated and/or you're tied up.
    - In D&D, spells are a limited resource, so while the rogue can theoretically pick infinite locks, Hermione would be more limited. Spells are also prepared/selected in advance, so she runs the risk of either not having enough uses, or of overprioritizing it and ending up with not enough of something she actually needs.

    These and other factors mean that, even though the wizard can do both jobs, they're better off in most cases just letting the rogue do that one and using their slots for something else. BUT, if for some reason the rogue can't solve the problem (e.g. they got captured or knocked unconscious), the party isn't stuck either.
    Confrontational? I'm really not sure where you're getting that. No, they both *thought* that they had explained themselves in session 0 ("I'm playing Hermione", "I'm playing a Rogue"), but their myopic role-based thinking prevented them from hearing the other person, or from communicating more clearly.

    Now, agreeing that opening doors is the "Rogue's thing" is mechanically optimal, for all the reasons you listed. However, it leaves the Hermione espy with no role to play. She could cast, what, light? Levitation? HP Wizards don't really have many good spells that translate well to D&D, especially at low level (although an argument could be made for Charm Person, but that's not really a Hermione spell, IMO).

    Whereas the Rogue could easily be retooled for DPS, stealth, DPS, traps, DPS, Sleight of Hand, DPS, scouting, DPS, UMD, DPS, or any number of other things and still conceptually be a Rogue. In fact, if they're not already most of those things, they're probably failing at being a conceptual Rogue in the first place.

    Again, I think that the Rogue opening doors is the *right* answer, from an optimization / efficiency POV. But it's highly unfair to a Hermione espy, who really doesn't have any other way to contribute (magically, that is - she probably should have some Knowledge skills).

    So, if you walk in with a Hermione espy, expecting to contribute to the party with magic, you will be sorely disappointed, and probably not have fun. If, OTOH, you don't view Hermione as having a right to a particular role, you should be much more able to adapt to the reality of the situation, and enjoy what she actually contributes. Which isn't much - and, if the Rogue is either an entitled jerk, or both an efficient optimizer and a regular jerk, then that probably won't include any significant magical contribution.

    (For the record, I don't really play espy (sp?) characters, so I reserve the right to be wrong about such players' motivations, enjoyment, Etc)

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    (For the record, I don't really play espy (sp?) characters, so I reserve the right to be wrong about such players' motivations, enjoyment, Etc)
    The term is Expy

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Well lets look at it from the most universal view one can:
    not even from the viewpoint of all rpgs, but the viewpoint of all possible power sets, character concepts and skills.

    character concepts, even discarding systems, are not equal.

    say someone wants a character does things on their own. now compare that to any character concept with the ability to call up a servant or friend to help you. that introduces imbalance simply because its possible for one character to do two things at the same time. and to an even greater degree, this produces a certain imbalance between say, a leader character and a non-leader character:
    "oh you can do X? thats cute, I have a bunch of followers to do X for me on my payroll." and basically solve their problems by throwing enough people at it.

    next let us consider the warrior and the healer. seems balanced right? one fights, one heals. except, logically, most healer concepts can also fight to some degree, just as not as well as the warrior. they will take longer to win, but they will still win a fight. this is also an imbalance, since that implies the only thing that a healer needs to do is get better at fighting to supplement healing they already do, while we see little of the reverse holding true.

    next we see the case of speedsters versus non-speedsters. often speedsters have to be written to be stupid, or otherwise hold back their powers, because in practice a speedster would just speed blitz everyone to death and defeat everything before any other hero has time to act. thus superspeed is actually very imbalanced, as is any time-stopping ability since there is little actual difference between the two in practice.

    next, say consider one person wanting to play a science fiction concept vs. one who wants to play a fantasy one. the science fiction one is inherently more limited as it offers more opportunity for people to shoot possibilities down and provide reasons why this or that would not work. both have to be equally fantastic to be balanced.

    next imbalance can be circumstantial. a social character will be useless in the wilderness, a warrior useless in social situations, a supernatural being against any of their kryptonite, a mermaid on land, a robot against EMP, vampires in daylight, human in vacuum of space, any unobservant character against traps, and any giant character will useless against any small enough space (I'm not going into mage weaknesses because I'm going to be talked at by every 3.5 wizard fan assuming I'm talking about their magic specifically and how they've totally prepared for their toothbrush suddenly becoming an evil all killing abomination trying to end reality through magical popcorn bubblegum.)

    next we have the idea of a jack of all trades vs. a specialist vs. a role-shifter. here is the thing: the only difference between a jack of all trades and a role-shifter is competence. normally a specialist beats the jack in their specialty, and normally the jack beats the specialist at everything outside of it. but a jack vs. role-shifter loses just as much as a specialist does to all-prep. this means any character no matter what system or whatever, a role-shifter is better than both these concepts because it can switch what its specialized in and thus do both specialization and jack of trades better and a very big imbalance. such as a jack of all trades Solar Exalted...being in the same circle as a Socialize Supernal Eclipse or Night and watching them have a persona for every situation. and really a summoner or leader character with followers is just another kind of role-shifter as they can just call up people to be that specialized role for them.

    next source of imbalance can be mental. a smarter character is always more powerful than a dumber one, as they can adapt to more circumstances someone can throw at them while still doing simpler actions a dumb character can. a dumb character therefore always needs some kind of big advantage in their favor to balance themselves out so they can apply their hammer to more nails.

    next any option that has a cost is less desirable than an option that doesn't. thus people tend to go for options that avoid paying a cost. therefore any option with no cost is imbalanced against one that does. this applies even to opportunity costs: if one sees an option as doing All The Things and another option doing One Thing, that One Thing has the cost of only doing that thing and not all the things, while All The Things Option has no cost.

    and of course, there is the classic problem with elemental systems: rock paper scissors, only one element, that whole thing.

    and of course any superhero setting has to deal with the classic "Batman and superman" problem where you have to figure out how superman doesn't just solve everything. or why robots aren't just better in every way over humans in any sci-fi setting. or well, a lot of other examples.

    from this perspective, it seems as if balance is impossible. seems to be.

    but it is needed, nonetheless. balance is being aware of these problems and taking steps to balance oneself. to figure out ways of limiting these powers and such to make sure doesn't work too well, it requires self-awareness and self-restraint. to know when NOT to win instantly. to make sure your abilities make sense for the world rather than breaking the world. for mechanics, its recognizing that the mechanical representations don't reflect literal reality of the world and that there are things outside the system you have to assume to make the concept work as a balanced character that makes sense within it the worlds confines. and of course communication. people, awareness and thinking things through and communicating are the best defenses against a broken character.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  19. - Top - End - #49
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Denmark
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Why? Because no one wants to play the sidekick.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "Balance" is only a concern if you make it so. Parties do not need to be balanced to have fun, unless you make balance a requirement for your fun. You can absolutely play murderhobo #3 and have a blast! You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations.
    This sounds an awful lot like “if you choose a class that is weak compared to that of the other players, and that bothers you, it’s your fault for caring about balance.”

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kansas City

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    "Balance" is only a concern if you make it so. Parties do not need to be balanced to have fun, unless you make balance a requirement for your fun. You can absolutely play murderhobo #3 and have a blast! You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations.
    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    This sounds an awful lot like “if you choose a class that is weak compared to that of the other players, and that bothers you, it’s your fault for caring about balance.”
    I don't really see how what Quertus said could possibly sound like that. I think perhaps you need some hearing aids?

    To me, I heard "Its perfectly fine to be a Fighter 20 or Monk 20 in a party of Wizard 20s as long as you are having fun."

    Which, as "having fun" is the entire point to me, I agree with?
    "The monk hits you a shattering blow in the kidneys, luckily this fixes a long standing alignment issue with your spine, gain +10 Move"

    "The evil wizard fireballs you, since the weather has been nasty you are now pleasantly warm, gain immunity from fear effects and cold and necrotic damage "

    "The drow cleric smashes you in the skull with an adamantine mace, this jogs your memory, regain all your used spell slots for the day"

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    I know we're talking about rpgs in general, but I play 5E mostly. And here's what I have to say for dnd, which is where I see the party balance thing a lot:
    Just because another dude killed 50 guys with fireball, does not make your sword and shield obsolete.
    I've seen this mentality so much, and I've even seen people who main casters getting pissed because they think it's stupid to play a non magic class.
    "Party balance" (ugh just saying it hurts me) if it's even a thing, only exists in our minds. Really and truly.
    That wizards fireball? It was his whole turn. He's done now. And you better believe he's bored and wishing he hadn't eaten all the Cheetos two hours ago. Your swordy boi though? On his turn he's got everything to do, no wasted action options, depending on how he's built, he can do crazy stuff with actions, bonus actions, and more actions. Even going so far as too get an extra reaction on everyone else's turn.
    But both the wizard and the fighter are "balanced" both can contribute. And it goes for every class in every system. Every subclass too (yes, even 4 elements monk)
    Bottom line, if your not having fun because of "balance issues" ots probably not the parties class choices that are an issue, it's your attitude.
    Rpgs are people games, and 99% of the time people are the real issue in them.
    The other 1 percent is bad homebrew and game design.
    Last edited by moonfly7; 2019-09-16 at 05:54 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    I don't really see how what Quertus said could possibly sound like that. I think perhaps you need some hearing aids?

    To me, I heard "Its perfectly fine to be a Fighter 20 or Monk 20 in a party of Wizard 20s as long as you are having fun."

    Which, as "having fun" is the entire point to me, I agree with?
    Though I don't think that's what Quertus intended to say, it is not that hard to read what he understood in the text:

    "'Balance' is only a concern if you make it so. [...] You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations."
    => If you don't have fun because of unbalance in the game, that's your fault for not having the good expectations for the game, not the game designer's (or DM) fault for making a broken system.
    => “if you choose a class that is weak compared to that of the other players, and that bothers you, it’s your fault for caring about balance.”
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2019-09-16 at 05:55 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kansas City

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    Though I don't think that's what Quertus intended to say, it is not that hard to read what he understood in the text:

    "'Balance' is only a concern if you make it so. [...] You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations."
    => If you don't have fun because of unbalance in the game, that's your fault for not having the good expectations for the game, not the game designer's (or DM) fault for making a broken system.
    => “if you choose a class that is weak compared to that of the other players, and that bothers you, it’s your fault for caring about balance.”

    Let me edit that so it makes sense to me.

    "'Balance' is only a concern if you make it so. [...] You just have to walk into the RPG with the right expectations."
    => If you don't have fun because of unbalance in the game, that's your fault for not having the good expectations for the game, not the game designer's (or DM) fault for making a broken system.

    => “if you choose a class that is weak compared to that of the other players, and that bothers you, it’s your fault for caring about balance.”[/QUOTE]

    frankly, you are conflating "balance issues" with "having fun" here. If you are playing the game and not having fun.... yeah... that is your fault.... either change your expectations to start having fun, or find a different game with different players.

    If you make a monk when everyone else made wizards, then why are you whining about "how unfair and unfun it is"?

    Here's what I don't get. And I realize my experiences have been lucky compared to some. If I play a monk, its because I have a concept for a character that is a monk. And I get to play that character. And I get to have fun. If the rest of the party is made out of wizards.... so what? I still get to find my place in the "story" and play it out. I guess i'm lucky in having DMs and players that don't act like the mythical T1 super characters portrayed as existing on this forum, but that I have never found in real life. And I'm also lucky in that I have a strong enough force of personality when playing to make my impact on the game regardless.

    Now, I -personally- have no problem with you redesigning the game or trying to improve balance. I think the game would benefit from it. But the game isn't BROKEN without those improvements. I've been in many high level games where t4 characters are on the same team with t1 characters and everybody has fun, everybody contributes, everyone is part of the victory, everyone is party of the story.
    "The monk hits you a shattering blow in the kidneys, luckily this fixes a long standing alignment issue with your spine, gain +10 Move"

    "The evil wizard fireballs you, since the weather has been nasty you are now pleasantly warm, gain immunity from fear effects and cold and necrotic damage "

    "The drow cleric smashes you in the skull with an adamantine mace, this jogs your memory, regain all your used spell slots for the day"

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    EDIT: I have been notified that the person I was responding to was banned. I stand by my criticism, but since they can't respond, it seems unfair to leave a direct attack on their argument standing where they can't reply.
    Last edited by ChamHasNoRoom; 2019-09-17 at 12:38 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    If you make a monk when everyone else made wizards, then why are you whining about "how unfair and unfun it is"?
    Let me rephrase this question, because its asked by optimizers a lot:

    "If you make a (CLASS PRESENTED AS EQUALLY VIABLE OPTION TO OTHER CLASSES) when everyone else made (CLASS THAT ONLY EXPERIENCED EXPERIENCED PEOPLE KNOW IS BETTER THAN OTHER CLASSES), then why are you whining about "how unfair and unfun it is"?"

    the thing you presuming is obvious is not obvious. please stop assuming its obvious. It is not obvious. this thing is not obvious and some would prefer this difference you think is obvious to actually BE obvious instead of assumed to be not be obvious when its not obvious. did I mention it that its not obvious yet? because its not obvious and also not obvious. its not self-evident.

    because, I cannot emphasize this enough, some people do not auto-see classes as difficulty settings. I do not do not this, and don't care or want to. what I want. is for them to be styles of play that don't impact difficulty. I'd much rather have a class be a flavor of ice cream or pizza. you have your flavor, I have mine, no ones flavor is better, but we can all enjoy the pizza. and just because you want anchovies shouldn't impact my plain cheese slice.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2019-09-16 at 06:39 PM.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  27. - Top - End - #57
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    A place near Boulder.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Agreed! +1 to this so much.

    A group is a team, and if you focus on working together as a team, there will be a lot less stepping on other people's toes.
    What does "working as a team" really mean though?

    Because past low levels, the pressence of a fighter in 3.X is actively detrimental to their teammates, and the best thing he can do for his team is stay home.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    zinycor's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    What does "working as a team" really mean though?

    Because past low levels, the pressence of a fighter in 3.X is actively detrimental to their teammates, and the best thing he can do for his team is stay home.
    I believe the definition for temakwork might be relevant:

    The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.
    Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance. Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.

    Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/de.../teamwork.html
    Last edited by zinycor; 2019-09-16 at 08:21 PM.
    Last son of the Lu-Ching dynasty

    thog is the champion, thog's friends! and thog keeps on fighting to the end!

    Thanks to zimmerwald for the amazing avatar

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChamHasNoRoom View Post
    Are you serious right now? "If you care about balance, you are selfish monster, but, y'know, that's fine, you do you, you horrible abomination of a human being." This isn't just passive aggressive. This is like a parody of passive-aggressiveness you would use to communicate the idea in a YouTube skit.
    That poster has been banned, they cannot respond.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    A place near Boulder.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    I believe the definition for temakwork might be relevant:
    Definitions don't really help when we are talking about subtlety, nuance, or intention.

    In this case is "working towards a goal" an in or out of character thing? There is a dissonance as the characters will likely have to sabotage their in character goals in order to make everyone feel better at the table.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •