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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    You are aware that Sam and Frodo are the weakest members of the party, along with Merry and Pippin ... are you? .
    They just put their aspects into stealth, humility and corruption resistance instead of combat. That makes them smart players, not weak characters
    I solemnly swear,
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    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
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    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.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    They just put their aspects into stealth, humility and corruption resistance instead of combat. That makes them smart players, not weak characters
    Sam and Frodo, yes; Merry, maybe (granted, book Merry was far better)... but that fool of a Took is the ur-example of the YOLO kender stereotype.
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-20 at 01:47 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    GitP: The only place where D&D and Cantorian Set Theory combine. Also a place of madness, and small fairy cakes.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    If i ever see that even once (a group that has lost fun and adjusts the power of the characters (not other things about the characters) to intentionally create bigger imbalance and regains the fun this way), i'll agree. But i am not convinced that does actually happen.
    Anecdotal, but I was in a game based on Slayers d20 - a system where people said 'D&D 3.5 casting is too restricted, lets make it even more powerful'. The result was so fun that we adopted a variant of it in campaigns run by the other players. Including the guy who played a fighter (who arguably ran the most extreme variant in the end).

    To give an example of what I mean, in Slayers d20 and the associated system Advanced d20 Magic, it's not that hard to make most spells effectively at-will without material component costs. Wish is an outlier (still possible but the HP costs are inconvenient), but I was running a character whose gimmick was using Polymorph Any Object to do freeform Harry Potter style transfiguration.

    We made the options even more imbalanced, but adopted methods to allow more flexibility in builds (easier retraining, point buy elements, etc), and the result was more fun than baseline D&D. Removing the property that you're stuck with your mistakes resolved a lot of the problems.
    Last edited by NichG; 2019-09-20 at 02:17 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    If i ever see that even once (a group that has lost fun and adjusts the power of the characters (not other things about the characters) to intentionally create bigger imbalance and regains the fun this way), i'll agree. But i am not convinced that does actually happen.
    Well, that situation is quite easy to imagine, no? As I assume Quertus would say, player skill > character build.

    So you may have a group with a veteran player who knows the game inside and out, and a new player with little tactical and rules aptitude. Say the new player wants to play a wizard, and the veteran player then makes a fighter who is theoretically a little worse not to overshadow the new player. However, turns out that the new player has trouble choosing the "correct" spells and so on, and fails to contribute as much as the other players and has less fun because of that. An easy way of improving the situation is for example to let the new player get all the magic items with big effects, making it easier for that player to contribute. That evens the playing field for the players, but is actually making the character imbalance bigger.

    If every character option is balanced, then if there's a difference in player skill, the player/character contribution to the game is bound to be imbalanced instead. If the balance of the character options is flexible however, the players have the power to make the player/character contribution to the game as balanced or imbalanced as they find fun. (The problem with 3e is that this flexibility is very unintuitive, and that the game gives the wrong expectations.)

    Edit:
    Just to emphasize; flexible character power is good, because then the players can decide the degree of imbalance they like (including zero). However, a level-based system like 3e already come with a baked in default way of differentiating character power: levels. So having a caster/martial gap or similar there is redundant. Level-by-level, the default should be balance between the different options for such a system.
    Last edited by Pelle; 2019-09-20 at 04:33 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    GreenSorcererElf

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

    Because if the party isn't balanced they won't be able to walk across thin ledges.
    Hope this helps!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, your roleplaying guide is pretty much "Live Fast, Die Young, Leave a confusing corpse"?

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Because if the party isn't balanced they won't be able to walk across thin ledges.
    Hope this helps!
    Tightrope walking for everyone!? What about my acrobat's niche protection?

    Really, this is just another one of those subjects that can be endlessly debated and not have an answer beyond what a certain group enjoys.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    All of these issues are entirely on-topic. Each of them directly relates to my reasons why I consider it important that a game be either balanced or clearly communicate its imbalances. I'll wait for your detailed response, but be aware that my complaints of wasted time and effort stem entirely from the imbalance in a game that presented its classes as equally powerful.
    Well, I spent all day writing a reply (in my spare moments), and then my phone locked up and ate it.

    Short answer is, I cannot give you a short answer. That's the problem. I need to write lots of supporting text to explain where I'm coming from for you to understand my statements.

    Partial answer: I fully agree on the part I bolded above.

    Partial answer 2: I love your story. I think it may be the most instructive story told in this thread - not because of how it answers the question, but because of how many questions it raises. And I love that it does so without the overdone caster/muggle divide.

    Senility willing, I may circle back tomorrow, and explain what I mean about how many questions your story raises.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    So you may have a group with a veteran player who knows the game inside and out, and a new player with little tactical and rules aptitude. Say the new player wants to play a wizard, and the veteran player then makes a fighter who is theoretically a little worse not to overshadow the new player. However, turns out that the new player has trouble choosing the "correct" spells and so on, and fails to contribute as much as the other players and has less fun because of that. An easy way of improving the situation is for example to let the new player get all the magic items with big effects, making it easier for that player to contribute. That evens the playing field for the players, but is actually making the character imbalance bigger.
    I have seen problems based on differing player abilities. But i have never seen them solved this way.

    If a veteran player proves way more effecive then the rest, he is usually able to either adjust his tactics to the rest of the group or become some kind of group strategist. He might play a weak character in the next campaign, but nerfing this one ? Can't remember that ever being asked for or done.

    And if a player is particularly bad at using his character abilities, the obvious solution is not to make the character stronger. It is to make the character easier to use, which i have seen many times.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    They just put their aspects into stealth, humility and corruption resistance instead of combat. That makes them smart players, not weak characters
    I didn't mean they were weak as characters, just that they were physically the weakest and often needed the help of others.

    Frodo and Sam clearly weren't favoured in terms of screentime because the character classes of "rich heir" and "gardener" were so overpowered.

    Sam was obviously the most important person for the success of the quest. The others would have starved to death without his cooking skills. But he wasn't overpowered.



    Of course it depends on the system you play. Most people here seem to play DnD, and that's a rather combat oriented game. You probably can have fun with other skills if the DM is onboard with it, but it tends towards rewarding fighting.

    To play something like LotR and be (more or less) guaranteed to have fun, you would have to have a system where "Frodo resists the ring" and "Boromir doesn't resist the ring" is somehow in the game mechanics. Because if it isn't, you run the risk of the DM deciding that since Boromir is such a great warrior and Frodo only has levels in the NPC class of gentlehobbit, Boromir is able to resist the ring but Frodo isn't. The player of Boromir could save things by trying to save Frodo from the ring's corruption and providing some great roleplaying moments, but if he is the kind of person who likes to solve problems by killing people, then ...

    A group of friends who wants everyone to have fun is probably going to have fun no matter how unbalanced the system is, but if you meet up with strangers to play a specific game, there's enough potential for conflict without handing people the opportunity to be unfair on a silver platter.

    And of course, no system can prevent horrible GMs from taking away a character's magic skill and forcing the player to play a very boring character who isn't good at anything. Or deciding that the extremely strong barbarian fighter who can't form coherent sentences suddenly lost a leg and an arm and can't fight anymore.


    One could say that balanced systems are only needed by (or provide a true advantage to) the average group, who is neither very great nor particularly horrible. Still, that kind of group probably is the one you will find most often.
    Last edited by Themrys; 2019-09-21 at 05:59 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    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.
    Theory vs. Practice. In D&D, spellcasting(/psionics) is the only real magic, and magic can do anything. If your "lane" is spellcasting, your lane is "be amazing at things on demand, up to a point." But...that's not a "lane." With D&D's disproportionate influence on nearly all class-based RPGs (and most that aren't!), unquestioned game design received wisdom preserves it. This can create lots of problems, particularly with things like "up to a point" being trivial or not actually happening in practice (so the spellcasting lane becomes "be amazing at things on demand whenever it matters," and thus lanes that aren't spellcasting are always less effective when it matters), or with magic having entirely toothless so-called downsides. (And then when you introduce actually toothy downsides, it almost always ends up being "punish anyone who wants to do magic!" It's a serious design problem and many D&D players really really don't like admitting that it is.)

    We see this dynamic in all our favorite stories: Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Star wars etc.
    Key problems:
    1. Those are characters in books, not people at a table, which means you don't have to worry about individual agency or hurt feelings.
    2. Your examples are a little flawed in that, well, it may be the group effort, but there are clearly people who are just better or just more important, and usually they're the main character too.*

    Though I do think the second point is still relevant, the first is where the real problem lies. Written characters can't feel anything, so they can't feel like dead weight, or overshadowed, or unable to contribute, or too niche. Have you seen Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit? It's a comedy routine, but it really nicely encapsulates the way that spellcasting in RPGs has a tendency to leave non-spellcasters feeling resentful, frustrated, or irrelevant.

    *LotR is an oft-neglected subversion of the "special people always get the spotlight"; too many put on airs about it being about landed gentry, when it's actually, in part, a criticism of the hyperfocus on "destined" or noble-/royal-bloodline heroes. Tolkien's whole point was that there are just as important--and sometimes much more important--stories that hinge on gardeners and other people much closer to us regular folks.

    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.
    As long as those skills are actually relevant, sure. The problem with many class-based RPGs is...you're just wrong. A 3.5e Druid actually can have meaningfully more HP and AC than even a well-kitted Fighter. (I would know, I've played such a Druid.) And because of the versatility of wild shape, you have a great many more abilities and damage-output options than a typical Fighter will have. While also having lots of spells, that can make fights irrelevant on their own. And also having a bear friend, who is half or more of what a Fighter is to begin with.

    And that's the real problem. Any one of the Druid's specialties could be its own class (and they have been, in both D&D and other games!) Powerful spellcasting produces Angel Summoner type characters, who can achieve almost anything. That's a serious problem, and it continues into the present. Why do you think Roy had to pick up a special weapon and a bunch of other stuff? Just because he's having fun? It's so he can stay reasonably relevant in a party with two relatively optimized full casters (V and Durkon).

    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.
    Yet the better players are paid more, aren't they? And they're much more famous. They get better stuff, more attention, more rewards. Sure, without the team, the star player can't play. But that doesn't mean it's all happy fun times and everyone feeling completely content with their situation. You can bet your bottom dollar there are frustrations experienced by perennially outclassed team members--and when it comes time to recruit new blood, who's at greatest risk of not getting a contract?

    Of course, there's (at least) one key problem with a sports-team analogy. Every player contributes from the same basic set of skills and attributes (athletics). Sure, goalies protect goals and strikers are specialized in pursuing goals, but everyone contributes by physical muscle and coordination. You don't have soccer teams made up of an accountant, a professional welder, a star soccer player, and a professional wrestler, where different people contribute on completely unrelated axes--nor where one member's contributions can be so much more important than anyone else's. Sure, the accountant cannot play soccer to save his life, but he's the one securing venues, buying equipment, paying coaches. Without him, it doesn't matter whether the soccer player is amazing or just so-so, there might not be any games to begin with. Even though the soccer-player's skills may be genuinely invaluable, he may feel frustrated and slighted when the accountant has cancelled the upcoming match against a hated rival team because the rivalry could be resolved with a mutually-beneficial contract, and now the team can instead take on the district champions, which will net a TON more money and enable so many future games after. PLUS, members from the rival team will be willing to sub in, increasing their team's overall success chances! What's not to love, Mr. Star-Soccer-Player???

    Now imagine if there were, say, a samurai class, that gets a fairly strong subset of accounting skills, but is also a strong athlete, and who gets a loyal retainer that is herself a pretty good athlete. How would the poor soccer-player feel at that point? Now even in the one thing where he's actually important, he can be outshone. Maybe it doesn't happen all the time. Maybe it never happens at all. But you, I hope, can see how Star-Soccer-Player could, even if only from principle, feel like he's gotten the short end of the stick, when the Accountant can obviate entire soccer games with a single accounting action, and the Samurai can also do some of that while simultaneously being a good-and-potentially-amazing soccer player on top. Makes the ability to play as good as any human can play feel...a little trivial, doubly so when even that ability is easily matched by the helper of someone who only dabbled in sports stuff.

    In short, there is no I in team.
    Pithy phrases do not an argument make. Just because there's no I in team, doesn't mean teammates cannot feel resentful that one player gets all the glory, or frustrated that the thing they want to be and that they thought was awesome ends up being permanent second fiddle.

    Actually, there's a good alternate concept for you: Background Vocals singers. Background vocalists often go completely unremembered, getting tossed aside whenever it's inconvenient to keep them. They're usually chronically underpaid, and may even get only limited credit for their work. Despite the fact that they're indispensable for modern popular music, they're permanent second fiddles most of the time. Do you think they're perfectly happy with that status? Do you think this is fair, reasonable, and appropriate?
    Last edited by ezekielraiden; 2019-09-21 at 07:22 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    So, Theoboldi, on to the questions I think your story raises.

    Spoiler: the story, for reference
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    Speaking of playing the sidekick, I want to give an example of my own experiences with party imbalance. Much of the conversation so far has focused on more general term and the fighter/wizard asymmetry in particular, and I figure adding a more concrete could help explain the position of those people who think balance is important better.

    Back when I was just startding out roleplaying, I joined a pretty low-level D&D 3.5 game. Our party as I recall was mostly composed of mundane characters, pretty small, and the overall optimization level was pretty low. We used books other than core, but none of us really made any sort of build. We mostly just picked whatever feats sounded good for the kind of character we were playing, without going out of our ways to chose more unusual feats like Skill Focus.

    Now, the character I was playing at the time was of the Swashbuckler class. I had chosen that sort of character because the archetype of a quick, nimble and skillful warrior appealed to me. While I expected to not be able to deal as much damage as the party's barbarian due to the smaller weapon dice that I would have to use and the lack of damage bonus from a good strength score, I still figured that in combat they'd contribute overall equally, since my class did not gain any particular bonuses that would make them more impressive out of combat.

    That was not my experience in play. I soon discovered that despite dealing less damage, I had no better accuracy, no better defenses, nor any particular mobility options to make up for it. In fact, the abilities my class gave me to increase my damage made me split my stats between Dexterity for accuracy and armor, Intelligence for damage, and Constitution for HP, while the Barbarian was able to focus almost entirely on Strength and Constitution. So overall, he ended up being more accurate and just as well defended as I was, with better HP to boot.

    Even worse, my class abilities did not work on enemies who were immune to critical hits. Whenever my party was facing undead, or slimes, or elementals, or golems, or any of the other dozens of common monsters that a D&D party faces, all I had was a d6 worth of damage. Of course, since this was 3.5, I wasn't able to fall back on combat maneuvers like tripping people or disarming them either, as that would have showered me with attacks of opportunity from them.

    Simply put, these two classes were unbalanced in the one niche that they shared. I had gone in expecting that they'd be equals, able to contribute about as much as each other, since nothing about how the classes were presented made it look as though such a disparity was intended. Overall I still had fun with the game, mind, since the GM did his best to tune combats to our abilities and he allowed me to get away with some schemes that were pretty shaky on a rules level. However, my character's unexpected weakness when I had hoped for playing a capable swashbuckler was a constant annoyance for me. It probably was a good thing that the game ended before we got to higher levels, since the impact of my character's dependency on multiple ability scores would have only grown stronger with each Ability Score increase that I would have to split. If things had gotten to the point where my character would have struggled to hit level-appropriate Armor Classes, combat would have completely ceased to be any fun at all.

    On a combat-focused class, mind.

    So yeah, that's my experience with party imbalance. It's really lame to want to play a specific archetype that is offered to you by the game, only to then have to learn the hard way that your character is pretty much worthless at their chosen expertise.
    You went in expecting balance. So, as you yourself point out, this could be a problem with the imbalance, or with the expectation.

    We also have this strange dissonance between "the GM fixed it" and "the character was a constant annoyance".

    On the one hand, it doesn't sound like the GM made the character balanced - he just made it closer to balanced. Which, while it ties well into my concept that balance is a range, not a point, your story makes it feel like maybe your character was in a grey area of "maybe not really in the balance range".

    On the other hand, it doesn't sound like the GM made the character balanced - he just made it balanced right now. There was no guarantee you'd be balanced tomorrow - in fact, you generally figured that you wouldn't be.

    Combine those two, and you constantly had to ask for handouts to be less effective than the Barbarian who was just born with greatness.

    And that's just (what I consider) the most relevant bits. Your story is just chocked full of questions about what is actually important.

    -----

    The next bit of understanding my PoV is that people are idiots. You've got a whole range from tables that nerf Monks because they're too OP, to conventional Playground wisdom that Monks are utter garbage.

    I don't want some idiot chosen at random to dictate what they think is "balanced" into a game . Because, even if they're right, most everyone will think that they're wrong.

    Further, continuing with 3e, different classes have different floors and ceilings. Their power isn't a point, it's a range.

    And systems styles of play will affect what is important, and how powerful a character is in practice. Just look at the "number of encounters per long rest" conversations, for starters.

    3e, in particular, gives you plenty of tools to make the worst class (Commoner) totally OP (solo a Tarrasque at level 1), or the strongest(ish) class (Wizard) nearly useless (his contribution over ~10 levels could have been replaced with a bag of flour).

    No one is going to make a game as cool and diverse as 3e that people will agree is balanced. But at least 3e gives you the tools to create balance for yourself (even before accounting for house rules, homebrew, etc). So, while I agree that 3e should have been more honest about its imbalances, and could have made summer better balance choices without sacrificing gameplay, I feel that its ability to empower the players to create balance is better than any alternative I've heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Written characters can't feel anything, so they can't feel like dead weight, or overshadowed, or unable to contribute, or too niche.
    Quibble, but they certainly can.

    It just isn't (inherently) a problem when the character feels like dead weight - it's only a problem when the player has a problem with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    As long as those skills are actually relevant, sure. The problem with many class-based RPGs is...you're just wrong. A 3.5e Druid actually can have meaningfully more HP and AC than even a well-kitted Fighter. (I would know, I've played such a Druid.) And because of the versatility of wild shape, you have a great many more abilities and damage-output options than a typical Fighter will have. While also having lots of spells, that can make fights irrelevant on their own. And also having a bear friend, who is half or more of what a Fighter is to begin with.
    So long as "dealing damage", "having HP", "taking actions", and the like matter, them that's not a problem.

    What you don't seem to grasp is that "your character is better at the only thing I do" is not an inherently unfun state so long as the one thing I do is not itself completely irrelevant. Yes, even if the other charter can do other things, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Of course, there's (at least) one key problem with a sports-team analogy. Every player contributes from the same basic set of skills and attributes (athletics). Sure, goalies protect goals and strikers are specialized in pursuing goals, but everyone contributes by physical muscle and coordination. You don't have soccer teams made up of an accountant, a professional welder, a star soccer player, and a professional wrestler, where different people contribute on completely unrelated axes--nor where one member's contributions can be so much more important than anyone else's. Sure, the accountant cannot play soccer to save his life, but he's the one securing venues, buying equipment, paying coaches. Without him, it doesn't matter whether the soccer player is amazing or just so-so, there might not be any games to begin with. Even though the soccer-player's skills may be genuinely invaluable, he may feel frustrated and slighted when the accountant has cancelled the upcoming match against a hated rival team because the rivalry could be resolved with a mutually-beneficial contract, and now the team can instead take on the district champions, which will net a TON more money and enable so many future games after. PLUS, members from the rival team will be willing to sub in, increasing their team's overall success chances! What's not to love, Mr. Star-Soccer-Player???

    Now imagine if there were, say, a samurai class, that gets a fairly strong subset of accounting skills, but is also a strong athlete, and who gets a loyal retainer that is herself a pretty good athlete. How would the poor soccer-player feel at that point? Now even in the one thing where he's actually important, he can be outshone. Maybe it doesn't happen all the time. Maybe it never happens at all. But you, I hope, can see how Star-Soccer-Player could, even if only from principle, feel like he's gotten the short end of the stick, when the Accountant can obviate entire soccer games with a single accounting action, and the Samurai can also do some of that while simultaneously being a good-and-potentially-amazing soccer player on top. Makes the ability to play as good as any human can play feel...a little trivial, doubly so when even that ability is easily matched by the helper of someone who only dabbled in sports stuff.
    It's still a team game. I'd still (be able to) enjoy it as an RPG, or IRL.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Actually, there's a good alternate concept for you: Background Vocals singers. Background vocalists often go completely unremembered, getting tossed aside whenever it's inconvenient to keep them. They're usually chronically underpaid, and may even get only limited credit for their work. Despite the fact that they're indispensable for modern popular music, they're permanent second fiddles most of the time. Do you think they're perfectly happy with that status? Do you think this is fair, reasonable, and appropriate?
    If that's what I signed up for, why would I complain?

    The problem is in people thinking that they signed up one thing, getting something else, and being disappointed with their lot in life.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-21 at 10:39 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tajerio View Post
    This here is the key. If somebody's picking up a game for the first time, it's entirely reasonable for that person to expect that the game will give an honest account of itself. I mean, the 3.5 PHB describes the monk as "A martial artist whose unarmed strikes hit fast and hard--a master of exotic powers," but we had to wait for ToB and the swordsage before "a master of exotic powers" could actually be realized. So that's a natural and entirely understandable frustration.

    I'd also like to point out that in my experience, the "balance" issue has been more about players not having interesting options than not contributing mechanically. My wife really likes archers, and she rolled one up (I forget if she went ranger or rogue) the first time we played. But she discovered that in 3.5, what she liked most of all outside of the game was pretty boring in the game. Her friend who's a huge nature nut, on the other hand, played what she liked most--a druid--and had a blast, because there was always a range of things she could choose to do. It just so happens that because of the way the game was designed, the classes that have a lot of options in D&D also tend to be the most powerful ones--but there's no indication of that in the actual documentation for the game itself.
    That about sums it up, yes. I don't think there are all that many systems that are unbalanced on purpose, because there's always a balancing point somewhere. Like in the Requiem example above, mortals being weaker than vampires isn't an imbalance, but Resilience not actually letting you resist that much damage is. Or the state of Werewolf: the Forsaken in 1st edition. It might not seem like a problem how weak they were, because they're not meant to be balanced against other splats. But when people buy a game about playing half-spirit shape-shifters policing the border of flesh and spirit, they want to kick some butt.

    Even when against the backdrop of their own games, 1E nWoD vampires and werewolves weren't up to snuff... just like Theoboldi's swashbuckler and my former friend's ranger weren't what they should be even without comparing them to actually overpowered characters. I mean, the other two party members in our game were a low-level wizard who had banned Conjuration and Illusion and a bog-standard rogue who wanted to become an Assassin of all things. Hardly a high-op game, and yet the utter hopelessness of dual-wielding was still readily apparent. And ToB didn't actually exist back then, so not even that was a solution. My wizard was obviously very weak... but still had a lot of options, just like you said.

    There are many systems with variable and customizable power and balance. It continues to amuse me that 3E D&D basically blundered into it on accident and its players took it and ran with it.
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-09-21 at 11:01 AM.
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  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Quibble, but they certainly can.

    It just isn't (inherently) a problem when the character feels like dead weight - it's only a problem when the player has a problem with it.
    Quibble quibble: only if the author says they do. In the same way that the "childlike innocence" of Hobbits is more powerful than the strongest wills of Men and Elves.

    Doubleplustechnical quibble: characters don't feel anything the author/player doesn't feel for them. And to get super technical about it "feeling like dead weight" is only a player problem.

    So long as "dealing damage", "having HP", "taking actions", and the like matter, them that's not a problem.
    Er...but that's exactly the point being demonstrated. The "damage dealt", the "HP had" and the "actions taken" by mundanes don't matter when placed beside the same done by magicals.

    What you don't seem to grasp is that "your character is better at the only thing I do" is not an inherently unfun state so long as the one thing I do is not itself completely irrelevant. Yes, even if the other charter can do other things, too.
    Again the point is that after a certain level number (10-ish) it is irrelevant.

    It's still a team game. I'd still (be able to) enjoy it as an RPG, or IRL.
    People enjoy all sorts of imbalanced things. Enjoyment is a poor measure of quality and its not a measure of balance at all. Further, the point of a team is that each member contributes a specific skill (Quarterback, Runningback, Goalie, etc...) that other members of the team cannot do OR each member brings a roughly equal set of skills (though possibly higher or lower level). A Quarterback cannot be a defensive lineman (at least not well), a runningback isn't a kicker.

    If the Quarterback could take hits like the Defensive Lineman(Wild Shape), summon an entire team to defend him(Summon Nature's Ally), has his own personal Runningback(Animal Companion), and still pitch the ball down the field(spellcasting)...he'd be a Druid, not a Quarterback, and he wouldn't be very-team friendly (by design) unless he purposefully ignored 3/4ths of his class. And even then, the one thing he chooses to focus on may still be vastly superior.

    You, and others, keep bringing up this "It's a team game." but sorta keep missing that by design, many of the Magical classes don't need a team, or are the whole team. The point of "team sports" is to bring either a bunch of people together with roughly equal skillsets (like Soccer) or a bunch of people with niche skillsets (American Football).

    If you're using it in the sense of "It's a team sport, everyone should play fairly." then you're either asking for a "gentlemans agreement" where everyone picks a niche and doesn't step out of it, or you're asking for mechanical balance and niche protection. IME, the "honor system" does not hold up well.

    If that's what I signed up for, why would I complain?

    The problem is in people thinking that they signed up one thing, getting something else, and being disappointed with their lot in life.
    Yes of course, but the game (3.5 in this context obviously) presents these things are equal options. There's no indication that Mundanes sort of peter out after level 10, or that Magicals really ramp up. You'd need at least the system mastery of understanding how spells work to start seeing that, and you'd need the system mastery of how many trap feats there are for Mundanes (and how few for Magicals) to start seeing that by design the stuff Mundanes have access to is kinda lame and narrowly focused, and the stuff Magicals have access to is pretty awesome and widely spread.

    Further, decisions made at level 1 do not lock in feelings at level 10. At level 1 you could be perfectly happy to be a fighter, and in fact you and your cleric buddy would probably look fairly equal (assuming neither of you power-built) through the lower levels. But that doesn't mean your feeling can't change, that you can't go from being happy to being unhappy when you realize that while yes, you had fun, you now aren't because your contributions have lost value.

    This is amplified by the fact that the Cleric, who may be unsatisfied with their level 1 spell choices...can just change them! Every day in fact! For every situation. They can be a focused healer this morning, a battlefield controller tomorrow and a ranged blaster the next day. The Fighter well can't. "(Re)Training" rules are all optional material and may not be available. They may cost time and money the Fighter doesn't have, they may require great travel away from the quest just so that the Fighter can learn to hit things with a big stick instead of protect his friends with a flat, round stick.

    A player may be able to be rational about that and express themselves as such "I was having fun playing this mundane guy, but now I'm not." But lets not kid ourselves that many TTRPG players are....not the best...at expressing their feelings. When you are or are not having fun can really be something difficult to learn especially if you do not have ready options to move to another game/group. Many players may be inclined to just keep quiet instead of expressing their displeasure. And lets not even talk about how many gamers behave when other, more inexperienced players challenge "the old ways". Worse, tables that don't allow trading out characters when a player is no longer having fun, or ones that apply steep penalties (everyone starts at 1).
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    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Quibble quibble: only if the author says they do. In the same way that the "childlike innocence" of Hobbits is more powerful than the strongest wills of Men and Elves.

    Doubleplustechnical quibble: characters don't feel anything the author/player doesn't feel for them. And to get super technical about it "feeling like dead weight" is only a player problem.
    No, I've had characters who thought that they were dead weight. And ones that I thought were dead weight. And had a blast with them. Because that's what they were supposed to be.

    So, again, it's only a problem if you choose that it's a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Er...but that's exactly the point being demonstrated. The "damage dealt", the "HP had" and the "actions taken" by mundanes don't matter when placed beside the same done by magicals.
    Now, slow down a minute. I played a character who hit a foe for minimal damage, then my ally one-shot AoE killed *all* the foes. If I hadn't done my damage, the battle would have turned out exactly the same. My damage literally contributed nothing to the battle.

    But dealing 20 next to someone else's 30 isn't "didn't matter". And having fewer HP doesn't mean that the enemies don't have to spend attacks taking you down.

    The character only doesn't matter if the battle / adventure would go exactly the same if they weren't there. Like it would have for my Wizard in the example above.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Again the point is that after a certain level number (10-ish) it is irrelevant.
    Yeah, in some 3e parties, that is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    People enjoy all sorts of imbalanced things. Enjoyment is a poor measure of quality and its not a measure of balance at all. Further, the point of a team is that each member contributes a specific skill (Quarterback, Runningback, Goalie, etc...) that other members of the team cannot do OR each member brings a roughly equal set of skills (though possibly higher or lower level). A Quarterback cannot be a defensive lineman (at least not well), a runningback isn't a kicker.

    If the Quarterback could take hits like the Defensive Lineman(Wild Shape), summon an entire team to defend him(Summon Nature's Ally), has his own personal Runningback(Animal Companion), and still pitch the ball down the field(spellcasting)...he'd be a Druid, not a Quarterback, and he wouldn't be very-team friendly (by design) unless he purposefully ignored 3/4ths of his class. And even then, the one thing he chooses to focus on may still be vastly superior.

    You, and others, keep bringing up this "It's a team game." but sorta keep missing that by design, many of the Magical classes don't need a team, or are the whole team. The point of "team sports" is to bring either a bunch of people together with roughly equal skillsets (like Soccer) or a bunch of people with niche skillsets (American Football).

    If you're using it in the sense of "It's a team sport, everyone should play fairly." then you're either asking for a "gentlemans agreement" where everyone picks a niche and doesn't step out of it, or you're asking for mechanical balance and niche protection. IME, the "honor system" does not hold up well.
    Let's try this: I've been on teams where i could have done anyone's job better than they could. But I couldn't do *every* job. The team was better off with everyone contributing, than with me working by myself.

    That notion of "even if one person is OP, other people contribute something to the team" is, I believe, what people try to express when they talk about it being a team game.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    many TTRPG players are....not the best...at expressing their feelings.
    I totally relate.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Worse, tables that don't allow trading out characters when a player is no longer having fun, or ones that apply steep penalties (everyone starts at 1).
    That's their bad. Don't do that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Let's try this: I've been on teams where i could have done anyone's job better than they could. But I couldn't do *every* job. The team was better off with everyone contributing, than with me working by myself.

    That notion of "even if one person is OP, other people contribute something to the team" is, I believe, what people try to express when they talk about it being a team game.
    The thing is, martial characters are actively hindering a full caster past low levels, as they take a share of XP and treasure, and a high level character is very capable of summoning minions to do their jobs better than they can for free.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The thing is, martial characters are actively hindering a full caster past low levels, as they take a share of XP and treasure, and a high level character is very capable of summoning minions to do their jobs better than they can for free.
    Mostly irrelevant.

    The Wizard would level faster if he didn't bring the Fighter? Well, the Fighter would also level faster if he didn't bring the Wizard. And neither is as likely to survive alone as they are if they work together.

    The Wizard could use spells to do the Fighter's job better? … maybe? For a poorly optimized Fighter? But, even if that's true, the party will be stronger with the Fighter and the summons than with just the summons.

    The Fighter takes a share of the XP and treasure? OK, which do you think is stronger: a level 20 Wizard, or a party of 30 level 20 characters who have seen 30x more action than that Wizard? I'm going with the party, personally - probably their Wizard alone is better, but together they definitely are.

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

    Quertus, I feel like I'm harping on similar notes every time I address anything in your direction, but have you ever considered that, perhaps, with DOZENS of us all saying that we, and others we've played with, do not enjoy that minor role, that despite the fact that YOU and a few others do, your play-style and how you enjoy play is not an absolute that we have simply not yet come to understand, but rather a more common experience, and that YOU are in fact the minority for feeling otherwise? IT's great that you can have an enjoyable time basically sitting in the corner of the room (as your oft-cited potted plant) while the rest of the players actually ENGAGE the content, but perhaps it's an exceptional quality on your part, and not a deficiency of the rest of ours?

    This feels like that meme, a Simpsons excerpt:

    Skinner: "Am I out of touch?"

    Skinner: "No, it's the children who are wrong."

    https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/6457...i-out-of-touch

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Mostly irrelevant.

    The Wizard would level faster if he didn't bring the Fighter? Well, the Fighter would also level faster if he didn't bring the Wizard. And neither is as likely to survive alone as they are if they work together.

    The Wizard could use spells to do the Fighter's job better? … maybe? For a poorly optimized Fighter? But, even if that's true, the party will be stronger with the Fighter and the summons than with just the summons,
    No, the fighter would die if he didn't bring the wizard.

    And no, the party is significantly stronger without the fighter as they would all have an extra share of XP and treasure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The Fighter takes a share of the XP and treasure? OK, which do you think is stronger: a level 20 Wizard, or a party of 30 level 20 characters who have seen 30x more action than that Wizard? I'm going with the party, personally - probably their Wizard alone is better, but together they definitely are.
    I don't get the connection here. Why is it a level 20 wizard vs 30 level 20 characters? What does that have to do with a fighters making the party weaker?
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Why does the game need to be balanced? Because more players will have fun.

    Does EVERY sort of player get increased enjoyment out of a balanced game? No. Quertus is an extreme example of someone who proudly proclaims that he doesn't care, and that others are having badwrongfun BY caring. There are plenty of other players who only care minimally.

    HOWEVER, the bigger question is this:

    Will anyone enjoy a game LESS if it IS balanced? I think that the answer is definitely no.

    Now - don't get me wrong here. There are the easy/boring ways to balance - which is much of why I disliked 4e D&D - it balanced through symmetry. (Not perfect symmetry - but it attempted to balance each step instead of entire characters.) But that isn't disliking balance - it's disliking how they achieved it. Balance is never an inherently bad thing - just don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    As an extreme metaphor: it's always a good thing for cars to be safer. But that doesn't mean that their max speeds should be dropped to 5mph, despite that being a super easy fix to virtually eliminate all traffic fatalities. Quertus is busy calling everyone wimps for wanting car manufacturers to include seat-belts and windshields.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    Quertus, I feel like I'm harping on similar notes every time I address anything in your direction, but have you ever considered that, perhaps, with DOZENS of us all saying that we, and others we've played with, do not enjoy that minor role, that despite the fact that YOU and a few others do, your play-style and how you enjoy play is not an absolute that we have simply not yet come to understand, but rather a more common experience, and that YOU are in fact the minority for feeling otherwise? IT's great that you can have an enjoyable time basically sitting in the corner of the room (as your oft-cited potted plant) while the rest of the players actually ENGAGE the content, but perhaps it's an exceptional quality on your part, and not a deficiency of the rest of ours?

    This feels like that meme, a Simpsons excerpt:

    Skinner: "Am I out of touch?"

    Skinner: "No, it's the children who are wrong."

    https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/6457...i-out-of-touch
    … which is more prevalent is irrelevant to my position.

    I am only explaining the extent to which balance is not required for fun. If the question were, "do we need tap shoes to dance", I would be pointing out styles of dance that do not require dance shoes. I don't care how many people can only dance in tap shoes. I really don't.

    Now, if people insist that, because the only people to dance on the moon danced in tap shoes, therefore one can only dance on the moon if one is wearing tap shoes, I'll question the logic that led to that conclusion. Which, note, is not the same as declaring the conclusion false.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    Quertus is an extreme example of someone who proudly proclaims that he doesn't care, and that others are having badwrongfun BY caring.

    Quertus is busy calling everyone wimps for wanting car manufacturers to include seat-belts and windshields.
    Wow. Is that how I come off?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    Will anyone enjoy a game LESS if it IS balanced? I think that the answer is definitely no.
    Demonstrably wrong. As I said, I've played in games where people made the characters less balanced in order to increase the fun. That, by itself, is sufficient to invalidate your conclusion.

    But, just counting those who explicitly want balance… would most people who care about Balance have more fun with a more balanced game? Depends. Do you think that people who would complain that the Monk just got made even more OP are more or less common than those who would complain that Wizards have Knock? I suspect that far too many people wouldn't recognize balance, and would still complain, and try to "fix" it.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-21 at 08:01 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    Demonstrably wrong. As I said, I've played in games where people made the characters less balanced in order to increase the fun. That, by itself, is sufficient to invalidate your conclusion.
    That doesn't contradict my point at all. Even if a system is very well balanced, it still generally isn't very difficult to intentionally gimp your own character. And the fact that it was a deliberately done makes it a statement, as opposed to just playing a Fighter in a high level D&D 3.5 game. To go back to my car metaphor - just because the car has seat-belts installed doesn't force you to wear them.

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

    It's much, MUCH easier to unbalance an already balances game than to balance an unbalanced one.
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Wow. Is that how I come off?
    In short, yes.

    You've basically spent this entire thread arguing that "That one time I enjoyed playing an unbalanced game and it was totes fun!"

    And noone has denied that if you enjoy imbalance, or set out to enjoy imbalance that you can indeed enjoy imbalance.

    But you're using your experience to deny everyone else.

    I mean you've said as much that people only find it problematic because they're choosing to make a problem out of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    So, again, it's only a problem if you choose that it's a problem.
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    Why does the game need to be balanced? Because more players will have fun.

    Does EVERY sort of player get increased enjoyment out of a balanced game? No. Quertus is an extreme example of someone who proudly proclaims that he doesn't care, and that others are having badwrongfun BY caring. There are plenty of other players who only care minimally.

    HOWEVER, the bigger question is this:

    Will anyone enjoy a game LESS if it IS balanced? I think that the answer is definitely no.

    Now - don't get me wrong here. There are the easy/boring ways to balance - which is much of why I disliked 4e D&D - it balanced through symmetry. (Not perfect symmetry - but it attempted to balance each step instead of entire characters.) But that isn't disliking balance - it's disliking how they achieved it. Balance is never an inherently bad thing - just don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    As an extreme metaphor: it's always a good thing for cars to be safer. But that doesn't mean that their max speeds should be dropped to 5mph, despite that being a super easy fix to virtually eliminate all traffic fatalities. Quertus is busy calling everyone wimps for wanting car manufacturers to include seat-belts and windshields.
    Well articulated I think. Balance is always good, the ways achieved it aren't, and imbalance while if used right can enhance the experience, must be used with careful moderation so that you end up with the intended experience that doesn't screw over everyone.

    To use an example from a completely different RPG: Exalted has a built in imbalance, but its intended, stated outright to everyone, and your expected to make up the difference by leveraging the unique advantages an Exalt gets relative to another Exalt. They each have their methods for doing so, for example while Solar Exalted are the most powerful, in Exalted 3e some backers of the yet unreleased Lunar book have stated they like the 3e Lunar charms better because they are more flexible and thus more widely applicable when they use them. While much of a Dragon-Bloodeds power comes from their merits and thus their background and connections, and thus you how you leverage being apart of a wider political/economic system and thus apart of a wider world.
    Mortal characters have it rough though, the best way for them to be powerful is basically "Be Guild Factor with Resources 5+Backing 5+other backgrounds or GTFO". though I once heard a claim that a mortal can be viable in the Exalted 3e combat system, not sure how true that is.
    but its a good example of how one can do imbalance better than just allowing one thing to be godlike and another not and how a less powerful character can have things even themselves out in a way.
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    Default Re: Why does the party need to be balanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    That doesn't contradict my point at all. Even if a system is very well balanced, it still generally isn't very difficult to intentionally gimp your own character. And the fact that it was a deliberately done makes it a statement, as opposed to just playing a Fighter in a high level D&D 3.5 game. To go back to my car metaphor - just because the car has seat-belts installed doesn't force you to wear them.
    Balance requires that some elements be absent from a game, so it's not like an oven or seatbelts where you can use it when you want - it means that entire areas of the design and narrative space have to be excluded from the underlying premise. While it's easy to add an unbalanced thing to a balanced game, it's hard to take a game designed around the premise of balance and modify it to capture one of those other premises. While you introduced a seatbelt analogy, I'd say it's more like an artist who has to make a picture using no variations in luminance - just hue and saturation. Of course its easy for someone to just add a glob of color with different luminance to the picture after the fact, that's not the same as what you'd get by having the artist make expert use of luminance in the composition of the image. When the OP stuff in a game has some sort of coherent pattern or theme to it, that creates a strong impression in terms of the game's personality and flavor. Old school D&D is remembered for its weird and broken things. A lot of things which are designed around 'balance first' end up feeling very samey because the designers are losing access to the dynamic range and contrasts that would otherwise be available.

    Take for example something like Disgaea, where the actual feel of the game is built around things being 'gonzo' - combos leading to x10 or x100 multipliers in damage or survivability, ridiculously scaling content where you might push into that content as a glass cannon and need to literally kill everything on the level before they get a chance to move or you die, etc. It's not a well-balanced game - it's not trying to be, and it wouldn't have the feel that it does if there weren't totally OP options and combos to discover that made lots of other build choices irrelevant. Is it appropriate for a tabletop game? Perhaps not for most groups, but there are certainly groups for which something along those lines would be a unique and fun experience.

    Another mode - one that is used more in tabletop games - is to have a veneer of appearing balanced, but then rather than relying on groups to add the unbalancing elements to taste, they design things that are intended to be broken as a reward for growing expertise in the underlying system. That is, the baseline game of all newbies plays at one level, but the veteran game plays at a totally different level and looks almost nothing alike. 3.5ed D&D has this feeling to it, and mirrors computer games like Path of Exile where there's a wide range of viable and un-viable builds, and part of the game is finding builds that are both viable and fit your aesthetic as a player. It also gives the option for higher skill players to try to make weird stuff that shouldn't be viable work.

    In the tabletop sphere, from what I've heard (no firsthand experience, just forum discussions) Ars Magica is a kind of game that could not have been envisioned if you put balance as the greatest good. It is inherently asymmetric - players can sometimes play a wizard who can reshape the world to their will, and sometimes plays questing knights who are essentially mundane. The tension is resolved by having different timescales and players having multiple characters rather than just a single character who will be their entire experience of the game - so everyone has a chance to be a wizard, and everyone has a chance to be a knight, but there's no conceit that the wizard and knight are equal in any way. There might be some sense of meta-balance there between players (in the sense that they have the same opportunities), but it's obtained through discarding any idea that there should be character-level balance.
    Last edited by NichG; 2019-09-21 at 09:00 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Balance requires that some elements be absent from a game, so it's not like an oven or seatbelts where you can use it when you want - it means that entire areas of the design and narrative space have to be excluded from the underlying premise. While it's easy to add an unbalanced thing to a balanced game, it's hard to take a game designed around the premise of balance and modify it to capture one of those other premises. While you introduced a seatbelt analogy, I'd say it's more like an artist who has to make a picture using no variations in luminance - just hue and saturation. Of course its easy for someone to just add a glob of color with different luminance to the picture after the fact, that's not the same as what you'd get by having the artist make expert use of luminance in the composition of the image. When the OP stuff in a game has some sort of coherent pattern or theme to it, that creates a strong impression in terms of the game's personality and flavor. Old school D&D is remembered for its weird and broken things. A lot of things which are designed around 'balance first' end up feeling very samey because the designers are losing access to the dynamic range and contrasts that would otherwise be available.
    I'm going to guess that you missed my slightly earlier post which Quertus was responding to. I specifically talked about how some ways to balance WERE bad, but that doesn't mean that the goal of balance itself is.

    So - you're just reiterating a variation of what I ALREADY WROTE in an attempt to contradict me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charon's Little Helper
    Now - don't get me wrong here. There are the easy/boring ways to balance - which is much of why I disliked 4e D&D - it balanced through symmetry. (Not perfect symmetry - but it attempted to balance each step instead of entire characters.) But that isn't disliking balance - it's disliking how they achieved it. Balance is never an inherently bad thing - just don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
    Balance can be achieved without samey-ness. Maybe not perfect balance, but pretty solid. I'm a fan of having layers of soft & hard RPS elements mixed into the system myself, though it's hardly the only method.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere
    To use an example from a completely different RPG: Exalted has a built in imbalance, but its intended, stated outright to everyone, and your expected to make up the difference by leveraging the unique advantages an Exalt gets relative to another Exalt. They each have their methods for doing so, for example while Solar Exalted are the most powerful, in Exalted 3e some backers of the yet unreleased Lunar book have stated they like the 3e Lunar charms better because they are more flexible and thus more widely applicable when they use them. While much of a Dragon-Bloodeds power comes from their merits and thus their background and connections, and thus you how you leverage being apart of a wider political/economic system and thus apart of a wider world.
    Mortal characters have it rough though, the best way for them to be powerful is basically "Be Guild Factor with Resources 5+Backing 5+other backgrounds or GTFO". though I once heard a claim that a mortal can be viable in the Exalted 3e combat system, not sure how true that is.
    but its a good example of how one can do imbalance better than just allowing one thing to be godlike and another not and how a less powerful character can have things even themselves out in a way.
    Oh yeah - if it is totally explicit enough a game can certainly be built with imbalance in mind. But while I've never played the system, I've heard that MOST games of Exalted (at least earlier editions) had tables entirely/primarily of one exalted type. Commonly Solar. (pure hearsay - so if I could well be wrong) And if someone was playing someone weaker, it was a deliberate choice.

    I actually do something in the ballpark in the game I'm working on. There are exo-suits & mecha (2.5-3 meters, so relatively small) which play on the battlefield as infantry. I'm very happy with how they flow, but they're definitely more powerful than infantry, and the balance of the game blatantly states so. PC infantry & mecha could be working together, and the mecha would be doing more, and that's how the game's designed. However, in part because it's equipment, I've found in playtests that the players in combined groups didn't mind.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2019-09-21 at 09:27 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #177
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

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

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    I'm going to guess that you missed my slightly earlier post which Quertus was responding to. I specifically talked about how some ways to balance WERE bad, but that doesn't mean that the goal of balance itself is.

    So - you're just reiterating a variation of what I ALREADY WROTE in an attempt to contradict me.

    Balance can be achieved without samey-ness. Maybe not perfect balance, but pretty solid. I'm a fan of having layers of soft & hard RPS elements mixed into the system myself, though it's hardly the only method.
    I'm making a stronger claim, that there are some game elements which are fun, but which are fundamentally incompatible with balance.

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

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

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    In short, yes.

    You've basically spent this entire thread arguing that "That one time I enjoyed playing an unbalanced game and it was totes fun!"

    And noone has denied that if you enjoy imbalance, or set out to enjoy imbalance that you can indeed enjoy imbalance.

    But you're using your experience to deny everyone else.

    I mean you've said as much that people only find it problematic because they're choosing to make a problem out of it.
    Ah. That's what people are reading when I say that. That's not what I meant.

    What I'm saying is, not getting hot fudge on your ice cream is only a problem if you decide that it is.

    Did you want just plain vanilla ice cream? Then it's not a problem.

    Did you want a hot fudge Sunday? Then it's a problem.

    So many people are writing comments that I read (correctly or not) as saying that people can only enjoy hot fudge Sundays, or that not getting hot fudge is the end of the world.

    I'm just saying, no, the ice cream can be perfectly delicious without hot fudge. It's only a problem if you decide that it is.

    I hope this clarifies the confusion.

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Ah. That's what people are reading when I say that. That's not what I meant.

    What I'm saying is, not getting hot fudge on your ice cream is only a problem if you decide that it is.

    Did you want just plain vanilla ice cream? Then it's not a problem.

    Did you want a hot fudge Sunday? Then it's a problem.

    So many people are writing comments that I read (correctly or not) as saying that people can only enjoy hot fudge Sundays, or that not getting hot fudge is the end of the world.

    I'm just saying, no, the ice cream can be perfectly delicious without hot fudge. It's only a problem if you decide that it is.

    I hope this clarifies the confusion.
    Except I think your ratio of useability is off, from our perspective. For us, to extend the dessert metaphor, it's like saying "You don't need a sugar-based item to have dessert. You could have fruit, or cheese." For us, balanced mechanics making it enjoyable is like sugar being in our dessert. Sure, I could have that cheese, but for us, the commonly-defined form really works best with some sweet, sugary, balanced mechanics.
    Last edited by RedWarlock; 2019-09-22 at 02:50 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Denmark
    Gender
    Male

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

    It seems to me like there are some basic ideas for balance. Or .. what balance is.

    For instance, 4e tried to actually balance the classes. Everyone could do approximately the same in slightly different ways. I'm sure it worked for some, but it certainly didn't for me.

    Other games try to let each class shine in each their area, and this too can be nicely balanced. A game like Dark Heresy might be an example, it feels well balanced to me - although if you include enough stuff, that goes right out the window.

    Then there are games that gleefully ignore balance, on a philosophy that .. all the good builds are available to everyone, so if you build something bad, that's not on us. Gurps feels like that to me, but it's a token of all the classless games I know of.

    All of the above are fine - or fine-ish - to me. The only thing I have a real problem with are games like 3e, where the game outwardly offers specialized classes - bards, fighters, rogues, barbarians, paladins - but really, absolutely anything they can do, the generalist classes can do better. If you're not playing a full caster, you're essentially doing it wrong. Because anything you'd like to do, a full caster does best.

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