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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Old modules expect you to kill Loth around, what, level 8? 20th level characters should be so far beyond the gods.
    Define "old". in AD&D 1e, most meaningful progression capped out at around level 10. The difference between a 10th level wizard and a 20th level wizard was approximately 20 HP.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    "Regular guy with a sword who is really good at beating up monsters" pretty much also caps out far below level 20.

    It's fine, great even, to want to play those characters, and to enjoy playing those characters, but in D&D that leaves you with two issues:

    1) Superheroic is as superheroic does. If your character is doing superheroic things, then your character is superheroic, full stop, and it doesn't matter many "just a regular guy" stickers you slap on them.
    2) D&D spellcasters become "medieval super heroes" as they go up in level, there's no way around it, and there's a disconnect if "just a regular guy" is doing things that balance with that level of power.
    I'd say the duck test is in order here...




    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    AntiAuthority, a little advice from bitter personal experience: If you're replying to someone else's posts one sentence at a time, the likelihood of actual communication is very low.
    Yeah, I'm starting to see how it could get confusing and take away from the bigger point. Less time consuming lol.




    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So are Batman and The Punisher.



    That's a... really circular argument.
    Too tired to respond to everything (and it seems to be having us miss each other's points), but a few things stick out.

    How is what I said a circular argument?

    Why is it me pointing out something earlier editions of D&D (like AD&D calling 8th level fighters Superheroes) not completely meshing with something you said was promptly ignored with no explanation beyond Batman and Punisher?

    And about HP, yes, Gary Gygax said that... But he also intended for D&D to be a war game, the game has changed immensely since those days and he lost control over his own creation, so his words are valid for the versions of D&D he worked on. It'd be like arguing that the Wright Brothers have say over how modern airplanes work.

    EDIT: Also, you said nobody's arguing that a Level 20 character is just a guy, and I'm not quite sure what you stance is... Can you boil it down? I think keeping it shorter would be better here.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-23 at 08:14 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Old modules expect you to kill Loth around, what, level 8? 20th level characters should be so far beyond the gods.
    Spoiler: AD&D version: levels 10-14.
    Show




    Someone pointed out to me that in AD&D spells of 6th level and up aren't dungeon explorer spells, they're dungeon administrator spells. Once a Magic-User hits name level, they're expected to become the Mad Wizard Who Made a Trap-Filled Monster-Infested Labyrinth For Funsies.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    And about HP, yes, Gary Gygax said that... But he also intended for D&D to be a war game, the game has changed immensely since those days and he lost control over his own world, so his words are valid for the versions of D&D he worked on. It'd be like arguing that the Wright Brothers have say over how modern airplanes work.
    To be honest, it really hasn't changed all that much. It is still a game that revolves around killing things and taking their stuff, and anything else is very secondary. How efficiently certain types of characters can kill things and take their stuff has changed over time, but that is about it.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraynic View Post
    To be honest, it really hasn't changed all that much. It is still a game that revolves around killing things and taking their stuff, and anything else is very secondary. How efficiently certain types of characters can kill things and take their stuff has changed over time, but that is about it.
    True, but that leaves me with a variety of questions, such as the ones I posted in OP.

    Also, just making sure I'm not misunderstanding, but didn't the gods in AD&D have very hit points? I remember hearing Lolth had about 48, but I don't know much about older editions of D&D, but something about rolling lower being a better thing.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    True, but that leaves me with a variety of questions, such as the ones I posted in OP.

    Also, just making sure I'm not misunderstanding, but didn't the gods in AD&D have very hit points? I remember hearing Lolth had about 48, but I don't know much about older editions of D&D, but something about rolling lower being a better thing.
    You might be thinking of Armor Class (which went down in older editions)? More HP is always better, regardless of edition.

    IIRC, Lolth had an exceptionally low 66 hitpoints, but a hard-to-hit AC and a big home-turf advantage.

    In 1st ed Deities & Demigods, looks like most gods had HP in the 200-400 range, but you weren't expected to fight them. (Not that that stopped anyone...)
    Last edited by Arbane; 2019-10-23 at 12:57 AM.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
    I read this somewhere and I stick to it: "I would rather play a bad system with my friends than a great system with nobody". - Trevlac
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Also, just making sure I'm not misunderstanding, but didn't the gods in AD&D have very hit points? I remember hearing Lolth had about 48, but I don't know much about older editions of D&D, but something about rolling lower being a better thing.
    In 1e and 2e AD&D hit point totals were much lower, for almost everything in the game. There's two main reasons for this. First, constitution bonuses for bonus hp were extremely limited. You did not recieve any Con bonus HP unless you had a 15 or higher and, unless you were a 'warrior' (which meant fighter, ranger, or paladin, plus a few classes added later like Gladiator) it capped at +2 per hit die, a limit that applied even to deities. Second, you stopped receiving Con bonus HP when you stopped rolling hit dice and moved into static HP advancement - when this happened varied from class to class but was usually level 10-ish. That, of course, is the second thing, especially since the static HP boost was always less than the average roll on a die for HP. This limit didn't apply to monsters - but essentially everything got flat d8s for hit dice (here and there arbitrary bonuses could be found), resulting in HP totals that are pitiful compared to their counterparts later. Here's a nice, obvious example: a 2e Balor has 13 HD, so it has 59 hit points. A 3.5 Balor has 290 hit points, almost 5 times as many.

    Now the big reason that this discrepancy matters is that, while HP totals are so much higher in 3.X (especially at higher levels where essentially everything has a giant Con bonus), is that raw damage values are roughly the same from one edition to the next. A medium longsword, for instance, does 1d8 damage in both editions (if anything it actually does less in 3e because in 2e weapons dealt more damage when attacking big enemies for some reason). A fireball does 1d6 per caster level in both editions. As a result, attacks that were effective in 2e - such as hitting for an average of 10 damage - swiftly become laughable in 3.X, but while there were certain bonuses to damage put in place (character strength was assumed to be higher for one) they weren't enough and characters intending to hit for damage have to jump through numerous hoops to keep up with the HP treadmill.

    This change in the damage dynamic meant that finding ways to kill things that didn't rely on direct HP damage became much more important. This also tied in to changes in the rules for disabled enemies. In 2e, a disabled enemy (one you zonk with sleep for example) means you get a free attack. In 3e, it means you coup de grace them. Likewise, mechanics like flat-footed also mean that enemies that are merely immobilized became much easier to hit. This combined with a change in how saving throws and magic resistance worked to make SoS and SoD spells much more effective (also you got a lot more of them because of the new rules about bonus spells). The result was a fundamental switch in the basic tactics between editions. In 2e the basic strategy was 'hit it until it dies.' In 3e that strategy became 'disable it and then wail on it while it squirms.'

    Now, for all that, Casters are still significantly more powerful than martials in 2e, especially at higher levels, but a lot of that has to do with out-of-combat utilization of spells and also the ability to use certain spells like projected image to rig fights so they remain untouchable. However, so long as you play within a dungeon-shaped box the discrepancy is much, much less noticeable - as you can see in a game like Baldur's Gate II.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    True, but that leaves me with a variety of questions, such as the ones I posted in OP.

    Also, just making sure I'm not misunderstanding, but didn't the gods in AD&D have very hit points? I remember hearing Lolth had about 48, but I don't know much about older editions of D&D, but something about rolling lower being a better thing.
    There is also the thing that Gygax didn't like the players to continue playing after they got to a medium level and had intended for them to retire successful characters to start anew from lv 1. So there were published stats for gods and mythical heroes with an intentional low level to give the players with vastly higher level characters a hint that they were playing the game "wrong".
    This is also the reason for the insane amount of xp that higher level required. Intended to scream "Isn't it boring sitting so long at the same level ? Retire already !"

    But the earlier editions had a wonky idea about what levels actually meant. Just compare the stats of dieties with the various versions of Conan that got published over time and you will see how that does simply not mesh at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Additionally, it has in many ways *defined* roleplaying... hit points, armor... many mechanics that we take for granted are lifted directly from D&D. It is the common infrastructure that many other games assume as a foundation, even as they make changes upon it.
    Hit points are popular, but the vast majority of systems i know use armor as damage reduction. And outside of direct clones basically no one uses the alignment or the Vancian casting.

    I don't think the actual D&D rules are that influential. Tabletop RPGs copy each other all the time but in many cases other solutions are more popular than how D&D does things.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2019-10-23 at 02:45 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Pretty much, the entire fallacy hinges on keeping PC characters with enough levels within our scope.



    Yep, not a man in the world could do that, but I'd expect such things from a guy who considers getting set on fire by an irritated dragon an average day.
    But again, that's an assumption. Oh ... not entirely, there are tropes telling us how no fire is hotter than dragonfire - but still: It's our assumptions telling us that getting his by dragonsbreath instantly turns you to cinders.

    There was an episode, when I went to school. Henrik, a classmate, fumbled a gas bunsen burner. I don't really know how he managed to do it, but first he got it turned into a tiny fireball, the entire burner surrounded by a halo of burning gas. Then he tried to shake it - to put it out - resulting only in the burner flying off it's hose, and the fire now coming straight out of the hose.

    By this point most of the class including the teacher had fled the room. For reference the gas was coming from a 20000 liter tank under the school, and being out in the hallway would have done them precisely zero good.

    At this point, Henrik was ... slightly panicky. I'm guessing he also wanted to be out in the hallway. I tried to ... simply turn off the gas, but Henrik in his panic pointed the hose at my hand by accident. He then somehow managed to rip the hose off the spout, while simultaneously pointing the tip of it at the spout, meaning that fire was now merrily issuing directly from the spout. At this point, I turned off the gas.

    The point of this story is that two 12 year olds fooled around with hot, burning gas for actually quite a while, fire went everywhere - and no one got hurt. Not a single burn. Henrik, who was uniquely unfortunate, then later tried to clean a model airplane by candlelight, tipped over the bottle of rinsing agent, tipped over the candle into the rinsing agent, then tried to stamp out the ensuing fire with his hands - which were soaked in rinsing agent. He wore plastic bags on his hands for a month.

    So it all depends. It makes sense that a heroic character would be able to dodge, deflect or otherwise avoid getting insta-crisped. That doesn't mean that diving into hot, burning magma is suddenly feasible.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    I agree again!
    Unacceptable! The internet is in uproar =)

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Sort of, it's complicated. I'll break it down into two main parts.

    1. The belief that martial characters should be limited to what is possible on our world, that's what bothers me the most so I made this thread to challenge that belief. The issue is that the people who say this tend to not have much reason beyond it not being something characters can do in the real world.

    2. Martial characters, as per the rules, ARE superhuman... Sort of. It's like the rule set itself isn't quite sure either. On one hand, you give them the ability to do absurd amounts of damage, take several lethal blows in a row and for the case of 3.5E let them do blatantly superhuman feats of power... But they're also not scaling properly to their level like a caster would. It's like the game itself isn't quite sure on how to handle it, so leaves it more ambiguous than with casters.

    I could just go play another game, but I genuinely want to hear what people have to say on this and see if they can bring up solid reasons for why D&D isn't a superhero game at later levels. I started a similar thread on Reddit a while back, and when questioned on it, people just tended to avoid giving solid reasons, leading me to think they were just doing it because they felt it was right.

    I'm fine with house ruling it, but not fine with the game itself wants to place such characters, and definitely not ok with other players dictating, "D&D doesn't have such characters, go play another game" and when questioned on their reasons for why D&D isn't or can't be this way, tend to avoid why what they said is true and often just defaults to, "Because it's not that type of game." Which leads me back to the appeal to emotion part in the OP.

    ... So I suppose you could say my main problem is with trying to enforce the "Guy At The Gym" fallacy on others without any reasons for why martial characters can't be more than a "Guy At the Gym".

    Let me know if I need to elaborate more.
    I still feel you could get the game to work the way you want by being ... a bit creative with how you use the rules. Or you know, by house ruling and/or just breaking them. I often use the house rule that barbarian rage let's you break various enchanments - like Charm or Hold Person. Not that that, in itself, suddenly and magically balances everything =)

    But if your beef is that the system shouldn't need crutches to make melee characters feel relevant - then I couldn't agree more.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    But if your beef is that the system shouldn't need crutches to make melee characters feel relevant - then I couldn't agree more.
    That's the "symptom" of the issue that is really impossible. I can imagine an urban fantasy campaign where none of the "martial" characters really approach peak human - let alone exceeds it - while magic users do impossible things and it would be fine. Because urban fantasy impossible things tend to be subtle, hard to set up and handily countered by a two-by-four. Unless the big demon summoning ritual actually works. Then you are going to need a lot of two-by-fours.

    But in the action fantasy worlds D&D and many other systems take place in, that doesn't work. Magic is too big, too direct and too convenient for a normal human being to stand up to it. Hence martials either have to go beyond normal human - well beyond Olympian even - or be left behind. Ars Magica left them behind, but by giving every class a 20 level track D&D "promised" not to... but then it did anyways.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Another golden thread, especially the first post. To the OP, keep up the good work and spirit, your very first post was a fantastic summary! Nice forum name, by the way.

    Anyway, about the topic (and the first post which I greatly agree with). From the POV of a wuxia fan + GURPS heartbroken(*) dude, in the case of two 20th level D&D characters, one magical and other supposedly not, and the former is clearly superior in mechanical spotlight gaining capabilities, the latter was conned of their XP values spent on purchasing their "mundane" class features, and that's a game design felony, in my adamant opinion. And don't even mention that only the latter depend on external addons (example: magic items) to stay relevant on the CR treadmill, like a life support.

    To haphazardly sum this up, I think you should redefine the character Level (/HD/CR) structure to actively work as a certain benchmark of what you can accomplish in the game universe. Luckily, we can use the casters' main toys, spells, in setting the examples; by level 17, any classed character should be capable of doing something awesome comparable to bending reality, raining down 4 miniature meteorites, stopping time, and the like.

    But, what about the at-will and limited balancing? Well, I actually grew to think that it might be impossible; so instead of prepare and quickly consuming spell slots to steal the show instantly, as an alternative spellcasting system the spellcasters will rather spend actions charging up their intended spells at-will, probably getting backlash psychic damage or the like when interrupted (hence requiring non-caster bodyguards on a serious adventure). The more potent the effect is, the more actions it should take and more backlash it will risk; and higher level spellcasters will gradually have discounts on the action economy to make those big guns not too impractical to use in dire situations...

    ----

    (Edits)

    Come to think of it, if a guy can solo a 10m long mature dragon and pulverize it to shreds in 18 seconds via sharpened steel, yet has serious trouble kicking open a shut metal door in a similar time frame, that's just so messed up and wrong in verisimilitude and suspension of disbelief.

    ----

    (*) I vowed to never play game rules that ain't OGL/CC/something-similar-in-legal-freedom; and if not for that, I would play only GURPS for its state as an immense lure for simulationist players.
    Last edited by Lucas Yew; 2019-10-23 at 08:29 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    True, but that leaves me with a variety of questions, such as the ones I posted in OP.

    Also, just making sure I'm not misunderstanding, but didn't the gods in AD&D have very hit points? I remember hearing Lolth had about 48, but I don't know much about older editions of D&D, but something about rolling lower being a better thing.
    It has been a long time since I played AD&D, but (if I remember right) you generally didn't actually fight the gods. You fought avatars of the gods, which (when defeated) would ban the physical presence of that god(dess), archdemon, or whatever from your plane for 100 years. This probably varies by DM, but when I was playing the gods were more powerful on their own plane. I don't remember HP being the difference, but the amount of help that surrounded them when you wanted to take them on in their own home.

    It has been a long time though, and since I didn't retain any books from AD&D or 2E over the years, I could be wrong (or could have been setting/house rule influenced). Also, none of the DMs I played under ran any published modules, so that may very well affect things as well.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    That's the "symptom" of the issue that is really impossible. I can imagine an urban fantasy campaign where none of the "martial" characters really approach peak human - let alone exceeds it - while magic users do impossible things and it would be fine. Because urban fantasy impossible things tend to be subtle, hard to set up and handily countered by a two-by-four. Unless the big demon summoning ritual actually works. Then you are going to need a lot of two-by-fours.

    But in the action fantasy worlds D&D and many other systems take place in, that doesn't work. Magic is too big, too direct and too convenient for a normal human being to stand up to it. Hence martials either have to go beyond normal human - well beyond Olympian even - or be left behind. Ars Magica left them behind, but by giving every class a 20 level track D&D "promised" not to... but then it did anyways.
    Which gets us into my "what will you give up?" comments that I try to post in a way that doesn't irk people, but I guess I fail at.

    D&D gives up coherence, especially on the worldbuilding side.

    Ars Magica gives up any notion of "non-mages" keeping up with "mages".

    Exalted gives up any notion that PCs aren't "superhuman".

    Other systems/settings "give up" high-powered PC spellcasting or all PC spellcasting ( "give up" in quotes because they never had it to begin with, by design).

    etc.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-10-23 at 09:31 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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

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

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    That's the "symptom" of the issue that is really impossible. I can imagine an urban fantasy campaign where none of the "martial" characters really approach peak human - let alone exceeds it - while magic users do impossible things and it would be fine. Because urban fantasy impossible things tend to be subtle, hard to set up and handily countered by a two-by-four. Unless the big demon summoning ritual actually works. Then you are going to need a lot of two-by-fours.

    But in the action fantasy worlds D&D and many other systems take place in, that doesn't work. Magic is too big, too direct and too convenient for a normal human being to stand up to it. Hence martials either have to go beyond normal human - well beyond Olympian even - or be left behind. Ars Magica left them behind, but by giving every class a 20 level track D&D "promised" not to... but then it did anyways.
    I don't agree at all. Casters just need to be susceptible to 2-by-4's. Checks and balances. Casters need ways to deal with melee's, and melee's need ways to deal with casters. The example I used earlier is a ... simple tool to do a tiny bit of that - letting specifically barbarians laugh at attempts to disable them. That doesn't stop the wizard from teleporting away, but it certainly stops the barbarian from becoming irrelevant (in any situation where forcing the wizard to teleport away would be considered a win, at least).

    So no. If I was designing the game, wizards would chose quite specifically among spells - each option gained would others lost. And any melee class would have quite specific ways of dealing with casters. Such as barbarian being able to beat CC. Sure, I'd have to put some thought into precisely how I'd make it all work. For one thing, if I were designing a game, spells like fly and teleport would not be usable in combat. Or for that matter any other spell that quite simply negates entire other classes.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Other systems/settings "give up" high-powered PC spellcasting or all PC spellcasting ( "give up" in quotes because they never had it to begin with, by design).
    Do you count what optimized Mutants and masterminds spellcasting can do in that? Sufficiently well-designed alternate effects can probably replicate anything a high level caster can do, and a sufficiently powerful Variable effect can pretty much cast any spell ever.

    Not that this stops a physical superman from having a bunch of punchy attack alternate effects doign the same things or whatever....heck those are probably cheaper. less need to spend anything on range or area.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Do you count what optimized Mutants and masterminds spellcasting can do in that? Sufficiently well-designed alternate effects can probably replicate anything a high level caster can do, and a sufficiently powerful Variable effect can pretty much cast any spell ever.

    Not that this stops a physical superman from having a bunch of punchy attack alternate effects doign the same things or whatever....heck those are probably cheaper. less need to spend anything on range or area.

    I don't know M&M well enough to really answer that. Does it have specific powers, or does it work like HERO, with the mechanical power built from basic building blocks to model the fiction-level ability the character has? HERO is so deeply different from D&D etc because of this -- you can model any attack that just hits stuff at range as an Xd6 Blast, and it doesn't matter if it's throwing rocks, a laser cannon, or telekinetic strike.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-10-23 at 12:49 PM.
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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I don't know M&M well enough to really answer that. Does it have specific powers, or does it work like HERO, with the mechanical power built from basic building blocks to model the fiction-level ability the character has? HERO is so deeply different from D&D etc because of this -- you can model any attack that just hits stuff at range as an Xd6 Blast, and it doesn't matter if it's throwing rocks, a laser cannon, or telekinetic strike.
    I mean....all those can be modeled with:

    Damage, Ranged, 20 points, rank 10

    if you want to be make the least effort.

    a telekinetic strike if its invisible has Subtle attached to it. if you want to it to be true telekinesis with damaging power its:
    Move Object, Subtle, Damaging, 40 points, rank 10

    a laser cannon if sufficiently powerful can have Area(Line) instead, which hits everything in that line no matter how far.

    while throwing rocks can be modeled with:
    Damage, Strength-based, Ranged, 20 points, rank 10

    so depends on how far you want to model it.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    That doesn't mean that diving into hot, burning magma is suddenly feasible.
    I was mostly going by hitpoints (In 3.5E anyway) and how a Mature Red Dragon dragon can do more damage with their breath weapons than being submerged in lava, on average. But how I interpret HP is not going to fit with everyone else.



    Or you know, by house ruling and/or just breaking them.
    I've been thinking about house ruling this next time me and my group play Pathfinder, incase anyone wants to play a martial... Probably not, I seem to be the only person in the group who likes doing that, except for the guy that sometimes plays a Rogue. He's perfectly aware that such characters aren't useful compared to casters at high level, but I'm not too sure he'd want his rogue to be anything but a regular, if talented, thief.

    But if your beef is that the system shouldn't need crutches to make melee characters feel relevant - then I couldn't agree more.
    Definitely lol.




    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But in the action fantasy worlds D&D and many other systems take place in, that doesn't work. Magic is too big, too direct and too convenient for a normal human being to stand up to it. Hence martials either have to go beyond normal human - well beyond Olympian even - or be left behind. Ars Magica left them behind, but by giving every class a 20 level track D&D "promised" not to... but then it did anyways.
    Could you elaborate on Ars Magica? But yeah, I clearly agree about martials either needing to go well beyond what an Olympic athlete can do to remain relevant in a cosmic battle against ancient evils with possibly armies under their command. Dude with a magic sword somehow remaining relevant there without really thick plot armor just leaves a lot of questions...




    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Yew View Post
    Another golden thread, especially the first post. To the OP, keep up the good work and spirit, your very first post was a fantastic summary! Nice forum name, by the way.
    Glad you enjoyed it! I put a lot of work into it.

    Anyway, about the topic (and the first post which I greatly agree with). From the POV of a wuxia fan + GURPS heartbroken(*) dude, in the case of two 20th level D&D characters, one magical and other supposedly not, and the former is clearly superior in mechanical spotlight gaining capabilities, the latter was conned of their XP values spent on purchasing their "mundane" class features, and that's a game design felony, in my adamant opinion. And don't even mention that only the latter depend on external addons (example: magic items) to stay relevant on the CR treadmill, like a life support.
    I get what you mean, never played GURPs for myself though, but it does reduce levels to a pointless level instead of indicating the power of something.

    To haphazardly sum this up, I think you should redefine the character Level (/HD/CR) structure to actively work as a certain benchmark of what you can accomplish in the game universe. Luckily, we can use the casters' main toys, spells, in setting the examples; by level 17, any classed character should be capable of doing something awesome comparable to bending reality, raining down 4 miniature meteorites, stopping time, and the like.
    Pretty much this is what I had in mind, comparing martial classes to casters of the same level and giving them powers appropriate to being on that level.




    Quote Originally Posted by FaerieGodfather View Post
    Just trying to wrap my head around all of the people accusing the OP of "trying to turn D&D into something that it's not" are all the people who can't accept that the way that hit points have worked in the game for forty-five years are the way that hit points are supposed to work in the game.
    I'm not sure why people seem to think I'm attacking or trying to destroy D&D. As far as I knew, there wasn't really a standard on what D&D is except a game where you go out, explore dungeons, fight monsters and get money.




    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    There is also the thing that Gygax didn't like the players to continue playing after they got to a medium level and had intended for them to retire successful characters to start anew from lv 1. So there were published stats for gods and mythical heroes with an intentional low level to give the players with vastly higher level characters a hint that they were playing the game "wrong".
    This is also the reason for the insane amount of xp that higher level required. Intended to scream "Isn't it boring sitting so long at the same level ? Retire already !"
    ... This leads me to wonder, did he want epic levels to even exist?




    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Here's a nice, obvious example: a 2e Balor has 13 HD, so it has 59 hit points. A 3.5 Balor has 290 hit points, almost 5 times as many.
    I have an AD&D Deities and Demi-God book, taking a look inside, I do remember being impressed by the stats of the deities... Then I remembered I had no idea how stats work in AD&D lol. But I do remember the numbers seemed rather smaller than I expected.




    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Which gets us into my "what will you give up?" comments that I try to post in a way that doesn't irk people, but I guess I fail at.

    D&D gives up coherence, especially on the worldbuilding side.

    Ars Magica gives up any notion of "non-mages" keeping up with "mages".

    Exalted gives up any notion that PCs aren't "superhuman".

    Other systems/settings "give up" high-powered PC spellcasting or all PC spellcasting ( "give up" in quotes because they never had it to begin with, by design).

    etc.
    This is true, I do wish the system would be less ambiguous about PCs as either peak humans or something more.

    Just outright say something like, "Beyond X level, your characters leave the realms of what is possible for the most capable people in our world, and become closer to action Heroes. As they progress up these levels, they will become more and more fantastic, until they resemble mythological deities and heroes, rather than real world warriors."

    Or just explain, "Martial characters are inherently inferior to magical characters, by playing one, you won't be able to keep up with the raw power of magic. In order to keep up, your character will gain magical abilities or their level will cap out much faster than a magic user's."

    Or even, "All PCs, regardless of class or access to magic, are beyond the scope or anything that can be achieved in our world."

    Then you have titles like Superhero popping up for Level 8 Fighters in AD&D, muddying the waters. Which is more than being a Hero... Which is really weird when a Level 1 Fighter is considered a Veteran by the titles, instead of a rookie.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-23 at 04:13 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Which gets us into my "what will you give up?" comments that I try to post in a way that doesn't irk people, but I guess I fail at.
    Yeah pretty much. I think there might be a few difference between that argument and your usually "what will you give up?" but I can't remember what it is right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I don't agree at all. Casters just need to be susceptible to 2-by-4's.
    You are going to elaborate on exactly you don't agree with because everything you said seems to align with what I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Could you elaborate on Ars Magica? But yeah, I clearly agree about martials either needing to go well beyond what an Olympic athlete can do to remain relevant in a cosmic battle against ancient evils with possibly armies under their command. Dude with a magic sword somehow remaining relevant there without really thick plot armor just leaves a lot of questions...
    Please note I have never played Ars Magica, I have heard about it and I got the downloadable version from the site which I read once a while ago.

    Ars Magica is a caster focused system. Casters are the focus, with people with particular non-magic skills coming in second and the fighter equivalent body guards last. However the system does not hide the fact and has other systems to accommodate for it. The most famous being that everyone can make and play multiple characters so you will shift around whether you are the caster or the support within one game. The other is that time frames are usually measured in months. So you might run an entire "adventure" to get stuff for the caster while the caster is working on some magic work in their workshop. The adventuring party would then not have any casters in it.

    It also takes a very Medieval view of magic. The casters aren't heroes, and the assumption seems to be you will be going after what they want. The introduction follows a new caster who goes from a holy man to a rapist and his teacher goes insane. Of a very different tone than D&D.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    That's the "symptom" of the issue that is really impossible. I can imagine an urban fantasy campaign where none of the "martial" characters really approach peak human - let alone exceeds it - while magic users do impossible things and it would be fine. Because urban fantasy impossible things tend to be subtle, hard to set up and handily countered by a two-by-four. Unless the big demon summoning ritual actually works. Then you are going to need a lot of two-by-fours.
    That really is a key part here. If ridiculously powerful magic involves a process along the lines of "let me spend a month preparing a ritual, which I'll then cast over a week" it causes far fewer balance problems than powerful magic involving a process along the lines of "yeah, give me three seconds". This is especially true if the central engagement of the game is the party as a group overcoming challenges; Smallville works fine with both Superman and Lois Lane as characters because the focus of the game is on interpersonal relationships, which Superman's powers are pretty orthogonal to.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Yeah pretty much. I think there might be a few difference between that argument and your usually "what will you give up?" but I can't remember what it is right now.
    I just gave examples instead of going through my usual breakdown of nested options.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Please note I have never played Ars Magica, I have heard about it and I got the downloadable version from the site which I read once a while ago.

    Ars Magica is a caster focused system. Casters are the focus, with people with particular non-magic skills coming in second and the fighter equivalent body guards last. However the system does not hide the fact and has other systems to accommodate for it. The most famous being that everyone can make and play multiple characters so you will shift around whether you are the caster or the support within one game. The other is that time frames are usually measured in months. So you might run an entire "adventure" to get stuff for the caster while the caster is working on some magic work in their workshop. The adventuring party would then not have any casters in it.

    It also takes a very Medieval view of magic. The casters aren't heroes, and the assumption seems to be you will be going after what they want. The introduction follows a new caster who goes from a holy man to a rapist and his teacher goes insane. Of a very different tone than D&D.
    It should come as not surprise that one of the original creators of the game was Mark Rein-Hagen... because the writing is "mature".
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Hit Points Are An Abstraction of Damage:

    snip
    Hit Points Represent Dodging:

    snip

    Hit Points Represent Mitigating Damage:

    snip

    Hit Points Represent Plot Armor:

    snip

    Hit Points Don’t Represent Physical Durability:
    The correct answer from a D&D fan for the question "How do hit points work?" is
    "Very well thank you!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    You are going to elaborate on exactly you don't agree with because everything you said seems to align with what I did.
    Really? Aha! Well in that case .... I reread your post, and I can see how it can easily mean the direct opposite of what I thought it did.

    Sorry - my bad =)

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    Hm, I may not have been getting my point across in regards to levels. Such as playing a low level character concept with a high level character, and the issues it could cause. Instead of using a martial for this example, I’ll use two well-known casters to show it.

    If you tried swapping these two characters, who are of different levels, it should become clear what type of issues could arise from putting them in stories they’re under leveled/over leveled for but insisting that they can do it. It’s not a perfect fit, as D&D won’t fit perfectly with anything, but I feel it should get my point across. I’ll be listing their spells and the types of challenges they face and explain why they’re X level concept.

    For these casters, I looked up information on them, and my search results are probably missing some things, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about any of their spells/feats. It’s been years since I saw anything about Caster 1 (Who is an iconic character), but Caster 2 (who I picked because of how iconic they are as a caster, along with helping to further my point) had a neater wiki section and Respect Thread for me to compare D&D spells to. Caster 2 in particular has way too much backstory for me to accurately cover, so consider these the barebones version.

    Caster 1 is considered to be the most powerful caster from the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore. Yes, he’s technically a Sorcerer by D&D/Pathfinder standards, as he had to be born able to use magic, but he’s called a Wizard and he went to a wizarding school to learn how to harness his magic, so I’ll call him a Wizard. Some of his spells would be considered high level spells in D&D, but we’re also going to factor in his opposition and what he was expected to be able to defeat. Because I haven’t read any of the books or seen the entire series in a while (the plot is very hazy except for the last film(s)), I know I’m going to forget something so I decided to look at a Respect Thread for Dumbledore to help me out.

    Let’s look at his list of spells/abilities…

    • Teleport (Apparate)
    • Animate Object (Animating the statues to fight for him)
    • Control Water (surrounded Voldemort with it)
    • Fly (Self Explanatory)
    • True Seeing (could see an invisible chain)
    • Wall of Fire (Firestorm, technically?)
    • Fireball (Firestorm again, technically? Along with those energy blasts that kind of look like fire, but they might just look like it… It might just be me they look like flames too.)
    • Telekinesis
    • Shield



    Impressive spells, yes. He was expected to be able to handle any magical beasts that wandered (or were let in) to his school like the Troll. He could easily defeat a normal human being in a fight, and could defeat plenty of Inferi (undead). His enemies were other Wizards and fantastic beasts.

    Caster 2 is Dr. Strange from the Marvel comics. Sorcerer Supreme, a member of the Illuminati, a very powerful caster. I know some things about him (I used to look up info on comic characters when I was younger) and this is the information I found on his comic incarnation.

    His spells don’t really have different names like Harry Potter, so not as many things in parenthesis this time. His spells/abilities include…

    • Immortality/Unaging (It’s a possible capstone ability in 3.5E for Wizards).
    • Astral Projection (self-explanatory)
    • Banishment (He has banished plenty of beings, including powerful demons)
    • Telepathy/Telepathic Bonds
    • Fly
    • Hypnotism
    • Time Stop
    • Teleport
    • Ether Step/Etherealness (can become intangible)
    • Plane Shift (can travel to other planes)


    Also impressive spells. Dr. Strange has defeated super powered beings like the Incredible Hulk and incredibly old, extra-dimensional conquerors.

    They both have access to spells that are high level in D&D 3.5E and 5E. The difference between them are the scaling of the types of enemies they’re facing and the level of power they’d need to be at to face such beings.

    Dumbledore is a powerful Wizard and would defeat any normal person in a real fight. The scale of his conflict, though, are against other wizards (several Death Eaters took a few moments to destroy a bridge) and fantastic beasts that… Would probably get killed by our world’s military in a fight. Fairly low level stuff. It’s currently unclear if guns beat wands, as guns are faster than incantations, but wands allow one do a myriad of things. He could definitely handle a CR 9 monster like a tyrannosaurus, as they’er around the range of the types of fantastic beasts he’s expected to be able to slay.

    Dr. Strange squares off against dimensional conquerors like Dormammu (who possesses similar abilities to Dr. Strange). Dormammu is nigh omnipotent in his own realm, and even then, Dr. Strange is capable of holding his own against him. These are the types of things high level characters are expected to fight (such as Balors and Pit Fiends essentially being extra-dimensional conquerors).

    You could swap them, yes. Would you be playing as the same concept character by ignoring their level? Not quite…
    You could swap Dr. Strange and Dumbledore, as they’re both wizards.

    Dr. Strange, however, would be capable of solving the plot of Harry Potter by himself. Voldemort would be annoying, but not anything Dr. Strange couldn’t handle with his vast power. The scale of Harry Potter is far below his level, and he could exist within it, but he's essentially Zeus or Odin pretending to be a street magician.

    Dumbledore would not be able to defeat the extra-dimensional beings Dr. Strange has faced off against and would die.
    The scale is far outside of his level. He could function within it to an extent, yes, but not against a high level enemy that was serious about killing him.

    Yes, Dr. Strange could pretend to be a low level concept… But mechanically, he isn’t. Dumbledore could pretend to be a high level concept… But mechanically, he has some of the spells, but he would almost definitely get crushed by a high CR enemy that wasn't screwing around.

    Trying to play Dr. Strange as a low level character would be dishonest, as the player would essentially be playing on God Mode while insisting they aren’t. Trying to play Dumbledore as a high level character would be equally as dishonest, as you’d need a LOT of plot armor (or the GM holding back a lot) to justify him not instantly being destroyed as soon as an enemy gets serious, as well as justifying how someone of this power could defeat such an enemy.

    I’m not telling anyone to not play such characters, but I’m pointing out the problems that would arise out of trying to force a character into a concept not appropriate for their level.

    The same applies to martials.

    A low level martial is expected to be facing off against threats that, while difficult, people could defeat with weapons and/or enough people. Still bound by challenges within the real world (even if they exist in comics or fantasy novels).

    A high level martial character is expected to be able to defeat (or at least hold their own against) extra-dimensional conquerors and ancient, eldritch abominations. Far beyond the challenges of the real world (such as something you'd expect to see in a comic book or high fantasy anime).

    Essentially, a high level character could emulate a lower level concept, but they'd be actively restraining themselves the entire time to not just solve the conflict. A low level character concept could try to pretend to be a high level concept, but they'd instantly get killed and would need a lot of plot armor to remain relevant.

    The reason I chose the comic book version of Dr. Strange is to highlight that a high level caster concept would probably look more like a fantastic comic hero. Anime also has such characters that are scaled to face the types of enemies that are far out of the scale of the real world. Other characters of the same level should be scaled to face similar threats.

    The levels are what matter, not the class. A character of X level is expected to be able to fight against a concept of X level. Whether it be a magic user or a really powerful warrior, the concept of their level should reflect their abilities, and their abilities should reflect the types of challenges they’re expected to fight.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-24 at 10:06 AM.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Well, in that case I give you HELLBOY!!

    Hellboy is a martial character who defeats God-level multi-dimensional conquerors. Generally speaking, he does so with a sword, a large pool of hitpoints, and sarcasm. Sure, he has a few other things going for him, but by and large, that's the game: Fighter vs Universe.

    I'm generally speaking against taking imaginary concept A and comparing it to imaginary concept B. The question of ... who is stronger, the Hulk or Superman, or whether Dumbledore or Dr. Strange, or IronMan or .. is it Cable? The answer is no.

    These are all narrative constructs, and the strenghts of the super villain are tailored to the strenghts of the hero. It all takes place inside a universe designed to fit itself - not the one three doors over.

    Who is stronger, Hellboy or Thanos? The answer is no.

    And a fighter can win against a high level wizard, if you do it right. It takes some oil for the squeaky hinges, but it's not impossible, or even implausible.

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Spoiler: for space / easy of reading
    Show

    Hm, I may not have been getting my point across in regards to levels. Such as playing a low level character concept with a high level character, and the issues it could cause. Instead of using a martial for this example, I’ll use two well-known casters to show it.

    If you tried swapping these two characters, who are of different levels, it should become clear what type of issues could arise from putting them in stories they’re under leveled/over leveled for but insisting that they can do it. It’s not a perfect fit, as D&D won’t fit perfectly with anything, but I feel it should get my point across. I’ll be listing their spells and the types of challenges they face and explain why they’re X level concept.

    For these casters, I looked up information on them, and my search results are probably missing some things, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about any of their spells/feats. It’s been years since I saw anything about Caster 1 (Who is an iconic character), but Caster 2 (who I picked because of how iconic they are as a caster, along with helping to further my point) had a neater wiki section and Respect Thread for me to compare D&D spells to. Caster 2 in particular has way too much backstory for me to accurately cover, so consider these the barebones version.

    Caster 1 is considered to be the most powerful caster from the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore. Yes, he’s technically a Sorcerer by D&D/Pathfinder standards, as he had to be born able to use magic, but he’s called a Wizard and he went to a wizarding school to learn how to harness his magic, so I’ll call him a Wizard. Some of his spells would be considered high level spells in D&D, but we’re also going to factor in his opposition and what he was expected to be able to defeat. Because I haven’t read any of the books or seen the entire series in a while (the plot is very hazy except for the last film(s)), I know I’m going to forget something so I decided to look at a Respect Thread for Dumbledore to help me out.

    Let’s look at his list of spells/abilities…

    • Teleport (Apparate)
    • Animate Object (Animating the statues to fight for him)
    • Control Water (surrounded Voldemort with it)
    • Fly (Self Explanatory)
    • True Seeing (could see an invisible chain)
    • Wall of Fire (Firestorm, technically?)
    • Fireball (Firestorm again, technically? Along with those energy blasts that kind of look like fire, but they might just look like it… It might just be me they look like flames too.)
    • Telekinesis
    • Shield



    Impressive spells, yes. He was expected to be able to handle any magical beasts that wandered (or were let in) to his school like the Troll. He could easily defeat a normal human being in a fight, and could defeat plenty of Inferi (undead). His enemies were other Wizards and fantastic beasts.

    Caster 2 is Dr. Strange from the Marvel comics. Sorcerer Supreme, a member of the Illuminati, a very powerful caster. I know some things about him (I used to look up info on comic characters when I was younger) and this is the information I found on his comic incarnation.

    His spells don’t really have different names like Harry Potter, so not as many things in parenthesis this time. His spells/abilities include…

    • Immortality/Unaging (It’s a possible capstone ability in 3.5E for Wizards).
    • Astral Projection (self-explanatory)
    • Banishment (He has banished plenty of beings, including powerful demons)
    • Telepathy/Telepathic Bonds
    • Fly
    • Hypnotism
    • Time Stop
    • Teleport
    • Ether Step/Etherealness (can become intangible)
    • Plane Shift (can travel to other planes)


    Also impressive spells. Dr. Strange has defeated super powered beings like the Incredible Hulk and incredibly old, extra-dimensional conquerors.

    They both have access to spells that are high level in D&D 3.5E and 5E. The difference between them are the scaling of the types of enemies they’re facing and the level of power they’d need to be at to face such beings.

    Dumbledore is a powerful Wizard and would defeat any normal person in a real fight. The scale of his conflict, though, are against other wizards (several Death Eaters took a few moments to destroy a bridge) and fantastic beasts that… Would probably get killed by our world’s military in a fight. Fairly low level stuff. It’s currently unclear if guns beat wands, as guns are faster than incantations, but wands allow one do a myriad of things. He could definitely handle a CR 9 monster like a tyrannosaurus, as they’er around the range of the types of fantastic beasts he’s expected to be able to slay.

    Dr. Strange squares off against dimensional conquerors like Dormammu (who possesses similar abilities to Dr. Strange). Dormammu is nigh omnipotent in his own realm, and even then, Dr. Strange is capable of holding his own against him. These are the types of things high level characters are expected to fight (such as Balors and Pit Fiends essentially being extra-dimensional conquerors).

    You could swap them, yes. Would you be playing as the same concept character by ignoring their level? Not quite…
    You could swap Dr. Strange and Dumbledore, as they’re both wizards.

    Dr. Strange, however, would be capable of solving the plot of Harry Potter by himself. Voldemort would be annoying, but not anything Dr. Strange couldn’t handle with his vast power. The scale of Harry Potter is far below his level, and he could exist within it, but he's essentially Zeus or Odin pretending to be a street magician.

    Dumbledore would not be able to defeat the extra-dimensional beings Dr. Strange has faced off against and would die.
    The scale is far outside of his level. He could function within it to an extent, yes, but not against a high level enemy that was serious about killing him.

    Yes, Dr. Strange could pretend to be a low level concept… But mechanically, he isn’t. Dumbledore could pretend to be a high level concept… But mechanically, he isn’t.

    Trying to play Dr. Strange as a low level character would be dishonest, as the player would essentially be playing on God Mode while insisting they aren’t. Trying to play Dumbledore as a high level character would be equally as dishonest, as you’d need a LOT of plot armor (or the GM holding back a lot) to justify him not instantly being destroyed as soon as an enemy gets serious, as well as justifying how someone of this power could defeat such an enemy.

    I’m not telling anyone to not play such characters, but I’m pointing out the problems that would arise out of trying to force a character into a concept not appropriate for their level.

    The same applies to martials.

    A low level martial is expected to be facing off against threats that, while difficult, people could defeat with weapons and/or enough people. Still bound by challenges within the real world (even if they exist in comics or fantasy novels).

    A high level martial character is expected to be able to defeat (or at least hold their own against) extra-dimensional conquerors and ancient, eldritch abominations. Far beyond the challenges of the real world (such as something you'd expect to see in a comic book or high fantasy anime).

    Essentially, a high level character could emulate a lower level concept, but they'd be actively restraining themselves the entire time to not just solve the conflict. A low level character concept could try to pretend to be a high level concept, but they'd instantly get killed and would need a lot of plot armor to remain relevant.

    The reason I chose the comic book version of Dr. Strange is to highlight that a high level caster concept would probably look more like a fantastic comic hero. Other characters of the same level should be scaled to face similar threats.

    The levels are what matter, not the class. A character of X level is expected to be able to fight against a concept of X level. Whether it be a magic user or a really powerful warrior, the concept of their level should reflect their abilities, and their abilities should reflect the types of challenges they’re expected to fight.

    A more general note that D&D progresses through multiple "genres" as well as raw power scales as levels increase, creating a sort of dissonance between characters who most naturally fit at different points on that ladder, has come up before.

    I have not had a chance to read the 5e DMG cover to cover, so maybe it's finally in there, but... I think it would help D&D a lot if there were an explicitly explored option to simply start characters at a certain level and have any "progression" be more, what's a good word for it... piecemeal.
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  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Stuff about Dr. Strange.
    Comic book Dr. Strange is one of the most inconsistent characters in comics, and that's saying something. He is exactly as powerful as the plot needs him to be, which is sometimes very strong indeed.

    However, while I would say that he is a higher level than Dumbledore, I don't think they are fundamentally different character concepts, and a leveled up Dumbledore or a leveled down Dr. Strange would be pretty similar on paper. Heck, movie Dr. Strange, who is still undoubtebly Dr. Strange, would probably fit right in with one of the Harry Potters films, although his magic style is a bit light on wands and heavy on martial arts, so the aesthetic might be odd.

    Also, imo, Dormammu is much stronger than a Pit Fiend or Balor, I would put money on him over most demon princes or lords of the nine.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    How is what I said a circular argument?

    Why is it me pointing out something earlier editions of D&D (like AD&D calling 8th level fighters Superheroes) not completely meshing with something you said was promptly ignored with no explanation beyond Batman and Punisher?

    And about HP, yes, Gary Gygax said that... But he also intended for D&D to be a war game, the game has changed immensely since those days and he lost control over his own creation, so his words are valid for the versions of D&D he worked on. It'd be like arguing that the Wright Brothers have say over how modern airplanes work.

    EDIT: Also, you said nobody's arguing that a Level 20 character is just a guy, and I'm not quite sure what you stance is... Can you boil it down? I think keeping it shorter would be better here.
    You said they are best used at low level because they are low level concepts, to me that is circular.

    Punisher and Batman are both labelled as super heroes yet they do not have any super powers, just like an 8th level fighter.

    HP are inconsistent. They have meant many things to many authors over the years. Trying to prove that one interpretation is the correct one is impossible as there simply isn't one explanation that can't have holes poked in it.

    My stance:

    Mechanically, all classes should be roughly balanced mechanically (2E and 5E are close enough) and that people should be more tolerant of other people's aesthetic preferences, be they other players in the same group or other groups entirely.

    Personally, I just want people to stop telling me I shouldn't be allowed to participate in high level play because I prefer more grounded characters. I want to fight dragons, I want to save the world, I want to destroy evil artifacts and foil the schemes of wicked gods, I want to battle evil archmages and defeat the Lich King and his undead hordes, I want to be a hero; I just want to do it as an underdog who succeeds through skill, courage, and determination rather than a demigod who succeeds through overwhelming displays of power.


    Edit: Also, I really am interested in hearing about the house rules you have encountered that nerf martials. That really would be a more interesting conversation than rehashing the same CMD debate I have had with Cosi fifty times by this point.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-10-24 at 11:26 AM.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Personally, I just want people to stop telling me I shouldn't be allowed to participate in high level play because I prefer more grounded characters. I want to fight dragons, I want to save the world, I want to destroy evil artifacts and foil the schemes of wicked gods, I want to battle evil archmages and defeat the Lich King and his undead hordes, I want to be a hero; I just want to do it as an underdog who succeeds through skill, courage, and determination rather than a demigod who succeeds through overwhelming displays of power.
    Try FATE, not D&D.

    The problem with this is that this is a game not a conventional story, the rules and the dice are cruel and merciless and don't care how well-roleplayed you are, and most of us aren't as good at improvising to bypass game-stated power-levels as author-supported fictional characters.

    If nothing else, D&D Fighters STILL don't have any good way to dodge mind-control spells.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
    I read this somewhere and I stick to it: "I would rather play a bad system with my friends than a great system with nobody". - Trevlac
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Well, in that case I give you HELLBOY!!

    Hellboy is a martial character who defeats God-level multi-dimensional conquerors. Generally speaking, he does so with a sword, a large pool of hitpoints, and sarcasm. Sure, he has a few other things going for him, but by and large, that's the game: Fighter vs Universe.
    I only saw the original movies and some scans from the comics, but based on everything I know about him, Hellboy would be a mid-level character with an artifact (his stone hand).

    Reason why I think he's mid-level is because the creatures he fights (and struggles against) are also things that a mid-level fighter would be able to defeat without an artifact.

    He killed giants in melee, so could a mid-level fighter.

    He was able to defeat his way through a group of skeleton warriors (Draugar, I presume), which a midlevel fighter could also do.

    He can get chewed on by a hydra, as could a mid-level Fighter.

    He gets knocked out by an explosion while falling, a higher level Fighter wouldn't.

    A high level character would probably be strolling through the above.

    He would still be defeated by a high level Wizard, unless there's something I'm missing.

    But I am curious, how powerful are these god-like entities? Like omnipotent, city busters, planet busters, etc.?

    I'm generally speaking against taking imaginary concept A and comparing it to imaginary concept B. The question of ... who is stronger, the Hulk or Superman, or whether Dumbledore or Dr. Strange, or IronMan or .. is it Cable? The answer is no.
    It's more to show the differences in concept levels.

    Who is stronger, Hellboy or Thanos? The answer is no.
    This is super relevant to what you're saying. May he rest in peace.



    And a fighter can win against a high level wizard, if you do it right. It takes some oil for the squeaky hinges, but it's not impossible, or even implausible.
    Agreed, but if two characters are of the same level, I feel there's a problem if one is vastly more powerful than the other.




    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    A more general note that D&D progresses through multiple "genres" as well as raw power scales as levels increase, creating a sort of dissonance between characters who most naturally fit at different points on that ladder, has come up before.
    Agreed, it goes from "save the town from goblins with your ordinary strength" to "save the world from a demonic invasion with your beyond human abilities."




    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Comic book Dr. Strange is one of the most inconsistent characters in comics, and that's saying something. He is exactly as powerful as the plot needs him to be, which is sometimes very strong indeed.
    While his power level fluctuates (see upper video) based on the writer, he has still repeatedly defeats enemies that would be considered high CR in D&D.



    You said they are best used at low level because they are low level concepts, to me that is circular.
    Hopefully the above text helped get my point across better. But Rambo is fighting against regular humans, as is James Bond. Neither of their enemies are capable of single handedly being a threat to a country/planet/dimension through raw power like a high CR enemy would be.

    Punisher and Batman are both labelled as super heroes yet they do not have any super powers, just like an 8th level fighter.
    From Merriam-Webster...

    Definition of superhero
    : a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers
    also : an exceptionally skillful or successful person

    Thor and Superman are also labeled as super heroes and they do have powers.

    I can't prove an 8th level Fighter has super powers. You can't prove they don't.

    I can prove a high level fighter is expected to fight high CR enemies, where a regular human being would probably be dead within a few seconds.

    I can prove that a high level fighter is able to last for extended periods of time against creatures far more powerful than regular human beings, where a regular human being would be dead really quickly. Whether through being incredibly skilled at dodging or just tanking the blows. I haven't seen anyone poke holes into my explanation of why HP isn't that yet, but I'm open to hearing why it's wrong.

    I can prove that a high level fighter can do incredible amounts of damage to fantastic beasts that would kill a normal man several times over, where a regular human being might not be able to even hurt them, regardless of how trained they are.

    The entire reason I brought up the Superhero title in the first place is because you typed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Because D&D was originally created to emulate the high fantasy and sword and sorcery genres, and some people still prefer that to shonen anime or medieval super heroes.
    I responded to something you said, about original D&D and medieval superheroes to show it isn't just high fantasy and sword and sorcery genres.


    My stance:



    Personally, I just want people to stop telling me I shouldn't be allowed to participate in high level play because I prefer more grounded characters. I want to fight dragons, I want to save the world, I want to destroy evil artifacts and foil the schemes of wicked gods, I want to battle evil archmages and defeat the Lich King and his undead hordes, I want to be a hero; I just want to do it as an underdog who succeeds through skill, courage, and determination rather than a demigod who succeeds through overwhelming displays of power.
    Who is trying to telling you how to play your character concept?

    Edit: Also, I really am interested in hearing about the house rules you have encountered that nerf martials. That really would be a more interesting conversation than rehashing the same CMD debate I have had with Cosi fifty times by this point.
    Not quite sure I'd call it a "house rule" so much a the DM was just using "common sense" as he called it.

    My memory is terrible at recalling things on the spot, but I'll go with the most recent example.

    In 5E, I've made a Totem Warrior (has Bear Totem for first two Totems) Barbarian with a high strength and Great Weapon Master. With the Bear Totem, your carrying capacity is doubled to what it already is. We've been killing plenty of giant monsters, and the DM has put us into a dungeon with (some) metal doors.

    Me: I'll cleave it in half.
    GM: Is your greataxe magic?
    Me: No...
    GM: You'll just break your sword then.
    Me: But I'm doing a lot of damage...
    GM: And you'll destroy your sword by hitting it against a metal door. (This same issue comes up against stone doors too)

    Also in 5E, someone activated a trap while exploring a dungeon. I can't remember the exact details, but it was a battering ram type trap, and we weren't sure what other pressure plates would activate.

    Me: As it's going in, I'll try to break its mechanisms by pulling on the log.
    GM: Well, you crushed your hand.
    Me: But my strength and Bear Totems...
    GM: You're not strong enough to do that.
    Me:...

    I think there was another time when this came up in 5E, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.

    There was also a time in Pathfinder where a fellow player of mine wanted to pull off some amazing ninja moves by "backflipping from the ground floor to the roof." He rolled really high on the dice, the GM said, "You're not able to do that." Admittedly, he was a low level character, but the GM made it clear that even if he were a much higher level (even Level 20), it still wouldn't have worked.

    When I pointed out my current thoughts on the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy, the GM said, "Do you wanna play D&D or not?"

    There's also also this lovely thread on Reddit.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-24 at 12:50 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    Try FATE, not D&D.

    The problem with this is that this is a game not a conventional story, the rules and the dice are cruel and merciless and don't care how well-roleplayed you are, and most of us aren't as good at improvising to bypass game-stated power-levels as author-supported fictional characters.

    If nothing else, D&D Fighters STILL don't have any good way to dodge mind-control spells.
    No offense, but FATE and other narrative / story games do nothing for me.

    D&D isn't perfect, but (aside from 3E) it works well enough; and the rules are abstract enough that you can imagine a wide variety of descriptions for it.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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