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RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 09:26 AM
Hey all,

Question for you, Is there a list some where of the common issues with the 3.5 system rules... especially in regards to balance.

I can't seem to find a lot on Google about the problems with 3.5.
I know I've read a lot of peoples complaints on here and on WOTC 3.5 boards. Some on gameologists and some on Ensworld...

But I wanted to know if some one had an actual list of issues.
I know there's a lot of debate about Pazio and Pathfinder and weather or not it "fixed" 3.5.

If there isn't a list of issues with 3.5, Maybe that's some project the playground could undertake?

well thanks all.

Bosh
2009-01-15, 09:47 AM
The main problem (at least for me) is that for different classes abilities (saves, BaB, class features, etc.) increase at different rates. This means that (for example) at the start of the game you good save and your bad save are only a few points away but by the high levels they'll be radically different. Same goes with class abilities. In the early levels a feat's about as good as the spells a wizard is getting but at higher levels, high level spells are vastly better than the feats that the fighter is still getting. Also offensive abilities (DCs, attack bonuses, etc.) tend to go up a bit faster than the players defensive abilities (AC, saving throws, etc.)

This results in a lot of imbalances as you hit the double-digit levels, which include lots of situations where you'll only succeed if you roll a 20 or only fail if you roll a 1, caster dominance and wonky combat.

So basically the scaling of most of the fundamental mechanics of the game are built in such a way that the math falls apart at higher levels.

The solution to this is:

A. Not play higher levels.

B. Do some pretty fundamental re-sorting of the guts of the system.

I find that option A works pretty well.

And no, Pathfinder doesn't do squat to fix this problem, if anything they make some of the problems (caster dominance) worse by inexplicably boosting the most powerful classes in the game.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 09:59 AM
The main problem (at least for me) is that for different classes abilities (saves, BaB, class features, etc.) increase at different rates. This means that (for example) at the start of the game you good save and your bad save are only a few points away but by the high levels they'll be radically different. Same goes with class abilities. In the early levels a feat's about as good as the spells a wizard is getting but at higher levels, high level spells are vastly better than the feats that the fighter is still getting. Also offensive abilities (DCs, attack bonuses, etc.) tend to go up a bit faster than the players defensive abilities (AC, saving throws, etc.)

This results in a lot of imbalances as you hit the double-digit levels, which include lots of situations where you'll only succeed if you roll a 20 or only fail if you roll a 1, caster dominance and wonky combat.

So basically the scaling of most of the fundamental mechanics of the game are built in such a way that the math falls apart at higher levels.

The solution to this is:

A. Not play higher levels.

B. Do some pretty fundamental re-sorting of the guts of the system.

I find that option A works pretty well.

And no, Pathfinder doesn't do squat to fix this problem, if anything they make some of the problems (caster dominance) worse by inexplicably boosting the most powerful classes in the game.

Do you think that a stunted growth of abilities would decrease the unbalancedness?

I've been trying to find peoples examples of balance issues online via Google.

I know the overpoweredness of casters vs's non casters is one.

The fact that monks are well monks.

Its option B that I'm more interested in. Not looking for an easy way out..

Bosh
2009-01-15, 10:14 AM
Do you think that a stunted growth of abilities would decrease the unbalancedness?
Its not so much the rate of increase, its that the rates of increase are all different.

For example, BaB. At first level the fighter and the rogue are in the same boat, but at 20th level there's a +5 difference.

Same with good saves and bad saves. The difference goes from 2 to 6.

The same sort of thing applies to attack bonuses and save DCs, if anything those are worse because it is much much easier to max you attack (your attack bonus or save DC) than your defense (three saves plus your AC).

Same with skills as well.

This means that the difference between the things that one character is good at and bad at get bigger and bigger and bigger and the differences between different characters capabilities get bigger and bigger and bigger. Eventually these differences get big enough that they swamp the d20 rolls and the math starts to break.

The way that 4ed goes about solving this is by having all of the numbers go up at about the same rate for everyone, by 1 point every 2 levels. This is a decent enough solution.

For a version of 3.5ed that goes at least part of the way towards doing that 4ed solution, see Star Wars Saga Edition. In that version of d20 a lot of the wonkiness (but not all) of the math gets fixed. If you want a fixed version of 3.5ed that doesn't look like 4ed, take a look at Star Wars Saga Edition and add in D&D-style magic and you should be relatively good to go...

Aquillion
2009-01-15, 10:30 AM
Do you think that a stunted growth of abilities would decrease the unbalancedness?

I've been trying to find peoples examples of balance issues online via Google.

I know the overpoweredness of casters vs's non casters is one.

The fact that monks are well monks.

Its option B that I'm more interested in. Not looking for an easy way out..It's not so easy.

First, there's no one set of balance fixes that everyone will agree to, because everyone would balance to a different point. Aside from a few problematic spells and strategies (scry-and-die, etc), there's not really anything wrong with druids, wizards, or clerics -- it's just that they're not balanced when compared to fighters. So (to put it bluntly) you have to decide if you want to nerf wizards down to fighters, or buff fighters up to wizards.

It doesn't quite have to be seen that way (since the purpose is to ensure that everyone has a role to play, something to contribute so they're not totally overshadowed -- they don't have to be exactly 'equal' in a 4e sense, necessarily, as long as they all have to depend on each other to a decent extent.) But that's the basic problem.

WotC has, in fact, released books that can help with this somewhat. The Tome of Battle is a good start if you want fighter-types capable of playing roughly evenly alongside wizards; the Tome of Magic is a good start if you want casters brought down to the power of fighter-types.

But I strongly recommend against trying to just modify the existing classes. It will not work; just buy the Tome of Magic instead.

The really big problem is that D&D's progression is, by and large, balanced around its magic system (by default, really, since fighters don't really... progress, in that sense.) CRs and dangers are rated based on certain assumptions for the abilities the players will have available to them -- a CR 5+ challenge will often assume players have someone with them who can fly or throw fireballs, say. A CR 9 challenge will assume they have someone who can bring them back from the dead. And so forth. Because magic has these clear breakpoints, many things in the game have become contingent on them.

Kurald Galain
2009-01-15, 10:33 AM
Question for you, Is there a list some where of the common issues with the 3.5 system rules... especially in regards to balance.

Whoah. There's a very long list. Let's see.

(1) Races: Favored classes are a clunky mechanic. LA is disastrous for some classes, mostly irrelevant for others. LA modifiers tend to be off. Certain races (e.g. half-elves, half-orcs) are decidedly sub-par.

(2) Classes: several classes lack actual class features at higher levels (e.g. sorcerer, cleric) giving them no reason not to take prestige classes. Some classes have abilities that contradict, appear way too late to do anything, or are generally ineffective to begin with (the obvious example for all three being the monk). Some classes have too many strong points (most notably the druid's triad of shapeshift + animal + full casting). Some classes require only one good attribute (e.g. cleric) whereas others require four or five (e.g. monk).

(3) Feats: several of the most visible feats are traps. In general there is a big disparity between feats that give a (generally small) bonus to something you can already do (e.g. weapon focus) and feats that give you more options (e.g. power attack), with the latter group being much better. Feats don't scale well with level, which is why the fighter is such a poor class.

(4) Skills: it is not possible to set a skill DC such that a task is nigh-impossible to a rookie yet easy to an expert. Certain classes get no skills worth mentioning, or not enough skill points to fulfill their archetypes (e.g. fighter, monk). Certain static DCs are way too low (e.g. tumbling, diplomacy). Certain skills are pretty much useless in play, without that being obvious from the start (e.g. forgery).

(5) Spells: a couple dozen of game-breaking spells exist. Divine classes in particular (and to a lesser extent, wizards) get too many spells known, which is both an enabler to uber-combos, and a bookkeeping horror.


And a bunch of others, of course. Mind you, this is just from Core. WOTC is well aware of (most of) these problems and made several attempts at fixing them. For instance, the PHB2 is an excellent book in that it fixes to greater or lesser extent (1) the lack of a "gish" class (duskblade), (2) the lack of melee tanks (knight), and (3) druidic shapeshift.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 10:34 AM
Its not so much the rate of increase, its that the rates of increase are all different.

For example, BaB. At first level the fighter and the rogue are in the same boat, but at 20th level there's a +5 difference.

Same with good saves and bad saves. The difference goes from 2 to 6.

The same sort of thing applies to attack bonuses and save DCs, if anything those are worse because it is much much easier to max you attack (your attack bonus or save DC) than your defense (three saves plus your AC).

Same with skills as well.

This means that the difference between the things that one character is good at and bad at get bigger and bigger and bigger and the differences between different characters capabilities get bigger and bigger and bigger. Eventually these differences get big enough that they swamp the d20 rolls and the math starts to break.

The way that 4ed goes about solving this is by having all of the numbers go up at about the same rate for everyone, by 1 point every 2 levels. This is a decent enough solution.

For a version of 3.5ed that goes at least part of the way towards doing that 4ed solution, see Star Wars Saga Edition. In that version of d20 a lot of the wonkiness (but not all) of the math gets fixed. If you want a fixed version of 3.5ed that doesn't look like 4ed, take a look at Star Wars Saga Edition and add in D&D-style magic and you should be relatively good to go...

Well the Bab thing i disagree with you about cuz that make sense from a balance view. I mean a fighter type should be better at hitting things then a rogue type?

As far as saves and DC's i guess i can understand where your going with that... Though i disagree with the 4th ed approach being better. the half your level thing makes IMO skills less special.
Mabye the DC system needs to be reworked.

Star wars saga was the d20 correct? or was it the d6? IMO D20 version was horrible unbalanced. Though the vitality system was pritty cool.

Aquillion
2009-01-15, 10:45 AM
Well the Bab thing i disagree with you about cuz that make sense from a balance view. I mean a fighter type should be better at hitting things then a rogue type?The problem is not that the fighter is better, the problem is that at level 1 they are almost exactly the same, and at level 20 the difference is comparatively huge.

While you could come up with a logical reason to justify this, it ends up making things much harder to balance (as it happened, WotC probably overestimated the impact of that increasing difference in BAB, which is why melee classes are so underpowered -- it really feels like they thought that that +5 or +10 advantage to hit would really be worth almost as much as full spellcasting, which is, well, uh.)

Honestly, this is part of why I don't think I'd like to play a game balanced around the current Fighter class. I don't feel that magic classes could be made particularly interesting or fun to play if their magic had to be balanced to equal the impact of, roughly, +10 to hit, a few more HPs/proficiencies, and a handful of +2 to xyz feats. If you're talking about limiting magic to be equal to that, you're not just talking about rebalancing anymore; you're talking about changing the flavor of the entire setting.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 11:03 AM
Whoah. There's a very long list. Let's see.

(1) Races: Favored classes are a clunky mechanic. LA is disastrous for some classes, mostly irrelevant for others. LA modifiers tend to be off. Certain races (e.g. half-elves, half-orcs) are decidedly sub-par.

(2) Classes: several classes lack actual class features at higher levels (e.g. sorcerer, cleric) giving them no reason not to take prestige classes. Some classes have abilities that contradict, appear way too late to do anything, or are generally ineffective to begin with (the obvious example for all three being the monk). Some classes have too many strong points (most notably the druid's triad of shapeshift + animal + full casting). Some classes require only one good attribute (e.g. cleric) whereas others require four or five (e.g. monk).

(3) Feats: several of the most visible feats are traps. In general there is a big disparity between feats that give a (generally small) bonus to something you can already do (e.g. weapon focus) and feats that give you more options (e.g. power attack), with the latter group being much better. Feats don't scale well with level, which is why the fighter is such a poor class.

(4) Skills: it is not possible to set a skill DC such that a task is nigh-impossible to a rookie yet easy to an expert. Certain classes get no skills worth mentioning, or not enough skill points to fulfill their archetypes (e.g. fighter, monk). Certain static DCs are way too low (e.g. tumbling, diplomacy). Certain skills are pretty much useless in play, without that being obvious from the start (e.g. forgery).

(5) Spells: a couple dozen of game-breaking spells exist. Divine classes in particular (and to a lesser extent, wizards) get too many spells known, which is both an enabler to uber-combos, and a bookkeeping horror.


And a bunch of others, of course. Mind you, this is just from Core. WOTC is well aware of (most of) these problems and made several attempts at fixing them. For instance, the PHB2 is an excellent book in that it fixes to greater or lesser extent (1) the lack of a "gish" class (duskblade), (2) the lack of melee tanks (knight), and (3) druidic shapeshift.

Wouldn't scaling feats be over powered and unbalanced simply because a class that is already powerful taking one would be even better?

Kurald Galain
2009-01-15, 11:11 AM
Wouldn't scaling feats be over powered and unbalanced simply because a class that is already powerful taking one would be even better?

Not if all classes are (roughly) equally powerful.

Also, you can fix this by setting prereqs.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 11:14 AM
Not if all classes are (roughly) equally powerful.

Also, you can fix this by setting prereqs.

True..



Aquillion: Wich is funny because I think that D20 handles low magic settings equaly as well as high level settings... Though besides tweeking the "broken" spells do you think changing the way casters work... eaither via amount of spells they get or amount of power they get or some thing along those lines would help the system as a whole? I know in second edition getting 1 spell at first level kinda blew... but i think the 3rd ed (3.0 and 3.5) casting may be to much... for balance issues.

Mark Hall
2009-01-15, 11:36 AM
My main issue with the system is the large amount of fiddly bits to keep track of every round.

Satyr
2009-01-15, 11:38 AM
Balance is only one problem of the D&D rules, even if it is a major one. For me personally the sometimes stupid rules are more of a problem:

Magic is too easy to learn and cast. It is extremely sad that it is easier to learn to manipulate energies with your mind than hitting someone else effectively with a stick, an art which is normally mastered by baboons.

There are all kinds of effects and rules for them with very plausible causes, but yet they are not realisable without magic. A part of the failure of balance derives from the complete marginalisation of combat options and their effectivity. You cannot injure someone without a weapon iwth a wounding enchantment, for example.

People do not learn to defend themselves. Apart from equipment (and here mostly armor), a first level bookworm wizard ands a 20th level fighter veteran with an equal dexterity score are equally easy to hit.
The fact that the defense is not even rolled but nothing but a fixed target number is also a great way of killing of a combat's suspense.

The way magical items and magic in general isd used is nothing but inflationary and kills the feeling, that such a rare item should be something precious and relevant.

Through the very fixed system of classes and races, characters are often shoehorned nto two dimensional stereotypes. There are not enough layers with significance to the game play to create more multidimensional characters.

PinkysBrain
2009-01-15, 12:13 PM
My main issue with the system is the large amount of fiddly bits to keep track of every round.
I know it's blasphemy and all ... but use a laptop ;) Inittool can keep track of most of the stuff for you.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 12:17 PM
Balance is only one problem of the D&D rules, even if it is a major one. For me personally the sometimes stupid rules are more of a problem:

Magic is too easy to learn and cast. It is extremely sad that it is easier to learn to manipulate energies with your mind than hitting someone else effectively with a stick, an art which is normally mastered by baboons.

There are all kinds of effects and rules for them with very plausible causes, but yet they are not realisable without magic. A part of the failure of balance derives from the complete marginalisation of combat options and their effectivity. You cannot injure someone without a weapon iwth a wounding enchantment, for example.

People do not learn to defend themselves. Apart from equipment (and here mostly armor), a first level bookworm wizard ands a 20th level fighter veteran with an equal dexterity score are equally easy to hit.
The fact that the defense is not even rolled but nothing but a fixed target number is also a great way of killing of a combat's suspense.

The way magical items and magic in general isd used is nothing but inflationary and kills the feeling, that such a rare item should be something precious and relevant.

Through the very fixed system of classes and races, characters are often shoehorned nto two dimensional stereotypes. There are not enough layers with significance to the game play to create more multidimensional characters.

I agree with you about the magic thing it is very easy to learn.


though the way wounding effects happen, is do to the nature of HP and its abstraction. also because every attack that hit would cause a lot more books keeping which is the same reason why AC isn't rolled more book keeping ... though i have played in a game with fluid defense where you roll for it and it was a lot of fun for the players... I as the gm found it kinda annoying.


Edit: Pinky's Or note cards i found that to be super easy... keeps track of inititave and you can right what buffs/debuffs are on them.

Occasional Sage
2009-01-15, 12:31 PM
I know it's blasphemy and all ... but use a laptop ;) Inittool can keep track of most of the stuff for you.

Heck, if most of your group has a laptop, the same folks (http://rptools.net/doku.php) make maptool, which lets everybody move themselves on the map, keeps track of things like initiative for the DM, and creates line-of-sight and area-of-effect markers at need. It's a bit fiddly to learn to use, but worth it.

Also, my main complaint with 3.5: it uses levels.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 12:34 PM
I think we are getting a little of topic...

What I guess im looking for and i know Aquillion and bosch have hit on it a few times is what could be corrected with the current system to make it more balanced. with out to many homebrew abilities?

Satyr
2009-01-15, 12:44 PM
though the way wounding effects happen, is do to the nature of HP and its abstraction. also because every attack that hit would cause a lot more books keeping which is the same reason why AC isn't rolled more book keeping ... though i have played in a game with fluid defense where you roll for it and it was a lot of fun for the players... I as the gm found it kinda annoying.

The thing is, most effects that would be the results of physical attacks are already completely covered in the rules, but only in the form of spells. The degree of abstraction is not the relevant feature, because you don't have to change it at all, only make some spell effects available as special attacks (stuff like ability damage, ongoing damage, penalties to attack rolls or ST's vs. fear...).
And, if you want to keep bookkeeping low and still wants to grant your players the advantage of roling for their own fate: let the attackers take 10 on the attack rolls and walways use the same fixed sum for their attacks, as well as fdefenses,, while only PCs and relevant NPCs roll. Critical hits are then a result of a natural one (or higher when other weapons are used), it si not really more bookkeeping (and probably less, as there are often more NPCs than PCs involved in a fight) and from a player perspective, the fights are more interesting.

Kurald Galain
2009-01-15, 12:52 PM
What I guess im looking for and i know Aquillion and bosch have hit on it a few times is what could be corrected with the current system to make it more balanced. with out to many homebrew abilities?
(1) use the PHB2 polymorph fix; (2) use Tome of Battle; (3) ban about two dozen of the worst offending spells or items. Done.

Or, even simpler, use barbarian/bard/ranger/rogue/paladin from the PHB, possibly knight/scout/duskblade/swashbuckler as well, then add warlock, binder, warmage, shadowcaster and dragon shaman as caster classes. This avoids the problem by removing the strongest classes (wizard/cleric/druid) as well as the weakest (fighter/monk/commoner).


only make some spell effects available as special attacks (stuff like ability damage, ongoing damage, penalties to attack rolls or ST's vs. fear...).
But they are. TOB does that, and several rogue/barbarian prestige classes do it as well.

RagnaroksChosen
2009-01-15, 01:02 PM
Kurald what about if it was core only... Core being any thing defined in the SRD.

Kurald Galain
2009-01-15, 01:25 PM
Kurald what about if it was core only... Core being any thing defined in the SRD.

Okay, in that case, (1) ban the polymorph line and divine power, (2) druids must dump one out of [animal companion, wildshape, spellcasting], (3) wizards, sorcerers, druids and clerics do not advance their spellcasting on any level divisible by four, and (4) strongly discourage fighters and monks.

As an alternative to (3), use psions rather than wizards.

Aquillion
2009-01-15, 06:45 PM
Wouldn't scaling feats be over powered and unbalanced simply because a class that is already powerful taking one would be even better?Not really. First of all, one of the weaker classes -- fighters -- get the most feats by far. They'll benefit more than anyone else from adding more good feats. (Well, as long as they're fighter bonus feats, of course.)

Second, most of the most powerful classes are spellcasters. Certain strategies and ways of playing are, themselves, underpowered. Now, it could be a bit tricky if you add, say, ToB (because things you intended as a bonus to make fighters balanced could make the ToB classes broken), but within RAW, adding powerful feats that help with melee combat would probably make things more balanced rather than less, especially if you design their prerequisites to make it hard for a CoDzilla to qualify or use them.

Spellcasters, incidently, already have scaling feats of a sort -- metamagic essentially scales, since you get better spells to apply it to, and more spell slots to use it with.

Heliomance
2009-01-15, 06:57 PM
(1) use the PHB2 polymorph fix; (2) use Tome of Battle; (3) ban about two dozen of the worst offending spells or items. Done.

Or, even simpler, use barbarian/bard/ranger/rogue/paladin from the PHB, possibly knight/scout/duskblade/swashbuckler as well, then add warlock, binder, warmage, shadowcaster and dragon shaman as caster classes. This avoids the problem by removing the strongest classes (wizard/cleric/druid) as well as the weakest (fighter/monk/commoner).


But they are. TOB does that, and several rogue/barbarian prestige classes do it as well.

At which point everyone either goes barbarian ubercharger or glaivelock laserspam.

Bosh
2009-01-15, 07:05 PM
Well the Bab thing i disagree with you about cuz that make sense from a balance view. I mean a fighter type should be better at hitting things then a rogue type?

The problem isn't that a fighter is better at hitting things, its that the difference between the fighter's ability to hit things and the rogue's ability to hit things continually grows.

So at low levels a fighter is slightly better at hitting things, but at high level a fighter is much much better at hitting things. This makes it very hard to balance the classes because the differences in their capabilities continually grow.


the half your level thing makes IMO skills less special.
Mabye the DC system needs to be reworked.
Yes, but with the existing 3.5ed skill system you'll eventually be +20 better in the skills that you're good at compared to the skills that you're bad at. This makes the d20 roll not really matter anymore so you get more and more "succeed as long as I don't roll a 1" and "only succeed if I roll a 20."


Star wars saga was the d20 correct? or was it the d6? IMO D20 version was horrible unbalanced. Though the vitality system was pritty cool.
It was the second d20 version, much much much better than the first.

The other basic problem of d20 is caster/non-caster balance. You can deal with this in a few ways:

1. Accept that in double digit levels, casters will walk all over the non-casters and probably be better at them at pretty much everything (including melee combat in many cases).

2. Turn high level non-meleers into superheroes or anime-style ninjas to help them keep up.

3. Hit high level casting with a big nerf bat. Probably the easiest way to do this is cut out some of the more game breaking utility spells (teleport + scry etc.) and up casting times for high level spells. Or just put in a house rule that "you caster level can't be more than half of your character level" to force casters to gimp themselves by multiclassing. Or ban the most powerful and weakest classes and hope for the best (things'll still get loopy at higher levels though).


Wouldn't scaling feats be over powered and unbalanced simply because a class that is already powerful taking one would be even better?
Fighters (who'd benefit the most from this) are not already powerful, they are rather gimpy. This is because at high levels being good at hitting things just isn't very useful anymore.

Another issue is that just because casters CAN break your game with ease doesn't mean they WILL. Many wizards just cast a lot of damage spells and many clerics just cast a lot of heal spells. If they mostly stick to that, they really won't be that powerful.

Now if the wizard starts treating his spell list like MacGyver and the cleric realizes he can buff himself until he can beat the fighter into paste with just a few spells then you have problems, but this is often pretty dependent on what players you have.

The druid, on the other hand is just horrifically broken since you can break it without being at all creative.

Kurald Galain
2009-01-15, 08:01 PM
At which point everyone either goes barbarian ubercharger or glaivelock laserspam.
If you have players who enjoy that, you should realize that the lack of balance in 3E isn't actually a problem for them. Miss the point much?

horseboy
2009-01-17, 05:58 AM
In addition to all the above reasons, (especially how craptacular the skill system is) I'd like to add WBL and CR to the list. They do not belong in a PnP RPG. Players should be spending money on what their characters would spend it on, not to constantly be grinding new gear. If a good character wants to actually try and do good with his lucre, by opening hospitals for peasants, or opening theaters and museums, or tithing. Heck, even if they just decide to open up a chain of taverns, it gets in the way.

Crap, you know what, it might just be easier to list what 3.x did right than all what it did wrong and how to fix it...
Hmmmm...
....
....
....
Well, they did get rid of alignment languages and replaced them with "normal" languages like Celestial. Yeah, that's all I've got. Everything else is pretty much bjorked.

KKL
2009-01-17, 06:26 AM
3.5 is quite a travesty. I'll just talk about core here.

Horrifying. Poorly balanced, barring the gamebreaking things. I don't even know what it's suppsoed to be good at anymore, aside from Swords and Sorcery (Which is, by the way, Sorcery and Sorcery that happens to back up Swords a crapton). There are no options, unless you're a spellcaster...which means you BLEED options right through that tiny hole you squeeze fecal matter through. You literally have spells for EVERYTHING, including summoning up the goddamn kitched sink.

Melee characters are utterly shafted. As a barbarian, you get class features...and a feat. Whoop de doo. Wait, you're a human, so that's ANOTHER feat! Okay, so let's see..fighter. ANOTHER feat! So that's three feats. Whoop de doo. Power Attack and Imp. Trip gives you more options, and the rest are decidedly minor, or craptastic. Barbarians get to fly into a rage and just hit harder. And that's the size of it. Fighters only really ever hit things. That's about it.

At the mid-higher levels, combat takes forever to resolve, since casters have to rifle through the abridged dictionary named ~*~*~*OPTIONS!!!*~*~*~ while the melee guys roll a billion attacks, touch attacks, AoOs, or whatever else. Drop in criticals and hit chances and it just gets higher. And with rerolls from whatever and damage calculations and everything just becomes a headache.

The skill system is lackluster and annoying. You had to pump a skill repeatedly or else you could never hit DCs. If you wanted to specialize in a lot of skills, you won't hit the DCs because your modifier will be low. Certain classes don't even HAVE skill points or SKILLS to begin with (No, I don't count 2+Int and about three skills to count as anything meaningful). For certain skills, once you hit a certain number, youcan forget entirely about it, unless your DM houserules it. Unless of course, you have magic, in which case you can ignore everything here and continue being a minor deity.

By level what, 3 or 5, you can pass mundane obstacles with simple ease...as long as you had magic.

Oh and good luck running a no magic campaign without extensive houserules. Because you need magic for everything.

Samakain
2009-01-17, 06:49 AM
I can't say i've ever encountered problems :P i guess because i don't have a group full of munchkins? *shrug* i guess if theres problems the major one would be the imbalance between spellcasting and combat, but i've never encountered it enough to provide much help.

Bout the biggest bitch i've had is the healer getting sick of healing? lol.

Satyr
2009-01-17, 07:36 AM
You don't need to be a muchkin to long for more options. And while I think KKL's critique is a bit harsher than mine, but it hits the core of the problem; spellcaster gets all the love, while the traditional heroic roles can only look at them like poor kids in front of a toy store.


But they are. TOB does that, and several rogue/barbarian prestige classes do it as well.

I would argue that the Tome of Battle is not about melee fighting. It is about another form of magic which happens to be channeled through weapons and uses spells with a slight resemblance to normal fighting.


In addition to all the above reasons, (especially how craptacular the skill system is) I'd like to add WBL and CR to the list. They do not belong in a PnP RPG. Players should be spending money on what their characters would spend it on, not to constantly be grinding new gear.

Oh yes. The CR system has at least a purpose in the game (it does not fill out its designated role as an indicator for approriate encounters, but at least it tries), but Wealth by level is nothing but an institutionalised inflation.

KKL
2009-01-17, 07:40 AM
I would argue that the Tome of Battle is not about melee fighting. It is about another form of magic which happens to be channeled through weapons and uses spells with a slight resemblance to normal fighting.

The only explicit "magical" disciplines of ToB are Shadow Hand (I AM NINJA), Devoted Spirit (I'M SO CRUSADER I **** HOLINESS), and Desert Wind (FIRE EVERYWHERE). The rest are fairly mundane, with Diamond Mind toeing the line because of "I will CONCENTRATION CHECK you to DEATH." Also, Iron Heart does it, sort of. Lol IHS?

Satyr
2009-01-17, 07:58 AM
I would describe the ability to gain a dog's sense of smell (hunter's sense), throwing large battle axes in a circle, hitting several enemies and let it return to my hand afterwards (lightning throw) and the ability to summon a mist to blur my movements (ghostly defense) as at least slightly supernatural - and these are all abilities of the supposedly "unmagical" disciplines.

There is nothing wrong with using the ToB disciplines as another tradition of magic. In a way, it make more sense that way (think of a setting like Exalted or Earthdawn, where every PC is considered to be more than a mere mortal).

I often found that D&D in its standsard version works best if its is seen as superhero comic in a medieval/fantasy world, not as normal people with extraordinary abilities. If you want to do something else with the rules, you need to change them considerably. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102346)

KKL
2009-01-17, 08:08 AM
Vwoop, might've just jumped in there blindly, Satyr. :D

I get riled up for no reason when ToB's referred to as magic. Carry on.

ericgrau
2009-01-17, 08:24 AM
There was a good thread on this recently, I learned a lot about the issues that are issues (and a little about the issues that aren't really issues) here:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86663

Anyway gather up a bunch of opinions, read the rules and decide for yourself. IMO the #1 real problem by far seems to be complication.

The main problem with making a concrete list is disagreement. Especially between forums. In any individual forum you'll have some popular notions, and there are some that span between forums with some variation. The key is to examine every claim heavily yourself. In a matter filled this heavily with opinion, I'm afraid we can't get a concrete list without a big chance that a large chunk of it is just plain wrong. And if there's an item where people say "this is the way it is and nobody does/should/could disagree with it" (when people do disagree), watch out for their opinion the most. The best way is to read the opinions yourself, scrutinize heavily and come up with your own answers. You still can't be 100% correct, but you'll be miles ahead of the game.

If you're looking for a "fix", first note that most real games aren't that bad, especially those that use common sense in the face of munchkins, etc.

Fortunately I doubt anyone paid attention to the "link me a concrete list part" and they're already rattling off opinions :smallbiggrin:.