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View Full Version : [3.x.x] Banlists, and how you feel about them?



Doc Roc
2010-04-19, 09:37 PM
So, as you know, I run the test of spite, and have for almost three seasons now. It's slowed down, but still going, so I don't see this changing any time soon. However, a lot of people have raised methodological concerns, and some have been very vehement. I wanted to get a chance to hear them out, and to read about what they think exactly and why. I'll try to keep up with the running discussion as best I can.

TL;DR:
How do you feel about banlists?
In general?
Why?
About the ToS Banlist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7503784&postcount=2) specifically?

Mushroom Ninja
2010-04-19, 09:47 PM
I'm in favor of banlists if they are well-thought-out, enhance the game experience, and aren't too restrictive. Arbitrary, ineffective, and random bannings (which I've had to deal with all too often IRL) annoy me to no end. Something like the ToS banlist, (which has been tested again and again by optimization and is constantly being reconsidered), appeals to me greatly.

Yukitsu
2010-04-19, 09:54 PM
They are necessary to facillitate any semblence of reasonable play when there are abusive people around. They aren't needed when no one is trying any funny stuff.

Ban lists should never ban based on source (except third party, which requires too much work) but should ban parts of a source. Even the BoVD has some laurels to it, even if certain parts are really broken.

The ToS one is pretty good for its intended functions, but can be a bit broad given its vs. nature. It means the people who win are the ones that have the broadest knowledge, which I think undermines some of the interest. I prefer vs. matches to have more restrictive sources than normal.

arguskos
2010-04-19, 09:57 PM
TL;DR:
How dare you say that about my mother?! :smallfurious::smallwink:


How do you feel about banlists?
Depends on the- oh wait, more questions.


In general?
As long as they are explained and open to debate, I am generally fine with them.


Why?
Well, each DM has a unique vision of their world and many times certain things just don't fit in it, meaning it gets banned. This is natural and fine.


About the ToS Banlist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7503784&postcount=2) specifically?
That's another story. Personally, I find it a bit much, but given that everything has a reason, I'm not gonna say anything about it. I'd like to see everything explained though, so I can keep up on all the dirty tricks and know what I would personally permit/ban (since I reference the ToS ban list for my games).

Mushroom Ninja
2010-04-19, 10:09 PM
Having re-checked the ToS Banlist, I have a couple of nitpicks:

Aptitude Weapons Banned: I know Olo used them in his epic lightning maces build, but outside of that, do they really break the game?
Battle Jump Banned: Doesn't melee need all the help it can get?
UA Racial Varients not on the Allow List: Sure some of them are strong, but are they that bad?
Vorpal Banned: Is there some abuse I don't know about?
All clerics are Cloistered Clerics: Why?
Mention of Sarrukh Requires Home Address: Shouldn't a photo, name, fingerprint, and license plate number be included as well, just to facilitate the punitive actions. :smallwink:


I'm sure most of these have good reasons I'm not aware of, but, ignorant as I am, the above seem a little odd to me.

arguskos
2010-04-19, 10:11 PM
I'm sure most of these have good reasons I'm not aware of, but, ignorant as I am, the above seem a little odd to me.
You just hit on my big issue with the ToS list: there is no explanation. At all. It's just "X, Y, and Z are banned or will get you eaten by the hounds." This turns off a LOT of folks, who might like to see the explanations.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-04-19, 10:18 PM
You just hit on my big issue with the ToS list: there is no explanation. At all. It's just "X, Y, and Z are banned or will get you eaten by the hounds." This turns off a LOT of folks, who might like to see the explanations.

It should be noted that, if you have the time to look through the ToS threads, you'll find some of the discussions that gave rise to some bannings, but that takes forever.

Pluto
2010-04-19, 10:19 PM
I don't like banlists in normal games. D&D isn't a competition and players are very able to talk with one another about their intentions and expectations.

In situations like the Test of Spite (when D&D is a competition), ban lists are a good thing.

As far as the specific ToS rules in the ToS, I don't have any objections except the Fighter ban. (I'm assuming anyone entering the ToS knows what to expect of the class.)

I would object to the ToS rules being placed into a campaign I was playing. Shapeshifting is fun. Demon summoning is fun. Fusion is just neat. Balance is not nearly as important as nifty effects.

arguskos
2010-04-19, 10:21 PM
It should be noted that, if you have the time to look through the ToS threads, you'll find some of the discussions that gave rise to some bannings, but that takes forever.
Oh, I've read all of them, and posted occasionally. I've watched many of the fights. I STILL don't know why some stuff is on that list. While I could ask, this doesn't diminish the fact that an observer with no account or a brand-new DM curious about good houserules will not only lack the knowledge I have, but probably will be too intimidated to get involved and ask/figure it out.

Better to explain things with a sentence or two than to just expect folks to figure it out, since it's often not obvious.

Zeful
2010-04-19, 10:31 PM
I don't like banlists in normal games. D&D isn't a competition and players are very able to talk with one another about their intentions and expectations.

Situation: As above.

Problem:
1: Player A, wants to play a heroic swordsman. Begins stating up a paladin
a: Player B points out the Crusader class as a better paladin [citation needed].
b:Player A does not own the ToB, has not heard of the Class and does not want to learn an entire new ruleset.
ba: DM share's Player A's sentiments, and lacks the money to buy the book.
c: Player B, incredulous, begins to swear up and down that ToB is the only thing that can balance melee against casters.
d: DM heavily nerfs casters.
f: Things snowball from there.

Yeah, talking leads to so many great and wonderful understandings (mainly the sentiment that everyone else is an idiot).

Pluto
2010-04-19, 10:39 PM
Yeah, talking leads to so many great and wonderful understandings (mainly the sentiment that everyone else is an idiot).
Or, y'know, player A rolls up a Cleric.

Zeful
2010-04-19, 10:40 PM
Or, y'know, player A rolls up a Cleric.

Which player b failed to mention.

Arutema
2010-04-19, 10:41 PM
Mention of Sarrukh Requires Home Address: Shouldn't a photo, name, fingerprint, and license plate number be included as well, just to facilitate the punitive actions. :smallwink:


Home address is sufficient for nuking the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.:smallbiggrin:

arguskos
2010-04-19, 10:42 PM
Or, y'know, player A rolls up a Cleric.
Cleric =/= Heroic Swordsman. Just sayin'.

However, Zeful, there's a bunch of other ways that could go. Player B could go, "Oh, ok. Thought I'd mention it." and move on. Player B could actually open a reasonable discussion of alternate rules, and perhaps teach his friends the new system (everyone wins that way). Player B could actually suggest something else, like the Knight, in response. Lots of ways that could go, it's not always "bleargh ToB RAWRZ"* and drama everywhere.

*: I want to see a ToB thread where everyone just plays up stereotypes and we all have a great many laughs. That'd be entertaining.

Zeful
2010-04-19, 10:45 PM
Cleric =/= Heroic Swordsman. Just sayin'.

However, Zeful, there's a bunch of other ways that could go. Player B could go, "Oh, ok. Thought I'd mention it." and move on. Player B could actually open a reasonable discussion of alternate rules, and perhaps teach his friends the new system (everyone wins that way). Player B could actually suggest something else, like the Knight, in response. Lots of ways that could go, it's not always "bleargh ToB RAWRZ"* and drama everywhere.

*: I want to see a ToB thread where everyone just plays up stereotypes and we all have a great many laughs. That'd be entertaining.

True, player B was an intentional exaggeration of a worst case scenario just to demonstrate how talking could fail miserably. Not that it would, most people are far more reasonable in person than over the interwebs.

Eldariel
2010-04-19, 10:45 PM
Aptitude Weapons Banned: I know Olo used them in his epic lightning maces build, but outside of that, do they really break the game?

They work as not intended (there are few other things that ensure constant Daze and such). The principal issue is that the ability is meant to just apply weapon specific feats that could apply to the weapon to the weapon with the ability; much like the Aptitude-ability itself.

However, what they do is they allow applying any weapon-specific ability to any weapon which generates problems like applying an ability multiplied on criticals to a weapon with 18-20/x2 base critical range generating some issues.


UA Racial Varients not on the Allow List: Sure some of them are strong, but are they that bad?

"Strictly better than base creature" is the issue, I'd wager.


Vorpal Banned: Is there some abuse I don't know about?

You can take 20 on an attack roll by using e.g. Surge of Fortune.


All clerics are Cloistered Clerics: Why?

Purely a matter of sensibility, I'd wager; to make Clerics Clerics, not Paladins.


As for the OP, I'm fine with banlists, particularly within context of an online game, but I prefer fix lists; generally few things are broken by intent/lack fair guise and as such, I prefer rewriting things to make them work instead of just banning them.


For example, changing shape to another creature is such an archetypal part of fantasy that I just cannot with good conscience make it impossible/completely superficial. That Polymorph is too good cannot mean such change is completely unacquirable.

Even permanent change has to be possible (again, too archetypal a part of fantasy to ban); it's just a matter of finding the balance between how big a change is doable without making it a no-brainer and breaking the game balance while still maintaining the feel of becoming precisely what you turn into.

Same with calling Outsiders; Planar Binding-spells and Gate is broken on principle, but they're too important a part of fantasy to flat out remove the ability from the game. Gates have to be created somehow too. I, again, prefer fixing the broken mechanics here.

Of course, there's stuff like Simulacrum nobody will miss (though that should be relatively easy to gain in a fair guise; the issue is that the "half-strength" thing doesn't apply to everything and that the XP cost is bypassable), but mostly I loathe to ban iconic parts of fantasy; of course, bunch of broken PrCs deserve no second looks as long as all the key archetypes are filled by the core classes and the PrCs and refluffing, but for example I really pity the difficulty of creating a fair, and yet useful Polymorph, and particularly Polymorph Any Object (the source of all the related issues due to being potentially permanent, and yet such a key part of everything).

I'm of the school that it's not the players' responsibility to know what's broken and what is not and have to all the time monitor their power with relation to the rest of the party; rules should be such that you don't accidentally break the game when playing by them. But plain banning is...last resort, in my opinion, though of course easiest solution especially on the intermediary stage when seeking the solution.

FishAreWet
2010-04-19, 10:55 PM
I'm okay with them. I think the ToS ban list is one of the best I've seen. My only :smallmad: is the ban of Dragon Magazine. I figure this ban is more due to the difficulty of acquiring and then spot banning features from these, and less due to the silly "Dragon Magazine is overpowered!" rumors that get thrown around. Is this true?

Although not part of the 'banlist' I do really like Intimidate not being Mind-Affecting and Undead not being immune to Mind-Affecting. It simply opens up so many character possibilities without overpowering... anything.

I don't mind it not having explanations, but that's largely because I know enough about 3.5 to recognize each ban for what it is. For an arena I think this is okay. In a game with friends, explanation should be given.

In general, banlists need to operate under the presumption that everything is being used to the best of it's advantage. This largest disadvantage of this is when someone wants to use a feature for a less optimized purpose but cannot due to it's ban. I try to avoid these situations by making bans specific. i.e. aptitude only effects feats which require you to pick a specific weapon

Olo Demonsbane
2010-04-19, 10:55 PM
Having re-checked the ToS Banlist, I have a couple of nitpicks:
Aptitude Weapons Banned: I know Olo used them in his epic lightning maces build, but outside of that, do they really break the game?

I have another build that uses them to force about 5 different saves on each attack. And it gets on average 20 attacks per round. Trust me aptitude weapons are no good.


Battle Jump Banned: Doesn't melee need all the help it can get?

Again, 6 full attacks each round easily. Not really a good idea.


UA Racial Varients not on the Allow List: Sure some of them are strong, but are they that bad?

Huh, didn't know about this one...


Vorpal Banned: Is there some abuse I don't know about?

Surge of Fortune. Cleric 6 spell from Comp Champ. Gives you an auto 20.


All clerics are Cloistered Clerics: Why?

I'm not quite sure on this one...

Also, since I posted something about this on the ToS main thread, linky (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8335688&postcount=1315)

tyckspoon
2010-04-19, 11:01 PM
I'm okay with them. I think the ToS ban list is one of the best I've seen. My only :smallmad: is the ban of Dragon Magazine. I figure this ban is more due to the difficulty of acquiring and then spot banning features from these, and less due to the silly "Dragon Magazine is overpowered!" rumors that get thrown around. Is this true?


I believe so, yes- it's a huge body of material to work with when taken in total, and the pieces are scattered across literally hundreds of separate articles and issues. If there were something like the 4E Character Builder that organized and referenced all the Dragon material there'd at least be a place to start with it, but as is Dragon is best approached as opt-in material that defaults to not allowed.

Edit: I think the Cloistered Cleric thing was done as a concept-separation/setting effect thing; it makes Clerics more distinct from Paladins, Crusaders, and all the other Holy Warrior-type classes and prestiges. Not all of the ToS changes are strictly balance based- remember that part of the goal is also to generate a set of rules alterations that makes a more sane D&D, in which case you don't want Clerics covering the same conceptual ground as Paladins with strictly superior mechanics.

arguskos
2010-04-19, 11:05 PM
I believe so, yes- it's a huge body of material to work with when taken in total, and the pieces are scattered across literally hundreds of separate articles and issues. If there were something like the 4E Character Builder that organized and referenced all the Dragon material there'd at least be a place to start with it, but as is Dragon is best approached as opt-in material that defaults to not allowed.
As the ToS ban list stands, it's NOT opt-in, it's just banned, period.

Mando Knight
2010-04-19, 11:06 PM
Surge of Fortune. Cleric 6 spell from Comp Champ. Gives you an auto 20.

And even without it, a nat 20 means HEADSHOT. Test of Spite isn't meant to be "5% chance of total obliteration."

Godskook
2010-04-19, 11:08 PM
How do you feel about banlists?
In general?

They're the 'easy' way. They simply remove things rather than fix them. The medical equivalent would be to shoot the patient. However, this is sometimes the most appropriate response.


Why?

Because some examples, even on the ToS banlist, can be fixed, but instead, the baby goes out with the bathwater. Lightning Maces has always bugged me as an example of this, and now's as good a time as any to mention what I thought should've been done:

"Whenever a feat trigger grants you a bonus attack, this bonus attack can not grant additional bonus attacks unless specifically stated otherwise"

This should nerf lightning maces back down into a reasonable feat, and keep any similar feats from getting out of hand as well. On the other hand, it doesn't affect combat reflexes, as the trigger for AoOs is not a part of the feat's rule text, but rather the generalized AoO rules.


About the ToS Banlist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7503784&postcount=2) specifically?

I've referenced the list quite a few times as a very valuable DMing tool, but I never suggest that people actually implement it wholesale. Does that help?

The most egregious example of where I disagree with it is the banning of Focused Specialist. I won't go into the details of my opinions on the subject here, but suffice to say, I find the option provides a better penalty to specialization than core specialization does.

I also am not convinced that nightsticks need to not stack. I think the problem here is more involved with DMM(Persist) than nightsticks.

Eldariel
2010-04-19, 11:09 PM
Again, 6 full attacks each round easily. Not really a good idea.

It's again poorly written. If it only allowed making a charge attack (by y'know, taking the charge action) through falling instead of jumping, it'd be fine. As it is, obviating the action requirement is an issue, though it's kinda unclear what exactly it does either way (I always read it as "if you take an attack action after falling on a guy, it's a charge" which would allow it to effectively convert standard action into a charge attack though that's already possible with Boots of Battle Charger...though they require swift action to activate).

Set
2010-04-19, 11:16 PM
For example, changing shape to another creature is such an archetypal part of fantasy that I just cannot with good conscience make it impossible/completely superficial. That Polymorph is too good cannot mean such change is completely unacquirable.

Same with calling Outsiders; Planar Binding-spells and Gate is broken on principle, but they're too important a part of fantasy to flat out remove the ability from the game. Gates have to be created somehow too. I, again, prefer fixing the broken mechanics here.

And, IMO, the problem with both of these issues has nothing to do with the transformation spells or the summoning / calling spells, it has to do with the fact that a fair number of monsters have abilities that nobody in their right mind would want a PC to have (like Create Spawn or Grant Wish or Feed or Split or the ability to gain infinite Con by being hit by lightning or even a simple +5 NA bonus at 1 HD).

Calling / summoning spells and polymorph / wild shape will never be 'fixable' so long as Barghests and Efreeti and Black Puddings and War Trolls and Solars and Shadows have ridonkulous abilities, in some cases, built-in infinite loop abilities.

And they are just the tip of the iceberg. A well-built Diplomacy user can *convince* such a creature to use it's abusive abilities in accordance with his wishes. An Enchanter can dominate or otherwise enthrall a creature to do so. Anyone can take Leadership and try to recruit such a beastie as their cohort. Savage Species-type games allow for a PC to potentially *play* such a beastie, with powers that might be an interesting challenge for the 36 seconds it is going to survive on the field of battle, but are game-wrecking if the beastie survives and goes on to, for instance, turn an entire village into Shadows under it's command.

And all of that assumes that the beastie has to be convinced by a PC to use it's abilities intelligently (i.e. in a way that would break the game). An Efreeti is plenty smart enough to enslave some mortal and force it to 'accept' three Wishes a day worded to benefit the Efeeti without anyone Calling it or Planar Shepherd-abuse Wild Shaping into it or making a DC 40 Diplomacy check against it and turning it into a wide-eyed fanboi, eager to shower it's new best friend with Wishes to prove its eternal devotion.

Polymorph, Summoning and Enchantment are all classics of the fantasy genre, as is using a silver tongue to trick a beastie into doing something that ends up in the clever heroes best interest (monsters as PCs or gaining the services of beasties through Leadership, not so much, although examples do exist), and all of them are doomed to remain crippled so long as the critters you can turn into, call forth or make your cuddle-monkey are gifted with abilities that are wildly inappropriate.

Wild Shape / Gate bans detract from the genre. The bans should be on Efreeti granting *Wish spells* and similar nonsense. The story of Aladdin has a genie flat out saying, 'I can't do that' to Aladdin, so it's totally in keeping with the fantasy tradition for a genies 'wish' to be something more along the lines of a *service,* and not a 9th level Sorcerer/Wizard spell.

Instead of banning stuff in the PHB, I'd be running through the Monster Manual with my red pen. No Create Spawn. No Feed. No infinite Con from lightning. No free Wishes.

Eldariel
2010-04-19, 11:24 PM
Calling / summoning spells and polymorph / wild shape will never be 'fixable' so long as Barghests and Efreeti and Black Puddings and War Trolls and Solars and Shadows have ridonkulous abilities, in some cases, built-in infinite loop abilities.

Actually, it's possible as long as these spells in a way or another prevent access to those abilities. It is...possible to write the spells in such a way that at the very least, accessing those abilities is more trouble than it's worth.

Monsters' abilities don't have to be granted fully through those spells...though modifying the monstrous abilities somewhat to be less stupid might be a good idea anyways. In my opinion though, there are so many of them that it's just plain too much work to go through every book with monsters and rewrite them to be balanced for player-use.

Polymorph doesn't need to grant you Str 26 for you to feel a Remorhaz, it simply needs to make you strong. The character has no way of knowing exactly how strong a Remorhaz is and it's fully possible that replicating such a creature is complex enough that the Wizard simply isn't skilled enough to provide the full power the form could have.

And calling...well, as long as "calling"-spells merely call creatures instead of compelling them to service, most problems are averted. As long as there's risk to the whole "calling"-cycle, you cannot just repeat it ad nauseam to reap benefits. Though obviously, SLAs themselves need some kinds of limitations and Wish should not be able to produce a Candle of Invocation (in its present guise) thank you VERY much or overall, looping itself in any way.

sofawall
2010-04-19, 11:44 PM
I also am not convinced that nightsticks need to not stack. I think the problem here is more involved with DMM(Persist) than nightsticks.

DMM:Quicken is another huge offender. DMM in general makes it quite easy to do annoying things for a very low cost, especially when someone with access to the Wizard/Sorcerer list casts as Divine (There are a few ways), or someone with Divine casting accesses the Wizard/Sorcerer list (Archivist, anyone?), combined with a method of granting Turn Undead to a non-Cleric Class (there is more than one way).

Godskook
2010-04-20, 12:00 AM
DMM:Quicken is another huge offender. DMM in general makes it quite easy to do annoying things for a very low cost, especially when someone with access to the Wizard/Sorcerer list casts as Divine (There are a few ways), or someone with Divine casting accesses the Wizard/Sorcerer list (Archivist, anyone?), combined with a method of granting Turn Undead to a non-Cleric Class (there is more than one way).

Ok, let me rephrase that as "The problem lies with DMM(feat), not Nightsticks" Which is a derivative of the over-arching meta-reducer balance issue that's a plague on pretty much every feat and prestige class associated with the mechanic of making metamagic easier. I wonder how much of it would get solved by simply ruling that you must be able to cast the spell without reducers to cast it with them(The only game I'm DMing so far hasn't gotten nearly high enough to think about metamagic so I've yet to see anyone try and break it).

IonDragon
2010-04-20, 12:11 AM
I agree with the general consensus.


How do you feel about banlists in general?
I feel a banlist is superior to an "allow list," in much the same way that a rules errata illustrates changes, rather than what stays the same.


Why?
Many reasons. It's faster, it lets you slowly build one over time rather than reviewing everything a player wants to take every time they build a character (again, faster), easier to keep track of. And the big one: It does not limit what you can play any more than any other system, it's just easier to use. An 'allow list' could be said to have "a banlist consisting of everything, EXCEPT: This, That, and The Other".

Usually, you're going to have more allowed than banned.


About the ToS Banlist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7503784&postcount=2) specifically?I have not found that it limits my options in any way thus far.

Jon_Dahl
2010-04-20, 12:24 AM
I love banlists.
I think players who don't accept banlists are poor players and I'm happy not to play with them.

Few cold facts:
1. DM has to enjoy the game as much you do. If he isn't happy about something, don't force it. If the option A is not available, take option B.
2. Good player plays human commoner and feels happy about it. Period.
3. Read #2 again.
4. In life you just can't have everything you want. Don't be such a crybaby.
5. Rules that are same for everyone are good rules.
6. D&D has lot of broken stuff and things that don't fit all campaigns. Live with it.

Personally I ban lot of things and thanks to GitP I've found lot of new stuff to ban.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-20, 12:41 AM
Situation: As above.

Problem:
1: Player A, wants to play a heroic swordsman. Begins stating up a paladin
a: Player B points out the Crusader class as a better paladin [citation needed].
b:Player A does not own the ToB, has not heard of the Class and does not want to learn an entire new ruleset.
ba: DM share's Player A's sentiments, and lacks the money to buy the book.
c: Player B, incredulous, begins to swear up and down that ToB is the only thing that can balance melee against casters.
d: DM heavily nerfs casters.
f: Things snowball from there.

Yeah, talking leads to so many great and wonderful understandings (mainly the sentiment that everyone else is an idiot).

I don't know what kind of people you play with, but no group I've played with has ever had a ban list, no character I've made has ever been turned down except for campaign-specific reasons (inappropriate race, etc.), and despite the fact that typically 1-3 people optimize way above the rest of the group, power disparity has never been an issue. Remember, it's just a game. You're only doing it wrong if you're not having fun.

Zeful
2010-04-20, 12:54 AM
I don't know what kind of people you play with, but no group I've played with has ever had a ban list, no character I've made has ever been turned down except for campaign-specific reasons (inappropriate race, etc.), and despite the fact that typically 1-3 people optimize way above the rest of the group, power disparity has never been an issue. Remember, it's just a game. You're only doing it wrong if you're not having fun.

I have an extensive ban list for the reasons I listed in the quote. I don't have the time, money or desire to sit down and learn a new ruleset beyond what I have, so no ToB. Nor do I especially care about empowering casters any more than they already are, no SpC (or only specific spells so I don't have to deal with the idiocy of the Orb of X line), no MIC, no Complete Arcane, no BBB. I don't want a book telling me that I've been playing wrong for the past few years, no Rules Compendium. I could go on with my banlist and the reason thereof, but there's no point, my point's been made.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-20, 01:06 AM
I have an extensive ban list for the reasons I listed in the quote. I don't have the time, money or desire to sit down and learn a new ruleset beyond what I have, so no ToB. Nor do I especially care about empowering casters any more than they already are, no SpC (or only specific spells so I don't have to deal with the idiocy of the Orb of X line), no MIC, no Complete Arcane, no BBB. I don't want a book telling me that I've been playing wrong for the past few years, no Rules Compendium. I could go on with my banlist and the reason thereof, but there's no point, my point's been made.

Maybe it's just the group, then. Everyone who DMs in my groups expects players to know the rules for their own characters, to not deliberately make broken characters, and if they do so accidentally to not abuse that fact. No problems yet. The freedom of having all options available beats the risk of a player trying to "win."

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-04-20, 01:06 AM
I love banlists.
I think players who don't accept banlists are poor players and I'm happy not to play with them.

Few cold facts:
1. DM has to enjoy the game as much you do. If he isn't happy about something, don't force it. If the option A is not available, take option B.
2. Good player plays human commoner and feels happy about it. Period.
3. Read #2 again.
4. In life you just can't have everything you want. Don't be such a crybaby.
5. Rules that are same for everyone are good rules.
6. D&D has lot of broken stuff and things that don't fit all campaigns. Live with it.

Personally I ban lot of things and thanks to GitP I've found lot of new stuff to ban.6 is fine, but 1-5? Really? Your players are supposed to enjoy playing Joe the Farmer in a heroic fantasy game or they're crybabies? And if, somehow, they're actually enjoying your game quite a bit, they're supposed to dial back their enthusiasm because you have to enjoy the game as much as they do? I mean, what happens if a player is having fun and you're in a bad mood? Are they suppose to go in the corner and cry, and if they don't want to they're a crybaby? I guess the whole issue of a player enjoying a DM power trip more than the DM is academic. [Hm, I forgot 5. It isn't nearly as... problematic, but I could think of a variety of rules that are equally bad for everyone.]

It's one thing to employ even-handed rules alterations to ensure fair party balance and negate campaign-breakers, but the rest... really?

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 01:07 AM
I don't know what kind of people you play with, but no group I've played with has ever had a ban list, no character I've made has ever been turned down except for campaign-specific reasons (inappropriate race, etc.), and despite the fact that typically 1-3 people optimize way above the rest of the group, power disparity has never been an issue. Remember, it's just a game. You're only doing it wrong if you're not having fun.

I'd suggest you're doing it wrong if someone else is experiencing a considerable reduction in net fun. :)

We ban wildshape for a couple of compelling reasons, I think, that I'll happily share:

If we unban it, we have to deal with a tremendous number of combos, broken shapes, and generally problematic spells.
Druid does not need wildshape to be a extremely potent threat.
If we alter or fix wildshape, we need to propagate those changes through a huge set of dependent material. And we don't get paid for this.

arguskos
2010-04-20, 01:08 AM
I'd suggest you're doing it wrong if someone else is experiencing a considerable reduction in net fun. :)
Just gotta make everything more complicated, eh? :smalltongue:

Divide by Zero
2010-04-20, 01:10 AM
I'd suggest you're doing it wrong if someone else is experiencing a considerable reduction in net fun. :)

Replace "you" with "your group." But I expect you knew what I meant :smallsmile:

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 01:12 AM
Replace "you" with "your group." But I expect you knew what I meant :smallsmile:

I have found that it is safer to assume solipsism, and be pleasantly surprised. :)

Jon_Dahl
2010-04-20, 01:16 AM
6 is fine, but 1-5? Really? Your players are supposed to enjoy playing Joe the Farmer in a heroic fantasy game

Joe the Farmer can rise to great fame. Everyone has to start somewhere. Besides I don't care about heroic fantasy at all.


And if, somehow, they're actually enjoying your game quite a bit, they're supposed to dial back their enthusiasm because you have to enjoy the game as much as they do? I mean, what happens if a player is having fun and you're in a bad mood? Are they suppose to go in the corner and cry, and if they don't want to they're a crybaby?

It all depends on the players attitude. I've played in really severe games (as a player) where we are all bums in a post-apocalyptic world trying to find water and I enjoyed it. I'm never in a bad mood as a player or DM.


I guess the whole issue of a player enjoying a DM power trip more than the DM is academic. [Hm, I forgot 5. It isn't nearly as... problematic, but I could think of a variety of rules that are equally bad for everyone.]

There is no power trip. I only look for the good of the game in whole. Actually if you really want to know, my rules are geared to be beginner-friendly. This is why I have a banlist, so the available material is... relaxingly small.


It's one thing to employ even-handed rules alterations to ensure fair party balance and negate campaign-breakers, but the rest... really?

Really. I have been told I run enjoyable games. But one time I had player that wanted lot of "exotic" stuff, and he was really angry when I turned his characters down and it was the only time I played with him. No regrets.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-04-20, 01:34 AM
Joe the Farmer can rise to great fame. Everyone has to start somewhere. Besides I don't care about heroic fantasy at all.

It all depends on the players attitude. I've played in really severe games (as a player) where we are all bums in a post-apocalyptic world trying to find water and I enjoyed it. I'm never in a bad mood as a player or DM.Fair enough, but it's still a particular play-style that not all RPers like, or are in the mood for every time. That doesn't mean they're little whiners. To be honest I think GURPS (or a Fudge-based game if you want simplicity) would handle a commoner game better, but YMMV.

All that said, the point was perhaps someone can enjoy the game more than you sometimes. Maybe a player is in a particularly good mood. I'm not saying players have a right to trample all over the DM, but the way you worded it just seems silly.

... Also, you're never in a bad mood at the table? That's either miraculous timing, or I'll take what you're taking.


There is no power trip. I only look for the good of the game in whole. Actually if you really want to know, my rules are geared to be beginner-friendly. This is why I have a banlist, so the available material is... relaxingly small.

Really. I have been told I run enjoyable games. But one time I had player that wanted lot of "exotic" stuff, and he was really angry when I turned his characters down and it was the only time I played with him. No regrets.It is well within reason for a DM to disallow material he doesn't like, but with everything involved, I can't even tell if your problem player even really got angry (maybe he's just unfairly being called 'angry'), or why.

Jon_Dahl
2010-04-20, 01:47 AM
This thread is about how you feel about banlists and I've spoken my mind. People have right for their opinions. I have nothing more to add here and I'll not drag this any further, so please tell us your opinion about the subject in hand but my style is not open for discussion.

Zeful
2010-04-20, 01:56 AM
Maybe it's just the group, then. Everyone who DMs in my groups expects players to know the rules for their own characters, to not deliberately make broken characters, and if they do so accidentally to not abuse that fact. No problems yet. The freedom of having all options available beats the risk of a player trying to "win."

Yes it's based on group. If you can play with everything at your table, good for you. I can't I don't look at the rules and see the "most optimal" path. I couldn't optimize myself to fight Batman, so I don't. I don't bother looking at a build beyond "what's the next level going to look like?" and try to tailor abilities to characterization (one of my few gripes with the Paladin class, I can't play a fun holy warrior who fights evil with divine powers) so I can have fun being someone else for a few hours.

Anyone playing D&D with the concept of "winning" has to define their "victory" first, otherwise they go nowhere quickly.

Thefurmonger
2010-04-20, 01:58 AM
This thread is about how you feel about banlists and I've spoken my mind. People have right for their opinions. I have nothing more to add here and I'll not drag this any further, so please tell us your opinion about the subject in hand but my style is not open for discussion.

Not to be a stickler, but you opened your style for discussion when you posted about it.

Jon_Dahl
2010-04-20, 02:06 AM
Not to be a stickler, but you opened your style for discussion when you posted about it.

I know, but now it's just dragging on. Like this post and yours: They have nothing to do with this topic anymore, just pointless.

Kurald Galain
2010-04-20, 04:20 AM
In general, I find banlists unnecessary. If players want to cheese out, I reserve the right to veto things on a case-by-case basis, but I never found it necessary to a priori ban a long list of things that most players haven't heard about in the first place.

As for the TOS banlist, I find most of it incomprehensible, in that it is hard to impossible to find out why any particular item is banned. And then there's things that aren't banned but "will get you eaten by the hounds", and then there's things that appear to be banned because they're too weak (e.g. the Fighter class). Perhaps the list should be some kind of Wiki page instead, a forum post is not the best format for a lengthy list.

JaronK
2010-04-20, 04:54 AM
The one thing from ToS that annoys me is the "all Clerics must be Cloistered." I doubt the majority of Clerics in real games are Cloistered, and Cloistered is hardly weaker, so what's the point? It feels like personal preference in an otherwise well thought out list.

JaronK

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 05:20 AM
Surge of Fortune. Cleric 6 spell from Comp Champ. Gives you an auto 20.

Surely this is an issue with surge of fortune rather than vorpal.


I'm a little unsure as to why total LA is limited to +1.


Sanctum Spell does not apply for determining if you can affect a spell with items or spells.
Doesn't that make it completely useless? Now you can't even get through a globe of invulnerability with it.


# Greenbound Summoning is banned.
Word from the designer is that it was a misprinted +2 metamagic.

Also the

# Caster Level from UMD checks caps at 20 for our purposes.
is completely pointless, given that the rules don't allow you to emulate caster level with UMD any more than you can emulate "deceive item" with UMD to take 10. It was in the FAQ.


"Spell Completion and Spell Trigger items can not have metamagic effects unless you are buying a specific printed example." also seems a little heavy handed; surely just saying "metamagiced spell completion and spell trigger items are treated as if they had a spell level equal to their adjusted slot, max 9" would be more reasonable. I can understand wanting to avoid the "technically, persistant wraithstrike is the same level of spell as normal wraithstrike, so the wands cost the same amount" argument.

When Two Become One being banned seems kind of overkill, given that the spell only works on horses. Unless there's some sort of horse blood feat you can give to a hydra mount or something, it doesn't seem that abuseable.

The rainbow servant nerf seems a little excessive, given that taking 10/14 of your levels just to get a better spell list, which is available to another character class, is already very limiting. Especially since Ur-priest has somehow evaded banning thus far.

Intimidate now effects mindless creatures, which is equivalent to intimidating a wall. That seems really odd.

Also unsure why you're still keeping around the favored class rules, which are typically the first things to go.

Drascin
2010-04-20, 05:47 AM
I'd suggest you're doing it wrong if someone else is experiencing a considerable reduction in net fun. :)

We ban wildshape for a couple of compelling reasons, I think, that I'll happily share:

If we unban it, we have to deal with a tremendous number of combos, broken shapes, and generally problematic spells.
Druid does not need wildshape to be a extremely potent threat.
If we alter or fix wildshape, we need to propagate those changes through a huge set of dependent material. And we don't get paid for this.


We just gave Druids Aspect of Nature instead in my group. Gives them a cool, totemic animal-related ability, and it's not all that broken (well, not more broken than Druid without neither feature, I mean).

sofawall
2010-04-20, 07:02 AM
When Two Become One being banned seems kind of overkill, given that the spell only works on horses. Unless there's some sort of horse blood feat you can give to a hydra mount or something, it doesn't seem that abuseable.

3 things. 1, I remember there was a reason for this, though I do not recall it, sorry. 2, many of the changes that seem to make little sense are there for a reason, and 3, nobody is perfect, not even the ToS folks :P

Also, many things were banned because of discussion in ToS chat (link in Doc Roc's sig), so digging through the threads won't find those ones.

9mm
2010-04-20, 07:16 AM
*Insert usual plaintiff to allow normal fighters here :smallbiggrin:*

yes, many things ended up being banned due to hilarity that was discovered in the chat room. Two Become One is one of them (it allowed stackable uses to create the uber of ubermounts if memory serves).

On ban lists, I like them for pointing out potential problems; and feel ToS has a pretty comprehensive list.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-20, 08:09 AM
I agree with Eldariel on the viability of ban lists vs. fix lists--I generally prefer to be able to keep an ability conceptually and tone it down mechanically rather than simply losing it. Something like Lightning Maces, Surge of Fortune, etc. I can live without, since "I hit things lots" and "I roll well on command" are covered conceptually, but losing calling and transformation magic is a huge conceptual hit and I'd rather see a weaker version in play than lose it completely.

Regarding the ToS banlist, I agree with most of the bans, as I run an everything-goes-yes-even-that kind of game and have seen plenty of amazing combos based on the banned materials; I'd like to see some material altered rather than banned, as mentioned, but given that this is a purely volunteer effort and any fixes would be debated ad nauseam, I'm fine with leaving them as bans.

Tytalus
2010-04-20, 11:08 AM
Generally, ban lists are better than homebrew fixes since it sticks to official rules (and for simplicity's sake, too).

However, a good ban list also provides reasoning, i.e., what it tries to achieve with each respective ban.

That way, bannings don't appear arbitrary and faulty reasonings can be pointed out.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-20, 11:23 AM
Generally, ban lists are better than homebrew fixes since it sticks to official rules (and for simplicity's sake, too).

Banlists are certainly better in something like the ToS, where it's public and RAW-based, but in a home campaign I believe houserules are probably better. The question was about banlists in general, so as I mentioned before I prefer homebrew in most cases but a banlist works for ToS.

jiriku
2010-04-20, 12:06 PM
I view the banlist as a valuable campaign-sculpting tool or a DM time-saving tool. It's unfun to use it as a balancing tool - houserules do that better.

Example:
I run a campaign with an alternate cosmology that lacks outer planes and focuses on a struggle between law and chaos instead of good and evil. Further, I want to showcase the struggle of moral relativism. I ban spells that detect or conceal alignment or affect a target based on alignment, angels, devils, and demons, spells that summon or emulate banned monsters. Hand-in-glove, I have alternate summoning lists and variant critters so that players can still do fun summoning stuff despite not having access to celestial dire badgers and whatnot.

I ban incarnum, not because I'm concerned with any balance issues, but because I don't have the book and don't have the time or inclination to borrow one and study it intensively in order to gain mastery of the system, and I'm not going to allow a power system in my game unless I thoroughly understand it.

At the same time, planar binding and gate are some really abusable spells, and diplomacy is buh-roken. So I houserule these diplomacy to use Rich Burlew's diplomacy rules, remove the compulsary service option from gate, and require a diplomacy check rather than a charisma check when negotiating with called creatures.

Gnaeus
2010-04-20, 12:32 PM
I tend to prefer a really short banlist of the most broken stuff. Free wishes, Planar Shepherd, Incantrix, Pun Pun, maybe a small handful of others. Then an equally small handful of rules clarifications/nerfs (free spellcasting cannot be acquired as an ability with shape changing magic, DMM not usable if the level adjusted spell would not be in range for that caster).

Jyokage
2010-04-20, 12:46 PM
I for one, have never had to play in a campaign with anything other than a thematic banlist. I have always found that; either as Dm or Player, the best method of regulating PC's is to approve each character before play. A quick look over the old character sheet and a nice discussion of the concept over tea and sandwiches has thus far worked perfectly. But maybe that is just my groups method.

Post Script: We do play fairly optomized games, but the general consensus is that each player is allowed to use any and all means at their disposal for character creation. Just don't be surprised if the dm turns his nose up at your cheese castle of a character. :smallwink:

Thurbane
2010-04-20, 12:59 PM
I don't have any problem with ban lists. I find it just as fun to build a character within limits as I do making an optimized character with access to everything. Also, I tend to have respect for my DMs, so unless they are enforcing something truly un-fun, I abide by their decisions.

Caphi
2010-04-20, 12:59 PM
2. Good player plays human commoner and feels happy about it. Period.
3. Read #2 again.


I hope you're not serious about this. Everyone who doesn't enjoy a certain (your) style of play is automatically a bad player? People who like using build skill or being creative with their building are bad? And not even that, but they have to enjoy it? So if I can play Joe Farmer, but I don't like to because it doesn't let me express characters I have fun with, it's bad play?

I'm not going to lie. This post kind of makes me sick.

Piedmon_Sama
2010-04-20, 01:01 PM
Banlists are fine. Allowing everything is fine too, as long as no one is a butt. The difference is, if you want a coherent and consistent setting (from a thematic/storytelling standpoint), then you have to limit some options. Your gritty, dark-fantasy war story will not be improved by a Half-Dragon Psionic Warrior and his pal the Warforged Swordsage. If you want to tell a story about magical floating cities where elves, dwarves and whatever are all organized political factions, then Jean de Munne the totally realistic 6th-level human knight with his Stunning Blow feat (gotta snatch that ransom) and ranks in [courtly dance] and [lute playing] will stick out like a sore thumb.

If you just want to kick in the door, kill the big-HD monster for bragging rights and fat lewts, then you may as well let people kick in the door in whatever special way they want. Be it with ToB Maneuvers, Psionics, a special feat that lets you sneak attack doors, whatever.

Full Disclosure: I actually have a pretty extensive banlist (lots of PrCs and races I don't want the headache of introducing into my setting at this point, no ToB, no Incarnum, no Warlocks, ToM, no full-casting classes at all) but except for one player, almost nobody in my group even knows what to ask for. So it's very rare that I ever have to say you can't take XYZ, because usually I'm the one suggesting stuff out of splatbooks for them. Also this campaign has been going on for almost four years and is close to being done, so a lot of stuff can't be included on the basis of story alone.

Thurbane
2010-04-20, 01:13 PM
I hope you're not serious about this. Everyone who doesn't enjoy a certain (your) style of play is automatically a bad player? People who like using build skill or being creative with their building are bad? And not even that, but they have to enjoy it? So if I can play Joe Farmer, but I don't like to because it doesn't let me express characters I have fun with, it's bad play?

I'm not going to lie. This post kind of makes me sick.
While I think Jon_Dahl's might be a little over the top, I agree with some of the fundamental sentiment of what he's saying.

Players with an inflated sense of entitlement can be just as problematic as overly restrictive DMs. Moreover, bad DMs tend to be "self correcting", in that people tend to drop out of their games, while a group is more likely to tolerate a problematic player (of whatever type) for a longer period.

The DM/player relationship is a two way street - both sides need to be mindful of the other. IMHO, since the DM is being good enough to give his time and effort to provide an environment to play in, he deserves a little more "leeway" than a player.

This doesn't give him the right to trample all over the players, but in the case of an impasse, I tend to defer to the DM....

Tura
2010-04-20, 01:23 PM
Banlists are fine. Allowing everything is fine too, as long as no one is a butt. The difference is, if you want a coherent and consistent setting (from a thematic/storytelling standpoint), then you have to limit some options.
True, but instead of checking 248 splatbooks and banning whatever doesn't fit the setting, it would be much more efficient to describe the setting adequately and then ask players to come up with concepts that do fit.

I like themed and coherent settings most of all, and I've found that banning stuff is an unnecessary headache. I mean, if the DM says "OK, people, how about a story based on early Celtic mythology?", I won't go and submit a warforged, now, will I? :smalltongue:

Piedmon_Sama
2010-04-20, 01:26 PM
It's even easier than that: if your player is the kind of guy who will read through 50 splatbooks digging for the best feat or an obscure psionic race or something (I've got only one, maybe two players like that) then just look through what they find and tell them what won't work and why. Nothing should be assumed DM-approved until the DM has, well, looked at it.

Indon
2010-04-20, 01:37 PM
Accepable for public games in which the DMs may not be able to trust their players to act responsibly with the game's mechanics, or for campaign definition and tone reasons to speed up character creation (eg "Only PrCs from X setting book").

Otherwise, silly. If you have a player for which you need a banlist in your group, then you need to address the problem at the source - the player, not modify the game just to accomadate a problematic playstyle.

DMs should not have to bend over backwards to make sure their players will not break their games. Instead, players should learn to exercise the responsibility to use the tools in their system in a way that will not break the game, and the situational awareness to understand how to do so.

TheCountAlucard
2010-04-20, 01:39 PM
I mean, if the DM says "OK, people, how about a story based on early Celtic mythology?", I won't go and submit a warforged, now, will I?I would! :smalltongue: But dang it, I'd make it fit. :smallamused:

Tura
2010-04-20, 01:44 PM
It's even easier than that: if your player is the kind of guy who will read through 50 splatbooks digging for the best feat or an obscure psionic race or something (I've got only one, maybe two players like that) then just look through what they find and tell them what won't work and why. Nothing should be assumed DM-approved until the DM has, well, looked at it.
Well, yes, but this implies that said player doesn't already know why the race is incompatible. (I'm assuming we're still talking about themed settings, and not simply banning stuff because they're too powerful, right?) And knowing at least what sort of races are available seems rather important to me. Maybe the DM didn't give enough information - or maybe the player didn't pay attention. Or maybe the setting isn't so themed, after all. :smalltongue:

The thing is, D&D is a game where all participants are expected to enjoy themselves. For me, it's creative to work on a humans-only campaign, because there are so many ways to differentiate one human character from another. For others, this might seem restrictive instead, like something that stifles creativity. If the DM has to force his vision on the players, maybe their game style just isn't compatible.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-20, 01:44 PM
I like themed and coherent settings most of all, and I've found that banning stuff is an unnecessary headache. I mean, if the DM says "OK, people, how about a story based on early Celtic mythology?", I won't go and submit a warforged, now, will I? :smalltongue:



I would! :smalltongue: But dang it, I'd make it fit. :smallamused:

Dryad who carries her tree around with her as livewood armor. Bam. :smallbiggrin:

Oslecamo
2010-04-20, 01:45 PM
DMs should not have to bend over backwards to make sure their players will not break their games. Instead, players should learn to exercise the responsibility to use the tools in their system in a way that will not break the game, and the situational awareness to understand how to do so.

Well, it may also depend on the DM's tastes.

For example, most DM's out there will just say NO to any infinite loopholes the players come with.

However I've met people that claim that not only infinite loops are allowed but actualy encouraged, so the party goes around crafting golden castles where they damn please just as show of their power, and the DM adapts by puting enemies to wich golden castles are mere trinkets. They enjoy a more "shiny-awesome" style of play.

Other DMs however prefer a more gritty feel so they remove "basic" stuff like remove disease and raise dead and even a simple wand cure of light wounds is considered a great rare treasure in the campaign world so the players must make maximum use of everything they find, instead of being able to throw out stuff left and right.

DragoonWraith
2010-04-20, 01:55 PM
Your gritty, dark-fantasy war story will not be improved by a Half-Dragon Psionic Warrior and his pal the Warforged Swordsage.
Absolutely, positively disagree that this is necessarily the case unless "gritty, dark-fantasy" inherently equals "no magic" to you (which I suppose it might, but otherwise...) - it's all in the backstory. Which is why I don't like banlists for actual games (as opposed to arenas). Nixing a particular combo that's overpowered or not allowing a non-fitting backstory makes perfect sense. But "in my head, Tome of Battle just doesn't fit in the setting, so don't even ask" is just, well, unnecessarily restrictive. Besides, "low magic" or worse "no magic" is fundamentally not handled well by D&D to begin with...

Piedmon_Sama
2010-04-20, 01:56 PM
Well, yes, but this implies that said player doesn't already know why the race is incompatible. (I'm assuming we're still talking about themed settings, and not simply banning stuff because they're too powerful, right?) And knowing at least what sort of races are available seems rather important to me. Maybe the DM didn't give enough information - or maybe the player didn't pay attention. Or maybe the setting isn't so themed, after all. :smalltongue:

The thing is, D&D is a game where all participants are expected to enjoy themselves. For me, it's creative to work on a humans-only campaign, because there are so many ways to differentiate one human character from another. For others, this might seem restrictive instead, like something that stifles creativity. If the DM has to force his vision on the players, maybe their game style just isn't compatible.

Well, fitting thematically vs being too powerful isn't a sharp dychotomy for me. The two kind of bleed together. I mean, my setting isn't just a tiny corner of a continent, it's a whole world, so in theory there's room for everything. If forced to describe my setting on one foot, I'd say it's basically Imperial Rome updated to the 16th Century. Devils and Demons don't work because the gods are more like forces of nature that can be helpful or not, rather than simply good and evil. But there might be some corner of the setting more like Ancient Judea, where Succubi (Lillitu, whatever) haunt the night. I might allow one Succubus character into the game, to represent one of those Lillitu that fled its homeland and ended up thousands of miles away. But if it died, I wouldn't allow two, because that's just staggering credibility.

Doing this allows me to work with my players like you described. I have two guys who like to play characters that are at least a little monstrous; they'd both be bored in all-human settings. I want a low-fantasy setting where you could walk down the street and think you'd gone back in time, rather than gone to Neverland. I care about details like how people in medieval towns took out their trash, got water for the day, etc. So you say they're incredibly rare creatures from beyond the mountains. That's fine, but then you have to enforce that: you can't say, "this is the last surviving elf outside of Fairy-Land" and then if it dies, let another elf join the party. That's how I compromise (I do compromise).



Absolutely, positively disagree that this is necessarily the case unless "gritty, dark-fantasy" inherently equals "no magic" to you (which I suppose it might, but otherwise...)

It's not. Sure, you can do a campaign with a setting like Harry Potter and story beats like The Sopranos. I was using a cliche about low-magic-gritty games to make a point about thematics.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 01:56 PM
True, but instead of checking 248 splatbooks and banning whatever doesn't fit the setting, it would be much more efficient to describe the setting adequately and then ask players to come up with concepts that do fit.

I like themed and coherent settings most of all, and I've found that banning stuff is an unnecessary headache. I mean, if the DM says "OK, people, how about a story based on early Celtic mythology?", I won't go and submit a warforged, now, will I? :smalltongue:


Blessed with incredible stamina, this distant descendant of Conchobar could hold his breath for a week, spend ten days without water, forty nights without sleep, and a year without food. Able to endure even the strongest poisons and keep fighting, he relies only upon his own strength, and detests those who rely upon divine favor for healing.

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 01:59 PM
Two Becomes One is extremely easy to abuse. I won't go into the specifics, but we did a couple of proof-of-concept characters that are still lying around somewhere I think.

Banning Surge of Fortune is problematic, because it's really important in reducing the perceived randomness of things like saves. Worse, it's really not the only auto-crit effect out there . There are four or five that we found, at last count. Surge is just the most accessible.

In a sense, its accessibility is what has preserved it, since it sees a lot of use via UMD for non-casters.

As for the other things, I think that with a little research you can find out why we made those choices.

The sanctum spell alteration is necessary to prevent a certain flavor of item abuse as well as prevent a roughly equivalent form of spell abuse, which basically uses it to push the effective spell level down for purposes of cost reduction or unintended qualification. Things like wands, for example, or empowered spellshards. We ban this because it's too esoteric even for such a high-powered arena as ToS, because the math was awkward, and because in a few cases it produced tier 0 builds. In a lot of senses, it's banned for the same reasons as mercantile background.

Sanctum spell still allows early entry, among a few other things.


It's even easier than that: if your player is the kind of guy who will read through 50 splatbooks digging for the best feat or an obscure psionic race or something (I've got only one, maybe two players like that) then just look through what they find and tell them what won't work and why. Nothing should be assumed DM-approved until the DM has, well, looked at it.


And what if he found this really fun character concept on.... say... a forum? In a guide perhaps? What if this is something he's become invested in due to long lapses in contact between player and GM, which is not uncommon during the run up to a campaign? The problem with blanket statements is that they keep you too warm. Badump Tshhhh.

Indon
2010-04-20, 02:08 PM
Other DMs however prefer a more gritty feel so they remove "basic" stuff like remove disease and raise dead and even a simple wand cure of light wounds is considered a great rare treasure in the campaign world so the players must make maximum use of everything they find, instead of being able to throw out stuff left and right.

I consider establishing a general power level to under 'campaign tone'. Even then, once the players are aware of the tone, they shouldn't need extensive regulation.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 02:08 PM
Two Becomes One is extremely easy to abuse. I won't go into the specifics, but we did a couple of proof-of-concept characters that are still lying around somewhere I think.

The proof of concept I could find actually mentioned used a cyrohydra. Which isn't actually a valid use, since the spell specifies horses.

Look, here's a venn diagram.
http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/3341/venndiagram.png
:smalltongue:

I can understand making sanctum spell not let you cram things into contingency; it just seems kind of dumb that you can't increase the level of a spell with it.

Piedmon_Sama
2010-04-20, 02:09 PM
If he's seriously not going to play unless he can have this Prestige Class from Dragon # XYZ and be a race from 3rd-party ABC, then mine is not the game for him. He can wait until I do a mostly-plotless dungeoncrawl, or he can find somewhere else to use that character. That's a blanket statement that works pretty well for me. :|3

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 02:12 PM
If he's seriously not going to play unless he can have this Prestige Class from Dragon # XYZ and be a race from 3rd-party ABC, then mine is not the game for him. He can wait until I do a mostly-plotless dungeoncrawl, or he can find somewhere else to use that character. That's a blanket statement that works pretty well for me. :|3

What if he just wants to play an archivist or tainted scholar though?

Tura
2010-04-20, 02:13 PM
@ Piedmon_Sama: I'm with you. You describe a very nice setting, with the "correct" (to my taste) compromise between coherence and build options. :)


Blessed with incredible stamina, this distant descendant of Conchobar could hold his breath for a week, spend ten days without water, forty nights without sleep, and a year without food. Able to endure even the strongest poisons and keep fighting, he relies only upon his own strength, and detests those who rely upon divine favor for healing.
Ah, refluffing! I'm all for refluffing. (And tweaking. And homebrewing. In fact, I firmly believe that RAW is merely a suggestion.) I would definitely allow such a character in a Celtic campaign - will the appropriate aesthetic modifications, of course.


Back to banlists, I agree that they are a very nice tool for games over the internet, where you don't know the players personally, the group isn't (more or less) fixed and hasn't developed a particular style over the years, people don't know each other's preferences etc.

Doubly so in PvP and Arena games, where "theme" and "coherent setting" are mostly irrelevant and "winning" is indeed the goal. When you're playing to win, the rules had better be very well defined, I think.

Godskook
2010-04-20, 02:20 PM
@Doc Roc, my google-fu produces nothing and my forum search-fu produces "all the terms you used are too general to search for".

What the *HELL* is "Two Becomes One".

I can't even find it in the ToS rule-set.

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 02:21 PM
That actually wasn't the problem, Mad. The problem was that once you merged with your horse, you became a valid target for two becomes one, allowing characters to stack like matryoshka dolls, and for you to merge with anything that could UMD the spell, trigger a contingency of it from a ring of spell-storing, or any similarly stupid event. Worse, it's technically persist-able.

Even in the simplest case, it often offered access to a bizarrely large pool of HP by "simply" stacking horses.

@G:
Pg 119, Oriental Adventures.
To my knowledge, I was the first person to notice it. A shameful admission in many respects.

Caphi
2010-04-20, 02:21 PM
While I think Jon_Dahl's might be a little over the top, I agree with some of the fundamental sentiment of what he's saying.

Players with an inflated sense of entitlement can be just as problematic as overly restrictive DMs. Moreover, bad DMs tend to be "self correcting", in that people tend to drop out of their games, while a group is more likely to tolerate a problematic player (of whatever type) for a longer period.

The DM/player relationship is a two way street - both sides need to be mindful of the other. IMHO, since the DM is being good enough to give his time and effort to provide an environment to play in, he deserves a little more "leeway" than a player.

This doesn't give him the right to trample all over the players, but in the case of an impasse, I tend to defer to the DM....

I think it's definitely a two-way street. I try to foster a symbiotic relationship from both sides of the table. As the GM, I try to let the players do what they want within limits, and as the player I try to play nice.

The issue I take with what Jon said is not about the GM/player relationship, it's about playstyles. He said that as far as he's concerned, a player that cannot play a weak, uncustomized character and enjoy it is a bad player.

It's a twofold issue. First, it's a position against customization - and note that word, because it's distinct from optimization. I personally do both, attempting to make an effective character that expresses a concept I have in mind (and the concept usually gets priority on the off chanc there's a conflict). In Jon's game, apparently, such a thing is not allowed.

The second issue that he says a good player must enjoy it, which is basically saying that the above is badwrongfun and people who want to do it are "crybabies". I can play a human commoner with no feats. I'm not going to like it, because there's no room to express. Actually such a game seems to me to be Pretend with a few d20s.

It's a little bit offensive, but mostly on a principle perspective, because I try not to take things personally on the Internet.

T.G. Oskar
2010-04-20, 02:40 PM
I find that a banlist such as the ToS list is a good start. Of course, the idea of the ToS banlist is to find ways to handle that situation to allow back the banned spell/feat/power/magic item/etc. back into the game. Sometimes, it's impossible and it's best left banned; sometimes, it's better to keep it on the sidelines until something reasonable can be done (that's why part of the very, very early rules usually say "X thing can be done in Y way", such as Druids not using Wild Shape and instead using Aspects of Nature). And yes, there is still much more to go.

In fact, the ToS list is not exclusively a banlist, but something else. Point to mention: feathered wings. They aren't banned; all the contrary, they are clearly recommended. Most of the restrictions on items and whatnot allow for creative uses of new items. And also, creative uses of builds as well: I haven't done much there, but I've found new things to do that I couldn't do before (specifically, ways to enter Sublime Chord without ever stepping on Bard).

True, for the most part the ToS "ban"list is comprised of vs. matches. However, the original idea was to allow both delves and matches; the Monkening is a pretty early example of the ToS list used in a delve. It's meant to be used as more than just a method to ban things; it's meant to explain the reasons, but laziness often overtakes that, as well as the idea of fixing that which is broken (not to mention just how difficult would that be).

In the area of Cloistered Clerics: the idea is that Cloistered Clerics are the closest thing to the archetypal divine magician, with less reliance on heavy armor and a bit more reliance on magic. The closest thing, since the problem of the Cleric is the spell list, not the heavy armor proficiency. It also allows for the Knowledge domain, which is always nice as a replacement for Knowledge Devotion, which while it doesn't help on nerfing the cleric, it makes dips a bit more interesting. The fact that the HP amount is reduced and the Cleric gets a bit more skill points isn't bad.

Dragon Magazine does have its share of broken stuff. Just think of the headache that is working with the Dvati, and you can figure out most of the problem with it. Granted, there are a few stuff (namely, feats) that could enter the list as an allow list (namely, Serenity, Kung Fu Genius although Carmendine Monk is almost strictly better). The big trouble lies in sifting what's good, what's broken, what's horrible, and what's reasonable (in that order: good as in something you would allow on your game, broken as in breaks the game, horrible as in you wouldn't allow it on the game on the grounds of how stupid or pointless it is, and reasonable as something good but that you wouldn't constantly use).

As for LA limitations...well, that's a weird one. It doesn't block much, since the races that are mostly used are human, silverbrow human, gray elf, and so forth. Mostly 0 LA races, or +1 LA classes, in any case. That, and drow are simply ridonkulous to use :P

An important thing to point out is that the ToS works by RAW almost exclusively. You can have the best argument, but if it's not supported by RAW, and the RAW-supported argument is the cheesy one, it works. That's why stuff like capping caster level via UMD is enforced. That's not to mention that you can technically use a non-epic spell that's created at caster level 21+ and enough UMD to actually fire it. That's basically to prevent a match from ending by casting Holy Word/Blasphemy/Word of Chaos/Dictum from a scroll of CL 23+.

Ur-Priest isn't exactly broken, unless you're going for a Theurge build. You can get close to 9th level spells, but the early entry methods are mostly banned, so you end up with 7th level spells (exactly as if you'd have gone Cleric 13), or close to 8th level spells (which requires a very precise method of entry that either makes or breaks your tier). In fact, it's one of the ways of easy spell acquisition, along with Sublime Chord. Banning Ur-Priest means banning Sublime Chord, and Sublime Chord is viable since it's a pain to enter. Apostle of Peace is another choice, but it's so hilariously wrong it's almost impossible to fix (unless you removed the Vow of Poverty requirements, and expanded the class' spell list to all Cleric except Evil/pain/most necromancy spells). Ur-Priest is less broken and more an optimizer's tool, so to speak.

I know it's mostly explaining and nit-picking on the list, but it's for good reasons. I couldn't explain all of the reasons for the bans and nerfs (for example, Nightsticks are good to go but you can only use one Nightstick along your turn undead attempts: that makes Divine Metamagic stay, but restricts it's overall power, it makes Extra Turning far more useful, and it makes Metamagic Song equally reasonable since a single Bard/Sublime Chord with Extra Bardic Music can do roughly the same things), and some are already explained. They're good to allow people to think outside the box: with stuff like Incantatrix and Planar Shepherd gone, people have started to flock towards Psionics (great system, but it has it's hidden gems), Incarnum, and even some Binding. Heck, a few have tried Truenaming (but with not much success)! I think that's one of the main reasons to support a well-explained banlist: it makes people think.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 02:50 PM
That actually wasn't the problem, Mad. The problem was that once you merged with your horse, you became a valid target for two becomes one, allowing characters to stack like matryoshka dolls, and for you to merge with anything that could UMD the spell, trigger a contingency of it from a ring of spell-storing, or any similarly stupid event. Worse, it's technically persist-able.
I'm not sure that a joint man-horse combination qualifies as a horse any more than, say, a centaur does. I suppose if you had a chain of larger and larger horses the man-horse beast could ride you could stack it, but I have to wonder how exactly you're getting a huge horse in the first place. I guess it might be possible to do with a series of expansions/size reducers, but it seems like the sort of thing that could hilariously backfire if anyone dispelled it (and isn't there already a minion limit anyway?).

I suppose a paladin would get a lot more use out of it, since they have a nice horse, but they kind of suck to begin with...

EDIT: Actually, I can't find a limit on the number of creatures you can bring in. What's to prevent someone from bringing in ten thousand chickens and using them as chaff to jam anyone's lifesight or blindsense?

EDIT2: Hmm... I've come around to the spell being a good idea to ban - not that it's overpowered, but that it's so badly written (what type does the combined creature have? How are targeted spells resolved) that it would require extensive enough houserules on how it works to make it too much effort.

chaos_redefined
2010-04-20, 03:16 PM
I hope you're not serious about this. Everyone who doesn't enjoy a certain (your) style of play is automatically a bad player? People who like using build skill or being creative with their building are bad? And not even that, but they have to enjoy it? So if I can play Joe Farmer, but I don't like to because it doesn't let me express characters I have fun with, it's bad play?

I'm not going to lie. This post kind of makes me sick.

I'll agree with this, considering that I have been pushed into playing something I wouldn't have enjoyed. Even worse: not for power reasons, but because the DM decided he knew what I wanted to play better than I did. For a fair while, I thought the problem was 4e, even after I found that the things I would have enjoyed playing actually existed, until I said to the DM that I wanted to change character. After that, enjoyment increased dramatically.

Lycar
2010-04-20, 03:20 PM
Blessed with incredible stamina, this distant descendant of Conchobar could hold his breath for a week, spend ten days without water, forty nights without sleep, and a year without food. Able to endure even the strongest poisons and keep fighting, he relies only upon his own strength, and detests those who rely upon divine favor for healing.

Wait, are you talking about Raidri Conchobair (http://www.wiki-aventurica.de/index.php?title=Raidri_Conchobair), the 'usual suspect/posterchild' for 'totally over the top heroes', form a system that usually prides itself to not have as 'totally over the tep' heroes like a certain other system?

Yeah well, that would need a lot of refluffing but... hehe... :smallbiggrin:

As far as banlists go:

I believe that wizards don't need a blacklist of banned spells, they need a whitelist of allowed spells.

Seriously, the trouble comes with the ridiculous amount of spells in print, which players somehow feel entitled to use at their own whim.

In reality, it is the whim of the DM to decide which spells do, or do not actually exist in his campaign setting. Or which of the 1000+ monsters for that matter.

Just crop the list of existing beasties (and their abilities, SL, SU or otherwise) to something reasonable and the players won't need a metric buttload of spells just to remain viable.

Also, making spellcasting skill based could help. If a wizard had to make tough choices about what spells to invest his skill point sinto, a lot of abuse could be prevented I believe.

Lycar

Ormur
2010-04-20, 03:48 PM
I haven't found ban-lists to be necessary in any of the games I've played. Mostly they've included everything on a case-by-case basis and nothing I remember has been rejected since players are reasonable. DM's have often ignored strict RAW mechanics for skills and such but I don't remember any build options (one professed an intense dislike for Kenders so that wasn't brought up). Another said he wouldn't allow contingency-celerity but I never intended to take it. I once said no psionics because I was lazy and didn't know the system but now I'd allow it.

I also reconsidered picking anti-magic field and using my metamagic rod of sculpt spell when the DM started grinning evilly and said "sure, if you dare".

No need for ban spells if you have a gentlemen's agreement and you're not sure you'd be able to keep the mutually assured destruction against the DM.

Thiyr
2010-04-20, 03:57 PM
I think the biggest issue with whitelisting spells over blacklisting is that its a bit harder to edit or test. If you blacklist things you know are broken, and then as more things you didn't notice come up add them to the blacklist (a bit harder to deal with mid-campaign, as though if you talk to the player I'm sure it can be dealt with).

Though I don't think the issue is a feeling of entitlement. The players are doing what the book says to do, taking spells off the X class spell list. The DM's job is to adjucate what the players do and tune the game to them. To try and do that all beforehand takes a great amount of effort on the DM's part, beyond just making the story, the encounters, the setting (in a non-mechanical sense), and all the rest of that. Of course, there are settings where cropping out stuff makes sense (the above bit about celtic myth and warforged works well, as does the Imperial Rome bit), but it's the player's only real option to assume that something does exist until told otherwise. Otherwise, they're going to have to start asking "Does X exist in this setting? What about this? and this?", just going down spell and monster lists until everything is covered.

And sadly, I don't see how one would convert the current spellcasting system to a skill based one or add a skill check to it. If each spell is a separate skill, then that makes it so that either casting dosen't change, or it is impossible to use, unless casters start getting a lot more skill points than they have now.

Or you use the truenamer, but I don't think anyone wants that.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-04-20, 04:07 PM
Banlists in general tend to be unnecessarily TLDR. In arena-type setups, they tend to be necessarily TLDR. In the Test of Spite especially, I see a lot of "baby-out-with-the-bathwater" sort of banning going on, but it doesn't seem to reduce design space unduly. The fighter/cleric stuff looks odd, though.

Tura
2010-04-20, 04:52 PM
That actually wasn't the problem, Mad. The problem was that once you merged with your horse, you became a valid target for two becomes one, allowing characters to stack like matryoshka dolls, and for you to merge with anything that could UMD the spell
I'm sorry, but how is that possible? You don't become a horse, you become a "joint creature" - to use the exact wording of the spell. This isn't a valid target at all. Am I missing something?

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 05:19 PM
Well, what are the types of the joint creature?

If they are conjoined and untyped, then the game breaks in a bunch of unpleasant ways.

If they stay separate, then I can just merge myself with the horse half.

Joint creature isn't a technical term in D&D, so it's open to interpretation. This is ban worthy in and of itself.

Do you share gear access?

Does it work on, say, a pseudonatural horse?

What about a nightmare?

TheThan
2010-04-20, 05:28 PM
It greatly depends on your dnd group. DnD is a social and cooperative game everyone gathered around a dnd table is probably there because they enjoy the company of their fellow players as well as for the enjoyment of the game. Ideally it shouldn’t matter what people are playing, as long as everyone is having fun.

But there are many people who feel the need or the desire to power game and min max, which can ruin the game for the other players, particularly when the power gamer is making it a point to completely dominate. Since dnd is hardly the most balanced game out there, things can quickly get out of hand for the DM. So with that in mind ban lists may become necessary to keep certain people in line, so that others can have fun.

Naturally the drawback of this is that the guy your trying to keep from getting too out of control, may get upset and stop having fun. So there is a fine balance that needs to be found. The best ban lists can find that balance, where all parties are satisfied wit the situation.

The TOS ban list is two fold: to make a saner dnd game (in which case that’s up to the DM anyway) and to provide rules or arena play. So yes the ban list accomplishes it’s stated goal. Which I have no problem with. I think more DMs need to state what their goals are for their own home ban lists.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 06:06 PM
the biggest issue I have with a ban list, though, is that the higher power test of spite characters tend to just be a list of long duration or persisted buffs. And I'm not really that interested in stamp-collecting. It doesn't really take so much skill as patience and a lot of spare time to make a character that persists fifteen spells.

A whitelist reduces the amount of miscellaneous "digging up that one thing that grants an alchemical bonus to charisma" to a more manageable level.

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 06:35 PM
Actually, only about 1 in 5 ToS characters use persist.
Also, there are existing and solid lists of this stuff.

Finally, compose a white-list that doesn't murderboat the design space, propose it, and we'll talk. I am not pouring that much of my time into an off-chance.

arguskos
2010-04-20, 06:52 PM
Actually, only about 1 in 5 ToS characters use persist.
Also, there are existing and solid lists of this stuff.
1. Yes, but how many matches are run at anything other than All Day + 3 Buff Rounds? I see veeeery few, as Olo mentioned recently. The issue presented is that ToS is more about buffs than actual stuff sometimes (I don't agree, just a clarification).

2. Where are these lists, and could I have those links? I musta missed them, and wish to see/use them.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 07:26 PM
It may have just been a selection bias, but I saw a hell of a lot of guys with lists of buffs as long as your arm. Not necessarily persisted per se, but just tons and tons of long duration buffs.

Grabbing six random links from exhibition

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8026244
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122876&
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138731

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129637
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146766
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143733

Four of the six have at least one dude with over fifteen buffs ...

actually, I think my random samples of exhibition matches may have just been over-representing Claudius' fights. Those massive, spoiler blocked buff lists also tend to leave far more of an impression than more reasonable ones.

Claudius Maximus
2010-04-20, 07:41 PM
Yeah, you've managed to find some of the longest buff lists I've ever made. I wouldn't consider those representative of the ToS as a whole.

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-20, 07:48 PM
So apparently my patented "click on random links while looking off to the left" is biased...

I should get a job dousing.

Doc Roc
2010-04-20, 08:03 PM
CM's thang is extreme system mastery, articulated as careful planning. You could comfortably argue that he is at least my equal in this respect.

That said, there is an option to request no all-day buffs, or similar, so if that's your preference you can just ask for it.

Excellent persist list:
Here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=7260.0)

Ernir
2010-04-20, 08:12 PM
I think the ToS banlist is good in the context where it is applied, that being high-optimization arena matches. Those need sanity caps on the broken material.

Explicit banlists would not be appropriate in most games I run in Real Life (TM), as those tend to be non-competitive campaign arcs, and my players (with two or so exceptions) about as good at Optimization-Fu as at real Kung Fu.

DragoonWraith
2010-04-20, 08:53 PM
Explicit banlists would not be appropriate in most games I run in Real Life (TM), as those tend to be non-competitive campaign arcs, and my players (with two or so exceptions) about as good at Optimization-Fu as at real Kung Fu.
Heh, what about your PbP game? Do I qualify as "good at Optimization-Fu"?

Of course, Veyr is hardly my strongest CO effort...

Ormur
2010-04-20, 11:57 PM
Explicit banlists would not be appropriate in most games I run in Real Life (TM), as those tend to be non-competitive campaign arcs, and my players (with two or so exceptions) about as good at Optimization-Fu as at real Kung Fu.

That's Haukur and who? :smalltongue:

Doc Roc
2010-04-21, 01:11 PM
So far, the most vocal critics of a ban-list have been silent. Anyone want to help me winkle them out so I can actually hear their piece?

Fawsto
2010-04-21, 01:50 PM
I amstill trying to figure out why people have a bias against anything from CChamp in my gaming table.

Seriously, everything from that book seems to ring the "overpowered bell", but, IMO that book has some pretty nice stuff.

Besides that, I can't stand unreasoned ban lists.

Doc Roc
2010-04-21, 02:57 PM
Work on a banlist for Gang-Up-On-Doc-Roc starts here:

Morithias
2010-04-21, 03:14 PM
It all depends on the players and how clever they are. Let's say you ban all tier 1 classes, wizard, archivest, cleric, etc, and tier 2.

Rogue is tier 4 no? and I'm pretty sure exemplar and merchant prince aren't much higher.

Now here's the really, really, really beautiful thing. By completely tearing apart the business system, yes, running shops.

I can take a level 20 character with starting gold, and assuming he can buy epic items (he has the money so why not) in one year, have him with a monthly profit of.... 43 trillion gold pieces.

If you were to use the rules for gold piece maximum for a metropolis of 7 billion people, you would have a GP Limit of 35 trillion.

Yet, I am the only person I have seen on the net, or in my group, to actually use the rules in the DMG2 about running shops.

So I'm pretty sure no DM would consider banning it, until "OH MY GOD HE HAS A PLUS 40k sword" is running amok.

If you ban the strongest stuff....then people break the weaker stuff, and so on and so on, until you're all playing commoners.

So yeah, I wouldn't really consider them that useful if you're playing with a group of munchkins, which really is why they're used 90% of the time.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-21, 05:32 PM
If you ban the strongest stuff....then people break the weaker stuff, and so on and so on, until you're all playing commoners.

But what happens when they break the commoners (hello Chicken-Infested)?

Doc Roc
2010-04-21, 05:36 PM
But what happens when they break the commoners (hello Chicken-Infested)?

That's really not how it works. This is a popular conception, I think, that one will just ban-hammer away everything. But really, the goal isn't that, at least not if you're sane. It's to get everything on relatively even footing.

As for your 7 billion person metropolis, well, sooner or later someone's going to decide to pull a heist, and voila, instant campaign. I'd play that game quite happily.

AslanCross
2010-04-21, 05:55 PM
So, as you know, I run the test of spite, and have for almost three seasons now. It's slowed down, but still going, so I don't see this changing any time soon. However, a lot of people have raised methodological concerns, and some have been very vehement. I wanted to get a chance to hear them out, and to read about what they think exactly and why. I'll try to keep up with the running discussion as best I can.

TL;DR:
How do you feel about banlists?
In general?
Why?
About the ToS Banlist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7503784&postcount=2) specifically?


1. Banlists vary in necessity from group to group. In my group it's only necessary because of one guy who tries to optimize. Thri-Kreen, how I loathe thee.

2. In general, they could be useful if the DM puts thought into them. They serve as a method to keep the players on the same level. Sometimes they can prove to be stifling especially if they're particularly narrow.

3. I think the ToS banlist serves its purposes. I haven't really been following ToS, but I don't strongly feel about it in any way in particular.

Tavar
2010-04-21, 05:59 PM
But what happens when they break the commoners (hello Chicken-Infested)?

Wouldn't that just result in banning Chicken-Infested? I mean, there it's clearly the problem of the Flaw, not the class itself.

Emmerask
2010-04-21, 06:29 PM
1. Banlists vary in necessity from group to group. In my group it's only necessary because of one guy who tries to optimize. Thri-Kreen, how I loathe thee.


I actually like banlists when I play a caster, if itīs purely on gentlemanīs agreement it always feels to me as if I have to hold back and only play at 10% of my actual power.
Donīt get me wrong I wouldnīt use spell/combo xy to break the game even without a banlist, it just feels differently if I canīt do it because its modified/banned vs I canīt do it because I donīt want to break the campaign :smallsmile:

AslanCross
2010-04-21, 06:40 PM
I actually like banlists when I play a caster, if itīs purely on gentlemanīs agreement it always feels to me as if I have to hold back and only play at 10% of my actual power.
Donīt get me wrong I wouldnīt use spell/combo xy to break the game even without a banlist, it just feels differently if I canīt do it because its modified/banned vs I canīt do it because I donīt want to break the campaign :smallsmile:

Well, the guy at least has the decency to ask me how I'd rule things. I've seen how broken his builds can be, though, so I just get a step ahead of him. My other players don't have to ask how I rule things.

TheThan
2010-04-21, 06:41 PM
I can't stand unreasoned ban lists.


Besides banning things to keep munchkins at bay, and keeping things mostly fair between all the players, there is the campaign setting the Dm has in mind to. Sometimes things have to be banned to keep a central theme going.

For instance if I was running a Japan themed oriental adventures game, playing a standard issue wizard is not really appropriate for the setting, yet a Shugenja would be. Sure there is always the notion that you can re-flavor the class anyway you want. But the game has classes like the Shugenja, Wu Jen, ninja and samurai, for a reason. If you’re not interested in taking the time and effort to re-flavor the core classes to fit any particular campaign, you can always find a bunch of classes that work. At the same time, those classes wouldn’t fit into a setting based on say, Vikings and Norse mythology.

So banning classes based on the setting that is being used is perfectly viable, as long as your players have an understanding of why “class X” is banned in this game and not in the previous game.

I think that’s part of the problem, DMs just say no, and don’t explain themselves so everyone understands his reasoning.

Thurbane
2010-04-21, 06:50 PM
Besides banning things to keep munchkins at bay, and keeping things mostly fair between all the players, there is the campaign setting the Dm has in mind to. Sometimes things have to be banned to keep a central theme going.
Agree with all of this 100%. :smallwink:

Ernir
2010-04-21, 10:57 PM
Heh, what about your PbP game? Do I qualify as "good at Optimization-Fu"?

Of course, Veyr is hardly my strongest CO effort...
That PbP game is... odd, optimization-wise.

I actually have no idea what you're capable of. I do know you at least know the term. :smalltongue:

That's Haukur and who? :smalltongue:

You.

Morithias
2010-04-22, 12:08 AM
That's really not how it works. This is a popular conception, I think, that one will just ban-hammer away everything. But really, the goal isn't that, at least not if you're sane. It's to get everything on relatively even footing.

As for your 7 billion person metropolis, well, sooner or later someone's going to decide to pull a heist, and voila, instant campaign. I'd play that game quite happily.

Yes, except that that gold is monthly profit. It's not a one time thing. So the thieves steal a good 20 milllion? I'll just sit around for 30 days, take 15 on all my checks (Item that gives a persisted perfection spell), and I'll have another 43 trillion to play around with.

The Metropolis was basically to point out that if you were to treat the planet in the real world, as one big city. According to the DMG there would be less cash in circulation on a global scale, than my guy makes in a month. AS PROFIT.

Figure that one out.

Doc Roc
2010-04-22, 01:03 AM
Basically, There's Always A Bigger Fish. Remember, this is a world where wizards are scary people, and will milk your guy just like a cow. At least, if you're living in RAW-land.

Worse, you have to find a freaking metropolis of that unimaginable size. Even Sigil is only about 250k people or so, and it's probably the biggest city on the planes, certainly the biggest one I know of in canon. You can't treat the world as one city because you have no way to move around it conveniently, and customers aren't all planeswalkers.

Nohwl
2010-04-22, 05:43 PM
i like the banlist for the test of spite and am using it for a game i'm running. the biggest problem i have had was people not showing up.

Togo
2010-04-22, 06:30 PM
I'm happy enough with banlists, but I would'nt use someone else's. I find they are invariably lists of things the DM does not want to have to deal with.

This could be because the rules are something the DM finds difficult (which may or may not be because the rules are difficult), or becasue they violate a theme, or because that's not the kind of game he wants to play or to make PCs better able to fit in with the other PCs he anticiaptes will be played.

The ToS list is a pretty good list. It's designed by someone who is happy dealing with magic and is ok with it being powerful, but dislikes having duplicate options for non-casters where one option is simply more powerful than another.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2010-04-22, 07:06 PM
I keep needing to link my Dirty Handbook Fixes (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=3288.0) in response to people's threads...

Obviously I prefer fixes to bans. Very few things are so broken they require bans. Anything epic and PAO or shapechange are the only things I haven't bothered fixing.


This turns off a LOT of folks, who might like to see the explanations.Yup.


They're the 'easy' way. They simply remove things rather than fix them.Hehe

Morithias
2010-04-22, 07:10 PM
Basically, There's Always A Bigger Fish. Remember, this is a world where wizards are scary people, and will milk your guy just like a cow. At least, if you're living in RAW-land.

Worse, you have to find a freaking metropolis of that unimaginable size. Even Sigil is only about 250k people or so, and it's probably the biggest city on the planes, certainly the biggest one I know of in canon. You can't treat the world as one city because you have no way to move around it conveniently, and customers aren't all planeswalkers.

That is not the point. The point that I'm making is, people go on and on, about Tier 1 wizards and stuff. I took a tier 4 class, and broke the economic system. I BROKE A MERCHANT.

I'm just saying, anything can be munchkined, if you have the right person behind it.

And that city is not the city I'm selling in. In fact, all of my shops are treated as being run "in the wild". I'm just pointing out that those in the wild shops, make more a month, than a 7 billion pop city would have in circulation.

olentu
2010-04-22, 07:20 PM
That is not the point. The point that I'm making is, people go on and on, about Tier 1 wizards and stuff. I took a tier 4 class, and broke the economic system. I BROKE A MERCHANT.

I'm just saying, anything can be munchkined, if you have the right person behind it.

And that city is not the city I'm selling in. In fact, all of my shops are treated as being run "in the wild". I'm just pointing out that those in the wild shops, make more a month, than a 7 billion pop city would have in circulation.

Did it require the tire 4 class or could it have been done with another class.

Morithias
2010-04-22, 07:24 PM
Did it require the tire 4 class or could it have been done with another class.

Basically if it had access to diplomacy, appraise, and profession I could do it. So yeah, I suppose technically you could do it with the Expert NPC class.

Doc Roc
2010-04-22, 07:34 PM
Basically if it had access to diplomacy, appraise, and profession I could do it. So yeah, I suppose technically you could do it with the Expert NPC class.

Or with a high tier class.

But only if the GM is willing to let you. So it's really just a can opener inside a can.

Morithias
2010-04-22, 07:39 PM
Or with a high tier class.

But only if the GM is willing to let you. So it's really just a can opener inside a can.

Yeah, except for the fact, you have to take a 5 level prestiege class that is quite literally useless for most higher tiers. Power of Fauren the "Merchant Prince". Plus you need to spend just about ever feat you have on the build.

Skill focus (merchant), Negotiator, Business Savvy, Favored in Guild, Guildmaster, Leadership, Landlord, Skill focus (shop), Greater Skill focus (shop).

Yeah, that's what, all your feats up to level 12 assuming you took 2 flaws at level 1?

TheThan
2010-04-22, 08:14 PM
I'm just saying, anything can be munchkined, if you have the right person behind it.


This is very true. Though most people only try breaking things that are EASILY broken, like wizards, clerics etc. Its also easy to overlook broken mechanics like your example above. If your looking for something to break you will find it.

Superglucose
2010-04-23, 02:03 AM
Banlists: They are necessary in things like Test of Spite, because it's unfair to have a competition where the GM says, "No, you can't use Wildshape to turn into a Fleshraker, but it's ok for you (points to other player) to wildshape into a leopard." "Aha!" you say, "But that's just one creature!" Yeah, but what about Fleshraker2 from Big Bob's Obscure Book of Cheese? Or Fleshraker 10 from Wizards of the Coast's impeccable production, "Shattered Games"? So it's just easier and simpler for the ToS (or whomever) to up and say, "no. It's ok we don't want the headache. You just can't use X."

Still, Banlists have no place in a game for that exact reason. When your player uses Polymorph to turn himself into... well, *insert broken form* and starts up an infinite wish chain, the GM has every right to say, "Hey Jimbo. Come here a second. Look, I won't stop you from pulling that kind of crap, but I will stop you from ever attending one of my games again." It's much easier to deal with things on a case-by-case scenario when you're GMing rather than adjudicating a tournament.

That being said as well, Banlists can sometimes have their place. For example, in one system I used to play there were rules for powered armor. Eventually we had to say, "No, sorry. Powered armor doesn't exist: the second half of the armor chapter was in fact a misprint and it was supposed to be blank pages." Eventually we had to say, "It doesn't matter how strong you are, it is in fact impossible for you to wield weapons designed for vehicles in your hands. It's even impossible for you to wield cannons. Why? A wizard did it."

The reason was those elements of the game had to be removed via gentleman's agreement, because it was at the point where if one person had Powered Armor, everyone, including the enemies and psionicists, had to have powered armor because at that point it was a war of attrition between the folks with powered armor and a game of rocket tag for everyone else.

So I'd say, take a Magic: The Gathering approach to banning things in D&D. If a card is so good that practically every deck ever will run it (looking at you, Skullclamp), then it probably needs to go. If some effect isso good that every character practically needs to have it (like Powered Armor), it probably needs to go.

Thrawn183
2010-04-24, 08:57 PM
On the issue of the ToS banlist in particular, I feel that really the spirit is pretty much the opposite of my own.

As an example: vorpal weapons.

Vorpal weapons are banned not because they themselves are broken, but because they can be combined with a fifth level spell for what is essentially an auto kill whenever vorpal would work. Now, if everyone agrees that there's a problem with melee classes not getting nice things often enough, then why on earth is vorpal getting hit with the ban bat instead of the spell!?

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-24, 09:05 PM
The reply to that is even if they just said "vorpal doesn't trigger if there are any other abilities modifying the dice roll", vorpal weapons are still too random, since a natural 20 could result in death for anyone...

but really, what spellcaster is going to actually get hit by them to begin with? And it isn't like a natural 1 on a save or die can't result in death for anyone, without having to be in weapon range.

Doc Roc
2010-04-24, 09:14 PM
Vorpal weapons are a big sticking point for people. But honestly, Surge of Fortune helps non-full-casters far more than a vorpal weapon would.

Thrawn183
2010-04-24, 11:10 PM
Vorpal weapons are a big sticking point for people. But honestly, Surge of Fortune helps non-full-casters far more than a vorpal weapon would.

Wait... how many non-full-casters actually get surge of fortune?

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-04-24, 11:26 PM
Wait... how many non-full-casters actually get surge of fortune?

Any with UMD, perhaps?

druid91
2010-04-24, 11:57 PM
Banlists just annoy me, In a tournament style like ToS it isn't as aggravating but it's just annoying to be told "Oh that is broken no." Heck I played straight druid high levels once, I could fight but the only character I could beat was the one who was optimized for using an airship to blow things to bits as opposed to person to person fighting.

Doc Roc
2010-04-25, 12:56 AM
Any with UMD, perhaps?

That's about the shape of it. :)

TheMadLinguist
2010-04-25, 04:12 AM
Vorpal weapons are a big sticking point for people. But honestly, Surge of Fortune helps non-full-casters far more than a vorpal weapon would.

It's just odd that you don't just categorically state "all interactions between abilities that would guarantee a vorpal strike don't work."

In other words, ban the problematic interaction rather than the ability itself.

If you're trying to make a ruleset, it seems like that's a better foundation to work upon, since adding in similar abilities later on won't automatically complete the combo.

Also, is there a good reason why ur-priest isn't banned yet?

Doc Roc
2010-04-25, 04:57 AM
Interaction-related restrictions place a very significant adjudication burden on the GMs, and are a potential source of strife within the player-base. We try to avoid them as a matter of principle, and as a sort of implicit promise. People spend a long time on characters, and while the suggested example is relatively unambiguous, it represents a class of approaches that we try very hard to avoid.

A lot of people on TGD have drawn negative comparisons between this and the ban-list used by the DCI to make competitive magic playable. However, the key point I think that comparison fails on is that Magic is a pretty well-made game, with a deeply deterministic set of rules beneath it. Not to be brusque, but I've played competitive magic in unsanctioned events that did not use the ban list, and it was very ugly. If a game so well-designed and well-implemented needs a ban\restrict list, at least for competitive play, then I think it's okay.

As for Ur-priest, it's come up a bunch of times. The issue is that it's pretty accessible, and it's a pretty useful part of the "ecology" of tier 1 builds. In a sense, it's a reminder to myself that some things cannot be banned merely out of a personal distaste. More than that, Ur-Priest is a fan and player favorite, for reasons reaching beyond the mechanical. Simply put, they're a ton of fun to build, play, and watch. So for now, we keep them.

Oslecamo
2010-04-25, 05:24 AM
A lot of people on TGD have drawn negative comparisons between this and the ban-list used by the DCI to make competitive magic playable. However, the key point I think that comparison fails on is that Magic is a pretty well-made game, with a deeply deterministic set of rules beneath it. Not to be brusque, but I've played competitive magic in unsanctioned events that did not use the ban list, and it was very ugly. If a game so well-designed and well-implemented needs a ban\restrict list, at least for competitive play, then I think it's okay.


Now allow me to point out that around 90% of magic cards out there are considerably weaker or just crap compared to the elite 10%.

If you're making a tournament worthy deck, you start by throwing most of your cards out of the window. You have no other choice if you want a shot at winning.

So MTG's actualy just like D&D on that part, a tiny percentage of stuff that needs to be banned/restricted, then a small fraction of elite stuff that competitive people will use and a sea of weakness that'll be just used sporadically, casualy or in some obscure combo for the sake of it.

At least in D&D I don't have to buy my classes and feats at random.

If you could choose to buy cards individualy in MTG directly from Wotc, you can bet most wouldn't be touched by anyone.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-25, 05:49 AM
Now allow me to point out that around 90% of magic cards out there are considerably weaker or just crap compared to the elite 10%.

If you're making a tournament worthy deck, you start by throwing most of your cards out of the window. You have no other choice if you want a shot at winning. Note: The original Sligh decks were built specifically to turn this concept on its head.

Cheap creatures with horrible drawbacks, so that most people thought them unplayable... Ended up storming the tournament scenes, and making everyone say, "freakin orcs... I just got beat by freakin orcs."

Eldariel
2010-04-25, 07:41 AM
Note: The original Sligh decks were built specifically to turn this concept on its head.

Cheap creatures with horrible drawbacks, so that most people thought them unplayable... Ended up storming the tournament scenes, and making everyone say, "freakin orcs... I just got beat by freakin orcs."

Well, that was mostly thanks to the revolutionary concept that is "manacurve" (which we seem to have forgotten about again, btw). That is, another factor in the cards that makes them not-so-horrible in context.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-25, 08:07 AM
Well, that was mostly thanks to the revolutionary concept that is "manacurve" (which we seem to have forgotten about again, btw). That is, another factor in the cards that makes them not-so-horrible in context.

Mana generators tend to make people forget about manacurve. The Dragonstorm decks of a couple years back are a great example. Play all the mana amplifiers that you can, and drop a dragonstorm that clones itself several times, because of the amplifiers.

I also saw a Goblinstorm deck that used a similar philosophy with a cheaper spell that made goblin tokens.

The Shadowmind
2010-04-25, 08:37 AM
Mana generators tend to make people forget about manacurve. The Dragonstorm decks of a couple years back are a great example. Play all the mana amplifiers that you can, and drop a dragonstorm that clones itself several times, because of the amplifiers.

I also saw a Goblinstorm deck that used a similar philosophy with a cheaper spell that made goblin tokens.
I think there was one that used grapeshot as well to ping for a lot of damage as well.

Eldariel
2010-04-25, 01:31 PM
I think there was one that used grapeshot as well to ping for a lot of damage as well.

The various Time Spiral-era decks used a combination of Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens, Suspend and later Spinerock Knoll along with Dragonstorm & Hellkites. But generally, combo is exempted from the rule of manacurve, since a combo-deck has to be filled with engine and tutor effects to function consistently and thus cannot afford the manacurve, not to mention lacking meaningful plays to make that contribute towards the actual win, though Gassy Knoll (the Spinerock Knoll-based Dragonstorm/Grapeshot/EtW.dec) actually did have some plays to make in Suspended Rift Bolts and CiPT Spinerocks which allow it to "curve out" in a strange way.

But that's all really besides the point; mostly aggro wants to curve out with early drops getting damage through while burn removes blockers and then goes to the face for the kill, and control has something called defensive speed where it doesn't necessarily seek to use every mana available every turn like an efficient aggro-deck, but cast a spell per turn on the defense to keep up with the aggressive opponent, while filtering and sculpting hand for midgame domination with the excess mana...or at least used to until around Alara when just about every successful deck is a friggin' midrange creature mash-up with horrible manacurve, color consistency and ability to play their one-drops turn one; cardpower and lack of efficient aggro fixing makes that possible. Bleh.


But uhh...bleh.