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druid91
2010-11-01, 05:55 PM
I am in a high power game and I have to say, being able to dish out 500 damage with kung-fu like its chump change is nice. Much preferable to being challenged by a couple of goblins with pointy sticks. The thing is, I play d&d to be an awesome adventurer, not your average guy.. In other words I want to be a hero, not some schmuck... I want my character to have always been awesome. I want to be Gandalf, Not Frodo. If that means I have to go toe to toe with the balrog, so be it.

Now that's my view on it. So what's your view on it?

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 06:00 PM
It's cool if you want to do it that way. What's not cool imo is when the results of a battle hinge on who wins initiative. Or when half your party is playing rocket tag and the other half is playing with nerf guns.

Keld Denar
2010-11-01, 06:06 PM
Ok, get a friend and a bunch of $1 bills. Both of you put a 1 dollar bill in front of you. Flip the coin. If its heads, you take both bills. If its tails, he takes both bills. Repeat ad nausium. Having fun yet? I thought so.

Now, think of the bills as character sheets, the friend as your DM, and the die flips as initiative rolls. Every time you take a dollar from him, you win an encounter. Every time he takes a dollar from you, you have to reroll another character. Still having fun? Thought so...

mucat
2010-11-01, 06:07 PM
Nothing wrong with your approach. I get bored with it, though. I like to play the guy knows damn well how to be a schmuck, and has to think to find a chance to win, and then use sheer grit and determination to make that chance happen.

In short, don't give me Frodo. Don't give me Galdalf. Give me Vimes.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-01, 06:07 PM
Rocket Tag has two parts, not one:

(1) You can kill things in one hit
(2) Enemies can kill you in one hit

What you have is a high-powered PCs against sub-optimized enemies. This can be fun, but - IMHO - quickly becomes boring because challenges are more fun than simply rolling dice.

True rocket tag isn't fun (again, IMHO) because it can easily reduce every encounter into a game of pure chance rather than skill.

FYI - this is what Rocket Tag looks like (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html)

Godless_Paladin
2010-11-01, 06:14 PM
FYI - this is what Rocket Tag looks like (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html)

No it's not. That combat took several rounds and had an exchange of attacks by both sides. Multiple times!

Eldan
2010-11-01, 06:17 PM
No it's not. That combat took several rounds and had an exchange of attacks by both sides. Multiple times!

Yes. However, the first attack that goes through kills. That's rocket tag: you either evade the rocket, or it kills you.

Mark Hall
2010-11-01, 06:19 PM
One of our recent comments was how much 4e needs some rocket tag... You'll get into Risk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_%28game%29) situations, where you know who is going to win, but just have to drag out the loss of HP.

molten_dragon
2010-11-01, 06:32 PM
Rocket tag is never really fun. When combat is based solely on luck, and there's no skill involved, it's just boring.

Being uber and winning fights with ease against weak opponents can be fun from time to time, but that gets old after awhile too.

dsmiles
2010-11-01, 06:41 PM
Rocket Tag has two parts, not one:

(1) You can kill things in one hit
(2) Enemies can kill you in one hit


I seriously dislike rocket tag. It's not even fun in video games.

druid91
2010-11-01, 06:41 PM
Rocket Tag has two parts, not one:

(1) You can kill things in one hit
(2) Enemies can kill you in one hit

What you have is a high-powered PCs against sub-optimized enemies. This can be fun, but - IMHO - quickly becomes boring because challenges are more fun than simply rolling dice.

True rocket tag isn't fun (again, IMHO) because it can easily reduce every encounter into a game of pure chance rather than skill.

FYI - this is what Rocket Tag looks like (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html)

Me and the other guys cohort were wasted in one round... Right after I wasted four gith and the cohort slaughtered a dragon riding knight. We only lived because the cohort has some diehard thing that kept her alive long enough for healing to happen, and I was playing a xenotheurge mix that lowers the point where you die to HP loss so I would have been dead in normal circumstances. As it was I was carried out in pieces.

That comic is rocket tag done wrong.

Ryuuk
2010-11-01, 06:56 PM
Nothing wrong with your approach. I get bored with it, though. I like to play the guy knows damn well how to be a schmuck, and has to think to find a chance to win, and then use sheer grit and determination to make that chance happen.

In short, don't give me Frodo. Don't give me Galdalf. Give me Vimes.

My sentiments exactly.

BRC
2010-11-01, 07:13 PM
Are you perhaps confusing "Rocket Tag" with "High Power Play?"

The two are very different concepts. a High power game is about scale, you do awesome things to defeat awesome enemies. Some people like that, other's don't, it's simply a matter of preference. Personally, my tastes run towards mid-to low level play, when you've got some fun tricks up your sleeve, but the DM can still challenge you without using something capable of eating a castle then using the guard's halberds as a toothpick.

"Rocket Tag" is about high-lethality play. Basically, sudden death, where the first person to land a successful hit wins. Some people don't like it because it means the entire battle can hinge on a single lucky or unlucky roll.

Now, sometimes high powered games are equated to Rocket Tag, as casters gain a wide variety of nifty Save or Lose spells, which then basically invalidate using anything else, and the first person to fail a save loses the fight.

druid91
2010-11-01, 07:26 PM
Are you perhaps confusing "Rocket Tag" with "High Power Play?"

The two are very different concepts. a High power game is about scale, you do awesome things to defeat awesome enemies. Some people like that, other's don't, it's simply a matter of preference. Personally, my tastes run towards mid-to low level play, when you've got some fun tricks up your sleeve, but the DM can still challenge you without using something capable of eating a castle then using the guard's halberds as a toothpick.

"Rocket Tag" is about high-lethality play. Basically, sudden death, where the first person to land a successful hit wins. Some people don't like it because it means the entire battle can hinge on a single lucky or unlucky roll.

Now, sometimes high powered games are equated to Rocket Tag, as casters gain a wide variety of nifty Save or Lose spells, which then basically invalidate using anything else, and the first person to fail a save loses the fight.

No I mean high lethality, two to three turns max, every hit is likely a win.

JaronK
2010-11-01, 07:27 PM
Do you mean your opponents do that to you as well? As in, your death rate in game is usually a PC per session or so?

JaronK

zyborg
2010-11-01, 07:48 PM
Nothing wrong with your approach. I get bored with it, though. I like to play the guy knows damn well how to be a schmuck, and has to think to find a chance to win, and then use sheer grit and determination to make that chance happen.

In short, don't give me Frodo. Don't give me Galdalf. Give me Vimes.

Wow, that's a cool way of looking at it. Now, when you say Vimes, do you mean Sargent/Sargent-at-arms/Duke Vimes? Because, I think that is the perfect example of how I WANT to RP, but not how I actually CAN. But it is what I strive for.

druid91
2010-11-01, 07:50 PM
Do you mean your opponents do that to you as well? As in, your death rate in game is usually a PC per session or so?

JaronK

We've lost two PC's and a cohort, and we've only been through one mission. In which the rest of us almost died but didn't due to being rescued by non downed PCs.

We've had three combat encounters. one of which we only survived because it was a dominate/charm type enemy.

Powerfamiliar
2010-11-01, 07:57 PM
Wow, that's a cool way of looking at it. Now, when you say Vimes, do you mean Sargent/Sargent-at-arms/Duke Vimes? Because, I think that is the perfect example of how I WANT to RP, but not how I actually CAN. But it is what I strive for.

I think half my characters are in some way based on Vimes. The feel of the watch books is definitely the feel I go for when I play or DM dnd.

Coidzor
2010-11-01, 07:59 PM
Too much revolving door stuff at high levels, having to have too many back up characters at low levels.

zyborg
2010-11-01, 07:59 PM
Cool. Oh, crud, before we start coming up with Discworld D&D campaigns, I think we better get on-topic. :smalltongue: Anyways, I'd hate a game where I could kill and be killed in one hit. It becomes a game of chance. One that isn't as good as Epic Rock Paper Scissors.

Powerfamiliar
2010-11-01, 08:06 PM
I feel like there should be a happy medium between 3.5s rocket tag and 4e drawn out combats. In 4e it seem you spend an extra 15mins to half an hour mopping up after every fight. As a DM I just call the encounter over when its obvious one side won, but it does mean the party gets to use up less healing surges per fight than intended. I've heard good things about the newer MMs in regard of pace of combat, but I still have not tried them out.

I find rocket tag fun in one shots (or Halo/Quake), but for a campaign I try my best to eliminate rocket tag, usually just telling the players I wont use rockets if they don't is enough.

Tael
2010-11-01, 08:11 PM
We've lost two PC's and a cohort, and we've only been through one mission. In which the rest of us almost died but didn't due to being rescued by non downed PCs.

We've had three combat encounters. one of which we only survived because it was a dominate/charm type enemy.

:smalleek: How long have you been at this? Do you always have like 3 backup characters prepared before a session? And how do you get to roleplay anything if your character almost invariably die in a session or two?

druid91
2010-11-01, 08:16 PM
I feel like there should be a happy medium between 3.5s rocket tag and 4e drawn out combats. In 4e it seem you spend an extra 15mins to half an hour mopping up after every fight. As a DM I just call the encounter over when its obvious one side won, but it does mean the party gets to use up less healing surges per fight than intended. I've heard good things about the newer MMs in regard of pace of combat, but I still have not tried them out.

I find rocket tag fun in one shots (or Halo/Quake), but for a campaign I try my best to eliminate rocket tag, usually just telling the players I wont use rockets if they don't is enough.

In a normal campaign I try to keep the rockets down just to let the story play out. In general I let someone else talk my characters down and then they just go about being silly while fighting.


:smalleek: How long have you been at this? Do you always have like 3 backup characters prepared before a session? And how do you get to roleplay anything if your character almost invariably die in a session or two?

Nope, Our characters have an employer. Our contract states that if we die on the job we get a true resurrection. My character also requires a portal to the far realms. And quite probably some sort of DM fiat ritual.

Road_Runner
2010-11-01, 08:20 PM
Sorry for the newb question, but what exactly is rocket tag? Is it basically power optimization to the point where everyone can one shot everyone? Where does the name "rocket tag" come from?

BRC
2010-11-01, 08:24 PM
Sorry for the newb question, but what exactly is rocket tag? Is it basically power optimization to the point where everyone can one shot everyone? Where does the name "rocket tag" come from?
Rocket Tag isn't necessarily high optimization, it's just a style of play where, for some reason (Optimization, the game system) characters will go down to a relatively small number of attacks. Whether it's because characters have low hitpoints compared to the damage being thrown around, or because abilities are being used that bypass hitpoints (SoD spells), the point is that characters can easily die.

As for the name, imagine two people playing Tag with rocket launchers, the game is pretty much over after the first hit.

Powerfamiliar
2010-11-01, 08:25 PM
Sorry for the newb question, but what exactly is rocket tag? Is it basically power optimization to the point where everyone can one shot everyone? Where does the name "rocket tag" come from?

Comes from video game shooters. A game type where everyone starts (and only has) rocket launchers, meaning everyone dies in one hit.

RanWilde
2010-11-01, 08:45 PM
I am in a high power game and I have to say, being able to dish out 500 damage with kung-fu like its chump change is nice. Much preferable to being challenged by a couple of goblins with pointy sticks. The thing is, I play d&d to be an awesome adventurer, not your average guy.. In other words I want to be a hero, not some schmuck... I want my character to have always been awesome. I want to be Gandalf, Not Frodo. If that means I have to go toe to toe with the balrog, so be it.

Now that's my view on it. So what's your view on it?

Nothing wrong with it. So long as you find it enjoyable. I like it because it makes for a nice change from my normal gaming group.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:48 PM
It's fine if you like to play that way. Personally I feel like I might as well just roll 2 d20's and whoever gets the highest roll wins, but whatever.

Eldan
2010-11-02, 04:31 AM
To expand on that: you don't have to be high level or even very optimized to basically play rocket tag.
Imagine level one D&D with the following basic premise: everyone plays a character with a d6-d10 hit die and con 16, so has 9-13 HP. Everyone also has power attack, strength 16 and a greatsword, so attacks for 8-18 points of damage: one hit, and it's over. So, low-level D&D can also be pretty deadly.

FelixG
2010-11-02, 04:52 AM
If you enjoy it huzzah for you?

But why not just flip a coin and describe an epic win if its heads and describe an epic death if its tails? pretty much the same thing when it comes down to it.

Edit: And its not really rocket tag you are playing, their rocket becomes a nerf gun if you can just pop back if you die none the worse for wear.

Killer Angel
2010-11-02, 04:55 AM
Nope, Our characters have an employer. Our contract states that if we die on the job we get a true resurrection. My character also requires a portal to the far realms. And quite probably some sort of DM fiat ritual.

Your playstyle, I won't say it's not fun for you.
My playstyle... a high-mortality game, where I got easy resurrections? Funny for a single short adventure, but decisely not my cup of tea, for long-term play.

Zen Master
2010-11-02, 04:57 AM
Now that's my view on it. So what's your view on it?

Rocket tag has a high risk of an unfortunate combination of initiative rolls resulting in a total party kill. But even without that, I dislike characters dying. Which, in rocket tag, they will.

On the plus side, long combat sessions are boring.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-11-02, 04:57 AM
Below is an exhaustive list of things that are broken in SR:

Everything :smalltongue:
However, this list is counterbalanced by making combat a game of rocket tag. It is insanely easy to die in SR, so you shouldn't really worry about having combat monsters walking around.

Why does this work for Shadowrun and not for D&D? I have some ideas jumping around in my head but I'll wait until they're fully formed to post them.

kamikasei
2010-11-02, 05:04 AM
I am in a high power game and I have to say, being able to dish out 500 damage with kung-fu like its chump change is nice. Much preferable to being challenged by a couple of goblins with pointy sticks. The thing is, I play d&d to be an awesome adventurer, not your average guy.. In other words I want to be a hero, not some schmuck... I want my character to have always been awesome. I want to be Gandalf, Not Frodo. If that means I have to go toe to toe with the balrog, so be it.
As others have pointed out, you can have rocket tag at any level. If you like it, what has being "awesome", "a hero", "not some schmuck" etc. got to do with it? That's a separate issue.

The problem people have with rocket tag as a symptom of bad game design is that it kicks in when offense outpaces defense (or resistance) as power levels go up, meaning that the characters with more abilities who take longer to create are also likelier to die abruptly. In other words, the time you invested in creating them is more likely to be wasted at the same time that it increases. That's annoying.

If you have unlimited free resurrections, then that changes things, since it means you've removed most of the consequence of failure. Then the problem is just that combats largely come down to luck, which again is not very interesting to most people.

DwarfFighter
2010-11-02, 05:14 AM
Why does this work for Shadowrun and not for D&D? I have some ideas jumping around in my head but I'll wait until they're fully formed to post them.

Dunno. Is Shadowrun level based? Remember that your survivability in D&D improves dramatically as you gain levels. Well, compared to your starting point at least. A level 20 character is likely to have more than 10 times the hp of a level 1 character.

And as the monsters you fight tend to scale up as well the character and monsters needs to deal more damage or the fights just last 10 times as long. :)

In Shadowrun the power tends to lie in the gun, which means that a low-end character and a high-end character with the same gun tends to do about the same level of damage per hit. And each hit is potentially lethal.

-DF

JaronK
2010-11-02, 05:15 AM
Why does this work for Shadowrun and not for D&D? I have some ideas jumping around in my head but I'll wait until they're fully formed to post them.

For one thing, in Shadowrun it's easy to hit the disabled condition but hard to die. One well aimed shot from that ganger you didn't see and you're dying... but your team has plenty of time to recover and pull you out, then get you medical attention (a round is 3 seconds in SR, a fight rarely lasts more than a few rounds, and even an average toughness character (Body 3) takes 27 seconds to bleed out. A tough character (Body 5) takes 75 seconds). Furthermore, while it's easy to go down from one well placed hit it's virtually impossible to die that way (since damage goes up to Deadly, which leaves you unconscious and bleeding, but stops there unless you use variant rules. You have to be shot while already injured to actually die without taking the time to bleed out). Thus, fights are over very fast and are very dangerous, but unless the whole team goes down you'll probably survive (with scars and injuries perhaps). You also get injured as you get hurt, and thus can't fight as well... if one shot puts you at a serious wound condition, you're not dead but you're basically out of the fight.

In D&D, you are at full blast, then suddenly dead. If a PC goes down, he's usually completely dead.

Furthermore, Shadowrun is about planning and infiltration, not primarily combat. Once bullets are flying you've likely screwed up. As such, it's okay for combat to be deadly... you should have avoided it. In D&D, combat is the point. Combat can't be that deadly, or characters die constantly.

JaronK

Eldan
2010-11-02, 05:19 AM
Dunno. Is Shadowrun level based? Remember that your survivability in D&D improves dramatically as you gain levels. Well, compared to your starting point at least. A level 20 character is likely to have more than 10 times the hp of a level 1 character.
-DF

That doesn't really seem to be correct, however. A dedicated and optimized melee damage build can reliably one-hit-kill just about anything at any given level, if it manages to get a hit in. One-hit kill spells are available at most levels.

What changes is that immunities to certain attacks get more common as you level, so the rocket tag changes from "make the fighter hit it with his axe" to "dispel it's immunities then hit it with something that kills it".

DwarfFighter
2010-11-02, 05:52 AM
Now that's my view on it. So what's your view on it?

Here's my view: Its not something I'd want to get involved with.

-DF

Wings of Peace
2010-11-02, 06:34 AM
I have mixed feelings on rocket tag. I enjoy it because in my groups once we get to the point of power where everything is rocket tag we get bored of combat and start role playing more extensively. That's more of a personal experience thing.

In response to the OP's point I would point out this, that's MELEE rocket tag. Try tier 1 or tier 0 rocket tag, the difference is that in melee rocket tag there are still obstacles which will challenge you or require a degree of forethought. In high tier rocket tag you've often stopped using rockets and switched to Scry-Guided ICBMs. It's a very different level of a rocket and one which takes away most challenge from the game, especially traditional challenges like quests to save/recover/discover/kill something.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 07:31 AM
Eh, I dunno. There are a small handful of pretty potent ablative defenses in high-optimization play that are still strong enough to be relevant. I remember a fairly high-powered melee fight coming down to whether I would run out of Abrupt Jaunts before they ran out of Wings of Cover spells. A cohort with an Amulet of Second Chances also played a role when a lucky sequence of rolls downed me early in the fight, which is also a one/day item and thus another kind of ablative defense. Contingent spells keyed to anything that breaks line of effect also serve in this fashion...and the inability to target anyone that's possessing someone or something without first forcing them out or destroying whatever they're possessing (as with ghosts or Fiends of Possession) is another way to ensure that you need to be at least two-shotted rather than one-shotted. I think there's a high-level Shadow Hand maneuver that turns you ethereal as an immediate action, which can also work in this capacity.

Thus, you can still have HP of a sort even when you're running at high-op play if you know what you're doing, resulting in an at least semifunctional game...they just tend to be more along the lines of Exalted-style 'perfect defenses' than hit points per se.

Ranielle
2010-11-02, 08:00 AM
Playing an instagib campaign is actually fun when there are consequences to combat. The players stop trying to kill everything they see ( because of the dangers involved ) and try to be creative. Even diplomatic.This helps with the usual adventurer problem solving style of killing everything involved.

But then, when you have unlimited comebacks.. it's power fantasies.

panaikhan
2010-11-02, 08:23 AM
If you like playing Rocket Tag, try Paranoia or non-D20 Call of Cthulhu

Psyx
2010-11-02, 09:12 AM
As others have said: a true res every time you die -for free- removes any penalties for stupidity from the game, and removes all penalties for rolling lower than the GM on initiative from rocket-tag. The risk versus reward axis is removed, because there is no risk any more.

I personally don't see the point of playing in a game where death is arbitarily decided by initiative, there are no repercussions for it, and anything can be blown away in three rounds flat. If I wanted to do that, then I would quite literally load up Quake and play. I know that some people enjoy it.. but I'm not quite sure why, and I'm not sure for how long...

Lots of games are lethal without being rocket-tag. L5r and CoC for example are high lethality games, but neither should fairly be compared with rocket-tag games. In rocket-tag, you get into fights all the while and arbitrarily die/don't die. In CoC and L5r you do your best NOT to get into fights.

jiriku
2010-11-02, 09:16 AM
Eh, I dunno. There are a small handful of pretty potent ablative defenses in high-optimization play that are still strong enough to be relevant. I remember a fairly high-powered melee fight coming down to whether I would run out of Abrupt Jaunts before they ran out of Wings of Cover spells. A cohort with an Amulet of Second Chances also played a role when a lucky sequence of rolls downed me early in the fight, which is also a one/day item and thus another kind of ablative defense. Contingent spells keyed to anything that breaks line of effect also serve in this fashion...and the inability to target anyone that's possessing someone or something without first forcing them out or destroying whatever they're possessing (as with ghosts or Fiends of Possession) is another way to ensure that you need to be at least two-shotted rather than one-shotted. I think there's a high-level Shadow Hand maneuver that turns you ethereal as an immediate action, which can also work in this capacity.

Thus, you can still have HP of a sort even when you're running at high-op play if you know what you're doing, resulting in an at least semifunctional game...they just tend to be more along the lines of Exalted-style 'perfect defenses' than hit points per se.

Absolutely true. You can have very suspenseful and interesting "rocket-tag" combats with high-level D&D, in which everyone has rockets, but everyone also has rocket-proof armor, armor-piercing rockets, rocket-spoofing chaff, chaff-defeating radar-guided rockets, radar-invisible armor, heat-guided rockets, etc. Combat becomes a very complicated game of rock-paper-scissors as you try to identify and degrade your enemy's defenses and then hit him with a killshot before he manages to do the same to you. Battle-rez spells like death pact, fortunate fate, revenance and revivify+quickened heal make even death just a momentary tactical disadvantage in these kinds of games.

HOWEVER, the challenge is that thinking and gaming at that level requires preparation time, a very strong grasp of the rules and a knack for quick thinking. If your group includes casual or uninvolved players, they can quickly find themselves made irrelevant simply because they can't compete at that level. I have run a high-level campaign that featured this kind of Calvinball-style combat, and it was great fun with that group. But I've also run high-level campaigns with groups who weren't interested in that kind of play, and I had to use Carebears for bad guys to keep the game at the level of challenge they were comfortable with.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-02, 09:22 AM
Why does this work for Shadowrun and not for D&D? I have some ideas jumping around in my head but I'll wait until they're fully formed to post them.
Oh man, good work on digging up that quote :smallbiggrin:

Basically, it's a different game. SR is not about combat; combat is just one method of conflict resolution. Admittedly, this statement comes more from the fluff than the mechanics, but the truth is that trying to play SR like D&D is going to get your team hosed before you finish your first run.

Interesting side point: the OP's game is not Rocket Tag, it's Slayer (http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Slayer). In SR and normal D&D death is Serious Business; moreso in SR than WotC D&D, admittedly, but still meaningful. Here death is basically the delay time before you respawn. As far as Rocket Tag goes, this is probably the best way to do it but I can't say either SR or D&D are particularly good systems for this sort of gameplay.

For my money, Paranoia is the ideal system for Slayer :smallsmile:

Arbane
2010-11-02, 01:30 PM
Why does this work for Shadowrun and not for D&D? I have some ideas jumping around in my head but I'll wait until they're fully formed to post them.

Shadowrun has Karma Points you can spend to offset bad die rolls, right?

Emmerask
2010-11-02, 01:43 PM
Shadowrun has Karma Points you can spend to offset bad die rolls, right?

And the whole point of shadowrun is to not fight but to go about your business stealthy, best case scenario is that you go in and come out without anyone noticing you.

So the main difference why it works in shadowrun is that if you have to fight you have already screwed up the job while in d&d you want and often times have to fight to achieve your goals.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 02:05 PM
People that dislike rocket tag believe it to be a game of chance.

People that like rocket tag believe it to be a game of skill.

The latter is the correct interetation, as scores consistently will vary by skill.

The challenge is not in surviving the hits, but in dodging rockets and ensuring yours hit. This is true in both rpgs and video games.

BRC
2010-11-02, 02:09 PM
And the whole point of shadowrun is to not fight but to go about your business stealthy, best case scenario is that you go in and come out without anyone noticing you.

So the main difference why it works in shadowrun is that if you have to fight you have already screwed up the job while in d&d you want and often times have to fight to achieve your goals.
Not necessarily. You can have combat-based Shadowrun games, but generally yes, Stealth and Trickery are your best friends. When you fight, it's rarely a straight-up Slugfest like in DnD. When you DO fight in anything more lethal than a barfight, you fight with the knowledge that you're playing Rocket Tag and try to get the drop on the enemy.
Dnd tends to be based around low-lethality slugfests, with each side smashing away the other's hitpoints over several rounds.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 02:38 PM
People that dislike rocket tag believe it to be a game of chance.

People that like rocket tag believe it to be a game of skill.

The latter is the correct interetation, as scores consistently will vary by skill.

The challenge is not in surviving the hits, but in dodging rockets and ensuring yours hit. This is true in both rpgs and video games.

That's an oversimplification. You can dislike the quick and casual lethality that comes with the rocket-tag style without necessarily feeling that it's a pure roll of the dice, particularly if you want death to have a narrative impact and aren't terribly comfortable with death being as cheap it can get for a high-level high-op party.

BRC
2010-11-02, 02:53 PM
People that dislike rocket tag believe it to be a game of chance.

People that like rocket tag believe it to be a game of skill.

The latter is the correct interetation, as scores consistently will vary by skill.

The challenge is not in surviving the hits, but in dodging rockets and ensuring yours hit. This is true in both rpgs and video games.
So you're saying that people who dislike Rocket-tag style gameplay are "Wrong".

And for the record, Chance can play a BIG role in tabletop games.
Consider DnD. Assume one successful attack will take an opponent out of the fight (Rocket Tag). You will roll a d20 to determine whether or not you hit.
Yes good character design and tactics can increase your chance to hit, but in the end, a single roll of the d20 can make or break you. That's what people don't like about Rocket Tag, that they can lose due to a single roll. Now, it's not 100% based on Chance, as I said, good tactics or character design can play a big role.

Both Chance and Skill are equally important in High-Lethality and Low-Lethality game play, the only difference is the stakes of each roll. In Low-lethality game, you need to hit an opponent 5 times. In a high-lethality game, you only need to hit them once. A +1 to hit is just as useful in both situations, the only difference is the stakes behind it, a high-lethality game everything comes down to a single roll. In low-lethality, it's a collection of rolls, but the same factors, luck and skill, affect all the rolls equally, so they are just as important.

Roderick_BR
2010-11-02, 03:01 PM
By taking 1 level in a PC class (not npc, or racial dice), you already is a hero, not an average shpmunk.

Sorry, it's a pet-peeve of mine when someone complains that his character is not powerful if he doesn't roll all 18, are not optimized, or doesn't kill anything in 1 round.

The problem with rocket tag is, as people said, your game is reduced to rolling a initiative roll. All the fun in selecting powers, abilities, spells, only exists during character creation, that if you doesn't copy the build off somewhere.
It's just no fun.

Btw, heroes have their bad days too.

Toric
2010-11-02, 06:54 PM
I don't really like the concept of rocket tag (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SingleStrokeBattle), for the same reason that theater and films employ the fine tradition of flynning (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Flynning).

Half the fun of D&D combat for me is the characterization that happens during it. Banter, emotional response, clever tricks, battle philosophy, these all get a chance to fly between the heroes and the antagonists after initiative is rolled. Depending on the circumstances, this might be the most screen time the two groups get together, or even the only time this enemy gets at all for characterization. With Rocket Tag... you can't count on that happening. It's great for a change of pace - anticlimax can be hilarious if it's not overused - but it'd really bug me if I consistently didn't get my chance for dialogue with the opponent between the first and last spell thrown. Dialogue that I think I'd be too distracted playing 3-D resistance chess to take part in even if I went the "ablative defenses" route.

druid91
2010-11-02, 07:38 PM
By taking 1 level in a PC class (not npc, or racial dice), you already is a hero, not an average shpmunk.

Sorry, it's a pet-peeve of mine when someone complains that his character is not powerful if he doesn't roll all 18, are not optimized, or doesn't kill anything in 1 round.

The problem with rocket tag is, as people said, your game is reduced to rolling a initiative roll. All the fun in selecting powers, abilities, spells, only exists during character creation, that if you doesn't copy the build off somewhere.
It's just no fun.

Btw, heroes have their bad days too.

No, It just means you are better than your average dirt farmer. In d&d people with less than two levels in an npc class don't even show up on the heroic radar. A level 1 PC class is an average schlub.They are journeyman, just barely allowed to leave the house, let alone to be called heros.

You can be powerful without being twinked out, but a level one is not powerful, nor does it fit in as someone extremely exceptional. As a PCC they have potential, but they aren't there yet.

Susano-wo
2010-11-02, 07:54 PM
Toric! :smallfurious:
dammit, you had to link to TV tropes I hadn't read, didn't you! there goes my damned night! :smallwink:

to also contribute, it is a fair observation that rocket tag=/= no skill. its just not fair to say that means everyone who dislikes rocket tag thinks that way.

I am ambivilant on rocket tag. If its easy to dodge the metaphorical rockets, I like it. You can still "Flynn," as its unlikely/impossible that the first rocket will hit you.

I don't like it in DnD, because of an overabundance on heat seeking rockets, if I may be allowed to torture the metaphor a bit further. Too many Save or lose spells that can easily target a poor save, too many +9001 to hit so your defense is meaningless combos(well, ok I don't know how many of those there are, but they certainly exist :P).

basically, if you have system that accounts for it, and ensures that most people dodge/parry a lot, and finally get a telling blow that actually wounds(severe mechanical penalties)/kills your foe, I think it would be a ton of fun, and allow heroism without the I can take a nuke and still live to tell about it kinds of stuff you see using RAW in Dnd

finally, Dnd assumes that you are heroic at first lvl. BY redefining the scale, you prove nothing. a 1st level fighter is a cut above a 1st lvl warrior. You know, a fully trained city guard/militiaman/soldier? Heck, he may even be better than a 2nd lvl warrior, which would be a veteran. (2nd lvl npc warrior has, what, 9+2xcon? 1st lvl PC fighter has 10+con, and probably a higher con, and if he needs that extra BA he can take weapon focus. If not he's one feat up on the warrior) and don't even talk about how impressive it is just to be able to cast spells!

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-02, 08:22 PM
finally, Dnd assumes that you are heroic at first lvl. BY redefining the scale, you prove nothing. a 1st level fighter is a cut above a 1st lvl warrior. You know, a fully trained city guard/militiaman/soldier? Heck, he may even be better than a 2nd lvl warrior, which would be a veteran. (2nd lvl npc warrior has, what, 9+2xcon? 1st lvl PC fighter has 10+con, and probably a higher con, and if he needs that extra BA he can take weapon focus. If not he's one feat up on the warrior) and don't even talk about how impressive it is just to be able to cast spells!

Being better than a soldier and being a heroic adventurer capable of saving a kingdom/world/multiverse are COMPLETELY different things as reference here:


No, It just means you are better than your average dirt farmer. In d&d people with less than two levels in an npc class don't even show up on the heroic radar. A level 1 PC class is an average schlub.They are journeyman, just barely allowed to leave the house, let alone to be called heros.

a level1 PC isnt heroic but they are better than a level1-2 warrior. a level1-2 warrior would be OBLITERATED by a hero like Aragorn or Eragon.

true_shinken
2010-11-02, 08:39 PM
a level1 PC isnt heroic but they are better than a level1-2 warrior. a level1-2 warrior would be OBLITERATED by a hero like Aragorn or Eragon.
I only watched the Eragon movie, but he seemed like a completely normal kid who just happened to get a dragon and was slowly learning magic. A level one character with a Mary Sue syndrome and a forgiving DM, if you will.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-02, 08:50 PM
i meant in the Epic end battle of book1. at the start he was nearly killed by a single monster but in the battle he clearly wiped out several dozen and almost killed a Shade single-handedly (only 2 other people had done it and neither survived).

Dusk Eclipse
2010-11-02, 08:51 PM
I only watched the Eragon movie, but he seemed like a completely normal kid who just happened to get a dragon and was slowly learning magic. A level one character with a Mary Sue syndrome and a forgiving DM, if you will.

The movie was CRAP, I really enjoyed the series, but it is mostly a YMMV kind of book.

now to actually contribute something to the topic ant hand, I enjoy a bit of both, a game where you know you have kill or be killed, is extremely fun for me, considering that the risk of failure is part of the appeal of D&D to me, in either case I understand (to a degree) why some people don't like that kind of game.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 08:56 PM
So you're saying that people who dislike Rocket-tag style gameplay are "Wrong".

Those who generalized it as being equal to a coin flip? Definitely. I've never seen a D&D game, no matter how rocket-tag like, have combats that in any way resembled a coin flip.

I invite those of differing opinions to support their generalization.


And for the record, Chance can play a BIG role in tabletop games.
Consider DnD. Assume one successful attack will take an opponent out of the fight (Rocket Tag). You will roll a d20 to determine whether or not you hit.
Yes good character design and tactics can increase your chance to hit, but in the end, a single roll of the d20 can make or break you. That's what people don't like about Rocket Tag, that they can lose due to a single roll. Now, it's not 100% based on Chance, as I said, good tactics or character design can play a big role.

D&D is not particularly chance heavy among RPGs. It's not really like that unless both parties are optimizing their characters for rocket tag. In which case...why are you optimizing for a playstyle you don't want to play?

Play a game such as D20 modern, where you have non-magical, non-mastercraft weaponry that deals 2d12 damage without any optimization whatsoever. Note that the massive damage threshold is your con score. So, even ignoring the fact that your hit points are vastly lower relative to attacks than in D&D, even the highest level characters are pretty vulnerable to a single sniper round unless they specifically build to counter it(not that they're safe then...just less likely).

Other games are even deadlier. D&D is probably on the non-rocket tag side of the scale a bit(it would be further, but level 1 is twitchy).


Both Chance and Skill are equally important in High-Lethality and Low-Lethality game play, the only difference is the stakes of each roll. In Low-lethality game, you need to hit an opponent 5 times. In a high-lethality game, you only need to hit them once. A +1 to hit is just as useful in both situations, the only difference is the stakes behind it, a high-lethality game everything comes down to a single roll. In low-lethality, it's a collection of rolls, but the same factors, luck and skill, affect all the rolls equally, so they are just as important.

This is correct. It sounds like you agree with my assessment that those who describe rocket tag as pure randomness are wrong.

The lower the lethality, the longer a given combat. Consider 4e, for instance. It's a relatively low-lethality game, and combat is generally not rocket-tag like in nature. Now say, halve the hp of everyone involved. Combat gets faster, but so does lethality.

Now, preferences are going to vary as to how long everyone likes combat to be, but surely we can all agree that there's a point that's too long. Therefore, everyone has a floor of lethality below which they prefer not to play, because games below that bog down into a resource grind in which a great deal of time is spent for relatively little gain. Therefore, there is nothing inherently wrong with rocket tag....it's merely a term used to describe high stakes combat, which has the side benefit of making combat quick.

BRC
2010-11-02, 09:29 PM
I was reacting to the following two lines

People that dislike rocket tag believe it to be a game of chance.

The latter is the correct interetation, as scores consistently will vary by skill.

You seemed to be saying "People who dislike rocket tag do so because they think it's about chance. It's not about chance. It's about Skill, ergo, people who dislike it are wrong.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 10:00 PM
I was reacting to the following two lines

You seemed to be saying "People who dislike rocket tag do so because they think it's about chance. It's not about chance. It's about Skill, ergo, people who dislike it are wrong.

They are wrong about it being not a matter of skill. I don't really care what they prefer.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-11-02, 10:08 PM
My only problem with Rocket Tag is a complete inability to effectively challenge the party.

You see, if they have built up their characters so that they are ONLY vulnerable to one-hit kills, then the only thing which scares them ARE one-hit kills, and thus, in order for combat to not simply be 'here, take the stuff', the GM must, therefore, use them.

This returns one of two values:

1) Party wins. See above 'here, take the stuff', because few, if any, of their resources are used, and they don't show themselves any worse for wear

2) Party does not win, ending in TPK when someone rolls a nat-1 on a save. Which causes much grumbling and throwing of dice.

If the party has nothing to attrit, and only gets hurt on an auto-KO ability, then they have effectively zero difficulty in the game, with a random 5% chance of an unavoidable death. That's not a fun game, in my opinion. That could simply be boiled down to 'keep rolling a d20, when you roll a 1, stop'.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 10:32 PM
But, as I noted above, characters who are good at Rocket Tag *do* have defenses to attrit- castings of Wings of Cover, uses of Abrupt Jaunt, activations of their Time Buttress shield, uses of Amulets of Second Chances in the party, castings of Fortunate Fate, clerics in the party with quickened Rez spells, ghost cohorts with readied actions to telekinetically bull rush you out of line of effect, psions in the party with Time Regression, contingent Prismatic Spheres or Otiluke's Resiliant Spheres or Teleports or Dimension Doors or similar spells, uses of the One with Shadow maneuver, forced enemy rerolls, save rerolls vs. SoDs, and the like. They just aren't defenses with 'HP' on the label.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-11-02, 10:39 PM
But, as I noted above, characters who are good at Rocket Tag *do* have defenses to attrit- castings of Wings of Cover, uses of Abrupt Jaunt, activations of their Time Buttress shield, uses of Amulets of Second Chances in the party, castings of Fortunate Fate, clerics in the party with quickened Rez spells, ghost cohorts with readied actions to telekinetically bull rush you out of line of effect, psions in the party with Time Regression, contingent Prismatic Spheres or Otiluke's Resiliant Spheres or Teleports or Dimension Doors or similar spells, uses of the One with Shadow maneuver, and the like. They just aren't defenses with 'HP' on the label.

I suppose you haven't been introduced to Rope Trick or MMM yet? Or, at higher levels, Greater Teleport to Home Base, or even Planar Shift to your own pocket dimension created with Genesis.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 10:42 PM
Rope Trick or MMM means that you'll be entering each individual encounter with topped-off ablative defenses, but neither of them is the sort of thing you can do in the middle of an encounter. Which actually makes for more predictability in when a PC will drop, not less- no 'oh, dear, I forgot I used all but one of my Jaunts fighting that force dragon'. Plane Shifting to a plane with a drastically different Time trait is the only thing that works along those lines, and yes, I agree that THAT particular trick is one that absolutely requires banning if you're going to have any sort of coherent combat system.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-11-02, 10:45 PM
Rope Trick or MMM means that you'll be entering each individual encounter with topped-off ablative defenses, but neither of them is the sort of thing you can do in the middle of an encounter. Which actually makes for more predictability in when a PC will drop, not less- no 'oh, dear, I forgot I used all but one of my Jaunts fighting that force dragon'. Plane Shifting to a plane with a drastically different Time trait is the only thing that works along those lines, and yes, I agree that THAT particular trick is one that absolutely requires banning if you're going to have any sort of coherent combat system.

Or simply Greater Teleport to Home Base... can even Quicken it with a few metamagic tricks. Swift action to pull the whole party out of combat and able to R&R to come back the next day.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-02, 10:48 PM
I suppose you haven't been introduced to Rope Trick or MMM yet? Or, at higher levels, Greater Teleport to Home Base, or even Planar Shift to your own pocket dimension created with Genesis.

Rope trick isn't a good midfight option. It's too obvious. MMM isn't really a permanent solution, though it can be a good LoE blocker. Teleport is also solvable, and stopping teleportation is often one of the first things aimed for.

However, a battle that ends in one party retreating via contingent teleporation is certainly not impossible. And not necessarily a bad thing. I'd say that running due to insufficient resources is a loss, even if nobody died.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 10:53 PM
I'd say that running due to insufficient resources is a loss, even if nobody died.

Unquestionably. An effectively stationary, 'static' enemy that doesn't directly threaten things the PCs value and have independent objectives of its own which it will strive to fulfill and which the PCs will strive to stop, and will instead just sit there waiting to be ganked and its treasure taken, is not an appropriate challenge for the kind of demigods high-level D&D characters are, no matter what kind of ridiculously high numbers it can toss at them.

Aran Banks
2010-11-02, 10:59 PM
Just posting in refute of that coin-tossing example...

Say you have a million $1 bills. Now you and a friend sit down. You flip a coin and call it. If you get it right, put it down as a tally. If you call it wrong, your friend gets a tally. Repeat until somebody has 5 tallies. Whoever does gets the dollar bill. Repeat ad nauseum.

Having fun yet?

... honestly, if you're going to simplify rocket launcher tag like that, you need to see non-rocket launcher tag. It's even MORE obnoxious under that scenario.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 11:01 PM
I'm sorry, you've completely lost me. Could you make that a little more concrete?

Aran Banks
2010-11-02, 11:07 PM
I'll assume you're talking to me.

I'm talking about post #3. Keld Denar's post. It bothered me.

Toptomcat
2010-11-02, 11:26 PM
Right, yes, I got that, but I'm not quite seeing what your extension of the metaphor translates to in terms of what the metaphor's representing. How is D&D game-as-approximated-by-Keld-Denar's-metaphor distinct from D&D-game-as-approximated-by-your-metaphor?

Aran Banks
2010-11-03, 12:11 AM
He simplified rocket tag to a coin flip.

I'm simplifying non-rocket tag to multiple coin flips.

Because, if you boil things down, that's honestly what it is.

Toptomcat
2010-11-03, 01:03 AM
Ah, okay. Thanks for clarifying.

JaronK
2010-11-03, 02:12 AM
He simplified rocket tag to a coin flip.

I'm simplifying non-rocket tag to multiple coin flips.

Because, if you boil things down, that's honestly what it is.

Except there's a difference. When there's multiple rounds to mess about, it's possible to use different strategies. Plan A might not work, Plan B might not work, but Plan C is effective. In Rocket Tag, if Plan A fails, you died. If Plan A always works, then whoever wins initiative is all that matters.

JaronK

Yahzi
2010-11-03, 03:56 AM
Toric! :smallfurious:
dammit, you had to link to TV tropes I hadn't read, didn't you! there goes my damned night! :smallwink:
I agree. I started reading about sword-fighting and wound up reading about Virginia Woolf.

Curse you, TV Tropes! :smallbiggrin:

jpreem
2010-11-03, 04:29 AM
"Rocket tag" with lots of ablative defences is not rocket tag anymore. What else is HP than not an ablative defence. So slugging at each other hp is no different than slugging at amulets, spells, magical items covering whole of your body.
If you can take a hit and it does not kill you but burns up some of your hp, or some amulet or whatnot - then it is not a rocket tag.
When one hit kills you then it is a rocket tag - you can have defences that allow you to not get hit. ( Most of them in DD have at least 5% failure rate (the part that has called for "coin flipping" metaphors) though you can get some "reroll" powers)
You can play rocket tag at all powerlevels and with different flavors, so actually it hasn't much to do with op-s story how about rocket tag is kung-fu and not-rocket tag is less kung-fu ( or epic or whatever)

Susano-wo
2010-11-03, 04:37 AM
Being better than a soldier and being a heroic adventurer capable of saving a kingdom/world/multiverse are COMPLETELY different things as reference here:



a level1 PC isnt heroic but they are better than a level1-2 warrior. a level1-2 warrior would be OBLITERATED by a hero like Aragorn or Eragon.

I guess we just have different gauges of where heroic starts :smallfrown:
I consider someone who is better than, or at least as good as, a combat veteran is pretty heroic. Not super awesome ultra badassed, but heroic

(also, please note that you used a character who is engaging in an 'epic battle' as one of your examples :smalltongue:)

dsmiles
2010-11-03, 05:00 AM
I agree. I started reading about sword-fighting and wound up reading about Virginia Woolf.

Curse you, TV Tropes! :smallbiggrin:


We could make a 'degrees of separation' type of game out of TV Tropes, you know?


On Topic: I don't see where it's all skill. Eventually somebody's going to get in a lucky crit, or you're going to fumble, and it's all over. That's a 10% chance of insta-lose every round. Seems like chance to me.

true_shinken
2010-11-03, 05:13 AM
On Topic: I don't see where it's all skill. Eventually somebody's going to get in a lucky crit, or you're going to fumble, and it's all over. That's a 10% chance of insta-lose every round. Seems like chance to me.

I guess it's both skill and chance. Since anyone can get a good enough build online though, it boils down to luck in the end, I believe. As always YMMV.

Emmerask
2010-11-03, 08:46 AM
"Rocket tag" with lots of ablative defences is not rocket tag anymore. What else is HP than not an ablative defence. So slugging at each other hp is no different than slugging at amulets, spells, magical items covering whole of your body.
If you can take a hit and it does not kill you but burns up some of your hp, or some amulet or whatnot - then it is not a rocket tag.
When one hit kills you then it is a rocket tag - you can have defences that allow you to not get hit. ( Most of them in DD have at least 5% failure rate (the part that has called for "coin flipping" metaphors) though you can get some "reroll" powers)
You can play rocket tag at all powerlevels and with different flavors, so actually it hasn't much to do with op-s story how about rocket tag is kung-fu and not-rocket tag is less kung-fu ( or epic or whatever)


Pretty much this, if you ever played a video game with rocket tag mode you know that the options/tactics you have are very limited and it mostly boils down to luck (rolls) and reactions (initiative).

In high level d&d hps always become secondary to other defenses like blink, spell immunity, death ward, mind blank etc these are there to counter the rocket tag d&d would become in high level :smallwink:

Toptomcat
2010-11-03, 09:46 AM
The vast majority of the defenses I noted in my earlier post aren't vulnerable to rolling a natural 1 or your opponent rolling a natural 20.

At this point it's starting to seem to me that the whole 'rocket tag' problem isn't so much an inherent feature of the game at high level, high op play as just the fact that many people are better at min/maxing offensively than defensively.

FatR
2010-11-03, 10:49 AM
Or simply Greater Teleport to Home Base... can even Quicken it with a few metamagic tricks. Swift action to pull the whole party out of combat and able to R&R to come back the next day.
If it is a problem, it is a problem irrelevant to rocketaggyness of a game. In fact, rocket tag combat alleviates it.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 11:51 AM
The vast majority of the defenses I noted in my earlier post aren't vulnerable to rolling a natural 1 or your opponent rolling a natural 20.

At this point it's starting to seem to me that the whole 'rocket tag' problem isn't so much an inherent feature of the game at high level, high op play as just the fact that many people are better at min/maxing offensively than defensively.

I would agree. It's odd, too, because especially for casters, there's a wild array of possible defensive measures.

Wings of Cover is a staple. Rings of Counterspelling are something I frequently suggest. Contingent spells, well...if you're a high level caster, contingency should be your best friend. See also, dischargable spells like the heart buffs. Then you have amazingly powerful defenses like IoT7V.

There's such an array of possible defenses in high level D&D that if a character lacks ANY of them, then I can only conclude that the player decided to ignore the available options.

true_shinken
2010-11-03, 12:16 PM
The vast majority of the defenses I noted in my earlier post aren't vulnerable to rolling a natural 1 or your opponent rolling a natural 20.

At this point it's starting to seem to me that the whole 'rocket tag' problem isn't so much an inherent feature of the game at high level, high op play as just the fact that many people are better at min/maxing offensively than defensively.

This was pointed out repeatedly since page 1.

Toptomcat
2010-11-03, 12:23 PM
And yet we're still getting assertions like dsmiles' or jpreem's, so it seems worth repeating until it sticks.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-11-03, 12:37 PM
. Since anyone can get a good enough build online though, it boils down to luck in the end, I believe.

Not everyone can play a build to its maximum potential. I know that I, personally, am pretty bad at playing casters. Copying a build from the internet isn't quite as liable to end in failure as buying a WoW character and expecting to do well at high levels, but it can end poorly for an overconfident powergamer.

Folytopo
2010-11-03, 01:02 PM
Um, no one has mentioned standard deviation yet? The difference between 1 roll and 5 is that extreme out comes are much less common in the five rolls. In addition, one can change their strategy when confronted with new odds. In poker it is like seeing the river. Now adjust your strategy. In ubercharger builds the combat is binary and there is little chance to change strategy. I agree with jpreem in that once someone has ablative defenses it is no longer rocket tag. Games where you have no chance to change strategy after the start of the game are rarely as interesting as ones that do.

druid91
2010-11-03, 04:16 PM
a level1 PC isnt heroic but they are better than a level1-2 warrior. a level1-2 warrior would be OBLITERATED by a hero like Aragorn or Eragon.

That's my point, they aren't even a threat. They aren't blips on the radar so to speak.

dsmiles
2010-11-03, 04:29 PM
That's my point, they aren't even a threat. They aren't blips on the radar so to speak.

But everybody has to start somewhere. You, too, were level 1 once, you were not born being awesome.

RanWilde
2010-11-03, 04:33 PM
But everybody has to start somewhere. You, too, were level 1 once, you were not born being awesome.

Clearly you haven't met Ymmot Sahmot.

dsmiles
2010-11-03, 04:34 PM
Clearly you haven't met Ymmot Sahmot.

I'd say, "who?" But it would be to short. So...

Enlighten me.

RanWilde
2010-11-03, 04:39 PM
I'd say, "who?" But it would be to short. So...

Enlighten me.

Yes, 263 pages of awesome.
http://www.commissar.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Music&action=display&thread=7704&page=263

I was also (partially) joking.

Susano-wo
2010-11-03, 04:48 PM
My whole point is that you just reacibrated your radar to not detect anything below Anime/Super Powered level, and said that it makes 1st level characters not heroic.

If you like to play high powered characters, fine. I presonally prefer a range. Its fun to lay the smackdown on dragons and demons and use your Dragon Slave/Soul Crushing Strike/Five Shadows Creeping Enevrvation strike, its also fun to play characters who fight the dragon, though they know it might be their last fight, but still they press on.

But the lower powered people are still of heroic proportions, even allowing herioc to be a 'power level,' and not an attitude/style :P

jiriku
2010-11-03, 05:19 PM
The vast majority of the defenses I noted in my earlier post aren't vulnerable to rolling a natural 1 or your opponent rolling a natural 20.

At this point it's starting to seem to me that the whole 'rocket tag' problem isn't so much an inherent feature of the game at high level, high op play as just the fact that many people are better at min/maxing offensively than defensively.

I think there's a lot of truth to this. In high-level D&D, improving your offensive output is easy, and often requires you to only learn one or two tricks. Improving your defenses is hard, and requires you to learn everyone else's tricks and the options available to counter them. Many of the people who are complaining that high-level D&D is a deadly initiative-war are also expressing discomfort or disdain for the classes and mechanics used to make it less deadly, or for high-level play in general. It seems impossible to them that it could be fun because for them, doing the things that make it work isn't fun.

D&D's high-level rocket tag can be a blast to play (pun intended), but it requires a group of like-minded players and DM who have similar levels of skill at the game. The kinds of people who can enjoy low-level D&D together aren't necessarily the kinds of people who can enjoy high-level D&D together.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-03, 05:25 PM
My whole point is that you just reacibrated your radar to not detect anything below Anime/Super Powered level, and said that it makes 1st level characters not heroic.

If you like to play high powered characters, fine. I presonally prefer a range. Its fun to lay the smackdown on dragons and demons and use your Dragon Slave/Soul Crushing Strike/Five Shadows Creeping Enevrvation strike, its also fun to play characters who fight the dragon, though they know it might be their last fight, but still they press on.

But the lower powered people are still of heroic proportions, even allowing herioc to be a 'power level,' and not an attitude/style :P

i see Heroism as an achievement. a character has to work his/her way up the food chain to reach Hero status, being better than a soldier is the first step but you have to be able to beat an army of soldiers singlehandedly to be considered as a Hero.

soulchicken
2010-11-03, 05:51 PM
If characters are doing tons of damage, then why not play a game where the npc's do moderate damage, but have tons of hps? When your pc's go crazy, and do 100's of damage a round, have a bbeg that takes the punishment, and attacks back so that the PC's actually have to heal/make saving throws/etc.

Reminds me of WoW. You've got characters that can pump out 9k dps, and bosses with 30million hps. The bosses do a lot of damage, and you need a tank to take it, healers to heal it and dps'ers to kill the boss before mana runs dry.

If you like the high power games, give the monsters a lot more hps so it takes more than 1 round to kill them. Make their damage to where a soft character can only take a couple hits but the tank can take a lot more.

That way you eliminate the save or die, the characters get to go all out, and the monster still poses a realistic threat.

Tyndmyr
2010-11-03, 05:56 PM
Long grinds through ridiculously huge amounts of hp are boring, though. Merely inflating hp totals will not make the game more interesting....it'll just mean SoL spells or SoDs end everything, while making the damage dealers even more of a cleanup crew.

Saph
2010-11-03, 07:21 PM
D&D's high-level rocket tag can be a blast to play (pun intended), but it requires a group of like-minded players and DM who have similar levels of skill at the game. The kinds of people who can enjoy low-level D&D together aren't necessarily the kinds of people who can enjoy high-level D&D together.

These are usually my favourite kinds of battles. Sure, normal fights can be fun, but the high-intensity kinds with all kinds of different attacks and defences getting thrown around are the ones I remember for years afterwards, like the wizard vs. sorcerer duel in this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8129843&postcount=93) session. A battle where you know that one mistake can and will get you killed is a hundred times more exciting than a HP grind.

Aran Banks
2010-11-04, 01:20 AM
Except there's a difference. When there's multiple rounds to mess about, it's possible to use different strategies. Plan A might not work, Plan B might not work, but Plan C is effective. In Rocket Tag, if Plan A fails, you died. If Plan A always works, then whoever wins initiative is all that matters.

JaronK

I'm sorry... we were talking about D&D, right? I'm pretty sure the tactical versatility of D&D is very weak. You move to the right spot and you use the best ability. The "tactics" are immobilizing opponents so you can wail of them or walk away from them... and those aren't really tactics at all.

Even if we played along with the idea... Plan A is "hit it with my axe". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan B: "hit it with my fireball". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan C: "hit it with my lazor". You flip your coin. You succeed. Congrats, you just flipped three coins instead of flipping one.

Seriously, not any better. "Tactics" are moving and smashing in D&D.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-04, 01:24 AM
depends on the edition. 4th ed has several valid tactics (some involve mindscrewing the initiative but meh) that can be used as back-up tactics ion the event of a bad roll or out-manouvering. IDK much about3.X but AFAIK it has less valid back-ups

JaronK
2010-11-04, 01:43 AM
I'm sorry... we were talking about D&D, right? I'm pretty sure the tactical versatility of D&D is very weak. You move to the right spot and you use the best ability. The "tactics" are immobilizing opponents so you can wail of them or walk away from them... and those aren't really tactics at all.

Even if we played along with the idea... Plan A is "hit it with my axe". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan B: "hit it with my fireball". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan C: "hit it with my lazor". You flip your coin. You succeed. Congrats, you just flipped three coins instead of flipping one.

Seriously, not any better. "Tactics" are moving and smashing in D&D.

Or, more realistically, it's something like "I target his will save" followed by "I target his fort save" followed by "I target his AC." Or perhaps "I use poison." Or maybe it's "The Dread Necromancer moves in and uses his fear aura followed by a Sickening Grasp Chill Touch, The Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade gets within 5' to use his save reducers, then the Beguiler lands Glitterdust, and finally the Rogue sneak attacks." There's actually a huge number of options, especially when casters are involved.

Instead of coin flips, it's about finding enemy weaknesses. This is very different from randomly guessing what you think will work, finding it doesn't, and then being dead because it's rocket tag.

JaronK

true_shinken
2010-11-04, 06:29 AM
Or, more realistically, it's something like "I target his will save" followed by "I target his fort save" followed by "I target his AC." Or perhaps "I use poison." Or maybe it's "The Dread Necromancer moves in and uses his fear aura followed by a Sickening Grasp Chill Touch, The Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade gets within 5' to use his save reducers, then the Beguiler lands Glitterdust, and finally the Rogue sneak attacks." There's actually a huge number of options, especially when casters are involved.

Instead of coin flips, it's about finding enemy weaknesses. This is very different from randomly guessing what you think will work, finding it doesn't, and then being dead because it's rocket tag.

JaronK

"Should I take a 5-foot tep back, or should I eat the AoO so that I can cast safely later? Dunno, he has reach, he might have Combat Reflexes."
"Oh, the bard just got Doomspeak on. Should I use Phantasmal Killer? It might end the fight, but what if he is immune to mind-effecting? What if he has Moment of Perfect Mind?"
"Oh, lord, the barbarian is charging me. I'll have to use Wings of Cover. But then what will I do if that wizard targets me with a ray? Maybe I should use Abrupt Jaunt and get myself total cover. No, greater mirror image is the only thing that might protect me from both. I must use it."

That's plenty of tactics for me. JaronK is totally right.

Meta
2010-11-04, 03:29 PM
So what balance between rocket tag and a defensive struggle is desirable?

As an example I played in a 4e game two nights ago that some may describe as rocket tag and it was super enjoyable.

Our party is level 12 and picked a fight with 3 mid-high paragon level dragonborn monsters (elites) with class templates. I have to run so I can't share all the details, but the white brute did half of our fighter's health with one dragonbreath and we bloodied the black assassin (over 200 hp easily, the white brute had 488 I think) on turn 2. We ended up getting beat hard but we forced the black to flee and I ended up chasing him down to use as a bargaining chip. The party managed to diplomatically stall the white and blue long enough to get a short rest in and when I came back with the unconscious black we were able to get an unsteady retreat. Combat lasted 4 rounds besides my chase and was one of the most intense combats we've had

Susano-wo
2010-11-04, 03:36 PM
I would say thats not quite rocket tag. If those 2 turn totals were 1 turn, then its rocket tag.
as far as enjoyable YMMV YMWV, but I like fights to feel dangerous, not just uh-oh, tehre's some HP gone, my turn. But, I want real options to prevent said death that's waiting at every turn, without just action pointing or some such every turn

jiriku
2010-11-04, 03:40 PM
So what balance between rocket tag and a defensive struggle is desirable?

Dunno if there's really just one right answer to that one. for me, the balance is in that zone where the adrenaline is rushing (as Saph described), where fights last long enough to use clever tactics (like JaronK and true_shinken are talking about), but not so long as the mud-slog that Tyndmyr is talking about.

And me personally, I like the model of relying on ablative defenses more than hit points. When characters take blow after blow after blow and don't slow down, that strains my suspension of disbelief. But if it only takes one or two hits to cook your goose once all your defenses are down, that's more in keeping with the way I'd expect the human body to react when stabbed with a sword or struck by lightning or whatever. Although I have no problem with heroically tough tank characters being able to take a couple more hits than their peers.

Doug Lampert
2010-11-04, 04:31 PM
Dunno if there's really just one right answer to that one. for me, the balance is in that zone where the adrenaline is rushing (as Saph described), where fights last long enough to use clever tactics (like JaronK and true_shinken are talking about), but not so long as the mud-slog that Tyndmyr is talking about.

And me personally, I like the model of relying on ablative defenses more than hit points. When characters take blow after blow after blow and don't slow down, that strains my suspension of disbelief. But if it only takes one or two hits to cook your goose once all your defenses are down, that's more in keeping with the way I'd expect the human body to react when stabbed with a sword or struck by lightning or whatever. Although I have no problem with heroically tough tank characters being able to take a couple more hits than their peers.

Huh? HP ARE an ablative defense! Your HP absorb the damage, that means you largely avoided the worst of the strike and were barely scratched. If your HP don't absorb the damage then that means the other side finally got a solid strike in.

AT WORST, maximum HP loss that doesn't reduce you to dying leaves your fully recovering by normal rest in about a week. That means lossing all but one of your HP is comparable to what an NFL player takes every weekend that he plays or a MLB starting pitcher does to himself every game or a marathoner every race.

If a wound is absorbed by HP then it's NOT a life threatening serious hit, that's what absorbed by HP MEANS!

HP are the standard ablative defense in D&D.

DougL

Saph
2010-11-04, 04:39 PM
Huh? HP ARE an ablative defense! Your HP absorb the damage, that means you largely avoided the worst of the strike and were barely scratched. If your HP don't absorb the damage then that means the other side finally got a solid strike in.

I don't think that's what jiriku's getting at. Losing HP means that you get hit; burning something like Wings of Cover or Abrupt Jaunt means that you avoid the attack completely. This becomes important in higher-power games where a serious attack can blow all the way through your HPs and knock you to -10 in a single round.

Susano-wo
2010-11-04, 04:45 PM
C'mon, now Saph, we can't hae people trying to understand someone's point instead of picking on semantic differences...this is the Internet here!:smallamused:
[/end passive agressive sarcasm]:smallwink:

Autolykos
2010-11-04, 05:00 PM
If the first one to hit wins the fight, the tactics just start to revolve around *being* that one, instead of doing something after the fight started. Shadowrun is a lot like that (getting hit by a solid burst from an assault rifle is pretty much insta-kill for all but the toughest characters, and the same can be said about mana bolts, sniper rifles or any other serious weapon), and the players know that they have good chances of dying in any kind of fair fight - so they try to avoid that (fighting fair, that is) as hell. And it's also a lot of fun - just different from D&D.

Meta
2010-11-04, 10:58 PM
I would say thats not quite rocket tag. If those 2 turn totals were 1 turn, then its rocket tag.
as far as enjoyable YMMV YMWV, but I like fights to feel dangerous, not just uh-oh, tehre's some HP gone, my turn. But, I want real options to prevent said death that's waiting at every turn, without just action pointing or some such every turn

Well it was certainly dangerous. The brute took half of our toughest characters hp with a minor action attack

Aran Banks
2010-11-05, 01:52 AM
Or, more realistically, it's something like "I target his will save" followed by "I target his fort save" followed by "I target his AC." Or perhaps "I use poison." Or maybe it's "The Dread Necromancer moves in and uses his fear aura followed by a Sickening Grasp Chill Touch, The Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade gets within 5' to use his save reducers, then the Beguiler lands Glitterdust, and finally the Rogue sneak attacks." There's actually a huge number of options, especially when casters are involved.

Instead of coin flips, it's about finding enemy weaknesses. This is very different from randomly guessing what you think will work, finding it doesn't, and then being dead because it's rocket tag.

JaronK

woahwoahwoahwoah

... so you don't get the choice between targetting a fort and targetting a will save in Rocket tag?

My friend, you play a VERY poor rocket tag.

You're thinking of the common misconception of rocket tag where EVERYTHING lets you win an encounter. I'm talking about the real rocket tag, where you ALWAYS have the capabilites to win an encounter, but might not if you don't do the right thing. Which is EXACTLY what you're saying, except 3 rounds faster.

There's the exact same amount of "options" in rocket tag. You're doing the SAME thing with using enemy weaknesses. It's just that the stakes are raised higher, because if you pick the wrong choice... then you lose.

Heck, if there's more to worry about, you'll probably spend more time thinking about it. Rocket tag, my comparison, probably take MORE skill and involves a little MORE tactics, since it requires players to think through their strategy instead of just going down the list of spells "Will Save? Nope. Reflex? Nope. Fort? Oh, OK then."

Otherworld Odd
2010-11-05, 02:47 AM
Now that I think about it, I used to play in a game like this... Only I was the only one with rockets.... O_o...

Eldariel
2010-11-05, 03:18 AM
I'm sorry... we were talking about D&D, right? I'm pretty sure the tactical versatility of D&D is very weak. You move to the right spot and you use the best ability. The "tactics" are immobilizing opponents so you can wail of them or walk away from them... and those aren't really tactics at all.

Even if we played along with the idea... Plan A is "hit it with my axe". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan B: "hit it with my fireball". You flip your coin. You fail. Now you try Plan C: "hit it with my lazor". You flip your coin. You succeed. Congrats, you just flipped three coins instead of flipping one.

Seriously, not any better. "Tactics" are moving and smashing in D&D.

And even if we remove magic from the equation, you are still left with huge amounts of variables; trying to negate opponents' ability to get a clean charge or attack in through terrain, the choice between skirmishing or fighting, setting up flanks + charges and forcing opponents to generate AoOs, the choice between simple attack and e.g. trip or grapple or disarm, etc. And that's before we bring in ToB for the various boosts, strikes and counters to further increase the variety.

And of course, as already pointed out, magic further increases the amount of options in a fight to 11th power. Even simple things like locating (the real) opponent and identifying which wards they have in place and what kinds of attacks you should opt for to penetrate them is far from trivial. And negating the opponent's ability to attack back is v. important in rocket tag. What if your opponent has Ghostform and is Flybying from inside a wall? Or acting through Projected Image inside a Sleet Storm? Or Invisible Fog Cloud to blind people with True Seeing? And so on and so forth; even just pinpointing opponents using magic is far from trivial in an encounter.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-11-05, 03:25 AM
so its less like rocket tag and more like sniping in a pitch black field with a laser pointer

jiriku
2010-11-05, 11:35 AM
so its less like rocket tag and more like sniping in a pitch black field with a laser pointer

That is so awesome.

Eldariel's hit it right on the head. One of the reasons that mundane classes are at such a disadvantage in high-level play is that while they do have access to rockets (there are many ways to deal hundreds of damage per round with a high-level mundane), they're essentially standing immobile in an open field when it comes to defending against rockets. Casters have dozens of tricks that make them difficult to hit with a rocket, or allow them to duck at the last minute, while melee characters have...almost nothing. Rocket tag isn't much fun when you're the only guy at the table without defenses.

To those of you who are complaining about one-round battles where the winner of initiative wins the fight, UR DOIN IT RONG. No wonder you aren't having fun. If all the PCs have reactive/ablative defenses or are difficult to find and target, you'll hardly ever have one-round fights. High-level D&D fights can be more like championship boxing matches, where either fighter could knock out the other with a good, solid punch, but both are too quick and evasive to allow the other to land that good solid hit. Occasionally there's a first-round KO, but usually the fighters have to wear each other down, and the win comes several rounds into the fight when one fighter gets tired, loses his edge, and leaves himself open to his opponent's attack.