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View Full Version : Would You Play in a Game Where Magic is Necessary to Compete?



The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 08:38 AM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

Basically, what is your tolerance to supernal powers being the answer to everything? Should Batman survive and thrive in a world of metahumans, or should he be splattered across the wall like the mortal he is, no matter how well equipped or trained?

Eldan
2011-03-08, 08:39 AM
The same answer as in the other, really:

Sure. I'm of the opinion that the system used is secondary to the fluff, which in turn is secondary to how well the DM makes it work.

And really, at high levels, it's already the case in D&D. Without at least tons of buffs and magical items, you have no chance at all.

And given that I've played in games where all the players were gods...

LordBlades
2011-03-08, 08:47 AM
Most of us already do. It's D&D 3.5

arguskos
2011-03-08, 08:48 AM
Sure. Don't see why I wouldn't. I do prefer a mix of the two, and having the ability to disregard magical shenananananananagins if I so desire.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 08:52 AM
Most of us already do. It's D&D 3.5

To be fair, while that is how things work out, that is not how the system is advertised. In theory, fighters work just as fine as wizards when fighting stuff.

Beheld
2011-03-08, 08:54 AM
Yes. I play 3.5 all the time.

Saph
2011-03-08, 08:58 AM
Well, the way I see it is that magic's kind of the fantasy equivalent of technology. And in the real world it's pretty hard to beat someone with hi-tech equipment when all you've got is sticks and rocks.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 09:08 AM
Well, the way I see it is that magic's kind of the fantasy equivalent of technology. And in the real world it's pretty hard to beat someone with hi-tech equipment when all you've got is sticks and rocks.

Yeah but sometimes I want the cavemen to beat up the astronaughts.

I much prefer my systems where one character choice is a win button and the only effective choice.

Of course my games of DnD never reach the level of craziness reached on these boards.

LordBlades
2011-03-08, 09:19 AM
Yeah but sometimes I want the cavemen to beat up the astronaughts.

I much prefer my systems where one character choice is a win button and the only effective choice.

Of course my games of DnD never reach the level of craziness reached on these boards.

You don't have to reach crazy levels of practical optimization for the game to be reliant on magic.

Out of the box the game assumes characters past a certain level would have access to magic (either spells or magic items) in order to be able to face certain challenges.

Incorporeal foes? you need a magic weapon(preferably Ghost Touch too) to harm them, either by having a magic weapon, or by having access to MW/GMW line of spells.

DR/magic,evil,good,law,chaos? see above.

Invisible foes? I know of no non-magical way (except Dreamsight elite, if that qualifies as non-magical) of seeing them.

Flying enemies? most of the playable races don't fly naturally, so you need either spells or magic items to effectively fight them

Petrification? there are quite a few monsters with this ability. You need magic to come back.

Ability drain/level drain/curses? Most of them only removable my magic.

All of the above are stuff that the game assumes even a non-optimized party will face at a certain point.

Yora
2011-03-08, 09:20 AM
If the rules work well with it, sure.
I rest my case.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 09:27 AM
You don't have to reach crazy levels of practical optimization for the game to be reliant on magic.

Out of the box the game assumes characters past a certain level would have access to magic (either spells or magic items) in order to be able to face certain challenges.

Incorporeal foes? you need a magic weapon(preferably Ghost Touch too) to harm them, either by having a magic weapon, or by having access to MW/GMW line of spells.

DR/magic,evil,good,law,chaos? see above.

Invisible foes? I know of no non-magical way (except Dreamsight elite, if that qualifies as non-magical) of seeing them.

Flying enemies? most of the playable races don't fly naturally, so you need either spells or magic items to effectively fight them

Petrification? there are quite a few monsters with this ability. You need magic to come back.

Ability drain/level drain/curses? Most of them only removable my magic.

All of the above are stuff that the game assumes even a non-optimized party will face at a certain point.

Yep I take your point.
I guess I was answering the wrong question. I was answering more

You would play a system where you had to play a caster to compete.

As always if the game is well run and the world maks some kind of sense I will play anything. Usually its more the theme of the game that cuases me to leave, as opposed to if it uses magic or not.

Chuckthedwarf
2011-03-08, 09:35 AM
Well, if everyone has superpowers, they aren't really super powers, right?

I don't think I'd mind it too much, but in the end of the day, it would just mean that low level kobolds were casting epic spells instead of hitting you with a stick. A bit of a hyperbole, but if the players have similar resources, it's just about the same. Might promote rocket tag, though, I do not like too much of that.

Britter
2011-03-08, 09:35 AM
Interestingly enough, my prefered system also does this pretty well too, in addition to the no-magic option.

In fact, in Burning Wheel the Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs each have a different sort of inherent natural magic, and if you are playing those races, you are capable of some very nifty things. An all-Elf BW game, for instance, is going to be very mystical.

Mind you, as with the low-magic option, you would have to work out the intent of the game ahead of time, so that you could build characters accordingly. But assuming that, I am all for it.

Tengu_temp
2011-03-08, 09:52 AM
I do play Exalted, so yeah. It's still better if the game allows for badass normals to exist and thrive, though - in the probably best game I ever participated in (and which is still going on) the players are teenagers with superpowers that put them way above the level of normal humans, but two incredibly badass NPCs were completely mundane humans. It took a supernatural equivalent of a nuke to kill them, and tears were shed when that happened.

Master_Rahl22
2011-03-08, 09:52 AM
Well, if everyone has superpowers, they aren't really super powers, right?.


I'll sell my gadgets to everyone, and when everyone is super... no one will be.

:smallbiggrin: That was just my first thought at seeing that. To answer the OP, yes I don't mind *magic* being necessary (scrolls, potions, items, etc), but I absolutely hate it when you have to play a *caster* to keep up.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 10:02 AM
:smallbiggrin: That was just my first thought at seeing that. To answer the OP, yes I don't mind *magic* being necessary (scrolls, potions, items, etc), but I absolutely hate it when you have to play a *caster* to keep up.

You don't have to play a caster. You just have to have supernal powers, whatever they are, and whatever their mechanics might be (still working out the system part). They might be being strong enough to cut a mountain in half in a minute, having senses sharp enough to be able to clip off a single feather with a sling bullet miles away, or yes, have magical-appearing effects, such as bursts of hellfire (the setting is still a work in progress as well). But you start out better than at least 95% of humanity, and you only get better from there. Even if what you are doing is something as mundane as shooting a rifle, your own abilities would make the rifle much more deadlier than in the hands of most humans.

Delusion
2011-03-08, 10:03 AM
As long as the intention is told before I make the character.

Drascin
2011-03-08, 10:09 AM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?


So, basically, Exalted? I guess I would, yeah.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 10:11 AM
You don't have to play a caster. You just have to have supernal powers, whatever they are, and whatever their mechanics might be (still working out the system part). They might be being strong enough to cut a mountain in half in a minute, having senses sharp enough to be able to clip off a single feather with a sling bullet miles away, or yes, have magical-appearing effects, such as bursts of hellfire (the setting is still a work in progress as well). But you start out better than at least 95% of humanity, and you only get better from there. Even if what you are doing is something as mundane as shooting a rifle, your own abilities would make the rifle much more deadlier than in the hands of most humans.

Yeah I would play that game. Its all about knowing what you are suppose to be playing up front.
What you don't want is a game that you can choose one of three character types.

Reds, Blues or Greens.

Reds get a power level of 10 and 4000 abilties.
Blues get a power level of 2 and 10 abilities.
And Greens get a power level of 1 and 1 abilty.

Why have a game designed like that, just make everyone reds and run with it.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 10:16 AM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

Yes. Provided it makes sense in the setting, absolutely. I'd also play a group of all superpowered people in a setting where that isn't the case.


Basically, what is your tolerance to supernal powers being the answer to everything? Should Batman survive and thrive in a world of metahumans, or should he be splattered across the wall like the mortal he is, no matter how well equipped or trained?

Batman basically has the superpower of money. That said, DC is often...terrible. I have Final Crisis, and it embodies everything I hate about DC. Consistency is not a strong point. They tend to just hurl (admittedly awesome) art around without much worrying about explaining the details of how, why, etc.

There's really no plausible reason why Batman should be able to take out Superman repeatedly, unless you blatantly ignore all the ridiculously high powered stuff Superman routinely does. There's no particular reason why a dude with death ray eyes, flight and ridiculous speed should be taken out by being punched.

Xiander
2011-03-08, 10:20 AM
Yeah I would play that game. Its all about knowing what you are suppose to be playing up front.
What you don't want is a game that you can choose one of three character types.

Reds, Blues or Greens.

Reds get a power level of 10 and 4000 abilties.
Blues get a power level of 2 and 10 abilities.
And Greens get a power level of 1 and 1 abilty.

Why have a game designed like that, just make everyone reds and run with it.

Interestingly, i would not mind playing a blue or a green in this scenario, as long as all other players was at the same level.

The important point is that if we are playing a game about superpowers i want to know that before i make my character. In fact, the optimal situation is that everyone agrees on what type of game we are playing, before we start.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 10:22 AM
. In fact, the optimal situation is that everyone agrees on what type of game we are playing, before we start.

That's the thing, right there. Sort it all out in advance. As long as everyone has appropriate expectations, nobody gets disappointed later.

If I choose to be less powerful than the group, that's not a problem...so long as it's made clear to me what Im doing.

Lord Raziere
2011-03-08, 10:28 AM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

Basically, what is your tolerance to supernal powers being the answer to everything? Should Batman survive and thrive in a world of metahumans, or should he be splattered across the wall like the mortal he is, no matter how well equipped or trained?

yes Batman should die. I don't how baddass normal you are, at some point the almighty powers defeat the normal. even Batman can't defeat gods.

kamikasei
2011-03-08, 10:37 AM
I'd much more readily go for this than for the no-magic game. This formulation opens up unlimited options while excluding one.

Batman basically has the superpower of money.
Money and super-polymathdom. Batman is fairly improbable (http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=1870).

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 10:45 AM
They didn't even calculate in the odds of being the worlds greatest detective!

Friv
2011-03-08, 10:46 AM
A game where magic is necessary defines every game White Wolf has ever published*, so yes.

* - Technically, Trinity requires psychic powers, Abberant requires super powers, and Adventure requires bizarre reality-altering powers. But the core concept remains.

DeadManSleeping
2011-03-08, 10:47 AM
I'm quite okay with settings where non-supernaturals do not operate on the same level as supernaturals.

That doesn't mean they don't make a difference.

CubeB
2011-03-08, 10:49 AM
Batman has his utility belt, after all.

That's the equivalent of a 3.5. Character's magic items. I mean, they call it the Batman Wizard for a reason.

comicshorse
2011-03-08, 10:50 AM
yes Batman should die. I don't how baddass normal you are, at some point the almighty powers defeat the normal. even Batman can't defeat gods.

I actually think he has defeated gods in DC Continuity

Sanguine
2011-03-08, 10:58 AM
A game where magic is necessary defines every game White Wolf has ever published*, so yes.

* - Technically, Trinity requires psychic powers, Abberant requires super powers, and Adventure requires bizarre reality-altering powers. But the core concept remains.

I've never actually read the New World of Darkness rules* so I might be talking out of my ass here. But aren't Hunters from Hunter: The Vigil(or is it Reckoning I have trouble keeping world of darkness straight) just badass normals?


*Though I plan to at some point

Edit: To answer the thread question yes, yes I would.

Morty
2011-03-08, 11:07 AM
Most definetly not. Mundane, unpowered humans being worthless is one of the things I just can't stomach. I'm fine with normals being weaker - it makes them all the more badass when they trounce supernaturals against odds - but not completely powerless.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 11:14 AM
I actually think he has defeated gods in DC Continuity

In Final Crisis, he mortally wounds Darkseid. By shooting him with a gun.

I could get into it, but none of the explanation makes it more clear or plausible. Phrases like "bullets fired backward through time" are central plot devices.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 11:17 AM
In Final Crisis, he mortally wounds Darkseid. By shooting him with a gun.

I could get into it, but none of the explanation makes it more clear or plausible. Phrases like "bullets fired backward through time" are central plot devices.

To be fair, you are talking about Final Crisis. :smalltongue:

Friv
2011-03-08, 11:19 AM
I've never actually read the New World of Darkness rules* so I might be talking out of my ass here. But aren't Hunters from Hunter: The Vigil(or is it Reckoning I have trouble keeping world of darkness straight) just badass normals?


*Though I plan to at some point

Edit: To answer the thread question yes, yes I would.

That is true, actually, until you reach the higher-tier hunter groups (who have things like access to God's miracles, or have installed magic in their organs or whatnot). The trick to being a hunter, though, is that you are thoroughly outmatched by your most typical foes, which is one of the themes of the book.

So, I suppose magic isn't necessary in Hunter, but it is an advantage that hunters don't have a counter-advantage to offset. They offset it through tactics, numbers, and dying a lot. ;)

Kiero
2011-03-08, 11:31 AM
Nope, its one of the many reasons D&D 3.x doesn't appeal to me at all. I like my characters to be cool because of their skill and determination, not some feaky powers.

Sanguine
2011-03-08, 12:08 PM
That is true, actually, until you reach the higher-tier hunter groups (who have things like access to God's miracles, or have installed magic in their organs or whatnot). The trick to being a hunter, though, is that you are thoroughly outmatched by your most typical foes, which is one of the themes of the book.

So, I suppose magic isn't necessary in Hunter, but it is an advantage that hunters don't have a counter-advantage to offset. They offset it through tactics, numbers, and dying a lot. ;)

Sounds pretty badass to me.

Morty
2011-03-08, 12:56 PM
Hunters are indeed badass. I'm normally not too fond of World of Darkness because it subscribes to the "normals are useless" notion, but I do like Hunter: The Vigil.

Pyrite
2011-03-08, 01:32 PM
I play Shadowrun all the time. In that game, unless you've got cyberware or magic you have already fallen behind.

mint
2011-03-08, 01:45 PM
I totally would.

But more importantly, I really, really, really want to dig up my brothers old aeon trinity books now.

Tvtyrant
2011-03-08, 01:52 PM
Reminds me of Suzy Shooter from Nightside; her boyfriend has crazy magical abilities (even if he is more normal then some) and everything she kills has at least the capability of killing city blocks worth of people. Her answer: a shotgun with blessed bullets.

vegetalss4
2011-03-08, 03:11 PM
I totally play exalted so yes.

randomhero00
2011-03-08, 03:22 PM
Yeah, OP. They're my favorite kind for nearly the sole fact you can't whine about non-magic classes/martial classes not getting nice things. Plus its just fun. I like how Exalted handled it. Where you're sort of more powerful than gods, but you can still be killed by a bunch of humans eventually.

Knaight
2011-03-08, 03:34 PM
As a rule I'm not very fond of these games, but there are a few exceptions. I would play Nomad, where everyone has some magical capability and some have huge quantities, and I did GM something by the name of Glyphs where everyone was either overtly magical or essentially magical (to the point where even the most mundane PC could create weaponry through the precise punching of trees, rocks, etc.)

Rankar
2011-03-08, 03:58 PM
To compete? Probably not. I like magic more than mundane, but I'd hate to force it on others who enjoy simpler worlds.

snikrept
2011-03-08, 04:10 PM
Batman's just a smart rogue with a belt full of powerful magic items and a high UMD score! So he's using tons of magical powers as well, in his items.

Warlawk
2011-03-08, 07:31 PM
Super magic kinda settings really aren't my thing. I think Eberron did a good job of presenting it as a tech replacement and not really requiring players to be casters to be feasible.

Now, I like magic items in my games, they're fun and neat but I don't like feeling that if I don't acquire a super weapon ASAP that I'll be useless. My group tends to be fairly low OP though, so it's not a terribly big deal.

Hawkfrost000
2011-03-08, 08:39 PM
Most of us already do. It's D&D 3.5

this, its not useful but its true

DM

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 09:01 PM
Batman's just a smart rogue with a belt full of powerful magic items and a high UMD score! So he's using tons of magical powers as well, in his items.

Well, yeah. When he's got kryptonite rings and things, he's basically doing the rogue approach to magic items.

And yeah, Rose Dragon, that's definitely one of the reasons why Final Crisis was terrible.

Endarire
2011-03-09, 12:14 AM
In 3.5, I already play full casters almost exclusively, like Druids, Psions, and Wizards. Little change there.

It may make things easier to manage between "Hey! I'm an Elf Rogue with a bit of Charisma and social skills! Look at me!" and "I'm a full caster who rocks worlds just because I can."

Lord.Sorasen
2011-03-09, 04:51 AM
I feel like if a game has magic, it becomes this. You might say "no, this game has mundane characters who keep up" or whatever, but if my ability to swing a sword can compete with someone who can throw fireballs and shoot lightning bolts, I don't really feel "Mundane". I have a super power, and my super power is super strength/speed combined with the ability to swing a sword. Either you have incredibly weak magic, or you have ultra powered martial characters.

This being said, Batman surviving is supposed to be really unusual. He fights against villains far stronger than him, and in the DC universe he is one of the only mundane characters. What makes batman interesting is that he lives in a universe where those with special powers are significantly stronger than normal people.

Shyftir
2011-03-09, 06:08 AM
Batman totally has super-tech. His equipment is routinely way beyond what is actually possible.

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 06:21 AM
Batman is also constantly plot-coddled so a fan favorite can be relevant in a world that should be far beyond his league to compete in.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 09:57 AM
This being said, Batman surviving is supposed to be really unusual. He fights against villains far stronger than him, and in the DC universe he is one of the only mundane characters. What makes batman interesting is that he lives in a universe where those with special powers are significantly stronger than normal people.

I disagree. For instance, the new films have villains without ridiculous powers or super tech(well, at any rate, no more ridiculous tech than batman has). They are awesome anyhow.

This makes a lot more sense than batman donning a space suit to join a bunch of basically gods on an interstellar adventure...so he can punch people.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-09, 10:03 AM
This makes a lot more sense than batman donning a space suit to join a bunch of basically gods on an interstellar adventure...so he can punch people.

Batman doesn't need to don a space suit. He can breathe in space (http://www.shortpacked.com/2005/comic/book-1-brings-back-the-80s/01-just-a-toy-store/batman-can-breathe-in-space/).

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 10:07 AM
Batman should really just have been primarily kept to his own series. The Justice League/etc just has too much variation in power to believably have a badass normal function without constantly downplaying other heroes to give the weaker ones spotlight. Batman isn't in the same league of ability as Aquaman, Superman, Martian Manhunter, etc, let alone The Flash at full power.

Gnaeus
2011-03-09, 10:49 AM
Batman isn't in the same league of ability as Aquaman, Superman, Martian Manhunter, etc, let alone The Flash at full power.

Batman beats Superman, pretty much whenever they fight. He is smarter, and he is a kind of crazy that gives him an edge.

And as Batman tole Manhunter, "I had to track down a rare asteroid to have the ability to beat superman if he he turns evil. All I need to beat YOU is a book of matches".

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 10:51 AM
Batman beats Superman, pretty much whenever they fight. He is smarter, and he is a kind of crazy that gives him an edge.

And as Batman tole Manhunter, "I had to track down a rare asteroid to have the ability to beat superman if he he turns evil. All I need to beat YOU is a book of matches".

Which really only happens because the intellect of other characters have been downplayed to plot-coddle a normal guy into being able to compete with people far stronger. Realistically, no normal human would ever have the slightest chance of winning against Martian Manhunter, Superman, or Flash if they're fighting at full potential.

Jay R
2011-03-09, 10:57 AM
The people who are complaining that Batman isn't a match for the other JLA members don't read it carefully. He isn't usually in the front lines. he's either directing the combat, or sneaking away to pull off some unexpected trick while the bad guys are focused on fighting the Supers.

Calling Batman underpowered is like calling the wizard underpowered because he won't stand up in the front line and melee.

And by the way, does anybody want to talk about playing in a game where magic is necessary? Or should we start a new thread for that topic?

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 11:04 AM
Which is about the same as having a D&D party of a high level wizard, cleric, druid, and low level rogue, but giving each adventure a plot-important locked door that the rogue has to pick while the high level casters are fighting all the monsters that would kill the rogue while blinking.

Yeah, the rogue gets his time to shine each adventure, but he's still nowhere near the ability of anyone else and realistically there's no reason why the others should actually need him around.

Gnaeus
2011-03-09, 11:07 AM
Realistically, no normal human would ever have the slightest chance of winning against Martian Manhunter, Superman, or Flash if they're fighting at full potential.

Realistically, no normal human would ever have the slightest chance of winning against Martian Manhunter, Superman, or Flash because they are not real.

If you can buy into having a guy who flies and shoots lasers from his eyes, having another guy who is brilliant, rich and paranoid doesn't challenge MY suspension of disbelief.



Yeah, the rogue gets his time to shine each adventure, but he's still nowhere near the ability of anyone else and realistically there's no reason why the others should actually need him around.

None of the others is as smart as him, and he built their darn space station.

Edit: Even though Aquaman gets a bad rap (what with his superhuman strength and toughness) I would still rather have Batman on my team than Aquaman in a non-aquatic setting. And those are just the A listers. Batman is certainly head and shoulders above other JLA "normals" like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, or Green Arrow, or even low powered supers like Black Canary.

Fhaolan
2011-03-09, 12:00 PM
I get bored during rocket-tag, and as a player if a game devolves into 'who's got the biggest spell', I'll excuse myself and go find something more entertaining to do.

Basically, I prefer playing games with characters like Buck Rogers, Indiana Jones, or John McClane. Basically badass mundanes who win via intelligence, luck, and general toughness.

Mark Hall
2011-03-09, 12:22 PM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

"Yes". However, it depends on how the game is cast, and what's meant by badass normal. Batman, for example, is generally regarded as human, but tends to be superhuman in many ways... an endurance that is phenomenal and an intelligence that borders on Mr. Terrific's "aptitude for having aptitudes."

In a Scion game, where everyone is assumed to be deific-power level, sure, I don't see a problem with it. But if the game supports multiple power levels, then a GM who wants to play "Gods in the World" needs to let people know that's what he's after.... kind of like a Rifts GM needing to specify a powerlevel to avoid the classic "Glitter Boy, Dragon Hatchling and Vagabond" scenario.

Tiki Snakes
2011-03-09, 12:36 PM
Batman is a (Marvel Style) Mutant, undiagnosed.

I'd love to play in a game where magic is necessary, as has been mentioned, as long as it's clear beforehand. I fondly hope to one day talk someone into running a vaguely Unseen-University inspired campaign, amongst other things.

(Though to be fair, you probably don't need magic to keep up with the Unseen University Staff as such.)

Sanguine
2011-03-09, 12:40 PM
"Yes". However, it depends on how the game is cast, and what's meant by badass normal. Batman, for example, is generally regarded as human, but tends to be superhuman in many ways... an endurance that is phenomenal and an intelligence that borders on Mr. Terrific's "aptitude for having aptitudes."

In a Scion game, where everyone is assumed to be deific-power level, sure, I don't see a problem with it. But if the game supports multiple power levels, then a GM who wants to play "Gods in the World" needs to let people know that's what he's after.... kind of like a Rifts GM needing to specify a powerlevel to avoid the classic "Glitter Boy, Dragon Hatchling and Vagabond" scenario.


{Scrubbed}

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 12:46 PM
Which really only happens because the intellect of other characters have been downplayed to plot-coddle a normal guy into being able to compete with people far stronger. Realistically, no normal human would ever have the slightest chance of winning against Martian Manhunter, Superman, or Flash if they're fighting at full potential.

This.

Besides, Superman is not canonically stupid. I recall reading a comic in which he used his "super-memory" in conjunction with his "super-speed" to instantly rebuild a computer which Luthor had EXPLODED.

Ludicrously bad story-writing aside, he's consistently portrayed as above-average in intelligence. Hell, the guy holds down a reasonably intellectual job despite spending at least half his time playing superhero.

This is entirely normal until he fights batman, at which point he's almost invariably in a mindless rage and charges batman to punch him, and batman then punches him more. Ref: The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-09, 12:58 PM
Ref: The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

To be fair, those were both largely poor Batman stories.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 01:04 PM
DK Returns is often held up as good for some reason. Im not entirely certain why. I agree that both books are terrible, but when you get into why...you can't help but point out that batman punching out superman(and leaving bruises and such) is ridiculous.

You technically have the "nuke weakened him" plot device, but he's survived nukes with no trouble in any number of books. Kingdom Come springs to mind(worth a read).

In fact...I'd say that it could even be generalized a bit. Almost every superhero appears smarter in their own comic books. Spidey is a great example. The only obvious counter to this I can think up offhand is Deadpool.

endoperez
2011-03-09, 01:06 PM
Yeah I would play that game. Its all about knowing what you are suppose to be playing up front.
What you don't want is a game that you can choose one of three character types.

Reds, Blues or Greens.

Reds get a power level of 10 and 4000 abilties.
Blues get a power level of 2 and 10 abilities.
And Greens get a power level of 1 and 1 abilty.

Why have a game designed like that, just make everyone reds and run with it.

Sounds like Ars Magica.

Red are Magi, powerful mages who have magical skills, powerful spells, ability to research more spells, and who can improvise minor magical spells on the fly.

Blues are Companions, who might be politicians, knights, bards, squires or other people who don't have the raw power of the magi, but who usually have skills and social network most of the magi don't have.

Greens are Grogs, the workers, redshirts, guards and servants of the magicians' covenant.


For the record, everyone runs with Magi, AND has access to companions, AND a cadre of grogs. Depending on the player, the companions or even the grogs might get more character development than the magi, although the action will most probably revolve around the magi.

Gnaeus
2011-03-09, 01:06 PM
Besides, Superman is not canonically stupid. I recall reading a comic in which he used his "super-memory" in conjunction with his "super-speed" to instantly rebuild a computer which Luthor had EXPLODED.

Superman, especially early superman, seemed to have super-everything, except for when he didn't. Super-memory is not one of his commonly cited powers (See Wikipedia article). Batman, on the other hand, is pretty consistently depicted as a genius level intelligence, at least in the areas of science and detective skills.


Ludicrously bad story-writing aside, he's consistently portrayed as above-average in intelligence. Hell, the guy holds down a reasonably intellectual job despite spending at least half his time playing superhero.
.

He is a reporter. I would therefore expect him to be able to interview people and write generally coherent sentences. (Although, judging from my local newspaper's website, or even CNN.com, that last bit might be too high a standard.) I would not expect him to be able to build a working space station, hack into computers, deactivate bombs, etc, just because he has a reasonably intellectual job. Heck, I have a job that requires more education than being a reporter, and I can't do any of those things.

Another_Poet
2011-03-09, 01:07 PM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

As long as I understood that this was part of the premise when I made my character, sure, I'd play in this game.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-09, 01:10 PM
You technically have the "nuke weakened him" plot device, but he's survived nukes with no trouble in any number of books. Kingdom Come springs to mind(worth a read).

Again, to be fair, he had the excuse of storing up a lot of solar energy by that time in Kingdom Come.

Anyway, while the comparison is interesting, I did say "no matter how well-equipped", so I'm considering stories where a naked Superman can take out a Batman with all his equipment, because he is just that super.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 01:13 PM
So, smart enough to use his superpowers in a reasonably logical way, then?

Because he doesn't have to be as smart as batman to beat him. He merely has to not be ridiculous. Avoid kryptonite. Blast with heat-vision. That power is at least pretty much always present.

He doesn't need to match wits with Bruce is the whole point, and he should be smart enough to understand this. The simple truth is that superman can only be defeated in a very limited number of ways.

Pretty much all of which have been tried by Lex Luthor(who is an "evil genius", and is ridiculously wealthy....just like batman), and which routinely fail.

Gnaeus
2011-03-09, 01:25 PM
He doesn't need to match wits with Bruce is the whole point, and he should be smart enough to understand this. The simple truth is that superman can only be defeated in a very limited number of ways.


No, the whole point is that Batman has a skill set that makes him useful to the JLA. If he can actually beat superman, that does prove the point. But even if he can't, there is still a huge gap between "Able to beat up Superman" and "Not worth an open seat on the spaceship when I travel to a distant planet to save the universe"

And superman can apparently be beaten by lots of ways. Half a dozen different versions of Kryptonite. Vulnerable to magic. Seems to be mind controlled a lot. He can apparently be beaten to death by suitably strong foes (Doomsday).



Pretty much all of which have been tried by Lex Luthor(who is an "evil genius", and is ridiculously wealthy....just like batman), and which routinely fail.

Well, for plot reasons, Luthor's plots have to fail. That makes him a pretty lame genius.

Hecuba
2011-03-09, 02:16 PM
There's really no plausible reason why Batman should be able to take out Superman repeatedly, unless you blatantly ignore all the ridiculously high powered stuff Superman routinely does. There's no particular reason why a dude with death ray eyes, flight and ridiculous speed should be taken out by being punched.


And as Batman tole Manhunter, "I had to track down a rare asteroid to have the ability to beat superman if he he turns evil. All I need to beat YOU is a book of matches".

To my knowledge, Batman never actually has beaten Superman in mainstream contunity. Yes, he's the person in charge of dealing with Superman if he goes evil.

At best however, he's kept Superman distracted by other means for long enough to deal with mind control (by, for example, having Catwoman dangle Lois Lane off a building to remind Clark he really doesn't like Poison Ivy that much).

But they only time they've actually outfight fought that I can recall was when Max Lord was playing with Supes's mind, and Batman ended up very close to dead as a result.


Though, in fairness, there was that time though where he took 5 or 6 white martians with a book of matches and a can of gas. Superman took 2. The rest of the league got one each at best. That was stupid.

navar100
2011-03-09, 03:57 PM
Yes. Even in 3E dedicated warriors use magic, namely magic items. That is not a bad thing in the concept of being a warrior in 3E. Needing to use equipment is not a problem. Batman is a good example. He gets along quite fine in the same world as Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash. He is what's known as a Gadgeteer type of superhero. 3E non-spellcasters are gadgeteers with different abilities.

Amphetryon
2011-03-09, 03:57 PM
Sure, I'd play a game where Magic/Super-tech/qi is necessary.

Used to love me some Rifts.

navar100
2011-03-09, 03:58 PM
Deleted. Changed mind.

Psyborg
2011-03-09, 04:10 PM
Yes, absolutely. D&D3.5, duh, even though I mostly play noncasters to avoid DMraeg and because I like the challenge.

Though I think Batman/<insert badass normal of choice here> ought to be able to survive just fine in a high-magic world; I just don't see him accomplishing anything else. :smallamused:

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 05:01 PM
No, the whole point is that Batman has a skill set that makes him useful to the JLA. If he can actually beat superman, that does prove the point. But even if he can't, there is still a huge gap between "Able to beat up Superman" and "Not worth an open seat on the spaceship when I travel to a distant planet to save the universe"

Oh, I like batman. I have no quibble with him being in the JLA. Im merely saying that, like this topic, he should not be plausibly beaten by mundanes, of which batman is an excellent example.


And superman can apparently be beaten by lots of ways. Half a dozen different versions of Kryptonite. Vulnerable to magic. Seems to be mind controlled a lot. He can apparently be beaten to death by suitably strong foes (Doomsday).

True. However, if you tick through that list, you'll notice that those are not terribly mundane abilities. Sure, kryptonite can be owned by a mundane. Maybe. Certainly not easy. Magic? If you got magic, you ain't mundane. Mind control? Same, same. Beaten to death? Ignoring the silliness of words like invincibility with this regard, he certainly is not portrayed as being someone a mundane should be able to beat down.


Well, for plot reasons, Luthor's plots have to fail. That makes him a pretty lame genius.

Whenever someone says "for plot reasons", you can already see the paradox.

Hecuba, Im not entirely certain what exactly gets counted as "mainstream continuity". The hush story you mention is sort of a beat, albeit of a mind controlled superman. Still, the idea that the kryptonite thing can still be a surprise after all these years is...sketchy at best.

I have no trouble with the idea of batman surviving. I even have no trouble with his intelligence allowing him to compensate for the advantages of criminals with some powers. I have trouble with him being considered relevant on a cosmic level. He's a dude with a good costume and a nifty belt. That doesn't put you par with the gods.

Jay R
2011-03-09, 06:19 PM
Which is about the same as having a D&D party of a high level wizard, cleric, druid, and low level rogue, but giving each adventure a plot-important locked door that the rogue has to pick while the high level casters are fighting all the monsters that would kill the rogue while blinking.

Do you actually read the comics? It's more like 14th level fighters and wizards and a 20th level rogue.

He is sufficiently over-powered in JLA stories that many fans complain about the presence of the Bat-god.

Hecuba
2011-03-09, 08:57 PM
Hecuba, Im not entirely certain what exactly gets counted as "mainstream continuity". The hush story you mention is sort of a beat, albeit of a mind controlled superman. Still, the idea that the kryptonite thing can still be a surprise after all these years is...sketchy at best.

I have no trouble with the idea of batman surviving. I even have no trouble with his intelligence allowing him to compensate for the advantages of criminals with some powers. I have trouble with him being considered relevant on a cosmic level. He's a dude with a good costume and a nifty belt. That doesn't put you par with the gods.

The only outright fight that I can think of where Batman wins would be the Dark Knight story already mentioned, which is Earth-31.

I think the best way to put it is: Superman will win any "fair" fight. Batman is the best person at making sure a fight isn't "fair."

I think it's silly too when he takes out absurdly powerful aliens/gods single-handed on short notice. For example, 5 White Martians using a gas can and some matches.

Jimlary
2011-03-09, 11:04 PM
Most of us already do. It's D&D 3.5

Ofcourse I do,like 3.5 very much.

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 11:14 PM
Do you actually read the comics? It's more like 14th level fighters and wizards and a 20th level rogue.

He is sufficiently over-powered in JLA stories that many fans complain about the presence of the Bat-god.

Which is more because he's constantly coddled by the writers to be able to be far better than any mundane character could plausibly be compared to characters like The Flash or Darkseid or even Aquaman.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-09, 11:18 PM
Which is more because he's constantly coddled by the writers to be able to be far better than any mundane character could plausibly be compared to characters like The Flash or Darkseid or even Aquaman.

Don't get me started on Aquaman....gah.

That said, location specific magic/powers is a setting possibility. One that leads to offensive actions, like adventurers so often do, being often out of their element. Could be a way to have a high magic world that doesn't suffer the wizard-god issue.

Bobikus
2011-03-09, 11:25 PM
Don't get me started on Aquaman....gah.

That said, location specific magic/powers is a setting possibility. One that leads to offensive actions, like adventurers so often do, being often out of their element. Could be a way to have a high magic world that doesn't suffer the wizard-god issue.

Aquaman is so mistreated :(, I was really neglectful to watch the DCAU Justice League just because he wasn't in it. At least Batman: The Brave and the Bold gave him enough of a personality to steal the spotlight when he was on screen, but his powers are constantly underrated.

Earthwalker
2011-03-10, 03:38 AM
Sounds like Ars Magica.

I have heard of the system but never played it. Do you have a group where one player this session is playing his Magi, two players are controlling the companions and the final player is just playing one of his Grogs ?

endoperez
2011-03-10, 04:35 AM
I have heard of the system but never played it. Do you have a group where one player this session is playing his Magi, two players are controlling the companions and the final player is just playing one of his Grogs ?

I haven't actually gotten to play it, but I've read through the 4th-edition rulebook. So this is just an educated guess.

Only in special cases. Magic is weaker in certain areas, like inside religious buildings and in big cities. If, for some reason, the Magi had to be in such a place, and only one of them had the skillset (be it social, fighting, political or whatever skills) to be of use there, that might happen. The main charm of the system is the magic, though, so I doubt that happens a lot.
By comparison, even if everyone in a D&D party had an animal companion, familiar, the Leadership feat or some sort of hireling, the main characters still tend to be the ones in the spotlight.

jseah
2011-03-10, 05:19 AM
I would prefer a game where using magic (as a player) actually requires thinking.

More than just "where should this fireball go" tactical thinking, and more than simply resource management. Those are staples of every RPG and present nothing new.

A magic where you have to consider one of many different ways to accomplish your goal and pick the one that you think is the best in that situation.

A flexible puzzle-like magic system would be even better, but I doubt that'll get published any time soon.

I'll take what I can get. High magic comes closest.

LordBlades
2011-03-10, 05:30 AM
Which is about the same as having a D&D party of a high level wizard, cleric, druid, and low level rogue, but giving each adventure a plot-important locked door that the rogue has to pick while the high level casters are fighting all the monsters that would kill the rogue while blinking.

Yeah, the rogue gets his time to shine each adventure, but he's still nowhere near the ability of anyone else and realistically there's no reason why the others should actually need him around.

Also you'd need to provide the said door with several layers of plot armor to prevent it from being opened with knock, disintegrated, wished/miracled away, bypassed via teleportation effects and also stop spellcasters from going 'divine insight who needs skill ranks now'.

Eldan
2011-03-10, 05:34 AM
Or tunneling around the door, ripping the door out, summoning a creature with better rogue skills than the rogue...

Earthwalker
2011-03-10, 05:47 AM
I would prefer a game where using magic (as a player) actually requires thinking.
.

I really lreally liked the idea of how magic worked in the oWoD Mage game. You had to think how your magic didn't appear as magic to avoid paradox. I loved the idea, in play it never seemed to live up to the promise.

In fact after running one session for my players I never wanted to see the system again.

I hear nWoD mage is better.

Frozen_Feet
2011-03-10, 09:29 AM
Yeah, the rogue gets his time to shine each adventure, but he's still nowhere near the ability of anyone else and realistically there's no reason why the others should actually need him around.

I'd like to introduce you to this book called Lord of the Rings. In it, three lowlevel hobbits rogues sneak behind enemy's borders to make the decisive move for the war, while the high-level rangers, fighters and a wizard are elsewhere drawing away the fire.

There are many, many entirely realistic scenarios where that extra manpower, even if much weaker than the average, can be beneficial or even necessary for a plan to succeed. D&D is build in such way that it often discourages this, but that's another problem entirely.

Back to the topic, I have no deep-seated aversion towards games where every character has to be extraordinary. Actually, I think that's pretty much the norm - even if the PCs are not "magical", they're rarely mundane in real sense of the word.

I do hate it though when non-magical abilities and characters are sold short, but this is mostly a problem with D&D and especially its players. Yes, the system has magic arms race built into it, but it's players who insist on some misguided concept of "realism" or refuse to accept that D&D ceases to be a gritty low-fantasy game after level 6 or so that aggravate the problem.

Mark Hall
2011-03-10, 12:39 PM
I do hate it though when non-magical abilities and characters are sold short, but this is mostly a problem with D&D and especially its players. Yes, the system has magic arms race built into it, but it's players who insist on some misguided concept of "realism" or refuse to accept that D&D ceases to be a gritty low-fantasy game after level 6 or so that aggravate the problem.

I think this comes from mundane abilities being constrained by people's experience, while D&D magic is pretty much only constrained by "Wizards don't get healing spells." So while I can practice lock-picking and get good at it, or I can join any one of a number of medieval combat groups and learn the limitations of fighting in full plate with two-handed swords, the wizard's player is limited pretty much by "Hey, you're not healing anyone, are you? 'Cause that would break the game, right there."

Morty
2011-03-10, 01:23 PM
I think this comes from mundane abilities being constrained by people's experience, while D&D magic is pretty much only constrained by "Wizards don't get healing spells." So while I can practice lock-picking and get good at it, or I can join any one of a number of medieval combat groups and learn the limitations of fighting in full plate with two-handed swords, the wizard's player is limited pretty much by "Hey, you're not healing anyone, are you? 'Cause that would break the game, right there."

Agreed. That's what I think is the case too. Besides, the fluff in the rulebooks doesn't really support the whole "characters above 6th level are superhuman" deal - at least, I've never had that impression - so the players don't expect it either.

Veyr
2011-03-10, 01:32 PM
Agreed. That's what I think is the case too. Besides, the fluff in the rulebooks doesn't really support the whole "characters above 6th level are superhuman" deal - at least, I've never had that impression - so the players don't expect it either.
If you run the numbers, 1st level characters are superhuman to begin with. A 1st level Barbarian with the Run feat can run faster than the world-record in the 60 m dash (the record being about 6.3 seconds and 60 m being just under the 200 ft. that such a Barbarian could travel in one round), but the Barbarian can do it for about 15 times longer than the best sprinter the world has ever seen. At level 1, with one class feature and one feat, and never mind all of the massive martial prowess that the Barbarian has here.

So "characters above 6th level are superhuman" is true but sort of... besides the point. Characters above 6th level are reaching levels of power that surpass most myths and legends in cartoons and folklore, nevermind the actual human body. In 3.5, if you aren't superhuman, you're basically an NPC, full stop. A low level one, at that.

Sure, the fluff doesn't quite fit that, but we all know that WotC had not the firmest grasp on their mechanics. The reality is, 3.5 is not a game for realistic humans, and they cannot compete at any level.

Morty
2011-03-10, 01:59 PM
If you run the numbers, 1st level characters are superhuman to begin with. A 1st level Barbarian with the Run feat can run faster than the world-record in the 60 m dash (the record being about 6.3 seconds and 60 m being just under the 200 ft. that such a Barbarian could travel in one round), but the Barbarian can do it for about 15 times longer than the best sprinter the world has ever seen. At level 1, with one class feature and one feat, and never mind all of the massive martial prowess that the Barbarian has here.

So "characters above 6th level are superhuman" is true but sort of... besides the point. Characters above 6th level are reaching levels of power that surpass most myths and legends in cartoons and folklore, nevermind the actual human body. In 3.5, if you aren't superhuman, you're basically an NPC, full stop. A low level one, at that.

Sure, the fluff doesn't quite fit that, but we all know that WotC had not the firmest grasp on their mechanics. The reality is, 3.5 is not a game for realistic humans, and they cannot compete at any level.

If you run the numbers, yeah. But most people who don't post on forums and quite a lot of those who do don't do it. So they go with what the fluff in the books say. Which means they expect D&D characters before, say, 10th level to be heroic but not superhuman. Especially since quite a lot of those people want it that way.

Sotharsyl
2011-03-10, 02:08 PM
Yes I'd love to,as some have said in this thread I sometimes play Exalted and in that game my favorite Exalt type are the DB's.
I love them for their fluff Creation is being attacked constantly and your ancestors killed the guys who usually chased them off since then you've constantly lost territory,power and population from those old threats and some new that you've created.
And you're born into this fight to protect Creation which you will accentually loose,you think yourself a king but you're not you're way over you're head.I like that division between what you've been told you are and what you truly are, and when you see the truth that you just continue fighting.

Spoilered for off topic fanboism but even if I love playing doomed heroes I wouldn't play any form of mortal in Exalted.
And it's a belief of mine that just because you get cool powers,that doesn't automatically stops you from being a real bad-ass.

Veyr
2011-03-10, 04:54 PM
If you run the numbers, yeah. But most people who don't post on forums and quite a lot of those who do don't do it. So they go with what the fluff in the books say. Which means they expect D&D characters before, say, 10th level to be heroic but not superhuman. Especially since quite a lot of those people want it that way.
Sure, that's a reasonable expectation and a reasonable desire - but it is not, at all, what 3.5 delivers. Which is why your statement that "Mundane, unpowered humans being worthless is one of the things I just can't stomach" is so utterly confusing to me - you have 3.5 homebrew in your sig, I presume you play the game, but it's literally impossible to play a 3.5 character who can do nothing a real human being couldn't, so... I dunno, I'm just confused. What do you mean?

Morty
2011-03-10, 05:20 PM
Sure, that's a reasonable expectation and a reasonable desire - but it is not, at all, what 3.5 delivers. Which is why your statement that "Mundane, unpowered humans being worthless is one of the things I just can't stomach" is so utterly confusing to me - you have 3.5 homebrew in your sig, I presume you play the game, but it's literally impossible to play a 3.5 character who can do nothing a real human being couldn't, so... I dunno, I'm just confused. What do you mean?

You might note all this homebrew is pretty old. I used to play D&D, now I don't. Precisely because I think it's too high-powered.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-10, 05:32 PM
Nah, they're superhumans. They can run faster, farther, and leap far longer than any human being who has ever lived.

A character with 18 strength, at first level, can lift 600 lbs above his head. These are not normal people. They are already on par with the lower tier of superheroes. Not superman, sure...but say, Captain America is basically like this.

Veyr
2011-03-10, 05:48 PM
You might note all this homebrew is pretty old. I used to play D&D, now I don't. Precisely because I think it's too high-powered.
Ahh, no, I had missed that. That makes sense then.

Lord.Sorasen
2011-03-10, 05:53 PM
Nah, they're superhumans. They can run faster, farther, and leap far longer than any human being who has ever lived.

A character with 18 strength, at first level, can lift 600 lbs above his head. These are not normal people. They are already on par with the lower tier of superheroes. Not superman, sure...but say, Captain America is basically like this.

A barbarian and falling is always a fun one. A level 5 barbarian with a con of 18 can fall 80 feet and continue to walk around. It's ridiculous.

CN the Logos
2011-03-10, 07:23 PM
Yeah, I play this game called...

Oh wait, eighty people made that joke before me. Never mind, then.


I would prefer a game where using magic (as a player) actually requires thinking.

More than just "where should this fireball go" tactical thinking, and more than simply resource management. Those are staples of every RPG and present nothing new.

A magic where you have to consider one of many different ways to accomplish your goal and pick the one that you think is the best in that situation.

A flexible puzzle-like magic system would be even better, but I doubt that'll get published any time soon.

I'll take what I can get. High magic comes closest.

Have you tried this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage:_The_Awakening) or this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_Magica)? Both are pretty good.

Seriously, D&D's default magic system is awful. Vancian magic doesn't line up with any real world folklore (which was actually a reason it was originally used), makes little intuitive sense, and results in low level wizards - which works out to most of them - being unable to actually do much magic. I guess they can put that education to use making wands of prestidigitation to sell to middle and upper class families or something. Still... that's kinda lame.

At high levels, 3.5 magic is powerful, yes, but it's still not actually interesting. You just figure out what does the most harm to your enemies over the best area, you cast that, and things fall down. The thought of actually playing a Batman/God wizard build is about as exciting to me as the idea of filling out an Excel spreadsheet, or maybe doing my taxes.



Agreed. That's what I think is the case too. Besides, the fluff in the rulebooks doesn't really support the whole "characters above 6th level are superhuman" deal - at least, I've never had that impression - so the players don't expect it either.
If you run the numbers, 1st level characters are superhuman to begin with. A 1st level Barbarian with the Run feat can run faster than the world-record in the 60 m dash (the record being about 6.3 seconds and 60 m being just under the 200 ft. that such a Barbarian could travel in one round), but the Barbarian can do it for about 15 times longer than the best sprinter the world has ever seen. At level 1, with one class feature and one feat, and never mind all of the massive martial prowess that the Barbarian has here.

...People actually take the Run feat? Aside from that, yeah, pretty much.


So "characters above 6th level are superhuman" is true but sort of... besides the point. Characters above 6th level are reaching levels of power that surpass most myths and legends in cartoons and folklore, nevermind the actual human body. In 3.5, if you aren't superhuman, you're basically an NPC, full stop. A low level one, at that.

Sure, the fluff doesn't quite fit that, but we all know that WotC had not the firmest grasp on their mechanics. The reality is, 3.5 is not a game for realistic humans, and they cannot compete at any level.

Slightly off topic, but this is one of the reasons that, as a practitioner of actual martial arts IRL, I get annoyed with accusations that the Tome of Battle is too "anime-esque" to be a good fix for melee. The moves described therein are crazy over-the-top once you hit the third level maneuvers, yeah, but that's the point at which everyone is supposed to be an unstoppable badass anyway, and if I could long jump 25 feet or bench press a camel, I'd be doing that sort of thing in the real world too. It also makes sense that magic is mixed with the mundane martial arts in a world where magic is available to the point of not really seeming "magic" anymore, hence the Desert Wind discipline and the Duskblade class.

In the world presented by D&D 3.5, all of the above craziness makes perfect sense.

That said, some stories cry out for protagonists who are remotely believable as being (or at least having once been) real world humans. For those games, D&D 3.5 is simply not the best choice of medium. I'm reading up on NWoD now, and it seems like you could do a pretty cool low-powered horror game with just the core book and maybe another couple of sources for antagonists. Likewise, what I've heard about Call of Cthulhu indicates a system capable of modeling mundanes fairly well, although the Sanity mechanic is a bit much (that only happened a few times in Lovecraft's actual work, and when it did happen it was more "Please do not remind me of the insane dog-people living under the city" than "I need scissors! 61!").

ETA:


A barbarian and falling is always a fun one. A level 5 barbarian with a con of 18 can fall 80 feet and continue to walk around. It's ridiculous.

Not really. Far less likely than D&D makes it out to be, but there are multiple documented cases of people falling for something like three miles with no parachute and surviving mostly unharmed. It helps that D&D actually got falling damage right (more or less); once a person hits terminal velocity, they aren't going to take any more damage from falling further, so if you fall twenty stories you might as well fall three miles...

Jay R
2011-03-13, 11:24 AM
On the subject of Batman:

If we have an army of strong, tall, brave, highly trained, well-armed warriors, why do we need that short, dumpy, old guy Napoleon, who doesn't even carry a musket, and stays way behind the lines? He's too underpowered to be with this party.

Roderick_BR
2011-03-13, 12:10 PM
Hmm. This reminds me of this MMO called Cabal Online, in which all classes, even the warriors (in fact, you have only one pure caster class) have their powers based on magic.
I guess I'd play it. In this kind of scenario, the ability to use magic is what would differentiate adventurers from normal commoners, like in that Fly anime, where learning magic was mandatory for adventurers to learn magic.

Ellardin
2011-03-13, 03:10 PM
Well I currently play in a game where Magic is Necessary for almost everything....... the World is a very developed home-brew World in a second edition hybrid game, and the maximum level cap is level 40.......I run into about 8-20 Level 28+ Wizards every session, they just seem to be walking around the world, waiting for something to pop up until they can pump their magic into it.

My Level 11 Wizard that has over 100 spells in about 7 Volumes of Spellbooks is pushed aside, called out, and insulted by almost every other wizard he encounters because he is "the little fish" in the big sea. Despite the fact that My Wizard has single handily won a war by appointing a general, and assassinating the opposing leadership.

This type of game is very challenging when you are literally always against Wizards who have access to more power than yourself. You have to rely on stealth, and you also have to rely on acting first.

Magic is a nice tool, but I recommend treading lightly when you enter above the level 10 range........I'm starting to think that magic above that should require several quest type components to enact.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-14, 12:26 AM
On the subject of Batman:

If we have an army of strong, tall, brave, highly trained, well-armed warriors, why do we need that short, dumpy, old guy Napoleon, who doesn't even carry a musket, and stays way behind the lines? He's too underpowered to be with this party.

Because those strong, tall, brave, highly trained, well-armed warriors don't have magic, so they have to put up with the best military leader they can find. But then a general with supernatural command and strategy comes, and you have to ask why you even have Napoleon.

That's sort of the point I was making. No matter how great you are in a mundane way, should you be able to compete with someone who has superpowers in that field?

Earthwalker
2011-03-14, 04:18 AM
That's sort of the point I was making. No matter how great you are in a mundane way, should you be able to compete with someone who has superpowers in that field?

It all depends on the power scale of the super power really.
If you can levitate no more then 5 lbs of biscuit as your super power you are still not going to tip the balance in combat.
If you can rewrite the laws of realility on whim with no drawbacks then you might be slightly more effective.

Different systems handle "magic" in different ways. Earthdawn everyone has magic, even the warriors and it works fine for me (as a rule some things are just daft)

Shadowrun magic is a killer and helps alot, and generally needs to be countered with magic, but withthe right tech you can still defeat a mage.

DnD Magic is just that powerful, its also a trap in that is soon becomes the be all and end all weapon. Meaning that mundanes do get left behind.

Mark Hall
2011-03-14, 07:13 PM
Hmm. This reminds me of this MMO called Cabal Online, in which all classes, even the warriors (in fact, you have only one pure caster class) have their powers based on magic.


I feel like a doofus, but I just thought of an example:

Earthdawn.

Every character in that game is supposed to be an adept, from Warriors to Weaponsmiths to Wizards. In fact, even the non-adept population uses magic as part of their daily lives... just not to the degree that adepts do.

jseah
2011-03-17, 10:56 AM
Have you tried this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage:_The_Awakening) or this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_Magica)? Both are pretty good.
I know about Mage and Ars Magica.

They're not quite what I want.
I want a game where magic takes *knowledge* to use. Not "how do I make magic not seem like magic" or "how do I justify X as being under Y sphere of magic effect".

One where you actually have to understand the system and piece it together to get the effect you want.
Preferably one that is rules-based and not DM-based, but some level of DM adjudication is unavoidable.

I am writing just such a system. Except that since it was written to be a system that *I* like, I'm not sure if *anybody else* will like it.

eg. Making a fireball took a calculator and thirty minutes to work out the optimal distribution of magic (even with a fudge). You could go by rule of thumb and have it done in 30 seconds but you'll be horribly inefficient that way.
There's at least a 2 times difference in efficiency between a hastily thrown together fireball with rough estimates of how much magic to use versus one that is carefully balanced and calculated.
There's also at least 5 or 6 ways to make a fireball, all subtly different from each other.

Jay R
2011-03-18, 10:09 AM
I want a game where magic takes *knowledge* to use. Not "how do I make magic not seem like magic" or "how do I justify X as being under Y sphere of magic effect".

One where you actually have to understand the system and piece it together to get the effect you want.
Preferably one that is rules-based and not DM-based, but some level of DM adjudication is unavoidable.

You're looking for Fantasy Hero. Each magical effect is defined generically, but you then decide its size, shape, and other special effects. Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Magic Missile would all be Energy Beam, but with very different advantages and limitations.

A Magic Item is a spell with the limitations Focus and Independent.

Lots of people don't like it specifically because you have to understand the system to design a character, but it does exactly what you describe.

Malevolence
2011-03-18, 10:49 AM
Similar to Kiero's earlier thread, but on the opposite end of the scale: would you play in a game where you simply have to have magic / super-tech / qi powers, and playing a badass normal is a synonym for suicide?

Basically, what is your tolerance to supernal powers being the answer to everything? Should Batman survive and thrive in a world of metahumans, or should he be splattered across the wall like the mortal he is, no matter how well equipped or trained?

I play Dungeons and Dragons. Yes.

Dienekes
2011-03-18, 10:52 AM
The badass normal was the stereotype I favored when I was a player, it helped that my allies were nowhere near optimized but I contributed rather well.

Being awesome without having to resort to magic is what I find personally the most fun to play. However, if I trust the GM and like the group, of course I'd play the all magic campaign.

jseah
2011-03-18, 11:46 AM
Jay R:
Yes, something like that. Not quite but it comes alot closer than I've seen elsewhere. Definitely worth checking out if I can find it.

Know any that doesn't run on an arbitrary effect mechanic? I prefer a "whole > sum of parts" type of approach.

Or perhaps I've just played too much SpaceChem... >.>

Jay R
2011-03-19, 10:29 AM
Jay R:
Yes, something like that. Not quite but it comes alot closer than I've seen elsewhere. Definitely worth checking out if I can find it.

Know any that doesn't run on an arbitrary effect mechanic? I prefer a "whole > sum of parts" type of approach.

Or perhaps I've just played too much SpaceChem... >.>

Any attack spell runs on the mechanic of reducing hit points. Is that arbitrary, or simply what attack means within the rules. The effects list seems complete and reasonable. Fantasy Hero is the same system as Champions, and allows a huge number of effects. I once created a Bard within the FH system. All of his buff spells had the advantage Area Effect (large), and the Limitations Incantation, Gestures, Focus (harp), and Does Not Work on Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It was a reasonably straightforward design.

jseah
2011-03-19, 11:21 AM
Yes, that's what I meant by the "arbitrary effect mechanic" that I don't like.

Arbitrary effects: When you want to make something, you take the right tool and make it happen.
The game designers thought of *EVERY* tool you could want and it's in there. Just pick up the right one and do it!
The thing is, every component or modifier you can put on magic is something meant exactly for one purpose and one purpose only. (mostly, emulating XYZ spell or effect)

Not only does this result in a gigantic toolbox of arbitrary modifiers like "Does Not Work on Deaf and Hard of Hearing", it also allows you to do literally anything by picking the tools that do exactly it.

There are no problems to solve when using magic. No questions like "how do I get X effect, when there's nothing that does it?"

Your Bard example is exactly what I dislike. No thinking involved.
It does look pretty awesome already, though. Perhaps I should buy the book just to have a look. XD

Jay R
2011-03-20, 08:57 AM
Yes, that's what I meant by the "arbitrary effect mechanic" that I don't like.

Arbitrary effects: When you want to make something, you take the right tool and make it happen.
The game designers thought of *EVERY* tool you could want and it's in there. Just pick up the right one and do it!
The thing is, every component or modifier you can put on magic is something meant exactly for one purpose and one purpose only. (mostly, emulating XYZ spell or effect)

Not only does this result in a gigantic toolbox of arbitrary modifiers like "Does Not Work on Deaf and Hard of Hearing", it also allows you to do literally anything by picking the tools that do exactly it.

There are no problems to solve when using magic. No questions like "how do I get X effect, when there's nothing that does it?"

Your Bard example is exactly what I dislike. No thinking involved.
It does look pretty awesome already, though. Perhaps I should buy the book just to have a look. XD

Then my example failed to show how it works. There is no limitation "Does not work on Deaf or Hard of Hearing"; but there are rules for generating Limitations not in the book. It also discusses how to create new effects with creative use of old ones. Do you want a thief who can always sneak away like Batman? Buy Invisibility with the Limitation "Only to leave the room unnoticed. He doesn't really turn invisible; you're using the rules to simulate the effect you want. You want "Hold Person", but it's not in the book? Use a Minor Transform, with a unique set of Advantage and Limitations that nobody's ever done before.

In a super-hero game, I wanted a hero who could leap onto and off of cars safely, as Batman usually does. But there would be way too many penalties on the Acrobatics skill. I eventually built is as Teleport with the added aspect of changing relative velocity, and the Limitations Gestures, Must Pass through Intervening Space, and Must Make Acrobatics Roll.

The best part of this game is figuring out what the effect of the spell is, and how to create it. (And it uses a fair amount of simple math, so people who don't enjoy thinking that way can't do it.)

The specific advantages f the game are that there are a limited number of generic effects, and a near-infinite ability to customize them. This means that you will wind up with a unique character, with unique skills. It also means the game is less popular for people who don't want to work out the details themselves.

jseah
2011-03-20, 06:51 PM
XD I think this is easily solved if I just go ahead and get the book.

Might as well right? After all, I can't really make a judgement based off someone else's description.

That said, it appears we are misunderstanding each other.

The kind of system I wanted would include a few general tools, like Exert Force (X amount, direction, precision), and a few general ways to modify them (AoE, Moving Point, Programmed Actions, Send Signal) as well as a few limitations of magic in general. (spell power drops by inverse square of distance, no creating lifeforce / intelligence)

Everything is broken down to little bits, made to cover as broad a range as possible, and that's all you get. No new abilities. Deal with whatever problem you face using that.
No special cookies or unique "this character only" abilities.

How do you say...
to go out on a limb, I would like magic to be a bit like engineering a solution to a problem.
You face a task, you analyse the task and determine what needs to be done and what resources you have to do it. You piece together a solution, which is the main portion of using magic and takes the most time and effort, both IC and OOC. Then apply it with corrections as necessary.

As an example, if I wanted to make a character who could jump roofs and such, I could exert acceleration over a small area around the feet when jumping to slow fall (which amounts to increased jump distance)
At the same time, a logical extension and power up of the same ability would result in a flying character, albeit unstable due to having to maintain balance on the feet.
Furthermore, applying the ability while walking would result in a lower effective weight on the supporting surface, useful for crossing unstable bridges and such.
Simply by increasing power and following the mechanics through, the ruleset should result in external, completely unintended (or not =P) effects that result from using the ability in a new way or at power levels not factored into the initial purpose.


That's not to say that Fantasy Hero isn't what I would like. I would like it from the sounds of it.
Maybe a few houserules, on dictating the modifiers you can use as well as tightening up the details of effects, would be in order but I can see it working.

Knaight
2011-03-20, 10:41 PM
The kind of system I wanted would include a few general tools, like Exert Force (X amount, direction, precision), and a few general ways to modify them (AoE, Moving Point, Programmed Actions, Send Signal) as well as a few limitations of magic in general. (spell power drops by inverse square of distance, no creating lifeforce / intelligence)

Try a noun verb system, with combination within a noun-verb framework.

Noun-Verb System Explanation
Provided that you don't know what a Noun-Verb system is, a brief explanation is contained wherein.

Noun Verb systems contain spells made of at least one noun and at least one verb. They then encompass whatever spells fit within the context of that noun and verb. Examples include the 4 by 5 Fudge system, Ars Magica, and a bunch of other spells.

A Noun-Verb system I've found effective involves very limited verbs that lead to limited magic, and very broad nouns. Moreover, a spell consists of one or more noun-verb systems, barring multiple verbs to a noun.

The verbs: Attract, Repel, Create, Destroy, Perceive, Conceal
The nouns: Fire (energy), Air (gases), Water (liquid), Earth (solids), Mind, Life

jseah
2011-03-21, 06:49 AM
Perhaps you should read the nested spoiler. Fantasy Hero is closer to what I want than a noun-verb system, which I have come across.

How do you say... a system with unintended consequences that is rule-based or at least has predictable guidelines that GM and players follow.
(IE. not the GM going, "oh, due to *insert magic technobabble*, X happens instead", I want it to follow logically from what you did so the player has a chance to predict it and avoid or use it. See example about jumping roofs and flying. )

Too much to ask? =P


FYI, I have a feeling that such a game will inevitably end up high magic. Just saying.