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arrowed
2017-06-01, 03:48 PM
I have read a bit about Guy at the Gym fallacy, Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard, and the issues it causes in D&D. I have some thoughts.
So, a lot of grief seems to stem from trying to keep 'martials' as 'mundane' as possible. People like the idea of a badass normal, of being Batmanesque in their heroicness. To a point, I believe this can work. You can have the fighter and mage be balanced contributors to a party, each holding up a role or roles without feeling overshadowed. But that relies on the limits on the mage. It works when magic=mundane in effectiveness (although not necessarily for the same things).
For D&D, at least, the level system involves a continual escalation of power up the tiers, with the magical classes getting more powerful magic and the non-magical ones getting closer to the designers' ideas of the limits of mundane. Eventually, for 3.xe/5e (which are the editions I have experience with) there seems to be a point where magic exceeds mundane, the Guy at the Gym Fallacy becomes the limiting factor on the 'mundane' classes' progressions and Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard kicks in.
So, in future editions of D&D etc., to stop this being an issue, why not say "Up to level X, mundane classes look and feel mundane, so those who want to Badass Normal can do so. Beyond that level, they will explicitly be going superhuman, because otherwise, the wizards will outpace them unless the player works ten times as hard."
In execution it probably wouldn't be such a hard line between mundane and not.
But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:

RazorChain
2017-06-01, 05:12 PM
Like you mentioned this is tied to DnD. Part of the problem might be the powerscaling of spells. The other problem is that people dont want their fighters to become superman they want to stay batman. Hence the discussion why dnd falls apart after lvl 10

Squiddish
2017-06-01, 05:15 PM
5e, my friend. Fighter, rogue, barbarian, and monk remain viable all the way up to 20th level, as do paladins and rangers. It's mostly an endurance thing. The wizard runs out of spells after a while, or avoids consistently using them so as to conserve slots. As a result, they resort to cantrips, which are generally less effective than weapons. Fighters, rangers, paladins, and barbarians all get more health than the hardiest of casters. Concentration means casters can't just stack buffs to no limit. Casters for the most part can't do much multiclassing beyond dipping, otherwise they lose the ability to cast 9th level spells. And at a certain point, it's really hard to argue that all their stuff is within real-world human limits. Rogues can completely dodge a fireball without moving and see using sound. Fighters can regenerate like mad, make a truckload of attacks, and generally be very hard to kill. Barbarians are literally beyond the human limits of endurance and strength. Et cetera.

oxybe
2017-06-01, 05:45 PM
I have read a bit about Guy at the Gym fallacy, Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard, and the issues it causes in D&D. I have some thoughts.
So, a lot of grief seems to stem from trying to keep 'martials' as 'mundane' as possible. People like the idea of a badass normal, of being Batmanesque in their heroicness. To a point, I believe this can work. You can have the fighter and mage be balanced contributors to a party, each holding up a role or roles without feeling overshadowed. But that relies on the limits on the mage. It works when magic=mundane in effectiveness (although not necessarily for the same things).
For D&D, at least, the level system involves a continual escalation of power up the tiers, with the magical classes getting more powerful magic and the non-magical ones getting closer to the designers' ideas of the limits of mundane. Eventually, for 3.xe/5e (which are the editions I have experience with) there seems to be a point where magic exceeds mundane, the Guy at the Gym Fallacy becomes the limiting factor on the 'mundane' classes' progressions and Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard kicks in.
So, in future editions of D&D etc., to stop this being an issue, why not say "Up to level X, mundane classes look and feel mundane, so those who want to Badass Normal can do so. Beyond that level, they will explicitly be going superhuman, because otherwise, the wizards will outpace them unless the player works ten times as hard."
In execution it probably wouldn't be such a hard line between mundane and not.
But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:

They tried that with 4th ed.

The Fighter and other martials were not just "some schlub with a sword" and were capable of superhuman feats. The entire Martial power source was fueled by badass normalcy and could easily keep up and match the offensive swaths of destruction the mages could do.

They eventually released a subsystem similar in concept to the Rituals (what are traditionally non-combat spells, and anyone with the arcane training could potentially learn how to cast rituals), called Martial Practices, but focused more on using Healing Surges (in 4th, non-surge based healing was rare, and surges were a hard limit on how much you could adventure in a day) to fuel them as thematically they're more like extensions of skills or natural abilities that can tax or tire out the body, rather then magical rituals that combine costly reagents and magical energies to have an effect (though some practices do have costs, like how the "Embalm" practice has a token cost for the materials needed to prevent the decay of the body through the heal skill, for future resurrection).

YMMV on the execution. I liked Rituals and Practices, even if they weren't perfect.

D&D, however, is mired in some of it's traditions and we got 5th ed: a return to where fighters basically just hit things and out of combat mages get the ability to spend six seconds and direct the narrative where they want.

MrStabby
2017-06-01, 06:43 PM
Even low level fighters can seem pretty supernatural when you look at things like the drops they can remain conscious after with a 50% chance.

I think that D&D is a magical world and if people want explicitly non-magical characters there are other systems that might suit them better.

Darth Ultron
2017-06-01, 11:26 PM
So, a lot of grief seems to stem from trying to keep 'martials' as 'mundane' as possible.

This is a big problem: what is 'mundane'? Is 'mundane' limited to what real world humans can do? And how far to the 'extreme' do you go. The Guinness records has lots of them, but do you use the top ones?

And can you call something 'mundane' if it is impossible in the real world?

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-01, 11:45 PM
So, in future editions of D&D etc., to stop this being an issue, why not say "Up to level X, mundane classes look and feel mundane, so those who want to Badass Normal can do so. Beyond that level, they will explicitly be going superhuman, because otherwise, the wizards will outpace them unless the player works ten times as hard."
In execution it probably wouldn't be such a hard line between mundane and not.
But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:

They did this.

Grognards said it made the game "too anime."

RazorChain
2017-06-02, 12:25 AM
So, in future editions of D&D etc., to stop this being an issue, why not say "Up to level X, mundane classes look and feel mundane, so those who want to Badass Normal can do so. Beyond that level, they will explicitly be going superhuman, because otherwise, the wizards will outpace them unless the player works ten times as hard."
In execution it probably wouldn't be such a hard line between mundane and not.
But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:

This is where DnD's identity crisis comes in, at level 1 you are a schmuck and can be taken down by a house cat, post level 10 you are a four color superhero. I mean when your martial can bathe in lava, jump off a mountain, survive being pincushioned by arrows, stare down an orcish warband all by your lonesome, kill a dragon with your bare hands then you kinda already have left the "mundane" world behind.

Godskook
2017-06-02, 12:41 AM
You're describing E6, and the system works quite well.

Tanarii
2017-06-02, 03:44 AM
For D&D, at least, the level system involves a continual escalation of power up the tiers, with the magical classes getting more powerful magic and the non-magical ones getting closer to the designers' ideas of the limits of mundane. Eventually, for 3.xe/5e (which are the editions I have experience with) there seems to be a point where magic exceeds mundane, the Guy at the Gym Fallacy becomes the limiting factor on the 'mundane' classes' progressions and Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard kicks in.This is due to the history of D&D. The original game was designed so that a years long campaign might have level 11-12 characters at the end of it. Fighters and Clerics would be leading large armies, and wizards would have the mighty epic power of 6th level spells! Name level was where you retired your character, and effectively switched back to war gaming.

Then non-war gamers got in on the act, and didn't realize that the game was intended to end. The designers even published 'weak' gods, to set perceptions of what the proper levels of play are. Everyone missed the point completely.

On top of that, things that kept magic under control and made Mundanes necessary have slowly be remove from the game. Primarily, it varied from hard to impossible (depending on edition) to cast in melee. If someone got close, a magic-user was dead meat. Meat shields were always needed if you actually played BtB.

Apparently nobody liked that game. Instead we got decades of missing the point entirely, complaints, and bendy logic trying to patch the 'flaw' created by ignoring designer intent ... and eventually new editions trying to balance sacred cows of 20 levels and 9th spells with the way people actually want to play the game.


But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:
All you have to do is change your perceptions to understand that levels 11+ are Epic level play, and level 6+ spells are expected to make men into Demi-gods. And reinstate the idea that 'Mundanes' are the Leaders of Men at that point, that draw followers and raise armies.

It'll help if you bring back the things that kept magic under control, like losing your spell if hit at any point between declaring you are casting at the beginning of the round and when it goes off on your sides initiative. (Edit: this is semi-sarcastic. Nobody is really going to go play a modern edition of D&D and go that extreme.)


You're describing E6, and the system works quite well.
It's a pretty good solution if you're going to play D&D as a small squad of murderhobos / herohobos game. Which is totally the most common way to play the game. :smallwink:

Martin Greywolf
2017-06-02, 04:08 AM
To look at this from a fresh(-er) perspective, I think problems like these come from not knowing what genre your game has.

Let's look at Witcher - there is both magic and fighters. Wizards are massively more powerful than even superhuman fighters that get their powers from being magically mutated (i.e. titular Witchers), but need a few seconds to make their magic work, meaning that if you get close to them with a sword, they can't really fire a spell back before you shank them. Even with that, a wizard is considered to be something like a small nuke in-universe.

In a setting like this, your fighter will be limited by what a human in peak condition can do, because that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Let's look at Crouching Tiger, Hidden dragon. If you get good enough with martial arts, you basically have limited flight at your disposal, can cut through steel swords with a sword made of better steel and can shoot needles with a rate of fire that would make machineguns jealous. And you can also parry said needles.

Obviously, fighter here will surpass baseline humans very quickly, and making a distinction between martial and magic is a touch tricky - this is wuxia, after all, and it has its own rules, trying to force DnD preconceptions on it is not a good idea.

Let's look at medieval Europe and its legends. A good fighter can throw several spears and use them as platforms to jump forward and decapitate the dude he aimed them at before they hit him. You can also blow your horn in Spain hard enough to be heard in France and so on.

And then we have a setting like One Piece. You can create energy projectiles by swinging a sword really hard if you are any good, and can create constructs of pure energy if you hold those swords threateningly enough or something. Also, you can kick so hard your leg starts glowing hot with friction without ti causing any problems for you. Putting almost any kind of limit on fighters here is just silly.

If you have a system that tries to do several of these, it will not be able to do any of them well, and that's the core of problem of DnD and fighters. There are other systems out there that work by either focusing on one particular genre (CoC and horror, several Swords and Sandals systems etc) and there are others still that bypass this by being sufficiently abstract and open to modifications on a game-per-game basis (FATE).

Mark Hall
2017-06-03, 08:51 AM
Earthdawn addressed this; 4e kind of riffed on Earthdawn, in a lot of ways.

In Earthdawn, all PCs use magic in different ways. Wizards, obviously, cast spells. But a Warrior uses magic to learn to fight, to toughen his body, and to walk across the sky so he can hit people in the face with an axe that's he's imbued with his own magical power.

FWIW, I think that drawing on the 1e Oriental Adventures martial arts system can add a lot to martial characters... things that are TECHNICALLY trainable by everyone, but that are more available to martial characters, due to more resources to spend that way.

Cluedrew
2017-06-03, 10:15 AM
All to often mundanes (and I don't like that word) go from mundane as in no magic to mundane as in nothing special. I like the word martial better, but that leads to the whole "but then they can't do things out of combat" thing. Which is the other problem physical characters often have.

I could go on for a long time, and did in another thread, but really it comes down two a double standard that has probably built up over time. We can give whatever you want to magic users but other forms of special tend to be greatly restricted for martials. And that only really becomes a problem when they are supposed to be equivalent options as in D&D, if they are not supposed to equivalent than they can be as unbalanced as you want.

Fearan
2017-06-03, 06:26 PM
And reinstate the idea that 'Mundanes' are the Leaders of Men at that point, that draw followers and raise armies.

And how exactly would Sir Fighter would lead the men, raise armies and yadda yadda with 2+int skill points, cha as a dump stats and nothing remotely social in his kit sans Intimidate? Oh, and Leadership is the most frequently banned feat ever. That's the whole problem - mundanes are not the epic leaders. Bard diplomancers are.

Mechalich
2017-06-03, 09:06 PM
A lot of this sort of thing has to do with the kind of world the game intends to present. D&D groks hard to Tolkien and similar literary traditions in terms of what the world looks like. The minute you start saying that mid-level warriors can fly, or toss lightning bolts, or whatever, the world doesn't look like that any more. For whatever reason people are able to buy the weak rationalization that the power spellcasters go off to become hermits in the wilderness or wall themselves up in towers and contemplate the mysteries of the universe full time rather than bother to change the world around them. It was also considered to be implicit in early worldbuilding, and to some extent even preserved until quite late, that spellcasters in general and wizards in particular are extremely rare compared to badass guys with swords.

D&D's history, as others have mentioned, progressively changed what characters could conceivably do in a general trend making everyone more powerful and spellcasters in particular into living gods, without ever properly addressing what that meant for the worlds they lived in (with the possible exception of Planescape, but in that case the reaction was to just say 'screw this, we're gonna go weird').

MarkVIIIMarc
2017-06-03, 09:39 PM
I think a good portion of the problem up to player level 10 or so is DM's being great DM's but only marginal strategists.

It is necessary for the bad guys to bring goons to physically contact the spellcasters occasionally leaving the fighters to be mopped up.

DM's also need to stretch out days, make getting a good night's sleep more difficult and while I hate the idea of counting how many spell ingredients I have in my pouch, the DM needs to eventually say, "that chicken heart you have been using to cast is a decaying a bit and won't work anymore." BTW, thee farmers here don't raise chickens or whatever.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-03, 10:10 PM
I've discovered that the best way to deal with this is to have two fantasy games I like.

One, Anima: Beyond Fantasy, begins at the idea that wizards can blow up cities. Like, the only reason a 1st level wizard can't is lack of Zeon (mana). However most magicians are in hiding, as not only are there church aligned spellcasters but warriors can quite easily get to the point that they can slash offensive spells until they can hit swording range while your defensive skills likely lag behind theirs.

The other, Keltia, goes in the opposite direction, warriors are dudes with swords whole magicians know some tricks (likely no more than three spells total at character creation, four if they're all first level).

Conversely, I also have games that pretty much make nonutility magic redundant. Yes, I could learn the bolt power, or I could get just as good damage by buying a bulk standard pistol. I could take the blast spell, but why have a portable Rickey launcher when I can take 'skip interrogation' (a.k.a. mind reading) instead. Magic is balanced to be a bit above or a bit below doing it the mundane way, and it all depends on if you can spare the power points.

(On that note, I've come to love urban fantasy where combat magic is rare, I've got a setting set up where 'conceal gun' is just a better power than 'fire magic bullet'.)

Necroticplague
2017-06-03, 10:13 PM
I always thought the problem was that the two are held to different standards because of the types of characters they were based off of. Martials are based off of characters like Aragon, Conan, Batman, King Arthur: people who the stories center around, the protagonists. Their abilities get well-explored, and are always challenged, to provide a sense of tension. Meanwhile, mages tend to be based around Merlin, Gandalf, Saruman: people who basically act as just living plot devices, and are typically absent much of the story. They're DEM-lites, essentially. Giving that poorly-defined plot-device abilities into hands of those who aren't fettered by the same narrative shackles drastically changes things. Stuff goes from "every once in a while, when I've written myself into a corner" to "constantly, as is convenient".

That's why I beleive martials are shackled by having SOME kind of ceiling to struggle against, while mages get a free pass. Martials are the heroes who must overcome adversity, wizards are the walking DEMs who don't have limits so they can do anything to move the plot forward.

Mr Beer
2017-06-04, 02:47 AM
^^^ insightful post, well put.

Cluedrew
2017-06-04, 10:19 AM
That's the whole problem - mundanes are not the epic leaders.I think that is the point though, we should make them that they are. (Or that was the argument, there are many other things we could do.)

Building on what Mechalich and Necroticplague said: What is the most powerfully spell Gandalf cast in the entirety of the Lord of the Rings? As I recall, there isn't much, he gets by with wisdom and a sword more often than actual magic. What is the most direct magic he used? There was some stuff their, but I don't recall* any fireballs being thrown around.

In other words, a more accurate wizard class could very well be much weaker than a fighter, because they don't get by on their abilities. They use their knowledge, wisdom and accumulated influence to get the job done. The magic they do use is slow and is often useless by itself. But that isn't fun to play in a game, the players often don't know about the setting well enough to arrange the pieces as a wizard would. So how to make the wizard fun? The batman wizard, direct and immediate spells that can be used without countless hours of pre-planning.

And if they abandoned they idea of the great wizard, creating a fighter who gets by with magic tricks instead of strength, it might of worked. But they didn't do that, they tried to let it be both things and grow in both ways. Hence the quadratic growth.

Or that is my latest idea on the matter.

* The reason I say recall is I have only read the books and that has been a while now.

The Glyphstone
2017-06-04, 10:41 AM
He casts Fire Seeds in the Hobbit, I believe, for the highest-level spell record we directly see him use.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-04, 10:50 AM
What is the most direct magic he used? There was some stuff their, but I don't recall* any fireballs being thrown around.

Do you count flaming pinecones? I think those existed in The Hobbit.


In other words, a more accurate wizard class could very well be much weaker than a fighter, because they don't get by on their abilities. They use their knowledge, wisdom and accumulated influence to get the job done. The magic they do use is slow and is often useless by itself. But that isn't fun to play in a game, the players often don't know about the setting well enough to arrange the pieces as a wizard would. So how to make the wizard fun? The batman wizard, direct and immediate spells that can be used without countless hours of pre-planning.

And if they abandoned they idea of the great wizard, creating a fighter who gets by with magic tricks instead of strength, it might of worked. But they didn't do that, they tried to let it be both things and grow in both ways. Hence the quadratic growth.

I think the other thing is limiting the spells known. 2e wizards got like four spells at 1st level (possibly including Cantrip, maybe less because it was up to the GM) and no or very few spells as they advanced in level. 3e wizards know 3+int mod spells of 1st level (so pretty much always at least 5), all 0th level spells not from a prohibited school, and learn 2 spells per level (which means that, at minimum, a 10th level wizard knows 23 spells of 1st level or higher). It's been ages since I had access to it, but I remember BECM wizards and elves beginning with a mighty two spells known. Man, mages used to be weak if you carefully limited the spells in treasure hordes.

Looking at Keltia, everyone gets essentially 4 points to invest in spells and combat techniques (they say it's 12 points, but everyone costs a multiple of 3). So while spells are better than combat techniques in that you can learn how to heal wounds or charm people rather than how to increase damage on a charge or hit a target behind a wicker fence as a 1st level ability you still only get a handful of tricks and will be grateful that everyone gets to pick a weapon skill as a privileged skill (costs less to increase at character creation).

Necroticplague
2017-06-04, 11:02 AM
I think the other thing is limiting the spells known. 2e wizards got like four spells at 1st level (possibly including Cantrip, maybe less because it was up to the GM) and no or very few spells as they advanced in level. 3e wizards know 3+int mod spells of 1st level (so pretty much always at least 5), all 0th level spells not from a prohibited school, and learn 2 spells per level (which means that, at minimum, a 10th level wizard knows 23 spells of 1st level or higher). It's been ages since I had access to it, but I remember BECM wizards and elves beginning with a mighty two spells known. Man, mages used to be weak if you carefully limited the spells in treasure hordes.

Spells known doesn't matter if a spell is versatile/powerful enough. While 'polymorph' may only be a single spell known, it's versatility more than pulls it's weight, and could probbably outdo most martial classes if that was the only thing it could cast.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-04, 11:16 AM
Spells known doesn't matter if a spell is versatile/powerful enough. While 'polymorph' may only be a single spell known, it's versatility more than pulls it's weight, and could probbably outdo most martial classes if that was the only thing it could cast.

True, but I'd argue that that's a problem with the spell. The point was that a mage that has a handful of spells (say six) is easier to balance than a mage with a lot of spells (say twenty), provided they pull from the same list. I will admit that I was making the foolish assumption that all spells are equal and that were more along the lines of Fireball or Sticks to Snakes* then Polymorph.

* a spell I'm determined to find an awesome use for, despite it just turning sticks into ordinary snakes. While it's a Priest spell, I'm still sad it didn't survive past 2e.

Keltest
2017-06-04, 11:24 AM
Spells known doesn't matter if a spell is versatile/powerful enough. While 'polymorph' may only be a single spell known, it's versatility more than pulls it's weight, and could probbably outdo most martial classes if that was the only thing it could cast.

In as much as that is true, a wizard in 1e and 2e couldn't say "ok, I learn Polymorph as my new spell this level" unless the DM specifically put a spell of polymorph in a treasure chest for them to find. Spells were the equivalent of equipment at the time for wizards, and the only way you could get the really overpowered stuff is if the DM specifically gave it to you. We made it through an entire campaign once where a wizard never learned Fireball because they just couldn't track down a scroll of it.

Mechalich
2017-06-04, 06:50 PM
A lot of what makes spellcasters powerful is their ability to change the playing field such that martials can't even approach them in combat. Flight is probably the most obvious example - it doesn't matter how strong you are if your opponent can't touch you. So once you give regular flight to any type of playable character as an ability, you basically have to make it available to everyone. A nice and relevant example is the aero rings (or whatever they're called) that got passed around in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 so that everyone in that movie could fly when needed.

And while it is perfectly fine to have a game system that basically says: once you've passed X point threshold everyone flies all the time, the world that system generates doesn't look like any sort of pseudo-medieval fantasy world anymore (noteworthy example: in the Wheel of Time, despite having phenomenally powerful casters all over the place, no one was allowed to fly).


In a different way, there's also the problem that supreme martial might tends to break the capabilities of tabletop mechanistically. If you drop a high-level wizard onto a battlefield they might easily kill thousands of goons, but they'll do so by casting a handful of devastating area-effect spells and summons. A high level fighter might, if given enough time do the same thing (OOTS has the sequence where Belkar goes 'sexy shoeless god of war' and slaughters hundreds of hobgoblins), but you can't actually run a sequence at the table where each PC kills hundreds of mooks. You need too many dice, it takes too long, and there's no good system for abstracting the damage. It's perfectly possible to build a game around doing that - the Dynasty Warrior series is phenomenally successful and even manages to model martials and casters in the same fashion - but it is beyond the capabilities of tabletop to represent that experience.

Tanarii
2017-06-04, 07:05 PM
Flight is probably the most obvious example - it doesn't matter how strong you are if your opponent can't touch you. So once you give regular flight to any type of playable character as an ability, you basically have to make it available to everyone.
Depends on the edition. 5e it's a concentration spell. And ranged attacks can still hit you of course. So it makes you safer from dangerous melee opponents, but you're a sitting duck for ranged attacks (no cover), you can't cast any other concentration spells while using it, and if you don't have a decent concentration save you're risking losing the spell and taking falling damage with every hit. It's a great spell but has some limitations.

Cluedrew
2017-06-04, 07:46 PM
I think the other thing is limiting the spells known.I'm not even talking about at that level. I just mean conceptually the casters have an advantage because they are viewed as competent sages and competent adventurers, while the martials are only adventurers. Does that make any sense?

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-04, 08:08 PM
I'm not even talking about at that level. I just mean conceptually the casters have an advantage because they are viewed as competent sages and competent adventurers, while the martials are only adventurers. Does that make any sense?

It does, however I mainly play point buy games, or occasionally what I call 'archetyped point buy', where the player's vision is as important as the designer's vision. So in Anima: Beyond Fantasy it's assumed that my Warrior will focus on weapon skills with a bit of ki, but there's nothing stopping them from learning intellectual skills (and I can even put CP into making intellectual skills cheaper). In Savage Worlds I might make an adventurer who's Fighting is d12 (and one of the archetypes in the latest core rulebook has it), but I can also put my skill points wherever I want and buy whatever edges I wish, so my Warrior might also be a studious intellectual or a capable leader of men.

So I have a tendency not to notice the limitations put forwards by a class system, because I think 'oh, magic was just pointed poorly and should cost more'. I understand though that martials are inherently limited to adventurers in most editions of D&D (might be why I prefer playing magic characters).

RazorChain
2017-06-04, 08:23 PM
I don't really see the problem here. If you don't like bacon, then don't eat bacon. This is just what DnD is and there is plenty of other systems out there that do magic much better than DnD



A lot of this sort of thing has to do with the kind of world the game intends to present. D&D groks hard to Tolkien and similar literary traditions in terms of what the world looks like. The minute you start saying that mid-level warriors can fly, or toss lightning bolts, or whatever, the world doesn't look like that any more. For whatever reason people are able to buy the weak rationalization that the power spellcasters go off to become hermits in the wilderness or wall themselves up in towers and contemplate the mysteries of the universe full time rather than bother to change the world around them. It was also considered to be implicit in early worldbuilding, and to some extent even preserved until quite late, that spellcasters in general and wizards in particular are extremely rare compared to badass guys with swords.

D&D's history, as others have mentioned, progressively changed what characters could conceivably do in a general trend making everyone more powerful and spellcasters in particular into living gods, without ever properly addressing what that meant for the worlds they lived in (with the possible exception of Planescape, but in that case the reaction was to just say 'screw this, we're gonna go weird').

I can't say that DnD groks to anything and certainly not Tolkien, except that Ed Greenwood made a lame version of Gandalf and named him Elminster. By now DnD is it's own literary tradition though the game is inspired by a lot of things.

DnD is like a Disney movie equivalent of fantasy tradition. It takes literary traditions, myths, legends and folk tales and disneyfies them...or should we say DnDfies them. The result is a incoherent mess where campaigns settings have a hard time explaining the system and vice versa.

And Mid level warriors can fly...it was called ring of flying. I'm pretty sure the most popular utility magic items were ring of flying and invisibilty +bag of holding/portable hole, at least in the groups I played with.

Nightcanon
2017-06-04, 09:23 PM
D&D, however, is mired in some of it's traditions and we got 5th ed: a return to where fighters basically just hit things and out of combat mages get the ability to spend six seconds and direct the narrative where they want.

Quoted for truth. Part of the problem with 4th ed was that 'Fighters get +1 to hit and a big hit dice each level/ wizards get a new spell level every odd level, with effective D6/level area spells coming online at 5th level' had been at the core of (A)D&D for 30 years, and deviating from that 'doesn't feel like D&D any more'.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-04, 09:45 PM
Quoted for truth. Part of the problem with 4th ed was that 'Fighters get +1 to hit and a big hit dice each level/ wizards get a new spell level every odd level, with effective D6/level area spells coming online at 5th level' had been at the core of (A)D&D for 30 years, and deviating from that 'doesn't feel like D&D any more'.

But what's the feeling of D&D? To me it's about how a brave party of warriors, rogues, and magicians perform dangerous jobs or raid ruins for money or thrills. It has nothing to do with 1d6 per level fireballs or hit dice.

Oh, and bastard GMs who ban me from using my class features for two levels because a plot thing hasn't happened yet. That's part of the D&D feeling.

Psikerlord
2017-06-05, 12:48 AM
I have read a bit about Guy at the Gym fallacy, Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard, and the issues it causes in D&D. I have some thoughts.
So, a lot of grief seems to stem from trying to keep 'martials' as 'mundane' as possible. People like the idea of a badass normal, of being Batmanesque in their heroicness. To a point, I believe this can work. You can have the fighter and mage be balanced contributors to a party, each holding up a role or roles without feeling overshadowed. But that relies on the limits on the mage. It works when magic=mundane in effectiveness (although not necessarily for the same things).
For D&D, at least, the level system involves a continual escalation of power up the tiers, with the magical classes getting more powerful magic and the non-magical ones getting closer to the designers' ideas of the limits of mundane. Eventually, for 3.xe/5e (which are the editions I have experience with) there seems to be a point where magic exceeds mundane, the Guy at the Gym Fallacy becomes the limiting factor on the 'mundane' classes' progressions and Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard kicks in.
So, in future editions of D&D etc., to stop this being an issue, why not say "Up to level X, mundane classes look and feel mundane, so those who want to Badass Normal can do so. Beyond that level, they will explicitly be going superhuman, because otherwise, the wizards will outpace them unless the player works ten times as hard."
In execution it probably wouldn't be such a hard line between mundane and not.
But do you think this would work? Is it a reasonable compromise? Thoughts? Questions? :smallsmile:

Low Fantasy Gaming rpg keeps a rough power balance between the single magic user class, and all the other classes, through a number of mechanics but primarily:

(i) Dark & Dangerous magic table making magic dangerous to anyone in the vicinity (including the caster/magic item user most of all)
(ii) Major Exploits which work best for martials because of their higher hit chance/generally higher physical stats
(iii) 1d6 day long rest
(iv) Game is capped at 12th level, with certain spells removed from the single spell list (inc teleport, detect lie, raise dead. Only 20 spells per level to choose from, and sorcerer like no. of learnt spells - ie not boundless utility). Spells generally have much shorter durations than in traditional D&D. No cantrips, but magic users can use one handed weapons & wear light armour.
(v) No monster requires magic to defeat it, cold iron/silvered weapons will do.
(v) Unique custom abilities at 3rd, 6th etc so everyone can customise their PC for maximum awesome (in their view)
(vi) Boss monster template makes bosses resistant to being shut down with a single spell (or Major Exploit, for that matter), until worn down a bit.

In a high magic system, like 5e (magic baked into almost every subclass, and common at will magic), martials just cant compete at higher levels unless you go superhuman. Which many dont want to do for genre reasons.

Mechalich
2017-06-05, 01:19 AM
But what's the feeling of D&D? To me it's about how a brave party of warriors, rogues, and magicians perform dangerous jobs or raid ruins for money or thrills. It has nothing to do with 1d6 per level fireballs or hit dice.


The feel of D&D is Drizzt, Tanis Half-Elven, Raistlin, Elminster, Alias of the Azure Bonds, Lord Soth, Strahd von Zararovic, Eliath Craunobler, that moonblade-wielding lady Elaine Cunningham writes about, Myth Drannor, and the collective cast of BGI, BGII and Neverwinter Nights (with a side helping of Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale games) and a bunch of dragons with names. Essentially the feel of D&D is what people find in the novels (which at their height were more widely read than the game was ever actually played) and the video games (the best of which had a popularity that dwarfed the tabletop scene).

The height of the novel lines, and of the video games, and of actual setting fluff, was the late 1980s to mid 1990s, which was the era of AD&D 2e, and the 2e feel was going strong even in the 3e era - Baldur's Gate II - which is the foundational D&D experience for a huge number of players - was 2e creation despite being released at the same time as 3e. While the games did change over to reflect 3e principles in time, it took a while, and they never reflected internet-informed high-optimization play.

In any case, 3e didn't change a lot about how the game was played, especially at low levels. Sure it changed the math around some and made spellcasters considerably more powerful, but combat to combat and day to day characters were still doing the same things they'd always been doing. In 4e they...weren't. 4e characters function nothing like novel characters or video game characters. The difference between characters in BGII or Neverwinter Nights is not that large unless you wade very deep into the weeds, but 4e plays out very differently.

Also, 4e needlessly blew up the Forgotten Realms and sent all the writing talent that was responsible for creating the feel of D&D in supplement, novel, and even artistic form running for the hills.

This is not particularly 4e's fault. As a system it never had a chance to be judged on its merits. In fact there are probably settings that would be served well by something similar to 4e (the various endless 'magical academy' anime series come to mind), but it doesn't match what the expectations for D&D are.

Those expectations have some serious flaws, and the martial vs. caster disparity is part of them. Even in 2e Elminster was reshaping nations while Drizzt was off hunting pirates and Raistlin totally deus ex machina'd his way through the conclusion of the Dragonlance Chronicles and managed to get an entire (acclaimed!) trilogy written about his attempt to ascend to godhood, while his twin brother won accolades for fighting through a static fear effect. It's impossible to eliminate the issue, it can only be mitigated.

Nightcanon
2017-06-05, 01:27 AM
But what's the feeling of D&D? To me it's about how a brave party of warriors, rogues, and magicians perform dangerous jobs or raid ruins for money or thrills. It has nothing to do with 1d6 per level fireballs or hit dice.

Oh, and bastard GMs who ban me from using my class features for two levels because a plot thing hasn't happened yet. That's part of the D&D feeling.

I suppose what I'm getting at (and having read further down the thread, a number of others have touched on this as well) is that the quadratic wizard/ linear fighter is a feature of using the D&D rules to play games in which a brave party of warriors, rogues and magicians do those things, rather than another system. I dabbled with some early WFRP in the late 80s, and as well as using different shaped dice, and different core mechanics, it also had a significantly different balance between magic and non-magic characters. It was however very much a game featuring a brave party of warriors, rogues, magicians etc. I guess my point is that if WotC brought out a fantasy RPG that no longer used a d20, or rolls to hit against AC, or the Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha stats, they would have a hard time persuading people that said game was 6e D&D, rather than a radically departure into 1st edition something else. What I'm proposing is that the power progression in (A)D&D is as much a part of the heart of the game as those things: if you talk to someone who played 20 years ago, they will remember that you rolled a d20 to hit, blue dragons breathe lightning, fighters get +1 to hit (or minus 1 to THAC0) each time they level up, and wizards cast fireballs at 5th level.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 02:05 AM
D&D has more and sacreder cows than anything.

It's silly.

oxybe
2017-06-05, 02:18 AM
See, I never read the D&D novels. Never cared for them.

Primarily because they were written in English, and I'm from a small rural French-speaking community in eastern Canada. My English literature was pretty much Goosebumps and Animorphs from the scholastic book order forms and whatever big name novel, like Steven King's It, the library stocked for the high school English classes. Our options were limited in that dial up internet era.

I got into D&D by way of my interest in Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda and Dragon Warrior on the NES (which helped me learn English) and their SNES sequels (among other games like the Breath of Fire or Secret of Mana series), where my buddy got copies of the 2nd ed books from his out of town uncle who was handing down the torch (most likely he was just getting rid of stuff he wasn't using, but hey, free stuff is free stuff).

That pretty much shaped our initial D&D escapades: There is a bad dude, he's threatening the land, he may or may not have kidnapped royalty and to get to him you may or may not need to accumulate X MacGuffins by punching out his cronies who are in various dungeons and you're tasked to stop him because there's no one else around who can.

There isn't an Elminister to pass the buck down to you as he goes to the elemental plane of water to do his laundry by binding a water elemental. There's no wandering Drizzt to pop up and steal the spotlight.

It's the party or you send a bunch of mooks to die. Party fails, the world is now in ruins. Party wins, it's ale and whores for everyone.

It wasn't anything deep, but we were 12 and fighting monsters to save the world. That's all we needed.

Now it wasn't perfect.

2nd ed kinda broke my heart when it pulled the carpet from under me with lines like this:

"There are many famous fighters from legend: Hercules, Perseus, Hiawatha, Beowulf, Siegfried, Cuchulain, Little John, Tristan, and Sinbad" It sets you up to think your fighter is going to be the likes of Hercules. But when I played a fighter I sure as heck wasn't Hercules. I knew of Hercules, I read the mythology. But the fighter was man with sword who could potentially die from 2-3 hits of a goblin and leveling wasn't fast. It took a long time to get to where you could maybe start acting like those examples. We had difficulty playing the types of games we wanted with the system, partially because 2nd ed is not made for heroic play at the early levels and partially because a bunch of dumb French speaking 11-12 year olds trying to make sense of 2nd ed PHB without an experienced player to guide us.

3rd ed came to us a few years later in 2000's, when we were in high school. I was in grade 10 and found it leaps and bounds better then 2nd, if only because things were a bit more clearly written and organized, but the system as a whole was more cohesive. It was fun for a bit but then came graduation, the group broke up and we went to study and I didn't play for 3 years, until I moved out of my folks place with my degree and into town.

I got another group and we played. Then over years of play frustrations with the system started piling up, particularly towards the martial characters (though the casters weren't without their sins) and how lackluster they felt when compared to mages.

4th ed is where, for me, it clicked. My martial types were in the zone, they were doing cool things, the casters were not so borked that they could accidentally a campaign and the party interacted with each other mechanically. Our characters could take a hit, take a breather, and keep adventuring. It finally felt like the game I wanted to play since 2nd ed.

RazorChain
2017-06-05, 04:05 AM
I must admit that I've never read anything by Jack Vance so I didn't know anything about Vancian magic. But I'm an avid wargamer and an armchair general so the DnD magic system made perfect sense for me from wargaming perspective. You have a magician figure that has certain slots to overcome a scenario (dungeon) and you have to chose from your powers/spells what you have in your slots for that scenario.

If we take that thought further then the magician doesn't have to be balanced compared to the other figures, the balance is acquired through point cost.


In fact DnD is just a board game where you pick out figures with certain abilities to go through a scenario (dungeon). What class of figures you chose is going to affect the outcome and how you kit them. The goal is to get better gear and money to upgrade your figures amd get some hirelings to go through interconnected scenarios (dungeons) that get progressively harder.

Then when somebody (Arneson) wanted to roleplay some extra rules got slapped on as an afterthought.

The magic system was never thought out to be a comprehensive magic system. It was just thought as some powers you would put in your slot and burn to get through the encounter. Then somebody tried to tack on some fluff and explain it away when roleplaying took off.

This is why DnD has never made sense as a roleplaying system for me. It's a boardgame/wargame that tries to disguise itself as a roleplaying system and because it's so steeped in tradition the new editions just keep on trucking like they did in the good old days. 4 ed. tried to break somewhat away from tradition and is probably the most hated of all the editions.

obryn
2017-06-05, 07:45 AM
4th ed is where, for me, it clicked. My martial types were in the zone, they were doing cool things, the casters were not so borked that they could accidentally a campaign and the party interacted with each other mechanically. Our characters could take a hit, take a breather, and keep adventuring. It finally felt like the game I wanted to play since 2nd ed.
Ditto.

Notably, a number of D&D-adjacent games also manage to work out well. Anymore, it's a baseline criterion for me to take a D&Dlike RPG seriously.

Cluedrew
2017-06-05, 08:22 AM
[D&D is] a boardgame/wargame that tries to disguise itself as a roleplaying system and because it's so steeped in tradition the new editions just keep on trucking like they did in the good old days.Finally! I have been saying that for ages. Well actually I was saying it is a hybrid of a wargame and a roleplaying game system. But I really think it is, it is framed as a roleplaying game, but so many of its underpinnings are from wargames to this day.

And honestly, you can trace a lot of how the martial and casters work back to that point as well. Your martials are the line men, they have some combat stats and numbers. Wizards get all the cool tricks and if used properly can alter the flow of battle with a well placed spell. There are a lot of factors that shaped the early versions, and I think we (or the designers of 6th) should really start discarding more of them, but they probably will not. Take the safe bet.

Tanarii
2017-06-05, 09:11 AM
This is why DnD has never made sense as a roleplaying system for me. It's a boardgame/wargame that tries to disguise itself as a roleplaying system and because it's so steeped in tradition the new editions just keep on trucking like they did in the good old days.
Not accurate. It's a wargame that defined what Roleplaying actually is: making decisions for what your character(s) are doing as if they are in that fantasy world.

The step from board game/wargame to roleplaying game is minuscule. All that matters is making at least some decisions for your character as if they're a personality in the environment (even if the personality is you, the player), instead of exclusively a non-real figure on a battle mat.

Of course, continuity of individual character(s) was a pretty important pre-cursor step to that.

Edit: of course, many RPGs that have come out since D&D defined what is roleplaying have taken the concept considerably further down the making decisions for an imaginary person roleplaying rabbit hole.

Mark Hall
2017-06-05, 10:47 AM
4th ed is where, for me, it clicked. My martial types were in the zone, they were doing cool things, the casters were not so borked that they could accidentally a campaign and the party interacted with each other mechanically. Our characters could take a hit, take a breather, and keep adventuring. It finally felt like the game I wanted to play since 2nd ed.

In a lot of ways, I think 4e was a superior game... it had some great ideas, and cared about balance between classes. But I also am of the opinion that it didn't really feel like D&D to me, which is, of course, highly vague and subjective, and my reasons for it are very hard to pin down.

Because what I like in a game is where my choice of race and class matters, but where there's no obvious "win" button. In 3.x, character creation is a lose-able mini-game. Depending on the choices you make, you can box yourself into a corner of uselessness, or being a one-trick pony in a three ring circus (to mix metaphors a bit). In 4e, that really doesn't apply. Unless you make some truly stupid choices (a fighter with a horrible strength, for example), you're probably going to be ok. Maybe not the best you can be, but not so bad the rest of the party has to carry you. While I don't like the specific implementation, 4e did that very well... ALL characters were cool, but they were different kinds of cool. A Leader shared things with other Leaders, but they weren't exactly the same.

AD&D had these problems, to a lesser extent, IMO, but I'd argue that's because, while 3.x had "Linear Fighter, Quadratic Wizard", 2e limited it to "Linear Fighter, Exponential Wizard"... wizards still outclassed fighters in the late game, but the late game was not, IME, as common, and they didn't outclass them as much, for various reasons.

Cosi
2017-06-05, 11:02 AM
The problem here is a conceptual one. "Warps reality with his mind" is a better concept than "hits things really hard with a stick". So at the limit of infinite advancement (and very likely before that), characters who are "magic" will always be better than characters who are "mundane". Squaring that circle is not trivial, but solutions do exist.

One solution is to just not let people advance past the point where "magic" and "mundane" can be reasonably constrained into equality. This is what E6 does, its what 4e does, and it's what 5e does. It has the advantage of giving the Conan fetishists exactly what they want, but the disadvantage of not letting you do any story that is not appropriate for Conan.

Another solution is to require people to pick up a supernatural power source at a certain point. Have base classes only go up to the point where Conan need to give way to Thor, then have people take a Prestige Class (or Paragon Path, or whatever) that gives them magic. Instead of a 20th level Barbarian, you play a 10th level Barbarian/10th level Thunder Chosen. This is what 3e and 4e tried to do to various degrees.

Another solution is to not have people decide if they want to be a superpowered badass and instead let them decide what kind of superpowered badass they want to be. Effectively, you start after the point where Conan must give way to Thor and thereby sidestep the question of "how do we turn Conan into Thor". This is what Exalted does.

Finally, you can use something like Ars Magica's "troupe" system (where each player plays multiple characters that range from "crap covered peasant" to "badass superwizard") to ignore the problem entirely.


Building on what Mechalich and Necroticplague said: What is the most powerfully spell Gandalf cast in the entirety of the Lord of the Rings? As I recall, there isn't much, he gets by with wisdom and a sword more often than actual magic. What is the most direct magic he used? There was some stuff their, but I don't recall* any fireballs being thrown around.

I would be deeply dissatisfied with a version of D&D that established "Gandalf" as the pinnacle of what a Wizard can aspire to be. Why shouldn't my Wizard be able to become Kellhus (flies, kills armies, teleports, summons demons)? That's a "Wizard" in a Fantasy story, and it seems to me that unless you want to take a sharp turn away from kitchen sink fantasy, I should be able to be that Wizard without breaking the game.


In as much as that is true, a wizard in 1e and 2e couldn't say "ok, I learn Polymorph as my new spell this level" unless the DM specifically put a spell of polymorph in a treasure chest for them to find. Spells were the equivalent of equipment at the time for wizards, and the only way you could get the really overpowered stuff is if the DM specifically gave it to you. We made it through an entire campaign once where a wizard never learned Fireball because they just couldn't track down a scroll of it.

I think having class features depend on what the DM sees fit to give PCs seems like a terrible paradigm that we should try as hard as possible to avoid.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 11:13 AM
D&D has more and sacreder cows than anything.

It's silly.

I know, I keep trying to make them into +2 Holy Hamburgers bit apparently that's bad.


Personally I tend to define D&D as a dungeon exploration game. There's roleplaying elements, but once you get past the 'my fighter always wanted to be a ranger, but Iis allergic to trees' then the game's about going into a dungeon, collecting treasure, and getting back to the town to all said treasure.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 11:24 AM
I think having class features depend on what the DM sees fit to give PCs seems like a terrible paradigm that we should try as hard as possible to avoid.

Why? All the martial classes that rely on good equipment and WBL and whatnot have that. You might as well say that loot shouldn't even be a thing in D&D and that everybody gets all their upgrades for free as they level up.

Necroticplague
2017-06-05, 11:28 AM
Why? All the martial classes that rely on good equipment and WBL and whatnot have that. You might as well say that loot shouldn't even be a thing in D&D and that everybody gets all their upgrades for free as they level up.

You say that like it's inherently ridiculous, but I don't particularly see anything wrong with that.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 11:38 AM
You say that like it's inherently ridiculous, but I don't particularly see anything wrong with that.

It takes away a great number of knobs and levers to pull to differentiate martials from each other. You stop being FighterMan, wielder of the legendary Sword of Might, and just become a 14th level fighter, wielder of the regular sword he bought from the blacksmith the other day.

Necroticplague
2017-06-05, 11:42 AM
It takes away a great number of knobs and levers to pull to differentiate martials from each other. You stop being FighterMan, wielder of the legendary Sword of Might, and just become a 14th level fighter, wielder of the regular sword he bought from the blacksmith the other day.

Er, it seems like you would give them more. Without being able to use equipment as a crutch, your force the characters to actually be different, instead of 'same character with different swag'. Simply being a 14th level fighter should give you enough options to differentiate.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 11:46 AM
Er, it seems like you would give them more. Without being able to use equipment as a crutch, your force the characters to actually be different, instead of 'same character with different swag'. Simply being a 14th level fighter should give you enough options to differentiate.

My point is, loot is part of the fantasy. You aren't just a 14th level fighter, youre the wielder of the Sword of Might. You aren't just a 14th level wizard, you are a master of the Simulacrum spell.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 11:54 AM
My point is, loot is part of the fantasy. You aren't just a 14th level fighter, youre the wielder of the Sword of Might. You aren't just a 14th level wizard, you are a master of the Simulacrum spell.

And like 40 other spells.

Why can't a fighter be someone who knows the legendary Move of Legend instead of the wielder of the legendary Sword of Might? Why does my equipment have to be more awesome than I am? Why do I have to lag behind if I want to kill my father's killer with my father's​ sword? Why should I give up the armour I fought so long to obtain just because this new set had a +2 bonus?

Most of all, why do I need to participate in an equipment treadmill? Many systems do fine without one.

Mark Hall
2017-06-05, 12:27 PM
Why can't a fighter be someone who knows the legendary Move of Legend instead of the wielder of the legendary Sword of Might? Why does my equipment have to be more awesome than I am? Why do I have to lag behind if I want to kill my father's killer with my father's​ sword? Why should I give up the armour I fought so long to obtain just because this new set had a +2 bonus?

Most of all, why do I need to participate in an equipment treadmill? Many systems do fine without one.

Actually, the first bit is why I started looking at 1e's Oriental Adventure's Martial Arts. While 3e tried to do this through feats, I find that giving fighters things they can do... neat tricks they can pull off... helps a lot.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 01:07 PM
Actually, the first bit is why I started looking at 1e's Oriental Adventure's Martial Arts. While 3e tried to do this through feats, I find that giving fighters things they can do... neat tricks they can pull off... helps a lot.

Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"

Spookykid
2017-06-05, 01:36 PM
using dnd 5e as an example,

What should a martial with a +17 to athletics or acrobatics be able to do? (+5 attribute, +6 proficiency, +6 expertise)

jump a hundred feet? grapple dragons?

Kite474
2017-06-05, 01:47 PM
using dnd 5e as an example,

What should a martial with a +17 to athletics or acrobatics be able to do? (+5 attribute, +6 proficiency, +6 expertise)

jump a hundred feet? grapple dragons?

If previous experience says anything. You might be able to break a door. Because Martials arent allowed to do cool things like that because its too anime.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 01:49 PM
I don't think these should be linked to skill points instead of being linked to the attributes, class features, even feats.

But yes.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 02:14 PM
Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"

What if I want to be CuChullain? Heracles? They aren't anime, but they can do awesome stuff!

Why can't my character with 20 Strength punch through a brick wall or leap cattle battlements in a single bound? Great feats have been a part of legends since before anime was a thing.

It's like banning lasers from a cyberpunk game for being 'too space opera'.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 02:16 PM
What if I want to be CuChullain? Heracles? They aren't anime, but they can do awesome stuff!

Why can't my character with 20 Strength punch through a brick wall or leap cattle battlements in a single bound? Great feats have been a part of legends since before anime was a thing.

It's like banning lasers from a cyberpunk game for being 'too space opera'.

I fully agree with you.

I did not call these things "sacred cows" because I had high opinions of them.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-05, 02:27 PM
I don't think any game is improved by trying to be all things to all people, D&D included. Games are best when they pick a niche and stick to it.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 03:21 PM
Why? All the martial classes that rely on good equipment and WBL and whatnot have that. You might as well say that loot shouldn't even be a thing in D&D and that everybody gets all their upgrades for free as they level up.


You say that like it's inherently ridiculous, but I don't particularly see anything wrong with that.


It takes away a great number of knobs and levers to pull to differentiate martials from each other. You stop being FighterMan, wielder of the legendary Sword of Might, and just become a 14th level fighter, wielder of the regular sword he bought from the blacksmith the other day.


Er, it seems like you would give them more. Without being able to use equipment as a crutch, your force the characters to actually be different, instead of 'same character with different swag'. Simply being a 14th level fighter should give you enough options to differentiate.


My point is, loot is part of the fantasy. You aren't just a 14th level fighter, youre the wielder of the Sword of Might. You aren't just a 14th level wizard, you are a master of the Simulacrum spell.

I think this is a really good idea...it just needs some really good execution.

The spell-caster expectation once upon a time was that learning new spells was a challenge...you didn't get to freely choose - you had to find a source (scroll, teacher) and make the effort to learn (don't fail!). And then you had to deal with material components, etc. All of that was shelved (understandably for the most part), so a built-in weakness of the class was undone.

The martial-class expectation once upon a time was that getting new gear was a challenge...you couldn't swing by the Magic Item Emporium Mart and pick up that +2 Flame Tongue of Jerk Slaying - you had to luck into finding one in a dungeon and convince the rest of the party to let you have it. And then you had to deal with still needing to find a +3 Large Steel Shield of Reflection to be able to bounce the Jerk's lightning bolts back at him. And that remains the state of the majority of games, it seems (though most do have Magic Item Emporium Mart access). So a built-in weakness of the class remains.

So 4th edition brought about the idea of "suggesting" items to be stocked in dungeons by the DM...but I suggest this should go a few steps further.

Maybe develop some sort of "materia" - collected or transformed from loot - that characters can use to enhance their items. Your farmer on his heroic journey with his grandfather's sword and his dad's shield can, over time, create the +2 FToJS and the +3 LSSoR. We know epic archmage artificers aren't going to waste their time on crap like that...so as class abilities we give characters the power to enhance their own items. Sure, in this presentation it is video-gamey, but I'm sure it can be properly flavored to play down that element. The materia can be collected as "loot" or rewards for overcoming challenges/killing bad things...but also have a pool awarded when leveling up. Expendable magic items (scrolls, potions, whatever) and some utility magics can still be traditional loot as well.

This could resolve the "10 million gold pieces" issues some people have, continue to scale martials as gear-based classes while adding significant focus and agency, and also keeps the idea of a martial hero holding to their legacy gear and making it part of their legend. Yes, I am aware this is partly inspired by EarthDawn, but in my vision it is altered to accommodate the much higher gear reliance in DnD.


Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"


What if I want to be CuChullain? Heracles? They aren't anime, but they can do awesome stuff!

Why can't my character with 20 Strength punch through a brick wall or leap cattle battlements in a single bound? Great feats have been a part of legends since before anime was a thing.

It's like banning lasers from a cyberpunk game for being 'too space opera'.


I fully agree with you.

I did not call these things "sacred cows" because I had high opinions of them.

In some ways I think I understand what you are getting at...but in other ways I think some points are being missed. Cu Chulainn (as far as I understand) was a raging battle machine, but evidenced no super-human feats of which I am aware (wall destroying, battlement leaping). Conan was mighty, but could not punch through walls or leap 100s of feet...that would take some godly (or demonly) magics. Heracles benefited from being the child of a (THE) god...other heroes are given mighty gifts that provide them superhuman powers. It is in those steps that DnD follows, I think. The Heroic Warrior is a man who accomplishes his miracles with the aid of otherworldly power or legendary gear.

The anti-anime bias might be more an issue with some newer classes or groups (I've not really seen much of it)...I've never seen a complaint about some with a belt of giant strength tossing a huge bolder or punching out a frost giant. I suppose if a regular fighter without magic items or the benefit of a special race were able to match a frost giant strength there might be some serious discussion...but would that be because it is "anime" or because it calls physics into question?

Even so, there has always been a bit of martial mysticism in AD&D forward...even if Monks didn't always get the most love. Maybe just not the idea of a non-mystical warrior whipping up Street Fighter powers.

- M

Elderand
2017-06-05, 03:33 PM
The martial-class expectation once upon a time was that getting new gear was a challenge...you couldn't swing by the Magic Item Emporium Mart and pick up that +2 Flame Tongue of Jerk Slaying - you had to luck into finding one in a dungeon and convince the rest of the party to let you have it. And then you had to deal with still needing to find a +3 Large Steel Shield of Reflection to be able to bounce the Jerk's lightning bolts back at him. And that remains the state of the majority of games, it seems (though most do have Magic Item Emporium Mart access). So a built-in weakness of the class remains.

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that, if you look at old random treasure table and at the rules for magic items you notice a couple things.
First, most magic items type aren't actually useable by non martials.
Second, most magic items on random tables are of the type that only martial can use. (especially swords....so many freaking swords)

So not only did magic user have to find their stuff randomly, they also had less chances of finding their stuff overall. Martial had much better chances of getting stuff they could use.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 03:43 PM
I fully agree with you.

I did not call these things "sacred cows" because I had high opinions of them.

Oh, I was quoting you because I agree with you. Sorry if that wasn't clear.


In some ways I think I understand what you are getting at...but in other ways I think some points are being missed. Cu Chulainn (as far as I understand) was a raging battle machine, but evidenced no super-human feats of which I am aware (wall destroying, battlement leaping). Conan was mighty, but could not punch through walls or leap 100s of feet...that would take some godly (or demonly) magics. Heracles benefited from being the child of a (THE) god...other heroes are given mighty gifts that provide them superhuman powers. It is in those steps that DnD follows, I think. The Heroic Warrior is a man who accomplishes his miracles with the aid of otherworldly power or legendary gear.

The anti-anime bias might be more an issue with some newer classes or groups (I've not really seen much of it)...I've never seen a complaint about some with a belt of giant strength tossing a huge bolder or punching out a frost giant. I suppose if a regular fighter without magic items or the benefit of a special race were able to match a frost giant strength there might be some serious discussion...but would that be because it is "anime" or because it calls physics into question?

Even so, there has always been a bit of martial mysticism in AD&D forward...even if Monks didn't always get the most love. Maybe just not the idea of a non-mystical warrior whipping up Street Fighter powers.

- M

Oh, they were just examples. I was just expressing annoyance at the idea of 'wizards are awesome, warriors get awesome stuff'. I'm saying I want a warrior who is awesome because they take things anyone can do and take them up to twelve. CuChulainn might never have punched a wall, but he leapt a mighty chasm and destroyed almost every weapon he tried to wield before his mythic training from a teacher of legend (I mean, he had to leap the chasm to get to the teacher).

I don't think I've ever said I want to throw fireballs, but if the wizard is bending reality with his mind why can't the warrior run like the wind, hit like a horde of giants, or hit the same area with three sword swings at the exact same time?

I mean, it's different if the party druid's abilities extend to 'knowledge of the lands and a few magical tricks'. But that's not what any D&D spellcaster is, they're all about having a load of magical tricks by high levels. Even in 5e we're expected to believe that 'can sword really well, but not outside Conan range' is balanced with 'can summon meteors from the sky with his mind'. I'm convinced it's a mixture of trying to cover every level from dude who picked up a sword to cosmic heroes, but to me that just makes the game weaker as a whole.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 03:45 PM
Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that, if you look at old random treasure table and at the rules for magic items you notice a couple things.
First, most magic items type aren't actually useable by non martials.
Second, most magic items on random tables are of the type that only martial can use. (especially swords....so many freaking swords)

So not only did magic user have to find their stuff randomly, they also had less chances of finding their stuff overall. Martial had much better chances of getting stuff they could use.

But MU did have more avenues to their goal...

Additionally, there weren't any item types in AD&D that were martial-only (since armors were useful for clerics, druids and magic users to a certain degree, and weapons depended on the specific weapon type) that I can recall. You're not lumping all non-"Magic User" character classes into Martial, are you?

Sure, the tables were tilted towards martials...because martials needed gear to maintain efficacy, even back in the day. That being said, I'd probably say the most sought-after items across games in that same day were Bracers of Armor...

- M

Necroticplague
2017-06-05, 03:45 PM
Maybe develop some sort of "materia" - collected or transformed from loot - that characters can use to enhance their items. Your farmer on his heroic journey with his grandfather's sword and his dad's shield can, over time, create the +2 FToJS and the +3 LSSoR. We know epic archmage artificers aren't going to waste their time on crap like that...so as class abilities we give characters the power to enhance their own items. Sure, in this presentation it is video-gamey, but I'm sure it can be properly flavored to play down that element. The materia can be collected as "loot" or rewards for overcoming challenges/killing bad things...but also have a pool awarded when leveling up. Expendable magic items (scrolls, potions, whatever) and some utility magics can still be traditional loot as well.

Personally, I'd like to just ditch consumable entirely, and make it less 'you enchant your shield to be magic', and more 'you know how to perform this ability with any shield you pick up'. It's not Arrow Deflecting because the shields special, you deflect the arrows because you've figured how, and could apply that training to a shield replacement just as easily.

Tanarii
2017-06-05, 04:01 PM
Additionally, there weren't any item types in AD&D that were martial-only (since armors were useful for clerics, druids and magic users to a certain degree, and weapons depended on the specific weapon type) that I can recall. You're not lumping all non-"Magic User" character classes into Martial, are you?Armor went to the Fighters first in every AD&D 1e & BECMI I ever played, across many multiple groups. I've never seen anyone argue that Clerics would get them first. And Magic-Users can't even use armor. And other than armor, the most common magic item found were Swords or other weapons not usable by Clerics/Druids/Magic-users. Although Thieves could get in on some of that action ... after the Fighters of course. In short, Fighters always got first pick of magic items (weapons over thieves, armor over clerics), and the majority of found magic items before higher levels were weapons/armor.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 04:09 PM
Oh, they were just examples. I was just expressing annoyance at the idea of 'wizards are awesome, warriors get awesome stuff'. I'm saying I want a warrior who is awesome because they take things anyone can do and take them up to twelve. CuChulainn might never have punched a wall, but he leapt a mighty chasm and destroyed almost every weapon he tried to wield before his mythic training from a teacher of legend (I mean, he had to leap the chasm to get to the teacher).

I don't think I've ever said I want to throw fireballs, but if the wizard is bending reality with his mind why can't the warrior run like the wind, hit like a horde of giants, or hit the same area with three sword swings at the exact same time?

Because he isn't that kind of magic. He is the kind of magic that can walk away from a 60' fall without help. He is the kind of magic that can absorb 35 arrows and keep plowing forward. He is the kind of magic that can swing his axe three times as quickly (in the abstract) and far more effectively than the standard army veteran. He is the kind of magic that can be bathed in the fire of a dragon and walk out the other side. All without any more special preparation than putting on his uniform.

Now, make his uniform "special" to the degree appropriate to the reality-bending-wizard, and his magic is enhanced such that he toe-to-toe's the giant that routed the 50 army veterans and thinks of it as little more than a warm-up. A quick drink later and he is still at full potency. The reality-bender? Not so much.


I mean, it's different if the party druid's abilities extend to 'knowledge of the lands and a few magical tricks'. But that's not what any D&D spellcaster is, they're all about having a load of magical tricks by high levels. Even in 5e we're expected to believe that 'can sword really well, but not outside Conan range' is balanced with 'can summon meteors from the sky with his mind'. I'm convinced it's a mixture of trying to cover every level from dude who picked up a sword to cosmic heroes, but to me that just makes the game weaker as a whole.

I agree with your point here in particular...trying to cover 1-30 and have equal balance is a tough ticket. Maybe it doesn't make the game weaker, but it does open it to more criticism. Particularly once the things that were supposed to balance that meteor swarm were removed for an improve play experience (ignoring things like components, learning spells, 15-minute adventuring days, etc). The Gear-As-Balance approach could work better...but the aversion to the "nerf balances" for casters knocks that down.

I do really disagree with the "not outside Conan range" comment though...He could handle no more than a handful of mooks at a time, and was as mortal as the next guy. Based on REH's writing, I'd think he fits on the low end of the DnD martial power curve. Of course, the Kulan Gaths and Toth-Amons (and Thulsa Dooms) of the stories were dabbling apprentices compared to random 10th level Wizard of DnD.

Edit to avoid multi-post:


Armor went to the Fighters first in every AD&D 1e & BECMI I ever played, across many multiple groups. I've never seen anyone argue that Clerics would get them first. And Magic-Users can't even use armor. And other than armor, the most common magic item found were Swords or other weapons not usable by Clerics/Druids/Magic-users. Although Thieves could get in on some of that action ... after the Fighters of course. In short, Fighters always got first pick of magic items (weapons over thieves, armor over clerics), and the majority of found magic items before higher levels were weapons/armor.

Plenty of magic users in my games were wearing armor (multiclass, elves, etc)...and plenty of clerics got early shots at armor too. At worst they got second best (or hand-me-downs). Still, I agree with the primary point you're making...just not the magnitude. (a) "First" doesn't mean "no one else could ever use these things", and (b) there is a degree of chicken and egg here - martials need the gear by design, so by design they have greater propensity for receiving the gear.

- M

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 04:22 PM
In some ways I think I understand what you are getting at...but in other ways I think some points are being missed. Cu Chulainn (as far as I understand) was a raging battle machine, but evidenced no super-human feats of which I am aware (wall destroying, battlement leaping). Conan was mighty, but could not punch through walls or leap 100s of feet...that would take some godly (or demonly) magics. Heracles benefited from being the child of a (THE) god...other heroes are given mighty gifts that provide them superhuman powers. It is in those steps that DnD follows, I think. The Heroic Warrior is a man who accomplishes his miracles with the aid of otherworldly power or legendary gear.

The anti-anime bias might be more an issue with some newer classes or groups (I've not really seen much of it)...I've never seen a complaint about some with a belt of giant strength tossing a huge bolder or punching out a frost giant. I suppose if a regular fighter without magic items or the benefit of a special race were able to match a frost giant strength there might be some serious discussion...but would that be because it is "anime" or because it calls physics into question?

Even so, there has always been a bit of martial mysticism in AD&D forward...even if Monks didn't always get the most love. Maybe just not the idea of a non-mystical warrior whipping up Street Fighter powers.

- M

I'm glad you've brought up Sacred Cow #2: D&D must imitate some genre of stories (funnily enough, different people will tell you different genres).

You've never heard about Sacred Cow #1? Try making a post about the Tome of Battle sometime on these forums.

There is no need to sit around and ask ourselves whether D&D is accurate to one genre or another because D&D simply is. Fun mechanics and interesting writing will speak for themselves, so if you can add something that will make D&D more fun for more people, there's no reason to question whether it fits D&D's "genre." Besides, D&D has usually embraced eclecticism to its profit anyways. D&D has always excluded things... right up until people thought the things were cool and they were included.

The question you are answering is far simpler than you are making it out to be with talk of genres and precedents with Cu Chulainn vs. Heracles:

"Would D&D be more fun if its martials got by on their own power successfully or if its martials had to use magic items?"


Oh, I was quoting you because I agree with you. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Okay, my bad.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 04:31 PM
I'm glad you've brought up Sacred Cow #2: D&D must imitate some genre of stories (funnily enough, different people will tell you different genres).

You've never heard about Sacred Cow #1? Try making a post about the Tome of Battle sometime on these forums.

I understand what you're saying, but it is my belief those are a long ways down the list of sacred cows. There are a lot of structural issues (levels...classes...saving throws..) that have both primacy and potency, I think. I had a significant play lag between 3.5 and 4e, so it seems I was fortunate enough to miss a big part of that.


There is no need to sit around and ask ourselves whether D&D is accurate to one genre or another because D&D simply is. Fun mechanics and interesting writing will speak for themselves, so if you can add something that will make D&D more fun for more people, there's no reason to question whether it fits D&D's "genre." Besides, D&D has usually embraced eclecticism to its profit anyways. D&D has always excluded things... right up until people thought the things were cool and they were included.

The question you are answering is far simpler than you are making it out to be with talk of genres and precedents with Cu Chulainn vs. Heracles:

"Would D&D be more fun if its martials got by on their own power successfully or if its martials had to use magic items?"

I am of an era where the point was to emulate the heroes we knew...the stories we enjoyed...but with our own direction and our own goals. So we did choose to wrestle with lions like this question. So my answer presupposes that the question of "Should martial characters be enhanced via gear" has already been answered in the affirmative and the follow-up is "Okay then, how do we do it better than it currently is done?"

That doesn't mean there isn't room for mystical warriors/physical adepts/DragonballZers.

- M

Jama7301
2017-06-05, 04:44 PM
I know it may have been glib, but I would adore the ability headlock or judo throw a dragon as a fighter.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 04:45 PM
Because he isn't that kind of magic. He is the kind of magic that can walk away from a 60' fall without help. He is the kind of magic that can absorb 35 arrows and keep plowing forward. He is the kind of magic that can swing his axe three times as quickly (in the abstract) and far more effectively than the standard army veteran. He is the kind of magic that can be bathed in the fire of a dragon and walk out the other side. All without any more special preparation than putting on his uniform.

Now, make his uniform "special" to the degree appropriate to the reality-bending-wizard, and his magic is enhanced such that he toe-to-toe's the giant that routed the 50 army veterans and thinks of it as little more than a warm-up. A quick drink later and he is still at full potency. The reality-bender? Not so much.

The problem is, while the warrior is putting on his special gear to fight the giant our reality bending wizard has walked up, charmed the giant, had it sort out his garden, murdered it with a single spell, and raised it as a zombie to construct him a new tower.

Also, why is the only kind of awesome allowed to warriors 'I can tank damage and swing my sword quickly'. Why can't I sprint a kilometre in ten minutes? Why can't I be the guy who carts boulders to the stream in order to redirect it? Why can't I be the guy who jump kicks a dragon to stop it from breathing fire?

Okay, let's put the myths to one side for the moment, and go into anime, specifically Berserk. Why can't I be Guts, who can not only take an absurd amount of damage but can also swing his sword hard enough to kill demons with one hit? Why can't I be Griffith, a master of combat at both the personal and tactical levels? Why can't I be Serpico, who can thrust his rapier so fast it appears to be in twelve places at once? All of them are able to do impressive things that aren't 'walk through a dragon's fire' or 'survive a 60ft fall' with nothing more than putting on their uniforms.


I agree with your point here in particular...trying to cover 1-30 and have equal balance is a tough ticket. Maybe it doesn't make the game weaker, but it does open it to more criticism. Particularly once the things that were supposed to balance that meteor swarm were removed for an improve play experience (ignoring things like components, learning spells, 15-minute adventuring days, etc). The Gear-As-Balance approach could work better...but the aversion to the "nerf balances" for casters knocks that down.

I do really disagree with the "not outside Conan range" comment though...He could handle no more than a handful of mooks at a time, and was as mortal as the next guy. Based on REH's writing, I'd think he fits on the low end of the DnD martial power curve. Of course, the Kulan Gaths and Toth-Amons (and Thulsa Dooms) of the stories were dabbling apprentices compared to random 10th level Wizard of DnD.

Okay, I was exaggerating, but the point is that not only does the game try to cover the whole scale (and in my mind breaks completely at about 12th level), but it also throws the warriors and magicians on entirely different scales. The Fighters are expected to be 'dude', or possibly 'uberskilled dude with awesome stuff', while wizards get to go from 'nerd' to 'god'.

Heck, one of the things I always homebrew into magic system is material components (and/or focuses). I won't specify exactly what they are, but they should get rarer as the spells get more powerful. Revitalise Plants might need nothing more than for a druid to shed his own blood, while Meteor Swarm requires you to sacrifice a bull using a specially prepared obsidian dagger boiled alongside rare herbs. Nothing's stopping players from casting weaker spells with just a wand or staff, but they can't flick off a potentially world-altering spell without at least a little preparation. Plus it can really make different traditions feel different, with them using different stuff to work their magic. I love material components, whether that's silver wire to set up a protection spell, consecrated bread to heal the wounded, or twenty pints of alcohol to summon a bunch of dwarves.

Heck, I'm all for bringing magicians down to earth, my next game is going to be very low fantasy where most magic users scrabble for spells and use sleight of hand to make things more impressive. Warriors here can't punch through walls because, well, nobody's doing stuff that impressive on their own.

Psyren
2017-06-05, 04:49 PM
And like 40 other spells.

Why can't a fighter be someone who knows the legendary Move of Legend instead of the wielder of the legendary Sword of Might? Why does my equipment have to be more awesome than I am? Why do I have to lag behind if I want to kill my father's killer with my father's​ sword? Why should I give up the armour I fought so long to obtain just because this new set had a +2 bonus?

Most of all, why do I need to participate in an equipment treadmill? Many systems do fine without one.


Personally, I'd like to just ditch consumable entirely, and make it less 'you enchant your shield to be magic', and more 'you know how to perform this ability with any shield you pick up'. It's not Arrow Deflecting because the shields special, you deflect the arrows because you've figured how, and could apply that training to a shield replacement just as easily.

The easy fix here is to have items that scale based on your own power. The magic in them comes from you. For example, using PF's Automatic Bonus Progression system and then attuning yourself to those specific items, they become useless in someone else's hands.

That system could use some refinement, but it has benefits too - for example, you can still have items that are more powerful than the character wielding them should have, if you want. So the squire who picks up his fallen knight's blade and resolves to learn how to be better than he was, or the ancestral sword passed down through a family, can still be represented. I think these are iconic fantasy archetypes.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 04:57 PM
I understand what you're saying, but it is my belief those are a long ways down the list of sacred cows. There are a lot of structural issues (levels...classes...saving throws..) that have both primacy and potency, I think. I had a significant play lag between 3.5 and 4e, so it seems I was fortunate enough to miss a big part of that.

I brought up "sacred cows" to explain why there are so many things people have wanted to fix about D&D that have nevertheless not been fixed. I was never seriously proposing that not being anime is the main point of D&D.


I am of an era where the point was to emulate the heroes we knew...the stories we enjoyed...but with our own direction and our own goals. So we did choose to wrestle with lions like this question. So my answer presupposes that the question of "Should martial characters be enhanced via gear" has already been answered in the affirmative and the follow-up is "Okay then, how do we do it better than it currently is done?"

That doesn't mean there isn't room for mystical warriors/physical adepts/DragonballZers.

- M

It is good that you recognize your preferences are not shared by everyone. That is how we slaughter sacred cows.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 05:01 PM
The easy fix here is to have items that scale based on your own power. The magic in them comes from you. For example, using PF's Automatic Bonus Progression system and then attuning yourself to those specific items, they become useless in someone else's hands.

That system could use some refinement, but it has benefits too - for example, you can still have items that are more powerful than the character wielding them should have, if you want. So the squire who picks up his fallen knight's blade and resolves to learn how to be better than he was, or the ancestral sword passed down through a family, can still be represented. I think these are iconic fantasy archetypes.

Why not both?

A powerful warrior can pick up a totally mundane shield and use it to do things that other people can't do with shields.

But that powerful warrior can also pick up a magical shield too.

Cluedrew
2017-06-05, 05:17 PM
The problem here is a conceptual one. "Warps reality with his mind" is a better concept than "hits things really hard with a stick". So at the limit of infinite advancement (and very likely before that), characters who are "magic" will always be better than characters who are "mundane". Squaring that circle is not trivial, but solutions do exist.Oh. You.

Actually, despite disagreeing on just about everything related to this subject, I'm glad your here. But I'm still going to disagree with you.

First you say "better" concept, I think you mean stronger. Better would probably refer to the quality of the character, which is independent of the character's personal power. Until you get into the Superman Problem and similar. I will proceed on that assumption.

I think "warps reality with his mind" vs. "hits things really hard with a stick" is about as fair of a comparison as "burns things a lot with fireball" to "alters reality with her body". In other words it doesn't cover everything a that character can do. Now hitting things is part of what a warrior does, but it is hardly the only thing. Surviving hits is another, as is running long and hard, jumping, dodging... while a wizard does funny motions and chants. If we can blow that up into infinite power I should hope we can do the same for those with a larger base tool set.

Not magic should not mean not interesting. And I don't think it should mean "constrained to the limits of reality" either, because the moment magic even shows up on stage that goes right out the window anyways, why should we continue to apply it to just some of the characters? I don't think we should, let them all grow to whatever level of strength you think is appropriate. Of course that can be unequal if it fits the setting, but it doesn't have to. To me, running out of ways to make fighters stronger is just a failure of imagination, and my imagination does not fail vary often.


One solution is to just not let people advance past the point where "magic" and "mundane" can be reasonably constrained into equality. This is what E6 does, its what 4e does, and it's what 5e does. It has the advantage of giving the Conan fetishists exactly what they want, but the disadvantage of not letting you do any story that is not appropriate for Conan.Was Conan the one who threw some spears, ran along the spears and than stabbed the guy with his sword? Whether it was or it wasn't, I don't know any edition of D&D that lets you do that and it seems like a cool thing a sufficiently powerful warrior could do.


I would be deeply dissatisfied with a version of D&D that established "Gandalf" as the pinnacle of what a Wizard can aspire to be. Why shouldn't my Wizard be able to become Kellhus (flies, kills armies, teleports, summons demons)? That's a "Wizard" in a Fantasy story, and it seems to me that unless you want to take a sharp turn away from kitchen sink fantasy, I should be able to be that Wizard without breaking the game.Gandalf was just an example of a more traditional iconic wizard, no he is not supposed to be the kitchen sink fantasy wizard. Of course if wizards are going to be Kellhus, why can't the warriors be Goinus? (Created the heavens by smashing a hole in the sky, punches the "apocalypse from the sky" equivalent back into the sky.) He would fit right in to a kitchen sink fantasy setting, despite being a fighter with power that rivals a TO wizard. (Might be below a true Tippy wizard, not sure.)


Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"What does this actually mean? I've seen it given as a reason why people don't like attempts some attempts to power up martials, but what does it mean for D&D to become anime?


It's not Arrow Deflecting because the shields special, you deflect the arrows because you've figured how, and could apply that training to a shield replacement just as easily.I like this system, I wouldn't mind if there are some magic shields, but learning how to get the most out of regular gear really seems to fit the fighter image. Swordsage x5

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 05:24 PM
What does this actually mean? I've seen it given as a reason why people don't like attempts some attempts to power up martials, but what does it mean for D&D to become anime?

Damned if I know.

I heard a really good explanation somewhere on the forum (would give credit, but forgot the name) that people tend to say this when they have a problem with something, but can't put their finger on what their exact problem is. So they associate the one thing they dislike with another thing they dislike. It is the same as when people say a mechanic in tabletop RPGs make it "like an MMORPG."

Since many people use this complaint, it's likely that it means many different things, but I see it used very often as an explanation for why martials shouldn't be allowed to do stuff.

Myself, I can't think of anything that more resembles Naruto than the way wizards work.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 05:30 PM
The problem is, while the warrior is putting on his special gear to fight the giant our reality bending wizard has walked up, charmed the giant, had it sort out his garden, murdered it with a single spell, and raised it as a zombie to construct him a new tower.

Also, why is the only kind of awesome allowed to warriors 'I can tank damage and swing my sword quickly'. Why can't I sprint a kilometre in ten minutes? Why can't I be the guy who carts boulders to the stream in order to redirect it? Why can't I be the guy who jump kicks a dragon to stop it from breathing fire?

Okay, let's put the myths to one side for the moment, and go into anime, specifically Berserk. Why can't I be Guts, who can not only take an absurd amount of damage but can also swing his sword hard enough to kill demons with one hit? Why can't I be Griffith, a master of combat at both the personal and tactical levels? Why can't I be Serpico, who can thrust his rapier so fast it appears to be in twelve places at once? All of them are able to do impressive things that aren't 'walk through a dragon's fire' or 'survive a 60ft fall' with nothing more than putting on their uniforms.

Yup, when Batman is prepared he can punk most other heroes. He can even give Superman a run, if he gets the drop on him.

But when the Giant reaches in through his bedroom window while he's napping, he's screwed. That was kind of my point.

Aside teasing about a typo/scale issue: The "average joe" doesn't need to sprint to go a kilometer in 10 minutes.

As far as the Berserk question - sorry, no frame of reference (never watched) so my answer is going to be slightly different. "For the same reason I can't be Rambo, cakking people with my hip-fired M60 and creating medium-yield nuclear devices with stuff I found in the shed. And then gets to fly by exuding awesome from the soles of his feet." Because not everyone should be able to be capable of everything in DnD. To me it sort of feels like "Why can't my car fly me to the moon?" Because that's not even close to what it was built to do. I might not like that my car can't fly to the moon, but I do appreciate the relatively low cost option it provide to get me to work.

Maybe DnD can't provide for that flavor of reality-bending (okay, it certainly can't as currently written)...but does that mean it should?


Okay, I was exaggerating, but the point is that not only does the game try to cover the whole scale (and in my mind breaks completely at about 12th level), but it also throws the warriors and magicians on entirely different scales. The Fighters are expected to be 'dude', or possibly 'uberskilled dude with awesome stuff', while wizards get to go from 'nerd' to 'god'.

Heck, one of the things I always homebrew into magic system is material components (and/or focuses). I won't specify exactly what they are, but they should get rarer as the spells get more powerful. Revitalise Plants might need nothing more than for a druid to shed his own blood, while Meteor Swarm requires you to sacrifice a bull using a specially prepared obsidian dagger boiled alongside rare herbs. Nothing's stopping players from casting weaker spells with just a wand or staff, but they can't flick off a potentially world-altering spell without at least a little preparation. Plus it can really make different traditions feel different, with them using different stuff to work their magic. I love material components, whether that's silver wire to set up a protection spell, consecrated bread to heal the wounded, or twenty pints of alcohol to summon a bunch of dwarves.

Heck, I'm all for bringing magicians down to earth, my next game is going to be very low fantasy where most magic users scrabble for spells and use sleight of hand to make things more impressive. Warriors here can't punch through walls because, well, nobody's doing stuff that impressive on their own.

As I was reading the first part of your post I was thinking the crux of the issue might be "which group to move closer to the other" (power-up martials, down-power pure casters) and then you clearly show that you're working that end of the spectrum as well. I think that the top end of power being blown off the scale (by magic) has tilted our perspectives a bit, because I think past say level 3 in 3.x and probably 2 in 4e, martials are well beyond "Dude" and already to "BAMF" compared to the common folk. But because the top of the scale is so high, BAMF looks pretty darn tame.


I brought up "sacred cows" to explain why there are so many things people have wanted to fix about D&D that have nevertheless not been fixed. I was never seriously proposing that not being anime is the main point of D&D.

It is good that you recognize your preferences are not shared by everyone. That is how we slaughter sacred cows.

Calling it "Sacred Cow #1" didn't help that point. And specifically, the fact that there was apparently hue and cry about anime-fying DnD means that it was attempted/done, right? Has there been the level of demand that calls for more of the same, or is it a splinter group?

Here's a question, though, based on your last two lines above, and moving along nicely with Anonymous' point about trying to balance everything across a whole range of game play and a whole set of spheres of power: At what point does attempting to include everything fundamentally alter the structure and result in a whole new game? (Yup, the boat question).

I guess I'm mostly flummoxed by the desire to make a system fit something it doesn't really consider, as opposed to tinkering with how it handles things it does consider. When I want to play a super hero, I play a super hero game. When I want to play a modern-day angsty undeadite, I play a modern-day angsty undeadite game. And when I want to play a game with a super hero, a modern-day angsty undeadite, Conan and Gandalf, I play a more homogenized/generic game that does account for all of those (bias: and would much rather be playing them individually, but still...).

It might be good to recognize that not all cows are ours to slaughter.

- M

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 05:33 PM
Now hitting things is part of what a warrior does, but it is hardly the only thing. Surviving hits is another, as is running long and hard, jumping, dodging... while a wizard does funny motions and chants. If we can blow that up into infinite power I should hope we can do the same for those with a larger base tool set.

But part of the problem some people have with D&D is once you get past hitting things and surviving hits, you've sort of run out of what 'nonmagical' warriors can actually do. Do I want to run quickly? In my experience I'm going to have people complaining about that being a monk thing (although I'd rather get rid of the monk class and just give an unarmed variant to fighters). The same for jumping far. When it comes to dodging D&D has never modelled that well (although, assuming 5e, I'd just make it a BA thing to make a roll that replaces your AC for the round if high enough). I have no problems with warriors and magicians using different power sources (and potentially rules) to achieve the same effect in a similar time frame. The fighter kills an entire army by himself one mook at a time, a wizard uses a two hour ritual to call flaming death from the skies.


Not magic should not mean not interesting. And I don't think it should mean "constrained to the limits of reality" either, because the moment magic even shows up on stage that goes right out the window anyways, why should we continue to apply it to just some of the characters? I don't think we should, let them all grow to whatever level of strength you think is appropriate. Of course that can be unequal if it fits the setting, but it doesn't have to. To me, running out of ways to make fighters stronger is just a failure of imagination, and my imagination does not fail vary often.

Assuming we're going for powerful magic than I agree, but I think that we can also solve the problem by placing hard limits on magic. Although that might actually be harder.


What does this actually mean? I've seen it given as a reason why people don't like attempts some attempts to power up martials, but what does it mean for D&D to become anime?

From what I can tell, because Shounen tends to have a load of series where the characters are really good at the 'hitting stuff' style of fighting, with maybe some people who specialise in the 'casting spells' type, and take it to the point where these fighters are throwing around flashy attacks and moving at several hundred times the speed a normal person can. This has lead to people seemingly calling any variety of 'nonmagical thing that breaks reality' anime.

Now I'm in the school of thought where I don't care if warriors who break the limits of human ability are doing it via magic, ki, divine blood, or just being pure awesome (although I'll tend towards one of the former two with my characters). But apparently to a lot of people the idea that any martial character that isn't called a monk could potentially do stuff more impressive than 'swing sword four times a round' is 'anime'.

On that note, anyone else had the problem of telling people you'll play a monk, and then they're surprised when you turn up with an unarmoured Cleric who has max ranks in Profession (book copying)?

Mark Hall
2017-06-05, 05:51 PM
Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"

I take it you're not familiar with the abilities from 1e's OA? Very little DBZ in there.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 05:55 PM
"too anime" to me generally means "using rule of cool too generously." That point is generally around the area where you start saying "but how does that actually work?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if fighter guy had the biggest sword ever?" "how can he actually swing it?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if his sword was also a gun" "But then why does he need the sword?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if he had a super mega attack that couldn't be beaten?" "But then where does the risk of defeat come from?"

And the answers also tend to be out of control rule of cool that lead to their own questions. And while you can certainly run a game like that, I personally don't like playing in games that sacrifice verisimilitude in the name of rule of cool.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 06:08 PM
Calling it "Sacred Cow #1" didn't help that point. And specifically, the fact that there was apparently hue and cry about anime-fying DnD means that it was attempted/done, right? Has there been the level of demand that calls for more of the same, or is it a splinter group?

Here's a question, though, based on your last two lines above, and moving along nicely with Anonymous' point about trying to balance everything across a whole range of game play and a whole set of spheres of power: At what point does attempting to include everything fundamentally alter the structure and result in a whole new game? (Yup, the boat question).

I guess I'm mostly flummoxed by the desire to make a system fit something it doesn't really consider, as opposed to tinkering with how it handles things it does consider. When I want to play a super hero, I play a super hero game. When I want to play a modern-day angsty undeadite, I play a modern-day angsty undeadite game. And when I want to play a game with a super hero, a modern-day angsty undeadite, Conan and Gandalf, I play a more homogenized/generic game that does account for all of those (bias: and would much rather be playing them individually, but still...).

It might be good to recognize that not all cows are ours to slaughter.

- M

Look, I don't know what you think I'm talking about.

I'm just talking about making martials do stuff that make them competitive with magic users in how interesting they are to play, their power, and how much spotlight time they get. I hardly think this is a change that people should be so worried about, especially given the pretty moderate suggestions I've seen in this thread (let warriors do special things with equipment that would normally be impossible, or let warriors put a dragon in a headlock).

But I honestly don't care what you think this game of "D&D" is about that makes you say doing so would "fundamentally alter the structure and result in a whole new game." There is no point in keeping a a legacy of something that is counterproductive. That would just be grognardism. D&D simply *is*, and I don't see a reason to get so attached to some airy Platonic ideal version of D&D, especially when you can get a thousand grognards in a room and they have a thousand ideas of what this D&D should be.

Cluedrew
2017-06-05, 06:10 PM
Myself, I can't think of anything that more resembles Naruto than the way wizards work.Now that you say that, there are actually a lot of similarities. Defined spells casted by hand motions and chanting for one. They both have familiars for another. Although how "magic" in Naruto works actually changes over time, as everyone stops being ninja.

To Anonymouswizard: The system in D&D actually just seems steeped in things to keep martials down. I think it is part of the wargame legacy, where the martials held the line and the casters (worth half a squad each) did epic stuff in the background.

Also what you say on too anime.

To Keltest: But is that different than "what if someone studied the universe so much they could alter it with seemingly random motions and words"? I don't really think it is, other than the imagery it draws on. Especially if we are talking about D&D style magic, the internal logic that governs that says yes more often than many rule of cool stories.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 06:14 PM
To Keltest: But is that different than "what if someone studied the universe so much they could alter it with seemingly random motions and words"? I don't really think it is, other than the imagery it draws on. Especially if we are talking about D&D style magic, the internal logic that governs that says yes more often than many rule of cool stories.

Not necessarily, but I'm not particularly enamored with how D&D wizards are at the moment either.

Cluedrew
2017-06-05, 06:15 PM
Fair enough.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 06:19 PM
"too anime" to me generally means "using rule of cool too generously." That point is generally around the area where you start saying "but how does that actually work?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if fighter guy had the biggest sword ever?" "how can he actually swing it?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if his sword was also a gun" "But then why does he need the sword?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if he had a super mega attack that couldn't be beaten?" "But then where does the risk of defeat come from?"

And the answers also tend to be out of control rule of cool that lead to their own questions. And while you can certainly run a game like that, I personally don't like playing in games that sacrifice verisimilitude in the name of rule of cool.

But have you questioned where does that sense of verisimilitude come from?

Many people will say D&D should play out just like the real world, except there is also magic as written in the rulebooks. And adhering to that is verisimilitude.

Okay, but why not just change that to say,

"D&D should play out just like the real world, except there is also magic and some guys are capable of miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill, as written in the rulebooks."

Why should that be so much worse?

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 06:22 PM
To Anonymouswizard: The system in D&D actually just seems steeped in things to keep martials down. I think it is part of the wargame legacy, where the martials held the line and the casters (worth half a squad each) did epic stuff in the background.

Also what you say on too anime.

I agree, D&D seems determined that martials can't change reality by swinging their sword REALLY hard. I agree with you on the likely cause of that, and think the designers of 4e did as well (and heck, I like 4e as a game, it's just not something I personally want to play).

I still think the big problem is that D&D tries to do everything fantasy, where for every other genre nothing tries to be that. Traveller is essentially 80s Space Opera where you have a ship, and kind of it's own type of science fiction, Rocket Age is 30s pulp science fiction, Cyberpunk 20XX is cyberpunk, Eldritch Skies is 'what if Lovecraft wrote Space Opera', but no game tries to combine all that. Heck, GURPS Ultra-Tech has shifted science fiction with the system into a modern Space Opera feel. Conversely if I want to play any specific type of fantasy, say iron age celts, or anime-style Europe, or wuxia, then I have a system that works for that better than D&D. But people refuse D&D if it doesn't try to stick to it's wargaming roots while also trying to do every single type of fantasy out there.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 06:26 PM
But have you questioned where does that sense of verisimilitude come from?

Many people will say D&D should play out just like the real world, except there is also magic as written in the rulebooks. And adhering to that is verisimilitude.

Okay, but why not just change that to say,

"D&D should play out just like the real world, except there is also magic and some guys are capable of miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill, as written in the rulebooks."

Why should that be so much worse?

It isn't. Its when I go "why would somebody ever actually try that in the first place??" that it becomes a problem. Who would purposely make an oversized sword? Who would purposely make a gun into a melee weapon that takes away all the advantages of using a gun? Who would deliberately sit there for 10 minutes charging an attack DBZ style?

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 06:29 PM
Q: Who would purposely make an oversized sword?

A: Someone who was paid to by a guy who was capable of miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill.

Q: Who would purposely make a gun into a melee weapon that takes away all the advantages of using a gun?

A: Someone who was paid to by a guy whose miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill allowed him to use this weapon combination more effectively than a gun and a sword, or just a gun, or just a sword.

Q: Who would deliberately sit there for 10 minutes charging an attack DBZ style?

A: Someone whose miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill caused this to make sense in comparison to his other options.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 06:35 PM
Q: Who would purposely make an oversized sword?

A: Someone who was paid to by a guy who was capable of miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill.

Q: Who would purposely make a gun into a melee weapon that takes away all the advantages of using a gun?

A: Someone who was paid to by a guy whose miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill allowed him to use this weapon combination more effectively than a gun and a sword, or just a gun, or just a sword.

Q: Who would deliberately sit there for 10 minutes charging an attack DBZ style?

A: Someone whose miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill caused this to make sense in comparison to his other options.

I hope you realize those are non-answers.

"Somebody who wanted to do it."

Well obviously, but why would they think that's actually better? A bigger sword is inherently less effective than a smaller sword past a certain point. A gunblade can simply be a gun and a sword. And DBZ style chargeups are inherently ridiculous.

And as soon as you say "well its probably magic" then youre just being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-06-05, 06:43 PM
I hope you realize those are non-answers.

"Somebody who wanted to do it."

Well obviously, but why would they think that's actually better? A bigger sword is inherently less effective than a smaller sword past a certain point. A gunblade can simply be a gun and a sword. And DBZ style chargeups are inherently ridiculous.

And as soon as you say "well its probably magic" then youre just being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous.

It's inherently less effective under the laws and characteristics of the real world we inhabit. This does not necessarily need to hold for other universes. Some of it is purely aesthetic--Why make that sword huge? Because it looks cool and the person wielding it is strong enough that it doesn't make a substantive difference.

My universes don't tend to have that kind of anime-esque feel, but I understand that for some that aesthetic is more important than reality-based verisimilitude.

From what I can tell, "verisimilitude" has become the new code-word for "things [the observer] likes" rather than anything objective. Remember--"I don't like it" =/= "it is bad."

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 06:49 PM
A bigger sword can cause bigger wounds (important for fighting oversized creatures), and has more reach when fighting outdoors. If you could decapitate one man with a short sword and 3 men at once with your claymore, then you could decapitate five or seven men at once with your oversized, giant sword. Your warrior might be capable of a miraculous-seeming feat of skill and strength that works better with a large weapon than a small weapon. Let's say he is extremely good at seeing openings and can move in a burst of speed to catch opponents in those openings as well as being strong enough to comfortably wield his sword.

Let's say your miraculous feat of skill and strength is you are capable of charging your strength at all, and charging longer makes it stronger. It is now a very good idea to have a move where you charge up for 10 minutes in order to smash past an obstacle that couldn't be smashed through if you were to charge up for 9 minutes.

As for the gunblade, I can't work out either how it'd be better than a gun and a blade, but if someone told me there was a character whose miraculous feats of strength and skill made this make sense, I'm not about to fight them over it once I've seen big sword guy and the guy who charges an attack over 10 minutes.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 06:54 PM
It's inherently less effective under the laws and characteristics of the real world we inhabit. This does not necessarily need to hold for other universes. Some of it is purely aesthetic--Why make that sword huge? Because it looks cool and the person wielding it is strong enough that it doesn't make a substantive difference.

My universes don't tend to have that kind of anime-esque feel, but I understand that for some that aesthetic is more important than reality-based verisimilitude.

From what I can tell, "verisimilitude" has become the new code-word for "things [the observer] likes" rather than anything objective. Remember--"I don't like it" =/= "it is bad."

When your sword is hitting the ceiling, that's a problem. People don't deride anime tropes like giant swords because theyre too cool for them, they deride them because theyre inherently silly concepts that the world has to bend over backwards to accommodate.

Mordar
2017-06-05, 06:56 PM
Look, I don't know what you think I'm talking about.

I'm just talking about making martials do stuff that make them competitive with magic users in how interesting they are to play, their power, and how much spotlight time they get. I hardly think this is a change that people should be so worried about, especially given the pretty moderate suggestions I've seen in this thread (let warriors do special things with equipment that would normally be impossible, or let warriors put a dragon in a headlock).

Agreed that this is a good plan (assuming you mean "mechanistically" more interesting to play...). From the other side of the conversation, some "nerfing" of casters would help too.

But it sure seems you're view of "moderate suggestions" might be very different than mine. I will review the whole of the thread and see if I am conflating here, but I think you in the pro-shounen camp. (Example: Dragon in a headlock. Does the martial have strength augmented to a level to make it reasonable? Did it come from items/spells, or just super-human-ness?)


But I honestly don't care what you think this game of "D&D" is about that makes you say doing so would "fundamentally alter the structure and result in a whole new game." There is no point in keeping a a legacy of something that is counterproductive. That would just be grognardism. D&D simply *is*, and I don't see a reason to get so attached to some airy Platonic ideal version of D&D, especially when you can get a thousand grognards in a room and they have a thousand ideas of what this D&D should be.

I really like baseball. I really like basketball. Let's pretend you like those too. Why change the rules of baseball to better incorporate or approximate basketball? If you want to play basketball, play basketball. If you want to emulate Dr. J, do it on the basketball court, not the baseball diamond. Use the tool for the job, play the game for the job. It's not like there aren't tons of them out there. It's not "grognardism", which is just trying to be dismissive.

And no, I'm not defending DnD or holding it as the perfect game. I believe I could easily find 10 RPGs I would much rather play, and at least 3 that are in the nominally same "genre" (sowrds-and-sorcery types). I am engaging the discussion to say "here's what I think might help address something that appears to be a pretty wide-spread concern (linear/quadratic) in the most popular of RPGs." Someone responded with, for lack of a better phrase, "shounen" powers for martials. You yourself said that led to a hue and cry about "no anime!" and that it was a sufficiently frequent issue that it raised a red flag.

I think you are saying "so what? DnD lives and should evolve. Incorporate more of what people want." Is that accurate?

I'm saying there are systems out there that do that. DnD isn't one of them. Trying to make DnD one of them might well undo a primary part of the structure. Maybe that was too simplistic. If it is "add a class that uses "shounen" powers", that fits the established model for expansion. If it is "all martial characters now have access to this pool of powers/feats/whatever that are "shounen-esque"" that also fits the model, to a degree. But "here's a change to how all characters fit in the system, here's a revision of the idea of roles, and now all characters have access to reality-bending magic/ki/divine/whatever" I do think that is a significant shift of the structure and might be better approached in a different system.

And you know what? I'd probably want to play that system too.

It seems that this is a question of degrees of change.

- M

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 07:16 PM
When your sword is hitting the ceiling, that's a problem. People don't deride anime tropes like giant swords because theyre too cool for them, they deride them because theyre inherently silly concepts that the world has to bend over backwards to accommodate.

Alexander the Great didn't find the sarissa pike so silly, and neither do I remember reading about his men having trouble going in and out of doors.

Not to be rude, but I think you decided beforehand that you disliked oversized swords, and am now rationalizing why they are silly rather than understanding that they are silly, and then disliking them.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 07:20 PM
Alexander the Great didn't find the sarissa pike so silly, and neither do I remember reading about his men having trouble going in and out of doors.

Not to be rude, but I think you decided beforehand that you disliked oversized swords, and am now rationalizing why they are silly rather than understanding that they are silly, and then disliking them.

I can pretty much guarantee you that Alexander the Great's soldiers were not using their sarissa pikes indoors.

Ok, maybe in specific circumstances, but pikes are not swords.

Elderand
2017-06-05, 07:40 PM
The thing I find strange is people whine incessently whenever a martial type gets to do anything interesting with cries of "versimilitude" and "too anime" but I never ever see those same people complain that magic should be removed from the game. And yet spellcasting is just as much a break in versimilitude as a martial being able to physics defying stuff.

This can't even be versimilitude about how work of fiction Fantasy work, because in those work of fiction magic is either nowhere near the level a dnd wizard can do, or it allows fighter type to do cool stuff, or it doesn't even pretend the martial type matters.

So dnd either should allow warrior to do physics defying stunts at higher level or relegate martial type to npc classes.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 07:41 PM
I can pretty much guarantee you that Alexander the Great's soldiers were not using their sarissa pikes indoors.

Ok, maybe in specific circumstances, but pikes are not swords.

I guess I'm not understanding, because I read this to mean that if it is a sword, it must then be used indoors. But regardless -

So let's say there is a guy with a sword that's totally inconvenient indoors. But he's a guy with the miraculous strength and skill that it makes sense for him to wield this sword outdoors, or let's say he somehow makes it work indoors too - maybe by cleaving through the wood and plaster or whatever the building happened to be made out of, or maybe he has a smaller sidearm, or maybe he half-swords with it. You can't imagine that this guy would say something to the tune of, "well, it's a huge pain in the ass for going through doorways, but I need it to slay monsters, so I guess I just have to deal with it" or "well, it's a huge pain in the ass, but I'm mostly outdoors hunting monsters, so I deal with it" or any number of things.

I guess the difference is, if there's something that doesn't initially make sense in a setting, I assume there is an explanation somewhere, and you assume there is not.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 07:49 PM
I guess I'm not understanding, because I read this to mean that if it is a sword, it must then be used indoors. But regardless -

So let's say there is a guy with a sword that's totally inconvenient indoors. But he's a guy with the miraculous strength and skill that it makes sense for him to wield this sword outdoors, or let's say he somehow makes it work indoors too - maybe by cleaving through the wood and plaster or whatever the building happened to be made out of, or maybe he has a smaller sidearm, or maybe he half-swords with it. You can't imagine that this guy would say something to the tune of, "well, it's a huge pain in the ass for going through doorways, but I need it to slay monsters, so I guess I just have to deal with it" or "well, it's a huge pain in the ass, but I'm mostly outdoors hunting monsters, so I deal with it" or any number of things.

I guess the difference is, if there's something that doesn't initially make sense in a setting, I assume there is an explanation somewhere, and you assume there is not.

No, I cant. What I can imagine him is saying "I should have had the blacksmith make this stupid thing smaller." A setting bending over backwards to justify the existence of nonsensical elements doesn't make them less nonsensical to me, it just makes the setting nonsensical.

Elderand
2017-06-05, 07:54 PM
No, I cant. What I can imagine him is saying "I should have had the blacksmith make this stupid thing smaller." A setting bending over backwards to justify the existence of nonsensical elements doesn't make them less nonsensical to me, it just makes the setting nonsensical.

And yet, it's all about martial isn't it. A setting bending over backward to allow magic and dragons and undead and stuff, that's perfectly fine, but god help us if the fighter can do more than hit something once per round.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-05, 07:57 PM
No, I cant. What I can imagine him is saying "I should have had the blacksmith make this stupid thing smaller." A setting bending over backwards to justify the existence of nonsensical elements doesn't make them less nonsensical to me, it just makes the setting nonsensical.

What about when the weapon is nonsensical, was made to be nonsensical, has all the drawbacks such a massive weapon would have (such as 'is next to impossible to use indoors or near a cliff face'), and yet is still wielded anyway because the character is just that freakish.

Because that roughly describes the Dragonslayer from Berserk. It was specifically made to make fun of the idea of 'a weapon that could kill a dragon', was implied to be a pain to forge, is almost impossible for anyone to wield, isn't even that sharp, and nobody who sees it believes the main character can even wield the thing. The main character didn't even start using it by choice, it's just that there was no other weapon available that would reliably murder demons, and it's only become practical because the way magic works in the setting has made it really good at murdering demons and similar creatures, which is the majority of what the main character faces, and otherwise has no actual benefits over a reasonably 'very long and very thick' two handed sword. Eventually a bunch of other weapons are introduced that would make it obsolete, and the only reason the main character doesn't put it down is because after three years he's become used to the lump of iron (and because it's too iconic to drop).

EDIT: then again, it's not 100% clear if Guts was 100% 'normal human' to begin with, and he's certainly stronger than what most people in the setting think is possible by now.

oxybe
2017-06-05, 08:00 PM
"too anime" to me generally means "using rule of cool too generously." That point is generally around the area where you start saying "but how does that actually work?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if fighter guy had the biggest sword ever?" "how can he actually swing it?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if his sword was also a gun" "But then why does he need the sword?"

"Wouldn't it be cool if he had a super mega attack that couldn't be beaten?" "But then where does the risk of defeat come from?"

And the answers also tend to be out of control rule of cool that lead to their own questions. And while you can certainly run a game like that, I personally don't like playing in games that sacrifice verisimilitude in the name of rule of cool.

Verisimilitude has already broken down when you sit down to play D&D and realize that in D&Dlandia, magical elven princess shooting rainbows at tentacle poop monsters is commonplace, or are you somehow also vetoing the existence of elves, the magic classes, otyughs, unicorns and the various prismatic spells as against verisimilitude?

You know what? What about magic?

Like... just... ****ing magic.

Magic is literally just "Ye Olde Rule of Coole". It was how people explained stuff they didn't know the science of at the time.

Spellcasters in old stories were often regarded as forces of nature, rather then the Harry Potter-like protagonists we have nowadays (really I could go on a tirade about this concept alone in how modern humans are much sympathetic to a spellcaster then a typical fighter type).

Can you really say, with a strait face that:

"Your character throws out energy balls by virtue of will and ______ training"

Where replacing _______ with "magic" is fully logical and "martial" isn't?

Because the first is Magic Missile and the second is a Ki blast from Dragonball. Both rely 100% off rule of cool and willing suspension of disbelief and have bupkiss to do with verisimilitude.

"Because it's magic" is just as verisimilitude breaking then "because he's that awesome". I'm just more then willing to accept both and suspend my disbelief for the sake of a fun story.

I come to the table having already bought into the idea that the guy with the sword is capable of doing stuff I will never be able to and have reflexes beyond those that I could train, the same way I sit at the table and agree that Kevin's character is, indeed, an elf and after mumbling a few words and rubbing some glass rod with a piece of squirrel hide, he can shoot lighting out of his hands.

... And not just a crazy man in a raggy smoking jacket who glued leaves to his ears, is mumbling incoherently while rubbing a glass rod and a squirrel hide while yelling "LIGHTNING BOLT! LIGHTNING BOLT" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ekugPKqFw)". Because that's the face of versimilitude.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 08:01 PM
And yet, it's all about martial isn't it. A setting bending over backward to allow magic and dragons and undead and stuff, that's perfectly fine, but god help us if the fighter can do more than hit something once per round.

A setting doesn't have to "bend over backwards" to allow magic, or dragons or whatever, nor does it have to bend over backwards to allow cool swords or unique weapons.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-05, 08:07 PM
Agreed that this is a good plan (assuming you mean "mechanistically" more interesting to play...). From the other side of the conversation, some "nerfing" of casters would help too.

But it sure seems you're view of "moderate suggestions" might be very different than mine. I will review the whole of the thread and see if I am conflating here, but I think you in the pro-shounen camp. (Example: Dragon in a headlock. Does the martial have strength augmented to a level to make it reasonable? Did it come from items/spells, or just super-human-ness?)



I really like baseball. I really like basketball. Let's pretend you like those too. Why change the rules of baseball to better incorporate or approximate basketball? If you want to play basketball, play basketball. If you want to emulate Dr. J, do it on the basketball court, not the baseball diamond. Use the tool for the job, play the game for the job. It's not like there aren't tons of them out there. It's not "grognardism", which is just trying to be dismissive.

And no, I'm not defending DnD or holding it as the perfect game. I believe I could easily find 10 RPGs I would much rather play, and at least 3 that are in the nominally same "genre" (sowrds-and-sorcery types). I am engaging the discussion to say "here's what I think might help address something that appears to be a pretty wide-spread concern (linear/quadratic) in the most popular of RPGs." Someone responded with, for lack of a better phrase, "shounen" powers for martials. You yourself said that led to a hue and cry about "no anime!" and that it was a sufficiently frequent issue that it raised a red flag.

I think you are saying "so what? DnD lives and should evolve. Incorporate more of what people want." Is that accurate?

I'm saying there are systems out there that do that. DnD isn't one of them. Trying to make DnD one of them might well undo a primary part of the structure. Maybe that was too simplistic. If it is "add a class that uses "shounen" powers", that fits the established model for expansion. If it is "all martial characters now have access to this pool of powers/feats/whatever that are "shounen-esque"" that also fits the model, to a degree. But "here's a change to how all characters fit in the system, here's a revision of the idea of roles, and now all characters have access to reality-bending magic/ki/divine/whatever" I do think that is a significant shift of the structure and might be better approached in a different system.

And you know what? I'd probably want to play that system too.

It seems that this is a question of degrees of change.

- M

Okay, last reply on this train of thought because I can foresee this being interpreted down the line somewhere as a flame war.

We are not changing the rules of baseball to incorporate the rules of basketball. We are changing the rules of baseball so that baseball is more fun to play. We don't see anything wrong with robbing blind the rulebook of basketball if that helps us achieve our goal of making baseball more fun.

You are correct about what you and I are both saying.

On the following, I have a point to reiterate:


I'm saying there are systems out there that do that. DnD isn't one of them. Trying to make DnD one of them might well undo a primary part of the structure. Maybe that was too simplistic. If it is "add a class that uses "shounen" powers", that fits the established model for expansion. If it is "all martial characters now have access to this pool of powers/feats/whatever that are "shounen-esque"" that also fits the model, to a degree. But "here's a change to how all characters fit in the system, here's a revision of the idea of roles, and now all characters have access to reality-bending magic/ki/divine/whatever" I do think that is a significant shift of the structure and might be better approached in a different system.

So you have a problem in the game.

People come up with solutions to this problem.

Each individual solution to the problem will be shot down for the reasons that, in one way or another, they have fundamentally changed the game to a degree people don't like. Here's the example:

- Putting a dragon in a headlock is a solution.
- The problem is that it causes fighters to exercise magic-like powers, or shonen-esque powers or whatever.
- Therefore, we need to find a "better" approach.

But what people don't realize is that, actually, the acceptable, better approach doesn't exist because something inadequate will always be found in every fix. We sit here and attempt to rationally discuss a "degree of change" that will be acceptable, but actually, no degree is acceptable because people are attached to the idea of a tradition of D&D without examining why such a tradition should exist and whether that tradition was all good and even whether the things they thought were tradition are in fact so. In fact, people don't even realize they are attached to the tradition of D&D.

Elderand
2017-06-05, 09:09 PM
A setting doesn't have to "bend over backwards" to allow magic, or dragons or whatever, nor does it have to bend over backwards to allow cool swords or unique weapons.

Yeah...it does. Magic breaks all the laws of thermodynamics, dragons can't possibly stay airborne with wings like that. but somehow martial type doing anything beyond what people in the real world can do is "versimilitude" breaking.

Cluedrew
2017-06-05, 09:25 PM
On Oversized Swords: Look there are a surprizing number of reasons why giant swords would be useful. I am reminded of Monster Hunter (the video game series) when everyone carries massive weapons and once you see what they are using them one. Still saying martials should go around with massive swords is like wizards should use meteor rain as their primary combat spell. It is going to far in one direction.

Personally, if I had that kind of strength (and was a warrior in a fantasy story) I would have a regular two handed weapon in one hand and the largest and most durable shield I can lift reasonably in the other. Plus armoured gloves so I can drop both and just punch smaller and faster enemies, be adaptable.

Keltest
2017-06-05, 09:25 PM
Yeah...it does. Magic breaks all the laws of thermodynamics, dragons can't possibly stay airborne with wings like that. but somehow martial type doing anything beyond what people in the real world can do is "versimilitude" breaking.

You aren't understanding what I'm saying. I'm not opposed to rule of cool on principal, I just don't like rule of cool taken to ridiculous extremes. And nowhere did I say that martials had to be limited to exactly what works in real life.

Talakeal
2017-06-05, 10:31 PM
The problem is that D&D tries to simultaneously be all types of fantasy, even when they are incompatible.

The setting can have whatever rules it wants, and magic and martials can be as strong or as weak as the author desires, the problem is when people want mutually exclusive options in the same game.

Some people want everything to be high powered and over the top, others want everything to be gritty and down to Earth, most want a mixture. But you can't have a game that pleases everyone, and if D&D goes in either direction it will alienate the people who prefer the other as it has billed itself as being "all types of fantasy" for years now.

I personally prefer to play a larger than life but still fundamentally human character in a strange and unknowable world. I don't mind there being all sorts of magic out there, but if the system forces me to play a "magic"* user that's when I stop having fun. But I have no problem playing Captain America in the Avengers or Batman in the Justice League, and if you set up the rules of the game / fiction properly that shouldn't be an issue.


Also, settings can have consistency and verisimilitude without being 100% "realistic". Indeed, unless you are going for a perfect recreation of a historical event any fiction will, by definition, have aspects that don't fit in with reality. Even far out speculative fiction has different genres; sci-fi, horror, fantasy, super heroes, etc. all have elements which work within their genre but would seem very out of place in a different genre of speculative fiction, and even within genres there are many sub-genres that have pretty firm walls between them.


I personally like playing a fighter, but I still think D&D handles them terribly and they need a major power up. They don't have enough skills, their saving throws (and other defenses against magic) are sorely lacking, they don't have enough feats to do what they need to do, and combat is simply too bland and limited compared to the options spell-casters have.
I don't care for Tome of Battle** not because it is too powerful or too anime, but I simply don't like the idea of playing someone who can only ever knows a small handful of combat maneuvers at any one time and even forgets those after a few uses. Give me a swordsman flavored class with mechanics similar to the warlock and I would be in seventh heaven, but D&D never seemed interested in making a class like that.


Anime is a huge range of things. If we are talking Miyazaki, Grimm Masterpiece Theater, Aeon Flux, or even certain aspects of Sailor Moon or Full Moon I would be all for it. Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, or Slayers not so much. When people say "too anime" they are usually referring to specific anime tropes, usually Shonen, but saying something is "too anime" is kind of a strange critique likely made from a position of ignorance.







*: Regardless of whether you fluff that magic as chi, super powers, hyper tech, psychics, divinity, etc.

**: I also don't like how it mucks up D&D cosmology; teleporting and channeling extra-dimensional energy as an EX ability simply redefines how the metaphysics of D&D work too much for me, but that is easily ignored / house ruled.

Mechalich
2017-06-05, 10:47 PM
Yeah...it does. Magic breaks all the laws of thermodynamics, dragons can't possibly stay airborne with wings like that. but somehow martial type doing anything beyond what people in the real world can do is "versimilitude" breaking.

This mostly has to do with how people view the world and the availability of certain elements. D&D is intended to be set in a pseudo-medieval fantasy universe that contains all the traditional elements. The idea is that the setting should look and feel somewhere in the Game of Thrones TV, Lord of the Rings movies range 95%+ of the time.

Spellcasters, dragons, undead, and other obvious fantastical elements are presumed to be very rare, or if not rare, hidden away in some distant place where they are out of sight and out of mind. The D&D setting that epitomizes this best is actually Dragonlance. Sure it has lots of dragons and they periodically fight giant wars that devastate the landscape, but most of the time they are either trapped or banished (evil) or in selfless remote exile (good). Lord Soth is an extremely powerful undead being, but he's also the only death knight on the planet. It also has wizards, a number of whom are high level and extremely powerful, but they mostly spend their time in isolated estates or towers keeping to themselves and pondering the mysteries of the universe not messing with people and their overall numbers are quite low. At one point in the Chronicles Raistlin puts on a traveling show involving some fairly low-level illusions and this is considered a major display of magical power to be remembered for generations.

Martial characters, by contrast, are extremely common. There are guys (and gals) with swords and spears in every village. There are also rogues down every alleyway. Once you start providing them with supernatural powers you can't hide it anymore. Either you have a world where everybody has special powers and you've moved into a very different kind of fantasy or you've explicitly established that PCs are part of the group of special people who get powers and you're now playing a superhero game (this is actually what most shounen fantasy anime series are doing: Naruto, for example, isn't a story about ninja. It's a story about superheroes who call themselves ninja). You can certainly do that as a game - Exalted certainly tried to - but you'll quickly find that the implications mean your pseudo-medieval world vanishes.

Essentially D&D is based on an assumption of rarity and detachment on the part of spellcasters while martials are abundant and highly involved. This is actually very similar to what we see in Game of Thrones, which has only a handful of casters but those who do exist (various Red Priests, the Three-Eyed Raven, the Night's King, etc.) can perform very powerful effects. Dany has the world's only dragons and everyone is fully aware of just how powerful they are. The big problem, for D&D, is that there's no good reason to uphold those assumptions in theory, and Ed Greenwood exploded them completely pretty much the moment the Forgotten Realms was released (Spellfire, the first Forgotten Realms novel published, has a half-dozen high-level wizards including Elminster and Manshoon in it, a fully grown dragon, and three dracoliches in it, never mind the absurdly OP spellfire ability).

Cosi
2017-06-05, 11:11 PM
My point is, loot is part of the fantasy. You aren't just a 14th level fighter, youre the wielder of the Sword of Might. You aren't just a 14th level wizard, you are a master of the Simulacrum spell.

That's a workable paradigm. But it works best when loot is an extra. So even without the Sword of Might, a 14th level Fighter has whatever numbers he needs to be level appropriate. Then he gets (or doesn't get) some cool item on top of that.


First you say "better" concept, I think you mean stronger. Better would probably refer to the quality of the character, which is independent of the character's personal power. Until you get into the Superman Problem and similar. I will proceed on that assumption.

It's a stronger, broader, and deeper concept. "Better" is a reasonable term for that, even if it is loaded in some ways.


I think "warps reality with his mind" vs. "hits things really hard with a stick" is about as fair of a comparison as "burns things a lot with fireball" to "alters reality with her body".

That doesn't cover everything, but it gets the point across. "Mundane" can do anything you (if you were hypothetically an olympic athlete or someone else similarly fit). "Magic" covers anything you can imagine. One of those is inherently, and dramatically, bigger than the other.


Not magic should not mean not interesting. And I don't think it should mean "constrained to the limits of reality" either, because the moment magic even shows up on stage that goes right out the window anyways, why should we continue to apply it to just some of the characters?

That's sort of my point. There's nothing wrong with "martial". There's something wrong with "mundane".


Sacred Cow #1: D&D cannot be "anime"

That's why new fantasy games should claim to be Exalted riffs instead of D&D riffs.

Cazero
2017-06-06, 12:33 AM
Verisimilitude has already broken down when you sit down to play D&D and realize that in D&Dlandia, magical elven princess shooting rainbows at tentacle poop monsters is commonplace, or are you somehow also vetoing the existence of elves, the magic classes, otyughs, unicorns and the various prismatic spells as against verisimilitude?
Verisimilitude is not realism. None of what you name do anything to verisimilitude.
Verisimilitude is internal consistency. Given that D&D happens in a world with magic, including natural racial magic, the existence of magical spells and magical creatures doesn't break verisimilitude.
What breaks verisimilitude is contradictions. Like a rogue's ability to dodge fireballs from the inside, a dragon's ability to fly is described as (Ex), wich means it use the divergence of D&D land from real world physics to work but doesn't need magic. The logical consequence to that is that a well trained person should be able to learn to fly with artificial wings of reasonable size, like Icarus, and denying the possibility to learn such ability to a high level fighter breaks verisimilitude. In fact, denying high level fighters the possibility to learn how to dodge fireballs from the inside without multiclassing breaks verisimilitude as well.

RazorChain
2017-06-06, 03:38 AM
Giving martials super powers is just a logical evolution of the system. They already are super tough and often super strong so throwing in some other super powers should be easily incorporated into the system.

Cluedrew
2017-06-06, 06:46 AM
It's a stronger, broader, and deeper concept. "Better" is a reasonable term for that, even if it is loaded in some ways.Could you expand on what you mean by broader and deeper? I think I understand what you mean by stronger.


That's sort of my point. There's nothing wrong with "martial". There's something wrong with "mundane".The thread is about martials though, so why bother even bringing up mundane characters. Although I have seen some analysis (I have since forgotten many details) that even a level 1 fighter is pretty much the best warrior reality has ever seen. There is nothing mundane about that.

Which is why I tend to abandon the word and go with martial (as in body) to describe non-casters. Its not perfect but connotations of war are more appropriate than connotations of boring.

Tanarii
2017-06-06, 07:40 AM
I don't care for Tome of Battle** not because it is too powerful or too anime, but I simply don't like the idea of playing someone who can only ever knows a small handful of combat maneuvers at any one time and even forgets those after a few uses. Give me a swordsman flavored class with mechanics similar to the warlock and I would be in seventh heaven, but D&D never seemed interested in making a class like that.First of all, mechanical limitations don't mean an in-world limitation. They're meta. (Edit: To be clear, the game mechanics are not a physics engine for the world. They're an abstract resolution system.)

Second of all, D&D 5e already made a class with those mechanics. Fighters who have Maneuvers (Battlemasters) and Warlocks are on the same recharge timer, short rests. Check it out.

obryn
2017-06-06, 10:43 AM
And yet, it's all about martial isn't it. A setting bending over backward to allow magic and dragons and undead and stuff, that's perfectly fine, but god help us if the fighter can do more than hit something once per round.
*cough* that would be three times per round, thankyouverymuch.

:smallwink:

[HOT TAKE]D&D keeps Wizards stronger than Fighters because in the land of make-believe, nerds must be better than jocks.[/HOT TAKE]

Lemmy
2017-06-06, 11:00 AM
I think the people saying "martials shouldn't be able to do X" don't really get the point of a level-based system.

If you want characters to be reasonably realistic, D&D already allows for that... Just keep it at low level. That's what being low level MEANS.

It doesn't make sense to go "I want my character to reach 18th without being able to do impossible stuff". Then that character is not 18th level... It's a 6th level character with extra feats and hp.

Mordar
2017-06-06, 11:48 AM
[HOT TAKE]D&D keeps Wizards stronger than Fighters because in the land of make-believe, nerds must be better than jocks.[/HOT TAKE]

It wouldn't surprise me if you were on to something there... :smallwink:

Reading the overnight replies something occurred to me. This will probably open a new can of worms, but worms are good for the soil...

The martial that can run 40 mph, headlock a 40-foot magical winged lizard, leap 100' chasms, throw energy balls of awesomeness from his elbows and fly up to punch the sun in the nose?

That guy is a wizard with a sword. His spells look like physical actions with great kinetic energy instead of a guy in a robe gesticulating and spouting fake Latin. But those elbow energy balls? Magic Missile. The super burst of speed? Expeditious Retreat. Flight? Well, fly. Duh :smallsmile: The headlock on the dragon...well, that's probably some illusion or other, 'cause that isn't happening :smallbiggrin: People want Fighters to have magic super powers? Probably on a recharge system with some flexibility about how the powers are applied? Sounds like spell lists to me.

It isn't an addition to the "martial" class...it is a refluff of the caster class. Maybe that's the crux of some resistance...and maybe that's the solution as well. Shadowrun added the Physical Adept to represent that same idea...but didn't change the Merc or Street Sam to do it (both of which use gear to replicate magic effects...sound familiar?). Was that more acceptable because it had a setting advantage (or more to the point, lacked a setting disadvantage that says armored knights are guys who hit things, not guys who fling balls of awesomeness from their elbows)? Or because it was presented as a variant to the mage/shaman/caster type?

- M

neonchameleon
2017-06-06, 12:28 PM
I have read a bit about Guy at the Gym fallacy, Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard, and the issues it causes in D&D. I have some thoughts.
So, a lot of grief seems to stem from trying to keep 'martials' as 'mundane' as possible. People like the idea of a badass normal, of being Batmanesque in their heroicness. To a point, I believe this can work. You can have the fighter and mage be balanced contributors to a party, each holding up a role or roles without feeling overshadowed. But that relies on the limits on the mage. It works when magic=mundane in effectiveness (although not necessarily for the same things).

No. This isn't the problem. The problem is a threefold intersection:

Martials must not be able to significantly exceed what normal humans can do
All PCs must be superhumanly tough. So whereas a normal human expert with a sword could end a fight with an amateur in robes in less than a second this shouldn;'t happen to anything on the level of PCs. Martials have therefore a vastly sub-realistic offence.
All spellcasters can cast almost all their spells in a single round of combat. Magic never has a significant risk attached, almost never has a significant chance of failure, and almost never has a backlash. And there are no limits on what is possible with magic.

In short far from being a badass normal mundanes are wandering around using nerf bats as swords thanks to hit point rules while wizards can rewrite reality in the same timescale as martials can swing a sword.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-06, 12:43 PM
This mostly has to do with how people view the world and the availability of certain elements. D&D is intended to be set in a pseudo-medieval fantasy universe that contains all the traditional elements. The idea is that the setting should look and feel somewhere in the Game of Thrones TV, Lord of the Rings movies range 95%+ of the time.

Spellcasters, dragons, undead, and other obvious fantastical elements are presumed to be very rare, or if not rare, hidden away in some distant place where they are out of sight and out of mind. The D&D setting that epitomizes this best is actually Dragonlance. Sure it has lots of dragons and they periodically fight giant wars that devastate the landscape, but most of the time they are either trapped or banished (evil) or in selfless remote exile (good). Lord Soth is an extremely powerful undead being, but he's also the only death knight on the planet. It also has wizards, a number of whom are high level and extremely powerful, but they mostly spend their time in isolated estates or towers keeping to themselves and pondering the mysteries of the universe not messing with people and their overall numbers are quite low. At one point in the Chronicles Raistlin puts on a traveling show involving some fairly low-level illusions and this is considered a major display of magical power to be remembered for generations.

Martial characters, by contrast, are extremely common. There are guys (and gals) with swords and spears in every village. There are also rogues down every alleyway. Once you start providing them with supernatural powers you can't hide it anymore. Either you have a world where everybody has special powers and you've moved into a very different kind of fantasy or you've explicitly established that PCs are part of the group of special people who get powers and you're now playing a superhero game (this is actually what most shounen fantasy anime series are doing: Naruto, for example, isn't a story about ninja. It's a story about superheroes who call themselves ninja). You can certainly do that as a game - Exalted certainly tried to - but you'll quickly find that the implications mean your pseudo-medieval world vanishes.

Essentially D&D is based on an assumption of rarity and detachment on the part of spellcasters while martials are abundant and highly involved. This is actually very similar to what we see in Game of Thrones, which has only a handful of casters but those who do exist (various Red Priests, the Three-Eyed Raven, the Night's King, etc.) can perform very powerful effects. Dany has the world's only dragons and everyone is fully aware of just how powerful they are. The big problem, for D&D, is that there's no good reason to uphold those assumptions in theory, and Ed Greenwood exploded them completely pretty much the moment the Forgotten Realms was released (Spellfire, the first Forgotten Realms novel published, has a half-dozen high-level wizards including Elminster and Manshoon in it, a fully grown dragon, and three dracoliches in it, never mind the absurdly OP spellfire ability).

Yeah, people go on about D&D having to resemble some kind of ancient myth or some series or another.

It is good to point out that D&D has a suite of its own official settings as well as an attitude of support for homebrewed settings. Maybe not always, but at least for now, D&D is not Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones - D&D is D&D.

And even if I was to understand that D&D is supposed to imitate Lord of the Rings, I would think it does a pretty bad job of it. Because Lord of the Rings was full of martials and the good guy wizard is more of a side character, so I would expect my imitation to give me a lot of good reasons to play a martial over the wizard, which D&D does not have.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 12:59 PM
The martial that can run 40 mph, headlock a 40-foot magical winged lizard, leap 100' chasms, throw energy balls of awesomeness from his elbows and fly up to punch the sun in the nose?

That guy is a wizard with a sword. His spells look like physical actions with great kinetic energy instead of a guy in a robe gesticulating and spouting fake Latin. But those elbow energy balls? Magic Missile. The super burst of speed? Expeditious Retreat. Flight? Well, fly. Duh :smallsmile: The headlock on the dragon...well, that's probably some illusion or other, 'cause that isn't happening :smallbiggrin: People want Fighters to have magic super powers? Probably on a recharge system with some flexibility about how the powers are applied? Sounds like spell lists to me.

So what? If a wizard can get magic from studying books for twenty years why can't a warrior get magic from swinging a sword for twenty years? Psionics is already magic with different for attached to it, and arcane and divine magic are almost exactly the same thing fluffed two different ways, why can't we give the fighter works and slap l33t sword skillz on as fluff? Otherwise why do we have druids? Getting magic from worshipping nature sounds like a cleric thing to me (alternatively getting magic from studying nature sounds like a wizard thing to me).

Although I don't actually play straight warriors most of the time. I'm willing to of magicians also have to trudge asking in the dirt rather than teleporting after mastering magic, but as that's not the case give me my warrior mages. I can hit you in the face with a fireball just as well as any ranged caster, I've just given up some flexibility for my superior combat skills. Who needs read languages anyway? (by the way, I found this old book, can you translate it for me?)


It isn't an addition to the "martial" class...it is a refluff of the caster class. Maybe that's the crux of some resistance...and maybe that's the solution as well. Shadowrun added the Physical Adept to represent that same idea...but didn't change the Merc or Street Sam to do it (both of which use gear to replicate magic effects...sound familiar?). Was that more acceptable because it had a setting advantage (or more to the point, lacked a setting disadvantage that says armored knights are guys who hit things, not guys who fling balls of awesomeness from their elbows)? Or because it was presented as a variant to the mage/shaman/caster type?

- M

My view on why the physical adept didn't do away with the Street Sam: they enhance themselves in different ways, which has slightly different mechanical effects. Adepts invest their magic in chunks of at least 0.25 into things (abilities) that make them better, limited by their essence and initiation. Street Samurai invest nuyen and essence into things (augmentations) that make them better. In many cases the end result is pretty similar, cyberarms with Strength 8 versus Strength 6 and Increased Strength 2, but reach side doors have it's own tricks (fast healing and implanted weapons, for an example from each). I 100% view Adepts as an alternative way to do 'superhuman abilities' rather than a mage/shaman variant, they're just magically themed.

The other thing is that the system says you can have augmentations or adept powers, but trying to take both of them will limit you. You might think those Cybereyes are cool, but you've just lost a power point and the abilities that come with it. Many times developing both is not with the hassle, but in D&D when would it be a bad idea for a fighter to take a level of combat mage to increase their power?

Mordar
2017-06-06, 01:42 PM
The martial that can run 40 mph, headlock a 40-foot magical winged lizard, leap 100' chasms, throw energy balls of awesomeness from his elbows and fly up to punch the sun in the nose?

That guy is a wizard with a sword. His spells look like physical actions with great kinetic energy instead of a guy in a robe gesticulating and spouting fake Latin. But those elbow energy balls? Magic Missile. The super burst of speed? Expeditious Retreat. Flight? Well, fly. Duh :smallsmile: The headlock on the dragon...well, that's probably some illusion or other, 'cause that isn't happening :smallbiggrin: People want Fighters to have magic super powers? Probably on a recharge system with some flexibility about how the powers are applied? Sounds like spell lists to me.


So what? If a wizard can get magic from studying books for twenty years why can't a warrior get magic from swinging a sword for twenty years? Psionics is already magic with different for attached to it, and arcane and divine magic are almost exactly the same thing fluffed two different ways, why can't we give the fighter works and slap l33t sword skillz on as fluff? Otherwise why do we have druids? Getting magic from worshipping nature sounds like a cleric thing to me (alternatively getting magic from studying nature sounds like a wizard thing to me).

Although I don't actually play straight warriors most of the time. I'm willing to of magicians also have to trudge asking in the dirt rather than teleporting after mastering magic, but as that's not the case give me my warrior mages. I can hit you in the face with a fireball just as well as any ranged caster, I've just given up some flexibility for my superior combat skills. Who needs read languages anyway? (by the way, I found this old book, can you translate it for me?)

I guess my first response to "so what" is "Because a large portion of people seem to want a non-shounen fighting man type", and I don't see a compelling reason to take that away. And if the fighting man type were to be presented as having those "powers", stripping them and playing without them would likely represent a huge handicapping of the character which spawns its own problems.

My second response to "so what" is that this idea might be a road to presenting something that appears to be wanted (supernatural powers on warrior types (please read that as my idea of what shounen means)) without taking away something else that is wanted (non-shounen warrior types). It tweaks/expands the game in a well-accepted method - adding classes and "spells" - as opposed to reimagining the whole of the "martial" role.

Basically, we'd still have Fighters, Paladins and Rangers. We'd still have Druids, Clerics and Wizards. We'd still have Rogues, Bards (maybe :smalltongue:) and now we'd have XXXXXX, the shounen powered fighting man.


It isn't an addition to the "martial" class...it is a refluff of the caster class. Maybe that's the crux of some resistance...and maybe that's the solution as well. Shadowrun added the Physical Adept to represent that same idea...but didn't change the Merc or Street Sam to do it (both of which use gear to replicate magic effects...sound familiar?). Was that more acceptable because it had a setting advantage (or more to the point, lacked a setting disadvantage that says armored knights are guys who hit things, not guys who fling balls of awesomeness from their elbows)? Or because it was presented as a variant to the mage/shaman/caster type?


My view on why the physical adept didn't do away with the Street Sam: they enhance themselves in different ways, which has slightly different mechanical effects. Adepts invest their magic in chunks of at least 0.25 into things (abilities) that make them better, limited by their essence and initiation. Street Samurai invest nuyen and essence into things (augmentations) that make them better. In many cases the end result is pretty similar, cyberarms with Strength 8 versus Strength 6 and Increased Strength 2, but reach side doors have it's own tricks (fast healing and implanted weapons, for an example from each). I 100% view Adepts as an alternative way to do 'superhuman abilities' rather than a mage/shaman variant, they're just magically themed.

I think that's exactly my point...the "mage/shaman" variant comment probably obscured things more in this context (it was meant to reframe my thinking on the DnD side of the discussion)...but Phys Adepts is the alternative way to do superhuman abilities that funnel the power source (Essence/MPs) into physical changes. This struck me as a good potential compromise/solution for the folks that want capable gear based fighers (street sam/merc/warrior), capable "traditional" spell casters (mage/shaman/wizard/druid/cleric) and something in-between (shouren/phys ad/monk that works). The details remain for the future, but just wanted to float the idea.


The other thing is that the system says you can have augmentations or adept powers, but trying to take both of them will limit you. You might think those Cybereyes are cool, but you've just lost a power point and the abilities that come with it. Many times developing both is not with the hassle, but in D&D when would it be a bad idea for a fighter to take a level of combat mage to increase their power?

Multiclassing opens yet another can of worms, right? Something to be considered separately.

- M

dps
2017-06-06, 01:48 PM
And no, I'm not defending DnD or holding it as the perfect game. I believe I could easily find 10 RPGs I would much rather play, and at least 3 that are in the nominally same "genre" (sowrds-and-sorcery types). I am engaging the discussion to say "here's what I think might help address something that appears to be a pretty wide-spread concern (linear/quadratic) in the most popular of RPGs."

I think you are saying "so what? DnD lives and should evolve. Incorporate more of what people want." Is that accurate?

I'm saying there are systems out there that do that. DnD isn't one of them. Trying to make DnD one of them might well undo a primary part of the structure. Maybe that was too simplistic. If it is "add a class that uses "shounen" powers", that fits the established model for expansion. If it is "all martial characters now have access to this pool of powers/feats/whatever that are "shounen-esque"" that also fits the model, to a degree. But "here's a change to how all characters fit in the system, here's a revision of the idea of roles, and now all characters have access to reality-bending magic/ki/divine/whatever" I do think that is a significant shift of the structure and might be better approached in a different system.

And you know what? I'd probably want to play that system too.



Part of the problem is that DnD is "the most popular of RPGs". And some of us can't even find a DnD group we want to play with (and can co-ordinate schedules with). Trying to find a suitable group playing any other given system is probably at least 10 times more difficult, so for a lot of us, saying "If DnD doesn't do what you want it to do, play something else that does" isn't a realistic option.

Another thing that I think ties into the "too anime" argument is that if I'm playing a mighty fighter or knight, I want to play a mighty fighter or knight, like Conan. I don't want to be playing a fighter/magic user (if I did, then I'd be playing a fighter/magic user). I don't want my fighter to be able to fly; I want him to be able to fight very, very well. That works fine if magic users aren't overpowered in comparison, but if magic users are overpowered, then it makes playing a fighter less fun and/or pointless.

Cosi
2017-06-06, 01:52 PM
Could you expand on what you mean by broader and deeper? I think I understand what you mean by stronger.

To some degree "broader" and "deeper" are probably synonyms in this context, but I'm largely referring to the fact that you can have anything from fireball to teleport to tongues to summon monster as "magic", but what you can do as "mundane" is far more limited. It's not just that you can have bigger numbers if your numbers are not constrained by the laws of physics, you can also have abilities that do different things.


Which is why I tend to abandon the word and go with martial (as in body) to describe non-casters. Its not perfect but connotations of war are more appropriate than connotations of boring.

I think we basically agree, but the problem with Martials is that people keep wanting the to be Mundane. If you don't insist on that, the problem goes away.


It isn't an addition to the "martial" class...it is a refluff of the caster class.

So what would you consider to be a "martial" class that can sit down at a table with Kellhus and be a coequal participant in the narrative? Do you think that's impossible? If not, what kind of abilities would you be okay with a martial having at that level?


No. This isn't the problem. The problem is a threefold intersection:

Martials must not be able to significantly exceed what normal humans can do
All PCs must be superhumanly tough. So whereas a normal human expert with a sword could end a fight with an amateur in robes in less than a second this shouldn;'t happen to anything on the level of PCs. Martials have therefore a vastly sub-realistic offence.
All spellcasters can cast almost all their spells in a single round of combat. Magic never has a significant risk attached, almost never has a significant chance of failure, and almost never has a backlash. And there are no limits on what is possible with magic.

In short far from being a badass normal mundanes are wandering around using nerf bats as swords thanks to hit point rules while wizards can rewrite reality in the same timescale as martials can swing a sword.

No.

The only point from that list which is relevant is the first one. Points two and three are just grognard whining that is peripherally related to the problem at best (consider planar binding and Psykers).

The reason Fighters suck is that we put a cap on their power level ("Fighters must be mundane"/Guy At The Gym), and expect advancement to be able to continue indefinitely. Those two assumptions are incompatible regardless of what specific properties you give Wizards or Fighters. You can make Wizards as fragile as you want, but if they keep getting abilities and Fighters eventually stop, Wizards will be better.

Aliquid
2017-06-06, 01:58 PM
Verisimilitude is not realism. None of what you name do anything to verisimilitude.
Verisimilitude is internal consistency. Given that D&D happens in a world with magic, including natural racial magic, the existence of magical spells and magical creatures doesn't break verisimilitude. What breaks verisimilitude is contradictions.Yes, exactly. This point can't be said enough - internal consistency is required for a fantasy world to be believable, not compatibility with real world rules.


a dragon's ability to fly is described as (Ex), wich means it use the divergence of D&D land from real world physics to work but doesn't need magic. The logical consequence to that is that a well trained person should be able to learn to fly with artificial wings of reasonable size, like Icarus, and denying the possibility to learn such ability to a high level fighter breaks verisimilitude.That makes sense. For that to work within the verisimilitude of a 3.5 system, it would likely need to be a "skill"... and you would need a lot of ranks in that skill to do anything beyond barely getting off the ground. But a high level fighter should be able to pull it off.


In fact, denying high level fighters the possibility to learn how to dodge fireballs from the inside without multiclassing breaks verisimilitude as well.True... BUT, Focusing on one ability like dodging fireballs is just a fraction of that problem... everything with the class system breaks the verisimilitude. The only way to solve that problem is to just throw the class system out and say you need to invest x amount of "ability points" and x "prerequisite" to learn that feat/skill/spell.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-06, 02:05 PM
Another thing that I think ties into the "too anime" argument is that if I'm playing a mighty fighter or knight, I want to play a mighty fighter or knight, like Conan. I don't want to be playing a fighter/magic user (if I did, then I'd be playing a fighter/magic user). I don't want my fighter to be able to fly; I want him to be able to fight very, very well. That works fine if magic users aren't overpowered in comparison, but if magic users are overpowered, then it makes playing a fighter less fun and/or pointless.

This sounds reasonable on the surface but actually, when you say you want to be a mighty fighter or knight, and then you label anything scaled up to be mighty enough to be unfighterly or unknightly, you have basically asked for the impossible.

So an average fighter can put a man in a headlock. A strong fighter can put an orc in a headlock. A super strong fighter can put an ogre in a headlock. And you scale up and up until you propose a fighter that can put a dragon in a headlock. Then all of a sudden, it has become unfighterly and unknightly and has become "anime." But as the D&D character levels up, he needs to fight bigger and stronger monsters.

An average man can jump about two feet. A pro basketball player can jump over three feet. You might imagine a super powerful jumper to do 4 feet. But five feet? Naw, that's "anime."

This is why it doesn't matter how much Strength or Dexterity you have on your character sheet, you will be limited to being a strong guy at the gym when you are playing a martial.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 02:07 PM
I'll reply to Mordar at a computer, but I have to say I think the ideal D&D would take 5e and it's subclasses and 'purify' the idea.

So three basic, core classes, warrior, rogue, and mage, potentially for with priest, potentially rolling fighters and rights together. Then you get a subclass to add your fluff and some extra mechanics. So the mage might take part magic, or academic magic, or heritage magic (or mind magic or...). A rogue might focus on thief skills, or wilderness skills, or whatever, and a bunch of 'thief with a bit of magic' options.

The fighter would get like four different versions of 'dude with sword' and four versions of 'magical warrior' add it's core subclasses. Say Knight, Warlord, Berserker, and Weapon Master for the 'dudes', and Paladin, Duskblade, Ki User, and Mindblade (roughly 'light/divine, dark/arcane, ki, and psionics, for a good split). These would ideally be roughly balanced, and the presence of swordudes versus magicblades would determine how magical the works is.

Again, proper replies when I'm not on my phone.

EDIT: heck, throw in a 'scholar with no magic' subclass to one of them while you're at it. Anyways wanted to play one of those in a game, and amidst everyone seems to only run D&D.

Cazero
2017-06-06, 03:52 PM
That makes sense. For that to work within the verisimilitude of a 3.5 system, it would likely need to be a "skill"... and you would need a lot of ranks in that skill to do anything beyond barely getting off the ground. But a high level fighter should be able to pull it off.
Or, since we're talking about fighters, why they're subpar, and how to make them better, we could just make it a feat. Fighters have feats to spare, and one of the main reason the class suck is the simple fact that most feats are available early and thus have very little power. But there is no particular reason for feats to be so weak. Tackle some prerequisites on it like a minimum skill rank in tumble so nobody can pick it before a level cap and you're golden.

Same thing applies for things like : increasing your base movement speed (seriously, that thing can't improve at all in 20 levels of progress from ordinary schmoe to legendary warrior?), wuxia acrobatics such as walking on walls/water/clouds, fighter-y class features like never being flat-footed that the fighter class doesn't have access to for some reason, making it so that the giant-sized sword you carry has some more advantage over a regular-sized counterpart than a slightly bigger damage dice (AoE with every attack is a good start), having a strong enough voice to be heard in the neighboring country...

Mark Hall
2017-06-06, 03:56 PM
I also think one of the problems you run into is less "What Fighters can do" and more "What Wizards can do". Rewriting the wizard spell list to be more linear would solve the problem.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-06, 03:58 PM
An alternative to making fighting classes more mystical or nerfing what wizards can do is to make magic personally dangerous. Sure magic is more powerful than a sword, but you have to roll to cast spells and really bad things can happen to you because of it.

Wardog
2017-06-06, 04:09 PM
Q: Who would purposely make a gun into a melee weapon that takes away all the advantages of using a gun?

A: Someone who was paid to by a guy whose miraculous-seeming feats of strength and skill allowed him to use this weapon combination more effectively than a gun and a sword, or just a gun, or just a sword.

I hope you realize those are non-answers.

"Somebody who wanted to do it."

Well obviously, but why would they think that's actually better? ... A gunblade can simply be a gun and a sword.

And as soon as you say "well its probably magic" then youre just being ridiculous for the sake of being ridiculous.

Gunswords exist in real life. So do gundaggers, and gunaxes.
http://anorwegianinbelgium.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/swords-guns-and-planes-tour-of-royal.html

So do gunshields.
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conservation-journal/issue-39/a-gun-shield-from-the-armoury-of-henry-viii-decorative-oddity-or-important-discovery/

My local museum contains a 9-barreled gunpike. (Can't find a photo, sorry).


Now, all these things seem to be pretty rare, so presumably they either weren't very effective, or at least too expensive / hard to make to equip large bodies of troops with. But clearly someone thought they were worth making. And in a fantasy setting where martial skill and/or craft skill can exceed what is expected in real life then it doesn't seem unreasonable for such things to exist.

Psyren
2017-06-06, 04:13 PM
A setting doesn't have to "bend over backwards" to allow magic, or dragons or whatever, nor does it have to bend over backwards to allow cool swords or unique weapons.


You aren't understanding what I'm saying. I'm not opposed to rule of cool on principal, I just don't like rule of cool taken to ridiculous extremes. And nowhere did I say that martials had to be limited to exactly what works in real life.

I agree with Keltest. Some of the responses I see in threads like these want things like "a high level rogue can steal the oxygen molecules from your lungs, causing you to suffocate" or "a high level fighter can cut a hole in reality, allowing the party to Plane Shift."

And you know what, if that's how you want your games to go, by all means houserule abilities like that in. But I would never pay for rulebooks where that kind of thing was RAW.


An alternative to making fighting classes more mystical or nerfing what wizards can do is to make magic personally dangerous. Sure magic is more powerful than a sword, but you have to roll to cast spells and really bad things can happen to you because of it.

The idea of magic being risky always sounds fun, but the devil is in the details. If the penalty is too weak or doesn't matter then you've spent a lot of development time on something pointless. If however it does matter then you run the risk of incentivizing the wrong behaviors. For example, if your cleric can risk becoming debilitated or dead by healing and buffing the party, he's going to do a lot less of that.

Jama7301
2017-06-06, 04:51 PM
In regards to the Tomb of Battle and the "anime" aspect, didn't a lot of that come from the named techniques, and a trope of Anime being "Calling your attack"? My memory is fuzzy, so I can't remember fully.

As a martial, I'd just like some more tools in the box. I mean, I'd like things like a Man of Steel trait that states "Ranged and thrown weapons due minimum damage" or a Juggernaut "When you bull rush, you deal X more damage and ignore Y DR", so you could charge people or objects to break them down. I liked how my martial in 4e had auras that could be interpreted as intimidation effects. It looks like 5e has given some options, which is great! I like that! But sometimes it's just a pain feeling like you could be overshadowed, by an order of magnitude sometimes, by a single spell.



An alternative to making fighting classes more mystical or nerfing what wizards can do is to make magic personally dangerous. Sure magic is more powerful than a sword, but you have to roll to cast spells and really bad things can happen to you because of it.

Kind of reminds me of Defiling in Dark Sun, if I remember the manual right.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 05:09 PM
I guess my first response to "so what" is "Because a large portion of people seem to want a non-shounen fighting man type", and I don't see a compelling reason to take that away. And if the fighting man type were to be presented as having those "powers", stripping them and playing without them would likely represent a huge handicapping of the character which spawns its own problems.

My second response to "so what" is that this idea might be a road to presenting something that appears to be wanted (supernatural powers on warrior types (please read that as my idea of what shounen means)) without taking away something else that is wanted (non-shounen warrior types). It tweaks/expands the game in a well-accepted method - adding classes and "spells" - as opposed to reimagining the whole of the "martial" role.

Basically, we'd still have Fighters, Paladins and Rangers. We'd still have Druids, Clerics and Wizards. We'd still have Rogues, Bards (maybe :smalltongue:) and now we'd have XXXXXX, the shounen powered fighting man.

Heck, I wouldn't mind this, as I've said I tend to gravitate towards the caster-fighters (ironic as I tend to run lower magic games myself). However I'd argue you could successfully get rid of 'mundanes' if you just fluffed everything the right way.

Meh, I agree on the very general point, but not the specifics?


I think that's exactly my point...the "mage/shaman" variant comment probably obscured things more in this context (it was meant to reframe my thinking on the DnD side of the discussion)...but Phys Adepts is the alternative way to do superhuman abilities that funnel the power source (Essence/MPs) into physical changes. This struck me as a good potential compromise/solution for the folks that want capable gear based fighers (street sam/merc/warrior), capable "traditional" spell casters (mage/shaman/wizard/druid/cleric) and something in-between (shouren/phys ad/monk that works). The details remain for the future, but just wanted to float the idea.

Partially I think the only reason it works is 90% of what a Physical Adept can do in the corebook can also be done with the right augmentations. Remember, your average Street Samurai is upgrading their body as much as their gear.


Multiclassing opens yet another can of worms, right? Something to be considered separately.

- M

True, but if it exists in a system it should always be considered.


I also think one of the problems you run into is less "What Fighters can do" and more "What Wizards can do". Rewriting the wizard spell list to be more linear would solve the problem.

I agree, and normally would prefer this. The problem is if you do either people complain.

Linear magic: wizards aren't wizardy enough.

Quadratic fighters: it's too anime.


An alternative to making fighting classes more mystical or nerfing what wizards can do is to make magic personally dangerous. Sure magic is more powerful than a sword, but you have to roll to cast spells and really bad things can happen to you because of it.

Oh yes, the 'make magic really inconvenient' I've never seen it done well beyond a token 'if you really screw up you might take damage' edition. Either the risk is so low I'm just casting anyway, or I'm never casting a spell because I might get my brain devoured by space horrors.

EDIT: in fact, on my list of bad ways to balance a game it only comes above 'really powerful, but has significant roleplay limitations'. A few extra skill points and access to four or five exclusive spells (learnt as normal) in exchange for peasants to occasionally ask you to bless their crops and being hated in some lands is about where you begin to push the limit, 'you have very powerful but slightly dangerous magic and the only person in the party to have it, plus you get a bunch of scholar skills' being balanced as 'you're hated and feared, if they recognise you as a psyker' is just taking the piss.

Mark Hall
2017-06-06, 05:45 PM
I agree, and normally would prefer this. The problem is if you do either people complain.

Linear magic: wizards aren't wizardy enough.

Quadratic fighters: it's too anime.


I disagree.

If you want Wizardy Wizards who aren't incapable, you can go with giving them the ability to cast more spells, but making the spells less powerful... in a way, 4e did this. Your wizard could throw Rays of Frost all day long, but those didn't let them influence the game much more than having a crossbow. Re-evaluating spell levels, modifying the spells per day mechanic (a failure-possible system), and you have wizardy wizards who aren't so good at reworking reality with a single action.

Vitruviansquid
2017-06-06, 06:01 PM
I agree with Keltest. Some of the responses I see in threads like these want things like "a high level rogue can steal the oxygen molecules from your lungs, causing you to suffocate" or "a high level fighter can cut a hole in reality, allowing the party to Plane Shift."

And you know what, if that's how you want your games to go, by all means houserule abilities like that in. But I would never pay for rulebooks where that kind of thing was RAW.

Did anyone say that about rogues and fighters?

Maybe I'm just fixated on that one post, but I seem to remember it was suggested that martials should jump really high and be able to put dragons in a headlock.

I can't see a point in letting high level fighters cut a hole in reality, thus allowing the party to plane shift, as there are already wizards around in charge of plane shifting. I'd really prefer to see fighters do very excellent things that are different from the very excellent things that wizards do.

Cluedrew
2017-06-06, 06:19 PM
[HOT TAKE]D&D keeps Wizards stronger than Fighters because in the land of make-believe, nerds must be better than jocks.[/HOT TAKE]I would not be surprised if some of its roots came from there. I have even heard a theory that the power curve, slow start and big pay off, was the designers hoping their work and study would pay off. Still I think that is a bad reason to limit martials.


Reading the overnight replies something occurred to me. This will probably open a new can of worms, but worms are good for the soil...I like that praise. Anyways, as for "warrior as magician" the last one of these threads included a Wizard->Martial conversion. Changing the wizard wholesale into a martial class that was an equal to the wizard. It was actually a comment on making them perfectly balanced, but some funny stuff came from that.

Really, whether or not something is magic really depends on if we are talking in world or out of world. In world it is mostly dependant on the writer, out of world, the reader. So it is kind of hard to pin down.

I bring this up because, A) it is all about fuzzy feelings we get when we read descriptions and B) you could argue


To some degree "broader" and "deeper" are probably synonyms in this context, but I'm largely referring [versatility].Am I reading that right? I would say more but I think the next bit covers the rest.


I think we basically agree, but the problem with Martials is that people keep wanting the to be Mundane. If you don't insist on that, the problem goes away.I don't insist on that. Are we done?

Joke aside I would have put you as one of the biggest proponents of keeping martials mundane before you said that. So if you were going to make non-mundane non-magic martials, just for yourself no need for a wide appeal here, how would you do it? I've seen some suggestions of yours that amount to "leave mundane and non-magic behind", what about being neither?


I agree with Keltest. Some of the responses I see in threads like these want things like [...] "a high level [wizard] can cut a hole in reality, allowing the party to Plane Shift." [...] I would never pay for rulebooks where that kind of thing was RAW.Important change bolded. Are you still interested in this book? And if so why?

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 06:25 PM
I disagree.

If you want Wizardy Wizards who aren't incapable, you can go with giving them the ability to cast more spells, but making the spells less powerful... in a way, 4e did this. Your wizard could throw Rays of Frost all day long, but those didn't let them influence the game much more than having a crossbow. Re-evaluating spell levels, modifying the spells per day mechanic (a failure-possible system), and you have wizardy wizards who aren't so good at reworking reality with a single action.

Oh, I agree, it's just most of the times I try to limit wizards I see someone complaining about how magical they aren't. I've discovered in many ways the best way to balance the two is point buy, if a player can spend more points for better spells then they won't worry that they only get 5 spells for the points an experienced warrior gets.

As it is, I don't tend to run D&D because I find doing that leads to people expecting Conan and the do anything batman wizard are balanced, because 'professional game designers' put them in the book. I'll run something else where warriors are stronger or wizards are weaker and suddenly people expect this to be balanced, because 'professional game designers' put them in the book. It's actually rather strange how most gamers seem to work under the assumption that if it's in the book it's balanced, or at least that's my experience of it.

I even find Fighters in 5e to be underpowered, not so much as to not be fun but to the point I once spent an entire combat unable to hurt the opponents because I had no magic (isn't fighting what fighters are meant to do), so it's at least better than 3.X for me. It's annoying where, if I'm in a game with few magic items, the appearance of certain monsters can basically cause the fighter (and barbarian, and rogue, only the sorcerer could contribute) to sit on the sidelines. Actually that was mainly due to a bad GM, but fighters still sort of lack the tools to be all around competent at combat (of course, my solution would be to not have anywhere near as much DR that magic automatically bypasses).

Mechalich
2017-06-06, 06:30 PM
I also think one of the problems you run into is less "What Fighters can do" and more "What Wizards can do". Rewriting the wizard spell list to be more linear would solve the problem.

While you can do this, it creates its own problems, because then wizards won't be able to do the things people expect them to be able to do in a high fantasy setting.

D&D has an inherent problem in that the various forms of source material it tries to emulate don't have fighters and wizards balanced against each other one to one at all. Instead they, generally, have a lot more fighters than they have wizards.

Take Conan. Wizards in the Hyborean Age are immensely powerful, they do all kinds of stupidly ridiculous stuff and regularly capture Conan and throw him in a dungeon of some kind and he only survives because some other spellcaster intervenes on his behalf. Conan is a very high level martial character with unusually high ability scores (he has no dump stat and his wisdom and charisma are extremely high in addition to his best-of-humanity physical stats) and a wide range of additional skills (reading several languages, wilderness tracking, sailing, etc.), but his powers don't even approach those of even fairly low-powered wizards. However, the Hyborean Age world has a lot of guys like Conan - all of whom are just a smidgen less badass than he is - and only a few wizards. In fact, Conan arguably meets all of the important spellcasters on the freaking planet at some point during his wanderings and most of the legendary monsters. And most of the wizards he does encounter are holed up in fortresses contemplating dark mysteries and not bothering to exert themselves in the pursuit of temporal power, but when they do bother, a single wizard is enough to almost overthrow a whole kingdom.

D&D's problem is that is claims that you can have a Conan wizard adventuring alongside Conan himself, and that does not work. You can actually see this in unfold in D&D novels, which tend to feature groups very low on magic - there are no wizards in Drizzt's crew - or adventurers where everyone is at least some kind of spellcaster - which is what happens when Elminster romps around. If you don't do that you get the ending of Dragons of Spring Dawning, where Raistlin unleashes some real wizardry and proceeds to render the efforts of all other members of his party completely irrelevant.

Personally, I think D&D has to either impose level limits like E6, which mitigates the issue because a level 6 fighter is a seasoned warrior, but a level 6 wizard is still a measly apprentice, or impose very strong tier boundaries for gameplay, and accept that no, tier III and tier IV classes don't adventure alongside tier I and II classes.

Cluedrew
2017-06-06, 06:35 PM
On A Wizard's Power: For me, you could power down wizards a lot before the reach high fantasy levels. D&D isn't really high fantasy, it is "kitchen sink" action heroic fantasy. A similar and yet significantly different type of world, and one shaped by D&D itself.

Cosi
2017-06-06, 06:42 PM
I also think one of the problems you run into is less "What Fighters can do" and more "What Wizards can do". Rewriting the wizard spell list to be more linear would solve the problem.

An alternative to making fighting classes more mystical or nerfing what wizards can do is to make magic personally dangerous. Sure magic is more powerful than a sword, but you have to roll to cast spells and really bad things can happen to you because of it.

These don't fix things. You still have the fundamental problem that you have a line casters can cross and martials can't. Eventually, casters will cross that line, unless you cap advancement -- not just "make magic linear", straight "you no longer gain new abilities". You can certainly have cool adventures before casters cross that line (for example, LOTR, Game of Thrones), and you can move martials up if you're willing to warp the setting somewhat (for example, Shadowrun). But eventually you hit the point where the Fighter has to hit harder to keep up with the Wizard and he is already hitting as hard as you're willing to let him.


And you know what, if that's how you want your games to go, by all means houserule abilities like that in. But I would never pay for rulebooks where that kind of thing was RAW.

So you won't support a game that doesn't bend to your preferences at every level? Isn't that a tad much? The people on the other side aren't demanding that we start out with everyone being demigods, just that everyone eventually get to be demigods. Is having any part of the game not cater to your whims always and in all ways a bridge too far for you?


So if you were going to make non-mundane non-magic martials, just for yourself no need for a wide appeal here, how would you do it? I've seen some suggestions of yours that amount to "leave mundane and non-magic behind", what about being neither?

If I had my way, I'd go with a hard tier system. So you have Heroic Tier where it is totally acceptable to be Conan and anything that makes Conan sad is banned. Then you have Paragon Tier where you are expected to be at least badass enough to beat down an army of normal dudes all on your own, and go on adventures to cloud castles and other planes. Then you have Epic Tier where you do crazy crap out of games like Dominions (where "summon dead gods" and "turn of the sun" are just normal parts of the endgame).

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 06:48 PM
On A Wizard's Power: For me, you could power down wizards a lot before the reach high fantasy levels. D&D isn't really high fantasy, it is "kitchen sink" action heroic fantasy. A similar and yet significantly different type of world, and one shaped by D&D itself.

Isn't Raistlin's 'most powerful wizard of all time' phase like 13th level? Which honestly sounds a lot more like high fantasy than normal D&D, especially if spells/day are maintained. A 13th level wizard can do a lot, but in 2e they got 25 spells per day total and haven't quite hit 'warp reality with mind'. Then if that's the most powerful wizard of all time your average archmage is what, 7th-9th level? Maybe lower?

Keltest
2017-06-06, 07:51 PM
Gunswords exist in real life. So do gundaggers, and gunaxes.
http://anorwegianinbelgium.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/swords-guns-and-planes-tour-of-royal.html

So do gunshields.
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conservation-journal/issue-39/a-gun-shield-from-the-armoury-of-henry-viii-decorative-oddity-or-important-discovery/

My local museum contains a 9-barreled gunpike. (Can't find a photo, sorry).


Now, all these things seem to be pretty rare, so presumably they either weren't very effective, or at least too expensive / hard to make to equip large bodies of troops with. But clearly someone thought they were worth making. And in a fantasy setting where martial skill and/or craft skill can exceed what is expected in real life then it doesn't seem unreasonable for such things to exist.

Yeah, ive read about a couple of those, and they all tend to run into the fundamental problem of using it as the weapon (or shield) will disable the gun part by virtue of hitting it against something with a lot of force in a direction that warps the barrel of the gun. A gun-spear could work, and is basically what a bayonet is, because the direction of the force is in a direction that wont deform the barrel to the point of breaking it.

Cluedrew
2017-06-06, 07:55 PM
To Cosi:
On the Line: What is the line that caster can cross but martials can?

On TiersSounds reasonable, at least for a game that is trying to cover that range. But what would a non-magic martial epic tier character look like. (I would add non-mundane to that description but epic tier renders that rather moot.)

To Anonymouswizard: Scale is part of it, the other part is the kind of magic. I mentioned Gandalf upthread, and although he had some stuff I forgot, I still think the fact he is wise accounts for more of his importance in the story than his magically ability. He was a wise-man more than a "batman wizard".

Tanarii
2017-06-06, 08:22 PM
All PCs must be superhumanly tough. So whereas a normal human expert with a sword could end a fight with an amateur in robes in less than a second this shouldn;'t happen to anything on the level of PCs. Martials have therefore a vastly sub-realistic offence.
All spellcasters can cast almost all their spells in a single round of combat. Magic never has a significant risk attached, almost never has a significant chance of failure, and almost never has a backlash. And there are no limits on what is possible with magic.

These two weren't always the case in D&D. In fact, Wizards were close to glass cannons. You needed fighters (and clerics) to protect them so they could unleash their artillery-level damage. Because wizards had 1/2 the hit points and spells could be interrupted while being cast.

But most people don't play with wargaming clubs or convention tournaments that can put together a 8-10 person party, or more with henchmen. That's generally what's required in older versions of D&D to support having a wizard or two in party. Either that or very narrow spaces you can take tactical advantage of.

It's also worth noting that typical in most editions it's 'epic' level play (post level 10) with level 6+ spells that wizards start to take off.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-06, 08:31 PM
To Anonymouswizard: Scale is part of it, the other part is the kind of magic. I mentioned Gandalf upthread, and although he had some stuff I forgot, I still think the fact he is wise accounts for more of his importance in the story than his magically ability. He was a wise-man more than a "batman wizard".

I was actually referring more to amount than scale (which would be raw power to me). If you apply the limits as strictly as possible 2e mages get very little magic. To further represent traditional mentor wizards you probably want to limit magic mainly to divinations and illusions, with a few effects from other schools thrown in. A touch of enchantment for less moral wizards and off you go.

I mean, I'd love for D&D wizards to transition more towards being scholars or being wise. I'd have no problem capping mages at 2nd level spells if they got the wise skills to compensate, it represents the mages from most fantasy stories I read much better, even post D&D ones. Heck, throw in some longer casting times and give them basic combat skills while you're at it (not to the level of fighters, but to the point where they could wield a sword or staff if required).

I'm reminded of how in the Dying Earth books magicians (at least some of them) would carry around swords. Why? The strongest magician I know of from the stories could memorise five (admittedly powerful) spells, and could only refresh them by studying them from books, so having a weapon for general defence was sensible. Didn't want to waste one of your three/four spells if you could avoid it, especially if it would take time to get back to your library. Were warriors and wizards balanced? Not really, wizards were just better, but nobody was at the point where they couldn't be outsmarted, and a skilled warrior might be able to just floor a wizard if it came to a sword fight.

Heck, going through all the fantasy books I own mentally, the closest characters to batman wizards I can come up with are Harry Dresden (who is obviously a specialist, I think Evocation) and low level Others* from Night Watch (which I adore, and even low level Others aren't anywhere near as versatile). The ones who theoretically approach in versatility are actually weak, and those who approach in power are either specialists or summoners. I'd love to see D&D seriously tone down wizards, but the scale I want (access to a wide variety of low level powers) will be rejected by most of the fanbase because it would cut out fireballs entirely.

* In Night Watch the lower an Other's level the stronger they are, 'level 0' would essentially be 'able to use all the magic in the world'. I think it takes until the middle third of Night Watch to be properly introduced, but isn't important to the first third.

Quertus
2017-06-06, 08:45 PM
Late to the party, here's a few of my thoughts, in random order:

Cutting a hole in the planes

Why am I fine with mages doing this, but not muggles? Is this too anime for me?

The answer is, because I want to be able to run a fighter who can't do that. If there's a feat or prestige class that lets a fighter do this, and didn't break v~ (it's magic, or it's X explained skill that works with how the planes work in the system), I'd be fine with it.

But a lot of my concepts just can't do that, and I want them to be able to exist.

Mundane power

I like the idea of there being... feats is a reserved word, let's call them "forms" that anyone can learn, but most people get one per 5 levels, while muggles get more at the rate of, say, fighter bonus feats. One might let you, say, get 2 attacks for every one you would normally take. One has that as a prerequisite, and also allows you a free disarm attempt on every hit. Sound powerful but boring? Good, because they're just mundane weapons from 2e.

"Better" forms would let you cut holes in planar boundaries, reflect beholder rays, pin people with arrows, keep going when dead, manipulate weak spots to "grapple" while ignoring size modifiers, use grapple to shut down body-dependent special abilities, "dodge" an AoE from the inside, walk on clouds, fly by flapping wax wings, sniff out magic, resurrect with CPR, or decapitate foes on a critical hit.

But all of it is written with an explanation of how it makes perfect sense in the game world, to allow for v~.

Versatility

I probably am "wrong" here, but I like the wizard being versatile by having a lot of spells, and the fighter being versatile slightly by training in different forms, but largely from having lots of gear.

Now, it might be nice if their power was personal, that their skill lets them remove eyes / ears / limbs with strikes, and their gear was more cool flashy effects like flaming. I'm fine with that.

I also like the idea that most classes could conceivably grow to try to fill most any niche, if necessary. So, the fighter can do BFC by, well, controlling the battlefield: maneuvering foes into each other, using terrain/furniture/ whatever to hinder their foes, etc.

-----

I play wizards. But I want the fighter to be able to take a blade of grass, fold it, jab it through the monster's heart, and say, "save or die!", if that's what he's trained to do. I want the fighter to be able to bounce a snowball off a tree to hit someone in the back of the head, stunning them for a round, if that's what he's trained to do.

But, if I run a fighter, I don't want to do any of that, because it doesn't fit my vision of the character. I want to have options that fit my vision of my particular epic fighter.

But if someone wants to run Conan? That's fine at low level; beyond that, he needs to get up to speed, or be replaced with a concept that can hang with the big dogs. "You must be this tall to ride", and all that.

Mechalich
2017-06-06, 09:06 PM
Heck, going through all the fantasy books I own mentally, the closest characters to batman wizards I can come up with are Harry Dresden (who is obviously a specialist, I think Evocation) and low level Others* from Night Watch (which I adore, and even low level Others aren't anywhere near as versatile). The ones who theoretically approach in versatility are actually weak, and those who approach in power are either specialists or summoners. I'd love to see D&D seriously tone down wizards, but the scale I want (access to a wide variety of low level powers) will be rejected by most of the fanbase because it would cut out fireballs entirely.


The Wheel of Time setting has high-powered channelers who approach Batman wizard level. By the end of the series with the exception of a tiny group of people (Matt, Perrin, their antagonists) who have their own special powers non-channelers only really matter in numbers of five figures minimum. That's probably the most popular fantasy setting that comes close to representing what D&D Tier I casters are capable of, and even then, because holding the One Power long term is, um, rather risky, there's a distinctive shortage of the sort of persistent active effects that make 3.X Tier Is so ridiculously powerful. Worth noting, once it gets up to speed, the WoT is absolutely not stable over the long term, which is its own kind of worldbuilding problem.

Godskook
2017-06-06, 11:24 PM
Verisimilitude is not realism. None of what you name do anything to verisimilitude.
Verisimilitude is internal consistency. Given that D&D happens in a world with magic, including natural racial magic, the existence of magical spells and magical creatures doesn't break verisimilitude.
What breaks verisimilitude is contradictions. Like a rogue's ability to dodge fireballs from the inside, a dragon's ability to fly is described as (Ex), wich means it use the divergence of D&D land from real world physics to work but doesn't need magic. The logical consequence to that is that a well trained person should be able to learn to fly with artificial wings of reasonable size, like Icarus, and denying the possibility to learn such ability to a high level fighter breaks verisimilitude. In fact, denying high level fighters the possibility to learn how to dodge fireballs from the inside without multiclassing breaks verisimilitude as well.

The problem with D&D (Ex) Flight for warriors isn't the physics, its the Engineering. Literally the only people who could be arsed to figure out even basic Engineering in these settings are Eberron Artificers, and why the hell would an Artificer solve a problem with metal that he could solve with arcana twice as fast and for half the cost?

Engineers that have figured out more than "gun" without magic don't exist in any printed D&D setting I've ever read.

Cosi
2017-06-07, 12:27 AM
On the Line: What is the line that caster can cross but martials can?

The problem isn't martial, it's mundane. Right now, Fighters are constrained by a (somewhat abstract) conception of what a real person could really do. Wizards aren't. So whenever the Wizard gets a power that pushes him past what a real person could really do, the game "breaks" (in the sense that balance can no longer be preserved). The posts I was responding to don't really address that. Making magical power accrue slower causes the numbers on your sheet to be larger when the time comes for Fighters to suck, but it doesn't prevent it. Making magic "risky" means you can have flashier magic before the Wizards run away with the game, but it doesn't stop that from happening.

Fundamentally, you cannot have:

1. Game Balance.
2. Unlimited Advancement.
3. Uneven Caps on Class Power.

Note that two is much stronger than it needs to be. You can have limited advancement as long as that limit puts people above whatever power cap you've set for some classes.

If you give up one of those, you can do whatever you want. If you accept that Fighters will suck, you can Guy at the Gym as hard as you want, advance as far as you want, and not have problems (though only in the way that calling your house a fireplace negates the risk of arson). If you cap advancement, you can have balance without being concerned that "magic" is better than "mundane". If you don't force some people to be constrained by what normal people can do, you can have advancement and balance.

It seems clear to me which of these solutions is best.


On TiersSounds reasonable, at least for a game that is trying to cover that range. But what would a non-magic martial epic tier character look like. (I would add non-mundane to that description but epic tier renders that rather moot.)

It depends on what you mean by "non-magic". If you want someone who doesn't have supernatural powers, that doesn't work. If you want someone who isn't a Wizard, you could reasonably look to Gideon Jura (MTG), Wonder Woman (DC), Hulk (Marvel), Thor (Marvel), or maybe some high end martial-ish types from anime. Some of those people may end up in Paragon Tier rather than Epic -- TBH, I don't see as clear a transition from Paragon to Epic as I do from Heroic to Paragon.


Heck, going through all the fantasy books I own mentally, the closest characters to batman wizards I can come up with are Harry Dresden (who is obviously a specialist, I think Evocation) and low level Others* from Night Watch (which I adore, and even low level Others aren't anywhere near as versatile).

It depends on what you mean by "Batman Wizards". It's true that there are relatively few characters who approach 20th level Wizards in power (though people like the God Emperor of Man (Warhammer 40k), Pretender Gods (Dominions), or Planeswalkers (MTG) do exist), but if you just mean people who could reasonably adventure in a party of full casters in the double digit levels, the list is pretty long. The Lord Ruler (Mistborn), Kellhus (Second Apocalypse), Predeii (Powder Mage), Travelers (Traveler's Gate), or Corwin (Chronicles of Amber) just off the top of my head. Of course, even that list is shorter than the list of mages that are more powerful than "2nd level spells + skills", which is pretty much everything from Harry Potter to Malazan.

Of course, it should be noted that mages in novels or other media serve different needs from the Wizard class. Someone like Dresden only has to support a couple dozen books, while the Wizard class has to carry that many sessions across thousands of campaigns. D&D magic also doesn't scale out nearly as well as magic in novels often does, as D&D still feels its roots as a dungeon crawler pretty strongly. Fantasy like WoT or Second Apocalypse features even fairly weak casters being able to easily kill hundreds or thousands of troops with blasting, something that is fairly difficult for a Wizard to achieve.


The answer is, because I want to be able to run a fighter who can't do that. If there's a feat or prestige class that lets a fighter do this, and didn't break v~ (it's magic, or it's X explained skill that works with how the planes work in the system), I'd be fine with it.

You can run a Fighter who can't do that. Prior to 9th level, no one has planar travel. If you run games that don't reach 9th level, you need not concern yourself with whether or not "plane shift for Fighters" is something you can support. Again, it is unreasonable to demand that the whole game cater to your demands. I want to fight demon lords, but I don't insist the game let me do it at first level.

Of course, things become even clearer when you consider running a game of one style in a system designed for the other. It's far easier to ignore the Fighter's plane shift SLA than convince your DM to give you one if it doesn't have it.

Cazero
2017-06-07, 01:27 AM
The problem with D&D (Ex) Flight for warriors isn't the physics, its the Engineering. Literally the only people who could be arsed to figure out even basic Engineering in these settings are Eberron Artificers, and why the hell would an Artificer solve a problem with metal that he could solve with arcana twice as fast and for half the cost?
The challenge? Being paid a lot more for it? Assaulting an AMF protected area from the sky? Not wanting very dispellable magic in the personal wingsuit that keeps you far above the ground? Not having magic available because you're not an Artificer?
Really, why do guns exist at all when wands can do the same thing and then some more? Same question for catapults, crossbows, bows, swords, walls, and even agriculture while we're at it. Probably because the simple fact you're using magic comes with downsides. Scarcity, production cost, user restriction, vulnerability to dispell/disjunction... It doesn't matter what the downside is as long as one exists : as soon as one downside exists, an alternative without that downside can have practical use.

There are tons of examples of engineering in most settings. Windmills, castles, bridges, sails, catapults, bows, the list is limitless. They were all designed to exploit physics very efficiently despite the barebone (if not absent) knowledge of the math involved. The first real world steam engines are antiquities, and the big idea probably wasn't a deep understanding of thermodynamics.
Medieval architects did engineering all the time. They could tell when a column wasn't strong enough to support a building. There could be an inspired ornithologist somewhere who, through trial and error, devised formulas for artificial wings. There could be a fantasy Leonardo da Vinci, with even better ideas and actual opportunities to test and refine them, eventualy leading to mass production.

Talakeal
2017-06-07, 01:50 AM
Giving martials super powers is just a logical evolution of the system. They already are super tough and often super strong so throwing in some other super powers should be easily incorporated into the system.

I have a couple of objections to this notion.

First, it worked just fine pre 3.X and its hyper-buffing of casters. Other games that keep their casters on a bit of a shorter leash don't have this problem.

Second, people like super tough guys without super powers. Diehard, for example, has remained an action movie with a super tough protagonist rather than trying to cross genres into a super hero movie. Although that might have been the initial idea for Unbreakable...

Third, reading older D&D stuff it seems to me that the super human toughness was never intended. In early editions HP seemed to be mostly a measure of skill at arms rather than toughness, and was a lot lower overall. It is an abstract system, and most of the apparent toughness is just an artifact of the specific rules looking weird in certain situations. For example, by RAW a high level character can survive a dozen blows, but a low level character can also be killed in a few swipes from a house-cast, and while a high level character can survive an fall from orbit, so can a whale. Yet for some reason people never argue that Super-Whales and Super-Cats are the next logical evolution in D&D.

Older editions even had "instant death" rules for situations where applying HP would have been ridiculous. They were actually a little too extreme IMO, as coup de grace was an auto kill regardless of the relative HP and damage values involved.

Of course, D&D has had millions of players and hundreds of authors over the years, and so any sort of original vision or consistency has been muddled to the point of incoherence over the last forty odd years.


First of all, mechanical limitations don't mean an in-world limitation. They're meta. (Edit: To be clear, the game mechanics are not a physics engine for the world. They're an abstract resolution system.)

I am not quite sure what you mean by this.

You can describe it however you want, but the fact remains that I am still going to have a very short list of options when playing a War Blade / 4e Fighter / Battlemaster and am still going to be mechanically falling back on the same couple of tricks and then to basic attacks once those are used up after a few rounds.



Second of all, D&D 5e already made a class with those mechanics. Fighters who have Maneuvers (Battlemasters) and Warlocks are on the same recharge timer, short rests. Check it out.


I am talking about 3.5 warlocks who could use their powers at will. I am not familiar with 5e warlocks, but battle-masters are still limited to nine total maneuvers known and can't use more than six in a given battle iirc.

AFAICT 5e didn't make "war blades" better, it just made warlocks worse.

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 07:05 AM
The problem isn't martial, it's mundane.I am speaking of the former. Someone might care about mundane but I simply do not.


It depends on what you mean by "non-magic". If you want someone who doesn't have supernatural powers, that doesn't work.Well of casters, druids use the power of nature, wizards of "science" and cleric of gods. I would say that only the first two are supernatural, although wizards are sort of reach into supernatural sometimes, because the first two are actually part of nature. Is like saying a sword is supernatural because it is been changed from its natural form.

But you list seems like a reasonable starting point.

Elderand
2017-06-07, 07:09 AM
Second, people like super tough guys without super powers. Diehard, for example, has remained an action movie with a super tough protagonist rather than trying to cross genres into a super hero movie. Although that might have been the initial idea for Unbreakable...

People keep using that particular excuse for why martial type should suck when compared to mages....and it simply doesn't hold any water.

See, even if you give martial characters the equivalent of super powers to compete with mage at higher level, it doesn't prevent you from playing a tough guy with no special power. That totally exist still, it's the low level game.

You want a tough guy like in die hard? Don't play past level six.

Quertus
2017-06-07, 07:18 AM
You can run a Fighter who can't do that. Prior to 9th level, no one has planar travel. If you run games that don't reach 9th level, you need not concern yourself with whether or not "plane shift for Fighters" is something you can support. Again, it is unreasonable to demand that the whole game cater to your demands. I want to fight demon lords, but I don't insist the game let me do it at first level.

Of course, things become even clearer when you consider running a game of one style in a system designed for the other. It's far easier to ignore the Fighter's plane shift SLA than convince your DM to give you one if it doesn't have it.

No, that's not my point. Let me try again.

I can play a wizard (or, even more understandably, a sorcerer) who doesn't know Plane Shift. Even if it comes up, he can shrug his shoulders, and say, sorry, I can't do that. Even at level 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

I don't want every single fighter, no matter the concept, to be able to plane shift at level 9. I, too, want to be able to shrug my shoulders and say, sorry, I can't.

But.

I also want it to be possible to build the fighter who can. Who can sense the interaction and flow of magic, channel his ki, whatever, and cut a hole in the very fabric of the planar boundaries.

I just don't want my fighter to have to be that guy, any more than I want my wizard to have to know Plane Shift.

Which is why I was advocating giving fighters X "shticks", that allow them to be "this tall to ride".


First, it worked just fine pre 3.X and its hyper-buffing of casters. Other games that keep their casters on a bit of a shorter leash don't have this problem.

Older editions even had "instant death" rules for situations where applying HP would have been ridiculous. They were actually a little too extreme IMO, as coup de grace was an auto kill regardless of the relative HP and damage values involved.

Did it? I'm not sure... I mean, first off, 2e casters arguably had better spells than 3e casters (free Simulacrum and Animate Dead, Metamorphose Liquids, Chromatic Orb, infinite duration infinite DR Stone Skin, bloody 2e illusions, etc). And, if a 2e wizard couldn't compete with (PO) 3e save DCs, he wasn't trying. And the idea of a 2e fighter one-shotting a high-level monster? No, fighters in 2e were nothing compared to modern rocket tag. So, personally, I feel 3e was more of a nerf to casters, and a hyper buff to muggles. (EDIT: other than the fact that high-level 2e fighters pretty much just made their saving throws. That was mistake in 3e, not giving fighters a "+1/2 levels bonus to all saves" class feature to make them compete with their 2e counterparts).

And just how many people do you expect to survive having their throat slit while helpless? :smallconfused:

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-07, 08:01 AM
And just how many people do you expect to survive having their throat slit while helpless? :smallconfused:

How many people do you expect to survive falling from orbit?

Quertus
2017-06-07, 08:20 AM
How many people do you expect to survive falling from orbit?

A few, just like IRL.

So I suppose the 2e coup de grace should have dealt 20d6 damage. :smalltongue:

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 08:36 AM
I was actually referring more to amount than scale (which would be raw power to me).Also a good point. I had sort of folded that into scale as an ability you can use every minute has an advantage over one that can be used once a year. But separating them out is more clear.

Also I am onboard with giving out wise advisor abilities instead of spell slots. It might be hard to sell in D&D "Joe Fireball" land, but I like it.


I just don't want my fighter to have to be that guy, any more than I want my wizard to have to know Plane Shift.So you are saying you just want more character build options? Give the fighter a list of possible forms/techniques/masteries that can be chosen like spells? That might work. I would use something very different than spell slots to actually use those abilities (stamina points say).

Keltest
2017-06-07, 08:52 AM
So you are saying you just want more character build options? Give the fighter a list of possible forms/techniques/masteries that can be chosen like spells? That might work. I would use something very different than spell slots to actually use those abilities (stamina points say).

But at that point, why not play a wizard? Or a warlock? What are you doing to differentiate the fighter from the existing spellcasters besides allowing him to survive a particularly violent sneeze at first level? He carries a sword instead of a staff? And make no mistake, "I tear open a portal in time and space through the power of my biceps" is still magic.

Now I don't mind fighters being magical and superhuman, to a point, but it should be an extension of what they were doing before hand, not just "I'm magic now, so I can do wizard stuff with my muscles." Leap tall buildings in a single bound, have unbreakable skin, be superhumanly fast with your (appropriately sized) weapons, deflect arrows back at the archer with your shield, protect a group from dragon fire with a tower shield. If you cant think of something magical and cool for a high level fighter to do, you aren't thinking hard enough.

Mark Hall
2017-06-07, 09:35 AM
Did it? I'm not sure... I mean, first off, 2e casters arguably had better spells than 3e casters (free Simulacrum and Animate Dead, Metamorphose Liquids, Chromatic Orb, infinite duration infinite DR Stone Skin, bloody 2e illusions, etc).

You've mentioned Metamorphose Liquids several times but, looking at the spell, I'm at a loss as to how it is supposed to be this fantastic spell.

Tanarii
2017-06-07, 09:56 AM
I am not quite sure what you mean by this.I mean that a mechanical (meta) limitation doesn't translate into an in-world limitation. There are many reasons why the PC may not spam their abilities over and over again, but only use them when the situation warrants.


You can describe it however you want, but the fact remains that I am still going to have a very short list of options when playing a War Blade / 4e Fighter / Battlemaster and am still going to be mechanically falling back on the same couple of tricks and then to basic attacks once those are used up after a few rounds.This is because you are choosing to decide one ability is optimal and needs to be used until it is gone, disregarding the resource cost aspect. You're choosing to focus on one part of the meta. I agree that if someone uses resources the way you do (blow them as fast as possible until they are gone), it seems weird when mapped to the in-game world. So I can understand your desire for balanced at-will abilities that provide options but not additional power.


I am talking about 3.5 warlocks who could use their powers at will. I am not familiar with 5e warlocks, but battle-masters are still limited to nine total maneuvers known and can't use more than six in a given battle iirc.

AFAICT 5e didn't make "war blades" better, it just made warlocks worse.Given your approach to evaluation of limited resources, I can see why you'd think that.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-07, 11:15 AM
Also a good point. I had sort of folded that into scale as an ability you can use every minute has an advantage over one that can be used once a year. But separating them out is more clear.

Also I am onboard with giving out wise advisor abilities instead of spell slots. It might be hard to sell in D&D "Joe Fireball" land, but I like it.

Looking at my other games, amount and scale tend to be inversely linked. So in GURPS a Fatigue Point is recovered per ten minutes of rest (meaning a mage can run through them 3-4 times a day), while in Anima mages are limited by the fact that, unless they take certain advantages, they only recover enough energy for one turn off charging a turn.

I wonder how you'd write wise mentor abilities. In 5e I'd begin with Expertise to a number of knowledge skills, while in point buy games I just allow the players to funnel points wherever they like and take knowledge skills myself. A 3.X hand it would be much harder for.


So you are saying you just want more character build options? Give the fighter a list of possible forms/techniques/masteries that can be chosen like spells? That might work. I would use something very different than spell slots to actually use those abilities (stamina points say).

I'd personally be totally on board with this, although I'd also abolish spell slots and make everything run off the same resource (stamina/fatigue points). I'd then differentiate magic by making big stuff take time to cast.


Now I don't mind fighters being magical and superhuman, to a point, but it should be an extension of what they were doing before hand, not just "I'm magic now, so I can do wizard stuff with my muscles." Leap tall buildings in a single bound, have unbreakable skin, be superhumanly fast with your (appropriately sized) weapons, deflect arrows back at the archer with your shield, protect a group from dragon fire with a tower shield. If you cant think of something magical and cool for a high level fighter to do, you aren't thinking hard enough.

So why is there a glass ceiling of per and/or flexibility that fighters can't break past? While I agree that some stuff (summoning, maybe fireballs) should be wizard only and other stuff (run like the wind, punch Orcus in the face) should be fighter only, but at the end of the day why don't we just let players decide what they want their characters to do and then let them decide what type of character they are.

Why do I keep thinking of Mutants and Masterminds?

Quertus
2017-06-07, 11:15 AM
So you are saying you just want more character build options? Give the fighter a list of possible forms/techniques/masteries that can be chosen like spells? That might work. I would use something very different than spell slots to actually use those abilities (stamina points say).

Um... I don't care? They can do it at will if they like, just like they can swing that sword 14,400 x (1-5) times per day.

I love playing wizards, but I like fighters being better. :smallwink:


But at that point, why not play a wizard? Or a warlock? What are you doing to differentiate the fighter from the existing spellcasters besides allowing him to survive a particularly violent sneeze at first level? He carries a sword instead of a staff? And make no mistake, "I tear open a portal in time and space through the power of my biceps" is still magic.

Now I don't mind fighters being magical and superhuman, to a point, but it should be an extension of what they were doing before hand, not just "I'm magic now, so I can do wizard stuff with my muscles." Leap tall buildings in a single bound, have unbreakable skin, be superhumanly fast with your (appropriately sized) weapons, deflect arrows back at the archer with your shield, protect a group from dragon fire with a tower shield. If you cant think of something magical and cool for a high level fighter to do, you aren't thinking hard enough.

Oh, sure, most of these powers are "magic", or even "anime". Or, more importantly, "the stuff of myth and legend" that put Herculese above "mere mortals" and let him be the stuff of legend. You know, like a high-level adventurer should be.

I want the fighter to be able to choose how he's going to become a super-human legend, in line with his player's concept of who he is and what he can do.

As far as continuing what you were already doing... I like the idea of prerequisites, to make abilities seem to make more sense, but I don't like the idea of trap options, and having to plan out your build for 20+ levels to make a "successful" 1st level character.

Just what prerequisites are actually required to learn the Fist of Death? Using magic items that are "<something> only" (yes, UMD should be a "Feature" in my vision)? Dodging an AoE on an open plane? Grappling using pressure points, ignoring size modifiers? Sniffing out magic, or cutting holes in dimensional barriers?

Beats me. So, I'm happy with no prerequisites (beyond level), and, if someone cares about that kind of thing, they can just build their character to have whatever they envision as a proper prerequisite before they take the "Feature" they want.


You've mentioned Metamorphose Liquids several times but, looking at the spell, I'm at a loss as to how it is supposed to be this fantastic spell.

Um... gallons of oil or wine or even clean water at a casting is trivial. Gallons of acid per casting - especially for a foe already immersed in the water you're transforming - is a dangerous attack form. Gallons of SoD / pass the save for 50 damage poison per casting is pretty strong. Gallons of molten gold/platinum per casting is just ridiculous, especially for a 1st level spell. (OK, so, those last few, you need additional tricks to survive the casting / maintain the spell while taking damage.)

And that's without having fun with Chemistry.

Metamorphose Liquids is an amazingly broken spell for a creative "Johnny Combo Player", IME.

Ralanr
2017-06-07, 11:27 AM
Honestly there are times where I think mundanes should get obvious levels of absurdity.

Not the kind of absurdity where they are swinging a big sword 8 times in under 6 seconds and hitting vital areas while doing it. That's the kind of absurdity you have to think on.

The obvious absurdity is where the fighter/barbarian can terraform the very battlefield by hitting it really hard or swing a dragon by the tail as if it was nothing. Something bonkers to go on par with Wizards making reality sit down and shut up.

Some mundane classes have similar ways of doing this. Particularly with how hilarious evasion rules are in 3.5, Pathfinder, and 5e where you can 100% dodge a fireball in the fireball and take no damage.

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 04:55 PM
But at that point, why not play a wizard? Or a warlock?In short, the kinds of abilities (instead of scale) would be the significant factor. Maybe you could adjust size vs. frequency, but right now wizards have too much of the pair compared to fighters. I would hope there is a large design space of cool abilities that wizards already have. Otherwise... why bother with classes? (Or Anonymouswizard's response.)


I wonder how you'd write wise mentor abilities.I'm working on that, it is the base of the "wizard class" in my homebrew system. I'm finding it way harder than just "button that makes thing happen".

Talakeal
2017-06-07, 05:37 PM
People keep using that particular excuse for why martial type should suck when compared to mages....and it simply doesn't hold any water.

See, even if you give martial characters the equivalent of super powers to compete with mage at higher level, it doesn't prevent you from playing a tough guy with no special power. That totally exist still, it's the low level game.

You want a tough guy like in die hard? Don't play past level six.

Why should I not be allowed to experience 70% of what the game has to offer (not counting epic) because you don't like my character concept?

Even in legit super-hero genres, you have "badass-normals." The Justice League and the Avengers have more than a few, and if you count "has a magic item / sci-fi piece of tech" I would say that is actually the majority of the team at many points in time.

Making a competent martial who can go toe to toe with anything in the MM without dipping into super powers would be very simple, and most editions of D&D have managed it (more or less). Its just that 3.X has some fundamental issues in its class design process and didn't go far enough with play-testing to spot the "problem" spells.



I mean that a mechanical (meta) limitation doesn't translate into an in-world limitation. There are many reasons why the PC may not spam their abilities over and over again, but only use them when the situation warrants.

This is because you are choosing to decide one ability is optimal and needs to be used until it is gone, disregarding the resource cost aspect. You're choosing to focus on one part of the meta. I agree that if someone uses resources the way you do (blow them as fast as possible until they are gone), it seems weird when mapped to the in-game world. So I can understand your desire for balanced at-will abilities that provide options but not additional power.

Given your approach to evaluation of limited resources, I can see why you'd think that.

I wouldn't try and glean any sort of analysis of the way I personally play from my analogy.

Regardless of how you spend your resources, the fact remains that a Battle Master will use, at most, six maneuvers during a given fight. Whether he burns through them all immediately or saves them until the optimal time he is still forced to resort to basic attacks the rest of the time. Indeed, the guy who saves his abilities might actually do more auto attacking as the fight ends before he ever finds the "right time" to use his abilities and thus they go to waste.

From a mechanical perspective I prefer more reliable abilities. I personally prefer choosing which spell / maneuver is right for the given situation instead of trying to find the right time to deploy my "I win button,". Both are valid styles of play, I just prefer one over the other.

Now, from a fluff perspective I find it silly that fighters would only be able to attempt a trick X times per day. You can try and justify it with enemies seeing through it or "a very specific level of tired," but there are always some major holes in those arguments, and it is just plain frustrating and silly when you have a trick that could save the day but can't use it because you are saving it for later or it is still recharging.

Mark Hall
2017-06-07, 05:40 PM
Um... gallons of oil or wine or even clean water at a casting is trivial. Gallons of acid per casting - especially for a foe already immersed in the water you're transforming - is a dangerous attack form. Gallons of SoD / pass the save for 50 damage poison per casting is pretty strong. Gallons of molten gold/platinum per casting is just ridiculous, especially for a 1st level spell. (OK, so, those last few, you need additional tricks to survive the casting / maintain the spell while taking damage.)


Remember that taking damage negates spellcasting, so acid and poison and molten metal are all out of bounds, without significant other magic to prevent that. It reads like an overly generous interpretation of the spell, to me.

Talakeal
2017-06-07, 05:45 PM
Did it? I'm not sure... I mean, first off, 2e casters arguably had better spells than 3e casters (free Simulacrum and Animate Dead, Metamorphose Liquids, Chromatic Orb, infinite duration infinite DR Stone Skin, bloody 2e illusions, etc). And, if a 2e wizard couldn't compete with (PO) 3e save DCs, he wasn't trying. And the idea of a 2e fighter one-shotting a high-level monster? No, fighters in 2e were nothing compared to modern rocket tag. So, personally, I feel 3e was more of a nerf to casters, and a hyper buff to muggles. (EDIT: other than the fact that high-level 2e fighters pretty much just made their saving throws. That was mistake in 3e, not giving fighters a "+1/2 levels bonus to all saves" class feature to make them compete with their 2e counterparts).

The saves were a big part of it, yes.

But there is also the fact that wizards lost their spells very easily. And that most buffs could be cast on party members, meaning that a fighter / mage team was stronger than two mages or two fighters, and there was no component pouch / eschew materials / free wishes to get around the rare and expensive components that most of the good spells required.

Now, maybe it was just because we were less experienced at gaming and didn't have internet forums so most of the truly broken cheese went unnoticed. But it seems that a lot of the spells that are now considered "I win buttons," had built in limitations in AD&D that are just gone in 3.X. A lot of them are also fairly vaguely worded so that the DM can choose the less broken interpretation.

Out of curiosity, how do you feel that 3.X "buffed muggles?" The only thing I can think of is being able to use feats and prestige classes to build one trick ponies like an uber-charger or chain tripper, but imo that is nothing compared to the builds that casters can pull off with similar levels of optimization.


And just how many people do you expect to survive having their throat slit while helpless? :smallconfused:

Maybe they are wearing armor over their throat. Maybe they wake up and pull away the moment they feel the knife touch their skin. Maybe they are wearing a ring of regeneration. Maybe their neck is simply too big for the knife to reach any of their vitals (remember this works on monsters as well). Maybe the attacker simply lacks the coordination, strength, anatomical knowledge, or killer instinct to make a clean cut.

Cosi
2017-06-07, 06:28 PM
First, it worked just fine pre 3.X and its hyper-buffing of casters. Other games that keep their casters on a bit of a shorter leash don't have this problem.

Sure. And plenty of games that buff martials also don't have this problem. White Wolf games like Mage or Exalted don't encounter balance issues with mundanes and casters because no one is mundane. A starting mage in Shadowrun is probably the equivalent of an 8th to 10th level D&D Wizard, and the Street Samurai that adventures with him is totally able to keep up because she is a cybernetically augmented badass.


Second, people like super tough guys without super powers. Diehard, for example, has remained an action movie with a super tough protagonist rather than trying to cross genres into a super hero movie. Although that might have been the initial idea for Unbreakable...

Again, sure. But people also like super tough guys with super powers. Diehard made a lot of money, as did other movies like John Wick and Fate of the Furious that feature mundane heroes. But Thor features a literal god, and it also made a lot of money, as will Wonder Woman, various Superman movies, and various other movies where the protagonist is recognizably martial and has superpowers.

And once more I must repeat, no one wants to take Conan away from you. The most radical solution at play here is that eventually, if you choose to advance long enough, you will no longer get to play Conan. Consider the opposite. I want to play the Hulk. Should I be able to have the Hulk be playable from 1st level?


I don't want every single fighter, no matter the concept, to be able to plane shift at level 9. I, too, want to be able to shrug my shoulders and say, sorry, I can't.

Uh, sure. Honestly, this barely even seems like a thing worth saying. Of course Fighters are going to be able to chose which abilities they have, and if you don't choose plane shift, you won't have it. That's how every character with plane shift already works (to one degree or another).


But at that point, why not play a wizard? Or a warlock? What are you doing to differentiate the fighter from the existing spellcasters besides allowing him to survive a particularly violent sneeze at first level? He carries a sword instead of a staff? And make no mistake, "I tear open a portal in time and space through the power of my biceps" is still magic.

Imagine you have a party that is The God Emperor of Man, a Pretender God, and Urza. Is there a possible character who would feel "martial" to you and still be able to usefully contribute to that party?

Talakeal
2017-06-07, 06:40 PM
Sure. And plenty of games that buff martials also don't have this problem. White Wolf games like Mage or Exalted don't encounter balance issues with mundanes and casters because no one is mundane. A starting mage in Shadowrun is probably the equivalent of an 8th to 10th level D&D Wizard, and the Street Samurai that adventures with him is totally able to keep up because she is a cybernetically augmented badass.

From what I have seen Shadowrun strikes a pretty good balance.

Honestly I don't think I would notice if someone inserted a muggle into our Mage group, while the power disparity exists in actual play it is moot as we are socializing, puzzle solving, and otherwise using mundane skills that the lack of magical ability would not be a huge handicap. Even in combat most of us used weapons rather than spells.

Exalted tries to embrace the different tiers of power. I personally am disappointed by this as it is a very cool setting and rules set, but I have no interest in playing or being overshadowed by a Solar Exalted. Still, I am not going to say the game doesn't have a right to exist or needs to be changed to cater to me when it is doing its own thing.



Again, sure. But people also like super tough guys with super powers. Diehard made a lot of money, as did other movies like John Wick and Fate of the Furious that feature mundane heroes. But Thor features a literal god, and it also made a lot of money, as will Wonder Woman, various Superman movies, and various other movies where the protagonist is recognizably martial and has superpowers.

And once more I must repeat, no one wants to take Conan away from you. The most radical solution at play here is that eventually, if you choose to advance long enough, you will no longer get to play Conan. Consider the opposite. I want to play the Hulk. Should I be able to have the Hulk be playable from 1st level?


The poster I was responding to said that it is the "natural progression" to give a tough guy super powers. I was not saying that Diehard is superior to Thor, merely that one need not naturally progress into the other, they can both do their own things.

Previous posters have said it isn't appropriate past level 6. By RAW you hit level six VERY quickly in 3.X. And it sucks having to retire my character (and then leave the group or be forced to play something I have no interest in) every few weeks.

But both should be possible. Hulk and Captain America "adventure" together all the time in the comics and movies. And Conan has beaten Captain America in a fight in the comics. And Conan is pretty good in some areas, but he is in no way the absolute pinnacle of a martial character.

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 06:46 PM
The most radical solution at play here is that eventually, if you choose to advance long enough, you will no longer get to play Conan. Consider the opposite. I want to play the Hulk. Should I be able to have the Hulk be playable from 1st level?For once I agree with you on almost everything in your post, except for this. And this I agree sort of, you will get away from the original concept as your character grows in power, but you don't have to leave it behind entirely. Besides the usual run of fighter powers being proposed, make him the worlds greatest detective, can identify individual rocks in ancient ruins. And that is just the first thing that came to my mind.

As for the Hulk. The barbarian class exists. So yes, in part.


Imagine you have a party that is The God Emperor of Man, a Pretender God, and Urza. Is there a possible character who would feel "martial" to you and still be able to usefully contribute to that party?Half the Dragon Ball cast. I mean they aren't the purest of martials but they are closer to that than they are to wizards. I can think of some others but they are unpublished.

Psyren
2017-06-07, 07:30 PM
Did anyone say that about rogues and fighters?

Maybe I'm just fixated on that one post, but I seem to remember it was suggested that martials should jump really high and be able to put dragons in a headlock.

I can't see a point in letting high level fighters cut a hole in reality, thus allowing the party to plane shift, as there are already wizards around in charge of plane shifting. I'd really prefer to see fighters do very excellent things that are different from the very excellent things that wizards do.

The thing is, I don't mind the spellcasters having access to the martial's toys too, it should just be a tradeoff. If that druid turns into a Primordial Dire Sasquatch, maybe jumping really high and putting dragons in a headlock is a thing he should be able to do at that point. But if he wants to be as good at that as a fighter or monk, it should cost some of his spellcasting prowess to do.



Important change bolded. Are you still interested in this book? And if so why?

I am, because spellcasters being able to do this kind of thing (planar travel) is easier to swallow. The most we would argue about is whether it should be as easy as simply putting Plane Shift in a slot in the morning, or whether it should be a full blown ritual with chanting and swaying and whatnot, but the mere fact that it is possible is not an issue.

Quertus
2017-06-07, 07:44 PM
Remember that taking damage negates spellcasting, so acid and poison and molten metal are all out of bounds, without significant other magic to prevent that. It reads like an overly generous interpretation of the spell, to me.

No, that's taken into account. Having... What was the spell... Protection from Fire? Prevents fire damage. Similar spell exists or could be invented for acid damage? Alternately, there was a proficiency to let you keep a spell if you only took one (or two?) damage, if you absolutely have to be independent, love to book dive, and think a burnt tongue is worth a crazy attack or a few million gold at first level.

Poison requires being undead, otherwise immune to poison... or, I suppose, a sacrificial character. Perhaps a particularly gullible apprentice?


The saves were a big part of it, yes.

But there is also the fact that wizards lost their spells very easily. And that most buffs could be cast on party members, meaning that a fighter / mage team was stronger than two mages or two fighters, and there was no component pouch / eschew materials / free wishes to get around the rare and expensive components that most of the good spells required.

There were also no magic item shops, and nothing to spend your mountains of gold on besides ale, w...enches, and spell components.

But, yes, parties benefit from working together in any edition.


Now, maybe it was just because we were less experienced at gaming and didn't have internet forums so most of the truly broken cheese went unnoticed. But it seems that a lot of the spells that are now considered "I win buttons," had built in limitations in AD&D that are just gone in 3.X. A lot of them are also fairly vaguely worded so that the DM can choose the less broken interpretation.

Out of curiosity, how do you feel that 3.X "buffed muggles?" The only thing I can think of is being able to use feats and prestige classes to build one trick ponies like an uber-charger or chain tripper, but imo that is nothing compared to the builds that casters can pull off with similar levels of optimization.

2e fighter vs 3e fighter? Well, I play mages, so I may get a few things wrong here, but...

3e fighter has more HP - including max HP at 1st level. Pity the poor 1 HP 2e fighter.

3e fighter is automatically proficient with lots of weapons.

3e fighter actually gets an attack bonus at level 1.

Rolled stats vs point buy, bonuses that start earlier, increasing stats on level up, stat boosters and an economy, etc.

3e fighter can take up to 4 attacks, without magic, plus another 3? 4? with the off hand. 2e fighter maxed out at... it's complicated. Usually, 2.5, +1 with the off hand. But double that with the right weapons. Or up to 6 with ranged attacks.

Or, as I mentioned, even ignoring raw stats, and even looking at them in their own world, 3e wins. Against their much stronger opposition, high-level 3e fighters can one-shot level-appropriate challenges, whereas 2e fighters are playing padded sumo by comparison.

2e fighter gets better saves, maybe more skills (although spreading a 3e fighters skills out would net the same results at high levels, I suspect), and... ? I'm not seeing the upside.


Maybe they are wearing armor over their throat. Maybe they wake up and pull away the moment they feel the knife touch their skin. Maybe they are wearing a ring of regeneration. Maybe their neck is simply too big for the knife to reach any of their vitals (remember this works on monsters as well). Maybe the attacker simply lacks the coordination, strength, anatomical knowledge, or killer instinct to make a clean cut.

If I'm killing a paralyzed target, I think I'll notice most neck protection and modify accordingly, paralyzed targets won't "wake up" (although waking up should be covered beforehand for a sleeping target by a perception check, separate from my killing them), regeneration will heal the 20d6 damage I suggested and should negate the concept of actually killing a sleeping target in the first place, the knife to the throat strategy should be modified as necessary for large opponents if the killer is at all competent (but I'll grant small children and many of my mages could fail at this or the "killer instinct" step), and I don't know enough to know how much skill it takes to slit someone's throat.

Still, you said it felt far too likely to work, thus my question of just how likely to work you felt would be realistic. Did my 20d6 damage feel like it would produce more believable results for trained killers vs helpless targets?

Cluedrew
2017-06-07, 08:26 PM
I am, because spellcasters being able to do this kind of thing (planar travel) is easier to swallow.Why not? There is nothing intently special about someone who trains as a wizard over one who trains as a fighter. What gives the wizard the key when the fighter cannot have one? Convention has been the traditional answer to that, but that is something we can change (and I often do), and if conventions are the only thing preventing us from making a better game: Rip them out.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-07, 08:48 PM
Okay, so the idea we have come the closest to a consensus on is:
-Fighters should get abilities, let's call them Edges because Feats is taken. Fighters should be able to choose some of these as the player was, building either some form of super-competent Conan or a Solar Exalted, as desired. These may go up go 'plane shift by swording/running/drinking REALLY HARD'.

For one we're not so key on:
-Wizards maybe should have less magic and focus more on mentor/scholar abilities.

I feel like either of these are acceptable ways to solve the 'magic versus swords' problem, or both of them being used together to some extent. The question is which would people prefer, I'm honestly much more interested in systems that bring down the wizard because even with weaker magic and warriors it's possible to run cosmic scale campaigns (as Planescape shows) but either is fine.


For an interesting idea, lets look at this from a science fiction perspective. Why is there generally less of a soldier/technician/psychic disparity compared to the warrior/wizard one? Is it just because technology theoretically being available to everyone closes the gap because the mundanes and the powered? Sure, technology can't always let you read minds, but when cybernetics, powered armour, and other things give 'normal people' increased ability to act there's a much smaller gap between them and psychics (which are generally weaker), and with building technology being relatively time consuming the guys who do that (which are normally the ones I play) feel more balanced compared to the guys doing the shooty bang bangs.

Talakeal
2017-06-07, 08:49 PM
There were also no magic item shops, and nothing to spend your mountains of gold on besides ale, w...enches, and spell components.

But, yes, parties benefit from working together in any edition.



2e fighter vs 3e fighter? Well, I play mages, so I may get a few things wrong here, but...

3e fighter has more HP - including max HP at 1st level. Pity the poor 1 HP 2e fighter.

3e fighter is automatically proficient with lots of weapons.

3e fighter actually gets an attack bonus at level 1.

Rolled stats vs point buy, bonuses that start earlier, increasing stats on level up, stat boosters and an economy, etc.

3e fighter can take up to 4 attacks, without magic, plus another 3? 4? with the off hand. 2e fighter maxed out at... it's complicated. Usually, 2.5, +1 with the off hand. But double that with the right weapons. Or up to 6 with ranged attacks.

Or, as I mentioned, even ignoring raw stats, and even looking at them in their own world, 3e wins. Against their much stronger opposition, high-level 3e fighters can one-shot level-appropriate challenges, whereas 2e fighters are playing padded sumo by comparison.

2e fighter gets better saves, maybe more skills (although spreading a 3e fighters skills out would net the same results at high levels, I suspect), and... ? I'm not seeing the upside.


Obviously you can't look at things in a vacuum; but 2e fighters seem to be a lot tougher in comparison to their opposition. An ancient red dragon, for example, has an average of 104 HP.

A level 20 fighter with weapon specialization, a bog standard +3 long sword, and gauntlets of ogre power will chew though that in under 3 rounds, assuming average rolls and a straight melee combat. That is hardly what I consider "padded sumo wrestler".

Compare that to the 660 HP behemoth with have in third edition. Now, I am sure you can build some crazy uber-charger combining options from a dozen different splat books who can one shot it, but your standard core only fighter twenty is going to take a hell of a lot more than 3 rounds to whittle the dragon down.

Now, I don't have a lot of experience with high level 3.X, but I am constantly seeing threads about how even in a melee fight a fighter will get over-classed by most every monster with a CR equal to their level, from wolves and bears at level 1 to giants at mid level and dragons and pit fiends at end game. Again, sure you can get make an optimized uber-character if you have all the books available and can make the character in a vacuum, but with a fraction of that effort the casters will be playing nigh-omnipotent reality warpers with access to unlimited XP free wishes.

But, if I am wrong, well then, good. We have proved that a purely martial character can indeed contribute in 3.X and we don't need to do anything to the balance as it is already working just fine.



If I'm killing a paralyzed target, I think I'll notice most neck protection and modify accordingly, paralyzed targets won't "wake up" (although waking up should be covered beforehand for a sleeping target by a perception check, separate from my killing them), regeneration will heal the 20d6 damage I suggested and should negate the concept of actually killing a sleeping target in the first place, the knife to the throat strategy should be modified as necessary for large opponents if the killer is at all competent (but I'll grant small children and many of my mages could fail at this or the "killer instinct" step), and I don't know enough to know how much skill it takes to slit someone's throat.

Still, you said it felt far too likely to work, thus my question of just how likely to work you felt would be realistic. Did my 20d6 damage feel like it would produce more believable results for trained killers vs helpless targets?

The AD&D rules for coup de grace: Attacks in combat against a sleeping or held character hit automatically and deal normal damage. Attacks out of combat against a sleeping or held character are automatically lethal.

That's it. Nothing matters. A rat biting a great wyrm gold dragon while it naps will, by raw, auto-kill it.

Also, no real definition of "held". Does it mean under the effects of a hold person spell? What about paralyzed by poison? What about grappled or tied up? No guidelines are in place AFAICT.

Now, you could argue that you could modify your method of Coup De Grace, but it requires you have the necessary means at hand and are be able to devise and implement your strategy without the target waking up or "escaping" whatever it is that is holding it in place.

20d6 is equally random and arbitrary, I much prefer the 3.X coup de grace rules myself.

Psyren
2017-06-07, 09:00 PM
Why not? There is nothing intently special about someone who trains as a wizard over one who trains as a fighter. What gives the wizard the key when the fighter cannot have one? Convention has been the traditional answer to that, but that is something we can change (and I often do), and if conventions are the only thing preventing us from making a better game: Rip them out.

If that makes the game better for you, then by all means rip away. For me though it's just not appealing. Magic should be special, and spellcasting (as the easiest form of magic to interfere with or disrupt) should be even moreso. For me, a fighter who can use his muscles to do things like plane shift or resurrection just doesn't make sense.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-07, 09:11 PM
If that makes the game better for you, then by all means rip away. For me though it's just not appealing. Magic should be special, and spellcasting (as the easiest form of magic to interfere with or disrupt) should be even moreso. For me, a fighter who can use his muscles to do things like plane shift or resurrection just doesn't make sense.

Why? Why should magic be so special. Give me a reason beyond 'it's magic'. What do you recommend so my 20th level fighter, wielding his father's sword that he had at level 1, isn't outclassed by the teleporting contingency-covered fireball-farting wizard? Why can't a fighter run so hard he shifts into the Astral Plane? Why can't a nonmagical character become so good at medicine that, now he has 20 ranks in the Heal skill, he takes the resurrection talent?

Why is magic so special that it gets access to stuff nobody else can possibly do, and that I can get locked out of just by not selecting the wizardgod class at character creation? Why can a wizard obliterate an army with a few gestures when fighters will be nearly out by the thirtieth man?

ijon
2017-06-07, 09:30 PM
Why can't a fighter run so hard he shifts into the Astral Plane?

because the astral police will ticket him for speeding

more seriously though, where would he even end up if he did that? the plane shift spell has the benefit of being able to say "okay, I want to go to this plane" and not have to worry about its location, but running to it would require you to actually know where it is. given the astral's plane endless nature, the chances of finding it normally are... unlikely, at best.

maybe fighters can't do it because the first one who figured it out is floating through the astral plane, unable to get back without a ground to run on

Psyren
2017-06-07, 09:35 PM
Why? Why should magic be so special. Give me a reason beyond 'it's magic'. What do you recommend so my 20th level fighter, wielding his father's sword that he had at level 1, isn't outclassed by the teleporting contingency-covered fireball-farting wizard? Why can't a fighter run so hard he shifts into the Astral Plane? Why can't a nonmagical character become so good at medicine that, now he has 20 ranks in the Heal skill, he takes the resurrection talent?

Why is magic so special that it gets access to stuff nobody else can possibly do, and that I can get locked out of just by not selecting the wizardgod class at character creation? Why can a wizard obliterate an army with a few gestures when fighters will be nearly out by the thirtieth man?

This is hyperbole. Wizards are god on message boards (and multiple contingencies is certainly bad design), but the actual proportion of tables that play at that level of power is far smaller. If yours does, then you likely have the system mastery to homebrew a T1 ExFighter that can keep up with them (or play a different system like Exalted) so go forth and have at it.

And I'm sorry if you want an answer other than "because it's magic," because that is the answer. If that does not satisfy, then I say again, homebrew or another system is the solution.

Knaight
2017-06-08, 12:50 AM
Imagine you have a party that is The God Emperor of Man, a Pretender God, and Urza. Is there a possible character who would feel "martial" to you and still be able to usefully contribute to that party?
Firstly, kudos on the Dominions reference (probably). With that said, that one at least has some martial archetypes that work, not least because some of the gods are frequently nonmagical in combat. Granted, said gods are usually a sixty foot long two headed poisonous snake so terrifying and awesome to behold that small armies run practically on sight, but that's exactly the sort of thing traditionally slain by martial heroes in more than a few stories.


Why? Why should magic be so special. Give me a reason beyond 'it's magic'. What do you recommend so my 20th level fighter, wielding his father's sword that he had at level 1, isn't outclassed by the teleporting contingency-covered fireball-farting wizard? Why can't a fighter run so hard he shifts into the Astral Plane? Why can't a nonmagical character become so good at medicine that, now he has 20 ranks in the Heal skill, he takes the resurrection talent?

Why is magic so special that it gets access to stuff nobody else can possibly do, and that I can get locked out of just by not selecting the wizardgod class at character creation? Why can a wizard obliterate an army with a few gestures when fighters will be nearly out by the thirtieth man?

"It's magic" is all the reason needed. The entire point of the classification of magic in the types of fantasy where this is an issue is that it is some sort of mystical catch all that can do what can't be done by other means. That doesn't mean it should be allowed to do everything, and that certainly doesn't mean that it should be convenient in the way D&D magic often is (rituals that are several days long, can only be performed under specific conditions, and which need serious resources that are hard to get put into them are ubiquitous in the literature), but things like shifting into another plane is what the magic is there for in the first place. That's why it should be restricted. The problem is that the Wizard is a whole bunch of magical traditions rammed together, with the benefits of the individual traditions largely kept and their limitations largely cut. It's part of the reason I tend to play other games, where these are obviated. Take REIGN - it has big powerful mages. It has a couple of army killing spells. It also has clear limits (mind control is strictly beyond what magic can do), it has its mutually exclusive and highly thematic magical traditions, and every single one of those magical army killing spells blows your location for everyone for hundreds of miles around right at the beginning of its several hour casting time. It's great against an army, but a small squad of elites can close the distance and drop the mage, probably without the mage even knowing they were there until they're suddenly a pin cushion. You can also have a spell that will basically let you ignore those arrows, but none of those magical traditions have the army killers.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-08, 01:25 AM
I mean, I don't ruin Do&D anymore precisely because I hate the magic.

I'll agree that the problem with D&D magic is that it tries to be all magic and then doesn't put real limits on its practitioners. I'm fine with all magic working under a unified system if a single mage won't learn a large number of spells and thus traditions are differentiated that way, or if magic is just focused on one tradition. Or if there's actual drawbacks to spells, as in they take time to cast or something.

Cluedrew
2017-06-08, 07:35 AM
If that makes the game better for you, then by all means rip away. For me though it's just not appealing. Magic should be special, and spellcasting (as the easiest form of magic to interfere with or disrupt) should be even moreso. For me, a fighter who can use his muscles to do things like plane shift or resurrection just doesn't make sense.That... makes a lot of sense actually. But that being said you can't do that in a setting like D&D. You could do it in other, but in D&D you have some people playing magic characters and other people playing non-magic characters. I don't think: "Sorry, you don't get to be special." is something that you should say to some (and not all) of the players.


I'll agree that the problem with D&D magic is that it tries to be all magic and then doesn't put real limits on its practitioners.Also a lack of thematic coherence and thin to non-existent internal logic. The magic was number 1 on my list of reasons I don't like D&D (I did a thread with a list of 5 a while back). It hasn't really progressed from the special ability magic of a wargame.

Lemmy
2017-06-08, 08:08 AM
Why should I not be allowed to experience 70% of what the game has to offer (not counting epic) because you don't like my character concept?

That's a disingenuous way of putting it... You are allowed to experience all of the game, you're the one saying you don't like part X it, but still wants to play it... Only you want it to be the same as part Y, which you like. The game gives you the tools for playing the type of game you want, but you want all other tools to do the same thing, rather than allowing different games. I enjoy playing a game where I can start as a random farm boy and grow in power to the point where my character can face god-like beings. D&D allows that. And it allows games where everyone starts as a super-powerful hero as well.


Leveling up literally means the character goes up in power. If you don't like characters past a certain tier of power, then don't play the levels where that tier of power is obtained. Character level is how D&D reflects and separates tiers of power. Wanting all levels to reflect the same tier of power is like saying you want all classes to be identical to the Paladin because that's your favorite class. It's not only a very selfish notion, but also makes for poor game design.


Even in legit super-hero genres, you have "badass-normals." The Justice League and the Avengers have more than a few, and if you count "has a magic item / sci-fi piece of tech" I would say that is actually the majority of the team at many points in time.

Making a competent martial who can go toe to toe with anything in the MM without dipping into super powers would be very simple, and most editions of D&D have managed it (more or less). Its just that 3.X has some fundamental issues in its class design process and didn't go far enough with play-testing to spot the "problem" spells.
Except those only wors because those stories have no set rules. It's a story where even the most nonsensical things can happen simply because the writer wishes it to be so. That's (thankfully) not the case of RPGs. Without writer's favoritism and ignoring obvious courses of action, those "badass normals" simply wouldn't be able to contribute... Which is why the most overpowered characters like Flash and Superman seemingly forget about their powers and/or become really stupid all the time.

Psyren
2017-06-08, 10:36 AM
That... makes a lot of sense actually. But that being said you can't do that in a setting like D&D. You could do it in other, but in D&D you have some people playing magic characters and other people playing non-magic characters. I don't think: "Sorry, you don't get to be special." is something that you should say to some (and not all) of the players.

Except that's not what I'm saying. Martials can be special. I would consider being able to decapitate a dragon or wrestle a balor to be pretty special things. But I do think there are certain things they shouldn't be able to do.

For spellcasters, they have access to more special things, but those things are dependent on spells. They are not the result of wholly innate talent. Thus there are vectors whereby enemy actors or environmental conditions can cause their {increased array of} special things to not function as desired 100% of the time.

The purpose of spells is to enable the members of the party to overcome greater challenges, as well as to (in a pinch) fill in for a party members that is incapable of performing their role. Say for example the party fighter is arrested and incarcerated - the party Rogue can infiltrate the prison and spring him. But if it's the ROGUE that got captured, you can have the wizard use Invisibility and Knock to go get him instead, or the druid turn into a dormouse and steal the keys. That sort of thing.

Where I think 3.5 (and to a lesser extent PF) went wrong is that it's far too easy for those casters to supplant the martial's roles. There's so little tradeoff or opportunity cost that the question of "why do we even have a Fighter" is a legitimate one. But when you get to, say, 5e and you see how limited caster ammunition and buffing is there, you realize that having a martial around is pretty damn handy. It's not hard to port this kind of paucity and necessity back into PF.

Quertus
2017-06-08, 10:50 AM
Why not? There is nothing intently special about someone who trains as a wizard over one who trains as a fighter. What gives the wizard the key when the fighter cannot have one? Convention has been the traditional answer to that, but that is something we can change (and I often do), and if conventions are the only thing preventing us from making a better game: Rip them out.

I can write a program to add numbers, or you can do that by hand. Sure. Believable.

I can write a program to model millions of individual components interacting with each other over millions or billions of iterations. Can you do that by hand? Well, maybe, in a few lifetimes... but... it's just not believable. I can do it, because "program".

That's what gives me the key that is such a hard sell for "by hand".

And it's pretty much the same thing with magic.

Which is why most of your high level fighters need to be mythical, magical, wuxia beings to contribute equally in high level play believably.


Okay, so the idea we have come the closest to a consensus on is:
-Fighters should get abilities, let's call them Edges because Feats is taken. Fighters should be able to choose some of these as the player was, building either some form of super-competent Conan or a Solar Exalted, as desired. These may go up go 'plane shift by swording/running/drinking REALLY HARD'.

In my original statement, everyone gets edges, just fighters get a LOT more. Let's not forget that little detail.


For one we're not so key on:
-Wizards maybe should have less magic and focus more on mentor/scholar abilities.

Yeah, no. I don't want to force your fighter to be able to plane shift, don't force my mage to be a scholar. I mean, Quertus probably wrote the books that the people who wrote the books you learned your knowledge skills from read, but not everyone should be Quertus.

And, if anything, I want the wizard to be more magical, not less. Creating a sage class isn't bad, but killing wizard to make it is.




I feel like either of these are acceptable ways to solve the 'magic versus swords' problem, or both of them being used together to some extent. The question is which would people prefer, I'm honestly much more interested in systems that bring down the wizard because even with weaker magic and warriors it's possible to run cosmic scale campaigns (as Planescape shows) but either is fine.


For an interesting idea, lets look at this from a science fiction perspective. Why is there generally less of a soldier/technician/psychic disparity compared to the warrior/wizard one? Is it just because technology theoretically being available to everyone closes the gap because the mundanes and the powered? Sure, technology can't always let you read minds, but when cybernetics, powered armour, and other things give 'normal people' increased ability to act there's a much smaller gap between them and psychics (which are generally weaker), and with building technology being relatively time consuming the guys who do that (which are normally the ones I play) feel more balanced compared to the guys doing the shooty bang bangs.

Well, building magic items or researching spells is slow, too...


Obviously you can't look at things in a vacuum;

My 1st level fighter can one hit kill all his goblin opponents. Superman cannot do the same to Galactus Therefore my first level fighter is more powerful than Superman? Um... no. I don't think that's how that works.

The 2e fighter is weaker than both the 3e fighter and Superman.

That WotC scaled up the opposition is a separate issue.


but 2e fighters seem to be a lot tougher in comparison to their opposition. An ancient red dragon, for example, has an average of 104 HP.

A level 20 fighter with weapon specialization, a bog standard +3 long sword, and gauntlets of ogre power will chew though that in under 3 rounds, assuming average rolls and a straight melee combat. That is hardly what I consider "padded sumo wrestler".

I did say by comparison. And, sadly, I've seen a LOT of really bad 2e fighters.

Your average fighter build? 7 attacks, maybe 5 of which hit, for 5d8+55? Oh. Stupid size-based damage. 5d12+55. Plus the attack from the initial charge, 6d12+66. Four rounds to believably kill it. Sure.

Core 3e fighter? Mounted, Spirited Charge, Lance +1, Rhino Hide Armor, specialization, deals what 4d8+36 in a hit? And that's the 4th level, core only fighter, as built by someone who plays mages. That could take down that same dragon at just as quickly. Well, aside from attacking at 4(BAB) + 4(Str) + 1(Wpn) + 1(WF) + 1(HighGround) + 2(Charge) = +13.


Compare that to the 660 HP behemoth with have in third edition. Now, I am sure you can build some crazy uber-charger combining options from a dozen different splat books who can one shot it, but your standard core only fighter twenty is going to take a hell ofp a lot more than 3 rounds to whittle the dragon down..

A properly buffed core only rogue should nearly kill it in one round. With the fighters help, they could.

A properly buffed Core only charger? We'd need at least 50 base damage to take the dragon down in 4 rounds. Hmmm... 5(Wpn) + 12+6(Str) + 2(WpnSpec) + 6(Luck) + 40(P-Att). I think we've got that covered. If 3 of those attacks hit, that's 3d8+852. I haven't done the math, but with quickened True Strike in a Ring of Spell Storing, I think we can pull it off.


Now, I don't have a lot of experience with high level 3.X, but I am constantly seeing threads about how even in a melee fight a fighter will get over-classed by most every monster with a CR equal to their level, from wolves and bears at level 1 to giants at mid level and dragons and pit fiends at end game. Again, sure you can get make an optimized uber-character if you have all the books available and can make the character in a vacuum, but with a fraction of that effort the casters will be playing nigh-omnipotent reality warpers with access to unlimited XP free wishes.


But, if I am wrong, well then, good. We have proved that a purely martial character can indeed contribute in 3.X and we don't need to do anything to the balance as it is already working just fine.

You're not wrong, you're just barking up the wrong tree. Fighters can contribute with damage and... not much else.

I, for one, would like to see fighters get a little more breadth, and wizards get a little more staying power, in the form of them both getting an unequal number of (usually at will) really cool mythic Edges.


The AD&D rules for coup de grace: Attacks in combat against a sleeping or held character hit automatically and deal normal damage. Attacks out of combat against a sleeping or held character are automatically lethal.

That's it. Nothing matters. A rat biting a great wyrm gold dragon while it naps will, by raw, auto-kill it.

Also, no real definition of "held". Does it mean under the effects of a hold person spell? What about paralyzed by poison? What about grappled or tied up? No guidelines are in place AFAICT.

Now, you could argue that you could modify your method of Coup De Grace, but it requires you have the necessary means at hand and are be able to devise and implement your strategy without the target waking up or "escaping" whatever it is that is holding it in place.

20d6 is equally random and arbitrary, I much prefer the 3.X coup de grace rules myself.

Ok. I suspect 2e is closer to the correct lethality for trained killers killing sleeping humans, but 3e is close enough for my taste.


Why? Why should magic be so special. Give me a reason beyond 'it's magic'. What do you recommend so my 20th level fighter, wielding his father's sword that he had at level 1, isn't outclassed by the teleporting contingency-covered fireball-farting wizard? Why can't a fighter run so hard he shifts into the Astral Plane? Why can't a nonmagical character become so good at medicine that, now he has 20 ranks in the Heal skill, he takes the resurrection talent?

Why is magic so special that it gets access to stuff nobody else can possibly do, and that I can get locked out of just by not selecting the wizardgod class at character creation? Why can a wizard obliterate an army with a few gestures when fighters will be nearly out by the thirtieth man?

I'm mostly with you on this one. Red Shirt #1024 is not a 20th level character. But I do want even the tier 1 classes to get a couple of these Edges, too. Makes them feel more integrated into the world.


because the astral police will ticket him for speeding

more seriously though, where would he even end up if he did that? the plane shift spell has the benefit of being able to say "okay, I want to go to this plane" and not have to worry about its location, but running to it would require you to actually know where it is. given the astral's plane endless nature, the chances of finding it normally are... unlikely, at best.

maybe fighters can't do it because the first one who figured it out is floating through the astral plane, unable to get back without a ground to run on

I think you can move by will alone on the astral?


Firstly, kudos on the Dominions reference (probably). With that said, that one at least has some martial archetypes that work, not least because some of the gods are frequently nonmagical in combat. Granted, said gods are usually a sixty foot long two headed poisonous snake so terrifying and awesome to behold that small armies run practically on sight, but that's exactly the sort of thing traditionally slain by martial heroes in more than a few stories.



"It's magic" is all the reason needed. The entire point of the classification of magic in the types of fantasy where this is an issue is that it is some sort of mystical catch all that can do what can't be done by other means. That doesn't mean it should be allowed to do everything, and that certainly doesn't mean that it should be convenient in the way D&D magic often is (rituals that are several days long, can only be performed under specific conditions, and which need serious resources that are hard to get put into them are ubiquitous in the literature), but things like shifting into another plane is what the magic is there for in the first place. That's why it should be restricted. The problem is that the Wizard is a whole bunch of magical traditions rammed together, with the benefits of the individual traditions largely kept and their limitations largely cut. It's part of the reason I tend to play other games, where these are obviated. Take REIGN - it has big powerful mages. It has a couple of army killing spells. It also has clear limits (mind control is strictly beyond what magic can do), it has its mutually exclusive and highly thematic magical traditions, and every single one of those magical army killing spells blows your location for everyone for hundreds of miles around right at the beginning of its several hour casting time. It's great against an army, but a small squad of elites can close the distance and drop the mage, probably without the mage even knowing they were there until they're suddenly a pin cushion. You can also have a spell that will basically let you ignore those arrows, but none of those magical traditions have the army killers.

Doesn't sound like the kind of game I want to play - certainly not when I sit down to play D&D.


I mean, I don't ruin Do&D anymore precisely because I hate the magic.

I'll agree that the problem with D&D magic is that it tries to be all magic and then doesn't put real limits on its practitioners. I'm fine with all magic working under a unified system if a single mage won't learn a large number of spells and thus traditions are differentiated that way, or if magic is just focused on one tradition. Or if there's actual drawbacks to spells, as in they take time to cast or something.

But why? Why the hate for characters actually having applicable toolkits? The reason people hate on fighters is that their toolkit is so very small, and difficult to apply to most problems. Why in the world would you want to try to give those same problems to the wizard?

ijon
2017-06-08, 11:19 AM
But why? Why the hate for characters actually having applicable toolkits? The reason people hate on fighters is that their toolkit is so very small, and difficult to apply to most problems. Why in the world would you want to try to give those same problems to the wizard?

it's undeniably a way to get the wizard and warblade (or fighter, but the fighter is just so boring as a class) on the same level; and it makes them more predictable to balance around, for game designers, DMs, and players.

the obvious solution would be to have a tier system (god/legend/hero/citizen tiers) built into the game itself, or have the game explicitly built around a certain tier, but at that point you might as well be designing an entirely new game, and then people would argue about the tiers there as well. (edit: if anyone even plays it)

could just play GURPS, but who wants to do that?

Knaight
2017-06-08, 12:16 PM
But why? Why the hate for characters actually having applicable toolkits? The reason people hate on fighters is that their toolkit is so very small, and difficult to apply to most problems. Why in the world would you want to try to give those same problems to the wizard?

Nobody is hating characters having applicable toolkits. There's all sorts of limitations that can be introduced to casters which still leave magic as really useful but not a solution for everything, and the games with those restrictions also rarely (in my experience never, but I'm sure there's something) restrict warriors to the sort of ridiculous restrictions present in the D&D editions that had these problems at their worst*. The complaint is also generally that the fighter has a toolkit so outclassed by the wizard and not just that it's on the small side.

What people are finding irritating is omnicompetent mages that compare favorably to most gods and basically all superheroes. If switching to a high powered superhero game is a way to lower the power level from a fantasy game, the fantasy game has left the area I'm likely to be interested in long ago.

*2+int skill points. I know I keep coming back to it, but seriously, 2+int? 2+int?

Quertus
2017-06-08, 12:40 PM
That... makes a lot of sense actually. But that being said you can't do that in a setting like D&D. You could do it in other, but in D&D you have some people playing magic characters and other people playing non-magic characters. I don't think: "Sorry, you don't get to be special." is something that you should say to some (and not all) of the players.

Also a lack of thematic coherence and thin to non-existent internal logic. The magic was number 1 on my list of reasons I don't like D&D (I did a thread with a list of 5 a while back). It hasn't really progressed from the special ability magic of a wargame.

I agree, someone needs to write a book on exactly how D&D magic works.


Nobody is hating characters having applicable toolkits. There's all sorts of limitations that can be introduced to casters which still leave magic as really useful but not a solution for everything, and the games with those restrictions also rarely (in my experience never, but I'm sure there's something) restrict warriors to the sort of ridiculous restrictions present in the D&D editions that had these problems at their worst*. The complaint is also generally that the fighter has a toolkit so outclassed by the wizard and not just that it's on the small side.

What people are finding irritating is omnicompetent mages that compare favorably to most gods and basically all superheroes. If switching to a high powered superhero game is a way to lower the power level from a fantasy game, the fantasy game has left the area I'm likely to be interested in long ago.

*2+int skill points. I know I keep coming back to it, but seriously, 2+int? 2+int?

2e fighters started with 3 non-weapon proficiencies. And usually had to spend them on things like start a fire or cook food. And some skills cost up to 4 slots to learn. Yet people didn't complain about it as much as they do about 3e.

Cosi
2017-06-08, 12:58 PM
Exalted tries to embrace the different tiers of power. I personally am disappointed by this as it is a very cool setting and rules set, but I have no interest in playing or being overshadowed by a Solar Exalted.

The premise of Exalted is "superhumans doing superhuman things". If you explicitly reject the idea of being a superhuman, what's left?


The poster I was responding to said that it is the "natural progression" to give a tough guy super powers. I was not saying that Diehard is superior to Thor, merely that one need not naturally progress into the other, they can both do their own things.

Yes, if you don't progress, you don't need to become more powerful. But what is John McClane supposed to do when he shows up in a party with Khellus, the Lord Ruler, and Gideon Jura? Cry?


Previous posters have said it isn't appropriate past level 6. By RAW you hit level six VERY quickly in 3.X. And it sucks having to retire my character (and then leave the group or be forced to play something I have no interest in) every few weeks.

I agree. support advancement paradigms that work for people with a character concept that doesn't scale indefinitely. Not just John McClane or Conan, but also things like Spiderman, who don't get a big upgrades to their powers terribly often (if at all). The solution to that is E6 (or E10, or whatever level your concept works at). There's easily enough content at 5th or 13th or whatever level to support all the adventures you could want to have, so just have those adventures.


But both should be possible. Hulk and Captain America "adventure" together all the time in the comics and movies. And Conan has beaten Captain America in a fight in the comics. And Conan is pretty good in some areas, but he is in no way the absolute pinnacle of a martial character.

Single author fiction has different needs that cooperative fiction. Just because you can tell a story with Hulk and Captain America doesn't necessarily mean they work as characters in D&D.


For once I agree with you on almost everything in your post, except for this. And this I agree sort of, you will get away from the original concept as your character grows in power, but you don't have to leave it behind entirely. Besides the usual run of fighter powers being proposed, make him the worlds greatest detective, can identify individual rocks in ancient ruins. And that is just the first thing that came to my mind.

It depends on what your character concept is. If your concept is something scalable like "has pet beasts that eat his enemies" or "flies into a rage and gains great strength", you can keep doing that basically forever. The Beastmaster can go from a pet wolf to a pet bear to a pet wyvern to a pet hydra and so on forever, getting progressively bigger and better pets as the game requires. But if your concept is "is mundane" or some other way of saying "is below some particular power level" you can only advance until you reach that power level. Then you have to stop.


As for the Hulk. The barbarian class exists. So yes, in part.

I don't really see how a Barbarian is Hulk in any way that, say, Goku is not a Fighter. If you think Goku isn't an appropriate thing for Fighters to become, it seems well within my rights to claim that Barbarian is not a good representation of the Hulk.


Half the Dragon Ball cast. I mean they aren't the purest of martials but they are closer to that than they are to wizards. I can think of some others but they are unpublished.

I don't think the people who are complaining that things are "too anime" will be satisfied with literal anime characters as a solution.


even with weaker magic and warriors it's possible to run cosmic scale campaigns (as Planescape shows) but either is fine.

I don't think this is true. Or rather, I don't think the implication (that powering down casters doesn't remove options from the playspace) is at all true. If you take away plane shift, you can't do The Chronicles of Amber. Now, you may not want to do The Chronicles of Amber, and that's fine, but it seems clear to me that as long as the game promises kitchen sink fantasy (and any game with more than five kinds of fish person is certainly that), the system should be able to do The Chronicles of Amber.


Firstly, kudos on the Dominions reference (probably). With that said, that one at least has some martial archetypes that work, not least because some of the gods are frequently nonmagical in combat. Granted, said gods are usually a sixty foot long two headed poisonous snake so terrifying and awesome to behold that small armies run practically on sight, but that's exactly the sort of thing traditionally slain by martial heroes in more than a few stories.

Well, the martial gods (or other supercombatants) are typically looking at something that is approximately Frightful Presence, some kind of AoE, and a whole pile of immunities, plus generally some pre-combat buff magic. In general, I don't think you can beat that with any single character that falls in the range that people seem to want for "martial".


That's a disingenuous way of putting it... You are allowed to experience all of the game, you're the one saying you don't like part X it, but still wants to play it... Only you want it to be the same as part Y, which you like. The game gives you the tools for playing the type of game you want, but you want all other tools to do the same thing, rather than allowing different games. I enjoy playing a game where I can start as a random farm boy and grow in power to the point where my character can face god-like beings. D&D allows that. And it allows games where everyone starts as a super-powerful hero as well.

Pretty much this. The game has a part where you can be Conan. If you insist that Conan always be viable life choice, I can never have adventures where Conan isn't a viable life choice. I really don't see how objections to "if you want to play at high levels, you need to play a character concept that works at high levels" amount to anything other than entitlement.

Mordar
2017-06-08, 01:30 PM
Sure. And plenty of games that buff martials also don't have this problem. White Wolf games like Mage or Exalted don't encounter balance issues with mundanes and casters because no one is mundane. A starting mage in Shadowrun is probably the equivalent of an 8th to 10th level D&D Wizard, and the Street Samurai that adventures with him is totally able to keep up because she is a cybernetically augmented badass.


From what I have seen Shadowrun strikes a pretty good balance.

The Street Sam is a gear-based archetype whose primary badassery takes the form of hitting things really fast (or pulling the trigger really fast), hitting things really hard (via strength or accuracy), and soaking up a lot of damage. Pretty much exactly the things the DnD warrior type is (a) supposed to do and (b) decried as limited because it is what they do. Why is that balanced in SR but not in DnD? Particularly when you consider that mages/shaman in SR have access to the same armors and weapons as their Samurai counterparts. It has to be, at least in large part, because of the other side of the equation. Magic just isn't as game-breaking in SR in my opinion, for whatever reasons. I don't know the newest version of SR (5th ed?)...but I'm not seeing a rookie Mage/Shaman matching anywhere close to a 8-10th level DnD Wizard.


Okay, so the idea we have come the closest to a consensus on is:
-Fighters should get abilities, let's call them Edges because Feats is taken. Fighters should be able to choose some of these as the player was, building either some form of super-competent Conan or a Solar Exalted, as desired. These may go up go 'plane shift by swording/running/drinking REALLY HARD'.

For one we're not so key on:
-Wizards maybe should have less magic and focus more on mentor/scholar abilities.

I was thinking of doing basically this sort of thing this morning. Assuming one wants to play in the DnD system(s) and wants to alter the existing balances, what are the potential solutions to martial/caster imbalance?

1) Martial Side

Add some/more wuxia feats (so my warrior can run at cheetah speeds, send a sword-shockwave through the enemy OR heal others by surrendering hitpoints)
Add some/more wuxia classes (so my warrior can run at cheetah speeds, send a sword-shockwave through the enemy AND heal others by surrendering hitpoints)
Modify/create loot system to allow martials to selectively enhance their gear (materia-system to give loot-based characters greater flexibility)
Modify existing class progressions to include supernatural/magical abilities (at 9th level can Dimension Door/Teleport/Plane Shift by slashing a hole in reality, etc)
Limit play to a certain subset of levels and transition to caster at a given level threshold.


4) Magic Side

Limit spell lists/spells known (through play, by creating caster sub-types that expand on the "school" limitations)
Incorporate limitations on casting (return to physical components, incorporate drain/fatigue (ala ShadowRun)
Alter selected spells (create a more support-oriented perspective)
Limit play to a certain subset of levels and transition to caster at a given level threshold.


What else is out there?

- M

Cosi
2017-06-08, 03:02 PM
The Street Sam is a gear-based archetype whose primary badassery takes the form of hitting things really fast (or pulling the trigger really fast), hitting things really hard (via strength or accuracy), and soaking up a lot of damage. Pretty much exactly the things the DnD warrior type is (a) supposed to do and (b) decried as limited because it is what they do. Why is that balanced in SR but not in DnD?

Because in D&D your gear is a sword and in Shadowrun it is a fully automatic high caliber machine gun. Basically, the ceiling of how good you can be is higher, and people who have to be mundane are consequentially able to remain useful longer. Conjuring up a spirit is dangerous, but it's not terribly more dangerous than piloting an assault drone. fireball is not particularly different from a sufficiently large pile of explosives.


Particularly when you consider that mages/shaman in SR have access to the same armors and weapons as their Samurai counterparts. It has to be, at least in large part, because of the other side of the equation. Magic just isn't as game-breaking in SR in my opinion, for whatever reasons.

My understanding is that, practically speaking, they do not have access to those resources. My knowledge of Shadowrun is somewhat limited, but my understanding is that most cyberware you buy makes you less good at doing magic, and people who want to be mages cannot also be cyborg killing machines.

Also, in D&D a Wizard has access to all the options Clerics have (he can, after all, simply take Cleric levels). And yet, Clerics and Wizards are distinct, because the cost structure is such that it is better to invest in exclusively "Wizard Things" or "Cleric Things".

Finally, Shadowrun doesn't scale as far up as D&D does. Even D&D doesn't (intentionally) hit the power levels of Oldwalkers or Pretender Gods until epic.


I don't know the newest version of SR (5th ed?)...but I'm not seeing a rookie Mage/Shaman matching anywhere close to a 8-10th level DnD Wizard.

My understanding is that a Shadowrun mage gets the following just for waking up in the morning:

1. The ability to perceive auras on the astral plane (roughly arcane sight, a third level spell).
2. The ability to move around on the astral (practically somewhat similar to scry, a fourth level spell).
3. The ability to summon spirits (lesser planar binding, a fifth level spell, but not broken)
4. Various other powers that, from what I hear, seem to be similar to third or fourth level spells like fireball or greater invisibility

That seems like a package that is competitive with an 8th level Wizard.


Limit play to a certain subset of levels and transition to caster at a given level threshold.

Not necessarily "caster", just "not mundane". Thor isn't a caster, and he's totally fine as a high level character.

Arbane
2017-06-08, 03:10 PM
In a different way, there's also the problem that supreme martial might tends to break the capabilities of tabletop mechanistically. If you drop a high-level wizard onto a battlefield they might easily kill thousands of goons, but they'll do so by casting a handful of devastating area-effect spells and summons. A high level fighter might, if given enough time do the same thing (OOTS has the sequence where Belkar goes 'sexy shoeless god of war' and slaughters hundreds of hobgoblins), but you can't actually run a sequence at the table where each PC kills hundreds of mooks. You need too many dice, it takes too long, and there's no good system for abstracting the damage. It's perfectly possible to build a game around doing that - the Dynasty Warrior series is phenomenally successful and even manages to model martials and casters in the same fashion - but it is beyond the capabilities of tabletop to represent that experience.

You can't do it with CURRENT D&D rules. I've seen plenty of other games that handle 'one PC vs an army' reasonably well. But allowing a FIGHTER to do AoE damage (to everyone within arms' reach) is so terrifyingly overpowered that it needs massive feat-taxes.


The problem here is a conceptual one. "Warps reality with his mind" is a better concept than "hits things really hard with a stick".

How about "Knows a few tricks" vs. "Action Hero"? Does that reframing make Caster Supremacy seem slightly less inevitable?


So at the limit of infinite advancement (and very likely before that), characters who are "magic" will always be better than characters who are "mundane". Squaring that circle is not trivial, but solutions do exist.

This assumes there's no good reasons NOT to use magic when it's available. I can think of plenty of other games where that's just not the case. (Mostly horror or at least dark-fantasy, admittedly, but also any game with a non-zero chance of spell fumbles...)


What if I want to be CuChullain? Heracles? They aren't anime, but they can do awesome stuff!

Why can't my character with 20 Strength punch through a brick wall or leap cattle battlements in a single bound? Great feats have been a part of legends since before anime was a thing.

It's like banning lasers from a cyberpunk game for being 'too space opera'.

Actual legends are far 'Too Anime' for D&D. Even the Knights of the Round Table. (http://prokopetz.tumblr.com/post/127347909207/on-legendry)



In some ways I think I understand what you are getting at...but in other ways I think some points are being missed. Cu Chulainn (as far as I understand) was a raging battle machine, but evidenced no super-human feats of which I am aware (wall destroying, battlement leaping).


He could glow like the sun, had a 'warp-spasm' that turned him into a raging monster that was even MORE superhuman but couldn't tell friend from foe, could throw a barbed spear (his famous Gae Bolg) so that the barbs shot through every part of the target's body (and he could throw it with his toes like that), and in a fight with a friend, the friend missed him on purpose and his swing cut the tops off three mountains instead.

And like any self-respecting Irish hero, he could leap over a branch higher than his own head and outrun a pack of angry dogs while pulling a thorn from his foot without breaking stride. Just normal stuff.


As far as the Berserk question - sorry, no frame of reference (never watched) so my answer is going to be slightly different. "For the same reason I can't be Rambo, cakking people with my hip-fired M60 and creating medium-yield nuclear devices with stuff I found in the shed. And then gets to fly by exuding awesome from the soles of his feet." Because not everyone should be able to be capable of everything in DnD.

Only wizards.

FYI, Berserk is a pretty good indication of what a MID-level D&D fighter should look like: he can kill a 100 men in one battle while fighting alone, but he really struggles against some supernatural stuff.


"Wouldn't it be cool if his sword was also a gun" "But then why does he need the sword?"


How about a high-velocity Sniper-Scythe? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYW2GmHB5xs)


Well obviously, but why would they think that's actually better? A bigger sword is inherently less effective than a smaller sword past a certain point.

If you're fighting individual humans, sure. If you're fighting entire armies, maybe less so. And if you hunt kaiju for a living, you might need a big enough weapon to draw blood.


The thing I find strange is people whine incessently whenever a martial type gets to do anything interesting with cries of "versimilitude" and "too anime" but I never ever see those same people complain that magic should be removed from the game. And yet spellcasting is just as much a break in versimilitude as a martial being able to physics defying stuff.


To quote a wise guy at Something Awful about exactly this problem: "As always, magic is limited by your imagination - if you can imagine it happening, it does. And martial powers are limited by your imagination - if you can imagine a reason why it can't happen, it doesn't." - LightWarden


That's why new fantasy games should claim to be Exalted riffs instead of D&D riffs.

How about both? (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185959/Godbound-A-Game-of-Divine-Heroes-Free-Edition) :smallbiggrin:


I think the people saying "martials shouldn't be able to do X" don't really get the point of a level-based system.

If you want characters to be reasonably realistic, D&D already allows for that... Just keep it at low level. That's what being low level MEANS.

It doesn't make sense to go "I want my character to reach 18th without being able to do impossible stuff". Then that character is not 18th level... It's a 6th level character with extra feats and hp.

Yes. I read a good comment on another forum saying that, essentially, the Fighters Can't Have Nice Things crowd are conceptually stuck with Fighters being characters whose premises top out around level 4 or 5, but they still want to keep playing those character all the way to higher levels where they become increasingly irrelevant.


I also think one of the problems you run into is less "What Fighters can do" and more "What Wizards can do". Rewriting the wizard spell list to be more linear would solve the problem.

4th Edition tried that, and the oldtimers HATED it. They want their Real Ultimate Cosmic Wizardly Power, dammit.

Mordar
2017-06-08, 03:53 PM
Shadowrun hijack!


Because in D&D your gear is a sword and in Shadowrun it is a fully automatic high caliber machine gun. Basically, the ceiling of how good you can be is higher, and people who have to be mundane are consequentially able to remain useful longer. Conjuring up a spirit is dangerous, but it's not terribly more dangerous than piloting an assault drone. fireball is not particularly different from a sufficiently large pile of explosives.

Finally, Shadowrun doesn't scale as far up as D&D does. Even D&D doesn't (intentionally) hit the power levels of Oldwalkers or Pretender Gods until epic.

I think the latter of these two comments really does hit the nail on the head...bad guys generally still have 10 boxes of health, be they chump or super sam...it's just a matter of inflicting those 10 boxes of health. Fireballs and machine guns can do pretty much the same level of damage (resisted in different ways) so there is more built-in balance as well. So better built in balance and reduced scaling keeps parity, for the most part.


My understanding is that, practically speaking, they do not have access to those resources. My knowledge of Shadowrun is somewhat limited, but my understanding is that most cyberware you buy makes you less good at doing magic, and people who want to be mages cannot also be cyborg killing machines.

Also, in D&D a Wizard has access to all the options Clerics have (he can, after all, simply take Cleric levels). And yet, Clerics and Wizards are distinct, because the cost structure is such that it is better to invest in exclusively "Wizard Things" or "Cleric Things".

I was referring specifically to armor and weapons...the cyberware enhances the ability to resist damage or to use the weapons, but the weapons and armor themselves are off-the-rack and can be used by anyone. Thus both our street sam and mage can carry (and use...effectively!) the assault rifle while wearing armored clothing with an armored jacket or duster over the top of it. The Sam might get an extra handful of Body dice to resist the damage (and Combat Pool to resist/dodge) and a better chance to hit with the rifle because of his smart link, but they both get to use the same armor and weapons. [Aside: And the mage/shaman can also have spells/locks that increase their body or reflexes that mimic the cyberware, if generally not as effectively].

So the question becomes one of role desired and not necessarily one of potential.


My understanding is that a Shadowrun mage gets the following just for waking up in the morning:

1. The ability to perceive auras on the astral plane (roughly arcane sight, a third level spell).
2. The ability to move around on the astral (practically somewhat similar to scry, a fourth level spell).
3. The ability to summon spirits (lesser planar binding, a fifth level spell, but not broken)
4. Various other powers that, from what I hear, seem to be similar to third or fourth level spells like fireball or greater invisibility

That seems like a package that is competitive with an 8th level Wizard.

I understand better now where you're going with this. They can perceive/project (with attendant benefits and risks...much higher risks than I think you suppose) astrally, but with greater limitations than either spell you've listed (based on my recollection of the DnD spells). The information gained is significantly less, the obstacles significantly higher. Summoning elementals or nature spirits is (assuming you're built for it) pretty simple...but their scope and magnitude of power is again pretty limited. It really is a lot more on level with the Summon Monster spells, but with more flexibility and less combat benefit.

As for the rest...as mentioned, the bolts and balls are pretty similar in damage scope to guns with the flexibility to (a) scale their potency to your top casting power (with greater fatigue/drain) and (b) target physical (fire/power), mental (mana) or environmental (the special elemental spells) defenses.

In short, if you came into SR as an experienced DnD player thinking you were going to have the potency and array of abilities of a 9th level kitted Wizard, you'd probably be disappointed. That doesn't mean you wouldn't still really enjoy the experience.

- M

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-08, 04:13 PM
In my original statement, everyone gets edges, just fighters get a LOT more. Let's not forget that little detail.

True, although I think we're starting to get to the point where we're at the very least writing a 3.75, potentially an alternative 4e (and I'd love to write a Mazes & Minotaurs-esque 'what if 4e went in a different direction' game, potentially really focusing on the ritual magic).


Yeah, no. I don't want to force your fighter to be able to plane shift, don't force my mage to be a scholar. I mean, Quertus probably wrote the books that the people who wrote the books you learned your knowledge skills from read, but not everyone should be Quertus.

And, if anything, I want the wizard to be more magical, not less. Creating a sage class isn't bad, but killing wizard to make it is.

I mean, ideally you wouldn't have to be a scholar to be a wizard or a wizard to be a scholar. If you wanted to say be a standard soldier you'd pick a Fighter and mainly take soldering Edges (oh look, I can march for 16 hours without resting while pulling a cart, just as a top of my head example), while if you wanted to be a student of a prestigious fighting academy you might sprinkle in some scholar abilities (such as, I dunno, an X/day power to make a knowledge check as an aid another on an ally's attack roll?). Similarly a warmage would pick the magician class and sprinkle on a bunch of soldier edges (although less than a soldier fighter). Both could also pick connection Edges to represent being members of the Aristocracy (it doesn't seem possible but I've got a friend in every town or something along those lines).

Heck, this would potentially solve the problem of 'stat X is useless to class Y', where each character has one or two primary ability scores from their class, and a couple of tertiaries from the Edges they select.

As I've said, my personal view is 'grab the wizard and tear him down a couple of notches'.


Well, building magic items or researching spells is slow, too...

True, but it's a bit different to technology. Building items and researching spells is an extra for a mage (they likely have a lot of spells to memorise already), while it's in many ways the prime ability of a technologist.


But why? Why the hate for characters actually having applicable toolkits? The reason people hate on fighters is that their toolkit is so very small, and difficult to apply to most problems. Why in the world would you want to try to give those same problems to the wizard?

I always thought the fighter hate wasn't because their toolkit was small in absolute terms, but because it's comparatively nonexistant compared to the wizard's. There's two ways to solve this, buffing the fighter or nerfing the wizard, I'm a proponent of both at once.

Because honestly, a less versatile wizard would be much easier to balance.


could just play GURPS, but who wants to do that?

Me.


Nobody is hating characters having applicable toolkits. There's all sorts of limitations that can be introduced to casters which still leave magic as really useful but not a solution for everything, and the games with those restrictions also rarely (in my experience never, but I'm sure there's something) restrict warriors to the sort of ridiculous restrictions present in the D&D editions that had these problems at their worst*. The complaint is also generally that the fighter has a toolkit so outclassed by the wizard and not just that it's on the small side.

What people are finding irritating is omnicompetent mages that compare favorably to most gods and basically all superheroes. If switching to a high powered superhero game is a way to lower the power level from a fantasy game, the fantasy game has left the area I'm likely to be interested in long ago.

*2+int skill points. I know I keep coming back to it, but seriously, 2+int? 2+int?

I know, if I ever build this 'alternative 4e' skill points are being boosted across the board. Everyone will get something like 10+int per level, to be invested how they wish, and the ideas of 'more skilled classes' and 'class skills' can be thrown in the bin.

Because honestly, class skills? It's not enough for you to say I'm bad at tasks designated as 'skills', but now you're designating exactly how I'm bad at these tasks? Always the first thing I threw out.


I don't think this is true. Or rather, I don't think the implication (that powering down casters doesn't remove options from the playspace) is at all true. If you take away plane shift, you can't do The Chronicles of Amber. Now, you may not want to do The Chronicles of Amber, and that's fine, but it seems clear to me that as long as the game promises kitchen sink fantasy (and any game with more than five kinds of fish person is certainly that), the system should be able to do The Chronicles of Amber.

I mean, part of how Planescape manages it is by essentially cheating. The players begin at the cosmic locations and can then just walk to any place they wish if they can find the right portals.

Again, I'm also in the camp of 'D&D should pick a narrower subgenre and be really good at it', but I understand that's not the majority.


I was thinking of doing basically this sort of thing this morning. Assuming one wants to play in the DnD system(s) and wants to alter the existing balances, what are the potential solutions to martial/caster imbalance?

1) Martial Side

Add some/more wuxia feats (so my warrior can run at cheetah speeds, send a sword-shockwave through the enemy OR heal others by surrendering hitpoints)
Add some/more wuxia classes (so my warrior can run at cheetah speeds, send a sword-shockwave through the enemy AND heal others by surrendering hitpoints)
Modify/create loot system to allow martials to selectively enhance their gear (materia-system to give loot-based characters greater flexibility)
Modify existing class progressions to include supernatural/magical abilities (at 9th level can Dimension Door/Teleport/Plane Shift by slashing a hole in reality, etc)
Limit play to a certain subset of levels and transition to caster at a given level threshold.


4) Magic Side

Limit spell lists/spells known (through play, by creating caster sub-types that expand on the "school" limitations)
Incorporate limitations on casting (return to physical components, incorporate drain/fatigue (ala ShadowRun)
Alter selected spells (create a more support-oriented perspective)
Limit play to a certain subset of levels and transition to caster at a given level threshold.


What else is out there?

- M

Well I'm thinking, I might be making this 'alt4e' because honestly, I've got ideas.


You can't do it with CURRENT D&D rules. I've seen plenty of other games that handle 'one PC vs an army' reasonably well. But allowing a FIGHTER to do AoE damage (to everyone within arms' reach) is so terrifyingly overpowered that it needs massive feat-taxes.

This the same overpowered that means we have to split Knowledge (Chemistry) into twenty different skills?


Actual legends are far 'Too Anime' for D&D. Even the Knights of the Round Table. (http://prokopetz.tumblr.com/post/127347909207/on-legendry)

Didn't know all of those, but yeah. Turns out everyone wrote their heroes as if they were allowed to do things 'mundanes' can't at some point.


He could glow like the sun, had a 'warp-spasm' that turned him into a raging monster that was even MORE superhuman but couldn't tell friend from foe, could throw a barbed spear (his famous Gae Bolg) so that the barbs shot through every part of the target's body (and he could throw it with his toes like that), and in a fight with a friend, the friend missed him on purpose and his swing cut the tops off three mountains instead.

And like any self-respecting Irish hero, he could leap over a branch higher than his own head and outrun a pack of angry dogs while pulling a thorn from his foot without breaking stride. Just normal stuff.

Don't forget he had to throw the spear with his foot, darn impressive.

[/QUOTE]Only wizards.

FYI, Berserk is a pretty good indication of what a MID-level D&D fighter should look like: he can kill a 100 men in one battle while fighting alone, but he really struggles against some supernatural stuff.[/QUOTE]

Heck, throw in Griffith and you have a good example of what I think a mid level Marshall or Warlord can do. Why aren't I allowed to run my own mercenary company?

Jama7301
2017-06-08, 04:17 PM
Reading this thread has been forcing me to think about what would be 'reasonable' for a Martial, in regards to the fiction I consume.

One that's pretty big for hand to hand combatants is instantaneous travel across short distances. You see it all the time in anime and in super hero stuff. Why can't a Martial have an ability that's like a short range Dimension Door as part of a charge, or as a bonus action if they move at least 10 feet (for a running start)?

All in all, this has been a fun though exercise for me.

Ralanr
2017-06-08, 04:33 PM
Reading this thread has been forcing me to think about what would be 'reasonable' for a Martial, in regards to the fiction I consume.

One that's pretty big for hand to hand combatants is instantaneous travel across short distances. You see it all the time in anime and in super hero stuff. Why can't a Martial have an ability that's like a short range Dimension Door as part of a charge, or as a bonus action if they move at least 10 feet (for a running start)?

All in all, this has been a fun though exercise for me.

Man...all I want to do is be able to terraform the area around me by hitting it really hard at higher levels.

Is that too much to ask?

Arbane
2017-06-08, 04:38 PM
On TiersSounds reasonable, at least for a game that is trying to cover that range. But what would a non-magic martial epic tier character look like. (I would add non-mundane to that description but epic tier renders that rather moot.)

To Anonymouswizard: Scale is part of it, the other part is the kind of magic. I mentioned Gandalf upthread, and although he had some stuff I forgot, I still think the fact he is wise accounts for more of his importance in the story than his magically ability. He was a wise-man more than a "batman wizard".

IIRC, Gandalf was actually an archangel, not just an old guy who studied a lot. (He was required not to use his full power to avoid ANOTHER continent sinking.)


Why should I not be allowed to experience 70% of what the game has to offer (not counting epic) because you don't like my character concept?

Even in legit super-hero genres, you have "badass-normals." The Justice League and the Avengers have more than a few, and if you count "has a magic item / sci-fi piece of tech" I would say that is actually the majority of the team at many points in time.

As has been pointed out, superhero stories often need some fairly contrived scenarios to keep guys like Green Arrow relevant when Superman and Green Lantern are on the job.



Making a competent martial who can go toe to toe with anything in the MM without dipping into super powers would be very simple, and most editions of D&D have managed it (more or less). Its just that 3.X has some fundamental issues in its class design process and didn't go far enough with play-testing to spot the "problem" spells.

I dunno about that. Do "+1 or better weapons to hit" count as needing a superpower?


Imagine you have a party that is The God Emperor of Man, a Pretender God, and Urza. Is there a possible character who would feel "martial" to you and still be able to usefully contribute to that party?

http://www.konbini.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/11/files/2017/04/onepunchman.jpg


I agree, someone needs to write a book on exactly how D&D magic works.

Someone did,

http://www.sleeplessdomain.com/comics/1438655794-031.jpg

it isn't very helpful.

Talakeal
2017-06-08, 06:12 PM
My 1st level fighter can one hit kill all his goblin opponents. Superman cannot do the same to Galactus Therefore my first level fighter is more powerful than Superman? Um... no. I don't think that's how that works.

The 2e fighter is weaker than both the 3e fighter and Superman.

That WotC scaled up the opposition is a separate issue.


Don't you think that is a bit of a false equivalency?

I am talking about a level 20 fighter vs an ancient red dragon in both cases. Narratively they are the same thing.

The game mechanics use different numbers, but it is still the same concept. The "fiction" of the game worlds doesn't acknowledge anything has changed.

I mean, if we are going by RAW numbers, then a level 1 fighter is significantly stronger than Galactus because my old Marvel Trading Cards rate Galactus' strength as 7, which in their scale is the highest possible rating, but in the D&D scale is significantly below average for a level 1 commoner. IMO that is clearly ludicrous, but then again I look at the games rules as an abstraction meant for ease of play rather than hard physics of the game world, so ymmv.


I did say by comparison. And, sadly, I've seen a LOT of really bad 2e fighters.

Your average fighter build? 7 attacks, maybe 5 of which hit, for 5d8+55? Oh. Stupid size-based damage. 5d12+55. Plus the attack from the initial charge, 6d12+66. Four rounds to believably kill it. Sure.

Core 3e fighter? Mounted, Spirited Charge, Lance +1, Rhino Hide Armor, specialization, deals what 4d8+36 in a hit? And that's the 4th level, core only fighter, as built by someone who plays mages. That could take down that same dragon at just as quickly. Well, aside from attacking at 4(BAB) + 4(Str) + 1(Wpn) + 1(WF) + 1(HighGround) + 2(Charge) = +13.



A properly buffed core only rogue should nearly kill it in one round. With the fighters help, they could.

A properly buffed Core only charger? We'd need at least 50 base damage to take the dragon down in 4 rounds. Hmmm... 5(Wpn) + 12+6(Str) + 2(WpnSpec) + 6(Luck) + 40(P-Att). I think we've got that covered. If 3 of those attacks hit, that's 3d8+852. I haven't done the math, but with quickened True Strike in a Ring of Spell Storing, I think we can pull it off.


That's a near idea with the ring of spell storing.

My point is that less than three rounds for a fairly unoptimized 2E fighter to take down the biggest dragon in the Monster Manual is hardly "padded sumo wrestlers".

And I fully admit the 3.X has a lot more options than AD&D and it is possible to build an optimized fighter, but I am constantly seeing threads on the 3.X board about how fighters can't handle equal CR challenges from the Monster Manual without being high-op one trick ponies that will struggle in any encounter where their one trick doesn't work. I personally have only played in 2 campaigns that got past 10th level in 3.X, so I don't have much personal experience, but that is what the board tells me.

Out of curiosity, how are you getting multiple charges off in the same combat though?


That's a disingenuous way of putting it... You are allowed to experience all of the game, you're the one saying you don't like part X it, but still wants to play it... Only you want it to be the same as part Y, which you like. The game gives you the tools for playing the type of game you want, but you want all other tools to do the same thing, rather than allowing different games. I enjoy playing a game where I can start as a random farm boy and grow in power to the point where my character can face god-like beings. D&D allows that. And it allows games where everyone starts as a super-powerful hero as well.


Leveling up literally means the character goes up in power. If you don't like characters past a certain tier of power, then don't play the levels where that tier of power is obtained. Character level is how D&D reflects and separates tiers of power. Wanting all levels to reflect the same tier of power is like saying you want all classes to be identical to the Paladin because that's your favorite class. It's not only a very selfish notion, but also makes for poor game design.

I am not the one saying that the game as is is broken and that everyone who enjoys it that way is fundamentally wrong.

Levels represent an increase in power, and I am fine with that, what I don't like is the idea that certain classes or archetypes aren't allowed at certain levels.

Currently every edition of D&D but 3.X allows all classes to meaningfully contribute at any level 1-20. The balance isn't perfect, but it is close enough for a fun game.

Even 3.X has all the tools needed to play a 1-20 game as a martial or a caster, they just need to make a martial class that cherry picks the right balance of class abilities and a caster that has a limited list of spells (like the beguiler or dread necromancer) and with a small errata fixing any of the truly broken spells (one's that would break the game in the hands of a first level commoner regardless of class) that they have on their spell list. Again, it wouldn't be a perfect balance, but a party of such characters could plausibly work together without ruining anyone's good time.

Now, I am assuming that the enemies in the Monster Manuals represent the "base line" or opposition. Now, its your game, and if you want to play a gritty low powered ultra realistic game where people struggle to kill anything larger than cougar or a high powered TO game where everyone is nigh-omnipotent and waves away any opposition that doesn't use similar levels of Op-fu, then yeah, martial characters might not have a place in the game, but that does not appear to me to be the game that was "intended" by the designers based on how other editions play and the CR guidelines in the DMG.

Cosi
2017-06-08, 07:12 PM
How about "Knows a few tricks" vs. "Action Hero"? Does that reframing make Caster Supremacy seem slightly less inevitable?

On the surface that looks better, but with some thought, it makes the problem even clearer. There are pretty defined limits to what Action Heroes do. They do not, for example, fly. But there's no real limit built into "tricks". So eventually, you accumulate enough of them to ask questions John McClane can't answer.


This assumes there's no good reasons NOT to use magic when it's available. I can think of plenty of other games where that's just not the case. (Mostly horror or at least dark-fantasy, admittedly, but also any game with a non-zero chance of spell fumbles...)

Well, that's a limit on advancement, right?


How about both? (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185959/Godbound-A-Game-of-Divine-Heroes-Free-Edition) :smallbiggrin:

Well, I do think you want to draw from both, but I mostly think that because I find almost everything White Wolf does to be terrible, either because the mechanics are bad or because the fluff ranges from "offensive" to "horrifying". Really, the part of Exalted that I like is the one line premise -- "What if everyone was magic?"


I think the latter of these two comments really does hit the nail on the head...bad guys generally still have 10 boxes of health, be they chump or super sam...it's just a matter of inflicting those 10 boxes of health. Fireballs and machine guns can do pretty much the same level of damage (resisted in different ways) so there is more built-in balance as well. So better built in balance and reduced scaling keeps parity, for the most part.

For what it's worth, the people who made Shadowrun and Earthdawn seem to have understood the need to limit mages if you want non-mages to compete. Both games do a pretty good job of scaling casters to where "mundanes" need to be.


They can perceive/project (with attendant benefits and risks...much higher risks than I think you suppose) astrally,

My understanding of the dangers of astral travel was mostly that they were in the form of other mages (or spirits) that happened to be around being able to gank you, which is really just "an encounter".


Summoning elementals or nature spirits is (assuming you're built for it) pretty simple...but their scope and magnitude of power is again pretty limited. It really is a lot more on level with the Summon Monster spells, but with more flexibility and less combat benefit.

I don't really know enough to get into it, but my understanding is that at least one kind of mage has a pretty strong incentive to just bind a bunch of spirits and hold onto them until they happen to have some encounter which needs a bunch of spirits to beat it down. Which sounds a lot like planar binding, albeit without the infinite loops.


I mean, part of how Planescape manages it is by essentially cheating. The players begin at the cosmic locations and can then just walk to any place they wish if they can find the right portals.

But that's obviously a very different story from The Chronicles of Amber, where going to the Elemental Plane of Diamonds to get a bunch of diamonds is as simple as doing that.


Again, I'm also in the camp of 'D&D should pick a narrower subgenre and be really good at it', but I understand that's not the majority.

The core rules of D&D 3.5 have at least five varieties of fish person (Merfolk, Kuo Toa, Tritons, Sahuagin, and Locathah). If you have five different kinds of fish person in the core rules, you have committed pretty hard to being "kitchen sink fantasy" rather than some specific genre. That's not to say there's no room for D&D campaigns that commit to a single genre (indeed, most campaigns will do so), or d20 games that are genre-specific, but D&D is not ever (or at least should not ever) going to be an Exalted riff or a Conan riff or whatever other genre thing.


IIRC, Gandalf was actually an archangel, not just an old guy who studied a lot. (He was required not to use his full power to avoid ANOTHER continent sinking.)

Doesn't the book also claim some pretty impressive stuff from his battle with the Balrog (like a plume of light or explosion from the mountain visible for miles?). Incidentally, one of the cooler takes on LotR-as-D&D I saw somewhere had Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel as the actual party, with the objective "get the ring to Mount Doom without loosing the war or having Sauron find out", which I thought was interesting.


As has been pointed out, superhero stories often need some fairly contrived scenarios to keep guys like Green Arrow relevant when Superman and Green Lantern are on the job.

Also, a lot of the stories where Hulk and Captain America team up are end-of-the-world type deals where you need all the help you can get. If you just get one guy to fight for you, you're picking Hulk, but if Cap can kill a couple aliens or robots it's not like you're telling him not to do that. In most stories with Captain America, Hulk or Thor or Iron Man would probably win instantly, but they're not there (instead, they're off dealing with their own stuff).


http://www.konbini.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/11/files/2017/04/onepunchman.jpg

Yeah, but the question isn't really directed at you. I can think of characters that I would consider martial and appropriate at high level. But lots of people seem to object to e.g. Goku or Satima because they're "too anime". So my question is what the people who do that see as an appropriate model. John McClane is cool, but he's awfully hard to justify when other people walk in with abilities like "greater plane shift at will" or "presence causes mortals to cower" as minor options.


Out of curiosity, how are you getting multiple charges off in the same combat though?

Most obviously, enemies might not what to close, leaving you the possibility of charging again.

Secondarily, free/swift action movement probably helps, as does repositioning.


Levels represent an increase in power, and I am fine with that, what I don't like is the idea that certain classes or archetypes aren't allowed at certain levels.

So if I want to play the God Emperor of Man, I should be able to do that at 1st level?


Currently every edition of D&D but 3.X allows all classes to meaningfully contribute at any level 1-20. The balance isn't perfect, but it is close enough for a fun game.

But as you point out, the numbers aren't really meaningful. The real question is the concepts the represent. For example, 4e doesn't offer the kind of abilities even mid level 3e casters have -- it's essentially E6 with larger numbers and prettier graphics.

Keltest
2017-06-08, 08:09 PM
I don't think that anybody is really disputing that 3.5 mages really do entirely too much. The question at this point I think is more along the lines of "how do you tone down mages so that theyre playing the same game as martials without killing the feel of playing a mage" more than "where is the upper limit of martial power allowed to be".

To that end, I think time investment is probably the biggest area that wizards need more penalties. If Plane Shift took a week of preparation and a specific ritual chamber, i doubt anybody would be calling it out as a powerhouse spell even if it was something all wizards theoretically had access to just by waking up in the morning. Martials carry everything they need on their back, and can use pretty much any of their abilities at a moment's notice, but theyre more limited in what they can do. A mage can do anything, but the more ambitious they get the more prep work, resources and time they need to invest.

Talakeal
2017-06-08, 09:02 PM
Well, I do think you want to draw from both, but I mostly think that because I find almost everything White Wolf does to be terrible, either because the mechanics are bad or because the fluff ranges from "offensive" to "horrifying". Really, the part of Exalted that I like is the one line premise -- "What if everyone was magic?"

That's not really what Exalted is though. It isn't "everybody is magic", its more like "What if out of countless billions of people a mere 300 of them, picked more or less at random, got to be so powerful that no one else in the world really matters anymore?"

I really like the setting and the mechanics. I just don't like the inherent caste system of the world where no matter how hard you try you can never exceed the role into which circumstances have thrust you.


So if I want to play the God Emperor of Man, I should be able to do that at 1st level?

You should be able to play someone who has the potential to one day become the God Emperor of Man.

Now, I assume you mean the guy from Warhammer 40,000, not the one from Dune or some other series I haven't heard of.

Keep in mind 40K was originally conceived of as a parody setting and the fiction not only doesn't match the rules of any of their game lines but has a level of hyperbole and consistency on par with your typical Silver Age comic book.

But, if you look at the fiction, the Emperor spent tens of thousands of years wandering their Earth before attempting to unify all of mankind. During the events of the novels he takes part in many mundane activities, and while he is certainly miraculous, he is in no way omnipotent, failing to meet many of his goals and even losing fights to "mundane" opponents like Ork Warbosses.

If you want to play the Emperor in a low level D&D game simply play him at an earlier point in his life.

Quertus
2017-06-09, 07:42 AM
Don't you think that is a bit of a false equivalency?

I am talking about a level 20 fighter vs an ancient red dragon in both cases. Narratively they are the same thing.

The game mechanics use different numbers, but it is still the same concept. The "fiction" of the game worlds doesn't acknowledge anything has changed.

I mean, if we are going by RAW numbers, then a level 1 fighter is significantly stronger than Galactus because my old Marvel Trading Cards rate Galactus' strength as 7, which in their scale is the highest possible rating, but in the D&D scale is significantly below average for a level 1 commoner. IMO that is clearly ludicrous, but then again I look at the games rules as an abstraction meant for ease of play rather than hard physics of the game world, so ymmv.

The human commoner is still the same. Most animals are fairly similar. Fireball still deals 10d6 damage. The stats still mean the same thing, but, in 3e, both sides have improved due to power creep / evolution / whatever.

So, while my example may have been hyperbole to demonstrate my point, no, I think it's fair to straight compare 3e Fighter to 2e Fighter.

That 2e fighter also loses out in a "compared to its world" is just icing on the cake.


And I fully admit the 3.X has a lot more options than AD&D and it is possible to build an optimized fighter, but I am constantly seeing threads on the 3.X board about how fighters can't handle equal CR challenges from the Monster Manual without being high-op one trick ponies that will struggle in any encounter where their one trick doesn't work. I personally have only played in 2 campaigns that got past 10th level in 3.X, so I don't have much personal experience, but that is what the board tells me.

That's because Fighters are whiners.

In your classic Fighter / Wizard / Cleric / Rogue party... in older editions, the Fighter was the Striker and Tank. In 3e, Tank is a hard role to pull off - Hydra will one round kill most anyone, for example. And Magic / poison / stat drain / rally bad stuff that isn't damage is everywhere nowadays (and the Fighter no longer has "I win" saves). So, instead of the Fighter Tanking it, the Cleric fixes it.

The role of Striker? That's the Rogue now. In older editions, you were absolutely right, the smart move was to buff the Fighter. These days, the smart move is to prioritize buffing the Rogue first; the Fighter gets leftovers.

So, what's the fighter's role?

Not the one the Fighter is accustomed to or wants. The Fighter's role is that of toolkit. Just like the Wizard.

The fighter gets all those feats so that he can be good at tripping, and disarming, and melee, and archery, and mounted combat, and...

But, it just isn't enough. It doesn't scratch the itch of people who actually pick the Fighter class. And, while it's actually much better than these boards would have you believe at low to mid level, playing the role of toolkit wizard with at will abilities, there are still too many things that all the strategy in the world just won't let you win - let alone feel like a BDH - against.

So, instead, the Fighters optimize like the dirty munchkins they are system encourages them to, and become one-trick ponies, hoping to recapture the Striker niche of their glory days.

And they succeed.

But, as soon as they encounter something where they feel the "min" from their min-maxing, they start to whine about how it's not fair, fighters can't do anything, linear fighter quadratic wizard, even though they just exploded the last guy for over a thousand points of damage in a hit, and can keep doing that all day long.

IME, 3e martials can contribute, just... not usually in the BDH way they'd like to.

EDIT:

I don't think that anybody is really disputing that 3.5 mages really do entirely too much. The question at this point I think is more along the lines of "how do you tone down mages so that theyre playing the same game as martials without killing the feel of playing a mage" more than "where is the upper limit of martial power allowed to be".

To that end, I think time investment is probably the biggest area that wizards need more penalties. If Plane Shift took a week of preparation and a specific ritual chamber, i doubt anybody would be calling it out as a powerhouse spell even if it was something all wizards theoretically had access to just by waking up in the morning. Martials carry everything they need on their back, and can use pretty much any of their abilities at a moment's notice, but theyre more limited in what they can do. A mage can do anything, but the more ambitious they get the more prep work, resources and time they need to invest.

I'll dispute that.

Look, if Plane Shift took a week to cast, you could just ask the local sage where the nearest portal to that plane was, and go there. Wizard would have less of a role than people claim fighters do now.

Currently, the Wizard is the Dark Side - quicker, easier, but certainly not the only way for a creative player to skin this cat.

The Wizard is a choice: what few things do you think you're going to want some easy answers for? Take away the "easy", and I'll take over the Wizard's job with a commoner and a little creativity.

Cluedrew
2017-06-09, 07:55 AM
Except that's not what I'm saying. Martials can be special. I would consider being able to decapitate a dragon or wrestle a balor to be pretty special things. But I do think there are certain things they shouldn't be able to do.With this and the rest of the post I think I get your point, and yes I misunderstood you the first time. I just think martials, more than can, really have to be special in there own way for a large part of D&D to work. Sometimes that seems to be forgotten.


It depends on what your character concept is. [...] But if your concept is "is mundane" or some other way of saying "is below some particular power level" you can only advance until you reach that power level. Then you have to stop.Do you still think I am defending high level mundane characters? Goinus (as an example) is not mundane, but is most definitely a martial and not a caster. Some things about Goinus:
Goinus uses force projection, so he can cut someone in half with a blade without touching them. Currently the range of this ability seems to be line-of-sight.
When Goinus holds a weapon or shield it is unbreakable because he will adjust his grip to counter any incoming forces on the weapon.
Unable to find a material with sufficient draw weight, Goinus gave up using a bow in combat, he just throws things, they go further that way.
Using the above technique, Goinus can smash boulders using sticks (or his hands).
Can deflect arrows using the shockwaves from hand motions, so with a wave he can protect a large group from a rain of arrows.
Goinus "teleports" people by punching them. They do cross the intervening space but the wave of force brings them safely to their destination.
Goinus's reaction time might actually be zero, they can't measure it.
Goinus can punch spells.
Sound mundane?


I don't really see how a Barbarian is Hulk in any way that, say, Goku is not a Fighter. If you think Goku isn't an appropriate thing for Fighters to become, it seems well within my rights to claim that Barbarian is not a good representation of the Hulk.Goku would be a high level monk under the current D&D class set, but other than that... I don't think he is an inappropriate thing for a fighter. The martial arts in Dragon Ball is badly represented and kind of bland, but it is still martial arts and not spell casting.


I don't think the people who are complaining that things are "too anime" will be satisfied with literal anime characters as a solution.As I'm still not sure what that means, I'm not going to worry about that too much. Plus I've never actually seen anyone actually raise that complaint.


To quote a wise guy at Something Awful about exactly this problem: "As always, magic is limited by your imagination - if you can imagine it happening, it does. And martial powers are limited by your imagination - if you can imagine a reason why it can't happen, it doesn't." - LightWardenThis really shouldn't be true, but it seems to be far too often.

Quertus
2017-06-09, 08:09 AM
As I'm still not sure what that means, I'm not going to worry about that too much. Plus I've never actually seen anyone actually raise that complaint.

How about, "it doesn't match my vision of my character for him to be able to do that"?

I mean, I want a character who deals with the undead. That's it, nothing else. No religion, no option to get Vampiric Touch or Healing or other spells that have nothing to do with creating / repairing / upgrading undead. And I can't get that in 3e.

If I want to play Hercules, or Maui, I don't want to get the power to shoot beams of force from my hands, or teleport (friendly) people by punching them. That doesn't fit the vision of my character. That's "too anime", or too... whatever your example was. And not enough Hercules, or Maui.

Just like, if my fighter could swing his sword fast enough to make a 10d6 lightning bolt fly out, or twirl it over his head to fly, it may be balanced, but it would be "too wizard" to fit my concept. Unless I'm playing Thor.

Just like, if my fighter could change into the form of various animals, that would be "too druid" for my concept. Unless I'm playing Disney Maui.

Which is why I'm advocating letting fighters pick which Edges fit their concept, rather than forcing them to be too... not themselves.

Make sense?

Ralanr
2017-06-09, 08:41 AM
How about, "it doesn't match my vision of my character for him to be able to do that"?

I mean, I want a character who deals with the undead. That's it, nothing else. No religion, no option to get Vampiric Touch or Healing or other spells that have nothing to do with creating / repairing / upgrading undead. And I can't get that in 3e.

If I want to play Hercules, or Maui, I don't want to get the power to shoot beams of force from my hands, or teleport (friendly) people by punching them. That doesn't fit the vision of my character. That's "too anime", or too... whatever your example was. And not enough Hercules, or Maui.

Just like, if my fighter could swing his sword fast enough to make a 10d6 lightning bolt fly out, or twirl it over his head to fly, it may be balanced, but it would be "too wizard" to fit my concept. Unless I'm playing Thor.

Just like, if my fighter could change into the form of various animals, that would be "too druid" for my concept. Unless I'm playing Disney Maui.

Which is why I'm advocating letting fighters pick which Edges fit their concept, rather than forcing them to be too... not themselves.

Make sense?

Honestly the "too anime" argument for character envisioning can end up getting ridiculous when adventuring with people who can bend reality with but a few words.

Magic itself is often a big cheating tool that becomes hard to work around if it isn't the only source of "power" in a game. Your martial fighters can only go so beyond the peak of human ability while magic users never had to worry about the limits of humans.

This is probably why any "non magic" character in myth or legend is either a demigod (which arguably are magical but they solve things in the hands on variety, like Heracles) or extremely cunning (basically every Greek hero that isn't a demigod (and some demigods) or invincible like Achilles). Magic is often so broad and vague that it often is used as an easy problem solver (like with divine intervention).

Now in games, cunning and creativity go a very long way. But since players have the option of being magical (something that stories rarely give their characters, which leads them to adapt to other means) then it's better to be a cunning magician than a cunning fighter.

Now personally? If I'm playing a martial character, I would hope that my max power is akin to Heracles or Achilles because those are warriors that I think can compete with high level mages. That isn't the case however, both in in game power and in lore (because someone who can alter reality with a few words is usually able to just send someone like Heracles to another dimension. And Heracles isn't strong enough to just punch the abstract hard enough to open a portal or something stupid like that) and because of how combat works, a level 20 fighter is going to die if he takes an army 1v1.


Idk. It honestly feels like some martials just don't fit in certain settings. Even if Wizards rarely get so powerful, their potential power is always nuts.

Quertus
2017-06-09, 09:18 AM
Honestly the "too anime" argument for character envisioning can end up getting ridiculous when adventuring with people who can bend reality with but a few words.

Magic itself is often a big cheating tool that becomes hard to work around if it isn't the only source of "power" in a game. Your martial fighters can only go so beyond the peak of human ability while magic users never had to worry about the limits of humans.

This is probably why any "non magic" character in myth or legend is either a demigod (which arguably are magical but they solve things in the hands on variety, like Heracles) or extremely cunning (basically every Greek hero that isn't a demigod (and some demigods) or invincible like Achilles). Magic is often so broad and vague that it often is used as an easy problem solver (like with divine intervention).

Now in games, cunning and creativity go a very long way. But since players have the option of being magical (something that stories rarely give their characters, which leads them to adapt to other means) then it's better to be a cunning magician than a cunning fighter.

Now personally? If I'm playing a martial character, I would hope that my max power is akin to Heracles or Achilles because those are warriors that I think can compete with high level mages. That isn't the case however, both in in game power and in lore (because someone who can alter reality with a few words is usually able to just send someone like Heracles to another dimension. And Heracles isn't strong enough to just punch the abstract hard enough to open a portal or something stupid like that) and because of how combat works, a level 20 fighter is going to die if he takes an army 1v1.


Idk. It honestly feels like some martials just don't fit in certain settings. Even if Wizards rarely get so powerful, their potential power is always nuts.

Oh, absolutely, there's a difference between saying "too anime" and "too powerful".

If I said every fighter got 1/2 BAB, d4 HP, and got to pick spells off the Wizard list, it'd be perfect balance, problem solved. But... That's not how most people envision their fighter.

And that's part of the problem.

If you don't envision your fighter as someone who can contribute, then don't complain when he cannot contribute.

I play wizards. So I'm not the one who should be answering this question. Fighter players, how would you like your characters to contribute to the party that contains a 20th level D&D wizard?

Answer that, and we can work on building that fighter.

Me, it'd give him the option to pick repeatedly from a huge list of abilities, from being able to kill with a touch, rip open holes between planes, dodge explosions, grapple using pressure points thereby ignoring size modifiers, disable limbs, change into animals, sniff out magic, regenerate, grapple to disable limb-based specials (ie, hold the dragon's mouth shut so it can't use its breath weapon), blind by various means, use magic items restricted my class, leap incredible distances, survive on a 5 minute nap / blade of grass / drop of dew, march for days, befriend animals, etc etc etc. And give the magical characters a few picks from the same list as they level.

Keltest
2017-06-09, 09:48 AM
I'll dispute that.

Look, if Plane Shift took a week to cast, you could just ask the local sage where the nearest portal to that plane was, and go there. Wizard would have less of a role than people claim fighters do now.

Currently, the Wizard is the Dark Side - quicker, easier, but certainly not the only way for a creative player to skin this cat.

The Wizard is a choice: what few things do you think you're going to want some easy answers for? Take away the "easy", and I'll take over the Wizard's job with a commoner and a little creativity.

And when the answer to that is "in the middle of an active volcano"? or something similarly hostile? Or, for that matter, "All the active portals were closed a long time ago because they kept spitting out nasty stuff into our plane. Sorry."

Wizards and clerics (and especially druids) can more or less do everything every other class in the game can do right now. I don't inherently have a problem with a character who can theoretically do everything, but I very strongly feel that if they have that kind of overall flexibility, their prep time needs to be accordingly high. Locked door? theres a spell for that. need a scout? Theres a dozen spells for that. being attacked by archers? Spell for that. Wildfire? Spell for that.

Ralanr
2017-06-09, 10:01 AM
Oh, absolutely, there's a difference between saying "too anime" and "too powerful".

If I said every fighter got 1/2 BAB, d4 HP, and got to pick spells off the Wizard list, it'd be perfect balance, problem solved. But... That's not how most people envision their fighter.

And that's part of the problem.

If you don't envision your fighter as someone who can contribute, then don't complain when he cannot contribute.

I play wizards. So I'm not the one who should be answering this question. Fighter players, how would you like your characters to contribute to the party that contains a 20th level D&D wizard?

Answer that, and we can work on building that fighter.

Me, it'd give him the option to pick repeatedly from a huge list of abilities, from being able to kill with a touch, rip open holes between planes, dodge explosions, grapple using pressure points thereby ignoring size modifiers, disable limbs, change into animals, sniff out magic, regenerate, grapple to disable limb-based specials (ie, hold the dragon's mouth shut so it can't use its breath weapon), blind by various means, use magic items restricted my class, leap incredible distances, survive on a 5 minute nap / blade of grass / drop of dew, march for days, befriend animals, etc etc etc. And give the magical characters a few picks from the same list as they level.

Personally, I like the idea of picking abilities, but martial characters are usually empowered by not having such a limited resource.

This is however what holds them back from actually being equal level to Wizards in impacting the world.

Now don't get me wrong, in a 1v1 fight a fighter with a good initiative can kill a equal level wizard at high level (at least in 5e). But fights aren't always 1v1.

Maybe giving martial characters more ways to impact large areas at a time would help. It's hard to kill an army alone if you can only hit one target at a time.

Another way is to just make magic incredibly slow. Make the incantations take longer, requiring them to be protected. But this isn't fun for mages as they feel like a burden if that was the case.

If I'm sounding like a broken record, it's because I really do think a max level barbarian should basically be able to make craters simply by hitting the ground REALLY hard or even by the impact of his jump. It FEELS AND LOOKS powerful, which is my biggest gripe with some martials high level.

You know a wizard is powerful because he just fired a bunch of flaming rocks from the sky. You don't know the fighter is powerful until he cuts you down. Something that the fighter has always done.

So as anime as it sounds to create shockwaves by cutting molecules in the air, I want to compete in thematic effect with the guy who can collar reality for a few seconds.

Lemmy
2017-06-09, 10:14 AM
I wanna reply, but my experience tells me that when posts start consistently approaching the length of a Ph.D thesis, it's probably not worth the effort anymore... I'll return once the number of quotes per post reaches the single digits again. :smallbiggrin:

Cosi
2017-06-09, 10:31 AM
I don't think that anybody is really disputing that 3.5 mages really do entirely too much.

I'm willing to dispute most versions of that claim.

I can think of one 3e spell that is conceptually inappropriate (ice assassin creating a full power duplicate of yourself). Everything else is something that characters should eventually aspire to be able to do.

Insofar as Wizards "do entirely too much", it's a conceptual problem rather than a balance problem. There's nothing broken about getting teleport and fabricate, but if you already have an "everything mage", it's harder to create the specialists people want more. At the same time, you need some kind of specialist (or rules that proxy for it), because people are going to want characters that don't fit the niches you put in the book.


The question at this point I think is more along the lines of "how do you tone down mages so that theyre playing the same game as martials without killing the feel of playing a mage" more than "where is the upper limit of martial power allowed to be".

No. The question is the same as always. The question is, which of these three are you least attached to:

1. The notion of game balance.
2. The ability to play Conan for the whole campaign.
3. The ability to progress past the point where Conan is viable.

Because you cannot have all three of those things in the same game. You can pick any of those things to sacrifice, but you have to pick one.


That's not really what Exalted is though. It isn't "everybody is magic", its more like "What if out of countless billions of people a mere 300 of them, picked more or less at random, got to be so powerful that no one else in the world really matters anymore?"

Everyone in the party is magic.


I really like the setting and the mechanics. I just don't like the inherent caste system of the world where no matter how hard you try you can never exceed the role into which circumstances have thrust you.

Well, yes, that's bad. But that's because White Wolf is bad. If you made a good version of Exalted, some (or all) kinds of Exaltation would be things you could plausibly aspire to be by being really good at whatever mortal field of endeavor you cared about.


You should be able to play someone who has the potential to one day become the God Emperor of Man.

But hold on, you said that you were not okay with "John McClane with superpowers". Is "John McClane with superpowers" really more different from "regular John McClane" than "the Emperor without superpowers*" is from "regular the Emperor"? If you can say that flying John McClane is not an acceptable representation of your concept, then it seems to me that I can say wandering mystic Emperor is not a good representation of my concept.

*: Or an empire, or legions of space marines, or whatever.


With this and the rest of the post I think I get your point, and yes I misunderstood you the first time. I just think martials, more than can, really have to be special in there own way for a large part of D&D to work. Sometimes that seems to be forgotten.

I understand that, but those comments are also directed at people like e.g. Talakeal who want John McClane to be viable until whatever point the game ends at, regardless of what that point is. I have no real disagreement with people like you or Airbane who are comfortable with martials becoming anime or comicbook heroes.


I mean, I want a character who deals with the undead. That's it, nothing else. No religion, no option to get Vampiric Touch or Healing or other spells that have nothing to do with creating / repairing / upgrading undead. And I can't get that in 3e.

Any game with classes is going to have some baggage on any particular concept that not everyone wants. The Necromancer class is going to come packaged with "bad touch" spells or AoEs or something that isn't "necromancy". The best you can do is make abilities selectable in the way spells are, but you are still going to be offered abilities that don't fit (because the game cannot have a class for every single character).

Arbane
2017-06-09, 11:05 AM
Currently, the Wizard is the Dark Side - quicker, easier, but certainly not the only way for a creative player to skin this cat.


A lot of the time, it kind of is. Someone a while back made a list of all the things would be entire epic quests for non-magic characters that D&D magic could solve with a single spell. It was a LONG list.

And I can think of a variety of things that in most cosmologies are going to be flat-out impossible without magic. (And sometimes, a much smaller group that are impossible even with magic.)


If I'm sounding like a broken record, it's because I really do think a max level barbarian should basically be able to make craters simply by hitting the ground REALLY hard or even by the impact of his jump. It FEELS AND LOOKS powerful, which is my biggest gripe with some martials high level.


You can do that in Pathfinder. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian/rage-powers/paizo-rage-powers/ground-breaker-ex/)


I'm willing to dispute most versions of that claim.

I can think of one 3e spell that is conceptually inappropriate (ice assassin creating a full power duplicate of yourself). Everything else is something that characters should eventually aspire to be able to do.

But ALL AT ONCE? In D&D3, Fighters are forced to specialize while Wizards get a free respec with 8 hours sleep.




Well, yes, that's bad. But that's because White Wolf is bad. If you made a good version of Exalted, some (or all) kinds of Exaltation would be things you could plausibly aspire to be by being really good at whatever mortal field of endeavor you cared about.


I'd argue that the caste system is kind of thematically important - the inherent unfairness of Exalted's world is part of the point. (And it makes sense- Exalted really ARE superior to normal people, in capability if not morality, so of course they'd end up in charge even if the Divine Right of Kings wasn't more inherent to the setting than, say, gravity.)

Ralanr
2017-06-09, 11:49 AM
Ground breaker is such a chain (like feat chain) intensive ability though that it's hardly worth it.

Psyren
2017-06-09, 11:52 AM
With this and the rest of the post I think I get your point, and yes I misunderstood you the first time. I just think martials, more than can, really have to be special in there own way for a large part of D&D to work. Sometimes that seems to be forgotten.

They are special in their own way. Unlike wizards, they can't be dispelled or countered, nor do they require components, and (HP aside) they can function at peak effectiveness whether there are 5 encounters that day or 50.

The problem as I see it is that many games and even printed modules ignore those advantages. If you only have two big fights per day, and there are no enemy casters using dispels or counterspells, and no monsters with spell resistance or immunity, and the limiting clauses in spells like Teleport and Planar Binding are never invoked... then yes, wizards are going to run roughshod over your entire campaign and the martials will feel like an afterthought. But in the games I play in (and run), those disadvantages are made to matter, because that is why they were designed in the first place - to be used.

Also, in 3e, casters got toys they should never ever have been given. There is no need for Persistent Spell or Craft Contingent Spell to exist. There is no need for Divine Metamagic. And there is definitely no need for Sacred Geometry. Unless we are intentionally playing a high power game, our groups ban all of these.

Cosi
2017-06-09, 12:10 PM
But ALL AT ONCE? In D&D3, Fighters are forced to specialize while Wizards get a free respec with 8 hours sleep.

Wizards can't do it all at once. In any give day (barring Spontaneous Divination + Versatile Spellcaster or the like), a Wizard will have access to a fairly limited set of tricks. Those tricks are better than what the Fighter does, but that's because the Fighter sucks, not because cloudkill or glitterdust are fundamentally unfair. I just don't see that much power in switching from one reasonable character today to a different one tomorrow, with the exception of abilities with benefits over a period longer than a day (most of which are pretty broken all on their own as implemented).


I'd argue that the caste system is kind of thematically important - the inherent unfairness of Exalted's world is part of the point. (And it makes sense- Exalted really ARE superior to normal people, in capability if not morality, so of course they'd end up in charge even if the Divine Right of Kings wasn't more inherent to the setting than, say, gravity.)

Personally, I think "these people are inherently better than these other people" is not something heroes should embrace unless the game is deliberately grimdark.


They are special in their own way. Unlike wizards, they can't be dispelled or countered, nor do they require components, and (HP aside) they can function at peak effectiveness whether there are 5 encounters that day or 50.

I think this sentence, all on its own, is good for bingo on the "Fighters are balanced" bingo boards Arbane has.


If you only have two big fights per day

If your game is only balanced on a clock, it's not balanced.


there are no enemy casters using dispels or counterspells,

If the answer to casters is "more casters", Fighters are pointless.


the limiting clauses in spells like Teleport and Planar Binding are never invoked...

Translation: If the DM doesn't hose his players for using the abilities they have to make people who don't have abilities feel better.

Mordar
2017-06-09, 12:54 PM
I play wizards. So I'm not the one who should be answering this question. Fighter players, how would you like your characters to contribute to the party that contains a 20th level D&D wizard?

Answer that, and we can work on building that fighter.

That's an excellent question. What does a fighter do, at the core? Let's play super-simple and say "Hit things and absorb damage".

What changes about the high end game as relates to those things?
NOTE: My comments are based on 3.x mostly, but may apply to 4th edition as well. I don't know 5e at all.
NOTE2: This is strictly attacking the issue from the "what should be done to enhance/help the martial" with no consideration to the idea of down-powering casters.


Targets are harder to hit (higher AC);
Targets can take more damage (higher hitpoints);
Targets are harder to hurt (more immunities);
Targets know they can ignore martial characters, so absorbing damage doesn't matter to the party when the Boogeyman just blasts at the wizard that can hurt it.

There's probably a bunch more, but let's say these are the keys and start from there.

It appears that #1 on the list is the only one that is really addressed in the game (increasing BAB, increasing stats bonuses to hit, magic items, feats and other abilities), so let's pretend this one is handled already.

What can be done about #2? The hit point advancement for monsters, particularly those that would be encountered in small numbers (bosses/solos/whatever) far exceeds the average damage dealing ability of a martial, excepting isolated and perfect situational builds. So maybe we scale damage dealt. After all, Hit Points are an abstraction meant to in part model survivability. High level warriors know very well how to hit someone and decrease its survivability. So scale damage. How? At first I thought "increase the damage die-type" or "apply a scaling damage bonus" but I thought both of those kind of ignore weapon choice and either add too much variability (1d20 is too big a spread) or take away some variability in the game (sometimes even Conan only nicks an opponent he meant to decapitate, so having a +64 level-based damage bonus might be too much). So steal from 4e a little bit and increase the base number of dice rolled for weapon damage based on level. That sword is a 1d8 based damage? At level 3 it becomes 2d8. Obviously needs to be fine-tuned, but you get the idea. When I hit the big bad boss at level 20, I should be able to lay into him bigly and badly. NOTE: I enjoy some component of variability in the game, so I like rolling more dice over adding flat bonuses in this case. Personal bias.

Number 3 opens up an idea I had a long time ago. Martials learn how to overcome/reduce immunities and exploit vulnerabilities. This will need a lot of work to figure, but as a default element of progression, martials gain the ability to ignore (or reduce) immunities and enhance vulnerabilities. This make take the form of reducing the value of DR (controversial, I know) or increasing the multiplier for vulnerability damage. Say every 2 levels opposing DR is reduced by 2 or something similar. It could be gated if necessary (For levels 1-5 this only works on edged/blunt/piercing DR; for levels 6-10 it also works on silver/iron/phosphorous DR; for levels 11-15 it works for elemental DR; for levels 16+ it works on all DR).

Number 4 is a simple one, for me, but tough to visualize in action. Basically, allow the martial to "steal damage" from teammates. The Foozul fires a beam of Hatefire at the wizard? The warrior shift into the field of fire and takes some/all of the heat. The warrior risks self and absorbs harm meant for the less robust teammates. Taunting and marks are well and good, but I think the warrior-as-ablative-armor for the party makes better sense and provides a little more agency.

So, solutions:

Already being handled reasonably;
Scale weapon damage rolled;
Incorporate ability to reduce immunities and enhance vulnerabilities;
Allow martials to be mobile armor/damage sinks

They fit the core role of the martial, I think...granted different martials will have different points of focus on hurt things vs. absorb hurt...and they avoid most of the pitfalls of the "too anime!" crowd.

This does limit the improvement to combat, but combat is the primary issue in most games, I think. They will never have the flexibility of wizards, but I don't think that they should.

Depending on the edition being played, martials need more skill points. That helps flesh things out as far as out-of-combat idleness, and resolves something I always thought was dumb...but then again, I like playing martial types. Doesn't mean we can't have more Roys and Knowledge: Architecture...or listen, spot, search, nature kinds of things. You know, like things modern-day outdoorsy types are generally better at than indoorsy types.


If the answer to casters is "more casters", Fighters are pointless.

Alternate hypothesis: Casters are broken.

Jama7301
2017-06-09, 01:11 PM
So, solutions:

Already being handled reasonably;
Scale weapon damage rolled;
Incorporate ability to reduce immunities and enhance vulnerabilities;
Allow martials to be mobile armor/damage sinks

They fit the core role of the martial, I think...granted different martials will have different points of focus on hurt things vs. absorb hurt...and they avoid most of the pitfalls of the "too anime!" crowd.

This does limit the improvement to combat, but combat is the primary issue in most games, I think. They will never have the flexibility of wizards, but I don't think that they should.


In my experience, 4th Edition handled that aspect of Fighters pretty well, with the Defender role having options to punish enemies that ignored them, or taking on the damage themselves. It's something I kinda wish they did more with in in 5e, beyond the Protection Fighting Style.

ijon
2017-06-09, 01:20 PM
on the "martials should be able to take damage" subject; I've been homebrewing a dark souls style pyromancer for my martial (I guess that makes him a gish?), and one of the pyromancies he has is iron flesh - there's a slew of downsides (including taking 50% more damage from lightning), but it makes you immune to crits and gives you DR 1/- per caster level.

and man, say what you will about DR being useless against a charger or similar heavy hitter, but it does wonders in turning off minions. DR 9/- basically turned off all the minions of the last encounter I was in, to the point where they completely ignored me since they couldn't actually do anything to me. granted, the big guy could still hurt me, but even that wasn't all that effective given my DR cut his damage down to a maximum of 5, when I had a good 120 HP for him to get through.

it really makes me wonder why martials don't just build up DR naturally? I know the barbarian has largely meaningless DR (seriously, DR 5/- at level 20?), but no one else gets even that. it'd give martials a larger effective health pool, and would really help with the idea of "beefy mcmuscles punches his way through an army without breaking a sweat".

PhoenixPhyre
2017-06-09, 01:25 PM
on the "martials should be able to take damage" subject; I've been homebrewing a dark souls style pyromancer for my martial (I guess that makes him a gish?), and one of the pyromancies he has is iron flesh - there's a slew of downsides (including taking 50% more damage from lightning), but it makes you immune to crits and gives you DR 1/- per caster level.

and man, say what you will about DR being useless against a charger or similar heavy hitter, but it does wonders in turning off minions. DR 9/- basically turned off all the minions of the last encounter I was in, to the point where they completely ignored me since they couldn't actually do anything to me. granted, the big guy could still hurt me, but even that wasn't all that effective given my DR cut his damage down to a maximum of 5, when I had a good 120 HP for him to get through.

it really makes me wonder why martials don't just build up DR naturally? I know the barbarian has largely meaningless DR (seriously, DR 5/- at level 20?), but no one else gets even that. it'd give martials a larger effective health pool, and would really help with the idea of "beefy mcmuscles punches his way through an army without breaking a sweat".

I'm no expert in 3.X, but I think one of the problems (on survivability) is that the predominance of "save or die" spells makes it so HP damage isn't the major threat at higher levels. And martials tend to have weaker saves against the real bad crap. Maybe import an idea from 5e--legendary resistances? A pool of times the fighter (etc) can say "Nope, I totally made that save"? That's the no-selling by virtue of being that BA idea.

ijon
2017-06-09, 01:44 PM
yeah that's another thing I don't like - between HP being hard to recover quickly without a cleric or wand of CLW/lesser vigor, martial saves typically being low, AC being an eternal game of catch-up, and DR being low enough to be meaningless in most cases, the supposedly unbreakable warrior with a will of steel and reflexes of a housecat on speed... isn't. at all.

HP can be kinda recovered with some crusader dips, although I found it underwhelming, and moment of perfect mind/action before thought can cover for the saves. but the AC race is still there, DR is still low (and can be bypassed with energy damage regardless), and as a result your HP can very suddenly disappear in a moment's notice.

that's not even getting into flying enemies. why can't the warblade have ranged weapon proficiencies? why are bows so bad unless you dedicate your entire character to them?

Arbane
2017-06-09, 01:47 PM
(On Exalted)

Personally, I think "these people are inherently better than these other people" is not something heroes should embrace unless the game is deliberately grimdark.


It was originally a White Wolf game. Need I say more?

Psyren
2017-06-09, 03:23 PM
on the "martials should be able to take damage" subject; I've been homebrewing a dark souls style pyromancer for my martial (I guess that makes him a gish?), and one of the pyromancies he has is iron flesh - there's a slew of downsides (including taking 50% more damage from lightning), but it makes you immune to crits and gives you DR 1/- per caster level.

and man, say what you will about DR being useless against a charger or similar heavy hitter, but it does wonders in turning off minions. DR 9/- basically turned off all the minions of the last encounter I was in, to the point where they completely ignored me since they couldn't actually do anything to me. granted, the big guy could still hurt me, but even that wasn't all that effective given my DR cut his damage down to a maximum of 5, when I had a good 120 HP for him to get through.

it really makes me wonder why martials don't just build up DR naturally? I know the barbarian has largely meaningless DR (seriously, DR 5/- at level 20?), but no one else gets even that. it'd give martials a larger effective health pool, and would really help with the idea of "beefy mcmuscles punches his way through an army without breaking a sweat".

In Pathfinder, Invulnerable Rager gets DR 10/- and they can increase it further via feats and rage powers

Elderand
2017-06-09, 03:43 PM
They are special in their own way. Unlike wizards, they can't be dispelled or countered, nor do they require components, and (HP aside) they can function at peak effectiveness whether there are 5 encounters that day or 50.

That....is not even wrong.

In dnd Martials are so highly dependent upon magic items that anything that prevents magic from working is completely neutering the martial while it is barely a speed bump for the martials.

And the idea that martials can happily go all day is blatantly false, they have ressources that run out to, HP for one and require the buffs from the caster to be competitive. So when the caster run out of spells the martials couldn't possibly keep going.

Parties don't stop to let the caster regain spell slot simply to have the big guns in reserve, they do because they have no choice, without the catsers the martials is often not good enough to do it's job.

Quertus
2017-06-09, 06:06 PM
And when the answer to that is "in the middle of an active volcano"? or something similarly hostile? Or, for that matter, "All the active portals were closed a long time ago because they kept spitting out nasty stuff into our plane. Sorry."

Wizards and clerics (and especially druids) can more or less do everything every other class in the game can do right now. I don't inherently have a problem with a character who can theoretically do everything, but I very strongly feel that if they have that kind of overall flexibility, their prep time needs to be accordingly high. Locked door? theres a spell for that. need a scout? Theres a dozen spells for that. being attacked by archers? Spell for that. Wildfire? Spell for that.

If your plot requires the party to plane shift, then you take away the fighter's ability to plane shift, that's not a problem with the Fighter, that's on you. You'll run into the same problem if, say, the party sorcerer didn't take that spell, the party wizard banned that school, etc. So, all I can say is, build better plots.


Personally, I like the idea of picking abilities, but martial characters are usually empowered by not having such a limited resource.

Another way is to just make magic incredibly slow. Make the incantations take longer, requiring them to be protected. But this isn't fun for mages as they feel like a burden if that was the case.

You know a wizard is powerful because he just fired a bunch of flaming rocks from the sky. You don't know the fighter is powerful until he cuts you down. Something that the fighter has always done.

My idea for abilities can all be at will for all I care.

Slow magic is bad for game play. Unless everyone is running multiple characters, the mage player just sits there while everyone else plays the game. So, no, not a good plan.

You know a character is powerful, because he did something powerful. Ok...


A lot of the time, it kind of is. Someone a while back made a list of all the things would be entire epic quests for non-magic characters that D&D magic could solve with a single spell. It was a LONG list.

Good. Wouldn't be much point in playing a wizard of everyone else could trivially do everything they could do.


That's an excellent question. What does a fighter do, at the core? Let's play super-simple and say "Hit things and absorb damage".

What changes about the high end game as relates to those things?
NOTE: My comments are based on 3.x mostly, but may apply to 4th edition as well. I don't know 5e at all.
NOTE2: This is strictly attacking the issue from the "what should be done to enhance/help the martial" with no consideration to the idea of down-powering casters.


Targets are harder to hit (higher AC);
Targets can take more damage (higher hitpoints);
Targets are harder to hurt (more immunities);
Targets know they can ignore martial characters, so absorbing damage doesn't matter to the party when the Boogeyman just blasts at the wizard that can hurt it.

There's probably a bunch more, but let's say these are the keys and start from there.

It appears that #1 on the list is the only one that is really addressed in the game (increasing BAB, increasing stats bonuses to hit, magic items, feats and other abilities), so let's pretend this one is handled already.

What can be done about #2? The hit point advancement for monsters, particularly those that would be encountered in small numbers (bosses/solos/whatever) far exceeds the average damage dealing ability of a martial, excepting isolated and perfect situational builds. So maybe we scale damage dealt. After all, Hit Points are an abstraction meant to in part model survivability. High level warriors know very well how to hit someone and decrease its survivability. So scale damage. How? At first I thought "increase the damage die-type" or "apply a scaling damage bonus" but I thought both of those kind of ignore weapon choice and either add too much variability (1d20 is too big a spread) or take away some variability in the game (sometimes even Conan only nicks an opponent he meant to decapitate, so having a +64 level-based damage bonus might be too much). So steal from 4e a little bit and increase the base number of dice rolled for weapon damage based on level. That sword is a 1d8 based damage? At level 3 it becomes 2d8. Obviously needs to be fine-tuned, but you get the idea. When I hit the big bad boss at level 20, I should be able to lay into him bigly and badly. NOTE: I enjoy some component of variability in the game, so I like rolling more dice over adding flat bonuses in this case. Personal bias.

Number 3 opens up an idea I had a long time ago. Martials learn how to overcome/reduce immunities and exploit vulnerabilities. This will need a lot of work to figure, but as a default element of progression, martials gain the ability to ignore (or reduce) immunities and enhance vulnerabilities. This make take the form of reducing the value of DR (controversial, I know) or increasing the multiplier for vulnerability damage. Say every 2 levels opposing DR is reduced by 2 or something similar. It could be gated if necessary (For levels 1-5 this only works on edged/blunt/piercing DR; for levels 6-10 it also works on silver/iron/phosphorous DR; for levels 11-15 it works for elemental DR; for levels 16+ it works on all DR).

Number 4 is a simple one, for me, but tough to visualize in action. Basically, allow the martial to "steal damage" from teammates. The Foozul fires a beam of Hatefire at the wizard? The warrior shift into the field of fire and takes some/all of the heat. The warrior risks self and absorbs harm meant for the less robust teammates. Taunting and marks are well and good, but I think the warrior-as-ablative-armor for the party makes better sense and provides a little more agency.

So, solutions:

Already being handled reasonably;
Scale weapon damage rolled;
Incorporate ability to reduce immunities and enhance vulnerabilities;
Allow martials to be mobile armor/damage sinks

They fit the core role of the martial, I think...granted different martials will have different points of focus on hurt things vs. absorb hurt...and they avoid most of the pitfalls of the "too anime!" crowd.

This does limit the improvement to combat, but combat is the primary issue in most games, I think. They will never have the flexibility of wizards, but I don't think that they should.

Depending on the edition being played, martials need more skill points. That helps flesh things out as far as out-of-combat idleness, and resolves something I always thought was dumb...but then again, I like playing martial types. Doesn't mean we can't have more Roys and Knowledge: Architecture...or listen, spot, search, nature kinds of things. You know, like things modern-day outdoorsy types are generally better at than indoorsy types.

How does everyone else feel about this definition of the Fighter? Would you like to play someone whose only contribution is to successfully deal and take damage? And maybe have a few perfectly mundane non-combat skills?

Yeah, I think "flexibility" is kinda the trademark of the Wizard. Which is why all these more focused classes... just aren't a Wizard.

Now, if you took away just a couple of the most broken powerful high-end spells from the Wizard (Simulacrum and Dominate Monster, being along of my favorites, come to mind), and gated them behind Beguiler-level focus, or require the Wizard to spend one of his rate Edges to acquire a single "specialist" spell, I wonder if that wouldn't be a very gentle nerf to the Wizard that would make balancing the Fighter's contribution easier?


That....is not even wrong.

In dnd Martials are so highly dependent upon magic items that anything that prevents magic from working is completely neutering the martial while it is barely a speed bump for the martials.

And the idea that martials can happily go all day is blatantly false, they have ressources that run out to, HP for one and require the buffs from the caster to be competitive. So when the caster run out of spells the martials couldn't possibly keep going.

Parties don't stop to let the caster regain spell slot simply to have the big guns in reserve, they do because they have no choice, without the catsers the martials is often not good enough to do it's job.

Thank you for pointing out why Persist Spell is so vital to the Fighter being able to participate at maximum efficiency.

Tanarii
2017-06-09, 06:59 PM
Parties don't stop to let the caster regain spell slot simply to have the big guns in reserve, they do because they have no choice, without the catsers the martials is often not good enough to do it's job.Spoken like someone that's only ever played 3.P. In BECMI and AD&D martials can go much longer than wizards, especially those that don't conserve spells, until 'epic' levels of play. And in 5e, it's dependent on specific classes involved. A short rest (or no rest) recharge class can often go much longer than caster classes, and a party heavy in them might well push on instead of requiring a long rest because a LR class dumped their spells.

Technically 4e you all want to rest at the same time too, but everyone was on the same recharge timer there, so that was fine.

IMX, the 'D&D martial vs caster problem' was at it's worst in 3e. Mainly because that's the first edition in which the impression was given that high level play, level 11+, was not only expected but should be reached relatively fast. 4e was the first reaction, putting everyone on the same recharge timer. 5e is the second, massively toning down high level casters and slowing down level advancement significantly in the 'standard' range most groups enjoy play, levels 5-10.

Cluedrew
2017-06-09, 07:02 PM
I wanna reply, but my experience tells me that when posts start consistently approaching the length of a Ph.D thesis, it's probably not worth the effort anymore... I'll return once the number of quotes per post reaches the single digits again. :smallbiggrin:I feel you. Right now, if you want to sway the direction of conversation, is not a good time. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of various views and the justifications there of it is a great time to post.


How about, "it doesn't match my vision of my character for him to be able to do that"?I somehow don't think that is the entire story, although it is likely part of it. Still, I think issue is easier to solve than the opposite problem: "it doesn't match my vision of my character for her to be unable to do that". You simply do not activate the offending abilities. There are some balance ramifications to that of course and depending on your group that may or may not be an issue. Still it is a bit easier than home-brewing new abilities and getting them included in the rules.

But really this whole topic came from issues like "my lv20 fighter is unable to fight all out against a lv20 wizard with roughly even odds of winning" or perhaps more importantly "my fighter has trouble making meaningful contributions in the party because the wizard has spells for everything I can do".

I don't think energy blasts are the solution (not for the fighter at least), but I think there exists a solution.

Talakeal
2017-06-09, 07:13 PM
No. The question is the same as always. The question is, which of these three are you least attached to:

1. The notion of game balance.
2. The ability to play Conan for the whole campaign.
3. The ability to progress past the point where Conan is viable.

Because you cannot have all three of those things in the same game. You can pick any of those things to sacrifice, but you have to pick one.


But hold on, you said that you were not okay with "John McClane with superpowers". Is "John McClane with superpowers" really more different from "regular John McClane" than "the Emperor without superpowers*" is from "regular the Emperor"? If you can say that flying John McClane is not an acceptable representation of your concept, then it seems to me that I can say wandering mystic Emperor is not a good representation of my concept.


The Emperor is always a psychic, whether he is a wandering mystic or an epic level god emperor. John Mclaine is an action hero, and he remains an action hero throughout all five movies, he is never a super hero.

D&D is a game about people progressing from level 1 chump to epic level badass.

If you insist that people need to start the game at their full power OR change to a fundamentally different type of character, then you are really talking about fundamentally changing one of the core aspects of D&D.


On a related note:

As it stands D&D is broken at all levels, it is fairly easy to blow the game out of the water with any character at any level. The higher your level, the more broken it gets, and once you get post 20 it takes serious effort to keep the game intact.

But I still maintain that it is fairly easy to tweak the game enough to keep it balanced to the "intended power levels" based on the CR guidelines in the Monster Manual and DMG from levels 1-20 by simply banning (or reworking) some of the more broken spells and magic items and giving the martial characters a few more of the mundane things they already have (HP, saves, skills, feats, EX abilities, etc.) It won't be perfect, but it will be good enough for most every table.

If you want to rewrite D&D as a full blown fantasy super heroes game go ahead, but it is a major departure from what is already published and isn't necessary to make the game work.



On another note:

What exactly IS the problem with martials? Is it that they can't keep up in fights with CR appropriate enemies? That they are dependent on magic items for utility? That they can't do anything out of combat? That there are too many spells without a martial counter? Or that they can't match the power of a caster utilizing TO exploits or chaining spells for infinite power?

In my opinion all of the above could be fixed by giving martials a broader scope or mundane abilities or nerfing the really broken spells, you don't need to add super powers. Indeed, even super powers really don't mean much against casters who can summon an infinite army of outsiders each of which can grant them XP free wishes.

It would be a lot simpler if we could agree on what the problem with martials was and what level we want the game to be at before we try and find solutions, otherwise we are just going to keep going around in circles.

Psyren
2017-06-09, 07:24 PM
In dnd Martials are so highly dependent upon magic items that anything that prevents magic from working is completely neutering the martial while it is barely a speed bump for the martials

You're right, but I play Pathfinder. Some of the below applies to D&D as well though:

1) Counterspelling stops spells from working. It does not stop magic equipment.
2) Grappling and needing/being forced to be quiet stops (many) spells from working. It does not stop magic equipment.
3) Area dispels stop spells from working. They do not stop magic equipment.
4) Targeted dispels need to be done individually, and only last for a couple rounds on average. If the enemy caster wants to waste his actions on that, by all means he should. (3.5 crapped the bed here too thanks to Chain Dispel, but again, I play PF.)

Furthermore, you can use alternate itemization (e.g. Automatic Bonus Progression) so that the martials are less dependent on explicitly magical gear. They get the bonuses they need without the potential drawbacks.



And the idea that martials can happily go all day is blatantly false, they have ressources that run out to, HP for one and require the buffs from the caster to be competitive. So when the caster run out of spells the martials couldn't possibly keep going.


Parties don't stop to let the caster regain spell slot simply to have the big guns in reserve, they do because they have no choice, without the catsers the martials is often not good enough to do it's job.

The only hit point that matters is your last one.

As for buffs - those are nice extras to have, but the minimum standard of competence comes from chassis and wealth. In Pathfinder, Fighters can craft their own gear - you don't need a Fly spell when you have a pair of Winged Boots, don't need Mind Blank anymore, etc. In short, there are solutions.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-09, 08:29 PM
My idea for abilities can all be at will for all I care.

Slow magic is bad for game play. Unless everyone is running multiple characters, the mage player just sits there while everyone else plays the game. So, no, not a good plan.

You know a character is powerful, because he did something powerful. Ok...

Slow magic is bad for gameplay assuming:
A) all magic is slow, and
B) magic is all a spellcaster can do.

Now the question is do we limit slow magic to big stuff (army destroying, summoning demons, shifting an entire city into an alternate dimension) or do we let spellcasters have more features than those related to spellcasting.

Assuming we still want a game about adventurers who fight monsters, then I'd argue that ideally every character should be good enough at mundane combat with their preferred weapon to defeat what their level would consider a mook/minion. Yes, this does push adventuring wizards up from being housecat fodder to being able to defeat at least a few kobolds without magic, but I consider this a bonus: a wizard in an antimagic field isn't useless in combat (I consider this disadvantage to be equivalent to 'the fighter is using a weapon they're untrained in', at least conceptually).

At the same time, at least with my new project, I don't want combat magic to disappear entirely, especially short term debuffs and battlefield control. So a wizard gets a bunch of spells from a general list (including basics like flame bolt and light) and a list specific to their specialty. Some spells are relatively weak and quick to cast, others are stronger and have a casting time in minutes or hours. A spell might even be able to scale up in power with more preparation, so a Plane Shift cast as a one minute ritual might be able to transport one person per caster level, but by casting for eight hours you can shift one mile per caster level (and thus shift an entire city into an alternate dimension).

Conversely fighters innately gain the ability to take and dish out large amounts of damage, keeping powerful monsters busy until the wizard can weaken it. Then everyone gets to pick abilities (to me probably just buffed up feats in execution) to round out their character or fill in holes (so a wizard could theoretically spend a Feat/Edge to become tougher, although not as tough as a fighter, but miss out on the ability to get a couple of new spells).


Good. Wouldn't be much point in playing a wizard of everyone else could trivially do everything they could do.

At the same time there isn't much point in playing a fighter if a wizard could trivially do everything they could do. We just need to work out what everyone's supposed to do. I'm a massive proponent of removing powerful damage spells and SoD effects from the core wizard, killing things is supposed to be the fighter's job.


How does everyone else feel about this definition of the Fighter? Would you like to play someone whose only contribution is to successfully deal and take damage? And maybe have a few perfectly mundane non-combat skills?

What level of damage? If I can play Guts and successfully fight 100 men as a mid level fighter (assuming 3.X scaling) then I consider it a fair balance for less skills than some characters and little magic (although not 2+int skill points). Then again, Guts doesn't have to compete with wizards farting fireballs every six seconds.


Yeah, I think "flexibility" is kinda the trademark of the Wizard. Which is why all these more focused classes... just aren't a Wizard.

Now, if you took away just a couple of the most broken powerful high-end spells from the Wizard (Simulacrum and Dominate Monster, being along of my favorites, come to mind), and gated them behind Beguiler-level focus, or require the Wizard to spend one of his rate Edges to acquire a single "specialist" spell, I wonder if that wouldn't be a very gentle nerf to the Wizard that would make balancing the Fighter's contribution easier?

I'm all for this, small generalist list, larger focus lists, and then give all wizards one focus list, heck I'd be willing to give them Beguiler or Warmage style casting. Let them spend resources to get spells from outside the list. I'd love that as a wizard, powerful and versatile but each character has a specific focus.

Cosi
2017-06-09, 09:09 PM
Alternate hypothesis: Casters are broken.

Remember, the guy I was replying to thinks casters are "totes balanced guys, you're just doing it wrong". He's the one suggesting a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors where the thing that beats Rock is "more Rock" as balance.


It was originally a White Wolf game. Need I say more?

No. That's why I think you should discard pretty much everything that isn't "everyone is magic from the word go".


If your plot requires the party to plane shift, then you take away the fighter's ability to plane shift, that's not a problem with the Fighter, that's on you. You'll run into the same problem if, say, the party sorcerer didn't take that spell, the party wizard banned that school, etc. So, all I can say is, build better plots.

The point of plane shift isn't to enable the DM's plot. The point of plane shift is to enable the players to find novel, plane shift-based solutions to their problems, rather than doing whatever the DM says. If the DM needs people to go to another plane, he can just put a portal there.


The Emperor is always a psychic, whether he is a wandering mystic or an epic level god emperor. John Mclaine is an action hero, and he remains an action hero throughout all five movies, he is never a super hero.

First, The Emperor's pyschic powers alone make him inappropriate as a low level character.

Second, you're assuming because we don't see John McClane get superpowers, getting them would destroy his character. This is not a reasonable assumption. You can have John McClane's personality and superpowers -- Wolverine seems fairly close, for example.

Third, since 2008 at the latest, you can be both a superhero and an action hero. For example, the Hulk. And Thor. And Iron Man. And so on.


D&D is a game about people progressing from level 1 chump to epic level badass.

So what does the epic badass version of John McClane look like? Again, you have a party of Urza (reality warper, at-will greater plane shift, god-tier artificer), the God Emperor of Mankind (commands a planet spanning empire, stops time, immortal/indestructible to some degree), and a Pretender God (cows armies with its presence, may have an ability like the omens from Elder Evils, rituals that range from "summon dead gods" to "turn off the sun"). What is "I'm a cop who doesn't follow the rules and stays sharp under pressure" contributing there?


If you insist that people need to start the game at their full power OR change to a fundamentally different type of character, then you are really talking about fundamentally changing one of the core aspects of D&D.

You are the one insisting that you be allowed to keep the same character from "peasant" to "demigod". If your character concept is defined by a power cap, what happens when the party reaches that cap?


If you want to rewrite D&D as a full blown fantasy super heroes game go ahead, but it is a major departure from what is already published and isn't necessary to make the game work.

D&D is pretty explicit about going up to what you define as "fantasy superheroes". Well before 20th level, 3e expects you to be able to chew through an army of giants or demons.

Of course, what's wrong with a kitchen sink fantasy game going all the way up to the top end? Why should it stop before that point because you can't imagine ever giving up the concept you had at 1st level?


What exactly IS the problem with martials? Is it that they can't keep up in fights with CR appropriate enemies? That they are dependent on magic items for utility? That they can't do anything out of combat? That there are too many spells without a martial counter? Or that they can't match the power of a caster utilizing TO exploits or chaining spells for infinite power?

The problem is that you want to be John McClane, I want to be the God Emperor of Mankind, and we can't both be happy at the same time while the game is balanced. So either I never get the character I want (which sucks), the game is broken (which sucks), or you eventually get some damn superpowers in a game where you fight monsters the size of buildings (which, apparently, is totally unacceptable).


In my opinion all of the above could be fixed by giving martials a broader scope or mundane abilities or nerfing the really broken spells, you don't need to add super powers. Indeed, even super powers really don't mean much against casters who can summon an infinite army of outsiders each of which can grant them XP free wishes.

Yes, you have to fix planar binding. No, that won't stop martials from being obsoleted. The Cleric Archer is not terribly broken in any meaningful sense, but it's really freaking good at making mundanes cry.


1) Counterspelling stops spells from working. It does not stop magic equipment.

It also requires build investment, or having the right spell ready.


4) Targeted dispels need to be done individually, and only last for a couple rounds on average. If the enemy caster wants to waste his actions on that, by all means he should. (3.5 crapped the bed here too thanks to Chain Dispel, but again, I play PF.)

Remind me where PF overrode chain dispel? Oh right, it didn't. I can just cast it and laugh all the way to my free extra class features.

Cluedrew
2017-06-09, 09:26 PM
So what does the epic badass version of John McClane look like? Again, you have a party of Urza (reality warper, at-will greater plane shift, god-tier artificer), the God Emperor of Mankind (commands a planet spanning empire, stops time, immortal/indestructible to some degree), and a Pretender God (cows armies with its presence, may have an ability like the omens from Elder Evils, rituals that range from "summon dead gods" to "turn off the sun"). What is "I'm a cop who doesn't follow the rules and stays sharp under pressure" contributing there?I don't know much about any of these three characters (besides the fact that the God Emperor of Mankind will not go adventuring, because he is stuck in his chair) I don't even think this is wizard vs. fighter. Two of the characters appear to be gods. Those are generally stronger than wizards. You know, just on average. By the way, have you played this campaign? It sounds like it would be quite the story.

Still, if you want to grow Officer McClane (don't know much about him either) into the Wild Law, the leader of an interplanetary order of elite enforcers of justice who often act outside the law and value getting the job done over keeping things clean. Who never flinches and can kill anything, even so called immortals, with regular weapons. Who has seen so many criminals that they can see ill intent written across your face even when you are not actively thinking about it. If you do that, than maybe this not so simple cop has something to contribute.

Talakeal
2017-06-09, 09:40 PM
Stuff.

John Mclaine's character wouldn't necessarily be destroyed by getting super powers, but the general tone and feel of Diehard sure would.

Are you sure that from the day he was born the Emperor was so powerful, and had such control over his powers, that he absolutely couldn't be represented by a well optimized psion?





Frankly, the whole super powers things is a bit of a red herring. If you want to play something like a Magic planeswalker you are well beyond the point where it matters. Even Thor or Superman or the Silver Surfer would be meaningless in such a scenario. Indeed, the whole concept of fantasy quests, especially dungeon crawling, becomes kind of irrelevant.

At this point I think the D&D rules, or indeed the rules of most RPGs with their emphasis on action and adventure, are holding you back when you really need a system that deals with the nature of reality, high level metaphysics, and barely comprehensible cosmic concepts.

And that is a fine game to play. It is probably significantly deeper and both more intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding than the exploring fantasy kingdoms and slaying dragons with swords and fireballs that most of us play. But the two games are more or less incompatible.

D&D conceptually works fine at the levels of power the game covers, although the implementation often leaves a bit to be desired. Stray too far beyond that, and the game completely breaks down.

So while I do agree that you would get to a point where a martial character (or even a magical character with comprehensible limits) would become irrelevant, the game rules break down far earlier, and you would be better off simply playing a game which is meant for cosmic level play rather than try and drag your dungeon crawling toolset to infinity and beyond.

Cosi
2017-06-09, 10:04 PM
(besides the fact that the God Emperor of Mankind will not go adventuring, because he is stuck in his chair)

Sure, now he's stuck in a chair, but he was at one point running around fighting C'Tan, creating the Imperium, and leading crusades.


I don't even think this is wizard vs. fighter. Two of the characters appear to be gods. Those are generally stronger than wizards.

Couple of things:

First, I'm using a fairly extreme example because it proves the point better. You get the same basic problem if the casters are comparatively more reasonable characters like Khellus or the Lord Ruler (who both lead nations, are personally able to take down armies, and have the ability to command some supernaturally effective minions).

Second, (3e) D&D does scale up to this point, it just does so accidentally rather than intentionally. You can build a Wizard on par with these characters (or a Cleric, or a Beguiler, or an Artificer), you just do so by abusing the rules fairly hard. A Wizard that uses Chain Binding to accumulate an arbitrarily large army of demons, uses Incantarix cheese to persist all the buffs on himself, and casts everything spontaneously via Spontaneous Divination + Versatile Spellcaster is on par with characters like that, but he's not what the game intends. I think you should be able to get giant demon armies, but I think you should get them because the game explicitly intends you to have them, not because someone forgot to cross-reference "creatures that can cast planar binding" with "creatures you can call with planar binding".


By the way, have you played this campaign? It sounds like it would be quite the story.

Sadly, no. D&D as it exists is somewhat poorly suited to doing things like this (or even the lower level versions where people are "merely" kings), because it doesn't have a good system for mass battles or kingdom management, which you need to have in order to do campaigns like this.


John Mclaine's character wouldn't necessarily be destroyed by getting super powers, but the general tone and feel of Diehard sure would.

Sure? No one is suggesting that epic level adventures be Die Hard. That would be dumb.


Are you sure that from the day he was born the Emperor was so powerful, and had such control over his powers, that he absolutely couldn't be represented by a well optimized psion?

Again, this comes back to the same issue -- if McClane With Superpowers doesn't fit your concept, why does Emperor Without Superpowers have to fit mine? I'm sure there's a reasonable progression that is balanced at low levels and ends with God Emperor of Mankind. But I'm also sure there's a reasonable progression that is balanced at high levels and starts with John McClane. If you're not on board with the second, why should I be on board with the first?


At this point I think the D&D rules, or indeed the rules of most RPGs with their emphasis on action and adventure, are holding you back when you really need a system that deals with the nature of reality, high level metaphysics, and barely comprehensible cosmic concepts.

I disagree. I think there are a lot of reasonable adventures that are appropriate for parties of planeswalker tier characters. Current Planeswalkers are less powerful than Urza, but the Magic storyline right now is just a series of adventures that a party of planeswalkers has. Right now they're squaring off against the horrifyingly powerful Nicol Bolas who has corrupted an entire plane to serve his nefarious ends.

Even Oldwalkers had some adventures. Bolas trashed the gods of Amonkhet pretty easily, but it's perfectly plausible to imagine a slightly weaker Bolas (or slightly stronger gods) making that fight a worthy challenge. The sealing of the Eldrazi is pretty much a straight up adventure with Ugin, Nahiri, and Sorin as the party. Urza's maneuvering against Yawgmoth could easily have been the efforts of a cabal.

Once you look at other characters in a similar power band (like Pretenders, Malazan high-enders, or the Emperor), plenty of opportunities for D&D style adventures show up. The big difference is that in addition to laying the personal smackdown on an Eldrazi Titan or C'Tan, you have a nation or army that fights off whatever minions your enemy has.

Of course, this says nothing of the substantially lower power levels of, say, Second Apocalypse where muggles are only relevant because of "F*** Mages" artifacts and there are plenty of dungeon crawls to be had. The fact that you think this is a bad fit for D&D just means that you shouldn't put it in your games. D&D is kitchen sink fantasy, and those sources are fantasy.

Arbane
2017-06-09, 10:14 PM
Good. Wouldn't be much point in playing a wizard of everyone else could trivially do everything they could do.


It's not enough for Wizards to rule the cosmos, everyone else must suck? 9_9


Then again, Guts doesn't have to compete with wizards farting fireballs every six seconds.

Schierke can do some pretty impressive magic, but yeah, she needs everyone else to cover her while she casts.


Remember, the guy I was replying to thinks casters are "totes balanced guys, you're just doing it wrong". He's the one suggesting a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors where the thing that beats Rock is "more Rock" as balance.

No. That's why I think you should discard pretty much everything that isn't "everyone is magic from the word go".

D&D seems to be stuck on the idea that the only thing allowed to beat magic is More Magic.

Ever play RuneQuest? That's pretty much part of its setup - every PC starts off knowing some minor magic, although Rune Priests, Shamans and such specialize in the _really_ powerful stuff (and you generally aren't going to START as one - it's a position to work towards). But being good with a spear never becomes irrelevant.

Anonymouswizard
2017-06-09, 10:31 PM
It's not enough for Wizards to rule the cosmos, everyone else must suck? 9_9

I think I've finally come up with a way to balance wizards and fighters: give wizards DR10,000,001/DM fiat.


Schierke can do some pretty impressive magic, but yeah, she needs everyone else to cover her while she casts.

That's my point. Berserk has powerful magic in the party, btu the author kept the fighters relevant. It's not suitable for a game, but the same basic idea can be used.


D&D seems to be stuck on the idea that the only thing allowed to beat magic is More Magic.

Ever play RuneQuest? That's pretty much part of its setup - every PC starts off knowing some minor magic, although Rune Priests, Shamans and such specialize in the _really_ powerful stuff (and you generally aren't going to START as one - it's a position to work towards). But being good with a spear never becomes irrelevant.

Almost every game ends up falling at least into 'the supernatural is only beat by the supernatural'. It's just what the supernatural is can vary (in D&D for PCs it's 'magic and nothing else').

Talakeal
2017-06-10, 02:07 AM
More stuff

I think we might be talking past each other.

I am saying that a level 1 martial and a level 1 caster should both be valid characters in a level 1 game, a level 20 martial and a level 20 caster should both be valid in a level 20 game, and neither one should have to change the nature of their character as they advance, merely increasing in scale. And I believe that this is fully doable using the D&D framework if one is willing to tweak some of the spells and class features.

Now, sure, there is indeed a point where I can conceptually see a mundane character not being able to compete no matter how skilled they are, but it isn't something d&d can really handle. It would be something like The Beyonder vs. Mr. Myxlplyx or Tzeentch vs. Q, and D&D doesn't even attempt to model those situations, even the basic things like d20+ability score, standard actions, six second rounds, and 5 foot steps would be meaningless when you have omniscient entities that can freely travel through time and higher spatial dimensions.

It would take some serious home-brewing and at that point I would think you would be better served with an RPG that was meant to handle cosmic matters rather than exploring dungeons in a Tolkienish setting.

Cluedrew
2017-06-10, 07:41 AM
Sure, now he's stuck in a chair, but he was at one point running around fighting C'Tan, creating the Imperium, and leading crusades.That was supposed to be a bit of a joke. I get the point of "if/when he was not stuck in that chair".


Second, (3e) D&D does scale up to this point, it just does so accidentally rather than intentionally.First off I should clarify that I meant several things by "god" here. Besides scale and role they tend to play in the story, gods aren't really adventurers and don't operate by the same rules.

I think it happening by accident is probably a large part of the issue. They got carried away with adding magic tricks, without doing the same for martial tricks. I think, even if they want to have epic levels 21-30 for that, they should first get everything working in the lower levels. Or not everything, but the core classes would be a nice start.


D&D is kitchen sink fantasy, and those sources are fantasy.I don't think that kitchen sink fantasy is supposed to mean generic fantasy. There is nothing generic about spell slots. It is its own sub-gene of fantasy, although one that absorbs as many features of other types (and makes up some of its own). Actually, D&D fantasy is its own type of fantasy that is not quite any of the other variants out their.


Almost every game ends up falling at least into 'the supernatural is only beat by the supernatural'. It's just what the supernatural is can vary (in D&D for PCs it's 'magic and nothing else')."Special is beat by more special", it just gets less interesting when there is only type of special. Actually it is really it starts going down when things are so linear, but a single linear line makes it even worse.

Quertus
2017-06-10, 09:01 AM
Two of the characters appear to be gods. Those are generally stronger than wizards. You know, just on average.

Well, on average, maybe. Quertus, for one, is stronger than the gods. And I'm not even sure that characters on average should be weaker than the gods - part of the theme of older editions was that the gods were encouraged to help mortals ascend by the fact that, if they didn't, the mortals would grow more powerful than them.


At the same time there isn't much point in playing a fighter if a wizard could trivially do everything they could do. We just need to work out what everyone's supposed to do. I'm a massive proponent of removing powerful damage spells and SoD effects from the core wizard, killing things is supposed to be the fighter's job.

In 3e, the Wizard has a difficult time dealing 1000 damage in a hit like a charger, no save just die like a vorpal fighter (who was better in 3.0), or doing any of this 14,400 times per day.

In older editions, dealing damage absolutely was the Wizard's thing. Fireball ruled the roost - a couple times per day.

The wizard cannot do anything trivially - he has very limited resources, and has to plan ahead how to use them. But, once those resources are assigned, the Wizard can do each of those things trivially (in the case of Knock and other win buttons) or with varying degrees of difficulty (in the case of attack rolls, "Save or..." effects, etc).

If you remove damage from the Wizard, there are a lot of tables (sadly) that will claim that the Wizard no longer contributes. In 3e, damage is the Wizard barely contributing as it is. So I'm not really seeing why this would be an issue.

Also, someone needs to have the role, "deal AoE damage". Who better than the Wizard?


Slow magic is bad for gameplay assuming:
A) all magic is slow, and
B) magic is all a spellcaster can do.

Now the question is do we limit slow magic to big stuff (army destroying, summoning demons, shifting an entire city into an alternate dimension) or do we let spellcasters have more features than those related to spellcasting.

Well, two of those 3 sound more powerful than I expect Wizard 20 to accomplish, so if you want to relegate those particular 3 to lengthy rituals, you'll get no complaints from me.

Heck, if you want to let Fighter 20 accomplish those same rituals, you'll still get no complaints from me.


What level of damage? If I can play Guts and successfully fight 100 men as a mid level fighter (assuming 3.X scaling) then I consider it a fair balance for less skills than some characters and little magic (although not 2+int skill points). Then again, Guts doesn't have to compete with wizards farting fireballs every six seconds.

Well, the purpose of the question was to ask if the Fighter was better at dealing damage than the Wizard - if that was his Role. So, uh, obviously how that compares to the Wizard is part of the question.

I still think AoE damage to clear out mooks should be the Wizard's role, though.


I'm all for this, small generalist list, larger focus lists, and then give all wizards one focus list, heck I'd be willing to give them Beguiler or Warmage style casting. Let them spend resources to get spells from outside the list. I'd love that as a wizard, powerful and versatile but each character has a specific focus.

The point of the Wizard is to be the Swiss army knife. That should be a huge general list. :smallwink:


It's not enough for Wizards to rule the cosmos, everyone else must suck? 9_9

The point of the Wizard is to be the Swiss army knife. Like a bard, but good. It's not that others are bad, but, if the Wizard has limited resources, those has better be more powerful than others' at will abilities.

Now, if all the Wizard's abilities were also at will, then I'd be arguing for them to be less powerful than the abilities of muggles. Muggles have to train to do a few things, wizards can just do whatever... poorly. And I'd be happy with that character, because it fills the role I want out of wizards.

Lemmy
2017-06-10, 10:00 AM
I feel you. Right now, if you want to sway the direction of conversation, is not a good time. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of various views and the justifications there of it is a great time to post.It's more that seeing a huge wall of text is discouraging... I'm still reading (most) posts, just not bothering to reply, since it'd require a cascade of quotes... also, some people here are making the points I wanted to make... Only at greater length and detail that I'm willing to go and considerably more eloquently than I could. :smallsmile:

Cluedrew
2017-06-10, 10:28 AM
To Quertus: I understand that D&D blurs the line a bit (and it is not the only one) but a lot of stories have gods so infinitely beyond a wizard that... comparing the two is almost silly. And that is not even getting into things where gods exist outside of the universe, have no physical from and so on.

To Lemmy: You would have hated "Its not my fault, it's what the dice said my character would do". Points took multiple pages to get made.

Quertus
2017-06-10, 10:29 AM
It's more that seeing a huge wall of text is discouraging... I'm still reading (most) posts, just not bothering to reply, since it'd require a cascade of quotes... also, some people here are making the points I wanted to make... Only atmore length and detail that I'm willing to go and considerably more eloquently than I could. :smallsmile:

Well, feel free to just throw out an idea, instead of quoting everyone.

And how many copies of Wall of Text can we have memorized, anyway. :smalltongue:

georgie_leech
2017-06-10, 10:42 AM
RE: The earlier objection to not wanting to sacrifice a low powered concept thanks to higher level abiligies that don't fit.

Don't Wizards at present (in 3e at least) also face this problem? What if my concept involves someone who is determined to use the minor magic they know to adventure, or has a signaghre spell they prefer to solve problems with? Why must they advance in power to the point that they can rip the souls from all the enemies around them, or kill with a word, or create illusions that are so convincing reality itself is fooled?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-10, 10:45 AM
RE: The earlier objection to not wanting to sacrifice a low powered concept thanks to higher level abiligies that don't fit.

Don't Wizards at present (in 3e at least) also face this problem? What if my concept involves someone who is determined to use the minor magic they know to adventure, or has a signaghre spell they prefer to solve problems with? Why must they advance in power to the point that they can rip the souls from all the enemies around them, or kill with a word, or create illusions that are so convincing reality itself is fooled?

Stay a low level wizard and multiclass with something else.

georgie_leech
2017-06-10, 10:56 AM
Stay a low level wizard and multiclass with something else.

Right, which applies equally well to our theoretical Martial That Gains Superpowers At High Levels. The objection seemed to be that such superpowers would inherently undermine the concept, and remaining at lower levels seemed to be an insufficient solution.

Keltest
2017-06-10, 11:02 AM
Right, which applies equally well to our theoretical Martial That Gains Superpowers At High Levels. The objection seemed to be that such superpowers would inherently undermine the concept, and remaining at lower levels seemed to be an insufficient solution.

I think the objection stems more from "getting to godlike power and beyond is the natural progression of the game, as opposed to a specific objective that you have to actively and deliberately pursue."

Adventure enough and you become a functional god unless you deliberately try not to, basically. And I think that criticism is fair, even if I don't entirely agree with it.

Tanarii
2017-06-10, 11:11 AM
I think the objection stems more from "getting to godlike power and beyond is the natural progression of the game, as opposed to a specific objective that you have to actively and deliberately pursue."

Adventure enough and you become a functional god unless you deliberately try not to, basically. And I think that criticism is fair, even if I don't entirely agree with it.
This relies on a fundamental assumption that levels 11+ are part of the natural progression of real world game sessions.

Which, as WoTC has noted, isn't really the case. Most tables play at less than 10 or so, starting campaigns over when a party reaches that level, or retiring characters around then. They've adjusted their approach to the game accordingly in the latest edition. XP is scaled accordingly so that the majority of play occurs where most groups already put it anyway, in the 5-10 range. It accelerates greatly after that, to catapult those interested in 'godlike power' to the 17-20 range.

My understanding from others is the Adventure paths generally assume the majority of play is in the 5-10 range too, with the epic conclusion starting shortly after leaving it. (I'm going off hearsay for this.) That means they've put it back on the footing with the old AD&D module paths, like the Giants --> Drow series.

Edit: to be more direct about it, the whole Martials vs Casters (which really means Fighters vs Wizards) thing is far more about looking at what is in the book, rather than what generally happens at tables. :smallyuk:

Although in 3e that's less the case, and it's far more common an issue actually at the table. Theres a reason E6 was a thing.

georgie_leech
2017-06-10, 11:13 AM
I think the objection stems more from "getting to godlike power and beyond is the natural progression of the game, as opposed to a specific objective that you have to actively and deliberately pursue."

Adventure enough and you become a functional god unless you deliberately try not to, basically. And I think that criticism is fair, even if I don't entirely agree with it.

Right. To which I responded with 'why isn't it a problem for Wizards to advance to godlike powers, if it would be a problem for a Super-Fighter?' I agree that this isn't actually a 'problem' per se, as I found the argument 'if you want lower powered characters, play at lower levels' rather apt. So to understand Quertus and others on that side of the debate better, I'm trying to come at the point from a different angle.

Lemmy
2017-06-10, 12:25 PM
To Lemmy: You would have hated "Its not my fault, it's what the dice said my character would do". Points took multiple pages to get made.Ah... The good ol' "that's what my character would do" discussions... Always such civilized and contructive discussions...


Well, feel free to just throw out an idea, instead of quoting everyone.

And how many copies of Wall of Text can we have memorized, anyway. :smalltongue:
Good idea! I shall not quote multiple peop- DAMNIT!

Quertus
2017-06-10, 12:29 PM
Right. To which I responded with 'why isn't it a problem for Wizards to advance to godlike powers, if it would be a problem for a Super-Fighter?' I agree that this isn't actually a 'problem' per se, as I found the argument 'if you want lower powered characters, play at lower levels' rather apt. So to understand Quertus and others on that side of the debate better, I'm trying to come at the point from a different angle.

Which side am I again? :smallconfused:

I like to think of my stance as, "give the Fighter whatever he wants, so he'll stop whining, and I can get back to playing my wizard", honestly. Fighter wants plane shift at will, charging for 1000 damage, x100 HP, the ability to ignore DR, the ability to draw aggro, the ability to take damage for the team, and the ability to punch down mountains 3/day. Sure, fine, whatever - doesn't affect my wizard, except that maybe he can free up a spell slot or two, now that the Fighter has more things converted.

Telok
2017-06-10, 01:10 PM
Right. To which I responded with 'why isn't it a problem for Wizards to advance to godlike powers, if it would be a problem for a Super-Fighter?' I agree that this isn't actually a 'problem' per se, as I found the argument 'if you want lower powered characters, play at lower levels' rather apt. So to understand Quertus and others on that side of the debate better, I'm trying to come at the point from a different angle.

Part of the issue may be that D&D has moved away from character retirement and/or game scope changes but that the spells that casters get have stayed the same.

Recall that originally at the later levels when the god-like-power spells came online characters were advancing more slowly and 'martial' characters had things like armies, kingdoms, spies, artifact weapons, and organizations as 'powers'. But D&D has been moved away from that. Advancement never slows down, armies and kingdoms aren't part of the game any more, and characters don't retire to become NPC quest givers and plot enablers. We still have the spells for the casters that change the game, yet the game that those spells were originally written for doesn't exist any more.

So what does this have to do with super-fighter? Well, first off, the game is staying in the squad based dungeon crawl mode for the entire time. The low level fighter did pretty well there and actually does OK at the number inflated version of that game that the higher levels of D&D are now sold as. The game as it stands today is a squad based dungeon crawl with increasing numbers as the character levels up and normal-fighter has no problem with that as long as his numbers scale up with everything else, you don't need super-fighter to play the game as it's given to you.

But the casters still have those game changing spells that were written for levels where the game changed, and the game doesn't change any more. So the casters have spells that are aimed at playing a different game. In squad based dungeon crawl mode you never need Plane Shift or Simulacrum and things like Raise Dead and Bypass Dungeon Defences are really strong abilities. Really those spells are out of line for squad based dungeon crawl mode, but they're in the game as legacy spells and the game just doesn't feel quite right if they aren't there. They're great spells, awesome for NPCs to help/hinder the PCs with and they enable some really interesting adventurers. But that was sort of their original intention, they were spells for NPCs, or retired characters to help the new character with, or for a different sort of game where armies, spies, and artifact weapons were involved.

So what do you want to do? We can make a super-fighter that gets the god-like-power of a wizard or cleric at later levels, but the game being sold is still a squad based dungeon crawl from levels 1 to max. Now everyone has Plane Shift, Simulacrum, Raise Dead, and Bypass Dungeon Defences in a dungeon crawl game. We can remove all the spells from the wizards and clerics that aren't appropriate to the current game, just give them the same abilities they had at lower levels but with bigger numbers. So all characters are able to play the dungeon crawl at all levels, but we already have that game in 4e. We can go back to having two distinct levels of play, adventurer squad level and shaper of destinies level. You can have super-fighter in that game, but you also need new adventure modules for the new level of play and an explicit change from one level to the other. Unfortunately there's pretty much no chance of WotC ever supporting that third choice so you'll have to make it all yourself or change games.

Ninja-Radish
2017-06-10, 01:33 PM
Martials had their brief shining moment in 4E when they were awesome. I miss 4E. 5E has them firmly back in the suck though, I'm sorry to say.

I feel like almost every edition of D&D is some kind of crazy nerd revenge against the "jocks" who used to pick on them. Oh you wanna play a character who lifts weighs? Well he's gonna suck compared to the guy who reads his spell book all day long. As a former high school and college athlete, this has always annoyed me. I never picked on any "nerds" and I used to hang out and play D&D with them. Can I please have a martial that doesn't suck now?

Lemmy
2017-06-10, 02:06 PM
Martials had their brief shining moment in 4E when they were awesome. I miss 4E. 5E has them firmly back in the suck though, I'm sorry to say.

I feel like almost every edition of D&D is some kind of crazy nerd revenge against the "jocks" who used to pick on them. Oh you wanna play a character who lifts weighs? Well he's gonna suck compared to the guy who reads his spell book all day long. As a former high school and college athlete, this has always annoyed me. I never picked on any "nerds" and I used to hang out and play D&D with them. Can I please have a martial that doesn't suck now?
Honestly, the whole "D&D is about nerds having fantasy-revenge on jocks" argument always seemed silly to me. IMHO, it's just a coincidence. Martial classes are based on martial characters which are often far more grounded than the caster characters that inspired caster classes... Usually because martials were the protagonists, so having god-like powers would make it quite difficult to write an interesting story...

Hell! Druids and Clerics are quite powerful and they're arguably more martial than "casty".

georgie_leech
2017-06-10, 02:10 PM
Martials had their brief shining moment in 4E when they were awesome. I miss 4E. 5E has them firmly back in the suck though, I'm sorry to say.

I feel like almost every edition of D&D is some kind of crazy nerd revenge against the "jocks" who used to pick on them. Oh you wanna play a character who lifts weighs? Well he's gonna suck compared to the guy who reads his spell book all day long. As a former high school and college athlete, this has always annoyed me. I never picked on any "nerds" and I used to hang out and play D&D with them. Can I please have a martial that doesn't suck now?

Eh, I'm a fan of 4e as well, but as both a player and DM, I'm finding the 5e Martials aren't so much sucking as narrowly focused. When combat as reasonably frequent (and maybe it's just my group, but we seem to find a way to make combat reasonably frequent :smallwink:), their steady high damage output while being reasonably difficult to kill is making a big difference in the kind of encounters we/the players can handle. Even if our resident Fighter occasionally does something like jump directly in front of the chained up hell hound instead of letting us plink away at it from out of fire breath range. :smallamused:

Quertus
2017-06-10, 03:11 PM
Martials had their brief shining moment in 4E when they were awesome. I miss 4E. 5E has them firmly back in the suck though, I'm sorry to say.

Ok, you're the second person to say that fighters were good in 4e (or, perhaps, you've said it twice?).

Now, I'm biased, I think 4e was trash, and all the classes in it were equally trash. So I'm a tough audience. But, please, explain exactly why fighters in 4e were given a chance to shine. What could they do that was so awesome, that they can't do in other editions?