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adrian23
2017-10-04, 04:26 PM
i mean,this is supposed to be a roleplaying game right? not "gameplay and story segregation wow. by definition story and gameplay are supposed to be one, so logically speaking does it not make sense that reality warping should be stronger that hitting something with a big stick? if i could say (in real life) move things with my mind,bend others to my will,change shape,become invisible and summon cthulhu i would be emperor of the world.tomorrow morning in fact. if i could smash people's faces with fists i would be.. at best making money as a boxer.


it's not even something unique to dnd
it's why the big bad in tolkien's middle earth is a magical fallen angel instead of some angry troll with an axe.
or why the biggest threat to palpatine were the 10,000 strong jedi order or hell even the survivors of his purge
or why cthulhu is such a threat(size alone would not get him anywhere near)
or why circe beats the argonauts even though they are more muscular than her.
or why the lich king's terror is not caused by wielding a big ****ing sword.
or how demeter nearly destroys the world when her daughter is kidnapped.
or how "let there be light" did not involve any muscle .

essentially my point is that having fighters be as strong as wizards only makes sense in settings where the lore/fluff supports it. for instance classical mythology and whitewolf's Exalted solve the problem by giving a convincing in-game metaphysical reason about how(for instance) you were able to shoot ten people in one shot.i.e making everyone magical but looking like ridiculously advanced mundane stuff.

personally(though i haven't yet played it) i think 5e is in a somewhat better direction i.e removing ,insanely abused feats/prestige classes etc,giving fighters some extra capabilities(not unlike,say,warblades in 3.5e or for that matter what real life people or heroes like drizzt can do)

Cosi
2017-10-04, 04:29 PM
As far as I can tell, it's because people like non-magical sword wielders and would rather cut out all the magic stronger than a sword than accept that sword guys must eventually pick up some amount of magic.

JNAProductions
2017-10-04, 04:40 PM
Because, at least in 3E, there's an assumption that PC of level X is equal to another PC of level X.

And that's a flat out lie. A Fighter 15 is nowhere near equal to a Wizard 15, or even a lower level Wizard.

I'd be much more okay with it, IF THE GAME ACKNOWLEDGED IT. If each class had a tier and a small blurb explaining it, along with recommendations on how to make disparate tiers work and recommended ranges for tiers, I'd have much less of an issue. As it is, though, if you read the PHB (and maybe the DMG) for 3rd edition, you'll have the impression that a Wizard and a Fighter of equal level are equally strong.

Take a look at 5th edition-there aren't tiers there. Each class is reasonably balanced against each other (barring Wish-Simulacrum chaining, which is a clear exploit and TO, not PO, and POSSIBLY minionmancy, which is more PO) so that, even if you have a Wizard 20 and a Fighter 20 in the same party, they can both contribute well and neither player feels left out, short of the DM being malicious/bad.

Whereas back in 3rd edition, if you have two characters, one a well-built Wizard 20 and the other a well-built Fighter 20, the Wizard has spells that can literally replace the entire Fighter, possibly better, spells that will trivialize every encounter they come across (and enough slots to do that in EVERY encounter, probably) and just in general, you'll have the Fighter be not contributing unless there's some REALLY weird shenanigans going on. The kind that take mental gymnastics to the extreme to justify.

BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFuMpYTyRjw)

KillianHawkeye
2017-10-04, 04:45 PM
I don't think you understand what the tiers are all about.

It's not about making Fighters equal to Wizards. On the contrary, it's just a tool that's designed to help people understand why certain classes are more useful (NOT more powerful) than others. It's only goal is to explain that a Fighter is pretty good at one thing (hitting things with sticks), while a Wizard can be good at lots of things (depending on what spells he knows and has prepared). Wizards are higher tier than Fighters only because they can potentially do more things, not because of the relative strength of the two classes.

This really only becomes a problem when the Wizard tries to do the Fighter's job, because they can potentially do it better than a Fighter can, and this can leave the player of the Fighter character feeling left out of the fun. This doesn't mean that putting characters from different tiers together is bad, just that people need to be aware of these things to avoid spoiling other peoples' fun. And spreading that awareness is the entire point of putting the classes into tiers in the first place.

Again, the tiers themselves are just a statement on relative usefulness and versatility. They aren't something that can be liked or disliked.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-04, 04:51 PM
Again, the tiers themselves are just a statement on relative usefulness and versatility. They aren't something that can be liked or disliked.

I dislike the tiers because they revealed that they aren't equal and encourage people to keep them unequal. furthermore, people clearly misinterpret and change the definitions to suit their own view of the system sot hat they don't have to do anything about the problems the tier list points out, so its not even doing the job its originally meant to do, which is point out the problem because the people who use it keep reframing the problems as not problems which is stupid and dishonest, and me pointing out these problems as just my opinion so they don't have to think of them as problems.

Anymage
2017-10-04, 05:45 PM
Three thoughts.

First, there exists some level of reality warper that corresponds to some level of swordsman. The reality warper has a much higher cap, and the high level swordsman quickly goes from breaking real physics to breaking action movie physics all the way to superhero territory, but it's not intrinsically impossible to find balance points.

Second, "magic" does whatever we want it to. Rituals in 4e are notoriously underpowered compared to mundane skill uses, as well as being more widely available. Magicians in Shadowrun have to contend with drain, the fact that learning new spells costs xp, and the fact that mundane skills can achieve many of the same effects. Wizards in Dungeon World who want to create a spectacular effect are basically told "the GM will tell you what sort of adventure you'll have to go on to pull it off". D&D's conceit of an all-purpose magic man whose spells take effect in a matter of seconds and with no cost other than opportunity cost is far from the only option available. (See also: the like that fixed list casters get.)

Third, "reality warper vs. guy with pointy stick" carries baggage of its own. I want the reality warped to be pared down to "just" a pyromancer, necromancer, or what have you, and at the same time want the "muggle" to be on par with at least sherlock holmes or some other mid tier superhero. I understand that D&D tries to make a lot of people happy with all sorts of conflicting expectations, and that many of its flaws are emergent rather than intentional. But given the many steps the game has made towards that goal over editions, I don't think what I ultimately want is that bad a thing.

Cluedrew
2017-10-04, 06:28 PM
Because it means you can't (rather, have more trouble) putting together parties hand having everyone make a meaningful contribution. Which is to say the "Batman Wizard" who solves every problem with a spell makes it hard to feel relevant as a rogue.


As far as I can tell, it's because people like non-magical sword wielders and would rather cut out all the magic stronger than a sword than accept that sword guys must eventually pick up some amount of magic.As someone who has duked it out with you on this and related issues: Come on, give me/us a bit of credit, there is more to it than that. For instance, the idea of having differing levels of power in PCs aka "tiers", is separate from what the level(s) of power in the game actually are. I think you know my views on both of those issues are, but they are separate issues.

Cosi
2017-10-04, 06:56 PM
Again, the tiers themselves are just a statement on relative usefulness and versatility. They aren't something that can be liked or disliked.

The tiers are absolutely something you can like or dislike. This is like saying you can't disagree with someone's review of a book. There are any number of reasons one could disagree with the tiers from "the rankings aren't accurate" to "the methodology for determining rankings is bad" to "the criteria on which the tiers are based are bad" to "the idea of tiers misses the point of how party balance works". They're not the law of god handed down on stone tablets. They're just an analytic tool some dude proposed.

Honestly, "people treat the tiers with way more respect than they deserve" is a fantastic reason to dislike the tiers.

Knaight
2017-10-04, 06:56 PM
A lot of it has to do with how D&D is constructed - there's an archetypical party (Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard), which goes on adventures and gets more powerful. Generally this involves getting more powerful at what is supposed to be the same rate (whether that's levels or XP, depending on edition) - but that's total B.S. for several editions.

Meanwhile, in Ars Magica mages are just better than everyone else - there's a group of nonmagical people who still have some heft below them, and a group of nonmagical people who really don't below them, but mages are the best. The game is designed around this, and as such you don't see people complaining about it.

awa
2017-10-04, 07:13 PM
take conan as a hypothetical martial
he is a master of virtually all fighting styles from horse archer to hand to hand combat
He has virtually superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and senses.
He is incredible charismatic able to woo women and lead armies,
He is a master climber and expert thief with incredible stealth and is able to identify strange monsters and ancient relics in a setting where such knowledge is incredible rare.
He has virtually unshakable courage and will
He is incredibly lucky, he often finds just the thing he needs to get him out of a scrape/ a bystander gets killed by the inescapable instant death attack

If this was an example of what a martial character say depicted as they would stay relevant far longer, say ever 4 levels they get to gestalt with another martial class and every 4 levels they get an extra +1 to a stat and every 5 levels all stats go up by 1. Finally give them some kind of meta resource to alter the scene if you want to keep a mundane character relevant at higher levels.
That's just something super crude off the top of my head

If you decide from the get go that all a martial can do is swing a sword of course he will be lame, but why would you do that.

Cosi
2017-10-04, 07:24 PM
he is a master of virtually all fighting styles from horse archer to hand to hand combat

So out hypothetical martial that's supposed to be as good as casters is good at "most" fighting styles? He can't even be good at every kind of killing people?


He has virtually superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and senses.

You understand that mages can be actually superhuman in those attributes right (for example, a Mistborn)?


He is incredible charismatic able to woo women and lead armies,

Yes, because there are no charismatic mages, and no mages who even lead armies.


He is a master climber and expert thief with incredible stealth and is able to identify strange monsters and ancient relics in a setting where such knowledge is incredible rare.

Oh my god, he can climb good and thief good. I guess I'll cry all the way to overland flight.


He has virtually unshakable courage and will

Again "virtually"?


He is incredibly lucky, he often finds just the thing he needs to get him out of a scrape/ a bystander gets killed by the inescapable instant death attack

You understand this is a narrative contrivance that you can't pull off in a TTRPG right? There are dice determining the odds of things, and things that are improbable are actually improbable.


Finally give them some kind of meta resource to alter the scene if you want to keep a mundane character relevant at higher levels.

Yeah, that sounds great. You could have different tokens they cash in, with different effects for each token. So you might have a "now there's a wall made out of stone over there" token, or a "raise that guy from the dead" token, or a "shift the party to a different plane" token. Token's kind of a kludgy name though, surely there's something better we can use...

Quertus
2017-10-04, 07:30 PM
Well, I dislike the 3e tier system because it a) stupidly includes a "brokenness" stat in what might otherwise be a useful description of power and versatility; b) it explicitly excludes a listing for the level of power and versatility I think would be a good design goal.

That, and people foolishly blame tiers instead of people being a **** when someone obsoletes another character.

Now, personally, I love the archetype of "gains power by scavenging bits of arcane lore from fallen civilizations (and occasionally by researching and innovating something new and cool)" that is the D&D wizard*. It's an archetype that, afaik, really doesn't exist anywhere else. I also like the archetype of "warps reality" that is the WoD Mage. Personally, I want the archetype "has attained superhuman mastery of combat arts" to out-contribute my preferred archetype in combat. Fortunately, in 3e, the übercharger, the keen Vorpal beheader, the infinite attacks builds, etc, all seem to do the job nicely.

* 2e and earlier, at least

Quertus
2017-10-04, 07:35 PM
You understand this is a narrative contrivance that you can't pull off in a TTRPG right? There are dice determining the odds of things, and things that are improbable are actually improbable.

You and I may not like such narrative games, but you absolutely can give a character such narrative powers in a TTRPG. I spend one use of my luck, and that's a boat tied up, unattended, at the edge of this river we need to cross. Imagine the stink if only fighters got such powers!

awa
2017-10-04, 07:42 PM
you realize its all one character right? Conan's like a specific character, one who kills wizards on occasion, I'm surprised you haven't heard of him.

A fighter who is basically a master of all mundane abilities not forced to pick just one.

you realize even d&d 3rd edition has meta resources through the luck feats I mean I understand their bad feats but they do exist and they exist in many other non d&d rpgs in a much more usable form don’t act like they are so gosh darn impossible to conceive.

AMFV
2017-10-04, 07:52 PM
I suspect that people who dislike tiers in D&D would probably like other systems better in how they do things. Largely because the tiers are a pretty natural result of the way the system works, and in most editions there have been similar. I think that personally, the tiers are not that bad. I've noticed that player competence causes far more imbalance at tables than any tier difference. That and rudeness about tiers, like if one player flaunts their TIER 1 superiority then it can cause problems, but usually it doesn't. I mean generally player canniness and competence is far more impactful on the game than any actual difference in tiers. You have to remember that the tiers suppose equal optimization and that's not often the case.

Cosi
2017-10-04, 07:57 PM
you realize its all one character right? Conan's like a specific character, one who kills wizards on occasion, I'm surprised you haven't heard of him.

Yes, I'm aware. I've used him as an example of someone who is not sufficient to keep up with casters in the long term. You can put all those abilities in a pile, and you get someone who is somewhere between level 6 and level 10. If you pay careful attention, you'll note something those numbers have in common -- not being 20. High level casters can be people like Gideon Jura, who is a skilled soldier, and also a planeswalker with various law magics.


you realize even d&d 3rd edition has meta resources through the luck feats I mean I understand their bad feats but they do exist and they exist in many other non d&d rpgs in a much more usable form don’t act like they are so gosh darn impossible to conceive.

Luck is not a meta resource, it's a reroll.

Yes, you can have resources that let you do <arbitrary thing>, but those are part of the game. Whatever they let you do is already priced into the situation.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-04, 08:02 PM
Because Tiers are just made up junk.

Someone does not like X. And they feel like they must have a ''reason'' not to like X. So they invent the whole ''tier'' thing. And it catches on with all the like minded people.

And that is the worst thing about people and the tier thing: You have to accept like 100 ''truths'' and ''viewpoints'' and ''options''. And, amazingly, a great many people accept all the same ones in mostly the same way. So ''tiers'' can exist and are great...for them.

Amazingly, change even one of the 100 things, and the tiers don't work and make no sense.....but, of course the believers will never change anything and just say ''the tiers'' are all.

awa
2017-10-04, 08:19 PM
Yes, I'm aware. I've used him as an example of someone who is not sufficient to keep up with casters in the long term. You can put all those abilities in a pile, and you get someone who is somewhere between level 6 and level 10. If you pay careful attention, you'll note something those numbers have in common -- not being 20. High level casters can be people like Gideon Jura, who is a skilled soldier, and also a planeswalker with various law magics.



Luck is not a meta resource, it's a reroll.

Yes, you can have resources that let you do <arbitrary thing>, but those are part of the game. Whatever they let you do is already priced into the situation.

If you read my post a bit more thoroughly you might note I said they would let you stay relevant longer I never said level 20, though I disagree with you on when they fall behind (provided they get enough of those extra feats, powers and stat increases I believe they can function well past level 10) I agree that level 17-20 is definitively not the place for martial not without some kind of tweaking either in the types of adventure, the spells, or something else. But then again the tier system does not talk about the top levels at least no jarnoks which is the default tier system on this board.

you don't seem to understand what a meta resource is, reroll or auto success on a roll described as luck or fate is certainly one way to do it, and a common one as well but not the only kind

here a pathfinder example of a meta resource just so you can wrap your head around one. theirs a prestige class that gets the ability to Set aside some money and carrying capacity when you leave town. whats in the bag? Who knows, you don't need to decide until you pull out the item, its lucky you happen to have the perfect potion on hand. This does not represent a magical bag it represents either excellent luck or exceptional planning.

An example from a middle earth variant of 5th edition allowed the scholar (don't remember if that's what they were actually called) character to have retroactively performed some kind of plausible act such as bribing a guard, setting up a supply catch etc.

Cosi
2017-10-04, 08:26 PM
If you read my post a bit more thoroughly you might note I said they would let you stay relevant longer

"Maybe 10th" is not really longer when e.g. Warblades can already do that, or close, with a good enough build. Of course, if the period of relevance is less than "the whole game" you still have the same fundamental issue. One (or more) of the following must be true:

1. Martials and casters can progress to the same degree.
2. There is a cap on character power.
3. Either martials or casters will be overpowered (as, technically, you could constrain the power of casters).

There's no option four where martials can't be better than Conan and can still compete with casters who can be.

RazorChain
2017-10-04, 08:27 PM
i mean,this is supposed to be a roleplaying game right? not "gameplay and story segregation wow. by definition story and gameplay are supposed to be one, so logically speaking does it not make sense that reality warping should be stronger that hitting something with a big stick? if i could say (in real life) move things with my mind,bend others to my will,change shape,become invisible and summon cthulhu i would be emperor of the world.tomorrow morning in fact. if i could smash people's faces with fists i would be.. at best making money as a boxer.


it's not even something unique to dnd
it's why the big bad in tolkien's middle earth is a magical fallen angel instead of some angry troll with an axe.
or why the biggest threat to palpatine were the 10,000 strong jedi order or hell even the survivors of his purge
or why cthulhu is such a threat(size alone would not get him anywhere near)
or why circe beats the argonauts even though they are more muscular than her.
or why the lich king's terror is not caused by wielding a big ****ing sword.
or how demeter nearly destroys the world when her daughter is kidnapped.
or how "let there be light" did not involve any muscle .

essentially my point is that having fighters be as strong as wizards only makes sense in settings where the lore/fluff supports it. for instance classical mythology and whitewolf's Exalted solve the problem by giving a convincing in-game metaphysical reason about how(for instance) you were able to shoot ten people in one shot.i.e making everyone magical but looking like ridiculously advanced mundane stuff.

personally(though i haven't yet played it) i think 5e is in a somewhat better direction i.e removing ,insanely abused feats/prestige classes etc,giving fighters some extra capabilities(not unlike,say,warblades in 3.5e or for that matter what real life people or heroes like drizzt can do)


People have problems with the power discrepancy. A lot of systems just don't make the caster so much more powerful than the martial. You see casters in D&D are superheroes that hog ALL the superpowers.

To take few of your examples, Sauron didn't teleport around disintegrating everything while he was both invisible and flying and when beaten he didn't have a contingency that brought him back to his personal impregnable pocket universe so he could recuperate.

Circe used food and wine to change the Argonauts to pigs, if she was in D&D she would just have wished them into pigs or used a custom mass polymorph spell. She wouldn't have waited for them to come to her palace but would have teleported while invisible and flying of course and cast a mass polymorph spell on all the crew, not just half of them. End of story.

Palpatine didn't just rise to become an emperor because he had force powers, it was because he was supreme chancellor. Palpatines purge was enforced by non force users, so if they could be killed by non force users then so could he. In D&D world Han Solo and Chewie would be nothing but irrelevant sidekicks while Vader and Luke duked it out, flying, encased in force bubbles in space while Luke was trying to disintegrate the Death Star and Vader trying to stop him. Invisible of course!

Cthulhu, Demeter and God...they are gods, but relevant examples as it just shows that wizards are almost gods while the martials are just guys with a stick.

awa
2017-10-04, 08:47 PM
"Maybe 10th" is not really longer when e.g. Warblades can already do that, or close, with a good enough build. Of course, if the period of relevance is less than "the whole game" you still have the same fundamental issue. One (or more) of the following must be true:

1. Martials and casters can progress to the same degree.
2. There is a cap on character power.
3. Either martials or casters will be overpowered (as, technically, you could constrain the power of casters).

There's no option four where martials can't be better than Conan and can still compete with casters who can be.

The tier system does not concern itself with the extreme late game where it is impossible for any combination of mundane abilities to plausible keep up. Thus while your statement is true it is also not relevant to the tier system nor a large, very possibly majority of actually d&d games. I for one have never played a game that got all the way to level 15 let alone 20.

Conan's true strength is how broad his abilities their are lots of martial characters better than him at something, there are very few who can do quite as many things, bat man is a similar character hes just good at every thing. If fighters ability were broad enough they could still have a place in the game, right now a wizards strength is so great for much of the game because they have to spend so much fewer resources to get an ability. Sneaking requires tons of skill pts for an inferior version of invisibility, while the wizards just needs one spell slot; but what if the fighter got those skills for free and hide in plain sight and dark stalker as well at certain skill rank thresholds, now when the party needs to sneak, the wizard could use his spell slot but the fighter can do it just as well maybe better without spending a spell slot.


If the fighter gets trap finding and super discounted open lock/ disable device (+ feats associated with it) the wizard could cast knock but why bother the fighter has that covered.

If the martial characters were significantly broader in focus they could manage into the mid teens just by being excellent at everything mundane without having to spend any resources

Lord Raziere
2017-10-04, 08:57 PM
Well, I dislike the 3e tier system because it a) stupidly includes a "brokenness" stat in what might otherwise be a useful description of power and versatility; b) it explicitly excludes a listing for the level of power and versatility I think would be a good design goal.

That, and people foolishly blame tiers instead of people being a **** when someone obsoletes another character.


And who is this jerk of which you speak? how can you possibly define them? the line between who does and doesn't seems pretty dang blurry to me. someone who "supports" me through magic is just as bad at obsoleting as someone who steals the kill directly. its not my power, its not equal to a wizard, when it should be. supporter wizard is not something I can rely on appearing, nor is expecting the best of people something I can rely on either. expecting the worst of people and the worst of wizards however is a sure bet.

Dimers
2017-10-04, 09:01 PM
From what I've seen, people who dislike theory-talk about tiers feel that way because they take it as prescriptive (full casters SHOULD be kicking everyone's butt, and here's how) rather than descriptive (full casters HAPPEN TO BE kicking everyone's butt, and here's why).

Paying attention to the different abilities of different classes will give information, which has no inherent positive or negative value. But people assign lots of value to it. If a tier-system-appreciator says, "Hey, that's pretty neat information," a tier-system-disliker assumes they mean Now I know how to wreck the system better or even just I must act in certain ways in accordance with this inflexible information, I can't choose otherwise ... rather than Now I can anticipate and avoid stuff that might cause player frustration.

Nerd-o-rama
2017-10-04, 09:04 PM
Tiers are not bad because different characters deal with different "threat levels".

Tiers are bad because low-tier characters are boring to play, and this is a game. The object of a game is to have fun. Why present players with incredibly boring and rather pointless options if the object of a game is to have fun?

Going back to Tolkien, you could argue that the Hobbits are lame and powerless compared to the rest of the Fellowship (at the beginning), but the purpose and theme of Lord of the Rings is not epic fantasy battles (no matter what Peter Jackson tells you). On the other hand, the purpose and theme of D&D, as far as how the rules and scenarios are presented, where they focus, and what rules and scenarios they even are, is Epic Fantasy Battles. If one character type (Wizards) actively prevents another character type (Fighters) from being able to participate in the core engagement of the game, why even have that other character type?

Of course, it's always possible to play a Wizard/high-tier character and a Fighter/low-tier character in the same campaign and have fun. People have been doing it for decades. It just requires the wizard, at least, to play in a certain way and ignore some of their class's in-game potential. Most people are fine with that, but the fact of the matter is, the fact that that's not only helpful but necessary to cooperative play is just bad game design, and people like to gripe about bad game design when they're paying money for, in theory, a well-designed game.

Kish
2017-10-04, 09:04 PM
From what I've seen, people who dislike theory-talk about tiers feel that way because they take it as prescriptive (full casters SHOULD be kicking everyone's butt, and here's how) rather than descriptive (full casters HAPPEN TO BE kicking everyone's butt, and here's why).
Close. I dislike it because the vast, vast majority of the people who talk extensively about "tiers" do take it straight to "...so if you're playing a fighter or barring conjuration as a wizard there's something wrong with you." Examples abound on this forum.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-04, 09:10 PM
Tiers are not bad because different characters deal with different "threat levels".

Tiers are bad because low-tier characters are boring to play, and this is a game. The object of a game is to have fun. Why present players with incredibly boring and rather pointless options if the object of a game is to have fun?


I disagree.

Why present players with incredibly boring and overpowered options of Tier 1 that solve everything instantly? Its just as boring and as exactly bad as hitting things with a stick with no other options. Tiers are bad, but not for the reasons you claim.

I know the system is for epic fantasy battles that is why I want everyone able to participate in those battles in any manner they so wish without some stupid cheese build

Nerd-o-rama
2017-10-04, 09:12 PM
I disagree.

Why present players with incredibly boring and overpowered options of Tier 1 that solve everything instantly? Its just as boring and as exactly bad as hitting things with a stick with no other options. Tiers are bad, but not for the reasons you claim.

I know the system is for epic fantasy battles that is why I want everyone able to participate in any manner they so wish without some stupid cheese build

I fail to see how this is disagreement in any way with what I said. We're just focusing on opposite ends of the bell curve that is the actual problem.

Cluedrew
2017-10-04, 09:20 PM
Well, I dislike the 3e tier system because it a) stupidly includes a "brokenness" stat in what might otherwise be a useful description of power and versatility; b) it explicitly excludes a listing for the level of power and versatility I think would be a good design goal.
Perhaps not the most neutral way to phrase it I'll agree, but the point of "T1/T2 classes can do thing that you have to particular counter or they will never be challenged" remains.
That is because it is about the classes D&D does have, not the ones it should. I agree the balance point of QT1 (Quertus's Tier 1, from what I can recall of the previous thread) would actually be a good point of balance point, in fact I think my favourite RPG uses it.

Pex
2017-10-04, 09:28 PM
Because I don't believe one person's opinion on classes should be gospel to how one should play the game. He only wrote it because people had the audacity to like the fighter showing how the class functions well enough in and out of combat and didn't give a feces about his obsession that not having Knowledge (History) as a class skill meant fighter couldn't be a leader because some book allowed a successful Knowledge check to give a +2 bonus to morale checks for your underlings.

People have their own tastes and tolerances. If people have issues with various classes that's their business, but it's not universal truth.

JoshuaZ
2017-10-04, 09:30 PM
Because Tiers are just made up junk.

Someone does not like X. And they feel like they must have a ''reason'' not to like X. So they invent the whole ''tier'' thing. And it catches on with all the like minded people.

And that is the worst thing about people and the tier thing: You have to accept like 100 ''truths'' and ''viewpoints'' and ''options''. And, amazingly, a great many people accept all the same ones in mostly the same way. So ''tiers'' can exist and are great...for them.

Amazingly, change even one of the 100 things, and the tiers don't work and make no sense.....but, of course the believers will never change anything and just say ''the tiers'' are all.

This is not fair to people concerned about the tier system at all. If the tier system were just about finding reasons to rationalize pre-existing likes and dislikes, then you wouldn't have so many people who subscribe to the tier system and then proceed to say that they prefer Tier 3 (which is the middle of the tier system). The primary concern about the tier system is that roll playing games are fundamentally games where everyone wants to have fun, and that's tougher to do when some characters have a level of power and flexibility that others do not. And yes, changing rules can reduce the tier difference; JaronK's original essay on the tier system even discusses that, although it isn't true that simply changing one of a "100" things will do it without drastically altering the fundamentals of the game. But please note that while some of the changes one can do (such as gestalting certainly classes) are actually frequently suggested precisely by the people who are pay attention to the tier system.

Dimers
2017-10-04, 09:32 PM
Close. I dislike it because the vast, vast majority of the people who talk extensively about "tiers" do take it straight to "...so if you're playing a fighter or barring conjuration as a wizard there's something wrong with you." Examples abound on this forum.

Probably so. As a tier-system-appreciator I probably automatically translate that kind of offensive crap to "Hey, this discrepancy exists, and here's my opinion on what to do about it" in my head, or just ignore the post entirely if it's especially immoderate. So I don't notice it happening much. Whereas I do notice all the times that people recommend stuff to better balance one player/PC against another, and yay, look, the tier system is working! A perception bias on my part.

2D8HP
2017-10-04, 09:43 PM
The second poster essential nailed it.


As far as I can tell, it's because people like non-magical sword wielders and would rather cut out all the magic stronger than a sword than accept that sword guys must eventually pick up some amount of magic.


Exactly!

I want to play Captain Sinbad the hero,
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/[email protected]@._ V1_UY218_CR14,0,150,218_AL_.jpg

not the villainous Sokurah the Magician!http://www.aveleyman.com/Gallery/ActorsT/17009-17024.gif

I bought and read the 3e PHB over a decade ago, and have glanced at it, 2e AD&D, 3.5, and 4ebut I never played those versions of D&D, so I really can't speak on those games.

I've played B/X and 5e D&D recently, Oe D&D and 1e AD&D decades ago, and some other RPG's, so those are what I base my responses on.

While in theory Magic-Users became the most powerful characters (it even suggested so in the rules:

1974 - Dungeons & Dragons Book 1: Men & Magic,
(Page 6)

"Magic-Users: Top level magic-users are perhaps the most powerful characters in the game, but it is a long hard road to the top, and to begin with they are very weak, so survival is often the question, unless fighters protect the low-level magical types until they have worked up."...

IIRC, in practice Mages were so weak that no one I knew played them long. We only did it when we rolled badly or (briefly) wanted a challenge, so I never saw any Mages past second level that weren't NPC's at my usual tables.

I did encounter some higher level Magic User PC's at DunDraCon around 1980 or so, but the players were bearded college student jerks, who thought they were all that because they could drive and vote!

So what if my character is "Just another imitation Conan", is your Gandalf/Merlin/Thulsa Doom expy that much better?

*rant* *rave* *grumble* *fume*

....anyway, it was such a long slog before a Magic User PC became less weak than the other classes that if they survived to become poweful it seemed like a just reward in old D&D.

Unlike D&D, in Stormbringer, on the other hand, you became a Sorcerer when you had really lucky rolls (high POW), which made the other PC's sidekicks, which for a player was LAME!

But as a Gamemaster I loved the Stormbringer magic system, which involved summoning and attempting to bind Demons (just so METAL!)..

One of my favorite games to play is Pendragon in which all but the 4th edition the spell-casters are all NPC's and all the PK's (player Knights) rock!

The "magic system" is a list of trope suggestions for the GM (unless you use the 4th edition in which magic use involves astrology, so you cast spells "when the stars are right", the 5th edition went back to magic use being NPC).

!In the WotC 5e D&D I play now, there's more than one class that can cast spells at 1st level, and they seem to be at least equal to the non-spell-casting classes so the fun is more evenly divided.

Many even suggest that Spell-casters are too powerful compared to non-casters which may be true, but that seems to be a just reward for how many rules their players need to keep track of in 5e D&D.

I'm still having fun playing Barbarians, Fighters, and Rogues so it's cool.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-04, 10:02 PM
Tiers are bad because low-tier characters are boring to play, and this is a game. The object of a game is to have fun. Why present players with incredibly boring and rather pointless options if the object of a game is to have fun?

This, is a perfect example of the The Way. If you only have fun The One Way, then you accept the tiers and everything that goes with them.

Of course, if you don't have fun The One Way, then the tiers are just silly nothing.



On the other hand, the purpose and theme of D&D, as far as how the rules and scenarios are presented, where they focus, and what rules and scenarios they even are, is Epic Fantasy Battles.

I would say Combat Adventure, as see that totally makes tiers nothing.




People have their own tastes and tolerances. If people have issues with various classes that's their business, but it's not universal truth.

Oh no...I agree.


The primary concern about the tier system is that roll playing games are fundamentally games where everyone wants to have fun, and that's tougher to do when some characters have a level of power and flexibility that others do not.

Though note this is only true if you play the game Your Way.



although it isn't true that simply changing one of a "100" things will do it without drastically altering the fundamentals of the game.

Of course, this is also Your Fundamentals.

You *must* have X to have fun. And that is just fine, for you. Other people are just fine with Y, Z or A in their fun.

Slipperychicken
2017-10-04, 10:09 PM
I don't know if it's changed, but back before 2014 or so, around when I stopped playing 3.x, tiers were a helpful shorthand for the extreme, unintended power differences between character-builds and classes in that game. My GM could say "alright, we're staying with Tier 3 classes/builds only", and I could be pretty sure that players would be on roughly similar footing, or at least close enough that no-one's getting obsoleted by another player.

In games which are better balanced, however, there is no need for such a system. When there isn't such a dramatic disparity between player options, players do not need a third-party classification guide to tell them which options are similar in power.

Quertus
2017-10-04, 11:07 PM
And who is this jerk of which you speak? how can you possibly define them? the line between who does and doesn't seems pretty dang blurry to me. someone who "supports" me through magic is just as bad at obsoleting as someone who steals the kill directly. its not my power, its not equal to a wizard, when it should be. supporter wizard is not something I can rely on appearing, nor is expecting the best of people something I can rely on either.

I'm a strong proponent of solving things by talking to people. When that doesn't work, I recommend either percussive maintenance, or finding a better group of people to spend your time with.

The wizard who buys a Wand of Knock to obsolete the rogue, or the rogue who maxed out Open Lock to obsolete the Harry Potter "Aloha Mora" wizard, really need to sit down and discuss this problem OOC.

As to the concept of "support"... When Diablo first came out, I played a wizard, whom I named Quertus (can you tell I like the name?). One of my friends played a melee fighter. After a particularly hairy battle, he bragged about how awesome his "build" was, how he was able to hold off and kill so many of the opposition while taking minimal damage.

Being me, I felt the need to correct him before he got himself killed, and pointed out that I had been spamming Healing spells throughout the battle, and, at one point, his health had reached single digits (out of some 3-digit number) even with my healing.

Yes, it took some of the wind out of his sails to realize he wasn't soloing the encounter. Yes, it made me feel like my character was actually contributing to the fight, to play a completely different, yet equally essential, role.

But isn't working together as a team to accomplish what none of you could on your own part of how teamwork is supposed to work? And isn't teamwork (figuratively) the name of the game?



Perhaps not the most neutral way to phrase it I'll agree, but the point of "T1/T2 classes can do thing that you have to particular counter or they will never be challenged" remains.
That is because it is about the classes D&D does have, not the ones it should. I agree the balance point of QT1 (Quertus's Tier 1, from what I can recall of the previous thread) would actually be a good point of balance point, in fact I think my favourite RPG uses it.


Who me? Not neutral? Inconceivable! :smalltongue:

Anything that doesn't break the system (chain gating, action economy hacks) has never, IME, been as potent as at-will 1000 points of damage to the face, or at will "chain"* "you have no head"**. That nothing can harm/challenge Quertus, my signature academia mage for whom this account is named, is pretty irrelevant to the fact that he contributes very little to most adventures compared to the demigods whose company he keeps.

* Great Cleave ( + reach, greater flyby attack, etc)
* Improved Crit + Keen + Vorpal + ...

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 12:02 AM
Well, I dislike the 3e tier system because it a) stupidly includes a "brokenness" stat in what might otherwise be a useful description of power and versatility; b) it explicitly excludes a listing for the level of power and versatility I think would be a good design goal.

That, and people foolishly blame tiers instead of people being a **** when someone obsoletes another character.

Except as a lot of us have found, you don't have to be a **** to obsolete another character.

I did this pretty much by accident in an early 3.5 game I played. I like battlefield control and plotting. It's fun. And I like nature-y characters. So I played a druid and I took all the wall and entangle and other area of effects spells I could find. Because it was fun.

Other players liked hitting things with a sword. It was fun for them and they didn't want to do all this extra planning for playing a spellcaster. Hitting something and getting hit back was fun.

Unfortunately, these ended up not being fun together. My strategy meant that enemy melee ended up basically immobilized and all our melee had to do was run up and hit a weak target. So they were finding the game boring. However, none of us wanted to just give up or completely redo our characters - and frankly I found the "just hit something" playstyle to be rather boring and didn't want to take the option of just being a blaster, which is what they suggested.

None of this was planned. It was just a case where people playing the characters they found fun in the way they found fun, and trying to fill different "roles" in the party.

Dimers
2017-10-05, 12:16 AM
Except as a lot of us have found, you don't have to be a **** to obsolete another character.

Yeah, no kidding. Let's see, in my recent party, nothing gets done without the cleric that can change loadout daily and also leave slots open to adapt on-the-fly or the psion who picked all world-bending or multi-purpose powers ... the sorcerer is our secondary tank despite three melee characters in the party, but he doesn't have much for utility and is frustrated by the glacial rate at which he learns new spells ... the rogue is fragile and keeps not being able to Sneak Attack because of creature type, and never ends up focal to overcoming noncombat obstacles ... the warlock is middle-of-the-road, never a star but usually contributing a fair share ...

Nobody was trying to be weaker or stronger. (Except the psion's player, who became aware he was putting other characters out of a job and tried thinking of ways to drop his power level deliberately without an IC mess, i.e. totally in line with ideal use of the tier system.) It just turned out that way because the mechanics of 3.5 are deeply unbalanced.

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 01:06 AM
Yeah, no kidding. Let's see, in my recent party, nothing gets done without the cleric that can change loadout daily and also leave slots open to adapt on-the-fly or the psion who picked all world-bending or multi-purpose powers ... the sorcerer is our secondary tank despite three melee characters in the party, but he doesn't have much for utility and is frustrated by the glacial rate at which he learns new spells ... the rogue is fragile and keeps not being able to Sneak Attack because of creature type, and never ends up focal to overcoming noncombat obstacles ... the warlock is middle-of-the-road, never a star but usually contributing a fair share ...

Nobody was trying to be weaker or stronger. (Except the psion's player, who became aware he was putting other characters out of a job and tried thinking of ways to drop his power level deliberately without an IC mess, i.e. totally in line with ideal use of the tier system.) It just turned out that way because the mechanics of 3.5 are deeply unbalanced.

Yup. The advantage of the tier system is it's usually easier to build characters from the ground up that will be in line with each other, than to adjust characters in play.

The Insanity
2017-10-05, 02:54 AM
The Tier System is like a car catalog. Would you dislike a car catalog?

Nerd-o-rama
2017-10-05, 04:12 AM
This, is a perfect example of the The Way. If you only have fun The One Way, then you accept the tiers and everything that goes with them.

Alternatively I go play a system that doesn't intentionally segregate characters into Mechanically Good and Mechanically Bad like Fate, Valor, or even Call of Cthuhu (where you're pretty much screwed no matter what you play and that is in fact the fun part...but I wouldn't use that for Epic Fantasy Battles or Combat Adventuring, whatever the difference between those even is).

Kardwill
2017-10-05, 05:08 AM
You and I may not like such narrative games, but you absolutely can give a character such narrative powers in a TTRPG. I spend one use of my luck, and that's a boat tied up, unattended, at the edge of this river we need to cross. Imagine the stink if only fighters got such powers!

Some games already do this. For exemple, Buffy RPG aknowledges the fact that the Slayer is considerably more powerful than her companions (AND more central to the overall plot, which is another kind of unbalance), and tries to compensate by giving the other players plot points that allow them to stay relevant and draw attention to their caracter.

Of course, those are not always sufficient (Dresden Files, for example, fails miserably at compensating pure mortals by giving them a mere 2 Fate points more - out of 6-10 - than the powerhouses like the White Council Wizards), but at least they aknowledge the fact that not all characters are born equal, and give meta-ressource to the other players so that they can still have fun with their "secondary" character :)

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 05:26 AM
This, is a perfect example of the The Way. If you only have fun The One Way, then you accept the tiers and everything that goes with them.

Of course, if you don't have fun The One Way, then the tiers are just silly nothing.

A better way to put it is that disregarding tiers results in games that many people don't find fun. If you don't like them, don't use them! But a lot of people don't find it fun to be the lower-tier person in a higher-tier party. And a lot of us don't find it much fun to deliberately "dumb down" our character, especially if there's not a coherent character concept for doing so, or if we have to fundamentally change what we do (which may also have a different definition depending on the person).

Glorthindel
2017-10-05, 05:30 AM
I think my issue is not so much the tiers themselves, but how people interpet the information. Quite simply, people cant be trusted with information, because they make dumb decisions and false assumptions.

Tiers implies fixed power levels, but the nature of classes and the levelling systems means that power levels are far from fixed. Each class has natural bump-points in its power as it levels level up (fighter extra attacks, new spell levels, etc), and depending what abilities are gained when, their position on the totem pole shifts - its the old "linear fighter, quadratic wizard" problem.

Tiers seem to assume a "everyone is playing at level 20" situation, when in reality, virtually no-one is playing at level 20; in fact the majority of characters wont even see level 10. As an anecdote, I am so far playing in my third 5th ed campaign, and yet to get a character past level 5 - in the 20 years I have played and DMed D&D in its many editions, I have played a character over level 10 once (we finished the campaign at level 11).

Also, at its essence, the game is a team game, and although it doesn't have quite the MMO triad setup, there is strong parrallels, and the power of certain classes is often contingent on the presence of other classes performing a certain role, so that the "tier 1" class can perform its own unhindered. And if that isn't happening, things go wrong quickly. And sure, the higher-tier classes can mitigate that themselves at higher levels, but the fact they can't at lower levels means they are unlikely to live to see the higher levels where they could.

I am fine with tiers being a thought-exercise, and not taking the reality of character levels in to account, simple because it would be too much of a pita to do so (you would have to calculate relative time spent at each level against relative strength at that level, and I'm already getting bored with the idea), but where it goes wrong is when people state them as indisputable fact, without making allowances for the periods of time when that fact isn't the case, or making assumptions on party composition which are required in order to operate at peak-effectiveness. For example, I'm not going to dispute that a Wizard is generally speaking more powerful than a Fighter - of course it is. But a party of four level 1 Fighters is going to steamroll a starter adventure, while a party of four Wizards is a coin toss whether its going to end in a TPK.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-05, 06:25 AM
The Tier System is like a car catalog. Would you dislike a car catalog?

Yes, a car catalog written by a ''cool car guy'' that would say ''woah, dude the '69 corvette is the super hottest car ever''(because he says so) and ''station wagons suck(because he says so)''.



A better way to put it is that disregarding tiers results in games that many people don't find fun. If you don't like them, don't use them! But a lot of people don't find it fun to be the lower-tier person in a higher-tier party. And a lot of us don't find it much fun to deliberately "dumb down" our character, especially if there's not a coherent character concept for doing so, or if we have to fundamentally change what we do (which may also have a different definition depending on the person).

Again, this is only if you think One Way, and play the game One Way.


For a generic example:

The One Way: Person A has a librarian with every single book ever published. Person Z has a single book shelf with children's picture books. So, obviously the One Way person will say Person A is better(''tier 1'')

Another Way: Person A has a library with every single book ever published. Person Z has a library with ''only'' every sci-fi, horror, western, science, history, biography and comic book ever written. So again One Way person is all ''person A is better (''tier 1). But If I was Person Z, it would not matter. Sure my library does not have say cat poetry or teen vampire novels, but I never notice or care.

Cluedrew
2017-10-05, 07:10 AM
Who me? Not neutral? Inconceivable! :smalltongue: [...] That nothing can harm/challenge Quertus, my signature academia mage for whom this account is named, is pretty irrelevant to the fact that he contributes very little to most adventures compared to the demigods whose company he keeps.Well the other bit that I think is relevant is that Quertus seems to be the personification of "how to fix the wizard problem", so that may mess with your "data" a little bit.

From what I read of the tiers, it isn't really the value judgement some people seem to think it is. To use the car example (instead of the book example) it is like ranking cars on top speed (power + versatility), which can be completely accurate while leaving out things like handling (ease of play) and the look of the car itself (aesthetics), the last of which can't really be ranked anyways. In short, I think people who have issues with it think it is trying to rank the entire class, but I don't think that is it.

Kallimakus
2017-10-05, 07:57 AM
"Maybe 10th" is not really longer when e.g. Warblades can already do that, or close, with a good enough build. Of course, if the period of relevance is less than "the whole game" you still have the same fundamental issue. One (or more) of the following must be true:

1. Martials and casters can progress to the same degree.
2. There is a cap on character power.
3. Either martials or casters will be overpowered (as, technically, you could constrain the power of casters).

There's no option four where martials can't be better than Conan and can still compete with casters who can be.

This is entirely true, and the biggest problem of D&D design was failing to account to this. On one hand you have Fighter who is the poster boy for Guy at Gym fallacy. On the other, you have Wizard who is the product of people looking over every fictional magic and magic-user, and giving all their abilities to this class. In addition, while a fighter could be built to emulate most 'mundane' heroes or master any given fighting style, a Wizard has all their abilities at once. I don't think that either archetype is good for the game that D&D aspires to be.

That said, I don't dislike tiers as such. They are a useful tool, but nothing more than that.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 08:04 AM
My opinions hardly pass for opinions of "the people" around here, but here's the thing:

I do not dislike tiers.

I dislike people who forget that the tiers of d20, as defined by JaronK, are byproducts of flawed design.

I dislike people who pretend that the relative positions of character archetypes within JaronK's system are defensible or preferable status quo, rather than quirks of a particular game system.

I dislike people who pretend that JaronK's suggestion to not mix tiers is some ultimate guide to proper gaming, rather than friendly advice.

I dislike people who stubbornly insist that the design flaws indicated by JaronK's tier system somehow boils to "martials versus casters" or "mundane versus magical", when in fact there are magical characters in every tier save for 6th.

Tl:dr: JaronK's tiers are a decent description of where various classes stand in the d20 system and can be used as tool to decide what to do about it. The people who think it's a prescription of how to play the game are morons.

Pleh
2017-10-05, 08:05 AM
Most of the arguments I've heard against it is that it doesn't work well. Most of the ways it doesn't work well is from midunderstanding what his tiers were meant to do.

JaronK's tiers were never really meant to be a hard science. They're more of a rule of thumb guide to alert game tables to intra-party power imbalances that are common problems among players of a particular system.

The message that works as intended is, "full casters will make challenging the players generall more difficult, full martials will make overpowering the players with standard monsters easier to do unintentionally."

People get into trouble when they try to get much more specific than that when so much of the details are rather subjctive and context sensitive.

PersonMan
2017-10-05, 08:10 AM
For a generic example:

The One Way: Person A has a librarian with every single book ever published. Person Z has a single book shelf with children's picture books. So, obviously the One Way person will say Person A is better(''tier 1'')

Another Way: Person A has a library with every single book ever published. Person Z has a library with ''only'' every sci-fi, horror, western, science, history, biography and comic book ever written. So again One Way person is all ''person A is better (''tier 1). But If I was Person Z, it would not matter. Sure my library does not have say cat poetry or teen vampire novels, but I never notice or care.

I think the idea of the Tier system isn't to say "X is better", but "X has more books, of more genres", to use your example.

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 08:39 AM
For a generic example:

The One Way: Person A has a librarian with every single book ever published. Person Z has a single book shelf with children's picture books. So, obviously the One Way person will say Person A is better(''tier 1'')

Another Way: Person A has a library with every single book ever published. Person Z has a library with ''only'' every sci-fi, horror, western, science, history, biography and comic book ever written. So again One Way person is all ''person A is better (''tier 1). But If I was Person Z, it would not matter. Sure my library does not have say cat poetry or teen vampire novels, but I never notice or care.

Except that's not what we're saying at all. What we're saying is more like, if Person A's library and Person Z's library happen to be next door, there's really not much reason for people to go to Person Z's library. Sure, you might, but you don't have access to any more options for having A and Z than just A. The problem isn't having a person with only a few options. It's having a person with only a few options in the same group as someone who has a better option for almost every situation. Being the fighter can be fun. Being the fighter in a game where the druid can status effect any enemy to where I hit it and it just falls over, and the wizard can summon a beastie that can fight better than I can, isn't fun, because now there's not much point for me to be there. And if people aren't building with that sort of possibility specifically in mind - because they're, say, assuming D&D classes are roughly balanced against each other and just picking what makes sense for their character - that can happen pretty easily.

That doesn't mean that playing wizards and druids and clerics is the only way to play. It means, as I found out rather organically my first time playing, putting a druid and a fighter in the same party without deliberately taking action to keep them on the same level leads to people not having fun. It can honestly be more fun to have a party of all characters that don't have the magical solution to everything - but it works best if no one has those solutions, rather than if one person does and one doesn't.

adrian23
2017-10-05, 08:45 AM
People have problems with the power discrepancy. A lot of systems just don't make the caster so much more powerful than the martial. You see casters in D&D are superheroes that hog ALL the superpowers.

To take few of your examples, Sauron didn't teleport around disintegrating everything while he was both invisible and flying and when beaten he didn't have a contingency that brought him back to his personal impregnable pocket universe so he could recuperate.

Circe used food and wine to change the Argonauts to pigs, if she was in D&D she would just have wished them into pigs or used a custom mass polymorph spell. She wouldn't have waited for them to come to her palace but would have teleported while invisible and flying of course and cast a mass polymorph spell on all the crew, not just half of them. End of story.

Palpatine didn't just rise to become an emperor because he had force powers, it was because he was supreme chancellor. Palpatines purge was enforced by non force users, so if they could be killed by non force users then so could he. In D&D world Han Solo and Chewie would be nothing but irrelevant sidekicks while Vader and Luke duked it out, flying, encased in force bubbles in space while Luke was trying to disintegrate the Death Star and Vader trying to stop him. Invisible of course!

Cthulhu, Demeter and God...they are gods, but relevant examples as it just shows that wizards are almost gods while the martials are just guys with a stick.

well,actually sauron DID fly,(by turning into a vampire at least)
also he could become invisible by unclothing himself(of his manifested body and of course the ring) we don't really have full descriptions of his battles but the one thing we do know is he probably did not have a super mace. he was a maia(angel) of fire and "scientific" knowledge. gil-galad was kileld by his body heat. he was capable of altering reality by thought(such as his volcano erupting when he wills it) so disintigration beam might not be out of the question

i did not mean to say that palpatine became emperor just because of his force powers. far from it. but in the novels (for instance) it's obvious that his force powers helped a lot. avoiding arrest at the end is another example. the jedi aside from not being on average,palpatine(if he is level 20 then most of them are probbly level 7-9) were taken at surprised,unprepared,by beings who did not feel betrayal(as they were following orders) while surrounded by them. this is,after all one of the methods of killing wizards. plus they are not dangerous because each of them can kill millions(they can't) they are dangerous because a strong one could concievably sneak his way to palpatine(force illusion,force invisibility,mind trick,force phasing)

notice how chewie and han,never dueled vader. also force bubbles(even if not named such) were a thing even in return of the jedi novel. for instance luke tried to use one to stop the emperor's lightning. darth caedus could absorb blaster bolts directly and so on

also, im pretty sure NO wizard spell even could disintigrate the death star.

"cthulhu demeter and god" ok, maybe using only wizards in my original example was wrong. what i meant to say was "mystical" beings.

finally can you name any of these systems? this is not true in any game i know. hunters in the world of darkness are normal (or mostly normal in some cases) humans yet they are interesting to play even though they can't wrestle with the local vampire prince.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-05, 08:54 AM
My opinions hardly pass for opinions of "the people" around here, but here's the thing:

I do not dislike tiers.

I dislike people who forget that the tiers of d20, as defined by JaronK, are byproducts of flawed design.

I dislike people who pretend that the relative positions of character archetypes within JaronK's system are defensible or preferable status quo, rather than quirks of a particular game system.

I dislike people who pretend that JaronK's suggestion to not mix tiers is some ultimate guide to proper gaming, rather than friendly advice.

I dislike people who stubbornly insist that the design flaws indicated by JaronK's tier system somehow boils to "martials versus casters" or "mundane versus magical", when in fact there are magical characters in every tier save for 6th.

Tl:dr: JaronK's tiers are a decent description of where various classes stand in the d20 system and can be used as tool to decide what to do about it. The people who think it's a prescription of how to play the game are morons.

I always took JaronK's tiers as a way of saying "this game system has a a flaw -- a deep and fundamental flaw -- but here's a way of mitigating the impact of that flaw if you want to use this system."

2D8HP
2017-10-05, 10:24 AM
I always took JaronK's tiers as...


I took a brief glance at JaronK's

Tier System for Classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?266559-Tier-System-for-Classes-(Rescued-from-MinMax))

.thread, which was at the 3.5 sub-Forum, prompting me to ask, IS THIS A PROBLEM FOR REAL D&D OR JUST 3.5!!!

:tongue: :wink:

Anyway, I've never played 3.5 (or 2e, 3e, and 4e).

In the TSR 0e/1e I played all first level classes felt very fragile, most especially Magic-Users.

In the WotC 5e I've played all high level PC's that I've played have felt too powerful and I'm told Wizards are especially OP, but I've never played one so I don't know.

Solutions for the problems I perceive with D&D?

Judging from the games that I played, start TSR 0e/1e PC's a level or two higher than the nominal adventure level.

For TSR 2e AD&D? Probably the same solution as for old D&D.

For WotC 3e? Judging by how cheap and plentiful used PHB's are, hardly anyone plays it anymore, so any solution first involves having some actual players (I'm still angry about how soon 3e was made obsolete after I paid full price for my books dagnabbit! :smallannoyed:)

For WotC 3.5? Feats and Prestige Classes aren't really my thing so I really don't know, maybe just playing the game at low levels will work.

For WotC 4e? Judging by how cheap and plentiful all used 4e books are, hardly anyone plays it anymore, so any solution first involves having some actual players.

And judging by the games that I've played, for WotC 5e slow leveling up way down should be enough (2 to 5 sessions to get to 2nd level, 20 sessions to get to 3rd level, 40 sessions to get to 4th level, etc.).

Either lack of DM's/players, or what level the game is played at seem to be the chief problems I perceive, power imbalances between classes? Other than 0e/1e Magic-Users being significantly less powerful than Fighters after they cast and run out of their one or two daily spells, I really don't see the problem.

But 9/10th's or more of my PC's have been Fighting-Men, Fighters, Rogues, or Thieves (or multi-class of the same) so what do I know?

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-05, 10:27 AM
I took a brief glance at JaronK's

Tier System for Classes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?266559-Tier-System-for-Classes-(Rescued-from-MinMax))

.thread, which was at the 3.5 sub-Forum, prompting me to ask, IS THIS A PROBLEM FOR REAL D&D OR JUST 3.5!!!

:tongue: :wink:



I think it's far more a 3.5 / PF problem, from what I've read.

JNAProductions
2017-10-05, 10:32 AM
I think a big difference between old D&D (before 3E) and 3E is that old D&D wasn't lying to you. Correct me if I'm wrong, elders, but there was never any expectation that a level 1 Magic User was equal to a level 1 Fighting Man, or that they'd still be equal at level 20, right?

Whereas in 3E, it's stated that levels are supposed to be equal. I don't appreciate being lied to.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 10:39 AM
I think a big difference between old D&D (before 3E) and 3E is that old D&D wasn't lying to you. Correct me if I'm wrong, elders, but there was never any expectation that a level 1 Magic User was equal to a level 1 Fighting Man, or that they'd still be equal at level 20, right?

Whereas in 3E, it's stated that levels are supposed to be equal. I don't appreciate being lied to.

Where?

I don't recall that ever being explicitly stated in any 3.5 sourcebook I've read. It's also worth noting that in OD&D a level 1 Fighting Man was vastly superior to a level 1 Magic User, and then the situation reverses.

I think that game balance is grossly overrated by many people. Since again, the player being smarter is going to screw balance way more than the class being slightly or even drastically better. A player that is more social will dominate social scenes, regardless of their character's abilities.

2D8HP
2017-10-05, 10:40 AM
I think a big difference between old D&D (before 3E) and 3E is that old D&D wasn't lying to you. Correct me if I'm wrong, elders, but there was never any expectation that a level 1 Magic User was equal to a level 1 Fighting Man, or that they'd still be equal at level 20, right?


Page 6 of Book 1: Men & Magic told you flat out that Magic-Users were weaker than Fighters at 1st level, and likely more poweful at high levels.




"Magic-Users: Top level magic-users are perhaps the most powerful characters in the game, but it is a long hard road to the top, and to begin with they are very weak, so survival is often the question, unless fighters protect the low-level magical types until they have worked up."...

JNAProductions
2017-10-05, 10:42 AM
Where?

I don't recall that ever being explicitly stated in any 3.5 sourcebook I've read. It's also worth noting that in OD&D a level 1 Fighting Man was vastly superior to a level 1 Magic User, and then the situation reverses.

I think that game balance is grossly overrated by many people. Since again, the player being smarter is going to screw balance way more than the class being slightly or even drastically better. A player that is more social will dominate social scenes, regardless of their character's abilities.

PC of level X equals a monster of CR X. Pretty sure that's in the DMG. Transitive property (I think) means that PC of level X equals another PC of level X.

Edit: And the issue is not that the classes aren't PERFECTLY balanced (that's not true in ANY edition), the issue is how WILDLY UNBALANCED they are. You can (and people have brought stories of that) have a party where one character dominates, or one is totally useless, without anyone intending to make it so.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 10:58 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, elders, but there was never any expectation that a level 1 Magic User was equal to a level 1 Fighting Man, or that they'd still be equal at level 20, right?

At least up to 1st ed AD&D, it was explicit that different classes acquired power at different rates, not the least due to different EXP requirements for level up. Both AD&D and OD&D say that Magic-Users are weak early but become potent later on.

---

@2D8HP: JaronK's Tier system is indeed particular to d20/3.x. Edition of D&D.

Tinkerer
2017-10-05, 11:00 AM
Well the biggest problem that I have with them is how they keep invading the general Roleplaying board when they apply to 3.X in specific. Even when somebody specifically mentions that they are playing another edition of D&D people keep bringing them up. "Oh you're having a problem with your 4th level 5th edition archer? Let me bring up the tier list." They definitely applied to a specific edition (well 3 editions) however bearing in mind they only really apply to play above 10th level it's a situation where people just keep using it where it doesn't apply.

Aside from that do you know what the one thing all your examples have in common? They are all NPCs. The problem isn't that wizards can be more powerful than non-wizards it's that wizard PCs are vastly more powerful than non-wizard PCs. Actual magic protagonists in fiction tend to be vastly less powerful than the opposition, Raistlin excluded and even he only really gained the ungodly power bump when he left the party. I think in 3.X they just skewed the magic side a little too high, easy enough mistake to make.

Clistenes
2017-10-05, 11:20 AM
From a storytelling and world-building point of view, everybody understands that supernatural superpowers should be more powerful that beating stuff with a chunk of metal, I think.

However, the player who plays a warrior expects to be Conan and crush sorcerers under his sandaled feet... They want to be the exception, the mundane warrior who is so badass he can defeat spellcasters...

The only solution is to suggest the player to take some overpowered warrior PrC that is closer to full casters in power.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 11:21 AM
PC of level X equals a monster of CR X. Pretty sure that's in the DMG. Transitive property (I think) means that PC of level X equals another PC of level X.

Edit: And the issue is not that the classes aren't PERFECTLY balanced (that's not true in ANY edition), the issue is how WILDLY UNBALANCED they are. You can (and people have brought stories of that) have a party where one character dominates, or one is totally useless, without anyone intending to make it so.

And that's still accurate a party of 5 tier 5 characters can manage an encounter of equal CR. Period. Maybe not as efficiently, but that was never promised. Also scenario design has less to do with classes than it does with DM applications. So the problem is that you're reading something that isn't there. A fighter, a healer, a rogue, and an adept will be able to handle challenges of appropriate CR, without huge optimization.

So again, it's an assumption that you're making that isn't not based on the text. Also transitive property doesn't apply here, because that's not how actual reality works, because reality isn't theoretical math.

Also a PC of level X != a Monster of CR X, it is that a party of level X can successfully defeat a monster of CR X, y percentage of the time, while using a percentage of their resources.


From a storytelling and world-building point of view, everybody understands that supernatural superpowers should be more powerful that beating stuff with a chunk of metal, I think.

However, the player who plays a warrior expects to be Conan and crush sorcerers under his sandaled feet... They want to be the exception, the mundane warrior who is so badass he can defeat spellcasters...

The only solution is to suggest the player to take some overpowered warrior PrC that is closer to full casters in power.

The tier system is not about fighting NPCs, it's about interparty balance. A DM can always design a tier 1 character to be defeatable by any party. My previous example party could beat a triumvirate wizard, cleric, and druid evil bad guy team if it was designed properly for that party. And that's the key to quality D&D DMing, knowing how to alter encounters to challenge but not defeat your party.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-05, 11:29 AM
From a storytelling and world-building point of view, everybody understands that supernatural superpowers should be more powerful that beating stuff with a chunk of metal, I think.

However, the player who plays a warrior expects to be Conan and crush sorcerers under his sandaled feet... They want to be the exception, the mundane warrior who is so badass he can defeat spellcasters...

The only solution is to suggest the player to take some overpowered warrior PrC that is closer to full casters in power.

If we're being bound by stupidity like realism.

This is fantasy we don't need realism for awesome combat.

and supernatural powers don't exist, so there is nothing that actually says supernatural powers NEED to be more powerful than that, or that beating things with a chunk of metal can't reach the heights of a supernatural powers. the point of fantasy are things are not like reality, and something can be fantastical without being supernatural or magical. a wizard being behind all the cool things in the world is BORING.

JNAProductions
2017-10-05, 11:35 AM
And that's still accurate a party of 5 tier 5 characters can manage an encounter of equal CR. Period. Maybe not as efficiently, but that was never promised. Also scenario design has less to do with classes than it does with DM applications. So the problem is that you're reading something that isn't there. A fighter, a healer, a rogue, and an adept will be able to handle challenges of appropriate CR, without huge optimization.

So again, it's an assumption that you're making that isn't not based on the text. Also transitive property doesn't apply here, because that's not how actual reality works, because reality isn't theoretical math.

Also a PC of level X != a Monster of CR X, it is that a party of level X can successfully defeat a monster of CR X, y percentage of the time, while using a percentage of their resources.

The tier system is not about fighting NPCs, it's about interparty balance. A DM can always design a tier 1 character to be defeatable by any party. My previous example party could beat a triumvirate wizard, cleric, and druid evil bad guy team if it was designed properly for that party. And that's the key to quality D&D DMing, knowing how to alter encounters to challenge but not defeat your party.

DMG, page 37.


An NPC with a PC class has a challenge rating equal to the NPC's level.

And why wouldn't the transitive property apply? PC X=CR X=PC X. Why can't you take out the middle step?

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-05, 11:48 AM
An NPC with a PC class has a challenge rating equal to the NPC's level.


And why wouldn't the transitive property apply? PC X=CR X=PC X. Why can't you take out the middle step?


That's how I'd read it.

A = B, B = C, therefore A = C.

Cosi
2017-10-05, 11:52 AM
If you want to make the argument, it's easier to get to the assumption of equality from equal costs. A level of Wizard costs the same thing as a level of Fighter. Absent evidence to the contrary (and it is, as far as I can tell, absent), we would expect that to imply they are of equal value. You don't need to go rooting around with CR (though the claims being made there are largely correct).

That said, I disagree with the idea that the problem is dishonesty. Maybe that's a problem initially, but does anyone seriously think that people still don't get the Wizards are better than Fighters? The problem is the imbalance, not the way the game presents itself.

JNAProductions
2017-10-05, 11:54 AM
If you want to make the argument, it's easier to get to the assumption of equality from equal costs. A level of Wizard costs the same thing as a level of Fighter. Absent evidence to the contrary (and it is, as far as I can tell, absent), we would expect that to imply they are of equal value. You don't need to go rooting around with CR (though the claims being made there are largely correct).

That said, I disagree with the idea that the problem is dishonesty. Maybe that's a problem initially, but does anyone seriously think that people still don't get the Wizards are better than Fighters? The problem is the imbalance, not the way the game presents itself.

I think the problems are both. Dishonesty (well, more ignorance-the Devs honestly INTENDED them to be equal, they just goofed) is an issue for newer players-you end up with, on one hand, a Monk with Vow of Poverty or something, who sucks hardcore, and then a Druid, who took Natural Spell, and kicks all the butt.

And then, even once you realize there's issues, well... There's still issues. Knowing how to work around them doesn't fix them.

Pex
2017-10-05, 12:01 PM
Of those who adhere to the Tier System there are four types. They were quite represented and on display in the "why the hate for win-buttons" thread. It's the same arguments repeated, not necessarily verbatim but they are the point.

Type 1: Tiers 1 & 2 are an abomination. How dare players have such power! Animate Dead! Teleport! Gate! They can do everything and anything all the time without fail. They always have the exact spell needed when it's needed. They always have the exact feat needed when needed. They always beat spell resistance. Monsters always fail their saving throws. If you are playing Tier 1 or 2 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 2: Tiers 4 and below are The Suck. They are a wasted space. A scenario exists where they cannot use a feat they have so that's proof they can't do anything. They have to use equipment. They always fail Will saving throws. They cannot do anything but hit things with a pointy stick and sometimes not even that. If you are playing Tier 4 or below you are playing the game wrong.

Type 3: Behold the One True Way Of Tier 3. It is complete Balance. It is how the game was meant to be. If everyone would play Tier 3 it is perfect Harmony. Players can do exactly what they are meant to do, no more no less. If you are not playing Tier 3 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 4: This whole Tier System is proof why the game is horrible. No one should play it. It needs to burn in the ashes. I play (insert favorite game system), and it's absolutely superior in every way. If are you still playing this game you are playing the game wrong.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 12:05 PM
From a storytelling and world-building point of view, everybody understands that supernatural superpowers should be more powerful that beating stuff with a chunk of metal, I think.

As a matter of fact, I don't understand why that should be the case. Supernatural in the context of fiction is wholly arbitrary. There is no general case for it. Hence, there is no reason why in a given setting, the supernatural couldn't or shouldn't fail in comparison to cold steel.

It would, in fact, be wholly thematic for settings based on several myths where things like salt and iron were bane of all things supernatural.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-05, 12:06 PM
Of those who adhere to the Tier System there are four types. They were quite represented and on display in the "why the hate for win-buttons" thread. It's the same arguments repeated, not necessarily verbatim but they are the point.

Type 1: Tiers 1 & 2 are an abomination. How dare players have such power! Animate Dead! Teleport! Gate! They can do everything and anything all the time without fail. They always have the exact spell needed when it's needed. They always have the exact feat needed when needed. They always beat spell resistance. Monsters always fail their saving throws. If you are playing Tier 1 or 2 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 2: Tiers 4 and below are The Suck. They are a wasted space. A scenario exists where they cannot use a feat they have so that's proof they can't do anything. They have to use equipment. They always fail Will saving throws. They cannot do anything but hit things with a pointy stick and sometimes not even that. If you are playing Tier 4 or below you are playing the game wrong.

Type 3: Behold the One True Way Of Tier 3. It is complete Balance. It is how the game was meant to be. If everyone would play Tier 3 it is perfect Harmony. Players can do exactly what they are meant to do, no more no less. If you are not playing Tier 3 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 4: This whole Tier System is proof why the game is horrible. No one would should play it. It needs to burn in the ashes. I play (insert favorite game system), and it's absolutely superior in every way. If are you still playing this game you are playing the game wrong.

I disagree with this, because I vacillate between 1 and 4 and maybe are sometimes a 3 depending on the day. I can be fine with playing with someone 4, 3 or 1, but not 2.

Tinkerer
2017-10-05, 12:14 PM
Of those who adhere to the Tier System there are four types. They were quite represented and on display in the "why the hate for win-buttons" thread. It's the same arguments repeated, not necessarily verbatim but they are the point.

Type 1: Tiers 1 & 2 are an abomination.

Type 2: Tiers 4 and below are The Suck.

Type 3: Behold the One True Way Of Tier 3.

Type 4: This whole Tier System is proof why the game is horrible.
(cut down for brevity)

That is pretty true for the most vocal of proponents however there are quite a few of us who generally agree with the Tier System but aren't quite at that level. Because the people who aren't extremists got over it a long time ago. I personally tend to subscribe to Type 1, 2, and 3 so I adjust my games a little. Slight increase in benefits for Tier 4 and below, slight restriction on Tier 1 & 2 (particularly some of the high level stuff). It's still a little unbalanced but good enough to get by. At least I did that when I was running 3.5, haven't touched it in some time.

The Insanity
2017-10-05, 12:15 PM
From a storytelling and world-building point of view, everybody understands that supernatural superpowers should be more powerful that beating stuff with a chunk of metal, I think.
That doesn't really preclude the game from having warriors and casters of the same level be, you know, same level (of power).

JNAProductions
2017-10-05, 12:19 PM
That doesn't really preclude the game from having warriors and casters of the same level be, you know, same level (of power).

To expand on what (I think) he meant, let's say Casters and other supernatural folks have a power rating from 1-10,000, with 10,000 being basically a god and 1 being mundane human. And Martial characters have a power rating from 1-1,000, since their cap is lower.

You don't need to have the full 10,000 available to players. Anything above 1,000 can be reserved to artifacts, deities, and other such things beyond the players. Now, let's say the villain is at 4,000, then definitely let the players have a way to either 1) knock the villain down to their range or 2) boost themselves up to his range, probably via complex quests and rituals, but on a permanent basis, players shouldn't exceed 1,000 REGARDLESS of whether they're casters or martials.

Cosi
2017-10-05, 12:20 PM
I think the problems are both. Dishonesty (well, more ignorance-the Devs honestly INTENDED them to be equal, they just goofed) is an issue for newer players-you end up with, on one hand, a Monk with Vow of Poverty or something, who sucks hardcore, and then a Druid, who took Natural Spell, and kicks all the butt.

Sure. That said, that's a problem of the imbalance, not the dishonesty. If you want to play a Monk, and you want to not suck, it's not like you're going to be happy with a solution where the game comes out and tells you "hey buddy, Monks suck!" explicitly.


And then, even once you realize there's issues, well... There's still issues. Knowing how to work around them doesn't fix them.

Agree and disagree. Yes, being able to say "don't play a Druid and a Fighter in the same party" isn't at all helpful. But understanding why those problems exist is necessarily the first step towards fixing them. And yeah, you can't necessarily do that on a large scale as a person (and you certainly can't remove the problems from existing content), but it's still important.


As a matter of fact, I don't understand why that should be the case. Supernatural in the context of fiction is wholly arbitrary. There is no general case for it. Hence, there is no reason why in a given setting, the supernatural couldn't or shouldn't fail in comparison to cold steel.

The point isn't that all magic is always better than all swordplay. The point is that the ceiling of magic is higher than the ceiling of non-magic swordplay (with "magic" roughly meaning "can't be done in the real world" rather than "is specifically a thing a Wizard does"). Minimally, there are magic swordsmen who can presumably sword good enough to be better than non-magic swordsmen, assuming those guys have some limit (and they have to, otherwise they would eventually become magic).


I disagree with this, because I vacillate between 1 and 4 and maybe are sometimes a 3 depending on the day. I can be fine with playing with someone 4, 3 or 1, but not 2.

But why though? It seems to me that if it is not okay to say "Tier 4 is not okay" it should equally be not okay to say "Tier 1 & 2 are not okay". It's the same sentiment. Are people whose character concepts are best represented by Druids or Artificers just bad people?

awa
2017-10-05, 12:34 PM
one way i have seen it done is to alter what a starting character is so a level 1 martial might represent a veteran warrior with years of real combat experience while a starting wizard might have just learned his first spells and has never been in a real fight. So magic might be better than non-magic but the parties are still balanced because the martial has been doing this longer. The fact that ancient wizards of both power and experience exist doesn't matter because their not in the party.

Note this is talking about how to balance people with magic and people with out, not referring to the specifics of d&d and its class system.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-05, 12:52 PM
To expand on what (I think) he meant, let's say Casters and other supernatural folks have a power rating from 1-10,000, with 10,000 being basically a god and 1 being mundane human. And Martial characters have a power rating from 1-1,000, since their cap is lower.

You don't need to have the full 10,000 available to players. Anything above 1,000 can be reserved to artifacts, deities, and other such things beyond the players. Now, let's say the villain is at 4,000, then definitely let the players have a way to either 1) knock the villain down to their range or 2) boost themselves up to his range, probably via complex quests and rituals, but on a permanent basis, players shouldn't exceed 1,000 REGARDLESS of whether they're casters or martials.

Then either nerf casters so that they can never go over 1000, and make sure martials can always get to 1000, or make sure martials can go the full 10,000. Seems logical to me.

@ Cosi:
Its not that your bad people, its that 2 players are the ones who like what I hate the most (the tier 1s) and thus will inevitably play in a "prepare for everything" style that will make everything unfun, suck all the life out of the game, nothing will actually happen because if it it does it'll just be a game of "auto-activation of contingencies ping-pong" the magic won't be interesting at all because it'll just be used for its effectiveness and not what magic is actually about, its mysticalness and wonder, and its just best to recognize what people you'll never have fun with. much like how I'll never play Call of Cthulhu and never have fun with players of call of cthulhu. DnD just has the unfortunate flaw of mixing people together and making them think these playstyles are compatible when they are not, because my playstyle is not "tier 3" or whatever, its "Tier I'm just as awesome as you, but no one is a god because screw that." and I don't care for whatever anecdotes you or anyone else has, I don't care if you define win buttons differently, I don't want binary abilities that switch the win on or off, I want something with an actual nuance and chance of failure and makes things interesting. there are other settings to the win-ness! it is a spectrum, that is ignored.

honestly, I keep explaining this and I still don't see how people don't understand this. People simply don't want to play games to be godlike mary sues, thats why we have challenge and health bars and chances of failure in the first place, and the character archetype of Leeroy Jenkins and berserkers and barbarians serve a valuable function of attacking immediately so that the game doesn't devolve into super-prep eternal batman stasis. because if you prepared for something, a GM might as well throw out ever using it because there is no point to using it if its not going to be useful in challenging anyone. if your prepared for everything, why bother playing at all? you've already won, no point in playing it out. Which is boring and stupid.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 01:48 PM
The point isn't that all magic is always better than all swordplay. The point is that the ceiling of magic is higher than the ceiling of non-magic swordplay (with "magic" roughly meaning "can't be done in the real world" rather than "is specifically a thing a Wizard does"). Minimally, there are magic swordsmen who can presumably sword good enough to be better than non-magic swordsmen, assuming those guys have some limit (and they have to, otherwise they would eventually become magic).

There is no reason why supernatural's ceiling couldn't or shouldn't be lower than mundane means, and as a corollary no reason why magic swordsmen couldn't or shouldn't be worse than a normal swordsman.

Your definition of "magic" as "can't be done" in real life is both obtuse and doesn't actually address what I said.

Cazero
2017-10-05, 01:58 PM
Your definition of "magic" as "can't be done" in real life is both obtuse and doesn't actually address what I said.
Also, magic as "can't be done in the real world" can be achieved mundanely by :

at least half the monsters with natural flight,
a first level character stacking a high ability score with a good racial modifier,
every single Rogue upon gaining Evasion,
every Fighter upon getting their third attack,
and so on
so it's a pretty awful definition of what magic is in-game.

Knaight
2017-10-05, 02:04 PM
Well the biggest problem that I have with them is how they keep invading the general Roleplaying board when they apply to 3.X in specific. Even when somebody specifically mentions that they are playing another edition of D&D people keep bringing them up. "Oh you're having a problem with your 4th level 5th edition archer? Let me bring up the tier list." They definitely applied to a specific edition (well 3 editions) however bearing in mind they only really apply to play above 10th level it's a situation where people just keep using it where it doesn't apply.

This isn't a tier system thing though, so much as a 3.x thing. It's part of an incredibly common (and really annoying) trend to view the specific way 3.x works as the way all roleplaying games must work. This often goes to the point of just assuming that every game must be a class and level system, or that there's only one GM role and that every game has it, or even being convinced that a focus on loot must be standard.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-05, 02:10 PM
This isn't a tier system thing though, so much as a 3.x thing. It's part of an incredibly common (and really annoying) trend to view the specific way 3.x works as the way all roleplaying games must work. This often goes to the point of just assuming that every game must be a class and level system, or that there's only one GM role and that every game has it, or even being convinced that a focus on loot must be standard.

I've seen it called the Playgrounder Fallacy, but it happens elsewhere in RPG discussion.

I've also seen the Inverse of the Playgrounder Fallacy, in which certain advocates of other approaches to gaming always assume that anyone and everyone they're arguing with is a very specific stereotype of a 3.5/PF player.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 02:15 PM
Of those who adhere to the Tier System there are four types. They were quite represented and on display in the "why the hate for win-buttons" thread. It's the same arguments repeated, not necessarily verbatim but they are the point.

Type 1: Tiers 1 & 2 are an abomination. How dare players have such power! Animate Dead! Teleport! Gate! They can do everything and anything all the time without fail. They always have the exact spell needed when it's needed. They always have the exact feat needed when needed. They always beat spell resistance. Monsters always fail their saving throws. If you are playing Tier 1 or 2 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 2: Tiers 4 and below are The Suck. They are a wasted space. A scenario exists where they cannot use a feat they have so that's proof they can't do anything. They have to use equipment. They always fail Will saving throws. They cannot do anything but hit things with a pointy stick and sometimes not even that. If you are playing Tier 4 or below you are playing the game wrong.

Type 3: Behold the One True Way Of Tier 3. It is complete Balance. It is how the game was meant to be. If everyone would play Tier 3 it is perfect Harmony. Players can do exactly what they are meant to do, no more no less. If you are not playing Tier 3 you are playing the game wrong.

Type 4: This whole Tier System is proof why the game is horrible. No one should play it. It needs to burn in the ashes. I play (insert favorite game system), and it's absolutely superior in every way. If are you still playing this game you are playing the game wrong.

You're missing me

Type 5: The tier system is accurate but game balance is much less important than people think and game balance causing problems at a table is usually indicative of other issues.



DMG, page 37.

Yes, and you completely ignored all of my response. Like literally all of it. The CR system deals with what you're able to handle, not actually what you're able to do. Like a monster of CR 9, may have abilities that a level 9 character should not have, that's why playing as monsters is so incredibly difficult and why summoning spells and SLAs produce weird cheese.



And why wouldn't the transitive property apply? PC X=CR X=PC X. Why can't you take out the middle step?

Well first because it isn't reduced to a workable equation, you're creating something that looks like an equation but does not describe the situation in question. Also since the situation in question is whether a group has sufficient ability to handle something... that would mean that it would not described as an inequality a greater than if you will. A party with all tier ones would be greater than a CR encounter of equal level, a party with tier 5 and 4 would also be greater than a CR encounter of equal level, just by not as substantial an amount. So either develop a real equation, or stop trying to claim that your made up is an actual math equation, cause it isn't it's bullcrap.

Cosi
2017-10-05, 02:16 PM
People simply don't want to play games to be godlike mary sues, thats why we have challenge and health bars and chances of failure in the first place, and the character archetype of Leeroy Jenkins and berserkers and barbarians serve a valuable function of attacking immediately so that the game doesn't devolve into super-prep eternal batman stasis.

But that's not what the other side wants either. The other side doesn't want to instantly win, they want to face challenges that operate in a different paradigm from the one you want. They would consider a game where people solve problems by just charging them in the face exactly as boring as you consider Tier One gameplay.

Also, that's conflating "liking classes in Tier One" with "liking Tier One".


There is no reason why supernatural's ceiling couldn't or shouldn't be lower than mundane means, and as a corollary no reason why magic swordsmen couldn't or shouldn't be worse than a normal swordsman.

Sure, not in any particular game. But in the abstract, the ceiling of "things you can do in the real world" is always going to be lower than the ceiling of "things you can do", because there are things you can't do in the real world, either as a result of the limits of human physiology or more fundamental laws.


Also, magic as "can't be done in the real world" can be achieved mundanely by :

at least half the monsters with natural flight,
a first level character stacking a high ability score with a good racial modifier,
every single Rogue upon gaining Evasion,
every Fighter upon getting their third attack,
and so on
so it's a pretty awful definition of what magic is in-game.

What do we mean by "mundanely"? Is it defined from the perspective of the game world, or our world? If it's defined from the game world's perspective, why are "things you can do by swinging a sword" mundane while "things you can do by swinging a wand" magical?

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 02:20 PM
@Cazero:

A better example would be: silver can't hurt lycanthropes in real life, because there are no lycanthropes to hurt. By Cosi's standard, if lycanthropes are vulnerable to silver, then a gunman using silver bullets is magic, even if the gunman, his gun and the bullets function no differently from real life.

2D8HP
2017-10-05, 02:21 PM
If you want to make the argument, it's easier to get to the assumption of equality from equal costs. A level of Wizard costs the same thing as a level of Fighter. Absent evidence to the contrary (and it is, as far as I can tell, absent), we would expect that to imply they are of equal value.....


Is this thread still at "General Role-playing" rather than one of the D&D Sub-Forums?

*checks*

Yea it is.

Current D&D has the same XP's equal the same Levels for all the classes, old D&D did not. At 100,000 XP in original Dungeons & Dragons (which would at my tables take you roughly 50 sessions to achieve, in the unlikely event that your PC survived that long) a Cleric would be a "Patriarch" (8th level), a human Fighting-Man would be a "Champion" (7th level), a Dwarf would be a "Myrmidon" (6th level), a human Magic-User would be a "Sorcerer" (9th level), an Elf would be a "Hero/Warlock" (4th/8th level), and with Greyhawk a Thief (all races) would be a "Thief" (125,000 XP would make you a "Master Thief").

So "back in the day" leveling up did not have "equal costs.


one way i have seen it done is to alter what a starting character is so a level 1 martial might represent a veteran warrior with years of real combat experience while a starting wizard might have just learned his first spells and has never been in a real fight.....


That pretty much was the assumption, a first level Fighter/Fighting-Man (both terms were used) was a "Veteran", a first level Cleric was an "Acolyte", and a first level Magic-User was a "Medium" (changed to "Prestidigitator" in AD&D).

People complained that arcane spell-caster were too weak too long so 3e "fixed" that.

People complained that 3.x was unbalanced so 4e tried to "bring the balance back".

*hums "The Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin for many minutes*

People complained that 4e "didn't feel like D&D", so "the compromise edition" was made.

I complain that 5e isn't less like 3.x, so 6e will... probably be more like 3.5 BECAUSE MOST OTHER PEOPLE ARE WRONG ABOUT THE ONE TRUE GAME!!! dagnabbit!

After the reeking wreckage of 6e festers long enough then they'll come crying to me for my wisdom, but I'll respond:
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dmoftheringssucketh.JPG

Cosi
2017-10-05, 02:32 PM
A better example would be: silver can't hurt lycanthropes in real life, because there are no lycanthropes to hurt. By Cosi's standard, if lycanthropes are vulnerable to silver, then a gunman using silver bullets is magic, even if the gunman, his gun and the bullets function no differently from real life.

We can reason about the properties of Lycanthropes even if none exist (for example, we could say a good argument by Frozen_Feet would be compelling, even though no good arguments by Frozen_Feet exist). In the real world, silver has the property of "harming Lycanthropes". That property doesn't go away simply because there are no Lycanthropes.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 02:39 PM
Sure, not in any particular game. But in the abstract, the ceiling of "things you can do in the real world" is always going to be lower than the ceiling of "things you can do", because there are things you can't do in the real world, either as a result of the limits of human physiology or more fundamental laws.


Which is fine and dandy, but is not equivalent to Clistenes's claim I was responding to. In fact, your abstract case borders on meaningless, because it doesn't entail I should allow supernatural to trump natural in any game.

2D8HP
2017-10-05, 02:43 PM
....In the real world, silver has the property of "harming Lycanthropes". That property doesn't go away simply because there are no Lycanthropes.
I feel a little bit bad for picking on you Cosi, but this is joke fodder
Shooting a Lycanthrope with a silver bullet harms them.

In the real world being shot with any bullet is harmful.

Stabbing a Vampire in the heart with a wooden stake is harmful to them.

In the real world getting stabbed by anything in the heart is harmful.

Hitting one of the "Fair Folk"/Elves upside the head with a cast iron pan is harmful to them.

In the real world.... that starts the party!

:biggrin:

Morty
2017-10-05, 02:54 PM
This discussion seems to be split between disliking "tiers" as the existence of power disparity, and disliking "tiers" as a means of cataloguing and outlining it. The disparity exists, so railing against people who try to nail down how exactly it works seems futile, to put it mildly. All the tier system does is describe an observable and massive difference in potential between classes. Whether or not you care or do anything about is entirely up to you.

D&D would spare itself a lot of trouble if it made the implicit assumption explicit and said "yes, magic-using characters are just better". Of course, that would be breaking tradition, so...

AMFV
2017-10-05, 03:02 PM
This discussion seems to be split between disliking "tiers" as the existence of power disparity, and disliking "tiers" as a means of cataloguing and outlining it. The disparity exists, so railing against people who try to nail down how exactly it works seems futile, to put it mildly. All the tier system does is describe an observable and massive difference in potential between classes. Whether or not you care or do anything about is entirely up to you.


I agree it exists, but I think that it is often less important than people think. The games where I have had issues with the tiers are games where I've had players say things like "I could have just soloed that encounter" the problem there is player rudeness certainly the tiers facilitate that, but that's the core problem. Most tier related stuff boils down to that, it's other issues coming out through that, and those would be present tiers or no.



D&D would spare itself a lot of trouble if it made the implicit assumption explicit and said "yes, magic-using characters are just better". Of course, that would be breaking tradition, so...

It's worth noting that "able to handle more situations" or "more raw power" doesn't necessarily mean "better". Particularly in the case of a cooperative game where players should be cognizant of not hogging the spotlight from their fellow players.

Frozen_Feet
2017-10-05, 03:02 PM
We can reason about the properties of Lycanthropes even if none exist (for example, we could say a good argument by Frozen_Feet would be compelling, even though no good arguments by Frozen_Feet exist). In the real world, silver has the property of "harming Lycanthropes". That property doesn't go away simply because there are no Lycanthropes.
Except mid-argument, you shifted from reasoning properties of lycanthropes to reasoning properties of the bullet. If you'd correctly followed the form of your own logic, you would've arrived at the conclusion that the "is hurt by silver" is property of the fictional lycanthrophe and we need not make any additional assumptions about real bullets.

Neither argument actually escapes that if you define "magic" as "can't be done in real life", then shooting lycantrophes is magic, because there are no lycantrophes you can shoot.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-05, 03:16 PM
This discussion seems to be split between disliking "tiers" as the existence of power disparity, and disliking "tiers" as a means of cataloguing and outlining it. The disparity exists, so railing against people who try to nail down how exactly it works seems futile, to put it mildly. All the tier system does is describe an observable and massive difference in potential between classes. Whether or not you care or do anything about is entirely up to you.


Where it gets tangled is when some take it as prescriptive, rather than analytical.

Anymage
2017-10-05, 03:24 PM
D&D would spare itself a lot of trouble if it made the implicit assumption explicit and said "yes, magic-using characters are just better". Of course, that would be breaking tradition, so...

Earlier editions came out and said that magic users came in weaker, but the advantage for "paying your dues" was that you were much stronger at high level. Which is a balance point that falls flat if the game isn't expected to get to high level, if the game starts at a higher level already, or if the assumptions of play allow you to start as a strong-at-low-levels martial, only to have some way to reroll as a strong-at-high-level caster once the party average level is past the tipping point. (The most popular way to do the last one involves coming down with a case of nigh-suicidal bravery until the character's luck runs out.) "Weaker at point X, stronger at point Y" requires an idealized campaign style that never really seems to work out in the real world.

Doubly so because, even just looking at 3.5, a warblade and a beguiler are in the same tier. The warblade has "spells" in the sense of discrete mechanical effects, but it's a clear case where the guy with a sword and the guy who casts spells are indeed playing on the same field.

JAL_1138
2017-10-05, 05:12 PM
Take a look at 5th edition-there aren't tiers there. Each class is reasonably balanced against each other (barring Wish-Simulacrum chaining, which is a clear exploit and TO, not PO, and POSSIBLY minionmancy, which is more PO) so that, even if you have a Wizard 20 and a Fighter 20 in the same party, they can both contribute well and neither player feels left out, short of the DM being malicious/bad.


Ehhh, I wouldn't say that. Full casters can still be considerably more powerful and versatile than full martials. It's just that in comparison to 3.PF, casters took a heavy nerf and martials got something of a buff. Rather than having no tiers, it's more like everything falls into the Tier 2 to Tier 4 range (or possibly the Tier 3 to Tier 5 range; I've heard solid arguments for either)...and keeping party members within a three-tier range was the general advice in the JaronK system, so it's generally not too problematic as long as the party composition fills certain roles well enough.

I'd agree though that no class is so fundamentally weak in comparison that it can't function adequately or is rendered superfluous in a party of high-tier characters—even a Frenzy Barbarian, Champion Fighter, or non-revised Beastmaster Ranger can hold up reasonably well in a party full of fullcasters—and that no class is so ludicrously OP that playing it runs the risk of inadvertently rendering another player's character completely obsolete. Like you said, the Fighter won't feel left out—and I'd go further to say that not only will the Fighter not feel left out, it's a good idea to have a Fighter in a high-level party with a Wizard and a Cleric in 5e, unlike high-level 3.5 where another CoDzilla or Batman-wizard instead would be better for party balance. But the cap being lower and the floor being higher doesn't mean certain classes and subclasses aren't stronger and/or more versatile than others to the extent there aren't any tiers.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-05, 05:40 PM
I think the idea of the Tier system isn't to say "X is better", but "X has more books, of more genres", to use your example.

Right Tier 1 guy has a library of a zillion books. Other guy has a library if a trillion trillion, but they are all books the guy likes/wants to read.



Edit: And the issue is not that the classes aren't PERFECTLY balanced (that's not true in ANY edition), the issue is how WILDLY UNBALANCED they are. You can (and people have brought stories of that) have a party where one character dominates, or one is totally useless, without anyone intending to make it so.

The problem is more ''how'' the game is played:

1.Some rules are simply ignored.
2.Some rules are changed.

And worse of all is just the way the game is played.

The average ''Tier Believer'' has dozens of ways and things that they ''must have'' to even consider playing the game. This alone causes a huge imbalance, and it is only the tip of the ice burg.

D&D has all ways had the game world scale with the increased power level of the player characters...but very few games do this...and it makes the huge imbalance.

And no one who is a ''Tier Believer'' would ever consider scaling the game as they just think that is wrong and the ''Tier's must be''....and they don't want to upset the Tier Believer players, of course.

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 06:25 PM
D&D has all ways had the game world scale with the increased power level of the player characters...but very few games do this...and it makes the huge imbalance.

The trouble is how do you actually successfully scale the game? What ends up actually happening is either you scale the game to your more powerful PC's, and then the less powerful ones are sitting on their thumbs the whole time because anything that powerful they're useless against. Or you scale it to your less powerful PC's, at which point everything's trivial for your more powerful PC's.

Again, it's not PC's being more or less powerful in a vacuum that's the problem, it's when you end up with one PC vastly more powerful than another.


Right Tier 1 guy has a library of a zillion books. Other guy has a library if a trillion trillion, but they are all books the guy likes/wants to read

It's more like, Tier 1 guy has a library of a zillion books, including all the ones the other guy has.

Cosi
2017-10-05, 06:34 PM
Which is fine and dandy, but is not equivalent to Clistenes's claim I was responding to. In fact, your abstract case borders on meaningless, because it doesn't entail I should allow supernatural to trump natural in any game.

Yes, and the way you do that is to put limits on the power of supernatural characters, which means that certain supernatural characters can't be played. Which, I believe was the whole point -- you can't give the people who want supernatural characters and the people who want mundane characters what they want and have game balance (or at least, and be guaranteed game balance, because people could always happen to want things that allow balance).


Neither argument actually escapes that if you define "magic" as "can't be done in real life", then shooting lycantrophes is magic, because there are no lycantrophes you can shoot.

The verb is "shoot". It's the same verb regardless of what the object is. The verb, for those of us who have apparently not graduated elementary school, is the thing you do.

Morty
2017-10-05, 06:36 PM
Where it gets tangled is when some take it as prescriptive, rather than analytical.

People who treat it as some sort of dictate about how the game should be played, or is meant to be played, certainly do not help. But it's a pretty typical decay that happens in Internet discussions.

Quertus
2017-10-05, 06:45 PM
Except as a lot of us have found, you don't have to be a **** to obsolete another character.

I did this pretty much by accident in an early 3.5 game I played. I like battlefield control and plotting. It's fun. And I like nature-y characters. So I played a druid and I took all the wall and entangle and other area of effects spells I could find. Because it was fun.

Other players liked hitting things with a sword. It was fun for them and they didn't want to do all this extra planning for playing a spellcaster. Hitting something and getting hit back was fun.

Unfortunately, these ended up not being fun together. My strategy meant that enemy melee ended up basically immobilized and all our melee had to do was run up and hit a weak target. So they were finding the game boring. However, none of us wanted to just give up or completely redo our characters - and frankly I found the "just hit something" playstyle to be rather boring and didn't want to take the option of just being a blaster, which is what they suggested.

None of this was planned. It was just a case where people playing the characters they found fun in the way they found fun, and trying to fill different "roles" in the party.

Point. I had the most fun in a party of alpha strike gods. Following y'all's individualistic logic, I'd build a character who would go first, and obliterate anything he touched.

But I'd want to play that character in a "Call of Cthulhu" style, where we spend 5-6 sessions researching and planning between each encounter.

This kind of style difference is something that should be discussed in a good session 0. Just like character roles, and not stepping on other people's toes. So, not all of that comes from being a ****, but it is all helped by similar techniques. Techniques for which the tier system might be a help or a hindrance, but certainly not a requirement


Yeah, no kidding. Let's see, in my recent party, nothing gets done without the cleric that can change loadout daily and also leave slots open to adapt on-the-fly or the psion who picked all world-bending or multi-purpose powers ... the sorcerer is our secondary tank despite three melee characters in the party, but he doesn't have much for utility and is frustrated by the glacial rate at which he learns new spells ... the rogue is fragile and keeps not being able to Sneak Attack because of creature type, and never ends up focal to overcoming noncombat obstacles ... the warlock is middle-of-the-road, never a star but usually contributing a fair share ...

Nobody was trying to be weaker or stronger. (Except the psion's player, who became aware he was putting other characters out of a job and tried thinking of ways to drop his power level deliberately without an IC mess, i.e. totally in line with ideal use of the tier system.) It just turned out that way because the mechanics of 3.5 are deeply unbalanced.

Can you expand on the bolded part? While that's totally the psion player's good, I'm not seeing where that choice has anything to do with the tier system.

Even if the tier system had never been published, the Psion's player could have noticed that they were obsoleting other character(s), and chosen to do something about that.


Yup. The advantage of the tier system is it's usually easier to build characters from the ground up that will be in line with each other, than to adjust characters in play.

The fighter I built who attacks for ~1000 damage is not really balanced with the fighter I built who swings for 1d10+1, or the fighter I built who swings for infinite damage. But they're all fighters.

The tier system has the problem of both excluding perfectly valid characters, and accepting invalid characters, and calling them "equal". Ironically, that sounds like the very problem it was meant to solve.


The Tier System is like a car catalog. Would you dislike a car catalog?

As others have already explained, it does a very poor job for those who care about the bigger picture. And, as I stated above, a questionable job of dealing with its own little microcosm.

WarKitty
2017-10-05, 07:20 PM
Point. I had the most fun in a party of alpha strike gods. Following y'all's individualistic logic, I'd build a character who would go first, and obliterate anything he touched.

But I'd want to play that character in a "Call of Cthulhu" style, where we spend 5-6 sessions researching and planning between each encounter.

This kind of style difference is something that should be discussed in a good session 0. Just like character roles, and not stepping on other people's toes. So, not all of that comes from being a ****, but it is all helped by similar techniques. Techniques for which the tier system might be a help or a hindrance, but certainly not a requirement

That's where I think the tier system actually helps. A lot of the examples of the tier system going wrong (mine included) come from newer groups who haven't really figured out yet how all the roles actually work. For example, in my experience, a well-played controller can make melee characters feel pretty irrelevant - or at least like they're just on cleanup duty. But that's not something that would be immediately obvious that it would step on toes. And once it's developed it's a lot more annoying to try to do something to fix it.



The fighter I built who attacks for ~1000 damage is not really balanced with the fighter I built who swings for 1d10+1, or the fighter I built who swings for infinite damage. But they're all fighters.

The tier system has the problem of both excluding perfectly valid characters, and accepting invalid characters, and calling them "equal". Ironically, that sounds like the very problem it was meant to solve.

It actually does mention that in the original post - tiers are raw power rather than optimization. Think of it more as blue book value - a 2 year old Mercedes is, as a rule, more valuable than a 2 year old Honda. But if the Honda's been only used for short commutes and kept in pristine condition, while the Mercedes has been in several accidents, that could change.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 07:48 PM
The trouble is how do you actually successfully scale the game? What ends up actually happening is either you scale the game to your more powerful PC's, and then the less powerful ones are sitting on their thumbs the whole time because anything that powerful they're useless against. Or you scale it to your less powerful PC's, at which point everything's trivial for your more powerful PC's.

No... the thing you do is you tailor your solutions so that each player gets a chance to shine, a monster that has at-will Teleport SLA, has a ring of freedom of movement and has high saves and high hitpoints is the fighter's chance to shine since the BFC wizard is going to have some issues with that thing. Now had the wizard prepped for that specific encounter he could also be the one shining there... BUT you can't prep for every specific different encounter, because in real world play you have limits on how many spells you actually have and what-not.



Again, it's not PC's being more or less powerful in a vacuum that's the problem, it's when you end up with one PC vastly more powerful than another.


But again, in your scenario any battlefield controller would have dominated the group. Hell if you made a horizon tripper fighter you'd have dominated the group. So it's not about your specific tiers, it's about playstyle and compatibility and unwillingness to compromise.



It's more like, Tier 1 guy has a library of a zillion books, including all the ones the other guy has.

True, but the Tier 1 guy can only carry a limited number of books at a time, he can't have them all simultaneously. And there are ways to invalidate his solutions absent theoretical optimization exercises.


Except as a lot of us have found, you don't have to be a **** to obsolete another character.


I was going to respond to this earlier. You don't have to be a **** to obsolete another character, you have to be a **** to continuously obsolete another person's character when you have observed that it's irritating to them. Nobody is forcing you to prepare entangle or enough entangles to make every encounter superfluous.

So what you should have done is modified your behavior as hard as that is, and not dominated every encounter. What the other players should have done is optimized more so that they could assist in matching you without having issues, which is doable, and what the DM should have done is create encounters where your tactics would fail on occasion, not all the time obviously. So that's everybody having a piece of the solution.



I did this pretty much by accident in an early 3.5 game I played. I like battlefield control and plotting. It's fun. And I like nature-y characters. So I played a druid and I took all the wall and entangle and other area of effects spells I could find. Because it was fun.

Other players liked hitting things with a sword. It was fun for them and they didn't want to do all this extra planning for playing a spellcaster. Hitting something and getting hit back was fun.

Well as to this: They're looking for a grittier game, the DM should have read into that and then occasionally provided them with challenged that you wouldn't immobilize, monsters with very high strength, powerful single monsters with lots of SLAs that can break out of being immobilized or nullify it completely. Monsters that are on fire and immune to fire and are thus not entangleable. There are many options the DM could have picked, things with better saves even just to make you somewhat less effective, given the monsters save boosting feats or class features, which occasionally make you less effective. This is a problem of not tailoring your encounter to your group, and would have been a problem even if you were a Beguiler a Tier 3, and they were Warblades, also tier 3. Since you would have still dominated encounters because the DM refused to adapt them.



Unfortunately, these ended up not being fun together. My strategy meant that enemy melee ended up basically immobilized and all our melee had to do was run up and hit a weak target. So they were finding the game boring. However, none of us wanted to just give up or completely redo our characters - and frankly I found the "just hit something" playstyle to be rather boring and didn't want to take the option of just being a blaster, which is what they suggested.

Well you could have done occasional blasting. But the real problem is that you and they were suggesting ways that the other person should compromise, not compromising yourselfs, and that's part of the issue. And the DM is completely absent from his responsibilities in designing encounters that are more difficult for one sort of player to monopolize there are plenty of ways at each level range to make BFC not a magic bullet, higher saves, teleports, enemy BFC options, plenty at each level range, so that's your DM not having sufficient or sufficient system mastery to deal, and it would have been the same problem if you were an Adept with BFC spells, or if you were a Beguiler with BFC spells. So it's not a power imbalance it's as I said a group problem.



None of this was planned. It was just a case where people playing the characters they found fun in the way they found fun, and trying to fill different "roles" in the party.

Well sometimes in a group activity you have to occasionally bend, you can't all be the goalkeeper in a pickup soccer game all the time, you can't all be the pitcher in a pickup baseball game. D&D is equally about compromise, although in this case the DM could have solved these issues with not a huge amount of effort.

LordCdrMilitant
2017-10-05, 09:12 PM
i mean,this is supposed to be a roleplaying game right? not "gameplay and story segregation wow. by definition story and gameplay are supposed to be one, so logically speaking does it not make sense that reality warping should be stronger that hitting something with a big stick? if i could say (in real life) move things with my mind,bend others to my will,change shape,become invisible and summon cthulhu i would be emperor of the world.tomorrow morning in fact. if i could smash people's faces with fists i would be.. at best making money as a boxer.


it's not even something unique to dnd
it's why the big bad in tolkien's middle earth is a magical fallen angel instead of some angry troll with an axe.
or why the biggest threat to palpatine were the 10,000 strong jedi order or hell even the survivors of his purge
or why cthulhu is such a threat(size alone would not get him anywhere near)
or why circe beats the argonauts even though they are more muscular than her.
or why the lich king's terror is not caused by wielding a big ****ing sword.
or how demeter nearly destroys the world when her daughter is kidnapped.
or how "let there be light" did not involve any muscle .

essentially my point is that having fighters be as strong as wizards only makes sense in settings where the lore/fluff supports it. for instance classical mythology and whitewolf's Exalted solve the problem by giving a convincing in-game metaphysical reason about how(for instance) you were able to shoot ten people in one shot.i.e making everyone magical but looking like ridiculously advanced mundane stuff.

personally(though i haven't yet played it) i think 5e is in a somewhat better direction i.e removing ,insanely abused feats/prestige classes etc,giving fighters some extra capabilities(not unlike,say,warblades in 3.5e or for that matter what real life people or heroes like drizzt can do)

Why does it make sense that a fireball is stronger than my longsword being shoved through your gut?

In order for a mage being more powerful than a fighter to be okay, one must accept the postulate that magic is more powerful than technology.

I reject this claim, and therefore stabbing someone, possibly multiple times, should be about as effective as a fireball.


I reject this claim on the ground that if magic was significantly more powerful than non-magic means, the world would be an autocratic mageocracy with the most powerful magic users in the highest positions of power, and all institutions of magic tightly regulated and under the direct power of the ruler, if not outright banned.

Since the world is not an autocratic mageocracy, then magic is not significantly more powerful than non-magical means.

2D8HP
2017-10-05, 10:51 PM
—even a Frenzy Barbarian, Champion Fighter, or non-revised Beastmaster Ranger can hold up reasonably well in a party full of fullcasters—.


Count me as someone who's played a Champion Fighter (Urchin, standard human) in a party of casters, and had a blast doing it.

The "Champion" was a great intro to new D&D class to play, and I'm opposed to efforts to make it more like the Battlemaster sub-class.

The casters did all sorts of wiz bang stuff around my PC, but that didn't subtract from my fun, if anything it increased it!

I'd actually say that beimg human and not having infravision felt more like a hindrance than any lack of class features, so I may try a half-Elf or Half-Orc version of the PC, but I was happy with L. Stormwind, and I'd gladly play him again.

As long as my PC's may

Fire arrows

Swing swords

Track

Sneak

Hide

Climb

Swim

Sometimes Convince,

and

Sometimes heal

I feel no lack.

Quertus
2017-10-05, 10:58 PM
This discussion seems to be split between disliking "tiers" as the existence of power disparity,

Ah, missed that entirely.

Hmmm... Most of the people I've gamed with lately either don't care about game balance, or are actively opposed to it.

Back in the old school days, it was not only not unknown, but arguably common practice to start (over) at 1st level - even if the rest of the party was significantly higher level. One of my most enjoyable gaming experiences was joining a 7th level party with my shiny new 1st level character. I never could have had that experience in a climate of harping about the importance of game balance, so I'm exceedingly glad that game balance does not yet rule the world.

I've never cared so much about mechanical balance as about having a role to play.

But, if we are discussing mechanical balance, I think that the 3.5 tier system leaves a lot to be desired.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 11:00 PM
Why does it make sense that a fireball is stronger than my longsword being shoved through your gut?

It isn't, but you can't stab 30 people at once. I mean look at the damage an Ubercharger puts out, way way way more damage than you'd get with a fireball, it's just not able to target as many people. So you're looking at why a mortar is different than a rifle, they have differe




In order for a mage being more powerful than a fighter to be okay, one must accept the postulate that magic is more powerful than technology.


More powerful is not well defined and in the case of the tier system has nothing to do with magic or actual power and everything to do with ability to do different things and solve problems. A Wizard that uses primarily fireballs is Tier 4 (Warmage), a Cleric that uses only healing spells is tier 5 (Healer). A Wizard who only uses illusions and enchantments is tier 3 (Beguiler). It's not about "Magic vs. Mundane" it's about class design. And yes after a certain point magic does give you more options but theorycrafting grossly overstates this advantage as compared to actual table play, which can mitigated in any of the myriad ways I've already mentioned.



I reject this claim, and therefore stabbing someone, possibly multiple times, should be about as effective as a fireball.

In terms of making a person dead, yes, a sword is good as a fireball, if you want a hundred people dead... then swords are not superior options. Mortars kill a lot more people than rifles do, that's a real world example. But we still use rifles because they fill roles that mortars cannot, that's where you need to look at for tiers. If somebody CAN fill a role that your mage isn't. Or maybe back your mage off so they aren't taking every role or dominating every combat.




I reject this claim on the ground that if magic was significantly more powerful than non-magic means, the world would be an autocratic mageocracy with the most powerful magic users in the highest positions of power, and all institutions of magic tightly regulated and under the direct power of the ruler, if not outright banned.

And yet the world isn't run by nuclear physicists, who have the most destructive power possible. Ergo your claim is bull. It falls apart. We're not run by Air Force generals, nor by Artillarymen, the people with the most killing power do not run the world. So your claim is wrong. Your assertion is based on a fallacy.



Since the world is not an autocratic mageocracy, then magic is not significantly more powerful than non-magical means.

Since our world is not run by nuclear physicists I submit that nukes are not more powerful than conventional weapons. Or wait... that doesn't work, does it?

Lord Raziere
2017-10-05, 11:08 PM
It isn't, but you can't stab 30 people at once. I mean look at the damage an Ubercharger puts out, way way way more damage than you'd get with a fireball, it's just not able to target as many people. So you're looking at why a mortar is different than a rifle.

In terms of making a person dead, yes, a sword is good as a fireball, if you want a hundred people dead... then swords are not superior options. Mortars kill a lot more people than rifles do, that's a real world example. But we still use rifles because they fill roles that mortars cannot, that's where you need to look at for tiers. If somebody CAN fill a role that your mage isn't. Or maybe back your mage off so they aren't taking every role or dominating every combat.


Says you! Anime would like disagree with you on the "can't stab 30 people at once" thing, as well as mythical demigod heroes, JRPG protags (and many many jprgs are based on DnD), superheroes with swords, anyone with super-speed and so on.

the only reason a PC should not be able to stab 30 people at once is that you do not want them to. anything else is purely lack of imagination or stubbornness to accept people wanting that. Stop making excuses.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 11:10 PM
Says you! Anime would like disagree with you on the "can't stab 30 people at once" thing, as well as mythical demigod heroes, JRPG protags (and many many jprgs are based on DnD), superheroes with swords, anyone with super-speed and so on.

the only reason a PC should not be able to stab 30 people at once is that you do not want them to. anything else is purely lack of imagination or stubbornness to accept people wanting that. Stop making excuses.

Hey he said longsword, not KATANA (TM).

LordCdrMilitant
2017-10-05, 11:26 PM
It isn't, but you can't stab 30 people at once. I mean look at the damage an Ubercharger puts out, way way way more damage than you'd get with a fireball, it's just not able to target as many people. So you're looking at why a mortar is different than a rifle, they have differe

More powerful is not well defined and in the case of the tier system has nothing to do with magic or actual power and everything to do with ability to do different things and solve problems. A Wizard that uses primarily fireballs is Tier 4 (Warmage), a Cleric that uses only healing spells is tier 5 (Healer). A Wizard who only uses illusions and enchantments is tier 3 (Beguiler). It's not about "Magic vs. Mundane" it's about class design. And yes after a certain point magic does give you more options but theorycrafting grossly overstates this advantage as compared to actual table play, which can mitigated in any of the myriad ways I've already mentioned.

In terms of making a person dead, yes, a sword is good as a fireball, if you want a hundred people dead... then swords are not superior options. Mortars kill a lot more people than rifles do, that's a real world example. But we still use rifles because they fill roles that mortars cannot, that's where you need to look at for tiers. If somebody CAN fill a role that your mage isn't. Or maybe back your mage off so they aren't taking every role or dominating every combat.

And yet the world isn't run by nuclear physicists, who have the most destructive power possible. Ergo your claim is bull. It falls apart. We're not run by Air Force generals, nor by Artillarymen, the people with the most killing power do not run the world. So your claim is wrong. Your assertion is based on a fallacy. Since our world is not run by nuclear physicists I submit that nukes are not more powerful than conventional weapons. Or wait... that doesn't work, does it?

Uh... Nuclear physicists don't have the most destructive power possible. The work that goes into the construction and deployment of a ICBM is on a scale far greater than individual.

Also, the US basically has leverage over every other nation and functionally leads the world due to a combination of a superior economy and superior military. MAD basically kept us in check for quite some time/keeps us in check.

Anyway, magic doesn't neccessarily have to be used to blow things up; power can be economic or social. People with power tend to leverage that power to get more of it. When they reach the limits of their individual power, they combine their power with others, so they all have effectively increased power.



And I wasn't referring to actual table play, I was refuting the hypothesis that it's right for mages to be obscenely more powerful than martials, as stated by the OP. I'm arguing that, if the party is a small unit, the mage should be a 81mm mortar, not 155mm howitzer battery. If the fighter is an armored company, then it's perfectly acceptable for the mage to be the artillery battery.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-05, 11:37 PM
Hey he said longsword, not KATANA (TM).

And?

They're all ridiculous blades with ridiculous powers forged by ridiculous methods, by ridiculous blacksmiths in a world of ridiculous stuff whether it be western, eastern or south-greenwards.

Let me cut through the bull: There are only three honest answers to denying someone a power in a roleplaying game:
1. "Not at my table."
2. "The game has only one true way and your going against it."
3. "I'm sorry I will allow it."

all else is just an excuse for 1 or 2 without stating it outright. whether some artillery or real world thing says otherwise has jack squat to do with it, and whether I'm a weeb or not has nothing to do with it. what matters is whether your willing to allow it or not and whether its personal or on a game level. if you 1, and you just don't want it at your table, your fine. Just say that, outright and you'll be fine, there is nothing wrong with it, and we'll just never play together.

But if your arguing for a 2, your just being a jerk, because no one has any right to say what is the true way to play a game. If I want to play a fighter and do all those ridiculous feats without a single spell being cast, and you say thats wrong because thats not how DnD should be played, then not only you are wrong because things Tome of battle exists, but its jerkish and unacceptable on principle, because you have no right to say that my fun is not valid for any game. Nor do you have any right to make fun of people based on your preconceptions about katanas and the myths thereof. Stop being a jerk and state whether its 1 or 2. because thats all that matters at the end of day, after all the stupid arguments about realism and blah blah blah are exhausted, because all those arguments are just the excuse to gatekeep.

Stop It. Your just being a jerk.

AMFV
2017-10-05, 11:58 PM
Uh... Nuclear physicists don't have the most destructive power possible. The work that goes into the construction and deployment of a ICBM is on a scale far greater than individual.

Which is why I included Air Force generals in my description who do have the authority to deploy nuclear armaments fairly quickly, and very likely could exploit that if they so chose, it turns they don't. Hell, in the USSR they didn't, and they definitely had a more centralized authority in that respect.



Also, the US basically has leverage over every other nation and functionally leads the world due to a combination of a superior economy and superior military. MAD basically kept us in check for quite some time/keeps us in check.

Russia has more nukes than we do, by not a small number, they don't dominate the world, ergo power is not all that there is to that.



Anyway, magic doesn't neccessarily have to be used to blow things up; power can be economic or social. People with power tend to leverage that power to get more of it. When they reach the limits of their individual power, they combine their power with others, so they all have effectively increased power.


Not really true either, there are plenty of people who have goals other than amassing political or social power. So again that's bull**** and doesn't really do much to prove anything other than that you don't understand the real world as much as you think and you're trying to use that lack of knowledge to disprove the fantastic.



And I wasn't referring to actual table play, I was refuting the hypothesis that it's right for mages to be obscenely more powerful than martials, as stated by the OP. I'm arguing that, if the party is a small unit, the mage should be a 81mm mortar, not 155mm howitzer battery. If the fighter is an armored company, then it's perfectly acceptable for the mage to be the artillery battery.

Okay, there are very few mages capable of casting fireball, the vast majority of characters in D&D use what is called the standard array, which is 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10. So that would mean that even if allowed to take a PC class (which they aren't generally) they would be unable to cast fireball, literally incapable. And most of those who use the elite array would be adepts. So they'd have a 15 casting stat, and be unable to cast a third level spell until level 8, which most normal people would never attain. So you might have a few people able to cast spells like that. But not very many.


Edit: Also I'm a 13F, I work with light infantry, I can call a 155m arty strike in a light infantry squad, and they get rifles. So again, your point doesn't work with real life.

Edit 2: Hell if I were JFO certified I could call 7" naval guns which are WAY WAY WAY more dangerous than a fireball. It's also important to note that mages that get fireball and nothing else are tier 4. They're as bad as a slightly buffed fighter as far as the tier system is concerned.


And?

They're all ridiculous blades with ridiculous powers forged by ridiculous methods, by ridiculous blacksmiths in a world of ridiculous stuff whether it be western, eastern or south-greenwards.

True, and there are story examples of Western swords with ridiculous powers. Although they're not as common as the anime equivalent, I think killing 30 people in a matter of seconds is pretty out there for most western works. Although I'm not going to say that it never happens, only I've not come across it regularly.



Let me cut through the bull: There are only three honest answers to denying someone a power in a roleplaying game:
1. "Not at my table."
2. "The game has only one true way and your going against it."
3. "I'm sorry I will allow it."


"Denying someone power?" What the **** are you on about, like literally what the actual ****? Like that makes no sense with anything I've said, is unrelated to the tier system, and generally sounds like you're just looking for an excuse to validate a power fantasy. Games have rules, I'm not a **** because I usually like to follow the rules. Although I do make occasional exceptions if somebody is really not having fun.

There are plenty of reasons to deny somebody an option if it is against the rules. Period. I'm not arguing for some bull**** realism, I'm arguing against somebody who is claiming to be representing said bull**** realism when the real world does not work the way they claim.



all else is just an excuse for 1 or 2 without stating it outright. whether some artillery or real world thing says otherwise has jack squat to do with it, and whether I'm a weeb or not has nothing to do with it. what matters is whether your willing to allow it or not and whether its personal or on a game level. if you 1, and you just don't want it at your table, your fine. Just say that, outright and you'll be fine, there is nothing wrong with it, and we'll just never play together.

The Katana thing was a joke, because i assumed you were joking because you were making a point that was literally unrelated to anything I had said, like it didn't address any of my points, and would have resulted only from briefly skimming my argument that had nothing to do with mages vs. fighters in power. Which you'll note is not something I've been discussing and frankly NOT something the tier system discusses.



But if your arguing for a 2, your just being a jerk, because no one has any right to say what is the true way to play a game. If I want to play a fighter and do all those ridiculous feats without a single spell being cast, and you say thats wrong because thats not how DnD should be played, then not only you are wrong because things Tome of battle exists, but its jerkish and unacceptable on principle, because you have no right to say that my fun is not valid for any game. Nor do you have any right to make fun of people based on your preconceptions about katanas and the myths thereof. Stop being a jerk and state whether its 1 or 2. because thats all that matters at the end of day, after all the stupid arguments about realism and blah blah blah are exhausted, because all those arguments are just the excuse to gatekeep.

I have every right to not let people play with ToB if I don't want to, I've never personally banned that work, but there's nothing wrong with banning that, maybe it doesn't fit with the tone of game, maybe I want a world where mages are fragile but much more powerful than fighters, and ToB doesn't work well for that.



Stop It. Your just being a jerk.

No, you stop it, and actually read what I'm arguing for.

Earlier I argued for DMs creating scenarios where every player gets to shine, that's possible even if somebody is playing a Samurai, from CW, you can still build a scenario around their abilities, I argued that players should take turns stepping back and letting other players into the spotlight. None of that has to do with restricting power. Nothing to do with it. I'd never even mentioned that, although it is just fine to do that. It's equally fine to play a game with restrictive rules and you are just as bad judging somebody for doing that as somebody would be for judging you for wanting less restrictive rules.

Mechalich
2017-10-06, 01:26 AM
i mean,this is supposed to be a roleplaying game right? not "gameplay and story segregation wow. by definition story and gameplay are supposed to be one, so logically speaking does it not make sense that reality warping should be stronger that hitting something with a big stick? if i could say (in real life) move things with my mind,bend others to my will,change shape,become invisible and summon cthulhu i would be emperor of the world.tomorrow morning in fact. if i could smash people's faces with fists i would be.. at best making money as a boxer.


it's not even something unique to dnd
it's why the big bad in tolkien's middle earth is a magical fallen angel instead of some angry troll with an axe.
or why the biggest threat to palpatine were the 10,000 strong jedi order or hell even the survivors of his purge
or why cthulhu is such a threat(size alone would not get him anywhere near)
or why circe beats the argonauts even though they are more muscular than her.
or why the lich king's terror is not caused by wielding a big ****ing sword.
or how demeter nearly destroys the world when her daughter is kidnapped.
or how "let there be light" did not involve any muscle .

essentially my point is that having fighters be as strong as wizards only makes sense in settings where the lore/fluff supports it. for instance classical mythology and whitewolf's Exalted solve the problem by giving a convincing in-game metaphysical reason about how(for instance) you were able to shoot ten people in one shot.i.e making everyone magical but looking like ridiculously advanced mundane stuff.

personally(though i haven't yet played it) i think 5e is in a somewhat better direction i.e removing ,insanely abused feats/prestige classes etc,giving fighters some extra capabilities(not unlike,say,warblades in 3.5e or for that matter what real life people or heroes like drizzt can do)

Power tiers is an issue of game design. D&D and other TTRPGs are collaborative storytelling games. Examples from fiction are totally irrelevant to the design issues at hand. I wish people would stop making them.

In tabletop, you have 3-6 players. The design intent is for all players to be able to contribute equally in pretty much every sense. Equally effectively, equally often, etc. There are all sorts of rpg axioms that reflect this. 'Don't Split the Party!' is among the best known of these, even though it's not supported in pretty much any written rules for any game and is almost completely antithetical to telling a decent story.

As a result, if you have an ttrpg where the characters will advance in power - which is most of them - it is important that they do so in a way that keeps them roughly equal in power at all times, so that everyone can continue to contribute and therefore all players remain engaged. Please note that this a theoretical objective - many tables will be able to deviate from this, often deliberately. For example, sometimes there are players who wish to play a much reduced role and practically just watch the game and make the occasional snarky comment and are content to be much less powerful. That's fine, but a game cannot be effectively designed in this fashion. The design should be intended to meet the case of a group of players who do not know each other and all want to be an equal part of the story - a good test case is people who sign up for a session at a convention.

In order to manage this, all available character concepts for a game need to retain roughly equal overall power from start to finish. The D&D tier system is simply an expression of how D&D fails at this. Because D&D ties character concept to class, and because the classes are blatantly unequal at all but the earliest levels (when randomness tends to overwhelm abilities anyway) it is a good illustration of this imbalance. However, D&D is not even close to unique in having this problem. Exalted, for instance, has huge imbalances based on charm choice. In 1e persistent defense charms were supreme, in 2e the turtle-combo of perfect defenses was superior, and characters who don't take those simply die helplessly compared to characters who do. In many games that track wealth, like every single oWoD game, having massive wealth is overpowering. Most superhero games fail to balance their powers in a critical way and there will be certain builds that simply massively outclass everything else, or even if they don't turn the game into Rock-Paper-Scissors with certain power suites instant-killing others - ex. it is common in such games for any attack capable of even harming the party tank at all to utterly annihilate everyone else in the party.

Balancing different concepts for equivalent contribution to the game at variable power levels is hard. It's one of the major challenges of tabletop game design. Especially given how potentially open-ended the array of available scenarios in tabletop is compared to video games. Most games with superior balance in this regard do so by tightly constraining the available concepts. D&D, because it is explicitly a fantasy kitchen-sink system, has a problem here because it has to attempt to balance characters who have wildly unequal capabilities in the source material. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are not balanced against Ningauble and Sheelba, and the idea that if you were adventuring in Nehwon you could have all four of those characters in the same party is madness, but Gygax chose to allow it anyway, because he believed in all-powerful DMs who would solve the issue by fiat rulings.

At the end of the day, he had a point, since no game system is perfect in this regard (most are, in fact, terrible), and of course, in the 1980s people couldn't play on the internet with people they'd never met before and couldn't ever talk to in person, but ultimately this specific balance problem has led directly to a large number of very unpleasant games for a great many people. It's worth noting that both 4e and 5e D&D made major efforts to address this problem, which is a testament to its significance.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 01:41 AM
Power tiers is an issue of game design. D&D and other TTRPGs are collaborative storytelling games. Examples from fiction are totally irrelevant to the design issues at hand. I wish people would stop making them.

Actually collaborative storytelling is only one aspect of D&D, it's certainly not it's main aspect, which is principally being a combat simulator. And it's worth noting that examples from fiction are VERY VERY relevant because people are looking to collaboratively storytell things that are similar to fiction, if they can't then it's a failure of the system to represent storytelling. Which means that you have to find a system that works for the particular sort of story you want to tell.



In tabletop, you have 3-6 players. The design intent is for all players to be able to contribute equally in pretty much every sense. Equally effectively, equally often, etc. There are all sorts of rpg axioms that reflect this. 'Don't Split the Party!' is among the best known of these, even though it's not supported in pretty much any written rules for any game and is almost completely antithetical to telling a decent story.

Again you're wrong.

First, don't split the party is not about player contribution, it's about the difficulty in managing parties that are split up, and because if the DM designed encounters with the whole party in mind they might not be able to solve a particular encounter without the whole party. This is because by design the character classes are inequal. There are things that each class can do that the others often can't. Depending again on design.

Second, contributing equally is very subjective, solving as many problems might be a better phrasing, or not feeling as though they're dead weight in a given encounter. Which can all be accomplished by groups that are inequal. In fact early D&D pretty much did not do anything to make characters equal, it was designed so that Wizards would start weaker and end up vastly stronger, so that thieves would learn faster but end up weaker. It's not designed for equality at all, because it's designed for a particular sort of story, which doesn't require equal characters.

And again, anything that's antithetical to telling a decent story is a bad rule for a game that you're claiming to be a storytelling endeavor.



As a result, if you have an ttrpg where the characters will advance in power - which is most of them - it is important that they do so in a way that keeps them roughly equal in power at all times, so that everyone can continue to contribute and therefore all players remain engaged. Please note that this a theoretical objective - many tables will be able to deviate from this, often deliberately. For example, sometimes there are players who wish to play a much reduced role and practically just watch the game and make the occasional snarky comment and are content to be much less powerful. That's fine, but a game cannot be effectively designed in this fashion. The design should be intended to meet the case of a group of players who do not know each other and all want to be an equal part of the story - a good test case is people who sign up for a session at a convention.

Again, untrue.

Largely because power is not objective in a game, particularly one not based on internal competition. Also convention groups are vastly different from your typical RPG audience, who aren't mostly conventioners and who are mostly people who know each other, so that would be a bad example.

It's not important that everyone have equal power to contribute to the story, what's important is that people take steps to not overshadow others, at least not all the time, everybody should be in the spot light occasionally, but that the players build around that, and that the DM build encounters to allow certain players to shine, and split those up about evenly. If you wind up trying for equal power you lose heavily on uniqueness which is a bad thing to my thinking.



In order to manage this, all available character concepts for a game need to retain roughly equal overall power from start to finish. The D&D tier system is simply an expression of how D&D fails at this. Because D&D ties character concept to class, and because the classes are blatantly unequal at all but the earliest levels (when randomness tends to overwhelm abilities anyway) it is a good illustration of this imbalance. However, D&D is not even close to unique in having this problem. Exalted, for instance, has huge imbalances based on charm choice. In 1e persistent defense charms were supreme, in 2e the turtle-combo of perfect defenses was superior, and characters who don't take those simply die helplessly compared to characters who do. In many games that track wealth, like every single oWoD game, having massive wealth is overpowering. Most superhero games fail to balance their powers in a critical way and there will be certain builds that simply massively outclass everything else, or even if they don't turn the game into Rock-Paper-Scissors with certain power suites instant-killing others - ex. it is common in such games for any attack capable of even harming the party tank at all to utterly annihilate everyone else in the party.

Also not true, to manage that you need to build encounters that are varied and are designed for each particular player and their character's abilities as well as their own. The Tier system is not pointing out a flaw, it's a guidance, basically if you are a wizard, you need to be careful not to overshadow people and step on toes, if you are a fighter you need to optimize to make yourself better so that it's not as much of a hassle on the part of the DM to let you shine (provided that you want that).



Balancing different concepts for equivalent contribution to the game at variable power levels is hard. It's one of the major challenges of tabletop game design. Especially given how potentially open-ended the array of available scenarios in tabletop is compared to video games. Most games with superior balance in this regard do so by tightly constraining the available concepts. D&D, because it is explicitly a fantasy kitchen-sink system, has a problem here because it has to attempt to balance characters who have wildly unequal capabilities in the source material. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are not balanced against Ningauble and Sheelba, and the idea that if you were adventuring in Nehwon you could have all four of those characters in the same party is madness, but Gygax chose to allow it anyway, because he believed in all-powerful DMs who would solve the issue by fiat rulings.

I think that Gygax did not care about balance, I don't care overmuch about balance. Again every time I've seen balance be an issue, it was a result of other issues. It was never just balance that was a problem, it was the Wizard player is a ****, and is rubbing his Tier 1 status in people's faces. That's not a balance problem, and if you forcibly balance the classes, you'll find that problem is still presence.

Also excessively constraining the options is BAD, that's way worse than having imbalance. I'd much rather have more options than be told I have to play one of three classes with specific personality types.



At the end of the day, he had a point, since no game system is perfect in this regard (most are, in fact, terrible), and of course, in the 1980s people couldn't play on the internet with people they'd never met before and couldn't ever talk to in person, but ultimately this specific balance problem has led directly to a large number of very unpleasant games for a great many people. It's worth noting that both 4e and 5e D&D made major efforts to address this problem, which is a testament to its significance.

And many many people hated 4E for this very reason, which is why 5E, was a step back towards imbalance in this regard. Because it turns out that balance requires strict roles and stripping player creation agency, which it turns out was a big part of D&D for many people.

Edit: And again for like the fifth time since nobody is addressing this: Player competency is the greatest imbalancing factor of all. A fighter who has memorized all the monster stats, all the traps in a published book, and every item and spell that there is, is going to be way more imbalancing for the game than a wizard would be. A player who can come up with innovative solutions is going to imbalance a game where other people can't do the same.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 02:18 AM
You have chosen 2, AMFV.

you think you can say how The Game Is Supposed To Be. That post there, is exactly that.

But there is no How the Game Is Supposed To Be. All your doing is stomping on the fun mechalich wants to have. That is being a jerk. you don't get to say imbalance and whatever else you value is inherently better for DnD. what better for Dnd is whatever allows the people who want to play it to have fun regardless of some stupid paradigm that you think people want. There is no one true way, so stop acting as if what you prefer at your table should be universal. if we want balance, let us have it.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 02:30 AM
You have chosen 2, AMFV.

you think you can say how The Game Is Supposed To Be. That post there, is exactly that.

But there is no How the Game Is Supposed To Be. All your doing is stomping on the fun mechalich wants to have. That is being a jerk. you don't get to say imbalance and whatever else you value is inherently better for DnD. what better for Dnd is whatever allows the people who want to play it to have fun regardless of some stupid paradigm that you think people want. There is no one true way, so stop acting as if what you prefer at your table should be universal. if we want balance, let us have it.

There is a "How the Game is Supposed to Be" hence why there are rules, hence why certain systems are better for certain types of games. If you want a balanced game D&D 3.5, 5E, 2E, AD&D, OD&D, and a variety of retroclones are NOT FOR YOU. They aren't designed for that, and they don't work well for it. If you want a balanced game Exalted is NOT FOR YOU. It's not designed for that.

The key is to find a system that values the same things you do. But what I'm arguing against with Mechalich is that they were stating that the balance problems were negative, like that it was a huge problem with the game, making practically unplayable. But that is not the case, it makes it not the best system to run certain kinds of games, and not the best system for certain kinds of groups, but it's absolutely good for other types of things.

Again, YOU are the jerk arguing for the one true way. I've never said "There is only one way to run the game", I've said "D&D is good at certain things if you want other things you'd want a system designed for them". The Tier system is a way of explaining imbalances in D&D, because being aware of them is critical in ensuring equal shares in the spotlight in a game where balance is not a strong system consideration.

If you want to run a balanced game, don't use those editions of D&D, they aren't designed around balance, they're each designed for different things, and they do those things reasonably well. There are systems with lots of balance, point-buy systems tend to have better balance overall, other systems with more specific goals, things like 4E where there is really specific niche control tends to be more balanced.

THE END POINT IS THAT IF YOU WANT BALANCE PLAY A GAME THAT HAS IT. DON'T PLAY A GAME THAT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BALANCE AND BITCH ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS.

The tier system shows that imbalance, I've never had it be an issue, except for when there were other issues though, and generally I've found that people complaining about it are really complaining about issues that stem from their DM not knowing how to properly organize the spotlight and build encounters. That may not be universally true, but I've seen a lot of that.

Talakeal
2017-10-06, 02:34 AM
Ah, its good to see that this thread has once again resurrected itself in a new form. Let the eternal debate continue!


I agree the balance point of QT1 (Quertus's Tier 1, from what I can recall of the previous thread) would actually be a good point of balance point, in fact I think my favourite RPG uses it.


IIRC Quertus' ideal T1 had the power of a specialist and the versatility of a generalist, in essence being able to do everything as good or better than everyone else.

Out of curiosity, what RPG are you thinking of?

If we are on the same page, I am really curious as to how does it avoid the problem of all the characters feeling the "same" and how the setting looks where everyone is omnicompotent.


Says you! Anime would like disagree with you on the "can't stab 30 people at once" thing, as well as mythical demigod heroes, JRPG protags (and many many jprgs are based on DnD), superheroes with swords, anyone with super-speed and so on.

the only reason a PC should not be able to stab 30 people at once is that you do not want them to. anything else is purely lack of imagination or stubbornness to accept people wanting that. Stop making excuses.

Out of curiosity, how literal are you being here?

For example, I can easily see a legendary warrior killing thirty men in a single "game round" assuming they have proper training and a favorable battlefield layout, as well as some luck on their side, but I actually can't comprehend how they would do it "at once" without some seriously high end magic.

Also, for most people to have fun, games need rules and settings need consistency. I have no problem with people pulling out crazy powers if it is appropriate to the game, but simply insisting people should be able to do everything really will kill the fun for a large section of gamers, both those who like to be challenged by the rules as well as those people who like to RP a consistent character in a world that reacts consistently to their actions.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 02:43 AM
There is a "How the Game is Supposed to Be" hence why there are rules, hence why certain systems are better for certain types of games. If you want a balanced game D&D 3.5, 5E, 2E, AD&D, OD&D, and a variety of retroclones are NOT FOR YOU. They aren't designed for that, and they don't work well for it. If you want a balanced game Exalted is NOT FOR YOU. It's not designed for that.

The key is to find a system that values the same things you do. But what I'm arguing against with Mechalich is that they were stating that the balance problems were negative, like that it was a huge problem with the game, making practically unplayable. But that is not the case, it makes it not the best system to run certain kinds of games, and not the best system for certain kinds of groups, but it's absolutely good for other types of things.

Again, YOU are the jerk arguing for the one true way. I've never said "There is only one way to run the game", I've said "D&D is good at certain things if you want other things you'd want a system designed for them". The Tier system is a way of explaining imbalances in D&D, because being aware of them is critical in ensuring equal shares in the spotlight in a game where balance is not a strong system consideration.

If you want to run a balanced game, don't use those editions of D&D, they aren't designed around balance, they're each designed for different things, and they do those things reasonably well. There are systems with lots of balance, point-buy systems tend to have better balance overall, other systems with more specific goals, things like 4E where there is really specific niche control tends to be more balanced.

THE END POINT IS THAT IF YOU WANT BALANCE PLAY A GAME THAT HAS IT. DON'T PLAY A GAME THAT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BALANCE AND BITCH ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS.

The tier system shows that imbalance, I've never had it be an issue, except for when there were other issues though, and generally I've found that people complaining about it are really complaining about issues that stem from their DM not knowing how to properly organize the spotlight and build encounters. That may not be universally true, but I've seen a lot of that.

Classic "one true way" response. all you've said is basically "get off my lawn, my way or the high way because I think that my game is the same as the rules, your wrong."

you could've been better and listen to people when they want things and recommend how to buff the classes and modify them to be better, you never do that. its all bull so you can keep people from playing whatever they want, with whatever system they want, you have no right to say what is or isn't for me. and that goes for everyone else as well! no one has any right to tell anyone what is or isn't fun or what system is or isn't fun for them! we all play with modifications anyways! even if we don't realize it.

you just have some abstract ideal DnD in your head. it doesn't exist. it never existed. If want I play breaks and shatters that ideal DnD for you, too bad. your fantasy isn't better than mine for any reason. like it or not there are people in the DnD community that want these things and you can't just tell them all to get out and leave your image of the game alone, because you don't get to say what is the true DnD or what its designed for, for anyone but yourself.




Out of curiosity, how literal are you being here?

For example, I can easily see a legendary warrior killing thirty men in a single "game round" assuming they have proper training and a favorable battlefield layout, as well as some luck on their side, but I actually can't comprehend how they would do it "at once" without some seriously high end magic.

Also, for most people to have fun, games need rules and settings need consistency. I have no problem with people pulling out crazy powers if it is appropriate to the game, but simply insisting people should be able to do everything really will kill the fun for a large section of gamers, both those who like to be challenged by the rules as well as those people who like to RP a consistent character in a world that reacts consistently to their actions.

They're just that fast, they're just that tough to withstand that speed, they're just that awesome enough to train to do it, no explanation needed. They The Flash super speed it, what more you do need?

Consistency is overrated. Its just a tool like anything else, and doesn't matter as much as playing the character you want to play and having fun with it. Not every character needs to be specially crafted to fit into the world like a gear into a clock. Its ok to have some things be weird and unexplained. Its ok to have something be fantastical that isn't magic. People are too hung up on everything fitting into their nice little boxes, when things can be just as fun when you just learn to let go of everything having to be explicitly magic or everything having to be planned, or everything having to be statted and calculated.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 02:51 AM
Classic "one true way" response. all you've said is basically "get off my lawn, my way or the high way because I think that my game is the same as the rules, your wrong."


That isn't what I've said at all. You didn't read what I said. There is no way you could have gotten from the words that I typed to "get off my lawn" no way. I'm sorry but could go and reread what I'm suggesting, or at the very least stop thinking about snarky responses and think about exactly what I am trying to say here, because you already have an idea about me that is not correct, and not borne out in any of the responses I've given. So if you could do that, it would be outstanding.

I've said that you can run your game however you'd like. I don't give a crap. But D&D 3.5 is not well designed for a balanced game, even with heavy houseruling it doesn't work well for that.



you could've been better and listen to people when they want things and recommend how to buff the classes and modify them to be better, you never do that. its all bull so you can keep people from playing whatever they want, with whatever system they want, you have no right to say what is or isn't for me. and that goes for everyone else as well! no one has any right to tell anyone what is or isn't fun or what system is or isn't fun for them! we all play with modifications anyways! even if we don't realize it.

Yes, and I can modify my Dodge Ram to drive a fast quarter mile, it'll still never be a Mustang. Also there are no buffs that bring martials to tier 1 absent magical abilities, it's not possible. So generally when people talk about balancing 3.5 using the tier system, they mean wholesale bans on specific classes, because that is really the only way to do that. Do you see the problem here?

If you are stabbing 30 people with an ability that you've got at level 5, I'd be enormously surprised there is no such ability in Tome of Battle (at that level) in 3.5, pretty much nowhere, because it would be imbalancing in it's own way. Because then you'd have the fighter doing what the wizard could do and since the fighter has higher hit DC, better saves, why would anyone play a Wizard. The only way to balance them out is to make all the same.



you just have some abstract ideal DnD in your head. it doesn't exist. it never existed. If want I play breaks and shatters that ideal DnD for you, too bad. your fantasy isn't better than mine for any reason. like it or not there are people in the DnD community that want these things and you can't just tell them all to get out and leave your image of the game alone, because you don't get to say what is the true DnD or what its designed for, for anyone but yourself.

I can tell you that D&D is not designed for balance, it's incredibly obvious that that is a design goal. Just like you can glance at my dually and see that it isn't made for running a quarter mile. It only takes a half-ass glance to see that. In Pathfinder, in 3.5, in AD&D, in 5E, characters are meant to be different, things that are different are by definition inequal. In 4E, in contrast, characters have cookie cutter roles and are made to be similar (with minor differences), so they're balanced, because of that. I'll be honest I'll play 4E too, but I don't give a crap about balance, I've never cared about it.

And again, every time I've seen a balance problem the problem was a player being a ****, not just a system issue. Or other players refusing to optimize, or a DM refusing to adjust encounters, those are all fixes for spotlight hogging, and those work.

Dimers
2017-10-06, 03:48 AM
Can you expand on the bolded part? While that's totally the psion player's good, I'm not seeing where that choice has anything to do with the tier system.

Gravity existed before Isaac Newton described it (fairly well but imperfectly, as it turns out). Before Newton's formulation, people were already using gravity to help themselves and others, and staying aware of gravity's downsides so they could mitigate them. A person who never hears the words "Isaac Newton" or "law of gravity" can still work with the understanding that stuff falls to the ground, and can learn that the ground is also technically falling toward the stuff.

The fact that 3.5 is imbalanced in several key areas existed before JaronK described it (fairly well but imperfectly, as it turns out). Before JaronK's formulation, the psion's player was already using the unbalanced stuff to help his PC and the party, and was staying aware of the problems of PC/PC imbalance so as to mitigate it. I have no idea whether the psion's player ever heard the words "JaronK" or "the tier system" but he definitely worked with the understanding that he'd need to limit the psion's versatility and power to make the campaign run better, and he learned the less obvious aspects of inter-character balance.

So, his choice might've had nothing to do with the tier system as encapsulated by one particular dude, but he was using the information that got encapsulated.


The tier system has the problem of both excluding perfectly valid characters, and accepting invalid characters, and calling them "equal".

So your 1000-damage fighter, 10-damage fighter and 100000000-damage fighter can all address exactly the same challenges? I suspect not. Even within the category of ((hit with pointy stick til dead)), one is clearly more versatile than the others, by virtue of succeeding in a task before getting slaughtered by a monster's response.

"Player > Build > Class" is a truth recognized by tier system appreciators.

WarKitty
2017-10-06, 04:41 AM
I can tell you that D&D is not designed for balance, it's incredibly obvious that that is a design goal. Just like you can glance at my dually and see that it isn't made for running a quarter mile. It only takes a half-ass glance to see that. In Pathfinder, in 3.5, in AD&D, in 5E, characters are meant to be different, things that are different are by definition inequal. In 4E, in contrast, characters have cookie cutter roles and are made to be similar (with minor differences), so they're balanced, because of that. I'll be honest I'll play 4E too, but I don't give a crap about balance, I've never cared about it.

Things that are different are not by definition inequal unless you're using a very strict definition of equality. Equality in this case doesn't mean that everyone gets the same abilities. It means that, on average, different classes are going to have the same number of encounters where they're good/average/poor at solving that particular encounter. It's about making sure that everyone has a roughly similar chance to shine, without someone having to hold the idiot ball most of the time.


And again, every time I've seen a balance problem the problem was a player being a ****, not just a system issue. Or other players refusing to optimize, or a DM refusing to adjust encounters, those are all fixes for spotlight hogging, and those work.

The thing is, a lot of us have found that completely different. Balance problems happen largely because of system issues by players who are trying not to step on each other's toes. Fixing it requires pretty much redoing everything about the monsters to specifically tailor them to the spellcasters' weaknesses while not making them harder for melee, which not everyone has time or experience to do. Plus it tends to start feeling cheap very fast.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 05:02 AM
Things that are different are not by definition inequal unless you're using a very strict definition of equality. Equality in this case doesn't mean that everyone gets the same abilities. It means that, on average, different classes are going to have the same number of encounters where they're good/average/poor at solving that particular encounter. It's about making sure that everyone has a roughly similar chance to shine, without someone having to hold the idiot ball most of the time.

Generally, from what I've observed systems that have a balance focus, don't focus on having a ton of abilities. It's just a different experience, and not necessarily a worse one. But is different. It also creates a very tonal focus in the game. If I'm wanting a setting where magic is very powerful, it's not going to feel as real if the players are weak comparatively, or if they're only as good as mundane. So there are setting issues as well.



The thing is, a lot of us have found that completely different. Balance problems happen largely because of system issues by players who are trying not to step on each other's toes. Fixing it requires pretty much redoing everything about the monsters to specifically tailor them to the spellcasters' weaknesses while not making them harder for melee, which not everyone has time or experience to do. Plus it tends to start feeling cheap very fast.

Your example was when you were very inexperienced, and frankly it would not have required a massive redo, only a minor one, and only occasionally. You don't do it often enough that it feels cheap, but you do it often enough that one player can't dominate all encounters with one strategy, honestly, you should be doing that anyways as a GM in D&D, since D&D is about the combat minigame and the encounter minigame, so if they're solving every encounter with the same abilities, or if they can solve all encounters in a day with a standard loadout it's not going to be as fun for them.

Morty
2017-10-06, 05:27 AM
The situation WarKitty described stemmed from a few players who didn't try to break anything, and simply used the abilities as they were written. With no reason to believe that it would result in any balance problems. And yet, it did. Trying to brush it off the fault of inexperienced players is dishonest. The game's job is to prevent such things to happening just because the GM doesn't know how to navigate the convoluted and thorny space of 3e's balance. Which seems to exist in a quantum state of simultaneously not existing and its not being a big deal and it exists.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 05:39 AM
The situation WarKitty described stemmed from a few players who didn't try to break anything, and simply used the abilities as they were written. With no reason to believe that it would result in any balance problems. And yet, it did. Trying to brush it off the fault of inexperienced players is dishonest. The game's job is to prevent such things to happening just because the GM doesn't know how to navigate the convoluted and thorny space of 3e's balance. Which seems to exist in a quantum state of simultaneously not existing and its not being a big deal and it exists.

No, it really isn't the game's job. The players recognized there was a problem, none of them agreed to compromise in any direction and the DM was unwilling to adapt to it. That's not a situation that could have been solved by any game system. As I've said a Beguiler would have caused the same issues despite being closer on the tier system.

And again, balance is not the goal of that system, so it shouldn't be an expectation.

Lumipon
2017-10-06, 06:51 AM
I highly doubt 3.x games were designed primarily as a balanced game first and foremost. The focus seems to have been squarely on simulationist fantasy adventure-engine, to which strict mechanical balance is secondary.

D&D 4th edition, however, is very explicitly designed to be a "balanced" game: one of it's design goals was that a player could and should re-use their characters in different campaigns, so "power as function of level" was heavily emphasized. The end result is that 4e is a delightful skirmish-battle game, but freedom of expression -- of mechanics -- was diminished. (Not that 4e is perfectly balanced, but is definitely more so than the other editions.)

Additionally, I do feel that 3.x is a "hardcpre" player's system. Meaning that I would never suggest a new group to start with it as their first game, because enjoying that edition fully requires a certain amount of learning and effort from both the GM and players. And an experienced group either knows that class balance is ****e or they just don't care about it. While I do realize that a system needs to be mechanically functional, I believe that most game systems can be pretty handily fixed by experienced players. Even in this thread (and the one that spawned it) there are various different solutions presented to fix that imbalance.

That might sound like I'm defending sloppy game design, but I really love 3.x for what it is: a huge set of systems and content blown way past any hope of proper, universal balancing. Instead, it allows me, as GM, to pick and choose from the ocean of different classes and subsystems to make 3.Lumipon, not just a 3.5 game. Basically, 3.x is a Linux operating system: a cumbersome tool for novices, but a professional knows how to make it right just for them.

Cluedrew
2017-10-06, 07:19 AM
Ah, its good to see that this thread has once again resurrected itself in a new form. Let the eternal debate continue!

IIRC Quertus' ideal T1 had the power of a specialist and the versatility of a generalist, in essence being able to do everything as good or better than everyone else.Its been a while, but as I recall it was "power + versatility" (power in an area and general competence elsewhere) as opposed to "power x versatility" (power in all areas). But maybe that is me misremembering things.


Out of curiosity, what RPG are you thinking of?Because it hasn't been officially published yet I don't want to say too much about it. But the main thing it did is actually lowered the power level enough that human competence actually counted for something. Even the worst stats in the game would give you bad but not ridiculously low chance of success. And picking your area of competence means a lot, the fighter feels different from the negotiator who feels different from the survivor.

Morty
2017-10-06, 07:29 AM
No, it really isn't the game's job. The players recognized there was a problem, none of them agreed to compromise in any direction and the DM was unwilling to adapt to it. That's not a situation that could have been solved by any game system. As I've said a Beguiler would have caused the same issues despite being closer on the tier system.

And again, balance is not the goal of that system, so it shouldn't be an expectation.

A better system can solve such a situation by preventing it from happening. Which is accomplished by not making disabling and controlling effects so effective when compared to directly dealing damage. Or by giving the weapon-user more ways to impact the situation than sprinting up to enemies and prodding them with a weapon. Or both. What other goal of the system would it get in the way of?

Darth Ultron
2017-10-06, 08:08 AM
The trouble is how do you actually successfully scale the game? What ends up actually happening is either you scale the game to your more powerful PC's, and then the less powerful ones are sitting on their thumbs the whole time because anything that powerful they're useless against. Or you scale it to your less powerful PC's, at which point everything's trivial for your more powerful PC's.


This has always been a big problem in D&D and the game has all ways kept it vague. Sort of just saying ''you should do it'' and then just dropping flat with no help. For some reason, the game has all ways assumed the DM would just ''figure it out''.

The trick is the focus of the scale as everything is not equal. You can look at dozens of CR 10 monsters that are just ''um, ok, so they can bite'', yet other monsters, even of CR 8-9, have all sorts of abilities and immunities. The same is true with feats and spells and everything else. One spell 5th level spell does 2d6 damage, and another does 12d6, and so on and so on.


No... the thing you do is you tailor your solutions so that each player gets a chance to shine,

This right here is the way to do it.


But D&D 3.5 is not well designed for a balanced game, even with heavy houseruling it doesn't work well for that.

I disagree, heavy houserules can fix 3.5 no problem.



And again, every time I've seen a balance problem the problem was a player being a ****, not just a system issue. Or other players refusing to optimize, or a DM refusing to adjust encounters, those are all fixes for spotlight hogging, and those work.

Agreed. The problem is who the game is played. Not the rules, it is the game play.

For example, a Big Problem is the Mini Campaign. The game is Fight the Drow. So sure the spellcasters make conjuration based anti spell resistance magic demi gods. Imbalance. But if the game is Horrors of the Dark, then the players can't so easily make a targeted character....

WarKitty
2017-10-06, 08:50 AM
This has always been a big problem in D&D and the game has all ways kept it vague. Sort of just saying ''you should do it'' and then just dropping flat with no help. For some reason, the game has all ways assumed the DM would just ''figure it out''.

The trick is the focus of the scale as everything is not equal. You can look at dozens of CR 10 monsters that are just ''um, ok, so they can bite'', yet other monsters, even of CR 8-9, have all sorts of abilities and immunities. The same is true with feats and spells and everything else. One spell 5th level spell does 2d6 damage, and another does 12d6, and so on and so on.

Theres also, say...take my current game. Me as the DM. As the DM, I have a full-time job, with random bits of overtime. I'm also trying to learn some extra RL skills. I have health problems taking up time. And I have players that tend to go in random directions. That means there are plenty of times where "I pulled a monster off the pfsrd because I needed something there" happens. Because I didn't plan that direction and if we're going to play I need to put something decent on the map.

Pex
2017-10-06, 11:41 AM
There is a "How the Game is Supposed to Be" hence why there are rules, hence why certain systems are better for certain types of games. If you want a balanced game D&D 3.5, 5E, 2E, AD&D, OD&D, and a variety of retroclones are NOT FOR YOU. They aren't designed for that, and they don't work well for it. If you want a balanced game Exalted is NOT FOR YOU. It's not designed for that.

The key is to find a system that values the same things you do. But what I'm arguing against with Mechalich is that they were stating that the balance problems were negative, like that it was a huge problem with the game, making practically unplayable. But that is not the case, it makes it not the best system to run certain kinds of games, and not the best system for certain kinds of groups, but it's absolutely good for other types of things.

Again, YOU are the jerk arguing for the one true way. I've never said "There is only one way to run the game", I've said "D&D is good at certain things if you want other things you'd want a system designed for them". The Tier system is a way of explaining imbalances in D&D, because being aware of them is critical in ensuring equal shares in the spotlight in a game where balance is not a strong system consideration.

If you want to run a balanced game, don't use those editions of D&D, they aren't designed around balance, they're each designed for different things, and they do those things reasonably well. There are systems with lots of balance, point-buy systems tend to have better balance overall, other systems with more specific goals, things like 4E where there is really specific niche control tends to be more balanced.

THE END POINT IS THAT IF YOU WANT BALANCE PLAY A GAME THAT HAS IT. DON'T PLAY A GAME THAT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BALANCE AND BITCH ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS.

The tier system shows that imbalance, I've never had it be an issue, except for when there were other issues though, and generally I've found that people complaining about it are really complaining about issues that stem from their DM not knowing how to properly organize the spotlight and build encounters. That may not be universally true, but I've seen a lot of that.

Not liking something doesn't make the game wrong. It's just not for you. This sentiment has a familiar ring to it. Oh, yeah, I said the same thing in another thread and got figuratively yelled at for it.

Edit: It's an interesting turn around. When 4E first came out people who were complaining about 3E were saying stop playing 3E and go play 4E or something else while those who liked 3E resented the sentiment, including me. Now, it's people who like 3E telling the complainers play something else, including me, and it's the 3E complainers who are resenting the sentiment.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 02:11 PM
A better system can solve such a situation by preventing it from happening. Which is accomplished by not making disabling and controlling effects so effective when compared to directly dealing damage. Or by giving the weapon-user more ways to impact the situation than sprinting up to enemies and prodding them with a weapon. Or both. What other goal of the system would it get in the way of?

Well a system that's focused on mechanical balance is going to have less mechanical distinctiveness amongst character options. I mean look at what people who disliked 4E complained about, the sameness of the classes or that they felt more similar. It's also not as workable for a system where magic is supposed to be more powerful. And you can have mundanes in even that kind of system, hell the Buffy RPG does that, Ars Magica sort of does that. WoD can do that.

As far as "giving more options" it's not a problem, but you can't give enough options to maintain status as mundane and also compete with tier 1s in terms of direct ability to influence a game, that means that tier 1s need to be regulated or they need to self regulate, tier 5s need to optimize or play a class that better out of the box, that's the real crux of character building in 3.5, and 3.5 is ABOUT character building as much as anything else, so if you lose elements where building a good character involves skill the character building minigame becomes largely meaningless.


Theres also, say...take my current game. Me as the DM. As the DM, I have a full-time job, with random bits of overtime. I'm also trying to learn some extra RL skills. I have health problems taking up time. And I have players that tend to go in random directions. That means there are plenty of times where "I pulled a monster off the pfsrd because I needed something there" happens. Because I didn't plan that direction and if we're going to play I need to put something decent on the map.

Well you don't need to tailor EVERY encounter, you just need to tailor some encounters, and it's easy to make some encounters in advance that are tailored that aren't plot-specific that you can drop in when your players go in random directions, and if you're playing PF or 3.5 you should do that, because that's what the system expects in order to have the best experience.


Not liking something doesn't make the game wrong. It's just not for you. This sentiment has a familiar ring to it. Oh, yeah, I said the same thing in another thread and got figuratively yelled at for it.

Edit: It's an interesting turn around. When 4E first came out people who were complaining about 3E were saying stop playing 3E and go play 4E or something else while those who liked 3E resented the sentiment, including me. Now, it's people who like 3E telling the complainers play something else, including me, and it's the 3E complainers who are resenting the sentiment.

Edition wars are old. And it's also fun to watch which non-D&D systems the playground likes. When I first got here, everybody would recommend FATE, for anything, whether or not FATE was appropriate, about a year ago everybody recommended PbTA games. Now it's kind of a mishmash, but once something else in vogue it'll be recommended for everything.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-06, 02:19 PM
Edition wars are old. And it's also fun to watch which non-D&D systems the playground likes. When I first got here, everybody would recommend FATE, for anything, whether or not FATE was appropriate, about a year ago everybody recommended PbTA games. Now it's kind of a mishmash, but once something else in vogue it'll be recommended for everything.


I've noticed that -- someone will be looking for a system, give a list of criteria that disqualifies System A, and within the first page multiple systems will be recommended that clearly fail at the list of criteria. And the recommending poster won't even acknowledge it by adding "I know this fails at your criteria, but it is out there for consideration or in case someone else might like it".

:smallconfused:

3.5e/d20/PF variants, FATE, and PBTA are the most common, but it's not limited to those.

Talakeal
2017-10-06, 02:26 PM
One thing about D&D is that you don't need other character to feel useless. People playing higher tier characters or going out of their way to step on your toes contributes, but the game can stomp on lower tier character just fine on its own.

I typically play fighters, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit back and been completely unable to engage with the game (at least mechanically) outside of combat because I have no out of combat class abilities and my skill list is pathetic.

Likewise when fighting a mage there have been more than a few occasions when a single spell (typically force cage or ray of stupidity) incapacitated my character without even allowing me a saving throw and then forced me to sit back and watch.

Heck, one frequent problem I have is when fighting an enemy that can climb / swim / fly / squeeze through narrow spaces or is simply location on a ledge and using a ranged attack, and I then spend the entire fight trying to move into position, sheathing and drawing weapons, or trying to hastily remove my armor simply so I can find a way to get to them and the rest of the party takes them out before I ever make single attack roll.



Edit: It's an interesting turn around. When 4E first came out people who were complaining about 3E were saying stop playing 3E and go play 4E or something else while those who liked 3E resented the sentiment, including me. Now, it's people who like 3E telling the complainers play something else, including me, and it's the 3E complainers who are resenting the sentiment.

Probably because 3.X is a "dead game" and has been for a decade now. It is kind of weird for people to be playing one old edition out of many if it isn't there favorite unless in some strange quirk that is the only game in town. Of course, PF is still running strong.


Its been a while, but as I recall it was "power + versatility" (power in an area and general competence elsewhere) as opposed to "power x versatility" (power in all areas). But maybe that is me misremembering things.

Because it hasn't been officially published yet I don't want to say too much about it. But the main thing it did is actually lowered the power level enough that human competence actually counted for something. Even the worst stats in the game would give you bad but not ridiculously low chance of success. And picking your area of competence means a lot, the fighter feels different from the negotiator who feels different from the survivor.

Power in one area and general competence elsewhere is a fine character goal and certainly what I would shoot for if I was designing a class based RPG. But I am fairly certain that is not what Quertus wanted as I recall several long arguments about how samey everyone would feel at the table and how strange the campaign setting would look if everyone was an expert at everything.


I disagree, heavy houserules can fix 3.5 no problem.

I actually agree with Darth Ultron about this.

You can pretty easily fix 3.5 with a few house rules. Limit the 15 minute work day, fix the NI loops in specific spells, make saves get better as people level up, give people more skill points and remove the cross class penalty, fix the ability scores hitting zero taking people out, and replace the full attack / iterative attack system with true bonus attacks. IMO This will fix 90+% of the imbalances that crop up in the game and people will have to go out of their way to make broken builds.

The best part about this is that it doesn't break verisimilitude or simulationism, and it is all stuff that most other editions of the 3.X have already done.


They're just that fast, they're just that tough to withstand that speed, they're just that awesome enough to train to do it, no explanation needed. They The Flash super speed it, what more you do need?

I will assume you weren't being literal then as even the Flash's speed isn't simultaneous.

Short of somehow cloning yourself, transforming your sword into a fifty foot arc of molten metal, or time travel shenanigans I don't see how you would kill 30 people at once, and again I have no problem with certain characters killing 30 people in a round if the conditions are right.


Consistency is overrated. Its just a tool like anything else, and doesn't matter as much as playing the character you want to play and having fun with it. Not every character needs to be specially crafted to fit into the world like a gear into a clock. Its ok to have some things be weird and unexplained. Its ok to have something be fantastical that isn't magic. People are too hung up on everything fitting into their nice little boxes, when things can be just as fun when you just learn to let go of everything having to be explicitly magic or everything having to be planned, or everything having to be statted and calculated.

Outside of slapstick children's cartoons I am not familiar with any media that doesn't try and explain anything. Even over the top settings like Super Hero comics, Shonen Anime, and space opera soft sci-fi try and have some explanation for what happens, even if it isn't fully thought out or doesn't match what we know about the real world.

Again, I am probably sure I am reading more into what you said than what you meant, but taken at face value I am picturing a rather extreme scenario where both the players and the DM are expected to do whatever they want to do at the time.

Honestly if this is how you feel I am not sure why you hate TO optimization as it seems like Pun-Pun and his ilk are the best fit for the sort of character you are describing. Most games have rules to limit what people can do, and most of them try and cleave to a specific setting, and free form RPGs typically require people to be on the same page and, to the best of my knowledge, people constantly trying to one up other people or go god-modding are looked down on far more than power gamers in crunchier games.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 02:33 PM
Honestly if this is how you feel I am not sure why you hate TO optimization as it seems like Pun-Pun and his ilk are the best fit for the sort of character you are describing. Most games have rules to limit what people can do, and most of them try and cleave to a specific setting, and free form RPGs typically require people to be on the same page and, to the best of my knowledge, people constantly trying to one up other people or go god-modding are looked down on far more than power gamers in crunchier games.

Did I say there were a god? No. I said that they were fast. that is far from godhood, from from omnipotence. my character concept is a warrior that can do that, and therefore is incompatible with any TO optimization, Pun Pun or wizard. wizards can't even wear armor or physically run that fast, what are you even talking about?

and I do not appreciate you saying this. the fact that you somehow mistake a speedster for an omnipotent being is baffling and it is insulting that you compare me to them.

Tinkerer
2017-10-06, 02:57 PM
Outside of slapstick children's cartoons I am not familiar with any media that doesn't try and explain anything. Even over the top settings like Super Hero comics, Shonen Anime, and space opera soft sci-fi try and have some explanation for what happens, even if it isn't fully thought out or doesn't match what we know about the real world.


Short list found here http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MaybeMagicMaybeMundane

Of course in most of those the lack of an explanation is a plot point in and of itself as the question is often addressed but simply unanswered.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-06, 03:12 PM
Did I say there were a god? No. I said that they were fast. that is far from godhood, from from omnipotence. my character concept is a warrior that can do that, and therefore is incompatible with any TO optimization, Pun Pun or wizard. wizards can't even wear armor or physically run that fast, what are you even talking about?

and I do not appreciate you saying this. the fact that you somehow mistake a speedster for an omnipotent being is baffling and it is insulting that you compare me to them.

To be fair, I can kinda see where Talakeal might have gotten that out of:


Consistency is overrated. Its just a tool like anything else, and doesn't matter as much as playing the character you want to play and having fun with it. Not every character needs to be specially crafted to fit into the world like a gear into a clock. Its ok to have some things be weird and unexplained. Its ok to have something be fantastical that isn't magic. People are too hung up on everything fitting into their nice little boxes, when things can be just as fun when you just learn to let go of everything having to be explicitly magic or everything having to be planned, or everything having to be statted and calculated.


I can see where that could be read as "Anything goes!"

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 03:35 PM
To be fair, I can kinda see where Talakeal might have gotten that out of:

I can see where that could be read as "Anything goes!"

Well it isn't. Its about playing the character you want to play. You, Max, may like consistency above all else, but the more I play the more I find that consistency isn't supremely important to what I want, because I have character concepts, and always trying to fit them exactly into the world is annoying. That and not everything is an arcane spell, I'm not that too hung up on everything being connected into some singular whole for some reason.

like, I'm just tired of people coming up with reasons why I can't play what I want to. sure some of those reasons may be good, but when I stop having fun because of them, I stop caring. I don't care what your reasons are, I just want to play what I want to play and things that stand in the way of that are annoyances at best. like people declaring that you can only be awesome with one thing and one thing only.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 04:10 PM
Well it isn't. Its about playing the character you want to play. You, Max, may like consistency above all else, but the more I play the more I find that consistency isn't supremely important to what I want, because I have character concepts, and always trying to fit them exactly into the world is annoying. That and not everything is an arcane spell, I'm not that too hung up on everything being connected into some singular whole for some reason.

I'm going to be honest, I think that the degree to which you are taking that puts you very solidly in a very small minority. You're insisting on completely shredding consistency to suit your whims, and that's not acceptable to almost anybody I've played with, suspension of disbelief is out the window then. And why can't I make an omnipotent character at that point. I mean Lord Raziere was allowed to make a character that breaks the rules that means that EVERYBODY can or it isn't fair, that's the issue.



like, I'm just tired of people coming up with reasons why I can't play what I want to. sure some of those reasons may be good, but when I stop having fun because of them, I stop caring. I don't care what your reasons are, I just want to play what I want to play and things that stand in the way of that are annoyances at best. like people declaring that you can only be awesome with one thing and one thing only.

Here's the thing, what if said people are the people who are playing with you at the table? Then basically you are valuing your concept and your fun as more important than theirs. And there's room for reasonable compromise. You could choose a character concept that fits into the rules as presented and the setting as presented. But if playing the character you want to play is a dealbreaker for you, and that character includes a concept like "THE FLASH BUT IN YOUR D&D WORLD SCREWIN UP YOUR CRAP" Then people will not want to play with you.

Because it is a storytelling game, and having things make sense or at least have the appearance of sense is critical. If all supernatural abilities are Arcane Divine or SLA, then you need to have those abilities to do things that are too far removed from the power curve.


One thing about D&D is that you don't need other character to feel useless. People playing higher tier characters or going out of their way to step on your toes contributes, but the game can stomp on lower tier character just fine on its own.

I typically play fighters, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit back and been completely unable to engage with the game (at least mechanically) outside of combat because I have no out of combat class abilities and my skill list is pathetic.

Likewise when fighting a mage there have been more than a few occasions when a single spell (typically force cage or ray of stupidity) incapacitated my character without even allowing me a saving throw and then forced me to sit back and watch.

Heck, one frequent problem I have is when fighting an enemy that can climb / swim / fly / squeeze through narrow spaces or is simply location on a ledge and using a ranged attack, and I then spend the entire fight trying to move into position, sheathing and drawing weapons, or trying to hastily remove my armor simply so I can find a way to get to them and the rest of the party takes them out before I ever make single attack roll.


Then you need to play higher tier characters like a Warblade or learn to optimize better literally everything you've described is a solved problem thanks to D&D 3.5 being as you described a "dead system"

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 04:28 PM
I'm going to be honest, I think that the degree to which you are taking that puts you very solidly in a very small minority. You're insisting on completely shredding consistency to suit your whims, and that's not acceptable to almost anybody I've played with, suspension of disbelief is out the window then. And why can't I make an omnipotent character at that point. I mean Lord Raziere was allowed to make a character that breaks the rules that means that EVERYBODY can or it isn't fair, that's the issue.



Here's the thing, what if said people are the people who are playing with you at the table? Then basically you are valuing your concept and your fun as more important than theirs. And there's room for reasonable compromise. You could choose a character concept that fits into the rules as presented and the setting as presented. But if playing the character you want to play is a dealbreaker for you, and that character includes a concept like "THE FLASH BUT IN YOUR D&D WORLD SCREWIN UP YOUR CRAP" Then people will not want to play with you.

Because it is a storytelling game, and having things make sense or at least have the appearance of sense is critical. If all supernatural abilities are Arcane Divine or SLA, then you need to have those abilities to do things that are too far removed from the power curve.

I don't care about your problems with me. You don't like me, don't play with me. You have done nothing to persuade me that your anything different from the same optimizers who circle jerk me around with the same arguments over and over again, because you say the same "imbalance is good" and "but I can make it work with my magical fairy GMing abilities" bull I'be heard time and again and rolled my eyes at. its the same argument I've already heard and rejected. I'm through with arguing on your terms.

in the end, all your arguments boil down to "this is how things are, and thus the way they should stay." because you can't imagine something better, when so much has already proven that martials can be equal to wizards. Which means that really? you just want your way to be untouched and that you think I'm ruining anything about your game. when I'm not. You have no right to say that my gaming is wrong. Ever. Nor do you have any right to say that my character should be in the box you want them to be for arbitrary stupid reasons. Your just unnecessarily jerkish for what? some abstract ideal of consistency? some OCD need for everything to be orderly? one that coincidentally harms characters people want to play? Fun doesn't care about that, nor do I.

I don't care if I'm majority, minority or anything. I express the opinion that is mine, and I'm through with arguing the same bull over and over again that I'm half-convinced is dogma every optimizer somehow picks up over time.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 04:43 PM
I don't care about your problems with me. You don't like me, don't play with me. You have done nothing to persuade me that your anything different from the same optimizers who circle jerk me around with the same arguments over and over again, because you say the same "imbalance is good" and "but I can make it work with my magical fairy GMing abilities" bull I'be heard time and again and rolled my eyes at. its the same argument I've already heard and rejected. I'm through with arguing on your terms.

To be unfair, you aren't arguing you're jumping from non sequitor to non sequitor whilst still not thoroughly reading what I'm saying. I don't dislike you, but if you came to my group and said that you wanted to play something that grossly didn't fit in the rules or the setting I would probably suggest something else. Or potentially try and find a different system or game for you, if you were part of my core group. Which is something I'm open to, but there are limits on what houseruling can accomplish while still maintaining the system.



in the end, all your arguments boil down to "this is how things are, and thus the way they should stay." because you can't imagine something better, when so much has already proven that martials can be equal to wizards. Which means that really? you just want your way to be untouched and that you think I'm ruining anything about your game. when I'm not. You have no right to say that my gaming is wrong. Ever. Nor do you have any right to say that my character should be in the box you want them to be for arbitrary stupid reasons. Your just unnecessarily jerkish for what? some abstract ideal of consistency? some OCD need for everything to be orderly? one that coincidentally harms characters people want to play? Fun doesn't care about that, nor do I.


A.) That isn't what I said.

B.) THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID


C.) THAT IS NOT WHAT I ****ING SAID

D.) Still not what I said.


What I said is that if you want to play any concept, there are systems that accommodate that far better than 3.5. If you want to be the Flash, then play Mutants and Masterminds in a medieval setting. With speedsters. If you want to play Flash in D&D it doesn't really work that well at mid-low levels. And it never works absent magic.



I don't care if I'm majority, minority or anything. I express the opinion that is mine, and I'm through with arguing the same bull over and over again that I'm half-convinced is dogma every optimizer somehow picks up over time.

And here we have the problem, you're putting words in my mouth, that I haven't said, that I haven't even close to said, in this thread, over and over and over again. Because you've decided I'm some kind of optimizer stereotype. I've said that if you want to play something that's balanced there are a whole crapton of systems that are really balanced, but not 3.5. It has other virtues, which aren't the virtues you like.

Talakeal
2017-10-06, 04:58 PM
Then you need to play higher tier characters like a Warblade or learn to optimize better literally everything you've described is a solved problem thanks to D&D 3.5 being as you described a "dead system"

If I have the choice of games it won't be 3.X, but often times the group I am with doesn't want to play anything except for Pathfinder.

I have never been in a group that allowed ToB, but even if they did I am not sure I would ever play a warblade (or a 4e fighter). Conceptually I just don't like the idea of someone who has to listen to some arbitrary meta-game mechanic that limits when they can use their abilities, and it is both frustrating and immersion killing when I can't use the maneuver I need in the given situation despite being able to use it in the past because reasons.


I don't care about your problems with me. You don't like me, don't play with me. You have done nothing to persuade me that your anything different from the same optimizers who circle jerk me around with the same arguments over and over again, because you say the same "imbalance is good" and "but I can make it work with my magical fairy GMing abilities" bull I'be heard time and again and rolled my eyes at. its the same argument I've already heard and rejected. I'm through with arguing on your terms.

in the end, all your arguments boil down to "this is how things are, and thus the way they should stay." because you can't imagine something better, when so much has already proven that martials can be equal to wizards. Which means that really? you just want your way to be untouched and that you think I'm ruining anything about your game. when I'm not. You have no right to say that my gaming is wrong. Ever. Nor do you have any right to say that my character should be in the box you want them to be for arbitrary stupid reasons. Your just unnecessarily jerkish for what? some abstract ideal of consistency? some OCD need for everything to be orderly? one that coincidentally harms characters people want to play? Fun doesn't care about that, nor do I.

I don't care if I'm majority, minority or anything. I express the opinion that is mine, and I'm through with arguing the same bull over and over again that I'm half-convinced is dogma every optimizer somehow picks up over time.

I think we need to back up because there is a fundamental disconnect in what you are saying and what I am hearing.

It sounds like you are simultaneously condemning power-gamers and optimizers, but at the same time saying that you should be allowed to do whatever you want at the gaming table without anyone being able to tell you no or even make a judgment about your actions.


For example when you say ""this is how things are, and thus the way they should stay." because you can't imagine something better" it sounds like you are belitteling anyone whose game preference is not pure Calvin-ball, and the only level of play in D&D that approaches that is the TO / Pun-Pun level.



Now, what I think you are trying to say is that people should be allowed to play the character concept that they want to play, it is the game-designers responsibility to ensure that all character concepts are on a roughly equal playing field, and if they failed at this (or there are no rules to cover such a character at all) then the players should work together to come up with equitable house rules.

And if this is the case I agree with you, but there are limits. For example, if we are playing a spaghetti western campaign one guy wanting to play superman is probably going to ruin the game for everyone else, both because super-heroes and western are too different genres and people who signed on to play one might not also want to play the other, and because if you are playing a guy who is immune to bullets you are going to kind of ruin a game where the primary means of settling conflict is through said bullets.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 05:04 PM
If I have the choice of games it won't be 3.X, but often times the group I am with doesn't want to play anything except for Pathfinder.

I have never been in a group that allowed ToB, but even if they did I am not sure I would ever play a warblade (or a 4e fighter). Conceptually I just don't like the idea of someone who has to listen to some arbitrary meta-game mechanic that limits when they can use their abilities, and it is both frustrating and immersion killing when I can't use the maneuver I need in the given situation despite being able to use it in the past because reasons..

That does suck, you can't really play D&D 3.5, PF, or 5E without the metagame mechanics, they're a fundamental part of the system, and for somebody like me, they're an enjoyable part of the system. It is certainly possible to optimize a fighter to work in social situations with the right combination of feats ACFs, multiclassing, and prestige classes, without losing that much of being a fighter.

Heck, the Daring Swashbuckler Craven Rogue (or whatever that trick is called, it's been years since I've focused on that) has good social skills is only -1 BAB, and gets sneak attack and bonus damage and has a whole bunch of cool tricks they can use. That would be one option for a fighter that wouldn't be useless out of combat. Trapfinder Barbarian is another example. There are many many ways to make fighters very viable outside of combat. Hell, if your DM will let you take leadership you can get a bard or NPC class as a cohort and use them to help you in social situations.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-06, 05:22 PM
If I have the choice of games it won't be 3.X, but often times the group I am with doesn't want to play anything except for Pathfinder.

I have never been in a group that allowed ToB, but even if they did I am not sure I would ever play a warblade (or a 4e fighter). Conceptually I just don't like the idea of someone who has to listen to some arbitrary meta-game mechanic that limits when they can use their abilities, and it is both frustrating and immersion killing when I can't use the maneuver I need in the given situation despite being able to use it in the past because reasons.

I think we need to back up because there is a fundamental disconnect in what you are saying and what I am hearing.

It sounds like you are simultaneously condemning power-gamers and optimizers, but at the same time saying that you should be allowed to do whatever you want at the gaming table without anyone being able to tell you no or even make a judgment about your actions.

For example when you say ""this is how things are, and thus the way they should stay." because you can't imagine something better" it sounds like you are belitteling anyone whose game preference is not pure Calvin-ball, and the only level of play in D&D that approaches that is the TO / Pun-Pun level.

Now, what I think you are trying to say is that people should be allowed to play the character concept that they want to play, it is the game-designers responsibility to ensure that all character concepts are on a roughly equal playing field, and if they failed at this (or there are no rules to cover such a character at all) then the players should work together to come up with equitable house rules.

And if this is the case I agree with you, but there are limits. For example, if we are playing a spaghetti western campaign one guy wanting to play superman is probably going to ruin the game for everyone else, both because super-heroes and western are too different genres and people who signed on to play one might not also want to play the other, and because if you are playing a guy who is immune to bullets you are going to kind of ruin a game where the primary means of settling conflict is through said bullets.

If you actually believe that I'd do all these ridiculous things, thats on you. Sure I may have mis-communicated, but anyone with logic can figure out that I do a bunch of reasonable things to make a game work or I wouldn't get any fun at all. Which I do.

I just am tried of these arguments being used again and again that are clearly bull, that I no longer have any patience for, especially when the other side doesn't seem to be reasonable at all in how they approach imbalance or treatment of characters that don't fall into their little magic only paradigm.

but yes people should work together to come up with a good equitable characters all on the same playing field, but what I've heard of 3.5 does to try fix it, it just sounds wrong. not even trying to limit the wizards power or buff the fighter in any way, while saying any attempt to fix this being wrong because "imbalance is good" which is not fixing the problem, but ignoring it while dancing around it very well.

they justify this imbalance through consistency and thus turn what should be a good thing into propping up an imbalance. Yes that I am aware balance and consistency aren't linked and no I do not care.

My stance is equality and freedom of character creation, both of them as much as possible, I don't care if some person shouts at me to go to another system, I am not bound by one system or another, because its possible to have fun with many systems, to desire these things in more than one thing and to recognize that if you limit yourself to one roleplaying system that isn't popular well.....you won't get many chances to play at all, now won't you? especially not online. so its either try to "avoid" Dnd (as if that can be done in roleplaying at all) be the gm of whatever the system I want and never be player or I can desire what I want, for as many systems I want and fight for that with stubbornness and determination. at least this way I'm not sitting meekly for the perfect game that will never come to come along.

Talakeal
2017-10-06, 05:25 PM
That does suck, you can't really play D&D 3.5, PF, or 5E without the metagame mechanics, they're a fundamental part of the system, and for somebody like me, they're an enjoyable part of the system. It is certainly possible to optimize a fighter to work in social situations with the right combination of feats ACFs, multiclassing, and prestige classes, without losing that much of being a fighter.

Not really? That is really more of a ToB / 4E thing.

None of the classes I am familiar with forget old abilities as they level up or have an arbitrary limit on how often they can call on those abilities save for blatantly supernatural effects (which I assume follow their own logic) or maybe really broad things like the barbarian's rage per day limit, but that can easily be fluffed as mental or emotional fatigue. A 4E fighter being unable to disarm someone because they disarmed already disarmed someone else this morning is a bit harder to justify.


Short list found here http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MaybeMagicMaybeMundane

Of course in most of those the lack of an explanation is a plot point in and of itself as the question is often addressed but simply unanswered.

Right, in those cases it is presented as a mystery, and the character's acknowledge that there is an explanation even if they don't know what it is.

What I was picturing was something more akin to Looney Tunes where someone is blown up by dynamite, reduced to a pile of ash and two blinking eyes, and then is perfectly fine in the next panel without anyone ever mentioning it again.

Cluedrew
2017-10-06, 05:26 PM
Power in one area and general competence elsewhere is a fine character goal and certainly what I would shoot for if I was designing a class based RPG. But I am fairly certain that is not what Quertus wanted as I recall several long arguments about how samey everyone would feel at the table and how strange the campaign setting would look if everyone was an expert at everything.Yeah, the T1 is not the problem thread. My recollections are slightly different, but there are two ways to solve this: A) go back and look or B) hey Quertus are you still in this thread?

Quertus
2017-10-06, 07:29 PM
In tabletop, you have 3-6 players.

1-15 players, IME. Although 3-6 is probably around the sweet spot of the probability bell curve, at least for modern games.


The design intent is for all players to be able to contribute equally in pretty much every sense.

Um, not necessarily. Personally, I think that that could be a reasonable goal, but it isn't the only possible goal.


Equally effectively, equally often, etc. There are all sorts of rpg axioms that reflect this. 'Don't Split the Party!' is among the best known of these, even though it's not supported in pretty much any written rules for any game and is almost completely antithetical to telling a decent story.

So, what were you trying to say here? Because, "Don't split the party" pretty obviously has nothing to do with character equality. It has a lot to do with "characters contributing at least nominally to every scene", which is something I personally consider to be a decent design goal, but even that isn't universal. Some systems (and some GMs) seem to feel that spotlight sharing is easiest when it is enforced by making only one character even capable of contributing to each scene, for example.


As a result, if you have an ttrpg where the characters will advance in power - which is most of them - it is important that they do so in a way that keeps them roughly equal in power at all times, so that everyone can continue to contribute and therefore all players remain engaged.

Player > character. In games / systems / settings I'm not familiar with, I can have the most powerful character and still contribute the least. Or, when I was in my "home turf", I've had the the weakest character and still contributed the most.

Advancing equally is not always a good goal. But convincing GMs that, even though I have the strongest character, I obviously need more, because I'm still contributing the least, is a hard sell.

I blame this obsession with statistical equality for exacerbating the difficulty of convincing GMs of the importance of contribution equality.


Please note that this a theoretical objective - many tables will be able to deviate from this, often deliberately. For example, sometimes there are players who wish to play a much reduced role and practically just watch the game and make the occasional snarky comment and are content to be much less powerful.

Good call. I wouldn't have thought of that reason, as I'm too focused on a "hard mode" attempt to contribute equally with less as a reason for deliberate inequality.

The flip side to "players who want to contribute less", however, is "players who want to contribute more" - which is often an earmark of players being a **** and dominating the game, obsoleting other PCs.


That's fine, but a game cannot be effectively designed in this fashion.

It can't? :smallconfused:


The design should be intended to meet the case of a group of players who do not know each other and all want to be an equal part of the story - a good test case is people who sign up for a session at a convention.

Ah, the drop in game - now we're talking my home turf.

Well, back in the era of the drop in game, you'd have 1st level characters adventuring beside 14th or even 16th level characters, so, clearly, the type of mechanical balance you describe was not consisted a prerequisite to fun.

And, since I had fun at both ends of that spectrum, there was clearly some truth to that perception.


Balancing different concepts for equivalent contribution to the game at variable power levels is hard. It's one of the major challenges of tabletop game design. Especially given how potentially open-ended the array of available scenarios in tabletop is compared to video games. Most games with superior balance in this regard do so by tightly constraining the available concepts. D&D, because it is explicitly a fantasy kitchen-sink system, has a problem here because it has to attempt to balance characters who have wildly unequal capabilities in the source material. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are not balanced against Ningauble and Sheelba, and the idea that if you were adventuring in Nehwon you could have all four of those characters in the same party is madness, but Gygax chose to allow it anyway, because he believed in all-powerful DMs who would solve the issue by fiat rulings.

At the end of the day, he had a point, since no game system is perfect in this regard (most are, in fact, terrible),

This is a very good point: no RPG with the complexity to be worth playing is likely to have perfect or even acceptably good game balance.


and of course, in the 1980s people couldn't play on the internet with people they'd never met before and couldn't ever talk to in person, but ultimately this specific balance problem has led directly to a large number of very unpleasant games for a great many people. It's worth noting that both 4e and 5e D&D made major efforts to address this problem, which is a testament to its significance.

Well, the players not having the player skills and social graces to do something about the issues that arise from game imbalance / stepping in other characters toes / etc has caused a lot of unpleasantness, sure.

Back in my day, we had the same issues, but we were better people. No, seriously. We played with friends, as friends, and tried to work out these problems like grown adults. At least, that's what my rose-tinted glasses tell me.

I think that that's a much better solution than just blaming the system for not doing the impossible job of meeting everyone's (often conflicting) expectations perfectly out of the box.

And don't even get me (or the Playground) started on the failures of 4e, or our interpretation of that dark bit of gaming history. Suffice it to say, what you describe is certainly not the only interpretation of those events.


If you wind up trying for equal power you lose heavily on uniqueness which is a bad thing to my thinking.

I don't know if this is why so many of the people that I game with are opposed to game balance, but it certainly makes sense.


Also not true, to manage that you need to build encounters that are varied and are designed for each particular player and their character's abilities as well as their own. The Tier system is not pointing out a flaw, it's a guidance, basically if you are a wizard, you need to be careful not to overshadow people and step on toes, if you are a fighter you need to optimize to make yourself better so that it's not as much of a hassle on the part of the DM to let you shine (provided that you want that).

That's... an interesting interpretation of the data. Although... I think I like it more than I like most interpretations I've read.


I think that Gygax did not care about balance

Really? Why go to the trouble of making separate XP tables if not out of a sense of game balance?

That one could argue that he failed to implement game balance is irrelevant to whether or not he cared about it.


I don't care overmuch about balance. Again every time I've seen balance be an issue, it was a result of other issues. It was never just balance that was a problem, it was the Wizard player is a ****, and is rubbing his Tier 1 status in people's faces. That's not a balance problem, and if you forcibly balance the classes, you'll find that problem is still presence.

Hear, hear. Make the problems as obvious as possible, I say, so that people can work to fix them.


Your example was when you were very inexperienced, and frankly it would not have required a massive redo, only a minor one, and only occasionally. You don't do it often enough that it feels cheap, but you do it often enough that one player can't dominate all encounters with one strategy, honestly, you should be doing that anyways as a GM in D&D, since D&D is about the combat minigame and the encounter minigame, so if they're solving every encounter with the same abilities, or if they can solve all encounters in a day with a standard loadout it's not going to be as fun for them.

One of the GM skills I harp on the most is learning to automatically vary your encounters. A good GM* should, in general, be able to publish his adventure without having laid eyes on the PCs, and then run it as written without encountering this problem.

* by which I mean, one who has learned this particular skill


The situation WarKitty described stemmed from a few players who didn't try to break anything, and simply used the abilities as they were written. With no reason to believe that it would result in any balance problems. And yet, it did. Trying to brush it off the fault of inexperienced players is dishonest. The game's job is to prevent such things to happening just because the GM doesn't know how to navigate the convoluted and thorny space of 3e's balance. Which seems to exist in a quantum state of simultaneously not existing and its not being a big deal and it exists.

Interesting point. Whose job is it to resolve problems between players: the system's, the GM's, or the players'? You are clearly arguing that it is exclusively the system's job. I usually put that ball primarily in the players' court. But is there a One True Way answer to that question?


Its been a while, but as I recall it was "power + versatility" (power in an area and general competence elsewhere) as opposed to "power x versatility" (power in all areas). But maybe that is me misremembering things.

Sure, I'll cop to that as one of the things I advocated.

It's easier (for me, at least) to explain what I am personally against. Let's look at Shadowrun. I generally like the system, the setting, etc, but there's one piece I don't like: the expected flow. It's not just designed for, "here's the part where this character shines", it goes overboard to "here's the part where only this character can interact at all". If there are X players, everyone sits around twiddling their thumbs (X-1)/Xths of the time.

So, yes, I like characters to be different (have specializions, among other differences, sure), but I also like the expectation that all characters can potentially contribute to the vast majority of the game.

So "Power + Versatility", or "QT1", is arguably one of the easiest implementations of this design goal.

EDIT:
One thing about D&D is that you don't need other character to feel useless. People playing higher tier characters or going out of their way to step on your toes contributes, but the game can stomp on lower tier character just fine on its own.

I typically play fighters, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit back and been completely unable to engage with the game (at least mechanically) outside of combat because I have no out of combat class abilities and my skill list is pathetic.

Likewise when fighting a mage there have been more than a few occasions when a single spell (typically force cage or ray of stupidity) incapacitated my character without even allowing me a saving throw and then forced me to sit back and watch.

Heck, one frequent problem I have is when fighting an enemy that can climb / swim / fly / squeeze through narrow spaces or is simply location on a ledge and using a ranged attack, and I then spend the entire fight trying to move into position, sheathing and drawing weapons, or trying to hastily remove my armor simply so I can find a way to get to them and the rest of the party takes them out before I ever make single attack roll.

Power in one area and general competence elsewhere is a fine character goal and certainly what I would shoot for if I was designing a class based RPG. But I am fairly certain that is not what Quertus wanted as I recall several long arguments about how samey everyone would feel at the table and how strange the campaign setting would look if everyone was an expert at everything.
Yeah, the T1 is not the problem thread. My recollections are slightly different, but there are two ways to solve this: A) go back and look or B) hey Quertus are you still in this thread?

I'm summoned :biggrin:

My sentiment in that thread was perhaps best expressed as, "Tier 1 characters get to contribute. That sounds like a good thing". As opposed to the example right here in this thread of Talakeal being bummed because Talakeal's fighter not getting to contribute - not because someone is stepping on his toes, but because his character lacks the capabilities to contribute to this portion of the game.

I personally find "character does not get to contribute" to generally be a poor design goal.

EDIT :
I actually agree with Darth Ultron about this.

You can pretty easily fix 3.5 with a few house rules. Limit the 15 minute work day, fix the NI loops in specific spells, make saves get better as people level up, give people more skill points and remove the cross class penalty, fix the ability scores hitting zero taking people out, and replace the full attack / iterative attack system with true bonus attacks. IMO This will fix 90+% of the imbalances that crop up in the game and people will have to go out of their way to make broken builds.

The best part about this is that it doesn't break verisimilitude or simulationism, and it is all stuff that most other editions of the 3.X have already done.

I think I more or less agree with y'all here.


A better system can solve such a situation by preventing it from happening. Which is accomplished by not making disabling and controlling effects so effective when compared to directly dealing damage. Or by giving the weapon-user more ways to impact the situation than sprinting up to enemies and prodding them with a weapon. Or both. What other goal of the system would it get in the way of?

Define "better". Certainly, there are systems which are more resistant to certain classes of failure, such as the one under discussion. But, unless they also have the ability to allow for play to be dominated by a single tactic, if that's your thing, then they aren't objectively better - they just allow for different styles of play.

Unless you're contending that one style of play is objectively better than another.

AMFV
2017-10-06, 10:03 PM
If you actually believe that I'd do all these ridiculous things, thats on you. Sure I may have mis-communicated, but anyone with logic can figure out that I do a bunch of reasonable things to make a game work or I wouldn't get any fun at all. Which I do.

True, but statements like "If I can't play the kind of character I want I won't have fun, so I don't listen to even admittedly reasonable reasons to not play that kind of character" are the kind of statements that a person reading logically would assume would mean that you aren't willing to make reasonable compromises, since you stated explicitly that you were not, and I was taking you at your word.

Also I don't have to assume logically that you are enjoying any particular system, plenty of people comment on 3.5 Tier System threads and are virulently anti-D&D, which frankly from your statements you seem to be, or at least virulently opposed to rulesets as they are presented in many editions of D&D.



I just am tried of these arguments being used again and again that are clearly bull, that I no longer have any patience for, especially when the other side doesn't seem to be reasonable at all in how they approach imbalance or treatment of characters that don't fall into their little magic only paradigm.


Maybe if you actually listened to the arguments that were being used here they might be more relevant than you're thinking.



but yes people should work together to come up with a good equitable characters all on the same playing field, but what I've heard of 3.5 does to try fix it, it just sounds wrong. not even trying to limit the wizards power or buff the fighter in any way, while saying any attempt to fix this being wrong because "imbalance is good" which is not fixing the problem, but ignoring it while dancing around it very well.

No, the point wasn't that "imbalance is good", the point was "imbalance is a necessary result of mechanical differences which are observable in play" and that can be good, again it depends on what kind of system you're wanting and what kind of story you're telling. Also you haven't provided ANY real solutions, you've pontificated about how your fighter should be able to do the same sort of things that a character in anime could do, even when genre conventions would not agree with that for the type of ame being run.

And any attempt to 'fix' the 'problem' has some significant issues or results in things that people have not enjoyed. That's the reason that many many people prefer PF/3.5 to 4E, because they don't care as much about balance as about feeling different.



they justify this imbalance through consistency and thus turn what should be a good thing into propping up an imbalance. Yes that I am aware balance and consistency aren't linked and no I do not care.

Because again, some people like that, and there are plenty of examples of stories where the "magic-user" is more overtly powerful than the mundane. Take Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars, or the Wheel of Time, those all have magical characters who are more potent than characters who are not magical, but there are "mundane" main characters who contribute significantly to the plot.



My stance is equality and freedom of character creation, both of them as much as possible, I don't care if some person shouts at me to go to another system, I am not bound by one system or another, because its possible to have fun with many systems, to desire these things in more than one thing and to recognize that if you limit yourself to one roleplaying system that isn't popular well.....you won't get many chances to play at all, now won't you? especially not online. so its either try to "avoid" Dnd (as if that can be done in roleplaying at all) be the gm of whatever the system I want and never be player or I can desire what I want, for as many systems I want and fight for that with stubbornness and determination. at least this way I'm not sitting meekly for the perfect game that will never come to come along.

You can't always have both, freedom of character creation results in imbalances because it's going to result in sets of options that are better optimized and sets of options that are not. Unless that freedom has no mechanical differentiation, and then what's the point. And many of the more balancy systems have some pretty wide appeal as well.




This is a very good point: no RPG with the complexity to be worth playing is likely to have perfect or even acceptably good game balance.

And I reset my case... this is a situation where people's tastes become very critical.




Really? Why go to the trouble of making separate XP tables if not out of a sense of game balance?

That one could argue that he failed to implement game balance is irrelevant to whether or not he cared about it.

Well he cared about how fast characters developed relative to each other, but it wasn't in an effort to make a level 1 wizard = an equivalent experience level 1 fighting man or level 1 thief. It was to preserve verisimilitude in that magic users have it more rough for a very long time, and to have learning magic at a certain rate. The same as thieves learning things at a certain rate. There are other reasons to have those outside of balance issues.

It's worth noting that he often had low level players in high level games as you point out, and did not include ways for low level players to gain massively more experience as 3.5 did, suggesting that he didn't think catching up was as important as other elements.



Define "better". Certainly, there are systems which are more resistant to certain classes of failure, such as the one under discussion. But, unless they also have the ability to allow for play to be dominated by a single tactic, if that's your thing, then they aren't objectively better - they just allow for different styles of play.

Unless you're contending that one style of play is objectively better than another.

Exactly.


Not really? That is really more of a ToB / 4E thing.

None of the classes I am familiar with forget old abilities as they level up or have an arbitrary limit on how often they can call on those abilities save for blatantly supernatural effects (which I assume follow their own logic) or maybe really broad things like the barbarian's rage per day limit, but that can easily be fluffed as mental or emotional fatigue. A 4E fighter being unable to disarm someone because they disarmed already disarmed someone else this morning is a bit harder to justify.

Not really, you just have your fighter not always use the same technique every time or for however long it takes them to refresh it. Notably ToB mechanics allow for refreshes very often, certainly every combat you could theoretically use each ability more than once, in a ToB setting I would probably parse it as "the opening for that ability only appears so often," so it's your character responding to your enemies stance and actions that actually allows them to use the technique. And for what it's worth "forgetting" old abilities is something that can happen as you develop new ones. So I don't see it as a huge slight against verisimilitude. But I understand that it could be.

But even fighters have the metagame aspects, they have to be aware of what magic items they need at certain level ranges, and what capabilities they need to contribute in particular situations where they're expected to. Which is where I think you were faltering from your description. Which to me means that you should play more powerful classes, since you don't have the mastery or knowledge to contribute the way you'd be expected to in the lower tier classes, which is a virtue and function of the tier system. It tells you which classes require more work to keep in range of the party. If you're playing a Truenamer, you're going to have to do A LOT of work to keep contributing. Which isn't bad, but it's useful to know.

WarKitty
2017-10-06, 10:22 PM
Interesting point. Whose job is it to resolve problems between players: the system's, the GM's, or the players'? You are clearly arguing that it is exclusively the system's job. I usually put that ball primarily in the players' court. But is there a One True Way answer to that question?

It's more than that. The issue I found is that, once the problems became apparent, there was no way to resolve it that any of us could see that didn't amount to "someone has to create a new character or at least radically change their concept." The point of the tier system is to help build to avoid that from the start, rather than getting to the middle of play and realizing the party isn't working.

(Incidentally, this is why I tend to play bards now. It's much easier with a bard to play the "I have a giant toolbox" character that I like in a way that doesn't annoy anyone else.)

AMFV
2017-10-06, 11:05 PM
It's more than that. The issue I found is that, once the problems became apparent, there was no way to resolve it that any of us could see that didn't amount to "someone has to create a new character or at least radically change their concept." The point of the tier system is to help build to avoid that from the start, rather than getting to the middle of play and realizing the party isn't working.

Well the thing is that you could have compromised some. You could have changed your concept slightly. Like maybe had your toolbox character occasionally prepare less useful tools. As a Wizard/Cleric/Druid that's critical, you have to be comfortable saying, for 3/4 encounters I'm going to be buffing and supporting rather than totally dominating and then I'll dominate the last. I can buff my allies, I can summon (which is less effective and so more convenient), but the problem is that none of you were willing to compromise your concepts even a little bit. You weren't willing to pull back on your toolbox which is okay, but it's not "this problem is intractable" as you're suggesting, it's "my group refused to solve it"



(Incidentally, this is why I tend to play bards now. It's much easier with a bard to play the "I have a giant toolbox" character that I like in a way that doesn't annoy anyone else.)

Yep, if you know that you can't play a tier 1 without overshadowing everybody that's a solid way to go. BUT... BUT it's worth noting that there are tier 3 classes where you'd have had the same exact issue, a Beguiler would have the same exact issue, a horizon tripper even, would have the same exact issue.

WarKitty
2017-10-07, 12:30 AM
Well the thing is that you could have compromised some. You could have changed your concept slightly. Like maybe had your toolbox character occasionally prepare less useful tools. As a Wizard/Cleric/Druid that's critical, you have to be comfortable saying, for 3/4 encounters I'm going to be buffing and supporting rather than totally dominating and then I'll dominate the last. I can buff my allies, I can summon (which is less effective and so more convenient), but the problem is that none of you were willing to compromise your concepts even a little bit. You weren't willing to pull back on your toolbox which is okay, but it's not "this problem is intractable" as you're suggesting, it's "my group refused to solve it"

See I feel like none of those would really have worked without stepping on someone's toes. I already wasn't summoning because it would step on melee's role (we had a few), and we had a buffer cleric already so me being another buffer was pretty useless because I really didn't have options they weren't using. My party's suggestion was that I turn into a blaster, at which point...frankly, I'd rather just not play, because that's boring.

RazorChain
2017-10-07, 12:36 AM
The Tier System is like a car catalog. Would you dislike a car catalog?

Yes...not only would I but do.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 01:18 AM
See I feel like none of those would really have worked without stepping on someone's toes. I already wasn't summoning because it would step on melee's role (we had a few), and we had a buffer cleric already so me being another buffer was pretty useless because I really didn't have options they weren't using. My party's suggestion was that I turn into a blaster, at which point...frankly, I'd rather just not play, because that's boring.

See the problem is that you're taking it as an all-or-nothing proposition. It's fine to have some battles where your BFC character absolutely dominates everything. And you should, you should get the spotlight some of the time, and get battles that are suited to your tastes, but if every battle is you just casting entangle and the melee wading in, it's boring. And frankly that's more an issue of the DM not providing varied challenges than anything, but as a caster it's part of your responsibility to ensure that you're not always in the spotlight. There are a few ways to do this:

A.) Prepare some blasting spells - I don't mean turn into a blaster, but occasionally use some blasting spells, and plenty of those have some battlefield control effects that can be really fun to play with. Flame Sphere for example, for druids, has the advantage of taking actions to use, so that your character isn't just sittin around.

B.) Prepare single target save or die (or suck) spells, those can be good in that they can get rid of an individual enemy, which allows the melee to do some things they wouldn't otherwise.

C.) Prepare less battle ending Battlefield control spells, many BFC spells are more limited or weaker, those are good options for this, they can limit the enemy without eliminating them.

The best part is that you don't have to limit yourself completely, that's again the problem you're having I think, you're seeing an all-or-nothing proposition successfully playing a tier 1 in a mixed group is not about that, it means that you know that you've got some solutions in the bag for sure every time, so you keep a few of those but you don't always use those, cause that's boring.

Although again, your DM sucked in that case, Entangle and it's ilk are not game-ending spells, and it doesn't take hugely varied encounter design to shut those down very effectively. So that's probably the real problem, but you can't change your DM's behavior or your fellow party members, you can just change yours.

If your party members came here with the same story, I'd be telling them to optimize up their tier 5 and 4s, rather than optimize down (as I would suggest to you). And I'd have very strong words for the DM, a lot of DMs I think don't actually focus enough on system mastery and it frequently shows.

Arbane
2017-10-07, 03:52 AM
It isn't, but you can't stab 30 people at once.

[exaltedfanboy]It's not MY fault you didn't pick Glorious Carnage Typhoon as your last Charm![/exatedfanboy]


No... the thing you do is you tailor your solutions so that each player gets a chance to shine, a monster that has at-will Teleport SLA, has a ring of freedom of movement and has high saves and high hitpoints is the fighter's chance to shine since the BFC wizard is going to have some issues with that thing.

....Why won't it just teleport away, leaving the Fighter with nothing to fight?


Russia has more nukes than we do, by not a small number, they don't dominate the world, ergo power is not all that there is to that.

Um, dood, they (and the US) kind of DID dominate the world. It was called the 'Cold War', it was a big deal at the time.




Okay, there are very few mages capable of casting fireball, the vast majority of characters in D&D use what is called the standard array, which is 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10. So that would mean that even if allowed to take a PC class (which they aren't generally) they would be unable to cast fireball, literally incapable. And most of those who use the elite array would be adepts. So they'd have a 15 casting stat, and be unable to cast a third level spell until level 8, which most normal people would never attain. So you might have a few people able to cast spells like that. But not very many.

I thought we were discussing Player Characters here, not peasants.


True, and there are story examples of Western swords with ridiculous powers. Although they're not as common as the anime equivalent, I think killing 30 people in a matter of seconds is pretty out there for most western works. Although I'm not going to say that it never happens, only I've not come across it regularly.

One of Cu Chullainn's buddies: he promised to take a dive in his next battle with CC, so when they fought, he swung to miss CC's head, and instead chopped the tops off of three mountains.
Those ancient Irish were SUCH otaku, right?

Oh, and the well-known 12th century French anime, the Song of Roland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Roland), in which the eponymous paladin swung his sword so hard he split a mountainside. (He was trying to break the sword.)

A large part of the problem is all the stuff a 3.X wizard can do OUTSIDE combat - maxed-out ranks in swim/ride/climb/etc are STILL worse than Flight, for example. And at high levels, the wizard is predicting the future and building their own army of golems in their custom-built pocket universe while the fighter is... swinging a sword.



Earlier I argued for DMs creating scenarios where every player gets to shine, that's possible even if somebody is playing a Samurai, from CW, you can still build a scenario around their abilities, I argued that players should take turns stepping back and letting other players into the spotlight. None of that has to do with restricting power. Nothing to do with it. I'd never even mentioned that, although it is just fine to do that. It's equally fine to play a game with restrictive rules and you are just as bad judging somebody for doing that as somebody would be for judging you for wanting less restrictive rules.

"This is a job for Aquaman!"


For example, I can easily see a legendary warrior killing thirty men in a single "game round" assuming they have proper training and a favorable battlefield layout, as well as some luck on their side, but I actually can't comprehend how they would do it "at once" without some seriously high end magic.

Swing wide, push forward, and cut them all in half. It's not hard if you ignore that pesky 'physics' thing, like the magician's been doing since Day 1. (Swinging SO hard that you cut the very air in half is optional but recommended.)


I highly doubt 3.x games were designed primarily as a balanced game first and foremost. The focus seems to have been squarely on simulationist fantasy adventure-engine, to which strict mechanical balance is secondary.

They were _supposed_ to be balanced, the problem is that the playtesters played like it was AD&D with a healbot cleric, a blastomancer wizard, and so on. It wasn't until the players got hold of the game that people realized how OP save-or-cry spells were, for example.

These days, it seems like the Paizo staff is in rather deep denial about the problem, possibly because they know actually trying to fix it will draw screams of rage from the loyalists. It's worth noting that casters in Starfinder only get 6th level spells, as far as I know.

Morty
2017-10-07, 05:47 AM
Well a system that's focused on mechanical balance is going to have less mechanical distinctiveness amongst character options. I mean look at what people who disliked 4E complained about, the sameness of the classes or that they felt more similar. It's also not as workable for a system where magic is supposed to be more powerful. And you can have mundanes in even that kind of system, hell the Buffy RPG does that, Ars Magica sort of does that. WoD can do that.

Neither Ars Magica nor WoD put normal people on the same level of play as supernatural ones. Ars Magica has everyone play a magician, who is just straight-up better... or more powerful, since "better" clearly has bad connotations. Everyone also plays their mage's top non-magical enforcer and servants. It's a troupe-style play, completely different from D&D. WoD mortals operate on a completely different level than any supernatural beings and mixed parties aren't remotely the intent.

I also can't see how reducing the efficiency of one option somehow reduces mechanical variance. It increases it, because more tactics are valid. Instead of the casters disabling enemies and letting the warriors mop them up being the right call most of the time. And it's not like warriors are the only ones getting shafted here - damage-dealing casters as well.


As far as "giving more options" it's not a problem, but you can't give enough options to maintain status as mundane and also compete with tier 1s in terms of direct ability to influence a game, that means that tier 1s need to be regulated or they need to self regulate, tier 5s need to optimize or play a class that better out of the box, that's the real crux of character building in 3.5, and 3.5 is ABOUT character building as much as anything else, so if you lose elements where building a good character involves skill the character building minigame becomes largely meaningless.

No one is talking about "competing" with tier 1s. That's a losing proposition, which would also turn the game into even more of a ridiculous rocket tag than it is already. In this context, giving non-magical character options means simply making it less likely for them to be rendered irrelevant with a single spell.

The argument about character-building falls pretty flat as well. More options for the option-deprived classes, once again, increases the character-building variety. Character-building in 3.5 has little to do with effectiveness or power and more about jumping across the arbitrary hurdles the system puts everywhere. Which, surprise, apply to non-casters a lot more than casters.



Interesting point. Whose job is it to resolve problems between players: the system's, the GM's, or the players'? You are clearly arguing that it is exclusively the system's job. I usually put that ball primarily in the players' court. But is there a One True Way answer to that question?

I'm not. Don't put words in my mouth.


Define "better". Certainly, there are systems which are more resistant to certain classes of failure, such as the one under discussion. But, unless they also have the ability to allow for play to be dominated by a single tactic, if that's your thing, then they aren't objectively better - they just allow for different styles of play.

Unless you're contending that one style of play is objectively better than another.

*sigh* Can't use the word "better" around here without some people taking offence, can I. "Better", in this context, means better suited to the kind of play D&D is supposed to give us. The game is meant to let us play a team of adventurers who work together to solve problems and defeat enemies. Differences in power are one thing, but allowing gameplay be domianted by a single tactic is not a good or justifiable element. No other system intentionally has it - not even those that discard any idea of balance.

Of course, no system really discards the idea of balance entirely. There's always a balancing line drawn somewhere. In WoD, Exalted and other Storyteller systems, supernatural beings are clearly more powerful than mortals - but when physical Disciplines were weak in 1e Requiem, it was a problem the second edition set out to fix. Because it interfered with the story and gameplay the system was meant to allow.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 07:21 AM
In this context, giving non-magical character options means simply making it less likely for them to be rendered irrelevant with a single spell.

*sigh* Can't use the word "better" around here without some people taking offence, can I. "Better", in this context, means better suited to the kind of play D&D is supposed to give us. The game is meant to let us play a team of adventurers who work together to solve problems and defeat enemies.

This isn't matter of offense, it's a matter of asking you to use your words in a clear, unambiguous manner. Which is something I have issues with myself at times.

Giving people options is not the same as taking options away, and those words should not be used interchangeably.

"Better" could mean many different things to different people. Thank you for clarifying what you meant.


Differences in power are one thing, but allowing gameplay be domianted by a single tactic is not a good or justifiable element. No other system intentionally has it - not even those that discard any idea of balance.

I'd argue that most games intentionally are dominated by a single tactic - it's part of how they get differences in theme / feel. Some are dominated by firing on full auto from cover, some are dominated by nuke the site from orbit, some are dominated by research the threat for multiple sessions until you deduce a way to actually harm it.

However, there's a difference between having a dominant strategy in a game, and having a single strategy completely dominate D&D 3e. Usually, if a single strategy owns every encounter in 3e, it's a sign of bad encounter design. Because 3e has the option for encounters to be so gloriously diverse, there's little reason for a single tactic to dominate them all beyond a lack of GM skills. There are numerous threads on this site where a GM has complained that someone is dominating the game with a single tactic, and the response is generally a facepalm and a brief explanation of the diverse array of encounters which would not be dominated by that tactic. Learning to automatically vary your encounters, before it becomes a problem, and without even needing to look at the party composition, is an important GM skill that many neglect.

georgie_leech
2017-10-07, 07:58 AM
Are their many (combat) encounters in 3.5 that can't be solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?"

Lord Raziere
2017-10-07, 08:32 AM
Are their many (combat) encounters in 3.5 that can't be solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?"

Knowing wizard? probably not.

Thing is though: If someone uses disabling spell then mop up, is it really combat or just killing immobile things that are helpless against you?

I mean sure one can make the argument that its a playstyle about avoiding combat so as to win using any means necessary, but why then is one doing that, when the entire game is about and focused entirely around combat? Why is one avoiding the main feature of the game by solving it instantly? Its like buying a book just so you can look the covers and ignoring all the pages in between, and avoid opening it at all costs. Or going into a casino to do anything but gamble. Why even bother in the first place?

and then there is the recommendation to go find another system: well why not take some of their own medicine? there are RPGs specifically devoted to wizards and only wizards being the protagonists, starting out weak and becoming godlike. I can name at least three, and they all do the concept better than 3.5 ever can, I even like Mage: The Ascension because its up front about what it is rather than being a product of false advertising and poor balance. I can happily play a powerful Mage there because thats the premise. however "wizard that hacks reality and becomes godlike" is not the premise of DnD and I cannot accept attempts to do so, or to act as if it was intended all along or that its okay without any problems with its actual premise whatsoever. Its just not really something believable.

I believe that actual premise of DnD is so obvious as to be left unstated. I don't need to tell any of you this.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-07, 09:37 AM
Well you don't need to tailor EVERY encounter, you just need to tailor some encounters,

I would say that you need to do it every time. The Casual DM that does not want to put in any time, effort or planning is a huge part of the problem.


I typically play fighters, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit back and been completely unable to engage with the game (at least mechanically) outside of combat because I have no out of combat class abilities and my skill list is pathetic.

The thing here is: you should not be playing a fighter. The fighter is made for just one thing: fighting. You want a class with lots of out of combat abilities: don't pick fighter.



Likewise when fighting a mage there have been more than a few occasions when a single spell (typically force cage or ray of stupidity) incapacitated my character without even allowing me a saving throw and then forced me to sit back and watch.

Though this is not a problem: this is how the game is.


One of the GM skills I harp on the most is learning to automatically vary your encounters. A good GM* should, in general, be able to publish his adventure without having laid eyes on the PCs, and then run it as written without encountering this problem.

To make an adventure is very much a learned skill. Way to many DM's don't really take the time to learn how to do it, or worse go down the path of ''they don't need to do it''.

Though I would note that as a DM of a group you *Should* make the adventure with the characters and players in your group in mind.



Interesting point. Whose job is it to resolve problems between players: the system's, the GM's, or the players'? You are clearly arguing that it is exclusively the system's job. I usually put that ball primarily in the players' court. But is there a One True Way answer to that question?

The DM is really the only answer here. ''The system'' can never, ever cover everything and it is not interactive. And while sometimes some players can work things out, most of the time you need a neutral third party: The DM.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 09:45 AM
[exaltedfanboy]It's not MY fault you didn't pick Glorious Carnage Typhoon as your last Charm![/exatedfanboy]


And Exalted is a system with very different assumptions and a very tone than 3.5 D&D, which is fine, I'd have nothing wrong with Lord Raziere playing that particular system or the Lord Commander playing that particular system.



....Why won't it just teleport away, leaving the Fighter with nothing to fight?

Cause it wants to murder the fighter...? This is not super complex stuff and you're being deliberately obtuse. Not everything that you put on a table to fight is going to be like "OMG PCs I'mma run away now", there are plenty of beasties with Teleport SLAs that aren't really run away inclined. Like Demons and Devils for example.



Um, dood, they (and the US) kind of DID dominate the world. It was called the 'Cold War', it was a big deal at the time.

Yes, and if he'd made that argument in 1981 then it would have a lot better standing as an argument. But as a realism argument made post-1992 it no longer is effective.



I thought we were discussing Player Characters here, not peasants.

He was discussing the state of the entire campaign setting, which involves peasants. So again, no need to actually alter anything your complaint is wrong.



One of Cu Chullainn's buddies: he promised to take a dive in his next battle with CC, so when they fought, he swung to miss CC's head, and instead chopped the tops off of three mountains.
Those ancient Irish were SUCH otaku, right?

And that's still not "killed thirty guys in one stroke" and that's still not a recent legend. Like I'm not referring to ancient mythology, which is why I talked about Anime rather than historical texts. Yes, in historical texts you can find ridiculous feats done by demigods, and you know what there are systems made to accommodate that.



A large part of the problem is all the stuff a 3.X wizard can do OUTSIDE combat - maxed-out ranks in swim/ride/climb/etc are STILL worse than Flight, for example. And at high levels, the wizard is predicting the future and building their own army of golems in their custom-built pocket universe while the fighter is... swinging a sword.

Only if you're ****ty at playing fighters... As has been pointed in this very thread, a fighter can be built to deal with all kinds of combat stuff. Also I've never seen the pocket universe army of golems wizard at a table, there are ways to stop that and DMs tend to. Also for that to happen the player has to be quick enough on his feet to survive people deciding that they're not okay with that, and players cannot predict the future and as such cannot always have the right spell prepared.



"This is a job for Aquaman!"

Who is a standing member of the Justice League and has in all incarnations I've read had a huge contribution, only place where he was actually useless was in Super Friends, turns out that comic book cred isn't gained by parodying comedians. Aquaman is exactly what I've been arguing fighters should work to be.



Swing wide, push forward, and cut them all in half. It's not hard if you ignore that pesky 'physics' thing, like the magician's been doing since Day 1. (Swinging SO hard that you cut the very air in half is optional but recommended.)

Yeah and when somebody plays a fighter in D&D, they don't usually want to ignore physics, or if they do, then they're better served by another system.



They were _supposed_ to be balanced, the problem is that the playtesters played like it was AD&D with a healbot cleric, a blastomancer wizard, and so on. It wasn't until the players got hold of the game that people realized how OP save-or-cry spells were, for example.

Yeah, cause save or suck spells didn't exist in AD&D and weren't considerably nastier and hard to fight off in that system, that totally wasn't the case. It's just that the devs were idiots instead of like people who wound up creating a game with similar dynamics.

And no everybody doesn't play AD&D that way either. Sorry, bud.



These days, it seems like the Paizo staff is in rather deep denial about the problem, possibly because they know actually trying to fix it will draw screams of rage from the loyalists. It's worth noting that casters in Starfinder only get 6th level spells, as far as I know.

Because if somebody wanted a balance-focused system they'd have jumped to 4E instead of jumping to Pathfinder. They want a system that's like 3.5 with a few tweaks, that's what Pathfinder's appeal is. So of course people aren't going to be happy when people change that, like if you went to a boxing match and got told that kicks were being allowed.


Neither Ars Magica nor WoD put normal people on the same level of play as supernatural ones. Ars Magica has everyone play a magician, who is just straight-up better... or more powerful, since "better" clearly has bad connotations. Everyone also plays their mage's top non-magical enforcer and servants. It's a troupe-style play, completely different from D&D. WoD mortals operate on a completely different level than any supernatural beings and mixed parties aren't remotely the intent.

Mixed parties can however work though in WoD, and there are other games where that's the case.



I also can't see how reducing the efficiency of one option somehow reduces mechanical variance. It increases it, because more tactics are valid. Instead of the casters disabling enemies and letting the warriors mop them up being the right call most of the time. And it's not like warriors are the only ones getting shafted here - damage-dealing casters as well

Which is best done with encounter design rather than other things. Also a blaster Wizard or Mailman sorcerer is completely valid, An Ubercharger is completely valid, a horizon tripper is completely valid, a spiked chain tripper is completely valid. Basically the only way that you push yourself to invalidity is by picking a bad class and refusing to optimize it. The options are there buddy, people don't like them.

And if they want to play Tier 1 Martials, there's exalted for that.



No one is talking about "competing" with tier 1s. That's a losing proposition, which would also turn the game into even more of a ridiculous rocket tag than it is already. In this context, giving non-magical character options means simply making it less likely for them to be rendered irrelevant with a single spell.

Yes, what options do you propose we give them? Cause I'll bet you a silk pajama that those options probably already exist, there are a lot of splatbooks and there are a lot of ways to improve the lot of martial characters.



The argument about character-building falls pretty flat as well. More options for the option-deprived classes, once again, increases the character-building variety. Character-building in 3.5 has little to do with effectiveness or power and more about jumping across the arbitrary hurdles the system puts everywhere. Which, surprise, apply to non-casters a lot more than casters.

Character-building in 3.5 is it's own game, that's why it has those hurdles and for those who enjoy that game it's a feature not a bug.



*sigh* Can't use the word "better" around here without some people taking offence, can I. "Better", in this context, means better suited to the kind of play D&D is supposed to give us. The game is meant to let us play a team of adventurers who work together to solve problems and defeat enemies. Differences in power are one thing, but allowing gameplay be domianted by a single tactic is not a good or justifiable element. No other system intentionally has it - not even those that discard any idea of balance.

Well that's only a problem if the DM is committing bad encounter design. One single spell tactic will not dominate every single battle, a canny DM can learn what his players enjoy and create some things that will challenge some players more than others. This is about encounter design and planning more than anything else.

Also Wheel of Time, again, high powered Wizard, low powered martials adventure together. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Saga stories Tolkien was basing things on. Also many other influences for D&D specifically involved power disparities in adventuring groups.



Of course, no system really discards the idea of balance entirely. There's always a balancing line drawn somewhere. In WoD, Exalted and other Storyteller systems, supernatural beings are clearly more powerful than mortals - but when physical Disciplines were weak in 1e Requiem, it was a problem the second edition set out to fix. Because it interfered with the story and gameplay the system was meant to allow.

Well there is some balance point, yes. But it doesn't have to bring complete equality.


Are their many (combat) encounters in 3.5 that can't be solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?"

That depends, if you're building a lot of encounters of similar structure, then no. If you aren't then yes.

Remember that players at a table aren't batman wizard, they don't get access to all the tricks all the time, they have to guess at what spells they need, and divination in that case only helps so much (I use it to figure out which sets I should prepare). But that's because Wizards have a limited amount of spells they can use at any given time.


Knowing wizard? probably not.

I've answered this above, and I'm fairly sure that you've never seriously played a wizard at a table.



Thing is though: If someone uses disabling spell then mop up, is it really combat or just killing immobile things that are helpless against you?

I don't know, is me calling in naval gunfire no longer combat just because it levels the town that we're looking at engaging? That's a part of combat, everybody has their role. The wizard's is often to immobilize or make weak. And yes that is combat, the same way that going out and arresting people who are under the effects of OC spray and tear gas is still riot control, it's just more efficient combat.



I mean sure one can make the argument that its a playstyle about avoiding combat so as to win using any means necessary, but why then is one doing that, when the entire game is about and focused entirely around combat? Why is one avoiding the main feature of the game by solving it instantly? Its like buying a book just so you can look the covers and ignoring all the pages in between, and avoid opening it at all costs. Or going into a casino to do anything but gamble. Why even bother in the first place?


Because winning combat quickly is part of the game, the players look for the best solution, the DM invents puzzles the player can't solve easily that's the name of the game here.



and then there is the recommendation to go find another system: well why not take some of their own medicine? there are RPGs specifically devoted to wizards and only wizards being the protagonists, starting out weak and becoming godlike. I can name at least three, and they all do the concept better than 3.5 ever can, I even like Mage: The Ascension because its up front about what it is rather than being a product of false advertising and poor balance. I can happily play a powerful Mage there because thats the premise. however "wizard that hacks reality and becomes godlike" is not the premise of DnD and I cannot accept attempts to do so, or to act as if it was intended all along or that its okay without any problems with its actual premise whatsoever. Its just not really something believable.

Those all tell stories ONLY focused on the Wizard though, they don't let you tell stories about a mixed group where power disparity exists. Take for example the Justice League, or Wheel of time, or the example I provided above. Those kind of stories require wizards to be powerful, and you can't use Ars Magica or Mage or the other Mage for those stories, it wouldn't work.

And why should we find another system? We have one that already suits our needs as-is. With thousands of useful analysis already done, like the tier system.



I believe that actual premise of DnD is so obvious as to be left unstated. I don't need to tell any of you this.

A bunch of nobodies explore dungeons and eventually become powerful enough to either become lords or gods.

WarKitty
2017-10-07, 09:45 AM
I would say that you need to do it every time. The Casual DM that does not want to put in any time, effort or planning is a huge part of the problem.

To make an adventure is very much a learned skill. Way to many DM's don't really take the time to learn how to do it, or worse go down the path of ''they don't need to do it''.

The DM is really the only answer here. ''The system'' can never, ever cover everything and it is not interactive. And while sometimes some players can work things out, most of the time you need a neutral third party: The DM.

I feel like if these rules were followed, most groups I've dealt with would never be able to actually have a game.

In college, we didn't have anyone who were experienced with the game. We were learning as we went. And it went badly because the game had hidden traps we didn't know about.

Now - like I said, I have a life outside of D&D. Rather a full one. So do most other post-college GM's that I know. Devoting a large chunk of time every week to game design just isn't going to happen, because we have things like jobs and housework and families to attend to. That happened when we played in grad school too - the DM had a lot going on outside of the game and couldn't always do a bunch of in-depth planning. You either live without all the time investment, or you don't play.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 09:46 AM
I feel like if these rules were followed, most groups I've dealt with would never be able to actually have a game.

In college, we didn't have anyone who were experienced with the game. We were learning as we went. And it went badly because the game had hidden traps we didn't know about.

Now - like I said, I have a life outside of D&D. Rather a full one. So do most other post-college GM's that I know. Devoting a large chunk of time every week to game design just isn't going to happen, because we have things like jobs and housework and families to attend to. That happened when we played in grad school too - the DM had a lot going on outside of the game and couldn't always do a bunch of in-depth planning. You either live without all the time investment, or you don't play.

Well it's not actually that much time investment once you know how to do it, and once you think about it in terms of your group. It's a lot of time investment when you're learning the theory, but not really outside of that, you can develop encounters tailored to a particular group playstyle almost as fast as just looking up monsters in the book.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-07, 10:29 AM
Now - like I said, I have a life outside of D&D. Rather a full one. So do most other post-college GM's that I know. Devoting a large chunk of time every week to game design just isn't going to happen, because we have things like jobs and housework and families to attend to. That happened when we played in grad school too - the DM had a lot going on outside of the game and couldn't always do a bunch of in-depth planning. You either live without all the time investment, or you don't play.

This is a very important and very over looked point. DMing D&D takes a lot of time and effort, oh, and even more time to just prepare to play.

Yes, a DM can just sit there with a pen and a blank paper and ''make stuff up out of nothing'' or a DM can ''make stuff up based on a handful of notes''. Or otherwise ''Improv" a game.

Still, neither is as good as ''DM made an adventure to go on."

Now it's not that the first way can't be fun or whatever else....that is not the point. The point is you run in hard to the ''imbalance'' the ''the tiers are real''. And D&D is very, very, very bad at this right after like 1st level.

The Improv game really highlights the imbalance, puts a spot light on it, and puts it front and center. The planned game has very little imbalance....and the focused planned game has none.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 10:35 AM
Well it's not actually that much time investment once you know how to do it, and once you think about it in terms of your group. It's a lot of time investment when you're learning the theory, but not really outside of that, you can develop encounters tailored to a particular group playstyle almost as fast as just looking up monsters in the book.

+1 this.

It's about learning that "20 encounters with armed soldiers" or "20 encounters with undead" is very same-y, and very susceptible to "one tactic always wins".

Flight, ranged, casting, melee, single / multiple, start drain, disabling, terrain, traps, etc etc - there are so many different options just for combat that no single strategy should always win.


Are their many (combat) encounters in 3.5 that can't be solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?"

Well, now, just how many different disabling spells is this wizard memorizing, and just how many encounters is he having in a day?
Ignoring the impossible Batman wizard, who always has just the right spell, there will be plenty of encounters that don't work out like this. And that's even before traps, avalanches, etc.

IME, the best low-level BFC is the Druid. Let's take a loadout of Entangle x4, Green Blockade x3*. Entangle will really help against the random encounter of a dozen orcs, but won't completely trivialize the encounter. If the Druid can win initiative, a held action for Green Blockade can totally be a lifesaver against the Hydra random encounter, but still leaves the BDF in a desperate race to kill the beast before it devours him**.

But they do nothing against ranged flying units, like baby dragons. Or against the ambush which dropped our point man in the surprise round. Or against shadows. And very little against most traps. And, in the barren dungeon, Entangle is useless, and 3 castings of Green Blockade really isn't enough BFC for 6-10 encounters in the dungeon. Did save some characters from having their skulls crushed by angry ogres, so it was really handy, but not enough to win the game all by itself.

* we'll just assume that the Wand of Lesser Vigor will be enough to keep the party going.
** a race which he lost, btw, in the adventure I'm cribbing heavily from for these examples.

georgie_leech
2017-10-07, 10:35 AM
That depends, if you're building a lot of encounters of similar structure, then no. If you aren't then yes.

Remember that players at a table aren't batman wizard, they don't get access to all the tricks all the time, they have to guess at what spells they need, and divination in that case only helps so much (I use it to figure out which sets I should prepare). But that's because Wizards have a limited amount of spells they can use at any given time.


Acknowledged that Tier 1 casters frequently don't have the right spell prepared. But I'm looking at the claim that different encounters can require different tactics, not different spells. Is using a disabling spell that shuts down one type of encounter tactically different than using a different spell to **** down a different one? For instance, is using Hold Person to paralyze important humanoid oponents tactically distinct feom using Hold Undead to do the same thing to importamt Undead opponents? I'd argue not, so with that in mind, what kind of varied encounter design does 3.5 bring to the table? This isn't a gotcha, but me actually attempting to understand the position better.

EDIT RE: Quertus above:

Right, a Druid won't always have the right spells prepared to deal with a situation. But in terms of a tactic being dominant, in what way would using, say, Wind Wall to shut down ranged fliers be distinct from using Entangle to shut down melee brutes? I'd argue that "not having Wind Wall prepared" isn't so much a case of the tactic being different and not always having access to the tactic.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 10:41 AM
Acknowledged that Tier 1 casters frequently don't have the right spell prepared. But I'm looking at the claim that different encounters can require different tactics, not different spells. Is using a disabling spell that shuts down one type of encounter tactically different than using a different spell to **** down a different one? For instance, is using Hold Person to paralyze important humanoid oponents tactically distinct feom using Hold Undead to do the same thing to importamt Undead opponents? I'd argue not, so with that in mind, what kind of varied encounter design does 3.5 bring to the table? This isn't a gotcha, but me actually attempting to understand the position better.

You're assuming that that's a single "important" opponent to target, and that it will fail its saving throw before more conventional means "disable" it. That's another part of good encounter design: varying the numbers. Hold Person is pretty useless against a score of identical orcs. And the party archer (or Pegasus-mounted übercharger, or even SA Monk) is likely the go-to man vs a low HP "mage unit" (like an enemy wizard or a beholder).

I'm actually not sure what the optimal course of action is for a wizard when faced by a dozen leveled orc warriors backed by a beholder. Run, maybe? :smallconfused:

Cosi
2017-10-07, 10:43 AM
Acknowledged that Tier 1 casters frequently don't have the right spell prepared. But I'm looking at the claim that different encounters can require different tactics, not different spells. Is using a disabling spell that shuts down one type of encounter tactically different than using a different spell to **** down a different one? For instance, is using Hold Person to paralyze important humanoid oponents tactically distinct feom using Hold Undead to do the same thing to importamt Undead opponents? I'd argue not, so with that in mind, what kind of varied encounter design does 3.5 bring to the table? This isn't a gotcha, but me actually attempting to understand the position better.

Every fight reduces to "take action, hope for victory, repeat". That doesn't make them all the same. There are obvious differences between e.g. acid fog and finger of death as tactical tools, and they are frankly vastly more interesting than the "charge it or wish I could charge it" pattern that dominates low-tier characters.

Also, high-tier characters can do things that aren't combat. Then, that probably doesn't count as anything, because it's still overcoming challenges by using abilities, and that's apparently only one kind of thing.

georgie_leech
2017-10-07, 10:45 AM
You're assuming that that's a single "important" opponent to target, and that it will fail is saving throw before more conventional means "disable" it. That's another part of good encounter design: varying the numbers. Hold Person is pretty useless against a score of identical orcs. And the party archer (or Pegasus-mounted übercharger, or even SA Monk) is likely the go to man vs a low HP "mage unit", like a beholder.

Hold person is useless, but Entangle was used in your above example. In either case, the tactic was "use applicable spell to weaken opposing side, others finish off weakened opponents." Is that actually a different tactic because the spell that was recognized as being helpful was different?

Edit:

Every fight reduces to "take action, hope for victory, repeat". That doesn't make them all the same. There are obvious differences between e.g. acid fog and finger of death as tactical tools, and they are frankly vastly more interesting than the "charge it or wish I could charge it" pattern that dominates low-tier characters.

Also, high-tier characters can do things that aren't combat. Then, that probably doesn't count as anything, because it's still overcoming challenges by using abilities, and that's apparently only one kind of thing.


I was just referring to combat encounters, but yes, that is part of my problem with low tier characters: the binary between "can I do the specific thing I built to do or not" doesn't leave a lot of room for much tactical variance in their choices.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 10:58 AM
Hold person is useless, but Entangle was used in your above example. In either case, the tactic was "use applicable spell to weaken opposing side, others finish off weakened opponents." Is that actually a different tactic because the spell that was recognized as being helpful was different?

Hmmm... Of the... Not quite triple digit parties I've adventured with in 3e, I believe only 3 had a druid... Erm, I believe only 6 had a character who could cast Entangle. Druid isn't a popular option at my tables, apparently, and neither are Archivists or Illithid Savants.

Yes, entangle would help against 20 orcs, but wouldn't end the encounter the way Fireball or Diplomacy would. Heck, I once saw a half ogre with a dwom totally wreck an entire roomful of orcs in a single Great Cleave attack, and that was far more effective than Entangle - and would (probably) work in an AMF.

But, yes, imo, there is a distinct difference between "SoD works, end encounter", "SoD works, encounter is easier", "SoD works, but why did you bother?", "SoD fails", and various similar variations on various debuff / BFC / AoE / direct damage options.

EDIT:
I was just referring to combat encounters, but yes, that is part of my problem with low tier characters: the binary between "can I do the specific thing I built to do or not" doesn't leave a lot of room for much tactical variance in their choices.

Yup, I sadly agree. :smallfrown: This is part of why I believe higher-options tiers are generally a better design goal.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 11:11 AM
I was just referring to combat encounters, but yes, that is part of my problem with low tier characters: the binary between "can I do the specific thing I built to do or not" doesn't leave a lot of room for much tactical variance in their choices.

What characters do you think have tactical choices then?

Arbane
2017-10-07, 11:18 AM
And that's still not "killed thirty guys in one stroke" and that's still not a recent legend. Like I'm not referring to ancient mythology, which is why I talked about Anime rather than historical texts. Yes, in historical texts you can find ridiculous feats done by demigods, and you know what there are systems made to accommodate that.


"Recent legend"....? As far as I know, Paul Bunyan didn't get in many swordfights.
And, funny thing - you'll have to search far and wide to find ANY myths in which spellcasters are as omnipotent as high-level D&D casters. Name three, I'll wait.



Yeah and when somebody plays a fighter in D&D, they don't usually want to ignore physics, or if they do, then they're better served by another system.

So, what DOES a someone want to do when they play a Fighter? Apparently the answer is 'I swing at them' over and over and over again....


Character-building in 3.5 is it's own game, that's why it has those hurdles and for those who enjoy that game it's a feature not a bug.

I'd argue it is a bug, seeing how it's possible to make two characters of the same class/level/etc who are vastly different in effectiveness at their job, never mind the immense gulf in capability between the Spell-Casting God-Kings of the Overcosmos and the non-spellcasting peasantry.


Also Wheel of Time, again, high powered Wizard, low powered martials adventure together. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Saga stories Tolkien was basing things on. Also many other influences for D&D specifically involved power disparities in adventuring groups.

You _are_ aware that situations a writer can force to work in fiction will often not work in a game ruled by capricious and merciless dice, right?


Those all tell stories ONLY focused on the Wizard though, they don't let you tell stories about a mixed group where power disparity exists. Take for example the Justice League, or Wheel of time, or the example I provided above. Those kind of stories require wizards to be powerful, and you can't use Ars Magica or Mage or the other Mage for those stories, it wouldn't work.

Again, I'm having a mighty tough time thinking of any situations Green Lantern can't handle that Green Arrow can.



And why should we find another system? We have one that already suits our needs as-is. With thousands of useful analysis already done, like the tier system.


Because sometimes, we wanna play a sword-swinger who can keep up with the big boys, a concept D&D3.x really doesn't support very well. (How many times have you said 'just play Exalted' in this thread alone?)

Cosi
2017-10-07, 11:25 AM
So, what DOES a someone want to do when they play a Fighter? Apparently the answer is 'I swing at them' over and over and over again....

AMFV is confusing the fact that people who want to play powerful characters don't make swordsmen (because they are weak) with the notion that people want swordsmen to be weak. The flaw in this logic should be obvious.


You _are_ aware that situations a writer can force to work in fiction will often not work in a game ruled by capricious and merciless dice, right?

Also, Wheel of Time isn't really "low power mundanes". Perrin is straight up magic (he commands a bunch of wolves), and Mat doesn't contribute by killing individual enemies non-magically -- he contributes by leading an army, and that only works because there is a problem which an army is needed to solve.

Pex
2017-10-07, 11:30 AM
Are their many (combat) encounters in 3.5 that can't be solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?"

All of them because monsters make their saving throws sometimes, so the spell doesn't work. Also, the spellcaster doesn't always have the appropriate disabling spell at the moment it's needed.

Samzat
2017-10-07, 11:44 AM
If i were to flatten the tier list a bit, I would make it so that Arcane Casting beyond a certain spell level (lets say spell level 4) costs HP. The higher spell level, the more HP it costs. There are ways to lower this cost- and for the max level spells these are necessary- but those are lost secrets that you need to adventure to find, and even those are not necessarily free.

To make sure Divine casters dont get too op because arcane got nerfed, I would make it so you have to do some special tasks (dependent on deity) to achieve spell level 5 and have to do more every spell level above that.

georgie_leech
2017-10-07, 11:46 AM
What characters do you think have tactical choices then?

Casters, mostly. I don't disagree that acess to different spells gives them different tactical options, I just meant that it seems to me the most efficient tactic is usually to use a spell to disable the opponents. They do have acces to spells that can bring in reinforcements, buff allies, reshape the battlefield, and non-wizards frequently have access to healing magic


Hmmm... Of the... Not quite triple digit parties I've adventured with in 3e, I believe only 3 had a druid... Erm, I believe only 6 had a character who could cast Entangle. Druid isn't a popular option at my tables, apparently, and neither are Archivists or Illithid Savants.

Yes, entangle would help against 20 orcs, but wouldn't end the encounter the way Fireball or Diplomacy would. Heck, I once saw a half ogre with a dwom totally wreck an entire roomful of orcs in a single Great Cleave attack, and that was far more effective than Entangle - and would (probably) work in an AMF.

But, yes, imo, there is a distinct difference between "SoD works, end encounter", "SoD works, encounter is easier", "SoD works, but why did you bother?", "SoD fails", and various similar variations on various debuff / BFC / AoE / direct damage options.

EDIT:

Yup, I sadly agree. :smallfrown: This is part of why I believe higher-options tiers are generally a better design goal.

That's fair. It's not the kind of tactical diversity I'm usually looking for when I care about tactical choices, but I better understand where you're coming from now.

And yeah, I prefer Tier 3 for my design space for that reason. I like having characters able to have a specialty strong enough to be meaningful when it applies, without being totally useless when it doesn't. That is something I like that 4e managed, though it's hidden by a power deign that gives the impression of samey-ness. The 4 major roles are (as I like to think of them) Killing it Dead (Striker), Stop Killing my Friends (Defender), Making my Friends Awesome (Leader), and Making my Enemies Suck (Controller). Every class is designed around (with varying degrees of success) being very good at one while having some skill at another. For instance, Fighters are a Defender that is also pretty good at Killing Things Dead, while Paladins are Defenders that are natively good at Making Their Friends Awesome. As always, optimization leaves some wiggle-room for what your Major and Minors are, but classes still have an out-of-the-box identity.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 11:48 AM
Acknowledged that Tier 1 casters frequently don't have the right spell prepared. But I'm looking at the claim that different encounters can require different tactics, not different spells. Is using a disabling spell that shuts down one type of encounter tactically different than using a different spell to **** down a different one? For instance, is using Hold Person to paralyze important humanoid oponents tactically distinct feom using Hold Undead to do the same thing to importamt Undead opponents? I'd argue not, so with that in mind, what kind of varied encounter design does 3.5 bring to the table? This isn't a gotcha, but me actually attempting to understand the position better.

I wouldn't call 'Casting a spell' one tactic, any more than I would call, participating in combat a single type of solution. I mean there are solutions other than fighting, so that's even a tactical choice in most situations.


"Recent legend"....? As far as I know, Paul Bunyan didn't get in many swordfights.
And, funny thing - you'll have to search far and wide to find ANY myths in which spellcasters are as omnipotent as high-level D&D casters. Name three, I'll wait.


Again we are not roleplaying myths. That's not what the games are intended to replicate. If you want to roleplay the Aeneid there are games better suited to that objective than 3rd Edition D&D, which is set up for specific stories. I like how you and various other D&D detractors here ignore important argument points to focus on minutiae, hint that's not great, don't do that.



So, what DOES a someone want to do when they play a Fighter? Apparently the answer is 'I swing at them' over and over and over again....

Yeah, I guess sundering, tripping, bullrushing, power-attacking, full defense actions, targeting spell foci and items, switching weapons based on a situation, and using magic items are all just "swinging at somebody". I stand corrected.



I'd argue it is a bug, seeing how it's possible to make two characters of the same class/level/etc who are vastly different in effectiveness at their job, never mind the immense gulf in capability between the Spell-Casting God-Kings of the Overcosmos and the non-spellcasting peasantry.

You don't understand the tier system and you're not arguing in good faith. The idea is that Wizards have more options that are more effective, that's what the tier system says. So as a Wizard that effects how you should be playing unless you're being an *******.



You _are_ aware that situations a writer can force to work in fiction will often not work in a game ruled by capricious and merciless dice, right?


Yep, but those situations can be remedied by rules support. That's why different games tell different kinds of stories well.



Again, I'm having a mighty tough time thinking of any situations Green Lantern can't handle that Green Arrow can.

Yes, Green Lantern theoretically could handle more situations than Green Arrow, but Green Lantern can only handle a limited number of situations at one time. The same way that in play a tier 1 can't solve every problem, they cannot always have the right spell, and sometimes a fighter can solve many problems. The Tier system is pointing out that one character is Green Lantern and the other is Green Arrow, so if you're playing Green Lantern, sometimes you have to do something is not the most optimal action in order to not always hog the spotlight, if you're playing Green Arrow, you have to always do the optimal action or something very good to succeed.



Because sometimes, we wanna play a sword-swinger who can keep up with the big boys, a concept D&D3.x really doesn't support very well. (How many times have you said 'just play Exalted' in this thread alone?)

D&D is not a competition and a level 20 fighter keeps up with Wizards just fine, if they optimize properly.

The "play Exalted" comments were about people who wanted Fighters to be able to do things that would be heavily supernatural, like anime characters. There is nothing wrong with that, hell you could probably find a d20 hack that does that, but it isn't a core system assumption.


AMFV is confusing the fact that people who want to play powerful characters don't make swordsmen (because they are weak) with the notion that people want swordsmen to be weak. The flaw in this logic should be obvious.

I'm not actually. And I've made swordsmen who pulled their weight and weren't weak. You're confusing me saying "I don't want my mundanes to have the ability to do Wushu anime things because it's not setting appropriate" with me saying "Mundanes should be weak." The key here is that in the sort of setting D&D is best at, mundanes should be different, and differences in this case

Again, D&D is not a competition, the tier system shows basically the amount of metagame effort the player needs to put into how they plan things. A Wizard has to put effort in not to overshadow people, a fighter needs to put effort in to keep up at higher levels, but it's doable. It's not about power, it's about relative problem solving abilities.

Edit: Also it's worth noting that the line between Anime wushu type things and regular mundane things can be fuzzy. It's a taste issue. However, stab 30 people with one attack is definitely way over it.



Also, Wheel of Time isn't really "low power mundanes". Perrin is straight up magic (he commands a bunch of wolves), and Mat doesn't contribute by killing individual enemies non-magically -- he contributes by leading an army, and that only works because there is a problem which an army is needed to solve.

Commanding a bunch of wolves is an order of magnitude lower in power than commanding fire that literally wipes things from existence and can cause resurrections due to this fact. I would say Perrin would be some kind of ranger in typical D&D, or a beast master character. Which is a lower tier character. That would be tier 4 probably in the Tier system which people have forgotten is the whole point of this discussion.

And as to the second point. THAT IS MY FRICKING POINT THE WHOLE TIME. It's the DM job to create problems that the fighter can solve. The tier system is useful because it shows the Wizard that he can solve more problems, so it lets the player know that he should solve a more limited number than he possibly could to avoid hogging the spotlight. So for a fighter in AD&D who did have an Army, that would be something you'd want, you'd want army problems, and magic problems and a variety of problems. That's certainly attainable in D20 variants.

And also there's nothing wrong with giving Perrin wolves, or a ranger animal companions, or a fighter magical items or an army. But you're still not going to bump them up to tier 1 doing that, it's just not how that system works, they're going to still be lower tier, I mean you might get folks to tier 3, but that's a stretch.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 11:48 AM
That is a terrible design.

First, the problem with arcane casters isn't that they can cast a bunch of forcecages or wail of the banshees. The problem is that they can cast planar binding at all.

Second, you've now made it mandatory that every campaign go on the "power up" adventures for their casters, which shifts the spotlight even more to them.

Third, it's not terribly difficult to ignore any remotely sane HP cost if you don't change the actual spells.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 11:53 AM
I'm not actually. And I've made swordsmen who pulled their weight and weren't weak. You're confusing me saying "I don't want my mundanes to have the ability to do Wushu anime things because it's not setting appropriate" with me saying "Mundanes should be weak." The key here is that in the sort of setting D&D is best at, mundanes should be different, and differences in this case

You think those statements are different, but they are not. Not wanting mundanes to be powerful is wanting them to be weak, because that is what "not being powerful" means.


Commanding a bunch of wolves is an order of magnitude lower in power than commanding fire that literally wipes things from existence and can cause resurrections due to this fact. I would say Perrin would be some kind of ranger in typical D&D, or a beast master character. Which is a lower tier character. That would be tier 4 probably in the Tier system which people have forgotten is the whole point of this discussion.

It's still not mundane. Perrin's powers are not mundane powers. They're less powerful than Rand's powers, but they're still magic.


And as to the second point. THAT IS MY FRICKING POINT THE WHOLE TIME. It's the DM job to create problems that the fighter can solve.

No, it's the system's responsibility to ensure that classes have the ability to solve expected encounters. Asking that the DM do extra work to support your concept is selfish. Somehow, this is perfectly obvious to everyone when the extra work is being done because mages over-perform, but completely incomprehensible when martials under-perform.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 12:05 PM
You think those statements are different, but they are not. Not wanting mundanes to be powerful is wanting them to be weak, because that is what "not being powerful" means.

Are you arguing that an Ubercharger that can do 1,000,000,000,000,000 damage in one hit is weak? They're not weak they're just specialized. So if you have a combat with a foe that winds up in a long field and your a wizard and your friend is an ubercharger you should let them do the thing they're best at. It's not super complicated, and it isn't about being powerful, it's about versatility.

Edit: Or even worse the Giant Thrower that can do more die of damage than there are particles in the known universe.



It's still not mundane. Perrin's powers are not mundane powers. They're less powerful than Rand's powers, but they're still magic.

They're pretty explicitly not tied in with the "power" or magic in that setting. They aren't normal, but they wouldn't be Arcane or Divine magic in D&D, they'd be some other kind of supernatural thing. I would put that generally on the divide with mundane as opposed to caster. Just like Smite (a clearly supernatural ability) falls on that side. It's a lot taste and tonal issues there though.



No, it's the system's responsibility to ensure that classes have the ability to solve expected encounters. Asking that the DM do extra work to support your concept is selfish. Somehow, this is perfectly obvious to everyone when the extra work is being done because mages over-perform, but completely incomprehensible when martials under-perform.

And THEY FRICKING CAN. A party of all tier 4s and 5s can solve level appropriate just fine. The system has done it's job, interparty is entirely the realm of the table, since there's no way to really plan for that.

So you make a party with a CW Samurai, a Rogue, a Healer, and a Warmage. They'll be able to take on level appropriate encounters just fine, not as efficiently as a party of tier 1s, but they'd handle it. They problem is disparity in the group, and that's always going to be present.

Hell, I've had games where the imbalance was that one player was an engineer and knew complex physics and therefore could figure out solutions that others couldn't and I had to balance around that. There's no perfect solution because player competence is more of an issue than anything else. In a party with an unoptimized wizard, an unbercharger might overshadow them completely.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-07, 12:57 PM
I disagree that anything I want for fighters is in any way supernatural. I do not want fighters to dress in robes, wiggle their fingers and say silly words. They do not entreat spirits or study occult knowledge or anything activity of the sort. They fight. The method of achieving an action is more important for determining whether its supernatural or not than how powerful the action is. for a game where everyone is participating in the same party, it is the ideal mindset to take, not being anal about whether or not things should be magical. because really there is no point in whether something is magical in a fantasy. Its fantasy, its a different world by definition where things just work differently and I could justify it working differently without needing magic at all, magic is not included in its definition. its an often used cliche, but one could have a fantasy without anyone having magic.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 01:05 PM
Are you arguing that an Ubercharger that can do 1,000,000,000,000,000 damage in one hit is weak? They're not weak they're just specialized. So if you have a combat with a foe that winds up in a long field and your a wizard and your friend is an ubercharger you should let them do the thing they're best at. It's not super complicated, and it isn't about being powerful, it's about versatility.

Yes, they are less effective than a caster, who can do comparable damage and also cast spells. Can they contribute to some problems? Sure, but it's damn difficult to produce a character who brings nothing to the table. The fact that they have a niche isn't important. What's important is that they have a unique niche. Otherwise, you're relying on people having sufficiently different tastes for the game to remain balanced.


They're pretty explicitly not tied in with the "power" or magic in that setting. They aren't normal, but they wouldn't be Arcane or Divine magic in D&D, they'd be some other kind of supernatural thing. I would put that generally on the divide with mundane as opposed to caster. Just like Smite (a clearly supernatural ability) falls on that side. It's a lot taste and tonal issues there though.

If your definition of "mundane" includes "has supernatural abilities" it is not a useful definition.


And THEY FRICKING CAN. A party of all tier 4s and 5s can solve level appropriate just fine. The system has done it's job, interparty is entirely the realm of the table, since there's no way to really plan for that.

That's not a good test of balance, because you're testing where success is expected. You also need tests where you expect some number of failures.


So you make a party with a CW Samurai, a Rogue, a Healer, and a Warmage. They'll be able to take on level appropriate encounters just fine, not as efficiently as a party of tier 1s, but they'd handle it. They problem is disparity in the group, and that's always going to be present.

If one party encounters more problems than another with the same encounters, the game is not balanced.


There's no perfect solution because player competence is more of an issue than anything else. In a party with an unoptimized wizard, an unbercharger might overshadow them completely.

That doesn't mean there's no possible improvement. You can make the game more balanced, even if it will never be perfectly balanced. Also, you're still missing the fact that some people might want to play characters that are martial but are comparably effective -- before the DM puts his finger on the scale -- with casters.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-07, 01:20 PM
All of them because monsters make their saving throws sometimes, so the spell doesn't work. Also, the spellcaster doesn't always have the appropriate disabling spell at the moment it's needed.

This gets back to my points of: Adventure Design and How you Play the Game.

Take a ''Type T'' DM and a ''Type T'' group all doing ''Type T'' Adventure design and playing the game ''Way Type T'', then the Tier system exists and things like "All (combat) encounters in 3.5 canbe solved with some variation of "cast disabling spell, mop up as required?" are true.

Change anything to not be ''Type T'', and suddenly there is no tier system and things are not true anymore.

For a Non Game Example: Bob sets up a table in his front yard. Then, in the morning at six he puts five one dollar bills on the table. When he goes back out at six in the evening he finds all six of te one dollar bills gone. Bob gets all mad and he just can't understand why his dollar bills are not there: he put them there, they should be there. Every day for a week, Bob puts five one dollar bills on this table on his front yard, and every day they are just gone. Bob is sure nothing he is doing is wrong, so he does not change anything...but he sure is mad about all the lost money.

Next week, helpful Ed comes over and suggests to Bob ''hey why don't you put some rocks on your dollar bills it will stop them from being blown away." And, amazingly, Ed's advice is good: some days at six when Bob checks on his dollar bills they are still there under the rocks. Bob never thought the wind would blow away his money...but it did, every day. Still, some days, even with the rocks, Bob's money is gone.

The week after that helpful Andrew points out ''It is not a good idea to just leave money in your front yard...someone will just take it." Bob is again just amazed and had never thought of that. And then Andrew digs a little deeper and asked ''Bob why are you even putting money in your front yard everyday anyway?"

AMFV
2017-10-07, 01:20 PM
I disagree that anything I want for fighters is in any way supernatural. I do not want fighters to dress in robes, wiggle their fingers and say silly words. They do not entreat spirits or study occult knowledge or anything activity of the sort. They fight. The method of achieving an action is more important for determining whether its supernatural or not than how powerful the action is. for a game where everyone is participating in the same party, it is the ideal mindset to take, not being anal about whether or not things should be magical. because really there is no point in whether something is magical in a fantasy. Its fantasy, its a different world by definition where things just work differently and I could justify it working differently without needing magic at all, magic is not included in its definition. its an often used cliche, but one could have a fantasy without anyone having magic.

Certainly! You can have a fantasy without magic, there are games that really do that well! There are variants of D&D that do that well even, like E6 does that much better, d20 Past is really good at that.

But you're missing it, it is an important mindset to take, because anime settings where people can do magic with their swords and fly and what-not, are different in tone and reception than western settings where people who are not explicitly wizards have less magical power. It's a different tone, in D&D the tone is keyed for that western setting and that balance point reflects that. That's why 3.5 is good at the kind of games it's good at. So if you're a DM or a system designer you have to be anal about what kind of tone you're making and what kind of story you're telling.

There's a big difference between what you're discussing "Killing 30 guys in one stroke" and what is typically of a fighter in most games. There are games that are really well suited to that, but 3.5 D&D unedited is not one of them.


Yes, they are less effective than a caster, who can do comparable damage and also cast spells. Can they contribute to some problems? Sure, but it's damn difficult to produce a character who brings nothing to the table. The fact that they have a niche isn't important. What's important is that they have a unique niche. Otherwise, you're relying on people having sufficiently different tastes for the game to remain balanced.

Actually damaging casters are way outclassed by damaging martial, like it's not even close. Casters cannot do more die of damage than there are particles in the universe, they're also generally significantly reduced below uberchargers. And if you're contributing 1/5th of the time in a party of 5, then you're equally effective, even if you could theoretically contribute 4/5ths of the time.



If your definition of "mundane" includes "has supernatural abilities" it is not a useful definition.

Hardly, there is a distinction between things that are overtly magical and things are sort-of magical, and things that are not magical at all. THERE ARE NO MUNDANE CHARACTERS in 3.5 D&D, not after like 2nd level. Fighters are using magical swords, magical items, and kinds of stuff, they would not be mundane by a consideration that eliminates all supernatural abilities.

The line is more along the lines of "sort-of magical" and "explicitly super-magical"



That's not a good test of balance, because you're testing where success is expected. You also need tests where you expect some number of failures.

Right, and the game is imbalanced, when have I argued that it was balanced? I've only said that you could make the imbalances not significantly affect table-play relatively easily.



If one party encounters more problems than another with the same encounters, the game is not balanced.

Yes, and it's not supposed to be, that's not a design goal for them, or at least not a high priority design goal. The balance point is "Are they able to handle appropriate CR encounters" everything after that isn't at all important, because that's something that can be fixed by DMing.



That doesn't mean there's no possible improvement. You can make the game more balanced, even if it will never be perfectly balanced. Also, you're still missing the fact that some people might want to play characters that are martial but are comparably effective -- before the DM puts his finger on the scale -- with casters.

You're misunderstanding how I'm saying that DMs and players should deal with things, and you're conflating versatility and variety with raw power. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Just aren't. Until you can understand that difference you're not going to be able to contribute to this. The DM isn't making encounters more powerful so they challenge the wizard, the DM is altering encounters based on what the Wizard does so that some encounters will avoid his abilities, and the DM is making encounters where the Wizard is the only solver for the situation. That's what you have to do. It's not raising the power level, it's providing a variety of encounters so everybody can shine.

And if you want balance look at 4E, the things they did to make the game balanced, are the things that people objected to with the edition change. Like literally almost all of the complaints were about things that were balance fixes. That's why they brought back imbalances for 5E.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 01:29 PM
Actually damaging casters are way outclassed by damaging martial, like it's not even close. Casters cannot do more die of damage than there are particles in the universe, they're also generally significantly reduced below uberchargers. And if you're contributing 1/5th of the time in a party of 5, then you're equally effective, even if you could theoretically contribute 4/5ths of the time.

Casters are better at ubercharging than Fighters are. Because they can get all the buffs they want, and then also a pile of extra bonuses from abusing shapechange.


Yes, and it's not supposed to be, that's not a design goal for them, or at least not a high priority design goal. The balance point is "Are they able to handle appropriate CR encounters" everything after that isn't at all important, because that's something that can be fixed by DMing.

Yes, that is a design goal. And "able to handle appropriate CR encounters" carries with it the implicit expectation "not able to handle inappropriate CR encounters", and if you have those two properties the game is balanced.


You're misunderstanding how I'm saying that DMs and players should deal with things, and you're conflating versatility and variety with raw power. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

Yes they are. Fundamentally, both "getting more abilities" and "getting better abilities" resolve to "can defeat more encounters". Also, after being told that "+10,000 to all ability scores" is an increase in versatility, I am not at all convinced that there is even a meaningful difference.


The DM isn't making encounters more powerful so they challenge the wizard, the DM is altering encounters based on what the Wizard does so that some encounters will avoid his abilities, and the DM is making encounters where the Wizard is the only solver for the situation. That's what you have to do. It's not raising the power level, it's providing a variety of encounters so everybody can shine.

Except that only works if the Wizard is not fully optimized, or, less powerful than he could be.


And if you want balance look at 4E, the things they did to make the game balanced, are the things that people objected to with the edition change. Like literally almost all of the complaints were about things that were balance fixes. That's why they brought back imbalances for 5E.

4e is the result of insisting that people be allowed to play characters that do not have abilities. The design decisions that lead to 4e are "allow Fighters to not have abilities" and they are the decisions you are pushing for. Those decisions are bad decisions and they make bad games. Stop asking us to make them.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 01:39 PM
Casters are better at ubercharging than Fighters are. Because they can get all the buffs they want, and then also a pile of extra bonuses from abusing shapechange.

No, they aren't. Ubercharging requires a ton of feats to make work well, and fighters are better at that. It requires a good BAB, and fighters are better at that. And if you're talking 17th level play, there's no balance point that would work for anybody. But no a shapechanged wizard cannot out damage a hulking hurler or an ubercharger, sorry they just don't. Sorry that somehow people talking about Wizard's power has gotten you confused, but no they don't. A shapechanged Wizard loses that fight.



Yes, that is a design goal. And "able to handle appropriate CR encounters" carries with it the implicit expectation "not able to handle inappropriate CR encounters", and if you have those two properties the game is balanced.


Not necessarily. I mean "handling" an encounter is something that's very abstract, there are players who could successfully "handle" an encounter by all sorts of means. Hell by that logic diplomacy is the most overpowered thing in the game and shouldn't be allowed, since you can convince a CR 20 demon to leave you along with good enough roles on that count. Hell social skills shouldn't be allowed since that could also let a character bypass an encounter because he convinced the DM.



Yes they are. Fundamentally, both "getting more abilities" and "getting better abilities" resolve to "can defeat more encounters". Also, after being told that "+10,000 to all ability scores" is an increase in versatility, I am not at all convinced that there is even a meaningful difference.

Could you at least read what I'm writing? Like at all. +10,000 to damage is an increase in raw power, it makes you better at what you're already good at. And it's not necessarily a meaningful increase. But versatility is clearly a different thing than raw power. Raw power for example lets you solve certain situations better. Versatility lets you contribute in more situations.

And that's why having the tier system is good, cause you can look at JaronK's analysis and say, am I going to be able to contribute to way more situations than other people, I should probably find a niche and fill that instead.



Except that only works if the Wizard is not fully optimized, or, less powerful than he could be.

Anyone who is not PUN PUN is not as powerful as they could be, period. Ergo that's a solved problem already, like 3.5 people solved that years ago, like 16 years ago we had an understanding of the difference between theoretical optimization and practical optimization at a table. I mean seriously. You don't make the most powerful character you can, unless you're a ****.



4e is the result of insisting that people be allowed to play characters that do not have abilities. The design decisions that lead to 4e are "allow Fighters to not have abilities" and they are the decisions you are pushing for. Those decisions are bad decisions and they make bad games. Stop asking us to make them.

Characters have gobs of abilities in 4E, like way more abilities than they do in 3.5, except for spellcasters. I'm now convinced that you are really unfamiliar with both systems. Like as in I'm not even sure you've read through them. 4E fighters have at-will abilities, once per combat abilities, gobs and gobs of different technical abilities. The issue is that a controller feels much like another controller, because their abilities have to be similar because balance was a system objective.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 01:48 PM
No, they aren't. Ubercharging requires a ton of feats to make work well, and fighters are better at that. It requires a good BAB, and fighters are better at that. And if you're talking 17th level play, there's no balance point that would work for anybody. But no a shapechanged wizard cannot out damage a hulking hurler or an ubercharger, sorry they just don't. Sorry that somehow people talking about Wizard's power has gotten you confused, but no they don't. A shapechanged Wizard loses that fight.

You know divine power and heroics are both things that exist, right? Also the Dark Chaos Shuffle. And awaken cheese. And any number of other things that give Wizards better BAB and/or more feats than Fighters.


Not necessarily. I mean "handling" an encounter is something that's very abstract, there are players who could successfully "handle" an encounter by all sorts of means. Hell by that logic diplomacy is the most overpowered thing in the game and shouldn't be allowed, since you can convince a CR 20 demon to leave you along with good enough roles on that count. Hell social skills shouldn't be allowed since that could also let a character bypass an encounter because he convinced the DM.

CR is a specific claim -- how difficult is it to beat this enemy in a fight. It's not making a claim about how easy it is to avoid that enemy, or persuade that enemy, or buy off that enemy. It's making a claim about how difficult it is to fight that enemy.


Could you at least read what I'm writing? Like at all. +10,000 to damage is an increase in raw power, it makes you better at what you're already good at. And it's not necessarily a meaningful increase. But versatility is clearly a different thing than raw power. Raw power for example lets you solve certain situations better. Versatility lets you contribute in more situations.

So "an enemy with 10k HP" is not a new situation you can solve with +10k damage?


Anyone who is not PUN PUN is not as powerful as they could be, period. Ergo that's a solved problem already, like 3.5 people solved that years ago, like 16 years ago we had an understanding of the difference between theoretical optimization and practical optimization at a table. I mean seriously. You don't make the most powerful character you can, unless you're a ****.

What is the difference? Is it just "theoretical optimization is anything that makes having a Fighter pointless"?


Characters have gobs of abilities in 4E, like way more abilities than they do in 3.5, except for spellcasters. I'm now convinced that you are really unfamiliar with both systems. Like as in I'm not even sure you've read through them. 4E fighters have at-will abilities, once per combat abilities, gobs and gobs of different technical abilities. The issue is that a controller feels much like another controller, because their abilities have to be similar because balance was a system objective.

Four different variations of "I stab it" is not four abilities. It's one.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 02:07 PM
You know divine power and heroics are both things that exist, right? Also the Dark Chaos Shuffle. And awaken cheese. And any number of other things that give Wizards better BAB and/or more feats than Fighters.

They're still missing class features for ubercharger, which you need to make it work. Or at least to make it work at peak efficiency. You can't DCS Supreme Power Attack, it's a class feature, if you're stealing class features you're an Illithid Savant or Pun Pun, and you're well outside of practical optimization. Also Wizards don't get Divine Power unless they do things that burn up the things they would need to use to be an Ubercharger. And Ubercharger requires utilization of feats that all have to be there simultaneously, ergo DCS is off the table unless you're using an Ougtyh Hole, and that's also well outside of Practical Optimization range.

The final Ubercharger did something like 40k damage in a charge round, Wizards don't get that. You could make a Wizard charger if you really felt the need to, but it wouldn't be as good as one built out of the mundane stuff. I mean acrobatic charge, there are class features than mundane folks for ubercharging that you can't replicate that way. At least not without stepping outside of practical optimization.

And if we're in TO land, my D2 crusader or Hulking Hurler still beat Wizards, like without even trying. Since an ubercharger has a damage limit and those are both NI.



CR is a specific claim -- how difficult is it to beat this enemy in a fight. It's not making a claim about how easy it is to avoid that enemy, or persuade that enemy, or buy off that enemy. It's making a claim about how difficult it is to fight that enemy.

Traps have CR, non combat encounters have CR, try again sparky.



So "an enemy with 10k HP" is not a new situation you can solve with +10k damage?

Well there are no enemies with that much damage. Although... if I had a party of a blaster wizard, a rogue, and a healbot cleric, and an ubercharger, you can sure as crap bet that occasionally I'd have enemies with grossly inflated HP totals to give the ubercharger a real chance to shine, as well as terrain features and such.



What is the difference? Is it just "theoretical optimization is anything that makes having a Fighter pointless"?

No... And you should know the difference even if you're even a little familiar with D&D optimization. This is reinforcing my "you have no idea about either system played at a high level". TO is anything that is possible within the rules. So Pun Pun, anything. PO is anything that you can have at a table that won't just get shut down. Infinite Loops are TO, and there are non-wizards, non-casters that get those (Crusader D2 loop for example.), or a hulking hurler.

And generally PO can make a fighter pointless without self-regulation on the part of the wizard, which is something you've missed like 50 times in this thread, the tier list helps you figure out what you should be doing to be a good party member.



Four different variations of "I stab it" is not four abilities. It's one.

You are wrong. Like flatout wrong. Just because you don't appreciate the difference doesn't mean others don't. I've made fighters based around tripping, that's an "I attack with my weapon" thing. But it sure as **** feels different in a game. Have you played a fighter in a relatively high optimization game? Ever? Have you played a 3.5 or 4E fighter? I doubt it. Or at least if you did you weren't the target audience for those classes.

Pex
2017-10-07, 02:21 PM
If i were to flatten the tier list a bit, I would make it so that Arcane Casting beyond a certain spell level (lets say spell level 4) costs HP. The higher spell level, the more HP it costs. There are ways to lower this cost- and for the max level spells these are necessary- but those are lost secrets that you need to adventure to find, and even those are not necessarily free.

To make sure Divine casters dont get too op because arcane got nerfed, I would make it so you have to do some special tasks (dependent on deity) to achieve spell level 5 and have to do more every spell level above that.

No. PCs should not be punished for doing what they're supposed to be doing which this most certainly would be. As Grod might say, you cannot and should not fix bad game design by making them annoying to use.

Talakeal
2017-10-07, 02:29 PM
I have a few objections to the idea that balance is a matter of the DM designing proper encounters:

First, a lot of DMs place verisimilitude and world building first when designing encounters. A lot of the time it just doesn't make sense for every encounter to be tailored to challenging the party. Some people don't care, but many do, and the players can and will call you out on throwing setting logic out the window to challenge them.


Second, players like their decisions to matter, and will get frustrated by a world that scales with them. See the many complaints about the video game Oblivion. I remember when I first started DMing I would tailor the encounters to the party, which would cause them to attempt to optimize harder, which would in turn cause me to make the monsters stronger, and it would repeat until we have totally one dimensional characters fighting ridiculous monsters and one mistake would result in a TPK. We dubbed this the cycle of stupidity and it was the bane of my game for many years. These days I find it much easier to simply balance around a set difficulty point which makes sense for the setting and make house rules to keep player power within an appropriate range.


Third, parties are diverse. If you just need to play to / counter a single party member that's one thing, but if you have a party of 4-6 people, several of which are severly over powered and others are severely under powered there is a relatively small number of encounters you can find that allow everyone to contribute, and even if you manage to find some of them you won't be able to do it every time without the game starting to feel monotonous.


Fourth, DMing is hard, and a lot of DMs don't know the game as well as their players. There is a lack of competent DM's in the hobby, and telling them to "git gud" and fix the balance issues on their own and blaming it when things don't work out is both counter productive and harmful to the longterm growth of the hobby.



Neither Ars Magica nor WoD put normal people on the same level of play as supernatural ones. Ars Magica has everyone play a magician, who is just straight-up better... or more powerful, since "better" clearly has bad connotations. Everyone also plays their mage's top non-magical enforcer and servants. It's a troupe-style play, completely different from D&D. WoD mortals operate on a completely different level than any supernatural beings and mixed parties aren't remotely the intent.

Its funny, I play Mage more than any other game, and in my experience mundane characters shine a lot more in that game than they do in D&D. The challenges in Mage are normally social or investigative in nature, and magic is rarely the win button it is in D&D, and we solve significantly more problems with our mundane character skills than with magic. I doubt any of us would even notice if we had a muggle in our chantry unless we directly asked them "Hey, what spheres do you have?".


No one is talking about "competing" with tier 1s. That's a losing proposition, which would also turn the game into even more of a ridiculous rocket tag than it is already. In this context, giving non-magical character options means simply making it less likely for them to be rendered irrelevant with a single spell.

Pretty sure Cosi, Quertus, and several others have been suggesting exactly that for several threads now.


The thing here is: you should not be playing a fighter. The fighter is made for just one thing: fighting. You want a class with lots of out of combat abilities: don't pick fighter.

Though this is not a problem: this is how the game is.

Whether or not it is a problem is entirely subjective. It is a problem for me because I like the idea of the hero fighting monsters and supernatural evils armed only with a strong will and a skilled sword arm, but that isn't all that I want from a character, and it is a strange artifact of the D&D class system that some fighting styles can contribute outside of combat and others cannot. It is even weirder that the class who can only fight is worse at fighting than many other classes with more versatility, and can be taken out of the fight at a caster's whim.

Also keep in mind that this problem is more or less unique to 3.X, other editions of D&D don't really suffer from it.


Swing wide, push forward, and cut them all in half. It's not hard if you ignore that pesky 'physics' thing, like the magician's been doing since Day 1. (Swinging SO hard that you cut the very air in half is optional but recommended.

Right, but what is actually happening here? If I set up a high speed video camera of the maneuver and watched the playback, what would I see?

Some of us are actually here for the world and character building aspect of the game more than "kewl powerz," and simply waving your hands and declaring "it happens" isn't good enough. And while the mage ignores RL physics, they are still following the laws of magic and are doing things that follow logic on a metaphysical level.


If you actually believe that I'd do all these ridiculous things, thats on you. Sure I may have mis-communicated, but anyone with logic can figure out that I do a bunch of reasonable things to make a game work or I wouldn't get any fun at all. Which I do.

I don't know you IRL, I have never spoken to you. All I have to go by is your posts on the forum. You were making extreme statements that seemed to contradict with your earlier point, and so I asked for a clarification rather than taking them at face value. Would you have preferred I simply used my "logic" to decide what you meant and proceeded from there?


But even fighters have the metagame aspects, they have to be aware of what magic items they need at certain level ranges, and what capabilities they need to contribute in particular situations where they're expected to. Which is where I think you were faltering from your description. Which to me means that you should play more powerful classes, since you don't have the mastery or knowledge to contribute the way you'd be expected to in the lower tier classes, which is a virtue and function of the tier system. It tells you which classes require more work to keep in range of the party. If you're playing a Truenamer, you're going to have to do A LOT of work to keep contributing. Which isn't bad, but it's useful to know.

That's not quite what I meant by meta-game limitation. Maybe "disassociated mechanic" would have been a better term?

Optimization has never been a worthwhile path for me. Most groups I am in have had a severe "no power-gamers" attitude, and we were always heavily constrained. Few allow players to use anything outside of the PHB, and most have arbitrary limitations placed on the PHB content. Banning monks is common, and I don't think I have ever been in a game that allowed gnomes or a 5E game that allowed feats. Few games allow players to buy magic items with gold, most of us are at the whims of the treasure tables, and I have never been in a game that allowed characters to create custom items.

In my previous I got chewed out for dominating combat playing a core only single class human fighter with charisma and wisdom as his high stats because great swords did too much damage already and I wanted to pick up weapon specialization to make it even higher, for making a dwarven fighter who had both dodge and shield specialization thus making her "unhittable," and a ranger who started the game with a +13 modifier for the heal skill.

But if you want to give me some advice as to how to make a fighter build that can meaningfully contribute outside of combat I would genuinely love to see it.


Yeah, the T1 is not the problem thread. My recollections are slightly different, but there are two ways to solve this: A) go back and look or B) hey Quertus are you still in this thread?

I went back and looked over that thread. It took about a dozen pages before we got a solid definition out of Quertus, but it seemed that he was defining T1 as someone with the power and versatility of a wizard but without the game breaking spells.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 02:33 PM
They're still missing class features for ubercharger, which you need to make it work. Or at least to make it work at peak efficiency. You can't DCS Supreme Power Attack, it's a class feature, if you're stealing class features you're an Illithid Savant or Pun Pun, and you're well outside of practical optimization.

Yes, you lose a power attack doubler. You understand that shape-shifting more than doubles the number of attacks you get, right?


And if we're in TO land, my D2 crusader or Hulking Hurler still beat Wizards, like without even trying. Since an ubercharger has a damage limit and those are both NI.

You mean the D2 Crusader that requires spellcasting? Because yes, that is so much better than a caster, and you are not being even a little bit intellectually dishonest.


Traps have CR, non combat encounters have CR, try again sparky.

Oh really, there's a CR for diplomatic encounters? You got that somewhere, "sparky"? Oh right, there's not. It's reasonable to be condescending, or to be wrong, but you should really stop trying to be both.


No... And you should know the difference even if you're even a little familiar with D&D optimization. This is reinforcing my "you have no idea about either system played at a high level". TO is anything that is possible within the rules. So Pun Pun, anything. PO is anything that you can have at a table that won't just get shut down. Infinite Loops are TO, and there are non-wizards, non-casters that get those (Crusader D2 loop for example.), or a hulking hurler.

Okay, you don't have a definition. "Play at a table and not get shut down" is meaningless, because you will be allowed to play different things at different tables. If I allow my group's Wizards to loop planar binding, and you don't, are planar binding loops TO or PO?


And generally PO can make a fighter pointless without self-regulation on the part of the wizard, which is something you've missed like 50 times in this thread, the tier list helps you figure out what you should be doing to be a good party member.

It is not incumbent on me to give you something to do. It is incumbent on you to do something useful. If you want to play a character that is worse at the things I do than I am, you should be prepared to not do very much.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 03:47 PM
I have a few objections to the idea that balance is a matter of the DM designing proper encounters:

First, a lot of DMs place verisimilitude and world building first when designing encounters. A lot of the time it just doesn't make sense for every encounter to be tailored to challenging the party. Some people don't care, but many do, and the players can and will call you out on throwing setting logic out the window to challenge them.

You don't have to destroy verisimilitude to have enemies that have different abilities. Like where are you getting that idea? Like it's not hard to do that, entangle doesn't work on high strength single targets very well, or things on fire, and those are not setting breaking to introduce occasionally.



Second, players like their decisions to matter, and will get frustrated by a world that scales with them. See the many complaints about the video game Oblivion. I remember when I first started DMing I would tailor the encounters to the party, which would cause them to attempt to optimize harder, which would in turn cause me to make the monsters stronger, and it would repeat until we have totally one dimensional characters fighting ridiculous monsters and one mistake would result in a TPK. We dubbed this the cycle of stupidity and it was the bane of my game for many years. These days I find it much easier to simply balance around a set difficulty point which makes sense for the setting and make house rules to keep player power within an appropriate range.

We're not discussing "scaling" we're discussing varying, do you also not understand the difference? The difference is that you as a DM know what your players abilities are, you as the DM can provide them with appropriate challenges, it's not super hard. It's not just bringing harder monsters, it's using a variety of monsters to provide meaningful tactical stimulation in combat.



Third, parties are diverse. If you just need to play to / counter a single party member that's one thing, but if you have a party of 4-6 people, several of which are severly over powered and others are severely under powered there is a relatively small number of encounters you can find that allow everyone to contribute, and even if you manage to find some of them you won't be able to do it every time without the game starting to feel monotonous.

Which is why I discussed ALTERNATING WHO IS IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Why is it that everybody who is arguing here is not reading what I am writing at all. This is getting very frustrating. Everybody does not need to contribute equally to every encounter, they just to feel like they are contributing often enough to some of them. In a party with a diplomacy focused bard, there needs to be social encounters he can dominate, so that he gets to enjoy his character, with a charge build, there needs to be large bags of hit dice he can charge, so he gets to enjoy his build.



Fourth, DMing is hard, and a lot of DMs don't know the game as well as their players. There is a lack of competent DM's in the hobby, and telling them to "git gud" and fix the balance issues on their own and blaming it when things don't work out is both counter productive and harmful to the longterm growth of the hobby.


Longterm growth of a system that is no longer supported and has not had active focus from major companies in ten years? 3.5 is dead dude, it's just living on by people who enjoy playing 3.5. And Pathfinder, but they are a different story in many ways, because you can directly appeal to their developers.

But yes, that's why it's incumbent on players not to be a **** as much as it is incumbent on a DM to be good, and no I'm not going to apologize for saying that a lot of bad games are the DM's fault



Its funny, I play Mage more than any other game, and in my experience mundane characters shine a lot more in that game than they do in D&D. The challenges in Mage are normally social or investigative in nature, and magic is rarely the win button it is in D&D, and we solve significantly more problems with our mundane character skills than with magic. I doubt any of us would even notice if we had a muggle in our chantry unless we directly asked them "Hey, what spheres do you have?".

And I hate to bring this up, but your games are hardly typical, dude. Your D&D games have been textbook examples of horrifically dysfunctional gaming to the point they became a forum meme for a while. Normally I wouldn't discount personal experience, but in your case, it doesn't really make a solid point here. Cause you play with people who would play wizards as scene stealing *******s, and there's no fix for that.



Pretty sure Cosi, Quertus, and several others have been suggesting exactly that for several threads now.

You are WRONG, we have been suggesting that it is possible to not be completely overshadowed as a fighter, and to not completely overshadow as a Wizard, and for a DM to build encounters to those two ends. We're not saying that a Tier 5 fighter becomes a Tier 1 character, we're saying that with the proper focus the characters can make up the difference.

We've also been suggesting that varied encounters is the goal



Whether or not it is a problem is entirely subjective. It is a problem for me because I like the idea of the hero fighting monsters and supernatural evils armed only with a strong will and a skilled sword arm, but that isn't all that I want from a character, and it is a strange artifact of the D&D class system that some fighting styles can contribute outside of combat and others cannot. It is even weirder that the class who can only fight is worse at fighting than many other classes with more versatility, and can be taken out of the fight at a caster's whim.

You shouldn't be taken out of the fight at a "caster's whim" unless you're not buying any defensive items, and then you're playing 3.5 not the way it's intended. A fighter should have enough tricks to avoid most save-or-suck spells once per combat, that's part of playing a good fighter.



Also keep in mind that this problem is more or less unique to 3.X, other editions of D&D don't really suffer from it.

You are wrong, this has been an issue to varying degrees in every version except for 4E.



That's not quite what I meant by meta-game limitation. Maybe "disassociated mechanic" would have been a better term?


Well that's harder to deal with because it's a large issue of you, personally, since your tastes and explanations are going to color more heavily what you consider to be "disassociated". Like I can rationalize that a Warblade might only get one opening to use a maneuver in a given time period, that makes it associated as far as I'm concerned. But you can't apparently do that, which means that you would have to look through.



Optimization has never been a worthwhile path for me. Most groups I am in have had a severe "no power-gamers" attitude, and we were always heavily constrained. Few allow players to use anything outside of the PHB, and most have arbitrary limitations placed on the PHB content. Banning monks is common, and I don't think I have ever been in a game that allowed gnomes or a 5E game that allowed feats. Few games allow players to buy magic items with gold, most of us are at the whims of the treasure tables, and I have never been in a game that allowed characters to create custom items.

More evidence that your groups are not playing 3.5 as intended.



In my previous I got chewed out for dominating combat playing a core only single class human fighter with charisma and wisdom as his high stats because great swords did too much damage already and I wanted to pick up weapon specialization to make it even higher, for making a dwarven fighter who had both dodge and shield specialization thus making her "unhittable," and a ranger who started the game with a +13 modifier for the heal skill.

Again, more evidence that your group is not playing D&D as intended and you shouldn't be using them as a benchmark for what actual play would be like.



But if you want to give me some advice as to how to make a fighter build that can meaningfully contribute outside of combat I would genuinely love to see it.


Well PM me, with the details of the campaign and I will give you my advice on that, I don't want to get this thread derailed any more with that, but it's certainly possible.


Yes, you lose a power attack doubler. You understand that shape-shifting more than doubles the number of attacks you get, right?


So prove me wrong, build a 20th level caster, with no focus on it, who can outdamage a hulking hurler/optimized ubercharger/D2 Crusader?

Also you realize that 2X power attack applies to very few natural attacks and that's a big part of what the ubercharger work right? Also you realize that an ubercharger is getting five per round. The best you can get with shapechange for forms THAT HAVE POUNCE (which you need to do it at all) is two claws, two rakes, and one bite. The claws only get regular power attack damage, the bite gets regular also. So you're losing more than half your damage just by becoming a form with more attacks, you can't just add attacks at random, you have to a be form with pounce to make it work. Or have pounce from something else and you haven't suggested anything that could give you pounce. That could maybe put you in the low hundreds damage-wise, but nowhere near 40k.

And you're losing more than that, your to-hit is still going to be tanked, because again you don't just "get" Divine Power as a Wizard, the ways you get that are going to require significant investment, and your to-hit is going to be even worse cause you can't use Shock Trooper, unless you're using infinite loops to give yourself feats that a wizard would never need for anything but ubercharging and if your wizard is only an ubercharger then it's kind of pointless since they're just an ubercharger, and they still lose in damage to a dedicated barbarian.



You mean the D2 Crusader that requires spellcasting? Because yes, that is so much better than a caster, and you are not being even a little bit intellectually dishonest.

It requires a second level spell, and that's only part of its trick, most of which doesn't require spellcasting.

Interesting how the Hulking Hurler is missing from all of your statements, since that's probably the most impressive. And it involves no infinite loops.



Oh really, there's a CR for diplomatic encounters? You got that somewhere, "sparky"? Oh right, there's not. It's reasonable to be condescending, or to be wrong, but you should really stop trying to be both.

DMG II. Adventure Paths, Every Published adventure from Wizards featuring social encounters. The Red Hand Of Doom. There are plenty of references to social encounters, and again you've dropped part of my argument, here let me get that for you. TRAPS. Seriously stop ignoring half my ****ing arguments, like do you get so excited to type your witty reply that you forget that there was more to the argument than you had?



Okay, you don't have a definition. "Play at a table and not get shut down" is meaningless, because you will be allowed to play different things at different tables. If I allow my group's Wizards to loop planar binding, and you don't, are planar binding loops TO or PO?

Bud, I have never heard of a group that allowed infinite loops in actual play outside of one-shot theorytesting, and I'd bet I've been around longer than you, in this. Frankly given your join date, it seems likely that you were not around for 3.5 Optimization, all of the things you're mentioning are the sort of things that people would say if they heard about these things second hand after the fact.



It is not incumbent on me to give you something to do. It is incumbent on you to do something useful. If you want to play a character that is worse at the things I do than I am, you should be prepared to not do very much.

Then you're an *******, and eventually you'll get not invited to games anymore. Seriously, if you ignore the social contract you'll get out of groups, there's no system that can fix you being a jackass.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-07, 04:07 PM
First, a lot of DMs place verisimilitude and world building first when designing encounters. A lot of the time it just doesn't make sense for every encounter to be tailored to challenging the party. Some people don't care, but many do, and the players can and will call you out on throwing setting logic out the window to challenge them.

It is true that it ''does not make sense'', but then it is not like it should ''make sense''. I lot of games, like D&D do even have the challenge thing in the rules.

You could fill a game with non-challenging encounters...but why would you want to? Such a game would be dull and boring. In general, no challenge = no fun.

A game should be a mix of encounters, easy, average, hard and of various challenges.....but as the game level goes up....the weaker ones should drop away. There is simply no point in having 15th characters encounter five giant rats.



Second, players like their decisions to matter, and will get frustrated by a world that scales with them. See the many complaints about the video game Oblivion. I remember when I first started DMing I would tailor the encounters to the party, which would cause them to attempt to optimize harder, which would in turn cause me to make the monsters stronger, and it would repeat until we have totally one dimensional characters fighting ridiculous monsters and one mistake would result in a TPK. We dubbed this the cycle of stupidity and it was the bane of my game for many years. These days I find it much easier to simply balance around a set difficulty point which makes sense for the setting and make house rules to keep player power within an appropriate range.

To be accurate, I do the Status Que: The Temple guards are 9th level fighters no matter ''what'' the Pcs are...

But the game scaling up in power is basic. Again, you don't want 10th level players doing the ''clear the giant rats out of the sewer''.

And this does get to the heart of the tier problem. Players don't like the scaled, powerful game....it forces them to ''work'' and then their characters are not ''awesome tier ones''. So they complain...the DMs cave in and make weak, pointless settings....and the players are safe ''not having to do anything'' and are ''tier one 4ever''.



Third, parties are diverse. If you just need to play to / counter a single party member that's one thing, but if you have a party of 4-6 people, several of which are severly over powered and others are severely under powered there is a relatively small number of encounters you can find that allow everyone to contribute, and even if you manage to find some of them you won't be able to do it every time without the game starting to feel monotonous.

It IS a lot of work for a DM. And it is another reason lots of DMs don't do it.



Fourth, DMing is hard, and a lot of DMs don't know the game as well as their players. There is a lack of competent DM's in the hobby, and telling them to "git gud" and fix the balance issues on their own and blaming it when things don't work out is both counter productive and harmful to the longterm growth of the hobby.

Yet another problem with the DMs.

It does just go to show: Play the game exactly as you have said(aka Way T) and, amazingly, you have the perfect tier problem. Don't play Way T, and have no problem.



Also keep in mind that this problem is more or less unique to 3.X, other editions of D&D don't really suffer from it.

Very true. And it is not just the rules...it is how the game is played(like you said above).

Cosi
2017-10-07, 04:09 PM
You are WRONG, we have been suggesting that it is possible to not be completely overshadowed as a fighter, and to not completely overshadow as a Wizard, and for a DM to build encounters to those two ends. We're not saying that a Tier 5 fighter becomes a Tier 1 character, we're saying that with the proper focus the characters can make up the difference.

So basically, not only do I have to design my character so you have something to do, the DM has to warp his campaign so you have something to do? No. Stop being entitled and give Fighters abilities that let them compete with Wizards by default, rather than requiring the whole game be warped around them.


So prove me wrong, build a 20th level caster, with no focus on it, who can outdamage a hulking hurler/optimized ubercharger/D2 Crusader?

Well, no one can out-damage infinite damage, so you're clearly not asking seriously. That said, nothing stops you from simply using planar binding get get +STR items bigger than whatever the damage number to beat is. Is that cheese/TO/whatever? Sure, but so is whatever build you have on the martial side.


The best you can get with shapechange for forms THAT HAVE POUNCE (which you need to do it at all) is two claws, two rakes, and one bite.

It doesn't matter if you have pounce in your current form, it matters if a form you passed through in this instance of shapechange had pounce, because you keep all Ex abilities until shapechange ends. You would think someone who is as firm in his superior knowledge of optimization as you would know the basics of shapechange abuse.


It requires a second level spell, and that's only part of its trick, most of which doesn't require spellcasting.

It's "part" of its trick in the same way that "turn into a Sarrukh" is "part" of Pun-Pun's trick. It's a part you need to make the trick work.


DMG II.

You mean the "special encounters" which notably do not have listed CRs, or the "mob" which you are expected to fight which does? I'm not going to read over the whole book just to be told "actually, it was in this other place", but it doesn't look good for you when the thing that lists non-combat encounters doesn't have CRs for them.


TRAPS.

You mean the thing that attacks you? Because I am totally comfortable describing that as a combat encounter.


Then you're an *******, and eventually you'll get not invited to games anymore. Seriously, if you ignore the social contract you'll get out of groups, there's no system that can fix you being a jackass.

Why? I didn't pick my character to obsolete yours any more than you picked yours to be obsoleted by mine. Why is it incumbent on me to design my character to give you a niche? Why shouldn't it be incumbent on you to design your character to give you a niche?

Talakeal
2017-10-07, 05:10 PM
Which is why I discussed ALTERNATING WHO IS IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Why is it that everybody who is arguing here is not reading what I am writing at all. This is getting very frustrating. Everybody does not need to contribute equally to every encounter, they just to feel like they are contributing often enough to some of them. In a party with a diplomacy focused bard, there needs to be social encounters he can dominate, so that he gets to enjoy his character, with a charge build, there needs to be large bags of hit dice he can charge, so he gets to enjoy his build.

I don't have a problem with that either, although in my experience there are specific tactics in D&D that can take out whole swathes of content.

Its funny though, I had basically the exact opposite discussion with Cosi in the last thread, where he said that a setup where different people can solve different problems is the definition of imbalance.


And I hate to bring this up, but your games are hardly typical, dude. Your D&D games have been textbook examples of horrifically dysfunctional gaming to the point they became a forum meme for a while. Normally I wouldn't discount personal experience, but in your case, it doesn't really make a solid point here. Cause you play with people who would play wizards as scene stealing *******s, and there's no fix for that.

Ok, but I have played Mage with a lot of different groups, and most of them have been phenomenal. I don't think I have posted a single horror story on this forum about something that happened in Mage.

So unless you are simply trying to call me a liar saying my personal experiences are all fabrications but are too polite to say it flat out I am not sure why me having bad experiences with D&D means that my good experiences in Mage are meaningless.

I have played a lot of RPGs with a lot of groups over a lot of years. I have had very good experiences and very bad experiences in a wide variety of games. Over that time a pattern has emerged that I have had a much higher ratio of positive experiences in Mage than D&D, and I think a large part of that is that Mage is built to be a mostly social game about resolving a wide variety of problems rather than a mostly combat game revolving around exploring dungeons, killing monsters, and looting treasure.



You are WRONG, we have been suggesting that it is possible to not be completely overshadowed as a fighter, and to not completely overshadow as a Wizard, and for a DM to build encounters to those two ends. We're not saying that a Tier 5 fighter becomes a Tier 1 character, we're saying that with the proper focus the characters can make up the difference.

That's a bit rude, don't you think?

Also, I didn't say you, I said Cosi, Quertus, and a few others, and I think you would find that my statement is objectively correct. Quertus had an entire thread about how T1 is the ideal balance point, and Cosi has directly stated dozens of times (most recently in the "hate for win buttons?" thread) that he believes that 3.X can and should be based around the power level of T1 casters and that everyone else is distinctly underpowered and that any sort of fair metric such as the "same game test" proves this to be correct.

I don't agree with him, but it is pretty weird that you are stating that I am wrong for simply noting that his argument exists.



You shouldn't be taken out of the fight at a "caster's whim" unless you're not buying any defensive items, and then you're playing 3.5 not the way it's intended. A fighter should have enough tricks to avoid most save-or-suck spells once per combat, that's part of playing a good fighter.

Depends on the game.

I have actually never played a martial in a high level game, most of my problems come from trying to deal with flying / climbing / swimming / ethereal / jumping / teleporting / burrowing / sniping / elevated / squeezing enemies in low level games.

I have, however, run and played in high level games where someone else's fighter spent half their time bored in a force cage, and I don't think it was necessarily their fault for not having cloaks of the mountebank, rods of negation, and intelligent swords of disintegration.



You are wrong, this has been an issue to varying degrees in every version except for 4E.

Note the "to varying degrees". I agree that casters are strong in most editions of D&D, but 3.X seems to be the only edition where it is such a pervasive problem.

In AD&D, which is what I have the most experience with, wizards had fewer spells, fewer defensive options, had their spells interrupted easily, and took forever to memorize spells (and didn't have as many ways to regain them mid adventure). Yeah, there were stronger than fighters at high levels, but not so much that the fighter was useless, and the situation was often reversed at lower levels where most of the game took place.



Well that's harder to deal with because it's a large issue of you, personally, since your tastes and explanations are going to color more heavily what you consider to be "disassociated". Like I can rationalize that a Warblade might only get one opening to use a maneuver in a given time period, that makes it associated as far as I'm concerned. But you can't apparently do that, which means that you would have to look through.

Ok, but they need to "prepare" their maneuvers before the fight starts, which iirc takes a full 5 minutes and they can never have more than half their known maneuvers prepared at any given time.

Does that actually seem realistic to you? Do you really think a real life fencer goes through their list of possible maneuvers before every fight, specifically prepares for certain ones, and then if the need arises for a different one during the fight it is completely impossible for them to even attempt it?

Also, the war-blade's skill list isn't significantly better than the fighters, especially when you factor in the need for the concentration skill.




More evidence that your groups are not playing 3.5 as intended.

That's a point of disagreement I think.

For me "core only" is the default game, and everything else is an add-on. Do you really think people aren't playing the game "as intended" until it is at the end of its publication cycle and the players have had the time and money to purchase and read through dozens of supplements?

And even if that was the case, I am fairly certain the authors intended the supplements to be modular and deciding what to use was an integral part of campaign prep, I think a "kitchen sink" game where everything is allowed is a rarity.


Again, more evidence that your group is not playing D&D as intended and you shouldn't be using them as a benchmark for what actual play would be like.

I have been in some super wacky super terrible games, I agree. But I have also played in a lot of very good games, and I have heard about plenty more, and in my experience most DM's ban a lot of stuff, much of it for arbitrary reasons.

For example, I watch Mathew Colville's games on Youtube, and he explicitly bans feats and gnomes (as has every in person 5E DM I have ever met) and he seems to be a great DM with a popular game and popular advice show about said game.

I think even the best DM's I have ever met would look at something like an uber-charger and shake their heads in the same way that they would a slow time demi plane created with genesis or a SLA wish used to grant XP free magic items.



Well PM me, with the details of the campaign and I will give you my advice on that, I don't want to get this thread derailed any more with that, but it's certainly possible.

If you like, but are you sure a spoiler tag won't suffice?

Quertus
2017-10-07, 05:17 PM
Hard to do all this point by point...

@Talakeal: I think AMFV covered most of what I'd say about your 4 points. It's not about power, it's about variety. Many GMs are "Tier 4" or "Tier 5" encounter builders, only building the same thing over and over again. But, if the GM knows how to do (that part of) their job, and the party still has issues, either with someone stepping on someone else's toes, or someone not having fun for whatever reason, it's time to talk to the party, find out what the problem is, and get everyone to agree on what can be done about it.


Its funny, I play Mage more than any other game, and in my experience mundane characters shine a lot more in that game than they do in D&D. The challenges in Mage are normally social or investigative in nature, and magic is rarely the win button it is in D&D, and we solve significantly more problems with our mundane character skills than with magic. I doubt any of us would even notice if we had a muggle in our chantry unless we directly asked them "Hey, what spheres do you have?".

As bad as a magical botch can be, Mage is definitely a game of, "Can we possibly solve this problem without magic? Yes? Then do that." Which makes me sad. So I tend to play idiots who overuse magic, even though it's a suicidally terrible idea.


Whether or not it is a problem is entirely subjective. It is a problem for me because I like the idea of the hero fighting monsters and supernatural evils armed only with a strong will and a skilled sword arm, but that isn't all that I want from a character, and it is a strange artifact of the D&D class system that some fighting styles can contribute outside of combat and others cannot. It is even weirder that the class who can only fight is worse at fighting than many other classes with more versatility, and can be taken out of the fight at a caster's whim.

Also keep in mind that this problem is more or less unique to 3.X, other editions of D&D don't really suffer from it.


You shouldn't be taken out of the fight at a "caster's whim" unless you're not buying any defensive items, and then you're playing 3.5 not the way it's intended. A fighter should have enough tricks to avoid most save-or-suck spells once per combat, that's part of playing a good fighter.


You are wrong, this has been an issue to varying degrees in every version except for 4E.

Talakeal likes to discuss no save, just fail effects like Force Cage. Clearly, making saves won't help. A fighter without access to items which grant a way out is, literally, stuck.

Some of us respond, clearly, a fighter without such gear is suboptimal, and needs to be buffed (geared?) to the point where he's useful.

Some of us respond, clearly, the GM is a **** for not taking the fighter's capabilities into account when designing that encounter.

Some of us respond, clearly, the party needs to learn to work better as a team (Reactive Counterspell springs to mind) to prevent this from ever happening in the first place.

Some of us respond that Force Cage is OP, or that Fighter is... UP.

But "no save, just fail" on a fighter who both can't fight optimally and can't contribute outside of combat? I'd argue that that was unique to 3e, IME.

EDIT:

I have, however, run and played in high level games where someone else's fighter spent half their time bored in a force cage, and I don't think it was necessarily their fault for not having cloaks of the mountebank, rods of negation, and intelligent swords of disintegration.

Was this a one-shot with a single, exceptionally long combat? Or did this same fighter get trapped multiple times by the same spell? And not just multiple times, but was out of the game half the time from this one spell?!

If so, this is a cataclysmic failure of the GM to provide varied encounters, and of the fighter and his party to learn. Everyone gets an F on that one. :smallannoyed:


I went back and looked over that thread. It took about a dozen pages before we got a solid definition out of Quertus, but it seemed that he was defining T1 as someone with the power and versatility of a wizard but without the game breaking spells.

:smallredface: Yeah, it was a while before I was forced to remedy the disconnect between my understanding and the actual (terrible, imo) tier definitions.

Tier 1 minus broken? That's good, too, imo. Power x Versatility may run the risk of being same-y, but at least characters will get to do something. So Power + Versatility may be a better goal, but they're both good, imo.

Yet neither of these good design goals have a spot on the existing tier list, because neither has an exemplar in the existing base classes.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 05:37 PM
I don't have a problem with that either, although in my experience there are specific tactics in D&D that can take out whole swathes of content.

That is true, that's why you need to know a great deal of stuff, so that you can introduce content that those tactics are less effective against sometimes. It's important to have tactics vary. It's also important to include that content occasionally. If your player builds an ubercharger, then he should be able to charge on occasion. Same as if your player builds a Battlefield Control Druid, they should have a fight where they can incapacitate bunches of mooks and help the party succeed. That's key, to give everybody a chance to shine. You're not trying to beat the players you're trying to challenge them. It's a different dynamic.



Its funny though, I had basically the exact opposite discussion with Cosi in the last thread, where he said that a setup where different people can solve different problems is the definition of imbalance.

Maybe, but I'm not arguing that the system is balanced, I'm saying that the inherent imbalance in the system is not a significant problem for the system. It's not something that really needs much work to have not be a huge problem at a table, unless you're completely ignoring everybody else at the table and playing only to your own whims.



Ok, but I have played Mage with a lot of different groups, and most of them have been phenomenal. I don't think I have posted a single horror story on this forum about something that happened in Mage.

I'm sorry I don't remember all the horror stories that you posted that well, because there have been a lot of them. And I'm glad that your Mage groups were awesome, but the fact that your D&D groups means that your comparison may be not as accurate as if you had either bad groups in both systems or good groups in both systems.



So unless you are simply trying to call me a liar saying my personal experiences are all fabrications but are too polite to say it flat out I am not sure why me having bad experiences with D&D means that my good experiences in Mage are meaningless.

No, I was addressing your D&D experiences which are legendarily bad and you've posted a lot of those, and that tells me, from the stuff you've said here, and in other threads that you don't have as good a background in terms of D&D to discuss what the stuff is that's going on in terms of how D&D is often played. For most of your groups I think you'd have problems regardless of system.



I have played a lot of RPGs with a lot of groups over a lot of years. I have had very good experiences and very bad experiences in a wide variety of games. Over that time a pattern has emerged that I have had a much higher ratio of positive experiences in Mage than D&D, and I think a large part of that is that Mage is built to be a mostly social game about resolving a wide variety of problems rather than a mostly combat game revolving around exploring dungeons, killing monsters, and looting treasure.

That's very possible, different people like different things.



That's a bit rude, don't you think?

Also, I didn't say you, I said Cosi, Quertus, and a few others, and I think you would find that my statement is objectively correct. Quertus had an entire thread about how T1 is the ideal balance point, and Cosi has directly stated dozens of times (most recently in the "hate for win buttons?" thread) that he believes that 3.X can and should be based around the power level of T1 casters and that everyone else is distinctly underpowered and that any sort of fair metric such as the "same game test" proves this to be correct.

I don't agree with him, but it is pretty weird that you are stating that I am wrong for simply noting that his argument exists.

It's possible I was misunderstanding what you've said, I've had a lot of issues with people either twisting my words in this thread, or completely ignoring big chunks of what I've said. I apologize if that's the case. I don't think T1 is necessarily a good "balance point" because I think that balance points are entirely group dependent, a DM should study how his group handles different kinds of challenges and balance accordingly.



Depends on the game.

I have actually never played a martial in a high level game, most of my problems come from trying to deal with flying / climbing / swimming / ethereal / jumping / teleporting / burrowing / sniping / elevated / squeezing enemies in low level games.

I have, however, run and played in high level games where someone else's fighter spent half their time bored in a force cage, and I don't think it was necessarily their fault for not having cloaks of the mountebank, rods of negation, and intelligent swords of disintegration.

It was their fault for not having the items that they should have at that level. Flat-out. That's how 3.5 is designed. If you're a wizard you read which spells you need, if you're a fighter you read what items you need. That's part of the game, and if that's not to your liking there are many games that don't have that aspect AD&D, Retroclones, many many games. But in 3.5 that's a system aspect.

And just for kicks let me help you with each of those problems at low level:

Flying/Climbing/Elevated/Sniping

Ranged Weapons are your go-to here, as a fighter you should have at least one solid ranged weapon on your character at all times, in low level things that are flying and climbing usually are not fast enough to avoid that, so that's a great option to keep your character plinking away. Now you might not do as much damage as you would close range, but you'll be pretty effective.

Swimming
Take ranks in swim? I mean this depends largely on the kind of campaign you're running. Potions of Waterbreathing are a thing and you should have those by the levels you're going to be spending large amounts of time underwater. If you're going to be doing that. There are items also that have similar effects, I can't remember the name of it, but it's like a bubble helmet (it might be a first level spell in Pathfinder), but that would be another option. Also high con characters can hold their breath for like minutes, so longer than pretty much any combat lasts.

Ethereal

+1 Weapon, even if you're only going by the rolled tables and can't buy items (which breaks the game pretty much at high levels, and damages it badly at low levels. But you should still get at least one weapon that's +1, even if it isn't a type you like, keep it for that particular occasion. And here is an area where fighters are generally not as good, it's okay to not be able to solve this problem as well as wizards, this is their time to shine. Their moment in the spotlight.

Jumping/Climbing/Teleporting

Not really an issue. I mean at the right levels get the items for matching that or your own special movement, but again ranged weapon when they're far off and when they're close then hit them, get ways to get AoOs to hit them at close range.




Note the "to varying degrees". I agree that casters are strong in most editions of D&D, but 3.X seems to be the only edition where it is such a pervasive problem.

In AD&D, which is what I have the most experience with, wizards had fewer spells, fewer defensive options, had their spells interrupted easily, and took forever to memorize spells (and didn't have as many ways to regain them mid adventure). Yeah, there were stronger than fighters at high levels, but not so much that the fighter was useless, and the situation was often reversed at lower levels where most of the game took place.

I think access to the internet and different player groups is really what's caused that appearance.



Ok, but they need to "prepare" their maneuvers before the fight starts, which iirc takes a full 5 minutes and they can never have more than half their known maneuvers prepared at any given time.

It takes one standard action, and there are ways around the other thing. But no I don't have a problem with a fighter thinking about what they might need to do in a fight.



Does that actually seem realistic to you? Do you really think a real life fencer goes through their list of possible maneuvers before every fight, specifically prepares for certain ones, and then if the need arises for a different one during the fight it is completely impossible for them to even attempt it?


Yes, they do, and if somebody does something unexpected it might take them a second (while they flourish their weapon) to adjust to that unexpected circumstance, it's not hard to make it work in your brain, but you have to for it. And I can understand if you can't.

Warblades refresh maneuvers by flourishing their weapons.



Also, the war-blade's skill list isn't significantly better than the fighters, especially when you factor in the need for the concentration skill.

Getting cross-class skills is pretty easy, especially since multi-classing doesn't really hurt TOB characters that much. Also there's no reason to take the Concentration skill unless you're using Diamond Mind, which is super useful but not necessary for all builds. I find that there are other options for Warblades than that. I mean they already have a good fort, so a save replacer may not be necessary, and it isn't always, and you can do the others with items as needed.


[QUOTE=Talakeal;22456086]
That's a point of disagreement I think.

For me "core only" is the default game, and everything else is an add-on. Do you really think people aren't playing the game "as intended" until it is at the end of its publication cycle and the players have had the time and money to purchase and read through dozens of supplements?

And even if that was the case, I am fairly certain the authors intended the supplements to be modular and deciding what to use was an integral part of campaign prep, I think a "kitchen sink" game where everything is allowed is a rarity.

This is true, and a core only game is a hurt on martials, but you still have a bunch of magic items you should have in a core only game. Which is what you're missing. Here is a good list of what a martial character should have as they level:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?187851-3-5-Lists-of-Necessary-Magic-Items



I have been in some super wacky super terrible games, I agree. But I have also played in a lot of very good games, and I have heard about plenty more, and in my experience most DM's ban a lot of stuff, much of it for arbitrary reasons.

For example, I watch Mathew Colville's games on Youtube, and he explicitly bans feats and gnomes (as has every in person 5E DM I have ever met) and he seems to be a great DM with a popular game and popular advice show about said game.

I think even the best DM's I have ever met would look at something like an uber-charger and shake their heads in the same way that they would a slow time demi plane created with genesis or a SLA wish used to grant XP free magic items.

Well the as-written ubercharger does 40,000 damage in a round. That's pretty much not a practical optimization exercise, I mean it's kind-of, because it can only do one thing really really well, but it's really on the edge. You can however make something slightly less good at it and very similarly without huge issues.

Well if the DM is banning a bunch of stuff, that's probably a sign that you need to adjust to that, but it can shift the whole system paradigm, 3.5 without magic items isn't really 3.5, it's a different game (and one where Wizards are WAY more powerful).



If you like, but are you sure a spoiler tag won't suffice?

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?258580-Famous-optimized-character-builds

That's a good starting point, but if Shield Focus is too OP, this would literally murder your groups in terms of their likelihood of complaining about it. I would need to know a great deal more about the campaign in question. A Kingmaker style social campaign would want very different things from a versatile fighter than a dungeon crawl might.

And some of the PO ones there are downright reasonable.




Talakeal likes to discuss no save, just fail effects like Force Cage. Clearly, making saves won't help. A fighter without access to items which grant a way out is, literally, stuck.

Some of us respond, clearly, a fighter without such gear is suboptimal, and needs to be buffed (geared?) to the point where he's useful.

Some of us respond, clearly, the GM is a **** for not taking the fighter's capabilities into account when designing that encounter.

Some of us respond, clearly, the party needs to learn to work better as a team (Reactive Counterspell springs to mind) to prevent this from ever happening in the first place.

Some of us respond that Force Cage is OP, or that Fighter is... UP.

Well it's a little of all of the above, although Force Cage is not OP. Also it's worth noting that having a character disabled for one encounter occasionally is probably fine, again that's one encounter, that's not turned to stone forever as in AD&D and sometimes you have to take the backseat in an encounter. So I wouldn't stress overmuch over that. And if the DM has something that can cast Forcecage in every encounter, the DM is both a **** for picking on the fighter, and the fighter is an idiot for not developing countermeasures.



But "no save, just fail" on a fighter who both can't fight optimally and can't contribute outside of combat? I'd argue that that was unique to 3e, IME.

Nah, man 2E is WAY worse, they have a bunch of no-save things that can screw you, turn you to stone, polymorph you, or things where the save roll gets worse and you never get better at it. Now a lot of those were traps or were expected but in AD&D a Basilisk or a Vampire could permanently screw a fighter with very few ways they could help because save boosters weren't a thing in those editions as much, and you didn't have a magic item mart.

As far as the out-of-combat thing... I think that the problem is that 3.5 fighter take more work to make work out of combat and so you have to do things to make that actually take place.

Cluedrew
2017-10-07, 05:40 PM
:smallredface: Yeah, it was a while before I was forced to remedy the disconnect between my understanding and the actual (terrible, imo) tier definitions.I thought the did an alright job of describing... well the particular thing it set out to describe, a combination of power and versatility. The scale goes all the way from "go all out to challenge them" to "handle with care". With the Truenamer (the only class described as broken on the list) of to the side and being weird. Theme, ease of play and so on are all outside of it.

You know I think I know another reason people don't like the tier system, they don't understand it. I'm not going to claim to have perfect understanding of it, but seen enough different views of it that they can't all be correct (although some where views of views I think). And some of those misunderstandings lead to problems.

Tinkerer
2017-10-07, 05:48 PM
It was their fault for not having the items that they should have at that level. Flat-out. That's how 3.5 is designed. If you're a wizard you read which spells you need, if you're a fighter you read what items you need. That's part of the game, and if that's not to your liking there are many games that don't have that aspect AD&D, Retroclones, many many games. But in 3.5 that's a system aspect.

Oh I forgot, that was one of the other methods that I used to address the tier situation in 3.5 back in the day. Eliminate the wizards unlimited gold mines and increase the cost of operating a wizard so they start going down from about 100% WBL at level 1 to about 60% of WBL at level 20. Not my favourite method but it worked out pretty well. I hate it when people say that fighters should rely on items when the classes are getting the same amount of cash (assuming you eliminate the gold mines). So things like higher level spells have to be written in specially enchanted ink which costs an arm and a leg. It wasn't the prettiest solution but it worked decently.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 06:02 PM
I thought the did an alright job of describing... well the particular thing it set out to describe, a combination of power and versatility. The scale goes all the way from "go all out to challenge them" to "handle with care". With the Truenamer (the only class described as broken on the list) of to the side and being weird. Theme, ease of play and so on are all outside of it.

You know I think I know another reason people don't like the tier system, they don't understand it. I'm not going to claim to have perfect understanding of it, but seen enough different views of it that they can't all be correct (although some where views of views I think). And some of those misunderstandings lead to problems.

Imagine that the tier list had been built by counting how many PO and how many TO builds use each base class. And that then people started deciding which class they wanted to allow in their game based off this new tier list.

Obviously, it would be a stupid way to try to make the game run smoothly.

It is, imo, equally stupid to just use the existing tier list as a measure of what a character is, without looking deeper. The problem is, it's not quite as blatantly obvious just how stupid that is. So I hate the tier list for obfuscating stupidity.

Now, sure, as "Baby's First Game Balance Primer", it's not terrible. But, because it isn't labeled as such, and because it wasn't immediately followed up with "Beginner's Guide to Game Balance", let alone more advanced works on the subject, its existence is often actively detrimental to, of all things, discussions about game balance. :smallannoyed:

But, wait, there's more!

Because, contrary to some modern lines of thought, "balance" isn't actually a synonym with "fun". In fact, for many, it has a negative correlation. So, really, for the tier system to more consistently have a positive impact on net fun, it also requires the existence of other advanced treatises from outside the "Guide to Game Balance" line.

There. How's that for a reason to dislike the tier system?

AMFV
2017-10-07, 06:16 PM
Oh I forgot, that was one of the other methods that I used to address the tier situation in 3.5 back in the day. Eliminate the wizards unlimited gold mines and increase the cost of operating a wizard so they start going down from about 100% WBL at level 1 to about 60% of WBL at level 20. Not my favourite method but it worked out pretty well. I hate it when people say that fighters should rely on items when the classes are getting the same amount of cash (assuming you eliminate the gold mines). So things like higher level spells have to be written in specially enchanted ink which costs an arm and a leg. It wasn't the prettiest solution but it worked decently.

That's definitely a workable way to limit wizards. It might not work as well if somebody does like an "EZ Bake Wizard", which might be my first instinct in that sort of system. Although you could just have the setting itself enforce that. Like Wizards are union and they need to pay dues, the more powerful the more dues, and if they violate their dues then the other wizards come after them. Similar stuff could work for Clerics and Druids, in fact that'd be easier since they have societal obligations as a more inherent part of their character.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 06:30 PM
That's definitely a workable way to limit wizards. It might not work as well if somebody does like an "EZ Bake Wizard", which might be my first instinct in that sort of system. Although you could just have the setting itself enforce that. Like Wizards are union and they need to pay dues, the more powerful the more dues, and if they violate their dues then the other wizards come after them. Similar stuff could work for Clerics and Druids, in fact that'd be easier since they have societal obligations as a more inherent part of their character.

I mean, honestly, spell components aside, I'd be perfectly happy running "all wizards have Cow of Poverty, but with no bonuses" in 3e, because magic items just aren't "cool" in 3e like they were in earlier editions. There is no Amulet of Caterpillar Control, no Wand of Misplaced Objects, no Unicorn hilt blade crafted from the iron distilled from the blood of a thousand virgins blah blah blah cool stuff.

Oh, and giving Fighters, Rogues, and Monks 2x to 10x WBL. Especially Monks.

Talakeal
2017-10-07, 06:57 PM
It doesn't matter if you have pounce in your current form, it matters if a form you passed through in this instance of shapechange had pounce, because you keep all Ex abilities until shapechange ends. You would think someone who is as firm in his superior knowledge of optimization as you would know the basics of shapechange abuse.

Can someone please address this point, or link me to a discussion of it?

I have never seen this particular bit of munchkinery discussed before, and I would really like to look at the underlying logic behind this interpretation.

I have actually run a game for someone who was an extreme munchkin / rules lawyer player and single handedly wrecked a campaign using shape-change and even he didn't try and go that far with it.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 07:13 PM
Can someone please address this point, or link me to a discussion of it?

I have never seen this particular bit of munchkinery discussed before, and I would really like to look at the underlying logic behind this interpretation.

I have actually run a game for someone who was an extreme munchkin / rules lawyer player and single handedly wrecked a campaign using shape-change and even he didn't try and go that far with it.

It doesn't really matter because a level 20 Wizard doesn't have pounce in his native form. Since that's a class feature that takes multiclassing and no self-respecting optimizing 20th level wizard would do that. He's just looking for snappy things to point out, and not actually engaging any of the pertinent points, or even really paying attention to what I'm arguing outside of looking for snappy come backs.

But yes, you do retain (Ex) abilities. But again how would you get pounce as a level 20 Wizard? I mean you could dip in Barbarian but that's proving that you need to give up power as a wizard and take a level in a mundane class to do it.

Edit: I wasn't going to respond to this but now it's becoming part of the larger discussion.


So basically, not only do I have to design my character so you have something to do, the DM has to warp his campaign so you have something to do? No. Stop being entitled and give Fighters abilities that let them compete with Wizards by default, rather than requiring the whole game be warped around them.

Yes, you have to not be an *******, that's pretty much a big part of everybody's playing. Also NO PROPOSED SOLUTION HAS MADE FIGHTERS TIER 1. None, there's no solution that does that. There's no option that does that. No houserules I have ever seen have done that. The only way to do that is to take Wizards/Clerics/Sorcerers/Psions etc. out of the game completely and replace with weaker casters.



Well, no one can out-damage infinite damage, so you're clearly not asking seriously. That said, nothing stops you from simply using planar binding get get +STR items bigger than whatever the damage number to beat is. Is that cheese/TO/whatever? Sure, but so is whatever build you have on the martial side.

Stacking rules, limitations on Wish, both stop you from doing that.



It doesn't matter if you have pounce in your current form, it matters if a form you passed through in this instance of shapechange had pounce, because you keep all Ex abilities until shapechange ends. You would think someone who is as firm in his superior knowledge of optimization as you would know the basics of shapechange abuse.

How the **** are you getting pounce as a level 20 Wizard built for Wizarding? Like how, describe to me how you have pounce, and not some light semi-pounce that's way less effective. Like actual pounce . The ubercharger gets pounce from levels of Barbarian, or Singh Rager, or a Paladin Spell. Wizards don't have any way to access that outside of polymorphing.



Why? I didn't pick my character to obsolete yours any more than you picked yours to be obsoleted by mine. Why is it incumbent on me to design my character to give you a niche? Why shouldn't it be incumbent on you to design your character to give you a niche?

If I have to explain to you why "Don't be a ****" is important there is no helping you and there is no table that would be okay with that.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 07:26 PM
Can someone please address this point, or link me to a discussion of it?

I can try to explain it. There's also a discussion of it in this thread (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=7059) (I think page 3 or 4, could be wrong).

First, let me say that the 3e rules for formchanging magic are a nightmare to parse correctly, so it is entirely possible that there is text in some book*, or piece of errata that supersedes what I'm claiming. To know the full RAW rulings for what any particular piece of form changing magic does in 3e, you have to check three different books (PHB, PHB II, Rules Compendium), any errata to those, and any other sources (like web articles, Ask Sage, or the FAQ) that you consider authoritative. Then you have to debate how those rulings interact, and how the ability inherits from whatever it inherits from. And which texts you accept as legitimate change the results wildly, to say nothing of less objective questions like "Wolf Fu or Octopus Fu" or "how do restrictions inherit". That said, for the version of shapechange presented in the PHB and the SRD, I believe the conclusions I'm presenting are correct.

As a final disclaimer, I'm not saying you should play shapechange this way in a game, or that this particular interpretation of the rules of shapechange is balanced. It's my personal opinion that the rules governing form-changing magic need to be replaced wholesale, as no combination of printed rulings produces something balanced.

So here we go.

The key text is this passage from the rules for shapechange (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shapechange.htm):


You gain all extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form, but you lose your own supernatural abilities.

I think that's pretty clear, actually. When you assume a new form, you get whatever Ex and Su abilities it has, and you lose whatever Su abilities your old form has. As such, transforming into a Lion (with Ex pounce) would give you pounce until shapechange expires, or is dispelled, or is somehow lost.

*: Most likely the Rules Compendium, source of any number of ... interesting rulings, but possibly somewhere else as well.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 07:32 PM
Yes, you have to not be an *******, that's pretty much a big part of everybody's playing. Also NO PROPOSED SOLUTION HAS MADE FIGHTERS TIER 1. None, there's no solution that does that. There's no option that does that. No houserules I have ever seen have done that. The only way to do that is to take Wizards/Clerics/Sorcerers/Psions etc. out of the game completely and replace with weaker casters.

Or, you ban the abilities that break the game, and then no one is Tier One because JaronK defined the tier as "breaks the game". If you take away planar binding et al, there are no more Tier Ones.


Stacking rules, limitations on Wish, both stop you from doing that.

There are no limitations on wishes for magical items. You can wish for any magic item you want. The normal limit is that wish requires you to pay a stupidly enormous pile of XP to get a +100,000 Belt of Giant's Strength, but if you are using SLA wish (as an Efreet produced with planar binding would) or Su wish (as you would if shapechanged into a Zodar), you don't pay the XP cost so you care not a bit for how large it nominally is.


If I have to explain to you why "Don't be a ****" is important there is no helping you and there is no table that would be okay with that.

I'm not asking why I shouldn't be a ... whatever it is you're calling me. I'm asking why building the character I want makes me an again, whatever it is, because it overshadows your character. I didn't pick my character to overshadow yours. Why am I suddenly being an I still don't know what for a choice you made?

AMFV
2017-10-07, 07:43 PM
Or, you ban the abilities that break the game, and then no one is Tier One because JaronK defined the tier as "breaks the game". If you take away planar binding et al, there are no more Tier Ones.


That isn't how JaronK defines the tiers:



Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

And I've never seen a ban list that would work for what you're describing, ever. Not ever. There is no ban list that would push a wizard down a tier short of banning schools at a time of spells. And it still wouldn't work because you'd still have Tier 1s.



There are no limitations on wishes for magical items. You can wish for any magic item you want. The normal limit is that wish requires you to pay a stupidly enormous pile of XP to get a +100,000 Belt of Giant's Strength, but if you are using SLA wish (as an Efreet produced with planar binding would) or Su wish (as you would if shapechanged into a Zodar), you don't pay the XP cost so you care not a bit for how large it nominally is.

But it doesn't allow to create custom items, and there's no such thing as a +100,000 belt of Giant Strength. Those are capped, so you'd have to show that such an item existed, and to my knowledge they don't. I'm not sure that there are any rules that would allow to create an item that doesn't exist, and one that could not be created with other 9th level magic. I would personally stomp that even in a TO exercise that's not going to much traction. I mean by the item creation rules that would take something substantially more powerful than generally exists in the universe.

Also the experience cost to create that item would exceed the value of experience in the universe, so it would be pretty reasonable to shoot that down, since it could not possibly have been created. Or at least you would have to do some very fast talking with a very loose DM to pull that off.



I'm not asking why I shouldn't be a ... whatever it is you're calling me. I'm asking why building the character I want makes me an again, whatever it is, because it overshadows your character. I didn't pick my character to overshadow yours. Why am I suddenly being an I still don't know what for a choice you made?

Because D&D is a social game. I love playing Wizards, casters are my fave. But... When I play in a group, I have to take steps to not visibly solve every problem. Pretty much every time I've played a Wizard that's been the case, hell the last game I played I was a gish and that was still the case, cause I'm quick to think up unusual spell solutions for things. My rule was that I would allow myself to solve one or two encounters solidly, and then not stop anything but only do more supportive things. I still get to feel like I'm Batman, I'm a member of the party and now nobody else is pissed off at me. Does that make sense to you? That's why you do that, cause it's more fun for everybody.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 07:47 PM
Well it's a little of all of the above, although Force Cage is not OP. Also it's worth noting that having a character disabled for one encounter occasionally is probably fine, again that's one encounter, that's not turned to stone forever as in AD&D and sometimes you have to take the backseat in an encounter. So I wouldn't stress overmuch over that. And if the DM has something that can cast Forcecage in every encounter, the DM is both a **** for picking on the fighter, and the fighter is an idiot for not developing countermeasures.

Nah, man 2E is WAY worse, they have a bunch of no-save things that can screw you, turn you to stone, polymorph you, or things where the save roll gets worse and you never get better at it. Now a lot of those were traps or were expected but in AD&D a Basilisk or a Vampire could permanently screw a fighter with very few ways they could help because save boosters weren't a thing in those editions as much, and you didn't have a magic item mart.

As far as the out-of-combat thing... I think that the problem is that 3.5 fighter take more work to make work out of combat and so you have to do things to make that actually take place.

I find most "no save, just lose" options potentially OP, personally. And IME "turned to stone" was rarely forever in 2e.

But 2e didn't (generally) have "save DCs", it just had Saving Throws: roll this or better on a d20 to ignore the effect. And, if a high level fighter failed a save on anything but a 1, he wasn't trying / wasn't getting level-appropriate loot. Seriously, a 17th level Fighter's base Save vs Poison/Death was a 3+, and even his worst base save was a 6+. A single +5 item makes those all in the "why are you wasting your time with stupid SoD effects?" range.

Yes, a few things, like Sleep, didn't allow a saving throw, and a few people, like me, were clever enough to actually think to stack things that gave save penalties... But I'm not really remembering the average 2e Fighter in the average adventure worrying about magic like the 3e Fighter does.


So basically, not only do I have to design my character so you have something to do, the DM has to warp his campaign so you have something to do? No. Stop being entitled and give Fighters abilities that let them compete with Wizards by default, rather than requiring the whole game be warped around them.

Why? I didn't pick my character to obsolete yours any more than you picked yours to be obsoleted by mine. Why is it incumbent on me to design my character to give you a niche? Why shouldn't it be incumbent on you to design your character to give you a niche?


Yes, you have to not be an *******, that's pretty much a big part of everybody's playing. Also NO PROPOSED SOLUTION HAS MADE FIGHTERS TIER 1. None, there's no solution that does that. There's no option that does that. No houserules I have ever seen have done that. The only way to do that is to take Wizards/Clerics/Sorcerers/Psions etc. out of the game completely and replace with weaker casters.

If I have to explain to you why "Don't be a ****" is important there is no helping you and there is no table that would be okay with that.

So, imo, this is actually an interesting point.

The classic argument goes, the Rogue spent 20 skill points giving himself a niche of stealth, and the Wizard invalidates that by picking invisibility.

Now, in 3e, that's just dumb, because the correct answer is to have the Wizard throw invisibility on the Rogue, giving him a +40 to stealth.

But, ignoring how that specific example is dumb for a second, it is a valid question of whose job is it to deal with overlapping areas of specialization. Personally, my answer is, it's up to both players, or even the entire group, to talk it out if someone is upset by something, including feeling that their character doesn't have a role to play.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 07:59 PM
I find most "no save, just lose" options potentially OP, personally. And IME "turned to stone" was rarely forever in 2e.

But 2e didn't (generally) have "save DCs", it just had Saving Throws: roll this or better on a d20 to ignore the effect. And, if a high level fighter failed a save on anything but a 1, he wasn't trying / wasn't getting level-appropriate loot. Seriously, a 17th level Fighter's base Save vs Poison/Death was a 3+, and even his worst base save was a 6+. A single +5 item makes those all in the "why are you wasting your time with stupid SoD effects?" range.

Yes, a few things, like Sleep, didn't allow a saving throw, and a few people, like me, were clever enough to actually think to stack things that gave save penalties... But I'm not really remembering the average 2e Fighter in the average adventure worrying about magic like the 3e Fighter does.


I think that's because gearing is way more significant in 3.5, or at least they basically made a mini-game that focuses on gearing. So the 3.5 fighter is expected to have more gear than a 2E fighter. It's also worth noting that different spells had power in 2E, like damage spells were a lot better since HP capped a lot lower. And as you point out the roll this or better on a 20 was a thing. Now in 2E there was a lot of worry about no save things which were often traps, and the like.



So, imo, this is actually an interesting point.

The classic argument goes, the Rogue spent 20 skill points giving himself a niche of stealth, and the Wizard invalidates that by picking invisibility.

Now, in 3e, that's just dumb, because the correct answer is to have the Wizard throw invisibility on the Rogue, giving him a +40 to stealth.

But, ignoring how that specific example is dumb for a second, it is a valid question of whose job is it to deal with overlapping areas of specialization. Personally, my answer is, it's up to both players, or even the entire group, to talk it out if someone is upset by something, including feeling that their character doesn't have a role to play.

Very much so, and the tier list really helps in this regard, because it lets people know beforehand where problems are likely to be, that's what it is for. That's its purpose. If you make a Wizard, Archivist, Druid, or Cleric you know that you might have to do things to buff others or to avoid hogging the spotlight and solving every problem. If you make a Rogue or Fighter, you know that you might have to more heavily optimize to get into the spotlight. And as DM you know where your players stand and have a better idea of their abilities than anybody, but that gives you a starting point.

Theoretically, you can do this because of the tier list without people even realizing it and becoming upset.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 08:03 PM
But it doesn't allow to create custom items, and there's no such thing as a +100,000 belt of Giant Strength.

Is a custom item a magic item?


Also the experience cost to create that item would exceed the value of experience in the universe, so it would be pretty reasonable to shoot that down, since it could not possibly have been created. Or at least you would have to do some very fast talking with a very loose DM to pull that off.

The question is, of course, not "what would a DM allow" but instead "what do the rules say".


Does that make sense to you? That's why you do that, cause it's more fun for everybody.

Why should you play down, instead of other people building up? It seems to me that the position you're advocating for is that the game should give Wizards a giant pile of power, then ask them very nicely to use only a small portion of it. Why give them that power to begin with if using it makes them disruptive? Why not just design the Wizard to have the amount of power we want Wizards to use?

AMFV
2017-10-07, 08:23 PM
Is a custom item a magic item?

I'm not sure in this case. I know that that was never considered as a TO trick, and I don't remember why not, I suspect because the idea of creating a custom item that literally exceeds all known magic item powers would not be appropriate.

Also the item in question a "Belt of Giant Strength" has specific limitations on how strong it can be +4 or +6. So you're creating a custom item which the rules say is DM purview right from the beginning.



The question is, of course, not "what would a DM allow" but instead "what do the rules say".

Well the rules do not state what spells are required to create a +100,000 Strength Belt. Absent that then it becomes harder to figure out if one could exist. We know that wish is limited to a +5 Inherent Bonus, so at any table trying to make something that is many times that would be shut down. Furthermore the cost would exceed anything you could do with 9th level magic, which isn't even included for in the tier system.

Lastly, you can't do your shapechange custom magic item ubercharger until level 17, at which point the tier system no longer works (it's intended for mid-level). And a Barbarian can do Ubercharging at like level 7.

Also



While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal.

You can't have a CL high enough to create a +100,000 strength belt without infinite loops, so I would say that's probably going to get ruled out on that case. Let's keep going.



The creator also needs a fairly quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place in which to work. Any place suitable for preparing spells is suitable for making items. Creating an item requires one day per 1,000 gp in the item’s base price, with a minimum of at least one day. Potions are an exception to this rule; they always take just one day to brew. The character must spend the gold and XP at the beginning of the construction process.

So it would be reasonable to suggest that unless your game universe is 27,397,260 years old and people have been creating magical items for all of that time at the NI caster level that whatever spell would produce that effect would require it would be very reasonable for a DM to rule that such an item does not exist. That's why it's not typically used as a TO trick, because it has a lot of issues.

Also the only item shown with that ability is the belt of epic strength which caps at +12, and requires 10th level spellcasting.



You may try to use a wish to produce greater effects than these, but doing so is dangerous. (The wish may pervert your intent into a literal but undesirable fulfillment or only a partial fulfillment.)

Note that limit applies all of the effects in question, it's not limited to any single one

And...



Duplicate any wizard or sorcerer spell of 8th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you.

So inarguably trying to replicate epic spellcasting (which is required to make that custom item) if it does not already exist, and we've shown that it probably doesn't, is beyond the purview of wish, it's too powerful an effect, particularly since that's well beyond what normal epic spellcasting allows.



Why should you play down, instead of other people building up? It seems to me that the position you're advocating for is that the game should give Wizards a giant pile of power, then ask them very nicely to use only a small portion of it. Why give them that power to begin with if using it makes them disruptive? Why not just design the Wizard to have the amount of power we want Wizards to use?

Well there are games designed that way. 4E is that way. 5E has weaker Wizards than 3.5. So if you want that, play those games. That was my point.

My point was that players and the DM should do both those things though, they should buff fighters help them optimize and give them scenarios that are for their ability, and they should occasionally provide Wizards with clever scenarios they haven't planned for.

Cosi
2017-10-07, 08:44 PM
I'm not sure in this case. I know that that was never considered as a TO trick, and I don't remember why not, I suspect because the idea of creating a custom item that literally exceeds all known magic item powers would not be appropriate.

This is categorically not true. The Wish and The Word (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/The_Wish_and_the_Word_(3.5e_Optimized_Character_Bu ild)) uses exactly the same wish loophole, although it's endgame (or at least the Wish's) is a Ring of Infinite Wishes, not a very large belt.


Lastly, you can't do your shapechange custom magic item ubercharger until level 17, at which point the tier system no longer works (it's intended for mid-level). And a Barbarian can do Ubercharging at like level 7.

You can do the item at 11th level. You can't do it at 7th, but you can't do 40k damage at 7th either.


You can't have a CL high enough to create a +100,000 strength belt without infinite loops, so I would say that's probably going to get ruled out on that case. Let's keep going.

wish does not check CL when it creates magic items. It does not check spells known. It does not check anything except whether you have enough XP to make the item.


Note that limit applies all of the effects in question, it's not limited to any single one

This is backwards. That limit applies to none of the listed effects, because they by definition cannot be greater than themselves.


So inarguably trying to replicate epic spellcasting (which is required to make that custom item) if it does not already exist, and we've shown that it probably doesn't, is beyond the purview of wish, it's too powerful an effect, particularly since that's well beyond what normal epic spellcasting allows.

No, that limit does not apply to all wishes. It can't because what wish is doing is always emulating the power of a 9th level spell -- specifically, wish.


Well there are games designed that way. 4E is that way. 5E has weaker Wizards than 3.5. So if you want that, play those games. That was my point.

But that's what you're asking for! You're the one telling me playing the Wizard with the amount of power the rules say it has is wrong. If that's wrong, why should the rules support it?

Samzat
2017-10-07, 09:11 PM
What about magic items as a way to ease the power gap (after all, the gap does not need to be completely closed, just shrunk to the point where low tiers arent useless) Many of the Mundane-Relevant magic items are rather understated numbers bonuses, and that means that the mundanes still cant keep up with spells that tend to gain power much faster than magic items. I think that if you are in an optimization heavy game, your characters should be able to at least somewhat contribute, and even if its not much look cool while doing it. Give your martials ridiculous weapons and armor, make them look super badass and make their blades strong enougn to chop tarrasques up to a reasonable degree, and then set to work houseruling down some of the magic that replace other classes like spells that add lots of armor, spells that trivialize encounters, and a few notable extras (like making teleportation and flight less accessible if not banning them entirely).

Tl;dr make magic items better and then use some houserules to dilute things that are outstandingly broken, so that the fighter is powerful enough to even bother and the wizard still has enough power that their role isnt pointless

AMFV
2017-10-07, 09:14 PM
This is categorically not true. The Wish and The Word (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/The_Wish_and_the_Word_(3.5e_Optimized_Character_Bu ild)) uses exactly the same wish loophole, although it's endgame (or at least the Wish's) is a Ring of Infinite Wishes, not a very large belt.

The Wish and the Word was a disqualified build from a competition which notably had serious issues in it's execution, that being one of them. A lot of very popular TO builds have some issues in people getting excited and being very liberal with rules



You can do the item at 11th level. You can't do it at 7th, but you can't do 40k damage at 7th either.

True. But you can be doing the Ubercharger thing for most of the game, while the Wizard cannot shapechange for most of the game. And if he's trying to get a custom item of shapechange to outdo the fighter that's going to be an issue.



wish does not check CL when it creates magic items. It does not check spells known. It does not check anything except whether you have enough XP to make the item.

True, but there's nothing in Wish that says it can create things that do not exist. And that particular thing violates



This is backwards. That limit applies to none of the listed effects, because they by definition cannot be greater than themselves.

That's completely wrong. The limit specifies that the spell is limited in that way. Meaning that none of the effects can exceed any of those limitations. It doesn't usually come up, but the text is absolutely clear there. Also note that none of those effects contradict any of the others, they're all different effects than the Wish would normally allow. So it's pretty clear that you can't make a ring of infinite wishes at least not without very very nice bending of RAW.

Now some of the effects do not apply to other effects, like Magic items are not limited by cost, because that limit specifies Nonmagical items, but you are emulating a spell in their creation. And in this case you're emulating a spell that doesn't exist because it is so far beyond the purview of the rules, and that's an issue. Even in TO it would probably break down. And most TO builds break down with very little prodding in the end.



No, that limit does not apply to all wishes. It can't because what wish is doing is always emulating the power of a 9th level spell -- specifically, wish.

Wish is NOT EMULATING the spell it is the spell Wish, it doesn't need to emulate, and that's pretty poor sophistry since that would literally mean that the 8th level limit was always being violated and if you want to go that route, we can, now no wishes are safe wishes any more, since wish is emulating itself and always replicating a 9th level spell, previously stated as an unsafe wish. Ergo the DM has full reign to do whatever he wants.

Now if you're making that argument you're against every single RAW reading of wish I've seen.



But that's what you're asking for! You're the one telling me playing the Wizard with the amount of power the rules say it has is wrong. If that's wrong, why should the rules support it?

I'm saying that as a player in a 3.5 game, if you're playing a wizard you need to occasionally let other people in the front seat. Not that you can't be a wizard not that you can do practical optimization tricks. Just that if you're dominating every single encounter that's a problem, for both you, the DM, and other players. The way to fix it as the player of the Wizard is to not dominate every encounter. To occasionally pull back.


What about magic items as a way to ease the power gap (after all, the gap does not need to be completely closed, just shrunk to the point where low tiers arent useless) Many of the Mundane-Relevant magic items are rather understated numbers bonuses, and that means that the mundanes still cant keep up with spells that tend to gain power much faster than magic items. I think that if you are in an optimization heavy game, your characters should be able to at least somewhat contribute, and even if its not much look cool while doing it. Give your martials ridiculous weapons and armor, make them look super badass and make their blades strong enougn to chop tarrasques up to a reasonable degree, and then set to work houseruling down some of the magic that replace other classes like spells that add lots of armor, spells that trivialize encounters, and a few notable extras (like making teleportation and flight less accessible if not banning them entirely).

Tl;dr make magic items better and then use some houserules to dilute things that are outstandingly broken, so that the fighter is powerful enough to even bother and the wizard still has enough power that their role isnt pointless

Well the game already does that pretty much. I mean the fighter has as much help as he needs to contribute if the DM gives him encounters that work, and the wizard doesn't curbstomp every encounter, a gentleman's agreement is really all you need to solve these problems.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-07, 09:47 PM
That isn't how JaronK defines the tiers:
Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.


But, this has the Self Fulling Prophecy Problem: When you play the game Way T, you get the Tiers.

Just take Talakeal's List:


1. The DM thinks they should not challenge the players.
2. The DM does not think the world should scale or vary things in the game
3. The DM might find it hard to handle several powerful characters
4. It is hard the DM good, and the DM might not have the time and system mastery.


So take DM Trevor: He has a busy life so he has no time to prepare before the game. He does not know much of the rules other then ''how to roll a d20''. He does not think the game should be a challenge, scale or vary. And he is intimidated by powerful characters (and their aggressive players). So, amazingly, if you play in DM Trevor's game you will see the Tiers.

Like if the DM makes a building with a locked wooden door. Then a 15th level spellcaster ''with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player'' can get through the door or the 15th level spellcaster solves encounter with 15 Warrior 1 orcs that are standing together in an empty field ''with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player'' .

Anyone watching that game play will be all like ''wow, the tiers are real''!

Arbane
2017-10-07, 10:01 PM
You shouldn't be taken out of the fight at a "caster's whim" unless you're not buying any defensive items, and then you're playing 3.5 not the way it's intended. A fighter should have enough tricks to avoid most save-or-suck spells once per combat, that's part of playing a good fighter.

What tricks would those be, and how well do they work when you roll a 1 on the save?



So prove me wrong, build a 20th level caster, with no focus on it, who can outdamage a hulking hurler/optimized ubercharger/D2 Crusader?

Damage really isn't the problem. Damage is literally the one thing Fighters are actually good at (IF they can reach the enemy). It's literally EVERYTHING ELSE where they get overshadowed. A level 20 wizard should be handling encounters with spells that render hitpoints irrelevant, just like the fighter.



DMG II. Adventure Paths, Every Published adventure from Wizards featuring social encounters. The Red Hand Of Doom. There are plenty of references to social encounters, and again you've dropped part of my argument, here let me get that for you. TRAPS. Seriously stop ignoring half my ****ing arguments, like do you get so excited to type your witty reply that you forget that there was more to the argument than you had?

You think wizards don't have enough skillpoints to be competent at social stuff? (Unlike the learning-challenged fighters.)
The second best solution to traps is Summon Monster and/or the summon reserve feat. (The best solution is a charmed enemy.)

JNAProductions
2017-10-07, 10:06 PM
Also, there's a point where damage becomes "Enough".

It doesn't matter if a Fighter does 10,000 damage and the Wizard does 100, if the enemy only has 80 HP.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 10:11 PM
What tricks would those be, and how well do they work when you roll a 1 on the save?


First, Diamond Mind, Diamond Body, and whatever the reflex one is.

Second, the Wizard can reach into the real world and impact my die rolling? I mean that's pretty intense, I don't think there's anyway to beat otherwise that's 5% of the time and not "at his whim", or alternatively, 10% of the time if they have a luck to force a re-roll. So even without Diamond Mind, Diamond Body, and the other one, you're still probably okay if your saves are fine.

Third, lots of tricks they were in the previously linked list of necessary magic items.

Mind Blank, got an item for that.
Stun and Daze, got an item for that.
Fear Immunity, got an item for that.
True Seeing, render an entire school of magic obsolete with 1 item, got an item for that.
Tactical Teleportation (Makes the forcecage worthless), got an item for that.
Death Effects, got an item for that.
Freedom of Movement, got an item for that.

That gets rid of a lot of the save or die options. After that it's Iron Heart Surge, and Diamond save replacers. I mean that's not enough to get rid of everything, but that's enough to keep you from being removed at a whim by a caster that wasn't prepared for those immunities, hell ring of spell immunity can get rid of some of them if it turns out that they use signature things.



Damage really isn't the problem. Damage is literally the one thing Fighters are actually good at (IF they can reach the enemy). It's literally EVERYTHING ELSE where they get overshadowed. A level 20 wizard should be handling encounters with spells that render hitpoints irrelevant, just like the fighter.


The Tier System is not designed for level 20 play, once you're epic the rules is out the window anyways.



You think wizards don't have enough skillpoints to be competent at social stuff? (Unlike the learning-challenged fighters.)
The second best solution to traps is Summon Monster and/or the summon reserve feat. (The best solution is a charmed enemy.)

Yeah, Wizards can do those things, wizards can with effort do anything properly. But the fighter can also do those two, with minimal effort. Which is why if you're a Wizard you should take pains not to overshadow everybody as I've said like five times.


Also, there's a point where damage becomes "Enough".

It doesn't matter if a Fighter does 10,000 damage and the Wizard does 100, if the enemy only has 80 HP.

Yep, which is why the DM should intervene occasionally, if my fighter does 10,000 damage, sometimes there'll be an enemy that takes 10,080, that's part of giving the fighter his time to shine. The Wizard also should be taking steps to ensure that the fighter has time to shine, that's part of what playing a tier 1 involves.

JNAProductions
2017-10-07, 10:14 PM
Eh... Fighters need Strength (damage and possibly to-hit), at least an adequate Dexterity (AC penalties hurt, and if you're ranged, it's to-hit too), good Constitution (they need HP), and a decent Wisdom (Will saves, when failed, HURT).

Wizards need Intelligence and Constitution, plus probably an adequate Dexterity. They have more room to pump Charisma, and also more skill points to spend.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 10:21 PM
Eh... Fighters need Strength (damage and possibly to-hit), at least an adequate Dexterity (AC penalties hurt, and if you're ranged, it's to-hit too), good Constitution (they need HP), and a decent Wisdom (Will saves, when failed, HURT).

Wizards need Intelligence and Constitution, plus probably an adequate Dexterity. They have more room to pump Charisma, and also more skill points to spend.

Right, but not all wizards want to be social butterflies. I mean that's a niche that most characters could fill with the proper feats, traits, and skills. I mean the Wizard might not need feats honestly, but a fighter can do that if they're optimized for it. And if your buddy brings an optimized fighter/talker to the game, then that the means the Wizard doesn't have to worry about it. Alternatively you guys can decide which kind of social encounters you each want to have the spotlight in. Like if you're a thuggy fighter, maybe you want to focus on intimidating people, talking to nefarious types, underworld stuff. And the Wizard can do the chatting with kings and nobility. That's of course only if you both want that role. See that's the sort of solution you need, like something where everybody finds their space, and then is careful about it.

JNAProductions
2017-10-07, 10:24 PM
Okay, so let's say you have 32 Point Buy. How do you make a Fighter that, at level 5, is good at both fighting and talking?

AMFV
2017-10-07, 10:43 PM
Okay, so let's say you have 32 Point Buy. How do you make a Fighter that, at level 5, is good at both fighting and talking?

Probably start with Human Paragon rather than straight fighter, I can designate one of my social skills as a permanent class skill, I get more skill points to start, which helps out, of course I'd be human, skill points are going to be a minimum for this guy, so human is the way to go, and bonus feats never hurt anybody. There are other ways to get Diplomacy as a class skill, but few of them jump to mind immediately and the List of Stuff is not something I happen to have saved, and I'm not going to look for it, since that'd take more time than this.

If I'm really committed to the diplomacy thing I use the 2nd Level Human Paragon feat for Skill Focus Diplomacy and the skill buff for Charisma. Then after that I go into any of the standard fighter builds, I'm only a little behind and I can definitely catch on most of those fairly quickly. Also this is sacrificing way more than I would need to, this is like serious commitment to the concept of the talky-fighter.

So at level 5
Str: 15, Dex: 12,Con: 14, Wis: 10, Int: 14(Skills and tripping) Cha: 14
Level 1 - Human Paragon (Takes Diplomacy as a class skill maxes diplomacy and whatever skill I need for whatever kind of actual fighter I'm making, let's make a tripper, because then we'll need EVEN MOAR ATTRIBUTZ)
Feat: Endurance, Combat Expertise
I pick Diplomacy as my class skill, so that even as a fighter keeping diplomacy maxed won't cost anything, and I can max intimidate just fine as well, since I'm a relatively high int fighter.

Level 2 - Human Paragon 2 - Continue to max diplomacy, take Skill Focus (Diplomacy), yes, I do realize that is suboptimal, but I'm really committed to a talking fighter. So now my diplomacy is at +10 for second level which isn't bad, I'm only 1 BAB behind.

Level 3 - Human Paragon 3 - Feat: Improved Trip, +2 to Charisma (because again super committed to this concept)

Level 4 - Human Paragon 3/Fighter 1 - +1 to Strength, bonus feat (Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain).

Level 5 - Human Paragon 3/Fighter 2 - Power Attack.

At this point you'll probably need an item of strength boosting which you can afford, you'll want Combat Reflexes fairly soon and a dex boosting item. But that's reasonably competent at that point, and a tripper is the worst option for this honestly. Now this is very committed to the talky fighter you could do something much less committed to that, an I was trying to use more reasonable things rather than kooky things for this. But it's definitely doable.


Edit:
And that would be a diplomacy of 8 (skill points) + 3 (charisma) + 2 (item of competency which he can definitely afford at this level) + 3 (skill focus), so that would be a Diplomacy bonus of +16 at 5th level, not mind-boggling but it'll do the trick.

And as far as combat, he's not the best, he might to use buffs and items more often than others, some potions of enlarge person would not be amiss, but he's got reach, and he can trip, he's not yet able to use combat reflexes that's next level, and he's not the most efficient path to Horizon Tripper, and he could probably have gotten diplomacy with ACFs or a level of Paladin, so this is more focused on diplomacy than being good at fighting, but with a strength item he's still pretty competent compared to most fighters at this point, and he has a couple other tricks.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-07, 10:56 PM
Okay, so let's say you have 32 Point Buy. How do you make a Fighter that, at level 5, is good at both fighting and talking?

Lets look at all the problems with that:
-the only charisma skills the Fighter has are Handle animal and Intimidate. Diplomacy and bluff are cross-class. so it depends on how we're defining "talking", is it viable for a fighter to do all this talking through intimidation?
-there is the added problem of that social situations need someone observant to read the situation, you can't just talk, you need to know who your talking to, which means if you include that complication, you need Sense Motive to be a good talker. also cross-class.
-now fighter get a lot of bonus feats, what feats can they spend to get better at talking? how much can they sacrifice from those feats to talk instead of fight?

if we aiming for an ideal talker, which would be all four skills: Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate and Sense Motive. its already not looking good because Fighters only get 2 skill points a level. to fix that, you need 5 points to get your Int to 14, thus giving you +2 to your skill points so that you can spend points to start out decently in those skills, but they're still cross class so 3 out of 4 of them get halved, but you can fix that by spending ten points to get 16 charisma, thus giving you +3 to the talky parts but not to Sense Motive. Spend another 7 on wisdom to raise that by +2, then spend the last ten to get a 16 in strength so that you can hit well. all of this just to barely cut the mustard to be good at talking and not all that good at fighting since to do this I had to neglect constitution and dexterity entirely. this kind of proves that things are borked. I mean sure, an optimizer could theoretically pull out some arcane method to super-charge this from the depths of the many splatbooks out there, but no one has time for that.

AMFV
2017-10-07, 11:00 PM
Lets look at all the problems with that:
-the only charisma skills the Fighter has are Handle animal and Intimidate. Diplomacy and bluff are cross-class. so it depends on how we're defining "talking", is it viable for a fighter to do all this talking through intimidation?
-there is the added problem of that social situations need someone observant to read the situation, you can't just talk, you need to know who your talking to, which means if you include that complication, you need Sense Motive to be a good talker. also cross-class.
-now fighter get a lot of bonus feats, what feats can they spend to get better at talking? how much can they sacrifice from those feats to talk instead of fight?

if we aiming for an ideal talker, which would be all four skills: Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate and Sense Motive. its already not looking good because Fighters only get 2 skill points a level. to fix that, you need 5 points to get your Int to 14, thus giving you +2 to your skill points so that you can spend points to start out decently in those skills, but they're still cross class so 3 out of 4 of them get halved, but you can fix that by spending ten points to get 16 charisma, thus giving you +3 to the talky parts but not to Sense Motive. Spend another 7 on wisdom to raise that by +2, then spend the last ten to get a 16 in strength so that you can hit well. all of this just to barely cut the mustard to be good at talking and not all that good at fighting since to do this I had to neglect constitution and dexterity entirely. this kind of proves that things are borked. I mean sure, an optimizer could theoretically pull out some arcane method to super-charge this from the depths of the many splatbooks out there, but no one has time for that.

You may want to check one post up, and there are ways to do it that are less diplomacy focused, but that seeme a fair enough way to do it. And if you complain about the multiclassing, as a fighter, you'll want to do some of that, a straight classed fighter could probably do it. They wouldn't be quite as good at it, and it would cost them a feat (although I burned a bonus feat on my Diplomacy)

Straight fighter you'd want White Raven Tactics, and that would get you a chunk of the way there. And then later maybe take Martial Study (Setting Sun), you get two nifty martial maneuvers and you're set for class skills for that aspect. Although you wouldn't be as good, but certainly reasonable.

Edit: Or Apprentice (Entertainer) which might make for something absolutely hilarious.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-07, 11:06 PM
You may want to check one post up, and there are ways to do it that are less diplomacy focused, but that seeme a fair enough way to do it. And if you complain about the multiclassing, as a fighter, you'll want to do some of that, a straight classed fighter could probably do it. They wouldn't be quite as good at it, and it would cost them a feat (although I burned a bonus feat on my Diplomacy)

Straight fighter you'd want White Raven Tactics, and that would get you a chunk of the way there. And then later maybe take Martial Study (Setting Sun), you get two nifty martial maneuvers and you're set for class skills for that aspect. Although you wouldn't be as good, but certainly reasonable.

Oh I did. before I posted. I intentionally looked to see, saw that you did it before me. I posted it anyways.

Why? to make a point. that post I made? that is what normal people think of when trying to make a fighter good at talking and fighting at the same time. that is what normal people will try to do. why must the system remain in a way that I have to conform to your strange logic rather than just make it so that normal logic works just fine to make a fighter good at talking without jumping all the hoops you just suggested?

AMFV
2017-10-07, 11:11 PM
Oh I did. before I posted. I intentionally looked to see, saw that you did it before me. I posted it anyways.

Why? to make a point. that post I made? that is what normal people think of when trying to make a fighter good at talking and fighting at the same time. that is what normal people will try to do. why must the system remain in a way that I have to conform to your strange logic rather than just make it so that normal logic works just fine to make a fighter good at talking without jumping all the hoops you just suggested?

Those aren't hoops bud. That's very nearly all core options, which is why I picked the ones I did. I didn't even have to go off of the SRD. Like you could make that build from just the SRD with no extra resources, no having to dig through books. I did look up the Horizon Tripper, so I could remember the feat order for it (and I still fudged that a little). The fact is that I could make half-a-dozen varied builds of talky fighter without any real effort. And this is somebody who has not made a 3.5 character in like three years.

3.5 is about the character creation and building mini-game, that's a big part of the system. For me it's the funnest part of the system, honestly. So maybe I'm not "normal" but there are plenty like me who do read the rules and do make an effort to optimize. If you're playing below Tier 3, ya gotta do that. You have to read the rules you have to optimize. That's another advantage of the tier list.

If somebody is starting 3.5 show them Tier 3 classes, or Tier 4 (for some), and they'll be able to contribute without much optimization, and to not overshadow anybody accidentally. Once you have some system mastery, you can play the higher tiers and you'll know how to avoid overshadowing, and the lower tiers and you'll know how to optimize up.

Lord Raziere
2017-10-07, 11:21 PM
Those aren't hoops bud. That's very nearly all core options, which is why I picked the ones I did. I didn't even have to go off of the SRD. Like you could make that build from just the SRD with no extra resources, no having to dig through books. I did look up the Horizon Tripper, so I could remember the feat order for it (and I still fudged that a little). The fact is that I could make half-a-dozen varied builds of talky fighter without any real effort. And this is somebody who has not made a 3.5 character in like three years.

3.5 is about the character creation and building mini-game, that's a big part of the system. For me it's the funnest part of the system, honestly. So maybe I'm not "normal" but there are plenty like me who do read the rules and do make an effort to optimize. If you're playing below Tier 3, ya gotta do that. You have to read the rules you have to optimize. That's another advantage of the tier list.

If somebody is starting 3.5 show them Tier 3 classes, or Tier 4 (for some), and they'll be able to contribute without much optimization, and to not overshadow anybody accidentally. Once you have some system mastery, you can play the higher tiers and you'll know how to avoid overshadowing, and the lower tiers and you'll know how to optimize up.

I don't care.

If I want to have a fighter who is good at fighting and talking, it should be as simple as investing it into the appropriate stats to do that and calling it a day, anything else is needless hoop jumping. character creation should not be a minigame at all, it should be the opportunity to create the character you want, not another arena to win or lose at, and the battle should never be determined before it ever happens. I hate it when people say that they're somehow better just because they set it up all ahead of time when I was just thinking about doing the thing itself. Yet another unfairness that I grow more tired with every time its mentioned.

Pex
2017-10-07, 11:21 PM
I would say cross-class costs is a fault of the 3E skill system not the fighter class. There is a point, I concede, to say the fighter's fault is not having Diplomacy as a class skill, but my perspective places the blame on the 3E skill system. I put no onus on the Tier System about this. Pathfinder fixes this problem by getting rid of the cross-class cost. A fighter can easily be a diplomat. The +3 differential for not being a class skill isn't a burden, but if it really means that much to you a trait takes care of it and even gives you an extra +1 trait bonus.

For 3E specifically, in the fighter's defense Diplomacy is not a class skill for wizards either so he's in the same boat. Spells aren't a solution. When negotiating with the Baron casting Charm Person on him is a dumb thing to do. Even if it works there will be hell to pay when it ends. Besides, you made an attack not be a diplomat. When used against the enemy orc prisoner, the fighter using Intimidate could work just as well to get him to talk.

Not intending to be my typical tyrannical DM rant :smallwink:, but if Intimidate isn't working that's the DM's fault, not the fighter's, not the game's. Some DMs unfortunately refuse to have captured bad guys spill the beans. They want to keep players ignorant of the BBEG's plans and location despite capturing the orc and interrogating is supposed to be one way the PCs can learn about the BBEG's plans and location. Charm Person would still work because at least it used up a spell slot resource and it's magic, i.e. Fighters Can't Have Nice Things thinking.

Arbane
2017-10-07, 11:26 PM
If I want to have a fighter who is good at fighting and talking, it should be as simple as investing it into the appropriate stats to do that and calling it a day, anything else is needless hoop jumping. character creation should not be a minigame at all, it should be the opportunity to create the character you want, not another arena to win or lose at, and the battle should never be determined before it ever happens. I hate it when people say that they're somehow better just because they set it up all ahead of time when I was just thinking about doing the thing itself. Yet another unfairness that I grow more tired with every time its mentioned.

What kind of anime nonsense is this? Fightars are supposed to be stupid meat shields for the important people, and that's ALL.

(Non-sarcastically, I agree. D&D's class system can be a straightjacket for those of us without PhDs in Build Optimization.)

AMFV
2017-10-07, 11:34 PM
I don't care.

If I want to have a fighter who is good at fighting and talking, it should be as simple as investing it into the appropriate stats to do that and calling it a day, anything else is needless hoop jumping. character creation should not be a minigame at all, it should be the opportunity to create the character you want, not another arena to win or lose at, and the battle should never be determined before it ever happens. I hate it when people say that they're somehow better just because they set it up all ahead of time when I was just thinking about doing the thing itself. Yet another unfairness that I grow more tired with every time its mentioned.

Well then 3.5 is not the game for you, honestly. Again it's not a bad thing, it's just not your game.

Also has it occurred to you that for some of us, the character creation part is the funnest, it's amazing to build a character like that and watch it unfold in game. That's literally the thing about D&D is building a character and watching him grow into the build I envisioned. So if you take that away people like me are going to have less fun. Here's what I say there are games without a character creation minigame, there are editions of D&D that don't have that. Why not play those? They tell the same kind of story, just without that aspect.


I would say cross-class costs is a fault of the 3E skill system not the fighter class. There is a point, I concede, to say the fighter's fault is not having Diplomacy as a class skill, but my perspective places the blame on the 3E skill system. I put no onus on the Tier System about this. Pathfinder fixes this problem by getting rid of the cross-class cost. A fighter can easily be a diplomat. The +3 differential for not being a class skill isn't a burden, but if it really means that much to you a trait takes care of it and even gives you an extra +1 trait bonus.


True, but in 3.5, it's one feat away from being a class skill, or one multiclass dip. Or you could do something like I did up there.



For 3E specifically, in the fighter's defense Diplomacy is not a class skill for wizards either so he's in the same boat. Spells aren't a solution. When negotiating with the Baron casting Charm Person on him is a dumb thing to do. Even if it works there will be hell to pay when it ends. Besides, you made an attack not be a diplomat. When used against the enemy orc prisoner, the fighter using Intimidate could work just as well to get him to talk.

Well there are skill buffing spells, like Guidance of the Avatar that would help, but that's again burning a spell.



Not intending to be my typical tyrannical DM rant :smallwink:, but if Intimidate isn't working that's the DM's fault, not the fighter's, not the game's. Some DMs unfortunately refuse to have captured bad guys spill the beans. They want to keep players ignorant of the BBEG's plans and location despite capturing the orc and interrogating is supposed to be one way the PCs can learn about the BBEG's plans and location. Charm Person would still work because at least it used up a spell slot resource and it's magic, i.e. Fighters Can't Have Nice Things thinking.

True, true. Although I will say that diplomacy will work in scenarios when intimidate won't. And as a note my talky fighter has both skills maxed.


What kind of anime nonsense is this? Fightars are supposed to be stupid meat shields for the important people, and that's ALL.

(Non-sarcastically, I agree. D&D's class system can be a straightjacket for those of us without PhDs in Build Optimization.)

Those are all options off the SRD, that's a GED in build optimization at most. Seriously, if you aren't even willing to learn the system, then why play with a system like that? Why play a system with a complex character creation aspect if you hate character creation. It's not like 3.5 is the big dog in town anymore most people have moved on. And if you aren't playing it, why are you here complaining about aspects of a system that many people enjoy?

Lord Raziere
2017-10-08, 12:16 AM
Well then 3.5 is not the game for you, honestly. Again it's not a bad thing, it's just not your game.

Also has it occurred to you that for some of us, the character creation part is the funnest, it's amazing to build a character like that and watch it unfold in game. That's literally the thing about D&D is building a character and watching him grow into the build I envisioned. So if you take that away people like me are going to have less fun. Here's what I say there are games without a character creation minigame, there are editions of D&D that don't have that. Why not play those? They tell the same kind of story, just without that aspect.

Those are all options off the SRD, that's a GED in build optimization at most. Seriously, if you aren't even willing to learn the system, then why play with a system like that? Why play a system with a complex character creation aspect if you hate character creation. It's not like 3.5 is the big dog in town anymore most people have moved on. And if you aren't playing it, why are you here complaining about aspects of a system that many people enjoy?

.....do I LOOK like I know why!? :smallmad:

all I know is that years ago, I came in to 3.5 all bright eyed thinking it would be awesome but then whoops no, wizards win everything just like the first freeform roleplay I ever gone to full of jerkish overpreparing warlords who terraformed everything and did nothing but scheme against each other while getting into vast rules lawyering arguments over minute details of their powers, then 4e came and everyone hated it despite me thinking it wasn't so bad, so I went forth to other rpgs to try and find things that I will like instead, found Exalted, tried to get into that which half worked since I now own all the books that matter but never actually played, but then surprise surprise turns out the Solar Exalted are just Creation's version of the 3.5 wizard: mary sues that override the setting for their infinite win dystopia, and all the other Exalted players play those most of the time and literally say all the other Exalted are side characters that don't deserve to change the setting, that according to them is too deep, mythological and political drama for me and that I should go take my anime and magitech nonsense elsewhere, so I went and argued with them for a year fruitlessly then leaving that for some general searching of RPGs, only to find people expressing disdain for Fate and other Exalted players telling me to go play 3.5 for anime action nonsense, finding actual rpgs to play anime nonsense but no one to play them with, then 5e came out and every 3.5 er start crowing about how it was proof that 4e was a mistake and that they realized that, while waiting for Exalted 3e because maybe a better system for that would finally solve things maybe, but then Exalted 3e corebook came out and turns out the current Exalted designers hate crafters and now no Exalted books have come out since then and I kept track of the progress of the 3e Dragon-blooded book by the shifting of the continents, but then gave up to get Godbound Deluxe which is basically Exalted but y'know, less rules so exactly as many rules as it actually needs to work. Except the one game I ever found to play Exalted using that system died before it ever started playing, and now I've drifted back to DnD because Path of War, Dreamscarred Psionics and Spheres of Power are awesome, heck I'm even looking forward to buying the protection sphere book just for Impossible Warrior alone....

and that basically a lot of my conceptions of rpgs have been broken over the years, I just buy White Wolf books to read them and not actually play, and even then only the ones i'm interested in, and that balance has just always been something I've valued and I never feel like giving it up, and that so far the most successful roleplay I've been in on this forum has been a freeform dragon ball roleplay, and I practically GM half of it. I don't know why I'm doing this at all, I just know that I value this thing because I've seen the downsides of imbalance too much to ever accept it as something good. I'm ranting I know, but thats the realest best answer I can give, that I'm bitter about a lot of things and that I'm trying to hold onto something I value so that its not another thing I become bitter over. and even then I think I may have failed.

whatever, I better just be the bigger person and stop arguing and posting in this thread so that I can keep myself safe from screwing up and screwing myself out the roleplay I do enjoy here. I honestly don't know why I bother with arguing with anyone on this either. thats the most honest answer I can give you.

Talakeal
2017-10-08, 02:52 AM
Well then 3.5 is not the game for you, honestly. Again it's not a bad thing, it's just not your game.

Also has it occurred to you that for some of us, the character creation part is the funnest, it's amazing to build a character like that and watch it unfold in game. That's literally the thing about D&D is building a character and watching him grow into the build I envisioned. So if you take that away people like me are going to have less fun. Here's what I say there are games without a character creation minigame, there are editions of D&D that don't have that. Why not play those? They tell the same kind of story, just without that aspect.

You know, that may be the thing about 3.X. It is kind of a hybrid between a class based system and a point by system.

For someone like myself it just kind of seems like the worst of both worlds, it has the inflexibility and arbitrary limitations of a class system but without the inherent simplicity and balance that a class system can afford.

But for someone who really likes the character creation minigame, trap options and all, I can see why it would be appealing.


I'm not sure in this case. I know that that was never considered as a TO trick, and I don't remember why not, I suspect because the idea of creating a custom item that literally exceeds all known magic item powers would not be appropriate.

Also the item in question a "Belt of Giant Strength" has specific limitations on how strong it can be +4 or +6. So you're creating a custom item which the rules say is DM purview right from the beginning.

IMO "it doesn't say I can't!" is kind of the core of a lot of TO.

For example, I see people assuming genesis allows them to replicate planar traits or PaO allows them to create sci-fi materials, or ice assassin an aleax of a specific being, and I recall Tippy using the sarrukh's manipulate form to give himself the racial ability "always wins against Thor" in a Marvel vs. D&D thread.

Creating a custom magic item certainly isn't RAI imo, but TO only goes by an especially permissive reading of RAW.


The key text is this passage from the rules for shapechange (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shapechange.htm):

I think that's pretty clear, actually. When you assume a new form, you get whatever Ex and Su abilities it has, and you lose whatever Su abilities your old form has. As such, transforming into a Lion (with Ex pounce) would give you pounce until shapechange expires, or is dispelled, or is somehow lost..

Ok, that's what I thought you meant. And that is exactly the type of tortured reading that my player would use, strange he never found that one.

Interestingly, the PHB (atleast the one I am reading from, which is a later printing and may incorporate errata) does not include that line, it appears to be unique to the SRD.

It merely states that you gain the EX and SU abilities of your assumed form and lose the SU abilities of your base form. It says nothing about retaining EX abilities, and it makes it fairly clear that you only have one "assumed form" at a time.



EDIT:

Was this a one-shot with a single, exceptionally long combat? Or did this same fighter get trapped multiple times by the same spell? And not just multiple times, but was out of the game half the time from this one spell?!

If so, this is a cataclysmic failure of the GM to provide varied encounters, and of the fighter and his party to learn. Everyone gets an F on that one. :smallannoyed:.

It was multiple fights over multiple games, and it wasn't just fighters.

IIRC the only things that can escape a force cage are astral (not ethereal) travel, disintegration, rods of cancellation, and mordenkainen's disjunction. That's a pretty small list, and if you aren't playing in a game where custom magic items are commonplace it is actually pretty hard for most classes to do.



It takes one standard action, and there are ways around the other thing. But no I don't have a problem with a fighter thinking about what they might need to do in a fight.

Yes, they do, and if somebody does something unexpected it might take them a second (while they flourish their weapon) to adjust to that unexpected circumstance, it's not hard to make it work in your brain, but you have to for it. And I can understand if you can't.

Warblades refresh maneuvers by flourishing their weapons.

I am looking at the ToB right now, and it states that it takes a full 5 minutes to change out your maneuvers.

There might be a feat, or a prestige class, or something that can accelerate this to a 1 round action somewhere in the book, but I am not seeing it in the base write-up of the class.


But, this has the Self Fulling Prophecy Problem: When you play the game Way T, you get the Tiers.

Just take Talakeal's List:


1. The DM thinks they should not challenge the players.
2. The DM does not think the world should scale or vary things in the game
3. The DM might find it hard to handle several powerful characters
4. It is hard the DM good, and the DM might not have the time and system mastery.


So take DM Trevor: He has a busy life so he has no time to prepare before the game. He does not know much of the rules other then ''how to roll a d20''. He does not think the game should be a challenge, scale or vary. And he is intimidated by powerful characters (and their aggressive players). So, amazingly, if you play in DM Trevor's game you will see the Tiers.

Like if the DM makes a building with a locked wooden door. Then a 15th level spellcaster ''with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player'' can get through the door or the 15th level spellcaster solves encounter with 15 Warrior 1 orcs that are standing together in an empty field ''with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player'' .

Anyone watching that game play will be all like ''wow, the tiers are real''!

Turning:

"The DM thinks they should not challenge the players."

into:

"First, a lot of DMs place verisimilitude and world building first when designing encounters. A lot of the time it just doesn't make sense for every encounter to be tailored to challenging the party. Some people don't care, but many do, and the players can and will call you out on throwing setting logic out the window to challenge them."

Is a fairly big stretch, don't you think?

I feel that the DM absolutely SHOULD challenge the players, but there are certain situations where doing so is going to seriously harm the verisimilitude of the setting.

Cluedrew
2017-10-08, 08:22 AM
It is, imo, equally stupid to just use the existing tier list as a measure of what a character is, without looking deeper. The problem is, it's not quite as blatantly obvious just how stupid that is. So I hate the tier list for obfuscating stupidity.But it flat out says that builds can very the tier of a class. "Also note that with enough optimization, it's generally possible to go up a tier, and if played poorly you can easily drop a few tiers", which doesn't quite break out the player>build>class formula, but is defiantly going that direction.

If you read the surrounding text, there is actually a lot on the limitations of the system, for instance: "Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different." That might also be read as use other things about balance you know to apply this to your campaign, and make sure to keep an eye out for exceptions. Sure it doesn't tell you exactly how to do that, but it doesn't say you shouldn't. In short I don't know why it would be detrimental to learning about game balance provided you take the time to see what it is actually saying. Also if you have a more detailed reason why, I would be happy to here.

I also have to correct myself, I said it measured power and versatility, turns out "The Tier System is not specifically ranking Power or Versitility (though those are what ends up being the big factors). It's ranking the ability of a class to achieve what you want in any given situation." I had forgotten that bit.

Quertus
2017-10-08, 09:38 AM
But it flat out says that builds can very the tier of a class. "Also note that with enough optimization, it's generally possible to go up a tier, and if played poorly you can easily drop a few tiers", which doesn't quite break out the player>build>class formula, but is defiantly going that direction.

If you read the surrounding text, there is actually a lot on the limitations of the system, for instance: "Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different." That might also be read as use other things about balance you know to apply this to your campaign, and make sure to keep an eye out for exceptions. Sure it doesn't tell you exactly how to do that, but it doesn't say you shouldn't. In short I don't know why it would be detrimental to learning about game balance provided you take the time to see what it is actually saying. Also if you have a more detailed reason why, I would be happy to here.

I also have to correct myself, I said it measured power and versatility, turns out "The Tier System is not specifically ranking Power or Versitility (though those are what ends up being the big factors). It's ranking the ability of a class to achieve what you want in any given situation." I had forgotten that bit.

Right. So, then what does that leave you with?

You get the requirement that GMs carefully inspect your characters, after you build them, to see if they fit the intended tier balance of the game. If not, it's either hack at your creation, or throw it away and start over. Not a pretty picture.

Now, mind you that, in my case, these are the same GMs who cannot comprehend how I can be running the statistically most powerful character and yet still need a boost because I'm contributing the least (because player > character). So, if I wasn't familiar with 3e, this would be encouraging them to preemptively nerf the character that in actuality needs a boost! :smallconfused: :smallannoyed: :smallmad:

And I thought it was bad enough already.

But wait, there's more!

Because, you see, I greatly prefer (read: have a difficult time having fun outside of) games where the GM (effectively) runs a module / pre-publishes his adventure before he ever lays eyes on the PCs. Where the world exists independent of the PCs, and their choice of characters actually matters to the final outcome (like all their choices should, imo).

I hate and loathe games that are and feel custom-tailored to the PCs. I want the PCs to succeed - or fail - on their own merits, not because the world has been contrived to make that happen. The GM even looking at the PCs character sheet is the first beachhead of this war, that I intend to fight to keep the GM from consciously or subconsciously manipulating the game to ruin my fun. And this level of enforced balance by actualized tier (actually only requires you to observe the charter in play, but will be mistakenly read as) requires the GM to lose the fight for my fun before the game even begins.

There. How's that for a reason to hate the tier list?

Cosi
2017-10-08, 09:48 AM
Ok, that's what I thought you meant. And that is exactly the type of tortured reading that my player would use, strange he never found that one.

I want to say that I disagree with this attitude. I see describing it as a "tortured reading" makes it sound like the player is out to warp the rules in his favor, which true or not leads to bad design decisions. To as large a degree as possible, rules should be enforced by rules rather than by an expectation that people will play allowing with some non-explicit consensus.

Consider an example. Suppose you, the DM, want to have a campaign without full casters. Maybe you think they're overpowered, maybe you think they're boring, maybe it's a setting conceit. Whatever. Which do you think would be a better strategy for achieving that?

1. Tell players up front "full casting classes are banned in this campaign".
2. Let players roll whatever character they want, then send high level enemies with permanent antimagic fields to kill anyone who makes a full caster.

Personally, I think the first option is going to lead to a much better campaign for everyone involved. That's because instead of relying on an implicit assumption and punishing people who broken it (in this case in game, but out of game punishments would apply as well), you made the assumption the game was operating under explicit so that people could make decisions on that basis.


It merely states that you gain the EX and SU abilities of your assumed form and lose the SU abilities of your base form. It says nothing about retaining EX abilities, and it makes it fairly clear that you only have one "assumed form" at a time.

No, that's the same text. But the key thing you're missing is the duration. If an ability says "you get X", you keep X until something takes it away, either because the ability ends, or because the ability does something to take X away, or because you lose X for some other reason. shapechange doesn't make the abilities you have a property of the form you're in (to be clear, this would be a better way of doing things), it grants abilities and takes them away at specific times. As a result, the difference between the list of abilities granted for entering a form and the list of abilities lost for leaving an old form means you gradually accumulate abilities as you shift through forms.


It was multiple fights over multiple games, and it wasn't just fighters.

IIRC the only things that can escape a force cage are astral (not ethereal) travel, disintegration, rods of cancellation, and mordenkainen's disjunction. That's a pretty small list, and if you aren't playing in a game where custom magic items are commonplace it is actually pretty hard for most classes to do.

The quote this is addressing is attributed to me. but I'm pretty sure it's not a thing I said.

georgie_leech
2017-10-08, 09:57 AM
Probably start with Human Paragon -snip-

Er, not to quibble, but isn't this more Human Paragon than Fighter? Like, I understand that the build is set up to continue with Fighter for future levels, but I'm not sure I would call a Wizard3/Fighter2 a "Fighter" either. Does this mean that the "Fighter who talks" isn't achievable before level 5? :smallconfused:

Quertus
2017-10-08, 10:18 AM
It was multiple fights over multiple games, and it wasn't just fighters.

IIRC the only things that can escape a force cage are astral (not ethereal) travel, disintegration, rods of cancellation, and mordenkainen's disjunction. That's a pretty small list, and if you aren't playing in a game where custom magic items are commonplace it is actually pretty hard for most classes to do.


The quote this is addressing is attributed to me. but I'm pretty sure it's not a thing I said.

That was me.

Reading the description of Forcecage, Teleport is explicitly called out as a valid counter to the spell. And "if a Fighter doesn't have tactical teleport, he's not playing the game" is a common sentiment on the Playground - especially in "you must play towards the tier balance point" tier- or balance-related threads.

And that's ignoring other ways of countering this strategy, like counterspelling, stealth, illusions/deception, or just plain vanilla holding an action to hit him in the face when he tries to cast*.

No, getting hit by the same trick, over and over, in a system with so many obvious counters as 3e has, definitely falls into the "fool me twice" category.

* admittedly, that last one doesn't work as well as it used to in older editions, but it is an option every character should have access to.

1of3
2017-10-08, 10:59 AM
essentially my point is that having fighters be as strong as wizards only makes sense in settings where the lore/fluff supports it.

That is missing the point. It equates the power of characters with influence of players. The power of characters may well vary, the influence of players should not.

One way to do it was done by the Buffy game ages ago. The less powerful characters get more Drama Points to influence the game in another way.

AMFV
2017-10-08, 11:40 AM
Er, not to quibble, but isn't this more Human Paragon than Fighter? Like, I understand that the build is set up to continue with Fighter for future levels, but I'm not sure I would call a Wizard3/Fighter2 a "Fighter" either. Does this mean that the "Fighter who talks" isn't achievable before level 5? :smallconfused:

It is... but I picked options that were available on the SRD and the ones that would make "Fighter Who Talks" best at talking. In 3.5 "Fighters" need to be willing to take dips and multi-class, if you're going to be optimized at all. If you don't want to do that I can go into some further detail on how you might make a talky fighter:

Stats:
Str: 16, Dex: 10, Con: 14, Int: 14, Wis: 8, Cha:15
We'll go human again for obvious reasons
Fighter 1 - Martial Study (White Raven: Douse The Flames), Fighter Bonus: Martial Study (Setting Sun: Counter Charge), Apprentice (Criminal)
As a human fighter with Int 14, you can keep 5 skills maxed pretty comfortably, And Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Intimidate, and bluff are always class skills for you. You're a little less focused as a fighter right at this particular moment, but that's okay. I would max jump otherwise, because of the direction I'm planning on going.

Fighter 1/Barbarian 1 - Spirit Lion Barbarian. This is a good level, since you get a few extra class skills, and some extra skill points to move around, you also get pounce, not useful now but in a few levels it'll be really handy.

Fighter 2/Barbarian 1 (Spirit Lion Totem) - Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush.
Keep them talking skills maxed, which isn't hard at this point.

Fighter 3/Barbarian 1 - Boost charisma by 1 point.

Fighter 4/Barbarian 1 - Leap Attack (Next level we'll take us some shock trooper).

Now I know again that this has some multiclassing and you're a little bit behind on a charge build but you should have a diplomacy of +11, a bluff of +11, a sense motive of +7, and an intimidate of +11. You aren't quite as good at talking as the previous fighter was, but you're a little more diverse and you're pretty good at fighting, max bab still, and the multiclassing part deals with making you better at fighting rather than making you better at talking. You'll note I'm using standard builds and just adding the talking in, which is what I did in the build above.

JNAProductions
2017-10-08, 11:47 AM
Doesn't Barb stuff only work in medium or lighter armor? Or am I wrong on that? Because with a Dex of 10, you'll want heavy armor.

And how do you deal with Will saves?

AMFV
2017-10-08, 11:53 AM
Doesn't Barb stuff only work in medium or lighter armor? Or am I wrong on that? Because with a Dex of 10, you'll want heavy armor.

And how do you deal with Will saves?

The various items in my list of necessary items for the will save, and frankly as a fighter you are not going to get by without weaknesses. Barb stuff doesn't care about armor the only thing that does is fast movement which we traded out for pounce, which is pretty much the core of a charge build, you need that to full attack at the end of a charge.

So yeah, you might be weak to casters, but you should have y'know other party members that can deal with casters, your job is large single target bags of HP, since you are a charge build fighter. Or a Wizard could be a target, if you win initiative and have a clear path.

JNAProductions
2017-10-08, 11:54 AM
Fair enough.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-10-08, 12:21 PM
The various items in my list of necessary items for the will save, and frankly as a fighter you are not going to get by without weaknesses. Barb stuff doesn't care about armor the only thing that does is fast movement which we traded out for pounce, which is pretty much the core of a charge build, you need that to full attack at the end of a charge.

So yeah, you might be weak to casters, but you should have y'know other party members that can deal with casters, your job is large single target bags of HP, since you are a charge build fighter. Or a Wizard could be a target, if you win initiative and have a clear path.

The bold section highlights one of my basic problems with specialization-focused character regimes. If each character has a thing--something they can do that no one else can, something like "deal 10k damage in a round"--but struggles with anything else, you end up requiring a strict spotlight rotation routine. In each scene (encounter, etc), one person is the star and everyone else just mops up (or does nothing, or whatever, just nothing particularly important). That leads to a few issues in my opinion--

* It's boring for (N-1)/N scenes. You're only really participating once out of N scenes at best. When combats run as long as I've heard they do in 3.X, that's basically once per session or less.
* It requires either strict attention from the DM or heavy player enforcement to maintain. It often leads to the worst kind of railroads in the name of giving everyone a chance to shine. Otherwise, you get the person who's better at manipulating the scenarios who is active all the time and basically no one else has a chance to shine. That makes it very vulnerable to the worst sort of player.
* It lends itself (in inexperienced hands) to accidental breakage. One false move and you have either a dead character or (worse) a useless one. It's rocket tag where you can lose the game at character creation and at every single level up from then on.
* All super-specialized characters of specialty X look and play the same since so much of your build resources go into making the magic happen.
* It's very vulnerable to countermeasures. If an uber-charger can't charge/pounce, he's really pointless. Shut down the one special trick and you win. It's like playing paper-rock-scissors.

These are all IMO, YMMV. What is a bug to me may be a feature to you.

AMFV
2017-10-08, 12:33 PM
The bold section highlights one of my basic problems with specialization-focused character regimes. If each character has a thing--something they can do that no one else can, something like "deal 10k damage in a round"--but struggles with anything else, you end up requiring a strict spotlight rotation routine. In each scene (encounter, etc), one person is the star and everyone else just mops up (or does nothing, or whatever, just nothing particularly important). That leads to a few issues in my opinion--

* It's boring for (N-1)/N scenes. You're only really participating once out of N scenes at best. When combats run as long as I've heard they do in 3.X, that's basically once per session or less.
* It requires either strict attention from the DM or heavy player enforcement to maintain. It often leads to the worst kind of railroads in the name of giving everyone a chance to shine. Otherwise, you get the person who's better at manipulating the scenarios who is active all the time and basically no one else has a chance to shine. That makes it very vulnerable to the worst sort of player.
* It lends itself (in inexperienced hands) to accidental breakage. One false move and you have either a dead character or (worse) a useless one. It's rocket tag where you can lose the game at character creation and at every single level up from then on.
* All super-specialized characters of specialty X look and play the same since so much of your build resources go into making the magic happen.
* It's very vulnerable to countermeasures. If an uber-charger can't charge/pounce, he's really pointless. Shut down the one special trick and you win. It's like playing paper-rock-scissors.

These are all IMO, YMMV. What is a bug to me may be a feature to you.

Well if you'll note that fighter build has the ability to have maxed diplomacy and talking skills. So while he can contribute in combat encounters in a particular way (probably in more as he levels up). Also once he levels again, all of the resources he needs for charging he'll have. Like all of them, he doesn't need any more feats to that end and you can start focusing him on other combat options the way the Haberdasher does.

But again, he now can contribute to every social encounter, pretty much, and to most combat encounters, since most enemies are chargeable, and if he can't charge he can still power attack and be a completely reasonable fighter, and as he levels more he'll get more and more options to that end. Or you could focus on being a better charger Martial Stance (Step of the Wind) might help in that regard, and remove one of the ways that you're being shut down.

I mean I'm sorry but, enemy 10' or more away with a relatively open path (which may not matter depending on your reading of the Step of The Wind later), is pretty much the most common situation in combat, in all those situations you can charge and full attack, yeah, you don't have as many tricks as some but you have a good trick, and that's what being a fighter is mostly about, focusing on one good trick for the first bit of the game, and adding others later.

Edit: But note that with minimal build resources (3 feats for a human fighter is pretty minimal and I really didn't need to take all of those), I made a fighter who can operate as a face increasing drastically the number of situations he can participate in. And there are continued options to this end if you're building characters.

Edit 2: And yes it DOES require DM attention, everything does, and DMs should be designing their encounter design to allow each individual player some chances to shine in most encounters or giving them a spotlight encounter, and as a player you should be cogent of that fact and wait for your chance to shine when it's clearly somebody else's. That's the virtue of the tier system it lets you know whether you need to step it up, as our talky fighter does, or pull back as a wizard might need to.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-10-08, 12:44 PM
Well if you'll note that fighter build has the ability to have maxed diplomacy and talking skills. So while he can contribute in combat encounters in a particular way (probably in more as he levels up). Also once he levels again, all of the resources he needs for charging he'll have. Like all of them, he doesn't need any more feats to that end and you can start focusing him on other combat options the way the Haberdasher does.

But again, he now can contribute to every social encounter, pretty much, and to most combat encounters, since most enemies are chargeable, and if he can't charge he can still power attack and be a completely reasonable fighter, and as he levels more he'll get more and more options to that end. Or you could focus on being a better charger Martial Stance (Step of the Wind) might help in that regard, and remove one of the ways that you're being shut down.

I mean I'm sorry but, enemy 10' or more away with a relatively open path (which may not matter depending on your reading of the Step of The Wind later), is pretty much the most common situation in combat, in all those situations you can charge and full attack, yeah, you don't have as many tricks as some but you have a good trick, and that's what being a fighter is mostly about, focusing on one good trick for the first bit of the game, and adding others later.

Edit: But note that with minimal build resources (3 feats for a human fighter is pretty minimal and I really didn't need to take all of those), I made a fighter who can operate as a face increasing drastically the number of situations he can participate in. And there are continued options to this end if you're building characters.

Edit 2: And yes it DOES require DM attention, everything does, and DMs should be designing their encounter design to allow each individual player some chances to shine in most encounters or giving them a spotlight encounter, and as a player you should be cogent of that fact and wait for your chance to shine when it's clearly somebody else's. That's the virtue of the tier system it lets you know whether you need to step it up, as our talky fighter does, or pull back as a wizard might need to.

Or you can have a system where everyone can contribute more or less all the time without having to be carefully fed and tended. Your system is prone to accidental breakage and, worst of all, boring-ness. That's my problem. If you can lose the game at character creation by choosing one of the unmarked trap options, the game has a design flaw.

AMFV
2017-10-08, 12:54 PM
Or you can have a system where everyone can contribute more or less all the time without having to be carefully fed and tended. Your system is prone to accidental breakage and, worst of all, boring-ness. That's my problem. If you can lose the game at character creation by choosing one of the unmarked trap options, the game has a design flaw.

Nope, cause the character creation mini-game is the design. As I stated upthread that's my favorite part of the game. I enjoy games without that aspect, but never as much. And because it is a game, there is skill involved, that's how it works. Your problem is that you aren't viewing character creation as an actual part of the game as much as combat is. You can lose in combat by taking one of the unmarked bad options, and you're not complaining about that. You can lose in dungeon exploration by stepping on an unmarked trap, and you're not complaining about that. In 3.5 character creation is as much a game aspect as any of those two are.

Cluedrew
2017-10-08, 12:55 PM
Right. So, then what does that leave you with?A tool. You can't make a house with only a hammer and you can't run a campaign with just the tier list. Actually the tier list is probably more like one of those boxes you put in sockets to see if the wiring is correct. I'm going down a winding road.

Let me ask you this, if you replaced the tier system with some other 2 post block of text to help people run their games, what would it be? The only restriction is it must address the same sort of issues around inter-party balance.


Because, you see, I greatly prefer [...] games where the GM (effectively) runs a module / pre-publishes his adventure before he ever lays eyes on the PCs. Where the world exists independent of the PCs, and their choice of characters actually matters to the final outcome [...].OK, how much do feel you have to say about this? Because I have some very particular things to say about this (some in disagreement yes) but they feel kind of topic for this thread. How interwoven the campaign and characters are could probably be its own thread if you, and others, are interested.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-10-08, 01:01 PM
Nope, cause the character creation mini-game is the design. As I stated upthread that's my favorite part of the game. I enjoy games without that aspect, but never as much. And because it is a game, there is skill involved, that's how it works. Your problem is that you aren't viewing character creation as an actual part of the game as much as combat is. You can lose in combat by taking one of the unmarked bad options, and you're not complaining about that. You can lose in dungeon exploration by stepping on an unmarked trap, and you're not complaining about that. In 3.5 character creation is as much a game aspect as any of those two are.

But most combat or trap "losses" are recoverable. Character build options aren't. Death is a light penalty anyway. Having a useless character is worse (in my opinion) than having a dead one.

This also makes it prohibitive for new players or those who are not willing to spend the copious time, effort, and sometimes money (for splats) to make an acceptable character. They either have to follow a cookie-cutter build or risk (with almost 100% certainty) having a broken character--either broken good or (more likely) broken bad. This is not good game design.

It makes me think that there is a contingent of people whose primary enjoyment of 3.X is in building characters, not necessarily in playing them. I can understand that--when I play a new CRPG I usually spend 100x the time in the tutorial/character build process than in the rest of the game. I just don't get it (de gustibas and all that) when it comes to tabletop RPGs. So much focus on the mechanics...

I think this is a taste issue--what's a bug to me is a feature to you. That's OK--we don't play the same game or at the same table. So I'm content to agree to disagree.

AMFV
2017-10-08, 01:10 PM
But most combat or trap "losses" are recoverable. Character build options aren't. Death is a light penalty anyway. Having a useless character is worse (in my opinion) than having a dead one.

No... not at low level, and not in most campaigns, generally: "I died, I want to roll up a new character" takes the same effort as "I suck, I want to roll up a new character". Same exact effort and you can learn from your mistakes, also retraining is a thing, which means that for a much lower cost, one can retrain and replace bad build choices, one can't retrain out of death that's 50k GP hit right off the bat, supposing you can even find somebody willing to cast Resurrection.



This also makes it prohibitive for new players or those who are not willing to spend the copious time, effort, and sometimes money (for splats) to make an acceptable character. They either have to follow a cookie-cutter build or risk (with almost 100% certainty) having a broken character--either broken good or (more likely) broken bad. This is not good game design.

Which is why I did the first build entirely off the SRD, it took me less than 30 minutes (and this is after I have not made a 3.5 character in probably five years). It isn't that much time or effort to do that. The second build took me probably 10 minutes, because I was using easier options and it was more cookie cutter. I have a third one now, that does the same exact thing that took a little longer but basically expends almost no resources to do so.



It makes me think that there is a contingent of people whose primary enjoyment of 3.X is in building characters, not necessarily in playing them. I can understand that--when I play a new CRPG I usually spend 100x the time in the tutorial/character build process than in the rest of the game. I just don't get it (de gustibas and all that) when it comes to tabletop RPGs. So much focus on the mechanics...

Right, cause I've explicitly stated that's the case for me. Now I get the same enjoyment out of playing as I do out of building, watching something you've built come to life is a big part of it for me. The same reason I enjoy my work and I work in the field I do.



I think this is a taste issue--what's a bug to me is a feature to you. That's OK--we don't play the same game or at the same table. So I'm content to agree to disagree.

Yep, the problem is that now on this particular forum people have decided that this particular taste issue is a design flaw and are loudly complaining about it, as you were in your previous post. That's going to raise some hackles. Or they're putting taste things (like a focus for balance) as being objectively what is good design which it isn't.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-10-08, 01:28 PM
No... not at low level, and not in most campaigns, generally: "I died, I want to roll up a new character" takes the same effort as "I suck, I want to roll up a new character". Same exact effort and you can learn from your mistakes, also retraining is a thing, which means that for a much lower cost, one can retrain and replace bad build choices, one can't retrain out of death that's 50k GP hit right off the bat, supposing you can even find somebody willing to cast Resurrection.


If your traps (or one bad move in combat) are save or die at low level, I personally think that's a problem, especially if it takes any significant time to create a new character or if roleplaying is important. Anything that's not save or die (or 1-shot damage) is recoverable, even at low level.

In most systems, re-rolling a new character due to death takes minutes, not more. Retraining requires DM approval. Voluntarily retiring a character (as other threads prove) often comes with level penalties (which I agree are stupid). And there's no guarantee that that next character will be better.



Which is why I did the first build entirely off the SRD, it took me less than 30 minutes (and this is after I have not made a 3.5 character in probably five years). It isn't that much time or effort to do that. The second build took me probably 10 minutes, because I was using easier options and it was more cookie cutter. I have a third one now, that does the same exact thing that took a little longer but basically expends almost no resources to do so.

But you have significant system mastery. Most people don't. Especially new people. It's like requiring a masters degree to drive a car because otherwise it will explode if you touch the wrong sequence of buttons. That's poor design in my opinion.



Right, cause I've explicitly stated that's the case for me. Now I get the same enjoyment out of playing as I do out of building, watching something you've built come to life is a big part of it for me. The same reason I enjoy my work and I work in the field I do.


Whereas I like to see the growth come from choices I make during play. That's a taste issue.



Yep, the problem is that now on this particular forum people have decided that this particular taste issue is a design flaw and are loudly complaining about it, as you were in your previous post. That's going to raise some hackles. Or they're putting taste things (like a focus for balance) as being objectively what is good design which it isn't.

There are better and worse ways of doing this. The 3.5 design flaw is that it's a hidden mini-game. If you're not familiar with the system, there's no indication that you need to watch out for all these things up front. That is, it's very fragile design. Any false move, even unintentionally, by any participant makes the thing spiral out of control. It's hot potato, but with hand grenades (to be admittedly hyperbolic). From what I understand, most superhero RPGs have a dedicated character creation component--building your power set has explicit rules and details. As does Traveller (I believe?). 3.5e D&D's character creation mini-game is entirely meta. It's a consequence of having too many poorly designed interacting factors, coupled with a community that believes more is always better and that idolizes power at any cost play-styles.

AMFV
2017-10-08, 01:45 PM
If your traps (or one bad move in combat) are save or die at low level, I personally think that's a problem, especially if it takes any significant time to create a new character or if roleplaying is important. Anything that's not save or die (or 1-shot damage) is recoverable, even at low level.

Critical hit from an orc with an axe, x3 critical, battleaxe maxes out at 12 damage, the Orc has a minimum of a +2 strength and more likely a +5 strength. That's enough to down a character, most characters at level one, without any additional stuff happening. Level 1 is supposed to be a little tricky, and that's part of the system.

As far as traps, yes, in a more lethal game, those are going to be lethal.



In most systems, re-rolling a new character due to death takes minutes, not more. Retraining requires DM approval. Voluntarily retiring a character (as other threads prove) often comes with level penalties (which I agree are stupid). And there's no guarantee that that next character will be better.

A.) You should already have some characters in your head to reroll, that's pretty typical.

B.) Good 3.5 DMs should be cool with you retraining if your character sucks, and every game I've seen that happens before the player even asks for it, the DM is like "Hey do you want to maybe retrain some of those feats cause you were just starting out before..." that's super common, like multiple games in multiple different social groups I've seen that happen.

C.) Well there's only no guarantee, if you have literally been learning nothing the entire game. Which is probably more your problem than anybody else's. Also if you'll note from that other thread 3.5 has systems in place to fix level disparities by bringing lower level characters up faster.



But you have significant system mastery. Most people don't. Especially new people. It's like requiring a masters degree to drive a car because otherwise it will explode if you touch the wrong sequence of buttons. That's poor design in my opinion.

Again, this does not take a master's degree, this is like 10 minutes to an hour worth of research per character. I mean it can take more, but only if you're looking for the best option rather than just a serviceable one. And your "car exploding" is a huge exaggeration, it's not that much work to take a character that was previously unserviceable and make them work.

And the Tier System is amazing here, I recommend that new people play Tier 3 classes, which usually work fine even if not properly optimized, they can still contribute, and they don't over-optimize unintentionally. Basically it's like the training wheel classes, they're hard to screw up. So if a person who was brand new (a rarity since 3.5 is pretty much a dead game now) asked to play a fighting character, I might tell them to roll up a Warblade, or similar, rather than a fighter.



Whereas I like to see the growth come from choices I make during play. That's a taste issue.

Very likely true, although character growth can still happen from in-play choices, just not the mechanical portion of that growth, personality that sort of thing, can happen. Also you aren't stuck in a build choice (again retraining) and you can discuss altering character choices if you decide that your character is moving in a different direction than he originally was.



There are better and worse ways of doing this. The 3.5 design flaw is that it's a hidden mini-game. If you're not familiar with the system, there's no indication that you need to watch out for all these things up front. That is, it's very fragile design. Any false move, even unintentionally, by any participant makes the thing spiral out of control. It's hot potato, but with hand grenades (to be admittedly hyperbolic). From what I understand, most superhero RPGs have a dedicated character creation component--building your power set has explicit rules and details. As does Traveller (I believe?). 3.5e D&D's character creation mini-game is entirely meta. It's a consequence of having too many poorly designed interacting factors, coupled with a community that believes more is always better and that idolizes power at any cost play-styles.

Superhero RPGs have VERY different character creation schemas than 3.5. And many of them are just as trap-filled, check out HERO or Champions for examples of that. Mutants and Masterminds isn't, but Mutants and Masterminds is more about how one describes their character and how they frame things than trying to build something in the same way as 3.5 is. Also Mutants and Masterminds is lower stakes on the whole (characters really can't die easily in that system), so that tone is reflected in the character creation.

Also, the meta is part of the game, I'm sorry, you might talk about "poorly designed interacting factors" and then insult the community of which I'm a part. But I'm sorry we're having fun, so you can **** off. For real. Like this is the most popular RPG ever released by a large margin, I'm sorry but I don't think you have to claim it's "poor design" when it was beloved in it's time, and people still like it. Just because you don't like an aspect of it.

Arbane
2017-10-08, 02:26 PM
Like this is the most popular RPG ever released by a large margin, I'm sorry but I don't think you have to claim it's "poor design" when it was beloved in it's time, and people still like it. Just because you don't like an aspect of it.

I think either AD&D or Basic D&D probably still has the edge on that.

And plenty of things were 'beloved in their time' simply because we didn't have anything better yet.

You're right about character creation in superhero games being different - just about every one I've seen explicitly says that the GM can and should veto any game-breaking abilities, whereas it seems like some 3.X fans have this weird legalistic attitude that any exploit not directly forbidden by the rules MUST be allowed.

Darth Ultron
2017-10-08, 02:33 PM
I feel that the DM absolutely SHOULD challenge the players, but there are certain situations where doing so is going to seriously harm the verisimilitude of the setting.

Harm the verisimilitude? Ok?



I hate and loathe games that are and feel custom-tailored to the PCs. I want the PCs to succeed - or fail - on their own merits, not because the world has been contrived to make that happen.

I find this idea so odd. Your saying you just want to have ''a game'' that is somehow fun or anything else you want it to be...by chance? In a general sense, you don't want to leave things to chance, and this is even more so for social things.


Or you can have a system where everyone can contribute more or less all the time without having to be carefully fed and tended. Your system is prone to accidental breakage and, worst of all, boring-ness. That's my problem. If you can lose the game at character creation by choosing one of the unmarked trap options, the game has a design flaw.

There are tons of games made for exactly this: were all characters get ''A plus one'' . So the fighter has a +1 to hit with a weapon, and wizard has a +1 to hit with a spell and they both have a +1 to influence a person or move an object. This type of game is made for people that don't like the D&D way.

Talakeal
2017-10-08, 02:49 PM
I want to say that I disagree with this attitude. I see describing it as a "tortured reading" makes it sound like the player is out to warp the rules in his favor, which true or not leads to bad design decisions. To as large a degree as possible, rules should be enforced by rules rather than by an expectation that people will play allowing with some non-explicit consensus.

No, that's the same text. But the key thing you're missing is the duration. If an ability says "you get X", you keep X until something takes it away, either because the ability ends, or because the ability does something to take X away, or because you lose X for some other reason. shapechange doesn't make the abilities you have a property of the form you're in (to be clear, this would be a better way of doing things), it grants abilities and takes them away at specific times. As a result, the difference between the list of abilities granted for entering a form and the list of abilities lost for leaving an old form means you gradually accumulate abilities as you shift through forms.

Double checking, it is the same text. I took you at face value when you said the SRD told you to keep EX abilities of the assumed form. Looking at the text it never tells you that you keep EX abilities at all.

So, going by this line of logic, and spell which allows you to change its parameters continues to follow the old parameters for the duration? So, for example, if I dominate someone and give them one order and then give them a different order they will continue to follow the first order? What if the orders are mutually exclusive? Will they somehow create a paradox and continue to do both despite the impossibility (which makes about as much sense as shape changing into a creature that doesn't have the anatomy required to use the EX abilities it still has).

Now, I find it hard to believe that anyone who is not out to game the system for an advantage believes that the purpose of shape-change is to create composite forms and that after a few minutes a shape changed wizard has every ex ability they can think of despite no longer being in a form capable of using said abilities, and if that was the designers intent you would have thought that they would have explicitly stated it.


No, RAW above all sounds like a nice philosophy, but it just doesn't work in the real world because English is an imprecise language, and because the author's are constrained by time, page count, and their own human failings. You will always get into situations where a literal reading is either impossible or clearly nonsensical.

Imagine, for a second, the following example. I tell you "Hey, if you get my mail for me I will take a hundred dollar bill out of this envelope and give it to you." You get my mail, and then I honor our deal by removing a hundred dollar bill from the envelope, and then giving you the envelope. When you protest, I explain "I said I would take a hundred dollars out of the envelope and give "it" to you, you just assumed that "it" referred to the hundred dollar bill rather than the envelope, when both were equally valid statements.

Edit: Furthermore, how do you even handle the basic aspects of the game? Many of the most fundamental rules aren't explicitly spelled out, instead relying on the player's basic judgement. For example, the book never tells you what "rolling a dice" is or how to do it, and there is nothing in RAW to stop you from simply shaking the die around and then setting it down with the 20 facing up and declaring it to be your role.



That was me.

Reading the description of Forcecage, Teleport is explicitly called out as a valid counter to the spell. And "if a Fighter doesn't have tactical teleport, he's not playing the game" is a common sentiment on the Playground - especially in "you must play towards the tier balance point" tier- or balance-related threads.

And that's ignoring other ways of countering this strategy, like counterspelling, stealth, illusions/deception, or just plain vanilla holding an action to hit him in the face when he tries to cast*.

No, getting hit by the same trick, over and over, in a system with so many obvious counters as 3e has, definitely falls into the "fool me twice" category.

* admittedly, that last one doesn't work as well as it used to in older editions, but it is an option every character should have access to.

Its been a decade or so since I last played high level 3.X, but other than the Cape of the Mountebank (which takes up the cloak slot, meaning that the character loses out on the cloak of resistance, which is absolutely necessary for facing a caster) what other tactical teleportation is available to a fighter?

Also, fighters are not good at stealth, and once the battle starts if they continue to remain stealthed they aren't contributing. Likewise readying an action to disrupt the caster's spell is not a guaranteed success, and even if it works the fighter is contributing scarcely more to the fight than they would in a force cage at that point.

And a caster who spends their spell slots / time baby sitting the fighter probably isn't contributing very much to the fight either, let alone having fun.



I hate and loathe games that are and feel custom-tailored to the PCs. I want the PCs to succeed - or fail - on their own merits, not because the world has been contrived to make that happen. The GM even looking at the PCs character sheet is the first beachhead of this war, that I intend to fight to keep the GM from consciously or subconsciously manipulating the game to ruin my fun. And this level of enforced balance by actualized tier (actually only requires you to observe the charter in play, but will be mistakenly read as) requires the GM to lose the fight for my fun before the game even begins.

I agree with this sentiment, although in 3.X this is more or less impossible because of the vast gulfs of imbalance that separate the various character options. A "middle of the road" setting will be destroyed in an instant by the strongest characters and will likewise kill the weakest characters before they can take their first step.

Out of curiosity, I assume this only applies to mechanical aspects? Because for me I am going to need to know your alignment, profession, motivation, and background simply so that I know where to set the campaign and what adventure hooks to prep for you, and if you won't let me see your character sheet this is gonna be tough.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-08, 03:22 PM
Or you can have a system where everyone can contribute more or less all the time without having to be carefully fed and tended. Your system is prone to accidental breakage and, worst of all, boring-ness. That's my problem. If you can lose the game at character creation by choosing one of the unmarked trap options, the game has a design flaw.

Indeed.

And this is what I keep coming back when when people talk about the GM having a "responsibility" to artfully and painstaking craft encounters and scenarios to play to each particular character very particularly.

(And it's a big part of why I hate the notion of niches and niche protection.)

Why should such a large and ongoing investment in such artifice be necessary just to make the game work?