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Matthew
2007-09-12, 06:28 AM
Over on the 4th Edition: A Collection of Facts (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3180323&posted=1#post3180323) Thread, I accidently sparked off a debate about what is desirable in an RPG and particularly in Dungeons & Dragons. Obviously, though, that kind of debate was a bit far from the point of that Thread. So, I have started a new Thread for the subject and I will attempt to insert as much of what was said below:



The more I read about 4e, the more grateful I am for the SRD and the people who used it to create OSRIC (http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/) and Labyrinth Lord (http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.htm) as allternative outlets. Whilst, I will reserve final judgement until May 2008, I suspect I will be playing 4e even less than I do 3e. That is not to say that there is anything intrinsically wrong with them, just that it is increasingly looking as though 4e is not going to be for me (I am fairly sure it is not even aimed at me).



I'm starting to share your sentiment.

When 4th ed comes out, it seems as if they have to compete with:

1) 3.5 - tons of gamers might stick with it just because they've invested so much time, effort, and money learning the rules. Plus, its a good game. I enjoy playing 3.5 D&D. With the right group, it's a great balance between roleplaying and combat. If 4th ed is fundamentally a different game, then I'll stick with 3.5.

2) MMORPGs - which has the benefit of being constantly and easily available to play, superior graphics, gameplay that works well with the interface, etc.

3) Wizkids and Games Workshop: Superior miniature combat games.

4) White Wolf and a million basement publishers: Games with a much clearer focus on roleplaying.

Knowing this, I'm not sure how they are going to design 4th ed to keep the same balance between roleplaying and combat, while expanding into the online world, but without losing any of the tabletop character that has defined the genre.

My guess is that the online support will suck (as witnessed by their server crashing on the day of their announcement, and by the cruddy graphics in their demonstration). Because their online support will suck, any aspect of the tabletop game which relies on the online support will suck. They've said that the online support will be fully optional - but will it truly be so? Will they modify combat so that it makes more sense online but less sense at the table? Will they modify Skills so that everything is directly relevant to combat, with no support for interesting roleplaying, scouting, diplomacy, etc?

We'll just have to wait and see.



I know exactly what you mean, Matthew. As a guy who grew up playin' 1st Edition, I feel like the game's kinda leavin' me behind. Not that I'm not good enough, or smart enough to embrace the new rules. I actually like some of the mechanics they've come up with for 3rd Edition, and I imagine I'll like some of the mechanics for 4th as well. But I just don't feel like the direction of the overall game is going in the right direction. I feel like it's being influenced more and more by videogames and anime. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, for a lot of people, but it just doesn't feel like D&D to me, anymore.

It blows my mind to join a game, and get berated for not maximizing my "build" to within an inch of its life. There just don't seem to be many players these days who understand that I have a vision in my head of a character who wields two daggers, even though he'll do a statistically significant lesser amount of damage, amortized over 20 levels, than if he had a oversized two-handed sword with Monkey Grip, Power Attack and Shock Trooper.

I know that was a bit of a digression, but my point is this: I'm much more concerned about the direction they take the game, than I am with any additions or subtractions they could possibly make to the rules.



Preach it, brother!!

I build the character I want to play. If that's a Rapier and Dagger fighter, that's what I'm making up, and screw anybody who doesn't like it.

Of course, my group is a bunch of veterans of 1st ed, so we just like the nice clean mechanics of 3e, but play like it was an old game, not InuYasha.


In other words: it's a kiddie's game.

I'd give it another 5 years tops before Hasbro flogs the name off to anyone that wants it. Any RPG which is designed around reducing the challenge for the players is in a death-spiral.



Leveling up does not inherently reduce challenge, it changes it. As long as players are still being challenged at higher levels, the level increase doesn't matter. All it means is that the swarm of goblins becomes a swarm of orcs which becomes a swarm of demons which becomes a swarm of tarrasques. It's only if WotC fails to keep higher levels a challenge that leveling up faster become a problem.



Game 1 has PCs at level 10 who are engaging in encounters which are appropriate for level 10. It took the players 60 sessions to reach level 10.

Game 2 has PCs at level 10 who are engaging in encounters which are appropriate for level 10. It took the players 30 sessions to reach level 10.

Game 1 is more challenging than game 2. More reward in less time = easier game = kiddie's version. Adults enjoy working towards a reward, children can't wait and want instant gratification. Ironically, if you give them it, they generally get bored more quickly too, which is why this is a suicide option for any game.



I take severe umbrage with this mentality. I DM a thoroughly mature game, but us being adults, we only have 1 session a month to play, for 4-6 hours.

That's 1 adventure per month. That means over the course of 60 sessions, we'd have spanned 5 years in real time. Methinks my players would be a little bit pissed off if they only reached level 10 after 5 years of gameplay.

As it stands now...it's been about 1.5 years, and they're all level 9 or 10. They're averaging a level roughly every 1.8 sessions. I know that's fast. But I want to advance my storyline, and I don't think my players would appreciate being level 5 and being called upon to perform heroic deeds beyond their abilities.

Level-up rate has no correlation to game "difficulty" or whether a game is for "kiddies" or not. If you sincerely believe otherwise, I challenge you to sit at my table and say that out loud when 2 PCs die in one session, as happened a few months back.



My players weren't. After 90+ sessions over three years they finally reached the heady heights of Level 6. One of the best AD&D campaigns I ever ran.



While I agree with you about 100% on the issue, you do have to realize that 3rd edition (and apparantely 4th edition as well) are designed for a different mind-set and audience.

The idea of spending years at a time developing characters and enjoying campaigns simply does not appeal to "modern" gamers. It became abundantly clear to me in a discussion on another board that many people today view an RPG as something with a beginning, middle, and end, a lot like a basic game of monopoly.

To me, and to you and your group it seems, the concept of "finishing the game" is all but abhorent.

It's the same thing that creates the mentality that leadership is a feat you take at 6th level instead of something your character does.



Sir, you have my uttmost respect. The day I discovered Labyrinth Lord was the day I realized what D&D should be. While I can admire the efforts wizards have made to bring about cohesive rules and options, I think that basing every new edition on the old, instead of modifying the original with the best changes of the last has reduced to D&D to something that can no longer be called by that name.





While I agree with you about 100% on the issue, you do have to realize that 3rd edition (and apparantely 4th edition as well) are designed for a different mind-set and audience.

Sure, I recognise that. Interestingly, though, about half of my six regular players in that above mentioned campaign were completely new to D&D and all of them were in the 18-25 Age Range. I think its definitely designer mentality and not necessarily anything to do with the potential audience.


The idea of spending years at a time developing characters and enjoying campaigns simply does not appeal to "modern" gamers. It became abundantly clear to me in a discussion on another board that many people today view an RPG as something with a beginning, middle, and end, a lot like a basic game of monopoly.

I think that this is probably true, but I also think that it is not really 'modern gamers', but 'casual gamers' that this applies to [sometimes referred to as 'Part Timers' in the working world (or even in my local pub)]. I don't mean this in a pejorative sense, but just literally people who are looking for a 'quick fix', rather than a long term commitment.


To me, and to you and your group it seems, the concept of "finishing the game" is all but abhorent.

In the sense of going from 1-20, I would tend to agree. I do happily finish campaigns, though. Usually somewhere between Level 7 and 9.


It's the same thing that creates the mentality that leadership is a feat you take at 6th level instead of something your character does.

Yeah, I hate that.


Sir, you have my uttmost respect. The day I discovered Labyrinth Lord was the day I realized what D&D should be. While I can admire the efforts wizards have made to bring about cohesive rules and options, I think that basing every new edition on the old, instead of modifying the original with the best changes of the last has reduced to D&D to something that can no longer be called by that name.

OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord have been great steps forward. I hear Goblinoid Games have a trademark on Advanced Labyrinth Lord as well as Labyrinth Lord, so we might see OSRIC repackaged with some nicer interior artwork in the future.
Dungeons & Dragons is just a trademark (which is very important to companies), but the content is ultimately what matters for gamers, which is why I don't mind what Wizards do with it. They have released almost all the old stuff as PDFs at very reasonable prices and the SRD has made it possible for others to legally recreate the old rules to support previous editions with new product. On the other hand, I can understand the anger expressed by The Great Fane (http://greatfane.blogspot.com/).

<Some fairly lengthy posts, you'll have to go to the Thread to read>


First edition didn't let the DM do anything, it simply didn't provide an alternative or support for mechanical representation. It didn't have anything at all in regards to that, the DM was just expected to work it out somehow. By the logic that no support for situations is better than mechanical representation, the ideal roleplaying game would be just a blank page. It's ludicrous, present some basis for your claim if you expect to be taken seriously.

If, as a DM in 3.x, you cannot or even choose not to make your NPCs realistic, then you're being a terrible DM. There's no getting around that, it's a part of the job and a skill people have to learn. I personally resent the implication that because I DM in 3.x, that I'm just making my NPCs empty collections of numbers. They aren't. Again, you've made an insulting and baseless claim.



How, precisely, are NPCs realistic in a system where they are given the exact same DC to imfluence, whether they are a suspicious and world weary old coot, or a child? Where any player, even at low levels, has the ability to convince a crowd of people to fanatically follow him to their deaths in six seconds? If that's what "roleplaying" support looks like, I will take ODND anyday.



Only if the DM sets them that way. Name one who is that lazy. I sure don't. Hell, I don't use it most of the time, only when the player wants their character to do something they can't effectively roleplay (or they can and their character can't, and I want to remind them of that).

Not unless you're using the epic handbook and letting players get away with absolutely anything. Not using epic, the best you can do is make them like you, if you're really really good. I've met people in real life who can accomplish similar. Who are you to say that players can't be someone like that?

Well, if you decide that you like being myopic about what the system allows and supports, and figure you'll just force your players to suck it up and deal with your whims, then that's your option.

Put succinctly, the system isn't broken unless you're lazy and allow absolutely everything. Everything is that way, in any game. So if you can't put forth the minimal amount of effort to let it work, that reflects badly on you.



Precisely. Having no rules for a situation is better than having bad rules. Having no rules encourages people to think of a solution; having bad rules encourages people to use them anyway because they'll assume the rules are good or they wouldn't have been written that way. You'll get more flak for on-the-fly houseruling something that doesn't have a rule, than for on-the-fly going against the written book.

Pokemaster
2007-09-12, 07:42 AM
Any edition of D&D is just a set of rules. It's the DM's job to adapt those rules to his campaign and his group. If your game is too easy or too hard, then you need to either talk to your DM about what you'd like to play or find yourself a new group.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 07:55 AM
Sure, but then there's what you pay for. A lot of people want D&D to play 'out of the box'. I don't view the game that way, personally, but I would say 3e was attempting to cater to that sort of audience.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 08:14 AM
Sure, but then there's what you pay for. A lot of people want D&D to play 'out of the box'. I don't view the game that way, personally, but I would say 3e was attempting to cater to that sort of audience.

I think that it depends on how you want to play when it caters to playing 'out of the box'. If you are only interested in dungeon crawls, it is fairly easy to just get a group together and start playing.

The beauty of RPG systems is that they are a set of mechanics that can be separated from one world and put into another. The themes may be generally the same between worlds, but each one can be unique. As long as it maintains this and makes it easier to have balance within a group of PCs I feel it is a good system.

Charity
2007-09-12, 08:19 AM
See more and more I find myself being an 'out of the box' type of gamer.
I want to say, if it's in the book it's fine, I want to just pick up an adventure and run it without fear of slaughtering the party, or worse boring them with no challenge worth it's title.
I don't think 3e came within a country mile of that myself but as the eternal optomist that I am, I'll give 4e a whirl.

Dhavaer
2007-09-12, 08:30 AM
I think Wizards needs to have a clear view of what they want to do. A few of the problems with Modern were due to conflicting levels of realism (see: shotguns). If they can get a fairly firm grip on the magic level (fighters, I'm looking at you) it should come off okay.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 08:33 AM
I think that it depends on how you want to play when it caters to playing 'out of the box'. If you are only interested in dungeon crawls, it is fairly easy to just get a group together and start playing.

The beauty of RPG systems is that they are a set of mechanics that can be separated from one world and put into another. The themes may be generally the same between worlds, but each one can be unique. As long as it maintains this and makes it easier to have balance within a group of PCs I feel it is a good system.

I think that style of play has a huge impact on how you perceive RPGs, but there's no denying that some RPGs are closely tied to the Settings for which they are intended. One of the problems with D&D as an 'out of the box' game is that it contains virtually no information about the setting. D&D is a game that claims to be adaptable to many settings, and it can be, but unless there is very little diversity amongst those settings, it won't look like 'out of the box' D&D.


See more and more I find myself being an 'out of the box' type of gamer.
I want to say, if it's in the book it's fine, I want to just pick up an adventure and run it without fear of slaughtering the party, or worse boring them with no challenge worth it's title.
I don't think 3e came within a country mile of that myself but as the eternal optomist that I am, I'll give 4e a whirl.

I find that when it comes to a lot of RPGs, including 3e, I am very 'out of the box'. I don't produce material for those games, I just buy or borrow Adventures and play the game as close to 'as intended' as possible (with some obvious caveats).
On the other hand, I never use any published material for my House Ruled AD&D game and have adapted the rules to suit the setting. It is a game with an entirely different subset of enjoyment for me. I get a lot more out of it because it really is the focus of 'my hobby' and it is where most of my energy goes. It's not just me who gets more out of it, either, the players do as well. It really is 'my hobby' in a completely different way from other RPGs.

Skibybadoowap
2007-09-12, 08:39 AM
In my opinion as long as an upcoming dnd's combat is streamlined, the duration of spells and effects don't end at some random time (such as they last for one encounter or one scene) and the game setting promotes roleplay, I'm good to go.

And as for dnd4 facts and rumors, wouldn't hurt to check out dnd4.com (http://dnd4.com/?page_id=33)

Charity
2007-09-12, 08:46 AM
I never use any published material for my House Ruled AD&D game and have adapted the rules to suit the setting. It is a game with an entirely different subset of enjoyment for me. I get a lot more out of it because it really is the focus of 'my hobby' and it is where most of my energy goes. It's not just me who gets more out of it, either, the players do as well.

I feel this may illustrate the fundemental differance between those that want to DM, and those that have DMing thrust upon them... though with the opposite emphasis to the donor phraze.
I would much rather be a player... unfortunately so would everyone else.

*chucks a log on the tracks*
So Matthew are you comming to Brum in Dec? eh? eh?

Dizlag
2007-09-12, 08:58 AM
Familiarity with a given ruleset brings an RPG to a whole new level. When you don't have to be bogged down with detailed rules, then you can focus more on the roleplaying and story aspect of the game. Those of us who have played D&D since the late 70s and early 80s while using that white crayon to color in the numbers on our dice are VERY familiar with the old skewl rules. We haven't been given a chance to have the rules of D&D 3.5 become second nature yet.

The game I ran 20 years ago is MUCH different than the game I'm running now. But it's not just the rules though, it's me ... it's my group and the time we've got. I remember playing D&D from friday night after school until sunday afternoon. My buddies would come over and we'd game for almost 48 hours straight. We'd wake each other up when it was our turn. :smallbiggrin:

Now, I've got 4-5 hours every other friday night. I want my players who leave their families, drive for 30-45 minutes to my house to feel like they've accomplished something. The number one reason why we all play the game is to watch our characters get more powerful and we do this in D&D by leveling them up. It's the single most enjoyable part of playing a character in a roleplaying game. Watching them grow into something more than what they where at character creation. All of the encounters, parleying, and decisions that got them there is a ton of fun.

The direction of D&D seems to be heading in the direction that will be right for my group. I don't have the time I had before to create something from scratch. I've got a labyrinth for friday night I'll be taking my characters though, but that's smack dab in the middle of Barrow of the Forgotten King (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/dndacc/959767400). I've got the next two adventures waiting for them in the wings as well. So, yeah ... 20-25 years ago my game was "off the cuff", now it's "out of the box". :smallwink:

Dizlag

hamlet
2007-09-12, 09:01 AM
Any edition of D&D is just a set of rules. It's the DM's job to adapt those rules to his campaign and his group. If your game is too easy or too hard, then you need to either talk to your DM about what you'd like to play or find yourself a new group.

Yeah, you're right, except there's a big problem with that. The current incarnations of the rules pidgeon-hole D&D into a specific play style and if you don't want to play it, then you have to change how things work.

We saw it clearly with the low magic thread that was floating around. People who said that 3.x could be used for low magic all had one answer consistantly: limit it to below 6th level. Either that, or pick up Iron Heroes. The game just isn't built to support that kind of play at any point beyond a few months of play. Character ability is so tightly joined with equipment and magic that taking away some magic, or denying it's ready availability, throws everything out of whack.

That simply wasn't so with older editions. I could play high magic, low magic, proliferant magic, scarce magic, whatever and the only thing I had to do as a DM was say the words "This campaign will be low and scarce magic." No modification of rules was neccessary.

The paradigm shift that has occured is that now, with all the rules spelled out, that the rules make the game. In older editions, the rules were a foundation, a starting point, a kernal upon which the DM built the game/campaign.

The best way I can illustrate it, I think, is by taking an example of a knight. In 3.x, to be a knight, you pick up the right book, choose the knight base class, pick up a list of feats, and on and on.

In 2nd edition, if you wanted to be a knight, you found a local lord or king and say "I want to be a knight" performed some sort of service maybe, or did whatever was required in game, then got yourself knighted. It was based entirely on in game concepts rather than in rules concepts.

In 3.x, as has been often said on these boards, people can't see the point of being anything if there isn't some mechanical benefit or difference from something else. The game has become about the rules rather than being facilitated by them.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 09:06 AM
Precisely. Having no rules for a situation is better than having bad rules. Having no rules encourages people to think of a solution; having bad rules encourages people to use them anyway because they'll assume the rules are good or they wouldn't have been written that way. You'll get more flak for on-the-fly houseruling something that doesn't have a rule, than for on-the-fly going against the written book.

That's an important point (although I think you meant "less flak," not "more"). I hadn't really thought of it in those terms... but it does ring true. And while I like most of the changes that took place in 3E, the game does suffer from a tendency to extend the rules way beyond the point where they should have just stopped and said, "Okay, we're getting into such specific cases that it's pointless to try to define rules systems, so from here out you're on your own."

I don't think this is likely to change much in 4E, but apparently they are at least cleaning up some of the problems 3E's rule extensions introduced.

Journey
2007-09-12, 09:12 AM
Most of those points are very good. I wrote it in another thread, but it's just as appropriate here.

The 3rd edition was written with the cRPGs and fledgling MMOGs of the day (1998-2000) in mind. Older gamers had either already purchased all the supplementals they ever would for the existing systems or had moved on to other systems for whatever reason. Wizards needed a way to generate a lot of revenue off a product that they spent a lot of money to buy in a relatively short time. They chose the best way they could have, I think: make what amounts to a table-top version of the cRPGs and MMOGs that kids and even older gamers found enjoyable.

It especially targets the entry-level adolescents they require to build a solid base of new gamers, because this demographic is used to the style of cRPG gaming (which is mainly combat with a general theme or story that can only be called "interactive" with a smirk). They're used to rules that are given by authoritative fiat, which the players (including DM) have little or no input in, and expected a table-top "RPG" to reflect this expectation. Wizards delivered.

I discovered a quote from Gygax in a Gamespy article published in 2004. He said exactly what I've said in a couple of other threads: D&D isn't about cooperative play and storytelling anymore so much as it is about character power and superhero-style characters where the DM isn't the narrator and referee so much as he is an entertainer/human computer.

Sure, it's possible to play D&D as it used to be played under the 3.x rules. It's also possible to adapt Amber to the use of dice. That doesn't mean it's suited for it.

I see 4th edition, if the implied use of "talent trees" and the like is confirmed, advancing further along this MMOG/superhero/DM-as-entertainer path.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 09:16 AM
Matthew: A response to your post from the other thread since this is the first chance I've gotten to reply to it.

Yes, I realize that most of what we've got from 3.x is the WOTC designers' version of D&D. It's the game they have always wanted and have always played, and the fact is that the modern crop of gamers (and no offense is intended) have inhaled this as if it were gold. It's become the de facto way of playing D&D (not to mention the industrialized dumping on older editions that is not only condoned by the designers, but flat out encouraged).

My biggest problem isn't that the new version of D&D is one that millions love and play all the time and enjoy. More power to them. My problem is that it's not one that I enjoy, and there's no realistic way to make it what I enjoy.

The common rejoinder is "well then just stick with the old edition." Yeah, all fine and good, except that it's getting more and more difficult to find any D&D gamers that are willing to try anything other than 3.x. Most, when I broach the subject, look at me as if I'd grown another head and then reel off a list of back handed (or front handed often enough) insults against me and the game I play and those I game with and then demand that I change my game to meet their needs. Right now, we've got three people. Three in the middle of NJ who are willing to play an older edition. Our campaign has been going on for years because they've all grown to love it, but the original three are beginning to get discouraged, especially after the last guy we invited demanded that we convert to 3.x (no, he didn't say I'm not interested in an older game, just flat out demanded that we change to suit his needs).

The attitude and mind set has changed, much for the worse I fear.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 09:22 AM
That simply wasn't so with older editions. I could play high magic, low magic, proliferant magic, scarce magic, whatever and the only thing I had to do as a DM was say the words "This campaign will be low and scarce magic." No modification of rules was neccessary.

That's a little misleading. Adjusting the magic level affected game balance just as much in 2E; the only difference was that 2E's balance was a joke to begin with, so nobody noticed the impact. A +X sword was as powerful in 2E as in 3E--in fact, it was more so, since there were fewer ways to boost your damage output, and some monsters had flat-out immunity to damage from weapons of less than +X enchantment. Consequently, the impact of including or not including a +X sword was greater.

And I remember well the headaches I and my fellow DMs endured trying to achieve a low-magic feel in a setting where a PC wizard could cast invisibility and have it last all day. The abuses that were possible for a 2E wizard in a low-magic world...

The only reason it seems harder to adjust the magic level in 3E is that 3E has an explicit baseline and tries to balance things on that baseline (if not always very successfully), where 2E just threw numbers at a wall and hoped they landed someplace good.


In 2nd edition, if you wanted to be a knight, you found a local lord or king and say "I want to be a knight" performed some sort of service maybe, or did whatever was required in game, then got yourself knighted. It was based entirely on in game concepts rather than in rules concepts.

I'm pretty sure there was some sort of kit somewhere in 2E for being a knight. Classic D&D had explicit rules for becoming a knight at 9th or 10th level. Regardless, the knight class is just a set of mechanics for folks who want to do knight-like stuff. You can be a knight (the class) without ever having sworn a knightly oath or given your service to a lord.


The common rejoinder is "well then just stick with the old edition." Yeah, all fine and good, except that it's getting more and more difficult to find any D&D gamers that are willing to try anything other than 3.x. Most, when I broach the subject, look at me as if I'd grown another head and then reel off a list of back handed (or front handed often enough) insults against me and the game I play and those I game with and then demand that I change my game to meet their needs. Right now, we've got three people. Three in the middle of NJ who are willing to play an older edition. Our campaign has been going on for years because they've all grown to love it, but the original three are beginning to get discouraged, especially after the last guy we invited demanded that we convert to 3.x (no, he didn't say I'm not interested in an older game, just flat out demanded that we change to suit his needs).

I agree that "stick with the old edition" is not really a very good solution. It's my hope that 4E will offer more flexibility in adjusting the "feel" of the game. If not, well... house-ruling is a long tradition in D&D, and I'm sure that will stay the same no matter what edition we're on.

nagora
2007-09-12, 09:31 AM
See more and more I find myself being an 'out of the box' type of gamer.
I want to say, if it's in the book it's fine, I want to just pick up an adventure and run it without fear of slaughtering the party, or worse boring them with no challenge worth it's title.
I don't think 3e came within a country mile of that myself but as the eternal optomist that I am, I'll give 4e a whirl.

I have to wonder why you're DMing in that case. If you don't want to have to even read over an adventure to decide if your players' group will find it entertaining then why are you even bothering? No designer can know what the make up of your group is nor what they find entertaining or who is going to be unavailable for a couple of weeks because they're on holiday. How can any pre-printed adventure ever hope to do what you're asking for?

EDIT: ok, I read your post where you said you don't want to DM. That pretty well explains it!

DeathQuaker
2007-09-12, 09:35 AM
In 2nd edition, if you wanted to be a knight, you found a local lord or king and say "I want to be a knight" performed some sort of service maybe, or did whatever was required in game, then got yourself knighted. It was based entirely on in game concepts rather than in rules concepts.

Or you just waited till you got your stronghold at 10th level. :smallwink:

It's funny to hear people talk about wanting to play D&D "out of the box." I remember my first D&D game that I bought in the mid 80s. It was bright red and said "Dungeons and Dragons" in big white letters and, indeed, came "in a box" along with some dice and stuff (I still have some of those dice). I read over the basic rules and played the solo adventure that it came with by myself. Pretty dang "out of the box" to me.

D&D got more complex after that. I discovered "Advanced" and all kinds of other stuff. It required a little more reading, but still pretty much played from the get-go if you wanted it to.

3.x changed the mechanics a bit, though the core principles still applied. Apart from some mathematical shifts, on paper, D&D, AD&D, and D&D3 don't look that different to me. Your character advances based on a table. You have random charts than can tell you what happens when you do certain things, and difficulties stated which you have to roll a die to beat. None of this has changed.

It's funny that people say D&D is now being designed for computer gamers, because I recall most computer RPGs all the way back to when they first started making them use mechanics that are largely based upon D&D's mechanics, some loosely, some quite exactly. So D&D's mechanics -- and 2nd edition largely -- informed how computer RPGing should go, not the other way around.

I played 2nd ed D&D games that were awful. I played some that were good. Same for 3rd ed D&D. Not to mention Storyteller games, Tri-Stat games, GURPS, etc. etc. etc. In all of these, sometimes character advancement was slow, sometimes fast, sometimes rule-obsessive, sometimes freeform.

Beyond quibbles about preferences for a given mechanic (which are all ultimately according to one's personal tastes and aptitudes), what made the difference between a 2nd ed game I hated and a 3rd ed game I enjoyed -- or vice versa -- wasn't what was found within the rulebook.

It was the players I played with. They made the difference. They were the ones who made it creative and challenging, or dull and "by the book"; they were the ones who determined whether it was going to be "roleplay" or "roll-play."

4th Edition may or may not change many things, but not that.

I don't mind seeing people criticise what they know about 4th ed, based on a mechanic they don't like or what-have-you, but I get the sense a lot of gamers are confusing their nostalgia or great experience with a good GM in the past with the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of previous D&D rulesets. Any version of D&D you can "play out of the box" with, you can powergame and care only about your class progression on a chart, you can count up and hoard your XP voraciously like a dragon does gold.

If 4th ed "encourages" those same things, it's just par for the same course that I've been playing on for the last 20 years.

What will make it a good roleplaying experience will be ultimately up to you. No rule or lack thereof will ever help with that.

Journey
2007-09-12, 09:47 AM
Or you just waited till you got your stronghold at 10th level. :smallwink:

It's funny that people say D&D is now being designed for computer gamers, because I recall most computer RPGs all the way back to when they first started making them use mechanics that are largely based upon D&D's mechanics, some loosely, some quite exactly. So D&D's mechanics -- and 2nd edition largely -- informed how computer RPGing should go, not the other way around. It's true that the mechanics of early editions influenced games; that's one of the factors that drove the popularity of these computer games in the first place. That doesn't mean that the system has not come full circle now.


What will make it a good roleplaying experience will be ultimately up to you. No rule or lack thereof will ever help with that.Unfortunately some systems support certain play styles, regardless of the players playing them, and some don't, so your statement is largely unsupported by the facts. Or, I suppose I should say, it's only true in the trivial sense that it's true for any game. One can play, e.g. EverQuest in a way different from the way EverQuest's system actually supports, but it will be an uphill battle. Your sentiment strikes me as being no different, essentially, than claiming "Super Mario Brothers" is a "role-playing game" because you "play the role of a plumber saving a Mushroom Kingdom."

hamlet
2007-09-12, 09:56 AM
Or you just waited till you got your stronghold at 10th level. :smallwink:

Or, you could go back and realize that you don't "get" a stronghold (or followers for that reason) when you make name level. It's specifically stated that you have to go out and build it, then maintain it, clear the area of monsters, put out notices that you're the new guy in town, etc. You didn't get anything. Name level was, more than anything else, another giant adventure hook that lead into a new dimension of the game.

It's also good to realize that nothing was stopping you from having a stronghold way before name level. I've played a character who became baron of a moderate feif at only 4th level (and subsequently regretted it greatly when he realized that part and parcel of his title was driving off the drider that had come to terrorize the area.



It's funny to hear people talk about wanting to play D&D "out of the box." I remember my first D&D game that I bought in the mid 80s. It was bright red and said "Dungeons and Dragons" in big white letters and, indeed, came "in a box" along with some dice and stuff (I still have some of those dice). I read over the basic rules and played the solo adventure that it came with by myself. Pretty dang "out of the box" to me.

D&D got more complex after that. I discovered "Advanced" and all kinds of other stuff. It required a little more reading, but still pretty much played from the get-go if you wanted it to.

3.x changed the mechanics a bit, though the core principles still applied. Apart from some mathematical shifts, on paper, D&D, AD&D, and D&D3 don't look that different to me. Your character advances based on a table. You have random charts than can tell you what happens when you do certain things, and difficulties stated which you have to roll a die to beat. None of this has changed.

It's funny that people say D&D is now being designed for computer gamers, because I recall most computer RPGs all the way back to when they first started making them use mechanics that are largely based upon D&D's mechanics, some loosely, some quite exactly. So D&D's mechanics -- and 2nd edition largely -- informed how computer RPGing should go, not the other way around.

I played 2nd ed D&D games that were awful. I played some that were good. Same for 3rd ed D&D. Not to mention Storyteller games, Tri-Stat games, GURPS, etc. etc. etc. In all of these, sometimes character advancement was slow, sometimes fast, sometimes rule-obsessive, sometimes freeform.

Beyond quibbles about preferences for a given mechanic (which are all ultimately according to one's personal tastes and aptitudes), what made the difference between a 2nd ed game I hated and a 3rd ed game I enjoyed -- or vice versa -- wasn't what was found within the rulebook.

It was the players I played with. They made the difference. They were the ones who made it creative and challenging, or dull and "by the book"; they were the ones who determined whether it was going to be "roleplay" or "roll-play."

4th Edition may or may not change many things, but not that.

I don't mind seeing people criticise what they know about 4th ed, based on a mechanic they don't like or what-have-you, but I get the sense a lot of gamers are confusing their nostalgia or great experience with a good GM in the past with the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of previous D&D rulesets. Any version of D&D you can "play out of the box" with, you can powergame and care only about your class progression on a chart, you can count up and hoard your XP voraciously like a dragon does gold.

If 4th ed "encourages" those same things, it's just par for the same course that I've been playing on for the last 20 years.

What will make it a good roleplaying experience will be ultimately up to you. No rule or lack thereof will ever help with that.

On the other hand, I've never played in a 3rd edition game that I cared to be in. It just isn't at all fun for me. And this is coming from a guy who regularly plays in dozens of different rules systems from Arduin to AD&D to RIFTS to CAPES. I've played, run, or tried just about every system I could ever get my hands on and and 3.x is really the only one I won't even consider playing in any more.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 10:08 AM
I feel this may illustrate the fundemental differance between those that want to DM, and those that have DMing thrust upon them... though with the opposite emphasis to the donor phraze.
I would much rather be a player... unfortunately so would everyone else.

Heh, you may well be right about that. It's certainly something worth considering alongside the 'casual' player as a reason for desiring 'out of the box' games.


*chucks a log on the tracks*
So Matthew are you comming to Brum in Dec? eh? eh?

I don't think at this point it's too likely. I was rather hoping it would be in London, as I can make a much better case for my going there.


That's an important point...

Hey Dausuul, I just noticed that you're attributing something Kurald said to me (though I think I agree with his sentiment). Just thought you should know.

Charity
2007-09-12, 10:08 AM
How can any pre-printed adventure ever hope to do what you're asking for?

By offering a flexibility in tactics for the encounters, creatures, and players, by using gauging encounters early on to base further encounter difficulty levels on... and various other ingenious methods that I can't be bothered to think of.


EDIT: ok, I read your post where you said you don't want to DM. That pretty well explains it!

Generally considered a winning strategy.
I would like to add, that I don't get nothing from the games I run, nor do my players. I prefer to play, but will DM to fill the void.


Oh, and DQ, I heartily agree.
*doffs hat*


I don't think at this point it's too likely. I was rather hoping it would be in London, as I can make a much better case for my going there.

bah excuses, excuses.

Kiero
2007-09-12, 10:09 AM
I think that style of play has a huge impact on how you perceive RPGs, but there's no denying that some RPGs are closely tied to the Settings for which they are intended. One of the problems with D&D as an 'out of the box' game is that it contains virtually no information about the setting. D&D is a game that claims to be adaptable to many settings, and it can be, but unless there is very little diversity amongst those settings, it won't look like 'out of the box' D&D.

With 3.x it's worse than that; there's no setting material provided, and yet there are quite a few setting assumptions hard-coded into the rules. Like the availability of magic items, certain spells (such as healing) and so on.

Truwar
2007-09-12, 10:11 AM
I really have to take issue with the idea that “4th edition will kill (or continue the process of killing) the spirit of D&D”. For all of you fans of AD&D, the original (Basic D&D, Expert D&D etc.) D&D players said the same thing about AD&D. They claimed that all of the extra rules were simply a straight jacket that stifled the true creative spirit of D&D.

There were a LOT of terrible rules and flaws in AD&D and there are flaws in Third Edition as well. I personally think that 3ed had less flaws than 2ed and that 3.5ed was an improvement over 3ed but I do not believe any of them “Violated the Spirit of TRUE D&D”. There have always been Min-Maxers D&D, there are have always been bad RPers and there always will be.

The spirit of the game comes down to how the game is played. This means that a larger and larger percentage of players will not be playing D&D like we did back in the 80’s (I missed the 70’s ) because a larger and larger percentage of players will not be influenced by the things we were influenced by when we were younger but this is not really a reflection of the rules, it is more a reflection of our current culture.

I am looking for a system that will move smoothly enough to allow RP and will lend itself more easily to all of the players being able to make regular contributions. What I have heard about 4ed makes me somewhat hopeful about this. The radical rule changes make me a bit nervous but I am hoping they will contribute to a better system. Nothing I have heard so far worries me though… well except for their online stuff. That system sounds like an absolute wreck of a hunk of junk. Luckily my friends and I have Gametable which should work just fine for 4ed.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 10:18 AM
It's true that the mechanics of early editions influenced games; that's one of the factors that drove the popularity of these computer games in the first place. That doesn't mean that the system has not come full circle now.

Unfortunately some systems support certain play styles, regardless of the players playing them, and some don't, so your statement is largely unsupported by the facts. Or, I suppose I should say, it's only true in the trivial sense that it's true for any game. One can play, e.g. EverQuest in a way different from the way EverQuest's system actually supports, but it will be an uphill battle. Your sentiment strikes me as being no different, essentially, than claiming "Super Mario Brothers" is a "role-playing game" because you "play the role of a plumber saving a Mushroom Kingdom."

So then what is your feeling on statements that there will be less skills in 4E that "should have been in the background to begin with"? If you want to be a cook, do you feel that you should just say you're a cook, or do you feel that it should be reflected with numbers on your sheet?

The reason this RPG and many others focus so much on combat is because it is the only thing that really has to be calculated in the interest of fairness. The reason that Mario is not an RPG is because there is no real advancement for Mario. He advances the plot, but his character does not grow throughout the game.

As far as Everquest goes, there are roleplaying servers meant for others to do just that. That is true of most MMORPGs, though admittedly that does not generally take place.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 10:23 AM
Hey Dausuul, I just noticed that you're attributing something Kurald said to me (though I think I agree with his sentiment). Just thought you should know.

Whoops, forgot to update the quote tag. Fixed.


So then what is your feeling on statements that there will be less skills in 4E that "should have been in the background to begin with"?

Where is this quote from? I'd very much like to read the source... if true, this will be a substantial improvement.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 10:26 AM
Whoops, forgot to update the quote tag. Fixed.



Where is this quote from? I'd very much like to read the source... if true, this will be a substantial improvement.

I remember reading it somewhere on here as a quote by Andy Collins. Let me look for it and then I will edit this post.

Edit: I found it, see the spoiler.

I can't provide a quote, because it was something said at GenCon. But this might be close to the truth, at least in part. One thing they said, and I'll paraphrase:



You want to be a cook? Then write it down on your character sheet. You shouldn't have to burn skill points on the Profession skill just to support something that should, really, be part of your character's background.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 10:28 AM
With 3.x it's worse than that; there's no setting material provided, and yet there are quite a few setting assumptions hard-coded into the rules. Like the availability of magic items, certain spells (such as healing) and so on.

QFT and to say that this is what I meant to say in that long rambling post above.

Truwar: I never said that 3.x "killed D&D" or anything like that. I merely said that there were a LOT of assumptions built into how the game works that can't be taken out and that those assumptions on style of play make the game un-fun for me.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 10:30 AM
Now, I've got 4-5 hours every other friday night. I want my players who leave their families, drive for 30-45 minutes to my house to feel like they've accomplished something. The number one reason why we all play the game is to watch our characters get more powerful and we do this in D&D by leveling them up. It's the single most enjoyable part of playing a character in a roleplaying game. Watching them grow into something more than what they where at character creation. All of the encounters, parleying, and decisions that got them there is a ton of fun.

I can definitely appreciate this point of view, but it doesn't strike a chord with me. Levelling up has never been the focus of the game for me.


Matthew: A response to your post from the other thread since this is the first chance I've gotten to reply to it.

Yes, I realize that most of what we've got from 3.x is the WOTC designers' version of D&D. It's the game they have always wanted and have always played, and the fact is that the modern crop of gamers (and no offense is intended) have inhaled this as if it were gold. It's become the de facto way of playing D&D (not to mention the industrialized dumping on older editions that is not only condoned by the designers, but flat out encouraged).

Yeah, I know, though I wonder how far it is what the designers wanted and how far it was a product that was built to sell.


My biggest problem isn't that the new version of D&D is one that millions love and play all the time and enjoy. More power to them. My problem is that it's not one that I enjoy, and there's no realistic way to make it what I enjoy.

Yeah, I can sympathise.


The common rejoinder is "well then just stick with the old edition." Yeah, all fine and good, except that it's getting more and more difficult to find any D&D gamers that are willing to try anything other than 3.x. Most, when I broach the subject, look at me as if I'd grown another head and then reel off a list of back handed (or front handed often enough) insults against me and the game I play and those I game with and then demand that I change my game to meet their needs. Right now, we've got three people. Three in the middle of NJ who are willing to play an older edition. Our campaign has been going on for years because they've all grown to love it, but the original three are beginning to get discouraged, especially after the last guy we invited demanded that we convert to 3.x (no, he didn't say I'm not interested in an older game, just flat out demanded that we change to suit his needs).

The attitude and mind set has changed, much for the worse I fear.

That's a serious problem. I can't say I have encountered it much myself (though there was one new player who was a bit baffled by the idea that we weren't playing 3e). Hard to know what to do about it. For the longest time I only ever played D&D with my friends or at a Games Club, so this was no problem at all. We all knew the score with these games, but that was before I ever encountered 3e.
The last full on AD&D campaign I ran was with guys I didn't know at all (with the exception of my girlfriend). I basically recruited them from the University Games Club in order to make new friends. None of them seemed to care at all about the edition we played; some of them had played before, some of them hadn't. They turned out to be a great bunch of guys and I think that was the most important element.
I think its less to do with the mindset and more to do with the people. I think the guy who wanted you to change systems was probably just a jerk. Even if he had been happy to play an earlier edition, he probably would have been a jerk. It's a sad truth of D&D and gamer culture that we have our fair share (perhaps more than out fair share) of socially inept idiots.


bah excuses, excuses.

Heh, maybe, but that's all I can offer in place of 'no' or 'yes'.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 10:37 AM
It was the players I played with. They made the difference. They were the ones who made it creative and challenging, or dull and "by the book"; they were the ones who determined whether it was going to be "roleplay" or "roll-play."


QFT. The system is only a background for the gameplay. It always has been and is true with pretty much any game you are playing be it D&D, Risk or Chess (Kasparov doesn't like playing computers because there isn't a person on the other side of the table for example).

Personally, I like the 3.x system better than the older editions. The reason I disliked the 2ed rules was that they seemed counter intuitive and overly complex to me when, around 11 years old, I looked at them and wanted a game less dependant upon number crunching and rolling on tables. Looking back at some of the 2ed books I now own (which I peruse for stuff I might bring into my 3.5 games) I find that still to be the case. I tend to have a 'burn the fluff in the book' mentality when I DM and I found that was actually easier to do in 3.5 without upsetting the game balance.

I think it is very interesting that many of the serious 2.x players have the exact same problem with 3.x that I did with 2ed. Perhaps it says more about what kind of game we are used to playing, and who with, than a whole lot about the system.


Yeah, all fine and good, except that it's getting more and more difficult to find any D&D gamers that are willing to try anything other than 3.x. Most, when I broach the subject, look at me as if I'd grown another head and then reel off a list of back handed (or front handed often enough) insults against me and the game I play and those I game with and then demand that I change my game to meet their needs. Right now, we've got three people.

Ok, well, I will look at someone funny if they ask me to play a 2ed game. I will probably also make a comment about how much I loathe THAC0. But insluting the person who plays the game, their group and telling them to change to suit your needs is totally unacceptable behavior. That guy is a jerk. Be happy he won't game with you.


The attitude and mind set has changed, much for the worse I fear.

Perhaps, perhaps not. I, and most of my friends who game, don't hang about in gaming stores. I think the vast majority of people who D&D is aimed at these days are the kind of player who does. When I buy gaming books it's online or at Barnes and Noble unless I'm looking for something really specific, need it right away, and must go down to a gaming store to get my hands on it. Mind you, there are two pretty sizeable gaming places within 15 blocks of my office.

I'm not sure if that says something about the mindset of the 'new gamer.' I don't really think that there is one mindset that covers us all. In fact, I'm sure there isn't, probably never has been, and that fact has nothing to do with the system being played and everything to do with the type of person you meet who is playing it.



Unfortunately some systems support certain play styles, regardless of the players playing them, and some don't, so your statement is largely unsupported by the facts. Or, I suppose I should say, it's only true in the trivial sense that it's true for any game. One can play, e.g. EverQuest in a way different from the way EverQuest's system actually supports, but it will be an uphill battle. Your sentiment strikes me as being no different, essentially, than claiming "Super Mario Brothers" is a "role-playing game" because you "play the role of a plumber saving a Mushroom Kingdom."

I simply cannot understand why people think that the rules of the D&D system are equivalent to that of a MMORPG or Supermario brothers. The ruleset for 3.5 is pretty much completley customizable, and frequently is houseruled and homebrewed. You cannot do that with an MMORPG or video game. Much of the issues I see people raising with the 3.x system are the results of DM's deciding to run a game a particular way and allow some things, which the DMG specifically says are options and not requirements (like the leadership feat, PRC's and having access to magic items and spells everywhichwayfromsunday). I personally will not blame the system for the DM.

Regarding where 4.0 is headed... I honestly don't know enough to say. I like the incorporation of ToB style stuff into the system. I like powering down, or slowing down the power of, arcane spell casters in exchange for warlockish abilities. For the rest, I really don't know yet and frankly don't expect to know until a good year after the system comes out.

Indon
2007-09-12, 10:42 AM
The spirit of the game comes down to how the game is played. This means that a larger and larger percentage of players will not be playing D&D like we did back in the 80’s (I missed the 70’s ) because a larger and larger percentage of players will not be influenced by the things we were influenced by when we were younger but this is not really a reflection of the rules, it is more a reflection of our current culture.


I dunno about that. Sure, the rules don't neccessarily affect how the game is played.

But it can affect how the game _can_ be played. Or how easy or difficult the game is to play a certain way.

In that, I think 3.x became better, as it became more modular and thus versatile.

But I'm sure there are downsides, as well, that I just can't think of offhand.

Saph
2007-09-12, 10:43 AM
Well, no. You can tell stories with D&D. You can roleplay. You can run an all-rogue-type campaign of burglars and thefts (now that skills and utility spells are more prominent).
But the system doesn't help you do that.
You can use it for a bunch of things, add things to it, but that's not what the system is for. The system is mechanics-heavy and mechanics-focused. Playing the rules is effectively a "minigame", except it's not so mini.

Nagora wrote an answer to this, but in a way pretty much designed to be as dismissive as possible. Steering clear of the fighting:

I've never really understood the people who say that system mechanics can encourage roleplaying. I understand what they're saying . . . I just never actually find that it happens. If I look back over my time with RPGs, and count up all the really deeply thought-out characters that I've had, the ones that I remember the best and had the most personality mostly came from systems with little to no non-combat mechanics.

In fact, one of the best characters I ever had was from an online RPG called Archmage which had no rules for roleplaying whatsoever - there was a very simple mathematical combat system for simulating wars, a power ranking, and that was it. Nothing else. Your character didn't even have stats - the only unique things about her were her name, her identity number, and her magic colour (and there were only five colours). But there were tens of thousands of people playing it, divided into guilds, and there were politics and social interactions between and inside the guilds . . . and that was where all the roleplaying came from. It was great, and I liked the character so much that the forum name I use now is the old nickname I had back then. But I'm not sure that any of it came from game mechanics.

I have the same feeling with D&D. I've got a very deeply fleshed-out D&D character, with a long history and background and all sorts of ties to the gameworld, whom I absolutely love playing. The system didn't give me any mechanical help in creating her, but then, I'm not sure I really would have wanted any in the first place. I think the most fun parts of RPGs (and definitely the most fun parts of characters) tend to be system-independent.

- Saph

Matthew
2007-09-12, 10:57 AM
3.x changed the mechanics a bit, though the core principles still applied. Apart from some mathematical shifts, on paper, D&D, AD&D, and D&D3 don't look that different to me. Your character advances based on a table. You have random charts than can tell you what happens when you do certain things, and difficulties stated which you have to roll a die to beat. None of this has changed.

The thing for me is that the mathematical shifts are huge. Creating a 0 Level NPC in AD&D was simple and virtually independent of the system itself. Creating a Monster had the bare minimum of rules. It's not really Player Character creation that has become most complex (and it has become more complex), but Adventure and Setting design. The level of mechanical detail, minutia and restrictions is just well beyond what I want from the game.


I don't mind seeing people criticise what they know about 4th ed, based on a mechanic they don't like or what-have-you, but I get the sense a lot of gamers are confusing their nostalgia or great experience with a good GM in the past with the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of previous D&D rulesets. Any version of D&D you can "play out of the box" with, you can powergame and care only about your class progression on a chart, you can count up and hoard your XP voraciously like a dragon does gold.

For me, it's not the case. I usually am the DM/GM for the majority of the D&D games I play and I do use various editions. Nostalgia doesn't come into it, it's what I am actively finding now to be the most suitable methods of play for my preferences.

I completely agree, however, that people are the most important part of creating a good roleplaying experience.

nagora
2007-09-12, 11:04 AM
By offering a flexibility in tactics for the encounters, creatures, and players, by using gauging encounters early on to base further encounter difficulty levels on... and various other ingenious methods that I can't be bothered to think of.


Ah. I thought you meant the opposite end of "out of the box" from what I thought you meant. I assumed that you were looking for something that avoided any of that - ie, something that needs no flexibility. I understand your position now. I don't think you can easily get it with a heavy mecanical system, though.

Thrawn183
2007-09-12, 11:14 AM
I think there is so much variability within a system due to DM'ing differences that it doesn't really matter. I've had two DM's. One is creative and throws inventive encounters at the party. They are both interesting social and challenging combat, maybe a little problem solving thrown in. The second DM basically does find evil, kill evil. Also sticks in puzzles but they never really fit into the dungeon (sudoku puzzles?...right:smallsigh: )

So yeah, I've seen 3.5 as dungeon rading hack and slash, and I've seen it be a roleplaying haven (though there was still plenty of hack and slash, its always fun). From my perspective that means that 3.5 was able to cater to the vast majority of what people want, and therefore succeeds as a flexible system.

Speed is dependent on players involved, so the same goes for complaints about the game being too slow. Its almost always the player or DM's fault.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 11:20 AM
The thing for me is that the mathematical shifts are huge. Creating a 0 Level NPC in AD&D was simple and virtually independent of the system itself. Creating a Monster had the bare minimum of rules. It's not really Player Character creation that has become most complex (and it has become more complex), but Adventure and Setting design. The level of mechanical detail, minutia and restrictions is just well beyond what I want from the game.

Fair enough. I dislike the amount of work that goes into creating viable things in the 3.5 setting. I don't really know if that was any easier in 2ed. Generally, if I'm dealing with a level 1 npc, I don't even bother statting him out. And I'll play fast and loose with the rules when I think it serves a purpose.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 11:20 AM
As one of the old guard, I've been a bit concerned of the trickle of information we have coming from the directions of WotC. What little I hear concerns me in that there's several things changing that are moving away from the game I used to play and love back when I was 10 and playing 1e AD&D in the stairwell near the gym during rainy days at elementary school.

One of the things I've missed in playing 3.xe has been the creation of unique worlds. Mayhaps this is more a factor of time rather than system, but it seems to me both 1e and 2e had more tools for the Dungeon Master to build his own world for the players. The packaged game worlds were there, sure, but we had more fun making and playing in our own constructed worlds. (I will forever have fond memories of "The Beer god.") 3.x seems to have less of this world creation in mind.

Moreover, the older editions seemed to lend more towards story-building over character-building. (Some have referred to this as horizontal progression versus vertical progression or something like that. They never explain exactly what they mean by this, so it frequently sounds to me like they are just bringing up someone else's intelligent point to appear intelligent by association. No offense to any here. It's my impression, not reality I'm certain. I probably shouldn't even mention it, and since I'm typing this, I've even less excuse to let this comment slide by. Worse, this paranthetical is becoming the entire paragraph, why am I allowing this to happen? Because that's the kinda guy I am.)

Character imbalance was always a factor of the game. The Magic-User would always look better in a fight than the Fighter at high levels. In early editions, though, you didn't put much effort into the fighter. Now, we put work in trying to make a good character build, and if we pick the "wrong class" we're left with a less-than-optimal build compared to others. Since the entire game is now geared towards overcoming obstacles so that we can overcome harder obstacles, the imbalances are terribly apparent.

I think I'm going all over the place at this point. Whee! Anyhow, it seems 4e at least by the sound of it, isn't changing the "Overcome obstacles to overcome greater obstacles" format. That we're going to level 30 now seems to point to that. The roleplay, the story creation ... more and more that goes by the wayside.

Ah well. For all my pointless ranting, I realize it's the nature of things to change, and that nothing really stays the same over time. The game I knew and enjoyed is long gone. In twenty-five years, the kids who started playing 4e DnD when they were ten years old will be complaining how 8th Edition just isn't the same game any more. Or they will be fighting off alien hordes from Vega-7 and just won't have the time to play or even worry about DnD.

Truwar
2007-09-12, 11:27 AM
Truwar: I never said that 3.x "killed D&D" or anything like that. I merely said that there were a LOT of assumptions built into how the game works that can't be taken out and that those assumptions on style of play make the game un-fun for me.

I never said that you said that hamlet, but others have. As far as assumptions that cannot be taken out. Why? You can take out whatever you do not like. If you think wizards should be able to level small mountains with a flick of their wrist but that a +1 sword should be almost impossible to create and be treated as a treasured artifact by the poor fighter schlub that found it, go for it, it is your game.

If you want fighters to be more like they were in earlier editions, simply remove their bonus feats and “shazam!” you have an AD&D-powered fighter (well it might help if you blindfold him and tie at least one appendage behind his back too). Now, if your players are demanding something different, that is a case of the players not providing you with what you want, not the system.


The thing for me is that the mathematical shifts are huge. Creating an NPC in AD&D was simple and virtually independent of the system itself. Creating a Monster had the bare minimum of rules. It's not really Player Character creation that has become most complex (and it has become more complex), but Adventure and Setting design. The level of mechanical detail, minutia and restrictions is just well beyond what I want from the game.

You can create NPCs and monsters the same way in 3ed. As a DM, I never flesh out (stat-wise) NPCs that are not major players in the game and monsters , depending on your type of monster, don’t need anything more than an Attack Bonus (+ grapple bonus,if needed) damage, AC, HitDice (and Hitpoints) saves and movement. This is the same kind of things you would need for a monster in AD&D (except you have about twice as many types of saving throws).

The difference is that there is a framework for making a deadly goblin assassin (IF you want) or even a half-dragon badger sorcerer (if you REALLY want) without having to just arbitrarily make things up (although you still can IF you want). I just have a hard time seeing how this is restrictive.

nagora
2007-09-12, 11:30 AM
Nagora wrote an answer to this, but in a way pretty much designed to be as dismissive as possible. Steering clear of the fighting:

I've never really understood the people who say that system mechanics can encourage roleplaying. I understand what they're saying . . . I just never actually find that it happens.

You're just less grumpy than I am, but I totally agree.

The irony of ironies on the other thread was when Zincorium said that the logic of my argument would suggest that the perfect RPG system would be a blank sheet of paper as if that was a bad thing!

The perfect is often unattainable, but that no excuse to drive in the opposite direction.

Jerthanis
2007-09-12, 11:37 AM
I feel like it's impossible for the mechanics to affect your capacity for roleplay. Had these cRPGers/MMORPGers grown up using 1st and 2nd edition rules, they'd play it with the same numbers minded, min-maxy way that you so heartily disapprove of. I'd still be playing story intensive games with a focus on roleplaying and heroic characters. You'd play whatever type of game you'd like, and are still playing now.

To me, the edition I use is just about selecting the set of rules I'm annoyed by the least. I hated the guts out of exceptional strength, THAC0 starting at 20 for all characters (making Warriors (fighter, Paladin, Ranger) barely better at fighting at all than rogues (Thieves and Bards) at 1st level), nonsensical ability requirements for some certain classes (Wizard specialist classes), Saving throws being difficult to record on a character sheet easily and taking several explanations to really understand which save to roll (what happens when a petrification spell is cast out of a wand?), and wizards being so useless for so long at the start of campaigns out of 2nd edition rules. These aren't the case anymore in 3rd edition. I hate plenty of things in 3rd edition like the lack of any good armor choices, grapple rules, the Knight class, the assumed piles of magic gear loading up on each character, often the same Cloaks of Resistance and Rings of Protection the characters from the last campaign recieved, static bonuses to be added and forgotten about, and the absence of the term "Rules Lawyer" as a derogatory.

Still, I can see some of the things that could annoy longterm fans of the game about 4th edition... for me it's Vancian magic being taken out (I actually like memorization and spell slots), and 30 total levels instead of 20. I could see this whole thing as a further departure from the game you love, and even I'm starting to think of it as a whole new game entirely, wheras I always thought of 3rd edition as 2nd edition, but without the stuff I didn't like.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 11:39 AM
Fair enough. I dislike the amount of work that goes into creating viable things in the 3.5 setting. I don't really know if that was any easier in 2ed. Generally, if I'm dealing with a level 1 npc, I don't even bother statting him out. And I'll play fast and loose with the rules when I think it serves a purpose.

Creating a character (or anything short of a "from scratch" monster) in 2nd edition was a matter of minutes, even at high levels. I'm infamous in my current group (all three of us) for being able to create a new, interesting, and unique character in under 15 minutes complete with background and personallity.*

In creating a world, there weren't any rules to be considered, really, it was just a matter of going where your imagination took you. No worrying about what prestige classes or whatever mechanics pakage were and were not present. More than that, though, was the simple fact that "character customization" had almost nothing to do with what rules affected your character (feats, skills, talents, gizmos, etc.) but everything to do with what you as a player wanted.

Want a tripping build? Easy. "This is Bob the Fighter. He has a whip which he likes to use to trip his enemies."

Reach Monkey? Simple. "This is George, he uses a pike. Want to make something of it?"

Skill Monkey? Yeah, that's doable too. Thief class with high intelligence, trade in your extra weapon proficiency slot for non-weapon proficiency slot, go from there.

It was all possible and didn't involve "builds."

That, to me, is simple and elegant.


*A bit of explanation: in our game (about three and a half years old), I'm very bad at keeping characters alive and with the group. They either die horrible deaths in the search of heroics (like making a last stand against the vampire while the rest escape) or they end up separating from the group because their interests diverge (the cleric who decided the ranger was a prig and he would see him in hell before he tromped all over the countryside with him). In three years, I've had probably 8 characters which means that there are only two memebers of the original adventuring group left and a constat stream of hangers on.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 11:43 AM
Saving throws being difficult to record on a character sheet easily and taking several explanations to really understand which save to roll (what happens when a petrification spell is cast out of a wand?),

Simple. As explicitly stated in the combat chapter, the saving throws were listed in order of primacy. Thus, in your example, the character would save vs. petrification first instead of wand because it is listed first. That holds true for all saves, the highest applicable save listed is the one used unless specifically stated in the effect description (i.e., a hold person spell specificaly says save vs. spells instead of paralyzation).

Matthew
2007-09-12, 11:43 AM
You can create NPCs and monsters the same way in 3ed. As a DM, I never flesh out (stat-wise) NPCs that are not major players in the game and monsters , depending on your type of monster, don’t need anything more than an Attack Bonus (+ grapple bonus,if needed) damage, AC, HitDice (and Hitpoints) saves and movement. This is the same kind of things you would need for a monster in AD&D (except you have about twice as many types of saving throws).

The difference is that there is a framework for making a deadly goblin assassin (IF you want) or even a half-dragon badger sorcerer (if you REALLY want) without having to just arbitrarily make things up (although you still can IF you want). I just have a hard time seeing how this is restrictive.

You have either misunderstood what I was saying or are just ignoring it. I know I can do exactly the same in 3e. I can do anything I like with 3e. The point isn't what I can do (which is anything I please), but what the system asks me to do.
It's nonesense to say 'there was no framework in previous editions to make a deadly Goblin Assassin'. It was very, very easy. You take a Goblin, you give him some Thief abilities and adjust his Hit Points and THAC0 to suit your desires. Job done.

Matrak the Goblin Assassin
THAC0: 18
Hit Points: 12
Armour Class: 7
Abilities: Hide in Shadows 50%, Move Silently 50%, Listen 50%, Back Stab x3,

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 11:43 AM
Oddly enough, I'll miss the Vancian system as well. I'm old guard, and it's just what's familiar to me. I know plenty who won't miss it at all, though. I'll always disagree with them. I've played mages a-plenty and never complained about the memorization system.

nagora
2007-09-12, 11:48 AM
Moreover, the older editions seemed to lend more towards story-building over character-building. (Some have referred to this as horizontal progression versus vertical progression or something like that. They never explain exactly what they mean by this, so it frequently sounds to me like they are just bringing up someone else's intelligent point to appear intelligent by association. No offense to any here. It's my impression, not reality I'm certain. I probably shouldn't even mention it, and since I'm typing this, I've even less excuse to let this comment slide by. Worse, this paranthetical is becoming the entire paragraph, why am I allowing this to happen? Because that's the kinda guy I am.)


I like the cut of your jib, Crazy Uncle Doug! :smallsmile:

hamlet
2007-09-12, 11:50 AM
Oddly enough, I'll miss the Vancian system as well. I'm old guard, and it's just what's familiar to me. I know plenty who won't miss it at all, though. I'll always disagree with them. I've played mages a-plenty and never complained about the memorization system.

Actually, out of all the things going out the door in 4e, the Vancian system is the one I'll miss the least.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great system and is darn near perfect for your basic BECMI or AD&D game.

But I'm not so attached to it that I'm going to flip over not having it.

My big complaint is what they're talking about replacing it with. "Per Encounter" abilities? I'm sorry, that's stupid.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 11:52 AM
I like the cut of your jib, Crazy Uncle Doug! :smallsmile:

To quote the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight:


IT'S THE ONLY JIB I GOT, BABY!!!

nagora
2007-09-12, 12:00 PM
Actually, out of all the things going out the door in 4e, the Vancian system is the one I'll miss the least.


I would be less worried if the reasoning for dropping it was substantial, but like fast leveling up, it is being done to pander to power-gamers who want spell points so they can blast away with fireball as often as they like without having to put any thought into spell selection at the start of the adventure.

You simply can't design a game based on feeding immature player's desires for fast reward schedules. It's like giving players £400 for passing Go in Monopoly and then increasing it to 800. Eventually you have to multiply all the other numbers by the same amount or the game disintegrates, and at that point you're back where you started just with bigger numbers. What's the point.

Vancian casting has always been a limitation on casters, and a good workable one too. I think ditching it will just make a mess as well as making magic blander.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 12:14 PM
I would be less worried if the reasoning for dropping it was substantial, but like fast leveling up, it is being done to pander to power-gamers who want spell points so they can blast away with fireball as often as they like without having to put any thought into spell selection at the start of the adventure.

You simply can't design a game based on feeding immature player's desires for fast reward schedules. It's like giving players £400 for passing Go in Monopoly and then increasing it to 800. Eventually you have to multiply all the other numbers by the same amount or the game disintegrates, and at that point you're back where you started just with bigger numbers. What's the point.

Vancian casting has always been a limitation on casters, and a good workable one too. I think ditching it will just make a mess as well as making magic blander.

Right. Though there was always the power imbalance, the Vancian system served somewhat as an equalizer. The Magic-User had to have some foresight in planning his spells for the day. Then he had to use good judgement in knowing when to toss his fireball and when to keep it just in case and opt for a good ole magic missle this round. It meant work and thought, something I guess today's players would rather do without. Erk, that last was a snarky comment. There I go again.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 12:17 PM
I would be less worried if the reasoning for dropping it was substantial, but like fast leveling up, it is being done to pander to power-gamers who want spell points so they can blast away with fireball as often as they like without having to put any thought into spell selection at the start of the adventure.

Gee, thanks. Glad to know there's no possible other reason to dislike Vancian casting. I thought people were complaining about how 3E locked you into one specific play style and implied setting... Vancian casting is a HUGE offender in that regard and always has been. The flavor of it clashes horribly with every setting I want to create. I've hated it since day one.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 12:20 PM
'you people'?!

Anywho, yeah Vancian Casting is a Bugbear. Some people like it, some people hate it. I don't really care for it, myself, but I don't mind it either. I'm not sure if Vancian Casting locks you into a playstyle. I think that method of Spell Casting does have a big impact on the game, though. For the most part, I prefer Spontaneous Casting, Limited Spell Selection and Magic Points.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 12:22 PM
Gee, thanks. Glad to know there's no possible other reason to dislike Vancian casting. I thought you people were complaining about how 3E locked you into one specific play style and implied setting... Vancian casting is a HUGE offender in that regard and always has been. The flavor of it clashes horribly with every setting I want to create. I've hated it since day one.

How, exactly, does Vancian casting, when there are also spontaneous casting classes, lock you into a setting?

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 12:22 PM
'you people'?!

Sorry, that was kind of snarky, wasn't it? Edited to "people." Better?


How, exactly, does Vancian casting, when there are also spontaneous casting classes, lock you into a setting?

There were no spontaneous casting classes in 2E, and 3E didn't have spontaneous divine casters until relatively recently. Believe me, I was ecstatic when I first met the sorceror, and ecstatic again when I met the favored soul. These days wizards are the first class to go out the window in any setting I create, and clerics and druids use the spontaneous casting variants.

nagora
2007-09-12, 12:24 PM
Gee, thanks. Glad to know there's no possible other reason to dislike Vancian casting.

There are some reasons, I just don't think they're why WotC have decided at this time to drop it. I do also think that it's just about the only magic system in RPGs today with any flavour, although I know it's a flavour some people don't like.

Jerthanis
2007-09-12, 12:25 PM
Simple. As explicitly stated in the combat chapter, the saving throws were listed in order of primacy. Thus, in your example, the character would save vs. petrification first instead of wand because it is listed first. That holds true for all saves, the highest applicable save listed is the one used unless specifically stated in the effect description (i.e., a hold person spell specificaly says save vs. spells instead of paralyzation).

Yeah, it is simple once it has been explained, and looked up a couple times. The first few times it would come up it'd cause some head scratching. Also, I might be alone on this, but in my games we'd almost always use lined sheets of regular paper to make our character sheets, and so it was always hard writing down Petrification/Poison/Death, Rod/Staff/Wand and so on in some part of the sheet and it be legible. It's not an amazingly significant complaint, but it's something I think was improved through simplification.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 12:26 PM
Oh I recognize the myriad downsides of the system as well. Book-keeping just for spells can be a pain for some. Playing a Divine class is worse than an Arcane class in regards to memorization. At least a Wizard is limited by what's in his spellbook. The Cleric has the entire list at his disposal, and if he picks wrong ... Heck, back in the old days, pre-spontaneous casting, if you didn't load up on Cure spells, you were killing the party. It left you picking a very small number of spells amongst a huge list.

But still, I liked the system. I was used to it and played many a caster, all three-and-a-half versions of the game. Once again, I can see this as being just a factor of change. Things will change, and really I'm just one voice in the wind. Too many hate the Vancian system for me to be heard, I guess. It's just how things change.

And as we all know, change is bad and must be feared and stomped out!!

Matthew
2007-09-12, 12:28 PM
Sorry, that was kind of snarky, wasn't it? Edited to "people." Better?

Heh, yeah, I think that reads better.


There were no spontaneous casting classes in 2E, and 3E didn't have spontaneous divine casters until relatively recently. Believe me, I was ecstatic when I first met the sorceror, and ecstatic again when I met the favored soul. These days wizards are the first class to go out the window in any setting I create, and clerics and druids use the spontaneous casting variants.

There kind of was in later variants of 2e. Spells & Powers had a few different Magic Systems, but I never really used any of them. Free Magicks, though, allowed a Wizard to use Spontaneous Casting, as did Free Theurgies for Priests.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 12:35 PM
There were no spontaneous casting classes in 2E, and 3E didn't have spontaneous divine casters until relatively recently. Believe me, I was ecstatic when I first met the sorceror, and ecstatic again when I met the favored soul. These days wizards are the first class to go out the window in any setting I create, and clerics and druids use the spontaneous casting variants.

Oddly enough, in the various games I play, there are relatively few sorcerers and 'spontaneously casting' classes are there are of Wizards, Clerics, and Druids and the like.

It all just comes down to personal preference. Though 3.5e started to toss a few options in so that personal preference could be better met, 4e seems to be moving away from personal preference. 3.5e was moving in the right direction; 4e is taking a few steps away.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 12:41 PM
Oddly enough, in the various games I play, there are relatively few sorcerers and 'spontaneously casting' classes are there are of Wizards, Clerics, and Druids and the like.

It all just comes down to personal preference. Though 3.5e started to toss a few options in so that personal preference could be better met, 4e seems to be moving away from personal preference. 3.5e was moving in the right direction; 4e is taking a few steps away.

I'm not entirely sure about that. I really don't think we have enough information on the mechanics yet to know if it is moving toward or stepping away from increased personal preference.

Also, btw, can someone link me to where WotC says they are doing away with Vancian casting? I recall a mention of vancian casting being less of a vital part of the game but I don't recall seeing something saying it was being chucked out the window wholesale.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 12:45 PM
I don't think it is going out altogether, but Spells are going to be per Day and per Encounter, which means no more eight hour naps. I think it was on the Wizards Forums somewhere.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 12:45 PM
I'm not entirely sure about that. I really don't think we have enough information on the mechanics yet to know if it is moving toward or stepping away from increased personal preference.

I will freely admit, we are making judgements based on the small trickle of information we've been given. We've few solid facts, and many rumors.

Such is the nature of the modern internet, where we can hate something based on abstract conceptions long before it even exists in the concrete. Huzzah!

internerdj
2007-09-12, 12:46 PM
Oddly enough, in the various games I play, there are relatively few sorcerers and 'spontaneously casting' classes are there are of Wizards, Clerics, and Druids and the like.

It all just comes down to personal preference. Though 3.5e started to toss a few options in so that personal preference could be better met, 4e seems to be moving away from personal preference. 3.5e was moving in the right direction; 4e is taking a few steps away.

Looking from a fully developed system to a new system starting out with a limited rule set it sure appears that way. Unfortunately wizards can only release so many rules at once. For balance it is best for them to do as many up front as possible but some of the options really have to wait till later in a cycle. But I'll throw my hat in with you Doug, I prefer Vancian magic. A caster is a thinker; he should choose his spells with some planning rather than be able to suck out any spell he needs to fit the current situation. IMO being able to sub a heal for a prepared spell for the cleric was a great compromise.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 12:48 PM
Also, btw, can someone link me to where WotC says they are doing away with Vancian casting? I recall a mention of vancian casting being less of a vital part of the game but I don't recall seeing something saying it was being chucked out the window wholesale.

The main source, as for so many things, is Mike Mearls's 4E blog (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=906391):


BTW, who knew that so many people disliked Vancian spellcasting? The entire audience in yesterday's seminar cheered and clapped when we told them it was (mostly) gone.

So, not completely done away with, but dramatically reduced and/or altered. If spontaneous casters get at least as much love as the prepared ones this time around, I won't complain.

TheThan
2007-09-12, 01:32 PM
Everyone keeps saying the game will be geared towards video gamers and will be too focused on quick rewards and instant gratification. While these concerns are valid I think the most underlying factor that people are afraid of is that the game is becoming “idiot proof”.

What I mean, is that the designers are trying to attract a bigger audience to sell books to. With the direct result of dnd becoming “easier” to play. They are “dumbing down” the rules so that any random person walking down the street will be able to pick it up and make a character. This is not a good thing. DnD has always been a game that required a certain degree of intelligence. Most people that play the game have that intelligence (which leads to the stereotypes we see in popular culture concerning dnd and nerds). Generally we as smart people don’t want to see our hobbies ruined by an influx of people that will force the designers to change (whether by complaints or by the realization that the “old guard” is out numbered) the game to make it easier for them. They can and usually will ignore the “old guard” of intelligent gamers that they made money off of first.

I hate to call people stupid but I’ve seen it happen before, in tabletop games, video games as well as anime. It’s something that happens, when something gains too much popularity and threatens to become mainstream, then an influx fanboy/girls, fad seekers and other sorts of undesirable people get mixed up in it. This usually ends up destroying that hobby.

Take for instance Anime, I used to really enjoy watching anime, and have seen most of the very best there is to see in the USA. However over the past few years I’ve seen a huge influx of said fanboys and fad seekers and other sorts of people that turned an otherwise niche hobby into something mainstream. Now its hard to go anywhere or do things without hearing about Naruto, Inuyasha or any of the other popular anime shows out there now. When this happened I no longer felt I’ve found something unique that not everyone does, my niche has been ruined and now I’ve got to flee and find something to call my hobby.

This I feel is the direction dnd is ultimately heading and I dread that day.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 01:37 PM
Generally we as smart people don’t want to see our hobbies ruined by an influx of people that will force the designers to change (whether by complaints or by the realization that the “old guard” is out numbered) the game to make it easier for them. They can and usually will ignore the “old guard” of intelligent gamers that they made money off of first.


Fear not sir! Our years of playing the older systems and ability to decide who we play with will ensure that even if D&D reaches a broad audience and has simple rules we shall still be able to maintain our elitist views!

Someone pass me the Sherry!

Thinker
2007-09-12, 01:40 PM
There are some reasons, I just don't think they're why WotC have decided at this time to drop it. I do also think that it's just about the only magic system in RPGs today with any flavour, although I know it's a flavour some people don't like.

It may be a different preference from yours, but I don't think mechanics should have flavor. I want my mechanics to be modular so that I can explain it for my world in any way I wish without having to do all sorts of work re-balancing things.

ZeroNumerous
2007-09-12, 01:44 PM
Fear not sir! Our years of playing the older systems and ability to decide who we play with will ensure that even if D&D reaches a broad audience and has simple rules we shall still be able to maintain our elitist views!

Someone pass me the Sherry!

This has made my day. I love you. :smallwink:

TheThan
2007-09-12, 01:45 PM
I didn’t mean to come off like that. It’s not so much that we’re elitist its that such an influx tends to ruin the things we enjoy, and I guess it ruins the prestige it used to have… ok that does make me sound like an elitist.

*Passes the Sherry*

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 01:45 PM
It may be a different preference from yours, but I don't think mechanics should have flavor. I want my mechanics to be modular so that I can explain it for my world in any way I wish without having to do all sorts of work re-balancing things.

I'll take an intermediate position here and say that in a "generic" game like D&D--that is, one that's intended to be used across multiple settings, including homebrew ones--highly flavorful ("spicy?") mechanics have their place, but that place should be limited to optional or setting-specific material. It should not be part of the core system. The core rules should be low on flavor ("mild?") so they can be readily adapted to any setting.


I hate to call people stupid but I’ve seen it happen before, in tabletop games, video games as well as anime. It’s something that happens, when something gains too much popularity and threatens to become mainstream, then an influx fanboy/girls, fad seekers and other sorts of undesirable people get mixed up in it. This usually ends up destroying that hobby.

That's one perspective. Another perspective is that the hobby is broadening its appeal and gaining a wider pool of participants, so that it's easier to find gamers who fit with any given style of play. The fad seekers will eventually move on to the next fad. Hopefully, the player base they leave behind will be richer, more diverse, and more vital than the one they entered.

I've been playing D&D for twenty years, starting with Classic D&D way back in the day. I was thrilled with the changes 3E introduced, and I continue to be excited about the direction the game is heading. Simplification is not dumbing down; the way I see it, simpler and cleaner rules mean less time number-crunching and more time role-playing.

Indon
2007-09-12, 01:46 PM
Everyone keeps saying the game will be geared towards video gamers and will be too focused on quick rewards and instant gratification. While these concerns are valid I think the most underlying factor that people are afraid of is that the game is becoming “idiot proof”.


I agree. They will no doubt call it "balance", and it will be.

But I will call it, "Removing the majority of my options", and it will suck.

nagora
2007-09-12, 01:49 PM
Fear not sir! Our years of playing the older systems and ability to decide who we play with will ensure that even if D&D reaches a broad audience and has simple rules we shall still be able to maintain our elitist views!

Someone pass me the Sherry!

Indeed, sir, for Port makes me fart!

Thinker
2007-09-12, 01:49 PM
I'll take an intermediate position here and say that in a "generic" game like D&D--that is, one that's intended to be used across multiple settings, including homebrew ones--highly flavorful ("spicy?") mechanics have their place, but that place should be limited to optional or setting-specific material. It should not be part of the core system. The core rules should be low on flavor ("mild?") so they can be readily adapted to any setting.

That's a good way of saying what I was trying to convey. I am perfectly fine with setting-specific rules. Races are a good example of a well-done mechanic: They are well-balanced and give good guidelines for what a good race is, but an Elf is no more necessary in Setting A as it is on Earth. This sort of mechanic is fine because it is optional. If, on the other hand, elfblood was required to use magic above level 3 and other such nonsense it would be a bad mechanic.

Indon
2007-09-12, 01:50 PM
I'll take an intermediate position here and say that in a "generic" game like D&D--that is, one that's intended to be used across multiple settings, including homebrew ones--highly flavorful ("spicy?") mechanics have their place, but that place should be limited to optional or setting-specific material. It should not be part of the core system. The core rules should be low on flavor ("mild?") so they can be readily adapted to any setting.

Why not simply offer multiple flavor options, to drive the point home that no class is aligned to a single kind of flavor?

Azerian Kelimon
2007-09-12, 01:50 PM
Indeed. Magic should be mostly standard, maybe with big changes for certain settings (I personally prefer sorcerers to take on the nigh-universal will and word: up to a point they can cast normally, and can keep casting ANY spell at any time, but after the limit, each cast takes toll on them, for example, neg levels, con drops, and finally death), but the ToB stablishes a special setting (sunspire mountains) for learning the Sublime Way, which is fine with me; if it's core, it's general, if it ain't, do what ye pleeze.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 01:52 PM
Why not simply offer multiple flavor options, to drive the point home that no class is aligned to a single kind of flavor?

I don't know that they would need to do that. If it is self-evident as to the modularity, they won't need an explanation.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 01:53 PM
Fear not sir! Our years of playing the older systems and ability to decide who we play with will ensure that even if D&D reaches a broad audience and has simple rules we shall still be able to maintain our elitist views!

Someone pass me the Sherry!

I'm more of a whiskey n' moonshine man, the "I've been drinkin' it fer years an' I ain't got no reason to do udderways."

nagora
2007-09-12, 01:55 PM
It may be a different preference from yours, but I don't think mechanics should have flavor. I want my mechanics to be modular so that I can explain it for my world in any way I wish without having to do all sorts of work re-balancing things.

Mechanics about wholly fantastical things such as how magic works can hardly help having some flavour. Making the magic system modular is just another way of saying the system doesn't have a magic system (which would certainly avoid it having any flavour) but the modules will consist of mechanics for differing types of magic and they will have flavour.

And, as usual, if you have an idea for magic for your particular campaign then you can do it yourself in pretty well any edition of D&D. In 1ed there were relatively few monsters who used the standard magic system and a DM could have NPCs use a custom system as easily as the standard one. I think 3ed would make it slightly harder with the blurring effect of templates and such, but I can't see adding your own system being a major challenge.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 01:56 PM
Why not simply offer multiple flavor options, to drive the point home that no class is aligned to a single kind of flavor?

Because you can only pack so many mechanics into a core book, and I don't want to pay for fifty pages of rules I'll never use. Spicy flavor belongs in sourcebooks; that way I can buy the ones I like and leave the rest on the bookstore shelf.


Mechanics about wholly fantastical things such as how magic works can hardly help having some flavour.

True, but there's mild flavor and then there's flaming death pepper flavor. Some flavors of magic are easy to integrate into almost any fantasy setting. Others... not so much.

Tormsskull
2007-09-12, 01:58 PM
Generally we as smart people don’t want to see our hobbies ruined by an influx of people that will force the designers to change...


I've heard someone else use this same logic before. They said they didn't like 3rd edition because the game was geared more towards the average person and less towards the brainiacs.

For me this is not a problem. I don't like D&D because it is a niche hobby (or was when I started), I like it because it is about fantasy and dragons and magic and brave knights and swords, and a number of other factors that I have been interested in since I was five years old.

If D&D becomes more wide-spread, I don't think that it will destroy D&D as a game. Yeah, the rules may change to make it easy for the average person to understand, but that isn't a problem to me, heck, I'd say its a good thing.



However over the past few years I’ve seen a huge influx of said fanboys and fad seekers and other sorts of people that turned an otherwise niche hobby into something mainstream.


But now the question is, did you like Anime because it was a niche hobby, or did you like Anime for Anime?

I like school, and education, and philosophy, and history, and other "smart stuff". I particularly like education because I think it is a dividing line between people. People who are educated tend to be at the higher levels of society. They make more money, they are more successful, they usually are more respected, etc.

I like money, I like success, and I like respect, therefore I like education. If education didn't lead to money, success, or respect, I can't say I'd really be interested in it.

So, maybe you liked Anime because it was a niche hobby, and gave you a feeling of non-comformity, or uncommon knowledge, or whatever you want to call it. If that's the case, look for something else that isn't popular right now and get into that.

nagora
2007-09-12, 02:00 PM
Why not simply offer multiple flavor options, to drive the point home that no class is aligned to a single kind of flavor?

Multiple magic systems in the same world is a balance problem waiting to happen.

Another problem that crops up is illustrated by Vancian and Psionic PCs common in the same world - the two systems underlying principles flatly contradict each other and the result makes no sense. Either the mind is incapable of handling the energy/whatever needed to change reality (psionics) or it's not (Vancian).

Azerian Kelimon
2007-09-12, 02:03 PM
Which is the reason I like Will&Word, the most common sorcerer system. It doesn't work with the mind, but with the strength of will, much like psionics work, and at the same time, gives the powers of changin' the world like arcanes. But the problem with it is that after a certain amount of castings, you start to damage yourself from casting spells (like casting something with backlash, but in this case, even a heal could damage you, since you're destroying yourself, more or less), get temp. neg levels, get con drops, and finally die.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 02:08 PM
Multiple magic systems in the same world is a balance problem waiting to happen.

Another problem that crops up is illustrated by Vancian and Psionic PCs common in the same world - the two systems underlying principles flatly contradict each other and the result makes no sense. Either the mind is incapable of handling the energy/whatever needed to change reality (psionics) or it's not (Vancian).

And that is one of the reasons why some of us specifically disallow psionics of any kind in games we run. As you rightly point out multiple magic systems can lead to balance problems but what is even worse is that they can easily lead to confusion and DM brain splodey as the poor fool who decided to run the game is trying to keep the details of several diffrent flavored magic systems in their head.

Personally, I liked the vancian system even though I really didn't play D&D until 3e. I also liked the addition of the spont. casters as it gave enough wiggle room to allow players to cast without preparing without causing problems in the magic system. What I fear in 4ed is that they will pick only one of those two roads to go down. I hope they don't but their class breakups kinda look like they will.

Truwar
2007-09-12, 02:08 PM
You have either misunderstood what I was saying or are just ignoring it. I know I can do exactly the same in 3e. I can do anything I like with 3e. The point isn't what I can do (which is anything I please), but what the system asks me to do.
It's nonesense to say 'there was no framework in previous editions to make a deadly Goblin Assassin'. It was very, very easy. You take a Goblin, you give him some Thief abilities and adjust his Hit Points and THAC0 to suit your desires. Job done.

Matrak the Goblin Assassin
THAC0: 18
Hit Points: 12
Armour Class: 7
Abilities: Hide in Shadows 50%, Move Silently 50%, Listen 50%, Back Stab x3,

3e. actually says to take what you like. There is simply a framework, IF you want one. Besides, just picking a bunch of stats out of the air and slapping them on a monster is not really a framework. :smallwink: I am not saying it is wrong, I did it all the time in AD&D and I do it all the time in 3ed.


Right. Though there was always the power imbalance, the Vancian system served somewhat as an equalizer. The Magic-User had to have some foresight in planning his spells for the day. Then he had to use good judgement in knowing when to toss his fireball and when to keep it just in case and opt for a good ole magic missle this round. It meant work and thought, something I guess today's players would rather do without. Erk, that last was a snarky comment. There I go again.

The Vancian system is pretty much a failure as a balancing tool. It is just too awkward. I am really hoping this new system keeps thing a bit more even between the classes and makes it easier for the DM to keep everyone engaged in the game.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 02:23 PM
The Vancian system is pretty much a failure as a balancing tool. It is just too awkward. I am really hoping this new system keeps thing a bit more even between the classes and makes it easier for the DM to keep everyone engaged in the game.

I've never found the Vancian system all that awkward outside of metamagics. I'd like to see metamagic feats turned into a number of uses per day or some such thing rather than be level adjustments for spells. Aside from that though, what's so awkward about it? Just needing to write down spells? When ever I play a prepared caster I make several lists of spells prepared on a 'typical' day in a given place (in town, on the road, etc.) Much less bookkeeping and it makes sense for characters to typically rely on a handful of spells.

nagora
2007-09-12, 02:24 PM
The Vancian system is pretty much a failure as a balancing tool.

No, you're confusing that with the "one size fits all" XP chart. That is 3e's big failure in terms of balance for magic users.


It is just too awkward.

Err.. It's pretty trivial, really - you decide which spells to take and write them down. What do you mean by "awkward"?

Crow
2007-09-12, 02:28 PM
No, you're confusing that with the "one size fits all" XP chart. That is 3e's big failure in terms of balance for magic users.

I'll echo that.

Journey
2007-09-12, 02:38 PM
No, you're confusing that with the "one size fits all" XP chart. That is 3e's big failure in terms of balance for magic users.

Err.. It's pretty trivial, really - you decide which spells to take and write them down. What do you mean by "awkward"?
An additional failure for balancing magic-users is the removal of casting times and the trivial treatment of material components. This just compounds the problem introduced by the feat/skill mechanic, which purports to offer variety and choice but in fact acts as a short leash.

A move toward actions-per-encounter will just compound all of these, in addition to moving the game on toward a video-game style of play.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 02:38 PM
Aside from that though, what's so awkward about it? Just needing to write down spells? When ever I play a prepared caster I make several lists of spells prepared on a 'typical' day in a given place (in town, on the road, etc.) Much less bookkeeping and it makes sense for characters to typically rely on a handful of spells.

It's awkward as a balancing tool because it fixes you to the per-day mechanic. If some classes have lots of per-day mechanics and others have very few, the result is a class balance that shifts depending on how many challenges your PCs face in any given day; the per-day classes get stronger if there are few challenges, the non-per-day classes get stronger if there are many.

3E is balanced on the "four encounters a day" guideline. Since many DMs don't throw that many encounters at their PCs, per-day classes (which is to say, casters) in those DMs' campaigns get stronger. Casters being overpowered to begin with, this is not a desirable development.


I'll echo that.

I still have yet to hear a convincing explanation for why it's better to have multiple XP charts instead of just balancing everybody to a single chart. It's the exact same mechanic--either way, each character's power level is a function of his or her XP total. There is absolutely nothing you can achieve with multiple XP charts that you cannot achieve by using a single XP chart and redistributing each class's abilities to the appropriate levels. The only difference is that multiple XP charts are clunkier, take up more space in the rulebook, and make it harder to assess the relative power levels of two characters.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 02:39 PM
An additional failure for balancing magic-users is the removal of casting times and the trivial treatment of material components.

When did they remove casting times?


It's awkward as a balancing tool because it fixes you to the per-day mechanic. If some classes have lots of per-day mechanics and others have very few, the result is a class balance that shifts depending on how many challenges your PCs face in any given day; the per-day classes get stronger if there are few challenges, the non-per-day classes get stronger if there are many.

3E is balanced on the "four encounters a day" guideline. Since many DMs don't throw that many encounters at their PCs, per-day classes (which is to say, casters) in those DMs' campaigns get stronger. Casters being overpowered to begin with, this is not a desirable development.

Humm... I thought you were talking about prepared spell casters as opposed to any that work on the spells per day mechanic (which is pretty much all of them).

My question is, can you think of a better alternative that allows powerful magic at high levels and doesn't have the exact same problem? Spell points for example do since fewer encounters means more points can be spent per battle by a caster before they run out.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 02:43 PM
An additional failure for balancing magic-users is the removal of casting times and the trivial treatment of material components. This just compounds the problem introduced by the feat/skill mechanic, which purports to offer variety and choice but in fact acts as a short leash.

A move toward actions-per-encounter will just compound all of these, in addition to moving the game on toward a video-game style of play.

The removal of casting times is because just standing there doing nothing is not fun. If the caster has to sit there for several rounds combat may be over before he even got to do anything and I do not see how this is desirable. Material components are trivial; do we really need book keeping to tell us exactly how many frog legs are left?

Feats and skills are great in concept. In execution they leave much to be desired, which is why I have come up with my own feats. There are still some that everyone takes (power attack), but others are optional, but still desired.

I do not feel that having one table for XP is a bad thing. It helps streamline the game. There is an easy to remember formula for XP and that is a good thing. If a better job had been done on class design, these differences wouldn't have mattered.

nagora
2007-09-12, 02:47 PM
I still have yet to hear a convincing explanation for why it's better to have multiple XP charts instead of just balancing everybody to a single chart.

Well, if "it can't be done" isn't convincing what is? There are so many variables interacting in the definition of a class that it is impossible to come up with a metric to measure the exact effect of adjusting one or more of them in relation to other classes. The XP chart, on the other hand IS a single variable that can be set and adjusted easily via play-testing.

Draz74
2007-09-12, 02:47 PM
When did they remove casting times?

Technically, they didn't. They just changed most of the spells' casting times to "1 standard action." In the ugly, complicated Initiative system of 2E, there was a lot more variety. Higher-level spells (with the exception of a few that were supposed to be quick, like Power Words and Finger of Death) took longer to cast than lower-level spells, which meant you risked getting your turn later in the round if your Wizard decided to cast Disintegrate instead of Shocking Grasp.

Indon
2007-09-12, 02:48 PM
Multiple magic systems in the same world is a balance problem waiting to happen.


I hold more options as superior in a system to not having possible 'balance problems'. This is, in fact, my major worry regarding 4'th edition; that possible flavor and mechanical options will be disregarded for balance concerns.



Another problem that crops up is illustrated by Vancian and Psionic PCs common in the same world - the two systems underlying principles flatly contradict each other and the result makes no sense. Either the mind is incapable of handling the energy/whatever needed to change reality (psionics) or it's not (Vancian).

This seems, to me, to be a problem which characters have, not players. Characters can argue all they like about which magical system is superior, but since the underlying mechanic of their universe isn't a magical system at all, but a rule system, it doesn't matter, and serves only to generate interesting debates between the party's psion and the party's wizard.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 02:53 PM
Well, if "it can't be done" isn't convincing what is? There are so many variables interacting in the definition of a class that it is impossible to come up with a metric to measure the exact effect of adjusting one or more of them in relation to other classes. The XP chart, on the other hand IS a single variable that can be set and adjusted easily via play-testing.

And then you can take another couple of hours and redistribute all those "balanced" class abilities along a single XP chart. Seriously--it's not hard at all. I could do it with the 2E Player's Handbook in an afternoon.

Step 1: Create a Grand Unified XP chart.
Step 2: For each class, note which level on its wonky class-specific XP chart corresponds to which level on the GUXP chart. That is, if 4000 XP gets you to level 2 on the GUXP chart but 3 on the fighter chart, then GUXP level 2 equals fighter level 3.
Step 3: Redistribute class abilities (including attack bonuses, hit points, saves, and so forth) along the GUXP chart so that you get them at the same XP total you would have gotten them at before.
Step 4: Interpolate to cover any "dead levels."
Step 5 (optional): Smooth things out a bit for a more natural progression.

Voila. Done. All the simplicity and clarity of a single chart, and all the purported balance benefits of multiple charts, wrapped up in a neat little package.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 03:04 PM
Technically, they didn't. They just changed most of the spells' casting times to "1 standard action." In the ugly, complicated Initiative system of 2E, there was a lot more variety. Higher-level spells (with the exception of a few that were supposed to be quick, like Power Words and Finger of Death) took longer to cast than lower-level spells, which meant you risked getting your turn later in the round if your Wizard decided to cast Disintegrate instead of Shocking Grasp.

Yeah, that's not a value judgment laden statement at all is it.

The initiative system was neither "ugly" nor "complicated."

Roll d10. Add time modifier for action (i.e., 1 for Magic Missile, 3 for Fire Ball). Total is your initiative score.

Not that difficult! And it's a system that actually gave you some thought about what you were going to do, whether you trotted out your most powerful spell first, or you relied on something that was quick and reliable as a pre-emptive strike type weapon.

psychoticbarber
2007-09-12, 03:06 PM
The initiative system was neither "ugly" nor "complicated."

Roll d10. Add time modifier for action (i.e., 1 for Magic Missile, 3 for Fire Ball). Total is your initiative score.

Not that difficult! And it's a system that actually gave you some thought about what you were going to do, whether you trotted out your most powerful spell first, or you relied on something that was quick and reliable as a pre-emptive strike type weapon.

This is one of the few things I really liked about 2nd Edition.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 03:07 PM
Yeah, that's not a value judgment laden statement at all is it.

The initiative system was neither "ugly" nor "complicated."

Roll d10. Add time modifier for action (i.e., 1 for Magic Missile, 3 for Fire Ball). Total is your initiative score.

Not that difficult! And it's a system that actually gave you some thought about what you were going to do, whether you trotted out your most powerful spell first, or you relied on something that was quick and reliable as a pre-emptive strike type weapon.

Oh... dear... god. I just had a flashback as to why I stopped playing D&D for years... different iniative for each round? My head hurts already.

Thinker
2007-09-12, 03:08 PM
I hold more options as superior in a system to not having possible 'balance problems'. This is, in fact, my major worry regarding 4'th edition; that possible flavor and mechanical options will be disregarded for balance concerns.
While options are good, if the options use the same basic mechanic it is easier to balance. There are still plenty of opportunities for variance in a per-encounter system. I look at this as being similar to Base Attack Bonus. Everyone has it, but not everyone has the same amount or the same ways to use it: Wizards use it for touch attacks, fighters use it for power attack, rogues use it to get their precision damage, etc.

TheThan
2007-09-12, 03:09 PM
I've heard someone else use this same logic before. They said they didn't like 3rd edition because the game was geared more towards the average person and less towards the brainiacs…

If D&D becomes more wide-spread, I don't think that it will destroy D&D as a game. Yeah, the rules may change to make it easy for the average person to understand, but that isn't a problem to me, heck, I'd say its a good thing.

But now the question is, did you like Anime because it was a niche hobby, or did you like Anime for Anime?

So, maybe you liked Anime because it was a niche hobby, and gave you a feeling of non-comformity, or uncommon knowledge, or whatever you want to call it. If that's the case, look for something else that isn't popular right now and get into that.

Note-
Using ellipses to save space.

It’s not that I enjoy anime because of its (former) niche status. My friends got me into anime and I’ve enjoyed it for several years, both watching it with my friends, and alone. With the sudden influx of mainstream society, I find that I’ve lost a lot of the enjoyment I used to get out of sitting down and watching anime.

Take for example One Piece, it’s a popular anime and lot of people (not everyone mind you) seems to really enjoy this show. Yet I find myself not interested in it in the least, even though it seems to have a lot of things I really like (action, plot, pirates Arrr!), I just can’t seem to get myself to sit down and watch it. I guess I’ve gone from “Wow this looks cool!” to “Meh, not really interested anymore.” Yet there are several other very popular anime shows that I really enjoy and watch.

But then again part of me says its just me growing as an individual, and not the things I like becoming mainstream. But some how I don’t think so, seeing as I’ve seen something similar happen to the computer game industry. I’m not going to explain what I’ve seen because I’m already derailing this thread as it is.

I like DND because I enjoy the experience of siting down with people and role-playing, as well as the occasional hack and slash game. I picked up DMing out of necessity (nobody else wanted to do it) and I’ve found that I enjoy being a DM. Particularly I enjoy creating campaign worlds.

Now will dnd be ruined by becoming mainstream? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, only time will tell. But it’s been my experience that when something becomes mainstream it has a tendency to be ruined, at least for me.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 03:10 PM
3e. actually says to take what you like. There is simply a framework, IF you want one.

What passage are you thinking of here? It's been a while since I read the Core Rules.


Besides, just picking a bunch of stats out of the air and slapping them on a monster is not really a framework. :smallwink: I am not saying it is wrong, I did it all the time in AD&D and I do it all the time in 3ed.

It's hardly out of thin air; it's just a looser framework than what 3e is providing. There's certainly nothing absolutely wrong or right about either approach, there's just preference.


Oh... dear... god. I just had a flashback as to why I stopped playing D&D for years... different iniative for each round? My head hurts already.

1e Initiative is something of a minefield and is still argued about. 2e Initiative was fairly straight forward (though there were options to make it more complicated). It's important to note that all Initiative did was dicate who attacked first, all movement and actions happened almost simultaneously.

horseboy
2007-09-12, 03:14 PM
Nagora wrote an answer to this, but in a way pretty much designed to be as dismissive as possible. Steering clear of the fighting:

I've never really understood the people who say that system mechanics can encourage roleplaying. I understand what they're saying . . . I just never actually find that it happens. If I look back over my time with RPGs, and count up all the really deeply thought-out characters that I've had, the ones that I remember the best and had the most personality mostly came from systems with little to no non-combat mechanics.

Well, as someone who uses that term, Game mechanics can either help roleplaying, be neutral to roleplaying or discourage roleplaying. To discourage roleplaying the rules inhibit character development and/or concepts. For neutral, the system itself will be "sketchy" on any detailed information. Systems that encourage, will have a flexible system that can support many different avenues, and do it WELL.
So, how doe this work? Well, let's build a fighter in three different game systems. D&D 3.x, AD&D, and Rolemaster.
The fighter in question will be a "tripper" who uses a guisarme. Guisarmes are an unusual weapon so that means he'll have to have had some training. So I'll say he was a soldier in the army. Well, soldiers know certain things, like how to spot an ambush, enemy uniforms, tactics, when to remain silent and when to mouth off. Also, I'm starting to picture this guy as the protective "big brother" kind of guy. You know the one that says: "Stick with me and I'll make sure you get home." So I'm sure he's going to have at least some 1st aid to stabilize wounds so he can get his wounded buddy back to the medics to patch him up properly.
With AD&D all I'd do would be to take a fighter, write down his stats, saves, buy equipment and tell the DM my concept, provide some source material to prove I'm not pulling something out my sphincter, and with his permission that would be that. That's a Roleplaying neutral system, the rules neither help nor hinder roleplaying.
Taking this character into 3.5,the first problem is that people in the military are warriors instead of fighters, because NPC's have to be gimps for some reason. While the "feats" help it in the combat roll, every single skill I'm looking at for my archetype is cross classed. In effect, I'm pigeoned holed into only playing a fighter one way. This hinders roleplaying.
In Rolemaster I take the trained regular footman quirk from skill at arms, and there's enough lee way in the character building that I can easily fit in any of the concepts for my character plus other useful things, like swimming, climbing and riding. This is as close to "roleplaying friendly" as a generic system is likely to get.

hamlet
2007-09-12, 03:15 PM
Oh... dear... god. I just had a flashback as to why I stopped playing D&D for years... different iniative for each round? My head hurts already.

That drove you away? I mean, honestly? The fact that initiative wasn't static?

Holy hell I feel like an old man all the sudden.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 03:28 PM
That drove you away? I mean, honestly? The fact that initiative wasn't static?

Holy hell I feel like an old man all the sudden.

Well, that, the (at least to me) totally unintuitive nature of THAC0, the fact that the players handbook and DMG read like a poorly written chemistry textbook and that the few people who played (one friend and some friends of friends) treated me like an interloper whenever I asked to join a game. Admittedly, that last one seems much more important when you are 11.

Rex Blunder
2007-09-12, 03:28 PM
The irony of ironies on the other thread was when Zincorium said that the logic of my argument would suggest that the perfect RPG system would be a blank sheet of paper as if that was a bad thing!

I don't understand. The 1e DMG has a lot of words in it. There are rules subsystems for tons of things - hiring people to build your castle, calculating loyalty of your henchmen, value and type of gems, NPC reactions, the likelihood of NPC spy missions succeeding, the likelihood you'll get gastrointestinal disease in a given month, how to chart PC alignment and punish them from deviating from it. Now, I like 1e and some of these are cool little subsystems, but they don't leave everything up to the DM to determine on the fly. If rules-heavy is a bad thing, then 1e is a bad rule system.

Perhaps you are talking about 2e. I can't comment on that.

Indon
2007-09-12, 03:30 PM
While options are good, if the options use the same basic mechanic it is easier to balance. There are still plenty of opportunities for variance in a per-encounter system. I look at this as being similar to Base Attack Bonus. Everyone has it, but not everyone has the same amount or the same ways to use it: Wizards use it for touch attacks, fighters use it for power attack, rogues use it to get their precision damage, etc.

That's all well and good, but it's not neccessarily interesting.

When was the last time you heard someone mention BAB (or any such generic mechanic, such as saves) as anything more than a footnote in a D&D character discussion (such as, "BAB is important for this character")?


That drove you away? I mean, honestly? The fact that initiative wasn't static?

Holy hell I feel like an old man all the sudden.

"old" nothing. Exalted (1ed) uses a dynamic initiative system (which I houserule to be static). Seriously, the game advises in the book that the storyteller should sum up the events of the last round of combat, every new round. I don't want my fights to take that long.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 03:43 PM
Well, that, the (at least to me) totally unintuitive nature of THAC0, the fact that the players handbook and DMG read like a poorly written chemistry textbook and that the few people who played (one friend and some friends of friends) treated me like an interloper whenever I asked to join a game. Admittedly, that last one seems much more important when you are 11.
I have to agree that the 1e and 2e PHB and DMG have some serious problems in terms of clarity, but they aren't unique in that regard. The 3e Books are often clearer, but they also 'have their moments'. The last does sound by far the worst and most discouraging.

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-12, 03:49 PM
With AD&D all I'd do would be to take a fighter, write down his stats, saves, buy equipment and tell the DM my concept, provide some source material to prove I'm not pulling something out my sphincter, and with his permission that would be that. That's a Roleplaying neutral system, the rules neither help nor hinder roleplaying.
Taking this character into 3.5,the first problem is that people in the military are warriors instead of fighters, because NPC's have to be gimps for some reason. While the "feats" help it in the combat roll, every single skill I'm looking at for my archetype is cross classed. In effect, I'm pigeoned holed into only playing a fighter one way. This hinders roleplaying.
In Rolemaster I take the trained regular footman quirk from skill at arms, and there's enough lee way in the character building that I can easily fit in any of the concepts for my character plus other useful things, like swimming, climbing and riding. This is as close to "roleplaying friendly" as a generic system is likely to get.Um, let me see...
-NPCs don't have to be weak. It's just that most of them are in default settings. There's nothing preventing you from playing a fighter with a background in the military. It might be worth accounting for above-average training somehow, but that's all.
-Cross class skills aren't actually so much of a problem. Want to spot ambushes as a fighter? You can! Just cross-class spot. It very quickly becomes good enough that you will only be successfully ambushed by enemies with actual stealth skills. A military ambush is not going to have that, in general, and do you really expect a field trooper to get the drop on a pack of assassins? Take Alertness if you want to be better at it. The only problem is that if the party has anyone actually pumping spot, they may spot everything that needs spotting before you get a chance. Want to be able to stabilize someone? Cross-class plus skill focus does it every time at level 1. Just cross-classing means you succeed on a 13...or an 11 if you use a healer's kit. At level 3, you're auto-stabilizing people with the kit. Again, you may well have someone else in the party who can do it better, but in this case having an extra medic may be useful. Enemy uniforms (probably only the ones you actually encountered) and when to shut up (in military contexts, presumably) don't seem like they require skills. Tactics isn't provided as a skill, probably because you simply can't use good tactics in combat as a result of passing a check. Play tactically to cover that...

Tormsskull
2007-09-12, 03:52 PM
Step 1: Create a Grand Unified XP chart.


Could you explain this better? I'm having a hard time with it for some reason.

If these two charts are examples (my memory of OD&D is sketchy), what would the GUXP chart be?

Fighter 1 - 0 EXP
Fighter 2 - 2,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)
Fighter 3 - 4,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)
Fighter 4 - 8,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)

Cleric 1 - 0 EXP
Cleric 2 - 1500 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 3 - 3000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THACO, +Spell)
Cleric 4 - 6000 EXP (+d6 HP, Spell)

GUXP
Level 1 - 0 EXP
Level 2 - ??? EXP (???)
Level 3 - ??? EXP (???)
Level 4 - ??? EXP (???)

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 03:54 PM
See, I understand not everyone goes for the Vancian casting system for whatever reason. I understand that my fondness of the system is opinion as well.

Part of what worries me about DnD 4e is it seems that they are stripping away things that made up the essential character of the game. I've played plenty of RPGs and cRPGs in my time. Point-based magic systems, spontaneous cast systems are in so many different games. DnD was somewhat unique, and it was an element to its character. Removing it (mostly) from the game seems as if they are taking away from the uniqueness of the game, in the very long run (the far future) making the only thing different from other RPG systems is that it's called Dungeons and Dragons and not something else.

Rex Blunder
2007-09-12, 04:03 PM
Given how influential D&D was - most "rpg" video games and many other tabletop rpg's are basically more or less mindless clones - any dnd rule that was so universally rejected from all these other systems has to be a little suspect. I'd say the most unique things about D&D are vancian casting and alignment. And maybe gnomes. These things managed to get so little mindshare that maybe we should consider whether they're really super awesome after all.

tannish2
2007-09-12, 04:08 PM
good games take a while to learn how to play. thats because its not the same thing you have already played 100 times. its something new, so it takes a while to learn. people who focus on a game being easy to pick up above all else end up making a piece of **** that is very easy to pick up and figure out, but its easy to pick up because its boring and unoriginal and really not very fun. its happened to video games, it was only a matter of time before it carried over to the table. lets hope it hasnt come quite yet, or its easy to pick up for D&D veterans, and by "easy" i mean takes less than a month to figure out.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 04:12 PM
Could you explain this better? I'm having a hard time with it for some reason.

If these two charts are examples (my memory of OD&D is sketchy), what would the GUXP chart be?

Fighter 1 - 0 EXP
Fighter 2 - 2,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)
Fighter 3 - 4,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)
Fighter 4 - 8,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THACO)

Cleric 1 - 0 EXP
Cleric 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 3 - 3,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THACO, +Spell)
Cleric 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d6 HP, Spell)

The GUXP chart can be more or less any XP chart you like. It's simplest if you pick an existing chart, preferably one with a clean and rapid progression. So, for instance, a GUXP chart might look like this:

Level 1 - 0 EXP (equivalent to cleric 1, fighter 1)
Level 2 - 1,500 EXP (equivalent to cleric 2, fighter 1.75)
Level 3 - 3,000 EXP (equivalent to cleric 3, fighter 2.5)
Level 4 - 6,000 EXP (equivalent to cleric 4, fighter 3.5)

So when you're making up the new charts of class abilities, you'll map the cleric levels over directly--the cleric won't change at all:

Cleric 1 - 0 EXP (1d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 3 - 3,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0, +Spell)
Cleric 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)

The fighter, on the other hand, will be scaled down slightly. Translating each GUXP level to its nearest equivalent, and rounding down on the half-levels, you'll end up with:

Fighter 1 - 0 EXP (1d8 HP) [equivalent to fighter level 1]
Fighter 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THAC0) [equivalent to fighter level 2, rounded up from 1.75]
Fighter 3 - 3,000 EXP (no benefits) [equivalent to fighter level 2, rounded down from 2.5]
Fighter 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d8 HP, +1 THAC0) [equivalent to fighter level 3, rounded down from 3.5]

Of course, as written, that level 3 is kind of a pain, so you'd probably want to smooth things out a little. At 6,000 XP, a fighter is level 3.5, which means an average of 15.75 hit points (the average of 4.5 per hit die, times 3.5). If we spread that out over 4 levels, we get 3.94 hit points a level, which is just about what you'd get from alternating 1d6 and 1d8 over four levels. So:

Fighter 1 - 0 EXP (1d8 HP)
Fighter 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0)
Fighter 3 - 3,000 EXP (+d8 HP)
Fighter 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0)

(I am, of course, disregarding the impact of Constitution bonuses on hit points. The simplest way to factor those in would be to say that you only get your Con bonus at certain levels, and note which levels those are. Or, if you're feeling adventurous and want to take a few risks, estimate the Con bonus a member of a given class is likely to have, and adjust their Hit Dice to match.)

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 04:13 PM
good games take a while to learn how to play. thats because its not the same thing you have already played 100 times. its something new, so it takes a while to learn. people who focus on a game being easy to pick up above all else end up making a piece of **** that is very easy to pick up and figure out, but its easy to pick up because its boring and unoriginal and really not very fun. its happened to video games, it was only a matter of time before it carried over to the table. lets hope it hasnt come quite yet, or its easy to pick up for D&D veterans, and by "easy" i mean takes less than a month to figure out.

Counterpoint: Great games take a few moments to learn how to play at a basic level. Any old person can wander in, have it explained to them in an hour at most, and be able to play and have fun. To master great games takes years.

Examples: Checkers, Monopoly, Risk...

horseboy
2007-09-12, 04:15 PM
-Cross class skills aren't actually so much of a problem. It can be done, but it's a built in penalty. Mainly because the skill system in 3.x is binary. But with a character who has only 4 points a level to want to be able to do something indicative of his archetype, that's a very steep penalty.


Enemy uniforms (probably only the ones you actually encountered) and when to shut up (in military contexts, presumably) don't seem like they require skills.
Heraldry is part of Knowledge: Nobility and of course the other is diplomacy. You can't, after all, tell your DI to go to Hell.


Tactics isn't provided as a skill, probably because you simply can't use good tactics in combat as a result of passing a check. Play tactically to cover that...You can't use it in combat, but it will provide you with options and readings into your enemy that you as a player aren't seeing. After all, if tactics were self evident, then the military wouldn't have to spend all that time teaching them.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 04:34 PM
Given how influential D&D was - most "rpg" video games and many other tabletop rpg's are basically more or less mindless clones - any dnd rule that was so universally rejected from all these other systems has to be a little suspect. I'd say the most unique things about D&D are vancian casting and alignment. And maybe gnomes. These things managed to get so little mindshare that maybe we should consider whether they're really super awesome after all.

On the other hand, we could say D&D with Vancian casting, Alignment, and Gnomes had essentially stood the test of time, whereas most imitators have gone by the wayside.

It's all differences in perspective, really.

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:39 PM
And then you can take another couple of hours and redistribute all those "balanced" class abilities along a single XP chart. Seriously--it's not hard at all. I could do it with the 2E Player's Handbook in an afternoon.

Step 1: Create a Grand Unified XP chart.
Step 2: For each class, note which level on its wonky class-specific XP chart corresponds to which level on the GUXP chart. That is, if 4000 XP gets you to level 2 on the GUXP chart but 3 on the fighter chart, then GUXP level 2 equals fighter level 3.
Step 3: Redistribute class abilities (including attack bonuses, hit points, saves, and so forth) along the GUXP chart so that you get them at the same XP total you would have gotten them at before.
Step 4: Interpolate to cover any "dead levels."
Step 5 (optional): Smooth things out a bit for a more natural progression.

Voila. Done. All the simplicity and clarity of a single chart, and all the purported balance benefits of multiple charts, wrapped up in a neat little package.

LOL! The result would be unrecognisabe. All you're saying is that you would competely redesign every class to be perfectly balanced. Good luck! LOL again!

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 04:41 PM
On the other hand, we could say D&D with Vancian casting, Alignment, and Gnomes had essentially stood the test of time, whereas most imitators have gone by the wayside.

It's all differences in perspective, really.

But some imitators survived to breed, and their descendants are still with us today. The fact that none of those surviving descendants carry the Vancian, Alignment, or Gnome genes should tell us something. D&D is, after all, something of a living fossil.


LOL! The result would be unrecognisabe. All you're saying is that you would competely redesign every class to be perfectly balanced. Good luck! LOL again!

Um...

No.

That's really all I can say to this.

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:46 PM
I don't understand. The 1e DMG has a lot of words in it. There are rules subsystems for tons of things - hiring people to build your castle, calculating loyalty of your henchmen, value and type of gems, NPC reactions, the likelihood of NPC spy missions succeeding, the likelihood you'll get gastrointestinal disease in a given month, how to chart PC alignment and punish them from deviating from it. Now, I like 1e and some of these are cool little subsystems, but they don't leave everything up to the DM to determine on the fly. If rules-heavy is a bad thing, then 1e is a bad rule system.

The vast majority of those were really helpful suggestions rather than rules, and very useful they were too. But the 1ed DMG stresses over and over that the DM is the ruler of their world. If they have no gastrointestinal disease in their world then no one would dream of complaining about it. On a more serious note, if the DM wanted an NPC spying mission to fail because of something s/he knew that the players did not, the mission failed, end of story. 3ed is mad about enforcing rules that should be at the DM's option.

There are even a couple of places where the DM is advised to roll the dice in secret so that the players do not realise that the tables have been overridden by the DM.


Perhaps you are talking about 2e. I can't comment on that.

Never even seen it.

Rex Blunder
2007-09-12, 04:48 PM
I have to say, Crazy Uncle Doug, that I too like the cut of your jib. In a thread full of polemics, you consistently make reasonable statements, not couched in anger and aggression, and you say stuff like "this mechanic is not to my taste" rather than "this mechanic is for idiots".

New proposal for bracelet: "WWCUDD?"

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:52 PM
So when you're making up the new charts of class abilities, you'll map the cleric levels over directly--the cleric won't change at all:

Cleric 1 - 0 EXP (1d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)
Cleric 3 - 3,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0, +Spell)
Cleric 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +Spell)

<snip>
Fighter 1 - 0 EXP (1d8 HP)
Fighter 2 - 1,500 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0)
Fighter 3 - 3,000 EXP (+d8 HP)
Fighter 4 - 6,000 EXP (+d6 HP, +1 THAC0)

(I am, of course, disregarding the impact of Constitution bonuses on hit points. The simplest way to factor those in would be to say that you only get your Con bonus at certain levels, and note which levels those are.)

Right. So what you're saying is that 2d8+1d6 is the same as 3d6+any 3 clerical spells per day. I'm convinced!:smallbiggrin:

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:53 PM
I have to say, Crazy Uncle Doug, that I too like the cut of your jib. In a thread full of polemics, you consistently make reasonable statements, not couched in anger and aggression, and you say stuff like "this mechanic is not to my taste" rather than "this mechanic is for idiots".

New proposal for bracelet: "WWCUDD?"

I second that bracelet!

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 04:54 PM
Right. So what you're saying is that 2d8+1d6 is the same as 3d6+any 3 clerical spells per day. I'm convinced!:smallbiggrin:

I never said 2E was balanced. All I'm doing is demonstrating what happens when you actually put the classes next to each other and see where they are at any given XP total. Garbage In, Garbage Out, as we say in the computing biz.

Funnily enough, it's a lot easier to spot imbalances on that single XP chart, isn't it?

(Of course, that table also doesn't factor in things like weapons allowed, saving throws, and so on; this was just by way of showing how it would be done.)

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:56 PM
Counterpoint: Great games take a few moments to learn how to play at a basic level. Any old person can wander in, have it explained to them in an hour at most, and be able to play and have fun. To master great games takes years.

Examples: Checkers, Monopoly, Risk...

Countercounterpoint: Civilisation is a magnificent game but is not easy to wander in and start playing. Xyosys (Tic-tac-toe) is easy to start playing and very, very dull.

nagora
2007-09-12, 04:59 PM
I never said 2E was balanced. All I'm doing is demonstrating what happens when you actually put the classes next to each other and see where they are at any given XP total.

Funnily enough, it's a lot easier to spot imbalances on that single XP chart, isn't it?

Yes, but do you not see how hard it's going to be to balance out, for example, 9th level spells? Separate XP tables is a tiny burden on the players and a huge help to class designers. 1ed barbarians were a good example - they got everything under the sun but they had to pay big time for it.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 05:00 PM
I never said 2E was balanced. All I'm doing is demonstrating what happens when you actually put the classes next to each other and see where they are at any given XP total. Garbage In, Garbage Out, as we say in the computing biz.

Funnily enough, it's a lot easier to spot imbalances on that single XP chart, isn't it?

(Of course, that table also doesn't factor in things like weapons allowed, saving throws, and so on; this was just by way of showing how it would be done.)
Oh, if you want that you should look at this:

0 - Thief 1: THAC0 20, HP 6, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 60, Back Stab x2,
0 - Cleric 1: THAC0 20, HP 8, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 1, Turn Undead 1,
0 - Fighter 1: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/16/15/17/17, Attacks 1,
0 - Mage 1: THAC0 20, HP 4, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 1,
1,250 - Thief 2: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 90, Back Stab x2,
1,500 - Cleric 2: THAC0 20, HP 13, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 2, Turn Undead 2,
2,000 - Fighter 2: THAC0 19, HP 16, Saves 14/16/15/17/17, Attacks 1,
2,500 - Mage 2: THAC0 20, HP 7, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2,
2,500 - Thief 3: THAC0 19, HP 14, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 120, Back Stab x2,
3,000 - Cleric 3: THAC0 19, HP 18, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 2/1, Turn Undead 3,
4,000 - Fighter 3: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 13/15/14/16/16, Attacks 1,
5,000 - Mage 3: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2/1,
5,000 - Thief 4: THAC0 19, HP 18, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 150, Back Stab x2,
6,000 - Cleric 4: THAC0 18, HP 23, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/2, Turn Undead 4,
8,000 - Fighter 4: THAC0 17, HP 28, Saves 13/15/14/16/16, Attacks 1,
10,000 - Mage 4: THAC0 19, HP 13, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 3/2,
10,000 - Thief 5: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 180, Back Stab x3,
13,000 - Cleric 5: THAC0 18, HP 28, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/3/1, Turn Undead 5,
16,000 - Fighter 5: THAC0 16, HP 34, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 1,
20,000 - Mage 5: THAC0 19, HP 16, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 4/2/1,
20,000 - Thief 6: THAC0 18, HP 26, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 210, Back Stab x3,
27,500 - Cleric 6: THAC0 18, HP 33, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/3/2, Turn Undead 6,
32,000 - Fighter 6: THAC0 15, HP 40, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 1,
40,000 - Mage 6: THAC0 19, HP 19, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/2/2,
40,000 - Thief 7: THAC0 17, HP 30, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 240, Back Stab x3,
55,000 - Cleric 7: THAC0 16, HP 38, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 3/3/2/1, Turn Undead 7,
60,000 - Mage 7: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/2/1,
64,000 - Fighter 7: THAC0 14, HP 46, Saves 10/12/11/12/13, Attacks 3/2,
70,000 - Thief 8: THAC0 17, HP 34, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 270, Back Stab x3,
90,000 - Mage 8: THAC0 18, HP 25, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/3/2,
110,000 - Cleric 8: THAC0 16, HP 43, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 3/3/3/2, Turn Undead 8,
110,000 - Thief 9: THAC0 16, HP 38, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 300, Back Stab x4,
125,000 - Fighter 8: THAC0 13, HP 52, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 3/2,
135,000 - Mage 9: THAC0 18, HP 28, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1,
160,000 - Thief 10: THAC0 16, HP 42, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 330, Back Stab x4,
220,000 - Thief 11: THAC0 15, HP 44, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 360, Back Stab x4,
225,000 - Cleric 9: THAC0 16, HP 48, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/1, Turn Undead 9,
250,000 - Fighter 9: THAC0 12, HP 58, Saves 8/10/9/9/11, Attacks 3/2,
250,000 - Mage 10: THAC0 17, HP 31, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2,

Fax Celestis
2007-09-12, 05:04 PM
Oh, if you want that you should look at this:

0 - Thief 1: THAC0 20, HP 6, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 60, Back Stab x2,
0 - Cleric 1: THAC0 20, HP 8, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 1, Turn Undead 1,
0 - Fighter 1: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/16/15/17/17, Attacks 1,
0 - Mage 1: THAC0 20, HP 4, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 1,
1,250 - Thief 2: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 90, Back Stab x2,
1,500 - Cleric 2: THAC0 20, HP 13, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 2, Turn Undead 2,
2,000 - Fighter 2: THAC0 19, HP 16, Saves 14/16/15/17/17, Attacks 1,
2,500 - Mage 2: THAC0 20, HP 7, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2,
2,500 - Thief 3: THAC0 19, HP 14, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 120, Back Stab x2,
3,000 - Cleric 3: THAC0 19, HP 18, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 2/1, Turn Undead 3,
4,000 - Fighter 3: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 13/15/14/16/16, Attacks 1,
5,000 - Mage 3: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2/1,
5,000 - Thief 4: THAC0 19, HP 18, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 150, Back Stab x2,
6,000 - Cleric 4: THAC0 18, HP 23, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/2, Turn Undead 4,
8,000 - Fighter 4: THAC0 17, HP 28, Saves 13/15/14/16/16, Attacks 1,
10,000 - Mage 4: THAC0 19, HP 13, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 3/2,
10,000 - Thief 5: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 180, Back Stab x3,
13,000 - Cleric 5: THAC0 18, HP 28, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/3/1, Turn Undead 5,
16,000 - Fighter 5: THAC0 16, HP 34, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 1,
20,000 - Mage 5: THAC0 19, HP 16, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 4/2/1,
20,000 - Thief 6: THAC0 18, HP 26, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 210, Back Stab x3,
27,500 - Cleric 6: THAC0 18, HP 33, Saves 9/13/12/15/14, Spell Slots 3/3/2, Turn Undead 6,
32,000 - Fighter 6: THAC0 15, HP 40, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 1,
40,000 - Mage 6: THAC0 19, HP 19, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/2/2,
40,000 - Thief 7: THAC0 17, HP 30, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 240, Back Stab x3,
55,000 - Cleric 7: THAC0 16, HP 38, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 3/3/2/1, Turn Undead 7,
60,000 - Mage 7: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/2/1,
64,000 - Fighter 7: THAC0 14, HP 46, Saves 10/12/11/12/13, Attacks 3/2,
70,000 - Thief 8: THAC0 17, HP 34, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 270, Back Stab x3,
90,000 - Mage 8: THAC0 18, HP 25, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/3/2,
110,000 - Cleric 8: THAC0 16, HP 43, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 3/3/3/2, Turn Undead 8,
110,000 - Thief 9: THAC0 16, HP 38, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 300, Back Stab x4,
125,000 - Fighter 8: THAC0 13, HP 52, Saves 11/13/12/13/14, Attacks 3/2,
135,000 - Mage 9: THAC0 18, HP 28, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/3/3/2/1,
160,000 - Thief 10: THAC0 16, HP 42, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 330, Back Stab x4,
220,000 - Thief 11: THAC0 15, HP 44, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 360, Back Stab x4,
225,000 - Cleric 9: THAC0 16, HP 48, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/1, Turn Undead 9,
250,000 - Fighter 9: THAC0 12, HP 58, Saves 8/10/9/9/11, Attacks 3/2,
250,000 - Mage 10: THAC0 17, HP 31, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2,

GAH! IT BURNS! GET IT AWAY! :smalleek:

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 05:06 PM
Yes, but do you not see how hard it's going to be to balance out, for example, 9th level spells?

No, I don't see that at all. In the unified system, you get 9th-level spells at the same point you would in the multiple-chart system, give or take a few XP. It's just that the number attached to that experience total has changed from 18 to something in the mid-20s.

The real mistake 3E made was converting multi-chart level 18 -> single-chart level 18, instead of multi-chart 3,000,000 XP -> single-chart 3,000,000 XP.


<gigantic compilation of 2E class abilities by level>

While the geekish part of me wants to sit down and spend the next several hours converting all that to a unified system, I think I'm going to pass on that for now...

Matthew
2007-09-12, 05:07 PM
GAH! IT BURNS! GET IT AWAY! :smalleek:

Heh, heh. I wonder if this would work on Trolls?

Fax Celestis
2007-09-12, 05:08 PM
Heh, heh. I wonder if this would work on Trolls?

Hey! I am not a troll. I am a Firbolg. *shakes fist*

MrNexx
2007-09-12, 05:13 PM
Moreover, the older editions seemed to lend more towards story-building over character-building. (Some have referred to this as horizontal progression versus vertical progression or something like that.

In 1st and 2nd edition, almost all of your character design was done at 1st level. "I'm a dwarf fighter" was the most basic; picking proficiencies (what does your character know already), maybe one or two class features (like a ranger's favored enemy), and you created the mechanical base of your character. This would not significantly change for the rest of the game, unless you were a human and had set it up so you could dual-class. Leveling up was important, but it seldom required pre-planning or important decisions. Your only concern was playing the game.

In 3.x, creating your character is only the first of several important mechanical decisions you make. At 2nd level, you again create your character... a few less points, and you don't pick your race, but you essentially create your character again. And again at 3rd. And at 4th. This means that mechanical considerations are a much larger part of the character... NOT that it's impossible to role-play with 3.x (a patently absurd assertion), but it's no longer the sole emphasis.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 05:15 PM
In 1st and 2nd edition, almost all of your character design was done at 1st level. "I'm a dwarf fighter" was the most basic; picking proficiencies (what does your character know already), maybe one or two class features (like a ranger's favored enemy), and you created the mechanical base of your character. This would not significantly change for the rest of the game, unless you were a human and had set it up so you could dual-class. Leveling up was important, but it seldom required pre-planning or important decisions. Your only concern was playing the game.

In 3.x, creating your character is only the first of several important mechanical decisions you make. At 2nd level, you again create your character... a few less points, and you don't pick your race, but you essentially create your character again. And again at 3rd. And at 4th. This means that mechanical considerations are a much larger part of the character... NOT that it's impossible to role-play with 3.x (a patently absurd assertion), but it's no longer the sole emphasis.

This is true. 2E was excessively rigid, to my mind; 3E takes customization to a ridiculous extreme. I'm hoping 4E will find a good middle ground.

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-12, 05:15 PM
It can be done, but it's a built in penalty. Mainly because the skill system in 3.x is binary. But with a character who has only 4 points a level to want to be able to do something indicative of his archetype, that's a very steep penalty.
It's a built in penalty only when held up against people you shouldn't be comparing yourself to. Your cross-class spot measures up fine against most classes stealth abilities. People who are really sneaky will be able to sneak up on you...that's kind of their thing, and you are making it harder for them (or at worst, demanding that they put effort into it). Specialized scouts will be better spotters than you. It's what they do. If you were a scout-type soldier, you probably shouldn't represent that with straight fighter.

Balance issues aside (because fighters have issues that way), you can pump int to get more skills or take Open Minded with your non-bonus feats to pick up some more.

Heraldry is part of Knowledge: Nobility and of course the other is diplomacy. You can't, after all, tell your DI to go to Hell.
Knowing heraldry is different from knowing the uniforms of your current and past enemies. It's something a soldier might do, but not something they would necessarily do. If you want to be someone who recognized new enemy units by their banners the first time you encountered them and could tell, on the battlefield, what family the guy trying to run you through with a lance was from, taking Knowledge: nobility might be appropriate. If you just want to be familiar with your own history, you don't need it.

The other is not really diplomacy. Diplomacy helps you say what you want to say and avoid giving unnecessary offense. Telling your DI to go to hell isn't even trying to use diplomacy. Neither is realizing that that isn't a very good idea. If anything, that would be a wisdom or int based check.

You can't use it in combat, but it will provide you with options and readings into your enemy that you as a player aren't seeing. After all, if tactics were self evident, then the military wouldn't have to spend all that time teaching them.
The only way it will help you is if your DM has a better grasp of tactics than you do. Thus for practical reasons not such a good thing to have in the skill system at the level of abstraction used.

dyslexicfaser
2007-09-12, 05:15 PM
Countercounterpoint: Civilisation is a magnificent game but is not easy to wander in and start playing. Xyosys (Tic-tac-toe) is easy to start playing and very, very dull.

You simply haven't grasped the subtle nuance and immense skill that goes into a high-level game of tic-tac-toe.

It can get intense.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 05:16 PM
Hey! I am not a troll. I am a Firbolg. *shakes fist*

Ah well, you've got Fast Healing (3), then. You'll be fine.

Indon
2007-09-12, 05:18 PM
No, I don't see that at all. In the unified system, you get 9th-level spells at the same point you would in the multiple-chart system, give or take a few XP. It's just that the number attached to that experience total has changed from 18 to something in the mid-20s.

The real mistake 3E made was converting multi-chart level 18 -> single-chart level 18, instead of multi-chart 3,000,000 XP -> single-chart 3,000,000 XP.


That seems to me that it would be more complex than multiple XP charts.



While the geekish part of me wants to sit down and spend the next several hours converting all that to a unified system, I think I'm going to pass on that for now...

Well, looking at only pairings:


0 - Thief 1: THAC0 20, HP 6, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 60, Back Stab x2,
0 - Cleric 1: THAC0 20, HP 8, Saves 10/14/13/16/15, Spell Slots 1, Turn Undead 1,
0 - Fighter 1: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/16/15/17/17, Attacks 1,
0 - Mage 1: THAC0 20, HP 4, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 1,

2,500 - Mage 2: THAC0 20, HP 7, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2,
2,500 - Thief 3: THAC0 19, HP 14, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 120, Back Stab x2,

5,000 - Mage 3: THAC0 20, HP 10, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 2/1,
5,000 - Thief 4: THAC0 19, HP 18, Saves 13/14/12/16/15, Thief Skills 150, Back Stab x2,

10,000 - Mage 4: THAC0 19, HP 13, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 3/2,
10,000 - Thief 5: THAC0 18, HP 22, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 180, Back Stab x3,

20,000 - Mage 5: THAC0 19, HP 16, Saves 14/11/13/15/12, Spell Slots 4/2/1,
20,000 - Thief 6: THAC0 18, HP 26, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 210, Back Stab x3,

40,000 - Mage 6: THAC0 19, HP 19, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/2/2,
40,000 - Thief 7: THAC0 17, HP 30, Saves 12/12/11/15/13, Thief Skills 240, Back Stab x3,

110,000 - Cleric 8: THAC0 16, HP 43, Saves 7/11/10/13/12, Spell Slots 3/3/3/2, Turn Undead 8,
110,000 - Thief 9: THAC0 16, HP 38, Saves 11/10/10/14/11, Thief Skills 300, Back Stab x4,

250,000 - Fighter 9: THAC0 12, HP 58, Saves 8/10/9/9/11, Attacks 3/2,
250,000 - Mage 10: THAC0 17, HP 31, Saves 13/9/11/13/10, Spell Slots 4/4/3/2/2,


We see that level progress would be, at best, wacky and arbitrary.

Also, I just noticed that Mages had the equivalent of half the BAB in AD&D that they do now.

MrNexx
2007-09-12, 05:22 PM
While the geekish part of me wants to sit down and spend the next several hours converting all that to a unified system, I think I'm going to pass on that for now...

Back before 3rd edition was announced, I sat down and codified almost every ability in 2nd edition into a Skills and Powers system for 3 classes... Warriors, Rogues, and Magic-Users. If I were revising it now (almost ten years later), there are a lot of changes I would make, especially about the class system. However, they're still there, on Nexx's Hello.

nagora
2007-09-12, 05:24 PM
No, I don't see that at all. In the unified system, you get 9th-level spells at the same point you would in the multiple-chart system, give or take a few XP. It's just that the number attached to that experience total has changed from 18 to something in the mid-20s.


Yes, but how do you balance a fighter's abilities against Time Stop or Wish? How do you quantify the value of those spells (or any other particular spell) let alone the general ability to cast any 9th level spell?

I think we're talking about two different things here.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 05:32 PM
Yes, but how do you balance a fighter's abilities against Time Stop or Wish? How do you quantify the value of those spells (or any other particular spell) let alone the general ability to cast any 9th level spell?

I think we're talking about two different things here.

How do you balance those abilities in a multi-chart system? Or are you simply arguing that wizards ought to have a higher "power cap" than fighters? In that case, in the hypothetical situation that a PC wizard actually gets to a level where he can use 9th-level spells, what is the fighter supposed to have been doing with himself for the last million XP worth of adventuring?

If you just want the 9th-level spells available for NPC wizards, then I'd relegate them to the status that epic spells currently hold among the 3E players I know; which is to say, "Here is some stuff epic-level people can do. It's not even remotely balanced and doesn't pretend to be. It's intended for NPCs. If you want to give it to player characters, do so at your own risk."

horseboy
2007-09-12, 05:33 PM
It's a built in penalty only when held up against people you shouldn't be comparing yourself to.
The point is, if I am to actually Roleplay this character, instead of Rollplay this character, I have to do it DESPITE the rules all getting in my way.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 05:37 PM
CUD would get a glass of whiskey, settle back and reminesce of the days when "Elf" was a character class.

A few years ago, my favorite coffee shop closed down. I'd literally gone there for years. Most of the staff knew me by name, and those that didn't at least knew me by sight. But it closed. I was frustrated and upset for a bit, but I got over it. Simply put, though it was my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, there were other coffee shops that were preferred, so those essentially won out. Thing is, my favorite shop is gone, but I still drink coffee.

I look at this the same way. I have opinions and preferrences in the game I like to play. Not everyone shares them. If more share different opinions and preferrences, mine will probably not win out in the long run. And I will still drink coffee er, roleplay. Maybe even D&D.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 05:40 PM
Thing is, your coffee shop hasn't gone away. It got taken over by Starbucks. From time to time they close down the store, reopen it with a new image and tell you what an idiot you were for enjoying coffee in their old shop (according to some particularly jaded people). Also, the coffee doesn't really taste the same anymore.

Luckily, an Indie Shop opened up a few blocks down (largely due to Starbucks' franchise policy) and they're charging less for your old coffee.

MrNexx
2007-09-12, 05:49 PM
This is true. 2E was excessively rigid, to my mind; 3E takes customization to a ridiculous extreme. I'm hoping 4E will find a good middle ground.

That's what I liked about my system, really. You created your character, with the abilities you wanted... and then you were done. You had your customizability, but you didn't have to redesign your character every level.

Draz74
2007-09-12, 05:50 PM
Yeah, that's not a value judgment laden statement at all is it.

The initiative system was neither "ugly" nor "complicated."

Roll d10. Add time modifier for action (i.e., 1 for Magic Missile, 3 for Fire Ball). Total is your initiative score.

Not that difficult! And it's a system that actually gave you some thought about what you were going to do, whether you trotted out your most powerful spell first, or you relied on something that was quick and reliable as a pre-emptive strike type weapon.

First: Since when is it against Forum Rules to pass value judgments in one's posts?

Second, I didn't mean to say there was nothing good about the 2E Initiative system. There were some cool advantages, like the Casting Times rule in question. And the token sense of having simultaneity in a group's actions. Good stuff!

But IMO, the way everyone had to re-roll initiative every round was indeed "ugly." In my experience, the "declare actions/determine initiative order/carry out actions" combat round always took a LONG time, compared to the static initiative system of 3E.

And the system was definitely "complicated," too, if only because the DMG presented 3 different variant rules for governing initiative. Heck, the strategic virtues of choosing which spell to use, which you praise in your post, wasn't even technically the standard rule. It was presented as a "variant rule" in the DMG. The system would have been a lot less complicated if the designers had picked one initiative system, and stuck to it.

Although even when we stuck to one system consistently (using Weapon Speeds and Casting Times and individual initiative scores), people I played with seemed to constantly have problems comprehending why they had to keep rolling initiative, and why their actions they declared weren't carried out immediately. Now, maybe that was because they were ages 9-14. But still, the amount of time that I had to spend (because I was the one who actually understood the initiative rules) adjudicating combat order and figuring out initiatives by myself certainly justifies my right to use the word "complicated." :smalltongue:

Saph
2007-09-12, 05:53 PM
Well, as someone who uses that term, Game mechanics can either help roleplaying, be neutral to roleplaying or discourage roleplaying. To discourage roleplaying the rules inhibit character development and/or concepts. For neutral, the system itself will be "sketchy" on any detailed information. Systems that encourage, will have a flexible system that can support many different avenues, and do it WELL.

. . .

With AD&D all I'd do would be to take a fighter, write down his stats, saves, buy equipment and tell the DM my concept, provide some source material to prove I'm not pulling something out my sphincter, and with his permission that would be that. That's a Roleplaying neutral system, the rules neither help nor hinder roleplaying.
Taking this character into 3.5,the first problem is that people in the military are warriors instead of fighters, because NPC's have to be gimps for some reason. While the "feats" help it in the combat roll, every single skill I'm looking at for my archetype is cross classed. In effect, I'm pigeoned holed into only playing a fighter one way. This hinders roleplaying.
In Rolemaster I take the trained regular footman quirk from skill at arms, and there's enough lee way in the character building that I can easily fit in any of the concepts for my character plus other useful things, like swimming, climbing and riding. This is as close to "roleplaying friendly" as a generic system is likely to get.

Are you sure it isn't just that you've got more fun memories of playing Rolemaster than you have of playing 3.5? Because you call this "roleplaying friendly", but it's not making me feel like I'd find it easier to do any roleplaying. It just sounds like yet another system to learn. I've never tried Rolemaster, but I'm going to take a guess and say that if I took the time to learn it, I'd probably find just as many problems with the system as I have with D&D - and a much smaller range of people to play with. And the core of the roleplaying would come down to the DM and the group, just like with my D&D campaigns.

You'd probably regard Archmage as being roleplaying-unfriendly, too, since it provides no character options and prevents you from being anything other than an archmage-general of an army. You have no skills or quirks. Yet my Archmage character ended up becoming as detailed and thought-out as anything I could come up with in any other system.

And I've never felt particularly pigeonholed in D&D. If I want a new character and I'm having trouble making the mechanics fit, I go on these boards and ask something like "Hey, guys, I want to make a character who does x, y, and z. What would be a good way to build it?" And I get a bunch of answers, many of which end up opening up quite interesting options.

In contrast, the one time I tried playing WFRP, I really felt pigeonholed. I spent an hour rolling dice, and ended up with a character that I hadn't chosen and didn't especially like. Barely anything was under my control. But D&D? No.

- Saph

Matthew
2007-09-12, 05:53 PM
And the system was definitely "complicated," too, if only because the DMG presented 3 different variant rules for governing initiative. Heck, the strategic virtues of choosing which spell to use, which you praise in your post, wasn't even technically the standard rule. It was presented as a "variant rule" in the DMG. The system would have been a lot less complicated if the designers had picked one initiative system, and stuck to it.

As far as I know, Spell Casting Times are standard. They are seperate from the Variant Initiative Rules (Individual Adjusted and Individually Rolled).

The Optional Rules often added on complication. The basic version seems to work very fast.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 05:58 PM
As far as I know, Spell Casting Times are standard. They are seperate from the Variant Initiative Rules (Individual Adjusted and Individually Rolled)

How do you apply a Spell Casting Time if you're using group initiative?

Matthew
2007-09-12, 06:07 PM
Like this:

Action Declaration:

Aldros the Fighter - I charge the Orcs
Merena the Fighter - I charge the Orcs
Talus the Thief - I hang back and attack any Orcs that approach Heldras
Heldras the Mage - I cast Magic Missile

DM - The six Orcs charge your group

Initiative:

Player Characters roll a 5
Orcs roll a 7.

Action Resolution:

Aldros attacks on Initiative 3 (-2 from being charged)
Merena attacks on Initiative 3 (-2 from being charged)
Orcs attack on Initiative 5 (-2 from being charged)
Talus attacks on Inititative 5 (same time as the Orcs)
Heldras casts Magic Missile on Initiative 6 (+1 from Casting Time)

So, for instance, the charging Fighters and the charging Orcs (assuming 9" movement and a distance of 60' between the groups) would charge towards one another, covering a distance of 30' each. The Fighters would attack first, then the Orcs would attack at the same time as Talus, then Heldras would cast his Spell.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 06:09 PM
Like this:

Action Declaration:

Aldros the Fighter - I Charge the Orcs
Merena the Fighter - I Charge the Orcs
Talus the Thief - I hang back and attack any Orcs that approach Heldras
Heldras the Mage - I cast Magic Missile

DM - The Orcs Charge your group

Initiative:

Player Characters roll a 5
Orcs roll a 7.

Action Resolution:

Aldros attacks on Initiative 3 (-2 from charging)
Merena attacks on Initiative 3 (-2 from charging)
Orcs attack on Initiative 5 (-2 from charging)
Talus attacks on Inititative 5 (same time as the Orcs)
Heldras casts magic Missile on Initiative 6 (+1 from Casting Time)

It's been a long time since I cracked open a 2E DMG, but isn't that the Individual Adjusted variant?

Serenity
2007-09-12, 06:09 PM
Or they reopen every so often with a new image because many people have made complaints about certain qualities of their coffee, which they're trying to fix. And the old coffee is still around and self-replenishing, if admittedly a bit more difficult to find people to enjoy it with.

What do I want in D&D? I want a world where magic is a powerful force, but only capable of bending reality, rather than breaking it. I want a world where fighters aren't magical, but also not mundane, capable of great feats of legend, not just 'Pouncing Charge Power Attack for X'. I also want the fighters to be able to effectively develop in a number of different directions--there shouldn't be a need for a separate 'Swashbuckler' or 'Samurai' or 'Knight' base class. I want a game that is easy to learn, but also allows for a large mix of viable strategies and options.

A modular rules framework would also be really sweet. Ideally, I'd like a comprehensive 'Guide to Homebrew', but I'm not that crazily optimistic.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 06:13 PM
It's been a long time since I cracked open a 2E DMG, but isn't that the Individual Adjusted variant?

Hmmn, you know what, there are Standard Initiative Modifiers and Optional Initiative Modifiers, but looking at the Optional Table, it looks like Casting Time is optional. It's a poorly edited book, I have seen Casting Time treated as none optional elsewhere.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-12, 06:13 PM
A modular rules framework would also be really sweet. Ideally, I'd like a comprehensive 'Guide to Homebrew', but I'm not that crazily optimistic.

Here you go.

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 06:23 PM
Hmmn, you know what, there are Standard Initiative Modifiers and Optional Initiative Modifiers, but looking at the Optional Table, it looks like Casting Time is optional. It's a poorly edited book, I have seen Casting Time treated as none optional elsewhere. Have to look into it.

And there's 2E in a nutshell. :smallbiggrin:

Actually, I've seen much worse initiative systems than 2E's. Like White Wolf's Aberrant. First you roll initiative. Then you declare what you're doing in reverse order. Then you actually resolve it, in standard order. And of course, this is White Wolf, so you're not rolling a nice little single d10 or d20. No, you're rolling a huge handful of d10s and counting them up. Of course, if you roll low on initiative, you may as well give up, since no matter what you do, your opponent will do something that makes it not work.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 06:24 PM
Or they reopen every so often with a new image because many people have made complaints about certain qualities of their coffee, which they're trying to fix. And the old coffee is still around and self-replenishing, if admittedly a bit more difficult to find people to enjoy it with.

Nah, as far as I can tell, they reopen every so often to make more money off their new logo coffee mugs.

Rex Blunder
2007-09-12, 06:25 PM
Are you sure it isn't just that you've got more fun memories of playing Rolemaster than you have of playing 3.5?

I think that's what's going on for nearly all of us. Raise your hand if the system you're championing isn't also, coincidentally, the one you played most during your formative jr high/high school years.

I understand that feeling. I think Masters of the Universe is rad and the new, early-2000's Masters of the Universe is lame. I think the old star wars movies rule and the prequels drool. I think Stardust looks pretty pale next to the Princess Bride. But I also realize that a lot of that may have something to do with nostalgia, and my age when I was exposed to MotT, SW, and PB.

I really like 1e. But I also like 3.5. And I bet if you took an impartial outsider, and gave him the 1e, 2e, and 3e manuals to read, he wouldn't give them back and say, "1e looks like it would really encourage roleplaying and 3e looks all mechanical and powergamey." I can even imagine he'd say something like "Who cares, man? D&D looks like a pretty silly game, no matter what edition it is." And he might be right. But heck, I like it anyway - it's a fun game now, just like it was in junior high.

Matthew
2007-09-12, 06:27 PM
And there's 2E in a nutshell. :smallbiggrin:

Actually, I've seen much worse initiative systems than 2E's. Like White Wolf's Aberrant. First you roll initiative. Then you declare what you're doing in reverse order. Then you actually resolve it. And of course, this is White Wolf, so you're not rolling a nice little single d10 or d20. No, you're rolling a huge handful of d10s and counting them up. Of course, if you roll low on initiative, you may as well give up, since no matter what you do, your opponent will do something that makes it not work.

Looks like Casting Time is on the very next page treated as a None Optional Modifier [i.e. is not in a blue box].

Yeah, don't get me wrong, 2e is not perfectly consistant or cohesive. Several things about it only make sense if you have access to the 1e Rule Books (or a paraphrase thereof)!

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 06:27 PM
I think that's what's going on for nearly all of us. Raise your hand if the system you're championing isn't also, coincidentally, the one you played most during your formative jr high/high school years.

*raises hand*

I started in Classic D&D, and shortly thereafter moved to AD&D Second Edition. 3E didn't come out until I was in my fourth year of college. While I retain a certain nostalgia for some features of Classic, I consider 3E to be far superior overall, and I am eagerly awaiting 4E, which I expect (hope) to be superior to 3E by a considerable margin.

Regarding the other examples you brought up... I agree that the new Masters of the Universe are inferior, and the Star Wars prequels were abysmal compared to the original trilogy (or even judged on their own merits). The jury's still out on Stardust versus the Princess Bride. I'll have to watch Stardust at least a dozen times before I can make a properly considered judgement. :smallwink:

(Oh, and lest I be accused of embracing the new simply for the sake of its newness... I've been playing Master of Orion II for many a year. When I learned they were making Master of Orion III, I was really jazzed about it. I ran out and bought the game as soon as I could find a store that hadn't sold out. It took me roughly two days of playing to conclude that it sucked horribly. I went back to MoO2 and have stayed there ever since.)

Journey
2007-09-12, 06:41 PM
I think that's what's going on for nearly all of us. Raise your hand if the system you're championing isn't also, coincidentally, the one you played most during your formative jr high/high school years.I don't see how this is any different from dismissing people who love 3.x as being retarded kiddie powergamers. In fact it's worse, because it assumes people defending prior editions actually play them and think they're superior now.

The kinds of play styles that a system supports are independent of nostalgia and intelligence.

Serenity
2007-09-12, 06:42 PM
Well, Hayden Christensen was an abysmal actor, but beyond that, I don't think the original trilogy was actually all that much better.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 06:44 PM
Oh nostalgia totally comes into play. Even though I readily admit there's plenty cleaned up in 3e that were a total mess in 1e and 2e, there's that memories of "The Good Ole Days" of Roleplaying D&D.

However, if I recall correctly, the Good Ole Days also featured angry adults assured that by playing "Dorko the Dwarf Fighter", I'd soon be demon-possessed and doing evil/killing myself. That's the days my best friends' parents and mine decided D&D wasn't for us. So the good ole days weren't always so good.

Also, though I lament the loss of roleplay, my junior high days involved little to no roleplay at all. Oh the agony.

So take it all with a grain of salt. Remember, change is bad and must be feared and stomped out.

horseboy
2007-09-12, 06:59 PM
Are you sure it isn't just that you've got more fun memories of playing Rolemaster than you have of playing 3.5? Well, given that I have NO fond memories of 3.x that's possible, but not really likely.


Because you call this "roleplaying friendly", but it's not making me feel like I'd find it easier to do any roleplaying. It just sounds like yet another system to learn. I've never tried Rolemaster, but I'm going to take a guess and say that if I took the time to learn it, I'd probably find just as many problems with the system as I have with D&D - and a much smaller range of people to play with. And the core of the roleplaying would come down to the DM and the group, just like with my D&D campaigns. That is the core of roleplaying, however without character freedom not found in D&D you're stuck playing the same old thing and/or the same old stereotypes.


You'd probably regard Archmage as being roleplaying-unfriendly, too, since it provides no character options and prevents you from being anything other than an archmage-general of an army. You have no skills or quirks. Yet my Archmage character ended up becoming as detailed and thought-out as anything I could come up with in any other system. Just because it's unfriendly, doesn't mean it can't be done. But no, with my Chaotic Good (Lawful) alignment I have trouble not being able to differentiate myself in more than just gear.


And I've never felt particularly pigeonholed in D&D. I didn't either for a long time, until I really started playing other systems. Now, coming back it's like...getting into a monkey suit. Yeah! You know, you only ever wear them for funerals and weddings. You don't want to be there, it's itchy and uncomfortable. Yeah, a lot like D&D.


If I want a new character and I'm having trouble making the mechanics fit, I go on these boards and ask something like "Hey, guys, I want to make a character who does x, y, and z. What would be a good way to build it?" And I get a bunch of answers, many of which end up opening up quite interesting options. Well, given the feedback from my examples, either the system can't fit my character styles, or my standards are too high.


In contrast, the one time I tried playing WFRP, I really felt pigeonholed. I spent an hour rolling dice, and ended up with a character that I hadn't chosen and didn't especially like. Barely anything was under my control. But D&D? No.

- SaphYeah, I can understand that. That's one of those "neat settings, bad mechanics" games.

horseboy
2007-09-12, 07:09 PM
Also, though I lament the loss of roleplay, my junior high days involved little to no roleplay at all. Oh the agony.


Roleplay? "To Hell with saving the princess, let's just go kill a dragon. That'll learn that bitch to not go out with--" Ah. jr. high/high How I don't miss those days. :smalltongue:

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-12, 07:11 PM
The point is, if I am to actually Roleplay this character, instead of Rollplay this character, I have to do it DESPITE the rules all getting in my way.
Ah. See, you didn't say at any point that part of the character concept was that he was an eagle-eyed scout. I could swear you said that, as a soldier, he was familiar with spotting ambushes. Well, max spot cross-class and you have that, and will be able to do what you claim to be able to do if it comes up in game. Add skill focus or alertness if you want to be exceptional among the alert footmen. You have it better than if you maxed spot as a class skill, because that wouldn't be at all representative of a fairly keen regular soldier.

What do you need the character to be that isn't supported? Certainly there are things D&D 3.5 doesn't support, but I don't see the problem in this example.

Buying cross-class skills is not something you're supposed to avoid at all costs. For the fighter and barbarian with their laughable skill lists and no 'must-have' class skills, taking something interesting (and hopefully useful) just makes sense.

horseboy
2007-09-12, 07:34 PM
What do you need the character to be that isn't supported? Certainly there are things D&D 3.5 doesn't support, but I don't see the problem in this example.
Competency. For the amount of effort/time that a D&D character to be competent in spot a RM fighter could have learned to cast their version of "Knock."

Buying cross-class skills is not something you're supposed to avoid at all costs. For the fighter and barbarian with their laughable skill lists and no 'must-have' class skills, taking something interesting (and hopefully useful) just makes sense.Well, that's true. The skill list is laughable at best, and the skill points mechanic is just straight terrible. I fail, however, to see how "Suffering for one's art" makes a better Roleplaying character.

Mike_G
2007-09-12, 08:28 PM
I think a lot of people are reading way too much playstyle into the rules.

I stated playing D&D in 1980. I played AD&D for about ten years, never made the switch to 2nd ed, because our group of grognards wouldn't switch, citing all the things Nagora has cited about 3e, and all the paranoia being bandied about 4e.

We heard a lot of "I didn't scrape my way through 5 levels of Fighter and 7 levels of Thief to finally learns spells from the Druids so I could realize my lifelong goal of singing at monsters just to change now. Screw you crazy upstart kids and your class kits, and lack of racial exclusions and level limits and letting Elves be Rangers. Get off my lawn!!"

I played systems other than D&D for most of the 90's, then came back for 3e.

I still play with four of the guys from my old high school AD&D group.

We all love the changes for 3e. Our only new player tried AD&D in high school, found it incomprehensible, and now likes 3.5 a lot.

Our campaigns are much lower powered and less munchkinny now in 3.5 than our old AD&D campaigns, mostly because we were teenagers then and are now all in our thirties.

All the books really contain are two systems. A combat and skill resolution system (which are pretty much the same mechanic in 3.5) and a character creation system. (well, AD&D had about thirty systems, like Pummeling, Grappling and Overbearing, dual classing, multiclassing, Monks -basically their own system to themselves, since they didn't follow any of the rules the rest of the classes did, a different Xp chart for each class, different bonus chart for each stat, complete with bonuses from certain stats only availible to certain classes, and so on)

Everything else is the group and the DM. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you play CODzilla, or Batman or a Leap Attack dual spiked chain dire orc double axe wielding Hulking Hurler. We continue to play sword and board Fighters, rapier and dagger swashbucklers, and Wizards who still use evocation.

So, I will check out 4e. If they fix some of the issues I have with 3.5, the same way 3.0 fixed a lot of the issues I had with AD&D, I'll switch, if not...

I guess I'll start yelling at those young punks to get off my lawn.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 08:55 PM
My poor metaphor. It's been killed. It was only CR2, so I don't think many of you get XP. All it had for treasure was left over copper and silver in the tip jar. And a cup of coffee.

My intent was to take a real life situation, my favorite shop closing, and show how it applies to my worldview. Things are going to change. Things I like are not necessarily going to last. Things I dislike may take precidence. Best I can do is speak out and say, "this is my opinion. This is what I like. This is what I prefer," and move on.

In the grand scheme of things, what are the precise rules of any game really isn't worth getting too worked up over. I'm a bit distressed that things are going I liked, but I'll still play my games. I'm a bit upset that 3.0 was followed quickly by 3.5 which is followed by 4e. That's a lot of books in a short period of time. Caveat emptor. I'll remember next time. So! Carry on!

Matthew
2007-09-12, 09:22 PM
Mike:
Sure, but there's changes and there's changes. I don't hate 3e or anything and I don't really care that they're making another edition, but there are certainly things about the mechanics of 3e I don't like. The same is absolutely true of 1e and 2e. However, the degree to which I like or dislike the elements of an edition contributes to my perception of it as a whole.

There's a lot to like about 3e, but I do, on the whole, prefer 2e. With that in mind, I'm looking at what is being released about 4e and I'm thinking that there's more there I dislike than I like. It's not a matter of stubborness, it's just a matter of preference. I like 3e enough to play it from time to time, but it's not the edition that suits my preferences best. Maybe 4e will be, but it's not looking too likely at this moment in time.

Good Rumours: Points of Light, Dumping Professions, Dumping Iterative Attacks, Bringing Saves into line with Character Level, Dumping the complicated Critical Hit System.

Crazy Uncle Doug:
Yeah, sorry about that, but Metaphors are too tempting to resist. There was a good one using the Music Industry recently, which I found funny (even if it doesn't hold up under scrutiny):


Generally, what has occurred with D&D (and other rpgs) is the equivalent of a music label saying, "in an effort to sell our new Brittany Spears CD, we're cutting down on the competition against it by halting the production of our Beatles CDs; you didn't want that old, out-dated music anyway - nobody likes it anymore - in fact, you were all pretty foolish to like it in the first place. Oh, by the way, Brittany Spears will now be performing under the name, 'The Beatles.'"

Taken from: Knights & Knaves (http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=3724&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15)

Dausuul
2007-09-12, 09:35 PM
Yeah, sorry about that, but Metaphors are too tempting to resist. There was a good one using the Music Industry recently, which I found funny (even if it doesn't hold up under scrutiny):


Generally, what has occurred with D&D (and other rpgs) is the equivalent of a music label saying, "in an effort to sell our new Brittany Spears CD, we're cutting down on the competition against it by halting the production of our Beatles CDs; you didn't want that old, out-dated music anyway - nobody likes it anymore - in fact, you were all pretty foolish to like it in the first place. Oh, by the way, Brittany Spears will now be performing under the name, 'The Beatles.'"

Taken from: Knights & Knaves (http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=3724&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15)

What ho! A new metaphor! Kill it! Kill it, I say!

...let's see. I'd liken it more to "We have developed a new medium, which we call the CD. Starting next spring, we will be releasing all of our new titles in this new medium. We apologize to those fans who prefer the sound of vinyl records, but our market research shows that most modern audiences prefer digital media, and it would not be profitable for us to manufacture both vinyl records and CDs. Therefore, we've decided to concentrate on developing the CD to its full potential."

*sticks a knife in the new metaphor for 5d6 sneak attack damage*

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-12, 09:43 PM
Competency. For the amount of effort/time that a D&D character to be competent in spot a RM fighter could have learned to cast their version of "Knock."
Knowing not the slightest thing about rolemaster, how do you measure that? The fighter gets a small number of skill points. These are not widely considered to be a big part of their power (insofar as they have any), which is primarily based in their armor/shield/weapon proficiencies, BaB, hit dice, and bonus feats. Based on their class list (ride, handle animal, intimidate, and all three of the strength-based skills...the hobbies of a tank with free time), there really isn't any reason to think that the fighter spends any significant time or effort picking up skill points. If they did, they'd have 4+ ranks/level, probably. They're too busy learning combat techniques (bonus feats).

Well, that's true. The skill list is laughable at best, and the skill points mechanic is just straight terrible. I fail, however, to see how "Suffering for one's art" makes a better Roleplaying character.
I fail to see how I suggested it did. Their class skill list is laughable because the set of skill-based activities they're intended to be able to compete with specialists in is small. This isn't an accident, or a gross unfairness. Like other classes with 2+ skill points, they're supposed to be masters of a field outside the skill system, and unlike the others don't have any 'mandatory' skill buys.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-12, 09:45 PM
The death of the "Dragon" and "Dungeon" magazines was another move that frustrated me. It's been a mainstay of my gaming for much of my gaming career, but now -- it's been changed to a subscription online version.

Now I know that periodicals as a whole are a dying medium, and I know that in a niche market like ours, there may not be much money in maintaining a periodical. Still, I miss my magazine. Already. It's not even been a week and I miss it.

horseboy
2007-09-12, 10:02 PM
Knowing not the slightest thing about rolemaster, how do you measure that? The fighter gets a small number of skill points. These are not widely considered to be a big part of their power (insofar as they have any), which is primarily based in their armor/shield/weapon proficiencies, BaB, hit dice, and bonus feats. Based on their class list (ride, handle animal, intimidate, and all three of the strength-based skills...the hobbies of a tank with free time), there really isn't any reason to think that the fighter spends any significant time or effort picking up skill points. If they did, they'd have 4+ ranks/level, probably. They're too busy learning combat techniques (bonus feats).

I fail to see how I suggested it did. Their class skill list is laughable because the set of skill-based activities they're intended to be able to compete with specialists in is small. This isn't an accident, or a gross unfairness. Like other classes with 2+ skill points, they're supposed to be masters of a field outside the skill system, and unlike the others don't have any 'mandatory' skill buys.
And thereby making anything other than the one dimensional "Me fighter, me smash" stereotype difficult to escape. If you want to be able to do anything other than smash something you can't do it.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-12, 10:17 PM
::raises hand::

I really don't have a whole lot else to say though...

Mike_G
2007-09-12, 11:14 PM
Mike:
Sure, but there's changes and there's changes. I don't hate 3e or anything and I don't really care that they're making another edition, but there are certainly things about the mechanics of 3e I don't like. The same is absolutely true of 1e and 2e. However, the degree to which I like or dislike the elements of an edition contributes to my perception of it as a whole.

There's a lot to like about 3e, but I do, on the whole, prefer 2e. With that in mind, I'm looking at what is being released about 4e and I'm thinking that there's more there I dislike than I like. It's not a matter of stubborness, it's just a matter of preference. I like 3e enough to play it from time to time, but it's not the edition that suits my preferences best. Maybe 4e will be, but it's not looking too likely at this moment in time.

Good Rumours: Points of Light, Dumping Professions, Dumping Iterative Attacks, Bringing Saves into line with Character Level, Dumping the complicated Critical Hit System.


Oh, I'm not picking on you, honestly.

It just seems a lot of people are lamenting the passing of the worst rules of 1st edition and prejudging 4e into the dustbin.

AD&D was a mess. I can't judge 2e, but 3e was a huge step forward, in my opinion. Sure, stuff changed, but, as I said, people fought hard in my old group against 2e, which seems like a big improvement, for no better reason than they liked the crappy arbitrariness of AD&D. I see a lot of that here. The whole "giving the DM guidelines for diplomacy is robbing him of creativity" is just whining. Guidelines for situation resolution are good. You can always not use a rule you don't like. I disallow Leadership as a feat, since I think that should be roleplayed, and campaign specific, not a feat you tak, and I outlaw Orc double axes because I refuse to believe it's possible to use one in a way more dangerous to your enemy than to you. We nerfed Polymorph. You just take the good and ignore the bad. At least now all the good is actually compatible, not nine poorly connected systems like 1e was.

I guess my whole point is that we should stop the whining about how everything was better when we walked to school, uphill, in the snow and women couldn't vote, which is what all this "4e will destroy D&D" stuff reads like.

To me, anyway.

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-12, 11:20 PM
And thereby making anything other than the one dimensional "Me fighter, me smash" stereotype difficult to escape. If you want to be able to do anything other than smash something you can't do it.
Well, insofar as the totality of weapon-based fighting techniques that don't involve precision damage can be described as 'smashing'...:smallfrown:

Still not really. Sure, a pure fighter can't be a skillmonkey. But a cross-classed skill is still a powerful thing. Some ways they can be useful for even an archetypal tank:
-Cross class hide and you can effectively ambush anyone who isn't a druid, monk, ranger, rogue, or cross-classing spot to counter. Even in your full plate, at higher levels (or with the assistance of a cloak of elvenkind).
-Cross-class spot, and suddenly you can singlehandedly thwart a typical ambush party of warriors.
-Cross-class sense motive, and you get a decent chance of catching casual liars. And be a real nuisance to anyone who wants to feint.
-Open Lock or better still Escape Artist may look like things better left to the rogue. But having the fighter able to take-20 out of unprofessionally handled bonds could come in handy against opposition that realizes the guy with thieves tools needs more careful handling, and opening poor and average locks in 2 minutes isn't a bad talent either.
-Not being able to charge or run is bad. Cross-classing balance to counterweight ACP keeps you from running into trouble on such unpleasantnesses as uneven flagstones or hewn stone, helps with any ledging you may need to do, and at 5 ranks keeps you from being flatfooted while balancing...like you will be if someone tosses grease at you.
-Cross-class disguise. Not for everyone, but if you've got a personal need to go unrecognized, this and a kit (and a non-negative charisma mod) will get you total immunity to recognition by crowds at level 7 and pretty good security from level 1. Non-magically, which has all kinds of advantages.
-Heal, because DC 15 just isn't that hard to hit cross-class.

Paragon Badger
2007-09-12, 11:40 PM
I don't think 3rd edition is a version that inherently limits roleplay. Sure, practically every single little thing requires a number to be tacked on. A bit annoying, but you can always work around it.

Player: I want to be a part-time painter.
DM: Spend a skill point, loser.

Also, rules can never limit roleplay to a debilitating extent. Heck, I played Diablo II, the most number crunching, HORRIBLY min/maxed, absolutely munchkinny game EVER... and I had a few roleplaying games with friends. On hardcore, too, so characters did do the whole heroic death thing, fending off the baddies by blocking the doorway and such. :-P Bit hard to replace them, though...

It's bad role-players/DMs that restrict roleplay.

D&D will never inherently vear away into a non roleplaying game unless it takes away the ability to speak and interact with other players..

Those are just my thoughts... I'm a youngin' 17 year old and I enjoy roleplaying instead of rollplaying. Not all of us have to be 1e veterans to enjoy a good story.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 12:18 AM
I can understand people not liking D&D 3.5ed. There's a whole bunch of stuff wrong with it that really make me want to pull my hair out. What I really have a harder time understanding is the number of people sticking to older editions of D&D. If they want simple game play there are soooooo many Indie games out there that are built around promoting RPing and are very rules light. Right now I'm playing a Fate 3.0 (basically a lightly modified version of Spirit of the Century to fit a Steampunk setting). For that game the only stats my character has is ratings for a list of skills and four aspects (basically adjectives/catchphrases/background things that represent my character's personality and that I can use to give me a bit of a boost in thematically appropriate times and for the GM to hang plot hooks off of). My entire character sheet has 4 numbers and it plays beautifully with every kind of conflict resolved in the same way.

I'm not trying to say that Fate is the end-all of games but that since there's so many Indie games with much more stripped down, consistent and easy to play rules than older editions of D&D, why bother with it? There's so many wierd inconsistent mechanics (d6s for this, d20s for that, d100s for the other thing) and really hard to memorize charts that (at least for me) in practice the older editions of D&D had me thinking about numbers and stats at least as much as 3.5ed.

For me at least I'll pick up 4ed since it seems that its fixing a lot of the stuff that I don't like and use it for high magic settings, over the top ****, tactical heavy combat, etc. I'll use Fate for more RP-heavy/cinematic and something like Harn for gritty/historical games. I'm not really seeing any niche that 1est/2nd edition games fill that some other game can't do better. Am I missing someting?

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 12:28 AM
I can understand people not liking D&D 3.5ed. There's a whole bunch of stuff wrong with it that really make me want to pull my hair out. What I really have a harder time understanding is the number of people sticking to older editions of D&D.

"I can understand people not liking Nickelback, but why do they insist on listening to Led Zepplin when there's all that other good new music out there?"

Seriously.

horseboy
2007-09-13, 12:31 AM
If they want simple game play there are soooooo many Indie games out there that are built around promoting RPing and are very rules light.

something like Harn for gritty/historical games. I'm not really seeing any niche that 1est/2nd edition games fill that some other game can't do better. Am I missing someting?

I'd add third to that last sentence and agree.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 12:39 AM
"I can understand people not liking Nickelback, but why do they insist on listening to Led Zepplin when there's all that other good new music out there?"

Seriously.
I listen to Led Zeppelin and OD&D is no Led Zeppelin.

Seriously thought, it seems that the vast majority of pro old edition posts are along the lines of: "X about D&D 3.5ed sucks, the old editions did X better." So ****ing what? 3.5ed D&D has a lot of problems, being better than it doesn't a good game make. What makes the old editions good games in their own right instead of in comparison to 3.5ed?


I'd add third to that last sentence and agree.
Agreed. 3.5ed is annoying the heck out of me lately.

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 01:01 AM
I listen to Led Zeppelin and OD&D is no Led Zeppelin.

Seriously thought, it seems that the vast majority of pro old edition posts are along the lines of: "X about D&D 3.5ed sucks, the old editions did X better." So ****ing what? 3.5ed D&D has a lot of problems, being better than it doesn't a good game make. What makes the old editions good games in their own right instead of in comparison to 3.5ed?

Seriously, though, it seems that the vast majority of pro 3.5 posters say "X about old editions sucks, 3.5 does it better." So ****ing what? Older editions of D&D had a lot of problems, being better than it doesn't a good game make. What makes 3.5 a good game in its own right, instead of in comparison to old editions?

You know, your argument is reversible, with no signal loss.

Rain_Dancer
2007-09-13, 01:11 AM
And thereby making anything other than the one dimensional "Me fighter, me smash" stereotype difficult to escape. If you want to be able to do anything other than smash something you can't do it.
Well, insofar as the totality of weapon-based fighting techniques that don't involve precision damage can be described as 'smashing'...

Still not really. Sure, a pure fighter can't be a skillmonkey. But a cross-classed skill is still a powerful thing. Some ways they can be useful for even an archetypal tank:
I'm so confused by this discussion - sorry if I misread something, but (leaving aside the general balance issues inherent in a Fighter 20 build, which I agree is an issue) if you want to roleplay a fighter/tank type that has some versatility in skill selection, why not just take a level of ranger or rogue? Am I missing something?

horseboy
2007-09-13, 01:18 AM
I'm so confused by this discussion - sorry if I misread something, but (leaving aside the general balance issues inherent in a Fighter 20 build, which I agree is an issue) if you want to roleplay a fighter/tank type that has some versatility in skill selection, why not just take a level of ranger or rogue? Am I missing something?
While completely possible to take "a couple of levels in ranger"(and indeed the most feasible option in D&D) the fact that I have to turn my character into a calico patchwork to create a single concept is counter intuitive, bulky and ineloquent.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 01:21 AM
You know, your argument is reversible, with no signal loss.
Precisely. I think that the 1st ed lack of skills, the 2nd ed NWP system and the 3rd ed skill point system are all rather sucky. And in this thread I've seen a lot of people defending each of the three by attacking the other two. Like I said before, there's a list of things that bother me about 3.5ed that's as long as my arm.

Basically if you want something in which the rules really evoke a certain flavor older D&D doesn't do that (too generic), if you want a system that lets you use the rules for all sorts of campaigns there's too much idiosyncratic stuff in D&D to allow for that (Vancian spell casting etc.), if you want simple stripped down rules older D&D doesn't do that (too much of a miss-mash of different conflict resolution system and waaaaaaaay too many charts), if you want tactical combat older D&D doesn't have enough different combat options written in to be optimal for that either, if you want something that's realistic/historically accurate older D&D doesn't have it, if you want something that's over the top Wuxia older D&D doesn't do that too well either, if you want something that's focused on non-combat stuff older D&D isn't really built for that either (the bulk of the rules are combat related), if you want something that's easier to dive into older D&D can't do that either, if you want something that gives the DM control over things something diceless would probably be better, if you want something that encourages player creativitiy Fate does that better. Is there some kind of Goldilocks effect here?

Personally I played in (and DMed) my share of crappy 1st and 2nd Ed campaigns and the only ones that I really enjoyed were two that my brother ran that were just so insanely wonderfully loopy that the rules were mostly irrelevant (combat between a magic-user halfling were-hippo in a combat vs. a psionic/fighter kobold dressed in frog-skin armor with a magic carpet turban on a giant trampoline surrounded by a lake of acid, what's not to love?).

Bosh
2007-09-13, 01:23 AM
While completely possible to take "a couple of levels in ranger"(and indeed the most feasible option in D&D) the fact that I have to turn my character into a calico patchwork to create a single concept is counter intuitive, bulky and ineloquent.

Ya, that's what I usually did in 3.5ed. I'm make complicated multi-class characters with a dozen splat books just to make the stupid rules spit out the kind of character that I want. Stupid rules :(

Rain_Dancer
2007-09-13, 01:29 AM
I'm so confused by this discussion - sorry if I misread something, but (leaving aside the general balance issues inherent in a Fighter 20 build, which I agree is an issue) if you want to roleplay a fighter/tank type that has some versatility in skill selection, why not just take a level of ranger or rogue? Am I missing something?
While completely possible to take "a couple of levels in ranger"(and indeed the most feasible option in D&D) the fact that I have to turn my character into a calico patchwork to create a single concept is counter intuitive, bulky and ineloquent.

Ah, thanks. Now I see the point of the discussion.

I disagree, but we may have to chalk this up to YMMV. What you call "counterintuitive and bulky", I would call "flexible and adaptable." Not that multi-classing rules are perfect in 3.5E, but the ease with which we can mix and match classes is something I actually appreciate as a change from older versions, where it seemed like you were locked into an Archetypal Role, and had to undergo (to me, at least) ridiculous hurdles and penalties to build a character that didn't match that Role.

And it seems a little unrealistic to create a class system that would allow for a single class for each and every concept that's out there. I thought that was the point of the "calico patchwork" method anyway, to give folks a set of archetypal options to work with, that could be mix-and-matched until you ended up with the character you wanted?

Of course, if all we're talking about is skill selection, I agree that fighters are shafted when it comes to skills, and should get more flexibility in that regard than they currently have. But that starts to get into the balance issues of fighter/melee classes, which is a whole new ballgame.

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 01:41 AM
Basically if you want something in which the rules really evoke a certain flavor older D&D doesn't do that (too generic),

I want something that evokes the feeling of older D&D, which older D&D does very well.


if you want a system that lets you use the rules for all sorts of campaigns there's too much idiosyncratic stuff in D&D to allow for that (Vancian spell casting etc.),

Disagree. Spells and Magic, for example, shows ways in which you can get outside of Vancian magic; quite a few people (myself included) simply used undedicated spell slots prior to S&M coming out.


if you want tactical combat older D&D doesn't have enough different combat options written in to be optimal for that either

Combat and Tactics; prior to that, Fighter's Handbook.


if you want something that's over the top Wuxia older D&D doesn't do that too well either

One of the things I like about it.


if you want something that's focused on non-combat stuff older D&D isn't really built for that either (the bulk of the rules are combat related)

That's what jaws are for.


if you want something that's easier to dive into older D&D can't do that either

I've found earlier editions of D&D very easy to teach, compared to 3.x.


Personally I played in (and DMed) my share of crappy 1st and 2nd Ed campaigns and the only ones that I really enjoyed were two that my brother ran that were just so insanely wonderfully loopy that the rules were mostly irrelevant (combat between a magic-user halfling were-hippo in a combat vs. a psionic/fighter kobold dressed in frog-skin armor with a magic carpet turban on a giant trampoline surrounded by a lake of acid, what's not to love?).

Soooo.... because you had bad experiences with a game system, it's a bad system? OWoD destroyed my HS gaming group, but it's not a bad system... I enjoyed playing it quite a bit later, when I had a good group for it.

Zincorium
2007-09-13, 02:59 AM
I will say this-

I've enjoyed the boards a heck of a lot less with all the 4th edition stuff out. Mainly because there are some very vocal detractors for both it and 3.x that have done very little but accuse everyone who's playing 3.x and willing to give 4th ed a try of being munchkins and incompetent players. You know who you are, you're probably even proud of yourselves, it certainly comes out that way when you post.

So I'm just gonna avoid this section until it all blows over one way or another. If the atmosphere of the boards goes this far south every time someone brings up the edition change, I'll save myself a lot of stress. Enjoy the win, I suppose.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 03:49 AM
MrNexx: Seems like you're mostly a 2e D&D fan and used a number of splatbooks, correct? That's a very different beast than OD&D or 1st Ed Core.


I want something that evokes the feeling of older D&D, which older D&D does very well.
Hmmm, good point. If I wanted to run a Gygaxian style Dungeon I'd probably break out Rules Cyclopedia and do a one-off adventure or mini-campaign. But what I mean is that D&D doesn't really evoke any one specific genre from non-gaming fiction. Its not really built specifically for Epic fantasy or Conan-style sword and sorcery etc. This wouldn't be a bad thing except that it also isn't very good at being generic fantasy either since the rules are so ideosyncratic. Basicaly D&D (of all editions) isn't good at emulating much of anything out of the box except for D&D, which is a major draw-back in my eyes. I think that 4ed could be better since it seems to be moving more towards clear-cut epic/high fantasy.


Disagree. Spells and Magic, for example, shows ways in which you can get outside of Vancian magic; quite a few people (myself included) simply used undedicated spell slots prior to S&M coming out.
Never had a copy of S&M. But its not just Vancian magic, there's a whole bunch of stuff in D&D that's very specifically D&D, which makes it hard to use D&D rules for a lot of settings. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but its just why I don't/won't use D&D (of any edition) as my default RPG.


Combat and Tactics; prior to that, Fighter's Handbook.
Never had those either. Basically roll to hit, roll for damage, repeat. There's nothing wrong with this if you want a stripped down game and for something like Rule Cyclopedia D&D its fine. But later incarnations of D&D seem to give huge amounts of mechanical detail to some parts of the system while having other parts be very simplictic without a lot of rhyme and reason to it. I prefer more consistent game design.


That's what jaws are for.
Then why do the older editions of D&D have charisma? Again, a lot of disorganized game design. If you want to have mechanical representations of social interactions do it, if you don't don't but don't stick the players in a wierd limbo.


I've found earlier editions of D&D very easy to teach, compared to 3.x.
So? Being easier to learn to play than 3.5ed isn't saying much. AD&D 2nd ed is a hell of a lot harder to learn than games like d6 Starwars/Fantasy or the various Fudge-based games.

Also I think that the older editions of D&D are very difficult to learn how to GM properly. Probably AD&D 1st Ed is the hardest game that I've ever seen to GM well, with 2nd Ed only a bit behind.


Soooo.... because you had bad experiences with a game system, it's a bad system?
No, not really. I don't think that my experiences with older AD&D are necessarily representative but then I don't think that yours necessarily are either. People who started playing AD&D way back when and still use the old editions are rather exceptional, so there's a large amount of selection bias going on here.

This is where I think the claims that the older editions were great for RPing come from. I think that its more demographic than having anything based on the rules. My guess is that back in the day there were lots and lots of old edition groups and for 90% of them the roleplaying was mostly crap (90% of everything is crap). Now a bunch of those 90% either quit RPing altogether (after crappy RPing experiences), or moved to games that promised better RPing (since they weren't satisfied with their D&D RPing experience), or moved on to games with cleaner combat mechanics (since AD&D combat is fairly clunky) while a lot of the 10% stay with the older editions of D&D since they were having some awesome RPing. Since its mostly just those 10% who still play the older editions (and have great RP) they're making an arguement that somehow the rules of AD&D are uniquely good at fostering good RP, which I don't think makes a lot of sense, especially if you look back at a lot of the old D&D modules which were mostly as hack and slash as they come. There's a lot of Indie games out there that encourage RP a hell of a lot better than D&D of any edition.

nagora
2007-09-13, 04:00 AM
AD&D was a mess. I can't judge 2e, but 3e was a huge step forward, in my opinion. Sure, stuff changed, but, as I said, people fought hard in my old group against 2e, which seems like a big improvement, for no better reason than they liked the crappy arbitrariness of AD&D. I see a lot of that here. The whole "giving the DM guidelines for diplomacy is robbing him of creativity" is just whining. Guidelines for situation resolution are good. You can always not use a rule you don't like. I disallow Leadership as a feat, since I think that should be roleplayed, and campaign specific, not a feat you tak, and I outlaw Orc double axes because I refuse to believe it's possible to use one in a way more dangerous to your enemy than to you. We nerfed Polymorph. You just take the good and ignore the bad. At least now all the good is actually compatible, not nine poorly connected systems like 1e was.


Putting aside the quaility if the systems, all you're doing is "screwing the players" in 3ed parlance. That's the whinning I hear all the time when DMs changing the system is mentioned in 3rd editon circles. There's a cultural issue there which is perhaps worse than any of the rule changes.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 04:19 AM
Putting aside the quaility if the systems, all you're doing is "screwing the players" in 3ed parlance. That's the whinning I hear all the time when DMs changing the system is mentioned in 3rd editon circles. There's a cultural issue there which is perhaps worse than any of the rule changes.
Right, definite cultural change, some good, some bad. Had one player who complained and complained that I wouldn't let him have his lycanthrope stat bonuses while in human form because "in your setting if I turn into my hybrid form I'll get lynched for being a monsters so I can't use it." Grrrrrrrrrrr. Maybe the gamer culture was more RP friendly in the old days (it certainly wasn't where I played, but maybe Bolivia wasn't very representative :) ).

But look on the other side of things. Most GMs are VERY VERY bad at making good and fair house rules. That only makes sense, people have a lot of different skills and not everyone is good at designing new rules. But to be a good 1st Ed AD&D GM you need to be a good storyteller AND a good character actor AND a good rule designer AND have a good knowledge of the rules AND basic tactical knowledge. Those sorts of GMs are few and far between and I don't think I've ever met a person who is all of those things. The only people I've ever met who I'd play a 1st Edition run bizarre loopy off the wall campaigns in which you don't really care if the rules they make up make any sense whatsoever because the whole setting is strange and you don't know what's going on half the time anyway. I think that 1st Edition AD&D puts too much on the DM's plate to be a good system for all but a small minority of groups (for which I'm sure it is a wonderfully awesome system and who I'm sure run games that I'd love to play in).

Journey
2007-09-13, 05:33 AM
I think that 1st Edition AD&D puts too much on the DM's plate to be a good system for all but a small minority of groups (for which I'm sure it is a wonderfully awesome system and who I'm sure run games that I'd love to play in).

I think this is the crux of the matter. Between the insulting (not to mention wrong) "you're just old; nostalgic" pap and the intellectually bankrupt, oft discredited yet inexorably over-broadened meaning behind "role play" in the phrase "the mechanics have nothing to do role play" I wonder if the issue isn't just a simple cultural difference.

It's basically the difference between people who prefer rules-light, role-play supporting systems versus rules-heavy, character-power/combat-simulator systems writ large upon the D&D landscape.

Just to further dispel this unsupportable claim that "nostalgia" is the reason some of us are defending prior editions, I'll offer this: to claim that 3.x is "D&D" is absurd--I defend them because they are D&D, and 3.x isn't. It's so far removed from the class-based, rules-light system of the previous editions that really only the brand name and certain labels (e.g. "wizard;" "fighter") are shared in common. The core mechanic isn't class-based except in the loosest sense (in the same way, as I wrote earlier, that "Super Mario Brothers" is a "role playing game")--the attempted skill/class hybrid combination of mutli-class rules and the skills/feats system defeat that. The characters are pigeon-holed into "roles" defined by their "builds" which incorporate far more than what class (or, more likely, since 3.x has spelled out pretty much every action a character is "allowed" to take, classes) that requires a complete restructuring of the feat/skills and multi-class rules to work around. The core rules are structured to have a built-in, assumed style of play (four encounters per day, high magic, combat-heavy). I suppose I could go on.

None of these things is related to nostalgia; they're all objective differences between the systems that one can have a subjective preference for, regardless of time or location.

Incidentally, I don't play games in 2nd edition anymore (which was my group's mainstay, though we played other systems). This is initially because my gaming group split apart years ago after college. I have played Harnmaster, though, and I consider it far superior than pretty much any other game I've played (GURPs and Shadowrun being two of these). If my old gaming group somehow moved back in to proximity of each other, I'd want to play Harnmaster rather than 2nd edition D&D.

hewhosaysfish
2007-09-13, 05:37 AM
I will say this-

I've enjoyed the boards a heck of a lot less with all the 4th edition stuff out. Mainly because there are some very vocal detractors for both it and 3.x that have done very little but accuse everyone who's playing 3.x and willing to give 4th ed a try of being munchkins and incompetent players. You know who you are, you're probably even proud of yourselves, it certainly comes out that way when you post.

So I'm just gonna avoid this section until it all blows over one way or another. If the atmosphere of the boards goes this far south every time someone brings up the edition change, I'll save myself a lot of stress. Enjoy the win, I suppose.

Doesn't the WotC forum have specific boards called the Hallelujah and Doomsday boards, to serve as dumping grounds for all this catfighting?

Dausuul
2007-09-13, 05:46 AM
It's basically the difference between people who prefer rules-light, role-play supporting systems versus rules-heavy, character-power/combat-simulator systems writ large upon the D&D landscape.

Whoa, whoa. D&D was never rules-light. First Edition had big heaps o' rules. The difference is that 1E's rules covered limited territory (combat and dungeon-crawling, mostly) while 3E's rules try to be all-inclusive, but 1E is still a very rules-heavy system in the area where the rules apply.

Any game where you have to look up stuff on tables on a regular basis cannot possibly claim to be rules-light. Wushu is rules-light. World of Darkness is rules-medium. 1E is rules-heavy in some areas and rules-nonexistent in others.


Just to further dispel this unsupportable claim that "nostalgia" is the reason some of us are defending prior editions, I'll offer this: to claim that 3.x is "D&D" is absurd--I defend them because they are D&D, and 3.x isn't.

That's an equally unsupportable claim. All editions are D&D. Your preferred brand is no more the definitive edition than mine. Or shall we go back to playing Chainmail?


The characters are pigeon-holed into "roles" defined by their "builds" which incorporate far more than what class (or, more likely, since 3.x has spelled out pretty much every action a character is "allowed" to take, classes) that requires a complete restructuring of the feat/skills and multi-class rules to work around.

1E did plenty of pigeon-holing. Ever want to play a fighter who could sneak, or a wizard who knew how to handle a sword? If you weren't a demihuman who could multi-class, you were SOL. And don't get me started on healbot clerics.

3E actually allows greater flexibility within the rules; it's just that, again, the rules now cover a bunch of territory that used to be the province of house rules alone (and house rules could be brilliant or horrible depending on who was making them; my experience is that most DMs are horrible at house ruling, but YMMV).

nagora
2007-09-13, 05:56 AM
But to be a good 1st Ed AD&D GM you need to be a good storyteller AND a good character actor

These are requirements of any GM.


AND a good rule designer

Player: "I want to climb that wall but I'm not a thief"
DM: "Roll as a thief of half your level".

It's not that hard and being a non-skills system it's amazing how rarely skills are needed. If the player can explain why their character has a chance then the DM gives them a chance. It's very easy-going.


AND have a good knowledge of the rules AND basic tactical knowledge.

Again, these are requirements of any GM in a game with combat, and in 1ed they are much lesser burdens than 3ed.

So, really, the only thing extra is the ability to say "I'll give you DEXx2% chance" occassionally in discussion with the players. Is that really a big deal, especially when NPC generation and combat are so much less complex?

nagora
2007-09-13, 06:01 AM
Whoa, whoa. D&D was never rules-light. First Edition had big heaps o' rules. The difference is that 1E's rules covered limited territory (combat and dungeon-crawling, mostly) while 3E's rules try to be all-inclusive, but 1E is still a very rules-heavy system in the area where the rules apply.

I just don't see that. 1ed is: combat system (very simple basic mechanism), magic system (very, very simple system), and character generation (reasonably simple). Everything else is DM's discretion, really.


Any game where you have to look up stuff on tables on a regular basis cannot possibly claim to be rules-light.

Not inherently - tables can simplify things hugely.


That's an equally unsupportable claim. All editions are D&D. Your preferred brand is no more the definitive edition than mine. Or shall we go back to playing Chainmail?

Chainmail is at the very least a radical respelling of "D&D".


1E did plenty of pigeon-holing. Ever want to play a fighter who could sneak,

No problem, but he won't be as good as a thief who's trained for years at it.


or a wizard who knew how to handle a sword? If you weren't a demihuman who could multi-class, you were SOL. 3E actually allows greater flexibility within the rules;

Which often, as in those examples, translates into "3e pays no attention to game balance". That's not always a good thing.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 06:30 AM
Whoa, whoa. D&D was never rules-light. First Edition had big heaps o' rules. The difference is that 1E's rules covered limited territory (combat and dungeon-crawling, mostly) while 3E's rules try to be all-inclusive, but 1E is still a very rules-heavy system in the area where the rules apply.

Well, actually, D&D can be relatively Rules Light. It can also be relatively Rules Heavy. Basic Dungeons & Dragons (the Red Box version) was initially relatively Rules Light, but the more supplements you added, the heavier it became. 1e was never really Rules Light, but mainly it suffered from lack of clarity. 2e was, at its most basic, relatively Rules Light. Once you started adding on Optional Rules (such as Paladins and Individually Rolled Initiative) it could get bloated quickly. First Quest and Dragon Quest were probably the ultimate Rules Light versions of AD&D and D&D respectively. First Quest summed up the rules of AD&D in about 16 pages. What both were missing was Character creation.


Any game where you have to look up stuff on tables on a regular basis cannot possibly claim to be rules-light. Wushu is rules-light. World of Darkness is rules-medium. 1E is rules-heavy in some areas and rules-nonexistent in others.

I have to stop and look through my 3e books just as much, if not more, than my 2e books. I may not be looking for tables, but I will be looking for Rules.


1E did plenty of pigeon-holing. Ever want to play a fighter who could sneak, or a wizard who knew how to handle a sword? If you weren't a demihuman who could multi-class, you were SOL. And don't get me started on healbot clerics.

Yeah, 1e didn't really support those, but 2e did.


3E actually allows greater flexibility within the rules; it's just that, again, the rules now cover a bunch of territory that used to be the province of house rules alone (and house rules could be brilliant or horrible depending on who was making them; my experience is that most DMs are horrible at house ruling, but YMMV).

Heh. I think that the basic disconnect between 3e, 2e and 1e is how many situations are explicitly legislated for. 1e and 2e weren't really about House Rules. Everything not covered by the Rules was either an Attribute Check or had a Percentage Chance. Where House Rules appeared, they were generally just standard versions of these Tests and Checks.

DeathQuaker
2007-09-13, 07:00 AM
You know, I've been thinking about this while watching this conversation run itself in circles for 7 pages now....

Some people like old, basic D&D. Some AD&D 1e. Some AD&D 2e. Some D&D 3.0 and/or 3.5. Some can't wait to trash all those and start with 4th Ed as soon as it comes out.

If you play an older edition, Wizards of the Coast (for all that they might like to) is not coming to your houses, taking your books away, and burning them so you can never use them again. They will still be there on your shelves, waiting for you to crack them open and get out the dice. That's the cool thing about books. They stick around for awhile.*

Wizards of the Coast is also not coming around sending ninjas to assassinate your gaming groups, so you suddenly have no one to play the edition you enjoy most with.

You can still play those games you like. No one's taking them away from you.

So don't act like someone is.

If you (in the general sense) have already decided that 4th edition -- an edition which, relatively speaking, we know very little about -- is going to be the destruction of gaming as we know it and it's going to make the sky fall and eat our babies and melt our dice and make Paris Hilton the Queen of the world, I really don't want to hear about it any more. (By the way, the previous passage shows examples of hyperbole. Please do not take it entirely literally.)

I am actually interested in real speculation on what the new edition is going to be like. But that's not what this thread has become. It's become a mixture of people (who are all probably around the same age) calling each other whippersnappers and old fogies and arguing about differences in mechanics which, frankly, are ultimately up to a matter of personal taste, and continually back-and-forthing about which is "better" or "easier" or "challenging" or "more intuitive" or "whatever adjective you like" is never going to go anywhere, ever.

No matter which edition you prefer, I support your right to enjoy and play it. Please continue to do so. I'll even fight off the WotC ninjas for you so you can do so in peace.

I don't know what 4th ed is going to be like, or if I'm going to like it. I'm going to see how it looks, read reasonable reviews of the game, and make my decision from there. If I don't like it, I've still got a great existing gaming library that will continue to provide me many, many years of entertainment. I'll probably even still draw from my older editions of D&D and maybe still play them (as I do now).

But in the meantime, could it be possible to have a discussion about the facts and speculation about 4th ed which covers its own merits and flaws, not other editions'? Could we have a discussion about the new system that didn't disintegrate into endless repetitive bickering between champions of this edition and that edition? One that isn't just a repetition of all the arguments that have been going on every time a new edition has come out in the past couple decades?

No?

Well, I just thought I'd ask. At least I got this off my chest. I'm done.



----
(*And if there's one flaw, IMO, with what we actually know about 4th ed, it's that the "online aspect" and removal of Dungeon and Dragon makes a lot of support materials exist in the very ephemeral world of the Internet. But that has nothing to do with this discussion.)

Matthew
2007-09-13, 07:12 AM
Thing is Death Quaker, this Thread was started to allow people to express their thoughts on the general direction of D&D, not 4e in particular or its current general direction. There are plenty of 4e threads knocking about the place for speculation as to what 4e will be like, this one was kicked off on the premise that a lot of what I am hearing about 4e is not sitting well with me and what I want from D&D.

Somewhere along the line, the Thread did start to adopt the trappings of an Edition War, but I think that's okay and not particularly unexpected or undesirable in the context of this Thread, as long as it remains low key. I am finding it useful to hear about what other people like and dislike about D&D. It is frustrating when hyperbole and misunderstandings get in the way of discussion, but its part and parcel of this sort of debate.

That whole business about TSR/Wizards coming to get your books is a bit dishonest. I don't think anybody here is concerned that 4e will prevent them playing 1e, 2e or 3e. They might be slightly concerned that their Player pool is dwindling and that new Players won't give old Editions a fair shot, but those are valid concerns.

The fact that OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord now exist means that we no longer even have any legal woes about producing material for previous editions of the game and distributing it, which I think is really great.

In short, this sort of Thread is nothing to get wound up about.

Journey
2007-09-13, 07:20 AM
Wizards of the Coast is also not coming around sending ninjas to assassinate your gaming groups, so you suddenly have no one to play the edition you enjoy most with.

You can still play those games you like. No one's taking them away from you.

So don't act like someone is.

No matter which edition you prefer, I support your right to enjoy and play it. Please continue to do so. I'll even fight off the WotC ninjas for you so you can do so in peace.

Hey, look at the pretty strawman! Do you feel superior and better now for having slaughtered it?


I am actually interested in real speculation on what the new edition is going to be like. But that's not what this thread has become.No, this thread is about "The Direction of Dungeons & Dragons" and that necessarily entails discussion about where it came from. It never was about "what is actually in 4th edition." It was always about "what D&D was, what it is, and where it seems to be heading."

For example, from the very first post:

Over on the 4th Edition: A Collection of Facts Thread, I accidently sparked off a debate about what is desirable in an RPG and particularly in Dungeons & Dragons. Obviously, though, that kind of debate was a bit far from the point of that Thread. So, I have started a new Thread for the subject and I will attempt to insert as much of what was said below:
So, you see, this thread isn't about the facts surrounding 4th edition "D&D." It's about a tangent spawned from that discussion. If you want to read about that, go to that thread.


(*And if there's one flaw, IMO, with what we actually know about 4th ed, it's that the "online aspect" and removal of Dungeon and Dragon makes a lot of support materials exist in the very ephemeral world of the Internet. But that has nothing to do with this discussion.)
Preach but don't practice, eh? Classy.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 07:20 AM
Well, that, the (at least to me) totally unintuitive nature of THAC0, the fact that the players handbook and DMG read like a poorly written chemistry textbook and that the few people who played (one friend and some friends of friends) treated me like an interloper whenever I asked to join a game. Admittedly, that last one seems much more important when you are 11.

It seems that, like me, you had bad experiences with a game system. Maybe if you'd try the game under a competent and fun GM, you might learn to like it as much or more than 3.x.

I realize I pass judgment on 3.x quite regularly, but I'm still in the process of trying to find a group to play with and enjoy it with. Hell, I have to find some use for these books that I bought mistakenly thinking they would be great. It's been years, but I've managed not to burn my copy of Ghostwalker (or whatever that cruddy book is called) on the off chance that I find a decent group that I can give it a try with.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-13, 07:24 AM
Heh. I think that the basic disconnect between 3e, 2e and 1e is how many situations are explicitly legislated for. 1e and 2e weren't really about House Rules. Everything not covered by the Rules was either an Attribute Check or had a Percentage Chance. Where House Rules appeared, they were generally just standard versions of these Tests and Checks.

This, is exactly why my preferred system is 3.x. As I recall the tests and checks had no standard DCs or rules for creating those DC's. Personally, maybe it's because I have a mind that doesn't have trouble dealing with lots of rules at a time, I prefer the DM be chained to a system so that my play of my PC can conform to a basic knowledge of how the world is consistantly supposed to work. I prefer this when I am a DM too because in 3.x most any argument about the rules can be settled by a quick search of the SRD or 1 min the rulebook. DM unfairness (see rules lite makes railroading easier) has more ways to come into play in 2 ed than 3.x and that has been a major problem in all but a handful of groups I've played in. At least, that is my experience.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 07:32 AM
This, is exactly why my preferred system is 3.x. As I recall the tests and checks had no standard DCs or rules for creating those DC's. Personally, maybe it's because I have a mind that doesn't have trouble dealing with lots of rules at a time, I prefer the DM be chained to a system so that my play of my PC can conform to a basic knowledge of how the world is consistantly supposed to work. I prefer this when I am a DM too because in 3.x most any argument about the rules can be settled by a quick search of the SRD or 1 min the rulebook. DM unfairness (see rules lite makes railroading easier) has more ways to come into play in 2 ed than 3.x and that has been a major problem in all but a handful of groups I've played in. At least, that is my experience.

Sure, and I completely understand that. Indeed, I have no problems at all with people who prefer 3e for this very reason. It is, after all, a methodology that leads to the exact same end, just by a different process. The 3e process is just one that I find unnecessarily cumbersome, but that's just my preference.
I don't want to have to consult the Listen entry in the Skill section every time I want to work out the Modifiers for a Listen Check (or alternatively memorise them and then process the formula) and then add on some Circumstance Modifiers. I just want a percentage chance, modified by the situation as the DM sees fit.

Charity
2007-09-13, 07:33 AM
In short, this sort of Thread is nothing to get wound up about.

Wise words, though I can extend that quite happily to -
Things that folk you don't know on the internet post, is nothing to get wound up about.

Though I'm with the mighty DQ on the daftness of arguing about preferences and predudice.

I have played too many RPG's to become emotionally attached to any of them.

Oh and Journeyman, chill out fella.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 07:39 AM
This is true. 2E was excessively rigid, to my mind; 3E takes customization to a ridiculous extreme. I'm hoping 4E will find a good middle ground.

2E was not "excessively rigid." It was built with a different mindset. It was built with the understanding that once you built your PC in a mechanical sense, it was built. Afterward, it was up to you to add on all the other trappings of personality and history. It was a way to get the mechanics out of the way ahead of time and focus on actual character rather than mechanics again, and again, and again, and again . . .

3E takes a different tack, that mechanics = character instead of mechanics being the basis of resolving character action. It happens to be an assertion that I disagree with whole heartedly.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 07:48 AM
First: Since when is it against Forum Rules to pass value judgments in one's posts?

Second, I didn't mean to say there was nothing good about the 2E Initiative system. There were some cool advantages, like the Casting Times rule in question. And the token sense of having simultaneity in a group's actions. Good stuff!

But IMO, the way everyone had to re-roll initiative every round was indeed "ugly." In my experience, the "declare actions/determine initiative order/carry out actions" combat round always took a LONG time, compared to the static initiative system of 3E.

And the system was definitely "complicated," too, if only because the DMG presented 3 different variant rules for governing initiative. Heck, the strategic virtues of choosing which spell to use, which you praise in your post, wasn't even technically the standard rule. It was presented as a "variant rule" in the DMG. The system would have been a lot less complicated if the designers had picked one initiative system, and stuck to it.

Although even when we stuck to one system consistently (using Weapon Speeds and Casting Times and individual initiative scores), people I played with seemed to constantly have problems comprehending why they had to keep rolling initiative, and why their actions they declared weren't carried out immediately. Now, maybe that was because they were ages 9-14. But still, the amount of time that I had to spend (because I was the one who actually understood the initiative rules) adjudicating combat order and figuring out initiatives by myself certainly justifies my right to use the word "complicated." :smalltongue:

The base mechanic (each party rolls d10 at start of round, lowest roll goes first) was hardly complicated, hard to understand, or obtuse in any way. I'm having a hard time comprehending how you find such a simple mechanic difficult and complicated.

Dausuul
2007-09-13, 07:50 AM
I have to stop and look through my 3e books just as much, if not more, than my 2e books. I may not be looking for tables, but I will be looking for Rules.

Oh, I never said 3E was rules-light. 3E is as rules-heavy as they come. Please note that I'm not claiming "rules-light equals good, rules-heavy equals bad." Each type has its advantages. I like a medium-to-heavy-weight system, myself.

It's just... if you've ever looked at the Wushu rules, you understand just what rules-light really means. Equipment tables? Nah, don't need 'em. Advancement mechanic? Pshaw! Initiative? Outdated. Ability scores, skills, all the stuff that goes on a character sheet? Just pick three Traits at a level from 2 to 5, you're good to go. You can put your character on a 3x5 index card and have three-quarters of the card left over.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 07:50 AM
Wise words, though I can extend that quite happily to -
Things that folk you don't know on the internet post, is nothing to get wound up about.

Very true.


Though I'm with the mighty DQ on the daftness of arguing about preferences and predudice.

I have played too many RPG's to become emotionally attached to any of them.

Yeah, it's an interesting one. I think my initial comment over in the 4e fact Thread was me expressing my opinion (and maybe that desire was emotionally routed), but the larger discussion that it has prompted is more about RPG Theory than anything else. Contested opinions are bogging things down a bit, but I am still quite interested in the 'out of the box' and 'tool box' approaches to D&D (and more than anything this is a discussion about what people want from D&D).
So, I'm not sure it really is daft, a waste of time maybe, in the grand scheme of things, but I'm enjoying it more or less and it is proving useful to me.


Oh, I never said 3E was rules-light. 3E is as rules-heavy as they come. Please note that I'm not claiming "rules-light equals good, rules-heavy equals bad." Each type has its advantages. I like a medium-to-heavy-weight system, myself.

It's just... if you've ever looked at the Wushu rules, you understand just what rules-light really means. Equipment tables? Nah, don't need 'em. Advancement mechanic? Pshaw! Initiative? Outdated. Ability scores, skills, all the stuff that goes on a character sheet? Just pick three Traits at a level from 2 to 5, you're good to go. You can put your character on a 3x5 index card and have three-quarters of the card left over.

Heh, sure, I'm familiar with Wushu. It's not that 2e was 'Rules Light', it's just that compared to 3e it was relatively Rules Light. Certainly, I'm not saying one is right and the other wrong. I just prefer D&D to be a less rules heavy game than D&D 3e. 2e starts medium and gives me the option to build up to heavy (or even very heavy). 3e starts heavy and gives me the option to build up to very heavy. I could simplify 3e, for sure, but I might as well play 2e.

Dausuul
2007-09-13, 08:00 AM
2E was not "excessively rigid." It was built with a different mindset. It was built with the understanding that once you built your PC in a mechanical sense, it was built.

Ah, but there's the thing; part of D&D is and has always been that your character develops over the course of the game, mechanically as well as narratively. In 2E, unless you have the super-high stats required to dual-class, you're locked into one narrow path of advancement. You can't start out as a wizard, get beat down by a bad guy when your magic failed you, and then decide to learn to use a sword. And your class choices are limited by race. And your advancement is capped by race/class (not that any group I ever saw actually enforced the level caps, but it was an explicit part of the rules).

That's what I mean by rigid.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 08:10 AM
Ah, but there's the thing; part of D&D is and has always been that your character develops over the course of the game, mechanically as well as narratively. In 2E, unless you have the super-high stats required to dual-class, you're locked into one narrow path of advancement. You can't start out as a wizard, get beat down by a bad guy when your magic failed you, and then decide to learn to use a sword. And your class choices are limited by race. And your advancement is capped by race/class (not that any group I ever saw actually enforced the level caps, but it was an explicit part of the rules).

That's what I mean by rigid.

Sure, but Level Caps were also explicitly able to be lifted; the DMG discusses why they exist and what the consequences of lifting them might be. Wizards could learn how to use swords via a couple of different supplements (if the DM wouldn't approve it without them). Of course, you are right that there is little to no room for significant mechanical Character change once Character creation is completed, in that way it was a rigid system.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-13, 08:19 AM
Yeah, it's an interesting one. I think my initial comment over in the 4e fact Thread was me expressing my opinion (and maybe that desire was emotionally routed), but the larger discussion that it has prompted is more about RPG Theory than anything else. Contested opinions are bogging things down a bit, but I am still quite interested in the 'out of the box' and 'tool box' approaches to D&D (and more than anything this is a discussion about what people want from D&D).
So, I'm not sure it really is daft, a waste of time maybe, in the grand scheme of things, but I'm enjoying it more or less and it is proving useful to me.


I have to agree with Matthew here. I don't think any of the 2.e supporter or the 3.x suporters, or the gaming system x supporters have any reasonable expectation of changing someone elses mind about the style of play they prefer. The discussion is helpful, particularly if you are a GM, because it lets you see how the mechanics of various systems cater to the playstyle of particular players. Even playing within one system it's good to get a handle on those views as your players probably have some mix, although not as much of one as on the boards, of them.

My GM's have tended to railroad the heck out of their players, pretty much to a person. They have a preplanned story and will do whatever they have to in order to keep the plot on its tracks (this is to the point where in one campagian I couldn't even leave a character dead). My GM's, even in 3.x, have tended to play fast and loose with the rules for exactly this purpose but it's been harder for them to do so in 3.x where more of the rules are spelled out. When I GM I avoid railroading at all costs, perhaps overmuch, and tend not to have any overarching plot at all, just a handful of reoccuring BBEG's who are all simultaneously persuing their own goals. The PC's step on some their goals or kill some of them in the natural course of events and the plot advances through that villian being hampered or destroyed and the others having their plans move forward when the PC's are off dealing with the first one. Some players don't mind being railroaded, around half of the people I game with have no problem with it at all.

That said, if I was playing with a GM who I had faith in to give their players a wide world and freedom to play with, something yet to happen, I would probably be down to play the older systems. THAC0 might still give me a headache though. :smallwink:

Charity
2007-09-13, 09:25 AM
Yeah, it's an interesting one. I think my initial comment over in the 4e fact Thread was me expressing my opinion (and maybe that desire was emotionally routed), but the larger discussion that it has prompted is more about RPG Theory than anything else. Contested opinions are bogging things down a bit, but I am still quite interested in the 'out of the box' and 'tool box' approaches to D&D (and more than anything this is a discussion about what people want from D&D).
So, I'm not sure it really is daft, a waste of time maybe, in the grand scheme of things, but I'm enjoying it more or less and it is proving useful to me.


It is only natural to become emotionally attached to stuff you have worked hard on. As I am far more lazy than you an out of the box kind of DM, I feel no such attachment.
I agree that this thread has interesting content and I am certainly not suggesting there is no merit in it continuing. Just some of the circular "mines best" "No, mines best" discussions (that in fairness have died down quite a bit)
are eminently fruitless and inevitably heading toward acrimony.
You as we both know are unlikely to participate in such 'debate' see rule 1.:smallwink:

Indon
2007-09-13, 09:27 AM
If you play an older edition, Wizards of the Coast (for all that they might like to) is not coming to your houses, taking your books away, and burning them so you can never use them again. They will still be there on your shelves, waiting for you to crack them open and get out the dice. That's the cool thing about books. They stick around for awhile.*

Wizards of the Coast is also not coming around sending ninjas to assassinate your gaming groups, so you suddenly have no one to play the edition you enjoy most with.

You can still play those games you like. No one's taking them away from you.

So don't act like someone is.


Well, this isn't really what I'm afraid of.

What I'm afraid of, is that Wizards will get a number of things spectacularly, awesomely right... and then completely botch other things that would make me not want to play the system (like, say, streamlining combat, adjusting dynamics to make fights longer, but at the same time removing character creation and build options).

I'm afraid of that because I would want to play that game, but before I could do so I'd have to completely rebuild it, fusing it with 3.x and creating a monstrous, frankensteinian hybrid of systems which cause all to look upon it and despair.

And then I'd have to DM the games to get anyone to play them, because the chances of my ridiculously homebrewed world being co-opted by someone else so I could play in it are minimal.

In the end, I would be destroyed by my own quest for perfection.

Also, awesome avatar.

Journey
2007-09-13, 09:46 AM
Ah, but there's the thing; part of D&D is and has always been that your character develops over the course of the game, mechanically as well as narratively. In 2E, unless you have the super-high stats required to dual-class, you're locked into one narrow path of advancement. You can't start out as a wizard, get beat down by a bad guy when your magic failed you, and then decide to learn to use a sword. And your class choices are limited by race. And your advancement is capped by race/class (not that any group I ever saw actually enforced the level caps, but it was an explicit part of the rules).

That's what I mean by rigid.
That's only "rigid" if you require a rule to support every character action. Under the weapon proficiency rules a character could use a weapon he wasn't proficient with (at a hefty penalty). In fact, the 3.x rules are far more rigid even in this sense, but offer the illusion of flexibility and choice. Personally, I don't see how anybody can claim that 3.x is more flexible than previous editions when it is relatively speaking so much heavier in terms of rules.

Leaving that aside, the dual-class vs. 3.x multi-class system is yet again another facet of the play style differences between people based on their preferences and viewpoints.

In one viewpoint first level in a "class" represents the culmination of training and experiences a character has (something like a high-school or university-level education might represent for a person in the real world). Pursuing a new set of skills requires determination, grit, and a certain level of ability, it will be hindered by continued reliance on previously acquired abilities, and it is unlikely that a character will ever attain the "expert" level of training implied in more than one or two "classes." The dual-class system of yore is an imperfect model of this viewpoint, but it's far closer to it than the multi-class system of 3.x.

In another viewpoint a "class" is a label that collects mechanical attributes and is used to provide access to mechanical benefits that are purportedly reflections of a character's personality, and in which the first level is akin to novice training (something like an elementary level education). Pursuing a new set of skills requires choice only, and the new skills are immediately available at "proficient" ability regardless of other factors. Clearly the 3.x multi-class system supports this viewpoint far better than the dual-class rules ever would.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 09:52 AM
Ah, but there's the thing; part of D&D is and has always been that your character develops over the course of the game, mechanically as well as narratively. In 2E, unless you have the super-high stats required to dual-class, you're locked into one narrow path of advancement. You can't start out as a wizard, get beat down by a bad guy when your magic failed you, and then decide to learn to use a sword. And your class choices are limited by race. And your advancement is capped by race/class (not that any group I ever saw actually enforced the level caps, but it was an explicit part of the rules).

That's what I mean by rigid.

As Mathew said, there's nothing stopping you from changing those rules as you see fit.

And of course, in the end, it's coming down to personal preference.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-13, 10:03 AM
While completely possible to take "a couple of levels in ranger"(and indeed the most feasible option in D&D) the fact that I have to turn my character into a calico patchwork to create a single concept is counter intuitive, bulky and ineloquent.

Be glad you can make your character a "calico patchwork". One couldn't do that, either at all or not with ease, in preceding editions.

And really, as far as "elegance" goes, the d20 mechanic of d20 + stat + mod is about as elegant as they come. It's not "A Fistful Of Nonstandard Dice" like WoD is, or "A Fistful Of d6s" like WEG Star Wars was. It's certainly simpler than Everway's "Tarot Deck Draw" method and fully half of Palladium's system--and Chaosium Call of Cthulu's entire system.

Golthur
2007-09-13, 10:14 AM
--and Chaosium Call of Cthulu's entire system.

Yeah, you pretty much had to houserule it to make it elegant. I usually did x2, x1, x1/2, x1/5, and x1/10 as flat multipliers for the equivalent of "DCs". The numbers were easy to figure out in your head if all you had was a two paragraph stat block to start with.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 10:28 AM
oft discredited yet inexorably over-broadened meaning behind "role play" in the phrase "the mechanics have nothing to do role play"
This sort of thinking drives me up the wall, the mechanics have everything to do with hindering or facilitating RP.


It's basically the difference between people who prefer rules-light, role-play supporting systems versus rules-heavy, character-power/combat-simulator systems writ large upon the D&D landscape.
I don't dislike older D&D because its rules light, its because its not very good at being rules light. Even those there's not many rules all of them operate in different ways being modified by different things and interacting with impossible to memorize charts. I can stat up 3.5ed NPCs are a pain in the ass to stat up, but still with a bit of thought I can stat up 2.5ed NPCs in my head and there's no way in hell I could've ever done with with 1ed NPCs.


1E is rules-heavy in some areas and rules-nonexistent in others.
Exactly. That's what's to freaking annoying about it. I just want some consistency in my games.


Player: "I want to climb that wall but I'm not a thief"
DM: "Roll as a thief of half your level".

It's not that hard and being a non-skills system it's amazing how rarely skills are needed.
OK what about climbing and tripping people and disarming people and sneaking up on someone etc. etc. etc. Theres a lot of stuff that comes up in an RPG that isn't covered by 1st ed rules that comes up a LOT in my games. Now I don't need rules that tell me details like how much harder it is to climb a wall if its wet or if its dry, but just some general framework to operate under. Whether you give a person a chance of success equal to a thief their level divided in two or based on their dex makes a MASSIVE difference at higher levels. And its not so much that I need rules for climbing is that there's no rules at all for pretty basic adventuring stuff while at the same time chart about bonuses specific weapons get against specific kinds of armor. Its the inconsistency that gets to me.


These are requirements of any GM.
To make it more concrete. Here's the people who've GMed in my group:
1. Always goes by the book 100%, if it isn't in the book you can't do it. Would drive me crazy as a AD&D 1st ed DM.
2. Great storyteller but horrifically bad at making fair house rules. Would drive me crazy as a AD&D 1st ed DM.
3. Great storyteller/world builder/character actor but always gets the rules mixed up, forgets monster abilities etc. He'd probably give up on DMing 1st ed D&D and go for something with less confusing and simple rules.
4. Very creative DM who always makes up bizarre and fun adventures. Would probably houserule AD&D so much that it wouldn't be recognizable anymore but it would be fun.
5. Me: good at world building and house ruling, not the best character actor or location designer, tend to take a back seat and run very sandboxy adventures, which require me to make things up on the fly. I'm very good at remembering things like feats and simple formulas but bad at remembering charts. I have a much harder time stating out 1st edition NPCs in my head than 3.5ed ones, so I'd be better at 1st ed. I can remember that 16 gives you plus three to everything in 3.5ed, I sure as hell can't remember that 16 does in each of the various stats in 1st ed or how to calculate saving throws without looking at a chart. I couldn't even begin to stat out a fighter/magic-user/thief in my head, while I could do something equivalent in 3.5ed in a minute or so with a little scratch paper and no books. Maybe your mind works different, but that's how mine works.

So I don't see any point in any of us running 1ed AD&D for anything but a fun one-off in a classic dungeon.


I may not be looking for tables, but I will be looking for Rules.
Depends on how your mind works. I can memorize what a list of what feats do ridiculously fast, but I'd never in a million years be able to memorize a 1st ed saving throws table.


The base mechanic (each party rolls d10 at start of round, lowest roll goes first) was hardly complicated, hard to understand, or obtuse in any way.
So d10 for initiative, d100's for sneaking, d20s for attack rolls, d6s for getting surprised. Gah! Its not that any one rule is bad its that there's no internal consistency and keeping track of what rules apply to what make my brain hurt.

Charity
2007-09-13, 10:43 AM
This sort of thinking drives me up the wall, the mechanics have everything to do with hindering or facilitating RP.


Can I just inquire as to how many RPG systems you have played then?

I personally have never found this to be the case. I honestly cannot think of one incidence of the mechanics of a game affecting how I realise or roleplay my characters, and I am a sad old fella who has played ... well can I just say very many systems...

I mean how many of you have played Powers and Perils?

nagora
2007-09-13, 10:47 AM
The thing about "the direction of D&D" is that, for me at least that means "What needs fixed in 1st edition?" 2ed and 3ed fixed almost none of the flaws in 1ed and 3ed is such a hopeless disaster that I don't think there's very much apart from maybe non-lethal damage that can be salvaged from it.

Feats were a good idea but they're done so badly in 3e that I'd re-write them completely. I'd see characters having maybe one feat per 6 levels, I think, and each feat would be almost unique to whoever has it (and their teacher).

Skills, well, after many years playing systems with no classes and only skills I've come to the conclusion that general skills are not needed at all, at least in the sense of "Roll something + your skill Vs a target" skills.

So, really, I'd like a new edition of D&D to be 1ed with the combat rules tidied up and simplified slightly, and more ideas for running a campaign. Get rid of saving throws for half damage, and an official set of rules for first-aid. A few more classes, so long as they actually make sense and aren't just tiny varients of other classes.

In terms of "feel" the important thing is that the system supports playing characters like the ones in fantasy and myth and does nothing to support playing cardboard cutouts like the characters in computer games.

The DM should be given every encouragement to go beyond the rules in order to express his/her vision of the game world. Players should be allowed freedom to play a character without having to constantly keep an eye on their spreadcharacter sheet in case they've missed some vital numerical trick.

Combat should in general be abstract and not need minis unless mass battles break out (even then, there should be an En-Garde type system to resolve battles quickly and easily).

Clerics should be given guidance on what the implication of their deity is as regards spell choice. Free healing should be strongly discouraged to non-believers in most cases. The clerics religion should generally have more impact on the character.

Non-humans in 1ed were fine as written.

That's about it, really. Lots and lots of help for the DM, I suppose, the 1ed DMG has that already but you can't have too much.

Oeryn
2007-09-13, 10:51 AM
What I'm afraid of, is that Wizards will get a number of things spectacularly, awesomely right... and then completely botch other things that would make me not want to play the system (like, say, streamlining combat, adjusting dynamics to make fights longer, but at the same time removing character creation and build options).

I'm afraid of that because I would want to play that game, but before I could do so I'd have to completely rebuild it, fusing it with 3.x and creating a monstrous, frankensteinian hybrid of systems which cause all to look upon it and despair.



While this is a valid concern, I don't see it as being a danger exclusive to 4th Edition. I've grown up with D&D, playin' every version there is. And I've extensively house-ruled every single version. No game company (that's not based in my garage) is gonna come up with something that's EXACTLY what I want to play. So I tweak it. Just like everyone else does.


And then I'd have to DM the games to get anyone to play them, because the chances of my ridiculously homebrewed world being co-opted by someone else so I could play in it are minimal.

I think this is more concerning to me. I enjoy roleplaying games in a certain way. I like my rules to allow for heroic, over-the-top actions, but I also like them to include common sense. I think that the giant scaly thing with wings and fangs and claws should be the bad guy, and not the party sorceror. I like beating something to be an accomplishment, that isn't quantified by whether or not I used 1/4 of my available resources on it. I like sweeping plots, epic struggles, and roleplaying that has nothing to do with Diplomacy Checks. And I like the idea of magic items being artifacts of power, and not something you can pick up at your local Magi-Mart, or make on your own.

I'm aware that the biases I have are my own, and I don't expect or require that others embrace all (or even any) of them. Different people like the game different ways, and I respect that. I, for instance, liked the old initiative system better. Ours was house-ruled, but I thought it added immensely to the tactics of the game, and made it more enjoyable. They changed it in 3E, and now it's gone. I was sad to see it go, but I moved on. I like enough of 3E and 3.5 to where I'm willing to play it, even though I honestly enjoy 2E better. But I knew that many people would be making the switch, and --just having moved to a new town-- I knew my chances were better to find a new group was to embrace the new rules.

The problem I have isn't with the rules. Honestly, I could care less what the actual 4E rules turn out to be. I'm just concerned that the new version will be slanted towards the type of player that doesn't like to play the game the way I do. I'm not condemning the way other people play the game. It's a free country, and everyone's entitled to play a game the way they best enjoy it. I just worry that there are fewer and fewer players who are interested in playing the game the way I enjoy it, and that makes it harder for me to find a game. In short, I'm not claiming that 3E (or 4E) "killed D&D", I'm just sayin' that the game is starting to skew towards an audience that grew up on Magi-Marts, Batman wizards, and CoDzillas, and that makes it more difficult for me to find a game I like.

Don't get me wrong, I realize that I'm still allowed to run a game the way I want. I can run a game with the new rules, and the "old-school sensibilities" that I like (In fact, I'm doin' that right now, and havin' a blast with it. We just started our sixth IC thread.). But it'd be nice to find a game where I could play a TWF, single-classed human character (just because I like the concept I came up with), without being surrounded by half-dragon/half-fiend wizard/rogue/dragon shamans, and ridiculed because I don't have a two handed weapon and Power Attack, or a PrC that would "optimize my build".

Matthew
2007-09-13, 11:01 AM
Depends on how your mind works. I can memorize what a list of what feats do ridiculously fast, but I'd never in a million years be able to memorize a 1st ed saving throws table.

Most people shouldn't have to, it would be written on their Character Sheet. Most NPC and Monster entries should have it written in the form A/B/C/D/E, but I don't think that's the case in the Monster Manual, which was a pain.


Skills, well, after many years playing systems with no classes and only skills I've come to the conclusion that general skills are not needed at all, at least in the sense of "Roll something + your skill Vs a target" skills.

Sometimes I agree with that and sometimes I don't. What made you come to that conclusion in the end?


Combat should in general be abstract and not need minis unless mass battles break out (even then, there should be an En-Garde type system to resolve battles quickly and easily).

I think this is very true. This aspect of 3e really does bother me, even though I have been known to create elaborate Dungeon Floor Plans for AD&D.

Journey
2007-09-13, 11:02 AM
Can I just inquire as to how many RPG systems you have played then?

I personally have never found this to be the case. I honestly cannot think of one incidence of the mechanics of a game affecting how I realise or roleplay my characters, and I am a sad old fella who has played ... well can I just say very many systems...

I mean how many of you have played Powers and Perils?
So there's no difference in the way you'd play a sneaky fighter type character in, say, D&D 1st edition and the way you'd play one in, say, Star Wars? [scrubbed]
People tend to try to do things they're good at or improve things they would like to be good at. Thus the mechanics have an impact in how players have their characters behave. Even in the simple case of a choice of actions in a very simple combat encounter this is evident, and the difference between, e.g. 1 or 2e and 3e is readily apparent (the former don't provide bonuses for certain actions, and therefore allow the characters to contemplate a variety of strategies that their class abilities may not necessarily cover; the latter provides bonuses or penalties based on access to feats, and necessarily force characters to choose a mechanical benefit or penalty based on a choice of action).

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 11:07 AM
MrNexx: Seems like you're mostly a 2e D&D fan and used a number of splatbooks, correct? That's a very different beast than OD&D or 1st Ed Core.

Actually, I'm mostly a 2e fan who preferred a minimum of splatbooks, but knew the ones that were available.


Basicaly D&D (of all editions) isn't good at emulating much of anything out of the box except for D&D, which is a major draw-back in my eyes.

I think that it also does the advancement of a character from relatively fragile new youngster to hardened older campaigner relatively well, actually, especially if you're using some training rules to slow down the possible meteoric rise (not necessary, but simply following non-training rules lets you get rather advanced rather quickly).


Never had a copy of S&M. But its not just Vancian magic, there's a whole bunch of stuff in D&D that's very specifically D&D, which makes it hard to use D&D rules for a lot of settings. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but its just why I don't/won't use D&D (of any edition) as my default RPG.

I don't use D&D as my default RPG, either. However, that doesn't mean it's not a good RPG.


Never had those either. Basically roll to hit, roll for damage, repeat. There's nothing wrong with this if you want a stripped down game and for something like Rule Cyclopedia D&D its fine. But later incarnations of D&D seem to give huge amounts of mechanical detail to some parts of the system while having other parts be very simplictic without a lot of rhyme and reason to it. I prefer more consistent game design.

Even the RC had rules for Power Attacks (called Smashing), Disarms, and Grappling. Granted, the first two were fighter-only options limited to 9th level or higher, but they were there.

The old books, I find, will surprise you with what they contain.


Then why do the older editions of D&D have charisma? Again, a lot of disorganized game design. If you want to have mechanical representations of social interactions do it, if you don't don't but don't stick the players in a wierd limbo.

For the precise mechanical reasons it's said to have Charisma... Number of Henchmen, Loyalty Adjustments, and Reaction Adjustments. Provides a starting point and a way to abstract some things that are otherwise impossible to adjudicate.


So? Being easier to learn to play than 3.5ed isn't saying much. AD&D 2nd ed is a hell of a lot harder to learn than games like d6 Starwars/Fantasy or the various Fudge-based games.

Again, how does this make it a bad game?

And comparing anything to the d6 system is just mean. That system was beautiful for its simplicity and fun.


Also I think that the older editions of D&D are very difficult to learn how to GM properly. Probably AD&D 1st Ed is the hardest game that I've ever seen to GM well, with 2nd Ed only a bit behind.

Ars Magica. Shadowrun with a diverse group (rigger, decker, and two types of magician? Oi vey!). Villains and Vigilantes. Early editions of Gamma World. Rifts, if you're not careful and have let your players go hog-wild with world books. MERP was a pain in the butt, but that may have been because my players were die-hard Tolkienaphiles.



This is where I think the claims that the older editions were great for RPing come from. I think that its more demographic than having anything based on the rules. My guess is that back in the day there were lots and lots of old edition groups and for 90% of them the roleplaying was mostly crap (90% of everything is crap). Now a bunch of those 90% either quit RPing altogether (after crappy RPing experiences), ...

This is where I think your ideas fall apart. A lot of them probably didn't move away because they had bad RP experiences. They moved away because they found something more interesting... girls, cars, biochemistry, etc. ... and RPGs just didn't figure into their lives anymore. I've known quite a few people like this. Unless they're consumate actors, they had fun while we were playing, but then something else became their focus, and RPGs lost out.


especially if you look back at a lot of the old D&D modules which were mostly as hack and slash as they come.

Give me some examples of these hack and slash modules. A lot of the classic ones, IME, are ones that can be approached multiple ways, including the non-hacking fashion.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-13, 11:15 AM
So there's no difference in the way you'd play a sneaky fighter type character in, say, D&D 1st edition and the way you'd play one in, say, Star Wars? The mechanics wouldn't change anything at all? You're either lying or cherry-picking.

No, there isn't, because the way I play my character is not determined by the mechanics involved. The mechanics of the game are a means to an end, nothing more, and if the rules of the game don't allow a path to your preferred end--such as a sneaky fighter or a warrior wizard in 1e--then the mechanics are not facilitating your gameplay experience and are instead hampering it.

If you can't do something, the game is holding you back, and you should either fix it or find another game.

Journey
2007-09-13, 11:20 AM
No, there isn't, because the way I play my character is not determined by the mechanics involved. The mechanics of the game are a means to an end, nothing more, and if the rules of the game don't allow a path to your preferred end--such as a sneaky fighter or a warrior wizard in 1e--then the mechanics are not facilitating your gameplay experience and are instead hampering it.

If you can't do something, the game is holding you back, and you should either fix it or find another game."[T]he way I play my character is not determined by the mechanics involved" directly contradicts "the mechanics of the game are a means to...a path to a preferred end."

Moreover, I already know that you're more interested in seeing mechanical benefits and changes based on character choices, Fax. That's your preferred style, and there's nothing wrong with it. Just stop pretending it has nothing to do with role-playing.

Oeryn
2007-09-13, 11:29 AM
"[T]he way I play my character is not determined by the mechanics involved" directly contradicts "the mechanics of the game are a means to...a path to a preferred end."

That's not necessarily true. There's a huge difference between makin' your character fit the game, and the game fit your character.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-09-13, 11:32 AM
There's something about every edition so far that I like and dislike. I'm really going into 4e with a "wait and see" attitude. New editions are, nowadays, pretty much a fact of the hobby. There were changes I liked in 3e, there were changes I disliked, there were changes I thought I liked but later disliked, and vice versa.

Really, I just consider the timing "too soon". This hobby is a money sink. Books cost $20-$40 nowadays. That's quite the investment. We've had 3.0 and 3.5 rather quickly, and now 4e already. I'm probably not going to be spending nearly as much on materials for 4e, knowing the frequency these change.

And yes, I'm still sore about the "Dungeon" and "Dragon" magazines.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 11:33 AM
Can I just inquire as to how many RPG systems you have played then?

I personally have never found this to be the case. I honestly cannot think of one incidence of the mechanics of a game affecting how I realise or roleplay my characters, and I am a sad old fella who has played ... well can I just say very many systems...

I mean how many of you have played Powers and Perils?
Have played: D&D of various editions, d6 Starwars, d20 Modern, d20 Conan, WoD, Rolemaster, Fate, Call of Cthulhu and some police game whose name escapes me. Have read through bits of Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vinyard, Harn and WHFRP but never got a change to play them, really want to give some of them a shot :( As far as mechanics that facilitate RP the CoC sanity system is OK, WoD virtues etc. are decent and Fate aspects are absolute unadulturated genius.


I've come to the conclusion that general skills are not needed at all
I've come to the conclusion that in a lot of games anything EXCEPT skills are not needed at all. See: Fate etc.


In terms of "feel" the important thing is that the system supports playing characters like the ones in fantasy and myth and does nothing to support playing cardboard cutouts like the characters in computer games.

The DM should be given every encouragement to go beyond the rules in order to express his/her vision of the game world. Players should be allowed freedom to play a character without having to constantly keep an eye on their spreadcharacter sheet in case they've missed some vital numerical trick.
What about games other than D&D? I'm sure you'd find Indie games out there there that already do that stuff if you looked hard enough.


Most people shouldn't have to, it would be written on their Character Sheet. Most NPC and Monster entries should have it written in the form A/B/C/D/E, but I don't think that's the case in the Monster Manual, which was a pain.
Historically I've DMing largely low magical historical games set in the real earth, which means that a big majority of what the players fought were humans or at least something with class levels. I can figure out a 5th level 3.5ed fighters will saving throw in my head, I can't do the same with a 5th level anything in 1ed. I can figure out how good the 5th level NPC rogue is at sneaking up on the party in my head, I can't do that with a 5th level NPC 1ed theif, without looking at a table. This makes a BIG difference.

Of course the magic item-dependent 3.5ed D&D rules don't work well for historical gaming so I went with heavily house-ruled d20 Conan rules, which worked well.


I think that it also does the advancement of a character from relatively fragile new youngster to hardened older campaigner relatively well, actually, especially if you're using some training rules to slow down the possible meteoric rise (not necessary, but simply following non-training rules lets you get rather advanced rather quickly).
Right but if you just read an awesome fantasy novel and its pumped your head full of ideas and you want to play an RPG that fits with those, probably D&D will give you a big let-down. This isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, but a generic fantasy RPG D&D is not.


However, that doesn't mean it's not a good RPG.
Then what makes it good? Seriously...


For the precise mechanical reasons it's said to have Charisma... Number of Henchmen, Loyalty Adjustments, and Reaction Adjustments.
So Charisma determines how loyal my followers are but not if people will believe my lies? Just so inconsistent...


Again, how does this make it a bad game?
Right, I rattled off a list of things that D&D doesn't do and in each case you said (correctly) that that one thing doesn't make D&D a bad game. But if all that is true, what is it that makes it a GOOD game. I'm just not seeing it. Well if you want more crunch I can see the good sides of 3.5ed, but if you want light and roleplaying focused then what the hell does 1/2ed do that something like d6 doesn't do better?


And comparing anything to the d6 system is just mean. That system was beautiful for its simplicity and fun.
Indeed. Almost as good as Fate :)


Ars Magica. Shadowrun with a diverse group (rigger, decker, and two types of magician? Oi vey!). Villains and Vigilantes. Early editions of Gamma World.
Haven't gotten a chance to play those :(


Unless they're consumate actors, they had fun while we were playing, but then something else became their focus, and RPGs lost out.
Right, but statistically I'm sure that the people with good RPing experiences stayed more often than those that didn't.


Give me some examples of these hack and slash modules.
*digs through old memories*
White Plume Mountain. The Against the Giants series? Tomb of Horrors? Well-made adventures and all but mostly "here's a dungeon, now go and clean it out." Completely different sort of adventures than the ones I run.

nagora
2007-09-13, 11:35 AM
Sometimes I agree with that and sometimes I don't. What made you come to that conclusion in the end?

5 years of hardly ever rolling a die outside of combat. I know, and the DM knows, what my characters' backgrounds are and what they are likely to be able to do. It's usually enough to have on the sheet an entry like "Computers A'level" or "Can swim". Attaching numbers to these things is usually pointless because all that happens then is that the DM then has to come up with a difficulty and factor that in together with a modifier for abilitiy scores. Well, the DM can just as easily come up with a final number and modify that by the ability score.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 11:37 AM
Depends on how your mind works. I can memorize what a list of what feats do ridiculously fast, but I'd never in a million years be able to memorize a 1st ed saving throws table.


So d10 for initiative, d100's for sneaking, d20s for attack rolls, d6s for getting surprised. Gah! Its not that any one rule is bad its that there's no internal consistency and keeping track of what rules apply to what make my brain hurt.

1) Your not supposed to memorize the saving throw tables. What are you Rain Man?

The players have character sheets, they're supposed to write that down. When you level up, you take a look and see if the numbers changed. You update as required. NOT DIFFICULT!!!!

2) Yes, that horrible overcomplicated AD&D asked you to use more than one type of die. How horrible. And meanwhile, all 3.x asks you to do is to remember what modifiers affect your oh so simple mechanic (situational, moral, deflection, natrual, governmental, floral . . .) not to mentions which stack and which don't. Yes, much simpler than simply remember which die goes with which situation.


In DMing AD&D, I've never really had problems except where the players try to do something wholly unexpected. Creating NPC's was so absurdly easy that I didn't have to bother statting them out 99% of the time, even if they were involved in combat. The only time they would get stats would be if they were supposed to be recurring and important. Otherwise, 0-level, human, male, blacksmith was more than enough.

On the other hand, my one aborted attempt at DMing 3.5 ended simply because, while my players repeatedly said they were definately having fun, I found myself not enjoying the game at all. I was so focused on rule books, exceptions to rules, piles of stats, skill points, feats, special powers, and on and on and on that it took me upwards of 3 hours to plan out a single encounter! I ended up spending almost as much time on a single game as I spent at work, and that's just no fun at all. It's not a matter of not knowing the rules well enough (I haven't got the rules of AD&D memorized either) it's just a matter of everything is so counter intuitive and so mind-bendingly over-wrought and obtuse that there's no fun in it for me.

Mike_G
2007-09-13, 11:46 AM
Putting aside the quaility if the systems, all you're doing is "screwing the players" in 3ed parlance. That's the whinning I hear all the time when DMs changing the system is mentioned in 3rd editon circles. There's a cultural issue there which is perhaps worse than any of the rule changes.

I disagree completely. The DM's word is still law in 3e. To assert otherwise is ridiculous.

A DM can exclude any material he wishes, from any edition. I experienced more whining in my old AD&D group when a DM wouldn't allow a new class out of a Dragon Magazine than I ever saw in 3e, mostly because we were geeky, poorly socialized teenagers playing AD&D, and now we're older, employed, married adults with actual social skills playing 3.5.

The fact that guidelines for some situations exist in 3e that didn't in 1e doesn't mean you have to use them all as written. We don't use every one, but we're happy for the framework.

You're continuing to make the argument that core 3e is bad, but all the problems of 1e could be solved with house rules and DM judgments. This is comparing an intelligent person playing 1e to a moron playing 3e, and therefor 1e will come out on top.

4e is not going to turn my table of overweight guys in their late 30's into pimply, 1337-speaking, EverQuest addicted, Anime fanboys.

It may solve the magic item dependence problem.

That's why I'll check it out.

Bosh
2007-09-13, 11:48 AM
1) Your not supposed to memorize the saving throw tables. What are you Rain Man?
I can memorize 3.5ed ones. It is immensely helpful when making up NPCs on the fly. I would like them to be simplier (like BaB is) but its doable. If I can't stat out a character completely in my head than the system is too complicated for me to want to DM as far as I'm concerned.


The players have character sheets
What about NPCs I make up on the fly?


Yes, that horrible overcomplicated AD&D asked you to use more than one type of die. How horrible.
Indeed. Inconsistent patched together rule systems are indeed horrible.


And meanwhile, all 3.x asks you to do is to remember what modifiers affect your oh so simple mechanic (situational, moral, deflection, natrual, governmental, floral . . .) not to mentions which stack and which don't.
Yes, those made my brain hurt horrifically, hates them I do.


I've never really had problems except where the players try to do something wholly unexpected.
The way I DM is encouraging the PCs to do one unexpected thing after another. One of the most fun adventures I've ever run what nothing but an inheiritance court case (the PCs spent the adventure bribing/lying to/ threatening the judges). I had not a freaking clue how the PCs would approach the case when the adventure started and there was so many NPCs that I had no idea if the PCs would even bother talking to or not that I had to make most of them up on the fly.


it's just a matter of everything is so counter intuitive and so mind-bendingly over-wrought and obtuse that there's no fun in it for me.
Yup, big heaping piles of problems with 3.5ed (most of my pet peeves seem to be addressed in 4ed though) but if I want something crunchy I'll play it over 1/2ed and if I want something realistic or rules light/cinematic I won't play D&D of any incarnation. Don't see a good niche for old edition D&D except of old school dungeon crawls, which aren't really my cup of tea...

bignate
2007-09-13, 11:54 AM
1) Your not supposed to memorize the saving throw tables. What are you Rain Man?

you know i never memorized the table but after all these years i can still tell you that the save table for AD&D 2nd edition was on page 101...

AKA_Bait
2007-09-13, 11:55 AM
I think this is very true. This aspect of 3e really does bother me, even though I have been known to create elaborate Dungeon Floor Plans for AD&D.

Although in theory I prefer the 'mini's? who needs mini's?' way of having a game work I've found that in practice it just creates a morass during combat. People will think they are in a place where they can do one thing, like stab the orc, but have said something leading the DM to think something else happend and respond accordingly. I've seen whole rounds, sometimes more than one, have to be erased and done over to stop the arguing that follows the confusion. As a result, I always use maps and minis (or mini stand-ins like dice, pennies, bottlecaps, pencaps etc.) just so everyone knows where they are and any argument can be settled with "You picked up the mini and moved yourself into that square so that's where you are."


Don't get me wrong, I realize that I'm still allowed to run a game the way I want. I can run a game with the new rules, and the "old-school sensibilities" that I like (In fact, I'm doin' that right now, and havin' a blast with it. We just started our sixth IC thread.). But it'd be nice to find a game where I could play a TWF, single-classed human character (just because I like the concept I came up with), without being surrounded by half-dragon/half-fiend wizard/rogue/dragon shamans, and ridiculed because I don't have a two handed weapon and Power Attack, or a PrC that would "optimize my build".

Erm. Why would you play with people who ridicule you in the first place? People having a different idea of 'the best way to play' ie heavy character concept vs. heavy optimization is going to be true in any system. If the people you game with can't be mature and accepting of another players gaming style that really says nothing about the system and lots about the people. I wouldn't want to play 3.x with those folks either. Heck, I wouldn't want to play charades with them come to think of it.



Really, I just consider the timing "too soon". This hobby is a money sink. Books cost $20-$40 nowadays. That's quite the investment. We've had 3.0 and 3.5 rather quickly, and now 4e already. I'm probably not going to be spending nearly as much on materials for 4e, knowing the frequency these change.


Well, yeah. But putting out new editions and versions of things which make the older ones obsolete has been WotC's strategy since long before it ever purchased TSR. I'm not thrilled about it, but I guess I can't be angry because I'm not at all surprised.


A DM can exclude any material he wishes, from any edition. I exeprienced more whining in my old AD&D group when a DM wouldn't allow a new class out of a Dragon Magizine than I ever saw in 3e, mostly because we were geeky, poorly socialized teenagers palying AD&D, and now we're older, employed, married adults with actual social skills.

The fact that guidelines for some situations exist in 3e that didn't in 1e doesn't mean you have to use them all as written.


True, although that they exist at all does tend to imply that unless explicitlly stated beforehand, the rules ought to be followed as written. More rules does handcuff some freedoms of the DM in a practical sense.

This, however, is a good thing in my view. Lots of rules encourages a mechanically consistant universe that the characters exist in. When there are no guidelines, or few and soft ones, then it is very easy for the game world to seem inconsistant, arbitrary at moments, and (the thing that has annoyed me most) that the world (i.e. the DM) just doesn't want your character to behave in a particular way and as a result is making a task harder that probably ought to be. In our world the laws of physics don't change to suit the power of plot. I prefer to play in a fictional world where they don't either.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 12:04 PM
I can memorize 3.5ed ones. It is immensely helpful when making up NPCs on the fly. I would like them to be simplier (like BaB is) but its doable. If I can't stat out a character completely in my head than the system is too complicated for me to want to DM as far as I'm concerned.


What about NPCs I make up on the fly?


Indeed. Inconsistent patched together rule systems are indeed horrible.


Yes, those made my brain hurt horrifically, hates them I do.


The way I DM is encouraging the PCs to do one unexpected thing after another. One of the most fun adventures I've ever run what nothing but an inheiritance court case (the PCs spent the adventure bribing/lying to/ threatening the judges). I had not a freaking clue how the PCs would approach the case when the adventure started and there was so many NPCs that I had no idea if the PCs would even bother talking to or not that I had to make most of them up on the fly.


Yup, big heaping piles of problems with 3.5ed (most of my pet peeves seem to be addressed in 4ed though) but if I want something crunchy I'll play it over 1/2ed and if I want something realistic or rules light/cinematic I won't play D&D of any incarnation. Don't see a good niche for old edition D&D except of old school dungeon crawls, which aren't really my cup of tea...

1) Saving throws for NPCS: Dude, unless you're talking about a classed individual, NPC's in AD&D all saved as 0-level humans. Plus, the entire saving throw chart took up, what, 2 square inches of space? It was on the GM's shield!

2) Just because YOU can't write up an NPC off the top of your head doesn't mean that SOMEBODY ELSE can't. I, for instance, can. With ease. So that particular argument doesn't have a leg to stand on.

3) I can make AD&D as realistic, gritty and dark as I want. I can make it high fantasy. I can make it loopy and zaney. I can make it anything I want. Claiming that it doesn't do that well is, frankly, false. It does it very well as long as you're willing to work within the limits of the system.

4) It seems, to me, that D&D just isn't your game.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 12:06 PM
you know i never memorized the table but after all these years i can still tell you that the save table for AD&D 2nd edition was on page 101...

Yes, in the original PHB. It was a few pages off in the revised PHB which always drove me batty. That's why having the DM shield on hand, even if you don't use it as a shield, was a good thing since it had a whole bunch of handy charts that you didn't have to go hunting in a book for.

Oeryn
2007-09-13, 12:07 PM
Erm. Why would you play with people who ridicule you in the first place? People having a different idea of 'the best way to play' ie heavy character concept vs. heavy optimization is going to be true in any system. If the people you game with can't be mature and accepting of another players gaming style that really says nothing about the system and lots about the people. I wouldn't want to play 3.x with those folks either. Heck, I wouldn't want to play charades with them come to think of it.

I agree, people like that are going to show up in pretty much any crowd, with any game. My point is that when you tailor your game to "build optimization", you breed players who want that all the time.



More rules does handcuff some freedoms of the DM in a practical sense.

That's it, really. I liked the idea of having more gray area, and letting the DM adjudicate matters that weren't explicitly covered. If something came up in 1E that there wasn't a rule for, we came up with something quick that worked. If everyone was happy with it, we kept it, and it became part of our consistent world from then on. Just because there aren't published rules for situations doesn't mean there's no consistency. It just means you're free to make up your own constants.

Ulzgoroth
2007-09-13, 12:09 PM
That's only "rigid" if you require a rule to support every character action. Under the weapon proficiency rules a character could use a weapon he wasn't proficient with (at a hefty penalty). In fact, the 3.x rules are far more rigid even in this sense, but offer the illusion of flexibility and choice.
You can use weapons you aren't proficient with at a penalty in 3.5 also. Just for the record...

But this doesn't touch the point of being stuck with little combat competence and having no way out, unless clumsily wielding an oversized weapon with a mage's combat stats would actually help you.

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 12:27 PM
Right but if you just read an awesome fantasy novel and its pumped your head full of ideas and you want to play an RPG that fits with those, probably D&D will give you a big let-down. This isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, but a generic fantasy RPG D&D is not.

My recent reading has been coloring my perceptions; I've been on a Vance and Anderson kick recently; nothing like reading the inspiration for D&D to get you thinking along those lines, hmm? So, let's go with what I can summon up, hmm?

Brust is right next to me, and he's not going to neatly fit into D&D, I have to say (plays very well in Palladium, actually). You could do it, but it would largely involve giving everyone psionic powers, and letting them learn more, and making most of them tall elves.

Hmmm... well, Joel Rosenberg's Guardian's of the Flame is based off of Vancian Magic (I should mention that in the "no one uses Vancian Magic" thing), and you could do pretty well with that one... I can't think of any major rules changes you'd need to play.

Misty Lackey's "Pony Fiction".... I mean, Heralds of Valdemaar. Again, this one works in sort of a Dark Sun/Birthright way; you have to assume most of the PCs have psionics or some special ability, and you'd have to create/mutiliate stats for a few monsters/Companions, but if you're emulating a piece of fiction, that's always going to happen.

Never read any Jordan... he always put me to sleep. Salvatore I only read the Homeland and Cleric's Quintet series, and those are D&D, anyway. Feist's Midkemia novels work very well in D&D, especially if you're using the Channeling rules for excessive exertion tiring out spellcasters (and no requirement for memorization) from Spells and Magic.

Harry Potter even works ok in D&D... again, using spell point rules and the channeling system.

They're not necessarily the best tools for the job (as my occasional thoughts of "Harry Potter and the Order of Hermes" show, I've run a couple of these ideas), but it's not an unusable instrument.


Then what makes it good? Seriously...

I can pick up the game and have a playable character in under 20 minutes... and that's a spellcaster; heck I created a RC character in less than that, with the introduction of someone shoving me the book and saying "We're playing this." Or, I can spend an afternoon working on a character history.

The skill system is elegantly simple, yet useful, for a system not focused on skills. Skill contests are very simple to adjudicate (higher successful roll), and still possible for people of lower skill to win, though less likely.

It meshes well with one of my favorite game worlds, the Forgotten Realms.

It's adaptable to different play styles without greatly impacting the balance of the game. It's easy to add or throw out optional or house rules without favoring one side or the other too heavily.


So Charisma determines how loyal my followers are but not if people will believe my lies? Just so inconsistent...

It determines initial reaction. Someone who is Friendly towards you is more inclined to believe what you say. Someone who is Hostile towards you is less likely to believe what you say. Haven't you found this to be the case?


*digs through old memories*
White Plume Mountain. The Against the Giants series? Tomb of Horrors? Well-made adventures and all but mostly "here's a dungeon, now go and clean it out." Completely different sort of adventures than the ones I run.

Can't comment on White Plume Mountain. Tomb of Horrors was specifically designed to be a dungeon grind; it was a tournament module, meaning limited time and killing people is part of its cachet.

Against the Giants, however, has a lot more to it than hack and slash. Did you make allies with the ogre-magi? How about the frost giant princess? What early adventures tended to do was present a situation... how you approached it was up to you.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-13, 12:28 PM
I agree, people like that are going to show up in pretty much any crowd, with any game. My point is that when you tailor your game to "build optimization", you breed players who want that all the time.


I don't really think that's true. I don't tailor my games to be 'build optimization' first in 3.x and no one behaves that way. That has more to do with the DM than anything.


That's it, really. I liked the idea of having more gray area, and letting the DM adjudicate matters that weren't explicitly covered. If something came up in 1E that there wasn't a rule for, we came up with something quick that worked. If everyone was happy with it, we kept it, and it became part of our consistent world from then on. Just because there aren't published rules for situations doesn't mean there's no consistency. It just means you're free to make up your own constants.

Indeed, if your DM remembers week to week, or month to month, what all the houserule they came up with on the fly were.

Also, I'd rather not to have to debate what the prefrences to be accepted by the group are in the middle of gameplay. That seems to happen 98% of the time, usually ending with the DM saying "That's just how it is in my game" and a player being a little disgrunteled. I'd rather the system decide it most of the time so that time discussing the new rule is kept to a minimum and time actually playing the game is larger.

horseboy
2007-09-13, 12:31 PM
Be glad you can make your character a "calico patchwork". One couldn't do that, either at all or not with ease, in preceding editions.Oh I remember. I remember all too well. I remember having to break almost every rule every time I wanted to make a character. I remember my first group unanimously saying "Thieves are stupid", ripping them out of the system and giving every character their abilities. I remember trying to get my DM to buy that my paladin's dad was a black smith that created a metal that innately had magical properties without being a magic-user. I don't miss them. I won't miss the current edition either.


And really, as far as "elegance" goes, the d20 mechanic of d20 + stat + mod is about as elegant as they come. It's not "A Fistful Of Nonstandard Dice" like WoD is, or "A Fistful Of d6s" like WEG Star Wars was. It's certainly simpler than Everway's "Tarot Deck Draw" method and fully half of Palladium's system--and Chaosium Call of Cthulu's entire system.
Personally, I found Cthulthu's play system far better than any version of D&D. As well as Shadowrun's possible "One hit, one kill" mechanics made combat more sublime than just "I charge it!" And for simple, there's always %+OB.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-13, 12:31 PM
"[T]he way I play my character is not determined by the mechanics involved" directly contradicts "the mechanics of the game are a means to...a path to a preferred end."

Moreover, I already know that you're more interested in seeing mechanical benefits and changes based on character choices, Fax. That's your preferred style, and there's nothing wrong with it. Just stop pretending it has nothing to do with role-playing.

Thanks for the insult, Journey.

I think of it this way:
Life is about choices.
RPGs emulate life with fantastic elements added in.
Therefore, RPGs are about choices with fantastic elements

I fail to see how adding options to a game to make it more flexible for the playeris taking away from any roleplaying experience involved.

Justin_Bacon
2007-09-13, 12:35 PM
Character ability is so tightly joined with equipment and magic that taking away some magic, or denying it's ready availability, throws everything out of whack.

That simply wasn't so with older editions. I could play high magic, low magic, proliferant magic, scarce magic, whatever and the only thing I had to do as a DM was say the words "This campaign will be low and scarce magic." No modification of rules was neccessary.

That's because previous editions were already out of whack. So changing the Default Out of Whack option to a Different Out of Whack option didn't make a whit of difference 9 times out of 10.

In 3rd Edition, things were more balanced. (Perfectly balanced? No. That's impossible while offering meaningful choice to the players. But definitely workably balanced.) So, suddenly, people had a problem with going from Workably Balanced to Out of Whack.

But, if you're okay with things being out of whack (just like they were in previous editions), then there isn't any problem in saying, "This campaign will be low and scarce magic."

But, yeah, if you want to change the amount of power available to the characters AND keep balance, then you're going to have to modify things to maintain the balance.


The best way I can illustrate it, I think, is by taking an example of a knight. In 3.x, to be a knight, you pick up the right book, choose the knight base class, pick up a list of feats, and on and on.

In 2nd edition, if you wanted to be a knight, you found a local lord or king and say "I want to be a knight" performed some sort of service maybe, or did whatever was required in game, then got yourself knighted. It was based entirely on in game concepts rather than in rules concepts.

No it wasn't. There was a Cavalier kit in the Warrior's Handbook; a Chevalier in the Paladin's Handbook; there was a Knight kit printed in Dragon magazine and so forth.

I understand that you didn't play 2nd Edition with the mentality that "in order to be X you need to have class/kit/profiency X". But that mentality surely existed.

And, in similar fashion, while that mentality exists with 3rd Edtiion, it's not a requirement. And there are plenty of people who don't need class/prestige class/feat X in order to be X. In my own campaign I've seen barbarians modeled using the ranger class and I've seen dread pirates modeled as barbarians.


The 3rd edition was written with the cRPGs and fledgling MMOGs of the day (1998-2000) in mind. Older gamers had either already purchased all the supplementals they ever would for the existing systems or had moved on to other systems for whatever reason. Wizards needed a way to generate a lot of revenue off a product that they spent a lot of money to buy in a relatively short time. They chose the best way they could have, I think: make what amounts to a table-top version of the cRPGs and MMOGs that kids and even older gamers found enjoyable.

How, exactly? How, exactly, is D&D3 like a video game? Be specific.

I'd seriously love to have an answer to this question. No matter how often people claim that D&D3 is like a video game, no one ever answers this question.

Justin Alexander
http://www.thealexandrian.net

MrNexx
2007-09-13, 12:48 PM
Yeah, I'm bowing out of this. I'm tired of edition wars, again.

nagora
2007-09-13, 12:48 PM
I disagree completely. The DM's word is still law in 3e. To assert otherwise is ridiculous.


Well, go out to the main forums and assert that because I see people saying that any DM ruling that doesn't follow the book is screwing them over all the time. I've been told many times that the DM has no right to introduce something just because s/he thinks the situation is different from what the 3e rules covered.

I agree with you; I just don't think many 3e players do.

nagora
2007-09-13, 12:55 PM
In 3rd Edition, things were more balanced.

I like a bit of humour as much as the next man, but you have to keep it grounded!

Dausuul
2007-09-13, 12:57 PM
Well, go out to the main forums and assert that because I see people saying that any DM ruling that doesn't follow the book is screwing them over all the time. I've been told many times that the DM has no right to introduce something just because s/he thinks the situation is different from what the 3e rules covered.

I agree with you; I just don't think many 3e players do.

Examples please.

People do say that certain DM rulings (that don't follow the book) are screwing them over... because some DM rulings do screw people over. If in 2E, I ruled that fighters couldn't get multiple attacks per round and made all characters use wizard THAC0, that would screw fighters over. And anybody who played a fighter in that game would probably have some complaints. But the complaints I see are "My DM is not following the book in ways that screw me over," not "My DM isn't following the book, period."

And the profusion of threads about how to fix class imbalances indicate that people are quite ready to complain about the books screwing them over, too.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 01:15 PM
Although in theory I prefer the 'mini's? who needs mini's?' way of having a game work I've found that in practice it just creates a morass during combat. People will think they are in a place where they can do one thing, like stab the orc, but have said something leading the DM to think something else happend and respond accordingly. I've seen whole rounds, sometimes more than one, have to be erased and done over to stop the arguing that follows the confusion. As a result, I always use maps and minis (or mini stand-ins like dice, pennies, bottlecaps, pencaps etc.) just so everyone knows where they are and any argument can be settled with "You picked up the mini and moved yourself into that square so that's where you are."

Yeah, it's hard to say for sure with this sort of thing. I know a lot of 1e and 2e players who demand that Miniatures be used. The preference runs across editions, but the inability to play without seems confined to 3e (and later versions of 2e). I have run across situations where players suggested they were somewhere else to where I thought they were. Often this is because they want to avoid some effect or other (and they're good naturedly 'trying it on' and expect to be caught out), but sometimes it's an honest misunderstanding. In the latter situation I either roll a dice or make a ruling. In the last campaign I ran, it might have happened two or three times that somebody was disgruntled (I can only remember one occasion and the entire party was in disagreement - my bad on that occasion).
However, I do actually like using Dungeon Tiles and Miniatures, just not all the time.


That's because previous editions were already out of whack. So changing the Default Out of Whack option to a Different Out of Whack option didn't make a whit of difference 9 times out of 10.

In 3rd Edition, things were more balanced. (Perfectly balanced? No. That's impossible while offering meaningful choice to the players. But definitely workably balanced.) So, suddenly, people had a problem with going from Workably Balanced to Out of Whack.

But, if you're okay with things being out of whack (just like they were in previous editions), then there isn't any problem in saying, "This campaign will be low and scarce magic."

But, yeah, if you want to change the amount of power available to the characters AND keep balance, then you're going to have to modify things to maintain the balance.

I see it slightly differently. 1e and 2e made no pretence about balance. 3e claimed to be balanced and was embarrassingly proved wrong. 3e is not more balanced, it just claimed to be. It got lots of things right and lots of things wrong (for my preferences), but balance was a no show.

Justin_Bacon
2007-09-13, 01:34 PM
I see it slightly differently. 1e and 2e made no pretence about balance. 3e claimed to be balanced and was embarrassingly proved wrong. 3e is not more balanced, it just claimed to be. It got lots of things right and lots of things wrong (for my preferences), but balance was a no show.

Hmm... Interesting. I'll have to add this as a data point in my theorem that web-forums allow for communication between alternate realities. :smallcool:

A few quotes from the core AD&D2 rulebooks:

"The limits also exist for play balance. The ability of humans to assume any role and reach any level is their only advantage. The demihuman races have other powers that make them entertaining to play -- particularly the ability to be multi-classed (see Glossary). These powers balance the enjoyment of play against the ability to rise in level."

"Being a specialist does have significant advantages to balance the trade-offs the character must make."

"Additional spheres can be created by your DM. [...] Of course, your DM has final say on this, and he must balance the gain or loss of spells against the other powers, abilities, and restrictions of the character."

"Proficiencies are not necessary for a balanced game."

"The problem with keeping artifacts is that they are too powerful. Not only do they unbalance your character..."

"(Re: Wish spells) Discretionary power of the DM is necessary in order to maintain game balance."

"The rules to the AD&D 2nd Edition game are balanced and easy to use."

"Some experience is required to strike the right balance of power, but characters created using the same method should, at least, be comparable."

You can find similar quotes in the 1st edition rulebooks, too. But I don't have an electronic edition of those that I can easily search. So, clearly, in this reality, previous editions did have a "pretense" of balance.

And, of course, in this reality the 3rd Edition core rulebooks were very balanced. Perfectly balanced? No. That's impossible if you're going to allow players freedom to create the characters they want to create. But definitely balanced, in a way that was practically useful even if it failed to attain some sort of imaginary pinnacle of perfection.

Justin Alexander
http://www.thealexandrian.net

Dausuul
2007-09-13, 01:34 PM
Yeah, it's hard to say for sure with this sort of thing. I know a lot of 1e and 2e players who demand that Miniatures be used. The preference runs across editions, but the inability to play without seems confined to 3e (and later versions of 2e). I have run across situations where players suggested they were somewhere else to where I thought they were. Often this is because they want to avoid some effect or other (and they're good naturedly 'trying it on' and expect to be caught out), but sometimes it's an honest misunderstanding. In the latter situation I either roll a dice or make a ruling. In the last campaign I ran, it might have happened two or three times that somebody was disgruntled (I can only remember one occasion and the entire party was in disagreement - my bad on that occasion).

It really depends on the gaming group, and IMO it has very little to do with the edition. There was enough location-specific stuff in 2E (can the wizard hit all the orcs with the fireball without hitting the fighter as well?) that a group prone to argue such matters could easily do so. Conversely, the group I played with in college never used minis, and when we made the switch to 3E we went right on not using minis, and our game didn't suffer in the slightest. When I get together with those guys and we play a one-off game, we still don't use minis, and it's fine.

The wizard would just say, "Okay, how many of them can I hit with a fireball?" And the DM would cogitate and say, "Three." Then the wizard would say, "What if I'm willing to hit the fighter, too?" And the DM would say, "Then you can get all five." And then the wizard would have a little chat with the fighter about whether the fighter objected to being toasted.


And, of course, in this reality the 3rd Edition core rulebooks were very balanced. Perfectly balanced? No. That's impossible if you're going to allow players freedom to create the characters they want to create. But definitely balanced, in a way that was practically useful even if it failed to attain some sort of imaginary pinnacle of perfection.

Hmmm, I'm not going to go that far. More balanced than 2E, yes. Actually balanced? No. Although things have been improving, particularly with Tome of Battle to narrow the fighter/caster gap a bit.

Matthew
2007-09-13, 01:49 PM
<stuff>

Sure, but that's not what I'm talking about. AD&D doesn't talk about balance in the same way as 3e. It doesn't say, if you take X numbers of Fighters and Y numbers of Orcs you get a balanced encounter. Of course there is concern about maintaining 'balance', but that isn't the same thing as presenting you with a balanced game that works out of the box. Essentially, AD&D leaves it up to the group to balance their game, whilst 3e tells you what is balanced.

So, for example:

2e DMG Introduction


The rules to the AD&D 2nd Edition game are balanced and easy to use. No role-playing game we know of has been playtested more heavily than this one. But that doesn't mean it's perfect. What we consider to be right may be unbalanced or anachronistic in your campaign. The only thing that can make
the AD&D game "right'' for all players is the intelligent application of DM discretion.

2e DMG Chapter One


At the same time, watch out for a tendency in some players to want the most powerful character possible. Powerful characters are fine if that's the sort of campaign you want. A problem arises, however, if players are allowed to exploit the rules, or your good nature, to create a character who is much more powerful than everyone else's characters. At best, this leads to an unbalanced game. At worst, it leads to bored players and hurt feelings.

2e DMG Chapter Seven


If a player character has a spell you don't like or one that severely disrupts or unbalances your game, it is not the player's fault. Who gave the character the spell? Who allowed it in the game? Controlling spell acquisition is an important responsibility. Consider your choices carefully.




It really depends on the gaming group, and IMO it has very little to do with the edition. There was enough location-specific stuff in 2E (can the wizard hit all the orcs with the fireball without hitting the fighter as well?) that a group prone to argue such matters could easily do so. Conversely, the group I played with in college never used minis, and when we made the switch to 3E we went right on not using minis, and our game didn't suffer in the slightest. When I get together with those guys and we play a one-off game, we still don't use minis, and it's fine.

The wizard would just say, "Okay, how many of them can I hit with a fireball?" And the DM would cogitate and say, "Three." Then the wizard would say, "What if I'm willing to hit the fighter, too?" And the DM would say, "Then you can get all five." And then the wizard would have a little chat with the fighter about whether the fighter objected to being toasted.

Interesting. I have found 3e to really require acute spacial awareness for things like Attacks of Opportunity.

hamlet
2007-09-13, 02:04 PM
Sure, but that's not what I'm talking about. AD&D doesn't talk about balance in the same way as 3e. It doesn't say, if you take X numbers of Fighters and Y numbers of Orcs you get a balanced encounter. Of course there is concern about maintaining 'balance', but that isn't the same thing as presenting you with a balanced game that works out of the box. Essentially, AD&D leaves it up to the group to balance their game, whilst 3e tells you what is balanced.



What we have, I believe, is a difference in vocabulary. At least in this instance.

When 3rd edition talks about balance, they're talking about how a 5th level fighter has as much "power" as a 5th level wizard as a 5th level whatever. And that x number of orcs equals a balanced encounter for party of y level.

Fine, but that's not what 2nd edition talks about when it uses the word balance. For 2nd edition, "balance" wasn't about making all classes horizontally equal, but about being fair. It never meant that all classes of equal level had equal ability or strength.