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Matthew
2008-08-30, 04:57 PM
Just starting a new thread on this subject to prevent derailing the Yin and Yang 3e Thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4821825#post4821825).



Dunno whether we're supposed to discuss our thoughts in this thread, but I guess I could explain myself a bit better. Basically, a class is a guideline. You don't need a class to create a blacksmith, or a soldier, or any NPC really. Their primary use is for creating player characters and advancing them by level [i.e. creating a power scale and reward system]. It's a game artifact rather than a world building methodology.

You can read more of my yabberings on the subject here (http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=3178&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0), though my input doesn't begin until page 2 of that thread.




Again i don't know if we are discussing stuff (and OP, let us know if we should stop) but i disagree. A character with a class, be he NPC or PC uses his lass as a device to effect the world around him. One's powers come from their class and their abilities are determined by their class. If a non magic class like thief or fighter have their abilities given by their class, it makes sense for people like black smiths and farmers to have that as well. Now logically, the PCs aren't going to often be Black smith's or farmers, but 3E doesn't make them core classes, it makes them NPC classes. they aren't intented for the normal use, but if you want to use them (IE, NPc comparads, lesser monsters ect) it makes more sense by having Human commoner level X rather than just Human or goblin

Oracle_Hunter
2008-08-30, 05:03 PM
Wait, now we're not derailing threads? I thought this was the Internet :smalltongue:

On topic:
I think you make an excellent point about class not being appropriate for normal people. Yes, you can make NPC adventurers, but why bother with a "blacksmithing" class?

That said, 0th Level Characters were the wrong way to do it. The 4e "monster" route allows you to make durable NPCs even if they're not adventurers - which is nice if you don't want your king to be offed by a lucky crossbow bolt :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:06 PM
That said, 0th Level Characters were the wrong way to do it. The 4e "monster" route allows you to make durable NPCs even if they're not adventurers - which is nice if you don't want your king to be offed by a lucky crossbow bolt

I recommend reading my yabberings. :smallbiggrin:

Basically, you can give King Hugo as many hit points (and even hit dice) as you like, you can even give him equivalency to a classed character of level X if you want, 0 level unclassed characters are completely customisable; the only tricky part is calculating experience for killing them...

King Hugo Hit Dice 2; Armour Class 10; Hit Points 43; Movement 12"; Alignment Neutral Good;
Abilities: Attacks as Level 3 Fighter

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 05:13 PM
the main argument against NPC classes is "why bother" the thing is, some people like having the option. A black smith class can in fact be very useful

1) A weapon or other item needs to be repaired by a local black smiths and it is something that requires some level of skill. now i know, you can simply fudge it as a DM, but Fudging something is always an option, some people like actual quality
2) if you play a seven samurai type game where you need to utilize a the entire village to your purpose the skill level of the black smith will make a difference
3) If you want to upgrade you weapon quality, or want ot know the quality of items the black smith can use it is good to have a frame of reference
4) if the players want to take up a level in making things
5) if the players come from a common back ground
6) If the players have a friend who is a black smith
7) if your game is more large scale, the general skill level of a place's smithies can make a difference (like ahve they invented steel)

The thing is, NPCs classes aren't going to affect the PCs in the same way teir own will, but they will still make a difference. People's powers and abilities are deterimed by their class and taht goes for NPC and PCs


If you use classless characters or classes only for PCs, there is going to be massive inconsistencies and that isn't fair for the Dm or the Pcs. Some people can pull it off but it shouldn't be the norm. It is a great default and if you don't like, well don't use it.
from
EE

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:19 PM
The main argument against NPC classes is "why bother" the thing is, some people like having the option.

But that's just really "I like classes". And that's fine. :smallbiggrin:



A black smith class can in fact be very useful

1) A weapon or other item needs to be repaired by a local black smiths and it is something that requires some level of skill. now i know, you can simply fudge it as a DM, but Fudging something is always an option, some people like actual quality
2) if you play a seven samurai type game where you need to utilize a the entire village to your purpose the skill level of the black smith will make a difference
3) If you want to upgrade you weapon quality, or want ot know the quality of items the black smith can use it is good to have a frame of reference
4) if the players want to take up a level in making things
5) if the players come from a common back ground
6) If the players have a friend who is a black smith
7) if your game is more large scale, the general skill level of a place's smithies can make a difference (like ahve they invented steel)

The thing is, NPCs classes aren't going to affect the PCs in the same way teir own will, but they will still make a difference. People's powers and abilities are deterimed by their class and taht goes for NPC and PCs

If you use classless characters or classes only for PCs, there is going to be massive inconsistencies and that isn't fair for the Dm or the Pcs. Some people can pull it off but it shouldn't be the norm. It is a great default and if you don't like, well don't use it.

Thing is, a blacksmith NPC can fulfil all of these roles without a class. If you want his skill level to be represented, you just write on his sheet "blacksmithing +12" or whatever and it will perfectly represent your concept without recourse to "building a blacksmith". It is certainly true that some people prefer worlds where everybody has a class and everything is mechanised so decisions aren't necessary (because you have rules to govern how many blacksmith classed characters of level X are in a village of size Y), but they don't create consistant worlds, they create a consistant rule set (in all it's reality defying glory). That can appear "more fair", but it depends what you think is fair.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 05:24 PM
But that's just really "I like classes". And that's fine. :smallbiggrin:

However as a default, it is good to have the opiton rather than ignore it.



Thing is, a blacksmith NPC can fulfil all of these roles without a class. If you want his skill level to be represented, you just write on his sheet "blacksmithing +12" or whatever and it will perfectly represnt your concept. It's certainly true that some people prefer worlds where everybody has a class and it's all mechanised so decisions aren't necessary, but they don't create consistant world, they create a consistant rule set (in all it's reality defying glory).

However simply making up what you want on the stop does eventually lead to inconsistency. now you might say "well i don't mind" which is fine, but the problem comes when you make a default world, consistency as a default is far better than inconstancy
from
EE

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:28 PM
However as a default, it is good to have the opiton rather than ignore it.

It is if you want it, it's a waste of paper if you don't. I certainly wouldn't not design it (were I a game designer) if it is what people want.



However simply making up what you want on the stop does eventually lead to inconsistency. now you might say "well i don't mind" which is fine, but the problem comes when you make a default world, consistency as a default is far better than inconstancy

It certainly has the potential to lead to game world inconsistency, as does having a consistent rule set. On the one hand you have no one to blame but yourself, on the other you can blame the system. Depends how responsible you want to be for your game world.

Morty
2008-08-30, 05:28 PM
However as a default, it is good to have the opiton rather than ignore it.


Indeed. It's better to have an option you can ignore rather than not have an option at all.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 05:35 PM
It is if you want it, it's a waste of paper if you don't. I certainly wouldn't not design it (were I a game designer) if it is what people want.

Except world consistency and when people start playing in other styles, it would actually be quite useful. A good game woudl be one that has a logical consistent work from the get go, rather than one that requires a bunch of player work for it to make sense



It certainly has the potential to lead to game world inconsistency, as does having a consistent rule set. On the one hand you have no one to blame but yourself, on the other you can blame the system. Depends how responsible you want to be for your game world.
If you just assign abilities, then it very much becomes a world driven by the plot rather than its own consistencies. If ou want to play that way, fine, but a system designed as such will have problems
from
EE

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:39 PM
Except world consistency and when people start playing in other styles, it would actually be quite useful. A good game woudl be one that has a logical consistent work from the get go, rather than one that requires a bunch of player work for it to make sense

But consistent rule sets don't create consistent game worlds, they create MMORPGs. :smallbiggrin:

All joking aside, a consistent rule set is only as good as the rules, and it is pretty much impossible to create a rule set of that type without saying "you can change this if it doesn't fit." If you can change it, you might as well not bother with the first premise.



If you just assign abilities, then it very much becomes a world driven by the plot rather than its own consistencies. If ou want to play that way, fine, but a system designed as such will have problems

That would only be the case if you assigned statistics based on the needs of the plot. If you assign them to create a consistent game world, it's not an issue.

Swordguy
2008-08-30, 05:39 PM
The issue is tying skills to class level AND to other things. If the only thing increasing level gave you was increased skills, fine, it works OK. However, that's not how the system works. Skills are tied to level are tied to hit dice. So now, to have a master smith with a +20 to a skill, you're forcing him to have scads of hit points that he shouldn't have (more so because a smith probably ought to have a high con, adding yet more HP, and taking away the only mechanic you could use to shrink his HP pool).

That's an inherent inconsistency in the world, because people generally shouldn't have huge number of HP if they're proficient, I don't know...coopers or fletchers. Divorce HP from level, and having everyone in your game world have class levels makes sense. It doesn't otherwise.

Edea
2008-08-30, 05:40 PM
Keep them both. I like the mix. I think I'd use a classless, more freehand system for true mooks, but then go ahead and stat the NPC's classes out normally if they're going to grow/recur during the campaign, -especially- if the PCs are going to find themselves adventuring with one of them. This is mainly to prevent disconnect IMO.

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:41 PM
Divorce HP from level, and having everyone in your game world have class levels makes sense. It doesn't otherwise.

And saving throws, and life energy levels, and attack bonuses.



Keep them both. I like the mix. I think I'd use a classless, more freehand system for true mooks, but then go ahead and stat the NPC's classes out normally if they're going to grow/recur during the campaign, -especially- if the PCs are going to find themselves adventuring with one of them. This is mainly to prevent disconnect IMO.

Quite so. there is nothing stopping you using class levels for adventuring types, or to stat out monsters. Just don't be shackled by them.

Swordguy
2008-08-30, 05:42 PM
And saving throws, and life energy levels, and attack bonuses.

Shhh...I wanted to keep it to just one thing at a time. :smallwink:

Morty
2008-08-30, 05:42 PM
This could be solved by simply not giving NPC classes more HP, BAB and ST per level, just skills and feats.

Swordguy
2008-08-30, 05:45 PM
This could be solved by simply not giving NPC classes more HP, BAB and ST per level, just skills and feats.

But then you aren't being consistent. :smalltongue:

After all, if you aren't going to apply the rules consistently, you're just making stuff up, and we all know what that leads to...


However simply making up what you want on the stop does eventually lead to inconsistency. now you might say "well i don't mind" which is fine, but the problem comes when you make a default world, consistency as a default is far better than inconstancy
from
EE

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 05:53 PM
But consistent rule sets don't create consistent game worlds, they create MMORPGs. :smallbiggrin:

Wait, MMOs are consistent? Eh?


All joking aside, a consistent rule set is only as good as the rules, and it is pretty much impossible to create a rule set of that type without saying "you can change this if it doesn't fit." If you can change it, you might as well not bother with the first premise.

not at all, we have rule zero for a very good reason



That would only be the case if you assigned statistics based on the needs of the plot. If you assign them to create a consistent game world, it's not an issue.
Except class give more than just random skill bonuses. If you have a totally classeless system then you'd have a point
from
EE

Morty
2008-08-30, 05:57 PM
But then you aren't being consistent. :smalltongue:

After all, if you aren't going to apply the rules consistently, you're just making stuff up, and we all know what that leads to...

How inconsistent it is to say: "Levels in Expert, Commoner, Aristocrat and Adept classes aren't gained through experience in combat, so people with those classes don't gain HP, BAB and Saving Throws as they gain levels"?
That said, I'm not a big fan of HP by level anyway.

Matthew
2008-08-30, 05:58 PM
Wait, MMOs are consistent? Eh?

Their rules are very consistent. :smallwink:



not at all, we have rule zero for a very good reason

Indeed, and we have monsters with bonus skill points and feats. Let me be clear, classes are great guidelines, but they are not building blocks for creating consistent worlds. To put it another way, if I create King Hugo (as I have done above) have I not in fact created a King Hugo Class?



Except class give more than just random skill bonuses. If you have a totally classeless system then you'd have a point

With a hybrid class/classless system you can use classes when appropriate (fighter) and abandon them when they are not (farmer).

tyckspoon
2008-08-30, 06:02 PM
How inconsistent it is to say: "Levels in Expert, Commoner, Aristocrat and Adept classes aren't gained through experience in combat, so people with those classes don't gain HP, BAB and Saving Throws as they gain levels"?
That said, I'm not a big fan of HP by level anyway.

It's horribly inconsistent! Because those are classes, and PCs also use classes, and PC classes involve HP and BAB and saving throw progressions! You can't have the PCs and the NPCs using different kinds of classes! Of course, that leads you to expert sages (Expert class, most/all skills chosen as Knowledges) that can pick up a stick and beat the tar out of professional fighters apparently by the sheer power of all the books they read. Which makes no kind of sense, but at least it's consistent.

Swordguy
2008-08-30, 06:05 PM
How inconsistent it is to say: "Levels in Expert, Commoner, Aristocrat and Adept classes aren't gained through experience in combat, so people with those classes don't gain HP, BAB and Saving Throws as they gain levels"?
That said, I'm not a big fan of HP by level anyway.

I'm not either, as a rule.

The issue though, is that if you're going to houserule that certain classes don't get their level-dependent benefits like BAB and HP, then you might as well have them as 0-level types and just give them the skills you want to give them in the first place!

Your way (adding levels, but no HP, BAB and Saving Throws)
Farmer Joe, 7th level Farmer (Commoner)
Str 10, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10; HP 4, BAB+0, Skills: Craft (Farmer) +11; Profession (Farmer) +11

My way (just assigning stats and skills to a 0-level type)
Farmer Jow, 0-level Commoner
Str 10, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10; HP 4, BAB+0, Skills: Craft (Farmer) +11; Profession (Farmer) +11

So...why should I bother to use the class?

nagora
2008-08-30, 06:09 PM
Indeed. It's better to have an option you can ignore rather than not have an option at all.
Up to a point; too many options and it becomes hard to see the unifying theory which in turn would make it hard to decide what is safe to ignore. Indeed, the more options the more likely it is that ignoring one or two will cause an unwanted side-effect.

On to (what I think is) the subject of the thread: I personally think all skills or abilities should be linked to the character's level in the class rather than being a separate thing that needs points and upkeep. I have dabbled in the past with allowing some skills in 1e, but at an xp cost. If the cost is paid, then the skill is regarded as being part of the normal training regime and increases like any other ability even if it is not evidenced in play during a particular level.

The reason for this is simple: that's how it works in stories. Q shows Bond a new gun or gadget and the next time we see it he uses it as well as he can drive his car or make love to beutiful women. There's no sense of him being a bit crap with it for a while, and I think the same trope is seen in heroic fantasy too - characters pick things up and become competant with them impossibly quickly and with a minimal effort. At most it might take a 1 minute montage.

So, for me, classes are paramount for playing the type of game I want to play with AD&D.

What about the archetypes? Fighters and Magic Users are clearly different, but I submit that the thief is too. The cleric can be found in history if you look hard enough with the "eye of faith" but it is really a game invention.

Is it any less of a valid class for that? I don't think so. Scouts, rangers and hunters are likewise rare (Tonto the scout springs to mind as one famous one). A class which gives a player a role which is clear is a good class, regardless of how well represented in source material (if at all) that class is. If there is source material which informs the player of that role, then so much the better but, if not, a clearly defined class is still a good class.

So, how far can we stretch a base class? Can we pile any customisation in to make the template fit our pre-concieved notions or should each such "sub-class" actually be a sub-class with its own xp-table and so on?

I'd say that the lesson of post-1e is that simply allowing large scale customisation breaks the class concept, and that sub-classes are the way to go. Uncontrolled multi-classing made a mockery of the class-system together with skills made a D&D who's architypes were drawn from D&D in an interative and incestuous downward spiral. The ultimate result of this internal referencing is that rangers have become synonymous with TWF, despite the source and logic giving no grounds for such an association.

Because of this, I'd rather see Scout as a sub-class of thief than as a skill pack whioch can be taken by anyone, or even restricted to some classes.

Of the UA classes, I could see why Cavalier was broken out on its own (basically, the huge social assumptions needed to make it work) but it was explained badly (if at all) and it simply end up up looking wrong and out of place. At which point you have to say that it is at least a bad class description if not a bad class, as it has failed to inform the player of what it is they are supposed to be played. It looks to the reader as if the non-mechanical parts of a Cavalier could be played out by a fighter, bu that's simply not true; but it is not explained properly.

Barbarians fared better, I think, and the social setting that makes a barbarian possible, different from a fighter, and a clear role, all came across much more clearly.

Zero-level is reserved for those who will never be heroes. They can have skills or abilities or whatever but for me the key item is that they live and die by mundane ways. Combat in 1e is quite realistic when you look at the chance of a normal person dying from any of the normal weapons.

Zero-level, to me, means base saves and base HP. Everything else can be set by DM's fiat, but those two things serve as the background from which the player characters as a whole emerge. Fiddle with them and the uniqueness and special qualities of PCs start to break down, and that, for me, is undesirable.

Morty
2008-08-30, 06:09 PM
It's horribly inconsistent! Because those are classes, and PCs also use classes, and PC classes involve HP and BAB and saving throw progressions! You can't have the PCs and the NPCs using different kinds of classes! Of course, that leads you to expert sages (Expert class, most/all skills chosen as Knowledges) that can pick up a stick and beat the tar out of professional fighters apparently by the sheer power of all the books they read. Which makes no kind of sense, but at least it's consistent.

You don't have PCs and NPCs use different types of classes. You have those who live by fighting and those who don't use different classes. Since when is a Fighter or Ranger PC by default?



So...why should I bother to use the class?

If you don't see the need you don't have to; but I and other people like to have a class even for those who don't fight in case it's needed and for the feeling that everything works by some rules. That's why it's better to have non-combatant classes- you can happily ignore them if you don't care about them.

Chronos
2008-08-30, 06:10 PM
Why does it make any less sense for a guy who's had lots of experience pounding metal into shape to become tougher to kill, than it does for someone who's had lots of experience studying ancient books to become tougher to kill? If you found the greatest smith in the world, yes, I absolutely would expect him to be tougher than the greatest wizard in the world (though perhaps not tougher than the greatest soldier in the world). HP going up with level is (for whatever reason) an inherent part of the game system; why should it not apply equally to PCs and NPCs?

Now, admittedly, you won't need things like HP and BAB as often for regular townsfolk as you do for the PCs. Unless your players are gratuitously violent, you probably won't even bother working them out unless they're needed. But if they do become needed, then you can work them out, just the same way as for anyone else.

Matthew
2008-08-30, 06:14 PM
Why does it make any less sense for a guy who's had lots of experience pounding metal into shape to become tougher to kill, than it does for someone who's had lots of experience studying ancient books to become tougher to kill? If you found the greatest smith in the world, yes, I absolutely would expect him to be tougher than the greatest wizard in the world (though perhaps not tougher than the greatest soldier in the world). HP going up with level is (for whatever reason) an inherent part of the game system; why should it not apply equally to PCs and NPCs?

Because the point of the class and level system is to scale the power of and reward the player characters. To put it another way, it is designed for player characters, there's no logic to it beyond the needs (or rather the set up) of the game as it pertains to the players.

nagora
2008-08-30, 06:18 PM
Why does it make any less sense for a guy who's had lots of experience pounding metal into shape to become tougher to kill, than it does for someone who's had lots of experience studying ancient books to become tougher to kill?
Because: a) HP are not "toughness", in fact at higher levels they're less toughness than other things, I think; and b) because he's not a heroic character.

If the DM wants to make him important, then perhaps give him some fighting ability, but I don't see why being really good at beating metal into shape makes someone able to defy fate.

Capfalcon
2008-08-30, 06:36 PM
Before I start, thanks for the thread fork. I appreciate it.


How inconsistent it is to say: "Levels in Expert, Commoner, Aristocrat and Adept classes aren't gained through experience in combat, so people with those classes don't gain HP, BAB and Saving Throws as they gain levels"?
That said, I'm not a big fan of HP by level anyway.

Well, it does defeat the whole purpose of having a class...

I mean, when I make a blacksmith, I just give him the skill points and feats he needs to perform his job. And, apparently, when you make a blacksmith, you give him the skill points and feats he needs to perform is job. So... yeah.

Seriously, if it's remotely important (which it rarely is, IMO), I give him a three or four line Stat Block

Smith McHammer, Human Blacksmith
+10 Craft (Blacksmithing)
+4 Knowledge (That Which Man Was Not Meant to Know)
Cheery, High Strung, Secret member of the Local Cult of the Elder Gods

And... He's done.

Anyway, as far as the world is concerned, neither is really better. Both get you the same end result of having the relevant numbers for the NPC.

One just has some strange artifacts that it brings along.

Edit: Huh. I'm a halfling...

Prometheus
2008-08-30, 06:49 PM
The Purpose of ClassThe Purpose of Class? Well you just can't walk up to a lady looking like a vagabond and treating her like dirt. Why, she wants a gentlemen with style and sense of respect for her elegance. That's class! Kids these days, I'll tell ya...

The fantasy idea behind classes seem to be related to this idea of guilds. In the older versions, you have ceremonies with your guild-house and level up appropriately and get access to new training. So whenever you try to make an experienced character that exists outside of that system (not a multiclass, who exists in more than one guild) you have to recognize they are on their own and no one is teaching them their way. Most of use don't play with strong and influential guilds, and many of us are okay with character classes which are a little bit tweaked, but at that point you really do have to ask why we have classes. Why not have a massive system of points and prerequisites so that you can trade hp for saves like a monk or be a spellcaster who knows how to fight? Because the system if the system exists, its still not the rules of the game that we know and love.

nagora
2008-08-30, 06:53 PM
The fantasy idea behind classes seem to be related to this idea of guilds. In the older versions, you have ceremonies with your guild-house and level up appropriately and get access to new training.
I've never seen it done as explicit guilds - just a mentor/student relationship, but that's a nice way of looking at it. Would be very campaign dependant, however.


Most of use don't play with strong and influential guilds, and many of us are okay with character classes which are a little bit tweaked, but at that point you really do have to ask why we have classes. Why not have a massive system of points and prerequisites so that you can trade hp for saves like a monk or be a spellcaster who knows how to fight?
Because it never works? Justathought.

Matthew
2008-08-30, 08:01 PM
Zero-level is reserved for those who will never be heroes. They can have skills or abilities or whatever but for me the key item is that they live and die by mundane ways. Combat in 1e is quite realistic when you look at the chance of a normal person dying from any of the normal weapons.

Zero-level, to me, means base saves and base HP. Everything else can be set by DM's fiat, but those two things serve as the background from which the player characters as a whole emerge. Fiddle with them and the uniqueness and special qualities of PCs start to break down, and that, for me, is undesirable.

A good point, and one which underlines the versatility of the 0 level unclassed character. Whilst I am quite happy with the idea of them possessing combat potential beyond what 0 level implies (as to me 0 level unclassed character just means not described by the level and class system) the individual game master is left to decide for himself what is reasonable and consistent with the imagined reality of the campaign world.

Tormsskull
2008-08-30, 08:06 PM
Out of curiosity, for those game designers who prefer the "everyone has a class" method, do you actually fully stat out all of your npcs with classes?

Personally, when I am designing a town or whatever, I just write "Bob the blacksmith". I assume that he can do stuff that a blacksmith can do, and do not worry about too much else. If he is a super special blacksmith (i.e., can do things regular blacksmithes can't), I just write that under his description.

Knaight
2008-08-30, 10:12 PM
If you don't see the need you don't have to; but I and other people like to have a class even for those who don't fight in case it's needed and for the feeling that everything works by some rules. That's why it's better to have non-combatant classes- you can happily ignore them if you don't care about them.

Yes, but you can have rules without having classes. Unless mutants and masterminds and GURPS don't actually exist and I have just been imagining them or something.

Chronos
2008-08-30, 10:12 PM
Out of curiosity, for those game designers who prefer the "everyone has a class" method, do you actually fully stat out all of your npcs with classes?If I need to. Usually, I don't, but one thing about players is, they have an uncanny knack for making things relevant that you didn't think would be. When those situations come up, it's good to have something to fall back on.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 10:36 PM
Their rules are very consistent. :smallwink:

Their worlds are not. In fact, their rules are that consistent, it is more like a game without total class basis (and please can we not get off topic with WoW/4E comparisons). I mean, take WoW, the Pcs have classes, but even major NPcs don't function as class people, they just have a list of abilities.


Indeed, and we have monsters with bonus skill points and feats. Let me be clear, classes are great guidelines, but they are not building blocks for creating consistent worlds. To put it another way, if I create King Hugo (as I have done above) have I not in fact created a King Hugo Class?

And i say that unless King Hugo is some sort of mysthical being and/or with special powers, then no he should have his own class. He should simply be normal human with a class.
The idea of monsters simply being "monsters" doesn't make sense. Now if the entire system was classless well fine then, but if the PC draw their powers, abilities and powers on the basis of classes it makes sense taht the NPCs would.

Now let me make something clear, i don't like the way the NPC classes were handled in 3E, it wasn't good for the whole system, because they didn't let the NPC classes or any class gain experience from non combat situation and did the hit point thing all wrong for non combat classes



With a hybrid class/classless system you can use classes when appropriate (fighter) and abandon them when they are not (farmer).

Then why do that for the PC and not the NPCs. If you do it for some and not the others it simply leads to massive in consistency. I mean, why not have them follow the same systems other than a personal dislike of extra work. however, if you just don't want to make hte work load more just homebrew the rule. Other wise, ust make that the default. Remember, it is always easier to ignore a rule rather than implement one
from
EE

Capfalcon
2008-08-30, 11:22 PM
The idea of monsters simply being "monsters" doesn't make sense. Now if the entire system was classless well fine then, but if the PC draw their powers, abilities and powers on the basis of classes it makes sense taht the NPCs would.

Sure it makes sense to treat PCs and NPCs differently. It makes sense because this is a game, and the numbers only exist for PCs and NPCs to interact with the world in the manor they are expected to. PCs are on stage, as it were, for the whole game. NPCs have much less screen time, and you know their expected role, as it were. If they are guards, they just need some combat stats. If they are a shopkeeper, you just need any stats relevant to haggling. Anything else is really unnecessary.

EvilElitest
2008-08-30, 11:30 PM
Sure it makes sense to treat PCs and NPCs differently. It makes sense because this is a game, and the numbers only exist for PCs and NPCs to interact with the world in the manor they are expected to. PCs are on stage, as it were, for the whole game. NPCs have much less screen time, and you know their expected role, as it were. If they are guards, they just need some combat stats. If they are a shopkeeper, you just need any stats relevant to haggling. Anything else is really unnecessary.

which is an extremely metagaming and gamist philosophy that hurts consistency, world design, and in world logic, as well as being limitating and irretating. D&D isn't a story, it is a game, it has never been a story telling game in the way Exalted was and still is not. This isn't about making a vast story/omipresent main plot, at least not by default (if you chose to do that, fine but it isn't the default option). I mean, i find a world where the Dominic Deegan caste system runs the plays actually very jarring
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Capfalcon
2008-08-31, 12:08 AM
which is an extremely metagaming and gamist philosophy that hurts consistency, world design, and in world logic, as well as being limitating and irretating.

But, the thing is, you get the same result either way.

Hell, the whole concept of classes is, by defenition, a metagame concept. It's not any less "metagame" to to say that a Blacksmith has a +14 craft modifer than to say that the Blacksmith is a Level 7 Expert who has +14 craft from his 12 int, 10 ranks in Craft, and Skill Focus (Craft). One is just longer.

Ok, the last bit throws me. Now if you find it irritating, that's fine, but I don't understand how you can possibly say that sticking to the class system is less limiting. Since you are being constrained to by a system, you are, by definition, more limited. If you could elaborate upon that, I'd be interested in your explination.


D&D isn't a story, it is a game, it has never been a story telling game in the way Exalted was and still is not. This isn't about making a vast story/omipresent main plot, at least not by default (if you chose to do that, fine but it isn't the default option). I mean, i find a world where the Dominic Deegan caste system runs the plays actually very jarring

So... What? I have to admit that this is a bit of a Non Sequitor to me.
I don't see what saying that "The blacksmith can craft any non magical weapon" or saying that "The blacksmith has a +14 Craft(blacksmithing) skill" has to do with a an ongoing story. They both mean the same thing.

Starsinger
2008-08-31, 03:30 AM
which is an extremely metagaming and gamist philosophy that hurts consistency, world design, and in world logic, as well as being limitating and irretating. Why do NPCs expressly need a class? This is D&D, not Animal Crossing. Your NPCs don't have lives outside of what the DM makes them do. Gamist? No more gamist than deciding you don't care if Arwen has breakfast at the precise moment the sun first begins to rise while the Fellowship is heading towards Mt. Doom.


D&D isn't a story, it is a game, it has never been a story telling game in the way Exalted was and still is not. This isn't about making a vast story/omipresent main plot, at least not by default (if you chose to do that, fine but it isn't the default option). If by default option you mean a sandbox game, then I question your statement. Who needs stats in a sandbox game? People who are going to be killed. So you really just have it out for NPCs?


I mean, i find a world where the Dominic Deegan caste system runs the plays actually very jarring
1. What?
2. I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that Dominic Deegan is your new thing to pick on. (PS. I hear the cool kids are also hating on Halo lately, see if you can work that in there, champ. :smallwink:)

nagora
2008-08-31, 03:51 AM
If by default option you mean a sandbox game, then I question your statement. Who needs stats in a sandbox game? People who are going to be killed.
Eh? I don't see the connection here.

Starsinger
2008-08-31, 04:01 AM
Eh? I don't see the connection here.

It's really meant to connect with my first point in that post.

Edit: But to clarify. NPCs don't have lives beyond what the DM wants them to do. If you want to give the illusion that they do have their own lives (which, is a good thing. The illusion that the world is real is exactly what DMs should strive to do.) then having stat blocks for every NPC is not the way to do this. That's very Meta-game.

nagora
2008-08-31, 04:17 AM
It's really meant to connect with my first point in that post.

Edit: But to clarify. NPCs don't have lives beyond what the DM wants them to do. If you want to give the illusion that they do have their own lives (which, is a good thing. The illusion that the world is real is exactly what DMs should strive to do.) then having stat blocks for every NPC is not the way to do this. That's very Meta-game.

Depends on the definition of "stat block"; I give any NPC a chance to have notable abilities (Str etc) and note them if they have them, they all also have Alignment, AC and HP because you never know when a PC is going to start a fight :smallconfused: and maybe some note about their character/likes and dislikes.

But not a full character sheet unless I know that they're going to be interacting with the party a lot (so barmen tend to get fully stated out).

Starsinger
2008-08-31, 04:20 AM
Depends on the definition of "stat block"; I give any NPC a chance to have notable abilities (Str etc) and note them if they have them, they all also have Alignment, AC and HP because you never know when a PC is going to start a fight :smallconfused: and maybe some note about their character/likes and dislikes.

But not a full character sheet unless I know that they're going to be interacting with the party a lot (so barmen tend to get fully stated out).

I have a quick and dirty list of "commoner stats" which I use for anyone unless they're special enough to warrant my attention in the first place.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 09:01 AM
Their worlds are not. In fact, their rules are that consistent, it is more like a game without total class basis (and please can we not get off topic with WoW/4E comparisons). I mean, take WoW, the Pcs have classes, but even major NPcs don't function as class people, they just have a list of abilities.

Yes, but their worlds are the result of very consistant rules. The rules are king in WoW.



And i say that unless King Hugo is some sort of mysthical being and/or with special powers, then no he should have his own class. He should simply be normal human with a class.
The idea of monsters simply being "monsters" doesn't make sense. Now if the entire system was classless well fine then, but if the PC draw their powers, abilities and powers on the basis of classes it makes sense that the NPCs would.

Now let me make something clear, i don't like the way the NPC classes were handled in 3E, it wasn't good for the whole system, because they didn't let the NPC classes or any class gain experience from non combat situation and did the hit point thing all wrong for non combat classes.

Then why do that for the PC and not the NPCs. If you do it for some and not the others it simply leads to massive in consistency. I mean, why not have them follow the same systems other than a personal dislike of extra work. however, if you just don't want to make hte work load more just homebrew the rule. Other wise, ust make that the default. Remember, it is always easier to ignore a rule rather than implement one

Thing is, there's no difference in whether I make up a new class to fulfil King Hugo's function or assign the statistics as seems consistent with the world. There is nothing about a hybrid class/classless system that makes less sense or is more inconsistent than a classless or class system.

All a class provides is a set of rules for constructing and advancing characters, rules which they then create rules to over rule (rule 0, bonus skill points, bonus feats, monster abilities, etc...). Take Star Wars D6, for example. A perfect example of a hybrid class/classless system. You can make any player character you like within a "power level guideline", and there are about a score of "classes" or "archetypes" presented at the back of the book for ease of play. Savage Worlds is a similar example.

The most useful thing about classes and levels is as short hand desciptors. Much easier to write "Fighter 1" than "HD 1, HP 1d10, Life Energy Levels 1, AB 1, Attacks 1, Saving Throws a/b/c/d/e, Skill Points 8, Feats 2, etc..." The function of class and level as a shorthand is such a clever idea, but it's been lost over time, and replaced with the idea that "everything must have a class" and be bound by its strictures.

EvilElitest
2008-08-31, 12:26 PM
But, the thing is, you get the same result either way.

No its not. Because it is extremely limiting to simply assume that the NPCs will never interact with the PCs more than in passing
the black smith class has more consistency then simply throwing skills upon him. Because his powers and abilities, like those of the PCs, come from his race and class. He is limited by his class in the same way the PCs are. If i can just give him random bonus, then it becomes the soul of inconsistency. i could randomly give him what ever i felt like simply to rail road the plot, and that just leads to DM abuse

Again, if you want to have an inconsitent world, fine, but it shouldn't be the default assumption


Ok, the last bit throws me. Now if you find it irritating, that's fine, but I don't understand how you can possibly say that sticking to the class system is less limiting. Since you are being constrained to by a system, you are, by definition, more limited. If you could elaborate upon that, I'd be interested in your explination.
Alright, if you only play one style of play, IE one where NPCs don't matter and the Pcs are mostly just killing monsters, then other creators class abilities don't actually matter that much yes. However, if your characters start interacting with people, then consistency becomes important

for example, lets say the PCs are going to fight a band of goblins. the goblins have on caster. If the system isn't class based, the goblin can just cast like three spells and then is useless, regardless of the spell's levels or powers. It isn't about weather or not the goblins would logically have those spells, it is about challenging hte PCs

Now lets say we give this goblins three levels in wizard. He casts some spells at the PCs, and the PC after killing some goblins retreat. When the PC plan their next attack, they can now, because their character understand how wizards work, know some of the spells the goblin posses. If the goblins cast a fire ball, a magic missal, and invisibility, the PC's characters can logically figure out some of the limitations of the Goblin's powers. They know how many spells he has already casts, the minimal spell level he most likely is, and can make some guesses about what spells he could cast. Consistency allows teh Pcs to understand their foes and allies better. If i don't use a class system, i can have the goblin cast what ever i want regardless of logic.

Another example, after the next fight, the goblin caster surrenders and later joins up with them. They have a general understand of what their new comrade is able to do.

Its about having a general understand of creatures powers and abilities



So... What? I have to admit that this is a bit of a Non Sequitor to me.
I don't see what saying that "The blacksmith can craft any non magical weapon" or saying that "The blacksmith has a +14 Craft(blacksmithing) skill" has to do with a an ongoing story. They both mean the same thing.
Not really, because being able to craft any non magical weapon is actually quite absurd. Unless he is an expert, i don't most black smiths can actually craft any weapon in the world. A europeon sword smith isn't likely to know now to craft a katana. having a class that determines his powers is far more consistent and allows his general skill level to be more accurate


Why do NPCs expressly need a class? This is D&D, not Animal Crossing. Your NPCs don't have lives outside of what the DM makes them do. Gamist? No more gamist than deciding you don't care if Arwen has breakfast at the precise moment the sun first begins to rise while the Fellowship is heading towards Mt. Doom.

Stop evading the point.
1) Wrong, in D&D, within the world the NPc do have a life outside what hte Dm makes them do, far more than Animal crossing could hope to do. The world, the in game entity where the game takes place, doesn't exist to please the PCs, it is used as a device for the PCs. Each NPC you meet in the world, like random people you meet in the real world, has a life beyond he PCs, he has a back story and he has a purpose more than just serving as a story device to the PCs
2) Stop using fallacy's. Just because Arwen's breakfast doesn't make a difference doesn't mean that Arwen does not. more importantly, LOTR is a book. The plot, the world, the characters, everything is tightly controlled by the Author. D&D is not a book, it does not work under the assumption of filling out a tightly controlled plot, at least not by default. It is about options, it is about being in a world and interacting with it.



If by default option you mean a sandbox game, then I question your statement. Who needs stats in a sandbox game? People who are going to be killed. So you really just have it out for NPCs?

again, your evading the point by acting on a very limited view. Stats are not just for the people who fight, because stats effect everyway you interact with the world. So making a statement saying that the only people with stats are going to de is quite frankly absurd


1) What?
2. I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that Dominic Deegan is your new thing to pick on. (PS. I hear the cool kids are also hating on Halo lately, see if you can work that in there, champ.

1) Dominic Deegan, the massive failure of a webcomic has a very clear caste system based on characters importance. Oracle hunter can explain it, it is very annoying and one of the reasons why it is like a bad comic
2) oh bloody hell, stop evading the point
2a) i have been mocking DD for over a year now, it is far from a new thing
2b) and how can you call it a new fad of hatred when we have a giant thread dedicated to mocking it on theses boards that has been going on for a while now
2c) again, i have been mocking Halo for being a mediocre game without any real quality for quite a while now
2D) and on your evasions. My mocking of DD makes no difference, and i resent the idea that i am mocking something based upon some sort of fad. You are evading the point, and if you choose not the adress issues fine, but don't insult me in the process. I don't think that the caste system from dominic Deegan should be used as a default for RPGs


Edit: But to clarify. NPCs don't have lives beyond what the DM wants them to do. If you want to give the illusion that they do have their own lives (which, is a good thing. The illusion that the world is real is exactly what DMs should strive to do.) then having stat blocks for every NPC is not the way to do this. That's very Meta-game.

no, because if your going to have the world follow the same consistent rules, then the way the NPCs live in the world is quite clear


Yes, but their worlds are the result of very consistant rules. The rules are king in WoW.
But the world has not consistency what so ever



Thing is, there's no difference in whether I make up a new class to fulfil King Hugo's function or assign the statistics as seems consistent with the world. There is nothing about a hybrid class/classless system that makes less sense or is more inconsistent than a classless or class system.

yes there is. Why do this one guy get special powers. In a class system, then you have a general understanding of what King hugo is able to do. If he just has special powers, i could make him able to cast metor swarm as many times as he wants without wizard levels


All a class provides is a set of rules for constructing and advancing characters, rules which they then create rules to over rule (rule 0, bonus skill points, bonus feats, monster abilities, etc...). Take Star Wars D6, for example. A perfect example of a hybrid class/classless system. You can make any player character you like within a "power level guideline", and there are about a score of "classes" or "archetypes" presented at the back of the book for ease of play. Savage Worlds is a similar example.

A class demonstrates the abilities and powers of the person in question. Their race, their feats and their class indicate how they can interact with the world. Now if you don't like classes, fine have nobody have classes. But dont have a half way point, it is either one or the other
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Matthew
2008-08-31, 12:41 PM
But the world has not consistency what so ever

Arguably true, which gives the lie to consistent rule sets create consistent worlds.



yes there is. Why do this one guy get special powers. In a class system, then you have a general understanding of what King hugo is able to do. If he just has special powers, i could make him able to cast metor swarm as many times as he wants without wizard levels

Yes, you could, but would that be consistent with the imagined game world? That's the key, you see. King Hugo gets the exact abilities that King Hugo (the imagined character) should have. In a class based system, you give him a class and if the imagined character cannot be created via the class you over rule the class.



A class demonstrates the abilities and powers of the person in question. Their race, their feats and their class indicate how they can interact with the world. Now if you don't like classes, fine have nobody have classes. But dont have a half way point, it is either one or the other

A class is a guideline, exactly as you say. It demonstrates the abilities and powers of the person who fits perfectly into that class. Any being imagined who fails to be modelled by a class (or combination thereof) breaks the class rules (via rule 0 or some other effect). There is a half way point, and its successfully used by many other games. The distinction between class and classless is a constructed and convenient fiction.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 12:54 PM
I would suggest actually trying a classless game before you call them inconsistent. So I'm going to use your goblin wizard example again. In a classless game, the goblins are fighting. The wizard opens up with driving a swarm of bees out of their hive towards the PCs, through magic. Next spell involves blasting one of the PCs off their feet with a sudden hot air current. Third spell sends a goblin archer up into the air who then grabs onto a tree branch and pulls himself up. So from all this you can assume that the goblin has some heat magic, motion magic, and wind magic. It may just be heat and wind(as sending the goblin to the tree could have just been an updraft). Classless does not mean rules less, and there is still the general idea of what creatures are capable of. The goblins with weapons know how to use said weapons, and probably similar weapons. If a goblin effortlessly scurries up a tree, then that goblin is an impressive climber, and cornering them might not work very well, because they can just climb out of it. Its not about challenging the PCs necessarily, it just doesn't use classes. The blacksmith has a high blacksmithing skill, is probably stronger than average, and isn't necessarily going to be a good combatant. If a guy is walking around with a sword on his belt, you can safely assume that they know how to use it.

As for consistency, everybody has skills. The PCs probably have combat skills as their focus, NPCs probably have proffesional skills, hobby skills, and not combat skills. Probably some merchant related stuff in a lot of cases too. Classes are limiting because you have to stick within the class, and its abilities. It doesn't make sense that all blacksmiths gain the same abilities from their class, and a skill based systems simulates that much better. That and as for "can craft every weapon" can just be noted as a specialty. A european swordsmith can probably make a katana, assuming they have a model to work with, but its not what their going to be best with.

EvilElitest
2008-08-31, 01:14 PM
Arguably true, which gives the lie to consistent rule sets create consistent worlds.

WoW is more like 4E in that sense (and no, we are not talking about the whole MMO/WoW thing, this is something else) in that there is inconsistent rules that leads to an inconsistent world. the PCs have classes, but nobody else does, you see. Very inconstant world. A consistent rule based video game would be Oblivion to an extent


Yes, you could, but would that be consistent with the imagined game world? That's the key, you see. King Hugo gets the exact abilities that King Hugo (the imagined character) should have. In a class based system, you give him a class and if the imagined character cannot be created via the class you over rule the class.

In a game where there are no classes what so ever, then yes. But in a game where people's powers are decided entirely by class then it is an inconsistency


Knaight, i'm not against a classless system, i'm against a systems that mixes both clas and class less
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bosssmiley
2008-08-31, 01:15 PM
Out of curiosity, for those game designers who prefer the "everyone has a class" method, do you actually fully stat out all of your npcs with classes?

Weighing in as one of the "everyone has a class" crowd here.

Of course not. I'm far too sedentary for that. :smalltongue:

Most NPCs just get names, some will get "Name, Class+lvl", others get statted out as short form NPCs with boggo stats. Only plot-important NPCs get the full treatment.

As I see it class in D&D-land defines what you do and how you interact with the mechanics of the game. Everyone has some kind of class (even if it is Commoner/0 level man). There are no 'untouchable quest-givers', no 'system enforced pacifism' and no 'non-combat areas' IMG.


Personally, when I am designing a town or whatever, I just write "Bob the blacksmith". I assume that he can do stuff that a blacksmith can do, and do not worry about too much else. If he is a super special blacksmith (i.e., can do things regular blacksmithes can't), I just write that under his description.

Yep. That seems sane. It keeps the work of trying to hold an entire world in your head within limits.

Speaking personally I've just stripped the NPC classes back to 5 levels max (after reading some persuasive thoughts by Justin Bacon and the Tome guys on what 5th level means in terms of abilities and skills). Anyone above 5th level (PrC threshold) is probably big enough to have a proper (PC) class.

Yahzi
2008-08-31, 01:19 PM
On the one hand you have no one to blame but yourself, on the other you can blame the system. Depends how responsible you want to be for your game world.
Then what am I paying for? Why even give WotC a nickel, if I'm going to have to make up everything on my own?

I mean, you could just as easily write down on your PC's sheet, "+3 to hit."

The gamebooks are there to help the DM and the players. If people expect the source books to help them construct a believable, consistent world for their role-playing, well, that doesn't sound like they're asking too much.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 01:22 PM
WoW is more like 4E in that sense (and no, we are not talking about the whole MMO/WoW thing, this is something else) in that there is inconsistent rules that leads to an inconsistent world. the PCs have classes, but nobody else does, you see. Very inconstant world. A consistent rule based video game would be Oblivion to an extent.

Well, I suppose we shall have to agree to disagree. As far as I can tell, WoW has a very consistent rule set.



In a game where there are no classes what so ever, then yes. But in a game where people's powers are decided entirely by class then it is an inconsistency

The rules are inconisistent, that's a given. The point is that the game world they support (the imagined reality) can be more consistent as a result. If you have a class based system where rule 0 exists then you effectively have a hybrid system. Whether you have rules for a commoner class is irrelevant in that situation, since you can choose whether to use them, modify them, or discard them. The question then becomes only one of where you place the emphasis.



Then what am I paying for? Why even give WotC a nickel, if I'm going to have to make up everything on my own?

I mean, you could just as easily write down on your PC's sheet, "+3 to hit."

Indeed, [I]what are you paying for? Unbalanced junk usually, but actually other people's ideas is what you are paying for, quite a lot of art, and a physical book that contains their ideas.



The gamebooks are there to help the DM and the players. If people expect the source books to help them construct a believable, consistent world for their role-playing, well, that doesn't sound like they're asking too much.

Yes, and as I said, classes are a great guideline.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 01:22 PM
WoW is more like 4E in that sense (and no, we are not talking about the whole MMO/WoW thing, this is something else) in that there is inconsistent rules that leads to an inconsistent world. the PCs have classes, but nobody else does, you see. Very inconstant world. A consistent rule based video game would be Oblivion to an extent

Except for the world is totally consistent. What you do always has a set reaction, everything is predictable, and everything always works the same way. The limits of videogames guarantee a consistent world, and everybody has the same stats within a set of stats. It does have classes, there are PCs and Monsters, which actually have full stats, then there are NPCs in that game, which get their own class, which basically comes down to a dialogue tree, maybe some programs for a fetch quest, etc.

If everything has the same stats, its consistent. In D&D, everybody plays by the same rules, an inconsistent game would be where attributes differed between monsters, and different monsters had different rules of combat used. How they get the stats doesn't matter.

EvilElitest
2008-08-31, 01:25 PM
Well, I suppose we shall have to agree to disagree. As far as I can tell, WoW has a very consistent rule set.

But an inconsistent world set.



The rules are inconisistent, that's a given. The point is that the game world they support (the imagined reality) can be more consistent as a result. If you have a class based system where rule 0 exists [i.e. the ability to over rule any rule or class definition in the interests of a consistent game world] then you effectively have a hybrid system. Whether you have rules for a commoner class is irrelevant in that situation, since you can choose whether to use them, modify them, or discard them. The question then becomes only one of where you place the emphasis.
the rules, nor the world have to been inconsistent
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Telonius
2008-08-31, 01:26 PM
As part of a given game, a DM doesn't need to produce stat blocks for everything in existence in the game world. You could do it if you wanted, and you might want to produce a stat block for really important NPCs and such. But really, the stats for Street Urchin #3 are usually not all that important. You can skip them if you want.

However, before you start a given game, the DM or players might need to be able to produce a stat block for just about anything a given player would want to play. If a player wants to play King Hugo, or Street Urchin #3, or Bob the Blacksmith, then the DM and players need some sort of a ruleset to be able to make that character.

Giving everything a class isn't necessary. Being able to potentially give anything a class, is.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 01:28 PM
But an inconsistent world set.

The world is certainly inconsistent in regards to conventional expectations of plausibility.



the rules, nor the world have to been inconsistent

I am not quite understanding the meaning of this sentence. If you mean the rules of the game do not have to be inconsistent to create a consistently plausible world, you may well be right, though I am yet to see a rule set that manages it without an explicit or implied rule 0 of some sort [i.e. license to deviate from the rules when they fail to meet expectations]. It is also true that an inconsistent rule set will not automatically create a consistently plausible world, the point is rather that the driving factor in consistent world creation is not a function of the consistency or inconsistency of the rule set, but how the game master and players use the rules they are given.



Giving everything a class isn't necessary. Being able to potentially give anything a class, is.

Anything the players are expected to play, yes, though the rules for their creation need not be consistent with the rules for creating NPCs (or for creating other sorts of PCs).

A lot of this "consistency and inconsistency" discussion is going to depend on your definition of the terms. Something can be reasonably accurately described as being consistently inconsistent, for instance.

Consistent Rules Structure
Inconsistent Rules Structure
Consistently Plausible World
Inconsistently Plausible World

I cannot really think of a rules set that can actually be described as being generally inconsistent. Rule sets tend towards consistency by their nature. Aspects of the rules may not be consistent with other aspects, however, such as the method by which you create a character.

EvilElitest
2008-08-31, 01:28 PM
Except for the world is totally consistent. What you do always has a set reaction, everything is predictable, and everything always works the same way. The limits of videogames guarantee a consistent world, and everybody has the same stats within a set of stats. It does have classes, there are PCs and Monsters, which actually have full stats, then there are NPCs in that game, which get their own class, which basically comes down to a dialogue tree, maybe some programs for a fetch quest, etc.

The world is not at all realistic. The other people in the world simply exist to amuse the PCs, which isn't consistent. Its ok, becaue its well, an MMO but that limitation doesn't need to carry over to Table tops



If everything has the same stats, its consistent. In D&D, everybody plays by the same rules, an inconsistent game would be where attributes differed between monsters, and different monsters had different rules of combat used. How they get the stats doesn't matter.
no, the world is not. The rule base isn't consistent, because it doesn't work under the same rule base universally.

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wodan46
2008-08-31, 03:13 PM
The class system is something I've always viewed as stupid. Your character is good at the things he/she trained in, and like most people tends to train skills related to their primary career more often and in more variety than more distant skills. People don't level up their lawyer skills, they level up their Knowledge(Law) and Diplomacy skills.

Starsinger
2008-08-31, 03:33 PM
Now lets say we give this goblins three levels in wizard. He casts some spells at the PCs, and the PC after killing some goblins retreat. When the PC plan their next attack, they can now, because their character understand how wizards work, know some of the spells the goblin posses. If the goblins cast a fire ball, a magic missal, and invisibility, the PC's characters can logically figure out some of the limitations of the Goblin's powers. They know how many spells he has already casts, the minimal spell level he most likely is, and can make some guesses about what spells he could cast. Consistency allows teh Pcs to understand their foes and allies better. If i don't use a class system, i can have the goblin cast what ever i want regardless of logic.

Another example, after the next fight, the goblin caster surrenders and later joins up with them. They have a general understand of what their new comrade is able to do.

Its about having a general understand of creatures powers and abilities



How disgustingly meta-gamey. I mean, yeah giving NPCs explicit classes are fantastic for "Oh, hey! He punched me, he must be a monk." "Oh! He summoned a bear, chances are he's a druid!"

Forcing every race in the world into 11 (assuming phb only) different molds is limiting. All races magical traditions are the same? In character, I have no idea if that goblin which flung a magic missile at the party is a wizard, or a sorcerer, or a goblin with magic missile 3/day. In game, it also doesn't matter. Your character will say, "Oh. That's arcane magic." But that's about it. Still, I do see the meta-game merit of being able to identify your opponent via race and class by what they do. It makes it a lot easier for you to outsmart the DM and come up with a way to counter the NPCs. :smallfrown:

Tormsskull
2008-08-31, 03:46 PM
Now lets say we give this goblins three levels in wizard. He casts some spells at the PCs, and the PC after killing some goblins retreat. When the PC plan their next attack, they can now, because their character understand how wizards work, know some of the spells the goblin posses. If the goblins cast a fire ball, a magic missal, and invisibility, the PC's characters can logically figure out some of the limitations of the Goblin's powers. They know how many spells he has already casts, the minimal spell level he most likely is, and can make some guesses about what spells he could cast.

This above quote is very much the definition of metagaming. Just because the player characters have a "wizard" in their group and he can only cast x number of spells based on his level, doesn't mean that an enemy spellcaster is the same. I think it would be very foolish for any character in a world to think that all creatures/people in the world can be organized into a certain 'class' or another.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 03:52 PM
No kidding. If I was GMing a game like that I would really start to like spell like abilities, or invocation like abilities, or manuever like abilities. Mixing them up, along with totally made up abilities on monsters that I personally create.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 04:20 PM
The issue is tying skills to class level AND to other things.

Agree, a big mistake of 3e was tying to level things that should have not being tied to level, like non-combat skills. in 2ed a blacksmith was a 0 level character and he could have as many blacksmith NWP as you wanted, then it came 3e that said that the best tailor in the world (20 level expert) could kiss a trained fighter ass (5th level fighter).

OTOH I disagree with giving a king a load of hit point to protect him from character assasination (player character, that is ;) ) if you want to protect him from a random crossbow bolt either you give him an adeguate level in a combat class with all that follow, or you use simple common sense, a half dozen trained guards always around him giving him cover, a spell/items of protection from magic Arrow/bolts, a cleric with healing magic that follow him anywhere, a ring of regeneration, forbid people to go to his presence bearing weapons (you know, like the kings in the real world did) and so on. There is no need to cheat.

Bandededed
2008-08-31, 04:35 PM
The world is not at all realistic. The other people in the world simply exist to amuse the PCs, which isn't consistent. Its ok, becaue its well, an MMO but that limitation doesn't need to carry over to Table tops

Actually, if all the NPC's exist solely to amuse the PC's, aren't killable, and don't kill the PC's, you're sitting on a very consistent game. Realistic or not, and it really isn't, it is consistent.

Anyway, I can see why you wouldn't want to fully stat out an NPC, because it's a lot of extra work. Why you should have to fill out a character sheet for Joe banker is beyond me. Some NPC's - i.e. the guy who's going to help them on this quest - need to be stated out because all of their stats (HP, BAB, saces, etc) are probably going to be relevant at some point.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 04:38 PM
OTOH I disagree with giving a king a load of hit point to protect him from character assasination (player character, that is ;) ) if you want to protect him from a random crossbow bolt either you give him an adeguate level in a combat class with all that follow, or you use simple common sense, a half dozen trained guards always around him giving him cover, a spell/items of protection from magic Arrow/bolts, a cleric with healing magic that follow him anywhere, a ring of regeneration, forbid people to go to his presence bearing weapons (you know, like the kings in the real world did) and so on. There is no need to cheat.

Heh, heh. It was pure example, to illustrate the point that you can do whatever you like with a 0 level unclassed character. However, the AD&D 2e DMG is quite clear on the subject and even suggests what those extra hit points might represent:



When it is necessary to the success of an adventure (and only on extremely rare occasions), you can give 0-level characters more hit points. The situation could have come about for any number of reasons: magic, blessings from on high, some particularly twisted curse (the peasant who could not die!)--you name it.
It is also useful to make important NPCs, such as 0-level kings or princes, tougher than the average person. This is particularly important in the case of rulers, otherwise some crazed player character is going to overthrow the campaign kingdom with a single swipe of his sword. This is normally not a desirable result.

I don't necessarily advocate giving King Hugo 43 hit points, but whether we agree or disagree it is by no stretch of the imagination "cheating". If King Hugo is indeed divinely protected, it is even consistently plausible campaign world design.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 04:41 PM
This above quote is very much the definition of metagaming. Just because the player characters have a "wizard" in their group and he can only cast x number of spells based on his level, doesn't mean that an enemy spellcaster is the same. I think it would be very foolish for any character in a world to think that all creatures/people in the world can be organized into a certain 'class' or another.

It is not metagaming,, is it an assumption, that it could be wrong.

If I, as a character, after rolled a spellcraft check identify what the goblin used as a magic missile it is just natural that I identify him as a wizard, and if I'm familiar with wizards I know what wizards can or cannot do. Of course maybe that0's no wizard, maybe he is a sorcerer, or some custom class made by the GM that use arcane spells, that mean I made a wrong assumption and this could make harder to defeat them next time.
What I know is that I would hate not have a mean to know the abilities of my enemies when I meet them for more than one time either if this mean I know what their Powers have or the characteristic of the classes they are using, but if I hae no way to plan ahead because every monsters I meet is different from every monster I've met and every monster I will meet because Mmy DM give to every and all of them different ability, classes and/or powers... wel, it would sucks.

Kurald Galain
2008-08-31, 04:43 PM
This above quote is very much the definition of metagaming. Just because the player characters have a "wizard" in their group and he can only cast x number of spells based on his level, doesn't mean that an enemy spellcaster is the same.

That's not metagaming at all, that's assuming that the game world has consistent laws of magic and that a caster is familiar with several of them. In a world where "Falkirshno's Inferno Bolt" is the most common fire spell, one could easily imagine a competent wizard knowing its maximum range or countermeasures, just like a competent soldier would know the specifics of the most common weapons employed by his enemies.

Of course this is not going to work in a world where magic does whatever is required for the plot (or game mechanics) at the time.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 04:50 PM
H
Forcing every race in the world into 11 (assuming phb only) different molds is limiting. All races magical traditions are the same?
Magic is the same for eveyone, it could work the same for every race, if not, it means that some race will use custom or wizard classes.


In character, I have no idea if that goblin which flung a magic missile at the party is a wizard, or a sorcerer, or a goblin with magic missile 3/day. I think a spellcraft check can tell if what you have seens is a spell or spell-like ability or something else.


In game, it also doesn't matter. Your character will say, "Oh. That's arcane magic." But that's about it. Still, I do see the meta-game merit of being able to identify your opponent via race and class by what they do. It makes it a lot easier for you to outsmart the DM and come up with a way to counter the NPCs. :smallfrown:But after the fifth time I fight them I should have some idea of what those goblin pseudo wizards can do, unless every goblin (or monster) I meet is totally different form any other goblinI've meet and will meet, but this would make a little difficult to prepare for a fight.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 04:55 PM
Giving NPC's class levels is a method of limiting the DM's powers. Which can be a good thing. If the PC's are defeated by an NPC and he has a clearly defined set of abilities and other stats then they have nothing to complain about. If they lose and the NPC just had whatever stats the DM felt fit in with that specific situation the PC's might begin to feel that the DM is just making up whatever he needs to in order to force the story along the path he wants it to. Most Players don't like it when they feel that no matter what they did the DM was just going to have the story go the way he wanted it to.

Also the only reason not to is to somehow seperate the PC's from the rest of the world (A problem of most RPG type games) which results in the PC's feeling like everyone is just there for the sole purpose of whatever impact they have on the PC's. Also if a spellcaster gains Hit Points and BAB then why shouldn't a blacksmith? If anything the blacksmith is atleast using his body. How does studying ancient spellbooks make you more adept at swinging a sword? The same way that beating pieces of metal into whatever shape you want does. It may not work like that in the real world but that is how it works in DnD and saying that blacksmithing is not a viable way of gaining BAB has even less basis in logic than saying that a Wizard should not gain BAB.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 04:56 PM
Actually, if all the NPC's exist solely to amuse the PC's, aren't killable, and don't kill the PC's, you're sitting on a very consistent game. Realistic or not, and it really isn't, it is consistent.

My point exactly. Although there are bigger problems, like most of the NPCs being too dumb to live. I don't think any of them know to feed themselves, let alone take care of children.

Back to the goblin thing, the reason you would know after the fifth fight is because you fought them five times, not because you meta gamed and knew they were wizards. If they seem to consistently use the same general sort of magic, you know what your up against.

Yahzi
2008-08-31, 05:09 PM
Back to the goblin thing, the reason you would know after the fifth fight is because you fought them five times, not because you meta gamed and knew they were wizards. If they seem to consistently use the same general sort of magic, you know what your up against.
It's not meta-gaming when the Fighter knows that Greatswords do 2d6 and short swords do 1d6. It's professional class knowledge.

Similarly, it's not metagaming when the Wizard knows that anybody who can master the Fireball spell also has a very good chance of mastering Dispel Magic.

There are two kinds of approaches:

1) The DM builds an encounter he thinks the PCs can handle.

2) The DM builds a world, and PCs pick encounters out of it based on what they think they can handle.

To my mind, one of these ways is vastly superior. But it requires the PCs to have enough knowledge of the world to make good choices.

chiasaur11
2008-08-31, 05:25 PM
My point exactly. Although there are bigger problems, like most of the NPCs being too dumb to live. I don't think any of them know to feed themselves, let alone take care of children.



Which is why they send adventurers after the goblins, who they blame for eating their children that died of the peasant's stupidity.

The GDF knows the truth.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 05:27 PM
Just being a wizard isn't enough to know about other stuff. A wizard may not even know about spontaneous magic, or divine magic, or any number of things. There is a specific skill for this for a reason. As for needing enough knowledge of the world to make good choices, realistically seeing somebody with a gun in a holster or something doesn't tell you much about how good of a shot they are. Reconnaissance is all thats really needed, just because a goblin uses fireball doesn't mean they aren't going to let loose a disintegrate later. Observing a tribe of goblins, watching their tactics, seeing what they are capable of may be enough.

Daimbert
2008-08-31, 05:28 PM
Back to the goblin thing, the reason you would know after the fifth fight is because you fought them five times, not because you meta gamed and knew they were wizards. If they seem to consistently use the same general sort of magic, you know what your up against.

But it isn't metagaming; it's the characters using the knowledge that they are supposed to have about the world that they live in to make decisions about what things mean. Characters have all sorts of information about how the world works, especially through things like knowledge checks and so on and so forth. They also live in the world, and so also have to learn things about it. If something uses an ability that only someone of a certain class can do, the characters are reasonable in assuming that that thing has that class (for things that can have classes in the first place; strict monsters wouldn't, but then would have it as part of the Monster Manual). If you give the goblin the abilities you want the goblin to have, the characters CANNOT use their actual knowledge of the world to figure that out ... and the players start wondering why they can't do what the goblin can.

This is one of the main reasons that if you have classed PCs it is NOT a good idea to have unclassed NPCs; PCs should, in theory, be able to do anything NPCs can do. So if you don't have a Blacksmith class, what if someone comes up with a character concept of someone who was a blacksmith before "getting the call" and becoming an adventurer (maybe starting out as fighter)? How do you calculate what the PC should be able to do? What if you want to have a "break" in between campaigns, with the PCs at least potentially stopping adventuring and moving into jobs in the common world? How do you reflect the non-adventuring professions that they studied before the world become imperiled again?

Even putting that aside -- as it may be uncommon -- having classless NPCs can cause problems in the game world. If it's part of the class that Blacksmiths can craft a magical weapon of degree X and a mundane item of degree Y, and the characters get the magical weapon created but have the blacksmith say that he can't make the mundane item, they are justified IN CHARACTER in thinking that either the blacksmith is lying or else has to have a VERY good reason for not being able to do that. How do you handle that when you just gave the blacksmith the ability to make that magical item? There's no need for a reason for not being able to make that mundane item, so how do you trigger a consistent hint that the blacksmith is lying to them? There's no information for the CHARACTERS to have that would indicate that anything is amiss because --as was said for the goblin -- they have NO CLUE what abilities the blacksmith or any other NPC should have.

Add in abilities that match PC abilities, and you get right back to not only do the CHARACTERS have no clue what things can do, but you can create overpowered enemies that can do things that the PCs can't ... or underpowered ones that can do some things that the PCs can but not all the things. There's no ability to know what to expect from any encounter and many things will become even unintentional DM fudging. And DM fudging is frustrating for some players ... specifically, those who want to be able to understand the world they're in and should understand.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 05:30 PM
Giving NPC's class levels is a method of limiting the DM's powers. Which can be a good thing. If the PC's are defeated by an NPC and he has a clearly defined set of abilities and other stats then they have nothing to complain about. If they lose and the NPC just had whatever stats the DM felt fit in with that specific situation the PC's might begin to feel that the DM is just making up whatever he needs to in order to force the story along the path he wants it to. Most Players don't like it when they feel that no matter what they did the DM was just going to have the story go the way he wanted it to.

You are talking about CR or ECL here. This is all very, very subjective stuff. It may be the case that a group of players think that every encounter should be balanced to what their characters can handle, but that goes completely against the grain of the game. Encounters are set up with probabilities of success, being able to tell whether the DM overmatched the PCs or not according to a flawed mathematical formula is no advantage at all. It sets up an "us versus him" mentality that is rarely considered good for the game (unless you like PvPs). To put it another way, this only matters if the DM is trying to "beat you".



Also the only reason not to is to somehow seperate the PC's from the rest of the world (A problem of most RPG type games) which results in the PC's feeling like everyone is just there for the sole purpose of whatever impact they have on the PC's. Also if a spellcaster gains Hit Points and BAB then why shouldn't a blacksmith? If anything the blacksmith is atleast using his body. How does studying ancient spellbooks make you more adept at swinging a sword? The same way that beating pieces of metal into whatever shape you want does. It may not work like that in the real world but that is how it works in DnD and saying that blacksmithing is not a viable way of gaining BAB has even less basis in logic than saying that a Wizard should not gain BAB.

This is not a function of class. Whether an Orc is described as a "fighter 1" or "a creature with all the abilities that a fighter 1 has" makes no difference at all to how the players perceive that monster. And again, the reason a player character spell caster gets more hit points as he rises in levels is a game construct to measure power levels. It has absolutely nothing to do with what the spell caster did or did not do beyond how the game master rewarded him in terms of experience points.



But it isn't metagaming; it's the characters using the knowledge that they are supposed to have about the world that they live in to make decisions about what things mean.

No, it's the players making decisions based on the rules (or rather the maths) of the game. That actually is meta gaming (or gaming), and it's not a dirty word.

The rules of the game are tools for running the game. They are not the game world. Arguments about what information the players receive based on their knowledge of the rules of the game is coming at the problem from a very narrow angle.

The situation should not be:

Player: My character is Level One.
DM: A Goblin appears.
Player: Hmmn. Goblins are one hit die. My character can probably handle that Goblin.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 05:33 PM
Heh, heh. It was pure example, to illustrate the point that you can do whatever you like with a 0 level unclassed character. However, the AD&D 2e DMG is quite clear on the subject and even suggests what those extra hit points might represent:

Oh, I know. Just because I like 2nd edtion don't mean I agree with everything in it. :)



I don't necessarily advocate giving King Hugo 43 hit points, but whether we agree or disagree it is by no stretch of the imagination "cheating". If King Hugo is indeed divinely protected, it is even consistently plausible campaign world design.

I still think that cheating is not neccesary, there are ways to protect King hugop from assasination without "arbitrarily" giving him extra hit point, for example...

Is it divine protection? well, Hugo have X levels of cleric, or paladin. (he don't cast spells because he don't know he can )

he have a literal guardian angel ready to protect him/ use healing magic on him.

he have a "False life" effect cast on him (from the god itself or one of his "minions").

etc.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 05:37 PM
I still think that cheating is not neccesary, there are ways to protect King hugop from assasination without "arbitrarily" giving him extra hit point, for example...

Is it divine protection? well, Hugo have X levels of cleric, or paladin. (he don't cast spells because he don't know he can )

he have a literal guardian angel ready to protect him/ use healing magic on him.

he have a "False life" effect cast on him (from the god itself or one of his "minions").

Let's not refer to it as cheating, since it isn't. The point is that you can present this divine protection any way you like. You can give him class levels if you want, or you can give him the equivalent, or you can give him something totally different. So long as it supports a consistently plausible campaign world (however you and your players define that) it doesn't matter one whit (that is, given that your aim is to support a consistently plausible campaign world).

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 05:50 PM
Let's not refer to it as cheating, since it isn't. The point is you can present this divine protection any way you like. You can give him class levels if you want, or you can give him the equivalent, or you can give him something totally different, so long as it supports a consistently plausible world (however you and your players define that).

The (well, "another") problem is who define what is consistent? If you use rules at least you have a common base, player can say "you know, I think this part of the rules don't mix with the rest" or something like it. if you just make stuff up you can think it is consistent, the players have no way to agree or disagree.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 05:52 PM
You are talking about CR or ECL here.

No, he is talking about how if you lose to someone because he is 20 levels higher than you is a thing, if you lose becasue the DM decided that no matter what, his hitpoint would never go in the negative, is another.
And if I ever found out about it in the second case, i'll just hand the DM my character sheet and ask him to keep me informed on how the story goes, because it is obvious my contribution is irrilevant to it, and i'd go watch some TV.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 05:53 PM
The situation should not be:

Player: My character is Level One.
DM: A Goblin appears.
Player: Hmmn. Goblins are one hit die. My character can probably handle that Goblin.

No. No it shouldn't. But what it should be is
DM: A goblin appears.
Player: Hmmm. It's about the size of a child. In every fantasy story ever written (including the DnD books I have read) Goblins are not as powerful as Humans. In most of those stories (so assumadly in whatever world the characters are in) the existence and general capabilities of goblins are fairly well known. IE: Goblins are small vicous little creatures that are generally cowardly. They are usually not a match for even untrained humans but tend to come in large groups. I think I can take it.

It is logical to assume that your character has heard of goblins before. It is also logical to assume that even if he did not a creature roughly the size of a child is not particuraly threatening.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 05:53 PM
The (well, "another") problem is who define what is consistent? If you use rules at least you have a common base, player can say "you know, I think this part of the rules don't mix with the rest" or something like it. if you just make stuff up you can think it is consistent, the players have no way to agree or disagree.

There is no inherent advantage in defaulting to the rulebooks for consistency over the game master. All you've done is move where the authority lies as to what is consistent (and, indeed, since the game master can overrule the books you haven't even done that).



No. No it shouldn't. But what it should be is
DM: A goblin appears.
Player: Hmmm. It's about the size of a child. In every fantasy story ever written (including the DnD books I have read) Goblins are not as powerful as Humans. In most of those stories (so assumadly in whatever world the characters are in) the existence and general capabilities of goblins are fairly well known. IE: Goblins are small vicous little creatures that are generally cowardly. They are usually not a match for even untrained humans but tend to come in large groups. I think I can take it.

It is logical to assume that your character has heard of goblins before. It is also logical to assume that even if he did not a creature roughly the size of a child is not particuraly threatening.

It is actually not logical to assume that at all. It is completely a function of the campaign setting.



No, he is talking about how if you lose to someone because he is 20 levels higher than you is a thing, if you lose becasue the DM decided that no matter what, his hitpoint would never go in the negative, is another.

And if I ever found out about it in the second case, i'll just hand the DM my character sheet and ask him to keep me informed on how the story goes, because it is obvious my contribution is irrilevant to it, and i'd go watch some TV.

You're reading things into what I am saying. Who on earth is talking about infinite hit points, or railroading, or unbalanced unkillable encounters? Not me. Whether I slap twenty levels on a monster or give him the equivalent level of power makes no appreciable difference. A much better argument is that it is a good way for the game master to judge the difficulty of his encounters. However, you don't need a class system to do that.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 05:54 PM
The situation should not be:

Player: My character is Level One.
DM: A Goblin appears.
Player: Hmmn. Goblins are one hit die. My character can probably handle that Goblin.

If is the player saying that is ok, the problem is if the character say it, the character should say "Hmmm, goblins are pretty wimpy, I think I can take him"

Of course that goblin is a 10 level warblade, but that is another problem. ;)

Matthew
2008-08-31, 05:58 PM
If is the player saying that is ok, the problem is if the character say it, the character should say "Hmmm, goblins are pretty wimpy, I think I can take him"

Of course that goblin is a 10 level warblade, but that is another problem. ;)

It is not another problem, it's actually the same exact problem. The player lacks knowledge of the stats of the creature, as does the character. How do you decide what the character thinks of his chances of success?

TheThan
2008-08-31, 06:04 PM
Class and level are designed to allow the dm to easily judge the power level of the players, so that he can more accurately give them appropriate encounters.

With that in mind, I would say that assigning classes and levels to NPCs is not always necessary. However it can be quite useful. If for example you wish to define just how good that weapon smith NPC is at making weapons within the mechanics of the system. With dnd 3.x, you have the tools to do so.

Personally I use a compromise, I stat out stats, hit points and primary skill levels and leave it at that. If anything else comes up, well I can wing it by making an educated guess as to what that particular stat would be.

I find this method makes stating out NPCs quick and easy, without having to write up full character sheets, and without totally winging it, and forgetting what i just told my players 30 minutes ago.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 06:09 PM
It is not another problem, it's actually the same exact problem. The player lacks knowledge of the stats of the creature, as does the character. How do you decide what the character thinks of his chances of success?

Goblins are usually pretty common, there are probably scores of stories and legends about them. A PC should know about goblins more or less as he know about rats or wolfs.

Beside Goblins are small size and have a STR penalty. You see someone about half of your heighth and scrawny even for his size and you don't think you can take him into a one-on-one fight?

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 06:11 PM
There is no inherent advantage in defaulting to the rulebooks for consistency over the game master. All you've done is move where the authority lies as to what is consistent (and, indeed, since the game master can overrule the books you haven't even done that).

The advantage is that rules are common, making stuff up is arbitrary and one sided, as a player I can know what the rules say, but I can't know what you want to make up, maybe you think that give extra hit points to hugo is consistent, but I could disagree, except I will never know if you don't tell me, and you probably would not tell me until I find out by myself.
And once I find you make up somethng how can you trust you don't making up something else? Like making the BBEG escape even when he don't have a way to do it, for example?

Matthew
2008-08-31, 06:13 PM
Goblins are usually pretty common, there are probably scores of stories and legends about them. A PC should know about goblins more or less as he know about rats or wolfs.

Beside Goblins are small size and have a STR penalty. You see someone about half of your heighth and scrawny even for his size and you don't think you can take him into a one-on-one fight?

"Hmmn, he was tougher than he looked." :smallbiggrin:

These are assumptions built on our expectations of goblins. Whether there are stories, whether goblins are pretty common, whether the character does know more about goblins than he does about rats or wolves, and whether goblins appear to be scrawny and half your size, are all things that need to be decided and can be related verbally. There is no need at all for the player to interpret mathematical data about them to come to that conclusion.



The advantage is that rules are common, making stuff up is arbitrary and one sided, as a player I can know what the rules say, but I can't know what you want to make up, maybe you think that give extra hit points to hugo is consistent, but I could disagree, except I will never know if you don't tell me, and you probably would not tell me until I find out by myself.
And once I find you make up somethng how can you trust you don't making up something else? Like making the BBEG escape even when he don't have a way to do it, for example?

This assumes that you do know what the rules say. What about completely new players who don't know? Are they at a disadvantage because they don't understand the CR system? We're heading into the realm of "rules mastery" here.

If you can't trust your game master, you are playing with the wrong people. You don't need to be protected from him, he is not your enemy or your opponent. He's just a guy trying to run a fun game for everyone.

Sebastian
2008-08-31, 06:18 PM
You're reading things into what I am saying. Who on earth is talking about infinite hit points, or railroading, or unbalanced unkillable encounters? Not me.
No, Xenogears was, in the post you answered to.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 06:23 PM
No, Xenogears was, in the post you answered to.

Xenogears was talking about that as the natural result of not having a CR/ECL/Class/Level system. I am saying that it is not the natural result. That is the natural result of having a bad game master (whether you have those systems or not). Bear in mind I am also not saying CR/ECL/Class/Level are bad ideas. They are good guidelines for figuring what will and will not challenge a party, even if not very successful. They shouldn't be treated as shackles, though.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 06:28 PM
Not all DM's are going to fudge the rules for the NPC's but some will. If the PC's are fighting someone and he pulls out some crazy ability to turn the tide in the middle of the fight the Players might get upset. If the DM can say "no see he has three levels in this class" the players can go "Oh well I guess that's okay." If the DM can only say "Oh well I thought that he should have that ability." The players might think the DM is trying to force the campaign to whatever foregone conclusion he has. Having the NPC's have class levels is more of a way of ensuring the players that the DM is in fact allowing them the possibility of impacting the world. The players aren't just observers or actors but their will can change the story.

It doesn't actual change anything as far as mechanics go. Just like having people roll the dice in front of everyone doesn't affect the roll (unless the Players or DM is a complete jerk) it just assures everyone that the person who just rolled 4 natural 20's in a row is just lucky and doesn't need a sound beating. DM's cheat sometimes. So do Players. It's only natural to not want your carefully constructed characters or plot to be destroyed by a lucky or unlucky roll. Hopefully the people can resist the temptation but the the DM and other players might get a little suspicious if a character on death's door suddenly rolls four natural 20's and kill the villain. It's possible to happen but is so unlikely that the other people involved will want to have seen you roll those dice.

Same thing with assigning class levels to NPC's. It just reassures the players that the DM is playing fair and square. Sure no rules say that the DM can't call upon the powers of the gods themselves to save the villain at the last moment but it is considered bad form.

And although there are certainly campaign settings where a typical human wouldn't know a lot about goblins in a standard fantasy setting most humans would know enough about goblins to know that they can beat an average one pretty easily. The player might know this because he read the rules but the character does because it is common knowledge. It's not metagaming since there is a perfectly good reason why the character would know. If they encountered a rare monster for the first time and the Player happened to have read about it before and acted on it's weaknesses that would be metagaming because the character shouldn't have that knowledge.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 06:39 PM
Not all DM's are going to fudge the rules for the NPC's but some will. If the PC's are fighting someone and he pulls out some crazy ability to turn the tide in the middle of the fight the Players might get upset. If the DM can say "no see he has three levels in this class" the players can go "Oh well I guess that's okay." If the DM can only say "Oh well I thought that he should have that ability." The players might think the DM is trying to force the campaign to whatever foregone conclusion he has. Having the NPC's have class levels is more of a way of ensuring the players that the DM is in fact allowing them the possibility of impacting the world. The players aren't just observers or actors but their will can change the story.

This sounds like a major trust and expectations issue. Regardless of whether class levels are used or not, the game master can always fudge the dice and he can always pull some whacked out ability out of his ass. To my mind, you are basically placing the game designers above the game master, even though one of the functions of the game master is to protect the game against broken rules, which seems very contrary to me.



It doesn't actual change anything as far as mechanics go. Just like having people roll the dice in front of everyone doesn't affect the roll (unless the Players or DM is a complete jerk) it just assures everyone that the person who just rolled 4 natural 20's in a row is just lucky and doesn't need a sound beating. DM's cheat sometimes. So do Players. It's only natural to not want your carefully constructed characters or plot to be destroyed by a lucky or unlucky roll. Hopefully the people can resist the temptation but the the DM and other players might get a little suspicious if a character on death's door suddenly rolls four natural 20's and kill the villain. It's possible to happen but is so unlikely that the other people involved will want to have seen you roll those dice.

This has nothing to do with class levels. People do sometimes say things that aren't true. Class levels do not protect you from this.



Same thing with assigning class levels to NPC's. It just reassures the players that the DM is playing fair and square. Sure no rules say that the DM can't call upon the powers of the gods themselves to save the villain at the last moment but it is considered bad form.

If the players never see the statistics how can they be assured of that?



And although there are certainly campaign settings where a typical human wouldn't know a lot about goblins in a standard fantasy setting most humans would know enough about goblins to know that they can beat an average one pretty easily. The player might know this because he read the rules but the character does because it is common knowledge. It's not metagaming since there is a perfectly good reason why the character would know. If they encountered a rare monster for the first time and the Player happened to have read about it before and acted on it's weaknesses that would be metagaming because the character shouldn't have that knowledge.

It is not meta gaming if you make the decision based on what the character knows. It is meta gaming if you base the decision on the conclusions you drew from having run the maths in your head. There is nothing wrong with meta gaming (it is a totally valid and potentially fun form of play), but the distinction exists.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 07:29 PM
This sounds like a major trust and expectations issue. Regardless of whether class levels are used or not, the game master can always fudge the dice and he can always pull some whacked out ability out of his ass. To my mind, you are basically placing the game designers above the game master, even though one of the functions of the game master is to protect the game against broken rules, which seems very contrary to me.

The DM could fudge the dice but for most rolls it is made out in the open for everyone to see. Obviously some rolls must be made in secret because the results might require the DM to give the players false information but there is no need for the DM to make attack rolls in secret. I am not placing the game designers above the DM. Obviously the DM can change any rules he thinks are unfair. But house-rules are supposed to be discussed before the game begins. Once the rules are established then even the DM should be bound by them (obviously except in extreme cases or unforeseeable cases).

If the DM just randomly announced that a class feature you used frequently works differently according to him then you would be pretty peeved if he had said nothing before. In the same vein of thought if he keeps giving new abilities to his NPC then the players are going to lose their trust in him if the NPC's keep winning or escaping or pulling off some last minute victory. It's not any more of a trust issue than if the DM asked the players to roll the dice in the open. Most DM's do that and players accept that it isn't that the DM distrusts the players as that it is best to not give people the temptation. The DM has so much more power than the players that he also has so much more temptation to abuse his powers. Maybe he fudges something to make a fight turn out differently. Maybe he honestly thinks that it will make the game more fun for the players. But he still is cheating and the players will get upset if they found out. So it is just best to put as much as you can out into the open.

Giving the NPC's class levels puts a limiting factor on how much the DM can fudge things to make the plot goes how he wants it to. It limits the DM's power but it assures the PC's (to some degree) that the DM will allow the players to have an impact on the world (even one the DM doesn't want them to do).


This has nothing to do with class levels. People do sometimes say things that aren't true. Class levels do not protect you from this.

I was showing an example of how players cheat to show how it is the same thing as if a DM cheats. Although a DM could do the exact same thing for that matter. Giving the NPC's class levels allows the DM to prove to his players that he made a perfectly fair character that they could also have made. If they lost it was because of either the luck of the dice or bad decision making skills. If there is no class levels then the players might feel that they lost solely because the DM wanted them to.



If the players never see the statistics how can they be assured of that?

If the players complain that the they thought the villain was pulling the ability out of where the sun don't shine then the DM can show them where it came from. If it is a legitimate class then the players shouldn't complain because if they had wanted to and had thought of it they could have done the exact same thing. If the DM randomly gave stats to the NPC then the players might feel that the DM is designing the NPC's to have just the right abilities to make the situation work out the way he wanted it to.



It is not meta gaming if you make the decision based on what the character knows. It is meta gaming if you base the decision on the conclusions you drew from having run the maths in your head. There is nothing wrong with meta gaming (it is a totally valid and potentially fun form of play), but the distinction exists.


I think that if you can give a logical explanation of how your character would see the situation and come to the conclusion then it is not metagaming. I mean the player may base his decision on the stats but once you read them you can't unread them so if you know the stats you just know you can usually win. A normal character would also know that they can win against a goblin almost 100% of the time. As long as the character has a good reason for their actions then the player isn't really metagaming. Not that it matters.

Knaight
2008-08-31, 07:46 PM
No. No it shouldn't. But what it should be is
DM: A goblin appears.
Player: Hmmm. It's about the size of a child. In every fantasy story ever written (including the DnD books I have read) Goblins are not as powerful as Humans. In most of those stories (so assumadly in whatever world the characters are in) the existence and general capabilities of goblins are fairly well known. IE: Goblins are small vicous little creatures that are generally cowardly. They are usually not a match for even untrained humans but tend to come in large groups. I think I can take it.

It is logical to assume that your character has heard of goblins before. It is also logical to assume that even if he did not a creature roughly the size of a child is not particuraly threatening.

Yes, but the one hit die thing is metagamey. "Thats a short little thing which has a sword which looks like it can't cut through my armor, let alone get past my much longer weapon, and thus probably isn't that dangerous" isn't.

Capfalcon
2008-08-31, 07:54 PM
Ok. I think one of the problems is that people are using a few choice words differently. Now, ultimately, most of these things are just personal taste issues, but once we clarify the words, we can at least understand each otherís positions better.

My understanding of the words is as follows:

Metagaming: Making a decision based on the fact that you are playing a game. Note that it is possible to arrive at the same conclusion based on In-Character reasoning and Metagaming reasoning.

For example, saying that the trap has to have a way to turn it off because the DM wouldn't put a trap that we had no way to get around is an example of Metagaming.

On the other hand, saying that the trap has to have a way to be turned off because the people who made it had to have a way to get past it is In-Character reasoning.


Consistency: Something is consistent when (if A, then B) is true, all the time.

For example:
I'm hungry. I eat food. I'm not hungry.
I'm hungry again. I eat food again. I'm not hungry... again.

Example Two: In the fantasy world of Splat, whenever someone jumps off of a cliff more than 10 feet high, Max, god of cliffs, appears and gives them 10 gold. And this happens every time. Thus, it's consistent. Granted, it's silly, but it is consistent.


Realism: Ah, a truly sticky subject. This is largely due to the fact that there really isn't a "right" answer. So, here, YMMV is all I can really say.

I think I'm going to bow out now. I've said my piece on the use of classes, and I don't think there is much more I can say.

Happy gaming!

Matthew
2008-08-31, 07:56 PM
The DM could fudge the dice but for most rolls it is made out in the open for everyone to see. Obviously some rolls must be made in secret because the results might require the DM to give the players false information but there is no need for the DM to make attack rolls in secret. I am not placing the game designers above the DM. Obviously the DM can change any rules he thinks are unfair. But house-rules are supposed to be discussed before the game begins. Once the rules are established then even the DM should be bound by them (obviously except in extreme cases or unforeseeable cases).

Well, that's an interesting position, and it's one we're currently discussing in another thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89204). Here's the thing, what if the rules you agreed on fail to model a situation so as create a consistently plausible campaign world? What if you want to introduce a new class? As you indicate above, there are circumstances where the rules can be changed in play. Rule 0 is not something invoked prior to a campaign beginning, it's something constantly in play to protect the game from going to hell.



If the DM just randomly announced that a class feature you used frequently works differently according to him then you would be pretty peeved if he had said nothing before. In the same vein of thought if he keeps giving new abilities to his NPC then the players are going to lose their trust in him if the NPC's keep winning or escaping or pulling off some last minute victory. It's not any more of a trust issue than if the DM asked the players to roll the dice in the open. Most DM's do that and players accept that it isn't that the DM distrusts the players as that it is best to not give people the temptation. The DM has so much more power than the players that he also has so much more temptation to abuse his powers. Maybe he fudges something to make a fight turn out differently. Maybe he honestly thinks that it will make the game more fun for the players. But he still is cheating and the players will get upset if they found out. So it is just best to put as much as you can out into the open.

These are false assumptions, or rather they are subjective assumptions. I have been playing AD&D for years (and D20 from time to time) in precisely the contrary style, and it has never ever been a problem. I am not at all convinced by the generalisation. Besides which, whether the game master introduces new abilities into the game is not a function of a class versus a classless system. Every classless 0 level NPC in campaign X could look exactly like a classed NPC in campaign Y. Where would be the cause for complaint?



Giving the NPC's class levels puts a limiting factor on how much the DM can fudge things to make the plot goes how he wants it to. It limits the DM's power but it assures the PC's (to some degree) that the DM will allow the players to have an impact on the world (even one the DM doesn't want them to do).

It doesn't, though. What it does is make "rules mastery" king. It basically creates a situation whereby the "bad game master" is looking to exploit the rules in the guise that "it's fair", when in fact it is not.



I was showing an example of how players cheat to show how it is the same thing as if a DM cheats. Although a DM could do the exact same thing for that matter. Giving the NPC's class levels allows the DM to prove to his players that he made a perfectly fair character that they could also have made. If they lost it was because of either the luck of the dice or bad decision making skills. If there is no class levels then the players might feel that they lost solely because the DM wanted them to.

What I am saying is the general problem is not a function of class levels. It will happen regardless if you have a bad or untrustworthy game master.



If the players complain that the they thought the villain was pulling the ability out of where the sun don't shine then the DM can show them where it came from. If it is a legitimate class then the players shouldn't complain because if they had wanted to and had thought of it they could have done the exact same thing. If the DM randomly gave stats to the NPC then the players might feel that the DM is designing the NPC's to have just the right abilities to make the situation work out the way he wanted it to.

That is no different than giving the NPC too much power. Class levels do not protect you from overpowered characters, they just show you how the overpowered character was "built". In both cases you have to trust that the game master will not purposefully **** you over.



I think that if you can give a logical explanation of how your character would see the situation and come to the conclusion then it is not metagaming. I mean the player may base his decision on the stats but once you read them you can't unread them so if you know the stats you just know you can usually win. A normal character would also know that they can win against a goblin almost 100% of the time. As long as the character has a good reason for their actions then the player isn't really metagaming. Not that it matters.

You can both meta game and roleplay at the same time. However, running the numbers in your head is meta gaming. There are no two ways about it and there's nothing wrong with it.



*Metagaming stuff*

Indeed.



*Consistency stuff*

True, but there's more to that subject.



*Realism stuff*

Probably better called verisimilitude in the context of an adventure roleplaying game, but yeah, people have different expectations.

monty
2008-08-31, 08:16 PM
For example, saying that the trap has to have a way to turn it off because the DM wouldn't put a trap that we had no way to get around is an example of Metagaming.

On the other hand, saying that the trap has to have a way to be turned off because the people who made it had to have a way to get past it is In-Character reasoning.

You stole that from the DMG, didn't you?

Also, if my players did that while I was DMing, I'd just give them an unpassable trap to stop their metagaming.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 08:31 PM
Well, that's an interesting position, and it's one we're currently discussing in another thread. Here's the thing, what if the rules you agreed on fail to model a situation so as create a consistently plausible campaign world? What if you want to introduce a new class? Rule 0 is not something invoked prior to a campaign beginning, it's something constantly in play to protect the game from going to hell.

I believe I covered that under extreme or unforeseeable problems.



These are false assumptions, or rather they are subjective assumptions. I have been playing AD&D for years in precisely the contrary style, and it has never ever been a problem.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by in the contrary style. If you mean that you played so that the DM always decided the outcome beforehand no matter what the players did then.... ummm... I'm just going to assume that is not what you meant. If you mean the DM randomly deciding that a class Feature is going to be changed in the middle of the game then either the people you play with are doormats or they just didn't voice complaints. If you mean the DM giving random abilities to NPC's constantly and no one complaining then either the same result as above or the villains didn't have a lot of last minute victories. I don't know about you but if the villains kept pulling victory or escape out of their behinds and I found out the DM was just giving them whatever stats he felt like I would feel cheated out of any victories I might have achieved.


It doesn't, though. What it does is make "rules mastery" king. It basically creates a situation whereby you are looking to exploit the rules in the guise that "it's fair", when in fact it is not.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean the DM is going to exploit the rules then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM and should have that role taken away from him. If you mean the players then I fail to understand how they are expected to exploit the rules. The only time they would even see the stats for the NPC is after the fight and then only if the villain pulled a victory out of nowhere. So maybe they can use that knowledge if the villain returns but thats about the only situation I see.


What I am saying is the general problem is not a function of class levels. It will happen regardless if you have a bad or untrustworthy game master.

Yes if you have a bad DM it will happen. And if the NPC has class levels you can prove that the DM is bad or untrustworthy. If they don't it becomes significantly harder to do so. If the NPC's have random stats then it becomes easy for a DM to give failsafe abilities. Ones designed to make sure that the BBEG escapes no matter what or wins or whatever the DM decides should happen. Even outside of bad DM's having class levels also helps make sure that the DM doesn't accidentally make the NPC too powerful and kill the entire party. The key word in all this though is "helps." It doesn't ensure anything. It just makes things easier for everyone involved. The DM can obciously tell that making a character ten levels higher is not fair. They might not realise that a specific ability is quite so powerful until it is too late. Classes are just guides though so if they don't offer quite what you want then go ahead and tweak them. But if you wind up accidentally making them much more powerful than you intended then be prepared to get massive complaints from the Players.


That is no different than giving the NPC too much power. Class levels do not protect you from overpowered characters, they jsut show you how the overpowered character was "built".

Yes they do show you how they were built. And if the DM shows you the stats and it is 10 levels higher than your characters you can call foul. If it just random stats it is hard to gauge if that is fair except by actually testing it. Giving NPC's class levels doesn't make it any harder for the DM to cheat. What it does is make it easier for the Players to differentiate between the DM winning by luck or the Players making bad choices or the DM creating a no-win scenario.


You can both meta game and roleplay at the same time. However, running the numbers in your head is meta gaming. There's no two ways about it.

It is only metagaming if that is the entire basis of your assumption. Saying that using outside knowledge is always metagaming no matter if there is a perfectly good in character explanation is just supid. It would be akin to saying that a rogue shouldn't sneak attack because the Player knows it will do more damage. Well yeah but so does the character. The situation is the same. The player thinks he can take the goblin because it is a one HD monster. The character thinks he can take the goblin because goblin attacks are fairly common and most people know that goblins are fairly weak. Also its 3feet tall. If you think that that is metagaming then by that logic every time a rogue uses sneak attack the player is metagaming.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 08:43 PM
I believe I covered that under extreme or unforeseeable problems.

Indeed, I inserted another sentence to be more clear on the topic. :smallwink: The point is that Rule 0 is always in play to protect the plausibility of the game.



I'm not entirely sure what you mean by in the contrary style. If you mean that you played so that the DM always decided the outcome beforehand no matter what the players did then.... ummm... I'm just going to assume that is not what you meant. If you mean the DM randomly deciding that a class Feature is going to be changed in the middle of the game then either the people you play with are doormats or they just didn't voice complaints. If you mean the DM giving random abilities to NPC's constantly and no one complaining then either the same result as above or the villains didn't have a lot of last minute victories. I don't know about you but if the villains kept pulling victory or escape out of their behinds and I found out the DM was just giving them whatever stats he felt like I would feel cheated out of any victories I might have achieved.

As a hybrid class and classless game, where I assign the classless 0 level characters abilities appropriate to the game world.



I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean the DM is going to exploit the rules then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM and should have that role taken away from him. If you mean the players then I fail to understand how they are expected to exploit the rules. The only time they would even see the stats for the NPC is after the fight and then only if the villain pulled a victory out of nowhere. So maybe they can use that knowledge if the villain returns but thats about the only situation I see.

Indeed. If you mean the DM is going to exploit the rules then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM. Why then worry about a lack of class levels?



Yes if you have a bad DM it will happen. And if the NPC has class levels you can prove that the DM is bad or untrustworthy. If they don't it becomes significantly harder to do so. If the NPC's have random stats then it becomes easy for a DM to give failsafe abilities. Ones designed to make sure that the BBEG escapes no matter what or wins or whatever the DM decides should happen. Even outside of bad DM's having class levels also helps make sure that the DM doesn't accidentally make the NPC too powerful and kill the entire party. The key word in all this though is "helps." It doesn't ensure anything. It just makes things easier for everyone involved. The DM can obciously tell that making a character ten levels higher is not fair. They might not realise that a specific ability is quite so powerful until it is too late. Classes are just guides though so if they don't offer quite what you want then go ahead and tweak them. But if you wind up accidentally making them much more powerful than you intended then be prepared to get massive complaints from the Players.

As I said before, Class/Level/CR/ECL are all good guides. Being able to prove that the game master is not following the rules in creating his monsters does absolutely nothing to help the game (aside from perhaps giving you the smug satisfaction of knowing the game master was wrong).



Yes they do show you how they were built. And if the DM shows you the stats and it is 10 levels higher than your characters you can call foul. If it just random stats it is hard to gauge if that is fair except by actually testing it. Giving NPC's class levels doesn't make it any harder for the DM to cheat. What it does is make it easier for the Players to differentiate between the DM winning by luck or the Players making bad choices or the DM creating a no-win scenario.

How will "calling foul" help you after all your characters are dead? Stats are not randomly allocated, I don't know where you derived this false dichotomy. Classless does not mean random. The game master should not be "cheating" or trying to beat you, if he is then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM.



It is only metagaming if that is the entire basis of your assumption. Saying that using outside knowledge is always metagaming no matter if there is a perfectly good in character explanation is just supid. It would be akin to saying that a rogue shouldn't sneak attack because the Player knows it will do more damage. Well yeah but so does the character. The situation is the same. The player thinks he can take the goblin because it is a one HD monster. The character thinks he can take the goblin because goblin attacks are fairly common and most people know that goblins are fairly weak. Also its 3feet tall. If you think that that is metagaming then by that logic every time a rogue uses sneak attack the player is metagaming.

Nope, metagaming isn't conditional. You either do it or you don't. You can try and explain it by saying "but the numbers are just an abstraction of what my character would know", but it's still meta gaming. If you can run the numbers for fun and not let them influence your character's decision, that wouldn't technically be meta gaming.

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 09:24 PM
Indeed, I inserted another sentence to be more clear on the topic. The point is that Rule 0 is always in play to protect the plausibility of the game.

I just think that Rule 0 should be a last resort kinda thing. Not used often if it can be helped. Most houserules should be declared up front so that there are no major surprises for the players. If something comes up and you think it should be different but didn't say so before then (unless it is campain ending) you should probably allow it but rule that after this point it will work in the new way. If the character had to take a bunch of feats or some other permemant method then you should try to work something out with the player. Maybe a feat trade-in or some kinda bonus given to them. Or if they really hate it let them design a new character. In extreme emergencies (like finding a fatal flaw that allows a lvl 3 character to kill a demon lord) you can make an immediate ruling to disallow such an action, but in general things like this should be foreseen and dealt with before they happen.


As a hybrid class and classless game, where I assign the classless 0 level characters abilities appropriate to the game world.

Well just because it worked good for you doesn't mean it works good in general. If you managed to do it fine then thats great. If you and the people you game with enjoy it then do so. All I am saying is that is sets up so many chances to cheat for the DM that it requires either a huge amount of trust or for the DM to not get lucky with rolls. Even people who are good friends can get quite heated if one thinks the other is cheating (or if someone gets accused of cheating when they are not) If the NPC's consistently get away (even if they were designed fairly your way or with class levels say because of lucky rolls or bad choices) the Players might begin to think that they are only happening that way because the DM is arbitrarily deciding it should be so and then crafting the character to make it happen that way.

If you used class levels it would allow the DM to basically go "See look. He managed to escape because he had X levels in wizard and had a quickened teleport dimension door spell prepared all the time just in case." Sounds a lot better than saying "Well I thought he should be able to cast quickened dimension door once per day" The only difference is in the way it appears to the players. If your group is fine with it then who cares. Personally the example with classes just feels more fair to me. Sure both are basically the same thing but one is something we could have done ourselves were we so inclined and the other just happened to have the ability to do it because the DM thought he should. Even if the DM made the decision before the encounter happened the Player is probably going to have a tiny nagging doubt and if events like that keep happening they might begin to become antagonostic. They could in either scenario it just seems more likely in the one than the other.


Indeed. If you mean the DM is going to exploit the rules then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM. Why then worry about a lack of class levels?

Because it is easier to find out that the DM is actually exploiting the rules if they used class levels versus just giving them stats. That way you can ask the other players if they want to change the DM or atleast speak to him about how exploiting the rules makes the game less fun.


As I said before, Class/Level/CR/ECL are all good guides. Being able to prove that the game master is not following the rules in creating his monsters does absolutely nothing to help the game (aside from perhaps giving you the smug satisfaction of knowing the game master was wrong).

How will "calling foul" help you after all your characters are dead? Stats are not randomly allocated, I don't know where you derived this false dichotomy. Classless does not mean random. The game master should not be "cheating" or trying to beat you, if he is then the DM doesn't deserve to be DM.

The point of knowing is so that the problem can be addressed. In fact just knowing makes it better. Would you rather have a nagging suspicion that they are cheating but never really know or would you rather just know they are? And I agree the DM should not be cheating or trying to beat you but sometimes they do and sometimes they just let outside circumstances affect their decision making skills. Maybe they are angry at their boss and decide to take it out on the players by giving them an impossible fight. If they used class levels the players can look at it and instantly know that the DM was either too stupid to know a lvl 20 wizard will crush 4 lvl 9 characters or he trying to kill you. If they assigned stats it will either take a lot longer or be impossible to tell if they just made a mistake and thought the NPC wouldn't be that powerful or if they really did tried to kill you.

Also when I said random stats I didn't mean that the DM just wrote down whatever came to mind. I just meant that besides the whim of the DM the numbers came from nowhere. Also I would like to say that I don't think most DM's are going to act like this or that any of these problems are going to come up very often. I am just pointing out all the potential pit-falls of this style of playing. If they never come up when you play then that is great.


Nope, metagaming isn't conditional. You either do it or you don't. You can try and explain it by saying "but the numbers are just an abstraction of what my character would know", but it's still meta gaming. If you can run the numbers for fun and not let them influence your character's decision, that wouldn't technically be meta gaming.

Thats fine. I'm just saying that by that strict definition of metagaming everytime a rogue sneak attacks it can be called metagaming. Which is fine. Rogues are the characters most likely to metagame anyway.

Matthew
2008-08-31, 09:57 PM
I just think that Rule 0 should be a last resort kinda thing. Not used often if it can be helped. Most houserules should be declared up front so that there are no major surprises for the players. If something comes up and you think it should be different but didn't say so before then (unless it is campain ending) you should probably allow it but rule that after this point it will work in the new way. If the character had to take a bunch of feats or some other permemant method then you should try to work something out with the player. Maybe a feat trade-in or some kinda bonus given to them. Or if they really hate it let them design a new character. In extreme emergencies (like finding a fatal flaw that allows a lvl 3 character to kill a demon lord) you can make an immediate ruling to disallow such an action, but in general things like this should be foreseen and dealt with before they happen.

Just a playstyle issue really. Some game masters make extensive use of Rule 0, some use it only in an emergency or under very particular conditions. As long as its use is to the good of the game it doesn't really matter how often it is used.



Well just because it worked good for you doesn't mean it works good in general. If you managed to do it fine then thats great. If you and the people you game with enjoy it then do so. All I am saying is that is sets up so many chances to cheat for the DM that it requires either a huge amount of trust or for the DM to not get lucky with rolls. Even people who are good friends can get quite heated if one thinks the other is cheating (or if someone gets accused of cheating when they are not) If the NPC's consistently get away (even if they were designed fairly your way or with class levels say because of lucky rolls or bad choices) the Players might begin to think that they are only happening that way because the DM is arbitrarily deciding it should be so and then crafting the character to make it happen that way.

Heh, heh. It doesn't just work well for me, it works well for hundreds of people, to the extent that entire rule sets are built on the premise. The issue is only ever what works for you, though. As I said earlier, it is only worth using the things that are good for you.



If you used class levels it would allow the DM to basically go "See look. He managed to escape because he had X levels in wizard and had a quickened teleport dimension door spell prepared all the time just in case." Sounds a lot better than saying "Well I thought he should be able to cast quickened dimension door once per day" The only difference is in the way it appears to the players. If your group is fine with it then who cares. Personally the example with classes just feels more fair to me. Sure both are basically the same thing but one is something we could have done ourselves were we so inclined and the other just happened to have the ability to do it because the DM thought he should. Even if the DM made the decision before the encounter happened the Player is probably going to have a tiny nagging doubt and if events like that keep happening they might begin to become antagonostic. They could in either scenario it just seems more likely in the one than the other.

It really doesn't sound any better to me at all. In both cases the game master created a character who could escape. Whether he did so by class levels or assigning the ability doesn't matter at all. He made a character that could do X, it's not more fair one way and less fair another. Being able to point to class levels just shows how you "built" the character.



Because it is easier to find out that the DM is actually exploiting the rules if they used class levels versus just giving them stats. That way you can ask the other players if they want to change the DM or atleast speak to him about how exploiting the rules makes the game less fun.

If the game master is a jerk or cheating, it is generally obvious. You don't need to work it out using maths.



The point of knowing is so that the problem can be addressed. In fact just knowing makes it better. Would you rather have a nagging suspicion that they are cheating but never really know or would you rather just know they are? And I agree the DM should not be cheating or trying to beat you but sometimes they do and sometimes they just let outside circumstances affect their decision making skills. Maybe they are angry at their boss and decide to take it out on the players by giving them an impossible fight. If they used class levels the players can look at it and instantly know that the DM was either too stupid to know a lvl 20 wizard will crush 4 lvl 9 characters or he trying to kill you. If they assigned stats it will either take a lot longer or be impossible to tell if they just made a mistake and thought the NPC wouldn't be that powerful or if they really did tried to kill you.

It can only be addressed if he admits what he is doing. You can't force him to show you how he built the character, regardless of class levels.



Also when I said random stats I didn't mean that the DM just wrote down whatever came to mind. I just meant that besides the whim of the DM the numbers came from nowhere. Also I would like to say that I don't think most DM's are going to act like this or that any of these problems are going to come up very often. I am just pointing out all the potential pit-falls of this style of playing. If they never come up when you play then that is great.

Characters are already built at the whim of the game master, though. The rules are put together to create diversity. The question is why build a safety net into a game for a minority of game masters that creates plausible world inconsistancies and more work? My guess would be that the "bad game master" is quite a widespread phenononem. I have heard it said numerous times that D20 was in fact designed to limit the excesses of "bad game masters". Of course, all styles of play have pitfalls, drawbacks and problems.

Mind, my problem with a class for every character is the subtle changes it has wrought in the perception of players of the game world, and the imagined shackles that it has created for the game master.



Thats fine. I'm just saying that by that strict definition of metagaming everytime a rogue sneak attacks it can be called metagaming. Which is fine. Rogues are the characters most likely to metagame anyway.

A lot of combat decisions are indeed very meta gamey (or maybe just gamey).

Xenogears
2008-08-31, 10:46 PM
Personally one of the tings I like about NPC's having classes is that it makes them seem like they are just like the regular PC's. Except they usually have a different class but still. I'm sure just giving them stats works out just fine 90% of the time but even if it worked fine I would still feel that it made things awkward. If the PC's have classes why don't NPC's? It just feels like it seperates the two groups of people too much. I mean besides the fact that the player characters are obviously controlled by the players they are supposed to be pretty much the same thing. Of course Normal NPC's are weaker but that is reflected in the NPC classes (why would Moradin have ten levels of expert? WHY?). So I just think that since they are supposed to be the same they should be treated the same and given class levels.

Also I love the idea of the party Fighter getting cocky around lvl 10 and having the town blacksmith turn out to be a lvl 20 expert and lay the smack down on him.

EvilElitest
2008-08-31, 11:03 PM
The class system is something I've always viewed as stupid. Your character is good at the things he/she trained in, and like most people tends to train skills related to their primary career more often and in more variety than more distant skills. People don't level up their lawyer skills, they level up their Knowledge(Law) and Diplomacy skills.

I'm not against classess RPGs, i'm against games that mix and match between class and classless.



How disgustingly meta-gamey. I mean, yeah giving NPCs explicit classes are fantastic for "Oh, hey! He punched me, he must be a monk." "Oh! He summoned a bear, chances are he's a druid!"

Stop evading the point. A Pc in character doesn't have to automatically assume a dude who punched him is a monk because anyone can do that, but somebody who can do a lot of damage doing so (IE, it hurting a lot) would make sense. If a PC travels with a monk, or knows a monk it makes that he would assume that somebody who uses a similar style of fighting would be like them.

As with the druid example, a person who is familiar with magic might realize that druids are the most prone to summon animals, but somebody who isn't might not, it depends on the character. but considering adventures are working with these people and comeing to understand their abilities, it makes perfect sense for them to understand foes the same way

Pcs reacting to their world logically by applying their own in game knowlage isn't meta gaming. A player reading the Dms notes and preparing himself before hand is




Forcing every race in the world into 11 (assuming phb only) different molds is limiting. All races magical traditions are the same? In character, I have no idea if that goblin which flung a magic missile at the party is a wizard, or a sorcerer, or a goblin with magic missile 3/day. In game, it also doesn't matter. Your character will say, "Oh. That's arcane magic." But that's about it.

Again, Evasions.
1) Actually, via rules almost all races work with magic the same way.
2) A person unfamilar with magic maybe, but a wizard who uses that sort of magic would be perfectly able to use the knowlage of his own abilites and apply it to his foes. somebody with knowledge arcane could figure out more than just basics you have absolutely no backing of you claim to universal PC ignorance



Still, I do see the meta-game merit of being able to identify your opponent via race and class by what they do. It makes it a lot easier for you to outsmart the DM and come up with a way to counter the NPCs. :smallfrown:

Actually classes act as a good way to pervent cheating. It gives the players a logical understanding of people's powers, the same way PC classes give the Dm an understanding of the PCs limitations



This above quote is very much the definition of metagaming. Just because the player characters have a "wizard" in their group and he can only cast x number of spells based on his level, doesn't mean that an enemy spellcaster is the same. I think it would be very foolish for any character in a world to think that all creatures/people in the world can be organized into a certain 'class' or another.
Ok, it could be different certainly. I'm not saying the PCs will always guess right, that is silly. They might see a caster and not realize that he is a in fact a Psion. But there is no reason why they can't use their own knowledge and common sense to figure out situations.



No kidding. If I was GMing a game like that I would really start to like spell like abilities, or invocation like abilities, or manuever like abilities. Mixing them up, along with totally made up abilities on monsters that I personally create.
3E alone, without homebrews has dozens of classes, hundreds of PRC, thousands of monsters/races, hundreds of templates, and plenty of alternate rules and magic items, and who knows how many feats. I'm sure you could keep them on their toes. And then of course, there will be homebrews

Matthew


The world is certainly inconsistent in regards to conventional expectations of plausibility.

its inconstant as a world in the MMO form, if not in its cannon form (remember, WoW isn't totally cannon) for example, why the major enemy spell casters only know a few spells, when your guys can learn dozens? The world is absurdly , but the game is not


I
am not quite understanding the meaning of this sentence. If you mean the rules of the game do not have to be inconsistent to create a consistently plausible world, you may well be right, though I am yet to see a rule set that manages it without an explicit or implied rule 0 of some sort [i.e. license to deviate from the rules when they fail to meet expectations]. It is also true that an inconsistent rule set will not automatically create a consistently plausible world, the point is rather that the driving factor in consistent world creation is not a function of the consistency or inconsistency of the rule set, but how the game master and players use the rules they are given.
The world itself is following a rule base that isn't consistent if you have some people following a class system and some not. Now certain groups can simply not care, so use rule zero, but the default shouldn't be inconsistency

nice avatar by the way


Actually, if all the NPC's exist solely to amuse the PC's, aren't killable, and don't kill the PC's, you're sitting on a very consistent game. Realistic or not, and it really isn't, it is consistent[/QUOTE.
the game is, not the world. Its ok for an MMO, which is natrually limited, but not for a table top, which doesn't have to limitations

[QUOTE]
Anyway, I can see why you wouldn't want to fully stat out an NPC, because it's a lot of extra work. Why you should have to fill out a character sheet for Joe banker is beyond me. Some NPC's - i.e. the guy who's going to help them on this quest - need to be stated out because all of their stats (HP, BAB, saces, etc) are probably going to be relevant at some point.
Sign, gods why do people always go through this one

look, i'm not saying to be a good DM you need stats for every single character. People the PCs just say hello too don't need stats. However, you do need a basis to judge how the NPCs interact with the world. If you don't want to go through the trouble (understandable) of stating out random banker beyond his chrisma score fine, but if you ever need to use him more for what ever reason (he travels with the PCs in the future, gets charmed and used to fight what ever) a rule basis is good. You don't have to use the NPC class system, but that doesn't make it a bad system i any way.

A good method for random people is just cut and paste basic stats for people your not going to use often, like commoner level 3, or guard level 1

[QUOTE]Giving NPC's class levels is a method of limiting the DM's powers. Which can be a good thing. If the PC's are defeated by an NPC and he has a clearly defined set of abilities and other stats then they have nothing to complain about. If they lose and the NPC just had whatever stats the DM felt fit in with that specific situation the PC's might begin to feel that the DM is just making up whatever he needs to in order to force the story along the path he wants it to. Most Players don't like it when they feel that no matter what they did the DM was just going to have the story go the way he wanted it to.

Also the only reason not to is to somehow seperate the PC's from the rest of the world (A problem of most RPG type games) which results in the PC's feeling like everyone is just there for the sole purpose of whatever impact they have on the PC's. Also if a spellcaster gains Hit Points and BAB then why shouldn't a blacksmith? If anything the blacksmith is atleast using his body. How does studying ancient spellbooks make you more adept at swinging a sword? The same way that beating pieces of metal into whatever shape you want does. It may not work like that in the real world but that is how it works in DnD and saying that blacksmithing is not a viable way of gaining BAB has even less basis in logic than saying that a Wizard should not gain BAB.
thanks a lot, i totally agree




Just being a wizard isn't enough to know about other stuff. A wizard may not even know about spontaneous magic, or divine magic, or any number of things. There is a specific skill for this for a reason. As for needing enough knowledge of the world to make good choices, realistically seeing somebody with a gun in a holster or something doesn't tell you much about how good of a shot they are. Reconnaissance is all thats really needed, just because a goblin uses fireball doesn't mean they aren't going to let loose a disintegrate later. Observing a tribe of goblins, watching their tactics, seeing what they are capable of may be enough.
key word, might. A wizard might simply never meed any divine or spontaneous caster, in that it makes sense for him not to know. However, he might have knowlage of many different spell casting classes.



The situation should not be:

Player: My character is Level One.
DM: A Goblin appears.
Player: Hmmn. Goblins are one hit die. My character can probably handle that Goblin.
true, however that isn't what i'm saying

DM: You see a goblin appear
Torrent (player 1)- You think we can take it
Bob (player 2)- Yeah, goblins are weak and cowardly creatures, this should be fine

from
EE

OneFamiliarFace
2008-08-31, 11:51 PM
I'm all for having my cake and eating it too.

In 4e, it gives rules both for treating NPCs as monsters and for assigning the important ones classes. It even suggests that assigning the really important guys classes is a good idea.

Still, I agree with some of the other posters in this regard: The class system needs ONLY exist as a way to determine how the PCs interact with the world. The PCs need consistent rules, so they know what they can and cannot do. The world needs consistency (though not always consistent rules), and this doesn't require NPC classes.

When I make up Tom the Blacksmith as an NPC monster (or 0-lvl PC), then the only thing I need to change for future blacksmiths is his name and possibly his blacksmithing skill. Otherwise, the PCs need never know they are the same sheet, because they aren't the same person.

In fact, the better a DM you are, the less it actually matters what you are doing behind the screen, as the players will have a trust in you to create an insteresting and engaging world in which they can play.

In EvilElitist's case, I might suspect that you like to have the DM roll everything in the open, and that is great. But he can still do that without having the monsters operating on the same system as you are. Your characters should only know what he tells them about the monsters, and if he has designed the encounter properly, then the only thing that matters is whether the dice and your actions turn up in your favor.

Comparison:

In 3.x, people say that the monsters and the PCs used the same system, but that isn't really the case, as embodied by LA. Yes, they all had levels, "classes," and feats, but this did not mean that they advanced at the same rate by any means. The Catoblepas, for example, received a Save or Die attack long before it is available to players, and I believe he could use it quite frequently. Heck, a CR 3 Cockatrice could petrify you before you could cure it! This, in a level based system, is inconsistent. A monster of the same Level as players should have the same number of HD; similar attack, defense, and save modifiers; and similar access to types of magic.

In 4e, the monsters do not use the same advancement system as PCs, and they don't have feats, etc. But, a monster of equal level to a PC will be a roughly equivalent challenge to a PC. If you want a harder monster, then you pick one of higher level (or with specific tags that say "this guy is harder!"). Ima eat lunch.

Xenogears
2008-09-01, 02:56 AM
When I make up Tom the Blacksmith as an NPC monster (or 0-lvl PC), then the only thing I need to change for future blacksmiths is his name and possibly his blacksmithing skill. Otherwise, the PCs need never know they are the same sheet, because they aren't the same person.

"Tom the Blacksmith. Lvl 4 Expert.
STR 12
DEX 10
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 8
CHA 8
Craft (weapons and armor) 7

Not much harder than just writing "Tom the Blacksmith. Blacksmithing 7" Except if you do it the above way and the players decide to attack old Tom then it takes about two seconds to open the DMG to the expert class and figure out his HP and BAB. Then the fight continues. If you do it the latter way then you have to think of combat stats for him on the spur of the moment (or if you already did do that then you put more effort into that the former method would have required)

Not that it really matters which method you use and if it works for you fine. It just seems like a lot of unneccesary work for the DM to do. The people wrote the books so that DM's wouldn't have to create every little detail of the world and could instead just look at the book and say "Ah an average lvl expert. That sounds like a good Tailor" And take about a minute to copy down the stats. If you want to go and create stats for every NPC you think needs them then do so. It just seems like a lot of work. Plus you never know when a player will decide to shank someone and suddenly you need combat stats too.

OneFamiliarFace
2008-09-01, 03:45 AM
Not much harder than just writing "Tom the Blacksmith. Blacksmithing 7" Except if you do it the above way and the players decide to attack old Tom then it takes about two seconds to open the DMG to the expert class and figure out his HP and BAB. Then the fight continues. If you do it the latter way then you have to think of combat stats for him on the spur of the moment (or if you already did do that then you put more effort into that the former method would have required).

That's true, but really, unless the PCs are level 1, or the blacksmith is an exceptional fighter, they will trounce him anyway, so I can immediately give him a standard array in my head and never even have Tom down on paper.

Using the 4e monster NPC creation, you can make an NPC every bit as fast as you can with the expert class (which would have you looking up his skills). That's why it's advisable to have some generic NPC stats lying around. This is true of both 4e and 3e. You don't need one for every blacksmith. You just need a generic "blacksmith" or even "tradesman," who would suffice for any tradesman the players are likely to encounter. But that guy doesn't need to have the "expert class."

That's all I am saying: It's not necessary to have the same system for designing monsters or NPCs as PCs, as the rules only exist to facilitate how the PCs interact with their world. NPCs and monsters actions, and the way they interact with each other, are entirely controlled by the DM.

This is because, the PCs will never see Tom's stats, so they will only ever see A) His skill modifier to blacksmithing and B) His one attack. As long as I have the damage for a weapon he has and his blacksmithing skill, I don't need to know anything else.

Daimbert
2008-09-01, 05:14 AM
\No, it's the players making decisions based on the rules (or rather the maths) of the game. That actually is meta gaming (or gaming), and it's not a dirty word.

Nothing in the original example was about things such as the precise hitpoints of the goblin, but about the abilities they showed. If they cast a spell that only a wizard can cast, we know that they are a wizard and we know what wizards can do. The rules determine the specifics of that, but since a wizard would know what limitations HE has he can easily determine what limitations another wizard would have. That has nothing to do with "the maths". Perhaps the rules, but the rules have an impact on the game and the world, so any appeal to "Well, the rules say this, so this is how that would play in the world" is NOT necessarily metagaming. Only if the rules didn't express themselves in the world in any way would that be metagaming.


The rules of the game are tools for running the game. They are not the game world. Arguments about what information the players receive based on their knowledge of the rules of the game is coming at the problem from a very narrow angle.

The rules impact what can and can't be done in the world, and as such are reflected in it. So if you have a class restriction on an ability or a set of abilities, any NPC who has that class will have that restriction, and the characters will know that and be able to prepare accordingly.


The situation should not be:

Player: My character is Level One.
DM: A Goblin appears.
Player: Hmmn. Goblins are one hit die. My character can probably handle that Goblin.

Well, see, I think we can all agree that a player should be able to determine -- using what their character should know about the world -- if their character can take that or not, especially for standard encounters. But the combat ability of a character is determined by the maths. So for a player to be able to understand what their character can and can't handle, they have to take the goblin, translate the HPs and abilities into the system they use to determine how strong their player is, compare, and then translate that back to "My character knows how strong a goblin is, and can handle it" or "My character knows that a lich is too strong for them, and runs away". The rules and maths are all the player has to determine what the character would know there, unless the DM is just going to flat-out tell them ... and that's no fun.

Can characters be surprised? Sure. Should a DM drop an unexpectedly strong encounter on them with no hint that they should run from it? No.

And I agree with others that if you assign abilities it becomes arbitrary, and I want to be able to understand what I'm doing without having to have the DM tell me about it all the time. It isn't a matter of trust, but more a matter that it gets really, really frustrating to have to deal with something that I simply cannot understand because it doesn't follow the rules of the world, and the DM either isn't telling me how it works, or DOES tell me leaving the encounter pointless.

nagora
2008-09-01, 05:27 AM
So for a player to be able to understand what their character can and can't handle, they have to take the goblin, translate the HPs and abilities into the system they use to determine how strong their player is, compare, and then translate that back to "My character knows how strong a goblin is, and can handle it"
I don't see why. A goblin with a sword is (in 1e) quite capable of killing any normal person in combat. A PC, who is not a "normal person" learns from experience how much more than normal they are - indeed at 1st level they are not much tougher than a town guard, for example. So, the character's estimation of a goblin should not really be based on any knowledge of hit points or other rules, just on what the character can see and knows from previous experience. A small angry man with a sharp metal blade and some ring mail is perceived dangerous until the character has a reason to think otherwise.

Starsinger
2008-09-01, 06:57 AM
A small angry man with a sharp metal blade and some ring mail is perceived dangerous until the character has a reason to think otherwise.

Totally agree, it's part of the "illusion" that the world is real. While the player may realize that the goblin doesn't stand a chance, why would the character? Particularly the fact that, "We've killed giants. Giants are much larger to us than we are to goblins. This little green man could kill me."

Matthew
2008-09-01, 08:47 AM
its inconstant as a world in the MMO form, if not in its cannon form (remember, WoW isn't totally cannon) for example, why the major enemy spell casters only know a few spells, when your guys can learn dozens? The world is absurdly , but the game is not

I don't know enough about World of Warcraft to discuss it any further length, but it sounds to me as though their consistant rule set is failing to model their plausible campaign world reality.



The world itself is following a rule base that isn't consistent if you have some people following a class system and some not. Now certain groups can simply not care, so use rule zero, but the default shouldn't be inconsistency

It is worth drawing a distinction between the "game rules" and the campaign reality here. If not having classes for NPCs causes the campaign reality to appear inconsistant, there would be a problem. Generally speaking that will not be the case (the very point of not having NPC class levels is to better support the plausibility of the campaign world). If the lack of class levels makes the campaign world reality less plausible then the rules are being used badly.



nice avatar by the way

Thanks!



Nothing in the original example was about things such as the precise hitpoints of the goblin, but about the abilities they showed. If they cast a spell that only a wizard can cast, we know that they are a wizard and we know what wizards can do. The rules determine the specifics of that, but since a wizard would know what limitations HE has he can easily determine what limitations another wizard would have. That has nothing to do with "the maths". Perhaps the rules, but the rules have an impact on the game and the world, so any appeal to "Well, the rules say this, so this is how that would play in the world" is NOT necessarily metagaming. Only if the rules didn't express themselves in the world in any way would that be metagaming.

Actually, it has everything to do with the math, as judging the capabilities of a character according to the rules of the game always comes down to the maths of how they interact with other characters (whose abilities are also expressed in numerical terms).



The rules impact what can and can't be done in the world, and as such are reflected in it. So if you have a class restriction on an ability or a set of abilities, any NPC who has that class will have that restriction, and the characters will know that and be able to prepare accordingly.

No, they don't. The rules describe what can and cannot be done in the game, and when they fail to model the imagined world authentically, the imagined world takes precedent. That's why rule 0 exists, to over ride dumb things like the drowning rules.



Well, see, I think we can all agree that a player should be able to determine -- using what their character should know about the world -- if their character can take that or not, especially for standard encounters. But the combat ability of a character is determined by the maths. So for a player to be able to understand what their character can and can't handle, they have to take the goblin, translate the HPs and abilities into the system they use to determine how strong their player is, compare, and then translate that back to "My character knows how strong a goblin is, and can handle it" or "My character knows that a lich is too strong for them, and runs away". The rules and maths are all the player has to determine what the character would know there, unless the DM is just going to flat-out tell them ... and that's no fun.

Can characters be surprised? Sure. Should a DM drop an unexpectedly strong encounter on them with no hint that they should run from it? No.

As Nagora and Starsinger say, you don't need to do any math translation to establish these ideas about the game reality. You can do it that way, but whether I tell you "he's got three class levels of superman" or "he's about three times as strong as your average goblin", or he's an "ECL 4 encounter" makes no real difference as far as "can I handle it" goes.



And I agree with others that if you assign abilities it becomes arbitrary, and I want to be able to understand what I'm doing without having to have the DM tell me about it all the time. It isn't a matter of trust, but more a matter that it gets really, really frustrating to have to deal with something that I simply cannot understand because it doesn't follow the rules of the world, and the DM either isn't telling me how it works, or DOES tell me leaving the encounter pointless.

The rules of the game you mean. Game rules don't create the "reality" (being an abstraction of the imagined reality at best), and whether or not a character has class levels or not doesn't help you understand the game world. All it lets you do (if the game master reveals any such information to you) is figure out the rules of the game. Nothing wrong with that, if that's what you like, but there's no point sugar coating it.

Yahzi
2008-09-01, 01:28 PM
I thought the point of a class system was that you could just write down, "Tom: 3rd level Blacksmith," and be done with your NPC creation. If the players decide to attack/bamboozle/seduce/carry Tom, then you can look up his capabilities when you need them by referring to the class description.

To my mind this is the only value of class systems: it makes NPC character creation simple. It also makes PC character creation simpler, which is one of the advantages of D&D.

New Guy: "Hey, this game looks fun. Can I play?"
DM: "Sure. Why don't you make a Fighter for your first time around?"
New Guy: "OK, what do I do?"
DM: "Since we're using point buy and you want a max strength, with a good dex and con, and we use max hit points at first level, with average starting wealth which means you can only afford a chainmail shirt... all you really need to do is look at this chart and pick a weapon."
New Guy: "Glaives sound cool. I'll use one of those!"
DM: "Great! Ok... ROLL INITIATIVE!"

Now contrast that to creating a GURPS character... :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-09-01, 01:46 PM
I thought the point of a class system was that you could just write down, "Tom: 3rd level Blacksmith," and be done with your NPC creation. If the players decide to attack/bamboozle/seduce/carry Tom, then you can look up his capabilities when you need them by referring to the class description.

To my mind this is the only value of class systems: it makes NPC character creation simple. It also makes PC character creation simpler, which is one of the advantages of D&D.

Dead right. That is exactly what the class and level system should be for with regard to NPCs; a short hand for (authentically) describing them. Indeed, in previous editions that's what hit dice are for.

Tormsskull
2008-09-01, 02:10 PM
This same discussion plays out time and time again. For those of you arguing that the DM should be bound by all the same rules as the PCs (specifically when making NPCs for this thread), you enjoy tactics-first gameplay. You like to metagame as an exercise. Its ok, its a playstyle.

You enjoy meeting an enemy, trying to guess what class/powers they have, and then have your character react in what you think is the most optimal response. That's ok, its a playstyle.

That's how you have fun. You crunch the numbers on your side, crunch the numbers using your best guess of what the DM has put forward, then compare them, and go ahead making your battle plan. That's ok, its a playstyle.


For those of us who don't play that way, it has nothing to do with cheating, or the DM trying to screw the players over, or anything remotely like that. Some of us don't play D&D in a tactics-first gamestyle. That's ok, its a playstyle.

Matthew
2008-09-01, 02:22 PM
I think there is some merit to the idea of "maths/rules as a shared language" between players and game master, and I am not sure if it is entirely a product of a "game first" philosophy. It is definitely a concept worth exploring in more detail. Perhaps another thread offshoot is called for.

Daimbert
2008-09-01, 03:09 PM
I don't see why. A goblin with a sword is (in 1e) quite capable of killing any normal person in combat. A PC, who is not a "normal person" learns from experience how much more than normal they are - indeed at 1st level they are not much tougher than a town guard, for example. So, the character's estimation of a goblin should not really be based on any knowledge of hit points or other rules, just on what the character can see and knows from previous experience. A small angry man with a sharp metal blade and some ring mail is perceived dangerous until the character has a reason to think otherwise.

But that experience doesn't have to come from "We had an encounter with it, where it got to try out all its abilities". The characters live in the world. They know about goblins. They know about magic (which was the first example). They study. They have tons of knowledge checks. So they know stuff. Wouldn't adventurers be expected to be able to apply that to determining if they should run or fight? Do you expect them to run away from everything because it might be dangerous, and too dangerous for them, even when their character knows what a goblin is?

So, when a character knows what a goblin is, what abilities and general classes it can have, how does a player translate that into figuring out if their character would determine if it is a threat to them? Well, they translate that to the numbers in the book, compare it to their numbers, and say "Yeah, my character would know that, at level 1, a lich is WAY too powerful for the party" or "Yeah, the character would know that a goblin is generally something we can handle; I stand and fight". This is because the character knows stuff about the world the character is in; your example here seems to assume that they don't know anything.


Totally agree, it's part of the "illusion" that the world is real. While the player may realize that the goblin doesn't stand a chance, why would the character?

Because the character knows things about the world. For example, if someone created a Ranger and at level 1 took "Favored enemy: Goblin", wouldn't you expect them to have a decent idea of how tough goblins generally are? Wouldn't you expect an Archivist whose entire goal in life is to go out and learn things to know some stuff about creatures? Wouldn't you expect people who get raided by enemies constantly to know something about their toughness, and pass that on to their children?

It's starting to seem to me like you aren't putting your characters in the world at all ...


Particularly the fact that, "We've killed giants. Giants are much larger to us than we are to goblins. This little green man could kill me."

So, they've fought giants ... and don't know what a goblin is? How inexperienced are they?


Actually, it has everything to do with the math, as judging the capabilities of a character according to the rules of the game always comes down to the maths of how they interact with other characters (whose abilities are also expressed in numerical terms).

Not to the degree that you are claiming. Most of my comments have been about abilities, none of which have to boil down to numbers at all, nor do the characters have to act as if they know the numbers. For example, if you know that a goblin is a magic-user of at least level 1, you can suspect that it might have Magic Missile prepared ... which means that it can definitely attack from a distance. You don't need to calculate how much damage that would do when it hits, or even know how far away it can attack from. So I don't really see the point of insisting that it's all about the math; for me, it's all about knowing what can happen in the world and, like it or not, for PCs anyway that's driven by the rules and the class rules specifically.


No, they don't. The rules describe what can and cannot be done in the game, and when they fail to model the imagined world authentically, the imagined world takes precedent. That's why rule 0 exists, to over ride dumb things like the drowning rules.

I fail to see how this relates to what I'm saying: you accept that the rules describe what can and can't be done in the game, and then state that when the rules lead to ridiculous consequences we can CHANGE THE RULES. Fine ... as long as it is recognized that things now work this way instead of the way they are written in the books. In short, you are effectively advocating that we -- at least locally -- change the game rules BECAUSE the game rules are impacting how the world would work, and we don't like how that works. This is effectively conceding my point: the game rules have an impact on the rules of the world and how the world works, and so we have to be able to change them when they would lead to stupid consequences.

That does not apply to every NPC the group might come across.


As Nagora and Starsinger say, you don't need to do any math translation to establish these ideas about the game reality. You can do it that way, but whether I tell you "he's got three class levels of superman" or "he's about three times as strong as your average goblin", or he's an "ECL 4 encounter" makes no real difference as far as "can I handle it" goes.

I'm advocating that you tell them one thing: "He's a goblin". Maybe "He's a goblin fighter" if you want to be helpful. Then, from the way the rules are set, the players can conclude what their characters would know, and then conclude how tough the fight SHOULD be, except for trick cases. Which you should be dropping hints about IC before they hit there anyway. Why do you think that these statements are more helpful?

Why I'm advocating for classes for NPCs is because once the party members discover or work out the class, they can know a lot of things about the NPC and what it can do in general in advance without having to be told. Just like it can be for PCs.


The rules of the game you mean. Game rules don't create the "reality" (being an abstraction of the imagined reality at best), and whether or not a character has class levels or not doesn't help you understand the game world.

Game rules impact the world, since they limit what can and can't be done in it. Class levels help me understand the creature in front of me, that I'm supposed to be able to know things about because I'm supposed to be able to know things about the world. And the game rules impact the world, since they limit what I can and can't do in it. You can spin the reasons why things work the way they do all you want, but ultimately unless you toss all the rules out they will limit things in world.

Reading your posts, it strikes me that you don't really want classes at all. Which is fine. But if the players are organized into classes, and the NPCs just get abilities, that's a major and annoying disconnect in the world. Personally, I prefer classed systems myself, but that isn't the argument here, really ...


I thought the point of a class system was that you could just write down, "Tom: 3rd level Blacksmith," and be done with your NPC creation. If the players decide to attack/bamboozle/seduce/carry Tom, then you can look up his capabilities when you need them by referring to the class description.

I agree entirely, with the addition that it is nice because it also allows the PLAYERS to know what they can do, since with a class system they know that, in general, Blacksmiths learn X, Y and Z, and since the characters live in the world they would know that as well, so it isn't even OOC knowledge.


This same discussion plays out time and time again. For those of you arguing that the DM should be bound by all the same rules as the PCs (specifically when making NPCs for this thread), you enjoy tactics-first gameplay. You like to metagame as an exercise. Its ok, its a playstyle.

Not sure who this is aimed at, but this isn't really my style because my main arguments for it were:

1) If blacksmiths can make magical item X and mundane item Y at level A, and the blacksmith you come across is tell you that they can't do Y after doing X for you, the characters have reason to be suspicious of him.

2) If PCs want to learn NPC abilities and classes for any story reason, it makes that a lot easier.

I'm actually strongly against tactical combat style campaigns, to tell you the truth. I want the rules to be the same because I want to be able to know the rules.

Matthew
2008-09-01, 03:19 PM
Not to the degree that you are claiming. Most of my comments have been about abilities, none of which have to boil down to numbers at all, nor do the characters have to act as if they know the numbers. For example, if you know that a goblin is a magic-user of at least level 1, you can suspect that it might have Magic Missile prepared ... which means that it can definitely attack from a distance. You don't need to calculate how much damage that would do when it hits, or even know how far away it can attack from. So I don't really see the point of insisting that it's all about the math; for me, it's all about knowing what can happen in the world and, like it or not, for PCs anyway that's driven by the rules and the class rules specifically.

It is all about math because you know what the numbers mean. If you know the magic user is at least level one, therefore you suspect he has a magic missile prepared, you are using knowledge of the rules and the methematical formula they are constructed with to make game decisions. There is no degree to consider, you either are or you are not.



I fail to see how this relates to what I'm saying: you accept that the rules describe what can and can't be done in the game, and then state that when the rules lead to ridiculous consequences we can CHANGE THE RULES. Fine ... as long as it is recognized that things now work this way instead of the way they are written in the books. In short, you are effectively advocating that we -- at least locally -- change the game rules BECAUSE the game rules are impacting how the world would work, and we don't like how that works. This is effectively conceding my point: the game rules have an impact on the rules of the world and how the world works, and so we have to be able to change them when they would lead to stupid consequences.

That does not apply to every NPC the group might come across.

I think you are misunderstanding the point. The rules are abstractions, and models of the "reality" of the game. I am not advocating changing the rules, I am advocating ignoring or discarding them when they interfere with consistent plausiblity.



I'm advocating that you tell them one thing: "He's a goblin". Maybe "He's a goblin fighter" if you want to be helpful. Then, from the way the rules are set, the players can conclude what their characters would know, and then conclude how tough the fight SHOULD be, except for trick cases. Which you should be dropping hints about IC before they hit there anyway. Why do you think that these statements are more helpful?

Why I'm advocating for classes for NPCs is because once the party members discover or work out the class, they can know a lot of things about the NPC and what it can do in general in advance without having to be told. Just like it can be for PCs.

Yes, and what I am saying is that those are the rules of the game, not the reality of the game world. Making decisions based on game rules is fine, but don't pretend that's not what you are doing.



Game rules impact the world, since they limit what can and can't be done in it. Class levels help me understand the creature in front of me, that I'm supposed to be able to know things about because I'm supposed to be able to know things about the world. And the game rules impact the world, since they limit what I can and can't do in it. You can spin the reasons why things work the way they do all you want, but ultimately unless you toss all the rules out they will limit things in world.

I could equally argue that it is you who are spinning the reasons by looking at the game in terms of its rules and then describing the rules with the game world. The game rules have no impact on the world, from my perspective; indeed, they cannot, as they are used to describe it. The game world impacts the rules, not vice versa.

If on the other hand, you prefer game rules to impact the world, putting the rules of the game before the reality they describe, that is also fine, but rather than contest one approach is superior (or even the only approach) it seems more useful to recognise that these are two totally different ways of perceiving roleplaying games.



Reading your posts, it strikes me that you don't really want classes at all. Which is fine. But if the players are organized into classes, and the NPCs just get abilities, that's a major and annoying disconnect in the world. Personally, I prefer classed systems myself, but that isn't the argument here, really ...

That is to completely misunderstand my position. There is no real class/classless dichotomy. What I am saying is that there is no practical difference between a world with classes and a world without classes. The structure is an illusion. A class describes a set of abilities. If you remove the class descriptor the abilities are still there.

nagora
2008-09-01, 03:39 PM
But that experience doesn't have to come from "We had an encounter with it, where it got to try out all its abilities". The characters live in the world. They know about goblins. They know about magic (which was the first example). They study. They have tons of knowledge checks. So they know stuff. Wouldn't adventurers be expected to be able to apply that to determining if they should run or fight? Do you expect them to run away from everything because it might be dangerous, and too dangerous for them, even when their character knows what a goblin is?
I'm not with you here. What part of "a small angry man with ringmail and a sword" means "You must always run away"? It's a small angry man with a sword! How dangerous does that sound? I don't fancy meeting it on the way home at night, but I reckon that with a longer sword and some decent armour I could handle the situation if he was really, really determined to breath on me.

I have a vision of the style of play you are talking about running like this:

DM "The beast comes out of the cave two miles down the beach from you; the volcano has awoken it. From here you can see its huge eyes rolling in fury and the flames from its breath turn the sand far below at its feet into glass. Its mouth opens to reveal an array of teeth 20' tall and wide enough to swallow your galley sideways. Its four arms grasp the granite cliff, pulling gouges and chunks from it as it prepares to leap."

Player "Does my character have any feel for whether this thing is dangerous or not? Should I make some sort of knowledge roll?"

Yahzi
2008-09-01, 09:53 PM
This same discussion plays out time and time again. For those of you arguing that the DM should be bound by all the same rules as the PCs (specifically when making NPCs for this thread), you enjoy tactics-first gameplay. You like to metagame as an exercise.
No, it is the escape from narrative.

By restricting the DM to the same rules, the plot of the game becomes interactive; the rules, the dice, the players, and the DM create the story.

But if the DM's creatures follow no other rule than "what the plot demands," then guess what - the plot will always be under the sole control (and responsibility) of the DM.

The point of the game is to escape narrative. Otherwise it's just story-telling.

kme
2008-09-02, 06:13 AM
DM "The beast comes out of the cave two miles down the beach from you; the volcano has awoken it. From here you can see its huge eyes rolling in fury and the flames from its breath turn the sand far below at its feet into glass. Its mouth opens to reveal an array of teeth 20' tall and wide enough to swallow your galley sideways. Its four arms grasp the granite cliff, pulling gouges and chunks from it as it prepares to leap."

Player "Does my character have any feel for whether this thing is dangerous or not? Should I make some sort of knowledge roll?"Wouldn't rules serve exactly to avoid such situations? The example is a bit extreme, but its not always clear how strong some monster is. Maybe players will think that such a monster is within their range of abilities.
And if they know nothing about the monster(players, not characters), how is then "Does my character have any feel for whether this thing is dangerous or not? Should I make some sort of knowledge roll?" worse then "Does my character know anything about this monster, like how dangerous it is comparing to me?"

nagora
2008-09-02, 06:33 AM
Wouldn't rules serve exactly to avoid such situations? The example is a bit extreme, but its not always clear how strong some monster is. Maybe players will think that such a monster is within their range of abilities.

And if they know nothing about the monster(players, not characters), how is then "Does my character have any feel for whether this thing is dangerous or not? Should I make some sort of knowledge roll?" worse then "Does my character know anything about this monster, like how dangerous it is comparing to me?"
Well, that's me speechless :smalleek:

Charity
2008-09-02, 07:38 AM
Well, that's me speechless :smalleek:

I'm marking this date on my calander Nagora.

Starsinger
2008-09-02, 09:35 AM
So, they've fought giants ... and don't know what a goblin is? How inexperienced are they?

Just because Tordek is the strongest person you know, doesn't mean you think all dwarves are that strong. All (any) elves aren't as ugly as Mialee. The PCs are acutely aware that there are individuals out there who out perform the general members of their race. After all, they're some of them. Which if anything should lead to a healthy attitude of never taking anything at face value.

AKA_Bait
2008-09-02, 11:51 AM
It certainly has the potential to lead to game world inconsistency, as does having a consistent rule set. On the one hand you have no one to blame but yourself, on the other you can blame the system. Depends how responsible you want to be for your game world.

Personally, I'd prefer to be less responsible. Not having to do everything is why I shelled out $90 in the first place.


Just because Tordek is the strongest person you know, doesn't mean you think all dwarves are that strong. All (any) elves aren't as ugly as Mialee. The PCs are acutely aware that there are individuals out there who out perform the general members of their race. After all, they're some of them. Which if anything should lead to a healthy attitude of never taking anything at face value.

Partially true. However, if they have hung around a dwarven village and noticed that dwarves, on average, are stronger than humans then they would have a reasonable justification to expect a dwarf to be strong, all other things being equal. Other factors might, of course, trump that.
They might very well also expect anyone carrying a spellbook around to be a physical weakling, regardless of race. Being aware of the exceptional doesn't negate typical expectations, it merely keeps one from being totally surprised when the exceptional shows up.

Matthew
2008-09-02, 12:07 PM
Personally, I'd prefer to be less responsible. Not having to do everything is why I shelled out $90 in the first place.

Heh, heh. There was no right or wrong answer implication intended. It just goes back to preferences for the game as "complete" or as a "tool box".

Matthew
2008-09-03, 02:50 PM
I was just thinking about the "purpose of class" again in relation to another discussion about the "purpose of feats", and it strikes me that one of the key things removed in 4e is the capacity to "build" a character via classes [i.e. no Fighter 4/Assassin 3, or whatever]. I think this is a really good move on WotC's part, but I can imagine it not being to everybody's taste.

AKA_Bait
2008-09-03, 02:53 PM
I was just thinking about the "purpose of class" again in relation to another discussion about the "purpose of feats", and it strikes me that one of the key things removed in 4e is the capacity to "build" a character via classes [i.e. no Fighter 4/Assassin 3, or whatever]. I think this is a really good move on WotC's part, but I can imagine it not being to everybody's taste.

Indeed. I happen to agree with you in that it was a good decision on the part of WotC. However, the removal of that option is one of the things that those who don't like 4e most frequently complain about.

nagora
2008-09-03, 02:54 PM
Anything that puts an end to the abomination that was 3e multiclassing has to be a good thing.

hamishspence
2008-09-03, 02:55 PM
Builds seemed a bit metagamey to some: leading to some people annoyed that their character doesn't qualify for prestige class that fits players character concept, and others taking feats and skills for no reason other than to qualify for a prestige class.

Matthew
2008-09-03, 02:55 PM
Also related:



If a class summons up an image of a typical member in the player's mind then it's probably a good idea for a class. On the grounds, I think Barbarian, Knight, Thief, Druid, Wizard, and Fighter (perhaps Swordsman) all work well regardless whether the reference is really to a profession or a culture. Cleric is the weak one at least in the sense of a newbie having any idea what it entales on first hearing the term.

I like the idea of "basic classes" that are then built upon in some way.



EDIT: for a while, the term Priest was used in 2nd ed. Maybe it should have survived past then?

Yes, I think that was a step in the right direction, and it was a pity that it never really worked in execution.

Charity
2008-09-03, 03:04 PM
The name priest never really summoned up visions of the martial part of the D&D cleric.

hamishspence
2008-09-03, 03:08 PM
most powerful D&D clerics tend to get their power from spells. Martial ability seems to be secondary. Though, with buffs, cleric can outclass fighter in melee, its still not the clerics main punch.

AKA_Bait
2008-09-03, 03:09 PM
Builds seemed a bit metagamey to some: leading to some people annoyed that their character doesn't qualify for prestige class that fits players character concept, and others taking feats and skills for no reason other than to qualify for a prestige class.

Yeah. That was something that always bothered me. I remember shortly after I joined these boards I had a very legnthy thread debate about exactly that issue.

nagora
2008-09-03, 03:13 PM
The name priest never really summoned up visions of the martial part of the D&D cleric.

Unless, of course, you were a 3rd level cleric.

Personally, I enjoyed being Lord Nagora, and Canon Cere. Other party members were a Wizard, a Dwarven Lord, and a Sorcerer-Champion. Happy days.


Though, with buffs, cleric can outclass fighter in melee, its still not the clerics main punch.
Not in 1e, unless perhaps at very low level.

hamishspence
2008-09-03, 03:20 PM
Were 1st ed clerics basically fighters or casters? At low or high level?

I get impression that in 3rd ed, cleric could quickly outclass fighter in melee, with right spells.

In Master D&D set, cleric seem to me like casters. Like wizards they get wish at 36th level, and spells while not as catastrophic are still powerful.

Xenogears
2008-09-03, 03:30 PM
Builds seemed a bit metagamey to some: leading to some people annoyed that their character doesn't qualify for prestige class that fits players character concept, and others taking feats and skills for no reason other than to qualify for a prestige class.

Isn't that why it is suggested that you come up with an in-game reason of why you would take the prestiege class? Say that Fighter starts hanging out with a bar-mate who turns out to be an Assassin. The assassin sees the fighter in action and decides to introduce him to the Assassins guild.

Yeah the game mechanics of it are still a bit odd. Taking skills and feats for no other purpose is weird but if just anyone could join the PrC then everyone would take it at first level. Coming up with an in-game reason should atleast remove the metagamyness of it. The feats shouldn't actually be for no reason though. They should also be tied into the PrC. Say that the fighter turned assassin is getting trained to be more stealthy so the next time he levels up then give him ranks in Move Silently and Hide.

PrC's weren't supposed to be things that characters take randomly. There is supposed to be a solid RP reason for doing so. Perhaps they start out as an evil fighter but ultimately decide that they want to serve the cause of evil more directly and go for the Blackguard class. Maybe they were a regular rogue but decided they could make more money if they were an Assassin. If the Player can't be bothered to explain why his character would A) Take that Skill/Feat (assuming it is a more or less useless one gained for the sole purpose of entering a PrC) and B) would take the PrC in the first place then don't let them take the PrC.

hamishspence
2008-09-03, 03:33 PM
Improved Sunder for blackguards. Comes in category of feats it would be very hard to explain why you want to take them. And doesn't seem especially "blackguard-ish" anyway. People can probably think of others.

AKA_Bait
2008-09-03, 03:36 PM
If the Player can't be bothered to explain why his character would A) Take that Skill/Feat (assuming it is a more or less useless one gained for the sole purpose of entering a PrC) and B) would take the PrC in the first place then don't let them take the PrC.

Unfortunatley though, some think that taking a PrC is an inalienable right of players. Let me see if I can dig up that old thread...

Edit: Here it is. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18480) Please don't post in it though, as it is long, long dead.

Xenogears
2008-09-03, 03:48 PM
Unfortunatley though, some think that taking a PrC is an inalienable right of players. Let me see if I can dig up that old thread...

Edit: Here it is. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18480) Please don't post in it though, as it is long, long dead.

Well that is what the purpose of the DM is for. Telling them "NO." If it isn't a very serious campaign then let them but if everyone is taking the RP element as an important element then tell them to either come up with a reason or do something else. If they whine about it then tell them to stop whining or stop coming.

Improved Sunder... Well Blackguards like hurting people so maybe they train to break enemies weapons in order to start the process of breaking them mentally and physically. I mean how much more intimidating is a creature when he shatters your only weapon and leaves you defenseless? It's fairly easy to come up with a reason if you are willing to try hard enough. Sure I bet there are some that I can't but most are probably doable.

nagora
2008-09-03, 03:49 PM
In Master D&D set, cleric seem to me like casters. Like wizards they get wish at 36th level, and spells while not as catastrophic are still powerful.
You need to bear in mind in all cases that Master D&D is totally unconnected with Advanced D&D. This is something that baffled me, and still does as marketing ideas go. 36th level in AD&D simply didn't exist, with greater deities' capping at 30th.

Anyway, clerics in 1e started out as fighter/casters with combat ability equal to a normal fighter, albeit with slightly fewer HP. As levels went up, the cleric fell further behind, so that a 12th level cleric attacked as a 7th level fighter, while a 12th level fighter was getting 3 attacks every two rounds (with 2/rnd at 13th) and probably now had a fair few more HP (95 Vs 65 on average for Con 18). Clerics were also restricted to non-sharp weapons. The 12th level cleric needed 100,000 xp less than the 12th level fighter, however.

With the advent of UA the difference grew as fighters could specialise and double specialise. (Personally, I feel that this was enough reason to allow clerics to use any weapon appropriate to their deity and scrap the blunt-instrument requirement. Which is neither here nor there).

Clerical spells were pretty good, especially at high level, but tended to be slow because of all that praising the deity stuff that went into the castings. A mage was a better caster eventually, but for example, a cleric got Gate at 1.8 million xp, while a Magic user needed to wait until s/he had accumulated 3 million xp!

hamishspence
2008-09-03, 03:53 PM
I know about the D&D/AD&D split, but when assessing capabilities of pre-3rd ed games, non-Advanced D&D needs to be considered.

Matthew
2008-09-23, 06:17 PM
Indeed. I happen to agree with you in that it was a good decision on the part of WotC. However, the removal of that option is one of the things that those who don't like 4e most frequently complain about.

Quite so. Thinking some more on this subject, it seems to me that a "class based game" has become soemthing different from a game with "strong archetypal roles".



The name priest never really summoned up visions of the martial part of the D&D cleric.

I agree, which is partly why I think it was a step in the right direction. The cleric is a martial priest, but not all priests should be martially inclined, I think.



Builds seemed a bit metagamey to some: leading to some people annoyed that their character doesn't qualify for prestige class that fits players character concept, and others taking feats and skills for no reason other than to qualify for a prestige class.



Yeah. That was something that always bothered me. I remember shortly after I joined these boards I had a very legnthy thread debate about exactly that issue.

Yes, I think the metagame of "class builds" is probably one of my biggest turn offs with regards to D20/3e. I do have the feeling that Prestige Classes were always intended to increase the power of the basic classes. The whole "a full progression through fighter 1-20 has nothing to offer" argument reinforces my thought as to this. Where it stumbles a little is with those prestige classes that actually make character's weaker, such as those that do not provide full casting progression. A troubling disconnect.

Colmarr
2008-09-23, 09:36 PM
The whole "a full progression through fighter 1-20 has nothing to offer" argument reinforces my thought as to this. Where it stumbles a little is with those prestige classes that actually make character's weaker, such as those that do not provide full casting progression. A troubling disconnect.

It's only a disconnect where the power levels are intentional. If I recall correctly, Monte Cook at one stage admitted that the designers did not appreciate how much of a loss a caster level was until it was far too late to doing anything about it.

Of course, that doesn't explain the preponderance of partial-caster PrCs towards the end of the 3e era.

JupiterPaladin
2008-09-24, 09:19 PM
The issue is tying skills to class level AND to other things. If the only thing increasing level gave you was increased skills, fine, it works OK. However, that's not how the system works. Skills are tied to level are tied to hit dice. So now, to have a master smith with a +20 to a skill, you're forcing him to have scads of hit points that he shouldn't have (more so because a smith probably ought to have a high con, adding yet more HP, and taking away the only mechanic you could use to shrink his HP pool).

That's an inherent inconsistency in the world, because people generally shouldn't have huge number of HP if they're proficient, I don't know...coopers or fletchers. Divorce HP from level, and having everyone in your game world have class levels makes sense. It doesn't otherwise.

I agree with this completely. It makes absolutely no sense in any way that a guy can go kill a dragon and somehow be better at blacksmithing. Here is the approach I take in my 3.5 campaigns:

Adventuring Skills - Stuff like Spot, Listen, Search, Spellcraft, and Move Silently are used on a constant basis and therefore increase as fast as your dependency on those skills. These skills are applied in the standard RAW way.

Academic/Trade Skills - Stuff like Knowledge: History and Blacksmithing must be trained over time with actual practice and possible guidance. I set up a GP and time requirement to gain each rank, and award a +1 competence bonus for each year of active use. This would explain why Don Quioxte the Master Blacksmith can make stuff at DC 40 without trying, but only has 8hp. He spent his entire wealth on training and most of his lifetime in practice.

Breaking them up like this makes much more sense to me and I feel it works pretty well.

Matthew
2008-09-26, 08:27 AM
I agree with this completely. It makes absolutely no sense in any way that a guy can go kill a dragon and somehow be better at blacksmithing. Here is the approach I take in my 3.5 campaigns:

Adventuring Skills - Stuff like Spot, Listen, Search, Spellcraft, and Move Silently are used on a constant basis and therefore increase as fast as your dependency on those skills. These skills are applied in the standard RAW way.

Academic/Trade Skills - Stuff like Knowledge: History and Blacksmithing must be trained over time with actual practice and possible guidance. I set up a GP and time requirement to gain each rank, and award a +1 competence bonus for each year of active use. This would explain why Don Quioxte the Master Blacksmith can make stuff at DC 40 without trying, but only has 8hp. He spent his entire wealth on training and most of his lifetime in practice.

Breaking them up like this makes much more sense to me and I feel it works pretty well.

That is very similar to how I used to handle it. I think it is a better approach. Do you still cap academic/trade skills by level?

Person_Man
2008-09-26, 10:15 AM
I was just thinking about the "purpose of class" again in relation to another discussion about the "purpose of feats", and it strikes me that one of the key things removed in 4e is the capacity to "build" a character via classes [i.e. no Fighter 4/Assassin 3, or whatever]. I think this is a really good move on WotC's part, but I can imagine it not being to everybody's taste.

This is the precise reason many people haven't switched over to 4E. For a certain group of players, complexity was good. They like builds. They like talking about builds. They like picking out Skill points, and investing full ranks in Profession (Basketweaving) because it was what their Cleric did every summer at Pelor summer camp. They like owning (or downloading, usually both) dozens of books, and reading through them all for the best material. But really, D&D is a poor game choice for people who want to do this. Point based systems like GURPS are much better choices, in that they offer far more freedom to customize your character.



Improved Sunder for blackguards. Comes in category of feats it would be very hard to explain why you want to take them. And doesn't seem especially "blackguard-ish" anyway. People can probably think of others.

Blackguard in particular are a perfect example of what was wrong with PrC in 3E. In many cases, a Paladin who roleplays a fall from grace MUST take ridiculous pre-reqs if he wants to become a Blackguard, well before his fall from grace. Theoretically you could just give up your Paladin powers, and be as weak as a high level Commoner. But then you're being punished (severely) for not metagaming.

Matthew
2008-09-26, 10:29 AM
This is the precise reason many people haven't switched over to 4E. For a certain group of players, complexity was good. They like builds. They like talking about builds. They like picking out Skill points, and investing full ranks in Profession (Basketweaving) because it was what their Cleric did every summer at Pelor summer camp. They like owning (or downloading, usually both) dozens of books, and reading through them all for the best material. But really, D&D is a poor game choice for people who want to do this. Point based systems like GURPS are much better choices, in that they offer far more freedom to customize your character.

Yes, exactly so. The meta game that is a huge turn off for me, is precisely what a lot of people love about D20/3e. Well, I suppose you can't satisfy all the people all of the time (though to be fair, being all things to all men was precisely what D20/3e was about). :smallbiggrin:

monty
2008-09-26, 10:51 AM
Look at the gestalt challenge threads; you'll see builds with half a dozen dips on each side and material from as many books. For me, and apparently for others, that's part of what makes 3e interesting. It's like a scavenger hunt, trying to find the best class/feat/whatever to do whatever it is you're trying to do. Maybe 4e will get more interesting when they put out more books, maybe it won't.