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Everyman
2008-12-14, 06:48 PM
I've been thinking a lot lately about game mechanics, and a thought hit me about D&D: magic has no consequence. I knew that magic was mechanically a fancy way of saying "No" to the rules for a while, but it only truly struck me how odd a choice that was after working on a few game designs of my own. I mean, there are loads of literary tropes of how beings have been punished for taping into such power. For example, some poor bastard underestimates his own control over something more powerful than himself, and suddenly has to face the consequences when it fails to heed him (or worse, turns on him). If there is no threat in using magic within D&D, why wouldn't people use it?

Now before I go further, I want it made perfectly clear that I love playing the caster. Being able to tell physics to shut up and sit down while I go off and kill a catgirl is about one of the only reasons I play. Even the non-magical characters I play mess with magic, if only by purchasing relics or potions and using them in haphazard ways. I think magic brings a lot to the table (literally, if you game classically), so I want my thoughts to be considered with that in mind.

Magic shouldn't be free. Even when the cleric has his power handed to him by his deity on a silver platter, he should still be wary of abusing it. There should be a cost or risk associated with using magic, and I don't mean the material components (which is a whole 'nother issue I don't like, but that's for another thread). When a caster taps into their magic, I think it would be good for failure (and thereby consequence) to be hanging over their head. When the fighter swings his sword at a golem, he's worried about the AC. Even the perfect warrior who is almost guaranteed to hit that magic number has to worry about that natural one. Why not the wizard? Why not the cleric?

Would it bother you all if you had to make some sort of roll when casting a spell? Even something as contrived as "Caster level + d20 versus X" would at least introduce the threat of failure, and thereby create a bit of tension. A caster couldn't just rely on saying "First, I'll forcecage the suckers, and then cast cloudkill". No, instead they may have to work with "First, I'll try and forcecage those guys. If it works, I'm a cloudkill away from victory. If I fail, I'm an arrow volley away from death.

What are your thoughts on the idea? Would it make the game more interesting, or perhaps bog it down with the extra rolls? Could it even (*gasp*) level the playing field between casters and non-casters in a fight, even if only a bit?
-Tarkahn

PS. One last thought occured to me. If a fighter can critically fail an attack roll, adding in a failure chance for magic means that logically a chance of critical failure should occur for magic. That just opens up a lot of possibilities, doesn't it? Magic backlash sounds like something that could really liven up the game...

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 06:51 PM
The problem with giving magic a cost, is that if the cost is too great, the players won't use it. And if the players aren't using it, why bother including it? Of course, I'm of the mind that NPCs aren't bound to the same rules as PCs and this colors my opinion on it.

Egiam
2008-12-14, 06:54 PM
If you're planning to homebrew a system, read Eragon for ideas.

Everyman
2008-12-14, 07:00 PM
The problem with giving magic a cost, is that if the cost is too great, the players won't use it. And if the players aren't using it, why bother including it? Of course, I'm of the mind that NPCs aren't bound to the same rules as PCs and this colors my opinion on it.

That is an excellent point. However, I still feel like having no cost is worse. If there is no reason not to use magic, then why don't all settings eventually turn into (to borrow forum terms) a "Tippy Universe"?

Perhaps if the risk was there, but not so large as to make magic unappealing. I would agree that a 50/50 chance of casting correctly would be unacceptable, but would something like...an 80% chance of success be bad? What if it could improve to 90% over time?


If you're planning to homebrew a system, read Eragon for ideas

Not quite what my intention is here. While I do have a homemade system in mind, I'm really just trying to get a gauge for what everyone's feelings are. Thanks for the reference, though. Been meaning to get a copy of it and read up. Here's to another incentive, eh?

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 07:03 PM
That is an excellent point. However, I still feel like having no cost is worse. If there is no reason not to use magic, then why don't all settings eventually turn into (to borrow forum terms) a "Tippy Universe"?

Perhaps if the risk was there, but not so large as to make magic unappealing.


I like to strip utility magic away anyways, but another part of "Tippy Universe" not happening in my games is that I tend to make magic require a Gift for it. I usually refer to it as the Blessing of Mana (from Star Ocean). So not everyoen can be a caster if they want to.

Shpadoinkle
2008-12-14, 07:07 PM
Eh... On one hand, I generally like the idea of anything that helps level off the power levels of casters vs. noncasters. On the other hand, spells and skill checks (attack rolls are essentially the same thing as a skill check) simply aren't the same thing- if you fail a skill/attack roll, you can try it again next round up to another 14,399 times that same day.

You can't cast all day, though. A level 20 wizard or sorcerer could blow through all his spells for the day in around five minutes (assuming none of thier spells have a casting time of greater than one full round and none are Quickened).

So, if you're going to add in skill checks for casting spells, I think you either need to give casters more spells per day (never thought I'd be saying that), or make failure a fairly low possibility- anything more than 15% would be pretty much unacceptable to me as a player, and even 15% is pushing the limit of what I'd put up with.

AmberVael
2008-12-14, 07:08 PM
I think that magic needs one of two things:

1) More limitations
2) More cost and less limitations.

If something has more limitations- like, say, if I am a caster who can only use buffs, have so many limitations active at a time, and have to take a greater amount of time to cast them, then their level of power goes drastically down, even if they still have the same spells.

However, as the magic system is right now, more cost would make more sense (at least, that's what I think). However... I don't like using Gold as a cost, and using XP as a cost similarly seems to be a poor idea.

Everyman
2008-12-14, 07:08 PM
EDIT: Addressed to Starsinger...
Good idea. It at least gives a rational for why magic doesn't rule the world.

Let me ask you this before I sign off tonight: What if the threat was something like "The spell fails to expend" when you goof? That way, the caster doesn't waste resources all the time (except of course their action for that round). I personally would like to see something a bit more cinematic than that, but perhaps that is better suited for a critical failure.

Egiam
2008-12-14, 07:12 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is the "Tippy universe"?

Oslecamo
2008-12-14, 07:13 PM
However, as the magic system is right now, more cost would make more sense (at least, that's what I think). However... I don't like using Gold as a cost, and using XP as a cost similarly seems to be a poor idea.

It already exists.

It's called spell slots.

Or mana. Or power points. Or whatever you want to call them.

If you think the spells don't cost enough, cut down the number of spells per day the can do. Let's see if the wizard/druid/cleric still laugh at anyone when they can only cast one spell of each level per day(and in the case of the druid, one wildshape per day also).

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-14, 07:14 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is the "Tippy universe"?

The presence of magic is taken to the logical extreme with world altering effects, ie, no more famine and better hygiene.

AmberVael
2008-12-14, 07:15 PM
It already exists.

It's called spell slots.

Or mana. Or power points. Or whatever you want to call them.

If you think the spells don't cost enough, cut down the number of spells per day the can do. Let's see if the wizard/druid/cleric still laugh at anyone when they can only cast one spell of each level per day(and in the case of the druid, one wildshape per day also).
That's not a cost. That's a limitation. Sure, you have to spend a slot to cast it each day, but it comes right back the next day.

kjones
2008-12-14, 07:15 PM
If you think the spells don't cost enough, cut down the number of spells per day the can do. Let's see if the wizard/druid/cleric still laugh at anyone when they can only cast one spell of each level per day(and in the case of the druid, one wildshape per day also).

Then nobody plays wizards, druids, or clerics. Congratulations, you cured your headache by cutting off your head.

I remember once seeing a homebrew magic user called the Bio-Mage who used his own life force to cast spells - he could cast lots of spells, but each casting had a physical toll, and he could easily kill himself if he wasn't careful. Who knows if it was balanced or not, but it seemed like a cool idea. You should be able to search for it around here.

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 07:18 PM
Then nobody plays wizards, druids, or clerics. Congratulations, you cured your headache by cutting off your head.

I remember once seeing a homebrew magic user called the Bio-Mage who used his own life force to cast spells - he could cast lots of spells, but each casting had a physical toll, and he could easily kill himself if he wasn't careful. Who knows if it was balanced or not, but it seemed like a cool idea. You should be able to search for it around here.

The problem with that, is it would most likely end up with a player casting spells willy nilly anyways, afterall once the campaign is over, most players would stop caring about the fact that their character would die a month after the BBEG bit the dust.

Jack_Simth
2008-12-14, 07:20 PM
I've been thinking a lot lately about game mechanics, and a thought hit me about D&D: magic has no consequence. I knew that magic was mechanically a fancy way of saying "No" to the rules for a while, but it only truly struck me how odd a choice that was after working on a few game designs of my own. I mean, there are loads of literary tropes of how beings have been punished for taping into such power. For example, some poor bastard underestimates his own control over something more powerful than himself, and suddenly has to face the consequences when it fails to heed him (or worse, turns on him). If there is no threat in using magic within D&D, why wouldn't people use it?

There are consequences for some magic - Contact Other Plane, Planar Binding, and a handful of others.


Now before I go further, I want it made perfectly clear that I love playing the caster. Being able to tell physics to shut up and sit down while I go off and kill a catgirl is about one of the only reasons I play. Even the non-magical characters I play mess with magic, if only by purchasing relics or potions and using them in haphazard ways. I think magic brings a lot to the table (literally, if you game classically), so I want my thoughts to be considered with that in mind.

Magic shouldn't be free. Even when the cleric has his power handed to him by his deity on a silver platter, he should still be wary of abusing it. There should be a cost or risk associated with using magic, and I don't mean the material components (which is a whole 'nother issue I don't like, but that's for another thread). When a caster taps into their magic, I think it would be good for failure (and thereby consequence) to be hanging over their head. When the fighter swings his sword at a golem, he's worried about the AC. Even the perfect warrior who is almost guaranteed to hit that magic number has to worry about that natural one. Why not the wizard? Why not the cleric?

Would it bother you all if you had to make some sort of roll when casting a spell? Even something as contrived as "Caster level + d20 versus X" would at least introduce the threat of failure, and thereby create a bit of tension. A caster couldn't just rely on saying "First, I'll forcecage the suckers, and then cast cloudkill". No, instead they may have to work with "First, I'll try and forcecage those guys. If it works, I'm a cloudkill away from victory. If I fail, I'm an arrow volley away from death.

For most spells, you do. Or rather, the target(s) do. When the fighter takes a swing, there's one or two rolls to resolve (attack and damage). When a Wizard casts a Fireball, there's two or three rolls involved (save, damage, SR penetration). More, if the Wizard is under threat and casts defensively. Some trade the saving throw for an attack roll.

There's a couple of exceptions, spells that require no roll to succeed ... but those are almost always one of:
1) Buff spells (helps you or your allies, does not directly affect your opponents)
2) Combat Control (wall spells, generally; again, does not directly affect your opponents)
3) Information gathering only (Discern Location, for example; you can also put Sending here)

The spells with no save, attack roll, or SR that do not fit one of the above criteria? Yeah, those are usually broken (as are several specific spells).

Really, all you need to do is make sure every spell that does not fit 1, 2, or 3 above has either a save or an attack roll (or both), and you're mostly set (except for a few specific spells).


What are your thoughts on the idea? Would it make the game more interesting, or perhaps bog it down with the extra rolls? Could it even (*gasp*) level the playing field between casters and non-casters in a fight, even if only a bit?
-Tarkahn

My thoughts? Extra rolls for the "roll to succeed". Consequences were mostly removed as a deliberate design choice in the transition for 2nd edition to 3rd edition. If magic sucks, PC's aren't going to use it, generally.


PS. One last thought occured to me. If a fighter can critically fail an attack roll, adding in a failure chance for magic means that logically a chance of critical failure should occur for magic. That just opens up a lot of possibilities, doesn't it? Magic backlash sounds like something that could really liven up the game...
Critical failures (fumbles) were likewise removed from the game (somewhere between 2nd and 3.5, not sure exactly where). They've just got auto-failures on the natural-1... and most offensive spells also have an "auto-failure" ... but that's more the "auto-success" for the defender's save.

kjones
2008-12-14, 07:23 PM
The problem with that, is it would most likely end up with a player casting spells willy nilly anyways, afterall once the campaign is over, most players would stop caring about the fact that their character would die a month after the BBEG bit the dust.

Yeah, that always struck me as a problem, but what if the penalties were short-term instead of long-term? Keep casting spells, but that last one might just kill you.

I'm just throwing ideas around, because I've always liked the idea of magic having some kind of personal cost, but I've never been able to figure out a good way to represent it mechanically.

Jack_Simth
2008-12-14, 07:28 PM
Yeah, that always struck me as a problem, but what if the penalties were short-term instead of long-term? Keep casting spells, but that last one might just kill you.

I'm just throwing ideas around, because I've always liked the idea of magic having some kind of personal cost, but I've never been able to figure out a good way to represent it mechanically.
Nonlethal damage, perhaps? Annoying enough that you'll not be using it lightly, mild enough that you'll still use it.

Reinboom
2008-12-14, 07:31 PM
Yeah, that always struck me as a problem, but what if the penalties were short-term instead of long-term? Keep casting spells, but that last one might just kill you.

I'm just throwing ideas around, because I've always liked the idea of magic having some kind of personal cost, but I've never been able to figure out a good way to represent it mechanically.

The concept is neat, however, I wouldn't carry it further than a novel.
Setting a significant personal cost causes the issue of a player being unable (or too paranoid and thus unable) to use their class abilities. A player doesn't choose to be a magic user to shoot a crossbow.

Really, I've always been of the opinion that magic should be less tolling, more consistent, and weaker. Also, more subtle.

It also must be mentioned that who is playing matters/what is being played. A life force draining mage might make a great BBEG - giving the interesting effect of the witches in Stardust - but it's not so interesting for a player.

Oslecamo
2008-12-14, 07:34 PM
Then nobody plays wizards, druids, or clerics. Congratulations, you cured your headache by cutting off your head.


No, because one of the reasons people say casters are the pwrnz is that at medium-high levels they can easily go around with a dozen buffs over themselves, cast something usefull every battle and still have spells left.

By reducing the number of spells per day of the caster, they're forced to think carefully every turn if a situation is worthy their slots

They can still transform that greater demon into a sheep, but they can't go around doing it to every minion of the greater demon.



I remember once seeing a homebrew magic user called the Bio-Mage who used his own life force to cast spells - he could cast lots of spells, but each casting had a physical toll, and he could easily kill himself if he wasn't careful. Who knows if it was balanced or not, but it seemed like a cool idea. You should be able to search for it around here.

Except when you notice that in D&D is very easy to bypass such kind of penalties. Or simply ignore them. Who cares if you're at one life if your oponent is defeated? Just drink some potions of healing and you're ready for another go.

Vael:What's the other possibility? Want to go back to 2ed where spells demanded permanent payments? Crafting a magic sword demands one point of contitution. Casting time stop drains several years of your life.

Permanent costs aren't really much of a great idea. Either nobody uses them, or people simply go nova in a flash of glorious death to finish off their quest.

You can always make spell slots take a longer time to regenerate if you think one day is too little. But making magic energy non regenerable at all means the rest of the party must finish the campaign as quickly as possible or see the caster become useless because he can't do any more magic.

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 07:34 PM
The concept is neat, however, I wouldn't carry it further than a novel.
Setting a significant personal cost causes the issue of a player being unable (or too paranoid and thus unable) to use their class abilities. A player doesn't choose to be a magic user to shoot a crossbow.

Really, I've always been of the opinion that magic should be less tolling, more consistent, and weaker. Also, more subtle.

It also must be mentioned that who is playing matters/what is being played. A life force draining mage might make a great BBEG - giving the interesting effect of the witches in Stardust - but it's not so interesting for a player.

Very true, especially the underlined part. Which is why I whole-heartedly support Warlocks, Reserve Feats, 4e At-wills, and the Pathfinder at-will type abilities that most mage types get.

As for the witches in Stardust, you're right, it does fuel into that, and the whole draining someone else's life force to keep yourself young and powerful etc that you can find in a few myths and fairy tales.

Also, SweetRein, how'd that little battle go? :smalltongue:

holywhippet
2008-12-14, 07:36 PM
I remember once seeing a homebrew magic user called the Bio-Mage who used his own life force to cast spells - he could cast lots of spells, but each casting had a physical toll, and he could easily kill himself if he wasn't careful. Who knows if it was balanced or not, but it seemed like a cool idea. You should be able to search for it around here.

I've seen this in the old PC game Betrayal at Krondor. Magic using types spent their health to cast spells. You could rest for a turn during a fight to regain a little bit of health if you had to.


That's not a cost. That's a limitation. Sure, you have to spend a slot to cast it each day, but it comes right back the next day.
Yes, but the cost of being a wizard or sorcerer is low hit points. When you run out of spells and magical items, all you have is whatever lowly melee skils you've developed.

One system that has a "cost" to "magic" is Dark Heresy. Pskyers have to make a power roll in order to use one of their powers. If any of the power dice come up 9, they make a d100 roll to see what side effect occurs. Many of these are just window dressing, but a few are bad and if you roll high enough you have to make a d100 roll on the "bad side effects" table. These vary from bad, to really bad to instantly lethal.

For D&D, the old wild magic surges might be a good equivalent.

kjones
2008-12-14, 07:39 PM
No, because one of the reasons people say casters are the pwrnz is that at medium-high levels they can easily go around with a dozen buffs over themselves, cast something usefull every battle and still have spells left.

By reducing the number of spells per day of the caster, they're forced to think carefully every turn if a situation is worthy their

They can still transform that greater demon into a sheep, but they can't go around

I think you got cut off there... The problem is, as Rein said above, that a wizard should never be reduced to shooting a crossbow - that's not fun for anyone.

One solution to this is to take the route of 4th Edition, where casters have powers they can use at-will, just like any other class. But your solution would just mean that casters are awesome in brief bursts, before being reduced to nothingness. This is what playing a wizard at low levels is like, especially in 1st and 2nd edition, and it kind of sucked.

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 07:40 PM
I think you got cut off there... The problem is, as Rein said above, that a wizard should never be reduced to shooting a crossbow - that's not fun for anyone.

One solution to this is to take the route of 4th Edition, where casters have powers they can use at-will, just like any other class. But your solution would just mean that casters are awesome in brief bursts, before being reduced to nothingness. This is what playing a wizard at low levels is like, especially in 1st and 2nd edition, and it kind of sucked.

Pathfinder does (did?) it too!

AmberVael
2008-12-14, 07:44 PM
Vael:What's the other possibility? Want to go back to 2ed where spells demanded permanent payments? Crafting a magic sword demands one point of contitution. Casting time stop drains several years of your life.

Permanent costs aren't really much of a great idea. Either nobody uses them, or people simply go nova in a flash of glorious death to finish off their quest.

You can always make spell slots take a longer time to regenerate if you think one day is too little. But making magic energy non regenerable at all means the rest of the party must finish the campaign as quickly as possible or see the caster become useless because he can't do any more magic.

Just because it is non regenerating doesn't mean you can't gain it back. Example: XP and GP. They just don't come back automatically. You have to earn it.

However, I do agree. Permanent costs are difficult to use in D&D, which is why I more often go with my other idea- more limitations.

Matthew
2008-12-14, 07:56 PM
I think you got cut off there... The problem is, as Rein said above, that a wizard should never be reduced to shooting a crossbow - that's not fun for anyone.

I dunno about that; to some extent it must depend on your expectations of what the class offers. The AD&D elf fighter/magician as a choice tended to offset some of that perception, I think. The other side of it depends on the emphasis placed on combat as the primary encounter form. I used to play an elf magician who (by special dispensation from the game master) could use the long sword and long bow, and he was always fun to play, but never really used the weapons past level one or two. These things do tend to be more subjective than "it's not fun".

Oslecamo
2008-12-14, 07:58 PM
I think you got cut off there... The problem is, as Rein said above, that a wizard should never be reduced to shooting a crossbow - that's not fun for anyone.


Now I disagree with this. Eventually, the game must put the players in positions where their main ability doesn't cut it and they must improvise.

Fighters will find enemies out of melee reach and will have to pull out their bows/javelins. Or drink a potion of flying.

Rogues will find their mobility crippled and have to face their oponents whitout dirty tricks. Or drink some potion of escape.

Clerics will find themselves whitout healing, and have to protect the bleeding guys the old fashinoed way. Or churn down a potion of healing down their throats.

And the wizard will find itself whitout mana/spell slots and have to pull out some nonmagicl weapon to keep fighting.

This even happens in 4e. Ever faced a group of ranged kobolds in higher ground while there was a path towards them that demanded several acrobatic checks to pass, plus traps on the way, and you are the party's fighter? It was tough. It was dirty. I got to negatives two times. And when I finally got in melee range only one kobold was left. But hell it was epic anyway, falling and geting up several times, while tossing whatever I could at the kobolds to help soften them up.

Just because the wizard was forced to pull out his crossbow doesn't mean he stoped being awesome. It just means he needs to work a little harder for that.

Don't remember Gandalf showing his quartertaff-fu in LOTR?:smallwink:

Grail
2008-12-14, 08:05 PM
I am working on turning 3.5 into a classless system, and the way I'm working magic requires a focus of some sort (holy symbol, wand, staff, rod, whatever) and a spellbook (prayerbook or ritual book for Clerics/Druids). Then the caster needs to make a Spellcraft check to cast the spell.

Divine Spells still use Wisdom for DC's etc, Arcane uses Charisma. So now, Divine Spellcasters will need Wisdom + Intelligence and Arcane will need Charisma + Intelligence.

Then, ontop of that spells deal Non-Lethal damage to the caster.

To balance this out, Spellcasters do not have to memorize spells. They can freely cast any spell that they have in their book, as long as they make the DC and suffer the NL damage.

So far, IMNSHO, it looks the goods.

Reinboom
2008-12-14, 08:14 PM
-snip-

This is true, however, it shouldn't be (in my opinion) a feature of the system itself, just an ability to handle such.
Antimagic Fields, surrounding the caster in a fashion as to make casting difficult, and the sort are decent enough to force situations like this. However, most of the situations you labeled can be escaped/recovered from.
"Crap, can't use magic. That's what I do though... oh well, best use this contingency plan til i can situate myself in a way as to use magic again."
"Crap, can't use my sword. That's what I do though... oh well, best use this contingency plan til I can get myself a new sword again."
etc.

(I must emphasize, with all this, I do not much like 2e's casting, or 3.5e by extension. Or even 4e, really... D&D's magic doesn't satisfy me. =P)
On the O.P.'s idea:
I wouldn't be too fond of it, personally. I tend to play magic users in order to be able to have utilitarian effects that I can rely on consistently happening as to be able to tactically effect the battle. Or do neat things outside of battle that is reliable.
I like being to say "I can" more than "I might" with such situations. I don't play fighters because of this.
This isn't so much a power thing for me either, I refuse to use most Save or Lose/Die effects, with no effecting back up either (I don't like Fireball much either, I don't do much killing at all, really).

Oslecamo
2008-12-14, 08:19 PM
(I must emphasize, with all this, I do not much like 2e's casting, or 3.5e by extension. Or even 4e, really... D&D's magic doesn't satisfy me. =P)

Sooo, what system's magic rules satisfies you? The limited number of spells per period of time, I must say, seems to be the most popular, used in almost every computer game out there. You don't see that many games where the player takes damage to use spells.

Starsinger
2008-12-14, 08:23 PM
Sooo, what system's magic rules satisfies you? The limited number of spells per period of time, I must say, seems to be the most popular, used in almost every computer game out there. I like MP systems, preferably the one in Rifts, but the question wasn't really aimed at me...

You don't see that many games where the player takes damage to use spells.

Paladin's Quest used your HP instead of MP...

Reinboom
2008-12-14, 08:28 PM
Sooo, what system's magic rules satisfies you?

This is a good question.
I enjoyed Scion's power abilities things. Don't like MP or anything of the equivalent.. which shoots out a lot of systems. HATED Shadowrun. Exalted didn't deliver much for me. I like Deadlands (using Savage Worlds), but couldn't keep running with it for long campaigns.
BESM annoyed me.
Conan d20 really didn't work for me.
Anima... is interesting. Haven't gotten a chance to actively try it much.
Only played Vampire and Werewolf for WoD. So, can't comment on that.

I've been hunting, and hunting.

Closest, i think, is honestly D&D 4e. However, I hate the requirement of "You must damage your opponents". if I could just take all the Utility abilities in the book, I would be more satisfied than anything. Casters should be more distinct than that (blasters, utilitarians, necromancers, etc. keeping seperate but still casting). Choice satisfies me (3.5e provides this) with consistency (4e).

Oh well, like most who are not satisfied by anything. *Continues to work on own rule set*

Starsinger: It isn't over yet.

Oslecamo
2008-12-14, 08:45 PM
Closest, i think, is honestly D&D 4e. However, I hate the requirement of "You must damage your opponents". if I could just take all the Utility abilities in the book, I would be more satisfied than anything. Casters should be more distinct than that (blasters, utilitarians, necromancers, etc. keeping seperate but still casting). Choice satisfies me (3.5e provides this) with consistency (4e).

Oh well, like most who are not satisfied by anything. *Continues to work on own rule set*


I don't know if you get the memo, but WOTC made the "You must damage your oponents" by players demand. It seems like the majority of the gaming population wanted to be dealing damage every turn, so they simply slaped the utility effects of everybody over damage dealing powers.

However, I don't think it would be too hard to change that, if you're willing to risk a bit.

One path I sometimes think is indeed completely separating the schools. You wanna be a summoner? Sure, but in that case, wave bye bye to your illusion, necromancer, transmutation, divination and abjuration powers. Like beguillers and dread necromancers showed, casters aren't that bad when they're limited to a couple schools of magic.

Random NPC
2008-12-14, 09:01 PM
I believe magic should tire you out. Casting big magic should REALLY tire you out.

Say, you have to do a Concentration check every time you cast with a DC of 15 + 2 X Spell level, or receive non-lethal damage equal to the spell level squared AFTER you cast the spell.

You should obviously be able to take 10 or 20 provided that you are not distracted.

EDIT: Cantrips shouldn't actually cost damage, since they are cool, so no rolling for concentration on cantrips

Morandir Nailo
2008-12-15, 12:45 AM
MicroLite20 (very stripped down version of 3.x) has all casters spend hp to cast spells, with a cost of (Lvl x 2)+1. Just do that, and give the Wizard a d6 for hp to compensate. Maybe change the formula to just (Lvl x 2) as well. I'd personally suggest making cantrips free, or at least giving them Prestidigitation at-will.

Or, if you'd prefer a limitation, just go back to Vance: there are a limited number of spells in the world. The mages responsible for them are long gone, and no one knows how to create new ones. Over time, many of the spells have been lost, and those remaining are jealously guarded by their owners. Acquiring new spells means discovering lost ones, or convincing other mages to give you access to their arcane tomes.

In this world, magic items are limited the same way - no one knows how to make them anymore, the known ones are jealously guarded, and finding more means risking life and limb in strange locales.

Those unwilling to spend their life seeking out arcane spells must, if they desire power, make Unholy Bargains with Dark Powers. These Warlocks are feared, and rightly so...

Then just get rid of divine magic. Use the Crusader instead of the Cleric and Paladin, replace the Druid with the Totemist, and you'll be set.*

Mor



*disclosure: I despise all weavers of the divine arts. Speaking of which, pass the gravy...

Eclipse
2008-12-15, 01:44 AM
If you're looking for immediate, recoverable personal cost, the Dragonlance setting has a fairly cool system in place, though it might need to be tweaked for any given game.

Basically, the way it works is anytime a caster casts a spell, they need to make a fortitude save afterward. Failing the save means the caster is fatigued. Failing a second within the hour means he becomes exhausted. Failing a third causes the caster to pass out for about an hour. The DCs for the fortitude save are based on spell level, but I can't remember what they are off the top of my head. Resting for an hour causes the failed saves to reset.

Perhaps with some tweaking this system might be appropriate for a cost in some games, while not making casters too unattractive to play... as long as the saves are setup well enough that casters aren't constantly passing out to be effective in combat, but still have to watch themselves. In addition, it makes it a lot more important to protect the casters, something D&D has always made a big deal of in theory, but not really in practice.

Dienekes
2008-12-15, 02:43 AM
Hey, I've also had this problem with magic (One of the reasons I switched to aGoT RPG).

I've kinda learned to hate the mechanics of magic after I DMed over a group were there were 3 wizards, a fighter, and a cleric.

So, I imposed a restriction, more of a penalty really. I figured, if a fighter misses an attack there is more of a chance of their death. Same with a rogue if he fails a sneak skill and so forth. But for wizards and sorcerers and whatnot, sure they lost some materials, but really all that it affected was the front line fighter that was taking the hits for them. So I decided that whenever a caster casts a spell they had to roll for the chance of success, and if they did not succeed I decided on a magical mishap. While first level spells had next to no effect (unless the wizard rolled a natural 1), the more dangerous a spell and the worse the roll the bigger the danger.

Now I admit it was rocky at first when I didn't have a very balanced risk vs. reward scales I eventually smoothed it out. Just make sure that nothing can ever kill the spell caster if they fail, but can cause severe inconveniences. An example I think if a caster rolled a natural 1 on a level 9 spell there was a possibility of them freezing up for a few rounds.

If nothing else it diversified the group.

mikeejimbo
2008-12-15, 03:21 AM
I think my favorite was from Call of Cthulhu. Casting spells makes you go insane.

Of course, that works in CoC because that's how the game is supposed to end. (At least a good game, anyway.)

Oslecamo
2008-12-15, 05:11 AM
I believe magic should tire you out. Casting big magic should REALLY tire you out.

Say, you have to do a Concentration check every time you cast with a DC of 15 + 2 X Spell level, or receive non-lethal damage equal to the spell level squared AFTER you cast the spell.

You should obviously be able to take 10 or 20 provided that you are not distracted.

EDIT: Cantrips shouldn't actually cost damage, since they are cool, so no rolling for concentration on cantrips

You do realize that this is laughably easy to bypass, since healing HP is darn cheap and easy in D&D, plus at higher levels you can just become immune to nonlethal damage.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-12-15, 06:37 AM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is the "Tippy universe"?

Didn't notice this replied, so:
The Tippy Universe or "Tippyverse" is a local shorthand for a world where casters could min/max the rules as well as our own Emperor Tippy can. In short, through abuse of the rules for creating resettable magic traps, Infinite Wish Loops, Candle of Invocation Loops, and other such shenanigans you can create a utopian (or dystopian), high magic society. It should be noted that all such shenanigans are completely RAW - there is no "healing by drowning" at play.

Note that the actual details of the original Tippy Society are unimportant, as by now it has spaceflight, magical sentient ICBMs, and lord knows what else. It is ruled by a little girl named Cindy.

It is a thought experiment that is used to reveal the problems of (1) WotC not trying to keep their rulesets consistent and (2) a magic system which does not impose costs (as opposed to limitations) on its casters.

On Topic
My obligatory Writing Excuses Link to the Costs and Ramifications of Magic (http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/05/18/writing-excuses-episode-15-costs-and-ramifications-of-magic/) podcast. It explains the whys of this discussion very well. Very enlightening.

As for "costing magic" I have to say I really like the balance we have in 4E with Rituals. While some of the costing is a bit off, the fact that substantial magic costs both time and money is a good start.

The crowning part of this, though, is that the "money" cost is explicitly certain reagents that your DM can easily control by making it easier or harder to locate. These are not as annoying as "material components" since they consist of broad categories of goods, but they are not as generic as the magic item creation costs in 3E. This not only integrates spellcasting into the D&D Economy (a good start!) but it makes magic a little more "real" in the setting. Wizards don't just pull everything out of their hats; they need to get raw materials and spend time and effort in creating their effects just like other craftsmen do.

Now, a lot of this is flavor that I like, but in truth, any D&D magic system to date that you want to add costs do should require both time and money, in some form. XP is awkward not just from a fluff point of view, but because having 1 character (particularly a caster) being constantly behind the party in leveling is annoying for everyone. This is particularly true in 3E where each level gained could potentially give you a whole new host of powers, thanks to fluid multiclassing and PrCs.

Grail
2008-12-15, 06:48 AM
You do realize that this is laughably easy to bypass, since healing HP is darn cheap and easy in D&D, plus at higher levels you can just become immune to nonlethal damage.

You do realize that it's really easy to just say that you cannot be immune to Non-Lethal damage from spells. And that healing magic doesn't heal it.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 06:54 AM
I believe magic should tire you out. Casting big magic should REALLY tire you out.

Say, you have to do a Concentration check every time you cast with a DC of 15 + 2 X Spell level, or receive non-lethal damage equal to the spell level squared AFTER you cast the spell.

You should obviously be able to take 10 or 20 provided that you are not distracted.

EDIT: Cantrips shouldn't actually cost damage, since they are cool, so no rolling for concentration on cantrips

S layers D20 did this, an d it worked well, in spit eof Oslecamo's objections (IT helps that the objections were adressed in part by the above post). It works well without significant minmaxing of concentration checks. It al so had a mini system to add to your concentration check with chanting and Invocation. Effectivel y, the casting time increases, but you get a bonus to your spellcraft check. And yes, you actu ally have to do the chant or invocation. Of course, it's slayers. Who's goi ng to have a problem going "Darkness beyond Twilight..." :smallbiggrin:


BESM annoyed me.
It's got alo t to annoy with, but th emagic system? It's point-buy. You build your own. How did that annoy you?

Shpadoinkle
2008-12-15, 08:02 AM
How about this: To cast a spell you have to make a Spellcraft check. DC is, say, 10 + twice the spells level. If you make it, the spell is resolved normally and it's lost from memory, as normal. If it fails though, you have to make another Spellcraft check against the same DC. If that fails, the spell is lost as if it had been cast, but otherwise there's no effect, the spell doesn't go off. If the second check succeeds, though, the spell still doesn't go off, but it's not lost from memory.

Premier
2008-12-15, 08:07 AM
The way I see it, D&D, especially 3rd ed. and onwards, is just not suitable for a "magic has its cost" style of gaming. Magic is just too ubiquitous and too powerful. If you attach a cost to it commensurate with the power wielded, then the cost will be too great and you'd have to pay it too often to make it viable. On the other hand, if you tone the cost down to a managable level, then it will be a mere pittance compared to your spellcaster's power, making it more of an accounting nuisance than a real tangible sacrifice.

If you wish the have magic cost you something, you'd be better off playing some other game. In the old ICE Middle Earth Roleplaying Game, every spell cast had a chance of drawing the attention of Sauron's servants. In Warhammer Fantasy, every time you cast a spell you have a chance of attracting the notice of a Chaos God. In the computer game Betrayal at Krondor, casting a spell costs you stamina, or if you're already out of it, health - and that includes healing someone else, so the only long-term way to heal is to rest. There are probably dozens of other mechanics that do what you want, but they're just not very compatible with D&D.

Ethdred
2008-12-15, 08:36 AM
This is a good question.
I enjoyed Scion's power abilities things. Don't like MP or anything of the equivalent.. which shoots out a lot of systems. HATED Shadowrun. Exalted didn't deliver much for me. I like Deadlands (using Savage Worlds), but couldn't keep running with it for long campaigns.
BESM annoyed me.
Conan d20 really didn't work for me.
Anima... is interesting. Haven't gotten a chance to actively try it much.
Only played Vampire and Werewolf for WoD. So, can't comment on that.

I've been hunting, and hunting.

Closest, i think, is honestly D&D 4e. However, I hate the requirement of "You must damage your opponents". if I could just take all the Utility abilities in the book, I would be more satisfied than anything. Casters should be more distinct than that (blasters, utilitarians, necromancers, etc. keeping seperate but still casting). Choice satisfies me (3.5e provides this) with consistency (4e).

Have you ever tried Runequest? Might be more up your alley

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-15, 08:45 AM
OP: refluffed taint system in Heores of Horror could be useful?

Oslecamo
2008-12-15, 08:53 AM
S layers D20 did this, an d it worked well, in spit eof Oslecamo's objections (IT helps that the objections were adressed in part by the above post). It works well without significant minmaxing of concentration checks. It al so had a mini system to add to your concentration check with chanting and Invocation. Effectivel y, the casting time increases, but you get a bonus to your spellcraft check. And yes, you actu ally have to do the chant or invocation. Of course, it's slayers. Who's goi ng to have a problem going "Darkness beyond Twilight..." :smallbiggrin:


If by "worked well" you mean "almost nobody plays it", then yes, it works pretty damn well. Thanks for helping my point :smalltongue:


Anyway, you're saying that casting magic tires you out, but running while swiging a sword all day long doesn't tire you out. Who said magic should tire you out more than swordfigting in the first place anyway? I don't remember Merlin or Gandalf sudenly geting weaker after doing their stuff, not more than the warriors at their side after bashing someone to death at least.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 08:58 AM
Magic just generally takes more energy. Slayers cast generally get around this problem by eating like characters from a martial arts anime.

Magic being more tiring than fighting is a sound theory, though. It just plain takes more energy to manipulate the fundamental forces of the cosmos than it does to move a single solid chunk of metal through a mere three dimensions.

And I don't remember Merlin or Gandalf memorizing spells out of a book every morning either.

AmberVael
2008-12-15, 08:58 AM
Who said magic should tire you out more than swordfigting in the first place anyway?

Lots of people have said that, but if you want a specific example... Nordic mythology. Seid, the art of magic which was considered "ergi" or "unmanly" because of two reasons- one that it is subverse and not direct, and the other being that it rendered the person practicing it very weak.

Oslecamo
2008-12-15, 09:14 AM
Lots of people have said that, but if you want a specific example... Nordic mythology. Seid, the art of magic which was considered "ergi" or "unmanly" because of two reasons- one that it is subverse and not direct, and the other being that it rendered the person practicing it very weak.

And that is reflected by the wizard having the weakest d4 HD, worst BAB and weak reflex and fortitude saves, plus just 2 skill points per level and really bad skill list. The only thing that could be worst was it's will save.

Your example doesn't say the caster gets weakened if he casts a lot, it says that practising magic permanently cripples the body, and that already happens in D&D, and most other RPGs, where casters have low defenses and life.

Nerd-o-rama:The thing is, if you can get things done more easily with physical effort than with magic, then why does anybody bothers to learn magic?

Magic isn't about spending lots of energy. It's about learning the right tricks to make the forces of cosmos to bend to your will.

Also, I do remember Gandalf reading a lot of scrolls on the White City, so it's perfectly possible he leaves his spellbook at some safe hideout, and then goes on adventuring, using spells only when strictly necessary. Why do you think he disapears several times and then comes back stronger? Clearly he just went to replenish his spells:smalltongue:

kamikasei
2008-12-15, 09:20 AM
Oslecamo, you can raise any number of objections to any possible system for magic since there is no realistic way for magic to work. Might it not be more useful to confine criticism to mechanical problems - this approach means no one will play casters, this approach is too easily circumvented, etc?

Kesnit
2008-12-15, 09:25 AM
Magic shouldn't be free. Even when the cleric has his power handed to him by his deity on a silver platter, he should still be wary of abusing it. There should be a cost or risk associated with using magic, and I don't mean the material components (which is a whole 'nother issue I don't like, but that's for another thread). When a caster taps into their magic, I think it would be good for failure (and thereby consequence) to be hanging over their head. When the fighter swings his sword at a golem, he's worried about the AC. Even the perfect warrior who is almost guaranteed to hit that magic number has to worry about that natural one. Why not the wizard? Why not the cleric?

In a campaign I ran not long ago, the Warmage cast a ranged touch spell (can't remember what it was, Prismatic Ray or something like that) at the BBEG and rolled a nat 1. I told him to save against his own spell, and he failed. He rolled Insanity for the effect and spent the rest of combat hoping he'd roll "Act Normally" for that round. He never did, and spent most of combat cowering in a corner ("How do I 'run away from caster?'") or attacking the DMPC Healbot.


You can always make spell slots take a longer time to regenerate if you think one day is too little. But making magic energy non regenerable at all means the rest of the party must finish the campaign as quickly as possible or see the caster become useless because he can't do any more magic.

There can be a happy medium, and it would force the caster to think before casting like crazy. Maybe changing it to "spell slots regenerate spell level/2 days after being used." So LVL 1 and 2 slots regenerate daily, but higher level ones may be lost for a few days.


Yes, but the cost of being a wizard or sorcerer is low hit points. When you run out of spells and magical items, all you have is whatever lowly melee skils you've developed.

WIZ and SORC are both proficient with crossbows and slings. They should also have decent DEX. Nothing says they have to melee.


I think you got cut off there... The problem is, as Rein said above, that a wizard should never be reduced to shooting a crossbow - that's not fun for anyone.

That's open to debate. The Wizard in my PnP group keeps a crossbow handy for those times when a spell would be overkill.


The way I see it, D&D, especially 3rd ed. and onwards, is just not suitable for a "magic has its cost" style of gaming. Magic is just too ubiquitous and too powerful. If you attach a cost to it commensurate with the power wielded, then the cost will be too great and you'd have to pay it too often to make it viable. On the other hand, if you tone the cost down to a managable level, then it will be a mere pittance compared to your spellcaster's power, making it more of an accounting nuisance than a real tangible sacrifice.

I think this was the OP's point. Being a caster is all-good, no-bad. Unless the DM adds houserules or otherwise puts casters in positions where casting would be an issue, there is nothing stopping casters from casting everywhere, all the time.

AmberVael
2008-12-15, 09:27 AM
And that is reflected by the wizard having the weakest d4 HD, worst BAB and weak reflex and fortitude saves, plus just 2 skill points per level and really bad skill list. The only thing that could be worst was it's will save.
Actually, that comes from a lifetime of poring over books rather than exercising or studying other things.


Your example doesn't say the caster gets weakened if he casts a lot, it says that practising magic permanently cripples the body, and that already happens in D&D, and most other RPGs, where casters have low defenses and life.

No, it doesn't say the caster gets weakened if she casts a lot, it says she's left helpless following the use of her magic once.
Let me quote the Ynglinga Saga:


Odin understood also the art in which the greatest power is lodged, and which he himself practised; namely, what is called magic. By means of this he could know beforehand the predestined fate of men, or their not yet completed lot; and also bring on the death, ill-luck, or bad health of people, and take the strength or wit from one person and give it to another. But after such witchcraft followed such weakness and anxiety, that it was not thought respectable for men to practise it; and therefore the priestesses were brought up in this art.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 09:35 AM
Nerd-o-rama:The thing is, if you can get things done more easily with physical effort than with magic, then why does anybody bothers to learn magic?Because it can do things physical feats can't, like instant healing of wounds or crushing minds, or because it does a whole lot more damage in a shorter amount of time than just hitting them with a sword does. Both of these things apply in D&D and in Slayers, in case you think I'm getting off track.

Magic, in D&D, is about overpowering your opponent by attacking along avenues that you can't reach physically.


Also, I do remember Gandalf reading a lot of scrolls on the White City, so it's perfectly possible he leaves his spellbook at some safe hideout, and then goes on adventuring, using spells only when strictly necessary. Why do you think he disapears several times and then comes back stronger? Clearly he just went to replenish his spells:smalltongue:No. No.

LotR magic is not D&D magic and Gandalf is not a D&D wizard. Do not start this argument, it has been done to freaking death, we will be here all morning, and you will eventually lose anyway. This is an old debate.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 09:54 AM
If by "worked well" you mean "almost nobody plays it", then yes, it works pretty damn well. Thanks for helping my point :smalltongue:
Interesting. I didn't recognize a little played system is by default a bad one, with absolutely no other possible reasons for why that may be.

Isn't it sad, Roleplaying Game Industry? Everything sucks. Even DnD :smallfrown:

Satyr
2008-12-15, 10:14 AM
Thoughts on Magic in D&D


Magic is too easy to use and requires too little effort and personal dedication. In D&D, it is harder to become decent in hitting someone with a blunt object (something a baboon can do quite well) than manipulating supernatural forces. This is just wrong.


Magic appears much too frequent and becomes another set of mundane tools without any significant connection to the mystery it should be; therefore it is significantly banalized and its potential for awe and a strong sense of wonder is aborted. This is connected to [1], because the easy (ab)use of magic makes it extremely simple to spam the campaign setting with it. This is counter-climatic and kills the suspense of the game.


Magic is too powerful in comparison to the truly heroic characters. You will hardly ever find a classical fantasy narrative where the hero is overshadowed by an artillery mage. A classical, heroic tale should focus on the heroes - that are those guys in girls in the shiny armors who risks hteir lifes again and again in the battle - and not on the nerdy support characters and similar cowards who stay in the backgrounds and sling spells. This falsely set focus of power encourages anti-heroic gameplay which is true poison for a heroic fantasy story (no matter in which medium it is told).


The spell slot system is counter-intuitive, requires a high amount of book keeping, is enormously incompatible with the flavor of many, many fantasy settings and can be described best as "annoying".:smalltongue:


Magic is too little focused and for some spellcasters an overall topic or theme is just missing. That is not as important as the points 1 -3, but it shows how little thought was inversted in the design of spellcasters.



These are the most significant problems with the representation of D&D; an alternative magic system - which I would describe as a necessity - has to be more difficult within the parameters of the game world , both much harder to access and a lot less obvious and predictable in its effects. The less inflationary use of agic would protect the mystery. A magical system should also be simpler to apply on the player level than the existing dinosaur of book keeping and allows to create characters how have a distinctive, characterising red line of powers and who do not overshadow the more heroic characters.

The idea I found most intersting is to put a stronger limit on the choice of spells, so that the focus of different spellcasters is more concentrated - the best would be to replace the sorcerer and wizard classes through highly specialised casters who concentrate on one school only and may perhaps learn one or two secondary magical schools. For divine spellcaster, a similar concentration on the essentials is direly neccesary, not only for the moot and suspense of the game but also for the stronger individualisation of different characters.

This more limited selection of spells then can be used at will, to get rid of that whole book-keeping crap. Magic should not be degenerated into a ressource like ammonition, it deserves better. As a counterweight to the theoretically unlimmited volume of spells a character can cast, the casting times should be much longer (which also supports the more mystical feeling and hinders the overshadowing of heroic characters) and be connected to some kind of skil check or roll - for example, every spell taks a number of turns to be casted equal to its level (with an acceleration for more experienced spellcasters), and requires a concentration check with a DC of 10+Spell levelx5. Characters can instead use rituals, that take several minutes but make the spellcasting much easier. This would greatly increase the importance of lower ranking spells, which are much more reliable and faster to cast than potentionally more powerful yet slow and fickle spells.
If the oncetration check for the spellcasting fails, something happens to the chaster, ideally a Will Save or becoming fatigued. Very Powerful spells (spell level > spellcaster's key ability bonus) automatically fatigue the caster when used outside of rituals and could make the caster exhausted when the spell fails.



If by "worked well" you mean "almost nobody plays it", then yes, it works pretty damn well. Thanks for helping my point

Since when is popularity connected to quality at all? That are two completely different and often completely unrelated values. I even know a significant amount of people who would swear that overall popularity is a clear indicator of a lack of quality, as true quality is always exclusive and requires to be "too high" for the mediocre masses.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 10:36 AM
Thoughts on Magic in D&D

[list=1]
Magic is too easy to use and rewuires too little effort and personal dedication. In D&D, it is harder to become decent in hitting someone with a blunr object (something a baboon can do wuite well) than manipulating supernatural forces. This is just wrong.
YOUR POST FILLS ME IN DESPAIR! However, not here. Here, I agree with. If nothing else, one way should not be both easier and better.


Magic appears much too frequwnt and becomes another set of munaden tools without any significant connection to the mystery it should be; therefore it is significantly banalzied and its potential for awe and a strong senmse of wonder is aborted. This is connected to [1], because the easy (ab)use of magic makes it extremely simple to spam the campaign setting with it. This is counter-climatic and kills the suspense of the game.
I find this improbable. We have climaxes without the aid of magic. Magic, either studied to the point of banality or not, is not an issue with it. I have seen your posts in a variety of places, and I have noticed you strongly disagree with the idea of magic as a predominantly understood force. Why is that?


Magic is too powerful in comparison to the truly heroic characters. You will hardly ever find a classical fantasy narrative where the hero is overshadowed by an artillery mage. A classical, heroic tale should focus on the heroes - that are those guys in girls in the shiny armors who risks hteir lifes again and again in the battle - and not on the nerdy support characters and similar cowards who stay in the backgrounds and sling spells. This falsely set focus of power encourages anti-heroic gameplay which is true poison for a heroic fantasy story (no matter in which medium it is told).
I must point out that the wizard, even as support, is every bit as much the hero as the front line folks. I agree that the wizard overshadows the fighter. That is a problem. The reverse would be equally a problem, however.



The spell slot system is counterintuitive, requires a high amount of bookkeeping, is enormously incompatible with the flaovr of many, many fantasy settings and can be described best as "annoying".:smalltongue:
Agreed. Very nearly every setting that isn't specifically made for DnD, I should say.


Magic is tool ittle focused and for some spellcasters an overall topic or theme is just missing. That is not as important as the points 1 -3 but it shows how little thought was inversted in the design of spellcasters.
Agreed in full.


These are the most significant problems with the representation of D&D; an alternative magic system - which I would describe as a necessity - has to be more difficult within the parameters of the game world much harder to access and a lot less obvious and predictable in its effects to protect the mystery, it should be simpler to apply on the player level than the existing dinosaur of bookkeeping and allows to create characters how have a distinctive, characterising red line of powers and who do not overshadow the more heroic characters.
I disagree that magic MUST be a mystery. Harder to access in its current state, certainly, but not a mystery.

The idea I found most intersting is to put a stronger limit on the choice of spells, so that the focus of different spellcasters is more concentrated - the best would be to replace the sorcerer and wizard through highly specialised casters who concentrate one schoool only and may perhaps learn one or two secondary magical schools. For divine spellcaster, a similar concentration on the essentials is direly neccesary, not only for the moot and suspense of the game but also for the stronger in dividualisation of different characters. [/quote]
Ah, but here I agree. I would note that schools would have to also be looked over and probably changed somewhat. Or at least, specific spells within them. The Shades line, for instance, is flavorful, but allows Illusions to do most anything. Evocation p robably needs the most work though.

Morty
2008-12-15, 10:45 AM
[spell slot system] is enormously incompatible with the flaovr of many, many fantasy settings

That's a problem... how, exactly?
As one of the few people who actually like Vancian spellcasting system I'll say that it's not the magic itself that's the problem in D&D, it's the spells. Most problems with D&D magic could be solved without fundamentally changing the casting system itself -although it could use some tweaks- but with completely revamping spell lists. So that there are no longer spells that can end the combat in six seconds or turn the whole economy inside-out.

Immutep
2008-12-15, 10:59 AM
I personally like the idea the OP has. Assuming that it's a fairly moderate risk/consequence. One example could be to roll a d20 whenever casting a spell, on a 2-20 the spell works and everything is resolved normally. But then on a 1, the caster takes damage at 1d6xspell level worth of hit points, the spell doesn't work (i.e. never cast so no Xp/Material costs to pay) but also the use of the spell slot is gone for the day? Not going to happen very often, not really a critical effect in itself if it does happen, but a definate set-back to using high level magic to solving every single problem that ever crops up.



Also, I do remember Gandalf reading a lot of scrolls on the White City, so it's perfectly possible he leaves his spellbook at some safe hideout, and then goes on adventuring, using spells only when strictly necessary. Why do you think he disapears several times and then comes back stronger? Clearly he just went to replenish his spells:smalltongue:

That could make sense, but in order to assume that then Gandalf's ECL must have been in four figures!

Satyr
2008-12-15, 11:19 AM
YOUR POST FILLS ME IN DESPAIR!
Sorry, I am currently righting on a ridiculously small notebook with my freakishly large finger tips.


I find this improbable. We have climaxes without the aid of magic.

Which should never be a problem, I think. The supernatural is mostly a story element, which may or may not be used to create a certain moot. It is not a necessity and I pity the GM who feels unable to create a climax without the inclusion of supernatural elements.


Magic, either studied to the point of banality or not, is not an issue with it. I have seen your posts in a variety of places, and I have noticed you strongly disagree with the idea of magic as a predominantly understood force. Why is that?

Good question. On the one hand, it is certainly a part semantics. For me, a supernatural element that becomes a part of daily life isn't truly supernatural any more, which can be interpreted as a banalisation.
On the other hand, I generally put a very strong focus in my games on the creation of suspense; this is - combined with a sense of awe - what I want to achieve or experience in a game. This emphasis on the moot and experiencing of the game works best with an unpredictable and surprising element.


I must point out that the wizard, even as support, is every bit as much the hero as the front line folks. I agree that the wizard overshadows the fighter. That is a problem. The reverse would be equally a problem, however.

I disagree, but that is besides the point. Heroism comes from personal risk, and the characters who are undergoing the greatest risk are the most heroic ones. Traditionally, the frontline fighters take a much greater risk than those people they protect - like often the party wizard. But this is certainly a question of mood.


I disagree that magic MUST be a mystery. Harder to access in its current state, certainly, but not a mystery.

That may be a purely semantic question, but for me, magical and mysterious are almost interchangeable terms.


That's a problem... how, exactly?

I don't like games that try to dictate me how I have to play. Even when the ideas they try to dictate aren't per se bad, the prescriptive approach makes me stubborn. I like flexibility and the fine-tuned adaptation of the rules to the mood and specific metaphysics of the setting i think or, not vice versa.

Oslecamo
2008-12-15, 11:26 AM
Because it can do things physical feats can't, like instant healing of wounds or crushing minds, or because it does a whole lot more damage in a shorter amount of time than just hitting them with a sword does. Both of these things apply in D&D and in Slayers, in case you think I'm getting off track.

Magic, in D&D, is about overpowering your opponent by attacking along avenues that you can't reach physically.


Precisely. Just like the rogue studied to know how to hit his oponent's guts really hard with minimal strenght effort.

And guess what? Moving a sword around in 3 dimensions also demands you to manipulate the forces of the cosmos around. Gravity, atrict, basic mechanics, biology, ect, ect.

So there's no reason at all that manipulating whatever forces of the cosmos the wizard is manipulating will consume more energy than the fighter consumes manipulating the forces of the cosmos in his own way.

Except as a balancing or pure fluff factor that is.



LotR magic is not D&D magic and Gandalf is not a D&D wizard. Do not start this argument, it has been done to freaking death, we will be here all morning, and you will eventually lose anyway. This is an old debate.

I acept your surrender. Let's get back to the topic at hand, wich has also been done to freaking death and keeps coming back, and wich also nobody can win.


Vael:The problem with that aproach is that, well, if PC casters can disable themselves in the first round of battle, it isn't fun for anybody. It's bad enough when the monsters can instant disable you, but when you're doing it to yourself just by doing what you're suposed to do, well...There's a reason why you don't see many caster heros in Nordic mythology.


RPGuru1331: Pen and paper RPGs are group games. If I cannot find other players to play with, I cannot play the game. If I can't play the game, then it isn't a game at all. And there are more people playing D&D 2e out there than playing Slayers d20.

They're games. They're suposed to entertain people. If they entertain people, then they become popular, because people like being entertained. It's a perfect measuring system for games. Not for other stuff. If you're using the same quality measurement systems for other stuff that you use for games, you're doing it wrong.

Morty
2008-12-15, 11:31 AM
I don't like games that try to dictate me how I have to play. Even when the ideas they try to dictate aren't per se bad, the prescriptive approach makes me stubborn. I like flexibility and the fine-tuned adaptation of the rules to the mood and specific metaphysics of the setting i think or, not vice versa.

Fair enough I guess, although I don't see how Vancian spellcasting "dictates you how to play" any more than any other system.

lisiecki
2008-12-15, 11:33 AM
Slayers D20 did this, an d it worked well, in spit eof Oslecamo's objections (IT helps that the objections were adressed in part by the above post). It works well without significant minmaxing of concentration checks. It al so had a mini system to add to your concentration check with chanting and Invocation. Effectivel y, the casting time increases, but you get a bonus to your spellcraft check. And yes, you actu ally have to do the chant or invocation. Of course, it's slayers. Who's goi ng to have a problem going "Darkness beyond Twilight..." :smallbiggrin:


Slayers D20...
I an only imagian what that spell list was like

Darkness beyond blackest pitch. Deeper than the deepest night. King of darkness, who shines like gold upon the sea of chaos...

Bonecrusher Doc
2008-12-15, 11:34 AM
If you're looking for immediate, recoverable personal cost, the Dragonlance setting has a fairly cool system in place, though it might need to be tweaked for any given game.

Basically, the way it works is anytime a caster casts a spell, they need to make a fortitude save afterward. Failing the save means the caster is fatigued. Failing a second within the hour means he becomes exhausted. Failing a third causes the caster to pass out for about an hour. The DCs for the fortitude save are based on spell level, but I can't remember what they are off the top of my head. Resting for an hour causes the failed saves to reset.

Perhaps with some tweaking this system might be appropriate for a cost in some games, while not making casters too unattractive to play... as long as the saves are setup well enough that casters aren't constantly passing out to be effective in combat, but still have to watch themselves. In addition, it makes it a lot more important to protect the casters, something D&D has always made a big deal of in theory, but not really in practice.

My vote goes to this system. It seems to lend itself well to role-playing what you see in fantasy books and movies - the more powerful the magic and the more frail the caster, the more chance he becomes exhausted or even falls to the ground after killing the BBEG with a lightning bolt. Also it provides incentive for casters to be a little more well-rounded... maybe a few more points spent on CON, for example... so you don't have some shaky venerable old man adventuring through swamps and boulder fields with a bunch of strapping young fighters.

As far as how much is enough and how much is too much, that all depends on the DCs of the Fortitude saves. For easy stuff like cantrips, you shouldn't even have to roll. If anybody has a link to these specifics, I'd love to have it.

kamikasei
2008-12-15, 11:36 AM
RPGuru1331: Pen and paper RPGs are group games. If I cannot find other players to play with, I cannot play the game. If I can't play the game, then it isn't a game at all. And there are more people playing D&D 2e out there than playing Slayers d20.

They're games. They're suposed to entertain people. If they entertain people, then they become popular, because people like being entertained. It's a perfect measuring system for games. Not for other stuff. If you're using the same quality measurement systems for other stuff that you use for games, you're doing it wrong.

What, seriously?

By definition, any entertainment may be judged based on how many people like it? Network effects, marketing, etc. count for nothing? If a game has a small following such that it's difficult to find a group to play it with, it is a worse game to play?

You're kidding, right?

Not to mention that what was in question was not the quality of Slayers d20 but the usefulness of its casting mechanic for the purposes of the OP.

AmberVael
2008-12-15, 11:37 AM
Vael:The problem with that aproach is that, well, if PC casters can disable themselves in the first round of battle, it isn't fun for anybody. It's bad enough when the monsters can instant disable you, but when you're doing it to yourself just by doing what you're supposed to do, well...There's a reason why you don't see many caster heros in Nordic mythology.

It's not my approach, I was just arguing against an erroneous assumption of yours that there was no precedent for such a system, or any basis of magic being connected to bodily energy and the like.

Edit: to be more specific, I refer to your assumption that magic was not as or more tiring than swinging a sword.

Satyr
2008-12-15, 11:40 AM
And guess what? Moving a sword around in 3 dimensions also demands you to manipulate the forces of the cosmos around. Gravity, atrict, basic mechanics, biology, ect, ect.

No. There is an enormous difference in utilising physical laws and manipulating them. The first version - normally implemented in any mundane activity - takes use of how the things work according to the laws of nature, the second means that exactly the same rules are bend or broken.
No matter how good you are in a dropping stones from great height, you never manipulate how gravity works, in opposition to a levitation spell.


If they entertain people, then they become popular, because people like being entertained.

Obviously, tradition, personal preferences and marketing have no significant influence on the spreadth of a game. Good to know. Oh, I all those morons who waste money on public relations! Or advertisments!



Fair enough I guess, although I don't see how Vancian spellcasting "dictates you how to play" any more than any other system.

The system in itself doesn't; it inflexibility to fit into the most common form magic is depicted, however, is a certain hindrance.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 11:53 AM
Except as a balancing or pure fluff factor that is.What the hell else are we talking about here? If I want to try to balance spellcasting, I'll say "breaking the fundamental laws of physics to create energy out of nowhere takes more effort than moving with the laws of physics to shove a sword into a guy." Of course you don't have to view magic this way, it's just a reasonable explanation for fatigue/subdual damage mechanics.


I acept your surrender. Let's get back to the topic at hand, wich has also been done to freaking death and keeps coming back, and wich also nobody can win.I'm just going to sit back and bask in the rhetorical glory of this part of your post.

Deepblue706
2008-12-15, 12:01 PM
I think greater casting times for a few, select spells would help. For instance, Sleep is a great spell, but takes an entire round to cast. More spells should be like that.

Or, increase casting times all-around, but allow for concentration checks to cast more quickly, or something. Failure might result in fatigue, or damage. That sort of thing.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 12:04 PM
RPGuru1331: Pen and paper RPGs are group games. If I cannot find other players to play with, I cannot play the game. If I can't play the game, then it isn't a game at all. And there are more people playing D&D 2e out there than playing Slayers d20.

They're games. They're suposed to entertain people. If they entertain people, then they become popular, because people like being entertained. It's a perfect measuring system for games. Not for other stuff. If you're using the same quality measurement systems for other stuff that you use for games, you're doing it wrong.

So when you finished that post, you went off to read Eragon and the Twilight Novels, followed by a marathon of Dragonball Z? Whatever, I'm not in a position to judge people...


What, seriously?
I'm certain that not only is he dead serious, bu t tha the believes and lives by those words. A nd that is why he squee'd like a fa ngirl over Robert Pattinson. I do question where he finds the time to play Dungeons and Dragons though, with all those better games and shows and movies out there.


I disagree, but that is besides the point. Heroism comes from personal risk, and the characters who are undergoing the greatest risk are the most heroic ones. Traditionally, the frontline fighters take a much greater risk than those people they protect - like often the party wizard. But this is certainly a question of mood.
On the other hand, being on the back lines isn't really 'safety', it's just 'out of sword reach'. I'm trying to find an English video that properly portrays it, but the closest I've got is actually this;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlWeE0cRr4U
Suffice it to say, the mages, archers and the like aren't really 'safe', just out of sword reach.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 12:08 PM
For something that isn't a disgrace to its franchise, but sadly is impossible to find a video of, David Eddings' Belgariad often has its Merlin archetype fighting alongside its fighters as well. The other sorcerers on rare occasion as well.

Then again, the Belgariad heroes are pretty much completely physically invincible for most of the series (it's mental and psychological attacks that are a danger), so it may be missing Satyr's point.

graymachine
2008-12-15, 12:31 PM
I've been toying with the idea of removing all standard casting from my next D&D game and replacing it, both arcane and divine, with Kellus's Truenaming Fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90961). The completely skill-based magic, which can't be broken via items, is flexible and limited.

As for magic from the Belgariad, it works well for a novel, but is impossible to use in anything but a free form game.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 12:50 PM
Mm, true, it'd be really difficult to do true Green Lantern Ring (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GreenLanternRing), only limited by imagination and stamina/willpower magic in a game. Mage: the Ascension kinda comes close, though.

Cybren
2008-12-15, 12:53 PM
I played a game at a convention that amounted to "GURPS but using percentiles" that happened to have a very interesting magic system. As far as I know the game wasn't ever published but it was quite organic.

Satyr
2008-12-15, 01:10 PM
Gurps has an specific "Green lantern Ring" power. And around twenty other ways to simulate all kinds of magical powers. The problem with Gurps is not that it is too restrictive, or badly balanced or doesn't make sense - the problem with gurps is that you have almost unlimited freedom and have to make your own red line and orientation through it,which is somewhat annoying because you have to make up your mind and invest time and thought in your campaign.

BTW: the magic system with the best price performance ratio can be found in Witchcraft (http://www.edenstudios.net/witchcraft/WitchcraftCorebook.zip). The system is very well made (Witchcraft is something like the well-made and lot less popular version of the World of Darkness), an it is completely free.

FatR
2008-12-15, 02:13 PM
I think, that you cannot have magic that is a)playable enough to serve as character's main schtick, b)not a superpower in a setting where all PCs are supposed to have superpowers, and c)balanced with characters who do not use magic. Whenever magic options are at all viable, magic-user will be better than mundanes, unless there is no mundanes. Let's look at my favorite systems. GURPS? Mages pwn mundane fantasy characters. Dark Heresy? Psykers are superior to everyone else. oWoD? Mages are the most versatile supernaturals and are strong contenders for being the most powerful (that's in the setting where almost everyone of importance have superpowers). Exalted? Magic mostly sucks, compared to standard-issue superpowers, except for minion-obtaining magic. That ranges from overpowering to totally world-breaking.
Also, I have yet to see a system of magic, imposing costs on the user, that actually works. The cost is always either too steep to play a mage (Call of Cthulhu) or too trivial/easily mitigated (M:tA).
As you can guess, I'm opposed to balancing magic in general with costs.

Valentyne
2008-12-15, 02:21 PM
Well for myself, in my homebrew 3.5E, I don't use just one solution to limiting magic.

1) To use magic, one needs the gift. Stats aside, magic should be limited to a few. Thus, before even being eligible for a spell-casting class my players must chose a custom feat(s). Each feat chosen allows access to arcane or divine casting. The first level of the feat allows the casting of spells up to the 3rd spell-level. The next levels of the feat allow casting up to the 6th and 9th spell level.

Besides limiting the number of metamagic feats available to spellcasters, it allows the rules to reinforce the RP element.

2)I agree with many that think magic should be tiring. Thus, I have adopted the system that deals non-lethal damage to the caster equal to twice the spell level cast. This damage can be halved an a successful Fort Save.

While yes, the damage can be healed by a another caster, as they too suffer non-lethal damage for healing its really a zero-sum gain. And I limit other forms of healing in my campaign - like from potions.

I have other custom rules for magic-users. But these are the two that really focus on limiting magic usage and the number of casters.

Dienekes
2008-12-15, 02:23 PM
[QUOTE=Oslecamo;5480727And guess what? Moving a sword around in 3 dimensions also demands you to manipulate the forces of the cosmos around. Gravity, atrict, basic mechanics, biology, ect, ect.[/QUOTE]

Even you must realized what a poorly formed argument this is. Manipulation of objects through physics and manipulating physics itself are entirely different.

And of course balancing of magic is fluff. By definition the existence of magic in a fantasy realm is fluff. It has no corollaries, no defining principles, nothing. This does not change that the fact that magic is broken, simply because one likes magic users one should not be blind to this fact.

And I'm promising myself not to get into the gandalf argument.

horseboy
2008-12-15, 02:49 PM
I don't remember Merlin or Gandalf sudenly geting weaker after doing their stuff, not more than the warriors at their side after bashing someone to death at least.
That depends on which version of the Authorian Legends you're using. In at least one Merlin helped Uther seduce Author's mother by changing his appearance and making solid fog for him to ride his charger across. The consequences of that much magic? Merlin had to sleep for 20 years.

As far as the OP's question. Well, as someone who's been playing nonD&D games yeah, I use such mechanics all the time. Heck there's nothing like a lay healer trying to reattach my arm only to accidentally internalize the power of the spell and have it explode her kidney. :smallamused:

But it sounds like you'd be more interested in Earthdawn's magic system.

Satyr
2008-12-15, 03:31 PM
I think, that you cannot have magic that is a)playable enough to serve as character's main schtick, b)not a superpower in a setting where all PCs are supposed to have superpowers, and c)balanced with characters who do not use magic.

I would probably have to think hard to find a statement that I agree less with and does not contain Bishop Usher or a flat earth. With the exception of the - badly designed - magic rules of D&D and or intentionally extremely powerful forms of magic in games like Mage, Ars Magica etc.
Yes, it is not very difficult to create an environment where magic rules absolute; in most cases this is a liability of the GM, if it is not intentional (which may be a liability as well). But stating this as an absolute necessity is, like all absolute statements absolutely wrong.


GURPS? Mages pwn mundane fantasy characters.

Which mages? There are much too many different approaches to magic in Gurps for such a simplifiying and generalising statement, not including the very different tech levels. A fireball is not nearly as impresive if every village idiot can build Molotov cocktails. Similar in the oWod (where the most powerful thing around is a Theurg of the BSD, because of two innocent rituals and a vast range of things you can create with these two rituals...) and


Also, I have yet to see a system of magic, imposing costs on the user, that actually works.
Surprisingly, I haven't yet seen a game here magic came as a free lunch that worked at all, without much refusal of abuse and suspension of disbelief. Even in a game like Ars magica or Magus where the game's central topic is the power of magic have somewhat steep costs for magic or at least the wrong usage of it.


As you can guess, I'm opposed to balancing magic in general with costs.

What I can guess is that you see is what you want to see. Your subjective opionon is pristine to you, but please don't state it as the ultimate truth. I may feel odd to play in a game that is impossible ot exist according to your enlightened statement.

Immutep
2008-12-15, 04:28 PM
Well, this is certainly getting heated! On one side, there are people who are saying that magic is overpowering lets change it. And the other side is mostly made up of people who are saying, magic is too powerfull, let's not change a thing.

:confused:

Instead of turning this into a stand off of principles, why not try to see if we as a collective kind find a solution that everyone can accept?

Satyr
2008-12-15, 04:37 PM
Instead of turning this into a stand off of principles, why not try to see if we as a collective kind find a solution that everyone can accept?

This is an probably always was about different principles tastes and principles, so it is nigh impossible to find a mutually acceptable solution. I would even say that there is no general solution, but different campaigns and moods asociaed with these that require a different approach for the representation of magic. Magic as an everyday appearance may fit well into Eberon, but would hardly fit into a classical Arthurian setting; The premise of Dark Sun would be almost completely destroyed through the idea of magic without consequences.

The relevant questions are what kind of campaign do you want and how do you adjust the rules to this; and this is question which can only be answered on a case by case scale.

Immutep
2008-12-15, 04:57 PM
This is an probably always was about different principles tastes and principles, so it is nigh impossible to find a mutually acceptable solution. I would even say that there is no general solution, but different campaigns and moods asociaed with these that require a different approach for the representation of magic. Magic as an everyday appearance may fit well into Eberon, but would hardly fit into a classical Arthurian setting; The premise of Dark Sun would be almost completely destroyed through the idea of magic without consequences.

The relevant questions are what kind of campaign do you want and how do you adjust the rules to this; and this is question which can only be answered on a case by case scale.

Fair point.

P.s. As regards the post that states Gandalf never tired after using magic, Has the person who wrote that thread READ the books? because, he was more worried about facing the Balrog on account of being exhausted by the encounter against the goblins and trolls.

insecure
2008-12-15, 05:03 PM
I like to use DC checks as a solution. Basically, whenever you cast a spell, instead of having the DC for it be 10 + spell level + ability modifier, it's 1d20 + spell level + ability modifier.

josh13905
2008-12-15, 05:14 PM
I have a question on the spell stone shape...
Is it possible to make a giant coffin surrounding a live enemy in front of you with it? I am a cleric and was wondering if i could do it?

FatR
2008-12-15, 06:30 PM
I would probably have to think hard to find a statement that I agree less with and does not contain Bishop Usher or a flat earth. With the exception of the - badly designed - magic rules of D&D and or intentionally extremely powerful forms of magic in games like Mage, Ars Magica etc.
Authors of Mage or Ars Magica did not aim at extremely powerful magic (within supposed PC range). Yet their magic still is extremely powerful.


Yes, it is not very difficult to create an environment where magic rules absolute; in most cases this is a liability of the GM, if it is not intentional (which may be a liability as well). But stating this as an absolute necessity is, like all absolute statements absolutely wrong.
Yes, it is absolute necessity. Superpowers that actually are good > lack of them. Extra options > lack of them. It is that simple. Unless drawbacks (costs or XP sink) outweight the benefits to extent of making mages or their local equivalents unplayable, they are going to be better than mundane characters, by virtue of having a whole flexible set of exclusive toys. If there are any mundane characters among PCs of course.
But let me repeat: you cannot give one group of characters a lot of exclusive toys, that have no equivalent amond other characters, make these toys actually good and expect this group to be balanced with other characters. So if you want spellcasters that both wield powerful, effective magic and are balanced with other PCs power-wise, just make everyone a superhuman (DnD 3.X takes some steps in this direction, in fact, but still fails to openly admit, that you move from heroes to superheroes around level 6-7).


Which mages?
Optimized ones. You know, like in DnD.


There are much too many different approaches to magic in Gurps for such a simplifiying and generalising statement, not including the very different tech levels. A fireball is not nearly as impresive if every village idiot can build Molotov cocktails.
They do not throw fireballs at you. They stab you to death from dozens of feets under the earth and stuff. Besides, I specifically mentioned fantasy.


Similar in the oWod (where the most powerful thing around is a Theurg of the BSD, because of two innocent rituals and a vast range of things you can create with these two rituals...)
Which is, you guess it, the local variant of a wizard for his splat. Also no, chain-summoning crafter theurges are only on par with mages who equally abuse the system to become, say, practically invulnerable to everything at chargen. That's first. For a second, I did not state that mages were the most powerful things in oWoD. They are just contenders for this title. And, you know, since when oWoD PCs are mundane? All of them use superpowers. It is just that Mages have a very flexible (and abusable) set.


Surprisingly, I haven't yet seen a game here magic came as a free lunch that worked at all, without much refusal of abuse and suspension of disbelief.
DnD works. Well, at least as well as any other system that deals with characters of similar (i.e. high) power level, and often better. WoDs work (although those of your magic powers that are totally free are not called "magic" there). Well, generally worse than DnD, but not to the point of unplayability. For that matter, even many superhero systems work, despite being much more inherently abusable than DnD (flexible point-buy generation + high power level = vast potential for breakage). Yes you should keep yourself from abusing these systems. As well as any other mechanically complicated system that defaults to highly capable characters.


Even in a game like Ars magica or Magus where the game's central topic is the power of magic have somewhat steep costs for magic or at least the wrong usage of it.
It is no harder to get around them than to get around limited spells per day.

Tough_Tonka
2008-12-15, 07:00 PM
Dangerous magic was one of the reasons I really liked the magic system in the Wheel of Time d20 RPG. In the game you could cast spells after you ran out of slots, but then you risked taking damage, losing your ability to channel the weave or even die. Also if you were a male channeler you received extra spells, but you risked going insane every time you leveled up.

I'm certain how balanced it was though.

Jack_Simth
2008-12-15, 07:14 PM
I have a question on the spell stone shape...
Is it possible to make a giant coffin surrounding a live enemy in front of you with it? I am a cleric and was wondering if i could do it?

By RAW, check with your DM. That depends on a few things not fully specified in the spell:

1) The rate of the change in the stone's shape
2) The "granularity" of the volume that Stone Shape can work with
3) The size of your opponent.
4) Your caster level

For (1), the why should be obvious - someone could simply step outside the stone if it's moving slowly.

For (2), the why is a little less obvious - the spell specifies it's volume by cubic feet. If you can shape that so that the 1,728 cubic inches that cubic foot represents into a one inch thick sheet, then you don't have much problem - If you pretty much need to deal in cubic feet for your final volume, you've got a problem.

(3) and (4) should be pretty self explanatory - (3) determines how much surface you need to contain, (4) determines how much you can produce.

In general, the answer should be "no" however.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 07:24 PM
Exalted? Magic mostly sucks, compared to standard-issue superpowers, except for minion-obtaining magic. That ranges from overpowering to totally world-breaking.
So you're going to base your argument on wrong premises then?

Magic in Exalted has two advantages: It's extremely versatile, and for its essence rating, has a wide scope.
Magic in Exalted has two disadvantages: It's extremely inefficient, and is more difficult to use, particularly spuriously. It's also Obvious, but htat's not something that ju st a pplies to Sorcery. That act ual ly strikes me as exactly what balance is. Th e costs of learning Sorcery are ty pically story based, but in theory (If not practice) can be a pretty awesome plot hook.

Minion SUmmoning can be super powerful.. if your ST doesn't recognize what the external cost of that is supposed to be. You are now obviously totally effin' awesome Exalted. If you're a Dragonblooded, or pass ing yourself off as one, you're also obviously a Sorceror (HOly Social Stigma in the most Socialite based of Exalted, Batman!), and not just a Sorceror, a twit of one, because you don't leave your peons at home. If you're not passi ng yourself off as a dragonblooded, well, you're probably Anathema, to the common man. And you're proving yourself to be an Anathema, as opposed to the righteous god king you are for now. Having a Coterie of Minions is ge nerally not the wisest idea, d ue tothe consequences, even if you are permitted to do it. (Which amps up the potential coolness factor, sure.)



Also, I have yet to see a system of magic, imposing costs on the user, that actually works. The cost is always either too steep to play a mage (Call of Cthulhu) or too trivial/easily mitigated (M:tA).


The words of a man not bitchslapped by Paradox.

Blood_Lord
2008-12-15, 07:51 PM
Minion SUmmoning can be super powerful.. if your ST doesn't recognize what the external cost of that is supposed to be. You are now obviously totally effin' awesome Exalted. If you're a Dragonblooded, or pass ing yourself off as one, you're also obviously a Sorceror (HOly Social Stigma in the most Socialite based of Exalted, Batman!), and not just a Sorceror, a twit of one, because you don't leave your peons at home. If you're not passi ng yourself off as a dragonblooded, well, you're probably Anathema, to the common man. And you're proving yourself to be an Anathema, as opposed to the righteous god king you are for now. Having a Coterie of Minions is ge nerally not the wisest idea, d ue tothe consequences, even if you are permitted to do it. (Which amps up the potential coolness factor, sure.)

I think this is all pretty much wrong, and it is because you missed the most important aspect of Exalted Sorcery.

You don't summon a minion, you summon a ****ing badass who has to obey you.

A starting character with 15 bonus points and 50xp is fully capable of summoning and binding for one full year a creature easily capable of crushing any two Solars with the same XP/BP.

So yeah, you personally have problems, but you aren't playing you. You are playing the guy who follows around Giganta the Mighty Face Crusher. And also, you play Giganta the Mighty Face Crusher.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-15, 07:54 PM
A starting character with 15 bonus points and 50xp is fully capable of summoning and binding for one full year a creature easily capable of crushing any two Solars with the same XP/BP.

I know you dont' mean Third Circle, because Solars are pretty capable of whupping Third Circles all day lo ng, and you're not going to reliably bind Second Circle at that point. And while I do believe in "Exalted as total **** ing badass", Sorcerors have ways ot do that besides having a coterie of unique demons.

Poison_Fish
2008-12-15, 08:08 PM
I think this is all pretty much wrong, and it is because you missed the most important aspect of Exalted Sorcery.

You don't summon a minion, you summon a ****ing badass who has to obey you.

A starting character with 15 bonus points and 50xp is fully capable of summoning and binding for one full year a creature easily capable of crushing any two Solars with the same XP/BP.

So yeah, you personally have problems, but you aren't playing you. You are playing the guy who follows around Giganta the Mighty Face Crusher. And also, you play Giganta the Mighty Face Crusher.

I can make a starting character who can kill your sorcerer in his sleep, so it makes it a fairly moot point. Let's also not ignore the fact that with the exception of some 2nd circle demons, a solar who dumps all his points with solar melee could rip apart quite a few demons.

I could do an archer and just never engage most of the demons.

So, yeah, someone who dumps all their points for one thing could crush one or two well rounded characters who function in the world, but there are so many consequences your ignoring. Not to mention ways around it.

Pirate_King
2008-12-15, 08:53 PM
PS. One last thought occured to me. If a fighter can critically fail an attack roll, adding in a failure chance for magic means that logically a chance of critical failure should occur for magic. That just opens up a lot of possibilities, doesn't it? Magic backlash sounds like something that could really liven up the game...

Technically a 1 is just always a miss. Additional negative consequences of a "critical miss" are just a house rule that pretty much everyone uses. Consequences for spell failure wouldn't really be hard to fudge in the same way.

Yahzi
2008-12-15, 11:02 PM
Nonlethal damage, perhaps? Annoying enough that you'll not be using it lightly, mild enough that you'll still use it.
Um... that's called GURPS. :smallbiggrin:

Zeful
2008-12-15, 11:04 PM
I'm with the group that want's magic to have a cost. Simply because swinging a sword is easier than describing the physics of it. That's pretty much the entire core of my argument. Magic should be simply harder to learn and use than something that is not-magic. D&D kinda got the hint on the first one. It takes time and energy to learn spells (with some acceptable breaks for ease of use), but didn't go far enough. Wizards, by default, have access to every school of magic. Which can make sense depending on the level of magic in the setting, but should not be the "Standard" across all settings, because the access to magical learning varies between settings. Some times you have individuals teaching magic to a single student, other times you have schools that teach it to anybody with the money and can pass the test (kinda like the Japanese school system really). The "Standard" should be more restricted and simply have the settings make changes upwards as they see fit (rather than the settings make downward adjustments which will be decried as nerfs and ignored).
D&D failed brilliantly in the actual use of spells. Simply because many of the "good ones" don't have a cost. Why do I think that?
Here's a list from the TLN Batman guide. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=574320&postcount=2) How many of those spells have costs in line with their effects? Consider it's casting time, preparation time, Components, XP and GP cost. How many make the caster come out ahead? The answer should be none, but isn't.
I'm not saying that magic should be objectively bad, but it's cost should equal the effect. If Time stop slowed you for five rounds after the 1d4+1 rounds of free actions, would it suck as a spell? I wouldn't think so, because you could simply Haste yourself the next turn (or before Time Stop ends). Tacking on a modest-and-sensible penalty that starts after the initial effect ends for powerful spells shouldn't decrease the appeal too much. I feel that it would add depth to the spell, yes you can Stop Time, for a little bit, but it takes it's toll on you.

Jack_Simth
2008-12-15, 11:21 PM
Um... that's called GURPS. :smallbiggrin:
In Gurps 3rd, it was either fatigue (str), or lethal (ht). It wasn't nonlethal.

Reinboom
2008-12-16, 12:37 AM
-snip-
On cost of spells, it should be noted that the actual use of the spell slot itself is a cost as well as the actual action and both should be considered.
The benefit of the spell compared to its cost should be greater (but never replacing, otherwise... Celerity), just, not as much as 3.5 has it.
Alternatively, do away with spell slots, and balance the system for an "infinite" amount of spells, considering the 'cost' at a per spell basis.

Eclipse
2008-12-16, 01:53 AM
On cost of spells, it should be noted that the actual use of the spell slot itself is a cost as well as the actual action and both should be considered.
The benefit of the spell compared to its cost should be greater (but never replacing, otherwise... Celerity), just, not as much as 3.5 has it.
Alternatively, do away with spell slots, and balance the system for an "infinite" amount of spells, considering the 'cost' at a per spell basis.

This is basically what Mage and Shadowrun do, though they do it in different ways.

In Mage, using magic in ways that inspire disbelief in "sleepers" (in short, mundane people) results in paradox, and if you build up enough of it, bad stuff happens to you, including possible insanity or death if you build up enough. It's enough to keep most players in line, but it's also intended to still let mages do a lot of insanely powerful things and survive doing them. The paradox cost is mostly defined in the rules, but it's also a storyteller call, so it's a bit subjective and will vary from storyteller to storyteller. Spells can be cast as long as the mage is willing to risk the paradox or can make the effects seem like a coincidence to anyone who is watching.

In Shadowrun, anytime you cast a spell, you have to choose a force for it. The force caps the level of power of the spell you cast, though if you roll poorly, it could still be weaker than the force you assign, just never stronger. After casting the spell, you take stun damage based on a formula assigned to each spell that includes the force of the spell you cast, though you get a chance to reduce the damage with a roll based on your willpower. If you cast a sufficiently powerful spell, that is, a spell in which you assign a force higher than your magic rating, then the damage you take is lethal instead of stun. The number of spells you can cast is limited only by how much damage you're willing to take. Power is limited by that and the fact you can never cast a spell that is twice your magic rating.

For those unfamiliar with Shadowrun, stun damage is like non-lethal damage in D&D, while lethal is exactly what you'd expect. They handle lethal and non-lethal a little differently, but that's not really important to the discussion at hand.

Zeful
2008-12-16, 02:03 AM
On cost of spells, it should be noted that the actual use of the spell slot itself is a cost as well as the actual action and both should be considered.
The benefit of the spell compared to its cost should be greater (but never replacing, otherwise... Celerity), just, not as much as 3.5 has it.
Alternatively, do away with spell slots, and balance the system for an "infinite" amount of spells, considering the 'cost' at a per spell basis.

Yes I did consider spell slots and activation when considering a specific spells "power level". As well as everything else I mentioned. It still doesn't help that most of the spells on the batman link, have a very, very low "cost" to "benefit".

If you pulled spell slots, you'd have to put in some kind of failable spellcasting check. Maybe 1d20+CL+Casting stat vs 3*SL+10[1]. A spellcasting check would also allow you to pull ASF from armors, because you could apply the armor check penalty to the roll. With no slots, you could allow 9th level spells to be metamagiced for the increasing cost to use them (a Stilled Energy Drain would be DC 40 to cast, and a quickened Time Stop would be DC 52).

1: I'm aware how that calculation turns out. Yes I intend for the 37 casting DC for 9th level spells. It's the only way to keep spell casting restricted rather than having to roll an 8 for a 9th level spell, which is bad.

FatR
2008-12-16, 02:22 AM
So you're going to base your argument on wrong premises then?
Not really wrong. Because while the magic in the sense "I cast spells" is not that good in Exalted, it's only because of its inferiority the magic in the sense "I glow and kill people with swords made of fire".


Magic in Exalted has two advantages: It's extremely versatile, and for its essence rating, has a wide scope.
Magic in Exalted has two disadvantages: It's extremely inefficient, and is more difficult to use, particularly spuriously.
Unless by "more difficult to use" you mean "you just ask to instantly kill you by megadeath combo ASAP when you try to cast a spell in a serious combat", this is not correct.


It's also Obvious, but htat's not something that ju st a pplies to Sorcery. That act ual ly strikes me as exactly what balance is.
Except it isn't. Spells that are good (i.e. demon summoning and, later, making servants) is the most efficient form of spending Essence in the game (because you invest it in long-term or permanent minions, that can be very capable), and while they require time to use, the results are more awesome than spending this time on any other form of preparation. The rest of the spells are either strictly inferior to other option or have just enough utility to pick them when you have free XP to spare, because learning sorcery is nothing difficult (unless your GM tries to screw with you by demanding to pay fluff-based for learning sorcery, in which case it is strictly not worth the effort, unless you have a long-term plan to conquer the world with armies of demons, amalgams and spawned monsters).


Minion SUmmoning can be super powerful.. if your ST doesn't recognize what the external cost of that is supposed to be. You are now obviously totally effin' awesome Exalted. If you're a Dragonblooded, or pass ing yourself off as one, you're also obviously a Sorceror (HOly Social Stigma in the most Socialite based of Exalted, Batman!), and not just a Sorceror, a twit of one, because you don't leave your peons at home. If you're not passi ng yourself off as a dragonblooded, well, you're probably Anathema, to the common man. And you're proving yourself to be an Anathema, as opposed to the righteous god king you are for now.
Since when you're supposed to give a s*** about this? As a Celestial, you're a god-king. With emphazis on "god" part. You have no reason whatsoever to care about peons' opinion of your righteousness. Common men in Exalted are nothing and can influence nothing. Whether you rally them behind you with your good deeds, or ask your circlemate to mindrape them into unquestioning obedience, or do not care about them at all does not matter power-wise at Celestial level, because they cannot either resist you or hinder real threats to you in any way. And your real enemies are convinced that you need killing no matter what you do, so no loss there as well. Oh, and if you're a Dragon-Blooded, demon summoning gives enough advantages (compared to your normal stuff) to not care one bit about minor social stigmas. This approach worked wonders for the head of the strongest Great House, and it can for you.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-16, 02:58 AM
Not really wrong. Because while the magic in the sense "I cast spells" is not that good in Exalted, it's only because of its inferiority the magic in the sense "I glow and kill people with swords made of fire".
I understood you. You were ju st wrong.


Unless by "more difficult to use" you mean "you just ask to instantly kill you by megadeath combo ASAP when you try to cast a spell in a serious combat", this is not correct.
You can use spells in combat, dude. It helps if you put up, for instance, Bronze Skin for the 8LB soak an d the immunity to damage beneath certain amounts. Th at's going to give you the opportunity to say, cast Death of Obsidian Butterflies right into a soldier formation. Maybe not necessarily DBs, but hte Legion of Silence or similar, sure. Most magic related to combat magic is in the area of buffs or Army nukes, where it serves quite ably. And most magic isn't co mbat magic. Did you want to play a DnD Evoker? Because yeah, THAT will suck.


Except it isn't. Spells that are good (i.e. demon summoning and, later, making servants) is the most efficient form of spending Essence in the game (because you invest it in long-term or permanent minions, that can be very capable), and while they require time to use, the results are more awesome than spending this time on any other form of preparation. The rest of the spells are either strictly inferior to other option or have just enough utility to pick them when you have free XP to spare, because learning sorcery is nothing difficult (unless your GM tries to screw with you by demanding to pay fluff-based for learning sorcery, in which case it is strictly not worth the effort, unless you have a long-term plan to conquer the world with armies of demons, amalgams and spawned monsters).
Demon su mmoning is indeed essence efficient, in the long term. IT's just not blatantly superior, because of all the fluff you're discounting. I already explained it, you just skipped it.



Since when you're supposed to give a s*** about this? As a Celestial, you're a god-king. With emphazis on "god" part. You have no reason whatsoever to care about peons' opinion of your righteousness. Common men in Exalted are nothing and can influence nothing. Whether you rally them behind you with your good deeds, or ask your circlemate to mindrape them into unquestioning obedience, or do not care about them at all does not matter power-wise at Celestial level, because they cannot either resist you or hinder real threats to you in any way. And your real enemies are convinced that you need killing no matter what you do, so no loss there as well. Oh, and if you're a Dragon-Blooded, demon summoning gives enough advantages (compared to your normal stuff) to not care one bit about minor social stigmas. This approach worked wonders for the head of the strongest Great House, and it can for you.

Your circlemate is not necessarily going to be your circlemate as a demon summoner, unless he has enough Lore and/or Occult to know th at you're supposed to su mmon and control demons. And Mnemon has privileges you do not as the Empress' child, as well as Second Circle Demons that you do not (As a DB, or someone attempting to pretend to be a DB.) And if you truly believe some extra minions are worth the social penalties, well, sorry. No. The hit in prestige, a nd what that does to your bargaining position, is ge neral ly not worth it unless you already have an overwhelmingly superior bargaining po sition anyway. Remember; anyone worth a damn in DB society probably does have a Sorceror with First Circle Banish ment h anging around, so they're not exactly instant win material. Mercifully, that's not something you have to worry about quite so mu ch as a Celestial, until you start trying to screw with Siddie or Lunar power games.

Oslecamo
2008-12-16, 05:12 AM
Yes I did consider spell slots and activation when considering a specific spells "power level". As well as everything else I mentioned. It still doesn't help that most of the spells on the batman link, have a very, very low "cost" to "benefit".


Because D&D is all about bypassing costs.

Who cares if using time stop makes my character have to sleep for a century after the effect? At the end of the time stop I'll just teleport to another plane where on century passes on one round, then come back to finish the job, and nobody will notice anything. Or I'll simply become immune to sleep, or whatever penalty you may throw at me.

Anything in D&D that doesn't outright 1 hit kill you whitout save can be prevented, specially if you know when it's gonna happen.

So adding those sort of costs to the spells would only mean the casters have to optimize more, but their power level remains the same.

Except we'll get more newbies saying "OMG wizards are the suckorz", and we'll have to spend more time explaining them how to become an undead to laugh at all the spell extra costs.

So the only viable solution is simply killing all kinds of free metamagic(just look at Incantrix, who can easily do the obscene DCs to pull out empowered maximized quickened time stops), and reducing the numbers of high level spells casters can do per day.

Any other option will be broken by the optimizer hordes of D&D. You give optimizers options, and they find a way to breack them. D&D just happens to have a LOT more optimizers working on them than any other RPG, so of course the other RPGs look balanced. I've already seen Exalted and BESM and whatnot, and let me tell you, they're all just waiting for some dedicated optimizers to be broken into little pieces.

Hell, it worked in 4e. The wizard can do ONE sleep per day. No, you can't rism taing damage or blowing up a kidney to cast more. One, just one. Maybe two, when he reaches epic level and takes the right prestige class. So he has a much harder time dominating the battlefield. But does anyone complain that the 4e wizard can do only one sleep per day?

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 05:26 AM
Technically a 1 is just always a miss. Additional negative consequences of a "critical miss" are just a house rule that pretty much everyone uses.

Not I, nor many others. I would hope a minority of players inflict that rule on themselves, though I can't cite numbers to confirm that.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-16, 05:40 AM
Because D&D is all about bypassing costs.

Except we'll get more newbies saying "OMG wizards are the suckorz", and we'll have to spend more time explaining them how to become an undead to laugh at all the spell extra costs.



So, in that hypothetical case, the only viable way to play a caster would be an undead? No challenges, no roleplay about drawbacks, no choice (cast? not to cast? companions yelling "don't do it, mage! you are consuming yourself too much!).

I don't undertsand why D&D is considered not a RPG to play but a game to win. Everybody complain about brokenness of this and that, but the general approach seems "go to the powerful thing", AKA "n00b, don't play a monk play a swordsage".

And BTW, yeah, 4th edition "fixed" the problem, stripping out what magic had of special. Some people are fine with this approach, others aren't.

OP: what I was meaning with the taint system, some post before, was that in thegame there are sub-systems that can be a mechanical or flavour base for you.

- Taint system in OAdv (update in Heroes of Horror): divine caster risk to be corrupted and embraced by a greater Evil (mr. Fu Leng)

- Dark Sun: arcane magic destroy the land (3.5 in DM). Of course, If you play a PC that does not care. But it's in his character? And none tries to kill him for what he does?

-Wild Magic Zones

-Dead Magic Zones.

I don't think thats magic in 3.5 It's always fine. I would be blind to think it.
Simply, thing I've seen in the late 3.5 left me an hope (example: spell with variable casting time... more time, more powerful. A system with this concept - and no way to QUicken or Accelerate metamagic - would let the caster to be quickly useful, or powerful but only with the party around him working to let him cast. Magic could remain "special"). An hope 4th broke.

Sorry for the ranting tone, no personal attacks.

Blood_Lord
2008-12-16, 05:46 AM
I've already seen Exalted and BESM and whatnot, and let me tell you, they're all just waiting for some dedicated optimizers to be broken into little pieces.

Lunar Exalt: Spider Form: Eight Perfect Attacks in about 5 ticks. Also, action long perfect dodge for the entire attack set. All this for 1/2 the essence of a Solar doing a single Perfect Attack + Perfect Defense.

Oh, and if you kill anything, gain essence back.

I don't think anyone is going to call Exalted a balanced system anytime soon.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-16, 06:33 AM
Any other option will be broken by the optimizer hordes of D&D. You give optimizers options, and they find a way to breack them. D&D just happens to have a LOT more optimizers working on them than any other RPG, so of course the other RPGs look balanced. I've already seen Exalted and BESM and whatnot, and let me tell you, they're all just waiting for some dedicated optimizers to be broken into little pieces.

Hm? Nobody ever said this stuff had perfect balance. IOt's not just that there's a lack of optimizers. I know a pair for Exalted. They hold back. I saw one come close to unleashing once, in an actu al game. He was also in a 1 on 1. These are also the two I go to when I want advice on artifact dot costs, and htey've been reasonable in the past. I'm sure if you loosed the optimizer hordes on an actual gaming s ession, they'd walk away, because Exalted STs, as a rule don't run games remotely similar to DnD. It's too much about doing cool things as opposed to break ing he game in half.

tl;dr, we don't ruin the game for folks here. It's a nice deal.




Hell, it worked in 4e. The wizard can do ONE sleep per day. No, you can't rism taing damage or blowing up a kidney to cast more. One, just one. Maybe two, when he reaches epic level and takes the right prestige class. So he has a much harder time dominating the battlefield. But does anyone complain that the 4e wizard can do only one sleep per day?
The 4e Wizard's sleep is also not going to debilitate everyone nearly as bad as the 3e's sleep, at the earlier levels. THat sai d, I agree. EVery fl avor problem he has with 3e, he has with 4e. Unlike with 3e, if you apply flavor costs to the 4e wizard, he will, objectively and strictly, suck compared to the Fighter, unless you specifically do it to Rituals. With the 3e wizard, you could slap more costs an dlimitations on the wizard for a long, long time, and still have something better then the non-casters.

Oslecamo
2008-12-16, 07:56 AM
It's too much about doing cool things as opposed to break ing he game in half.

tl;dr, we don't ruin the game for folks here. It's a nice deal.


And good D&D groups play like that. The players work togheter to acomplish one objective in cool ways, instead of constantly bickering between themselves about power levels, like one could be lead to believe from all the discussions around here.



The 4e Wizard's sleep is also not going to debilitate everyone nearly as bad as the 3e's sleep, at the earlier levels. THat sai d, I agree. EVery fl avor problem he has with 3e, he has with 4e. Unlike with 3e, if you apply flavor costs to the 4e wizard, he will, objectively and strictly, suck compared to the Fighter, unless you specifically do it to Rituals. With the 3e wizard, you could slap more costs an dlimitations on the wizard for a long, long time, and still have something better then the non-casters.

You're somewhat behind in 4e optimization. Thanks to one of the new items of the adventurer's vault, wich gives a penalty to the save of the target of the spell you cast, based on your character level, at epic levels not even solo monsters have any chance at all of geting out of the sleep effect.

So while 3e sleep only dominates at low levels, 4e sleep dominates at high levels, since the monsters will never wake up if they fail the first save. It's just once per day, but since 4e is all about fights taking longer and completely erasing save or die effects, then the sleep+ save penalty item combo is broken by 4e standards.

Anyway, good D&D groups will just ignore the item and pick something else instead of trying to one hit kill the BBEG and spoiling the fun for everybody.

Kaiyanwang:Unfortenetely, there are several people out there that play D&D to win. For them, it doesn't matter if you're a lonely one handed rotten zombie who can't taste or feel anything who spends all his time in a tiny extradimensional space comanding his minion armies to conquer the multiverse.

The end always justifies the means for them. Losing is not an option. Losing caster levels is heresy. Playing anything else but the most optimized builds is blasphemy.

We must have pity on them, since they'll never feel the joy of simply rushing into battle with a sharp stick on one hand and hope in the dices on the other.
Or firing non metamagicked fireballs.

EDIT:For example, whenever someone comes asking for help for a fighter build, and specifically says he doesn't want to use ToB, a dozen pepople will jump at his throat telling him to use ToB. If a person comes asking help for a caster Prc that doesn't offer fullcaster progression, people will jump at him for not taking broken caster PrC X wich ofers fullcaster progression plus other bonuses. Ect ect.

Neithan
2008-12-16, 08:19 AM
I don't undertsand why D&D is considered not a RPG to play but a game to win. Everybody complain about brokenness of this and that, but the general approach seems "go to the powerful thing", AKA "n00b, don't play a monk play a swordsage".
Because it's teh internets!

You post something either because you think it might help people with their problems, or because you wouldn't dare saying it aloud because people would slap you on the head for that nonsense.

Irreverent Fool
2008-12-16, 08:33 AM
I agree that magic should have some sort of cost. It always seems to in literature. I'd love to play a caster in a system in which spells came at some terrible cost and in which one had to be very careful with tampering with the very laws of nature.

D&D is not that system.

The spells in D&D and all the rules surrounding the spells in D&D are based on the assumption that unless you are forced to make a concentration check, they work. Random chance exists in the area of saving throws. Further random chance and awful costs for simple spells simply don't fit in D&D. Introducing such changes also makes an existing problem worse: Evocation sucks. Any spellcaster who stays in the game is going to focus even more on spells that neutralize enemies in one shot.

Rather than homebrewing an entirely new system of spellcasting for Dungeons and Dragons, I would suggest looking over other RPGs and finding a system that suits your purposes. If you like the other mechanics of D&D, keep them and simply transplant another magic system.

obnoxious
sig

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 08:37 AM
Oslecamo, I'm curious whether you have any examples of people "jumping on" posters for simply stating their limitations book- or build-wise, as opposed to claiming their build is the best evar!!!1! or that they've dismissed some option as broken.

For example, things that I would not see as valid examples:
"Q: Can you help me with this character? At the moment the build is Monk 13."
"A: You'd be better served going with Swordsage than Monk. More and better options for the same flavour, avoids several known weaknesses."

"Q: I want to make a gish. I was thinking Wizard/Fighter/Eldritch Knight."
"A: Eldritch Knight isn't a great gish class. I suggest <various PrCs>, or a Duskblade."

"Q: I have a character concept for <some melee type>. Can you help me build for it?"
"A: If you can, try to get access to ToB. It will be the best way to build that concept."

No jumping going on there. From the other side,

"Q: Hah check out my Monk/Samurai it kicks all kinds of ass!"
"A: Swordsage or Warblade alone kick more ass than either class or the combo, never mind what a caster could do to you."

"Q: I want a melee build. I won't use ToB though because it's smelly and broken."
"A: You'd get a much more useful build with ToB, which really isn't broken at all, if you'll peruse these various discussions linked. Also, my copy smells like fresh pine, you jerk."

"Q: Wizards suck my Fighter can take on any Wizard!"
"A: <sound of knives being sharpened in preparation for a flaying>"

If you make a flawed argument, it will be eviscerated. That's entirely right and proper.

Now, posters around here can be too trigger-happy on recommending certain standard classes or choices even when they've been stated not to be available. That's annoying. They can take a modest request for a not-particularly-high-powered build and return a complex confection of base classes and PrCs maximized for SAD and win at the cost of possibly giving a DM a coronary. That's annoying too (if amusing). But I don't see much "jumping" going on except when people invite it.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-16, 08:57 AM
Kamikasei, I see your point but one thing is ask:

Q: "I wold make an unarmed warrior... help?"

A: And so it begins, monk bashing and swordsage builts spamming. But It's fine, IMO, because he asked for a generic unarmed warrior.

Another thing is:

A: "I want to play a FIGHTER, suggested F I G H T E R" builds?

Q: "lololol fighter sucks play a warblade".

This makes me a gestalt 20 Monk//20 Druid enraged panda (just to mix threads).

Same with "evocation sux" and so on. First, if you find enemies always vulnerable to the save or sucks with the right save enough low, you are 1) lucky or 2) DM didn't checked well your built see what Olsecalmo said above.

Second, you may simply like make things explode.

Kesnit
2008-12-16, 09:02 AM
Not I, nor many others. I would hope a minority of players inflict that rule on themselves, though I can't cite numbers to confirm that.

Why? Wizards are already overpowered. Why should they have all the good (great spells) and no bad (no consequences)?


Kamikasei, I see your point but one thing is ask:

Q: "I wold make an unarmed warrior... help?"

A: And so it begins, monk bashing and swordsage builts spamming. But It's fine, IMO, because he asked for a generic unarmed warrior.

Another thing is:

A: "I want to play a FIGHTER, suggested F I G H T E R" builds?

Q: "lololol fighter sucks play a warblade".

This makes me a gestalt 20 Monk//20 Druid enraged panda (just to mix threads).

Same with "evocation sux" and so on. First, if you find enemies always vulnerable to the save or sucks with the right save enough low, you are 1) lucky or 2) DM didn't checked well your built see what Olsecalmo said above.

Second, you may simply like make things explode.

IAWTS. :smallbiggrin:

Some people like to powergame, and if their whole group does it, then good for them. It can be fun to dig through zillions of splat books to find the exact build for maximum power.

Some people don't enjoy that kind of thing. Or they don't have access to all the beloved splat.

For example... My PnP group does fine without access to ToB and having a VoP Monk and a TWF Rogue as the tanks. (We also have a Wizard who plans to go Elemental Savant and an archery-tracked Ranger.) Why? Because the DM doesn't throw encounters at us that required super-optimized builds, or gives us a chance (with some creativity) to back out of fights we are losing and be able to come back. (That juvie red dragon wasn't nearly as hard with scrolls of Protection from Energy.)

Also, some people just don't like the hassle of playing pure prepared casters. (I admit to being one of them.) Duskblade, Hexblade, etc are one thing, but the constant juggling involved with Wizards, Clerics, and Druid (esp when you add all the splat books with new spells) gives me a headache.

Being told "your build sucks, you should play something that you don't want to play because you are underpowered" is discouraging - and may be wrong, based on their group.

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 09:13 AM
Why? Wizards are already overpowered. Why should they have all the good (great spells) and no bad (no consequences)?

I don't know what you think I was saying, but I was responding to the claim that almost everyone plays with critical fumbles. I think fumbles are a variant that should be avoided like the plague.

I wasn't saying anything about wizards.


Kamikasei, I see your point but one thing is ask:

Q: "I wold make an unarmed warrior... help?"

A: And so it begins, monk bashing and swordsage builts spamming. But It's fine, IMO, because he asked for a generic unarmed warrior.

To be fair, there were a few posters recently who seemed to get in to the habit of blathering about monks in every goddamn thread, which was indeed really annoying. Even then though it wasn't a matter of jumping down the throats of new posters, but of essentially spamming baggage from old threads all over new ones.

Anyway, yes: when someone asks for help with a concept, it's perfectly legitimate to suggest good classes to use. If they make false or erroneous claims for the ability of a given class, it's perfectly legitimate to correct them. If they say they want to play a specific class for reasons of taste, rather than because they think it's necessarily the best way to represent some character concept, then it's fairly unhelpful to recommend they play something else.

Kesnit
2008-12-16, 09:21 AM
I don't know what you think I was saying, but I was responding to the claim that almost everyone plays with critical fumbles. I think fumbles are a variant that should be avoided like the plague.

I wasn't saying anything about wizards.

Ah, OK. Misunderstood. The comment you were answering addressed critical fumbles, and I thought you were saying there should be no critical fumbles for spells. :smallredface:

FatR
2008-12-16, 10:08 AM
I understood you. You were ju st wrong.
You can use spells in combat, dude. It helps if you put up, for instance, Bronze Skin for the 8LB soak an d the immunity to damage beneath certain amounts.
How the hell 6L soak is going to help you when almost any opponent worth mentioning can hit you for a several dozens HL of damage with his Perfected Celestial Genocide combo and will do so as soon as you lose ability to perfect said combo away? Even worse in 2E, when pumping your basic, unenhanced attack damage to 20+ L piercing is very easy.


Th at's going to give you the opportunity to say, cast Death of Obsidian Butterflies right into a soldier formation. Maybe not necessarily DBs, but hte Legion of Silence or similar, sure. Most magic related to combat magic is in the area of buffs or Army nukes, where it serves quite ably.
Soldier formations are non-threat. My current 2E Lunar character is gimped both deliberately, for style purposes, and because my initial unfamiliarity with intricacies of their charmset. It still has DV 9, lethal soak 17, and regenerates all damage but aggravated, all of this based on his scene-lengths or unlimited duration effects. Outside of war rules, the most elite mortal soldiers auto-fail to do anything to him. Also, in 2E you don't blow Essence on buffs or army nukes if you expect a real opposition, because in 2E Essence and Willpower are your main defense.


And most magic isn't co mbat magic.
Non-combat magic isn't anything to write home about, either. Except for minion-obtaining.


Your circlemate is not necessarily going to be your circlemate as a demon summoner, unless he has enough Lore and/or Occult to know th at you're supposed to su mmon and control demons.
Or, you know, unless he's a PC.


And Mnemon has privileges you do not as the Empress' child, as well as Second Circle Demons that you do not (As a DB, or someone attempting to pretend to be a DB.) And if you truly believe some extra minions are worth the social penalties, well, sorry.
Who cares about the social penalties, when there is a civil war starting about tomorrow and I can just use my army of demons to kill dumb NPCs that don't like me and don't have similar armies on their own :smallamused:.

Yahzi
2008-12-16, 10:23 AM
We must have pity on them, since they'll never feel the joy of simply rushing into battle with a sharp stick on one hand and hope in the dices on the other.
It's called role-playing. To your characters, it is not a game: it is their life, and they are not going to risk it for "fun." They are going to seek out every advantage and use it to its fullest, so that their chances of dying are minimized and their chances of winning are maximized. Because they're real people, not contestants in a game.


Because the DM doesn't throw encounters at us that required super-optimized builds,
I can't even relate to this kind of DMing. I don't make my NPCs to be murdered by the players, anymore than I would give my dogs legless rabbits.


or gives us a chance (with some creativity) to back out of fights we are losing and be able to come back.
Now there's an excellent point: D&D offers virtually no way to retreat. I guess it's because otherwise the monsters would run away and deny the players their XP,. Planning for a retreat is often more difficult than planning for success. And surrendering is almost never an option: you're not fighting people who may decide to ransom you, you're fighting hideous monsters who will eat you.

In D&D, every single fight is a throwdown to the finish; every single encounter, the players stake everything on the roll of the dice. :smallannoyed:

Kesnit
2008-12-16, 10:30 AM
I can't even relate to this kind of DMing. I don't make my NPCs to be murdered by the players, anymore than I would give my dogs legless rabbits.

There is a large area between "easy" and "insta-TPK." Few battles are "easy," but with some creativity and teamwork, we can succeed.


Now there's an excellent point: D&D offers virtually no way to retreat. I guess it's because otherwise the monsters would run away and deny the players their XP,. Planning for a retreat is often more difficult than planning for success. And surrendering is almost never an option: you're not fighting people who may decide to ransom you, you're fighting hideous monsters who will eat you.

Who said anything about surrender? And running away is possible - even assuming the monster are chasing you, it's possible (again, with thought and planning) to get away.

As you said, the monsters want to eat the PC's, so they aren't going to run away. The PC's are in it for (insert motivation here), and dying it not usually one of those reasons. PCs have a motivation to run; monsters don't.


In D&D, every single fight is a throwdown to the finish; every single encounter, the players stake everything on the roll of the dice. :smallannoyed:

If that is the way your group wants to play, that's fine. Letting many/all get killed because you won't run is a consequence. And if PC's dying is never a possibility, then your DM isn't doing what you said. (Combat isn't really "throwdown to the finish.")

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 10:44 AM
It's called role-playing. To your characters, it is not a game: it is their life, and they are not going to risk it for "fun." They are going to seek out every advantage and use it to its fullest, so that their chances of dying are minimized and their chances of winning are maximized. Because they're real people, not contestants in a game.

You can take this to too great an extreme. Characters aren't likely to make in-character choices that, in character, are obviously suboptimal: choosing to fight unarmored if they gain no benefits for doing so and can't compensate for the loss of protection, only ever preparing direct-damage spells of a single energy type, etc. On the other hand in the real world and especially in fiction people risk their lives all the time and do it without necessarily taking the absolute, mathematically provable highest-probability-of-success route. Characters can have preferences, quirks, or scruples that lead them to favour a possibly suboptimal tactic over a better (or a perfectly decent tactic over a superlative one); this just shouldn't cripple the character. There is a point where quirks and preferences become neuroses and foolishness, but it is not a stark choice between perfection and uselessness.

It should also be noted that a player may have a choice as to whether to saddle himself with some sub-optimal feature, but from the character's point of view he just has to live with it.


I can't even relate to this kind of DMing. I don't make my NPCs to be murdered by the players, anymore than I would give my dogs legless rabbits.

As Kesnit points out, you can build strong NPCs who are good challenges (and who aren't "made to be murdered", but who are powerful figures who are made to plausibly hold the positions they do in the game world and who are then brought in to the players' way as an antagonist) without requiring that your players' characters be "super-optimized" in order to beat them.

Reinforcements
2008-12-16, 10:53 AM
It seems to me that if your main issue is one of flavor you don't need much in the way of rules at all. If the source of your wizard character's power is a demonic pact that will one day consume his soul, great, but that's not really something the rulebooks can or should cover. I firmly believe that if a player wants this sort of "limitation" on his character he should absolutely be encouraged to play it that way, but I have no sympathy for you if you can't be happy without forcing it on OTHER people's characters (see also: why the paladin code was a bad idea).

If, on the other hand, you think casters are overpowered and need some limitations thrown in there for balance reasons... well, assuming you're playing 3e you're right. Play 4e instead maybe. Otherwise, honestly, follow the same rule as above. Imposing actual rule limitations on your own character is always acceptable (as long as it doesn't aversely affect your party), but tread verrrry lightly when making rules that will affect other players (this would be assuming you're the DM, I suppose).

Kesnit
2008-12-16, 11:06 AM
It seems to me that if your main issue is one of flavor you don't need much in the way of rules at all. If the source of your wizard character's power is a demonic pact that will one day consume his soul, great, but that's not really something the rulebooks can or should cover. I firmly believe that if a player wants this sort of "limitation" on his character he should absolutely be encouraged to play it that way, but I have no sympathy for you if you can't be happy without forcing it on OTHER people's characters (see also: why the paladin code was a bad idea).

If, on the other hand, you think casters are overpowered and need some limitations thrown in there for balance reasons... well, assuming you're playing 3e you're right. Play 4e instead maybe. Otherwise, honestly, follow the same rule as above. Imposing actual rule limitations on your own character is always acceptable (as long as it doesn't aversely affect your party), but tread verrrry lightly when making rules that will affect other players (this would be assuming you're the DM, I suppose).

IMO, there needs to be a happy medium. As I said in a previous post, I don't enjoy playing pure casters. That's just a preference, and no reflection on those who do enjoy those classes.

However, there does come a point (as so many have said in many thread) where meatshields become useless. An argument can be made that I (and those like me) set myself up for this by not playing WIZ/CLC/DRU/etc, to which I reply that those classes just aren't fun for me.

On the other hand, being useless isn't fun either. If the sole purpose for my character is to carry the party Wizard's equipment (since the Wizard has STR 6), then I (as a player) could just as well turn my PC into an NPC and go home.

This is where (again, IMO) DM's need to step in and say "hold on. No, you cannot take Time Stop, Celerity, and [fill in other spells here]." Or "sure, you can cast Time Stop, but there are consequences" (consequences worked out beforehand with the Wizard-player, of course).

D&D is supposed to be a party-based game. If the party is "the Wizard and his/her lackeys," it stops being a party-based game and becomes a solo-adventure-with-witnesses.

Saph
2008-12-16, 11:11 AM
As Kesnit points out, you can build strong NPCs who are good challenges (and who aren't "made to be murdered", but who are powerful figures who are made to plausibly hold the positions they do in the game world and who are then brought in to the players' way as an antagonist) without requiring that your players' characters be "super-optimized" in order to beat them.

Exactly.

When I DM, I scale encounters to the party's power level. So I can't help but laugh a bit at the optimisation fanatics, because in my games (and, I think, an awful lot of other people's games) how optimised your character is just doesn't matter above a certain point. The NPCs are going to be set to the same relative power no matter what you're playing.


When someone asks for help with a concept, it's perfectly legitimate to suggest good classes to use.

I do think people on this board and the WotC ones have a tendency to mix up 'good class' with 'powerful class'. Once you bear in mind that your opponents will usually be scaled to match you, and that some of the most mechanically powerful builds are extremely boring to play, then power isn't quite so important anymore.

- Saph

kamikasei
2008-12-16, 11:26 AM
When I DM, I scale encounters to the party's power level. So I can't help but laugh a bit at the optimisation fanatics, because in my games (and, I think, an awful lot of other people's games) how optimised your character is just doesn't matter above a certain point. The NPCs are going to be set to the same relative power no matter what you're playing.

I do think people on this board and the WotC ones have a tendency to mix up 'good class' with 'powerful class'. Once you bear in mind that your opponents will usually be scaled to match you, and that some of the most mechanically powerful builds are extremely boring to play, then power isn't quite so important anymore.

On both of these points, I am always more sympathetic to recommendations like "this class gives you more options" or "this PrC has useful class features" than "this gives you more pluses". As you say, DMs will usually scale difficulties, but having more choices available and being useful in a wider range of situations benefits the player without requiring a counter from behind the screen.

Reinforcements
2008-12-16, 11:53 AM
IMO, there needs to be a happy medium. As I said in a previous post, I don't enjoy playing pure casters. That's just a preference, and no reflection on those who do enjoy those classes.

However, there does come a point (as so many have said in many thread) where meatshields become useless. An argument can be made that I (and those like me) set myself up for this by not playing WIZ/CLC/DRU/etc, to which I reply that those classes just aren't fun for me.

On the other hand, being useless isn't fun either. If the sole purpose for my character is to carry the party Wizard's equipment (since the Wizard has STR 6), then I (as a player) could just as well turn my PC into an NPC and go home.

This is where (again, IMO) DM's need to step in and say "hold on. No, you cannot take Time Stop, Celerity, and [fill in other spells here]." Or "sure, you can cast Time Stop, but there are consequences" (consequences worked out beforehand with the Wizard-player, of course).

D&D is supposed to be a party-based game. If the party is "the Wizard and his/her lackeys," it stops being a party-based game and becomes a solo-adventure-with-witnesses.
To be honest, I figured that the OP was, in fact, mostly concerned with flavor and thus didn't give much talking time to balance issues. It seems beyond the point of this thread. That's kinda the point - I agree that the core casters in 3e are vastly overpowered, to the extent that no flavorful magical limitations are ever going to fix it without just making it a big mess. Like I said, if you really think there's a big balance issue, do what I did and play 4e instead (not that that's the only reason to play 4e, but that's neither here nor there).

On the subject of classes, I find that many times when someone asks for build advice, even if they explicitly say, "I want to play class X," they don't have any good reason to pick that class. It may be rude to blithely ignore the qualifiers given when someone asks for advice, sure. You should try not to be rude. It boggles me, though, how many people seem to see value inherent in playing a <CLASS NAME> without any consideration for the actual abilities of the class. As though there's some sort of value in the name itself, and not seeing classes for what they are (which are just packages of abilities). It seems to me that if you want build advice, saying, "I want to play class X," is useless. Say what sort of things you want your character to do, because a class is just a name for a package of things.

Saph
2008-12-16, 12:04 PM
On both of these points, I am always more sympathetic to recommendations like "this class gives you more options" or "this PrC has useful class features" than "this gives you more pluses". As you say, DMs will usually scale difficulties, but having more choices available and being useful in a wider range of situations benefits the player without requiring a counter from behind the screen.

*nods* Yeah, those are usually my favourite classes to play, too.

But the point is that, assuming your DM scales, a Monk/Samurai/Truenamer/Soulknife party isn't actually going to do any worse than a Wizard/Cleric/Druid/Beguiler one. You'll be fighting enemies of the same difficulty anyway, so why stress over it?

. . . actually, a one-shot where you're only allowed Tier 5 classes might be sort of amusing. Suddenly, the wimpiest of monsters would be terrifying opponents that you'd have to pull out all the stops to defeat. :)

- Saph

Oslecamo
2008-12-16, 12:43 PM
It's called role-playing. To your characters, it is not a game: it is their life, and they are not going to risk it for "fun." They are going to seek out every advantage and use it to its fullest, so that their chances of dying are minimized and their chances of winning are maximized. Because they're real people, not contestants in a game.


Only if you're playing a very serious power hungry character.

What about the drunken fighter? The mad mage? The danger seeking rogue? The honorable cleric who refuses to use dirty tricks?

They are all concepts of characters whose first priority isn't to win at any costs. Perhaps they want to win in a more stylish way. Perhaps they have some kind of combat tradition that they like to keep. Perhaps they just don't care enough. Perhaps they want to see their enemies slowly bleed to death.

And if they didn't want to risk their necks, well, they could as well stayed back at home and find some other path towards fame and fortune wich doesn't involve fighting hungry dangerous dragons.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-16, 02:35 PM
And good D&D groups play like that. The players work togheter to acomplish one objective in cool ways, instead of constantly bickering between themselves about power levels, like one could be lead to believe from all the discussions around here.
That's not just the discussions here. That's very n earl y every DnD game I've play ed except one. DnD do esn't necessarily say "Be jerks about it", but there's never been much emphasis on being cool, just winning.


You're somewhat behind in 4e optimization. Thanks to one of the new items of the adventurer's vault, wich gives a penalty to the save of the target of the spell you cast, based on your character level, at epic levels not even solo monsters have any chance at all of geting out of the sleep effect.
Is that a Daily Item Power? Still stupid powerful, but as long as it's not a permanent proper ty, y ou're overselling it.


Anyway, good D&D groups will just ignore the item and pick something else instead of trying to one hit kill the BBEG and spoiling the fun for everybody.
I suppose they would, yes.



How the hell 6L soak is going to help you when almost any opponent worth mentioning can hit you for a several dozens HL of damage with his Perfected Celestial Genocide combo and will do so as soon as you lose ability to perfect said combo away? Even worse in 2E, when pumping your basic, unenhanced attack damage to 20+ L piercing is very easy.
6L Soak on top of your armor's a pretty good deal, a nd bear in mind that DoOB is meant for scenery chopping. 6LBH is plenty for that.

Regardless, not every solar is a combat wombat, not every 'real challenge' involves 20L uber combos. Some of us like to function in the world. Does everyone where you game build uber specialists who solve the only problems they're capable of handling in 2 seconds, then spend the rest of the sess ion bored by the other problems you can't really contribute aga inst?



Soldier formations are non-threat. My current 2E Lunar character is gimped both deliberately, for style purposes, and because my initial unfamiliarity with intricacies of their charmset. It still has DV 9, lethal soak 17, and regenerates all damage but aggravated, all of this based on his scene-lengths or unlimited duration effects. Outside of war rules, the most elite mortal soldiers auto-fail to do anything to him. Also, in 2E you don't blow Essence on buffs or army nukes if you expect a real opposition, because in 2E Essence and Willpower are your main defense.
Outside of army rules? Wh y wouldn't they be used? :smallconfused:
And they're peons. They're free essence outside of army rules, om nom to your hearts content. Particularl y for Lunars, who thanks to their Regen, have, even w hen they sucked, b een in the least danger from mortals.



Non-combat magic isn't anything to write home about, either. Except for minion-obtaining.
No, but you can get it in something you have no skill in. To take a 1e Example since I haven't se en the new Bo3C, Peacock Shadow Eyes isn't that awesome compared to Social Charms, but if you have Occult, and no dots in Socialize or Presence, it covers a weak po int in your capabilities.


Or he's a PC
I know. I was accounti ng for that. Did you have a point or something?


Who cares about the social penalties, when there is a civil war starting about tomorrow and I can just use my army of demons to kill dumb NPCs that don't like me and don't have similar armies on their own :smallamused:.

You're seriously suggesting relying on a Demon army against DBs, as a DB. You are not going to be a happy camper when the other guys' sorcerors start casting 1st Circle Banishment. Seriously, there's a reas on that a demon army is not a useful bargaining tool in Dragonblooded Society. Mnemon's coterie is Second Ci rcle, s ince she's got that ar tifact, so you can start there, I suppose. Oh wait, you're a pure summoner. You don't have the stealth or larceny, or the social resources to engineer the theft! Plus, demons. Even ass uming a lack of banishmen t (Bad assu mption), I'd put my money o n the gu ys with generals, Terrestrials operating in tandem, and Immaculates against 3rd Circles. Th ey probably have numbers too. I mean seriously, you keep talking about "Any 'serious opposition'". Any guy worth a damn has asorceror! Heck, a Dragonblooded isn't considered properly cultured unless they have some Sorcery .

Also, we're in a tangent.

Immutep
2008-12-16, 02:43 PM
It's called role-playing. To your characters, it is not a game: it is their life, and they are not going to risk it for "fun." They are going to seek out every advantage and use it to its fullest, so that their chances of dying are minimized and their chances of winning are maximized. Because they're real people, not contestants in a game.

That's a little presumptous! I risk my life for fun in several ways, and as often as i can!


I can't even relate to this kind of DMing. I don't make my NPCs to be murdered by the players, anymore than I would give my dogs legless rabbits.

Interesting, do you have greyhounds? I assume the fact that you said legless meant still alive, right?


Now there's an excellent point: D&D offers virtually no way to retreat. I guess it's because otherwise the monsters would run away and deny the players their XP,. Planning for a retreat is often more difficult than planning for success. And surrendering is almost never an option: you're not fighting people who may decide to ransom you, you're fighting hideous monsters who will eat you.

Actually, if the monster is defeated, you still get the XP. Doesn't have to die.


In D&D, every single fight is a throwdown to the finish; every single encounter, the players stake everything on the roll of the dice. :smallannoyed:

I hope not, i want one of my characters to take drunken master prestige class, and i can't see them winning a fight against the entire bar, whilst [email protected]@ed, if they're all trying to kill him!

Zeful
2008-12-16, 03:26 PM
Because D&D is all about bypassing costs.

Who cares if using time stop makes my character have to sleep for a century after the effect? At the end of the time stop I'll just teleport to another plane where on century passes on one round, then come back to finish the job, and nobody will notice anything. Or I'll simply become immune to sleep, or whatever penalty you may throw at me.Not if 90% of all "good" spells have a different type of penalty. Ac or Save reductions, negative levels, missing actions, backlash damage. You can't be immune to everything.


Anything in D&D that doesn't outright 1 hit kill you whitout save can be prevented, specially if you know when it's gonna happen.

So adding those sort of costs to the spells would only mean the casters have to optimize more, but their power level remains the same.

Except we'll get more newbies saying "OMG wizards are the suckorz", and we'll have to spend more time explaining them how to become an undead to laugh at all the spell extra costs.It's not hard to make certain penalties always enforceable. It takes one line: "This penalty applies to the caster, even if the caster would be otherwise immune to the penalty". But even if that wasn't there, you have to optimize for avoiding the penalties, you won't be breaking utilizing other game-breaking cheese. If you want to prove me wrong, I'll PM you some generic school-based penalties, so as not to fill the thread with needless math.


So the only viable solution is simply killing all kinds of free metamagic(just look at Incantrix, who can easily do the obscene DCs to pull out empowered maximized quickened time stops), and reducing the numbers of high level spells casters can do per day. Some forms of metamagic reduction (the really specific feat based ones (I'm pretty sure there's one that reduces the cost of one Metamagic feat)) aren't bad. It's can just get really extreme when you can pull seven or eight -1 feats on a single spell to make up for quicken, ocular spell, repeat spell, and so on.


Any other option will be broken by the optimizer hordes of D&D. You give optimizers options, and they find a way to breack them. D&D just happens to have a LOT more optimizers working on them than any other RPG, so of course the other RPGs look balanced. I've already seen Exalted and BESM and whatnot, and let me tell you, they're all just waiting for some dedicated optimizers to be broken into little pieces.

Hell, it worked in 4e. The wizard can do ONE sleep per day. No, you can't risk taking damage or blowing up a kidney to cast more. One, just one. Maybe two, when he reaches epic level and takes the right prestige class. So he has a much harder time dominating the battlefield. But does anyone complain that the 4e wizard can do only one sleep per day?Yes actually, but they don't like 4e (neither do I to an extent, but for different reasons) so they tend to point out every change they don't like as a "nerf".

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 03:45 PM
One way I've seen (and want to figure out a way to use) is to say that magic exists as a force that can be tapped by Wizards and Clerics but it's not uniform. Some places have more magic than others. Many of these high-magic places are inhabited for this reason. Many low-magic places are the refuge of people afraid or jealous of magic. Some places have the traditional Dead or Wild magic. But it means creating map overlays for the campaign so everything's consistent.

You could have a magical storm or meteor shower that raises or lowers the magic level temporarily in a locale. A celestial alignment could do the same for the whole world.

And spellcasters would be cool in some places (think of standard ability being a high-magic town) and suck in others (one spell per level per day in a low-magic zone) and be pretty useless in some few (Dead or Wild magic zones). One could also argue that the Fighters are by comparison less useful in high magic zones and far more useful in low magic.

///

Another option is giving some kind of drain to the spellcaster like in Shadowrun. You have to make a Will save against a DC based on the spell level you just cast. If you cast a spell that's higher level than you can competently cast, the damage is lethal. If it's a standard spell the damage is nonlethal. And in some cases you might pick up a Backlashed Condition that gives you some penalty to further spellcasting until you rest.

///

What about assuming that magic is a twisting of nature and so it has unintended consequences? You could pick up Magic Sickness from using it too much, become addicted, have your spirit disjoined from your body (making healing and resurrection more difficult), lose a sense, lose spellcasting ability, or possibly even become completely unhinged from the magical fabric and unable to use or be affected by magic whatsoever. These could be short-term debilitations for catastrophic failure or overuse, and possibly long-term versions exist for people who just don't get the hint.

///

Maybe you don't start with spellcasting ability, you have to earn it, but once you have it you learn to cast spells alongside your normal class progression. There are no pure spellcasters. Since everyone in the party has magic, and so do their major adversaries, magic is still useful without being unbalancing. It's balanced only because everyone can exploit it the same way.

///

Players might feel like changes to the magic system are unfair. Especially the ones who are used to playing Batman with impunity. They might feel personally targeted. D&D players (humans?) tend to feel like once something is in their hands, once they have something, any reduction feels like a taking. A theft. If you lower taxes unreasonably and then raise them to normal levels, people complain about the "high" taxes.

So this is something you need to do starting out in a campaign, and let them know that this is how the world is. It hasn't changed in thousands of years of recorded history and it's not going to change during the course of the campaign.

Tell it to them straight. "You won't be able to play a hyper-spellcaster anymore. Spellcasters aren't any better than the other classes now." And among the five or six campaign ideas you come up with, present them all and figure out what people want to play.

And if they refuse to play without Batman, if they are unreasonable, someone else can DM.

Poison_Fish
2008-12-16, 03:49 PM
How the hell 6L soak is going to help you when almost any opponent worth mentioning can hit you for a several dozens HL of damage with his Perfected Celestial Genocide combo and will do so as soon as you lose ability to perfect said combo away? Even worse in 2E, when pumping your basic, unenhanced attack damage to 20+ L piercing is very easy.

6L soak will keep the mortals off you. It'll also keep some damage down. Honestly, if your casting a spell it's a good idea to have someone back you up or use cover. Your a lot safer from combat wombats if you've got a friendly melee monkey sitting around waiting to HGD anything that comes your way.

Why are you casting in melee anyway? That perfected celestial genocide combo doesn't matter much when your 1800 yards away sniping with flight of the brilliant raptor.



Non-combat magic isn't anything to write home about, either. Except for minion-obtaining.

Wow. No offense, but that's a pretty heavy fail point. Have you actually read some of the spells? I'm assuming no because your to busy trying to be "I IZ SWORD FIGHTER, MAGIC IS STUPID". While some spells are to specific for their use, there are quite a few that are generally useful, and even more that are within a specific scope the perfect tool for the job.

Just looking at the terrestrial circle: Ritual of elemental empowerment, Emerald Circle Banishment, Disguise of the New Face, Conjuring the Azure Chariot, Silent Words of Dreams and Nightmares, Sting of the Ice Hornet, Viridian Mantle of Underwater Journeys. These are all extremely useful spells, and I am not going to bother going into celestial or solar just to prove your wrong. Suffice to say, you are very much wrong.



Who cares about the social penalties, when there is a civil war starting about tomorrow and I can just use my army of demons to kill dumb NPCs that don't like me and don't have similar armies on their own :smallamused:.

Uh, good luck there. Are you aware just how many DB's have demon banishment? It's practically the second spell they'd learn along with just countermagic. Not to mention that you'll be priority target #1. Last I checked (Which was 10 minutes ago), a team of dragon blooded can wipe the floor with whatever pitiful 1st circle demon mooks you send at them.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-16, 03:49 PM
I've been thinking a lot lately about game mechanics, and a thought hit me about D&D: magic has no consequence.
Ah! A caster balance in 3.x thread. *YAY* This should be fun. :smallsmile:
If you aren't playing 4e, I applaud your attempt to balance casters in any earlier version.


I mean, there are loads of literary tropes of how beings have been punished for taping into such power. For example, some poor bastard underestimates his own control over something more powerful than himself, and suddenly has to face the consequences when it fails to heed him (or worse, turns on him). If there is no threat in using magic within D&D, why wouldn't people use it?Very good questions. The answers aren't very helpful though.
In AD&D Mages had an older starting age than non-Mages. The conclusion to be drawn from this (if it wasn't expressed directly, which I don't recall) is that it took longer to learn to cast spells than it did to learn how to be a sneaky Thief or a strong Fighter. And that's fine, but unless that is translated into real world impacts things go the way of the Tippy Universe. Tippy assumes no social or economic consequences of class selection. The inhabitants of his world are essentially living in an OOtS world, where the rules are known and the inhabitants are aware of game concepts such as level. It neatly ignores real world concerns such as:

How available is caster training?
Who pays for the caster training?
How does the person support themselves while they are undergoing that training?
Is every person motivated to achieve their top potential?

And so in Tippy's world every peasant farmer is a Wizard, because even a 1st level Wizard has a hell of a lot of great utility to offer with just a few 0th and 1st level spells which can help make running a farm more easy and profitable.

But that ignores all social and economic realities. Take the typical dirt poor peasant farmer as an example, barely bringing in enough to feed his family and pay his taxes, and then ask how he would manage to afford training as a Wizard? If he could afford it, how would the crops be tended while he was training? If he could afford it and his strong sons could run the farm in his absence, how would he locate a Wizard in his tiny villiage in the middle of nowhere important? If he manages to find a Wizard close enough to train him, is he motivated enough to put his life on hold while he studies magic for 5 years? Assuming that all of the above could be somehow managed, why would the Wizard our poor farmer wished to train under want to dilute his own power by training up a potential rival?

If you think that my questions are not realistic, then why doesn't everyone in the world have a PhD or other advanced degree? Not everyone has the opportunity to attand college, due ot a vast number of very real issues they might be facing. And even some people with wealthy parents who would pay for their room and board and tuition don't attend college due to lack of interest. Why should every dirt farmer in a fantasy land be assumed to have more opportunity and more motivation? Isn't this fantasy land supposed to model reality except for the presence of some fantasy elements?


Magic shouldn't be free. Even when the cleric has his power handed to him by his deity on a silver platter, he should still be wary of abusing it. There should be a cost or risk associated with using magic, and I don't mean the material components (which is a whole 'nother issue I don't like, but that's for another thread). When a caster taps into their magic, I think it would be good for failure (and thereby consequence) to be hanging over their head. When the fighter swings his sword at a golem, he's worried about the AC. Even the perfect warrior who is almost guaranteed to hit that magic number has to worry about that natural one. Why not the wizard? Why not the cleric?More very valid questions. The answers for 3.x and before are as follows:

Casters have limited numbers of spells per day;
Spells have limited durations;
Caster opponents can make a saving throw, much like your (paraphrased) "Fighters have to worry about the AC of their opponent" example;

But those limitations don't really apply under rigorous examination. For the limited number of spells per day, WBL provides a huge opportunity to have other means to cast more spells. Scrolls, Wands, Rings, etc, etc. All can give additional casting power. And even if those are exhausted, there is always narcolepsy. If you're unfamiliar with this tactic, it basically involves the caster retreating to some safe location (best accomplished through the use of magic) once low on spells and simply waiting until they can renew them.

Limited durations are also overcome using WBL to augment casting, either through gaining additional casting ability of using meta-magic to extend durations.

And saving throws become a joke once the savvy caster learns how to avoid them.

For a perfect example of how easily it is for players to overlook these methods of overcoming the very few limitations already in place against casters, I refer you to this reply:

It already exists.

It's called spell slots.

Or mana. Or power points. Or whatever you want to call them.

If you think the spells don't cost enough, cut down the number of spells per day the can do. Let's see if the wizard/druid/cleric still laugh at anyone when they can only cast one spell of each level per day(and in the case of the druid, one wildshape per day also).
It already exists. Yes, in a form which is so trivially overcome as to be laughable. Reduce the caster to a single spell per level per day and all that does is to increase the episodes of narcolepsy.


Would it bother you all if you had to make some sort of roll when casting a spell? Even something as contrived as "Caster level + d20 versus X" would at least introduce the threat of failure, and thereby create a bit of tension. A caster couldn't just rely on saying "First, I'll forcecage the suckers, and then cast cloudkill". No, instead they may have to work with "First, I'll try and forcecage those guys. If it works, I'm a cloudkill away from victory. If I fail, I'm an arrow volley away from death.

What are your thoughts on the idea? Would it make the game more interesting, or perhaps bog it down with the extra rolls? Could it even (*gasp*) level the playing field between casters and non-casters in a fight, even if only a bit?
-Tarkahn

PS. One last thought occured to me. If a fighter can critically fail an attack roll, adding in a failure chance for magic means that logically a chance of critical failure should occur for magic. That just opens up a lot of possibilities, doesn't it? Magic backlash sounds like something that could really liven up the game...
Critical failures are generally a poor mechanic. Allow me to illustrate:

Your 1st level Fighter gets one swing per round.
Your 11th level Fighter gets three swings per round.

Assuming that a 1 is always a critical failure or "fumble", the result of this mechanic is that the 1st level Fighter has a 5% chance in every combat round of fumbling, and the 11th level Fighter has a 14.26% chance to fumble in every combat round. Did an extra 10 levels of experience make this Fighter almost three times as likely to accidentally hurl his greatsword at a friend instead of swinging at an enemy in every 6 second melee round? That's a preposterous scenario, but it's how the mechanics of this fumble rule work out in play.

The same sort of counter-intuitive result would occur if the Wizard had to roll to fumble on every spell cast. Your higher level Wizard would have more spells, and thus would have a vastly greater chance of fumbling. Depending on your fumble impact chart this could range from mildly annoying to deadly, but it would still have the same counter-intuitive impact: The "better" Wizard is more likely to screw up.

And it's always a good idea to look at the logical social and economic impacts of any rule change. If there is a harsh spell failure or "backlash" penalty possible with any casting, shouldn't that increase the prices NPCs chage for all spells, even fairly minor ones such as Remove Curse or Cure Disease? Do Clerics refuse to Raise the Dead because the possible backlash of casting a 5th level spell makes the risk too great? After all, if the Cleric is turned to stone, banished to another plane, or even just fatigued and unable to cast for a week 5% of the time they Raise the Dead, that might make such services either horrifically expensive or just unavailable altogether.

Immutep
2008-12-16, 04:01 PM
Most of what you stated above was correct, but as for the more likely to happen at higher levels. I'd just like to point out the relative amount of damage dealt out is less effective since at level 11, you have more hit points to compensate.

Worth remembering.

Oslecamo
2008-12-16, 04:37 PM
You know, one of the restrictive factors of magic in D&D nobody seemed to remember it's the universe itself.

Mechanus to be more specific. There are some inevitables whose work is precisely to watch out for people trying to breack the universe too much.

There's plenty of monsters who are precisely atracted to magic energy.

And then there's plenty of other planes where magic is all messed up in several ways. Just have the campaign develop there.

Since some people brought the whole paradox rule from that other RPG.

Zeful: If it was easy to do, it would have been done for 4e.
Even if your penalty system is perfectly balanced(wich, with all due respect, I strongly disbelieve), it would mean now EVERY wizard player must have a PHd in optimizing just to get his character in the same power level of that samurai/monk with 1 str, because in order to bypass all the buffing spells out there that could offset your penalties it means a non optimized wizard instantly cripples himself just by trying to cast anything usefull.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-16, 05:10 PM
Most of what you stated above was correct, but as for the more likely to happen at higher levels. I'd just like to point out the relative amount of damage dealt out is less effective since at level 11, you have more hit points to compensate.

Worth remembering.

If this was in reply to my deconstruction of fumbles, I'm afraid I miss your point. How does having more hit points have anything to do with the 11th level Fighter being nearly three times as likely in any given melee round to accidentally hurl his greatsword at a friend than the 1st level Fighter? What does "relative amount of damage dealt" (not really sure what that means, either) have to do with the far more seasoned warrior being demonstrably more clumsy and fumble-fingered simply due to the fact that he is so good that he can see 3 opportunities to strike for damage in the same time frame that a lesser warrior only sees 1 such opportunity?

Fumble systems are used by people who don't understand probability, or perhaps by those who don't take the time to really examine the real effect of the mechanic.

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 05:36 PM
Fumble systems are used by people who don't understand probability, or perhaps by those who don't take the time to really examine the real effect of the mechanic.


It's also possible that they understand probability but haven't applied that to examining the fumble rules yet. In general they apply them, but haven't in this one case.

Or maybe they appreciate some kind of game balance benefit of the fumble rule, but can't figure out a fumble system that's just as balanced and fast but more realistic.

Maybe they figured out such a system but don't use it because they want to limit houserules to only very important things so they don't have to print up packets of house rules.

Perhaps they play with younger or beginning players and simplicity is far more important than realism.

Maybe, like spell memorization, training, classes, levels, spellbooks, holy symbols, mistletoe, and Druidic Bards they're more interested in the tradition. After all, improve enough and you might as well not be playing D&D anymore.

Maybe they both understand probability and examined the mechanic, but other houserules that they really like interfere with a simple fix to the fumble system. They want to keep some kind of fumble system but as you change systems their interactions become more complex.

Maybe they have a perverse enjoyment of rules that aren't broken, makse sense on the surface, but have an important flaw that means they just don't make sense upon closer inspection.

It's possible the players are not native speakers of English. They misunderstood the rules, despite knowing about probability and examining them.

Perhaps they are just enjoying the game and a few quirks just don't matter to them.

I think it's pretty obvious there are more than two possibilities here.

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 05:48 PM
Critical failures are generally a poor mechanic. Allow me to illustrate:

Your 1st level Fighter gets one swing per round.
Your 11th level Fighter gets three swings per round.

Assuming that a 1 is always a critical failure or "fumble", the result of this mechanic is that the 1st level Fighter has a 5% chance in every combat round of fumbling, and the 11th level Fighter has a 14.26% chance to fumble in every combat round. Did an extra 10 levels of experience make this Fighter almost three times as likely to accidentally hurl his greatsword at a friend instead of swinging at an enemy in every 6 second melee round? That's a preposterous scenario, but it's how the mechanics of this fumble rule work out in play.

He's attacking more than once. His skill is in a higher chance to hit on every attack, and to attack multiple times. Remember, the chance of a coin landing on heads is still 50% regardless of how many coin flips you did earlier. Note instead that the Fighter has a good chance of landing three successful attacks, or at least two, whereas the first level Fighter has a small chance to hit once and absolutely no chance to hit two or even three times.



The same sort of counter-intuitive result would occur if the Wizard had to roll to fumble on every spell cast. Your higher level Wizard would have more spells, and thus would have a vastly greater chance of fumbling. Depending on your fumble impact chart this could range from mildly annoying to deadly, but it would still have the same counter-intuitive impact: The "better" Wizard is more likely to screw up.


Again. You get more spells per day and your spells, when they go off, are more effective. But you are getting more ammo. Each shot just has the standard fumble chance. If you cast one spell per day at 1st level and one spell per day at 20th, you have an identical fumble chance. The fumble table might even be more lenient on higher level casters (or swordsmen) such that their fumbles are less disastrous.

I liken this to a gun that can fire one shot per trigger pull or can shoot full auto. The gun has a tiny chance of jamming. Heck, with the increased mechanical stress and residue, the heat, I'd expect jamming to be more common with more iterations in a short time. But at the least, if you fire one shot per second or ten, the chance to jam is the same small chance per shot. You have ten chances to jam firing full auto. You are more likely to fumble if you make more attacks.



And it's always a good idea to look at the logical social and economic impacts of any rule change. If there is a harsh spell failure or "backlash" penalty possible with any casting, shouldn't that increase the prices NPCs chage for all spells, even fairly minor ones such as Remove Curse or Cure Disease? Do Clerics refuse to Raise the Dead because the possible backlash of casting a 5th level spell makes the risk too great? After all, if the Cleric is turned to stone, banished to another plane, or even just fatigued and unable to cast for a week 5% of the time they Raise the Dead, that might make such services either horrifically expensive or just unavailable altogether.

It makes sense then that you're less likely to see casters willing to cast for a fee. They do it for reasons of loyalty or to repay a debt, or by association in the case of religion or guild or family.
And those casters who do cast for a fee will often encounter backlash from fumbles, which in your examples are really stiff penalties, but even if it meant not casting for the rest of the day these casters are "off the market" for a while.
So simply put the value of casting spells goes up because people aren't willing or aren't able to supply the demand. But this is something you cannot trade money for because casters don't want to accept the personal risk. Instead you must be part of some organization, or be friends with him, or adventure with him. If a PC wants to risk being turned to stone and such, for a still relatively small amount of money, it's his choice.

That said, why would a casting fumble result in anything worse than losing the rest of your actions that round? It's not like the Fighter is going to die or kill someone outright just because he fumbled. He might take or cause damage to a friend. He might drop his weapon. I'd think something comparable for the spellcaster would be "forget one random spell", "you become fatigued", "your casting level is -1 for an hour", "drop 1d4 spells you've cast that are still active". Even those are kind of harsh compared to the Fighter.

Yahzi
2008-12-16, 09:10 PM
That's a little presumptous! I risk my life for fun in several ways, and as often as i can!
If you go out and pick fights to the death on a regular basis for fun, then... I take back everything I said, because you scare me. :smallbiggrin:


Actually, if the monster is defeated, you still get the XP. Doesn't have to die.
That's a completely unworkable mechanic. It's effectively the same as saying you get N XP for any given session, where N is a number picked by the GM. If you were going to play that way... why bother to pay for a rules book?


Only if you're playing a very serious power hungry character.
Leaving aside the notion that any person is not interested in maximizing power, let us consider that you are playing adventurers. People who go around and kill people and take their stuff, so that they can kill even tougher people and get even better stuff. People who are obsessed with gaining levels, so they can get new powers, so they can gain more levels.


As Kesnit points out, you can build strong NPCs who are good challenges (and who aren't "made to be murdered", but who are powerful figures who are made to plausibly hold the positions they do in the game world and who are then brought in to the players' way as an antagonist) without requiring that your players' characters be "super-optimized" in order to beat them.
I run a sandbox world, so the players pick their own challenges. If they don't want to fight the King, then they better do what he tells them to. On the other hand, if they do pick a fight with the King, then they already know that guy is going to be tough, and he's going to do everything he can to win.

Zeful
2008-12-16, 09:48 PM
That's a completely unworkable mechanic. It's effectively the same as saying you get N XP for any given session, where N is a number picked by the GM. If you were going to play that way... why bother to pay for a rules book?

So sneaking past a guard doesn't count as overcoming a challenge? You have to fight it to get any experience? Forcing an army to retreat doesn't count as overcoming a challenge, you have to kill every single enemy, all 10,000 of them?

Jack_Simth
2008-12-16, 10:33 PM
That's a completely unworkable mechanic. It's effectively the same as saying you get N XP for any given session, where N is a number picked by the GM. If you were going to play that way... why bother to pay for a rules book?He didn't say "encounter" he said "defeat".

If I knock out and tie up the guard, how was that less difficult than simply killing him?

However, you still need to defeat it - if the guard trounces me soundly, and sends me packing, the guard won that encounter - I didn't get past him. I may eventually locate an alternate route in, but that's not defeating the guard.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-16, 10:36 PM
That's a completely unworkable mechanic. It's effectively the same as saying you get N XP for any given session, where N is a number picked by the GM. If you were going to play that way... why bother to pay for a rules book?
That's.. an unworkable mechanic? Dude, that's the rules by RAW. People don't have to die, just be beaten.


Leaving aside the notion that any person is not interested in maximizing power, let us consider that you are playing adventurers. People who go around and kill people and take their stuff, so that they can kill even tougher people and get even better stuff. People who are obsessed with gaining levels, so they can get new powers, so they can gain more levels.
I love how this co mes up right after bei ng told that Dungeons and Dragons isn't supposed to be about just winning a mechanics game. Th e timing is just fantastic.

Vikazc
2008-12-16, 11:14 PM
I always thought an interesting way to do it would be to have spellcasting be slotless, but for each spell to cost an xp amount. As little as 5 for first level damage spells, and 100 for Solid Fog. The more draining and epic a spell is, the more it costs you to use. This reflects both a loss in resources to use it, and the ease of defeating the encounter when you use more advanced techniques. So if your careful you could mow down encounters with raw power, machinegunning out 5 xp magic missiles and coming away with a large gain in power, but if you mess up and have to drop a meteor swarm, its going to cost you most if not all of your xp for the encounter. Itd take a lot of time to stat out each spell, but if some were very expensive, it just wouldnt be worth it to use them except to save your life.

Oslecamo
2008-12-17, 05:48 AM
I love how this co mes up right after bei ng told that Dungeons and Dragons isn't supposed to be about just winning a mechanics game. Th e timing is just fantastic.

See, that's precisely the kind of players I was talking about before. Their character's first purpose is to gather as much power as possible at any costs.

However, not every D&D player out there plays like that. You see sorcerors picking mainly evocation spells and druids trying to kill their enemies by falling over them.

Yahzi: I don't know what kind of media you read/see, but in the media I read/see, many time the adventurer first purpose in life isn't becoming as powerfull as possible, but adventuring. This includes not only killing monsters and taking their stuff, but also helping people in need, feel new experiences, see new sights and many times try to make the world a better place instead of your personal butcher house.

By your line of logic, if the adventurer's find someone weaker than them, be it a monster or Joe the farmer in need of help, the adventurers will always kill them, take their stuff and exp and move on untill they find someone significantly tougher than them.

Where I come from we don't call those people adventurers. We call them thieves/bandits/tyrants/raiders, who listen only to the voice of power.

Of course you can play those kind of characters. Just don't think everybody also plays them.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-17, 06:15 AM
Where I come from we don't call those people adventurers. We call them thieves/bandits/tyrants/raiders, who listen only to the voice of power..

Yeah. And could be a good idea call some adventurers to kill them :smallwink:

Oslecamo
2008-12-17, 08:41 AM
Yeah. And could be a good idea call some adventurers to kill them :smallwink:

Ah,that explains from where come all those villains killing inocents and trying to take over the world by force whitout any aparent reason! They're just other players who think becoming moar powerfull is the one and only purpose on life:smallbiggrin:

KIDS
2008-12-17, 09:43 AM
Failures are justifiable as you well described, but their randomness (seeing no other way to introduce them) is a massive turn-off for me. Even with rarest of chances among so many casts that a typical game requires, it would be like a virtual guarantee that you will eventually detonate a fireball on yourself or something else that is tremendously annoying (compare: rolling 2 natural ones in a row and hitting yourself with a weapon as per "fumble" variant).

graymachine
2008-12-17, 10:03 AM
Non-combat magic isn't anything to write home about, either. Except for minion-obtaining.

Bwah? o.O

Have you ever read any of the spells from Exalted?

Off the top of my head, and I haven't played in years, 2 Solars armed with Benediction of the Archgenesis can collapse the Empire within a few weeks.

I can't remember the name of the spell, but it is the one where you carve five statues, place them around a region, have the rubes fellows of your circle defend you while you cast for a day, and viola; in that region you are big g God.

Savant and Sorcerer has spells for creating manses.

...and so on.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound belligerant, but Sorcery and Martial Arts are considered by all of the Exalted players I've every met as the two primary roads to power from a mechanical point of view, with charms coming in a distant third.

Kesnit
2008-12-17, 10:11 AM
Failures are justifiable as you well described, but their randomness (seeing no other way to introduce them) is a massive turn-off for me. Even with rarest of chances among so many casts that a typical game requires, it would be like a virtual guarantee that you will eventually detonate a fireball on yourself or something else that is tremendously annoying (compare: rolling 2 natural ones in a row and hitting yourself with a weapon as per "fumble" variant).

That's the idea. Knowing that there is a slight chance your fireball could explode in your face (or your buffing spell could affect an enemy) is going to cause those players to think for a second if they should really use that power.

The risk is minimal, but frequent enough that bad things will occur. Scaling risk with spell level is going to give incentive for a player to use lower level spells, which tend not to be as overpowered. (i.e. "Do I want to use Time Stop, with the 15% chance of failure or this 6th level spell with only 5%?")

Yahzi
2008-12-17, 11:28 AM
That's.. an unworkable mechanic? Dude, that's the rules by RAW. People don't have to die, just be beaten.
Since when has RAW automatically equaled workable? :smallbiggrin:

It is RAW, but it simply can't work. It makes XP a resource than can be printed on the fly. If "defeating" is all that is required, then training - you know, where you take on gradually more difficult tasks in a safe environment under the tutelage of experts - would produce XP. And thus, all the great wizards would come from universities, not dungeons; all the great heroes would come from war academies and sports arenas, not battlefields.

The fundamental mechanic of D&D requires risk - actual, mortal risk - to allow plucky adventurers to level while stay-at-home and study don't. But allowing mortal risk without anyone actually dying is a contradiction.

Clever players will immediately seize on this mechanic and use it to level themselves (or at the very least, their followers). DMs will, necessarily, nix it. The end result? You get XP when the DM says you get XP. Hello, railroad!

The problem here is that D&D is based on Nietschean philosophy. And trust me, Nietsche would demand that you kill those puny mensches to get your XP. :smalltongue:

Saph
2008-12-17, 11:38 AM
The fundamental mechanic of D&D requires risk - actual, mortal risk - to allow plucky adventurers to level while stay-at-home and study don't. But allowing mortal risk without anyone actually dying is a contradiction.

Clever players will immediately seize on this mechanic and use it to level themselves (or at the very least, their followers). DMs will, necessarily, nix it. The end result? You get XP when the DM says you get XP. Hello, railroad!

Honestly, Yahzi, where do you get this stuff? Have you ever DMed yourself, or is this all guesswork?

It's very, very easy to have encounters which give players XP without them killing things. Intelligent monsters and NPCs should not fight to the death without a good reason. About half of the encounters in my Red Hand of Doom game have ended with survivors on both sides; either the PCs negotiate, or they or their opponents end up retreating. Read the campaign journal if you want the details. Sure, XP requires risk. That doesn't mean it requires death.

- Saph

Eclipse
2008-12-17, 12:44 PM
Since when has RAW automatically equaled workable? :smallbiggrin:

It is RAW, but it simply can't work. It makes XP a resource than can be printed on the fly. If "defeating" is all that is required, then training - you know, where you take on gradually more difficult tasks in a safe environment under the tutelage of experts - would produce XP. And thus, all the great wizards would come from universities, not dungeons; all the great heroes would come from war academies and sports arenas, not battlefields.

The fundamental mechanic of D&D requires risk - actual, mortal risk - to allow plucky adventurers to level while stay-at-home and study don't. But allowing mortal risk without anyone actually dying is a contradiction.

Clever players will immediately seize on this mechanic and use it to level themselves (or at the very least, their followers). DMs will, necessarily, nix it. The end result? You get XP when the DM says you get XP. Hello, railroad!

The problem here is that D&D is based on Nietschean philosophy. And trust me, Nietsche would demand that you kill those puny mensches to get your XP. :smalltongue:

You're making this more complicated than it needs to be.

First, D&D is a party game, so there's no XP for the party fighting and "defeating" each other, unless the roleplaying involved is appropriate and the GM feels it's warranted. If the party tries to abuse the XP system in the way you claim, the GM says no, because the party isn't facing an actual challenge.

Now, as far as overcoming a challenge from outside the party, there are some simple methods you can use to determine overcoming a challenge.

1) Did the party kill it? Was it actually a challenge for their level? If yes to both of these, they get XP.

2) Did the party force it to retreat? Was it actually a challenge for their level? If yes to both of these, they get XP.

3) Did the party convince it to do something it was initially opposed to that furthers the party's goals? Was it actually a challenge for their level? If yes to both of these, they get XP.

4) Did the party complete a quest? Was it actually a challenge for their level? They get XP. (Some GMs just build this XP into the quest itself, others give bonus XP for completing the quest, but it is a valid challenge.)

5) Did the party come up with a unique solution to a problem? If yes, they get XP.

6) Did the party do some creative roleplaying that really enhanced the game in some fashion for everyone playing? They get XP. That is, if you use this very common house rule/variant, so ignore this one if you want to stick to RAW.

The amount of XP will vary based on challenge and the current GM, but I've outlined a number of ways XP can be earned, and only one involves killing.

Edit: Forgot to address a couple of points.

Um, railroad by giving XP out for overcoming actual challenges? No. Railroading would be giving out XP only if the party used the solution a GM had in mind for a challenge. (ie, only if you kill them.) Giving out XP for creative solutions encourages party creativity in the future, which tends to be close to the opposite of railroading.

Also, gaining XP doesn't require mortal risk, it requires challenge. If there is a chance of failure, it's possible that you might get XP if you succeed. No, I don't mean for every roll you make, I mean for a major task, such as convincing the king you need his army to hold back the hordes of goblins intent on seizing his kingdom. Perhaps you even need to find evidence to convince the king this is necessary, then present the evidence in a compelling way. This seems sufficiently challenging to me. Of course, how you go about doing this might vary from group to group, and the players might come up with an equally viable solution to the one I came up with here.

Dausuul
2008-12-17, 01:00 PM
I like to strip utility magic away anyways, but another part of "Tippy Universe" not happening in my games is that I tend to make magic require a Gift for it. I usually refer to it as the Blessing of Mana (from Star Ocean). So not everyoen can be a caster if they want to.

Well, the simplest way to avert the problem is to put strict limits on what magic can do. If all that can be done with magic is to levitate pebbles and make sparkles, you need not fear the Tippyverse.

Beyond that, I agree with the general sentiment that magic should be dangerous; the trick is coming up with a suitable danger, one that doesn't wreck the game when the party wizard falls afoul of it.

One thing that's occurred to me is the possibility of each wizard having a spirit nemesis - a dark force trying to destroy that particular wizard. Each botched spell (or maybe even a successful spell) gives the nemesis some ability to intervene in the wizard's life; forcing re-rolls, making enemies inflict extra damage, et cetera. Might be a bit of a burden on the DM, though.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-17, 01:28 PM
You get XP when the DM says you get XP. Hello, railroad!

Um.

That's exactly how it is. I can't soliloquize some backstory and then award myself RP XP for it, nor can I slaughter the town guard and award myself XP: it is the DM's purview to give out XP--and if needed, to take it away.

Among other reasons, that is why the XP giving mechanics appear in the DMG, not the PHB.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-17, 01:29 PM
He's attacking more than once. His skill is in a higher chance to hit on every attack, and to attack multiple times. Remember, the chance of a coin landing on heads is still 50% regardless of how many coin flips you did earlier. Note instead that the Fighter has a good chance of landing three successful attacks, or at least two, whereas the first level Fighter has a small chance to hit once and absolutely no chance to hit two or even three times.I'm afraid I don't understand what the number of hits and the chance to hit have at all to do with the fact that the demonstrably more skilled warrior is nearly three times as likely to fumble in the same time frame as the less skilled warrior.


I liken this to a gun that can fire one shot per trigger pull or can shoot full auto. The gun has a tiny chance of jamming. Heck, with the increased mechanical stress and residue, the heat, I'd expect jamming to be more common with more iterations in a short time. But at the least, if you fire one shot per second or ten, the chance to jam is the same small chance per shot. You have ten chances to jam firing full auto. You are more likely to fumble if you make more attacks.Don't liken it to a gun. A person is not a mechanical object. If a person studies some practice, say juggling, they will both get faster at it and less likely to drop the balls they are juggling. They will not get faster and more likely to drop a ball, even though they are handling more balls over time than they were when they were not as skilled. This is not even slightly comparable to firing a rifle in single shot or full automatic mode. The rifle isn't getting faster due to long hours of practice and intimate familiarity with the subject.


That said, why would a casting fumble result in anything worse than losing the rest of your actions that round? It's not like the Fighter is going to die or kill someone outright just because he fumbled. He might take or cause damage to a friend. He might drop his weapon. I'd think something comparable for the spellcaster would be "forget one random spell", "you become fatigued", "your casting level is -1 for an hour", "drop 1d4 spells you've cast that are still active". Even those are kind of harsh compared to the Fighter.I used "hurl his sword at his friend" as an example in the absence of any other description of what the OP meant by "critically fail an attack roll". This was not defined, and I've seen a great many different "fumble" rules from a static "You drop your weapon" to a complex series of rolls and charts. Regardless of the result, the basic premise of my objection stands: The more rolls you make, usually associated with having more skill in the practice you are exercising (martial or magical) the greater your chance to "fumble". This makes no logical sense and therefore should be discarded from consideration both for purposes of realism and for purposes of ease of play.

That is not to say that some kind of penalty for casting as a balance against its power and utility is a bad thing. Just that I would disagree that a "fumble" system would be the way to implement such a penalty.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 01:47 PM
I'm afraid I don't understand what the number of hits and the chance to hit have at all to do with the fact that the demonstrably more skilled warrior is nearly three times as likely to fumble in the same time frame as the less skilled warrior.

Then you understand probability less than you think. Every iteration has a chance of fumble and a chance of success. The higher level fighter has the same chance of fumble but a much higher chance of success per iteration, and has more iterations. All that we must expect is that overall the Fighter performs better at high level than at low level. And he does. Even including the greater chance over the course of a round that he will fumble.

Say I flip that coin once. I count a "tails" result as a fumble and a "heads" result as a regular "success or failure" event. I'm better off flipping that coin just once if I want to avoid a fumble at all costs. After all, every flip has a 50% chance of fumbling.



Don't liken it to a gun.

Don't argue.



Regardless of the result, the basic premise of my objection stands: The more rolls you make, usually associated with having more skill in the practice you are exercising (martial or magical) the greater your chance to "fumble". This makes no logical sense and therefore should be discarded from consideration both for purposes of realism and for purposes of ease of play.

Imagine a group of scientists working at an experiment. They are trained and know what they're doing. Another group works at night in the same lab doing the same jobs. They're undergrad students.
The trained scientists have a much higher chance of success and their successes are better (more accuracy in the experimentation, in this case).
But this work they do, there is some measure of it that is not in their control. No matter how good the scientist is, there is a possibility that the experiment fails because of some interference or a problem with the equipment or materials, and such a failure results in scrapping that day's work.
The trained scientists get more work done and their work is higher quality. Every day their work has better results than the students' work. And everyone makes mistakes, and occasionally one group or the other will fail.

But because the trained scientists have multiple versions of the experiment going at once (they can handle more equipment running at the same time), each separate experiment has this chance of "fumble" failure. It's out of their hands.

Look. There are external events in a fight that are not dependent on the fighter. The floor might be uneven, or he might trip on a body, or slip in some blood a little, or just blink wrong, or sweat drips into his eye, or he's distracted by something his friend just did. It can happen to the Star Wars Kid, it can happen to Jackie Chan. It's a small chance. But you take that chance every time you put yourself out there to act. If you just stand there and do nothing, there is no chance of fumbling. The more you act, the more you fumble.

Realistically, people fumble. It happens.

And when it comes to ease of play, what's simpler than saying a natural "1" is an automatic failure and a stop to your attacks that round? That's a fumble mechanic. We re-roll the d20 to see if you come up with a second "1" in which case you dropped your weapon. That's only slightly more complex (increasing the number of dice rolled by 1 for every 20 at absolute worst, probably more like 1 in 60 or 70 counting all other non-attack rolls).

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-17, 02:11 PM
Then you understand probability less than you think. Every iteration has a chance of fumble and a chance of success.No, I understand probability very well, thank you very much. I understand it so well that I also understand that probability and human skill can't be tied together in the way you want. Every iteration does have a chance of success and a chance of fumble (pass the ball in the correct arc / drop the ball or pass it in a way which can not be recovered), but those chances change as skill increases. The speed at which the ball is passed and the chance to correctly pass the ball increases, which is reflected in the game by the 11th level Fighter getting 3 swings at a higher BAB. But the chance to fumble decreases, which is not reflected when the chance to fumble starts a 1 and remains a 1 regardless of the level of the Fighter.

I described exactly how a human, practicing a skill, can become both faster and less likely to "fumble", and you come back and say that I'm wrong by pointing at probability, but ignoring human skill. It just doesn't work like that way, your understanding of probability is flawed. So I will argue, just as you are also arguing. Don't be a hypocrite. This disconnect between your theory and reality is exactly why a fumble system based on a static chance (rolling a 1 on a D20, or a 5% chance) is inappropriate when it comes to correctly modeling the actual mechanics of a skilled person performing a task they are skilled at.

If the system was that the 1st level Fighter "fumbled" on a 1-5, while the 11th level Fighter "fumbled" only on a 1, this would more accurately model how human skill works. I've thrown out straw man numbers that I don't really care about just for the sake of giving an example, I won't defend against an adjustment of the 1-5 range, unless you want to make it a 1.

But it'd kinda suck to be a Fighter under any such system.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-17, 02:19 PM
No, I understand probability very well, thank you very much. I understand it so well that I also understand that probability and human skill can't be tied together in the way you want.

It's too bad, then, that we're not talking about real life and instead a mathematical construct referred to as a "game". This game is not built to be real life, it is built to resemble real life: due to that, shortcuts--such as depending upon probability--are made. As such, certain laws and rules that govern our daily lives do not apply in-game, and vice versa.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 02:30 PM
No, I understand probability very well, thank you very much. I understand it so well that I also understand that probability and human skill can't be tied together in the way you want. Every iteration does have a chance of success and a chance of fumble (pass the ball in the correct arc / drop the ball or pass it in a way which can not be recovered), but those chances change as skill increases. The speed at which the ball is passed and the chance to correctly pass the ball increases, which is reflected in the game by the 11th level Fighter getting 3 swings at a higher BAB. But the chance to fumble decreases, which is not reflected when the chance to fumble starts a 1 and remains a 1 regardless of the level of the Fighter.

I described exactly how a human, practicing a skill, can become both faster and less likely to "fumble", and you come back and say that I'm wrong by pointing at probability, but ignoring human skill. It just doesn't work like that way, your understanding of probability is flawed. So I will argue, just as you are also arguing. Don't be a hypocrite. This disconnect between your theory and reality is exactly why a fumble system based on a static chance (rolling a 1 on a D20, or a 5% chance) is inappropriate when it comes to correctly modeling the actual mechanics of a skilled person performing a task they are skilled at.

If the system was that the 1st level Fighter "fumbled" on a 1-5, while the 11th level Fighter "fumbled" only on a 1, this would more accurately model how human skill works. I've thrown out straw man numbers that I don't really care about just for the sake of giving an example, I won't defend against an adjustment of the 1-5 range, unless you want to make it a 1.

But it'd kinda suck to be a Fighter under any such system.

You mistake the reality of a failure with the reality of a fumble. Either is a failure. Think of American football. A high school player might fail to catch the ball many times. But which of those was what we would call a "fumble?" Who knows? Maybe if he were better he would have succeeded on some of those catched that he failed at because of lack of skill.

But maybe some of those failed catches were due to events external to him and his skill. And that no amount of skill would have prevented that failure. That is the "fumble". And there isn't a good way to tell which of his actions were true "fumbles" and which were standard failures.

The pro football player we can ssume is like a high-level Fighter in that when he attempts a catch, he often succeeds, but also fails sometimes. Note that the same problem exists for us: could this failure have been prevented by more skill, or was the failure something external and unavoidable, hence a true "fumble?" No way to tell. Only if a footballer has perfect skill can we see whether he continues to fail or succeed - and in this case the footballer would be like the Fighter who succeeds except on that natural "1".

One might argue that at some point skill overcomes all the chance and external difficulty in playing football, and a player with perfect skill would always succeed. I argue that a player with perfect skill still could not overcome some environmentally-induced chance of failure. And that is represented by the "fumble" mechanic.

We might point to pro baseball players who could stand and hit slowballs all day. But out of 1000 throws, he doesn't hit literally every one of them. In a season the batter might get to hit a limited number of times, and so his record of no failures might be very impressive, but actually he gets three chances to hit and still have it count as a success so that gets statistically complicated.

And if everyone can fumble, the Fighter isn't exactly sucking is he? Everyone else has to deal with fumbling spellcasting or trap disarming or whatever.

Eclipse
2008-12-17, 03:54 PM
You mistake the reality of a failure with the reality of a fumble. Either is a failure. Think of American football. A high school player might fail to catch the ball many times. But which of those was what we would call a "fumble?" Who knows? Maybe if he were better he would have succeeded on some of those catched that he failed at because of lack of skill.


This is a poor analogy, since you make no distinction between failure and fumble, while the house rules we're speaking of do.

Your analogy would work better if failed catches were simply bad rolls, while slipping, missing the catch, then falling and injuring your ankle so you miss a few plays would be like a natural one or a critical miss.

Also, I want to take a stab at the probability dispute, and see if I can explain it in a way that makes sense.

First, you were right when you said that each individual die roll has it's own 5% chance of being a critical fumble.

However, saying that this means the probability works out is not accurate.

When you look at a series of events, you have to take the probability of each roll into account. On a single roll, there is a 5% chance that a one will come up. On three rolls, there is a 5% chance on each roll that a one will come up. Since there are three chances to get a one, the probability that at least one of them will be a one goes up.

The way to figure this out is to multiply the chance of not getting a critical failure on each roll together, then subtracting this value from 100%.

So we get 1 - (.95 * .95 * .95) = about 14% for three attacks.
We get 1 - .95 = 5% for one attack.

So, a fighter making three attack rolls in a single round has a 14% chance to critically fail, while a fighter making one attack roll in a single round only has a 5% chance to critically fail. This isn't a good idea, and is likely why fumbles were stricken from the official rules.

However, lots of people like the idea, so it still gets used, and as long as people are ok with that, then it's fine. But don't go thinking the probability works out in favor of anyone making iterative attacks when it come to critical fumbles; it doesn't.

A natural 1 always being a miss does work out, because then nothing exceptionally bad happens, and that can just be chalked up to bad luck, or the fact that even the best still mess up sometimes, and the fighter remains more likely to hit as he gets better than he is to miss, without higher chances of exceptionally bad mistakes happening compared to his lower level brethren. This system is what your football example describes, not a system in which a one is a critical miss with negative side effects attached.

P.S. If the player of Gartel Eribin reads this board and sees this post, I'm sorry for being responsible that you dropped your weapons so often. Thanks for being a good sport and rolling with it. If we play again, I won't be using natural 1's as critical misses anymore, just normal misses.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 04:39 PM
I was entering in a realism example because he wasn't being creative enough to refute my game-roll example.

Anyway, we're ignoring that the iterative attacks of a high-level Fighter also give him a greater chance of getting a critical success (natural threat plus confirmation, or simply just a natural 20).

Said critical success is not a measure of level but of the weapon used and the special skill in getting better criticals (which let us say neither Fighter has), yet the Fighter with iterative attacks from high level has a higher chance in the round to get a critical hit. But he shouldn't - after all, his skill can't ensure a lucky success any more than it can prevent an unlucky failure.

I'd also like to point out that in practice, actually playing the game, just about the only thing that stops high level Fighters from being completely boring is the chance of a critical hit or miss.

I appreciate the point that for all attacks that round, the higher level Fighter has a higher chance to fumble. I get it. Really. I understand what you are saying.

And I'm saying that seems reasonable to me because he's taking more chances to slip on the pool of blood or trip over the dead orc. The lower level Fighter simply can't shoot his arrows more than once per round. The higher level Fighter has the ability to shoot more, but they're progressively wilder and wilder until he has only a small chance to hit with the last one.

I'm saying the high level Fighter, instead of taking all the wild latter attacks, might just want to attack one good time. And lo, he attacks much better than the low level Fighter. And his fumble chance is equal for the round.

But by acting multiple times he has multiple chances to catastrophically fail.

Oh yes, I have another example that has everything to do with skill. You are in a bar. You are seeking the ass. You walk up to a girl and start chatting with her. You strike out. You become depressed and leave.

It's possible that she might have smacked you in the face and stormed out. Or her prize fighter boyfriend walks over. Both catastrophic failures.

Now assume you walk in a different bar. You are different. You are confident. Skilled. Talented. You walk up to three different girls and get shot down each time. Yet each time the girl might have been offended and slapped you, or she might have had a prize-fighter boyfriend present.

By making more attempts, you accept more chances of failure. In this case if even one attempt succeeded you would consider the entire operation a success. Perhaps you're scoring based on how many women accept you rather than whether you sleep alone that night. But I'm sure even you can see that by asking every girl in the bar, you have a much much greater chance of a catastrophic failure once that evening.

But you would have incentive to do it anyway because each attempt is a chance for a success.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-17, 04:50 PM
It's too bad, then, that we're not talking about real life and instead a mathematical construct referred to as a "game". This game is not built to be real life, it is built to resemble real life: due to that, shortcuts--such as depending upon probability--are made. As such, certain laws and rules that govern our daily lives do not apply in-game, and vice versa.Yes, it's a game. But it's not "too bad". Just because this is a game doesn't mean that all attempts to model reality should go out the window. As I've demonstrated, a 5% chance to fumble per attack roll does not come anywhere near to accurately modeling (resembling) real life. As such, this "shortcut" (it's not shorter than simply not having a fumble rule, it delays play to have to adjudicate what happens on a fumble, or to have to respond to having fumbled) can be comfortably discarded without any fears about the resemblance to life being misrepresented.


You mistake the reality of a failure with the reality of a fumble. Either is a failure. Think of American football. A high school player might fail to catch the ball many times. But which of those was what we would call a "fumble?" Who knows? Maybe if he were better he would have succeeded on some of those catched that he failed at because of lack of skill.

But maybe some of those failed catches were due to events external to him and his skill. And that no amount of skill would have prevented that failure. That is the "fumble". And there isn't a good way to tell which of his actions were true "fumbles" and which were standard failures.I mistake nothing. Your examples are not making any sense, and you are continuing to miss the point. Deliberately? If you're having troubles, you could always continue on with the juggling example I started rather than wandering off with your researchers, grad students, and football players all unsupported by any numbers or logic.

I'll try once more.
The more skilled Fighter should not (would not, in real life) have 3x the chance to fumble in any given melee round. This simply does not make any sense. People don't get worse when they get better. People do get less likely to screw up when they get better at doing something. Attach numbers to these concepts and it's easy to see how a model either makes or does not make sense. Mumble something about a football player and it becomes hopelessly incomprehensible and not to the point.

Here's another example which might help, from an actual game session. The GM was running AD&D, in which a Fighter gets one swing per level against opponents of less than 1HD. The 5th level Fighter needed to hack his way through to the rest of the party, and was using 2 weapons. The GM allowed full attacks for the second weapon (I don't know, nor do I care for the purpose of this example, if this is RAW AD&D), and his fumble rule was this: If you roll a one you drop your weapon and lose the rest of your attacks for the round.
The player of the Fighter fumbled and dropped one axe. Quickly thinking through the odds, he chose not to pick up that axe, and kept fighting using the single weapon. The GM was stunned. Why would the player deliberately give up 5 attacks per round? He gave them up because the fumble rule was unreasonably likely to cause him to drop a weapon and lose all additional attacks in any given round. In other words, more attacks made him less effective.

He just reminded me of this after I pointed him to this thread. Here are the odds:

10 swings: 40.13% chance to fumble in any given melee round.
5 swings: 22.69% chance to fumble in any given melee round.

If it brings it closer to home, you'd see similar numbers of attacks per round at very high levels in 3.x with a two-weapon fighter. And if the fumble rule was the same as above, you'd see very few two-weapon fighters.

Do the higher numbers start to allow this to make sense to you? Assuming you didn't know how to calculate the odds, and simply continued on attacking with both weapons, do you think you'd enjoy a game in which you dropped a weapon and lost all additional attacks in approximately every other melee round? Does constantly bending over to retrieve your weapons sound like it's a lot of fun? And does the knowledge that you're having to bend over more often to pick up your weapons simply because you are supposedly a more skilled Fighter than one just beginning comfort you?

If you like to play like that, that's fine. Knock yourself out. But don't try to use real life examples as your justification. Because things don't work like that. Researchers, football player, jugglers, whatever. Everyone gets less likely to screw up as they learn more, play more, juggle more. Refuse to acknowledge this if you like, but it doesn't make it untrue.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-17, 04:57 PM
Yes, it's a game. But it's not "too bad". Just because this is a game doesn't mean that all attempts to model reality should go out the window. As I've demonstrated, a 5% chance to fumble per attack roll does not come anywhere near to accurately modeling (resembling) real life. As such, this "shortcut" (it's not shorter than simply not having a fumble rule, it delays play to have to adjudicate what happens on a fumble, or to have to respond to having fumbled) can be comfortably discarded without any fears about the resemblance to life being misrepresented.

Don't get me wrong: I don't like fumble rules as much as you do. I'm just saying that using the "reality" argument is a losing battle against gamists.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 04:59 PM
But don't try to use real life examples as your justification. Because things don't work like that. Researchers, football player, jugglers, whatever. Everyone gets less likely to screw up as they learn more, play more, juggle more. Refuse to acknowledge this if you like, but it doesn't make it untrue.

You ignore that in 3E, a high level Fighter's iterative attacks are not as good as his first attack. He is not taking three cool, calculated swings. He's taking one good swing and two wild potshots.

Your Fighter who is taking one attack per level on creatures under 1 HD is making a series of wild slashes on what he assumes are unimportant and weak enemies. He's flailing around. He's just going insane on those kobolds.

When you look at it that way, it looks more like the low-level Fighter is standing there holding his sword, unsure of himself, slow of step, unwilling to take shots at openings he knows to be too small. The higher level Fighter is more skilled, more willing to take that wild stab, and since he's better he has some chance at success.

If the Fighter goes to the utmost, and takes his many attacks in the round, I'd expect some of those attacks to just clang on something when the opening closed. That's a miss. But if instead of being reserved and careful he's taking his many attacks, I'd furthermore say he's opening himself up to more chances to fail catastrophically.

I use different examples because you seem to fail to understand this. You haven't yet moved from your stance that the high level Fighter fumbles more. I accepted your position. You're just refusing to recognize that we're both right.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-17, 05:53 PM
I appreciate the point that for all attacks that round, the higher level Fighter has a higher chance to fumble. I get it. Really. I understand what you are saying. You may say that, but your later comments prove that you do not, after all, get it. Really.


And I'm saying that seems reasonable to me because he's taking more chances to slip on the pool of blood or trip over the dead orc.He is not taking more chances to do these things. He's taking the same chance. It's a 6 second melee round, and both the 1st level and the 11th level Fighters are using that entire 6 seconds to carry off a full attack action. The 1st level Fighter doesn't make his attack in the first third of the round, and then stand perfectly still to avoid extra chances to slip on spilled blood. Don't be farcical. It's only the broken and unrealistic rule you wish to use which makes his odds worse.


I'm saying the high level Fighter, instead of taking all the wild latter attacks, might just want to attack one good time. And lo, he attacks much better than the low level Fighter. And his fumble chance is equal for the round.Right, because in a broken game it becomes more logical to pass up attack opportunities rather than have the game screw you over due to mechanics which fail to account for your greater skill at arms. Makes a heck of a lot of sense, not.


But by acting multiple times he has multiple chances to catastrophically fail.Only in a catastrophic failure of a game.


Oh yes, I have another example that has everything to do with skill. You are in a bar. You are seeking the ass. You walk up to a girl and start chatting with her. You strike out. You become depressed and leave.

It's possible that she might have smacked you in the face and stormed out. Or her prize fighter boyfriend walks over. Both catastrophic failures.

Now assume you walk in a different bar. You are different. You are confident. Skilled. Talented. You walk up to three different girls and get shot down each time. Yet each time the girl might have been offended and slapped you, or she might have had a prize-fighter boyfriend present.

By making more attempts, you accept more chances of failure. In this case if even one attempt succeeded you would consider the entire operation a success. Perhaps you're scoring based on how many women accept you rather than whether you sleep alone that night. But I'm sure even you can see that by asking every girl in the bar, you have a much much greater chance of a catastrophic failure once that evening.

But you would have incentive to do it anyway because each attempt is a chance for a success.Another nearly meaningless example, because you haven't attached any numbers. But I'll roll with it.

You give two sample pick-up artists. One lesser skilled, one highly skilled. But you fail to account for three important factors:
1) The more skilled pick-up artist has a lesser chance of failure;
2) The example you give fails to adequately account for time, unless your skilled pick-up artist is trying to pull the three girls simultaneously. I've never had any success walking into a bar and yelling "Any chicks here want to let me take them home for some bed sheet wrangling?", but maybe your example was meant to model that scenario and I missed it. You can't say "Both were attempts over the evening" and have it mean anything.
3) No numbers = fail.

So when you say your example "everything to do with skill", you really mean "Has enough to do with skill that I think I can pass off my inaccurate point without getting caught".

This is no competent analogy for the 11th level Fighter having nearly 3x the chance to fumble as the 1st level Fighter in any given melee round (or any other time frame). You fail to assign any odds, and therefore you overlook the consequences because you can't analyze how actual scenarios would turn out.


I'd also like to point out that in practice, actually playing the game, just about the only thing that stops high level Fighters from being completely boring is the chance of a critical hit or miss.Now we're getting somewhere. You think it's only fun if you either crit or fumble. That might be ok for you, but I'd like to point out that in practice, actually playing the game, not many people feel the same way as you. But at least it explains why you'll argue endlessly and pointlessly for a broken, nonsense and non-fun rule to be shoved down the throats of the melee. And in a thread supposedly discussing the ways to tone down the potency of the casters, too. The irony.


You ignore that in 3E, a high level Fighter's iterative attacks are not as good as his first attack. He is not taking three cool, calculated swings. He's taking one good swing and two wild potshots.You again fail to attach numbers, and this allows you to use text to try to make your point. But again you fail. Attach numbers and things start to make sense. The 11th level Fighter has this attack progression +11/+6/+1. The 1st level Fighter has this: +1

Why do you want to use the hyperbole of "two wild potshots" to describe the modeling with numbers which shows clearly that the 11th level Fighters 3rd attack is just as cool and calculated as the 1st level Fighters sole attack? Both are +1, both have the same chance to hit. You can't call one a wild potshot without calling the other the same thing. And the second attack? It's got a 20% greater chance to hit than the 1st level Fighter's sole attack. Don't tell me that some kind of potshot...

Really, don't try to get all narrative when the numbers can't and won't support you in the slightest.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 06:10 PM
You're emphasizing a single point and making excellent arguments for it, but ignoring a larger picture and other points that actually invalidate your own.

It's an interesting strategy.

We've both said our piece. You don't like fumble rules whatsoever. That's fine. In your game, do whatever house rules you want.

I'll offer an explanation, however, as to why I rarely used numbers instead of common sense explanations: you're a numbers-hound. Any numbers I posted would have been immediately seized as a talking point.

And hopefully in your daily life you'll come across times that you personally fumbled, and realize it for what it is. Breaking a dish while washing it, that kind of thing. These catastrophic failures happen to people, you know. I've cut myself once trying to chop carrots. I wouldn't think that's a standard cooking failure!

But regardless of how much you want to impose your dislike for a game rule on reality, it doesn't actually work that way. In reality people do mess up badly sometimes. And the game's fumble rules are trying to represent this.

And you know what? Just say that in order to fumble, all your attacks that round have to come up natural 1, resulting in all attacks missing. That solves the problem from your standpoint, doesn't it? High level Fighters fumble FAR less often based on the number of attacks they make?

Eclipse
2008-12-17, 06:19 PM
You ignore that in 3E, a high level Fighter's iterative attacks are not as good as his first attack. He is not taking three cool, calculated swings. He's taking one good swing and two wild potshots.


No, he's not doing what you say he's doing either. A fighter's iterative attacks represent the attacks that have a chance of landing a blow in any given round. Remember that over the course of a six second round, the fighter is assumed to be parrying, thrusting, feinting, dodging, and so on, and the attacks you roll are simply the attacks that have a chance to do significant harm to the enemy over the course of six seconds.

Since the high level fighter is more skilled, he has more chances to land decisive blows each round, which is what the iterative attacks actually represent. So those "two wild potshots" are actually better attacks than most of the attacks a fighter is making in a round, just not as effective as the first one you actually roll.


Edit:


But regardless of how much you want to impose your dislike for a game rule on reality, it doesn't actually work that way. In reality people do mess up badly sometimes. And the game's fumble rules are trying to represent this.


Actually, the rules don't allow for fumbles. They allow for an automatic miss on a natural one, and that's it. Fumbles are a house rule in 3rd edition, and the normal rules don't have fumbles. Here's the rule from the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll):



Automatic Misses and Hits
A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit.


Whoops, Ninja'd by the post below while editing.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-17, 06:23 PM
We've both said our piece. You don't like fumble rules whatsoever. That's fine. In your game, do whatever house rules you want.

...you do realize that fumble rules in themselves are house rules?

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 06:26 PM
...you do realize that fumble rules in themselves are house rules?

d20 3.5 srd says on a natural 1 the attack is an automatic miss. That is a fumble rule.

Kesnit
2008-12-17, 06:28 PM
d20 3.5 srd says on a natural 1 the attack is an automatic miss. That is a fumble rule.

No, it just means you miss, even if your AB is higher than the monster's AC. The effects of that miss are what are house rules (drop weapon, break weapon, just a miss, etc).

Fax Celestis
2008-12-17, 06:28 PM
d20 3.5 srd says on a natural 1 the attack is an automatic miss. That is a fumble rule.

That's an automatic miss rule. "Fumbling" is "you rolled a 1 so you drop your sword." THAT is a house- rule.

BillyJimBoBob
2008-12-17, 06:38 PM
You're emphasizing a single point and making excellent arguments for it, but ignoring a larger picture and other points that actually invalidate your own.Funny, I charged you with the exact same thing. You focus only on the fact that the higher level Fighter gets more attacks and can hope to hit more often as some kind of justification for having 3x the chance to fumble as he did when he was a green noob. But you ignore the fact that more attacks per round by a skilled warrior = more fumbles in a system with a static fumble number makes no sense at all. Well, you ignore it until the very end of this post, at least. :smallbiggrin:

It's an interesting strategy.


We've both said our piece. You don't like fumble rules whatsoever. That's fine.I never said that. I don't like a static fumble chance. I also think that creating the inverse of the 3e crit rule (roll a 1, then roll to hit again. Any miss is a fumble) would needlessly slow the game. But I wouldn't argue against it on the grounds that it made no sense. That system would model the Fighter becoming less likely to fumble as he gained levels.


I'll offer an explanation, however, as to why I rarely used numbers instead of common sense explanations: you're a numbers-hound. Any numbers I posted would have been immediately seized as a talking point.Um, yeah. So you fear to use numbers, quantitative values, objective values rather than subjective. Why? Because you know you'll be wrong? If you'd have said this up front I'd have declined to hold a conversation with you.

And those words you used back there, "common sense"? I do not think they mean what you think they do.


And hopefully in your daily life you'll come across times that you personally fumbled, and realize it for what it is. Breaking a dish while washing it, that kind of thing. These catastrophic failures happen to people, you know. I've cut myself once trying to chop carrots. I wouldn't think that's a standard cooking failure!You rather enjoy talking circles around a point without touching it at all, don't you? Why write something that fails to apply in any way to the discussion?

Here's how your "common sense" applies:

Does Rachel Ray break three times as many dishes as the untrained housewife while cooking the evening meal? When she chops three carrots in the time it takes that untrained housewife to cut one, does she have three times the chance to cut herself? Of course not, any one with any common sense could tell you that this is not the case. With her skill and experience she is both able to do more things faster and more skillfully, while also being less likely to make a mistake at all.

But were your fumble rule applied to life poor Rachel would by now be down to a single finger and thus unable to hold a knife again and risk losing the last one. :smallsmile:



But regardless of how much you want to impose your dislike for a game rule on reality, it doesn't actually work that way. In reality people do mess up badly sometimes. And the game's fumble rules are trying to represent this.You're wrong, and I've used both numbers and "common sense" examples to freaking show you that it does, indeed, work that way. But you prefer the ostrich pose, so enjoy it.


And you know what? Just say that in order to fumble, all your attacks that round have to come up natural 1, resulting in all attacks missing. That solves the problem from your standpoint, doesn't it? High level Fighters fumble FAR less often based on the number of attacks they make?That would indeed solve the problem nicely. It's a shame that wasn't the system we were discussing from the beginning.

Tacoma
2008-12-17, 06:40 PM
Awesome. Problem solved.