# Thread: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

1. ## Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Tyndmyr asked, so here it is.

First, let's take a look at attack bonuses vs. AC bonuses, 3.5 version.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 1 assuming 18 Str = (1+4) +5
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 1 with Full Plate, Large Shield, and 12+ Dex = (10+8+2+1) 21
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 1 with Leather Armor and 18 Dex = (10+2+4) 16
Needs to roll 16+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 11+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 5 assuming 20 Str (1 lvl up, +1 Str item), +1 weapon, Weapon Focus = (5+5+1+1) +12
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 5 with Full Plate +1, Large Shield +1, 12+ Dex , RoP +1, AoNA +1 = (10+9+3+1+1+1) 25
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 5 with Leather Armor +1, 20 Dex (1 lvl up, +1 item), RoP +1, AoNA +1 = (10+3+5+1+1) 20
Needs to roll 13+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 10 assuming 24 Str (2 lvl ups, +4 item), +3 weapon, Weapon Focus = (10+7+3+1) +21/+16
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 10 with Full Plate +2, Large Shield +2, 12+ Dex, RoP +2, AoNA +2 = (10+10+4+1+2+2) 29
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 10 with Mithral Ch. Shirt +2 and 24 Dex (2 lvl ups, +4 item), RoP +2, AoNA +2 = (10+6+6+2+2) 26
Needs to roll 8+/13+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 5+/10+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 15 assuming 28 Str (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome), +4 weapon, Weapon Focus = (15+9+4+1) +29/+24/+19
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 15 with Full Plate +3, Large Shield +3, 12+ Dex, RoP +4, AoNA +3 = (10+11+5+1+4+3) 34
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 15 with Mithral Ch. Shirt +3 and 28 Dex (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome), RoP +4, AoNA +3 = (10+7+6+4+3) 30
Needs to roll 5+/10+/15+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 2+/6+/11+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 20 assuming 32 Str (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome), +5 weapon, Weapon Focus = (20+11+5+1) +37/+32/+27/+22
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 20 with Full Plate +5, Large Shield +5, 12+ Dex, RoP +5, AoNA +5 = (10+13+7+1+5+5) 41
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 15 with Bracers of Armor +5 and 32 Dex (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome), RoP +5, AoNA +5 = (10+5+11+5+5) 36
Needs to roll 4+/9+/14+/19+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 2+/4+/9+/14+ to hit the Rogue.

Over the course of 20 levels attack bonus continually gains ground on AC. By level 10 a fighter will hit a well defended target more than half the time, and a squishier target 75% of the time. By level 15 the fighter hits the well defended target 75% of the time, the squishier target on all but a 1. By level 10, a displacement spell provides better defense than armor. By level 15, items and spells that provide a miss chance are a better investment of a character's gp than the best armor. The disparity increases in direct proportion to level. This is why the Epic Level Handbook ends progressions for all classes.

2. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Next, we'll look at attack bonuses vs. AC bonuses in 4E.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 1 assuming 18 Str, +3 prof. weapon = (1+4+3) +8
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 1 with Full Plate and Large Shield = (10+8+2) 20
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 1 with Leather Armor and 18 Dex = (10+2+4) 16
Needs to roll 12+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 5 assuming 19 Str (1 lvl up), +1 weapon w/+3 prof. = (2+1+4+1+3) +11
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 5 with Full Plate +1, Large Shield = (10+2+9+2) 23
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 5 with Leather Armor +1, 19 Dex (1 lvl up) = (10+2+3+4) 19
Needs to roll 12+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 10 assuming 20 Str (2 lvl ups), +2 weapon w/+3 prof. = (5+1+5+2+3) +16
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 10 with Full Plate +2, Large Shield = (10+5+10+2) 27
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 10 with Leather Armor +2 and 20 Dex (2 lvl ups) = (10+5+4+5) 24
Needs to roll 11+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 15 assuming 21 Str (3 lvl ups), +3 weapon w/+3 prof = (7+1+5+3+3) +19
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 15 with Full Plate +3, Large Shield = (10+7+11+2) 30
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 15 with Leather Armor +3 and 21 Dex (3 lvl ups) = (10+7+5+5) 27
Needs to roll 11+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 20 assuming 22 Str (4 lvl ups), +4 weapon w/+3 prof. = (10+1+6+4+3) +24
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 20 with Full Plate +4, Large Shield = (10+10+12+2) 34
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 20 with Leather Armor +4 and 22 Dex (4 lvl ups) = (10+10+6+6) 32
Needs to roll 10+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 8+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 25 assuming 23 Str (5 lvl ups), +5 weapon w/+3 prof. = (12+1+6+5+3) +27
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 25 with Full Plate +5, Large Shield = (10+12+13+2) 37
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 25 with Leather Armor +5 and 23 Dex (5 lvl ups) = (10+12+7+6) 34
Needs to roll 10+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 7+ to hit the Rogue.

Typical Fighter attack at lvl 30 assuming 24 Str (6 lvl ups), +6 weapon w/+3 prof. = (15+1+7+6+3) +32
Typical Fighter AC at lvl 30 with Full Plate +6, Large Shield = (10+15+14+2) 41
Typical Rogue AC at lvl 30 with Leather Armor +6 and 24 Dex (6 lvl ups) = (10+15+8+6) 39
Needs to roll 9+ to hit the Fighter. Needs to roll 7+ to hit the Rogue.

You'll notice that over the course of 30 levels, the chance for a fighter to land an attack against an opponent of the same level stays fairly constant.

Spoiler
This has an interesting side effect when creating enemies. Since there is little variance in these numbers between characters, it's very easy to assign attack and AC for monsters on the fly. Simply decide how often you'd like a monster to hit and be hit, then assign attack and AC based on the average numbers for that level.

3. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

3.5 spell DC vs. save progression.

Level 1 Spell DC with 18 relevant attribute = (10+1+4) 15
Level 1 character good save with 18 relevant attribute (primary, eg. Rogue reflex save) = (2+4) 6
Level 1 character good save with 12 relevant attribute (non-primary, eg. Cleric fortitude save) = (2+1) 3
Level 1 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute (usually non-primary, eg. Barbarian will save) = (0+0) 0
The character with a good save needs a 9+ or a 12+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 15+ to save.

Level 2 Spell DC with 18 relevant attribute = (10+2+4) 16
Level 3 character good save with 18 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (3+4+1) 8
Level 3 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (3+1+1) 5
Level 3 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (1+0+1) 2
The character with a good save needs a 8+ or a 11+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 14+ to save.

Level 3 Spell DC with 20 (1 lvl up, +1 item) relevant attribute = (10+3+5) 18
Level 5 character good save with 20 (1 lvl up, +1 item) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (4+5+1) 10
Level 5 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (4+1+1) 6
Level 5 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +1 = (1+0+1) 2
The character with a good save needs a 8+ or a 12+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 16+ to save.

Level 4 Spell DC with 21 (1 lvl up, +2 item) relevant attribute = (10+4+5) 19
Level 7 character good save with 21 (1 lvl up, +2 item) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (5+5+2) 12
Level 7 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (5+1+2) 8
Level 7 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (2+0+2) 4
The character with a good save needs a 7+ or a 11+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 15+ to save.

Level 5 Spell DC with 22 (2 lvl ups, +2 item) relevant attribute = (10+5+6) 21
Level 9 character good save with 22 (2 lvl ups, +2 item) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (6+6+2) 14
Level 9 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (6+1+2) 9
Level 9 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +2 = (3+0+2) 5
The character with a good save needs a 7+ or a 12+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 16+ to save.

Level 6 Spell DC with 24 (2 lvl ups, +4 item) relevant attribute = (10+6+7) 23
Level 11 character good save with 24 (2 lvl ups, +4 item) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (7+7+3) 17
Level 11 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (7+1+3) 11
Level 11 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (3+0+3) 6
The character with a good save needs a 6+ or a 12+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 17+ to save.

Level 7 Spell DC with 28 (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute = (10+7+9) 26
Level 13 character good save with 28 (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (8+9+3) 14
Level 13 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (8+1+3) 12
Level 13 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +3 = (4+0+3) 7
The character with a good save needs a 6+ or a 14+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 19+ to save.

Level 8 Spell DC with 28 (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute = (10+8+9) 27
Level 15 character good save with 28 (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (9+9+4) 22
Level 15 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (9+1) 14
Level 15 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (5+0+4) 9
The character with a good save needs a 5+ or a 13+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 18+ to save.

Level 9 Spell DC with 30 (4 lvl ups, +6 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute = (10+9+10) 29
Level 17 character good save with 30 (4 lvl ups, +6 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (10+10+4) 24
Level 17 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (10+1+4) 15
Level 17 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +4 = (5+0+4) 9
The character with a good save needs a 5+ or a 14+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 20 to save.

Level 9 Spell DC with 32 (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome) relevant attribute = (10+9+11) 30
Level 20 character good save with 32 (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome) relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +5 = (12+11+5) 28
Level 20 character good save with 12 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +5 = (12+1+5) 18
Level 20 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute, cloak of resistance +5 = (6+0+5) 11
The character with a good save needs a 2+ or a 12+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 19+ to save.

A character with a primary attribute that correlates to a good save has an increasingly good chance of saving.
A character without a primary attribute that correlates to a good save has a roughly 40% chance of saving.
A character without a primary attribute that correlates to a poor save starts at a 25% chance to save and by level 13 has a very slight chance of saving.

Spoiler
Note that many 3.5 spells, especially at higher levels, can range from debilitating to deadly. Any character with a poor Will or Fortitude save is always at risk of being one-shotted by a caster. You also end up with odd situations like the rogue with improved evasion that's virtually immune to spells with a Reflex save, but will die to any kill spell with a Will or Fortitude save.

4. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

4E spell attack vs. Fortitude/Reflex/Will defense progression.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 1 assuming 18 relevant attribute = (4+0) +4
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 1 with an 18 relevant attribute and a +2 class bonus = (10+4+2) 16
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 1 with an 18 relevant attribute = (10+4) 14
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 1 with a 12 relevant attribute = (10+1) 11
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 7+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 5 assuming 19 Stat (1 lvl up), +1 implement = (2+4+1) +7
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 5 with a 19 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, a +1 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+2+4+1+2) 19
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 5 with an 18 relevant attribute and a +1 amulet = (10+2+4+1) 17
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 5 with a 12 relevant attribute and a +1 amulet = (10+2+1+1) 14
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 7+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 10 assuming 20 Stat (2 lvl ups), +2 implement = (5+5+2) +12
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 10 with a 20 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, a +2 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+5+5+2+2) 24
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 10 with 20 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute and +2 amulet = (10+5+5+2) 22
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 10 with 13 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute and +2 amulet = (10+5+1+2) 18
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 6+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 15 assuming 21 Stat (3 lvl ups), +3 implement = (7+5+3) +15
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 15 with a 21 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute, a +3 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+7+5+3+2) 27
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 15 with 21 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +3 Amulet = (10+7+5+3) 25
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 15 with 13 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute and a +3 amulet = (10+7+1+3) 21
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 6+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 20 assuming 22 Stat (4 lvl ups), +4 implement = (10+6+4) +20
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 20 with a 22 (4 lvl ups) relevant attribute, a +4 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+10+6+4+2) 32
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 20 with 22 (4 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +4 Amulet = (10+10+6+4) 30
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 20 with 14 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +4 amulet = (10+10+2+4) 26
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 6+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 25 assuming 23 Stat (5 lvl ups), +5 implement = (12+6+5) +23
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 25 with a 23 (5 lvl ups) relevant attribute, a +5 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+12+6+5+2) 35
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 25 with 23 (5 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +5 Amulet = (10+12+6+5) 33
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 25 with 14 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +5 amulet = (10+12+2+5) 29
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 6+ to hit the particular defense.

Typical Caster attack at lvl 30 assuming 24 Stat (6 lvl ups), +6 implement = (15+7+6) +28
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 30 with a 24 (6 lvl ups) relevant attribute, a +6 amulet, and a +2 class bonus = (10+15+7+6+2) 40
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 30 with 24 (6 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +6 Amulet = (10+15+7+6) 38
Typical Fort/Ref/Will Defense at lvl 30 with 15 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute and a +6 amulet = (10+15+2+6) 33
Needs to roll 12+, 10+, or 5+ to hit the particular defense.

Again, over 30 levels the chance to land an attack remains nearly constant.

Note that because all defenses are based on the better of two stats, it's very unlikely for a character to have more than one poor defense.

5. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Oooooh. I can't wait to see who's more balanced!

6. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

i still maintain 4E is an awesome Fantasy tactical skirmish system, just add talking in character for the role playing experience.

7. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

This thread is relevant to my interests.

8. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by The Reverend
i still maintain 4E is an awesome Fantasy tactical skirmish system, just add talking in character for the role playing experience.
Oh? And what did 3.5 add that 4e didn't?

9. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

I feel a flame war on the horizon . I hope this thread stays civil because I've heard much analysis on 3.5, it being my primary and preferred system, but not much so on 4e other than on the concept of internal balance. A comparison though, in an objective, near scientific manner seems interesting.
So I hope this thread stays civil as long as possible, I really do.

For the sense of interim discussion though, I do prefer 3.5 to 4e, though I have fun in either system. I personally 3.5 to 4e though, because I found a greater sense of customization and a "You think it, I can build it." mentality to it. I still have fun in 4e, which has fun combat, and I still think you can roleplay as much in 4e as you can in any edition, there may be less focus on Diplomatic or Bluff mechanics and a skill test system I don't particularly like, but it can still be roleplayed in well regardless.

10. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Sebastrd, everybody involved in that argument can calculate simple probabilities. No one needs it demonstrated to them that a high level fighter usually auto-hits his first attack.

It would be more useful to focus on what's wrong with that. For example, there's a strong correlation between monster level and high natural AC. A lizardman has a +5 natural AC bonus, a solar has a +21 natural AC bonus. Solars don't have scales or adamantine skin or anything, that gigantic bonus is just a kludge to keep up with attack scaling. The writers clearly believed that AC should scale with level, and yet didn't do that for PC classes. That's bad design and needs to be thrown out.

Also, I started this argument near the beginning of the 5E thread, and I think I worded my initial post poorly. Rather than stating that 4e has better math I should have called out just the specific parts of 4e's math that work well. 4e monsters use different rules than PCs, and the monster math is pretty bad. I probably shouldn't have framed it as 3e vs 4e anyway. A lot of people (including me) don't want anything to do with 4e math if it comes with 4e's design goals or class/power system.

E: NAD stands for Non Armor Defense, right? Every time I read that I hear Beavis giggling.

11. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Oh? And what did 4e add that 3.5 didn't?
Fixed that for you.

12. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Curious
Fixed that for you.
So then why is 4e worse? It's valid if you don't want to buy the books all over again, but that's not the argument I usually see.

13. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

So then why is 4e worse? It's valid if you don't want to buy the books all over again, but that's not the argument I usually see.
Oh, I'm not saying 4e is worse. I just don't like it. There is another whole thread where I expressed my opinion via several articles by the Alexandrian. I'll see if I can't find that. However, I will say this; I don't like the fact that your class determines your role, rather than your build. It is simply far too much pigeon-holing for my tastes. Also, multiclassing just sucks.

EDIT: Ah, here we are.

Dissociated Mechanics.
General.
PF vs 4e.

14. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

3.5 skill progression.

Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 18 relevant attribute, max ranks = (4+4) +8
Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 14 relevant attribute, max ranks (cross class) = (2+2) +4
Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 20 (1 lvl up, +1 item) relevant attribute, max ranks = (5+8) +13
Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 14 relevant attribute, max ranks (cross class) = (2+4) +6
Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 24 (2 lvl ups, +4 item) relevant attribute, max ranks = (7+13) +20
Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 14 relevant attribute, max ranks (cross class) = (2+6) +8
Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 28 (3 lvl ups, +5 item, +2 tome) relevant attribute, max ranks = (9+18) +27
Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 14 relevant attribute, max ranks (cross class) = (2+9) +11
Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 32 (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome) relevant attribute, max ranks = (11+23) +34
Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 14 relevant attribute, max ranks (cross class) = (2+11) +13
Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

By level 10, an untrained character cannot succeed on a check that a trained character wouldn't have to roll for. In the case of a cross class trainee, this doesn't happen until closer to level 20.

Spoiler
Passed level 5 or so it becomes implausible to present a character with a challenge that requires an untrained skill to overcome.

15. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

4E skill progression.

Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 18 relevant attribute, trained = (4+5) +9
Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 14 relevant attribute, untrained = (2+0) +2
Typical character at lvl 1 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (0+0) +0

Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 19 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, trained = (2+4+5) +11
Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 14 relevant attribute, untrained = (2+2+0) +4
Typical character at lvl 5 assuming 10 relevant attribute, untrained = (2+0+0) +2

Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 20 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, trained = (5+5+5) +15
Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 15 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, untrained = (5+2+0) +7
Typical character at lvl 10 assuming 11 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, untrained = (5+0+0) +5

Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 21 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute, trained = (7+5+5) +17
Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 15 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, untrained = (7+2+0) +9
Typical character at lvl 15 assuming 11 (1 lvl up) relevant attribute, untrained = (7+0+0) +7

Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 22 (4 lvl ups) relevant attribute, trained = (10+6+5) +21
Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 16 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (10+3+0) +13
Typical character at lvl 20 assuming 12 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (10+1+0) +11

Typical character at lvl 25 assuming 23 (5 lvl ups) relevant attribute, trained = (12+6+5) +23
Typical character at lvl 25 assuming 16 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (12+3+0) +15
Typical character at lvl 25 assuming 12 (2 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (12+1+0) +13

Typical character at lvl 30 assuming 24 (6 lvl ups) relevant attribute, trained = (15+7+5) +27
Typical character at lvl 30 assuming 17 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (15+3+0) +18
Typical character at lvl 30 assuming 13 (3 lvl ups) relevant attribute, untrained = (15+1+0) +16

The difference between trained and untrained is never greater that 11. Through 30 levels a trained character will always be about 50% better than an untrained character.

Spoiler
However, the untrained character's skills will remain relevant. In a case where the whole party needs to be stealthy, even an untrained character will have a chance to sneak by the mooks and foot soldiers. If the party needs to ride out a blizzard, even the party members not trained in endurance can survive. Challenges which require the entire party to utilize a particular skill remain viable no matter the character level.

16. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

So your saying in 4e a Fighter's accuracy against an Even enemy is roughly the same no matter what level...

Wasn't that the design philosophy of 4e Combat? That Combats will scale with Level maintaining an Roughly Equal Level of Challenge

I don't see the Point of this Thread, its just another excuse for flaming, 4e and 3.5e are different games, just play the one you like and stop trying to constantly prove one is better then the other

17. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Does math need a point?

18. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

What is the point of playing a game that doesn't increase or decrease the difficulty as you play? Why not just add variety & not so many superpowers?

19. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Anderlith
What is the point of playing a game that doesn't increase or decrease the difficulty as you play? Why not just add variety & not so many superpowers?
Funny thing: at high levels, casters win. Saves are almost impossible. Melee? Due to massive NA bonuses, they're doing OK. It's EASY at higher levels in 3.5.

HILARIOUSLY EASY.

We're talking about about floating coach battlefields. Vast crowds of mages sitting on their celestial recliners, drinking +8 Tequila, owning any other class.

In short, to answer your thought: for melee, it's still a big challenge. Things are unfair.

20. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Jothki
Does math need a point?
Typically yes, to prove something. Though if the OP is actually just interested in displaying differences then I applaud them, but in past experience its usually just some stab at saying one is better then the other

Originally Posted by Anderlith
What is the point of playing a game that doesn't increase or decrease the difficulty as you play? Why not just add variety & not so many superpowers?

The 4e Design view is that A Monsters Level reflects they are designed to fight a Hero of that Level on Even Footing, acting as A Baseline for encounters. SO if a DM wants a Hard Encounter he adds two Levels, if the DM wants an easy encounter decrease it two levels. So the Game can either be Harder or Easier depending on how the DM designs the Encounter not because your five Levels Higher.

Though this is Besides my point, and I'm sure someone will rip my above paragraph apart, The Point is some ppl like 4e others like 3.5e, and arguing over which is "better" is pointless, childish and won't ever solve anything, not to mention is kind of annoying that their seems to be a new Edition war Thread every other week

21. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by DrBurr
Though this is Besides my point, and I'm sure someone will rip my above paragraph apart, The Point is some ppl like 4e others like 3.5e, and arguing over which is "better" is pointless, childish and won't ever solve anything, not to mention is kind of annoying that their seems to be a new Edition war Thread every other week
Sometimes two!

22. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Anderlith
Sometimes two!
Lol yes very True

23. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Anderlith
What is the point of playing a game that doesn't increase or decrease the difficulty as you play? Why not just add variety & not so many superpowers?
I think every edition of D&D has tried to scale opponents to the level of the characters. For example, at low levels marauding orc warriors might be a challenge, at middle levels trolls or elementals might be a challenge, at high levels full dragons might be a challenge, and at ridiculous levels hunting down Orcus on his home plane might be a challenge.

The interesting things for me as a character as I progress through the levels are that I have different strengths and kinds of challenges along the way, that the game easily supports throwing challenges at me that are below or at or above my abilities, and that gaining levels also means gaining new ways/abilities to tackle challenges.

24. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by stainboy
E: NAD stands for Non Armor Defense, right? Every time I read that I hear Beavis giggling.
That's the reason it stuck, actually. Shortening your not-AC defenses (or non-armor defenses or however you want to phrase it) to NADs drives in a fairly accurate point: target them rather than the enemy's AC and you're more likely to cause them to roll on the ground in pain.
Originally Posted by Curious
However, I will say this; I don't like the fact that your class determines your role, rather than your build. It is simply far too much pigeon-holing for my tastes.
If that's your biggest dislike, WotC is working on changing that, within some constraints (you can't yet be totally self-sufficient without some kind of ludicrous build). Besides the sub-classes that they've been introducing with the more recent books (such as the Slayer, a Fighter who like the Barbarian is a tough-as-nails Striker rather than a Defender like the original version of the Fighter; or the new Barbarian build from the Feywild book, which will be a Defender when he's calm... and then fly into a Rage when he needs to totally wreck stuff), they've slowly added character options that give your character at least some ability to branch out into the other roles.

25. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Level 9 Spell DC with 32 (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome) relevant attribute = (10+9+11) 30
Level 20 character good save with 32 (5 lvl ups, +6 item, +3 tome) relevant attribute = (12+11) 23
Level 20 character good save with 12 relevant attribute = (12+1) 13
Level 20 character poor save with 10 relevant attribute = (6+0) 5
The character with a good save needs a 7+ or a 17+ to save. The character with a poor save needs a 20 to save.
Really? No resistance bonuses at all?

No luck bonuses or anything like that?

No morale bonuses either? No stat bonuses to weak stats?

26. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Also, in 3.5, some skills have synergy, or are affected by morale bonus, or can be pumped by class features/feats(Usually a trap or prereq for PrC but can happen)

I have a half-elven Bard/Marshal build who has +32 diplomacy by lv 5. Tainted Scholar can get your save DCs over 100 by what, lv 7?
While in 4th you are very much playing your class, and in 3.5 you can much more easilly customize through multiple roles, if you want to pigeon-hole yourself in 3.5, you can do it faster, harder, and better than is possible in 4e.

I like to think of the systems like cars. If you want to go buy a new Mazda from the dealership, that's 4E. Here's your class, it comes with these options, messing with it voids the warranty.

If you went to a parts store, picked up a body kit, did the whole thing custom from the ground up and added whatever features you wanted to add, that's 3.5e. You want it to go fast? Here's some Nos. You don't have to be street legal if you don't run it on public roads.
But people who don't put the time and effort into learning how to build it and drive it, are gonna suck at it and end up with lemons. Which doesn't happen if you just go to the dealership.

Much like in the underground racing circuit, people who custom built their cars don't take kindly to folk who bought a stock model. Even if they both hit the same tracks, they aren't in the same racing league.

It got worse when WoTC cancelled 3.5 support. Now the 3.5 players ARE underground, figure they worked their asses off to get another sponsorship in Pathfinder, and there's some resentment towards 4e because of it.

Edit: This is not to say that 4E players are worse at system mastery or put less effort into the game, but that system mastery in 4e matters less, and the game was designed so that people who just picked it up will be able to contribute on the same level. If you don't know the system in 3.5, you'll crash and burn, possibly taking your party wih you. If you don't know it in 4e, you're lovably inept.
In short, 3.5 has a much lower floor and higher ceiling than 4e.

27. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Kerrin
I think every edition of D&D has tried to scale opponents to the level of the characters. For example, at low levels marauding orc warriors might be a challenge, at middle levels trolls or elementals might be a challenge, at high levels full dragons might be a challenge, and at ridiculous levels hunting down Orcus on his home plane might be a challenge.
This is true, though every edition has scaled things in different ways. Personally, I prefer the 1e/2e scaling over 3e or 4e scaling. In 4e, percentages stay basically static as you level; in 3e, save DCs and attack rolls begin to win out over saving throws and AC. In 1e and 2e, though, saving throws improved massively with level (to the point that you mostly made your strong saves on 2+ or 3+ by max level) and DCs were hard to boost, and while AC didn't scale with level it was fairly easy to get high AC. This meant that instead of any given character having a 50/50 shot to affect any given creature, or instead of casters and power attackers owning at later levels, it was really a defender's game--you didn't need to worry as much about being one-shot, and melee types were the ones you wanted to reliably break through AC--which made class vs. class and character vs. monster balance generally better than in 3e while keeping classes nicely distinct.

The interesting things for me as a character as I progress through the levels are that I have different strengths and kinds of challenges along the way, that the game easily supports throwing challenges at me that are below or at or above my abilities, and that gaining levels also means gaining new ways/abilities to tackle challenges.
This is another thing I like about 3e, that combat isn't just comparing the same numbers as you level. At low levels, things are pretty swingy and you want every +1 or +2 from high ground and flanking and such to give you the advantage. At mid levels, you can fairly reliably buff your own numbers through spells, items, tactics, etc., but you have to start to worry about immunities or miss chances or SR or other non-AC/non-save defenses. At high levels, you're pretty much guaranteed to land your spell or your weapon hit numerically, but there are so many additional defenses and ablative layers and immunities and such that you really have to have a multifaceted attack plan to win reliably.

The combat game advances from being mostly about tactics, to being mostly about strategy, to being mostly about logistics, so the tenor of combat changes from small scale to large scale as much as other aspects of characters do over the same levels. I like that sort of progression, as it ensures that high levels feel different from low levels in many different ways.

28. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Let's summarize.

1. Attack vs AC. Yes, it climbs. But it HAS to. Look at iteratives. If you still had the 50% chance to hit the lower AC targets you started with, they would be pretty pointless, would they not? And if this were the case, would not melee damage fall off terribly?

Just because the chance isn't the same doesn't mean that the whole system is out of wack.

1.5. Yes, spell emulating items for miss chance are more inexpensive than armor. Note that they are almost invariably x/day uses with fairly short durations. For a given price level, they SHOULD be cheaper than an always on defense.

2. Spell Save DCs

So? Classes and feats exist to provide bonuses to save DCs and saves. Yes, if you blithely ignore your weakness for 20 levels while those targetting them improve themselves, you'll be in more danger. Likewise, if you focus on shoring up your strong points, you can make them highly unlikely to fail. Or, you can pursue a balanced option if you like. Nothing prevents you from doing this.

You have mistaken options for brokenness.

3.
Originally Posted by Sebastrd
By level 10, an untrained character cannot succeed on a check that a trained character wouldn't have to roll for. In the case of a cross class trainee, this doesn't happen until closer to level 20.
So? I have never learned to pick locks in real life. Real locksmiths routinely open locked doors for people. They routinely succeed at tasks I find impossible. This is true for a great many specialties. For instance, many of the most mundane tasks for a surgeon, I would have basically no chance of success at, because I just haven't had the training.

It's not at all an unreasonable model. I would argue that a model that keeps untrained people and trained people at comparatively equal likelihood to succeed, even as the trained person gets better and better, is the problematic one.

If you chose to ignore a skill for 20 levels, you SHOULD be failing at anything that challenges the experts in it.

As for 4e:
Rituals are pretty much a waste. The entire system.
Skill Challenges are broken.

These are notably large portions of the game, and are fairly central to the system.

Oh? And what did 3.5 add that 4e didn't?
3.5 has a much more supported world simulation aspect to it. Non-combat options are far higher in 3.5 on a book for book basis(search it, I counted em once upon a time, 3.5 was about double).

3.5 also has a much greater diversity of subsystems that are functionally different. Yes, 4e has added some, but a great many of their classes use the same mechanical power structures.

Note that not everyone may care for these things, but 3.5 definitely contains many things 4e does not.

Originally Posted by SamBurke
Funny thing: at high levels, casters win. Saves are almost impossible. Melee? Due to massive NA bonuses, they're doing OK. It's EASY at higher levels in 3.5.

HILARIOUSLY EASY.

We're talking about about floating coach battlefields. Vast crowds of mages sitting on their celestial recliners, drinking +8 Tequila, owning any other class.

In short, to answer your thought: for melee, it's still a big challenge. Things are unfair.
From actual experience playing epic level campaigns, this is highly overrated on the internet. Monsters approaching and exceeding CR 20 tend to have more and more immunities, for instance. They're not generally immune to physical damage, though. Pop open your copy of Elder Evils. A charger build is pretty clearly the best way to take these suckers down.

I will grant that the tier spread is wider in 3.5 than in 4e, but it's not nearly so wide as people make it out to be. The truenamer or the charger are still extremely useful contributors at level 20.

I do also agree that high tier/level combat involves a greater degree of strategy, ablative defenses, and so forth in 3.5. Ideal play is not static. But, in a game, should it be?

29. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Curious
I don't like the fact that your class determines your role, rather than your build. It is simply far too much pigeon-holing for my tastes.
You can certainly make builds that break role. Paladins are defenders as written but can play strikers or leaders as well. If that doesn't apply for what you're playing, pick your role first and then choose a class that fits that role.

Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
Rituals are pretty much a waste. The entire system.
How do you figure? Personally I think rituals are merely neglected. Players complain that wizards don't have utility options and then skip over the entire list of available rituals. Maybe that's because the rituals are presented as optional. Maybe it's because so many players were introduced to 4e through Encounters and LFR, where modules are written with no expectations of character ability.

In my last 4e game I threw a lot of weird situations at the players. Typically they flailed about, trying to throw skills or powers at the situation. Then they remembered their rituals. Granted I was more generous with rituals than may have been necessary, but I wanted to make sure they had weird, esoteric rituals in their arsenal. This let me throw more involved obstacles at them and I wouldn't even bother to come up with a solution. Given enough rituals, they could almost always apply three or four and find a way around my challenges.

30. ## Re: Objectively Comparing the 3.5 and 4E engines mathematically

Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
As for 4e:
Rituals are pretty much a waste. The entire system.
Not at all. Specific rituals suffer from WoTC's kneejerk attempt to make sure magic options aren't too powerful and going too far with that, especially the PHB rituals, but not only do I think they learned from this and improved a number of the later rituals, the system itself is actually a good idea.

Skill Challenges are broken.
Really? You're pulling this out again?

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