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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Preferably any game I'm running or playing in isn't a story at all.
    My definition of story is solely "an account of imaginary or real people and events, with some semblance of a plot holding it together, told for entertainment." And plot is just "they start at Point A and want to get to Point B, there is a problem between the two points, do they overcome it and how?"

    Imaginary people and events, with a goal they want to reach, potentially multiple ones for each dungeon or arc, and it's all for entertainment purposes. D&D that is solely dungeon crawling with absolutely zero characterization, character interaction, and RP wouldn't be a story, but I'm finding it hard to imagine how any other type of D&D wouldn't be.
    Last edited by MxKit; 2017-12-28 at 12:59 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    And sometimes you just wake up and you've been a bit touched in the head and there's something whispering in the back of your mind, but you have no idea if it's real or what it really wants, just that now you have a little telepathy. Old Ones! They know how to party.
    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    My definition of story in RPGs is "using narrative resolution instead of causal resolution". In other words, things happen as required by the story, either under control of DM or player as the case may be, instead of having logical outcomes and consequences linked to the player's attempted intentions and approaches for actions. (Or possible outcomes, if dice are involved.)

    In other words, things happen because they fit the story. I don't want that. I want things to happen as consequences for my in-character decisions.

    As relates to the topic of the thread: same for changing the game world to fit my party, especially on the fly. I want the opportunity to make in-character decisions with meaning and have resulting consequences based on them, and changing things around to benefit me makes that harder.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-12-28 at 01:06 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    My definition of story in RPGs is "using narrative resolution instead of causal resolution". In other words, things happen as required by the story, either under control of DM or player as the case may be, instead of having logical outcomes and consequences linked to the player's attempted intentions and approaches for actions. (Or possible outcomes, if dice are involved.)

    In other words, things happen because they fit the story. I don't want that. I want things to happen as consequences for my in-character decisions.

    As relates to the topic of the thread: same for changing the game world to fit my party, especially on the fly. I want the opportunity to make in-character decisions with meaning and have resulting consequences based on them, and changing things around to benefit me makes that harder.
    As has been noted before, you're using a very non-standard definition of story here. Just to be clear--I don't like your version of stories either, but in the more normal definition (a sequence of events that is connected, often with continuity of timeline, characters, or situations) it's a standard part of RPGs.

    I'd suggest that instead of saying "story" you might say "narrative resolutions." It would be much less confusing for everyone.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    As has been noted before, you're using a very non-standard definition of story here. Just to be clear--I don't like your version of stories either, but in the more normal definition (a sequence of events that is connected, often with continuity of timeline, characters, or situations) it's a standard part of RPGs.
    You left out "retold after the events". Except for some reason, others are trying to view the sequence of events as they happen, as opposed to after the fact, which isn't what emergent storytelling actually is. So it doesn't even make sense to apply it in this case.

    I'd suggest that instead of saying "story" you might say "narrative resolutions." It would be much less confusing for everyone.
    I'd suggest instead of story or collaborative storytelling, others might say "emergent storytelling", and recognize that they're still misapplying the term. That'd be less confusing.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    You left out "retold after the events". Except for some reason, others are trying to view the sequence of events as they happen, as opposed to after the fact, which isn't what emergent storytelling actually is. So it doesn't even make sense to apply it in this case.

    I'd suggest instead of story or collaborative storytelling, others might say "emergent storytelling", and recognize that they're still misapplying the term. That'd be less confusing.
    Except that we are retelling it after each event happens. That's the nature of a freeze-frame game like D&D. We don't continously tell the real-time set of events, we progress the timer a bit, then tell the change in the situation between frames. Thus, we're telling what happened between two close events. That's a story. I can tell someone the story of my epic trip to the store in installments, each installment after it happens. No difference there and an RPG.

    I don't know that anyone but you on these forums uses "story === narrative mechanics" as a definition. You're getting caught up in a particular, tightly bound definition that doesn't match other people's definition. Trying to insist that the majority is using it wrongly is a loosing battle--language is descriptive (words mean what they're commonly used to mean), not prescriptive.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I don't know that anyone but you on these forums uses "story === narrative mechanics" as a definition.
    Guess no one talks about storytelling RPGs on these forums any more.

    Edit: I'll grant I instinctively think of something different from many people when "story" is mentioned. But that's because I've put some thought into the effect of story on RPGs, as opposed to parroting a meaningless phrase like "collaborative storytelling".
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-12-28 at 01:58 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I don't know that anyone but you on these forums uses "story === narrative mechanics" as a definition. You're getting caught up in a particular, tightly bound definition that doesn't match other people's definition. Trying to insist that the majority is using it wrongly is a loosing battle--language is descriptive (words mean what they're commonly used to mean), not prescriptive.
    Tanarii is using (and expecting) language that seems to me to clearly be influenced from other forums--those with less of a D&D+Pathfinder specific Tabletop RPG focus. Places like Enworld, RPG.net, therpgsite.org, and historically a site called The Forge. Storygames, narrative mechanics, and so forth are perfectly coherent concepts there and talking about the term "story." In other words, yes he is using a particular, tightly bound definition, and one that doesn't conform to the majority--here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Guess no one talks about storytelling RPGs on these forums any more.
    No, they really don't. You're using subgroup-specific jargon outside of that subgroup. I know exactly what you're talking about, but get why others don't.
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2017-12-28 at 02:13 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    No, they really don't. You're using subgroup-specific jargon outside of that subgroup. I know exactly what you're talking about, but get why others don't.
    *grumble grumble* Okay fine, I'll drop it. Until next time someone triggers me.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    I mean, for the most part, we're quibbling. If you pretend I said something other than story—"narrative" or "improv" or, hell, just "game"—my point still stands. Whatever is being built over the course of the game, with its logical outcomes and consequences, is being made by both the DM and the players. It belongs to all of them. The DM going "this is MY story and MY world and I don't care what you want" far too easily leads to exactly the kind of "story game" you've said you want to avoid. My point was that most players would want to avoid that kind of game, so it can often be good for a DM to keep an eye out for what the players blatantly want to be playing in the game, and preferably not denying them any opportunity to try to do the things they want to do because that's not what he wants them to do.

    ETA: You said that you'd drop it so I'm gonna drop it too; I don't think we're actually disagreeing all that much anyway, when it comes down to it. I just want to leave in the part where I'm clarifying what I meant with my original post.
    Last edited by MxKit; 2017-12-28 at 02:44 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    And sometimes you just wake up and you've been a bit touched in the head and there's something whispering in the back of your mind, but you have no idea if it's real or what it really wants, just that now you have a little telepathy. Old Ones! They know how to party.
    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    But that's because I've put some thought into the effect of story on RPGs, as opposed to parroting a meaningless phrase like "collaborative storytelling".
    Seriously? People disagreeing with you isn't an indication that they haven't thought through their position, and "collaborative storytelling" is a perfectly meaningful phrase that describes how a lot of people play RPGs. It doesn't describe how you play RPGs, but that doesn't necessarily mean much; the hobby is broad enough to include games which have very distinct game play.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Seriously? People disagreeing with you isn't an indication that they haven't thought through their position, and "collaborative storytelling" is a perfectly meaningful phrase that describes how a lot of people play RPGs. It doesn't describe how you play RPGs, but that doesn't necessarily mean much; the hobby is broad enough to include games which have very distinct game play.
    Spoiler: off topic so here's the new thread
    Show

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    'E6' come in),
    What is e6...

    There needs to be a sticky thread, for acronyms only
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by furby076 View Post
    What is e6?
    A version of 3.X edition where characters only went to 6th level (and a few other differences); intended to focus on the gameplay when the system is a bit more balanced, and the characters feel more ‘heroic’ instead of ‘superheroic’
    Last edited by Naanomi; 2017-12-29 at 12:36 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by furby076 View Post
    What is e6...
    The only thing that made 3.5 palatable.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by CircleOfTheRock View Post
    And so....? Seriously, so what? Games are generally supposed to be fun, and if a player designs a rogue who can save the party from traps, and he does what his character is supposed to do, the game will be better for him.

    And the same for a Cleric who is good at turning undead; if he does, and trivializes an encounter, he's doing what his character is meant for.

    Your logic is true, but your thought behind the logic is just silly, to me. And if you block the rogue from doing what he's supposed to do, why don't you just make him be another class?

    It seems to me that you're just saying "Goodness forbid they use their class features."

    I'm sorry if this came off abrasive, or rough, or if I inadvertently personally attacked you; it was supposed to be a rational and well-thought-out argument in a debate of sorts.
    You're not abrasive, just wrong.

    If traps are added just because someone is a Rogue then they should be another class. Picking Rogue should not make the party hurt more by traps. That is counter to what the class does.

    At my table if there are no Rogues (or characters who are good at traps...) then they get hurt more by traps. If there is a Rogue trapfinder then that Rogue gets to shine by saving the party.

    Adding traps takes that away from the player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Edit: I do use the "formula" when planning an adventuring site. I pick a level for the site, a difficulty, and build my encounters for it. Then I tweak it a bit. But the level I pick has no relatin to the mix of PC levels in any given party that eventually explores the area and encounter it, except for being in the same Tier. Also often I steal content form old edition modules and adapt it, usually keeping a rough eye on the difficulty, but not always. Some stuff will be much easier or harder in that case.
    This sounds great.

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    IMO, adding a couple attention grabbing traps for the rogue to overcome is the same as incorporating that rival blackguard from the paladin's backstory into the game by making them a recurring npc villain, or adding a bunch of orcs and an orc warchief npc to the campaign to give that character whose home town was destroyed by orcs someone to vent their anger at.

    And if you want to talk about real lived in immersion, an adventuring team is going to look for adventures that match their skill sets. If they know they have an expert trap fixer, they're going to look for treasure-filled dungeons protected by expert traps. Likewise from the adventure-hook end. If the local lord is looking for adventurers to stop the nefarious demon king, he's going to tell his agents to look specifically for adventurers with specialized skills in demon-bashing.

    It's all fine and good to have a static world that the players have to adjust to, but the campaigns I've found the most enjoyable always spice those worlds up with a few npcs and encounters tailored specifically the the backstories and skill sets of each of the characters in turn.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    [E6 is...] The only thing that made 3.5 palatable.
    Preach, brother.

  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    No accounting for taste, I suppose, because I have a thing for one-man armies who can do those things on their own, without divine blessings or something to "even the odds" besides their own skill. I dislike E6 for the same reasons - it's too limiting for me.
    Then again, I'm usually playing or running campaigns that assume that the PCs are special not only because they're at the right place at the right time, but also because there's no one exactly like them in their age, they have an unmatched raw potential for becoming anything they want to become, and eventually they eclipse everyone in the setting besides deities and their equivalents - there are no bands of roving adventurers just like them, and if there are any, they're not exactly on their level. If I ever wanted to run something more akin to LotR or classic fantasy tales - I'd definitely choose 5e, sure, it lends itself well to such stories.
    For sure, I get why people don't like that style of game. Everyone's got their preferences. I engaged with you because I found it interesting that you seem to specifically key into all the same features of 5e that really caught my attention, but for opposite reasons. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    The treadmill in 3.5e is actually a "you must be this tall to ride" sign, where you can't deal with certain things unless you're close enough in power, and you have to run just to catch up. The treadmill in 5e is "we're doing the same stuff with more attacks/slightly bigger numbers", and actual progression can only be measured by what spells casters can cast (just like 3.5e core, which is why splatbooks are a godsend), because Fighter 20 just swings his sword 3 times for slightly more damage each swing compared to Fighter 1. It is less noticeable, because the treadmill isn't outpacing you naturally - it just speeds up at the same rate you do, but you can't outpace it, either. Everything is a level-appropriate challenge if there's enough of it.
    That's an exaggeration, of course... particularly the bold part. The over-emphasis on casters in 3.5 at least made sense to the extent that casters really could do anything noncasters could do and better. But that's not remotely true in 5e. Casters have limited niches of things they can do that noncasters can't hope to replicate, but these are few. Casters aren't the dominant supermen they used to be. And frankly, pretty much everyone gets awesome abilities as they level up. But I think all this is a bit of a tangent, the age-old "are martial classes boring and lame if we don't make them casters with a veneer of martial skin over them?" debate. Give your signature line I think I know where you fall ;)

    But to the point of the treadmill... I don't get how you can call 5e a treadmill. A game where you can defeat monsters 15 challenge ratings above your party level, and likewise be killed by monsters 15 CR below your level, is not a game where there's a strong "treadmill" in any sense of the term I can imagine.

    5e is so loose that there's no need for "level appropriate" challenges. I have had no problems at all running 5e sandboxes, interspersing threats of basically all CRs throughout the world and letting the PCs engage with them however they like. The whole concept of leveled zones can be thrown into the trash where it belongs.

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    But to the point of the treadmill... I don't get how you can call 5e a treadmill. A game where you can defeat monsters 15 challenge ratings above your party level, and likewise be killed by monsters 15 CR below your level, is not a game where there's a strong "treadmill" in any sense of the term I can imagine.
    3e and 4e have really thrown off the standards here. Yes, compared to them there isn't a dramatic spike in power across 5e. Compared to most other games though, it's huge. A level 20 fighter is something like ten times as good at hurting things (more attacks, higher accuracy, higher damage) than a level 1 fighter, and also something like twenty times as good at not getting hurt (more HP, better AC, miscellaneous other defenses). They're roughly 200 times better at fighting than they used to be. Spell casters progress even further.

    "Treadmill" isn't really a great descriptive term in either case for these mechanics, instead working better to describe a campaign structure. Still, both games have mechanics very friendly to that campaign structure, and as with so many other things 5e gets seen as opposed to 3e/4e in some regard when it is more accurately similar to them, but less so.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    3e and 4e have really thrown off the standards here. Yes, compared to them there isn't a dramatic spike in power across 5e. Compared to most other games though, it's huge. A level 20 fighter is something like ten times as good at hurting things (more attacks, higher accuracy, higher damage) than a level 1 fighter, and also something like twenty times as good at not getting hurt (more HP, better AC, miscellaneous other defenses). They're roughly 200 times better at fighting than they used to be. Spell casters progress even further.

    "Treadmill" isn't really a great descriptive term in either case for these mechanics, instead working better to describe a campaign structure. Still, both games have mechanics very friendly to that campaign structure, and as with so many other things 5e gets seen as opposed to 3e/4e in some regard when it is more accurately similar to them, but less so.
    Fair enough. My main game is a hodgepodge homebrew that's 3.5 E6 at its core, with bits from early editions, 5e, FATE, Savage Worlds, and other systems all cobbled in. I agree, it's fundamentally different from core 5e. Much less overall vertical progression, the difference between a skilled hero and a newbie hero is much much smaller.

    While 5e still has a strong progression system, the core mechanics like Bounded Accuracy strip away the "you must be this tall to ride" elements of 3e and 4e. It is "opposed" in some key ways. Threatening 15th level PCs with goblins, and 5th level PCs taking out adult or ancient dragons, is something that 3e and 4e simply could not support in any reasonable sense. That's a qualitative difference, not just a quantitative one.
    Last edited by Mostly DM; 2017-12-29 at 07:42 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    Threatening 15th level PCs with goblins, and 5th level PCs taking out adult or ancient dragons, is something that 3e and 4e simply could not support in any reasonable sense. That's a qualitative difference, not just a quantitative one.
    In a Combat-as-War game one could occasionally see 5th level PCs taking out adult/ancient dragons in 3.5. My sense is that CaW was harder in 4e (or at least required ignoring more mechanics), but I only played 4e rather than DM'd for it, so I could be mistaken. But, yes, in a Combat-as-Sport game your point holds.

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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Xetheral View Post
    In a Combat-as-War game one could occasionally see 5th level PCs taking out adult/ancient dragons in 3.5. My sense is that CaW was harder in 4e (or at least required ignoring more mechanics), but I only played 4e rather than DM'd for it, so I could be mistaken. But, yes, in a Combat-as-Sport game your point holds.
    I'm assuming that those victories were more "outside the rules" as opposed to "within the rules," meaning that you'd trick the dragon into an instant-kill situation (shivering touch abuse?) or otherwise bypass the normal defenses as opposed to actually dealing HP damage while it's free to act.

    Because otherwise...I'd love to hear how that worked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I'm assuming that those victories were more "outside the rules" as opposed to "within the rules," meaning that you'd trick the dragon into an instant-kill situation (shivering touch abuse?) or otherwise bypass the normal defenses as opposed to actually dealing HP damage while it's free to act.

    Because otherwise...I'd love to hear how that worked.
    CaW is often "outside the rules" (to use your terminology)... avoiding stand-up fights when possible is usually the point of that playstyle. The cases I'm thinking of, however, weren't entirely outside the rules, but were definitely edge cases.

    In one case, the party used a cave-in to block the lair exit and a dispersed particulate accelerant (cooking flour) to use up all the oxygen in the blocked cave. The dragon couldn't escape in the few minutes it had before the suffocation rules dropped it to zero HP. Spells involved were Stone Shape (to engineer the cave-in) and Gust of Wind (to disperse the accelerant).

    In another case, it was simply social engineering, a pit trap, and a lot of pre-aimed siege weaponry.

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    5e is so loose that there's no need for "level appropriate" challenges. I have had no problems at all running 5e sandboxes, interspersing threats of basically all CRs throughout the world and letting the PCs engage with them however they like. The whole concept of leveled zones can be thrown into the trash where it belongs.
    I found it was absolutely required to divide my campaign into Tier 1 and Tier 2 sessions, and provide different continent content for each. My campaign is (to rattle off some internet-isms): open table, combat as war, sandbox, strongly dungeon-oriented in Tier 1, and vaguely west-marches (wilderness exploration + adventuring sites / lairs / small dungeons) in Tier 2. Even within Tier 1 it gets a bit iffy having level 1s adventuring with level 4s, because a 4th level is (in theory) five times more powerful than a level 1. Which isn't too far off the mark IMO. And a level 5 is theoretically twice as powerful again as a level 4, which is definitely the case.

    But within Tier 2 it's no problem. The theory is a level 10 is supposed to be less than three times as powerful as a level 5, and it shows. Characters at the beginning of the tier

    I haven't yet added Tier 3 content / sessions, but to be honest I'm not sure I need to do that for power differential reasons. Because if the theoretical, which says a 16 is about twice as powerful as a 10, lines up as well as it does at lower levels, then power wise there's no problem with (say) 8s and 12s adventuring together.

    Which is my long winded way of saying I agree, once you're past level 5. But if you run a lot of low level content like I do it's well worth subdividing Tier 1 into its own thing.

    (I still want to add Tier 3 specific content and sessions, but that's mostly so I can have it be something new. Currently Tier 3 characters retire to some kind of position of power, often unspecified. I've considered just using them for special events, since lots of them are rulers of small areas in their own right.)
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-12-30 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Stoopid autocorrect :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I found it was absolutely required to divide my campaign into Tier 1 and Tier 2 sessions, and provide different continent for each. My campaign is (to rattle off some internet-isms): open table, combat as war, sandbox, strongly dungeon-oriented in Tier 1, and vaguely west-marches (wilderness exploration + adventuring sites / lairs / small dungeons) in Tier 2. Even within Tier 1 it gets a bit iffy having level 1s adventuring with level 4s, because a 4th level is (in theory) five times more powerful than a level 1. Which isn't too far off the mark IMO. And a level 5 is theoretically twice as powerful again as a level 4, which is definitely the case.

    But within Tier 2 it's no problem. The theory is a level 10 is supposed to be less than three times as powerful as a level 5, and it shows. Characters at the beginning of the tier

    I haven't yet added Tier 3 content / sessions, but to be honest I'm not sure I need to do that for power differential reasons. Because if the theoretical, which says a 16 is about twice as powerful as a 10, lines up as well as it does at lower levels, then power wise there's no problem with (say) 8s and 12s adventuring together.

    Which is my long winded way of saying I agree, once you're past level 5. But if you run a lot of low level content like I do it's well worth subdividing Tier 1 into its own thing.

    (I still want to add Tier 3 specific content and sessions, but that's mostly so I can have it be something new. Currently Tier 3 characters retire to some kind of position of power, often unspecified. I've considered just using them for special events, since lots of them are rulers of small areas in their own right.)
    In my experience, I feel you're overstating things a bit.

    All I really need is locations of relative safety with some threats, and skittish level 1-4 PCs have the sandbox they need to advance in relative safety. For the main 5e setting I run, which is a sort of points-of-light post apocalyptic (ancient-tech apocalypse, not future-tech) setting, this is achieved by adventuring in most population centers.

    If the city is fairly lawless but has some aloof/corrupt officials that keep the basic structure of society chugging, that works well. It means high level threats can't show their face for fear of being killed (a big enough mass of CR 1/2 or even 1/4 or 1/8 dudes can wipe the floor with even very high level monsters and villains). But low level threats are generally left alone, because the corrupt government isn't in the business of actually preventing crime per se.

    Great environment for low level characters to tangle with gang thugs and other low-level threats. Step outside the urban environment, and anything goes. Some places are inhabited by goblins, some by orcs, some by dragons. Shrug. Roll the dice and see what you can do to survive.

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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    In my experience, I feel you're overstating things a bit.
    Well, it sounds like you're doing something similar, in you're providing an area for Tier 1 to stick in and do their stuff without getting stomped.

    I found it easier to devote sessions to Tier 1 and Tier 2 separately, so players know which characters to bring to the session. Mixing up 2s and 6s was often too much for the low levels, to the point they just couldn't contribute very much. So ... separate sessions was the way I went. I could have chosen some other way to set up the break points, but Tiers are supposed to be the natural division for 5e. So I went with that. Plus it gives me a break point for planning my content.

    But like I said, that's a very low level thing. The power curve is most extreme from 1 to 5. After that it definitely tapers off. And for someone working with a single group of players, it's even easier. The system can definitely handle mixed levels to a certain point, as well as a variety of threat levels relative to the PC level.

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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Well, it sounds like you're doing something similar, in you're providing an area for Tier 1 to stick in and do their stuff without getting stomped.
    For sure, but I think separating them out to different continents seemed a little excessive. I mean, even the "safe" areas aren't really leveled zones... for example, in one of the main cities, it's run by an aloof lich with a sort of gestapo secret police of powerful undead wizards. There are powerful, rich guilds filled with high level people with rival high level people. Even in the slums gangs there are some really powerful creatures and NPCs.

    The thing is, they generally don't act too openly, because they know they'll be smacked down. Not uncommon for low level troubleshooters to realize that they accidentally took a job that crosses a major player, and quietly bow out. All the high level dangerous stuff happening happens in secret.

    To me, it strains credulity to not constantly mingle various levels and CRs. But that's just my own issue, to each their own. :)

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    For sure, but I think separating them out to different continents seemed a little excessive.
    You misunderstood something I wrote. I don't do that.

    I just pick a level for a dungeon or adventuring site, and build it around that. Or estimate an appropriate Tier for purloined content taken from modules, adapted to 5e, and inserted into the campaign. Parties that come together pick what challenges, and thus difficulty, they will face within the campaign area. The various adventuring sites are "level appropriate" to whatever I designed them for, or whatever difficulty the adaption works out to.

    Edit: ah I see. "Continent" must have been autocorrect. It was supposed to say "Content". No wonder it seemed crazy to you.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-12-30 at 01:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mostly DM View Post
    That's an exaggeration, of course... particularly the bold part. The over-emphasis on casters in 3.5 at least made sense to the extent that casters really could do anything noncasters could do and better. But that's not remotely true in 5e. Casters have limited niches of things they can do that noncasters can't hope to replicate, but these are few. Casters aren't the dominant supermen they used to be. And frankly, pretty much everyone gets awesome abilities as they level up. But I think all this is a bit of a tangent, the age-old "are martial classes boring and lame if we don't make them casters with a veneer of martial skin over them?" debate. Give your signature line I think I know where you fall ;)

    But to the point of the treadmill... I don't get how you can call 5e a treadmill. A game where you can defeat monsters 15 challenge ratings above your party level, and likewise be killed by monsters 15 CR below your level, is not a game where there's a strong "treadmill" in any sense of the term I can imagine.

    5e is so loose that there's no need for "level appropriate" challenges. I have had no problems at all running 5e sandboxes, interspersing threats of basically all CRs throughout the world and letting the PCs engage with them however they like. The whole concept of leveled zones can be thrown into the trash where it belongs.
    It's an exaggeration, but not a large one. If we measure "progression" as "getting more ways to influence the game both tactically and strategically", then the best fighter ever gets is Battlemaster maneuvers or EK (very limited, but still possessing effects that are not available to default fighters - Darkness, Magic Circle, Protection from X). Yes, 5e curbs casters' power by drastically reducing "casts per day", but the basics are still there - casters can do what no non-caster can, and can work as an okay version of a non-caster, as well (stone sorcerer, hexblade, bladesinger, war cleric). Not a 100% replacement, but good enough. Meanwhile a non-caster cannot be a "good enough" version of any caster without magic - how do you prevent mind control, or fly, or teleport, or summon reinforcements? You just get better at killing stuff, which is all fine, but you don't get anything else special. Not even mundane crowd control - why not hamstring your enemies to reduce their speed, or ram them into a wall so hard that they're unable to act on their next turn? No heroic willpower to reroll saving throws? And so on and so forth. I'm not even going into "Combat as War", where having access to the right spell is often essential.

    And I can't really imagine how you'd defeat a monster ten levels above you without lapsing into "Combat as War". Yes, you could arm a town with shortbows and tell them to go shoot that Balor, because bounded accuracy and de-powering of higher-level monsters means that 400 people actually have a good chance of just shooting an archdemon to death. But with your own party and without rigging up an elaborate trap or other conditions that even the odds? A CR 15 dragon will absolutely wipe the floor with a level 5 party, even if they're not all dead after his first breath attack.

    The treadmill in 3.5 is "quality > quantity, always, therefore you have to be as good as your opponent or better, catch up to them and leave yesterday's opponents in the dust". 5e instead uses "quality and quantity are interchangeable, therefore if you can't beat them on even ground, just bring more friends". Those are both valid design philosophies, but I feel that the latter detracts from that feeling of uniqueness and power that a high-level character is supposed to have.
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  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: Getting off the treadmill

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    The treadmill in 3.5 is "quality > quantity, always, therefore you have to be as good as your opponent or better, catch up to them and leave yesterday's opponents in the dust". 5e instead uses "quality and quantity are interchangeable, therefore if you can't beat them on even ground, just bring more friends". Those are both valid design philosophies, but I feel that the latter detracts from that feeling of uniqueness and power that a high-level character is supposed to have.
    Effective immunity to any number of sufficiently lower level enemies is necessary for you to feel a high level character is unique & powerful?

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