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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    I still remember how I had to almost solo an encounter designed for three heavy hitters but one slaad (or something else) just Fear'd everyone and I was the only one who made the save. Guys literally had to sit an hour and watch things unfold like spectators instead of actors. We still won, but it was pretty bad. 5e and PF2e both had alright ideas about fixing that, with either "reroll your save each round" or "you only suffer really debilitating effects on a critical failure".
    Part of my issue with the way it's been done in those games is that it seems to have the effect of making control/debuff spells so weak and/or unreliable that hit point damage becomes the only viable option. That turns every caster into dps, party buffer, or summoner. And all those are, again, more hit point damage (with a side of modest hit point damage mitigation I suppose).

    I wonder if it might not be better, instead of hard effects like 'die', 'paralyze', 'flee', you set the control spells to just seriously penalize or prevent certain actions. Run a fear spell as more like "victim may not approach source, -50% all rolls when in short range of source, -25% all rolls when in medium line of sight range of source", still a very serious debuff but doesn't kick a player out of the game untill it wears off. You can keep the simplicity of the single straight saving throw roll, still keep the affected PC engaged, and have the effect strong enough to compare favorably against straight damage options.

    In the case of things like paralysis it would of course be better if characters all had abilities other than "attack to do damage" that were relevant in combat. Then you could have a paralysis effect that cut off effective attacks & most movement but still allowed a roll-every-round check for the paralyzed to speak (taunt, encourage, perception check and communicate, etc.), crawl a very short distance, have a chance to use a defense, just have something relevant to do even if it's minor.

    I suppose this could be a fundamental flaw, although probably more in class design than in the base system: Characters who can only effectively engage encounters through a single action type.

    When the fighter (really any class), unless intentionally built to have extra abilities by a char-op savvy person, can only effectively engage encounters by attacking things for hit point damage, then it drags the system towards all of the encounters being about hit point damage and nothing else. When all encounters are based only on hit point damage any non-hit point effects become over powered because they bypass hit points and thus obsolete the one dimensional class/characters.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Part of my issue with the way it's been done in those games is that it seems to have the effect of making control/debuff spells so weak and/or unreliable that hit point damage becomes the only viable option. That turns every caster into dps, party buffer, or summoner. And all those are, again, more hit point damage (with a side of modest hit point damage mitigation I suppose).

    I wonder if it might not be better, instead of hard effects like 'die', 'paralyze', 'flee', you set the control spells to just seriously penalize or prevent certain actions. Run a fear spell as more like "victim may not approach source, -50% all rolls when in short range of source, -25% all rolls when in medium line of sight range of source", still a very serious debuff but doesn't kick a player out of the game untill it wears off. You can keep the simplicity of the single straight saving throw roll, still keep the affected PC engaged, and have the effect strong enough to compare favorably against straight damage options.
    Tome of Battle has some maneuvers that remove a target's action on success (move or standard). That's not a bad baseline for effects like Stun and Daze.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Aotrs Commander's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Part of my issue with the way it's been done in those games is that it seems to have the effect of making control/debuff spells so weak and/or unreliable that hit point damage becomes the only viable option. That turns every caster into dps, party buffer, or summoner. And all those are, again, more hit point damage (with a side of modest hit point damage mitigation I suppose).

    I wonder if it might not be better, instead of hard effects like 'die', 'paralyze', 'flee', you set the control spells to just seriously penalize or prevent certain actions. Run a fear spell as more like "victim may not approach source, -50% all rolls when in short range of source, -25% all rolls when in medium line of sight range of source", still a very serious debuff but doesn't kick a player out of the game untill it wears off. You can keep the simplicity of the single straight saving throw roll, still keep the affected PC engaged, and have the effect strong enough to compare favorably against straight damage options.

    In the case of things like paralysis it would of course be better if characters all had abilities other than "attack to do damage" that were relevant in combat. Then you could have a paralysis effect that cut off effective attacks & most movement but still allowed a roll-every-round check for the paralyzed to speak (taunt, encourage, perception check and communicate, etc.), crawl a very short distance, have a chance to use a defense, just have something relevant to do even if it's minor.

    I suppose this could be a fundamental flaw, although probably more in class design than in the base system: Characters who can only effectively engage encounters through a single action type.

    When the fighter (really any class), unless intentionally built to have extra abilities by a char-op savvy person, can only effectively engage encounters by attacking things for hit point damage, then it drags the system towards all of the encounters being about hit point damage and nothing else. When all encounters are based only on hit point damage any non-hit point effects become over powered because they bypass hit points and thus obsolete the one dimensional class/characters.

    I haven't found save-or-suck to be a problem worth completely re-writing the system for, but certainly on the DM's side of the screen, for important monsters, I created a template that does functionally change a failed save-or-suck into hit-point damage (the same template effectively increments their hit points, and it requires a full block to be expended when that kicks in); on the vrs player side, it can be an issue, though. (But this is one reason whay Dispel Magic is so absolutely critical.) That said, with the large parties I run for and the general lasting of combat for 2-3 rounds at most generally, it tends not to take anyone out for very long in real time. (When the virus apocalypse is not around, we play about two hours every week, and four day session per year, which are often not nearly so combat-orientated.)

    I think PF1 went part of the way. I liked the way it changed a lot of instant-death spells to "large hit point damage;" (for 3.A I raised some of them even higher). From the sound of PF2 and what I've seen of 5E, they might have nerfed them too far in some regards. Save every round against Hold Person is great if you happen to be a PC, but makes the spell almost useless used against an enemy as a PC. And I think that's the big danger, you hit the point when you have Final Fantasy Death Syndrome, where anything worth using it on is immune to it. (You can argue - perhaps no unreasonably - that my template above somewhat does this, though the intention was to make save-or-lose into a finisher on boss fights, and as far as PV vrs boss goes, that dynamic seems to work).

    Perhaps a solution might be along the lines is to make the worse (action denying) statuses follow a pattern a bit like fatigue seems to in 5E (my experience with it is solely from listening to D&D podcasts). Have the first one instance inflict a sharp penalty, and the second/third be the point it kicks in properly. I dunno, 1 point of Paralysation reduces you to, like basically Staggered with a Dex penalty, and the second actualyl paraluses you. (You probably wouldn't need more than two, I feel, generally).



    Alternatively, you might approach it from the other direction and do for the PCs what I do for the monsters. Allow them some finite (daily?) resource that lets them functionally "Iron Heart Surge" away Bad Status effects - probably best, like with my definant template, either turn it into hit point damage (say 50% max hits) or functional negative levels1. The advantage of this method is that it would be easier to playtest, since you could just slap it on top of the existsing system and see how it pans out.

    (Actually, now I think about it, I HAVE already implemented this for Fighters of 8th level or higher as an actual class feature, so maybe I'll hold off adding anything to 3.Aotrs on those lines until I've actually had chance to play it at some point, seemingly in the far distant future...)



    You could even do it like a Fate point system (vis a vis Warhammer FRP), where the points do not replenish, but come along with quest rewards or levels or something; the frequency of being sucessfully save-or-sucked as a PC is probably low enough that that kind of resource would probably work, plus it also makes it a decision.

    (Like you frequently have to do with Rolemaster, if you want the party to survive very long without fudging criticals!)




    1In very very brief, my defiant template, each application allows a boss one extra tank of max hit points (which they can expend if they get save-or-sucked or as an action to functionally ironheart surge away something they don't like) and one save reroll, which upon use, grants them what is functionally a negative level. A PC version would have to be sharply toned down.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    You could even do it like a Fate point system (vis a vis Warhammer FRP), where the points do not replenish, but come along with quest rewards or levels or something; the frequency of being sucessfully save-or-sucked as a PC is probably low enough that that kind of resource would probably work, plus it also makes it a decision.
    I think I did something sort of similar long ago in a 3.5 game I ran. I made a piety system tied to the dieties. Each god got a list of likes and dislikes, each pc had a piety score. They got piety for doing things their god liked and for leveling up. They could spend piety to not die, pray for a miracle (literally get a spell effect at CL 24 off one of that god's domain lists), or... something else. I'd have to dig out old files to check.

    I recall the costs as: Not dying being your level + how negative your hp were or how much you failed the save by. Pray for spell being spell level squared, minimum 5. And -3 for each thing the god disliked, roll % if you were below zero for a retribution.

    Getting piety was: Gain your level in piety after each level up. +1 piety for every 2000gp of magic item sacrificed on an altar (trash magic items were provided). And various +1s based on what the god liked.

    Of course there was a lol-random god that didn't use piety and you just rolled on a table about twice every session.
    Niven's Laws, #5
    If you've nothing to say, say it any way you like. Stylistic innovations, contorted story lines or none, exotic or genderless pronouns, internal inconsistencies, the recipe for preparing your lover as a cannibal banquet: feel free. If what you have to say is important and/or difficult to follow, use the simplest language possible. If the reader doesn't get it then, let it not be your fault.

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Not sure I understand the question. Those folks have access to class tables too, how would putting formulae in their heads alongside all the other stuff they're juggling make their lives easier instead of harder?
    it may not help everyone, but that has helped me. i have had to do npc's on the fly before, and knowing a couple of formula has helped me get it done faster, along with having an item benchmarks (a martial npc should have a minimum + on their weapon of level/4 for instance; add specials for tastes). I also have a few quick list for spells for spell casters.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

  6. - Top - End - #156
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Compounded by the fact that everyone only plays one character unless they're a conjurer or necromancer
    "One character", coupled with "able to be taken out for an extended time", let alone "easily taken out on a single roll at the beginning" is bad. I prefer to address the "single character" aspect of the problem, personally.

    Letting players run NPCs or even the enemies can also alleviate engagement issues inherent in systems with "disengaging" rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Part of my issue with the way it's been done in those games is that it seems to have the effect of making control/debuff spells so weak and/or unreliable that hit point damage becomes the only viable option. That turns every caster into dps, party buffer, or summoner. And all those are, again, more hit point damage (with a side of modest hit point damage mitigation I suppose).
    Yeah, I'm not a fan of such limited options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I wonder if it might not be better, instead of hard effects like 'die', 'paralyze', 'flee', you set the control spells to just seriously penalize or prevent certain actions. Run a fear spell as more like "victim may not approach source, -50% all rolls when in short range of source, -25% all rolls when in medium line of sight range of source", still a very serious debuff but doesn't kick a player out of the game untill it wears off. You can keep the simplicity of the single straight saving throw roll, still keep the affected PC engaged, and have the effect strong enough to compare favorably against straight damage options.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    In the case of things like paralysis it would of course be better if characters all had abilities other than "attack to do damage" that were relevant in combat. Then you could have a paralysis effect that cut off effective attacks & most movement but still allowed a roll-every-round check for the paralyzed to speak (taunt, encourage, perception check and communicate, etc.), crawl a very short distance, have a chance to use a defense, just have something relevant to do even if it's minor.
    I think that the topic of "engagement" could easily be its own thread.

    Once upon a time, I had a Cleric cast Chant. Every round, I had to spend my turn maintaining the buff spell, or it ended.

    Despite the fact that my character remained conscious until nearly the end of the fight, I really wasn't terribly engaged (and this despite coming up with a new verse to Chant every round).

    On the other hand, I can stay engaged while playing a Sentient Potted Plant.

    I'm not sure if all players would look at a "pity action" any better than they do "pity artifacts"

    I think it's better to just remove them cleanly. And solve the problem of how to keep the *player* engaged when the *character* is down for the count.

    Also, I think it's better to keep the ability to 1-shot epic monsters in the game - there's no issues if the GM losing engagement when they run out of things to run, and it makes for an awesome story when you take down something epic with your opener!

    I mean, once upon a time, the party engaged the Dragon Lords in X one-on-one fights. The party not only won every match, they won every match with their opening move! And without killing a single Dragon!

    Imagine just how cowled the spectators (and Dragons) were by that demonstration of power (and luck). You can't have that when you remove the possibility of such occurring.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Aotrs Commander's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I think that the topic of "engagement" could easily be its own thread.

    Once upon a time, I had a Cleric cast Chant. Every round, I had to spend my turn maintaining the buff spell, or it ended.

    Despite the fact that my character remained conscious until nearly the end of the fight, I really wasn't terribly engaged (and this despite coming up with a new verse to Chant every round).
    This is one of the problem with a lot of the weaker classes, such as as the default Marshal or Divine Mind in particular in 3.5. They look like they have class features, but when your only real class feature is "has a passive aura," it's not very fun to play.

    I struggled for literal YEARS to find a way to make a homebrew priest class work (basically, a not-spell-using cleric, c.f. Friar Tuck sort of character), because aside from making it a skill monkey and giving it some auras, it didn't really DO anything. (In the end, I finally got somewhere when I turned it into an archtype of PF's Warpriest.)

  8. - Top - End - #158
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    The Marshal could really use some battle commands or something. I keep meaning to write up a fix that does that.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    The Age of Warriors (revived 2019) - Huge fanmade TOB sequel. Content needs PEACH and input.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    The Marshal could really use some battle commands or something. I keep meaning to write up a fix that does that.
    I've been using the Sublime Marshal (initiator class, original from the WotC boards) for years now, myself. (Whether you can still find that about is a good question.)

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