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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder999 View Post
    I really disagree here, being stuck at level 1 for that long would be horrible, the faster we get out of level 1 the better, most people don't have their fun class features yet, everyone dies to a single lucky hit because noone has enough hp, not even the barbarian with his d12. Unless you're actually new to the game you don't really need to learn all your abilities anew anyway. Low levels are just there because most stories are about rising up from humble beginnings. Personally I'm fond of starting everyone off at level 3.
    First you weren't stuck at 1st that long. Gp to xp meant that two random potions and a chest of silver pieces could a thief you into level 2 pretty quick, and a wizard well over half way to level 2. Of course then you need a money sink because pcs have piles of money, so ad&d had training costs, hirelings, and eventually building a domain. And starting at level 3 was a thing, an official thing too. Of course the real point wasn't 1st level, it was not going from chump to demi-god in 4 months of adventuring and what having that sort of thing would logically do to a setting.
    Again I really disagree, you shouldn't be dependant on random chance or a generous GM to have a functional class. A wizard who doesn't get his spells at level up is a waste of space, spell component pouches are fine, you shouldn't be expected to track random jokes like bat guano. This goes hand in hand with your point on wealth by level, the less RNG involved the better. Ideally the only RNG is your saves and attack rolls.
    A wizard who doesn't automatically get all the best spells isn't automatically worthless, just like a fighter without the perfect magic items isn't worthless. It was a way to keep spells powerful and fun while also keeping the casters power level in check. Blindly removing that got us 3.p quadratic wizards, whacking the spell power got us (to me) boring 4e magic that was basically variations on shooting aoe arrows, sometimes with one or two round minor debuffs.
    Why should casters suck at high level?
    They didn't. They just couldn't assume that the opposition would fail saving throws. Without scaling save dcs and with higher level monsters getting better saves you cut down on the 3e/5e thing where a 2nd level spell on a weak save can shut down the boss monster almost all the time. Plus your high level fighters stop being chumps to low end mook casters dropping will save spells on them. It depreciated damage spells and direct save-or-die/suck effects on big solo monsters and major npcs at high levels, mobs of mooks were both still threats and fell to the spells just fine or you could use indirect attack magic.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Requiring items to meet expected math targets. If you don't assume PCs have +X AC from amulet/ring, +Y saves from cloak, etc. at level Z, then you can scrap those items and use the space for something other than math fixers.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I'd say 3E is composed mostly of fundamental flaws with little in-between. But in the interest of keeping it constructive I'll mention something that came up with the "level 6 fighter versus a dozen mooks" example: the complete lack of anything resembling a coherent theme or power curve.
    Don't worry about keeping it constructive, go right ahead. What sucks?
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    It depends on what you mean by "fundamental". I would argue that things like class imbalance are not "fundamental" flaws of the system. It would be quite easy to write a set of classes using the 3e rules engine that were balanced (indeed, you can pick many balanced subsets of classes from the ones that do exist). I think for something to be a fundamental flaw, it needs to be either intrinsic to the system or an explicit design goal. With that distinction in mind, there are a few things I can think of that would probably qualify:

    1. Magic Items. Specifically, the decision to move from random magic items to WBL, and math that presumes magic item bonuses. I think this was an interesting experiment at the time, but in hindsight it's a paradigm that just doesn't work as well. Numeric bonuses are less interesting than abilities, and in particular having the numeric bonuses be baked into the expected opposition makes getting items into a Red Queen's Race. Random items make characters and campaigns more memorable.
    2. Open Multiclassing. This just doesn't work. There is no feasible way to write classes such that Open Multiclassing is balanced, and the proliferation of Theurge PrCs indicates that it wasn't even allowing people to play hybrid characters effectively.
    3. High-Level Skills. The skill system in 3e actually works pretty well at low levels. The numbers make sense, and you get outputs that work (3e is actually an incredibly solid system at low levels). The problem is that it doesn't scale well. Numbers get too big to be sensible, bonuses diverge (even between people who are nominally specialists in the same thing), and level (ironically) doesn't have a meaningful impact. Frankly, I think the problem is demanding one system for superhuman feats and regular people.
    4. Feats. One feat every three levels was simply not enough, and feats were skewed between character-defining abilities (e.g. Leadership, DMM, Natural Spell) and minor fluff (e.g. Alertness, Educated).
    5. Hit Point Bloat. 3e dramatically increased the amount of HP things get. This made combat harder to track and made damaging-dealing worse, for no appreciable benefit.
    6. Encounter Guidelines. 1v4 just doesn't work well from an action economy perspective, and makes challenge scaling awkward. CR works well enough in general, but the balance point it's aiming for is generally inferior to something like 4e, which assumes most encounters will be even or leave the PCs outnumbered.
    7. Alignment. I'm not sure how fair this is, because the dumb parts of alignment are largely flavorful and the things that are mechanical in nature are mostly fine, but alignment as D&D uses it is really, really dumb.

    There were definitely other issues (and other things you could cluster under those issues), but those are the ones that I would call fundamental errors that come to mind off the top of my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Condé View Post
    Oh and I'm pretty sure a lot content weren't play-tested as it is today by standards. I mean, it's obvious. Some classes features are so convoluted or barely functionnal.
    3e was playtested more than most (probably all) other editions. There is, particularly in 3.0, a great deal of math that is actually quite elegant.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    I've always hated how low magic item DCs were. Yay, you got this awesome new +3 magical sword that drains the enemies life when you hit (as an example) and they can negate with... DC 14 Fort save... Lame. Can I swap out the life drain bit for something more useful and consistent?? I've always thought magic item DCs should scale based on the user wielding it or using the item, not locked in from the creator no exceptions. Like DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Cha (give some benefit to that good ol' dump stat Cha; and if that's lower just use the base DC listed in the description). It's more fun when magic items that call for saves are always going to be useful and not relegated to shop fodder.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    3e was playtested more than most (probably all) other editions. There is, particularly in 3.0, a great deal of math that is actually quite elegant.
    Yeah, up to about level 10 it all hangs togather pretty well. Even despite the trap feats vs. op feats, wbl pain in the rear, and "i know all the spells" casters. It's somewhere after level 9 that the numbers start to go crazy.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    2. Open Multiclassing. This just doesn't work. There is no feasible way to write classes such that Open Multiclassing is balanced, and the proliferation of Theurge PrCs indicates that it wasn't even allowing people to play hybrid characters effectively.
    In my view it's the source of the edition's greatest virtue (the intricate character building) but it's also unlikely to be copied by many games going forward just because of the huge Pandora's box it opens. In that sense it will probably continue to be 3e's defining feature.

    I don't think the fact of some multiclassing options being better than others is a bad thing, and as far as dips very few are overpowered (some of the most popular ones are only popular because of system flaws: spirit lion totem barbarian gives something that should be a basic part of the rules, and fighter 1-2 is in large part attractive because of too few feats and stupid feat taxes). But it does mean you always have to keep that issue in mind, means you can't frontload, and means your game will never be nice, neat, and clean ever again.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Feata are balanced around the Fighter. Fighter 20 gets 18 feats, and the devs have an idea of where they wanr Fighter 20 to be, so core feats are balanced to be ~1/11th of the difference between where they want warrior amd where they want fighter. 1/11th of that is crap And the rest of the feat system is balanced against that, because otherwise fighter feats would be worse than nonfighter feats. (Well for non-magic feats anyway.) This results in "feats worth taking" being divided into three cateogies:
    1. Feats that give you a gradually-improving effect
    2. Feats that give you a new capability
    3. Feats that give you a flat bomus to init


    The other 99% of non-magic feats are split between giving a constant small flat bonus that never gets better, or a circumstantial flat bonus that's big but too circumstantial to be useful.


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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Yeah, up to about level 10 it all hangs togather pretty well. Even despite the trap feats vs. op feats, wbl pain in the rear, and "i know all the spells" casters. It's somewhere after level 9 that the numbers start to go crazy.
    There's a reason E6 is so popular. It's my honest opinion that, considered only for what it does and without the flaws of the rest of the system, D&D 3e capped at somewhere in the 4-8 range is the best the game has ever been.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    In my view it's the source of the edition's greatest virtue (the intricate character building) but it's also unlikely to be copied by many games going forward just because of the huge Pandora's box it opens. In that sense it will probably continue to be 3e's defining feature.
    The thing is, you don't need Open Multiclassing for intricate character building. All does is give you option at every level. You could do the same thing by giving a feat at every level. And the vast, vast majority of those options are functionally nonexistent. Have you ever seen someone play a Wizard 5/Cleric 2/Rogue 1/Wu Jen 2/Bard 3? A Duskblade 2/Druid 4/Abjurant Champion 1/Samurai 3? Of course not. The ratio of "options anyone has ever used" to "options that nominally exist" on Open Multiclassing is quite possibly the worst of any mechanic that has every existed.

    I don't think the fact of some multiclassing options being better than others is a bad thing, and as far as dips very few are overpowered (some of the most popular ones are only popular because of system flaws: spirit lion totem barbarian gives something that should be a basic part of the rules, and fighter 1-2 is in large part attractive because of too few feats and stupid feat taxes). But it does mean you always have to keep that issue in mind, means you can't frontload, and means your game will never be nice, neat, and clean ever again.
    But dips aren't Open Multiclassing. If all you want is to be able to have a character who is "a little bit Fighter" or "a little bit Rogue", you can do that in any number of ways that aren't Open Multiclassing. What that gets you is the Dread Necromancer 2/Barbarian 1/Ranger 3/Human Paragon 1, and who's played one of those?

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    But dips aren't Open Multiclassing.
    Dips aren't open multiclassing, but open multiclassing enables dipping, a bit like how falling off a cliff isn't the same as being able to walk around but being able to walk around enables falling off cliffs.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    What that gets you is the Dread Necromancer 2/Barbarian 1/Ranger 3/Human Paragon 1, and who's played one of those?
    Again, something enabled by open multiclassing but isn't representative of open multiclassing. And arguably, the ability to make mistakes is one of the most important parts of any RPG.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    The thing is, you don't need Open Multiclassing for intricate character building. All does is give you option at every level. You could do the same thing by giving a feat at every level. And the vast, vast majority of those options are functionally nonexistent. Have you ever seen someone play a Wizard 5/Cleric 2/Rogue 1/Wu Jen 2/Bard 3? A Duskblade 2/Druid 4/Abjurant Champion 1/Samurai 3? Of course not. The ratio of "options anyone has ever used" to "options that nominally exist" on Open Multiclassing is quite possibly the worst of any mechanic that has every existed.
    Completely disagree. Just because the system allows for ineffective combinations doesn't make it bad. And I've definitely seen hundreds of real and effective character builds that were combinations of 5+ classes.
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    I think this is a definitely matter of taste. I, personally, do not like "make the best of a bad job" situations at anytime. I don't like excessive RNG in games, and don't like randomised stats/hit points etc. I want to be able to build what I want, not be limited by "well, you wanted to play a fire wizard, but you failed to learn any fire spells."

    I know some people do like that and it gives them creative inspiration ("you can be a failed fire wizard!"), but as someone who is habitually spat upon by RNG at every opporunity (in or out of game), I hate it, personally. (If I wanted to play a failed fire wizard, that would have been my starting concept.)

    I want to decide what my character is and can (attempt to) do, by my decisions, not from what decisions the dice tell me I'm allowed to choose from.

    Bad class design is any one that says "suck now" regardless of whether or not you are "OP later."

    (Rolemaster's default spell acquisition is even worse - it has been decribed as a thief spending 1 [skill point] to gain a 5% chance to gain [10 ranks] of [Hide/Move Silently or Stealth]." Have fun - if you are lucky - playing RAW mage when your can spend your whole first level spell (singular) being able to either be a torch or a kettle, depending on whether you actually learn Light Law or Fire Law! as your one spell list! And probably only once per day at that!

    That sort of thing biases one.)



    Agree on Spell Component Pouches, though. We tactily obviate them, since I think anyone ever has remembered to buy one or pay any attention to non-expensive material components until such time as it mechanically matters. (Unless you meant "should pay MORE attention to them," then I disagree!)





    Rolemaster has the opposite problem - until you hit stupidly high level, casters as next-to-useless. (Notoriously, in our now-retired primary party, the Archmage - already the most powerful caster class, since it basically go to pick whichever spells it liked from any source0 had to be re-generated completely to say competative to people that Had Guns. The most powerful thing she could do before was just make them better via haste and that was about it.)

    Of the two, I think the disparity in D&D is easier to fix by buffing the noncasters.





    Definitely; I personally find that to be a feature, not a bug.

    As I say about all CRPGs, a game that doesn't have me spend at LEAST a hour on character creation isn't trying.



    You can certainly argue I'm a mechanics focussed wargamer over a roleplayer, and that's not inaccurate (I always do say I'm a wargamer (and in a small niche type at that, even) who roleplays) and I certainly lack the understanding of character and stuff some people do... But that's because, when you get down to it, I'm fundementally a one-dimensional sort of person ANYWAY... But that's what makes 3.x/PF1/3.Aotrs my system of choice, at the end of the day. It's a LEGO set, only with stats and numbers, which instead of making starships with (which is really the basic and only purpose of LEGO), I make dudes to fight other dudes, or places for the other dudes to explore or puzzles for them to solve.

    (No, I don't tend to do much in the way of character drama, was that not obvious...?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    "make the best of a bad job"
    Well, this is *exactly* the kind of bad attitude that I think 3e (and other tight balance / optimization games) are responsible for. It may be *optimal* to defeat the scenario with 10 Protoss Carriers, or 10 Atlas mechs, or 5 moxes and a Time Walk, but that doesn't make 100 Hydralisks, or 10 King Crabs, or Atraxa poison counters *bad*.

    Yes, there are objectively really bad things (urban mechs, muck dwellers, and 4e ), but "not the bleeding edge best" is not the same as "horrifically bad". After all, people have had fun playing in systems other than 2e D&D, playing with players who aren't me. I rest my case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    wanted to play a fire wizard, but you failed to learn any fire spells
    Well, the problem is, D&D doesn't have a "Fire Wizard" - or, rather, most every edition actually does, but that's rarely the "guy who failed to learn any Fire spells".

    Trying to make a vanilla Wizard something that it's not is fighting against the system. Don't do that?


    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    If I wanted to play a failed fire wizard, that would have been my starting concept
    And how, in your mind, (other than Roy) would you picture the concept of "failed fire mage" manifesting in 3e (or 3.Aotrs)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    I want to be able to build what I want

    I don't like excessive RNG in games, and don't like randomised stats/hit points etc. ,
    Where do you draw the line?

    There's "your character"… which, OK, I can completely understand (even if I don't… hmmm… exclusively agree) wanting to have full control over, with no influence from RNG.

    But "your character's items" - your loot - aren't "your character", any more than the BBEG you fought to get them. "Your items" are part of your history, not really something inherently under player control.

    I'm all for "Player Agency", but that doesn't mean I want to roleplay the BBEG and get him to surrender to me, or roleplay the Emperor and get him to hand over his fleet of Star Destroyers.

    So, personally, I draw the line of what I believe players should have control over to exclude things like "loot" and "items" outside what is available to be purchased - which I believe should generally exclude D&D magical items. Loot should be different and useful and magical, not samey and optimized and a commodity.

    But "which spells / techniques the character is able to master"? That's a much more interesting discussion.

    Naruto struggled most with creating clones; that's no small part of why he masters Shadow Clone Jutsu. I struggled most with math (at age 4-); that's why I'm the math genius I am today. A generalist who always wanted Fire spells, but initially struggled to meet their goals? You could play that character as a quitter, or have them keep trying to learn those spells every level, or even invent their own custom, better Fire spells.

    I see this as an opportunity for characterization, rather than a problem.

    It feels like 3.Aotrs and the implications for your characters you've made in this thread show some dissonance between your personality and the way you roleplay your characters in that regard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    As I say about all CRPGs, a game that doesn't have me spend at LEAST a hour on character creation isn't trying.
    That's not… our? At least *my* issue. It's not about how long it takes making who you *are*, it's that you have to carefully plan out *who you will be*, else you fail at character creation.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Obviously if we're around here we like or have some interest in the system, but what do you view as the fundamental flaws and shortcomings of the D&D 3e game? Pathfinder is fair game too.

    I'm not talking about specific things like "x class is badly designed" or "too few feats", but about underlying things like "feats are a bad idea [for whatever reason]".
    AC and attack bonus scale independently, so AC falls behind the first attack dramatically.

    To-hit penalties for additional attacks are bad in general and too harsh in 3.5. Either the character gains almost nothing from spamming attacks or finds a way to ignore them.

    Saves don't map well to spell DCs, it takes a lot of investment to not have one save so low you practically autofail.

    HP is bloated, damage multipliers are bloated. Leads to things like Monks and Fireball Wizards being almost pointless while Shocktroopers oneshot dragons.

    Touch AC is too low and doesn't scale at all.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    AC and attack bonus scale independently, so AC falls behind the first attack dramatically.
    That's another good thing from 3E, because it leads to different gameplay at higher level than at lower.

    Because let's face it, they changed this in 4E: by adding half level to all your attack rolls and half level to the defenses of all enemies. And then people realized, gee whiz, this sure is pointless. And that led to 5E's decision of having the numbers barely growing at all, which means your character never really improves, and still struggles with the exact same tasks and enemies seven levels later.

    Some numbers scaling while other numbers don't is a good thing.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    AC and attack bonus scale independently, so AC falls behind the first attack dramatically.

    To-hit penalties for additional attacks are bad in general and too harsh in 3.5. Either the character gains almost nothing from spamming attacks or finds a way to ignore them.

    Saves don't map well to spell DCs, it takes a lot of investment to not have one save so low you practically autofail.

    HP is bloated, damage multipliers are bloated. Leads to things like Monks and Fireball Wizards being almost pointless while Shocktroopers oneshot dragons.

    Touch AC is too low and doesn't scale at all.
    Saves scale perfectly fine. You generally have at least one good save and good relevant stat, and with Steadfast Determination, two most important saves (Fort/Will) scale off a stat that everyone wants to improve. Without it, you have to improve WIS, but it's still not gonna fall behind severely.

    If you're following WBL, you have a +2 to all saves very early on, and +5 is also obtained much earlier than AC bonuses. Mid-level (10 to 12) characters have +7 to all saves from items alone, plus at least +3 from levels, so you're at +10 to any save - if your natural DEX/CON/WIS are +0, which is very rare, and you should probably have at least +12 to all saves, more if you focus on CON/DEX/WIS. A spellcaster at that level has spell DCs at around 22-24 without minmaxing, which gives you a 40-50% chance of passing the save. Even if your Cloak/Vest of Resistance is at +3, which is behind the curve, you still have a somewhat decent chance of passing your LOW save.

    Your high save, which is generally synergized with your main stat in some form? It's at +7 from levels, +5 to +7 from stat, +3 to +5 from Resistance...so basically you have a +15 to +19 to it without any significant investment. That's a 55%+ chance to pass that save.

    If AC scaled the same as the first attack on a full attack, it would be impossible to hit people with iteratives. Touch AC scales just fine - you get more from DEX and deflection bonuses, which means your Ring of Protection works for that. There are also means to get more touch AC - shields in particular have feats devoted to that. It's not meant to be anywhere close to regular AC, because Touch AC is usually utilized by things that have much worse BAB and attack bonuses than what's required to hit normal AC.

    HP scaling does make blasting bad, but I feel like there's more of a problem with Fireball and other blasting spells not being updated from 2e. Monks don't have damage problems, they have to-hit and Flurry of Blows being bad for a skirmisher problems.
    Last edited by Ignimortis; 2020-06-30 at 02:36 AM.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That's another good thing from 3E, because it leads to different gameplay at higher level than at lower.

    Because let's face it, they changed this in 4E: by adding half level to all your attack rolls and half level to the defenses of all enemies. And then people realized, gee whiz, this sure is pointless. And that led to 5E's decision of having the numbers barely growing at all, which means your character never really improves, and still struggles with the exact same tasks and enemies seven levels later.

    Some numbers scaling while other numbers don't is a good thing.
    To be fair you can have the numbers remain on par with each other and still create different gameplay through riders, mobility, BFC and other effects.

    Nerfing attack does run into the problem that it nerfs direct damage more.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    To be fair you can have the numbers remain on par with each other and still create different gameplay through riders, mobility, BFC and other effects.
    Sure, but neither 4E nor 5E nor P2 does that.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    2. Open Multiclassing. This just doesn't work. There is no feasible way to write classes such that Open Multiclassing is balanced, and the proliferation of Theurge PrCs indicates that it wasn't even allowing people to play hybrid characters effectively.
    I see open multiclassing as an attempt to make rigid class/level system open-ended, which works about as well as you'd expect. It's indicative of 3E's generally confused identity as it attempts to be flexible and customizable while holding on to one of the most restrictive character creation systems ever conceived.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That's another good thing from 3E, because it leads to different gameplay at higher level than at lower.

    Because let's face it, they changed this in 4E: by adding half level to all your attack rolls and half level to the defenses of all enemies. And then people realized, gee whiz, this sure is pointless. And that led to 5E's decision of having the numbers barely growing at all, which means your character never really improves, and still struggles with the exact same tasks and enemies seven levels later.

    Some numbers scaling while other numbers don't is a good thing.
    I don't think the main (and indeed only) mundane defence value being increasingly harder to keep relevant on high levels is a compelling alternative.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Another angle on this is things like prepared spellcasters' spell choices for the day, or even class choices when going into a campaign being perhaps more important to success or failure than the actual decisions made during game.
    Learning to what spells to prepare (or how to prepare to know what spells to prepare) is part of the game. The player is expected to learn how to be a good adventurer- because if you ask me, everyone always having the answer is super boring. Class choices going into the campaign are a bigger problem, except the DM is supposed to okay those characters, and would know if one of them is going to be useless. Even so, someone starting as a rogue and finding undead for miles and miles could just stop being a rogue- take fighter or ranger levels, only sprinkling in another rogue level when necessary to catch up on disable device. The multiclassing system allows characters to change their direction mid-campaign.
    For a specific example, lets take incorporeal enemies. If you have a magic weapon or you use magic to attack, you can fight them. If you don't, you can't fight them. Now lets re-imagine . . . So if you're playing a rogue in an undead campaign, suddenly you're trying to be a Witcher and coming up with blade oils, keepsakes from their life, whatever the counter is. Rather than just sitting on the sidelines and regretting the choices you made 3 months prior.
    Incorporeal undead are always a funny sticking point to me, because they're something the game actually does arm every party against. At least, the standard party, which is presumed to be good or neutral and has a Cleric. Who can Turn Undead, or use spontaneous Cure Wounds, which as pointed out in another thread ignore incorporeality.
    Again, you can sort of fix this by very careful GMing - if you have a low level party deal with flying creatures, make sure there are spaces in the area where there isn't enough headroom for flight. If you have an undead-heavy plotline, make load-bearing necromancers that the rogues can target (or warn players in advance), etc. But it'd be nicer if there were more system-level things that would help players focus on 'how can I solve this situation I'm in now?' rather than 'how am I going to be able to solve every hypothetical situation I might be in later?'
    The system-level solution for flying monsters is to bring a bow. There isn't one in the PHB for rogues vs no sneak attack, but that's because rogues aren't actually supposed to depend on sneak attack. Not even every round, let alone every attack. They can swing or shoot just like everyone else, and whether people admit it or not that damage is not zero.

    If anything, the real point of sneak attack is in punishing monsters that "just walk past" or grapple or swallow whole. Standard undead don't actually have the biggest hit points due to their lack of con bonus (this could even be a secondary reason for why SA doesn't work on them), you shouldn't need huge damage bonuses to fight them. And you can, ya know, just buy (or quest for) a bane weapon if that's a problem. Or remind the DM that the DMG explicitly gives them the job of ensuring the party has sufficient magic items to meet their challenges, and your rogue is suspiciously unable to meet the challenges the DM is fielding with their current magic items.

    When people expect sneak attack to work on everything, it means they expect way more damage on every attack than the monsters are actually written for- because they'll want that damage against every monster, and also on every attack, on multiple attacks, in addition to as much other damage as they can buy, and there's a high chance they're comparing themselves to 2:1 power attack with mysteriously un-impacted accuracy. Myself, I put those ACFs on the ban list for missing the point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    The idea that past level 6 or so, a fighter can stare down a squadron of town guard armed with bows at the ready at point blank range, challenge them to give it their best shot, and then proceed to wipe the floor with them.
    I mean, that's actually not even that unrealistic. Arrow barrages against heavy infantry in plate mostly just bounced off. Maybe if they're heavy enough crossbows that can actually pierce armor, and the fighter is actually unable to move, they could get multiple hits. Otherwise, probably only one of them actually gets a square shot and the rest bounce off the moving armored target. This isn't really a factor of the 6th level fighter either, it's a factor of their armor class, which doesn't even scale with level. An elite 1st level fighter in plate could do the same thing, or a non-elite warrior if all the shots miss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
    What I do think is a problem with skills is that some abilities or spells make them completely irrelevant. All day flight makes climbing pretty useless and blindsight is quite literally a 'lolno' to hide checks.
    Which is why I like to note that Blindsight was not originally a spell on anyone's lists or accessible to PCs in any way at all short of Shapechange- it's a monster ability to keep stealth from being omnipotent that some fool made a spell out of because they thought it looked like See Invisibility, and welp there goes the neighborhood. Similarly the Darkstalker feat is an instant ban in my book. There are lot of spells where it's easy to just push them back two levels, and people will still say they're awesome so clearly the nerf was warranted. Though of course, all-day flight as an easy spell is a 3.5 update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    To me, the main flaw is tiny distinctions that rarely matter. Like, there's no good reason to have both ability damage and ability drain,
    I'm with you on some of those, but damage and drain are pretty different. One naturally recovers in a few days, the other is effectively a supernatural curse that requires a specific spell, with a gp component, to remove. It's how you have people crippled by supernatural effects without making everything an arbitrary curse variant.
    Too many bonus types in general, and some of them arbitrarily stack with themselves whereas others don't.
    The only typed bonus that stacks is dodge? I dunno, the whole point of multiple bonus types is to give people options. If all buffs stack, then you need either an arbitrary limit, or cut the list of buffs down to almost nothing. Heck, the bonus type system is one of the most resilient: if three different authors all print the same feat in slightly different ways which stack, you get an uber build. If three different authors print something that gives a sacred bonus, they don't stack, and balance is only upset as bad as the worst one, while still stacking with all the common bonus types.
    Too many equipment slots;
    Oh man, equipment slots. I've got pages of notes going around in circles on how to try fixing that one. I like equipment slots, but it's just flat impossible to reconcile all the different methods of thought one can use to justify X being a slot with having a limited set, most particularly when you need to adapt an existing set that is already a mashup that also requires a specific number of items as part of the expected loadout. It's maddening
    Finally, the system tends to vastly overvalue (and therefore overprice) cool abilities like forced movement and bleed damage (edit) and life drain, and therefore these rarely see play. Something else it overvalues is any kind of at-will magic, as well as "role switching" (e.g. PF's medium class).
    If you want staple hazards like cliffs or lava pits or core Wall of Fire spells, forced movement can't just be easy. The core of the game is based on tactical combat and resource management, so at-will magic kinda breaks it into tiny little pieces if you don't keep a firm leash on things- creating an even worse haves and have-nots situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    No, [in-combat healing] is suboptimal in 3.5 but an entirely valid strategy in PF. It's kind of funny how, after a decade, some people still haven't noticed that their issues have been improved and/or fixed.
    I mean, I think it's funny how it was perfectly fine even before PF and "no one" cared. I literally had a combat healer build for my Red Hand of Doom party, and could only threaten them with save-or-die tier damage or by running them out of spells. But when the points of comparison for "the internet" are monsters optimized to fight uberchargers and their ilk. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Condé View Post
    Too many different rules in different books, written by different people over almost 7 years with rewritten rules. (3.0 -> 3.5)
    Oh and I'm pretty sure a lot content weren't play-tested as it is today by standards. I mean, it's obvious. Some classes features are so convoluted or barely functionnal.
    And that's the big one. The "game" is wildly inconsistent, because it effectively has a dozen or more DMs just shoving in mechanics with no regard for each other. The flaws of the original 3.0 game are one thing, then 3.5 has some new ideas which lead to systemic changes creating more flaws, and each new book adds their own. Attempting to treat every book as a vaccuum had some obvious sense, but very quickly lead to even more obvious problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    HP scaling does make blasting bad, but I feel like there's more of a problem with Fireball and other blasting spells not being updated from 2e.
    The thing that makes blasting scale so poorly is that it stops scaling. 1st-2nd level spells deal 1d6/2 levels, 3rd level spells deal 1d6/level, and spells above that deal. . . 1d6/level. The caps go up, but the actual level based damage doesn't.



    Which is further screwed up by what I'll name a fundamental problem of 3.5: Scorching. Gorram. Ray. And the pivot that borked damage spells.

    Read the 3.0 PHB spells, and you'll quickly find that there is in fact no such thing as a 1d6/level no-save spell until 6th level with Freezing Sphere's ray mode. And yet, 3.5 suddenly puts a 1d6/level no-save spell all the way down at 2nd. Sure, theoretically the damage cap for 2nd level spells was 10d6, but none of them are actually 1d6/level. Sure, Flaming Arrow at 3rd dealt 1d6/level on ranged touch- with a save for half. Neither of these actually justify the change, nor did monster hit points suddenly go up*.

    So now you've got this situation where high level spells don't actually deal any more damage per level, and the most powerful damage spell is actually 2nd level. So they change the Orbs to make them compete with the same damage (or possibly vice versa), higher caps, non-magical magic, and rider effects, and suddenly the mailman comes along stacking metamagic and you've got a borked system where damage spells are either "useless" or unstoppable.

    The correct solution was to make 5th-6th level area damage spells deal 1.5d6 per level, and use 5th-6th as the standard for single target d6/level no-save (with SR and no rider effects). Then you get Finger of Death/Destruction at 7th, alongside gimmicks like Delayed Blast Fireball and Prismatic Spray, and where you can start adding rider effects to damage (since "death" is already the ultimate rider).

    But that's not what they did. Instead they printed Scorching Ray and used it as the new standard for everything, tipping over what was supposed to be the fundamental balance point of the arcanist role, and directly leading to the "lol weapon damage sucks/casters r best damage" problem.

    *I've heard people claim the 2:1 Power Attack (a 3.5 change) was actually a fix because damage was too low. So, where's the damage boost for every other weapon style, hm? If anything I'd call it proof that shields are expected, so much that they decided 2-handers needed something to catch up (which was then broken by multiple different authors printing slightly different stacking power attack boosters).
    Monks don't have damage problems, they have to-hit and Flurry of Blows being bad for a skirmisher problems.
    More fundamentally, they have "unarmored character concept expects to dodge attacks in a game where dodging attacks only scales with armor." Flurry of Blows is good specifically because the penalty reduces with level compared to TWF, and there are ways to move and full attack (heck, 3.0 says high again with 3.0 Haste being there when it was originally written), but the entire dodgy martial artist concept runs straight into the wall of the system's expectation of armor. Still easily fixed if you just give the monk a serious AC boost, 2+1/2 level instead of this +1/5 levels garbage, but it is a massive concept clash.

    Indeed, AC only going up with armor is potentially a problem, but I think that's covered in the abstraction of hit points. All hits draw blood, but only hits to -1 are actually serious wounds: the martial classes have high hit points, making them extremely hard to kill with basic weapon attacks (until they run out of hit points)- and armor lets them ignore some of those attacks (but not magic). It works, no scaling Defense bonus required, just comprehension of the hp system. Edit: actually, that could be a cool alternate monk buff, give them tons of hp and daily or encounter or even per round recovery, the exact opposite of AC.


    Another problem I'll go in on is Trapfinding. As a basic idea it's actually pretty important, making traps much more powerful as a world-building tool and giving the DM some ability to punish hasty/incautious play. But as a party role that can only be filled by a single class in the PHB, it's actually the worst offender at "oh no the game doesn't support the party I want." And because of this, all further classes written with the ability took the wrong lesson and were written with re-skinned sneak attack (except for the Beguiler, ha). Dungeonscape finally does something about it with Barbarian and Ranger ACFs, but this should have been handled in the 3.5 update.

    Similarly, though requiring more effort and reflection: the status removal role, aka You Need a Cleric. The Druid can also remove statuses, but that's only two classes in the PHB. It would have been so simple to take the Paladin's laughable Remove Disease and expand it into removing various conditions as you leveled up, with hit points being covered by far more classes and cheap items.

    Ah, there's another flaw: healing potion pricing. The consumable prices are actually quite good most of the time, ensuring that it isn't *too* cheap to just buy buffs, but Cure Wounds is not buffs, and needing to scratch together 750gp to get the proper price for healing is a pain. Sadly, this can't be fixed without either a suspiciously specific exception, or adding a new instantaneous 1-shot consumable with the 15gp multiplier, which in turn makes buying spell-grenades super cheap.

    Because the roles aren't a problem- it's the lack of options to fill them. Arcanists can be wildly different just by spell picks and anything can meatshield if they try, but your status remover is always a full divine caster, and your trapfinder is always tied to precision damage. That's where the problem is. Add status removal and trapfinding options to meatshields and things open up a lot.

    Which brings us to another flaw- two shall be the casters, and the casters shall be two. All-caster party broken? No-caster party broken? Gee, it's almost like they wrote and playtested the game with standard parties that only used one Cleric-ish and one arcanist. Some will say that the game should work equally well with all casters or no casters, and that I will call bogus- but it would really, really help if the DMG had actually just directly said any party with more or fewer than 1 Clr/Drd and 1 Sor/Wiz would completely mess with all game expectations, no seriously we mean it. Poorly documented code is bad code, and then it's your fault if they don't know why the code isn't working.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    As most people have said, the disparity in the power-level between full casters and mundanes is too high. Not that I mind that spellcasters end up stronger than mundanes, that's kind on fits the fantasy trope somewhat, but I do think that mundanes could have been given more and more interesting options - which might not have eliminated the disparity but might have lessened it.

    Fundamentally the greatest problem however, IMO is the lack of design oversight. Pun Pun simply should not be possible full stop! Free wishes, chain gating Solars and the epic magic system probably shouldn't be possible either. Sure a DM can just ban them, and players can opt not to use them, but they probably shouldn't even be in the game! What is essentially means is that full casters have a "press enter to win bottom" which the mundanes have not. And while the DM can apply the same against the party, that just ends up destroying even the most optimized of mundanes...

    Also, since most game worlds/ settings do not have Pun Puns running around, its probably a good indicator that its not supposed to be there... It if were supposed to be an integral element of the game, characters like Elminster, the Simbul, Larloch, Zass Tam, the Srinshee, the High Telemond etc. should all have employed such tricks to increase their power exponentially - essentially becoming vastly more powerful than even Karsus were at the height of his power... and why wouldn't they! Yet they haven't! Sure you can chalk that up to roleplaying and the novels they're in, but it makes no sense, since most of these dudes are power-hungry maniacs.

    So what we have are a few broken (as in way too good) elements, combined with mundanes who generally suck, even at their own game. This means that there will be a huge gap between the party's full casters and mundanes to the point where the fun of the game breaks down.

    IMO, it essentially boils down to poor designing or too many designers, who didn't communicate, which really amount to the same thing; namely options for full casters that essentially makes you a god at will! Even an army of 10.000 highly optimized level 20/20 monk/ fighter gestalts wouldn't be able to make a dent in even just a low optimized wizard employing any of the above tricks. Trick readily available at level 17.
    Quote Originally Posted by chaotic stupid View Post
    tippy's posted, thread's over now

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    The only typed bonus that stacks is dodge? I dunno
    No, in fact.

    And the point you're missing is that I say there should be fewer bonus types and equipment slots, not that there should be none.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    No, it is suboptimal in 3.5 but an entirely valid strategy in PF. It's kind of funny how, after a decade, some people still haven't noticed that their issues have been improved and/or fixed.
    Well, it's always depended on your party composition, optimization, and level. If you've got guys swinging longswords for 1d8+3 damage, then spending a standard action and a first level slot to heal 1d8+1-5 damage isn't that awful. And of course it gets better with supplemental material in 3.5. Sure, cure light wounds might not be great, but wrathful healing is extremely powerful, mastery of day and night massively enhances the cure line, heal is full restoration of hit points for nearly any character, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Which is why I like to note that Blindsight was not originally a spell on anyone's lists or accessible to PCs in any way at all short of Shapechange- it's a monster ability to keep stealth from being omnipotent that some fool made a spell out of because they thought it looked like See Invisibility, and welp there goes the neighborhood. Similarly the Darkstalker feat is an instant ban in my book.
    I still think it's a problem for there to be monster abilities that completely disable skills with no check, especially when the game makes skill monkey a discrete niche. Couldn't you simply grant the monster a large bonus to spot or listen? I feel like a really dedicated sneak should still be able to sneak past a sleeping dragon and nab something from his hoard; blindsight makes that mechanically impossible outside of darkstalker.
    Last edited by Zanos; 2020-06-30 at 07:03 AM.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well, this is *exactly* the kind of bad attitude that I think 3e (and other tight balance / optimization games) are responsible for. It may be *optimal* to defeat the scenario with 10 Protoss Carriers, or 10 Atlas mechs, or 5 moxes and a Time Walk, but that doesn't make 100 Hydralisks, or 10 King Crabs, or Atraxa poison counters *bad*.
    I'm afriad to diappoint you, then, that my "bad attitude" existed since before I was ever a roleplayer, and certainly long before 3.0 existed.

    I just won't "settle." Period. I don't like "making the best of a bad job," period. I - and you can accuse me of being a perfectionist and a control-freak and I won't disagree 1 - want to not have a bad job in the first place. I want to do it right. If you make me make the the best of a bad job, I'm simply not going to enjoy it very much, not matter what you do, because it's inherently not something I like doing, never have, never will. I'll tolerate it over short period, but you're never going to get my A game.

    That crap happens enough in non-entertainment stuff that I have to deal with, I'm certainly not going to take it from my entertainment media - which is why I flat-refuse to play anything with ironman.

    I'll MAYBE "settle" if its a game after the first 50 or so reloads, but I'll by that point be absolutely fuming.

    And the older I get, the less inclined I am to want to spend time on anything that's merely "okay" or worse and certainly not to spend effort on it.



    (Yes, it's a good job I'm not into relationships and stuff, innit? For who could possibly live up to that standard?)



    I'm sorry, but I'm just not intersted in random number generation telling me what I can or cannot do, outside of task resolution, where it should stay. I'll tolerate it when the rest of the crew want to play Dungeon Crawl Classics as it means I'm not DMing for a bit (toss-up whether it's better than the Western game I also played because evryone else wanted to; which, while allowed me more control I also was so far outside of my remit I was totally lost anyway; at least I can grok DCC), but its not something I'm going to invest significant effort into. (For DCC, where we generated there and then, I literally recycled one of my characters, switched her name backwards and said she was a cheap-knock-off version and played it almost as a parody of the aforementioned character. Ain't gonna spend any more effort than that on a character in a game where you're expected to all die horribly.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    Yes, there are objectively really bad things (urban mechs, muck dwellers, and 4e ), but "not the bleeding edge best" is not the same as "horrifically bad". After all, people have had fun playing in systems other than 2e D&D, playing with players who aren't me. I rest my case.
    So? You can have fun playing (1st edition) Warhammer FRPG, that doesn't make it a mechanically good system. And I will have MORE fun playing something that IS a mechanically good system (often dramatically more).

    (You could randomise everything about your character in WFRP, too, right down to your name and maybe even background. It was boring after the first time.)

    I had fun playing Full Thrust. I had fun playing Stargrunt II. And I simply have had more fun playing Accelerate & Attack and Maneouvre Group and I have never since wanted to go back to the aforementioned.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    Well, the problem is, D&D doesn't have a "Fire Wizard" - or, rather, most every edition actually does, but that's rarely the "guy who failed to learn any Fire spells".

    Trying to make a vanilla Wizard something that it's not is fighting against the system. Don't do that?
    One of my current characters is a Naruto-style ninja who is mechanically a cleric/monk. Just having had all the names of the spells changed and the fluff altered around the raw spell mechanics. For the sheer hell of it.

    The big advantage of 3.x is I CAN make a fire-wizard if I want to (ESPECIALLY if you play Pathfinder, there's literally elemental specialisations instead of schools2. I can literally just pick all fire-spells (there's enough of them to do that now) - with some utility depending on how much of a focus on the Burning People I wanted, or could re-flavour to be fire-themed.

    I would posit that if the system has to be fought to make a basic idea like "The Fire One" (see any five-band with with elemental themes, for example, Taranee out of W.i.t.c.h or a Firebender), THAT is a fundemental flaw in the system.

    (Hell, in 3.5 and/or PF, there's numerous ways of achieveing that concept other than using Wizard the character class (sorcerer, psion, slightly modified warlock, possibly dragonfire adept (I'm not familiar with the class myself), kinetcist in PF if you wanted to be really bad at it...))

    The entire point of 3.x is it allows you the freedom to actually mechanically realise concepts properly.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    And how, in your mind, (other than Roy) would you picture the concept of "failed fire mage" manifesting in 3e (or 3.Aotrs)?
    Without actually coming up with a build, exactly the same way I approached Jarmin Kuld the GLA terrorist in Cyberpunk, who claimed he was a demolitions expert, but was in fact a complete moron - optimise in the other direction. Jarmin, far from being the competant demolitions expert he said he was actually just really really good at fast-talking (he wasn't self-aware enough consciously know it) and incredibly lucky (in terms of stats) - which is how he managed to convince a number of people of apparently mostly working brains that Command & Conquer Generals was Real History (which he was stupid enough to genuniely believe) and that he was re-starting the GLA. And the party that he Was Good At Demolitions. (He had - deliberately - the bare minimum of competance.)

    (No, I cannot show Jarmin's Hilarious Parody Background, it's far too politically incorrect for the forums...)

    So, yes, actually; Roy, basically.

    The same way I wouldn't make Rincewind as a wizard that couldn't cast spells (that one time could be assumed to be plot/DM fiat or written as a hook into his background) and make a character that was a specialist in Running Away.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    Where do you draw the line?

    There's "your character"… which, OK, I can completely understand (even if I don't… hmmm… exclusively agree) wanting to have full control over, with no influence from RNG.

    But "your character's items" - your loot - aren't "your character", any more than the BBEG you fought to get them. "Your items" are part of your history, not really something inherently under player control.

    I'm all for "Player Agency", but that doesn't mean I want to roleplay the BBEG and get him to surrender to me, or roleplay the Emperor and get him to hand over his fleet of Star Destroyers.

    So, personally, I draw the line of what I believe players should have control over to exclude things like "loot" and "items" outside what is available to be purchased - which I believe should generally exclude D&D magical items. Loot should be different and useful and magical, not samey and optimized and a commodity.
    As I did note, the magical item Christmas tree required for function IS one of 3.x's fundemental problems. If they hadn't made it necessary, allowing the PCs to have some control (via money and enchantment) might not have been also as necessary.

    And I DO place some limitations on what the PCs can buy (sometimes they have to order it in), but total freedom is not something I will grant.


    (And what taught me not to do that was AD&D modules (esp. Die Vecna Die! and Night Below), where it handed out magical items like they were going out of fashion and in the former, the first instance where the PCs could stop to do anything with them was in SIGIL, where they sold something on the order of 90k or maybe 190k or something stupid EACH (in a party of SIX).

    They had enough money EVEN AFTER that, that next adventure they were happy to blow 25K on ressing an NPC guide without a second thought, because it pocket change.

    So, any defence of specifically AD&D's method of handing out treasure as better, I'm afraid, would not really getting any ground with me...)



    And on my Dreemaenhyll campaign, where the hard numbers are, as mentioned, locked into an class/monster type-independant level progresson, you basically CAN'T buy magic items (maybe disposables, if youre lucky). (Wizards/Archivsts etc also don't have spellbooks/prayerbooks and everyone who is a caster is a spontaneous caster too.) So that magic items can be reserved for things that can Do Stuff. (It also makes DR/Magic actually mean something.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    But "which spells / techniques the character is able to master"? That's a much more interesting discussion.

    Naruto struggled most with creating clones; that's no small part of why he masters Shadow Clone Jutsu.
    Which was a deliberate decision on the part of the author.

    And Naruto is a perfect example of Jarmin-ing-it-up. Look how the poor orphan boy with a demon inside him who a bit clueless is obviously an underdog despite actually being the most OP person on the continent because he actually DOES get massive advantages (from both of his parents AND
    Spoiler: Last arc of Shippuden
    Show
    being the reincarnation of Ninja God's very nearly-as-OP-offpsring
    ) and is not, like Rock Lee, ACTUALLY an underdog. He just has PR to make it LOOK like he's the underdog, when in fact, Int is just the 8 dump stat on his array of pretty much otherwise 16-18s, if not higher.

    Kishimoto didn't roll dice and go "oh, damn, I wanted to make this be about a wizard guy, but Naruto's Int is only 8, despite all his other stats... Okay, I better completely change my entire plan and make this about magic ninja instead." That was a measured decision on his part.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    I see this as an opportunity for characterization, rather than a problem.
    And I see it as a problem and a barrier. I don't NEED random numbers to spark my creativity, I'm perfectly capable of sparking my own creativity and you'll actively get better results out of me if you don't make me roll randomly for stuff outside of actual task resolution. The RNG exists to tell me whether I succeed or fail, not what I can or cannot do.



    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    That's not… our? At least *my* issue. It's not about how long it takes making who you *are*, it's that you have to carefully plan out *who you will be*, else you fail at character creation.
    Despite my disappointment at Starfinder, when we started a party for that game, I read the entire rules book, more or less and then spent several happy hours planning out exactly what I wanted to do with what my character was going to be (and in this instance, down to what implants he wanted - normally, gear is not something I consider part of a "build," but I wanted Skrath to be Good At Running, because It Sounded Like A Laugh being able to run, like 85/115 foot around at the expected 13-ish-if-I-was-lucky level we'd nominally end at. And also, I literally couldn't remember the last time I got to make a proper character in the last umpteen years and i'm pretty sure it was that aforemention Naruto guy and hes level 16 now, so I was damn sure I was going to make the most of it.)

    You would NEVER have got that kind of investment out of me for AD&D or Warhammer. That's my point. You want my full investment, you HAVE to give me lots of Maths and/or Decisions, basically.



    "But you didn't mention anything about his character, Bleakbane!" No, no I did not, because I'm not that sort of person (feel free to say I'm Not Good At Roleplaying, and maybe out group isn't, at least not by the compairson so, say, the voice actors who do roleplay streams who are FAR better at it than I'll ever be, but who aren't as good as the mechanicals and the maths. Different strengths for different people.) I have a rough idea of a character's personality - sometimes, especially if a background is required - but that's ALL you'll ever get out of me in that regard (characters are ALWAYS mechanical concept or rough pastiche first, personality second, that's how my brain works) when we start and go from there.

    (But for the record, Skrath is a Golarion goblin who was raised by Plot-Important-NPC-We-Had-A-Connection-To who tried to make him Not Be Evil, and is willing to try and listen (he's frighteningly intelligent), but he just fundementally doesn't really "get" it. And that's basically all the thought that went into his character; a workable concept. Everything else pans out in play.)



    1The self-confessed Lawful Evil, megalomanical, omnicidal magical space Lich abomination has control issues?

    D'ya THINK?!

    2Granted, 3.Aotrs specifically cudgelled that option on the head and dragged it away to be given to the Wu Jen and Shugenja, because the wizard had enough toys and they didn't.
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  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Learning to what spells to prepare (or how to prepare to know what spells to prepare) is part of the game. The player is expected to learn how to be a good adventurer- because if you ask me, everyone always having the answer is super boring. Class choices going into the campaign are a bigger problem, except the DM is supposed to okay those characters, and would know if one of them is going to be useless. Even so, someone starting as a rogue and finding undead for miles and miles could just stop being a rogue- take fighter or ranger levels, only sprinkling in another rogue level when necessary to catch up on disable device. The multiclassing system allows characters to change their direction mid-campaign.

    Incorporeal undead are always a funny sticking point to me, because they're something the game actually does arm every party against. At least, the standard party, which is presumed to be good or neutral and has a Cleric. Who can Turn Undead, or use spontaneous Cure Wounds, which as pointed out in another thread ignore incorporeality.

    The system-level solution for flying monsters is to bring a bow. There isn't one in the PHB for rogues vs no sneak attack, but that's because rogues aren't actually supposed to depend on sneak attack. Not even every round, let alone every attack. They can swing or shoot just like everyone else, and whether people admit it or not that damage is not zero.

    If anything, the real point of sneak attack is in punishing monsters that "just walk past" or grapple or swallow whole. Standard undead don't actually have the biggest hit points due to their lack of con bonus (this could even be a secondary reason for why SA doesn't work on them), you shouldn't need huge damage bonuses to fight them. And you can, ya know, just buy (or quest for) a bane weapon if that's a problem. Or remind the DM that the DMG explicitly gives them the job of ensuring the party has sufficient magic items to meet their challenges, and your rogue is suspiciously unable to meet the challenges the DM is fielding with their current magic items.

    When people expect sneak attack to work on everything, it means they expect way more damage on every attack than the monsters are actually written for- because they'll want that damage against every monster, and also on every attack, on multiple attacks, in addition to as much other damage as they can buy, and there's a high chance they're comparing themselves to 2:1 power attack with mysteriously un-impacted accuracy. Myself, I put those ACFs on the ban list for missing the point.
    Well as I said, there are spot fixes to the individual issues, but the real flaw or problem from my point of view is the mindset that 'the character build/preparatory stages is (the major) part of the game'.

    The ideal sort of balance from my point of view would be that if you have a situation in a campaign and someone brings in the most optimized build they could come up with, or someone brings in a baseline reference build, then there is some achievable quantity of player skill that could make up that difference for the full dynamic range of character build level optimization options available in the system. I don't necessarily mean that the one character could fight and kill the other, but that basically a sufficiently savvy player can make up for almost any level of mechanical gap in a valid character which they're handed to play.

    That doesn't mean that character build shouldn't matter, but rather it means that character build shouldn't dominate. A good build can make the skill level required lower, or can make a character more compatible with ideas and styles of play a player is comfortable with. The reasoning behind this is that if there are gaps which can't be crossed, it emphasizes a player's activities away from the table rather than at the table. Which makes the time spent at the table become more passive. If you could hand over your build to someone else and end up with the same result, I think that's a problem.

    Compare with something like chess, where its entirely about the player's choices during play and there are no out-of-play choices that matter aside from who is playing black. So games absolutely don't have to be this way - there's a spectrum of options in the system design, and 3e sits on one extreme of that spectrum.

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
    I still think it's a problem for there to be monster abilities that completely disable skills with no check, especially when the game makes skill monkey a discrete niche. Couldn't you simply grant the monster a large bonus to spot or listen? I feel like a really dedicated sneak should still be able to sneak past a sleeping dragon and nab something from his hoard; blindsight makes that mechanically impossible outside of darkstalker.
    Nah- there's gotta be limits, being undetectable is one of the true disruptive abilities, and the DM is supposed to have the final limit, not the players. Having to deal with limits is a fundamental part of making things interesting. An arbitrarily large spot or listen bonus just means complaining that the bonus is too high and expectations that they should be able to beat it. Better to be honest and say no, this monster can't be snuck past without magic (or just can't be snuck past), than to present false hope you intend to never actually fulfill. If you want to let people sneak past sleeping dragons, then say that blindX doesn't function if they're unconscious- does it even function when unconscious? Probably depends on the fluff, but an easy ruling. Same as getting rid of non-magical magic, or maintaining that no you can't charm a zombie with Diplomacy, or a Charm spell, etc.

    Of course I also don't recognize "skill monkey" or "stealth master" as a niche that needs protecting from monster abilities, since nothing in the game actually requires stealth- only Search, Disable Device, and maybe Open Lock. For actual games where those are made a thing, sure, but it's not inherent in the system (and I've yet to see anyone present a skill package that makes all PCs fairly required participants the same way they're expected to in combat).

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Well as I said, there are spot fixes to the individual issues, but the real flaw or problem from my point of view is the mindset that 'the character build/preparatory stages is (the major) part of the game'.
    Which I also disagree with. It is a major part of the game for some people, but not actually expected or required- as long as you don't actively try to make your character bad. Preparing spells is part of play, as are good tactical choices. Characters can be built for those who lack that skill, or the game can be run entirely with DM-pre-made characters, or indeed the heavy builders can be directed to ease up to match the rest.

    While some people think planning a full build is necessary, it is entirely possible that this will set them up for failure- the rogue who refuses to stop taking rogue when it becomes clear that undead are the order of the campaign. I find full 20 builds kinda superfluous- you've already made all the choices, why bother playing a character that will apparently refuse to be affected by the campaign? And once you're actually in a campaign, picking stuff for your next level up really, really shouldn't be that hard- you just participated in 13.3 fights over multiple sessions, if you can pay enough attention to fight them, you can pay enough attention to pick something that sounds good.
    The ideal sort of balance from my point of view would be that if you have a situation in a campaign and someone brings in the most optimized build they could come up with, or someone brings in a baseline reference build, then there is some achievable quantity of player skill that could make up that difference for the full dynamic range of character build level optimization options available in the system. I don't necessarily mean that the one character could fight and kill the other, but that basically a sufficiently savvy player can make up for almost any level of mechanical gap in a valid character which they're handed to play.
    A tall order. Though funny thing is that this is actually true at the proper baseline no-op level, the "zero-point" optimization of actually knowing how to use positioning and the basic combat rules is what separates a meatshield from a useless fighter, while baseline spells used imperfectly demand a competent fighter as backup.
    That doesn't mean that character build shouldn't matter, but rather it means that character build shouldn't dominate. A good build can make the skill level required lower, or can make a character more compatible with ideas and styles of play a player is comfortable with. The reasoning behind this is that if there are gaps which can't be crossed, it emphasizes a player's activities away from the table rather than at the table. Which makes the time spent at the table become more passive. If you could hand over your build to someone else and end up with the same result, I think that's a problem.
    The problem is that the player with pre-game skill will almost always have more in-game skill to go with it, and some players do in fact have a limit on their effective in-game skill. In that case you either have the other players ordering them around, or a character so simple it may be obviously insulting. In order for this to actually be true, you need a very narrow range of build efficacy.

    Compare with something like chess, where its entirely about the player's choices during play and there are no out-of-play choices that matter aside from who is playing black. So games absolutely don't have to be this way - there's a spectrum of options in the system design, and 3e sits on one extreme of that spectrum.
    I would argue that's completely backwards. The out-of-play choices for chess are learning how to actually win at chess, and it's far more important than picking the perfect feat or spell for a character. DnD is meant to function at essentially any non-negative-op if you act carefully. But chess is played out across so many dissociated moves that you can't just sit down and play and expect to do well based on reactions and knowledge of basic rules. Chess has more required pre-game investment than DnD by far.


    Unrelated, I remember another fundamental flaw:

    Non-standardized ability scores as a thing in just any way. Rolled scores do not work (nor do rolled hit points). You cannot expect the game to be consistent when the very base power level of the characters isn't even constant, and people make up even more powerful rolling methods or otherwise just let the players have obviously above average stats. Point buy sounds like a good idea, but again they just immediately go for extra powerful stats and some characters can super specialize and maybe never pay the price while others can't.

    You want fair and balanced? Elite array. That's how the playtest characters did it, that's how every published NPC does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.
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  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    A tall order. Though funny thing is that this is actually true at the proper baseline no-op level, the "zero-point" optimization of actually knowing how to use positioning and the basic combat rules is what separates a meatshield from a useless fighter, while baseline spells used imperfectly demand a competent fighter as backup.

    The problem is that the player with pre-game skill will almost always have more in-game skill to go with it, and some players do in fact have a limit on their effective in-game skill. In that case you either have the other players ordering them around, or a character so simple it may be obviously insulting. In order for this to actually be true, you need a very narrow range of build efficacy.
    This bit at least is fine by me. The sort of situation I'm imagining is something like being able to be good enough at the game that you can voluntarily handicap yourself by choosing to play a full-level Commoner, and have that be viable. I'm not looking for parity between players, I'm looking for the game to focus on at-table decisions rather than away-from-table decisions. Take the best player you know and give them a Commoner, and I want them to be able to keep up with an average player playing a high-op build. If that good player wants to play high-op and average players are playing average builds and there's a gap between their performance at the table I'm actually okay with that at least at the level of what I'd like to ask from a system.

    A concrete example of this is that I ran the 1ed Tomb of Horrors for a pool of 15 Lv1 characters as a gimmicky Halloween game once. Even in 1ed, it's supposed to be for high-level characters, but in practice something like 90% of the Tomb is about making correct decisions about what to do (there are a few monsters, but the only ones that were essential to defeat happened to be in areas where they could effectively be kited or taken out from outside of their range, at least with how far we got). By the end of the night, the group had gotten about halfway through the Tomb with 4 or so deaths if I remember correctly.

    I would argue that's completely backwards. The out-of-play choices for chess are learning how to actually win at chess, and it's far more important than picking the perfect feat or spell for a character. DnD is meant to function at essentially any non-negative-op if you act carefully. But chess is played out across so many dissociated moves that you can't just sit down and play and expect to do well based on reactions and knowledge of basic rules. Chess has more required pre-game investment than DnD by far.
    Again, I'm not worried about pre-game investment, I'm worried about too many of the important decisions being made away from the table. Choices should need to happen at the table, in the heat of the moment. But if people want to prepare in order to make those choices better by thinking about things or playing out scenarios for themselves, I have no problem with that.

    What I don't want is for the game to be over before the session even begins, because you could look at the builds people brought and work out what's going to happen without actually running through the scenario. Generally when I DM, if a combat looks like that I don't bother running it, I just say 'you encounter some opposition, but they're not a credible threat so you mop them up however you'd like and move on'.

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    Magic is too good, mundane is bad, and the major reason is versatility. Spellcasters are able to do too many things, and mundanes aren't able to do enough things.

    Action economy is also a problem, especially when it comes to a single powerful 'boss' encounter. Especially when it comes to characters gaining more actions than they would normally have, which again is due to spells.

    Magic items are mandatory for mundanes and even partial casters to be able to keep up from the mid levels and beyond. Full casters don't necessarily need items, but it wouldn't be fair to deprive them of the same gear value as the mundanes get. Every character ends up looking like a Christmas tree even before the higher levels.

    I am not sure the issue is so much magic is to good as martial is way to weak and boring in comparison, like if you made the default fighter, a fighter gestalt with warblade, the balence would be much better as both spellcasters and martial classes get lot of cool special moves to pick and choose from.

    I would think it be a good idea to make it so martial classes are mythical heroes/anime heroes, where they are blatently supposed to be beyond what lesser people think is human limits, maybe they gain plus one to con,str,Rex each level, because whether it ki, divine bloodline or being simply being that in world of myth and magic, human limits are more flexible, they should be able to go past real life peak human.

    Just look at stuff Beowulf does killing monsters with his bear hands, swimming to the bottom of the lake or stuff Hercules does or Samson, that should be the goal for the martial class, level 20 should be able to pick up the sky and overpower monsters, to some extent.

    Paladin would be higher tier if you gave them the strength of Samson (guy is pretty much a paladin in themes, with code based limits, never shave his hair, lawful good stupid, way to trusting of wife and holy martial proweness) that be a plus 3 strength per level ( I say Samson is stronger than a bear) which would let them keep up with Wizard dps, (splash damage vs never running out of attacks)


    One could do what ars magica do and make a player control two characters, one martial sidekick and one magic lord, maybe this could be balanced by a tier system where both sidekick and team mate has to have there tiers add up to least a six, so wizard and fighter/ninja , sorcerer and barb/rouge and bard and warblade are all valid options kind of equal in power?

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    You want fair and balanced? Elite array. That's how the playtest characters did it, that's how every published NPC does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.
    Set array doesn't work unless you have highly standardized ability requirements between all classes and builds, which definitely isn't the case in 3e. And it ends up making MAD even worse than it is already. Point buy is fine.

    Elite array is moderately functional if you boost the 15 to a 16, like they did in 4e. Doesn't work otherwise.

    On the point of rolling stats, definitely true that it should be a variant rather than default. Just goes to show that D&D wasn't originally intended to be a traditionally "balanced" game but more of a simulator.
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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    There's a reason E6 is so popular. It's my honest opinion that, considered only for what it does and without the flaws of the rest of the system, D&D 3e capped at somewhere in the 4-8 range is the best the game has ever been.
    I stepped in just to say that 3E's biggest flaw is that it isn't E6.

    The issue of power spiral has always existed in D&D. It wasn't a secret. It was always a fundamental flaw and a prominent complaint, certainly through AD&D 1&2. If 3E then has a flaw it is that it abjectly failed to fix that fundamental flaw despite tearing down and rebuilding the entire game from the ground up. The root of that flaw is MAGIC, or more accurately SPELLS.

    It has always needed to be a game that covers ONE power tier. If there was ever any truth to Dancey's division of D&D into four quartiles of gritty, heroic, wuxia, and superheroes (and there most certainly is, because again this is a problematic thing that has always existed in D&D) then D&D should not be one game that inexorably expands from gritty to superheroes, but to PICK ONE TIER and then stay within it. D&D games that dramatically exceed their chosen tier should instead move a different set of rules. Those rules could still be D&D, but would be designed to exhibit gameplay at THAT tier. Why pick one? Because survey after survey after survey reveals (and has ever since D&D surveys finally became practical with the internet) what levels are the most popular and the most fun. It isn't the dead bottom of gritty, but even that's more popular than wuxia and superheroes. And it still applies (perhaps even MORE so) to 5E:
    https://www.enworld.org/threads/90-o...levels.666097/
    For all the research WotC supposedly did in preparation for creating 3E that is an aspect of the game that they missed or critically misinterpreted. High level play gets a wildly disproportionate amount of attention on forums but that's only 10% of where anybody's campaigns take place. 90% are the gritty and heroic tiers. Go back and dig up similar surveys during the 3E era. Again and again the preferred levels peaks at about 7th...

    If there's a second flaw worth discussing, for ME at least it would be that the inmates were given the run of the asylum. Once it was realized that they could sell more supplements to PLAYERS than they could to DM's 3E was done for. Any chance at maintaining (or establishing) some control over that power spiral was lost. It's a strong DM who actually tells players, "We're only using these SELECT supplements and NOTHING more," or even, "Core books ONLY," when the overwhelming pressure is to let players have ANYTHING they want. And that actually started in earnest with Prestige Classes. Read the 3E DMG and it's clear that they were intended as DM tools to customize a campaign setting, not as players tools for optimization. But they sure as heck aren't thought of that way NOW, are they?

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    Default Re: Fundamental flaws of the 3e system?

    It's been pointed out many times that the Core books include more "power spiral" problems than any supplements that followed. IMO, like I said earlier, the phenomenon you're talking about really stems from the open multiclassing system, which gives 3e the advantages it has but also makes the game kind of a mess.

    The idea of players having free access to content rather than it being strictly adjudicated by the GM is what brought the game into the modern age. Dictator-DM is a really bad way to play a cooperative game. That freedom of player option is 3e's main virtue compared to other editions.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-30 at 03:36 PM.
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