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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wonderful View Post
    Multiple encounters per long rest - whether social, exploration or combat - is an unappreciated piece of the puzzle.
    Resting rate is the least of the Barbarian's problems in comparing themselves to a Wizard, in fact a Barbarian (who we'll assume is being just as reckless with expenditure as the Wizard) is more likely to run out of their single and most important resource before the Wizard will run out of spell slots.

    In fact, the more encounters you put into the day the more likely the Barbarian is to be worse off than the Wizard. This could be an entire separate tangent.

    Ranting aside - Yes, spellcasters (of every variety except Warlock) will shine brighter in a single encounter adventuring day. This is a Short v Long Rest issue that has come up in Fighter, Monk, Wizard/Sorcerer and Warlock discussions for years. Encounters per day and the rests between them is a nuanced part of the DM's job. It can have a noticeable impact on balance, that's why the DMG has recommendations for how many encounters of a certain type a party is expected to be able to deal with.

    It's not an unappreciated piece of the puzzle, it's a well recognized and constantly discussed piece of the puzzle. It might just be one of the most discussed talking points in class balance. Also, in my opinion, this is just as much a player responsibility as a DM one, unless your DM insists on forcing a long rest after each encounter (or the adventure, such as SKT, is written in a way that makes it difficult not to manage a rest) you should advocate for pressing on, or in the case of parties that feature a single or small handful of short rest classes, they need to remember to advocate for short rests. The DM may be in control of the pace of the game but the Players should have this agency in their characters decision making.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wonderful View Post
    This is actually a pretty good summary of what I think is the real friction here. The Wizard gets some very cool, if limited, abilities where our Barbarian gets a continuous but not spectacular improvement. Should the Barbarian be jealous?

    They should be roughly equal. If the DM follows the suggested encounter guidelines our Wizard is going to want to carefully manage his spell slots where the martials can just keep on being resilient and doing reliable damage. That doesn't make Fly and Lightning Bolt any less cool, but it does mean that they will be rationed and not dominate every encounter.

    Unfortunately, many DMs allow long rests after each major encounter - that more than anything else tips things away from martials. Following the suggested encounter guidelines is one way a DM can responsibly bring balance to the table.

    Multiple encounters per long rest - whether social, exploration or combat - is an unappreciated piece of the puzzle.
    If Barbarian had continuous non spectacular level appropriate abilities such that they remained level appropriate in all pillars? Well, then I would be happy with Barbarian. However WotC has not figured out how to satisfy that design request. (Especially Exploration)

    So while some of the puzzle is multiple encounter, some of the puzzle is level appropriate abilities for the non combat pillars.

  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wonderful View Post
    The Wizard gets some very cool, if limited, abilities where our Barbarian gets a continuous but not spectacular improvement.
    Uuummm...No. That wasn't the point of the scenario at all.

    So when you compare Improved Cantrips and Extra Attack, and then cancel them out:
    - A Wizard gains levelled spells,
    - A Barbarian gets nothing.

    A Barbarian gets no improvement at all. The Wizard gets cool, if limited abilities.
    Bearing in mind that Cantrips don't actually care about Caster Level, and you can multi-class freely and still gain improved Cantrips at every Proficiency upgrade. Extra Attack is tied to Barbarian 5. Just another minor problem that all adds up.
    Last edited by Cheesegear; 2021-09-17 at 02:08 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Uuummm...No. That wasn't the point of the scenario at all.

    So when you compare Improved Cantrips and Extra Attack, and then cancel them out:
    - A Wizard gains levelled spells,
    - A Barbarian gets nothing.

    A Barbarian gets no improvement at all. The Wizard gets cool, if limited abilities.
    Bearing in mind that Cantrips don't actually care about Caster Level, and you can multi-class freely and still gain improved Cantrips at every Proficiency upgrade. Extra Attack is tied to Barbarian 5. Just another minor problem that all adds up.
    So point of the scenario was claiming that all barbarian gets is Extra Attack? No rage, no brutal critical, nothing else? Neither is really comparable to what spells bring, but pretending those features don't exist is somewhat dishonest.
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  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    So point of the scenario was claiming that all barbarian gets is Extra Attack?
    At Level 5? Yes.

    No rage, no brutal critical, nothing else?
    And a Necromancer gets to make Thralls.
    And a Diviner gets to do some bulls*.
    An Evoker gets to do half damage with their Cantrips even when they 'miss'.
    And a Bladesinger does...That.

    but pretending those features don't exist is somewhat dishonest.
    I never pretended anything because I'm not talking about class features, because every (sub)class has features. If I was talking about class features...Then Rage sucks and a Barbarian is bad. Luckily, I'm not talking about class features, right? So it would be rather pointless to start ranking class features against each other, because if we started doing that, we'd still find that the Barbarian is bad.
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  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    So point of the scenario was claiming that all barbarian gets is Extra Attack? No rage, no brutal critical, nothing else? Neither is really comparable to what spells bring, but pretending those features don't exist is somewhat dishonest.
    I believe the point was both classes get scaled offense. The Wizard's cantrip scales. The Barbarian gets Extra Attack. However Barbarian 5 is almost completely consumed by Extra Attack (they do get Fast Movement) but Wizard 5 (when the cantrip is buffed to match the Extra Attack buff) is full of 3rd level spells.

    It appears to be a direct comparison of the features gained at 5th level. A comparison that recognizes the cantrip is buffed for free at the same time.

    So Fast Movement vs 3rd level spells?
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-17 at 12:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    I believe the point was both classes get scaled offense. The Wizard's cantrip scales. The Barbarian gets Extra Attack. However Barbarian 5 is almost completely consumed by Extra Attack (they do get Fast Movement) but Wizard 5 (when the cantrip is buffed to match the Extra Attack buff) is full of 3rd level spells.

    It appears to be a direct comparison of the features gained at 5th level. A comparison that recognizes the cantrip is buffed for free at the same time.

    So Fast Movement vs 3rd level spells?
    Eh, I'd compare Fast Movement to increased cantrip damage, personally. Extra Attack is way more significant than an extra dX of damage, especially given as how Extra Attack is an entire new roll (and you natively add your Strength modifier/rage bonus to each damage iteration).

  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    Eh, I'd compare Fast Movement to increased cantrip damage, personally. Extra Attack is way more significant than an extra dX of damage, especially given as how Extra Attack is an entire new roll (and you natively add your Strength modifier/rage bonus to each damage iteration).
    At that level both Cantrips and Extra Attack are roughly x2 buffs to the respective area. So comparing them feels natural.

    However Cantrips are not the ideal action for the Wizard but Attacks are the game plan action for the Barbarian. So comparing them feels a bit off.



    I would not compare Fast Movement to increased cantrip damage. That is way too messy. However under that paradigm should we be complaining Extra Attack vs 2nd -> 3rd level spells? That comparison is very unfavorable to the Barbarian considering the spells increase horizontally by a lot and increase vertically by more than double.


    Mostly I was trying to help bridge the communication issue so they could argue on the same bridge instead of separate barges.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-17 at 12:56 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    Eh, I'd compare Fast Movement to increased cantrip damage, personally. Extra Attack is way more significant than an extra dX of damage, especially given as how Extra Attack is an entire new roll (and you natively add your Strength modifier/rage bonus to each damage iteration).
    So how do you reconcile a Warlock cantrip, the Warlock Cantrip; Eldritch Blast? The commonly accepted baseline for damage? Which scales exactly as Extra Attack does, and makes Ranged Martials look like a joke?

    How do you reconcile something like Acid Splash which hits two targets and also scales its damage?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    However Cantrips are not the ideal action for the Wizard...
    People make Blaster Casters all the time. Evokers (Wizards) and Dragon Sorcerers are built around it. And of course Warlocks are generally considered Blasters by way of how Eldritch Blast works, and let's not even mention Paladins and Eldritch Knight who have Extra Attack and Spells, and then the Barbarian starts to look silly. Everyone knows about the single-level dip just to get Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade...Granted, those two spells are outside the PHB. But those spells also widen the gap quite significantly.

    But unfortunately you've shown your cards.
    Casting Damage Cantrips is not the 'ideal' Action for a caster. You're saying that a Wizard actually can do damage, if they so choose. But there are better things for them to do instead of that. A Wizard can take a sub-optimal Action (i.e; Casting a Cantrip), and still do roughly equivalent damage with the Barbarian, despite for the Wizard, that Cantrip being a sub-optimal use of their Action?
    (I strongly disagree, however. Sometimes a Wizard will run out of slots, or simply decide that burning a spell slot isn't worth it. Sometimes damage-Cantrips are the best choice for a Caster.)

    What does a Barbarian do?
    It casts Greatsword, or it casts Greatsword, but angrier.

    That's the issue I've been saying the entire time:

    A Spellcaster can be good at anything they choose. They can't be good at everything at the same time, sure. But they can be good at anything on an individual character basis, including combat, if that's what the player wants to do (and there are entire subclasses built around being good in combat [e.g; Bladesinger, Swords Bard, Evokers, Tempest Cleric, etc.]). Even if they aren't specifically built for combat, Cantrips scale up regardless of class level, and are practically no-resource abilities that a caster can use at any time. There are many Cantrips that are very useful outside of combat, too, and a Spellcaster gets them as well as the Cantrips that deal damage. In addition to levelled spells that can do pretty much anything, and a lot those scale as well, and a lot of those also have combat application, as well.

    Oh yeah? Well a Barbarian is good in combat.
    Last edited by Cheesegear; 2021-09-17 at 08:04 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #220
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    So how do you reconcile a Warlock cantrip, the Warlock Cantrip; Eldritch Blast? The commonly accepted baseline for damage? Which scales exactly as Extra Attack does, and makes Ranged Martials look like a joke?
    Terrible design.

    Acid splash isn't as bad, mostly because of the extremely limited splash, the fact that it's only a d6, and it doesn't add an ability modifier to damage.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    Acid splash isn't as bad, mostly because of the extremely limited splash
    As opposed to an attack with a 5 ft. range?

    the fact that it's only a d6,
    At Level 5 it does as much damage as a Greatsword.

    and it doesn't add an ability modifier to damage.
    Evokers and Dragon Sorcerers disagree.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    That's the issue I've been saying the entire time:
    I don't disagree with your point. I might have nitpicks for your argument and I might try to clarify your point if someone misses your point. However your general point is right.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    That's the issue I've been saying the entire time:

    A Spellcaster can be good at anything they choose. They can't be good at everything at the same time, sure. But they can be good at anything on an individual character basis, including combat, if that's what the player wants to do (and there are entire subclasses built around being good in combat [e.g; Bladesinger, Swords Bard, Evokers, Tempest Cleric, etc.]). Even if they aren't specifically built for combat, Cantrips scale up regardless of class level, and are practically no-resource abilities that a caster can use at any time. There are many Cantrips that are very useful outside of combat, too, and a Spellcaster gets them as well as the Cantrips that deal damage. In addition to levelled spells that can do pretty much anything, and a lot those scale as well, and a lot of those also have combat application, as well.

    Oh yeah? Well a Barbarian is good in combat.
    You're completely correct. It astounds me that people have been talking about this fundamental imbalance between the classes for like 40 years and we still see threads about how it's the DM's responsibility to bridge this gap. No.

    The system should fix this. The system, D&D's design, shouldn't even create this problem in the first place.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Eldritch Blast? The commonly accepted baseline for damage? Which scales exactly as Extra Attack does, and makes Ranged Martials look like a joke?
    ...well, that's just nonsense.

    Assuming you are comparing apples to apples here, actually comparing damage of the two builds, a fighter or ranger specializing in ranged damage is going to absolutely crush eldritch blast alone in damage. If you toss in the assumption of hex, the ranged martials still win pretty handily.

    Basic, basic crossbow fighter build at 5: 16 dex, +2 from archery, no magic weapon, will deal three swings at 1d6+13. 16.5 damage, or roughly 50 if all three hit. They have 15% less chance to hit than the equivalent eldritch blaster, but 2d10+10 (21) damage is still woefully underperforming, and tossing in 7 damage from hex doesn't really bridge the gap.

    If you want to argue that the eldritch blaster is still better because they can do other stuff, or because you have a sorlock build that quickens eldritch blasts constantly, sure, the gap can be closed that way, but ranged martials are doing just fine in raw damage output.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    > No rage, no brutal critical, nothing else?

    And a Necromancer gets to make Thralls.
    And a Diviner gets to do some bulls*.
    An Evoker gets to do half damage with their Cantrips even when they 'miss'.
    And a Bladesinger does...That.
    Those are subclasses. Barbarians get them too.

    even supposing 2 targets, an acid spalls on a lvl 5 evoker deals between 2d6 and 4d6 damage.
    So a favorable situation & assistance from your subclass gets you about 10 DPR.

    And yet ... just axtra attack with greatsword (2x 2d6+3 supposing 50% miss) ALSO is 10 DPR.

    A barbarian in a favorable situation (able to use his advantage), & assistance from a subclass (zealot, +1d6+2 radiant on first hit per round) gets you about 20 DPR. Twice as much.


    edit: restructured my post
    Last edited by qube; 2021-09-18 at 11:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Panda View Post
    Basic, basic crossbow fighter build at 5: 16 dex, +2 from archery, no magic weapon, will deal three swings at 1d6+13.
    How are you picking up +13 damage? Dex + Archery is only +5 Damage.
    Unless by 'Basic' you mean including one, if not two Feats. Judging by the fact it looks like you're using both Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert with dual Hand Crossbows.

    Neither Sharpshooter, nor Crossbow Expert, is a function of the class. Unless what you really want to say that if a player wants to play a ranged martial, then they are forced to pick up Human, and they are forced to pick up two specific Feats? In that case, you're not talking about the Class. You're talking about how good Variant Human is, and how good two specific Feats are. In which case we probably agree.

    In order for a Class to be good, you shouldn't have to force people into a species and two Feats. But that's my opinion.

    If you want to argue that the eldritch blaster is still better because they can do other stuff...
    That's what the entire thread is about.
    How to keep players engaged when their character sucks at combat?
    How to keep players engaged when their character sucks at non-combat?
    How to keep players engaged when their player sucks at roleplaying?

    My main contention is that the vast majority of Spellcasters won't 'suck at combat', because even basic Cantrips scale decently, especially for the subclasses that are actually based around dealing damage.
    My main contention - and popular opinion - is that the vast majority of Martials will 'suck at non-combat', otherwise why do these threads keep popping up?
    Can't do anything about roleplaying, though. That's entirely down to the individual players at the table.

    but ranged martials are doing just fine in raw damage output.
    Does raw output damage matter? No. You just have to deal enough damage, and that's fairly easy.

    Here's a recent post I made.

    In it, you'll see that at Level 5, if you can deal just ~15 DPR, you're doing fine. Most classes can do this. If your party sucks, and doesn't deal damage, you can increase that by ~15 for each other party member not dealing damage. So, sure, if your party totally sucks, and your dual-wielding Hand Crossbow Fighter needs to deal 50 DPR, then sure. Two of your other party members can sit around with their thumbs up their butts whilst you deal with the boss monster in <3 rounds and force your DM into an arms race.

    To me, the benefit of being a Dual Wielding Hand Crossbower...Is the three attacks per round. As I said, I couldn't care less if you deal 50 damage to a single target, because that just isn't necessary in a game as easy as D&D, is (unless your DM is being unfair and/or deliberately arms racing). Being able to Scorching Ray every single turn, however, is pretty impressive. I'll give you that. Multi-target damage is a lot more difficult to come by than single-target damage.

    The main issue I suppose is resource management. A Dual-Crossbow wielder will drain an entire quiver in 3.5 Rounds, with successively less Bolts for use per encounter. That will cause a problem.

    Most spells, don't use resources, because the game made Foci too good.
    Last edited by Cheesegear; 2021-09-18 at 04:31 AM.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    In order for a Class to be good, you shouldn't have to force people into a species and two Feats. But that's my opinion.
    They aren't. As the the timestamps are so close, you probbably missed my post - but where you invoke the evoker's ability to do damage on a miss - he still gets blown out of the water.

    A wizard in a favorable situation (2 targets) & assistance from a subclass (evoker) - ends up just doing equal damgae to a greatsword with extra attack - because attacks also add modifiers.

    A barbarian in a favorable situation (advantage) & assistance from a subclass (zealot) deals twice as much damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Does raw output damage matter? No.
    Considering mine reply and panda's build was a response to where you asked this.
    So how do you reconcile a Warlock cantrip, the Warlock Cantrip; Eldritch Blast? The commonly accepted baseline for damage? Which scales exactly as Extra Attack does, and makes Ranged Martials look like a joke?

    How do you reconcile something like Acid Splash which hits two targets and also scales its damage?

    Raw output damage matters - it's litterly what you asked for.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    That's the issue I've been saying the entire time:

    A Spellcaster can be good at anything they choose. They can't be good at everything at the same time, sure. But they can be good at anything on an individual character basis, including combat, if that's what the player wants to do (and there are entire subclasses built around being good in combat [e.g; Bladesinger, Swords Bard, Evokers, Tempest Cleric, etc.]). Even if they aren't specifically built for combat, Cantrips scale up regardless of class level, and are practically no-resource abilities that a caster can use at any time. There are many Cantrips that are very useful outside of combat, too, and a Spellcaster gets them as well as the Cantrips that deal damage. In addition to levelled spells that can do pretty much anything, and a lot those scale as well, and a lot of those also have combat application, as well.

    Oh yeah? Well a Barbarian is good in combat.
    That's the crux of the issue. It would be one thing if a barbarian or fighter excelled in combat but took a backseat outside of it. As is the case in many other systems. But they don't excel. They're good at one particular thing, dealing damage, which can be accomplished by other classes and is only one part of success in combat. They trade out versatility for nothing in particular.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymme View Post
    You're completely correct. It astounds me that people have been talking about this fundamental imbalance between the classes for like 40 years and we still see threads about how it's the DM's responsibility to bridge this gap. No.

    The system should fix this. The system, D&D's design, shouldn't even create this problem in the first place.
    Bad news. The system CAN'T fix this, because even if this was fixed..... something else would be broken.

    There is no balance, balance is a unicorn. There is no mathematical model that will make all games balanced, because some one will find a way to break it when it gets exposed to the world.

    The DM, with the ability to set the DCs, choosing enemy actors, enemy actions, create the obstacles, social issues, and the tone of the game IS the system of balance.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Bad news. The system CAN'T fix this, because even if this was fixed..... something else would be broken.

    There is no balance, balance is a unicorn. There is no mathematical model that will make all games balanced, because some one will find a way to break it when it gets exposed to the world.

    The DM, with the ability to set the DCs, choosing enemy actors, enemy actions, create the obstacles, social issues, and the tone of the game IS the system of balance.
    Things can and are balanced within a toleration range. The question is how precise or imprecise a toleration range does the system fall within.

    For many areas D&D has a toleration range comparable to an archer at an archery range shooting their target VS shooting their neighbor's target. Honestly that works out fine. However other areas are like the archer shooting their target VS shooting the audience. Even if we can't narrow down the precision so the archer always splits their previous arrow, we can acknowledge large discrepancies that can be shored up.

    I acknowledge we should expect a larger toleration range in areas with softer rules (exploration, or social).
    I recognize the toleration at lower levels is much much more precise than at high levels. Partially due to WotC's blindspot with spellcasting exploration vs non spellcasting exploration.

    However "balance is impossible" is not the end of the dialogue. It is one of the premises.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-20 at 12:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Things can and are balanced within a toleration range. The question is how precise or imprecise a toleration range does the system fall within.

    For many areas D&D has a toleration range comparable to an archer at an archery range shooting their target VS shooting their neighbor's target. Honestly that works out fine. However other areas are like the archer shooting their target VS shooting the audience. Even if we can't narrow down the precision so the archer always splits their previous arrow, we can acknowledge large discrepancies that can be shored up.

    I acknowledge we should expect a larger toleration range in areas with softer rules (exploration, or social).
    I recognize the toleration at lower levels is much much more precise than at high levels. Partially due to WotC's blindspot with spellcasting exploration vs non spellcasting exploration.

    However "balance is impossible" is not the end of the dialogue. It is one of the premises.
    But that toleration range is different for every table. For me and mine, the system's toleration range (observed) is fine--things are balanced within our toleration range already. And you can't please everyone--the toleration ranges don't necessarily have overlap. If your standard is "must match the highest power people, under the highest-power assumptions, when in a play style that caters to those high-power people and after ignoring all their limitations" (a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one based on what people say they play and expect), that toleration range will not overlap with my toleration range. Something "balanced" for that range will be "broken" for ours, because it makes assumptions that do not hold.

    The genius of 5e was to realize that fact and work for a system that is generally broad and flat, with a wide range of possibilities and large scope for DM involvement to tune things to the particular table. They realized after 3e and 4e that pleasing everyone in one tightly-defined system wasn't possible, and that the appropriate response was to provide the tools for DMs and tables to tune things to their own desires and needs. Provide a toolkit, not a ruleset. There is no intention in 5e that you "play by RAW" or "play as written". The written rules are a starting point for a conversation, and the intent was for the DM (mostly, but also the table) to decide what their own tolerance range was and build content and rules (using the tools provided) for their own enjoyment.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But that toleration range is different for every table. For me and mine, the system's toleration range (observed) is fine--things are balanced within our toleration range already. And you can't please everyone--the toleration ranges don't necessarily have overlap. If your standard is "must match the highest power people, under the highest-power assumptions, when in a play style that caters to those high-power people and after ignoring all their limitations" (a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one based on what people say they play and expect), that toleration range will not overlap with my toleration range. Something "balanced" for that range will be "broken" for ours, because it makes assumptions that do not hold.
    Yes. That is why I said "archer that hits their neighbor's target" was a fine level of precision for the balance toleration range for D&D. Your table probably has a much smaller toleration range (archer hitting their target) but your group's target might not overlap with my group's target. So the RPG should have a larger toleration range so we can filter content for what we want. However having a larger toleration range is not enough unless the non comparables end up inside each group's smaller toleration range.

    For example if many groups will have Tier 3 Barbarians come across level appropriate exploration encounters, it would be nice if varieties Barbarians could engage at those encounters within each group's toleration range. If WotC fails to provide that variety of Barbarians, then the DM will have criticism of the product while they spend time extending D&D to meet their group's needs (needs that D&D advertises as fulfilling).

    Or for another example, when one class's whole level is comparable to part of a class's level. (This is Cheesegear's example, that Kymme was agreeing with, and Easy E was disagreeing with but using an erroneous hyperbole, which I elaborated on, and then you elaborated on agreed with me and disagreed with me). This is a complicated subthread.

    The genius of 5e was to realize that fact and work for a system that is generally broad and flat, with a wide range of possibilities and large scope for DM involvement to tune things to the particular table. They realized after 3e and 4e that pleasing everyone in one tightly-defined system wasn't possible, and that the appropriate response was to provide the tools for DMs and tables to tune things to their own desires and needs. Provide a toolkit, not a ruleset. There is no intention in 5e that you "play by RAW" or "play as written". The written rules are a starting point for a conversation, and the intent was for the DM (mostly, but also the table) to decide what their own tolerance range was and build content and rules (using the tools provided) for their own enjoyment.
    D&D did not change how it was sold. It provides a ruleset, a toolset, a bunch of content, and guidance on how to use the toolset to create different rules and content. However it does sell itself as having viable content and viable rules. If the burden on the DM due to design flaws is greater than advertised, the group has a valid criticism against the product. Yes you can play D&D as massively modded, however D&D advertises itself as having a generally valid default with enough variation to be applicable to a wide variety of tables. When a product does not live up to the sales pitch, expect criticism.

    To be clear the written rules are a starting point for a conversation in every edition. However "homebrew required" was not part of the sale's pitch.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-20 at 05:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But that toleration range is different for every table. For me and mine, the system's toleration range (observed) is fine--things are balanced within our toleration range already. And you can't please everyone--the toleration ranges don't necessarily have overlap. If your standard is "must match the highest power people, under the highest-power assumptions, when in a play style that caters to those high-power people and after ignoring all their limitations" (a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one based on what people say they play and expect), that toleration range will not overlap with my toleration range. Something "balanced" for that range will be "broken" for ours, because it makes assumptions that do not hold.

    The genius of 5e was to realize that fact and work for a system that is generally broad and flat, with a wide range of possibilities and large scope for DM involvement to tune things to the particular table. They realized after 3e and 4e that pleasing everyone in one tightly-defined system wasn't possible, and that the appropriate response was to provide the tools for DMs and tables to tune things to their own desires and needs. Provide a toolkit, not a ruleset. There is no intention in 5e that you "play by RAW" or "play as written". The written rules are a starting point for a conversation, and the intent was for the DM (mostly, but also the table) to decide what their own tolerance range was and build content and rules (using the tools provided) for their own enjoyment.
    You call it genius. Others call it a flaw. The problems of 3E and 4E are not the existence of rules. Very not everyone had a problem with the chassis of 3E as proven by the popularity of Pathfinder when 4E came out. 3E got yelled at here, but people were preaching to the choir. Where 3E faltered was in overvaluing making an attack and the math of the skill system both of which prevented warriors from getting Nice Things. The problem with 4E was basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It gave the complainers the balance they wanted but gutted the game in the process. It worked as a game system, but however undefined and subjective it is to say what makes D&D be D&D, 4E was not it. If anything it showed balance is not the be all end all of what makes a game fun to play.

    The flaw of 5E that many people have of it is exact what you love of it. They don't want to have to make things up. They don't mind making rulings for things, but they don't want to have to make rulings for everything. They totally agree with you that is what 5E was designed and intended to be, but that doesn't make it the best thing ever. It's wonderful the lot of 5E warriors is better than in 3E. They do get Nice Things, but the Nice Things are in combat. Apparently people are wanting class power buttons of Non-Combat Nice Things. Right now all they have is they can only do Nice Non-Combat Things if the DM will let them, the dreaded Mother May I. You love that. That is what they hate.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    D&D did not change how it was sold. It provides a ruleset, a toolset, a bunch of content, and guidance on how to use the toolset to create different rules and content. However it does sell itself as having viable content and viable rules. If the burden on the DM due to design flaws is greater than advertised, the group has a valid criticism against the product. Yes you can play D&D as massively modded, however D&D advertises itself as having a generally valid default with enough variation to be applicable to a wide variety of tables. When a product does not live up to the sales pitch, expect criticism.

    To be clear the written rules are a starting point for a conversation in every edition. However "homebrew required" was not part of the sale's pitch.
    Actually, it very much was part of the pitch. As stated directly in the introduction to the PHB and the DMG. There's a reason that the first chapter of the DMG is "Master of the World". "Rulings over rules" is the fundamental philosophy of 5e. And was explicitly sold that way. It's on the tin. And a very big change from 4e and 3e.

    And it does have viable content and viable rules. Just not for the every use case. As proven by the fact that many DMs run it basically stock and don't run into those issues, and it's only the people playing at the far edge (or beyond) of the intended optimization range that run into these issues at all. That says that the system isn't the part at fault.

    Not only that, but the fixes aren't universally accepted as fixes. They're flaws in the eyes of many people. Which makes them worse than the supposed disease, at least if applied globally (which is what people here want). The whole point is that your table and my table are not the same. We differ. What's a problem for you is not necessarily a problem for me, and vice versa. So the system should allow us to each apply fixes for things we find to be problems and not force one-sized-fits-none fixes. Which is the inevitable result of this whole discussion, were it to be taken seriously by the devs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    You call it genius. Others call it a flaw. The problems of 3E and 4E are not the existence of rules. Very not everyone had a problem with the chassis of 3E as proven by the popularity of Pathfinder when 4E came out. 3E got yelled at here, but people were preaching to the choir. Where 3E faltered was in overvaluing making an attack and the math of the skill system both of which prevented warriors from getting Nice Things. The problem with 4E was basically throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It gave the complainers the balance they wanted but gutted the game in the process. It worked as a game system, but however undefined and subjective it is to say what makes D&D be D&D, 4E was not it. If anything it showed balance is not the be all end all of what makes a game fun to play.

    The flaw of 5E that many people have of it is exact what you love of it. They don't want to have to make things up. They don't mind making rulings for things, but they don't want to have to make rulings for everything. They totally agree with you that is what 5E was designed and intended to be, but that doesn't make it the best thing ever. It's wonderful the lot of 5E warriors is better than in 3E. They do get Nice Things, but the Nice Things are in combat. Apparently people are wanting class power buttons of Non-Combat Nice Things. Right now all they have is they can only do Nice Non-Combat Things if the DM will let them, the dreaded Mother May I. You love that. That is what they hate.
    Mother May I is fundamental to any sort of DM-based game. Or any game without fixed options (ie anything not explicitly permitted is forbidden). It's Mother May I all the way down, from the get go. There's no escaping it. The core of TTRPGs is free-form roleplay. Rules act as a scaffolding around that to assist tables in doing common things easier, not as some sort of contract to be obeyed. 5e just recognizes it and builds around it. 4e and 3e tried to pretend it could be shoved off into a corner. And in doing so made huge messes.

    PF, at its height, is tiny compared to 5e. It basically pulled in all the 3e players...and stopped there. 5e has brought in tons of new players and kept them in the hobby

    Rulings and DM involvement is core to 5e. Wanting that to change is like criticizing peanut brittle by saying "it'd be great if it didn't have peanuts in it". Changing that core would mean rewriting the system from ground up. And I'd bet that it'd not be nearly as popular.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Actually, it very much was part of the pitch. As stated directly in the introduction to the PHB and the DMG. There's a reason that the first chapter of the DMG is "Master of the World". "Rulings over rules" is the fundamental philosophy of 5e. And was explicitly sold that way. It's on the tin. And a very big change from 4e and 3e.

    And it does have viable content and viable rules. Just not for the every use case. As proven by the fact that many DMs run it basically stock and don't run into those issues, and it's only the people playing at the far edge (or beyond) of the intended optimization range that run into these issues at all. That says that the system isn't the part at fault.

    Not only that, but the fixes aren't universally accepted as fixes. They're flaws in the eyes of many people. Which makes them worse than the supposed disease, at least if applied globally (which is what people here want). The whole point is that your table and my table are not the same. We differ. What's a problem for you is not necessarily a problem for me, and vice versa. So the system should allow us to each apply fixes for things we find to be problems and not force one-sized-fits-none fixes. Which is the inevitable result of this whole discussion, were it to be taken seriously by the devs.
    You are right that "ruling over rules" was more vocal in the 5E sales pitch. However it was right there in the 3E documentation. Rulings always trumped rules. I notice you bolded my "However "homebrew required" was not part of the sale's pitch." statement but then switched to talking about rulings rather than homebrewing.

    If many DMs are running basically stock, and have criticisms about the product they purchased, those criticisms are valid criticisms. You are arguing that all criticism should shut up. I understand that some proposed fixes are more accepted and others are not. I welcome those discussions. Having that open dialog is better than telling everyone "criticism is inherently wrong, go shut up". Which is why I have been promoting the sharing of views and empathy for those with different views.

    I don't accept your theory that criticism is a disease. I can accept the middle ground that we should empathize with the diversity of playstyles in the playerbase. However that also requires accepting that consumers can have valid criticisms of products they purchased.

    PS: Also you might want to listen to more criticism if you think it is all "one-size-fits-none" fixes. Most criticism is about "Oh can Barbarian also come in sizes with more out of combat features?".
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-20 at 06:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    You are right that "ruling over rules" was more vocal in the 5E sales pitch. However it was right there in the 3E documentation. Rulings always trumped rules. I notice you bolded my "However "homebrew required" was not part of the sale's pitch." statement but then switched to talking about rulings rather than homebrewing.

    If many DMs are running basically stock, and have criticisms about the product they purchased, those criticism are valid criticisms. You are arguing that all criticism should shut up. I understand that some proposed fixes are more accepted and others are not. I welcome those discussions. Having that open dialog is better than telling everyone "criticism is inherently wrong, go shut up". Which is why I have been promoting the sharing of views and empathy for those with different views.

    I don't accept your theory that criticism is a disease. I can accept the middle ground that we should empathize with the diversity of playstyles in the playerbase. However that also requires accepting that consumers can have valid criticisms of products they purchased.

    PS: Also you might want to listen to more criticism if you think it is all "one-size-fits-none" fixes. Most criticism is about "Oh can Barbarian also come in sizes with more out of combat features?".
    There is no difference between rulings and homebrew. None at all. In fact, there is no difference between rules and homebrew, other than that some people want to artificially impose a distinction. And 3e wasn't so friendly to rulings, especially at the cultural level. There's a very strong culture of "RAW or die" and a suspicion of anything that departs from RAW-as-understood-by-the-internet-zeitgiest in the 3e forums especially. And 4e tried to sweep it under the rug as much as possible. 3e and 4e tried to fix "bad DMs" and "bad experiences" by changing the underlying system, and that failed. As accepted and openly acknowledged by the designers of 5e. They realized (and have said as much in open interviews) that that path only made the problem worse and drove away anyone who didn't agree with the specific fix.

    5e was designed around the idea that DMs will have to do more work, that the rules and content as they exist are not complete and not intended to be complete. And that different parts need different amounts of DM involvement. Combat, being a highly specified thing already with high risks for characters, has lots of specific rules and features. The lower prevalence of features for other things does not mean that those characters can't get involved or that they should just butt out. That's button-itis, the idea that you have to have a specific feature to do anything. And that's a 4e mentality and was explicitly repudiated by 5e's design and developers.

    And I never said that criticism is a disease. I merely believe that the existence of complaints does not mean that the developers should change things. And that most of the changes proposed here would be negative for my tables, and that the best one to fix the ultra-vast majority of issues that arise is the individual DM, explicitly because tables differ. I do believe that people on these forums are too quick to attribute issues that arise to the system, rather than taking ownership and looking at how they're playing. Or accepting that not everything caters to all tastes. But that's human nature. It's completely fine to not like something. What's not fine (in my eyes) is to say that the design is bad because it doesn't meet your taste. To equate "things I don't like" with "things that are bad".

    Some people who use it stock don't have issues (or at least not those specific ones). Some who use it stock do have those specific issues. In many cases (but not all), the issues arise from departing strongly from the anticipated and supported path. And by doing so, those issues that are caused by non-supported behavior aren't issues with the system. And shouldn't be solved by changes to the system. They should be solved (where they arise) by the people best suited to diagnose and fix them--the individual DMs.

    And not all changes are fixes for issues. There are lots of things I've changed not because I thought they didn't work, but because I liked a different way better. Being able to separate the two is necessary. In fact, I can't really think of anything that I've changed because it was actually non-functional or causing issues. Most changes were aesthetic in nature or to tune things toward my preferred style a bit better. But it works as written, as long as you play within the expected and supported regime. I don't blame pitchforks for being bad soup spoons, after all.

    The existence of issues does not imply that fixes are necessary (at a global level) and the existence of changes does not imply that there are issues. That's 100% of my point. And I'm sick and tired of people claiming otherwise and attacking people who don't see the issues or who dislike the proposed fixes as somehow being sycophants or polyannas.

    I'm a software developer. At the beginning of this project, we did a lot of changes and made a lot of core assumptions that were caused by "someone complained about X/didn't like X." As it turns out, now we have to go back and rip out those changes and redo those assumptions, because it turns out they led us down paths that weren't productive and were, in large measure, due to people using things in :sideways_owl: ways. The existence of criticism does not imply the correctness of criticism or the necessity to change things. Because the amount of criticism for anything out there is unbounded. There will always be critics. It's more important to take a stand, have a firm idea of what you want, and accept that not everyone will like it. Because the alternative is an utter mess. That doesn't mean all criticism is invalid, but that there must be an external, independent metric to decide what is valid and what is not beyond "some people don't like it."

    Edit: a large part of my job is taking bug reports and deciding if they are real defects or not. You know what? We end up closing lots of reported things as "working as designed; if you want a change, put in a feature request and we'll consider it. But no guarantees." And that's as it should be. The reference point is the design specifications and requirements. Not all things that people don't like are defects. And what's a bug for one person might be a feature for someone else. Someone has criticism =/=> there are real problems. And conversely, lots of the real problems go undiscovered by users who never trigger the specific cases. So the non-existence of issues (in a particular area) =/=> the non-existence of problems. Problems exist. Issues exist. But those aren't the same set. And the set of "issues that should be fixed by the developer" isn't even a strict subset of "all issues people have". It's a separate set that overlaps both of the two in some areas.

    Edit 2: Furthermore, complaining on these forums is pointless, even if problems really exist. Because the developers don't read these forums and don't use them as sources for changes even if they did. All it does is poison the well. It's much more productive to say "ok, I had these issues. Whether or not they're system issues or table issues or taste issues is irrelevant. How can I make them better, because I want to do right by my table?" Talk about "X is weak, nerf Y/buff X, etc" doesn't do anyone a lick of good in actually solving real issues at their tables. But it does poison minds to the idea that maybe, just maybe, those issues were due to other factors or blind theorycrafting in white rooms. They poison players against a willingness to make it work, against the idea that tables differ and what's a problem at one may not be at another.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    There is no difference between rulings and homebrew. None at all.
    That is not true. At least, not under the definitions I know.

    A ruling is where you make a decision regarding something not covered by the rules, or where you forgot the relevant rules and decide table time is more important than looking up the real RAW. An example of this could be "What's the DC to swing on a rope around a tree to get around behind the shield wall and kick the sergeant's head? And what kind of skill check is it?"

    Homebrew is a wholesale creation, inserted as part of the rules. I've got a lot of examples of that, but it'd be something like adding a new feat, or class, or magic item. There's no rules grey area that's being addressed-you're outright adding more content.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    That is not true. At least, not under the definitions I know.

    A ruling is where you make a decision regarding something not covered by the rules, or where you forgot the relevant rules and decide table time is more important than looking up the real RAW. An example of this could be "What's the DC to swing on a rope around a tree to get around behind the shield wall and kick the sergeant's head? And what kind of skill check is it?"

    Homebrew is a wholesale creation, inserted as part of the rules. I've got a lot of examples of that, but it'd be something like adding a new feat, or class, or magic item. There's no rules grey area that's being addressed-you're outright adding more content.
    That's an entirely artificial definition, designed to put separation where there isn't such a thing.

    The only thing that exists is rules as played at any table. "Official" content has no greater weight; printed rules are not privileged. RAW is not some binding contract, and never claims to be. The reverse is very much the case. That's what "rulings over rules" means--that rulings are all that matter. The printed text is one source for tables to decide on the real rules. But not a special one with extra weight or binding force. There are only rulings about specific cases. The source of those is irrelevant once you sit down at the table and play. Which is the only thing that matters.

    Edit: in fact, even the act of deciding whether a given piece of text applies (or what rule to apply more generally) is a ruling. Rulings are fundamentally the application of rules (from whatever source) to the game. The source is utterly irrelevant once you've started playing.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    "Official" content has no greater weight; printed rules are not privileged.
    Wrong

    Changing the printed rules, requires DM and/or player permission. That's actually how you know that printed rules are privileged.
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    Default Re: Let's Get Real - the DM's responsibility is balance

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    There is no difference between rulings and homebrew. None at all. In fact, there is no difference between rules and homebrew, other than that some people want to artificially impose a distinction.
    Odd. I notice generating homebrew takes considerably more effort than making a ruling. I suspect many GMs feel the same. I hope that is not new information.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And 3e wasn't so friendly to rulings, especially at the cultural level.
    Your representation of the forum is much more hyperbolic demonization than I (or others) remember. Furthermore I saw no problems at my playgroups.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    5e was designed around the idea that DMs will have to do more work, that the rules and content as they exist are not complete and not intended to be complete.
    Rules? Yes, the skill system made that clear. Content? No. Not in the slightest. WotC still printed completed content. I saw no "homebrew required" sticker on Cleric class.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The lower prevalence of features for other things does not mean that those characters can't get involved or that they should just butt out. That's button-itis, the idea that you have to have a specific feature to do anything. And that's a 4e mentality and was explicitly repudiated by 5e's design and developers.
    That is "One-size-fits-none-its" right there. Why is it wrong when I don't do it but right when you do do it?

    Many GMs want the characters to have specific features that do something for the non combat pillars. That is not the same as wanting PCs to have to have the feature in order to do the something. That is not the same as the PCs only being able to use those buttons. That is not the same as the players deciding to butt out. That is not the same as the GMs ignoring the issue.

    You probably disagree with those optional features even existing. Even if your rulings can have your group unaffected. However those groups with those problems have valid experiences and issues. They have valid criticism.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And I never said that criticism is a disease.
    The consistent tone of your posts is all criticism is inherently invalid. If that is not what you mean then say so. Make it clear that you are not trying to squelch all criticism. Or if that is what you mean then stop bothering me with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Some people who use it stock don't have issues (or at least not those specific ones). Some who use it stock do have those specific issues. In many cases (but not all), the issues arise from departing strongly from the anticipated and supported path. And by doing so, those issues that are caused by non-supported behavior aren't issues with the system. And shouldn't be solved by changes to the system. They should be solved (where they arise) by the people best suited to diagnose and fix them--the individual DMs.
    Which specific issues? This has been about criticism in general. You replied to me this time.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    [B]The existence of issues does not imply that fixes are necessary (at a global level)
    However it does mean that those criticisms are valid. Those critics don't need to go shut up.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Edit: a large part of my job is taking bug reports and deciding if they are real defects or not. You know what? We end up closing lots of reported things as "working as designed; if you want a change, put in a feature request and we'll consider it. But no guarantees." And that's as it should be.
    Respectfully, it sounds like you are taking your work home with you. (I work in a similar area)
    This is a forum, not WotC's bug report board.
    You are a poster, not WotC's anti bug report spam officer.
    You don't have to try to squelch critique here. You can if you want, I just disagree with it. Honest open discussion is better than "go shut up".
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-09-20 at 08:33 PM.

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