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(Ars Technica)   "Dungeons & Dragons Next"...begun, the Nerd Wars have   (arstechnica.com) divider line 202
    More: Interesting, Dungeons & Dragons, classic games, Wizards of the Coast, Gary Gygax, cohesiveness, Mike Mearls, PAX  
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7232 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Sep 2012 at 2:12 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-09-17 11:33:49 AM

NowhereMon: Meh,
My group is fully invested in Pathfinder, I don't think there is any going back at this point.


Yup, Pathfinder took 3.5 - which wasn't broken - and improved all the areas that needed improvement, plus left it pretty much backwards compatable. D&D 4 was a money grabbing scheme, heck they even brought about a "Cataclysm" in Faerun to invalidate all your old Faerun books so you'd have to buy all their new ones. Wow, a cataclysm, that's original.

Fark WotC right in the ear, Pathfinder rocks.
 
2012-09-17 11:50:11 AM

Confabulat: I tried D&D in real life in like sixth grade. Then I realized I didn't actually want to PRETEND I was a character in a game I was playing.

Thankfully video games came along around that time and made that sort of nonsense obsolete except for rare groups of extreme nerds nowadays.

Technology has made your endless painting of silly models sort of silly now, D&D old-schoolers. Still love that AD&D Monster Manual book from my preteens though. Yum, succubi!


I can't speak for the rest of D&D players, but the idea of being a character in the story was the main thing that made me interested on play RPG's. Combat is tons of fun, but to me is even more fun when I can get into the character and picture myself on the scene. Also, how you play the character and interact with your partners and with the NPCs is something that never quite felt on video games (I'm the only good guy on a group of chaotic neutrals, to me it's exciting and infuriating at the same time).

Love videogames, but when it comes to RPGs, I've enjoyed D&D sessions more than any other videogame on the genre.

/Aware of the trolling possibility.
 
2012-09-17 11:54:06 AM

Epicedion: I'll say I've been kind of bummed out by character levels in my games, lately. I like the idea of characters getting better, and gaining new spells and abilities and whatnot, but I don't like how the game is shoehorned into keeping up with the players. I've said it before, but D&D is essentially a game of a couple dozen villages, where village 1 is being attacked by Orcs and village 20 is being attacked by greater demons of the abyss, and the players move from one village to the next in a line.


Ah! That's a good way to put what I've been thinking for years.

That mostly happened, I think, because they ditched "XP for Treasure" and went fully "XP for Kills".

That's how we got to the point where you've got to stack 8 character levels and a template onto a set of goblins because you've got a 10th level party, and they're still killing monsters and not busy raising armies or building strongholds.

Once you dial back the number inflation, flattening out HP/BAB especially, that pack of goblins can *stay* at 1 HD and still be a threat - and you don't need 1,000 of them either, because you're mowing through them to get to the 8HD Goblin King who has the treasure that is the rest of your XP gain.

The game above's that I ran (Adventerer, Conquerer, King) domain system allows for XP/level advancement just by running a barony/etc: if you're making gold off of your holding in excess of some level determined by size of domain, that "profit" equals XP.
 
2012-09-17 12:01:18 PM

RoyFokker'sGhost: Sort of. 3rd Ed was actually designed around the idea of fitting in a a full 1-20 campaign within 6 months. There was a survey done while they were writing up 3rd Ed, and the result was that the average campaign or group lasted 6 months before breaking up for whatever reason. So, Monte Cook and the others focused on how to get the most out of those 6 months in terms of character advancement & gear.


Well, the way that I mean it is that what constitutes 'powerful gear' became much, much higher in 3rd Ed in large part because of the inflation of stats. A sword +5 is a much bigger deal in a world where a 15th level fighter has around 90 HP and a -4 AC than in one where a 15th level fighter has around 140 HP and 35 armor.

That plus the CR system ensured that your characters needed to constantly have magical items dumped on them to keep them up to speed. You had to purposefully go against design to stop the breakneck power gain, and even then once the characters became sufficiently powerful they could fire up the breakneck power gain again.

mark.jms: That mostly happened, I think, because they ditched "XP for Treasure" and went fully "XP for Kills".


I've always preferred XP per encounter/adventure and basing it on actual player risk. If their current quest is to stop bandit raids on the villages, a per-kill system actually penalizes the players for any action but a massacre. Convincing the bandits to agree to a truce where they become mercenaries of the town rather than parasites should be worth MORE XP than killing half of the bandits and driving the other half away.

Not to say that an XP value for kills isn't a useful tool, but it's more useful in determining the basic value of an encounter rather than the primary method of distribution.

Epicedion: I still have no idea how level 1 commoners have a life expectancy of more than a week. Just getting from the farm to the market has got to be pretty deadly.


I have no idea how they're even around in the first place. This is a world where a few magicians could replace thousands of stupid peasants with elemental/golem slaves and can wish any mundane object into existence. Why have mud farmers when you can put a mud golem in a summoning circle and have him shiat all the mud you need into a handy collection bin? Hell, even a standard magical item vendor deals in tons of gold per customer.

Epicedion: The issue still remains that if your 15th level characters want to fight a damn orc, the orc has to be the Lord God Emperor of All Orc-kin Through Time and Space, or he's less threatening than a legless kitten.


Well, a big part of the standard narrative is that players are facing a threat stronger than themselves and can manage to overcome the threat by their guile and cunning. You're fighting Gozer, a walking God, so you take a risk and cross the beams and save the day. The Ghostbusters didn't have a power level of over 9000, but they won anyway.

That entire concept, when applied to enemies, makes for much more interesting gameplay. I don't believe a Big Bad should be particularly stronger than the waves that you mowed through. Head Orc of Orc Mountain shouldn't be much more than a slightly stronger orc. He should threaten the players not by simply throwing mindless Orc Fodder at the players, but by intelligently using his resources. One shaman casts an illusion spell that makes it seem like a dozen orcs are tromping around the forest, totally unaware of the PCs. The PC's, seeing the opportunity, get the jump on the illusions, the orcs get the jump on the players. One round of flat footed crossbow fire into the PC's knocks a few levels of strength off the players. Add in casters that focus on disabling threats and you have much, much rougher combat - a hold person on your tankiest character, archers focusing on your wizard, that kind of thing. Leveraging situations lets a dozen orcs become a much harder, much more tense encounter despite not just making them a bunch of Mook +2's. Using (read: abusing) illusion magic to scare/confuse the players every few encounters is a straightforward way of making them nervous.

The whole trope of monsters either being too dumb to act intelligently or too powerful to pay attention to the players until it's too late is the root cause of a lot of the problems with encounter scaling.
 
2012-09-17 12:04:22 PM

Confabulat: I tried D&D in real life in like sixth grade. Then I realized I didn't actually want to PRETEND I was a character in a game I was playing.

Thankfully video games came along around that time and made that sort of nonsense obsolete except for rare groups of extreme nerds nowadays.

Technology has made your endless painting of silly models sort of silly now, D&D old-schoolers. Still love that AD&D Monster Manual book from my preteens though. Yum, succubi!


I don't know if you're trolling or not, but I actually feel the same way. I tried advanced D&D in Jr. High and as much as I wanted to love it, I just couldn't get into it. Granted I just had my younger brother to play with and a few friends that I begged to play. Grew up in the country so there wasn't many people interested in it...

Excited 'cause my discounted copy of Dark Souls arrives today for my 360.

//carry on
 
2012-09-17 12:14:12 PM

zarberg: NowhereMon: Meh,
My group is fully invested in Pathfinder, I don't think there is any going back at this point.

Yup, Pathfinder took 3.5 - which wasn't broken - and improved all the areas that needed improvement, plus left it pretty much backwards compatable. D&D 4 was a money grabbing scheme, heck they even brought about a "Cataclysm" in Faerun to invalidate all your old Faerun books so you'd have to buy all their new ones. Wow, a cataclysm, that's original.

Fark WotC right in the ear, Pathfinder rocks.


I am also a Pathfinder fan. In addition, I've never liked 4e. However, I think it might be a bit much to say it was a money grab. Like any product, they needed to spread to a new audience, and reflect current trends in the demographics. MMOs were really bringing in new audiences to the RPG market. WoTC can't always rely on the transfers from 2e to 3e to just keep going. They need fresh blood from adjacent markets. So they created something that was basically a tabletop MMO. Very good idea, in fact. Doesn't interest a lot of people in their core audience, but I get why they did it. Now, they seem to be adding a stronger war-gaming audience (face it, miniatures bring in the dough, and modern audiences like the visuals).

The great advantage to being a fan of RPGs is that they can't be taken away. I'm not upset about 4e, because they can't "take away" 3e or Pathfinder, which will still give me decades of enjoyment. The books are out there, the rest is up to the players and the GMs. Source material can be created by anyone with a brain and some time. MMO servers can shut down. Miniatures can stop being produced. Card gaming can make decks dependent on new expansions. But if you like 2e, and want to run a dungeon crawl and bludgeon yourself with THAC0 calculations, there is no difference in the experience now vs. 15 years ago. And so while I'm not a fan of 4e, and will be critical of it and push for improvements, I can't get mad about it because what I love can't be taken away.
 
2012-09-17 12:17:11 PM

sprawl15: Well, the way that I mean it is that what constitutes 'powerful gear' became much, much higher in 3rd Ed in large part because of the inflation of stats. A sword +5 is a much bigger deal in a world where a 15th level fighter has around 90 HP and a -4 AC than in one where a 15th level fighter has around 140 HP and 35 armor.

That plus the CR system ensured that your characters needed to constantly have magical items dumped on them to keep them up to speed. You had to purposefully go against design to stop the breakneck power gain, and even then once the characters became sufficiently powerful they could fire up the breakneck power gain again.


Yes, this is a huge pain in the ass.

The extra problem is that 2nd edition AD&D is a sheerly awful mess of conflicting systems, so you can't actually say that it's any more fun to play. It's been 20 years and I still can't wrap my head around the grappling rules or how the hell a player scores a Haymaker.

sprawl15: I have no idea how they're even around in the first place. This is a world where a few magicians could replace thousands of stupid peasants with elemental/golem slaves and can wish any mundane object into existence. Why have mud farmers when you can put a mud golem in a summoning circle and have him shiat all the mud you need into a handy collection bin? Hell, even a standard magical item vendor deals in tons of gold per customer.


Yes, in a world where the average person maybe makes 50 gold pieces in a year, you'll totally find a buyer for that 16,000 gold piece sword, and there's a wizard selling 500 gold piece single-use scrolls off the shelf.

sprawl15: Well, a big part of the standard narrative is that players are facing a threat stronger than themselves and can manage to overcome the threat by their guile and cunning. You're fighting Gozer, a walking God, so you take a risk and cross the beams and save the day. The Ghostbusters didn't have a power level of over 9000, but they won anyway.


When did players ever have guile and/or cunning?

sprawl15: The whole trope of monsters either being too dumb to act intelligently or too powerful to pay attention to the players until it's too late is the root cause of a lot of the problems with encounter scaling.


No, it's not. Providing a challenging, interesting encounter to high-level characters requires scaling the enemies to within a certain range of the characters.
 
2012-09-17 12:20:09 PM

DarkPascual: I'm totally new to D&D (always wanted to play, never found anyone interested on my group of friends until recently), so I've been playing 4th Edition.

It could be because I'm a complete newbie, but I've been having TONS of fun so far. The combat systems is easy for me to understand and I really love play the part (Lawful Good Avenger, was a Dragonborn Paladin, but seems to be that I build it wrong so I had to roll a new character). I understand that previous editions are way harder so 4e seems to look like a dumbing down of the game, but for those of us who are new to the game, it's really cool.

/Want to try Chtulhu Tech some time.


I feel the same, I played 3.5 but I felt that I was punished for not picking the "right" build.

I found that 3.5 lent itself every well to min/maxing and complicated combat rules.

The problem with 4e was it launched incomplete, only a third of the players guide, no hybrid class rules, etc. It alienated a lot of people right away.
 
2012-09-17 12:22:52 PM
No love for Call of Cthulhu?

/The adventure will always end in A) Insanity B) gunplay the insanity C) explosions D) Prison then Insanity E) rarely death.
//"I know that little old lady is a deep one. I'm going to torture the true out of her by putting my cigarette out in her eye"
///"So the .600 nitro-express has no effect on it?!?"
////FYI - the little old lady was a deep one.
//MA-DEUCE FTW BABY!
 
2012-09-17 12:27:37 PM

Zulthar: No love for Call of Cthulhu?

/The adventure will always end in A) Insanity B) gunplay the insanity C) explosions D) Prison then Insanity E) rarely death.
//"I know that little old lady is a deep one. I'm going to torture the true out of her by putting my cigarette out in her eye"
///"So the .600 nitro-express has no effect on it?!?"
////FYI - the little old lady was a deep one.
//MA-DEUCE FTW BABY!


Just follow along at the back of the party with your eyes closed and never read any of the books.
 
2012-09-17 12:29:37 PM

PacManDreaming: dahmers love zombie: still use 2nd edition

I always liked AD&D with 2nd edition settings and background material.


Still my fave too. Probably because it was the one I learned on. THACO! I remember devouring the PHB the day I got it. Then the supplements came... That is still where D&D goes downhill. I guess that is up to the player in particular. Some are lawyers and some push through and some just dwell on logistics of opening a door for an hour lol. I unfortunately traded all of my 2ed stuff to my dealer in college for his wares once he got into it. Hope you continue to have fun playing. My csb is I recently got my wife and her friend into playing a campaign. So far fun, but I've been keeping the kid gloves on. We are using 3ed. My main gripe being the layout of the books lol. Take care :)

/That one soceress in the dmg from 2ed with the black thong--whew.
//goes to half.com
 
2012-09-17 12:31:15 PM

PacManDreaming: dahmers love zombie: still use 2nd edition

I always liked AD&D with 2nd edition settings and background material.


Alqadim was undervalued. Spelljammer, Dark Sun and Planescape were great twists on standard campaign settings. For fast paced storytelling i always enjoyed the old west end games star wars.they seemed to "get" how to do away with tons of tables without going fullbore larp.
 
2012-09-17 12:33:35 PM

Epicedion:
The extra problem is that 2nd edition AD&D is a sheerly awful mess of conflicting systems, so you can't actually say that it's any more fun to play. It's been 20 years and I still can't wrap my head around the grappling rules or how the hell a player scores a Haymaker.



HA! Oh wow, I totally forgot that existed. I think that was the first time I'd encountered the word 'Haymaker' in print?

There are many unarmed/grappling rule systems in the world that are best left forgotten.
 
2012-09-17 12:33:45 PM
Instead of Axefold, they should have called the town Axewound. That's about as close as any of these guys are gonna get
 
2012-09-17 12:34:40 PM

Fano: For fast paced storytelling i always enjoyed the old west end games star wars.they seemed to "get" how to do away with tons of tables without going fullbore larp.


I actually enjoyed it for the tinker-ability of the ships and stuff. It had the best ships. The Force rules were pants-on-head, though. I don't think a Star Wars RPG has ever gotten Jedi right.
 
2012-09-17 12:37:03 PM

Epicedion: Fano: For fast paced storytelling i always enjoyed the old west end games star wars.they seemed to "get" how to do away with tons of tables without going fullbore larp.

I actually enjoyed it for the tinker-ability of the ships and stuff. It had the best ships. The Force rules were pants-on-head, though. I don't think a Star Wars RPG has ever gotten Jedi right.


Also, for the love of crap, how have they made two Star Wars MMOs and neither of them have interesting spaceships? The movies are half set on spaceships!

And no X-Wing/TIE Fighter game in over a decade? WTF?
 
2012-09-17 12:43:18 PM

Epicedion: No, it's not. Providing a challenging, interesting encounter to high-level characters requires scaling the enemies to within a certain range of the characters.


The entire point is that "within a certain range" is a much wider range than it appears if the DM is willing to put in a little work. Simply throwing endless waves of mindless mooks of a roughly appropriate CR at the players is lazy DM'ing.

The big thing with high level characters is the amount of power they can sling, and bads are normally shackled by DM's not wanting to be unfair. There's no reason why the players couldn't walk around a corner into three wizards, who immediately disintegrate the first three people in the party. So the DM either doesn't have those wizards know that spell, or they provide magical items/protections to prevent that before hand, which is pretty much the same thing.

The original Tomb of Horrors, for all its flaws, is a pretty good example of a dungeon designed by someone wanting to fark the players long and hard. Sure, it's totally unfair, but that's kind of the point. A powerful creature wanting to be left alone isn't going to make at least one of the three chests have rad loot in it that coincidentally helps the players overcome later traps. There's no reason why the monsters the NPCs face shouldn't have a similar mindset (though obviously with less daunting resources). The kobolds shouldn't play fair. They should know right away that marching right into the players' swords is a quick death and should be focusing on tricks and 'farking bullshiat' to harass the players and drain their resources.

(Of course, the overreliance on traps and no-save instagibs made it not a particularly fun dungeon beyond one drunken night of experimentation, but it's still a pretty good example of significant threat that doesn't need to scale to remain very dangerous.)

Epicedion: I don't think a Star Wars RPG has ever gotten Jedi right.


I don't think it's possible to get Jedi 'right' as long as they're accessible to PC's.
 
2012-09-17 12:45:48 PM

Toriko: Relatively Obscure: since people are posting various RPG covers

Yep, like Alternity too. Best SciFi  RPG I've played and while we are at it... 
 
ArcadianRefugee: [earthdawn.nerps.net image 454x253]
 
I also enjoyed EarthDawn. I like the RP of having an art to proove you weren't tainted by the horrors, but I also loved the compromise of having open-ended crits. It makes using a lighter weapon like a dagger a bit more fun. 

 


What cracked me up the most about Earthdawn was this was pretty much what one attack roll turned into after a while:

www.coyotethunder.com 

On the bright side, it let me use every damn die in my bag. Even the old gnarled up d12 my friend's basset hound chewed up.
 
2012-09-17 12:47:41 PM
upload.wikimedia.org

Can't remember the edition but definitely felt like a masochist while playing a character.
 
2012-09-17 12:49:24 PM

dahmers love zombie: doglover: Our local group's been playing Next since it was released two months ago, subs.

Did I say "begun, the Nerd Wars will"? I think not.

/still use 2nd edition
//I attack the darkness


I have 4x 4" binders of material I wrote for Forgotten realms under the 2nd eddition...Added to Undermountain, Myth Drannor, Menzoberranzen, and waterdeep boxed sets and the 4E will never touch my table. Not a single player in my campaign has ever questioned this decision either.
 
2012-09-17 12:50:54 PM
sprawl15:
mark.jms: That mostly happened, I think, because they ditched "XP for Treasure" and went fully "XP for Kills".

I've always preferred XP per encounter/adventure and basing it on actual player risk. If their current quest is to stop bandit raids on the villages, a per-kill system actually penalizes the players for any action but a massacre. Convincing the bandits to agree to a truce where they become mercenaries of the town rather than parasites should be worth MORE XP than killing half of the bandits and driving the other half away.

Not to say that an XP value for kills isn't a useful tool, but it's more useful in determining the basic value of an encounter rather than the primary method of distribution.


Oh, sure. Every DM does, as far as I've ever heard, though I'm not sure of a (major) game that's codified that as the only reward system? (I'm looking forward to the answers on that one, may find a forgotten gem of a game)

I'd actually argue that XP-for-Treasure puts players in the right mindset to start playing in a way that make XP-for-Actions work, after they realize getting the gold without the fight, when able, eliminates risk for the same reward. Once you've gotten them in that state, reducing the gold and handing out XP -for-action naturally follows.

Plus it works in-game too - that Lawful 13th Level Baron used to be just as mercenary as any other 1st level fighter before he got to a point where he wanted to cement his legend in the world.
 
2012-09-17 12:54:08 PM
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com
 
2012-09-17 12:57:50 PM

Epicedion: I'll say I've been kind of bummed out by character levels in my games, lately. I like the idea of characters getting better, and gaining new spells and abilities and whatnot, but I don't like how the game is shoehorned into keeping up with the players. I've said it before, but D&D is essentially a game of a couple dozen villages, where village 1 is being attacked by Orcs and village 20 is being attacked by greater demons of the abyss, and the players move from one village to the next in a line.

Yes, yes, intricate stories and whatnot, but we're talking about game systems here.

D&D is a game about never being able to unring a bell. The cultists you fought at 1st level are (necessarily) laughably weak compared to your characters even just a few levels down the road, so the cultists you fight at level 5 have to by immensely powerful compared to your characters at 1st level -- and unless your DM is a total jerk, you won't encounter into them in reverse order. The game ridiculously scales beneath the characters' feet.

Early editions (2nd and prior) of the game actually made efforts to level off the power curve by limiting hit points over some level, capping AC at -10, etc. The latest trend is to just keep exploding.


In theory, the D&D sets (beginner, expert, companion, master, immortal) worked the scale by increasing the scope of your actions (small dungeon raids, then the outdoors, then running a small territory, to actual wars, then the quest for immortality, followed by dimension bending adventures)

In practice, DM's just kept giving stronger monsters to whack.

The legend of Tucker's Kobolds needs to be ingrained into every DM's head. Powergamers always gonna powergame, the trick is to not give in to that.

BTW, the mention of MERP made me smile. The critical hit table was spectacular, and I never ran a game since the manual implied that for locks and traps you pretty much were supposed to design working ones yourself.
 
2012-09-17 12:58:14 PM

sprawl15: The entire point is that "within a certain range" is a much wider range than it appears if the DM is willing to put in a little work. Simply throwing endless waves of mindless mooks of a roughly appropriate CR at the players is lazy DM'ing.


Yes, yes, but eventually the PCs are actually going to fight something. Every monster can't be an aberrant intelligence. Sometimes it's just a horde of orcs. The hobgoblins might try to attack with tactical advantage, but after a few levels, tactical advantage isn't sufficient. After a few more levels, they're completely worthless as threats unless you inject them with super-soldier serum.

Essentially, a campaign can't both A) abide by the rules for leveling and gear and whatnot, and B) be about "reasonable" threats the whole time. Just like you can't throw a dragon into the mix at 1st level, you can't throw 3,872 orcs into the mix at 10th. The game handles both situations poorly.
 
2012-09-17 01:11:12 PM
ED: You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a gazebo.
ERIC: A gazebo? What color is it?
ED: (Pause) It's white, Eric.
ERIC: How far away is it?
ED: About fifty yards.
ERIC: How big is it?
ED: (Pause) It's about thirty feet across, fifteen feet high, with a pointed top.
ERIC: I use my sword to detect good on it.
ED: It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Pause) I call out to it.
ED: It won't answer. It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Pause) I sheathe my sword and draw my bow and arrows. Does it respond in any way?
ED: No, Eric, it's a gazebo!
ERIC: I shoot it with my bow (roll to hit). What happened?
ED: There is now a gazebo with an arrow sticking out of it.
ERIC: (Pause) Wasn't it wounded?
ED: Of course not, Eric! It's a gazebo!
ERIC: (Whimper) But that was a plus three arrow!
ED: It's a gazebo, Eric, a gazebo! If you really want to try to destroy it, you could try to chop it with an axe, I suppose, or you could try to burn it, but I don't know why anybody would even try. It's a *)@#! gazebo!
ERIC: (Long pause. He has no axe or fire spells.) I run away.
ED: (Thoroughly frustrated) It's too late. You've woken up the gazebo, and it catches you and eats you.
ERIC: (Reaching for his dice) Maybe I'll roll up a fire-using mage so I can avenge my Paladin.
 
2012-09-17 01:19:36 PM
25.media.tumblr.com
 
2012-09-17 01:24:53 PM
There's no war here. Real gamers will continue to use modified 2nd edition, posers that stop gaming when their girlfriend/wife finally has a kid will continue to play everything else. Nothing new under the sun.

/I keed
//if you like the system, play it!
 
2012-09-17 01:27:57 PM

sprawl15: I don't think it's possible to get Jedi 'right' as long as they're accessible to PC's.


I think it's possible, but you have to find a way to make the other characters equivalently awesome, or else the game would turn into the Jedi show.
 
2012-09-17 01:32:49 PM
Has no one heard of Dungeon World?

What is Dungeon World?

/also loves me some Apocalypse World
 
2012-09-17 01:42:54 PM

Thunderboy: I played AD&D (v1) for nearly fifteen years, and never once did I see anyone using miniatures.


It all depends on play-style and what people focus on. I never did miniatures or battlemaps - the DM had a map of some areas and just told us options for travel, combat was done verbally.

But for those who focus on minutiae you may have to use icons and a grid (even if it's the Monopoly wheelbarrow and a salt shaker) just to make sure you are applying all rules correctly. For instance how do you know your Rogue is in position to execute a backstab and isn't actually on the wrong side of the room or there are objects inbetween? I preferred just to let the d20 roll make that choice and not complain, but some folks want to nail down every square foot of the space tactically so they need to actually lay it out in physical space.

One area D&D failed miserably is in not creating come middle-ware in which you could have players meeting physically to do the run but use a computer display to interpret things graphically so as to minimize the need for endless calculations. iPad on the table would have been a perfect app, but they failed at that.
 
2012-09-17 01:43:49 PM
So, while we're on the topic of D&D 3.x, I'm going to be running Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil with Pathfinder rules for a group of friends on Wednesday nights, I don't suppose there are any local Farkers with interest?

/e-mail and location in profile.
 
2012-09-17 01:46:34 PM

Epicedion: When did players ever have guile and/or cunning?


I once DM'ed a group (using 3.5E) that had an incredible amount of guile and cunning--in one encounter, they determined that a succubus was going to teleport into a certain room in an inn, so they sat and waited, and as soon as she arrived they all jumped her and tied her up with bedsheets--thus preventing her from using any of her spell-like abilities to escape. And then they interrogated her. In retrospect, I may have let them off too easily (the monster manual never actually says that a succubus's powers have somatic components), but since it was a second-level group and a direct confrontation with any demon would most likely have meant a total party kill, it seemed more reasonable to let it slide.

I had another challenge planned (which, unfortunately, we never got to) where the group would storm a slaver hideout that had a large pit in the middle, and one of the two big bads was a fast-moving, dual-wielding ranger with Improved Bull Rush--not the more formidable melee combatant, but if he knocked one of the fighters into the pit, he could have seriously messed up their tactics.

Also, as a DM I would always award XP for defeating an opponent, regardless of means. Thus, in the aforementioned succubus encounter, I awarded full XP for hog-tying the succubus even though they didn't actually kill her. And since they foiled the succubus's plan to persuade a warlord into declaring war against a neighboring city, I also gave them a XP bonus based on the CR of the warlord.
 
2012-09-17 01:49:48 PM

zarberg: So, while we're on the topic of D&D 3.x, I'm going to be running Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil with Pathfinder rules for a group of friends on Wednesday nights, I don't suppose there are any local Farkers with interest?

/e-mail and location in profile.


When you say you're in Raleigh, do you mean that you're in Raleigh, or just around the area?
 
2012-09-17 01:51:37 PM

Epicedion: Yes, yes, but eventually the PCs are actually going to fight something.


No shiat. What does that have to do with anything I'm saying? Do you really think that "players can be challenged by below-level monsters through clever play" is equivalent to "NO FIGHTS ANY TIME"? This isn't a facetious question, I honestly want to know if that's what you got out of it.

Epicedion: The hobgoblins might try to attack with tactical advantage, but after a few levels, tactical advantage isn't sufficient.


The point is that tactical advantage lets them remain a threat for longer. It's a damper on the PC/monster arms race, and the tactical advantage skyrockets as monsters gain power; especially considering the nature of the game lending itself to the bads playing home much more than away.

Epicedion: Essentially, a campaign can't both A) abide by the rules for leveling and gear and whatnot, and B) be about "reasonable" threats the whole time.


If the DM wants to vomit armories of powerful items on the player, then complain that they have to throw armies of storm giants led by lesser deities at the PC's to make it a challenge, that's entirely the DM's fault.

Then again, I'm a big believer in lower magic systems and a push towards niche magic items such that a generically powerful magic item like a sword +1 is an interesting compromise. Do you use that, or the axe that destroys shields on block? Or the sword that has no damage/hit bonuses but acts as if it had 0 speed? This is kind of a tangent, but I'm kind of against the whole idea of fighters being very good with a specific weapon - all the advanced specialization benefits in 2nd Ed. supplements and 3rd Edition and whatnot. I like to think of fighters as being very good with weapons in general, such that they're able to take full advantage of piles of niche weapons. If you get a magic spear with an interesting magical ability (like it ignores magical defenses), it shouldn't be vendor trash, but rather the fighter should keep it in his armory in case he ever needs to fight whatever it trumps.

Epicedion: I think it's possible, but you have to find a way to make the other characters equivalently awesome, or else the game would turn into the Jedi show.


Which itself would be wrong, considering Jedi are pretty much overpowered by definition.

Epicedion: When you say you're in Raleigh, do you mean that you're in Raleigh, or just around the area?


Raleigh's his dog. He lives in Kansas City.
 
2012-09-17 01:53:32 PM
www.thedudes.us

HK-5
 
2012-09-17 01:59:07 PM
haven't played D&D since 2nd ed. Dabbled in White WOlf games and Cyberpunk 2020 in my mispent twenties, but have been slowly lured back into gaming by these two games from the same publisher:
2.bp.blogspot.com
www.trollandtoad.com
 
2012-09-17 02:04:40 PM

Epicedion: zarberg: So, while we're on the topic of D&D 3.x, I'm going to be running Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil with Pathfinder rules for a group of friends on Wednesday nights, I don't suppose there are any local Farkers with interest?

/e-mail and location in profile.

When you say you're in Raleigh, do you mean that you're in Raleigh, or just around the area?


I work in Raleigh, a few minutes from downtown, and the game will most likely be within 10-15 minutes of there.
 
2012-09-17 02:08:38 PM

sprawl15: No shiat. What does that have to do with anything I'm saying? Do you really think that "players can be challenged by below-level monsters through clever play" is equivalent to "NO FIGHTS ANY TIME"? This isn't a facetious question, I honestly want to know if that's what you got out of it.


I don't agree that "clever play" makes up very much for the massive stat imbalance that level progression introduces. Now, "clever to the extent of broken" play can, but that's often no fun.

sprawl15: This is kind of a tangent, but I'm kind of against the whole idea of fighters being very good with a specific weapon - all the advanced specialization benefits in 2nd Ed. supplements and 3rd Edition and whatnot. I like to think of fighters as being very good with weapons in general, such that they're able to take full advantage of piles of niche weapons. If you get a magic spear with an interesting magical ability (like it ignores magical defenses), it shouldn't be vendor trash, but rather the fighter should keep it in his armory in case he ever needs to fight whatever it trumps.


Well that falls into the territory of randomizing the game versus tailoring it (or some point between). Fighter attack and damage specializations more or less exist because it's the only way to crank up the damage output of Fighters to make them comparable to other classes, and it stems from the era of play where Fighters were what you used to kill things. In the post-WoW landscape, things are now shuttled more into Tank/Damage/Heal roles.

sprawl15: Which itself would be wrong, considering Jedi are pretty much overpowered by definition.


Sort of. They've only gotten significantly more awesome the longer Star Wars has developed. Vader, the guy who murdered all the Jedi, was disabled in his ship by a tramp freighter pilot, and his biggest displays of power are choking a couple dudes and absorbing a pistol shot then stealing the pistol. And he's supposed to be "most powerful in the galaxy" strong. Luke manages to jump really high once and do some tricks (and the big "use the force, Luke" moment in the first film). Everything they do seems to be really patient and deliberate.

It was the prequels that really introduced the whole fast-as-lightning leap-tall-buildings fight-legions-by-yourself sort of crazy power that RPGs have been trying to emulate.
 
2012-09-17 02:09:35 PM

zarberg: I work in Raleigh, a few minutes from downtown, and the game will most likely be within 10-15 minutes of there.


I'm going to email you. You'll know it when you see it.
 
2012-09-17 02:12:02 PM

Epicedion: Zulthar: No love for Call of Cthulhu?

/The adventure will always end in A) Insanity B) gunplay the insanity C) explosions D) Prison then Insanity E) rarely death.
//"I know that little old lady is a deep one. I'm going to torture the true out of her by putting my cigarette out in her eye"
///"So the .600 nitro-express has no effect on it?!?"
////FYI - the little old lady was a deep one.
//MA-DEUCE FTW BABY!

Just follow along at the back of the party with your eyes closed and never read any of the books.


This
 
2012-09-17 02:14:16 PM
www.sarna.net

Steiner PPC, we made those one time.
 
2012-09-17 02:15:09 PM

Clash City Farker: [www.sarna.net image 280x356]

Steiner PPC, we made those one time.


Ha, I have the 2nd edition of that. I've never played it.
 
2012-09-17 02:22:27 PM

Epicedion: Clash City Farker: [www.sarna.net image 280x356]

Steiner PPC, we made those one time.

Ha, I have the 2nd edition of that. I've never played it.


We played it. I still have my character in my notebook after 25 years.
 
2012-09-17 02:23:34 PM
I just downloaded the rules. After a quick skim, it looks like a mashup of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition. Probably pretty fun to play.

My fave old RPG was the Marvel superheros set from the 80s. One table, one roll, and the GM decided what an 'amazing' success was. Super simple and super fun.
 
2012-09-17 02:31:50 PM

Epicedion: I don't agree that "clever play" makes up very much for the massive stat imbalance that level progression introduces.


Considering I'm not arguing that 1 hd opponents can remain viable threats to level 17 characters, I really don't know what the point of your disagreement is. I'm simply saying that CR style systems assume to-to-toe fights and calling that a silly assumption in the context of a capable DM. Mindless zombies should be much weaker threats than hyper intelligent creatures even if they have the same statline (other than intelligence), but that extra threat can only come from the DM doing their job.

Epicedion: Well that falls into the territory of randomizing the game versus tailoring it (or some point between). Fighter attack and damage specializations more or less exist because it's the only way to crank up the damage output of Fighters to make them comparable to other classes, and it stems from the era of play where Fighters were what you used to kill things. In the post-WoW landscape, things are now shuttled more into Tank/Damage/Heal roles.


It wasn't so much that they were what killed things, it was that they were able to deal damage while depleting as few resources as possible. They got hit the least and had the most ability to deal with hp loss while just whacking shiat. A caster could nearly always (barring very early game) gib stuff much faster and with much more reliability than a melee guy, but burning through a spellbook in the first room of a dungeon doesn't fly. It's the DM's job to mitigate that by providing varied enough threats that a wizard isn't able to just dedicate themselves to being an artillery platform.

It's a big reason why I really don't like 3rd edition's spells/day bloat.

Epicedion: It was the prequels that really introduced the whole fast-as-lightning leap-tall-buildings fight-legions-by-yourself sort of crazy power that RPGs have been trying to emulate.


True, though sadly that genie is out of the bottle. I can't imagine a Star Wars system that doesn't consider the prequels canon.
 
2012-09-17 02:38:03 PM

Lord Bear: I just downloaded the rules. After a quick skim, it looks like a mashup of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition. Probably pretty fun to play.

My fave old RPG was the Marvel superheros set from the 80s. One table, one roll, and the GM decided what an 'amazing' success was. Super simple and super fun.


The new Marvel RPG is a lot of fun too. I played the old one and picked up the new one a couple of weeks ago. It's fast and very flexible. We liked it a lot. I played a bit with my friends and they enjoyed it. Taught it to my kids that next week and they had a blast. Easy enough for them to understand, intricate enough to pull off complex moves. Just depends on the group you have playing with you.
 
2012-09-17 02:46:02 PM

sprawl15: Considering I'm not arguing that 1 hd opponents can remain viable threats to level 17 characters, I really don't know what the point of your disagreement is. I'm simply saying that CR style systems assume to-to-toe fights and calling that a silly assumption in the context of a capable DM. Mindless zombies should be much weaker threats than hyper intelligent creatures even if they have the same statline (other than intelligence), but that extra threat can only come from the DM doing their job.


I think you've missed something here, as I haven't varied my point -- that in a simplistic overview, D&D is a march from fighting kobolds to fighting interdimensional superpowers. Threats move onto and drop off the usable scale at predictable intervals, and only with a great degree of shoehorning can you fit old threats back into the game once they drop off.

I further think that this damages the storytelling of the setting, since you can't realistically expect all the low level party encounters to be orcs, and all the high level party encounters to be dragons. You just ultimately have to play it that way because you don't want the game to be unfair (the dragon breathes! you.. all.. die) or boring (you quickly dispatch the 200 orcs), which means that high level parties essentially are followed around by a giant cloud o' doom that just so happens to rain down CR 20 Liches every so often, a phenomenon that would clearly wreck the world of level 1 commoners. When the party enters a dungeon, it just happens to be about the right challenge for them, even though it could, by the rules of the world, be ruled by anything from a single myopic kobold with heat rash to a Death Knight and his legion of 50-foot skeletal devourers.
 
2012-09-17 02:49:22 PM

Epicedion: Sort of. They've only gotten significantly more awesome the longer Star Wars has developed. Vader, the guy who murdered all the Jedi, was disabled in his ship by a tramp freighter pilot, and his biggest displays of power are choking a couple dudes and absorbing a pistol shot then stealing the pistol. And he's supposed to be "most powerful in the galaxy" strong. Luke manages to jump really high once and do some tricks (and the big "use the force, Luke" moment in the first film). Everything they do seems to be really patient and deliberate.


You forgot Luke walking into Jabba's Palace, killing the Rancor and defeating Jabba's entire sailbarge full of guards by himself.
 
2012-09-17 02:51:54 PM

Lonestar: And Mike Mearls starts talking like its his own baby. 5e or DND Next, in its present form, is a product of a visionnary man: Monte Cook. This guy is an awesome writer who produced a lot of stuff in Planescape for TSR, then worked on the 3e from Wizards and many supplements including the best loved Book of Vile Darkness.This was one of the best designers Wizards had, and when Hasbro took over, was one of the designers who was shown the door. Still he loved DnD and he designed D20 material for it, which were awesome.

Then came Wizard who asked him to come and work on the 5e. He started by saying that 4e was like Trash metal, Trash metal is good but a lot of people dont like Trash. What was obvious is that he was saying 4e was trash, and he at least convinced the new designers for the 5e. Which was good. Also he said, and his whole mindset going into this was that he wanted to regroup all editions into one, including the 3e and Pathfinder. He wanted to bring harmony in the edition wars, because lets face it: Wizards are not winning that war, Paizo's Pathfinder is.

However it seems that he had a difference of opinion with the leaders at Wizards, and quit the assignement. I think that tells you a lot. Another clue was an interview that he gave here. Pay close attention to his rant. Yes my friends, his vision may still be what the remaining designers are working with, but they arent including feats ( a staple of the 3e and Pathfinder ) inside the 5e. So its going to be an unified edition, except the one that still works well and the one that makes a lot of money.

We will never know what Monte said to the asshole who forced the 4e down on us ( wizards CEO ), probably it wasnt very SFW. Monte Cook is still one of the best designer out there, and his new project seems interesting. When he left the 5e, I was floored because I knew the best chance of an unified edition would die with him leaving. Now with big cannons like Sean K Reynolds leading Paizo, who will be left to m ...


Okay dude, first of all, Monte Cook wasn't laid off by WotC. He left on his own and was the inventor of online PDF sales for the rpg industry. He founded Malhavoc Press, which was extremely successful. He moved back to Seattle and worked on 5e but then left during the development cycle that he disliked, and realized that Mearls' vision of the game was different enough that he should part from WotC. Monte Cook is a class act. I have no doubt that anything he said to the creators of 4e was in fact very safe for work, and well said, and soft spoken. This is not a guy who burns bridges.

And while I love Sean Reynolds' work, you really have Lisa Stevens (who worked on Ars Magica and Star Wars), Erik Mona, and Jason Bulmahn to thank for Pathfinder RPG. Sean does great design work, and he's definitely left his mark on Golarion, but Lisa, Erik, and Jason are the three folks who made PRPG happen. 

Btw, Monte did some consulting work for PRPG.
 
2012-09-17 02:59:58 PM

SuperChuck: You forgot Luke walking into Jabba's Palace, killing the Rancor and defeating Jabba's entire sailbarge full of guards by himself.


Does he even use any Force-y stuff on the Rancor? I thought he just choked it with a bone then crushed it with the door. I'd expect any of the heroes in the movie to manage that one. The sailbarge fight was him and every other main character in the movie, so "by himself" doesn't really apply.
 
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