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(Ars Technica)   "Dungeons & Dragons Next"...begun, the Nerd Wars have   ( arstechnica.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Dungeons & Dragons, classic games, Wizards of the Coast, Gary Gygax, cohesiveness, Mike Mearls, PAX  
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7246 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Sep 2012 at 2:12 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-09-17 12:43:18 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:01:18 PM  
1 vote:

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 10:01:12 AM  
1 vote:
upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size

This was my preferred RPG in my days of being GM. The group had to be limited to one or two players (since when did Bond work with a posse?), but the use of skills was very easy to learn, A pair of 10-sided dice to determine your percentage of success against the skill being used was quite easy to grasp. Add to that the missions that were as straightforward as the Bond films, and the games were quick enough to never be boring.
2012-09-17 09:51:04 AM  
1 vote:

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

I see miniatures as a matter of choice. I like a little hard tactical edge to things, personally, so for complicated encounters I like to break out the battlemat. If the characters stumble across 4 orcs playing poker, though, I don't find it necessary.
2012-09-17 09:47:05 AM  
1 vote:
I played AD&D (v1) for nearly fifteen years, and never once did I see anyone using miniatures.
2012-09-17 08:54:43 AM  
1 vote:
1.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size
2012-09-17 07:46:41 AM  
1 vote:
Wow... that was painful to read. Quite possibly the worst writing I've been subjected to in a long time, and thats saying something.
2012-09-17 02:58:47 AM  
1 vote:
No. There is another....

So far, it looks promising. Slightly more complex than WEG, but lightyears better than WoTC/SAGA. Plus, innovative story mechanisms.
2012-09-17 02:55:55 AM  
1 vote:

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

me too

earthdawn.nerps.netView Full Size
2012-09-17 02:28:03 AM  
1 vote:
Trying to figure out how using the Realms excludes other exotic settings as the article claims. The Realms is BY FAR the most friendly setting for including other settings(except Dark Sun due to that settings own rules) considering all the planar gates as well as the many, MANY references to Spelljamming ships and such. Hell, most major cities in the realms have ports for Spelljammers.

But even forgetting that, it is kind of the most well known setting, followed by Greyhawk. It just makes sense to keep using it as long as they can fix the crap they pulled with 4E and how that basically ruined everything that made the setting fun. At least they're getting rid of World of D&D powers.
2012-09-17 02:05:59 AM  
1 vote:

Makh: FTFA: Four years later, we still have yet to reach level 11.

Now you know how the elves feel. I mean seriously, you are 400 years old and you are still level 1? Are you farking slow in the head?

Yes. They are.
2012-09-17 12:16:09 AM  
1 vote:

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

me too

yup, add me to that list. I'm currently running the pathfinder 'skull and shackles' adventure path for Pathfinder. I see little reason to ever go back to vanilla D&D. there's nothing there for me anymore.

and if I ever feel the need to switch things up a bit, there's always Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and/or Black Crusade.
2012-09-16 10:26:50 PM  
1 vote:
starburstmagazine.comView Full Size

War ? What does DnD know about war ?
2012-09-16 10:08:01 PM  
1 vote:
To hear them tell it, this won't merely be another layer to cover over what has come before, but a flexible ruleset with variable complexity, perfectly capable of playing as a tactical miniatures game like 4e, or as an old school "talkie." Without a 1-inch grid ever being rolled out on the table, and without a single ounce of pewter cast in the image of an elf or a dwarf, D&D Next games can consist entirely of the interactions between the players and the DM, of dice and words alone.

Boy, I sure hope so. Though I'm not sure I'll end up getting back into it at this point.
2012-09-16 09:46:51 PM  
1 vote:
My group is fully invested in Pathfinder, I don't think there is any going back at this point.
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