Kendal

Best Version of DnD?

1153 posts in this topic

4 minutes ago, Sylverthorne said:

Mrehhhh... I really don't like the four-part party concept; never have. Having a guy run the 'four food groups' theory into the ground didn't make me like it better. Either side of the screen, I prefer six-person parties, with the Anvil/Hammer/Arm party theory in play... less game down time and more space for interpretation. My preference, allowances for others cheerfully made.

 

 

The paladin was just an example of poorly built premades; I don't /think/ she was specifically built for 4e. I'm not sure what she was built for, but it wasn't being a functional paladin. :/ (although at least she was functional in the sense that she wasn't dangling 30' in the air over a vat of boiling hand- wait. derailing. Loading..) It was a while ago. I saved the concept. I might still have the sheet around here somewhere, but the concept is what survived. I see a lot of very ... let us say, very interesting premade characters, and very few of them are what I would term useful, although very few had that level of Interesting. :/

 

The premade character I recall playing with who was built for 4e was a rogue, and I admit, she was fun (give me d8s for SA damage ALL THE TIME!), but she had other issues. I think I still have the sheet somewhere... um.. *eyes file* .. it might be pretty well buried. The only thing that stuck - and remember, my recall may be faulty here - she still had a lot more solo potential than I really thought she needed (... I am a rogue. Why do I have the ability to heal myself and others that isn't a potion/scroll/wand? Why is this BAKED IN?!). It was just weird for me, and felt like I was playing an MMO, rather than an RPG. They may have changed that, that may have been a table rule ... I haven't been keeping up with the system.

 

 

Alas, I have to work tomorrow and need to call it a night.

 

If you ever to play 4E again, the good news is that it does scale up for more players.  We normally had 5, & 6 should be fine; it just isn't designed to go smaller.  I would say the game is actually more fun with more than four players, but YMMV. 

 

I don't recall rogues having much in the way to heal others.  At least, they didn't initially when I played one.  It's possible some abilities were added in the magazines or something, but healing people isn't a striker's job.  All classes did have the ability "second wind" that they could in theory use for healing themselves.  The issue in practice is that you heal instead of attacking, so the enemies get another round to attack.  A character using second wind is one who's cleric is out of spells and is just trying to survive another round.

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2 hours ago, Unruly said:

 

Like Pingo said, it wasn't any politicians that actually did it, it was the companies themselves. But Congress had held hearing on crap such as the 'corruption of American youth' and all that, saying Batman supported homosexuality and that monster stories led to cults and satanism, all based on the book "Seduction of the Innocent" by Frederick Wertham. It was the same sort of garbage that resulted in the formation of the MPAA, the "Parental Advisory" stickers on CDs, and the formation of the ESRB decades later. If the industry hadn't done it, the goverment was threatening to.

 

More or less what I meant.

 

Scarily enough, the populist screwup who was in charge of the committee (The democrat I mentioned) made a couple serious runs for president.

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7 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

:lol::lol::lol:

 

So anyway, editions and stuffs.

 

Anyone else have Tales from the Yawning portal yet? I'm thinking of running White Plume Mountain and Against The Giants once my players meet the level requirements (doing my own thing in the meantime because my first attempt was fun to create, and running Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan if my players just don't dig my moduling)... I'm curious if there's any changes I could make to those adventures to bring back the "old school" feel a bit more.

 

 

 

Somehow, clicking to see the first unread post earlier in the night gave me a post almost a page ahead of where I last was, so I missed this earlier, as well as some of the comics stuff that I ended up reiterating.

 

I've got Yawning Portal, and I'm going to be running my friends through White Plume Mountain in a few months. Depends on how long it takes us to go through the DM rotation and get back to me, but regardless of when it happens we're going to be level 8 because of how we're doing it. And since our party is only 3 people, I'm thinking I'll throw a character of mine in as a DMPC to try to round things out, since I know they're going to be short a roguish character unless someone makes a new one. It's gonna be pretty sweet.

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Posted (edited)

That was my groups experience with 4th ed...

If we wanted to play Evercrack, we can turn on the computer and do it without all the paperwork.....

the combats seemed to take forever....

It was kind of a weird feeling, as an old school player (1977), and a recent addict of EQ, it felt like the circle had been completed, D&D inspires computer games, now the computer game style mechanics have inspired D&D...

Even the non MMO folks felt that way...

 

My personal experience...

I mean really, The most basic spell that the cleric takes at first level?

CURE LIGHT WOUNDS.....

is a 2nd level spell?????:blink::blink::blink:

 

Now maybe we didn't play the system long enough to give it a fair shakedown, but my group only gets together one weekend a month if we are lucky, so we want to have fun, and if a game isn't fun, we do something else!

Munchkin maybe...

or watch Dorkness Rising...

or just talking smack about games past...

 

Now don't get me wrong, when I play clerics, they are created as a more crusader / paladin style defender of the faith, bringing their god's light into the dark, where healing is done when the enemy has been crushed and destroyed, (so don't bleed out, cause I'm busy) but the whole healing ability was totally nerfed in my (Limited) experience in 4th ed....

 

FWIW...

 

also, my group has heavily invested in Pathfinder, so 5th ed is not likely to happen with us....

 

and I am thinking of trying to start a Forgotten Realms campaign (Night Bellow) using PF /3.5 rules stats...

 

see if I can swing that....

Edited by knarthex
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11 hours ago, Sylverthorne said:

.... The paladin was just an example of poorly built premades;...

 

 

I'm not sure I can recall an instance of really well-made premade characters, regardless of game system. I'll charitably suggest that perhaps game designers don't want to optimize too much on premades, lest the players have too much trouble building their own concepts that compete. But it's entirely possible that the people who make those characters just aren't really very bright. ::D:

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14 hours ago, Club said:

 

More or less what I meant.

 

Scarily enough, the populist screwup who was in charge of the committee (The democrat I mentioned) made a couple serious runs for president.

 

There are always those who are prepared to ride a hobbyhorse into fame, fortune, and/or political office.

Pat Pulling in particular apparently made hay for YEARS as an expert on the eeeevil evil evils of all sorts of gaming.

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This morning at work, while I was still in the “I haven't had enough coffee yet” haze, a d20 question occurred to me that I don't recall having seen in this thread.

 

When you play d20, do you consider hit points to be a simulationist mechanic where each hit point represents a finite amount of physical damage or do you consider hit points to be an abstract method of taking into account physical damage, fatigue, moral, etc?

 

While I have met some people who would argue until they were blue in the face that hp in d20 always represent physical damage, I've never been able to buy into it. If a character can go from 50 to 1 hp and still maintain the same basic fighting efficiency, but then 1 to 0 and just drop, I can't see it as anything but an abstract method of tracking “damage.” This was further illustrated to me when I played some non-d20 games where hp was supposed to be physical damage and everyone took penalties as they lost hp. It's kind of harder to fight, defend, and use skills when you have a broken leg.

 

If knarthex wants I could circle this back around to explain his 4E healing observations, but I'm more interested in general response than just one edition.

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So, the first session of my first original adventure just concluded.

 

Got very positive feedback from it... So I'm likely going to work on another, because there's too much redundance between Tamoachan and White Plume (Oni, Vampire, Giant Crawfish, etc) and White Plume is just more FUN than Tamoachan.

I did ask them as soon as they can to give me some things they'd want to do, or some background plot threads from their characters, so I can do something that's tailored to them.

 

I did throw a Spectator in there for the players to fight because one player loves Beholders and such... So of course the Cleric practically one-shots it with a 2nd-level Inflict Wounds before his character gets a chance to even attack it.

(And Ranger 2 lost her hand to the cursed coin pile, but I did make it clear OOC that this would not be a permanent thing)

 

I'm excited. This was fun to make and fun to run and just fun.

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1 hour ago, Auberon said:

This morning at work, while I was still in the “I haven't had enough coffee yet” haze, a d20 question occurred to me that I don't recall having seen in this thread.

 

When you play d20, do you consider hit points to be a simulationist mechanic where each hit point represents a finite amount of physical damage or do you consider hit points to be an abstract method of taking into account physical damage, fatigue, moral, etc?

 

While I have met some people who would argue until they were blue in the face that hp in d20 always represent physical damage, I've never been able to buy into it. If a character can go from 50 to 1 hp and still maintain the same basic fighting efficiency, but then 1 to 0 and just drop, I can't see it as anything but an abstract method of tracking “damage.” This was further illustrated to me when I played some non-d20 games where hp was supposed to be physical damage and everyone took penalties as they lost hp. It's kind of harder to fight, defend, and use skills when you have a broken leg.

 

If knarthex wants I could circle this back around to explain his 4E healing observations, but I'm more interested in general response than just one edition.

Both

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Auberon said:

This morning at work, while I was still in the “I haven't had enough coffee yet” haze, a d20 question occurred to me that I don't recall having seen in this thread.

 

When you play d20, do you consider hit points to be a simulationist mechanic where each hit point represents a finite amount of physical damage or do you consider hit points to be an abstract method of taking into account physical damage, fatigue, moral, etc?

 

While I have met some people who would argue until they were blue in the face that hp in d20 always represent physical damage, I've never been able to buy into it. If a character can go from 50 to 1 hp and still maintain the same basic fighting efficiency, but then 1 to 0 and just drop, I can't see it as anything but an abstract method of tracking “damage.” This was further illustrated to me when I played some non-d20 games where hp was supposed to be physical damage and everyone took penalties as they lost hp. It's kind of harder to fight, defend, and use skills when you have a broken leg.

 

If knarthex wants I could circle this back around to explain his 4E healing observations, but I'm more interested in general response than just one edition.

 

As someone with some minor medieval-style combat experience, I like to think of it as an abstraction of physical stamina and physical damage, with whatever your Con modifier is being your actual ability to take damage and everything after that being the sum of your stamina and ability to use your armor and body mechanics to block, dodge, and minimize the effects of an attack. Like, say you have 14 HP at level 1, with a Con modifier of 4(high Con fighter). 4 of that is your ability to absorb physical strikes, and 10 of that is your stamina and combat awareness. Any blow that is capable of dropping you to 0 or below is either a well-placed strike that you just couldn't avoid or that final blow that just tops things off. But at level 5 when you have 58hp, everything above those final 4 is your increased stamina and combat awareness. You've learned how to move in combat to turn a potential killing strike into a far lesser blow, or to redirect an enemy's blade so that it harmlessly glances off of your armor rather than rattling your cage. In doing so you're burning through your stamina and wearing yourself down, maybe taking a few minor scratches and bruises along the way but nothing that really affects your combat ability in any major way. Then, once you're down to your Con modifier again, that's when you're wore out, you can't move out of the way fast enough, or you start to miss that riposte. And that's when you really start getting beat into the ground. And higher damage strikes are strikes that are so well placed, well timed, or just plain overpowering enough that responding to them takes far more effort on your part, thus wearing you out faster.

 

After all, in d20 games the round is 6 seconds(or a full minute in older editions!). A guy I know can make an easy 5 sword strikes or more, all well placed and with sufficient force to cause serious damage if they connect, in 6 seconds or less, let alone a minute. So each round isn't really covering one, two, even 3 individual attacks, it's covering all sorts of footwork, maneuvering, and multiple strikes.

 

However, that said my groups have always tended to play it as straight physical damage. Most people don't want to do the accounting of keeping track of where in their HP pool they are, and then there's also the fact that most people don't like it when combat is described as "You struggle to move out of the way of his strike, just barely positioning yourself well enough to cause the orc's blade to slide harmlessly off of your breastplate. You lose 12hp." That's usually greeted with something along the lines of "Wait, what? You said I dodged it, why do I still lose HP?" And that's even if you've already spent an hour explaining how you're going to handle HP in the way I explained up above, because people invariably forget and/or have it ingrained into their minds that HP is directly correlated to physical damage.

 

But then, the idea of HP even as physical damage only is almost totally absurd. A single well-placed blow will take out anyone and anything. That same orc that can kill a level 1 in a single hit should still be able to kill a level 20 in a single hit too, but it can't. Because for some reason a level 20 human is more able to survive being stabbed in the chest than a level 1 human.

 

And that doesn't even start to consider the way that armor class is handled. If you really wanted it to be realistic, armor class should solely be the realm of the armor you're wearing, while dexterity should be your ability to evade. And an attack should consist of both a roll to counter evasion and a roll for armor penetration before damage can be calculated. And armor worn should affect evasion, much in the same way that it already works for AC calculation. A high dexterity character wearing simple leather armor, like a rogue, should have a high evasion score, but a low armor score. A warrior wearing full plate armor should have a lower evasion, but much higher armor. An unarmed monk should have a very high evasion, because that wisdom bonus should be considered their ability to read an opponent's movements and anticipate strikes, or even the ability should be retooled so that a monk has a percentage chance to avoid any strike even if it beats their evasion score. But then, if you wanted that sort of thing you'd just play GURPS, which is much more simulationist than d20 could ever hope to be...

Edited by Unruly
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Posted (edited)

When you play d20, do you consider hit points to be a simulationist mechanic where each hit point represents a finite amount of physical damage or do you consider hit points to be an abstract method of taking into account physical damage, fatigue, moral, etc?

No.


I regard it as a rule of the game.

D&D got started as a miniatures game in a time when ANY tabletop unit had, at most, two hit points; you could flip the counter over for a new set of combat values, but if it got hit again, hasta la vista. Both Gygax and Arneson have spoken about how they developed hit points as a way to compensate for the alternative: a goblin hits you in the first room, and you're dead. It also fit nicely with the Conan archetype of a hero who could grit his teeth and trudge onward, bleeding buckets but still ready to kill something.

In real life, if I suffer injuries that put me halfway between healthy and dead, I'm not going to be in top fighting trim, but I live in reality. D&D is not reality. D&D is heroic fantasy, where even after being set on fire, I'm only at -2 to hack you to bits.

Rationalizing it as "abstract account of physical damage" or "literal life levels" is in direct opposition of Bellisario's Maxim.*f

EDIT: Although now that I think about it, I HATED the 4E mechanic of "healing surges." So maybe I'm a hypocrite about it...

*also known as the MST3K Mantra: "It's just a show, relax. Don't examine the underpinnings too closely; just have fun."

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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In d20 games, hit points are one of those rules you have to accept as being unrealistic. Be it from a simulationist or abstract POV, hit points don't scale in a way that makes sense, but are a simple, easy to understand game mechanic.

 

As often mentioned, stabbing a 1st level by surprise can be fatal, yet a 20th level won't even bother putting a band-aid on it. You can drop a raging barbarian from the top of the Burj Khalifa and he'll walk it off, while a wizard misses a step on the staircase and dies? A 1st level wizard with 18 CON fatigues easier than an elderly anemic level 20 paladin? Why is Cure Light Wounds so useless at high level when it's so miraculous at low levels? High level characters (even magic users) survive stuff in ways that do not make sense.

 

In my mind, the concept of damage reduction (DR) makes more sense if you want to consider physical toughness, but it gets cumbersome.

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I believe it was in first edition D&D where someone crunched the numbers and determined that an average 13th level fighter could survive a fall from ANY height... and later updated it to note that certain character builds in 2E had a better than even chance of surviving orbital reentry.

Because we all know Conan cooda done that. If he'd wanted to. ::):

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I slightly prefer the notion of HP as real physical damage and that heroes and monsters can just suffer wounds and recover from injuries that would outright kill mortal folk.  Some video games actually express this pretty well, what with your character getting festooned with arrows or impaled on spikes or whatnot and just walking it off. 

 

"It's the hardest working liver in the galaxy, Morty. <hurk> And now it has a hole in it."

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On 4/15/2017 at 0:44 AM, knarthex said:

That was my groups experience with 4th ed...

If we wanted to play Evercrack, we can turn on the computer and do it without all the paperwork.....

the combats seemed to take forever....

It was kind of a weird feeling, as an old school player (1977), and a recent addict of EQ, it felt like the circle had been completed, D&D inspires computer games, now the computer game style mechanics have inspired D&D...

Even the non MMO folks felt that way...

 

My personal experience...

I mean really, The most basic spell that the cleric takes at first level?

CURE LIGHT WOUNDS.....

is a 2nd level spell?????:blink::blink::blink:

 

Now maybe we didn't play the system long enough to give it a fair shakedown, but my group only gets together one weekend a month if we are lucky, so we want to have fun, and if a game isn't fun, we do something else!

Munchkin maybe...

or watch Dorkness Rising...

or just talking smack about games past...

 

Now don't get me wrong, when I play clerics, they are created as a more crusader / paladin style defender of the faith, bringing their god's light into the dark, where healing is done when the enemy has been crushed and destroyed, (so don't bleed out, cause I'm busy) but the whole healing ability was totally nerfed in my (Limited) experience in 4th ed....

 

FWIW...

 

also, my group has heavily invested in Pathfinder, so 5th ed is not likely to happen with us....

 

and I am thinking of trying to start a Forgotten Realms campaign (Night Bellow) using PF /3.5 rules stats...

 

see if I can swing that....

 

I get what you are saying regarding the MMO feel of it.  Keep in mind though that Cure Light Wounds is just one example of what the cleric can do.  He also has two healing words per encounter.  That is on top of each character also getting a second wind each encounter (which also improves defenses for some strange reason).

 

As a whole, (and perhaps this is because I DM'd our 4th ed campaign) , I found that there was simply too much healing available.  It can get really ridiculous by the time feats and items are added in and paragon and epic abilities are factored in too later on.  You are absolutely right though that the combats take forever and it only gets worse as you go up in level.  Ultimately this is what burned me out on 4th Ed.  By the time our group hit 29th level (we were desperately trying to finish a full 30 level campaign) a single combat could easily take over two hours.  You'd have sequences like this:

 

Ranger:  I use (insert power here) and roll . . .  crap only 41 vs. AC, that's going to miss.

DM:  Yep, that's a miss.

Ranger:  Wait!  I use Elven Accuracy and roll again! *rolls* crap 40.

Avenger:  Good grief.  Fortunately, I have my psuedo mark on this guy, so go ahead and roll again.

Ranger:  *rolls*  Ooh, how about a 43?

DM:  Nope, sorry, still a miss.

Runepriest:  Hey, did you remember that I gave you a plus one last round?

Ranger:  Ohh that's right!  44?

DM:  Miss

Runepriest:  Fine, I'll use (insert power) to give you another +2.

DM:  Aren't you dazed?  You can't use immediate actions while dazed.

Runepriest:  Crap, forgot about that.

Defender:  Hold on!  I got this ability that lowers a target's Reflex.

GM:  Ok, but this was targetting AC.

Defender: Crap.

GM:  Alright, so since that was a miss, now the bad guy can, as an immediate reaction strike back.  *rolls* Does a 47 hit your AC Ranger?

Ranger:  Crud, yeah just barely.

Defender:  Hey I got him marked!  Did you remember the -3?

GM: Yep.

Defender:  And you still rolled a 47?  WTH?

GM:  In fairness, that's not nearly as high as the 54 you just rolled.

Defender:  Well yeah, but I invested a lot in being able to hit.

Runepriest:  Well doesn't matter, because I give him a +2 to AC with such and such ability.

DM:  You're still dazed.

Runepriest.  Oh yeah.

Avenger:  Well, I use this ability to lower his to hit!

DM:  You just used your immediate action to let him reroll.

Avenger:  Oh yeah.

Defender:  Ok, fine, I'll use this ability to try to make the guy hit me instead.  *Rolls* Crud 44.

Runepriest:  Oh, I'll give you a +2 with such and such.

Everyone Else:  YOU'RE STILL DAZED!

GM:  Ok, that's a hit then, for *rolls* 27 hit points.

Avenger:  Who's turn is it again?

GM:  Uhhh, still the Ranger's turn.  You have a move and a minor left.

Ranger:  Oh sweet, I move to here, Quarry that go over there and then I'll Action Point!  [Cue another 15 minute sequence].

 

Honestly, all in all, it wasn't a horrible system in my opinion but it really didn't hold up well at high levels.  In some ways it was better than the rocket tag you got in other editions, and as a GM it was really easy to design encounters, but the combats just got really, really tedious.  At low levels I thought it actually held up well and I kind of even liked the "powers" idea as it ensured that everyone always had something to do.  You weren't left with the wizard going "Well, I used up my three spells already, so I guess I'll shoot my sling at him."

 

That said, I am really liking Pathfinder right now.  I think its done a pretty good job of shoring up some of 3.5's weaknesses.  To be fair though, I've really only been in one campaign as a player (up to about level 12 I think) and am only up to level 4 in my current game that I am running, so that may change eventually.  Haven't really tried 5ed enough to really be able to say one way or another (only one session so far).  It was fun though.

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