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Kendal
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One thing I've been struck about is how the expectation that the characters shouldn't know much about the monsters, as it would be metagaming.

 

I'm pretty sure if you rounded up a bunch of military professionals and asked them about the capabilities of the enemy, you'd get a lot of information.

 

As the PCs are usually pretty much professional monster slayers, I've always thought you they should know a fair bit about monsters. It's one of the big problems with 3.5/4/5 - the class that is presented as professional soldiers is terrible at doing the things you'd expect professional soldiers to do - know about who they fight against. 

 

In a world where every military is similarly equipped and populated by basically identical people, yes, you can ask a soldier "what weapons do the Russians use?" and they could tell you "They're most likely using some variant of the AK, an RPG variant that's likely the RPG-7D, and a PKP. They're comparable in performance to our own M4, M3 MAAWS, and M240B." But because loadouts are variable between missions, they probably won't know exactly what the enemy is actually equipped with in every situation. So they couldn't tell you that they've got 3 soldiers with underslung grenade launchers on their AKs over there, and that other group over there has a designated marksman in a building with a Dragunov. They won't know more than the gist of things until they actually make contact or do more extensive recon.

 

Just like a party of adventurers will know that if they're facing hobgoblins they're probably highly disciplined fighters, that use a mix of melee and ranged tactics, aren't likely to retreat, and will probably have at least one spellcaster in their camp. But they won't know what that spellcaster's spell list is, they won't know what level those hobgoblins are, and they probably won't know that the hobgoblin warlord is an Eldritch Knight wearing a ring of protection and a cloak of resistance. If they have witnesses from previous skirmishes they may learn that the warlord is able to strike with the power of lightning and that the caster threw a fireball from the wall, but they won't learn that the caster can fly unless he uses fly in their presence.

 

Then you get into how a lot of enemies are actually more along the lines of "armies" in the vein of the Viet Cong or the Mujaheddin. They're equipped with whatever they can get their hands on, or how you've got all sorts of magical and fantastical beasts that aren't supposed to be exactly common.

 

 

Yeah - but lots of bad guys have significant characteristics cannot be changed. Red Dragons are immune to fire and vulnerable to cold and it's hard to change that. You need magic weapons to fight a ghost. Devils generally have a fixed spell list. However, as written in the game a fighter knows NONE of this because they cannot pass the knowledge checks. (Also, soldiers will typically know a lot about expected loadouts because they've seen the ToE - if you know you're coming up against the 82nd Airborne, you've got a good idea of what they can do. In WW2, you knew if that a large scale soviet maneuver would be supported by 88mm ZiS-3 fire even if they hadn't fired yet because it was absolutely inevitable). 

 

Actual vancian casters are mutable, but most monsters in the monster manual are not flexible casters but have proscribed spell lists: 

 

Monsters (A)

A fighter should plausibly know what these guys all do, but is going to know none of it because they cannot pass the knowledge check. 

 

I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

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One thing I've been struck about is how the expectation that the characters shouldn't know much about the monsters, as it would be metagaming.

 

I'm pretty sure if you rounded up a bunch of military professionals and asked them about the capabilities of the enemy, you'd get a lot of information.

 

As the PCs are usually pretty much professional monster slayers, I've always thought you they should know a fair bit about monsters. It's one of the big problems with 3.5/4/5 - the class that is presented as professional soldiers is terrible at doing the things you'd expect professional soldiers to do - know about who they fight against. 

 

In a world where every military is similarly equipped and populated by basically identical people, yes, you can ask a soldier "what weapons do the Russians use?" and they could tell you "They're most likely using some variant of the AK, an RPG variant that's likely the RPG-7D, and a PKP. They're comparable in performance to our own M4, M3 MAAWS, and M240B." But because loadouts are variable between missions, they probably won't know exactly what the enemy is actually equipped with in every situation. So they couldn't tell you that they've got 3 soldiers with underslung grenade launchers on their AKs over there, and that other group over there has a designated marksman in a building with a Dragunov. They won't know more than the gist of things until they actually make contact or do more extensive recon.

 

Just like a party of adventurers will know that if they're facing hobgoblins they're probably highly disciplined fighters, that use a mix of melee and ranged tactics, aren't likely to retreat, and will probably have at least one spellcaster in their camp. But they won't know what that spellcaster's spell list is, they won't know what level those hobgoblins are, and they probably won't know that the hobgoblin warlord is an Eldritch Knight wearing a ring of protection and a cloak of resistance. If they have witnesses from previous skirmishes they may learn that the warlord is able to strike with the power of lightning and that the caster threw a fireball from the wall, but they won't learn that the caster can fly unless he uses fly in their presence.

 

Then you get into how a lot of enemies are actually more along the lines of "armies" in the vein of the Viet Cong or the Mujaheddin. They're equipped with whatever they can get their hands on, or how you've got all sorts of magical and fantastical beasts that aren't supposed to be exactly common.

 

 

Yeah - but lots of bad guys have significant characteristics cannot be changed. Red Dragons are immune to fire and vulnerable to cold and it's hard to change that. You need magic weapons to fight a ghost. Devils generally have a fixed spell list. However, as written in the game a fighter knows NONE of this because they cannot pass the knowledge checks. (Also, soldiers will typically know a lot about expected loadouts because they've seen the ToE - if you know you're coming up against the 82nd Airborne, you've got a good idea of what they can do. In WW2, you knew if that a large scale soviet maneuver would be supported by 88mm ZiS-3 fire even if they hadn't fired yet because it was absolutely inevitable). 

 

Actual vancian casters are mutable, but most monsters in the monster manual are not flexible casters but have proscribed spell lists: 

 

Monsters (A)

A fighter should plausibly know what these guys all do, but is going to know none of it because they cannot pass the knowledge check. 

 

I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent. 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent. 

 

A wizard is great at what? Knowing about the things they've spent literally years/decades reading and researching about? 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that.

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise.

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed.

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent.

 

I once tangled - as a player - with a white dragon that was largely immune to fire and spat some kind of horrible fire/ice amalgamation. The characters, who had tangled with some dragons before, were deeply confused and traumatized by that particular encounter.

 

GM told us later it was a templated beastie, and it had had a fire elemental bound into it somehow. We decided we didn't /really/ want to know.

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent. 

 

A wizard is great at what? Knowing about the things they've spent literally years/decades reading and researching about? 

 

 

This is my point exactly! A professional soldier will spend years/decades studying the enemy and should have detailed knowledge of them. But the professional soldier class.. does not. 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent. 

 

A wizard is great at what? Knowing about the things they've spent literally years/decades reading and researching about? 

 

 

This is my point exactly! A professional soldier will spend years/decades studying the enemy and should have detailed knowledge of them. But the professional soldier class.. does not. 

 

Maybe it's because we have clearly very different ideas of what a D&D fighter is, but in my games, they're not professional soldiers in anything resembling the modern ideal. At best they're veteran mercenaries, swords for hire, maybe warlords. They don't spend years studying, they spend years doing, which is mostly long stretches of dealing with orcs and kobolds, and brief moments fighting horrors and nightmares that the wizard/cleric says "use your silver dagger" or "aim for the glowing necklace" or whatever weird elf thing needed to kill the abomination. 

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I'm a dungeon master with... 25 years of experience sitting behind the screen, and I don't know what half of those things do. And I've probably only used maybe a third of them in my games. 

 

Oh, and "significant characteristics that can't be changed"... BWAHAHAHA!!!!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Oh, that's good. I'll have to remember that. 

 

 

Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

My first point is, why should some fighter who has spent his time killing kobolds and orcs and ogres know anything about angels? 

 

My second point is that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the game that can't be changed. 

 

 

Oh yeah, I meant from an 'in universe' perspective. I mean, sure, you can reskin a flame elemental as an ice elemental and then fire blast becomes 'ice blast' but if you're tooling around in greyhawk a red dragon is resistant to fire. 

 

re: Sure, but a wizard is GREAT at it which is an interesting system oddity. My observation would be that Sun Tzu isn't a 'fighter' which seems at odds with the design intent. 

 

A wizard is great at what? Knowing about the things they've spent literally years/decades reading and researching about? 

 

 

This is my point exactly! A professional soldier will spend years/decades studying the enemy and should have detailed knowledge of them. But the professional soldier class.. does not. 

 

Maybe it's because we have clearly very different ideas of what a D&D fighter is, but in my games, they're not professional soldiers in anything resembling the modern ideal. At best they're veteran mercenaries, swords for hire, maybe warlords. They don't spend years studying, they spend years doing, which is mostly long stretches of dealing with orcs and kobolds, and brief moments fighting horrors and nightmares that the wizard/cleric says "use your silver dagger" or "aim for the glowing necklace" or whatever weird elf thing needed to kill the abomination. 

 

 

So what class is Sun Tzu? Alexander the Great? 

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Well yeah, most D&D monsters are stupid. Why does an Allip exist?

 

I don't get your point otherwise. 

 

 

Because you want something that has a specific set of powers that enable it to perform its vendetta, which is why the "noble" Lord Crapface has started going crazy, and which is why someone(maybe Lord Crapface himself) hired the party to find a way to fix it. In doing so they find out that Lord Crapface has a penchant for tormenting individual townsfolk by acting like some twisted Mafia don, raising their individual taxes, stealing their stuff, driving them to suicide by slowly stripping them of everything that allows them to live. When the party finds this out, they take a dim view of Lord Crapface, and maybe they stage a rebellion or something. It's a monster that basically exists to be a plot device.

 

Just like how there are a lot of monsters in the books that aren't actually meant to be enemies. How many times do you think a party of adventurers is actually going to be fighting a Trumpet Archon or a Solar? Unless the party is evil, those creatures are more likely to serve as NPCs that provide some kind of information, guidance, or combat aid than to be something that the party charges into combat against.

 

A wizard is great at what? Knowing about the things they've spent literally years/decades reading and researching about? 

 

 

 

 

This is my point exactly! A professional soldier will spend years/decades studying the enemy and should have detailed knowledge of them. But the professional soldier class.. does not. 

 

Maybe it's because we have clearly very different ideas of what a D&D fighter is, but in my games, they're not professional soldiers in anything resembling the modern ideal. At best they're veteran mercenaries, swords for hire, maybe warlords. They don't spend years studying, they spend years doing, which is mostly long stretches of dealing with orcs and kobolds, and brief moments fighting horrors and nightmares that the wizard/cleric says "use your silver dagger" or "aim for the glowing necklace" or whatever weird elf thing needed to kill the abomination. 

 

 

So what class is Sun Tzu? Alexander the Great? 

 

 

I'll agree with you that I find it wrong that Fighters don't get more skills. But at the same time, I know that in the medieval world a professional soldier was just someone that was decent at fighting and got paid to do it. They weren't super-intelligent one man armies, they were just guys who managed to survive long enough to make a living fighting. The only reason they would know the general tactics and weaponry of the enemy is because they all tended to use the same tactics and weaponry didn't really see much more than minor regional variation.

 

As for what class Sun Tzu and Alexander the Great would be, I think they'd just be a Fighter with high Intelligence and Wisdom. Maybe a Fighter/Ranger multiclass. They were good at tactics and strategy. Those two things don't really require them to know every little thing about their enemy other than the general tactics that an enemy is going to use. And when you're fighting someone that fights almost identically to you, that's easy enough to do. Especially when you're fighting the same people that your ancestors have been fighting for the last 200+ years, which is what both Alexander and Sun Tzu were doing.

 

But trying to assign D&D classes to people or non-D&D characters is usually pretty hard, because D&D classes are usually very singly-focused.

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The limited skill point spread prompted a local house rule here; no class shall have less than four skill points. Which helps the fighter, and the paladin, and the cleric... not that a fighter should be running around with an intelligence score of less than thirteen, mind you, and fourteen is better. But it gives some wiggle-room where before there was none.

 

Even without that though, we don't necessarily treat fighters as 'me dum grunt'; whether they have had formal training (army, militia, some form of martial arts) or not they are assumed to have been smart enough to survive; that does take a certain amount of savvy. Also, tactics /are/ a fighter thing, or should be; this is a person that, if he was trained in a militia, has learned to work with a group, and one would hope, has learned some basic tactics in the doing; which means he might have a good idea about how to bust through the lines and take out the enemy's spellcasters and healers, before they take out his. Even if he hasn't, he's probably worked with others before, and he's not dead; going it alone is usually unwise, after all.

 

And that generally carries, whether the fighter is human or not; even animals use basic tactics (wolves. Gods help us all, wolves), and those tactics can be countered or borrowed. Or worked with, if their spellcaster happens to be the conjuring type who likes to call in small wolf packs or prides of big cats.

If he's smart, he listens to his friends; the ranger or druid will know about animals and how they hunt (tactics). The wizard will probably know about weird animals and magical abominations, maybe even extra-planar foes. The priest will probably know a lot about undead. At least in theory, the bard or rogue will know the local humanoid threats; enough to cover the bases. And, IIRC, at least in Pathfinder, K: Dungeoneering is a class skill for fighters. As is K: Engineering, interestingly. *shrug*

 

Mind you, this is just how we handle it. I don't really expect anyone else to follow suit.

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In classic D&D, they'd be name level+ fighters. In (core) 3.x they'd be fighters who maybe dipped into Expert (NPC class). But those two examples, and any other you'd care to name, are the super incredibly rare examples against the millions of other fighting men who's names have been lost in the sands of time.

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What D&D class is a (limited to medieval tech level) Laura Croft or Indiana Jones?

Rogue or spellless ranger.

 

Bard as an outside possibility. (I have heard Harrison Ford sing... he did not put points into it.)

 

In Eberron there is also Extreme Archaeologist.... (I almost avoided Eberron entirely, because of that name....)

 

The Auld Grump - Sun Tzu was quite possibly pure Expert. Just because you are the general does not mean that you yourself are a mighty warrior.

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