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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.

 

 

Oh yeah, I just pasted the 'A' section from the SRD in lieu of doing serious statistical analysis. Like if you want to critique my selection as warping the list go for it. I cited the Allip as I don't think it's used in a published module.. it might be though. 

 

Alexander had extensive educations on a huge variety of subjects. Heck, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle but was also a great individual combantant. Note that even if he had a high intelligence score they still suck at knowing things because you have to buy it with cross class levels. Alexander even demonstrated that knowledge trying to embed a greek society (which failed because he died of malaria). Sun Tzu wrote a book that's still studied today as a work of strategy. 

 

Plus, if we go back to 2nd edition, we can clearly see that the fighter was supposed to be the general class. At 9th level can you get footmen, knights etc that follow your lead.

 

It's a big negative when a new edition abandons concepts that were viable in a previous edition imho.  Plus, these are major archetypical examples. Additionally, if the game uses the classes to model NPCs as well, if the game cannot do 'great general' as a player how do you model the NPC great general?

 

It's also I think missing the point to say 'these are your generational enemies' - in the D&D setting of 'points of light' wandering monsters are your generational enemies. Following your logic therefore the fighter would know all about them. 

 

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.

 

IMHO this is fairly proscribed thinking. The heros of a D&D campaign ARE the super incredibly rare examples of elite fighters (once they get past like, level 5). The guys who died at level 1 and never made it are the ones lost to the sands of time. Once you hit double digits you might be the highest level guy in an entire campaign setting, and yeah, that probably means you are in a box with Alexander. Heck, you are actually way, way 'better' than Alexander. 

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In OD&D most people were assumed to be 0 level Fighting Men. (And there were no Rogues (or, rather, Thieves) yet - those were added via the magazine. ::): )

 

3.X gets around that by adding NPC classes - Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert, and Warrior. 

 

While it is possible to be a 20th level Commoner, you will still kind of suck. ::P: (Goodman Games actually had an adventure for NPC classes - Legends Are Made, Not Born - when finished, the PCs will pick up character class levels. (I think that it is quite possibly the best of the Dungeon Crawl Classics.)

 

For my Pathfinder game, I mostly replace Adept with Hedge Witch. (A witch archetype that focuses on healing - they are the midwives and hedge priests.)

 

The Auld Grump - eating dinner at Wendy's, doodling notes for the kids game on the back of the tray liner, while Megan laughs at me.... ::): Life is good.

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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. 

 

His point is that your list means nothing and proves nothing.

 

And, as I pointed out, was not even given a cursory examination for accuracy - kind of like claiming 'Ice cream is cold, so spaghetti should be eaten with cheese!'. Both parts may be true - but neither is causative. (As opposed to 'Murder & Ice Cream'. Eating ice cream goes up in the summer, so do the number of murders - neither causes the other, but both share the same root cause.)

 

D&D characters are not well trained modern soldiers - nor should they be. Fighters are not U.S. Army, nor are the Special Air Services.

 

If you really want to play a fighter that knows about monsters, give him a high intelligence, and then get the skills to back it up - if you don't buy the skills, then it is not the fault of the game system, it is simply that you found other things that you wanted to do with your points.

 

Cutting and pasting a list from out of the SRD... really doesn't help your argument.

 

The Auld Grump

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You're using real world soldiers to compare but the comparison falls down once you start looking at why real world soldiers have the info they have.  One thing that isn't widely acknowledged is that the armed forces are extremely good at knowledge management (no surprise when you consider that, for them, knowledge management is literally a matter of life or death).  They have intelligence sources who are out gathering info and collating that into useful intel. 

 

A trained soldier in a city/village (or wherever they are from) doesn't have a database to pull up info from.  All he has is the occasional travelling bard (or maybe a traveling mercenary) to tell him about fantastical creatures they might have encountered.  And at that point, the trained soldier not only has to remember that info but then consider whether the source of that info was exaggerating (and we all know soldiers never exaggerate about their accomplishments when discussing it over an ale right?).  

 

 

PCs have the option to gather information about their foes as well. They can talk to people in the area, do research about what they've heard of, and there is likely to be someone in the group that they can ask, especially if they do the research first. (Which is to say that I largely agree.)

 

ETA: I also change the DC significantly for monsters that I consider to be "Common" or "Very Common". If there are lots of orcs about, it's likely that a 10 will get you essentially everything there is to know about them. And anyone can get a 10.

 

So what class is Sun Tzu? Alexander the Great? 

 

 

If I wanted to build any real person, I'd not choose a D&D-style game to do it. Classes are a game concept that works poorly for real people. And let's not get started on "What level magic user was Gandalf*".  ^_^

 

If I wanted a fighter type with lots of skills in Pathfinder, I'd go with Cavalier, Fighter with the Lorewarden archetype, or add a level or two of Expert, while making sure the INT was high.

 

* If you're old enough you might remember the article in The Dragon, which mostly demonstrated that D&D was bad at doing Middle Earth.

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If you want to argue my point about preponderance of monsters having fixed abilities feel free to do the analysis. I've demonstrated that in a random sample of monsters most have preponderance of fixed abilities. If you disagree that this holds for the larger set go for it.

 

It's basically not possible to build a high intelligence fighter in D&D 3.5 or PF without a deleterious effect on game balance.

 

You're already playing a class that could be straight replaced by a cleric, and as you already need strength, dexterity and constitution to do your job, having a high intelligence so you can buy ranks of knowledge with cross class skills is going to mean that you still won't be good at making the checks required and you won't be able to contribute in fights.

 

Yeah sure you can house rule it but remember by the rules the fighter archetype as presented doesn't know bears live in caves or a balisik turns you to stone until he reaches.... level 7 (assuming intelligence 12 and investing in cross class ranks)

 

I don't think this is defensible.

 

 

Incidentally for the crew saying Alexander the Great isn't a viable D&D character - what would you say if I rocked up at your table and wanted to play an Alexander the Great type character?

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If you want to argue my point about preponderance of monsters having fixed abilities feel free to do the analysis. I've demonstrated that in a random sample of monsters most have preponderance of fixed abilities. If you disagree that this holds for the larger set go for it.

Again, that assumes that a DM will run the monsters directly as written. Rule Zero is that a DM is allowed to alter anything as he/she sees fit. If I remember right, there was even a mention somewhere in one of the books, either the DMG or the MM, that mentioned how the monsters presented were to be considered an average example, and that they shouldn't be taken to represent everything.

 

It's basically not possible to build a high intelligence fighter in D&D 3.5 or PF without a deleterious effect on game balance.

 

You're already playing a class that could be straight replaced by a cleric, and as you already need strength, dexterity and constitution to do your job, having a high intelligence so you can buy ranks of knowledge with cross class skills is going to mean that you still won't be good at making the checks required and you won't be able to contribute in fights.

 

Yeah sure you can house rule it but remember by the rules the fighter archetype as presented doesn't know bears live in caves or a balisik turns you to stone until he reaches.... level 7 (assuming intelligence 12 and investing in cross class ranks)

 

I don't think this is defensible.

 

I don't think that anyone is arguing that the way D&D handles fighter skills isn't dumb, because I'm pretty sure I've seen everyone here say that they agree fighters should get more skill points. Third edition in particular was TERRIBLE in how it handled skills, especially cross-class stuff. However, you're trying to say that a fighter should know everything about every enemy they come across, which just isn't going to happen for anybody no matter who they are. As a real world corollary, if you went to Africa would you be able to identify every animal you came across and rattle off their habitat, mating habits, top speed, etc? Yea, you might be able to go into the woods near your house and say "oh, that's a whitetail deer, it does this and that, and that's a black snake, it's not poisonous." but you probably wouldn't be able to, say, go diving in the Great Barrier Reef and do the same without doing some extensive direct research beforehand. Even people who dedicate their entire lives to zoology and botany couldn't go to literally anywhere in the world and rattle off every animal, insect, or plant that they came across and all of its statistics like you're implying that the fighter should be able to do.

 

As for complaining that building a fighter with high Int means you make it unplayable you must have a different definition of unplayable than I do. Just because you can't build a character to be perfect doesn't mean it's useless. Yea, a fighter with a high Int may be less effective in a fight than one who just dumped all his points into Str and Con, but it's still going to do better swinging a sword than a wizard will. Also, if I remember right, D&D tends to assume an average ability score of about 12 for PCs. In fact, 5th edition's rules for building with points give you just enough points to put two skills at 13 and the rest at 12. I'm pretty sure I remember reading in either the 1e or 2e AD&D PHB that 13 was considered a good score. So for later editions to consider it the average just shows how much more powerful in general the players have become.

 

Incidentally for the crew saying Alexander the Great isn't a viable D&D character - what would you say if I rocked up at your table and wanted to play an Alexander the Great type character?

It would depend on what edition of D&D we're talking about. Since I'm currently playing 5e, let's do that. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to do something up that I think fits the bill pretty well. Variant Human Battle Master Fighter with the Skilled feat, an above-average Intelligence and Charisma, low Con(he died of illness at 30), and the Noble background. Spend your class proficiencies on Insight and Athletics, gain Persuasion and History from the background, and then take Perception, Nature, and either Religion or Survival for the Skilled feat.

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If you want to argue my point about preponderance of monsters having fixed abilities feel free to do the analysis. I've demonstrated that in a random sample of monsters most have preponderance of fixed abilities. If you disagree that this holds for the larger set go for it.

Advanced template is basic to the game. Increased HD are basic to the game. Leveled monsters are basic to the game. GM-designed monsters are basic to the game.

 

And most of this sort of thing has been both allowed and encouraged since OD&D.

 

It's basically not possible to build a high intelligence fighter in D&D 3.5 or PF without a deleterious effect on game balance.

I'm currently running a Lorewarden Fighter with a 16 INT in Mummy's Mask. At 9th level, he is one of the most effective characters in the group and has all INT-based skills as class skills. And lest there be a question about points, he was built on the Elite Array. You are not correct.

 

You're already playing a class that could be straight replaced by a cleric, and as you already need strength, dexterity and constitution to do your job, having a high intelligence so you can buy ranks of knowledge with cross class skills is going to mean that you still won't be good at making the checks required and you won't be able to contribute in fights.

In PF, you can't replace a fighter with a cleric. Fighters have been powered up and the melee-Cleric build has been reduced in power. You don't necessarily need a high CON to be effective, and you likely only need one of STR and DEX. You have to build to get INT skills, but it's not even difficult.

 

Yeah sure you can house rule it but remember by the rules the fighter archetype as presented doesn't know bears live in caves or a balisik turns you to stone until he reaches.... level 7 (assuming intelligence 12 and investing in cross class ranks)

One level of Kn Nature is enough to make the roll and count numbers above 10. If you start with a 14 INT, That means you can get to a 23 at first level even if Kn Nature isn't a class skill for you (and there are many ways to get a skill as a class skill). Perhaps you're talking about an advanced Bear? And that assumes that the GM is treating a Brown Bear (CR 3, BTW) as a creature of average rarity.

 

Not seeing the problem, really.

 

I don't think this is defensible.

OK. I do.

 

Incidentally for the crew saying Alexander the Great isn't a viable D&D character - what would you say if I rocked up at your table and wanted to play an Alexander the Great type character?

First, why would you assume that Alexander at 1st level had lots of knowledge or INT-based skills? If we assume that he left home at 1st level (that would have been at the age of 13, btw, to go to be tutored by Aristotle), he had been "adventuring" for 7 years before his father died. Give a character 3 levels of Expert, a level of Noble, and 6 levels of Cavalier (because tactics and leadership are much more the province of a Cavalier than a Fighter) and I'd find the character very believable.

 

If somebody wants to play Aragorn, he's not going to start play as Aragorn with the skills seen in the Lord of the Rings. That's likely going to be true in any RPG that allows for character advancement through play, but in a game designed to give a Bildungsroman experience, like D&D/PF, it's core to the experience.

 

Further, if you're playing a class-based game, there are inherent assumptions baked in to facilitate troupe-based game play. Jacks of all trades are designed to be suboptimal to facilitate niche protection. This is a game-play decision, not a simulation decision. If you can't stomach it, I'd recommend staying away from class-based, troupe-style games.

 

Finally, you seem to be very invested not only in your opinion, but in everyone else agreeing with your "self-evidently correct" position. This is not the first time this sort of discussion has been held on the internet; most people likely to participate have already thought through the issues at some length. Please be good enough to accept that not everyone wants the same things from a game that you do and not everyone agrees with your assessments even when they share your goals. Combative responses are unlikely to constructively further this thread.

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If you want to argue my point about preponderance of monsters having fixed abilities feel free to do the analysis. I've demonstrated that in a random sample of monsters most have preponderance of fixed abilities. If you disagree that this holds for the larger set go for it.

Advanced template is basic to the game. Increased HD are basic to the game. Leveled monsters are basic to the game. GM-designed monsters are basic to the game.

 

And most of this sort of thing has been both allowed and encouraged since OD&D.

 

It's basically not possible to build a high intelligence fighter in D&D 3.5 or PF without a deleterious effect on game balance.

I'm currently running a Lorewarden Fighter with a 16 INT in Mummy's Mask. At 9th level, he is one of the most effective characters in the group and has all INT-based skills as class skills. And lest there be a question about points, he was built on the Elite Array. You are not correct.

 

You're already playing a class that could be straight replaced by a cleric, and as you already need strength, dexterity and constitution to do your job, having a high intelligence so you can buy ranks of knowledge with cross class skills is going to mean that you still won't be good at making the checks required and you won't be able to contribute in fights.

In PF, you can't replace a fighter with a cleric. Fighters have been powered up and the melee-Cleric build has been reduced in power. You don't necessarily need a high CON to be effective, and you likely only need one of STR and DEX. You have to build to get INT skills, but it's not even difficult.

 

Yeah sure you can house rule it but remember by the rules the fighter archetype as presented doesn't know bears live in caves or a balisik turns you to stone until he reaches.... level 7 (assuming intelligence 12 and investing in cross class ranks)

One level of Kn Nature is enough to make the roll and count numbers above 10. If you start with a 14 INT, That means you can get to a 23 at first level even if Kn Nature isn't a class skill for you (and there are many ways to get a skill as a class skill). Perhaps you're talking about an advanced Bear? And that assumes that the GM is treating a Brown Bear (CR 3, BTW) as a creature of average rarity.

 

Not seeing the problem, really.

 

I don't think this is defensible.

OK. I do.

 

Incidentally for the crew saying Alexander the Great isn't a viable D&D character - what would you say if I rocked up at your table and wanted to play an Alexander the Great type character?

First, why would you assume that Alexander at 1st level had lots of knowledge or INT-based skills? If we assume that he left home at 1st level (that would have been at the age of 13, btw, to go to be tutored by Aristotle), he had been "adventuring" for 7 years before his father died. Give a character 3 levels of Expert, a level of Noble, and 6 levels of Cavalier (because tactics and leadership are much more the province of a Cavalier than a Fighter) and I'd find the character very believable.

 

If somebody wants to play Aragorn, he's not going to start play as Aragorn with the skills seen in the Lord of the Rings. That's likely going to be true in any RPG that allows for character advancement through play, but in a game designed to give a Bildungsroman experience, like D&D/PF, it's core to the experience.

 

Further, if you're playing a class-based game, there are inherent assumptions baked in to facilitate troupe-based game play. Jacks of all trades are designed to be suboptimal to facilitate niche protection. This is a game-play decision, not a simulation decision. If you can't stomach it, I'd recommend staying away from class-based, troupe-style games.

 

Finally, you seem to be very invested not only in your opinion, but in everyone else agreeing with your "self-evidently correct" position. This is not the first time this sort of discussion has been held on the internet; most people likely to participate have already thought through the issues at some length. Please be good enough to accept that not everyone wants the same things from a game that you do and not everyone agrees with your assessments even when they share your goals. Combative responses are unlikely to constructively further this thread.

 

In a similar vein, one of the starting points when Paizo started work on Mythic Adventures was that Hercules, at first level, was still Hercules.

 

Rather than making Mythic games start at high levels, they instead took the PoV that being Mythic was separate from being experienced.

 

At some point, I dearly want to run a bronze age Mythic game.... where the afterlife is a place that you can physically travel to. (And never forget Rule #1 for visiting the Underworld - Don't Look Back.)

 

The Auld Grump - I will likely call the setting something along the lines of Middle Earth... Midgard, Mediterranean, Middle Kingdom... the term got used a lot....

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I've played 1e, 2e, either 3.5 or 4e (the one with Psionics - there were blue goblins is all I know), and read through 5e. I don't which I prefer but I had the most fun with 1e and 2e because of the people. It was the GM, his wife, another lady, and myself. I received a promotion at work and had to leave the group due to scheduling conflicts but I dearly loved it and miss it to this day.

 

I run GURPS now as I have to play solo because of disabilities. The system lends itself to that style of gaming better than D&D, in my opinion. Using Mythic, the GM Emulator, helps tremendously. FATE looks like it could also be handy, although I still haven't gotten down the dice system to know for sure.

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One level of Kn Nature is enough to make the roll and count numbers above 10. If you start with a 14 INT, That means you can get to a 23 at first level even if Kn Nature isn't a class skill for you (and there are many ways to get a skill as a class skill). Perhaps you're talking about an advanced Bear? And that assumes that the GM is treating a Brown Bear (CR 3, BTW) as a creature of average rarity.

 

 

 

Check DC is 10+HD, so DC 16. Taking 10 gives us 14 in your scenario, or average roll of 14.5. On balance of probabilities, fighter doesn't know the bear lives a cave. Yeah sure, he might make the roll, but probably won't. But he's tanked his combat ability to allocate his secondary ability score to int instead of con. 

 

The PF tier list isn't materially different from the 3.5 Tier list. Cleric is still tier 1 and Lore warden is tier 4. I haven't seen any widely agreed tier list that suggests otherwise. You can obviously make an optimised fighter that can hang with sub optimal clerics, but it's as it always was. If someone takes that same level up optimization and applies it to an actually good class the game snaps horribly. 

 

And yes I know this is an argument that's been hashed out before, and it always goes like this, roughly:

 

A: Wizards are way better than monks at being monks

B: IF (( I build the best most optimized monk I can) &  (The GM hands out insane plot bennies ^ everyone else makes terrible characters)) -> Monk is better

A: Sure, but if you give a wizard all that stuff it will be game breakingly amazing. 

B: This isn't a problem because of rule zero

A: If we're not using the rules what is the framework for this discussion

 

Which we can see we're locked into. 

 

BTW, I really hate the scripting on this forum

 

 

 

Again, that assumes that a DM will run the monsters directly as written. Rule Zero is that a DM is allowed to alter anything as he/she sees fit. If I remember right, there was even a mention somewhere in one of the books, either the DMG or the MM, that mentioned how the monsters presented were to be considered an average example, and that they shouldn't be taken to represent everything.
 

 

 
 
I don't think rule zero is useful in these discussions - I mean, I could 'rule zero' my pathfinder game into dungeon world and then just play dungeon world. Look, no problems with class balance!
 
But new DMs (the sort who are asking 'whats the best version of D&D' don't usefully know how to do that. They are going to be leaning heavily on the text and the adventures they are given etc to know how to run the game. They are not going to know that, for example, you need to massively patch up fighters and nerf wizards to get game balance. 

 

 

 


I don't think that anyone is arguing that the way D&D handles fighter skills isn't dumb, because I'm pretty sure I've seen everyone here say that they agree fighters should get more skill points. Third edition in particular was TERRIBLE in how it handled skills, especially cross-class stuff. However, you're trying to say that a fighter should know everything about every enemy they come across, which just isn't going to happen for anybody no matter who they are. As a real world corollary, if you went to Africa would you be able to identify every animal you came across and rattle off their habitat, mating habits, top speed, etc? Yea, you might be able to go into the woods near your house and say "oh, that's a whitetail deer, it does this and that, and that's a black snake, it's not poisonous." but you probably wouldn't be able to, say, go diving in the Great Barrier Reef and do the same without doing some extensive direct research beforehand. Even people who dedicate their entire lives to zoology and botany couldn't go to literally anywhere in the world and rattle off every animal, insect, or plant that they came across and all of its statistics like you're implying that the fighter should be able to do.
 

 

 
Actually doug is arguing exactly that, but sure. Incidentally, the way the rule works in the game is that you get 'one additional useful fact' for every 5 you beat the DC by. So the fighter who just makes the DC knows one thing about the animal. If you want to know 10 things about the animal, you need to beat the DC by 45. This fits with the mechanic you are talking about, and I'm assuming that a fighter should only know 1-2 things of useful direct combat relevance. You're example of being able to ID everything would require very high scores (as some sort of sage character would have). 
 
I am aware basically no-one actually plays these rules as they are written in the book, but there you go. 
 
I basically assume a fighter should know everything I do. I play D&D on average once a month for 5 years for 4 hours. A fighter is going to have put his actual life on the line - not roleplayed it! It's a werewolf, I need silver weapons. It's a red dragon, I need cold attacks etc. Like, *I* know this stuff and I'm not a professional D&D player. If I joe average knows, professional adventurers who are risking their life should surely know! 

 

 

 

 

As for complaining that building a fighter with high Int means you make it unplayable you must have a different definition of unplayable than I do. Just because you can't build a character to be perfect doesn't mean it's useless. Yea, a fighter with a high Int may be less effective in a fight than one who just dumped all his points into Str and Con, but it's still going to do better swinging a sword than a wizard will. Also, if I remember right, D&D tends to assume an average ability score of about 12 for PCs. In fact, 5th edition's rules for building with points give you just enough points to put two skills at 13 and the rest at 12. I'm pretty sure I remember reading in either the 1e or 2e AD&D PHB that 13 was considered a good score. So for later editions to consider it the average just shows how much more powerful in general the players have become.


It would depend on what edition of D&D we're talking about. Since I'm currently playing 5e, let's do that. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to do something up that I think fits the bill pretty well. Variant Human Battle Master Fighter with the Skilled feat, an above-average Intelligence and Charisma, low Con(he died of illness at 30), and the Noble background. Spend your class proficiencies on Insight and Athletics, gain Persuasion and History from the background, and then take Perception, Nature, and either Religion or Survival for the Skilled feat.

 

 

I don't give the argument that 'well, he's still better at swinging a sword than a wizard' much weight. My primary concern is that's a bad metric to assess the wizard by. The wizard is a spellcaster, and it not being good at non-spell related things isn't a bug, it's a feature. You should be assessing against the fighters ability to contribute in encounters. As you correctly point out, the fighter has tanked his ability to contribute in encounters which means the DM is going to need to do tons of work to redo all the game's combat math and encounter workday - which leads to re-writing all the classes. Which is bad

 

Your 5E design is interesting, but the problem is that character is very unlikely to survive levels 1-3 because of the low Con score and his int/charisma is basically entirely dead weight. The game basically makes fighters have a high con if you start from level 1 because of the risks of dying from a random hit. For example, our hypothetical alexander gets instantly one shot by a charging centaur about 30-40% of the time at level 2 (a CR2 encounter). 

 

I suspect you'd be better off making him an Oath of Vengeance paladin/sorcerer and refluffing extensively in 5E. The paladin's save bonus aura becomes Alexander's leadership skills etc. Now he has an organically high charisma score and it contributes to his martial exploits and the like. 

 

My definition of unplayable is 'able to beat encounters and monsters of equal CR<~40%.'

My definition of balanced is 'able to beat encounters and monsters of equal CR ~50% of the time.' 

My definition of overpowered is 'able to beat encounters and monsters of equal CR > ~60% of the time.' 

 

I reckon this is pretty reasonable?

 

Finally, you seem to be very invested not only in your opinion, but in everyone else agreeing with your "self-evidently correct" position. This is not the first time this sort of discussion has been held on the internet; most people likely to participate have already thought through the issues at some length. Please be good enough to accept that not everyone wants the same things from a game that you do and not everyone agrees with your assessments even when they share your goals. Combative responses are unlikely to constructively further this thread.

 

 

 
As does everyone else (See Auld Grump laying into 4E at every opportunity). The crux though is could you be making *better* decisions with more analytical information about the game. 
 
I submit yes, most people would be better off trying something different than 3.5/PF. You've moved on for example - I assume you have a reason for that. 
Edited by CthulhuDreams
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Actually, 5E Alexander the great should probably be a refluffed Oath of the Crown Paladin / Draconic Sorcerer 6/14. You'll need to refluff his rapier into a spear as well. Would be a fun character. 

 

Edit: Except wait his int and wis are going to be amazingly garbage still, but still better than a battlemaster fighter design I suspect. 

Edited by CthulhuDreams
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When Gary Gygax first was playtesting the game, he saw no reason that anyone would ever want to play anything other than a generic fighter (or "Fighting Man.") His friends had to convince him that, y'know, SOME people might want to play hobbits, dwarves, elves, rogues, clerics, even wizards.

Still wonder why it took him until Unearthed Arcana to plug barbarians in there. Gary LOVED Conan the Barbarian.

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