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Kendal

Best Version of DnD?

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I agree that it's good to keep pressure going on a party when possible, but it doesn't really help game balance that much. Sure, casters run out of spells, but fighters run out of hit points. And once you get past a certain point, he'll start doing that a lot faster than the wizard or the cleric are running out of spells (well, about the same time the cleric runs out of spells, if he's acting as a healbot).

 

The trick with many encounters is to keep their level lower than you might otherwise have them. So the PCs can absolutely trash 3 encounters (say), but then they're stuck with no spells, because they burned up everything when they didn't need to.

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And having more monsters for the encounter is more effective than a single monster of the same encounter level.

 

Really, though, I have not seen the wizards going Nova all that often - and when they do it tends to be on what they think is the big encounter.

 

The Auld Grump

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My groups are used to occasional encounter flurries, so I really don't have 15-minute-adventuring-day problems either. Unless it's a Scry-Buff-Teleport attack on a major bad guy, which doesn't bother me at all. They should be able to take advantage of those cool abilities and toys sometimes.

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What kinda silly wizard shows their power level?  Mine stay on the down low and only use what is absolutely vital.

 

That way the DM forgets about my reserve reserve reserve.

 

And also those ten wands I slowly squirreled away over many levels... just in case.

 

You want to live, you play frail and weak and puny until you absolutely positively have to melt everything in the room.  Why work when you can convince meatshield and healbag to do it?   They're having fun, you're living through it, everyone wins.  Especially you. 

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You want to live, you play frail and weak and puny until you absolutely positively have to melt everything in the room.  Why work when you can convince meatshield and healbag to do it?   They're having fun, you're living through it, everyone wins.  Especially you.

Or you Summon All The Things; the tactic of a teleportation conjurer I had the entertaining privilege of GMing for.

... I fried him with a Disintegrate, and the party went to pieces while he reincarnated. It was hilarious, and told me that alchemists are only overpowered in certain circumstances. Those were not those circumstances. The party did survive.

 

Pathfinder is hilarious, played with the right group. The trick is you can say that for any system, if your group is the right kind of crazy.

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What kinda silly wizard shows their power level?  Mine stay on the down low and only use what is absolutely vital.

 

That way the DM forgets about my reserve reserve reserve.

 

And also those ten wands I slowly squirreled away over many levels... just in case.

 

You want to live, you play frail and weak and puny until you absolutely positively have to melt everything in the room.  Why work when you can convince meatshield and healbag to do it?   They're having fun, you're living through it, everyone wins.  Especially you. 

 

I play "frail archers" so that no one realizes their power level, they just think I'm playing a thematic fighter or rogue.  Then I cast Gate and bring Father around and all of a sudden I'm the menace... 

 

Seriously, though, playing a wizard as a very back-line character is a lot of fun.  I do play archer-wizards, spending a LOT of money on bows & such, and  I let all the other players know what I'm doing.  I simultaneously end the 15-minute adventuring day, and I make monsters think I'm just a poor warrior or low-level mook.  They go right after the "masters."

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Pathfinder and 4th edition are essentially diametric opposites in how they adapted D&D to a more modern era. Pathfinder is basically just 3.5 with corrected damage numbers for the non-wizard non-barbarian classes. This is feels like comfort food, very good comfort food, but still a clear sign that Paizo is not going to really expand 3.5's rules set in any meaningful way or address the underlying problems with 3.5 core systems such as linear warriors and quadratic wizards and certain play styles being almost incompatible with the core systems (maneuverability melee combatants have been a particular bedbug).

Though the problem of linear fighter vs quadratic wizard existed loooong before D&D 3.5e, I find that it was never that bad in the 3.x or PF.

 

In the games I've been in, at higher levels the fighters were still massive damage dealers, and though the magic users had devastating spells, they were also very often limited in having the right opportunity to use those spells. i.e. Fireballs still need to have no ally with 20ft radius, Lighting Bolt still needs a straight line, and there's that pesky X times/day that sticks to them.

 

From experience, the classes that suffered the most from high levels in 3.x were rogues. Sure, their sneak attacks could be devastating, but at higher levels, the shear amount of critters immune to sneak attacks shut them down pretty quick. Monks also suffered from having their Flurry of Blows unable to hit anything with high AC due to their average BAB and lack of items that could effectively boost their to-hit bonuses without compromising the FoB.

 

Pathfinder retooled several of the core classes with the PF Unchained book, much to my liking now.

 

Part of it was a sherical cow argument - if you allow the wizard to recharge after each encounter he does become too powerful - but most groups, in my experience, don't play that way - so the wizard does not go nova on each and every encounter, and is not carrying enough Knock spells that you don't need the rogue, and so on and so forth.

 

It was pretty much an excuse for Wizards to kill 3.X and the accompanying OGL.

 

Without realizing that because of that same OGL 3.X no longer needed WotC in order to survive.

 

Which they really, really, really should have known, since it was one of the danged stated purposes of the OGL - in order to prevent exactly that kind of corporate idiocy. (Sorry guys - some of the founders of WotC went and said what would happen, long before 4e was even the barest twinkle, you morons!)

 

The result was that 4e had killed its own chance of success.

 

The Auld Grump - only two hours into the game, and already waiting on pizza...

 

*EDIT* I swear to Gogamagog, we ate healthier while I was running Curse of the Crimson Throne - It's like old school adventures somehow cause a craving for pizza, corn chips, and fatty, fatty dips!

 

I know plenty of players who play by the "Well, we're out of spells after two combats, time to go back/sleep" mentality. I tried to discourage it, by having them get ambushed on their way back, or by preventing rest by having things happen while they're asleep that wake them up(one time I had a bar fight spill into their room at the inn, busted door and all) but that just made them get annoyed with me. Other times I've tried by having their leaving in the middle of the day result in reinforcements/changes, and the same thing happens. So I explained that they need to ration resources and extend their day beyond 15 minutes of adventuring, and they just don't want to play that way. That's how my old high school group was, and that's how a couple players I had in a group a few years ago were.

 

I haven't had opportunity to play much 5E, but I'm hoping that the short rest/long rest rules will discourage that stuff. A short lunch break in a cave that gives back a spell or two and a few HP, but then requires a long rest later before you can do it again, should help satisfy their want to do a bit more blasting while also helping me not rage over their 15-minute adventuring days.

 

I find the best way to solve the 15-minute adventuring day is to make the quest time dependent. Your group will quickly stop resting for 8 hours after every fight when they have only 72 hours to get through the dungeon before the celestial alignment starts the sacrifice of their loved ones...

 

It is also fun for the PCs to come back to the dungeon... and find all the monsters slaughtered, and all the treasure gone!

 

And the PCs are not the only folks that can use the downtime to prepare....

 

The Auld Grump

 

 

I've never pulled the "someone stole the job out from under you" bit, but I have done the relentless pressure and increased preparation if they leave. Relentless pressure has tended to annoy players so that they quit playing because "it's not fun anymore," while increased preparation/reinforcements has resulted in TPKs in the past and made everyone mad. I think it's just that most of the players I've found locally tend to want one of two things - off the rails stupidity or a Monty Haul game where they can't lose. Sometimes both at the same time.

 

Likewise, I have no problem with people wanting to play eccentric characters and do their own thing, heck, I do it myself every so often. For instance, in a 5E one shot I played a dragonkin warlock worshiper of Cthulhu who only communicated by telepathy and very nearly got kicked out of town for proselytizing and doomsaying, directly into people's minds, in the town square. But I at least make my eccentrics useful to the party in most situations. On the other hand I've got one guy who wants to play Throthgar, a character from a Skyrim machinima who is, put simply, incapable of functioning in a D&D game. And if he doesn't want to play Throthgar he wants to play an 80 year old dementia patient fighter with narcolepsy that's triggered by stressful situations. So every time combat starts, he says his character falls asleep and then doesn't do anything. Another wants to always play the exact same character every time, which normally wouldn't be a problem, except this character does nothing but try to steal everything he can and set fire to the things he can't. He tried to rob a noble, in sight of the noble, and got caught. When he got caught, he set fire to the room. So his character was given a trial for arson, and he tried to steal from his lawyer while in court. And got caught. So he kicked the lawyer, tried to brawl with the guards, and ended up executed. You'd think that would get the point across, but then he just rolled up a new character and did the exact same things. The list goes on.

 

And because I live in a pretty rural-ish area where D&D, wargaming, etc, is largely frowned upon my player pool is limited. I've tried play by post, and while I really enjoyed the amount of actual roleplaying that went on and loved that people actually wanted to play like that, the slow speed and waiting for people to post so things could continue got annoying.

Edited by Unruly
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And because I live in a pretty rural-ish area where D&D, wargaming, etc, is largely frowned upon my player pool is limited. I've tried play by post, and while I really enjoyed the amount of actual roleplaying that went on and loved that people actually wanted to play like that, the slow speed and waiting for people to post so things could continue got annoying.

Have you tried gaming over skype or google hangouts? There's a pretty big community that plays that way. I was in a regular Sunday night game for... 2 years or so until staying up till 11pm on a Sunday night just got to be too much.

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Until recently, that would have been a complete non-starter for me. My Internet connection was absolutely terrible. Only marginally able to do things like watch Netflix. Voice-only chat through something like mumble or ventrilo was fine, but trying to do a video call on Skype was a choppy mess. But now I'm without a pc, and I've never been one for webcams. Oh, and my night shift without your standard Saturday-Sunday weekend, means that I can't really be on when the majority of people would want to play. That is, unless I want to play with people in eastern Europe and Russia.

 

If I had a normal work schedule, I'd play with local people, even if a few of them did get on my nerves half the time. There's just something about being physically there when you're playing that makes a huge difference to me.

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The Sunday night game I played we didn't use the video feature. Sure, it isn't the same as being in person, but it beats PbP or even worse, no game at all. And you'd be shocked at what hours people play at. Remember, you don't need a majority of people, you need a small group of them!

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YMMV, but I firmly believe that bad gaming is not better than no gaming.

 

If fantasy is a hard sell locally and distant gaming is impossible, you might consider something not fantasy based. (From my experience, Superhero, SF, or historical gaming is an easier sell in some areas than fantasy.)

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I know one person who plays Shadowrun. He's been trying to put together a group for a while now, and I've been interested every time he tries. But he can only get about 3 people to commit, including himself, so not enough to really have a game. And even then, scheduling issues hit us.

 

As for superheroes, well, we barely had a comic ship for years. We didn't really gain a comic shop worth going to until 2005 or so, and the one we had before then was actually hostile to its own customers. WV is pretty backwards when it comes to basically everything. We still have the stereotypical jocks of the type seen in Revenge of the Nerds at a lot of high schools. Being interested in things other than the latest pop stars and TV shows gets you cast as a pariah. Maybe it's changed a bit in the last decade, what with all the Marvel movies making truckloads of cash, but when I was in school it was hell to be geeky. My own family treated me like crap for being interested in most of my hobbies.

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And because I live in a pretty rural-ish area where D&D, wargaming, etc, is largely frowned upon my player pool is limited. I've tried play by post, and while I really enjoyed the amount of actual roleplaying that went on and loved that people actually wanted to play like that, the slow speed and waiting for people to post so things could continue got annoying.

Have you tried gaming over skype or google hangouts? There's a pretty big community that plays that way. I was in a regular Sunday night game for... 2 years or so until staying up till 11pm on a Sunday night just got to be too much.

 

I was kind of shocked to discover that the military can be a hotbed of RPG activity - when I was hired to write a 3e setting in return for a very nice computer.

 

So, I wrote a French & Indian War setting with elves as the French and orcs as the native Americans. The other side was humans with dwarf and ogre mercenaries (as well as a thin scattering of orcs - the humans were doing a great job of pissing off any orc allies that they might otherwise have had.)

 

The GM was shocked, in turn, when most of his players had a heck of a lot more sympathy for the orcs than either the humans or the elves.

 

Apparently having his own custom written setting was apparently a status symbol....

 

The Auld Grump

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Background: I've been playing since high school. That's around 40 years ago.

I can't quite rank the systems, and of course YMMV, but for my style of GMing I've had the most success with the original books (and supplements) followed by 3.0/3.5.

AD&D follows after.

Second edition felt like something of a straightjacket and 4th is way too combat oriented for my style.

5th feels a bit like they tried to rescale to the original rules, but without the do-what-you-feel-like-feel.

 

The thing is that D&D has evolved over the years from an aid to GM imagination into a how-to-do-it guide.  I prefer it as the former, a tool that makes it easier to set the scene for the players, and provides a framework for whatever lunacy one wishes to conceal between the written rules.

 

Most of the games I run, I make up all the rules to go with the world, but I've found 3.0 and 3.5 to be good environments when I don't wish to start from scratch.

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YMMV, but I firmly believe that bad gaming is not better than no gaming.

 

If fantasy is a hard sell locally and distant gaming is impossible, you might consider something not fantasy based. (From my experience, Superhero, SF, or historical gaming is an easier sell in some areas than fantasy.)

I'd rather not game than bad game. Somebody once asked me what I would do with my substantial investment of stuff if it was Bad Game or No Game.

 

I said I'd play the game by myself. That stuff is getting used one way or another, but I won't waste it on a crap game.

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