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Relic
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15 hours ago, Gertrude said:

I was actually thinking about this after I posted. It might be kinda fun for the DM to perhaps pick out some ability that the PC 

I like it, but i think if you're playing with an experienced group something like that should be PC driven. DM has enough work on their hands haha. But if a PC knows what they want to do with their next level up than working on it before they get it is something i would certainly allow in almost every single circumstance as a DM. The more RP around player abilities the better =) 

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Damn... I believe my recent tabletop exposure and some recent conversations with new online acquaintances have turned me wistful. I really would love to DM at some point. I have familiarized myself with the role of a player in one-shots and now that Star Wars campaign I joined, but initially my fascination came from listening to D&D live games, with Dimension 20 and Brennan's extremely good DMing front and center.

And now... I've got myself a bunch of one-page one-shots, inspired by the great DM from the fanfiction Discord, and on top of that bought myself a batch of dice, including some really pretty liquid core ones that caught my eyes, even though they feel more like dice-shaped snow globes rather than what I had initially envisioned from the store photos.

And well... these past two weeks, after four months of wavering and flaking, I've ended up going to board game evenings at a bar. So far mostly just joining whatever table had a spot open and was willing to adopt me. At the same time I saw people just bring their own set of games, take an empty table and try to look inviting for anyone wandering along. And here I wonder whether one of these days I pack those dice and one-shots and a bunch of regular games in case nobody is interested and try my luck finding people curious enough for a brief impromptu adventure.

Is that a bad idea? Ironically, I saw one of the board game meetups at a different day in that same group advertising one-page one-shots as a separate table. In fact, the exact same one-page one-shots that I got clued in on by the Discord DM, because apparently there is only one writer who does these. In any case, I wonder whether I overstep any boundaries trying...

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16 hours ago, Relic said:

I like it, but i think if you're playing with an experienced group something like that should be PC driven. DM has enough work on their hands haha. But if a PC knows what they want to do with their next level up than working on it before they get it is something i would certainly allow in almost every single circumstance as a DM. The more RP around player abilities the better =) 

Well, I was thinking more like DM approved. So yeah.

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On 4/8/2024 at 8:12 PM, Kalbear said:

The difference in power between levels 4 and 5 is pretty insane. It's also pretty insane from 3 to 4, but 4-5 is even moreso.

Specifically: 

- Virtually every martial character gets a second attack as part of their attack action.

- Everyone increases their proficiency bonus from +2 to +3, meaning everyone gets better at hitting things and casting spells and doing anything

- All major spellcasters get access to 3rd level spells, which are significantly above the powerlevel of 2nd level spells

So, your suggestion is to:

- Not give martial characters extra attacks, ever?

- Never increase proficiency bonus?

- Never give major spellcasters access to more powerful spells?

On 4/8/2024 at 10:34 PM, Kalbear said:

It's an increase from +2 to +3. That's a 50% increase in what it was before. Given the fundamental math that's a pretty big deal in terms of overall success rates. This is especially true when you expertise instead of just proficiency.

Another way to put it - for most characters the proficiency bonus is equivalent to getting a +2 stat increase. It's equivalent to getting a +1 weapon. And it is doing that for every single thing that they can competently do

 

If you only have a basic understanding of math, you might think that way. Still, it's just +1 on skill checks, attack rolls etc.  So, if you need to make a DC of 15, and you had +5 bonus until that point and gained additional +1 at level 5, you'd need a roll of 9 instead of 10. That's 60% chance of success compared to 55% of success until that point. Also, you seem to be forgetting that players are given more difficult opponents and tasks at higher levels, which is exactly meant to offset these bonuses and power-ups. As a 5th lvl character you are not likely to battle goblins that often, are you?

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1 hour ago, baxus said:

So, your suggestion is to:

- Not give martial characters extra attacks, ever?

- Never increase proficiency bonus?

- Never give major spellcasters access to more powerful spells?

If you only have a basic understanding of math, you might think that way. Still, it's just +1 on skill checks, attack rolls etc.  So, if you need to make a DC of 15, and you had +5 bonus until that point and gained additional +1 at level 5, you'd need a roll of 9 instead of 10. That's 60% chance of success compared to 55% of success until that point. Also, you seem to be forgetting that players are given more difficult opponents and tasks at higher levels, which is exactly meant to offset these bonuses and power-ups. As a 5th lvl character you are not likely to battle goblins that often, are you?

PF2 handles this excellently. The entire game is built around the three-action economy, so at Level 1 you can attack three times - if you don't want to move or do anything else - and at Level 20 it's the same. But that can be adjusted through the acquisition of feats, weapon styles (monks and flurry swordsmen can get extra attacks at the cost of attack bonus per attack) and the use of magic (haste, obviously). An interesting twist is that as you level up you're more likely to do things to increase AC or get reactions that don't use an action, so you can use your base actions more for attack (so at Level 1 you're more likely to use 1 action for attack, 1 to move and 1 to quaff a potion, whilst at Level 20 you're tough enough to not need potions as much and you can move through a reaction trigger, so you attack three times instead).

That was incredibly controversial when PF2 launched, given PF1 and 3E before it had handled things by giving you an extra attack every few levels for the better part of twenty years, but most people don't even notice it now.

Spells there's no helping. My firm belief is that spells that rewrite reality, allow you to time travel, etc are simply far too powerful and unbalancing to be in the game in the first place, but it's too ingrained now to remove. We can blame the total non-existence of 1970s playtesting for that.

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

But that can be adjusted through the acquisition of feats, weapon styles (monks and flurry swordsmen can get extra attacks at the cost of attack bonus per attack) and the use of magic (haste, obviously).

I've never tried Pathfinder (I assume that's what PF stands for :D ) but the argument of "and then 5 minutes later you are much more powerful and can do shit you couldn't have done earlier" can be made for this approach too. It can be used for anything that gives a character a new ability, be it an extra attack or a new spell or base attack/skill ranks/save/whatever increase, which is a whole point of developing your character. I mean, who would play a wizard if wizard was stuck with magic missiles and prestidigitation throughout his/her "career"?

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On 4/13/2024 at 4:24 AM, baxus said:

So, your suggestion is to:

- Not give martial characters extra attacks, ever?

- Never increase proficiency bonus?

- Never give major spellcasters access to more powerful spells?

What? No! At 5th level the bonuses are actually pretty reasonable for everyone - 3rd level spells' power match up pretty well to both the proficiency bonus and the extra attack. That's my central thesis - that the power that most martials get at 5th level is actually reasonably balanced with the power that 5th level casters get. The main imbalance is that casters have basically all the tools to deal with multiple foes and martials don't, but the martials get significantly more damage to single targets. 

Where it goes off the rails for the most part is level 7. And my solution is exactly as I said - balance martials to give them similar power levels as casters at that point. Either make martials have significantly more versatility for the things they can do via skill checks or ability checks at that level to match things like Greater Invisibility or Divination, or give them more ability to do multitarget damage like ice storm, or give them more abilities to do more interesting things like polymorph or some of the summon abilities. 

The absolutely stupidest easy thing to do is take a few 4th level spells and make the martials have effectively copies of those spells that they can do better than a wizard, per class/subclass. That would make it so that each martial can do things that are at that powerlevel, and can do them better, but a wizard can be significantly more versatile and do almost anything - just not quite as good. There are lots of other ways to do it too, mind you - but that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. My solution, simply, is to make everyone as good as wizards are. And then balance the rest of the game around that.

On 4/13/2024 at 4:24 AM, baxus said:

If you only have a basic understanding of math, you might think that way. Still, it's just +1 on skill checks, attack rolls etc.  So, if you need to make a DC of 15, and you had +5 bonus until that point and gained additional +1 at level 5, you'd need a roll of 9 instead of 10. That's 60% chance of success compared to 55% of success until that point. Also, you seem to be forgetting that players are given more difficult opponents and tasks at higher levels, which is exactly meant to offset these bonuses and power-ups. As a 5th lvl character you are not likely to battle goblins that often, are you?

I'm not forgetting that; it's part of the general system. And it's not a basic understanding of math; it's a fundamental example of the relative power increase. I get that it is scaling with the things you're facing and that's important to note because after 5th level is where the scaling starts really suffering for martials, but the scaling math doesn't change. At levels higher than 5th you don't need to worry about a lot more extra attacks from anyone other than pure fighters, but you do start needing to worry about hold monster, polymorph, ice storm, wall of fire, etc while balancing fights. 

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Looks like Cynthia Williams is out at WotC. Considering her oversight has been a total shit show not a surprise. Right before earnings release which I guess is not going to be positive. Both MTG and D&D have been run poorly the last few years as Hasbro has committed to milking their customers over building good products.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Kickstarter for 13th Age Second Edition is now online.

Half-temped to do this, I have First Edition and it's very strong alterno-D&D.

Some people have called it "4E's Pathfinder" (as Pathfinder was a continuation of 3E by people unhappy with 3E being dumped early), which is kind of accurate. The two main designers are the designers of D&D 3E and 4E respectively (they also worked on the other edition in a junior/advisory capacity) and they've basically said that 13th Age is what 4E might have been had it not launched two to three years ahead of schedule, or 5E if WotC had not mandated nuking so much of 4E (including the bits that worked as well as the bits that didn't).

It's a more power-restricted game, so you only have 10 levels and then epic-tier abilities above that, but the spell expansion isn't as insane as D&D, and each class has modular abilities, so you can move things around a bit more than in D&D. The game itself is modular, so you can go skill-free or bolt on D&D 3E's skill system without a problem. The game is also built around the use of "icons," powerful beings in the game (somewhere between ultrapowerful mortals and demigods) who can act as patrons, allies or enemies in a campaign. Your relationship with your icon determines the course of the campaign and impacts both major and minor events in the campaign. Even this is modular, and you can swap them out for gods, or more regular kings or rulers. It has its own world which is perfectly solid: it's that "regular D&D world but a bit more magitek kind of thing" so not a million miles away from 4E/5E Forgotten Realms or Pathfinder's world of Golarion, though it's not anywhere near as large. They take the idea of having a smaller land a thousand miles across or so in which you can get to know the players and major locations more easily than an entire planet.

It's interesting stuff, and I've seen it come up a lot recently as a recommended alternative to both D&D and Pathfinder PF2, with the modularity allowing for both a very streamlined game or a very complex, crunchy one as you please.

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I've bought The Free League's LotR Roleplaying 5E a while back, but due to not wanting the hassle of Serbian customs I had it delivered to my friend's place in Vienna. He was planning on coming to Belgrade this weekend, so I'll get my hands on it soon. Can't wait to give it a go.

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D&D's Not-5th Edition will apparently see the return of Greyhawk. It won't necessarily be the default setting, which is more likely to be just "the D&D multiverse", but it will get a whole chapter in the new DMG and a new poster map. It'll be the biggest exploration of Greyhawk since the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer came out in 2000.

It's unclear if this will be it or if the setting will get further exploration in Definitely Not-6th Edition.

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