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Sci-2

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Referring to the 5E review upthread, I've played that myself and it's not bad, but it's a bit simplistic. All fighters have the same skills, and you can't pick any more unless you expend a feat (assuming you're using that optional rule), which is a pretty steep price. I never found skills to be game-busting so I don't understand why the creators are so stingy with 'em.

Also, that magic system is just not ready for prime time. I understand and approve of the concept behind the concentration rules, but those rules impact clerics far more heavily (and negatively) than they do other classes. Cleric spells are largely buffs, but maintaining concentration means you limited not only in how many you can have active, but in how long they are active. Example: In Round 1 you cast Bless, but then one of your compatriots gets charmed so you have to drop the bless to attend to that. Then another comrade gets held and you have to drop Protection from Evil to see to that. etc.

Also, the combination of concentration rules plus save-every-round (SER) can be devastating. In one campaign, the wizard used Power Word, Stun, which is both concentration and SER, and he got exactly one round of benefit from it. From an eighth-level spell. Since spellcasters get relatively few spells anyway, this is just frustrating.

Again, I like the general direction of concentration rules, and SER helps to resolve the "save or suck" problem of RPGs, but I wonder if there isn't another way.

Edited by TrackerNeil

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12 hours ago, Matrim Fox Cauthon said:

I have only played a few sessions of 1st edition with my girlfriend GMing, who has far more experience with this setting/rules. The setting is somewhat shallow, given that it's barely a thinly-veiled real world Europe (and associated archetypes), but that also makes it fairly easy to pick up. More importantly, I enjoyed the flexible character customization. You have 100 points which you use to buy your abilities, skills, and such however you like. In my girlfriend's mini-adventure, her friend created a huge, muscle-bound viking warrior, while I made a weak, non-fighting, but silver-tongued "Dutch" spice merchant/smuggler. It was a combination we recognized in retrospect that was unintentionally akin to Chewbacca and Han Solo. But it was nice being able to make a non-fighting character for once and to deal with those limitations. The rules were fairly intuitive, though we never got into one of the more problematic aspects. One of the criticisms I heard my girlfriend raise was that duels sometimes lasted too long, leaving other players nothing to do in hour-long dice-rolling dueling matches. But apparently, if John Wick is to be believed, 2nd edition will attempt to streamline the action. 

It looked like a crunchier version of FATE.  I like FATE, but sometimes I want to have that feeling of "leveling up" and my players have voiced something similar.

I had a campaign idea that is more for a swashbuckler type setting that I was trying to crowbar into either Pathfinder or D&D 5th, this might be a good way too go.

Thanks for the reply!

ETA:  Soooo, it looks like you could really do a version of the 13th warrior in this rule set.

Edited by Guy Kilmore

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On 2/26/2016 at 7:11 AM, TrackerNeil said:

Referring to the 5E review upthread, I've played that myself and it's not bad, but it's a bit simplistic. All fighters have the same skills, and you can't pick any more unless you expend a feat (assuming you're using that optional rule), which is a pretty steep price. I never found skills to be game-busting so I don't understand why the creators are so stingy with 'em.

Also, that magic system is just not ready for prime time. I understand and approve of the concept behind the concentration rules, but those rules impact clerics far more heavily (and negatively) than they do other classes. Cleric spells are largely buffs, but maintaining concentration means you limited not only in how many you can have active, but in how long they are active. Example: In Round 1 you cast Bless, but then one of your compatriots gets charmed so you have to drop the bless to attend to that. Then another comrade gets held and you have to drop Protection from Evil to see to that. etc.

Also, the combination of concentration rules plus save-every-round (SER) can be devastating. In one campaign, the wizard used Power Word, Stun, which is both concentration and SER, and he got exactly one round of benefit from it. From an eighth-level spell. Since spellcasters get relatively few spells anyway, this is just frustrating.

Again, I like the general direction of concentration rules, and SER helps to resolve the "save or suck" problem of RPGs, but I wonder if there isn't another way.

After running pathfinder and 3.5 for years, I find the more simplistic 5E to be an upgrade. :)

I tend to think the designers went a bit overboard on designating which spells were Concentration spells. I fully support their endeavor to nix the whole Scry -> Buff -> 'Port -> Nuke strategy that many high level games ultimately would boil down to, but I think they overdid it. That said, with the way saving throws function, the way damage is dealt, and how quickly fights tend to be over, one or two rounds of being stunned or paralyzed an be enough to turn the tide.

I think if I had to list out my issues with 5E, they would probably be:

1) Overuse of concentration - Already addressed this above. Good mechanic, just overused.

2) Monsters are too simplistic - Many monsters just seem to be big bags of hit points. This is relatively easy to fix, and I don't necessarily want a return to the page long statblocks from 3.5/Pathfinder, but there's a happy medium in between somewhere.

3) Lack of meaningful character options - With the loss of skill points and feats and multiclassing being an optional rule, character choice ends up being fairly front-loaded. Also, the number of archetypes and backgrounds available is very uh, limited at the moment.

4) Stingy Spells - High-level characters get a ridiculously small number of spells. This is made even worse now that spells no longer automatically scale which means spellcasters need to use up even more slots. I guess the at will cantrips and ritual rules kinda make up for it but it still seems pretty limited.to me.

5) Too few traps - I need more ways to kill my players with environmental obstacles.

My campaign has only hit 5th level so maybe more problems will become apparent later on, but at the moment that's all I have. Interesting to compare this list to my initial list. Also interesting to see that I was hoping my players would hit level 5 back in goddamn July 2015 and they only recently (back in December) finished up that campaign arc! Seriously, this is what happens when your players fuck around all the time. C'mon guys!

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1 hour ago, Durckad said:

3) Lack of meaningful character options - With the loss of skill points and feats and multiclassing being an optional rule, character choice ends up being fairly front-loaded. Also, the number of archetypes and backgrounds available is very uh, limited at the moment.

4) Stingy Spells - High-level characters get a ridiculously small number of spells. This is made even worse now that spells no longer automatically scale which means spellcasters need to use up even more slots. I guess the at will cantrips and ritual rules kinda make up for it but it still seems pretty limited.to me.

Totally agree with these. The multi-class system in 5E kinda bites, and it doesn't really let you diversify your character the way you can in Pathfinder. 

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13 hours ago, TrackerNeil said:

Totally agree with these. The multi-class system in 5E kinda bites, and it doesn't really let you diversify your character the way you can in Pathfinder. 

From just my reading of 5e, I really got that strong vibe of 2e. It feels really streamlined.  I wish there was a way to house rule a little more skills in it.  My groups play style tended more to trying to solve problems in alternate ways.

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4 hours ago, Guy Kilmore said:

From just my reading of 5e, I really got that strong vibe of 2e. It feels really streamlined.  I wish there was a way to house rule a little more skills in it.  My groups play style tended more to trying to solve problems in alternate ways.

My group made a rule that every time your proficiency bonus increased you got to add one skill as trained. It worked for us, and given how rarely one's proficiency increased, didn't make anyone a skill monster.

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5 hours ago, TrackerNeil said:

My group made a rule that every time your proficiency bonus increased you got to add one skill as trained. It worked for us, and given how rarely one's proficiency increased, didn't make anyone a skill monster.

Good idea.  If I end up playing/GMing it, I might suggest that.  I have a couple of players who really want to play it, but it is not striking my GM mood (Might be still burnt out from the 5 year Pathfinder Game I GMed).  I'm trying to get one of them to step-up and run it.  (You know the whole idea if there is a system you are interested in, step-up and run it.)

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41 minutes ago, Guy Kilmore said:

Good idea.  If I end up playing/GMing it, I might suggest that.  I have a couple of players who really want to play it, but it is not striking my GM mood (Might be still burnt out from the 5 year Pathfinder Game I GMed).  I'm trying to get one of them to step-up and run it.  (You know the whole idea if there is a system you are interested in, step-up and run it.)

I'd sooner GM 5E than play it, because if other people want to run boring characters that's not my business. :)

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I think that D&D made great strides in designing a more elegant system with 5E - the numbers almost speak for themselves in terms of 5E's success. 5E, for example, provides its lower proficiencies as a means to create "bounded accuracy," that is, to keep lower level monsters (e.g. orcs) a greater threat. And I find the simple mechanic of advantage/disadvantage to be somewhat ingenious. But that elegance comes at a price, as others have mentioned. I do prefer 5E over earlier D&D editions, such as 3E and 4E. Although 3E/Pathfinder offers a tremendous amount of customization, there are also a myriad of options that exist as traps, pitfalls, and mirages for new players. And the math of multiclassing can get wonky. Furthermore, 3E/Pathfinder can be a little too math/crunch heavy and suffered from some serious balance problems with its tier 1 classes (e.g. druid, cleric, wizard).

Nevertheless, I'm not really a fan of D&D/Pathfinder. I find a lot of the D&Disms and its sacred cows too limiting, especially for homebrewing settings. That's one of the reasons I have moved on to explore other more rules-light systems (e.g. Cypher System, Fantasy AGE, FATE, etc.). 

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5 hours ago, Matrim Fox Cauthon said:

Nevertheless, I'm not really a fan of D&D/Pathfinder. I find a lot of the D&Disms and its sacred cows too limiting, especially for homebrewing settings. That's one of the reasons I have moved on to explore other more rules-light systems (e.g. Cypher System, Fantasy AGE, FATE, etc.). 

I had a great time with Monsterhearts, which was based on the Apocalypse World rules. The system really encouraged you to take chances with your character, and would reward you for doing so. My group set the campaign in the Midwest in 1984 or so, and it was an absolute blast. Highly recommended.

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18 hours ago, Matrim Fox Cauthon said:

I think that D&D made great strides in designing a more elegant system with 5E - the numbers almost speak for themselves in terms of 5E's success. 5E, for example, provides its lower proficiencies as a means to create "bounded accuracy," that is, to keep lower level monsters (e.g. orcs) a greater threat. And I find the simple mechanic of advantage/disadvantage to be somewhat ingenious. But that elegance comes at a price, as others have mentioned. I do prefer 5E over earlier D&D editions, such as 3E and 4E. Although 3E/Pathfinder offers a tremendous amount of customization, there are also a myriad of options that exist as traps, pitfalls, and mirages for new players. And the math of multiclassing can get wonky. Furthermore, 3E/Pathfinder can be a little too math/crunch heavy and suffered from some serious balance problems with its tier 1 classes (e.g. druid, cleric, wizard).

Nevertheless, I'm not really a fan of D&D/Pathfinder. I find a lot of the D&Disms and its sacred cows too limiting, especially for homebrewing settings. That's one of the reasons I have moved on to explore other more rules-light systems (e.g. Cypher System, Fantasy AGE, FATE, etc.). 

I think I am at the same point.  I liked FATE and Numenera.

On 2/28/2016 at 0:41 PM, TrackerNeil said:

I'd sooner GM 5E than play it, because if other people want to run boring characters that's not my business. :)

Luckily the people I play with tend to be willing to flesh out characters, so rarely is a boring one something that happens.  When it does, we tend to rebuild/or find a way to make'em interesting.

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Been playing a Vampire:TM game the last few weeks. Interesting to realize how strong a starting 13th generation vamp is compared to a first level CRPG character - took getting stabbed [and] shot while only taking minimal damage to really get it.

Though my character was an asshole/coward occultist who decided he didn't buy into the idea of becoming part of the One upon death so chose undeath after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. But the other new players also somewhat treated their PCs like humans who can't go into the sun at first, though now we're getting the hang of it.

Edited by Sci-2

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On 12/15/2016 at 2:39 PM, Sci-2 said:

Been playing a Vampire:TM game the last few weeks. Interesting to realize how strong a starting 13th generation vamp is compared to a first level CRPG character - took getting stabbed [and] shot while only taking minimal damage to really get it.

I had a kind of opposite experience. Vampire was my first real tabletop RPG experience, so when I finally played other games, I was shocked by how fragile player characters were. Vampire does tend to instill a sort of (heh heh) immortality complex in players. And I ran and played in a number of campaigns with PC Archons, so you had to get practically apocalyptic to make the players afraid.

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On 12/16/2016 at 4:58 PM, DanteGabriel said:

I had a kind of opposite experience. Vampire was my first real tabletop RPG experience, so when I finally played other games, I was shocked by how fragile player characters were. Vampire does tend to instill a sort of (heh heh) immortality complex in players. And I ran and played in a number of campaigns with PC Archons, so you had to get practically apocalyptic to make the players afraid.

Couple weeks later....we may be moving toward some kind of apocalyptic event as an Antediluvian may be waking up, or maybe there is some kind of Midnight Sun event that will turn vampires to ash...

OTOH it may just be a lot of paranoia on a lot of NPC's parts. 

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Started GMing again recently. Ran a 5-session Star Wars campaign (West End Rules #oldskool) that was a lot of fun. That was a planet-bound campaign so might do a space-based one next time, but I doubt we'll get back to the settting before the end of the year (when Episode VIII might respark some enthusiasm).

Now moved onto a Judge Dredd campaign. I'd forgotten how much I liked d20 for the straightforwardness of rolls and skills, but was never keen on the overwhelming amount of options at low level (especially as in a Street Judge campaign the players start at Level 3), especially for newbies. One of the newer players, who'd never RPed before Star Wars, distinctly preferred that game's character creation system to the d20 one, and Dredd is pretty limited in started options compared to D&D/PF.

I am very keen on returning to D&D before too long, but am now torn between simply doing a 3E game (as I own about 30 3E sourcebooks and expansions, most unused, and it'd be good to get some stuff aired), doing Pathfinder (which I've never played, but did pick up the core books in that Humble deal last year) or investing in 5E and converting over some stuff.

I like the sound of 5E's more streamlined approach, but am really not keen on the rolling back of skills. 2E I found way too limited in skill use and 3E fixed that problem quite nice. Going back to a lesser skill system is not appealing, even though nuking the over-complexity of 3E at its worst would be welcome. I am reasonably keen on staying up to date with the latest stuff though, rather than sticking with my 20-year-old rulebooks and yelling at the kids to get off the lawn.

Edited by Werthead

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On 12/16/2016 at 4:58 PM, DanteGabriel said:

I had a kind of opposite experience. Vampire was my first real tabletop RPG experience, so when I finally played other games, I was shocked by how fragile player characters were. Vampire does tend to instill a sort of (heh heh) immortality complex in players. And I ran and played in a number of campaigns with PC Archons, so you had to get practically apocalyptic to make the players afraid.

Your comment about fragile PCs reminds me of my first time playing Call of Cthulhu. If there was ever a game to make your PC feel like nothing more than paper-skinned monster bait, that was it.

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Your comment about fragile PCs reminds me of my first time playing Call of Cthulhu. If there was ever a game to make your PC feel like nothing more than paper-skinned monster bait, that was it.

Yeah, Shadowrun is like this as well. I happen to like those systems a ton. But most players I know hate it. It just feels more to me like you are actually getting shot, including horrendous wound recovery rules. I kind of have strange tastes as a player.

Been finally getting to play 5th edition this year and I like it overall. Certainly a huge improvement over the trash fire that was 4. I've been playing almost exclusively fighter types, however, to learn the system. Only dabbled with the magic side of things a bit, so I don't know the weaknesses or strengths on that side of things. As a sixth level fighter, I am beginning to feel a bit limited in skills. Really the main reason I'm staying a fighter at this point is I want to get that third attack. I'm tempted to multi class to thief or something, but don't really know the multi class rules yet.

The whole advantage/disadvantage thing is brilliant. I really wish Shadowrun would incorporate that mechanic as it could really use simplification.

 

Edited by Martell Spy

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1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

Yeah, Shadowrun is like this as well. I happen to like those systems a ton. But most players I know hate it. It just feels more to me like you are actually getting shot, including horrendous wound recovery rules. I kind of have strange tastes as a player.

Don't get me wrong, I fucking loved playing CoC. The focus on investigation over combat was a great change of pace, and the horror nature of the game let me explore my darker side, with my first character being a cross between Hannibal Lecter, Indiana Jones and Dr. Josef Heiter. I loved DMing the game even more because it allowed me the opportunity to consistently mind-fuck my players.

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Don't get me wrong, I fucking loved playing CoC. The focus on investigation over combat was a great change of pace, and the horror nature of the game let me explore my darker side, with my first character being a cross between Hannibal Lecter, Indiana Jones and Dr. Josef Heiter. I loved DMing the game even more because it allowed me the opportunity to consistently mind-fuck my players.

Don't think my group actually played CoC, but someone had the book for a while. I remember that casting any sort of magic spells in the system gained insanity points and started going insane. Pretty awesome.

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13 hours ago, Werthead said:

I am very keen on returning to D&D before too long, but am now torn between simply doing a 3E game (as I own about 30 3E sourcebooks and expansions, most unused, and it'd be good to get some stuff aired), doing Pathfinder (which I've never played, but did pick up the core books in that Humble deal last year) or investing in 5E and converting over some stuff.

I like the sound of 5E's more streamlined approach, but am really not keen on the rolling back of skills. 2E I found way too limited in skill use and 3E fixed that problem quite nice. Going back to a lesser skill system is not appealing, even though nuking the over-complexity of 3E at its worst would be welcome. I am reasonably keen on staying up to date with the latest stuff though, rather than sticking with my 20-year-old rulebooks and yelling at the kids to get off the lawn.

Really? I found 3E's skill list to be needlessly long. Even Pathfinder attempts to remove some of the usual redundant suspects (e.g. Move Silently + Hide -> Stealth; Listen + Spot -> Perception; Decipher Script + Forgery + Speak Language -> Linguistics). 

Profession? Speak Language as a skill? It was pointless, especially given magic spells such as Comprehend Languages. In 5E? The designers don't bother and give you the potential option of simply learning languages in your down time. Craft skills? Assumed if you have proficiency in the proper tools. Opening a lock? Same. Though, they really should have also just dumped the Medicine skill in favor of proficiency in the Healer's Kit. All tool proficiencies can be learned and expanded in your down time. 

I don't think that 5E is perfect when it comes to its skill list/system - especially since the it effectively makes Intelligence the dump stat for everyone but wizards - but I do preferred the streamlined simplicity of 4E/5E to 3.X/PF. 

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