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About Ahnehnois
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3.5 revisionist currently running campaign with established group.
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Currently running 3.5 game w/ established group.

We somewhat transiently play D&D 3.5, CoC d20, d20 Modern, and BSG (Cortex)
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Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...? Monday, 30th June, 2014 02:01 PM

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Town:
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District of Columbia
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USA
Game Details:
Currently running 3.5 game w/ established group.

We somewhat transiently play D&D 3.5, CoC d20, d20 Modern, and BSG (Cortex)
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Friday, 30th May, 2014

  • 05:08 PM - Kinak mentioned Ahnehnois in post Dungeon Mastering as a Fine Art
    Don't be afraid to make them evil.This is good advice, but kind of like salt: a little bit really helps bring out the more subtle flavors in your cooking, but if you add too much... everything just tastes like salt. The occasional really vile villain stands out much better on a background of self-interested jerks, well-intentioned extremists, bigots, forces of nature, rivals for resources, misunderstandings, and good people who legitimately oppose the PCs' cause. I tend to make all of my villains be heroes in their own minds (as absurd as those justifications may seem to outsiders), but the occasional villain who does vile things because they enjoy them adds a nice bit of contrast. Not that I think I need to tell you that, Ahnehnois. Just thinking out loud. The 2E Villain's Handbook is very good on this whole area.This is indeed an excellent book. It's one of the handful of 2E products that I still read with anything but nostalgia. It's got a lot of good ideas. Cheers! Kinak

Thursday, 29th May, 2014

  • 11:42 AM - Neonchameleon mentioned Ahnehnois in post Simulation vs Game - Where should D&D 5e aim?
    ...thing wrong with house rules - but if your house rules change the letter and the spirit of the rules in the way in question then you should accept that what you are talking about is your own rules and not D&D. That's a problem you have, though, not a problem with the rules. You've decided, arbitrarily, that Skill Checks cannot result in dead things, and that it is cheating if they do. You have then insisted that this is RAI - which it most certainly is not. Indeed. It's a straight up house rule. Survival allows you to provide food and water by hunting and foraging. Any interpretation of Survival that doesn't allow for hunting for food is directly contrary to RAW. And I'm curious what the point of Profession (Hunter) is... As for to hit rolls and hit points, they are a map as to what is going on in the game world. But the map is not the territory. And contour lines on a map mean there's a hill, not that the terrain is flat with lines running across it. And I wish Ahnehnois would stop talking about his personal and idiosyncratic interpretation of 3.X as if it was the whole of D&D - or even entirely representative of 3.X.

Friday, 16th May, 2014

  • 05:10 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Ahnehnois in post The Niche Protection Poll
    ... only uber-protected niche. The rest of them could either be thumb-tacked + bubble-gummed/jury-rigged or asymmetrically approached to get the job done. 4e did away with this paradigm by giving all classes some access to surge-unlocking abilities (which could be customized to be greater than "some access" at the player's PC build discretion) while simultaneously (i) maintaining the prolific nature of Leaders' surge-unlocking capabilities and (ii) increasing the total number of Leader archetypes (from solely divine caster). Further, they decoupled Rituals from casters and tied them to the feat Ritual Caster and the skills of Arcana, Heal, Nature, Religion (primarily....there are some others), thus allowing anyone access to the (much more bounded and codified but still awesome, extremely useful, and thematically compelling) strategic resources that used to be the sole purview of spellcasters (that dominated play in prior editions). In 4e, the things you mention in your last sentence Ahnehnois actually are balanced quite well against one another.

Thursday, 15th May, 2014

  • 06:00 PM - Celebrim mentioned Ahnehnois in post Specialist Rogue
    Ahnehnois: With regard to your rogue sense variant, my problem is first that it doesn't address the real problem with Trap Sense (narrow, as it applies to only a subset of traps) and secondly that its likely to lead to a bunch of finicky fiddly variation for its own sake. Tons of situational +1 modifiers is the bane of play. I'd far rather very slightly expand the range of things your rogue sense applied to. For example, in my game 'rogue sense' applies to traps, and also to AC versus touch attacks made on the rogue by spells and spell-alike abilities. For your variation, I'd probably simplify things by saying rogue sense applied to traps AND 1 additional area of your choice (my current rules being the equivalent of this with the choices Spell Sense and Trap Sense). Some of your choices though seem a bit too good... I think it is a 'no brainer' to choose between Dauntless, Guarded Mind and Sixth Sense, as they are clearly far more generally useful than the rest. With regard to your ...

Friday, 2nd May, 2014

  • 05:14 AM - pemerton mentioned Ahnehnois in post So what do you think is wrong with Pathfinder? Post your problems and we will fix it.
    ...in the 4e system). And they don't have the illusion, charm or sleep keywords (so, for example, the rogue abilities that permit invisibility don't have the illusion keyword - they are not illusion spells like the wizard's Invisibility spell, which does have that keyword - the invisibility is simply a mechanical implementation of stealth without the need for a roll). In other words, martial abilities do not generate magical effects. They generate the same sorts of effects that fighters and rogues have always produced in D&D - weapon attacks, jumping, hiding, dodging blows, etc. No one denies that the mechanical implementation is different from other versions of D&D - in particular, there is a much more rationing-by-limitation (eg a rogue being able to turn invisible once per day) than rationing-by-lottery (eg a rogue making a Stealth check to hide), but that is about mechanics, not about the fiction. If you project expectations from 3E or PF about mechanics-to-fiction correlation, as Ahnehnois does, and hence assert that because a rogue's power is rationed by usage limitations it must be a spell, you are simply missing the point of the mechanics, which are precisely intended to decouple player choices from character choices in certain cases, and to replace ration-by-lottery with other forms of rationing. 4e is hardly the only RPG on the market to do this, even for non-magical abilities. Well seeing as the troll's ability is a racial trait, that every single one of their race has I'd argue there's an argument for it being biological??What does that even mean? It's a racial trait of a pixie to turn invisible, or of a dragon to breathe fire, so they're biological too? When you're talking about a fantasy world, with being who can breathe fire and turn invisible and regenerate decapitated heads as part of their inherent nature, there is no obvious contrast between biology and magic.

Monday, 7th April, 2014

  • 12:27 AM - keterys mentioned Ahnehnois in post Are you happy with the Battlemaster and Fighter Maneuvers? Other discussions as well.
    As far as I'm concerned, classes are a lot more central to D&D than simply convenient packages. That's what they devolved (decayed?) into during 3e, and it's why that edition feels the least like D&D to me of all of them.Yeah, I was very sad to hear 5e would use the 3e leveling mechanic (where a level is your point-buy method of arranging things, and presumably we'll soon see "prestige classes" and similar nonsense). 3e had tons of great things, it streamlined a ton of mechanics, but its level system and means of making class little more than a convenient bundle of (often front-loaded) abilities to slap onto your character (creating a drastic ease of making extraordinarily ineffective or overpowerful characters in the bargain) was the thing I least wanted them to take from it. Oops. If I recall correctly from previous discussions, Ahnehnois wants a version of D&D that is much closer to GURPS in terms of character creation. Hence the greater pushback against those of us who want class to really mean something.

Friday, 4th April, 2014

  • 06:50 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Ahnehnois in post Pros and Cons of Epic Level Play?
    Ahnehnois, then you must have an amazing ability to filter out flagrant grammar fouls, a disgusting abuse of compound sentences, and a prose deeply (deeply) overburdened with qualifiers and caveats. I have to go over my reports/papers in real life with a fine tooth comb for coherency and grammar before they are submitted. Due to this, I don't have the stomach for it on here and I'm basically just typing stream of thought. When I go back through my posts and reread them, it literally creates a bile response and I wonder how the hell anyone understands anything I wrote (plenty say that they don't!). If I had any pride or ego left, I would be embarrassed. If I could rewind my life and develop a minimalist prose that profoundly conveyed information (like say Cormac McCarthy or Richard Feynman), I would be extremely happy.

Monday, 17th March, 2014

  • 06:53 PM - Grogg of the North mentioned Ahnehnois in post The Power of Prayer
    Ahnehnois It sounds like the player has been roleplaying his faith. Good roleplaying should always be rewarded. I'd have his prayers answered and he is able to heal his wife or, at the least, stabilize her. As a DM I'd make it clear that this is not going to be a common occurrence. Perhaps I'd go so far as to give the fighter a vision from his deity demanding some service in return.

Monday, 10th March, 2014

  • 03:14 PM - N'raac mentioned Ahnehnois in post Do alignments improve the gaming experience?
    ...vil. Toss him into the modern world and he’s a dangerous vigilante. However, the game cannot exist without morally acceptable violence, so we accept in game that there is violence morally acceptable to the Paladin. If a GM judges every action that every player ever has his/her PC take as "neutral", and therefore irrelevant to the adjudication of mechanical alignment, then s/he may as well not be using mechanical alignment First, Neutral is part of the alignment spectrum. Second, maintaining a Good (or Evil) alignment still requires Good (or Evil) acts. Where a choice between Good and Neutral exists, what are the choices the character makes? 99% Neutral? Character is unlikely to be Good. 99% Good? That’s probably a more shining example of virtue than any Paladin ever played. The fact that a given act creates extreme difficulty in classifying probably indicates it possesses insufficient elements of Good or Evil to be classified as either one. Here again, setting matters. Ahnehnois suggested a setting where most are Neutral, and only a few of the other alignments. In that game maintaining a non-neutral alignment would seem to require more dedication to its precepts and principals than in a game where we assume people are more or less evenly divided between 9 alignments. On the other hand, if the reason the GM never makes a call is because the players know what the boundaries are and stick within him, then we have the "confining" effect that @Hussar mentioned upthread, plus the second-guessing of evaluative judgement and of expressive responses that I mentioned upthread. That sounds very similar to the often touted “my players are all reasonable” statement often used to back up lack of any need for an alignment system. It seems like those players simply don’t push the boundaries, whether their motive is a lack of desire to do so, a mechanical alignment system (not so in your case, clearly) or a social contract. Is this your attempt to argue that, in f...

Tuesday, 25th February, 2014

  • 03:01 PM - pemerton mentioned Ahnehnois in post Will the inclusion of the option of DoaM cause you to not buy 5e.
    Ahnehnois, I don't see anything in what you say that pertains to particular experiences at the table being boring, climactic or anti-climactic. You seem to be speculating about the general states of mind that players have playing certain sorts of characters. If I may speculate along similar lines: if someone is playing a DoaM fighter, then presumably for them the excitement is in having mastered their weapon, and their opponent, to such an extent that their opponent cannot fully escape the PC's implacable weapon play. Hence engaging the relevant mechanic - by declaring an attack - is enough to trigger the emotional response. But I don't think my speculation - nor yours - has much bearing on ExploderWizard's claim, which was not about the emotional resonance of playing a PC but was about the collective excitement at dice rolls and outcomes at the gaming table.
  • 12:19 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Ahnehnois in post What would a fighter versatile out of combat look like?
    Ahnehnois Yeah, but my question was: do any of these stand out as essential characteristics (rather than optional ones) that belong as a core feature of the Fighter class as you envision it?

Monday, 24th February, 2014

  • 05:56 PM - Cadence mentioned Ahnehnois in post What would a fighter versatile out of combat look like?
    ...entify areas of tactics and strategy, gather an army or allies as needed, etc. Or a tribal warrior who can race and sneak across the lands, identify plants and animals, climb mountains, swim rivers, etc. Or an urban bruiser / tyrant who knows every connection, every route, whether for nefarious or legal reasons, as they enforce their will on the city. In PF Those would be the Cavalier alternate class, Ranger core class, and Urban Ranger archetype. I don't understand why they all need the name "Fighter" attached to them to count. The PF example doesn't really hold, because in PF a full caster (ex: druid) can get a fighter-in-a-pocket (animal companion) without sacrificing anything I'd argue that shows the druid animal companion needs to be nerfed and nothing bad about the fighter. Can the fighter pick up useful help with Leadership? Ie, there's no need to make sub-classes for things that every example literary fighter can do when we don't do so for every other basic class. As @Ahnehnois and @N'raac note above, don't we already do that for the other classes? PF does archetypes for every class. In D&D proper there is the Paladin, Ranger, and Barbarian playing off the Fighter; the Druid playing off the Cleric; the Clerical domains in 3e or the specialty priests in 2e; the schools of wizardry in 2e and 3e; the Sorcerer playing off the Wizard in 3e; the sorcerous bloodlines in 3e; the Assassin playing off the Rogue in 1e; the defender/striker/controller/leader variants in 4e, etc... Even pure career soldiers learn nature, stealth, recon, logistics, etc at high levels of play. If a general country boy with a rifle is expected to know it, the fighter sure should be able to. As noted in #36 above, the learning more is available in PF without needing any archetypes.
  • 01:53 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Ahnehnois in post Does D&D need a fighter class?
    The assumption that players who want a simple character class choose fighter is not a sound assumption. It's only true because past versions of the fighter have been designed very simply compared to other classes. So it's an expectation of the rules thing, not necessarily a play style thing in and of itself. I agree with Umbran, that there should be simple versions of the core 4 classes. I also think there is room for more complex versions of all 4, including the fighter. I am particularly curious about your assertion Ahnehnois that a character class isn't based on what a character can do that others cannot. That seems counter-intuitive to me... I mean that's pretty much exactly how thief abilities worked, how cleric spellcasting, and wizard spellcasting worked in older editions. I mean, no one else but the cleric can Turn Undead, right? Maybe you could explain what you mean?

Sunday, 23rd February, 2014

  • 04:39 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Ahnehnois in post What would a fighter versatile out of combat look like?
    Ahnehnois A fine opinion! Certainly there is merit to the claim that Fighter is called, well Fighter, and so it should not do much else besides fight. This thread is obviously not for people who believe that, since that premise I opened with was a WHAT IF. What would it look like? It's not an argument that it should be that way, it's an exercise in imagination. As for the "it tramples on what skills do" criticism. Maybe, maybe not. I've intentionally left system specifics out of this other than the assumption that it is some version of D&D. If skills are a hang up for you and preventing your imaginative juices from flowing, then maybe think of fighter class options as "Skills++" sort of like Iron Heroes or True20's challenges, which are also in D&D Next by another name as technique feats. Anyhow, I wanted to reiterate that dropping in to say "it wouldn't work", while certainly within your rights, doesn't really engage the creative spirit I intended for this thread.

Tuesday, 21st January, 2014

  • 06:54 PM - innerdude mentioned Ahnehnois in post The Great D&D Schism: The End of an age and the scattering of gamers
    ... with the 4e system were codified into a public space -- the Internet. The rift became that much more real because we were in front of it, many of us participating in it, every day, all around us. We had opportunities to explore the why of that rift, to explore the dimensions behind the theory and game designs of each system, and to better understand our own preferences in gaming. To me, this is a massive positive of the "Edition Wars," which makes me a little bit hesitant to label anything an "edition war," or to even discount someone else's opinion, even if it's couched somewhat in vitriol. I think the best that can happen is that some time passes, some of those competing camps die out and others diversify, the community gets back to something like it was before the 3e release, and something new and brilliant comes out that grabs everyone again. But we're a long way from that, and 5e ain't it. The best we can do is enjoy our own games. Sadly, I'm fairly certain you're right, @Ahnehnois. Based on the playtest feedback I've seen here and elsewhere, 5e doesn't appear to be pushing the right buttons for enough people to become the "grand unification" edition. From the feedback I've seen, the very FIRST playtest packet seemed to be the most popular, because it specifically touched the "OSR" nerve in a lot of people. Everything from the first packet onward seemed to produce an increasingly smaller return on investment, in terms of fan appreciation. Truly, the best we can do is enjoy our own games---but the trick now is to go out and find the game you'll most enjoy! The available gaming options for any given group are staggering. There's virtually no reason to play a game / system you're not really enjoying. The biggest danger to D&D as a whole is a group of fans like me, who break away from D&D by trying other stuff, and then suddenly realize that they don't miss D&D at all, because they've found a game or games that radically suit their needs better. I'm definitely in ...

Thursday, 16th January, 2014

  • 05:26 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Ahnehnois in post Why the claim of combat and class balance between the classes is mainly a forum issue. (In my opinion)
    I don't think this is the sort of "player entitlement" that @Manbearcat was referring to. For instance, in default 4e the gaining by PCs of items and abilities is on a fairly tight schedule, as is the base level for determining encounter difficulty - both are tied to level gain. By "player entitlement" I think Manbearcat was talking about the capacity of players to shape the campaign. That is certainly the way I personally would use it (but I wouldn't use it as a pejorative of course). By the agenda of my playstyle (and yours and plenty of others), every component part of "player entitlement" is just a means to the end of (or a proxy of) the capacity of players to shape the campaign. Thanks @Sadras for the well-considered response. And thanks @Ahnehnois for easily the most thorough examination of the concept by someone adversarial to it. While we (obviously) disagree considerably on a great many things in the post, I appreciate the earnest effort. I will respond but mainly to the stuff at the bottom where you dissect the utility (as you see it) as that is the most relevatory aspect of your post (and its quite good) and well deserving of XP, but alas, I cannot (if someone would cover me I'd be greatful). I'll post my thoughts to that bit tomorrow or the next day.

Wednesday, 15th January, 2014

  • 07:17 PM - Imaro mentioned Ahnehnois in post Why the claim of combat and class balance between the classes is mainly a forum issue. (In my opinion)
    So the thing that "player entitlement" refers to is... story agency? It's true that railroading someone into is a lot easier than dynamic play, but it's also a lot playing in a JRPG or reading someone else's book. There's absolutely nothing about D&D that requires you to determine the destiny of the PCs. :confused: I didn't get anything about railroading from @Ahnehnois post (of course if I'm wrong he's welcome to correct me)... there's been a stark line between player and DM duties in previous editions and it didn't lead to the DM railroading the PC's... unless he chose to DM in that style. I'm curious... what exactly about that hard divide leads you to believe it will result inherently in railroading?

Tuesday, 14th January, 2014

  • 10:09 PM - Jacob Marley mentioned Ahnehnois in post Why the claim of combat and class balance between the classes is mainly a forum issue. (In my opinion)
    but in this case we aren't even talking about the same game, we are so far apart with experiences that even 2 GMs with 15+ years of running the game and years of running not just for there own group but at Cons have almost opposite experiences... how do we discuse a base line when there are atleast 5 different sets of experences talking past each other? I'm not sure how people stating the techniques that they are using, and having others probe the impact of those techniques on game balance, equates to "talking past each other?" In my opinion, the last few pages of discussion between Ahnehnois and Majoru Oakheart is exactly the sort of discussion that should be had!

Monday, 13th January, 2014

  • 10:57 PM - Jacob Marley mentioned Ahnehnois in post Fighters vs. Spellcasters (a case for fighters.)
    I have no doubt that you can achieve a balanced game at epic levels in 3.x. I have some thoughts on that which I may or may not get to at a later time. However, Ahnehnois, I am curious about the makeup of your 37th-level characters. Could you give an example of what a typical 'mundane' and 'magical' character looks like in your campaign?

Thursday, 2nd January, 2014

  • 03:47 PM - pemerton mentioned Ahnehnois in post Fighters vs. Spellcasters (a case for fighters.)
    If we need both other approaches and different mechanics to achieve the desired playstyle, I suggest it is not the playstyle intended by the authors of the specific game. <snip> Again, if one must change the rules, then one is no longer playing the same game, but building a different one. If I consider the wizard overpowered, so I change the spell progression and many of the spell descriptions, and alter the saving throw rules, that may better balance the wizard, but I am not still playing the same game. It is no longer a discussion of the balance of 3.5, but the balance of a different, modified game.In that case, Ahnehnois is not defending 3.5 in this thread, as he plays a version which incorporates custom classes, Unearthed Arcana variants, Trailblazer variants, and probably other bits and pieces that I haven't fully understood because 3.5 is not my game. But here's an alternative perspective (on which Hussar could probably shed more light): ban wizards and instead allow only Warmages, Duskblades and those other specialist casters from later supplements. Replace fighters with the ToB classes. (And do something about clerics - maybe replace them with faavoured souls? - as I said, 3.5 is not my game.) A group who plays that game is playing 3.5, I would have thought (certainly as much as Ahnehnois is). And they have changed the mechanics (mostly by exclusion of certain options) in order to achieve balance, and (from what I hear) probably won't need the same heavy helping of GM force as you and others are advocating in order to make their game work. As this is a thread about 3.5, please identify t...


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Monday, 7th July, 2014

  • 08:16 PM - Wulf Ratbane quoted Ahnehnois in post 15 Petty Reasons I Won't Buy 5e
    That's one thing that always drives me nuts. It's not that hard to do standard, rhythmic progressions; why they feel the need to either avoid patterns or keep the patterns opaque is beyond me. This, and this alone, was reason enough for me to redesign 5e before it's even out. :) I kept thinking is was just me, that I was just being an obsessive systems designer. Thanks for confirming my bias (and delaying my campaign start that much longer...)

Tuesday, 1st July, 2014

  • 11:12 AM - Neonchameleon quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    A game show. Nope. An improvised comedy show loosely based around the format of a game show. There are many noncompetitive games that share a lot in common with D&D, You assume that D&D is non-competitive. This is not always the case and it certainly isn't how D&D was designed. Of course, many competitive games also aren't balanced between participants/competitors. Take Mafia for example; several defined (and totally unequal) roles create an engaging dynamic. Mafia has defined roles and asymmetric balance. Sounds a lot like 4E... What about good ol' basketweaving? Is that supposed to be on the same level as using a sword? Nope. Use of a sword is a core ability. On the other hand basketweaving fails as a skill because it's supposed to be on the same level as move silently or use magic device. So...if magic is restrained, everything's fine right? I mean, no one anywhere is arguing for unrestrained magic (which to me, sounds synonymous with at-will spells, so maybe someone is). ...

Monday, 30th June, 2014

  • 02:05 PM - Ruin Explorer quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    So you're suggesting that people don't know what their maximum Jump distance is or realize that they have roughly a 5% chance of reaching it? They don't recognize that people seem to be categorized in some class-based function based on what they can do? They don't know approximately how high of a fall they can survive before picking up a potentially lethal wound? Given that most people in reality do not know these things in any but the vaguest terms and certainly long-jumping does not even work on a "percentage" basis, sure, I am happy to agree that they probably only have pretty vague ideas on that stuff.
  • 02:05 PM - Umbran quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    Of course, though it has its limitations, not everyone thinks that Chutes and Ladders (or 4e) terrible because they're deriving enjoyment from something other than the exercise of skill to sway the odds in their favor. You have now shifted from taking potshots at a game, to taking potshots at the players of that game. Enough. Take a few days off. Folks who think we have not had enough of edition warring, take heed. Enough is enough.
  • 01:45 PM - pemerton quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    Even if we did want to completely dissociate hit points and go down this road, that logic still doesn't hold. If it's a matter of relative judgement, the PC's hp and capacity to deal damage presumably increase with his level, meaning that relative to a static opponent, the ratios shift in his favor as he gains levels. Changing the other half of the ratio is redundant and unnecessary even if you ignore the in-game implications.I gather from this that you're not familiar with 4e's mechanics (and/or didn't read all of my post). When you change the hit points of a 4e creature (eg elite to minion) you also change its level, and hence it AC and to hit bonus, and also the damage and other effects of its powers. The changes are not redundant and unnecessary. They are fundamental to the play of the game, for those who actually are playing it. For instance, it is the 4e treatment of creature level, AC, to hit, hp etc that made it feasible for me to render a hobgoblin army as a series of phalanxes (i...
  • 01:38 PM - Ruin Explorer quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    Both the game and the world have some kind of mechanics. Presumably, the rules in the book represent an overlapping portion of those mechanics, but even if (for some reason) one wants to assert that they don't the world still follows some set of natural laws. Stuff doesn't just happen randomly. There's no reason to assume that there is any meaningful overlap between the rules under which the world operates, and the rules under which the game operates. If you look at modern-era-set games like from CoC to d20 Modern (uggggh) to Smallville you'll see that few of the rules have any really meaningful crossover with the science reality operates on - many will even oppose it.
  • 12:30 AM - Neonchameleon quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    House, Whose Line is it Anyway, and Sim City. Whose Line Is It Anyway isn't a game. It's the name of an improv comedy show. House, I've no idea about. Sim City is a solo game - and it's balanced the way solo games are, meaning that there is no one dominant strategy. And, for that matter, most roleplaying games. Does anyone look at d20 Modern and think that a strong hero is balanced with a charismatic hero? That a CoC professor of archaeology is balanced with a soldier? That a BSG knuckledragger is balanced with a fighter pilot? Of course not. They're different animals entirely, and their usefulness is dependent on circumstance. In terms of overall usefulness yes I believe they ought to be. Why someone would expect anything different from their D&D equivalents is an ongoing question "The logic behind it all was drawn from game balance as much as from anything else. Fighters have their strength, weapons, and armor to aid them in their competition. Magic-users must rely upon their spells...
  • 12:29 AM - Hussar quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    /snip Probably to make magic seem more exclusive and esoteric because it's harder to learn. But even if such a rule was created with the sole purpose of balancing those classes, it would only prove my point, as it's a rather tangential tacked on (and inherently optional) element after all the class abilities and core mechanics have already been built. See, this is why it's so hard to have this conversation. FIGHTERS need more xp than casters in AD&D. How in the heck are the XP requirements tangential or inherently optional? This is a new one. You're now claiming that the Xp requirements for different classes is an optional rule and there exists some form of standardised advancement table in AD&D? That's a neat trick. Could you point it out to me, I'm having a bit of a tough time finding it. No idea. In fact, I've no idea what the "Rain of Colorless Fire" is. (if it's something out of a setting canon, it's something I've ignored) Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/newrepl...

Sunday, 29th June, 2014

  • 11:56 PM - Hussar quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    /snip But it is discrete from it. Many games have no conception of balance at all. Others have purposeful and extreme imbalances. Balance is only really critical for pure games of strategy, like chess (which even then has purposeful imbalances between the pieces built in). And D&D is not a strategy game, it's a roleplaying game, to which balance between player choices is somewhere between a tertiary consideration and completely irrelevant. Only because of D&D's wargame heritage is it even mentioned. /snip Again swimming upthread. Name three. Name three games which have no conception of balance at all. Chess is about as balanced as it can be. Yes, not all pieces are equal, but, both sides are perfectly equal. The only difference here is player skill. If you think balance between player choices is a tertiary consideration, you haven't actually read a whole lot of RPG books. Balance is a primary concern, even going back to 1e. Let me ask you this, then. If balance isn't a conce...
  • 06:41 PM - Tequila Sunrise quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    The terms "fantasy roleplaying game" and "world simulator with rules as physics" are synonyms. I actually get a lot of amusement out of D&D fans 1) making this claim, 2) deriding 4e as a world-sim failure, and 3) holding up any particular edition as more simmy than the others. It's like hearing a boy scout brag about his go-cart's amazing speed to his boy scout pals. During the Indy 500. Having a strong simulationist streak, I'm probably unusual among 4e fans, but in any case, I find it much easier to use 4e as a world-sim than any other edition. Whatever sim-issues that 4e presents, I actually find the sim-issues of other editions much harder to reconcile.
  • 04:33 PM - Neonchameleon quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    Well, no. The chance of PC fatality is dependent on the difficulty level and the actions of the players. The rocket tag moniker again simply indicates combat that is fast and swingy, but that can still be slanted in the players' favor. It is also dependent on the rules of the game and how lethal things actually are. Endless PC death sounds pretty archetypically D&D to me. To me only if you play in some modes. It's almost anathema for Dragonlance and 2E - Dragonlance literally telling you to fudge the dice. But it is discrete from it. Many games have no conception of balance at all. Others have purposeful and extreme imbalances. Balance is only really critical for pure games of strategy, like chess (which even then has purposeful imbalances between the pieces built in). Balance is information. Nothing more, nothing less. An imbalanced game doesn't actually tell you how strong threats are. This is a problem. And D&D is not a strategy game, it's a roleplaying game, to which balance betw...
  • 04:07 PM - evileeyore quoted Ahnehnois in post Uh... since when was this an issue.
    No matter what example you come up with to show that DoaM is not outside of the realm of rules in previous iterations of the game, the folks who think it completely and irreparably breaks the system will tell you "that's different". When I'm presented with a "logical" argument I respond with logic. So far Tovec has been good enough to present his opinion's and back them with decent logical reasons why DoaM doesn't fit into his vision of D&D. I've been trying to present logical arguments as to why DoaM has always fit into D&D and shift his vision. Call me Don Quixote and find me a Sancho! Trying to figure out how the character became so skilled that he can't genuinely miss regardless of the relative difficulty of hitting the target, that's a tough one to figure too. It is? It's easy for me. But then I'm willing to accept Elves all up in the mix too so, maybe I'm more "anything goes".* * Except Monks. I hate Monks. Monks don't belong in Eurotrash fantasy, except clo...
  • 01:55 PM - Hussar quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    snip What you refer to as rocket tag isn't a "mechanical failure" or lack of balance though. It's a statement about the pacing and swinginess of combat. Rocket tag can be perfectly balanced, and can be a perfectly well-executed norm for combat. The merits of that particular mode are debatable, of course. I'm not a huge fan myself; that's why I like those battles of attrition that wound systems can produce. I think far more people are concerned with internal consistency and logic than with mapping the game to specific real-world phenomena. A coin fip is the definition of perfectly balanced. In context, as you note it's a coin flip weighted by the relevant capacities of its participants. It may not be the most engaging tactical gameplay, but it's balanced alright. The balance in the system itself is discrete from any consideration of how engaging or enjoyable it is. Chutes and Ladders is perfectly balanced. Not much of a game for adults though. Read more: http://www.enworld.org/...
  • 01:08 PM - Neonchameleon quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    The terms "fantasy roleplaying game" and "world simulator with rules as physics" are synonyms. No they aren't. Not even close. There are a few RPGs that try to run under rules-as-physics, GURPS being an obvious example, and it being a not unpopular approach in the 80s. Try and play D&D this way and you get The Order of the Stick which, while funny, isn't how I imagine any sort of game world to work. As for an RPG being a world simulator, nope. No RPG I am aware of with the arguable exception of Kingdom tries this (arguable that it's an RPG). And when you try to force D&D to be a world simulator you get weird results. Results where a Lawyer (Profession (Lawyer)) makes the same amount of money as a Shoe Shine Boy (Profession (Shoe Shine Boy)) - something that's barely acceptable for PCs who get their money from adventuring and the profession skill is just there for a flash of colour, but is risible if you try to run the entire world using these rules. (Or pick any two other professions yo...
  • 06:43 AM - Der-Rage quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    The terms "fantasy roleplaying game" and "world simulator with rules as physics" are synonyms. Uh, no they're not. They're categories that sometimes overlap, but there are plenty of fantasy roleplaying games that are not world simulators with rules as physics, and some world simulators with rules as physics that aren't fantasy RPGs, or RPGs at all. More to the point, no edition of D&D has ever been the latter. That being said, that's not what I was saying. Whether a minion corresponds to anything in reality or not is not the point. The point is that it isn't balanced with something that is not a minion (and probably not with most of its fellow minions either). If classed characters aren't balanced with minions, solos, and all the rest, what does it matter how they compare to each other. Comparing a fighter to an orc or giant is a lot more pertinent than comparing him to a wizard. But one does not compare a fighter to a single orc or giant in a vaccuum. The context matters, and in the context o...
  • 04:53 AM - Obryn quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    They are objects. Fictional objects to be sure, but in the relevant sense they are objects. Exactly my point. Gameplay requires that they have them all the time, or else you end up with some serious nonsense. No, you clearly don't, because >99.999% of all narratives in the world don't ever consider the idea of hit points. They lack the standing of fictional objects. A kobold is a fictional object. A hit point is a game mechanic. You can talk about Holden Caulfield without mentioning hit points, even if you imported him to Greyhawk.
  • 04:32 AM - Obryn quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    Are we to conclude that every NPC's hit points cease to exist every time he leaves the PCs' line of sight and then rematerialize the next time the PCs meet him? With exactly the same amount of damage? (Or not, depending on the circumstance). Come on, now. Surely, regardless of their gaming philosophy, ENWorlders understand object permanence. Your error is in thinking of "hit points" as objects. Come on now. NPCs have hit points when gameplay requires them to have hit points.
  • 03:09 AM - Neonchameleon quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    It might have not been playtested well enough, but I think it's clear that 3e, and subsequently PF, are the products of better research and testing than any other other rpg ever made, by a ludicrous margin. Maybe the bar isn't that high, but give them some credit. Um... this is sarcasm? And far and away the best playtested RPG ever has been Brown Box D&D. Gygax wasn't a particularly good designer (as anyone who's ever read Cyborg Commando or Dangerous Journeys: Mythus would know) - but he was playing oD&D almost as much as was humanly possibly with a group of hardcore wargamers who were playing to win. There has been no development process like it in the history of RPGs. They took a ton of feedback from the existing 2e crowd and really nailed it. If you go back twenty years, it would be hard to imagine a version of D&D as universally functional as 3e. That it has its problems was inevitable, and it's unfortunate that they haven't been addressed. Sure they nailed it - nails in the coffin o...
  • 02:16 AM - FireLance quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    The standard modifier is completely broken. A feeble character of sufficient level can break down a door. The same problem that existed specifically with BAB/THAC0 and saves in earlier editions now applies to everything. Remember that article about how 3e actually simulates basic things like applications of strength and everyday skills up through level 6 or so? 4e totally fails that test. You've got at-will magic for everyone, you've got self-healing for nonmagical characters, you've got minions whose basic numbers don't withstand any scrutiny at all, beginning characters with triple hit points. Any one of those could be considered world-breaking. So, it fails in just about every aspect of a simulation, and it is more of a fantasy role playing game than a rules-as-physics simulation of a world? :p

Saturday, 28th June, 2014

  • 07:33 PM - Zardnaar quoted Ahnehnois in post Be honest, how long would it really take you to notice all of this stuff...?
    It might have not been playtested well enough, but I think it's clear that 3e, and subsequently PF, are the products of better research and testing than any other other rpg ever made, by a ludicrous margin. Maybe the bar isn't that high, but give them some credit. They took a ton of feedback from the existing 2e crowd and really nailed it. If you go back twenty years, it would be hard to imagine a version of D&D as universally functional as 3e. That it has its problems was inevitable, and it's unfortunate that they haven't been addressed. Well, they did fix Haste in the revision, and they started patching polymorph in various ways towards the end. A little slow on their part, perhaps. The fighter did get screwed in the new save system a bit, that's for sure. And the infinite diversity in infinite combinations of the spell system is inherently problematic. So yes, these are real things. But compared to the limitations of the AD&D chassis or the huge fundamental problems with 4e or the incohere...


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