[Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles... - Page 10
  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    3e destroyed this balance above about 4th level
    In my experience, non-casters are quite effective above 4th level in 3e.

    As a player, my paladin hit just about every time (to hits above 20 were routine) and did damage at least in the teens every round. The arcane casters' players sometime complained about it. Along with the Ranger, he did a lot of killing that got done, albeit often buffed.

    The one head-to-head fight he had with a Wizard, he got initiative and killed the Wizard with one Smite Evil crit, before the Wizard could take an action. It helped that they were talking in a room at melee distances when suddenly things turned violent.

    As to your other comment about 3e being too complicated and slow at higher levels, I agree. Above 13th level is where 3e combat becomes more paperwork than fun, in my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daztur View Post
    I think that also shows why tracking boring logistics stuff is important. Logistics is important since having the players think, Oh god, were almost out of X, weve got to get the hell out of here! is a great way of lighting a fire under their asses. It doesnt matter what X is as long as you can track it, it runs out during adventures, it cant be replenished in the field and the players cant easily get back and forth between the place where they can get more X and the place where the gold they want to take is. Some game rules make it too easy to replenish any given X, which can make CaW play go sideways.
    One of the many ways I know I'm a CaW DM? My group thinks having a Cleric getting the 3rd level spell "Create Food and Water" is as important as the Wizard getting the 3rd level spell "Fireball". Both are "game changers" to my group.

    When you have scenarios like "The Stone Circle" where there's no ability to buy or hunt for extra food and the PC's after carefully counting down how much they have until they succeed at the adventure, "Create Food and Water" is important. To me, this is one of very best 3e adventures, but I believe I'm in a small minority in that view.

    When you run scenarios like the PC's getting caught in a mountain storm and taking damage if they don't have winter clothing and tents, stuff like "Leomund's Tiny Hut" ends up on Wizard's spell lists.

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    I'm still waiting for someone to explain why they think a game should be less like an actual sport, and more like an actual war.

    We /are/ talking about a game.



    Actually, as long as we're exploring reasons for prefering one ed over another, there's one I think this thread illustrates rather well.

    The better balanced a game is, the more style-neutral it is. That is, the more a player can play the character he wants, the way he wants, and the DM can run the campaign he wants, the way he wants and tell the story he wants, without the player character having to suck for the sake of concept or the DM having to re-write swaths of rules.

    D&D has never been among the better-balanced games. It rewards some styles of play or character concept over others. In 3e Monte Cook said the intent was to 'reward system mastery.' A bizzarely elitist idea for a game that was still often an entry point to the hobby.

    I think most of us have played D&D a long time, and we've gotten used to the demands that each edition has made on us, and modified our respective styles to get the most out of them. 4e threw a monkeywrench into that by not strongly favoring a style. You might 'master' the 4e system, but you didn't get 'rewarded' for it, at least not with anything more than a fun gaming experience.


    I can see how we can get used to imbalance and start to think of the imbalances within a game as 'support' for the particular style that those imbalances favor. But, I think it's a mistake to get sucked into that line of thinking - especially if 5e is to have any shot at being as all-inclusive as the marketing rhetoric surrounding it suggests.



    This distinction the OP draws between 'sport' and 'war' seems like nothing more than a way of trying to make imbalance sound kinda butch and cool. Rather than what it is: merely limitting.

    Sure, in 3.x, the game was badly broken, and there were all kinds of ways to leverage the broken bits (mostly spells and items) to trivialize a supposedly tough encounter, or, conversely, to get your asses kicked by a supposedly modest encounter. That's just a symptom of poor balance. Yes, it meant aproaching the game as a 'war' was the viable option, which is fine if that's the only style you think it should support. But, a balanced game would still let the DM and players aproach individual combats with the 'war' mentality. It would just require the DM to design combats with that in mind. A balanced system doesn't keep you from creating an overwhelming encounter, nor keep players from finding a way of making it less overwhelming. It just makes pegging an encounter at 'overwhelming' a good deal easier and more consistent.
    XP Celebrim gave XP for this post

  4. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by haakon1 View Post
    In my experience, non-casters are quite effective above 4th level in 3e.
    Yeah, they are on quite equal footing at least until closer to 10th level.

  5. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    This distinction the OP draws between 'sport' and 'war' seems like nothing more than a way of trying to make imbalance sound kinda butch and cool. Rather than what it is: merely limitting.
    There is a difference between balance in the system and balance in the game. The CAW/CAS distinction includes balance in the game (but that's not all it is). In CAS style play encounters in the game are usually balanced, in CAW style all bets are off.

    I don't think the system being balanced in any way prevents CAW style play, but some of the other things that are needed (related to resource management) may make system balance more difficult to achieve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haakon1 View Post
    In my experience, non-casters are quite effective above 4th level in 3e.

    As a player, my paladin hit just about every time (to hits above 20 were routine) and did damage at least in the teens every round. The arcane casters' players sometime complained about it. Along with the Ranger, he did a lot of killing that got done, albeit often buffed.

    The one head-to-head fight he had with a Wizard, he got initiative and killed the Wizard with one Smite Evil crit, before the Wizard could take an action. It helped that they were talking in a room at melee distances when suddenly things turned violent.
    There's a reasonable PvE balance between the classes in 3e up until ca 11th-13th level, as long as you often have several encounters in a day. But I'd be very surprised if a 9th level NPC Fighter posed an equal threat as a 9th level NPC Wizard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    I'm still waiting for someone to explain why they think a game should be less like an actual sport, and more like an actual war.
    Because they like it that way?

    Whether you prefer Indiana Jones or The Princess Bride is surely a matter of preference. It's subjective.

  8. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    But I'd be very surprised if a 9th level NPC Fighter posed an equal threat as a 9th level NPC Wizard.
    Depends on whether they lead ten 5th level mooks.

  9. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    I'm still waiting for someone to explain why they think a game should be less like an actual sport, and more like an actual war.

    We /are/ talking about a game.
    In combat as sports, everyone is assumed to have an equal chance of winning, scoring goals, coming out on top, or whatever you would like to call it. In sports (played as a game, not a job) the goal is to have fun, play your best and it doesn't matter what the end score is. No one expects to die, or lose their friends in a sport.

    In combat as war, the challenge put forth is actually challenging. It is meant to test and to achieve greater heights if won. You are not expected (and certainly not outright given) a winning position. You have to use tactics and strategy to defeat the enemy or big bad. In war the goal is to defeat the enemy, a defeat which means you actually accomplished something, and it certainly matters if you lost friends along the way. Friends lost will have stories told and legends surrounding them, the players can still revel in the fact that the enemy was slain even though their character was killed in the battle.

    It has nothing to do with cinematicness, or with action, or pacing, or even balance. It has to do with style. I prefer the combat as war method, though I don't agree with all the OP tried to say.

    Yes, "we ARE talking about a game", but we are also talking about what kind of game we want. Do we want one that puts a challenge ahead of us. Something that actually is difficult to defeat, or do we want something that is given to us. Do we want an enemy to be defeated by our careful execution and skill, or, one that may as well have been defeated in a cut-scene for the amount of effort required?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aenghus View Post
    To referee fans of the Combat as War style, do they acknowledge there is a line they choose not to go over in the interests of a fun game?
    In high level 3e: yeah, probably. The system (in the teen levels+) is so horrid, you pretty much have to handwave it all to get a viable world at all.

    In 1e: No, and I have had NPCs do the teleport-in-and-kill-lowbie thing. There was a 21st level BBEG teleporting in to kill the LG PC's low level minions, following the destruction of the BBEG's order of evil knights he wanted revenge. This went on awhile, lots of lowbies killed, until the BBEG, Lord Vorgrim, attacked a seminary, rolled a '1' on a save vs a novice priest's 'command' spell - and no more BBEG.

    In 4e: Dunno, really. I haven't GM'd to high levels where it would be an issue, and I have been running 4e more dramatist than gamist recently.

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