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Guide (Lvl 11)
What do time and circumstance have to do with setting? I might accept that for a different usage of the word than what is applied to tabletop RPGs, but the RPG usage doesn't involve those ideas at all. On the other hand, a campaign is more than a series of events. It is the transformation of a set of abstract ideas (setting, stats, mechanics, etc) with multiple possible interpretations and possibilities into a more concrete form (a story and characters) with a singular interpretation and known events. In other words, setting is theory and campaign is reality.
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I think they are a part of the setting (e.g. Manshoon in the Forgotten Realms). That implies the choice of whether game altering magics exist is a setting choice.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
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The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- Lake Geneva, WI 53147
- Read 0 Reviews
ø Block Mark CMG
Where, when, and under what circumstances. For instance, Midnight is a setting with a place, time, and overarching set of circumstances. I choose that particular setting as an example because each factor is very prominent and I am fully aware that with some settings one of those three elements is primary while the others might be distantly important, but they are all factors of the element of setting.
Campaign (being what the PCs do) is a term carried over from wargaming and the military, hence my delineation of it as a series of actions (in wargaming, military actions) or events.
Last edited by Mark CMG; Tuesday, 21st February, 2012 at 12:01 AM.
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Even worse, when you start adding multiple supplements (or even modular sub-supplements), the number of interactions between the options in those modules grows exponentially, while playtest time stays more or less constant during the lifecycle of an edition (hell, playtest time per option probably falls over the lifetime of an edition; they test the hell out of core, and then they start slacking off). As a result, the fraction of option combinations tested by the developers falls drastically over time. Even if things aren't any more complex, systems will be broken.
However, I agree with you that something simpler that high-level 3.x, but not as simple as low-level play, is ideal. I recently declined an offer to join a 9thish level 3.x game due to a combination of RL time constraints and just not wanting to deal with the complexity (relative to Traveller, my current game of choice... which, upon further consideration, is actually really modular. Huh.).
But, to speak of actual high-level play:
I disagreed with his focus on artifacts and planes. To me, relying on external magic items for your power cheapens the awesomeness of high level. Sue me for an Iron Heroes fan. Likewise, I'd much rather high-level be about carving a kingdom out of the wilderness, waging war against neighbouring states, running guilds, things of that nature. Both an increase in scale and an increase in delegation seem in order. Planes to me are just an excuse to keep dungeoncrawling at a high level by providing a set of infinite dungeons stocked with infinite hordes of high-level baddies. I would rather see the game actually change, not just in backdrop, but in the focus and the way it's played.
Last edited by jedavis; Tuesday, 21st February, 2012 at 12:06 AM.
Magsman (Lvl 14)
For example, plane-hopping but otherwise traditional dungeoneering, Bloodstone-style armies and kingdom management, and wuxia/Naruto-style adventures are all reasonable playstyles for a paragon or upper-mid-level game. Each of those playstyles wants a different set of abilities.
Some of that is about providing optional modules (for thinks like mass combat and kindgom management), but it also involves questions of how "wacky" character abilities should be at any given tier. A grubbing-for-silver-pieces campaign shouldn't have access to martial wall-running and 40-foot leaps, but a paragon campaign could go either way.
My inclination is to say that core rules should be very conservative about handing out wacky abilities, but that D&D should include a supplement to handle amazing heroes from levels 6 and up (if we have 20 levels to work with). Maybe the epic heroes supplement should also include wuxia abilities for standard classes at earlier tiers.
Superhero (Lvl 15)
What level of spell is Teleport? What level of spell is Invisibility? What level of spell is Legend Lore? How much XP is a Sepia Snake Sigil trap worth if beaten? What's the difficulty level of hunting down a Leomund's Chest? How much is a treasure map worth based upon the information it holds?
All these things and far more were graded numerically within a coherent whole by D&D, usually on a spectrum. It never suggested all 1st level spells were equal. It suggested they were relatively equal and each was unique enough to be more valuable than any other of its level in a particular situation or range of situations.
And all of this grading went far beyond spell levels into dungeon levels and class ability levels and monster levels and so on. Everything was weighted and measured and the easy stuff came early, the hard stuff came later. In fact, the game was so hard later if you didn't come to it from the beginning, then there was no approaching it at higher levels. By which I mean content, of course. Not complicated character interfaces, though that could grow as much as any player wanted it to as well.
I definitely would like to see different play challenges and convergence points built into different class levels of the game. (Heck, I'd like the same for different classes too) What I may have to resign myself to is attempts to create discrete character level zones of play with clear obsolescence built in. However, I remember we're trying to keep challenges meaningful across all levels, so maybe there is reason to hope?
Hydra (Lvl 25)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Read 1 Reviews
ø Block I'm A Banana
Aside from the main idea of tiers being playstyles, I think it's important to see, at a meta-level, what the function of high level character abilities is.
Abilities like teleport or power word: kill or dominate change the game by increasing the scope of what a "challenge" is. No longer is a trek to Mount Doom, a fight with an orc army, or a reticent king an adequate challenge. These effects (or things that mimic them) negate these challenges effortlessly. You the DM need to up the ante when effects like this come into play -- the arms race comes into play, because that is a desired effect. I get higher level, lower level things are easy, and higher level things enter my realm of accomplishment.
Not every table or DM is ready or willing to accept this change. Some DMs want treks to Mount Doom to always be viable character challenges at every level. Those people, Monte mentions, are really just saying "I don't like high-level play, because those challenges are important to my style." The "brokenness" of high level play is from a slightly different source than easy solutions like teleport. Teleport isn't broken, but for some tables, it's certainly never something you want.
There's problems with how each edition handles higher levels, but if you view the tiers as different styles rather than as all the same, you can have a pretty nice upgrade pattern. What starts out as the ability of PC's to climb a wall becomes the ability of PC's to destroy the wall, and then the ability of PC's to just pass through the wall. Your exploration gets upgraded steadily.[RIGHT]Jacob J. Driscoll
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Gallant (Lvl 3)
Another aspect of HL/EL play that I hope gets some attention is the significant impact HL people would have on the world.
Even setting aside the wealth - the sheer, staggering personal power they wield creates all kinds of ripples. Mass combat rules are fun, but how relevant are they in such a world? If you have singular beings capable of wiping out hundreds (if not thousands) of LL soldiers without breaking a sweat, how does that change how wars are fought? If you have one Lord's HL elites wipe out his opposition's HL elites - the war is won. Opposition troops don't even factor into it. Although I could see bringing in the army *after* you have won the war as a peace-keeping force.
And how likely would hereditary succession be in such a world? You pretty much need a HL ruler on the throne, just to be able to hold it. Not to mention the impact of HL skills would have in the court. Would you see more Meritocracies emerge?
And we haven't even touched on the impact of certain spells/powers could have on society...
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