L&L: The Challenges of High Level Play - Page 9
+ Log in or register to post
Page 9 of 10 FirstFirst 12345678910 LastLast
Results 81 to 90 of 99
  1. #81
    Member
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    685
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Mokona


    Friend+
    Howdy Tony Vargas:
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    Once again, in his haste to throw 4e under the bus, Monte is mis-representing it. 4e, alone among the extant versions of the game, does not break down, mechanically at high levels. It has a kluge or two in place to make 'The Math' work out, but it chugs right along at all levels. Classes remain balanced, encounters remain balanced, the game remains playable. No one claims that high-level play breaks down in 4e.* Even the 'h4ters' don't bother trying a whopper like that, prefering to claim that the game doesn't change apreciably with tier (also false, but not nearly as far from the truth).
    * - emphasis added

    I claim that D&D 4th edition breaks down at high level.

    How do I know this? I played straight through in 4e from 1st level to 20th level (I am, of course, defining high-level as anything above level 12 per Monte's column). The PCs consisted of a human wizard (stunlock style though not quite broken), human archer ranger, human (super-teleport-optimized) warlock, halfling paladin (with lost-in-the-crowd insane Armor Class), and dragonborn warlord. Combat took too long. 15th+ level combat took FOREVER. Each PC turn was very complicated. By 20th level the ranger took minutes just to add up all her conditional, temporary, and warlord-granted damage modifiers and then add multiple successful hits together (plus crits).

    The "math" of 4e does not work so they had to "fix" it. I still don't think they got it right. Once milestones determine PC capabilities it is totally up to the DM's style whether the players can reach milestones and activate magic rings or other milestone-limited abilities. Combat is so SLOW that you don't want to play through extra filler combats just to hit milestones.

  2. #82
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Colombus, OH
    Posts
    11,165
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Celebrim


    Friend+
    My communities:

    I don't have time or inclination for a long post at this time, however count me among those that agree D&D has always broke beyond a certain level.

    1e: Breaks between 9th and 15th level depending on the rules in force and the availability of items because not enough support was provided for high level play. Monsters don't have attributes, and therefore no attribute bonuses, even unique monsters rarely have more than 200 hit points, and the 'to hit' table for monsters caps at 16HD making players with good AC virtually immune to normal attacks from even the toughest things in the game. The things available to challenge players are extremely limited in scope and the DM is forced to invent new challenges. Particularly post Unearthed Arcana, parties can dish out enough damage per round that the initiative roll has to be considered midcombat. Zeus doesn't have enough hit points to survive more than a round or two toe to toe versus a capable high level party, resulting in a situation where even greater gods have to resort to uninteresting 'I win' buttons to represent a challenge. Finding groups of young players where the Deities and Demigods book is treated like a monster manual is not uncommon, simply because the DM has tried (and failed) to challenge the group by having them fight gods toe to toe with straight forward tactics. On the good side, problem can be addressed by the DM, spellcasters don't inherently outshine fighters, and direct damage spells are powerful enough that the DM probably won't have to deal with extra bookkeeping from arcane buffs, summoning, and so forth. In practice, high level play often bogs down into truly massive combats with the DM rolling 30-50 'to hit' rolls from the horde of foes he is forced to throw at high level characters - and this is reinforced as normal by typical module design of the era (Tomb of Horrors and a few others being notable exceptions). High level play is possible, it just requires additional DM imagination and creativity.

    2e: Basically the same problem as 1e, but the problem is addressed somewhat by expanding the official upper bounds on monster power, particularly dragons.

    3e: On the good side, addresses the problem of there not being enough support for challenging high level parties and allows for amazing degrees of character customization at high levels. On the bad side, still breaks in a wide variaty of ways at or above 12th level (at the latest). Spellcasters are much more formidable in 3e (being allowed to cast spells in combat, having more spells, and having fewer spell nerfs to deal with) and completely outshine fighters in every way once the 5th and 6th level spells arrive. Direct damage was nerfed, but buffs and summoning are empowered, resulting in much more spell bookkeeping. 3.5 just made the problem worse. Unlike 1e, where the odds of passing 'save or die' increased with level, in 3e the odds arguably decrease at exactly the same point 'save or die' or 'save or suck' becomes common, resulting in too many 'I win' buttons. Massive numbers of fiddly modifiers causes combat in all but the most organized and disciplined groups to grind to a halt, and several strategies may be avoided as 'unfun' simply because of the massive calculations they involve.

    4e: Addresses almost all the problems of 3e high level play, but still manages to break around 20th level because the math is wrong the opposite way. High level play still bogs down and becomes a tedious slog in most cases because of the vast number of ever changing buffs and debuffs. Combat manages to become an unfulfilling grind, because high level monsters don't do enough damage to really threaten high level characters, but have enough hit points to absorb most of the players options, leaving the characters to 'mop up' using at wills. On the good side, the problems can mostly be addressed by manually fixing the math, and some official attempts at correcting the problem exist as errata.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Thursday, 23rd February, 2012 at 09:10 PM.

  3. #83
    Member
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K.
    Posts
    9,608
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Upper_Krust


    Friend+
    My communities:

    Hey there pemerton!

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    The only one I have is E1, because it was on special at my local games shop. I'm unlikely to run it as printed, but will probably use the maps, and some of the encounters (the one with the Vecna angels will work well in my game, I think). I agree with you in being critical of that sort of play - I personally don't like it even for Heroic. I like something a bit more dynamic and story-focused.
    I reviewed all the E-series on my website and I think I awarded them all a generous 5 (out of 10). Long dungeon crawls don't fit the epic tier. Those adventures would have been much better served by having a greater number of smaller locations then let the PCs determine which locations and in which order they tackle them. Instead its an overly long railroad wherein nothing the PCs do is relevant until the final encounter (80 encounters later). Added to which they are far too weak to tackle Orcus until the end, so the preceeding 80 encounters are one big grind.

    One thing in E1 I quite like is the idea of Timesus the primordial.
    Timesus is one of the cooler parts of the adventure. His illustration is quite freaky (its a touch Escher).

    I am thinking of using the stats for the Far Realm star in MM2/3 as Timesus - but want to up the size closer to planetary than 4x4. I haven't yet worked out how I would run that, but probably have two years to plan before my game gets there.
    My suggestion for running planet sized beings would be to stack multiple solo stat-blocks but have each represent a different aspect of the planet. Force PCs to fight them in turn. They can retreat at any time, but doing so means they would have to start again as the planet repairs itself.

    #1 = The magnetic field: The PCs need to destabilize the planets magnetic field to get closer. The planet would assult the PCs with space debris, radiation and mega-lightning. While parts of the planet would manifest as Force Golems (of various sizes).

    #2 = The surface: The PCs need to significantly rupture the surface. The very ground rises up to meet them as all the elements do battle with them: earthquake's, tidal waves and hurricanes. The planet's 'blood' manifests as Quicksilver Golems (of various sizes).

    #3 = The mantle: Thinning air and high pressure. With the planet manifesting as Diamond Golems (of various sizes).

    #4 = The core: Insane heat, no air and oppressive pressure. While the planet attacks with Molten Iron Golems (of various sizes).

    ...of course all the above is in addition to Allabar's tentacle attacks and psionic powers.

    I should maybe do a Planet sized monster based on the above for my website.

    I've read it before and just reread it. It's good stuff, but doesn't deal with my particular issue, I don't think - 4e relies heavily on party synergy, but in a tactically massive battle the PCs will be geographically separate, and so I need new techniques to handle the cutaways and make the synergies happen. I understand that Ron Edwards' Sorcerer has ideas for this, but (i) I don't own Sorcerer, and (ii) the rules are very likely to have a significant metagame component, and while I've got nothing against metagame 4e has particular ways of handling it, especially in its combat rules (I would expect the ideas in Sorcerer to be better suited to a 4e skill challenge involving cutaways).
    I think the key for battling enormous monsters is firstly to battle them piecemeal in multiple staged encounters. First you fight them on the ground and then jump on their bodies etc.

    The second advice is to give PCs some sort of speed boost recovery powers.

    ie. Say for instance the PCs are fighting on the back of a giant (Godzilla sized) monster and one PC (fails an Acrobatics check and) gets swatted off. You have to give them either a 'super-jump' or 'teleport-shift'* to allow them to get back in the fight...of course these should grant the monster an opportunity attack.

    *for even bigger monsters.

  4. #84
    Member
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    TarionzCousin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    5,728
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    PathfinderStar TrekD&DPlanescapeCircvs MaximvsGygax Memorial Fund

    Block TarionzCousin


    Friend+
    My communities:

    I hope that the initial play test rules allow high-level play. My 3.5E group played with epic gestalt characters and had a blast. Three of us still game together and are eager to try out "epic" 5E.

    If/when that happens, I'll be posting about our experiences on EN World.

  5. #85
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    16,488
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block pemerton


    Friend+
    My communities:

    @Upper_Krust, some good ideas there - thanks!

  6. #86
    Member
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    685
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block Mokona


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Blacky the Blackball View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    61.1% want Themes
    56.1% want Prestige Classes
    53.0% want Paragon Paths
    48.5% want Epic Destinies
    47.1% want Kits
    I'm surprised at how few people want in core rules any of the related list of themes, prestige classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, and kits.

  7. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by Mokona View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    I'm surprised at how few people want in core rules any of the related list of themes, prestige classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, and kits.
    It depends how you interpret those numbers.

    It could be that just over half the people want something like that, but they're flexible about how it is implemented.

    Or it could be that almost everyone wants something like that, but they have mutually incompatible preferences about how it is implemented.

    To distinguish between those two scenarios (and obviously the true answer will be somwhere in the middle ground between them) we'd have to be able to see whether it was the same people voting for multiple options or different people voting for each option.

    And we've no way of knowing that. WotC probably can, though, if they recorded IP addresses along with votes.

  8. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by Mokona View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    61.1% want Themes
    56.1% want Prestige Classes
    53.0% want Paragon Paths
    48.5% want Epic Destinies
    47.1% want Kits
    I'm surprised at how few people want in core rules any of the related list of themes, prestige classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, and kits.
    Speaking just for myself, I want themes / kits because I think readily available character customization is important.

    On the other hand, I'm not fond of prestige classes, paragon paths or epic destinies because I think D&D gets too complicated at upper levels and I don't think D&D needs special core mechanics to exacerbate that. (Although prestige classes are better than the 4e variants in that they are optional...)

    -KS

  9. #89
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    North Akron
    Posts
    1,696
    Reviews
    Read 1 Reviews

    Block Ratskinner


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by pauljathome View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    You've just given me the idea for my next campaign.

    The world starts as a low level D&D world. The highest character in the entire world is something like L8. Things like dragons and giants exist but are very rare and take armies to bring down. Basically, an E6 or so world.

    Then the caps come off, worldwide. The PCs are amongst the first characters to pass those limits (there are hundreds of others passing those limits at the same time).

    The (quite likely multi-generational) campaign then focuses on the changes to the world.
    Sounds Awesome. I ran a similar campaign where magic suddenly "came back" to the world. Great fun.

  10. #90
    Member
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    louisville, ky
    Posts
    1,927
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Block kigmatzomat


    Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Upper_Krust View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monte Cook
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member.
    Some players like low-level, gritty, "where am I going to get two more silver pieces to afford to eat today" kinds of games. Others want to fight basilisks and save the whole town from an invasion of troglodytes. And still others want to create their own plane of existence and lay waste to planets. (And plenty want to do two or all three of these things.) Recognizing these different desires and needs allows game designers to tailor gameplay to suit them.
    The latter hasn't been recognised by the official rules for about 30 years
    Maybe in your game but the 3.0/3.5 psionic books had the "create demiplane" powers that see most definitely used in mine. Admittedly, destroying planets is going a bit far, unless you accept "creating permanent gates to the demonic realms to let untold evil loose on the planet" (an act many sub20th level characters could do, as "destroying it".

+ Log in or register to post
Page 9 of 10 FirstFirst 12345678910 LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. High Level Play
    By Filcher in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Tuesday, 5th August, 2008, 05:31 PM
  2. High Level Play with D&D
    By Shane_Leahy in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: Wednesday, 21st June, 2006, 10:10 PM
  3. High-Level Play: Nightmare for DMs?
    By andargor in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 76
    Last Post: Friday, 6th August, 2004, 03:58 AM
  4. DM can't get the hang of high-level play
    By Fimmtiu in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 54
    Last Post: Monday, 26th May, 2003, 03:08 AM
  5. Planning for high level play...
    By rounser in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Thursday, 30th May, 2002, 09:10 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •