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Thread: Working in the Game Mine
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 10:42 AM #151
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
I think this should be a game-world thing, though, not a system thing. Eberron goblins - especially at the height of the goblin empires - I can see definitely having "soldiers", for example. Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk - not so much. So, I don't think the system should prevent the design of any monster of any type - but the game-world source material might well specify that certain roles for particular monsters are (generally) absent. Roles, in this instance, can perform a(nother) useful function, being a shorthand to describe what particular combat styles are eschewed by a monster race in this particular game world.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 12:26 PM #152
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
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ø Block Aberzanzorax
What I'm addressing is that, in a given world, ogres tend to be a certain way, with some limited variation (except for "special" ogres like tribal leaders, or whathaveyou).
I think the best way to clarify this is to answer your comment:
If you don't want ogres who are strong rock throwers in your encounter, isn't the easiest thing to do just not to use them?
On the one hand, I don't begrudge them being available to other DMs who do want them. I'm starting to lean toward a desire for "a single core monster" and then if there are variant roles for that monster, have those be modular.
On the other hand, my main point is that I don't want players to have to consider that maybe these ogres will suddenly be of a variety that has heretofore unknown powers inconsistent with what they've learned about ogres. As part of their understanding of the world, and of ogres, I'm building them not for the encounter, but constraining my DM options to allow players to learn the limitations of, in this example, ogres.
This might address the bafflement of yourself and <!-- BEGIN TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->@Ratskinner <!-- END TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->:
As I said in my last post, monsters have never been more different from monsters of another type than they are in 4e. Goblins are not orcs, nor are they kobolds (unlike in earlier editions where fluff was required to distinguish them). It is that point that I imagine (I'm guessing here, not trying to set up a strawman) the two of you consider when people complain that monsters are too similar. It's plainly wrong...from that angle...monsters ARE more different from one another than ever before. There are few things I'd claim in regard to edition as fact, and this is one. It's demonstrable.
But, here's where I MIGHT be able to shed some light on why people say that (as someone who does think it to a degree). While all kobolds are clearly different from all goblins...there is too much variety within kobolds. That variety limits what the kobold CANNOT do.
If you point to a kobold, there are two ways to define it: 1. It's schtick. 2. Its limitations. While 4e gave each monster a cool mechanical, and defining schtick, the (in my opinion) flawed designing of both later 3e and 4e that makes kobold brutes, kobold sneaks, kobold soldiers, kobold elites, kobold lurkers, etc etc etc. viable enemies to fight.
No more is there the player assumption of "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!" The ogre COULD be a rock thrower ogre, as you suggested.
That's what I'm arguing makes sameness. Without those limitations, every monster becomes ANY monster...because it can.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 01:01 PM #153
Scout (Lvl 6)
To me an ogre skirmisher and a kobold skirmisher will be different because they'll have different powers and will work differently during a combat.
By the way I don't want to able to say "ah ha! an ogre! if it can't get close, we've got this, easy!". It spoils the fun knowing beforehand how a combat will go. A lot of the fun we have in 4e combats as players is the way combats develop, round by round and it's fun to see new things thrown on the table and find ways to fight back.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 01:01 PM #154
Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)
I haven't used any ogres, so can't comment on them in particular! And I would have nothing against even greater mechanical reinforcement of these distinguishing characteristics.
It's a bit of a fine line, though, and this sort of regulation is hard to manage at the system level. What I'm thinking of in saying that is that the "gotcha" monster - be it the clever ogre, or the rock-throwing one, or Obmi the evil dwarf, or the good aligned drow who poses a risk of alignment violation to those PCs who cut him down without thiking - has been a staple of D&D for a long time. So even if you don't put any rock-throwing ogres in the MM, and even if you say that there aren't any of them in the D&D world, some GM somewhere is going to conceive of and want to use one - the PCs see the ogre on the bridge, start walking up, and suddenly that ogre rips a stone out of the bridge wall and hurls it at them!
I think the game is probably better if it supports the GM who wants to do this sort of thing rather than pushing hard to shut him/her down. Which (I think) means that the game should make it easy to build a rock-throwing ogre and to work out how difficult that monster will be in an encounter.
EDIT: I just had a look at my books and found the Lolthbound goblin, which is a soldier - but also, I think, a special case.
Last edited by pemerton; Monday, 16th July, 2012 at 01:04 PM.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 01:08 PM #155
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
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ø Block Aberzanzorax
This seems like a difference in preferred style. It appears as though you prefer the encounter level to be the exciting moment, in watching a given combat develop with new things and such. I agree with you that an ogre skirmisher and kobold skirmisher will be different. That's the part I mention in the post above that 4e has monsters that are more different from one another than ever before.
My preferred playstyle is one in which the players can learn about the world and then base expectations upon that learning, even (especially?) in combat. It may lead to less exciting combats, but perhaps there's an element of satisfaction and fulflilment that they were able to act smart on a more worldly level, rather than round to round. Dare I say, and please take this the gentlest way possible...that it may be more of a "roleplaying" way of addressing the problem, rather than a "tactical" way? (Not a dig on 4e there; that's an attempt to distinguish a difference in styles - styles that were present in 3e as well as 4e). Roleplaying isn't the best word there, but I'm struggling for a better one. "Simulationist?" "Narrativist?"... World exists independent of pcs? Gah...see? Struggling.
Again, I think you and I are both aware of our predilictions, and neither of us is wrong in what we're shooting for...just that maybe we're shooting for different things (thrilling uncertainty versus perhaps mundane consistency).
I have no problem with them. For me it's about rates of usage. If every monster is a gotcha monster, then none are. If there are no baselines for a type of monster, no set expectations, then one can't break expectations with a gotcha type.
I'm not against rock throwing ogres per se. I'm against players walking into any given encounter with a monster they've faced several times before, and them not being able to, ahead of time, predict the majority of expected abilities and limitations of that monster. If players can do that, then those expectations can be shattered (just not too often).
Last edited by Aberzanzorax; Monday, 16th July, 2012 at 01:19 PM.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 01:38 PM #156
Scout (Lvl 6)
He assumes that's there's an existing world where the PCs are sinked in. The story develops within the world.
I am not interested in the world outside of the story. For me the story "creates" the world.
For him ,the "Knights of the Breakfast Table" are an existing organization in a fictional world.
For me ,they are just a story hook or tool I create if I see the need to do that, or if the PCs start to look for something similar.
For him D&D is similar to the movie Titanic, the story of some people inside a bigger world.
For me D&D is more like a theatre act, with no story outside of what you can see (and I don't mind if the backscene is made of cardboard as long as it works).
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 02:09 PM #157
Guide (Lvl 11)
My horse in this race is "more fluff on Monster Manual".
I can see good things in having fast and clear roles for my monsters, when I need a more elaborate encounter, and I can appreciate a more organic type of monster which I can set a role on the fly, based on what he's doing in that place at that time.
Problem is, I don't think is possible to put roles on Monster Manual without moving that book in a gamist direction... it's a clear division between 4E and former editions that goes further than to know if the creature is Outsider or Evil.
Well, I can live with or without Roles, just give me inspiring fluff and I'll do the rest.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 09:27 PM #158
Defender (Lvl 8)
This post was going to be ungodly long unless I cut things out. Apologies in advance if I cut something significant.
Fifth - you seem to be saying that roles are the new monster classes are the roles but I have shown how roles are roles and classes are classes so unless you have monster classes to compare to player classes you already lose me on that argument.
As far as "not a base human"... well it is. At that point I can give it any number of class levels in any number of classes and know exactly what I'll get. I know exactly what is the human part and what is the class.
I can't do the same with the ogres given in the 4e MM. I have so many variations. Unless I want to do a dissection of all the examples, and then recalculate based on the different rules for minions vs regular vs boss monsters I'm not going to have a base creature.
pemerton - 4th level giant is different from 4th level brute because brute isn't a class. It is a role, like defender is for fighter.
In your sense, I can't see that BASE ogre is anything more than a mechanical construct. It has no particular meaning in the fiction that I can see (other, perhaps, than the typical ogre - but then 4e has typical ogres as well - any but the warhulk would seem pretty typical to me).
Also, warhulk =/= base ogre. It might be to you but there are so many examples that it doesn't equal that to me or everyone. The fact that the warhulk isn't the foremost example already discounts it. It might be typical but if there was only the warhulk could we rename it ogre and have everyone satisfied?
As far as making monsters the same - you give them similar powers and abilities (though an ogre isn't distinguished by very much other than its flavour text - mechanically, it's just a big hitting thing!)
For the record:
Similar: Having a resemblance in appearance, character, or quantity, without being identical.
Same: Identical; not different; unchanged.
Beyond that I'm stumped for what you are referring to.
I don't know what you mean by "without reasoning or explanation". The explanation for a Goblin Blackblade (lurker) is no different from the explanation for a Goblin Thief - it's a sneaky goblin. The explanation for a Hobgoblin Captain (soldier with leader sub-role) is no different from the explanation for a Hobgoblin fighter with a morale-boosting feat - it's a hobgoblin military leader.
I don't understand how there can be an artillery form without there being a base form as well. If artillery is special tactics dealing with firing from range.. and there is another one that does the opposite by being in melee and getting smashed on, and another that does crowd control and all the while there is not one creature I can point at and say "you encounter an ogre" then something went wrong. Granted this is all in my opnion but you seem interested so I'm giving it.
Also for the record, there is no blackblade class that I can find either.
That's the point of my reference to the "brute academy" - whatever story you tell to explain your monster in some earlier edition, you can tell the same story in 4e. It's just that 4e doesn't ask you to build the monster by following the sequence of the story - it's not a lifepath method, its an end result method.
Question 2 was then WHERE do they pick up these abilities. Saying brute academy doesn't really satisfy me as I see brute as something akin to barbarian - so I don't expect training in that either. In either case, a backstory reason of a brute academy works only for backstory. The "they're shorter so they trained at range instead of melee" also works only for backstory. It doesn't really explain why ogre A who is supposed to be a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training has a strong fort and poor HP and no armor (so low AC) but ogre B is also a full-fledged ogre with no class levels or practical training and has a strong reflex and lower HP and a higher AC (but is wearing the same armor).
I think you may be confusing me with Neonchameleon - I haven't said anything aobut resting and Rivendell.
At least you seem to finally get my point and not lost in what I'm saying. Disagreement is what we have now instead of confusion, unless I am still mistaken.
Monday, 16th July, 2012, 09:57 PM #159
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Tuesday, 17th July, 2012, 02:06 AM #160
Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)
First, I don't understand what it means to say that "giant" is a class. Which is not to say that I don't understand the mechanics of the 3E monster build rules. I do. But I don't understand what you think is at stake in the role/class distinction.
"Class", originally, meant something like (i) the adventuring vocation that a PC has adopted, and (ii) the role that the player will work within - mechanically, thematically, etc - in playing the game. Now from early in the game NPCs had classes, even though (ii) didn't apply to them. But (i) still did - "class" corresponded to an NPCs vocation.
But when we say that giant is a class, we're not talking about anyone's vocation. As far as I can see, it is just a device for building monsters. In that respect, I don't see how it is any different from Brute, other than specifying slightly different mechancial conequences for each level taken.
This takes me to the second thing.
On the one hand, you seem to agree that these are just mechanical constructs. On the other hand, you seem to be complaining that there is no "vanilla" ogre that you can include in the game for the PCs to encounter - which seems to mean that you envisage the BASE ogre is more than just a mechanical construct, but as a mechanical representation of something in the gameworld. I'm not sure what, though - I suggested it might be the typical ogre, but I think you disagreed with that. But I don't see the problem with using any of the Ogre Savage, Thug or Bludgeoneer as a typical ogre.
And why does one ogre have better reflexes than another? Presumably the same reason some humans have better reflexes than others - it is quicker, lighter, better trained, etc. And why more hp? It's bigger, tougher, luckier, etc. It's not that hard to come up with a story to tell, I don't think. (Give your ogre another few giant levels and its reflexes will go up, as will its hp - why? Because it's a bigger giant? - that works for hp but doesn't make much sense for reflex, does it? Anyway, whatever story you would tell to explain that, you can tell the same story for your higher reflex 4e ogre.)
Let's suppose you decide to use the Ogre Savage as the typical ogre. And now you decide you want to make a rock-throwing ogre. So you start with the savage. You add on a "thrown rock" at will ranged attack, and maybe a "hurricane of stones" encounter AoE attack. Now you've got a brute that is slighly more effective than the typical brute, because it can attack from range without closing/charging. So it's level (let's call this level A) is no longer an accurate indication of the mechanical challenge that it poses. What should you do? Well, you could work out what level it would have to be to be an artillery monster with that many hit points (let's call this level B) - but if you move it to that level, you'll find that your attack bonuses, damage and defences are all too low - that is, the level B will still fail to be an accurate indication of the mechanical challenge that it poses.
4e is designed on the assumption that, at that point, you'll pick a level somewhere between A and B, drop the hit points a bit and raise the defences (which, mathematically, should be more-or-less a wash for PCs of around that level), raise its attack bonus and damage a bit (so that it will pose an appropriate mechanical challenge to PCs of that level), and generally massage things until you get numbers that fit within the parameters for an artillery of that level. What's the rationale for this? To build monsters that are predicatable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that they pose. If that rationale is of no interest to you, then presumalby the 4e approach to monster building won't interest you either. (Which isn't to say that the 3E approach should be of interest instead. I'm still not quite sure what rationale it serves.)
Another way to do your brute-into-artillery would be to make it an elite skirmisher, with both a melee and a ranged attack. Up its hit points a bit more, mabye make its AoE at will also to help it with the action economy. Again, the rationale for tweaking the numbers is to buile a monster that is predictable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that it poses.
To reiterate - if you want to build monsters that are both brutish and can throw rocks, but don't particularly care to ensure that they are predictable and reliable in the mechanical challenge that they pose, then I don't think 4e's role system has much to offer you. Just give the monster the numbers that best fit your conception of it and go to town! (This is how Burning Wheel does it, and I think largely how classic D&D did it, except for attack bonuses which were dependent on HD.)
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