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Thread: D&D Next Q&A

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    My inference is:

    The Adventure day is worth X amount of XP with can be broken into any number of segments. Each class feature with be given an XP value as well equal to the amount of XP of obstacles it should get rid off. Each class at each level will be then given a features whose daily usage deals with the expect XP of an adventuring day.

    So a level 1 wizard spell is gets rid of 200 XP of obstacles a day. The recommended XP for an adventuring day is 1000 XP. So a 1st level wizard get 3 1st level spells to deal with about 600 XP and the at wills, theme, and background deals with the other 400 XP.
    If that really is what they are thinking then they are complete morons. One standard tactical measure is the Defeat in Detail - taking the enemy's force in small chunks.

    To outline why it's a stupid idea, imagine there are two forces of warriors. Team A has 4 warriors who move as a single squad. Team B has 10 warriors all spread out.

    All warriors are identical, attack simultaneously, do 1hp worth of damage, and then resolve attacks.

    4 warriors vs 10. Who wins?

    If the defending warriors control who takes the damage in a given fight. Team A's 4 warriors run up to the first enemy, do 4hp worth of damage to him, and take 1hp in reply. First warrior from Team B dead at the loss of 1hp on team A. If team A can spread the damage around equally, they can take 12 hp worth of damage (i.e. 12 enemy warriors) without losing a man.

    If the inflicting warriors get to chose who takes the damage but people don't have to engage, with the best tactics I can work out, the 4 warriors take down 9.5 enemy warriors before dying. (See below for the workingsv- a warrior in brackets isn't fighting that round.)

    Spoiler:
    Enemy 1
    4,4,4,3 vs X

    Enemy 2
    4,4,4,2vs X

    Enemy 3
    4,4,4,1vs X

    Enemy 4
    4,4,4,Xvs X

    Enemy 5
    4,4,3vs 2
    4,4,2vs X

    Enemy 6
    4,3,(2)vs 2
    4,2,(2)vs X

    Enemy 7
    3,(2),(2) vs 3
    3,2,1 vs X

    Enemy 8
    2,(2),(1) vs 3
    2,2,X vs X

    Enemy 9
    2,1 vs 2
    2,X vs X

    Enemy 10 - obvious. The 10th ends up on 2 wounds.




    It's even worse if the four are allowed to withdraw, rest up, and fight another day - they don't fight the battle against enemy four, and can finesse enemy eight by the almost healthy 3 attacking, then being reinforced by the two, then withdrawing the damaged one to finish off. So it's a crushing 7:0 victory (with four guys surviving on one health vs three on full).

    Defeat in detail: one of the oldest and most effective tactics. And one that would be completely ignored by this method.

 

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    If that really is what they are thinking then they are complete morons. One standard tactical measure is the Defeat in Detail - taking the enemy's force in small chunks.

    To outline why it's a stupid idea, imagine there are two forces of warriors. Team A has 4 warriors who move as a single squad. Team B has 10 warriors all spread out.
    I found it a little difficult to follow your example, but I don't quite see how it's relevant? A team of 4 who get to attack 1 guy at a time will obviously be superior. A Fighter in a doorway can probably be more effective than if the party faced all the enemies at once.
    Everyone is weird, but those who are weird in the same way call themselves normal.

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    Actually, it is daily based design that says they are the same because they have the same XP budget (1,000 XP, assuming one orc is worth 125 XP). Encounter based design says that they are eight 125 XP encounters and one 1,000 XP encounter respectively.
    I think we're at cross purposes, and I think I see your point of view now.

    • Let's say we have a party of 4 standard adventurers.
    • They engage in a fight against a single enemy whose XP value is 1/4 of the day's total. They do this 4 times to make up the day's adventuring.
    • The next day they engage 4 enemies whose XP value is the total for the entire day. This is harder due to the action economy, unless things scale non-linearly.


    In the first day, life will be easier because you have 4 actions per enemy action. The second day will be more difficult because all actions are put together. However, there is the possibility of area effects making things easier.

    Everything depends on how creature XP values scale. We learnt in 4E that making a Solo worth 5x an ordinary creature didn't make it 5x tougher, because it lacked actions. So when designing a given encounter you really ought to scale the XP according to the number of actions available to each side:

    1 creature worth 4X is not the same as 2 creatures worth 2X, nor the same as 4 creatures worth 1X. Really, a given encounter is worth the creature XP total times by the number of actions the enemies get relative to the party. So 1 creature worth 4X is 4X, 2 worth 2X is more like 8X and 4 worth 1X is more like 16X. Unless, of course, XP values assigned to monsters scale in some strange non-linear fashion (and you ought to take into account area effects).

    So for encounter guidelines, whether using a daily or encounter system, you should take into account the number of enemy actions AND their base XP value. Neither 3E nor 4E nor the proposed 5E does this, as far as I know.
    Everyone is weird, but those who are weird in the same way call themselves normal.

  • #34
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    Isn't it kind of ridiculous for individual players to get so hung up on how WotC ends ups deciding how to "balance" the game? Whether it's by encounter, by day, by adventure, by ability use, by this, by that? Isn't the fact that they are balancing the game AT ALL good enough to serve as the foundation from which individual DMs can build and figure out how their game balances off of that?

    Because let's be honest here... barely anyone plays the game the exact way necessary to match up with whatever way WotC chooses to make their rules balanced. Some will play with more players than recommended, some will play with less. Some will play with a standardized class distribution, some will play with 5 clerics. Some will play with nothing but humanoid NPCs built as PCs for their enemies, some will play with dragons as the bad guys 75% of the time. Some will have one encounter each "adventuring day", some will have 8 encounters each "adventuring day", some will not even keep track of encounters each adventuring day because it'll end up being completely random based on wandering monster tables. Some will not give any magical items or much treasure, some Monty Haul as default. Some will be nothing but combat encounters, some will be nothing but interaction and exploration, some will play with a 10/50/40 % distribution, others with a 50/25/25 %, others with 33/33/33 %.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE for WotC to balance their game to such a degree that it works exactly correct for every single DM out there, such that those DMs do not have to do anything whatsoever to maintain it. Part of your job as the DM is to keep tabs on how your game plays, and make little nudges here and there so that you maintain fun at your table. You CANNOT EXPECT WotC to balance their game to the extent where you can get away with doing nothing (assuming game balance actually matters to you, which admittedly, for many DMs it does not).

    So to get hung up on all the nitpicky little rules, terminology, and decision points along the way is (in my opinion) missing the forest for the trees. So long as you know that the game has been balanced IN SOME FORM at all... and you have been shown what that form is... you (as DM) can now run the game and have a pretty good idea how YOUR GAME will deviate from that balance that's been shown to you, and make any adjustments necessary for your table.

    Which to my mind is much, much better than being given a game that hasn't had it's balance looked at and worked on AT ALL. Because then, we're all just flailing around in the dark.

  • #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I don't think that's true. I certainly hope it's not true.

    I look at a D&D rulebook as a tool use use to run a game; it's much like a baseball bat is for a baseball player. I don't expect beginners to know how to use it. In fact, if a novice picks up a baseall bat and hits a home run; I'd say something's off.

    More to the point, balancing and pacing and various other facets of DMing are things that each DM has to learn by doing. Maybe a little bit of advice identifying common issues can help, but it really isn't the point of a rulebook.
    It might not be the point of a rulebook. But that's why the DM's book has never been called the DM's rulebook. It's been called the Dungeon Master's Guide. Its purpose is to help the DM run the game. And as such it should be as user friendly as possible a tool.

    And it is absolutely possible to get decent pacing and balancing from a properly designed system playing it by the book. The first thing you need to learn is what it feels like when all is going right so you have something to compare to when it goes wrong. 4e does this. But you seem to be trying to force others to learn the hard way just because you had to.

  • #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I found it a little difficult to follow your example, but I don't quite see how it's relevant? A team of 4 who get to attack 1 guy at a time will obviously be superior. A Fighter in a doorway can probably be more effective than if the party faced all the enemies at once.
    Yes. They will obviously be superior. That is the point. The understanding some people have is that WotC is suggesting an XP total for the day. Which means that according to the formula, 10 orcs in one mob will be treated as being as hard as 10 orcs one at a time and DMs are encouraged to treat them as wholly equivalent. This is ridiculous.

  • #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    But you seem to be trying to force others to learn the hard way just because you had to.
    It's not about learning the hard way or the easy way. It's about learning or not learning. If you can't play a variety of paces/balance levels/etc., you can't learn how to use those elements. You might get lucky and find a game that dictates a pace that works for you, but that doesn't mean you've learned pacing. Trying to dumb down DMing for beginners is like trying to teach someone how to ride a bicycle by giving them a tricycle.

    Ultimately, how good of a DM you are is not a function of the rules, it's a function of your talent and your experience. If getting meaningful and diverse experience constitutes "learning the hard way" then I guess I'm for it.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

  • #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    It's not about learning the hard way or the easy way. It's about learning or not learning. If you can't play a variety of paces/balance levels/etc., you can't learn how to use those elements. You might get lucky and find a game that dictates a pace that works for you, but that doesn't mean you've learned pacing. Trying to dumb down DMing for beginners is like trying to teach someone how to ride a bicycle by giving them a tricycle.

    Ultimately, how good of a DM you are is not a function of the rules, it's a function of your talent and your experience. If getting meaningful and diverse experience constitutes "learning the hard way" then I guess I'm for it.
    The problem with the above is that it assumes

    1: That all forms of learning and experience are equal, and that arbitrary practice makes perfect (it doesn't - it just makes permanent)
    2: That failed campaigns that might have succeeded are a price worth paying.

    How good a DM you are is not a function of the rules. But the rules can help you learn DMing skills by making it easy for you to do good things and get positive feedback. Or they can throw you into a sink or swim situation and let DMs and campaigns wash out.

    Trikes don't teach you to ride a bike - you need to learn speed and balance, which is counterintuitive and aren't needed to at all on a bike. I was taught to ride a bike in a single morning by having someone push me and balance me from behind and gradually need to less and less. I had what I needed to do modelled and was put into that frame until I did it myself. Good tools do the same. Leaving tools out is like giving people a bike with no stabilisers - most people are going to fall off (and skin their knee/ruin their entire campaign).

    Edit: And likewise, with the right tool and assistance I learned to DM 4e competently and fluidly (as opposed to the messing around DMing I'd done in my teens) in a matter of three sessions. Because skill challenges and balance provided me the same successful framework for handling improvisation and things not covered by the rules that the method for learning to ride a bike I've described provided. I'm still improving, of course. But up to competent in three sessions is a result well worth preserving and that I couldn't have done without the right tools.
    Last edited by Neonchameleon; Friday, 3rd August, 2012 at 05:27 PM.

  • #39
    1: That all forms of learning are equal, and that arbitrary practice makes perfect (it doesn't - it just makes permanent)
    2: That failed campaigns that might have succeeded are a price worth paying.
    All forms of learning are not equal, but learning to do something yourself is better than having it done for you.

    As to the second, yes, I do assume that. Just as all the paint splatters thrown in the trash are worth the masterpieces in the gallery, and all the bumps and bruises and torn knee ligaments in soccer practice are worth the world cup and all the teenage car crashes are worth people knowing how to drive. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    I was taught to ride a bike in a single morning by having someone push me and balance me from behind and gradually need to less and less.
    Taught by someone who knew what they were doing. That's definitely not the hard way; but it is a good way. Not everyone has that luxury, though.

    Leaving tools out is like giving people a bike with no stabilisers - most people are going to fall off (and skin their knee/ruin their entire campaign).
    Sure, tools are good. With regards to pacing, for example, a system that gives you some a variety of characters with different use limitations and time constraints is giving you tools. One that puts everyone on the same system is giving you a tool. Tools are good.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

  • #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    As to the second, yes, I do assume that. Just as all the paint splatters thrown in the trash are worth the masterpieces in the gallery, and all the bumps and bruises and torn knee ligaments in soccer practice are worth the world cup and all the teenage car crashes are worth people knowing how to drive. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But your method would involve saying that airbags were pointless.

    Taught by someone who knew what they were doing. That's definitely not the hard way; but it is a good way. Not everyone has that luxury, though.
    But the way I was taught had absolutely nothing to do with the fact he could ride a bike! He didn't ever step on a bike, he didn't tell me how to pedal or balance, or provide any other information. And there is absolutely no reason he had to be a cyclist to use the effective teaching method in question. It just involved holding me vertical on a bike, and going fast enough until I could do it for myself confidently. Because those are the two things you need to do to ride a bike - keep balanced and keep momentum (necessary for balance).

    There's more than one way of teaching. And teaching by getting someone to do it right so they know what it feels like is a way that works.

    Sure, tools are good. With regards to pacing, for example, a system that gives you some a variety of characters with different use limitations and time constraints is giving you tools. One that puts everyone on the same system is giving you a tool. Tools are good.
    I'm talking about scene framing and pacing - as skill challenges do. To me the obvious tests of a DM are whether your players find the interaction fun (talent and willingness to adapt), whether you can prepare a fun session and then run it (balance tools really help you get this right the first few times), and whether you can adapt both tactically and strategically when the PCs pull something truly unexpected - if anything the individual scene where they do this is the hardest part. And it's that part flexible scene pacing tools help with.

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