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Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 08:00 AM #31
I wouldn't necessarily say that finding perfect balance in classes is boring.
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Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 09:32 AM #32
This would be an example of mechanical variations enabling differences in playstyle at the same table, not (necessarily) rewarding differences in fiction.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 10:15 AM #33
It doesn't tell us anything about spotlight balance, which is what you seemed to be focusing on before:
two dozen enemy minions with a carefully-placed fireball, the fighter wading through melee without a scratch on him, the rogue taking out the enemy wizard with a single well-placed Sneak Attack.
Mearls also seemed to be talking about spotlight balance:
Additionally, the moment where a character does something notable is a moment created by localized imbalance. It’s interesting when the wizard uses feather fall to allow the rogue to float silently on to a hill giant’s back and stab it in the back from above. It’s heroic for a fighter to block a dungeon corridor and singlehandedly hold back a dozen ogres while the rest of the party retreats. We want our characters to shine.
If spotlight balance is an important element of balance - and I think it is plausible that it is - the game needs to be designed to promote it, or at least to make room for it. And I think that achieving that is somewhat independent of variation in the build and resolution mechanics for class abilities.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 10:39 AM #34
But when I was thinking of stakes other than death, I wasn't thinking just of gear or capture. I was thinking of other consequences that don't necessarily have immediate impacts on effectiveness, but matter within the fiction - honour, glory, shame, getting people to do as you want, or having them shun you, etc.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 11:02 AM #35
Guide (Lvl 11)
In a mechanically heavy situation, and you can't get much more mechanically heavy than 4E combat (3E comes a close second!), the way the characters are built makes a huge difference in their ability to shine. When built similarly, following the same structure, not differing too much in terms of defences and other numbers, it's difficult to shine in a unique way, to do something that nobody else could do, to solve a problem in a way that only you can. What it does instead is encourage strong teamwork, and synergy, for when both the fighter and mage are capable of locking down several opponents to help defend the rogue, they have to agree who does what and when. If there's been a fireball and everyone is injured, the party have to agree what healing resources to use.
Everyone is weird, but those who are weird in the same way call themselves normal.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 11:29 AM #36
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
"The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys."
It's always great to see the man in charge repeating/promoting one of the core myths of the edition war...not.
I hope with strange eons even the edition war may die.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 11:42 AM #37
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 11:50 AM #38
Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 12:12 PM #39
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Look at Planescape, as a setting. If Tiamat meets a low level party, what is her aim? What advantage can she gain? If she kills the PCs, they go straight to their respective god(s) and join the holy forces. Net gain to Tiamat - nil (or even negative). But what if she can intimidate/force/trick the PCs into some act or belief that suits her purpose? Positive net gain.
Given that (logical) outlook, a 1st level party meeting Tiamat can be fine - even a cool addition to the game, in fact. If the players are dumb enough to have the PCs attack her then, sure, they get wiped. But that's not a system or a DM problem - it's just natural selection in action.
Tuesday, 4th September, 2012, 12:25 PM #40
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Orthogonal or not, I think this is an area where we're in definite accord. IMO, the game works well when the failure stakes match the recharge rate, so if your party recovers everything after a day's rest, then by the time they take that rest, they should know some form of success or failure (not necessarily, but possibly, final).Originally Posted by pemerton
I think "death is the only punishment," combined with a more narrative gameplay style where character death should be an EVENT and not just a result of die rolls, is swimming upstream, and I think D&D could better support the story-heavy gameplay with different methods for success and failure.
--- Jacob J Driscoll, A Silvery Void--
"I understand all destructive urges"
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