D&D 5th Edition If an option is presented, it needs to be good enough to take. - Page 14




  1. #131
    Quote Originally Posted by The Choice View Post
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    I don't think anybody has any problem with suboptimal options being included in a rules system, I sure don't. I just want those options to be clearly labeled as such so that no player is tricked into taking it.
    This makes only sense when you declare minmaxing the default gamestyle.
    A RPG should not be only about killing. There are other games for that. Now do you want D&D to be an RPG or a miniature skirmish game?

    If it is the former than player should choose option which fits their character and don't have to struggle between choosing the option that fits and a option which is labeled powerful.

 

  • #132
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    Ignore GreyICE
    Quote Originally Posted by Mattachine View Post
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    The DMG 2 of 4e changed my perspective on skill challenges, and helped me devise much better ones. Published adventures that came later in 4e did a good job with skill challenges, too.

    I am all for roleplaying, but I don't want D&D to go back to this sort of rp interaction:

    DM: You manage to track down the merchant's contact in the tavern
    Player1: We go over, as a group, and talk to him.
    (exchange of dialog, improv-acting, or 3rd-person description)
    DM: Hmm . . . the contact isn't convinced to help you.
    Player2: The party forms a semicircle around the contact to intimidate him.
    DM: Hmm . . . um, sure, he's now intimidated.


    Also, this interaction from 2nd-3rd edition to be problematic:

    DM: You tracked down the merchant contact.
    Player1: The party's rogue, with a high diplomacy skill, tries to convince the merchant to give the vital information.
    (exchange of dialog, improv-acting, or 3rd-person description)
    DM: Okay, roll, but I'll give +2 in your favor.
    Player1: *rolls* Yuck, I rolled badly.
    DM: Ah, well, the merchant is unconvinced.


    I liked skill challenges, because when done well, it moves away complete DM arbitration, and also means that an important exchange is settled with more than one die roll.
    To be fair, that's a different issue 4E addressed, the difference between Fail Backwards and Fail Forwards. 4E did do a lot for the Fail Forwards direction by discussing how critical plot points should not be skill checked, and how players should suffer a penalty and find the crucial information for failing a skill check, not be denied crucial information.

  • #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    If it is the former than player should choose option which fits their character and don't have to struggle between choosing the option that fits and a option which is labeled powerful.
    False dichotomy.

    An option that "fits" should also be an option that fits very capably. If you need a feat which is supposed to make you an awesome blacksmith, the feat should make you an awesome blacksmith. Not one that makes you a kinda mediocre blacksmith because of bad design.

    -O

  • #134
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    Ignore The Choice
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    This makes only sense when you declare minmaxing the default gamestyle.
    It's not a question of "playstyle". In a game where you the player only have a limited number of choices when it comes to how you can interpret your character mechanically, it's important that the text allows you to understand the impact a specific choice is going to have. Whether you want your character to woo princesses (or princes) or be the greatest orc-slaying machine, the options presented to you in both cases should tell you if it's a "theme" appropriate choice. My stance is against obfuscation in rules text.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    A RPG should not be only about killing. There are other games for that. Now do you want D&D to be an RPG or a miniature skirmish game?
    But they can be. I'd never run a campaign like that, but tons of published adventures are just gloryfied slaughterfests. There should be an exploration portion to the rules, along with a significant area pertaining to non-combat encounters, but all the options presented for each of these so-called pillars need to be useful in some way. And if a few aren't, then they need to be specifically labelled as such so that people who are not as familiar with the minutae of the system can spot something that won't help them realize their ideal character.
    http://forbiddenskies.blogspot.ca/ My campaign creation blog.

  • #135
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    This makes only sense when you declare minmaxing the default gamestyle.
    A RPG should not be only about killing. There are other games for that. Now do you want D&D to be an RPG or a miniature skirmish game?

    If it is the former than player should choose option which fits their character and don't have to struggle between choosing the option that fits and a option which is labeled powerful.
    Min-maxing doesn't have very much to do with combat. You can min-max for anything. And if you are facing life threatening situations in character on a regular basis and aren't trying to min-max in character to at least some extent then either you have an IC deathwish or you simply aren't roleplaying.

    If the game is designed in such a way that naive min-maxing* breaks the game then it isn't fit to be used for a roleplaying game by anyone who cares about the outcomes for their character.

    * Naive min-maxing = taking all obviously good choices out of an obvious and clearly labled source. It doesn't include Pun-Pun type exploits or dumpster diving between 27 different sourcebooks.

  • #136
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    Ignore GreyICE
    More to the point, the game should punish Min-maxing.

    If you take nothing but feats that add to your single-target damage you should not become a living god, you should be a squishy glass cannon who can't deal with a lot of things. If you take nothing but feats that maximize spellcasting, you should find yourself unable to do much in many situations, and if you take nothing but feats that max your defense enemies should just ignore you.

    Min-maxing is to some extent inevitable, because when there are options its possible to select all options that line up nicely together. You should just end up being overly narrow if you do this.

  • #137
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    Ignore Tony Vargas
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
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    This makes only sense when you declare minmaxing the default gamestyle.
    In a sense, 'minmaxing' is a worst-case gamestyle. It may not be the best way to play, but it can happen: if the game can't stand up to it at all, that's serious fault that should be rectified.

    A RPG should not be only about killing.
    "minmaxing" is not only about killing. Check out the 3.5 'diplomancer' builds. They just made friends with everybody. Everybody. Automatically.

    Now do you want D&D to be an RPG or a miniature skirmish game?
    Being an RPG is not a licence to be crap. The G in RPG stands for Game, and RPGs are obliged to be decent games.

    If it is the former than player should choose option which fits their character and don't have to struggle between choosing the option that fits and a option which is labeled powerful.
    In a balanced system, you don't have to struggle between choosing an option that fits your character and an effective option. In a badly balanced game, you do face catch-22 choices like that, where the best mechanical option is inappropriate to your character, but the best appropriate option is mechanically so inferior you can't afford to take it.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Sunday, 7th October, 2012 at 09:16 PM.

  • #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
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    The biggest obstacle to "fail forward" is a strong commitment to simulationism - because the GM, in a "fail forward" aproach, has to narrate consequences and complications that are grounded more in the metagame than in the ingame causal logic of the particular skill check that failed (eg a faild lockpick check doesn't mean you didn't open the lock; it means the guards are arriving before you've finished the job!). And this sort of approach is obviously anathema to most of those who dislike 4e, and to date there is not even a hint of it in the playtest materials.
    A fix to this might be to have some sort of gradated failure mechanics - in the pick-lock example* it might go:

    Succeed on roll: lock is opened.
    Fail by 1-3: you fail to open the lock but all subsequent attempts by other people are at +4 as you have overcome some of the challenges
    Fail by 1-3, alternate option: you open the lock but have broken it in the process such that it cannot be locked again by any means
    Fail by 4-6: you fail to open the lock but a subsequent attempt by someone else is at +2 provided you are present to give advice
    Fail by 7-12: the lock remains locked. No other consequences.
    Fail by 13 or more: you break the lock such that it cannot be opened even with its key, and must now be shattered or removed to allow passage.

    * - note that take-10 and take-20 mechanics are something I will rip out of the game on sight: the one roll you make represents the BEST you'll ever do.

    Unfortunately, picking a lock is not perhaps the best example to use for fail-forward as the results are usually pretty binary - you open the lock or you don't. Where fail-forward works better is in situations with many possible outcomes e.g. talking your way past the palace guards - a good fail-forward here might be that while you in fact fail whatever check you're making to talk your way past, they let you in but 3-6 minutes later say "Wa-ait a minute..." and raise the alarm then. (and the party may or may not realize they were a bit less than convincing even before this happens...)

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  • #139
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    Ignore GreyICE
    The answer to picking a lock is to never have doors that are plot-important be locked then. Because if you don't fail forwards, you end up screwing up the party.

    So here's some good Fail Forwards for a lockpick on a plot-important door:

    - You picked the lock, but left clear evidence behind. The persons who are interested in protecting what's behind the door will learn.

    - You pick the lock but activate a magical ward. The lockpicker has been cursed.

    - You break the locking mechanism, but realize a door hinge is improperly fastened and the door can be broken down.


    If Next embraces Fail Backwards... well, I can ignore it just fine. But it'll be a step backwards for the genre as a whole.

  • #140
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    @Lanefan

    Its a thoughtful post Lanefan but I think that you're kind of illuminating pemerton's point in that your answer (to create a simulation-oriented paradigm for "failure gradation" of lock-picking) speaks to the tension of "fail-forward", "fiction-first" conflict resolution and simulationist agenda rather than providing an answer to alleviate it.

    Resolving out of combat conflict resolution, when lock-picking is a part of the equation (a la "breaking into the highly secured harbormaster's warehouse and locating, attaining and deciphering an encoded cargo manifest"), is a pretty standard fair scene. Many-a-times have I used "fail forward" technique in a Skill Challenge with lock-picking. You're not going to use this in simple task resolution (eg opening a treasure chest after slaying a dragon), but for conflict resolution (when the failure is not the deciding factor of resolution and thus you need the fiction to move forward in resolving the conflict despite the outcome of that singular check) you can use:

    - the guards walking past as pemerton mentioned.
    - the lock-pick breaks and now you have to remove the shard and then re-pick.
    - the lock is old, rusty or the mechanism is otherwise compromised and the lock breaks and the noise caused by the broken lock clattering on the floor leads to another complication;
    - unwanted attention which could be in the form of waking an chained (or unchained) guard dog who starts barking loudly (requiring handling in some form).
    - the loss of a healing surge due to hurting yourself in the effort.
    - the door or chest now becomes jammed and now requires force to open.
    - you knock over a lantern that you're using for light (or a lantern on a nearby desk), spilling flammable oil that immediately catches fire.
    - something else environmental/flukey...perhaps the sub-floor is old and rotted and cannot load-bear your weight for the amount of time required to pick the lock...the sub-floor gives way and you have to catch yourself or take a hard tumble into the floor beneath, a sub-basement or crawlspace...which can in turn cause all kinds of complications that must be resolved just to get back to the trunk/door (whatever).

    Anyway, its really limited only by the imagination of the person and/or their rigid adherence to a process-simulation agenda.

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