D&D Next (5E) If an option is presented, it needs to be good enough to take. - Page 19




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  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The question is, what function does that Perform skill check serve? As it stands, as written, it allows you to make a small amount of money. That's it. It doesn't affect anything else. So, as you say, it's not really doing anything at all, other than serving as a skill tax on bards.
    I'm going to have to disagree here. Does it serve any "mechanical" function other than the one you outline? Hmmm, not really.

    But the fact that a "Perform: Instrument" skill exists in the rules has a lot of "unspoken," un-mechanically-defined consequences.

    1. It indicates to the players and GM, however imperfect the mechanic is, that characters have out-of-combat abilities, and that there's at least THE POSSIBILITY that they matter in the fiction. I know, I know, good players and GMs will find their own ways to express character backgrounds without needing the "crutch" of defined skills. But whether the mechanic is perfect or not, don't dismiss the significance this communicates to players and GMs. It's a tacit expression that there is a more "complete" world to be experienced, one that exists outside of killing things and taking their stuff.
    2. It's at least an attempt, however imperfect, for those who like "nods to realism" at attempting to codify how good the character is at their chosen skill. Because sometimes it MATTERS in the fiction whether your PC is a middlin' lute strummer, or a medieval Joe Satriani. And maybe a player or GM doesn't want to leave that to fiat.
    3. For some players, it provides a roleplaying "hook" for them to engage with. It may help them frame character desires and interactions, or more readily place their characters within the fiction, making their gameplay and interactions with the world more immersive.


    It's fine if the skill mechanic does none of those things for you. But the existence of the skill at all can clearly have more impact on gameplay than a roll of the dice to see whether you succeed on any particular performance.

    I find that the existence of the perform, profession, knowledge, and craft skills are at least as if not more important for setting a "tone" for world building as they are in actual PC implementation.
    Last edited by innerdude; Tuesday, 9th October, 2012 at 09:48 PM.
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  • #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    That's kinda my point. I'd rather be able to point to the paid professional (who should probably be a Fighter, and probably above level 1, but regardless) and say "that guy is going to win" and then have the mechanics back it up. Just because no edition does it well does not mean that the new edition shouldn't. That reasoning means that D&D never branches out, ever. I'm pretty against that.
    What I think you need for that, most of all, is a game where character abilities don't scale as rapidly as they traditionally have done in D&D. And where their starting abilities are sufficient to make them a competent professional in their particular class, with the possibility of going on to being a great master.

    A Fighter, say, who if they're physically gifted and well trained might have as much a +10 attack bonus with their favoured weapon at 1st level, and by dint of experience and training increase it to +25 by 20th at the expense of not increasing their other skills very far. Or they might settle for increasing it to +20 or +15, but learn a wide variety of other skills and techniques to a respectable level of competency. Or they might give up on that particular weapon and take up something else.

    All not very D&D Next, though. It's a retrospective, not a revolution.

  • #183
    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Unless, of course, you happen to find that (or even being weak 2/3 of the time) fun. But I guess people like that don't count.

    Don't get me wrong, there are group-negative ways to min-max. But not all choices centered around development in one axis are bad, even to the neglect of other axes, is bad. If the group is min-max friendly or you can do it without running roughshod over the other players in the areas you excel, it's not likely to be a problem.

    If you don't like min-maxing, then don't min-max. Don't play with people who do. That's a perfectly viable solution to the min-maxing problem that doesn't trample over people who like to have a game system be responsive to their development choices.
    Sounds like an argument against playing a classed-based system at all. If "responsive to their development choices" in the sense you are using it here is, in fact, so important, then D&D is an absurdly overengineered game system to bother with.

    For a player of any skill, being weak 1/3rd or 2/3rds of the time is a trivial choice to accomplish. The question is whether it is a Good Thing to reap large rewards in one particular narrow area for that choice.

    "Gee, some people want to rewarded for that" is not really an answer.
    Stone Bear thinks, "Ain't no kind of rumbling behind you that issues forth from a kuo-toa city can be a good thing..."

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  • #184
    As for the the OP...

    Quote Originally Posted by B.T. View Post
    I was having a discussion with a friend of mine the other day, and he said something to the effect of: "I think blasting spells should be less good than melee combat because that's not what wizards are supposed to be doing. Wizards should be mostly about utility spells."
    I do not have a problem with "Wizards should be mostly about utility spells" itself. Whatever. But if it is an important enough design principle to guide the power level of an entire cadre of spells, it should be baldly stated right in the class description.

    If the designer is too ashamed to say it out loud, then it is probably a crappy idea.
    Stone Bear thinks, "Ain't no kind of rumbling behind you that issues forth from a kuo-toa city can be a good thing..."

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    Stone Bear: “Hungry pets.”

  • #185
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Lets just quote Wikipedia here:
    I can quote Urban Dictionary (which goes back to my qualifier of "At least, that's the basic gamer jargon as I know it to be casually used"):
    1. min/max
    Usually used in the context of roleplaying games, to min/max refers to the act of designing a character in such a way that one minimizes its weaknesses and maximizes its strengths.

    Now that I know more about how the game works, I'm going to min/max my next character so that it's more effective.
    Also, the TV Tropes page implies my definition (underlined the part that implies it):
    "optimizing a character's abilities during creation by maximizing the most important skills and attributes, while minimizing the cost"
    Optimization, according to thefreedictionary.com, says this about optimization:
    op·ti·mi·za·tion
    The procedure or procedures used to make a system or design as effective or functional as possible, especially the mathematical techniques involved.
    So, if your design was a non-combat sage, then if you're optimizing, you'd be trying to make that non-combat sage as functional as possible (making him a better sage, and worse at combat).

    I admit, though, that none of this is consistently defined jargon. It's just used to how I'm hearing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    So yeah. Going from 3/3/3 to 5/1/1 is the exact definition of min-maxing.
    It fits your wiki quote, but doesn't fit the three sources I give above (and I'll give another one below). Agreeing to disagree.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    And what does it lead to? Well, lets assume gametime is split evenly between the three pillars (which is rare, but). 2/3rds of the time, you are useless. 40 minutes out of every hour your purpose at the table is to be a lawn ornament.

    20 minutes out of every hour the purpose of every other player is to be a lawn ornament.

    That's bad. That's really, really bad.
    How can you not admit this is a play style thing? You want everyone to be involved (or at least able to contribute if they want to) in every scene. Okay, that's cool. That's a valid style. How can you say that people who knowingly make a choice to have less breadth and more depth are doing something "really bad"? If they still derive enjoyment from the game after making their informed decision, how is that bad? That's what I'm asking.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    That's beyond spotlight design and into terrible design. The rest of the table has literally nothing invested in your '20 minutes alone with the DM' while you have nothing invested in the '40 minutes where your character is furniture.' So the rest of the party will naturally shy away from situations where they're worthless and you'll try to make everything about your damn spotlight.
    First, again, this is a play style thing. And second, what's to stop people from chipping in when you have your time? You'll shine, obviously, but if they stuck with the 3/3/3 breadth setup, they should be able to contribute meaningfully still. And, if it's all optional while the default is set to 3/3/3, what's the problem?
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    No.
    No, no, no, no, no.
    NO!
    Color me unconvinced. If I said "yes" over and over, could I convince you?
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    We are not sacrificing fun, interesting roleplaying opportunities on the altar of the great god MinMax. No goddamn way.
    Your "fun" is a bug in a system I want. The ability to optimize a concept where I'm not proficient in every pillar is important to my group, and to others. The optional ability to opt out of an assumed 3/3/3 setup no way harms your group, and it aids mine. You get your fun, still, man. I'm not trying to take it away. No effort needed; just don't change the default.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Interesting non-combat stuff goes into backgrounds, into themes, into interesting bits of character classes and races. Interesting combat stuff goes into feats, into the bulk of classes, into races. The split for each race and class should be roughly equivalent (not even - equivalent). And never shall the twain meet.

    No more diplomomancers, no more geas bards, no more maximizing skills at the cost of minimizing fun.
    I'm not sure how you know what "fun" is for every group. I'd assume that you don't, since you're missing what might be fun for my group. Having someone who is great at negotiation and social interaction and isn't combat-focused has happened in my RPG, and the player had tons of fun with it. Might be his favorite character of the ones he's played with me. The other players saw him as super valuable, too. They had fun with him.

    I get that you wouldn't have fun with that. And that's cool. I'm not trying to force an unbalanced default game on you; in fact, I'm in support of 3/3/3 being default and assumed. Just give a clear, optional, supported opt-out to people like me who want to trade their feats for more "talents" or whatever. Easy to do, and won't affect what you want. As I said, it's win/win.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    If you want to play someone whose incompetent at combat, just do it. Take a fighter and decide never to use Combat Superiority dice. Take a Wizard and don't cast spells during battle. Then you're terrible at combat. The system doesn't need to reward you for this decision.
    You're running up against the problems I listed earlier, and in the other thread. You address them, and I'll address your reply.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    billd91: If you happen to like playing a character that is weak 2/3rds of the time, just do so. I cannot stress this strongly enough. There is nothing at all stopping you from doing so. Nothing. At. All.

    Answer me this: am I wrong?
    If I make a level 10 Wizard and run him as a sage, but then hand his sheet to someone else, they'll see his attack bonus, his spells, etc., and they know he's proficient in combat.

    You're saying "ignore the rules" and that doesn't work on multiple levels:
    • The mechanics do not reflect the fiction.
    • Ignoring rules to make the game work is the Oberoni Fallacy (side note: the site where you might read that fallacy, Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible, also defines "Min/Maxer" as "A player who designs her character, usually within the basic parameters of the rules, to maximize that character’s advantages and minimize its disadvantages").
    • You do not increase your skill level for the sacrifice involved, which kills certain character concepts (or "roleplaying opportunities").


    You can ignore the optional opt-out, however, extremely easily, while my group can opt-in. Again, how is this not win/win? As always, play what you like

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
    What I think you need for that, most of all, is a game where character abilities don't scale as rapidly as they traditionally have done in D&D. And where their starting abilities are sufficient to make them a competent professional in their particular class, with the possibility of going on to being a great master.

    A Fighter, say, who if they're physically gifted and well trained might have as much a +10 attack bonus with their favoured weapon at 1st level, and by dint of experience and training increase it to +25 by 20th at the expense of not increasing their other skills very far. Or they might settle for increasing it to +20 or +15, but learn a wide variety of other skills and techniques to a respectable level of competency. Or they might give up on that particular weapon and take up something else.

    All not very D&D Next, though. It's a retrospective, not a revolution.
    Um, this is cool. I'd be down for this type of progression, but it seems like a tangent to my comments on specialization and hyper-specialization, which I think 5e can add as an option. I think I missed either the segue or the off-ramp somewhere; can you help me out? As always, play what you like
    As always, play what you like

  • #186
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    People are quoting dictionaries.

    /thread.



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  • #187
    Meh, I don't think that wall of text was meant to be readable or read, and my eyes glazed over.

    For anyone else who is following this ridiculous debate, if we reframe it a little the problem becomes obvious. Lets shift Pillars.

    Player A

    Player A is playing a fighter. He made him a dwarf for the bonuses. During exploration and puzzle moments he sits around saying nothing. During social moments he says "I'm in the corner drinking beer." The only thing he does is hit things with his axe. If pressed, he just grunts "I was born for fightin, don't much care who."

    Player B

    Player B is playing a fighter. His fighter is the apprentice of a former blacksmith, whose master was taken away by the city guard for failure to pay taxes (even though it turns out the taxes were paid). The reason the guard thought the taxes were unpaid was that a corrupt official was embezzling money from the taxes, and falsified records to cover himself.

    The apprentice, left with no guild masters mark and no way to obtain one, had no way to support his family. He picked up the sword he was working on and the armor he had in the shop, and joined a mercenary company, where he faithfully sent home money to his wife and child every month. This lasted until the siege of Kartus, where the mercenary company he was serving with got stabbed in the back. They had a deal with a "rival" mercenary company where they both would accept commissions and fight to stalemates with a minimum of casualties. People were hurt, and sometimes even killed, but it lacked the casualty rate of all-out combat, so they generally could make a healthy profit without too much risk. Except that their "rival" company sold them out, and banded together with two more companies to slaughter the poor hapliss mercs.

    Our hero barely managed to survive...




    See, most people would be talking about Player A and how he could be more like Player B. He has history, background, story, interesting hooks for other PCs and for the DM, good stuff. All around, most DMs would say that they'd much rather have Player B than Player A.

    @JamesonCourage would suggest that the only way the system could be fair would be by giving Player A more combat capability and more damage than player B. 5/1/1 rather than 3/3/3, after all!

    Switch pillars, and the exact nature of the problem becomes apparent. You are rewarding problem players. That inevitably leads to a spiral where problem players become the dominant players, because players who are good (like player B) leave for systems that reward them rather than punish them, and people who are fence sitting see player A and decide to emulate them.

    Don't reward problem players. Don't pat the MinMaxers on the back and tell them they've done good. If you want to play an unbalanced character, the system should reward you for it in no way whatsoever.


    P.S. If Jameson's Courage wants, I will personally homebrew him a sage class for Next. It will be exactly like the wizard class, except specifically prohibited from being in any way useful in combat. Does that work?

  • #188
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    ø Ignore Tony Vargas
    As far as the definition of min/max goes, I first heard it used to denote extreme specialization: minimize the things you don't need/want, maximize the things you do. A simple proviso, really: don't waste resources on things you're second-best at, focus all your resources on being the best at your speciality. Doable to some extent in any game system that allows any degree of customization at all, and not necessarily a game-breaking thing to try to do, though it can certainly be taken too far, or get out of hand in poorly-balanced systems.

    Much later, I heard the 'minimize weaknesses'/'maximize strengths,' which sounds like a simple misconstruing of the original, but reverses half the meaning, to give you a goal - invincibility, really - that's out of line.

  • #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obryn View Post
    People are quoting dictionaries.

    /thread.



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  • #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Is combat central and essential to Star Wars RPGs?
    I would have thought so, given (i) how prominent it is in the movies, and (ii) how prominent it is in the western, Flash Gordon and similar pulp-ish genres that Star Wars emulates.

    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    How about Traveller?
    Traveller (at least through MegaTraveller - I don't know the game as it subsequently deveoped) is a curious thing.

    It has detailed combat rules, but in resolution they are brutal. Three out of six professions are military, and the scouts are semi-military, and even merchant and other civilian characters are likely, given the charts, to end up with weapon or brawling skills.

    But the game also has quite a wide-ranging skill list (Admin, Forgery, Liaison, Streetwise, Carousing, Engineering, Computer, Bribery, etc). And it has action resolution mechanics not just for interpersonal and starship combat, but for trading and world exploration. It also has reasonably elaborate mechanics for generating planets and the economic ties between them (especially once you get to supplements like Merchant Prince).

    Part of what makes Traveller work is that it has no resource allocation choices to be made during building - it's all random, so you can't optimise or min/max. And it has bounded accuracy - skill bonuses tend not to rise above +3, success generally defaults to 8+ on 2d6, and so a skill-1 character has a 7/12, or approximately 58%, chance of success, while a skill-3 character has a 10/12, or approximately 83%, chance of success. That's a meaningful difference, but not utterly overwhelming. (It's comparable to the +5 skill training bonus in 4e, in a world of non-scaling Easy to Moderate DCs.)

    Finally, the tables tend to generate at least somewhat rounded PCs. And, being a sci-fi game, equipment can be purchased to try and work around expertise gaps. The various features above combine to permit a reasonably broad range of scenarios to be run.

    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    I find that the existence of the perform, profession, knowledge, and craft skills are at least as if not more important for setting a "tone" for world building as they are in actual PC implementation.
    These skills exist in Rolemaster, and to a significant extent they have the function you describe. However, RM has certain other features that make this work. First, it has rules for the allocation of build points that, in effect, result in silo-ing - once you've invested the permitted maximum in Sword, for example, and are trying to decide whether to use your remaining points to boost Ride, Climb, Swim or Play Flute, the performance choice is less obviously sub-optimal, and more about rounding out and colouring your PC than making a deliberate choice to hurt at your main game in order to add some colour.

    Second, it has diminishing returns, so 10 ranks gives +50 + stat, while 20 ranks gives only +70 + stat. This means that, for "colour" choices, you don't have to keep investing in order to keep up and keep that colour on your sheet.

    3E D&D, at least, lacks both these features. Skill points are tightly rationed, and there are no diminishing returns. So making these sorts of colour choices, and keeping them relevant as the numbers, in general, scale upward, is a real burden.

    Here is a tweak that one might make to 3E, to make it more like Rolemaster: a wizard may strike one cantrip from his/her known spells list, in order to add one "colour" ability to his/her sheet (crafter, performer, etc); a fighter may strike one martial weapon from his/her proficiency list in order to do the same. This seems to me to get the trade-offs right, because for a fighter who is a sword specialist, proficiency in war pick is mere colour ("I can use any weapon they give me, should I end up in the fighting pit!"); and for most wizards proficiency in all cantrips is the same (there will be a subset of the total that they default to as their array).

    This wouldn't allow comparisons of expertise to be made, but in a system with steep scaling, and without diminishing returns on skill ranks, I think that is a cost that has to be borne in order to keep things in the "useful colour" category rather than the "I'm hurting my PC in order to express my colour" category.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    most people would be talking about Player A and how he could be more like Player B. He has history, background, story, interesting hooks for other PCs and for the DM, good stuff. All around, most DMs would say that they'd much rather have Player B than Player A.

    JamesonCourage would suggest that the only way the system could be fair would be by giving Player A more combat capability and more damage than player B. 5/1/1 rather than 3/3/3, after all!

    Switch pillars, and the exact nature of the problem becomes apparent. You are rewarding problem players. That inevitably leads to a spiral where problem players become the dominant players, because players who are good (like player B) leave for systems that reward them rather than punish them, and people who are fence sitting see player A and decide to emulate them.

    Don't reward problem players. Don't pat the MinMaxers on the back and tell them they've done good. If you want to play an unbalanced character, the system should reward you for it in no way whatsoever.
    That's a very nice example.

    A game like Burning Wheel or HeroWars/Quest would make Player B pay for that extra stuff. But Player B would get compensation: in Burning Wheel, you can leverage your colour for extra Fate Points, and in HeroWars/Quest you can use your colour to augment in action resolution (in effect Aid Another, but for yourself!) so your 3/3/3 can (with the right narration) be used as 5/1/1 - a concrete example would be that, when PC B confronts the mercenary ringleaders who betrayed his company, he can use his "Smouldering hatred of traitors" ability to boost his "Smack enemies round the head with a hammer" ability.

    But D&D doesn't have that style of augment system - the closest it has come is with 4e's inspirational healing, and that is highly contentious. Otherwise, the only source of morale bonuses to combat is from some spells or the odd feat or class feature. And whereas the whole point of HeroWars/Quest is to encourage melodramatic narration and scene framing so that the players can eke out all those bonuses, in D&D this sort of thing tends to be treated with scepticism (eg see the many complaints about players trying to engage skill challenges in such a way as to leverage their PCs' strengths for success - this is widely seen not as a good thing, of producing more engaging narrative that reinforces PC character and place in the gameworld, but as a bad thing because it makes success "too easy").

    Nor does D&D have a BW-style Fate Point system, where you can earn metagame resources by bringing your PC's colour out in witty or destabilising ways in the course of play. (4e's player-designed quests to earn quest XP seems the closest thing to it that I can think of.)

    In D&D-like circumstances, where PC colour is not itself a source of mechanical advantage in action resolution, then it shouldn't cost resources at PC build time, and players shouldn't be rewarded at PC build time for not giving their PCs any colour. As you (GreyICE) say, that is a recipe for rewarding boring PC building.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    I'm calling for change, not disputing history.

    <snip>

    I've also called for those mechanics to get expanded and for support for non-combat to be well-supported.
    Looking at the D&Dnext playtest, there is not going to be the sort of change you are calling for. It is beyond obvious that the game gives priority - in PC build, in action resolution, in encounter design and scene-framing - to combat as the premier site of action resolution.

    Even the new magical item rules refer to magic items as things gained by looting monsters and their hordes, or taken from trapped dungeons. There is not even the canvassing of items as rewards from allies or patrons, or as heirlooms, or any of the other obvious possibilities for magic item placement.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    Imagine there was non-combat support. Now give me further reasons.
    The further reasons are nicely illustrated by GreyICE.

    In a party-based game, which D&D unequivocally is, a PC who can't conribute in some meaningfully way in the bulk of scenes is a problem PC. (It is a further question whether or not that PC's player is a problem player.)

    Of course, that gives rise to the question "What counts as contribution?". But D&D has a very narrow answer to that question - "contribution" means helping the party succeed in overcoming the challenge at hand. Whereas in Burning Wheel, say, a non-combat PC who has the "Hide from Battle" trait can still contribute to a fight by (say) running away, or swooning in shock as soon as an arrow lands near him/her - thereby earning Fate Points for expressing PC colour, which can be usefully deployed in subsequent situations. BW also has strong linked check mechanics, which means that a crafter can make craft checks before battle to contribute bonus dice in battle - whereas D&D has no mechanics for this sort of thing, and fairly clearly is not going to.

    Would D&D be a better game rewritten as HERO, or GURPS, or RuneQuest, or Burning Wheel? Maybe - but given that all those games are already out there, and easily accessible, if one wants that sort of game one doesn't need to try and turn D&D into it! There is something that D&D does better than any of those games - epic fantasy with a tendency towards a gonzo tone, in which over-the-top combats are an integral site of conflict resolution - and I'm not sure that that is a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    This is about being able to play specific, well-known archetypes, like the wise old sage who seemingly knows everything but sucks in a fight.
    In the playtest, take the Sage background, the Jack-of-All trades specialisation (to boost your knowledge skills), and the Wizard class with the following spells known: Detect Magic, Light, Mage Hand, Alarm, Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Feather Fall and Shield.

    The Magic Item document alludes to Identfiy and Read Magic as further spells that aren't currently on the spell list. Assuming they are 1st level and a cantrip respectively, in due course you'll be able to swap Read Magic for Mage Hand, and Identfiy for Feather Fall, thereby (I think) fitting the archetype even better.

    Another path to much the same archetype would be the same background and specialisation, but a Warlock who takes Breath of Night and Fabrication of the Weave as his/her invocations. Make sure your DEX is reasonably low and your proficiency with finesse and missile weapons won't prevent you sucking in a fight with weapons. You do have Eldritch Blast at will, but that's part of what it means to be a Warlock after all - your sage-ry has opened up paths to power that mortals were not meant to tread! Your greater hit points than the wizard also reflect your infusion with eldritch power. (I'm thinking along Palpatine-ish lines for both these features of the build.)

    A third path would be once again the same background and specialisation, but a Cleric who takes the Sun Domain, the Detect Magic Orison, and who prepares Comprehend Languages and Protection from Evil. Yes, you also have the Searing Light spell, but that is not you being effective in combat. That is the heavens striking down evil monsters in response to your prayers! It's true that your PC would have Medium armour proficiency, but you don't have to buy any - spend your money on holy water and parchment instead! ("Yes, I learned something of the ways of the warrior in my youth, but those days are long behind me now!"). Your high hit points reflect divine providence and favour.

    Suggested stats (assuming human): 18 INT if wizard or warlock, 18 WIS if cleric, and 15 in the other of these two; 14 CHA; 13 CON; 11 DEX; 9 STR.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    If I make a level 10 Wizard and run him as a sage, but then hand his sheet to someone else, they'll see his attack bonus, his spells, etc., and they know he's proficient in combat.

    You're saying "ignore the rules"
    In D&Dnext, what you describe won't necessarily be the case. Certainly, of the 3 builds I suggest, each retains a +2 weapon attack from 1st to 5th level - with my suggested stat array, these PCs will suck at fighting from 1st to 5th!

    It's true that, with the current playtest documents, gaining levels might make you have to choose spells and abilities that dilute your sage-ish-ness. For the wizard, you can just ignore some of your spells gained per level. Then they won't be on your PC sheet, and you can fill your slots with your sage-y spells. It's true that your PC sheet will be modestly house-ruled, but that's not a big deal in this case, I don't think. Maybe you can also get your GM to let you learn Augury as a wizard spell (wizards can get it in 4e, after all). But here are nine spells you could add as you levelled that wouldn't muck up the archetype too badly: Sleep, Continual Light, Counterspell, Gentle Repose, Hold Person, Resistance, Rope Trick, Dispel Magic, Suggestion. (If my memory is correct, sages using Hold Person has precedence going back to Gygax's DMG!)

    By the rules, the cleric has access to the whole list, but you are not obliged to prepare combat spells, and you could put a note on your sheet saying "only ever prepares the following spells" and expect someone else who came along to play your PC to honour that. Here are some more spells from the playtest that I think fit the archetype: Cure Light Wounds, Divine Favour, Healing Word, Sanctuary, Augury, Consecrate, Cure Moderate Wounds, Gentle Repose, Cure Serious Wounds, Dispel Magic, Remove Affliction, Speak with Dead.

    The warlock has the most restricted choices at the moment, but even there Baleful Utterance, Shadow Veil or Visage of the Summer Court would all seem to be viable choices for a warlock sage that support rather than undermine the archetype.

    My conclusion: given that it's just a playtest, D&Dnext actually supports the "wise old sage who sucks in combat" archetype pretty well, at least at the PC build stage. It doesn't really have the action resolution mechanics for you to get the maximum out of your wide spread of Lore skills, but that's another story.

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