D&D 5th Edition If an option is presented, it needs to be good enough to take. - Page 4





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  1. #31
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    The big problem is its a very subjective topic. What metric for measuring "worth" can be agreed upon by a majority of players in order to seperate the wheat from the chaff? I don't think there is an easy or obvious answer beyond eliminating the handful of options that are glaring bad or head and shoulders better than everything else. Everything else ends up being shades of grey colored by personal preference. Bloat tends to be inevitable in almost every edition I doubt 5E will be able to avoid it over the long haul any better then its predecessors.
    I hope with strange eons even the edition war may die.

 

  • #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Remathilis View Post
    Lest you think 4e made it any better, It just combined a bunch of those into one list and called them "powers". It also added Paragon Paths, Themes, Epic Destinies, etc...

    Less is more. Race, Class, Spells, Items, and maybe Skills/Feats. Customization is good, but the more granular the system, the easier it is to break down.
    This is not an accurate reflection of anything except the way 4e feats bloated every bit as much as 3.5 feats. (Comfortably in excess of 1200 in both systems - which is far, far too many). The situation with 3.5 feats is significantly worse for two reasons. The first is that you can retrain feats in 4e if they don't work out (or if you've taken e.g. 4e's version of toughness at level 1 but think it's no longer worth it at level 4). The second is prerequisites. Very few feats in 4e either have prerequisites that are other feats (Two Weapon Defence springs to mind) or are prerequisites (Multiclass feats are about it). So the only thing you have to look at is what looks cool now rather than "I need three metamagic or item creation feats and a skill focus feat in knowledge to qualify for the Loremaster prestige class" or "In order to get Whirlwind Attack I need Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, and Combat Expertise". So 4e has all the bloat of 3.5 feats but it lacks the sting of needing to plan your feats half a dozen levels in advance or being stuck with bad choices.

    4e powers? At each new level you might, if you're a member of one of the two bloated classes (fighter and wizard), have a choice of twelve attack powers. And odds are that a third of them don't fit your character at all - for instance two weapon fighting options for a sword and board fighter or pyromancy for an enchanter. Utility powers are slightly worse. But again say a dozen powers on the table. A choice of one out of a dozen two levels in three isn't that bad. Hell, it's an easier choice than 3.X skills on levelling up.

    Paragon paths? You again have a choice of about a dozen even in an all-the-options 4e. Making a big choice every ten levels (literally) and having a dozen options on the table isn't too bad. They are almost all good. And you're only going to have to pick a Paragon Path once. After you've been playing your character for ten levels.

    Which means except for the feats (and I in no way defend the presence of more than 1000 feats in the system) although the system contains hordes of options, it only presents you with a manageable number of choices at a time. And all these choices are non-binding except your Paragon Path. As for breaking down, it's only happened a few times with 4e - and the designers have been arguably overzealous with the errata to prevent that happening.

    So I strongly disagree with your claim here. It's not total options in the entire system that matter. It's options where the rubber meets the road. And other than feats, 4e keeps these down.

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComradeGnull View Post
    I agree with the OP's sentiment, but the more I think about it, what I really believe is this: I miss being younger, and not knowing what was 'effective' and what wasn't, and instead just knowing if I thought things were cool or not.
    You can still play like that. You just have to have similar play styles with the rest of the people at your table - or at least not be dealing with a player who will push the game to the point where this play style doesn't work as well. And that's a personal problem more than a game problem.
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  • #34
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    Ignore The Choice
    Quote Originally Posted by Jester Canuck View Post
    How do you balance fireball with haste?
    Easy, you either:

    1) Use the 20 (or 30, whatever) levels of the game and distribute spells among those, adding granularity and gauging more easily the power at each level.

    2) Silo out utility spells (haste) from the attack spells (fireball) so that the selection of one does not limit the selection of the other.
    http://forbiddenskies.blogspot.ca/ My campaign creation blog.

  • #35
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    Ignore The Choice
    Quote Originally Posted by Animal View Post
    Can't agree with the OP at all.
    There should be suboptimal choices for those who actually don't mind to take them for roleplay reasons. I understand that there are different playstyles. Some players prefer all options equally viable and balanced. Some though prefer their characters to have weaknesses just as real people do.
    For example, if I play a monk who took a vow of poverty, i expect it to actually be a weakness and hindrance my character deliberately imposed on himself for in-character reasons, not just a way to greatly boost his abilities instead.
    It's not about having weaknesses or not, it's about unknowingly handicapping yourself by making a choice that looks good, but really isn't (see toughness, very, very situational or PF prone shooter, absolutely useless). In the end, all characters should have weaknesses, there's a reason RPGs are, generally, a group activity, but there are plenty of ways to have a weakness before selecting feats (or whatever similar option in your RPG of choice); poor Charisma stat makes it harder for you to play an important role in social encounters, poor Dexterity or heavy armour makes it hard for you to sneak around and scout, no magical lore means you are at a loss faced with a mystical phenomenon, etc.

    In the end, I wouldn't have any problems with suboptimal abilities being presented in a game as long as they were clearly labeled as such. I mean, I can tell by looking at a bag of chips that it's not really I should base my meals around, why not do the same for options within RPGs if such options are going to be present?
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  • #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Choice View Post
    Easy, you either:

    1) Use the 20 (or 30, whatever) levels of the game and distribute spells among those, adding granularity and gauging more easily the power at each level.
    OK. I suppose as part of that you could simply avoid putting very different spells in the same level...

    2) Silo out utility spells (haste) from the attack spells (fireball) so that the selection of one does not limit the selection of the other.
    That'd work 'Haste' that just increased your movement. But, most versions of Haste grant extra attacks, so it is an attack spell, even if not a direct one.

    With fireball, you do some damage to a lot of targets, which, with enough enemies, can add up to a lot of damage. With Haste, you give allies extra attacks, which, given enough rounds, can add up to a lot of damage. Doesn't sound like they should be /that/ hard to balance (especially if haste only gave an extra 'basic' attack, one with no perks or riders that simply did damage, not a 4e basic attack, which /could/ have a lot of stuff attached), you're just comparing damage potential, and have to account for it being situational. Though, I suspect a careful balancing act would probably give Haste a very short duration, especially if it could target the whole party. (And, of course, the Haste that let you cast 2 spells/round was pretty broken.)

  • #37
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    Ignore Anastrace
    Oh traps, how I love you. Seriously, how fun is it to realize you worked hard on your character and you have the effectiveness of a wet shoestring? I've never understood the idea of system mastery being needed. Before someone asks, yes we've run into these issues in pf, and we've had to kind of shoo each other off from them. Because while an archetype, class, feature, feat, .... might be good in the end of the almighty numbers (bleh) it doesn't measure up.

    Making options a fair tradeoff sounds good to me. A wizard who wants to do melee? So lower spells per day, kind of like a bard in 3/pf, and armor them with a better attack bonus / wp.

    I've only been playing a couple years, so I'm guessing my points don't count for much but hey I'm going to make them anyway.

  • #38
    Quote Originally Posted by The Choice View Post
    Easy, you either:

    1) Use the 20 (or 30, whatever) levels of the game and distribute spells among those, adding granularity and gauging more easily the power at each level.

    2) Silo out utility spells (haste) from the attack spells (fireball) so that the selection of one does not limit the selection of the other.
    My problem with 1 is it isn't organic, it feels very artificial, and I have just too many problems with 2. Siloing is BAD, it takes away choice and ends up enforcing a "minumum competence level" that makes lots of valid character concepts impossible to make. One thing I love about 3.5 is the ability to create any kind of character concept possible, specially characters that don't focuss in combat. In 4e there are only two non-action character concepts that are viable (the pacifist cleric and the lazy warlord) and they still revolve around combat and border on cookie cutter levels, because there aren't enough choices. In fact the biggest problem I have with trying to make all choices equal (specially the way they did it on 4e) is that in the struggle to "balance" everything, they ended up removing a lot of fun and interesting choices, just because they didn't fit the bland mold.

  • #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Remathilis View Post
    There is an issue in balance that PF dialed to 11: moving parts.

    In 3.5/PF (esp PF) I have my race, class(es), archetype, prestige class(es), feats, skills, class abilities (fixed), class abilities (chosen), magic items, spells, talents, etc.

    That's a lot of moving parts of keep track of. You need decent system mastery to just keep everything in line.

    Lest you think 4e made it any better, It just combined a bunch of those into one list and called them "powers". It also added Paragon Paths, Themes, Epic Destinies, etc...

    Less is more. Race, Class, Spells, Items, and maybe Skills/Feats. Customization is good, but the more granular the system, the easier it is to break down.
    But 4E made those options discrete and reverseable.

    Lets take the process of making a fighter. First level, I have to decide the following: Big honking two-handed weapons, Sword+Shield, Two weapons, or Grappling?

    I have to decide race. If you pick something that boosts strength, you won't go too badly. Like dwarves might be "better" than Half-Orcs, but you'll do fine as either one.

    That's it for the irreversible decisions. Two.

    Then I have to decide for reversible decisions.
    2 At-Will powers (and you can't go too wrong)
    1 Encounter power (and you can't go too wrong)
    1 Daily Power (and you can't go too wrong)
    1 Feat (lots of obvious feats you can take at level 1, including expertise, which aren't too wrong)

    In short, lets say you're a newbie, and introduced to the full, 4E fighter, in all its Character Builder glory. If you pick any one of the build options and grab a +STR race (including humans) you're set.

    Even with power selection, as long as you don't pick a power that has "Requires a Shield" when you don't have a shield you'll be just fine.

    Each level is also discrete. If you just grab powers on the basis of "oh that's really nifty and I think I could use that" you won't end up creating a horrible character. Certainly you might be underoptimized, but you can still beat out an optimized character just by playing better, something that's very hard to do in 3E (Full attack rounds tend to look very similar to other full attack rounds).

  • #40
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    Ignore The Choice
    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    My problem with 1 is it isn't organic, it feels very artificial, and I have just too many problems with 2.
    Actually, I'll argue it's more organic than the nine levels of spells (10 if you consider cantrips a spell level) that we got in 3.X (9 and 7 back in previous editions). We're just used to say "oh yeah, meteor swarm, totally a 9th level spell". To everybody outside the hobby, that makes zero sense. Seriously, I'm a level 10 wizard, why can't I cast level 10 spells? It's a crap tradition, pointless obfuscation meant to keep the "riff raff" out of RPGs, and, originally, just an awkward piece of oddly designed game mechanic that no designer dared to touch for fear of impotent nerd rage or because of laziness.

    I'll admit, the solution isn't perfect, but it accomplishes two things: 1) it makes spells that really shouldn't be of the same power level, different power levels (anybody saying Nystul's magic aura and Sleep need to be the same level; and 2) it gets rid of an old, tired trope that's a barrier to entry for new players.

    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    Siloing is BAD, it takes away choice and ends up enforcing a "minumum competence level" that makes lots of valid character concepts impossible to make.
    On the contrary, siloing allows more character concepts to be played efficiently at all levels of play. You might be opposed to that, but I believe that it's a strength of a game when making a choice doesn't take away from my characters effectiveness.

    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    One thing I love about 3.5 is the ability to create any kind of character concept possible, specially characters that don't focuss in combat. In 4e there are only two non-action character concepts that are viable (the pacifist cleric and the lazy warlord) and they still revolve around combat and border on cookie cutter levels, because there aren't enough choices. In fact the biggest problem I have with trying to make all choices equal (specially the way they did it on 4e) is that in the struggle to "balance" everything, they ended up removing a lot of fun and interesting choices, just because they didn't fit the bland mold.
    Just because the rules mostly cover combat (like EVERY edition of D&D ever), doesn't mean you can't create a non-combat focused character with personality, quirks and fun little bits of odd roleplaying, it just means that, once a fight does break out, you won't be cowering in the corner waiting for the big loud noises and explosions to stop (you totally could though, if that's the personality you're shooting for). 4E's system simply leaves the RP component of the game in the hands of DMs and players and doesn't hand out mechanical aids to play a bartender or a cobbler; you want to be a shoemaker, there you go, you've been making shoes for a while, no need to dump skill points in craft or whatever, go out and talk how the duchess is a horrible monster who refuses to pay when you fix her high heels!

    I've seen a lot of people arguing that, according to 4th Edition's rules, they can't make a crippled (from a gameplay perspective) character, a character with flaws that make him thoroughly useless in fights and claim that's a failure of the system. I've even seen an actual designer of an actual game that is currently in print say that the fact you can't make a combat/adventure-effective and, at the same time, mundane skill competent character is a good feature of the 3.X ruleset. In 19 years of gaming with diverse players from various horizons, I have never met a single solitary one who rolled a character incapable of performing simple tasks in a dungeon adventure (outside of bad dice rolls and deliberate DM/GM trolling). The only times I've seen it claimed was by players of spellcasters ("look, I didn't take magic missile! He's not a combat character!") who still dominated fights whenever they chose to do something.

    In short, 4E does exactly what every other edition of D&D ever did; it just doesn't pat you on the back with condescention/punish you with an unplayable character when you make a less than optimal choice. I mean, there were NO skills, at all, back in 1st Edition (no feats or other bits of mechanical support for doing anything outside of combat, aside from a few spells), how did people make characters with personalities outside of combat?
    http://forbiddenskies.blogspot.ca/ My campaign creation blog.

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