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Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 05:41 PM #81
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I'm also not in favor of the new charges rule on staffs and wands. They are too luck-based in terms of using up your resources and only serve to encourage extra-cautious play instead of making full use of what you have. Most players will simply treat their valuable wands and staves as having appropriately fewer charges, always making sure they stay at 1 (or higher, if the DM rolls the recharge die).
You should also consider that some players will risk that 5% chance every time while others will be as careful as you describe and only use that last charge in the most dire of emergencies. Both are valid play styles.
A "burnout" mechanism is a good idea, but what if this just made the item temporarily unusable until you invest a few dozen / hundred GP into a 24-hour ritual?
I believe there's a lot of room for optimizing things - the balance of items and their scaling with level was much better with almost all previous editions.
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Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 05:42 PM #82
Guide (Lvl 11)
Thanks for responding.
The problem here is that Hide/Move Silently and Spot/Listen are no longer siloed. So they're basically an abstraction for all scenarios and, as such, it seems to presuppose that both are being tested simultaneously in all cases. Further, the rules go on to explicitely give prerequisite for the Hide:Spot portion of the contest - Concealment/Cover/Line-of-Sight. Therefore, it is not two separate Stealth rolls to Hide (vs Spot) and to Move Silently (vs Listen). It is one and it is abstracted as both.
So if I read your interpretation corrrect then, Boots of Elvenkind provide no advantage to anyone (not a generic + bonus to Stealth nor advantage to Stealth rolls nor remove disadvantage from Stealth rolls nor remove advantage for Listen rolls against) on Stealth contests when the Spot portion of Perception and the Hide portion of Stealth are also being tested. It only provides a bonus on Stealth contests when only the Move Silently and Listen are pitted against one another and Line of Sight is irrelevant (a la a noble is sitting at his desk in another room and you are sneaking down the hallway)? Unfortunately, this would not be a very useful item then (and an extreme corner case that doesn't seem to make much sense for Foresty Elves to be creating) and, more importantly, how does this interface with the Stealth Rules as the Stealth Rules only talk about Line-of-Sight and then a subsequent Stealth vs Perception contest if that prerequisite is met?
I guess the whole point is, if they're going to put both of the Stealth (Hide/Move Silently) and Perception (Spot/Listen) variables together and abstract the check...and then they're going to only provide explicit rules for Line-of-Sight (as prerequisite)...it strikes me as very incoherent rules design to then use the vague "silent footpadding" for Boots of Elvenkind...and its going to create problems at the table.
- If they broke out Listen/Spot and Hide/Move Silently and thus gave you automatic success on all Move Silently rolls this would be a fantastic (overpowered) item.
- If it removed Disadvantage on gave Advantage on Stealth checks or removed Advantage from the Listen contestant it would be a great item.
As of right now...unfortunately...I'm not sure what it does and I'm not sure how the rules are supposed to mechanically support what it does. And I don't feel very good about what that says about 5e given how important Stealth rules are to D&D...coupled with their "Rulings not Rules" philosophy that seems to extoll the virtue of holes like this as a source of "DM empowerment".
Last edited by Manbearcat; Tuesday, 9th October, 2012 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Clarification
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 05:44 PM #83
Defender (Lvl 8)
You limit the number of attuned items in such a game, because otherwise you have players wearing 7 necklaces and 2 dozen other magical items and trinkets, which makes the characters unwieldy. And why shouldn't they?
So I would use a houseruled version of attunement in my games, if I wanted to have that sort of hack' n' slash, slot machine style of game. Or if I just wanted a game in which players find more magic items than I expect or want them to be able to use, so that they have to make a few decisions on what their outfit is going to be. Choice is a big part of gaming for me. Not every game should be like that, of course, and you (general you, not @KM in particular) may despise that sort of game, but as usual it's up to the GM.
So attunement needs work, but it still seems promising to me.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 05:50 PM #84
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
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Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 06:02 PM #85
Defender (Lvl 8)
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 06:34 PM #86
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Part of the issue it seems people have had over the past few editions is the game seeming to implicitly try to tell you how/what to do. I think they're trying to go back to wondrous items that are somewhat open to interpretation/effect on the game.
I think the idea here is supposed to play out like:
Player: I try to sneak past the orcs...
DM: Sure, oh but the ground is covered with dead leaves so I'm going to give you disadvantage.
Player: Drat- but wait I have elven boots!
DM: Ok no disadvantage.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 06:49 PM #87
Guide (Lvl 11)
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Oh I agree. Its just not a "feature" for me. I just don't find that "empowering" as a DM for all of the reasons outlined in my posts and I find the prospect of trying to canvass the rules texts for all of these little (or not so little in this case) corner case inconsistencies and incoherencies (why do they have Line-of-Sight, Spot vs Hide, rules clearly explicated but no rules for Listen vs Move Silently?) maddening. Instead of "empowering" I find it "demoralizing" as I extrapolate the experience in my head (which I have experience with this sort of inconsistency/incoherency...most of us do, in fact). Some folks love this, I guess. Not me. Oh well.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 07:01 PM #88
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
And that's because the DM has no reason to invent squeaky floorboards or other barriers to stealth, ready to be solved with the right magic item, appearing with enough frequency that the players care about those kinds of things mechanically. As Manbearcat suggests, such invention is likely to happen after the item appears in the game. As the design goal is that magic items make PCs better, it grates a little to have an item which basically makes the rest of the group worse at something in order to justify its value.
Personally I would go for both the boots and cloak doing effectively the same thing mechanically, and with some special boost for having both at the same time (perhaps with "only one attunement required" rule for matching item sets, to make them desirable).
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 07:15 PM #89
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Maybe- I've been known to invent stuff like that in my games though, so there IS precedent. I'm a fan of just making stuff up that makes thiungs more fun at the table, though...And that's because the DM has no reason to invent squeaky floorboards or other barriers to stealth, ready to be solved with the right magic item, appearing with enough frequency that the players care about those kinds of things mechanically. As Manbearcat suggests, such invention is likely to happen after the item appears in the game. As the design goal is that magic items make PCs better, it grates a little to have an item which basically makes the rest of the group worse at something in order to justify its value.
I think there was definitely a switch after 3e towards only doing what the rules say, so yeah it might be problematic with many of today's players... for a while?
I think it's trying to hearken back to that "old school" idea of creative/smart play. Rely less on the rules (because chances are there weren't any for a given scenario) and more on out of the box thinking.
I can remember back in the day articles in Dragon that were all about creatively using items (magic and mundane). Those articles seemed to be replaced by articles about feats you can take to unlock rules to implement those ideas, or new items that do what you want...
My players have never seemed to have an issue with out of the box type ideas- but I've seen plenty of arguments on the interwebs by people saying stuff like the 4e powers limit your ability to be creative etc... I think this design idea is in response to that.
I guess the argument can be made that it DOES make someone think more about what an item COULD do when it doesn't specifically say one thing it does do...
"Hey I have elven boots, can I get advantage to stealth walking through the forest?"
Think back to the Mearls article on thief skills sucking, and how he had to just invent stuff to do... I think this is kind of the idea.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 07:15 PM #90
Guide (Lvl 11)