5E UA and depth of complexity - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    As a game designer, you have to be very careful with 'depth of complexity'. Third edition designers, particularly in the 3.5 era, ignored one of the general rules of game design:

    "Do not give new options to already viable archetypes."

    Or to put it another way,

    "If there is already a good way to do something, don't make a second one."

    The problem with 'depth of complexity' as opposed to 'breadth of complexity' is that it usually is trivial complexity. That is, each decision point has a trivial answer. If you add lots of options for supporting a concept, invariably the correct approach is 'double down on my concept'. Consider the impact of having feats, skill tricks, prestige classes, alternative class abilities that all could be tweaked to support a concept. Particularly in cases where that concept was already well supported, doubling and tripling down on the concept created obviously broken characters. In essence, the range of expected values to a trait in a character of a given level got to large, because all those decision points could be - and usually were - used to focus on a single ability.

    Power gamers love having multiple paths to the same concept, and then sifting through the paths to find the exact best path through them to the end result. And while that is an engrossing exercise, it's ultimately terrible for an RPG game system to have ways to 'win' like that.
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  2. #12
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    Hiya!

    **SNIP A BIT-TOO-SNARKY-OF-A-POST**

    More crunch? No thanks. I, and apparently the majority of 5e'ers, don't want more crunch for the sake of it. As others in this thread have said... use the rules we have, add new stuff that is based on those simple rule premises, and only add true "crunch" if absolutely NEEDED. (not wanted, needed). Hell, I even think having a monthly UA adding archtypes and "re-do's" was a bad idea...but I can see why others enjoy them. No place in my game, but that's fine. But adding 'official' crunch stuff that some will use, some will not, and many don't care or even know about? Bad idea. Right now 5e has a decent "group vibe" going on, overall. I can talk to someone on some other forum about 5e and we can be pretty sure we both are talking about the same 'rules' and stuff. Adding too much pointless crunch dilutes that to the point where everyone has to preface their question/answers with a three page list of all the rules and crunch they use or don't use. Ick...


    Double EDIT: Thanks for the XP @Elfcrusher...but I just posted this "updated" post right after you gifted that to me! LOL! Talk about timing! Sorry!
    ^_^

    Paul L. Ming
    Last edited by pming; Thursday, 26th January, 2017 at 07:03 PM.
    XP Elfcrusher, Shiroiken, KahlessNestor, Wepwawet gave XP for this post

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    I agree in principle. What's the design space that needs a new class?
    The Sherlock Holmes. D&D has never had a viable true skill monkey, and the increased emphasis of combat over exploration has only made it worse, which is why rogue seems to have morphed into a striker/dps role.

    The Normal. D&D has never had a viable class representing someone with intangible skills, such as luck, destiny, wits, or simply birthright. Typically it tries to shoehorn those persons into a 'fighter' class, but having the same class for gifted everyman and leader of soldiers and weapon master is problematic when typically fighter as implemented isn't even very good at what it's supposed to be, much less what it isn't.

    Animist Without Baggage. The Druid is the closest we have to an animist priest, witch, or shaman. But it's loaded with northern European baggage plus its own self-referential tropes its developed over the years, making it poorly suited to the very thing it's supposed to be.

    Hunter Without Baggage. Ranger is in the same boat. Loosely and poorly based on Tolkien's Rangers, over the years Ranger has morphed into its own self-referential archetype. However, it's unfortunately pretty bad at being things that you'd think it should be, like assassin, bounty hunter, undead slayer, demon hunter, and so forth. Why does it need all this nature loving baggage?

    (Un)Holy Warrior without Baggage. Paladin is even worse. Loosely based on the legends around King Arthur and Charlemagne, the class is a real world medieval aristocratic holy warrior. D&D is littered with the train wrecks of trying to shoe in this concept into settings other than Christian Europe, and deities other than polytheistic stand-ins for the Judeo-Christian God. Why can't you out of the box make a holy warrior viable for every cult, theology, or deity you could conceive of? Or in other words, why is Paladin so very unlike Cleric, considering their conceptual similarities?

    Barbarian without Baggage: Barbarian is doubly problematic. Originally intended to be a generic vaguely Conan inspired warrior from a primitive culture, the Barbarian never quite explained why this needed to be a thing. Why can't "warrior from a primitive culture" simply be a fighter from a primitive culture? Why expect everyone from a 'primitive culture' to be barbarians or to be 'chaotic'. Can't low tech cultures also value honor, family, tradition and so forth? Somewhere along the way, someone hit on the idea of killing the Berserker and taking his stuff, and Barbarians became defined by 'Rage'. But this is also a very unsatisfying solution, because now 'barbarian' carries the additional baggage of being Norse, since going berserk is hardly a universal cultural thing. Moreover, lots of designers began to notice that 'going berserk' is a lot more universal of a thing than being a barbarian is, so you had things that needed to go berserk (psychopaths, cultists, fanatics, elite guards, shock troops, etc) that weren't from a barbaric culture, and things which were from a barbaric culture but didn't go berserk. The class wasn't good for either one.

    One of the biggest problems D&D classes have had, post the original big three (the lovely generic 'fighter', 'magic user' and 'cleric'), is that they were described with far too much unnecessary baggage. Thief was the first real offender here, but fortunately some of that baggage got dropped when the thief became the much better conceived "rogue" class. Likewise, Cleric became better when less assumptions were made about the deities theology ("no bladed weapons", for example, got dropped). But most of the classic classes have never gotten the same needed treatment.

    For example, I've always felt that "leader" should most emphatically NOT be a class. You should be able to play a leader paladin, a leader bard, a leader...well, anything. Leader, like Archer, is a specialization within other classes.
    Agreed. In particular, I think "leader" in the sense of "leader of armed men" is stealing something that ought to belong to the fighter, and the charismatic or intelligent fighter in particular.

    See also "Assassin". Emphatically not actually a class, but a twisting of general skills to a specific purpose - cold-blooded killing. There are so many different ways to kill someone, that the idea of you need a class for that one way to do it, given every D&D class already has a method is pretty ridiculous.

    This is exactly why Ranger is so problematic. Even Paladin is...sketchy.
    Yes. Also Druid.
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  4. #14
    That's weird. I just got a notification that someone on my blocked list quoted me in this thread. How is that even possible, as I didn't think they could see my posts, let alone quote them.

  5. #15
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    We already have a subsystem that increases complexity for existing characters. It's called magic items. It doesn't increase build complexity, but it markedly increases at-the-table tactical complexity, most especially if the magic items are resource-limited or consumable.

    Downsides are it messes up CR calculations, but CR has limited utility in 5e anyway.
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  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    The Sherlock Holmes. D&D has never had a viable true skill monkey, and the increased emphasis of combat over exploration has only made it worse, which is why rogue seems to have morphed into a striker/dps role.
    Whereas I agree many tables pushed the rogue into a DPS role, I think this statement is more about playstyle than the game itself. The game, IMO, doesn't emphasize combat over exploration. It gives all pillars equally, but it's up to individual tables to use which pillars they prefer the most. Most tables probably gravitate towards combat, but that's hardly a universal truth of the game design itself. For example, in our games exploration is probably more than combat, and thieves in 2e really shined as skill monkeys in that regard (2e allowed you to distribute your points to your skills how you saw fit, rather than flat progression of 1e).


    The Normal. D&D has never had a viable class representing someone with intangible skills, such as luck, destiny, wits, or simply birthright. Typically it tries to shoehorn those persons into a 'fighter' class, but having the same class for gifted everyman and leader of soldiers and weapon master is problematic when typically fighter as implemented isn't even very good at what it's supposed to be, much less what it isn't..
    Doesn't 5e directly address this, with feats like Lucky that are available to anyone?
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrosanct View Post
    That's weird. I just got a notification that someone on my blocked list quoted me in this thread. How is that even possible, as I didn't think they could see my posts, let alone quote them.
    The feature is not reliable. It works fine for me to the extent of the old ignore function, in that I can't see the posts of anyone I block, because I use a browser and come in through the forums, yet sometimes I get just such notifications. I asked, and Morus said that if they use tapatalk or follow a link from the news feed, they can see your posts and quote them. (And, of course, there's still the old issue of seeing their posts whenever anyone else quotes 'em. And, I suppose, by the same token, if they aren't seeing your posts, they'll see 'em quoted, too.)

    Or you might just want to double-check your ignore list.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    The feature is not reliable.
    It works just fine. There are however a number of posters who log out and surf anonymously to avoid the feature. If they read something that triggers them, then they copy paste it, log back in as themselves, and force a quote in the mark up of the copy pasted text. The server than dutifully alerts you about it.

    Personally, I consider that dirty pool, and wish it was a flaggable offense.

    Frankly, it's not surprising that posters you wanted to block, felt an uncontrollable need to comment on your posts anyway. If they weren't that sort of person, you probably never would have felt the need to block them in the first place.
    XP Corwin, FormerlyHemlock gave XP for this post
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    The Sherlock Holmes. D&D has never had a viable true skill monkey, and the increased emphasis of combat over exploration has only made it worse, which is why rogue seems to have morphed into a striker/dps role.

    ....

    Yes. Also Druid.
    I agree to varying degrees with your assessments, but aren't those flaws of existing classes, not empty design spaces? In other words, you could rearrange all the boxes in the UHaul, and maybe throw away some of the boxes, in order to pack things more efficiently, but that doesn't mean there's currently any free space.

  10. #20
    I seem to remember a UA on on new Feats a while back. It wouldn't surprise me if there were more of them later on.

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