D&D 5th Edition UA and depth of complexity - Page 8
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  1. #71
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    Juggling a 4-month-old so gotta make this brief.

    Yes, two items that came out of a previous conversation I had about "why is combat more fun than the other pillars" but that I left off my list upthread are:
    - Risk
    - Teamwork

    My guess is that the answer is a combination of Teamwork and Character Customization. If you had lots of options for how your character would approach Exploration and Interaction, and that doing so required synergy and cooperation...well, yeah, and maybe if there was Risk of Dying...I could see them being more fun.

    I'm not sure I see Sherlock Holmes as a hole in the design space of 5e, for the same reason Hemlock mentioned: the rules don't support that playstyle. So, sure, there's a "hole" in the character concept space in the sense that you can't play that sort of character, but neither is there room for the Journalist, the Mathematician (although clearly it would be called the Quant), or the Lawyer.
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  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    You asked a legitimate question. I tried to answer it. I don't understand why you think my answer was disrespectful, but it wasn't intended to be.
    For the record, I don't think you were being disrespectful. Or not intentionally so. The competitive nature to discussion around here just wears on me.

    As my wife likes to point out, "Yes, but..." can almost always be replaced with "Yes, and...". And with very different connotations.

    Perhaps I should punctuate fewer of my opinions with question marks, to avoid mistakenly conveying that I am looking for edification.

    The problem with any analogy is that you tend to end up arguing over the details of an analogy rather than the thing itself. Suffice to say, that my answer remains to your question, "It's both. Poor class design creates unused design space."
    Analogies are often used to illustrate an argument, but get picked apart as if they were offered as proof of an argument.

    I was just trying to illustrate. To explain my thinking, not prove I was right.
    Last edited by Elfcrusher; Friday, 27th January, 2017 at 01:52 AM.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    I'm not sure I see Sherlock Holmes as a hole in the design space of 5e, for the same reason Hemlock mentioned: the rules don't support that playstyle. So, sure, there's a "hole" in the character concept space in the sense that you can't play that sort of character, but neither is there room for the Journalist, the Mathematician (although clearly it would be called the Quant), or the Lawyer.
    Hemlock is quite right that the blind spaces in the rules make for problems in the sort of games you run, and that the more space your rules cover well, the more ways your mechanics impact the game. I don't think he's quite right that you can't accomplish this by something like, "Has advantage on every skill used in investigation.", but that without an investigation subsystem that isn't going to be a really exciting part of the game or something DM's will think to do.

    (See, all of these topics - class design, skill challenges, breadth of complexity, depth of complexity, why combat is fun - really are tied together.)

    As for "Sherlock Holmes", there is room. You might think of "journalist", "mathematician", and "lawyer" is being very small amounts of what the class that allows Sherlock Holmes actually would cover. "Pursue Rumors", "Spread Gossip", "Make Use of Leverage", "Enumerate Anything", "Dazzle them with Jargon", and "Make a Legal Bargain with the Universe" could really be things, and they'd fit in a generic fantasy world.
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  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    Analogies are often used to illustrate an argument, but get picked apart as if they were offered as proof of an argument.

    I was just trying to illustrate. To explain my thinking, not prove I was right.
    Good. But what I'm trying to say is that I learned over the years of arguing on the internet, that if you want to be understood, don't reach for analogies. They almost always obfuscate rather than clarify, and I almost invariably end up regretting making them.

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    OK that's interesting. Deserving of a thread, of it's own, just not sure in what forum...
    Ha. I think I'd rather fork out a thread where I tried to explain your misconceptions regarding dissociated mechanics. I think I could rather quickly prove they are a thing.

    But since you mention edition warring and such, then that's probably not a good idea either, as I don't want to get dragged into a bunch of past conversations by people with chips on their shoulder.

    That reminds me. Back in the early 2e days, I'd translated my heavily modded 1e AD&D game to 2e, and part of that was creating an 'Adventurer' and a 'Professional' class, both of which were just low-exp platforms for accumulating skills. The Adventurer barely viable (the Thief looked tough by comparison), the Professional not at all.
    In the day, I don't think I ever thought about how ridiculous the class designs in AD&D were. There was just no guide for how a class should be to work with.

    I think the point was that D&D has defined it's own genre. You hear that sometimes, in defense of D&D's abject failure to model any fantasy sub-genre.
    I'm not convinced D&D fails to model fantasy, and I find the claim weird coming from a guy that has just told me that any time mechanics are dissociated its a failure of imagination and not of the system. But, I do agree D&D has not only defined it's own genre, but become genre defining, in that you are hard pressed to find a fantasy writer these days that hasn't been influenced at least a little by D&D.

    Except when it doesn't, because the game (and, in the TSR days, how people played it) has varied so much one version might very well fail to model another...
    Which is why I hate when they change fluff between editions, even indirectly. I was able to port my 1.0e game to 3.0e without too much fuss. But they seem perversely determined to make it hard to port my game up to 4e or 5e rules. Echohawk does these wonderfully researched articles on the history of monster fluff, and when I read them and there are sharp breaks in the consensus fluff in 4e or 5e, or when I see sharp breaks in the setting continuity when a Flind suddenly becomes a 9HD demon, I have to wonder 'why'?
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  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Ha. I think I'd rather fork out a thread where I tried to explain your misconceptions regarding dissociated mechanics.
    Dissociated mechanics /are/ a misconception.

    But since you mention edition warring and such, then that's probably not a good idea either
    It's a concept fabricated for the edition war, so yeah. We could take it to PM, but, best case scenario, we determine we're talking about two different things.

    In the day, I don't think I ever thought about how ridiculous the class designs in AD&D were. There was just no guide for how a class should be to work with.
    There were the classes, themselves. You mentioned the different exp charts, for a good instance. And, 2e had those class-design guidelines.

    Then, there were the initial reactions. New players would be taken aback by some things more than others, some of them class-related. Like, why is it a magic-user 'can't' use a sword? What does that even mean? Or what do you mean I 'forgot' the spell? I just cast it, clearly I know it really well.

    I'm not convinced D&D fails to model fantasy
    It's arguably a broad and ill-defined genre, often crossing over with sci-fi, for instance, so you could, if you were so inclined, cut D&D vast quantities of slack, I'm sure.

    And, it probably does end up touching on the weirdness of classes, again, too. Just look at how D&D combats tend to play out. You have your primordial fighter, cleric,
    magic-user party, it fights something. The fighter stands at the front and fights, the wizard stand back & casts spells at the enemy, the cleric heals the fighter.

    That prettymuch always happens in D&D in one form or another. In genre, not so much. The weakest link, of course, being the Cleric. Indispensable in D&D, virtually absent from genre. Vancian casting doesn't help, either. Nor does it end there.

    But, I do agree D&D has not only defined it's own genre, but become genre defining, in that you are hard pressed to find a fantasy writer these days that hasn't been influenced at least a little by D&D.
    It's not hard to think of one or two. Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jim Butcher. In spite of that, neither of their works feature Vancian casting nor clerics standing behind the hero healing him.

    Which is why I hate when they change fluff between editions, even indirectly.
    Fluff is mostly pretty easy to change. Mostly. It depends on how easy it is to tease it out from the presentation of the mechanics, of course.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Friday, 27th January, 2017 at 05:45 AM.
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  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Dissociated mechanics /are/ a misconception.
    Along with "suspension of disbelief" and "breaking immersion".

    (Well, actually, immersion can be broken, but not in the way it's usually used.)


    It's a concept fabricated for The Edition wWar, so yeah.
    I think The Edition War needs to start being capitalized. Like "The Great War" or "The Clone Wars". It will make it sound even more gloriously cataclysmic to those who weren't there for it. (Both newcomers and those, like me, who were on a decade(s) long break from RPGs.)
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  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Hemlock is quite right that the blind spaces in the rules make for problems in the sort of games you run, and that the more space your rules cover well, the more ways your mechanics impact the game. I don't think he's quite right that you can't accomplish this by something like, "Has advantage on every skill used in investigation.", but that without an investigation subsystem that isn't going to be a really exciting part of the game or something DM's will think to do.
    Here I have to point out that I'm a computer programmer, and I choose my words carefully. I believe I wrote that you can't create a "mechanically interesting" class without mechanics; this is not to be confused with saying that you can't create a class that has advantage on every skill used in investigation, but rather a value judgment that such a class doesn't meet my threshold for "interesting."

    I don't mind admitting when I'm wrong, but in this specific case I believe I already accounted for the argument you're making here as part of my initial statement. :-)

    (See, all of these topics - class design, skill challenges, breadth of complexity, depth of complexity, why combat is fun - really are tied together.)

    As for "Sherlock Holmes", there is room. You might think of "journalist", "mathematician", and "lawyer" is being very small amounts of what the class that allows Sherlock Holmes actually would cover. "Pursue Rumors", "Spread Gossip", "Make Use of Leverage", "Enumerate Anything", "Dazzle them with Jargon", and "Make a Legal Bargain with the Universe" could really be things, and they'd fit in a generic fantasy world.
    I wouldn't mind making room for Sherlock Holmes, but I think the way I would choose to do it is by inventing new affordances first (i.e. rules for solving mysteries), and then write the character class in terms of those affordances. I think there isn't any reason you couldn't introduce the notions of Scenes, Find a Clue, and Noticing clues into D&D--the example I gave was intended to still be in the D&D genre.

    A DM who says "You've just entered a Scene" is making a statement about the mode of play just as emphatically as a DM who says, "Okay, combat is starting, please declare actions." (Or "roll initiative", for those who favor that sort of thing.) D&D being what it is, you could probably apply the Scene rules to traps as well as to longer-term mysteries.

    Remember, there's a distinction between "what the PCs do" and "how the players do it." A large part of the art of running a good game consists in making sure that the right things are happening at the metagame level, at the level of granularity that will make it fun for the players sitting at the table. As the Alexandrian points out, you could conduct dungeon crawling by having players roll an abstract "dungeoneering" check and then narrating the monsters they killed and the treasure they find, and you could let players navigating cities by describing the city block they're on and the buildings to the north/south/east/west and then asking them which direction they walk in--but in practice, none of us actually does either of those things. We choose the level detail we present to the players, and the level of detail of action declarations which we implicitly are asking from them, based on the context of what is actually happening. When I suggest creating rules for things like Find a Clue/Solve a Scene, it is in the context of offering more affordances to the players at the metagame level, so they know what kinds of action declarations make sense. It doesn't mean that action resolution has to get new rules.

    Simple example:

    PCs enter a dungeon. DM calls for a DC 15 Perception check. Any PCs who pass it Notice a Clue: "There are tracks in the stone floor, occasional scratches or small holes in the stone itself. If these are footprints, whatever made them has razor-sharp talons and feet over sixteen inches long."

    Later on they find a room with two holes in the wall. A DC 15 Investigation check yields another Clue: "A chain used to run through these holes--probably with manacles attached to both ends, keeping a large creature chained to this wall."

    Later on they stumble across an old tapestry. If any of the PCs examines the tapestry, they find writing in a language which turns out to be Drow. If they can read it, it tells of the political struggles between two noble houses, and how one house lost the struggle and was exiled here but was determined to regain favor. This also counts as Noticing a Clue.

    Finally, the PCs came here expecting to find drow warriors, but no matter where they go in the dungeon, the place is empty. There is furniture and some treasure, but no drow, no bodies, and no weapons or equipment. If a player comments on this to the DM, the DM will inform him that he has Noticed a Clue.

    Once all four Clues are acquired, the DM informs the PCs of a vital piece of information: this dungeon is home to a half-drow, half-demon creature called a Draegloth, which was bred by the exiled house in a risky bid to regain power, but it has now broken free of the drow, killed all of their warriors who did not flee, and eaten all of their bodies. A DC 20 Arcana or History check will provide additional details on the likely capabilities of a Draegloth.

    A Sherlock would be able to make an intuitive leap to receive this information as soon as he acquired three Clues, instead of four.

    Obviously, the value of such a class is directly related to the value of the hidden information the DM includes in his campaign. Information such as "the Duke is really a Rakshasa" or "this entrance to the tomb is a sham--there must be another way in" or "the Deryni and the Murgos aren't allies--they're at war with each other as well as us!" could be quite valuable.
    --
    Hemlock

    Ceterum autem censeo cyclic initiative esse delendam

    Dropping the turn-by-turn initiative system is the best thing I ever did for 5E: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...ous-initiative
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  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Good. But what I'm trying to say is that I learned over the years of arguing on the internet, that if you want to be understood, don't reach for analogies. They almost always obfuscate rather than clarify, and I almost invariably end up regretting making them.

    Yeah, internet analogies are like a lemon meringue pie. No matter how delicious they are to the person who makes them, there's always someone who will want to quibble about the way they were made.
    --
    Hemlock

    Ceterum autem censeo cyclic initiative esse delendam

    Dropping the turn-by-turn initiative system is the best thing I ever did for 5E: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...ous-initiative
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    That prettymuch always happens in D&D in one form or another. In genre, not so much. The weakest link, of course, being the Cleric. Indispensable in D&D, virtually absent from genre. Vancian casting doesn't help, either. Nor does it end there.
    One of the better things about 5E is that you really can ditch clerics successfully in favor of bards and druids, and to a lesser extent paladins, which is good because I hate (non-Dark Sun) clerics because they are almost-inextricably tied to offscreen uber-NPCs who, at least according to the default game lore, interfere constantly with the party's adventures (granting spells, turning undead, etc.) but never actually do anything directly without the cleric "casting a spell" first; and the gods' motives generally don't make any sense even to the DM, nor does the "worship" associated with them. Clerics are incoherent theologically and they make the story incoherent as well, unless you make the assumption that gods don't really exist and that clerics are all just deluded magical technicians of some sort, just like wizards--but most DMs don't make that assumption, so clerics are generally just a mess.

    It's not hard to think of one or two. Lawrence Watt-Evans, Jim Butcher. In spite of that, neither of their works feature Vancian casting nor clerics standing behind the hero healing him.
    What makes you think Jim Butcher hasn't been influenced by D&D? Harry even plays D&D with Billy and the werewolves on game nights. IIRC, he plays a big dumb barbarian who smashes things with his axe. It's hard for me to believe the author hasn't at least played D&D a few times in his life.

    I could buy Lawrence Watt-Evans, and of course obviously David Eddings isn't even influenced by Tolkien, let alone D&D.
    --
    Hemlock

    Ceterum autem censeo cyclic initiative esse delendam

    Dropping the turn-by-turn initiative system is the best thing I ever did for 5E: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...ous-initiative

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