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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
    Back in 2009 or so I made a house rule document to fix 3.5 that was basically a list of banned stuff.

    Since I'm basically lazy and a lot of work has been done for me I have thought about what I want to borrow and I have narrowed it down to the following. . .

    So cherry picked a few concepts from B/X through to 5E.

    Spell lists will also be very truncated (around a dozen for each level).

    So any ideas what you would do with a modern OSR game that is not a clone or a very simplified 3E which is sort of what I am aiming at.
    Done and done. It's called Modos 2, and it's available on DrivethruRPG.

    It's like simplified 3e, but also includes elements similar to Numenera, Fate, and Savage Worlds.

    The best part: it's open-source. So you can use whatever you want for your game. Just give some credit where it's due, hey?
    Modular, open source, free role-playing rules: Modos RPG
    modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com
    Tweets: @MichaelTwtr

  2. #22
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    I think I don't like universal proficiency bonuses in general.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    Do you honestly believe that it's efficient game design, to track advancement of a stat that can't actually be represented using the basic system mechanics? That it's worth tracking the wizard's attack bonus all the way up to +12, when a +12 can't meaningfully interact with the AC 35 enemies that the high-level wizard is facing, such that they need a 20 in order to hit regardless of their level?
    First, please ease off on the outrage. I'm not your enemy.

    So first, what part of a Wizard's BAB can't be represented in the system mechanics? Or were you referring to something else?

    Second, a +12 BAB can be very useful. You just have to apply it to Touch Attack (ranged or otherwise) spells.

    As for levels: They don't exist in the real world. A chess grand master is just as hittable and breakable as the novice. No increase in hit points or AC, no matter how far they advance their chess skills.

    But I'm still confused. You keep saying that I don't like, or shouldn't like class and level systems, and I don't know where that's coming from. I like them just fine.

    But you're focused on levels, and I like to remember the "class" part: Each class has its strengths and weaknesses, and that's how it should be. The tough characters should get tougher, the quick characters should get quicker, the sneaky characters should get sneakier, spell casters should be able to cast better spells, etc.

    The universal proficiency approach says the quick guys get tougher just as fast as the tough guys, and they get sneakier just as fast as the sneaky ones do. Universal Proficiency systems make it very difficult to improve your specialty at anything other than that generic rate. I can get better at something just as fast as the specialist, and never waste a moment on practice.

    Like I said though, I'm not saying that you're "wrong" about what you like, or why. I'm just saying that other people can legitimately disagree with you, and they're not "wrong" either.

    Small tangent: I knew a gamer who always played Wizards, and almost always Elves. Characters died at a regular, steady pace. Because the character was proficient with a long sword, this player thought that made them a minor fighter. So at low levels the combat sequence went like this:

    Round 1 - Cast Mage Armor of Shield if MA was already up.
    Round 2 - Cast Magic Missile at the Orc (or whatever they face)
    Round 3 - Having exhausted low level spells, the character would draw her sword and charge into combat.
    Round 4 - Die.

    At first level, in D&D 3.5, the Wizard's attack bonus (not counting ability scores) is only one less than the Fighter or Barbarian. But even with a good AC (Mage Armor + Shield + Dex can get you a 20 at 1st level), the character isn't going to hit well or often, and doesn't have the hit points to stand in combat.

    End Tangent

    That was an example of a player who understood what their level was, but didn't really grasp the difference in the class specialties. The player was real and the situation I described happened every two weeks or so. The player had some developmental issues, and those limitations made it hard to learn from past mistakes, so I'm not getting down on them. I just included the tale to emphasize that character class should matter just as much as levels do.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    First, please ease off on the outrage. I'm not your enemy.
    Tone can be difficult to evaluate through text. I am genuinely just curious as to your position, because it seems to be internally inconsistent, and I don't know which of us is not understanding.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    So first, what part of a Wizard's BAB can't be represented in the system mechanics?
    A bonus of +12 doesn't fit into the d20 mechanic, when you're attacking something with AC 35, as level 20 characters are wont to do. Whether you have +0 or +15, that difference can't be represented here, because they give identical results.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    As for levels: They don't exist in the real world. A chess grand master is just as hittable and breakable as the novice. No increase in hit points or AC, no matter how far they advance their chess skills.
    This is why I think we should be in agreement. We both acknowledge that it's unrealistic to get better at skills, when you don't actually use those skills.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    But I'm still confused. You keep saying that I don't like, or shouldn't like class and level systems, and I don't know where that's coming from. I like them just fine.
    If you like any edition of D&D, then you have already accepted that it's okay to get better at skills that you don't use. Every edition makes wizards get better at hitting things with their weapon, even if they never actually use that weapon, so clearly you're okay with making concessions from realism for the sake of gameplay. Otherwise, you would object to wizards getting better with their weapons at all, regardless of the rate. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

    If we're in agreement that it's okay to get better at skills that you don't use, then the question is how much? I posit that there's no point in getting any better, if the difference doesn't actually matter when the ability comes into question (e.g. if a level 20 monster has AC 35, then there's no point in tracking the wizard's attack bonus all the way to level 20, if you can only hit on a natural 20 regardless). What do you think is the point of tracking the wizard's attack bonus with their sword, if it's not going to affect the outcome of their sword attack either way?
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    But you're focused on levels, and I like to remember the "class" part: Each class has its strengths and weaknesses, and that's how it should be. The tough characters should get tougher, the quick characters should get quicker, the sneaky characters should get sneakier, spell casters should be able to cast better spells, etc.
    [...]
    Small tangent: I knew a gamer who always played Wizards, and almost always Elves. Characters died at a regular, steady pace. Because the character was proficient with a long sword, this player thought that made them a minor fighter.
    [...]
    That was an example of a player who understood what their level was, but didn't really grasp the difference in the class specialties. The player was real and the situation I described happened every two weeks or so. The player had some developmental issues, and those limitations made it hard to learn from past mistakes, so I'm not getting down on them. I just included the tale to emphasize that character class should matter just as much as levels do.
    It's a good example, because I think it really gets at the heart of the matter, which is that certain editions of the game (especially 3.5) gives you abilities that you aren't supposed to use. A wizard isn't supposed to go into melee with their sword, in third edition, any more than a fighter with a couple of ranks in Disable Device and average Dexterity is supposed to disarm a trap. Wizards are supposed to cower in the back, and use a crossbow if they're out of spells; while disarming traps is the job for a dedicated specialist.

    The obvious follow-up question to that is, why do characters have those abilities, if they aren't supposed to use them? Why does an elven wizard have proficiency with swords, if using a sword is a bad decision that they're never supposed to make? Why does a Strength-based fighter have the option of putting ranks into Disable Device, if they'll never succeed with it?

    The true answer, at least as far as third edition is concerned, is that it's a trap. They're all intended as traps. New players are supposed to make elven wizards who immediately die when they go to swing their sword, and fighters who die when they try to disarm a trap, because that way they would get to feel better about themselves when they later realized how to make characters that were actually useful. (In typical practice, experienced players would instead get to feel better about themselves by pointing out the traps to new players, and the trap options quickly ended up just being a waste of ink.)

    That was nearly two decades ago, though. Modern game design has moved on, and it's no longer considered clever to try and trick players in such a fashion. Current design ideals are that, if a player has an ability, then it should at least be nominally useful even if it isn't optimized. That's why wizards in fourth edition were only at -4 to hit with their basic weapon attacks, relative to fighters of the same level; even though it's an ability that they weren't intended to rely on (as evidence by their lack of class-based weapon powers), it's still an ability that they had, and giving them an ability that didn't even work would have been considered malicious design. I'm not sure which part of that you disagree with.

  5. #25
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    I saw this when you posted it, but took a few days off to get my head around it. I think we're dealing with a major miscommunication.

    When we talk about "skills", let's make sure we're talking about those things listed as Skills, rather than the total character ability. Combat proficiencies are something else.

    Having said that, there is no edition of D&D, ever, prior to 4e that auto advanced skills. Skills get advanced when a player explicitly spends earned skill points on them, and no other time. This represents training and practice with that skill. There is no requirement that you *use* said skill in play because many skills can be learned anew that can't be used untrained.

    Combat ability auto advances in class/level based games because the vast majority of Exp is earned in combat situations. Martial types advance their martial abilities the fastest because those are the abilities they use the most while earning Exp on an adventure. Spell casters advance casting ability the fastest because those are the areas that they use the most. Rogues and other skill-monkeys gain skills faster because that's wheat they use most while adventuring.

    Mixed classes, such as the Paladin and Ranger advance in martial prowess quickly because that's their major area of expertise. They don't get spells until they have several levels to advance their martial ability, and when they get them they advance slowly (Caster level is always half their character level.)

    So I honestly don't get this argument that class/level systems auto advance skills PCs don't practice. It was never true prior to 4e and the Universal Proficiency bonus we're discussing.

    On the topic of a caster's BAB being hard to track/manage, I'm still lost. A +12 at 20th is no harder to handle than a +20. And, as I pointed out, it does matter and it does get used.

    That AC 35 thing you mentioned probably has the Saving throws from hell, on top of whatever else it has, so spells that allow Saves become less and less reliable. Ray spells, that merely require a ranged touch, typically allow no Save, and that AC 35 may have a Touch AC as low as 8. (Dragons are notorious for this sort of thing.) My caster's +12 means that ray spells are almost sure to work. So are straight touch attacks (Touch of Idiocy can absolutely ruin a casting monster's day.) +12 is very relevant, and certainly worth the "bother" of keeping track of.

    Now, regarding your question about why Fighters might have ranks in Disable Device when they're never supposed to use them: Good question. I have no answer to why a fighter with an average Dex would waste their scarce and valuable skill points on a cross-class skill they'll never use. It's a question best aimed at the player of said fighter.

    Co-mingling skill sand proficiencies for a moment, to deal with the "Wizard with a Sword" example, you're right that the Wiz' shouldn't be swinging a sword. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a BAB, just that they should have the brains to put it to good use.

    There are remarkably few spells that require a normal "hit" in combat. Most that require a dice roll at all are Touch or Ranged Touch spells, and those need hit a target number that's typically much lower than the full AC. So a lower BAB works, and discourages them from diving into melee, where their inherent squishiness comes into play.

    Over all, it seems as if you're reading my words, and somehow taking to mean the exact opposite. Skills that PC's don't use or train in don't advance with levels, before 4E. I never suggested or agreed that they did. Combat abilities advance proportional to the use they get while adventuring: The more time spent in martial activities, the faster the martial abilities grow.

    That's the essence of class/level systems like D&D.
    XP Shasarak gave XP for this post

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