Latest D&D Survey Says "More Feats, Please!"; Plus New Survey About DMs Guild, Monster Hunter, Inquisitive, & Revenant - Page 11
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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trurl View Post
    I'm also disappointed by so many people playing half-elfs. It wouldn't be so bad if a person playing a half-elf had an interesting story about their parentage, but in my experience people playing this race put the least work in defining their character.
    In my current campaign, 4 of the 5 original PCs showed up as half elves. WTF?!?! So, we decided we were all siblings.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    LOL, a few post up-thread someone claimed the opposite.
    On ENWorld two different people had diametrically opposed claims of absolute truth? Unpossible!
    Laugh dave2008, ChrisCarlson, Shasarak, Savevsdeath laughed with this post

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhan_The_Black View Post
    So, I have an observation and a question stemming from it. By the way, feel free to tell me it's ridiculous if need be, maybe I'm just new....

    Looking at this discussion there seems to be quite a bit of negativity towards the idea of more options in general when they're for the player, with some outright stating that this is one of the biggest ways to impact tables in a bad way. Why is that? I'm primarily a player myself, and don't really understand the hostility. I love making characters, mechanically and through narrative, and every time Wizards releases an expansion to character options my field of possible characters and experiences in 5E gets bigger and better. What's wrong with that? Has it always been this way?
    Having played since BECMI and 1E, I'll give my thoughts (mostly as an AD&D GM). Assume everything is IME and IMO.

    As the referee and rules arbiter, the DM needs to be comfortable with the rules being used at the table. In AD&D, this generally played out as the DM deciding which Dragon articles, rules supplements, and third-party products (Judges' Guild, etc.) to include. Most of the time, the DM would be the one buying all the stuff beyond the PHB, anyway. If you bought the other stuff, it was either because you fell in love with, say, the Alchemist class in a certain expansion or you wanted to DM.

    Even for core "modules" like weapon speed factors or weapon vs. AC, the DM would decide whether to apply them or not. Most of the tweaks to core rules easily put into a couple of tables that could be shown to players, as needed -- I had a custom classes allowed and max level by race table, for example. These decisions were made, generally, to evoke a particular "feel" at the table or to address play issues (like rules lawyers and egregious min-maxers).

    To an extent, this was even encouraged by the 1E rule books. The math behind the to-hit values was hidden in tables that were only available to the DM (well, they were in the DMG). The DMG was full of variant rules and secret effects, like potion miscibility and side-effects for various spells. Artifacts were listed with actual blanks for their powers so that the DM could fill these in as he chose. The DM was considered the ultimate authority and the only window to the game the players had. A good DM was one who was able to manage the rules in a way that challenged the players in a fun and engaging way.

    As an example, I had very mixed thoughts about 2E AD&D. I absolutely despised (and still do) the addition of TWF to the Ranger class, but loved the rules for Priests and the ability for Thieves to tweak their skill advancement. The game I ran was basically 1E that borrowed copiously from 2E as a supplement. The TWF Ranger remained banned all the way through the end of 2E (and, actually, even the 3E Ranger was banned -- the 3.5 Ranger was allowed, but TWF was not an option). There was absolutely zero argument -- or even consideration of argument -- about this. It was my table and that was the game I was running.

    That doesn't mean there were no arguments about the game. Over 35ish years of being a GM, I've made a few really weird calls. It happens. Also, sometimes players see what's supposed to be an in-character plot hook about why things work different than expected as an out-of-character rules change. The point is that the arguments were rarely about whether I was following RAW. More often they were about what the rules should be at the table, with me being the final authority. The printed rules were either the base framework (core books) or resources to bolt on (and maybe tweak), as the DM chose.

    Just a note on what that "final authority" looked like: I was rarely the only DM available. Usually, there were 2-4 other folks who were somewhere on the spectrum from "willing to DM" to "eager/prefer to DM". At any time my entire group could have decided I wasn't the DM anymore. For the 35 years I've gamed, I've been GM 70+% of the time -- even when I really, really didn't want to -- because I was able to entertain my players at least as well as others available, despite having a fairly strong opinion on the authority of the GM. I actually think that "final authority" is necessary to a coherent, fun game.
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    You left out later 2e, another prime example
    2e is a funky beast.
    It had a lot of splatbooks early on, but the big hardcovers were not very PC focused: Book of Artifacts, Legends & Lore, and such. There was pretty much only Tome of Magic for players. The PC splatbooks were rather secondary, with exclusive kits rather than firm options that were less useful in advancing your character. You couldn't really use more than one kit. Many of its books were just advice books on historical topics, different types of campaign, and the like. Plus the endless world sourcebooks.

    The bloat was really exclusive to magic items and spells. And the DM has more control over the former, and the latter when it came to all but Priests and pallys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    though 4e hardly stuck around long enough to be killed of that particular problem, it was like undetected colon cancer to someone who just had a heart attack, when he realized he'd stepped on a land mine. ;P
    At the risk of edition warring, 4e produced a staggering amount of content in a short time. The bi-monthly PC splatbooks and Dragon really increased the bloat, especially the latter as it went from occasional new crunch every other month to new options each week.
    4e ended up with more feats than 3.5e in fewer years. And many of the classes - especially the PHB ones - were pretty heavily laden with content and options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Seriously, though, 'bloat' is a very real, but not inevitable problem. Games like traditional D&D that add options by adding new sub-systems to long lists - lists of spells, classes, sub-classes, spells, races, sub-races, spells, magic items, feats, and, of course, spells - suffer exponentially from bloat. Each new sub-system has potential negative (or synergistic) interactions with each preceding one. It rapidly becomes unmanageable. 3.x DMs dealt with that via 'Core only' games, for instance. Games that are more 'effects based' - Hero System is always the prime example (4e would be more familiar, but to a much lesser extent) - both absorb bloat more easily, and have less impetus to bloat, because you can add new elements without adding new sub-systems. So it's not really a concern if Hero puts out 40 sourcebooks, while it'd be a disaster if WotC did so.
    4e certainly avoided much of the subsystem bloat, with it's everything-is-core philosophy (and class/subclass design that was really hungry for pages, not leaving as much comparable space for optional rules and subsystems).
    But it was still pretty bloaty in terms of character options. And since class bloat is synonymous with power creep that really didn't help the edition in terms of longevity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    I think drawing the line with 'feats' or 'spells' or 'classes' or whatever is not the best way to go about it. What you're trying to model with those game elements would be a better way of seeing when you have 'enough.' Do we have 'enough' ways of modeling spellcasters? 30+ sub-classes, hundreds of spells, several different casting systems with more in the DMG? Yeah, maybe we do. Do we have enough fighter sub-classes? In print, maybe not. Including UA & such, yeah, probably.
    We're getting close with fighters, yeah. There's a lot of UA options. They might need a little tweaking in terms of power, but there's a goodly amount of options there. But UA's a good place for that content since they can churn it out safely, as DMs can easily approve everything in a case-by-case basis. They're far more optional, being untested. It doesn't fill store shelves with stacks of books for new players to feel intimidated by.

    It was a year or so ago where I compared D&D with Board Games rather than CCGs in terms of expansions. CCGs cycle through regular expansions, with new expansions coming into vogue and then going out of print. There's always a finite amount of product on the shelf because it circulates. But D&D can't do that and needs to keep it's products always in stock. So building too many books becomes an issue.
    Board games work similarly, periodically releasing a large evergreen expansion that changes the rules of the game and adds new options, but are firmly optional and you seldom play with more than 1 or 2 at a time. And they don't continue indefinitely; the company just sustains itself on slower but regular sales of the core material and expansions, with the occasional small revision of the rules or repackaging of the material.
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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sqn Cdr Flashheart View Post
    That's great, I wish my kids were more like your table, but they know a good math deal when they see one! And that's the problem with ASI/Feat thing in 5E, you shouldn't have to choose between better maths and more fun.
    I think the math is confusing people. My players have figured out that the bounded accuracy leads to situations where on average the PCs already have a mathematical advantage in most cases, which freed them up to pick feats, especially ones which offered interesting synergies. I think there's a strong argument to be made that the pure math advocates for ASI are missing the forest for the trees.
    XP Onslaught, ChrisCarlson, Jeff Albertson gave XP for this post

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercule View Post
    As an example, I had very mixed thoughts about 2E AD&D. I absolutely despised (and still do) the addition of TWF to the Ranger class, but loved the rules for Priests and the ability for Thieves to tweak their skill advancement. The game I ran was basically 1E that borrowed copiously from 2E as a supplement. The TWF Ranger remained banned all the way through the end of 2E (and, actually, even the 3E Ranger was banned -- the 3.5 Ranger was allowed, but TWF was not an option). There was absolutely zero argument -- or even consideration of argument -- about this. It was my table and that was the game I was running.

    Considering how TWF was a complete non-issue at my table (people took it or not, and those who did worked against penalties but had some specific concepts of what sort of character they wanted....and in my corner of the universe back then no one read Salavtore so we had no association of the ability with a certain ranger) I'm curious if your dislike was mechanical, Drizzt-connected, realism-based or something else?

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by camazotz View Post
    Considering how TWF was a complete non-issue at my table (people took it or not, and those who did worked against penalties but had some specific concepts of what sort of character they wanted....and in my corner of the universe back then no one read Salavtore so we had no association of the ability with a certain ranger) I'm curious if your dislike was mechanical, Drizzt-connected, realism-based or something else?
    The ranger with TWF was never a problem at my 2e table, most offenders of TWF were Fighters. With the addition of the Fighter's handbook, Two-weapon Style and Ambidexterity profs caused all the problems. This resulted in the introduction of heavy handed TWF penalties in 3e.

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhan_The_Black View Post
    ...
    Looking at this discussion there seems to be quite a bit of negativity towards the idea of more options in general when they're for the player, with some outright stating that this is one of the biggest ways to impact tables in a bad way. Why is that? I'm primarily a player myself, and don't really understand the hostility. I love making characters, mechanically and through narrative, and every time Wizards releases an expansion to character options my field of possible characters and experiences in 5E gets bigger and better. What's wrong with that? Has it always been this way?
    It's a big and complicated topic IMO and it varies a lot from table to table, there are plenty of GMs out there (I assume) that would love for there to be book after book of player options.

    Running a game can be a lot of work, and most GMs (especially those that have been at it a while I think) are not a fan of things that are put upon them that make running more difficult and less fun. They might make choices for the game that increase overhead or make things more complicated, etc, but they would rather do these things when they are appropriate instead of them being the default. Telling your players "No, you can't take that, or do that" isn't much fun, for either side, especially if it's "part of the rules". A GM can/will still do that if it makes the game better, but it is less fun than if the choice were expressly optional in the first place, and particularly not in a book that the player spent money on.

    Increasing player options (in general) is bad for bringing in new players. A lot of people will simply be overwhelmed by the choices, and while of course the GM can help guide them through character creation, as the number of complicated options grow the player will feel less and less a part of the process. They often feel like there is a giant gap between more experienced players and themselves, which is less fun.

    As options increase, many players tend to become more and more defined by the mechanical choices. People will argue about this, but it is a part of the human mind works. A good example is if an option becomes available that lets you do something specific that players of varying classes were doing before. There is a dissonance there that can manifest itself in many ways but will often lead to players without that option doing it less.

    A lack of options makes it apparent to a lot of players that more options aren't actually needed. I have seen players come into a system with less options and be frustrated for a short time, until they realized that all they had to do is either play against type in a few ways, or simply try something new. It is extremely unlikely that they have actually played a fraction of even the mechanical combinations available, let alone actual characters.

    In the end, 5e's stated intent of only allowing the core books +1 (or 2?) seems like a generally good idea for everyone. Players who for whatever reason want to try something "new" can get it without putting much of a burden on the GM and then the default conversation becomes "Which book to include?" rather than in other systems where it was "Which books is the GM going to argue to try to exclude?"
    XP lowkey13, Jeff Albertson gave XP for this post

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhan_The_Black View Post
    So, I have an observation and a question stemming from it. By the way, feel free to tell me it's ridiculous if need be, maybe I'm just new....

    Looking at this discussion there seems to be quite a bit of negativity towards the idea of more options in general when they're for the player, with some outright stating that this is one of the biggest ways to impact tables in a bad way. Why is that? I'm primarily a player myself, and don't really understand the hostility. I love making characters, mechanically and through narrative, and every time Wizards releases an expansion to character options my field of possible characters and experiences in 5E gets bigger and better. What's wrong with that? Has it always been this way?
    I'll tackle this as well (although I think that @Azzy and @Mercule have also covered this, and I agree with what they wrote).

    The DM should know the rules- which means the rules for the game world (that's all the finicky stuff that the players don't have to worry about) as well as all the rules related to the players (that's all the cool stuff players such as you like). How you view the expansion of player materials depends on a few factors-

    1. Increasing complexity (or bloat, if you prefer) is not a good thing. Even within the core rules, unexpected interactions can take place. Part of this is due to the fact that D&D has rules that modify other rules (meta-rules), and working out how these rules impact and refer to each other can be difficult. How does supplement A's spells work with Core Rule B to effect MM3's monster in light of supplement F?

    2. Regarding (1), there will be a player (let's call him "That guy," because we all know who he is) who will invariably want to play an Unearthed Arcana Class with a new feat using skills he found on the DM's guild. That guy probably has a clear conception of what he wants to do - but does the DM? What happens when, at level 5, the DM (and the rest of the table) understands That guy has an insanely overpowered character due to unforeseen interactions? Will That guy accept a reasonable reduction in his powers (aka, "nerfing") or will he demand to keep playing that character because, "It's in the rules!"

    3. This gets to the broader point, which is that bloat, for some people, makes D&D less fun. When there's too much bloat, then D&D becomes akin to the Augean Stables, and will need to be cleaned out with a new edition. We've all seen this cycle before, and we'd like to ... well, avoid that for a while. It's better to be hungry for more, than to overindulge today and have the hangover tomorrow.

    4. All that said, I agree that new content is fun for players. Even back to OSR and 1e, people would dream up new classes and/or play Dragon magazine classes. Variety is good! I think that some people are ... well, a little scared that we are going to see official player bloat (akin to 3e/PF). But it comes down to trust at the table. For example, I am currently playing an approved-by-the-DM UA class in a game, but if it doesn't work in some way (or is overpowered), I would be willing to adjust the character on-the-fly, because I know what it's like on the other side of the screen.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by camazotz View Post
    Considering how TWF was a complete non-issue at my table (people took it or not, and those who did worked against penalties but had some specific concepts of what sort of character they wanted....and in my corner of the universe back then no one read Salavtore so we had no association of the ability with a certain ranger) I'm curious if your dislike was mechanical, Drizzt-connected, realism-based or something else?
    It was entirely flavor-related. I've never been able to see how a border patrol/survivalist became tightly coupled to TWF. I don't really object to it as an option (the 3.5 ban was mainly inertia), but to have it suddenly pop up as a defining feature of the class was very bizarre. I also didn't care for the 2E Ranger becoming, essentially, a Druidic Paladin. I always liked that the Ranger got some Magic-User spells and took that as an indication that they earned all their spells through study and practice, not through any sort of religious/spiritual connection to nature or the old gods.

    Really, the 2E Ranger was not a descendant of the 1E Ranger. It had some similar themes -- a wilderness fighter who could cast spells and was good against humanoids. It also changed quite a bit -- TWF, no arcana, lower hit points, lost some of the "guardian" aspect. I like the 1E Ranger and dislike the 2E Ranger and everything that inherits from it. I hadn't actually realized the disconnect until you asked your question, though. I doubt I'll ever be able to give a Ranger class a fair shake. The 5E version might be a good reconciliation of the 1E and 2E versions, though -- with the simple change of using the 2d6 Hit Dice from the UA version (I also liked Ambuscade, flavor-wise, but toned it down to a free bonus action).

    That said, I loathe Drizzt and the Realms. I think my disdain of the 2E Ranger probably fuels my ire at Drizzt more than the other way around, though. I'd probably view Drizzt in much the same way as I do Elminster (a pathetic, poorly-written, but ultimately dismiss-able, Mary Sue) if he wasn't also iconic for the 2E Ranger.

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