D&D 5E Changes in Interpretation

Ahnehnois

First Post
Calling 4e as a product offensive is pure edition warring that adds nothing constructive to the discussion.
You seem to have imposed a much narrower meaning on the statement than I intended and ignored the subsequent posts that explained it as being a broader statement on business strategy and basic product quality that touches on many things other than the game itself. Nonetheless, rendering an opinion of a product (an opinion that is prevalent and relevant) is an opinion, nothing more and nothing less. It says nothing about whatever portion of the fans were not offended. The last ten pages of posters apparently understood this distinction.

The "I win" button is the most flexible thing you can possibly have - and renders creativity pointless.
That kind of strawman terminology is really far less appropriate. Depending on one's perspective, this "I win button" is either something that never existed in D&D (a rule so gamebreaking it couldn't be used or modified to be used in an actual game), or something that would be expected in any fantasy roleplaying game (instant death abilities, magic that breaks the laws of the game world, etc.).

Creativity comes into its own only when you have limits and challenges.
Yes, i.e. the kinds of challenges you can't have in a game that is balanced around providing an expected difficulty level in a restrictive context.
 

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D'karr

Adventurer
Yes, i.e. the kinds of challenges you can't have in a game that is balanced around providing an expected difficulty level in a restrictive context.

Except that the expected difficulty level is "infinitely" tweakable and from there the difficulty can also be assessed on at least 3 parameters. That is a lot less restrictive than you might think.

If a player wants to attempt something the DM gets to determine, based on the description, the "difficulty" of the attempt and the degree of difficulty from there. That allows a very large range of options.

In 1e and Moldvay basic, I used to determine these things by assigning a difficulty level based on a "perceived" percentage. So I would wing it and come up with what I thought was a "good" average difficulty and had the player roll percentage dice to determine if his character succeeded. This was usually a completely made up number with no real basis on the "experience" of the character, or anything else except the "perceived" circumstance.

In 4e I still have all the creative "open-space" to wing it, but I have a framework that gives me "good enough" averages to shoot for. So I go the the pg. 42 table and I assign whatever is being attempted a level. By tying it to level I can relate it to several meta-mechanics in the game such as monster level, trap/hazard level, the level of the dungeon they are in, the level of the adventure, or a perceived level that I've already assumed for the task. Then I assign it a difficulty based on what they are attempting. It might be a level 1 task that is easy, or a level 6 task that is hard. And when the player is rolling for the attempt he is using the character appropriate "skill". So that the in-gameworld character skill is accounted for in the attempt.

In 3.x there were some issues when I attempted to do something similar. I could default to my "percentage" solution or I could "derive" DC numbers based on "known quantity" tasks. The problem is that some of those "known quantity" tasks did not "scale" well. The perfect example of this lack of scaling was the "tumble" task to avoid provoking an AoO. This particular task had static DC numbers and did not in any way take into account the "experience" of the opponent that was trying to kill you.

In 4e if a player wanted to do something similar, since this would be an improvised action not covered by the rules, I'd take the level of the creature look it up in the p.42 table and assign it an easy/moderate/hard DC based on the circumstance. The player would roll acrobatics, and the character skill is taken into account right from the beginning.

IME, this has worked a lot better than me winging percentage numbers or trying to derive (guess) suitable DC numbers for tasks.





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Ratskinner

Adventurer
What do you think about XP for GP? I'm not sure that's enough to provide the difference between task and conflict resolution that Vincent talks about, but maybe... Though I guess the only conflict there is PCs vs. the Dungeon.

I think it worked as motivation... sorta... I mean its kinda circular; "Let's clear a dungeon! Why? So we can get XP? Why do we want XP? So we can get better at clearing dungeons!" Eventually, its just Gamist points, I guess (that is how XP reportedly started). I'm not sure that "We want loots!" is a sufficient Narrative premise on its own, there's just not enough... tension(?)... there. (Although it certainly can be a part of such when manifesting as greed or materialism.)

Although...how do you see "XP for GP" fitting into the Task/Conflict resolution discussion?:confused: I feel like that's a jump, or I'm missing something. Certainly XP in D&D is often used as an incentivizer for "roleplay" (over the objections of some), and it is one of the great token/incentivizer mechanics of the game; so it could also be used to encourage N play, but...that's where you lost me.

It makes sense to me. I don't see anything in 4E that would keep you from playing Story Now. That said:

I think that, if you're going to play that way, you have to take some time to add moral and ethical issues to the game. I don't think they are part of the initial situation of the game - in either the races, classes, or general background of the Points of Light world. ("The world needs heroes", yes, but that suggests High Concept Sim to me. I don't get a strong vibe of "What kind of hero will you be?" from the game.) As you play, the abilities and powers you get don't necessarily suggest more depth or breadth in addressing those issues, though some Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies do.

Well said, and very much a part what I was trying to get at.

I don't think it would be very hard to make moral and ethical issues a key feature of play, though. I don't think anything really gets in the way.

I tend to agree. IME, people have been doing this since at least 2e (with varying degrees of success, mind).
 

Yup. I mean, the "I'm a monster" video basically told all players of gnomes: "Your character - which you've been playing for years? - it sucks. It is uncool. You needn't give us your uncool money any more, loser."

So I obliged them.

I guess you really must hate Paizo and 3.5 era Dragon magazine then.



And there's worse
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(With thanks to Alien Rope Burn and grognards.txt)

I always found the 3.5 era gnomes to be largely superfluous - a race of underground miners (like dwarves) who had one big racial thing: Speak With Burrowing Animals - and their favoured class was the class most commonly considered a joke - the bard. (Now I like bards - but I don't expect people to consider the generic class cool)

4e gnomes on the other hand are cool. They are small fey tricksters whose big thing is to be able to turn invisible. Not mistakeable for any other race at all but a distinctive mythic archetype to themselves and several levels of awesome over the "can talk with burrowing animals" gnome.
 
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LostSoul

Adventurer
I think it worked as motivation... sorta... I mean its kinda circular; "Let's clear a dungeon! Why? So we can get XP? Why do we want XP? So we can get better at clearing dungeons!" Eventually, its just Gamist points, I guess (that is how XP reportedly started). I'm not sure that "We want loots!" is a sufficient Narrative premise on its own, there's just not enough... tension(?)... there. (Although it certainly can be a part of such when manifesting as greed or materialism.)

Although...how do you see "XP for GP" fitting into the Task/Conflict resolution discussion?:confused: I feel like that's a jump, or I'm missing something. Certainly XP in D&D is often used as an incentivizer for "roleplay" (over the objections of some), and it is one of the great token/incentivizer mechanics of the game; so it could also be used to encourage N play, but...that's where you lost me.

I wasn't thinking that XP for GP does anything to encourage Story Now play, I was wondering how it fed into Task/Conflict resolution.

As I see it, the point of play is to explore the mysterious dungeon. XP for GP is your basic motivation that feeds into exploration - the GP is hidden in there somewhere, now go get it and bring it back out. When you get it and level up, you gain access to more levels of the dungeon (because now you can handle the monsters and other obstacles down there), and stuff tends to be more interesting the deeper you go.

I guess you could look at that as the conflict - a Task such as searching for secret doors helps resolve that conflict - but it seems too broad to be what Vincent was talking about. Maybe not, though.
 

I guess you really must hate Paizo and 3.5 era Dragon magazine then.

Sir, you misunderstand.

I do not object to anyone poking fun at gnomes. Gnomes are capable of taking a joke, being tricksters themselves. The things you posted were all in good fun. (And I must say I didn't at all care for the 3.5 bard favored class myself. Give me the illusionist all the way!)

Context is everything.

The context for the animated short you refer to was WotC deciding the gnome race didn't see enough use to be included in the PHB as a playable race. Given that two of my favorite, longest-played characters are gnomes, and not easily translatable into anything else, this was distressing. Mearls himself has admitted in an L&L that they gave a large number of gaming groups cause to tune them out with that decision.

That was bad enough. What was worse was the dismissive way WotC kept handling this decision, like it was just no big deal and we all ought to get over it. There was a bit of a vibe of, "We really don't care how you feel, there aren't enough of you to matter. Shove off."

In this context, they released a video of a gnome and a tiefling. Now, without the context, some of the things the gnome says could be taken as a bit funny - though I've never known D&D gnomes to be as blindingly stupid as the one in the video, I could stretch the point for the sake of humor. But I'm seeing two of my beloved characters in that short, being mocked and then vaporized by the oh-so-cool tiefling.

Is it so strange that I would take this as insult on top of injury? It came across as just incredibly insensitive and hamhanded.

Even if you do find it strange, I really don't have to justify my feelings to you. They are what they are.

I repeat, I've got no problem with a D&D webcomic or Dragon cartoon poking fun at gnomes - there's plenty of stuff in D&D worth ribbing now and then, and anyone taking the time to make such a thing is probably a D&D fan anyway, and thus joking from the standpoint of a fan.

I did not see the video in question is coming from the standpoint of a fan poking fun. It came across as hostile and dismissive, instead.
 

D'karr

Adventurer
I did not see the video in question is coming from the standpoint of a fan poking fun. It came across as hostile and dismissive, instead.

Wow, you saw a lot more in this cartoon than I, or anyone in my group ever did. I didn't see any "coded" message in the cartoon at all.

As a matter of fact the 4e gnome is the only gnome anyone has ever played in my games. According to the player because it was the first one that was not "a dwarf with a different name"

Different strokes I guess.





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Wow, you saw a lot more in this cartoon than I, or anyone in my group ever did. I didn't see any "coded" message in the cartoon at all.

Sigh. Part of the problem of talking about this stuff is that the mere act of talking about it makes one sound more passionate about it than one really is.

I realize that after spending a number of paragraphs describing how I felt and why, it makes it sound like I'm ready to swear a vow to seek bloody vengeance on WotC. But I'm not.

The video annoyed me, irked me, left me with a sour taste in my mouth. That's about the extent of it.
 

The context for the animated short you refer to was WotC deciding the gnome race didn't see enough use to be included in the PHB as a playable race. Given that two of my favorite, longest-played characters are gnomes, and not easily translatable into anything else, this was distressing. Mearls himself has admitted in an L&L that they gave a large number of gaming groups cause to tune them out with that decision.
Hey guess what. There is an easy substitution for Gnomes just going by the PHB 1. Its called a Dwarf. I'm not entirely sure why previous editions decided that having two races from Germanic mythology which kind of overlapped in terms of concept was a good idea which is probably why they got relegated to PHB II because they were redundant.
EDIT:
What makes it even more freakishly weird is that technically speaking I have no freaking clue what original gnomes came from because Germanic gnomes are actually the Svirfneblins.
 
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[MENTION=6680305]technoextreme[/MENTION]: Well, there you go! How foolish of me to enjoy material from previous editions, I apologize! Hmmm, but come to think, I note that elves have Germanic roots as well. Why not eliminate dwarves and play them as elves? They're even called 'svartalfar' - 'dark elves' - in Norse legend! What, after all, would be lost? A bit of flavor, I suppose, but nothing a DM can't put back in, right?

Of course, elves and dwarves also have roots in other cultures, myths, legends, stories, and so on - to say nothing of modern fantasy. So do gnomes. It's not like they have one and only one source, you know. (Try looking 'Paracelsus' up, if that name isn't too long, scary, and Latin. And hey, isn't the word 'gnome' from Greek, not German?) Furthermore, over time, they've developed a D&D flavor of their own.

I refuse to be browbeaten for liking something, and for not liking your 'obvious' substitute. And kindly lose the snark if you want to be responded to in the future.
 
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