D&D General D&D is a Team Sport. What are the positions?

Aldarc

Legend
Basic HP healing is by far the most common and important kind, IME. :)

Thing is, an all-martial party simply shouldn't be able to heal itself other than by either taking the time to recover or - if available - by potions and the like. Were I a player in an all-martial party I'd be expecting (by 4e-5e standards) a very slow-paced and gritty adventure, with lots of rest-recovery breaks and a lot of attention paid to minimizing damage taken from any source.
"Shouldn't" is doing a lot of heavy lifting for your argument here, especially since I could easily say that "an all-martial party simply should be able to heal itself if they have a warlord."

If you were a player in an all-martial party in 4e, you would still have to be potentially more careful than if you had a leader with a magical power source because warlords didn't have built-in access to the sort of powerful utilities and heals that one would expect from a cleric: e.g., Cure Disease, Raise Dead, Remove Affliction, etc. The Warlord had some healing but not to the same degree as a Cleric or Bard. It was a healer but its primary benefit was tactical mastery and boosting morale.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I mean, it's literally a game about cooperative adventure. Even if they don't always like each other, the point is to adventure together.
Until they don't. If what the character would do is leave the party, then off it goes. The player rolls up a new one (or cycles in another pre-existing one), or - rarely - leaves the game for a while. I've seen (and done) both of these on numerous occasions.
Player individuality is not something you can meaningfully affect, so I can't really respond on that front--the players will be what they will be.

As for the other? By making it so that the most powerful things you have access to actually depend on someone else's contributions. To use a very simple example (meaning, most examples will be more involved) from 4e, the "Radiant Mafia" concept. Unlike in 3e and (most of the time) 5e, where optimization is almost exclusively about personal actions and personal power, 4e optimization was almost always about teamwork and cooperation. Sure, each player has things they can do to make their contributions better, but most of the time that optimization pales in comparison to what a team can achieve by collaborating. The "Radiant Mafia" does this by having all players work together to deal more damage through applying and exploiting vulnerability to radiant damage. While Divine characters are particularly good at this, almost everyone else can get in on the game with careful choice of powers, or (for Martial characters, who never get elemental/energy keywords) items like sunblades or holy weapons (in 3e that would have been a "brilliant energy" weapon).
As a player, after doing it a few times I'd run screaming from this type of set-up. My least-favourite type of play is that where each character becomes nothing more than a cog in the gears of a machine, unable to do anything different than what's expected of it and shunned if it does.
For a more complex example, a power I used liberally on a Paladin I once played was One Heart, One Mind. It telepathically links the party together, and makes "aid another" rolls stronger. Other players also invested into things (powers, equipment, consumables, rituals, etc.) that benefited from skill-sharing and aiding others. When we truly did work as a team to resolve a skill-based encounter, we could achieve things genuinely impossible for anyone to achieve alone. I couldn't roll Dex or Int stuff to save my soul, but the Barbarian and Wizard could. They couldn't persuade or deceive, but my Paladin and the Bard could. Our Shaman made use of banners and potions and all sorts of other tricks and doodads to grease the wheels even further. Was I "dragging them along" by using One Heart, One Mind? Was she "dragging us along" by using such consumable resources? The individual characters' actions were carrying the day; I (and each of us) was simply helping all of us to be better at it, and living up to the character's personality and ethos as a "father to his men" noble-soldier character (for whom the party really was a surrogate family.)

You make things work by building up synergies. One player sets up an opening, another exploits it. Without a powerful follow-through, the first player's setup is weak; without first being set up, the second player's follow-through is weak. Only together are they strong, and there's no meaningful sense in which one or the other is "dragging" anyone along. They're cooperating. In the ideal case, this is scaled up to the level of the whole team--each person contributes a piece of the puzzle.
Again, though, this assumes the players are each willing to shoehorn their characters into merely being parts of a machine...and further, that they're playing characters of a sort that would agree to this.

There's some basic synergies in our games, where a given character could do something in every combat that would help everyone else; and players actively resist having their characters do that thing every time specifically to avoid that action becoming an expected routine. And I can't blame them for that.
That's how any actual small-unit tactics situation is going to play out. In actual battles, you can't afford to act as five individuals who all happen to fight in the same general space at the same time. You need to be a team. And a well-designed game can--and should!--reward players who actually act and think like teammates, and punish those who act and think like lone wolves trying to be solo acts.
While I get the sentiment here, I don't want the game to reward play where individuality takes second place.
"I can only be happy if I'm the absolute best, and everyone else is inferior" is not behavior appropriate to a cooperative teamwork game. That is the kind of game D&D is, that is the kind of game WotC has always presented it as, and that is the kind of game they continue to sell today. Those who can only have fun by being the best, the star, the most important person, the protagonist while everyone else is just a sidekick, should not be encouraged to play D&D. They only have fun by reducing others' fun, and that is not acceptable behavior in the D&D space. It's actively rude.
I'd much rather have four players who are each like this than four players who just sit there passively.

[I snipped the discussion on class design as it would fit better in Faolyn's current build-a-new-5e poll in the D&D forum]
Ah. That's a pity. With ranged but limited healing, you can make combat highly volatile (status changes wildly from round to round, perhaps even from turn to turn) without needing to risk all that much lethality (that is, characters don't actually die all that often unless players make actual tactical errors.)
Well, that's another difference in philosophy perhaps: I expect a small but not-zero amount of lethality even if errors aren't made; thus making non-combat options look more attractive. It's war, not sport. :)
Things are better in 5e than they were in 3e, but still flawed on the "forcing both tactical and strategic decisions" front, for a variety of reasons on both ends. No more wands of CLW (or, more typically, lesser vigor), but conversely, still tons of low-level spell slots to dump on healing at high levels. No more ridiculous CL cheese, but now Life Cleric goodberry cheese. Etc.
Yeah, I wasn't a fan of Wands of CLW in 3e either. And I don't know the specifics, but Goodberry must have really been enhanced somewhere along the way; you refer to it as potential cheese where in our old-school games it might be decades since the last time I saw it cast.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Until they don't. If what the character would do is leave the party, then off it goes. The player rolls up a new one (or cycles in another pre-existing one), or - rarely - leaves the game for a while. I've seen (and done) both of these on numerous occasions.
I don't understand why we should build a game for those people. If they want to leave...then they leave. Let the game be for the people--be it characters or players--who actually want to participate.

As a player, after doing it a few times I'd run screaming from this type of set-up. My least-favourite type of play is that where each character becomes nothing more than a cog in the gears of a machine, unable to do anything different than what's expected of it and shunned if it does.
That is the most soulless, horrible way you could possibly view this. Why would you cast it that way? Are you merely a cog in a machine because you are part of a family and everyone contributes to the family's wellbeing? Are you merely a cog in a machine because you play a game of, say, Pandemic?

You are bringing in the disparagement here, not just to the game, but to your part in it! Instead of being reduced to some mindless, mechanistic thing, why not instead view it as an exercise in exploiting every opportunity to its fullest? Every situation is different, and every player's actions not only can but should affect every other player's decisions. Sometimes, the optimal thing is to run away...or to let the Wizard take a nasty attack...or to drop a fireball on your party even though it might hurt them...or whatever else.

Why presume that this means you must always press button A every time your turn comes up? Why presume that anything that isn't how you're used to playing is necessarily the dullest, most mechanistic, most trivial thing it could possibly be?

Again, though, this assumes the players are each willing to shoehorn their characters into merely being parts of a machine...and further, that they're playing characters of a sort that would agree to this.
Again though, this is you treating it as though nobody ever makes choices, as though the players are not actively encouraged to grub for every advantage they can get. Because, as I said, the whole point of this method is that EVERYONE, players, GM, everyone is expected to pull out all the stops. Everyone is expected to claw every advantage they can get, to exploit every weakness, to look for every possible weakness. To always ask questions. And when you don't do that, it's because you know you really actually want to, not because you're stumbling blindly around or accidentally shooting yourself in the foot. When you shoot yourself in the foot, it's because you know what you're doing...or because you genuinely didn't put in the effort to check first. Hence: tactical errors lead to nasty consequences.

There's some basic synergies in our games, where a given character could do something in every combat that would help everyone else; and players actively resist having their characters do that thing every time specifically to avoid that action becoming an expected routine. And I can't blame them for that.
Because you have only one synergistic thing, and only basic, uninteresting environments in which these things can play out. That's why you need to bring in things like exciting terrain, object interactions, creatures that break past patterns, etc. The GM is supposed to keep grubbing for advantage just as much as the players are!

While I get the sentiment here, I don't want the game to reward play where individuality takes second place.
Who said it did? You're the one who keeps saying that this is suppressing individuality. It's not. It's simply rewarding teamwork and cooperation. There is a VAST difference. Besides, doesn't your method also force individuality to take second place?
"I demand that we rest now so I can have all my spells."
"Nope, you can't, Fighter hasn't gotten enough rounds tod--I mean, it hasn't been long enough since your last rest!"
"Damn...guess I'll just fling darts."

How is this any different? The pure, overwhelming individualism angle requires players to do things that don't make sense in-character just as much as your caricature of teamwork does.

I'd much rather have four players who are each like this than four players who just sit there passively.
False dichotomy. There are many, many more situations besides those two. Both of them are very bad. Almost anything else is preferable--and there are nigh-innumerable options that involve zero jerks and zero lumps.

[I snipped the discussion on class design as it would fit better in Faolyn's current build-a-new-5e poll in the D&D forum]

Well, that's another difference in philosophy perhaps: I expect a small but not-zero amount of lethality even if errors aren't made; thus making non-combat options look more attractive. It's war, not sport. :)
It isn't, though. Neither is the thing you're dismissing "sport" (I never said death was impossible, I said it was very unlikely) nor is the thing you're praising "war." Both of them are equally artificial--especially because the thing you call "war" actually requires the GM and the players to constantly hold back, to constantly do what is actually sub-optimal for no reason any character could articulate.

"War vs sport" is and always has been a bad comparison, solely meant to valorize one perspective and dismiss the other. It has never actually been effective nor accurate in its description of anything, and I am genuinely disappointed every time I see it (much like "dissociated mechanics" and other such things.)

Yeah, I wasn't a fan of Wands of CLW in 3e either. And I don't know the specifics, but Goodberry must have really been enhanced somewhere along the way; you refer to it as potential cheese where in our old-school games it might be decades since the last time I saw it cast.
Play Cleric; pick Life domain. Find some way to acquire goodberry (feat, race, Druid dip, whatever). Life domain grants the following feature, Disciple of Life: "Also starting at 1st level, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell's level." Goodberry is a 1st level spell, so it restores additional HP equal to 2+1=3. Each berry normally restores 1 HP; with Disciple of Life it restores 4 HP. Each casting creates "up to" 10 berries (so of course you should create all 10), meaning you now restore 40 HP with a single first-level spell slot, potentially as early as level 1 if you can get goodberry via feat or race.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
I don't know the specifics, but Goodberry must have really been enhanced somewhere along the way; you refer to it as potential cheese where in our old-school games it might be decades since the last time I saw it cast.
Back in the day, my Druid would cast Goodberry (once it had been introduced, it wasn't in the PH) systematically in downtime, and have a supply of them ready at the start of any given adventure....

... :oops: OMG, I was "Rest Casting." :ROFLMAO:
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't understand why we should build a game for those people.
In my case, because I'm one of those people! :)
If they want to leave...then they leave. Let the game be for the people--be it characters or players--who actually want to participate.
If I'm playing hockey and get a penalty, I'm still a participant in the game even though I'm sitting in the penalty box.

Also, when my character leaves a party it doesn't just vanish into thin air - that character is still out there for me to cycle back in at some later point. Hell, back iin the day my character Lanefan walked out on at least two parties and fled from a third (after stealing some major loot they'd forgotten about!); yet he kept reappearing in other parties and is still active (though quasi-retired now) to this day.
That is the most soulless, horrible way you could possibly view this.
Perhaps that's because I also see well-oiled military units as being soulless and horrible; along with corporations in which nearly all the employees are merely cogs.
Again though, this is you treating it as though nobody ever makes choices, as though the players are not actively encouraged to grub for every advantage they can get.
I am, because in theory all those choices have already been made - and all those advantages have already been grubbed - when laying down the SOP ahead of time. And an SOP that accounts for situational variants is still an SOP.

It's like a sports team where individual creativity has been stifled in favour of rigidly following the coach's system: effective at winning games but oftentimes boring as hell to watch (and probably not much fun for the players).
Who said it did? You're the one who keeps saying that this is suppressing individuality. It's not. It's simply rewarding teamwork and cooperation. There is a VAST difference. Besides, doesn't your method also force individuality to take second place?
"I demand that we rest now so I can have all my spells."
"Nope, you can't, Fighter hasn't gotten enough rounds tod--I mean, it hasn't been long enough since your last rest!"
"Damn...guess I'll just fling darts."

How is this any different? The pure, overwhelming individualism angle requires players to do things that don't make sense in-character just as much as your caricature of teamwork does.
Wagt makes sense in character is that within a party debates (and sometimes arguments) like the above will happen, probably on a regular basis. Sometimes the casters will win and the party stops to rest, sometimes the warrior will win and the group keeps going, and sometimes external elements will force a decision.
"War vs sport" is and always has been a bad comparison, solely meant to valorize one perspective and dismiss the other. It has never actually been effective nor accurate in its description of anything, and I am genuinely disappointed every time I see it (much like "dissociated mechanics" and other such things.)
Where to me, the war-v-sport piece really served to crystallize ideas that up until then had been present in my mind but not fully formed, as to why 4e (and later, 5e) didn't appeal to me: too much sport, not enough war.
Play Cleric; pick Life domain. Find some way to acquire goodberry (feat, race, Druid dip, whatever). Life domain grants the following feature, Disciple of Life: "Also starting at 1st level, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell's level." Goodberry is a 1st level spell, so it restores additional HP equal to 2+1=3. Each berry normally restores 1 HP; with Disciple of Life it restores 4 HP. Each casting creates "up to" 10 berries (so of course you should create all 10), meaning you now restore 40 HP with a single first-level spell slot, potentially as early as level 1 if you can get goodberry via feat or race.
Ah. Easy fix for this little exploit: the Life domain boost doesn't work because the spell isn't directly restoring hit points. All it's doing is imbuing the berries with potential healing power to be used later, making the berries effectively a middleman and thus making the hit point restoration indirect (i.e. coming from the berry) rather than direct (i.e. coming directly from the spell).
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
"War vs sport" is and always has been a bad comparison, solely meant to valorize one perspective and dismiss the other. It has never actually been effective nor accurate in its description of anything, and I am genuinely disappointed every time I see it (much like "dissociated mechanics" and other such things.)
Where to me, the war-v-sport piece really served to crystallize ideas that up until then had been present in my mind but not fully formed, as to why 4e (and later, 5e) didn't appeal to me: too much sport, not enough war.
You say that as if presenting a contrasting opinion.

The whole CaW/CaS thing makes more sense if you think of D&D as a wargame - because then 'war' has some place in it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You say that as if presenting a contrasting opinion.
I am. Ezekiel said war-v-sport was a poor comparison, where I'm saying it's a good one.
The whole CaW/CaS thing makes more sense if you think of D&D as a wargame - because then 'war' has some place in it.
It is a wargame, isn't it; in that the PCs go out and in effect wage war on their enemies until those enemies are defeated or (more commonly) slain - and then go out and do so again, lather-rinse-repeat as the levels accumulate.

Otherwise, what's the point?
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I am. Ezekiel said war-v-sport was a poor comparison, where I'm saying it's a good one.

It is a wargame, isn't it; in that the PCs go out and in effect wage war on their enemies until those enemies are defeated or (more commonly) slain - and then go out and do so again, lather-rinse-repeat as the levels accumulate.

Otherwise, what's the point?
It is not a war game. It is a game of high fantasy adventure. That's what its makers have been telling us since, at least, 2nd edition.

War may be part of the process of experiencing high fantasy adventure. But it is not a requirement, and many games never have war in them at all.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It is not a war game. It is a game of high fantasy adventure. That's what its makers have been telling us since, at least, 2nd edition.

War may be part of the process of experiencing high fantasy adventure. But it is not a requirement, and many games never have war in them at all.
War doesn't need armies.

A combat between four PCs and a half dozen Orcs is still a war; and I don't think you'll get far if you're suggesting many games never have combat in them.
 

War doesn't need armies.

A combat between four PCs and a half dozen Orcs is still a war; and I don't think you'll get far if you're suggesting many games never have combat in them.
Granting that language is always an evolving thing, there is pretty obviously a difference between "war" and "battle" as the terms are usually used today, such that the two are fundamentally not alike.

It's not clear to me what you expect to gain from using words in a manner that does not relate to their current customary definitions.

Are you instead trying to point to conceptual similarities? E.g. how a single small-scale combat incentivises participants to seek every possible advantage in much the same way that a war does? If that's the case, would it not be simpler, easier and less confusing to directly refer to those similarities?

Because using the normal definitions of words causes your reply to... well, I'll let Ron Burgundy take it from here:
Ron Burgundy Anchorman GIF by Ben L
 

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