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D&D 5E Deal Breakers - Or woah, that is just too much

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I do have to admit, the absolute need for random stats instead of simply having everyone having a firm mechanical baseline is actually fascinating to me. I prefer points-based systems to level-based systems, in no small part BECAUSE everyone has the same foundation; it's what they do with it that matters. Someone having a rolled set of stats vastly higher than another player at the table often leaves the latter feeling pretty useless in most situations, and having to hyperfocus just to contribute meaningfully. While the former is naturally able to accomplish much more every session by simple virtue of having better numbers. I am not in it to play a game where the character with the better luck in a single set of rolls has such far-reaching repercussions. It's one thing to win a fight on a lucky roll. It's another to perform vastly better than everyone else because of one set of lucky rolls at the start of the campaign. That, to me, is just not fun. For anyone but the person who rolled the lucky stats.

And yes, I know that you can roleplay and have fun with a gimped character. Been there, done that, and it can be amusing. But...it's much, much more fulfilling to do so when that is actually your idea, and not something you are forced into. When a campaign starts, and we all start talking about characters and what we want to play, I want everyone to actually get to play what they WANT to play, not what some dice rolls railroaded them in to. Fine, fine, you get to play a near-god because of your insane rolls, Jeff gets to play someone barely competent at tying their own shoelaces, and Beth gets to play Captain Meh, The Most Average Person in the World (tm). All because of a handful of dice rolls before the campaign even starts.
Then here's something that might surprise you.

A few years ago I took a somewhat random sampling of about 100 characters that had been played in our games over about 30+ years (all using basically the same random roll-up system we've had since day 1) and ran a rough analysis of whether their initial rolled stats predicted their eventual lifespan using number of adventures played as a career counter.

There was a small difference - much smaller than I expected - in those characters that ran for less than 3 adventures, and no difference at all once you hit the 3+ adventure point.

What this means is that no matter what your initial rolls are, you're likely going to get just as much length of play (on average) out of any given character. Put another way, the high-stat guys die off just as quickly as the low-stat guys. :)

This one is equally fascinating to me. Life is change. Endless change, both large and small. I find that running under the assumption you'll be playing in any sort of campaign for any planned length of time is just asking for disappointment. Just one or two years? One or two years can be a LONG AS HELL campaign for many of us. If a campaign does last over a year, and life doesn't get too busy for various members with kids/grandkids, changing work schedules or situations, and so much more, that IS being in it for the long haul, imho. Not because we don't WANT it to last longer, but because life just happens, and never stops happening. And we're all much older, now, with many more responsibilities, jest generally juggling more day-to-day.
Now here we have some vastly different expectations (and experiences?). As DM, when I start a new campaign my intention is that it'll last for as long as people are willing to play in it, or the rest of my life, whichever comes first. As a player I look for the same sort of idea behind a campaign I'm looking to join. It doesn't always work out, but if the intent isn't there going in then sure as hell it won't work out.

Experience, both as player and DM, tells me our campaigns are usually good for about 10 years. My current one is coming up on 8, and the one I play in is closing in on 9; both have some legs in them yet.

This is just amusing to me. The visceral loathing of Drizzt, a character that has obviously connected with an awful lot of people (hence being one of the few D&D series to hit the NYT bestsellers consistently), and who reads like so very many characters at so very many tables long before the character was released, is utterly fascinating. I personally find him to be eh, a pretty standard fare amalgamation of many common tropes and archetypes, not terrible, not fantastic. With some of his stories, especially the ones set before he left Underdark, being interesting enough.
I just can't bring myself to forgive how he ruined the Ranger class as a whole.

Ok, and this I have to nitpick.
I figured somebody would.

Getting drunk is getting all drugged out. Alcohol is flat out, point blank, a drug. One of the more addictive drugs, to boot. One of the drugs that is most prone to causing violent outbursts, no less. You might personally have more fun on alcohol than other drugs, but a lot of people are really, incredibly, horribly unfun to be around when they are drunk. Even when they think they are the life of the party. And there are a lot of people doing other drugs that you might not even know are on anything, or they are actually interesting to be around. Pot is the obvious one, and some people are fun to be around while stoned, others aren't, just like any drug, including alcohol. But some of the hallucinogens? Especially when people are taking light doses and not tripping hard? Or on small doses of various cutting edge experimental synthetics and whatnot? Those can lead to some pretty neat places for a group.

Like anything, it's about trusting the people you are with.

But yeah, being drunk IS being drugged-out, and saying being drugged out is a deal-breaker, but being drunk is NOT a deal-breaker, is pointedly ignoring a fair bit of cognitive dissonance.
Except to me being drunk (whether me or anyone else) is something I can trust, while being on other things (whether me or anyone else) is something I don't trust.

Lan-"for those who don't like evil characters, what does it say that out of over 1300 characters played over 35 years our record for longest career is held by an Assassin"-efan
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
Yeah, every last bit of that sounds like intentional power-gaming intending to outshine everyone else. And it is very telling indeed that the same player flat out bans homebrew from the games they GM. It sounds like this person is knowingly and purposefully running roughshod over this particular GM, to get away with as much abusive stuff as they can, simply because they can. This is a player that would, in our groups, a) very swiftly get a firm talking to; b) be point-blank denied these homebrew classes because they've proven themselves incapable of presenting anything balanced; and c) likely not welcome to the table anymore if it persists.

After reading through the posts about it, I have absolutely no idea how they're getting away with it. Just outright not using PHB material in someone else's game and instead using their own, clearly overpowered, completely un-vetted material? Are they using Jedi mind tricks or something?

Player "These classes are not OP." *waves hand*
DM: "Those classes are not OP..."
 

Tectuktitlay

Explorer
Then here's something that might surprise you.

A few years ago I took a somewhat random sampling of about 100 characters that had been played in our games over about 30+ years (all using basically the same random roll-up system we've had since day 1) and ran a rough analysis of whether their initial rolled stats predicted their eventual lifespan using number of adventures played as a career counter.

There was a small difference - much smaller than I expected - in those characters that ran for less than 3 adventures, and no difference at all once you hit the 3+ adventure point.

What this means is that no matter what your initial rolls are, you're likely going to get just as much length of play (on average) out of any given character. Put another way, the high-stat guys die off just as quickly as the low-stat guys. :)

It's a good thing my metric isn't how long the characters last, then? ;) As I said on another thread, and touched upon on this one, it's the statistical difference it makes in potentially thousands of rolls over the life of a character, and determining whether or not they succeed or fail significantly more or less. It is a one thing when a half-dozen rolls determine whether or not a half-dozen individual checks succeed or fail, even if that means a dramatic success or failure. It's another beast entirely when a half-dozen rolls can affect, quite significantly when you look at the numbers, whether or not upwards of thousands of checks succeed or fail. In one instance, the statistics are affecting only the rolls directly involved, in the other the repercussions are vast, far-reaching.

As for the life of the characters in your own games? That's really cool. Truly. But strictly anecdotal. As I said, in my own experience, my own anecdotes, it more often than not has led to people offing characters on purpose, or, more importantly, not being happy playing them. It's that simple.

If one person with great rolls for stats has a mere +2 higher bonus on any given check than a person with awful rolls for stats, you're talking a rough average of them succeeding at most every roll in the game ~10% more often. While that might sound low, it's actually quite staggeringly high when you're dealing with the numbers of rolls involved. Why allow a half-dozen rolls to unduly influence the game in such a manner, when there is a completely viable mechanic, a well-tested mechanic, that simply prevents that from happening? I want my players to have fun, and to enjoy the characters they are playing. And in all seriousness, you can see the looks of frustration when someone has a character with awful stats failing many more rolls than everyone else at the table, or when a person with fantastic stats is succeeding at rolls more often than everyone else at the table, session after session after session.

Now here we have some vastly different expectations (and experiences?). As DM, when I start a new campaign my intention is that it'll last for as long as people are willing to play in it, or the rest of my life, whichever comes first. As a player I look for the same sort of idea behind a campaign I'm looking to join. It doesn't always work out, but if the intent isn't there going in then sure as hell it won't work out.

Experience, both as player and DM, tells me our campaigns are usually good for about 10 years. My current one is coming up on 8, and the one I play in is closing in on 9; both have some legs in them yet.

Yeah, that is, in my experience, a highly unusual length of time for an average campaign. 10 years? Life simply does not allow for that. And I say this as someone who has been in the same online gaming guild with my partner for ~17 years now, and we still get games in with the guild, even with two kids now over a decade old, etc. Since the beginning of the original Everquest, which came out in early '99. But tabletop games? No, the logistics of juggling schedules alone prevents those from lasting anywhere approaching a decade. Far too many friends working in IT, or in medicine, or the like, or that have or are starting families, or sending kids off to college at this point, etc, etc, etc. We'll play for as long as we can in a campaign, but 10 years? Yeah, that is unusually high.

And the numbers on this very forum agree. Only 26.86% of the people polled here have their longest campaign be 5+ years, a mere 8.68% have had their longest ever campaign be 10+ years. The largest category by far was 1-2 years in length, at 33.47%. And that's on a dedicated, well-established roleplaying gamer board, hence much more likely to have a higher than normal percentage of dedicated gamers and grognards who've been playing RPGs for a very long time. As opposed to your average gamer. So yeah, your experience in that regard would appear to be very atypical.

Except to me being drunk (whether me or anyone else) is something I can trust, while being on other things (whether me or anyone else) is something I don't trust.

And why is that, exactly? Genuinely curious. Drunks are, statistically speaking, per capita, the most likely to become violent, sexually aroused, and to endanger others with reckless behavior. Considerably more likely to engage in domestic violence, and sexual assault. The most likely to black out and engage in behavior they don't remember after the fact. I do not trust drunk people, for so many reasons. Even people who you have been around many times drunk can get incredibly violent and belligerent at the drop of a hat, and bad things happen.

Statistically, research shows more and more that hallucinogens/psychoactives, opiates, even cocaine (except in the form of crack), and a great many synthetic drugs, have no real correlation to violent behavior whatsoever. Marijuana, certainly, has none. Alcohol, meth (amphetamines in general), and crack are the big three recreational drugs that correlate to violence, along with some SSRIs (anti-depressants, specifically anti-depressants linked to serotonin levels, whether causing increases or crashes in serotonin). In fact, I dare say it's quite likely that you have been around people actually ON other drugs at the time, especially psychoactives, research chemicals of various sorts, and pot, and had absolutely no idea. Something to consider.

But yeah, I am genuinely curious why you trust drunks? Is it just because it's legal?
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's a good thing my metric isn't how long the characters last, then? ;)
Er...then...what other measurable metric can I use? We don't record every roll a character makes (and nor are we going to), and this is over a 35-year span with half a dozen DMs running 10 or more campaigns. What I have for raw data is lots of character sheets (but by no means all of them) and logs* showing when they came in, what adventures they were in, deaths, and when (and often why) they finished.

* - many of these logs are online at the site in my .sig, in each campaign there is a "character log" link; and some logs for other games are also listed in various parts of the site.

As for the life of the characters in your own games? That's really cool. Truly. But strictly anecdotal.
Backed up by data, putting it a step or two beyond just anecdotes by memory.

As I said, in my own experience, my own anecdotes, it more often than not has led to people offing characters on purpose, or, more importantly, not being happy playing them. It's that simple.
You can't measure happiness but you can measure lifespan. Have you? Does your data agree with your memory?

Yeah, that is, in my experience, a highly unusual length of time for an average campaign. ...

And the numbers on this very forum agree. Only 26.86% of the people polled here have their longest campaign be 5+ years, a mere 8.68% have had their longest ever campaign be 10+ years. The largest category by far was 1-2 years in length, at 33.47%. And that's on a dedicated, well-established roleplaying gamer board, hence much more likely to have a higher than normal percentage of dedicated gamers and grognards who've been playing RPGs for a very long time. As opposed to your average gamer. So yeah, your experience in that regard would appear to be very atypical.
Where did you find this data?

And when was the poll taken? This is relevant as the more recent editions (3e-pf-4e) don't support long campaigns as well as older ones did unless the DM does some tweaking. 3e, in fact, was specifically designed for a 1-2 year campaign. I mean, I played in a 10-year 3e campaign and I've seen posters here talk about 6-year 4e campaigns, but from all I can gather those are extreme outliers for those editions.

Jury's still out on 5e but it looks like it could easily be made to handle a long campaign; and may even do so as written.

And why is that, exactly? Genuinely curious. Drunks are, statistically speaking, per capita, the most likely to become violent, sexually aroused, and to endanger others with reckless behavior. Considerably more likely to engage in domestic violence, and sexual assault. The most likely to black out and engage in behavior they don't remember after the fact. I do not trust drunk people, for so many reasons. Even people who you have been around many times drunk can get incredibly violent and belligerent at the drop of a hat, and bad things happen.
IME the only thing that gets endangered by reckless not-sober behaviour at my table are the poor defenseless characters they're playing.

And keep in mind I'm talking about nice-buzz-on drunk rather than faceplant-on-the-floor drunk; passed-out players are really dull, and a passed-out DM kinda puts an end to proceedings. :)

Besides, how can you have a beer-and-pretzels game without beer?

Statistically, research shows more and more that hallucinogens/psychoactives, opiates, even cocaine (except in the form of crack), and a great many synthetic drugs, have no real correlation to violent behavior whatsoever. Marijuana, certainly, has none. Alcohol, meth (amphetamines in general), and crack are the big three recreational drugs that correlate to violence, along with some SSRIs (anti-depressants, specifically anti-depressants linked to serotonin levels, whether causing increases or crashes in serotonin). In fact, I dare say it's quite likely that you have been around people actually ON other drugs at the time, especially psychoactives, research chemicals of various sorts, and pot, and had absolutely no idea. Something to consider.
Again, there's a difference between somebody being a little buzzed and somebody drugged to irrationality, which is what I have to deal with IRL in my work environment (downtown retail) and absolutely do NOT want to deal with anywhere else.

But yeah, I am genuinely curious why you trust drunks? Is it just because it's legal?
It's because it's what I'm familiar with, meaning I can somewhat predict what comes next particularly with people I know well (and thus game with).

Lan-"in a beer and pretzels game, I'll have the beer and you can have the pretzels; I don't like pretzels"-efan
 
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