D&D General Hot Take: D&D Has Not Recovered From 2E to 3.0 Transition

Fanaelialae

Legend
IMO, old school saves and spell resistance weren't great. They made sense in their context, particularly the way AD&D saves scaled. There were a lot of save or die effects, so having a high chance for successfully saving with a heavily invested character made sense.

That said, heavy blanket defenses like old school saves, spell resistance, and +x weapon immunity just make the game drag unless you have tools to ignore them. It's like two turtles whacking away at each other until one of them gets a lucky shot in and ends the other. IOW, the least exciting game of rocket tag one could likely imagine.

Admittedly, that's not the whole story. Mages were weak against things like Mind Flayers, but Fighters could (potentially) pick up the slack. Fighters were useless against a creature with +x immunity if their weapon was < x, but the Mages could potentially pick up the slack.

The issue there is that (IMO) sidelining characters is a terrible way to design monsters. Especially for an adventure that features particular creatures heavily, certain characters could end up feeling like the appendix of the party. I'll grant, you COULD design an encounter where some elements were intended for certain characters, while others were intended for others, and the key was figuring that out. However, that's by no means a given.

I think 5e's approach of dialing down severity (very little SoD) while also reducing the ability to turtle is very good design.
 

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
3E you can flunk 95% of the time potentially even on your good saves.
That doesn't strike me as being the case. A 20th-level spellcaster who starts with an 18 in their spellcasting stat, uses a +6 enhancement bonus item to boost it, has received a +5 inherent bonus to it, is putting all five of their ability increases into it, and is casting a 9th-level spell which they have Greater Spell Focus in, will have a save DC of 33.

A 20th-level character using their good save against that spell will have a +12 from the base save value. If we presume that they have a cloak of resistance +5 (only 25,000 gp for a +5 resistance bonus to all saves), and we conservatively estimate that their relevant stat for the save is 20 (for another +5 bonus), that's a total of +22 to the save, meaning that they succeed on an 11 or above (i.e. a 50% chance of success).

Now obviously, you can tweak those numbers in a lot of ways for a lot of different circumstances, but there has to be a pretty huge disparity to have an instance where you can only succeed on a natural 20 on your good save.
 

Mechanically and in a game design/balance perspective. And I'm not talking about 2E being a paragon of perfection either.
3e streamlined things in many ways... but also broke more then a few bits. Several of those broken bits are still in 5e.
For the most part I'm considering magic and the traditional lvl 1-9 spells. 4E did identify some big problems and essentially rewrite the game and created new problems for itself.
4e had very different flaws from 3e/5e, however going backwards from 3e to 5e is a big annoyance in my book. 4e fixed a lot of what was wrong with 3e, and 5e went back to it. Instead I wish they had fixed the 4e flaws.
One big problem is saving throws and how they scale. In old D&D saves genuine got better to the point you could expect to reliably save 75-95% of the time. This made save or suck spells very risky to use. Which also made warrior types useful to have around.
this is one of my biggest issues with 5e. You get WORSE at saving vs anything of your challenge as you level.
Conceptually 4E at least got this right.
I think the 'all the stuff goes up' is heavily misunderstood. I much prefer the idea that everyone gets better as you level.
Magic and spell resistance. An AD&D 2E mind flayer was 90% immune to a spell effecting it and even 3E had a weakened form if it. The 5E version is mostly a joke due to saves and you can get around it partially via save for half spells or just use spells with no save.
I think the legendary resistance is a step in the right direction... but it still needs some fine tuneing.
Once again 4E did at least solve this conceptually by removing both weapon and magical resistances. Not the best solution imho but they correctly identified the problem at least.
I think the current "half damage" resist is again going in the right direction even if the exact nature of it needs some fine tuning.
Scaling direct damage has never been a problem since 2000 or perhaps even 1989 2E. Uncapped scaling in a low HP environment (pre 2E) is a problem.

Remember the Warmage in 3.5 and the game breaking and dominating combos it could do? Neither do I and 5E bloated hit point total nerf that even further. The 8d6 fireball in 5E is roughly equivalent to a 3d6 AD&D fireball (sometimes 2d6 or 4d6 depending on encounter).
yeah I just want wizards (all casters really) to have to pick a lane you can't damage AND sod...
And as always ban Kender.
I normally agree but I am willing to give the new write up a chance
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Kinda odd people complain about martial/spellcaster divide I identify that which is contributing to it and yeah.

The save disparity also mean the classes that can exploit it the best also have the best defenses against it.

The marial classes defenses mostly are just damage with the spellcasters can mitigate as well with low level spells eg absorb elements.

Spell DCs scale 6 saves don't it's not just one weakness it's multiple ones.
 

I always find these "the most successful version of the game ever is broken" threads.
that's easy... just find anyone that wants to propose any change to the current model since the current one has always out sold the one before it.
No edition is perfect, D&D has done the best so far for me and the games I run and play.
right since no edition is perfect we need to be able to discuss making every/any edition better
 

Zardnaar

Legend
That doesn't strike me as being the case. A 20th-level spellcaster who starts with an 18 in their spellcasting stat, uses a +6 enhancement bonus item to boost it, has received a +5 inherent bonus to it, is putting all five of their ability increases into it, and is casting a 9th-level spell which they have Greater Spell Focus in, will have a save DC of 33.

A 20th-level character using their good save against that spell will have a +12 from the base save value. If we presume that they have a cloak of resistance +5 (only 25,000 gp for a +5 resistance bonus to all saves), and we conservatively estimate that their relevant stat for the save is 20 (for another +5 bonus), that's a total of +22 to the save, meaning that they succeed on an 11 or above (i.e. a 50% chance of success).

Now obviously, you can tweak those numbers in a lot of ways for a lot of different circumstances, but there has to be a pretty huge disparity to have an instance where you can only succeed on a natural 20 on your good save.

I saw DCs in the 40's before level 20 more like low teens.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Kinda odd people complain about martial/spellcaster divide I identify that which is contributing to it and yeah.

The save disparity also mean the classes that can exploit it the best also have the best defenses against it.

The marial classes defenses mostly are just damage with the spellcasters can mitigate as well with low level spells eg absorb elements.

Spell DCs scale 6 saves don't it's not just one weakness it's multiple ones.
Because (IMO) the way to fix the caster/martial divide isn't to give the casters all sorts of cool powers and then make it so that they can't ever stick the power at high levels.

Let the casters have cool powers that actually work. Just make martials better than they currently are.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
that's easy... just find anyone that wants to propose any change to the current model since the current one has always out sold the one before it.

right since no edition is perfect we need to be able to discuss making every/any edition better

Not strictly btrue. Numbers we have is each edition has sold less than the one before it with 5E being an exception and 4E numbers are unknown.
 

Not strictly btrue. Numbers we have is each edition has sold less than the one before it with 5E being an exception and 4E numbers are unknown.
according to wotc (and I don't care if you believe them or not) 3e out sold 2e, 3.5 out sold 3e. 4e outsold 3.5, and 5e out sold 4e by such an order of magnitude it isn't even funny... now maybe 1e outsold 2e (I don't know) but 3e didn't out sell 4e and 4e didn't out sell 5e.
 

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