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D&D 5E How Can D&D Next Win You Over?

Do we have to do this in every thread?

The 1/enc and 1/day limits don't operate in the fiction. They operate at the metagame level ("gamist", in @thecasualoblivion 's terms). As @Neonchameleon said, it's a pacing mechanic.

We all get it that you don't like metagame mechanics. But it doesn't help to communicate that when you describe the mechanics in a way which no one who actually likes and uses them agrees with.

I share your pain.

I hate playing the logical fallacy game, but Reductio Ad Absurdum and Straw Man are easily the most frustrating part of internet message board discourse generally, and this message board specifically.

Yes, Billiards is just knocking balls into holes with a stick. Yes, Darts is just throwing a pointy thing at a circle. Yes, Magic Mike is just tasteless, girl pornography wrapped in the shallow veneer (if that) of dramatic storyline which transparently serves as nothing more than a social exit strategy for the attendant, conflicted, female conscience (ok, instances do apply).

We get it. People don't like some games, and if you marginalize or outright ignore all the nuance of their mechanics/strategy/intangibles then yes, they seem shallow endeavors. A non-shallow endeavor made shallow by way of caricature or misrepresentation is shallow. Shallow endeavors are shallow. We understood the tautology you have contrived the first 5 million times it was devised. Can we please move on to more constructive dialogue at this point?
 

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If you removed the names, keywords and flavour from AD&D spells and AD&D combat, there would be lot of overlap and it would be hard to tell things apart - it would all just be rolling dice and calling out numbers! I don't think that proves very much, other than that names, keywords and flavour are pretty integral to roleplaying mechanics. (Especially in D&D, which is mechanically based on long lists of effects (be they weapons, spells, monsters, etc) which, at themost basic mechanical level are based primarily around tweaking the numbers.)
You're stretching.

If this was true and commonly accepted we could eliminate imbalance by having one class and just renaming & reflavouring powers.
Just have "single target ranged attack" and refluff to "bow shot" or "magic missile". But that sounds pretty bland to me.
 

Scylla

First Post
Again, you are not taking into consideration MAD. Unless you're really lucky, your fighter/mu will either have a crappy strength or a crappy int...

This was my experience, and we did play 1e with level caps (and detested they often were). I agree that certain builds, such the cleric/fighter, could be potent (though I never actually saw a C/F as DM). Different characters stack up differently, but sometimes a single level means a lot; I'd rather not pit a 4th-level mage against a 5th-level mage with his first fireball / lightning bolt, and a 16+ Wisdom 3rd-level cleric (hardly a rarity) gets three 2nd-level spells whereas a 2nd-level cleric has none—that's a big power difference.

Our multiclassed folks always split the XP equally to each side, but that might have been the way our group handled XP. In play, I do remember seeing M-U/fighters fighting next to straight fighters and straight wizards, and getting outperformed.

Again, in my experience (emphasis again that it certainly might have just been mine), multiclasssing in 1e or 2e was much rarer by far than in post-2e. Moreover, players seemed to multiclass more for versatility than for pure power—and that was really my point. Players now often layer up the power combos as if they're building a MAGIC deck, not creating a character with soul, and that is where the "D&D feel" began to be lost for me. In years past, the occasional power gamer was never a problem unless you were careless handing out the magic items. But when 3e arrived, that all changed. In more than a decade DMing 1e & 2e I never saw a triple-classed PC; but starting with 3e, every player seemingly wanted to stir in a level of this and a level of that, all in the attempt for the perfect build.
 

pemerton

Legend
You're stretching.

If this was true and commonly accepted we could eliminate imbalance by having one class and just renaming & reflavouring powers.
Just have "single target ranged attack" and refluff to "bow shot" or "magic missile". But that sounds pretty bland to me.
The three games I'm familiar with that satisfy your description are HERO, Maelstrom Storytelling and HeroWars/Quest. Many poeple like those games; others don't. But I've never seen anyone describe them as bland.

Part of what makes them not bland is that, in a roleplaying game, colour matters. That's the difference between an RPG and a boardgame, at least as I understand it.

This relates back to an earlier exchange we had about "fictional positioning". In 4e, a fighter's powers are martial. A wizard's powers are arcane. They are positioned differently in the fiction (and this is reflected, in 4e, via keywords). So, for example, a fighter can cut a tree in half with his/her axe - because it has the keyword [weapon]. A wizard can set a tree on fire with his/her fire spell - because it has the keyword [fire]. Conversely, an axe can't set things aflame (except, I guess, by the indirect manner of causing a spark of a rock). And a [fire] spell can't cut things down.

Now if you play a game in which these differences in fictional position never come into play, it may be that you never notice the myriad differences between 4e fighters and 4e wizards. I assume that a lot of those who feel that 4e plays like a board game have had this sort of experience. And to them, I say: either change your game so that fictional positioning does matter; or find a different game! Because playing an RPG as a board game seems a waste of time to me.

But if those players go to 3E, but keep running the same scenario, what change do they get? The only difference is that now the wizard uses daily resource mechanics, and the fighter doesn't. If the only way that fictional positioning matters in play is for purposes of resource management, you are playing the sort of game that [MENTION=87792]Neonchameleon[/MENTION] upthread has called "Greyhawking". That's a type of game that many D&D players have not been interested in at least since the 1980s (as shown by the popularity of Dragonlance, despite the fact that AD&D lacks the mechanics to make it a really viable game without massive amounts of GM force via railroading and fudging of mechanics).

Of course, it may be that fictional positioning doesn't matter to you, but that avoiding metagame mechanics permits "immersion" - so even though the daily cycle for the 3E wizard and the at-will cycle for the 3E fighter never really comes into play, you can still grasp the difference between them because you imagine your wizard as being Turjan, memorising spells every day, and your fighter as being Conan, swing a sword at will. This is what [MENTION=54877]Crazy Jerome[/MENTION] calls "illusionism" - projecting a fiction onto the experience that the mechanics don't themselves generate in play, but do hint at when projected via imagination onto the gameworld. There is no doubt that 4e won't support illusionism, and is in fact unrelentingly hostile to it, because of its plethora of transparently metagame mechanics.

I personally want a game in which ficitonal positioning matters to action resolution (ie non-illusioninst in the above sense), which is not about Greyhawking, and which will deliver a heroic fantasy experience without the need to use GM force in action resolution. 4e does that job, in part because it gives me fighters and wizards who are balanced in their mechanical effectiveness yet occupy iconically different positions in the fiction.

You do realize that the same could be said of terms like "15 minute adventuring day" "linear fighter/quadratic wizard" and a variety of similar terms commonly used on these boards, right?
The difference that I find is that these terms are generally used by players who have had an experience in play to describe that experience. They are not used by those players to misdescribe the game elements used by others.

The comparable term for 4e fighters would be "Vancian fighters" (although even that would be a little misleading, because unlike 4e wizards, fighters don't get to choose powers at the start of the day).

If a poster says "I didn't like 4e because I felt that fighter daily powers played just like fighters with Vancian spells", be my guest! Go to town!

What I object is a poster telling me that, in enjoying 4e fighters, I am enjoying fighters with spells. Which is a complete misdescription of my game experience. I've never suggested,for example, that those who don't have the 15 minute day actually do have it and haven't noticed. I believe them when they say that a certain mechanic doesn't, for them, deliver a certain experience. What I then go on to do (sometimes) is explain why the techniques they use (eg wandering monsters) aren't useful to me. The analogue of this would be someone who doesn't like the 4e power structure explaining why s/he doesn't like metagame mechanics, or why the recovery cycle for player resources also, for him/her, plays an important part in immersion.

Which is fine, but doesn't require or even benefit from any prelude about "fighters with spells".
 

Here is my experiences with multiclassing:

Fighter/Mage--in the absence of very high stats and a lot of magic items, melee was a trap. Multiclassing gave you much needed survivability, and an Elf with Fighter Thac0, 17+ Dex and a Longbow was far more useful than any single class Mage could ever hope to be when not casting spells.

Fighter/Cleric--One level back in Cleric to actually be able to hit things is a good trade.

Fighter/Thief--So far superior to a single class Thief it isn't funny. Better HP, Longbow, magic shields, ect. As far as I'm concerned this was the AD&D Thief class.

Cleric/Mage--more survivable than a pure Mage, and god damn that is a lot of spells. It actually takes effort to run out.

Mage/Thief--worthless in melee, but ultimate utility character. Spells give you something powerful to do in combat over what a single class Thief can do, and an Elf with a shortbow and 17+ Dex is again money on a Mage.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
The difference that I find is that these terms are generally used by players who have had an experience in play to describe that experience. They are not used by those players to misdescribe the game elements used by others.
:confused: Say what? You've certainly just misdescribed my message board experience.

If a poster says "I didn't like 4e because I felt that fighter daily powers played just like fighters with Vancian spells", be my guest! Go to town!
Well alright then.

What I object is a poster telling me that, in enjoying 4e fighters, I am enjoying fighters with spells.
Personally, I try to avoid talking about other people's games. I have no idea what goes in your or anyone else's games and don't presume otherwise. I do not, however, add "IMO, IME, YMMV" to every post I make; I take that as implied.
 

pemerton

Legend
Players now often layer up the power combos as if they're building a MAGIC deck, not creating a character with soul
In line with my post above this one, I've got nothing against characters with souls. But if the mechanics create incentives to build characters without souls, then I say change the mechanics. Preferably by making characters with souls effective in play. Don't rely on the solution of the players and/or GMs ignoring or massaging the mechanics.

An example of a game that I think does this well is Burning Wheel. And it is also honest about it - the character creation rules say "If you push the rules in this direction, the game might break. We therefore recommend you push the rules in this other direction, which will make the game sing."

Perhaps because of its "all things to all people" vibe, D&D always seems to have been hesitant to explicitly state its performance limits (even 4e doesn't do this) or to make them so obvious that they can't be missed (4e does do this, and consequently gets criticised for being too narrow in its focus).
 

pemerton

Legend
Fighter/Mage--in the absence of very high stats and a lot of magic items, melee was a trap.
Are you talking in general, or just 2nd ed AD&D.

In 1st ed AD&D and B/X, an Elf Fighter/Mage can wear full armour and cast spells. So you have lower hp than a fighter, but good AC and reasonable melee attacks. And so are about as effective as a cleric in melee - ie not too bad, although obviously not the best.
 

pemerton

Legend
I try to avoid talking about other people's games.
Whereas the post that I responded too said that 4e players are calling for fighters with spells. That's a pretty unambiguous attribution of preference and/or experience to others.

Another assymetry in some of these discussions, in my view: it is generally taken for granted that those who don't like metagame mechanics will get a game that can be played without them (hit points are the only point of real controversy here, in part because it is highly debatable that they are anything but a metagame mechanic). Whereas those who call for a mechanical solution to the 15 minute day - who in many cases, on this board at least, seem to overlap with those who tolerate or enjoy metagame mechanics (a non-accidental correlation, in my view, because of the broader connections to non-illusionist play) - are often told by those who are getting their non-metagame fighter to get back in their boxes and suck it up.

I say: if you play 4e without recognising the metagame mechanics, then you are probably doing it wrong; and if you don't like metagame mechanics, don't play 4e.

Applying the same reasoning to (what we know of) D&Dnext: if you play D&Dnext without wandering monsters or similar rapid respawning ("Schroedinger's Monsters"), or without illusionism that makes the 15 minute day go away despite the mechanical incentives, then you are probably doing it wrong (beause the 15 minute day will break out, producing a breakdown in class balance); hence if you don't like that sort of game, don't play D&Dnext.

Which is fine as far as it goes - I'm probably going to take my own advice - but seems an odd way to build a unity edition.

In other words, you can't both have mechanics that mandate a certain play style (either Schroedinger's Monsters or illusionism, perhaps both), and have mechanics are neutral across playstyles.
 
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Crazy Jerome

First Post
Do we have to do this in every thread?

The 1/enc and 1/day limits don't operate in the fiction. They operate at the metagame level ("gamist", in @thecasualoblivion 's terms). As @Neonchameleon said, it's a pacing mechanic.

We all get it that you don't like metagame mechanics. But it doesn't help to communicate that when you describe the mechanics in a way which no one who actually likes and uses them agrees with.

That's one reading. It's not the most natural - I prefer the metagame reading - but whatever floats your boat!

We'll have to keep doing it as long as people keep dignifying blather with an answer. Since the sole purpose of the blather is to disrupt better conversation, I don't see the use myself. Various Mark Twain quotes are springing to mind ... ;)
 

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