D&D 5E How much should 5e aim at balance?

Herschel

Adventurer
Martial daily powers are so far beyond this that it isn't even close. I accept you don't mind. But stop implying that those of us who take issue with them don't have a valid view. It's just a view different from yours. I guarantee 9 out of 10 times at least we'd all agree on what was or wasn't a dissociative mechanic. Your own inability to grasp the concept is probably why it doesn't bother you.

Martial daily powers are no different than HP, in fact HP are an even bigger intrusion because regardless of which edition of the game we play HP are there in all their abstract glory. There's no regular in-game way around them.

That's not to say everyone has to like martial dailies, far from it, but trying to claim they're somehow a 'more egregious disruption' is ridiculous. It's just another accusation of badwrongfun.
 

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Ahnehnois

First Post
Martial daily powers are no different than HP, in fact HP are an even bigger intrusion because regardless of which edition of the game we play HP are there in all their abstract glory.
I guess that's sort of right. HP are a big "intrusion", but are one that a lot of games have used for a long time. It's not that they don't present balance and plausibility problems aplenty; we've kind of all agreed to live with them. The whole martial powers thing, not so much.

There's no regular in-game way around them.
Thankfully this isn't true. Unearthed Arcana, along with a variety of less official sources, has offered a number of variant health systems; vp/wp is probably one of the more common houserules applied to basic game mechanics. None of the alternatives is above reproach, but all of them are better than hp pretty much by default. Having seen what these mechanics do, there's no way I'd play a D&D game with hp or anything like martial daily powers.
 

pemerton

Legend
I guess that's sort of right. HP are a big "intrusion", but are one that a lot of games have used for a long time.
Besides D&D and its clones, what other games use D&D-style hp.

In RuneQuest hit points are meat (and do not grow in the D&D fashion). Likewise, I think, in HERO, C&S, and maybe GURPS.

In Rolemaster, hp (called concussion hits) are part of your meat (roughly, hit point loss equals bruising and bleeding). Most serious damage is via condition-infliction ("criticals", in RM terminology).

Traveller doesn't have hit points. From memory T&T is the same - damage is taken directly to stats - but my memory is a bit hazy.

None of the "modern" RPGs uses hp, does it? Not HeroWars/Quest, not Burning Wheel, I assume not FATE-derivatives (I understand that FATE uses its tagging mechanic for a type of condition-infliction approach).

Even Mutants & Masterinds doesn't use hp.

What other RPGs do?
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
However as far as I can tell Hit points weren't too big of an intrusion and are very simple to use.(I can readily acept them in videogames, even those games that have a very realistic and /or gritty feel to them) I never had any issue with HP before, and the few issues were easily ignorable, like ignoring the strings on a puppet show they aren't any problem unless you think too hard about them, HP was very easilly seen as meat. The only edition in which I feel it breaks is in 4e, choosing to ignore the issues is easy, being able to do it however becomes harder as the strings aren't strings but phosphorescent color ribbons with flashin christmass tree lights that make little sounds when they move, and martial dailies and martial healing hurt your suspense of disbelief on a very simialr way if not more.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Besides D&D and its clones, what other games use D&D-style hp.

In RuneQuest hit points are meat (and do not grow in the D&D fashion). Likewise, I think, in HERO, C&S, and maybe GURPS.

In Rolemaster, hp (called concussion hits) are part of your meat (roughly, hit point loss equals bruising and bleeding). Most serious damage is via condition-infliction ("criticals", in RM terminology).

Traveller doesn't have hit points. From memory T&T is the same - damage is taken directly to stats - but my memory is a bit hazy.

None of the "modern" RPGs uses hp, does it? Not HeroWars/Quest, not Burning Wheel, I assume not FATE-derivatives (I understand that FATE uses its tagging mechanic for a type of condition-infliction approach).

Even Mutants & Masterinds doesn't use hp.

What other RPGs do?

Good points. I can't speak to all the rest, but no mainstream version of FATE uses an HP mechanic. Generally, FATE uses a sort of condition track.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
Besides D&D and its clones, what other games use D&D-style hp[?]
My intent probably was not clear; I used the term "games" to indicate I was going outside of the TTRPG context. Almost anyone younger than me has grown up with computer games where characters have a health bar and get little bursts of healing or slow recovery over time but don't acquire any meaningful injuries and only ever die when that health bar runs out. The concept is simple and very intuitive (whereas the alternatives are not). Even though it's not really an appropriate concept for a roleplaying game, we're stuck with it.

I don't think the tabletop rpg comparisons mean much because "D&D and its clones" constitutes a huge portion of the rpg market, and even most people who have played those other games started with D&D. Of course, there are good reasons why all those non-D&D rpgs have more descriptive health systems, but not many people ever get to the point of trying a non-D&D rpg. For D&D to take the leap into new health systems would be one of the biggest "modern" advances possible, but I doubt the market would be willing to try something so radical.
 

My first roleplaying game experiences was Shadowrun (3E) It had a condition monitor, and injuries were either applied as a light wound (1 damage box), moderate (3 damage boxes), serious (5 damage boxes) or deadly (10). If you got 3 light wounds in a row, you would have a moderate wound and so on. If you got to 10 damage boxes, you were dying or unconcious (there was a mental and a physical condition monitor, the first mostly for fatigue and bruises, the second for physical injuries).

The system was not without flaws (by RAW, it would be almost impossible to kill someone with your bare hands, since all unarmed damage is non-lethal and thus applies to the mental condition monitor - dealing 20 boxes of damage with a melee attack is not easy to pull off. E.g. not at all .)

But it made sense. These were basically "hit points as meat".

Then I played D&D for the first time. And I thought I was playing a video game? People had hit points that grew with levels? And hits chopped some of that off? Yes, I knew that from video games, and I found it okay for videogame, but unrealistic/unbeliavable for a real roleplaying game.

Ironically of course, D&D was probably the inspiration for hit points in video games, but I didn't know that then. I just knew that this game was rather silly (not to forget the weird magic system. Shadowrun's system made almost sense - spellcasting takes effort, causing "drain", e.g. damage to one of the condition monitors. But if you could handle the drain, you could cast all day. D&D had some weird spell slots mechanic?)

As somenoe that did not get into RPGs via D&D ,I can tell you that hit points are a very "dissassociative" mechanic, if you need to use a pejorative term. If you don't find them as such, then you've long internalized the mechanics and accepted them, possibly finding your own rationaliazions. Which is what I did as well, eventually. After all, I became an enthusiastic 3E and 4E gamer...
 

Someone

Adventurer
I remember the start of a 2e campaign I played once. Our characters didn't know each other, and we were playing the part where they met. One of those characters was an elf archer, and when other pf the PCs entered the forest he shot a warning arrow.

Now a big argument erupted because the PC shot at perceived it as a deadly threat; the archer could have hit him by accident and killed him. The counter argument was that the arrow, even with a critical hit, couldn't kill his character as his hit points were high enough to survive even that.

How exactly associative are hit points? Can your character say "oh, it's just an arrow and I'm at full meat rested and uninjured. It's not going to kill me"? Hit points are not intuitive; they are easy to use and familiar, which is not the same. I'd take more seriously the criticisms against 4e if the same faults weren't present in every edition in slightly different forms, but ignored because they are tradition.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Strange, I'd think 3e came pretty close to what you wanted. You advance mostly as wizard, but get a level of fighter at some point, maybe a second one at a future date. It's strictly dilutive - nothing you get from that fighter level is worth the lost caster level, let alone getting your next spell level a level later - but that's clearly not the point. ;)
OK, but I was trying it the other way around - 90% Fighter, 10% Wizard.

What failed for me is that when I wanted to take a second Wizard level at about the 6-1 point (thus, to go to 6-2) it took way more XP than I thought it should, due to 3e's additive system. It's my 1e background getting in the way - 3e insists a F-6/W-2 is actually an 8th-level character, where to me a 6-2 is only marginally better than a single-class 6th.

Tony Vargas said:
Funny thing is, I used a variant that worked something like that in my long AD&D campaign (which spanned the 1e/2e rev-roll). I let a player choose a 'secondary class' for a 10% experience penalty
I just have it that if someone wants to double-class right from the start (I don't allow triple or higher) they can, they just tell me what % of their earned XP are going into which class. Each class progresses on its own advancement table as normal.

I also have guideline-style rules for the unlikely event of someone wanting to pick up a second class on the fly.

Tony Vargas said:
4e multi-classing works very differently, the primarily one class with a 'touch' of another is what it tends towards.
Thanks for the primer. :)

Lanefan
 

Underman

First Post
The "simulation/immersion" crowd (if I can talk at that level of generality) seem to be very hostile to fortune-in-the-middle mechanics
<snip>
The "4e crowd" (if I can talk at that level of generality) are often trying to explain what they are doing in
Remember the context of post that you quoted me, I would have said the reverse:
The "simulation/immersion" crowd are often trying to explain what they are doing
The "4e crowd" seem to be very inconsiderate or scornful of the sim/1st person/immersive agenda

But actually the more objective description would probably go like:
The "simulation/immersion" crowd are often trying to explain what they are doing
The "4e crowd" are often trying to explain what they are doing
(with some overstatement on both sides)

Our respective biases (if they do exist as such) probably has something to do with the debates we pick.

when it comes to a fortune-in-the-middle mechanic - the correlation between mechanical resolution, and events in the fiction, is worked out on a case-by-case basis as part of the process of play.
Right, so the sim crowd starts to ask for examples of how it works in play. Replies include: well, the fighter is too tired to kick, but still has arm strength to slash, and so forth. The sim crowd of course finds these explanations to be unsatisfactory, uncompelling, or implausible. Which then leads to:

Because this answer is either rejected, or not even really parsed,
Some times it's not parsed, I think in many cases it IS parsed by still rejected. It's like telling your spouse a hundred times that cleaning isn't a priority for you, and he/she (who is a very cleanly person) parses it but just never gets it. And will never get it until he/she learns to agree to disagree.

by the "sim/immersion" crowd (given the above mentioned hostility and blindspot),
Or the "blindspot" of the 4e crowd to see validity in what the sim crowd is looking for :)

the 4e crowd finds itself presenting the sorts of explanation that might be narrated on an ad hoc basis ("Aha, the goblin fell for my feint, now I'm going to wail on it with a Brute Strike") as if they applied on a general basis - because that is the only sort of mechanics/fiction correlation that the "sim/immersion" crowd will accept as genuine.
But then, like any ad hoc explanation, those explanations fall into an argument about consistency and cohesion, and that's not a blind spot on anyone's part, I don't think, but part of the differences between what each playstyle prioritizes.

I agree with you that those explanations are silly. The mechanic is there because of the metagame role that it plays. But your apparent inference from that, to the conlcusion that the fiction is "half-assed" or unimportant for non-sim play, is completely unwarranted.
<snip>
If this post has misinterpreted your use of "half-assed", then apologies. Maybe you really don't think that ad hoc correlations of mechanics to fiction are unimportant in play. But that's what "half-assed" implied to me.
Again, the post you quoted was in reference to certain contexts. "Half-assed" explanations wasn't a generalization towards ALL explanations for fortune-in-the-middle. Even in classic sim play, there are moments of half-assed explanations that everybody just glosses over in play.
 

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