D&D (2024) Martial vs Caster: Removing the "Magical Dependencies" of high level.

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Sure. The mechanics are also a kind of "flavor".

For me, it is extremely important that the flavor and the mechanics cohere with each other.

If the flavor makes a claim that the mechanics are unable to actualize, it becomes highly unpleasant.

Oppositely, there are situations where the mechanics do something that the flavor doesnt really explain well. This can be problem for Martial flavor, such as forcing the decision-making of a target, without explaining how a nonmagical character who is unable to Charm, is able to do this. There needs to be a convincing explanation, such as a plausible psychological trick, or physical maneuver.

In my view, these situations concern a specific power. The specific power can be clarified or rewritten for a fix. Meanwhile, the general approach of powers with different flavors works well in 4e.
I agree it can work well, if you support 4e's design philosophy.
 

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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Well, with 3d6 you do get multiple dice rolls and a similar result in one roll.

other solution could be, roll certain number of d20s, half(round up) must be a successful roll.

I.E. craft something. You need skill check of 20. you have +8 to that skill/tool. Roll 6 d20 dice. 3 of them must be 12 or higher.
i#d definitely keep the base die as a d20 as that's what the skill system is vaguely balanced around and a few abilities designed to assist skill checks and the like specify needing a d20 roll to activate, but i wouldn't have a fixed number of dice required for the checks/number of successes before failures to suceed, yes 'best of 3' does curb the swingyness of single random high/low rolls but there's no room to adjust difficulty any further with that unless you go back to the set DC, variable X successes before Y failures gives you a secondary way of manipulating difficulty of a check.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
5e continues much of the 4e design (even if downplaying some of the 4e flavor). Which aspects of the mechanical design do you find difficult, if any?
The universal power system for everyone was a problem for me, as was the heavy emphasis on reflavoring effects so that a rule always applied regardless of the specific circumstances, requiring the GM to keep coming up with explanations why you can impose the prone condition on a fish, or an ooze, for example. I don't want to get into it more than that, as I've been told I can't express my likes and dislikes without offending people, and I like it here.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
The universal power system for everyone was a problem for me, as was the heavy emphasis on reflavoring effects so that a rule always applied regardless of the specific circumstances, requiring the GM to keep coming up with explanations why you can impose the prone condition on a fish, or an ooze, for example. I don't want to get into it more than that, as I've been told I can't express my likes and dislikes without offending people, and I like it here.
I agree, that an incoherence between flavor and mechanics is hugely problematic for me too.
 


The universal power system for everyone was a problem for me, as was the heavy emphasis on reflavoring effects so that a rule always applied regardless of the specific circumstances, requiring the GM to keep coming up with explanations why you can impose the prone condition on a fish, or an ooze, for example. I don't want to get into it more than that, as I've been told I can't express my likes and dislikes without offending people, and I like it here.
I don't know how your personal preferences are being attacked (but I don't doubt it on here) but I will say that it wasn't that hard in our games.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
The universal power system for everyone was a problem for me, as was the heavy emphasis on reflavoring effects so that a rule always applied regardless of the specific circumstances, requiring the GM to keep coming up with explanations why you can impose the prone condition on a fish, or an ooze, for example. I don't want to get into it more than that, as I've been told I can't express my likes and dislikes without offending people, and I like it here.
As much as we've disagreed in the past, I like you being here too Micah, and I'm sorry your hands are tied, even as I'm glad that there are guidelines regarding safe spaces. Not going to pull on that thread further, though, hope we can move back to the discussion at hand, but just want to acknowledge you bring a lot to our community.

Thinking a bit more on it, I think ensuring that adventures include enough time to allow mundane forms of travel to be viable is important to the goal, too.
This seems to tie into the ongoing issues regarding Proficiency Bonus / Long Rest abilities vs X / Short Rest abilities. More and more the designers are pushing towards a unified system that devalues the Short Rest and thereby raises the specter of the 5MWD. And if we're in the 5MWD, the only real solution is to make tracking time and distance matter. And that's very much a DM-based / adventure-based solution rather than solving the problem at the root (that D&D character ability design creates the temptation to nova spells in a single encounter and thus take years to get from Hobbiton to Bree). This has been the case that Martials in general tended in 2014 to have X / Short Rest Powers and At-Will Powers (though flavoured as class abilities and weapon attacks, rather than mimicking spells a la 4e). Warlocks and Monks also kinda sided on this front, and as we saw with the Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, Paladin, Rogue, and Warlock in playtest and as we've seen with Tasha's-era design for all classes, there's a move away from that even for those characters.

I just watched Across the Spider-Verse, and a lot of the stuff the various Spider-Folk do ought to be attainable by high-level martials. Leaping and swinging hundreds of feet in a single bound? Grabbing giant crumbling buildings and holding them for a moment so bystanders can escape? Throwing vehicles as weapons? Instinctively dodging deadly beams?

If there's a monster flying overhead, the high-level fighter should just be able to, y'know, get to it. And likewise, flyers shouldn't be able to attack from more than 60 ft away.
Turn "Indomitable" into a Legendary Resistance effect, let the Barbarian burn rages to effectively Counterspell attempts to affect them with magic, and give the Rogue the ability to use magic items without meeting the prerequisites to attune to them.

Create an Epic Boon feat for anyone with proficiency in all martial weapons such that enemies have disadvantage on concentration checks against your damage, and the DC they have to beat increases by half your level (round down).

Allow high level warriors to perform feats of athleticism that are flat-out superhuman without the use of magic. Think Captain America or Batman, such as jump, swim, climb, lift and throw, punch through walls, etc.

Give the Fighter and Barbarian features that, at high levels, allow them to cleave through magical barriers like walls of force, mage armor, shield spells, etc.
I love how Tasha's Ranger and the Playtest Ranger have Legend of Zelda-esque Stamina exploration features. These feel like things that Martials in general ought to be able to do. I also think they could be unified with Martial Superiority Dice / Martial Adept Maneuvers and with the Monk's Ki Powers and Martial Arts (and maybe with the Barbarian's Rage, the Paladin's Smites, and the Ranger's Primeval Awareness). I think there's always something to be said that these things could be done with skill checks and at high enough level, the Fighter's Athletics and Acrobatics' skills should be able to do those things, but again that's DM fiat. Martial Maneuvers (and 4e's Martial Maneuver Powers) give you features that suggest special things you can do beyond DM fiat. Of course, the flip side is that the more specific you get, the more the players and DMs think that these things can ONLY be done with the maneuvers rather than sandboxing out narrative / skill based wacky roleplay ideas.

Sure. The mechanics are also a kind of "flavor".

For me, it is extremely important that the flavor and the mechanics cohere with each other.

If the flavor makes a claim that the mechanics are unable to actualize, it becomes highly unpleasant.

Oppositely, there are situations where the mechanics do something that the flavor doesnt really explain well. This can be problem for Martial flavor, such as forcing the decision-making of a target, without explaining how a nonmagical character who is unable to Charm, is able to do this. There needs to be a convincing explanation, such as a plausible psychological trick, or physical maneuver.

In my view, these situations concern a specific power. The specific power can be clarified or rewritten for a fix. Meanwhile, the general approach of powers with different flavors works well in 4e.
Whether or not they feel different from each other is very much a matter of personal opinion, and often revolves around one's opinion of 4e as a whole.
I get into this a little bit above. Honestly, I feel like this is a presentation thing as much as it's an options thing; putting the features out as class features rather than spell-like powers could allow them to feel less locked in. However, I also think the 1D&D playtest is trialing more of those class-features-as-spells because what they really want is a more standardized way of expressing those class features so that they can compare their relative weight -- a feature should be either a ribbon or equivalent to an equally-leveled feat or class feature. But the very existence of mechanics for an action have a trade off. The more loose the game's rules are, the more free the players are to roleplay the concepts. The more defined the features are, the more restricted the space becomes. Spells tend to suggest that only they can do that thing, so it's weird when Wizards can only transcribe spells into their own spellbook with a specific class spell rather than anyone being able to copy down a spell -- because while it's magic-adjacent, note-taking and copying formulae is very mundane and human. But it's not so weird to think that something very supernatural, like shooting a fireball out of your hands, is something with specific mechanics and requirements, rather than something a Fighter or Rogue can attempt to do with a skill (though if they have the right Zonai Device… err, magical item, and can USE MAGIC ITEM, they may be able to fire off that fireball without the spell but with the cost of draining the item's charge or taking up a usage or potentially breaking it, etc).

But that leads us to…
One of the Houserules I use is

"Magic Weapons are magical"

Magic swords can cut throw walls of force. Magic swords can cut through reality to open impromptu portal to overlapping planes. Magic weapons if big enough can block magic attacks. Magic weapon can disrupt magic defences or natural actions supported by magic (ie sight or flight of magic creatures).

But you have to be a skilled warrior to use magic weapons this way.

It's a bit odd when you want martials to be accomplished doing martial things if you're requiring them to use magic weapons and devices to keep up with mages. Especially if that magic sword is something that the mages could use to ignore their lack of proficiency with swords. But I do think there's something here. If Artificers are inventors of magic weapons and items, those items could be mass-produced as technology to the martials and mages to use and enhance their abilities. That's a very Eberron / Ravnica / Kaladesh / Dominaria / Kamigawa / Capenna / Phyrexia way of thinking about magic items, of course.


Money is usually a viable problem solving method.
There's something about Old School D&D here, and how the accumulation of treasure was intertwined with EXP gains as a key expression of power growth, and how that's reflective of capitalist social mores as a whole. And that's even more so in the Dungeon-Punk Arthur C. Clark's 3rd Law Magindustrial Revolution settings.

I also think the idea of castles and retainers that Fighters were expected to get at higher levels in early D&D could be a worthwhile exploration to give martials more options for solving problems as they reach higher tiers of play without making them feel explicitly magical.

Of course, the "buy the wizard as a retainer" only works to solve magical issues if the wizard is actually buy-able; in Eberron, everyone has access to a little bit of mundane urban house magic, but NPCs characters that are neither DM-PCs nor Campaign Villains are almost exclusively magewrights of some sort - someone with far less magic than even a Level-1 character, who can only access their magic with rituals, but can do interesting things due to their place of action and lifetime of experience. And the DM-PC is almost exclusively un-buyable even in a game where money is king; the rare PC-classed NPC that is NOT evil would be something like a 5 Nations Royal or a Great House Guild Baron, etc, and even if you COULD tempt them into aid with money, you'd have to be like a Royal or Great House Leader yourself in order to have ENOUGH power and influence and money to do so. And that brings us back to land and peerage and castles and retainers as a way of martial advancement…
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
Every Humanoid has a "soul".

It is possible that the soul, in an inherently mundane way by simply existing, might bypass certain magical effects like force constructs or returning home from an alien plane.
 

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