D&D 5E The Quest to Reduce "Sameyness" (+)

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Each to his own. I love the idea that you can have a party of 3 players and have all bases covered. Personally I like the idea that I can build a fighter that is good at C. Maybe he gives up a little in Z for that.

In my example Ranger gave me the tools to most closely build the character I wanted to play. I wanted a character who had extra attack and good hit points, expertise, great social skills and a ton of spells and battlefield control and ability to disengage as a bonus action. Goblin Fey Wanderer with Fey Touched, Shadow Touched and Telepathic and a 10 constitution did that perfectly. This character had a wand of fear and she used that instead of attacking often on the first turn. She used summon Fey a lot instead of attacking. To me, knowing that your Ranger is always going to pull a longbow or a pair of shortswords on the first turn and attack all the time because he is a "Ranger" and that is what Rangers do is boring to play as a character. Sure I could do that (well with a shortbow not a long bow) and I was good at it, but it would not be as fun and at the end of the day, that is what it is about.

I don't think I was trampling anybody. I built and played the character I wanted to play and her backstory fit neatly into that concept, which is how I got it instead of picking a class and choosing a backstory to fit. Anyone else at the table could have made the same build if they wanted. Our party was a Human Evoker, Human Divine Soul, Kobold Swashbuckler and Goblin Fey Wanderer (me). We had no traditional "tank" no traditional "face" and yet it was an awesome party.

The term weakness is relative to what you are talking about. If I took Gloomstalker instead of Fey Wanderer and if I focused solely on combat, pumped constitution, took combat ASIs and feats and a combat focused race like half orc ..... if I did that, I would have had a character who was much more narrow than my character but she would have been better at melee (perhaps marginally better, but still better). If that is what you want to play, then play it!

Likewise a pure caster is a more powerful combat caster than I was, because even though I had a ton of spells, including many off-class spells; when I finished the game at 15th level, I did not have 5th-8th level spells and a full caster is a more powerful caster even if he did not have any more known spells and could not cast many more spells than I could.

There is room for all of these builds and more.

You get a lot of people on this board complaining about martials and how they are so limited, that is really because they choose to build them that way though. With races, backgrounds, feats and subclasses you can make any class good an any aspect of the game. Maybe not the best possible, but certainly good.
So what's the point of classes then, if any class can be good at any aspect of the game?
This also means you can play with fewer players which speeds up the game and makes it more fun. If every party needs a Rogue for traps and a divine caster for healing and an arcane for control and bard for social and a martial for tanking ..... you very quickly find out that either people need to play characters they don't want to play or you need a huge party because 5 people wanted to be Wizards and you still need a tank, healer, Rogue, striker and face. Much better when you can have three players and have your bases covered.
Either that or you have to choose which bases to leave UNcovered. Fine with me either way.

That said, if I only had three players I'd absolutely allow them to have more than one PC each (usually capped at two each). Also, what often happens is adventuring NPCs are recruited to fill glaring holes, particularly healer and-or sneak; meaning nobody has to play what they don't want to play but you can still round out the party if you want to.

I have no problem with running a 12-character party if that's what they end up with; and if there's complaints about combats taking too long I can simply tell them it's self-inflicted: they didn't have to fill every gap in the lineup twice over. :)
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
Edit: Ignore me,
Um...ok.. are you sure?? ;)

I disagree with that choice, and think the reasoning for it is especially...odd...since it isn't even "this is actually bad," it's just "people in our group didn't seem interested," which is entirely unrelated to whether the class is powerful!
No, people are interested in those classes, and different polls have shown Rangers (especially) lag in the favorite class and power category. Now, since some people love Tasha's Ranger, I can't say, but since we don't use it, we've made changes to improve pretty much every class, but especially in this sense those three.

...so...what does Con do, exactly, other than saving throws? It's not HP, there's no skills tied to it. Only Sorcerers care about it for their own stuff. Literally the only thing it does is an important class of saving throws (which includes Concentration checks.)
Plenty in our game. See this thread for the current WIP:

It is a design flaw of 5E (since d20 systems really) that WotC has yet to address. IMO this reason is bullsh!t:

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When you have CON-based skills like Concentration, Endurance, and Tolerance, all of which can be actively practiced and improved, their reasoning doesn't hold water.

At any rate, referring to a post upthread, if you don't agree that is fine, but otherwise...
tough, deal with it.
:D
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
This. What is referred to in the OP is not remotely I thought of.
Saving Throws and Spells are just the beginning. Those types of things might not make the game feel samey to you, which is fine of course, but it does to me so I am trying to improve them to remove that.

The sameyness issues that occurred to me are:

1) Cosmetic sameyness. The generic fantasy look across widely different settings and media.
This isn't "generic", it is medieval. Having different medieval settings and media be samey increases cohesion in that type of fantasy for people--you have an idea of what to expect, which IMO is a good thing.

2) Monster samyness. There are too many monsters that are nothing but sacks of hit points.
I agree, but considering the number of monsters out there, that is beyond the scope of one person IMO. I wish WotC would do better with all the people they have on creative teams, but their focus appears to be elsewhere. 🤷‍♂️
 

This isn't "generic", it is medieval. Having different medieval settings and media be samey increases cohesion in that type of fantasy for people--you have an idea of what to expect, which IMO is a good thing.
1) The modern generic fantasy "look" isn't remotely medieval. Which varied considerably with location and fashion.

2) I see no reason why D&D should be medieval only in any case.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
That said, if I only had three players I'd absolutely allow them to have more than one PC each (usually capped at two each). Also, what often happens is adventuring NPCs are recruited to fill glaring holes, particularly healer and-or sneak; meaning nobody has to play what they don't want to play but you can still round out the party if you want to.
Yeah, I have done this as well many times in the past when my group was small for whatever reason. Players could play a second PC if they wanted to, and often I might run an NPC support-caster or sneak (which made scouting really easy LOL!).

With races, backgrounds, feats and subclasses you can make any class good an any aspect of the game. Maybe not the best possible, but certainly good.
you need a huge party because 5 people wanted to be Wizards and you still need a tank, healer, Rogue, striker and face.
This sentiments seem to contradict each other. On one hand, you say with races, backgrounds, etc. any class can be made good at any aspect of the game, BUT then you also say if you have 5 people all wanting to be Wizards, you still need a tank, healer, etc.

So, which is it? ;)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
1) The modern generic fantasy "look" isn't remotely medieval. Which varied considerably with location and fashion.
Perhaps you have a broader base of fantasy, but if you are finding that broader base to all generic than it is the fault of the designers of that setting or media. IME, since all the fantasy that appeals to me is typically medieval, I find that generic, but in the good way I already outlined.

(Bold added)
Then how is it "generic"???

2) I see no reason why D&D should be medieval only in any case.
Great for you, but it isn't, is it? You have Spelljammer Dark Sun and other settings which if not medieval, certainly are less so. Maybe it is just that WotC hasn't explored those yet (or at least not released them)?

At any rate, we digress, this is supposed to be a (+) thread after all. So, if you have anything meaningful to contribute about Saving Throws or Spell Lists, please let me know. It isn't my prerogative to create such settings (so I can't help you there) and is beyond the scope of this to tackle monsters (but I might get to it someday as I agree with you on that point).
 

Each to his own. I love the idea that you can have a party of 3 players and have all bases covered. Personally I like the idea that I can build a fighter that is good at C. Maybe he gives up a little in Z for that.

I agree. This is a positive thread so I’ll just say my peace and move on, but I really don’t want to go back to the days where the party had to bring along a cleric (that no one wanted to play) because no other class could heal competently.

Though I like the revised list of spells.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
I agree. This is a positive thread so I’ll just say my peace and move on, but I really don’t want to go back to the days where the party had to bring along a cleric (that no one wanted to play) because no other class could heal competently.
That is appreciated. Really the discussion of covering bases with X number of characters is certainly a good one, just not appropriate for this thread. I agree, to a point, it is a strength of 5E that you can cover more than one base with a class due to either subclass choice or feats, primarily. IMO it is just their version of what should be multiclassing essentially.

Though I like the revised list of spells.
Thanks, it was a lot of work trying to balance things out. I am not 100% happy with it, but 90% at least. There might be a bit more tweaking here or there, but for the most part it is done.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
It kind of the fault of designers across all media.
Well, if the intent is to design something familiar, it isn't at fault, but otherwise I agree.

There was really no such thing as "typically" medieval. Particularly in the Tudor period fashions changed as quickly as they do now.
Oh, I don't know. I think things like axes and swords, chain armor and plate, bows and cavalry, and such are "typically" medieval when it comes to RPGs. Throw in magic, wizards, elves, dwarves, etc. and you get the "fantasy" aspect.

Otherwise, yes, the middle ages or medieval period spanned hundreds of years, so at what point in the medieval period you want can differ, but all are commonly established IMO. Samey is good at this point, YMMV of course. :)
 

Well, if the intent is to design something familiar, it isn't at fault, but otherwise I agree.


Oh, I don't know. I think things like axes and swords, chain armor and plate, bows and cavalry, and such are "typically" medieval when it comes to RPGs. Throw in magic, wizards, elves, dwarves, etc. and you get the "fantasy" aspect.

Otherwise, yes, the middle ages or medieval period spanned hundreds of years, so at what point in the medieval period you want can differ, but all are commonly established IMO. Samey is good at this point, YMMV of course. :)
Plate is renascence, not medieval. But the issue is what people wear when they are not wearing armour, which is getting far too familiar.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Plate is renascence, not medieval.
I disagree vehemently:


Plate armour is a historical type of personal body armour made from bronze, iron, or steel plates, culminating in the iconic suit of armour entirely encasing the wearer. Full plate steel armour developed in Europe during the Late Middle Ages, especially in the context of the Hundred Years' War, from the coat of plates worn over mail suits during the 14th century.

Notice: LATE MIDDLE AGES. However, it did continue to be developed, etc. into the Renaissance period.

But the issue is what people wear when they are not wearing armour, which is getting far too familiar.
How is that an "issue"??? (FYI, that was rhetorical.)

It isn't an issue as far as I am concerned and fail to see how it has anything to do with the thread. I mean, really, it is called clothes after all, and are claiming clothes are too "samey"? :confused:
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
The boundary between late medieval and renaissance isn't well defined.
It is defined enough to know plate armor (in various forms) existed prior to the Renaissance. If you feel that is untrue, please don't bother replying further.

The 5E Breastplate is also common prior to even medieval times as Greek and Romans had metal (and hardened leather) breastplates.

Again, if you want to debate that, don't bother replying and do some research on personal body armor in different periods.

It's boring and shows a lack of imagination. Same reason sameyness is a problem anywhere.
CLOTHING is boring and samey to you?

Oh, just forget it! You are basically just trolling in a (+) thread. If you continue I'll ignore you and then you won't have to worry about contributing since you don't seem keen to do so.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It is defined enough to know plate armor (in various forms) existed prior to the Renaissance. If you feel that is untrue, please don't bother replying further.
Straight-up plate mail is late middle ages but to me things like full plate and field plate speak renaissance.

Which is fine with me, as various aspects of my setting are developed to a renaissance level anyway (or even beyond; for example sailing ships in my world can get up to Trafalgar-era design).
CLOTHING is boring and samey to you?
Good timing for this discussion for me, in that the adventure I'm currently running originally* revolved around solving the theft of some fancy (and expensive!) old clothing from a noble's collection.

* - it's since developed into something a bit more serious as one thing leads to another...
 

ECMO3

Hero
So what's the point of classes then, if any class can be good at any aspect of the game?

Classes provide a set of mechanics to build the character you want and ensure an element of balance. They should not define the character. Certain classes, specifically Warlock, and to a lessor extent Cleric and Druid, have thematic issues that actually do connect the class to the character definition, but even there you can do away with those elements relatively easily.

Either that or you have to choose which bases to leave UNcovered.

Which means you flat can't succeed at some elements in the game or the DM has to build a story without those elements.

That said, if I only had three players I'd absolutely allow them to have more than one PC each (usually capped at two each).

I have played such campaigns and that is difficult and can be troublesome. Not as troublesome as the infamous DM PC, but certainly a problem at times and with some players. It is better if you add a couple NPCs and let the players control them in combat, but to be honest a 4-person party is the norm in 5E and 3 should be as common or more common than 6 players and to do that well you need to be decent at all three pillars with just 3 players.

A game with 3 Players and 3 PCs is a lot more fun than a game with 3 players and 6 PCs.


Also, what often happens is adventuring NPCs are recruited to fill glaring holes, particularly healer and-or sneak; meaning nobody has to play what they don't want to play but you can still round out the party if you want to.
That is a solution, but it is not ideal as you still end up with a large party that slows the game down and is as bad as having a bunch of PCs. It is also not as fun when your hired NPC face manages to talk his way past three guard posts to get into the keep and the baron's quarters. It is far more fun when the PC fighter or ranger does it.

Also if you are really playing NPCs right there is an element of ambiguity because they are not controlled by players and not part of the social contract between players. Are they really going to stick it through with the party? Is it possible they are spys/infiltrators? Will they run when the going gets tough? If the DM is handwaving that and making them essentially rock solid like the PCs then that detracts quite a bit from the story, or worse they essentially become a DM PC.
 
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Classes provide a set of mechanics to build the character you want and ensure an element of balance. They should not define the character. Certain classes, specifically Warlock, and to a lessor extent Cleric and Druid, have thematic issues that actually do connect the class to the character definition, but even there you can do away with those elements relatively easily.
I disagree with this so much. If anything, more classes should be like the warlock, built to suit a certain thematic flavor, and the warlock itself should be built even uniquely suited to its theme, treating the pact as an ongoing mechanical consideration instead of essentially relegating it to backstory. Classes just being names given to a set of interchangeable mechanics makes me think people in favor of that might like a classless system better.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Classes provide a set of mechanics to build the character you want and ensure an element of balance. They should not define the character. Certain classes, specifically Warlock, and to a lessor extent Cleric and Druid, have thematic issues that actually do connect the class to the character definition, but even there you can do away with those elements relatively easily.
Or go the other way and find thematic issues that can connect each class to the character definition, and in so doing make each class a bit more unique (which is the point of this thread, right?).
Which means you flat can't succeed at some elements in the game or the DM has to build a story without those elements.
The DM should "build the story" without regard for which PCs or classes or species will be going through said story; and if the PCs can't* succeed at some elements then maybe the players need to think outside the box a bit and find some workarounds.

* - "can't" is far too absolute. Better is "less likely to", which means they still can but with greater difficulty.
I have played such campaigns and that is difficult and can be troublesome. Not as troublesome as the infamous DM PC, but certainly a problem at times and with some players.
Advenruting NPCs are DMPCs and they're not a problem in the least IME.
It is better if you add a couple NPCs and let the players control them in combat, but to be honest a 4-person party is the norm in 5E and 3 should be as common or more common than 6 players and to do that well you need to be decent at all three pillars with just 3 players.

A game with 3 Players and 3 PCs is a lot more fun than a game with 3 players and 6 PCs.
I'm used to big parties, but then again I'm not trying to run or play 5e.
That is a solution, but it is not ideal as you still end up with a large party that slows the game down and is as bad as having a bunch of PCs. It is also not as fun when your hired NPC face manages to talk his way past three guard posts to get into the keep and the baron's quarters. It is far more fun when the PC fighter or ranger does it.
If the players wanted to play a face character then someone would play one. If they don't but still find that having one in the party is useful, this can be the self-inflicted result.

That said, there's nothing wrong with allowing one or more players to do the talking on behalf of that "face" NPC, while you-as-DM talk for whoever the face is interacting with.
Also if you are really playing NPCs right there is an element of ambiguity because they are not controlled by players and not part of the social contract between players. Are they really going to stick it through with the party? Is it possible they are spys/infiltrators? Will they run when the going gets tough?
In a realistic party I ought to be asking the same questions of the other PCs as well. PCs are allowed to be spies, or turncoats, or cowards, every bit as much as NPCs are....aren't they?
If the DM is handwaving that and making them essentially rock solid like the PCs then that detracts quite a bit from the story, or worse they essentially become a DM PC.
Of course they become DMPCs. That's what adventuring NPCs are, and they're an accepted fact of life here. That said, as DMs we tend to try and pull them out if-when they look like they're getting too powerful, but on occasions doing so can be difficult because the PCs don't want to let them go; either due to their usefulness or due to their having become an integral part of the party unit.
 

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