D&D General There are no "Editions" of D&D

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I've can't really conceive of that happening. The feats are pretty general use. However, in that very, very corner case scenario, at worst they would be equal.

It's harder to rate entire classes against one another since they have so many varying abilities. Identical fighters with only one having a feat is not the same as Paladin vs. Fighter mixed in with how rests are done. One is basic math and the other is calculus. :p

Another thing to consider is that when comparing whole classes, much of that comparison is going to be subjective. Do you like superiority dice more than smite for example.
I appreciate your openness to some nuance here. :)

A of these things you bring up are what causes the misperceptions to occur and are the reason that perception is very often greater than reality. They do not alter what reality is, though.
Well, now we're getting into fairly philosophic territory. Personally I tend to believe that if a tree falls in the woods and there's no one around to hear it, yes, it still makes a sound. But some realities are inherently subjective and internal and not as hard and objective as the measurable decibels of a falling tree.

Which character classes or individual characters are more powerful than others in a game which has flexible rules and implementations thereof, which takes idiosyncratic expression at tens or hundreds of thousands of different tables, each of which creates different conditions under which each class would or could be measured, is a much less concrete and observable thing.

In the context of my game the way I run it, a given character may be significantly, observably, obviously-in-the-view-of-all-participants, weaker or stronger than they would be in your game the way you run it.

I think "which character class is better or stronger" is often a matter of opinion dependent on context, more akin to "which food tastes better" or "which movie is more artistically satisfying" than it is to something like "which ingot of iron is heavier".
 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
This conversation reminds me of the many conversations I have with my partner. She is an emotional thinker, and I'm a logical brained thinker. To me, facts are facts. They are indisputable regardless of how we interpret them. I rely on facts because of that reason. She argues that "everyone perceives a different reality, and that's what's really important. I know how I feel is real, so that is reality."

I admit I have a hard time grokking that. 🤷‍♂️
Definitely two different kinds of real things. I can tell you honestly that I do not like the taste of sour cream. That's a real fact. But it's not something you can observe or measure. I could similarly opine that in general blondes are less attractive than redheads, or men vastly less attractive than women on average. Which are real to ME, but similarly not things I can point at and SHOW you, and may be opinions which are at variance with your reality.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Definitely two different kinds of real things. I can tell you honestly that I do not like the taste of sour cream. That's a real fact. But it's not something you can observe or measure. I could similarly opine that in general blondes are less attractive than redheads, or men vastly less attractive than women on average. Which are real to ME, but similarly not things I can point at and SHOW you, and may be opinions which are at variance with your reality.
Yeah, but those are subjective things. Where I start to stumble on the understanding (and I'm guessing Maxperson as well) is when someone discounts something objective, replacing it with their personal interpretation as if it's just as valid or just as much of a fact.

Reminds me of Isaac Asimov's quote:
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Sure, that's a bit hyperbolic, but it's along the same lines.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Yeah, but those are subjective things. Where I start to stumble on the understanding (and I'm guessing Maxperson as well) is when someone discounts something objective, replacing it with their personal interpretation as if it's just as valid or just as much of a fact.

Reminds me of Isaac Asimov's quote:
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Sure, that's a bit hyperbolic, but it's along the same lines.
Oof.

Pulling out that Asimov quote here... I can't imagine that you intend that to come off as aggressive and hostile as that does.

I think I've done some decent work explicating in my posts here how evaluation of a class or character's power level, even if it's something we can use math on parts of, is inherently subjective and contextual. I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself, but I think it's inevitably more like reviewing a car or a movie than it is like weighing a rock. You've got lots of criteria to evaluate, but few such concrete markers than we could expect any two, nevermind ten, evaluators to give the same exact assessment or score.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Oof.

Pulling out that Asimov quote here... I can't imagine that you intend that to come off as aggressive and hostile as that does.

I think I've done some decent work explicating in my posts here how evaluation of a class or character's power level, even if it's something we can use math on parts of, is inherently subjective and contextual. I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself, but I think it's inevitably more like reviewing a car or a movie than it is like weighing a rock. You've got lots of criteria to evaluate, but few such concrete markers than we could expect any two, nevermind ten, evaluators to give the same exact assessment or score.

It feels like if the two car models were literally identical except for the gas mileage (or range for electric) that the one that gets more mpg (range) is better in terms of performance. If the difference is 0.01 mpg one might say it's small enough to not worry about even if it is better.

Clearly in the real world that is a hard, if not impossible, comparison to find.

In a character sheet it doesn't seem as hard if one is measuring effectiveness in some cases. "I could have chosen a +1 to combat rolls but decided to just not pick anything" feels like it's worse specs, if nothing else in terns of potential.

Now, if one is worrying about how it fits into the story, that feels like a different thing.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Oof.

Pulling out that Asimov quote here... I can't imagine that you intend that to come off as aggressive and hostile as that does.

I think I've done some decent work explicating in my posts here how evaluation of a class or character's power level, even if it's something we can use math on parts of, is inherently subjective and contextual. I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself, but I think it's inevitably more like reviewing a car or a movie than it is like weighing a rock. You've got lots of criteria to evaluate, but few such concrete markers than we could expect any two, nevermind ten, evaluators to give the same exact assessment or score.
It's not like that, though.

Look at two fighters that are identical other than one of them has Alert and the other doesn't. Fighter B having +2 to initiative more than fighter A is a measurable advantage, as is the ability to initiate an initiative swap. Or one has Lucky. Fighter B having advantage on demand that can be added after you roll OR inflict disadvantage against a creature rolling an attack against you is measurably better than not having that ability at all.

This not just a subjective movie review where you like the acting of the leading actress, but I felt that her performance was a bit rushed for my taste. These are tangible objective facts.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Oof.

Pulling out that Asimov quote here... I can't imagine that you intend that to come off as aggressive and hostile as that does.
I said it was hyperbolic when I posted it, and said it only reminded me of it. if you take it as aggressive and hostile intent, well, I guess that's your interpretation of something that doesn't objectively exist... ;) (see what I did there?)
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I said it was hyperbolic when I posted it, and said it only reminded me of it. if you take it as aggressive and hostile intent, well, I guess that's your interpretation of something that doesn't objectively exist... ;) (see what I did there?)
"my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge" isn't exactly a friendly line to pull out in a disagreement. ;) Hyperbole is not quite the word.

I have too much experience with you to think you meant to be insulting, though.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It feels like if the two car models were literally identical except for the gas mileage (or range for electric) that the one that gets more mpg (range) is better in terms of performance. If the difference is 0.01 mpg one might say it's small enough to not worry about even if it is better.

Clearly in the real world that is a hard, if not impossible, comparison to find.

In a character sheet it doesn't seem as hard if one is measuring effectiveness in some cases. "I could have chosen a +1 to combat rolls but decided to just not pick anything" feels like it's worse specs, if nothing else in terns of potential.
Yeah, absolutely. A simple +1 to hit difference between two otherwise-identical Fighters is pretty incontestable. But even in D&D the comparisons are usually a lot more complex than that in real-world cases. Again, I'm trying to illustrate and Steelman Uni's original point. Let's take this in context, would you do me the favor?

It's not like that, though.

Look at two fighters that are identical other than one of them has Alert and the other doesn't. Fighter B having +2 to initiative more than fighter A is a measurable advantage, as is the ability to initiate an initiative swap. Or one has Lucky. Fighter B having advantage on demand that can be added after you roll OR inflict disadvantage against a creature rolling an attack against you is measurably better than not having that ability at all.

This not just a subjective movie review where you like the acting of the leading actress, but I felt that her performance was a bit rushed for my taste. These are tangible objective facts.
Sure. But again, you're simplifying the situation to an abstract and ideal case, but thereby removing it from the much more complex real world situations Uni was talking about. "Consider a spherical cow". :)
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, absolutely. A simple +1 to hit difference between two otherwise-identical Fighters is pretty incontestable. But even in D&D the comparisons are usually a lot more complex than that in real-world cases. Again, I'm trying to illustrate and Steelman Uni's original point. Let's take this in context, would you do me the favor?


Sure. But again, you're simplifying the situation to an abstract and ideal case, but thereby removing it from the much more complex real world situations Uni was talking about. "Consider a spherical cow". :)

And now I had to go back and reread how it started :)

"14 characters without the 1sr level feat along side playtest characters with the new feat."

From that there's really no way to tell given everything that goes into it (like a movie or cars). If it had been "made a set of characters just like the playtest ones, but without the feat", then it feels like it would have been akin to the +1 bonus case.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It is just an option. We have played ‘14 characters without the 1sr level feat along side playtest characters with the new feat. Not an issue, they play just fine at the same table

In the four adventures we played they didn’t feel any weaker, and that is all that matters

Yes it does. Feeling, perception, and experience are more real than words on a page. Words on a page do not play a game, people do. We are not machines. What we experience is absolutely more real and more the truth then your white room analysis.

And now I had to go back and reread how it started :)

"14 characters without the 1sr level feat along side playtest characters with the new feat."

From that there's really no way to tell given everything that goes into it (like a movie or cars). If it had been "made a set of characters just like the playtest ones, but without the feat", then it feels like it would have been akin to the +1 bonus case.
Right. If it had been something as simple as "we played identical characters in two different sessions but gave one group an additional +1 to hit", I don't think there would be any debate at all. Nor would there be any need of playtesting, I suspect! :LOL:

I don't know what all feats people took, but Uni's observation seems to be that the difference was not noticeable. That it didn't impact play to a sufficient degree that the characters with the feats felt meaningfully more powerful, or that the parties which were comprised of such characters clearly performed better in the scenarios tested.

Obviously "meaningfully" and "noticeable" and "clearly" are subjective things. And maybe this is all essentially a semantic debate, where you and I and Max might all agree that "all else being equal, if Fighter B has an extra feat, he's just better than Fighter A", but Uni's point was actually that the degree of "better" was small enough as to be trivial. Not enough to impact the play experience. I'm guessing it's something like that, anyway.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
but Uni's point was actually that the degree of "better" was small enough as to be trivial. Not enough to impact the play experience. I'm guessing it's something like that, anyway.

If I ingore the original post (because why read everything!), it felt like the argument was about the case where they were identical except for the feat and about whether they were actually better to any degree at all.

Gah, reading!
 

codo

Adventurer
Look at two fighters that are identical other than one of them has Alert and the other doesn't. Fighter B having +2 to initiative more than fighter A is a measurable advantage, as is the ability to initiate an initiative swap. Or one has Lucky. Fighter B having advantage on demand that can be added after you roll OR inflict disadvantage against a creature rolling an attack against you is measurably better than not having that ability at all.

This not just a subjective movie review where you like the acting of the leading actress, but I felt that her performance was a bit rushed for my taste. These are tangible objective facts.
That isn't the situation though. Fighter B doesn't get Alert for free, while Fighter A get nothing. Fighter A gets a background feature instead of a feat. Sure the starting feats give more mechanical effects and MORE NUMBERS, and the background feats are more roleplaying features, but in the right campaign the background features can be incredibly powerful.

In a wilderness survival campaign the outlander's wanderer feature can be game breaking. In a globetrotting exploration and thievery based campaign the criminal's criminal contact can be really useful. Even features like the noble's position of privilege can give a party access to the nobility and parts of society they would never normally have the means to interact with.
 

I'm going to take a stab at this.

Uni made a broad blanket statement about perception equaling reality, but it was specifically about experience of a game.

Uni's statement could be applied to other areas of reality, but I think that's an error. I don't think they intended to claim that subjectivity trumps a scale for measuring an object's weight, and trying this reductio ad absurdum has failed to engage them or win the argument because that's not a point they're defending.

They were talking about the experience of playing D&D*, which is one which has a great number of confounding variables which inevitably result in different people at different tables having very different experiences with the game. At one table it may be "obvious" that a given class is more powerful than others, because everyone at the table sees the PC of that class constantly kicking butt and performing heroically. But that could still be a class which is mathematically, measurably, LESS good at their function than some other class. Which either is not represented at the table, or is played by a less competent player. Or one which is nasty enough that the DM overcompensates and hits them with more threats, resulting in that mathematically more powerful character underperforming at the table in the experience of the players observing. Or maybe the mathematically-weaker class is being boosted by a synergy with another class/player at the table. Or by some house rule the DM is using (maybe Flanking giving Advantage? That's a pretty common one). Or maybe the guy with the weaker class happened to roll great ability scores and so his particular character objectively IS more mathematically powerful than an average example of the class, but the other players aren't taking that into account in observing that "Damn, Bob's Fighter is a badass character!"

There are any number of these potential factors which impact the experience players actually have at the table. And what they see and feel at the table IS their reality. Even if it's contradictory to what math and white room analysis would predict.

One repeatedly observed phenomenon that has come up rany number of times is that Very Online players often do detailed statistical analyses of classes, DPR, and mechanical features which are rigorous, internally consistent, and mathematically verifiable, but far enough down in the weeds that they're often below the level of interest or visibility in play for casual players. Even for a lot of serious players who are less math-inclined. Even with players capable of following the math (which usually isn't very complicated), experience at the table always subjectively looks different than an ideal white room calculation. I know that as a DM, I've (e.g.) sometimes dealt with a perception from players that their luck is abysmal and they "almost always" roll badly that I did not perceive to be true. But if it's true on enough dramatic occasions, it will absolutely stick in the mind. It will shape their perceptions of and experience with the game.

(*with maybe a brief aside about how perception or personal experience comprise a given person's reality much more directly than abstract descriptions or mathematical models, which has a lot of validity. Remember Hamlet? There is nothing good or bad, but that thinking makes it so?)

Right. If it had been something as simple as "we played identical characters in two different sessions but gave one group an additional +1 to hit", I don't think there would be any debate at all. Nor would there be any need of playtesting, I suspect! :LOL:

I don't know what all feats people took, but Uni's observation seems to be that the difference was not noticeable. That it didn't impact play to a sufficient degree that the characters with the feats felt meaningfully more powerful, or that the parties which were comprised of such characters clearly performed better in the scenarios tested.

Obviously "meaningfully" and "noticeable" and "clearly" are subjective things. And maybe this is all essentially a semantic debate, where you and I and Max might all agree that "all else being equal, if Fighter B has an extra feat, he's just better than Fighter A", but Uni's point was actually that the degree of "better" was small enough as to be trivial. Not enough to impact the play experience. I'm guessing it's something like that, anyway.
Yes, you explained it better than I could😁

Thanks!
 

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