D&D 5E tool proficiencies: what's the point?

I'm someone who also thinks the maths is crucially important as far as my personal preferences are concerned.

....

Good colour - the "bells & whistles" - go a long way in promoting an RPG, I think.

Further, what is good balance and math at my table might be very skewed at yours. Different DMs construct adventures with very different structure and emphases. There is no way that the developers can build a mathematical framework that works equally well for all play groups. For example, I tend to build adventurers that are giant set pieces. This completely disrupts the "balance" of a game that assumes a series of lesser encounters that whittle away at player resources. I believe that overly honing the math of a game is a waste of effort. The developers should build a game for which the math is solid for the majority of groups, but at the same time is easy to modify for those DMs who tend to stray a bit from the underlying assumptions. (This is of course promoted by a thorough discussion of those underlying assumptions by the game itself.)
 

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Sadrik

First Post
1e D&D did smashingly well with arguably substantially worse math than what we have right now. But, it inspired people in ways that competing games at the time did not (and many of those competing games had tighter math as well).
I think the math in 1e was very ground breaking. It gave the feel and flavor of the game. Missing attacks with a certain uncanny frequency at low level failing saves at low level and continually making them at high level. These created the tone of the game. 5e is not that game though, nor should it be, those rules were not cohesive and not elegant. It was the only fantasy game on the market with mass appeal and players though. With so many rpgs on the market now though and so many advances in rpg design, knowing what the feel is you are looking to model and crafting the rules to model that feel is exactly what I want and should be done while still touching its prolific source material.

My point is we have already seen 4+ versions of the game we know the look and feel part already it is not that hard. There is so much stuff out there you could fill an entire large bookshelf with stuff. It really is the core of the game that matters. How extensible the game is in the end and how much longevity it will have will depend on the core of the game and not the bells and whistles.

I'm someone who also thinks the maths is crucially important as far as my personal preferences are concerned.

But I think that [MENTION=2525]Mistwell[/MENTION] is expressing a majority opinion as far as the market of D&D players is concerned. As far as saleability and popularity are concerned, I don't think that maths are that important. Apart from the reasons that Mistwell, gives, consider two other popular games: Vampire the Masquerade, which has very non-transpraent maths; and Pathfinder. What do Paizo offer with PF that WotC weren't able to make viable with 3E? Not especially tighter maths, as best I can tell. Paizo offers colour + compelling mechanical bibs and bobs, much of which are themselves contributions to colour as much as anything else.

Good colour - the "bells & whistles" - go a long way in promoting an RPG, I think.
It may be true that many are not concerned with the math portion... Because they think the expert designers have them well in hand. This is an expertise that I am not sure will happen. Thus far, we have seen many different math versions of the game and only supposedly settled on the last one in the very last packet. It is a concern, because I feel pretty confident it will change again.

Vampire the newer version was pretty transparent I thought when I played (only a few times) however the previous version not so much (also only played a few times). As to the PF math, 3e had a lot of math issues too, some of them self created and not inherited. With 3e though, it is so well played and loved that we turn a blind eye to many of the outrageous stuff, or we continually rail against the issues. Regardless the appreciation we have for the system allows us to look past the oddities or the wtf moments. I don't think 5e will initially have this type of universal regard from the fan base. Which behooves them to get it right. They will have to do this behind closed doors without fan insight.

Further, what is good balance and math at my table might be very skewed at yours. Different DMs construct adventures with very different structure and emphases. There is no way that the developers can build a mathematical framework that works equally well for all play groups. For example, I tend to build adventurers that are giant set pieces. This completely disrupts the "balance" of a game that assumes a series of lesser encounters that whittle away at player resources. I believe that overly honing the math of a game is a waste of effort. The developers should build a game for which the math is solid for the majority of groups, but at the same time is easy to modify for those DMs who tend to stray a bit from the underlying assumptions. (This is of course promoted by a thorough discussion of those underlying assumptions by the game itself.)

I don't think this is a strong argument. Math does not change based on the table. Some of the assumptions on the math might change, what you are referencing as a math concern does not even register for me as one. Guidelines for how many encounters a day and how many encounters per character level were always tenuous at best. My concerns are far more basal than that. Chance to hit, damage, hp, objects (hp and damage), skills, tools, saves, stat interpretation, bonuses, spells and magic items that affect the core math, synergy of disparate systems etc. Honing math very important...
 

I don't think this is a strong argument. Math does not change based on the table. Some of the assumptions on the math might change, what you are referencing as a math concern does not even register for me as one. Guidelines for how many encounters a day and how many encounters per character level were always tenuous at best. My concerns are far more basal than that. Chance to hit, damage, hp, objects (hp and damage), skills, tools, saves, stat interpretation, bonuses, spells and magic items that affect the core math, synergy of disparate systems etc. Honing math very important...

Perhaps I have a slightly wider perception of what is meant by math. I would argue that the wizard nova problem when using Vancian magic in a low encounter per day campaign is a problem with math. Not in chance to hit, but in spell power, spells per day and other more subtle ways. But, I am unlikely to convince you so, let's look at just one of the reasons that prompted you to say "Honing math very important". The influence of magic items is clearly a campaign dependent issue; some campaigns have almost none and in others every hairpin is magical. Arguments have raged far and wide, from edition to edition, over how the level of magic changes the relative balance between classes, the importance of saving throws, the role that skills should play, the power level of spells, etc. The developers can in no way hone the game such that everyone is absolutely happy, nor should they try.
 

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