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D&D 3E/3.5 What was the original intended function of the 3rd edition phb classes?

Stormonu

Legend
A lot of 3E's issues (as much as I loved the game at the time) was that though it was a clean-up of older editions, there were still a great many things people weren't yet ready to get rid of that ultimately unbalanced the game. Things the designers over the years have called "proud nails" and "sacred cows" - things I'd call "compatibility with older material".

I'm guilty of wanting to keep those items in the game, and the quadratic power of wizards was inadvertently one of them - the idea spellcasters start off weak but in the end game wield world-rocking power. The thing was, while 3E cleaned and streamlined a lot of things for the better, they also took away a lot of the restraints and power checks those classes had as well, in the guise of making things more "fun". Looking back, it was like watching the scene between Mace & Palapatine in Revenge of the Sith; unfettered by checks and balances, the wizard blew the martial out the window screaming "Ultimate Power" as he did so (damn you Anikan/Monte!)!

Luckily, 5E has seemed to find some parity between compatibility and balance, though it's not perfect. We've been shown a better path, but there's still a lot of work to be done to get rid of the martial glass ceiling.
 

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I'm guilty of wanting to keep those items in the game, and the quadratic power of wizards was inadvertently one of them - the idea spellcasters start off weak but in the end game wield world-rocking power. The thing was, while 3E cleaned and streamlined a lot of things for the better, they also took away a lot of the restraints and power checks those classes had as well, in the guise of making things more "fun". Looking back, it was like watching the scene between Mace & Palapatine in Revenge of the Sith; unfettered by checks and balances, the wizard blew the martial out the window screaming "Ultimate Power" as he did so (damn you Anikan/Monte!)!

Luckily, 5E has seemed to find some parity between compatibility and balance, though it's not perfect. We've been shown a better path, but there's still a lot of work to be done to get rid of the martial glass ceiling.
Generally agreed, yes. Quadratic wizards, though, TBF, was in part a product of 3E. When you take away the weaknesses and "un-fun" parts of being a wizard, while making saving throws worse for basically everyone... funny thing, wizards get to be nutty.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
she was complaining it went form "Fighters save more often then not" to "Fighters are good at 1/3 of saves and even then didn't make it as often" she also complained that MR% got turned into a SR level check so casters got better at breaking through anti magic defenses.
Yes. And this has already been addressed. You responded to it. Why are you bringing it back up? To remind you, we already talked abotu how in AD&D 2nd ed there was no caster component of saves. So to non-casters the saves feel a lot worse, adn to casters it finally felt like they could land spells with saves. This is a feature, not a bug.


I don't understand this statement... the complaint was that in ALL editions there were ways to get around some saves, but in 3e (right out the gate) you didn't need to because saves favored casters... this complaint was made before any of us owned any but the core 3 books...
You had said that in AD&D 2nd ed the mitigating point for no caster adjustment to saves was there were spells with half for saves and spells with no saves. I mentioned how 3.0 also had spells with half, and that 3.0 having any chance to save was better than no chance to save, since your friend was complaining about saves getting harder when this is actually getting a chance to save when there was none before.

what matters is the martial classes got WORSE at defending against spells , and so did monsters. So spell casting was worse for PC martial characters, and PC spell casters were made BETTER against all threats...
No, that's a fraction of what matters. The fact that caster level had no input to the saves was a bigger problem, and one that got resolved. The most powerful lich would be rebuffed the vast majority of the time casting against PCs, who had saves that were only based on their class level, and then improved by magic items. There was no counter - nothing based on the foe level, no magic items to make saves worse.

You have a PC focus that is blinding you to the full picture.

if you don't understand how 3/3.5/pf made the spellcaster supremacy worse then before or sense I don't know what to tell you.
I never said that, nor do I have problems seeing it, so stop putting words in my mouth. That's a more systemetic issue, and does not impact that target-impact-only saves were a problem. D&D 4e showed you can have saves where both the caster and the target have impact on the chance to succeed, and did so in a non LFQW way. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
 

Voadam

Legend
Generally agreed, yes. Quadratic wizards, though, TBF, was in part a product of 3E. When you take away the weaknesses and "un-fun" parts of being a wizard, while making saving throws worse for basically everyone... funny thing, wizards get to be nutty.
Having played a wizard through level 20 in AD&D I can attest that quadratic wizard was a thing in AD&D.

3e made it more of a thing and made it happen at earlier levels, but high level magic-users had a lot of power options in AD&D.
 

Undrave

Hero
It's crazy how much tabletop game design as a whole has evolved since the early days of 3e. Not just for D&D, not even just TTRPG in general, but board games as well. There's less of that frenetic 'let's throw this cool thing in' energy that lead to the insane publishing schedule we saw in 3.x and 4e. I think we've also, on average, became more critical and more AWARE of game design in general.

Say what you will about the 4e editions warring, but I think it elevated the general vocabulary level of the fandom when it comes to talking about game design.
 

That's because in every edition before 4th they expected the non spell casting classes to be buffed with lot's of magic items if they were high level. Even in 3rd edition by the time you were a high level wizard or Cleric most magic items weren't nearly as useful as your own magic. But for the other classes they were essential to maintain parity.
yes and no

3e worked off what someone some where termed the Christmas tree effect.

wizards will have magic items too, there were Int boosting items, pearls of power to recall spells, wands and staves to hold off hand spells and scrolls for bigger one use ones...

my favorite spell caster i ever saw was at a store game that I wasn't even in, and they had some huge DC like DC22 for first level spells or something. If he targeted a low save it was almost an auto fail save.
Yes. And this has already been addressed. You responded to it. Why are you bringing it back up? To remind you, we already talked abotu how in AD&D 2nd ed there was no caster component of saves. So to non-casters the saves feel a lot worse, adn to casters it finally felt like they could land spells with saves. This is a feature, not a bug.
I responded to talk about the issue...
You had said that in AD&D 2nd ed the mitigating point for no caster adjustment to saves was there were spells with half for saves and spells with no saves. I mentioned how 3.0 also had spells with half, and that 3.0 having any chance to save was better than no chance to save, since your friend was complaining about saves getting harder when this is actually getting a chance to save when there was none before.
and again the complaint seems to have gone over your head... saves (pre 3e) were not meant to bypass hp regularly...
a save is "saving from disaster" and as you get higher in level you are suposed to have 2 layers of defense (Well 3 if you count AC/HP as two). Your Ac went down, your HP went up and you got BETTER at all the saves.

3e changed this... by giving the DC to the caster to modified at all times (I am trying to remember I think there were penelties on rare occasions, but remembering raw to house rule is very hard form 22 years ago).

3e made it so save or suck or save or die spells could land MORE OFTEN THEN NOT even at high levels.

No, that's a fraction of what matters. The fact that caster level had no input to the saves was a bigger problem,
why is that a problem?

and one that got resolved. The most powerful lich would be rebuffed the vast majority of the time casting against PCs, who had saves that were only based on their class level, and then improved by magic items. There was no counter - nothing based on the foe level, no magic items to make saves worse.
yes becuse the main character should not die more often then not to 1 roll... until 3e

You have a PC focus that is blinding you to the full picture.
monsters shouldn't die in 1 roll either...
 
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Having played a wizard through level 20 in AD&D I can attest that quadratic wizard was a thing in AD&D.

3e made it more of a thing and made it happen at earlier levels, but high level magic-users had a lot of power options in AD&D.
yes nd the orginal PCs we hear about all the time were PC wizards with Fighter hirelings... for a reason.
 

Voadam

Legend
No, that's a fraction of what matters. The fact that caster level had no input to the saves was a bigger problem, and one that got resolved. The most powerful lich would be rebuffed the vast majority of the time casting against PCs, who had saves that were only based on their class level, and then improved by magic items. There was no counter - nothing based on the foe level, no magic items to make saves worse.

You have a PC focus that is blinding you to the full picture.
I would disagree. Area of effects doing d6 per 2 levels on a save are still more than comparable level fighter martials could dish out in a round. Magic Missiles auto hitting for the same amount could often be thrown a lot. Spells like Web and Wall of Ice were very effective at battlefield control. Summon Monster spells were an option that did not interact with saves. There were lots of core options for high level bad guy wizards to effectively throw at PCs.

Save or Die/Save or Suck was not the only way for NPC wizards to go.

In 3e these save or suck spells hit high level characters and monsters frequently and were often one shot combat ending for the target.

In 3e this was a big issue for both PCs and monsters.
 

Voadam

Legend
yes becuse the main character should not die more often then not to 1 roll... until 3e
Pre 3e had tons of die to 1 die roll situations.

Save or Die poison was ubiquitous from giant spiders in first level adventures and throughout the game.

Petrification was save or die on one roll, and against medusas, basilisks, cocatrices, and gorgons it was often more than once a combat.

Lots of spells in AD&D were save or die from hold person to polymorph to disintegrate to finger of death.

Saves went up but there were still tons of die on one die roll situations.

And to start saves were failed more often than not. It takes a lot of levels and magic items to get to more likely than not saving in pre-3e. In 2e around 7th level most classes hit their first of five save categories that a PC was more likely to succeed than fail. It wasn't until 9th to 13th that classes hit being better than 50% success on 3 out of 5 of the categories.

3e at least changed poison away from save or die.
 

Staffan

Legend
Another aspect of high-level spellcasting was hit point inflation. AD&D monsters generally didn't have all that many hit points. Take a gorgon, for example. In 2e, a gorgon had 8 HD, meaning 8d8 hp, or an average of 36 hp. In 3.5e, they still have 8 HD, but they are now d10s (because it's a "magical beast", and it also gets +5 hp/HD because it now has a Con score of 21, giving it an average of 85 hp, over twice as many. The gorgon's an extreme example, but looking at lower levels we have things like a leopard going from 3d8+2 to 3d8+6 hp and so on. But casters were generally still limited to 1d6/level damage when casting their boom-boom spells. A 2e wizard casting a 10d6 fireball was awesome, but a 3e wizard doing the same is kinda meh.

This, in turn, gives casters an incentive to use spells that incapacitate or reduce the opponents' powers in other ways. That sort of spell often allows a save to negate the effect entirely (as opposed to blasts which generally have a save for half damage), so you're more likely to hunt down every possible way you can improve your save DC.
 

Having played a wizard through level 20 in AD&D I can attest that quadratic wizard was a thing in AD&D.

3e made it more of a thing and made it happen at earlier levels, but high level magic-users had a lot of power options in AD&D.
Certainly they did. They also had more limiters on their power, and had to deal with targets having very reliable saving throws.

While high level Magic-Users in AD&D got extremely powerful, between their low HP and the prevalence of great saving throws and sometimes magic resistance from high level foes, said M-Us were not quite as out of hand as 3.x ones would get to be.

Perhaps geometric rather than quadratic. ;)
 



Pre 3e had tons of die to 1 die roll situations.
and the saves were easier to make as you leveled
Save or Die poison was ubiquitous from giant spiders in first level adventures and throughout the game.
yup so where crits that killed you on a dingle hit cause you rolled a 6 on your d10+0hp...

Petrification was save or die on one roll, and against medusas, basilisks, cocatrices, and gorgons it was often more than once a combat.

and again the save (like hp) meant you were less likley to die from it as you leveled...

Lots of spells in AD&D were save or die from hold person to polymorph to disintegrate to finger of death.
yup... and by the time a PC could cast one most monsters had good saves and/or Magic resitence...

Saves went up but there were still tons of die on one die roll situations.
that became less likely as you leveled...



so again if you played 20 fighters (or your group did not you alone) from 1st-12th level in 2e you would find that few died after level 5ish to single hits or single save...

if you played 10 fighters (yes half as many) you would run double the chance of running into a Will Save or di/suck by level 12
 

Voadam

Legend
yup... and by the time a PC could cast one most monsters had good saves and/or Magic resitence...
Hold person was a second level cleric spell, and if you focused it on fewer targets the spell save got harder.

Second level cleric spells came online at level 3 in AD&D and wisdom could give bonus second level spells starting at 15 wisdom.

"Hold Person (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 2 Components: V, S, M
Range: 6” Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: 4 rounds + 1 round/level Saving Throw: Neg.
Area of Effect: One to three
creatures
Explanation/Description: This spell holds immobile, and freezes in places, from 1-3 humans or humanoid creatures (see below) for 5 or more melee rounds. The level of the cleric casting the hold person spell dictates the length of time the effect will last. The basic duration is 5 melee rounds at 1st level, 6 rounds at 2nd level, 7 rounds at 3rd level, etc. If the spell is cast at three persons, each gets a saving throw at the normal score; if only two persons are being enspelled, each makes their saving throw at -1 on their die; if the spell is cast at but one person, the saving throw die is at -2. Persons making their saving throws are totally unaffected by the spell. Creatures affected by a hold person spell are: brownies, dryads, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites, and troglodytes. The spell caster needs a small, straight piece of iron as the material component of this spell."

For Magic-Users there were second level Scare, Stinking Cloud, and Web spells with saves that were available from level 3 on.
 
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Hold person was a second level cleric spell, and if you focused it on fewer targets the spell save got harder.

Second level cleric spells came online at level 3 in AD&D and wisdom could give bonus second level spells starting at 15 wisdom.

"Hold Person (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 2 Components: V, S, M
Range: 6” Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: 4 rounds + 1 round/level Saving Throw: Neg.
Area of Effect: One to three
creatures
Explanation/Description: This spell holds immobile, and freezes in places, from 1-3 humans or humanoid creatures (see below) for 5 or more melee rounds. The level of the cleric casting the hold person spell dictates the length of time the effect will last. The basic duration is 5 melee rounds at 1st level, 6 rounds at 2nd level, 7 rounds at 3rd level, etc. If the spell is cast at three persons, each gets a saving throw at the normal score; if only two persons are being enspelled, each makes their saving throw at -1 on their die; if the spell is cast at but one person, the saving throw die is at -2. Persons making their saving throws are totally unaffected by the spell. Creatures affected by a hold person spell are: brownies, dryads, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites, and troglodytes. The spell caster needs a small, straight piece of iron as the material component of this spell."

For Magic-Users there were second level Scare, Stinking Cloud, and Web spells with saves that were available from level 3 on.
and again... you as a fighter (and the npc/monsters) got BETTER at resisting this... what part of that are you not getting?

in 3e it was a Will save, that was a bad save for most melee characters, and on top of that was attached to wisdom that was not a needed stat for fighters or rogues so most likely 3rd or 4th best...

the cleric casting this is useing 2+ wis mod for DC and wis is most likely first stat to be bumped... so you get WORSE and they can do it more often (and get a bonus spell at 14th I belive in 3e...

so try again.

Fighters go from high level almost auto make save to having a good chance against fort, an okay against dex and a terrible one against will
 

Voadam

Legend
and again... you as a fighter (and the npc/monsters) got BETTER at resisting this... what part of that are you not getting?
If you reread my prior statements you might see that I agree that high level pre 3e characters and monsters are more likely to make saves than fail them.

I thought the fact that I was responding to your claim that save or suck spells did not happen until higher levels was clear from the fact I quoted you saying they would not happen until higher levels. :)

yup... and by the time a PC could cast one most monsters had good saves and/or Magic resitence...
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The original intent iirc was options and removing restrictions.

From what I heard they didn't playtest past lvl 10 and they playtested like they were playing advanced 2E.

Some of those restrictions existed for a reason.
 

Voadam

Legend
From what I heard they didn't playtest past lvl 10 and they playtested like they were playing advanced 2E.

From seeing some descriptions of the parties in Monte's 3e playtest games I think there was also a lot of multiclassing going on. Which would cut down the power of 3e casters there.

Its been a while and I don't have sources on the early parties though. Maybe Erik Mona or Sean Reynolds discussions at some point.
 

Greg K

Hero
From seeing some descriptions of the parties in Monte's 3e playtest games I think there was also a lot of multiclassing going on. Which would cut down the power of 3e casters there.

Its been a while and I don't have sources on the early parties though. Maybe Erik Mona or Sean Reynolds discussions at some point.
Andy Collins had discussed a campaign of his own on his website in which characters could not take back to back levels in a spellcasting class (I don't recall if it was the same caster class or any caster class).
 

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