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


log in or register to remove this ad

It is true that Timmy cards are not that good. That is what Monte seemed to describe.

But the key part was that they where flashy and non-linear.
The particular irony was Monte Cook describing toughness as a Timmy feat. Toughness looks like an "eat your greens" feat; it's never flashy but if it worked it would be decently powerful (which 3hp wasn't). This doesn't mean there are no Timmy feats or even weaker Timmy feats in 3.0; Great Cleave will lead to absolutely awesome results once in a blue moon but most of the time just doesn't trigger. But Toughness is almost as far from a Timmy feat as I can picture.
And I honestly don't trust Monte's after the fact justification.

I suspect it was more of a sliding scale of (a) they didn't know which options where good and bad, and (b) they decided not to care, so they didn't try to know.

This resulted in less work for designers. Someone points out a problem in your feat design? You can blow them off, because you state that the feat being a bad feat isn't your problem any more.

Something being less work for designers makes me suspect they are an excuse to do worse work.

In comparison, MtG's personas where more work for designers. And as a CCG, they have some pay-to-win in its blood (but not too much), and constrained choice (for more casual players).
I'd entirely agree with this. There is just so much in 3.0 that looks "good enough and moving on".
 


Orius

Hero
Today, I learned I’m a “Johnny.”

Looks at PC designs of the last 30 years.

Yep, checks out!

As long as you're not a Spike, things are cool. :)

With CCGs, I tend to fall into the Johnny category myself. I don't like the whole Spike mentality myself since their influences on the game make things unfun for me. I don't think these personalities map all that well onto RPGs though. The closest RPGs get to a Spike would be the min-maxer who blindly follows character builds, with a small number of skilled players being the ones who come up with the builds, but even then it's not exactly the same thing.

There's other types that the Magic devs talk about, notably Vorthos and Melvin.

It's important to know that the "types" are not hard categories. Basically nobody is just one of them. They're just shorthands for the variety of ways players play or enjoy the game.

Vorthos/Melvin though is it's own separate thing from Timmy/Johnny/Spike.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The closest RPGs get to a Spike would be the min-maxer who blindly follows character builds, with a small number of skilled players being the ones who come up with the builds, but even then it's not exactly the same thing.
One of my long time friends has essentially played the same Wizard PC- down to the spell list- across every campaign we’ve played in together, except for a 4Ed game and a supers game in which that was not an option.

He reminded me very much of a certain KotDT character…
 


GreyLord

Legend
The Problem was (IMNSHO) was bad game design and testing.

They WANTED AD&D but with rules they used to break it. They played 3e in testing like they did AD&D, but with rules that favored them doing things a certain way.

They HATED the balance of spellcasters in AD&D because spellcasting could be ruined simply by throwing rocks very quickly at the spellcaster and disrupting the spell. So what did they do? Made it so that simply hitting a spellcaster no longer meant a spell was automatically lost.

They HATED the class restrictions and the way that you were kept to dual classing or multiclassing....so they changed it so anyone could play any class (or almost, there actually were restrictions on that which many ignored) in their new multiclassing method.

They designed it and ONLY had those with a like mindedness playtest it (once again, IMO). Because it was self contained in a jar of like minded players, it NEVER OCCURRED to them that the changes they made could be absolutely abused in ways that were absolutely unbalanced.

Thus, it was MEANT to be played like AD&D with houserules of their making that favored a specific playstyle. Within that playstyle it was balanced according to their tastes.

However, they never imagined that munchkins, powergamers, and rule lawyers would find vast loopholes to make characters way beyond anything they ever imagined.

Some of them wrote later that they actually intended to make a broken game (and I always roll my eyes when they do that...who PURPOSEFULLY goes out of their way to make a broken game...like...really?).

That said, 3e when played without power-gaming intensity and a more relaxed way of not focusing on power gaming, is actually perhaps the most fun to play out of the 3.5/4e/Pathfinder 1e versions of the game...once again (as I've said multiple times in this post...IMNSHO).
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Let me guess -- he's a rules lawyer who likes to cast fireball?
My friend was not really a rules lawyer, but his spell list was damned close to the optimized lists you’d see online. And Fireball was a favorite.

What really drove the similarity between RL and fiction was the recycling of the character. He had gotten his main Wizard up to epic levels (before that was an official thing), and each and every wizard -save one- he made for other purposes might as well have been a clone. The only thing he didn’t do was name them the same.
 

The Problem was (IMNSHO) was bad game design and testing.
I disagree entirely.

The alleged "problem" with 3e was all the "forum meta" and online culture that had people using 3e in ways it absolutely, positively was not designed for.

All this "CodZilla" nonsense, and tiers, and other forum jargon. . .that cleanly divided 3e players into two camps:

1. People who used online message boards and whose play style changed to incorporate powergame strategies from online.
2. People whose gaming styles didn't change due to online powergame tricks, either because they didn't care, or weren't online.

I knew a few people who tried to use all this forum talk stuff in actual games, they were insufferable and nobody wanted to game with them, because they were so upset that everyone else was playing to have fun. . .and not using optimal "builds" and other cheesy strategies. People who had played 1e and 2e and now were playing 3e the same way found 3e to work many times better, faster, and cleaner than AD&D ever was.

3e had only a closed playtest at WotC, among players who had been playing AD&D 1e and 2e for years. It was pretty clearly designed and tested with that play style in mind.

The vast majority of the people I played 3e with, especially in the early years of the 2000's, loved it as a clean, straightforward, intuitive improvement over AD&D.

So many of the 3.5e changes seemed completely superfluous, and only to further complicate the game, and I'd only learn later they were carefully worded rule patches for something someone had done at some point to break something by intentionally misreading the rules.

It was a wonderfully written and well tested game. . .that after its release was met with a completely different and very hostile player culture than the one it was tested with.
 

Orius

Hero
The Problem was (IMNSHO) was bad game design and testing.

To some degree, but....

I disagree entirely.

The alleged "problem" with 3e was all the "forum meta" and online culture that had people using 3e in ways it absolutely, positively was not designed for.

All this "CodZilla" nonsense, and tiers, and other forum jargon. . .that cleanly divided 3e players into two camps:

1. People who used online message boards and whose play style changed to incorporate powergame strategies from online.
2. People whose gaming styles didn't change due to online powergame tricks, either because they didn't care, or weren't online.

I knew a few people who tried to use all this forum talk stuff in actual games, they were insufferable and nobody wanted to game with them, because they were so upset that everyone else was playing to have fun. . .and not using optimal "builds" and other cheesy strategies. People who had played 1e and 2e and now were playing 3e the same way found 3e to work many times better, faster, and cleaner than AD&D ever was.

3e had only a closed playtest at WotC, among players who had been playing AD&D 1e and 2e for years. It was pretty clearly designed and tested with that play style in mind.

The vast majority of the people I played 3e with, especially in the early years of the 2000's, loved it as a clean, straightforward, intuitive improvement over AD&D.

So many of the 3.5e changes seemed completely superfluous, and only to further complicate the game, and I'd only learn later they were carefully worded rule patches for something someone had done at some point to break something by intentionally misreading the rules.

It was a wonderfully written and well tested game. . .that after its release was met with a completely different and very hostile player culture than the one it was tested with.

My understanding is that much of the original playtests of 3e didn't look much at the levels past 6 or so, which was a mistake because more emphasis was placed on developing those levels which for a long time had been mostly an afterthought. In previous editions the idea was generally that you hit name level, build a castle, and gather an army, and high level play was leading your army. Unfortunately, 2e kind of ignored a good deal of that and strongly encouraged retirement at name level while setting the XP tables from levels 1-20. 3e did make an attempt to develop what had been mostly empty levels, but had definitely mixed results.

Then there was the old D&D/AD&D divide which existed for no good reason. B/X was a fairly solid rules set, throw in some of Companion or use the RC and you've got a pretty solid set of rules that actually works with the old endgame. The problem there is that D&D got an unfortunate reputation as a "kiddie" game even though it had fewer gaps than AD&D and it eventually withered away.

WotC messed up by listening far too much to min-maxers and adding far too much powercreep to the game to appease them, and it didn't help that a lot of the powercreep benefitted casters who absolutely did NOT need it. I'm not too bothered by some of the lightened restrictions on casters since they could be badly hosed in so many ways before 3e. But 3e ignored problems with noncasters and caster dominance with all the powercreep. By the time you get to the end of 3e, there's what 9 or 10 different magic systems at least? What did martials get? Oh yeah, one of those unnecessary magic systems that only could be used by three new powercreeping classes and no benefits or boosts at all to existing classes.

Add on top of that excess new races, classes, feats, spells, magic items and so on which added more powercreep and the beginnings of the player entitlement culture and you get a recipe for disaster. Then further mess things up by viewing things that were meant to be rough guidelines like CR or WBL as absolute gospel. It's not surprising a lot of people don't want to DM it.

I don't hate 3e, on the contrary it cleaned up a lot of AD&D's problems and created a system that really worked well with some of the mechanical developments 2e had been experimenting with. In the long run, it's easier to work with 3e's core than to try to retrofit 2e to work in a similar fashion. But it definitely needs some stronger controls on it.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top