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D&D General Why is tradition (in D&D) important to you? [+]

HammerMan

Legend
As an aside, in a + thread about tradition, you seem pretty intent on complaining about it. Do you know what a "+" indicator means? (not snarky, serious question).
I don't know of an "official" rule on it, but my understanding is we must add to the discussion, and if everyone agrees there is nothing to discus... I thumbs up a dozen things every time I am on here, I don't normally post "100% agree" I talk when there is something to discus...
 

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HammerMan

Legend
I can tell you why I do it. A part of me just likes looking at bigger numbers. :p

I've learned that 5e doesn't care if you have a 14, 16, or 20. Things are going to be a challenge no matter what, because the numbers just don't make that big of a difference, so I don't go out of my way to optimize the numbers. However, I'd rather look at 17 in the big box and the +3 in the small one.
yup...

If I made a retro clone that set stats from 1-100 but the bonuses only started at 51 being +1, and 100 being +5 having a 98 Str would sound and feel stronger then having a 91, or an 83... we could even make an argument that we are pre trained to under stand 1-100 as %, so that would be intuitive... and again there is no reason to do it, no reason not to do it... bigger numbers feel bigger, but us D&D players have a tradition and a mindset of 3-18 so we picture it easy.

It's actually reminds me of when my buddies introduced me to YUGIOH the card game... you start with 8,000 life and the cards (almost) all have thousands of attack and defense. I joked then you could chop all the numbers in half and remove a 0 and have the same game... but it is based on an anime/manga, and again those writers knew a 3,000 attack blue eyes white dragon and a 2,500 attack dark magician FEELS more powerful then 150 attack blue eyes white dragon and a 125 attack dark magician, but if you had 400 life points to start instead of 8,000 it would be VERY similar even if not the same.

Magic uses monsters (unless there has been serious power creep since my craw worm days) that are 1/1 - 6/6 for attack and defense and you have 20 life points... Yugioh isn't better for having bigger numbers (but it isn't worse either).
 

HammerMan

Legend
With 6 stats and a die roll method that boosts the expected result to 12 instead of 10, sure, you do get things skewing a little higher and the chances of getting a 17+ in a stat do increase (I'd take issue with the claim of MASSIVE!!1!). But that doesn't approximate a flat distribution. The most frequent bonus will still be +1 and those are a lot more likely than +3 or +4. Either way, the assumption the rules make is that stats are distributed along something much closer to a normal distribution than a flat one.

dropping 7 dice yes each one has a 1 in 6 chance of landing on any number, but for the most part it will over time bend toward the average (3). you will roll some 1s (a -1 stat) some 6s (a +4) but over all I bet if you make... you know what let me see

7d6 (I put in order cause my brain does that)
1 5,5,4,2,2,2,1 this generates +3(16-17)x2 and +2 (14-15) and 0 (10-11)x3... these stats suck
2 6,5,4,3,3,3,1 this generates +4(18+), +3(16-17) +2(14-15), then +1(12-13)x3.... not bad
3 3,3,3,3,2,1,1 this gives +2(14-15)x4 0 (10-11) and a -1 (8-9)... can be played but do not like
4 6,6,4,2,1,1,1 this gives +4(18+)x2, +2(14-15) 0 (10-11) -1 (8-9)x2... damn such a good and bad character...

I rolled 28 dice (I rolled the same 7 cause I mean why not) so that shouldn't really statically equal out but lets see... total 83 average 2.96 so only slightly below average...
And, while that is traditional, it's a pretty fundamental assumption throughout D&D character design that bonuses that deviate from +0 should be less frequent (rolled)/more expensive (bought with points) the better they are. Do you think there's something wrong with that design?
no, not something wrong, just something we do by rote and have as tradition of... if we built a new game from the ground up would 3-18 be our go to? I don't even know. I know this. When I started in 2e having above an 18 in anything (other then with belt of giant str) was unheard of... the tales of a Int 20 wiz or wis 20 cleric would not only be legendary in game, but in the group out of game as well. Now when we play high level having a 20 stat is pretty common (and having a 25 was not a big deal in 3e)

Just because something is a tradition doesn't make it wrong. Just because it is a tradition doesn't make it right (some sacred cows NEED to be made into hamburg) But as you see not just with you but with other posters, just pointing out it didn't HAVE to be that way make you feel weird and defensive.

I assume back when gary did this d6's were some of the only dice they had. now we have so many I don't even know all the variables... but you can make a system roll 3d8, or 3d10, or even 3d12. I remember Darksun had you roll 5d4...

but you can see at least 1 poster wont play a system of D&D (or adjacent) that changed to just modifier.
 

HammerMan

Legend
With feats (specifically, the half-ASI feats) you need some scale that isn't just the integers -x to +y, because the half-steps still mean something.
thats a good one... you can also add that we have races that add +1 to a stat too (so sometimes +1 mod sometimes not) but again do you need that? I don't know... but we have them for tradition.

Heck the names of the stats... is Wisdom and Charisma in 5e the same as they were in 1978?

if you rename them Muscle, agility, health, intellect, perception, personality would you even notice... would it matter. At least twice in the games lifetime we changed the order they appear, but I always think of them as the order 2e did them.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
thats a good one... you can also add that we have races that add +1 to a stat too (so sometimes +1 mod sometimes not) but again do you need that? I don't know... but we have them for tradition.

So, "do you need that" is not the question*.

The point is that there is design space in the half-steps that the game actually uses for things. It is not there only for sake of tradition - in fact, in terms of "tradition" using that space only dates to 3e. Much traditional D&D was played without using this space. So, you could actually say that prior to 3e, the scale was only for tradition, but now it has mechanical relevance.



*The question, "Do we need that?" is incomplete as stated, and cannot be answered. It needs a referent - Do we need that to do <thing>?
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
thats a good one... you can also add that we have races that add +1 to a stat too (so sometimes +1 mod sometimes not) but again do you need that? I don't know... but we have them for tradition.

Heck the names of the stats... is Wisdom and Charisma in 5e the same as they were in 1978?

if you rename them Muscle, agility, health, intellect, perception, personality would you even notice... would it matter. At least twice in the games lifetime we changed the order they appear, but I always think of them as the order 2e did them.
I think one of the things about "tradition" is that changing things just for the sake of being different will annoy some people a lot. I can picture going from Wisdom to Perception having some in game justification to make it clear exactly how Wisdom differs from Int and Con and maybe getting a pass from even a lot of "traditionalists" if it was well justified. Changing the order put all of the physical stats first and mental stats second which could be argued made a bit more organizational sense given they didn't just line up with a few core classes. Going from Str->Muscle, Dex-> Agility, Con -> Health, Int -> Intellect, Chr-> Personality don't seem to have much of a purpose except to cheese people off and I think it would grate at a lot of players' souls. Same as if which dice are used doesn't really matter, so we're going to switch from d20 to something else for no particularly large gain.
 

HammerMan

Legend
So, "do you need that" is not the question*.

The point is that there is design space in the half-steps that the game actually uses for things. It is not there only for sake of tradition - in fact, in terms of "tradition" using that space only dates to 3e. Much traditional D&D was played without using this space. So, you could actually sat that prior to 3e, the scale was only for tradition, but now it has mechanical relevance.



*The question, "Do we need that?" is incomplete as stated, and cannot be answered. It needs a referent - Do we need that to do <thing>?
I would say pre 3e it was a VERY different game (attribute wise) you needed higher stats to get bonuses, and 9 was considered average, you (like i said up thread) were not expected to see 18's let alone above them. However I liked that ever pt mattered MORE (at least in 2e). a 13 str and a 12 str are both +1 to all rolls now... in 2e that was a 5% chance change on skills (non weapon prof) and % different on bend bars lift gates... but If i remember right (don't quote me here) neither gave a bonus to hit, maybe it did to damage.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I think one of the things about "tradition" is that changing things just for the sake of being different will annoy some people a lot. I can picture going from Wisdom to Perception having some in game justification to make it clear exactly how Wisdom differs from Int and Con and maybe getting a pass from even a lot of "traditionalists" if it was well justified. Changing the order put all of the physical stats first and mental stats second which could be argued made a bit more organizational sense given they didn't just line up with a few core classes. Going from Str->Muscle, Dex-> Agility, Con -> Health, Int -> Intellect, Chr-> Personality don't seem to have much of a purpose except to cheese people off and I think it would grate at a lot of players' souls. Same as if which dice are used doesn't really matter, so we're going to switch from d20 to something else for no particularly large gain.
The often-made claim that D&D, or other games, "change things just for the sake of change" is something I think truly rarely happens, if at all. There's always a reason for the change, the author of the change feels that it will improve the game in some way. I highly doubt game designers are ever sitting around the conference table saying, "Guys, we need to change something! How about changing Wisdom to Perception? No reason, we just need to change something!"

Personally, I think when someone complains about "change for the sake of change" . . . that's really code for "I don't like this change." It is an appeal to tradition over innovation.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
In the attribute section the large circles had written in large print +3, +1, 0, etc.. in the very small inset box was written a very tiny 16, 12, 10, etc. I pointed out to them that it was backwards from how we usually did it and they said "That doesn't make sense to me. Why would I put the thing I never use in the big circle and the thing I always look at in the small box?"
I changed to writing my character sheets that way a few years back. That player is absolutely right.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The often-made claim that D&D, or other games, "change things just for the sake of change" is something I think truly rarely happens, if at all. There's always a reason for the change, the author of the change feels that it will improve the game in some way. I highly doubt game designers are ever sitting around the conference table saying, "Guys, we need to change something! How about changing Wisdom to Perception? No reason, we just need to change something!"

Personally, I think when someone complains about "change for the sake of change" . . . that's really code for "I don't like this change." It is an appeal to tradition over innovation.

I don't think many successful game franchises do that too often either... but I was responding to the specific thing brought up by the poster who asked about name switches that seemed just like choosing synonyms for five of the existing stats.

I'm guessing that most big revisions contain a few things that the author misjudged or don't carry the intended benefit in a way seen by many players. In that case it feeling like "change for the sake of change" might be a natural reaction.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The often-made claim that D&D, or other games, "change things just for the sake of change" is something I think truly rarely happens, if at all. There's always a reason for the change, the author of the change feels that it will improve the game in some way. I highly doubt game designers are ever sitting around the conference table saying, "Guys, we need to change something! How about changing Wisdom to Perception? No reason, we just need to change something!"

Personally, I think when someone complains about "change for the sake of change" . . . that's really code for "I don't like this change." It is an appeal to tradition over innovation.
Yes and no. When it comes to tradition, there's a tradition in D&D that different classes frequently have different mechanics. Wizards have have to put a spells into a book. A cleric can change up their spell book first thing in the morning. Both have to decide when they wake up what they're going to have ready for the day, although it's a little more flexible now. Simple fighters and rogues? Expert weapon users and martial characters with some optional spin to do magic here and there.

That's why 4E didn't "feel" like D&D to a lot of people. That basic paradigm was broken (until essentials but then it was too little too late), the tradition of each class having a unique structure with occasional minor cross-over was gone.

So yes, it's just a subjective judgement. It's a game, what else is there? On the other hand I would say no because change isn't inherently good or bad. Sometimes change breaks so much with tradition that it no longer feels like the same game. So on topic, the tradition of each class having a different planning and play structure with options to mix it up a bit is part of D&D's appeal to me.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Yes and no. When it comes to tradition, there's a tradition in D&D that different classes frequently have different mechanics. Wizards have have to put a spells into a book. A cleric can change up their spell book first thing in the morning. Both have to decide when they wake up what they're going to have ready for the day, although it's a little more flexible now. Simple fighters and rogues? Expert weapon users and martial characters with some optional spin to do magic here and there.

That's why 4E didn't "feel" like D&D to a lot of people. That basic paradigm was broken (until essentials but then it was too little too late), the tradition of each class having a unique structure with occasional minor cross-over was gone.

So yes, it's just a subjective judgement. It's a game, what else is there? On the other hand I would say no because change isn't inherently good or bad. Sometimes change breaks so much with tradition that it no longer feels like the same game. So on topic, the tradition of each class having a different planning and play structure with options to mix it up a bit is part of D&D's appeal to me.
No.

(Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your response, it doesn't seem to connect to my post)

The changes to 4E were not "just for the sake of change". The designers had reasons for all of those changes, they felt they were objectively making the game better in various ways.

Of course, not everyone agreed that those changes were good changes . . . . and that's okay of course . . . . but the changes were not made just to make 4E different from 3E alone.
 

HammerMan

Legend
No.

(Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your response, it doesn't seem to connect to my post)

The changes to 4E were not "just for the sake of change". The designers had reasons for all of those changes, they felt they were objectively making the game better in various ways.

Of course, not everyone agreed that those changes were good changes . . . . and that's okay of course . . . . but the changes were not made just to make 4E different from 3E alone.
Also 4e was in response to 3e, as much as 3e was in response to 2e...

4e change was about breaking traditions 100% (some good some bad) with class balance being a big one... and for 5e they went back (although not as far).

I would argue that basic-2nd edition the classes had a sembelence of balance, but with spell casters edgeing out as levels went up. 3e was 100% caster supremacy. all those little annoying things that wizard player (clerics too but not as much) hated that held them back (haste ages you a year, % chance to learn spells, maxnumber of spells per level) and they then gave even more power to some casters (bards, clerics, others) but also over all changes to the system itself benfited casters (Spell DCs instead of class based saves, and HD continueing through 20+ levels, and Con mod to hp being higher) taking some of the drawback away like swapping magic resistance (% chance to just negate) to Spell Resistance (number you will get better and better at hitting as you level).

by the time 4e came around enough of us (Yes, me, my group HATED 3e for caster supremacy and are mad about 5e bringing it back in someways) it was very much change not for changes sake but so people who want to play fighters and rogues BUT also be able to playa the same level as the cleric or wizard...

5e was a snap back (to tradition) in making it harder to make a non magic character that keeps up... and they doubled down on it by making almost everyone magic in some way...
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
No.

(Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your response, it doesn't seem to connect to my post)

The changes to 4E were not "just for the sake of change". The designers had reasons for all of those changes, they felt they were objectively making the game better in various ways.

Of course, not everyone agreed that those changes were good changes . . . . and that's okay of course . . . . but the changes were not made just to make 4E different from 3E alone.
They chose to change the very structure of classes, fundamentally taking the game in a different direction. Previous editions had refined things, this was a pretty radical shift. If they had not been changing things for the sake of change they probably would have ended up with something more along the lines of 5E. That's why it felt like change for the sake of change.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I would say pre 3e it was a VERY different game (attribute wise) you needed higher stats to get bonuses, and 9 was considered average, you (like i said up thread) were not expected to see 18's let alone above them. However I liked that ever pt mattered MORE (at least in 2e). a 13 str and a 12 str are both +1 to all rolls now... in 2e that was a 5% chance change on skills (non weapon prof) and % different on bend bars lift gates... but If i remember right (don't quote me here) neither gave a bonus to hit, maybe it did to damage.
To-hit/damage were +0 at both Str 12 and 13. Most '+' bonuses didn't start until 15 (and most '-' penalties didn't start until at least as low as 7).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
They chose to change the very structure of classes, fundamentally taking the game in a different direction. Previous editions had refined things, this was a pretty radical shift. If they had not been changing things for the sake of change they probably would have ended up with something more along the lines of 5E. That's why it felt like change for the sake of change.

I want to type something about the difference between revision and re-envisioning.

In one sense Thanksgiving dinner is meat and starch. More specifically though is it Turkey w/maybe ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing/dressing, sweet potatoes, and maybe mac and cheese? Deep frying the Turkey instead of baking and having pork roast instead of ham for the second seems like a revision. Is Chicken w/maybe venison and baked potatoes, rice, au gratin potatoes, and maybe spaghetti still just a revision because it's a poultry w/maybe non-beef-meat a potato, another starch, another kind of potato, and a noodle dish- or has it re-envisioning or something new. Going for steak and baked potato feels like a totally different game.

(I have no idea why I'm capitalizing poultry types; the ham and mac and cheese aren't at our table, but I've been in the south for a while and it would feel odd to leave them off the list).
 
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HammerMan

Legend
They chose to change the very structure of classes, fundamentally taking the game in a different direction. Previous editions had refined things, this was a pretty radical shift. If they had not been changing things for the sake of change they probably would have ended up with something more along the lines of 5E. That's why it felt like change for the sake of
didn't we get asked not to argue about 4e?
o-hit/damage were +0 at both Str 12 and 13. Most '+' bonuses didn't start until 15 (and most '-' penalties didn't start until at least as low as 7).
thank you my books are not near me and I can't remember... I thought it was 14 or 15
 

Dire Bare

Legend
They chose to change the very structure of classes, fundamentally taking the game in a different direction. Previous editions had refined things, this was a pretty radical shift. If they had not been changing things for the sake of change they probably would have ended up with something more along the lines of 5E. That's why it felt like change for the sake of change.
Yes . . . the game was fundamentally different from what came before. However . . . no, nevermind.

Sure, WotC changed up 4E for no reasons other than, "Hey, let's make things different!".
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes . . . the game was fundamentally different from what came before. However . . . no, nevermind.

Sure, WotC changed up 4E for no reasons other than, "Hey, let's make things different!".

Even changing things like changing Wisdom to Perception could be defined as not changing things for the sake of change if someone thought Perception was a better description than Wisdom whether or not I agree. Changing a core tradition of how classes were structured felt like change for the sake of change no matter how well intentioned. How well it was implemented (they've admitted to being under a lot of pressure to release) is another issue.

As far as "arguing" about 4E @HammerMan , I'm not. People like what they like. I burned out on 4E after a couple years of playing, you may have thought it was the best thing ever. I'm just trying to explain why some people felt the edition changed a lot of things for the sake of change. There are plenty of things that have changed that I thought changed for the better and others I do not. Editions of D&D are no different.
 

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