D&D 5E Why the claim of combat and class balance between the classes is mainly a forum issue. (In my opinion)

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
While I agree with the "not bloodly likely" crew on the Throat of Force trick, I have to point out a correction:

The spell says the Wall must be anchored on all sides - in this case, the throat. Ergo: the Wall is attached to the throat of the dragon and moves with it, OR the wall is immobile and the dragon can't move without tearing his own throat out. If the dragon is capable of simply moving away from the wall, then by definition the wall wasn't "anchored" to anything and couldn't be cast in the first place.
I'm working off the SRD version online which doesn't mention anything about it being anchored on all sides. That might be different in the actual book however. Either way, if it does have to be anchored, then it certainly couldn't be anchored to a creature given the text that says if any portion of the wall passes through a creature it fails(probably specifically to disallow the use of the spell as an attack spell).
 

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Hussar

Legend
Why the claim of combat and class balance between the classes is mainly a for...

[MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] - I think you can see similar arguments and criticisms all over 4e. I mean, the whole "disassociated mechanics" thing presupposed that the players at the table were interested in nonsensical results.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
Out of curiosity, what's the point of having a ruleset if you don't actually use it? If the game is talking about squares, feet, or inches, it's talking about map and minis. So your players want you to know all the rules but not use them.
We did use it. I was specifically arguing the same thing you are. That allowing DM fiat to override the rules or just "winging it" is silly. If there's rules, use them.

Though, I'd argue that you don't necessarily need minis to determine how many feet an enemy is away from you. You do need minis to determine things like "how many threatened squares am I currently standing in?" and "how many enemies does a 20 ft radius spell centered on the orc leader hit?". At least you need them to be accurate in that number.

So far I've found that the number of area of effect abilities is so low in D&D Next and there is so little need to know the exact positioning of enemies that it isn't worth the tradeoff of the time required to set up a battlemap, draw the room and move the minis around each round. The ruleset is designed to work much better without minis.

Also it sounds as if you are fighting your ruleset every step of the way. Try a game like 13th Age - which is intended to be run fast and light, and without a map. Even removing the trappings of a map. And that, I think, is a big part of the problem. That the rules rely on certain information that you don't give them and they get annoyed when the lack of information doesn't match what they think is there.
When I ran 3.5e...a number of years ago, I embraced every rule in it. I used a battle map, I had almost every rule memorized and would make sure to look things up on the fly in order to make sure we didn't get anything wrong. My players and I all loved that. Which was my point, since I was replying to someone who didn't use a map in 3.5e.

But there were SO many rules that it did bog down some game sessions. After nearly 8 years straight of playing it, I was just sick of it. Which is why I stopped using 3.5e.

I have been reading through 13th age. Though I think the game is a little TOO narrative for me. I need a balance. So far D&D Next has been providing that for me. We'll see what the future holds.

Different rules fit different games. And if you are fighting the rules every step of the way you are normally fighting the players' understanding of the world. Although the intent isn't there the effect is that you are taking away the players' knowledge of the world in the same way you would if you lied to them. At that point not trusting the DM is understandable. Find a ruleset that fits what you want to play and you won't cause these issues. (And I'm glad that from what you've said D&D Next seems to be one such set of rules for you).

Conmen, tricking monsters out of their gold and directing enemy tribes at each other. Warlords, building private armies.
Not sure what that accomplishes. I certainly couldn't play a character who was a conman as his primary profession in a D&D game. It seems rather...ordinary and repetitive:
P1: "Well, we convinced the Orcs to attack the Goblins. We tricked them into giving us 10,000gp as payment for information about the Goblins. Now what?"
P2: "Want to trick the Trolls into attacking the Ettins tomorrow?"
P3: "Uhh, I have a charisma of 10 and no skill points in bluff or diplomacy...can we do something that isn't tricking people into attacking each other or trying to recruit armies? I can't participate in that."

My rule of thumb is I'll spot the players one adventure with a tailored hook to their PC to get them to start adventuring. If they are playing antisocial loners and want to wander off after that I let them.
I agree. One of my friends used to formalize the process in his game. He literally said that he didn't care what the background, alignment, or personality of any of the characters in his game were. However, it was a requirement that each player write into his back story(or add it as a facet of his personality after the game begins) to have loyalty to the other party members and desire to adventure. They could be evil bastards who would kill their friends for a nickel....but not THESE friends for some good reason. They might steal from everyone they meet, but not from THESE guys. They might have a master who could tell them what to do, but if a conflict came up between the master and the party, he'd side with the party. If the party wanted to go on an adventure, you had to find SOME reason your PC wanted to go on the adventure. Your PC could object to it, but as soon as the majority of the group had decided...you had to relent.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
In my sandbox games the players don't need to create plots, or to have any motivations
beyond playing an adventurer seeking loot and XP. Adventure is out there, they just have
to go look for it. Your PC might not be suitable for a sandbox game because he's not an obvious
adventurer, although if his research was proactive so it could lead naturally into
adventures alongside other PCs it might work. I could see a game with the church as home base and sandoxing church politics + exploration of dungeon sites etc for relics, following up
rumours and so on.
Well, that's kind of my point. I don't want to have to go look for adventure. I want it to come to me. If I'm reading books in the library, I want someone to burst in and tell me that the Head Priest is ill under a mysterious disease and I have to travel to the Dark Woods to bring back the only cure. I want someone to come stumbling into the tavern when I'm there and die at my feet just after he said "Good, you're the one I'm looking for" and find a mysterious map and journal on him.

My character was always designed to slowly become an adventurer. After all, his goddess was an adventurer...a powerful Warlock before she became a god. He wants nothing more than to follow in her footsteps. Though he is currently ill suited to do so. I knew the DM would find a way to force me into the life of an adventurer. He did. So now my character has a taste for it and as long as people(either the rest of the party or NPCs) keep giving him reasons to go adventuring, he will.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
My feeling would be that while this Wall of Force thing is incredibly stupid, being neither
rules-compliant nor making sense in terms of the world-physics of dragon mouths, I'd be fine with a manipulation of the environment that did actually work in terms of rules & world-physics to defeat a much
higher CR foe. Collapsing the ceiling on top of a monster, for instance (which might kill it, or might just slow it down), or using a magical elevator to cut a large monster in half, as once happened in my game.
I'm not a fan of "I come up with an interesting plan...therefore infinite damage". To me, it ruins the entire point of having a combat system. Why are 1st level characters unable to cast 9th level spells? Because the game thinks that the abilities that 9th level spells give you are too powerful for 1st level characters. Those abilities let you defeat much more powerful enemies. That's the reason a fireball also does 5d6 points of damage when you get it and 10d6 5 levels later.

If you are able to say "That rock there should be big enough to crush the monsters skull, I hit it with an arrow...that should do the 700 points of damage required to kill him instead of the 1d8+4 points of damage my arrow would have done without the rock" then the entire level system shouldn't even exist...nor should dice since nearly every combat should end with infinite damage from an interesting idea.

Not that I think that PCs shouldn't be rewarded for actually interesting ideas. I just believe that interesting ideas should be rewarded in a level appropriate way. Using the environment should stun the enemy for a round or do about double the damage the PC could have done with actual game mechanics at their level.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
So basically, your character made up a backstory which required the other PCs to act as his assistants. And then discovered that he liked adventuring enough to keep doing it, but not enough to proactively seek it out. At least, that's the impression I get.
Pretty much. I never determined that the other PCs should be my assistants though. I just game the DM my backstory: a bookish cleric who was more interesting in reading about his goddess than performing priestly duties. He was wild eyed and eager to learn about the world...he just had never left his town before...and didn't like dirt...or germs....or weather. But he was 1st level and I'm sure that will change.

The DM decided to get the group together by having the church assign me a mission and ask me to find a group of adventurers to accompany me.

I've seen worse. A character who carried on not wanting to be an adventurer, but would have to go when something came up that actually interested his boss (also a cleric, interestingly; I suspect it's one of the few places D&D players will accept a hierarchy). Of course, this made it a game about the interests of the boss of the cleric. Anything that didn't interest the NPC meant the party was short one cleric and one player was going to sit in the corner of the room doing nothing for four hours.
Yeah, see my post a couple above this one, but I agree that one of the main tenants of PCs is that they should find a reason to adventure. I learned this lesson the hard way one time when I made a PC who would do almost anything for money. That was his hook. The DM insisted on giving us a hook that said "There's no money in this at all, but do it out of the goodness of your heart". But the entire character was based around his mercenary nature. I was willing to take almost ANY money as a plot hook. When the DM told me no, I had to switch characters.

I learned that sometimes the DMs plot doesn't leave room for motivations that don't fit in. Since then, I've tried to make the goals of my characters a little more generic and flexible.
 


Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
being creative and using abilities in new ways is not only not cheating... it is a fun way to play...
I explain this slightly above in a post to someone else, but to summarize: There's a difference between being creative and completely bypassing the balance of the game.

The spell in question is a wall spell designed to protect people. There are other spells at the same level as it that do damage. Cone of Cold does 1d6 points of damage per level. At 9th level, it does an average of 32 damage with a save for half and allows spell resistance. There is a spell that can essentially defeat a monster immediately: Baleful Polymorph. It has a save to avoid the effects and allows spell resistance.

All the 5th level spells are supposed to be equal in power. That's the entire concept of balance. If wall of force kills people outright, it isn't balanced. Part of your job as DM is to enforce balance.

The spell isn't designed to hurt people at all. It includes a number of sentences in its description that were put there entirely to make sure people didn't try to use it to kill people. Those sentences were put there after people in 3.0e used it to kill people, DMs complained that it was overpowered when used that way and the designers took steps to make it more clear that the spell can't be used in a method that would harm people. Using a spell that the rules say can't hurt anyone in order to hurt people is pretty much the entire definition of cheating.

is like saying "When I roll Arcana high enough I can cast any spell I want... so I use wish at level 2" totally not what happened

another great example of WHAT THEY DIDN"T DO...
This is precisely what they did. The rules said "No, you can't do this", they proceeded to say "I do this, despite the fact that the rules tell me it's impossible. I mean, if you read it in a very specific way, it MIGHT work." They were just lucky that their DM was easily swayed by arguments.

In the same way that you MIGHT convince someone that putting a puck into ANY net still scores points. After all, the rules only specify putting a puck into a net. However, the players of the game have the common sense to interpret the rules in the most sane way possible. They know that the rules didn't take into account someone putting a puck into a basketball net however everyone can jointly agree that that's likely not what the designers of the rules were thinking when they wrote them.

The Wall of Force spell could TECHNICALLY kill someone even though it's readily apparent that that's not what the designers of the rules meant when they wrote up the description of the spell. In theory, the players of D&D should make the same logical assumption and say "Yeah, nice try to get around the rules."

closer... the rules say what happen when you can't breathe... everyone knows you can choke to death if something gets lodged in your throat. I have the ability to make an unmoving object that blocks just about everything... if I create it in his throat he will choke to death...
Yeah, you can choke to death, but as everyone points out above, it would take many, many rounds to choke to death. More than enough time for a dragon to silent dimension door away from the wall and kill everyone.

it can, or you could roll with a fun scene and keep going...
I'm not sure how them running or continuing to negotiate with the dragon would not still be rolling with a fun scene. You are rolling in a direction that is equally fun while following the rules.

well as the guy who ran almost 18 more levels after that I will tell you none of that happened...although the arragent wizard was more arragent until he got put in his place a few levels later...

well no one even asked, and I hadn't created his hoard, just the ring of wizardry level 2 he was wearing and that was the treasure they got...

I used the rule that said some encounters are easier or harder and just gave them each 2,000xp and kept going.
Wow...all I can say is...apparently your DMing style works because your players are pushovers. My players had the XP table nearly memorized. There would be a discussion on the spot about how much a EL 24 encounter was worth given that the chart doesn't show XP for encounters more than 10 levels above the Average Party Level(since the DMG says that encounters that high are impossible and should not be able to be defeated so the values aren't needed). I'm sure someone would be looking up the XP value for an APL 19 encounter and then making a case for how I needed to triple or quadruple it.

They also pretty much have the treasure tables memorized and would be wondering where the CR 24 worth of treasure was located.

After all, killing a monster comes with its just rewards. They beat a CR 24 fair and square(assuming I had allowed it)...where is there proper reward?
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
We have had a few players over the years that tryied to do those things(spam cool trick until they just become common tacktics) most learned that just because we let cool things go doesn't mean you can just do it whenever you want even if it doesn't fit.
I'm not sure who decides when it fits and when it doesn't. I assume it is the DM. But then it really feels like playing a game of Mother May I instead of a game with tactics and skill:

"May I kill this monster in one hit today, oh great DM?"
"No, it doesn't fit here."
"How about now?"
"Alright, I'm amused enough that you win today without trying."

but that didn't happen the only time they tried this trick again was at epic level Vs a hoard of Tarrasque...and even then only on 1 of them.
The more I read about your players the more I have difficulty believing they exist. Or this game exists.

I know that if I said "Hey, there is a hoard of Tarrasques" to my players, they'd be like "A hoard of a unique creature of which there is only one of in the entire universe? Also aren't they super high level? A hoard of them is likely WAY too high EL for our levels, what are you doing throwing them against us?"

Then again, they likely would have told me to screw myself when I threw a CR 24 dragon against them at 9th level. They'd be quickly telling me that if I can't play fair then what was the point in playing?
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
I didn't think anything on a dragon was anything like a human...
Most animals have throat muscles that can close their throats so that water doesn't go down them when they go under water and so they can keep their stomach acids in their stomach without it pouring out. I would think there has to be some things in common amongst creatures that exist.

it was on all fours with his neck out so not 20 feet off the ground, but ground level with PCs
Given a dragon of this size likely has 15-20 foot tall legs and a 10 foot tall neck, assuming it was "just standing there with its neck at a relatively neutral posture" it's head would be about 30 feet in the air unless it was laying on the ground and bending its neck downward to put it on the ground next to the PCs. Even then, the angle you'd see into its mouth would let you see only a couple feet in before the angle of its neck would be too steep to see further in.

Not that this part of the discussion really matters. You ruled that they could see in. Things like this really are up to the DM since there's no rules for it. I think it's a silly rule, but well within your rights.

lets double check here... my way game went on WITH NO KNEW PROBLEMS and everyone had a fun day. Your way we would make up a ref save and most likely have a hard fight no one wanted... and atleast 1 PC could have died or the whole game could have TPKed when it was one of the highest level games we ran and one of the most fun... in retrospect with all that you still can't see I made the right call?
The only reason you didn't have any problems with this ruling is because of how many rules you broke in order to make sure you didn't have problems and because your players lack of knowledge of the rules or lack of caring about XP and treasure. Basically, you had the perfect storm that allowed your mistake to go unnoticed. You decided to break the rules on XP, the rules on treasure, the rules on initiative, the rules on choking to death, and the rules on wall of force. Your players didn't care. Had even one of your players cared about the rules there would have been a problem. It likely would have ruined there experience and they could have had no fun.

It worked only because you had the type of players who don't care. To me, that's like saying "I ran out into traffic and leaped out of the way whenever a car was going to hit me. Luckily, because there was construction nearby all the cars were moving really slow. I managed to avoid all the cars and I had a great time. So I made the right call when I decided to leap out of the way." The right call was not to run into the traffic in the first place, it wasn't leaping out of the way of the cars. If it wasn't for the construction, you'd be dead.

To me, the right call is not to use a CR 24 dragon at all. Instead, you say "Alright, they are level 9 characters, they meet enemies that are close to their level so that when they fight them they have a chance to succeed. I want to use a dragon, but I'll use a CR 12 dragon. It's hard enough that they won't be able to kill it outright and there will be a good fight...but easy enough that the PCs are likely to win should they choose to fight." That way the PCs can now choose what action they'd like to take and all the actions are valid...without breaking the rules.

when someone declairs an action we normally roll initiative AFTER the action is made... you start the fight with X then we roll init....
That's not what the rules for initiative say. It also is a extremely unbalanced rule favoring the PCs. It means that at high levels they can generally beat most monsters without ever rolling for initiative. I'm beginning to see how your players are able to take on such high level threats without worrying.

we are just looking for fun.
If this situation happened in a book, it would be considered a comedy. In a Discworld sort of way. I'm not really looking for my game to be a comedy.

OK, and just to double check... why? I mean if you can't ever try something out of the box why have a DM to begin with?
The DM is there to come up with the story. He's there to play the NPCs(and react intelligently). He's there to interpret the rules whenever there is confusion. He's there to come up with interesting situations to put the PCs into(that are fair, balanced, challenging, and follow the rules). He's there to interpret when people try out of the box things and try to sort out the "obviously cheating" out of the box actions from the "interesting but fair" out of the box actions. He's there to determine when to allow something and when it unbalances the game based on the rules already in the game.

nice shadow insult... I must not be a smart DM... yup totally dumb of me to run a game for years that everyone loved to play...how could I be so stupid...
Running a game is easy. Running a game well is hard. I still make plenty of mistakes every game even though I've been DMing for 20 years now.

However, I've seen DMs who are used to their home group and the way they play get super flustered when DMing for more demanding players. A couple of GenCons ago I ended up at a table with a DM who obviously was used to house ruling everything and not looking up any of the rules. It was obvious to everyone at the table because he'd get at least one rule wrong each round of combat. We were playing in the GenCon Special for Living Forgotten Realms. These things are legendary for how deadly they are. You have to make sure to be on your A game when it comes to combat. You need to use your powers in the right order while simultaneously hoping the die rolls come out in your favor or you're going to have to pay for a Raise Dead at the end of the adventure.

We completely destroyed the adventure. It was so easy that we finished the whole thing an hour early and we barely took damage. The difficulty of one of the encounter was entirely dependent on a creature with Reach 4 who could make an Opportunity Attack against each PC once per round since the entire room was threatened by the creature while there was a deadly mist chasing the PCs around so they had to keep moving. Our DM had absolutely no idea how Reach worked or Opportunity Attacks. His lack of knowledge of the rules ruined the game for me since it wasn't fun to win so easily.

Though, it was readily apparent that he thought he was a GREAT DM who DMed for his friends all the time and they loved him. It's good to have a group of friends that love your DMing style. Don't lose them because you might not find any more like them.

OR, and just throwing this out there, maybe you have huge epic battles, and little skirmishes and everyonce in a while (once every 2-3 levels) one big OMG moment where they pull off something huge... and because no one abuses it and they only come up organicly no one tries to 'just make you laugh'
You can have that same spread of encounters without using monsters that are 15 levels above the PCs. When I used an APL+5 encounter against my players, they'd be super scared, they'd be pulling out all the stops. They'd use every spell they have and likely one PC would still die. They'd have to bring him back to life but they'd feel like they accomplished the nearly impossible. It was obvious that I didn't give them the win, they'd EARNED it.

so in your mind, my epic red dragon who was going to be an important NPC and had stats AND A NAME was someone I wanted the PCs to kill? and at some point I am going to have some NPC more important? An entire adventure changed mid moment basedon this the whole game went in an unexpected direction... it was not the way I saw the scene going...
A rule that's been passed down from DM to DM in my area(and likely stated in a couple of Dragon Magazine articles on how to keep a reoccurring villain alive) is: If you want your NPCs to survive, never let the PCs see them....ever. If the PCs can see them, they'll likely come up with a way to kill them. Though, if you do let the PCs see the enemy, then the enemy must always have an escape route. If you don't follow those rules, you pretty much WANT the PCs to kill your NPC.

But beyond that, I assume you wanted him dead when you ruled yes to a spell working a different way than it was supposed to. It was just as easy to say no with no consequences at all:

You: "Yeah, the spell doesn't work that way, it can't be put into someone's throat"
Player: "Oh...alright. I don't do that then."

5 seconds worth of time, no changes to your planned adventure, no change to the fun your players would have had(assuming you already had fun things planned for them that didn't involve killing the dragon).

I dicided that the story the PC wizard told me was entertaining and fit the world, and that I could deal with it, and everyone at the table agreed... no one AT THE DAMN TABLE agreed with you that alone should make that rueing right at that table...
Here's the rub. I don't disagree that the ruling was necessarily bad at your table. I am saying you have a table filled with "beer and pretzels" style players. I'm saying that making this ruling in the grand scheme of DMing is bad. Especially if you were DMing for players you'd never met before. I'm saying that even at your table another ruling would have worked fine.

so instead of rolling with it and finding away to have fun you got frustrated, well my example was a lugh and keep going... but insult MY intelligence and think I did something wrong when I got better results... interesting...
I don't plan adventures on the fly. I'm horrible at improvising. Mainly because I hate improvised adventures. They seem to lack a coherent story and seem shallow. When I plan an adventure, it needs to get followed...at least mostly. It can take some minor bumps and turns but when I spent the time to foreshadow the villain that the PCs were going to fight at level 15 when they were level 1....well, that foreshadowing is useless if the PCs find some way to avoid ever encountering the villain.

So, when players decide not to engage with the game at all and instead hole themselves up in a building and decide never to leave, I decide that the game isn't the game I wanted to run. To me, it's the same thing as showing up to watch a movie called Thor and never having Thor show up or even have the movie be about him. You feel ripped off because you went in expecting Thor and got something else instead.

I went in expecting to run the adventure I had planned. Instead I got an adventure where nothing interesting happened.

You obviously were perfectly fine running a game where your CR 24 dragon died in one hit like a chump. That was the game you wanted to run. I wouldn't want to run a game where that was possible.

I just figure "if this were a movie, and something has to happen to be interesting what would it be." I even gave you an idea it took me only a minute to come up with...
You gave me an idea where the NPCs would be saying things like "See what you did to my adventure" or whatever it is you posted. The NPCs don't know anything about my adventure, they don't break the fourth wall. And they don't attack simply because I'm angry. It seems extremely contrived and bitter.

Alll it tells me is you don't like thinking out of the box you want everything to run as expected and Players need to go with you or walk.
All DMs expect this. Some just expect different things and have different tolerances. If someone shows up to your game and kept insisting they had a plasma rifle and whenever you asked them when they did and they said "I shoot my plasma rifle at the enemies", it's very likely that you'd point out to them in short order that: 1. You were running D&D, 2. There are no Plasma Rifles, 3. Your character doesn't have a Plasma Rifle as you never agreed to give him one. If he kept saying it over and over again and refused to take no for an answer...it's likely that you'd either get frustrated at having to run the game for such stupid players and give up DMing...or you'd kick that player out of your group.

It could be argued that if you did so, you would be stopping a player who was simply thinking outside of the box(that box being the setting of D&D and the character creation rules of D&D) and expecting that player to go with you or walk.

By sitting down and playing a game, you all agree to rules. The rules create a box. Thinking outside of that box creates a situation nobody wants. We are just using a different set of rules.

I view certain actions as going TOO far outside the box. Figuring out that water harms the Fire Elemental and luring him out into the lake to fight him? AWESOME. You thought out of the box and get an advantage.

Saying "I cast Create Water over the Fire Elemental...water puts out fire, the Elemental is now dead!" is approximately the same thing as playing a video game and finding a spot inside the wall where the last boss of the game can't harm you and then defeating him. Did you win? Technically. Did you win within the spirit of the game you were playing? Not so much.
 

Sound of Azure

Contemplative Soul
Hoard and Horde. Know the difference!

I know that if I said "Hey, there is a hoard of Tarrasques" to my players, they'd be like "A hoard of a unique creature of which there is only one of in the entire universe? Also aren't they super high level? A hoard of them is likely WAY too high EL for our levels, what are you doing throwing them against us?"

Just think of the EL of a creature able to keep multiple Tarrasques (from multiple planes maybe?) in a treasure pile! Keeping a horde of Tarrasques in your hoard would be hard work! Either that, or it's just a Monty Haul game. :D
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
Remind me again why it's a good idea to reward failure?

What do you learn more from? Doing the same things you always do, and having it succeed reasonably well? Doing the same things you always do, and finding out why that approach is sometimes not good enough? Or doing something different to see if it works, and finding that out? Two of those result in failure and learning from it, which in D&D terms is represented by gaining XP. If you only reward the first, because that's the one that usually works, then you're giving XP for not learning anything new.
 

I explain this slightly above in a post to someone else, but to summarize: There's a difference between being creative and completely bypassing the balance of the game.
I disagree the game was SOOO unbalanced it didn't matter

All the 5th level spells are supposed to be equal in power. That's the entire concept of balance. If wall of force kills people outright, it isn't balanced. Part of your job as DM is to enforce balance.
It is also part of a DMs job to keep the game running in a way his players like... it's a game... about fun...


The spell isn't designed to hurt people at all. It includes a number of sentences in its description that were put there entirely to make sure people didn't try to use it to kill people. Those sentences were put there after people in 3.0e used it to kill people, DMs complained that it was overpowered when used that way and the designers took steps to make it more clear that the spell can't be used in a method that would harm people. Using a spell that the rules say can't hurt anyone in order to hurt people is pretty much the entire definition of cheating.
it was a one off creative use of a spell to end an adventure the PCs had already decided they didn't like...

This is precisely what they did. The rules said "No, you can't do this", they proceeded to say "I do this, despite the fact that the rules tell me it's impossible. I mean, if you read it in a very specific way, it MIGHT work." They were just lucky that their DM was easily swayed by arguments.
or they said Hey It does X what happens when I use it in a way that it wasn't intended but should work?

In the same way that you MIGHT convince someone that putting a puck into ANY net still scores points. After all, the rules only specify putting a puck into a net. However, the players of the game have the common sense to interpret the rules in the most sane way possible. They know that the rules didn't take into account someone putting a puck into a basketball net however everyone can jointly agree that that's likely not what the designers of the rules were thinking when they wrote them.
still a bad analogy that makes no sense

The Wall of Force spell could TECHNICALLY kill someone even though it's readily apparent that that's not what the designers of the rules meant when they wrote up the description of the spell. In theory, the players of D&D should make the same logical assumption and say "Yeah, nice try to get around the rules."
I think I replayed way back when this started saying it was RAI but it could be RAW and was most defintly rule of cool...

Yeah, you can choke to death, but as everyone points out above, it would take many, many rounds to choke to death. More than enough time for a dragon to silent dimension door away from the wall and kill everyone.
this one I know... dragon could not teleport or D door or anything of the like... I had done out his spells in advance...

I'm not sure how them running or continuing to negotiate with the dragon would not still be rolling with a fun scene. You are rolling in a direction that is equally fun while following the rules.
Because the PCs didn't want to do so it may be a bit hard to read... you know when they started a fight, and the table cheered that the PC in question had an idea...

Wow...all I can say is...apparently your DMing style works because your players are pushovers. My players had the XP table nearly memorized.
not only did Manny have the tables memorized, he knew the formula for everything and could extend it no problem if that was what we needed.

There would be a discussion on the spot about how much a EL 24 encounter was worth given that the chart doesn't show XP for encounters more than 10 levels above the Average Party Level(since the DMG says that encounters that high are impossible and should not be able to be defeated so the values aren't needed). I'm sure someone would be looking up the XP value for an APL 19 encounter and then making a case for how I needed to triple or quadruple it.
it was double of X levels below so (I think) it was a 21 was double 18 or 19 then a 22 is double 19 or 20 and 24 is double 22 or 23..

They also pretty much have the treasure tables memorized and would be wondering where the CR 24 worth of treasure was located.
most likely at the dragon hoard that they knew not where... because they didn't kill him in his home...



I'm not sure who decides when it fits and when it doesn't. I assume it is the DM. But then it really feels like playing a game of Mother May I instead of a game with tactics and skill:
it never felt that way to us... infact it was pretty awesome most times..

The more I read about your players the more I have difficulty believing they exist. Or this game exists.
OK, perfect you have now decided to make this not only insulting by saying I'm a bad or Dumb DM, but now call me a lier... any other shadow insults I missed?

I know that if I said "Hey, there is a hoard of Tarrasques" to my players, they'd be like "A hoard of a unique creature of which there is only one of in the entire universe? Also aren't they super high level? A hoard of them is likely WAY too high EL for our levels, what are you doing throwing them against us?"
The PCs were epic level at that point and the enemy was a guy who could wormhole between worlds, he had collected the tarrasques from different worlds and times and drop them on the PCs world to distract them so he could complete his ritual and become a new god... the PCs had a time limit, and decided saveing lives and stoping the Big Ts was worth it...

Then again, they likely would have told me to screw myself when I threw a CR 24 dragon against them at 9th level. They'd be quickly telling me that if I can't play fair then what was the point in playing?
well they would not be the players at my table... I play to my player at the table not theretical DM hateing rules lawyers at another table somwwhere....
 

dd.stevenson

Super KY
It is also part of a DMs job to keep the game running in a way his players like... it's a game... about fun...
Darn straight. If your group likes the way you played it, then you played it right, and you're not obligated to defend yourself to anyone else.

FWIW, with my group, I would most likely offer the spellcaster a bargain: 1 point permanent int loss for a one-time use of the spell that went beyond the rules. Take it or leave it, that gives them a potentially interesting decision, and makes it so I don't have to tell 'em no directly.
 

Most animals have throat muscles that can close their throats so that water doesn't go down them when they go under water and so they can keep their stomach acids in their stomach without it pouring out. I would think there has to be some things in common amongst creatures that exist.
thanks for the biology lesson, I didn't know that... but what do doctors see when they shine that light in your mouth? I just assumed down your throat


The only reason you didn't have any problems with this ruling is because of how many rules you broke in order to make sure you didn't have problems and because your players lack of knowledge of the rules or lack of caring about XP and treasure. Basically, you had the perfect storm that allowed your mistake to go unnoticed. You decided to break the rules on XP, the rules on treasure, the rules on initiative, the rules on choking to death, and the rules on wall of force. Your players didn't care. Had even one of your players cared about the rules there would have been a problem. It likely would have ruined there experience and they could have had no fun.

wait if I had different players my game would run differently is news to who?? of cource every table sometimes even night to noight at the same table is different... DMs need to make the game fun FOR THERE PCS


It worked only because you had the type of players who don't care. To me, that's like saying "I ran out into traffic and leaped out of the way whenever a car was going to hit me. Luckily, because there was construction nearby all the cars were moving really slow. I managed to avoid all the cars and I had a great time. So I made the right call when I decided to leap out of the way." The right call was not to run into the traffic in the first place, it wasn't leaping out of the way of the cars. If it wasn't for the construction, you'd be dead.

or more like, "I run games my table likes...and that changes based on the table"
.


That's not what the rules for initiative say. It also is a extremely unbalanced rule favoring the PCs. It means that at high levels they can generally beat most monsters without ever rolling for initiative. I'm beginning to see how your players are able to take on such high level threats without worrying.
so If I say "I punch the guard" you make me roll initiative?


If this situation happened in a book, it would be considered a comedy. In a Discworld sort of way. I'm not really looking for my game to be a comedy.
or a funny scene in an otherwise seriuse book... or who knows no one scene makes a story...

The DM is there to come up with the story. He's there to play the NPCs(and react intelligently). He's there to interpret the rules whenever there is confusion. He's there to come up with interesting situations to put the PCs into(that are fair, balanced, challenging, and follow the rules). He's there to interpret when people try out of the box things and try to sort out the "obviously cheating" out of the box actions from the "interesting but fair" out of the box actions. He's there to determine when to allow something and when it unbalances the game based on the rules already in the game.
I think he is a player who makes up the world and adventure and trys to move the game along in fun ways...

Running a game is easy. Running a game well is hard. I still make plenty of mistakes every game even though I've been DMing for 20 years now.
Agreed 100%
However, I've seen DMs who are used to their home group and the way they play get super flustered when DMing for more demanding players. A couple of GenCons ago I ended up at a table with a DM who obviously was used to house ruling everything and not looking up any of the rules. It was obvious to everyone at the table because he'd get at least one rule wrong each round of combat. We were playing in the GenCon Special for Living Forgotten Realms. These things are legendary for how deadly they are. You have to make sure to be on your A game when it comes to combat. You need to use your powers in the right order while simultaneously hoping the die rolls come out in your favor or you're going to have to pay for a Raise Dead at the end of the adventure.
I run at cons all the time and at my FLGS and for new people... the best way to run any table is to the desires of the players....



Though, it was readily apparent that he thought he was a GREAT DM who DMed for his friends all the time and they loved him. It's good to have a group of friends that love your DMing style. Don't lose them because you might not find any more like them.
so you didn't have fun... if you don't have fun it wasn't run well...



But beyond that, I assume you wanted him dead when you ruled yes to a spell working a different way than it was supposed to. It was just as easy to say no with no consequences at all:

You: "Yeah, the spell doesn't work that way, it can't be put into someone's throat"
Player: "Oh...alright. I don't do that then."
I had a whole adventure planed... it was ploted as A) PCs do what he wants (a fetch quest) or B they go fortify the town, and problably need to build an army to stop him... they said "Hey wait how about C and we do this..." and I rolled with it.

5 seconds worth of time, no changes to your planned adventure, no change to the fun your players would have had(assuming you already had fun things planned for them that didn't involve killing the dragon).
they ran and did completely different things then I planed.

Here's the rub. I don't disagree that the ruling was necessarily bad at your table. I am saying you have a table filled with "beer and pretzels" style players. I'm saying that making this ruling in the grand scheme of DMing is bad. Especially if you were DMing for players you'd never met before. I'm saying that even at your table another ruling would have worked fine.
yes if things were different they might of went different... so what it was an example of a one off joke everyone loved....
I don't plan adventures on the fly. I'm horrible at improvising.
oh, ok... I find that good DMs have to improvise all the time...
Mainly because I hate improvised adventures. They seem to lack a coherent story and seem shallow. When I plan an adventure, it needs to get followed...at least mostly. It can take some minor bumps and turns but when I spent the time to foreshadow the villain that the PCs were going to fight at level 15 when they were level 1....well, that foreshadowing is useless if the PCs find some way to avoid ever encountering the villain.

wait... you write level 15 at level 1 and if the PCs don't follow your railroad you punish them and make them... and you hate when they go away from your planed events??? WTF? you insult my DMing that most people enjoy and then come back with one of the most hated DM tactics ever...

So, when players decide not to engage with the game at all and instead hole themselves up in a building and decide never to leave, I decide that the game isn't the game I wanted to run. To me, it's the same thing as showing up to watch a movie called Thor and never having Thor show up or even have the movie be about him. You feel ripped off because you went in expecting Thor and got something else instead.
my games the movie title is made at the end not the beginning... maybe I planed thor but he died... so we got SIF...

I went in
expecting to run the adventure I had planned. Instead I got an adventure where nothing interesting happened.
then make interesting things...



You gave me an idea where the NPCs would be saying things like "See what you did to my adventure" or whatever it is you posted. The NPCs don't know anything about my adventure, they don't break the fourth wall. And they don't attack simply because I'm angry. It seems extremely contrived and bitter.
no I said run an adventure in there house for the game th PCs were making... you know what... I would have rolled with it and made a game you threw your hands up and rage quite... but you think me making a fun game would be bad DMING....

All DMs expect this. Some just expect different things and have different tolerances. If someone shows up to your game and kept insisting they had a plasma rifle and whenever you asked them when they did and they said "I shoot my plasma rifle at the enemies", it's very likely that you'd point out to them in short order that: 1. You were running D&D, 2. There are no Plasma Rifles, 3. Your character doesn't have a Plasma Rifle as you never agreed to give him one. If he kept saying it over and over again and refused to take no for an answer...it's likely that you'd either get frustrated at having to run the game for such stupid players and give up DMing...or you'd kick that player out of your group.
what??? your anology fails again... I didn't have someone jump genre...


By sitting down and playing a game, you all agree to rules. The rules create a box. Thinking outside of that box creates a situation nobody wants. We are just using a different set of rules.
um... not in my experience...

I view certain actions as going TOO far outside the box. Figuring out that water harms the Fire Elemental and luring him out into the lake to fight him? AWESOME. You thought out of the box and get an advantage.
I would go with that.... the fun is how you get him there...

Saying "I cast Create Water over the Fire Elemental...water puts out fire, the Elemental is now dead!" is approximately the same thing as playing a video game and finding a spot inside the wall where the last boss of the game can't harm you and then defeating him. Did you win? Technically. Did you win within the spirit of the game you were playing? Not so much.
all that matters is if everyone has fun... I would rule create water would do 1d6+caster level damage myself... but in a game with guns we once used create water to make the guns not fire (like they had been in the rain and soaked)...
 

Balesir

Adventurer
Remind me again why it's a good idea to reward failure?
Easy - stories depend on failure.

If you are going to make stories by collaboration between players and GM, the players have to have a reason to let/make their characters fail. Robin Laws does something similar when he has Drama Tokens given for making concessions in Dramatic Scenes in Hillfolk (excellent looking system, BTW). Stories are built on failures, compromises and concessions - giving reasons for the players to generate those increases the odds of getting a collaborative story.

For a well regarded, general source for this, see "Story" by Robert McKee. It was written primarily as a guide to screenwriters, but, as McKee himself says, the principles apply equally to writing novels or other types of story - and they have some relevance for RPGs, too. McKee presents a simple but remarkably effective model for "making a story happen":

1) Generate a character (protagonist) with a Dramatic Need (of which more below)

2) Have the character take the most simple, direct actions possible to fulfil that need

3) Create a reason/reasons why they can't get what they need by that route

4) Have them try a different method to get what they want, instead

5) Skip back to (3) and repeat the cycle through "fail/try something new" until a story happens

You can try this at home - or give me a character with a Dramatic Need and I'll respond here; it can be good fun.

Two points to note:

- Step (3), creating a plausible reason why the character can't get what they want, is essential for story. If they get what they want, you don't have a story - just an anecdote.

- Step (4) defines what is meant by "Dramatic Need"; it has to be something the character is just not going to give up on. If they give up at the first hurdle, you again don't have a story - just a disappointed character.

What all this means for an RPG system is that, if you want to encourage generation of collaborative stories that are generated spontaneously via interaction between the players (including, but not limited to, the GM) then rewarding the players for the failure of their characters is a good idea.
 

Dausuul

Legend
With regard to the wall of force trick, can we agree on one thing? If it worked for GMForPowerGamers and his group, and they had fun and there were no repercussions down the line, then they were doing it right. The rules do not support such a maneuver, and I think most games would suffer for it--I certainly would have issues if it happened in a game I was playing in, and I would never allow it in a game I was running--but every table rolls in its own way.

On another topic, GMForPowerGamers, do I understand that you're running a 3E game with the AD&D initiative system? How does that play out? Seems like that could be very interesting. Or do you just use it to determine who goes first when somebody declares an action that triggers an initiative roll?
 

With regard to the wall of force trick, can we agree on one thing? If it worked for GMForPowerGamers and his group, and they had fun and there were no repercussions down the line, then they were doing it right.
it was also just a funny story but some Pelops jumped on it telling me how wrong it was...



On another topic, GMForPowerGamers, do I understand that you're running a 3E game with the AD&D initiative system? How does that play out? Seems like that could be very interesting. Or do you just use it to determine who goes first when somebody declares an action that triggers an initiative roll?
[/QUOTE]

Well 1st I upgraded to 4e years ago and haven't even played that in mo the we are talking about ten years ago...

2nd I was useing 3e roll d20 highest 1st

3rd we have always played if you start a fight that the other side did not see coming you get that one action before rolling I itative
 

Dausuul

Legend
Well 1st I upgraded to 4e years ago and haven't even played that in mo the we are talking about ten years ago...

2nd I was useing 3e roll d20 highest 1st

3rd we have always played if you start a fight that the other side did not see coming you get that one action before rolling I itative

What I meant by "AD&D initiative" was the system in which each round goes like this:

#1: Everyone declares actions.
#2: Everyone rolls initiative.
#3: Declared actions are resolved in initiative order.

I've always been fond of this system because it makes combat more exciting and chaotic; when initiative changes every round and the situation can change between declaring and resolving your action, you can't execute tactics with machine-like precision the way you can in 3E and 4E. (And it makes spellcasting concentration meaningful; if you declare a spell, but the enemy beats you on initiative and whacks you before you're done casting, the spell fizzles.) However, it's rather clunky and can be hard to adjudicate.
 

Imaro

Legend
I'm curious as to what @innerdude 's, @Imaro 's, and @Ratskinner 's thoughts would have been, personally, if XP on Skill Challenges would have been rewarded exclusively upon failure. Further, if you guys could try to extrapolate what the majority cross-section of the greater D&D culture may have initially thought if that was the case.

Personally, my first reaction is that I don't like it, and I don't think the majority of D&D players would like it. First it feels counter-intuitive...Yay, I failed the check but I'm rewarded!! While my buddy who was able to navigate us through the fetid swamps of Mur gets... nothing... wait huh??

Second it seems like it might lead to the exact inverse of the problem with 4e SC's... now competent big damn heroes are looking for ways to fail, and I as DM (at least in so far as the philosophy of the game has been advocated by [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION], you and a few others on the board) have to continue to make them look competent and cool... even though they are purposefully drawing on their worst skills, attributes, powers, feats, or whatever. This also segues into my next thought... the system can still be gamed with this change and in doing so the fiction can take a more ridiculous or even slapstick feel if one or more players really want to get XP.

Third isn't this (abstractly) already a part of 4e since you go up in skills you never use or succeed at using every level...

Finally I think it causes dissonance unless were going to make combat work the same way... why am I rewarded for winning in combat but punished (because yes getting no XP is a punishment) for "winning" a skill challenge??

What do you learn more from? Doing the same things you always do, and having it succeed reasonably well? Doing the same things you always do, and finding out why that approach is sometimes not good enough? Or doing something different to see if it works, and finding that out? Two of those result in failure and learning from it, which in D&D terms is represented by gaining XP. If you only reward the first, because that's the one that usually works, then you're giving XP for not learning anything new.

First let me say I disagree with your premise... Only one of the suggestions you presented has to result in failure... you could try something new and it result in success... Just like I also think you become more experienced at (certain) things through repetition and familiarity so yes you can become better (more experienced through succeeding). Third, failure also has the chance to teach you absolutely nothing about the task you're doing... so why does it always result in XP? Finally, does this logic also apply to combat? If we go with your logic in the above post shouldn't I get XP for only loosing at combat as well, don't the same principles apply?

On a side note... Elric/Stormbringer (Chaosium version) had a really good rule that simulated this better... when you used a skill in an adventure you put a check mark next to it and at the end of the game you rolled to see if it improved regardless of whether you failed or succeeded... the roll was based on your current skill, and the higher it was the less chance you had of an increase but you could still increase it, and it didn;t depend on you failing for a chance to improve.

When looking at "rewarding failure" it's good to keep in mind that the only "failure" that usually happens is that the dice rolled low. "Rewarding failure" is an issue when a player makes a really bad decision that isn't interesting enough to get a fudge pass, but when "failure" is "this little hunk of plastic rolled with a low-numbered face up" what exactly are you trying to punish?

IMO this is not true, it can be a rewarding of the choices made in character build... since I get rewarded for failing anyway, why not really dump a few stats and make whatever stat I use for combat "uber"!! (though honestly I saw shades of this in regular 4e as it was). It could be rewarding a bad choice in skill use, power use, feat use. It could be rewarding a bad strategy that had a low chance to succeed, and so on. So no I don't agree it's just a die roll.
 

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