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

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.
Yes but not how we do it(well myth and magic does and so we do when playing this... But this was an rp encounter not a fight... Until Mage cast wall of force
 

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Imaro

Legend
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.

Yeah but creating rules to do this pushes a certain type of play or playstyle on D&D... and it's not one I think all or even the majority of D&D players necessarily want forced upon them. Some/many are happy seeing whether your in-game choices, character abilities and a roll of the die determine failure or success and thus how the story goes as opposed to artificially creating (or at least pushing) a "story" out.
 


Yeah but creating rules to do this pushes a certain type of play or playstyle on D&D... and it's not one I think all or even the majority of D&D players necessarily want forced upon them. Some/many are happy seeing whether your in-game choices, character abilities and a roll of the die determine failure or success and thus how the story goes as opposed to artificially creating (or at least pushing) a "story" out.

I agree. Nothing wrong with liking this stuff or wanting it. But not all d&d players want story in the sense you are useing here. I know i have very little interest in games set up that way. I would just much rather play the game and see what happens, then have the mechanics set up to create stories through failure. Sometimes interesting things will arise due to a failure in the game, but i dont need the mechanics to force it.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
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?

In combat, the theory is that your attack roll doesn't represent one attempt at something but rather a series of attacks. It's not exactly common for them all to hit. So, there's the failures you learn from built into the system.

And I don't agree entirely with the idea that you keep getting better at things through repetition. I think it's only true up to a point. Once you reach that point, it's the occasional failures you learn from far more than the regular successes. What went wrong, why it went wrong, and how you can you correct it? Figuring that out is how you improve your skills at something.

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.

I have a little familiarity with the D100 system, yes.

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.

Fate has some similar mechanics, in that aspects can be tagged by the player spending a Fate point for the bonus, or the GM can offer to pay the player a FP but then bring that Aspect into play. An aspect like Sticky Fingers might help you when you want to steal something; if you want to not steal things, that's the time the GM can offer you the FP.

Actually there are plenty of games where the players will sometimes choose to fail. Any time the price of succeeding is more than the player wants their character to pay is an example. You can even argue it's the case in D20 Modern, with regard to the Wealth system in that game where you could reduce your skill by exceeding it's limits. I seem to remember that the Honour rules in Oriental Adventures also included ways that PCs could have their honour after successful actions or failures. So it's not even unprecedented in D&D/D20.
 

Imaro

Legend
In combat, the theory is that your attack roll doesn't represent one attempt at something but rather a series of attacks. It's not exactly common for them all to hit. So, there's the failures you learn from built into the system.

And SC's can be abstracted out like this as well... every roll in a SC isn't necessarily a specific action either... so again what is the difference? why are we rewarding failling a SC but not a combat?

And I don't agree entirely with the idea that you keep getting better at things through repetition. I think it's only true up to a point. Once you reach that point, it's the occasional failures you learn from far more than the regular successes. What went wrong, why it went wrong, and how you can you correct it? Figuring that out is how you improve your skills at something.

So you do agree you can get better at things through repetition... you just believe it's to a point. Second, you then claim after this point it's failures you learn things from... the problem with this in D&D is that you may not have the basics in a skill that would garner you any useful information from failure. As an extreme example, having a brain shoved into one hand and a scalpel in the other then being told I must perform brain surgery is not going to teach me anything (except maybe not to try brain surgery again). there are failures that teach you absolutely nothing just like there are successes that teach you nothing (this isn't the point I am arguing), what I'm failing to see is why this is an argument for XP for failure but not for success (this is my point)??

Fate has some similar mechanics, in that aspects can be tagged by the player spending a Fate point for the bonus, or the GM can offer to pay the player a FP but then bring that Aspect into play. An aspect like Sticky Fingers might help you when you want to steal something; if you want to not steal things, that's the time the GM can offer you the FP.

But this isn't a mechanical "failure" in FATE... if you want a more relevant example... one is not given a fate point or some type of advancement for failing a skill or approach check in FATE or FAE...

Actually there are plenty of games where the players will sometimes choose to fail. Any time the price of succeeding is more than the player wants their character to pay is an example. You can even argue it's the case in D20 Modern, with regard to the Wealth system in that game where you could reduce your skill by exceeding it's limits. I seem to remember that the Honour rules in Oriental Adventures also included ways that PCs could have their honour after successful actions or failures. So it's not even unprecedented in D&D/D20.

Again this isn't rewarding mechanical failure it's expending a resource to gain an advantage. How does having one's wealth reduced after choosing to purchase something you normally can't afford... the same as handing out XP for failing a SC. I'm honestly not understanding the comparison... In one the player is choosing to expend a resource in order to gain something he wants... in the other the game (or DM) is rewarding the player for failing (mechanically) at a SC...
 

Balesir

Adventurer
Yeah but creating rules to do this pushes a certain type of play or playstyle on D&D... and it's not one I think all or even the majority of D&D players necessarily want forced upon them.
I agree absolutely - which is why I put the "if/then" qualifiers around my last paragraph. But someone asked "why would rewarding failure be a good thing?" so I answered with an obvious reason why it might be a good thing (if you have particular aims for the game).

On the other hand, I would point out that using other techniques also assumes (or defaults to) certain types of play. What any or all D&D players want "forced upon them" is something of a moot point; playing D&D (as opposed to another RP system) is a choice, not mandatory.

Some/many are happy seeing whether your in-game choices, character abilities and a roll of the die determine failure or success and thus how the story goes as opposed to artificially creating (or at least pushing) a "story" out.
I don't think [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION]'s proposed system would do anything other than have "your in-game choices, character abilities and a roll of the die determine failure or success" - the only change is that there is some incentive for the player to select non-optimal abilities to use some of the time.
 

Imaro

Legend
I agree absolutely - which is why I put the "if/then" qualifiers around my last paragraph. But someone asked "why would rewarding failure be a good thing?" so I answered with an obvious reason why it might be a good thing (if you have particular aims for the game).

Yes but this is all in the context of D&D... not some other game...

On the other hand, I would point out that using other techniques also assumes (or defaults to) certain types of play. What any or all D&D players want "forced upon them" is something of a moot point; playing D&D (as opposed to another RP system) is a choice, not mandatory.

I'm not sure what pointing out that playing D&D is a choice really adds to the dialogue but... ok. Since we are speaking of these changes in the context of D&D... and they are D&D players I'm assuming they choose to play D&D. With that choice made the rules of D&D can force or push a certain play style or agenda. Let's try not to get caught up in pedantry...


I don't think @Manbearcat 's proposed system would do anything other than have "your in-game choices, character abilities and a roll of the die determine failure or success" - the only change is that there is some incentive for the player to select non-optimal abilities to use some of the time.

I was speaking to your post not Manbearcat's suggestion... specifically what I have put in bold below... If I am already deciding that my character (either collaboratively or on my own can't get what they need by the most simple or direct route... I am taking it out of the hands of the dice... You even claim this is essential for story further along in your post.

...

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.
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
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 played AD&D 1E over the holidays and the way initiative works really surprised me. It's your declared action that determines when you go, and initiative breaks any ties. If you're in melee with someone and you want to cast a spell, you're going last. There are a lot of little rules in there but I found it very intuitive (I didn't need to break out ADDICT to get it mostly correct).
 

Balesir

Adventurer
I was speaking to your post not Manbearcat's suggestion... specifically what I have put in bold below... If I am already deciding that my character (either collaboratively or on my own can't get what they need by the most simple or direct route... I am taking it out of the hands of the dice... You even claim this is essential for story further along in your post.
Oh, I see - misunderstanding, here, I think. I wasn't suggesting that sequence as a mechanism for D&D (or any RPG, really), just presenting it as a story building technique separate from RPG rules, as such. As I said, it's a process from McKee's book, not from any RPG rules.
 

Imaro

Legend
Oh, I see - misunderstanding, here, I think. I wasn't suggesting that sequence as a mechanism for D&D (or any RPG, really), just presenting it as a story building technique separate from RPG rules, as such. As I said, it's a process from McKee's book, not from any RPG rules.

Yeah, my bad... I thought you were laying those points out as a guideline for how characters should be created.
 

pemerton

Legend
they are D&D players I'm assuming they choose to play D&D. With that choice made the rules of D&D can force or push a certain play style or agenda.
Well, they do, namely, an agenda of "always use your best numbers whenever possible". Which in turn creates pressures on the system that we can see in both 3E and 4e. [MENTION=6696971]Manbearcat[/MENTION] was pointing to a rules approach which can relieve some of those pressures.
 


Not quite. Some people jumped in to say how wrong it would be for our tables.

try again... I already said I wouldn't even run it the same way at two different tables... it is based on the players and the mood of the game... AND PEOPLE KEEP PRETENDING I HAVE TO APPPEAL TO PLAYERS NOT IN MY GAME...
 

Hussar

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

Then what was your point? If your story only applies to five other people, then it's not terribly useful is it? Other than, "know your players" I suppose. But that's not how it looked.

It looked like you were trying to offer general advice in running a game. When I said this would not be fun for me and mine, you tried to argue that it's better to just make :):):):) up than follow the rules.

Which again for me would be the opposite of fun. It works for your group, great. But it certainly wouldn't for mine.
 

i think you guys may be miscommunicating. Sounds like some are talking about what type of style play the mechanics of the game should encourage, some are talking about what style game and group tailored techniques they prefer, and others are speaking about what style and advice is best unviersally. I think Hussar's point is he is just saying what works at his table, not what he thinks should be the default system or a gaming approach embraced by others.
 

Imaro

Legend
Well, they do, namely, an agenda of "always use your best numbers whenever possible". Which in turn creates pressures on the system that we can see in both 3E and 4e. @Manbearcat was pointing to a rules approach which can relieve some of those pressures.

I never said they didn't... I'm having a hard time understanding the point of this post, I know what Manbearcat was trying to do with his rules approach and was answering the question of how I thought the general D&D audience would feel about said changes...
 

Then what was your point? If your story only applies to five other people, then it's not terribly useful is it? Other than, "know your players" I suppose. But that's not how it looked.

It looked like you were trying to offer general advice in running a game. When I said this would not be fun for me and mine, you tried to argue that it's better to just make :):):):) up than follow the rules.

Which again for me would be the opposite of fun. It works for your group, great. But it certainly wouldn't for mine.

This all started becuse i said encounter length got MUCH longer in 4e then 3e, i said back in 2e we had 10-15 min fights with an occasional 5 min or 25+ min one... in 3e fights eaither ended in the first round or last very little time with it being odd for one to last 25 mins in 4e almost every fight took a half hour or longer and it was not unheard of for a.gight to be over an.hour


When i.was told 3e fights could not be run that fast I made and another poster where compairing set up time an dplayer turn length during that part I made an off hand joke about my Home PCs once ending an impossible encounter with one spell... how ever since that poster didnt like that I had shown how to run faster encounters in 3e already he decided to nit pick a one off instead of continueing on the fact that I could run such "fast" encounters... then others jumped in to tell me why my call was wrong... now for 10 pages and three days i have tried to explain why i made the call i did, and have been cslled a dumb DM who doesnt know how to run and a.bad Dm



By the way the real arguments that got side lined were:
A) I liked 2e style of encounter becuse 3e was too swingy and 4e too long
B) You could use mini's or Theater of the mind in any edtion
C) Any edtion over time can be house rule dto work for anyone
D) I do not belive in sand box or railroad at 100% but am much more sandbox
E) No edtion is perfect and each has it's merits and flaws
 

Derren

Hero
In my experience the only thing what made 3E combats long were the players themselves by not remembering their abilities/spells or starting to plan only when it was their turn instead of doing that before while the others were still moving/rolling.
 

In my experience the only thing what made 3E combats long were the players themselves by not remembering their abilities/spells or starting to plan only when it was their turn instead of doing that before while the others were still moving/rolling.

every edtion had players who would not pay attention of plan... I also think 4e came at the wrong time, because in 2006 none of us had smart phones or tablets, and only half the table did this thing called 'text message'

by 2011 2 of the people I knew who play didn't have either a tablet or a smart phone (and some had BOTH). Everyone knew what texting was, but only about half of us were really into it.

today I know 3 people total who do not have smart phones or tablets, and none of them are RPG players (2 of those three are my grandparents)

I know 4e had a lot of things that made those fights long, but I often wonder if no one had fruit ninja/ Angry birds/ candy crush going and no one could be having a converstion without really talking on the phone, and no one could be internet surfing... would it play faster? Then again maybe I'm just a luddite
 

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