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Diffan
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Posted - 20 Mar 2020 :  19:52:22  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So in another thread there was an opinion shared out about various edition's game mechanics beliefs or perceptions (and misconceptions) of what each one's power level (or brokenness there of) was. As someone who really delves into the mechanics side of D&D and one who has played 2e AD&D (not extensively tho), 3.0/3.5/PF, 4th Edition, and 5th Edition I'd love to start a discussion about the these concepts, beliefs, etc. *in a non Edition-warring way!*

We all have our preferred system and such, we get that. This discussion isn't designed to bash or pull down another edition you don't like or try to change someone's opinion for or against. Likely you've been around long enough to draw your own conclusions (hopefully with some measure of play and attempts of understanding).

This discussion is to try to come to some understandings about game design, concepts, balance, disparity (or homogenization) and possibly how to fix that in your relative home-game. Maybe the discussion gets you to try an older edition, maybe it gives you a new perspective about why or how something works that you didn't originally think? Maybe it answers questions you thought you knew but were wrong about? Again, these are ALL just opinions unless you specifically call out a certain game rule or mechanic that is Rules-as-Written.

So to start out, I'll go over some things that I feel are misconceptions about game design, balance, and power:

The shift of power from one edition to the next: Back when I played 2E, I felt that playing a spellcaster - even a cleric - was like playing on "hard Mode". Not because the mechanics were really difficult to understand, but because attempting to cast spells in combat was decidedly dangerous and not always a thing you can count on. I mean, you cast a spell and it takes ROUNDS to resolve - in which time monsters move and attack, and sometimes multiple times!. Not to mention getting disrupted was something extremely bad and outright deadly sometimes.

I think this was a balance point in and of itself. It was difficult to do because the result was often encounter-ending. To bend or alter reality was something of a wonder back in the TSR days. Magic felt distant and amazing and kinda scary and not to be taken lightly. Was this good, though? To some, who enjoyed the decisiveness of being creative with your spells then absolutely! To those who never tried playing spellcasters for fear of doing it "wrong", yea it was a deterrent. So what WotC did when they got the game from TSR was make magic FAR more accessible. Spells resolving on your turn, Concentration skill, Combat Casting, and no adverse affects if your spell is disrupted means that casters seem to get such a significant boost (not to mention the 5-ft. step and the ton more spell slots they got). The effect this had wasn't just making spellcaster classes more available, but it also caused a greater disparity on classes that didn't cast spell.

The Misconception of "sameness": When 4E is brought up, one of the first 'complaints' about it is that every class is the same, they do the same thing but with a different damage type and it's all too similar. I get it, I really do. Many use the same power-system of AEDU (at-will, encounter, daily, utility). A wizard can cast an at-will spell and the Fighter can use an at-will exploit and both require attacks and both deal damage. Same with encounter and daily concepts. The sameness is in the equality of encounter-changing abilities. Before, the wizard could cast sleep and simply end the entire thing, allowing everyone else to simply walk around and coup de-grace all the sleeping enemies or the Cleric simply does Greater Turning and a battle involving a wight and his skeletal minions goes from dangerous and engaging to " *poof* we're done".

And in 4E, the Fighter is a powerhouse in terms of dealing damage to one more multiple enemies, keeping them on lock-down while the Rogue is dealing lots of single-target damage and the Cleric is keeping everyone up while giving out buffs, and the wizard is using spells to keep enemies at a distance, or dealing damage from afar or using spells to affect the terrain so certain enemies can't engage. Sure, ALL of this is combat related but then again, most of the characters in the game are designed (in all editions of D&D) to engage in combat AND it's usually the thing everyone is involved in at the same time.

Out of combat, the Fighter and other Martial class have skills like Intimidation, Diplomacy, and Streetwise to aid in social interactions, not to mention things like Martial Practices that can be used similar to caster Ritual.

I feel "sameness" is really in the eye of the beholder. One could point to 3e/3.5 and how each and every prepared spellcaster's spell progression is exactly the same, how every character gets the same amount of feats at 3rd, 6th, 9th, etc. How the Sorcerer and Wizard have nearly the exact same spell-list. How almost anyone can grab "Bonus Fighter feats". But I don't think there's a sameness feeling with 3.5 either.

So what are some things about whichever edition you want to talk about and the misgivings about it, or the power balance it pushes (or lacks)? All I ask is that we're positive towards one another and each other's opinions and no Bashing.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 20 Mar 2020 :  21:07:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never understood the hate on wizards for being powerhouses at higher levels.

Yeah, it is true that they get very freaking powerful as they get higher in level... But they're still squishy if you can get in close, and I've always felt that the fact that they were "one and done" at lower levels balanced out being able to kill armies at higher level.

(On a related note, I once got in an argument here with someone who insisted that there was no possible reason -- none at all -- that any wizard shouldn't have a full complement of combat spells memorized every single day. Planning on doing research, crafting a few items, then going to the beach with his lady? Nope, he's a moron if he's not packing every combat spell he can memorize. )

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Diffan
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Posted - 20 Mar 2020 :  22:42:08  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think this is relative to the edition in use. In TSR days, it could take Wizards hours or days to fully prepare spells if they were high enough level. So naturally you're not going to want to burn though all of them in a single encounter or even over the course of multiple battle throughout the day. Not only that but if I remember correctly, Wizards pretty much only get so many hit points after a certain level (a few per level after X level). Not to mention it was difficult to have their armor class super low and thus, continued their squishiness.

But when you get into 3.0 and later with 3.5 and the multitude of supplements, bringing them down or having adequate encounters really challenge them becomes increasingly harder. Namely, I think of Craft Contingency Spell (Complete Arcane, Unapproachable East) as one of the bigger issues. So a wizard can simply craft a contingency spell Teleport Without Error and have someone help him cast say "Heal" too and base it on the contingency that he hits 25 hit points or lower. There's also lots of shenanigans with Meta-Magic feats and practically ways to ignore their Level Cost or bring it down so it's a non-issue. Stacking spells, 24-hour duration spells, spells that can go off simultaneously (such as the War Weaver and his ability to cast spells into the weave).

Of course you can still use spells like Anti-magic Field but AMF really messes with everyone and in a mid- to high-level 3.5 game. You have to readjust ALL the stats for non-magic equipment and HP and saves and AC. It's a giant pain in the butt all the time.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Ayrik
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Canada
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Posted - 20 Mar 2020 :  23:08:17  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
... I once got in an argument here with someone who insisted that there was no possible reason -- none at all -- that any wizard shouldn't have a full complement of combat spells memorized every single day. Planning on doing research, crafting a few items, then going to the beach with his lady? Nope, he's a moron if he's not packing every combat spell he can memorize. )
But the argument makes perfect sense.

Because that wizard could always bump into that fighter. Y'know, the fighter who never takes off his armor - not when sleeping, not when bathing, not when suntanning on the beach with his lady. The fighter who always carries a couple weapons, and a couple backup weapons, and some concealed weapons, and some backup concealed weapons just in case.

[/Ayrik]
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 21 Mar 2020 :  04:01:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
... I once got in an argument here with someone who insisted that there was no possible reason -- none at all -- that any wizard shouldn't have a full complement of combat spells memorized every single day. Planning on doing research, crafting a few items, then going to the beach with his lady? Nope, he's a moron if he's not packing every combat spell he can memorize. )
But the argument makes perfect sense.

Because that wizard could always bump into that fighter. Y'know, the fighter who never takes off his armor - not when sleeping, not when bathing, not when suntanning on the beach with his lady. The fighter who always carries a couple weapons, and a couple backup weapons, and some concealed weapons, and some backup concealed weapons just in case.



Ah, but what if that wizard is planning on spending all day in his tower, out in the middle of nowhere? This was one of the scenarios I presented, and this dude still insisted the wizard would still be a moron for not having a full complement of offensive spells.

Besides, I never suggested having no offensive spells at all -- just that there were reasons a wizard would have more utility or defensive spells memorized, as opposed to all combat spells.

Also... Even in your scenario, combat spells are not necessary. A couple defensive magics and some sort of get out of Dodge spell, and that fighter is suddenly looking at an empty patch of sand.

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Diffan
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Posted - 22 Mar 2020 :  14:40:01  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The thing is, how often are "lazy Saturdays" actually role-played out with the group on a consistent basis? Do parties of Player Characters really spend a portion of their playing time figuring out their daily routine when they're not adventuring? Seems......very sims like and certainly not my cup of tea, lol.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 22 Mar 2020 :  16:25:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

The thing is, how often are "lazy Saturdays" actually role-played out with the group on a consistent basis? Do parties of Player Characters really spend a portion of their playing time figuring out their daily routine when they're not adventuring? Seems......very sims like and certainly not my cup of tea, lol.



Oh, I'm not saying that would be played out. My entire point was that there were reasons a wizard wouldn't memorize every single combat spell he possibly could, that's all.

I was thinking more of NPCs than PCs, but the point is still valid for PCs -- a PC that's going to spend time crafting magical items, for example, is going to load up on the appropriate spells for that activity. He's not going to memorize 5 fireballs if he needs those slots for his crafting. One or two, just in case, yes. A full complement of combat spells, taking up the slots he needs for crafting and making 1 day of crafting take 3 days, instead? No.

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Diffan
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Posted - 23 Mar 2020 :  01:24:55  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

The thing is, how often are "lazy Saturdays" actually role-played out with the group on a consistent basis? Do parties of Player Characters really spend a portion of their playing time figuring out their daily routine when they're not adventuring? Seems......very sims like and certainly not my cup of tea, lol.



Oh, I'm not saying that would be played out. My entire point was that there were reasons a wizard wouldn't memorize every single combat spell he possibly could, that's all.

I was thinking more of NPCs than PCs, but the point is still valid for PCs -- a PC that's going to spend time crafting magical items, for example, is going to load up on the appropriate spells for that activity. He's not going to memorize 5 fireballs if he needs those slots for his crafting. One or two, just in case, yes. A full complement of combat spells, taking up the slots he needs for crafting and making 1 day of crafting take 3 days, instead? No.



Yeah I agree with you there. Using up all slots for combat/damage dealing spells is wasted on a wizard anyways but there would definitely be other spells for moving around, area effects, buffing, etc.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Renin
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Posted - 23 Mar 2020 :  02:55:53  Show Profile Send Renin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure what you mean about 2E (AD&D, 2nd Edition right?) having all the spells take rounds to cast. There are some spells that do list casting times as 1-2 rounds, but good ol' Magic Missile was just 1 casting segment, and fireball and lightning bolt were just 3 casting segment, which was still comparable to a 2 handed weapon, if not better. Sorry, just a weird nitpick I zoned in on on.


That said, I've had no problem, ever, with a wizard just being boss at 20th level. He uses magic! Even as grand and as amazing a warrior you may have become by 20th level, some dude, flying in the air without strings has the capacity to call down half a dozen meteors on your head or erase half or more of you from existence with a disintegrate. I've never cared about 'power descrepancies' between classes in that regard.

The parts I always struggled with in the levels 15-20 with 3rd through Pathfinder is that it just feels a bit ridiculous. Like last boss fights in Final Fantasy games. Everyone just puts up 9999 damage each round, you recognize when the boss is gonna put a super attack, you shield or prepare, get through it, then just continue 9999 damage until the next part. End of game stuff with those editions is just harder to plan, and man, you gotta plan! There is a feeling of satisfaction, though, in crafting a challenge for a group of 20th level characters, but it's exhausting.

That's why I enjoyed the 2nd Edition scope of 'everyone only gains 3-1 hit points per level' over 9th. Fireballs still can hurt a 20th level fighter nearly as much as a 10th level...well, not quite exactly similar, but a fireball could still really take a chunk of both level fighters. It was always a threat! So, I enjoyed the higher level stuff in 2nd alot.

I skipped 4e because of lore changes and asking me for all my money again after 3/3.5 in just 5 years or so. I honestly have nothing against the system, but I'm never going back to pick it up either.

I've played 2 adventures with 5e, and most of my experience with understanding it is in reading the PH to discuss stuff with my brother in law, and Critical Role. If 'bounded accuracy' is correct, as I read that get thrown around all the time in referring to 5e, it seems like everyone always has to roll towards the same armor class all the time (roughly 18-20 only) and do the same damage all the time. For someone who enjoys being able to try to tactfully change things up round to round with feats galore in Pathfinder, this sounds samey/boring in combat alot. But that's only an impression, not a truth I know from experience.
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Ayrik
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Posted - 23 Mar 2020 :  03:45:51  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My counterargument was meant as sarcasm, lol.

Some players build pure wizard artillery or pure fighter tank, not a single point wasted on anything which doesn't improve combat, the sorts of "characters" who basically exist only as maximally optimized battle appendages. Built for fights and for winning fights.
Why would you ever waste a useful slot by even bothering to learn a non-combat spell, and why would you ever take off your full plate suit unless you had some kind of medical condition?

Other players build wizard or fighter characters as vicarious simulations of fantasy people. Built for role-playing and narrative. They can fight well enough for the most part but they can also do other things, gotta be versatile to prevail because sometimes you just can't fight your way through an obstacle or past a problem.

The built-for-combat-and-ready-for-combat-all-the-time players are happy with their game, even if it's not the game for me. But I don't disdain them for having fun and I suppose you can never become the best at anything unless you maintain "unbelievably" extreme and unwavering focus.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 23 Mar 2020 03:57:21
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Mar 2020 :  04:15:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

My counterargument was meant as sarcasm, lol.


Fair enough. My bad.

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Delnyn
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Posted - 18 Apr 2020 :  15:04:09  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I've never understood the hate on wizards for being powerhouses at higher levels.

Yeah, it is true that they get very freaking powerful as they get higher in level... But they're still squishy if you can get in close, and I've always felt that the fact that they were "one and done" at lower levels balanced out being able to kill armies at higher level.

(On a related note, I once got in an argument here with someone who insisted that there was no possible reason -- none at all -- that any wizard shouldn't have a full complement of combat spells memorized every single day. Planning on doing research, crafting a few items, then going to the beach with his lady? Nope, he's a moron if he's not packing every combat spell he can memorize. )



Trip this combat-spells-only wizard over a cliff. Unfortunately, I witnessed PC vs. PC fights where stuff like this has happened.

No feather fall? Uh, no quickened fly? Hmm, can you cast that quickened polymorph you were saving for combat? How about shape change...oops quickened version only for specially trained epic wizards. Do you think you can get your spell off in time while in free fall? (Home Brew DM Note: Concentration DC for spells taking at least one standard action to cast is equal to the potential falling damage+10.)

Silly me, how foolish of me. Wizards of course place contingencies on themselves for fatal situations like this. What?! You did not set contingencies?! Why? Oh, you were too busy stocking up on combat spells.
*SPLAT*

Ayrik's description of the fighter who never takes off armor is amusing. Reminds me of Thibbledworf Pwent.

Maybe the DM should institute a stench rule. The rule is the offending character is surrounded by an odor equal to a stinking cloud. The odor lasts until the character takes a full bath (with soap!) and his armor gets cleaned and oiled. Until then, party members should socially distance themselves by more than 20 ft. or face Fortitude saves every round to avoid the nauseated condition.

It becomes impossible to surprise opponents because they can smell the character with 30 ft. Rough rule of thumb: 20 ft. upwind, 60 ft. downwind. Triple the ranges for creatures with scent ability. Remove penalties for tracking, at least for creatures with scent.



Edited by - Delnyn on 18 Apr 2020 15:25:37
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 18 Apr 2020 :  16:43:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Like encumbrance, hygiene and reasonable attire are both oft ignored by players in D&D, I've noticed. Characters are ALWAYS in armor and ALWAYS have all their weapons handy.

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Delnyn
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Posted - 18 Apr 2020 :  18:28:31  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

The thing is, how often are "lazy Saturdays" actually role-played out with the group on a consistent basis? Do parties of Player Characters really spend a portion of their playing time figuring out their daily routine when they're not adventuring? Seems......very sims like and certainly not my cup of tea, lol.



Actually, when all but one player could not make a session, this is exactly what happened in a campaign that I played in the 1990's. The concept need the DM and players to watch the world's calendar (and clock) diligently to pull this off.

This is where characters could conduct company/government/temple/guild business without other players hearing what was going on. The characters researched inquiries, purchased or upgraded equipment, called in favors, and even earned money via "day jobs". The character even earned experience depending upon how well he or she conducted business.

By keeping track of clocks and calendars, the DM could track which characters (not just players) were available or unavailable for each session. In many ways, the kept tension in those sessions where all or most players were present. Sometimes the cleric who volunteered to officiate at a church for a month was a key needed actor for some mission.
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Delnyn
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Posted - 19 Apr 2020 :  00:49:50  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Like encumbrance, hygiene and reasonable attire are both oft ignored by players in D&D, I've noticed. Characters are ALWAYS in armor and ALWAYS have all their weapons handy.


This is where a foe with a wand of misplaced objects comes in handy.
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Diffan
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3993 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2020 :  19:22:25  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn


Trip this combat-spells-only wizard over a cliff. Unfortunately, I witnessed PC vs. PC fights where stuff like this has happened.

No feather fall? Uh, no quickened fly? Hmm, can you cast that quickened polymorph you were saving for combat? How about shape change...oops quickened version only for specially trained epic wizards. Do you think you can get your spell off in time while in free fall? (Home Brew DM Note: Concentration DC for spells taking at least one standard action to cast is equal to the potential falling damage+10.)

Silly me, how foolish of me. Wizards of course place contingencies on themselves for fatal situations like this. What?! You did not set contingencies?! Why? Oh, you were too busy stocking up on combat spells.
*SPLAT*


I mean, that's why they also get access to things like wands, rods, and other items to be more versatile. Why prep Feather fall when there's a cheap Ring? There's boots of flying, flying brooms, boots of teleportation, anklets of translocation, dimension hop, Swift fly, etc.

Not that they need to have all of these but simply having one is enough to thwart such instances of falling. Of course you can mess them up other ways but the proliferation of magic items that have minor effects is one reason we see such a change of direction with 5e now.

quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn

Ayrik's description of the fighter who never takes off armor is amusing. Reminds me of Thibbledworf Pwent.

Maybe the DM should institute a stench rule. The rule is the offending character is surrounded by an odor equal to a stinking cloud. The odor lasts until the character takes a full bath (with soap!) and his armor gets cleaned and oiled. Until then, party members should socially distance themselves by more than 20 ft. or face Fortitude saves every round to avoid the nauseated condition.


If the Forgotten Realms are set in a time similar to Earth's early 14th to 15th century, personal hygiene isn't exactly super high on people's priority list as a whole, so most likely the smell of someone in armor all day will just mingle with the other...ah scents common then, lol. At least in any area even lightly populated. Wilderness might be something else altogether.

quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn

It becomes impossible to surprise opponents because they can smell the character with 30 ft. Rough rule of thumb: 20 ft. upwind, 60 ft. downwind. Triple the ranges for creatures with scent ability. Remove penalties for tracking, at least for creatures with scent.



In wilderness areas, I could see this certainly being a thing and kinda fun. It's MUCH better than the supposed penalties for sleeping in armor (which isn't hard for some people). I'd definitely use this in my games

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 19 Apr 2020 19:23:27
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 20 Apr 2020 :  03:00:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan


If the Forgotten Realms are set in a time similar to Earth's early 14th to 15th century, personal hygiene isn't exactly super high on people's priority list as a whole, so most likely the smell of someone in armor all day will just mingle with the other...ah scents common then, lol. At least in any area even lightly populated. Wilderness might be something else altogether.


That's the rough correlation, but it breaks down in a lot of areas. Ed has said that hygiene isn't that bad in the Realms. Maybe not up to modern, first-world standards, but better than medieval European standards.

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Icelander
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Posted - 20 Apr 2020 :  03:06:55  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

The thing is, how often are "lazy Saturdays" actually role-played out with the group on a consistent basis? Do parties of Player Characters really spend a portion of their playing time figuring out their daily routine when they're not adventuring? Seems......very sims like and certainly not my cup of tea, lol.


Much more common than combat in any RPG campaign I've been a part of, whether as player or DM/GM.

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Icelander
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Posted - 20 Apr 2020 :  03:16:52  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

If the Forgotten Realms are set in a time similar to Earth's early 14th to 15th century, personal hygiene isn't exactly super high on people's priority list as a whole, so most likely the smell of someone in armor all day will just mingle with the other...ah scents common then, lol. At least in any area even lightly populated. Wilderness might be something else altogether.


The Forgotten Realms aren't set at a time similar to Earth's early 14th century (how could they, that was a time when plate armour wasn't really in use?) and nor are they really similar to the 15th century (right armour, but wrong for many other reasons).

Technologically, some parts match the 15th century, many things from the 16th century hold true, shipping and logistics are closer to the 18th century and international travel is more common than at any time before the 19th century.

And technology aside, hygiene doesn't require any inventions not present in the Forgotten Realms. The standards of cleanliness and tolerance for odours is a cultural thing, mostly ancillary to technology. At most, you need enough wealth to fund warming water and use of soap, to make it more attractive for the general public, but most parts of the Realms are clearly wealthier than any society on Earth before the 19th century.

When you consider the benefits of magic to the economy, even if fairly few actually have direct access to it, this makes perfect sense. The Realms are richer because magic and the churches with access to it allows communications, banking, investment and other necessary factors in more advanced economies than medieval to flourish.

And judging from most Realms sources, on the Sword Coast, in the Heartlands and around the Sea of Fallen Stars, bathing is popular with all classes that can afford it, down to fairly ordinary people.

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Delnyn
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Posted - 20 Apr 2020 :  08:01:07  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, I got a hygiene sub-thread going. While the monsters/NPC's smelling you in advance, especially downwind or with scent ability is serious and used in my DM'ing sessions, the stinking cloud was an exaggeration. I wanted to conjure the image of Pigpen in those old Charlie Brown cartoons for a bit of satirical levity. That is how I envision Thibbledorf Pwent when he is not fighting.

back to Ayrick's amusing post, I have noticed a lack of enforcement about the fatigue penalties of sleeping in armor without the Endurance feat. I have instituted a house rule that a dwarf who is proficient with armor can sleep perfectly fine in that armor.

Edited by - Delnyn on 20 Apr 2020 08:11:24
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sleyvas
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Posted - 20 Apr 2020 :  21:42:09  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Diffan,

I love this thread concept. So, I've thought about some of this too, and I think we have some slightly different views on earlier versions. My focus will be on magic, because honestly my memory on old combat systems is rusty.

Back in 2e, it usually didn't take rounds to cast a spell. It was just the matter of not getting interrupted during the round. Back in 2e though, while I loved magic... it was broken as hell.... However, like you say, it could take an archmagi a WEEK to memorize his spells and he could blow them all in minutes. I actually developed spells for simply "renewing used spell slots with the same thing" just to save time. But, EVERY WIZARD could learn EVERY "triggered" spell. Granted, they had to get access to them, but there were dozens of them. Further, there were numerous "hang a spell and release it instantly" effects... then there were the release multiple at once effects. Then to add into things, most things were "absolutes" and thus there was no way around them (for instance, I remember dropping wall of force, proof from teleportation and cloudkill on the same spot a lot, effectively giving people without defenses no way to escape). Another example was stoneskin, which just stopped ANY attack or various protection spells that just stopped everything (I think protection from normal missiles used to do this too). There were few defenses against weird damage types (such as sonic). There were a lot of missing clarifications on what you could combine into a spell (for instance, putting beneficial spells into a rainbow shield to buff large numbers of people). Quite frankly, I loved 2e casting, but looking back through the lenses of history, I realize how broken it was.

When 3e came out it had seriously bad multi-classing issues, but they made a good effort to clean it up in 3.5. The best thing they introduced was the concept of damage reduction (either with weapons or various "energy resistances"). No longer was their complete immunity or "half damage" all the time. The concept of feats for the various metamagic concepts was an extremely balancing factor compared to what I could do in earlier editions. I mean SERIOUSLY balancing. No longer could I be the person with a constant defense for everything AND a contingency to back it up. Furthermore, craft contingent spell... EXPENSIVE... It gets to a point where a person might do better to make a magic item that's catered to their needs rather than try to make contingent temporary effects. You could also fairly easily multi-class a character that's going up in 2 magic classes (for instance, cleric/wizard, archivist/wizard, druid/wizard, psion/wizard, etc..) or some odd hybrid with full casters (anima mages, etc..), giving you enough spell slots that casting was no issue. Later they added some feat that let you cast lesser powered spell effects like they were cantrips (reserve feat maybe?). Also, unlike 2e, it took you no time whatsoever to restore your spells. So, you could blow your allotment at any time, you'll just renew it tomorrow. Then there were the issues with the numbers just blowing up at high levels mathematically (especially if you used multiple bonus types to enhance one type of "ability" or "skill" or "AC" etc...)

I won't speak to 4e, other than to say I didn't playtest it enough, but it felt constrained as heck to me. HOWEVER... I'll give the designers one major pat on the back... RITUALS! This is by far one of the best and most logical improvements to the game that I've seen, and oddly I don't know why it took so long (granted, in 2e, you COULD cast from your spellbook, but it erased it).

Now we're at 5e. Bounded Accuracy is the watch word here, but I think its a little TOO constrained, but its going the right direction. They've nerfect spellcasting severely (you only have a handful of high level spell slots no matter what level you are). You can only maintain concentration on a single spell, and people that really pay attention to that realize how much it turns most people into nothing more than a blaster. From a spellcasting perspective, they've tried to make a lot of spells "simpler"... but as a I study it more, I'm realizing how broken its become as a result. Why become a lich when you can just clone yourself to stay young (well, for the most part)? Multi-classing as any combat class isn't too bad, but as a caster its horrible. That being said, with some tweaks this can be fixed, and I wont say that the concentration thing is bad. What it means to me is that... like craft contingency... it opens up an option for building your character down a certain path that allows them to find some way to concentrate on multiple things at once or hand off the concentration to another thing/being (such as a familiar). However, 5e lacks that piece... built in "options" slots. They do give feats, but they aren't many and you have to give up some rather sizable bonuses to get them. This is why I threw in an option to trade in daily hit dice for feats. Then I developed feats to allow a person to multi-class more effectively as a spellcaster. So, they might choose to take a feat that makes them a pure wizard with the ability to concentrate on multiple spells.... OR... they make use that feat instead to be able to do that eldritch knight path as a fighter and still get GOOD spellasting (not great, but good).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 20 Apr 2020 22:04:51
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Diffan
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Posted - 21 Apr 2020 :  17:03:40  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

If the Forgotten Realms are set in a time similar to Earth's early 14th to 15th century, personal hygiene isn't exactly super high on people's priority list as a whole, so most likely the smell of someone in armor all day will just mingle with the other...ah scents common then, lol. At least in any area even lightly populated. Wilderness might be something else altogether.


The Forgotten Realms aren't set at a time similar to Earth's early 14th century (how could they, that was a time when plate armour wasn't really in use?) and nor are they really similar to the 15th century (right armour, but wrong for many other reasons).

Technologically, some parts match the 15th century, many things from the 16th century hold true, shipping and logistics are closer to the 18th century and international travel is more common than at any time before the 19th century.

And technology aside, hygiene doesn't require any inventions not present in the Forgotten Realms. The standards of cleanliness and tolerance for odours is a cultural thing, mostly ancillary to technology. At most, you need enough wealth to fund warming water and use of soap, to make it more attractive for the general public, but most parts of the Realms are clearly wealthier than any society on Earth before the 19th century.


That really depends on where you go in the Realms, doesn't it. I would say the amount of cleanliness varies greatly in parts of the city and from city to city, especially if we're to take into account Canon from novels. Examples: Luskan is a rotting fish pile that can be smelled from miles away. I'm sure portions of Baldur's Gate (particularly in the poorer areas) and down by the docks have odors that rival that of sweaty armored guys. Westgate is another city that has places where there are foul odors too - due in part to uncleanliness.

SO yes, I misspoke that it's a mimic of 14th-15th Earth. Realms as a whole have people that are cleaner and more affluent. But that doesn't mean that a guy wearing armor for 2 days and not shoring is going to be smelled 50-ft. away in a bustling city or town. Outdoors- to creatures with a keen sense of smell (creatures that have the scent ability) I'd certainly give the benefit to but ordinary people? Nah.

Case in point, there were days I'd help out a homeless guy by my work. He was really nice and appreciative of anything I'd offer him and just overall a decent person and the many times he'd come to my car and I'd talk with him he didn't smell terrible. I'm not saying he didn't get clean all the time, but the opportunities weren't always there.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Delnyn
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Posted - 25 Apr 2020 :  15:20:59  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I confess to once DM'ing an 3.0 edition epic session by RAW. The spellcasters (not just the wizard) completely, utterly relegated the non-casters to "Hold My Beer" duty. No surprise there. It was the first time the players and I used the Epic Level Handbook for play. It got bad enough I asked the players a mere hour into the session if we could halt the session and adjudicate the unintended and unwelcome consequences. Here is what we agreed:

  • Adopt minor incremental hp (no Constitution bonuses) after level 20 in the spirit of 1ed and 2ed. d4 classes got 1 hp per level; d6 and d8 classes got 2 hp per level; d10 and d12 classes got 3 hp per level

  • Eliminate class bonus feats, even for fighters

  • Eliminate bonus skill points granted by high intelligence

  • For spellcasters and manifesters, no automatic caster level over 20. To cast spells or manifest powers over CL 20, the caster needed at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in either Knowledge(arcana) or Knowledge(nature) or Knowledge(psionics) or Knowledge(religion) and at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in either Spellcraft or Psicraft.

  • Spells with verbal components first had language requirements depending upon schools, subschools and descriptors. For three examples, the fire descriptor required fluency in Ignan. Illusion spells required Rulathek. Evil spells required either Abyssal or Infernal. Sorry folks, tongues and comprehend languages won't suffice. The Polyglot feat comes in extremely handy for those who can qualify.

  • Spells with verbal components also require at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in Perform(oratory). Bards may substitute Perform (sing).

  • Spells with somatic components needed a minimum 8 +1/2*spell level (round up) score in unenhanced Dexterity and at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in Sleight of Hand.

  • Psionics required (ML-20)*power level ranks in Concentration and Autohypnosis and at least 10+1/2*power level (round up) unenhanced scores in the two mental abilities not connected to manifesting.

  • Metamagic and metapsionic level enhancements also count when determining necessary ranks.

  • If any requirement was not met, the caster level remained at 20.


Monsters faced none of these restrictions for their base hit dice. Any class levels or prestige class levels they had, however, would face these restrictions.

I already mentioned a few other non-epic house rules in a different Candlekeep thread. We also cracked down on Monty Haul encounters. The so-called "Ye Olde Magic Shoppe" was heavily monitored and restricted. We generally limited such markets to potions, wands, low-level scrolls or other limited-use items. Sure, the government of Cormyr sells goblinthrasher longswords to the public, but rest assured the War Wizards will monitor any buyer. If you want to buy stronger stuff with no questions asked, go visit a Thayan enclave. Good luck.
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Diffan
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Posted - 26 Apr 2020 :  13:55:58  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn

I confess to once DM'ing an 3.0 edition epic session by RAW. The spellcasters (not just the wizard) completely, utterly relegated the non-casters to "Hold My Beer" duty. No surprise there. It was the first time the players and I used the Epic Level Handbook for play. It got bad enough I asked the players a mere hour into the session if we could halt the session and adjudicate the unintended and unwelcome consequences. Here is what we agreed:


Wow, kudos to you for running such a high level game! Especially in an edition that is so heavily skewed towards casters, magic-item dependancy, and micro-management. I'm going to run down your impressive list here and ask some questions if that's cool.

quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn



  • Adopt minor incremental hp (no Constitution bonuses) after level 20 in the spirit of 1ed and 2ed. d4 classes got 1 hp per level; d6 and d8 classes got 2 hp per level; d10 and d12 classes got 3 hp per level



This is pretty cool and I understand that HP can get pretty bloated in mid- to late-levels of 3e/3.5. Though why not start a bit earlier, like 10th level and on up? If my memory serves, it was after this level range that the hp slowed quite a bit.

quote:
Originally posted by Delnyn


  • Eliminate class bonus feats, even for fighters



  • Yikes, yeah I don't know about this one. On one hand I get it, a lot of classes bring other elements to the Game, even at low levels like a Ranger or Monk. But to make a bad class like Monk have to further invest feats (which are more precious than GP, XP, and a horde of class Features) into something they should have been good at to begin with? And the Fighter already struggles greatly even when ALL the feats of 3.5 are allowed, to remove basically their only thing...I feel this just furthers people to play a caster. Like, there's literally no reason to play a Fighter when the Paladin does everything they do AND you get spells and some utility.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn

  • Eliminate bonus skill points granted by high intelligence



  • This one is fine, but there'd have to be some caveats like you don't take away from having a negative Int modifier, you use a more paired down Skill list Ala 5e's. Maybe even add in Backgrounds that provide additional points or options. But then, I absolutely loathe Skill points and how micro managing they are. Usually I just pick a number of Skills equal to my allotment and max them. Boring, yes but not as boring as worrying if that +1 point is better spent starting Craft or another point in Swim - just in case.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn

  • For spellcasters and manifesters, no automatic caster level over 20. To cast spells or manifest powers over CL 20, the caster needed at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in either Knowledge(arcana) or Knowledge(nature) or Knowledge(psionics) or Knowledge(religion) and at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in either Spellcraft or Psicraft.



  • This one is pretty interesting, though i can't say how effective it is as I almost never play at that level. What is the restriction supposed to accomplish?

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn


  • Spells with verbal components first had language requirements depending upon schools, subschools and descriptors. For three examples, the fire descriptor required fluency in Ignan. Illusion spells required Rulathek. Evil spells required either Abyssal or Infernal. Sorry folks, tongues and comprehend languages won't suffice. The Polyglot feat comes in extremely handy for those who can qualify.



  • This. Right here. Is awesome!! If/when I start up a new 3.5 game I am absolutely stealing this. Not only does it certainly make sense, but I'm going to sure as hell expand it to even cultural languages as well - especially for Named spells like Aganazzar's Scorcher or Gedlee's electric loop. Bravo!!

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn


  • Spells with verbal components also require at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in Perform(oratory). Bards may substitute Perform (sing).



  • Would one then assume that classes which get spells have Perform as a Class Skill? Especially with them not having more ranks due to better Intelligence...

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn


  • Spells with somatic components needed a minimum 8 +1/2*spell level (round up) score in unenhanced Dexterity and at least (CL-20)*spell level ranks in Sleight of Hand.



  • I like the Dex requirement - though even 9th level spells simply need a Dex 13 to cast, so I'm not sure how steep this requirement is? I could certainly see spells and poisons that mess with your dexterity messing up you day badly - which is good IMO.

    But the Slight of Hand - I dunno? I've seen people try to make this skill do a LOT more than it's intent. It's simply how well you can do misdirection parlor tricks. It reminds me of a show called The Magicians which is like Harry Potter - the College Years. In it, a magician named Quintin is really good at the slight of hand ability and a good caster too. Another Magician, named Alice, is prodigious but I'd say she has very little skill in Slight of Hand.

    Also, is this another skill Casters are proficient with?

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn

  • Psionics required (ML-20)*power level ranks in Concentration and Autohypnosis and at least 10+1/2*power level (round up) unenhanced scores in the two mental abilities not connected to manifesting.

  • Metamagic and metapsionic level enhancements also count when determining necessary ranks.

  • If any requirement was not met, the caster level remained at 20.




  • These are all pretty cool, though I don't usually have Psionics in my games (no one wants to use them for some reason?). I really do like a lot of ideas here though, consider some of them stolen

    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn

    Monsters faced none of these restrictions for their base hit dice. Any class levels or prestige class levels they had, however, would face these restrictions.

    I already mentioned a few other non-epic house rules in a different Candlekeep thread. We also cracked down on Monty Haul encounters. The so-called "Ye Olde Magic Shoppe" was heavily monitored and restricted. We generally limited such markets to potions, wands, low-level scrolls or other limited-use items. Sure, the government of Cormyr sells goblinthrasher longswords to the public, but rest assured the War Wizards will monitor any buyer. If you want to buy stronger stuff with no questions asked, go visit a Thayan enclave. Good luck.



    That makes sense, though how did it affect the Wealth-by-level guideline? I mean the game practically required you to have certain level items to boost AC, saves, ability scores, attacks to keep up with monster Challenge Ratings. Did they just fine stronger loot in lairs and on people they fought?

    4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

    "If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

    Edited by - Diffan on 26 Apr 2020 13:58:20
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    Wooly Rupert
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    Posted - 26 Apr 2020 :  14:47:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I like and dislike the Magic Shop approach...

    On the one hand, being able to stroll into a shop and pick out exactly what you need does go against canon.

    On the other hand, having to wait for the right loot to drop can draw vacuum, and it's also kind of immersion-breaking -- "Oh, this nameless nastybad has exactly the magic items that some of us need!"

    I can see limiting the magic shops, in some way, but at the same time, they're kinda like the Common Tongue: a sort of handwavium to facilitate gameplay.

    I played in one campaign where we could order the magic we wanted, but it wasn't always available right then. Sometimes we had to wait a couple weeks or so, in-game, for the items to be shipped to us, or we had to wait somewhat longer for the items to be crafted to order. Sometimes the items simply weren't available (like the weapons my character used). We still had the loot drops, but it was a mix of stuff we needed and stuff we didn't. In short, it was a split between relying on drops and relying on the magic shop.

    That particular character was my gun mage, so his class abilities revolved around his magelock pistol. His first magelock was supplied to him by his superiors (he was, covertly, in the military) and he later had enchantments added to it. He eventually got a better magelock pistol as a found bit of treasure. He had some other bits of magic that he was able to purchase along the way, as well.

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    Wooly Rupert
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    Posted - 26 Apr 2020 :  15:02:51  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Diffan


    quote:
    Originally posted by Delnyn


  • Spells with verbal components first had language requirements depending upon schools, subschools and descriptors. For three examples, the fire descriptor required fluency in Ignan. Illusion spells required Rulathek. Evil spells required either Abyssal or Infernal. Sorry folks, tongues and comprehend languages won't suffice. The Polyglot feat comes in extremely handy for those who can qualify.



  • This. Right here. Is awesome!! If/when I start up a new 3.5 game I am absolutely stealing this. Not only does it certainly make sense, but I'm going to sure as hell expand it to even cultural languages as well - especially for Named spells like Aganazzar's Scorcher or Gedlee's electric loop. Bravo!!



    I can see spells being crafted in other languages, but I otherwise disagree with this idea. I don't see a need to be able to say "where is the bathroom?" in a particular language just to be able to cast a spell in that language -- you don't need to understand words to be able to memorize them. How many of us speak Japanese, and how many sing along with the chorus of Mr. Roboto despite not knowning Japanese? I once memorized about half of a song from Macross Plus, despite only knowing maybe three words in the entire song, and there's a couple Irish tunes I can sing along with despite not knowing a word of the language.

    Further, it's canon that spellcasters are constantly tinkering with spells, which could include changing the language of them.

    In the Dresden Files books, Harry talks about how it's not the language that's important -- it's all in the intent. He uses Latin-ish words for his spells, because he found that an easier way to focus than some other languages. As I recall, his first instructor, Justin DuMorne, favored Egyptian.

    What I could see doing is having a wizard use a similar approach -- he's got one language that he uses almost exclusively for magic. Any new spells he learns, he's got to translate into that language. He doesn't necessarily have to know the original language of the spell, but he either needs to have seen the spell cast, or he needs something to assist with the translation (a book, someone that does speak the language, etc).

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