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Combat is the only portion of the game where attack actions have meaning, so yes it's the only portion where it's broken. But that doesn't mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that it's somehow NOT broken.
Only if yellow and blue made grey instead of green in combat.
Hunters are awesome. Ranger spells are great. I don't think anyone in the thread is disputing that.
On the other hand, beastmaster (or "seeing eye dog ranger" as I will continue to refer to it) is objectively broken. No amount of playing will alter that fact. Beastmaster follows the formula that 1 + 1 = 1. Combining a ranger with an animal companion should result in something MORE than the two separately, but instead it results in one of them being less. Therefore it's broken.
This is another one of the major themes of the show, in my opinion.
The people in Alexandria all have "skills" that make them "valuable." Like, "my skills hold you hostage so I can act with impunity." It's like they literally played that philosophy game where you choose who you think you'd need in the apocalypse and have to shoot the people who don't make the cut. The downside of which is, not only are you all murderers now, but now you're stuck with these people, however terrible they might be. How do you hold someone accountable who knows you need them enough that their skills trump someone else's life?
Most of the people in Rick's group, on the other hand, were just regular Joes thrown together by circumstance. Only a couple of them were people of any level of "importance" in the old world (cops, veterinarian, army guy). The rest of them were sort of nobody. A pizza delivery guy (who hasn't died yet), a battered wife (who hasn't died yet), a kid (who hasn't died yet), a redneck bum (who hasn't died yet), and a handful of others who were essentially no one before are now all bad-asses. They're all valued because of who they are on the inside, what they're willing to do for the group, and their absolute trustworthiness.
This is especially brought to light when people play the game with Daryl of trying to guess what he "was" before the apocalypse. Daryl is a superhero these days, and the joke is before he was nobody. In that philosophy game though, most of these people wouldn't have made it into the bunker, and the irony is now they're the hope of survival for the ones that have been living in said bunker.
One of these groups values people for the wrong reasons. I think that's why Deanna wants Rick around. I think she truly is a good judge of character and motive, and wants Rick to help her clean house. Then the worst that can happen from her perspective is she gets rid of some of her own bad eggs, can point blame and keep her hands clean publically. Best case scenario is the Alexandrians accept Rick as "the law" (which he basically is, complete with legitimacy bestowed by Deanna) and everyone accepts his judgment and moves forward.
This new storyline seems to be about facing the past and coming to grips with what has happened.
Yes but not as much for Rick & Co. The Alexandrians are living in complete denial of what has happened, hunkered down in their post-apocalyptic mansions baking cookies. Sasha nails the episode when she says it's "not real." They are champagne survivors, faking their way through the end of the world. Literally their only accomplishment is the wall. They are the ones who really need to come to grips, much more than Rick's group. Rick's group is currently struggling with trying to coexist with people who haven't hurt them yet, but when they do get hurt, the façade will fall (like Glenn vs. what's his name). Something will happen to test their fragile relationship, and if the Alexandrians try to sit in judgment old-world style, they're going to get their butts kicked fast.
Ironically the best thing that can happen to Alexandria is for it to get attacked, because if the two groups don't find a common enemy, they're going to go at each other.
Andrew Turner wrote:
the audience can't hear him silently reassuring himself
I think you're right. If it was meant to be threatening (even as a silent threat to reassure himself), he would have put his hand on his revolver. He picks the other one to visually display the fact that he's doubling--something he hasn't had to do in a long time. None of them have. They're all totally honest with each other (one of the main themes of the whole show). Now they're thrust into a situation where they have to pretend not to be fubar (ie: lying to everyone all day) and that can't last long.
A couple random things that stuck out to me in the last episode were:
Daryl's really not going to be happy with Carol if he finds out the level of psychological abuse she leveled at that kid.
The closing scene with Rick at the wall was a pretty strong callback to him being trapped in the train car. They're f'ing with the wrong people!
Also did anyone else notice the group enjoys killing zombies these days?
What 5e has done is very deliberately establish damage archetypes and utility archetypes. It's pretty obvious which is which when you read through them. The damage dealers all do approximately 2X damage, while the utility specs do X damage plus cool stuff.
I have few problems with "rangers" as a class... the problem for me is the "beast master" archetype. It's important to be specific about that. Talking about "classes" doesn't mean much when each "class" is actually two or three different things (or more).
Hunters are excellent damage dealers. Pets are great utility. The problem is, it doesn't make any sense that just because a ranger gains a pet (both of whom would be perfectly capable of their own actions if each were alone) he or the pet suddenly loses the ability to function in combat. That's nonsense, and the design should have taken that into account.
What the design tries to do is make Beast master the utility option and Hunter the damage option, but the inherent utility of the pet does not outweigh the severe dissociation of the ranger or pet losing capability by being partnered together. What they should have done was the opposite. Make BM the damage option, give it fewer or less powerful abilities to offset the pet's inherent utility, and make Hunter the utility option, focusing on skills and such.
As it stands, it's too much work to reinvent the Hunter, but it's really easy to just say the BM's pet gets its own action. And having the ranger class be the only one with two damage options is a small price to pay to gain a functional, non-broken pet option (and by that I mean each part does not lose its inherent functionality when joined together).
Jester David wrote:
Doubling your damage is pretty much what damage oriented archetypes do. Barbarian Frenzy: get an extra attack. Warrior Maneuvers: get maneuvers that add attacks plus 1d8. Hunter: get an extra attack or extra 1d8.
Player in our group has got his beast ranger to 8th. He seems happy with his PC. Of course that based on really playing not just looking at numbers, that's not what 5th is about
It's generally safe to not look at the numbers in 5e because in terms of damage everyone who chooses an obviously damage-oriented spec is really really close. It's one thing I love about 5e. But even without thinking about math, it's apparent Beast Master is broken. Sacrifice my attack to let my pet attack? No freaking way. I don't need math to know that's really bad.
Also, the Beast Master's pet's action uses up the ranger's action. That is just plain stupid. I mean, I know pets are a big problem, but this is almost as bad as Trailblazer's pet "fix" (which is, your pet is the GM's NPC). I could understand if they had made it use a bonus action, but even that has issues (like, what if you have TWF?).
Pets should have their own attack action. Call it a "pet action" and classify it as the same type of action as the rogue's cunning action--it's just extra. It brings their damage up to par, doesn't interefere with classic ranger TWF, and just makes sense since the pet is it's own entity. So what if one spec out of ~30 screws with action economy.
Admittedly that gives rangers two "damage dealer" options, but why they didn't make Beast Master the damage option in the first place, I can't imagine.
Where do they go. Well, the first 2 minutes of the show are online. They're going to Richmond. Noah was going there with Beth. Good idea? Dunno. Tribute to Beth, sure. Anywhere else to go, not specifically. But when they get there (if they get there) they will be able to spit on D.C.
Morgan needs to catch up, hopefully before they take off.
Grief turns to rage. I foresee many zombies dying tonight.
As you say. For rules lawyers. I find the idea ridiculous and would not agree to such a thing. Much better to deal with issues after at all time and be prepared to do a rollback or reinstatement then. The truly toxic part is that it assigns game effects to rules whining. Blah. Double blah.
Since it is a roleplaying game, even rules lawyers should be roleplaying, and if they're rules-lawyering instead, technically they're breaking the rules. I don't think it's inappropriate to have a mechanical penalty for doing so (or a mechanical bonus for doing the opposite, like 5e's inspiration).
Although I would ammend the rule slightly to make it more generally appropriate: No rules disputes during combat.
Before we start clamoring for Pathfinder 2 (no thanks), let's see what Pathfinder Unchained looks like. That might do what some people want from Pathfinder 2. Therefore, we may all win. :)
Maybe. But how backwards compatible? No conversion necessary? Minimal conversion? Current Pathfinder content converts to 5e fairly easily. Is that good enough?
Jester David wrote:
Pathfinder 2 is in an unenviable position. I can't try and be simple, because that's what D&D is doing. So it has to try and capture the more tactical players and optimizes who feel unsatisfied by 5e. But neither can they go the route of 4e, with too much optimization, dissociative mechanics. They need to do something firmly Pathfinder. I have faith in Paizo, but I'm uncertain they can satisfactorily pull off a Pathfinder Revised any time soon
I wholeheartedly disagree.
If Paizo put out a Pathfinder 2 of the same complexity level as 5e, I think people would embrace it eagerly and thankfully. Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe a year or two or so from now. BlackDiamond is right--5e is beautiful, but it's the IP edition. WOTC has pretty much said as much, and has shown as much in dragging their feet on providing an OGL that would make supporting the edition possible. If Paizo published a very similar product, they would have something just as beautiful, but with the support of Paizo and the 3pp community behind it.
It's tempting to think 5e puts a Pathfinder 2 on the ropes, but I think it's deceptive. I don't think Paizo needs to feel constrained by the direction 5e has gone in terms of design in the slightest. If anything, they should feel liberated. After all, they've proven they can beat WOTC at their own game before. 5e has shown that people are willing (and eager) to embrace a lighter ruleset. The time may come when Paizo (technically) follows suit, but does it right.
I'm not saying that's what they *should* do. I'm just saying they could. I don't think 5e takes away any options from them.
Quark Blast wrote:
More wasted tax dollars does not a persuasive argument make.
This presumes it would be wasted.
I think it's self-evident it wouldn't be.
What is meant by "for it's own sake" is "for the sake of learning."
I would have thought that would also be self-evident.
Quark Blast wrote:
I submit that some people are unable to capitalize on a college education.
I won't argue with that. But they won't qualify. There are grade requirements.
Hudax's hand waving allusions to Plato aside (Yes, Plato! That scion of Antiquities who promoted education for men, and only men, and upper class men at that - LOL ;D with Tears).
It was ancient Greece--a patriarchal slave-based economy. What did you expect him to think?
Thankfully Plato's treatise on "Rich White Dudes" did not stand the test of time.
It is when you attribute concepts to Plato that aren't there in the least.
I didn't attribute anything to anyone. You're adding your own subtext to my words.
And as MMCJawa so helpfully points out, we have in effect already performed the educate everybody experiment and it hasn't shown obvious positive benefits on the whole.
I think MMCJawa meant all the concerns people have in this thread that "might" happen, already happened a long time ago. So the worry is over nothing. 4 year degrees are already devalued, and free 2 year degrees would be "blue on black."
As for education being an end to itself, that is a ridiculous premise - education for the purpose of education is worthless.
Wish someone had told me that when I was reading all that Plato and Shakespeare.
Damn them! How dare they suggest that thinking is worthwhile!
Quark Blast wrote:
You just pulled the equivalent of a Godwin, except science flavored.
Exactly. It makes as much sense to oppose free community college as it does to oppose the free public education we already have.
To the arguments:
1) A rising tide raises all ships. There is nothing to lose from everyone becoming smarter and better educated. I mean, what if we create a smarter, better educated nation for nothing? It's a ridiculous argument because education is an end in itself.
Scientific research pays off 2 to 5 times on the money invested, on average. Research is never wasted. Research and education are the same in this regard. Education is never wasted. Money allocated to education will pay society back well beyond what was invested.
The disconnect here is the inability to wait for the payoff. Granted, it would take many years. But the hallmark of successful people is their ability to delay gratification. If as a nation we decide we want instant gratification, on this or any other investment, then as a nation we will fail.
And ultimately if "everyone" has a CC degree, and that means the only job you can find is road construction, then maybe one of those higher educated people will come up with a better way to fix roads, or even a better way to build them, or something so fantastic it would eliminate the need for roads entirely. That may look like loss of value on your degree, but it's actually the opposite. That's the return on investment. Making the world better.
And also ultimately, maintaining the quality and competitive value of one's education is one's own responsibility. There's a reason why doctors and others with professional bodies of knowledge constantly have to do continuing education. To keep up. If more people getting CC degrees forces you to keep up or fall behind, so be it. That's your choice to make. And since the thing that would be holding you back is FREE, it's a pretty easy choice!
2) Right now, you pay for other people's children to do a lot of things. Go to the ER. Collect unemployment. Collect disability. Collect social security (everyone is someone's child regardless of age). Drive on public roads, perhaps in public transportation. Go to the library. Go to high school. What's two more years? Nothing. And regardless of precisely where the tax money comes from, you would be paying for it somehow, one way or another, unless you stop paying taxes.
This is the price you pay for living in a nation that invests in society, even to the low extent that the U.S. does.
Quark Blast wrote:
There's splitting the player base at the source, and there's having an "official" game with lots of supplementary options--even if those options are complete games in and of themselves. There's nothing detrimental to the hobby or the industry about providing people with the material to cherry-pick for their houserules. But that's very different than if PF or D&D decided to try to support two different versions of the same game, or tried to support multiple settings.
Agreed. The mere suggestion that her death was just a vehicle to forward Daryl's story is one of the more offensive and brain-dead things I've read in a while. Way to try to shift the spotlight away from Beth where it belongs and was intended to be. That makes me more angry than her death did.
And sloppy? Seriously? It was a death we should have all seen coming since the Beth/Daryl episode in season 4 where they practically tell us in so many words that she's going to die. And it was still a complete and total shock. Right up to the split second where your arms go up in the air to cheer when she tries to stab Dawn and then... bam. With your arms still in the air. Sloppy? They had us on a line for a year right up until the last second.
That is absolute perfect writing.
On reflection it seems I misremembered part of the discussion on this due to it being how my current game is working with a multiclass wizard/rogue. The discussion was about throwing weapons and sharpshooter. I thought there was talk of cantrips as well, but apparently I imagined it. That's what I get for not checking.
But the logic is still sound. If a 10 wizard/ 1 rogue can do 3d8 with a cantrip, there's no way he would choose to use any weapon plus 1d6 as an action. Just as a 10 fighter/ 1 wizard would never use a cantrip as an action if it didn't scale. Why multiclass to gain a permanently inviable option? That's why cantrips scale, and why my group's wizard gets sneak attack. I'm not sure if it's intended, but I strongly suspect that it is.
Southeast Jerome wrote:
However, a 10th level Wizard can't take one level of Rogue and immediately get to deal a 5d6 sneak attack
No, but he can add 1d6 sneak attack dmg to any cantrip or spell that has an attack roll. Spells and cantrips count as weapons if they have an attack roll. (There was a question a while back about whether casters could benefit from the sharpshooter feat, and the answer is yes for the same reason.)
The rest is just a skin.
Beyond the core mechanics, it's all skin.
It's trivially easy to justify a rule based on verisimilitude. Doing so doesn't make it a good design decision. And the opposite is also true. It's trivially easy to criticize a rule based on verisimilitude as well.
That's why it's so easy to argue about rules. Anyone can come up with reasons why this or that should or shouldn't be.
I think the only good way to judge a rule is in a metagame sense. If it's a good rule, you can justify it literally however you want, and it will still be a good rule. If it's not, it doesn't matter how you justify it, because no amount of justification will make it good.
This is one of very few rules I find to be just plain wrong. Padded armor is just a quilted shirt. Wearing it wouldn't make you look like a tick that's about to pop.
If it's thick and bulky and heavy enough to warrant disadvantage, it should also give much more than 1 AC. As it is, there should be no penalty.
"Is breathing evil?"
Fake Healer wrote:
The actual rules surrounding when they should be used seems to be mostly "when the DM determines you have one". It doesn't clearly define when to use them though.
Any time you roll a d20 you have an opportunity to roleplay to gain advantage. The rule makes the whole game reward roleplaying.
Instead of spending their time searching through the books looking for bonuses, players will be spending their time imagining what they can do tactically/in-character to gain advantage. You're in the game instead of in the rules.
It's just simply a brilliant mechanic and if you're leaving it out, 5e is going to be just another ruleset. If you make the small effort to use it thought, the game comes alive.
I would do augury right away, mainly as a teaching tool and plot hook. Maybe give it 1 charge a day per level, plus whatever you deem necessary for her to know using the sword as a narrative tool.
Light could be level 2. Something for the first level up that's visually dramatic and lets her put the torch away.
The power level is high for the level, but the effects are not "power" effects, so personally I don't feel it matters.
Vincent Takeda wrote:
I'm glad they havent meta'd. Playing what they want to play instead of trying to form a party thats ideally suited to the type of fights they're expecting to see.
But they did. The cleric meta'd that he'd be the healbot, and everyone else meta'd that there would be a healbot.
It's time to teach your players how to be self-sufficient instead of relying on this guy to save their butts every single combat round.
Job one as others said is don't roll HP! Or if you insist on it, be prepared to fix it when it inevitably breaks characters. Let them retcon their HP to average, which will probably boost their health by 150%, which will help a lot.
It's much, MUCH better to never take damage than it is to heal damage. What is preventing the ranged players from maintaining range? Is the ranger casting entangle ever? Does the cleric ever cast any buffs? Is the cleric ending the day with spells uncast (wasted)? If there is a spell the cleric can cast that mitigates potential damage, that is inherently better than casting a heal after the fact.
Read this: a player's guide to healing in TOZ's profile. And have your players read it.
If all else fails, buff the heck out of channel's heal. Double it, or give it 1d6 per level. Who cares. Your healer's probably been getting shafted for years. This will have a few effects. One, your cleric will wait until it's effect won't overheal too much, and will consequently be doing other things. Two, it's really underpowered anyway (channel specifically and healing in general). Three, the party will start to realize, as they sit there with falling health for a few rounds, that maybe there are things they could be doing to keep themselves alive until the huge heal comes.
Finally, any blade worth knowing is a blade worth having arguments with. You don't want to overdo talking/personality weapons, but a tool that's granted by the god(dess) and grows in divine power as the PC grows in divine power is a cheap and easy conduit for divine guidance.
Yeah. That's better than my magic 8 ball from the other thread. Put that into the sword instead. Maybe immediately. The sword could give her very limited guidance right away, like whispering that it needs the blood of evil-doers to "recover" or something.
Agreed. Just plan out the first few levels with things like augury and light (and obviously being a magic weapon). Those will really help her adventure without adding much to character power.
I don't think it's been made clear if the GM fiat was necessary because the fight was hopeless from the start, or because the party was one PC short, or because the party was trapped by the OP. If GM intervention was necessary because of the OP's actions, the paladin was right to seek retribution, and was probably right anyway simply because of the strong perception of betrayal.
The paladin was wrong not to heal the OP, who registers as indeterminate to detect evil. The OP was in need of healing, and the paladin should have helped. Unless he saw the OP as an enemy, in which case he should never have agreed to be in the same party in the first place. Either way, he was in the wrong on that note. (That said, the question of whether the paladin should fall isn't remotely valid, and paladin baiting is extremely lame.)
I think caving in the entrance was played out of alignment. CN characters don't generally claim to act for the greater good. They do what they think is a good idea at the time ("good" as in self-interest), and have no strong inclination towards good or evil. If the OP's character is consistently going to act for the greater good, she needs to be CG, not CN.
The paladin owes the rogue a debt for poor treatment and for sparing his life. But the rogue owes the party a much larger debt for abandoning them and trapping them. I don't see how this group can move forward without a huge act of contrition, which the rogue wouldn't feel is owed unless her survival hinges on being in this group, or she recognizes the fact that the group has divine mandate.
In any event, the OP's character is the one that has to change, whether by re-rolling or by making recompense and changing alignment. The group probably isn't going to allow the rogue to continue with them otherwise.
See, I think a group where people aren't afraid to fight if it makes sense im character makes for a very strong story, especially in a mature group. Usually, we are. I was looking for advice on in-game ways to deal with an unusual situation.
You're going to have to aim for an alignment change down the road. There's really no other way forward. If you're not going for a redemption story with this character, then you're just trolling the group.
YOU! *crumples up fictitious red pen*
It's a good thing I'm not a teacher. Everyone would just get C's.
Kung Fu Joe wrote:
Your opinion on Brooks' writing doesn't mean he's wrong, or a bad writer. It just makes it your opinion. "Hacks" generally aren't extremely successful.
Does that sound like someone who knows where they're going? He may know who's on the throne at the end, but that's all he seems to know. He's like the student whose 5 page essays are 30 pages long and several months late. You want to fail them on principle.
I think the major contributer to the problem is the huge-sweeping-multi-book-single-story-epic just isn't a viable form. And I think a major contributer to that problem is, the writers who are inclined to pursue that form don't know when to stop. (Terry Brooks would call this a failure to outline, meaning if you don't know where you're going when you start, you'll just go on and on.)
Is anyone else hoping Rothfuss's 3rd book is the last one?
I'm not sure if the writers engaged in sweeping epics are megalomaniacs, or if it's a problem perpetuated by publishers wanting to indenture writers, or if stand-alone books don't sell as well, or if writers don't want to do them as much. But I'm really starting to not want to see any more series. At all. It's to the point where I cringe whenever I see something new and see it's "book 1 of who the hell knows." There's a reason Netflix originals are released whole seasons at once. They understand that's how people want to consume entertainment. Serialized entertainment is becoming obsolete.
More stand-alones, please. There's something to be said for being able to tell a *whole* story in just one book. (That something is *thank you!*)
Simon Legrande wrote:
Instead I live in a world designed by lunatics and just have to make due the best I can.
You know what helps deal with that suffering? Art.
You know what helps art exist? When artists are expected to FINISH IT.
Wow. Having read this entire thread I can actually say I am shocked at the lengths both sides of this argument are going to to defend their "turf". Both sides are like "cargo cult" members building elaborate landing strips for the fruit of their argument to land on... And oh the sadness when the plane never lands. There is only human (and even stranger : Corporate) nature at work here. And any analysis by rabid fan-base or long suffering authors is probably time better spent reading or writing books. There is a rather large world of books (finished and unfinished....) and life experience outside these petty arguments. Enjoy!
Pick a side or hand in your bubblewrap jumpsuit!
Simon Legrande wrote:
Now since I know you're referring to the stupid "social contract" idea, it doesn't exist and the writer is in no way bound by it.
You mean the "stupid" idea that makes up the entirety of the thin veneer we know of as civilization? Yep, pretty stupid.
He can also choose to work at his own pace as he has been. At this point you've broken down to "I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I WANT IT!" My kids are better than that.
You're missing the point because you're hung up on semantics and want to pretend I have an entitlement problem because I have an emotional investment in what I read and have reasonable expectations about publishing schedules and authors finishing stories. If you aren't emotionally invested in books, you must be reading some really lame books. If you don't expect capable (living, thinking) authors to finish what they started, then I simply don't know what to say to you.
The point is, it's not reasonable to expect an audience to pay attention to you for decades while you give them one or two years' worth of material every five years. Sooner or later they're gonna get impatient and either drop you or tell you to get busy and finish already.
If Rowling had dragged Harry Potter out for 20-30 years instead of a reasonable 10 years (GRRM at his current rate will clear 25 years), people would be pretty pissed off at her too. We'd still be waiting for Order of the Phoenix.
I started reading The Wheel of Time when the first book came out. I was always looking forward to the next, but I never felt that RJ OWED me anything. I looked forward to every new book, and read plenty of others in the meantime. Sure I was a little bummed when he died, but I was happy when I heard they brought someone in to finish it up. Even if it had never been finished, I would not have insisted that someone owes me something.
You like to move the goalposts, don't you?
RJ's books came out with reasonable frequency, about once a year or two years, despite being long. He also died before the series was completed. The publisher realized there was a such thing as a responsibility to the story, and found someone to finish it. Responsibility upheld. Social contract satisfied.
The reason you don't feel owed is because you aren't. RJ & Co fulfilled all their obligations and went above and beyond for their fans. GRRM isn't--he's pulling a Dark Tower.
James Sutter wrote:
To speak to the latter: I'm not saying that *all* fan entitlement is valid. If you expect a happy ending, or past tense, or whatever, and an author chooses to do something different, that's totally fine by me. The point is not that everyone gets exactly the book they want or expect, only that if your selling point is "check out this awesome story arc!" rather than "check out this great standalone book!", it's reasonable for fans to expect you to provide what you sold them on, rather than simply a portion of it.
A key part of being a good writer is being able to surprise the reader. Robert Frost said "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." Not getting what you expect is par for the course, and a story that doesn't surprise you is probably disappointing. (There are exceptions, as there are with anything.)
I don't equate surprise with betrayal. Surprise is a necessary element. Betrayal is what happens when the writer does not give a good faith effort, or crafts the end of a good story in such a disappointing way that there is no other adequate word to describe it. (Note that it has to be a good story with a bad ending. A story that starts off bad can't betray you, because you already know it's bad, and if you keep reading, that's on you.)
For instance, if we went crazy and decided to stop publishing Iron Gods at the third volume, a lot of people would be justifiably upset. The whole idea of an AP as we've promoted it is that it has a six-volume arc. Could it be continued beyond there? Sure, and we encourage people to do so, but we're always careful to wrap up the main arc in the volumes we publish. Even though each volume is a great adventure on its own, our advertising focuses on the larger story, and thus we have an obligation (in my mind) to provide it.
On the other hand, if you guys decided it would be best for the story to wrap it up sooner, that would be understandable. Key words being "wrap it up" and "best for the story."
The discussion of social contract is really just about recognizing *why* fans might feel a certain way, and admitting that there's validity to it, rather than just waving it all aside and claiming those readers (who are the exact people who supported you as an author) are somehow immature, which is what I feel some authors do.
Part of the contract is the writer has a responsibility not only to the audience but to the story itself. There is a responsibility to deliver on what was promised. But what is good for the story takes precedence. (And in cases as big as GoT, the good of the story takes precedence even over the writer's personal happiness. Hey, if you don't want that kind of responsibility, don't make the baby.)
While it's frustrating waiting 5 years between GRRM's books, I get that he's prioritizing the good of the story over my frustration. But he has a pacing problem. He could publish 400 pages every couple years instead, maintain the quality of work, and increase good will among his fans. But for some reason he chooses not to. And that's annoying, because we've walked down this road before, and I don't want to do it again. There's a point where it just gets to be Way Too Long and drawn out. People complained about this regarding Lost long before it ended, and Wheel of Time and Dark Tower. At some point, he just needs to stop rambling and get to the end. Preferably in his lifetime.
What should we as authors lose if we violate those expectations? Nothing but our good name with readers. But in this business, until you're as big as GRRM, your good name is all you have...
I don't believe anyone is ever too big to have any more than their good name. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. If the ending sucks, he won't be the guy who created one of the best series ever written, he'll be the guy who screwed up one of the best series ever written.