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I have a critical system that doesn't do extra damage, so the massive damage rule never really takes effect in my campaign (criticals have effects like limb disable, stun, daze, blinded, deafened, etc.).
That being said, if I were to use massive damage rules, then I would adopt some means for monsters with multiple attacks to add the damage from their attacks together to provide a number of points per round that would have the same effect. This would give monsters the same chances of massive damage as the PCs (who are much better equipped to artificially pump up their damage to the massive damage threshold--especially in Pathfinder).
Good for the goose...
I was still hopeful, but I realize now I was being naive. This has the same effect on me that 4E had. The feel of it is far too different for me; I won't be buying it, unless radical changes are made.
The alien Advantage/Disadvantage system seems so firmly rooted into the system that it will take a rules-damaging crowbar to get rid of it. Why this was used still baffles me. I cannot fathom why people like it. (And don’t bother trying to persuade me; I’ve heard all the arguments and disagree with them. IMG, there will always be the +4/-4 mechanic that is a staple of D&D.)
I don't like the fact that the vast majority of the options that are presented for any of the classes are combat-oriented; I don't want to buy a combat system, I want to buy a role-playing game. I want to see something closer to a 50-50 combat/non-combat rules set, please, or I won’t buy it.
I think the rogue is FAR too powerful with sneak attack; but then, I felt the same way with 3.5. Too much damage far too soon. A rogue’s job is to deal with traps and doors; he isn’t a front-line fighter.
I hate the weapons mastery that gives every race a way to change the basic size of his favorite weapon, increasing it a die type, in spite of the fact that the weapon itself would likely be smaller, at least in the case of the halfling.
They did try fix the fighter's silly wound-you-with-the-wind-from-my-miss ability. Unfortunately, they made it worse by introducing yet another alien concept in the form of expertise dice.
I don't want to play d20 modern; giving the fighter action points is a cheesy way to make up for the fact he gets screwed out of his premier role as front-liner by every feat or maneuver every other class can take.
There's an easy fix to the problem; stop giving the other classes things like a die per level of sneak attack or an autohit at-will power that does damage that can't be defended against. Let the guy who's name is Fighter be the one who fights. The others have their roles in the game; let them stay with those roles.
Backgrounds determining skill choice and specialties determining feats is fine; but there aren’t enough choices. This might be rectified in the future, but it doesn’t bode well. It feels like the powers of 4E in a different skin. And to me that’s a deal-breaker.
The automatic magic missile is still an issue for me; it needs to be a 1st-level spell so the mage won't be a walking autohit machinegun.
And why bother to make the casting of a spell 6 seconds long? If you cast a spell within 5 feet of an opponent, you magically give that opponent the ability to stop you from targeting anything more than 5 feet away.
Other than that, there's nothing preventing you from lobbing a fireball up his nose. His attack means nothing. The six seconds of casting time has absolutely no significance as far as the rules are concerned.
I hate the very idea of rituals, which gives the game a 4E feel to me; casting a spell that takes that long is fine, but it should come off your spell usages, and it should always take that long.
And of course, the characters still regenerate. What's the point in having a hit point system if it doesn't mean anything?
If I ever run this system for real, neither healing word nor the short rest will exist IMG; there's no challenge to a game system that won't kill characters.
I'm afraid that all of this has turned my stomach as far as D&D is concerned; I'm going to take a break, and will be using the Hero System when my game starts up this fall; I don't want to think about what WotC is doing with 5E.
For WotC's sake, I honestly hope that I am in the minority. If I am not, then this edition will tank far sooner than 4E did.
The more I see from WotC about 5E, the more it looks like an attempt to re-package the basic ideas of 4E into something that will appeal to more pocketbooks. I believe it IS a sign of distress, because if it doesn't sell, Hasbro might well shelve the game.
The problem is that while the distress is making 5E's designers somewhat desperate, it isn't making them wise. They seem to be repeating mistakes; in my opinion, 5E is going to be too alien to appeal to a majority of fans. The closer to deadline things get, the more it looks like Custer at the Little Big Horn.
At this point, I just want them to get it over with; I have lost interest in 5E. They need to stop dragging things out, stop trying to make us believe our playtests make a difference, and put out the design they decided on before Cook left.
I don't see why this would be much of a copyright problem...
Social Class Table
As far as I'm concerned, the first thing a good GM has to remember is that he's not a player.
If the game is a game, then he's part of the mechanics involved. He doesn't get to play, in the sense that the game is not for him. His role is to facilitate the game environment for the players to move their characters through.
This is not to say he shouldn't have fun. I for one enjoy roleplaying all the NPCs and monsters in the campaign world, and that's the way I approach the game; I set out to enjoy myself while making sure the players enjoy themselves.
After all, it's a social activity; if you're not all friends at the gaming table getting together to have fun, you're doing something wrong.
I can't believe I didn't think of this one earlier, this is actually one of mine: If an AOE spell (fireball, for example) is cast in a room too small to contain all the squares it normally hits, it finds the nearest exit port and goes out, traveling until it uses up all the squares. A fireball cast in the end of a 5x5x10 in a one-way hallway would take up the two squares st the origin and then 38 more. Hope that makes sense.
I don't consider this a house rule. It's classic AD&D.
Maybe many of you would consider this a house rule, but I always use the following:
If the 3.5/Pathfinder rules are unclear on anything, I turn to the AD&D DMG/PHB as the ultimate authorities. Previous rules preempt later rules, unless it's a Clarification/Errata thing within an edition. The simpler the better is my campaign motto.
EDIT: Exceptions to the above:
The initiative system (what was Gygax smoking?)
Pummeling/Grappling (Oh. My. God.)
In a Chill game, between adventures, my character walked into the kitchen of the house we were staying in to make a pot of tea, and found the unofficial mascot of the group lying on the floor, gnawing on a bone (he was a big dog we found along a road, named Zeus).
She discovered the box of tea was empty and went to the pantry to get more. When she opened the pantry door, she found herself staring into the pit of hell. On the other side of the cavernous space, the demonic entity who had been plaguing the group stood calling to her.
She tried to close the door, but it resisted, and a tremendous wind roared through the kitchen, pushing her into the doorway. The strong-jawed hero (her love interest) came into the kitchen at that moment, and rushed over to grab her.
Unfortunately, his action caused her to lose her grip on the door, and she fell in, dragging him with her. Just as it looked as if they would tumble into the abyss, Zeus came to the rescue and grabbed the hero by the seat of his pants. He planted all four feet on the door frame, growling as loudly as he could to summon help as he held us suspended in space by his teeth.
I have to say thank heaven for the resilience of tweed trousers, because it seemed forever we hung there while the villain gloated and called out prophecies of our doom.
The rest of the gaming group tried desperately, between fits of giggles, to get the GM to let them help. Eventually he relented, and one of them came into the kitchen, and used a favor he had acquired in a previous adventure to force the demon to let us go.
Zeus hauled us back into the kitchen and whimpered in relief as we sprawled on the floor.
The encounter was very brief, game-wise, but the complexity of it and the rolls involved made it much, much longer in real terms. It also expanded the plot-line, because we discovered the house stood astride a gateway into the nether dimensions..
And we got extra experience because we entertained the group so well. :)
Nymian Harthing wrote:
2.) Girl gamers who see all other girl gamers as rivals for male attention. This can get problematic pretty quick.
This has sprung up in our group quite recently. It's like being in high school again, except that the "girl" gamers involved are all over 30.
I also have the box sets from the LotR RPG, the ones inspired by the maps from the movies. They're pretty cool, though they aren't as detailed as some of the MERP stuff.
I use ICE's old genre books, too. I don't own hard copies, but I have several PDFs, like Norman England, Robin Hood, Mythic Greece, Arabian Nights, Vikings and Pirates, to name my faves.
Did somebody say something-?
Hm. Must have been the wind....
I.C.E. made a bunch of stuff that (obviously) was perfect for a ME game. Even included a handy "d20" type conversion guide in the front of most of their MERP 1e supplements.
ICE didn't acquire the Middle-Earth License until the mid-80s. The campaign I speak of began in 1976.
I use the MERP stuff when I run a Middle-Earth campaign (a couple of my players are big Tolkien fans), especially the maps and Fonstad's Atlas.
In Gary's defense, I have to point out that he didn't write most of the modules you're talking about.
But you are correct about the plethora of NPCs with levels.
My gaming group seldom if ever used modules. The first campaign I played in was based on Middle-Earth (big shock there), and the DM never used canned adventures, mainly because it was too much work getting them to fit the game world.
The primary difference between a 1st-level fighter and a man-at-arms is that the man-at-arms would be considered a 0-level character, and so would use the 0-level column on the Attack Matrix For Fighters, etc. table.
The "to-hit" column for 0-levels begins at 11 for AC 10, where the 1st level column begins at 10 for AC 10. It's a minor point, but it is a 5% difference.
Also, 0-level characters didn't get Ability scores. A man-at-arms didn't add anything to his roll to hit, or to damage when he did hit.
You only considered NPCs to use other tables or columns (or abilities) if they had class levels.
I dunno, I might get used to it, but I'd feel weird if the only people with certain skill sets were the PCs.
It goes back to the AD&D days when the vast majority of people in the world were 0-level characters, who were specialists in a given profession but had no training in adventuring.
A 1st-level fighter was a "Veteran", and stood above the run-of-the-mill man-at-arms. PCs were special, and only very special "adventurer" NPCs ever gained class levels.
A PC magic-user could still go to an NPC sage to research magic, or to an NPC alchemist to get special materials.
The 1E DMG has all the information about this you need. You an create an entire society using the various chapters. It all has that wonderful flavor that set D&D apart from other fantasy RPGs back in the day.
After many years of the "New D&D", I decided to go back to the old formula. :D
This could be a difference of perception. To most of the people I know, looking at their cellphones is as natural and repeated an activity as re-arranging their dice on the table, or looking over their character sheets, or talking to the next player.
People have had the continuous use of their beep boxes ingrained into their conscious activity to the point that they cannot imagine turning them off. And texting while they're doing something else has become normal. To them, it doesn't indicate they'd rather be somewhere else, it's just being connected.
I don't own a cell phone. And I've met people who literally cannot imagine life without one, who regard me as a freak. And I regard them as part of the Borg generation.
If it came down to it, even if the entire tabletop gaming industry collapsed, it wouldn't change what happens at my table. With the OGL/SRD available, I can create whatever RPG I want. I already have. Working on my fourth iteration.
The only thing I'd really miss is the fun of going to my FLGS and perusing the new inventory. And it would be great if that included looking at D&D stuff, even if it was something I wasn't going to buy.
Who taught your PC wizards to be wizards?
There are arcane casters among NPCs, and they can have spells up to 6th level. PC wizards have to find or research spells above that.
The game world is very organic; it hearkens back to my earliest campaign, and relies heavily on AD&D for the flavor of magic.
I think it is a matter of control, not power. I know players who will control the direction the party takes regardless of the kind of personal power their characters have. And I know others who couldn't command a one-man boat on a pond.
The power-tripping thing comes about when a mediocre player discovers his character is able to do things that can't be controlled by the other characters. It's a pathetic attempt to make things happen in the world, a longing for real social influence he will never have.
Sort of like walking into a theater with a bunch of firearms....
I think he's talking about people who stop treating it like a game, and start treating it as something of vital import in their existence.
It wouldn't matter what kind of campaign they're in. If I read it correctly, we're talking Mazes and Monsters here, albeit at a lower intensity.
The publishing business has changed, but not as much as you have implied. For books at the quality that Paizo or WotC currently produce, POD is not possible. Lulu books are decent, but they are of a decidedly different quality. POD books of Paizo quality would be very expensive, probably 2-3 times as much. Are you going to buy the same books you're getting now, but for $100?
WotC doesn't use Lulu. The idea is absurd. And it has nothing to do with my point.
The point I was making is that, if the PDF exists, they can print whatever they want at a very low cost, because they already have the infrastructure to do it. The difference between printing a 4E PHB and a 1E PHB is a matter of choosing a different file in the system memory, and maybe a different type of paper or card stock. None of the equipment has to change at all.
In the old days, it would cost thousands just to re-set the type for each book's print run. They couldn't afford to print a couple of thousand books to supply a market that was running low; they had to print a hundred thousand books, just to make it cost effective.
Those days are gone.
When WotC prints new copies of their current books, they're just not printing one or two at a time. They print orders in the thousands, because they're resupplying outlets, on demand. The difference is that their demand is a lot bigger that an individual's demand.
And before someone starts talking print runs for different editions, let me point out that when WotC stockpiles large quantities of books the way they do when a new edition is coming out, it is in anticipation of demand, not because doing so is particularly cost effective. As a matter of fact, they lose a little money when they do that, because they have to pay warehousing and handling fees.
It helps that I've come to hate words with superfluous apostrophes.
One of the reasons I have a lot of problem with character names that come from '80s/'90s-era fantasy novels. :)
@houstonderek: I have to admit I never liked 2E. The sanitization of the monsters was just a part of it. Mainly I didn't like the feel of the rule books. It felt like the game was kiddified.
The 3E monster manual was like a breath of fresh air, and the rules felt like they were written for adults.
EDIT: The year 2E came out was the first time I ever heard the term "Playschool D&D" from a player/DM who has since applied it to a more recent edition of the game. :)
And 2E to 3.0 had just as large and significant percentage of the audience who felt that the new edition wasn't what they expected or wanted from D&D.
I think the arrival of 3E heralded a renaissance in fantasy tabletopping. I for one hadn't played D&D for several years before 3E. We were heavily into Hero by the late nineties.
3E brought me back to D&D. And I think a lot of other people came back, as well.
I still wish 3.5 was more like 1E, but you can't have everything. :)
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Technically, nonlethal damage puts you in 'negatives', so doesn't it still work? I think the rules might be mum on it. Your interpretation makes sense, but I kind of like the idea of it being impossible to just knock an orc unconscious. :P
Hate to burst your bubble, but I run 3E/AD&D. No such thing as Ferocity. Orcs can be knocked out just like everyone else. :)
I agree with you, though. I think there would be no difference between non-lethal or lethal damage as far as Ferocity is concerned. In that instance, puncta sunt puncta.
Kobold CLeaver wrote:
Knocking a PC unconscious in every combat? I don't know about your players, but I find that obnoxious. If I found out a GM was aiming to exclude a player from the game every time a fight takes place, I'd either demand he cut it out or I'd just leave. Besides, story-wise, it ends up sounding ridiculous.
Precisely the sort of reaction I was expecting.
I didn't say that it would happen. I said it should. And knocking a PC unconscious is not "excluding" him. It takes time to get him there.
The scenario you present is naive and simplistic to the point of the ridiculous.
If you do your job properly, the PCs will NEVER KNOW you're doing this. Letting them catch on is wasting their time. Keeping them on the edges of their seats is the idea, not boring them to tears the way you present it.
Drake has it right. Unfortunately, due to Hollywood's "politically correct" kick, a lot of "fresh" character types have become overused.
The "smart jock" is now as much of a stereotype as the "dumb jock" used to be, and so are the "smart girl who gets dates" and the "hot lipstick lesbian". The old is being replaced with the new.
If you want to get away from stereotyping people, deal with them as individuals, and don't type them. Let them be people. Even someone who falls into a traditional stereotype is a person, who will probably surprise you if you let him.
I like to have important NPCs in the game, who occasionally travel with the party, but I never run a GMPC. I think it takes an exceptional GM to pull that off without problems.
And the important NPCs I run usually have problems. The only time they ever save the PCs' bacon is if the PCs put them up to it.
Complaining to the FLGS owner every time you're exposed to the situation, and encouraging others to do so is probably the best way to handle it. If enough people complain often enough, the store will make changes.
Other than Pathfinder I like running James Bond, from the 1980s (a real shame the guy bought up Victory Games just for Squad Leader, or something like that, and publishes out of his garage. On top of that he won't publish anything other people want.) Bad way to run business.
I love VG's James Bond. I had a GM who ran a fantasy game once using the system, and it was one of the best roleplaying experiences of my gaming career! :D
No GM should kill PCs on Purpose. But every GM who is worth his salt should almost kill the the PCs on a fairly regular basis.
In any given combat, at least one PC should be reduced to below zero hit points. This should be what the GM aims for. And it shouldn't be the same PC every time.
And the PCs who are careful, who do everything right, who avoid getting into a situation that can get them killed should be targeted periodically to be reduced to below zero.
The threat of death should exist, or combat is just another roleplaying opportunity.
They should never know that you control the dice rolls, you control the combat, that you are carefully, carefully making sure they don't die while at the same time making them think they might.
I know there are a lot of you who are howling now, saying that fudging die rolls is cheating, that doing anything but making random rolls defeats the purpose of the game, that it isn't playing fair.
But it isn't the GM's job to be fair. It's the GMs job to make the players' pulse rates go up, to make them jump up out of their seat, to make them jabber excitedly and howl at their muffed die rolls.
It's the GM's job to make them have the best experience they can have, every time they play.
That's what I try to do, every time I GM. And that's why my players keep coming back, over and over again.
Because I don't play fair. :)
I felt appreciated just a couple of weeks ago, when some of my players told me I had to GM something for them, because "it doesn't matter what you run--we always know we'll enjoy it", and there are already two other campaigns being run in our group.
I realize now I'm going to have to stop using WotC to equate to the company's D&D division, which is what we're talking about. If the D&D line doesn't make some real money, it's going under. It needs to be saved or the brand name is going to be shelved. So I'm going to start calling it "D&D".
Charlie Brooks wrote:
And that mismanagement on a major scale is one of the reasons they churned out so many product lines that cannibalized each other's sales, divided the market, and hurt the company.
"Cannibalizing sales" does not make money vanish. If you have two products that directly compete with each other, your company makes money from both of them. That does not make the company go down the tubes. TSR alienated its customers in many ways. People turned to other companies, not to other versions of D&D.
Yes, D&D is competing with itself, albeit by proxy. By dropping printings of previous editions, it hurt itself, because the slack had to be taken up by 3rd party publishers who took advantage of a customer base D&D abandoned. And it was a needless loss.
If D&D had kept printing 3E books, the customer base would have remained loyal. It would be divided, yes, but divided as in "old D&D vs new D&D", not "D&D vs Paizo". No matter what kind of D&D you buy, it's still D&D. And it's still money in the company's coffers. "Cannibalizing sales" feeds the kitty.
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Regardless of how well 5th edition sells, I can guarantee that it will make WotC more money than they would make by re-selling all 1st and 2nd edition products combined.
If I was a betting man, I'm pretty sure I'd make money from you and others like you.
I believe that if D&D put the old games back into print, their combined sales would exceed whatever 5E brought in, primarily because many 5E customers would also be old edition customers.
And I have to say I disagree with you about the popularity of the old editions. It's been my experience that nostalgia is a tremendous draw. I have PDFs of many old books I greatly wish I had hard copies of, and I am by no means unique.
I've read the petition. It's asking WotC to keep the older versions of the game alive by printing new copies of old books, not asking them to make new books about old editions.
The primary goal of the petition is to get the old games back into print, and possible to get PDFs available again. It isn't to re-vamp WotC's RPG department.
Because the production line for two different flavors of soda is Nothing anywhere close to what you need to support multiple game systems? Especially in print production. Trying to support two systems was a major factor in the death of TSR. Now you want them to support a half dozen?
These days, a book company doesn't have to warehouse thousands of copies of a product to be competitive. They need only print what is needed to fill orders. The bookbinding industry has changed dramatically since the demise of TSR. They don't have to shut down the machines to change the typeset; it's all done with PDF files these days. Change the source file and you change the book being printed. In the middle of a print run.
As far as the "major factor in the death of TSR" is concerned, it wasn't supporting two systems that was the problem. It was mismanagement on a major scale, in all areas of the company, with decisions being made by a CEO and upper-level management team who didn't understand RPGs or the customer base. Sort of like our worst fears of Hasbro.
And I'm sorry to have to disagree with you so categorically, but "supporting multiple game systems" is exactly like the production line for two different flavors of soda.
You're equating "support" with ongoing development. But with previous editions of D&D, the expensive part of the work is already completed.
There's no more research and development to be done on AD&D. It's finished. All that "support" needs to do is print it.
The same thing applies to OD&D, 3.5, and, in a few short months, 4E. All done, unchanging, ready to be printed-on-demand to keep a couple of copies on game shop shelves. The expense is no different than if they were printing more copies of their current brand; less so, in fact, since there are no changes between print runs.
I think that's why they're reprinting older versions of the game. To test out what I'm talking about. Such a move would not ruin WotC. It would likely save it.
I think the petition is a good way to let WotC know what we as paying customers want. And I disagree with those who call this bad business sense.
Supporting products you have control of to compete with similar products is why Coca-Cola has so many different formulas. People keep referring to "New Coke", but they forget the different kinds of diet Coke, the various flavored Coke types, and even other Coca-Cola products that aren't related to the Coke formula at all.
Having multiple versions of the game available might well factionize the customer base, but that doesn't matter when you have products that appeal to all of the factions.
What difference does it make if this guy is buying AD&D, that guy is buying 3.5, and that guy over there likes 4E, when all of them are buying WotC products?
Diversification is a key to market share. If it works for a shoe store, why can't it work for WotC?
Josh M. wrote:
The amount of gamer elitism and hypocrisy in this thread is a little unsettling. Given the stereotypes of rpg's players over the years, you could just as easily swap the terms "Magic player" and "rpg player." Especially the references to "cheeto fingers.
I am reminded of the stereotypical MMO player in his basement with the Cheetos and the unwashed body and prison pallor.
At least CCG players get out of the house to go their FLGS once in a while. Most RPGers play at home, where they don't have to worry about offending others with their reek.
As a member of the great unwashed RPG masses, I see little difference between geeks, and will stand with my CCG brethren.
The MMO guys, I will stand upwind of.
In my campaign, the real downside to powergaming is that it's a tremendous waste of time and effort. I reject characters that are over the top, power-wise, and those who slip through find themselves twiddling their thumbs a lot while the rest of us roleplay.
My campaign is only about 15%-25% hack. So in a typical 6- to 8-hour session, the 1 or 2 hours of "action" they get is usually not enough for most power gamers. Especially since with the present systems, that boils down to 2 or 3 combat encounters.
My experiences in other people's games have given me the impression that powergaming always devolves into the metagame.
There are players who talk about their characters, about how cool this background is, or about that one's connection to the game world, or about how this NPC or that PC was so cool to interact with.
And then there are people who talk about builds, and how this one or that one can get the job done better, and how cool they are when "combat finally starts".
In my experience, the downside of powergaming is that it tends to damage or destroy immersion for me, no matter whose campaign I'm in.
Curse the Halfling wrote:
Interesting thread which leads me to one question. Why do you play RPGs? Because the overwhelming impression I get from quite a few of the posts would seem to be "to win".
The need "to win" is what I feel the four types in the title of this thread have in common. That, despite the differences espoused by various people, it all comes down to some kind of competition, whether between the players and the GM, or player versus player.
I don't like that in my campaign, and I work to overcome it. Which is why I haven't bothered to define any of the types here; they blend together for me, and all of them are anathema to fun at the table. IMHO, of course.
I think the only thing that would happen if Hasbro shelved D&D is that we'd all be playing the next version of Pathfinder when it comes out, if not an extant previous edition.
Or someone else's version of 5E.
These days, as far as I'm concerned, the only thing WotC has going for it is the brand name. I know people who refuse to acknowledge any product put out by WotC as D&D. They've alienated a lot of people. Whether or not that's their fault is an argument for another thread.
It would be nice if they could redeem themselves, if 5E accomplishes something real. But the more I see of it the less I like it. My opinion is probably not the majority, but we tabletop RPG consumers are relatively few; it's possible that failing to satisfy a minority would equate to failure.
I don't want to see the D&D logo disappear. But there are those who feel it vanished in 2008. That D&D as a brand name is already dead, and we've been seeing its animated corpse shamble through the WotC wasteland for the last four years.
In spite of borderline despair, I still have hope that they're wrong.
Don't let your self-righteous zeal get in the way of seeing that we actually agree, alright?
Not being self-righteous. I just disagree with your definition of "Power Gamer". To me and mine, the term is and has been for decades a derogatory label for a type of player generally unwelcome in a non-competitive game.