Yup. I always liked the part in Mobley's killer Greyhawk Ruins module where it says something like, "At this point, the PCs can automatically identify orcs, orogs, ogrillons, half-orcs, and half-ogres by sight, and have no chance of mistaking them for one another" -- after they've spent the last like 6 dungeon levels fighting the aforementioned mooks.
There comes a point where "learning from repeated experience" cannot in any way be considered "metagaming," but I've sadly met -- and played with -- people who can't see that.
I love it when the party gradually changes over time. One of my favorite campaigns ever was one very long-term one in which we all had like 6 or 8 characters at different levels from different former parties/APs. Eventually, we started making new parties based on geographic proximity of homes, former affiliations, political alliances, and the like.
"What is your background, sir?"
Good or not, what floors me are some of the things that get called "metagaming." Party finds a gem that summons a water elemental. You describe the elemental as a being made of pure water. A week later, when the party is fighting a monster while swimming, someone says, "Hey, summon that water thingy to help!" Invariably, someone else will open the Bestiary, see that water elementals get a bonus to attacks against waterborne opponents or something, get a self-righteous expression, and point at the offender and loudly and obnoxiously accuse them "That's metagaming! You're not allowed to know (Ex) abilities! It says it in the book so you're not allowed to know it! Metagamer! Metagamer! Ooooooh! I'm telling on you! DM, make him stop!"
A lot of people I've talked to in the past seem to have this idea that if the characters ever make common-sense guesses or learn from experience, they are somehow "metagaming" and MUST BE STOPPED!
Lord Snow, that's a pretty silly (dare I say false) premise to create considering you rarely know anything for sure i.e. deductively.
Agreed, but I think there's a scale, and before a mob forms and starts grabbing torches and pitchforks, a little more certainty than we had here -- or at least more time for everyone to cool down -- is almost never a bad thing, in my experience.
Man, I disagreed with Lord Snow initially, but find myself wanting to get his back -- just because the pack of jackals continuing to gleefully bite chunks off his corpse is nearly as bad as the behavior that the OP was sadly forced to witness.
(Shrug) Well, at least the thread's not in person.
Dr. Calvin Murgunstrumm wrote:
Having one dungeon where magic fails frequently, or is dead (like a demi-plane of antimagic) is cool. Having 5 is lame.
I can agree with that. After 30 years playing, I sort of get low on new ideas, though... if an antimagic dungeon comes up only once a decade, that's still 3 of them already! So, I started off with the whole "teleportation somehow just doesn't work here," then graduated on to "high-level adventures take place on other planes where magic works funny," and finally added, "oh, and continuous stone/earth/metal blocks scrying and teleportation anyway" when I realized that there really needs to be an in-world explanation for why there are castles and dungeons everywhere.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
sadly, not a '98 Oldsmobile
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Another Scandal? Report Claims State Dept. Top Management May Have Covered-Up Staffers’ Prostitution, Drug Activity
Hookers and blow!
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
As I said above, re: Floyd, just don't listen to the classic rock radio station.
My alternatives [pun intended] on the radio here are county, country, country, or 24/7 Steelers Talk Radio. When it's not football season, the latter is even more boring than usual, if that's even possible!
Sadly, the satellite radio Mrs Gersen installed in my car for the drive up here from Texas stopped functioning somewhere in Ohio. Mrs Gersen thinks it's the mountains, although I'm at a loss as to how they'd block signals coming from space.
I pretty much agree with the OP. One of my favorite things as DM is to run the same adventure with two different groups, and see it come out totally differently each time. As a player, I'm usually able to mentally "wall off" spoilers and still be immersed.
Re: bands of peasants, I used to game with a very smart guy who had an unbreakable rule for adventure writing: "There needs to be a front-door encounter that resets and can't be dismantled by numbers, and that exists solely to keep the farmers out." Whether that's a bound immortal monster with DR or whatever, there had to be something or he'd throw up his hands and assume the dungeon had already been looted by peasant mobs.
And, yes, the D&D economy is wicked ridiculous. Frank Trollman submitted an insightful post during the Alpha playtesting, suggesting like 3 or 4 different methods for improving it, depending on peoples' preferences, but the designers ended up vetoing all of his input.
I'm thinking either Lawrence "White Plume Moutain" Schick or Bruce "Return to the Tomb of Horrors" Cordell. The thing with all the authors and historical figures is that, who knows if they'd be a crappy DM?
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
I caught it. I still don't completely understand it, but I caught it.
Bird Island (aka "Isle of Peril," orig. written under the pseudonym Wade Alan in 1957) is written very much in the Wodehouse style, so it's about 1/4 mystery and 3/4 farce. I'm about 2/3 of the way through -- it starts off slow, but I was keeping Mrs Gersen up late last night with hysterical laughter at parts of it.
Example: It's spring, and Milo has heard somewhere that you can get $5,000 an acre (1950s dollars, bear in mind) for raising ginseng, so he figures he'll be rich in six months! He sends away for seeds, plants them in his backyard, and waits in vain for them to grow. Then he receives a letter in the mail:
Jack Vance wrote:
After that, Miss Picket's boarding-school angels want sexy fun-time with their Stanford boyfriends and cause a scandal.
But I have to ask folks here this question. Would you be just as sympathetic if the case was that of an 18 year old male having sex with a 15 year old girl?
As long as there's no victimization occurring -- no clear power imbalance or anything like that -- then I think the penalty for two young people doing what they want together should be handled by them and their families, and not by the courts. That applies regardless of whether the people are male, female, gay, striaght, or whatever. I was equally sickened by imprisonment of the 17-year-old guy whose 16-year-old girlfriend's parents decided they didn't like him, and used the courts to get rid of him.
You mean names like Yogurt?
Supposedly -- and I'm not sure if this is just urban myth at this point -- people kept saying some demon lord's name (which in the Old Skool days gave you a 1% chance he'd hear his name spoken and come looking for you). Wary of that possibility, especially when faced with an evil DM, they started calling him "You-Know-Who." Whereupon the DM (Gygax, I guess) invented a new demon lord named Yeenoghu who thought his name had been spoken and appeared in a fit of rage...
To be honest to the recently-departed, another big influence on Gygax in coming up with the D&D magic-user (AKA wizard) was John Bellairs' The Face in the Frost -- in my opinion the best novel about wizards ever written. The protagonist can do a limited amount of magic without preparation (like at-will cantrips, I suppose), but he totes around spellbooks and studies them at night when he thinks he might need to do some unusual magic the next day. It's not strictly 100% "fire-and-forget" because there's some impromptu magic as well, but there's a lot of hinting at memorization. Also, wizards spent a bunch of effort crafting magic items.
Regardless, it was published in '69, so that probably makes it also "too old" to be worth discussing, for some people.
As an experiment for my home game, I reskinned the sorcerer class so that the "spells" were technical accomplishments you've built into your own body (e.g., burning hands as a spell known means you built a mini-flamethrower into your wrists). With the right spells, you can easily imagine your sorcerer as an Iron Man-type character.
I felt compelled to post in memorium over at Foreverness:
"More important than his obvious wit and mastery of language, Mr. Vance's breadth of vision -- and nearly limitless sense of the power of the human spirit -- were contagious to generations of readers. He was a truly great man."
Commoner was totally OP! Unlike the druid, they had no daily limit to their abilities. Druids had (and still have) both limited spell slots and limited wild shape uses per day. Commoners could be common all day long!
Unless you're a dirty minmaxing munchin DPR Schroedinger roll-player, playing a Commoner is just fine. My commoner always contributes to the party. He carries extra supplies from 1st level through 20th level, and he can do it all day long. When there are monsters to kill, he has barbarians and fighters and wizards in the party to do that. When there are other situations to handle, he has casters to deal with those, too. Because it's a TEAM game.
All these threads about "fixing the Commoner" are making me angry, because the Commoner is just fine, and those people are all theorycrafting or else just playing wrong. Their GM should fix whatever "problems" they claim to be experiencing, because I don't see them. And we all know that tinkering with the rules to try and fix them will inevitably bring about 4e.
I'd guess the people interviewed do not represent a sample of professional scientists, however. That's the conflation on the show that I can never quite figure out. Are scientists more likely to watch Firefly than Sunday Night Football? Maybe, maybe not. Are they likely to be attending comic book conventions? For most of the scientisists I know, the answer is no -- they're usually too busy with things like work, taking care of their houses (not dorms/apartments) and kids, and the occasional weekend hunting trip.
Scientist =/= perpetual college kid.
Your experiences differed from mine. Since the rogue was only good for one backstab, generally it was better in rounds 2+ to have him as a full-time designated spell-interruptor, rather than have him run around trying to hide in shadows and set up another backstab (a scenario that resulted in him losing, at minimum, every other round worth of actions).
Taking all the options into consideration and concluding that they are wrong and cancerous to society...
What about those of us who just conclude that SOME of those beliefs are harmful, and others aren't?
Now some of most extreme anti-theist would like laws in place to abolish the practice of religion. They advocate against the freedom of religion.
Or pieces of it, anyway. Like "honor killings." Or refusal to use vaccines. Or female genital mutilation. Or forcing others to pray against their convictions. Or teaching of demonstrable falsehoods as "equal to any other theory" in science classes.
You know, that kind of stuff.
The black raven wrote:
Then I would consider you a moderate atheist
Probably not... because then I take the next step, and say "since we don't need God to explain the presence of humans, let's restrict ourselves to the scientific evidence in biology class, and not tell a bunch of lies about 'Intelligent Design,' OK?"
And then I'm invariably labeled a "militant atheist."
Dr. Calvin Murgunstrumm wrote:
Balance is a GM's job.
I see this a lot, and I also see that, interestingly, many of the "don't balance the classes" people are also the "DM is God and needs to put those worthless troublemaker entitled players in their places or kick them to the curb" people.
An unbalanced game forces the DM to balance it through granted special authority and fiat. I am starting to suspect that many GMs have been on a power trip for so long that they actively want the game rules to be as unbalanced as possible -- because the less balance there is inherently, the more power everyone needs to cede over to them to correct it. If you disagree, call one of them a "referee" instead of a "game MASTER" and watch the spittle fly.
I would like to think this is just conspiracy theory, and I would like it very much if someone else could convince me that that's all it is. But at this point that will require some evidence.
P.S. The guy who says "wizards are just supposed to be better" is excepted from the above -- he's not necessarily on a power-GM-trip; he just honestly has no idea what "character level" actually means, and can't grasp the concept.
The whole argument being decried by the OP reminds me of this one:
"The only way to fly is by having flapping wings.
4e tried to balance classes by homogenization. Given the white-hot nerdrage attendant on the very mention of it, I guess the homogenization wasn't a big hit. At the end of the day, if my understanding is correct, they didn't succeed all that well at balancing them, either.
But just because you can't think of another method doesn't mean there isn't one. Indeed, take a quick look at Kirthfinder, which is somewhat better balanced, and not homogenized. Or look at Frank and K's Tomes stuff for 3.5e, which is extremely well-balanced and not at all homogenized. You might not like those systems, which is fine, they're not for everyone -- but they ARE examples of balancing without homogenization.
Bill Dunn wrote:
Wizards couldn't even levitate anyone until 6th level and they could only fly for 1 round starting at 16th level.
If I understand it correctly, 4e is based on 30 levels vs. 20 through, right? So getting levitate at 6th level in 4e would be exactly like a 3e/PF sorcerer getting it at 4th, if I'm interpreting that correctly. And 16th in 4e would be like 11th in 3.5/PF -- only 1 level after the sorcerer gets overland flight.
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
It is more along the lines of all characters must be balanced against all other characters at all points in time and in all situations that became the issue with 4E. It basically led to everyone basically being and feeling the same very quickly which was the biggest complaint about 4E's balance, it was just boring.
So they implemented it poorly. If I build a tower out of toothpicks and gumdrops and it collapses, does that mean that skyscrapers are impossible?
The casters should be the shot callers and the go to guys for anyting at high levels. Yes. What's the problem with this? It just makes sense to me.
Then just cap everyone else at 6th level. When you say a fighter has the same level and XP as a wizard ot cleric, you're claiming that his narrative power as a go-to guy is equal to that of a 14th level wizard or a 14th level cleric or a CR 14 monster. If he's far behind (like, say he's really only got half that moxy), then make him 7th level, not 14th. Claiming he's 14th is totally dishonest.
Now, it might be that you place even less value on honesty than you do on balance, when it comes to game rules, but that's a separate discussion.
I had this same discussion in a thread when the Bestiary first came out, and, yes, JJ came in and said, "The CR was fixed at the 3.5 level due to backwards-compatibility, so we nerfed them to make them fit that CR." As far as reducing HD and jacking STR, that would interfere with the "monsters at these CRs should have these stats" table they were showcasing in the Bestiary.
So, there you have it.
For what it's worth, in my home game apes have 21 STR and 6 INT, and I don't feel bad about that at all.
I do enjoy a role play heavvy game where really stats don't matter at all, it's all down to the individual player. In conclusion the worst anyone can ever do is to try to be like 4th.E D&D and balance classes, because balance is the death of role playing.
If all you're doing is ignoring the rules and role-playing, then balance between classes shouldn't matter to you one way or the other, should it? I mean, you just role-play and make up a story. If they're balanced mechanically, you ignore that, in exactly the same way ther lack of balance doesn't impact you now.
You can ALWAYS play make-believe story hour and ignore the rules, no matter what the rules are. So why be so against mechanical balance, if you're going to ignore most of the mechanics anyway?
What really disgusts me though is that the general consensus still seems to be that casters are overpowered. This is even supported by adventure developers stating (for the last 10 years consitently) that high level casters throw off the narrative of their story, or at least have the potential to do so if played intelligently. What I'm asking for is stories written in adventure paths accommodating these things (Divinations, teleportation etc.).
Morain, high-level casters ARE extremely powerful, but not necessarily if your whole party is committed to acting like they're still 1st level: going room to room killing monsters. What makes them powerful is their ability to choose NOT to follow that paradigm -- to throw off the narrative of the story, as you've alluded.
There are a lot of adventures/APs where you go into one dungeon to find the scrap of parchment that leads you to another dungeon that holds the amulet of the planes that transports you to the extraplanar dungeon where a prisoner (NPC ally of yours) is being held by the BBEG, who in turn resides on a different plane in a different dungeon. And the AP sort of expects you to tackle those things in that order, and to kill all the monsters in each dungeon along the way.
But, the thing is, higher-level casters have the tools so that they can choose not to do that. Divination, properly used, allows you to bypass one or both of the first two dungeons entirely. Following the timeline, that might mean that your NPC friend hasn't even been taken prisoner yet, eliminating the third dungeon as well. Instead, you can use divination or planar ally spies or whatever to find out that the BBEG is also planning to do horrible things in location X as part of his plans, which might be considered "backstory" in the AP as written, but is now within your grasp to pre-emptively put a stop to. And maybe you find the BBEG at that location. Even if he escapes, you now know who he is, so they can scry his location, teleport or plane shift there, bypass 90% of his "lair" dungeon, and take him out for good.
Most of the time, the DM doesn't want to deal with all that, and I really don't blame him or her -- because he's prepped a prewritten AP, and here the players aren't following the script, throwing all that work out the window! So most DMs, consciously or unconsciously, more or less railroad the party into pretending to be 1st level again. Either they pull the really stale "the bad guy and all his plans are mysteriously divination-proof" thing (even though no such thing may be written in the AP or in any way supported by the rules), or through other mechanisms. For example, "No! You can't go sraight for the bad guy! He captured your ally and you have to rescue them first!" -- forgetting that, as a point of plot continuity, he only captured their friend AFTER they crashed his 1st two dungeons, as a hostage against them crashing the fourth.
By the same token, many players don't have the imagination to play the scenario like that. Or maybe they do, but they want to make the DM's life easier, because he's a nice guy and all, so they play along with the railroad even if, on some level, they realize that there are really 20 other ways they could be approaching things.
In any event, if the players have the imagination to think outside the train line, and if the DM has the energy and improv ability to roll with it and follow the logical results, then the game at high levels is entirely different from the one you play at low levels. Because most fights can be bypassed by spells, information becomes more valuable than swords and armor. And the people with the tools to obtain that information, to travel vast distances instantaneously so as to make use of it, and to put monkey wrenches in the enemy's ability to do the same -- they're the ones who are calling the shots.
In D&D, it's spells that allow you to do that. Because no one saw fit to give the fighter a world-spanning empire as a class feature that would enable him to have, in effect, eyes and nearly-limited power in a lot of places at once. And no one wants to sit around while the rogue breaks into the prison and rescues the hostage solo (even if he had the abilities needed to do so) while they attack the BBEG simultaneously during the next session (while the rogue's player stays home).
So, in a nutshell, that's the deal. Casters are more powerful because thir abilities put them on only slightly lower footing than the DM's, when it comes to making narrative decisions. Fighters and rogues and monks can't do that. Either the DM artificially empowers them because he feels sorry for them or, far more often, he simply drags everyone else down to their level, and you end up with high-level parties still doing dungeon crawls, of all things. In which case the fighter is just fine.
I prefer the Concentration Check mechanic, though they could make it a bit hard to do so.
That's what I've done. Unlike the current system, in which Concentrations are moderately difficult at low levels but auto-succeed at higher levels, I've scaled them: the DC is 10 + the BAB of the person threatening you + 2x spell level.
Also the whole "ignore tanks, gib wizard" screams metagamey.
Not if the opponent has half a brain. Then it screams "self-preservation."
OK, here's all the "build" you need: We're 10th level. I've prepared plane shift twice, and my friend has prepared teleport twice. You can allocate all your gp and write down all your combat feats and stuff, but it's pointless -- because X times per day, if we want to run away, or bypass an encounter, we can do that. If we want to rest without getting ambushed, we can go to Tahiti and do that while sipping pina coladas. And we can do that and still pay for all the hookers and blow we want. We can choose to let you come with us, or instead have you stay behind and fight some more mooks, because you're not allowed (by the game) to make those choices for yourself.
So casters generally get skip/bypass some fights entirely, and likewise a lot environmental challenges, and so on. Spells that do things like that mean, really, that the game has ceded large parts of the ongoing story to their discretion.
Of course, the DM can come up with a lot of contrived reasons why they can't do those things -- but that's working directly contrary to how the game is set up (i.e., with the assumption that they're supposed to get those abilities). Wouldn't it be nice if Mr. DM didn't need to constantly work at cross-purposes to the written rules?
Again, the fighter can come along, or stay behind and be stranded and possibly ambshed. But in no event does he get to derail the whole story, or change the plotline. The game does not allow him the tools to do so. He can kill monsters, and that's it. He doesn't get to choose how the story will unravel; he just gets to go along with it, do his job (and do it well!), and not expect to have a real say in things.
A "build" is fine for comparing combat options, but when you start looking at the bigger picture of what the narrative tools are, the disparity is jarring.
Paid. Not paid you, but paid :)
Honestly, I seriously hope no one else is peddling my stuff -- at least not with my name on it. I believe I would take great offense at that.
(If they want to steal my ideas, that's a different matter entirely -- I encourage it!)
I think this is the difference in our beliefs. I understand that a caster will be ahead of a martial because of the reality-bending nature of magic. But, as long as a martial character still has options that keep them fun and relevant through the levels, I'm honestly okay with that.
My problem with that is that we're playing in a level-based system, one that pretends your 15th level fighter contributes as much to the team as your 15th level wizard. That's what "15th level" is supposed to mean. With that assumption out of the way, it would be far more honest (and a lot simpler, in terms of game play) to just get rid of levels entirely. You'd have wizards, who drive the story, and mundanes, who carry out their orders, and there would be none of this dishonest nonsense about pretending they're equal options.
And I disagree, especially since beyond those levels, you get into magic equipment that your fighter uses to be more than just a mortal. You are essentially being Iron Man or Justice League Batman, with gadgets and armor to keep up with everyone and not be the Aquaman.
Then all those gadgets and armor and stuff should be class features, not economy-based. Because if you are mortal man + X gp worth of gear, and your wizard friend is mortal man + godlike magic + X gp of magic gear, then he's still ahead of you by a margin of exactly godlike magic.
A far more balanced system would be that the fighter is a mortal man + Y gp worth of minor gear + godlike magic in the form of armor and stuff that no one else has access to, and a wizard is a mortal man + Y gp worth of minor gear + godlike magic in the form of spells. But I don't see anyone arguing for that.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Just because they stole the fluff from someone else does not mean you can then alter the entire principle behind the thing and keep the original name.
But that's exactly what has happened over the last 40 years, through no fault of mine. Take it up with the Pure Language Police.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Vancian magic was a fluff created by Jack Vance, regardless of how WOTC took it and paizo changed it.
Your facts and timeline are garbled; TSR was quite a bit before WOTC.
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
The fact that people still call it vancian magic is disingenuous because of the fact that the entire principles of the original fluff have been removed. You're trying to alter the concept behind something and keep the name and then argue about new fluff completely separate from the original concept and I'm not letting that fly.
Does it bother you in the same way that "gay" no longer means "happy"? Are you "not letting that fly"? How are you going to stop the current use? By using magic (Vancian or otherwise)?
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
You can refluff it, but the entire term is based on the fluff of Jack Vance. If you refluff it, its not vancian anymore and thus not a part of this discussion. My argument relates to vancian magic, which is the point of this thread.
The term "Vancian" has come to stand for the mechanics, not the fluff. If you mean it solely to refer to some text from a story, and not at all to refer to the D&D magic system, then you're using the term differently from pretty much everyone else in the world right now.