I think the problem is that you aren't going to get change unless you actually do analyisis rather than just having people make proclaimations without evidence, talking to anyone who disagrees with the assertion like they are mentally challenged.
There are two types of analysis that are needed, however, and this is where people end up talking past each other.
1. The "playtest" people scoff at "theorycraft" as worthless and insist that only impressions from playing is valid. Sadly, those impressions are qualitative, idiosyncratic, and dependent on a whole host of variables other than just the classes in question. Also, obvious broken combinations get totally overlooked if the "build" in question doesn't happen to show them. In short, taken by themselves, "builds" and playtests are anecdotes, not data.
2. The "look at the mechanics" people scoff at playtesting for those reasons and want to look at the math behind the classes (and, yes, anyone who claims that 2 > 2+2+1 is mentally challenged; no playtesting is needed for that). Sadly, however, without playtesting it's a lot harder to spot things that look good/bad, but which in fact come up so seldomly (or are used so seldomly) that they may as well be discounted. Also, you don't get the "dampening" effect of a live DM who works against the rules in order to minimize imbalances (which most do, consciously or unconsciously). Finally, you risk getting the much-dreaded "Shroedinger Effect" that is so derided by the playtesters.
Only by examining the raw mechanics in light of rigorous, controlled playtesting, and then looking at the playtest results through the lens of how the mechanics actually worked, can we start to get a real handle on the issues.
As long as we remain divided into two camps, as long as "theorycraft" and "Schroedinger" get thrown around as insults, and as long as playtesting and mechanical analyses are considered as somehow antithetical rather than complimentary, then getting a good picture is never going to happen.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Yeah just saw that Royal bank of Scotland after awarding there higher ups 100 million pound (Thats about $152,315,459.25) In bonuses 48 hours later firing 700 staff because there not making enough money. Tell me again how top brass arent getting overpaid?
And to think they could easily have simply awarded themselves half the bonus, and kept those 700 people on -- but that would be madness! These people are job creators! They deserve that extra money for creating negative 700 jobs!
You might pick up some Dennis Lehane (Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone are his two most popular books, but only because they've been made into movies) just for blanks and giggles. Definitely worth reading, but not for the timid.
Mystic River was awesome, but Shutter Island kind of sucked donkey dick, so I stopped there. Kind of like how David Baldacci's Absolute Power was a tour-de-force, and everything he's written since has been like a 10-year-old wrote it.
Also: "Alexandre Dumas was black!"
Well, half, but, yeah. Read Gregoire and there's no doubt! Also, Django was awesome! I just wished they'd cast someone other than Sam Jackson in that role -- it was a bit too much for me.
I was trying to stick to the Pathfinder structure as much as possible, even though it seemed fairly illogical, because I didn't want to reprint all the other rules and end up with something even more unmanageable than the monstrosity I produced!
Kirth, you read all the right authors. :)
My favorites are Jack Vance, Robert Parker, Andrew Vachss, Henry David Thoreau, Dashiell Hammett, Alexandre Dumas. I'm not sure if there's a common theme there, but if there is, please recommend more!
Robert B. Parker wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
That is an act happening to a person, not a spoken word. no real comparison there
If you're talking only "sticks and stones," that's a separate discussion. Overall, though:
Some people can say and/or do things to me that others can't.
the problem is that someone calls a black man a "N&**$#", not that a white man specifically does it.
More so, the problem is when someone refers to a black man that way in order to try and assert dominance over him. No free man should ever have to allow that.
I do realize that asians are victims of similar charming ways of expressing themselves, but that was not my question. Simply: Is it worse for a white man to call a black man a "N@#!!@" than if an asian does it, or are both situations equally offensive?
I'd say that, today, it's pretty close. Barring of course something more personal, like, "I wish I could still lynch you people the way my granddaddy used to" -- that would nudge it into pure fighting words, I'd think. People, rightly, tend to get annoyed at that sort of thing.
It's also instructive, I think, to look at the Crown Heights Riots.
But the problem was several times described as a white man calling a black man "N!!#%*" meant invoking slavery. Asians don't enter into that, to my knowledge. If the asian isn't doing that, then is there a qualitative difference? Should the black man be more or less offended compared to the white man saying it?
Slavery compounds the issue, but mostly inasfar as the remnants of the attitude responsible for it still reverberate -- no one alive today was then, so it's only the remnants we're dealing with. An Asian-American, miffed at the Japanese-American Internment, might get a whiff of something similar, n'est-ce pas? Or, for that matter, I might still get a little kick listening to Kinky Friedman sing "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore." But mostly, I think, it's about how things are now. Others might disagree.
Andrew R wrote:
if you are ok with it being said by one be ok with it being said by all.
Like hell. Mrs Gersen can jump my bones as she pleases. Some skank in a bar tries it, and I dump her on the floor. This shouldn't be that hard to understand.
I would like to know the answer to the question above... what if it's an asian calling the black man "n!&&*!"?
Same answer. Has he proved in to the point where the black man can call him a "slanty-eyed buck-toothed rice paddy farmer" and have it be OK? Then go for it.
Until then, back the hell off.
Andrew R wrote:
Any thing but equal is racist, and you all seem to support that.
"Racist" is a bit of a red herring in this context. It's about oppression vs. empowerment. Kind of like the white rural kids all bragging how "country" they are, and how "redneck" -- but that's a LOT different from a black guy (or a city folk) calling them "inbred crackers" or "white trash," don't you think?
So, white kids call themselves derogatory names out of pride, but it's not OK for the black kids to call them derogatory names out of hatred. Same deal with the "N" word being contested here. That's equal.
And, guess what? When I'm at a wine bar with my gay friend [name redacted], and make fun of him by threatening to order a rosé ("You guys love pink, right?") I can get away with it because he knows full freaking well I've got his back -- I've proved it before. He sees it's me and he KNOWS it. Someone else comes up and makes a similar remark, to be nasty, and he decides to act on it? He knows I'm with him all the way.
You want to call a black man the "N" word, and have it be OK? You've got to prove in first. There's an admission standard that you're not meeting. And you need to meet it for every individual, for real, and not just make one b&*+*$@* claim of equality. Until you do, quit whining about it.
Andrew R wrote:
if that word is so terrible why do THEY use it so often?
I refer to myself as a "goblin" all the time, 'coz I'm an ugly short dude, and a little bit of self-deprecation never hurt anyone. Some of my friends call me "that psycho midget" as a reminder of some idiot who referred to me as that back in high school -- it's a reminder of how long we've been friends.
But some big lunk walks up, shoulders me aside, and says "move it, pipsqueak?" I'll put him on the ground. Why don't I let THEM do it? Because when I do it to myself, or my friends do it, it's with some respect. But when someone does it to try and "put me in my place," they're making it clear that there's no room for detente or mutual respect -- they're insisting on dominance or submission. Guess which one I'm going to pick?
When a black man uses the "N" word, it's generally not a direct challenge to the person he's talking to. When a white man calls a black man that, in most cases it's very much a direct challenge (I say "most" because there are a few corner cases in which it wouldn't be -- generally if the two people have proven their friendship, loyalty, and lack of racial acrimony to each other across a number of years, and depending on how it's used.)
I suspect that everyone (except maybe houstonderek) hates when I'm a player in real life. I'm so often the DM, I get really excited when I get to play, which means I have a very unfortunate tendency to hog the spotlight just out of sheer exuberance in finally getting to be a player for once.
I suspect that if I got to play more often, this problem would fade, but most sane people aren't willing to learn my gazillion pages of bizarre and idiosyncratic houserules just to DM a game that I happen to be in.
Reminder to self: this weekend, send copies to Jam, jreyst, the Vulture, and to the Most Excellent PBP player who emailed me last week when I was out. And imaginary e-cookies to all as well! (the chocolate chip kind, not the bad kind.)
Oh, yeah, movies or shows with D&D references.
My days of being called one or the other by people other than my wife (who prefers "dork" anyway) are 30 years or so past, but back in my day, a "geek" was a social outcast, and a "nerd" was a book-smart geek. That might all have changed by now; dunno.
With the change making concentration a skill again, and tying caster level to the number of ranks in that skill, do the "virtual ranks" from the Skill Focus feat actually increase a caster's caster level for the purposes of spell effects (and not just to penetrate SR)?
I'd thought I'd spelled it out that no, they do not. Lemme check the PDF when I get home and I'll cite a reference. If nothing else, there's the statement in its own section in Chapter 7 (spells) that says your maximum CL = your HD, no matter what feats, talents, or anything else you apply.
Also, there is a discrepancy in the table and the description on pg. 9 for calculating the Dispel Magic DC. The table says 16+CL, the description says 11+Caster's concentration modifier.
Ugh, I'll check on that, too.
By the way, it's nagging at the back of my mind, but I'm half-thinking that Mobility (the fighter talent) might be better as a feat that scales with ranks in Acrobatics. I'll have to think about the ramifications, though. Overall I'd like more feats that let you do cool things with more skills ranks.
I don't care about partially-charged wands, but I'm very concerned about the de-valuation of the word "literally." That word, used correctly, is an absolutely essential tool for someone who exagerrates and/or uses analogies, parables, and metaphors a lot (e.g., me) -- it enables you to succinctly inform the reader/listener that what's being quoted is being quoted EXACTLY, with no interpretation, no exaggeration, no misremembering, and no analogies. In other words, you're saying "I may speak loosely sometimes, but this time I'm being dead-on careful to be exact, all the way down to the last letter."
When you say "the rules literally say that," you are claiming point-blank that you're quoting those rules word-for-word.
Unfortunately, I'm mostly seeing the word thrown about with gleeful abandon as an all-purpose emphasis word, devoid of actual meaning. People will say "the rules literally say that" not to mean that that's what the rules say, but to mean that the reader is supposed to accept their interpretation in the absence of any specific quotation. It's not only lying, it's worse, because on top of the lie, the more you do this, the more you erode the word's actual meaning. At that rate, very soon, there will be no way remaining in the English language to express to others that you're not just quoting off the top of your head or being somewhat sloppy. Everyone will assume at all times that everyone is misquoting, exaggerating, or otherwise not to be trusted, because we're rapidly depriving ourselves of the only way to succinctly tell people that we're actually speaking, well, literally.
I don't think it's that more people are more easily offended. Instead, it's that courtesy, manners, and empathy have become much more rare.
Yeah, that's exactly what Plato wrote, too. And amazingly, not only is the world still here, but we have far lower incidences of murder, wholescale violence, and the like per capita than at any time in human history. See also Steve Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature.
As a follow-up, here's how the dazing feat is written in my actual houserules. It's somewhat weaker at 6th level here than the one we discussed specifically because fighters in my home game actually get class features other than feats. Also, we use scaling combat feats, as shown. ("Strike" feats are a whole subset of combat feats that all activate similarly.)
STAGGERING STRIKE (Combat, Strike)
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: As a standard action, make a single attack. Any opponent with a discernable anatomy that is damaged by this attack must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 10 + half your base attack bonus + your Strength modifier) or be flat-footed until the start of his next turn.
You can use this feat in conjunction with a full attack, but this imposes a -5 penalty on all attacks that round. Multiple hits in a single round can increase the condition from staggered to dazed, and from dazed to stunned.
Quality in a performance is often measured in the acclaim it receives. BBT has won 13 awards and been nominated more times than I care to count. This makes it very high quality in the views of it's audience and the members of the industry.
That's at least a more objective measure -- we can count awards and nominations, especially if we track where they're coming from (I've received 20,000,000 awards for Best Game Designer, but they're all from me, so they don't count).
Of course, "30 Rock" blows BBT out of the water using that rubric, but that's a topic for another thread...
Maybe, but it's in the interest of developing a reasonable baseline for what constitutes a well-made base class, mechanically-speaking. If the new ones deviate wildly from that baseline, we can point to that and say, "See, that's why." Otherwise, we're left with "I don't like the fluff," which is like saying "I hate M&Ms because I hate the color brown!" -- M&Ms are exactly the same if the shell is green or yellow.
Back on topic (and I may have said this like 20 pages ago), I mildly dislike BBT because I can't seem to identify with any of the characters (I find them whiny and don't really care about their problems), and because it isn't really my type of humor. But that's along the same lines as my mild dislike for dub-step, which Mrs. Gersen is obsessed with and plays all the time. I don't tell her to turn it off unless it's actively preventing me from getting to sleep. Oh, yeah, and I still have no idea what "Community" is, assuming people don't mean the brand of coffee.
Here's a good example of a reasonably level-appropriate effect that would work as we want:
DAZING STRIKE [COMBAT]
Note that it occupies one (1) bonus feat slot; it allows reasonably level-appropriate effects (Cf. hold person) and allows for limited battlefield control (thus usable as an AoO); and it isn't a spell, although it still comes with a similar built-in use limitation (you can use it more than once per day, but it eats into your action economy if you use it proactively, by preventing you from getting in a full attack, starting as soon as you get it).
That's exactly the point -- they don't have to BE spells, but they have to be comparable in power, number, and availability. That one-shot-kill fighter-only feat? That's great, unless it requires him to use all his other previous fighter feats just in order to be eligible for it. Then it sucks compared to spells or barbarian powers. So if they require long trees, like you're discussing? Then the fighter in essence gets one or two powers, not 10 or 11, because you're spending a lot of your bonus slots on prerequisites that you don't really want.
We need to compare apples to apples. In the long run, giving the fighter one bonus feat/2 levels -- and then creating a whole series of fighter-only feats that no one else can take, and that occupy a tiered hierarchy of effectiveness -- to fill them with? That's essentially saying "giving them spells," in this context, because they work more like spells than feats, from a game design perspective. Creating normal (anyone-can-take-them) feats with strings of prerequisites to fill them? That means the fighter isn't getting his share of "spells"/"rage powers"/equivalent unless you give him like 2 bonus feats per level.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
For example, I consider my Toyota Yaris to be an extremely high quality automobile. I base that on the fact that it does the job I need from it with less time and money invested into accomplishing that goal than just about any other vehicle on earth. In that sense I take a John Stuart Mill approach to "quality". Other people might take a more Platonic view, where "quality" is some mystical attribute that truly exists within the item being examined, even if there is no current means to measure it.
Yes, you can set your own denotation* for what "quality" means in a philosophical sense. But most people would consider things like how often it breaks down ("reliability," to be more exact) as the measure of the "quality" of an automobile -- that's the connotation* that you keep trying to ignore. It makes your earlier statemet (to which I initially replied) either meaningless (giving you the benefit of the doubt, which I most assuredly do) or intentionally misleading (if you were a slimier sort than I think you are). Either way, it's an inappropriate term to be applied in this situation.
I don't care about the show, just clear communication in the English language!
* Note that these two words don't mean the same thing!
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
But we DO have another means to validate the "quality" of a sit-com, and that is "how well does it allow advertisers to reach their target demographics?"
Don't forget that Stuffy Grammarian is one of my aliases! I prefer appropriate terms -- especially when communicating in English, which has so many to choose from. I would say that you've validated the effectiveness of the sitcom in that regard, as opposed to its "quality." Just as, if my cat jumps to the top of the refrigerator, I might consider that as evidence of his "athletic prowess" as opposed to his "celestial awesomeness." (He has both, of course, but that's a separate discussion.)
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Back to sit-coms, we've already decided that "quality" is subjective in that realm.
I've more tried to suggest that "quality" is an inappropriate term. Just as one does not talk about the "hardness" of air or the "durability" of talcum powder. The word "quality" carries connotations that don't (or at least currently cannot be) apply to sitcoms.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Kirth, if my Timex loses accuracy, I can reset it to the correct time. The only time the improved accuracy of a Rolex would actually come into play is for someone who has no other means to validate and reset their time, and NEEDS TO do so.
I seem to recall addressing exactly this point at some length in that same post...
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
The difference in accuracy between a $5 digital Timex and a $50,000 precision Rolex is generally well below any margin of error needed by human schedules.
At the time of purchase, this is no doubt correct, but part of measure of a watch's accuracy is whether the watch retains that accuracy. If Richy Van Snobhead's Rolex loses 1 second per 10,000 years, and your Timex loses 1 second per day, then next year you're running late for appointments and Richy isn't. That means that your watch is NOT serving its intended function unless you reset it constantly. But now pretend that all other means of timekeeping are being compared, which means you can't just consult your cel phone or town hall clock or dial up the Atomic Clock for the official time (as tempting as it is for everyone to compare all sitcoms to Seinfeld, I don't accept that as an objective yardstick, even if Time magazine disagrees with me). If they're ALL being assessed independently, then the ones that lose the least amount of time are inherently more fit for their purpose (and therefore of higher "quality") than the ones that slow down a lot faster.
But the function of sitcoms isn't simply longevity, or else "MASH" would be WAY "better" than BBT. If their function is to make us laugh, we could potentially measure that with % of viewers, volume, duration, and frequency... and see if it consistently outperforms "Family Guy" or "30 Rock." (On the other hand, if the function is to raise advertising revenue, then the Superbowl is a much higher-quality sitcom by that rubric, which seems like it ought to be a logical fail of some kind).
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
To address your Rolex analogy. Rolex watches are an over-engineered product that relies on marketing and elite appeal for its sales, not its "quality." I've seen many comparisons of relatively cheap watches that are every bit as accurate and rugged as Rolex watches. I would suggest that spending that much money on such a trivial purpose is an exercise in elitism, not "quality."
I picked that analogy because it's one in which I'd been led to believe the opposite is true (the cheaper ones did not perform nearly as well); if I was misled in that regard, so be it... and I provided a second example for that contingency (I wouldn't buy a Rolex anyway, even if I had the money, so it's a moot point in a sense). Still, we accept that there are some measures of quality that are indeed objective. In performing arts, those measures do tend to be subjective at this time, if only because our ability to parse what makes "good" literature or a "moving" work of art is still in the stone age compared to our ability to, say, determine if diamond is harder than corundum, when it comes to drill bits being resistant to scratching and mechanical marring of the cutting faces (and, yes, it is).
In any event, regardless of whatever denotation you want to assign to it, the term "quality" carries connotations of superiority in some intinsic aspect, not simply in terms of popularity.
I agree that martials need awesome things as they get higher levels. I don't want those awesome things to be spells or spell like things. I don't even really like the pool of points to power things mechanic for martial types.
They don't have to be, but they should be comparable in terms of number, power, and versatility (which feats are emphatically not). Barbarian rage powers are an excellent example: they come in tiers ("You must be X level to select this rage power"), they don't occupy feat slots, and they have myriad different uses. The number known is roughly on a par with the number of spells prepared by a paladin or ranger, but instead of "whenever you want, but 1/day" they're "generally no daily limit but only when raging."
Comparing a barbarian to a paladin or ranger is apples-to-apples, because they're all full BAB, half-caster classes. Yes, including the barbarian, in a very real sense. The fighter loses out because he gets nothing comparable to that half-casting. It doesn't have to be spells, but it should be options that are tiered from being equivalent in power to 1st level spells, to being equivalent in power to 4th level spells, because that's what half-casters get.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Validation of the quality of mass-marketed products is generally affirmed through overall popular reaction.
Correction: "Validation of the popularity of mass-marketed products is generally affirmed through overall popular reaction."
Watches are mass-marketed products. A Rolex is objectively a higher-quality product than the brand X "wristwatch" off the cheapo rack in Target. It is more accurate, is constructed of more durable materials, and has a far wider range of ambient consitions under which it remains operational. These can all be numerically tested. But I'd wager that vastly more brand X Target watches are sold than Rolexes. The cheapo watches are vastly more popular (in this case due to cost differential and availability, but still), but that popularity in no way affirms that the Rolex is a lower-quality product.
As another example nearer to my heart, George Dickels #12 brand Tennessee whiskey is a far superior product to its only direct competetor, Jack Daniel's black label (the former is still bottled at 90 proof, vs. JD's 80 proof since 2004, and yet the Dickel's is smoother and less harsh on the throat and taste buds). Price is comparable. Daniels wins the popularity contest hands-down not because it's a better product, but because it has better name recognition ("Jack-and-Coke") and because it became a staple of the biker crowd and then, by extension, by every redneck idiot in the world who wanted to be a biker but couldn't afford a Harley.
3.5 had tome of battle, which had the warblade. It got many abilities that were all mundane, but as you leveled they scaled in their own way. That might be a good example of "fighter spells".
Though I feel we're a little off topic from base classes.
Maybe, by I sort of feel that if we had a "base classes should probably look something like X" as a baseline, the comparisons of new ones would be a lot simpler.
Devil's Advocate wrote:
I personally think that the Druid, Wizard, and Witch (or Druid and Int based classes that are not skill focused) should be the only ones with 2+Int skills. Like with BaB, I think it would be very cool to have Good, Medium, and Poor Skills, and like Hit Dice the same with exceptions.
I'd halfway like to see the following implemented for all classes:
Ranger and paladin and barbarian (rage powers = "spells") are more or less at (1) already.
Cleric, oracle would have reduced BAB.
Note that the three weakest classes (rogue, monk, fighter) gain the most, if we standardize things. Imagine that!
Nobody said murder had to be quick, or without forms of torture other than rape, or painless.
It's a bit dishonest, though, to change it from "murder is worse" to "torture + murder is worse."That's a lot like saying "murder is worse than rape because the murderer will rape you before killing you."
@ Dr. CM -- great post regarding experience levels; and, yes, class-based games are probably a lot easier for new players -- I know I started with them, way back in the day. That said, I and a lot of the people I've played with have been playing dozens of RPGs for 30+ years, so "past a certain level of gaming experience" is pretty much the standpoint we're coming from!