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A lot of it is the removal of meaningful restrictions on casters, especially as they level. Most metamagic feats help them get around such restrictions which really makes them ramp up.
What I've done in my games is that for spells, I take a lot of inspiration from novels and such on restrictions on magic. Wild Magic, magic that harms the caster, turning most high level spells into long rituals.
Dice rolling worked better in older editions because ability scores werent so tied to things like saving throws and the math was flatter. Look at LotFP, Beyond the Wall, or really any retroclone and you can see that. In 3.X, stats are more important, so you can really feel the sting. Also, many retroclones have funnels where you basically make a bunch of charcters and run them through an adventure. Whoever survives is your character.
sure you dont mean dice roll?
There are three main types of encounters. Combat, social, and skill. Every other class can contribute something to these encounter types. Rogues have sneak attack and skills to deal with people, obstacles, and traps. Unchained rogue has other stuff that I don't recall right now for combat. Barbarians have a good skill list, rage, and some nifty rage powers to help them deal with obstacles. Wizards and clerics have magic and with more feats that let them break what little constrains they have, plus are consistently buffed by additional spells added to their list. . Rangers have skills, spells, weapon styles, an animal companion... You get the picture.
Fighters though don't have that same versatility. In combat, they do damage, but so does a barbarian. More often than not, the barbarian and ranger can come close and occasionally out damage while still having utility outside of combat. Without a great deal of investment, they can have some decent skills while still contributing greatly in combat. If a fighter wants the same skill points as a barbarian, they need at least an Intelligence of 14 to get the minimum 4 points that a barbarian straight up gets without any intelligence investment. They'd need an 18 in Intelligence to get the same 6 that a Ranger starts off with. And while they can get feats to shore up the weaknesses of a lack of skills, they become less effective in combat. Remember that while they get a feat every level, half of those must be combat feats. And putting points into Int or Charisma makes your Wisdom suffer, which is really bad because your will save is terrible. Bravery only works on one type of Will save. Mind control is pretty much your enemy, even with Iron Will. If you put points into Wisdom, then you will be hard pressed to find room for Int and Char.
It's not a matter of being a "dirty rotten min-maxer". I'm actually a firm believer that you don't NEED an 18 in your primary stat. But I've played a two handed fighter that didn't have an 18 Strength or a negative Charisma. And it was still difficult to contribute to anything outside of combat. With 20 point buy and the intent to not min-max, I found myself with a 14 Strength, a 14 in Dex, a 14 in Con, and a 13 in Int, with a 12 in Wis, and a 10 in Charisma. This is without picking a race mind you. That gets you 3 skill points and if you pick a trait that gives you Diplomacy as a class skill, that's really only a +4 to Diplomacy, which is okay, but nothing special. And now you have only two other skill points to use. Your perception is going to be +2 unless you can find a way to make it a class skill. Plus, your other physical skills are lower. You have a lower AC and HP, so you will feel that pain. Your Will save is +1. It's going to be a long rough road unless you pick a race to compliment your stats.
Meanwhile, a barbarian has their rage and rage powers to continue to rock out. Superstition is like an Iron Will that levels with you, and the drawback has rarely come up in game. So that makes up for your poor Will save, along with the bonus from Rage. Meanwhile the ranger has their spells and weapon styles and two good saves that make them still rock and roll in and out of combat without nearly the investment that the fighter needs. With 20 point buy, I can give my ranger similar stats and they will bring more to the table. Without min-maxing, I decide to give my ranger a 14 Strength, a 14 in Dex, a 14 in Con, and an 8 in Int, with a 14 in Wis, and a 12 in Charisma. . Since I have six skill points, I don't need Int, so I can give myself some more Con for HP or Dex for AC. With me purposefully dumping my Int, I have 5 skill points, the same AC and Health, but a better Will save, more skills, a better Perception, and if I take the same trait to make Diplomacy a class skill, a better Diplomacy. Hell, I could be better at Intimidate (the only social skill a Fighter gets as a class skill) than a fighter. And comparing feats, yeah a Ranger only gets one while a fighter gets two, but both are probably snagging Power Attack. While the fighter can get another fear (combat or social), the ranger still has a better Will save, way more skill points, and later one, will have spells and a cool pet to kick ass with. Or the ability to support my allies with the other Hunter's option. And some of your skills improve in the right terrain, so unless you are travelling to a different terrain type every session, you're covered.
The problem isn't actually balance. It's equity. It's everyone having something to bring in during combat, skill, or social encounter. They don't have to bring the same thing as another, or even be 'equal'. But they have to bring something to do so they don't stay silent and twiddle their thumbs while the grown ups are talking. A bard can fight, surprisingly well in combat. But they bring their spells and Inspiring Song to the table for combat. For skills, again, spells are useful and they have a wide variety of skills they can use, plus Jack of All Trades. For social encounters, bards can use their Performance skills in place of their social skills to have duels of wit. They aren't damage dealers like barbarians or reality shapers like wizards, but they still bring interesting options to the table. Same with a paladin and ranger and even a barbarian! Every other class has class features that help them bring something different to the table in any of those three scenarios, and most of them have spells to boot, which are stronger than feats. To do the same with a fighter, you have to sacrifice more than any other class to have an 'okay' Diplomacy that has a 45% chance of success against an indifferent person. And you still only have two more points to spend, assuming you don't go human or favored class skill. And that's it. No spells, no class features, no nothing. Just that and the hopes that the GM will throw you a bone with magic items.
With only three skill points in a non-min-maxed Fighter build, what can they bring to the table in a social encounter? Or a skill encounter? That's the problem They don't NEED to be skill monkeys or faces, just like the bard isn't a massive damage dealer. But the bard still has options in combat. And the fighter needs options in social and skill encounters. That's essentially my problem with the fighter in just about every iteration of D&D.
I live in Ft Lauderdale and commute to Miami a lot so here is what I can tell you.
Avoid drinking the tap water. It was recently discovered that there is some kind of nuclear leakage getting into Biscayne Bay.
Have an umbrella on you. It gets really rainy, especially in the afternoon.
Be careful where you go. Some areas are not friendly to outsiders. Liberty City and Overtown are no gos. Wynwood is lovely but it is in the middle of gentrification and so there are still some rough areas. Be careful at night. Hialeah is great for Cubans, but definitely a rough neighborhood.
Like said before, public transportation is absolute garbage. Cab drivers are also shady down here. Best to avoid them. If you're going to drive, be careful with traffic, Traffic in Miami is terrible. It's like Mad Max down here. People will cut you off with barely an inch between you. You absolutely have to be aggressive. Uber may be your best bet, but so is walking. Just be careful, because cars have very little regard for pedestrians. And parking isn't cheap, just a heads up.
The food scene is really eclectic in Miami. I've worked many events down here with fellow cooks. Seafood is big. You'll get fresh fish and seafood daily, which is nice. There are some nice Cuban places and bodegas to get some great Cuban food. American food down here is southern food (biscuits and gravy, fried chicken grits, barbecue) mixed with American classics (hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs) and a wide variety of ethnic foods. Since we have a large Italian and Jewish population, you'll find some amazing pizzerias and delis.
Also a big thing is upscale casual gastropubs. Essentially pubs that have good food, and takes pub fare and elevates them to be more fancy but still way more relaxed than a fine dining area. You'll see a lot of local microbrews with great beers (Like Funky Buddha and Wynwood Brew), fancy but delicious pub fare (big fancy burgers, high quality fish and chips, delicious mac and cheeses), and a good mix of other foods, like Korean bbq or Hawaiian poke salads. Wynwood is king here. Wynwood Kitchen is an amazing restaurant that I've had the pleasure of working with, and I know the cooks there. They are amazing and love their job. Jimmy's Kitchen has amazing Puerto Rican food. As a Puerto Rican, I can say they do a pretty great job. Joey's and Kyu are also good, Kyu especially if you like Japanese and Korean inspired food.
If you want to take a break from Miami and come more North, Ft Lauderdale has some good restaurants in the Las Olas and Himmarshee areas. Foxy Brown and Red Cow are great and owned by the same restauranteer. Roco's Tacos is a great Mexican area. Tap42, where I work at, is an awesome gastropub with 42+ kegs of beer.
Hopefully you enjoy South Florida. It's great to visit, just not live in :)
When running this, just be aware to make sure that the players understand this part. Tell them and encourage them to try creating tactics to deal with these monsters. With a limited set of options, you really need to be open to them about this and allow some crazy but innovative ways to deal with an encounter. Running away is always on the table of course, but if every encounter involves running away and you aren't running a Dr Who RPG, then it's going to get frustrating to your players.
Milo v3 wrote:
I feel the witch class would fit that role of gaining spells from an outside r our aberration.
Part of it is that. Part of it is lack of writing, an alphabet, agriculture, and a city state society, which would make it difficult for wizards or really anyone that uses spell research and spell books to exist. Part of it is flavor. I could see wizards in a Bronze Age era or beyond. But I think wizards and magi and arcanists might be the three scholarly classes I couldn't see fitting in the story of hunter gathering ancient men and women in a more primeval age.
I'd also say the same for classes depending on more ecclesiastic, organized religions, like the cleric or inquisitor.
doc the grey wrote:
On the issue of bows, they weren't that rare. Certainly no composite bows, but many hunter gatherer societies had bows along with javelins and atlatls and slings.
Definitely agree with Wizards and Clerics being really limited, maybe even non existent in a Stone Age setting. There aren't any city states at this point because there hasn't been an agricultural revolution. Although story wise, it would be cool to see a city state that has conquered agriculture and fire and is developing these wizard spells that you see nowadays.
In regards to the barter economy for early age, it actually wasn't very common in the early days. Many people theorize that people had more of a favor/debt economy, where you do something for someone with the hope that they repay your favor to them. This would be great of a stone age style game. If you are doing Bronze Age, there's still evidence of currency, but it's generally used for big transactions and was based on cattle and later grain standard.
Watching Crash Course on YouTube is really good for historical stuff. I'd definitely suggest taking a look.
As for magic, I went the opposite way and make magic more common, but way more dangerous and all casters have Wild Magic rolls. I also have the wilderness as a naturally magic, almost Feywild meets Wonderland area that gets stronger and more dangerous with the presence of magic and casters.
Cole Deschain wrote:
Let's not forget the island chain between the Americas that is more than just pirates and colonials ;)
I agree with PDK. Generally, I like starting as the underdog and clawing my way up the levels. But other times, I kind of want to be a bad ass from the get go. Or at least more competent.
That said, the modules have been pretty good about this. Since they made them bigger and quarterly with Dragon's Demand, we've had eight modules that start between 3-11, so that's good.
Hayato Ken wrote:
I bought it the day it came out. Hell I'm talking about it in the Tian Xia thread, remember? lol
As for review, eventually. Though the product has been out for nearly five months and is only getting reviews in the last week because a dev said they didnt get enough reviews. Kind of feels like too little, too late now.
Like said above, Conan handled Lovecraftian stuff differently but well, More of a pulp feel to it than horror.
BUt let's be honest, horror is a difficult type of game to run, even if running CoC. Running a game is less about the game itself and more about the atmosphere. The players have to buy in because no one is really going to be scared of imaginary monsters attacking their imaginary characters.
For me, horror RPGs are like WWE. I know the whole thing is a work and wrestling is fake. But, when a wrestler has a great gimmick and can get me invested, I still dig it. Guess that makes me a horror smark :D
I'll definitely agree, it's a really good city right up. But I would've preferred something more tied to Tian Xia. With yokai or something that really reflects the culture instead of taking traditionally western creatures and putting eastern trappings on them.
Also perhaps we are veering off topic too much.
captain yesterday wrote:
Asian Hobgoblins tho, with a Half-orc Geisha, and a half-Oni template.
While true, I wouldve preferred something more tied to Asian mythology. We had Jade Regent which had a lot of good stuff about oni.
Honestly, something set in Goka or Dtang Ma would've been really cool. Goka is pretty metropolitan and has it's routes to the west, while Dtang Ma is that South East asian analogue that really isn't represented in RPGs. Seeing some of the creatures and customs of both of those areas would have been pretty awesome and I feel they missed out on an opportunity with Distant Shores to showcase that.
While we're on the subject of rabbits, how about the Centzontotochtin (or Totochtin for short)? These are drunken rabbit deities from Aztec mythology that wander and hold drunken parties for people. I could see the adventures with them luring people to party, and for those people to disappear and such. Would be interesting to see what's done with them.
And I think having stats for Santa would be interesting, but maybe a bit silly for the Bestiary. Though what if he could turn into Krampus... ;)
I'm really old school with some new school sensibilities. I don't avoid anything really, and Im upfront with my players about it. I do use certain abilities sparingly though. Mind control, save or suck, things like that. Monster knowledge really is important, so I always encourage players to put ranks and knowledge and be prepared. It's less golf bag syndrome and more.... more like playing Geralt in The Witcher.
The only thing I actively avoid is no-win situations. I don't force my players into doing adventures they don't like. Players always have options, even if it is diplomacy or running away.
I've been running a World Wide Wrestling game for the folks at the VGCW forums sporadically every Saturday morning. With school done, I plan on it being more often.
Adventurer, Conqueror, King is becoming my new goto game. I've always loved the kingdom building aspect of roleplaying games and was always sad that few games ever did anything with it. While I love Pathfinder's Kingdom building, ACKS has a fresh and different take on it that I like. And their Domains at War books are incredible. It's easy enough to run but has enough stuff for a simulationalist like myself to chew on.
Good to see someone else that likes this game. I run it sporadically with the VGCW forums, filled with a lot of wrasslin' nerds like me. It's an awesome game. I know they are coming out with Season 2, which has more international wrestling playbooks, like the Luchadore, the Catch Wrestler, and the Purorasu,
The Minis Maniac wrote:
See were I running a game in Andoren I would probably gritty that up too. I'd put major threats to this burgeoning democracy. Constant subversive threats from within by Cheliax. Maybe some super corrupt noble families trying to bring it down from within. That sort of stuff.
Since Andoran is fantasy America, I'd play up the dangers of Manifest Destiny and native races getting moved to make room for more Andorans. And lynchmobs going after anyone that is suspected of being of noble blood.
The Minis Maniac wrote:
While true, I meant it more about using subtlety to make an atmosphere of despair, instead of going straight for the jugular with torture and rape to make a point that "this ain't your dad's D&D game!!" I've always been more of a fan of the Hitchcock method of setting up an atmosphere, where the bigger, more violent aspects are implied and used sparingly, but still used. Apathy and nihilism rule my setting, with a few people trying to do good in a world where ignorance and selfishness begets cruelty.
I've been playing a lot of Witcher 3 and that really summarizes what I'm looking for in a girtty setting. Gray with some points of light and blobs of shadow.
I think when doing shades of gray, people tend to go quickly towards ultra violence and sexual violence to make the world seem gritty. I prefer more atmospheric and less on the nose showings of gritty fantasy settings that many people don't normally go for. Paranoia and mistrust, hopelessness, hypocrisy, sociopathy, famine, apathy, class war, bigotry... I feel these and more really add to that atmosphere one is looking to for a darker world without going straight to the jugular. Just remember that even in these dark times, there should still be some good people the PCs can trust.
I personally like to focus on a group's lack of empathy combined with hypocrisy to make compelling villains and that feeling of despair.
You'd be surprised honestly. Some of the consistently bad players I've come across have unfortunately been Old School Grognards.
The Racist actually brings up a broader issue I see in RPGs. It's when players pick a character flaw that seems like it'd be interesting, but becomes extreme and nigh cartoonish, to the point of parody. Like a character that's greedy is more like Scrooge McDuck than a more human feeling greedy person.
James Jacobs wrote:
That's fair and I appreciate that. If you want some inspiration or even an expert to talk to, check out Ehdrigohr. It's a RPG made by a Native American that explores themes and uses inspiration from several different aboriginal cultures. Maybe you can even contact him for advice. Great game too!