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Monte Leaves, Playtesting Begins


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Liberty's Edge

zagnabbit wrote:

Nope.

Wizards was aggressively pushing 3.5 books up until the week before the 4e announcement. A busy store, will move quite a few books in a week. Say the purchaser orders 3 copies of obviously good sellers, 4 or 5 copies of the CORE books and maybe 1 copy of the off or new thing (Savage Species, Heroes of Battle). Then when you reorder, you just fill in the slots for about 4 months.
Right before the release notice, the statement from the company was that there would be no new version before the summer of 2011. I'm pretty sure I had a hardback PFRPG book by then. In the 4 months before the release notice there were a bunch of splats released, slightly more than usual. The good and methodical owners ordered them. Once the announcement came down, people stopped buying rulebooks. Stock started to gather dust.
I remember this clearly, because I used to have lunch with a FLGS owner on Tue or Wed, my short day and his order day (store was closed but he came up for paperwork and the order). He commented on the all the new books hitting and I joked about cleaning the warehouse, next week the shoe had dropped and I was helping unpack a huge box of 3.5 material. That's crappy, considering this was a WotC "Gold Store".
You're screwed in the FLGS Buisness model, if you...

Once again I'm not saying wotc was not blameless. Yet to place the entire blame of having too much 3.5 entirely on Wotc sorry but no. Unless Wotc sent ninjas which put either a gun to your head or took over your mind with psychic powers a store owner that buys to much stock of a certain product bears some of the responsability if a new edition comes along. They already released a new edition a few years after having released a new edition. So one cannot say it was not expected. People love the freedom of choices yet don't want to take responsaiblites when their choices cause negatvie things to happen to them. Store owners took a risk buying so much product. Was it popular product yes. Was lot of crap imo yes. Were they forced to order so muchg as to have a detriment on the store in general no.

I'm overwight. No one forced me to eat the food that made me overweight. Sure I can do what most overweight people do and blame either the food or the companies that make the food yet in the end I have no one else to blame but myself for my poor choices. I get it's the in thing to make Wotc the big bad bogeyman of the hobby yet you can't blame them for everything. That's just taking the dislike of something too far imo.

Liberty's Edge

Diffan wrote:


I'm quite certain it'll have a HOST of stuff no one has ever seen and I'm of the opinion to think that a good portion might be pre-Spellplague or even "era neutral". If one looks at his Eye on the Realms articles, you really could just take out the words Spellplague or the time of 1479 DR and replace it with Time of Troubles, Return of Shade, or even the Crown Wars and add in the date of that times and it'll still work. So if it's useful information that can be used regardless of edition or era, then that'll be great.

I hope it does have information that allows it to be used in either any edition or era of play. A good example is the Pirates guide to Freeport. No game information just fluff. Which can be used in any fantasy setting no matter the rules.

Liberty's Edge

Diffan wrote:
Thorkull wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Stuff about System Mastery and how it's not very good as a design philosophy for Gaming products.

Frankly, I've never understood this attitude that new or casual participants in a hobby should be just as effective as experienced and/or serious participants. In fact, this is the only hobby where I've seen this theory proposed.

If our hobby were, for example, basketball:

Player 1 has a basketball hoop and backboard in his driveway at home, and spends 2 hours a day shooting hoops or, if it's raining, watching recordings of NBA games while playing with a basketball inside. He plays street ball in the park on Wednesday nights and is part of a league that plays every Saturday and his team practice every Thursday night.

Player 2 is a member of the same league, but he only shows up for the practices during the week and for league games. Other than that he doesn't touch a ball. Whether it's because he's not as dedicated, or has other priorities (family, work, a long commute) he just doesn't get in as much quality time.

By the theory that "Mastery is bad" player 2 should be just as skilled at the game as player 1. We all know that's bunk, but here we have a theory that states that in our hobby it should work differently.

Whatever your pursuit in life, the more time and energy you dedicate to it, the more skilled and effective you will be.

By that same token, one might assume that Player 1, who works diligently at the game, would get extreamly angry when his team still loses because his fellow teammates can't keep up or don't perform to his standards. He starts telling them what to do or tips on shooting or plays to run yet his teammates just don't care that much about a hobby to put that sort of effort in. They say he's being aggressive, selfish, and has far too much invested for something as minimal as a hobby. Tempers flare and the team breaks up, forcing Player 1 to find a new group.

That scenario has happend lots of times in D&D where...

My point being, of course, I have no use for any Realms created under the paradigm laid out by Perkins in his "We're too lazy to learn Realmslore so we're going to erase everything and basically start over". video.


Was there a video?

I wondered how so many people set out to completely restructure the world.
A company training video would explain it.

Liberty's Edge

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Part 1

Part 2


terraleon wrote:
pming wrote:
No offence to their skill, but I just don't get that "old school" vibe comming from them.

Ummmmm, Bruce "I wrote a ton of stuff for TSR in 1995" Cordell isn't Old School?

Admittedly, Rob Schwalb is more of a 3.5/4E guy, but you really had a trifecta of designers representing the spectrum from 2E to 4E. The only way you could have gotten any 1E was to pull Zeb Cook out of video game land or brought on Ed Greenwood (and I can see Mr. Greenwood being subversive about it. ;) ) and neither of those would have been cheap.

-Ben.

Kim Mohan is still around, and he started at TSR in 1979. Admittedly, he's an editor rather than a designer. I do think there's a certain amount of hypocrisy in the people claiming to want Old School design, when what they mean is 3e. It's not an OSR game in any sense.


Why do you think the desire for "Old School Design" equates to 3E? I want to see Old School stuff in 5E, but I'm looking back to AD&D, not 3E.


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Those videos are just. Yuck!
Now I'm wondering why they didn't just abandon the setting, it's not like they didn't have 6 or 7 more. And a history of letting settings lie fallow for years. They could have let Greenwood and Salvatore write books and left the setting alone otherwise.

One more thing to dislike I guess, Perkins comes off really disingenuous in those videos, maybe it's just me.


Comparatively, AD&D isn't that well designed. It's really just a bunch of houserules with inconsistent math. It was fun but some of it just strains the mind.

Kim Mohan is a nice name to see on a book. His books seem to be a little less screwup prone, Bill Slaviscek on the other hand should have an editor just for his editing.


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zagnabbit wrote:

Those videos are just. Yuck!

Now I'm wondering why they didn't just abandon the setting, it's not like they didn't have 6 or 7 more. And a history of letting settings lie fallow for years. They could have let Greenwood and Salvatore write books and left the setting alone otherwise.

Ive never seen it confirmed by anyone who knows, but I've heard that if they don't put out at least one sourcebook each year, they'll lose the rights to the setting.


I have heard that there is a reverse property clause in the original contract with Greenwood. It's something odd and unlikely but that could be it.

Too bad he didn't have a "no butchering it to unrecognizable planet" clause.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Geddes wrote:
zagnabbit wrote:

Those videos are just. Yuck!

Now I'm wondering why they didn't just abandon the setting, it's not like they didn't have 6 or 7 more. And a history of letting settings lie fallow for years. They could have let Greenwood and Salvatore write books and left the setting alone otherwise.
Ive never seen it confirmed by anyone who knows, but I've heard that if they don't put out at least one sourcebook each year, they'll lose the rights to the setting.

Yeah, I believe that was Ed's original deal with TSR when they published the old grey box, and the contract carried over when WotC bought TSR.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Why do you think the desire for "Old School Design" equates to 3E? I want to see Old School stuff in 5E, but I'm looking back to AD&D, not 3E.

Good for you. However, I'm sure the people saying that Monte leaving means there'll be no Old School influence aren't thinking of the Planescape setting material he did for 2e, but the 3e rule design he was involved with.


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Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Why do you think the desire for "Old School Design" equates to 3E? I want to see Old School stuff in 5E, but I'm looking back to AD&D, not 3E.

I find this viewpoint a little odd as well - 3.5 and PF seem modern to me, although that may well be because I came to them and 4E at the same time.

It doesnt sit with me to refer to Paizo as "old school" (no matter whether that's intended as a compliment or not). I consider them as innovative and cutting edge. Old school is great, but it's not new, experimental and envelope pushing.


Pan wrote:
So Diffan what about the folks who like system mastery? What part of 5E is for them? Could the core be simple and easy but modules stack the complexity?

These people can continue to play 3x or Pathfinder. Whats the problem? Not every D&D system should made for a bunch of hardcore nerds.

Pan wrote:


I have been hoping that this edition will have something for everyone but since Monte left I see a lot of folks hoping the style of game they dont like goes with him.

I am really glad that MC dont have his fingers on 5e anymore. Maybe now it its buyable for me. His anti-casual and anti-family-friendly "system mastery" philosophy should be rooted out in modern rpg systems on from the beginning.


Thorkull wrote:


Frankly, I've never understood this attitude that new or casual participants in a hobby should be just as effective as experienced and/or serious participants. In fact, this is the only hobby where I've seen this theory proposed.

I met several of talented new roleplayers who have been much better in portraying their character than so called veteran "system mastery" player whose contribution to the fun of the game was only to do 100 damage per turn, but who had no idea how to roleplay properly.

So, yes, a player can excel in roleplaying totally independently of his understanding of the rules because good roleplaying is only a matter of talent and personality not a matter of time commitment.

Dark Archive

Diffan wrote:
Pan wrote:
So Diffan what about the folks who like system mastery? What part of 5E is for them? Could the core be simple and easy but modules stack the complexity? I have been hoping that this edition will have something for everyone but since Monte left I see a lot of folks hoping the style of game they dont like goes with him.

Well for one, whatever comes out at the Playtest will probably have Mr. Cook's hand in it becuase he helped design it for so long. I doubt the other Devs will start ripping out parts he contributed to. System Master, as I experienced it, had a lot to do with picking spells and feats in 3E/3.X that didn't hamper your character. The feat might have looked good on paper, but in practice was often a bad decision. If you've obtained System Matery, it's easier to find these faults and side step them for other, better options.

In 4E, there is still System Mastery to a point and I'm sure if you go on the Character Optimization boards, they'll show you exactly where and how to achieve it. But the system itself is balanced enought that those choices (great, average, or poor) won't make or break a character or run your party into the ground. Case in point, a Fighter that takes feats that don't necessarily have to do with combat like Martial Practice, Alchemist, and Linguist can still perform pretty well in combat due to class features and abilitis inherent to a Fighter. Wtih 3.X, well that's just not the case. Not only are you specifically required to pick "Fighter" feats at 1st, 2nd, and every even level afterwards but some of those feats aren't very good. Toughness in 3E just gives you 3 HP....that's it and it's not considered a good choice by anyone for any class (except maybe Wizard at 1st level if he's human). Feats and Skill ranks are finite resources for your character to use, spend them unwisely and the system won't help you at all. 4E at least has layers where these choices are important, yet do not make or break anything your character might try to do in combat.

As...

I have to disagree with you there. System mastery is alive and well in 4E and is about as important as it was in 3.5. I have personally seen 4E characters with poor race/class/feat/weapon etc. combinations that made them extremely subpar. They were so bad we wouldn't have missed them if they weren't there. They just sucked up healing resources and made the rounds longer. In fact, I never saw it that bad in 3.5 or Pathfinder.

Dark Archive

zagnabbit wrote:

Those videos are just. Yuck!

Now I'm wondering why they didn't just abandon the setting, it's not like they didn't have 6 or 7 more. And a history of letting settings lie fallow for years. They could have let Greenwood and Salvatore write books and left the setting alone otherwise.

One more thing to dislike I guess, Perkins comes off really disingenuous in those videos, maybe it's just me.

They didn't abandon it because it was the most popular campaign setting for a long time. They couldn't let that money go. It's probably not anymore after the dreaded Spellplague, but it was for much of the 2E/3.0/3.5 era maybe even a bit in the 1E era.


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The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".


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Brian E. Harris wrote:

The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".

I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.


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zagnabbit wrote:
Comparatively, AD&D isn't that well designed. It's really just a bunch of houserules with inconsistent math. It was fun but some of it just strains the mind.

I'd say that with all the stuff we've been through with 3e and 4e, I've come to the conclusion that AD&D was a lot better designed than a lot of people give it credit. It may have lots of varying subsystems, but the game still holds together really well.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:

The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".

I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.

I've played tons of high level casual games, one-nighters, short runs and single modules games. As long as we get a little heads up ahead of time what level range we're looking at, we're good. I've tossed in level 15-25 PC's before with very little problem. Most games were attempts at actual campaigns, that turned into casual games mostly due to schedule constraints.

I'm a big fan of System Mastery, but I know it's not for every gaming group and it's not the best option for most players. But, the fan that I am, having Monte on board at WotC was a big relief and made me very optimistic about 5e. I still feel pretty good about it, as I'm a fan of the other developers as well, but having Monte gone does lessen my overall excitement.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Steve Geddes wrote:


I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.

What exactly do you define as a subpar character?

Liberty's Edge

Brian E. Harris wrote:

The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".

While it's not s rules heavy as say something like Gurps or Hero System neither is 3.5 rules light. As a player and DM one has to know what certain fests can do. What damage spells can do and if those spells have an effect beyond just damaging a target. The length of buff and damage spells. Same thing as a DM. At high levels you need to have a group and a DM that knows the game to a certain degree or it just slows down in play. system mastery is not a must yet imo it's needed. And to agree with some posters while somewhat less it still exists in 4E. As with many other rpgs the higher you get the more you can do with your character. So while it's not rules heavy neither are the D&D rules light by any stretch of the imagination imo. Not unless you houserule it.

On another point the only time I have seen subpar characters is when a player goes out of his way to make one from the start. The sysyem imo rewards you for making say the best fighter and monk. Taking the best abilites of a class. Take other stuff not related to the class and hope that roleplaying saves the day all the time. The system works against you imo. Sure you can make a Monk with a few levels of bard and take bardic feats and skills. Your going to be lagging seriously behind the character who makes a pure bard. A fighter that is alos a rogue can be done too. Yet your not going to hit as hard or be able to take as punishment as the guy making the pure fighter. Players who make such choices know that they ar not going to be as strong or as powerful as the other characters. More often than not the player with the singing monk runis his character like a regular monk throws himself into battle and gets his character injured or killed. They want to mke subpar characters then expect the DM to alter the game so that they survive. In my experiecen that never happens. So much more extra work to make one or two subpar characters survive.

Not to say that you can't make a chracter that cannot roleplay you can. It just that other systems allow you to make a character that roleplays and can be effective in combat. I can design a singing Monk in Hero system without a major decrease in combat ability. Or make a fighter with rogue skills and be less effective. for me anyway D&D has always been a game where you are locked into your roles. A fighter is good at hitting stuff. Wizard casting spells. Rogues doing roguey stuff. Cleric healing buffing. Deviate too much from that and the system imo makes you pay for it.


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James Martin wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.
What exactly do you define as a subpar character?

I don't have an exact definition. I mean one which is very poor - mechanically much worse than the system "expects".


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Josh M. wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:

The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".

I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.

I've played tons of high level casual games, one-nighters, short runs and single modules games. As long as we get a little heads up ahead of time what level range we're looking at, we're good. I've tossed in level 15-25 PC's before with very little problem. Most games were attempts at actual campaigns, that turned into casual games mostly due to schedule constraints.

I'm a big fan of System Mastery, but I know it's not for every gaming group and it's not the best option for most players. But, the fan that I am, having Monte on board at WotC was a big relief and made me very optimistic about 5e. I still feel pretty good about it, as I'm a fan of the other developers as well, but having Monte gone does lessen my overall excitement.

Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest 3.5 or PF couldn't be played like that. I'm sure if you know the system well you can throw something reasonable together pretty quick. If you don't have that skill (as I don't) then a quick, casual, mid-high level game is unlikely to work well.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I don't have an exact definition. I mean one which is very poor - mechanically much worse than the system "expects".

I've played a lot of 3.x and a fair bit of Pathfinder, and I've never run into this issue at all. I've played very optimized characters and complete bumblers and always had more fun with the bumblers. I think that certain modules or games assume a certain level of character expertise, but if you've got a DM that's even mediocre this shouldn't ever be a problem. But then again, this is the weakness of a game that relies on a human to run it: you will get bad DMs who will run things straight out of the book without bothering to consider their players. I don't think it's an issue of the system so much as it's an issue of the players/DM dynamic.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Josh M. wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:

The idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing.

As has been stated, system mastery isn't "memorize all of the rules".

I can't play a casual game of 3.5, really - except at low levels. We do ok til about seventh or eighth level, then we start struggling and inevitably run into something which is just impossible for us. We haven't played that much PF, but it appears equally easy to end up with a subpar character.

I've played tons of high level casual games, one-nighters, short runs and single modules games. As long as we get a little heads up ahead of time what level range we're looking at, we're good. I've tossed in level 15-25 PC's before with very little problem. Most games were attempts at actual campaigns, that turned into casual games mostly due to schedule constraints.

I'm a big fan of System Mastery, but I know it's not for every gaming group and it's not the best option for most players. But, the fan that I am, having Monte on board at WotC was a big relief and made me very optimistic about 5e. I still feel pretty good about it, as I'm a fan of the other developers as well, but having Monte gone does lessen my overall excitement.

Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest 3.5 or PF couldn't be played like that. I'm sure if you know the system well you can throw something reasonable together pretty quick. If you don't have that skill (as I don't) then a quick, casual, mid-high level game is unlikely to work well.

I don't see how it'd be any different than a long-term game. There are lots of options for simpler-to-run, faster characters. One of the things I loved about 3e in general is that I could make characters as simple or complex as I desired. Nature of the game has very little to do with being able to just make a character, in my opinion.


Diffan wrote:
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
In 4E, there is still System Mastery to a point and I'm sure if you go on the Character Optimization boards, they'll show you exactly where and how to achieve it. But the system itself is balanced enought that those choices (great, average, or poor) won't make or break a character or run your party into the ground. Case in point, a Fighter that takes feats that don't necessarily have to do with combat like Martial Practice, Alchemist, and Linguist can still perform pretty well in combat due to class features and abilitis inherent to a Fighter. Wtih 3.X, well that's just not the case. Not only are you specifically required to pick "Fighter" feats at 1st, 2nd, and every even level afterwards but some of those feats aren't very good. Toughness in 3E just gives you 3 HP....that's it and it's not considered a good choice by anyone for any class (except maybe Wizard at 1st level if he's human). Feats and Skill ranks are finite resources for your character to use, spend them unwisely and the system won't help you at all. 4E at least has layers where these choices are important, yet do not make or break anything your character might try to do

...

I have to disagree with you there. System mastery is alive and well in 4E and is about as important as it was in 3.5. I have personally seen 4E characters with poor race/class/feat/weapon etc. combinations that made them extremely subpar. They were so bad we wouldn't have missed them if they weren't there. They just sucked up healing resources and made the rounds longer. In fact, I never saw it that bad in 3.5 or Pathfinder.

System Mastery helps, but I've found that it doesn't make or break your character so long as you understand that you should have your top score in your Primary attack stat (so 18 in Str if your a Fighter) and boost accuracy to your attacks via feats (ex. Axe or Heavy Blade Expertise). Keeping those two aspects high and you can pretty much do whatever you want and still contribute at your base functions. A fighter, for example can take Heavy Blade Expertise (or Master at Arms) and maintain an 18 in Strength and really, any feats thereafter could be used for non-combat stuff like Martial Practice, Alchemy, ect. and still be a good defender due to class features. Now, he wouldn't be as good as someone who focused on maintaining their Mark as a defender or keeping bad guys rooted to the spot with feats and power selections, but both do their job well.

Also, a LOT of system mastery has been taken up by Char_Ops people and they do splendid Handbooks to make the choices easier for you to see. So you dont need System Mastery to figure out your best way to make a Fighter, just go the the Fighter's Handbook and it'll give you the run-down.


houstonderek wrote:
I just hope it's pre-Spellplague Realms. I have no use for the book otherwise.

Exactly so. Hopefully it's pre-Spellplague, or /ignore/.

Keeping my eye on it!

Dark Archive

Diffan wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
In 4E, there is still System Mastery to a point and I'm sure if you go on the Character Optimization boards, they'll show you exactly where and how to achieve it. But the system itself is balanced enought that those choices (great, average, or poor) won't make or break a character or run your party into the ground. Case in point, a Fighter that takes feats that don't necessarily have to do with combat like Martial Practice, Alchemist, and Linguist can still perform pretty well in combat due to class features and abilitis inherent to a Fighter. Wtih 3.X, well that's just not the case. Not only are you specifically required to pick "Fighter" feats at 1st, 2nd, and every even level afterwards but some of those feats aren't very good. Toughness in 3E just gives you 3 HP....that's it and it's not considered a good choice by anyone for any class (except maybe Wizard at 1st level if he's human). Feats and Skill ranks are finite resources for your character to use, spend them unwisely and the system won't help you at all. 4E at least has layers where these choices are important, yet do not make or break anything your character might try to do

...

I have to disagree with you there. System mastery is alive and well in 4E and is about as important as it was in 3.5. I have personally seen 4E characters with poor race/class/feat/weapon etc. combinations that made them extremely subpar. They were so bad we wouldn't have missed them if they weren't there. They just sucked up healing resources and made the rounds longer. In fact, I never saw it that bad in 3.5 or Pathfinder.

System Mastery helps, but I've found that it doesn't make or break your character so long as you understand that you should have your top score in your Primary attack stat (so 18 in Str if your a Fighter) and boost accuracy to your attacks via feats (ex. Axe or Heavy Blade Expertise). Keeping those two aspects high and you can pretty much do whatever you want and still contribute at your...

Well, if you need to look at a charop board to figure out how to play your character effectively, that is an extreme example of system mastery


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memorax wrote:
While it's not s rules heavy as say something like Gurps or Hero System neither is 3.5 rules light.

And I didn't say that it's rules light.

I said, you can play a light casual game. You don't need to memorize the rules, and you don't need to use half of the rules.

That's the fantastic thing about 3E/3.5/PF - virtually EVERYTHING is modular, and you can use what you want.

Again, you're not paying attention to what was meant by system mastery. It is NOT memorizing the rules. It's that, by learning one system, you have a grasp of many other systems, because most of them they're similar/complimentary.

Liberty's Edge

Brian E. Harris wrote:

And I didn't say that it's rules light.

I said, you can play a light casual game. You don't need to memorize the rules, and you don't need to use half of the rules.

That's the fantastic thing about 3E/3.5/PF - virtually EVERYTHING is modular, and you can use what you want.

Again, you're not paying attention to what was meant by system mastery. It is NOT memorizing the rules. It's that, by learning one system, you have a grasp of many other systems, because most of them they're similar/complimentary.

Your acting like everyone experiecnes D&D or any other rpg the same way do. That is not always the case. You may not require system mastery yet someone else does. An experieced gamer imo does not require to know all the rules for an rpg. The beginner if he wants to make full use of the system does.

It's easy to say that you don't need to memorizre the rules or that you can remove parts of the rules to make it easier. Unlike actual modular systems like Gurps or Hero system which are modular from the get go how does one know what to remove and not to remove. Let's say I want to remove the skill system. what do I replace it with. One can either borrow or make a new skill system yet will it work with the rest of the system. Change the magic system and replace it same problem. It might work for you in my experience I have never seen anyone alter D&D in any significant way. Too much work, causes too many problems and if yiur going to start altering the system in depth might as well play another fantasy rpg. One can alter it in minor ways of course full blown rewritting imo does the system does not lend itself well to that.

At my gaming table while my player do not have to memorize all the rules they need to know everythng and anything the characters can possibly do. Flipping through the rulebooks is kept at a minimum. Otherwise at later levels it takes way too long to do anything in a session. A certain level of rules knowledge is required to play D&D imo.


Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Also, a LOT of system mastery has been taken up by Char_Ops people and they do splendid Handbooks to make the choices easier for you to see. So you dont need System Mastery to figure out your best way to make a Fighter, just go the the Fighter's Handbook and it'll give you the run-down.

Well, if you need to look at a charop board to figure out how to play your character effectively, that is an extreme example of system mastery

I think there is a huge difference between needing the Char_Op guys to help you play a character and looking at their suggestions as to why X power is better than Y power. And I also said that while System Mastery is prevailent in 4E, it isn't really required since there are people who will do that for you on those boards. Do I need to know every single in/out of a Fighter, on what feats from #383 Dragon Magazine and coupled with such-and-such paragon path creates this 1,000 DRP killing machine? No, not really. But if I truely did, I wouldn't go out of my way to do the work myself, I'd just go to the Char_Ops boards and see if it's already been done. This shows me that, while System Mastery is there, any one can go out of their way to find the quick and easy answer insead of, ahem....mastering the system themselves.

Dark Archive

Diffan wrote:
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Also, a LOT of system mastery has been taken up by Char_Ops people and they do splendid Handbooks to make the choices easier for you to see. So you dont need System Mastery to figure out your best way to make a Fighter, just go the the Fighter's Handbook and it'll give you the run-down.

Well, if you need to look at a charop board to figure out how to play your character effectively, that is an extreme example of system mastery
I think there is a huge difference between needing the Char_Op guys to help you play a character and looking at their suggestions as to why X power is better than Y power. And I also said that while System Mastery is prevailent in 4E, it isn't really required since there are people who will do that for you on those boards. Do I need to know every single in/out of a Fighter, on what feats from #383 Dragon Magazine and coupled with such-and-such paragon path creates this 1,000 DRP killing machine? No, not really. But if I truely did, I wouldn't go out of my way to do the work myself, I'd just go to the Char_Ops boards and see if it's already been done. This shows me that, while System Mastery is there, any one can go out of their way to find the quick and easy answer insead of, ahem....mastering the system themselves.

And how is this different from 3.5? That's when the CharOp boards came into their own. In either edition, you could look at CharOp boards to make a killing machine. That proves nothing.


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memorax wrote:
Your acting like everyone experiecnes D&D or any other rpg the same way do. That is not always the case.

No, I'm not at all.

memorax wrote:
You may not require system mastery yet someone else does. An experieced gamer imo does not require to know all the rules for an rpg. The beginner if he wants to make full use of the system does.

These are two completely separate points.

A> System mastery is *NOT* mastering all rules of the game
B> A beginner *WANTING* to make "full" use of all the system does is *NOT* a requirement for using the system.
C> The modularity of the system in question allows you to only use the bits you want, discarding the rest. As such, while nobody denies that it is a rules-heavy system, you *CAN* play a light game with it, and doing so doesn't require memorization.

System mastery was a design concept to make it EASIER to learn the rules-heavy system.

memorax wrote:
It's easy to say that you don't need to memorizre the rules or that you can remove parts of the rules to make it easier. Unlike actual modular systems like Gurps or Hero system which are modular from the get go how does one know what to remove and not to remove. Let's say I want to remove the skill system. what do I replace it with. One can either borrow or make a new skill system yet will it work with the rest of the system.

Arguing from the perspective of a beginner to the system who wants to replace the skill system seemingly belies one being a beginner to the system.

But, as far as replacing it, I'm not going to argue that, because you're on your own for that. What I'm arguing is that you could, essentially, dump the skill system for your game. Heck, I don't even believe the skill system was core until 3E anyways. Drop that module out of the thing, poof, no skills. Ignore calls for skill checks.

memorax wrote:
Change the magic system and replace it same problem. It might work for you in my experience I have never seen anyone alter D&D in any significant way. Too much work, causes too many problems and if yiur going to start altering the system in depth might as well play another fantasy rpg. One can alter it in minor ways of course full blown rewritting imo does the system does not lend itself well to that.

Once again, you're arguing with the sky. I'm not, nor is anyone else, arguing that it's easy to rewrite the game, or that it's easy to "alter the system in depth".

I'm arguing that you can literally drop and ignore much of the rules, and just NOT use them.

That's entirely different than changing them.

Please address the actual points being made, instead of points nobody has made.

memorax wrote:
At my gaming table while my player do not have to memorize all the rules they need to know everythng and anything the characters can possibly do. Flipping through the rulebooks is kept at a minimum. Otherwise at later levels it takes way too long to do anything in a session. A certain level of rules knowledge is required to play D&D imo.

And I argue that they do NOT need to know everything a character can possibly do. There's no requirement that they use every single option available to them - just like there's no requirement that you use every system or subsystem the book provides.


I'm thinking that Monte Cook was just running his mouth when he mentioned "system mastery" to explain the idea of "learning all of the rules so you can find the loopholes".

Kind of like my ex-brother-in-law when it comes to Monopoly©.

"System Mastery" isn't an aspect of game design. It's a philosophy that we generally call by another name: Rules Lawyering.

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Removed a post and its response. Baiting other posters is discouraged.


Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Diffan wrote:
Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Also, a LOT of system mastery has been taken up by Char_Ops people and they do splendid Handbooks to make the choices easier for you to see. So you dont need System Mastery to figure out your best way to make a Fighter, just go the the Fighter's Handbook and it'll give you the run-down.

Well, if you need to look at a charop board to figure out how to play your character effectively, that is an extreme example of system mastery
I think there is a huge difference between needing the Char_Op guys to help you play a character and looking at their suggestions as to why X power is better than Y power. And I also said that while System Mastery is prevailent in 4E, it isn't really required since there are people who will do that for you on those boards. Do I need to know every single in/out of a Fighter, on what feats from #383 Dragon Magazine and coupled with such-and-such paragon path creates this 1,000 DRP killing machine? No, not really. But if I truely did, I wouldn't go out of my way to do the work myself, I'd just go to the Char_Ops boards and see if it's already been done. This shows me that, while System Mastery is there, any one can go out of their way to find the quick and easy answer insead of, ahem....mastering the system themselves.
And how is this different from 3.5? That's when the CharOp boards came into their own. In either edition, you could look at CharOp boards to make a killing machine. That proves nothing.

Ok, let me reiterate the convo so far:

ME: I feel the level of system mastery required in 4E to make viable, strong, and effective characters is vastly smaller than it was in 3E.

You: I disagree, System Mastery is still very strong and the difference between one character (who optimizes) will be much stronger than a character who doesn't optimize.

Me: System Mastery is in 4E, this we agree on. However, I never felt the requirment of this to make good, functional character in 4E where as I felt it was definitly needed in 3E. Both parties could, however, just go to the Character Optimization boards and forego the amount of time need to spend learning the system.

You: If you need to go to Char_Op to learn how to play your character, it's the extream part of System Mastery.

Me: My point was a person doesn't need to go out of their way to learn the system to be a "Master" because the information is already available in class Handbooks. Besides that, you can make a perfectly viable character without such handbooks or Mastery in 4E IF you just follow the two rules: Rule 1: Make the primary stat the highest and keep bumping it and Rule 2: Make sure you take the appropriate feats to keep your accuracy high. Everything else is pretty much up to the player and doens't have to be combat-centric to be effective.

You: None of this is different than in v3.5

Now Me: What's not different is using Char_Ops, true. What IS different is making viable characters without Char_OPs or System Mastery. Basically a fighter in 4E works pretty independantly from a lot of his powers. Powers that allow multiple attacks are good for spreading around the marking mechanic and if you line up powers to match your specific weapon (or vise versa), then you get some nifty bonuses. But effectively, a Fighter's base mechanics allow him to do his job well to the capacity of what we assume Defenders will do. Not the feats he chooses, not the weapons, and not the powers. In 3E, the level of System Mastery required to do anything remotely similiar to what a 4E fighter naturally does with class features is pretty intesnse. And I use the Fighter because I feel that's exactly what a Fighter should be doing, not just a collection of specific feats and numbers throwin into a bag.

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Paizo webmasters,

Is there any way you could create a dedicated 5e/D&D Playtest forum where readers would be justified in flagging all of these "3e vs. 4e" tangents as provocative, off-topic threadcrap?

As long as 5e/D&D Playtest talk is relegated to the 4e forum, those of us interested in only the latest version of D&D are being forced to sit through "Edition War: Next," and it's getting rather tedious.

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Enpeze wrote:
Pan wrote:
So Diffan what about the folks who like system mastery? What part of 5E is for them? Could the core be simple and easy but modules stack the complexity?

These people can continue to play 3x or Pathfinder. Whats the problem? Not every D&D system should made for a bunch of hardcore nerds.

Pan wrote:


I have been hoping that this edition will have something for everyone but since Monte left I see a lot of folks hoping the style of game they dont like goes with him.
I am really glad that MC dont have his fingers on 5e anymore. Maybe now it its buyable for me. His anti-casual and anti-family-friendly "system mastery" philosophy should be rooted out in modern rpg systems on from the beginning.

With all due respect I am going to have to ignore your order to GTFO. The D&D:Next Ethos is about making an edition for all types of play styles. Have fun with the play test. I know I plan to.


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James Martin wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I don't have an exact definition. I mean one which is very poor - mechanically much worse than the system "expects".
I've played a lot of 3.x and a fair bit of Pathfinder, and I've never run into this issue at all. I've played very optimized characters and complete bumblers and always had more fun with the bumblers. I think that certain modules or games assume a certain level of character expertise, but if you've got a DM that's even mediocre this shouldn't ever be a problem. But then again, this is the weakness of a game that relies on a human to run it: you will get bad DMs who will run things straight out of the book without bothering to consider their players. I don't think it's an issue of the system so much as it's an issue of the players/DM dynamic.

Maybe. Of course, im no better at understanding the system as a dm than i am as a player. We might be mediocre players and DMs but isn't that kind of the point? The fact it requires the ability to look at a stat block and realize the pcs are going to get creamed is what I think prevents me from being able to run a casual, quick game at mid levels and above.


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Josh M. wrote:


I don't see how it'd be any different than a long-term game. There are lots of options for simpler-to-run, faster characters. One of the things I loved about 3e in general is that I could make characters as simple or complex as I desired. Nature of the game has very little to do with being able to just make a character, in my opinion.

That's no doubt because you know the system better than me. When there are lots of options you don't fully understand, it's hard to go through and pick the "quick and easy" options. As I said, I'm sure one can play 3.5/PF in that style, but I can't - I wasn't really referring to length of campaign, more style.

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Steve Geddes wrote:


Maybe. Of course, im no better at understanding the system as a dm than i am as a player. We might be mediocre players and DMs but isn't that kind of the point? The fact it requires the ability to look at a stat block and realize the pcs are going to get creamed is what I think prevents me from being able to run a casual, quick game at mid levels and above.

I won't deny that D&D has always had a pretty high barrier to entry in the form of a basic understanding of the rules, which admittedly are arcane and often hard to grasp by reading. But if you're having that much trouble, maybe tabletop gaming isn't the hobby for you? Computer and console role-playing games are perfect for those without the time to devote to a basic understanding of mechanics, including the ability to read a stat block.


The most 'useless' characters I have seen in any game are the ones who lock into one power that looks cool, but is highly situational, or are constantly trying to find that one ability they have which will singlehandedly 'win' the fight, and attempt to do this every single turn.


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Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
I think the pop-o-matic can be used, you just can't call it a pop-o-matic. The name's a trademark.

Pop-o-matic by another name.


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James Martin wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


Maybe. Of course, im no better at understanding the system as a dm than i am as a player. We might be mediocre players and DMs but isn't that kind of the point? The fact it requires the ability to look at a stat block and realize the pcs are going to get creamed is what I think prevents me from being able to run a casual, quick game at mid levels and above.

I won't deny that D&D has always had a pretty high barrier to entry in the form of a basic understanding of the rules, which admittedly are arcane and often hard to grasp by reading. But if you're having that much trouble, maybe tabletop gaming isn't the hobby for you? Computer and console role-playing games are perfect for those without the time to devote to a basic understanding of mechanics, including the ability to read a stat block.

I've been playing RPGs since the late seventies - I love them so I won't be giving up anytime soon (and I dont enjoy computer games except in very small doses). I think the key is for me to choose games which dont require such an investment to learn the rules and to be able know what cool sounding options actually arent that flash (or require other combinations to truly work).

.
FWIW, I'm not actually advocating anything - I was just responding to "I find the idea that you can't play a simple, light casual game of 3E/3.5 is amusing." with a perspective he may not have witnessed. No doubt Brian E Harris and his group, like you, have a much better grasp of 3.5's rules than I do.

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