Why are there so many people obsessed with "balance" on here?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Dire Mongoose wrote:

To be fair, most of his D&D essays take fairly ridiculous positions and state them as though they were clearly true without anything you could fairly call a serious attempt to defend the position logically. I half seriously think he was trying to troll for page views and thus ad revenue.

I didn't say it was accurate or good, just that I was reminded of it :)

Your right, he can be a bit of an ass clown really. That said this is actually one of his better essays IMHO.

Silver Crusade

ProfessorCirno wrote:
Good thing about this topic - it has me watching RoLW again :B

People can rage about it all they want, but I love what Lodoss did for elf ears.


I like Lodoss Wars even though the animation is quite dated currently and think it's probably one of the best adaptations of D&D to the screen in existence.

I'm ambivalent on the alterations to the elf that have become so prevalent in post Lodoss period. The oversized ears were a necessary change to differentiate elves from other magical creatures like demons within the art form but they've gotten more and more extreme (RoRL's I'm looking at you) and seem to crowd out other depictions.

I'm not saying that Spock eared elves are the solution but the other extreme isn't great either.

Oh and the relative non-agency of Deedlit and to a lesser extent Pirotese is more than a bit frustrating. I kinda wish we could have badass Feanor style elves without having to go Elven Ubermensch ala 2e Complete Book of Elves.


For what it's worth, I prefer the modest elf ears that are closer towards human ears.


How does the phrase go?

"Many DMs want a campaign that is Record of Lodoss War. What their players turn it into is Slayers"


ProfessorCirno wrote:

How does the phrase go?

"Many DMs want a campaign that is Record of Lodoss War. What their players turn it into is Slayers"

Could you explain that statement Prof? I haven't seen Record of Lodoss War, and only one-two dozen episodes of Slayers.


Lodoss is fairly serious although not particularly dark and is probably the closest thing you'll get to an average D&D game on the screen. The arc although extremely compressed basically covers your standard heroes journey zero-to-hero campaign arc.

Slayers is pretty much D&D with the comedy aspects turned way way up.

I think the implication is that most DMs want super serious high drama or even grimdark and most players turn it into comedy action hour.

Various experiences over the years have led me to the conclusion that this isn't exactly unusual.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:

How does the phrase go?

"Many DMs want a campaign that is Record of Lodoss War. What their players turn it into is Slayers"

Could you explain that statement Prof? I haven't seen Record of Lodoss War, and only one-two dozen episodes of Slayers.

Basically as Vuron said.

DMs want a serious and perhaps even dark epic story

Players...not so much.

Silver Crusade

ProfessorCirno wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:

How does the phrase go?

"Many DMs want a campaign that is Record of Lodoss War. What their players turn it into is Slayers"

Could you explain that statement Prof? I haven't seen Record of Lodoss War, and only one-two dozen episodes of Slayers.

Basically as Vuron said.

DMs want a serious and perhaps even dark epic story

Players...not so much.

Also, Lodoss had much more even representation of non-casters and casters among its protagonists.

Slayers, pretty much driven by casters.


Mikaze wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:

How does the phrase go?

"Many DMs want a campaign that is Record of Lodoss War. What their players turn it into is Slayers"

Could you explain that statement Prof? I haven't seen Record of Lodoss War, and only one-two dozen episodes of Slayers.

Basically as Vuron said.

DMs want a serious and perhaps even dark epic story

Players...not so much.

Also, Lodoss had much more even representation of non-casters and casters among its protagonists.

Slayers, pretty much driven by casters.

True... but at least the one non-caster in slayers is awesome :D (even if he's not the brightest lol)

Liberty's Edge

Walks in room, looks around. "Hmmm, not 4chan, not Gaia...hmmm..." Walks back out...


I think the main reason the focus of balance discussions being on upping the power of underperforming characters/classes/groups of classes rather than nerfing the uber god super man characters is because it is a team game.

When the uber god super man wins, the team wins.

The team celebrates the MVP, not curse him for showing them up. The guy who contributed the least to the victory (or even worse cost them an even greater victory) is usually kicked to the curb. The best this poor schlub can hope for is to be tolerated and allowed to tag along if he promises not to be too much trouble.

This is human nature.

Should magic be kept powerful and magical? Yes. But it needs to be a hell of a lot harder than swinging a pointy stick.

In other words, it should be a lot harder to one shot a demon lord with magic than to poke him with a sharp object for 1dn+x points of damage which he will consider "just a scratch".

Balance is having the caster take out the BBEG with a single spell take the same amount of time as a guy with a sword whittling down his hit points, with having both of them working together being more effective.

How do you achieve this balance, nerf the caster or boost the melee guy?

I say both.

Make big magic take longer to cast than a standard action and let melee land truly impressive hits and pull off impressive stunts (ToB was a major step in the right direction but came across feeling too much like magic for fighters because of the format of the abilities and a couple of deliberately supernatural disciplines - the right idea with a flawed implementation).

Oh, and Lodoss is so close to D&D because it is D&D. It's literally the creator's D&D campaign. He tried to license the name Dungeons & Dragons for it with TSR, but no such luck.

kyrt-ryder wrote:


True... but at least the one non-caster in slayers is awesome :D (even if he's not the brightest lol)

One non-caster? Prince Phil could dish it out pretty good too. (Ok, he's not a main character, but he is a recurring character.)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'd like to point out Kirth's houserule of 'most spells are now full-round actions to cast' as an exception to your claim of 'never'. I myself also have a project to limit the number of spells clerics and druids have access to, instead of their entire spell list.

Yeah, you're right, "never" was too much of an absolute. I meant it as if in "I've never seen" but even then, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.

I kinda agree with kyrt-ryder and Professor Cirno that the D&D wizard is much more powerful than most mighty wizards from fantasy literature. That's actually the reason why I'd prefer to have the spell casters nerfed instead of the other way round. If I'm thinking fighter, I'm thinking Lancelot, not Luke Cage. If I'm thinking barbarian, I'm thinking Conan, not Hulk. If I'm thinking Ranger, I'm thinking Aragorn, not Green Arrow. And if I'm thinking wizard, I'm thinking Gandalf, not Galactus.

But that's actually a gripe I had with D&D long before Pathfinder, and it didn't stop me from loving the game so I guess I've no reason to complain too much. :)


houstonderek wrote:
Kaiyanwang wrote:
CoDzilla wrote:


So in other words, you selfishly dragged your party down and they said screw it and made joke characters themselves?

The word that comes to mind here is "Saboteur".

Not every adventure or campaign must be competitive at the max. Sometimes you just want to dick around.

Flash News: more than one Gamestyle exist.

Newsflash: More than one play style works regardless of what the rules are (i.e. the numbers don't matter). More than one play style only works if the rules are mathematically sound (i.e. the numbers do matter).

Guess who's opinion is relevant in a mechanical (mathematical) rules discussion?

Sorry?

Did I say that we shouldn't discuss RAW? I already answered to this. I simply said that not every campaing is in "hard mode" so if one player wants a PC that simply dicks around, you cannot NECESSARILY consider him a "saboteur".

@ProfessorCirno: funny the thing of Lodoss vs Slayers. Like it :)

Dark Archive

@Wormy:
If you want Lancelot or Conan, just play at a lower level.

Liberty's Edge

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Kaiyanwang wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Kaiyanwang wrote:
CoDzilla wrote:


So in other words, you selfishly dragged your party down and they said screw it and made joke characters themselves?

The word that comes to mind here is "Saboteur".

Not every adventure or campaign must be competitive at the max. Sometimes you just want to dick around.

Flash News: more than one Gamestyle exist.

Newsflash: More than one play style works regardless of what the rules are (i.e. the numbers don't matter). More than one play style only works if the rules are mathematically sound (i.e. the numbers do matter).

Guess who's opinion is relevant in a mechanical (mathematical) rules discussion?

Sorry?

Did I say that we shouldn't discuss RAW? I already answered to this. I simply said that not every campaing is in "hard mode" so if one player wants a PC that simply dicks around, you cannot NECESSARILY consider him a "saboteur".

@ProfessorCirno: funny the thing of Lodoss vs Slayers. Like it :)

Math doesn't care if you play hard mode or not. Math is math. "Hard mode" is what the game with no fudging is. If the monsters (or NPCs) act intelligently, use their abilities to their fullest, etc, mathematically characters are going to die, fairly regularly, unless they're built and/or played well or the DM is taking it easy.

Every table is different. Some tables can have a gimp character that dicks around and have a blast. Some tables want a somewhat more serious game.

I prefer well played beer and pretzels, leave the joke characters for April Fool's Day. I like games, I like playing with a bit of game mastery. I like a game to accommodate my play style. No derivative of 3x has fit the bill without heavy houseruling to allow non-spellcasters to keep up. But, mostly, I like games. Games require skill and luck.

Story hour isn't a game. If the, as someone stated, GMs job is to keep the party alive and having fun, while providing the illusion of danger, then Pathfinder isn't a game. And, frankly, that seems to be the goal of quite a few of the people who come here.

They already made Amber. The above doesn't require dice. What's the point of rolling dice if the results are just a lie?

The biggest frustration during the playtest was 99% of the Paizo sycophants claiming everything was peachy keen because their DM made adjustments at the table (i.e. more likely allowed critters to just stand there and be full attacked) and there was no discrepancy between martial and magic. The end result? Not a lot of real fixes, just a bunch of "changed enough to make it a kind of annoying until all the small changes that really didn't do anything but change for change's sake were discovered and noted".

Big six? Still alive and well. Magic walmart? Still there. Spell casters still required and martials still optional? Still there.

Plus ca change...


Jadeite wrote:

@Wormy:

If you want Lancelot or Conan, just play at a lower level.

Lancelot plays in the same campaign as Merlin, and at one point settles down to besiege the Castle of Enchanters on his own. And they don't have the ability to drive him off by force, Morgaine has to go out and persuade him to leave.

Conan plays in a game where wizards summon eldritch abominations that should not be, and kills quite a few of them. He's not so good against shepard boys with slings.


houstonderek wrote:

[

Math doesn't care if you play hard mode or not. Math is math. "Hard mode" is what the game with no fudging is. If the monsters (or NPCs) act intelligently, use their abilities to their fullest, etc, mathematically characters are going to die, fairly regularly, unless they're built and/or played well or the DM is taking it easy.

Every table is different. Some tables can have a gimp character that dicks around and have a blast. Some tables want a somewhat more serious game.

I prefer well played beer and pretzels, leave the joke characters for April Fool's Day. I like games, I like playing with a bit of game mastery. I like a game to accommodate my play style. No derivative of 3x has fit the bill without heavy houseruling to allow non-spellcasters to keep up. But, mostly, I like games. Games require skill and luck.

Story hour isn't a game. If the, as someone stated, GMs job is to keep the party alive and having fun, while providing the illusion of danger, then...

But.. this is not related with what I said. I simply said that you cannot call "saboteur" a "dick" PC regardless the campaign. No need for acid fog sychophants :P

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kaiyanwang wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

[

Math doesn't care if you play hard mode or not. Math is math. "Hard mode" is what the game with no fudging is. If the monsters (or NPCs) act intelligently, use their abilities to their fullest, etc, mathematically characters are going to die, fairly regularly, unless they're built and/or played well or the DM is taking it easy.

Every table is different. Some tables can have a gimp character that dicks around and have a blast. Some tables want a somewhat more serious game.

I prefer well played beer and pretzels, leave the joke characters for April Fool's Day. I like games, I like playing with a bit of game mastery. I like a game to accommodate my play style. No derivative of 3x has fit the bill without heavy houseruling to allow non-spellcasters to keep up. But, mostly, I like games. Games require skill and luck.

Story hour isn't a game. If the, as someone stated, GMs job is to keep the party alive and having fun, while providing the illusion of danger, then...

But.. this is not related with what I said. I simply said that you cannot call "saboteur" a "dick" PC regardless the campaign. No need for acid fog sychophants :P

No joke. But the discussion of "not hard mode" games is, again, irrelevant to a rules discussion. A game that can accommodate my play style will still accommodate "dick around" mode. The converse isn't necessarily true. And, considering the thickness of our printed out houserules, Paizo's houserules (which is all Pathfinder is, Paizo's 3.5 houserules so they can have a framework to hang their adventures on) don't do what we need them to do.

Which is to say, they support "dick around" mode just fine, they don't support "hard mode" well if you want fighters and whatnot to be as relevant as spellcasters.


All I have to say is the day when casters and non-casters reach complete balance and/or the fighter can generate shockwave every hit as well as monk can jump through time is the day I stop playing this game.

Everything class A can do, class B can also create samiliar effect with just different name sounds exactly 4th edition to me.


houstonderek wrote:


No joke. But the discussion of "not hard mode" games is, again, irrelevant to a rules discussion. A game that can accommodate my play style will still accommodate "dick around" mode. The converse isn't necessarily true. And, considering the thickness of our printed out houserules, Paizo's houserules (which is all Pathfinder is, Paizo's 3.5 houserules so they can have a framework to hang their adventures on) don't do what we need them to do.

Which is to say, they support "dick around" mode just fine, they don't support "hard mode" well if you want fighters and whatnot to be as relevant as spellcasters.

I was only say that say this:

"So in other words, you selfishly dragged your party down and they said screw it and made joke characters themselves?

The word that comes to mind here is "Saboteur". " Was unfair

Not related to rules. If you loot at other posts of imes, I discuss spell effects or tactics. I really don't get it.

BTW, rules support "hard mode" IME, too, at least for my GM style.

Dark Archive

yukarjama wrote:
Everything class A can do, class B can also create samiliar effect with just different name sounds exactly 4th edition to me.

I'm not playing D&D 4, but all those prejudices against the game are getting old.

And 3.5 was already like this. Only that Class B was the wizard and it didn't work the other way round.


yukarjama wrote:

All I have to say is the day when casters and non-casters reach complete balance and/or the fighter can generate shockwave every hit as well as monk can jump through time is the day I stop playing this game.

Everything class A can do, class B can also create samiliar effect with just different name sounds exactly 4th edition to me.

Or you could just stop playing before those levels show up? My side of this discussion has stated it many times in this thread already, though I can't expect posters to have slogged through that whole thing lol.

Let me put it this way yukarjama. If I wanted to play 4E, or a game like 4E, I would either be playing 4E, or I would be houseruling 4E rather than 3P. I'm not going to create any sort of 'sameness' anything like 4E. You can have balanced classes without making them the same. Does Superman have anything in common with the Green Lanturn? (Besides both being super heroes)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At which point did the good old Houstonderek of yore make the pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain of the Den and became a follower of the Sanctified Way of Frank Trollman, because I have obviously missed some important plot event along the way ?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
At which point did the good old Houstonderek of yore make the pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain of the Den and became a follower of the Sanctified Way of Frank Trollman, because I have obviously missed some important plot event along the way ?

I suspect he's just gotten frustrated with all the people throwing out 'but we don't want it balanced' cries when the system will work for them whether it's balanced or not.

Liberty's Edge

yukarjama wrote:

All I have to say is the day when casters and non-casters reach complete balance and/or the fighter can generate shockwave every hit as well as monk can jump through time is the day I stop playing this game.

Everything class A can do, class B can also create samiliar effect with just different name sounds exactly 4th edition to me.

It isn't about "balance", it's about relevance. 1e wasn't balanced, not even close, but magic users didn't leave fighters in the dust. And clerics weren't terribly powerful at all.

3.0 changed a lot of the assumptions of the game, and a lot of those assumptions really hurt non-magic using classes. It happened. It's a legacy of the rule set. It has far more to do with action economy than what can be done with those actions.

It is in Pathfinder's DNA. Can't be helped. I don't care how beautiful a building is, if its foundation is flawed...


yukarjama wrote:
All I have to say is the day when casters and non-casters reach complete balance and/or the fighter can generate shockwave every hit as well as monk can jump through time is the day I stop playing this game.

Niche protection is indeed a good thing. As one of the people arguing for balance I'm all in favour of it. I just want it applied to the spellcasters as well. You can have imbalanced easily, as people disliking balance have agreed, by having characters of different levels. I have yet to see a universally applicable reason to make classes imbalanced as well.


yukarjama wrote:

All I have to say is the day when casters and non-casters reach complete balance and/or the fighter can generate shockwave every hit as well as monk can jump through time is the day I stop playing this game.

Everything class A can do, class B can also create samiliar effect with just different name sounds exactly 4th edition to me.

Class B is a wizard.

Better stop playing D&D.


Gorbacz wrote:
At which point did the good old Houstonderek of yore make the pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain of the Den and became a follower of the Sanctified Way of Frank Trollman, because I have obviously missed some important plot event along the way ?

Is their something wrong with Frank Trollman or the Gamers Den? I found the Tomes to be very insightful and hilariously witty.

Shadow Lodge

WPharolin wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
At which point did the good old Houstonderek of yore make the pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain of the Den and became a follower of the Sanctified Way of Frank Trollman, because I have obviously missed some important plot event along the way ?
Is their something wrong with Frank Trollman or the Gamers Den? I found the Tomes to be very insightful and hilariously witty.

Well, from the minimal amount of threads that I have read on that site, it seems to be a collection of people who hate Paizo, think everyone working for the company or playing their games is an inbred moron, and subscribe to the theory of "agree with me or I will insult you endlessly".

Myself, if I hated the system so much, I wouldn't continually spew bile about it. I'd simply not play it, and not give it much thought at all.


I disagree with the Den's feelings on balance. I prefer tier 3, they prefer everyone rocketing to tier 1.

Also Trollman is spergan incarnate and has no idea how a lot of things outside of pure 3.5 works.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ProfessorCirno wrote:


Also Trollman is spergan incarnate

What the honk is a spergan ?


ProfessorCirno wrote:

I disagree with the Den's feelings on balance. I prefer tier 3, they prefer everyone rocketing to tier 1.

Also Trollman is spergan incarnate and has no idea how a lot of things outside of pure 3.5 works.

I suppose he meant "using the same mechanic".

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jadeite wrote:
If you want Lancelot or Conan, just play at a lower level.

In fact, that's what I've been doing most of the time since 3E came out. I guess you all know Ryan Dancey's 4 distinct quartiles of play:

Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Levels 6-10: Heroic fantasy
Levels 11-15: Wuxia
Levels 16-20: Superheroes

I'm neither interested in Wuxia nor in Superheroes games so for me the sweet spot of the game is the levels 1-10. The problem is that this isn't the level range in which "magic is stronger than the sword". Especially in the beginning it's quite the opposite.

So the best solution for me probably would be to make the spell casters stronger in the lower level range and make them weaker in the high level range while letting the other classes mostly unchanged. Won't happen in any near future, I guess, and I can live with that, but with X-mas at the horizon, at least I can put it on my wish list.


houstonderek wrote:


Here's the problem: it's not that easy. If you tone down the wizard (slightly) and barely bump the martial types, things just get harder, because the Bestiary isn't afraid of being hit by a stick. Nerfed wizards = longer combats = more dead martial types unless the GM is fudging/babysitting again. Armor Class is expensive, not effective and monster hit HARD st high levels. Making combats longer is a martial nerf. The one thing they have in abundance (hit points) are less and less valuable the longer a combat goes, especially since one of the most inefficient things a cleric can do at higher levels is heal during combat.

And if they just returned wizards to pre-3x action economy and spell casting difficulty, they wouldn't have to nerf the spells. Allowing wizards to move willy nilly and cast in the same round opened a can of...

It is that easy:

CR 10: Adult White Dragon vs. CR 10: 8 Owlbears vs. Cr 10: 12 Hell Hounds

In other words, not all encounters of the same CR are equal. 12 hounds don't hit or take it like 1 white dragon (+20 to hit and AC 27 vs. +5 to hit and AC 16). That's a huge difference in the numbers, yet they are still equal in CR. The GM is not fudging/babysitting... he simply followed the rules laid out in the core rulebook about encounter building in both cases. You can tailor the numbers and monster abilities when making encounters to suit the abilities of the PCs to provide appropriate challenges without fudging anything. You don't have to lie to your players about what the dice tell you. And you are not babysitting if you are trying to match up a standard encounter's capabilities with theirs. This is just an example, but if you have a group where the best PC has an AC of 24 at 10th level and the caster's best save DC is 18 and they're happy with their PCs, then you are forcing them into an arms race by frequently throwing white dragons at them instead of coming up with encounters they are better matched up against by simply using the rules.

So, I'll reiterate:

high optimizing players = certain class builds not viable

low optimizing players = certain monster encounters not viable

a mix of high and low optimizing players (that aren't cooperating) = a mess for the GM to handle

As to your latter part, I'm totally with you. Action economy is something we are addressing in our own games. And when I say bring casters down a notch, I don't mean by nerfing spells.


vuron wrote:

You can work around the problem by going back to the older 1e-2e model of lots of foes that are weaker individually than the PCs rather than 1 Solo or 1-2 CR equivalent foes.

Solo fights vs Dragons and powerful outsiders which make up the majority of the high CR foes in the Bestiary become rarities and much more of the campaign is PCs + retinue vs BBEG + Lieutenant + Brutes + Mooks.

...

Gah! Should have read a little further.


WormysQueue wrote:

I kinda agree with kyrt-ryder and Professor Cirno that the D&D wizard is much more powerful than most mighty wizards from fantasy literature. That's actually the reason why I'd prefer to have the spell casters nerfed instead of the other way round. If I'm thinking fighter, I'm thinking Lancelot, not Luke Cage. If I'm thinking barbarian, I'm thinking Conan, not Hulk. If I'm thinking Ranger, I'm thinking Aragorn, not Green Arrow. And if I'm thinking wizard, I'm thinking Gandalf, not Galactus.

I'm of like mind. But at the same time, I'd like to see the game cater to players who do want Galactus wizards and Hulk fighters instead of Gandalf and Lancelot ones. If I recall, basic D&D accomplished that with the 4 books (basic, expert, companion, and master). It was so long ago though, that I can't remember.

Level tiers as a design concept could accomplish this anyway.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
anthony Valente wrote:


Level tiers as a design concept could accomplish this anyway.

The problem comes in when people want Lancelot and Gandalf to be represented by 15th level characters.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dire Mongoose wrote:

How about Glen Cook's Black Company?

Granted, his wizards don't have teleport and they have to craft flying carpets, but I can't think of much else that I've read where they're as stupendously powerful.

I thought about that, too, but the first Black Company book came out in 1984--ten years after OD&D. A causal link is unprovable w/o some word from the author, but it's at least plausible that by then a fair amount of D&D perspective had drifted into the genre.


My problem is that 1st level characters are both too incompetent and too tied to one schtick even with the buffs they got and for the most part ability progression is too slow unless you go with a high level of specialization.

I like the big damn hero in a setting where the odds are still stacked against him. He's powerful but not a demigod and hubris will kill him.

My theoretical underpinning is this:

Level 4 - Significant on a local level - Everyone in your village knows your name and has heard stories (possibly even true) about your exploits.
Level 8 - Significant on a regional level - Your exploits have expanded so that most of the people in the county have probably heard your name.
Level 12- Significant on a national level - The king has heard of your exploits and is mightily impressed.
Level 16- Hero of Legend - You are the big damn hero of legend. Even at this level the framework of the game gets super bogged down in logistically nightmares.
Level 20- Cosmic Threat - The gods themselves have looked down upon you and feel a inkling of fear. Generally I reserve this for epic BBEGs.

I'm actually okay with psuedo-historical and literary figures like Lancelot being Level 16 heroes. Where I have issues is that the epicness of a level 16 fighter is far eclipsed by the epicness of a level 16 mage. I want magic to be really powerful and very scary but I want the hero of legend to be able to stare down the immortal necromancer king and be able to acquit himself admirably.

That means having saves and defenses strong enough to shrug off eldritch energies that could devastate an army of lesser men or the ability to trade blows with monsters of legend that simply dwarf regular men (like dragons and sea drakes, etc). The problem is that while offensive production scales fairly well the ability to shrug off blows that would kill a lesser man don't really scale in the system.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
anthony Valente wrote:

I'm of like mind. But at the same time, I'd like to see the game cater to players who do want Galactus wizards and Hulk fighters instead of Gandalf and Lancelot ones. If I recall, basic D&D accomplished that with the 4 books (basic, expert, companion, and master). It was so long ago though, that I can't remember.

Level tiers as a design concept could accomplish this anyway.

I agree and in fact don't mind at all that my sweet spot doesn't cover the whole level range. I also admit that the balance issues in the high level range are non-existant (simply because we don't play high-level games).

So in principle I've nothing against tackling those issues. As long as this doesn't changes the game experience in my sweet spot in a (for me) negative direction, more power to all who want to play a balanced high-level game.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ProfessorCirno wrote:

Last megapost, I swear.

Let's talk wizards.

>>snip<<

See, here's the catch - even in Vance? These are all really cool powers, but they aren't anything along the lines of Fireball or Horrid Wilting or Flesh to Stone. Very few of them are useful for combat. More importantly, even if somehow Merlin or Gandalf could just kill anyone with magic, it is important to understand why they don't. It isn't the role of the wizard to completely overshadow the warrior. That's dumb. They have a completely different part to play in their stories. It's why, outside of D&D, there are no stories of Wizard Supremacy.

So basically, until the magician becomes the viewpoint character of the story, magic is there as a plot device. For example, in Orlando Furioso, Atlantes can use magic to construct a castle of iron and erect around it a wall of fire so intense as to burn a human to ashes in an instant, but that's only to keep Ruggiero (one of the heroes) from untoward influences--in this case, his love for a Christian female knight and the possibility that he'll convert from Islam. Atlantes isn't a realized character, he's an obstacle for the heroes to defeat. And the presence of powerful magic comes hand-in-hand with the means to neutralize it--Angelica's ring in Orlando Furioso, the Tritonian Ring in L. Sprague de Camp's Pusadian series, etc.

Incidentally, I think you're missing the most commonly-forgotten influence on the development of D&D: Lin Carter. Before OD&D, he had stories featuring magicians blasting each other with magical bolts (cf. The Seal of Zaon Sathla, 1970), and he was definitely mashing together elements from a lot of previous fantasy authors and traditions to come up with something a lot closer to the D&D magic-user than anything previous. Carter and his influences kind of dominate Appendix N of the 1e DMG, after all.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

To make a post that actually addresses the topic itself (yeah, I surprised myself too), I thought I might as well post why I'm so obsessed with balance (and in my personal case, it is indeed an obsession.)

I grew up in a 'videogame culture' so to speak, started playing games at the age of two. Long before I was a teenager, I was already analyzing the games, determining strengths, weaknesses, and deciding how I would have made the game more fair if I'd done it myself.

From there, I went into play by post diceless games (with solid rules behind them) again always criticizing the balance and fairness of the systems. At one point, one of the admins at a site I played at asked me if I was so sure of myself why not make my own game.

One thing led to another, and my addiction to balance and rules tweaking continued to expand, all the way through my introduction to D&D about four years ago, and have constantly been tinkering with the rules, making adjustments here and there to balance the system.

In short, my obsession with game balance started a LONG time ago, and it's pretty much become a part of who I am. When I see a system, it's in my nature to tear it apart, and try to see how it can be better.

+1. Except that in my case it wasn't video games. It was being mathematically and logically minded for as long as I can remember. Identifying things as basic as "Druids are superior to Fighters in every possible way, so why would you be a Fighter?" to as complex as "If you add all this stuff together, you do about 140 damage in a single hit, without charging while also having an AC near 60, saves all near 30, and a high flight speed. At level 13. Also, you are still a full caster whose progression is only delayed by a single level, with all the power that means." was simply an extension of my natural tendency to take things apart and put them back together.

Not that I would play such a character, even in a high powered game but the ability exists, and I found it.


WormysQueue wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Because Monks, Rangers, Barbarians, and Fighters in PF core simply are NOT good enough at what they do, and do NOT do enough things to be viable contributors.
See, ironically that's exactly the main reason why I don't like those balancing discussions or measures. It's never: "the casters are too strong, so we have to nerf them" but "the fighters are too weak so we have too make them stronger".

Well, that is true.

D&D is Rocket Launcher Tag. The spellcasters have rockets. The enemies have rockets. The PC martial characters do not, by default have rockets.

They are the problem here, because they are the only ones that can't keep up.

Quote:
It's basically the same as with discussions about optimizing. If one player plays a suboptimal character and the others optimize, then this player is generally held to be a detriment to the overall game experience. I've yet to hear the same thing about the one optimizing player in the group with all others playing "normal" characters.

Given your definition of normal, it's likely that single optimizer is the only reason everyone else is still alive. You should be thanking them for taking care of that tedious chore that is combat, because you cannot roleplay if you are dead (and if the optimizer is worth his salt, he roleplays as good or better than you on top of that).

Now if everyone else truly was a normal character, that'd be different.

And if you want classes to be relegated to mook status, there is a reason why the NPC tag exists. Things meant for PCs are meant to be useful. This is not open for discussion.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CoDzilla wrote:
They are the problem here, because they are the only ones that can't keep up.

that kind of depends on your point of view, doesn't it? From my perspective, the martial characters function just fine, and it's the spell casters who are broken.

Quote:
Given your definition of normal, it's likely that single optimizer is the only reason everyone else is still alive.

Not so much. Because I basically don't care if the optimizer gets challenged by the encounters as much as I care that the normal characters get challenged. So the problem isn't that the normal characters need support to stay alive, it's more that the optimized characters gets into the way of their fun because it's too easy for him to beat the challenges.

Luckily I tend to talk to my players beforehand so that we can get on the same page as far as the goals of our game are concerned.


anthony Valente wrote:
houstonderek wrote:


Here's the problem: it's not that easy. If you tone down the wizard (slightly) and barely bump the martial types, things just get harder, because the Bestiary isn't afraid of being hit by a stick. Nerfed wizards = longer combats = more dead martial types unless the GM is fudging/babysitting again. Armor Class is expensive, not effective and monster hit HARD st high levels. Making combats longer is a martial nerf. The one thing they have in abundance (hit points) are less and less valuable the longer a combat goes, especially since one of the most inefficient things a cleric can do at higher levels is heal during combat.

And if they just returned wizards to pre-3x action economy and spell casting difficulty, they wouldn't have to nerf the spells. Allowing wizards to move willy nilly and cast in the same round opened a can of...

It is that easy:

CR 10: Adult White Dragon vs. CR 10: 8 Owlbears vs. Cr 10: 12 Hell Hounds

In other words, not all encounters of the same CR are equal. 12 hounds don't hit or take it like 1 white dragon (+20 to hit and AC 27 vs. +5 to hit and AC 16). That's a huge difference in the numbers, yet they are still equal in CR. The GM is not fudging/babysitting... he simply followed the rules laid out in the core rulebook about encounter building in both cases. You can tailor the numbers and monster abilities when making encounters to suit the abilities of the PCs to provide appropriate challenges without fudging anything. You don't have to lie to your players about what the dice tell you. And you are not babysitting if you are trying to match up a standard encounter's capabilities with theirs. This is just an example, but if you have a group where the best PC has an AC of 24 at 10th level and the caster's best save DC is 18 and they're happy with their PCs, then you are forcing them into an arms race by frequently throwing white dragons at them instead of coming up with encounters they are better matched up against by simply using the rules.

So your saying that the CR system is meaningless.

CR10=CR10=CR10 is contradicted by your claim that all CR10 encounters are not equally challenging. Both cannot be true.

The CR system should work regardless of party makeup or build. A CR10 encounter should be appropriate for any party of the appropriate level, whether they be optimized casters or all completely unoptimized non-casters.

You claim that the GM tailoring the encounters fixes the problem, but is this not just another sort of fudging? It's Kirk's solution to the Kobayashi Maru - alter the conditions of the unwinnable encounter so that he can win, aka cheat.

Your argument is based on a fallacy that the game isn't broken because the GM can fix it. The game should be balanced so that the GM does not have to make special accommodations for certain classes/builds.

Also your claim that the GM should custom tailor encounters to suit the abilities of the PCs falls apart when you put it up against GMs who run pre-written adventures with pre-generated encounters because they don't have the time to build encounters from scratch.

Balance is about any party combination being able to deal with any encounter of an appropriate CR. The most highly optimized groups may deal with it more efficiently, but no party should be guaranteed a TPK. It's not about individual characters being equal, it's about the party being at it's assumed power level based on average character level and each individual being able to contribute more than "extra target to split up the enemy attacks".

Liberty's Edge

We state the problem is that melee-classes don't do enough damage and/or enough special effects. Special effects are tricky to add in for fighters, as we have seen in 4e, the difference between hitting with a sword or spell is sort of smeared out.

So if we focus on the fact that a fighter just can't dish out enough damage to make a difference before the mage has been something to effectively end the battle for a moment.

So to fix this we either need to increase the damage output of the fighter - rule = iterative attacks with high bonus (max BAB). The issue I have with this is it's really slow at high level, more than a few d20 rolls a just plain silly if flow is to be maintained.

So if, and bear with me before criticizing, just adding more attacks is an even sillier idea, we are left with Hit Points. Now for my sweeping statement... Fighters were nerfed the moment some bright spark decided to have HP's be equal to the National debt.

Hit point went skyrocketing yet the basic damage of the sword stayed the same. To compensate for this, as stats alone don't address the balance created in 3e and helped no end by PF, fighters now suddenly need every magic item slot filled with +kill magic items. My solution to the balance problem nerf EVERYONE'S hit points. The save or suck/die spells will still do exactly that, but now fighters will be more effective with no change other than dividing a monsters HP's by some factor (you mechanics geniuses have any idea by what?). All without adding more dice rolls.

Hit Points broke my game - musings,
S.


Stefan Hill wrote:

So to fix this we either need to increase the damage output of the fighter - rule = iterative attacks with high bonus (max BAB). The issue I have with this is it's really slow at high level, more than a few d20 rolls a just plain silly if flow is to be maintained.

The biggest piece of the problem isn't exactly that the melee characters don't get enough attacks, but that, assuming enemies are playing the tactical/movement part of the game intelligently, it's very hard to get a full attack as a melee character. Either you're fighting a melee monster, which probably has a scarier full attack than you do (and thus, getting a full attack means taking a full attack, usually, and isn't really in your best interest), or you're fighting something that doesn't care about making a full attack, in which case it should almost never stand still and let you full attack it.

You can tell that the game designers realize some version of this and have taken some steps in the direction of addressing it, such as Vital Strike, neo-Cleave, the Fighter variants that can potentially move and still get off more than one attack in a round, Beast Totem Barbarian, etc. These are steps in the right direction but they're not quite enough yet, I don't think.

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