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#10: 01-20-2012 @ 11:22:10 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3223#3223

MachVergilMachVergil

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Today's D&D Next question is an interesting one!  Should flavor back game mechanics or is flavor in and of itself enough to justify itself without rules to back it up!  You should give the short article a read before you weigh in to know specifically what they're talking about.

At first I was going to favor saying "game rules shouldn't go out of its way to back up flavor" because game rules doing that has contributed in the past to me not playing a given race before.  It's also resulted in some pretty lame choices for race/class from unimaginative players just because they wanted the rules bonuses to back it up. Then I thought about it more though, and how much it irritates me that Tieflings are supposed to have this predisposition to Infernal Warlock but Infernal Warlock requires Constitution, a stat they don't have a +2 to.   Or how Eladrin are supposed to be apt swordsmen, but all of the classes that can really take advantage of that require Strength and there is no way to get +2 strength on an Eladrin.  Or that the Bow-Warlord seems custom tailored for the dex-heavy races that typical epitomize bow use, but the class and its functions remain based in Strength making class build not ideal for the races you'd think it would be.

So in the end yeah, I think I would like it if the rules backed flavor.  I just don't feel like the flavor needs to be as restrictive as it was back in 2e when Dwarves could never learn magic and only Lawful Good Human Paladins existed.


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#11: 01-20-2012 @ 01:54:43 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3226#3226

Misharum KittumMisharum Kittum

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I think the rules should support flavor, but not combat rules. Or at least if it touches combat rules it should be something as simple as a substitution instead of granting a bonus.


Justice and Truth
#12: 02-09-2012 @ 11:53:38 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3347#3347

MachVergilMachVergil

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I've skipped a couple (I might go back and pull them up if people are interested in me continuing to bring up these things as discussion points here), but today's I wanted to share.

Today they are talking about Fighters in the new edition, and how they are proving to be one of the most difficult classes to nail down.  You wouldn't think so - Fighters are and have always been one of the most basic of D&D classes.  Hell the "Fighter-type" tends to be the "Easy Mode" class in any RPG, any RPG, digital or not, off-line or single player.  They represent the easiest to understand, easiest to play class without sacrificing much in terms of power. Over time the "tank" concept has sort of overtaken the Fighter identity and has started to more and more shoehorn the class into that role - more defense less damage, with 4th ed falling under that case.  So they are struggling - do we want to bring back the days when Fighters could be any number of things, or did we like the way in 4th edition their role in combat was very set, and easy to understand, giving them a firm, easy to understand identity?

Personally I'm a fan of the customizable fighter that can be either tanky or damage based, but I feel this way for one important reason - I'd like to see the new edition have fewer over all classes and more variability with in those classes, sorta like in the old days.  In other words, instead of sitting here lamenting the fact that there isn't a ranged Primal Striker class, or a Martial Controller, I think it'd be nice if a lot of classes could alternate their role based on build.  Not constantly, like this is Guild Wars or something mind you, just at character rolling.

In other words, I think it makes total sense that if a Fighter player wanted to become a bruiser of sorts and tool around in heavy armor and a massive hammer, dealing striker levels of damage and having lower defenses to the point of not really being a tank, that's fine.  Likewise I feel like if a Cleric wants to dabble in tanking they should be able to, as should a Paladin in Healing, and a bard in spell damage.   Fewer classes, more options sounds like a better way to go then more classes with fewer options personally.


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#13: 02-09-2012 @ 01:03:13 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3348#3348

DominionDominion

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Personally I'm a fan of the customizable fighter that can be either tanky or damage based, but I feel this way for one important reason - I'd like to see the new edition have fewer over all classes and more variability with in those classes, sorta like in the old days.  In other words, instead of sitting here lamenting the fact that there isn't a ranged Primal Striker class, or a Martial Controller, I think it'd be nice if a lot of classes could alternate their role based on build.

I basically agree with this. I believe we had a discussion before about how in 3e (and when I speak of 3ed I also mean 3.5) when you went to create your fighter class you were free to make a two-handed greatsword fighter or a dual axe wielding rage fighter right off the bat with no "power" books needed. 4ed though you had to wait for it to come out in a power book before you could do that. You were pretty much limited to two-handed great weapons or sword-and-board. To be honest when I tried first recreating Rokov for a short campaign in 4e I was a bit put off how I couldn't recreate his dual axe wielding greatness. I mean I was fine grabbing a great axe but I found it a little lame that there was essentially no way for me to swing two axes for my powers without doing some wacky multiclassing into ranger.

This kinda presents a weak point in the power style attacks represented in 4e. You couldn't dual wield because there were no powers to take advantage of your choice. By now sure you have tons of choices that you can pretty much pick and choose your character how you want but that's what it is. You're picking and choosing, you don't have full customizing really in a sense. Full customize would let me take a bow and arrow and let me take a few abilities in it as a fighter without having to multiclass into something else to gain those powers (note they may have come out with something for that now, I don't know, but in the beginning you got no such choice). This was kind of a cool thing I found with 3e, you pretty much got to customize the shit out of your fighter and kit him to what you wanted to do.

But I guess that's the trade off. With 4e you gets lot of choices that are spelled out for you what will happen so it made it a bit easier to figure out a playstyle and sometimes get some really neat abilities. 3ed let you make up your stuff, like called shot, trying to trip, whatever you wanted but that puts a bit more burden on the DM of trying to translate what you want to do into game terms and making sure it's not OP.


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#14: 02-10-2012 @ 07:37:46 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3349#3349

MachVergilMachVergil

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I also wanted to add back into the discussion Penny Arcade's stance on this:

They also did a 4th panel on this comic that contains more of their thoughts on the subject.

Though they get there in their normally irreverent way, I do think they do make a good point in the 4th panel.  Fans of the older editions of D&D are already happy with their D&D ergo trying to build an edition to cater to them is probably a dead end street.  In that regard it probably makes a lot more sense to build D&D to keep trying to bring in new players, like 4th edition was built to do (and from what I hear has succeeded) and let the old markets lie.

Unless of course these newbloods aren't giving them the money they were expecting.  That's another animal.

Either way I'm still excited for the idea of a fresh D&D, whether caters to old editions or not.


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#15: 02-27-2012 @ 09:13:11 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3427#3427

MachVergilMachVergil

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Guys.  Serious Talk Time.

If you vote in ONE 5th edition D&D Next poll, you have GOT to vote in this one. 

They are talking about bringing back the old spell memorization systems, or at the very least making it live side-by-side with other systems.  While I would normally give WotC the benefit of the doubt that they'd find a balance, the user-input part of this makes me worry the overly vocal old guard are going to force hard-core spell memorization back down our throats. 

So please, if you like the improvements brought on by the 3rd Ed Sorc, or the 4th ed system for wizards, you've got to get your like minded friends in on this vote.  This system is, after THAC0, the reason I refused to play AD&D and a fully-blown return to those mechanics would kill all interest in 5th edition for me.


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#16: 02-27-2012 @ 09:35:29 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3429#3429

DominionDominion

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I'll repeat what I said on Twitter about this.

I swear to Pelor I'll stab someone if they bring back the "Vancian" style magic. Or, you know, I'll just go back to NEVER playing casters in 5th ed (if I play it).

I get it. I know why folks like Vancian style magic. As they say in the article it helps you "play smart". I've tried spellcasters in the previous edition and I gotta tell you every campaign I'm in it's next to impossible to prepare for what spells you should bring the next day. More often then not, you prepare your "fireball" spells and take some random other ones that you hope you'll use. There isn't much decision making because one of two things happens:

1. My GM/DM prepares a session that is not predictable to what we'd be doing. I like this. I like a DM that can keep me on my toes. In these cases, my spells that aren't my fireball spells are generally a crap shoot. I either prepare the right spells that help us a ton or I prepare the spells that might as well have all been "purify water" cause that's how often I'll be using them.

2. The session throws me the right hints and clues that I know what spells are useful and I have them avaible to me and guess what? It's the middle of the day. My party isn't going to want to stop and rest just so I can prepare 5 copies of "knock" so we can blow through the door maze of the upcoming dungeon. I think maybe once or twice I had something insanely useful that the party agreed we should wait for me to have available.

Even if I become useful with my other spells it comes at a sacrifice to my combat abilities. Every time I had to blow my useful offensive spells practically all in the first fight just so I wasn't a useless ragdoll that the tank had to protect because I'm a PC. Even then, I blow them all in pretty much the first fight and now I'm useless the rest of the day. Super cool. No wait, what's the opposite of super cool? How about lame. Lame gameplay to be precise. Being a spellcaster is pretty much no fun to me in 3rd edition. I stopped playing them for these reasons. Do I only run around chopping things as an orc barbarian? Yeah, but you know what? At least I get to roll dice and have it mean something.

Now, I wouldn't object to some mix of the system. As you can tell, my biggest problem was becoming useless in fights. If they kept at-wills for wizards, like I got magic missle and fireball as at-will but I had to choose the last 5 spells I have for the day, I could probably live with that. So long as these "magical feats" they speak of aren't just useless cantrips. "Oh boy! I get to use magic hand at will! That's... super useful?"


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#17: 02-27-2012 @ 11:31:50 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3430#3430

Misharum KittumMisharum Kittum

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Geeze, I'm scared to see them so strongly considering going back to spell memorization as the model for casters. It sucks and I hated it. I've voted in the poll and given "Vancian" spell casting the lowest score possible.


Justice and Truth
#18: 02-27-2012 @ 12:19:14 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3431#3431

MachVergilMachVergil

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So I'm chatting a little bit with one of my co-workers who is super new to D&D about this.  After trying to explain to him the difference between the "Vancian" system and 4th ed, he eventually said "See this doesn't really matter to me because I wouldn't play a spell caster anyway?"

"Why not?" I asked.

"its all mechanics.  I constantly am glad I don't have be a paladin because I don't wanna have to get up a pray every single day and have a limit to what I can do"  he went on to say "I feel like a lot of my party is limited because they're magic users" (this is reference to the 3rd edition game he's in right now).

We talked more about something and in the process I remembered something.  Once upon a time, back when AD&D and 3rd edition was all we had, how I just did not like playing magic users back then.  They felt weak.  They felt vulnerable. They felt limited.  Whenever I played one I felt like I had to be baby sat by the weapon-based characters because without them there I could run out of spells and be destroyed very easily.  When given the choice of character, first was always the nimble ranger who was a good balance between offense and defense, and after that the hardened knight who could wade into battle.  I never wanted to be the wizard.  I didn't want to have my coolness limited by a mana bar, or spell memorization, or anything like that.

Man that's not true now.  Some of it is because I've changed as a player - I'm more comfortable filling a number of party roles now.  A bigger part of it though is that the games themselves have changed extensively.  RPGs have made the following general trends over time (and this is both pen and paper as well as digital RPGs):

  1. Rangers have gone from respectable "lone wolf" characters to being dependent on pets and having their mobility/flexibility/defenses stripped.  4th edition stands as a glorious exception to this.
  2. A greater variety of melee characters have come about, allowing for more options in weapon combat than just sword & board or daggers.  
  3. Mages have been fixed in a ton of ways.  When they aren't made tougher they are given access to numerous control/escape mechanics.  They also have been given in a lot of games more flexibility with their spell resources, specifically recharging mana bars or abilities that can be spammed for free so the caster can always be a caster, instead of ever helpless and depleted.
  4. Mage damage, single target as well as AoE, has far outpaced Rangers.

These things combined have taken me out of playing Rangers as much and more and more into playing spell casters.  I love my Elementalist in Guild Wars because of her high energy regeneration and numerous mechanics to restore energy.  I have had tons of fun with Wizards and Warlocks in D&D 4 (hell even 3rd edition's idea of Sorcerer was a fun compromise to the "Vancian" system).  I really like playing melee/caster hybrid classes like paladins in WoW or Clerics in most games, especially when they have access to "at will powers" or some way to recharge their mana while in melee.  If these changes weren't made to casters over time, I probably would continue to find them to be a not-fun,  inaccessible, frustrating character to play mechanically (like Forces in PSO were).

It is for these reasons I do hope that D&D Next doesn't go too hard on coming back with the Vacian systems.  It'll just lock up spell casting as something I wouldn't enjoy doing again.

This post was edited by machvergil on February 27, 2012, 3:19 pm


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#19: 03-02-2012 @ 12:47:20 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=3462#3462

MachVergilMachVergil

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Today's question is regarding skills.  I have to admit I don't feel as pushed on this one.  I like the 4th ed system a lot because I like the idea that my character is always getting better at everything, even if he/she is still not as good at some things as he/she is at others.  That said I'm not opposed to some of the stuff they suggest in the article.  What do you guys think?


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