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Author Topic: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features  (Read 4051 times)

ColonelHardisson

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2006, 07:57:55 PM »
Quote from: obryn
A side-benefit of this change is that I'd never have to listen to a fatbeard describe himself as "chaotic good" in real life ever again.

-O


So you're cool with all the ones telling you what their "real-life" stats are and how they are a 9th level monk because they somehow managed to wheeze their way through a couple of karate classes once?
"Illegitimis non carborundum." - General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell

4e definitely has an Old School feel. If you disagree, cool. I won't throw any hyperbole out to prove the point.

ColonelHardisson

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2006, 08:19:01 PM »
Quote from: Gunhilda
My problem has always been *too much* imagination.  I want a character who wields a halberd, does acrobatics, hides and moves silently, and casts both necromantic and healing spells.  And I don't want any extraneous crap, like backstab or evocation spells.  I came the closest to that with a 2e jongleur, but you CAN NOT do that in D&D.  Not exactly a superpowered character, and he'd fit perfectly well in D&D, but you flat out can't do him justice in D&D.


Where's the smiley here to indicate you're just kidding? You're kidding, right? Please? Can hide...with an eight-foot-long pole with an axe on the end of it? :heh: Is he Daffy Duck? Damn dude, here I am trying to be all reasonable and shit and you toss this at me... :mischief:

Quote from: Gunhilda
Two problems: one, those classes SUCK (in the UA version) and two, they are *not* the iconic roles of D&D.  Those are fighter, wizard, thief, and combat medic cleric.  I'd have those as the basic archetypes, with ranger, warlock, bard, and druid as secondary archetypes.


Warrior - OK, call it a fighter. Expert - OK call it a thief or rogue or scalliwag or whatever. Spellcaster - call it a cleric if it loads up on healing spells, a wizard if it loads up on fireballs. My point being that these base classes would be for the most basic, elementary version of D&D. Show how all the ones we know and love are derived from them in a succeeding chapter. Plus, I'm actually stumped that you dislike them, given how customizable they are. I never did a side-by-side comparison of them, so the ones I've really looked at are in UA, which I'm assuming you don't have, right?



Quote from: Gunhilda
Personally, I'd take a BIG ol' axe to the new 3e sacred cows of multiclassing, prestige classes, and feats.  Sure, the system works, more or less, but it's needlessly clunky.  Base classes and prestige classes are methods of delivering specific powers.  All of those powers could be delivered more easily and with more freedom of choice with feats.  If you want to have another layer of complexity, you could have feats and traits, like in d20 Modern.


I can't say for sure, not being able to read your mind, but the Lord of the Rings RPG by Decipher seems to have a system similar to what I think you mean here. Classes are "Orders" in that game, and are very much based on what in D&D would be feat and skill selection. In fact, orders are basically pre-packaged character concepts, since one could build a character in that game system from scratch, which I think is what you'd like. Again, I don't have a big problem with it in concept, but I think that presenting this early on in the rules, and later showing how the classes we know and love can be built using it, would be the way to go. Multiclassing would just be a way to conveniently grab a bundle of abilities, skills, and feats, but you could be more meticulous and do it all "by hand," so to speak.
"Illegitimis non carborundum." - General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell

4e definitely has an Old School feel. If you disagree, cool. I won't throw any hyperbole out to prove the point.

obryn

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2006, 09:53:47 PM »
Quote from: ColonelHardisson
So you're cool with all the ones telling you what their "real-life" stats are and how they are a 9th level monk because they somehow managed to wheeze their way through a couple of karate classes once?

Hell no.  Where'd you get that from in my post?

I hear that a lot less than the goddamn alignment thing, though.

-O
 

Thjalfi

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2006, 10:15:36 PM »
While we're busy getting rid of everything that d&d has ever done (vancian magic, pregenerated spells, classes and alignments).... why don't we consider getting rid of the name? I mean, that's really a sacred cow, right? D&D is really about generic fantasy gaming anyway, so why limit it by giving it such a specific name?

Quote from: Gunhilda
Since it's a new edition, we need to change some of the rules, but not change so many that the game is unrecognizable.


despite the fatbeard outcry over second edition settings, things like Planscape, Spelljammer, and Dark Sun are D&D. Fuck, I despise Eberron, but it's still D&D. Discussing creating a new system that is D&D needs to take something very specific into account - all of those settings, all the stupid shit that has gone into D&D for the last 30 years - all of it has to be able to find a place in that new system. yes, ropers and piercers and hook horrors are essentially lame, the flail-snail is one of the most silly-assed things i've ever seen, and dragons fucking everything that moves is kind of lame - but it's all a part of the long-term D&D mythos. books like Lords of Madness and Stormwrack still feature Spelljammer references, and Planescape is built right in to the cosmology now. Half-Giants and Thri-Kreen are built into the psionics handbook, a bit of a nod towards dark sun.

things that are actual design features of D&D, IMO:

Alignment - the law/chaos and good/evil battle is really one of the essential components - you may not like it in play, but it's one of the most basic parts of D&D. subjective morality is great in a lot of games - but D&D is a game of heroes, and clearly defined morality. get rid of clearly defined alignment, and you start getting rid of the gods of D&D.

Spells - Silly ass spells that have odd effects, that don't always match up to any given system. same goes for funky monsters that don't make any sense. I won't say that "prepared" spells are really the right way to go - the spontaneous casting setup is really another part of the vancian system, and I'd personally like to see some medium between preperation and spontaneous. I agree with gunhilda that there needs to be a stronger border between arcane and divine spellcasting. 3rd was nice in that it's all a single consistent system, but the constant overlap of spells has left the whole system bland and generic.

Classes and Multiclassing - always has been a bit wierd, and I think that the third edition design of multiclassing still needs a lot of work. 2nd & 1st edition multiclassing relied on being demihuman, while 3rd has the rather cumbersome favored class rules based on race. Theres a lot of wiggle room to be had in the way that races and classes interact, and I think that it's a place to take a good solid look at how you want to be able to customize characters.  I think both fewer and greater limitations on multiclassing would be a good idea. One bit I actually liked in second edition was the breakdown of classes into catagories. the Warrior catagory had the fighter, paladin, and ranger. Magic-Users has wizards and the specialists. Rogues had Thiefs and Bards. Priests were Clerics and Druids. 3rd has tried to retroactively add those catagories again with the complete book, but that hasn't quite worked in the same flavorful way.

Skills & Feats - again, there's a lot of wiggle room here - between second edition nwp/wp proficiencies, and the 3rd edition skill/feat system, there's been a lot of changes, not all of it for the better. I think that a median position here would be a good idea again - a net decrease in complexity is important. Instead of balance, jump, tumble, etc... It might be worth while to roll it all into one skill. I think that IH's skill groups were a step in the right direction, but it's still a lot more paperwork than there really needs to be.

Races - heres where we get some really Iconic D&D stuff going on - Dwarfs are Fighters, Elves are Wizards with swords, Humans can do anything, Half elvs are there, and Gnomes and Halflings are short and no one cares about them anyway. 3rd edition humans are just too good, mechanically - Almost everyone i've played with since 3rd came out has played human. I think that the races need to be looked at rather seriously.

Psionics - psionics have always been the bastard stepchild of D&D, and I think that it really needs to be addressed. I'm not sure how to address it, but it bears consideration.
 

JongWK

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2006, 11:43:50 PM »
Quote from: Thjalfi
No matter that it came from (conan, I think?), the ability to wield two weapons has never screamed RANGER to me.


Didn't you know? The US Rangers can fire two M16 at the same time. :mischief:
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~~Gary Gygax (1938 - 2008)


Maddman

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2006, 09:01:46 AM »
I think I could deal with an exception based magic system - that is each spell is essentially its own rule - if there was a consistant spell building system to go along with it.  I want a spell that affects X number of creatures with Y effect for Z round = L level.  All the spells should follow this formula and the number in the core books should be kept low, with the idea that wizards will commonly make their own spells.

As for the ability scores, simply as a design principle if you want the ability scores to range from 3-18 then you should have that number mean something.  Having an ability score but then looking up a modifier that applies to everything is silly and makes the system more complicated than it needs to be.
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willpax

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2006, 09:43:04 AM »
There are some great ideas bouncing around here. The theme seems to be that we (here in the developers' forum) want a system that has its design specs more open to tinkering. So have your archetypal classes, and build them all with skill choices and feat chains, and show people how to make their own concepts out of the basic flavors (like True20). Magic would have a similar kit.

One thing I've actually been a bit frustrated by that hasn't been mentioned so far: the use of BAB as a completely separate mechanic from the skill/feat concept. While others may not have a problem with this, I find the multiple attacks per round and lack of effective defense mechanic in standard D&D to be inhibiting. For one, fighter offensive power outstrips defense without magic help. Two, it is much harder to make the evasive character (without magical help). What I've toyed around with in my head is using the feat/skill mechanic for combat bonuses as well, and allowing characters to divide their bonuses between attack and defense, and have multiple opponents require further division of defense points. That could be an excuse for fighters to get more skill points, and allow for specialized fighters who master one weapon type, and then have other skills, or more general fighters who can pick up anything and use it effectively. Of course, one would have to be vigilant for over-complexity with such a system.

Hit points are probably too much of a sacred cow, so I won't start on that. . .
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blakkie

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2006, 11:17:03 AM »
Quote from: Gunhilda
As Colonel Hardisson's thread shows, the ability scores in D&D were seriously weakened in 3e.  Personally, I'd reverse that trend for 4e.  Having a Strength of 18 should have more meaning than just a +4 bonus.


Please put down the crack pipe and step away from the keyboard till you come down. :P

3e weakened ability scores??? It actually made a huge swath of scores something they never were before, relavent.  Not only do the modifiers get used a ton more, and for more of the stats, but there isn't that large dead area where the modifiers were all 0 in prior editions.  Yes the upper end [for humans/demi-humans] was somewhat more sensitive to change, but that's about it.

In prior editions the single increments ment something sometimes. Now they largely don't. Whale hipbones.
"Because honestly? I have no idea what you do. None." - Pierce Inverarity

Gunhilda

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2006, 11:21:20 AM »
Well, I was trying to reply to everything yesterday, and that just isn't working.  :)  There are too many ideas for me to do them all justice.  So I'll just ramble on a bit and try to address some of it.  Y'all can whack me upside the head if I miss things that you want to talk about.  :D

The skill system -- this, I think, is the part that needs the most work.  I think Iron Heroes shows that the skill system can definitely still be improved upon.

The biggest change I would make, as willpax mentions, is that the fighting skills need to be rolled into the rest of the skill system.  (So do the saving throws, for that matter.)

I think the skill system needs tweaking, so that natural ability (your ability score) matters more than it does now.  I also think there should be more possibility for having exceptional skills -- so you could have a relatively low-level character who is an incredible archer, or basketweaver, or whatever.

(On a tangent, I think one thing that would be useful is a size stat, that add to damage and hit points and subtracts from AC.  If skills are going to be more heavily based on stats, then having a giant with a 60 strength score doesn't make so much sense any more.  Are they really going to be masters of climbing and swimming?  I don't think so.)

One of the biggest problems with trying to streamline D&D is the spells.  They're each rules unto themselves.  Frankly, though, a game without magic missiles and webs and wishes isn't really D&D any more.  As inconvenient as they are, I think they're a design feature.

That said, I think word still needs to be done.  Thjalfi -- I can't remember who said the divide between divine and arcane magic needs to be widened, but it wasn't me.  :)  After seeing Arcana Unearthed/Evolved, I think that there should just be one unified spell list.  But with standard D&D spells -- the AE spells are, overall, too wimpy.  Yes, it's kind of ridiculous that a 5th level wizard can potenial kill everything in a 20 foot radius, but that is D&D.  :)

One thing I'd like to do, but am not sure is workable, is try to mesh the spellcasting with the skill system.  I'm vaguely thinking of wizard-types learning spells by school and cleric-types learning them by sphere, but I'm not sure whether that's workable or not.  Or whether it is desirable.

As for spellcasting -- I'm leaning towards the AE system where you have potential access to most spells, prepare some of them, and then spontaneously cast them until you use up slots.  But that might be too complicated for the basic game.
 

blakkie

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2006, 11:27:46 AM »
Quote
(On a tangent, I think one thing that would be useful is a size stat, that add to damage and hit points and subtracts from AC. If skills are going to be more heavily based on stats, then having a giant with a 60 strength score doesn't make so much sense any more. Are they really going to be masters of climbing and swimming? I don't think so.)


You mean a size modifier? ;)  There is already one of those, it is just that it is only used for to-hit in 3e.

However yes giants are masters of swimming and climbing...when they can stand on the bottom or just step over stuff that humans have to climb in standard ways.:deviousgrin:  Outside of that I agree not so much.
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Gunhilda

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2006, 11:33:39 AM »
Quote from: blakkie
3e weakened ability scores???


Yes, it did.  Proficiencies were almost entirely based on the ability score -- sure, you could spend proficiency slots to improve the score, but that was woefully inefficient.

In 2e, an 18/something Strength meant something.  (A little too much, which is why everyone cheated on their percentile roll.)  Now?  Barbarians get rage at 1st level, Bull's Strength is available at 3rd level, and gauntlets of ogre strength and belts of giant strength are given out like candy.  Not to mention that a non-fey monster with a strength score less than 20 is an oddity.  Any innate level of strength (as long as you don't have a penalty) is meaningless compared to all the other bonuses floating out there.

I will grant that some ability scores are more powerful.  Con for one.  Int is the ONLY score that matters for skills -- especially once you are higher than 4th level.  So I'll grant you have something of a point, even if you are a dumbass.
 

Gunhilda

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2006, 11:36:09 AM »
Quote from: blakkie
You mean a size modifier? ;)  There is already one of those, it is just that it is only used for to-hit in 3e.

However yes giants are masters of swimming and climbing...when they can stand on the bottom or just step over stuff that humans have to climb in standard ways.:deviousgrin:  Outside of that I agree not so much.

You do realize that you are attempting to antagonize the Nutkin who officially has the banhammer, right?

I will clarify, since you rode the short bus to school: I am talking about a size SCORE that *directly* modifies damage, hit points, and AC.  Not a modifier to Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, which is what it currently does.  Is that clear enough?  Or do I need to use smaller words?


edit: Ahem.  Let's just say that being antagonistic for no good reason is not a good idea when I have a headache.  Fucktard.  :p
 

blakkie

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2006, 11:58:55 AM »
Quote from: Gunhilda
You do realize that you are attempting to antagonize the Nutkin who officially has the banhammer, right?

I will clarify, since you rode the short bus to school: I am talking about a size SCORE that *directly* modifies damage, hit points, and AC.  Not a modifier to Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, which is what it currently does.  Is that clear enough?  Or do I need to use smaller words?


Hrmm, glancing to the bottom left of page 5 of the 3.0 MM I see the table labeled Creature Sizes with the column "AC/Attack Modifier".

Dipshit. :mischief:

My point was dual.  The second part being, and this is going back to the other discussion about ability scores, that you are talking about another stat when in fact you want another modifier (bonus). The first being is that there already is one in 3e. :)
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Enkhidu

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2006, 12:04:44 PM »
Quote from: Gunhilda
I will clarify, since you rode the short bus to school: I am talking about a size SCORE that *directly* modifies damage, hit points, and AC.  Not a modifier to Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity, which is what it currently does.


I'm of the mind that - as long as you use the "size advancement" charts in the MM as a baseline - it's unnecessary to have a separate size score.

Maybe its just that the indirect method seems like a better fit for what its supposed to do.


As for making stats more important for skills, I think this is a mistake. It opens up too many worm-filled cans (like the swimming giant).
 

Gunhilda

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2006, 12:09:26 PM »
Quote from: blakkie
Hrmm, glancing to the bottom left of page 5 of the 3.0 MM I see the table labeled Creature Sizes with the column "AC/Attack Modifier".

Dipshit. :mischief:


Well, at least you know you're playing with fire.  :p

Quote from: blakkie
My point was dual.  The second part being, and this is going back to the other discussion about ability scores, that you are talking about another stat when in fact you want another modifier (bonus). The first being is that there already is one in 3e. :)


I will try explaining what I mean again tonight or tomorrow when I have access to my PHB.  I am talking about replacing the huge bonuses to stats that large+ monsters get in D&D with a size stat.  And I will be able to make this clearer if I have the chart to look at.

Getting rid of my headache wouldn't hurt either.  :muttering: