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Author Topic: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features  (Read 4115 times)

blakkie

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #45 on: June 09, 2006, 06:57:02 pm »
Quote from: ColonelHardisson
I totally agree. Systems like those in Ars Magica and Black Company d20 seem cool in theory, but are so hard to use in a spontaneous way without taking up a lot of time during play while the players tries to piece together what he wants his spell to do.


I agree that Black Company magic is soooo very, very wacked. Completely unusable by mere mortals ingame. Basically it had such a usability barrier that the DM (and to a lesser extent the one person that played a mage) acknowledged later that when they were casting spells and calculating drain damage they basically just grabbed a handful of dice of various size, rolled them, pretended to study them carefully, and then just made up on the fly what happened. :duh:
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Dacke

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2006, 08:00:56 pm »
Quote from: Xavier Lang
I want a player to create Bigby's Clenched Fist because they like punching people and its a convenient way to descibe magic in a role playing sense.
I want the numbers behing the scenes to be formula's that are easy to calculate and or modify without every spell being a special case.
In my experience, systems like that lead to flavorless spells. I like my exception-based spells. Especially things like Mordenkainen's Magnificient Mansion, or spells like Guards & Wards, Eyebite, Tenser's Transformation, etc. Or Apparatus of Kwalish.

A formula-based system would also rarely see things like the extra damage in rain from Call Lightning, the special undead-killing part of Searing Light, the level-based increase of the movement abilities of a Phantom Steed, or the "Jar" part of Magic Jar.
 

Wolvorine

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2006, 02:27:26 am »
While that sort of magic 'formatting' does hold a certain appeal for me, it quickly (and I mean Quickly) leads to HERO/Champions.  You slide from that pretty fast to "Oh hell man, it's a spell that does damage with arcane energy.  So that makes it an Energy Blast (Fire), Radius, Exploding, Delayed [Delayed Blast Fireball].  That spell's Energy Blast (Fire) (Wall) (Immobile) [Wall of Fire]."

And while that sort of define-as-you-want system is cool IMO (and one of the reasons I've always liked HERO so much), it's not D&D.
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Gunhilda

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2006, 01:35:13 pm »
The weird spells and items are definitely, to me, a design feature of the game.  That's one of the things that sucks about 3e.  Is anyone going to have gauntlets of swimming & climbing?  No, not if they can help it -- the gloves slot is for Dex or Str boosting items!  If the players have any say over their magic items -- which 3e encourages -- they end up with bland, boring stat boosters.  "Let's see; I've got all my stats boosted, all the different types of AC boosters, and every slot filled!  My character is ready!"  "So what's his name?"  "Name?"  :rolleyes:

So the magic item system, to me, could use a little work.  I might even go so far as to say that stat booster items should be axed.
 

ColonelHardisson

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2006, 01:55:24 pm »
Quote from: Gunhilda
So the magic item system, to me, could use a little work.  I might even go so far as to say that stat booster items should be axed.


I wouldn't go that far, but I really agree with you in regards to magic items. Maybe include stat boosts for items like gauntlets of swimming and climbing that are in line with the other abilities they grant? In the case of those gauntlets, they would have a +2 Str bonus, perhaps.
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4e definitely has an Old School feel. If you disagree, cool. I won't throw any hyperbole out to prove the point.

Thjalfi

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2006, 04:55:01 pm »
one of the things I think that I'd like to see toned down is Iterative attacks - six seconds isn't actually all that long, and It's hard for me to believe that someone could pull off 7+ attacks in that time.
 

Enkhidu

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2006, 06:49:19 pm »
Quote from: Thjalfi
one of the things I think that I'd like to see toned down is Iterative attacks - six seconds isn't actually all that long, and It's hard for me to believe that someone could pull off 7+ attacks in that time.


I think this is more a function if the idea that melee is full of all sorts of feints and set-ups that culminate in an effective blow than anything else, the basic idea being that a more skilled combatant can make those feints effective in and of themselves. You can see it mostly in fencing, but it exists in "live steel" combat as well.

Admittedly, if you were modeling that particular frame of reference, the iterative order should be reversed (lowest to highest attack bonuses), but still.
 

Thjalfi

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2006, 07:23:09 pm »
Quote from: Enkhidu
I think this is more a function if the idea that melee is full of all sorts of feints and set-ups that culminate in an effective blow than anything else, the basic idea being that a more skilled combatant can make those feints effective in and of themselves. You can see it mostly in fencing, but it exists in "live steel" combat as well.

Admittedly, if you were modeling that particular frame of reference, the iterative order should be reversed (lowest to highest attack bonuses), but still.


six. seconds.

no way. sorry. watching olympic fencing, they still aren't that fast.
 

Zalmoxis

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2006, 08:33:06 pm »
Quote from: Xavier Lang
I would be prefectly fine with a spell system that had tons of good examples that were pre built so someone didn't have to do anything than pick existing spells.  I would like players to be able to be fluid and creative with there spells if the GM and players wanted to be.

Burning Hands
Aganazar's scorcher
Fireball
Wall of Fire
Delayed Blast Fireball
Meteor Swarm

These should all be one spell with different parameters.

I don't think people realize how basic and unoriginal the vast majority of spells are in terms of actual affect.  The color and description placed on them can be amazing.  What they actually do number wise isn't as varied.


This person does! :)

When I compiled a bunch of spells last year I found that to be the case. That's one of the big strengths of True20, that it gathers spells together as one package.

Dacke

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2006, 09:32:17 pm »
Thing is, I can appreciate an "effects-based" system. Like M&M, or Elements of Magic, or whatever. I just think the quirky spells and items are a big part of what makes D&D, D&D. Without them, it would move a big step closer to just being "d20 Fantasy."
 

Wolvorine

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #55 on: June 12, 2006, 04:11:47 am »
Quote from: Gunhilda
That's one of the things that sucks about 3e.  Is anyone going to have gauntlets of swimming & climbing?  No, not if they can help it -- the gloves slot is for Dex or Str boosting items!  If the players have any say over their magic items -- which 3e encourages -- they end up with bland, boring stat boosters.  "Let's see; I've got all my stats boosted, all the different types of AC boosters, and every slot filled!  My character is ready!"  "So what's his name?"  "Name?"  :rolleyes:

This is actually kind of funny.  I've ignored this aspect of magic item creation all along (even back in 1E when it was an unwritten tendency).  So yeah, I'm about as likely to create an Earring of Strength as Boots of Leaping, just because I figure that the tendancies are as assumed by characters as players/DMs.  If the BBEG assumes that my gloves radiating a magic aura are the source of my unearthly strength when it's my left earring (and the gloves provide me SR/10, for example) then I have an advantage, even if it's slight.
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Xavier Lang

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #56 on: June 12, 2006, 10:25:20 am »
Quote from: Dacke
Thing is, I can appreciate an "effects-based" system. Like M&M, or Elements of Magic, or whatever. I just think the quirky spells and items are a big part of what makes D&D, D&D. Without them, it would move a big step closer to just being "d20 Fantasy."


Quirky has its place, but I've seen too many situations where a player had to make the decision of do I go for the what has the right look and feel or the one that is actually useful.  When every spell is a handcrafted tool they are not equal and you get spells that everyone casts because they are just better.

Why is there a magic item that protects just against magic missle (Brooch of Shielding) but most spells don't have there own special magic item to counter them?  It wouldn't be because magic missle is better at damage than any other first level spell would it?  

By what logic is there no save against it?  By what logic does it hit whatever it is aimed at yet can't be aimed at certain things?

Different problems exist with different spells/groups.
Look at Charm Person - I can charm an epic level human warrior with it as a first level wizard 5% of the time (Auto failure on a 1).  As an epic level wizard I can charm a Ogre 0% of the time.  This is reasonable?

Both magic missle and charm person need to be built on an existing framework.

I have no problem with the framework being lighter than I would prefer so more people are happy, but there are some basic questions that need to be answered for "types" of spells.
 

Dacke

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Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2006, 11:49:51 am »
Quote from: Xavier Lang
It wouldn't be because magic missle is better at damage than any other first level spell would it?
Magic missile is balanced up to level 6, IMO. It has advantages over other 1st-level offensive spells (autohit, no save, hits incorporeal), but the other ones do more base damage (d4/level to an area with burning hands, d8/level with a touch with shocking grasp, as compared to (d4+1)/2 levels for MM). The broken part ("broken" might be a little strong) is that MM scales up to level 9 while the others only scale up to level 5.

Quote
Look at Charm Person - I can charm an epic level human warrior with it as a first level wizard 5% of the time (Auto failure on a 1). As an epic level wizard I can charm a Ogre 0% of the time. This is reasonable?
Yes. The ogre is a giant, and giants apparently have mental pathways that are harder to influence than humanoids. You need to use Charm Monster on the giant. Either that, or play a psion and augment your Psionic Charm power to work on giants (making it the equivalent of a 2nd level power).
 

Xavier Lang

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« Reply #58 on: June 12, 2006, 01:39:02 pm »
Quote from: Dacke
Magic missile is balanced up to level 6, IMO. It has advantages over other 1st-level offensive spells (autohit, no save, hits incorporeal), but the other ones do more base damage (d4/level to an area with burning hands, d8/level with a touch with shocking grasp, as compared to (d4+1)/2 levels for MM). The broken part ("broken" might be a little strong) is that MM scales up to level 9 while the others only scale up to level 5.

To me, everything you just said proves my point.  3 damaging first level spells.  Each with a different die of damage, damage bonus, aoe of effect, 2 have saves, one doesn't.  1 is ranged, 1 is area effect, 1 is personal.  Each scales differently.  

Quote

Yes. The ogre is a giant, and giants apparently have mental pathways that are harder to influence than humanoids. You need to use Charm Monster on the giant. Either that, or play a psion and augment your Psionic Charm power to work on giants (making it the equivalent of a 2nd level power).

Why is this only for Charm Person?  Shouldn't Ogre's have this same resistance to illusions, telepathy, etc...?  Why am I as a human, not immune to charm person from an Ogre with a level of Wizard?  Shouldn't the Ogre wizard need Charm Monster to charm me?


Ok, we aren't going to agree on this.  You want each spell to be its on universe.  I want each spell to be built on a framework.  Would you be open to a compromise?
If we are talking about making a 4.0 version, what would you be willing to give on?
What about some basic rules for spells in general?  Similar to how they have rules for what a Cone vs a sphere area of a effect are.
Example:  
How about a rule for when or when not a spell can have a save?
How about a rule for how aimed spells can be used or not used?
What happens when you upgrade or degrade an area of effect?
If a monster, instead of a default PC race uses a spell that has racial limitations what are the changes?  To use the charm example.  If I am playing and ogre, are giants what I can charm with charm person and I need charm monster for humanoids?  That would be fine with me, but I would love to see it set down somewhere.
 

willpax

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Re: Spell development kit
« Reply #59 on: June 13, 2006, 10:32:28 am »
Quote from: Xavier Lang
What about some basic rules for spells in general?


This could be moved to the new DMG. The PB would have the classic list of predesigned spells, and the DMG has a section on spell construction that might work in an almost Hero-Games-ish way, with  bonuses (area of effect, scalability, saves, type of effect) and maluses (need for particular foci or components, casting time, limited targets, and so on). All that calculating generates a power number, and power numbers within certain ranges suggest certain casting levels.

This kind of a system wouldn't be designed for making up spells on the fly, but would facilitate the power balancing of homebrew spells and a malus system would encourage the kind of quirkiness that many associate with D&D magic.

I'm okay with magic missile being the top end of the first-level power range, and with weaker and stronger spells within a given level. Obivously the current spell list wasn't done this way, so I don't think we could reverse-engineer such a thing with any degree of precision, but a new edition would be able to re-jigger the magic system in such a way.
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