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Other Games, Development, & Campaigns => Design, Development, and Gameplay => Topic started by: Gunhilda on June 07, 2006, 06:40:50 pm

Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 07, 2006, 06:40:50 pm
All right, imagine, if you will, that the suits from Hasbro have just gotten tied up and stacked neatly in the next room.  While they wiggle and let out muffled grunts, we take over the D&D line!

It's time for the inevitable 4e and we're the ones who are in charge of it.  I'm design leader and Nutkinland is the design team.  While we build on the designs of the past we, ultimately, decide the future of the biggest RPG.

Since it's a new edition, we need to change some of the rules, but not change so many that the game is unrecognizable.  So, just as they did with 3e, we need to seperate out the sacred cows from the design features.  Which things are essential to making a D&D game D&D?  And which can make way for newer (hopefully better) ideas?

I will post my ideas after a few posts.  I don't want to monopolize things.  :)
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Zalmoxis on June 07, 2006, 07:09:25 pm
There have to be classes and ability scores. I don't mean to sound simplistic, but that's the first thing I thought of.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Maddman on June 07, 2006, 10:30:29 pm
Fighters are guys with swords and armor.  Mages wear robes and cast magic missile.  Clerics heal and turn undead.  Rogues/Thieves are good at stealing and sneaking.  The world is pseudo-medieval full of environments where you will need all four of these skillsets to survive.  This is the default assumptions, a baseline that makes it D&D.  If it can't do the above, might as well call it something else.

I'd favor classless and levelless myself, along with metagame and social mechanics.  But the thread is make D&D, not make a game Maddman would like.  Overall my priority would be to allow the customization and detail in PCs that 3e produced, but have an asymmetric ruleset so game prep is closer to AD&D.  If your stat block can't fit on 2 lines, you need to try harder.  The full detail could still be given to important NPCs and antagonists, but for most monsters this could suffice.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Thjalfi on June 08, 2006, 12:04:43 am
ok - one sacred cow that I think exists is Ranger two-weapon fighting. No matter that it came from (conan, I think?), the ability to wield two weapons has never screamed RANGER to me. I've been known to state that I think that the Scout from Complete Adventurer makes more sense as a "ranger" to me. sure it needs some modifications to get it really right, but that's ok.

Aside from that - I think that the Paladin's Mount and code of honor are sacred cows - with the heavy emphasis on dungeon crawling, having a mount makes little sense. the knight from PHB2 is a step in the right direction, but at the same time, I don't think that the solution should be a purely mechanical one. I also thoroughly dislike the concept of paladin as a core class, while blackguard/black knight is relegated to a prestige class. I think that is more a holdover from 2nd edition's anti-evil characters stance, and is another sacred cow.

I don't have any easy solutions, but I would like to point out - most of what I see as sacred cows come from the old-school attempts to make d&d into something like conan or lahnkmar.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Zalmoxis on June 08, 2006, 12:29:37 am
One thing I would insist on is a clearer line of distinction between arcane and divine spells. Basically right now the only difference between wizards and clerics is healing spells. I think the spell lists should be broken up along much clearer lines, likely giving clerics fewer spells overall, but perhaps more powerful spells. They do work on the behalf of deities, after all.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 08, 2006, 11:57:37 am
First major change I would push for is a complete revamp of spell casting and magic items.

Currently each spell in D&D is a special case rule and everything has to be spelled out in the spell individually.  Toss that.
 
Create basic ideas such as Energy Attack.  Let players assign parameters to it, such as energy type, range, duration, shape, etc... at the cost of making it a higher or lower level spell.  

Instead of having feats that increase a spell level by increasing the range, for example, have feats that cheapen the cost to get better range with any spell or allow them to ignore the first x of increased cost when applied to range.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 08, 2006, 12:07:26 pm
Magic Item creation.

Allow for intelligent item creation the same way you do normal.  Let people pay for better intelligence, special abilities, etc...  It shouldn't be random.

Instead of EXP cost have a time/energy cost of magic item creation.
Allow modifiers of the gold cost, and depending on balance, the time cost based upon situation, materials, etc...

To make a +1 sword have it take the number of days to make that it would take to cast true strike or whatever spell you pick to be cast say 100 times.  If you can cast 5 first level spells, it takes 20 full days not just the time it takes to cast a 1st level spell 5 times.  Allow spell casters to work together on something.  So 3 wizards could finish it in 7 days but each has to cast all of there 1st level spells every day.  This would allow a mage's guild to build a magic item in a day or 2 if they have the incentive, and would allow apprentice mages to make low level items.  You could always restrict things so that one wizard, the one leading, has to have the feat of item creation but the others don't.  This would help explain why mages gather and why there are so many low level items for PC's to find.  If  while I'm doing research I can have a couple of apprentices make a couple of +1 swords a year, the apprentices can pay for themselves the way a journeyman or apprentice works with teh master on creating non magical things.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 08, 2006, 01:08:17 pm
Quote from: Zalmoxis
There have to be classes and ability scores. I don't mean to sound simplistic, but that's the first thing I thought of.
I will disagree with the first and agree on the second.

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.

I'm still thinking about what to do about this.  In 2e, the stats mattered *too* much -- that's basically all your proficiency scores were based one.  I think a happy medium between 2e and 3e has to be possible.  :)

Classes -- I think that the recent overproliferation of "base" classes shows that the class system doesn't work well.  If you need an entirely new class just to do a new character concept, I have a problem with that.  Sure, it gives WotC more material to pad out books with, but I don't give a shit about that.  I want a more elegent design.

My proposal is to replace classes with archetypes.  (You could still call them classes as a nod to tradition, I suppose.)  In Shadowrun, you could make any character you wanted -- but you could also pick a pre-made archetype, like shaman or street samurai.  With D&D, you could have something similar.  You could pick a fighter or a wizard, with your initial powers and all 20 levels planned out, or you could create your own class, using some sort of point buy system.

So all the classic classes could still be there, but you could pick and choose and make something new if you wanted to.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson on June 08, 2006, 02:08:24 pm
Quote from: Gunhilda
Classes -- I think that the recent overproliferation of "base" classes shows that the class system doesn't work well.


I disagree. Here's why: most of those new base classes are concepts that could have been achieved with multiclassing or even judicious and objective allocation of skill points and feats. There are a few exceptions, the warlock being the one that leaps to mind. Anyway, most of these "new" concepts aren't new, and could be handled by the game as is. WotC is just padding the books and not really explaining all this adequately to players. The problem, in my opinion, is a lack of imagination on the part of many players. There. I said it.

Quote from: Gunhilda
If you need an entirely new class just to do a new character concept, I have a problem with that.  Sure, it gives WotC more material to pad out books with, but I don't give a shit about that. I want a more elegent design.


Back when I was participating in the Middle Earth d20 threads on Eric's old site, I would often state that some things could be handled pretty easily. You didn't need to create a whole new ranger class, or I would point out that a certain creature could be handled with an already existing D&D creature, or one that had a template added to it. That didn't satisfy some, who replied they wanted fully statted-out, new material. They seemed to feel that what was already in existence and wasn't labelled as being specifically from Middle Earth was just not right. I think the same principle applies here. For whatever reason, the majority of D&D players just don't want to be told that multiclassing and skill and feat selection will give them the concept they want. It's more "sexy" to have a whole new class, regardless of redundancy.

Quote from: Gunhilda
My proposal is to replace classes with archetypes.  (You could still call them classes as a nod to tradition, I suppose.)  In Shadowrun, you could make any character you wanted -- but you could also pick a pre-made archetype, like shaman or street samurai.  With D&D, you could have something similar.  You could pick a fighter or a wizard, with your initial powers and all 20 levels planned out, or you could create your own class, using some sort of point buy system.

So all the classic classes could still be there, but you could pick and choose and make something new if you wanted to.


I don't have much of a problem with any of this, I suppose, but I think the basic D&D game needs to retain classes just to keep it recognizably D&D. Now, you could use the generic classes from Unearthed Arcana (warrior, expert, and umm, spellcaster, I think; they use them in True 20, by the way) as the base upon which to build the archetypes, and present the rest of the classic core classes as archetypes built upon them. Those three basic classes, along with the various customization options from the current DMG and Unearthed Arcana, could achieve what you propose and still retain classes, which are what I feel a very basic core concept of D&D.

I'd also include a very comprehensive, maybe even hand-holding, section on how multiclassing and skill and feat choice could achieve a wide variety of character concepts, including a number of examples.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 08, 2006, 03:52:30 pm
Quote from: Maddman
Fighters are guys with swords and armor.  Mages wear robes and cast magic missile.  Clerics heal and turn undead.  Rogues/Thieves are good at stealing and sneaking.  The world is pseudo-medieval full of environments where you will need all four of these skillsets to survive.  This is the default assumptions, a baseline that makes it D&D.  If it can't do the above, might as well call it something else.


I think those should be the default roles, yes, but I'm not so sure about the pseudo-medieval setting.  But I suppose that, for the default setting, you're right.  Personally, I'd do something like Karameikos, so you can have lots of wilderness and dungeons right next to what civilization there is.  And I'd also include the basics of the setting with the rule books.  Since I don't care about WotC's marketing strategies, I'm fine with hurting the sales of the setting books.  :D

Quote from: Maddman
Overall my priority would be to allow the customization and detail in PCs that 3e produced, but have an asymmetric ruleset so game prep is closer to AD&D.  If your stat block can't fit on 2 lines, you need to try harder.  The full detail could still be given to important NPCs and antagonists, but for most monsters this could suffice.


Having DMed for 3e -- and attempted to DM for epic level stuff -- I am SO there.  I never want to have to put a half hour into a monster, only to have it suck when it came to game time, ever again.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 08, 2006, 04:20:52 pm
Quote from: ColonelHardisson
I disagree. Here's why: most of those new base classes are concepts that could have been achieved with multiclassing or even judicious and objective allocation of skill points and feats. There are a few exceptions, the warlock being the one that leaps to mind. Anyway, most of these "new" concepts aren't new, and could be handled by the game as is. WotC is just padding the books and not really explaining all this adequately to players. The problem, in my opinion, is a lack of imagination on the part of many players. There. I said it.


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.

Quote from: ColonelHardisson
I don't have much of a problem with any of this, I suppose, but I think the basic D&D game needs to retain classes just to keep it recognizably D&D. Now, you could use the generic classes from Unearthed Arcana (warrior, expert, and umm, spellcaster, I think; they use them in True 20, by the way) as the base upon which to build the archetypes, and present the rest of the classic core classes as archetypes built upon them. Those three basic classes, along with the various customization options from the current DMG and Unearthed Arcana, could achieve what you propose and still retain classes, which are what I feel a very basic core concept of D&D.


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.

Quote from: ColonelHardisson
I'd also include a very comprehensive, maybe even hand-holding, section on how multiclassing and skill and feat choice could achieve a wide variety of character concepts, including a number of examples.


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 think all of the powers of D&D could be boiled down to skills, feats, and spells.  Spells are the only part that are really hard to deal with.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Sobek on June 08, 2006, 04:22:13 pm
Keep ability scores as 3-18.  I know some people want to make it just the mods, but I don't want to go that way.
 
Keep classes/levels.  First off, these are pretty much the defining feature of D&D.  Without them, you're definitely playing something else.  I do think the concept could be refined a bit, though.  I'd like to see them made into broad, but discernable, fantasy archetypes: Heavy fighter, light fighter, priest, studied arcanist, naturally gifted caster, etc.  PrCs should reflect specific applications within an archetype, and multiclassing should be set up in such a way as to allow the blending of archetypes.  Feats are for fine-tuning and customizing.
 
For ranger, go more toward 1E.  A tough borderlander who uses whatever tools are at his disposal (including spells).  TWF is just plain stupid as a core ability.  And scout is completely the wrong way for the ranger to be going.  My preferrence would be to hybridize the 3E ranger and the 3E barbarian, taking some of the features of each, but losing enough to be balanced.  One of my biggest WTFs is the d8 hit die.  Anyone who thinks that goes with ranger isn't even discussing the same concept as me -- or with prior editions, IMO.
 
Paladin as a base class, though, is a sacred cow that needs steak sauce.  It's pretty much a poster child for what a PrC should be.
 
I'm torn on Vancian magic.  On the one hand, the system sucks, strains suspension of disbelief, and runs counter to most fantasy fiction.  On the other, it's been then from the start.  Personally, I'd like to see it move toward a non-slot-based system (points is fine, I guess) and have scalable spells, like XPH.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Sobek on June 08, 2006, 04:26:56 pm
Quote from: Gunhilda
I think those should be the default roles, yes, but I'm not so sure about the pseudo-medieval setting.

I think pseudo-medieval should remain the assumed setting.  Of course, I'm heavy on the pseudo, so it should include Conan, Arthurian, Dark Ages, Crusades, etc.  Planescape should so be considered a special case, and even Eberron is a bit odd for what should be "normal" (though I like it).
 
Spelljammer is an abberation best forgotten.  There was only one Highlander movie.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: obryn on June 08, 2006, 04:38:16 pm
Can we get rid of alignments and alignment-based effects?

This is pretty damn difficult to do in D&D as-is, and got even more difficult with 3.5.  It would take a major overhaul (like my fave, Arcana Evolved, or this hypothetical 4.0) to cleanly excise it.  It's a huge sacred cow, but I think D&D would become a better game for it.

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
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Sobek on June 08, 2006, 05:00:46 pm
I got rid of alignments by replacing it with the allegiences system from d20 Modern. They aren't gone, but they sure are marginalized.  It's been pretty balanced over the past ten levels of play, too.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson 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?
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: obryn 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
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Thjalfi 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: JongWK 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:
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Maddman 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: willpax 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. . .
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda 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
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie 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. :)
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Enkhidu 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).
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda 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:
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie on June 09, 2006, 12:09:35 pm
Quote from: Gunhilda
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.



Quote
In 2e, an 18/something Strength meant something.


A rose by another name.  What you are describing is the effect of magic items getting a boost.  Because of the utterly quirky Strength percentile it wasn't that easy to describe relative Strength increases up to and through 18.  As well ability score advancement became a regular and normal thing in 3e.

Now your initial roll in 3e doesn't mean as much since it isn't the end of the line like it was in AD&D, barring Wishes. But that is something very different.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 09, 2006, 12:14:52 pm
Quote from: Xavier Lang
Magic Item creation.

Allow for intelligent item creation the same way you do normal.  Let people pay for better intelligence, special abilities, etc...  It shouldn't be random.

Instead of EXP cost have a time/energy cost of magic item creation.
Allow modifiers of the gold cost, and depending on balance, the time cost based upon situation, materials, etc...

To make a +1 sword have it take the number of days to make that it would take to cast true strike or whatever spell you pick to be cast say 100 times.  If you can cast 5 first level spells, it takes 20 full days not just the time it takes to cast a 1st level spell 5 times.  Allow spell casters to work together on something.  So 3 wizards could finish it in 7 days but each has to cast all of there 1st level spells every day.  This would allow a mage's guild to build a magic item in a day or 2 if they have the incentive, and would allow apprentice mages to make low level items.  You could always restrict things so that one wizard, the one leading, has to have the feat of item creation but the others don't.  This would help explain why mages gather and why there are so many low level items for PC's to find.  If  while I'm doing research I can have a couple of apprentices make a couple of +1 swords a year, the apprentices can pay for themselves the way a journeyman or apprentice works with teh master on creating non magical things.
In 3e, I like that there *is* a method of magic item creation.  However, I'm not happy with any of the details, either.  If I'm playing the mage, am I going to drop the xp for the fighter's +3 vorpal hemmoroid-inducing longsword?  Not unless I am getting a MONSTROUS share of the treasure, glory, and wenches.

And the chance of me making a +1 dagger is still exactly zero.

I like your idea, Xavier, 'cause it actually makes some sense to me.  :)
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie on June 09, 2006, 12:17:47 pm
Quote from: Gunhilda
Well, at least you know you're playing with fire.  :p


I like fire. Fire fun! :combust:

Quote
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.


I'm just saying that the chart of bonuses is already there right in the 3e book. It just wasn't used in the way you are suggesting. Instead they went wild with the physical ability scores, incorporating into them a duplicate of that size bonus they already had assigned to those larger (and smaller) creatures.

I like the root of your idea. I'm just pointing out that you don't need to create a new source for the bonus, it is already there.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda on June 09, 2006, 12:25:20 pm
All right, now that the ibuprofen is FINALLY starting to kick in, I think that we're just talking sideways at each other.  What I was planning was taking that very chart and making it the chart for the size stat, where smaller and larger monsters get their adjustments to damage and whatnot.

But I see now what you're saying (I think) that a stat isn't needed -- just saying they're Large is enough.  Their size then just gives the relevent bonuses.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie on June 09, 2006, 12:32:17 pm
Quote from: Gunhilda
All right, now that the ibuprofen is FINALLY starting to kick in, I think that we're just talking sideways at each other.  What I was planning was taking that very chart and making it the chart for the size stat, where smaller and larger monsters get their adjustments to damage and whatnot.

But I see now what you're saying (I think) that a stat isn't needed -- just saying they're Large is enough.  Their size then just gives the relevent bonuses.


Ding!

Turdquaffer. :emot-flowers:
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Name Lips on June 09, 2006, 12:33:23 pm
I'm recalling an option in the BoVD to create items with lower XP cost - it requires extracting souls from intelligent beings and using them to fuel magic item creation. You need a lot of souls to get a good item, and it's permenantly tainted evil, but it's a thought.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson on June 09, 2006, 01:33:36 pm
Quote from: obryn
Hell no.  Where'd you get that from in my post?


It was pretty easy to make the progression, since I've heard the "real life stats" spiel a helluva lot more over the years than people speculating about their alignment.

Quote from: obryn
I hear that a lot less than the goddamn alignment thing, though.


Odd. I've always heard just the opposite.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Zalmoxis on June 09, 2006, 05:26:00 pm
I misunderstood early on... I thought this was what we thought D&D could not do without and still be called D&D. The ideas in here are really great though.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Dacke on June 09, 2006, 06:09:23 pm
Quote from: Xavier Lang
Currently each spell in D&D is a special case rule and everything has to be spelled out in the spell individually.  Toss that.
 
Create basic ideas such as Energy Attack.  Let players assign parameters to it, such as energy type, range, duration, shape, etc... at the cost of making it a higher or lower level spell.
No. Nonononono.

One of the things I like the most about D&D is the quirkiness of the spells and magic items. In a "roll your own" magic system, you almost never see spells like Evard's Black Tentacles, Changestaff, Bigby's Clenched Fist, "I prepared Explosive Runes today", Mordenkainen's Magnificient Mansion, or Rope Trick. Neither would you see a Ring of the Ram, a Ring of Shooting Stars, a Bag of Tricks, a Folding Boat, or various Feather Tokens. That kind of stuff is one of the main draws of D&D for me.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson on June 09, 2006, 06:17:47 pm
Quote from: Dacke
No. Nonononono.

One of the things I like the most about D&D is the quirkiness of the spells and magic items. In a "roll your own" magic system, you almost never see spells like Evard's Black Tentacles, Changestaff, Bigby's Clenched Fist, "I prepared Explosive Runes today", Mordenkainen's Magnificient Mansion, or Rope Trick. Neither would you see a Ring of the Ram, a Ring of Shooting Stars, a Bag of Tricks, a Folding Boat, or various Feather Tokens. That kind of stuff is one of the main draws of D&D for me.


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.

That said, a system which took apart the current D&D spell system and provided players with the ability to do magic that way would be OK, as long as the spells as they exist now remain. So players of spellcasters could still load up on "prepackaged" spells, like they do now, but the system would be there for those who want to come up with spells on the fly. Otherwise, I get the feeling you'd end up with a lot of spellcasters that resemble the Warlock from Complete Arcane.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 09, 2006, 06:18:22 pm
I wonder if there would be a workable way to remove some of the bonuses and stuff from D&D and make them ability score dependant?

Example - you don't have a will save.  You have a wisdom score.  You roll and add your wisdom, that's your "will" save.  No need for the extra thingy.
roll 1d20 + con for fortitude type effects.
roll 1d20 + dex for reflext type effects.

Yes, you would have to make DC's higher.

Damage could be 1d4(dagger) + 1/2 Str or even just 1d4 + str but then you have to increase hit points a lot.

Then every point would matter,odd or even in your stats instead of them being used to determine other things sometimes but rarely used directly.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson on June 09, 2006, 06:24:46 pm
Quote from: Xavier Lang
I wonder if there would be a workable way to remove some of the bonuses and stuff from D&D and make them ability score dependant?

Example - you don't have a will save.  You have a wisdom score.  You roll and add your wisdom, that's your "will" save.  No need for the extra thingy.
roll 1d20 + con for fortitude type effects.
roll 1d20 + dex for reflext type effects.

Yes, you would have to make DC's higher.

Damage could be 1d4(dagger) + 1/2 Str or even just 1d4 + str but then you have to increase hit points a lot.

Then every point would matter,odd or even in your stats instead of them being used to determine other things sometimes but rarely used directly.


mearls proposed something like this in the "what use are stats?" thread.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 09, 2006, 06:37:48 pm
Quote from: Dacke
No. Nonononono.

One of the things I like the most about D&D is the quirkiness of the spells and magic items. In a "roll your own" magic system, you almost never see spells like Evard's Black Tentacles, Changestaff, Bigby's Clenched Fist, "I prepared Explosive Runes today", Mordenkainen's Magnificient Mansion, or Rope Trick. Neither would you see a Ring of the Ram, a Ring of Shooting Stars, a Bag of Tricks, a Folding Boat, or various Feather Tokens. That kind of stuff is one of the main draws of D&D for me.


Evard's Black Tentacles is entangle + damage. Its one of the simpler to do.
Bigby's Clenched Fist is a damaging force effect.  Casual.
Explosive Runes - Damaging + hidden + trigger.  Simple.

Folding Boat is a simple conjurable boat that you can unconjure.
A feather token is a potion that someone put sprinkles on.

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.

A huge portion of the absues in D&D are based around there being too many special cases and not enough framework.

A swarm of insects that decend on the area and eat your enemies should be mechanically the same as a blast of lightning from the sky.  Its annoying to have to look up each spell in each book and watch for wierd extra special stuff that may or may not have been thrown in instead of being able to know what the spell would do by formula.

Ever tried to make a uniquely flavored bad guy and then discovered they use the same spells as everyone else in the same ways because some spells are just better than others?  That's lame.  I shouldn't have to write up 15 spells so my guy can use almost exclusively acid spells.  I should be able to change the energy type to acid for him and go.

I would rather give the formula's to the players to use there creativity and tactical abilty to figure out how to use the magic than to have them play librarian and look up the best spell or spells for a situation.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 09, 2006, 06:38:43 pm
Quote from: ColonelHardisson
mearls proposed something like this in the "what use are stats?" thread.

Must have missed it, ooops.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 09, 2006, 06:45:12 pm
Quote from: ColonelHardisson

That said, a system which took apart the current D&D spell system and provided players with the ability to do magic that way would be OK, as long as the spells as they exist now remain. So players of spellcasters could still load up on "prepackaged" spells, like they do now, but the system would be there for those who want to come up with spells on the fly. Otherwise, I get the feeling you'd end up with a lot of spellcasters that resemble the Warlock from Complete Arcane.


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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: blakkie 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:
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Dacke 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Wolvorine 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Gunhilda 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Thjalfi 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Enkhidu 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Thjalfi 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Zalmoxis 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Dacke 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."
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Wolvorine 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Dacke 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).
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang 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.
Title: Re: Spell development kit
Post by: willpax 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.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on June 13, 2006, 12:37:04 pm
Willpax's idea seems a fine compromise to me.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Sigmund on June 14, 2006, 09:44:30 pm
I think to be DnD, the spell lists would have to stay mostly the same (although optional spell-building systems are most welcome), but I'd really love to see them drop Sorcerer, and then make the Spellpoint (or another non-vancian) system either the default system, or an option listed in the core rules. I've always hated that aspect of DnD, even though wizards have always been my favorite class.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Radu the Wanderer on July 08, 2006, 01:42:45 pm
I'd like to see Turn Undead dropped altogether, or replaced with a simpler mechanic.  It's a little bit clunky, and unless you really skew your character towards becoming a turn undead master, it quickly becomes a useless ability.  Since undead have high HD and turn resistance as you go up in levels, your ability to turn undead quickly diminishes until you can only turn undead you have no problem dispatching without turns in the first place.

Same thing for Iterave attacks.  Nothing quite bogs down the game like a ferocious flurry of misses from a two weapon fighter, high level monk--- hell, just fighters in general.  I'd like to see something done about this.

I'd like to see more attack and defense options, and not in feat form.  Ideally, you'd be able to make a highly defensive fighter focused on evasion and deflecting blows, a balanced attack and defense, or an all out attack fighter and have them all be relatively equal in terms of combat playability.  I'd like to see attacks of opportunity go away or become much simpler.  The 5 foot step is just wierd.  ENTERING the reach of a spear wielder should provoke an attack, not leaving it.  Things like that.

I'd like to see more variation in the armor and weapons beyond number tweaks.  As is, there are only 4 armors in the game: leather, chain shirts, breastplates, and full plate.  I have never, EVER seen half plate used.  Or banded mail.  Likewise, I'd like to get rid of all the different types of weapons and have a much simpler way to handle them.

Perhaps something like this:  3 damage types (slash, pierce, bludgeon), 3 "size categories" (light, 1 hand, 2 hand), and the actual weapon size.  Maybe all two handed medium weapons deal 1d8 damage base, modified by your skill.  I'd like to see strange combinations made viable, as well as the classic archetype of the swashbuckler with only 1 sword in their hand.  I'd like to see spear fighters who are worth a damn.  I'd like to see swords fucking die already--- I'm starting to believe there are only greatswords and daggers in the game, with the occasional longsword to shake things up a bit.  I've never seen anyone use a greatclub, or a greataxe, or halberd, guisarme, battleaxe, warhammer, flail, or other weapons except as "oh, but I want to be DIFFERENT this time" weapons.

Maybe instead of a build your own weapons system, we could still have umpteen thousand varieties of killing tools, but with a sense of timeline attached.  Perhaps some weapons only become available in certain periods.  I know many DM's do this already.

I'd like to see the spells redone a bit... perhaps instead of only 9 spell levels, there could be 20.  That would allow more variety.  Say, 20 spell levels, you get access to new levels every time your casting class goes up.

Magic missile might be a super powerful 1st level spell, but as a 2nd it might fit.  Likewise Invisibility is the king of existing 2nd level spells, but in a new version it might fit nicely as a 3rd or 4th.  Rope trick would be a level 4 spell.

Perhaps we can even do away with vancian magic altogether and switch over to a more spell point based system like psionics.  I think psionics works much better from a balance standpoint anyway, and I love the scaling effects.  Charm Person and Charm Monster are really redundant, and could be collapsed into on spell, Charm.

I'd like to see fewer to no absolutes.  As the God of Sleep, I can't put an Elf to sleep?  As a paladin, I can walk right up to the God of Fear and Terror and have a nice chat?  Elves can't be charmed?  Effects like this shouldn't happen, but as written, they do.  Charm and similar effects should give you a hefty bonus to social checks, not automatically make friends.  Save or Die spells should either plain not exist or be severely revamped.

Dragons should be scary again.

Demons should be scary again.

Angels should be scary again.

Shapechanging!  SHAPECHANGING NEEDS TO BE FIXED, STAT!  It's bad enough I just flat out ban it in my games, even though with the players I have it wouldn't end up being abused.  The problem isn't with the idea, it's with the execution of the mechanics.  Some monsters are just better to change into (I'm looking at you, Solar.  And you, Mr. War Troll.)

I'd like to see more balance between magical classes and non magical classes.  I'd like to see magicians playable at early levels and non magicians playable at later levels.

I'd like to see less reliance upon magic items.


Some of these changes are fundamentally not DND, I know.  Magic items are so DND.  Wonky spells are so DND.  Dragons are so... well, you get the idea.  Most of these are things that appeal to me about other games, and some of the ideas there could be useful if we're doing a ground floor rebuild.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: ColonelHardisson on July 08, 2006, 02:34:10 pm
Quote from: Radu the Wanderer
Dragons should be scary again.

Demons should be scary again.

Angels should be scary again.


I think they still are. But YMMV.

Quote from: Radu the Wanderer
Shapechanging!  SHAPECHANGING NEEDS TO BE FIXED, STAT!  It's bad enough I just flat out ban it in my games, even though with the players I have it wouldn't end up being abused.  The problem isn't with the idea, it's with the execution of the mechanics.  Some monsters are just better to change into (I'm looking at you, Solar.  And you, Mr. War Troll.)


Have you seen the series of articles on WotC's website addressing the problems of polymorph? They tackle the issue head-on, but don't actually change the spell itself.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20060502a

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20060509a

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20060516a

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20060523a
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Xavier Lang on July 10, 2006, 10:44:25 am
Quote from: Radu the Wanderer

I'd like to see Turn Undead dropped altogether, or replaced with a simpler mechanic.  It's a little bit clunky, and unless you really skew your character towards becoming a turn undead master, it quickly becomes a useless ability.  Since undead have high HD and turn resistance as you go up in levels, your ability to turn undead quickly diminishes until you can only turn undead you have no problem dispatching without turns in the first place.


Your not going far enough.  Most religions presented in D&D shouldn't have some special ability to assault undead.  Sure, rework turn undead, but make it a potential cleric/paladin ability depending on the religion.  

Example: Make a special ability per domain and have the priest or paladins special ability based upon the domain(s) chosen.  Domain availability is by diety, but if the diety has 5 domains and you only get say 2 of them, you have the potential for different priests/paladins within the same religion.  Wouldn't that be a wierd twist, to have members of the same religion that weren't carbon copies of each other and with different outlooks or ideas about what is most important to the diety.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Nicephorus on July 10, 2006, 10:56:13 am
Quote from: Xavier Lang
Your not going far enough.  Most religions presented in D&D shouldn't have some special ability to assault undead.  Sure, rework turn undead, but make it a potential cleric/paladin ability depending on the religion.  

In 2e, the priests' handbook encouraged this. Then, in 3e, they went for simple - all clerics affect undead whether or not it makes sense.

I agree that tying it to domains would be a good way to do it.  Then DM's would have several off-the-rack special abilities to choose from.  This would require giving all of the domains interesting abilities - no more +1 caster level junk.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Radu the Wanderer on July 11, 2006, 01:27:09 pm
I'd also like to see mundane skills get a rework... not much but a bit.

Iron Heroes skill groups are awesome!  That's a great idea, and one I'd like to see incorporated elsewhere, except with magic in the mix it becomes WAY too powerful.

::Prepare for blasphemy::

I would like to see Heal in particular become more useful, and spells in general less so.  It would be nice if a party could survive without magic, and equally nice if magicians could survive without it.  They wouldn't neccessarily have to be very powerful without it, but it would be a step in the right direction.  I think the Warlock from Complete Arcane and the Ninja from Complete Adventurer are both steps in the right direction for this--- powerful stuff, but nobody's gonna write home about how they broke the game with either.
Title: Nutkinland 4.0: D&D sacred cows vs. design features
Post by: Enkhidu on July 12, 2006, 03:41:11 pm
Quote from: Xavier Lang
Your not going far enough.  Most religions presented in D&D shouldn't have some special ability to assault undead.  Sure, rework turn undead, but make it a potential cleric/paladin ability depending on the religion...


My group (planning for the next long term game) is currently looking at this one. Right now we're leaning toward "turning like in the movies."

Turn Undead opens up for those who are devout members of the faith (and it is not longer a cleric/paladin only ability). Turning becomes a full round action, usable only with a holy symbol (using a makeshift symbol gives a -2 penalty to the check, masterwork gives a +2 bonus), but does not cause the undead subject to flee. Instead it provides an (Ex) Magic Circle like effect that hedges out the turned undead rather than outsiders. Maintaining the Turn is a full round action. In addition, the turner can make a touch attack against the turnee with their holy symbol (though this requires a standard or masterwork symbol) to either cause positive energy damage (maybe 1d6 for every two character levels or something similar?) or to bring the undead under their control (in the case of negative channelers).