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D&D 5th Edition Announced

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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-14 07:44pm 

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Bedlam wrote:
The problem now is that if 5th ed follows on from 4th you keep your 4th ed players but further alienate 3rd ed, if 5th ed plunges back into 3rd ed then you might loose your 4th ed players (the people who are buying your product now) in order to possible gain people from the 3rd ed how are playing pathfinder now, if 5th ed goes off into a different direction entirely then you loose both 3rd and 4th ed lovers.


That's why I suggested converting the 4E Crunch/Class Mechanics into Feats, Alt CLass Features and Subsitution levels and the like. i.e All the Fighter abilities could be turned into 'Pick an Ability or a Feat from this list' followed by all the Fighter Class features from 4E.

That might not work with every class or class feature, but you should got most of them.

IIRC the combat mechanics (Roll D20 + add modifiers, flanking, etc) were close to the same anyway.
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Elfdart
PostPosted: 2012-01-15 12:05am 

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Uraniun235 wrote:
Wow, you guys raced off on a 4e v 3e tangent right quick, didn't you?


I want to speculate about the business strategy behind 5th edition. Do you guys think they've really decided that 4e needs to be superseded by some amazing new system they've been quietly thinking about for awhile now? I can't help but wonder if this is someone's attempt to kick off a cycle where they plan to release a new edition every few years regardless of how much it's needed. Remember, WOTC is owned by Hasbro.


Funny thing is, that's exactly what TSR did from 1974-84. You had OD&D (the little booklets) 1974, Holmes (blue book) 1977, AD&D 78-79, Moldvay Basic (81) and Mentzer (83-84). The difference was, as Solauren points out, that it was very easy to bring characters, items, settings, etc from one to the other. In fact, that's what almost everyone did.

Another reason 4E was screwed is the number of retroclones like OSRIC, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Swords & Wizardry and others, almost all of which are much better designed and much more playable than anything WotC has produced, and more importantly, they're mostly compatible with older editions of (A)D&D and one another.
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S.L.Acker
PostPosted: 2012-01-15 12:11am 

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It seems like OGL and the ease of building D20 compatible rules might have been one of the big reasons for the changes made in 4e. After all, something like Pathfinder could have come out even while D&D 3.5 was still current so Hasbro might have been trying to block other companies out of making modules that cut into their territory.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-01-15 12:28am 

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Yeah. Unfortunately, they also blocked themselves out of making modules that cut into (tied into, rather) their territory.

They weren't sure they could hang onto the territory exclusively, so they burned it down and wandered off into the wilderness in hopes of striking gold. Not smart.
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S.L.Acker
PostPosted: 2012-01-15 12:43am 

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Pretty much, at least that seems to be one idea that would make sense for not even attempting to keep D&D 3.5 fans buying their new product.
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lance
PostPosted: 2012-01-16 02:11am 

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Serafina wrote:
And at high levels, non-casters become utterly reliant on casters.
A non-caster can't compete with a casters fly-spell, or with his teleporation. He has no way to bypass a Wall of Force, or to get to another plane. And so on.
I want to bring up the non caster magical classes, which can kind of do these things in a weak ass fashion, often several levels after a spell caster could.
Quote:
Yes, there are magic items - but those are also crafted by casters (Pathfinder at least allows good non-caster crafters to create magical items).
Not all of them had to be crafted by casters, 2 feats allowed for the creation of an item, OA samurai has his daisho, and anything with a caster level could make certain magic items.

* Feats are Ancesteral Relic from Book of Exalted Deeds, and Item Familiar from the SRD



Torchship wrote:
Simon_Jester, I believe that the issue with 3.5E casters is not so much that they can be optimised to break the game, but that they are so inherently powerful that they often break the game completely by accident. A player can decide to try out a character focusing in these fancy "save or die" spells that they've heard so much about, and will proceed to crush all opposition even if this was not their intent. The player can decide to roll a Druid and take Natural Spell at level 6 (since it's an obvious choice) and will similarly proceed to be far more powerful than their comrades. The player can choose to play a Truenamer and cry themselves to sleep. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
y.

I want to add on this by saying that a good chunk of the overpowered options are intuitively chosen if playing to type. If a player wants to be a necromancer then save or dies, animated giants, and all that jazz are just going to be sensible. Like wise if a player is playing a conjurer, transmuter, enchanter... Pretty much anything besides a blaster
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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-16 06:24pm 

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Broken characters are as much the fault of the DM as it is the system.

Case in point, in my group game, one of the players is running a Swordsage, that is wearing Flame Armor of Retaliation, and has the legendary weapon 'Desert Wind'.

The look on his face when the Undead (re Vampire) Annis Hags choose to grapple him and try to toss him into the Prismatic Wall instead of fighting him hand to hand was priceless.

The group also has a Half Orc Rogue with a Rod of Many Wands that has 3 10th level Orb of Force Wands in it (Pathfinder rules). The look on is face when the bad guy figured out what he had was understandable (mocking). THe looking when that badguy disarmed him, took the Rod and used it against him was also priceless.
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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-18 07:52am 

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I posted my essay on the WOTC Board and EnWorld.

WIthin 8 hours, there was 5 pages of responses on the WOTC board, and a moderator is now monitoring it to avoid 'Edition Warring'.
Same on EnWorld, but 3 pages.

I should probably start a follow-up on the specifics of what I'd like to see.
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Elfdart
PostPosted: 2012-01-18 04:29pm 

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Links?
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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-19 06:30pm 

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Torchship
PostPosted: 2012-01-19 11:50pm 

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Solauren wrote:
Broken characters are as much the fault of the DM as it is the system.


That is... not really true. Certainly it is the DM's responsibility to police the items that the party receives and eliminate the most obviously absurd items and combinations of items, but I find it very difficult to believe that the DM possesses any significant amount of blame for failing to examine every single class, feat and spell in the game and determine that the Truenamer, Natural Spell and Fly are gamebreaking in their own special ways, for example. There are a lot of spells, classes and feats that are absurdly, absurdly good (or bad) all by themselves (and many of them are natural choices for many character archetypes, as has already been pointed out), and removing even the most egregious offenders is a truly monumental effort on the DM's part.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 04:19am 

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Torchship wrote:
Solauren wrote:
Broken characters are as much the fault of the DM as it is the system.


That is... not really true. Certainly it is the DM's responsibility to police the items that the party receives and eliminate the most obviously absurd items and combinations of items, but I find it very difficult to believe that the DM possesses any significant amount of blame for failing to examine every single class, feat and spell in the game and determine that the Truenamer, Natural Spell and Fly are gamebreaking in their own special ways, for example. There are a lot of spells, classes and feats that are absurdly, absurdly good (or bad) all by themselves (and many of them are natural choices for many character archetypes, as has already been pointed out), and removing even the most egregious offenders is a truly monumental effort on the DM's part.

What? Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say the DM has no power to correct such things post factum? If the DM thinks a character is broken or a player is powergaming/munchkin then of course its within his "power" to fix it to his liking or to the balance of the game. If he doesn't then he IS "of as much the fault as the system". There are extrememly few non-exploitable games out there so this is something all DM/GM/whatever have to face, and the good ones state it up front.
In a D&D setting that is a basic fundament, are the players allowed to powergame [Yes][No]? If so is the DM allowed to powergame back [Yes][No]?
If the players are not then its up to the DM to enforce that so that the balance between the players is not tilted.
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S.L.Acker
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 04:24am 

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Spoonist wrote:
What? Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say the DM has no power to correct such things post factum? If the DM thinks a character is broken or a player is powergaming/munchkin then of course its within his "power" to fix it to his liking or to the balance of the game. If he doesn't then he IS "of as much the fault as the system". There are extrememly few non-exploitable games out there so this is something all DM/GM/whatever have to face, and the good ones state it up front.
In a D&D setting that is a basic fundament, are the players allowed to powergame [Yes][No]? If so is the DM allowed to powergame back [Yes][No]?
If the players are not then its up to the DM to enforce that so that the balance between the players is not tilted.


A mage builds a flying summoner, do you bitch slap him just because he's better than Bob the Fighter, or do you accept that how he wanted to play his character makes him better than a single class fighter? Frankly even a shit wizard or cleric will always be better than a martial character, except in the one area that said martial character spent all their resources to be able to do. What if your player has some awesome truenamer idea? Do you slap him down because another player wants to play a fighter?

Balance isn't so simple as you think it is.
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Stofsk
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 04:38am 

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I don't really see why balance is such a big issue in a role-playing game. In a computer RTS, sure I can see it. One overpowered unit can unbalance a delicate match-up. But in a social game that uses everyone's imaginations where collaborative storytelling is the goal and objective? Whining about wizard's being too powerful strikes me as absurd.

I will say that as far as balance is concerned, the only thing that matters is making sure every player has a chance to shine.
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S.L.Acker
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 04:49am 

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Stofsk wrote:
I don't really see why balance is such a big issue in a role-playing game. In a computer RTS, sure I can see it. One overpowered unit can unbalance a delicate match-up. But in a social game that uses everyone's imaginations where collaborative storytelling is the goal and objective? Whining about wizard's being too powerful strikes me as absurd.

I will say that as far as balance is concerned, the only thing that matters is making sure every player has a chance to shine.


Pretty much, though at some extremes of crazy builds that stops working. At that stage I don't think that RP is the main thing on the group's mind.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 05:47am 

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S.L.Acker wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
What? Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say the DM has no power to correct such things post factum? If the DM thinks a character is broken or a player is powergaming/munchkin then of course its within his "power" to fix it to his liking or to the balance of the game. If he doesn't then he IS "of as much the fault as the system". There are extrememly few non-exploitable games out there so this is something all DM/GM/whatever have to face, and the good ones state it up front.
In a D&D setting that is a basic fundament, are the players allowed to powergame [Yes][No]? If so is the DM allowed to powergame back [Yes][No]?
If the players are not then its up to the DM to enforce that so that the balance between the players is not tilted.


A mage builds a flying summoner, do you bitch slap him just because he's better than Bob the Fighter, or do you accept that how he wanted to play his character makes him better than a single class fighter? Frankly even a shit wizard or cleric will always be better than a martial character, except in the one area that said martial character spent all their resources to be able to do. What if your player has some awesome truenamer idea? Do you slap him down because another player wants to play a fighter?

Balance isn't so simple as you think it is.
Oh yes it is. Where would the difficulty lie?
If one wants to play a powerhungry mage and one wants to play a destitute fighter, you need to talk about it. Do you want to play the system "straight" or with some houserules? Is it OK if there is a disparity in power? etc This is not hard to do unless you are new to RPGs as a genre.
If DM's setting and the players are all OK with such a disparity, then its fine. If the DM doesn't want a "flying summoner" or whatever that is out of bounds. If the DM wants all players to go wild then the fighter is out of bounds. etc
Again, this is not hard.
Nor is it to adapt a setting/campain vs bringing the spotlight equally on the players. Any experienced DM can make situations where the fighter can shine, again its not hard. Like handing the fighter a noble title, etc.

What ruins the balance is if one player tries to munchkin. ie in a low key setting they create a min-max character or vice versa if the setting calls for it. Or if one player because of any such disparity tries to hog the spotlight.

Some settings can be amazingly fun specifically because of a power disparity, like a powerful mage and his henchlings. Just as long as everyone knows the setting and is OK with it.

So of course the DM is to be blamed if they allow something which damages the fun of playing - they are in charge after all.
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Erik von Nein
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 05:53am 

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If by "min-max" you mean "play a caster." It's honestly not that hard to outshine mundane characters in D&D while being a caster, druid players often find themselves doing it accidentally. Pick a decent wildshape, animal companion, and spell list and suddenly your fighter buddy's completely outclassed. You can go over the various arguments about why, or you can just read the link I posted earlier about class tiers. It's been debated to death.

This also ignores the imbalance inherent to the system, which kind of sucks if you don't want to play a caster. Sure, it can be mitigated by DM fiat and intentionally choosing lousy options, but you still have a poorly thought-out game. I would hope whoever is working on 5th edition actually understands that making sure classes are all generally relevant when posed against the rest of the options without making them all play the same is important.
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Torchship
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 06:26am 

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Spoonist wrote:
What? Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say the DM has no power to correct such things post factum? If the DM thinks a character is broken or a player is powergaming/munchkin then of course its within his "power" to fix it to his liking or to the balance of the game. If he doesn't then he IS "of as much the fault as the system". There are extrememly few non-exploitable games out there so this is something all DM/GM/whatever have to face, and the good ones state it up front.
In a D&D setting that is a basic fundament, are the players allowed to powergame [Yes][No]? If so is the DM allowed to powergame back [Yes][No]?
If the players are not then its up to the DM to enforce that so that the balance between the players is not tilted.


Oh no, I wasn't speaking of excessive powergaming or malicious (or stupid) players intentionally introducing overpowered characters, I was speaking of normal, non-malicious players stumbling on poorly balanced options and breaking the game with them. Maliciously overpowered characters can be solved by the simple method of not playing with arseholes, whereas unintentionally overpowered ones are much more difficult to solve. Eliminating such characters before play takes an absurd amount of system mastery (and a small novel of banned spells, feats and classes), while eliminating such characters during play leaves players pissed off that the DM arbitrarily forced them to re-roll their character. Even more than that, a huge number of character archetypes are unworkable if overpowered material is removed (how do you play a flying wizard without Fly or similar spells?), further pissing off players and creating more work for the DM.
Even if you try to avoid banning offending material and deal with the repercussions in-game... you'll probably fail. How does one reliably design encounters which challenge the flying, teleporting, invisible Wizard which don't destroy the Fighter or render them totally irrelevant? Furthermore, how does one reliably design such encounters without them feeling forced and unrealistic? When every random door has an anti-magic field sitting on top of it to stop the Wizard from totally overshadowing the Rogue at one of their major jobs, the Wizard starts to feel pissy. When every random piece of land is warded against teleportation and scrying, the wizard starts to feel pissy. The Wizard is basically the Transporter from Star Trek; it solves so many problems just by its mere existence that it must be taken off-line by some contrived accident every episode for there to be any tension at all. The Transporter can't feel upset that it breaks every day, but the Wizard most certainly will be upset that several of their class features don't function because of DM fiat.
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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 07:48am 

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Spellcaster over-powering is the easiest thing in the world to deal with.
It's called a Heavy Crossbow/hit them so they have to start making Concentration checks.
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Torchship
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 08:06am 

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Which does precisely nothing about the fact that a spellcaster can lockpick better than a rogue, stealth better than a rogue, scout better than a ranger and punch things better than a fighter (for as long as they want if they're a Druid/took Polymorph) if they have the mind to, all while easily performing game-changing feats (flight, teleportation) that a non-casters cannot match for many levels, if ever. Unless you plan to have a guy with a crossbow show up every time there's a lock to pick, how do you plan to deal with these issues?
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 08:26am 

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Erik von Nein wrote:
This also ignores the imbalance inherent to the system, which kind of sucks if you don't want to play a caster.
Huh? Solauren said, that DM's are partly to be blamed for allowing broken characters. That is true regardless of setting or system. Whatever did your post have to do with that? The system can be as broken as the US constitution, it does not matter. The DM is still supreme being of the universe. Its his job to keep the fun for all.
If the DM can't handle spellcasters without them breaking the fun, then he shouldn't allow spellcaster characters or vice versa only allow them, its really simple.
Torchship wrote:
I was speaking of normal, non-malicious players stumbling on poorly balanced options and breaking the game with them.
Again, I don't see any complexity there. If the DM can't handle spellcasters in D&D without ruining the fun - quit playing spellcasters or quit playing D&D.
Why stay in crappy system if it upsets you?
I agree with your take on 3.5 vs 4e, I agree with spellcasters usually being more powerful than fighters 1-1, but that doesn't exonerate the DM from allowing broken characters. Nor does it take away the DM's power to handle it in game through the setting. Its an RPG after all.
Torchship wrote:
Eliminating such characters before play takes an absurd amount of system mastery (and a small novel of banned spells, feats and classes), while eliminating such characters during play leaves players pissed off that the DM arbitrarily forced them to re-roll their character.
Then you didn't discuss things before play, common rookie mistake.
If the players are aware of the way the GM wants his setting to work then they play with him not against him, regardless of whether the system sucks Gygax's balls or not.
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Solauren
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 08:52am 

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Torchship wrote:
Which does precisely nothing about the fact that a spellcaster can lockpick better than a rogue, stealth better than a rogue, scout better than a ranger and punch things better than a fighter (for as long as they want if they're a Druid/took Polymorph) if they have the mind to, all while easily performing game-changing feats (flight, teleportation) that a non-casters cannot match for many levels, if ever. Unless you plan to have a guy with a crossbow show up every time there's a lock to pick, how do you plan to deal with these issues?



Wizard picking the lock: Waste of a spell slot
Stealth Better then a Rogue: For a short period of time / Uses Spell slot
Scout better then a ranger: For a short period of time / uses spell slot
Punch better then a Fighter: For a short period of time.

How do I deal with these issues?

It's very simple really.

If the wizard keeps using Knock, I toss more locks at them to deal with. He'll run out eventually.
Stealth is handled by traps (doesn't matter if you're sneaky when you stop on a preasure plate), which Wizards are horrible at finding
Scout better then a Ranger - If you mean via familiar, well, familiars make good eating
Punch better then a fighter - More combat encounters. Drain the wizard of offensive spells.

Eventually, the wizard will figure out 'huh, I better save my spells for when I need them'.

Like when they run into the creature that's 3 or 4 CRs above the group level, and they could have really used that Fireball he wasted on a small group of orcs.
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Civil War Man
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 10:11am 

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Stofsk wrote:
I don't really see why balance is such a big issue in a role-playing game. In a computer RTS, sure I can see it. One overpowered unit can unbalance a delicate match-up. But in a social game that uses everyone's imaginations where collaborative storytelling is the goal and objective? Whining about wizard's being too powerful strikes me as absurd.

I will say that as far as balance is concerned, the only thing that matters is making sure every player has a chance to shine.


Giving everyone a chance to shine is a large part of the problem comes when the power gap gets too wide. The classic example uses D&D Fighters, since effectively the only thing that class can do is break things. But a lot of other classes are better at breaking things. So if you tune a fight to be challenging to a Fighter, unless the Wizard, Cleric, or Druid go out of their way to affect the fight as little as possible they will completely demolish every enemy and outshine the Fighter. If the fight is tuned to be challenging to the casters, then the Fighter is ineffective and the casters outshine the Fighter.
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Torchship
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 10:27am 

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Solauren wrote:
If the wizard keeps using Knock, I toss more locks at them to deal with. He'll run out eventually.
Stealth is handled by traps (doesn't matter if you're sneaky when you stop on a preasure plate), which Wizards are horrible at finding
Scout better then a Ranger - If you mean via familiar, well, familiars make good eating
Punch better then a fighter - More combat encounters. Drain the wizard of offensive spells.

Eventually, the wizard will figure out 'huh, I better save my spells for when I need them'.

Like when they run into the creature that's 3 or 4 CRs above the group level, and they could have really used that Fireball he wasted on a small group of orcs.


By medium levels (8 or 10), you're going to have to throw an obscene number of locks at the party to have any hope of draining a single caster's low-level spell-slots... and you're going to have to do that every single day. And the caster is still at an advantage, since it would take a Rogue hours to take 20 enough times to pick all those locks, whereas a caster can unlock any non-absurd number of locks in minutes. If you can find a solid justification for throwing a dozen fake locks at the party for every real lock - day after day after day of adventuring - then I applaud you, but I doubt that that's a feat that most DMs could replicate.

Much like locks, it's going to be difficult to consistently invent justifications for traps in every situation where stealth is appropriate. Additionally, simply casting Fly (or some similar spell) before casting Invisibility makes a Wizard immune to the vast majority of traps.

For scouting, I was thinking more of scying spells than familiars, though familiars are good too (that size bonus on Hide checks makes a big difference). Why should you spend hours scouting out the ork village when a simple Augury spell will give you a decent idea how well the assault will go? If that's not sufficient, Arcane Eye can explore faster, more accurately and with less risk than any Ranger could hope to.

A medium-level Druid can stay wild shaped into the most combat-capable form they can imagine all day, every day, and if the Druid was smart enough to take Natural Spell, they can keep their spellcasting capabilities as well. With even average choices, the Druid can possess the melee combat abilities of a Fighter, an animal companion who is just as good as a Fighter and full spellcasting. How a Fighter is supposed to compete with 2 Fighters and a caster, I don't know.
For those of us who aren't fortunate enough to play Druids, there's always Polymorph. Turn into whatever super-powerful monster you prefer and proceed to be better than the Fighter at their own job for several major fights per day. Sure, the caster won't have enough spell slots to Polymorph for every fight, but if you're throwing more major fights at the party than the caster has spell-slots every day, then all you're going to succeed in doing is killing the party, not balancing the caster (and if they're minor fights, well... it's not an especially stirring recommendation for the Fighter to take on some rats unaided, while the caster is saved for the real threats).

Spoonist, you appear to be contending that the DM is fundamentally responsible for the quality of the game - irrespective of the quality of the system they are using - which is not something I can agree with. If I buy a toaster that spontaneously catches fire occasionally during normal use, then that failure rests entirely on the toaster manufacturers, not with me, the end user. It is not the user's responsibility to pick through the innards of a toaster in order to produce a product that functions as advertised straight out of the box, just as it is not the DM's responsibility to fundamentally overhaul a system in order to produce an RPG without 3.5's level of accidental imbalance. A certain amount of adjustment to taste is perfectly reasonable, but the number of changes that must be made even to Core 3.5 is simply staggering*.

*That's not to imply that I dislike 3.5 or wish to start an edition war, or anything like that. All of my DnD experience rests in 3.5, and I am quite fond of the flexibility of the system, and have no real wish to change to 4th ed. That, doesn't mean that I'm going to refrain from calling 3.5 out on its terrible, terrible balancing, however (as I said before, a system being unbalanced in the face of deliberate optimisation is not a particularly significant problem in my eyes. Being able to significantly unbalance a system with routine choices, however, is a major issue).
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-20 11:00am 

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Torchship wrote:
Spoonist, you appear to be contending that the DM is fundamentally responsible for the quality of the game - irrespective of the quality of the system they are using - which is not something I can agree with.
Yes, but you ignored the "or quit playing D&D. Why stay in a crappy system if it upsets you?" part. You also missed the TALK ABOUT it part. Which kinda was the key points.
If a GM insists on playing a crappy system "straight" then rejects responsibility for making that crappy system fun for the group and refuses to talk about it - then you have a baaaaad situation.
I've been playing RPG's since a year after the basic kitcame out. Trust me ALL RPGs are exploitable - some less so than others, but still. So you need to talk about that in any gaming group. If you can't even play 3.5 without understanding how to handle spellcasters - move on or get a DM who can.
Torchship wrote:
If I buy a toaster that spontaneously catches fire occasionally during normal use, then that failure rests entirely on the toaster manufacturers, not with me, the end user. It is not the user's responsibility to pick through the innards of a toaster in order to produce a product that functions as advertised straight out of the box.
Back to context please. Your analogy is gargantuanly flawed.
But to run with your flawed analogy, you refusing not to fix said toaster and insisting that your friends use it, then yes, it is your responsibility.
But that analogy just comes off wrong full with loaded arguments.
Torchship wrote:
A certain amount of adjustment to taste is perfectly reasonable, but the number of changes that must be made even to Core 3.5 is simply staggering*.

*That's not to imply that I dislike 3.5 or wish to start an edition war, or anything like that. All of my DnD experience rests in 3.5, and I am quite fond of the flexibility of the system, and have no real wish to change to 4th ed. That, doesn't mean that I'm going to refrain from calling 3.5 out on its terrible, terrible balancing, however (as I said before, a system being unbalanced in the face of deliberate optimisation is not a particularly significant problem in my eyes. Being able to significantly unbalance a system with routine choices, however, is a major issue).
You are running in circles here.
I've already stated that the system doesn't matter, a good GM adapts and overcome. I've played campains where we picked the world from one setting and the game system from another, etc. Its not hard unless you are a rookie.
And if you are a rookie then simple systems like old D&D is really fun to start out with - they only break at higher levels any way.
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