Interesting paragraph at the end of S4
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 9:46 pm 
 

I was re-reading S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth the other day and finished it completely . .  . including the short "Afterword".  The last paragraph of the Afterword really struck me, as it seems to be very much at odds with the attitude towards D&D today.  



So you don't have to dig it out, here it is:





"Poor play does not merit special consideration.  Players will not improve if the DM pampers rather than challenges them.  If your players perform badly, do not allow their characters to increase in experience level.  Be most judicious in how you handle awards to player characters.  Allowing foolish and ignorant players to advance their characters to high levels reflects badly upon the game and even more so upon the Dungeon Master who allowed such a travesty to occur.  In effect, it is the excellence of the DM which is judged when the caliber of play by any group is discussed.  Keep yours high!"







Well said!  I believe the Wotc attitude nowadays is more along the lines of:  Power up and kick some ass.  Nothing makes the game more challenging than a few 40 hit dice monsters!


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 10:58 pm 
 

Of course. 3E is a paper video game.


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 11:24 pm 
 

Yep.  One of many reasons that when Gary ran the original Castle Greyhawk dungeons at GenCon the past several years, any teams of 3e players were generally meat:  3e's explicit use of encounters that are "fair" based on the average party level dooms these folks.  They think that just because they're seeing a group of wights on the first level means that their 1st level PCs must be able to overcome them---otherwise such nasty monsters wouldn't be on the first level, of coures  :roll:


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:13 am 
 

"What's that big round thing rushing towards me.............I wonder if it'll be friends? ":D

  


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:18 am 
 

3E provides gameplay that gets a lot closer to being balanced than 1st and 2nd Edition versions did. How that is used is up to the DM, and the players. I think if you talk to some folks that actually play the system, you'll find just as many unbalanced encounters. The difference is that the unbalanced in the encounter will be intentional, rather than the result of a DM guessing how strong a given monster is.



It never ceases to amaze me how folks put on the blinders when they're looking at the 3E system. The game is only as good, or as bad, as you make it.

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:34 am 
 

GraysonAC wrote:It never ceases to amaze me how folks put on the blinders when they're looking at the 3E system. The game is only as good, or as bad, as you make it.




That's of course the same as in any rpg, GraysonAC.  I found the entire premise of status quo vs. tailored encounters absurd from the release of the 3.0 DMG onward; naturally I don't use tailored encounters in my games regularly:  if the PCs hear that Smaug lives in Lonely Mountain, and decide to go take him on, they're toast if they're not up to the task.  



That said, 3e does have good things about the system, including the fact that you can really challenge PCs with environmental hazards in a much better manner than how you could in AD&D (which had about as many different rules for holding your breath and drowning as there were modules with water in them).  3e does a lot of other things well, too, but the baseline mentality that it encourages for gameplay is not compatible with my vision of D&D:  PCs should not hit 20th level by the end of a year of gaming, among other things....


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:14 am 
 

.....Ah, but if they DO hit 20th level, there is still something for them to accomplish and at least a few monsters that can still badly frighten them.



    After the invention of weapons specialization, AD&D campaigns tended to break down after the fighters reached 7th level.  The monsters could no longer compete.



    3.5 is an incredibly technical game, but it solves most of the arguments that used to plague the game.



    The magic is still in the Game Master, and not in the rules.



    One difference is that 3.5 requires much more from the game master than the other versions did.  You have to master or at least record the monster statistics because the monsters have every break and rule that the PC's get.



    The rules are still not perfect (huge dragon claws doing the same damage as small daggers, for instance) but they are still fairly good.  8)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:23 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote: After the invention of weapons specialization, AD&D campaigns tended to break down after the fighters reached 7th level. The monsters could no longer compete.




you are kidding right?



you clearly didnt play D3 or Q1. that comment there is sadly flawed my friend.



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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:48 am 
 

Weapon specialization gave fighters buzzsaw damage due to bonuses and multiple swings.  Monsters such as dragons were sword fodder and other PC classes could not compete.  Giants were a laugh...died by the dozens.  After 7th level, the fighters had two swings per round and the campaign would run out of challenges about 9th level.  



    Few monsters in the books could stand up to (1d12+6+3+2)x2 for very long.  Player characters almost never failed saving throws and the idea that a thief might miss a thieving skill check was almost laughable.  The math was out of control.  



    Books such as Unearthed Arcana and many articles in Dragon tried to add to the game but usually ended up causing problems.  TSR got into the bad bad bad habit of trying to sell publications like character class and race booklets by including benefits that violated game logic and/or upset game balance.  (Oriental Adventures, for instance, introduced the bushi character...with all the abilities of a fighter stacked with other benefits and a much easier experience table.  Oriental Adventures was supposedly meant to stand as a separate game setting....right.)



    2nd Edition AD&D fixed some of these problems, but raised more by the publication of multiple rule books like those mentioned in the preceeding paragraph.  



    The idea of "Skills" was introduced in publications like the Dungeoneers Survival Guide, but the system grew ever more cumbersome and illogical as each publication tried to shore it up.



    The new system fixes most of those problems by the application of logic and uniform math skills.  Monsters the same benefits as PCs.  Much, much, much more attention has been paid to the math.  Fighters no longer overpower all of the other character classes...although there still seems to be little reason to run a Paladin or a straight rogue.



    Terminology has also been cleaned up in 3.5.  There has been a concerted effort to standardize game play and mechanics.  I think that some of the free-form arguing and bargaining central to the old AD&D is what some of the older players really miss.



    I ran D3 as the game master, so I was able to make it work.  That was in the days before weapon specialization.  Still, the drow mostly annoyed the PC's rather than threatening them.  I buzzed through Q1 as a player.



    But, I also know of one DM who has cheerfully ignored the morphs of AD&D and still runs a Sunday afternoon game in his living room using the first edition rules.  I visited his game recently.  I recognized many of the same faces I last saw at his game 20 years ago.  They did not seem to mind that the world had turned many times and AD&D had changed a lot.  More power to 'em, I says.   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:29 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote: After 7th level, the fighters had two swings per round and the campaign would run out of challenges about 9th level.



The new system fixes most of those problems by the application of logic and uniform math skills. Monsters the same benefits as PCs. Much, much, much more attention has been paid to the math. Fighters no longer overpower all of the other character classes...although there still seems to be little reason to run a Paladin or a straight rogue.



I ran D3 as the game master, so I was able to make it work. That was in the days before weapon specialization. Still, the drow mostly annoyed the PC's rather than threatening them. I buzzed through Q1 as a player.



But, I also know of one DM who has cheerfully ignored the morphs of AD&D and still runs a Sunday afternoon game in his living room using the first edition rules. I visited his game recently. I recognized many of the same faces I last saw at his game 20 years ago. They did not seem to mind that the world had turned many times and AD&D had changed a lot. More power to 'em, I says. 8)




without getting the players handbook out, i thought you have 3 attacks in 2 rounds from 7th onwards and 2 attacks per round after 14th?



as for fighters overbalancing other classes, well i strongly disagree there. if i was able to pick a 15th level character of any class....although i like fighters mostly, i reckon a magic-user would turn him to dust rather fast, a monk, well need i say - damn hard at that level, clerics totally rock - you get my drift - it isnt quite as plain sailing as you think.



i'm not belittling later editions - they are later editions because they were meant to improve the system, but i think they went too far in that regard.



i played and DMd D3 a number of times on the run through from G1 to Q1 - the players who played were not crap either - good intelligant lads, but they never found it easy at all - i DM'd the drow for what they are, a very intelligant race - they are in their domain and scenarios in the module changed depending on what the party did. and as for cruising through Q1 8O i simply cannot believe that if you play Q1 correctly as a DM, sure there are parts which are really easy, but there are also sections which are exceptionally hard, and dont forget it is a question of attrition, especially with spells as they don't all work and they can't be regained.



but hey i get your point and. i don't agree, but i get it :D



each to their own.



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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 7:47 am 
 

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY off base. A 15th level 3E fighter would annihilate 4 or 5 15th level 1E's. And if you use the MM dragons in 1E, then yes, they are a bit easy. Try doubling their hit points, making them require a + to hit based on age, giving them magic resistance by age, and doubling the damage dealt.

It's all about realism. I mean, come on, Great Cleave? Whirlwind Attack? Give me a break.


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 8:37 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:
It's all about realism. I mean, come on, Great Cleave? Whirlwind Attack? Give me a break.




i should just send frank a PM and ask him to reply for me - he just says it the best :D



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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 9:20 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote: TSR got into the bad bad bad habit of trying to sell publications like character class and race booklets by including benefits that violated game logic and/or upset game balance. (Oriental Adventures, for instance, introduced the bushi character...with all the abilities of a fighter stacked with other benefits and a much easier experience table. Oriental Adventures was supposedly meant to stand as a separate game setting....right.)




Um.... unless I am wrong the character race & class booklets did not appear until 2nd edition. :? The only 2 publications that TSR ever created with new Player Characters was Oriental Adventures & Unearthed Arcana. UA introduced all of 2 new characters and 2 extentions of existing character classes. OA introduced 8(I am not counting Barbarian & Monk). The only other publication that TSR produced with new character classes was Dragon Magazine, however, 99.9% of the new character classes that were introduced in Dragon Magazine were to be used explicity as NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS. The reason being is that they clearly stated in the publication that the character would upset game balance due to the fact that they may be too powerful. As a DM, if you are doing it properly, unless you party is extremely lucky, nobody should think D3 &/or Q1 is a cakewalk.

MShipley88 wrote:Weapon specialization gave fighters buzzsaw damage due to bonuses and multiple swings. Monsters such as dragons were sword fodder and other PC classes could not compete. Giants were a laugh...died by the dozens. After 7th level, the fighters had two swings per round and the campaign would run out of challenges about 9th level.



Few monsters in the books could stand up to (1d12+6+3+2)x2 for very long. Player characters almost never failed saving throws and the idea that a thief might miss a thieving skill check was almost laughable. The math was out of control.




If you are DM'ing properly these same benefits afforded to the PCs should also be afforded to the Drow. A 10 level Drow fighter after all is a 10th lever fighter, a 12th level Drow Thief is a 12th level Thief......and the last time I checked Lolth is a lesser godess on her home plane in Q1. Check out Deities & Demigods on pages 8 & 9 as to the powers afforded to gods & demigods that allow no saving throws and other inate powers that can be used for herself and against the PCs.


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 9:35 am 
 

In BECMI I beefed up dragons a bit and added a horde of new monsters that more than adequately challenge 10th-20th level characters.



However, I also included a mathematical system to gauge the level of the encounters proportionate to the party. Unfortunately it seems that someone decided that all encounters should be 'proportionate' (survivable), an unwarranted extrapolation.  :roll:

  

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 10:23 am 
 

ExTSR wrote:In BECMI I beefed up dragons a bit and added a horde of new monsters that more than adequately challenge 10th-20th level characters.



However, I also included a mathematical system to gauge the level of the encounters proportionate to the party. Unfortunately it seems that someone decided that all encounters should be 'proportionate' (survivable), an unwarranted extrapolation. :roll:




hey frank...whats the item called in its entirety...as i wouldnt mind a look at that....



thing is with dragons, it always makes me laugh really. ppl who say fighters can kick their butt easy. dragons are high intelligance right...hmmm...sure yeah they are gonna stand there and get sliced up.... er not. mine take off 30 ft and just breathe the crap out of the player :) works for me... fighters indeed ... how many attacks a round for something they cant reach? :D



<edit> yeah BC had it right with Q1 there. if you play Lolth right, she is pretty damn hard to beat in her own realm. it was always hard to hit AC-10 whatever way you look at it and 70% MR pretty much took care of most spells that youa ctually had left by the time you got there.....and thats without fending off all her guards etc... easy? no i dont think so.



  


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:21 pm 
 

Our DM quite simply played Lloth wrong.  Very, very wrong.



As everyone knows, the G,D,Q series is a very long campaign.  We were 14 years old, had been playing a monster 12 hour+ session, and we were all tired but too absorbed to call it a night.



Nearing the end, we ran into Lloth.  Somehow, we achieved surprise, won initiative, and rolled a convenient natural 20 with a hammer of thunderbolts/girdle/gauntlets to the head.  



She doesn't have a ton of hp, so that was that.   I'm fairly sure she was a victim of the dreaded "plot device", but at that point we agreed to retire the characters, anyway.   :lol:



I'd love to go back through and "play the ending right" someday.  We had a blast (and a challenge!) up until the finish, which was severely anti-climactic.

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:53 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
hey frank...whats the item called in its entirety...as i wouldnt mind a look at that....




Frank is referring to the Basic-Expert-Companion-Masters-Immortals Sets; he was editor and/or writer.

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:35 pm 
 

grodog wrote:I found the entire premise of status quo vs. tailored encounters absurd from the release of the 3.0 DMG onward; naturally I don't use tailored encounters in my games regularly: if the PCs hear that Smaug lives in Lonely Mountain, and decide to go take him on, they're toast if they're not up to the task.




And no good DM is going to disagree. Neither do the 3E rules.



The "tailored" encounters means +/- 4 Challenge Rating. A group of 4 level 10 characters should run into a fair number of CR10 encounters (somewhat challenging), some CR 11 (a bit tougher), the occasional CR12 (tough), the rare CR 13 (in deep crap now), and CR 14 is reserved for the Big Bad encounters, because chances are pretty good that some or all the group isn't going to survive.



3E doesn't kill off groups of players with wildly varying random encounters. For example, you don't run into 1d3 Ogres at first level wandering through the forest on your way to the dungeon ;)



3e does a lot of other things well, too, but the baseline mentality that it encourages for gameplay is not compatible with my vision of D&D: PCs should not hit 20th level by the end of a year of gaming, among other things....




Nor will that happen in 3E. The CR system is designed to level up a character after approximately 7 encounters where the CR=Player Level. This means that on average, a player goes up after 6 encounters, assuming he hasn't died. You get almost no XP for killing monsters much lower level. The Nodwick comic where a guy runs into a bar, screaming that a 15th level fighter only needs 5xp to level, and everyone runs away, comes to mind :P



Most modules are going to give you a level or two, possibly 3 if they're long and/or very dangerous.



Monsters such as dragons were sword fodder and other PC classes could not compete.  Giants were a laugh...died by the dozens.  After 7th level, the fighters had two swings per round and the campaign would run out of challenges about 9th level.




If your DM was having dragons sit around to get hacked to death with a sword, then the problem is your DM, not the dragon. Dragons get breath weapons and spells for a reason ;)



Giants are just as weak in 3E. In fact, I'd say they're weaker in 3E, because there are so many more options for killing them off at range. A 7th level wizard with Fly and Improved Invisibility can annihilate giants at a whim.



without getting the players handbook out, i thought you have 3 attacks in 2 rounds from 7th onwards and 2 attacks per round after 14th?




Nope, 2/1 at 7th with weapon spec.



as for fighters overbalancing other classes, well i strongly disagree there.




Agreed. Spell damage is a much greater threat at higher levels in all editions of D&D. And the mobility of a spellcaster at higher level seals the deal.



A lot of folks think Fighters are underpowered in 3E, at higher levels (I'm not one of them, but it's not an uncommon belief, backed up with math).



It's all about realism. I mean, come on, Great Cleave? Whirlwind Attack? Give me a break.




:lol:   Someone standing in a 10'x10' room and getting blasted with 3 Fireballs.. and still standing.. isn't realistic either. The hit point system tosses realism out the window. All editions of D&D are a heroic system - not a realistic one.



Unfortunately it seems that someone decided that all encounters should be 'proportionate' (survivable), an unwarranted extrapolation.




Hate to disagree with you Frank, but I do. There's no "Everything should be exactly this hard." in the 3E rules. Unless the players do something stupid (like going after Smaug), then they're unlikely to get TPK'd wandering through the forest. But tossing in encounters with a CR of 2- 4 (depending on player level) above the baseline CR of the party is going to make for some challenging, and likely lethal, fights.



And there's nothing stopping the DM from using nearly random encounter tables. Personally, I never found unwinnable fights fun as a player, or as a DM. It's one thing I'm quite glad to see dissapear.



how many attacks a round for something they cant reach?




Yup. In 3E, monsters have a certain Reach based on their size. Humans can reach 5', but a Huge dragon can reach 10' with claws, and 15' with a bite/tail slap. And there are plenty of rules provided for things like grappling - that huge dragon could, instead of letting you swing that shiny sword at it's precious body, just grab you and sit on you, not-so-slowly crushing you to death.  ;)

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:57 pm 
 

I've read the d20 rules and find a lot of it quite interesting. The reason I pointed out that quote however, was more to illustrate how the "perspective" of D&D has changed.



D&D is not marketed by WotC with that quote in mind. Indeed, in many ways they have adopted an opposite philosophy (something that began long before WotC came along in the first place).



Essentially, the focus is on character creation and excelling in power and abilities. The center stage has been taken away from DMing and giving to the PCs. 1st edition (when played properly) makes the PCs have to fight tooth and nail for every inch of "heroic adventuring success." It makes you stare at your character sheet and every bit of equipment as you try to think of some possible way to survive an encounter or devise a clever solution. When you look back at a successful adventure, it should have the feel of a good fantasy novel, where the heroes exceeded themselves and conquered when no one else thought they could.



When they reach 10th level, it is because they are the elite of the world, adventurer's of legend. Somewhere in the cities, bards have begun to weave tales of their exploits. When they travel to new lands, the heraldry on your paladin precedes his arrival. Their stature was well earned.



Somehow, it is that perspective that has been lost to some degree. I don't argue the playability of d20. All carefully crafted RPG's can be taken for what they are - and many of them will work within their own set of rules.



That quote says a lot about how D&D was envisioned to be played - that vision is now just a different one.


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 2:48 pm 
 

3E. The game where a Level 5/6/4 hlaf-dragon/half mindflayer bard/druid/necromancer with a +27 holy vorpal flaming sword of allslaying is par for the course. Puh-leeease. Just play Final Fantasy and take the paperwork out of it.

Save it for the 17 and under crowd, exactly who it is designed and marketed for. My system may be more time-consuming and require more maintenance, but at least it is believable.


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