The former Tomb of Horrors / current 3e debate thread
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Post Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:22 am 
 

Lewisexi wrote:My group enjoys 3.5 alot. We're a mature group (I'm the youngest at 34!) and whilst we're all bright to see how the character generation, feats system etc. could be abused we're roleplayers no ROLLplayers. The system isn't the important thing it's the having fun bit that's important!


Yep. Having fun is where it's at.
Although we're all "mature" gamers at our table (everyone is 35+), none of us are what you would call "experienced".

Yes, there is potential for abuse, but we enjoy taking feats (skills, etc.) that go along with our characters storylines, even if that's not necessarily what would be better for our combats or spellcasting.

As to the debate as to version 3.x vs. version X.x, 3.5 is where the advertising money is going, therefore it follows (in this world of instant gratification) that that's where the "interest in gaming" is going to be.

I enjoy the memories (some would say nostalgia) fo looking at, feeling, and smelling (yep. weird, aint I?) the old modules. I'm damn near 100% sure that if you asked someone at a 3.5 table to "go old school" for one module, they'd have a blast. And, at the same time, probably becoming a collector themselves, just to see "how it all started".


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:05 pm 
 

I have played all three "main" editions of D&D (1st, 2nd, and 3.x) over the eons, and here are my observations (in no particular order):

1. I do admire the thought that went into the redesign for 3rd Edition. The fact that they came up with a thoroughly well integrated rules set, with logical, streamlined, and unified mechanics is to be applauded. It takes an awful lot of effort to do this sort of thing, but the end result, taken by itself, makes D&D much more playable. In particular I like (in general) the new combat system, which is both cleaner (mechanically speaking) and I think much more satisfactory. I would have done a number of things different, but overall it is a good effort.

2. ***UNFORTUNATELY***, in simplifying the mechanics, they then chose to muck things up by coming up with a billion and one different rules! Yes, it is easier to learn each new rule, simply because of the good design, but there are so confounded many of them! In the 3E games I have been in, we invariably spend a significant chunk of game time looking up rules, which I feel is a bad thing.

3. The contrasting problem with 1st Edition was the fact that the mechanics were not streamlined or very well organized. Take for example having all of the different odds of being surprised (or being able to surprise. Invariably, one would have, say, a Ranger who surprises others 1 in 6 (or whatever) running into some critter or another that can only be surprised on a 1 in 8 - how do you resolve THAT? (actually, an old Dragon article came up with a little table to help out, but obviously it is the game mechanic that is messed up.) This is one of a multitude of such examples, that any veterans are no doubt aware of.

4. I do strenuously dislike the "anime" approach to 3E. Speaking as someone who is both a collector of quality repro swords/armor/etc. and occasionally even makes the same I absolutely *cringe* when I see the artwork in practically all of the new stuff. Spiked armor, axes the size of Yugos, BARF! And don't get me started on weapon weights!!!

5. 2nd Edition was a disaster. While I laud the effort to streamline the rules, they did so without really understanding what they were doing, which resulted in a lot of breakdown at higher levels. A good example pertains to the Weapon/Armor adjustments and especially the To-Hit tables. Now, there is no doubt that the original 1E rules were quite clumsy and putzty. The problem with 2E is that they streamlined or eliminated much of the above, including the Tables and introduced the THACO concept. All well and good in terms of basic streamlining, but they missed an important point. If you look closely at the To Hit tables from 1E, you notice that for most of the lower levels (or hit dice) you reach a point where you hit a succession of 20's, followed by 21, 22, etc. The subtlety here is that, past that first 20 in the series, you needed to roll a *natural* 20 to hit. Thus, a high Armor Class could be a real pain to hit, even at higher levels, no matter how many bonuses to hit for ST, magic, specialization, etc. But the elimination of this "breaking system" on To Hit progression resulted in 2E mechanics falling apart by about ~8th level or so (or even sooner). Even AC -10 could be swatted relatively easy at moderate levels (assuming at least "average" bonuses for magic, etc.), making formerly formidable foes such as Will O-Wisps, certain Devils/Demons, and Drow much easier to wipe out. I know this because I tried running a group through D1-3, and boy did they whoop butt! It was very hard to make battles challenging for the group - it could be done but took an awful lot of tinkering on my part. And a lot of the blame could be placed squarely on this particular disconnect between 1E and 2E. Gygax may not have come up with the clearest or easiest to play system, but each rule did have a raison d' etre.

My method of cleaning this up, while retaining the original "breaking system", was to come up with a single consolidated "To Hit" table that simply had a letter designation for each row on the table (something like A through Q, I believe is what I came up with), with "A" representing either a less than one hit die creature, or a zero level person, and progressing from there. Each class would start at a certain To Hit category, and progress at whatever rate was appropriate. Similarly, monsters were assigned a To Hit category, so Hit Dice and To Hit capability could be separated. Not as "pretty" as the THACO or current 3E system, but it does consolidate 5 tables down to one, which ought to count for something.

6. While I thought the level limits in 1E as given were too restrictive, I did like the basic idea behind them, if only from a game-world logic perspective (i.e. it is not so much whether or not anyone would play humans, but whether or not the existence of humans could be logically justified when everyone else has a significant advantage over them...). It was nice that certain classes were restricted to certain races (for example, the saving throw bonus of dwarves vs. magic does suggest that they would make poor Magic Users). My suggestion would have been to not have such "hard" ceilings; rather, a "soft" level limit whereby when a demi-human hits that level, all subsequent levels require double or more EP vs. what a Human would require to attain the next higher level. An alternative would have been to do away altogether with level limits, but assign a modest EP multiplier that would, say, multiply the EP needed for each level by 1.2 or some other factor.

7. I miss the early OD&D and AD&D (1E) days. Particularly kludging together rules using the original Blue cover Basic set, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Greyhawk supplement (couldn't get the DM's Guide, let alone Eldritch Wizardry, since the covers would have given my mom fits). I miss how the Drow, for example, were this mysterious race only hinted at in the MM. Now, Drizzt wannabes are all the rage, with the Drow not so much evil as "misunderstood" and "victims of prejudice". Demons were demons and devils were devils - none of the "blatzu" or "crapzu" crud put in place to placate hysterical mental cripples who were afraid of "dem debble-wershippen-D&Ders" Nostalgia, I suppose, but there does seem to be something missing in 3E.

8. As to relative power between 1E and 3E characters, I think, following the straight unmodified rules, that 3E characters are certainly more powerful, but then so are the monsters. It is harder to speak to the PC: Monster power ratio from 1E to 3E. Many 1E monsters could not take advantage of attribute bonuses, and so forth, that PCs could. But 3E monsters can do just that, and take feats, etc. in some cases. In the end the DM plays an important part in controlling the "munchkin" level of the game. A good DM can keep 3E inflation in check, while a bad DM will mess up no matter what rules system be used.

9. Certainly like the art in 1E better than 2E or 3E. Maybe it was mostly all black ink drawings, but boy they were good! Especially the Succubus in the MM... :-) Sure miss Sutherland.

10. One thing I do like about 3E vs. 1E is the fact that monsters are, for lack of a better expression, "given their due". In other words they can advance in levels, use attribute bonuses, etc. While I think 3E may have gone too far in this direction, I do like the idea. I always hated it that the mighty orc chieftain really had to be a half-orc, since a regular "chief" was not nearly strong enough to give players much of a challenge. Not that I want to see 27th level kobolds or anything! But a modest level advancement, using their base "hit die", would have worked really well (i.e. a max 7th level orc, or 5th level kobold, would have a lot more hit points and somewhat better To Hit odds - a much more viable "chief") And if said chief has an 18(23) strength or the like, well... he and his bodyguard might give a medium level party a decent fight.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:17 pm 
 

The paper in the 3E books is too shiny. Even if you separate the pages from the spine, you can't even wipe your arse with it properly.


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:28 pm 
 

Charles G. wrote:In the 3E games I have been in, we invariably spend a significant chunk of game time looking up rules, which I feel is a bad thing.


This is precisely what killed D&D for my kids.  Fortunately, after we scrapped everything and started all over with AD&D, things really took off for them.  Now they're constantly asking when we can play next.  Keep, Inverness, Giants series, etc.  They've just had a taste of it so far, but I think the interest is there to stay.

To be a good DM in 3E, you have to know the rules and how to enforce them.  To be a good DM in OD&D and AD&D, you have to be able to wing it.  Think about it:  how many times did Gygax state in those rule books that it's all about the pace and excitement of the game?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:57 pm 
 

I can agree with a great deal of Charles G's disertation.

Mainly, I like 1e for many of the things that are not there. There are no layers of this and that which can bog down any game. I love the old system of AC10. There was no need to change that system.

I also think 1e was more of a "don't sweat the small stuff" type of game. So what if there was not a rule for every situation. That's what a DM is for. For me, the best games are those that were concise, yet open-ended, intelligent, yet easy to understand, simple, but contained a hidden complexity. And that, to me anyway, is AD&D 1st Edition (and even OD&D and the basic/exp. sets). I also loved Champions 1-4th edition games (very little changed between editions). These two are far and away the best rpgs ever created - again, just my opinion. Everything else paled - cyberpunk, shadowrun (though, not bad), and anything by FASA, etc.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 2:41 am 
 

Great Post!!!
I have played all three "main" editions of D&D (1st, 2nd, and 3.x) over the eons, and here are my observations (in no particular order):

1. I do admire the thought that went into the redesign for 3rd Edition. The fact that they came up with a thoroughly well integrated rules set, with logical, streamlined, and unified mechanics is to be applauded. It takes an awful lot of effort to do this sort of thing, but the end result, taken by itself, makes D&D much more playable. In particular I like (in general) the new combat system, which is both cleaner (mechanically speaking) and I think much more satisfactory. I would have done a number of things different, but overall it is a good effort.

2. ***UNFORTUNATELY***, in simplifying the mechanics, they then chose to muck things up by coming up with a billion and one different rules! Yes, it is easier to learn each new rule, simply because of the good design, but there are so confounded many of them! In the 3E games I have been in, we invariably spend a significant chunk of game time looking up rules, which I feel is a bad thing.


This has been my experience also, although I admit I have never played 3rd ed but watched many games being played.  Just when things should get going, they bog down into rules, rules and more rules.  However, to be fair, I've seen the same thing happen with DMs who were not experienced trying to run 1st and 2nd ed games.  I think a big part of the problem with 3rd ed is that unlike the other editions you don't have DMs with 10-20 years of experience, and everyone is always having to go to the books.  When I DM, there are some entire sessions where I don't used the reference books or only refer to the core rules cd rom on my laptop once or twice....so much is already in memory.  Maybe if 3rd ed lasts 10 years experienced DMs will be able to perform much the same.

3. The contrasting problem with 1st Edition was the fact that the mechanics were not streamlined or very well organized. Take for example having all of the different odds of being surprised (or being able to surprise. Invariably, one would have, say, a Ranger who surprises others 1 in 6 (or whatever) running into some critter or another that can only be surprised on a 1 in 8 - how do you resolve THAT? (actually, an old Dragon article came up with a little table to help out, but obviously it is the game mechanic that is messed up.) This is one of a multitude of such examples, that any veterans are no doubt aware of.


1st ed was fun, but like having to go back to drving my first car, I wouldn't care to go back to playing it again "as written".  My group practically had a book of house rules.  I think 1st ed was so well loved because of this....the entire system is like a "house rules" approach.  Winging it was encouraged, and no two DM's games were ever run the same.

4. I do strenuously dislike the "anime" approach to 3E. Speaking as someone who is both a collector of quality repro swords/armor/etc. and occasionally even makes the same I absolutely *cringe* when I see the artwork in practically all of the new stuff. Spiked armor, axes the size of Yugos, BARF! And don't get me started on weapon weights!!!


I think the detractors of 3rd ed focus on this aspect quite a lot, and rightfully so.  But then again, like everything nowadays, it's a marketing technique and seems to have been successful.

5. 2nd Edition was a disaster. While I laud the effort to streamline the rules, they did so without really understanding what they were doing, which resulted in a lot of breakdown at higher levels. A good example pertains to the Weapon/Armor adjustments and especially the To-Hit tables. Now, there is no doubt that the original 1E rules were quite clumsy and putzty. The problem with 2E is that they streamlined or eliminated much of the above, including the Tables and introduced the THACO concept. All well and good in terms of basic streamlining, but they missed an important point. If you look closely at the To Hit tables from 1E, you notice that for most of the lower levels (or hit dice) you reach a point where you hit a succession of 20's, followed by 21, 22, etc. The subtlety here is that, past that first 20 in the series, you needed to roll a *natural* 20 to hit. Thus, a high Armor Class could be a real pain to hit, even at higher levels, no matter how many bonuses to hit for ST, magic, specialization, etc. But the elimination of this "breaking system" on To Hit progression resulted in 2E mechanics falling apart by about ~8th level or so (or even sooner). Even AC -10 could be swatted relatively easy at moderate levels (assuming at least "average" bonuses for magic, etc.), making formerly formidable foes such as Will O-Wisps, certain Devils/Demons, and Drow much easier to wipe out. I know this because I tried running a group through D1-3, and boy did they whoop butt! It was very hard to make battles challenging for the group - it could be done but took an awful lot of tinkering on my part. And a lot of the blame could be placed squarely on this particular disconnect between 1E and 2E. Gygax may not have come up with the clearest or easiest to play system, but each rule did have a raison d' etre.


We never had a problem with 2nd ed and still play it (modified) to this day. I've run quite a few 1st ed modules, converting them to 2nd ed, and had no problems at all making them lethal. If your group whooped up on Drow in the D1-3 series, that sounds like a DM problem and not a game mechanism problem.  A fighter at 10th level hits AC 0 with an 11; a Drow with AC -5 would be hit on a 16 (25% of the time).  With modest bonuses (STR 17, +2 sword, Prayer spell) that's still a 12 to hit AC-5, or hitting 45% of the time.  Unless the DM is getting too crazy awarding magic items like +4 swords and the like, I don't see the problem. All the fighters in the group I am running now have weapon specialization and +3 weapons and are all 10-12 level (and most have 18+ str or items that boost their strength to that level) and they still would have trouble against something like a Will o wisp or Drow.  Remember playing foes like Drow intelligently, they should have the ability to counter most advantages of player characters with spellcasting of their own. I can attest through experience that AC of -5 or better would make a very tough opponent to even seasoned fighters in my groups.

6. While I thought the level limits in 1E as given were too restrictive, I did like the basic idea behind them, if only from a game-world logic perspective (i.e. it is not so much whether or not anyone would play humans, but whether or not the existence of humans could be logically justified when everyone else has a significant advantage over them...). It was nice that certain classes were restricted to certain races (for example, the saving throw bonus of dwarves vs. magic does suggest that they would make poor Magic Users). My suggestion would have been to not have such "hard" ceilings; rather, a "soft" level limit whereby when a demi-human hits that level, all subsequent levels require double or more EP vs. what a Human would require to attain the next higher level. An alternative would have been to do away altogether with level limits, but assign a modest EP multiplier that would, say, multiply the EP needed for each level by 1.2 or some other factor.
 

...or just do away with artificial restrictions that serve no purpose. Any good DM can create any mechanism to justify any sort of level limits.  In my campaign world, dwarves shun magic because the Derro are an offshoot of the dwarven race that almost destroyed the entire civilization due to magic.  So it's more of a cultural thing than a handcuffing artificial game mechanic.  And once again, my group hasn't used level limits since about 1984 or so and it's never caused a demi-human boom of player characters, never.

7. I miss the early OD&D and AD&D (1E) days. Particularly kludging together rules using the original Blue cover Basic set, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Greyhawk supplement (couldn't get the DM's Guide, let alone Eldritch Wizardry, since the covers would have given my mom fits). I miss how the Drow, for example, were this mysterious race only hinted at in the MM. Now, Drizzt wannabes are all the rage, with the Drow not so much evil as "misunderstood" and "victims of prejudice". Demons were demons and devils were devils - none of the "blatzu" or "crapzu" crud put in place to placate hysterical mental cripples who were afraid of "dem debble-wershippen-D&Ders" Nostalgia, I suppose, but there does seem to be something missing in 3E.


Changing the names of Demons and Devils was a great marketing idea at the time, although it's nice they have changed back since the pogroms against D&D have ended (thank you video games!).  It was great to use Drow when they first appeared (we played the G and D series as they were released back in the day) and watch player's frustrations as the magic resistant Drow gave them fits.  But really, once the genie was out of the bottle the Drow were never going to be the cool, mysterious, unknown opponents they once were.  It's up to the DM to use the same IDEA if not the same type of foe.  Im my present campaign, a new type of Cloud Giant (they are all spellcasters) has invaded the campaign world and are wreaking all sorts of havoc, and causing the same mental consternation that the Drow did all those decades ago. It's up to the DM to go beyond the written rules and throw surprises at the players; Gary showed us how, now take the ball and run with it.....

10. One thing I do like about 3E vs. 1E is the fact that monsters are, for lack of a better expression, "given their due". In other words they can advance in levels, use attribute bonuses, etc. While I think 3E may have gone too far in this direction, I do like the idea. I always hated it that the mighty orc chieftain really had to be a half-orc, since a regular "chief" was not nearly strong enough to give players much of a challenge. Not that I want to see 27th level kobolds or anything! But a modest level advancement, using their base "hit die", would have worked really well (i.e. a max 7th level orc, or 5th level kobold, would have a lot more hit points and somewhat better To Hit odds - a much more viable "chief") And if said chief has an 18(23) strength or the like, well... he and his bodyguard might give a medium level party a decent fight.


The Book of Humanoids already did this in 2nd ed, giving character levels to exceptional humanoid characters.  I think I've already mentioned the fun I've had throwing stuff like 7th level kobold fighters against unsuspecting player characters; most orc chieftens in my world are typically fighters of levels 5-7, backed up by orc shamans and witchdoctors of levels 3-5.  As always, it is up to the DM to run with these rules and use them how he may; the mechanism is already there. One of the things you learn when you DM 20+ years is to give the monsters a fighting chance; if they are intelligent  they should have a grasp of tactics at least that of the characters they are fighting against.  Use of poison is one I give most intelligent monsters that wield weapons; it is a logical thing for them to do, and a great equalizer in battle.

Once again, good points!

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:01 am 
 

I think it's great that there is so much passion about D&D that we are bothering to argue about which version is best.   :lol:

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 3:01 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Great Post!!!

4. I do strenuously dislike the "anime" approach to 3E. Speaking as someone who is both a collector of quality repro swords/armor/etc. and occasionally even makes the same I absolutely *cringe* when I see the artwork in practically all of the new stuff. Spiked armor, axes the size of Yugos, BARF! And don't get me started on weapon weights!!!


I think the detractors of 3rd ed focus on this aspect quite a lot, and rightfully so. But then again, like everything nowadays, it's a marketing technique and seems to have been successful..


I agree - it bothers me more than anyone else. However, I would also suggest that the art seems, well, cruder in spite of all the bells and whistles.

We never had a problem with 2nd ed and still play it (modified) to this day. I've run quite a few 1st ed modules, converting them to 2nd ed, and had no problems at all making them lethal. If your group whooped up on Drow in the D1-3 series, that sounds like a DM problem and not a game mechanism problem. A fighter at 10th level hits AC 0 with an 11; a Drow with AC -5 would be hit on a 16 (25% of the time). With modest bonuses (STR 17, +2 sword, Prayer spell) that's still a 12 to hit AC-5, or hitting 45% of the time. Unless the DM is getting too crazy awarding magic items like +4 swords and the like, I don't see the problem. All the fighters in the group I am running now have weapon specialization and +3 weapons and are all 10-12 level (and most have 18+ str or items that boost their strength to that level) and they still would have trouble against something like a Will o wisp or Drow. Remember playing foes like Drow intelligently, they should have the ability to counter most advantages of player characters with spellcasting of their own. I can attest through experience that AC of -5 or better would make a very tough opponent to even seasoned fighters in my groups.


After going throught the math, I have to partially agree with you, here. In my defense I would point out that we were swapping out DMs, and once I had a little time to adjust, I could challenge the party. I just had to amp things up more. However, vs. AC -9 or -10 opponents, the 10th level fighter you mention now has a flat 5% chance of hitting, regardless of bonuses. (In your specific example, the drop is from 25% to 5% to hit - hardly insignificant!) And keep in mind that the rest of the party, particularly MUs and Thieves, will be largely shut out of the fighting. For example, a backstabbing thief of 9-12 level will need a 20, in spite of a +4 to hit bonus on top of ST, magical weapons, et al. So much for that sneak attack! This really does have an impact on a typical battle!

This does seem to be a bit of an "anti-munchkin" mechanism. Because no matter the +5 sword, 18/00 ST, and double specialization, you still will not be able to hit certain foes readily unless you are of high enough level. What does the above total to, +11 to hit? And it's attainable by 4th level (in theory, of course), correct? So we have here a THACO of 6? So even an AC -10 foe can be hit 25% of the time by a merely moderately experienced fighter. Now, don't take this ridiculous example too seriously - obviously it would never happen in even a remotely well run campaign, but if you try doing it in strict 1E even with UA rules, you still cannot get there from here, for the reasons I outlined above.

...or just do away with artificial restrictions that serve no purpose. Any good DM can create any mechanism to justify any sort of level limits. In my campaign world, dwarves shun magic because the Derro are an offshoot of the dwarven race that almost destroyed the entire civilization due to magic. So it's more of a cultural thing than a handcuffing artificial game mechanic. And once again, my group hasn't used level limits since about 1984 or so and it's never caused a demi-human boom of player characters, never.


Just have to agree to disagree, here.

But really, once the genie was out of the bottle the Drow were never going to be the cool, mysterious, unknown opponents they once were. It's up to the DM to use the same IDEA if not the same type of foe. Im my present campaign, a new type of Cloud Giant (they are all spellcasters) has invaded the campaign world and are wreaking all sorts of havoc, and causing the same mental consternation that the Drow did all those decades ago. It's up to the DM to go beyond the written rules and throw surprises at the players; Gary showed us how, now take the ball and run with it.....


Think you misunderstood me a bit - I just miss the old days. Nostalgia.

Once again, good points!

Mike B.


And even better counter points!

  

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 3:35 pm 
 

Charles G. wrote:
Badmike wrote:Great Post!!!

4. I do strenuously dislike the "anime" approach to 3E. Speaking as someone who is both a collector of quality repro swords/armor/etc. and occasionally even makes the same I absolutely *cringe* when I see the artwork in practically all of the new stuff. Spiked armor, axes the size of Yugos, BARF! And don't get me started on weapon weights!!!


I think the detractors of 3rd ed focus on this aspect quite a lot, and rightfully so. But then again, like everything nowadays, it's a marketing technique and seems to have been successful..


I agree - it bothers me more than anyone else. However, I would also suggest that the art seems, well, cruder in spite of all the bells and whistles.


The guys with spikes sticking out all over crack me up.  How do they walk along the dimly lit 10x10 corridors without the spikes scraping the walls and making noise?  How do they avoid impaling allies during combat when they are all flailing around and moving quickly, or when they have to jump back suddenly?  What happens if Spikey has to catch a falling halfling thief, or pull a friendly mage to safety before he falls into a pit? STOING!  "Bob, you killed the mage again by trying to pull him to safety, your chest spikes went through his eyeball" Too funny.

We never had a problem with 2nd ed and still play it (modified) to this day. I've run quite a few 1st ed modules, converting them to 2nd ed, and had no problems at all making them lethal. If your group whooped up on Drow in the D1-3 series, that sounds like a DM problem and not a game mechanism problem. A fighter at 10th level hits AC 0 with an 11; a Drow with AC -5 would be hit on a 16 (25% of the time). With modest bonuses (STR 17, +2 sword, Prayer spell) that's still a 12 to hit AC-5, or hitting 45% of the time. Unless the DM is getting too crazy awarding magic items like +4 swords and the like, I don't see the problem. All the fighters in the group I am running now have weapon specialization and +3 weapons and are all 10-12 level (and most have 18+ str or items that boost their strength to that level) and they still would have trouble against something like a Will o wisp or Drow. Remember playing foes like Drow intelligently, they should have the ability to counter most advantages of player characters with spellcasting of their own. I can attest through experience that AC of -5 or better would make a very tough opponent to even seasoned fighters in my groups.


After going throught the math, I have to partially agree with you, here. In my defense I would point out that we were swapping out DMs, and once I had a little time to adjust, I could challenge the party. I just had to amp things up more. However, vs. AC -9 or -10 opponents, the 10th level fighter you mention now has a flat 5% chance of hitting, regardless of bonuses. (In your specific example, the drop is from 25% to 5% to hit - hardly insignificant!) And keep in mind that the rest of the party, particularly MUs and Thieves, will be largely shut out of the fighting. For example, a backstabbing thief of 9-12 level will need a 20, in spite of a +4 to hit bonus on top of ST, magical weapons, et al. So much for that sneak attack! This really does have an impact on a typical battle!

This does seem to be a bit of an "anti-munchkin" mechanism. Because no matter the +5 sword, 18/00 ST, and double specialization, you still will not be able to hit certain foes readily unless you are of high enough level. What does the above total to, +11 to hit? And it's attainable by 4th level (in theory, of course), correct? So we have here a THACO of 6? So even an AC -10 foe can be hit 25% of the time by a merely moderately experienced fighter. Now, don't take this ridiculous example too seriously - obviously it would never happen in even a remotely well run campaign, but if you try doing it in strict 1E even with UA rules, you still cannot get there from here, for the reasons I outlined above.


Not to say their can't be problems, since most of the creatures battled are NOT -5 or better AC.  One fighter in the group has a giant slaying sword, a str of 18/51, weapon specialization, and is 12th level....it's almost impossible to miss any sort of giant in hth combat....right now they are battling Frost Giants who even at AC0 are ridiculously easy for this guy to nail. But I don't think that's a game mechanic problem, it's just a case of matching up perfectly with an opponent (in this case, giants) and a good DM (me, hopefully) can work this problem out (making non-giant foes attack the ftr, having giants concentrate attacks on him since he is more effective in battling them, have enemy spellcasters focus on him because he's so effective, etc).  


...or just do away with artificial restrictions that serve no purpose. Any good DM can create any mechanism to justify any sort of level limits. In my campaign world, dwarves shun magic because the Derro are an offshoot of the dwarven race that almost destroyed the entire civilization due to magic. So it's more of a cultural thing than a handcuffing artificial game mechanic. And once again, my group hasn't used level limits since about 1984 or so and it's never caused a demi-human boom of player characters, never.


Just have to agree to disagree, here.


No problem.


But really, once the genie was out of the bottle the Drow were never going to be the cool, mysterious, unknown opponents they once were. It's up to the DM to use the same IDEA if not the same type of foe. Im my present campaign, a new type of Cloud Giant (they are all spellcasters) has invaded the campaign world and are wreaking all sorts of havoc, and causing the same mental consternation that the Drow did all those decades ago. It's up to the DM to go beyond the written rules and throw surprises at the players; Gary showed us how, now take the ball and run with it.....


Think you misunderstood me a bit - I just miss the old days. Nostalgia.


Oh, well, me too then!!!  Maybe the trick is just to get the newbies before they memorize the Monster Manual, when everything seems like it can take you down....even orcs are scary if they have seen the LoTR movies.  I will tell you something, a few years ago one of my best friends (he's actgually the guy that introduced me to D&D back in the 70's) wanted to play with his kids, and wanted me to DM.  I didn't want to "waste my time", or so I thought, but went out of friendship.  I took my daughter along, the age range was 10-16.  I was going through a ho-hum period of gaming, and this weekend diverson really recharged my batteries.. EVERYTHING was new and deadly and scary and cool to the kids who knew nothing about D&D and had never played....I could run stuff like L1 and B1 and X1 and T1 and have them excited and wanting more. It really brought back a LOT of memories and it was fun to see how they compared to the original groups I ran through the 1st ed modules many years ago.  We had a blast and played the characters on and off for about two years, and honestly this guy's daughter was hands down one of the best players I've ever DM'd in 20+ years of gaming. She was always the one figuring out the riddles and tricks and traps, and her paladin once took down a pit fiend by herself after it had beaten the crap out of the rest of the party, with intelligent use of battle tactics, magic items and trickery.  Meanwhile my friend and I (who ran a character also) would spend the time reminiscing and replaying old battles during the adventures. So if you crave nostalgia, sometimes it can be had if you look around close enough....Mainly get your kids or your friends kids involved!!!

Once again, good points!

Mike B.


And even better counter points!

Intelligent discourse is the best....

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:41 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:One argument against 3.5 that I think has no merit:

  "The PC's are just superheroes with comic book powers."

  Yes, the system gives maximum player choice and has great flexibility. Yes, a good player can create a rules stack that gives his PC an edge.

  BUT...the monsters pack much of the same punch in 3.5 as the PC's do. The monsters are harder to create and harder to balance, but they receive just about every benefit the PC's receive.

Mark


Isn't the counterargument then:

 "The monsters are just supervillains with comic book powers."

I do think that is an oversimplification, but that is what I don't like about 3E, the way the power levels have moved up. True, the PCs can't tear down the dungeon walls like Hulk would, but the power spike has increased.

What I do like about 3E is the OGL and d20, I never buy WoTC stuff these days, but I like what Privateer Press, Goodman Games, and Zeitgeist Games are doing.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 9:00 pm 
 

But really, once the genie was out of the bottle the Drow were never going to be the cool, mysterious, unknown opponents they once were. It's up to the DM to use the same IDEA if not the same type of foe. Im my present campaign, a new type of Cloud Giant (they are all spellcasters) has invaded the campaign world and are wreaking all sorts of havoc, and causing the same mental consternation that the Drow did all those decades ago. It's up to the DM to go beyond the written rules and throw surprises at the players; Gary showed us how, now take the ball and run with it.....


I think the drow were just fine...evil through and through. Then they had to create that idiotic drizzt or whoever character, make him a ranger of all things and totally distort the entire species into some sort of misunderstood, society made me do it pieces of crap. The drow could have stayed cool and mysterious if they would have remained as a monster instead of a character type. That was just plain stupid and a total waste of a good monster.

This was one of the biggest mistakes they could have made, all in an effort to sell books. Face it. The drow were sold out!!! 8O


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 1:27 am 
 

Oh yeah, Drizzle was a low point, no doubt. But he appeals to the childlike mentality of the average person, which is why he was popular.


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:46 am 
 

drizzle lol :)



frank you do make me chuckle dude - funny guy :D



fwiw - my fave character in that series was Bruenor....Wulfgar was ok too i guess....



never was much into Drizzt i have to say, but then i was never that keen on the Ranger character.



  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:42 am 
 

This isn't a "my character is mighty post" but the fact that with a average crit on a power attack with a a +1 2h Axe my character (ftr 9 / cleric 2) can kill any member of the party of the same level in one hit seems a little overpowered. That could never happen to any fighter in pervious versions of the game and I cringe slightly anytime I hit an npc for 70+ damage at that level. Luckily I very rarely hit anything let alone a crit someone! I once missed an entire combat trying to climb a wall needing a 2 to succeed! Rolling four ones in a row had our group rolling around with laughter at my character. I guess I need flashes of brilliance to balance out my luck with the dice!

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:53 am 
 

Ah yes, I forgot about the whole crit thing. Yet another of my favorites.


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:00 am 
 

The problem I had with 2E, and now with 3E, is that there are too many damn books. The great thing about OD&D and D&D was that there weren't too many books. You didn't have to go and read the rules every single melee second to find out how to get to the next melee second. I accepted the fact that 1E AD&D needed to happen, and I bought the main hardbacks, but everything beyond 2E was either TSR/WoTC sucking the life out of the product.


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:43 am 
 

Lewisexi wrote:This isn't a "my character is mighty post" but the fact that with a average crit on a power attack with a a +1 2h Axe my character (ftr 9 / cleric 2) can kill any member of the party of the same level in one hit seems a little overpowered. That could never happen to any fighter in pervious versions of the game and I cringe slightly anytime I hit an npc for 70+ damage at that level. Luckily I very rarely hit anything let alone a crit someone! I once missed an entire combat trying to climb a wall needing a 2 to succeed! Rolling four ones in a row had our group rolling around with laughter at my character. I guess I need flashes of brilliance to balance out my luck with the dice!




8O 8O 8O 8O 8O 8O 8O 8O



sorry lew, this isnt a dig at you in this regard.



for you guys who play and enjoy 3E, respect to y'all, but cooooooooooooome on ! where is the fun in a melee that you take something out with one hit doing 70+ damage??!!! 8O 8O AND with a +1 2H axe for jeez sake! i would expect that from something a LOT more powerful or maybe if it was a super-fluke one-off under a particular circumstance, but as a common occurance??!!  :?



sorry but that just doesnt fit in my method of thinking. the group i DM always enjoy the combats. thats one of the fun things in the games cos i like it to be that way - they had a fight in B4 with a group of grimlocks i think they were called (fiend folio) (cant remember now it was agesago)....in the big hall and the combat lasted about 1hr 20 mins in real time. it was an absolute blast and everyone was knackered when it finished but it was great.



dont you think with that much power, that it kinda takes all the fun out of it like that?



if you think thats cool, then thats fair enough, but i somehow feel that it takes something out of the game imo.



oh well back to work :)



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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:44 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:The problem I had with 2E, and now with 3E, is that there are too many damn books. The great thing about OD&D and D&D was that there weren't too many books. You didn't have to go and read the rules every single melee second to find out how to get to the next melee second. I accepted the fact that 1E AD&D needed to happen, and I bought the main hardbacks, but everything beyond 2E was either TSR/WoTC sucking the life out of the product.




To be even-handed (?!) though, Original D&D was the boxed set plus five supplements: $10 + $25 (albeit the $25 spread out over two or three years).    Most if not all Basics were a boxed set or two; Holmes weirdo version was a single set and never expanded on (well...AD&D1 was the "expert" version of that "Basic" set), the Cook/Moldvay set(s) were two boxed sets clocking in at $12 each.  Frank's stuff was...how much did that go for, per box?  So at least $50 there.



AD&D1 - $9.00-$12.00 for nine (and possibly ten if you count Greyhawk Adventures) rule hardbacks: definitely not everything in one place.  



Of course none of that's factoring in modules.



My point is that hate it though I do (and I DO HATE THIRD ED, DO NOT MISTAKE ME) you can play it with the three core books just like always.  Unless they managed to screw you and make it so you now need shit like the Epic Level Handbook and the DMGII and the BOok of Vile Darkness and all of that garbage.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:23 am 
 

DungeonDelver wrote:
mbassoc2003 wrote:The problem I had with 2E, and now with 3E, is that there are too many damn books. The great thing about OD&D and D&D was that there weren't too many books. You didn't have to go and read the rules every single melee second to find out how to get to the next melee second. I accepted the fact that 1E AD&D needed to happen, and I bought the main hardbacks, but everything beyond 2E was either TSR/WoTC sucking the life out of the product.




To be even-handed (?!) though, Original D&D was the boxed set plus five supplements: $10 + $25 (albeit the $25 spread out over two or three years).  Most if not all Basics were a boxed set or two; Holmes weirdo version was a single set and never expanded on (well...AD&D1 was the "expert" version of that "Basic" set), the Cook/Moldvay set(s) were two boxed sets clocking in at $12 each. Frank's stuff was...how much did that go for, per box? So at least $50 there.



AD&D1 - $9.00-$12.00 for nine (and possibly ten if you count Greyhawk Adventures) rule hardbacks: definitely not everything in one place.



Of course none of that's factoring in modules.



My point is that hate it though I do (and I DO HATE THIRD ED, DO NOT MISTAKE ME) you can play it with the three core books just like always. Unless they managed to screw you and make it so you now need shit like the Epic Level Handbook and the DMGII and the BOok of Vile Darkness and all of that garbage.




One of the things always understood when we gamed 1st ed (and then 2nd ed) was that all of the information outside the 3 core books was OPTIONAL, even if it was official.  Even stuff like the Unearthed Arcana.  So the abundance of rules books has never bothered me nor anyone I've ever gamed with....we use what we want and ignore the rest.  Anyone in the day remember having players use the "NPC only" characters always featured in Dragon magazine in the 80's?  I remember from my campaign a Samurai and Archer character, both that eventually reached high level, and I remember Anti-Paladin, Witch and Sage NPCs that figured prominently in my campaign (cmon, was there any 1st ed campaign during the 80s that DIDN"T have an Anti-Paladin as a major villain?).  We used a lot of Dragon magazine optional type rules when we first started out.



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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:27 am 
 

ummmm



my 1E game.



i use DMG, PHB, MM, FF and deities & demigods (normally at the start of the game and thats it for that one). everything else i do myself, unless i veer off into using one module.



the majority of the time, i never touch the DMG/PHB cos i know what i need off the top of my head. they all just get looked at for the odd reference now n then.



wouldnt say that was excessive and its certainly no more than say 3E. i picked up all 5 of them books above off a friend for £5 :)



i will guarantee you one thing tho, you will look at a 3E rule book far more than you will a 1E one...



Al



  
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