The former Tomb of Horrors / current 3e debate thread
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:34 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
i will guarantee you one thing tho, you will look at a 3E rule book far more than you will a 1E one...

Al


Considering how unremittingly ugly 3e products are (I mean they are visually unattractive), this is a real tragedy.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:48 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
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 :)



Al




Just to give you an idea Al in two years of playing the same character I've made four crits that's all. In the hands of someone for whom dice generate random numbers instead of consistently poor ones she'd be a killing machine. In my hands she's merely a bad fighter that gets in the way more often than not :D

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:41 am 
 

Lewisexi wrote:Just to give you an idea Al in two years of playing the same character I've made four crits that's all. In the hands of someone for whom dice generate random numbers instead of consistently poor ones she'd be a killing machine. In my hands she's merely a bad fighter that gets in the way more often than not :D


heheheh :D :D

we had a real fun one the other week. in my game, i treat the first 1 as bad, the next 1 as real bad and then take it from there.

jess's ranger was in a forest, rescuing a deer out of a trap, when she was ambushed by three orcs.

well.

they attacked and one hit. she then rolled....a 1 (so i said oh dear youve swung so bad youve thrown yourself totally off-balance)....she THEN rolled.....another 1....so i then said (sadly)...your off-balance swing has hit your horse, sliced it on the way past and your horse has started to run off (carrying on her swing)....THEN she rolled a 20, making a fluke hit on the original orc, after doing a full 180 with her swing...THEN she rolled another 20 (to which she was whooping at this point doing that stoopid oh yeah oh yeah dance)...so i mentioned that she somehow managed to hit the orc standing next to the other one....THEN she rolled another 20!!! to which, the only thing i could say at that point was, you manage an amazing stroke that any fighter would be proud of, neatly decapitating the third orc, to finish your attack (she rolled a 7 or 8 then and "missed")...

was really funny as it panned out. the 2nd orc went down with the shot on him and the 1st orc did a runner (on 1hp)....to which she calmly trekked it to their camp and despatched him there!!!

was really impressed let me tell you :)

AND she managed to get back and save the deer before it died too!

:D

who said 1E cant be fun :)

i think its more fun like that, than this crit hit mullarkey :)

BUT! to each their own, as they say :)

Al



  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:55 am 
 

I used to love crits in Runequest 2 but the trouble with crits is that while it's nice to dish them out it's not so fun to have them inflicted on you!

Our group of six players has two consistently lucky players (they actually play the two most competent and sensible characters) two players with very average luck and two players (myself and Laurie) with incredibly bad luck. Even stranger the two lawful good characters (and group leaders) have all the luck whilst Laurie and I playing the chaotic types (and unreliable pair of taggers-along) get none at all!  Perhaps there is some justice in the world! :D

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:18 pm 
 

Lewisexi wrote: Even stranger the two lawful good characters (and group leaders) have all the luck whilst Laurie and I playing the chaotic types (and unreliable pair of taggers-along) get none at all! Perhaps there is some justice in the world! :D


actually thats another thing. in all the years i have played and DM'd, i have still yet to come across a player who TRULY plays the lawful good alignment.

Al



  


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:45 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
Lewisexi wrote: Even stranger the two lawful good characters (and group leaders) have all the luck whilst Laurie and I playing the chaotic types (and unreliable pair of taggers-along) get none at all! Perhaps there is some justice in the world! :D


actually thats another thing. in all the years i have played and DM'd, i have still yet to come across a player who TRULY plays the lawful good alignment.

Al


Personally I hate alignments they make no sense at all to me. I always play chaotic neutral given the choice. This is either becasuse:

1) I think that humans are by nature emtional, unpredictable, given to mood swings and that categorising a persons moral code is impossible or

2) I'm chaotic neutral as a person and therefore I'm just refusing to like it on principle :D

Actually my friend Simon does play Lawful Good very well indeed. However, as our two characters are the most vociferous in the group, his character Baija looks very Lawful Good compared to my character Jess who, whilst technically Chaotic Neutral, certainly has more evil tendancies than good. We seem to end up bringing out the more extreme forms of behaviour in both characters which helps alot in roleplaying terms.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:32 pm 
 

Even as a 13 year old I viewed alignments as being incredibly simplistic and anathema to a broader narrative structure. Alignments are a straightjacket that inhibit role-playing by forcing players to play narrow character types lacking depth and personality dimensions. Perhaps as a general tendency of the character/monster they're fine, but as written in the ruleset they're too restrictive. In other words, to have every single orc in existence be lawful evil is just lazy, unimaginative and moronic. Since orcs have intelligence and consciousness, it's ridiculous to think there wouldn't be some who would question the traditional way of life.  

The point about the "mystery" of the drow above is a case in point. What mystery is there to the drow if they're all evil. Besides what combat options they have, there's very little mystery. They're just all evil and therefore meant to be killed by good parties, and then have all their cool Drow magic items taken. It is a much more interesting gaming experience to expand the possible motivations of the drow, rather than making them all the same cookie-cutter alignment. This is especially true of the Drow with all their different houses. If every house just wants to usurp the power of the others and take over the surface and under world, then what's the point of the houses? They all have the same motivation so why bother with them? They're just cookie-cutter evil, which makes for a bland, stale and hackneyed narrative.

I wonder how Gygax feels about alignments today, because it's the weakest part of the conceptual design of D&D. The world we live in is not black and white (unless you still cling to a puerile, binary view of it); there's lots of gray. Narrative in D&D is much more interesting where the players and the DM roleplay the gray; otherwise it simply becomes let's rollplay killing the invariably and irretrievably bad and evil guys, stealing treasure type A and U.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 12:38 am 
 

Given that his current work I believe eschews alignments, you might garner some insight as to what he may or may not think.  However, instead of wondering, why not go to Dragonsfoot and ask him?



  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 8:45 am 
 

I would offer this perspective.  Alignments should be viewed as a persons moral compass.  It points in one direction most of the time but it can, and does deviate based on both internal and external factors.  Some people's compass varies more than others depending on there moral strength.  Occasionally, but rarely, the compass is "broken" and points in a different direction entirely.

Now, for a compass to flip 180 degrees...  That's a rarity indeed!

  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:48 am 
 

The point about the "mystery" of the drow above is a case in point. What mystery is there to the drow if they're all evil. Besides what combat options they have, there's very little mystery. They're just all evil and therefore meant to be killed by good parties, and then have all their cool Drow magic items taken. It is a much more interesting gaming experience to expand the possible motivations of the drow, rather than making them all the same cookie-cutter alignment. This is especially true of the Drow with all their different houses. If every house just wants to usurp the power of the others and take over the surface and under world, then what's the point of the houses? They all have the same motivation so why bother with them? They're just cookie-cutter evil, which makes for a bland, stale and hackneyed narrative.


This is exactly my point. By making the drow a force of undeniable evil is what makes them great. When you start throwing in good ranger drow and the weak-kneeed "the surface elves made us what we are today" crap the greatness of these villains is lost.  By changing who and what the drow are - making them "interesting" - you are doing the exact opposite - they become generic cookie-cutter, bland and stale. How many times have you seen the "misunderstood" bad guy routine. Leave the darn bad guys as bad guys. Make them evil and nasty. Make them a pestilence to the PCs.

As far as alignments go. They are only as important as you make them. If you are playing hardcore role-playing, then you will have problems with how they are presented in the 1e books. If you just want too play AD&D, they are just fine.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:32 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:This is exactly my point. By making the drow a force of undeniable evil is what makes them great.


And you then have a stock cardboard villain where every drow met is undeniably evil and meant to be hacked to pieces with gobs of magic items taken.  

bbarsh wrote:When you start throwing in good ranger drow and the weak-kneeed "the surface elves made us what we are today" crap the greatness of these villains is lost.


Actually it makes them 3-dimensional, especially considering that drow are highly intelligent beings.  Otherwise, every encounter boils down to a hackfest.  

bbarsh wrote:By changing who and what the drow are - making them "interesting" - you are doing the exact opposite - they become generic cookie-cutter, bland and stale.


Sorry, but that doesn't make sense.  By making them have different motivations makes them inherently not cookie cutter (ie. every encounter is then potentially different).  Making every single one of them undeniably and irretrievably evil is cookie cutter.  
You may find that interesting, and I may not, that's perfectly valid, but your version of drow are stock villains.  

bbarsh wrote:How many times have you seen the "misunderstood" bad guy routine.


Sometimes it's done well, and sometimes it isn't, that's up to the DM and the players.  But stock cardboard villains are the same every time.  

bbarsh wrote: Leave the darn bad guys as bad guys. Make them evil and nasty. Make them a pestilence to the PCs.


And a slugfest ensues every time... sounds rather hackneyed.  

bbarsh wrote:As far as alignments go. They are only as important as you make them. If you are playing hardcore role-playing, then you will have problems with how they are presented in the 1e books. If you just want too play AD&D, they are just fine.


In AD&D, alignments can be pretty restrictive, just check out that lawful good Paladin class...

  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:14 pm 
 

Drow are evil. That is just how it is. Why are there no good Drow? Because any Drow raised in a Drow city is not exposed to goodness. Simple as that. So it is impossible for a Drow-raised Drow to be good, barring helms of alignment change.
If you go into the heartland of Africa and find a cannibal tribe, they will eat you. None of them will say "No, that's wrong!" because that is what they do, and that is how they were raised and taught. It is impossible for them to do anything else but fry your ass up and dish you out.
Sorry, but I can't support the concept of a goody-two-shoes Drow wielding a pair of +27 holy vorpal flaming avenger scimitars of allslaying, roaming the world unmolested, searching for his true purpose. It's inane.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 5:54 pm 
 

I respectfully disagree. Just because someone was raised a certain way doesn't mean they will remain that way. It will certainly influence how they lead their life but it isn't everything. Intelligent beings are capable of independent thought. Therefore they can choose a different path than the one set for them.  External influences that are different than what one is used to can also contribute.  Of course the consequences, if found out, could be hazardous for a Drow…

  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:34 pm 
 

I think that the idea of goody two-shoes Drow is OK.  I don't mind a man of conscience or two among the psychotics...like Alternative Evil Bones in the Star Trek episode, Mirror Mirror.

    In my experience, most players tend to have their characters act upon the very simple formula of if he has something I want or is not doing what I want at this moment then he must be evil.  The question I am interested in is not who is evil but why they are evil.

    What I think is more interesting is badguys (Drow, for instance) who ARE evil, but whose current goals coincide with those of the PC party.  

    I like to make my players choose which evil they want to fight more.  I also like to present them with extremely aggravating and evil NPC's who turn out to be slightly less evil than the true bad guys...and who (of course) hold the key to getting at the really-really-horrible-truth-of-everything.    8)

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:35 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:I think that the idea of goody two-shoes Drow is OK. I don't mind a man of conscience or two among the psychotics...like Alternative Evil Bones in the Star Trek episode, Mirror Mirror.

  In my experience, most players tend to have their characters act upon the very simple formula of if he has something I want or is not doing what I want at this moment then he must be evil. The question I am interested in is not who is evil but why they are evil.

  What I think is more interesting is badguys (Drow, for instance) who ARE evil, but whose current goals coincide with those of the PC party.

  I like to make my players choose which evil they want to fight more. I also like to present them with extremely aggravating and evil NPC's who turn out to be slightly less evil than the true bad guys...and who (of course) hold the key to getting at the really-really-horrible-truth-of-everything.  8)

MRS


The alignment system was broken the minute it was written. No one could play Lawful Good, everyone wanted their character to be Chaotic Neutral so as not to face alignment penalties yet do whatever they pleased, no one really could apply situational ethics, etc.  So we chucked it about 20 years ago.
  Now, everyone is either Neutral Good or Neutral Evil, sometimes the same character sliding back and forth.  Only very extreme characters can actually be Lawful Good or Lawful Evil, same as Chaotic Good or Chaotic Evil.  Chaotic Neutral are insane characters...there would be no reason fro them to actually ever adventure with a party of adventurers so they are 100% NPCs.  True Neutral is impossible to be; Lawful Neutral is just as ridiculous as CN and restricted to certain brain damaged NPCs.  Probably 80% of characters in my campaigns are NG or NE, with only certain characters playing the extremes (such as a LG or LE Paladin, or clerics whose god requires them to be of a certain alignment).  Alignment problem solvd, there has been no trouble about it for over two decades of gaming in my groups.
    Frankly, 2nd ed should have tossed the entire Alignment stuff that has only led to agravation whenever I've seen someone try to apply it as written (or as they think it is written).  Everyone knows the only reason it really ever existed was for DMs to use as a hammer on PCs when they went "outside their alignment" and thus gave the DM a reason to come down on them.  
  Using the straitjacket of Alignment is silly.  It only detracts from the fun of open ended gameplaying.  How dull, mundane and boring if fantasy and SF writers were somehow forced to obey a set stricture that such and such character can only be this alignment and act this way forever. Strictly speaking, some of the greatest characters of fantasy literature (Conan, Fafhred and Mouser, Cugel the Clever) often acted evilly or at best self serving, but also could be heroic in every sense in other situations. Whoops guess the DM has to knock off a level or two everytime Conan stole something from a King but then rescued a maiden in distress, that maddening alignment swing means the player isn't playing his character correctly!  Using the alignment system as posited is inane in my book and hampers more than helps.  Let the player characters be what they want to be.....

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:36 am 
 

Badmike wrote:The alignment system was broken the minute it was written. No one could play Lawful Good, everyone wanted their character to be Chaotic Neutral so as not to face alignment penalties yet do whatever they pleased, no one really could apply situational ethics, etc. So we chucked it about 20 years ago.


I agree with Mike. And I prefer the simple tripartition of Basic D&D (Legal, Chaotic and Neutral) without any ethic connotation (Good or Evil).
Alignment in Basic D&D is useless too but, at least, is far more close to my own opinion about what a roleplay is: a mean to play ourselves without many of the strings we have in real life. So my players (when I DMed) hadn't to choose an alignment: they simply recognized their own way to act, Legal, Neutral or Chaotic.


BTW when I was young I thought that Legal=Good, Chaotic=Evil, Neutral ... so and so. Now I know this is not true (or so I think).
The tripartition is an attitude towards "Order" while Good/Evil describe the means we use to act this attitude.
For example, in the Lord of the Rings (the best book ever written), I cannot say that Sauron is truly chaotic: he uses caos, fear, violence but he wants to create an order, ruled by himself. Tom Bombadil is far more chaotic, in this sense.

When I was at university, while I was attending the course of Moral Philosophy, our teacher told us this little story.
"Your wife/husband (or a person you love) is ill. A particular illness with only one possible medicine. The chemistry in your home town has this medicine but it is too expensive. What will you do? Keep in mind: without that medicine, that person will die.
You'll respect the Law even if it costs the death of a person you love?
You'll try to get the medecine at all costs? (Even stealing, killing or ...)
You'll be in doubt??

What would it be your decision? Your attitude towards Law?? Note that ethical or moral decisions do not enter: what is good and what is evil??

This is to say (sorry for the time I've stolen from you) that Alignment would be a too difficult thing to manage.
That's why Mike is perfecly right.
In my opinion.

Have a nice day.
Giorgio

  

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:57 am 
 

radagast wrote:
Badmike wrote:The alignment system was broken the minute it was written. No one could play Lawful Good, everyone wanted their character to be Chaotic Neutral so as not to face alignment penalties yet do whatever they pleased, no one really could apply situational ethics, etc. So we chucked it about 20 years ago.


I agree with Mike. And I prefer the simple tripartition of Basic D&D (Legal, Chaotic and Neutral) without any ethic connotation (Good or Evil).
Alignment in Basic D&D is useless too but, at least, is far more close to my own opinion about what a roleplay is: a mean to play ourselves without many of the strings we have in real life. So my players (when I DMed) hadn't to choose an alignment: they simply recognized their own way to act, Legal, Neutral or Chaotic.


BTW when I was young I thought that Legal=Good, Chaotic=Evil, Neutral ... so and so. Now I know this is not true (or so I think).
The tripartition is an attitude towards "Order" while Good/Evil describe the means we use to act this attitude.
For example, in the Lord of the Rings (the best book ever written), I cannot say that Sauron is truly chaotic: he uses caos, fear, violence but he wants to create an order, ruled by himself. Tom Bombadil is far more chaotic, in this sense.

When I was at university, while I was attending the course of Moral Philosophy, our teacher told us this little story.
"Your wife/husband (or a person you love) is ill. A particular illness with only one possible medicine. The chemistry in your home town has this medicine but it is too expensive. What will you do? Keep in mind: without that medicine, that person will die.
You'll respect the Law even if it costs the death of a person you love?
You'll try to get the medecine at all costs? (Even stealing, killing or ...)
You'll be in doubt??

What would it be your decision? Your attitude towards Law?? Note that ethical or moral decisions do not enter: what is good and what is evil??

This is to say (sorry for the time I've stolen from you) that Alignment would be a too difficult thing to manage.
That's why Mike is perfecly right.
In my opinion.

Have a nice day.
Giorgio


The Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic triumvarite is also a great solution to the Alignment argument.  Perfectly sidesteps the situational ethics/is this good/evil? conundrum.  In real lives, situational ethics form the basis of probably 90% of the way we view good, evil, and everything inbetween.  Unfortunately all versions of AD&D tried to slap the silly unplayable alignment system that required fitting a strait jacket to character actions, to the point where I believe the DMG suggests severe penalties when people act outside their alignment, aka what you and I would call "changing our minds".  For example, I'm against the death penalty and believe in never killing, yet a serial killer breaks into my house and proceeds to start dismembering my children to so stop him I shoot him and kill him, per AD&D alignment rules I guess a lightning bolt would strike me and I'd lose a level since I acted out of my professed character, moronic isn't it.....  Imagine one of the greatest fantasy characters ever, Conan the barbarian, and a classic tale like Tower of the Elephant.  He starts out by killing  aguy in a bar (Evil?  The guy he kills isn't threatening him until Conan riles him up) then goes to steal the Heart of the Elephant in a tower (evil? He's stealing....but it's from an "evil" wizard?  Would that make the act good?).  He teams up with another thief to enter the tower (evil? they are both thieves, but they help each other, so is that a good act?), they engage in various battles, then he kills the elephant god at the god's request (evil? Good?  Assisted suicide? We are led to believe the act is one of kindness) and brings the evil wizard a gem that swallows the wizard (Evil?  He kills the wizard, but the wizard is evil, so is the act good, but what has the wizard ever done to him.....never mind....) and ends up fleeing the tower before it collapses.  By AD&D standards, this so-called "Conan" character would lose about a half dozen levels due to blatant jumping around of alignments.  Instead, what we have is an absolute classic fantasy story, sans any alignment handcuffs.  Imagine that.
    Don't even get me started on the silliness of so-called "alignment languages". Huh?  Like everyone in the entire world no matter where they are, a forbidden plateua in the jungle or a lost glacier, would suddenly be able to communicate if they were both Lawful Good...are you kidding me?
   Evil and good is murky in a lot of fantasy realms anyway.....if you are in a war, your side is always "good" and the bad guys "evil", so how does Protection From Evil/Good work, it must go by what the individual character casting the spells believes? (which is why we changed the spell to "Protection from Enemies" about 20 years ago and avoided the entire good/evil conundrum).  If you are a druid, and a group of bandits show up that live in the forest in your territory and rob people passing through, but they respect the forest and don't chop down trees or kill animals (say they are vegetarians) or despoil the river, yet the townspeople getting robbed are always cutting down trees and crapping in the river and killing animals for sport, who is evil and who is good and what kind of mental machinations would you have to go through to decide?  I'm just glad we don't have to deal with these mental gymnastics anymore.

Mike B.

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