DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1213 posts
Thu 26 Oct 2017
at 22:31
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I am hoping to get feedback on some mechanics, not as a whole, but individually (though some are built on others). I don't really have all these laid out completely, but it isn't the details I'm wanting feedback on, it is the concepts, the core ideas that I want people to ponder and tell me what they think.

Some of these are changes to d20 core, and some are not but could be implemented in d20. Most could be altered for any similar weight system.

1) No ability score penalties. The idea here is to have bonuses equal 1/3 the (score-1). Thus 1-3 = 0, 4-6 = +1, 7-9 = +2, 10-12 = +3, 13-15 = +4, 16-18 = +5, etc.

The point behind keeping the score, is both the other score based mechanics, such as carry capacity, but also because it allows advancement to be faster gained than the major benefit.

2) Classless. My biggest complaint about d20 has always been classes. The versatile multiclassing being the only thing making it bearable to play, but I still run into issues of having a concept that can't be done in a single class yet needing to start at lvl 1.

The basic idea is that at each level 3 points are gained which can be spent on feats, skills, and abilities (class abilities becoming feat trees, abilities, etc, in some cases attached with balancing penalties).

Bab, base saves, etc are handled by #3.

3) Split level into tier and level.
Tier being more about agency and power level (as in gritty/mundane vs superhero/demigod), while level is about advancing skill and versatility. So gaining levels gives more abilities and feats and skills, while tier is the basis of how powerful those abilities, feats, and are or can be.

Bab, base saves, max skill ranks, caster level, etc are based on tier.

Thus you can have plenty of advancement while keeping a gritty level of play, but you can also play superheroes who are just starting to learn how to useband control their massive innate power (by starting low level at high tier).

4) Starting skill ranks. In 3.x you have 4 times the skills ranks at level one. Pathfinder did away with that but because they did, you can't dabble in a wide variety of skills like you could in 3.x.

Of course, if you use this with the normal rules with classes, you also have the problem of different classes giving a very large difference in the number of skill ranks at first level, so the idea here is to give bonus starting ranks, either a flat amount, say 24, or twice the int score and without the plus 3 to class skills. Instead, class skills have lvl+3 to the max ranks, while cross-class skills are lvl+1.

5) Magic part 1
As tier and level are split, spellcasters have an issue. Do they get higher spell levels based on level or tier?

The idea to solve this is to consider a spell in terms of the skill it requires and the power it requires separately. Then spells require level and/or tier based on that. I.E. a spell with high skill but low power can be learned by high level casters at low tier.

6) Magic part 2, skillful magic
The idea here is to use skill checks to cast magic. Thus split target, range, duration, etc from spells, then these add to difficulty to cast.

Metamagic also simply adds to spell dc, with most metamagic simply an option available to all, with metamagic feats making them easier.

Each type of magic has it's own skill, making specialist vs generalist an emergent effect that exists but yet is customizable. Types would likely be similar to Spheres of Power rather than school.

7) Magic part 3, powering magic
The idea here is to have magic consume power exponentially and dependant on power. At low power, a caster can cast cantrips freely, but as power increases, higher spells can be cast freely, but also, the cost of spells goes down, meaning that as a caster uses their magic, it becomes more taxing to cast magic.

8) Removing HP
The idea here us to have a save against damage. Armor gives a bonus tk this save. Failing the save means gaining an injury similar to called shot effects, but that take longer to heal as well as refucing the condition of armor. Succeeding at a save means simply taking a minor penalty to future saves.

Precision strikes, such as sneak attacks, simply bypass armor.

----
I have others but figured I'd start with these. So what do you guys think of these? Do you like/hate them? Why?
Hunter
 member, 1390 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 27 Oct 2017
at 00:55
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
You might want to take a look at dX as it does pretty much everything you suggest...unless my memory is tricking me again, anyways.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1214 posts
Fri 27 Oct 2017
at 06:45
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
If DX is what I turned up on Google, then it is a rules light tri stat thing. Both of which are aspects I don't particularly care to play with. Besides, it kind of misses the point.

I'm not looking for some kind of solution or "gives me what I want already." I'm looking for why people like or don't like these concepts, and perhaps their ideas about making them work better, or pitfalls to look out for in trying to implement them.

Truth is, I've noticed that it is kind of hard to get a decent number of people to try a totally new system. As the system I'm creating is fairly similar to d20, the biggest most popular system out there, I am looking for two results from this sort of discussion. One, is ideas for refining some mechanics in my system, but also, an indirect result is that if there is a significant discussion, I can figure out which mechanics to use for my hybrid project, the purpose of which is to make a modification of d20 which will hopefully be easier to get players to try, then I can simply add a few more modifications and it will be my system, making it more like simply learning  few "houserules" at a time until the new system is known entirely, and hopefully be enjoyable throughout. Of course, even if the second idea fails, it will still give a good idea of what works and doesn't.
engine
 member, 473 posts
Fri 27 Oct 2017
at 13:31
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
Be careful about replacing hit points in that way. Hit points don't represent merely a creature's structural damage capacity, but luck, endurance, and general adventure-style fight pacing, in which someone can get battered about and not really have their effectiveness diminished. In changing that, you will significantly change nature of the game. That's fine if that's your intent, but it's good to be aware of it.
Hunter
 member, 1391 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 27 Oct 2017
at 14:02
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I certainly understand why you might want to develop a game system with your own particular spin, I'm trying to save you at least some trouble or redeveloping the wheel.  :)
MalaeDezeld
 member, 24 posts
Sat 28 Oct 2017
at 06:04
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
Without knowing your design goals with this system, it is hard for me to give more than general feedback.

quote:
1) [...] The idea here is to have bonuses equal 1/3 the (score-1)

My first impression is that you lose so much to gain so little with any change to the core stats. You will need to recalculate every dc, check if monster stats still fit, etc for everything after the first few levels.

quote:
2) Classless

While I don't have a strong opinion on that one, I believe that a classless system wouldn't resolve your problem of "having a concept that can't be done in a single class yet needing to start at lvl 1." You still won't have enough points to have all the abilities you need.

With that said, I think that the Anime D20 (you can find the srd on google) is a good starting point for an "everything point base d20". They estimate that a skill point is worth 1/4 of a character point while a feat is 2 character points. If you check it out, the Adventurer Class is basically being classless.

quote:
4) Starting skill ranks

My preference is the skill system of Pathfinder. It was simpler on all accounts: no exception for the first level; no formula to remember for the max skill; a skill point was always worth a skill point (contrary to 3e where cross-class cost 2 points for every +1).

quote:
3) Split level into tier and level. [...] Bab, base saves, max skill ranks, caster level, etc are based on tier.

You mean like they did in d&d 4e explicitly? Because I always felt that there were implicit tiers in 3e: somewhere around the new attack for fighter type (every 5 levels) and around the odd spell level for caster (every 4 levels). I never experiment with this kind of tier, but you seem to be on a good path with your idea of "at each level 3 points are gained". I would investigate Epic 6, because it is its premise to extend (the beginning of) a tier indefinitely, but I don't know much more that that about it.

quote:
3) Split level into tier and level. [...] while tier is the basis of how powerful those abilities, feats, and are or can be. [...] but you can also play superheroes who are just starting to learn how to useband control their massive innate power (by starting low level at high tier)

Or do you mean by that, that with a similar (level, stats) character sheet, you could both represent a gritty character and a superhero character depending on the campaign? My opinion on this depend on if there is a chance that players wouldn't be on the same tier or not.

If the players are always on the same tier, I wouldn't tell anything about tier to them, I would only give guideline to the gm on how to treat lower and higher tier opposition.

If players are expected to be on different tiers, I can't explain yet why I find that idea disturbing in d20...

quote:
6) Magic part 2, skillful magic

It would probably be boring for the NON-caster player to wait while the caster choose which modifiers he want to use every turn at a table, but this is not a concern on rpol. It will be really important to set the dc correctly here, because either the default spell (like a touch attack on a single target for a turn) is to easy to the point of out shining a fighter basic attack or so difficult that anything else is not possible.

You also need to consider resource use vs the chance to fail a spell. Outside of combat, I wouldn't consider correct to fail to cast a utility spell if they aren't some perils nearby if I'm using a spell slot to do it.

In combat, you should not have a skill check combines with a save. I'm assuming that the range touch attack is replace by the skill check (because otherwise it is the same problem). The problem would be that the caster wouldn't succeed most of his attack spell. In d&d 3e, there isn't a spell with both a range touch attack and a save; and for a good reason: attack wouldn't be fun; the caster would succeed about 1/4 of the time instead of 1/2 like other check. And this is exactly what happen at higher lever when monsters start having spell resistance.

quote:
7) Magic part 3, powering magic

That sound like how they build the psion, but I'm not sure what you are talking about.

quote:
8) Removing HP

So kind of a death spiral. This is not my favorite mechanic, but I don't have strong opinion on that in a classless system. In a class system, it would be weird to have the barbarian as fragile as the wizard.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1215 posts
Sun 29 Oct 2017
at 09:02
Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
1) Here, the stats are really only going to be +-2 from what they normally are unless you get into the extremes, as in severe min-maxing extremes. The idea behind this change though, is that a -1 is far more punishing than a +1 is helpful. Also, there many places in the rules where special conditions have to be set for when a character has negative stats. All those special conditions on bonuses go away when you remove stat penalties.

Also, in comparing this method to the original, the difference goes down as the stat goes up, so a score of 14+ has a difference of + or - 2 until way past a score of 30. The lower scores get a bit more than the standard, but that really matters more at low levels than at high levels, as high levels have more bonuses anyway and a much larger range of expected values, so at high level no adjustment is needed at all, and at lower levels, the players don't feel weakened by having penalties, but are not that much better and at low levels the gm has to make far more adjustments for the party capabilities anyway, enough that this wouldn't really be noticed on that side of things.

2)classless,
It does indeed. For the most part, a class tells me I can't be a soldier who studies wizardry on the side, because I need two classes. But in a classless system, I can buy a few fighter things and a few wizard things at level one, which lays the foundation for that. On the flip side, are things from classes I don't want. If I want trapfinding because my character is a trapper, but I don't want the sneak attack and other things that come with the rogue or ranger, oh well. Either I get those extraneous things, or I don't get trapfinding.

It isn't just getting everything I need, it is laying the foundation for the narrative representation (to avoid "Yeah I studied magic and swordplay my whole life, learned how to combine the two from my father, but I can't cast spells yet because I'm not level two yet."), it is also avoiding extraneous things that are not desired as part of the character (I don't wear armor so why do I need this armor training feature? It is useless for me and doesn't make sense for me to know it when I don't wear armor.), and lastly, I don't want to rely on the developers to create the perfect class for my concept (why is the witch a prepared caster? What is up with the strange spell list for Magi? I can only cast divine spells spontaneously if have some curse?).

4) skill ranks

This is a tough one all around. PF is simpler, but it also is more limiting as you have fewer points to spread around and thus are not able to have more skills at a lower level. Often in 3.x I'd spend points on a broad variety of skills instead of just 3-4, but I don't have that option in PF at all.

But a major factor in going this way is when combined with splitting tiers from level (which I seem to need to explain further), as you might get 20 levels without significantly raising the cap on skill ranks. Having a higher cap to start with however solves that problem. There are definitely ways to make it better than 3.x though, if not as simple as PF. Such as making 1 skill point always equal to 1 skill rank, even for cross-class skills.

5) tier and level

No not like 4e.

3.x/PF have been described as having tiers of play, gritty at levels 1-5, to superheroic at 16-20. E6 was designed with the idea of staying in the gritty tier while continuing to advance, but in order to do so, a whole new set of advancement rules, completely different from the normal ones, comes into play after level 6, but more than that, it also only works from gritty. Granted you can stop at any tier, but the idea is still that you'd start at gritty.

The idea here is built from looking at what makes superheroic so beyond the natural realm, and the answer was not the options, but the numbers. I.E a level 20 throwing a fireball deals way more damage than a level 5. This growth in numerical power is the big part of what makes high level characters beyond natural limits

But what if you want a world like marvel or DC, where some people are born with extraordinary power, but still need to train it? This is where E6 falls flat. You straight out can't be high powered without being highly skilled and practiced.

This concept of splitting tier is to attach certain numbers, like how many d6s your fireballs deal, to tier. Thus you might have a supernaturally powerful pyromancer that is just a kid and can't fully control his power yet, by giving him a high tier but yet starting him as level 1. Thus his burning hands does some serious damage, but he has lots of training to go before he can throw fireballs around.

Likewise, I can have a world were even the greatest archmage falls from one or two stabs of a sword, without making magic do 100x more damage than a sword.

It strictly limits, or boosts, raw power while handling character options and training separately.

4e can't do high tier but low level, nor high level with low tier, because it doesn't really split them, it just groups levels together gives the groups a name called tier. The suggestion here is totally unrelated.

6)skillful magic

I'd take a lot of inspiration from WoD d20. It does spell building like this and it isn't very bad at all, especially if using play techniques that keep everyone engaged even out of turn. In particular, the idea of having premade spells easier, speeds things up without eliminating the flexibility.

As for making it skill based, this is part of balancing magic vs melee. Currently, the core rules attempt this balance by resource restriction, restricting casters to spread their spells out across many encounters (which of course doesn't work if the players refuse to cooperate with the idea), so instead, I make spells less reliable as a balancing factor. Casters will spend more rounds with spells fizzling, something the melee guy doesn't worry about.

Also, by having a range of skills instead of just one, it makes casters make a trade off between having stronger spells in a specialized area of magic, or have weaker spells across a broad range, and does so emergently (as in this is an emergent result of the design rather than an explicit one, thus the players don't have to worry knowing a bunch of rules designed to achieve the effect).

It has trade offs to be sure, but it is trying to shift an entire paradigm.

7)powering magic
The idea here is to make casting high level magic work against casting any further magic.

Basically, casting low level magic is something that can be done all day long without breaking a sweat (hence needing to change how magic vs melee is balanced), but casting high level magic can make it difficult to even cast a cantrip afterwards (which plays into the next section).

Thus casters don't just look to their highest spells to solve everything, but rather, they look to the lowest spells they can use instead. Low level magic stays important throughout the game, not just at the beginning.

Part of this is because I hate the idea of having 1 first level spell per day for a character that is post apprenticeship, but also because clearly limiting magic per day doesn't work so well, and also because some settings might want magic to be commonplace, but if spell slots are so rare that using a bit of magic to have fun (from the character's perspective, such playing a game, or climbing a tower just to jump off the top for the fun of it and using featherfall), then it really hampers that possibility (ponyfinder is a good example.The inspiration for it is a setting where everyone is using magic all the time, all day long). I also needed a solution to the death spiral.

8) death spiral HP

I don't really like hp. It jumps straight from perfectly fine to dying, and has no chance what-so-ever of losing a leg or an eye. There will be no recreation of Luke's hand being cut off by Darth Vader only in DnD land. Not possible.

I wanted something , where you could gain injuries like that, and like in Star Wars, some injuries won't stop the character from continuing on, but it certain hampers them, it means they can get desperate, maybe even desperate enough to try something they'd never do otherwise. It also means they sometimes need to search for a new solution to an old problem. It also adds ongoing history to a character.

But as you mentioned, the death spiral is basically guaranteed to show up in any system where being injured imparts a penalty, which is basically anything that isn't hp reskinned.

But there is a solution, and that solution comes in part from how magic is powered (especially once you get the same to apply to melee guys), and that is to mechanically encourage players to minimize their output. In the case of magic, players can use low level magic all day, but if they use high level magic, then even low level magic becomes harder, thus they avoid using high level magic.

In this way, combat becomes a bit like a game of chicken. Characters go into combat hoping to win, using the least of their skills and power, but as things move along in the combat, the combatants get a feel for how skilled the opposition is, and try to balance their use of ability to win. What this means is that as a player gets closer to death, they are more willing to use higher level abilities that can save them, but at a cost down the line.

Basically, no one starts combat using their best abilities, rather they use better and better abilities as the combat continues on.

Nova-ing your way through encounters becomes impossible, 15-minute workday isn't the awesome solution it is now (it might help a little bit, but it is so much easier for the GM to put a stop to), and it opens the way to countering the death spiral, because a character isn't going down in power [i]used[/u] as combat continues.
mofo99
 member, 394 posts
 May the hair on your
 feet never fall off
Tue 31 Oct 2017
at 16:26
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
DarkLightHitomi:
1) No ability score penalties. The idea here is to have bonuses equal 1/3 the (score-1). Thus 1-3 = 0, 4-6 = +1, 7-9 = +2, 10-12 = +3, 13-15 = +4, 16-18 = +5, etc.

The point behind keeping the score, is both the other score based mechanics, such as carry capacity, but also because it allows advancement to be faster gained than the major benefit.

I feel that this is perhaps the most problematic of the suggestions you make. It was mentioned earlier that converting everything would be a nightmare. I'm also not sure if the payoff would even be worth it; seems like more needless calculation for no real flavorful reason.

DarkLightHitomi:
2) Classless. My biggest complaint about d20 has always been classes. The versatile multiclassing being the only thing making it bearable to play, but I still run into issues of having a concept that can't be done in a single class yet needing to start at lvl 1.

The basic idea is that at each level 3 points are gained which can be spent on feats, skills, and abilities (class abilities becoming feat trees, abilities, etc, in some cases attached with balancing penalties).

Bab, base saves, etc are handled by #3.

This sounds great. Sounds like Mutants & Masterminds, actually, which is an amazing super-hero themed game and the best implementation of a classless system I've played. I think classless works well depending on the theme/setting of the game you're playing. Fantasy/D&D styled games I think do work better with classes because of the inherent attachment to traditional archetypes of that genre. In fantasy fiction, you very often see the loin-clothed barbarian, or the bookish wizard, or the carefree thief, but rarely do you see a character with bits and pieces of each. D&D uses classes to help reinforce the iconic depictions of such characters and diluting those archetypes does, I think, weaken that genre. In a super-hero genre though, it's (mostly) perfect because it allows players immense freedom to create any type of powered character they can imagine.

Perhaps some middle-ground between those two outlooks could be best? Maybe vastly different options within each iconic class (something Pathfinder seems to do well with Archetypes).

DarkLightHitomi:
3) Split level into tier and level.
Tier being more about agency and power level (as in gritty/mundane vs superhero/demigod), while level is about advancing skill and versatility. So gaining levels gives more abilities and feats and skills, while tier is the basis of how powerful those abilities, feats, and are or can be.

Bab, base saves, max skill ranks, caster level, etc are based on tier.

Thus you can have plenty of advancement while keeping a gritty level of play, but you can also play superheroes who are just starting to learn how to useband control their massive innate power (by starting low level at high tier).

Again, I'll defer to Mutants & Masterminds which allows for both broad amounts of skills (via lots of Power Points to distribute) and also a (mostly) hard cap on power (via Power Level) of the characters. The Flash, for example is something like PL 15 with all of his points into Speed-related things, whereas Batman is like PL 12 but has many more power points overall distributed to many more skills.

I think finding a balance here is both possible and laudable, but one of my main gripes about Mutants & Masterminds stems from the Power Level limit. Essentially, most if not all PCs at a given Power Level will Hit equally hard, Dodge equally well, Perceive equally sharply, and Soak Damage equally effectively. Sure, one might do it via an Iron-man style power suit, another might accomplish those feats with Dr. Strange-esque magic, but the end result is that most rolls feel exactly the same.

Thus, in M&M players and GMs should work together and agree to ensure that characters aren't equally powerful (at least not in the same areas) or else they run the risk of a game where the numbers no longer even matter. Of course, this is really a product of #2 (above) with M&M's classless system. If you have classes, then areas of specialty are protected, and thus teamwork and differences in ability keep things interesting.

DarkLightHitomi:
4) Starting skill ranks. In 3.x you have 4 times the skills ranks at level one. Pathfinder did away with that but because they did, you can't dabble in a wide variety of skills like you could in 3.x.

Of course, if you use this with the normal rules with classes, you also have the problem of different classes giving a very large difference in the number of skill ranks at first level, so the idea here is to give bonus starting ranks, either a flat amount, say 24, or twice the int score and without the plus 3 to class skills. Instead, class skills have lvl+3 to the max ranks, while cross-class skills are lvl+1.

I've always felt that skill ranks in D&D were far too few. Very few characters ever put any ranks into a Profession or a Craft (or several other skills) because every character is much more dependent on pumping only a handful of the most useful skills like Perception and Spellcraft. And the problem doesn't get better at higher levels with more skill points, it only expands the rift.

I think 4th Edition D&D gave some sort of bonus to all skills based solely on level, and I think that was nifty. 5th Edition D&D kinda does that, but only with those (too) few skills with which you have proficiency. Mutants & Masterminds is free point-based, so you can put as many points into skills as you wish. Batman has a huge percentage of his points in skills wheras other heroes chose to put their points into their super-powers. I think that's just fine... so Classless seems to kinda solve the Skill Point problem. In systems like Pathfinder, there are some feats that you can spend to gain more bonuses to skills, so I guess that's one option for trade-offs... but it's not common in my experience since feats are usually way better than skills (and also too rare in my opinion).

DarkLightHitomi:
5) Magic part 1
As tier and level are split, spellcasters have an issue. Do they get higher spell levels based on level or tier?

The idea to solve this is to consider a spell in terms of the skill it requires and the power it requires separately. Then spells require level and/or tier based on that. I.E. a spell with high skill but low power can be learned by high level casters at low tier.

Worth a try. I'm not sure I've ever seen a magic system that explicitly split level and tier as you're describing, but I think it could work if balanced properly. Not sure I have any suggestions on that currently though.

DarkLightHitomi:
6) Magic part 2, skillful magic
The idea here is to use skill checks to cast magic. Thus split target, range, duration, etc from spells, then these add to difficulty to cast.

Metamagic also simply adds to spell dc, with most metamagic simply an option available to all, with metamagic feats making them easier.

Each type of magic has it's own skill, making specialist vs generalist an emergent effect that exists but yet is customizable. Types would likely be similar to Spheres of Power rather than school.

Reminds me of Ars Magica - my absolute favorite spell-casting system. Balancing it properly is the trick though. There have been attempts in the past to convert Ars Magica style casting into d20 with skill checks, but I'm not sure how well they have worked or how popular they've ever become.

I think it was also mentioned before that Spheres of Power (or was it Words of Power) offers perhaps something similar to 3.5/Pathfinder.

DarkLightHitomi:
7) Magic part 3, powering magic
The idea here is to have magic consume power exponentially and dependant on power. At low power, a caster can cast cantrips freely, but as power increases, higher spells can be cast freely, but also, the cost of spells goes down, meaning that as a caster uses their magic, it becomes more taxing to cast magic.

Define "cost". In this magic system, is the caster spending Magic Points/Mana? Spell Slots? their own Blood/HP? I think this is a fine idea that needs a bit of specificity and (obviously) balancing. Seems to make sense if that's the way you want to represent magic in your world.

DarkLightHitomi:
8) Removing HP
The idea here us to have a save against damage. Armor gives a bonus tk this save. Failing the save means gaining an injury similar to called shot effects, but that take longer to heal as well as refucing the condition of armor. Succeeding at a save means simply taking a minor penalty to future saves.

Precision strikes, such as sneak attacks, simply bypass armor.

This is the most interesting (to me) of your suggestions. Mutants & Masterminds does something similar in terms of 'save against damage' and 'failed saves impose cumulative penalties'. In M&M each minor fail adds a "wound" which penalizes your future saves vs. damage by -1 each. Problem is, that's purely mechanical and lacks flavor. The biggest issue with that M&M system is that you're knocked out after a single major fail. So in effect, every successful hit chips away until someone eventually gets unlucky and is just out. This system has a few flows then:
  1. Each hit doesn't feel interesting.
  2. The final blow lands based (mostly) on luck.
  3. (similar to #2 above) sometimes a bad guy/hero goes down on just 1 hit and sometimes it takes 30 hits before they finally fail a save. That level of unpredictability is infuriating. The HP system does actually do a much better job of actually measuring how well you're doing in a fight.

That said, I'd love to see a more 'cinematic' system and description of wounds in battle. I think there's a sweet spot though when 'interesting' wounds should happen. A 1st level rogue getting speared by an orc is probably a big deal, whereas a 15th level rogue can shrug off that same hit as inconsequential. That is another thing that the HP system accurately portrays due to increased HP at each level.

Again depends on the style of game you want to play. Every GM should describe the action of combat in an interesting way; nobody enjoys hearing "he hits you for 8 damage" when it could be "his repeated bashing down at you with his mace is really exhausting on your shield arm. You're not sure how much more of this you can weather. Oh yeah, also take 8 damage."

Also not every encounter with some random goblin bandits should result in lost fingers and toes. Not every 'hit' needs to be a story-inspiring disability, nor even a temporary measurable setback. There's a critical hit deck for 3.5/PF (http://paizo.com/products/btpy872f) that spices up the descriptions of critical hits and imposes some additional temporary penalty on the recipient. Something like that could be interesting when applied to even normal hits, but that (again) runs the risk of luck taking the challenge out of a fight. So maybe better balancing of those types of effects is the solution: keep them interesting but not debilitating. And remember that any deviation from the standard in this direction necessarily just makes fights deadlier.

How all this affects armor is an entirely additional can of worms. Tracking armor HP is something for which the rules already outline, but in practice, I've never seen anyone actually bother with that. There are also optional rules already for armor as Damage Reduction, etc. Those always seemed to me like wonky balance and extra bookkeeping.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1216 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 13:21
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
I feel that this is perhaps the most problematic of the suggestions you make. It was mentioned earlier that converting everything would be a nightmare. I'm also not sure if the payoff would even be worth it; seems like more needless calculation for no real flavorful reason.


As I mentioned above, it shouldn't require any conversions at all. There is already variance expected at each level, and besides that, you at worst, can just raise the avg party level by 1 for the purpose of determining cr of encounters if you really stick close to the cr system, and even then, only at low levels.

quote:
diluting those archetypes does, I think, weaken that genre.


I disagree. I think it strengthens the stereotype, but also strengthens the limitations. The classes also are not good for every setting. For example, in a world where magic can be learned, any professional soldier will know magic. DnD however, splits up the fighter from the magic user, which is kinda smart as it allows you to play in settings where magic is very rare, or not helpful to soldiers, and yet also in settings with common magic, but unfortunately, that flexibity goes to waste because it also drives this idea in player's minds that a soldier will never cast magic even if they could learn it according to the setting.

I even run games with a statement upfront that magic was common and professional soldiers and guardsmen would be multiclass caster/melee characters. Despite this, the players didn't do anything of the sort, and they had trouble remembering that any soldiers would also be casters. It took a while for the idea to sink in that they couldn't think about character based on class. Once they made that breakthrough, the problems stopped.

That said, I don't mind PTU's (pokemon tabletop united, if I recall correctly) "classes" as much, but that classes there were not really classes, but rather feat trees with a couple extra rules.

 
quote:
most if not all PCs at a given Power Level will Hit equally hard, Dodge equally well...


I think this problem is mostly a matter of perspective, which is heavily affected by what they see of npcs, both friendly and hostile.

Recently, this idea has become popular that all encounters should be about level appropriate. The problem with this, is your baseline concept of how powerful "average" is constantly adjust to what you are normally facing.

In prior days, old school you could say, you would face a variety of encounter difficulties in an adventure. As you went up in level, more and more encounters would be well below your level, leading to more encounters in a day before needing to rest, then elites would be equal level, and bosses would be higher level challanges that took everything you had to win.

One of the benefits of this, was that players kept a better idea of how powerful they were reletive to the world, because they fought plenty of "average" powered characters.

But now, everything players fight is about equal to them, thus shifting things such that the players themselves tend to be the only reference for "average," which highlights the reletive power between the players, and it also drives the "ever-increasing-numbers" problem as a higher number only feels powerful until it becomes the norm, at which point an even higher number is needed to make the players feel powerful again, even though, which with the monsters keeping pace, the power level compared to challanges never actually changes experientially.

Another issue with this is the meaning behind the numbers gets lost. If you can you should read The Alexandrian's essay Calibrating Your Expectations. The numbers in d20 relate quite specifically to the world but players end up losing sight of this, some even consider +30 to be weak, despite the fact that rolling a 40 total is an epic result on par with Einstein's greatest achievements. But since players no longer get experiences that keep their expectations grounded, thus, their expectations drift.


quote:
Spheres of Power (or was it Words of Power)...


Actually both exist, but are different.

Words of Power is a paizo alternate rule set tgat makes spellcasting more versatile, a little bit, while still feeling very much like d20 magic spells. You could even have WoP with normal spellcasting and it feels right.

Spheres of Power is 3pp but is far better, in my opinion, but it is most definitely nothing like standard d20 magic, despite fitting with the d20 system smoothly. You coukd theoretically have SoP work beside standard d20 magic, but it just feel right in play. Despite the power level actually being more on par with martials, SoP casters still outshine standard casters in the simple fact that a SoP caster simply feels far more magical.


quote:
Define "cost". In this magic system, is the caster spending Magic Points/Mana? Spell Slots? their own Blood/HP?


More like an hp/fatigue system. If you walk, yoh coukd go all day, if you jog, you can go for quite a while but not anywhere near as dar as walking, and running can get you a short distance fast but even walking will be far more limited afterwards.

The idea here is to do the same for magic. Allow casters to cast cantrips all day long and never even notice, but casting a big spell is like sprinting, making even cantrips taxing.

My initial thoughts on achieving this are to have a fatigue score with low, med, and high benchmarks, and spells to have a drain value. When a spell is cast, if the drain is below the 1/4 threshold, then they can freely cast the spell, if the spell is between low and medium, the results of the check determine if there is a cost (which if there is, then subtract 1 from the low threshold, 2 from the medium, and 3 from the high), if the drain is higher than medium, then the spell has a cost period, and if the drain is above high, then it costs double.

Doing this reduces the power of spells that can be cast freely as a caster gets more fatigued.

quote:
A 1st level rogue getting speared by an orc is probably a big deal, whereas a 15th level rogue can shrug off that same hit as inconsequential.


Unless the hit sent you to negative hp, I don't think you can get speared by an orc. There is an Alexandrian article on this, but really, a character with positive hp has not been speared, nor stabbed, nor cut. Higher level characters are simply better at avoiding serious harm for longer. Getting hit more like getting the wind knocked out of you.

The idea herr is not generic wounds, but rather have effects like called shot effects. Gettjng lamed can slow your speed, make jumping and tumbling harder, etc.

The idea is to make things like death and dismemberment really hard to achieve early on, by equal combatants anyway.

But also, armor is actively used to parry and block and can make lethal blows into not-so-lethal blows, all of which are things I'd want to account for. I wouldn't bother keeping track of armor, unless it is specifically targeted (at an appropriate penalty), or a very exceedingly powerful attack (the sort of which a player suffers because they were demonstrating a new level of stupidity).
MalaeDezeld
 member, 30 posts
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 06:28
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
What are your design goals? Because from what I can infer from your posts, sometime you are so at odds with d&d design goal that I believe the best solution would be to use something else as a base.

I've been exposed to three questions of Jared Sorensen for rpg game design: "What is your game about?", "How does your game do this?" "How does your game encourage / reward this?". John Wick add an interesting question: "How do you make this fun?".



quote:
-1 is far more punishing than a +1 is helpful

There is a psychological effect, and I wonder if the designers took it into account, but for the rest, the difference between -1 and +1 is the same as the difference between +2 and +4 with the same mechanical effect on your chance to succeed (10%).


quote:
Also, there many places in the rules where special conditions have to be set for when a character has negative stats. All those special conditions on bonuses go away when you remove stat penalties.

I don't think that there is many special cases when modifiers are negative, except for some minimums (hp per hit dice, skill point per level, damage per attack).


quote:
Also, in comparing this method to the original, the difference goes down as the stat goes up, so a score of 14+ has a difference of + or - 2 until way past a score of 30. The lower scores get a bit more than the standard, but that really matters more at low levels than at high levels, as high levels have more bonuses anyway and a much larger range of expected values, so at high level no adjustment is needed at all,

True, but you made me realize that the problem is at low level instead of higher (except for epic). Every low-level monsters (and monsters with a below average attribute) are now stronger, with a better AC, more damage per hit, more chance to hit, better saving throw.

You also need to think of effects that in d20 were giving +2 to an attribute (the stat, not the modifier). Do you boost it to +3, to kept the modifier bonus of +1, or are you comfortable with a useless effect if the character attribute is a multiple of 3?

I consider the high range of expected values for high level a weakness of the system. It is fragile, breaking if you don't have all the expected bonuses: monsters stats were calculated with the idea that the character would have a +X weapon and a +Y armor by Z level. It also make it harder to plan at high-level for the gm, because if you plan something to be a average task for a character, it is now impossible for another to do it (not enough bonus to have a remote chance to success).


quote:
4) skill ranks [...] But a major factor [more skills point] in going this way is when combined with splitting tiers from level (which I seem to need to explain further), as you might get 20 levels without significantly raising the cap on skill ranks. Having a higher cap to start with however solves that problem.

I believe that as long as you balance how much a character gains in the beginning with how much he gains per level (counting the extension by tier) and the cap to obtain the number you want at the end, it should be ok. It would be boring to level up and realize that you don't gain any new skill points because you are already max out.


quote:
4e can't do high tier but low level, nor high level with low tier, because it doesn't really split them, it just groups levels together gives the groups a name called tier.

I do believe that it is not in the design philosophy of d&d to have an high tier but low level. But, I wonder if the Mythic Adventure (you can check the srd here http://www.d20pfsrd.com/mythic/ ) could work as a 2 tiers system (normal and mythic) for your purpose.


quote:
Casters will spend more rounds with spells fizzling, something the melee guy doesn't worry about.

In a move and pray roll system like d20, having less chance to succeed isn't fun. And more so, if you combine that with a more deadlier combat. If you are not careful, magic users will be useless in a combat. For example, if they only succeed 1 action out of 4, and the combat is expected to be over in 3 turns, they will do nothing most of the time.


quote:
Basically, casting low level magic is something that can be done all day long without breaking a sweat (hence needing to change how magic vs melee is balanced), but casting high level magic can make it difficult to even cast a cantrip afterwards (which plays into the next section).

Thus casters don't just look to their highest spells to solve everything, but rather, they look to the lowest spells they can use instead. Low level magic stays important throughout the game, not just at the beginning.

Part of this is because I hate the idea of having 1 first level spell per day for a character that is post apprenticeship,

The infamous 15-minute work day... I hate it too.

But, if you make the casters useless after casting their big spell, you didn't solve the problem. Players would still want force the group to stop so they can regain their spells, because isn't fun to be useless. And, beside from completely changing the magic system, I don't know how the problem could be resolve in d&d.


quote:
using the least of their skills and power, but as things move along in the combat, the combatants get a feel for how skilled the opposition is, and try to balance their use of ability to win. What this means is that as a player gets closer to death, they are more willing to use higher level abilities that can save them, but at a cost down the line.

Basically, no one starts combat using their best abilities, rather they use better and better abilities as the combat continues on.

Nova-ing your way through encounters becomes impossible, 15-minute workday isn't the awesome solution it is now

I believe it would be hard work to replace the combat system in d&d to facilitate an escalation like that. If nova-ing is too good, it is the 15-minute workday again. And if using your higher power is too debilitating, it won't be use, or probably only by monster who, by definition, are disposables and won't really suffer the consequence.

But that kind of remind me of the concept of the escalation die from 13th Age, but I never try it, so I don't know how much that could help you. I think that some (both pc and monsters) abilities where tie to it, either because you have to roll under it, or they could only be activated at certain numbers.


You could also go in the opposite direction, like star wars d20 and starfinder did. They have two resources, one that act like hp does now, and another that represents being wounded. http://www.starfindersrd.com/g...ombat/#Taking_Damage (They did reverse the terms in starfinder, stamina points for d&d hp, and hp for wounds)

The biggest advantage is that you don't need to change everything in the base combat system of d&d to make it work. Also, another advantage: when something do bypass d&d hp to hit directly in the wounds, you tell the players that this is really dangerous. But there is no escalation with that system.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1217 posts
Sat 4 Nov 2017
at 14:06
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I think the real question is what you think DnD's design goal is? Most players don't play DnD according to it's design goals, which isn't wrong or anything, but you can't take the common style of play as automatically being the design goals of d20.


My design goal is to have the robust set of simulationist rules that form a solid foundation for providing a broad and consistant baseline, to make gm rulings easier, practical, and more consistant. There is no intention for the rules to be treated like the rules of board game, as descriptions of what can or can not be done.

quote:
I've been exposed to three questions of Jared Sorensen for rpg game design: "What is your game about?", "How does your game do this?" "How does your game encourage / reward this?". John Wick add an interesting question: "How do you make this fun?".


I've heard them before, but such questions are not asked of books or movies. I see rpgs as straddling the line between true games and media. My game is less of a "let's play this" and more about "let's experience this." The game is about having agency in a fictional world, and being the protagonists of a story. Being the protagonists is an important part, as in it is not about the gm telling the story to players while they play some sort of squad tactics game, nor is it about players creating an interesting story to happen to their characters. It is about the players being confronted with a situation and them figuring out how to handle it within the realm of the fictional world as experienced through the fictional characters. TLDR, to experience, however indirectly, what it is like to be the protagonist of a story, to make the decisions and watch the consequences unfold.

How does the game do this? Well, most of the game is support for the interaction, aiding in communication, consistency, syncing everybodies expectations, and making it easy for the gm to handle any creative idea the players might come up limited only by what makes sense within the fictional milieu.

Successfully partaking of such a game is the single best reward I've ever had playing a game. I spend most of time simply looking to experience it once again. Basically, I want that ecperience for the same reason an avid bookworm reads books. No meta reward system required. The system is only there to make the experience easier to achieve. Truthfully, I don't feel like I should be adding metagame systems to reward/encourage it, much like you don't have rewards to encourage yourself to watch movies or read books. The rpg isn't supposed to be a game in the way chess, settlers of cataan, or even Halo are. It us supposed to be an experience like a book or movie except interactive. Beyond that, I haven't found nor figured out any mechanics that encourage players to see the rest of the mechanics as a form of communication and support rather than a ruleset. I do think it is entirely probable the lack of such is why so many players of d20 "play the rules and miss the game" as Gygax put it, but I haven't found a solution that doesn't either drag the player out of the experience or remove the support structure offered by d20.

How do I make the game fun? Well, that isn't up to me. That is the gm's job. My job is to give the gm a good set of tools so they can make it fun, or scary, or dramatic, or whatever they are going for, much like how english doesn't make books fun, but authors do.

Okay, it took me a couple days to write this. I'll be back to answer the other questions.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1219 posts
Mon 6 Nov 2017
at 07:28
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
There is a psychological effect,


Which is vitally important. As an example, take a look at WoW. They wanted to dncourage people tl take breaks from the game, so they added an xp penalty after so long being logged in. Everyone hated it. So blizzard flipped it, saying that everyone got bonus xp for a limited time after logging in. Everyone loved it. Mechanically identical. No difference what-so-ever.

This is a well known effect in psychology. Give someone a choice between a surgery with a 3% chance of dying, or one with a 97% chance of living, and the latter will almost always be chosen despite being the exact same operation.

So don't dismiss the psychological element as minor, for it is indeed a major consideration.

Beyond that though, there are other affects, such as mixing addition and subtraction in tallying totals, and yes, minimums, but also, many stats affected by bonuses, such as skill points, slots per day, etc, are far too few to begin with (as though only those base numbers were chosen without penalties in mind), and reducing them further (from stat penalties) easily reduces them too far, which is a bigger penalty than having an extra point or slot is a bonus.

quote:
Every low-level monsters (and monsters with a below average attribute) are now stronger, with a better AC, more damage per hit, more chance to hit, better saving throw.


Truthfully, I was just thinking of using monsters as is and adjusting individually for the pcs as needed, since you shoukd be adjusting them to the pcs anyway, and therefore had not considered (unintentionally. I hadn't thought of it.) but still, the fact that it applies to monsters and PCs equally, in the end, it balances out. Better saving throws, but also better DCs.

quote:
I consider the high range of expected values for high level a weakness of the system.


Oh, I agree, but it is really a minor thing as part of the gm's job is to adapt and adjust to the players, giving them the desired amount of challange based on their actual abilities as players and not just their character's stats. It is sadly common among gms to treat the rules as a straightjacket, feeling like there is a problem if they have to stray from some sort of baseline. As far as I'm concerned, knowing how to adjust and adapt to their players is one of the key differences between great gms and normal gms.

If I had a school for gms, it'd be required in order to graduate.

The rules also assume a gm does this.


quote:
Do you boost it to +3, to kept the modifier bonus of +1, or are you comfortable with a useless effect if the character attribute is a multiple of 3?


Could go either way. Some secondary effects are still enhanced by the raw score, such as carry capacity and negative hit point limit to avoid death. More effects come from raw score in my game as well.

quote:
I believe that as long as you balance how much a character gains in the beginning with how much he gains per level (counting the extension by tier) and the cap to obtain the number you want at the end, it should be ok. It would be boring to level up and realize that you don't gain any new skill points because you are already max out.


Why by the end? That assumes there is intent to go to the end. In fact, the advancement in my system doesn't actually have an end.

Besides, loads of time is spent well before the end.

Also, given the split between level and tier, doing it the way I described is precisely to avoid the capping issue. In straight pf, you have like 20+ skills, and that's it. With a max rank of one, that is only a couple dozen points before being capped out. With a higher base cap though, you start with much more flexibility in terms of how many skill points can be had as it'd take nearly 4 times as many points before everything is capped out.

quote:
I do believe that it is not in the design philosophy of d&d to have an high tier but low level


And? Added flexibility is always a good thing, especially when it doesn't come at a cost to the other design goals nor ease of play.

quote:
In a move and pray roll system like d20, having less chance to succeed isn't fun. And more so, if you combine that with a more deadlier combat. If you are not careful, magic users will be useless in a combat. For example, if they only succeed 1 action out of 4, and the combat is expected to be over in 3 turns, they will do nothing most of the time.


Doesn't mean one should go for auto success. I agree with the need to be careful here, but honestly, the same can be said about melee attacks, and no one suggests making them autosucceed, and all they do is pure damage, so why should magic be both easier and more powerful? Especially, if you decide against limiting magic to 1 or 2 spells per combat?

quote:
But, if you make the casters useless after casting their big spell, you didn't solve the problem.


It isn't the point for them to be useless. It is the point to present greater strategy and to work with a gm that can actually avoid the 15-minute-workday. Because honestly, unless you make all useful abilities useable every round of every day, non-stop, or limit abilities based on arbitrary limits that allow them to be used every single encounter (i.e. 4e's encounter powers), then the mechanics can't stop the 15-minute-workday.

Stopping the 15-minute-workday at that point is up to the gm. This is done by not treating things like a computer game. If the group attacks a stronghold and falls back after the first encounter, then the stronghold shoukd spend the next several hours reinforcing it's positions, patching holes, doubling patrols, calling for reinforcements, etc. If particularly numorous or powerful, they might even send groups to attack the party while they rest.

Other possibilities include groups that use hit-and-fade tactics to harass the group over an extended period rather than making a direct assault.

When a gm does these sorts of things, the 15-minute-workday is no longer viable, and the party either needs to press forward before the enemy can regroup, or they need to keep some in reserve to handle attackers that come after them when it is most inconvenient.

Mixing that with my ideas for rolling to cast and high level spells hindering following spellcasting, means players will need to be more tactical and to focus more on minimizing their expenditure of resources, they will have many reasons at that point to do something smart, rather than blindly rushing in expecting to win everything without ever risking death.



quote:
And, beside from completely changing the magic system, I don't know how the problem could be resolve in d&d.


The problem can be completely stopped at low levels, and hindered at midlevels by gm tactics. Such as described above, the pcs getting harassed by enemies, the enemies responding intelligently to the players, etc. At high level it becomes a problem mostly because the players can negate most of the gm's tactics, i.e. rope trick means the group can't get attacked at night, etc.

quote:
If nova-ing is too good, it is the 15-minute workday again.


Using many of the strategies mentioned above, and removing abilities like rope trick, means that how good nova-ing is doesn't much matter. After all, using an "I win" button in one encounter is no good if it just leaves you vulnerable for the next encounter.
MalaeDezeld
 member, 32 posts
Mon 6 Nov 2017
at 18:43
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I'm sorry, I don't think I can help you further.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1220 posts
Tue 7 Nov 2017
at 00:32
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
That's okay. It was a useful and interesting discussion, which is worthwhile in it's own right.
:)
LoreGuard
 member, 654 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2017
at 04:17
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
DarkLightHitomi:
1) Here, the stats are really only going to be +-2 from what they normally are unless you get into the extremes, as in severe min-maxing extremes. The idea behind this change though, is that a -1 is far more punishing than a +1 is helpful. Also, there many places in the rules where special conditions have to be set for when a character has negative stats. All those special conditions on bonuses go away when you remove stat penalties.

Also, in comparing this method to the original, the difference goes down as the stat goes up, so a score of 14+ has a difference of + or - 2 until way past a score of 30. The lower scores get a bit more than the standard, but that really matters more at low levels than at high levels, as high levels have more bonuses anyway and a much larger range of expected values, so at high level no adjustment is needed at all, and at lower levels, the players don't feel weakened by having penalties, but are not that much better and at low levels the gm has to make far more adjustments for the party capabilities anyway, enough that this wouldn't really be noticed on that side of things.

I'll admit, one thought that occured was that with changing it all to all bonuses, some things like STR damage, (and then more specifically STR damage for two handed weapons) would be signifigantly impacted.  And that should be something that you keep in mind, but I have to admit it seemed like it occured to me after some thought that it would actually sort of implement one thing I'd seen someone do.  Where someone with a -1 STR penalty, if they used a weapon that could be used one or two handed, with two hands, they would drop the penalty, giving them a reasonable reason to use two hands, because they are weaker.

I would agree that as a player i'd probably want to have an opportunity to advance a stat more than once every four levels if it took 3 to change the bonus.  I'd also like to see some different uses for the individual steps.  Often people completely ignore the presence of many feats being tied to stats that are odd.

DarkLightHitomi:
4) skill ranks

This is a tough one all around. PF is simpler, but it also is more limiting as you have fewer points to spread around and thus are not able to have more skills at a lower level. Often in 3.x I'd spend points on a broad variety of skills instead of just 3-4, but I don't have that option in PF at all.

But a major factor in going this way is when combined with splitting tiers from level (which I seem to need to explain further), as you might get 20 levels without significantly raising the cap on skill ranks. Having a higher cap to start with however solves that problem. There are definitely ways to make it better than 3.x though, if not as simple as PF. Such as making 1 skill point always equal to 1 skill rank, even for cross-class skills.

I have to admit I disliked Pathfinder at first because it didn't give me the opportunity to have skills one had dabbled in.  It was almost never the case that I would ever create a character that didn't have at least one rank in craft of profession skills, and/or even performance.  Honestly, generally more than one of those three.

To be honest, to address that I 'invented' HOBBY ranks, which were limited to some of the less impactful/adventure focused skills.  The character would get say some number (I dont' recall exactly, but was probably something like 4 +INT bonus hobby ranks to spend.  You could put up to 3 ranks into a specific skill.  However, hobby ranks bonuses could not stack with your regular class skills class skill bonus.  If the character bought a Adventuring rank, the class skill bonus would replace the hobby ranks.

In a way it was like creating a Level 0 layer that was a 'background' level.  This was similar to what I think was RoleMaster, which you went through a childhood level and adolecent level.  Hmm... seemed like it was something like 3 pre-levels buying skills.  But that game was more skill oriented.

Anyway, I just missed being able to pick some extra background skills myself, so I solved it by making special less powerful skill ranks, similar to how traits are less powerful feats, which are generally tied to their background.  And like with traits, I limited how they would stack with things.

Anyway, Pathfinder now has an optional rule that offers some extra background skills to help people afford to be able to include a craft of other skill, even if they are otherwise a skill poor class.  Despite it not being as effective in allowing dabiling, I don't use my own hobby rule as much since there is a usable set or official rules that is somewhat similar.

I have to admit that I don't quite understand what you are talking about with respect to tiers and skills and maxing things further down in the conversation.  I think I'm not connecting something.

DarkLightHitomi:
5) tier and level

No not like 4e.

3.x/PF have been described as having tiers of play, gritty at levels 1-5, to superheroic at 16-20. E6 was designed with the idea of staying in the gritty tier while continuing to advance, but in order to do so, a whole new set of advancement rules, completely different from the normal ones, comes into play after level 6, but more than that, it also only works from gritty. Granted you can stop at any tier, but the idea is still that you'd start at gritty.

The idea here is built from looking at what makes superheroic so beyond the natural realm, and the answer was not the options, but the numbers. I.E a level 20 throwing a fireball deals way more damage than a level 5. This growth in numerical power is the big part of what makes high level characters beyond natural limits

But what if you want a world like marvel or DC, where some people are born with extraordinary power, but still need to train it? This is where E6 falls flat. You straight out can't be high powered without being highly skilled and practiced.

This concept of splitting tier is to attach certain numbers, like how many d6s your fireballs deal, to tier. Thus you might have a supernaturally powerful pyromancer that is just a kid and can't fully control his power yet, by giving him a high tier but yet starting him as level 1. Thus his burning hands does some serious damage, but he has lots of training to go before he can throw fireballs around.

Likewise, I can have a world were even the greatest archmage falls from one or two stabs of a sword, without making magic do 100x more damage than a sword.

It strictly limits, or boosts, raw power while handling character options and training separately.

4e can't do high tier but low level, nor high level with low tier, because it doesn't really split them, it just groups levels together gives the groups a name called tier. The suggestion here is totally unrelated.

Again, the idea of potentially have a second dimension of power is interesting, but is kind of hard to get my head around exactly how you are going to dimension it.  It sounds useful, but might have to see it in practice or at least conceptualized.

In one sense, the reason many games simply use one axis is, more powerful it more powerful.  An adventurer prodigy can be relatively equally presented as simply a higher that expected level adventurer for their age.  You are right that one 'Could' differenciate between a 'multiplier' of power of sorts and normal progression.  But to do this what really are the two axis you are really talking about using then?  'Power' vs reliability, or Power vs versatility?  Or some combination?




I think I'm going to have to take a break.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1221 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2017
at 12:02
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
--As I never use strength based attacks, I might be missing something, but I believe that a -1 strength penalty becomes -2 when using two hands (because -2 is double -1), a strange artifact created simply by having penalties.

--One bad thing about PF's Background skills system is that you still get or don't get class skill bonuses and you can only buy bg skills. Good for getting minmaxers to have bg related skills, bad for merely dabbling in combat useful skills.


--Tier vs level.

Imagine a level 5, tier 2 wizard. They can cast a fireball (they gained enough skill and knowledge), but the fireball only does 2d6 damage (they have a limited amount of raw power to pump into the spell).

Now imagine a level 2, tier 5 wizard. They can not cast fireball because they fon't have enough skill or knowledge, but their burning hands spell does 5d4 because of how much power they can pump into the spell.

A similar case applies to skills. Skills are such the at 5 ranks plus 3 for class skill bonus, (or 8 ranks for 3.x) is Olympic levels of skill. Thus allowing skills to go higher means the character goes beyond natural human ability, which shoukd be only if their tier is higher than natural humans.

There are alternatives to how I suggested, but they add complexity.
LoreGuard
 member, 655 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2017
at 18:39
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 16):

Using 2 handed weapons(or one handed weapons that you can use two handed reasonably), you get 1.5 times the strength bonus.  I believe the rule actually specifies penalty, so I don't believe the rule by raw affects STR penalties.

If you carry over the same rule... someone with a 9 or 10 STR would get a +3 to damage using a one-handed weapon.  They would get a +4 damage when using a two handed weapon. (or +1 damage when using a light weapon which is set at 1/2 str modifier)
So someone with a 12 STR would get +4 damage, or +2 for light, or +6 for two handed. (which is +1 extra more than the 10 STR person for the first two, and +2 more for the two handed.

Someone with an 8 would get +2 damage one one handed weapons, +1 for light weapons or +3 damage when using two handed weapons.  That would be one less for everything except for the light weapons.

Really that sounds somewhat reasonable.  It would scale up the damage done a little bit from base, but as the con bonus may likely affect how damage is handled it might even out some.  It might however increase the effect of things like power attack though.

With respect to tiers:
It sounds like you are suggesting tying tier to a mage's caster level and have the class level be level.  I'm guessing you are implying by standard you would start at 1 on both, and increment one on each in a 'standard/baseline' play.  However, you might adjust play such that you advance twice in tier for every level (or the reverse) to change how advancement grows.  (or simply start someone out with a statically higher tier than level, to represent a prodigy.)

I take it you are making the max rank analogous to tier, and levels control Skill Points.

And yes, I recognize that the pathfinder system isn't as good with dabbling.  That is why I mentioned more of my original hobby ranks mechanics, as they did a better job of addressing that very aspect.  I still like those rules, but acknowledge playing pathfinder with others, they are more likely to catch onto or be aware of the more official sets of options.  I used the hobby ranks for I think years before I saw, or they came out with the background rules.

How would you plan to apply tier rankings to the more martial classes?
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1222 posts
Sat 11 Nov 2017
at 02:25
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
How would you plan to apply tier rankings to the more martial classes?


The simplest way would be to have the combat feats be limited by tier rather than level, and for the iterative attacks to be based on tier as well.

Bab would definitely be based on tier and that is a major stat for martials. Using one of the defense bonus alternative rules also works really nice here as it would be tier based as well making martials better attackers and defenders at higher tiers.

Alternatively, you can consider that martial power is primarily mundane, and higher tiers are naturally magical, thus going straight fighter for 20 levels is only when you stay tier 5 or less for the whole campaign.

quote:
I'm guessing you are implying by standard you would start at 1 on both, and increment one on each in a 'standard/baseline' play.


Actually, I was thinking the default would be to select a starting tier appropriate to the setting and campaign. So a gritty setting/campaign would indeed start at tier one, but a more heroic and supernatural setting/campaign might start at tier 6-7, while a campaign/setting about demi-gods would start at tier 15-16. Then a tier would be gained every 4 or 5 levels.

At 5 levels per tier though, you could gain 100 levels spanning tier 1 through 20. Which sounds like a great way to have a mortal-become-a-god story. (hmm, this sounds like a good idea for the Test of the Starstone, a 100 level run)

Alternatively, go for 20 levels per tier, so a tier 5 character that has power equal that to the best natural humans and ends up as a polymath, hitting the pinnicle of humanity in both power and skill.
StarMaster
 member, 284 posts
Sun 12 Nov 2017
at 16:58
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I was recently thinking along similar lines, in particular, a classless game.

CUSTOM CLASS

My premise was to come up with some sort of 'idea' (label, whatever) for your character, such as Daredevil, Commando, Puppet-master, Spell-slinger, etc. You then buy Abilities (Advantages, Feats, whatever name you want to use) that FIT your concept. If you feel your Spell-slinger should be able to fight, then you buy combat abilities as well as spellcasting abilities.

SKILLS

I hadn't gotten past that point, but I'd tend to go with Saving Throws (if they are even needed) and Skill ranks as being a function of level. Skills, in particular, are learned abilities... whether that's from education, training, or experience. So the default might be your level divided by 4. Perhaps rounded off, so that only at 2nd level would your skills be rank 1.

You could further complicate it by having the player choose 'class' skills and 'non-class' skills... one every 4 ranks, one every 6 ranks... or whatever.

You would then be able to choose an Ability such as Skill Focus that lets you add so many ranks or possibly change the divisor (divided by 3 rather than 4, etc.)

Saving throws would just become Skills as well, and have the same sort of progressions and Abilities.

One of the premises of John Wick's 7th Sea game was that he was trying to create a game where you could play Captain Blood or Robin Hood or Zorro without having to progress through 10 levels to get that good.

For the 'Classless' system, you could set Ability Points at different amounts to reflect this. 3 Ability Points to start with for Ordinary Heroes, or 5 Points for Good Heroes, and 7 (or more) points for Extraordinary Heroes.

For that matter, you could have each game able to be set up with a different progression. A Beginner's game might start with 3 Ability Points, adding 3 more at 2nd level, and 4 at 3rd level, etc.

TIERS

As for the Tier vs. Level idea, original D&D had what a lot of us old fans now call 'Name Level'. Every level had a name, but it wasn't until you became 9th level that you became a named class, such as Paladin (with a capital P). That was when you could get a keep or temple or whatever.

I wanted to bring that back, so I said there are Benchmark levels at 7th and 14th where you gain certain extra abilities... a short list, but your choice which one you wanted. If you wanted to be tougher, you could get more Hit Points. Or you could get that small keep.

HIT POINTS

The problem with a game being able to accommodate getting a hand cut off is that not every player is going to be comfortable with that. If it happens to their character, they aren't likely to play him any more... and probably will drop out of the game because of it.

True, some players can run with it and have fun, but that's not going to be everyone. The new Starfinder has a way to deal with Hit Point loss by having Stamina Points and Resolve Points as intermediary steps.

I also put together a system for a different game broke Hit Points into 3 categories. As each category filled up, you took negative penalties to your dice rolls. Plus, there was a separate, shorter category for Unconsciousness. Once that column filled up, you were dead.

But, as you were getting penalties for damage, you were more consciously aware of how your Hit Points were running out.

For that matter, you could also make Hit Points a skill. Fighters should clearly focus on it, then.

MAGIC

Separating a spell's range, area of effect, etc. into separate categories isn't a problem. There are several games out there that use the 'build your spell' each time you cast it. But, because it takes so long to do that every time, you eventually stick with a few spells that you've already figured out the parameters for. While I found the idea intriguing, in play it quickly became annoying.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1225 posts
Mon 13 Nov 2017
at 04:09
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
While I found the idea intriguing, in play it quickly became annoying.


WoD d20 did this well I think. It explicitly had "Rotes," which were a few spells the caster had lots of practice with and thus the player not only could have them precalculated but also they were easier to cast. Yet you could still create something custom on the fly if you needed to, and that has a lot of value even if used only on few occasions. And that honestly is the point. It isn't to require spell building every round, but rather to have the flexibility when needed.

Without that you just have a re-flavored mundane.

quote:
Skill ranks as being a function of level


The problem with this is two-fold.

First, it makes skills binary (or trinary with untrained, crossclass, and class), which basically means why have skills at all? Might as well just have a generic roll with some tag words for what rolls you get to make. It is simple, but a massive amount of depth is lost. Look at 4e, they didn't even cut back this far and the skills they had were already being a problem as entirely insufficient.

Second, is that in d20, it is not a pass/fail roll. True, most players don't know this and treat it as pass/fail, but the design ties skill results to explicit meaning in comparison to a natural human's ability. If you make it a function of level, then a level 6+ character is literally a supernatural character, the entire point of splitting level from tier is to separate level from how natural or supernatural a character is.

What I'd really like to see, but am not even close to having in playable form yet, is for skills to advance in versatility rather than just raising a single number. I.E. advancing perception would allow choosing to add "Tracking" or "Trap spotter" to things the skill can be used for, or to have it reduce penalties in those cases or some such, with numerical gains only rarely. In this way, advancing a skill would advance the versatility of that skill rather than power alone.

quote:
original D&D had what a lot of us old fans now call 'Name Level'.


Neat, but again it ties level into a strict representation of power rather than versatility, knowledge, or skill. Though in this case it is political/social/financial power rather than numerical power, but depending on playstyle that is a distinction that makes no effective difference.

quote:
The problem with a game being able to accommodate getting a hand cut off is that not every player is going to be comfortable with that. If it happens to their character, they aren't likely to play him any more... and probably will drop out of the game because of it.


Then they aren't exactly a suitable for me to play with.

This is a growing problem, and it is worse than at first appears and can be a real problem for a designer too.

This stems from players wanting to be powerful with no risk. The problem is that it is an unsustainable situation. As things progress, obstacles have to be ever increasing in scope, always being bigger, badder, and more epic than the previous times in order to sustain that feeling, and eventually you run into cheesiness and it all collapses. TV shows run into this alot, hence the progression from saving the town to saving the world to saving the galaxy to saving the entire universe.

The inclusion of risk, of terrible risk, keeps that progression in check. It allows you to keeping playing at the "save the town" level without it getting boring or old because taking too much risk is unfun, and thus you get an equilibrium where they PCs take on enough risk to be fun and feel awesome for succeeding yet keep the risk low enough that they can actually win. It is not an easy balance to maintain, and the unwillingness of gms to fudge things in favor of maintaining that balance makes it difficult to achieve, hence why so many don't do it.

There are several other factors that play into it, but the fact remains that being unwilling to take such risks with a character and to start a new character when needed/desired, or just not investing in the character at all, ultimately limits the enjoyment possible. It takes away from the sweet taste of victory.

Those who never attained victory when failure was not only possible but the more likely result, will never truly understand nor appreciate the greatest enjoyments that can be gained from playing. Such players avoid such risks because they all they see is the bad, not the good. If I can't show that player how many orders of magnitude better a victory is when death and dismemberment are very likely outcomes, then I'd rather not play with them, if only because they will make the game less enjoyable to play by making victory assured before we even reach encounter number 1.



quote:
broke Hit Points into 3 categories


It is just hit points by another name. Sure some interesting things can be done by making additional penalties or having different rates of recovery, but in the end, everything I dislike about HP remains.

quote:
My premise was to come up with some sort of 'idea' (label, whatever) for your character,


And how is this useful? Either this tag has rules attached, in which you again have classes, only with the additional disadvantage of the player, gm, and the other players, all having different ideas about what that tag says about the character. I.E. does pirate mean something like Pirates of the Caribbean, or a murderous scumbag that truly deserves to have a sword slowly shoved up their banana?

Explicit classes actually opens the field in terms of what players can expect of a character, while limiting the flexibility of the character's abilities. But your idea does the opposite, opens the flexibility in terms of the character's abilities but runs much higher risks of a clash of expectations between players. This is mostly because with explicit classes like in DnD, what that class means is just the mechanics, but with just a tag, players rely on their real world understanding, and thus feelings, about what that tag means and what it says about the character.
StarMaster
 member, 285 posts
Mon 13 Nov 2017
at 04:48
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
For the most part, Skills are already broad. Your approach sounds like it would just make subskills. What's the point of breaking skills down that way?

The typical skill for that would be Perform. At first level, you play one instrument. At 2nd level, you can now play two instruments. I don't see any advantage to breaking down skills that way. You either have a simple skill system or a complex skill system.

Skills don't have to be binary or trinary... that was just a suggestion if someone wanted a more complicated system.


The problem with not wanting to play with players don't like dealing with character death or amputation is that you come close to saying that they are 'bad' players. Their style of play is just as valid as yours.

People also get emotionally invested in their characters; it's human nature. So after playing the same character for 3 years and then having it killed... that's not fun in the least.


You completely missed the point of using a tag for a 'class' (that's just a label to hang on the concept). If 10 players all want to play a warlock, chances are that no 2 will be the same. The tag is just for that player's convenience--he wanted to play a warlock, particularly what he thought one should be. It's the abilities he gives his warlock that's important.


quote:
Neat, but again it ties level into a strict representation of power rather than versatility, knowledge, or skill. Though in this case it is political/social/financial power rather than numerical power, but depending on playstyle that is a distinction that makes no effective difference.


I was pointing out an existing system. There's nothing that says level can't be a representation of 'versatility, knowledge, or skill'. To be honest, I'm not sure why you think the current level system in D&D doesn't already do that. You gain skill points and feats and often more abilities that do those very things.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1226 posts
Wed 15 Nov 2017
at 07:12
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
Skills don't have to be binary or trinary... that was just a suggestion if someone wanted a more complicated system.


You suggested a system in which no matter what level a player is they only have two or three different bonuses for skills (not including ability score bonuses), trained vs untrained or class, cross-class, and untrained. This simplifies and removes depth. It also works against the idea of mechanics as descriptors and makes it less flexible. In the end though, if your choice for a particular skill is to be trained or untrained, then it is by definition binary. Doesn't matter what the actual bonus might be.

quote:

For the most part, Skills are already broad. Your approach sounds like it would just make subskills. What's the point of breaking skills down that way?


First, let me illustrate the difference between versatility and power.

Improving power means you improve the result, or range of results to be more capable of completing tasks that could already be performed, without regard to external modifiers.

Improving versatility means you gain additional tasks that you can completed or the limits of what situations a task can be used in gets expanded.

DnD has semi-binary skills. They are either trained or untrained in terms of versatility, but you do have some choice about jmproving power, allowing you to improve power to a high level in a few things, or spread that power out among more things.

The second thing I'd like to point out is about advancement. We love getting advancement, to see improvement. There are two areas we can improve our characters, power and versatility.

My suggestion in response to your post, was the allow advancement in versatility so power could be kept in the range of the desired play without capping out too quickly.

In d20, power is your only option for improving skills, and thus, if you aren't improving power, you aren't improving at all. And this is made worse by not having very many points before you are capped out.

quote:
The problem with not wanting to play with players don't like dealing with character death or amputation is that you come close to saying that they are 'bad' players. Their style of play is just as valid as yours.


On the contrary, there are many styles of play, and they do not all mesh very well. Bringkng the wrong playstyles together has one ov two results, either both players have less fun because ghe other's playstyle keeps getting in the way, or one player has fun while the other doesn't.

Doesn't sound fair to me.

quote:
People also get emotionally invested in their characters; it's human nature. So after playing the same character for 3 years and then having it killed... that's not fun in the least.


On the other hand, the fun is increased massively with risk. Well, so long as you aren't dying repeatedly. There is a balance where there is enough risk that death happens occasionally but not often. Thus death becomes a major emotional element that enhances the game despite the sadness. There is a reason after all why tragedy and comedy were considered the best for plays, because those are the two strongest emotional pulls and the strength of a narrative comes almost entirely from the ability to make you feel emotional.

Not all players want a game that is an interactive book as they prefer a strategy game with story based flavor/aesthetics.

quote:
If 10 players all want to play a warlock, chances are that no 2 will be the same. The tag is just for that player's convenience...


I didn't misunderstand you. I'm saying there are consequences you aren't accounting for. A tag is a symbol, and every player that sees that symbol has their own idea of what it means. You need everyone to be on the same page when it comes to mechanics, after all that is one of the primary reasons for using mechanics in the first place. Else, it needs to be defined in the narrative/flavor. Otherwise, it shouldn't be included as it introduces pointless complication and confusion.

quote:
There's nothing that says level can't be a representation of 'versatility, knowledge, or skill'. To be honest, I'm not sure why you think the current level system in D&D doesn't already do that.


D20 ties all that together with power. In d20, you can't gain versatility without gaining numerical power.

The entire concept of splitting level from tier is not to add something new, but rather to separate two things that d20 has glued together and treats as one.
StarMaster
 member, 286 posts
Wed 15 Nov 2017
at 17:24
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
I wasn't proposing any system... just offering options for YOUR system.

And I didn't say there were limited bonuses to skills. I didn't even get that far. But how many bonuses do you need? How many ways can you get them?

Nor did I suggest a binary/trinary skill system. I only mentioned it as an option if you (or anyone else) wanted a more complicated system. My suggestion was you get all skills at some function of level. If you wanted to be better at one or more, you'd pick a feat/special ability/advantage/whatever to do that.

I wasn't objecting to your idea of versatility... just questioning how it differed from what's already there. No skill is so linear that you can only do one thing with it. Take the Athletics skill: you can already run, jump, climb and swim with it. How do you propose you make that more versatile? Run fast, run sideways, run backwards, run far? Jump far, jump high? Climb ropes, climb walls, climb trees? Swim faster, swim farther, high dive, SCUBA dive?

Those are already built in.

The other issue I have is: how do you gain this versatility? You seem determined to separate level from versatility, so do you spend XPs to get this versatility?

Same thing with tier. If you are separating level from tier, how do you determine the different tiers, and how do you gain them?


As far as gaming with players with different styles, I didn't say you should game with them, but that you were starting to sound like you were looking down your nose at anyone who didn't play your way. The flip side of that, though, is that if you don't game with them, how do you expect them to learn a different way?

Gamed with a player years ago who, when he joined our group, thought that the Deities and Demigods book was a checklist of who his character had killed. At least, he was using it that way. It was a bit amazing to see how much fun he had when he actually started role-playing.


As for the label approach, I just don't see any issue with players' perceptions, not that I wasn't taking that into account. You can already have the problem with D&D classes--it's automatically assumed that a Fighter is the brick and going to wade into combat with the monsters, but that eliminates role-playing. On the other hand, if that isn't what you want to do, then you don't choose to play a Fighter.

It's the mechanics that will define the character, not the label. There will some labels that will be accurate simply because that's the way the player will build the character, but the label system allows a player to break the mold/stereotypes. What is more accurate: a Hulking Brute label that does ballet, or a Ballerina label that's a hulking brute? How about a Hulking Brute that's a jet pilot or a rocket scientist?

We may have to agree to disagree on this, but I don't see a problem with expectations based on label. I see an opportunity to have fun with them.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1228 posts
Fri 17 Nov 2017
at 10:07
Re: Some mechanics for d20 like game systems
quote:
I wasn't proposing any system... just offering options for YOUR system.


Systems are nestable things, and nearly always made up of smaller systems. For example, how skills work is a system which is also a subsystem of the game system.

Just about evetything discussed so far is it's own system in addition to beinb a piece of a larger system.

quote:
And I didn't say there were limited bonuses to skills. I didn't even get that far. But how many bonuses do you need? How many ways can you get them?


???

Oh, I see. That isn't what I meant by that. For example, if you say that a class skill is ab mod plus 2 plus lvl, and a cross-class skill is ab mod plus lvl, amd untrained is pure ab mod, then you have only three possible bonuses, not including the ab mod variation (which is purely derivitive in this case), lvl+2, lvl, and 0. All your skills will only be one of these three (and the 0 is very bad as lvl gets high making a major gap between min and max).

This is what I meant by limited bonuses.

Anytime you make the skill bonus a function of lvl, you get this effect of having a limited set of potential values from choice. Adding many derivitive values can mask it but doesn't make it go away.

The norm for d20 however, allows a freeform, if limited, spending of points as desired, meaning ghat as level goes up, you have more and more possible variation in the potential skill bonuses, basically having a possible bonus lvl for every 1 point between (and including) min to max.

This greater variation adds depth.

quote:
Nor did I suggest a binary/trinary skill system. I only mentioned it as an option if you (or anyone else) wanted a more complicated system. My suggestion was you get all skills at some function of level. If you wanted to be better at one or more, you'd pick a feat/special ability/advantage/whatever to do that.


Perhaps I'm not understandinb, but your suggestion as I understand it, us a major simplification of the norm, removing complexity, not adding.

Besides, complexity is not a goal to reach for, ever. Those who claim to desire more complexity actually want more depth and ssy complexity because they don't don't know the difference. Depth has a cost, which is generally complexity. Elegance i  dedig  is generally from getting a maximum of depth with a minimum of complexity.

Unfortunately, your suggestion, as I understand it (skill equals F(lvl)=modifier), removes some depth as well as complexity.

quote:
I wasn't objecting to your idea of versatility... just questioning how it differed from what's already there.


How it differs is the the normal d20 doesn't progress versatility from a little to a lot, rather you either have untrained of trained, which is again a binary scenerio. At 1 skill rank you have an equal amount of versatility as 20 skill ranks.

quote:
The other issue I have is: how do you gain this versatility? You seem determined to separate level from versatility, so do you spend XPs to get this versatility?


On the contrary, I'm trying to make lvl represent versatility. More lvls means more versatile.

Then to make tier represent direct raw power. Higher tier means more power.

By making versatility something gained slowly (rather than binary flip from untrained to trained), it allows characters to advance while remaining at reletively similar power level.

Basically, I have a problem MMO style uncapped power increases. You find that players of different levels, even by only a few levels difference, are far different in terms of power, they just can't compete, can't even have fun together, because what is challanging to one can be one-shotted by the other. This also means that there is a very narrow band of encounters that can be fought as everywhere too high is so lethal as to be unplayable, and anywhere too weak is boring and annoying.

Focusing progression on versatility allows lots of progression, yet the most advanced player can still play with a total newb without either feeling abusively outclassed, nor bored and annoyed.

But achieving this means power progression must be separate from versatility progression and versatility must actually have a progression.

Applying this to skills means allowing skills to improve in some fashion other than straight increases to the modifier.

This doesn't mean you have to deny jumping till a certain lvl is achieved, but you can look at various uses of jumping, and allow chosen uses to be done at lower cost or more easily. Basically, adding tricks and such, so instead of just increasing how far one jumps, you can allow one to jump and shoot an arrow while jumping, or to land on a balance beam, to do a jump cartwheel ala Tombraider to keep shooting while avoiding an attack, etc.

quote:
As far as gaming with players with different styles, I didn't say you should game with them, but that you were starting to sound like you were looking down your nose at anyone who didn't play your way.


Not intended. Probably a little carry over from always having difficulty with discussions about playstyle. For example, one group I ended up leaving quickly, couldn't understand why my sorcerer couldn't identify potions, and were of the mind that I wasn't a team player because I didn't make sure I could identify potions. As far as they were concerned, I had no business playing d20 at all if I didn't understand exactly what they thought I should be doing.

I've had many discussions where the distinctions between different playstyles were unnoticed, misunderstood, ignored, or disbelieved by others, and many tell me I'm stupid and delusional talking about things they don't see.

I don't think less of people who play differently, but I do think recognizing the differences can help everyone, but after so much negativity on the topic, emotion probably leaks through.

quote:
The flip side of that, though, is that if you don't game with them, how do you expect them to learn a different way?


Do they want to? I'd be willing to teach and show, but that goes better in a format designed to demonstrate. Also, my gming style is far better at the table than online, and I don't get much chance for that anymore.

quote:
It's the mechanics that will define the character, not the label.


Not entirely true. It's called stereotyping, that thing that causes ptoblems such as racism. Not that stereotyping is entirely bad, especially if you take concious hold of definjng your stereotypes, but the problem is, is that when you share the label with others, you aren't sharing perfect knowledge of how you define the label, and therefore, the others will use their own stereotype of that label as a baseline for what they think.

Now, this is where common sense comes in, as in a sense of what things should be that two people have in common. If two people only know of wizards from reading Lord of the Rings, then labeling a character as a wizard is likely to have similar expectations.

But when you have one person who sees the wizard as a walking library whose sole purpose is to identify things and maybe drop a fireball on occasion but otherwise stays out of the fight, then they are expecting a vastly different thing and that will set the stage for how they see the wizard.

One will expect the wizard to charge in with sword and staff swinging, while the other expects the wizard to hang back as support.

This can't be avoided except by either not including the labels, or by giving a single well defined source for labels, a.k.a. classes.