Gavinfoxx
 member, 15 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 08:09
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 30):

And yet, the game has an excessive amount of rules for handling things.  Questions like, "Do I have a means of getting over to where it is?" and "Can I beat it's damage reduction and regeneration, to deal enough damage to it that it doesn't just ignore me?" and "Can I heal a lot of those dying townsfolk in an instant?" and "Can I provide a distraction by summoning monsters?" And "Can I fly up there?" and "Do I have a means of bypassing or overcoming it's SR?" and "Can I beat it's AC?"

3.5e's rules for encounters are primarily associated with tactical combat simulation scenarios.

My question was narrow on purpose. What classes have *class abilities* that help with *solving the types of adventuring problems the game presents as appropriate for characters of their level*?

I'm not especially talking about old school roleplaying where metagaming with player knowledge and skill in describing stuff to manipulate the physics of dungeon traps was encouraged.  I'm not interested in playing that; I'm interested in playing the game actually presented in the books.

This message was last edited by the user at 10:58, Sun 21 Nov.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1583 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 11:03
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
Firstly, I wasn't talking about metagaming.

Secondly, my point was that real world logic gives a very different answer to your question, "What classes have *class abilities* that help with *solving the types of adventuring problems the game presents*?"

Think of it like this, video game logic treats your question like a multiple choice question, but real world logic treats your question like a fill-in-the-blank question.

Video game logic is extremely limited in comparison but that also makes actually feasible to enumerate the choices and classify them as good or bad choices.

Real world logic is extremely open and there is NO possibility of enumerating the options.

It is a drastically different way of playing, and there is a lot more room for martials to act favorably than video game way of playing.

Try reading Tucker's kobolds. That is an example of how creative thinking can make something weak into something terrifying.
Gavinfoxx
 member, 16 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 11:25
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 33):

I've read it, several times.  That's about how the GM challenges player characters at lower levels, who don't do proper scouting (which various class abilities are extremely relevant in doing!) and have limited tool-sets to handle the problem in question.  SOME of those tactics work, but that's more about preparing the battlefield ahead of time...

...which again, some specific classes are SIGNIFICANTLY better at doing than others, if the 'dungeon-solving' problem requires prepared fortifications! Note how few skills Fighters have, note the price of making any sort of Trap using the rules, how hard it is to craft ANYTHING using the crafting rules, and note precisely HOW MANY Druid and Wizard spells involve waving your hands and deciding that that area over there is now a small fortification!
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1584 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 21:47
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
You missed the point. The entire point is that level 0 kobolds without any class abilities can be a threat even to midlevel challenges, which means the same kind of thinking on a player's part can make even npc classes a viable option for tackling encounters above their level.

It is a matter of how you play the game. If you treat it like a video game, then you face massive limitations that simply don't exist for anyone using real world logic.

Those tactics the kobolds used, there was no cheating, no bending nor breaking of rules, all of those things are options available for players, but they just don't think of them because they are stuck in a video game mindset that prevents them from considering such tactics themselves.

Even in your last post, you are still focused on counting abilities like that actually makes a difference between success and failure.

Try studying real world battles and strategies that lack magic, misleading opponents, drawing from place to place, keeping your eye on the objective rather than getting distracted by the idea of just rushing in to kill.
Gavinfoxx
 member, 17 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 23:21
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 35):

When you can stop a thundering cavalry charge with a wave of your hands, or bombard an entire military fort, while invisible, with impunity, from an altitude of 900 feet, or completely rewrite someone's personality with a spell, or who can turn into a creature that can earthglide, or become incorporeal, or summon angels to do your bidding...

...you are playing a completely different game than someone who stands in a 5 foot square and swings a sword four times.  What I mean is, using basic castle defense tactics like using murderholes and burning oil are NOT a threat to powerful characters with the correct type of -- call them what they are -- SUPERPOWERS in this edition. Spells = Superpowers.

A little bit of damage reduction, the ability to ignore smoke inhalation, and a small amount of fire resistance turns the tactics shown in Tucker's Kobolds into an absolute non-threat and cakewalk, where they are literally unable to do any form of damage to the party, regardless of tactics, because the party is immune and no-sales all the attacks.  Add various ways to bypass them shutting and locking the door or bypass a portcullis... and on and on and on.  I'm saying, specifically, that your comments  don't have any concept of the sorts of powers the game actually PROVIDES the powerful classes!

The point is more, 'a non-magical civilization is not capable of having means to threaten highly magical characters of sufficient level' than it is about tactics per se.

And Gestalt is useful for throwing the less powerful classes, the ones that DON'T get superpowers that are useful for solving adventuring problems, a bit more power.

This message was last edited by the user at 23:36, Sun 21 Nov.

gladiusdei
 member, 883 posts
Sun 21 Nov 2021
at 23:38
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
since I started this whole conversation, I feel like I need to input.  What Darklighthitomi is describing is what I was saying about the versions.  I agree that 4th and beyond feel decidedly "video game" in outlook.

but as to your comparison, a 6 foot man in gleaming mithril armor with a flaming sword that has the same amount of hit points as a full grown dragon and can shrug off those magical attacks you just mentioned is, in many ways, every bit as amazing as the magic user that casts them.  Yes, they have flashier abilities, but that doesn't make them more "powerful" unless the DM consistently presents obstacles that only they can solve, and ignores the other players.

It's the DM's job to create a game that is enjoyable for everyone.  And a group with a fighter, a druid, a wizard, and a cleric can can handle a wide range of situations, but none of those necessitate the fighter being worthless.  That only happens when the situation is intentionally presented in a manner where the magical abilities of the group are the one and only answer.

All you'd need to do is add more direct complications, and it is no longer the same.  Say you are faced with a puzzle that only magic can solve.  What if you're being attacked at the same time by skeletons, or goblins, or wizards that specialize in counterspell. Now that fighter is a needed part of the solution.

what Darklighthitomi is talking about is presenting everything as if "power" is the answer, when it doesn't need to be.  I do agree that fighters are more one-dimensional by nature, but that's part of the nature of a dungeon crawling game.  The fighter is intended to be the tank between the more "powerful" magic users and the dangers that threaten them.

My initial question is closely tied to all this.  I like gestalt because of the story aspects of it, the interesting class combinations that create unusual and cool characters.  But if every player only approaches it as a way to maximize their "power" as you define it, it isn't worth my time, because they aren't looking for the same type of game I am.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1585 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 01:47
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
If you think the fighter can't do anything ither than stand in one place and swing a sword four times, that is your video game mindset limiting you to stupidity.

There is no need to jump straight to a 120" batglemap and never leave till one side us dead.

Magic casters have limits, force them to waste spells, prevent them from recovering slots, hit and run repeatedly, set traps, distract, use teamwork, lay ambushes, etc.

Consider modern warfare vs early musket combat. Back then it was all formatiom blocks moving and directly shooting there and standing waiting to be shot. One of the big changes to combat was when people stopped doing that, they started using cover, trenches, spreading out etc, thay radically changed how combat progressed.

Metaphorically speaking, you are claiming a dozen men with modern rifles would kill 200 men with muskets without taking a casualty, but without realizing it you are assuming the modern rifles would use modern tactics and assuming the musketeers would stand there in a formation waiting to be shot and completely discounting the possibility of the musket company using cover concealment and maneuvering. That is what you are doing, metaphorically speaking. You have ideas about what each class does and assume thoae classes can only do those things, and that is why you fail to see their full potential.

Also, don't forget all the supplies and hirelings and work animals and other things that can be aquired and used to fight. And guess what, when defending a village/town, you can lead them using their supplies and not need to buy everything with your own money.
gladiusdei
 member, 884 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 02:15
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
though it is kind of a cliche example, and not a perfect analogy, looking at the avengers is a good analogy.  Hulk, Thor, and Ironman are arguably far more powerful than captain America, hawkeye, or black widow.  And if you only ever put them in front of armies of Sakarans, that will seem obvious.  But if you look at the entirety of an avenger's movie, the three less powerful characters are integrally important to the outcome, and in some ways more important than the powerful characters.  It all depends on how the DM builds his adventure, and how the players approach it.

This message was last edited by the user at 02:15, Mon 22 Nov.

Gavinfoxx
 member, 18 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 04:47
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 38):

Regarding the fighter standing in place and swinging a sword four times... well, okay. Fighters can do a bit more than that.  They can trip with polearms, sometimes do some debuffs, sometimes attack enemies several times for each action the enemy takes, and if you go for the variant versions of the class, they can do things like slam enemies into dungeon walls and break down the scenery fairly well... and those sorts of variants (Zhentarim Soldier, Dungeon Crasher, Thug, Physical Prowess) which mitigate the weaknesses of the fighter, guess what, move it up the tier list by providing more options for the player to interact with the world around them.  The Fighter, for example, is pretty much just a combat maneuver specialist (trip, disarm, ride by attack, whatever they focus on), having no class features to speak of, no skills to speak of, unless you actually seek out variant options that help FIX these things and make the character archetype able to do more than one thing, and (by default, unless you minmax the hell out of the class) not notably better than the Druid's Animal Companion or, say, a trained Warbeast Brown Bear by mid levels.  My point isn't whether the GM can come up with some convoluted situation to make the Monk able to contribute, my point is, why not just limit the class options of a game to characters that can roughly contribute the same amount in general, to mitigate the https://www.youtube.com/watch?...;ab_channel=wannywan scenario (note in that, the overpowered character is actually trying to include the underpowered one. When circumstances that can threaten the overpowered one come up, the predictable thing happens to the underpowered one.)

My point is Gestalt, carefully spread amongst the weaker classes, can make up for SOME of their weaknesses, some of the time, so players aren't left having no means to impact the plot.

Take an impassioned, full of fervor speech before a large battle by the party Fighter.  The GM asks the fighter for a Perform Oratory or a Diplomacy check to see how this speech comes across, giving a +2 bonus for good roleplay.  What happens when the Fighter nets a 5 because the class is incapable of modeling archetypes that are capable of being good inspiring battlefield leaders? Wouldn't it not actually be good roleplay to consider the Fighter, sans Gestalt that fix the issue, NOT an inspiring leader, and NOT actually containing the skills relevant to be a soldier (spot, listen, knowledge history (that's the skill for tactics), profession siege engineer for digging and making field fortifications, knowledge geography, local, nature, and survival for orienteering, tumble to know how to move around a battlefield without provoking attacks of opportunity, perform oratory for inspiring speeches, and the skills to put ranks in those as needed?


My point is the capabilities on paper inform what the characters are capable of, what they are good and bad at.  It'd be bad roleplay to have the 8 int/wis illiterate barbarian who has only put their skills into physical prowess come up with the solution to the puzzle, they literally have no mechanism to do that.  THAT is why figuring out the relative power of characters matters.  Taking the feat Alertness doesn't actually make your character able to notice things if you can't actually back it up with skill ranks and class features, no matter HOW you roleplay your character as being constantly alert.  The numbers MATTER, and gestalt can make the weaker classes less bad.

Also those magic caster limits are TRIVIALLY easy to overcome, mostly because the magical caster has the means to, you know, choose the battlefield and when they do or don't engage and the circumstances thereof, due to having things like strategic flight, strategic teleportation, access to various methods of scrying, means to have impermeable ways of resting for eight hours level 4 (rope trick + rod of extend spell), etc. etc. etc.

Also, people skirmished and used cover in napoleonic and prior times.  The whole thing about massed ranks was to provide sufficient volume of fire to break charges and formations.  It took, you know, modern repeating rifles to make the 'everyone skirmishes all the time' tactics viable. They didn't change tactics because they chose to, they changed tactics because THE TOOLS CHANGED.  And in this context, magic are better, more versatile, more powerful, and a wider set of tools and weapons.

In reply to gladiusdei (msg # 39):

The MCU movies are not combat-focused roleplaying games.

This message was last edited by the user at 05:06, Mon 22 Nov.

gladiusdei
 member, 885 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 05:25
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
that was my point.  I wanted to run a non-combat focused gestalt game where the "tier system" viewpoint of D&D wouldn't apply.  Focusing solely on combat capabilities was the problem I initially brought up, and that you have proven is the main focus of most people who play D&D.

it's fine, I will find another system to use to explore the type of game I want to play.
Gavinfoxx
 member, 19 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 05:46
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to gladiusdei (msg # 41):

Oh yes, Don't use D&D 3.5 for a noncombat game at all, ever. It's horrible for that. The diplomacy system is broken, the crafting system is broken, the implied economics system is broken, there isn't really an athletic stunt system of any sort, and if you remove the combat, then the infiltration/diplomatic/mind control/information gathering/setting breaking capabilities of full casters STILL far outstrip everyone else, even the specialists in those things!

It's just horrible for noncombat stuff, 99.9% of the rules are associated with combat and dungeon exploration encounters, even the ones that are done without actual violence, and when taken outside of that context, the abilities get even weirder and make storytelling incredibly difficult unless you are absurdly familiar with the system.

This message was last edited by the user at 06:00, Mon 22 Nov.

evileeyore
 member, 593 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 09:21
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
DarkLightHitomi:
I call it modern more because it is the standard expectation in modern designs but not older designs. That is not meant to imply that such thinking didn't exist from the beginning. There us a reason after all that Gygax complained about playing the rules vs playing the game. That kind of player always existed, but it wasn't always the design philosophy.

I see, thanks, I get what you're talking about, you want a return to the metagaming days of yore:  Challenge the Players, not the Characters.

And no bones, that is metagaming.

The way I play is to mix that, challenge the Character, with an informed Player.

For example:  I don't care if you, the Player, are a skilled surgeon.  If your Character doesn't have any medical skills, they do not have any medical skills.  So telling me that Thrax the Barbarian has watched his village shaman clean and suture wounds means diddly if their skill for Wound Treatment is 0, you're rolling with a 0 skill.

Likewise if I tell you that Thrax has detected a trap ahead (good Trap Finding roll), your meta-knowledge on how to get around traps doesn't help if you have no Trap Removal skills.  Because I'm not telling you how it's trapped, how it's set off, etc.  That's going to come down to your Character's skills.

Can you avoid the trap by taking a different route?  Getting meta-creative and burrow through a wall, just turning around, or flying over it etc?  Sure, any of those things might work (and some certainly will, like turning around and going a different way), and that's being an informed creative Player, but you will not defeat the trap by "placing a bench over the pressure plate", that tactic is part and parcel of Trap Disarming type skills (figuring out how the trap is triggered exactly and what the trap will do).  And frequently I will put in odd things that "trigger" trap detection skills, or just "metagamingly" sound like trap triggers, oddly colored tiles, oddly raised stones, a crack in the floor/wall/ceiling, "dart sized holes" in the wall's relief artwork, etc, specifically to frustrate metagamers who don't have the proper skills on their Characters.

Also I never challenge the Players in ways that a roll of the dice against a Character's skill cannot solve, because I abhor Gygaxian metaplay/metagaming (except dealing with "plotlines", and even then there are plenty of skills that can help the Character become informed, but ultimately decisions are made by the Player and executed by the Character).



DarkLightHitomi:
Firstly, I wasn't talking about metagaming.

Actually you are.  you're talking about challenging the Player not the Character, and that takes the challenge "off the table" and places it squarely against the Player.

quote:
Try reading Tucker's kobolds. That is an example of how creative thinking can make something weak into something terrifying.

Tucker's Kobolds is a classic example of metaplay, create a situation that exceeds or targets the Character's weaknesses, avoids attacking their strengths and/or resistances, and forces the Players to outwit and out strategize the GM.

Tucker's Kobolds only works on "lower/mid level" D&D Characters who do not have access to all the "super heroic" magics available to a party of 12th or higher.  Once a party can routinely murder a dragon without breaking a sweat or even worrying, Tucker's Kobolds are a non-challenge, even to your "video-game mindset" Players.


gladiusdei:
since I started this whole conversation, I feel like I need to input.  What Darklighthitomi is describing is what I was saying about the versions.  I agree that 4th and beyond feel decidedly "video game" in outlook.

3e and beyond (it actually started in 3e with the "ditch the GM" mindset of 3e, the "a rule for everything" design philosophy) were designed to remove the metaplay.  If your PC didn't have Diplomacy, then your amateur thespian Player wasn't going to be making impassioned pre-battle speeches, or picking locks without Lockpicking, or describing how magic works without ... ah... Thaumaturgy?  (I can't remember the "magic knowledge" skill for D&D anymore)

Now, I'll grant you 4e had a very ... mmm ... "linear fixed solution path" mindset baked into it and the way the "powers and abilities" had "cooldowns", yes, I've heard the "it's emulating an MMO" repeatedly.  To me it the "tap your powers" and "board movement" and "zone control" felt like a CCG game mixed witht eh Heroquest boardgame.  More boardgamey and Magic the Gathering than WoW.

But I do see that complaint.


However...  For me, 3e (and beyond) were a bit of a fresh breathe of air, a turn of the system more towards the games I prefer where your Character has the skills, not the Player.

If you want to challenge me, the Player, then let's go all the way right?  We take bokkens, and we fight.  I mean, that's only fair, right?  If I have to solve the GM's devious word puzzle and remember which fork is the salad fork to avoid an 'international' incident for the Characters, GM has to get his butt-whipped in real time for his orcs...

quote:
what Darklighthitomi is talking about is presenting everything as if "power" is the answer, when it doesn't need to be.

This is true, and even the way I run games; highly skilled, highly tactically minded, problem solving Players will have far greater success than less personally skilled, less tactical, less "problem solving" minded Players.  I try to account for this with Tactics checks from Characters, and advising the "non-tactically" minded Players but, yeah, even I admit I don't always do the greatest job.

quote:
I do agree that fighters are more one-dimensional by nature, but that's part of the nature of a dungeon crawling game.  The fighter is intended to be the tank between the more "powerful" magic users and the dangers that threaten them.

And this is where non-D&D games shine.  In GURPS for instance, the Wizards almost never "out power" the Fighter types, they just out 'versatile' them.  They have far more problem solving tools in their arsenal, but most of those tools are there to empower themselves and other Characters.  In fact, empowering the Fighter is usually the most tactically sound thing a Wizard can do in a fight in GURPS... mages are support, not glass-cannons (though depending on the rules the GM is using, they can be very D&D Wizard like, if one wants).  But out of a fight?  Very few other "professions" have the problem-solving versatility of a mage.

quote:
My initial question is closely tied to all this.  I like gestalt because of the story aspects of it, the interesting class combinations that create unusual and cool characters.  But if every player only approaches it as a way to maximize their "power" as you define it, it isn't worth my time, because they aren't looking for the same type of game I am.

Then your best bet is to carefully work with the Players and watch out for powerful combos.  Admittedly when I played Gestalt games I preferred to mix Rogue into something else, purely for the skills.  I hate playing under-skilled classes.



Gavinfoxx:
Oh yes, Don't use D&D 3.5 for a noncombat game at all, ever.

This is fact.  If you want a mostly non-combat style game, chose a system that strongly supports non-combat encounters.  I personally recommend GURPS, though FATE is a sound choice, as is FFG's L5R, they have interesting non-combat stress and defeat mechanics that most other games do not.  Following that, basically any system where the reliance is on Skill use rather than innate "class" ability, even for combat, is a better way to go as the system will have a reliance on skill use and a more primary way of adjudicating skill usage.  So Savage Worlds, the Storyteller System (Chronicles of Darkness), etc.  Even Chartmaster Rolemaster is better at non-combat games than D&D, though you'll never be using it's famous damage charts, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your viewpoint (it's a blessing, trust me).

This message was last edited by the user at 09:29, Mon 22 Nov.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1586 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 11:48
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
Metagaming is using out of character knowledge which does not in any way describe Tucker's Kobolds.

Creativity is not knowledge.

A measure if creativity is to ask you to list in 60 seconds all the possible uses you can think of for newspaper. A creative person can come up with several dozen. I even heard of one kid who listed 59, which is basically 1 per second and hadn't even gotten around to the normal use of reading it.

The same applies to the game. This isn't chess, you aren't limited to the explicitly described. You can use obscuring mist to fake smoke from a fire, even though the description doesn't specifically mention that use.

And your mention of traps is just ridiculous, a tripwire is a tripwire. You might need training to disable whatever trigger it's attached to but you'd be literally stupid enough to need a nurse and locked away in a white padded room (or a baby still in diapers) to be unable to figure out the simple ideas if stepping or jumping over a tripwire or using a chair or similar to place over it. Such things require no training to figure out.

The idea that a player doesn't even know the specifics of the trap they encounter is anti-thetical to the whole concept of an rpg. It's not roleplay at that point, just boardgaming with a background story.

If you like that, well good for you, hope you have fun, but any claims that 3e can only be played that way much less designed to be played that way is just flat out not true.

---
Also, the idea that 3e can't do non-combat well is almost as ridiculous. I have yet to find another system that can do non-combat as well. Gurps is a distant second, but not as good and nothing else I've encountered in decades even compares. I'd rather play systemless freeform than pretend any other system can do non-combat as well as 3.x.


Heck, that was 4e's solution to non-combat, to just be nearly systemless for out of combat stuff.


I personally think the mistake being made here is seeing mechanics and thinking they must be treated the same way as the rules of chess, as in "you can't do anything except what the rules say," or put another way rules are unbreakable laws on how to play. But that's false, for example, the unstable platform penalties, there are tons of situations in which they can be argued as needing to apply, but honestly you aren't supposed to use them except where they add to the game, so a campaign that is mostly on boats should not use them for every boat fight even though it would fit, but for a land campaign with a fight or two on boats woukd use them for those fights since it makes those fights feel different.

But many people can't wrap their head around the idea of mechanics that are not solidly 100% reliably applied all the time and always the same.

The dmg even says for gms to make unique adjustments and gives examples, but no one follows them.  I've spent literally 15 years trying to play the example of a witch straight out of the dmg, but no one these days will do it because they can't understand how to run the game like the dmg says, they can only understand evileeyore's perspective.

My suggestion is to read the entire 3.0 or 3.5 dmg cover to cover, out loud, to actually pay attention to what is written and not numbly pass over the text. Maybe, just maybe you'll get a glimpse of understanding.

In fact, I think I'll read it on a stream, like that guy reading the 2e dmg.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 186 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 14:29
D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?


Got it.  A couple of impassioned essays about how other people are playing wrong.

(They arenít. It might not be your cup of tea, but that is not necessarily the same thing as wrong)

Wasnít this about gestalt?
gladiusdei
 member, 886 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 14:59
D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
yes, initially, but these essays do highlight pretty much what my initial question was about.  The type of game I wanted, a game that explored the magic system of D&D without focusing on simply making yourself more effective in combat, is much more in line with one of these two viewpoints.  But I find it is the rarer of the two, and people tend to get this passionate about it, and view the opposite side as wrong.  So it's pretty hard to get people to cross over that viewpoint line.

the shame of it is, putting the power and metagaming argument aside, D&D has a very well fleshed out system of magic with very understood and expected power levels.  So a game that takes that system and explores what that would really mean for an individual, and exploring the origins and sources of magic, seems really enjoyable to me.  But that type of game isn't what is expected or wanted by the vast majority of the player base, at least that I have encountered.

I don't have any experience with another system that has the same size and complexity to their magic system, unless you count very "freeform" magic systems like Mage.  So the likelihood of me finding a way to play this game in the foreseeable future is pretty low.

Maybe I'll just write a story abut it instead or something, to try to scratch that itch.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 187 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 15:16
D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?


Ah, I think I see what you're after.  Yeah, another system might be better suited to crafting a tale like the one you mentioned.

Or, if you have a group of like-minded players, run it with whatever system (along with whatever tweaks) make sense to your group.

I think some of the common arguments against using gestalt boils down to something like, 'Yeah ... but what if the player abuses it?'    -or-  'Yeah ... but what another player does enjoy this because now their non-gestalt PC is not as powerful/capable/balanced as the others?'

This observations aren't about whether or not the system works ... or does what it was intended to do.

The main observations are about what the players might feel about it ...

So with the right group, the observations fall to the wayside, because a lot of the 'yeah, but what if' types of comments no longer apply.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 425 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 15:25
D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
Ski-Bird:
I think some of the common arguments against using gestalt boils down to something like, 'Yeah ... but what if the player abuses it?'

This is why I have always said that if I ever run a gestalt game, one of the requirements will be that one of the PCs classes has to be one of the basic, non-hybrid classes. Not only does it make sense to me, that every PC should have a basic set of skills that aren't tied to whatever their super-awesome deity-based/magic-based/whatever skills are, but it lessens drastically the ability of the players to make game-breaking twinks.

I like gestalt. I like playing gestalt. I don't like playing gestalt when there's one guy who comes up with some super-obscure magic combo of things that he found in the small print in the back of a Dragon magazine, who then steamrolls every encounter that the other PCs are just barely hanging on in.

...but then, that's not a problem with gestalt. That's a problem with power-gaming twinks. Gestalt just makes it easier for them.
evileeyore
 member, 594 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 17:26
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
DarkLightHitomi:
Metagaming is using out of character knowledge...

Knowledge or skills.

If the game system has no way to test your Character's capacity at Strategy and Tactics (ala D&D) and you're presented with a tactics and strategy problem, it's a metagame problem that requires a metagame solution.

quote:
... which does not in any way describe Tucker's Kobolds.

To the best of my knowledge D&D never addresses a Character's capacity at Tactics or Strategy, the entire premise D&D was built on was small scale tactical miniatures battles, which are a test of the Player's skills at tactics and/or strategy.

Likewise, pre-3e D&D had no way to test a Character's ability to sway other's with words, so every impassioned speech or cheesy pick up line at the tavern was based on the Player's ability, not the Character.  D&D, pre=3e, was reliant on metaplay, which is why I call it "Gygaxian", as Gary preferred to challenge the Players, not the Characters.

quote:
Creativity is not knowledge.

A measure if creativity is to ask you to list in 60 seconds all the possible uses you can think of for newspaper. A creative person can come up with several dozen. I even heard of one kid who listed 59, which is basically 1 per second and hadn't even gotten around to the normal use of reading it.

So your uncreative Players are never allowed to play creative Characters?  How limiting.


quote:
And your mention of traps is just ridiculous, a tripwire is a tripwire. You might need training to disable whatever trigger it's attached to but you'd be literally stupid enough to need a nurse and locked away in a white padded room (or a baby still in diapers) to be unable to figure out the simple ideas if stepping or jumping over a tripwire or using a chair or similar to place over it. Such things require no training to figure out.

And you're Character's knowledge of Traps might help them spot the pressure plate or hidden pit trap on the other side of the tripwire.  Or that the tripwire might literally be a trip wire, I.E. one intended to trip fast moving enemies.  Or any number of other things that "You spot a thin wire stretched across the hallway at knee height" does not tell you.

But you, the Player won't have that information without making a skill roll for your Character (in 3e and other in game skill-based non-metagame approaches).

Which is fine to a limit.  There will always be metagaming in roleplaying, because the Player makes the choices, not the Character, at least not yet.  I imagine someone has a "random roll tells you what your character does" game out there, but that's not what we're here to do.

quote:
The idea that a player doesn't even know the specifics of the trap they encounter is anti-thetical to the whole concept of an rpg.

The RPG part is the decisions.  Do they wait for the trapspringer to examine the area or do they confidently step into the unknown?  Once they've determined how the trap works, if it even is a trap or just a decoy, how do they proceed?  With greater caution, less caution, do they "Barbarian" their way through?

That's where the roleplaying comes in.

quote:
If you like that, well good for you, hope you have fun, but any claims that 3e can only be played that way much less designed to be played that way is just flat out not true.

Why are you reading more into what I'm typing than exists?  Even 4e isn't limited to "only" that.  If the GM wants to toss rules, or let the Player's metaplay, that their game.  But 3e and on has been designed to allow Players who do not have those skills play Characters that do.  Why are you insistent on not letting Players play Character's that have skills they lack?  You let them play mighty warriors and spellcasters, and I guarantee most Players are not mighty warriors or are capable of casting spells.

Why do they have to master tacticians and trapspringer and orators in real life?  Do you demand the thieves describe how they are picking locks?  I bet you don't, but yet they have to figure out your traps?

quote:
Also, the idea that 3e can't do non-combat well is almost as ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous.  D&D is at it's core a combat game, where the classes have inherent capabilities in combat.  Capabilities that other classes cannot even learn, until 3e.  And even then the game still gatekeeps a lot of "skills" and "abilities" to specific classes.

D&D does "noncombat" well only in the metaplay, which all games do well (if you ignore rules and go freeform).  3e and beyond (and a limited bit in 2e AD&D) allow for greater gameplay in noncombat by introducing skills, but they still don't do it as well as systems that are built on skills from the ground up, because D&D is still primarily concerned with what each class individually does best, not what "anyone can do".

quote:
I have yet to find another system that can do non-combat as well.

Is it because they strip out the metagame?  GURPS has a lot of flaws, but being "second best to D&D in non-combat" is not one of them.  GURPOS outshines D&D in every metric except "front-loaded simplicity" and market-share.  But that second one?  Not even 'The Other D&D' (Pathfinder) comes close to disturbing D&D at.  No game does.  Not even combining all their sales figures.  D&D is the biggest, most well known system in existence.

quote:
I'd rather play systemless freeform than pretend any other system can do non-combat as well as 3.x.

That's what I figured.

quote:
I personally think the mistake being made here is seeing mechanics and thinking they must be treated the same way as the rules of chess, as in "you can't do anything except what the rules say," or put another way rules are unbreakable laws on how to play.

That is how 3e was designed to run, because 3e is very non-Gygaxian, more "remove the metaplay", more "remove the GM" than previous editions.

quote:
I've spent literally 15 years trying to play the example of a witch straight out of the dmg, but no one these days will do it because they can't understand how to run the game like the dmg says...

I have no idea what you're talking about, because I've never read the DMG... having never run D&D since 1988(ish), which is because I discovered much better games and realized what I hated about D&D.

It was too limited and required too much metaplay, so my friends couldn't play impassioned speech-makers no matter how much they wanted to be leaders (we did it anyway, we just didn't require they make actually speeches, but I'm much happier with a system that says "Okay now roll this skill" to let them play Characters with capabilities beyond their own).

quote:
... they can only understand evileeyore's perspective.

I don't think you understood my perspective.  But maybe after this post you will.
gladiusdei
 member, 887 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 17:47
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
you guys are both just talking past each other.  You clearly don't like D&D for the things you've made clear.  That's your opinion.  His opinion is for him.  You can both play what you want to play, and neither ever has to effect the other.

the point of this post was to see if anyone else viewed gestalt as I do, and it is very clear few do.  Lesson learned, no reason to keep bashing on each other's preferences.
Gavinfoxx
 member, 20 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 19:43
D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
In reply to gladiusdei (msg # 46):

If you actually want to explore the implications of magic in d&d 3.5e, read this:

https://forums.giantitp.com/sh...rse-By-Emperor-Tippy

And this, the Frank and K tomes. I don't like all of his houserules, but his rants are incredibly insightful: https://sites.google.com/site/...ct/frank_k_0.5.1.pdf

Also, my handbooks on how a single crafting focused caster can, using only rules and options available to them in the books,, singlehandedly bring about the magitech industrial revolution and turn any medieval stasis D&D setting into magical Star Trek:

https://docs.google.com/docume...Ww/edit?usp=drivesdk

https://docs.google.com/docume...ds/edit?usp=drivesdk

https://docs.google.com/docume...eI/edit?usp=drivesdk

Also regarding the current argument, Knowledge History is the skill of tactics and strategy. Also, here is a handbook on the various abilities and methods the game gives for CHARACTERS to have skills in leadership, especially in small unit tactics scenarios: http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=9963.0 Notably, it's full of things that Bards, Crusaders, Cloistered Clerics, Archivists, but not Fighters, are good at.
Gavinfoxx
 member, 21 posts
Mon 22 Nov 2021
at 19:48
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
SunRuanEr:
...but then, that's not a problem with gestalt. That's a problem with power-gaming twinks. Gestalt just makes it easier for them.


Actually, newbie players can accidentally steamroller everything with a Druid that uses only options from the PHB and MM1, if they actually use their class features in a group that isn't used to powerful classes actually using their class features as they were intended.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1587 posts
Wed 24 Nov 2021
at 10:20
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
Ski-Bird:


Got it.  A couple of impassioned essays about how other people are playing wrong.

(They arenít. It might not be your cup of tea, but that is not necessarily the same thing as wrong)

Wasnít this about gestalt?


Depends on what you mean by "wrong."

It is not wrong to play a game in your own way.

However, a design, whether of a game or anything else, has two "intents." There is the designer's intent, and the design's intent.

The first, the designer's intent is very much objective, though obscured. We can only infer from various sources, notably the design itself.

The second, the design's intent, is like a cloud. It's an objective truth, but our perception of it can have an impact on what we believe about it. The broad strokes of the design is very solid, but the details become increasing less certain as we look deeper. So in some ways, we can eliminate opinions as being invalid, but not all of them. Tjis can in a way be calling those opinions wrong.

But none of that says you are a bad person for how you playm nor does it say you shouldn't play it your way. This is what most people think you're saying when you tell them they're wrong.

So let me be very clear, it is not wrong of you to play the way you want. But it is possible to make incorrect statements and hold incorrect beliefs about the objective aspects of the system.

For example, there is a chart in the game that dictates that players should face a broad variety if difficulties, strongly weighted towards weak encounters. It is therefore very wrong to claim that all encounters "should be" or are "supposed to be" approximately equal in difficulty.  It is not wrong to say you "prefer" all encounters to be about equal.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1588 posts
Wed 24 Nov 2021
at 10:32
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
Ski-Bird:


Ah, I think I see what you're after.  Yeah, another system might be better suited to crafting a tale like the one you mentioned.


I'm not sure this is possible. Unless introduced to the game in a particular way, most people see the mere existance of mechanics as a reason to play like a complicated version of chess.

This is why most players who dislike the power gaming favor systems that lack well defined mechanics about what happens in game amd is either very rules lite or the rules are about meta game things, like dictating who gets to narrate what.

I think the only possibilities are to find like minded players, which is getting more and more difficult, or to teach new players who have no rpg experience or knowledge, preferably not even crpg experience.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1589 posts
Wed 24 Nov 2021
at 11:31
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
evileeyore:
DarkLightHitomi:
Metagaming is using out of character knowledge...

Knowledge or skills.

If the game system has no way to test your Character's capacity at Strategy and Tactics (ala D&D) and you're presented with a tactics and strategy problem, it's a metagame problem that requires a metagame solution.


I don't entirely agree with this.

Certain things, such as strategy, can not be handled by the system without removing the roleplay.

You can only remove strategy from the player and put it on stats by abstracting everything worthwhile away. Such as the example given earlier of traps being encountered and handled without knowing what the traps actually were or how they were bypassed.

However, the knowledge aspect I'm referencing is the knowledge, the expectations, etc, that come from knowing it is just a game. For example, many do not expect to die if they rush a bunch of goblins head on, because the more popular way of playing these days disallows the goblins from being smart enough to punish players for poor tactics. So players rely on that expectation, which is metagaming.


quote:
Likewise, pre-3e D&D had no way to test a Character's ability to sway other's with words, so every impassioned speech or cheesy pick up line at the tavern was based on the Player's ability, not the Character.


Not exactly true. Pre 3.x had tons of stuff about what npcs would do and how they would respond, in many cases without any influence from players even when you'd expect some influence to matter.

quote:
quote:
Creativity is not knowledge.

A measure if creativity is to ask you to list in 60 seconds all the possible uses you can think of for newspaper. A creative person can come up with several dozen. I even heard of one kid who listed 59, which is basically 1 per second and hadn't even gotten around to the normal use of reading it.

So your uncreative Players are never allowed to play creative Characters?  How limiting.


This isn't about "allowed." It is flat out impossible without removing the roleplay. In order for a creative character to be played by an uncreative player, you have to remove the player's input on what the character actually does, makingthe player more of a character manager rather than a roleplayer.

This is simply because a player decides what the character does, and so for the player to roleplay doing something creative, they must first have a creative idea for the character to perform.

In truth, I see rpgs as the best possible tool in existence to have fun practicing creativity.

quote:
And you're Character's knowledge of Traps might help them spot the pressure plate or hidden pit trap on the other side of the tripwire.


That is where the skill ranks come into play, increading a character's chances of noticing those things when the spot check is rolled.

The difference here is telling the player what exactly the character noticed, and possibly what their character inferred, which is a massive difference from "You spot a poison dart trap, dc 32 to disable."

The character didn't spot poison darts, and they certainly didn't spot a dc.



quote:
Or that the tripwire might literally be a trip wire, I.E. one intended to trip fast moving enemies.  Or any number of other things that "You spot a thin wire stretched across the hallway at knee height" does not tell you.

Exactly, that is why the gm shoukd only mention that you spotted a wire. If they want to investigate furtherm they can do more to discover more. It shouldn't be handed to them nor have things like the wire be ignored to make it all arbitrary and purely mechanical.


quote:
But you, the Player won't have that information without making a skill roll for your Character (in 3e and other in game skill-based non-metagame approaches).

Which is fine to a limit.  There will always be metagaming in roleplaying, because the Player makes the choices, not the Character, at least not yet.  I imagine someone has a "random roll tells you what your character does" game out there, but that's not what we're here to do.

quote:
The idea that a player doesn't even know the specifics of the trap they encounter is anti-thetical to the whole concept of an rpg.

The RPG part is the decisions.  Do they wait for the trapspringer to examine the area or do they confidently step into the unknown?  Once they've determined how the trap works, if it even is a trap or just a decoy, how do they proceed?  With greater caution, less caution, do they "Barbarian" their way through?

That's where the roleplaying comes in.


Exactly. Not sure how any of this is supposed to counter anything I said.

quote:
Why are you insistent on not letting Players play Character's that have skills they lack?


What makes you think that?

Some things simply can't be done without removing the fundamental point of playing ttrpg over video games, like the creativity I mentioned earlier.

The whole point of roleplay is to be the character and make the choices and face the results. Abstracting all that away so you can have a character be more creative than you also inherently removes you from playing the role.

If you like collaborative storytelling instead, or a more gamist number-crunchy battle, then that can work, but I wouldn't call it roleplay. It's character management, like those red dot simulator mobile games that play themselves, sure you designed the character and chose what quest to accept, but the game plays itself, so it's not really you completing those quests.


quote:
Why do they have to master tacticians and trapspringer and orators in real life?


Because you can't have those things without knowing enough to at least fake them. Someone has to describe those things, or all you have numbers and no meaningful event.


quote:
Do you demand the thieves describe how they are picking locks?  I bet you don't, but yet they have to figure out your traps?


They do have to decide if they are going to pick the lock or try something else. There is a distinction between the broad strokes of what is happening vs the technical details.

To bring this more in line with the traps example, you tell the player the door is locked instead of telling the player they can't go in that room.

I say, the player tries the door and discovers that the knob doesn't turn, by the jiggling it seems to be locked. The player then decides to either pick the lock, break the door down, find another way in such as a window or alternate door, or to go find a key, ot=r to trick someone into letting them inside, or any number of other possibilities.

This us what I require from traps, if they want to mechanically shut down the trap, they can roll the skill, but if they just want to progress, there are a lot of options other than disabling the trap. Likewise, if they want to pick a lock, they can roll the skill, but if they just want to get inside, there are other options available.



quote:
quote:
Also, the idea that 3e can't do non-combat well is almost as ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous.  D&D is at it's core a combat game, where the classes have inherent capabilities in combat.  Capabilities that other classes cannot even learn, until 3e.  And even then the game still gatekeeps a lot of "skills" and "abilities" to specific classes.


This is one aspect I never liked, but it isn't a combat thing, it's spotlight protection. No matter how the fighter minmaxes being a fighter, he will never remove the rogue's ability to shine in those moments where the newbie rogue gets to have a moment where the whole party is relying on the rogue to step up and do something the fighter can't.

This is spotlight protection. It is important but has nothing to do with combat.



quote:
D&D does "noncombat" well only in the metaplay, which all games do well (if you ignore rules and go freeform).  3e and beyond (and a limited bit in 2e AD&D) allow for greater gameplay in noncombat by introducing skills, but they still don't do it as well as systems that are built on skills from the ground up, because D&D is still primarily concerned with what each class individually does best, not what "anyone can do".


Not true, of 3.x at least. 4e and 5e most certainly fit your description, but 3e actually does non-combat well, it is however, poorly presented and largely ignored, and very much misunderstood.

I recommend reading Calibrating Your Expectations by the Alexandrian, for at least a little insight here.

Strip all the exclusively combat stuff from 3e and you'll still have plenty of material to work with. I know, because that's what I'm working on for my system.

...
bigbadron
 moderator, 16059 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 24 Nov 2021
at 15:42
Re: D&D 3.5 Gestalt- How do people view it?
And since this thread is just, as mentioned by the OP, turning into one long argument, with nobody standing a snowball's chance in Hell of changing the other's mind, I'm closing it down.