Author Topic: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals  (Read 2301 times)

Offline Samwise

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Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« on: March 04, 2016, 02:45:15 PM »
In AD&D (1st edition), spellcasters still destroyed everything at the highest levels, particularly the wizards. Before then, they had a few more issues.
How many of these would slow them down in D20?
Which would be "acceptable"?

Wizards and Illusionists were hit with:
1. Spells Known Per Level
           Chance to   Minimum     Maximum
Ability  Know Each  Number of   Number of
Score   Listed Spell Spells/Level Spells/Level
9              35%           4                  6
10-12       45%           5                  7
13-14       55%           6                  9
15-16       65%           7                 11
17            75%           8                 14
18            85%           9                 18
19 (25)     95%          10                All
20 (27)     96%          11                All
21 (29)     97%          12                All
22 (31)     98%          13                All
23 (35)     99%          13                All
24 (39)   100%          16                All
25 (43)   100%          17                All

Unlike a Spellcraft check, which can optimized to be guaranteed, there was pretty much always a failure chance at "mortal" levels of Intelligence. And of course unlike D20, there were vanishingly few ways to get an ability score over 18 barring wishes.
Even with the other boosts available in D20, the numbers in parentheses for ability scores reflects treating them as increasing the way giant strength did between the editions. (Hills giants had 19 Str in AD&D, Titans had 25 Str. They have 25 and 43 respectively in D20.) While still doable, it is a bit harder these days.
The last column leads into the next major hurdle all spellcasters faced:

There weren't that many options.
2. Spells Available Per Level
             Cleric        Druid    Magic User      Illusionist
Cantrip    0/0            0/0           0/66             0/74
1st          12/20       12/16       30/40           12/16
2nd         12/20       12/16       24/36           12/16
3rd          12/20       12/16      24/32           12/16     
4th          10/16       10/12      24/32            8/12
5th          10/16       10/12      24/30            8/12
6th          10/12       10/12      24/30           8/12
7th          10/12       10/12      16/24     5(30)/7(40)
8th        null/null    null/null     16/20       null/null
9th        null/null    null/null     12/16       null/null

That's how many spells were in the books - PHB/Unearthed Arcana. (The number in parentheses for illusionists at 7th level indicates they can learn 1st level wizard spells as 7th level illusionist spells.)
So even when a wizard might know all spells of a level, there weren't as many choices available.
Clerics, druids, and specialist wizards in particular have extremely cut-down spell lists.
There were some more expansions in 2nd edition, which led someone to decide to try and control clerics by introducing the concept of "spheres" - which were sort of glorified domains - to restrict spell access. The "best" part of that being not allowing the "healing sphere" to specialist clerics of evil deities.

Then there were two power source specific controllers.
Clerics and Druids got:
3. Code of Conduct
Not explicit like the paladin code, but:
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Cleric spells of third, fourth, and fifth level are obtained through the aid of supernatural servants of the cleric's deity. That is, through meditation and prayer, the cleric's needs are understood and the proper spells are given to him or her by the minions of the deity.

Cleric spells of sixth and seventh level are granted by direct communication from the deity itself. There is no intermediary in this case, and the cleric has a direct channel to the deity, from whom he or she receives the special power to cast the given spells of these levels.

. . .

If they have not been faithful to their teachings, followed the aims of their deity, contributed freely to the cause and otherwise acted according to the tenets of their faith, it becomes unlikely that they will receive intermediary aid unless they make proper atonement and sacrifice. There can be no question that such clerics must be absolutely exemplary in their activities, expressions, and attitudes if they dare to contact their deity directly!
Still the whole "Play the way the DM wants you to play or get totally hosed."

Wizards and Illusionists got hit with:
4. The Spellbook
In many ways, all the same things are said in D20, but in AD&D, the spellbook was considered a primary point of vulnerability the way a familiar is in D20.
Ordinary spellbooks are big:
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The encumbrance value of such a book is equal to three times its weight (450 gp or thereabouts), although it is correct to assume that a volume will fit within an otherwise empty backpack or large sack.
Even a travelling spellbook is hefty:
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Five such books will fit within a backpack, twice that number in a large sack.
And neither held that much:
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1. Standard books, each of which contains up to 36 cantrips, up to 24 spells of 1 st-3rd level, up to 16 spells of 4th-6th level, or up to 8 spells of 7th-9th level.

2. Travelling books, each of which contains at most one-fourth of the number of spells possible to be contained in a standard spellbook - either nine cantrips; six spells of lst, 2nd, andlor 3rd level; four spells of 4th, 5th, andlor 6th level; or two spells of 7th, 8th, and/or 9th level.

And implicit in the concept of travelling spellbooks is that they are a point at which to doubly hit wizards where it hurts - not only do you menace their source of spells, but you force them to carry only a subset around with them.
Back in AD&D days, the Spell Mastery feat would have meant something.

And the primary D20 method of optimizing a spellbook - (Boccob's) Blessed Book, worked much differently in AD&D. It was simply smaller (12"x6"x1"), gained a +3 save bonus, and could contain 45 levels of spells.
Not at 1 page per spell, just 45 levels of spells.
And not at a reduced cost to scribe either. Does anyone count spellbooks against WBL for wizards?

As another major hit, druids simply didn't have the Big 2 - wild shape and animal companion:
5. Druid wild shape was essentially the Ranger ACF version - tiny to medium (bullfrog to black bear), get animal ability scores, attacks, and movement methods, heal some hit points, and . . . that's it. 3/day.
No large or huge; no plants; no elementals.
Animal companions were the 3E version rather than the 3.5 version - use the animal friendship spell for 2 HD/druid level or ordinary critters with no enhancements. If you were lucky enough to prepare the spell when you met a tiger, you could befriend it, otherwise be happy with your common woodland creatures. And remember, no "dire" animals or what not back then either.

Finally, there was the issue of:
6. Spell Memorization time:
15 minutes/spell level
In D20, a 9th level wizard knows 34 levels of spells without Int modifier or specialization.
That is 8-1/2 hours to replace his spell list in addition to the 8 hours of rest.
While it is "default" that high level wizards just wander off to alternate time flow planes, at more "modest" levels, the standard lurking in extra-dimensional spaces becomes a bit less optimal. The "4-hour workday" swiftly turns into the "4-hour workweek", completely trashing any concept of the non-static dungeon if parties let their spellcasters blow through their available spells then wait for a full reload.

Offline Bronzebeard

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2016, 04:18:02 PM »
Your point being?

Also, have you seen my threads regarding arcane spellcasting?

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2016, 07:30:02 PM »
My point is mostly random ramblings, with a suggestion of some starting points to restrict those classes, and a question as to how people might react to them.
They would need a bit of work to turn into more complete rules.

Yes, I've seen your threads. They're interesting, but a different direction from what I'm looking at with these.

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2016, 05:58:04 PM »
Back in the AD&D era, there were indeed some additional difficulties. However, I do not believe that these peripheral things are where the "balance" is to be found, for various reasons. If your goal is to achieve balance between casters and noncasters, I believe it is best to look forward, and not backward.

I'll go from last to first.

   •  "Spell Memorization Time" is not a restriction for wizards. Instead, it is a bother for the entire party, because they will simply wait for him to finish. A wizard is part of the party, and it is poor strategy (and no fun) to have part of the party sit out the action. Even if they have to wait days, they will wait.

   •  For all the power of wild shape and animal companions, druids are not tier 1 for those things. They are tier 1 because they are full spellcasters with access to a wide list. Wild Shape is basically just another spell, and animal companion another fighter in the party.

   •  When I play a wizard in AD&D and I need to carry my spellbook, I buy a mule. The size and weight of the spellbook are the least of anyone's worries. As for the WBL thing, WBL is for the whole party. PCs distribute the treasure evenly (it would be odd to give the wizard less), so counting spellbooks against WBL does not increase party balance, and will probably make it worse because the fighters cannot afford to buy the magic items they need.

   •  Codes of conduct are roleplaying guides. Played properly, it means that a cleric needs to act like a cleric, which isn't hard to do. Played improperly, it is the DM looking for an excuse to remove a party member, which will satisfy exactly no-one, including the nonmagical party members.

   •  The number of spells available is a function of book selection; there are few spells to choose from in core-only 3.5 for example, and that does not make core 3.5 balanced.

Finally, the limited spells known. This is the one that has a real effect, though it can be gotten around in AD&D by researching new spells (spells you invent yourself do not count towards the cap). In d20, however, you need look no further than tier 2 classes if you want something similar: they too have a limited number of spells per level. If you remove tier 1, the argument merely turns into "Sorcerers are uber broken" instead of wizards, because you do not actually need that many spells to cause the balance hissifits.


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Where am I going with all this? The answer is that if you want balance between "BatmanDOCTOR DOOM, CoDzilla and mortals" then the way to do it is directly dealing with what spells can do, compared to what nonmagic classes can do. The most effective way to balance is to look to 4e, not 2e. In 4e, spells simply aren't as good any more, and run on the same system as the mortals. To give a 3.5 example, the warlock is rated the same as the rogue, despite having unlimited magic per day, no need to deal with spellbooks or components, no code of conduct, and no prep time! Why?
Because the warlock's magic isn't all that great.

The root of the spellcaster's power is his spells. Changing everything but the spells themselves is missing the point.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 06:07:15 PM by Maelphaxerazz »

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2016, 09:13:25 PM »
   •  "Spell Memorization Time" is not a restriction for wizards. Instead, it is a bother for the entire party, because they will simply wait for him to finish. A wizard is part of the party, and it is poor strategy (and no fun) to have part of the party sit out the action. Even if they have to wait days, they will wait.

So they wait and . . . the adventure passes them by.
And they lose all the good treasure, and must stumble through the next low-level adventure.
In which case that is indeed not a balance mechanism but a story turned control mechanism, but at a certain point the rest of the players are likely to get sick of waiting for the spellcaster to ready his list and learn to wander off and adventure without him. In which case they get the xp and loot, while the spellcaster lags behind, and then it does become a balance mechanism.

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   •  For all the power of wild shape and animal companions, druids are not tier 1 for those things. They are tier 1 because they are full spellcasters with access to a wide list. Wild Shape is basically just another spell, and animal companion another fighter in the party.

So I click over to the druid handbook, and wild shape and animal companion are rated as high as the spells.
Are you saying the handbooks completely misrepresent those abilities?

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   •  When I play a wizard in AD&D and I need to carry my spellbook, I buy a mule. The size and weight of the spellbook are the least of anyone's worries. As for the WBL thing, WBL is for the whole party. PCs distribute the treasure evenly (it would be odd to give the wizard less), so counting spellbooks against WBL does not increase party balance, and will probably make it worse because the fighters cannot afford to buy the magic items they need.

Mules die real easy. Indeed the D series modules make it a point to note that mules and such carrying supplies aren't going to make it very far. I noted how magic bypasses that, but that doesn't change the requirement to assign a certain amount of wealth just to keeping the wizard able to cast his full range of spells.
As for WBL, what you are describing is giving the wizard a disproportionate amount of wealth. Everyone gets the same amount of gp, what they spend it on is up to them. If the wizard spends it all on ink to scribe more spells, that is significantly less available for other toys. Or the wizard passes on having that range of spells available.
Or the party accepts being the wizard's NPC WBL cohorts.

Quote
   •  Codes of conduct are roleplaying guides. Played properly, it means that a cleric needs to act like a cleric, which isn't hard to do. Played improperly, it is the DM looking for an excuse to remove a party member, which will satisfy exactly no-one, including the nonmagical party members.

Yes, I noted that.
It remains that clerics face the possibility of simply not getting those miracle spells on demand.

Quote
   •  The number of spells available is a function of book selection; there are few spells to choose from in core-only 3.5 for example, and that does not make core 3.5 balanced.

And yet the core only list is still vastly greater than previous lists.

Quote
Finally, the limited spells known. This is the one that has a real effect, though it can be gotten around in AD&D by researching new spells (spells you invent yourself do not count towards the cap). In d20, however, you need look no further than tier 2 classes if you want something similar: they too have a limited number of spells per level. If you remove tier 1, the argument merely turns into "Sorcerers are uber broken" instead of wizards, because you do not actually need that many spells to cause the balance hissifits.

You have still gotten rid of Tier 1 in the process.
Which was basically the goal.
Hissyfits over Tier 2 can be addressed at a later date.

And of course researching spells cuts into . . . WBL.

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Where am I going with all this? The answer is that if you want balance between "BatmanDOCTOR DOOM, CoDzilla and mortals"

I know that isn't going to happen, so I'm not even trying, because:

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then the way to do it is directly dealing with what spells can do, compared to what nonmagic classes can do. The most effective way to balance is to look to 4e, not 2e. In 4e, spells simply aren't as good any more, and run on the same system as the mortals.

That is why.
I'm not looking to recreate a failed system, just to tweak the excesses of a system gotten too out of control.

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To give a 3.5 example, the warlock is rated the same as the rogue, despite having unlimited magic per day, no need to deal with spellbooks or components, no code of conduct, and no prep time! Why?
Because the warlock's magic isn't all that great.

Isn't that great because there is less and of a lower level.
I don't want lower level, but less certainly sounds appealing.

Quote
The root of the spellcaster's power is his spells. Changing everything but the spells themselves is missing the point.

I'm also not looking to create an entirely new magic system.
I know others are making that effort, but it doesn't appeal to me, and I'd like to look at ways to moderate the gap with less complex revisions/retrogressions.

And mind you, that applies to a lot of the spell effects as well, which had inherent restraints in AD&D. One that I've mentioned in similar discussion is that haste effectively had a Fort save or die every time you used it. As for wish, I had a standing offer of free wishes for any player who wanted them. The most determined one lasted 30 minutes before giving up and swearing them off forever.

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2016, 11:36:40 PM »
I'm not looking to recreate a failed system, just to tweak the excesses of a system gotten too out of control.
Then you aren't going about it very well. No matter its nostalgic charm, 2e has more claim to the "failed system" title than 4e has.

Look, I'm not telling you to make a new magic system. However, your method for addressing the issues of tier 1 amounts to telling the players "Please do not play tier 1," and it is easier and more effective to just say that sentence than putting a lot of onerous restrictions on existing classes.
Take this, for example:
So they wait and the adventure passes them by... at a certain point the rest of the players are likely to get sick of waiting for the spellcaster to ready his list and learn to wander off and adventure without him.
Wrong. At a certain point, unless you can engage the whole group, your players get sick of the game and wander off to play something else. Any game element that depends on part of the group not playing the game has already failed. "You can play this, but I'll make the group play without you" is a dishonest way of saying "Do not play this because I will hate you if you do."

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I'd like to look at ways to moderate the gap with less complex revisions/retrogressions.
Tier 2 classes exist. For clerics and druids, there is even an unearthed arcana variant that drops them down a tier. For wizards, the Sorcerer exists (and the generic Spellcaster class, for another option). So if your goal is merely to remove tier 1... then all you have to do is say "don't play tier 1". That is the most simple thing.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2016, 03:32:31 AM »
Then you aren't going about it very well. No matter its nostalgic charm, 2e has more claim to the "failed system" title than 4e has.

Really?
How long was 2nd ed published with how many products compared to the other system?
And how many systems claim direct influence from 2e compared to the other system?

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Look, I'm not telling you to make a new magic system.

Then what alternative are you suggesting?

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However, your method for addressing the issues of tier 1 amounts to telling the players "Please do not play tier 1," and it is easier and more effective to just say that sentence than putting a lot of onerous restrictions on existing classes.

No, my method amounts to revising certain rules so as to make Tier 1 into Tier 2.

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Wrong. At a certain point, unless you can engage the whole group, your players get sick of the game and wander off to play something else. Any game element that depends on part of the group not playing the game has already failed. "You can play this, but I'll make the group play without you" is a dishonest way of saying "Do not play this because I will hate you if you do."

The same applies to players failing to engage the game - "I'll only play if I can do these things, these ways." To which after a certain point the DM wanders off and finds some other players.
Likewise saying "I'm the Tier 1, so wait for me" is a dishonest way of saying "Pander to my character or create new ones and maybe I'll let them be my followers."

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Tier 2 classes exist.

So?
Does that mean there cannot be more?
There are Tier 3 classes as well. Does that mean Book of 9 Swords is superfluous?

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So if your goal is merely to remove tier 1... then all you have to do is say "don't play tier 1". That is the most simple thing.

Removing Tier 1 is not the same as removing wizards, clerics, and druids.

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2016, 12:39:32 PM »
Having wizards play only some of the time does not even solve balance: either the party has a wizard to do all the wizardy things that wizards do, who is exactly as powerful in your described system as 3.5's standard Wizard, or the party has no wizard for this adventure because he's busy memorizing spells. That's not like game balance, that's like forcing a player to flake out. And notice I said the players will leave your table, not the player. No-one, not even the fighter player, will enjoy the game if some of the group is forced to go play cell phone games in the corner because you decided to implement bad house rules. They will either choose not to have a wizard in the party at all, or choose not to have you as the DM. The wizard players are not your enemy. They are as much part of the group as everyone else, and any balanced solution is balanced by playing alongside each other, not balanced by playing only some of the time. And back in the AD&D era, no-one ever left their wizard at home, they just did more downtime to let him prepare.

The existence of tier 3 classes does not make Tome of Battle sulfurous. Rather, if one is to make more tier 3 classes, it is better to look at how existing tier 3 classes do it (including ToB), just in case what one is doing is a worse solution than the ones already there.

In your case, you want tier 2 clerics, druids and wizards. Tier 2 has classes that are a lot like clerics, druids and wizards, so see how they do it. They do not heap inconveniences onto the classes, and in fact have less hoops than tier 1 classes. It is the ability to prepare for many different situations that makes tier 1s distinct from tier 2s, and not anything else. That is why I was drawing your attention to tier 2. You were trying to make tier 1s into tier 2's without paying attention to what makes a tier 2 class tier 2. You could make Clerics and Druids tier 2 with an existing variant, which gives them a spell system more like a Sorcerer's. As for Wizards, I did say that limiting the number of spells they can learn is the one thing on your list that works. I merely think that if you do so, and do some of the other things you listed as well, then people would just not play a wizard, so why not skip the middleman?

When WotC acquired TSR, it had a long existence and loads of products. TSR was also practically bankrupt. The products were mouldering in warehouses, unsold and worthless. Its long existence was propped up by desperate, shady deals. More than anything, Ryan Dancy points to TSR's unwillingness to listen to players as why it failed, and failed hard. And among other things, the players found D&D too restrictive, limited their creativity, and wasn't fun to play. 2e has more claim to the "failed system" title than any other edition of D&D, because under 2e, D&D nearly died forever. So be careful what you copy: WotC changed the things it changed for a good reason.


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Look, I'm not telling you to make a new magic system.
Then what alternative are you suggesting?
I was suggesting that you reduce the power of the spells, as that is the root of the divide. However, that was before you indicated that you are fine with tier 2's power level. Now my suggestion is to use tier 2 classes as the source you draw ideas from, instead of AD&D.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 12:41:21 PM by Maelphaxerazz »

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2016, 03:00:01 PM »
1e Clerics also had an "In Favor with Deity" clause.
They only got 1st and 2nd level spells automatically.
Minions of the deity provided 3rd and 4th level spells.
Lesser deities themselves had to hand out the 5th level spells.
Only Intermediate deities had 6th level spells to give out.
Only Greater deities had the 7th level spells.

The progression was "full caster" up through the 5s,
but the 6s and 7s were delayed.


Personally I liked that Wizards didn't get their whole
spell list, and rather had an im-personalized lesser list.
Then you make due with that and acquistion and
paying for writing them in, etc ...
avatar#3 , gravitational lensing edition ... I'm way on the other side of the universe but look like pretty rings

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2016, 04:27:45 PM »
Having wizards play only some of the time does not even solve balance: either the party has a wizard to do all the wizardy things that wizards do, who is exactly as powerful in your described system as 3.5's standard Wizard, or the party has no wizard for this adventure because he's busy memorizing spells.

Well . . . no.
Wizards are super-powerful because they "always" have spells available to do "everything".
If wizards no longer "always" have spells available because they take one or more adventuring periods to prepare them, then they come closer to being "balanced" when they are running around with their highly "consumable" allotment of memorized spells.
Similarly, when wizards no longer have spells to do "everything" because they must choose between adding those extra spells to their spellbook, plus carrying those spellbooks around securely, or having enough magical "toys", then again things come closer to being "balanced".

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That's not like game balance, that's like forcing a player to flake out.

No, that's like using resource management as an element of the game.
Which . . . it is already supposed to be doing.

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And notice I said the players will leave your table, not the player. No-one, not even the fighter player, will enjoy the game if some of the group is forced to go play cell phone games in the corner because you decided to implement bad house rules. They will either choose not to have a wizard in the party at all, or choose not to have you as the DM.

Or they will choose to have the wizard not nova out his spells then whine that the adventure stop because he feels useless.
You know, the way people always managed to have wizards in the party in AD&D.

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The wizard players are not your enemy. They are as much part of the group as everyone else, and any balanced solution is balanced by playing alongside each other, not balanced by playing only some of the time.

That's a rather feeble strawman.

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And back in the AD&D era, no-one ever left their wizard at home, they just did more downtime to let him prepare.

Which means your predictions of players abandoning DMs who use such rules isn't valid.

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I merely think that if you do so, and do some of the other things you listed as well, then people would just not play a wizard, so why not skip the middleman?

Because a wizard is still not a wu jen or sorcerer, and a cleric or druid is still not a favored soul, shaman, or spirit shaman.

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When WotC acquired TSR, . . .

I'm well aware of that.

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So be careful what you copy: WotC changed the things it changed for a good reason.

You mean the way WotC promptly copied the Splat Book of the Month Club from TSR with D20, then repeated it with their follow-up game system?
I'm well aware of that too.

[quote ]I was suggesting that you reduce the power of the spells, as that is the root of the divide. However, that was before you indicated that you are fine with tier 2's power level. Now my suggestion is to use tier 2 classes as the source you draw ideas from, instead of AD&D.[/quote]

Which is redoing the magic system.
Still not interested.

As for using Tier 2 classes as inspiration, I'm not looking to make variants of those classes, I'm looking for general system controls.
Those are two rather different things.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2016, 04:45:07 PM »
1e Clerics also had an "In Favor with Deity" clause.
They only got 1st and 2nd level spells automatically.
Minions of the deity provided 3rd and 4th level spells.
Lesser deities themselves had to hand out the 5th level spells.
Only Intermediate deities had 6th level spells to give out.
Only Greater deities had the 7th level spells.

The power level thing was interesting, but I found that long term it had a corrupting effect on game flavor. No cleric would pick anything but a greater power to serve because they wanted those 7th level (and quest) spells.
The best D20 managed with that was to suggest that higher ranking powers get more domains, but that has barely any effect, and got subverted as the domains multiplied.

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The progression was "full caster" up through the 5s,
but the 6s and 7s were delayed.

Wizards had the same thing, switching to even-numbered levels for new spell levels with 6th level and higher spells.

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Personally I liked that Wizards didn't get their whole
spell list, and rather had an im-personalized lesser list.
Then you make due with that and acquistion and
paying for writing them in, etc ...

So did I.
I remember spell acquisition being an awesome element of playing a wizard. In D20 it became haggling over which splat books are available.

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2016, 10:54:54 AM »
OP:
(click to show/hide)

I'm not looking to recreate a failed system, just to tweak the excesses of a system gotten too out of control.
This is exactly what everyone should want. But of course (queue whiny voice) it's hard. So they don't. They instead put the cart before the horse and try to add unecessary layers of complexity by (poorly) reinventing the wheel. That is not to say that the ideas aren't interesting (bronzebeard's thread is amusing), but they are very very poor substitutes for a base-line fix of third edition.

Have you looked into my 3.5 Metacompendium? The character building resources include my minimalistic homebrew fixes. I consider them as "standard" to trying to maintain "normal" D&D play as the dirty handbook fixes are to trying to have non-broken play.

I'm looking for general system controls.
Those are two rather different things.
You are totally correct here. And although (immature?) players may resent any nerf you place on them, the truth of the matter is that resource starvation is a legitimate balance factor. If it weren't, spells per day would be an unfair nerf that would cause all wizard players to leave their DMs in a huff. Why? Because they once played a broken UA variant where you could have unlimited spells per day (cough cough spell recharge).



@sam+mael on players/DMs leaving the table over "not playing" due to spell prep time: Mael, Sam is assuming the players will want to engage and learn to hold themselves back. It appears that you aren't assuming that. Sam thinks that such a play style is fair because otherwise it leads to unfair play ("be my NPC cohorts!"). I am not sure which is "right", but I would suggest making sure the player is okay with holding back first before playing a full caster with such a long spell-preparation time. They don't have to be the wizard, but if they do they should know about what to expect and not walk out on the group over what is essentially a small class nerf.

so why not skip the middleman?
I can't speak for Sam, but when I did this I wanted to preserve the wizard class and its uniqueness (prepared spells), along with all its ACFs. I believe I succeeded.

I remember spell acquisition being an awesome element of playing a wizard. In D20 it became haggling over which splat books are available.
My suggestion is to use my "free" spells-only limitation as per my sig. Then only give (100-x)% of the spells at level and allow players to "find" the missing x%. It's like a scavenger hunt.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2016, 05:35:12 PM »
Sure thing. I always love your AD&D look at things, mainly because you are nice enough to put them into 3e terms for us to easily analyze.

Thanks. I make an effort to do that as I get irked at the retro people who blather on about things were better without even trying to make a direct comparison.
Of course I then do things like add up the total treasure in the "classic" modules and show how they make the treasure in 3E modules look paltry, and they get all angsty on me.

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Okay getting to 26 int means you're outside of the 'baby D&D' levels where you get 1 shot from a lucky crit. . . . Hopefully that's some perspective.

It is, but I think I left one thing out:
25 is THE limit for ability scores in AD&D. There is no 26. Except for the Girdle of Giant Strength, no scores above 18 for any ability score were mentioned in the core rules. The charts for them ONLY appeared in the deities book. NOT the outer planes book - the deities book. Thoth and Mystra and such got 25 Int. It was optimization-verging-on-cheating for a grey elf to have a 19 Int because of their +1 Int modifier.
So yeah, that's the equivalent it should be at.

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This is one reason why I've split the main casters into 3 groups: the PHB casters, the SC casters, and everything else. By now, people have realized that most of the truly troublesome spells are in core, so usually full casters "choose" to only cast spells from core.

So perhaps focus the limit primarily on core spells?
Maybe SC spells count as half a spell and everything else counts as a third of a spell?

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As far as carrying books ... what about a bag of holding? Or, just, a tied-up donkey with sacks and an alarm spell on it? You could teleport to the donkey if the alarm went off...

For me, I look back to the DM notes in D1, where the PCs are beginning a months-long trip through the underdark to the Vault of the Drow, and it makes it clear to expect all donkeys being brought down are merely uneaten purple worm chow on the hoof, and that the players will need to be prepared to switch to drow pack lizards at some point.
Bag of holding? Awesome until you need to access it inside another planar hole and it is sealed. And when you roll a 1 on a save and the bag has to save as well?
Teleport to your donkey? Inside the above mentioned purple worm? Or wait to see if the books survive the stomach acid?

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As for wizards' books and WBl, the "free" ... wow, I think I know what you're asking and I've never thought about it that way: do the 'free' spells count against his total wealth?


You don't have to count the free spells, just the spells the wizard adds.
20 9th level spells are 180 pages (so almost two full books right there to carry), and cost 18,000 gp. Not THAT much out of the 760K a 20th level wizard should have.
But then you add 20 8th level spells at 16K, 20 7th level spells at 14K, and on down to 1st level spells and "suddenly!" that is 90K, or almost 12% of his WBL (over 26% for a 17th level wizard), not to mention 9 full spellbooks, plus a 10th for his cantrips, weighing in at 30 lbs. Yes, it still fits in a bag of holding, which of course is a dedicated chunk of your WBL as well.
(As an "intriguing" aside, I tried pointing this out during the PFRPG "playtest", noting how the Blessed Book skews it down absurdly, especially with one "wasted" feat on craft wondrous items. Naturally rather than fix the Blessed Book they chose to trash scribing costs so the book wasn't even needed, because of course wizards need MOAR.)

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@wildshape, I don't know about polymorph/alter self back then, but for low-OP black bear or eagle is almost good enough. You dump your physical stats and there you go. . . .
and
@animal companion, why just summon a tiger?

Compared to some of the handbook versions of both, those sound a lot more reasonable.
Compared to some of the LG optimized versions I've seen, those sound absolutely more reasonable.

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@spell preparation times, if the DM has banned planes with flowing times, I see spell preparation in 3e as a medium-optimization cap. You're just going to have to be okay with every other day (bedroll), wasting a large chunk of it to prepare spells. Yes, you will be vulnerable to a dedicated attacking spellcaster during those times. Even private demiplanes can be wished into, so the real goal is to not piss off other resourceful NPCs or they will just scroll of wish to you. (Of course, scrolls have been fixed in my sig as well)

Or just have a wandering monster show up. (Giant slug with acid spit at the spellbook!)
Or have the bad guys get reinforcements and set up traps. ("Where did the giants get the siege weapons from?")
Or any of the other nasty surprises in AD&D modules for parties that took too much time to rest between attacks. (Yes, in G3 if you retreat and return the fire giants set up a ballista to shoot you.)
It should require "some" effort and planning from the PCs to deal with.
And if they really want more "spells" per day, they can take a reserve feat and keep one spell in memory.

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This is exactly what everyone should want. But of course (queue whiny voice) it's hard. So they don't. They instead put the cart before the horse and try to add unecessary layers of complexity by (poorly) reinventing the wheel. That is not to say that the ideas aren't interesting (bronzebeard's thread is amusing), but they are very very poor substitutes for a base-line fix of third edition.

Pretty much.
If I could turn all mundanes into Tier 4 and all spellcasters into Tier 3 I'd be quite satisfied with the results.

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Have you looked into my 3.5 Metacompendium? The character building resources include my minimalistic homebrew fixes. I consider them as "standard" to trying to maintain "normal" D&D play as the dirty handbook fixes are to trying to have non-broken play.

Reading things like that is what keeps provoking me to my own random thoughts on fixes.

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You are totally correct here. And although (immature?) players may resent any nerf you place on them, the truth of the matter is that resource starvation is a legitimate balance factor. If it weren't, spells per day would be an unfair nerf that would cause all wizard players to leave their DMs in a huff. Why? Because they once played a broken UA variant where you could have unlimited spells per day (cough cough spell recharge).

Mega-bingo.
I've seen people simply not "get" the concept of resource management in pretty much every mode of gaming I've ever played in. I once had a wargame designer ask me about it for a game he knew I did some playtesting of when he got feedback complaints about the bid-based initiative system. We were both baffled at people who couldn't restrain themselves to ensure they got multiple actions during the turn instead of blowing their loads simply to go first in a situation that absolutely required more than one action to be successful.

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I am not sure which is "right", but I would suggest making sure the player is okay with holding back first before playing a full caster with such a long spell-preparation time. They don't have to be the wizard, but if they do they should know about what to expect and not walk out on the group over what is essentially a small class nerf.

Yep.
And why I'm asking here for other views.

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I can't speak for Sam, but when I did this I wanted to preserve the wizard class and its uniqueness (prepared spells), along with all its ACFs. I believe I succeeded.

That is my goal exactly.

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My suggestion is to use my "free" spells-only limitation as per my sig. Then only give (100-x)% of the spells at level and allow players to "find" the missing x%. It's like a scavenger hunt.

Interesting.
The "free" spells-only limitation looks similar to what I was contemplating for clerics and druids: pick 8 domains for your base spell list up to 9th. Get 12 extra free choices for 0th-3rd, 8 for 4th-5th, and 4 for 6th-7th. That is your total spell list. Swap out 1 for every spell level you gain like a sorcerer.

Offline Bronzebeard

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 09:32:05 AM »
   •  Codes of conduct are roleplaying guides. Played properly, it means that a cleric needs to act like a cleric, which isn't hard to do. Played improperly, it is the DM looking for an excuse to remove a party member, which will satisfy exactly no-one, including the nonmagical party members.
I had an idea regarding this:
What if the Code of Conduct had an in game manifestation. Specifically in the form of Affiliations (PHB II, page 163).
Doing things according to the guild's laws would give fuel to power class's abilities. Sort of. Just an idea.


The root of the spellcaster's power is his spells. Changing everything but the spells themselves is missing the point.
Yea... I completely agrees with Maelphaxerazz's excellent analysis. Unfortunately.


(bronzebeard's thread is amusing)
I'll take that as a compliment.


This is exactly what everyone should want. But of course (queue whiny voice) it's hard. So they don't. They instead put the cart before the horse and try to add unecessary layers of complexity by (poorly) reinventing the wheel.
I'd love to do that - even if it's difficult. I started the threads in order to gain insight as to how to fix it. Yet, I still think that there are missing components from the basis to the game which makes changing it impossible and needs to be address. I'm willing to heard otherwise.


Have you looked into my 3.5 Metacompendium? The character building resources include my minimalistic homebrew fixes.
Have I seen it? Is it from your sig.? Can you link what you refer to?
Please?  :flutter

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2016, 12:14:29 PM »
It is a compliment. I know you've looked for some of the 3.5 fixes Beard. Sam have you done the same?

After you guys do, I'm curious if either of you can attempt to break the one bit of extra homebrew content I've posted.

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2016, 07:42:10 AM »
I've seen what you posted at the time.
What do you mean by "break"?

Offline Samwise

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2016, 03:29:33 PM »
It is a compliment. I know you've looked for some of the 3.5 fixes Beard. Sam have you done the same?

I've read them.
I like some, and other provoke my thoughts on alternate fixes.

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After you guys do, I'm curious if either of you can attempt to break the one bit of extra homebrew content I've posted.

I've read it, but it seems way too complicated to me.
About the only break I wonder about is combining the "copied" feat thing with the feat shuffle spell, and winding up with even more feats in the process.

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Re: Retro Thoughts on Batman and CoDzilla vs. the Mortals
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2016, 04:16:00 PM »
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After you guys do, I'm curious if either of you can attempt to break the one bit of extra homebrew content I've posted.

I've read it, but it seems way too complicated to me.[/quote]I blame the linear format of the boards. In an xls you just fill out your tabs. It's really just 2 instances of choice with restrictions:

1a) pick your alignment/ethos (ethic). Let's say your are LN
1b) Read your Code of Conducts. In this case its not striking enemies first & multiclass penalties.

2a) Fill out your abilities each level. In this case its a monster entry if its close to the level in CR or HD + a base class level.
2b) Obey the restrictions on the level abilities. Alas you can't just eat enemies for free stats like a bhargest, etc