Author Topic: What is the point of SoDs? Why are they needed? What could take their place?  (Read 7122 times)

Offline dman11235

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BB, as this thread is actually useful, please don't devolve it into a rant on how you hate the tier system/4E/whatever else you think is "basket weaver" or whatever.  And please especially don't get into the "right vs wrong" way of playing a game that is designed to have no right way to play it.

Quote from: oscelcamo
This is very important. If the players can't lose, then what's the point of having combat rules to begin with?

This is true, but I don't think it should end up being "whoever gets init wins".  That's not combat, that's a d20 roll and whoever wins that kills the other guy, regardless of how long combat drags out for.  I also don't think it should end up being easy at all for the PCs to lose.  Sure it's pretty much necessary that they CAN lose, it's just not fun to lose.  To me D&D is a cooperative, not competetive, game.  The DM and players work together to tell a story and have fun.  Now, from a design perspective, it's also terrible to just have it be a 50/50 chance that the enemies win, basing it off of one save/init roll/whatever.  That's setting the players up for a loss.  So really, the chance of the players failing an encounter completely (as in, no body survives that can bring the others back, the BBEG finishes his plan, whatever other condition equals a "total loss") should be very small, based on how long the campaign is and how many encounters it has.  And since higher levels brings about more ways to prevent/revers death, the high you go, the higher the chance should be that individual characters die in an encounter.  Though it should still be relatively small.

Do note that this is not intended to be a codeling of the players, but rather a statistical likelihood.  The DM is in charge of making the numbers work right for his party, which can change, of course, depending on how powerful and competent the party is.  If the players end up underperforming to the DM's expectations they have a harder time winning, and if they severely underperform, they lose.  I think it ends up being a problem of rewarding effort, not luck, with success.  If the group that goes first is guaranteed a win, and the PCs only have a small init boost on the monsters, then no matter how much effert the PCs put into the fight, they will eventually lose, and that's not fun, that's arbitrary.  There does need to be some luck involved, but it needs to be balanced around skill and effort, so all three contribute to the win.  So basically, this:
Quote from: RedWarlock
I have no problem with players dying, but I think it should require more than one die-roll to kill off a player or major enemy. That's my main problem with SoDs as they stand.

Now to your other point in that post, the one directed at me:

First off, who said anything about them being no save?  The idea is to get rid of the binary attacks.  Making them scale like that works to do so, as a quick fix.  You can look at it like that I guess, it's just that I don't see that as a problem.  For example, a single enemy will have defenses of some sort to prevent the stacking from occurring.  SOmething like that.  It does involve new abilities, but this whole thing already involves that.  Side note though: I hate immunities.  They add even more of a dichotomy to the game.

Actually, I think RedWarlock and especially veekie have posts that address this nicely.
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Offline RedWarlock

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It's both. Even really enjoyable things get boring if they drag on forever. Entering spam mode just amplifies it. Even by default though you're taking actions with low success rates and that do nothing meaningful even if they work, which is like 3.5 except with no casters and much slower.

I've found anything more than 3-6 rounds becomes a grind fest no matter what... and that's in 3.5, where there's a wide range of things that influence combat. Namely those save or something effects.
Sure, 3-6 rounds is my sweet spot. But 1 round is too short, and that's what SoDs do.

This sounds like a great way to amplify Iterative Probability based problems.
*looks it up, finds thread on old BG board on IP proofing* Wow.. No.

No @#$^ way. Please don't mention that again, and I'm now going to know to ignore that argument whenever it comes up again. Thanks for informing me.

Just to clarify my vehemence, single losses are acceptable, because they can be compensated for in the overall whole. That could be the loss of a single save, which can be countered the second try, assuming there is one. (maybe another party member's contribution is to give you that second chance?) It could be the loss of a party-member, a risk that is always present (and should be!), but can be avoided with work. A challenge incapable of being lost is not worth doing.

That status does so many different random effects there's no way to tell what's happening. It's just random stuff happening. It'd be different if all of them were consistently beneficial or detrimental, then you'd know how to react when you see them.
Sure, that's exactly the point. They alter the circumstances of the fight in a lot of different ways, and make the outcome harder to predict from the outset. By making it both positive and negative for different situations, it means that the player doesn't always have a clear-cut goal, they have several options to choose from. They don't know whether dropping the opponent's HP might result in them getting weaker, or getting stronger. It's the easiest way to kill them, but it's got risks.

Capable and competent both mean exactly what you'd expect. Not some low tier gimp who dies all the time. All the time also means what you'd expect. Very constantly or frequently, with extreme regularity and consistency.
Yeah, but 'capable' of doing what? Damage? Removing an enemy? How often, and how frequently? And 'Competent'? At what job? How is that job defined? And what determines the specifications of 'all the time'? You can only die once, unless we're including resurrection. Risk is part of the game, and IP proofing is just as demeaning to the DM as underpowered monsters are to the players.

A weak character isn't worth the effort of getting attached to and making an elaborate backstory for sure. Not all characters have to be walking corpses that don't know they're dead yet.
Ohhh! I get it now. A defeat in a single combat is the same as total game-over for you, isn't it? Wow, that informs a lot of your opinions..

This is the mindset of most of my villains:
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A living opponent is a tool to use against your enemies, whether as source of information, demoralizing example of your power, or even prisoner-turned-bait. A dead opponent? Just a corpse.

It's a bit evil-overlord as a mindset, but it's also a bit machiavellian. It creates an opening that can be exploited, whether that is the prisoners escaping the dungeon, the player returning to fight again empowered by the knowledge gained the first time (since knowledge cuts both ways), or even the rest of the party going willingly into the trap, and still overcoming the villain through skill and dedication.

And it means a single loss is not the end of the world.
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Offline Basket Burner

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BB, as this thread is actually useful, please don't devolve it into a rant on how you hate the tier system/4E/whatever else you think is "basket weaver" or whatever.  And please especially don't get into the "right vs wrong" way of playing a game that is designed to have no right way to play it.

...What? Not only because no one is bringing the basket weaver stuff into it but you, but also because you're as wrong now as you were then.

Sure, 3-6 rounds is my sweet spot. But 1 round is too short, and that's what SoDs do.

You know where the 3-6 rounds comes about from? Lots of enemies. Sure you can control some, and indeed have to but managing everything will take a while, especially since anyone that lives in the D&D world knows they need as much magic defense as possible.

Quote
*looks it up, finds thread on old BG board on IP proofing* Wow.. No.

No @#$^ way. Please don't mention that again, and I'm now going to know to ignore that argument whenever it comes up again. Thanks for informing me.

Just to clarify my vehemence, single losses are acceptable, because they can be compensated for in the overall whole. That could be the loss of a single save, which can be countered the second try, assuming there is one. (maybe another party member's contribution is to give you that second chance?) It could be the loss of a party-member, a risk that is always present (and should be!), but can be avoided with work. A challenge incapable of being lost is not worth doing.

You are aware the core principle of Iterative Probability is that even small chances to fail will quickly approach 1 over time and of course any significant chance means dying all the time right? And that I brought it up because anything that introduces more chances to fail (such as longer fights) ends up also leading to greater problems in that regard? If this discussion will not cover that it cannot and will not be in any way useful to anyone. It's that simple.

Just because many here have such difficulty grasping basic concepts of advanced play doesn't mean those concepts aren't valid.

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Sure, that's exactly the point. They alter the circumstances of the fight in a lot of different ways, and make the outcome harder to predict from the outset. By making it both positive and negative for different situations, it means that the player doesn't always have a clear-cut goal, they have several options to choose from. They don't know whether dropping the opponent's HP might result in them getting weaker, or getting stronger. It's the easiest way to kill them, but it's got risks.

No, it just means they disregard it as it cannot influence their decisions. If it was consistently beneficial, they know to focus fire (which they should do anyways) and if it were consistently detrimental they'd know to focus fire everything down to half, assuming the penalty were significant and then start finishing the job. But when it just does random stuff they just ignore it.

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Yeah, but 'capable' of doing what? Damage? Removing an enemy? How often, and how frequently? And 'Competent'? At what job? How is that job defined? And what determines the specifications of 'all the time'? You can only die once, unless we're including resurrection. Risk is part of the game, and IP proofing is just as demeaning to the DM as underpowered monsters are to the players.

IP Proofing is only demeaning to bad DMs. The good ones encourage it because they want the party to survive, they just have to work for that survival.

Capable of performing their chosen and valid jobs, which include but are not limited to eliminating enemies by necessity. As close to 100% likely as is possible, and at least one enemy at a time.

Competent as in eliminating enemies, defined as save or dies, save or loses, or taking the last HP away.

All the time means anywhere from once every fight or two to more often than they level up. Then either they get raised, or make a new character, and the same things happen again.

Quote
Ohhh! I get it now. A defeat in a single combat is the same as total game-over for you, isn't it? Wow, that informs a lot of your opinions..

It often is for that character, as even if raising is possible such a character will die more often than they level, meaning its a waste of the party's resources to even try and bring you back. At that point all the time and effort you spent on them is wasted... therefore, any character you want to be invested in should be worth that investment. It's that simple.

Fates worse than death are exactly that, so don't present them as valid arguments.

Offline RedWarlock

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Iterative Probability (the way it's being used here and in that thread) is crap. It's a flawed oversimplification of the concept of probability, and it's actually inversely applied.

IP claims that eventually you're going to fail on a die roll. At one thing. Sure, of course, but that one failure doesn't have to be the critical world-ending roll. That's exactly why your use of IP is crap, because it should never be down to only one failed roll. Every chance should have a continuing path of advancement, fail or win. If one player misses their save, there's still three or five over PCs to get the chance to make that same save, and just because one player failed the save, doesn't mean they all will. Heck, in my multi-save idea, that same player is getting another chance for probability to roll back the other way! The whole battle isn't just one die roll, it's a whole series of chances one way or another, which, I dunno, sounds like an average to me.

IP says that some roll somewhere is going to fail. That's fine. But you're using it to say that eventually, when you need ten dice rolls, you'll eventually always get ten straight critical failures, and so you're ALWAYS going to get straight crit-fails. But that's the thing. It's an 'eventually'. You could get ten straight critical successes too. It's a chance. You don't know.
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Offline Basket Burner

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Luck always favors the enemy. It ultimately doesn't matter if the one bad roll is instant fail for entire party, instant fail for one person (which is the most common occurrence) or just some significant disadvantage. What matters is that the more chances there are for something to happen the more likely you are to get unlucky at some point.

Offline RedWarlock

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Luck always favors the enemy. It ultimately doesn't matter if the one bad roll is instant fail for entire party, instant fail for one person (which is the most common occurrence) or just some significant disadvantage. What matters is that the more chances there are for something to happen the more likely you are to get unlucky at some point.
Yeah, so? Being 'unlucky' doesn't have to mean the end of the world. How are you not grasping this?

Honestly? Are you just unable to cope with the idea that a player might have to struggle with a combat, and that struggle isn't the same as loss?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 03:03:54 PM by RedWarlock »
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Offline Basket Burner

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Because it means dead characters, which is the end of their world?

Offline RedWarlock

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Except one loss doesn't need to mean a dead character?
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Offline Basket Burner

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Except one loss doesn't need to mean a dead character?

Then instead it means something worse and is to still be avoided at all costs.

I'd say if you don't want luck to be the enemy play another game but I'm having a very hard time thinking of any where luck isn't a factor.

Offline dman11235

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I was merely trying to nip the tier discussion in the bud, as the response you had previously ended with an ad hominem attack on it for no reason.

As for IP, it is really just a load of bunk.  Yes, eventually you will roll a 1, but that might not kill you, it might end up being a missed attack.  Yes eventually you will roll a 1 on a SoD in vanilla D&D, but you have party members that can bring you back.  Yes the entire party will eventually all roll 1s against an area SoD that affects all of them, but....wait, really?  See, this is a statistical fallacy that anything that CAN happen WILL happen.  You'll notice that the requirement for this to happen is extremely specific.  And that this is pretty much the only way for a single roll to kill you.  It's impossible for a single roll to kill the entire party, actually, barring some caster originated roll (as in, the caster rolls once for the entire party, if the caster succeeds on the one roll everyone dies).  And I don't even like the whole "one failed roll you die" mechanic, which is what we are actually discussing here.  That's where the stacking conditions till death comes in.  Actually, I've done work before on making HP damage mean more (and thus healing in combat mean more), having it induce small status effects that don't make it impossible to win, but harder, as you accumulate HP damage; this making HP less binary too.  It didn't pan out, but it's still progress.

Now, there is one small exception to the IP problem I stated above: everything in D&D is dice rolls.  Eventually, given a large enough sample size, an encounter will come that has the perfect storm of bad luck that gets everyone killed even with a theoretical de-binaried system.  But that's just the thing: it's so uncommon you can't plan on it.  Let me put it this way: what are the chances that you'll get killed by a shark next time you go swimming in deep water in the ocean?  Well, less than 1:1,000,000,000 (in 2000, 6 people were killed by sharks).  Does that mean that you will never go swimming again because the only way you can avoid getting killed by a shark is by staying out of the water?  Of course not, you see a one in a billion chance as something to laugh at.  It can happen, sure, but really, it probably won't.  This is what that IP Proofing thing did.  It took a look at a one in a million shot of something bad happening and said "nope!  Can't have that!  Too much chance of death!  And death is not reversable in this world with Ressurection!".  It looks at anything that's not "I own the world, nothing can kill me, ever" and calls it weak and unviable.

Oh, and that is only your opinion that being revived by the other members of the party is a fate worse than death.  I'd prefer not dying thanks.  That's where the story is.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 03:54:21 PM by dman11235 »
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Offline Basket Burner

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I was merely trying to nip the tier discussion in the bud, as the response you had previously ended with an ad hominem attack on it for no reason.

What? This?

"That isn't possible without at the absolute minimum giving everyone certain staples that even the odds and making the primary difference between class tiers numerical, with little difference in strategy... and as much as I like how the Pokemon meta developed under those conditions I'm not sure if those specific concepts would translate well into D&D. A good part of the reason why people are here playing 3.5 and don't like 4th edition is they want a wider range."

That wasn't about the tier thread at all. It was a remark that there had to be a much narrower range in power and abilities... which people didn't want.

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As for IP, it is really just a load of bunk.  Yes, eventually you will roll a 1, but that might not kill you, it might end up being a missed attack.  Yes eventually you will roll a 1 on a SoD in vanilla D&D, but you have party members that can bring you back.  Yes the entire party will eventually all roll 1s against an area SoD that affects all of them, but....wait, really?

IP is mostly about one person dying. Generally if you've gotten to the point where you have to worry about long term concerns your entire party will not be randomly dropping dead. However a death here and a death there adds up. Missed attacks on characters about attacking tend to result in death as they have no defenses beyond kill it first.

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See, this is a statistical fallacy that anything that CAN happen WILL happen.  You'll notice that the requirement for this to happen is extremely specific.  And that this is pretty much the only way for a single roll to kill you.  It's impossible for a single roll to kill the entire party, actually, barring some caster originated roll (as in, the caster rolls once for the entire party, if the caster succeeds on the one roll everyone dies).  And I don't even like the whole "one failed roll you die" mechanic, which is what we are actually discussing here.  That's where the stacking conditions till death comes in.  Actually, I've done work before on making HP damage mean more (and thus healing in combat mean more), having it induce small status effects that don't make it impossible to win, but harder, as you accumulate HP damage; this making HP less binary too.  It didn't pan out, but it's still progress.

One full attack sequence, one attack is a crit. Bam, instant death. It only requires one specific roll, as the others happen on a 2 or better.

As it is though all penalties for HP damage do is make there be even more rocket tag.

Way to demonstrate both your lack of understanding of the concept and of my posts though.

Offline dman11235

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Capable and competent both mean exactly what you'd expect. Not some low tier gimp who dies all the time. All the time also means what you'd expect. Very constantly or frequently, with extreme regularity and consistency.

That quote.  Now drop it.

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IP is mostly about one person dying. Generally if you've gotten to the point where you have to worry about long term concerns your entire party will not be randomly dropping dead. However a death here and a death there adds up. Missed attacks on characters about attacking tend to result in death as they have no defenses beyond kill it first.

One thing I'll bring up: why is it a problem if party members die from time to time, as long as ressurrection is possible?

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One full attack sequence, one attack is a crit. Bam, instant death. It only requires one specific roll, as the others happen on a 2 or better.

As it is though all penalties for HP damage do is make there be even more rocket tag.

Way to demonstrate both your lack of understanding of the concept and of my posts though.

What, the other attacks don't require rolls?  Also, what indicates that all enemies ever that attack HP hit on a 2 and deal 1/5th your HP (or more or less depending on number attacks)?  Not only that, but you're assuming a 1/20 chance of missing won't happen, while a different 1/20 chance will.  And finally, how do you assume that penalties to HP damage increase rocket tag?  I'm not even sure what "penalties for HP damage" means.  What I think you're saying is that reducing the effectiveness of HP leads to more rocket tag because it encourages other methods of combat.  Is that true?  or is it the act of reducing HP and having it include penalties like I mentioned?  If it's the second one, the reason I stopped is because it ended up doing the rocket tag thing even more.
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Offline RedWarlock

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Thank you dman11235, that's exactly what I meant.

BB, I did misspeak, but sometimes a fate aside from death isn't 'worse' than death. Don't conflate my earlier mentioning of the villain's motive with the general point of the thread. A single failed roll (which is what I meant to say) in this system isn't going to kill the character, even if it is an eventuality. It's a combination of failed rolls that could kill a character, but that's a really small chance. The player has just as much chance to sweep the enemy with every roll, and increasing the number of rolls *decreases* the chance of a sweep on either side.

And the whole concept about one-roll SoDs being tweaked out of the game, that would also apply to super-high-crit damage rolls. Again, you're getting stuck in the mire of the current meta.
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Offline Basket Burner

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That quote.  Now drop it.

It's called a joke post. Get over yourself. You are not Blackleaf.

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One thing I'll bring up: why is it a problem if party members die from time to time, as long as ressurrection is possible?

With the characters in question, we're not talking about very rare death. We're talking about very common death. Which is a problem for obvious reasons.

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What, the other attacks don't require rolls?  Also, what indicates that all enemies ever that attack HP hit on a 2 and deal 1/5th your HP (or more or less depending on number attacks)?  Not only that, but you're assuming a 1/20 chance of missing won't happen, while a different 1/20 chance will.  And finally, how do you assume that penalties to HP damage increase rocket tag?  I'm not even sure what "penalties for HP damage" means.  What I think you're saying is that reducing the effectiveness of HP leads to more rocket tag because it encourages other methods of combat.  Is that true?  or is it the act of reducing HP and having it include penalties like I mentioned?  If it's the second one, the reason I stopped is because it ended up doing the rocket tag thing even more.

Luck always favors the enemy. When something has a 95% chance to happen, it happens almost every time. When something has a 5% chance to happen but there are 3-6 shots a round every round, it still happens pretty fucking often. Enemies taking off decent percents with one hit is called reading enemy statblocks. Lastly, penalties for HP damage means exactly what you just said. That last line right there, that you started off disagreeing with when I said the same thing only to admit at the end you do realize this already.

Though it's both. It makes rocket tag more prevalent as rockets are more readily available, can more easily impair people, and it presses people more towards non HP damage things as well depending on exactly how it works.

Thank you dman11235, that's exactly what I meant.

BB, I did misspeak, but sometimes a fate aside from death isn't 'worse' than death. Don't conflate my earlier mentioning of the villain's motive with the general point of the thread. A single failed roll (which is what I meant to say) in this system isn't going to kill the character, even if it is an eventuality. It's a combination of failed rolls that could kill a character, but that's a really small chance. The player has just as much chance to sweep the enemy with every roll, and increasing the number of rolls *decreases* the chance of a sweep on either side.

And the whole concept about one-roll SoDs being tweaked out of the game, that would also apply to super-high-crit damage rolls. Again, you're getting stuck in the mire of the current meta.

I think it's funny you're trying to talk shop to me given you've probably never played Pokemon before (and if you HAVE, I'm honestly surprised by this).

There is no super high crit damage rolls. The given example assumes 20/x2 which is the lowest possible (and also the most common). Despite the low odds it still piles up fast by sheer volume.

Yeah, higher crits would lead to more random deaths but then wider ranges are worse than deeper ranges here. Falchions are worse than Scythes, etc. Not to mention weapon users means humanoid NPC most of the time, and beyond low levels those guys just aren't threats.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:27:25 PM by Basket Burner »

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Greetings from 5 years in the future. I realize that this thread got derailed and moved over to Mechanical Writing to discussing mechanical changes to the idea of SoD's. I also see that no one wanted to reply to BB (who stopped posting within a few months of the above. Unfortunately IP'ing is relevant, but I won't discuss it due to its polarization.

I have an answer to the question, but I'll start with SoS's first. SoS's are just beefy debuffs. They are the kind of thing that would disappoint a combatant, but not shock them. The lesser form of SoS's are debuffs: "Okay so I have a -2 to hit now? Whatever." No harm no foul. SoS's make whoever say, "Wait, how long am I out of combat, playing with my navel?" "2 rounds." "Ug. Fine."

SoD's however we all know enough for me to not give an example. On the Debuff -> SoS -> SoD scale, the DC's should be the deciding factor. Most debuffs aren't that painful until they are stacked more than twice. Therefore most debuffs that allow a save are worthless: the odds are that your opponent will make one of his saves goes up, meaning that you have to put even more effort (wasted actions) into achieving your goal. One of the smaller problems with 3.5 is that too many debuffs allow saves, when they shouldn't. This causes people to save "Meh, I won't bother using that ability, much less investing to get it because I can't count on it." The juice isn't worth the squeeze. It's just a debuff.

But SoS's having a failure followed by a success isn't a problem. After all, you put in more effort and got the binary condition you desired. Sure people are going to try to pump their DC (not possible without cheese for many situations), but still, the pain to gain ratio feels right against players. However, just like CR is not equivalent to LA in templates because at wills for a monster that's going to die in one combat is vastly different from an at will for a PC who will use it all campaign, SoS's against monsters is potentially more powerful, especially if it can be spammed at a decent DC. This requires a balance tweak, so keep reading.

SoD's are the nuclear option. People like to complain about how they are too powerful when used against players, but all that really means is that players should invest in immunities. They can do so without cries of metagaming or other suspension of disbelief problems. However, monsters can't. It is reasonable for all the PCs to have a nice list of immunities. It would be unreasonable for all the monsters to do so. Therefore once a player gets their hands on a SoD, expect them to spam it at every opportunity. After all, it is a good tactical decision. That's when the campaign "immune response" hits and people complain about DM metagaming.

The solution is to simply follow the "useful useless spell" route that FF1 took (See my FF1 as D&D thread). The basic idea is that in FF1, players have access to SoD's but they never use them. Why? Because they always fail. Yes, some of them are bugged and yes some bosses have immunities, but the ones that don't still seem to always "roll well" to avoid the affect. It's actually quite easy to reproduce this in D&D and it solves the SoD/SoS problem: monsters always take 20 on all their rolls. Now suddenly, you can look at a creature's save entry and know if it will fail a save or not without having to slow down the game with rolls. This should be enough for any custom built opponents, although pre-built ones will still need their secondary statistics doubled (but that's a discussion for another time).

Players should be told up front that monsters don't play by the same rules (they already don't which is why most creature entries are unplayable for PCs) and to simply expect that steamrolling a campaign as a caster won't work. In general, mundanes won't notice the difference because they use HP damage. You'd think that casters PC would complain before they go cry into their phenomenal cosmic power but I've found that they tend to enjoy the game more when they aren't pressured into spamming daze/sleep/web/charm monster/baleful polymorph/etc to "win." They get to play that blaster/summoner/utility role without feeling guilty about being "suboptimal."

An extra bonus is that a DM may decide to manipulate the roll for rule of cool reasons so that NPCs can fail saves (and your players would be none the wiser). This allows story telling that would be clunky and awkward in a system that has been had its mechanical guts reworked. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

Offline SorO_Lost

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*Fakes a yawn as if waking up from a long nap*

So some of PBMC's post is right but it jumps of the railroads when it claims PCs shouldn't have SoDs and Monsters should auto-take-20-on-all-Saves. Adventurers are expected to fight multiple enemies per day and if your caster is blowing his highest level Slots on Finger of Death to try and kill one enemy at a time per Slot then he's wasting his Slots to begin with. For example Maximized Dalamar's Lightning Lance can deal 234 damage per casting which is far more than enough to kill CR 13s and you can split it up over three targets and it uses the same Slot and it's frigging blasting; It's what you carry around dumb Fighters for.

tl;dr: Do people care to talk about Wail of the Banshee or Shapechange? Nuff said, and we don't even have to bring up the list of creatures that ignore the Wail to begin with.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 12:40:44 AM by SorO_Lost »

Offline RedWarlock

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Well, isn't this a blast from the past. (and a lovely reminder of why the blocklist exists...)

My original reasoning was, as one might guess, fishing for mechanical ideas for my own d20-descendant homebrew system. I've generally come to the conclusion that I really dislike immunities as a commonly-used mechanic, because they encourage immunity-stacking in the build-meta.

My own answer to the idea of immunities and the debuff/SoS/SoD penalty tiers is rolled into my shorthand bonus/penalty system in my system's dice mechanic. The basic roll is usually a 3d6 roll, losing 1 or more dice from circumstance penalties (called burdens), with 3 removals causing an automatic fail. On the other end, bonus dice (called boons) are added, with the best 3 rolls taken as the actual result (though without auto-success). Boons and burdens cancel each other out, to a max of three shifts in either direction.

Light debuffs either offer no save, or have an above-average/hard-to-resist DC, and I've got a condition track akin to SW Saga Edition for each of the 6 stats, with each condition adding boons or burdens to that stat's relevant roll.

Heavy debuffs (SoS/SoD) have a single weak DC, or compound from repeated applications of the light counterpart of that condition, and involve multiple burdens, or even an auto-fail (or auto-success by enemy) on the relevant check. Automatic successes and fails (which are as close as I get to immunities, and part of the high-level system) counter each other just like the boons and burdens, up to 3. If they even out, you're back to a roll on the dice.
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Offline SorO_Lost

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I've generally come to the conclusion that I really dislike immunities as a commonly-used mechanic, because they encourage immunity-stacking in the build-meta.
Ummm... Sarcasm on? And I vaccinated my kids with the goal of stacking as many immunities as I could as part of their metabuild and society's commonly-used mechanic to help them succeed in life.

On a more positive note, now is probably a good time to bring up 5th Edition. Where SoDs don't exist and most SoSs slap on a Disadvantage and deal damage. You should check out the system, it revamps everything to use a single target (HP) and prevents you from every protecting against all the ways to smack it (like having six saves). I think a couple dozen people are wanting 3rd-to-5th converted splat too. I smell an amazing group project!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 08:52:03 PM by SorO_Lost »

Offline RedWarlock

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No sarcasm, I'm serious.

I feel more engaged with the material by having high resistances, boons to saves, etc, but no "immune" status for fire, stun, or disease, with the exception of pure conceptual divorces, like constructs being immune to disease due to lack of biology. Fire Immunity is a high resistance, and/or a fractional reducer (like half-damage), but overwhelming it is possible. Freedom of Movement is out entirely, as is something like IHS. You might have a high save (or even an 'auto-success' buff) but even that can be overwhelmed given enough debuffs and conditional penalties.

Stun, grappling, etc, serve legit purpose as non-magical status conditions to inflict, and the access to easy immunities is part of what served to defang martials, which I'm avoiding.
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Offline Samwise

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One thing I would note on this relates to two things Oslecamo said:

First, SoDs are, somewhat, a staple of the fantasy fiction underlying D&D. (The "Appendix N" shtick.)

Second, while consequences, including death, are "required" for D&D, pretty much all primary characters in said fiction have immutable plot armor, relegating SoDs to villains and mooks.

This, as a possible "resolution" of the issue:
"Everyone" gets SR for SoDs only (and whether or not the particular SoD allows SR) equal to their CR.
Thus, even PC casters will get to use SoDs against enemy Mooks reliably, but they will affect Bosses and Lieutenants only at suitably "dramatic" moments. (You can even grant a +5/+10 bonus to them for even more "drama".)
Further, PCs affected by SoDs get some nod to plot armor, and failing SoDs are converted to SoSs or other "dramatic" hosing, like being captured.

Note however: with the shift from the semi-competitive attitude of early D&D and disposable pregens of early tournaments, organized play "living" campaigns coupled with the hardwired WBL concept have resulted in most players having a decidedly negative view of "dramatic" hosings, often considering them worse than just direct character death, so plan accordingly.