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D&D 5e Discussion

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    i see where you're coming from, the angle that hinging death on a single die roll can be fun (it's gambling, i love gambling too)

    but

    that doesn't make Save Or Die a particularly good mechanic when one of the stated goals of the game is to "place you in the shoes of your favorite fantasy heroes"

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  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    how is a completely random arbitrary dice roll providing more agency/control than a completely random "You Are Dead" statement from the GM though

    It's just an illusion - and on paper, it doesn't seem like much. But in play? Completely different thing entirely. What on paper would be a cheap shot becomes one of the most tense moments in your RP career: When you know that all it comes down to is this. Can I do this? I have to do this or I'm doomed! Everyone just waiting for that dice roll because that single roll will change everything.

    The save gives the players a chance - a last chance - and puts their fate into their hands; literally. Just saying 'You look into the Medusa's eyes and now you are stone', no matter how flowery you make it, has no tension in it whatsoever.

    Of course, the roll should connect in some way with your character sheet. If it's just a 4e style 50/50 (or near enough, shh!) then it's just pointless.

  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    i see where you're coming from, the angle that hinging death on a single die roll can be fun (it's gambling, i love gambling too)

    but

    that doesn't make Save Or Die a particularly good mechanic when one of the stated goals of the game is to "place you in the shoes of your favorite fantasy heroes"

    I again point to the greek myths. Those heroes had to face save or die effects all the time. They were as big, or bigger, than most D&D heroes.

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    maybe it's just my experience but the most tension i've felt in a roleplaying game came from the setting and situation, not a bad pull on the character death slot machine

    i like to point out as an example an encounter in a game on this board (called Clone Wars) where the player characters were essentially fighting an uphill battle but used sound strategy to successfully defend a position and repel a vastly superior force. this was real tension because of the stakes we were playing for; not just our own lives, but our actions essentially determined the course of the campaign from then on, to say nothing of the war going on in-universe

    i guess i should go ahead and say i have no dog in this race, i just felt it was interesting to point out that what people are advocating with save or die is essentially plot devices attached to a coin flip, which to me seems really strange and counter-intuitive to telling any kind of story in general no matter where you fall on the narrativist - gamist - simulationist field

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  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    maybe it's just my experience but the most tension i've felt in a roleplaying game came from the setting and situation, not a bad pull on the character death slot machine

    i like to point out as an example an encounter in a game on this board (called Clone Wars) where the player characters were essentially fighting an uphill battle but used sound strategy to successfully defend a position and repel a vastly superior force. this was real tension because of the stakes we were playing for; not just our own lives, but our actions essentially determined the course of the campaign from then on, to say nothing of the war going on in-universe

    i guess i should go ahead and say i have no dog in this race, i just felt it was interesting to point out that what people are advocating with save or die is essentially plot devices attached to a coin flip, which to me seems really strange and counter-intuitive to telling any kind of story in general no matter where you fall on the narrativist - gamist - simulationist field

    I agree with a lot of that, honestly. And like I said before - I really do think the most important part of the Save or Die thing is the journey leading to it and how to negate it. (the struggle to overcome impossible odds) But in the end, if it all fails, there should be a universal mechanic there ready to represent that final chance of survival against 'instadeath' - because it's better than the alternative of DM simply saying 'and you are dead'.

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    that's the direction i was stabbing at - why do we need instadeath at all?

    are we really clinging to the idea that we need false tension enforced by random happenstance? movies don't do this (murder porn excepted), books don't do this, video games don't do this, so why do we cling to the idea that our DnD protagonists should be subject to random deaths

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  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    that's the direction i was stabbing at - why do we need instadeath at all?

    are we really clinging to the idea that we need false tension enforced by random happenstance? movies don't do this (murder porn excepted), books don't do this, video games don't do this, so why do we cling to the idea that our DnD protagonists should be subject to random deaths

    Random deaths suck - no doubt about it in my mind. How are we defining random though? Is a random death a death determined by random chance? Because any death in combat is a random death by that meter and I don't see anyone clamoring to remove that. If you can't die in combat, then you may as well not try because ultimately, there isn't much risk of failure in most (not all, you might be fighting to save a princess or racing against a clock) combats in that case..

    Or are we defining it as a death brought about without meaning or engagement in a story? Because I would strongly argue that those suck regardless, whether brought about by instadeath or through a pointless random encounter. Save or Die for random traps, poisons the PCs don't have anyway of knowing about and such? Those are awful, awful uses of the mechanic.

    Dice are part of the game. Ergo, random is part of the game. Instadeath is simply a more deadly threat - one that should be approached with more care but I still say that that extra deadliness has the potential to make a great story and should after everything the character die, that death would ultimately have meaning in the story because of everything he did to try and prevent it.

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    If you don't want your character to die, play smarter. Investigate before leaping into dangerous situations. Play your character as if they were a real person, in a real world, facing real dangers. Would you run into a burning building as a firefighter without wearing your bunker gear? I hardly doubt it except in the most extreme of circumstances. The dice are there to take out emotion and bias from the equation. Bonuses and penalties are there to sway things in your favor. Take the high ground, seize the advantage, create opportunities to exploit enemy failures.

    As for save or die... well, I don't much care for them either. I like the multiple rolls over several rounds for such effects. As long as characters have tools to try and stop what's happening. If they don't have those tools, well... that's a problem with the game.

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    i know this is a DnD thread, but other games have taught me there's many different ways to approach the stakes of any given conflict

    the dresden files rpg for example (mouse guard does this too to some extent) generally lays the stakes out up front, and throughout the course of any given conflict you have the option to continue fighting to your very last breath, risking getting Taken Out, which means the enemy gets to determine how you go down... and this may very well mean you are capital-D Dead... but you also have the right at any time to Concede and Cash Out which means that you are done, you lose - but you dictate the terms of your failure. the enemy doesn't get a chance to just put a bullet in your head

    it's the difference from getting your neck cut open and dying on the spot, or jerking to the side and falling into the river to wash up bloody and beaten, but alive

    i think rpg design in the last couple years has come a long way and sadly dnd tries its best to ignore most of the innovation in favor of pleasing Everybody, which really amounts to The Loudest

    i mean, look at this massive backpedaling; they tried something innovative in 4e (headed by mike mearls i will point out) and lost a lot of Loud-Mouths to paizo and now they're trying to grovel at the feet of the fatbeards because hasbro is breathing dragonfire down their necks to raise more dollarsigns

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  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    i know this is a DnD thread, but other games have taught me there's many different ways to approach the stakes of any given conflict

    the dresden files rpg for example (mouse guard does this too to some extent) generally lays the stakes out up front, and throughout the course of any given conflict you have the option to continue fighting to your very last breath, risking getting Taken Out, which means the enemy gets to determine how you go down... and this may very well mean you are capital-D Dead... but you also have the right at any time to Concede and Cash Out which means that you are done, you lose - but you dictate the terms of your failure. the enemy doesn't get a chance to just put a bullet in your head

    it's the difference from getting your neck cut open and dying on the spot, or jerking to the side and falling into the river to wash up bloody and beaten, but alive

    i think rpg design in the last couple years has come a long way and sadly dnd tries its best to ignore most of the innovation in favor of pleasing Everybody, which really amounts to The Loudest

    i mean, look at this massive backpedaling; they tried something innovative in 4e (headed by mike mearls i will point out) and lost a lot of Loud-Mouths to paizo and now they're trying to grovel at the feet of the fatbeards because hasbro is breathing dragonfire down their necks to raise more dollarsigns

    This guy right here.

    This guy knows what's up.

    You don't need Save or Die to create tension, or to codify unique and threatening powers. It doesn't really even do those things. "Roll dice. If you don't roll high enough, you die" is about the most boring, vanilla way you can possibly represent danger. The tension has nothing to do with the monster, or the situation, or your skill at the game, or the story, or anything else: it comes entirely from the threat that if random numbers are the wrong numbers, bad things will happen. It's outdated. The ability of a tabletop game to represent danger, story, plot, and play have all evolved past the need for such a stupid little cudgel.

    You want a unique and interesting power that changes the dynamic of a fight? Go check out worldbreaker solo design. THAT is how you do what you want Save or Die to do. Save or die does not, and cannot, do that shit. Maybe save or die was necessary when combat was freeform and status effects didn't really exist in a meaningful way and movement and space could not really be meaningfully described in a tactical manner, and as a result a DM didn't really have a lot of ways to describe the effects of a power except in terms of hit point damage or death, but none of that shit is true anymore and save or die is a dinosaur.

  • HenslerHensler Registered User regular
    I think the RPG Gods were punishing me tonight for saying I liked player death in games. 3 - 4 hour session, and I think the highest number I rolled all night was a 5.

  • bssbss BIBIBABIBABIBUBIII Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    i mean, look at this massive backpedaling; they tried something innovative in 4e (headed by mike mearls i will point out) and lost a lot of Loud-Mouths to paizo and now they're trying to grovel at the feet of the fatbeards because hasbro is breathing dragonfire down their necks to raise more dollarsigns

    Mike Mearls is the boss. Unfortunately I think in this context that it means he's graduated to director-level and doesn't seem to have much control over the game, either above or below his station. And that makes me sad.

    The other thing I wanted to add, which has probably been said in this thread a hundred times even before I joined the forum, I don't get why, instead of spending two years on a fucking mess of an edition that maybe they'll be able to extract value out of, they don't just throw some money at the (relatively) huge amount of freelancers willing to write stuff for their favorite edition and let everyone have what they're already happy with.

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  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman THANOSCOPTOR Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Because, IIRC, corebook sales grossly outperform supplement sales. If you're just selling supplements to specific group of niches based on a set of books they each already have, your profit margin is going to tank.

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  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    New article!

    With 5e design up in the air, people saying the playtest was years away from an actual product, the various fanbases angry about various things, a total lack of any actual design intent to power the system, and no clear direction on where to go from here, it's time we took a good hard look at the most important step:

    the logo.

    IS IT REALLY DND IF THE AMPERSAND DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A DRAGON? SHOULD THE LETTERS BE HARD-EDGED AND SERRATED, REALLY HARD-EDGED AND SERRATED, OR 8-BIT? YOU DECIDE!

  • bssbss BIBIBABIBABIBUBIII Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Because, IIRC, corebook sales grossly outperform supplement sales. If you're just selling supplements to specific group of niches based on a set of books they each already have, your profit margin is going to tank.

    I have heard that often and I have no reason not to believe it. But I'd be interested to see the return on developing a new edition. Sales are good, sure, but how much is spent on development? (Especially for a hodge podge like this?) What is that return like compared to spending two years putting the old editions back in print (or PDF) and growing a steady trickle of new modules or whatever? I mean, christ, you know how many times I've read comments from people who would kill for a 4e Dragonlance? That can't be that hard to churn out. Another cross-edition Realms reboot? Complete Whatever It Is People Like About 1e? Sometimes I wonder if the constant edition treadmill is part of the reason core books sell so much better than supplementary materials. I don't follow Pathfinder enough to really speak definitively, but they apparently have done well enough.

    There would be a shrinking pain for Wizards, but I wonder if there's room in Wizards/Hasbro's model for steady income and limited growth. However, based on the Ryan Dancey posts, it seems like that's not the path they're taking D&D down.

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  • bssbss BIBIBABIBABIBUBIII Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »
    New article!

    With 5e design up in the air, people saying the playtest was years away from an actual product, the various fanbases angry about various things, a total lack of any actual design intent to power the system, and no clear direction on where to go from here, it's time we took a good hard look at the most important step:

    the logo.

    IS IT REALLY DND IF THE AMPERSAND DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A DRAGON? SHOULD THE LETTERS BE HARD-EDGED AND SERRATED, REALLY HARD-EDGED AND SERRATED, OR 8-BIT? YOU DECIDE!

    In that article's defense, it is showcasing the least incompletely designed thing they have so far.

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  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Lezta wrote:
    There's nothing wrong with Save or Die, unless you're playing a game where the only thing that matters is the mechanics - and then suddenly, yes, it is awful.

    To use the popular medusa/basilisk example - if your players just wander up to these creatures and don't take any precautions (especially in the case of a Medusa, where near everyone knows their gaze turns people to stone) like, I don't know, mirrored shields or blindfolds, then, yeah, fuck 'em, they're going to turn to stone. Save or Die effects don't ruin stories - they help create them. How do you learn that Medusa has that powerful ability (presuming you don't just meta-game, which would be bad - don't do that!) and what do you do to overcome it? If you look at the greek myths (filled with all the great and powerful heroes that everyone is saying SoD stops you being able to play as) they're filled with this stuff.

    I don't think SoD is a bad thing. I think with a terrible DM who just throws a random encounter with them in at you, then, yes, they're crap. But powerful, instadeath, abilities like this carry weight and that weight enables dramatic and exciting stories.

    Except that's not how Save or Die plays out in DnD. It's, you're wandering through the forest, and oh, by the way, this guy knows Finger of Death. In fact, every guy knows Finger of Death, because it's a standard spell for both arcane and divine casters.

    I mean, again, as it's been noted, if PRIOR to any Save or Die encounter, there are giant roadsigns that say, "BEWARE, SAVE OR DIE UPCOMING. TAKE X PRECAUTIONS," then it's really not Save or Die any more is it? Because they really are going to run out and get anti-petrification shit, in which case all you've done is made them go out and do that shit to tackle the same encounter minus Save or Die, or you've dared them to risk their lives on the dice. You might as well just have it be a "Take X precautions or instantly die" encounter, in the vast majority of cases, because very few DnD players, I think, would intentionally run into a Save or Die encounter.

    Really, you've presented a false dilemma here:
    Save or Die is acceptable when you give players plenty of warning and they can take steps to avoid the Save or Die.
    Then players either take those steps and thus completely avoid the Save or Die, which makes the use of the mechanic in the first place pointless since it was just a fetch quest.
    Or the players are like, "Fuck it, let's roll some new characters," in which case, you might as well just have had it be, "Die," or "Two of you will die," or "Suffer these bad consequences," rather than leaving a major change in the future of your game up to random dice rolls, regardless of who's throwing them.

    Also, I played a similar encounter, where the Medusa-like thingies instead dominated rather than Save or Died. It was plenty challenging / interesting anyways. The Save or Die mechanic really serves no purpose.

    hippofant on
  • GrogGrog My sword is only steel in a useful shape.Registered User regular
    Why do people keep bringing the greek myths up? The heroes didn't roll a saving throw, it was a story. They didn't have an arbitrary chance of having to come up with a new character when they were making the damn things up.

    Unless greek myths are just the surviving tales of ancient rpgs...

  • valiancevaliance Registered User regular
    that's the direction i was stabbing at - why do we need instadeath at all?

    are we really clinging to the idea that we need false tension enforced by random happenstance? movies don't do this (murder porn excepted), books don't do this, video games don't do this, so why do we cling to the idea that our DnD protagonists should be subject to random deaths

    See I don't think the tension is false. I like that tension.

    And I think the interactivity of D&D makes it different from any of the media you mentioned except videogames.

    And Videogames do do this. You can die to the first zombie in resident evil, you just reload and try again (the equivalent of getting a raise spell perhaps?).

    Also: nethack. There are games with perma-death out there. Hell, I loved hardcore diablo 2 as well. You could spawn a boss monster that would one-shot you like np.

    More relevantly perhaps, I think I like this aspect of D&D because its the only game I play that does this. If I want a story on rails, there are millions of story games I'd play before D&D. For D&D I want it to have that random death, organic, almost dice-based storytelling. I don't need D&D to do everything well.

    In your post about incorporating modern game mechanics--I think to some extent its true that if you replace every part of the car with a new one, then you don't have the car anymore.

    On the other hand I am sympathetic to the argument that some mechanics just suck for 99% of people, or are poorly thought out, imbalanced, unfair, or archaic. Maybe I'm wrong on save or die and player death.

  • DextolenDextolen Registered User
    I think my favorite D&D logos have been 4th and 2nd editions in that order. I wonder if they'll ever just use "D&D"?

  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Comparing Nethack to save-or-die-style D&D is pretty accurate, in that your actual character ultimately doesn't matter in either one. Only the gameplay really matters, and dying means that you start again right away with a new character and replay the low-level parts of the game once more. Save or die effects are perfectly reasonable in a game where character creation takes maybe two minutes and character growth doesn't exist beyond "how many hit points do I have?". The D&D modules with the most notorious save-or-die effects (like Temple of Elemental Evil, which had fatal traps that didn't even allow a saving throw) weren't even meant for standard D&D play: they were tournament modules, meant for multiple groups to play at a convention, competing not to see which group would complete it first but to see which group would survive the longest.

    Death had a completely different meaning in the OD&D/AD&D 1e era than it does now: back then, the game was still rooted in its origins as a miniatures skirmish game. Your character was a game token, a disposable playing piece, and characterization was typically seen as something that only the neckbeardiest and most bombastic SCA types ever bothered with. Characters weren't expected to be portrayed as shallow and one-dimensional; they weren't expected to be characterized at all. (Just look at the memorable and iconic AD&D characters like Melf the Male elf, or the wizard Bigby, who died and was replaced by his identical brother Rigby, who in turn died and was replaced by his other identical brother Zigby.) Compare that with 3e and 4e, where chargen can take half an hour or more, where you need to plot out your character's future stats up into double-digit levels in order to take effective feats/powers/skills at first level. Under this kind of in-depth character creation, killing a character through random chance means wasting a tremendous amount of player investment in the game, both mentally and chronologically. When a new player loses the character they just spent the better part of an hour building thanks to one or two bad die rolls, and has to sit out the rest of the session or else roll up a new character after the current encounter, why should we expect them to want to play the game at all?

    gtrmp on
  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    First they came for the clerics, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a cleric.
    Then they came for the fighters, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a fighter.
    Then they came for the rogues, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a rogue.

    Then they came for me, and I roasted their asses with a fireball, because I'm a fucking wizard.

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    i should point out that nethack was first released in 1987 and diablo 2 in 2000, and HC mode isn't even standard play

    so we're looking at a time difference in decades

    so i don't think those really disprove my point

    if you crave tension engendered by the rules/gameplay then there are better ways to do it than coinflips

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  • valiancevaliance Registered User regular
    gtrmp wrote: »
    Comparing Nethack to save-or-die-style D&D is pretty accurate, in that your actual character ultimately doesn't matter in either one. Only the gameplay really matters, and dying means that you start again right away with a new character and replay the low-level parts of the game once more. Save or die effects are perfectly reasonable in a game where character creation takes maybe two minutes and character growth doesn't exist beyond "how many hit points do I have?". The D&D modules with the most notorious save-or-die effects (like Temple of Elemental Evil, which had fatal traps that didn't even allow a saving throw) weren't even meant for standard D&D play: they were tournament modules, meant for multiple groups to play at a convention, competing not to see which group would complete it first but to see which group would survive the longest.

    Death had a completely different meaning in the OD&D/AD&D 1e era than it does now: back then, the game was still rooted in its origins as a miniatures skirmish game. Your character was a game token, a disposable playing piece, and characterization was typically seen as something that only the neckbeardiest and most bombastic SCA types ever bothered with. Characters weren't expected to be portrayed as shallow and one-dimensional; they weren't expected to be characterized at all. (Just look at the memorable and iconic AD&D characters like Melf the Male elf, or the wizard Bigby, who died and was replaced by his identical brother Rigby, who in turn died and was replaced by his other identical brother Zigby.) Compare that with 3e and 4e, where chargen can take half an hour or more, where you need to plot out your character's future stats up into double-digit levels in order to take effective feats/powers/skills at first level. Under this kind of in-depth character creation, killing a character through random chance means wasting a tremendous amount of player investment in the game, both mentally and chronologically. When a new player loses the character they just spent the better part of an hour building thanks to one or two bad die rolls, and has to sit out the rest of the session or else roll up a new character after the current encounter, why should we expect them to want to play the game at all?

    Great post. :^:

    I guess I want nethack or d2 hardcore out of my D&D while other people want Dragon Age or Mass Effect.

    I'm playing some B/X D&D right now and I liked the quick, simple, random chargen--I had a dude in like 5 min, after never having played that edition before.

    This B/X guy of mine is a fighter and I agree there could definitely be some more pizazz attached to the class--so I get the hankering after powers, I sympathize with wanting something to do besides "I attack it" or worse, those rounds when all you can do is crawl towards the enemy in your slow ass plate. I think the variety of actions available in 4E promotes creation of fictional inputs which have mechanical consequences. A simple attack can have no fictional grounding at all and turn into a dice rolling contest. A trip or a disarm almost by necessity has more fictional grounding- instant rightward arrows http://www.lumpley.com/archive/156.html .

    Plus variety can be a good in and of itself. Why should MUs get to choose between Sleep, Charm, Flight, Invisibility and Fireball, while Fighters are stuck with "I hit it with my axe" ? Then again--scalable complexity, or differential complexity between classes is great for newbies. Barbarians can hit things and rage, which do you want to do? a la http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2009/12/i-hit-it-with-my-axe.html

    Also wrt to save or die, I do think traps are really dumb for this reason. For some reason I'm OK with save or dies on monsters. No idea why.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    gtrmp wrote: »
    Comparing Nethack to save-or-die-style D&D is pretty accurate, in that your actual character ultimately doesn't matter in either one. Only the gameplay really matters, and dying means that you start again right away with a new character and replay the low-level parts of the game once more. Save or die effects are perfectly reasonable in a game where character creation takes maybe two minutes and character growth doesn't exist beyond "how many hit points do I have?". The D&D modules with the most notorious save-or-die effects (like Temple of Elemental Evil, which had fatal traps that didn't even allow a saving throw) weren't even meant for standard D&D play: they were tournament modules, meant for multiple groups to play at a convention, competing not to see which group would complete it first but to see which group would survive the longest.

    Death had a completely different meaning in the OD&D/AD&D 1e era than it does now: back then, the game was still rooted in its origins as a miniatures skirmish game. Your character was a game token, a disposable playing piece, and characterization was typically seen as something that only the neckbeardiest and most bombastic SCA types ever bothered with. Characters weren't expected to be portrayed as shallow and one-dimensional; they weren't expected to be characterized at all. (Just look at the memorable and iconic AD&D characters like Melf the Male elf, or the wizard Bigby, who died and was replaced by his identical brother Rigby, who in turn died and was replaced by his other identical brother Zigby.) Compare that with 3e and 4e, where chargen can take half an hour or more, where you need to plot out your character's future stats up into double-digit levels in order to take effective feats/powers/skills at first level. Under this kind of in-depth character creation, killing a character through random chance means wasting a tremendous amount of player investment in the game, both mentally and chronologically. When a new player loses the character they just spent the better part of an hour building thanks to one or two bad die rolls, and has to sit out the rest of the session or else roll up a new character after the current encounter, why should we expect them to want to play the game at all?

    I played OD&D and AD&D in the late 70s and early 80s and we RPed. I can't see any difference in our attitude to character to players nowadays.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I played OD&D and AD&D in the late 70s and early 80s and we RPed. I can't see any difference in our attitude to character to players nowadays.

    Did you use the rules for death and resurrection as written?

  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    if you crave tension engendered by the rules/gameplay then there are better ways to do it than coinflips

    I was gonna get into this before but didn't have time.

    So save or die lets DMs represent unique and dangerous powers in a way that changes the tenor of a fight? The way we want to do that is "roll a d20, maybe die"? Seems shitty. here's a rough sketch of MY approach to the medusa and its game-changing gaze power.
    Spoiler:

  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    Abbalah wrote: »

    I was gonna get into this before but didn't have time.

    So save or die lets DMs represent unique and dangerous powers in a way that changes the tenor of a fight? The way we want to do that is "roll a d20, maybe die"? Seems shitty. here's a rough sketch of MY approach to the medusa and its game-changing gaze power.
    Spoiler:

    See, I thought up something similar (if less detailed) earlier, and it wasn't well received (maybe people just weren't interested in commenting). I think it's because people want simpler rules. I think something cinematic and engaging like this is good design and would make a very memorable enemy. I also think that some of these monsters should be considered one-ofs. There aren't 40 medusa running around in Greek myth, so there really shouldn't be in D&D, either.

    I like the idea of the designers creating top-down encounters for you to drop into your campaign instead of a book of stat-blocks. I'd rather have that than a shitton of dragon varieties I'll never use. Unless they make each one into an interesting encounter and you can apply templates to get the kind of dragon you want. Like this is the aquatic dragon that uses a lake to hide from the PCs and attack! The if you make this a fire dragon, use lava instead in a higher level encounter.

  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    I feel like most people involved in this conversation are lacking a sense of history as to what a saving throw was meant to represent. Saving versus death didn't represent the chance you had of dying. After being the victim of Power Word: Death, you were dead. The saving throw was a last ditch chance that somehow your character was able to avoid a horrible fate and live.

    You weren't rolling to avoid death, or petrification, or, uh... wands. That thing happened to you... UNLESS! you somehow, miraculously, managed to avoid that fate by making a saving throw.

    Does that difference make sense? Because that's definitely how it was in O/1E.

  • bssbss BIBIBABIBABIBUBIII Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    gtrmp wrote: »
    Comparing Nethack to save-or-die-style D&D is pretty accurate, in that your actual character ultimately doesn't matter in either one.

    Nethack also enforces an approach (especially at early levels) where you need to apply an abundance of caution as a necessity. Killing by proxy for example, or sticking to ranged weapons. It makes for a very non-heroic game until you get leveled to the point that you can dare wade into an actual combat yourself. The game also relies heavily on knowing its gotchas. It's not bad, it's obviously a preference/flavor thing, but I'm just saying.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    gtrmp wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    I played OD&D and AD&D in the late 70s and early 80s and we RPed. I can't see any difference in our attitude to character to players nowadays.

    Did you use the rules for death and resurrection as written?

    I don't remember - what were they like? We hardly ever got high enough level for that kind of magic.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    zenpotato wrote: »
    I feel like most people involved in this conversation are lacking a sense of history as to what a saving throw was meant to represent. Saving versus death didn't represent the chance you had of dying. After being the victim of Power Word: Death, you were dead. The saving throw was a last ditch chance that somehow your character was able to avoid a horrible fate and live.

    You weren't rolling to avoid death, or petrification, or, uh... wands. That thing happened to you... UNLESS! you somehow, miraculously, managed to avoid that fate by making a saving throw.

    Does that difference make sense? Because that's definitely how it was in O/1E.

    I'm afraid I don't really get what you're trying to say. How do you think people are imagining saving throws here?

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • armageddonboundarmageddonbound Registered User regular
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Meh. Every encounter should be dangerous and deadly or else the players may not realize that this "random" encounter is more than just that and they might take risks they wouldn't have otherwise. Sometimes life kicks your ass and you make a new character.

    That would comforting if I was playing a life simulation. I am not: I'm playing a game, primarily to have fun. Thus I dislike things I don't find fun (such as save-or-die effects in minor encounters).

    If I die due to failing the game that is one thing. If I die to an single arbitrary roll of the dice that I had no way of altering the circumstances of, I'm not going to fun that fun.
    I actually like something close to a simulation. Not in detail, but the abstractions it uses should be close to real life analogues. Having said that, I'm not really a fan of save or die either. It's just too simple to cover the kind of damage that it is supposed to represent.

  • LochielLochiel Registered User regular
    Toothy wrote: »
    I like the idea of the designers creating top-down encounters for you to drop into your campaign instead of a book of stat-blocks. I'd rather have that than a shitton of dragon varieties I'll never use. Unless they make each one into an interesting encounter and you can apply templates to get the kind of dragon you want. Like this is the aquatic dragon that uses a lake to hide from the PCs and attack! The if you make this a fire dragon, use lava instead in a higher level encounter.

    God yes. This. When I DM I can come up with plot, stories, characters, etc, well enough. It's the encounters that take up so much of my time and I never feel like I've designed the encounter well. I buy campaigns to steal the encounters. I would gladly buy "Encounter Packs" that included everything I needed, including the maps.

    steam_sig.png
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Lochiel wrote: »
    Toothy wrote: »
    I like the idea of the designers creating top-down encounters for you to drop into your campaign instead of a book of stat-blocks. I'd rather have that than a shitton of dragon varieties I'll never use. Unless they make each one into an interesting encounter and you can apply templates to get the kind of dragon you want. Like this is the aquatic dragon that uses a lake to hide from the PCs and attack! The if you make this a fire dragon, use lava instead in a higher level encounter.

    God yes. This. When I DM I can come up with plot, stories, characters, etc, well enough. It's the encounters that take up so much of my time and I never feel like I've designed the encounter well. I buy campaigns to steal the encounters. I would gladly buy "Encounter Packs" that included everything I needed, including the maps.

    I love designing encounters, it's just about my favorite part of DMing, and I still think this would be an excellent idea. Firstly because I still crib ideas from other people's encounters and secondly because it'd probably do a lot to improve the experience for people; having a resource like that would give DMs a pool of good encounters to use as well as, more importantly, give them examples of what makes a good encounter so that they learn how to build more interesting ones themselves and have a way to see what the system is capable of, which I think is probably the biggest actual limiter on encounter design for a lot of people.

    it's possible to miss out on a lot of cool possibilities just because the DMG doesn't really outline them very well - this is doubly true of skill challenges; we probably wouldn't see so many complaints about skill challenges being fundamentally broken if there were packs of awesome pre-written challenges floating around so people could see what the system can actually do.

  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    zenpotato wrote: »
    I feel like most people involved in this conversation are lacking a sense of history as to what a saving throw was meant to represent. Saving versus death didn't represent the chance you had of dying. After being the victim of Power Word: Death, you were dead. The saving throw was a last ditch chance that somehow your character was able to avoid a horrible fate and live.

    You weren't rolling to avoid death, or petrification, or, uh... wands. That thing happened to you... UNLESS! you somehow, miraculously, managed to avoid that fate by making a saving throw.

    Does that difference make sense? Because that's definitely how it was in O/1E.

    I'm afraid I don't really get what you're trying to say. How do you think people are imagining saving throws here?

    My impression of the discussion is that it's centered around the saving throw being a mechanic that is there to be used by the DM to challenge the players, to give the DM access to a mechanic that he can use to create life threatening situations. My perception of the saving throw is that it's a tool for the player to have a last chance to avoid certain doom. The saving throw is the random chance of heroes to not be dead (or whatever other consequence is at hand) when anyone else would be.

  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    zenpotato wrote: »
    My impression of the discussion is that it's centered around the saving throw being a mechanic that is there to be used by the DM to challenge the players, to give the DM access to a mechanic that he can use to create life threatening situations. My perception of the saving throw is that it's a tool for the player to have a last chance to avoid certain doom. The saving throw is the random chance of heroes to not be dead (or whatever other consequence is at hand) when anyone else would be.
    This sums things up nicely. In my games if you're making a Save or Die roll then by all accounts you should be dead. If you pass the Save then you've done something special or been exceptionally lucky and managed to avoid the horrible fate.

    It really isn't just an attack roll in reverse.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman THANOSCOPTOR Registered User regular
    My party was traveling to the next part of the plot on horse, with me in lead because I'm the big tough barbarian with lots of hitpoints. A cluster of invisible ogre-mages casts Deep Slumber on everyone in a surprise round, I fail my save. I'm the only one who fails his save. My party barely even has time to realize I'm even asleep before it's one of the Ogre-Magi's turn who saunters up to me while invisible and coup-de-graced me with a fort save too high for me to make.

    All because I failed one stupid roll before combat even began, while doing what the DM wanted us to do.

    You're not going to convince me that was "fun" because it wasn't. I was benched for the entire encounter, I'm out 7k gold, in a game where money was already tight, and I'm stuck with a permanent negative level for the next in-game week, when we don't really have time to slow down and rest up.

    Had the DM been operating on a no resurrection principle, I would have lost my entire character. All because of one roll I had no way of preventing. I would not be sad to see Save-or-Suck stay gone from D&D.

    thanossig_zps4bf2ceeb.jpg
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic I've Done Worse Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    [Pendantic Hat]Deep Slumber is a Full Round Spell so can't be cast in the surprise round. At best you could try and use the "Start Full Round Action" bullshit but even then it wouldn't hit until after the Ogre Magi used another Standard Action to finish it.

    So your DM just cheated to kill you.[/Pendantic Hat]

    No, I don't really think this changes much about the situation but it isn't the best example because the DM was already being a dick on top of what the rules actually allow.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    My party was traveling to the next part of the plot on horse, with me in lead because I'm the big tough barbarian with lots of hitpoints. A cluster of invisible ogre-mages casts Deep Slumber on everyone in a surprise round, I fail my save. I'm the only one who fails his save. My party barely even has time to realize I'm even asleep before it's one of the Ogre-Magi's turn who saunters up to me while invisible and coup-de-graced me with a fort save too high for me to make.

    All because I failed one stupid roll before combat even began, while doing what the DM wanted us to do.
    This is very lame. Goes to show how important it is to show a GM how to use Save or Dies (in a game where asleep can be as good as dead) if they're going to include them in the next edition.

    In this specific case the GM really should have:
    - Not gone straight for the deathblow on the sleeping character. One of the few punches I'll pull in combat is generally focusing on characters that are up and fighting rather than finishing off those that are KO'd.
    - Given more warning. If you're going into an area where invisible monsters, separate to the main plot, are wiping out experienced adventuring parties then word should get around. Is there a route to your goal that doesn't risk invisible murder but maybe has a different downside? That's giving the players an interesting choice, the foundation of good GMing.
    - Given a chance to spot the ambush, invisible or not. Although it might be a tough roll it's at least another step so you don't feel like your death has come from one roll.
    - Not had all this stuff happen in one round. It sounds like there might be issues with that as per the RAW, but either way getting knocked out and dealt a killing blow before any of the party can react is lame. Having the group band around you to protect your sleeping body from the murderous ogres would have at least delayed the kill and put some of the agency back in the players' hands.

    As people have mentioned, 4e did a fantastic job of making D&D playable by nearly any group, even those with a lackluster GM. I just hope the next edition can take that element along with the good stuff from older editions.

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