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Removing Saving Throws
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:55 am    Post subject: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Saving throws are far too cut-and-dry. The concept suffers from the fact that the difference between a 10 and an 11 on a standard d20 roll may result in an immense difference in the potential results. For example, the difference between a 10 and an 11 may determine if a spellcaster’s spell is wasted (it deals no damage or has no result) and it having potentially disastrous results for the recipient – such as in the case of an instant kill spell.

I hereby propose the following modifications:

Reflex saving throws are unchanged beyond the fact they are no longer considered saving throws. A character’s reflex check largely reflects the combination of a character’s dexterity with personal experience. This value is used whenever a character must test their reaction time, either in the case of dodging out of the way of a falling object or in attempting to grab at an ally’s hand before they fall off a cliff’s edge.

Will saving throws are now called Will checks. These checks reflect a character’s mental discipline and control over their faculties. For example, a character’s will directly reflects his morale.

Fortitude saving throws are now called Fortitude checks. These checks reflect a character’s physical tolerance to sickness, disease or other physical effects.

Mental defense represents a character’s capacity to defend their mind against potential attackers. This value is used whenever a character’s mind is being affected by some external stimulus, such as an enchantment spell, compulsion effect, or other form of psionic attack. A character gains one point of mental defense for every point they would normally gain towards their will save.

Physical defense represents a character’s capacity to defend their body against potential attackers. This value is used whenever a character’s body is being affected by some sort of energy attack or spell that would normally allow the use of physical defense. A character gains one point of physical defense for every point they would normally gain towards their fortitude save.

Using Defenses

A character uses their defense scores whenever a spell specifying the appropriate defense is used against them (and they are prepared to receive the spell). For every point of the defense associated with the spell, a character may roll 1d6 and reduce the damage dealt by the spell by that amount. Thus a character with 4 points of physical defense being hit by a baleful polymorph spell may reduce the amount of transmutation damage dealt by the spell by 4d6.

Example Spell Descriptions

Baleful Polymorph
Transmutation
Level: Drd 5, Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25ft. + 5ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: Permanent
Spell Resistance: Yes
Spell Defense: Physical

As polymorph, except that you attempt to change the subject into a Small or smaller animal of no more than 1 HD (such as a dog, lizard, monkey, or toad). Upon pointing a finger at the subject you wish to target, you immediately inflict 1d8 points of transmutation damage per two levels of the spellcaster (up to 15d8 points of transmutation damage). If the transmutation damage dealt to the target causes his hit points to drop to -10, he is immediately transformed into the form desired by the caster. Transmutation damage dealt by this spell is not considered to be equivalent to true damage; thus a character does not consider transmutation damage when determining remaining hit points. Note that a partial transformation may result if the target drops to 0 hit points as a consequence of this spell (as determined by the DM).



Charm Person
Enchantment (Charm) [Mind-Affecting]
Level: Brd 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5ft. / 2 levels)
Target: One humanoid creature
Duration: 1 hour/level
Spell Defense: Mental

This charm makes a humanoid creature regard you as a trusted friend and ally. When casting this spell, select one target and roll 1d8 points of mental damage per level (to a maximum of 10d8). For every 5 points of mental damage dealt after negating mental defense, the target’s attitude towards you shifts positively by one category, up to the best reaction of friendly. As long as the caster deals more mental damage than is blocked by the target, this spell has the additional effect of suppressing memory of the caster casting this spell upon the target.

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MrWaeseL
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This looks deceptively like Frank's box system, except with more saving throws.
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 4:08 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Alright, I rewrote a few misleading parts of this post and converted it to PDF... so check it out!

http://www.eternalspires.net/~aycarus/Saving%20Throws.pdf

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated Smile
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, I have to say this looks just like my box and soak system except that it involves rolling a large pile of polygonal dice and doesn't scale evenly with levels.

In my system, if you are relatively +4 on an opponent, a hit does about 3 less wound levels. In your system, if you are +4 on someone, they roll 4d8 less damage and you reduce the impact by 4d6. But... WTF does that mean? How much less damage you suffer relatively is contingent upon how many dice they were originally rolling. Hell, if you advance both attacker and defender by 4, the attacker does an average of 4 more points of damage (since Polymorph is a d8 per level, and the defense is a d6 per level), and the defender has some linear amount of more hit points which is itself more than 4.

So what does this mean? It means that as you scale everything up, the number of attacks it takes to drop someone changes. There are rextra layers of dice rolling and complexity that you are swinging around that serve no purpose save to make game design extremely difficult and to make people who enjoy the way combat works at any particular level to stop enjoying combat at a later level.

-Frank
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Yeah, I have to say this looks just like my box and soak system except that it involves rolling a large pile of polygonal dice and doesn't scale evenly with levels.


Do you have a link to the box and soak system post? (at least, I assume it's a post) And yeah, I admit one of the problems is the raw number of dice that need to be rolled at high levels. Admittedly, I wouldn't claim that the d20 system works particularly well at high levels in general.

FrankTrollman wrote:
In my system, if you are relatively +4 on an opponent, a hit does about 3 less wound levels. In your system, if you are +4 on someone, they roll 4d8 less damage and you reduce the impact by 4d6. But... WTF does that mean? How much less damage you suffer relatively is contingent upon how many dice they were originally rolling. Hell, if you advance both attacker and defender by 4, the attacker does an average of 4 more points of damage (since Polymorph is a d8 per level, and the defense is a d6 per level), and the defender has some linear amount of more hit points which is itself more than 4.


Arguably the defender shouldn't be scaling his fortitude up at a rate equivilant to his level. I would suspect that, taking into consideration the addition of feats, a defender is able to scale his fortitude up at 3/8 of his level in the case of a weak save or 3/4 in the case of a strong save. Thus a difference of 4 levels results in the defender being dealt, on average 7.5 (E[1d6]+4=3.5+4) more damage in the case of a strong save or 12.75 (E[2.5d6]+4=2.5*3.5+4) more damage in the case of a weak save.

So, what's the consequence? For one, by 20th level, a fighter is much more reasonably matched against a wizard because the fighter is able to maintain his fortitude at a reasonably high level to prevent the wizard's spells which require fortitude saves from affecting him without a little intervention. In the case of characters with generally weak fortitude saves, such as the bard or wizard, they're being dealt approximately 12.75/4 = 3.1875 more damage per level, which scales roughly even with the number of hit points they should expect to receive. I would suspect then that the wizard would stay roughly even with classes with weak fortitude saves, but become progressively weaker against characters with higher fortitude saves (which isn't unreasonable considering the wizard currently has few perceivable weaknesses at high level).
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


What are you trying to do with this system? You state that "The concept suffers from the fact that the difference between a 10 and an 11 on a standard d20 roll may result in an immense difference in the potential results." Yet one of your two examples (polymorph) has exactly the same problem, except you use a ton more dice.

If you want gradual effects just do that. There is no need for more saving throws and imaginary damage if all you want is gradual spell effects. That charm effect could just as well read "for every x points the target misses the DC by ....". As far as I can see there is no need for the rest of your system.

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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus wrote:
Do you have a link to the box and soak system post?
Here's a short run-down.
Here's a long argument that includes the whole thing.

Basically, the really short version of this is:

Me wrote:
Step One: Roll to hit.
You roll an attack against a DC. For every Two Points that you exceed the to-hit DC, you add +1 damage. If you miss the to-hit DC, you miss entirely.

Step Two: Roll Soak.
Your Victim rolls a soak roll against a DC equal to the damage of your attack (which is base damage - a constant - plus the bonus for rolling a good to-hit roll as outlined above). For every two points they miss the DC by, they suffer one health level. If they hit the DC or exceed it, they lose no health levels.


This is designed for a four-stat system and is inherently balanced between Fighters, Wizards, and Fighter/Wizards. A finite power difference between two chaarcters makes exactly the same amount of difference if that's a power level difference of 2 vs. 4 or 48 vs. 50; and thus the system scales infinitely without strain.

-Frank
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Murtak wrote:

What are you trying to do with this system? You state that "The concept suffers from the fact that the difference between a 10 and an 11 on a standard d20 roll may result in an immense difference in the potential results." Yet one of your two examples (polymorph) has exactly the same problem, except you use a ton more dice.


How's it have the same problem?

Quote:
If you want gradual effects just do that. There is no need for more saving throws and imaginary damage if all you want is gradual spell effects. That charm effect could just as well read "for every x points the target misses the DC by ....". As far as I can see there is no need for the rest of your system.


The main reason for the choice of the absurd quantity of dice is to consider situations where damage is rolled in the design inherently. Otherwise, you would need a table along the lines of "if you make the DC by 5, take 20% less damage... if you make the DC by 10, take 40% less damage... etc." Although this makes the charm effect seem as though it's overloaded with dice, this maintains some semblance of consistency between the charm effect and other spells using the same system.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus wrote:
How's it have the same problem?


Ultimately, even sword strikes have the same problem in D&D as does Dominate. Namely, that if you roll dice and haven't exceeded your threshhold, nothing happens. If you do exceed the threshhold, you drop like a fly.

Now, the Sword Strikes that don't drop you add together to eventually drop you, and the Dominate Persons do not. But while you've made a very convoluted system that makes Dominates add up to eventually remove you as a threat, you have not made a system that makes Swords add up with Dominates to eventualy take you out of the combat.

As such, you've still got the "all or nothing" thing going on. The actual problem: that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the Enchanter whether there is a Swordsman "helping" him to defeat the bad guy; is still there. The conceptual problem: that you don't actually suffer any meaningful difficulties until you suddenly drop out of the melee altogether is still there. And of course, the campaign problem that the numbers being thrown around in attacks get massively larger compared to death margins, causing the game to lose relevence as a campaign at higher levels - is still there.

In short, everything about D&D mechanics as regards to attacks that is problematic is still there in your system. So you haven't really "solved" anything.

-Frank
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

This is designed for a four-stat system and is inherently balanced between Fighters, Wizards, and Fighter/Wizards. A finite power difference between two chaarcters makes exactly the same amount of difference if that's a power level difference of 2 vs. 4 or 48 vs. 50; and thus the system scales infinitely without strain.


I assume this is designed for a system with non-scaling hit points? Assuming that the to-hit roll is determined by the d20 and the to-hit roll remains constant for equivilant level differences, the pre-soak damage dealt will always be Damage[Equipment] + 1/2*((attack roll)-AC) (assuming attack roll >= AC). So, the number of hits required to kill your target is proportional to his HPs... so at 50th level, battles would potentially take a long time under a scaling system. The only way it'd make sense under a scaling system is if either the equipment damage or die size increased with level.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:03 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hit Points in this system do not scale. Damage and Soak rolls scale. So a very powerful creature (like a rhino) takes no damage from a very weak creature (like a horse fly), while two powerful creatures or two weak creatures can hurt each other just fine, and in fact use the same game mechanics and have the same battle feeling when doing so.

Aycarus wrote:
The only way it'd make sense under a scaling system is if either the equipment damage or die size increased with level.


I can't even parse this sentence into something that makes any sense. The die sizes don't go anywhere. Ever. There's just two d20s rolled for any attack, regardless of method or target.

You can't ever scale things well if you switch dice around, that's always going to have plateaus and breakpoints that do really weird and unpredictable things to battles after a few iterations.

Rolling more than one die on any test brings the game outside the boundaries of easy math and therefore turns the entire game into a perplexing crapshoot that humans can't even write rules for, let alone make up functional game mechanics on the fly.

Aycarus wrote:
So, the number of hits required to kill your target is proportional to his HPs...


Actually, its proportional to their number of HPs and the linearly relative power discrepency between your opponent and you. In short, it keeps a well formed game mechanic at all levels and allows CRs to work as intended. At all levels.

As game mechanics go, it's awesome.

-Frank
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:10 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Aycarus wrote:
How's it have the same problem?


Ultimately, even sword strikes have the same problem in D&D as does Dominate. Namely, that if you roll dice and haven't exceeded your threshhold, nothing happens. If you do exceed the threshhold, you drop like a fly.

Now, the Sword Strikes that don't drop you add together to eventually drop you, and the Dominate Persons do not. But while you've made a very convoluted system that makes Dominates add up to eventually remove you as a threat, you have not made a system that makes Swords add up with Dominates to eventualy take you out of the combat.


There's no reason a dominate should stack with a sword strike, however. A dominate is purely a mental attack, and as described herein is unaffected by the targets hit point count. I don't believe dominate should stack with itself either; but I do think that there should be a partial effect as a consequence of casting dominate rather than an all-or-nothing result. As for dominate, I don't know what that would be - it's not easily converted to the domain of this system. Charm person was easily converted however, as one partial effect that could be enacted was moving the target's reaction to you *towards* friendly without actually jumping directly to friendly.

I think a swordsman being present should actually detract from the enchanter being able to properly charm the adversary, because the adversary feels outnumbered and potentially threatened. Of course, such a dynamic is too complicated to potentially include.

Quote:
As such, you've still got the "all or nothing" thing going on. The actual problem: that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the Enchanter whether there is a Swordsman "helping" him to defeat the bad guy; is still there. The conceptual problem: that you don't actually suffer any meaningful difficulties until you suddenly drop out of the melee altogether is still there. And of course, the campaign problem that the numbers being thrown around in attacks get massively larger compared to death margins, causing the game to lose relevence as a campaign at higher levels - is still there.


The problem I was aiming to work at correcting wasn't a problem with synergies. The problem is that a fighter at mid-high level will often have a lot to potentially accomplish in his round; multiple attacks at least give him the probability of some consequence of his decisions. A wizard, on the other hand, might cast a spell and find the target saves for no consequences. This is now an unrecoverable (for the day) part of his character that he has expended. Effectively what you've ended up with is a character whose use depends on probability, rather than considering the potential for partial effects that could have been incurred as a result of the magical energy he's gathered for the spell.

Anyway, I agree that the conceptual problem still exists, but to a lesser degree. A baleful polymorph, for example, may render the target partially transformed but still functional. Such effects would add potentially useful flavour to the game.
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:23 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Hit Points in this system do not scale. Damage and Soak rolls scale. So a very powerful creature (like a rhino) takes no damage from a very weak creature (like a horse fly), while two powerful creatures or two weak creatures can hurt each other just fine, and in fact use the same game mechanics and have the same battle feeling when doing so.


Alright, that makes sense. Non-scaling hit points are delicious.

Quote:
Aycarus wrote:
The only way it'd make sense under a scaling system is if either the equipment damage or die size increased with level.


I can't even parse this sentence into something that makes any sense. The die sizes don't go anywhere. Ever. There's just two d20s rolled for any attack, regardless of method or target.


Scaling die sizes are possible in the domain of abstract math Tongue Is equipment damage constant, or is it dependent on the d20 as well?

Quote:
You can't ever scale things well if you switch dice around, that's always going to have plateaus and breakpoints that do really weird and unpredictable things to battles after a few iterations.

Rolling more than one die on any test brings the game outside the boundaries of easy math and therefore turns the entire game into a perplexing crapshoot that humans can't even write rules for, let alone make up functional game mechanics on the fly.


It certainly brings it out of the realm of things which can be easily balanced. I wouldn't claim that it is impossible to balance, but the difficulty does increase substantially once different dice are introduced. However, in knowing your desire for balance, I'd have to make the argument that perfect balance is potentially undesirable; in general, it often seems that flexibility is inversely proportional to balance. This is a simple consequence of the fact that the more flexible a system is, the harder it is to balance (for humans, at least).

In the case of your four-stat system, there's the potential for a lack of flexibility because small modifiers as a consequence of character customization will likely be very difficult to balance. For example, if as a consequence of a feat or the like, I grant my character a +1 bonus on 50% of my die rolls and -1 penalty on the other 50%, is this balanced? I don't know. It certainly adds flavour to the character, but the math behind balancing even something this simple has the potential for repercusions that might not be immediately obvious.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:54 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus wrote:

In the case of your four-stat system, there's the potential for a lack of flexibility because small modifiers as a consequence of character customization will likely be very difficult to balance. For example, if as a consequence of a feat or the like, I grant my character a +1 bonus on 50% of my die rolls and -1 penalty on the other 50%, is this balanced? I don't know. It certainly adds flavour to the character, but the math behind balancing even something this simple has the potential for repercusions that might not be immediately obvious.


The math for balancing something like that is never going to be obvious regardless of what system you're using. Because it amounts to a lot of judgment.

How important are each of the areas you're getting bonuses/penalties? This isn't concrete because it changes by character. A wizard who takes a +1 to magic attacks and a -1 to physical attacks isn't taking any meaningful penalty. A +1 to fire resistance over a -1 to cold resistance. This one depends totally on your campaign style.

There isn't any way to realistically mathematically calculate things like this because there are so many unknowns, most of them dependent on the campaign itself. If there are lots of fire creatures and no cold creatures, then resistances to fire are a lot more valuable. This isn't a math problem because your encounter type frequency isnt' a math problem.

The best you can actually do here is have the DM fill out a sheet about how common certain things are, say on a scale of 1-5. So if undead are rare, negative energy protection is cheap. If undead are common, it becomes expensive and so on. The problem with this set up is that it requires a point system to truly work, and it's difficult to get that to integrate into a level system.

Now what Frank does with his system with these choices is integrate defense and attack. So you could balance out fire versus ice because your "fire" rating is your resistance to fire and your ability to throw fire attacks, which are good against ice creatures. So basically whatever you are good at defensively, you are also bad at offensively and vice versa.

The problem with this is that the choice isn't all that meaningful. Under a system like that, you can never make a true red dragon hunter, because if your character is good at damaging the dragon, your defenses against it are weak. And if you are good at resisting the dragon, then you can't hurt it much.

Sooner or later there's a point where game balance has to delve into non-mathematical arenas.
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:17 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RandomCasualty wrote:

Sooner or later there's a point where game balance has to delve into non-mathematical arenas.


Hmm... I was trying to think of something to respond to, but all I can think of saying is that I agree. It's always a sad day when a math major comes upon something to complicated to be done mathematically. Oh Well
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:
The problem with this is that the choice isn't all that meaningful.


False.

RC wrote:
Under a system like that, you can never make a true red dragon hunter


Also false.

It's just that stat assignment does not change whether you are good at fighting Red Dragons, only what your tactics should be when fighting them. But Red Dragons are still a Fire monster, so investing in some hefty Water attacks and some good Fire protection makes you teh win.

You keep demanding tha the stats themselves generate a Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic. That doesn't work. RPS can only be generated by RPS, not from assignable and distributable points. If you divide points between a series of columns, that division can't provide your basic "who wins a fair fight" setup. That has to come from abilities which are binarily on or off.

As soon as you are putting points into Rock and Paper, you're a fvcking moron, and we've already been over that math a thousand times. Stats can determine whether you should be fighting with stealth (because getting the first shot is very important) or platemail (because pushing your defensive abilities towards the limit is comparatively large). It can do this while still being balanced. It can't make you all around superior at fighting Wizards, because if it did there would be no good god damned reason to play a Fighter/Wizard, and the entire exercise is wasted effort.

We've been through this math. Your complaints have been refuted, your demands have been rejected.

-Frank
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus: What do you want your system to do? I honestly can not tell what you are trying to accomplish. So far I can only tell you that your charm example does not make sword damage stack with charming and that your polymorph spell is still all-or-nothing. Both are much more complicated then standard DnD. Did you intend for physical damage to stack with all-or-nothing effects? Did you intend for gradual effects instead of all-or-nothing effects?


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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Murtak wrote:
Aycarus: What do you want your system to do? I honestly can not tell what you are trying to accomplish. So far I can only tell you that your charm example does not make sword damage stack with charming and that your polymorph spell is still all-or-nothing. Both are much more complicated then standard DnD. Did you intend for physical damage to stack with all-or-nothing effects? Did you intend for gradual effects instead of all-or-nothing effects?


The ultimate goal of the system is to incur partial or gradual effects on the target, even if they would've normally avoided the consequences entirely. In particular, the amount of partial effect incurred is dependent on the amount of damage dealt by the offender and the amount soaked by the defender.

The most notable point about the charm example is the fact that it allows partial effects to occur; the target may only move one reaction category towards friendly rather than jumping directly to friendly.

In the polymorph example, the transmutation damage incurred by the spell may result in the target incurring a partial, yet non-debilitating effect (ie. if somebody had tried to turn him into a cat, he might've now become a little furrier and have grown whiskers and cat ears). Further, the effects of the polymorph stack, so a character needs to get the effect of that polymorph healed before he is potentially inflicted by a similar casting again.

In the finger of death example, damage is incurred proportional to how much the target is able to soak - rather than an arbitrary 3d6 as decided in the book.

And yes, it is more complicated.
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Sma
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More complicated sounds a bit easy for a system where you have to keep track of a damage score for every spell that has ever been or will be cast upon you.

But if you want to go ahead with this you could, instead of rolling huge amounts of dice (which tend to roll average anyway), simply let multiple castings of the same spell incur a save penalty on the subject.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I am actually completely unclear as to what the "gradual" effect that polymorph is inflicting here. You cast the spell and they either turn into a piggy or they don't. It doesn't matter how many times your allies have shot that same opponent with firebolts or fear blasts, they just either turn into a piggy or they don't based on the merits of your own personal spellcastings. Nothing game mechanical happens which is "gradual" in any meaningful way.

It seems like you could get the same degree of gradularity by just announcing that as a special effect a character who makes their save against Polymorph still feels their teeth extend and their voice bleat. There's no reason for complicated new game mechanics, because nothing actually happens that's any different.

---

On a more direct note: there is no advantage at all for casting a Polymnorph on someone who has already been hit by a Fear. This means that diversification in player abilities is bad. Not just between characters but within a character. The Wizard doesn't get anything from having a Fighter in the party, and he doesn't even get anything from having more than one kind of spell.

This sort of system heavily punishes people who use multiple kinds of offense, which means that the correct answer is to have monochromatic - and boring - parties. Everybody will use a sword, or everybody will be an Enchanter. Under this system, sufficient application of any attack mode will eventually triumph, but combined application of multiple strategies carries no such guaranty.

In short, it is an overwrought idea whose time has not come. It creates an environment which is actually the opposite of fun. Lots and lots of dice rolling coupled with intense accounting while everyone is nevertheless just doing exactly the same thing over and over again until they complete their taxes and win. Ugh.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, the focused character who casts only one spell (or type of spells) shoudl get some benefit. If you have a fire mage who just uses fire spells, he should have some kind of advantage over the wizard who uses all sorts of spells. The system here actually presents some kind of advantage to the guy who decides to focus.

Now, it may be too great of an advantage, but still I think there's a place to give advantages to wizards who want to cast the same spell over and over again. Because the ones who diversify actually gain a base advantage by the fact that there's more creatures out there wtih immunity to enchantment then there are with vulnerability to enchantment. So if you prepare nothing but enchantments, you end up getting boned a lot of the time, and you basically get nothing back.

Where as the guy who prepares a variety of spells still has his charm spell when he needs it, only he can kill the skeletons and constructs when they come after him. Actually some work should be done IMO in beefing up the specialist caster. If you want to cast only charm or poylmorphing magic primarily, you should get something for it, because there are going to be lots of situations where your spells don't do anything.
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sma wrote:
More complicated sounds a bit easy for a system where you have to keep track of a damage score for every spell that has ever been or will be cast upon you.


You don't have to keep track of a damage score for each spell that has ever been cast on you at all. In fact, out of the three examples I presented in the document, only the transmutation effect would be recorded separately. The death effect deals partial damage to hit points and the charm effect does not even deal damage. I claim a single source of new damage is no more bookkeeping than having to keep track of ability damage, hit point damage, base attack penalties, etc.

Quote:
But if you want to go ahead with this you could, instead of rolling huge amounts of dice (which tend to roll average anyway), simply let multiple castings of the same spell incur a save penalty on the subject.


Yay, constructive commentary Smile A possibility as well, but this is more difficult to work with for spells which may imply an immediate gradual effect (such as charm, in this case). Plus this doesn't really have the desired effect with the death spell I was aiming for (being that characters with fewer hit points are more susceptible to death effects - which seems like a reasonable trade off).
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Aycarus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:11 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
I am actually completely unclear as to what the "gradual" effect that polymorph is inflicting here. You cast the spell and they either turn into a piggy or they don't... There's no reason for complicated new game mechanics, because nothing actually happens that's any different.


In the case of polymorph, there's no reason the spell couldn't be reworded to implement some form of gradual change that would affect the game mechanics. For example, being dealt 50% of your hit points as transmutation damage may result in a -2 strength (or some other equivilant effect, enacted with some balance analysis, of course). Under the standard D&D system, I think this would be more difficult to gauge for two reasons:

1. The change would be based on a saving throw; but if this spell is anything like a normal spell in the system, the character should experience no effect if he makes the saving throw. Thus, we must reduce the power of the existing spell for cases where the character fails the saving throw in order to make the change gradual. I feel this is a poor tradeoff, as it results in weakening an existing spell effect.

2. There's no rule governing what happens when two polymorph spells affect the same target for a gradual effect. Are the results combined? If so, this requires that the target continue recording the pre-existing gradual effect as well.

Quote:

On a more direct note: there is no advantage at all for casting a Polymnorph on someone who has already been hit by a Fear. This means that diversification in player abilities is bad. Not just between characters but within a character. The Wizard doesn't get anything from having a Fighter in the party, and he doesn't even get anything from having more than one kind of spell.

...Under this system, sufficient application of any attack mode will eventually triumph, but combined application of multiple strategies carries no such guaranty.


Your assumption for diversification appears to rely explicitly under balanced circumstances; where all combats are essentially nothing more than battles where every character's abilities are still available. In any campaign with even the slightest bit of flavour, this doesn't happen. If you need the target to be polymorphed, a fear spell will be useless - similarly, a fighter inflicting damage will be useless. Who says the fighter even has the capacity to attack the target - ie. a flying target versus a land-bound fighter? If there was not use in diversification, the players handbook would not find use in the catalogue of spells it currently presents.

The system presented here does not change the potential for combining multiple attack forms. Hence any argument you make for it preventing diversification additionally apply to the core rules themselves.

Quote:
In short, it is an overwrought idea whose time has not come. It creates an environment which is actually the opposite of fun. Lots and lots of dice rolling coupled with intense accounting while everyone is nevertheless just doing exactly the same thing over and over again until they complete their taxes and win. Ugh.


Similar methods have been presented in other gaming systems. For example, the Hero system uses a very similar method for handling polymorph as I have presented in this ruleset for d20. I feel the amount of accounting isn't as great as you make it out to be; but at high levels the amount of dice rolling is fairly large (although technically I'm simply expanding dice rolling from a limited set of spells - ie. up to 40d6 from disintegrate - to apply to a larger set of spells). As a result, I feel I'm not making particularly exorbitant demands of the current system in this proposal.
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Murtak
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus wrote:
In the case of polymorph, there's no reason the spell couldn't be reworded to implement some form of gradual change that would affect the game mechanics.

Well, it would be nice if the examples you presented as having a gradual effect actual had that gradual effect. It makes judging your system a little hard when I have to guess what you might want the spell to do.

Aycarus wrote:
Under the standard D&D system, I think this would be more difficult to gauge for two reasons:

1. The change would be based on a saving throw; but if this spell is anything like a normal spell in the system, the character should experience no effect if he makes the saving throw. Thus, we must reduce the power of the existing spell for cases where the character fails the saving throw in order to make the change gradual. I feel this is a poor tradeoff, as it results in weakening an existing spell effect.

Huh? What is so hard about "fortitude partial"? You make you saving throw, no effect, fail it by 4, partial effect, fail it by 10, polymorphed. Now if you feel that making the save is too easy add a saving throw modifier. Done.

Aycarus wrote:
2. There's no rule governing what happens when two polymorph spells affect the same target for a gradual effect. Are the results combined? If so, this requires that the target continue recording the pre-existing gradual effect as well.

Yep. And this is a ton of paperwork. But at least you are not rolling 20 dice each and every time.

Aycarus wrote:
FrankTrollman wrote:

Your assumption for diversification appears to rely explicitly under balanced circumstances; where all combats are essentially nothing more than battles where every character's abilities are still available. In any campaign with even the slightest bit of flavour, this doesn't happen. If you need the target to be polymorphed, a fear spell will be useless - similarly, a fighter inflicting damage will be useless.

So you want to balance your mechanics based on "flavour"? Guess what, in most of DnD it does not matter all that much how you defeat your opposition. Quite often - heck, nearly always - I do not care at all whether my opponent has just been polymorphed into a bunny or turned into a statue or held. So when I can use a spell that stacks with that of my party members or I can use a spell that does not .... guess what, we are all using the same spell, simply because it is the only thing that makes sense, and unless I am playing an extremely stupid character being grossly inefficient is against my flavor. In all likelyhood the party will still be better off using the same spell even against resistant enemies. At least in todays DnD the different characters still do different things.

Aycarus wrote:
The system presented here does not change the potential for combining multiple attack forms. Hence any argument you make for it preventing diversification additionally apply to the core rules themselves.

Hell yeah it does. In DnD charming and charming do not stack. In your system they do. That is a huge difference. Encouraging people to use the same attack form does exactly the same thing as discouraging them to use differing ones. You are giving a huge advantage to the all fear, the all swording, the all stoning and the all web party. And that is exactly the same thing as whacking the mixed party over the head with the nerf stick.


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Sma
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Removing Saving Throws Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aycarus
You don't have to keep track of a damage score for each spell that has ever been cast on you at all. In fact, out of the three examples I presented in the document, only the transmutation effect would be recorded separately. The death effect deals partial damage to hit points and the charm effect does not even deal damage. I claim a single source of new damage is no more bookkeeping than having to keep track of ability damage, hit point damage, base attack penalties, etc.[/quote wrote:


Which would actually be fine if there´s only Charm Person and Baleful Polymoprh out there, but last time I checked the PHB alone had 100+ spells in it, granted there will be some overlap but you´ll still be having to deal with more than one damage track which is oen more than we have to deal with now. So yes this provably involves more bookkeeping.

Quote:
Yay, constructive commentary Smile A possibility as well, but this is more difficult to work with for spells which may imply an immediate gradual effect (such as charm, in this case). Plus this doesn't really have the desired effect with the death spell I was aiming for (being that characters with fewer hit points are more susceptible to death effects - which seems like a reasonable trade off).


Well it has the benefit of being a mechanism that is usable for all spells, as opposed to the principle embraced in the D&D rules everwhere else, requiring nearly every spell to have more or less his own ruleset. But feel free to use your version of course =).
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