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The reason why fighters will never have nice things.
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:12 pm    Post subject: The reason why fighters will never have nice things. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Balancing the fighter is inherently alienating. Probably most people don't actually want the class to be balanced, even those who say that they do. Why is that?


A not-insignificant portion of the playerbase wants fighters to be increasingly weak as time goes on.

Being at my least charitable, I'm going to go ahead and say that more than a few people get enormous stiffies at the thought of wizards > fighters. Nasuverse and Avatar: TLA and Naruto and all that; they go out of their way to push the idea that if you don't have magical phlebtonium then your contributions suck and you should go home.

Hell, we even have a couple of people on these boards who believe that the fighter should be inherently gimped and have to increasingly resort to giving other characters their relevance. I'm not going to name names, they know who they are. They're the kind of people who say shit like 'don't make the class in itself good, backhandedly give them plot-fucking abilities or Monty Haul to make them good'. For fuck's sake, probably one of the biggest complaints 4E got was how they weeabooed the fighter up by giving them a better resource management system than they had in 3E. Nevermind the fact that 4E's resource management scheme sucks and that the powers fighters get really aren't very good. What got people all weepy in the eyes was the fact that they had the unmitigated gumption to compete for screentime with the wizards. And for people who say that the balancing of the fighter wasn't the problem, but the problem of 'sameness', give me a fucking break. You never heard people while 'clerics are too similar to wizards' or 'sorcerers are too similar to beguilers!'. It's not just the resource management, it's the basic idea that fighters should be less interesting (and thus get less attention) than the casters. When Essentials got cold feet and returned the fighter to their old position of 'spam the same base tactic forever', people applauded.


Even people who genuinely want a balanced DMF just don't understand that the DMF is an archetype with a limited shelf life.

If you look at fiction that has a high overall power level and is not directly derived from D&D (like Final Fantasy), you'll notice that while a lot of D&D archetypes that could be represented at low level (meganuker, empowered by spirits guy, shapechanger, summoner, etc.), the one that is NOT is the DMF. Not to say that they don't exist, because we have people like Gourry and Sokka, but they become less relevant to the plot as time goes on for reasons that I'll get to below. If they are relevant to the plot, it's because of some proxy (a sword the character is carrying) or because of some other in-demand skill that has nothing to do with the DMF (tactical genius).

But when Batman takes out aliens by exploiting some weakness to fire or pulling out the right gadget or coming up with a brilliant plan, the takeaway lesson from that is never 'wow, it's so nice to have a tactician/inventor on our team' but 'wow, it's so nice we have a Badass Normal on our team'. If you notice, the plots in which Sokka and Batman and Usopp have to participate with the real ass-kickers don't really use their DMF schticks, they use some other facet of the character. This leads to people repeatedly applying the wrong solutions in the same sad sense as planning a 50th birthday party for your dog.


People just don't understand that CLOSE-RANGE FIGHTING is a tactic with a limited shelf life.

And no, this doesn't really improve if you give the hero a gun or a bow, because it misses the point as to why fighting is an increasingly useless tactic. At low levels, hand-to-hand fighting is a badass tactic that you can use to solve almost all of your problems. Orcs threatening to burn down the forest? Kill 'em. Assassins plotting to attack the king? Ambush and kill 'em. Corrupt judge planning to execute an innocent girl and won't listen to reason? Kill him and/or kill the guards to her cell. And back then this is acceptable. It's just simply UNFAIR to ask Frodo to redeem an entire race of orcs or for Prince Philip to research a ritual to end Maleficent's curse, because they're low-level characters. Not even Harry Potter or Sailor Moon could do those tasks--even though we know that Dumbledore and Hotaru (who are just higher-level versions of the same characters) could.

This changes at higher levels, though. Increasingly, conflict for stories becomes less 'the bandits are harassing the villagers, stop them' and more 'a mysterious magical plague has put everyone into a deep slumber'. And your fighting schtick increasingly becomes inappropriate for dealing with problems. It's like Shadowrun. Being a cadre of elite ass-kickers is fine as long as your goals are nothing more than 'kill this group of fuckers you don't like', but if your goal is something like 'banish the bug spirits for good' or 'take down Aztechnology', ass-kicking is just one of many useful tools rather than your go-to spam maneuver.

Now this isn't a problem for the other classes. At around the time not every problem can be solved by 'find this guy and kill their ass' they get their toolbox expanded with things like scrying, summoning, asking deities questions, inventing a new potion, raising the dead, etc.. But it is a gigantic problem for DMFs (and barbarians, and rogues, and swashbucklers, and all of the other mundanes) because even if the game gives them the shiniest sword in Shinesville they're still missing a bunch of other tools needed to solve the plot.


People have identified these problems for a long time but it's the SECOND one that's the ball-buster. This is why we get massive stupidity that doesn't fix anything like the Tomes and 4th Edition D&D and 'give fighters a class feature of super-secret special swords'.

That's right, I've said that Tome doesn't fix anything. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I outright hate the Tomes and that I'll go as far as to say that they're a big waste of time that have set us back several years. Oh, sure, it solves the problem of 'non-casters can't keep up with their fighting schtick', but the overall problem of 'non-casters are increasingly unable to contribute to the plot in a non-fighting way' exists.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


Last edited by Lago PARANOIA on Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:43 pm; edited 7 times in total
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virgil
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How is asking around for someone with the right information (Gather Information, Leadership, Diplomacy, etc), up to and including someone with the ability to talk to deities, any different than learning directly yourself other than flavour text?

Why are mundanes apparently not allowed to have magic items to do their job? Is it because they start becoming gadgeteers in your mind, despite the fact you want DMFs to stop existing anyway? How is a spellbook and a sack of material components any different in terms of losing options/power than having a Sword of Omens, aside from time frames?

Is it just a matter of semantics with you? You don't like the term DMF being used for characters w/more than DMF powers (up to and including their actual weapon, it seems)?
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:

How is asking around for someone with the right information (Gather Information, Leadership, Diplomacy, etc), up to and including someone with the ability to talk to deities, any different than learning directly yourself other than flavour text?


The same reason why it's impressive to watch a scene of someone sacrificing a goat in order to hear a few cryptic words from God but watching someone send a letter to said shaman and get his reply back a week later is not.

I mean, shit, the king could just order his loyal knights to go do all of his quests for him and while from an in-story standpoint that's pretty much the same. The kingdom and history for that matter really doesn't care whether Arthur or Galahad or Kay or Lancelot retrieves the holy grail as long as it's done. But from an audience standpoint we would rather see the king go out and save the princess himself. Or if we can't get that, then we should at least focus on the viewpoint of a character that does.


virgil wrote:

Why are mundanes apparently not allowed to have magic items to do their job? Is it because they start becoming gadgeteers in your mind, despite the fact you want DMFs to stop existing anyway?


Because that reinforces my second point, that of people being in denial about that the archetype is limited.

If the PCs have to swim to the bottom of the ocean to access an undersea palace, the wizard could summon a force bubble, the artificer could invent a deep-sea suit, and the druid could change into a giant lobster. The classes in of themselves are still useful. The barbarian, fighter, and rogue have to resort to either hitching a ride off of someone else or getting a ring of Deep Sea Travel. But notice that their getting to the bottom of the sea is in no way dependent on their other shit.

If this was just a one-off thing it wouldn't be a big deal--the cleric has no easy and thematic way of getting to the bottom of the sea either. But the DMFs have a consistent pattern of their inherent abilities in the class being useless for problem solving, which indicates to me that the classes are the problem.


Now the thing is that if you give all of the classes magical items it leads us to wonder why the classes are even there. Like imagine if you asked a bunch of classes to come up with superpowers that they have that are relevant for high-level adventures, including that from magical items. You could tell the difference between the wizard, the druid, the cleric, the psion, etc.. but you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a barbarian, a rogue, and a fighter unless you were told ahead of time. This is true even if you let them pick magical items from a catalouge, because players will want different things--you can't just look at someone who owns a Deck of Illusions and go 'aha! That's a rogue!'.

So at this point, if you continue to insist on this non-solution, you have two options:

1) Make class-exclusive magical items so that the schticks don't overlap. But this doesn't do donkey dick, because even if you give the fighter a Hackmaster +12, this still doesn't solve the underlying problem of him not having enough tools in his toolbox to affect the plot. You made him better at something he was already good at, but it's still not going to help him get to the Ocean Palace.

2) Go a step further than that and make class-exclusive magical items so that the schticks don't overlap AND hand out random superpowers. For example, from now on you decree that only swashbucklers can use a Darkskull or that only barbarians can use a Cloak of the Mountebank. Two potential problems with that.

2A) D&D really likes the notion of people getting random superpowers from magical items. If you partition off Bag of Tricks so that only rogues can use them, the paladins and druids are going to get offended at not being able to use them anymore because in the previous editions the game didn't really care if the wizard got the Ring of Detect Thoughts or the rogue did. So now you're taking away their flavor. You can't do the story of 'my psion found the Ring of the Ram and we had a gas!' anymore because you balanced things so that only barbarians can use them now. Otherwise the psion and other classes would be intruding on their schtick.

2B) This feeds back into the Iron Man dilemmia. Is Tony Stark a martial artist that happens to own a personal mecha or is he an artificer that happens to know martial arts? The barbarian's ability of 'own a ring of flight and angel armor' STILL overshadows his ability to swing a sword. Your players still are faced sooner or later with the realization that their background of 'train all day to be the stealthiest and trap disarmingest guy in the land' is irrelevant because the story only cares about the fact that they own Boots of Planar Travel.



At this point, a question must be asked: why do we have these superfluous classes with superfluous schticks? Is 'open locks better than most' really enough of a schtick to justify the waste of the space? If the difference between a high-level barbarian, rogue, and the other DMF classes is so minor, why not just have a Gadgeteer class that minors in former DMF schticks?

If the classes actually had inherent, unduplicable superpowers that would be one thing. If the rogue could swap his soul with that of a peasant and never be scried or truenamed, that would be awesome. So would the barbarian being able to rage so hard that the weather changes to suit his whim. But many people don't want these characters doing that. I'm not going to say most, because it only seems that grognards have that point of view.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


Last edited by Lago PARANOIA on Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:21 am; edited 2 times in total
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FatR
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sailor Moon is absurdly, cosmically powerful Wink. The anime version needed to stretch every arc for whole 40 episodes, and therefore removed or greatly toned down most "holy shit!!!" moments, as to avoid the question why one-episode trash mobs are not vaporized the instant she looks at them sternly.

And I mention this not as a nitpick, but as an illustration of one more reason why Fighters can't have nice things. The more powerful and versatile character is, the harder it is to create adventures that make sense and take into accout his/her abilities. If you don't have talent, it is much easier to nerf them. Particularly if you must make said adventures on schedule, but not only then - I once noticed, that fanfiction (the sort that is actually concerned with plot) tends to nerf original character more often than not, and the more badass these character are, the harder tends to be the nerf. Because you need to actually put serious effort and imagination into inventing interesting challenges for people who can lift several tons, ascend by leaping falling stones, and destroy small armies without breaking a sweat - stuff that challenges mundanes isn't even likely to be a speedbump to them. Nerfing them to the point where whatever you need is a challenge to them again is much easier.

Do note, that this applies even to the worlds and adventures that are supposed to contain full spellcasters and other people who have Nice Things, because most of those settings and adventures in DnD are really measured by the fighter standard, rather than the wizard standard. Some (far from all) adventures are though through enough to not fall apart on contact with the wizard spellist, but hardly any setting really gives a fuck about the fact that medieval-style massed armies of footmen are more or less useless in the world with significant caster presence, particularly once casters hit mid levels, or about the fact that raising dead is possible, and so on.


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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That is unfortunately true, FatR, but those are really two separate problems.

1) D&D is supposed to be a team-based game where people get distinct chunks of screentime; you can't have all of the characters have unlimited superpowers because then you would have some characters/players stealing screentime. Of course the underlying problem is that the archetype of 'magician' and probably even 'summoner' is too absurdly broad. Still, this can be solved by getting rid of classes like Wizard and Cleric and replacing them with classes like Diviner and Warpriest.

2) People tend to be lazy as hell coming up with their fantasy settings. And when you come up with a list of drama-creating obstacles, it's a lot easier to think of challenges that would inconvenience Arthur than Goku.

If you want a setting that can get to high-level, you are going to have to really wrack your brain coming up with appropriate plot hooks. Of course not many people bother to to do that and we have things like the default setting of D&D completely falling apart and requiring a Tome justification for it--the only part of the Tomes I do like. But even though that's fun, I really doubt that's what the original authors had in mind. Even though the wish economy makes sense, I'm pretty sure that most fantasy authors would get all crybaby at the thought of people trading in bundles of magical swords like candy.


That said, both of those problems, while really serious, are unrelated to the DMF problem. Even if you fixed both of the above, you're still stuck with a worthless shitheap of a high-level class. That is even after we implement 'fair' classes like the bard, the warlock, the gish, and the anime monk you're still stuck with the DMF.

As an aside, one of the reasons why I loathe 4E is because they thought that Linear Warriors / Quadratic Wizards meant that the problem was on the Wizard end.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


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Red_Rob
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There isnt a problem as long as people are okay with all the characters gaining fantastic abilities at high levels. Then you just have a classes strengths exaggerate from the sublime to the ridiculous. For example:

A high level Barbarian could:
Hold his breath for 3 days to go underwater or into space
Call on Ancestor Spirits for help and advice
Go on a Dream Quest to other dimensions
Defeat the Wind Spirit in personal combat and gain the ability to walk on air
Be so imposing he can scare Demons into doing what he wants
Run so fast he can effectively teleport over long distances

A high level Rogue could:
Hide from the Gods (nondetection or invisibility)
Trick high level monsters into serving him (Charm Monster / Planar Binding)
Steal the mystical keys to alternate dimensions (Teleport / Plane shift)
Fool the Gods into giving him information
"Acquire" unique magical items off screen to gain other needed abilities

If you think that the Tomes didn't go far enough, throw out an alternate Martial class with these kind of high level abilities and see how people respond.
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Red Rob wrote:
There isnt a problem as long as people are okay with all the characters gaining fantastic abilities at high levels.


I have some astonishingly bad news for you then, Red Rob.

This is D&D and we have a significant portion of the fanbase who do not want DMFs to gain actual superpowers but want to keep them in the game. The closest thing they've ever had to a balanced suggestion was giving them a gift card at magical item mart and it still sucks.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago PARANOIA wrote:
This is D&D and we have a significant portion of the fanbase who do not want DMFs to gain actual superpowers but want to keep them in the game. The closest thing they've ever had to a balanced suggestion was giving them a gift card at magical item mart and it still sucks.


Out of reflex I generally agree with this, but has there ever been a sincere push to give fighters superpowers without giving them spells? The only real incidents I can recall are the rituals in 4e and some of the Pathfinder playtest stuff. I never heard much in the way of complaints that Fighters could perform rituals, but I heard tons that rituals nerfed the Wizard. So it's wasn't a problem of a Fighter gaining abilities, but of Wizards losing them, although I will say that I'm not the most familiar with 4e.

The problem with the Pathfinder playtest is that 3.5 can be played a lot of different ways, and Paizils play what I'll generously call the naive game. Meaning each class does what Gygax intended them to do. So even if Buhlman was willing to make a major change (which I doubt) his playerbase wasn't having any problems with Fighter/Wizard balance. So any sensible suggestions from those who played a more sophisticated game where rejected because they where seen as making the Fighter more powerful than the Wizard.

Has there ever been an RPG launched that was rejected by the players because they lacked the DMF archetype?
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:40 am    Post subject: Re: The reason why fighters will never have nice things. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm quoting the main heading only to save space. But I did read the whole explanation and I'm responding to it.

Lago PARANOIA wrote:

A not-insignificant portion of the playerbase wants fighters to be increasingly weak as time goes on.


Well, Lago, there are two schools of thought:

a) In a high-magic system like D&D, fighters are doomed to become weaker unless they diversify. Because "realistically" hitting things a little harder with a sword just can't compete with say, Fireball. That's why Fighters eventually become gishes, become generals, get an artifact sword, or get killed horribly.

b) Fighters should be able to remain competitive with wizards without having to diversify.

This sort of thinking stem from School of Thought A.

Quote:
Even people who genuinely want a balanced DMF just don't understand that the DMF is an archetype with a limited shelf life.


See School of Thought A Sick.

Quote:
People just don't understand that CLOSE-RANGE FIGHTING is a tactic with a limited shelf life.


That's why games should have tiers.

What's important to realize is that when characters move from "Stab things to death" to "Cast a massive ritual to make everyone love each other", the entire nature of the game changes. You went from being a combat party into becoming a hippie party.

And that's really the problem in D&D. Low level fights actually take a couple of rounds, and fighters can take and do enough damage to be important (from both plot and in-game perspective).

At high levels however, combat is basically rocket tag. High-level creatures thus don't want to simply engage each other in combat. They instead often work through underlings, plot to gain more power, trade in souls, etc. They are living in a nuke-rich environment. They are thus not playing the combat party anymore. They're playing Fantasy Cold War.

In short...

Fighter obsolescence in D&D isn't really about them lacking power. It's because the entire nature of the game changes at high level. It moves from a game of "Stab things and take their stuff" to something more akin to "Rearrange the geography so you bypass all the orcs".

So either keep the game as a combat-centric game (to keep giving the Fighter stuff to do), or accept fighters have to eventually diversify if the very nature of the game changes.


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Murtak
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: The reason why fighters will never have nice things. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago PARANOIA wrote:
People just don't understand that CLOSE-RANGE FIGHTING is a tactic with a limited shelf life.

Fortunately you can have your cake and eat it too. Just hand out a lot of abilities to barbarians that let them teleport, fly, follow or burrow to an opponent as part of an attack move. Then give a ton of shoot lightning, whirlwinds and fire from your weapons to the fighter or just let them throw their weapons. Then give moves that pull the opponent close, stun them and prevent them from moving to the knight.

Distinct flavors, fighter types are not gimped by range, and yet noone is forced to pick up a bow or start casting spells.
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Ghostwheel
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd just like to chime in--a big thing that fighters and the like lack is transformational power. Even something like the Tome Fighter who starts by wielding a sword and ends up wielding a sword and stopping enemies at 60'... is still wielding a sword. He can't use that sword to out-manufacture a whole city, summon beings from the abyss, rewrite another person's personality, fly, move himself great distances or between planes, see the future, talk to Cthulu (or even a goblin for that matter), or screw with time. All he can do is still swing his sword in interesting ways, but that's not very transformational.

On the other hand, a wizard gets all those things and more. If you want fighters "to get nice things" (though I personally think that's a misnomer, but that's a different subject), you need to change the way they work. They need to swing their sword and stop time. They need to swing their sword and summon creatures. They need to swing their sword and blind everyone over that way. They need to swing their sword and cause people half a mile away to spontaneously die or to see people half the world away or teleport people all over the planet. In short, they need to gain transformational power, rather than just vertical and horizontal power.

But... then they're not really a fighter. Just a wizard who swings his sword to cast spells.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ghostwheel wrote:
On the other hand, a wizard gets all those things and more. If you want fighters "to get nice things" (though I personally think that's a misnomer, but that's a different subject), you need to change the way they work. They need to swing their sword and stop time. They need to swing their sword and summon creatures. They need to swing their sword and blind everyone over that way. They need to swing their sword and cause people half a mile away to spontaneously die or to see people half the world away or teleport people all over the planet. In short, they need to gain transformational power, rather than just vertical and horizontal power.

But... then they're not really a fighter. Just a wizard who swings his sword to cast spells.

See the examples in this very thread. Barbarians can talk to spirits, fighters get to have contacts in every civilization, knights can inspire entire cities to follow their code of conduct. Brainstorm for an hour and you can have half a dozen such abilities per class.
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Ghostwheel
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

But these are still "mundane" abilities. They're the equivalent of level 1 spells at most, or things that could just as easily be RP effects rather than mechanical ones that truly let them change the world at their whim like high-level wizards could.

Heck, "Fool the Gods into giving him information " could just as easily be done by a cleric casting Augury if you flavored it correctly.

Edit: Another thought. People are okay with wizards getting those sorts of powers but not fighters often because it's a "stealth" increase in power. It appears to be a horizontal gain in power--gaining the ability to do something different but on approximately the same level--along with the vertical gain in power everyone appears to gain by attaining higher levels. But this is actually a lie. The wizards gain transformational power that hides itself as horizontal+vertical power at every other level, whereas a well-built fighter-type class (I'm looking at you, Warblade) gets actual horizontal and vertical increases in power, rather than transformational ones.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Juton wrote:
has there ever been a sincere push to give fighters superpowers without giving them spells?

My point exactly. I see a lot of hand wringing about "oh noes, grognards hates fantastic fighters!", but I don't recall actually seeing a class with a power progression as follows:

1-5 Badass normal
6-10 Videogame action hero
11-15 Anime hero
16-20 Mythic shit

Its always either powers from the start (see Warblade) or normal till the end (see Tome Fighter).

A big part of the problem is that Wizards get power to do anything, so everything you give to any other class becomes "oh, its like a gimped Wizard". If you only allow the more specialised magic users then a Barbarian who has fantastic toughness-related powers and speak to spirits has a unique set of abilities, not just part of the Wizards spell list.
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cthulhu
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To be fair, the tome knight changes tack at level 10.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ghostwheel wrote:
But these are still "mundane" abilities. They're the equivalent of level 1 spells at most, or things that could just as easily be RP effects rather than mechanical ones that truly let them change the world at their whim like high-level wizards could.

Bullshit. Talking to your ancestors can just give an effect on par with Discern Location and presto, we have the equivalent of an 8th level spell. Changing the alignment of an entire city is on par with epic spells. Of course they can also be the equivalent of Augury and +5 to Diplomacy, but no one is forcing you to use low level powers.

Let me give you a simple example, using just core spells:
Barbarians have power over the dead and over ghosts.
2 - Detect Undead
4 - Locate Object
6 - Speak with Dead
8 - Locate Creature
10 - Commune
12 - Find the Path
14 - Ethereal Jaunt
16 - Discern Location
18 - Etherealness
20 - Soul Bind

As you can see you handing out level-appropriate non-combat powers while staying within the flavor of a class is easy. This literally took me less than 10 minutes. All it needs is reflavoring and perhaps a slight change in mechanics.
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Sir Neil
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I just gotta say that it's stupid for fighters to never use ranged weapons unless they're intentionally gimping themselves, in which case their archetype shouldn't be supported.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sir Neil wrote:
I just gotta say that it's stupid for fighters to never use ranged weapons unless they're intentionally gimping themselves, in which case their archetype shouldn't be supported.

Why? A fighter can be a professional mercenary who calculates and uses the best tool for the job. Such a character would pull out a bow if necessary. But another charactr may want to play a hulking monster or dashing swordsman and if we can support their archetype we should do so.
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CatharzGodfoot
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

A hulking monster is a magical archetype, and if you don't want it to have eye lasers or a breath weapon then at the very least it will have rock throwing. A dashing swordsman (apparently the kind that doesn't bother with noble pastimes like archery or arrowhawk falconry) is probably going to carry a musket and a couple of pistols. Or, at the very least, a hand crossbow.

However, swords, bows, and firearms are all items, which means that a character using them is really a gadgeteer.
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Red_Rob
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Who said fighters never use ranged weapons? They get Weapon Proficiency - All Martial Weapons for a goddamn reason.

At levels 1-5 a bow or a sling and a decent BaB is pretty much enough to contribute against most of the things you are going to fight at range, so at these levels noone really needs a special class ability to deal with people who won't play nice and slug it out with you. Once you get to levels 6-10, thats when a D8+Str damage doesn't really faze the giants and demons you run into. Therefore each class needs some way to deal with enemies at range at these levels. Just buying a bow is not enough at this stage, you need something to deal with bad mofo's throwing out SOD's and teleporting out of melee reach every round.

Oh, and I don't consider "uses a sword" to be a gadgeteer, as then every class in D&D apart from the wizard is a gadgeteer. Gadgeteer means the class gets its powers mainly from the equipment it obtains. I had assumed we were looking toward giving Martial classes some decent high level abilities. Sure, these might require the use of a sword, but "The fighter throws a weapon with such power and precision he can make a full melee attack up to a range of 60'. The weapon returns to his hand at the end of the action" is not a gadgeteer power.
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"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
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virgil
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago PARANOIA wrote:
The same reason why it's impressive to watch a scene of someone sacrificing a goat in order to hear a few cryptic words from God but watching someone send a letter to said shaman and get his reply back a week later is not.
If asking a disgruntled employee about the BBEG's fortress gives mechanically the same level of benefits as several divinations, then you're just being a jerk by forcing only what you think is cool. Besides, rare is the game where the player does more than "I cast the spell, what'd I learn?", while doing the chatting scene is far more likely to actually create descriptions and just feel more satisfying.

CatharzGodfoot wrote:
However, swords, bows, and firearms are all items, which means that a character using them is really a gadgeteer.
Either you're being sarcastic, or we're diluting the term way too much when using anything puts you into the gadgeteer bin because everyone is one by that point (except for the monk and maybe the druid). I hope for the former.
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Neurosis
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How much does flavor matter in this equation? Or is it a question of flavor acting as a limit for what is "realistically" possible.

My point is, in movies and videogames fighters do all kinds of totally impossible shit with the illusion of physics and realism being preserved. If you play a shooter and kill a thousand enemies, it doesn't happen because your character has magic, you're just that good.

If a fighter were given whatever increases in power (horizontally and vertically) that you consider appropriate but the flavor text was very emphatic that it was "non-magical" and that they were "just that good", would that be acceptable?
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: The reason why fighters will never have nice things. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago PARANOIA wrote:

That's right, I've said that Tome doesn't fix anything. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I outright hate the Tomes and that I'll go as far as to say that they're a big waste of time that have set us back several years. Oh, sure, it solves the problem of 'non-casters can't keep up with their fighting schtick', but the overall problem of 'non-casters are increasingly unable to contribute to the plot in a non-fighting way' exists.


Actually, I used the Tomes material to make multi-use characters.

A Rogue/Bard/Monk/Fighter 17; able to deal with most mundane dungeon problems; from IDing things, to traps; access to UMD (and magic items as a result); able to play sneaky-go-hide with the assassin, and able to throw down knowledge checks that were always respectable.

They were basically a "question answering" character. The 'theme' for the character changes, but certain details; like having a collection of intelligent darts that grant bonuses to knowledge skill checks (aka "The Sharpest Blades in the Drawer"); or "super eyes" (A helmet that would change between different magical goggle types, the plethora of eyes made the face look pretty insectile).

Being limited strictly to "combat" is balls, and I try to avoid making my characters limited in such a manner.

Likewise, I've taken a lot of this knowledge that everyone should be playing the same game to heart when building the various abilities that a character can have. Mostly by having laundry lists of powers that unlock at specific power levels.

So, you can't charm a monster until you're at least X level of power, but anyone can pick up the ability to charm a monster. The idea is that everything a character does works like this.

Even "body" abilities, like "Ettinism" or "Dwarfism" are things that creatures have dice in, and lets them apply to certain tasks.
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TheWorid
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For how crappy it ended up being in practice, the 4E notion of Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies was a good one. Saying "You take a PP at Level 11" is tantamount to a giant neon sign proclaiming "YOUR FIGHTER IS NOT RELEVANT ANYMORE!".

Of course, then they decided that making "Pit Fighter" a PP was a good idea, and the virtue of the concept went out the window, but the basic idea is sound. Want to be a Fighter? Okay, you can be that at low levels, but later on you're going to have to pick to be a Gadget Knight, or a Spellsword, or a God-King or whatever. At some point, you have to pick up a supernatural power source.
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Sashi
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: The reason why fighters will never have nice things. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Murtak wrote:
Lago PARANOIA wrote:
People just don't understand that CLOSE-RANGE FIGHTING is a tactic with a limited shelf life.

Fortunately you can have your cake and eat it too. Just hand out a lot of abilities to barbarians that let them teleport, fly, follow or burrow to an opponent as part of an attack move. Then give a ton of shoot lightning, whirlwinds and fire from your weapons to the fighter or just let them throw their weapons. Then give moves that pull the opponent close, stun them and prevent them from moving to the knight.

Distinct flavors, fighter types are not gimped by range, and yet noone is forced to pick up a bow or start casting spells.
A fighter shooting lightning and whirlwinds from his weapon is no longer a badass normal unless the power is coming from his sword of omens and not himself, and then you still have the problem that you're better off handing the sword of omens to the cleric because his 40+ divine spells are worth more than 5 BAB and 11 feats. So you have to have a fighter with the class ability to wield the sword of omens, which is lame and restrictive.
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