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[DD3.5E] Dragon Must Die (light bulb comes on)

Started by coxcomb, May 24, 2004, 06:31:23 PM

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Jinx, John --

I'm with you guys on the "spice it up yourself" vibe. But I would argue that the mechanics really do limit this. If, by the nature of the system, you are bookkeeping during combat, you have little room for anything else. Again, not that crunchy combat of the D&D type is bad, it just isn't my bag.

There is also a matter of familiarity. I am reasonably familiar with the basic rules of d20 combat, but I am not a walking encyclopedia when it comes to all of the feats and skills and magic items that are out there.

To contrast, I have had many exciting and flavorful and crunchy battles using the Hero System. The difference may be as simple as my familiarity with the system.
Jay Loomis
Coxcomb Games
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John Harper

Oh, I agree completely. The system matters a lot in this case. My point was just that it's not completely the mechanics of D&D that are at fault if a game session is boring.

Better game design can certainly help eliminate this problem, though.
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!


Ron's point about the importance of level to D&D play is well taken. IIRC, it wasn't much fun to pick up a high-level character cold even in AD&D, and the extra detail in 3/3.5 makes it even more likely that the experience will be constantly feeling like you're not choosing the right spell or using the right ability if you haven't been playing that character throughout its growth and advancement.

The fun of the 14th-level campaign I'm running is entirely dependent on having built it up from first level. (It might also be dependent its having only one PC, my Behemoth co-author Brian Stith, and the fact that he & I have been playing together for 20+ years; YMMV).

The evolution of Brian's character's abilities, and the strategies he builds around them, force me to innovate in the challenges I throw at him. Then we both explore the implications on the SIS (he uses his new powers to test limits, and I'm forced to consider what it means that this game world has always had people in it who can do these things). Neither part of this dynamic, I think, would work if the campaign had started out at 14th level.

The latest editions of the game handle balance and scaling-up at higher levels much better than earlier editions. Now that I'm trying to design monsters at these levels myself for Masters and Minions, the claim Ryan made in the Publishing forum--that RPGs designed using the resources a big company can bring to bear can do things that indies cannot--makes more sense to me. Being able to unfold over time, to offer new surprises even after years of play, is an emergent property of modern D&D; at first glance it's hard to tell the difference between this and a needlessly overcomplicated ruleset.

It's definitely true that nothing in the D&D books tells you how to have the most fun playing D&D, though; a Forge-trained designer could make a big impact on d20/OGL publishing by sharing these insights. And no one has really solved the narrative problem that this scaling introduces: how *do* you pre-package a world that looks medievaloid at the beginning but is always ready to reveal a progressively more cosmic scheme of things every time you level up? Ed Greenwood's Faerun was a big advance over Greyhawk in actually taking D&D into account in its world design, and I hope that what people are taking as a trendy kitchen-sink approach in Eberron is actually another evolution in making a world that honestly tries to deal with the implications of its D&D underpinnings.
Masters and Minions: "Immediate, concrete, gameable" - Ken Hite.
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