Game Balance

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zanshin

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lol, they all come about from player choice, not dictated by the game, and none of them are useless/incompetant

Your first two examples show the balance offered through two choices t a player - you play a fighter, and are better in combat than the other classes from the beginning, and gradually increase in ability as you level up, or you play a wizard and you exchange low power at low levels to much higher powers at higher levels. But nothing is forcing a player to play one or the other, and neither is unable to contribute to the game. The 1st level wizard has the exact same combat ability as every other not-Warrior-based class. It doesn't in anyway affect their abilities in social environments, unravelling mysteries, solving puzzles, negotiating and bargaining, stealth, etc.
Asen RG offered an example of how his random rolls gave him a character he didn't want to have to play, but the choice became play this character and make the best of it, or don't play.

Of course GMs can fix unbalanced rule systems. Of course players can choose not to play in systems that don't deliver parity of outcome.

Doesn't mean the game rules are not rigged to offer disparity of access.

I can play make believe or improv with a group of like minded people and interact 'in social environments, unravelling mysteries, solving puzzles, negotiating and bargaining' with no rules whatsoever.

My characters ability to conduct stealth operations will depend on my characters capabilities and the ruleset.

So either a system delivers comparable player choices or it doesn't. If it doesn't the GM can compensate or not.

I prefer to either play systems that offer parity of character ability to impact the world, or adapt them so they do.

Others say seeking balance is a chimera.
 

TristramEvans

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For the record, THIS is RAW in AD&D:

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Of course GMs can fix unbalanced rule systems. Of course players can choose not to play in systems that don't deliver parity of outcome.

That's a completely different point. A player in D&D can chose to play a Fighter instead of a Magic User if all they care about is starting combat proficiency - thats RAW. The same with all your examples - they are ones of player choice, not things to be fixed by altering the rules.
I can play make believe or improv with a group of like minded people and interact 'in social environments, unravelling mysteries, solving puzzles, negotiating and bargaining' with no rules whatsoever.

My characters ability to conduct stealth operations will depend on my characters capabilities and the ruleset.

That's also a completely different point. - the 1st level magic user in your example is not any less capable than the 1st level Fighter at any of those activities. So the idea that he cannot "contribute much to resolving the action but provide colour" simply isn't true.

I think what this comes down to is that you aren't actually talking about balance at all, you're only talking about combat. That appears to be the be-all and end-all of your desire for parity between characters. And going by your exampls I have to go back to the false equivalency - you seem to consider any character not of maximum competance to be useless or incapable of contributing, and my point was there is a HUGE gap between those two that PCs exist within, and you have not given an example of a system where this isn't the case.


So either a system delivers comparable player choices or it doesn't. If it doesn't the GM can compensate or not.

If every choice leads to the same outcome, that makes the choice meaningless, doesn't it?
 
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TJS

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I tend to feel that if you can't get a character you actually want to play within at most two goes of a random chargen system then you probably shouldn't be using a random system.

I tend to feel that the rolling ability scores style of random generation these days is just outdated tech. It gives you all of the disadvantages of random generation with little advantage.

If you want random use a life path system. It actually helps build a character that's more than just a collection of randomly generated numbers and tends to offer some choice and some structure.
 

hawkeyefan

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I would have thought everybody who's been playing RPGs for any length of time would have some kind of story about a race/class/combo that was overpowered and impacted the fun of the game.

Sure, in many cases, the group can work to resolve this in some way....by choosing their own stat generation method or what have you....but I don't think it makes sense to blame the players and GM for that kind of stuff. Either the game should address it in some way (like AD&D did by offering different methods as TristramEvans TristramEvans posted) or it should work better.
 

TristramEvans

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I would have thought everybody who's been playing RPGs for any length of time would have some kind of story about a race/class/combo that was overpowered and impacted the fun of the game.

I have lots of stories about gaming with assholes...
 

TJS

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It all comes down to assumptions of game play.

If the game is like D&D (or at least modern D&D) and assumes that regularly set piece combat is a thing - and that adventures will in the end usually be solved by violence, then you want to be balanced for combat. (Part of the issue is that this has become the default style in modern gaming).

If you're playing a Song of Ice and Fire, in which squad based violence has little reason to exist and being good at combat doesn't really solve anything but just gives you additional options (you will gain a reputation at tournaments and can be confident of winning a duel or trial by combat), then balance for combat is irrelevant.
 

hawkeyefan

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I have lots of stories about gaming with assholes...

Sure, but would you attribute all such instances only to assholes?

I mean, I remember that kind of stuff happening when I was younger and having no idea how do address it, but I wouldn't say that anyone was being an asshole.....we were just young and inexperienced and the rules weren't always clear.
 

TristramEvans

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Sure, but would you attribute all such instances only to assholes?

I don't really have such instances. I was raised on superhero RPGs and Warhammer, the notion that "balance" is even something that should or could exist or that it determines who overshadows who in a game is completely foreign to me
 

hawkeyefan

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I don't really have such instances. I was raised on superhero RPGs and Warhammer, the notion that "balance" is even something that should or could exist or that it determines who overshadows who in a game is completely foreign to me

Except you seem to be saying that it's something to be done at the GM level? Or through the setting?

Although maybe I've misunderstood, or perhaps applied someone else's take to you (which is possible).

Like a general sentiment in the thread seems to me not that balance is not desirable.....it's more that it's more of a GM job than a system job.
 

zanshin

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I don't really have such instances. I was raised on superhero RPGs and Warhammer, the notion that "balance" is even something that should or could exist or that it determines who overshadows who in a game is completely foreign to me
So you don't have experience of it then.
 

TristramEvans

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Except you seem to be saying that it's something to be done at the GM level?

It ONLY really exists at the GM level yes, everything else is an illusion of conception unless every character is exactly the same and player creativity doesn't exist. But that was a point much earlier in the thread, the last page I've argued against the idea that because one character is better at one thing than another character, that means games force players to play incompetant characters incapable of contributing anything besides "color".
 

zanshin

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For the record, THIS is RAW in AD&D:

View attachment 30316
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That's a completely different point. A player in D&D can chose to play a Fighter instead of a Magic User if all they care about is starting combat proficiency - thats RAW. The same with all your examples - they are ones of player choice, not things to be fixed by altering the rules.


That's also a completely different point. - the 1st level magic user in your example is not any less capable than the 1st level Fighter at any of those activities. So the idea that he cannot "contribute much to resolving the action but provide colour" simply isn't true.

I think what this comes down to is that you aren't actually talking about balance at all, you're only talking about combat. That appears to be the be-all and end-all of your desire for parity between characters. And going by your exampls I have to go back to the false equivalency - you seem to consider any character not of maximum competance to be useless or incapable of contributing, and my point was there is a HUGE gap between those two that PCs exist within, and you have not given an example of a system where this isn't the case.




If every choice leads to the same outcome, that makes the choice meaningless, doesn't it?
The stat roles don't determine the hit point rolls in AD&D. So the very vulnerable magic user, who doesn't have a particularly useful spell, is subject to all kinds of environmental hazards as well as the risks of combat. The 1 hit point fighter is in an even worse position.

A player can join 3e D&D and think, I want to play someone like Uhtred from the Last Kingdom, he's great, i'll play a fighter.
Some time later in the campaign he finds that the druid can summon a creature that fights as well as he does and turn into a creature that fights better than he does, and has more skill points, and has a whole range of other spells that have combat and non combat utility.

An unbalanced system ends up with disparities of character capability that impact on the play. That's the experience of many people here. Not yours I will accept that. That doesn't mean it's not an issue.
 
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zanshin

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It ONLY really exists at the GM level yes, everything else is an illusion of conception unless every character is exactly the same and player creativity doesn't exist. But that was a point much earlier in the thread, the last page I've argued against the idea that because one character is better at one thing than another character, that means games force players to play incompetant characters incapable of contributing anything besides "color".
A game that creates the provision for a player to end up with a weak character compared to the challenges of the game and to other PC's will end up being used for that. Murphy's law - if it can go wrong, it will.

No-one is forced to play, but your enjoyment of play can be affected by the nature of the play on offer. Lot's of people really struggle with the idea of adapting with the RAW. Even with Tunnels & Trolls, where the creator explicitly says 'make it your own game, at your table it's your game' people still debate what's the 'right' way to create a character.
 

tenbones

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First, back up in putting words in my mouth. You have zero concept of my mentality, which has evolved over the past 40 years anyway.
I'm being illustrative. I'm not accusing you of anything. Just taking your example as what is offered and asking questions seriously. No offense made or taken. I don't *care* about your mentality, just an observation of this line of logic in practice on forums and at my very own table concerning the topic. It may or may not apply to you at all.

But the mentality of those that profer it has been more than established in bazillions of discussion on balance. My claim is simple: "balance" is not a thing specific to a system as much as it is for a given group of players/GM utilizing a given system for a given setting.

Somewhere in there is the intent of the GM vs. Players conceptions of what the game is and how it is to be played with the given system.

Stormbringer is good example of imbalance. Because it is completely imbalanced. You can argue til you're blue in the face that it represents the setting. Which in this game is highly debatable anyway.

But the fact is, a Melnibonean, Pan Tangian or Myrrhn outclassed pretty much everything else on the table. And if you roll a Beggar of Nadsokor, you basically have a near unplayable character. Even compared to a more average roll, like maybe Tarkeshite or even Eshmir.
To WHOM?

Seriously - because these things exist it demands that they be present in any game without context? No one has the veto power to say "This is not an appropriate starting point for this campaign?"

So fucking what if the setting is being represented by the system? How is it fun to have a group where one guy so far outclassed the rest of the party that they may as well just be there to hold his coat?

Because the dice said so? Fluke isnt fair. I've seen too many random roll games where one guy has nothing below the upper 75% of the range, while another has nothing out of the middle 50%. The ST 18 Halfing was running joke for the whole time we played 3.5
These things don't exist in a vacuum. And if you read my posts in this very thread - and many other posts on other forums you inhabit you'll see precisely *nowhere* do I advocate for Random Character Generation. But not because of reasons of what you think are for "balance" or even any remote sense of "fairness" (I honestly don't generally care about those things when it comes to system)...

I find random character generation is a distraction and a time-waster to my goals of running a good game. I want to get the show on the road (but I tend to prep heavily ahead of time so these things never are an issue for me). I don't want to waste time listening to people drivel on about how random generation gave them a 2-inch dick character while Stevethulhu rolled a natural 20 and his character is plowing the field behind him as he walks around, in a game where such concerns may have no specific impact - or might, only because the players WANT it too.

But I can easily dispense with that by letting you simply tell me that's what you want. Or even roll randomly IF YOU WANT. And I am confident in my abilities as a GM I can contextualize that into the game.

It's much easier to let players buy their stats as most modern games do via points or array, in my opinion, simply because it causes us less time-wasted and feelings of defensiveness over things like "Johnny can swing his sword harder than I can."

To your example - if the setting has some implicit thing where there is a tribe of halflings with 18 strength, for example, does that change your opinion? I'm not even sure what we're really arguing about? If you don't like it - nuke it. If you like it, but think it's "too much" - re-balance it. If all of these things are too onerous - use a different system, if you still like the setting. In all cases this is a GM call.

I did use BRP to cook up what I called a semi random system for Sormbringer. Hoping to iron out some of the unfairness. I might share that for some feedback, if I can find the files.
Eliminate the randomness where you don't need it. Generally always a good idea. I'll be happy to give feedback if you put it out there!

All of this balance stuff still comes down to the Superman/Batman false conundrum. There is *no* genre or system that approaches this disparity of power-level conceit. Yet... I deal with it weekly with zero problem. And it's not my players. It's because I, and other GM's that have taken this problem on have figured out how to deal with this issue not just with letting the system dictate it to our group, but by managing directly what challenges and constraints of having a party of PCs have meaningful experiences in the game without looking at each other's characters and obsessing over perceived numerical inadequacies.

Is Batman less of a character than Superman? Is your 18 Str. Halfling as stupid as a human-looking alien that depending on your system can benchpress six-septillion tons who pals around with a human that can lift 800lbs on a good day?

Should the Batman player feel inadequate that he's gotta ride in his Batplane while Superman flies across the stars?

By many of those here, without context this should be mixing dog-poop and chocolate cake. Yet, there are clearly some missing variables that have nothing to do strictly with a system.

Unless you're going to say that it's impossible for a Batman to adventure with a Superman at your table. Or it should/would never happen. What do you think?

Edit: I'm not trying to trivialize the Batman/Superman issue either. I DO recognize its challenging to a lot of GM's and probably a lot of players who feel insecure when looking at stats.
 

TristramEvans

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The stat roles don't determine the hit point rolls in AD&D. So the very vulnerable magic user, who doesn't have a particularly useful spell, is subject to all kinds of environmental hazards as well as the risks of combat. The 1 hit point fighter is in an even worse position.

Your Constitution score affects your Hit Points. And according to RAW, a player isn't forced to play a character they don't consider viable based on bad rolls.

That is the GM changing the game rules and imposing that on a player.

A player can join 3e D&D and think, I want to play someone like Uhtred from the Last Kingdom, he's great, i'll play a fighter.
Some time later in the campaign he finds that the druid can summon a creature that fights as well as he does and turn into a creature that fights better than he does, and has more skill points, and has a whole range of other spells taht have combat and non combat utility.

And that doesn't make his character any less viable, it just makes him....jealous?

If you want to argue that the "trap options" design in 3rd edition that rewards system mastery is Bullshit, I won't dsagree with you one bit. Dungeons & Dragons is a shit RPG system, and 3rd is one of the shittier editions overall.

But that isn't the point I was contesting.
 

zanshin

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Your Constitution score affects your Hit Points. And according to RAW, a player isn't forced to play a character they don't consider viable based on bad rolls.

That is the GM changing the game rules and imposing that on a player.



And that doesn't make his character any less viable, it just makes him....jealous?

If you want to argue that the "trap options" design in 3rd edition that rewards system mastery is Bullshit, I won't dsagree with you one bit. Dungeons & Dragons is a shit RPG system, and 3rd is one of the shittier editions overall.

But that isn't the point I was contesting.
So we agree that poor systems design leads to disparity of outcomes for the characters, and therefore the players experience. Happy to leave it there.
 

TristramEvans

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So we agree that poor systems design leads to disparity of outcomes for the characters, and therefore the players experience.

Eh, I don't agree with that statement, but I am nonethless happy to leave it there.
 

ffilz

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The stat roles don't determine the hit point rolls in AD&D. So the very vulnerable magic user, who doesn't have a particularly useful spell, is subject to all kinds of environmental hazards as well as the risks of combat. The 1 hit point fighter is in an even worse position.

A player can join 3e D&D and think, I want to play someone like Uhtred from the Last Kingdom, he's great, i'll play a fighter.
Some time later in the campaign he finds that the druid can summon a creature that fights as well as he does and turn into a creature that fights better than he does, and has more skill points, and has a whole range of other spells taht have combat and non combat utility.

An unbalanced system ends up with disparities of character capability that impact on the play. That's the experience of many people here. Not yours I will accept that. That doesn't mean it's not an issue.
You keep harping on the AD&D magic user with one not very useful spell. Is this 1e or 2e? 1e provides 4 spells, and one will be an offensive spell, though a given player might find some of those choices not appealing. But truth is whether the one spell you memorize is worthy or not, you get one spell... And yea, 1 hp sucks, but 4 hp isn't that much better, the difference, at 4 hp you might not go down in one blow. But you really don't want to be in melee no matter what. So a 1st level mage isn't a combat machine. They should have other roles in the party. And maybe they should pick up a man at arms or two as hirelings to fight for him.

Yea, at some point in 3.x playing a fighter may not be very exciting. The question I have is what is going on in the campaign where you have 10th level characters? If the campaign is just a linked set of battles, which granted the system sort of encourages, then yea, actual balance in combat becomes critical.

Lately I've been playing and running games where combat isn't everything. As soon as you get away from combat, it's more likely there are other things that allow a player to contribute to what's going on.

Oh and hey, back in the day when we were strict about roll it and play it, someone who rolled a crap character would charge into combat, and soon be rolling a new PC. Traveller even calls this out in the rules as part of chargen... Join the Scouts...

So all that said, again, as a GM, I work with my players. I make random chargen work. I make sure my players are happy playing the character they get. I don't need point buy or any other deterministic system to make sure players get to play a fun character. And if someone is absolutely dead set on running something specific, well, if I don't see that as a red flag that they aren't going to enjoy my old school style, I'll figure out how to get them what they want without totally negating random chargen.
 

zanshin

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You keep harping on the AD&D magic user with one not very useful spell. Is this 1e or 2e? 1e provides 4 spells, and one will be an offensive spell, though a given player might find some of those choices not appealing. But truth is whether the one spell you memorize is worthy or not, you get one spell... And yea, 1 hp sucks, but 4 hp isn't that much better, the difference, at 4 hp you might not go down in one blow. But you really don't want to be in melee no matter what. So a 1st level mage isn't a combat machine. They should have other roles in the party. And maybe they should pick up a man at arms or two as hirelings to fight for him.

Yea, at some point in 3.x playing a fighter may not be very exciting. The question I have is what is going on in the campaign where you have 10th level characters? If the campaign is just a linked set of battles, which granted the system sort of encourages, then yea, actual balance in combat becomes critical.

Lately I've been playing and running games where combat isn't everything. As soon as you get away from combat, it's more likely there are other things that allow a player to contribute to what's going on.

Oh and hey, back in the day when we were strict about roll it and play it, someone who rolled a crap character would charge into combat, and soon be rolling a new PC. Traveller even calls this out in the rules as part of chargen... Join the Scouts...

So all that said, again, as a GM, I work with my players. I make random chargen work. I make sure my players are happy playing the character they get. I don't need point buy or any other deterministic system to make sure players get to play a fun character. And if someone is absolutely dead set on running something specific, well, if I don't see that as a red flag that they aren't going to enjoy my old school style, I'll figure out how to get them what they want without totally negating random chargen.
I am sure you are a great GM, and you clearly adapt the systems you enjoy playing to ensure that players have a character that they will enjoy playing. That's great and I would love all GMs to approach the games with that level of flexibility.
 

Fenris-77

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So we agree that poor systems design leads to disparity of outcomes for the characters, and therefore the players experience. Happy to leave it there.
Incorrect. You simply don't like some of that disparity. Other people revel in it. YMMV I guess
 

TristramEvans

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You agreed with it in relation to 3e D&D.

I said that I thought it was badly designed, but I stand by my original counter to your original claim.

However, I doubt either of us will get anything out of pursuing that disagreement further, so I'm fine leaving it as an irreconcialable difference of perspective.
 

zanshin

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Incorrect. You simply don't like some of that disparity. Other people revel in it. YMMV I guess
I am responding to this specific statement of TristramEvans - 'If you want to argue that the "trap options" design in 3rd edition that rewards system mastery is Bullshit, I won't dsagree with you one bit. Dungeons & Dragons is a shit RPG system, and 3rd is one of the shittier editions overall.'

What is a 'trap option' and 'system mastery' in this context but a system which delivers differently to peoples expectations and delivers different levels of outcome according to how well the player has made choices? So one element of bad design = disparate outcomes. Disparate outcomes will affect the players experience - for good or bad. Mileage varies, as you say, but there has been an argument as to whether or not it is anything but an illusion.

My consistent position has been that a) Roleplaying systems can be designed with parity of character impact across the game in mind or not designed with that as a principle b) As a GM I find it's easier to give players a better crack at their share of the spotlight in games where that is an aim c) I prefer playing in games where the PCs have close levels of ability to impact the game world through the game systems

I am perfectly happy to accept that there are good games (especially older ones) where the design has not taken that on board, and if GMing or playing in those games I would want to see adaptations to deliver more parity between the characters.

I also fully accept that other people revel in disparity of PC power within games. I don't accept that the disparity doesn't even exist.

If you want to argue 3e is well designed, that's a new conversation.
 

Fenris-77

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I think younneed to approach the entirety of 3E from a different perspective. There's the base rules, and then theres he splat books. The system wasn't designed to accomdate all that splat, the aplt justbkind of happened. So let's think about that from a player perspective. 3e probably has the most nuanced character builds of any edition, save maybe 4th, in terms of the sheer variety of options available.

Here's the thing about options though, the more of them you have in an RPG, the less balanced they tend to be overall. So is it good to be able to build exactly what you want, at the risk of less than optimal, or is better to just get kinda close but know that things are more balanced? I submit that that isn't a good/bad design choice, just a design choice.
 

zanshin

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I think younneed to approach the entirety of 3E from a different perspective. There's the base rules, and then theres he splat books. The system wasn't designed to accomdate all that splat, the aplt justbkind of happened. So let's think about that from a player perspective. 3e probably has the most nuanced character builds of any edition, save maybe 4th, in terms of the sheer variety of options available.

Here's the thing about options though, the more of them you have in an RPG, the less balanced they tend to be overall. So is it good to be able to build exactly what you want, at the risk of less than optimal, or is better to just get kinda close but know that things are more balanced? I submit that that isn't a good/bad design choice, just a design choice.
10th level Fighter & 10th level Druid from the core 3e PHB. Which has the greater flexibility to interact with the gameworld - survival, stealth, social, healing, travel? Which has the greater level of combat capability, taking powers and spells available into account? Which class offers the greater number of options for the player? Druid every single time.
 

Fenris-77

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10th level Fighter & 10th level Druid from the core 3e PHB. Which has the greater flexibility to interact with the gameworld - survival, stealth, social, healing, travel? Which has the greater level of combat capability, taking powers and spells available into account? Which class offers the greater number of options for the player? Druid every single time.
You're asking me like I agree that balance is the greater good. I don't really so I'm not sure where that leaves us.

Your reply also doesn't really adress my post at all either. Just saying ..
 

zanshin

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You're asking me like I agree that balance is the greater good. I don't really so I'm not sure where that leaves us.

Your reply also doesn't really adress my post at all either. Just saying ..
I was responding to your point about the splat books and not fully to the rest of your post , so apologies, but a system can be better balanced and still give a lot of choice to the players. 5e does a better job of parity between the classes than 3e does IMO while still giving a lot of meaningful choice.

4e does the best of all - but did reduce choice and confined power/spell impacts to what would fit to the board of play (mostly)
 

Fenris-77

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My point about the splat books is not only do I not think they need to be balanced, I also think that past a certain volume of splat, they simply won't be balanced. So the question becomes of one of variety or balance.
 

TJS

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I think 3E is kind of the paridigmatic of how poor balance can affect a game negatively.

But there's more then just the imbalance that's the cause of the problem, it's also how that interacts with game structures.

It's important to remember that the 3E tier list wasn't about which classes were better in combat, but which classes were better at solving problems. Wizards were king because of the sheer variety of problems and situations they had a solution for.

It's the nature of the system that not only is it imbalanced, but the nature of it's system makes it difficult to run a game in which that imbalance is not a problem. This is a game in which all the players are meant to function as a team, but some team members are simply more valuable than others. It also by it's nature and complexity makes it difficult to focus on individual character goals (rather than party goals). And there's no getting around the fact that modern D&D tends to focus around scenarios where the outcome is determined by set piece combat rather than decisions.*

On the other hand in Pendragon every character is a knight, and some knights are better at the core activity of fighting than others due to random generation. However it's never really a problem, because the system gives space for individual knights to have their own somewhat independent goals, rivalries and feuds, and the system has passions which means that even a runt of the litter gets to be awesome when it really matters to him.


*If the key question of your campaign is "Can the PCs defeat the evil necromancer?", then combat balance matters a lot more than if the key question is "Which political faction will they decide to support?". Balance is a lot less important in the latter scenario because the outcome is not dependant on mechanics.
 

zanshin

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My point about the splat books is not only do I not think they need to be balanced, I also think that past a certain volume of splat, they simply won't be balanced. So the question becomes of one of variety or balance.
It's a fair point, the more variety you have the greater the difficulty of balancing it.
 

Stevethulhu

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As mentioned earlier, my attempt to remove some of the randomness from Stormbringer character creation. The idea being that while you can't pick your race, you can set your stats closer to where you'd like to be at the start of play. And by using BRP roles, rather than Stormbringer classes, there should be less of a chance of redundant characters that can't contribute or get shortchanged by the game.

 

zanshin

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As mentioned earlier, my attempt to remove some of the randomness from Stormbringer character creation. The idea being that while you can't pick your race, you can set your stats closer to where you'd like to be at the start of play. And by using BRP roles, rather than Stormbringer classes, there should be less of a chance of redundant characters that can't contribute or get shortchanged by the game.

Your approach certainly mitigates Stormbringers randomness. I do remember loving the system back in the day - Ken St. Andre sure can create colour. I was an Elric fan and the system certainly evoked the books.

I think if i was to run it now I would start the campaign with everyone being from the same nationality , and give people a free choice of background. I would have to work out the 'cost' of magical training or the benefit of not having had it.
 

tenbones

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As mentioned earlier, my attempt to remove some of the randomness from Stormbringer character creation. The idea being that while you can't pick your race, you can set your stats closer to where you'd like to be at the start of play. And by using BRP roles, rather than Stormbringer classes, there should be less of a chance of redundant characters that can't contribute or get shortchanged by the game.


Man that's a lot of love for Stormbringer.

But let me ask you a serious question, because when I looked at your fix, and it's pretty solid for what you're trying to do, I broke out my ancient copy of Stormbringer and looked at it for comparison - and I remember the headslapping randomness of it.

... so here's my question...

Why not just create some character creation rules that remove all randomness and you set the parameters of the campaign? Is it because you think everyone will want to play Melniboneans and no one will play a wretch from Nadsokor? Or a wannabe Melnibonean from Pan Tang?

I'm questioning the value of Stormbringer's Chargen Roulette as something desirable when it comes to playing in the world of Elric. And I say this from the perspective of "If Tenbones were going to run a campaign in Elric's World what would I do?" At no point would some random table be the first deciding point of what my players were going to play. Yes this brings up obvious issues like "Is everyone gonna pick a Melnibonean?" - maybe. Is that bad? What are the constraints and considerations... and more importantly, the possibilities achievable with such a game?

There are lots of ways to skin that cat and letting players have what they want. You could say anyone can play a Melnibonean, but the starting stakes will be higher (i.e. your conceits of why a party of Melniboneans are trouping around the New Kingdoms would necessarily be for something very important that might take many adventures to resolve. ) Or you could balance it by granting some extra "stuff" for non-Melnibonean types - be it skill points in certain things, or whatever.

But I'd also question the value of having to use that system at all. Unless I *really* wanted to play it "native" - then I'd just cut out that Chargen and come up with something on my own like you did. But I'm more prone to remove the randomness entirely, as I see little value in it. Just my opinion.
 

Stevethulhu

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Man that's a lot of love for Stormbringer.

But let me ask you a serious question, because when I looked at your fix, and it's pretty solid for what you're trying to do, I broke out my ancient copy of Stormbringer and looked at it for comparison - and I remember the headslapping randomness of it.

... so here's my question...

Why not just create some character creation rules that remove all randomness and you set the parameters of the campaign? Is it because you think everyone will want to play Melniboneans and no one will play a wretch from Nadsokor? Or a wannabe Melnibonean from Pan Tang?

I'm questioning the value of Stormbringer's Chargen Roulette as something desirable when it comes to playing in the world of Elric. And I say this from the perspective of "If Tenbones were going to run a campaign in Elric's World what would I do?" At no point would some random table be the first deciding point of what my players were going to play. Yes this brings up obvious issues like "Is everyone gonna pick a Melnibonean?" - maybe. Is that bad? What are the constraints and considerations... and more importantly, the possibilities achievable with such a game?

There are lots of ways to skin that cat and letting players have what they want. You could say anyone can play a Melnibonean, but the starting stakes will be higher (i.e. your conceits of why a party of Melniboneans are trouping around the New Kingdoms would necessarily be for something very important that might take many adventures to resolve. ) Or you could balance it by granting some extra "stuff" for non-Melnibonean types - be it skill points in certain things, or whatever.

But I'd also question the value of having to use that system at all. Unless I *really* wanted to play it "native" - then I'd just cut out that Chargen and come up with something on my own like you did. But I'm more prone to remove the randomness entirely, as I see little value in it. Just my opinion.
Actually I was a lot of copypasta and a bit of editing.

The rationale was to keep some chaos, but not to a point where it gets detrimental to the game. So magic aside, a Beggar can contribute in a meaningful way and isn't looking at other players thinking, why did the writer decide I got no skills anyway?

Is I wanted to incorporate the BGB and its more more interesting combat system. But still keeping the armour rolls, a system I really like, and the Major Wounds table. Which I also like.

But in the end, like most of my stuff, it was ultimately a vanity project.
 

AsenRG

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Man that's a lot of love for Stormbringer.

But let me ask you a serious question, because when I looked at your fix, and it's pretty solid for what you're trying to do, I broke out my ancient copy of Stormbringer and looked at it for comparison - and I remember the headslapping randomness of it.

... so here's my question...

Why not just create some character creation rules that remove all randomness and you set the parameters of the campaign?
I guess my problem with this sentiment is, "what's wrong with randomness":shade:?
Stormbringer chargen never seemed excessively random to me. Then again, I've only generated a couple of characters for some online games that didn't last long:thumbsup:.
 

zanshin

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I guess my problem with this sentiment is, "what's wrong with randomness":shade:?
Stormbringer chargen never seemed excessively random to me. Then again, I've only generated a couple of characters for some online games that didn't last long:thumbsup:.
BMX Nadsokor leper and Melnibonean Angel Summoner is the issue :smile:

Which I accept is a problem for some and clearly, not for others.
 

Stevethulhu

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BMX Nadsokor leper and Melnibonean Angel Summoner is the issue :smile:

Which I accept is a problem for some and clearly, not for others.
To me, it's a fun issue. Sure, being a Beggar sucks. But at least with a more developed system, you can offset some of that suckage.

Of course, the magic system would need a bit of work, but being BRP, you can literally just use the rules from Stoembriger with minimal problems. And maybe season with other BRP derived magic rules, too.
 

Black Leaf

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I am sure you are a great GM, and you clearly adapt the systems you enjoy playing to ensure that players have a character that they will enjoy playing. That's great and I would love all GMs to approach the games with that level of flexibility.
However, part of that flexibility is understanding that some times players are incompatible with either group or game norms and being unfraid to tell them to look elsewhere.

Would you be good to play if I'm running Unhallowed Metropolis? Sure, it's designed character gen.

My En Garde! game? Of course not. You wouldn't just get to choose to be the first son of a Very Wealthy Duc every time and you've made it clear that giving you an average character isn't going to be fun for you if other people get to have the chance of having a more influential character through random generation.

That's no reflection of anything but subjective game preferences. I have no issue if someone wants to sit out my campaign because it's not the game for them. Or even if most players do (in which case I'm going to have to run something else or someone else can step forward to do so). I only object when players think they should be able to play in my game and complain if I tell them they aren't suitable. (Which includes people complaining about not knowing of other more suitable games to play in. Sorry, but that one's not my problem. I'll point you in the right direction if I know of something, but that's it).
 

AsenRG

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However, part of that flexibility is understanding that some times players are incompatible with either group or game norms and being unfraid to tell them to look elsewhere.

Would you be good to play if I'm running Unhallowed Metropolis? Sure, it's designed character gen.

My En Garde! game? Of course not. You wouldn't just get to choose to be the first son of a Very Wealthy Duc every time and you've made it clear that giving you an average character isn't going to be fun for you if other people get to have the chance of having a more influential character through random generation.

That's no reflection of anything but subjective game preferences. I have no issue if someone wants to sit out my campaign because it's not the game for them. Or even if most players do (in which case I'm going to have to run something else or someone else can step forward to do so). I only object when players think they should be able to play in my game and complain if I tell them they aren't suitable. (Which includes people complaining about not knowing of other more suitable games to play in. Sorry, but that one's not my problem. I'll point you in the right direction if I know of something, but that's it).
This post might have been written by me, and indeed I'm sure I've written some similar stuff even in my TBP days:thumbsup:. So it has the stamp of my approval, whether you wanted it or not:shade:!
 

AsenRG

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BMX Nadsokor leper and Melnibonean Angel Summoner is the issue :smile:

Which I accept is a problem for some and clearly, not for others.
Well, I'm in the "others" group:thumbsup:.

Also, you might have noticed my anecdote earlier in the thread, but I'm afraid it was misunderstood. I volunteered the fact that I've had to play a character I wouldn't have picked.
Of course, that's the point of randomness and why you buy into such games, so you'd notice I didn't balk at it:tongue:.
My disagreement with the GM was from the "gentlemen's agreement limitation" he'd put on his sandbox, and the fact that it wasn't communicated to me in advance. In essence, all I was saying is "it happens, it's not a big deal":shade:.

Playing the leper? No, I wouldn't pick that in 10 000 years. But if I roll it, I'm playing it...possibly even if I'm offered a re-roll.
Why? Because I can scare villains by exposing my infirmity, I can beg sustenance to observe the hideout of our enemies, being grappled by me provokes panic in most opponents, because succubus-style witches run from me, not the other way around, and I can sacrifice myself without a second thought to save the party, or an NPC I've grown fond of. Because my life really isn't worth much, now, is it:grin:?

So I can play this, and I can make him more heroic than your Melnibonean. Because I can do all of this without sacrificing people, for starters. Can you match that :angel: summoner:devil:?
 
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