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  • Originally posted by Caitiff Primogen View Post
    Related to the topic of Bounded Accuracy and its implications: I have mixed feelings about how 5E handles magic items.

    On the one hand I am all about moving away from the "shopping list" playstyle that 3E encapsulated. I spent years railing against the generic-ness and ubiquity of magic items in 3E and how they ought be more narrative driven and special. Then I got pretty much what I wanted... except the implications for the rest of the system weren't fully taken into account. In short: the rarity of 5E magic items kind of breaks treasure and starting wealth. Whatever the faults of the 3E approach, it successfully made magic items into an effective gold-sink and asset-holder. In 5E I frequently find myself with a weird amount of gold just kind of sitting around not doing anything. This wouldn't be a huge problem except that it kind of reduces the most immediate economic incentives to go adventuring. Nobody likes being on a treadmill, but after a certain point I have to wonder why characters don't just retire if they've already acquired more wealth than they'll ever need within the first few adventures. Not every character is motivated solely by income, and if pressed I'm sure people can come up with all sorts of projects charitable and otherwise to spend this money on if one absolutely has to go broke to go adventuring, but this in itself raises all sorts of other implications.

    Now this isn't actually an easy fix. If you throttle down the wealth gained per adventure there's a good chance that your players are going to feel cheated. Players don't want to split five gold pieces between them as the reward for an adventure, they want to find a whole stonking pile of it. You can't even make it silver rather than gold, because even though that's still an incredible amount of wealth we've been culturally trained to see silver as a fundamentally lesser form of specie (thanks to the effective propaganda and ultimate political triumph of gold-backed interests over bi-metalism proponents around the turn of the twentieth century). Because of this D&D has pretty much always had a lopsided view of the value of its specie. Indeed the amount of hard currency in circulation and the amount of precious metals serving as a medium of trade has far more in common with the classical world than it does with the medieval world, and 3E's very consumer-driven playstyle starts to resemble nothing so much as late stage capitalism.

    The price lists and crafting guides in Xanathar's help a bit with this, but it's still an example of what I feel is D&D struggling under the weight of its own contradictory legacy and expectations.
    I played in a game where we had that kind of wealth and they kept adventuring, BUT... they were what I'd call an exception. They did a good job of pissing off a lot of very powerful people, a good job of leaving places worse than when they got there, and kinda enjoyed adventuring/felt out of place in high society lead to them never really setting down. They tried it once and it lasted for a couple of weeks till the mansion burned down, lots of folk were slaughtered, and multiple crystal towers were broken and the raining shards bringing destruction all around them. Sure, it wasn't REALLY our fault, but... you sorta develop a reputation after this thing happens a few times.

    I could see other adventurers being in similar situations. Every time they try to settle down, THINGS JUST HAPPEN. You go on vacation, someone gets kidnapped. Your summer home burned down by cultists trying to perform a ritual. Can you imagine if that guy wanted to buy land and "move into your neighborhood"? Even if it was never his fault, people are not going to want to be around when maybe some evil god decides to drop their act of god on the region to get at him.



    ​When noise turns to silence, when colors dull and pale, when reality no longer makes sense, there shall you find me. There, in the dreams of the River of Faceless Millions, do I dwell.

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    • Originally posted by Caitiff Primogen View Post
      Related to the topic of Bounded Accuracy and its implications: I have mixed feelings about how 5E handles magic items.

      On the one hand I am all about moving away from the "shopping list" playstyle that 3E encapsulated. I spent years railing against the generic-ness and ubiquity of magic items in 3E and how they ought be more narrative driven and special. Then I got pretty much what I wanted... except the implications for the rest of the system weren't fully taken into account. In short: the rarity of 5E magic items kind of breaks treasure and starting wealth. Whatever the faults of the 3E approach, it successfully made magic items into an effective gold-sink and asset-holder. In 5E I frequently find myself with a weird amount of gold just kind of sitting around not doing anything. This wouldn't be a huge problem except that it kind of reduces the most immediate economic incentives to go adventuring. Nobody likes being on a treadmill, but after a certain point I have to wonder why characters don't just retire if they've already acquired more wealth than they'll ever need within the first few adventures. Not every character is motivated solely by income, and if pressed I'm sure people can come up with all sorts of projects charitable and otherwise to spend this money on if one absolutely has to go broke to go adventuring, but this in itself raises all sorts of other implications.

      Now this isn't actually an easy fix. If you throttle down the wealth gained per adventure there's a good chance that your players are going to feel cheated. Players don't want to split five gold pieces between them as the reward for an adventure, they want to find a whole stonking pile of it. You can't even make it silver rather than gold, because even though that's still an incredible amount of wealth we've been culturally trained to see silver as a fundamentally lesser form of specie (thanks to the effective propaganda and ultimate political triumph of gold-backed interests over bi-metalism proponents around the turn of the twentieth century). Because of this D&D has pretty much always had a lopsided view of the value of its specie. Indeed the amount of hard currency in circulation and the amount of precious metals serving as a medium of trade has far more in common with the classical world than it does with the medieval world, and 3E's very consumer-driven playstyle starts to resemble nothing so much as late stage capitalism.

      The price lists and crafting guides in Xanathar's help a bit with this, but it's still an example of what I feel is D&D struggling under the weight of its own contradictory legacy and expectations.
      I love 5e’s approach to magic items, especially now that Xanathar has finally lifted the curtain on the hidden system for magic item rewards (which really should have been in the DMG), but it has left coinage completely worthless. Actually enforcing lifestyle costs helps a bit, and personally I like there being an extremely limited market for trade in magic items (which the revised Downtime rules kind of help with, though generally I prefer the lighter-weight downtime rules in the PHB). But even then, for the most part there’s nothing to spend all the treasure you earn from adventuring on, and that kind of sucks.

      Honestly though, I don’t think magic items are really the culprit. The issue is the lack of endgame. In earlier editions, once PCs reached a certain level, they would stop adventuring and amassing treasure, and instead invest the wealth they had earned into founding a stronghold, or building a research tower, or starting a thieves’ guild, or what have you. That kind of thing seems to have gone by the wayside in favor of making endgame play pretty much like early game play, but with bigger numbers and more dramatic stakes. Which kind of makes sense, adventuring is the mode of play D&D’s systems handle best. But I think something valuable was lost in the process.

      My dream campaign would be one where the PCs spend the first tier of play (1st-4th level) just scraping to get by. Taking jobs to pay off their lifestyle expenses, supply them with arms, armor, ammunition, and spell components, and saving what they can. By the second tier (5th-10th), they’ve made enough of a name for themselves to start taking on bigger jobs, amassing more wealth and fame until they reach 3rd tier (11th-15th). At that point, they would start investing the wealth they had earned and leveraging their fame as heroes and building some sort of lasting institution. At that point (the point where most campaigns peeter out), I’d put those characters on hold. While they’re off building their strongholds and establishing their churches, start some new characters, maybe apprentices of the higher level ones. Play them through those early adventuring levels. Every once in a while, pop back in on the more experiences characters. Have them deal with a major threat to the realm, or if they’re the more self-interested type, whatever institution they founded. Go back and forth like this for a while, until the new characters get to third tier and the more experienced ones break through to fourth tier (16th-20th). The original characters become kings, queens, archmages, world-famous thieves, religious leaders, what have you. The apprentice characters start to found something of their own. Start some new first or second tier characters to carry on the torch. Repeat the same process, only this time you have the original characters occasionally deal with world-shaking, maybe even multiverse-shaking events. Theoretically this process could go on as long as you wanted, just retiring characters who make it all the way to 20th level. But yeah, I love that concept of not discarding old characters when you want to start a new campaign, but just putting them on the sidelines for a bit, there to play a higher-stakes adventure with from time to time when you need a change of pace from the newbies.

      That kind of... Got away from the original point a bit... but what I’m trying to get at is, third and fourth tier characters should have plenty to spend their gold on, but D&D hasn’t really supported high tier play since the TSR days. And there’s sort of this vicious cycle where high level play isn’t well supported, so no one plays it, so WotC doesn’t see any need to make support for it.


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      • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

        With the lowered DCs, I think it still works pretty well. A typical 1st level adventurer has between a 25% chance and a 55% chance of succeeding on a Moderate difficulty task, depending on their relevant Attribute and if they have a relevant Proficiency. In a party of four or five, you’re pretty likely to have at least one person closer to the 55% mark, and having another party members help them increases their chances by about 25% (the exact amount varies depending on the base chance, but 25% is a decent estimate on average). Seems about right to me.

        This also all assumes that their approach to the task is determined by the DM to have a realistic chance of success, realistic chance of failure, and a cost or consequence that prevents repeating the attempt until it succeeds. So, in the situations where a dice roll is even necessary to resolve the outcome, I’d say a 55% chance with the possibility of going up to 80% with Advantage is about right for a 1st level character with a 16 in the relevant Attribute and applicable Proficiency. Their odds only improve from there.
        Yeah, they improve... by 2, by the time they reach level 10, unless they're a rogue. Getting an 80% chance if you've stacked the odds in your favour and are as good as you can reasonably be doesn't sound like a ringing achievement, either. In my campaign so far, there have been too many random failures by competent people for my liking... and too many times where my rogue showed knowledge the wizard lacked because I happened to roll well.

        There were actually ideas for dealing with it, by rolling extra dice for skill checks. Which alters the curve and lets you ensure success for easy tasks without necessarily making difficult tasks easier. But it never happened.

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        • Uuuuuuuuuuugh someone online trying to argue that D&D is a generic system you can use for any fantasy genre game.


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          • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
            Uuuuuuuuuuugh someone online trying to argue that D&D is a generic system you can use for any fantasy genre game.
            Is this in one of our mutual Facebook groups, or somewhere else?


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            • Originally posted by Second Chances View Post

              Is this in one of our mutual Facebook groups, or somewhere else?
              The primary tabletop game subreddit. Someone asks for good setting-less games that can be used for broad genres, and someone else responded that D&D fit almost every kind of fantasy someone could ever want.


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              Female pronouns for me, please.

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              • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                Uuuuuuuuuuugh someone online trying to argue that D&D is a generic system you can use for any fantasy genre game.
                Out of curiosity, what kind of generic fantasy game couldn't you use the D&D system for? I've had some success in adapting it to a wide variety of settings over the years, with only needing minor modifications (the primary one being to use the psionic sub-system in place of the magic system when I'm looking at settings with non-Vancian casting). 5th edition seems like it would be even easier, presuming we ever get a psionic power point system.

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                • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                  Out of curiosity, what kind of generic fantasy game couldn't you use the D&D system for? I've had some success in adapting it to a wide variety of settings over the years, with only needing minor modifications (the primary one being to use the psionic sub-system in place of the magic system when I'm looking at settings with non-Vancian casting). 5th edition seems like it would be even easier, presuming we ever get a psionic power point system.
                  Llike you mention, a setting without Vancian magic is a ready example, as is one with limited spellcasting at all; truth be told, LotR’s party would basically just be a gaggle of Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues. If someone wanted to do Game of Thrones or another low-magic setting, D&D would be a pretty poor fit. It also basically falls apart if combat isn’t a focus of your story.


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                  • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                    If someone wanted to do Game of Thrones or another low-magic setting, D&D would be a pretty poor fit. It also basically falls apart if combat isn’t a focus of your story.
                    Barring the one time D&D did try to do a GoT-esque setting with Birthright...although I suspect there’s a reason why that setting never left AD&D2e and nobody cares that it stayed there.

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                    • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                      Like you mention, a setting without Vancian magic is a ready example, as is one with limited spellcasting at all; truth be told, LotR’s party would basically just be a gaggle of Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues.
                      Reminder that Gandalf is NOT a Wizard: he's an Outsider with a couple of spell-like abilities pretending to be a wizard.

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                      • Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                        Llike you mention, a setting without Vancian magic is a ready example, as is one with limited spellcasting at all; truth be told, LotR’s party would basically just be a gaggle of Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues. If someone wanted to do Game of Thrones or another low-magic setting, D&D would be a pretty poor fit. It also basically falls apart if combat isn’t a focus of your story.
                        Not to be too much of a stick-in-the-mud, but couldn't you just say, "Alright guys, I'm going to run a game in a low magic environment, so please don't pick any 9th or 6th level spellcasting classes." There were even certain kits or archetypes and other variant rules in various D&D editions for removing magic from Paladins, Rangers and others, specifically for game-masters who wanted to run low or no-magic games. I mean, I ran several low or no-magic games over the years using D&D and it normally didn't take anything more than very minor modifications, like simply limiting what classes were available for PC's to pick from.

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                        • So, I had my parents over for Christmas dinner last night. Showed them a beautiful set of gaming dice my partner got me for Christmas. And they started asking what the different types of dice are for and how you use them in a game. I gave them a pretty basic explanation (you describe what your character does, if it has a risk of failure the DM sets a target number based on how difficult it will be, and you try to equal or beat that number on a dice roll. Your characrtr’s stats modify your roll, so on a d20, every +1 you get is worth +5% chance of success on a task.) They started asking more questions, like how you figure out what your character’s stats are, and before you know it, I’m walking my parents through character creation. My dad made a dwarf warlock and my mom made a tiefling sorcerer, and I’m going to run a game for them. Not what I expected to come out of Christmas with the family, but it’s actually kind of awesome.


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                          • Nice! Yesterday one of my friends and his wife is in town. I've been running an online 5th edition game using the Pathfinder adventure path Skulls and Shackles (it's a pirate based one) for some of my friends, including him. She wasn't interested in roleplaying and had never played before, but he and I ended up spending way too much time talking about the game and past games and she eventually grew interested. So we helped her write up a character (an elf ranger) and she'll be joining our session next week! I hope she has fun.

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                            • Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                              Not to be too much of a stick-in-the-mud, but couldn't you just say, "Alright guys, I'm going to run a game in a low magic environment, so please don't pick any 9th or 6th level spellcasting classes." There were even certain kits or archetypes and other variant rules in various D&D editions for removing magic from Paladins, Rangers and others, specifically for game-masters who wanted to run low or no-magic games. I mean, I ran several low or no-magic games over the years using D&D and it normally didn't take anything more than very minor modifications, like simply limiting what classes were available for PC's to pick from.
                              Then everyone is stuck with the bare-bones systems for non-magical skills and combat. There's really not much to D&D once you remove magic, especially 5E D&D.

                              Besides, a martial character past level 7 or so has more combat power than anyone in Lord of the Rings, just by the virtue of how many hit points they have and how much damage they can deal.

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                              • Originally posted by Morty View Post
                                Then everyone is stuck with the bare-bones systems for non-magical skills and combat. There's really not much to D&D once you remove magic, especially 5E D&D.
                                I mean there's not a whole lot to any system once you remove whatever qualify as its superpowers. The real question is how much does a game need?

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