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April 24th, 2008, 23:53
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I have only seen them through crpg (note I was talking about crpg not p&p) and I have to say goldbox system is simpler than baldur's gate which is simpler than nwn. NWN was just all-over with the feats and all. Way too many choices.
Long lists of feats do not complexity make, when the rules governing them are simple.

From what I gather, never having played any P&P D&D version: In AD&D games, most of the rule complexity (which was always severely reduced from P&P, I believe) was automatically handled by the game. In D&D 3E the players get more to do when leveling their characters, but the underlying systems were simplified.

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April 25th, 2008, 16:15
That makes sense. IIRC, only humans could dual class, but non-humans could do multi-class from the outset, right?
That is correct, yes. So everyone else would be 16th level and you'd be this guy following along with 1st level abilities but 16th level hit points, trying to soak up experience until your previous classes abilities magically switched back on. It was…ridiculous.

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April 26th, 2008, 00:27
Yeah, that dual classing was absurd. I NEVER played human!!

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April 26th, 2008, 07:01
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
If 3.5 is simpler than earlier version how can its core rules consist of like 900 pages*? Or did the previous versions have even thicker manuals? Or were the rules more hard to understand?
The v3.5 (and 3.0) rules are dead simple — much, much simpler than 1st or 2nd edition AD&D rules. They fit in about 10 pages total. They're incredibly fast and intuitive in PnP play; combat, NPC interaction, and non-combat tasks are handled with the minimum amount of fuss and arithmetic. It's all basically "assign a difficulty, roll a die, add your modifiers, see if the total beats the difficulty."

What bulks up the v3 books is content: spells, feats, classes, races, and so on. Those aren't rules; they're stuff that's been done with the rules. The rules let you make your own spells, feats, classes, races, and so on; what WotC makes its money on is churning them out for you to use in case you're too lazy to do the work yourself. That's quite different from "complexity."
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April 26th, 2008, 09:01
I don't think it's fair to say that 3.0 and 3.5 rules are simple.

I think that's quite misleading. What I would say is that they make more sense, and that they're a lot more consistent than the previous rules were. However, if you were to read the rather extensive combat chapter in the PHB, for example, you'd quickly realise that simplicity isn't the right word. You have more options in combat - in terms of supported rules - than you ever did before. I have a group playing regularly, and we don't ever spend a session without arguing (in an amiable fashion) over combat rules - unless it's one of those rare ones without an encounter. There are so many things you have to remember, and I doubt any but the most experienced players know all the nuances by heart.

The addition of feats is indeed an extra layer that requires a significantly more elaborate plan if you intend to develop an effective character. Especially for relative newcomers - of which we have 2 in our group - it's quite daunting to plan a strong character, much more so than it used to be as the rules used to be much more restrictive in terms of class development. How you assign your ability points is even more vital to your future than in the past, because feats have many requirements tied into your very first decisions.

No, I can't agree that the rules are simple.

That said, I tend to favor complexity because the opposite bores me more often than not, and I fear that 4.0 rules might be too simple to thoroughly entertain me, at least in a powergaming sense. But it should speed up combat significantly, and really, that's a huge time saver - at least in our campaigns.
Last edited by DArtagnan; April 26th, 2008 at 09:10.
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April 26th, 2008, 12:02
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The addition of feats is indeed an extra layer that requires a significantly more elaborate plan if you intend to develop an effective character. Especially for relative newcomers - of which we have 2 in our group - it's quite daunting to plan a strong character, much more so than it used to be as the rules used to be much more restrictive in terms of class development. How you assign your ability points is even more vital to your future than in the past, because feats have many requirements tied into your very first decisions.

No, I can't agree that the rules are simple.
Well said. Also this is worse in a computer game because you have to study the classes & feats etc the whole complex character creation (which pj forgot to mention) from a computer screen. I much prefer to study from printed books which were not included in my "deluxe edition nwn" set.
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April 26th, 2008, 12:33
Perhaps we just mean different things by "the rules." I mean (mostly) the mechanics; you include everything around them; also, if your experience is primarily from computer gaming, I'm sure you'll feel differently.

My experience of the various editions of D&D are something like this:

* Original D&D: simple, fun, streamlined, but highly restrictive — your character's evolution was essentially set in stone when you created it. After that, the only meaningful choice you could make was picking your spells (if you were a spellcaster).

* AD&D: a god-awful mess of extensions, unnecessary and unbalanced mechanics, wildly unbalanced classes and sub-classes (this went especially off the rails with Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures, with the crazily overpowered Barbarian and Illusionist in the former and Monk and Kensai in the latter). On the other hand, it was an enormously rich trove of adventure background elements — Oriental Adventures was especially good in this respect, as were the wonderfully wacky monster manuals (especially Fiend Folio).

* AD&D 2nd ed.: dumped much of the completely unnecessary fluff in AD&D, and added a lot of very ugly, very unintuitive, and very restrictive brute-force rebalancing that makes no in-game sense. (Dual-classing is a particularly bad offender.) Also failed to fix the big flaws in the mechanics (THAC0 calculations, different AC bonuses for different damage types), and kept the wordy and hard-to-understand spell descriptions. Added non-weapon proficiencies, but the rules for them were really, really bad. The best addition was "kits" — this allowed a lot more choice in character building, although unfortunately the choices were still pretty much set in stone when you rolled up your guy (or gal). I would never have been able to handle AD&D of either flavor without a boatload of house rules to rebalance the damn thing and make some of the "official" rebalancing restrictions more palatable.

AD&D 3d ed: O Glory! Finally, a set of simple, fast, intuitive, consistent, basic-arithmetic rules that allowed the DM to resolve literally *anything* — combat, non-combat challenge, NPC interaction, whatever — in a dead-simple, fast way that was beautifully bound to the character's… characteristics. Set a difficulty, roll a die, add your modifiers, check if you beat the difficulty, done. Take-10 or take-20 when applicable to make it even quicker. Joy!

Also, fixed the non-weapon proficiency mess, and added a possibility for real character differentiation within classes — even without the added carrot of the prestige classes, you can develop a heavily-armored, slow-as-mud, strong-as-an-ox, "I-crush-you-now" fighter, or an armor-less, two-rapier-wielding, nimble-as-a-ferret, Cyrano-de-Bergerac duelist type of fighter, or a Robin-Hood type longbow artist, or anything in between. And all within the fighter class, just be some intelligent selection of feats and a clear sense of where you want him to go!

And you guys whine about this being "complex?" SRSLY?
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April 26th, 2008, 12:53
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Perhaps we just mean different things by "the rules." I mean (mostly) the mechanics; you include everything around them; also, if your experience is primarily from computer gaming, I'm sure you'll feel differently.
Thats what I tried to tell you earlier. I referred to the crpg ad&d and you talked about p&p.

I think the fact that I didnt have the printed manual might be a major factor though. I dont mind studying long lists of character creation options and making plans as long as I can read all the options from printed paper.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
And you guys whine about this being "complex?" SRSLY?
In my case Id I say its the presentation of the choices that makes it complex. Perhaps a better UI might have made it easier.

KOTOR did a great job of spelling that all out with the interface, I think. The problem with having to refer to a manual is that they're often wrong (that or games tend to have errors, whichever way you want to look at it).
Did KOTOR have nwn style system? I sure didnt need any manual with that game. The character creation was so intuitive that I dont even remember anything from it unlike the "lists" from nwn.

Another good system that comes in mind is naturally the one in fallout. Compared to fallout or kotor Id say nwn character creation is definetly more complex for a new player. There are so many rules and options to keep track of and memorize in it that it can confuse a new player not familiar to the ad&d system.
Last edited by zakhal; April 26th, 2008 at 13:34.
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April 26th, 2008, 13:49
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Compared to fallout or kotor Id say nwn character creation is definetly more complex for a new player. There are so many rules and options to keep track of and memorize in it that it can confuse a new player not familiar to the ad&d system.
I don't think NWN character creation was all that complex, you could make it so by delving into the detail of crossclassing, feats, skills and so on. Or could just hit 'recomend' at every step and have a reasonably playable character. The complexity is there if you need it but you weren't forced to use it.
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April 26th, 2008, 14:11
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
I don't think NWN character creation was all that complex, you could make it so by delving into the detail of crossclassing, feats, skills and so on. Or could just hit 'recomend' at every step and have a reasonably playable character. The complexity is there if you need it but you weren't forced to use it.
So they had to add a "recommended" -button into it because they feared it might be too complex for a new player?

Considering the fact that you can transfer character to nwn expansions - Im sure most players will choose to make their own character, because they make it only once. The delving into detail is inevitable.
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April 26th, 2008, 15:13
Not really, sure if you insist on having the most powerful character possible or absolutly must have the Whirlygig of Slicy Death feat at level 26 you'll have to plan ahead, but unless you do something absurd you can make a playable character without worrying too much about feats.
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April 26th, 2008, 16:29
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Perhaps we just mean different things by "the rules." I mean (mostly) the mechanics; you include everything around them; also, if your experience is primarily from computer gaming, I'm sure you'll feel differently.
Hmm, the mechanics. If we're talking about the core mechanic of "d20", as in you use a 20-sided die for the rolls - then I agree it's simple. You can pick any one mechanic and say it's simple and we'd probably agree.

So, we're probably talking about different things, but I'm pretty sure the use of the word "rules" is correct in terms of what most of us were talking about, and the word "mechanics" means something different - especially if we're talking about individual mechanics and not the combined mechanics of the entire system.

AD&D 3d ed: O Glory! Finally, a set of simple, fast, intuitive, consistent, basic-arithmetic rules that allowed the DM to resolve literally *anything* — combat, non-combat challenge, NPC interaction, whatever — in a dead-simple, fast way that was beautifully bound to the character's… characteristics. Set a difficulty, roll a die, add your modifiers, check if you beat the difficulty, done. Take-10 or take-20 when applicable to make it even quicker. Joy!
I don't agree at all that they're fast, intuitive, or simple. The core mechanic, as I said, is simple enough - but that won't get you through a combat encounter. You have to understand how all the various actions work and what restrictions they carry before you can make a good decision on how to fight. Of course, some DMs don't follow the rules and some leave out most options, and then the result is possibly simple. I'm talking about the rules as they're written, not how they can be used. I've seen players spend around 15 minutes deciding between courses of action in a combat round, simply because so much is possible in 3rd edition.

Should you run, charge, 5-foot, walk, delay? Perhaps move and make a standard attack, or wait for next round to make a full attack? The combination of what you can do, with the various kinds of costs in terms of action type is pretty staggering - especially for new players. On top of all the common actions, you have feats which can be very complex in their own right, in terms of when they can be used - how they're used - and the consequences of using them.

All those things are part of the rules.

You need only take a look at the various forums dealing with rule clarifications and balance questions to realise that this game is anything but simple, intuitive and fast.

I have to say I think you're vastly exaggerating the simplicity of the system, and it seems to me you're letting your fondness of the consistency and internal logic (compared to previous editions) confuse the issues.

I don't mean to offend you by saying that, it's just what I'm getting from your posts. I've been playing PnP since the old D&D days, and to call the latest editions simple with that in mind, well, that's just not what I would do

And you guys whine about this being "complex?" SRSLY?
In my case, quite the opposite. I praise the kind of complexity present in 3rd edition, as it makes for a much more interesting game. That said, I think the combat rules in particular could stand some revisions, especially in terms of the inept balance or lack of it. But we'll see how 4th edition turns out.

Oh, and by the way, I agree with what you said about the previous editions of the game. I also think 3rd edition was a big step in the right direction, we simply disagree that it's a simple system.

I remain firm in my opinion that creating and developing a character, as well as getting through a combat encounter is significantly more complex and involved than it ever was.

Not really, sure if you insist on having the most powerful character possible or absolutly must have the Whirlygig of Slicy Death feat at level 26 you'll have to plan ahead, but unless you do something absurd you can make a playable character without worrying too much about feats.
We're not talking about a playable character, but an effective one. I think many players care that their characters are good at what they do, instead of simply being playable.

I don't think NWN character creation was all that complex, you could make it so by delving into the detail of crossclassing, feats, skills and so on. Or could just hit 'recomend' at every step and have a reasonably playable character. The complexity is there if you need it but you weren't forced to use it.
You're right.

If you skip the rules entirely, and click the recommend button - the process isn't complex. But that doesn't change the nature of the rules and how involved they are - whether you elect to ignore them or not.
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April 26th, 2008, 18:50
I agree that D&D 3.x is much more complex than AD&D or AD&D2e. AD&D2e had many different subsystems that all worked in different ways, but that does not equal complexity. The system wasn't hurt much by just ignoring some of those subsystems. In D&D 3.x, most subsystems follow the same general principle (with a few exceptions, like turning undead), but everything is interwoven, which means it's very hard to drop anything from the rules without changing the effects of lots of other mechanics. A short look at stat blocks in both versions of D&D also reveals quite easily which version is more complex.

As far as CRPGs go, I see the problem with the feats. It's often hard to find out on the screen what a specific feat really does, what prerequisites it has, how a possible feat chain looks like. Fortunately, most CRPGs simplify this somewhat. Although this has some disadvantage for people who are intimately familiar with the pen & paper version of the rules, as they will also have to re-evaluate their impact in the game.
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April 27th, 2008, 01:12
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
We're not talking about a playable character, but an effective one. I think many players care that their characters are good at what they do, instead of simply being playable.
I think thats very much relative to the group you play with. I'm not sure why I'm defending D&D, I don't like it as a system on a lot of levels but I also don't think its reasonable to claim that creating an 'effective' character is difficult unless by 'effective' you mean some varient of maxed out monster that gets into the realms of exploits per PJ's origional topic. I don't play D&D pnp but I've made a lot of characters in NWN and only once planned one out in advance (in a case where I wasnt' starting at level 1 anyway).
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April 27th, 2008, 07:40
Originally Posted by V7 View Post
I think thats very much relative to the group you play with. I'm not sure why I'm defending D&D, I don't like it as a system on a lot of levels but I also don't think its reasonable to claim that creating an 'effective' character is difficult unless by 'effective' you mean some varient of maxed out monster that gets into the realms of exploits per PJ's origional topic. I don't play D&D pnp but I've made a lot of characters in NWN and only once planned one out in advance (in a case where I wasnt' starting at level 1 anyway).
I didn't say it was difficult, I said it required a more elaborate plan than in 2nd edition.

I'm not sure why it must be a "maxed out monster", instead of simply a well planned and effective character, but I guess it's about perception. I know you can hit the "recommended" button in NWN, or go with a simple character like a fighter and follow a straightforward path. But I'm not talking about NWN - which is quite hack and slash (imo) and doesn't resemble PnP in terms of combat flow and balance. It also has difficulty settings and allows you to rest whereever and instantly recover all powers and hitpoints.

I'm talking about the rules as written in the PnP handbooks, not the halfway implemented interpretation present in a real-time environment such as NWN. That said, I think planning effective characters in NWN is quite involving - unless you specifically go for the simplest recipes like a greatsword wielding half-orc fighter with cleave. But even such a character can vary greatly in power, based on your understanding of the rules. I've seen many players make suboptimal choices that combine into a very ineffective character - compared to a well planned character.

I don't powergame in PnP as I never really got the appeal in that social setting, but I enjoy the creative process of making characters that are good at what they do - that being melee combat, stealth, or magic use. I don't go out of my way to min-max, but I don't like wasted feats or useless skills.

However, when I play CRPGs, I do enjoy powergaming quite a bit and I see that as a major part of the equation in terms of entertainment. I like making powerful characters that deal absurd amounts of damage, but I never go for exploits if I recognize them. I like to stay "within the spirit" of the rules if I can.

If you want an effective character or a powerful character in D&D 3rd edition, it requires a significantly more involved or elaborate process than 2nd edition required. That's all I'm saying. It's not difficult, but it takes time to plan out and it doesn't come easy to newcomers.

I know some people consider the slightest effort towards optimising your characters powergaming, and an attempt to "play the system" and exploit all kinds of loopholes. I think it's unfortunate that the middle-ground, where I like to be, is not a place recognized too often.

In my opinion, the designers of D&D made the system with all this in mind, and I think they want people to sit down and plan their character, and they've done what they could to prevent exploits. In effect, I think I'm the kind of player they designed the system for, primarily, and those who don't plan anything or those who exploit everything were never a priority when they made the thing. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I think.
Last edited by DArtagnan; April 27th, 2008 at 07:50.
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