D&D Outsider - Fears for Tiers: Come On, I'm Talking to You

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
D&D Outsider
Fears for Tiers: Come On, I'm Talking to You
by Jared von Hindman

Important as they are to players, tiers, levels and experience points don't exist to their characters.

Talk about this column here.

A fine article, and a good reminder of the narrative inherent in the game.  Something we often lose sight of a little.

Great work.

Now, if only my forum account didn't get kicked out when I read it.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
That's a really cool article! Thanks Jared Smile
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
Agreed Great Article - probably result in itty bitty thread about it 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Agreed Great Article

I disagree. I thought it was a dreadful article, rambling on, giving nothing but excellent food for thought and a fresh perspective on the "world" of D&D.

I mean, it could at least have included some gratuitous bit of ill-thought-out crunch for us to wail on, but, no! There it goes, just relentlessly opening up new vistas on what our characters and their friends and families might have to live through as part of their un-mundane existence. Pathetic.



There. Now maybe we'll get at thread... ;)
======= Balesir
Balesir:
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Agreed Great Article

I disagree. I thought it was a dreadful article, rambling on, giving nothing but excellent food for thought and a fresh perspective on the "world" of D&D.

I mean, it could at least have included some gratuitous bit of ill-thought-out crunch for us to wail on, but, no! There it goes, just relentlessly opening up new vistas on what our characters and their friends and families might have to live through as part of their un-mundane existence. Pathetic.



There. Now maybe we'll get at thread... ;)

NO DUDE, you're a poopy-head troll! nyaaaaaaahhhhh! Jared is the man!

Yeah, he touched on all the good points. I've often wondered what the alternative to PP's would be. The PRC idea wasn't really BETTER. It seems like there should be a way to go from narrative TO a mechanical choice, hmmmmm.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
humor not lost me happy.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Glad you guys are digging it.  The Hate Love is hilarious.

@ AbdulAlhazred

Just blue skying it here, but an alternative to Paragon Paths/Prestige Paths? 

You know how in Lair Assault you get glory points for doing specific things? Or in City of Heroes (shut up, you all play it I know you do) if you kill enough evil mutants you get a shiny but meaningless badge proclaiming as such?

If you want PP to have a narrative impact, you can't just slap it on without context...
So let's say each encounter (or session) has keywords attached to it. Undead, Dragon, Etc...but also Stealth, Betrayal, Sunder, Traps, Subterfuge, Matyr...whatever. I want to crib from the awesome game Freemarket here...because in that game you have "short term memories" that you can use xp to turn into "long term memories" which means that since all your "XP" is linked to the roleplaying  and the encounters at the table, character progression is linked to that.
If that makes any sense.
If you held a gun to my head and said "find a middle ground between narrative and mechanical choice"...that's what I'd throw at you before Stockholm's kicked in.  The Storyteller at the end of the session rewards you with keywords and the player chooses which apply to his experience & how he'd like to build up his character. Maybe certain players qualify for special ones, based on what they did at the table. Point is that then the shock of hitting Paragon or Epic would be a gradual thing and, even then, it'd link up to what's been going on in the campaign. Been fighting undead for 3 levels and you snagged those keywords? Congrats, you qualify for a divine/smite undead spin on your character class! Experiences (Keywords, here) turn into materia that you can slot into your weapons, armor, skills, etc to develop your character.  (Or can now craft anti-zombie armor. I don't know.)
But I think I should stop rambling now.

The joys of brainstorming, right?
-Jared
"who totally isn't using the above keyword mechanic in his home game and didn't jump on an excuse to blather about it"


If you want PP to have a narrative impact, you can't just slap it on without context...



On the other paw, not every PP really lends itself that well to getting it being an event.  An archer Ranger going Battlefield Archer is just continuing to get better at archery, for example.  The author also makes the mistake of assuming names mean something (just because your PP is 'guildmaster thief' doesn't mean you either belong to a guild, master it, or are a thief at all.  The PP description even says "or maybe you grew up in the criminal world and know what’s what on the street and in a brawl").
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Just a minor note, Salla, the guy you quoted is the author.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Just a minor note, Salla, the guy you quoted is the author.


I hear that Jared guy is Jerk!

Seriously though, point made. I can't include every exception & some stuff gets simplified to make the point. The Guildmaster Thief PP does include a sentence that talks about how you grew up/what your worldly experience might have been if you're NOT an actual guildmaster...but the PP is definitely NOT just a name. The 3 paragraphs explaining how guilds work jiggles it in that direction.  But if I have to squint to make it easily fit, it made the list...quite a few on the list would be fine if you re-flavoured them, or said "I'm a TeamSlayer Rogue who has spent the last 10 levels working with these losers who are now totally my gang whether they know it or not." As for Paragon Paths that don't imply an event?

I'm not against Paragon Paths. I'm just saying don't drink & delve when you're choosing them.
Paragon responsibly.
-Jared
On the other paw, not every PP really lends itself that well to getting it being an event. 



Preach it, says the 11th level Essentials Knight.  Nothing new here, move along. 

At the end of my epic destiny when I retire, I'm hoping for a gold watch while the other guys are becoming gods, dissolving into the primal essence, vaporizing themselves to trigger a new Big Bang in the universe next door, etc.  I don't even get a diabolic pig to bring back to the farm with me. 

The fact that I'm planning to ride a captured mountain home from Elemental Chaos so I can establish a new Dwarven city in its heart has nothing to do with my career skills as an adventurer, and I like it just fine that way.

At the end of my epic destiny when I retire, I'm hoping for a gold watch while the other guys are becoming gods, dissolving into the primal essence, vaporizing themselves to trigger a new Big Bang in the universe next door, etc.  I don't even get a diabolic pig to bring back to the farm with me. 


This is what I love about the simplicity of a Hexblade of the Lady of the Well (and essential tier jumping options in general).  He's level 27 now and getting closer to what every Hexblade of his type gets when they hit level 30: An all expenses paid honeymoon with an archfey. I'm taking the Lady to Maui.
And yes, my Hexblade is Fey for Pay.


Honestly, I'd suggest any game element can have as much or as little narrative impact as you want.  A Guldmaster Thief doesn't HAVE to have been in a thieves' guild, ever.  He could equally have been a pirate captain, or a tax collector, or whatever.  Being bound by the flavour on the page of the book can be almost as bad as not paying any attention to flavour at all.

What I've really liked about this article is that it persuades people to think of their characters as a narrative, as people with ongoing lives, rather than as numbers on a page to go delving with.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I normally don't read DnD outsider, but I did this time, and wasn't disapointed.  How you knew my weakness to 80's music and puns is beyond me, but someone will pay!  Didn't hurt that our all-ranger party is actually rolling with a guy who took boar beast master and not twin-strike.

And because I'm sometimes still mentally five, this ammused me.



If you want PP to have a narrative impact, you can't just slap it on without context...




Glad you guys are digging it.  The Hate Love is hilarious.

@ AbdulAlhazred

Just blue skying it here, but an alternative to Paragon Paths/Prestige Paths? 

You know how in Lair Assault you get glory points for doing specific things? Or in City of Heroes (shut up, you all play it I know you do) if you kill enough evil mutants you get a shiny but meaningless badge proclaiming as such?

If you want PP to have a narrative impact, you can't just slap it on without context...
So let's say each encounter (or session) has keywords attached to it. Undead, Dragon, Etc...but also Stealth, Betrayal, Sunder, Traps, Subterfuge, Matyr...whatever. I want to crib from the awesome game Freemarket here...because in that game you have "short term memories" that you can use xp to turn into "long term memories" which means that since all your "XP" is linked to the roleplaying  and the encounters at the table, character progression is linked to that.
If that makes any sense.
If you held a gun to my head and said "find a middle ground between narrative and mechanical choice"...that's what I'd throw at you before Stockholm's kicked in.  The Storyteller at the end of the session rewards you with keywords and the player chooses which apply to his experience & how he'd like to build up his character. Maybe certain players qualify for special ones, based on what they did at the table. Point is that then the shock of hitting Paragon or Epic would be a gradual thing and, even then, it'd link up to what's been going on in the campaign. Been fighting undead for 3 levels and you snagged those keywords? Congrats, you qualify for a divine/smite undead spin on your character class! Experiences (Keywords, here) turn into materia that you can slot into your weapons, armor, skills, etc to develop your character.  (Or can now craft anti-zombie armor. I don't know.)
But I think I should stop rambling now.

The joys of brainstorming, right?
-Jared
"who totally isn't using the above keyword mechanic in his home game and didn't jump on an excuse to blather about it"

It was a good excuse. I haven't seen Freemarket (yeah, we're kinda game-deprived some up here in my neck of the woods).

I think the concept is interesting. I'm not sure exactly how the implementation would go. That is it probably gets a bit complicated and there of course never going to be hard and fast rules in a system like that for exactly what goes. I think it would also have to replace pretty much the rest of character progression. A hybrid between existing leveling systems and 'Hindemechanics' would probably be too obtuse and just cluttered.

Probably won't happen in mainstream D&D, BUT you've at least put the whole thing front and center in my brain a bit. Got a new group that is still level 2 and so the whole question of coming up with fun ways to fluff character progression has been on my mind.

Maybe someone will do an article on techniques for fluffing acquisition of PP features! ;)
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I have to admit the 'non-epic' epic destinies really annoyed me at first. But then it grew on me. Imagine the level 30 paladin who goes "it's over" then goes and creates a school/orphanage and becomes 'kindly old father Burke.'

As a storyteller I can't help but love this picture. What a symbol of peace - the greatest warrior for Bahamut ever, the best that ever was, raising kids and laughing with them, his war hammer used to drive wedges into logs (after all it never rusts, never weakens, and seems to hit harder than it ought to).

He stood toe to toe with Orcus and the last thing he wants is to die happy at a ripe old age finally knowing he was a creator, not a destroyer.
Though we didn't play into paragon, I designed my Tiefling Whiplord/psion with his paragon path into his background.  His one eye was coal black, from his templar training days when he was seduced by the far realm, driven mad, but saved at the last second by an Infernal ancestor who then caused a backlash through his scrying device.  Once I hit paragon, his coal like eye was going to crumble and turn into a lick of fire, which is one of the Tielfing paragon paths. 
I have to admit the 'non-epic' epic destinies really annoyed me at first. But then it grew on me. Imagine the level 30 paladin who goes "it's over" then goes and creates a school/orphanage and becomes 'kindly old father Burke.' As a storyteller I can't help but love this picture. What a symbol of peace - the greatest warrior for Bahamut ever, the best that ever was, raising kids and laughing with them, his war hammer used to drive wedges into logs (after all it never rusts, never weakens, and seems to hit harder than it ought to). He stood toe to toe with Orcus and the last thing he wants is to die happy at a ripe old age finally knowing he was a creator, not a destroyer.



That has been my preferd type from the start, my swordmage once she potentially hits 30 will more than likely settle down with her love, have kids, and rejoin the army as an instructor to train the next generation.
Well either that or end up leader of her native Kingdom if things go badly post collapse of the chromatic dragon empire due to the royal family being killed and no viable leader stepping forward in the resulting power vacuum.
Sign In to post comments