Too Much Randomness (TMR or TUMOR as I like to call it)

Anybody ever play Blood Bowl?  I hope I can't be sued for saying this, but I really didn't enjoy the game.  Why?  TMR.  I'd move my ogre center to tackle a goblin runner, and the goblin would tackle my ogre.  Dark Elves have a one point advantage in agility and yet are staggeringly better than the other teams at dodging, but they still can't dodge through an enemy line consistently. 

A professional's skills should work dependably.  Everytime.  1000 times a day.  Over and Over.  He never makes mistakes.

I'm going to roll a die and adjust the result until I get a number.  How much of that number will be my character's skill and strength and hence my good planning in setting this character up and how much of that number will be a random throw of the die?

If there is TMR, you cannot make plans, you have no control over what happens.  You need to have a score that is adjusted by the die roll, not a die roll that's adjusted by a score.

Blood Bowl has a TUMOR.  Your players are a die roll with a slight consideration for the role they play in the game.

4E has TMR at low levels.  At high levels it seems good.  But really somebody should do a full stastical workup on it.  We want the experience of every player to be seat-of-his-pants tension from the challenge, but not crushed by defeat and certainly not frustrated and helpless because his ogre got tackled by a goblin.  And the ratio of bonus/average roll and the distance between a fighter's attack and a typical monster's defenses has to remain constant from level 1 to level 30 accounting for feats and magic items.

I agree.

More things shoudl have 1/2 damage on a miss.

And more bell curves. 

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

4E has TMR at low levels.  At high levels it seems good.  But really somebody should do a full stastical workup on it.  We want the experience of every player to be seat-of-his-pants tension from the challenge, but not crushed by defeat and certainly not frustrated and helpless because his ogre got tackled by a goblin.

I agree that too much randomness can be a problem. However, I would not say 4e has too much, low level 4e seems just about right and I would describe high level as not being random enough. Unless I intentionally threw something in to upset the balance, high level fights tended to degrade into grinds to see if the heros can defeat the monsters before they run out of encounter healing powers.

If you want too random, you need to look at 3e, where low level characters lived in fear of being critted and high level fights sometime reduced to who failed a save first.

And the ratio of bonus/average roll and the distance between a fighter's attack and a typical monster's defenses has to remain constant from level 1 to level 30 accounting for feats and magic items.

4e was pretty close to that once you had the math fix feats. This generally felt like a flaw in my perception, because it made higher level combat feel too much like lower level combat with bigger numbers. I would rather characters hit % get better as they go up in level. This creates a subtle difference in the way the game feels as you go up, higher level characters feel more powerful because they hit more often, rather then being stuck at the same percent.

I think 4th edition does not have enough randomness.

Maybe reducing randomness in your hit chance is a good idea but I want more randomness in damage. Rolling high on your damage roll is very exciting!

I need the randomness to keep my blood flowing. If I have 40 hp and know that a monster deals 5d10 damage things can go either way. If he deals 5 damage Ill laugh and might be able to take another two rounds... or maybe 4?. If he deals 50 I am in serious trouble. Should he have dealt 1d4 + 15 I am not sure it would have been worth rolling the dice. DM might just as well said. You will go down in 3 hits. Monster will go down in 2. Roll 2 hits before he gets 3 and you win. I like to have to adapt to reality. If I can program my next 3 moves  ahead it will bore me I think.



The Character Initiative


Every time you abuse the system you enforce limitations.
Every time the system is limited we lose options.
Breaking an RPG is like cheating in a computer game.
As a DM you are the punkbuster of your table.
Dare to say no to abusers.
Make players build characters, not characters out of builds.




You can go to extremes with randomness or lack thereof. Just add the word "chaotic" or "chaos" to something, and people will start demanding more and more tables. Irony is, that being chaotic isn't necessarily random; the current Games Workshop explantion of logic vs. emotion is a much better explanation, with the original Imperial cult having been one of extreme unemotional logic which was designed to sever humanity's link with the emotion- feeding Chaos Gods. That having been said, enough gamers don't understand it that the 4.0 Chaos Space Marines codex had a lot of tables re-added to it because everyone who didn't play Chaos Space Marines felt that the CSMs weren't random enough.

I'd say that 4e is close to being right, although a hair sparse. There are places where it would benefit from having a little more randomness, such as random encounter tables for overland trips or going back over areas of dungeon that have already been explored.
I agree.

More things shoudl have 1/2 damage on a miss.  

 

I would like all choices to have some sort of effect not just attacks, like if you are attempting to help someone with a heal check in 4e it probablistic.. oops no impact at all... or could it instead be this effect lasts 4 rounds but if a standard action is spend on it it always drops by 1 round atleast. Shrug....
  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."

 

Jaym (first), Gnarl, 603,

"high level fights tended to degrade into grinds to see if the heros can defeat the monsters before they run out of encounter healing powers."

Exactly as they should.  That's what we have all those powers for. 

"If you want too random, you need to look at 3e, where low level characters lived in fear of being critted and high level fights sometime reduced to who failed a save first."

I agree.  I don't think 4E went far enough to correct it.

"4e was pretty close to that once you had the math fix feats."

They clearly made an effort.

Gnarl,

"I think 4th edition does not have enough randomness"

I want a game where fighters can fight and rogues can climb walls and wizards can identify monsters.  I don't want a game where it really wouldn't make that much difference if you had everybody switch weapons and professions because, in the end, all that matters is the throw of the dice.

603,

"Just add the word "chaotic" or "chaos" to something, and people will start demanding more and more tables"

Is that true?  Funny.

"being chaotic isn't necessarily random"

I agree, but don't think it's about emotions either.  I think Law v Chaos is about authority who gets to decide things.

Remember Blood Bowl.

My ogre centre, an 8' tall 800 lbs warrior born and bred, jogged ten feet and moved to slam a goblin into dirt (a goblin!) and ended up in the hospital because the goblin hurt him. 

I say no more.
 

A professional's skills should work dependably.  Everytime.  1000 times a day.  Over and Over.  He never makes mistakes.




BLECH.

No thank you. 
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

Show
Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

While the d20 is pretty central to D&D's identity, I wouldn't have a problem with moving to, say, a 3d6 system for task resolution to create the aforementioned bell curve.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I like exploding 2d10 myself.
While the d20 is pretty central to D&D's identity, I wouldn't have a problem with moving to, say, a 3d6 system for task resolution to create the aforementioned bell curve.



I personally dislike bellcurve dice systems because I like being able to know that a +1 is always a +1. Using a d20, that plus one is ALWAYS an increase of 5%. Every time, no matter what the base value I had before applying that +1 was. In a 3d6 system, the actual effect of the +1 changes depending on how high the base value was.

Bellcurves work best when you want outlying outcomes to be more uncommon, with the base expected outcome being the most common. Some might argue that that would be why they desire a system like that for the game, but in my opinion, since the d20 rolls in D&D don't care about margin of success, this isn't needed. If the DC for something is, say, 15, it doesn't matter if you roll 15 or 20 or 314. I guess where I differ from the OP is the difference in perception we have between seeing the roll being an additive to your base value (OP), and seeing the roll as, essentially, a precentile roll derived from the comparison of the DC and your base value (me). I'm fine with the range of the d20 because I view it as nothing more than a determination of precentage, and don't really feel "cheated by randomness" or anything if the roll says I didn't succeed cause, hey, I already knew the odds.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
"Just add the word "chaotic" or "chaos" to something, and people will start demanding more and more tables"

Is that true?  Funny.

As far as Warhammer 40k goes it is.

"being chaotic isn't necessarily random"

I agree, but don't think it's about emotions either.  I think Law v Chaos is about authority who gets to decide things.

Arguably. That's sorta built into the "rational law and emotional chaos" model, though.

Remember Blood Bowl.

My ogre centre, an 8' tall 800 lbs warrior born and bred, jogged ten feet and moved to slam a goblin into dirt (a goblin!) and ended up in the hospital because the goblin hurt him. 

I say no more.

There's a difference between that and a random encounter table. The encounter table covers time when the PCs are doing things in the dungeon other than looking for the next encounter, assuming the dungeon is big enough. Kobold Hall isn't, but the crashed rocketship from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is.
We can safely assume that monsters will be given a level/hit dice that represents their threat relative to a PC of the same level.

Lowering the randomness incumbent in combat will make predesigned encounters more reliable in presenting the exact amount of challenge the DM wishes.  As a side effect, the specific monsters which can effectively challenge the PCs at any given PC level will be narrowed.

Conversely, increasing the randomness incumbent in combat will broaden the specific monsters which can effectively challenge the PCs at any given PC level at the price of making predesigned encounters less reliable in presenting the exact amount of challenge the DM wishes.

So the way I see it, lowering the randomness is good for DMs that prefer to predesign encounters; increasing the randomness is good for DMs that present a sandbox.

I DM in a sandbox.  ;)
Blood bowl's randomness was what made the game. The entire point was to minimise and mitigate risk. If your ogre seriously failed his tackle vs a goblin, with all his advantages and you rerolling it, then it was an exceedingly rare event (1/1296). For him to then be wounded by it makes it that much rarer again.

Games where success or failure become guaranteed are when gaming gets boring.
I agree with the vast majority of what's been said since my last post.

I'm terribly surprised nobody jumped on this...

I said my ogre, a professional blood bowl player, by the way, not warrior, moved to tackle an opponent, failed, and got hurt.  I'd say the goblin dodged out of the way and made the ogre land on his head.  My answer to that attack, "But the ogre failed in a contest of Strs, not Dexs."  Yeah, I think I didn't have any rerolls or apothecaries that match because I was just starting out.  But I don't really want to talk about Blood Bowl.

@Rustmonster,

Wow!  You've put some thought into this.  I'm going to need a more elaborate argument before I'm going to change my position.