PAX East Panel - The Future of D&D

A few things I'd like to point out to start this discussion.  The first thing that annoyed me was right around 7:50, as it seemed like Mearls was trying to justify displacing the burden of fixing rules "holes" onto the DM.  It seemed like he was trying to excuse bad design, even if that maybe wasn't his intent.  Later he did talk about how modularity should allow DMs to create the exact game that they want, and I do like the sound of that, but I will not tolerate sloppy rules that the DM can "fix."  Modularity needs to make it easier for a DM to plan for and run a game, and rules that need fixing would negate this advantage.  Hopefully I'm overreacting here.

Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 

Overall though a lot of what was said gives me reason to be optimistic.  I'm really hoping that the open playtest will be available soon because at this point even "good news" feels pretty empty without anything to back it up.  It does sound like the playtests will have a pretty significant impact, and I'm ready to start picking things apart!

Also, I was surprised by Mearls' scientifically accurate understanding of natural selection; when things "evolve" they don't get objectively "better," but are merely adapting to current environmental pressures, and I think a game system that mimics that (effectively) has a good chance of being successful. 
@alien270
That other guy wasn't Monte.  Don't remember who he was but he's not Monte.   

I think the Fireball was a Mearls attempt at humor.  The other guy right off said he wanted his Charm Monster to be equally good.

I definitely think they were talking DM options and not DM needs to fix.  Some people though think Vancian casters are inherently broke so in those cases of course they will think the DM needs to fix them by removing them :-).  Not saying you think that either.  I don't either.  But some do.

 
@Emerikol: here's one. ;)

I liked what I've heard. There were a couple rough spots, such as choosing to talk of the wizard of all classes when debating out of combat utility. The wizard is the class that, throughout editions, was on top of out of combat utility (4E too, thanks to his focus on rituals; you might think that's not enough and I believe you are right: all classes should have more).
I'd like to see some thought for classes like the fighter or the cleric and their utility in out of combat, non-healing situations.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Good video. They are consistent in their message on Next's degisn goals and philosophy. 

Makes me kinda miss the Podcasts Jeremy and Rodney were giving us.  

@alien270
That other guy wasn't Monte.  Don't remember who he was but he's not Monte.


It was Jeremy Crawford.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

A few things I'd like to point out to start this discussion.  The first thing that annoyed me was right around 7:50, as it seemed like Mearls was trying to justify displacing the burden of fixing rules "holes" onto the DM.  It seemed like he was trying to excuse bad design, even if that maybe wasn't his intent.

I don't see it like that at all.  He was talking about DM empowerment.  And that he should have enough power to make a bad system work.

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.

Disappointed to hear it was only around 10-20% through development, had hoped it was a bit further along!
Regarding the whole "A good DM can make up for a bad system" thing, I don't think they are implying that they plan to make a bad system.  The point was to illustrate how important the DM is to the game.  And what they plan to do is build into the system tools and modules to, as they said, allow the DM to build his campaign just like players build their characters.  In other words, they are assuming that DMs by default like to change the way the game works to make it ideal for them and their group.  And to make this easiest, they are building in the tools to help every DM do this.

I also liked when they talked about empowering the DM.  I remember that topic from one of the blogs or articles a while back, and at the time I didn't really understand why it was important.  It seemed like they just wanted to have the DM be the ultimate power again.  But listening to them talk it is clear that this isn't the case.  Instead, they want to bring the DM back up a bit.  I think we have all been in games where the Players corrected or questioned the DM.  "No, an orc can't do that", "What spell what that?  I don't think he is high enough level to do that", etc.  3rd especially, because NPCs, monsters, and PCs were all built using the exact same rules and system, but even in 4E I have seen it happen.
I feel the game works best when the DM is free to do things without really worrying about the rules.  If you need the enemy wizard to have a certain spell effect, you shouldn't have to limit yourself to the spells in the PHB.  The legendary blacksmith should be able to be killed by a single hit from an orc if the DM wants.  Etc.
A few things I'd like to point out to start this discussion.  The first thing that annoyed me was right around 7:50, as it seemed like Mearls was trying to justify displacing the burden of fixing rules "holes" onto the DM.  It seemed like he was trying to excuse bad design, even if that maybe wasn't his intent.

I don't see it like that at all.  He was talking about DM empowerment.

That's exactly what 'empowerment' is.  Empowerment is a higher up giving you more to do but no more time to do it in or money for doing it.  I can't tell you how many times some director or vp 'empowered' me to fix his mistakes, if not damn-fool stupid things done intentionally.  

Makes me glad to be retired.   It's hilarious, in a depressing way, to think that particular bit of corporate BS has followed me into my old hobby.

I never suspected that D&D might have been bought by some unit of Hasbro and given the whole suits and cubicles and ISO-9000 treatment.
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I just want to know how Ability Scores (the core, as it should be, IMO) will be implemented in 5th Ed, before anything else.

Not sure at this point if they're going with the 3rd/4th Ed route. 
Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 
Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 


Hmm, I had the opposite impression. I think he wants Fireball to go back to being awesome. Surprising a large group of foes or setting them up to get roasted together is IMO a pretty iconic D&D tactic.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 


Hmm, I had the opposite impression. I think he wants Fireball to go back to being awesome. Surprising a large group of foes or setting them up to get roasted together is IMO a pretty iconic D&D tactic.



I look at it in this light: one of the flaws of 3.5 were the absolute predominance of "You Suck" spells: walls, fogs, save or die, save or lose, no-save-just-lose, buffs... those spells were pretty much the only ones even considered by casters. There was no wizard worth his salt that would choose Fireball over Haste, because Haste was just better in every reasonable situation (subjective, but reasonably true). They want to get the reverse in place: sure, there will be spells that shape the battlefield, inflict conditions and stuff on opponents, that buff your allies and everything, but when all's said and done, a big old trusty Fireball will be slightly better in most situations.
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Firesquare.
Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 


Hmm, I had the opposite impression. I think he wants Fireball to go back to being awesome. Surprising a large group of foes or setting them up to get roasted together is IMO a pretty iconic D&D tactic.



He obviously really likes fireball, although I doubt he literally wants fireball to be better than other spells. He might want it to be the best spell in terms of simply doing a lot of damage to a large area, or something like that, but that doesn't mean other spells that do less damage wouldn't have other advantages to compensate. Of course I can't read his mind but I'm guessing he and the other designers would in general like all spells to be relatively equally desirable by players on average.

I'm not convinced the designers understand what it will take to attract old school gamers. 

I was disappointed with what they said about haste.    Haste was previously a spell that you could cast on several members of your party.    The drawback was that it would age everyone.  Oh well, it sounds like they are trying to make it a personal spell that you can’t cast on your companions anymore.  

I just hope they don't screw up Charm Person and other spells by nerfing them.    I want the option of having charm person last for months just like it did in AD&D.    It would also be nice if spells like Raise Dead returned as an in combat spell.           

IMO, spells like haste and charm person can't be compared to a spell like fireball.   You can't balance them and they shouldn't be balanced.  Trying to make all spells equally desirable and usable in all situations is a ridiculous endeavor.    Not all spells serve the same purpose anyway.    Spells should vary in power level, usefulness, complexity, serve as cues for role-playing, inspire your imagination, and/or destroy dozens of enemies if needed.  They should be 'magical' and shouldn't conform to any restrictive sense of balance.     Spells should be capable of doing anything imaginable and include all sorts of quirky aftereffects and consequences.  The test of a good spell for me is one that no video game can ever hope to duplicate.   The only balancing factor should be spell level.


One of the first things I will do is turn to the spell section of the 5e PHB and look for the spell Wish.  If I don't see it, at least as an optional spell, I will think twice about purchasing 5e. 






  



He obviously really likes fireball, although I doubt he literally wants fireball to be better than other spells. He might want it to be the best spell in terms of simply doing a lot of damage to a large area, or something like that, but that doesn't mean other spells that do less damage wouldn't have other advantages to compensate. Of course I can't read his mind but I'm guessing he and the other designers would in general like all spells to be relatively equally desirable by players on average.


Right on - I don't mean to make it sound like Fireball came across as the strictly prefered spell for all things. It needs to be a much better spell than it's been the last two editions though, and using it should be pretty exciting. It used to be that a handful of d6s was kind of a big deal!

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

A few things I'd like to point out to start this discussion.  The first thing that annoyed me was right around 7:50, as it seemed like Mearls was trying to justify displacing the burden of fixing rules "holes" onto the DM.  It seemed like he was trying to excuse bad design, even if that maybe wasn't his intent.  Later he did talk about how modularity should allow DMs to create the exact game that they want, and I do like the sound of that, but I will not tolerate sloppy rules that the DM can "fix."  Modularity needs to make it easier for a DM to plan for and run a game, and rules that need fixing would negate this advantage.  Hopefully I'm overreacting here.



You arent from the PAX preview reports I've been hearing. DDN, at least in its current stage, is strongly in the "build your own game system camp". But, you know, pay them for the privelege. Also when invoted to a game of DDN, good luck knowing the rules in advance...

Since 3rd and 4th edition were compared to video games, I'll toss out the meme that DDN is akin to buying a new MMO only to find out you've essentially bought a paid beta test because the suits demanded a release date schedule the programmers couldnt deliver, but released anyways... so sucks to be you consumer!

A few things I'd like to point out to start this discussion.  The first thing that annoyed me was right around 7:50, as it seemed like Mearls was trying to justify displacing the burden of fixing rules "holes" onto the DM.  It seemed like he was trying to excuse bad design, even if that maybe wasn't his intent.

I don't see it like that at all.  He was talking about DM empowerment.  And that he should have enough power to make a bad system work.



After all, its much easier to allow petty tyrants than make a good game!

We really are getting back to that old school 4th grade feel again!

I'm not convinced the designers understand what it will take to attract old school gamers. 

I was disappointed with what they said about haste.    Haste was previously a spell that you could cast on several members of your party.    The drawback was that it would age everyone.  Oh well, it sounds like they are trying to make it a personal spell that you can’t cast on your companions anymore.  

I just hope they don't screw up Charm Person and other spells by nerfing them.    I want the option of having charm person last for months just like it did in AD&D.    It would also be nice if spells like Raise Dead returned as an in combat spell.           

IMO, spells like haste and charm person can't be compared to a spell like fireball.   You can't balance them and they shouldn't be balanced.  Trying to make all spells equally desirable and usable in all situations is a ridiculous endeavor.    Not all spells serve the same purpose anyway.    Spells should vary in power level, usefulness, complexity, serve as cues for role-playing, inspire your imagination, and/or destroy dozens of enemies if needed.  They should be 'magical' and shouldn't conform to any restrictive sense of balance.     Spells should be capable of doing anything imaginable and include all sorts of quirky aftereffects and consequences.  The test of a good spell for me is one that no video game can ever hope to duplicate.   The only balancing factor should be spell level.




Spoken like a true caster supremacist. After all, its the fighter/rogue players own fault for being too stupid to pick a real class!

Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 


Hmm, I had the opposite impression. I think he wants Fireball to go back to being awesome. Surprising a large group of foes or setting them up to get roasted together is IMO a pretty iconic D&D tactic.



I look at it in this light: one of the flaws of 3.5 were the absolute predominance of "You Suck" spells: walls, fogs, save or die, save or lose, no-save-just-lose, buffs... those spells were pretty much the only ones even considered by casters. There was no wizard worth his salt that would choose Fireball over Haste, because Haste was just better in every reasonable situation (subjective, but reasonably true). They want to get the reverse in place: sure, there will be spells that shape the battlefield, inflict conditions and stuff on opponents, that buff your allies and everything, but when all's said and done, a big old trusty Fireball will be slightly better in most situations.



I think two things contributed to the rise of "Save or Suck" spells in 3e:

1)  The overall increase in hit points, both for characters and monsters.

2)  The moving away from saving throws being easier to make as levels increase.

In 1e, it was far more effective to throw a damage spell at a creature than a Save or Suck spell if it was going to make it's save on a 4 or something of that nature.  With the damage spell, even if the save was made, half damage was still damage and with lower hit points overall, still a significant contribution to the fight.

I'm not convinced the designers understand what it will take to attract old school gamers. 

I was disappointed with what they said about haste.    Haste was previously a spell that you could cast on several members of your party.    The drawback was that it would age everyone.  Oh well, it sounds like they are trying to make it a personal spell that you can’t cast on your companions anymore.  

I just hope they don't screw up Charm Person and other spells by nerfing them.    I want the option of having charm person last for months just like it did in AD&D.    It would also be nice if spells like Raise Dead returned as an in combat spell.           

IMO, spells like haste and charm person can't be compared to a spell like fireball.   You can't balance them and they shouldn't be balanced.  Trying to make all spells equally desirable and usable in all situations is a ridiculous endeavor.    Not all spells serve the same purpose anyway.    Spells should vary in power level, usefulness, complexity, serve as cues for role-playing, inspire your imagination, and/or destroy dozens of enemies if needed.  They should be 'magical' and shouldn't conform to any restrictive sense of balance.     Spells should be capable of doing anything imaginable and include all sorts of quirky aftereffects and consequences.  The test of a good spell for me is one that no video game can ever hope to duplicate.   The only balancing factor should be spell level.




Spoken like a true caster supremacist. After all, its the fighter/rogue players own fault for being too stupid to pick a real class!




I'm not a caster supremacist, I'm a magic supremacist.    I think that all classess find equalibrium via magic that is accessable to all.   Fighters with vorpal swords, paladins with anti-magic holy avengers, rogues with arrows of slaying, clerics with boots of flying,  and hobbits with the one ring.

  




I prefer the guy on the left.
Also, around 16:40 Monte mentions that Fireball should be the best spell, which reeks of bias.  I don't want any spells intentionally designed to be "better."  You shouldn't have to sacrifice power level for being anything other than a blaster Wizard.  I would be fine with something like Charm Person (the spell he compared Fireball to) to be more difficult to use in combat, but perhaps more effective out of combat.  In that case the comparison would be a little murkier, with CP's lower power level being compensated for with utility elsewhere. 



I believe that was Mike Mearls, not Monte, and I'm pretty sure he was joking when he was talking about fireball being the best spell. 


Hmm, I had the opposite impression. I think he wants Fireball to go back to being awesome. Surprising a large group of foes or setting them up to get roasted together is IMO a pretty iconic D&D tactic.



I look at it in this light: one of the flaws of 3.5 were the absolute predominance of "You Suck" spells: walls, fogs, save or die, save or lose, no-save-just-lose, buffs... those spells were pretty much the only ones even considered by casters. There was no wizard worth his salt that would choose Fireball over Haste, because Haste was just better in every reasonable situation (subjective, but reasonably true). They want to get the reverse in place: sure, there will be spells that shape the battlefield, inflict conditions and stuff on opponents, that buff your allies and everything, but when all's said and done, a big old trusty Fireball will be slightly better in most situations.



I think two things contributed to the rise of "Save or Suck" spells in 3e:

1)  The overall increase in hit points, both for characters and monsters.

2)  The moving away from saving throws being easier to make as levels increase.

In 1e, it was far more effective to throw a damage spell at a creature than a Save or Suck spell if it was going to make it's save on a 4 or something of that nature.  With the damage spell, even if the save was made, half damage was still damage and with lower hit points overall, still a significant contribution to the fight.



In AD&D you wasted an entire round if the monster saved vs your Flesh to Stone spell.    A round that you could have used to cast a chain lightining.    It was a big risk to cast a save or die spell in AD&D especially when many high level monsters had magic resistance.    If anything it was more like 'Pray they Fail or You Die'   



In AD&D you wasted an entire round if the monster saved vs your Flesh to Stone spell.    A round that you could have used to cast a chain lightining.    It was a big risk to cast a save or die spell in AD&D especially when many high level monsters had magic resistance.    If anything it was more like 'Pray they Fail or You Die'   

 I think it is difficult to avoid this problem. If you plan to lower a monster to 0 HP then a round spend on flesh to stone will always be a round wasted, but if you place all your bets on flesh to stone, then the fighters can arguably just as well spend their time on "full defence", because they will not be able to kill the monster before disaster strikes..

Here are some ideas to fix he problem


  • Perhaps a blodied monster could be more vulnerable to magic. That would change stone to flesh into a "finishing move"-spell, and it would force the wizard to wait for the fighters before he could cast his stone to flesh. 



  • Similarly spells like bane or slow should be very difficult to resist. That would encourage the wizard to spend his initial spells weakening the monster, while waiting for the fighter to bloody it.


Hopefully these rules would make it more meaningful to use stone to flesh spells in a party full of fighters, but I don't know if they are too complicated. Does 4ed have something like this?
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
IMO, spells like haste and charm person can't be compared to a spell like fireball.   You can't balance them and they shouldn't be balanced. 
They should be 'magical' and shouldn't conform to any restrictive sense of balance.     Spells should be capable of doing anything imaginable and include all sorts of quirky aftereffects and consequences.  The test of a good spell for me is one that no video game can ever hope to duplicate.

The only balancing factor should be spell level.

The first and second parts are contradictory here.  How can you have spells that can do anything and don't conform to any sense of balance and yet at the same time are balanced by spell level?  How can you decide what level the spell should be if spells aren't limited by anything and aren't balanced?

While I'm sure playing in your style will be an option in D&D Next, I don't think it will be the core.  The game is about more than just magic, and needs to support all styles.  So people who want the fighter to be able to play alongside the wizard without needing a vorpal sword can do so. 

I'm not a caster surpremacist, I'm a magic supremacist.    I think that all classess find qualibriam via magic that is accessable to all.   Fighters with vorpal swords, paladins with anti-magic holy avengers, rogues with arrows of slaying, clerics with boots of flying,  and hobbits with the one ring.


The idea that classes need specific items - or any items at all - is a big turn-off for a number of people:

1) DMs who don't want players to feel entitled to specific items ("You have to give me a good sword so I can be balanced with the wizard.")
2) Groups that want a game without magic items.
3) Players who don't want disarm or rust monsters or thieves or anything else to strip them of their effectiveness far more easily than casters can be denied theirs.

Balancing through magic items doesn't solve problems at every table. I won't claim to have a D&D census in front of me, but based on posts and experience a lot of people fit at least one of those groups. 

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

would make it more meaningful to use stone to flesh spells in a party full of fighters, but I don't know if they are too complicated. Does 4ed have something like this?

A 4th Ed StF variant would take multiple turns to work; first slowing the target, then immobilizing it, then finally petrifying it.  The target would end up with about three chances to "save" from the effect before it was too late and this had precious turns to still act or try to counter the effect some other way before the time ran out.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

@alien270
That other guy wasn't Monte.  Don't remember who he was but he's not Monte.  


Just to clarify, that was totally a typo on my part.  I meant to say "Mearls."

Disappointed to hear it was only around 10-20% through development, had hoped it was a bit further along!


I was very happy to hear this, because the less they have before the playtest goes live the more impact the playtest will actually have.  I want to experience that "core kernel" before they even have a draft of most of the other modules (which I'm hoping they release for playtest as they work on them).

Regarding my Fireball concern, I didn't get the sense that Mearls was joking.  I think he was reacting to the negativity surrounding the criticisms of 3E's SoD/SoS spells, as well as the fact that 4E has "too many status effects."  While I'm certainly not a fan of 1 roll having such a huge consequence, I would be very disappointed to see control be marginalized.  Control just opens up so many tactical possibilities and keeps combats from becoming hack 'n slash, and I fear that in an attempt at making combat as quick as possible (entire adventures in 2 hours!) that the system will make anything that doesn't deal high damage almost irrelevant.  I like holding several guys back with spells like Web or Entangle while the party beats on whichever enemy was dumb enough to rush in first, and I don't want everyone else to say "yeah, that was cool and all, but you would have been better off just blowing them up instead."  Ideally both options would be best under different circumstances, but would still be roughly balanced against each other.

Regarding the DM "fixing things" comments I did say I might be overreacting on that.  It just called to mind that article that Monte (not a typo this time!) wrote about perfect balance being impossible, so why even attempt balance at all?  The same faulty logic could concievably be applied to the game as a whole; no DM will like everything about a given system, so why make it the "best" it can be?  I just want a game with math that works, and straightforward, easy to remember (or reference) in-play rules.  No convoluted 3E style grapple rules that I need to overhaul (or ignore) in order to keep the game moving (for example). 

I guess it really comes down to balance again; as a customer I expect the game designers to devise an internally balanced system that makes sense within the context of both the metagame "experience" and the game world itself.  Because that's what I'm paying them for.  If I wanted a system with a bunch of noticeable flaws and imbalances, I'd make my own system (because I don't have the time to make a perfect one).  If it's a customizeable, modular system then great!  All the better!  But all of those modules had better "work" within the context of the core.  That they might not achieve that is a concern, given how many different (often opposing) factions they're trying to please.
I'm not a caster surpremacist, I'm a magic supremacist.    I think that all classess find qualibriam via magic that is accessable to all.   Fighters with vorpal swords, paladins with anti-magic holy avengers, rogues with arrows of slaying, clerics with boots of flying,  and hobbits with the one ring.


The idea that classes need specific items - or any items at all - is a big turn-off for a number of people:

1) DMs who don't want players to feel entitled to specific items ("You have to give me a good sword so I can be balanced with the wizard.")
2) Groups that want a game without magic items.
3) Players who don't want disarm or rust monsters or thieves or anything else to strip them of their effectiveness far more easily than casters can be denied theirs.

Balancing through magic items doesn't solve problems at every table. I won't claim to have a D&D census in front of me, but based on posts and experience a lot of people fit at least one of those groups. 


Count me as one of those players who hates magic item dependency.

would make it more meaningful to use stone to flesh spells in a party full of fighters, but I don't know if they are too complicated. Does 4ed have something like this?

A 4th Ed StF variant would take multiple turns to work; first slowing the target, then immobilizing it, then finally petrifying it.  The target would end up with about three chances to "save" from the effect before it was too late and this had precious turns to still act or try to counter the effect some other way before the time ran out.


I could see Stone to Flesh in 4E a bunch of ways. It could be a mid-high level ritual to imprison a powerful being. It could be a monster ability as you describe. It could be a plot device of whatever kind as well.

If it were a PC ability, I don't think it would be ideal to rely on multiple saves, since 3 saves is less than a 1 in 8 chance to succeed even against standard monsters. Simply attacking would be superior. It would lead to weird tactics, since a monster that was failing saves would be a bad target (why attack it and waste damage if it might turn to stone in the next round or two?). Maybe it would work as close blast spell ("Gaze of the Medusa" or something) since the low success rate could be balanced by AoE. Of course, that makes it really swingy and still doesn't fix the odd tactical incentives.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.


would make it more meaningful to use stone to flesh spells in a party full of fighters, but I don't know if they are too complicated. Does 4ed have something like this?

A 4th Ed StF variant would take multiple turns to work; first slowing the target, then immobilizing it, then finally petrifying it.  The target would end up with about three chances to "save" from the effect before it was too late and this had precious turns to still act or try to counter the effect some other way before the time ran out.


I could see Stone to Flesh in 4E a bunch of ways. It could be a mid-high level ritual to imprison a powerful being. It could be a monster ability as you describe. It could be a plot device of whatever kind as well.

If it were a PC ability, I don't think it would be ideal to rely on multiple saves, since 3 saves is less than a 1 in 8 chance to succeed even against standard monsters. Simply attacking would be superior. It would lead to weird tactics, since a monster that was failing saves would be a bad target (why attack it and waste damage if it might turn to stone in the next round or two?). Maybe it would work as close blast spell ("Gaze of the Medusa" or something) since the low success rate could be balanced by AoE. Of course, that makes it really swingy and still doesn't fix the odd tactical incentives.


I actually lifted what I posted from the Medusa's gaze attack:
Petrifying Gaze (standard, at-will) Gaze, Petrification

Close blast 5; blind creatures are immune; +14 vs Fortitude; the target is slowed (save ends). First Failed Save: The target is immobilized instead of slowed (save ends). Second Failed Save: The target is petrified (no save).



To make it stick home for PCs you could just have the effect add save penalties as well.  (Imagine a cumulative -2 penalty tacked on after each failed save).

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

It would lead to weird tactics, since a monster that was failing saves would be a bad target (why attack it and waste damage if it might turn to stone in the next round or two?). Maybe it would work as close blast spell ("Gaze of the Medusa" or something) since the low success rate could be balanced by AoE. Of course, that makes it really swingy and still doesn't fix the odd tactical incentives.

How about giving the monster a minus to the save if it was hit while trying to avoid petrification. After all it must require some sort of concentration to avoid being turned in to stone and that concentration would be broken by the hit.

This rule would enable the fighter to be helpful, but somehow it feels a little too complicated.

DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
Also, I was surprised by Mearls' scientifically accurate understanding of natural selection; when things "evolve" they don't get objectively "better," but are merely adapting to current environmental pressures, and I think a game system that mimics that (effectively) has a good chance of being successful. 



I can't watch the video yet so I have no context for the comment, but I wonder if that's a mild knock in the 4e direction, claiming that even though 4e was an evolution of play, it wasn't necessarily a better version of play.  Or at least a means of defending the idea of going back to the old-timer stuff.


would make it more meaningful to use stone to flesh spells in a party full of fighters, but I don't know if they are too complicated. Does 4ed have something like this?

A 4th Ed StF variant would take multiple turns to work; first slowing the target, then immobilizing it, then finally petrifying it.  The target would end up with about three chances to "save" from the effect before it was too late and this had precious turns to still act or try to counter the effect some other way before the time ran out.



I'd like to see all Save or Suck/Die spells take multiple rounds and a continuous struggle between the caster and target to work. Instead of stone to flesh merely requiring 3 rounds of failed saves, the caster must spend an action each round as he forces his magical will against that of his opponent, slowly causing the spell to take effect if he wins each round. You could do a best out of 3 contest for powerful spells like this, with a caster's SoD going off if he wins and the defender shrugging off the conditions if he does. This way is more dramatic, more balanced than instant death and allows design space for effects/powers/items/features that can effect what happens in the rounds when casters have battles of will with their spell targets.


 
You could do a best out of 3 contest for powerful spells like this, with a caster's SoD going off if he wins and the defender shrugging off the conditions if he does. This way is more dramatic, more balanced than instant death and allows design space for effects/powers/items/features that can effect what happens in the rounds when casters have battles of will with their spell targets.

And meanwhile the enemy minions will try to blitz the caster to make him drop his spell. That sounds like fun.

But the rules should probably be written so that the caster makes a single roll each turn, and that attack roll decides whether or not he wins the round. We don't want to slow down the DM.
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
You could do a best out of 3 contest for powerful spells like this, with a caster's SoD going off if he wins and the defender shrugging off the conditions if he does. This way is more dramatic, more balanced than instant death and allows design space for effects/powers/items/features that can effect what happens in the rounds when casters have battles of will with their spell targets.

And meanwhile the enemy minions will try to blitz the caster to make him drop his spell. That sounds like fun.



Who said anything about spell disruption? In 4e there are plenty of spells that can be maintained, and being attacked/damaged by minions doesn't automatically prevent the spell from being maintained.

There is no reason this wouldn't work much different from the wizard casting 3 different spells on 3 different rounds anyway.  Even if the wizard doesn't maintain the spell for a round, he's already gotten an effect off (perhaps Slow + damage on round 1) and we could always choose to simply let a lapsed round mean one auto-victory for the target instead of instant dismisal of the spell. If the wizard starts maintaining again, he still has a chance for his best out of 3 victory.
You could do a best out of 3 contest for powerful spells like this, with a caster's SoD going off if he wins and the defender shrugging off the conditions if he does. This way is more dramatic, more balanced than instant death and allows design space for effects/powers/items/features that can effect what happens in the rounds when casters have battles of will with their spell targets.

And meanwhile the enemy minions will try to blitz the caster to make him drop his spell. That sounds like fun.

But the rules should probably be written so that the caster makes a single roll each turn, and that attack roll decides whether or not he wins the round. We don't want to slow down the DM.


The "best 2 of 3" idea is suspenseful and not as drastic as a single roll, and the extended contest is actually pretty cool. There would still be a danger of making everyone into a wizard bodyguard though, if casters could load up on SoDs.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Who said anything about spell disruption? In 4e there are plenty of spells that can be maintained, and being attacked/damaged by minions doesn't automatically prevent the spell from being maintained.

Ah I see, I didn't know that.

DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
Who said anything about spell disruption? In 4e there are plenty of spells that can be maintained, and being attacked/damaged by minions doesn't automatically prevent the spell from being maintained.

Ah I see, I didn't know that.




I just saw your disclaimer in your signature. lol ;)

 
Also, I was surprised by Mearls' scientifically accurate understanding of natural selection; when things "evolve" they don't get objectively "better," but are merely adapting to current environmental pressures, and I think a game system that mimics that (effectively) has a good chance of being successful. 



I can't watch the video yet so I have no context for the comment, but I wonder if that's a mild knock in the 4e direction, claiming that even though 4e was an evolution of play, it wasn't necessarily a better version of play.  Or at least a means of defending the idea of going back to the old-timer stuff.



Well, even the die-hard 4e fans won't claim that 4e is uniformly better than anything else that has come before it.  Which is the point of the evolutionary interpretation:  the strong parts from each edition survive, the weak ones die off.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition