The Silenced condition in 5e

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I'm always playing 4e and it's my edition of choice (just my personal taste).

anyhow, when i make monsters or villains homebrew, i always have though that i wanted a power that can SILENCE spellcasters. but

due to the way 4e is designed, it is hard to put this condition to any spellcaster, save the martial ones.


maybe the reason why spellcasters are powerful in previous editions is because you can put the SILENCE condition to them, unabling them to cast spells. Giving the martial classes time to shine since they are the only ones who is (maybe) immune to SILENCE.

Wizards and any arcane class, or divine, or other spellcasters cannot be silenced in 4e.


do you want this condition back?
I'm always playing 4e and it's my edition of choice (just my personal taste).

anyhow, when i make monsters or villains homebrew, i always have though that i wanted a power that can SILENCE spellcasters. but due to the way 4e is designed, it is hard to put this condition to any spellcaster, save the martial ones.

Wizards and any arcane class, or divine, or other spellcasters cannot be silenced in 4e.


I don't mean to be argumentative, but it's just not true that wizards can't be silenced in 4e.  It's not a basic assumption of how magic works, but there is literally nothing preventing you from saying that all spells have verbal and/or somatic components, like they did in past editions, and that wizards can't cast spells while bound or silenced.  All 4e did was shift that from a basic assumption to a table-specific houserule.

maybe the reason why spellcasters are powerful in previous editions is because you can put the SILENCE condition to them, unabling them to cast spells. Giving the martial classes time to shine since they are the only ones who is (maybe) immune to SILENCE.


Silencing was only a minor impediment to wizards when it was used.  Any wizard worth their salt had an option for negating it.  My 3e wizard kept a wand of dispel magic for dealing with magical silence effects.  Physical silence/binding effects could easily be defeating by the minor shapeshifting granted by alter self (reduce your size by 10% then slip out of the ropes or spit out the gag).  Silence really only worked when the wizard was stripped of gear, and that usually means the party has already been defeated (or the wizard's stuff was stolen as part of the plot).

do you want this condition back?


I like keeping verbal and somatic components as a table-specific rule, and I hope it's presented as an optional rule in 5e.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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No, I don't.  I want them to balance magic with everything else, so they don't feel compelled to put a lot of arbitrary hoser mechanics into the system rather than 'we'll make it overpowered, then throw on all this other crap and pretend it's balanced'.

I hate conditions that take the player out of the game.  Silenced, anti-magic fields, stunned, paralyzed ... all need to either go, or stay gone if they already are.
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No, I don't.  I want them to balance magic with everything else, so they don't feel compelled to put a lot of arbitrary hoser mechanics into the system rather than 'we'll make it overpowered, then throw on all this other crap and pretend it's balanced'.

I hate conditions that take the player out of the game.  Silenced, anti-magic fields, stunned, paralyzed ... all need to either go, or stay gone if they already are.


I agree with you that magic shouldn't be "balanced" by those conditions.  I say "balanced" because these conditions almost never actually worked to balance casters who prepared for them, and, after a certain level, you'd be a fool not to prepare for them because you knew the DM needed to shut down your power to prevent you from insta-winning encounters.  I do think they have value as a thematic element however, and that they should be included as optional rules.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I don't find Stunned as bad myself because it affects Martial and Magic characters equally while anti-magic/silenced effects only Magic characters.
I believe there needs to be challenges in combat to over come other than slugging it out with monsters.

Enviromental conditions like fog, cold, heat, or magic that eleminates some advantage the players would normally have is okay.

Silence is like that. You don't want to silence a magic user every adventure, but a room or area or creature that has that ability can be good if used dramiticaly. For example, some type of undead that move in a sphere of silence could really put the party on its toes.

No, I don't.  I want them to balance magic with everything else, so they don't feel compelled to put a lot of arbitrary hoser mechanics into the system rather than 'we'll make it overpowered, then throw on all this other crap and pretend it's balanced'.

I hate conditions that take the player out of the game.  Silenced, anti-magic fields, stunned, paralyzed ... all need to either go, or stay gone if they already are.



Silenced was not put in to balance casters in prior editions. The reason casters in prior editions couldn't cast verbal spells in prior editions, was precisely because you have to be able make voice a verbal compenent for it to work.  It made the mechanics match the description.  If you prefer a world where spells are not cast in the typical D&D fashion, that's fine, however it makes no sense for a someone to cast spells requiring a verbal litany to be able to do so in silence.




Which is saying the same thing ... casters had verbal/somatic/material components precisely because they gave ways for the caster to be prevented from casting spells.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
No, I don't.  I want them to balance magic with everything else, so they don't feel compelled to put a lot of arbitrary hoser mechanics into the system rather than 'we'll make it overpowered, then throw on all this other crap and pretend it's balanced'.

I hate conditions that take the player out of the game.  Silenced, anti-magic fields, stunned, paralyzed ... all need to either go, or stay gone if they already are.





you sir, just want a very easy game that is all pro player. without these conditions that you mentioned, play becomes too easy and non challenging. stunned, paralyzed, silenced have been in modern games, and even in classical ones.

You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I never found Silence that bad.  Most of the time it is cast on an area (20' radius) meaning all one has to do is move a tactical move to escape it.  In AD&D it could be cast on a person, but it was a save vs. spells:  A Mage's best save.

In those cases my caster was hit by one and I couldn't escape or move out of it, I still had options:  Non verbal spells, at will magic items, get creative with positioning, terrain or gear, or plain old attacks sufficed.  In reality, out of 30+ years of play, I think I have been effectively silenced maybe 10 times, and none of those times lead to my demise or me sitting out a combat.

It really isn't that dire.  AD&D's version of Hold Person was far, far worse.
Silence is fun from a strategic play style, where careful use of rescources can shut down an encounter or creature with minimal effort. It's a type of gameplay rewarded in earlier editions, especially 3rd Edition.

Silence is less fun from a tactical play style, which was the emphasis of 4th Edition, which rewarded clever tactical decisons in the middle of combat. It's bad because it negates actions and what would otherwise be solid tactics, making certain characters less useful.  
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I never found Silence that bad.  Most of the time it is cast on an area (20' radius) meaning all one has to do is move a tactical move to escape it.  In AD&D it could be cast on a person, but it was a save vs. spells:  A Mage's best save.

In those cases my caster was hit by one and I couldn't escape or move out of it, I still had options:  Non verbal spells, at will magic items, get creative with positioning, terrain or gear, or plain old attacks sufficed.  In reality, out of 30+ years of play, I think I have been effectively silenced maybe 10 times, and none of those times lead to my demise or me sitting out a combat.

It really isn't that dire.  AD&D's version of Hold Person was far, far worse.


A favoured tactic in my game was to cast silence on an arrow being used by a ranged character and then pump that arrow into the spellcaster. No saving throw, and a 20' radius that moves with the caster. It made my wife's bow-ranger a spellcaster's worst nightmare. 
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You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.




wow, there's no arguing with you with that language.
It's rare when talking about Next, but I actually agree with Salla on this one.


Conditions that remove or negate gameplay aren't fun.  Conditions should create different choices (sometimes even adding more choice, such as dazed); not make the player walk away from the table saying "let me know when I can play again".



That said, I'm not actually opposed to a 'silenced' condition, as long as counterplay exists or play remains.  If, for example, "silencing" a wizard shuts down his EDU but leaves the A alone, I'm not really against that.  If he can remove the silence by burning a daily, I'm fine with that too.  If it's a 2E/3E style anti-magic field (counterable only by a specific rare magic item, a rod of cancellation, complete shut down of a PC's entire reportoire); that's lame.
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You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.




wow, there's no arguing with you with that language.


I really don't see the point in this.  You asked what other people thought, then you misrepesented Salla's opinion.  It's one thing to disagree, but you're acting as if you started this thread just to pick fights.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.




wow, there's no arguing with you with that language.


I really don't see the point in this.  You asked what other people thought, then you misrepesented Salla's opinion.  It's one thing to disagree, but you're acting as if you started this thread just to pick fights.




i apologize. my bad. truly i am
I never found Silence that bad.  Most of the time it is cast on an area (20' radius) meaning all one has to do is move a tactical move to escape it.  In AD&D it could be cast on a person, but it was a save vs. spells:  A Mage's best save.

In those cases my caster was hit by one and I couldn't escape or move out of it, I still had options:  Non verbal spells, at will magic items, get creative with positioning, terrain or gear, or plain old attacks sufficed.  In reality, out of 30+ years of play, I think I have been effectively silenced maybe 10 times, and none of those times lead to my demise or me sitting out a combat.

It really isn't that dire.  AD&D's version of Hold Person was far, far worse.


A favoured tactic in my game was to cast silence on an arrow being used by a ranged character and then pump that arrow into the spellcaster. No saving throw, and a 20' radius that moves with the caster. It made my wife's bow-ranger a spellcaster's worst nightmare. 


Yeah, I can see how that would be annoying.

What you describe seems to be a house rule issue, as arrows don't stay imbedded in a character, so I am not sure how the Silence would stick.  Given this logic, imbue an arrow with Hold Person instead and immobilize the target for no save, or if you have the power, simply put a death spell or such on one for an insta-kill, no save.

In those cases where an arrow is imbued with a spell that transfers upon a successful hit, most of the time, a save vs the power/spell is granted.

If she was able to buy such arrows, then the DM made them up for his game, and yes, that is an issue.  It is like making no save arrows of slaying common at every curio shop in the land.  If a DM does that, then yeah, lots of one shot kills on both sides are to be expected.  It would be no different than a player casting Hold Person, or for an extreme example-- Disintegrate, upon a blade and destroying every foe upon a successful hit (no save).
You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.



I do not understand this statement at all.  Why are your players out of the game?  Because they can't cast spells for one encounter out of twenty? 

Why can't the wizard, for one battle grab his staff and start smashing things?  Why can't he knock ofver the boiling pot of oil and make the terrain difficult?  Why can't he go behind the tavern bar and start mixing flammable cocktails?  Why can't he try to sneak behind the archer and steal all his arrows?  Why can't he pull out his rope, tie it to the opponent's horse and tree, and then jump on top and ride around in circles making an onstacle for the fighters to avoid?

No offense, but to say they are out means that you either rely way too heavily on exactly what the character sheet gives you or just don't want anything to hinder anybody (except the DM of course).  If the DM is good and the adventure is well thought out, everyone has a chance to shine, and sometimes the players have to rely on a little more than, "I shoot the minion with my magic missile." 
You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.



I do not understand this statement at all.  Why are your players out of the game?  Because they can't cast spells for one encounter out of twenty? 

Why can't the wizard, for one battle grab his staff and start smashing things?  Why can't he knock ofver the boiling pot of oil and make the terrain difficult?  Why can't he go behind the tavern bar and start mixing flammable cocktails?  Why can't he try to sneak behind the archer and steal all his arrows?  Why can't he pull out his rope, tie it to the opponent's horse and tree, and then jump on top and ride around in circles making an onstacle for the fighters to avoid?

No offense, but to say they are out means that you either rely way too heavily on exactly what the character sheet gives you or just don't want anything to hinder anybody (except the DM of course).  If the DM is good and the adventure is well thought out, everyone has a chance to shine, and sometimes the players have to rely on a little more than, "I shoot the minion with my magic missile." 



I can answer this. The point is in the bolded question above.

I've realized that some people play their game with a lot more encounters than I have ever imagined possible. 4E goes a long way in discouraging this type of thing, of course, but I think even with faster combat, I would not have more than one or two fights per session (I currently have less than that as an average). The reason is, I want fights to be relevant. To impact the story. I don't want random encounters that happen frequently just because, I want each encounter to feel important and be a gratifying experience. Sitting out on such a gratifying experience, whatever the cause may be, is not well perceived by the players. Everybody gets to be cool and save the day but I'm stuck with my crossbow.

You say that people can improvise. For silence, this might be the case, sure. Wizards do tend to be lacking in the non-magical department, but that's another issue. The point is, you can. But what about stunned? Asleep? Petrified? You can't act at all. Salla (and I) are not advocating removing all hindering conditions, and Silence is borderline (I'd rather not have it, but it's better than stunned for sure for the reasons you listed above). However, conditions that make you sit out a relevant and important encounter are not a welcome addition to the table, and for some people all encounters should be relevant and important. "We saved the day, sucks that you've been unable to help us" is not a good way to end a situation. Sidenote: this is pretty much the same reason that leads us to advocate parity in all pillars and class balance. 
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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.
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anyhow, when i make monsters or villains homebrew, i always have though that i wanted a power that can SILENCE spellcasters. but

due to the way 4e is designed, it is hard to put this condition to any spellcaster

While I don't find it a particularly desireable condition in 4e, the wonder of exception based design makes it simplicity itself:

Standard Actions:
Steal Voice.  Range 10 (one creature).  +X vs FORT.  The target is Silenced (save ends). While Silenced, the target cannot use powers with the implement keyword.

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For certain campaigns like TheMormegil runs, I can see where a power like Silence might cause issues.  However, I offer a rebuttal.  This is based on my preferred style of play, and therefore, I hope to not insult other styles of play in making it.

I have ran games, particularly in the AD&D era that had over 20 encounters in one night.  Even now in Pathfinder we can knock out 6 to 10 encounters in an evening.  In this type of game, not every encounter is about, "Saving the day." 

In these, more classic style games sitting out 10 minutes to 30 minutes due to a failed save, unconsciousness or death is just not a big deal.  Besides, if you are still alive and moving, there is always something you can try, even if your class's main abilities are denied to you.

Penandpaper2 has touched on something else when he said, "...you either rely way too heavily on exactly what the character sheet gives you..."

I have seen this issue at the many conventions I game and DM at.  Often, player and DM alike become stumped if what is on their sheet doesn't work as intended. The idea of improvising in the face of total adversity is an art and style of play that has often been lost.

Consider this:  Many folks on these boards would decry a DM as a tyrant that sicked 3 werewolves on a party that was almost out of spells, had no magic or silver weapons and was 5th level.  Yet that is exactly what happened in a 2e game back in the late '80's.

When our DM sprung this encounter on us, there was no whining, though there were some comments that went, "Holy cow, what are we going to do?"  What did we do?  What could we do as our character sheets said all our abilities were nullified or expended?

We used the rest of our magic, though it only weakened the werewolves.  No one's listed weapons could hurt them.

The fighter, dropped his sword, spent a round and removed his gauntlets and then marched up and gave the lead lycan a knuckle sandwich (Natural attacks affect werewolves in 2e).

The Cleric wrapped the chain of his silver holy symbol around his fist to make a holy set of silver knuckles and said, "I give wolfy a faceful of God."

I pulled out my sling and used silver pieces as bullets.

The party thief used his 50' of rope with a mithril grappling hook to great affect.

One character had no silver of any kind but totally ruined the werewolves' day by spreading oil (creating slick conditions) and lighting it on fire (Fire hurts them) and once out of oil he used a torch.

We not only won, but no one died and not one case of was lycanthropy contracted.  We had a heck of a good time and this encounter was one we talked about often over the following months.  In fact, we liked it better than the climactic end boss encounter of the same dungeon we were just leaving when we hit this random encounter.

Now, an encounter like the above can happen in any edition, but it is a case of the path of least resistance:  If a player's character has an ability that always works, then he will keep using it until it doesn't.  At that point he usually has 3 choices:  Die, flee or get creative and get it done.

Tying this back to Silence, a caster Silenced is just like a caster out of spells.  Has no one here had a caster that ran out of magic?  What did you do when it happened and you couldn't rest?  Did you give up?  A caster without spells is the same as a fighter facing a beast that his weapon can't harm.  Has your warrior never encountered this situation?  If this happened to your fighter, did you fold, or did you rise up and find a way?

To be sure, a good DM is required here.  And yes, getting sacked by a spell like Hold Person or Petrify the whole battle is not the first choice a player would take if asked, "how he would like to spend the encounter."  Then again, if he is never Held or Petrified, then where is the challenge? 

I am not advocating SODs or bad DMing where the party is stripped of their abilities encounter after encounter and game after game.  There is no excuse for that.

While there are those who see a Silence type spell as something that damages their gaming experience; there are those of us who see it as it simply is: Another challenge to be overcome.  No more, no less.
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For certain campaigns like TheMormegil runs, I can see where a power like Silence might cause issues.  However, I offer a rebuttal.  This is based on my preferred style of play, and therefore, I hope to not insult other styles of play in making it.

I have ran games, particularly in the AD&D era that had over 20 encounters in one night.  Even now in Pathfinder we can knock out 6 to 10 encounters in an evening.  In this type of game, not every encounter is about, "Saving the day." 

In these, more classic style games sitting out 10 minutes to 30 minutes due to a failed save, unconsciousness or death is just not a big deal.  Besides, if you are still alive and moving, there is always something you can try, even if your class's main abilities are denied to you.

Penandpaper2 has touched on something else when he said, "...you either rely way too heavily on exactly what the character sheet gives you..."

I have seen this issue at the many conventions I game and DM at.  Often, player and DM alike become stumped if what is on their sheet doesn't work as intended. The idea of improvising in the face of total adversity is an art and style of play that has often been lost.

Consider this:  Many folks on these boards would decry a DM as a tyrant that sicked 3 werewolves on a party that was almost out of spells, had no magic or silver weapons and was 5th level.  Yet that is exactly what happened in a 2e game back in the late '80's.

When our DM sprung this encounter on us, there was no whining, though there were some comments that went, "Holy cow, what are we going to do?"  What did we do?  What could we do as our character sheets said all our abilities were nullified or expended?

We used the rest of our magic, though it only weakened the werewolves.  No one's listed weapons could hurt them.

The fighter, dropped his sword, spent a round and removed his gauntlets and then marched up and gave the lead lycan a knuckle sandwich (Natural attacks affect werewolves in 2e).

The Cleric wrapped the chain of his silver holy symbol around his fist to make a holy set of silver knuckles and said, "I give wolfy a faceful of God."

I pulled out my sling and used silver pieces as bullets.

The party thief used his 50' of rope with a mithril grappling hook to great affect.

One character had no silver of any kind but totally ruined the werewolves' day by spreading oil (creating slick conditions) and lighting it on fire (Fire hurts them) and once out of oil he used a torch.

We not only won, but no one died and not one case of was lycanthropy contracted.  We had a heck of a good time and this encounter was one we talked about often over the following months.  In fact, we liked it better than the climactic end boss encounter of the same dungeon we were just leaving when we hit this random encounter.

Now, an encounter like the above can happen in any edition, but it is a case of the path of least resistance:  If a player's character has an ability that always works, then he will keep using it until it doesn't.  At that point he usually has 3 choices:  Die, flee or get creative and get it done.

Tying this back to Silence, a caster Silenced is just like a caster out of spells.  Has no one here had a caster that ran out of magic?  What did you do when it happened and you couldn't rest?  Did you give up?  A caster without spells is the same as a fighter facing a beast that his weapon can't harm.  Has your warrior never encountered this situation?  If this happened to your fighter, did you fold, or did you rise up and find a way?

To be sure, a good DM is required here.  And yes, getting sacked by a spell like Hold Person or Petrify the whole battle is not the first choice a player would take if asked, "how he would like to spend the encounter."  Then again, if he is never Held or Petrified, then where is the challenge? 

I am not advocating SODs or bad DMing where the party is stripped of their abilities encounter after encounter and game after game.  There is no excuse for that.

While there are those who see a Silence type spell as something that damages their gaming experience; there are those of us who see it as it simply is: Another challenge to be overcome.  No more, no less.



Cool stuff. I like encounters like that. However, there is an important difference between Silencing the caster and the above lycanthrope encounter: everybody was challenged.

I like running puzzle encounters. Encounters when the enemies are obviously stronger than the party but there is a trick, encounters when their standard abilities are challenged and they need to come up with new tricks, I love stuff like that, it's much more interesting than yet another room full of orcs. However, I make sure to be fair in how I treat my characters during this kind of encounter.

For instance. Suppose the lycan encounter was very important, story-wise. Suppose it was the climax of the campaign. And suppose 2/5 melee characters had silvered weapons, and the others didn't. Sure, those people could improvise and use silver coins as bullets, use their silvered chain to smash the lycans and all that jazz, but in most systems those tactics are pretty much underwhelming compared to a normal weapon. The two guys with silver weapons would be hitting hard and being at the center of the attention, while the other 3 would be out of luck. If the first two deal 250% more damage than the other three combined, it's easy to spot. Damage is declared, apparent. A situation like that is not satisfying, the other three will feel useless and cheated out of their climax. The encounter wouldn't have gone nearly as well nor be nearly as memorable if that was the case - I'm pretty sure you'll agree that if the fighter had a silver weapon in your party the encounter would be a whole lot less enjoyable, and probably would have gone very differently. It is entirely possible most people wouldn't have even improvised solutions, unless the fighter was really in trouble, and even then, it would most likely be something to keep the fighter on his toes than something to hurt the enemies.

The silenced condition, much like the stunned condition, are single target. Well, duh, a mass-stun would mean TPK on most occasions. That means that there is one person feeling useless for that fight. Not the whole party being challenged, just that one person being told "tough luck kid, you'll be more useful next time when you don't fail your save on round 1". That's what I dislike.
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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 point about the singling out.

Actually, for me, even if the other guy had the silver sword and I didn't, I would still bust out the silver pieces.  Then again I am the type who makes extensive use out of page 42 and in Pathfinder I allow and encourage my players to try different things.

Of course Silence is an AoE (in 3.5 and earlier), so it can affect every sound dependent character build in the area, but it is usually easy to get out of it so I never really had any heartburn with it.

I think a lot of it has to do with who we gamed with and how we "grew up" gaming wise.  While I never danced with joy at getting paralyzed it never bothered me much either.  I never felt like I was missing out just because I failed a save.  It's funny, but I am more amenable to being nullified as a player than I am as a DM in nullifying my players.

As a DM, I rarely use the save or suck spells for the reasons you outline above.  Some of my players feel I am too soft; on the other hand, I have guy who cries at the first sign of damage and wow can the whining be epic if he fails a save that takes him out of the action.  The two extremes in a single game..lucky me...

I too enjoy puzzle encounters (both as DM and player) as long as the puzzle is solvable and not an exercise in "Let's play Read the DM's Mind."

I am of the feeling that improvised play does seem to be a bit of a dying art.  Sure, there are those who try it, but I am not lying when I say that I have been in many games where folks give up because something didn't work the way they intended.  I am not sure why this seems to be on the rise, for 4e and 3.5 have provisions for creative play; it just seems there is an increase of folks who would rather give up or whine about it than get it done.
Consider this:  Many folks on these boards would decry a DM as a tyrant that sicked 3 werewolves on a party that was almost out of spells, had no magic or silver weapons and was 5th level.  Yet that is exactly what happened in a 2e game back in the late '80's.



Cool encounter.

I remember having to drown a werewolf with a character in a similar situation.

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You know, I've been thinking (theoretically) about this line I wrote.

Sure, those people could improvise and use silver coins as bullets, use their silvered chain to smash the lycans and all that jazz, but in most systems those tactics are pretty much underwhelming compared to a normal weapon.



Why is it so? Well, for one thing, it makes sense. A weapon is a weapon for a reason, being able to be effective with a table or a chainsaw is not exactly realistic. It is also because that way you have an incentive to use weapons and similar things rather than just spending your entire evening trying to kill the goblins with fork and spoon. However, the issue often extends to improvised actions, and some cool stuff never gets actually done. If you have the opportunity to bash the werewolf with a handful of God or to use Flame Strike on it, then you will Flame Strike it. The system is punishing the cool moment there.

Do we need something to incentivate improvised actions in the game? In my opinion, yes. Stuff like the above is what is remembered years after the session it happened in. It's worth having in a game. Have it too often, though, and it becomes... banal. There must be a tradeoff. Exalted offers a stunt system, which in my experience more often than not ends up being the second extreme: people try to do awesome stuff when they dry their laundry for a +1 die bonus. Being that the whole point of the game, I can understand the rule, but I am not really at home with it. The table on p42 is a good improvement, but still, using your at-will for 1d8+45 damage or improvising for 4d6+7 is not really a choice.

I might start a thread on this to brainstorm some solutions.
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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
No, I don't.  I want them to balance magic with everything else, so they don't feel compelled to put a lot of arbitrary hoser mechanics into the system rather than 'we'll make it overpowered, then throw on all this other crap and pretend it's balanced'.

I hate conditions that take the player out of the game.  Silenced, anti-magic fields, stunned, paralyzed ... all need to either go, or stay gone if they already are.



Not to derail the thread but this is the classic narrativist vs simulationist debate.   As a simulationist I want all those things because well they seem like things that could really happen.  I'm not as worried as others about a player getting upset that his character is down for a round or two.   Ok back to thread.  Just thought it was a good example Salla.

I like groups having to think on their feet when faced with unusual circumstances.   
Any mechanic that completely hoses a character should do so for no more than one round. 6 seconds is a long time in combat. Any more than that and you might as well tell the player to come back when the fight is over. Furthermore these effects should be rare. They only limit fun at the table. I cannot think of anyone who enjoys being made obsolete for a whole fight. There are much better ways to challenge a group than to use arbitrary "hose" mechanics.
Any mechanic that completely hoses a character should do so for no more than one round.



You mean like the save (ends) effect in 4th edition?

What's wrong with attacks that don't deal damage but disable an opponent for more than one round?
Simply put, stunlock is no fun for anyone. Take old school sleep or hold person. They are win buttons. I am currently playing a castles and crusades game and even at first level it has devolved into rocket tag. A single sleep spell turns a fight that we would surely lose into a cakewalk. Hold person on our party barbarian left him with nothing to do but sit and watch. If you can stunlock the boss there is no there is no challenge to a fight. If the boss can stunlock you then there is no point in being present. I don't even like save ends for such effects as there is the potential to be out for a whole fight. I would much prefer an end of next turn mechanic for these abilities and have them limited so they cannot be strung together or used multiple times per adventuring day.
Simply put, stunlock is no fun for anyone. Take old school sleep or hold person. They are win buttons. I am currently playing a castles and crusades game and even at first level it has devolved into rocket tag. A single sleep spell turns a fight that we would surely lose into a cakewalk. Hold person on our party barbarian left him with nothing to do but sit and watch. If you can stunlock the boss there is no there is no challenge to a fight. If the boss can stunlock you then there is no point in being present. I don't even like save ends for such effects as there is the potential to be out for a whole fight. I would much prefer an end of next turn mechanic for these abilities and have them limited so they cannot be strung together or used multiple times per adventuring day.



Interesting that you are playing C&C.  Based on your posts here that I've seen (which isn't a ton I realize but some), I'd guess you'd prefer 4e most of the time.   Is this a going along to get along with friends?
My greatest annoyance with Silence is that it is yet another unique counter to magic... by using magic.


Any mechanic that completely hoses a character should do so for no more than one round. 6 seconds is a long time in combat. Any more than that and you might as well tell the player to come back when the fight is over. Furthermore these effects should be rare. They only limit fun at the table.  I cannot think of anyone who enjoys being made obsolete for a whole fight. There are much better ways to challenge a group than to use arbitrary "hose" mechanic.



Those conditions wouldn't be so bad if they required more effort to sustain: stunning something for one round should require one attack from the user; stunning something for 2 rounds should require 2 consecutive attacks from the user; and so on.

@Mablok: we play C&C because that is what the DM wants to run. He very much prefers his old school D&D even though the players would prefer 4e. Our 4e games tended to fall apart due to long combats and too many conditions/micro bonuses to keep track of. Even though i prefer 4e I definitely feel D&D should move away from the plethora of conditions and conditional modifiers it currently has and should go for more streamlined combats. I think our DM is beginning to change his opinion about C&C as the five minute work day and spellcasters owning combats is already apparent (5 games in and only the rogue is level 2).
I am often confused by comments which state that being knocked out of combat makes the game un-fun for a player. Have things really devolved to the point that if a player can't have fun if they aren't kicking ass?

Good storytelling often has dire setbacks and even defeats for the heroes. Clever and ruthless enemies that use every available advantage make for better stories than combat exercises where all are guaranteed full autonomy throughout.

What happened to being clever? Or even appreciating it when your character takes a downturn? There was an old saying I learned at GenCon many years ago. "Bad rolls make for good role playing." Mishap and failure are where you find the good stuff. Have your character pick himself up after the battle and swear to himself that he will not allow himself to be stunned by the evil demon's lightning attack again - and then go a'questing for a magic item that grants this immunity, or track down a monastery where a wise monk teaches him how to resist electricity (feat)...

anything other than reduce the game to pushing minis and calling out powers until the baddies are dead. 
I am often confused by comments which state that being knocked out of combat makes the game un-fun for a player. Have things really devolved to the point that if a player can't have fun if they aren't kicking ass?

Good storytelling often has dire setbacks and even defeats for the heroes. Clever and ruthless enemies that use every available advantage make for better stories than combat exercises where all are guaranteed full autonomy throughout.

What happened to being clever? Or even appreciating it when your character takes a downturn? There was an old saying I learned at GenCon many years ago. "Bad rolls make for good role playing." Mishap and failure are where you find the good stuff. Have your character pick himself up after the battle and swear to himself that he will not allow himself to be stunned by the evil demon's lightning attack again - and then go a'questing for a magic item that grants this immunity, or track down a monastery where a wise monk teaches him how to resist electricity (feat)...

anything other than reduce the game to pushing minis and calling out powers until the baddies are dead. 



anecdotal extreme story.

we were playing a newyears eve game and during a fight half the party was flushed down a series a tubes.  saddly they were the kind that couldnt make a fort save to save their lives and ended up unconsious at the end of the tunnel for over 3 hours of real time.

it could be said that it migt have been the DMs fault in that instance.  it probably was, but still sitting out because your dead or unable to act at all isnt fun.   

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@Mablok: we play C&C because that is what the DM wants to run. He very much prefers his old school D&D even though the players would prefer 4e. Our 4e games tended to fall apart due to long combats and too many conditions/micro bonuses to keep track of. Even though i prefer 4e I definitely feel D&D should move away from the plethora of conditions and conditional modifiers it currently has and should go for more streamlined combats. I think our DM is beginning to change his opinion about C&C as the five minute work day and spellcasters owning combats is already apparent (5 games in and only the rogue is level 2).



Interesting insight.  I think 5e may very well be a great fit for you guys even if it doesn't suit everyone.  I looked at C&C and except for how it handles skills I could like it.  I've never been that bothered by "caster supremacy".  I'd be ok with higher levels being toned down some but it's not the super uber problem for my games.  And I don't play casters generally.  

I've decided cross round status are generally bad.  If I were going to design a game I'd try to figure out how to avoid them as much as I could.  I know reaching 0 would be really hard but minimization would be good.

 


anecdotal extreme story.

we were playing a newyears eve game and during a fight half the party was flushed down a series a tubes.  saddly they were the kind that couldnt make a fort save to save their lives and ended up unconsious at the end of the tunnel for over 3 hours of real time.

it could be said that it migt have been the DMs fault in that instance.  it probably was, but still sitting out because your dead or unable to act at all isnt fun.   



You hit the nail on the head there. That's the DMs fault. There is no system anywhere that can stop a game from being ruined by a bad DM. And that makes it a bad starting point for designing one.

I think the main conflict here is what, exactly, should be the starting point. 

Some, myself included, feel that the system should be there to help all the players tell a story. It should also lend the unique "look and feel" that is D&D. That way we can tell these games apart from, say, a game of GURPS.

Others feel that it should be a combat simulator first and foremost - one that plays much like a eurogame, keeping all parties up and participating  to the very end. This way everyone has the maximum cinematic excitement. Also a valid POV.

I'm sure there are many other opinions on what the core philosophy of the system should be. These just seem to be the two I noticed most in the last few hours reading here.
 
Which is saying the same thing ... casters had verbal/somatic/material components precisely because they gave ways for the caster to be prevented from casting spells.

Assuming silence does not affect a spell-casters ability to cast a spell, how exactly does a spell-caster in such a setting actually go about casting his spells?

Depends on how magic works.  If spells are communication with a force or entity that alters reality on behalf of the caster, perhaps it can percieve the casters words in spite of the silence.  If the spell is like a mantra that focuses Will into Power, repeating is all that is needed, hearing it is incidental.  If spells are symbolic representations of the power of creation to which the world responds, ten tracing those symbols in the air with an implement might work as well as speaking them out loud.  

Also depends on how 'Silence' works.  Does it still molecular motion in the air?  If it does, how does anyone move, and why doesn't the air collapse into an abolute-zero solid?  Does it paralyze vocal cords?  Shunt sound waves into another dimension?  Cancel sound with counter-harmonics?  Or is it /magic/?  Does it just make it impossible to hear sounds or impossible to generate them?  Does it merely create an illusion of silence in the minds of those who would hear the subject speak?

Clearly, there are a lot of ways silence could prevent or fail to prevent casting.

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You, sir, should stop putting words in my mouth.

I want my players (I am a DM as well) to be able to play the game.  Being forced to sit out potentially turn after turn doing nothing is not playing the game.  I want to encourage participation, not make people sit in the corner playing games on their phone because they aren't allowed to do anything.

Conditions that LIMIT or IMPEDE PC actions are fine.  Dazed, slowed, that sort of thing.  But conditions that amount to 'you might as well not be at the table' outright suck.  There are far better and more interesting ways to challenge one's players and characters than forcing them into a timeout.

I don't give a fornication what has or hasn't been in modern games or classical games.



I do not understand this statement at all.  Why are your players out of the game?  Because they can't cast spells for one encounter out of twenty? 

Why can't the wizard, for one battle grab his staff and start smashing things?  Why can't he knock ofver the boiling pot of oil and make the terrain difficult?  Why can't he go behind the tavern bar and start mixing flammable cocktails?  Why can't he try to sneak behind the archer and steal all his arrows?  Why can't he pull out his rope, tie it to the opponent's horse and tree, and then jump on top and ride around in circles making an onstacle for the fighters to avoid?

No offense, but to say they are out means that you either rely way too heavily on exactly what the character sheet gives you or just don't want anything to hinder anybody (except the DM of course).  If the DM is good and the adventure is well thought out, everyone has a chance to shine, and sometimes the players have to rely on a little more than, "I shoot the minion with my magic missile." 



I can answer this. The point is in the bolded question above.

I've realized that some people play their game with a lot more encounters than I have ever imagined possible. 4E goes a long way in discouraging this type of thing, of course, but I think even with faster combat, I would not have more than one or two fights per session (I currently have less than that as an average). The reason is, I want fights to be relevant. To impact the story. I don't want random encounters that happen frequently just because, I want each encounter to feel important and be a gratifying experience. Sitting out on such a gratifying experience, whatever the cause may be, is not well perceived by the players. Everybody gets to be cool and save the day but I'm stuck with my crossbow.

You say that people can improvise. For silence, this might be the case, sure. Wizards do tend to be lacking in the non-magical department, but that's another issue. The point is, you can. But what about stunned? Asleep? Petrified? You can't act at all. Salla (and I) are not advocating removing all hindering conditions, and Silence is borderline (I'd rather not have it, but it's better than stunned for sure for the reasons you listed above). However, conditions that make you sit out a relevant and important encounter are not a welcome addition to the table, and for some people all encounters should be relevant and important. "We saved the day, sucks that you've been unable to help us" is not a good way to end a situation. Sidenote: this is pretty much the same reason that leads us to advocate parity in all pillars and class balance. 




I do understand your point about making an encounter matter, and not just another fight.  That's important to me as a DM.  But, I dare say, I feel you're overlooking the fact that I said with a good DM and a well balanced module, it shouldn't matter.  I also said 1 out of 20 encounters.  Even if your battles are limited, IMHO that shouldn't pose any type of outcry. 

But, let's take your petrify example.  Yes, you have been petrified.  But the DM then should have some type of inscription you're staring at.  A little puzzle.  A mystery to the beast's weakness.  Or the DM could explain how as you became petrified you realized part of your soul left your body, to roam the hallways.  Now you're an insubstantial ghost, trying to uncover the secret of how to become corporeal (spelling please?) again.  Or the DM could have you petrified on the sacred altar; and you realize while on it, your wizardry powers can work vicariously through another player.  Or the DM petrifies you, and tells a descriptive tale each round about how you're holding your breath, making endurance saves, trying to stay alive. 

The point is, it's not up to the rule designers to negate things that make the world harsh or difficult for players or even a bit unfair.  It's up to the adventure designers to make sure those rules aren't abused.  

As I said, I don't get it. 

As a side note: Some may point to MMORPG's as a cause for the, "My power must work each and every time or I am helpless."  This might be true (I'm not saying it is!) because of the lack of interactive world inside a computer game.  The players don't really interact with the world, they just use it as a setting, like one would a bluescreen.
Which is saying the same thing ... casters had verbal/somatic/material components precisely because they gave ways for the caster to be prevented from casting spells.


Assuming silence does not affect a spell-casters ability to cast a spell, how exactly does a spell-caster in such a setting actually go about casting his spells?

Does he just will them into being like a psionicist?




Sure.  Figure that magic is just imposing your will on the universe; the various components and implements are just crutches; Dumbo's Magic Feather, if you will.  Make being silenced, or not able to move your arms, or not having your wand/bat crap/whatever just impose a difficulty, rather than being a timeout for one segment of characters.  In a spell point system, you have to maybe get taxed another spell point or two for each aspect of the spell's rotes you can't fulfill.  If you've got slots, maybe you take a -1 to your defenses because you have to concentrate more to overcome your loss of Magic Feather.  So on, so forth.
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In 4th ed there is the ability of some monsters to negate the use of dailies, or of anything but at-wills.  That's my favorite idea of a Silence type mechanic; something that can effect everyone equally.  Petrified, Stunned, Unconscious, etc are all fine to have, but generally, silence singled out everyone not proficient with a weapon and made them weak-ass.  I much prefer if that weakening ability can be applied to all characters regardless of class.

Thus, while I do not support the "Silence" concept as muting the verbal spell caster, I do support conditions that temporarily hobble a character, taking away the use of certain actions or avenues of play for a turn, maybe two.

And to all those hating such conditions, did no one ever use the friggin' Heal skill to give an ally a roll to save versus an effect such as stun?  Really?
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And to all those hating such conditions, did no one ever use the friggin' Heal skill to give an ally a roll to save versus an effect such as stun?  Really?



That only works on (save ends) effects.


It is a general rule in 4E that (end of next turn) effects are stronger than (save ends) effects for the same condition, for precisely this sort of reason.
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