Rule of Three - June 19th

Rule of Three: 6/19/12
by Rodney Thompson

You've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking.

Talk about this article here.

Clerics could be interesting this time around.  Obviously, it will depend on what the sphere/domain packages look like, but spell+attack has piqued my interest (as will how they balance a fighter and wizard with that, not to mention the lowly rogue).

I'm surprised by the advantage/disadvantage.  I expected that it would be a series of cancellations, where 5 advantage and 4 disadvantage equalled advantage.  However, this will definitely streamline it.  I don't see buff spells being -nearly- as ubiquitous with this being true, as a single debuff (so long as they're all based on A/D) cancels them out.

The tactical thing doesn't interest me, but I'm glad our 4E players are getting it.  It sounds somewhat interesting for what it is, especially if facing works out as nicely as described.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

I really hope the facing thing interfaces with the Stealth rules. Nothing confuses me more than the idea that a trained rogue is incapable of sneaking up on people while their back is turned in an otherwise empty corridor unless they bring a bush or cardboard box with them. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I don't like the answer about Adv/Disadv. Ok, it streamlines the game (if you have a single Adv. and a single Disadv., you can just call it a day and roll the die), but it challenges my sense of realism way too much. So, you may be drunk, blind-folded and terrified when trying to make a ranged attack against a prone enemy who is beyond the normal range of your weapon (5 conditions who give you disadvantage), but, if the prone foe is either unconscious or stunned, you have a fair chance of hitting it (like, about 50%)? Sorry, but this makes no sense at all, and is the first house rule I'll implement if it stays this way. I'm all for the net gain (more advantages than disadvantages = advantage; the other way around = disadvantage).

About the facing rules... Hm... They read a little too complex, but I'll reserve judgment for when I see them.
Seriously, facing rules? Since when have people been demanding that? Seems unnecessary, and unless you have minis for every character, difficult to work with. Just bring back the usual flanking rules instead.
I really hope the facing thing interfaces with the Stealth rules. Nothing confuses me more than the idea that a trained rogue is incapable of sneaking up on people while their back is turned in an otherwise empty corridor unless they bring a bush or cardboard box with them. 



Look at the rules again the facing thing only matters in the case of ties.
I really hope the facing thing interfaces with the Stealth rules. Nothing confuses me more than the idea that a trained rogue is incapable of sneaking up on people while their back is turned in an otherwise empty corridor unless they bring a bush or cardboard box with them. 



Look at the rules again the facing thing only matters in the case of ties.



I'm looking at the How to Play document..."If the creature might see you, you need to keep behind cover or stay in heavily obscured areas to remain hidden...in order to avoid detection, you need some way to hide...something must conceal you...the thing must cover your body for you to hide...if you lose the conditions needed to remain hidden, you are automatically spotted." 

Now I agree that there's ambiguity here. "As long as a creature is looking in your direction" implies facing, and the real confusing thing is whether "can't possibly see you" means "creature is Blind or you are Invisible" as opposed to "has their back to you." 

Maybe it's just that I'm struggling with my built-up annoyances from 3.X when you needed cover/concealment to even attempt.

Is there a consensus out there? 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I just think it's funny that I just got out of a discussion a few days ago about the Cleric of Pelor and Cleric of Moradin.  My point was basically that domains may, and I did stress may, dictate armor and other functions due to the marked difference.  The other person was advocating a typo.

I guess this resolves it.

And I'm not crazy after all! 
General disapproval for facing rules.  Do not like.

That said...eh, we'll see what he comes up with.  Not particularly enthusiastic about the idea, not at all.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Seriously, facing rules? Since when have people been demanding that? Seems unnecessary, and unless you have minis for every character, difficult to work with. Just bring back the usual flanking rules instead.



People have been demanding mini-based grid combat for a while now. Facing Rules are something that seems can be layered in to that. This is a module for the 4e crowd. And, frankly, I'd kinda like to have facing rules my own self so I can know whether a rogue can sneak up on a creature that's unaware of them or not.

When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray 

I really hope the facing thing interfaces with the Stealth rules. Nothing confuses me more than the idea that a trained rogue is incapable of sneaking up on people while their back is turned in an otherwise empty corridor unless they bring a bush or cardboard box with them. 



Look at the rules again the facing thing only matters in the case of ties.



I'm looking at the How to Play document..."If the creature might see you, you need to keep behind cover or stay in heavily obscured areas to remain hidden...in order to avoid detection, you need some way to hide...something must conceal you...the thing must cover your body for you to hide...if you lose the conditions needed to remain hidden, you are automatically spotted." 

Now I agree that there's ambiguity here. "As long as a creature is looking in your direction" implies facing, and the real confusing thing is whether "can't possibly see you" means "creature is Blind or you are Invisible" as opposed to "has their back to you." 

Maybe it's just that I'm struggling with my built-up annoyances from 3.X when you needed cover/concealment to even attempt.

Is there a consensus out there? 



First off I forgot the last example that also referred to facing. A lot of people got confused on the ties portion of the rules.  Thinking that it basically made stealth useless because they thought they couldn't be observed as they got behind cover in order to make a hide check.  However I think you were referring to the example of sneaking past a guy in the corridor.  Yeah I pretty much read that (and the section concerning ties) as, "These are facing rules".  I wasn't sure they were going to extend it to combat but it makes sense.  Seems like the player can always ask which way this guard is facing in order to determine if he will lose stealth by running past someone. 
Seriously, facing rules? Since when have people been demanding that? Seems unnecessary, and unless you have minis for every character, difficult to work with. Just bring back the usual flanking rules instead.



People have been demanding mini-based grid combat for a while now. Facing Rules are something that seems can be layered in to that. This is a module for the 4e crowd. And, frankly, I'd kinda like to have facing rules my own self so I can know whether a rogue can sneak up on a creature that's unaware of them or not.



I don't remember even the most avid fan of the grid and 'tactical combat' in DnD asking for Facing Rules.  It seems like a solution  searching for a problem.  Why do this when there are so many other genuine problems and clarifications the combat rules DO need and people ARE begging you for?

-Polaris
Seriously, facing rules? Since when have people been demanding that? Seems unnecessary, and unless you have minis for every character, difficult to work with. Just bring back the usual flanking rules instead.



People have been demanding mini-based grid combat for a while now. Facing Rules are something that seems can be layered in to that. This is a module for the 4e crowd. And, frankly, I'd kinda like to have facing rules my own self so I can know whether a rogue can sneak up on a creature that's unaware of them or not.



I don't remember even the most avid fan of the grid and 'tactical combat' in DnD asking for Facing Rules.  It seems like a solution  searching for a problem.  Why do this when there are so many other genuine problems and clarifications the combat rules DO need and people ARE begging you for?

-Polaris


Arbitrarily large amounts of agreement here. People are freaking out that AEDU is dead in the water and they offer us... facing?!?

"We want to make interesting decisions every round!"

"OK, you can decide which way to face your character for 6 full seconds. And bust out a yardstick like they did in the '70s to determine LoS and cover."

Facing is a bizarrely concrete rule in an abstract combat system. Fiddly cover rules are not what 4E fans mean when they ask for tactical combat. I can only hope that the remarks in this Rule of Three were aimed at drawing in the TSR crowd. If it was meant to sound like good news to me, yikes.

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.

I too have a stark distaste for facing rules. But I am a bit suprised by how many are already dismissing them, with null indication of how it'll work no less.

Add me to the list of 4th fans who has absolutely no interest in facing. This is just mintae for the sake of it. Anything that can be done with facing can be done better with flanking at a fraction of the frustration factor.
I too have a stark distaste for facing rules. But I am a bit suprised by how many are already dismissing them, with null indication of how it'll work no less.


I really can't imagine a set of facing rules elegant and seamless enough to distract me from what I actually want in a tactical module:  interactions between characters other than removing or restoring HP.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Not that they're the easiest thing to work with, but I have hope that the facing rules will allow a rogue to backstab someone just by sneaking up behind them.

The metagame is not the game.

Not that they're the easiest thing to work with, but I have hope that the facing rules will allow a rogue to backstab someone just by sneaking up behind them.



That's about the only use for 'facing' I remember from pre 3E DnD and honestly it didn't work very well.  All it took was the DM to rule, "the monster is alert and looking around" and bye-bye backstab.

In fact unless I am very much mistaken, Mr.Mearles railed out against this very mechanic calling it "Mommy May I".  

-Polaris    
"Facing rules I want to use" is a major "I'll believe it when I see it." I'm not saying that it's impossible to put together a set of facing rules I want to use, just that it's not what I'm particularly interested in when I think of tactical combat. It also seems like a weird thing to highlight, considering that it's my impression that facing rules are somewhere between "racial caps on class level" and "feat taxes" in the grand list of things from earlier editions that really get people enthused. Again, I'd love to be impressed by the facing rules, but I'm not super optimistic.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
If I had to bet anything "facing" will mainly concern:

1 directional field of view facing for hiding purposes
2 selecting which of the people flanking you will have advantage to attacks on you.
     Example: XOO
                      XYZ
                     OOZ

Do you(Y) want to give advantage to the X's or the Z's.  The Z's have a better chance to hit but don't do as much damage.  The X's have an advantage based damage bonus.  The choice here is easy but sometimes the selection of who to face primarily is a hard one.
Six seconds is too long to be stuck looking one direction.  I can't imagine what these facing rules are - maybe they're some sort of baroque oddity to avoid having flanking or to make 'sneaking up "behind" someone' verisimilitudinous?  Something like: "If a creature is aware of you when you move adjacent to or attack it, it turns to face you, unless another hostile creature is on the opposite side of it, in which case it grants Advantage to you."    Which is functionally no different from unaware creatures grant CA, and flanking grants CA. 

 

 

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Well the good news is, if you use miniatures, facing is pretty easy to figure out.

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I was about to say the opposite - that I'd be looking for some way to indicate facing more clearly than relying on miniatures if it's going to be mechanically important. While a significant chunk are clearly facing a certain way, some of them have their heads turned, or are pointing a sword or whatever in a differant direction than their head or body. I guess for PCs it's cool once you establish convention, but I'm not positive about whether it's something that can be easily established at a glance. Big piles of kobolds or whatever, which are usually just pennies and stuff, are actually easier to handle, since I can put a sharpie arrow on the penny to indicate what direction it's facing.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
The Facing mention gave me a fit.

First (knee-jerk) reaction: please don't. It's unecessary, unwanted, fiddly, not fun.

Second (breath-in, breath-out, count to 10) reaction: give it the benefit of the doubt, let's see what they come up with before shooting it down. If it is something situational, unintrusive, which doesn't add to the stack of things to track already in a battle it may have some use.

Anyway I'd much rather know more about what they plan for OA before even bother with something like Facing. 

Anyway I'd much rather know more about what they plan for OA before even bother with something like Facing. 



Agreed which is why I openly wonder if this (facing) is a solution searching for a problem.  I'd prefer the Devs worry about things that genuinely seem to be problems.

-Polaris  

Well, I was looking forward to the tactical rules...

Don't like facing, don't want facing, need to club Mearls over the head with "DO NOT WANT" until it goes away. I don't care how it's implemented. I have NEVER seen an RPG that was improved by a system for facing. 

Consider me thoroughly disgusted.

The next version of this playtest had better come hand-inked in Mearl's own blood on gold-embossed parchment, hand-delivered to my front door by WotC staff performing a barbershop quartet musical number, because that's about the only way I'm even going to look at it. Ugh.
I like the idea of Domain's dictating the clerics spell list.  Being anble to memerize just about any printed spell on any given day seemed a bit to overpowered to me.

I'm ok with Adavantage canceling other out and that's it. I think they system as a whole is interesteing but it would bog down combat if people spent all thier time trying to throw just one more advantage or disadvatage into the mix.

Facing needs to point itself in the direction of a fire then proceed forward. Flanking is so much easier adjudicate and makes so much more sense. Its actualy the less gamist option. Really its things like this that make me feel like Next is meant simply to cater to people that stoppped buying new editions 20 years ago.
Simplified combat: "It sucks!"
Tactical combat with facing: "It sucks!"

Or, in other words:
"If it's any lower than the level of complexity I'm used to, it sucks."
"If it's any higher than the level of complexity I'm used to, it sucks."

Why won't people just admit that they'll only be happy if 5E is 4.5E?

Just because facing didn't work well in other editions and RPGs, it may work here.
And you don't really have to track it, you just look where your miniature is facing.
I think that's the point of facing: relegate some more tactical info in the miniatures instead of having to memorize it.

Imagine this conversation some 13 years ago:
"I want a more tactical combat experience!"
"Ok, we are developing a new version built around a grid and miniatures."
"What?! I want tactical options, not having to worry with where I place my character!" 



Please.  NO ONE was equating more tactical combat with 'facing'.  Not even the so-called "old guard" were clamouring for Facing Rules.  This is a solution looking for a problem, and worse, REAL problems (like it's too easy to move around people trying to KILL you) that need to be addressed in tactical combat don't seem to be.

This isn't a 4e vs everyone else issue.  This is a "why are you giving us something nobody wants" issue.

-Polaris    
NO ONE was equating more tactical combat with 'facing'.


I would like to ask you for your definition of tactical combat.
I'm not being sarcastic, I just want to make sure we're in the same page before further discussion.

Careful with that strawman AndreRodrigues, I'm not sure it can take the abuse.

More seriously people are reacting with disbelief and negativity because it seems (again) that Mike Mearles and the rest of the design team do not actually understand what people want from a tactical options set. Flanking is presented here as being a core component of the tactical module but it's completely off base with what makes a good tactical module work.

Hint: it's not about getting out a measuring stick and physically drawing line of sight or working out facing. It's about getting your character and party to engage in a deep tactical series of manouvers where you and the opponents manipulate the position and battlefield in an attempt to gain advantage. Done right it feels very cinematic, similar to the movement in a good action or martial arts scene. Facing is not an issues in these scenes, Kinetic action is, it's pushing the bad guys about - knocking them off edges with a flurry of blows, it's driving them back into the lava pit with a swing of the lightsabre against the support struts. All of this can be done with the 4th ed tactical system at least as well as in the TOTM style. The difference is that the system gives clear guidelines as to how to go about ajudicating these results.

NO ONE was equating more tactical combat with 'facing'.


I would like to ask you for your definition of tactical combat.
I'm not being sarcastic, I just want to make sure we're in the same page before further discussion.




Yes you are IMHO and Yes I take offense.  Tactical combat (module) means both what everyone here including the developers say and have said that it means.


-Polaris  


Please.  NO ONE was equating more tactical combat with 'facing'.  Not even the so-called "old guard" were clamouring for Facing Rules.  This is a solution looking for a problem, and worse, REAL problems (like it's too easy to move around people trying to KILL you) that need to be addressed in tactical combat don't seem to be.

This isn't a 4e vs everyone else issue.  This is a "why are you giving us something nobody wants" issue. 



Indeed facing was dropped for good with 3.0, not 4E. And I don't remember anyone regretting the loss back then.
Actually, I don't want 4.5 either. They tried that two years ago, it was called Essentials. It was more or less a disaster.


Here's the thing: Mike knows the 4vengers aren't on-board with Next right now. The quickest way to get them on-board is to hand out the work-in-progress tactical system and flat-out ask "what needs to be done to make this into the game you want to play?" If he's smart, he'll start a thread in CO and let them sort it.

We don't want "neat ideas", we want a solid, functional, clear system that facilitates the kind of play we prefer and then gets the hell out of the way.

And I'm getting the sense from the rest of the 4e crowd around here--at least, what's left of us--that this tactical system needs to happen soon, or there aren't going to be any of us still around to playtest it.

Any more brilliant comments?

Hint: it's not about getting out a measuring stick and physically drawing line of sight or working out facing. It's about getting your character and party to engage in a deep tactical series of manouvers where you and the opponents manipulate the position and battlefield in an attempt to gain advantage. Done right it feels very cinematic, similar to the movement in a good action or martial arts scene. Facing is not an issues in these scenes, Kinetic action is, it's pushing the bad guys about - knocking them off edges with a flurry of blows, it's driving them back into the lava pit with a swing of the lightsabre against the support struts. All of this can be done with the 4th ed tactical system at least as well as in the TOTM style. The difference is that the system gives clear guidelines as to how to go about ajudicating these results. 



Thanks for your take on the subject.
And given your definition, I completly agree: facing is totally unnecessary for that.
In fact, it will only make it more difficult to have that experience.

But some people want facing rules, because they feel it adds to the game.
I was in the fence about facing, so I've tried optional facing rules from "Unearthed Arcana" in 3.5.
Didn't like it, they added almost nothing but extra work, so I dropped them.

But we don't know in which direction they're going with this, so maybe we should wait to see.

My problem is that in these forums many people seem to react badly at almost any change from the way things were done in 4E (hence my 4.5E comment, I admit it was a bit too much, sorry).

I gave 4E a chance, even when everything that was showing up pointed in a direction I didn't like.
I tried it and came to the conclusion that, altough it was a good game, I still prefered 3.5, so I went back.

However, it looks like lots of players won't even give 5E a chance.

By the way, I think that is possible (even likely) that there's some modularity inside the modules themselves.
So maybe you can choose which tactical options you want to use.
At least I hope so. 

But some people want facing rules, because they feel it adds to the game.
I was in the fence about facing, so I've tried optional facing rules from "Unearthed Arcana" in 3.5.
Didn't like it, they added almost nothing but extra work, so I dropped them.



Who exactly?  WHO?!?

Other than yourself, I haven't heard a single positive thing about facing rules in DND.  At best I've heard, "well let's see if they got it right this time" and certainly I didn't hear any, "Good, I always wanted this" or "About time" or "I missed this".  I haven't even heard that from the fans of the early editions of DnD let alone any of the later ones.

This isn't a 4e vs other issue.  This is a "the designers want to throw something at us that no one wants" issue.  What makes it worse is there are genuine tactical problems that a tactical module should address (like being able to walk around a bunch of people trying to kill you with no consequence) that aren't being addressed instead.

-Polaris        

1 Cleric Domains sounds more and more exciting and defining.  I like it.


2 Like Combat Advantage basically, you either have Advantage or you don't
and multiple instances doesn't change anything. Its more streamlined i guess.   


3 Very intrigued by Mike's new Facing Rules. We played with the Facing Rules
with the AD&D 2nd Edition Combat and Tactics book back in the 90's and our group
liked it.  There was 1 free Facing shift per turn and Shield only granted bonus against
attacks coming from some 
directions IIRC etc...I always found it added a certain depth
to combat tactics rules and made positioning matter even more in combat ! Definitly
interested to see how this shapes up...

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

What makes it worse is there are genuine tactical problems that a tactical module should address (like being able to walk around a bunch of people trying to kill you with no consequence) that aren't being addressed instead.


I would assume (maybe I'm wrong) that these basic issues are going to be adressed independently of facing.

Regarding your "who?", I haven't been in these forums long enough to know that.
Some people I play with would like it, some don't.
Like I said, I myself was on the fence.

I'm not saying I want facing rules. I've later come to realize that they don't necessarily make the game more realistic or tactical or interesting.
But, depending on how they are implemented, it might work, it might be interesting, it might be fun.
Might being the keyword here.

Sometimes new ideas might seem and sound wrong but work right.

My strawman example, as Ellyth called it, was to point out something not everybody liked at beggining (grided combat), but that is essential to the rich experience of 3E and 4E tactical combat.

Of course facing might go horribly wrong. It wouldn't surprise me.
But it can also work well (at least for some players), so I prefer to wait and see. 
While I can understand why its done that way, there's GOT to be a less overly simplified way of dealing with adv/disadv stacks.

Its when descriptions, fluff and the like show up that it gets really bad.

If you've one source of advantage, one source of disadvantage, obviously, cancel out.
If you've two sources of advantage, one of disadvantage, okay, fine, cancel. Still makes sense.

If I'm getting six sources of advantage, and one source of disadvantage, I'm starting to wonder here.

Perhaps things should cancel out so long as its not a certain ratio: 2:1 or 1:2 is certainly cancelling territory. 5:1 or 1:5 is really getting silly, that one lone advantage or disadvantage is disproportionately powerful out of nowhere. Four I'm pretty sure about being "no, this needs to be granting something once again" territory, its three to one ratios I'm on the fence about.

Imagine:
-Target is currently immobilized by ray of frost and we get advantage because of this [surely there'll be a way to get it on flat-footing, etc after all soon enough]

-The fighter disarms it, literally, granting advantage to everyone as a result, because no matter how good you are at martial arts, blocking morningstar head with hand is BAD IDEA, even if you're an ogre. Not that he has hands anymore.

-The Ogre is currently blinded for whatever reason, granting advantage to everyone.

-The Ogre, however, was on advantageous terrain, and may use the provided cover to grant disadvantage to an attacker if he jumps behind it.

-The Thief pops out, gaining disadvantage for the surprise, against the armless, lower-body-paralyzed blind ogre. However, he's no longer at an advantage, because despite everything, the ogre has some cover he can't physically make good use of.

I wish I could say this is an odd, statistically rare situation, but let's face it, we'll always be seeing large stacks of each on every side once players start making builds.
I am not at all surprised by the advantage/disadvantage ruling.  I assumed that ruling in my interpretation.  My rationale is that the combat is supposed to be streamlined and quick.  It's pretty quick to determine you have advantage or disadvantage, and trivial to resolve them cancelling out.  If you can stack them I can see it slowing combats down (albeit a little only) trying to figure it out.

Or worse, turning this into a max/min contest of who can find the way to stack the most advantages per round or what build allows that potential, etc.

I'm looking forward to seeing the tactical module, but I am very, very leery about facing rules!
Time for Ro3 Haiku!

Clerical domains?
Clerics' customization!
(The sun domain sucks.)

Advantage cancels?
Yes.  You might say it's rather
Disadvantageous.

Tactical modules?
With rules for facing, nerdrage
Is a free action.
facing rules



(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
Knowing is Half the Battle. The Other Half is VIOLENCE. Imagine a lightsaber duel between Optimus Prime and Batman. You're welcome.