Rule of Three - June 26th

Rule of Three
6/26/12
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. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer.

Talk about this article here.

Poor Designer/Community interfacing may be a more accurate term.


It's not only accurate, but it's also a rather chronic problem here.

Amen to that.




If three people in a row agree on something here, do the forums end?  Or is that just some 2012 superstition?


Tongue Out

Heh.  I hope it helps us realize that just because we are all opinionated, few people here are actually trolls or flamebaiters.
I really hope the bolded text holds out. I don't want to see new options introduced to "fix" the game. Ever. I'd rather have 30% of the PHB errata'd than a handful of "fix the core system" feats/modules/whatevers.

Hopefully, the release of playtest versions picks up sometime soon, so the need to errata 30% of the PHB is caught and corrected in the beta stage.



Indeed.

However, I think it must be said, mistakes will get through. And IMO, those mistakes should be fixed via errata, no matter how much errata ends up being needed. If the PHB has to be reprinted three years in, fine. It sucks, but in the end, I don't care as long as the game works as written, without using player options to patch the game.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I really hope the bolded text holds out. I don't want to see new options introduced to "fix" the game. Ever. I'd rather have 30% of the PHB errata'd than a handful of "fix the core system" feats/modules/whatevers.

Hopefully, the release of playtest versions picks up sometime soon, so the need to errata 30% of the PHB is caught and corrected in the beta stage.



Indeed.

However, I think it must be said, mistakes will get through. And IMO, those mistakes should be fixed via errata, no matter how much errata ends up being needed. If the PHB has to be reprinted three years in, fine. It sucks, but in the end, I don't care as long as the game works as written, without using player options to patch the game.



I agree. Mistakes are mistakes and require fixing. Anything else is half-asked.
@Chaosfang
Good points and not much I disagree with there.  

I was in a debate with someone else over what core is and isn't.  My illustrations and arguments maybe came across as more general than they were intended.

I was clarifying the issue of what is core vs what is modules.  The fact people are saying that a module cannot touch core was what started things.   If you believe that, and I can see where you might get that implication if hanging on and parsing every word of the dev, then you also have to believe that core is practically non-functional.   Now I disagree with that definition of core.  I believe that core is minimally functional.  And thus just from statements made by Mearls and others, I am sure that in some cases that core thing is going to be replaced by something else.   Healing and basic combat are two examples.



 
@Chaosfang
Good points and not much I disagree with there.  

I was in a debate with someone else over what core is and isn't.  My illustrations and arguments maybe came across as more general than they were intended.

I was clarifying the issue of what is core vs what is modules.  The fact people are saying that a module cannot touch core was what started things.   If you believe that, and I can see where you might get that implication if hanging on and parsing every word of the dev, then you also have to believe that core is practically non-functional.   Now I disagree with that definition of core.  I believe that core is minimally functional.  And thus just from statements made by Mearls and others, I am sure that in some cases that core thing is going to be replaced by something else.   Healing and basic combat are two examples.
 


It's not that core should be absolutely and 100% untouchable, but as mentioned, that is what errata should be for, not modules.

Basically the idea here should be that at any given time, any newbie would come up to a table, and then when you ask, "what are you playing?", and the answer is "Dungeons and Dragons", the answer to "how do you play that?" wouldn't be "depends on what edition you're talking about", it would be "here let us show you the basics"; Those basics would be the core module.  Then when the newbie is used to the basics, then starts asking "so what else can I do?" then you present him with the modules or parts of the modules that the table is using.

That way, when something unexpected happens to either the group or Mr. Newbie, and Mr. Newbie happens to end up in a new group, Mr. Newbie can
1. Easily recognize when a group is playing D&D
2. Join the group
3. Learn what modules or module parts are being used, and adjust from there

So that's why the base algorithm -- the core module -- has to be as errata-free, unchangeable, and functional as reasonably possible.  That's why the system math is relevant and important from day 1, alongside identifying the very purpose of core: to answer the question "what is D&D?"

So if D&D is a game where you have
* abilities
* hit points
* armor class
* classes, specifically:
** studious wizard
** skulking thief
** bloodthirsty fighter
** battle support cleric
* races
* alignment

and basically tells the story of a party of 4+ adventurers as they undergo the perils of whatever adventures they might find themselves in, then everything else EXCEPT THE SYSTEM MATH can be a module.

The system math can always be hidden under all the fluff and open-ended spell descriptions and what not, but crunch should be considered just as important as fluff (if not moreso).

So if you have a save-or-die spell, its accessibility and functionality should be at a point where the simple Fighter is devastating enough to be able to dish out hope-he-misses-or-I'm-dead amount of damage, and the complex Fighter has save-or-die (or die eventually) abilities as well, like a decapitation maneuver or what not (ala Tome of Battle), same with Rogues and their Sneak Attack, etc.

And although some might dislike the idea of "roles" and "mechanically baked-in teamplay", something, somewhere has to give way, and I'd rather that spells in general function as team support... much like how Sleep and Ray of Frost works in the current playtest, but expanded so that a) buffing self is much more difficult to achieve than buff team in the mechanical sense [no "I" in team and all that], and b) stepping on each others' shoes is difficult to do and only allowable mechanically in the event that the relevant guy isn't rendered insignificant**.

In the end, whatever D&D is supposed to be regardless of edition, THAT is what should be represented in the core and the backbone math of the system in general.

In short: modules should be able to support playstyles, but core should be D&D all editions, not a specific edition.

** e.g. Knock, Find Traps, Tenser's Transformation, Animal Companions [not a spell, but related anyway], and summon spells. High level play in older editions have shown that these spells could diminish the non-caster classes' usefulness in a party in spite of the slots per day limitations.  The solution has to be to either tone them down to the point where even with the best of buffs won't make them better than the non-casters even in high level play, or pump up the non-casters so that they can compete with these spells even at high level play.
Show

You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging

It's not that core should be absolutely and 100% untouchable, but as mentioned, that is what errata should be for, not modules.



I disagree with this statement.  Not that there should be errata but that a module won't be able to fundamentally change the rules as one of it's options.  

Here's two examples.
If we choose to use the tactical combat module then we are going to roll out the grid mat and open the box of minis.  This will look different to a noob than the guy at the next table playing theatre of the mind.   This can't be helped.  

If forcing days of rest to heal wounds naturally is a module (and it probably will be), then if I as DM am using that approach that will be different all the way down to the core from the DM at the next table using the module where a nights rest restores all.   



Now if five noobs buy the game and start out from scratch, then yes they may play the simplest core starting out and grow into the game.   Otherwise the noob will probably play the game his friends have recruited him to play with the modules they like.  Eventually he will enjoy that game or he will seek another.

 

It's not that core should be absolutely and 100% untouchable, but as mentioned, that is what errata should be for, not modules.



I disagree with this statement.  Not that there should be errata but that a module won't be able to fundamentally change the rules as one of it's options.  

Here's two examples.
If we choose to use the tactical combat module then we are going to roll out the grid mat and open the box of minis.  This will look different to a noob than the guy at the next table playing theatre of the mind.   This can't be helped.  

If forcing days of rest to heal wounds naturally is a module (and it probably will be), then if I as DM am using that approach that will be different all the way down to the core from the DM at the next table using the module where a nights rest restores all.   


Now if five noobs buy the game and start out from scratch, then yes they may play the simplest core starting out and grow into the game.   Otherwise the noob will probably play the game his friends have recruited him to play with the modules they like.  Eventually he will enjoy that game or he will seek another.

 


Just because it looks different doesn't require the math to be different.  Using your example, with 5' as the default (grid or not), tactical would simply elaborate what tactics you can do during combat, with grid play as highly recommended for faster and smoother play.

[ Lack of grid does not automatically equal theater of the mind.  It simply means you have no grid, so either you play in the mind or you bring out the tape measures, assuming the use of a specific scale of measurement. ]

As for hit point recovery during an extended rest, like I said, the core should be as unchangeable as reasonably possible.  If the default is "you gain all hit points back" and the alternative is "you gain X hit points back" -- be it just 1 HP or CON mod HP or what not -- then it can get really messy from there.  If the default is the most common ground, you can simply add from there: if the default is 1 HP per level, then you can choose to
* add CON mod - 1 (CON mod recovery instead of 1 HP recovery)
* add max HP (full HP recovery instead of 1 HP recovery, you can never get more than your max HP anyway, so no need to go max HP - 1 [gets more confusing at this point anyway])
* add hit dice - 1 (hit dice recovery instead of 1 HP recovery)
* add hit dice + CON mod - 1 (hit dice + Con mod recovery instead of 1 HP recovery)

Or the default algorithm could be "choose a healing method, here are your options: 1 HP, CON mod, full HP, hit dice or hit dice + Con mod".  Hit point recovery has always been different in each edition ayway, so "let the group decide" as the default option would be a fair enough compromise on the matter.

The point is, again, that the core shouldn't be fiddled around dilly-dally, otherwise we're not getting D&D + modules, we're getting build-your-own-TRPG-based-on-D&D.

D&D Next aims to unite all editions, by getting what is recognizably D&D across all editions and at the same time allowing players to play using their preferred style of play.  The "recognizably D&D across all editions" part -- the game's lowest common denominators -- should be the core.
Show

You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging