How many options do you enjoy having in combat?

Fighters get maneuvers, sorcerers and warlocks get spells known, clerics get some kind of swapable "known spell" list, wizard gets fire and forget spells and rogues get nothing. Each of these are options that each of these classes can chose from each round.

At level 1, all classes get somewhere between 3 and 5ish cool moves to do in combat at level 1. At level 5, it's more like 7-11. I don't know about you guys, but I'm very happy with these figures. This for me is the right amount of options at these levels. You start with small and you rapidely learn more. Well except the rogue, but that one is clearly not finished.

However, if things continue at this rate, fighters will get over 100 maneuvers to pick from each round at level 19 (10 styles each with 10 maneuvers). That's too much, so I assume that the game designers will find some way to slow down how fast you acquire combat options at higher levels. 

Since this hopefully hasn't been decided yet, maybe we'll get to choose.

How many (meaningful*) spell slots do you think the wizard should have say at level 10, 15 and 20?
How many spells known do you think is right for a spontaneous caster at level 10, 15 and 20?
How many spells do you think is right for a class that can swap his "known spells" every day like the cleric? At level 10, 15, and 20?
Do you think the rogue should get more than 2 combat options (hide and sneak attack) at level 1?
  
*By meaningful, I mean that has an actual impact in combat. If your at-will deals 4d4+4 with no miss chance and your Burning Hands still deals 4d4, it's not meaningful. For instance, if a wizard has 40 spell slots but only 20 of them that are better than his at-wills, then the wizard has 20 meaningful options in combat plus at-wills.
I like 5-10 options, with 1-2 of those being very broadly applicable at-will abilities and the remainder being much more specialized.

My view on spell slots / spells per day / etc. are considered somewhat radical, so I'll hold off on that for now.

A good number of spells known, for those who have to plan ahead of time (and can only hold ~10 at a time), would be in the ~30 range, assuming some of the spells known are very situational and would likely remain unprepared at any given time; if anyone ever has access to more than that, then I would say it's a) probably too much versatility for one character, and b) probably going to slow down gameplay.

The metagame is not the game.

Difficult question.
Also, it has three parts.
What do I feel the game should have.
What do I want at my table 
What do I want as a player.
 
This question becomes even more difficult when juggling options available each round, vs each encounter, vs each day.
I'm going to leave spells alone for the moment, specifically trying to juggle daily spell slots agianst generally available options is very very subjective.

Short answer, round to round, at least 3.
Two of which I feel should be generally available player choice, at least one should be related to the terrain, setting, situation. 
This base of 2, I feel, should grow.  Also, it should be noted how they interact with their environ. Abilities to shove enemies around are far less useful in an open space than in a volcanic cave with lava flows, clouds of toxic gas, and nasty spikes. I hit and do more damge vs I hit and shove back isn't as real a question under some circumstances.
The number of options the player has should grow, and/or the options available to them become stronger with level.

Now, keeping the choices appropriate to the class can be tough.
Allowing player imput on what they are is also important. In so much that I feel the player should choose, within a suite, what those options they get they advance are.

The way I see it, the Iconic fixed options for classes look something like:
 Fighter: Hurt a foe plenty, or shut down a foes incoming nastiness (bodyguarding techs, marking techs, mobility impeders, ect...)
 Rogue: Hurt a foe plenty or dance about the battlefield (abilities to move freely, move unseen, blind an enemy, hobble an enemy, ect...)
 Wizard: Hurt a foe or a few foes, and mightily inconveince a foe or some foes (create areas they don't want to move through, charm them, slow or paralyze them, weaken them, levitate them off the ground, ect...)
 Cleric: Smite a foe or bolster my allies ( restore hp, grant bonuses, strip enemies of special effects, remove conditions, ect...)

The advancement concept I prefer is to add an additional meaningful option at least every level. Or, alternatively, a new option every other level while enhancing an additional option on levels new options don't become available. Modularity of options (different spell s in spell slots, ect,) increase flexibility, but if the options available are coherent and well thought out, should not overwelm the fixed options for other classes.

I would like to see more growth in the other pillars to advance options there as well, but it is still far to early for me to say in these regards.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Probably around 5-10 options that are regularily used and some more possible moves/options (depending on what you count as an option) that the character might be able to do, but don't usually.

The 'spell-slot becoming non effective at higher levels' problem would be completely fixed if only wizards would be given spellpoints (Im not saying 'non-vancian', I mean, spellpoints to memorize spells with in advance). Then they would use them on meaningful spells.

For wizards, spells known should not be limited. Many wizards (and wizard players) like to collect spells as a kind of 'gotta catch them all' thing..  its also fun as DM to let wizards find odd completely situational or just useless spells from time to time just for fun. So, since that harms nobody, we dont have to mess with what wizards do with their spellbooks. =P

A good number of spells known, for those who have to plan ahead of time (and can only hold ~10 at a time), would be in the ~30 range, assuming some of the spells known are very situational and would likely remain unprepared at any given time; if anyone ever has access to more than that, then I would say it's a) probably too much versatility for one character, and b) probably going to slow down gameplay.



10 spells per day for a wizard? That's not a lot of spells!

If you're worried about versatility or gameplay, there's a lot to learn from MMOs. High level characters in the latest MMOs I've played typically have 30-40 options to pick from at all times. Options are added one at a time. By the time you get your next option, you're familiar with all the older ones. 30-40 is pretty close to the limit I can personally handle in a raid boss. You don't really have time to think in a raid boss, so I don't think 30-40 will really slow down game play that much. It's just my 2 cp, you're very welcome to have a different opinion.
A good number of spells known, for those who have to plan ahead of time (and can only hold ~10 at a time), would be in the ~30 range, assuming some of the spells known are very situational and would likely remain unprepared at any given time; if anyone ever has access to more than that, then I would say it's a) probably too much versatility for one character, and b) probably going to slow down gameplay.



10 spells per day for a wizard? That's not a lot of spells!

If you're worried about versatility or gameplay, there's a lot to learn from MMOs. High level characters in the latest MMOs I've played typically have 30-40 options to pick from at all times. Options are added one at a time. By the time you get your next option, you're familiar with all the older ones. 30-40 is pretty close to the limit I can personally handle in a raid boss. You don't really have time to think in a raid boss, so I don't think 30-40 will really slow down game play that much. It's just my 2 cp, you're very welcome to have a different opinion.


That's not entirely accurate.  Sure, there's 30-40 buttons to press, but only about a half-dozen are major combat buttons.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
As far as I'm concerned the fewer the better. There's nothing I hate more than five people all with their heads down trying to figure out the best thing to do in a given situation. 

I have a holdover rule from 1e you have one minute to figure out what you're going to do or you forfeit your turn. #e combat took so long that I'd get a quarter of my adventure done in a six hour session. giving players dozens of things to choose from is bad, very bad. Some might complain about the fighter only swinging his weapon over and over again but I see it as a good thing. 

For me D&D isn't a tactical combat simulator that's what warhammer is for. D&D is a role playing game that resolves some of it's challenges with combat.

The devs need to stop trying to pile on the options in the core and relegate them to a small corner of the player's handbook where I'm not likely to look. 

So far D&D next is looking a lot like 3e and 4e are taking over the design and I'm not liking it one little bit. 
That's not entirely accurate.  Sure, there's 30-40 buttons to press, but only about a half-dozen are major combat buttons.



You're absolutely right. In games with cooldowns (most of them now), you usually end up having 5-6 major combat options in your rotation. The other options are usually situational. But don't these qualify as options?

As far as I'm concerned the fewer the better. There's nothing I hate more than five people all with their heads down trying to figure out the best thing to do in a given situation. 

I have a holdover rule from 1e you have one minute to figure out what you're going to do or you forfeit your turn. #e combat took so long that I'd get a quarter of my adventure done in a six hour session. giving players dozens of things to choose from is bad, very bad. Some might complain about the fighter only swinging his weapon over and over again but I see it as a good thing. 

For me D&D isn't a tactical combat simulator that's what warhammer is for. D&D is a role playing game that resolves some of it's challenges with combat.

The devs need to stop trying to pile on the options in the core and relegate them to a small corner of the player's handbook where I'm not likely to look. 

So far D&D next is looking a lot like 3e and 4e are taking over the design and I'm not liking it one little bit. 


You give them a full minute?
I may have differences with you elsewhere, but that's more benevolence than I have.
My table, and not just me as DM have a 30 seconds then you are holding your action clause.

I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
They do in MMOs, but D&D combat is not like MMOs.  In a typical MMO raid fight you have between 3 and 10 minutes of solid action, with somewhere around 40-50 APM (varies by class).  Situational abilities may be used anywhere between one and five times during the fight (e.g. a combat resurrection).

In a typical 4e combat, you've got around 5-6 rounds, tops.  And it seems very likely that Next's encounter design is going to trend more to the shorter, more frequent combats (with the possibility of just stringing them together), based around the adventure rather than the encounter.

The scope of potential choices has to be considered in relation to the actual quantity of choices made.  There simply aren't as many decision points in D&D combat, so using MMOs as a model doesn't really help much.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
10 spells per day for a wizard? That's not a lot of spells!

It might tie into my preference that the wizard shouldn't be casting spells every round, but for the purpose of this discussion I'm willing to concede that a basic firebolt or magic missile can be an at-will that's appropriate in most situations.

I don't know what games you've been playing, but the last time I killed Deathwing, I don't recall using more than half a dozen different spells over the course of the entire series of encounters... fireball... fireball... fire blast... pyroblast... fireball ... fireball...

There also a lot of highly situation spells that, in the context of DDN, you would never prepare because you could always cast it as a ritual - teleportation spells, create food, that sort of thing.  Sure, you technically have a bunch of other spell sets (ice bolts, arcane whatever), but you're not expected to use those once you've specialized.

You have your basic fall-back at-will (fireball or fire blast, where - disregarding their contrived game mechanics, the difference is whether you want to move and cast or just stand in place), and a lot of more situational things that you might use (flamestrike, blast wave).

The metagame is not the game.

They do in MMOs, but D&D combat is not like MMOs.  In a typical MMO raid fight you have between 3 and 10 minutes of solid action, with somewhere around 40-50 APM (varies by class).  Situational abilities may be used anywhere between one and five times during the fight (e.g. a combat resurrection).

In a typical 4e combat, you've got around 5-6 rounds, tops.  And it seems very likely that Next's encounter design is going to trend more to the shorter, more frequent combats (with the possibility of just stringing them together), based around the adventure rather than the encounter.

The scope of potential choices has to be considered in relation to the actual quantity of choices made.  There simply aren't as many decision points in D&D combat, so using MMOs as a model doesn't really help much.



I don't really have a fully fledged opinion on this. I was using the MMO analogy because I'm familiar with it.

I do know however that I'm happy with the number of options at low level in the current playtest and I was extremely unhappy with the number of options fighters had in AD&D (before the book with all the maneuvers) and the very low number of options you had at lower levels in 4th edition. I didn't really like the 50-60 spells to choose from with my 3rd edition wizard either.
10 spells per day for a wizard? That's not a lot of spells!

It might tie into my preference that the wizard shouldn't be casting spells every round, but for the purpose of this discussion I'm willing to concede that a basic firebolt or magic missile can be an at-will that's appropriate in most situations.

I don't know what games you've been playing, but the last time I killed Deathwing, I don't recall using more than half a dozen different spells over the course of the entire series of encounters... fireball... fireball... fire blast... pyroblast... fireball ... fireball...

There also a lot of highly situation spells that, in the context of DDN, you would never prepare because you could always cast it as a ritual - teleportation spells, create food, that sort of thing.  Sure, you technically have a bunch of other spell sets (ice bolts, arcane whatever), but you're not expected to use those once you've specialized.

You have your basic fall-back at-will (fireball or fire blast, where - disregarding their contrived game mechanics, the difference is whether you want to move and cast or just stand in place), and a lot of more situational things that you might use (flamestrike, blast wave).



That sounds like an awful MMO! D&D Online?

I don't mind wizards casting fewer spells if they have something else to do when they're not casting a spell. If all you do as a wizard is cast at most 2 spells and swing your staff the rest of the time, that's not satisfying at all.
That sounds like an awful MMO! D&D Online?

I don't mind wizards casting fewer spells if they have something else to do when they're not casting a spell. If all you do as a wizard is cast at most 2 spells and swing your staff the rest of the time, that's not satisfying at all.

The reason the game failed me, from my perspective, was that there was never a question of which spell to cast - you know ahead of time that you want to cast two fireballs, then a fire blast, and when your special proc goes off then you can cast a free pyroblast.  Essentially, there was always a "most correct" move because the only metric for success was how much damage you could deal (well, as long as you stayed alive, but that was mostly about gimmicks and whether you read up on the fight ahead of time so that you would know exactly what they expect you to do in each new, gimicky situation).

I mean, I guess there are some people who have fun with that, because the game is still the biggest fish in the pond, but I want a game I play to be about choices rather than flawless execution down a pre-determined path.

If the only maneuvers a barbarian ever had in combat were basic attack (which should always remain viable), power attack (sacrifice accuracy for increased damage), and cleave (reduced accuracy and/or damage, but hits 2-3 targets), then that feels like enough.  A couple of at-will, always applicable abilities, so there's always a choice, but also a more situational move for when single-target abilities stop being useful.  Maybe even add a whirlwind (hits everyone around you, but it's a full-round action so you can't move), if they could find a way to make that difference meaningful, so you have a choice in a crowd as well.

Likewise, I was really happy with the options available to a warlock, back in 3.5 - even just the eldritch blast was more than enough, once you picked up a shape or two.  Even the dragonfire adept made for interesting gameplay, trying to maneuver into position for either a 15' cone or 30' line where I could hit as many enemies as possible without hitting an ally!

I don't care how few options I have at a time, as long as that choice is always meaningful!

The metagame is not the game.

I'm gonna go with an increasing amount starting around 3 to 5 and maxing out at maybe 15, as long as all options are for the most part equal depending on the situation (sometimes lightning bolt is better than fireball sometimes worse).  
I would want 3-5 options at all times. Then add a few extra situational options.

For casters I think they should have about 3 daily spells per encounter at all levels. So every other round they use their Minor spells, but the other rounds they get to use their big nova spells. So around level 5 to 9 is about right for Wizards anything else is out of range if they continue with the same progression they have now.

The Cleric being a gish (weapon/caster) means they get less spells but have the same power level as the Wizard spells and nearly the same power level as the Fighter using weapons. So their options are attack with weapon, channel divinity, or cast a spell. I think maybe they should restore their spells on a short rest or start with more spells if they get 3 spells that would work fine. Maybe a 2 weapon attacks per 1 spell ratio or about 2 daily spells per encounter. So they need around 8 spells total which means they aren't hitting their sweet spot until a much higher level than we have in the play test. Even going with 1 spell per encounter we need to double the spells they get now.

Fighters are about right they get 5 options at level 5. Maybe at later levels they can swap those options out or get options that have requirements to make them situational.

Rogues have 2 options attack or hide. They kind of have a third situational option with sneak attack. If no one notices them or they manage to get advantage they get to use the sneak attack damage. That's about right, though they might get 2 more options. Maybe if they don't have advantage they could use their sneak attack in other ways...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I'm gonna go with an increasing amount starting around 3 to 5 and maxing out at maybe 15, as long as all options are for the most part equal depending on the situation (sometimes lightning bolt is better than fireball sometimes worse).  



Lots of options is one of the reasons that 4E bogged down.

I don't think that the players should ever have more than five or so useful options in any given situation. 

Or at least - all classes should not.  There may be a few exceptions (such as the wizard) who have that kind of versatility.  But the kiss of death for the new edition would be, in my opinion, to decide that all classes need to have that many options.

And if class envy means that the wizard can't have that many options unless everyone does -then I'd rather see wizards options cut back to match everyone else than everyone else's expanded to match the wizard.


And the diea that all options should be 'more or less equal depending on the situation' is incomprehensible to me.  The optoins should never be equal - or what it the point of having options.  Each option should be the best one for some particular situation and the others should be less useful.  If the options are equal - what is the point of having options?

Carl
I have a fighting game which gives approximately 32 options (Note that at any given time you may have anywhere from only have 3 to 16 choices being available and/or viable) ... invariably attempts to create custom choice matrices result in somewhat more moves than that like 8 or 10 more -- so lets call it 42 since thats the meaning of life the universe and everything.
 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Technically though I am just saying 42 because its code words for improvisation potentially allowing ahem a bunch.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

It depends on the expected life-span of the character. A gamma world character for example has less options than a 4e character of the same level. However since even if by some miracle said character lives through a couple adventures they're probably nearing level 10 and looking to retire before some gun toting rabbit gets lucky.

A dnd character on the other hand can be expected to last months or years, and switching them out every time you get bored with one is hard on the narrative unless it's a real meat grinder of a game. The longer I'm gonna be stuck with a character the more options I want, one of the reason's 4e retrain rules were so useful for me, It made it easy to change things around when I got tired of my attack routines.
My understanding is that the human mind can't hold more than 7 things in working memory at once.

In my mind, this means that a player should not have more than 7 unique options open to them, else looking up books and tables and all sorts of other things become required. 
2-3 At will options, 3-4 options you can recover after a short rest, 3-4 "game changing" options that allow a significant effect on a fight that you recover after an extended rest... throw in some non attack utility abilities and it's all good.

Yes I like the 4e setup for all characters as far as the number of abilities available.  What I'd like to have seen was some additional options for others that didn't like certain aspects but the NUMBER and relative power of them was about right.
 
You will have to break up the options between combat, utility, and skills, but overall gaining a new choice every other level appears to be manageable. You can also add feats, specialties, and backgrouns to the equation.

So you would have 5 meaningful choices at 10th for all the categories listed, and at 20th there would be 10. However, the vancian classes tend to break this trend at higher levels for spells, and it gets even more complicated when you add rituals.

What I am more concerned about is variety of choices for martial characters, so they are not relegated to attacking AC throughout the adventure or their careers. I would like them to have attacks that target saving throws, just like vancian casters. So a trip maneuver would require a reflex save.

I am not convinced on the idea of optional complexity, unless it is presented in the form of a simple core, then added details through modules, but in theory you can make you character as simple as you like in regards to the types of options chosen. This may help present a 1E fighter versus one in 3E.
  
These are important facts of life to remember.

www.nytimes.com/2010/02/27/your-money/27...

and
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_memory#Exp...


I'm hoping the DnD team knows about this and uses this in their decision making procress.

 
I'm gonna go with an increasing amount starting around 3 to 5 and maxing out at maybe 15, as long as all options are for the most part equal depending on the situation (sometimes lightning bolt is better than fireball sometimes worse).  



Lots of options is one of the reasons that 4E bogged down.

I don't think that the players should ever have more than five or so useful options in any given situation. 

Or at least - all classes should not.  There may be a few exceptions (such as the wizard) who have that kind of versatility.  But the kiss of death for the new edition would be, in my opinion, to decide that all classes need to have that many options.

And if class envy means that the wizard can't have that many options unless everyone does -then I'd rather see wizards options cut back to match everyone else than everyone else's expanded to match the wizard.


And the diea that all options should be 'more or less equal depending on the situation' is incomprehensible to me.  The optoins should never be equal - or what it the point of having options.  Each option should be the best one for some particular situation and the others should be less useful.  If the options are equal - what is the point of having options?

Carl



You misunderstood me, they will not be always equal, but it will depend on the situation sometimes one will be better choice.

Anyways I disagree with the idea that certain classes should have less options, simply put I prefer the option for the player to choose how many they want.  Either way lots is subjective, I don't find 15 to be overpowering, some of course will. Especially if you can quickly drop some of them based on the situation they find themselves in.

Basically I think we agree, just that we have different ideas about what lots count as.

Although if you did understand me correctly in what I orginally posted just in case I'm going to say is it really an option if one ability is always better than the others.  For instance if fireball is always better than lightening bolt, and lightning bolt is better than fire burst etc.  why would you ever bother with anything other than fireball.

10 spells per day for a wizard? That's not a lot of spells!



Including rituals that don't require slots? No, that's perfectly reasonable. The Wizard should not keep gaining more and more slots. Extrapolating the current spells a Wizard gets in Next, it looks like the chart will lok the same as that in 3E, meaning at level 20 they will have 36 spell slots, plus cantrips. This is just totally ridiculous. This is enough spells that they can just use them all the time, which defeats the supposed purpose of having them on a daily-use basis. Saying "well, low level spells will start to be useless compared to cantrips, so nobody will use them!", while being wrong since many low level utility powers will still be useful, makes you wonder why they even still have those slots.

Basicly, Wizards should gain spell slots up to a reasonable amount (6-10) and then from that point the slots just upgrade. A level 1 spell slot will eventually become a level 2, etc. Remove all spells from the spell slot system that don't require quick-casting and move them to rituals. Leave spell slots ONLY for combat and spells that need to be cast quickly.
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Basicly, Wizards should gain spell slots up to a reasonable amount (6-10) and then from that point the slots just upgrade. A level 1 spell slot will eventually become a level 2, etc. Remove all spells from the spell slot system that don't require quick-casting and move them to rituals. Leave spell slots ONLY for combat and spells that need to be cast quickly.



Hmmm, 10 spells. That's 2 spells per fight. So the wizard goes spell, spell, staff, staff, staff? Sounds about right for Gandalf!

I do like the idea of upgrading spell slots and rituals part a lot. But it doesn't seem to be that popular around here. Oh well.
I noticed that a few people are getting concerned about the number of options available in *character creation/leveling* for a given class, rather than on a per-day (wizard choosing what spells to prep) or per-action (any character choosing what attack or defense to use *right now*) basis.

So I'll state my opinion on how many combat options should be available to choose from when leveling: Dozens, but not hundreds. For every class (and similar numbers for each class). And the *new* options that become available at any given level should be similarly powerful after taking into account how situational they are, how frequently they can be used, etc., regardless of class. 

If you think that is excessive... The large majority of the time, the player will choose from only the highest-level abilities he *can* put in the slot. Lower-level abilities will generally not be considered, and more-than-one-level-lower almost never, so they have little impact on the number of options the player looks at. Also, the player will go through those options individually first, and dismiss many of them as either weak, duplicative of stuff he already has, or unsuitable for the character for some other reason, so only a few abilities actually need to be compared to each other.

For "how many options do I have to use right now in combat on my turn", again I'd like to see similar numbers and similar power across all classes; but of course the numbers need to be quite a bit lower. Two dozen is probably excessive. Five is probably too few. Complicating things, characters with (in particular) daily-use options see their number of options decline through the day. But as a raw count, before some are excluded for not fitting the situation, I favor at least a dozen. Possibly swapping some, but not all, of those out for options that I can use when it is not my turn.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
My prefered character (which is not to say I wouldn't want to play something with more options occasionally) would have about 3 options during play (as opposed to design), but they would be very flexible.  For example one of my favorite 3rd edition characters was a cleric who "wasted" a feat taking spiked chain proficiency.  But I loved how, with one tool, he could trip, disarm, entangle, or damage opponents.  With one tool, he could step to the front if needed, stay in the second rank ready to heal battered fighters in the front, or melee attack enemies positioned where others couldn't hit.  Out of combat, the same spiked chain had versitility to "snag and drag", securely bind, support substantial payloads, or distribute its weight in desigered patterns.  Healing magic, the spiked chain and his second level domain spell (detect thoughts) were all he really needed.  
 
For another example, I once played a 3.5 edition sorceror whose primary spells were unseen servant and misdirection.  Admittedly, he was kind of contrived, and the DM granted him certain liberties, but his main purpose was to demonstrate to a couple of "power gamers" in the group that a sorceror didn't need to roll 3 eighteens for stats and wield a 120 ft wide lightningbolt (attempting to exploit an ambiguity in the spell description) to be effective.  While my sorceror would not have gone far unacompanied by a competant fighter, you would be surprized what a single unseen servant can do during a battle when it is your best choice.  I used everything from dumping water on oil lamps to wrapping rags around opponent's eyes, to unbuckling opponent belts or cutting armor straps.  Misdirection proved an amazing utility.  The character once discerned the true intentions of a powerful NPC by cating the spell on that NPC (trading auras with it), then later having his aura read under nonthreatening conditions.  Another time, this character guided his party through a maze rife with lethal magic traps by using the reasoning that the traps had to be triggered by detecting auras of passers by.  So he cast misdirection on himself and a rock, then through the rock down the hall.  After the magic discharged (thoroughly killing the rock), the party passed unharmed while the traps reset.

There is an almost magical satisfaction when a character devises clever and creative solutions to problems using very limited resources -- but this accomplishment absolutely hinges on the design of thase resources.  A cleric with the traditional mace would have been far less interesting to me, and a sorceror with, say protection from arrows and enlage person would have been more conventionally useful, but would probably never shine. 
My prefered character (which is not to say I wouldn't want to play something with more options occasionally) would have about 3 options during play (as opposed to design), but they would be very flexible.  For example one of my favorite 3rd edition characters was a cleric who "wasted" a feat taking spiked chain proficiency.  But I loved how, with one tool, he could trip, disarm, entangle, or damage opponents.


And right there you've enumerated the three options you say the character should have. So I presume your cleric had no other weapons and no spells.


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
My prefered character (which is not to say I wouldn't want to play something with more options occasionally) would have about 3 options during play (as opposed to design), but they would be very flexible.  For example one of my favorite 3rd edition characters was a cleric who "wasted" a feat taking spiked chain proficiency.  But I loved how, with one tool, he could trip, disarm, entangle, or damage opponents.


And right there you've enumerated the three options you say the character should have. So I presume your cleric had no other weapons and no spells.





I guess whether you count spiked chain use as one option or 3 depends upon upon how you define option -- my use of the term should be clear from context.   And certainly the character had other options/spells.  My point is that I would have been satisfied with those options if he had no other.
These are important facts of life to remember.
 
 


People being able to maintian 7 ... unrelated distinct things in mind at a time.. .but if you introduce patterns and relationships between them and then combine those 7 in multiple ways the resultant options can be huge. Do we start at 7 factorial?
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I'd like a variety so players can pick the individual playstyle they like.

At the bottom end, I think a class with essentially one interesting combat option is fine.
At the top end, I'd say about forty to sixty options or variations on options.

I think skills should be an independent system.  You should get multiple skill points per level.  There should be lots of skills to choose from.

I think feats should be like skills.  So every class doesn't get them.  But they should encompass non-magical activity for those that want it.



 
I would like 10 per level.  This way I know any combat session is going to take 10 times the length of any roleplay session, at a minimum.  This way we can proportion the time slots for a two hour period like this:

Roleplay = 10 min.
Combat = 100 min.
Break = 10 min.

Perfect!

 
I think the correct number of options should be around 5-10.  For all classes.

If you have a class that has 1 option, they might as well not show up.  They can just tell the DM "Hey I swing my sword every round, let me know when combat is over so I can start using my complete lack of skills instead."

If you have a class with few options 1-3, there is very limited choice and all three options have to be extremely broad in application.  If they're not then you run the risk of situations where none of the characters options is acceptable.  This is just poor design.  An example would be a 2e fighter, he can hit things with his sword, or maybe shoot his bow.  That's about the end of his list.

On the other side if you have a character with 20 options, every time his turn rolls around combat stops or slows to a crawl as he looks over the battle, goes though his huge choice of options and finally picks one.  An example of this would be a vancian caster from 1-3e.  

At around 5-10 options you can start to diversify into less broadly applicable abilities like "Stab someone extra hard when he isn't looking" or "Push an enemy a short distance".  They you can have 1-2 broad application abilties that are good in most situations with the remainder being more specific in use.  This should avoid analysis paralysis in that the number of options should be small enough to be easily kept in mind and recalled without shuffling through piles of cards or lists of spells.  At the same time it avoids the crushing boredom of "Ok, I do this until the combat stops".  An example of this would be 4e, especially in heroic or paragon teir.  

Allowing any class to have substantially more options than the others first creates imblance problems, and second creates a problem where that class absorbs an inordinate amount of DM attention.  Death to both of these things, they should be killed with fire. 
for a fighter 4 total.

meele single target.
meele multiple target.
ranged single target.
ranged multiple target.

end.


Any more than that at it starts to feel like a MMORPG with multiple buttons to "click" in a given situation.
For what it's worth, I've also met players who really enjoyed the melee-attack only fighter.  Remember, even if you only have a single-target melee attack, you still have to deal with picking a target (whenever there's more than one, so most of the time) and getting to the target.

At least in 3.X, and from what I recall of 4E, melee combatants also had to (well, wanted to) play the flanking game and avoid (or provoke) opportunity attacks, and worry about giving clear shots to their ranged team-mates while restricting the movement of enemies.  Compounding all of that with additional attack options could easily be overwhelming to a lot of players.

The metagame is not the game.

Fighters get maneuvers, sorcerers and warlocks get spells known, clerics get some kind of swapable "known spell" list, wizard gets fire and forget spells and rogues get nothing. Each of these are options that each of these classes can chose from each round.

At level 1, all classes get somewhere between 3 and 5ish cool moves to do in combat at level 1. At level 5, it's more like 7-11. I don't know about you guys, but I'm very happy with these figures.

Sounds OK, doesn't it? (except for the rogue - what do you mean 'nothing?')  Of course, the viability and weight of each of those in-combat choices is also important, and the time frame in which they can be traded out.   For instance, if a wizard starts the day with 5 daily spells, and casts 3, his choices in the next battle will between 2 daily spells, so his choices decline as the day progresses, while the Fighter's, for instance, remain the same.  Conversely, each day the wizard can prep different spells, So over two days, he might have had as many as 10 distinct choices, while the fighter's options stay the same each day.  For another instance, if the decision of which spell to cast in the first round might make a huge difference in the outcome of the battle, the difference between a tough fight and a roll-over, then that choice carries a lot of weight, while the fighter's decisions over the course of the battle might cause him to take a little less damage, or deny one enemy an attack by killing it a round sooner, so could be made more casually.

:shrug:

As far as how much choice increases with level, players don't 'level' like their characters.  That is, system mastery or 'player skill' or whatever you want to call it is acquired on a learning curve.  When you're just learning the game, even a few choices can be overwhelming, but you very quickly get to the point where you can handle more, then level off.  So, maybe PCs don't need to steadily gain options.  Maybe they should start with a few, quickly gain some, and from then on simply change out options rather than add new ones, to keep the total number from getting too inflated.   For that matter, you only play for the first time once, so while 'first timer' options might be nice, there should also be more choice-rich options for experienced players playing at low level, and/or choice-lite options for casual/inexperienced players jumping in at higher levels.   Those options should /not/ be whole classes, locking some character concepts into 'training wheel' classes and some into 'advanced' classes is a bad idea that limits what you can do with the game.  

 

 

 

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Hmmm, 10 spells. That's 2 spells per fight. So the wizard goes spell, spell, staff, staff, staff? Sounds about right for Gandalf!



Or instead of staff, minor at-will spells.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
for a fighter 4 total.

meele single target.
meele multiple target.
ranged single target.
ranged multiple target.

end.

Any more than that at it starts to feel like a MMORPG with multiple buttons to "click" in a given situation.



Are you joking.

Seriously.

It's almost depressing that there are still people saying that tactical decisions are "LIKE AN MMO!!!!" while "press the button to auto-attack" is preferable. You know that in real life people have to react to specific situations with a descision of what response to take, right? Have you really been so indoctrinated by previous editions that you think that trained warriors just "swing sword" over and over? And do you honestly think that's a good idea to include as a class, a character that could be played by a dice roller? And what about casters? Their entire CLASS is a collection of buttons for specific situations! Or what about the special combat techniques presented in other editions, like trip/disarm/etc from 3E? Were those not "buttons"? And how are abilities geared to be used in special situations/to gain specific advantages a bad thing? Just because you decided to apply the terminology of a videogame of it to try to generate an emotional response from others who hate videogames?

  I just... can't believe that the "can't think of good reasons, blame it on MMORPGs!" atittude is still around.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Its because I play with the DM describing the details of the world and combat. I don't like forcing the DM into doing anything. The DM should be in charge of the game. Every time you put in rules about how players actions effect the world you take away from the DM's ability to be creative.