What bothers me a bit about how people see balance nowadays...

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It`s all about combat! That seems to be what balanced meens now! And if you have a combat based campaign I guess it`s ok. If you don`t have an intirely strategy board game-ish, combat encounter focused game. If not, should balance be all about combat?..

*Putting on my old man voice*
I remember when I played 2nd ed. I was perfectly happy with being a halfling thief who sucked at fighting, that was the fighters job(at least at earlier levels of play until the spellcasters caught up), my job was to be great in other situations outside of combat! It all balanced out, but not in combat necessarily, we all had areas where we were the best.

Does being balanced have to do with being just as good at fighting as all the other characters? Is that what it should mean in the next iteration?
In todays PC world, there can be no losers, only winners.
After having taught this to our children and ruining their ability to cope with failure, we now have to instill it in our games.
Everything is "balanced" so that everybody can do everything and nobody fails.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."- John Stuart Mill “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”― William F. Buckley "The straw in your man is amazing."- Maxperson Original Hipster of the House of Trolls: I was hipster before hipster was cool Resident Hater Mini Hate Machine
The whining response you'll get is that since you can't balance roleplay, COMBAT IS ALL THAT IS LEFT. And being a non-combatant, missing, or being forced to use to a secondary attack form are NOT FUN FOR ANYONE.
Yeeeeeh, I don't believe it, either. There's nothing wrong whatsoever with having comabt oriented and non-combat oriented classes.
Robin, you hit the nail on the head, sir.
Robin, you hit the nail on the head, sir.
To me balance doesn't imply that everyone is equally good at everything but instead supports everyone having a moment to shine (which is partly the DMs responsibility). Having a balanced core keeps newer DMs from falling into various traps that can ruin the fun of the game.

Edit: forgot to add internal consistency, which keeps people from getting fed up trying to untangle the rules. Before anybody complains, I'm going to say that it is a play test and you'd be better off documenting those inconsistencies than complaining that they exist.
Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.




But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something! The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.
Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.




But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something! The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.



But that's not rules.

When I DM conversations, I make the players roll.
Some DMs don't.
Some DMs use complex skill systems or roll challenges.

You can't balance a PC around being charming with one noncombat rule because not every group uses that rule.

There are groups out that don't even roll to disarm traps. You have to narrate correctly how you disarm traps.

How do you balance narration with numbers? You can't.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

It`s all about combat! That seems to be what balanced meens now! And if you have a combat based campaign I guess it`s ok. If you don`t have an intirely strategy board game-ish, combat encounter focused game. If not, should balance be all about combat?..

*Putting on my old man voice*
I remember when I played 2nd ed. I was perfectly happy with being a halfling rogue who sucked at fighting, that was the fighters job(at least at earlier levels of play until the spellcasters caught up), my job was to be great in other situations outside of combat! It all balanced out, but not in combat necessarily, we all had areas where we were the best.

Does being balanced have to do with being just as good at fighting as all the other characters? Is that what it should mean in the next iteration?



Actualy we should be trying for balance in other arenas as well I mean you have a wizard and a fighter, you balance them in combat ok with a old vancian wizard he could turn invissible for a number of hijynkins mind control everyone around them, open all the locks etc etc we have to also balance thatdon't you think?

Give other classes cool options outside of combat.

Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.




But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something! The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.



But that's not rules.

When I DM conversations, I make the players roll.
Some DMs don't.
Some DMs use complex skill systems or roll challenges.

You can't balance a PC around being charming with one noncombat rule because not every group uses that rule.

There are groups out that don't even roll to disarm traps. You have to narrate correctly how you disarm traps.

How do you balance narration with numbers? You can't.



I get what you are saying! But the things I mentioned are not just narration, it is what some classes are able to do that makes them really powerfull, but not in a combat sense. For instanse the druids ability to turn into an animal can extremely useful in many situations! The ability to create magic items or cast rituals. Utility powers and the like, how do you balance that? They managed to put a level on items like bag of holding and neverending rations, so they must be able to balance other things than combat too! Some characters can be useful in combat and others can be useful outside of combat, can`t that make sense and balance things out?

But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something!

They do, at least in the sense that there are rules for that. 4e's errata'd Stealth rules are quite good for this sort of thing. (They make sneaking around hard, unless you create a distraction.)

The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.





That type of character shouldn't be supported by D&D. You get a character who basically hides in a corner when combat breaks out. That's not cool. Just because it happened in a good story doesn't mean it should be happening in D&D. (Gandalf is almost an ur-example of a bad DMPC.)


That type of character shouldn't be supported by D&D. You get a character who basically hides in a corner when combat breaks out. That's not cool. Just because it happened in a good story doesn't mean it should be happening in D&D. (Gandalf is almost an ur-example of a bad DMPC.)



They supported that character before! In 2nd ed I stood at a distance and shot enemies with my sling or used sneak attack on occasion, but I was by no means a combatant and I was damn happy for having the fighter in my group when a combat broke out! He was damn happy to have me in other situations! It balanced out! It sucks if combat is all you ever do and they last forever of course, but does it have to be that way?..
I`m not saying combat balance is a bad thing, but I personaly like another form of game-balance and would like to see the game explore other options.
I know what works in other medias of story telling won`t always work in a game, I have a bchelor degree in animation and I made both short animations, video games and comics and studied story and character development in my education. I believe that type character may work in dnd if it has something to do and is useful outside of combat, an area it is good at, if the game is about something else than combat aswel!
Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.




But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something! The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.



But that's not rules.

When I DM conversations, I make the players roll.
Some DMs don't.
Some DMs use complex skill systems or roll challenges.

You can't balance a PC around being charming with one noncombat rule because not every group uses that rule.

There are groups out that don't even roll to disarm traps. You have to narrate correctly how you disarm traps.

How do you balance narration with numbers? You can't.



I get what you are saying! But the things I mentioned are not just narration, it is what some classes are able to do that makes them really powerfull, but not in a combat sense. For instanse the druids ability to turn into an animal can extremely useful in many situations! The ability to create magic items or cast rituals. Utility powers and the like, how do you balance that? They managed to put a level on items like bag of holding and neverending rations, so they must be able to balance other things than combat too! Some characters can be useful in combat and others can be useful outside of combat, can`t that make sense and balance things out?





Like I said before. It is hard to balance aspects of the game that are not guaranteed to be used in game with eah other. It is hard to balance a sneak with a warrior in a game with no stealth or combat (like a royal court scene). In the past, what was done is the weakening of all aspects of the game so that the PCs good at something was not too far from the weaker. A high Cha PC or a PC with enchantments wasn't that much better than a low Cha PC.

The more game styles, the harder balance is.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I don't understand. If you want a non-combattant, just play a balanced class without using its combat abilites.
You just have to warn the DM to allow him to balance combat encounters against one less adventurer.

Where is the problem ?
You solution is to not allow ones who need balance to play some classes.
Balance allows you to play any type of characters as non-combattant. Nothing forces you to use all the abilities of a character.
Rogues in 2nd editions didn't have more out of combat options as 3rd and 4th editions.
The last editions perfectly allowed to play a rogue like a 2nd edition thief.




Like I said before. It is hard to balance aspects of the game that are not guaranteed to be used in game with eah other. It is hard to balance a sneak with a warrior in a game with no stealth or combat (like a royal court scene). In the past, what was done is the weakening of all aspects of the game so that the PCs good at something was not too far from the weaker. A high Cha PC or a PC with enchantments wasn't that much better than a low Cha PC.

The more game styles, the harder balance is.



They have balanced or at least put levels on both utility powers and magic items that are pretty much flavour only, so it should be possible! I`m not talking about ability scores or rp, I`m talking about things a character can do, like turning into animals, turning invisible, flying maybe, charm npc`s with a speach or song, make traps, open locks and pick pockets, make magic items... Utility like powers or abilities.

I actually don't think things should be balanced all around combat. One of the best balanced fantasy RPGs I have played is WFRPG 3e. It is not balanced around combat at all. But, every character will be useful, and everyone can be built within a certain degree of effectiveness at any area of the game if you so choose. 

I don't need all classes in D&DN to be equally effective at combat. But, I don't have a tolerance for the drastic levels of deviation found in 2e. I won't ever play another D&D game with something like the 2e thief. That being said, if a rogue gets out of combat powers that a fighter doesn't get, I expect it to pay for those powers with some degree of combat affectivity, because balance is not JUST about combat. Making it all about combat was 4e’s mistake, and as a result the game was horribly imbalanced at anything other than combat (and was not balanced any better in combat than WFRPG 3e).

RM is a decently balanced game, I think. But the mechanics are different than D&D.
I very rarely play D&D anymore, and most certainly have given up on DMing, so I know very little about 4th edition or its facade of balance.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."- John Stuart Mill “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”― William F. Buckley "The straw in your man is amazing."- Maxperson Original Hipster of the House of Trolls: I was hipster before hipster was cool Resident Hater Mini Hate Machine
Balance is "mostly" around Combat because combat rules is the only part of D&D most groups agree on.

Once you get to noncombat, everything goes crazy with Full Narritive Never Rolls groups, to Charisma Check Mind control groups,  to touchy-feely traps, to Disable Traps rolls, to "Since my fighter is a knight, I should get a bonus" groups.




But sneaking in to lairs, fooling monsters or npc`s, disableing or making traps, opening locks or picking pockets, rituals, turning into anoimals, shapeshifting, making items and many other things are all very tangible things you can do outside of combat! IMO that should all count for something! The weak and fish-out-of-water character on an adventuer is an appealing archetype to many players, just see Bilbo as an example! I agree with ardekrag that there should or could be combat oriented classes on non-combat oriented classes, as long as you have some areas you excel at.



Then such a person can choose to gimp his character that way.  The game itself needs to be balanced to be playable; you shouldn't automatically be bad at something simply because of a race or class choice.  Such things should happen because the player wants it, not because the system demands it.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
That type of character shouldn't be supported by D&D. You get a character who basically hides in a corner when combat breaks out. That's not cool.

So, I guess I'm the only one who had players run Apostles of Peace effectively in combat-oriented campaigns?
Everyone should be useful at every time; this doesn't mean everyone has to shine all the time. In my years of DMing, the worst possible thing is when one player sits bored during a scene because he has nothing to do. The second worst thing is when a character fails to be good at what thep layer thought he'd be good at.

D&D is a game about heroic combat and treasure hunting; pretty much all else has been added on, no? Thus, everyone should have something to do in every combat scene and every exploration scene. The fighter's the high strength guy, so he can push open doors (or hold them back against a horde of enemies); the rogue's the high dex guy, so he deals with the traps, the wizard's the intelligent guy so he figures out puzzels ...

Let everyone shine. It's not about some political correctness kick that one of the original posters called out. It's about everyone getting to have fun, because everyone's playing the same game; it would be like playing chess, but one player doesn't get their bishops because their pieces are shaped lke dragons, so they're cooler ... 
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
It's not about some political correctness kick that one of the original posters called out.


Can you definitively prove it isn't?

I'll wait.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."- John Stuart Mill “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”― William F. Buckley "The straw in your man is amazing."- Maxperson Original Hipster of the House of Trolls: I was hipster before hipster was cool Resident Hater Mini Hate Machine
That type of character shouldn't be supported by D&D. You get a character who basically hides in a corner when combat breaks out. That's not cool.

So, I guess I'm the only one who had players run Apostles of Peace effectively in combat-oriented campaigns?

Defensive characters are combat oriented. I think the dubject is more about classes like 2nd edition thieves who were throwing peanuts at tarasque and archdevils, weakening parties in these situations instead of staying at home.

Bilbo is supposed to be some kind of ninja, and Frodo carries the cursed ring, there are reasons to bring these walking plot devices in dangerous adventures.
In rpgs, it feels artificial to force adventurers to weaken their chances of survival by taking a princess in their group. Even more in D&D where dangers can teleport at your home directly in your soup bowl.

To me balance doesn't imply that everyone is equally good at everything but instead supports everyone having a moment to shine (which is partly the DMs responsibility). Having a balanced core keeps newer DMs from falling into various traps that can ruin the fun of the game.



Yeah. This is ideally what balance should be about. It doesn't mean that people should be able to equally contribute in every encounter, it should mean that everyone has thier niche that they get to be really good at, and that those niches should come up relatively evenly in frequency.

Obviously this will never be 100% because adventures will vary, but we can try to get it as close as possible.

Xeviat, sometimes people shouldn't be useful. Sometimes it should be the wizard who's reduced to shooting his crossbow or throwing darts, sometimes the fighter should become a javelin tossing machine, sometimes the rogue should get stuck disarming a trap. That's fun. Knowing that everyone can contribute all the time isn't.
Xeviat, sometimes people shouldn't be useful. Sometimes it should be the wizard who's reduced to shooting his crossbow or throwing darts, sometimes the fighter should become a javelin tossing machine, sometimes the rogue should get stuck disarming a trap. That's fun. Knowing that everyone can contribute all the time isn't.



And sometimes fans and customers don't know what they're talking about.
It`s all about combat! That seems to be what balanced meens now!  


No fact is wizards are too potent outside of combat and fighters have no class features that arent combat how does that sound like its all about combat... to you in other words your first and main point is categorically wrong.
  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's not about getting each PC something useful  or powerdul to do 100% of the time, it is making each PC feel useful more than 50% of the time.

An it is hard to do that because of varying playstyles, without a hard social contract or a massive complex ruleset.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

It's not about getting each PC something useful  or powerdul to do 100% of the time, it is making each PC feel useful more than 50% of the time.

An it is hard to do that because of varying playstyles, without a hard social contract or a massive complex ruleset.



So what about games where you rarely or almost never have combat encounters? If they should try to balance anything, shouldn`t it be a varied game, and not focus it all on combat?
 

So what about games where you rarely or almost never have combat encounters? If they should try to balance anything, shouldn`t it be a varied game, and not focus it all on combat?



Do you actually hear anyone saying its awesome the rogue sucked in combat and that the fighter only has combat options?
  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."

 


So what about games where you rarely or almost never have combat encounters? If they should try to balance anything, shouldn`t it be a varied game, and not focus it all on combat?



It's a matter of time and how long things take. Combat takes a while. NPC interaction takes a while. Disarming a trap or following tracks does not. While it's fine to have the rest of the party wait around while the thief makes one check to disarm a trap, it's not okay to have a PC suck in every combat the party runs into. It's also not okay to have PCs be unable to participate in interacting with NPC scenes, because those can be quite lengthy as well.
It's not about some political correctness kick that one of the original posters called out.


Can you definitively prove it isn't?

I'll wait.



Burden of Proof falacy anyone? You made the initial claim, so I'm going to ask you to bring the proof. You clame there's a pink elephant in my room; show it to me.

People want to have fun in a game. No one would play a game, let's use chess as the example again, where one person got 2 turns and the other person got nothing to compensate: that's the Fighter vs. the Wizard. The Wizard is always useful, in combat and out of combat, while the Fighter is only useful in combat. Yes, they gave the Fighter a few maneuver options that are useful for exploration, but with such few slots for learning maneuvers, I doubt you'll see them in actual play. And yes, the Fighter will shine like a star when the wizard is out of spells, but the game is currently designed for 20 combat rounds per day, so that's a situation the game isn't designed for (and at low levels, a wizard's at-wills work just fine).

Heck, the wizard doesn't even have to burn spell slots for utility ... I mean ritual magic anymore. And yes, the fighter can still use ability checks to do out of combat things, but so can the wizard.

Have I covered all my bases yet? Wanting everyone to have a level playing field, to be able to enjoy themselves in a game, isn't some political correctness agenda.

I'll stop now before politics inserts itself into this thread. 
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
What I see here is moaning and complaining about 'Balance Fallacy'.

Balance is not about sameness.  Balance is about letting everyone at the table play.  When you have (in D&D's case) one class that can do everything after a certain level, and one class that's only effective in, what they call it?  The '3 Pillars'?  Whatever, if you have a class that's only effective at combat and nowhere else, and every other class can do at least two seperate aspects of the game...

That's not balance.  Everyone at the table should have a chance to participate in a Royal Banquet scene.  Everyone should have a chance to participate in a Gather Information scene.

It's HOW they do it that should be different.  Gather Information for a Rogue type is hitting the streets and finding out what the various guilds and other lowlifes are up to and what's happening.

Gather Information for a Cleric is checking at what the various religious institutions are doing, what's the politcal climate between them.  Even finding out which religions are allowed can tell you a lot.

Gather Information for a Mage is more complex, libraries or other institutions of learning are useful for this, but it'll be more likely to be esoteric and more focused on the arcane or secrets.

Gather Information for a Fighter type is likely to deal with Nobility, City Watch/Guard or Army.  Finding out what the laws are like, what sort of problems are likely to occur.  Even knowing which symbols that the guards wear is enough to get a picture of what the city will be like.

But that's everyone being allowed to do something at the table.

So what about games where you rarely or almost never have combat encounters? If they should try to balance anything, shouldn`t it be a varied game, and not focus it all on combat?



It's a matter of time and how long things take. Combat takes a while. NPC interaction takes a while. Disarming a trap or following tracks does not. While it's fine to have the rest of the party wait around while the thief makes one check to disarm a trap, it's not okay to have a PC suck in every combat the party runs into. It's also not okay to have PCs be unable to participate in interacting with NPC scenes, because those can be quite lengthy as well.



Story and Genre have an influence on frequencies of various interactions and you can have those things which generally take a whle - umm not take awhile... for instance combat resolved via singular choices and one die roll (see using combat in a skill challenge in 4e - an option not well enough elaborated on in my opinion), so its not utterly one way or the other.

One of the things I have advocated was allowing actual resolutions to be of varying detail according to group interest.. even situationally that is an appropriately flexible system. Think about in a novel the author may sometimes elaborate a fight blow by blow.. and sometimes they may just give a broad summary "and they hewed there way through many orcs, finally reaching the crown of the hill".
  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."

 

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What I see here is moaning and complaining about 'Balance Fallacy'.

Balance is not about sameness.  Balance is about letting everyone at the table play.  When you have (in D&D's case) one class that can do everything after a certain level, and one class that's only effective in, what they call it?  The '3 Pillars'?  Whatever, if you have a class that's only effective at combat and nowhere else, and every other class can do at least two seperate aspects of the game...

That's not balance.  Everyone at the table should have a chance to participate in a Royal Banquet scene.  Everyone should have a chance to participate in a Gather Information scene.

It's HOW they do it that should be different.  Gather Information for a Rogue type is hitting the streets and finding out what the various guilds and other lowlifes are up to and what's happening.

Gather Information for a Cleric is checking at what the various religious institutions are doing, what's the politcal climate between them.  Even finding out which religions are allowed can tell you a lot.

Gather Information for a Mage is more complex, libraries or other institutions of learning are useful for this, but it'll be more likely to be esoteric and more focused on the arcane or secrets.

Gather Information for a Fighter type is likely to deal with Nobility, City Watch/Guard or Army.  Finding out what the laws are like, what sort of problems are likely to occur.  Even knowing which symbols that the guards wear is enough to get a picture of what the city will be like.

But that's everyone being allowed to do something at the table.



I havent agreed with you this much ever....I am wowed.
  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."

 

The playtest packets are focused on combat because that's the bulk of any ruleset and the hardest part to get right.
Guys, this is simple.

Classes need to be balanced because if one of them is the best at everything, all of the time, then there is no reason to play anything else.

Obtaining class balance can mean different things, but in essence it boils down to each class being good at 1 or 2 things, bad at 1 or 2 things, and OK for everything else. This way, each individual in a party helps to compensate for the weaknesses of others.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
I think the issue with combat balance has more come from the way D&D has evolved. As the game has become more and more encounter based, and less overall arch based, the need for people to be useful in individual encounters has gone up. 
My two copper.
I think the issue with combat balance has more come from the way D&D has evolved. As the game has become more and more encounter based, and less overall arch based, the need for people to be useful in individual encounters has gone up. 



2e defined encounters as central to D&D ... we can get out the quotes.... but I am wondering when you think this transformation occured?
  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 think the issue with combat balance has more come from the way D&D has evolved. As the game has become more and more encounter based, and less overall arch based, the need for people to be useful in individual encounters has gone up. 



2e defined encounters as central to D&D ... we can get out the quotes.... but I am wondering when you think this transformation occured?


It hasn't been a transformation. D&D has always been somewhat encounter based. I mean look at some of the AD&D modules like Ravenloft. Very enouncter by encounter based. But the core system itself has become increasingly focused on encounter balance and the like in every edition, culminating in 4e's extreme focus on encounters (XP budgets, Healing surges, what have you.) It's not a bad evolution mind you, and 5e seems to have taken a step back. But that does not mean the minds of players have  

YMMV. 
My two copper.