Feats and Specialties

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello!

I am wondering on one thing since reading how Feats and Specialties will be handled. If both (taking a pre-defined specialty or take just the feats you want) won't there be some players who just stack together the "strongest" feats (and taking the really strong ones already at low-level), and other players who go for the "RPG Style" and choose the specialization, and in combat the ones who go the first way end up much stronger?

This is a problem I actually had with 4e (having people who just go for the strongest math, no matter if it "fits together" or not, and other people who designed nicely thought out characters who were just weaker), and I think this is something which needs to be addressed in D&D Next (actually this is something which just recently nearly "killed" my RPG group, this went up till the guy who was most insistive to "create the ultimately optimized character" writing long mails to people "who they could optimize their characters", suggesting changing the RACE of the character and everything). I see the same big issue with the Feat/specialty system if both options (using free Feat usage or only tied to Specialties) are available to players.

Currently (if there is not some sort of change later-on) I see only the chance as DM to either say "only specialties, please" or "no specialties" (the latter would be a waste of a nice concept).

MagicSN
 
Hello!

I am wondering on one thing since reading how Feats and Specialties will be handled. If both (taking a pre-defined specialty or take just the feats you want) won't there be some players who just stack together the "strongest" feats (and taking the really strong ones already at low-level), and other players who go for the "RPG Style" and choose the specialization, and in combat the ones who go the first way end up much stronger?

This is a problem I actually had with 4e (having people who just go for the strongest math, no matter if it "fits together" or not, and other people who designed nicely thought out characters who were just weaker), and I think this is something which needs to be addressed in D&D Next (actually this is something which just recently nearly "killed" my RPG group, this went up till the guy who was most insistive to "create the ultimately optimized character" writing long mails to people "who they could optimize their characters", suggesting changing the RACE of the character and everything). I see the same big issue with the Feat/specialty system if both options (using free Feat usage or only tied to Specialties) are available to players.

Currently (if there is not some sort of change later-on) I see only the chance as DM to either say "only specialties, please" or "no specialties" (the latter would be a waste of a nice concept).

MagicSN
 

It's okay for people to go for the 'strongest'. It's the responsibility of the game designers to make sure that the mathematically strongest options aren't that much stronger. 

System mastery is fun. It just musn't be the be-all end-all. 

Your 4e issue seems to have been a social issue - one overbearing player just forced it on everyone's mind. Even there, the amount of power they amassed was NOTHING compared to how bad things could get in 3e.

Imagine, if this particular player had, yes, indeed optimized their character --- and kept their mouth shut, otherwise. They would have been powerful, yes.  They would also have been happy with their character AND someone the party could rely on in a combat situation. 

 
I'm hoping Feats will be strictly optional (and Skills).



+1

-1000 to Skill Mastery

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Yeah, the Rogue has class features tied to Feats and Skills, which I think is a mistake.


I have to grant that the class does make the mistake of having bonus feats - but the other abilities, those that have skill in the name, don't actually rely upon skills in order to function.

Skill tricks don't actually require skills to be in use to still function as written.

Skill mastery only directly affects skill dice, which are used in skill tricks, so the ability still functions as written with skills not in use.

Really, it's just like AD&D or BECMI where rogue-type characters have skills even if you aren't including the optional skill systems (non-weapon proficiencies, for example).
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla
Just to avoid a misunderstanding: I like Feats and Optimization. I optimize my characters as well. But for me the RPG comes first. If I see players like "I want to play a sorcerer, well I will make him a Dragonborn because with this and that build I get a further minor action attack power I can basically use nearly every round" - that's not like RPG should be. People should choose what sort of characters (and I do not mean the NUMBERS) they want to play and THEN decide the maths-things like powers etc. Not decide the style of the character because of maths. And I like the ability to be able to optimize inside what I decided my character to be. But not optimization ruling over my character theme/style options (or my character being much weaker if I ignore this).

And with the specialty/feat thing this sounds as an obvious issue in D&D Next unless there are still some unreleased rules about specialities/feats (maybe certain feats require a minimum level?)

The biggest issue with 4e optimization (and which should be addressed in 5e) are things like "if you play a xxx it should be themed around this-and-that forms of attack (like fire/frost/whatever" or "if you play a xxx race yyy is optimal.

As to the "player keeping quiet on his optimization" - we had that too, in other (non-D&D) RPG Systems. Some people played "stronger classes", some "weaker classes". Back then we tried to balance this out with houserules, but in the end things just became SO complicated with all those tons of rules. So right now personally I think two things are important for a newly released system (like D&D Next):

- Balance between different classes/specs (not 100%, this surely is not possible, but that the extremes are not too big)
- That people are not "forced" into specific styles for their characters
you know, i dont see it as the rogue gettiing bonus feats. i see it as there are feats which give you rogue features. :P
MagicSN, I can understand your cocncern. In the playtest game I'm in, we have a few players that read the packets as they are released and choose their characters' feats and skills carefully. However, the vast majority pick a specialty or background based on the description. I'm one of the optimizers, so I can tell the difference. Fortunately, with the exception of one player, who has said several times she wished she had focused on dexterity rather than strength, no one has complained. However, I can see that changing if we get a few more optimizers and some characters that clash more directly. For example, I suspect our archery-oriented rogue would dislike playing with a two-weapon rogue who takes Two-Weapon Strike to get advantage on every attack, a benefit the archer has to spend an action to gain.

In an ideal world, that would never happen. In an ideal world, the optimizers would be mature and smart enough to avoid overshadowing other players or bringing a bag of stats to a roleplay-oriented group. Of course, we don't live in an ideal world. Even well-meaning players can build characters that are too powerful or too weak, especially if they're new to the game and unfamilliar with the rules.

With that in mind, I share your hope that the differences between optimal choices and character-motivated choices will be minor.  In theory, achieving that goal in D&D Next should be easier than it was in 3.5 and 4E because players get fewer options. Instead of choosing a race, a class, a theme, 15 feats, a paragon path, and an epic destiny–not to mention choosing powers from a vast pool–players choose only a race, a class, 4 feats, and spells or maneuvers. Furthermore, many of the class-specific options, such as cleric domains, wizard traditions, and rogue schemes, present mandate specific choices rather than allowing players to pick and choose.

Nevertheless, the current playtest has several balance issues. For example, clerics have little reason to fight with weapons rather than using lance of faith because it does comparable damage while allowing them to focus on their spellcasting attribute rather than strength or dexterity. The feat that grants advantage to two-weapon fighters seems almost as compelling for a rogue, so I'd have trouble justinfying a single-weapon melee rogue if I expected the game to reach level 9. That's an example of mechanics dictating characters I don't think anyone wants to see.

The designers could reduce the risk of that occuring by limiting the number of choices players make even more. For example, they could make sticking with a specialty mandatory or remove feats entirely, as many in this thread plan to do. Personally, I would find that extremely frustrating, as it would force me to play canned characters and take the fun out of learning the system.

The designers could also make choices mechanically equivalent. To some extent, they have already done this with weapon choice by putting most damage in weapon-agnostic damage dice. However, they could go further, allowing any character to gain the benefits currently restricted to people who use two weapons, polearms,  light weapons, or shields. That's a reasonable approach, but it would make the world less realistic and give people little to discover when they try a different character type.

I can't think of any other ways to prevent imbalances from occuring, so I am going to cross my fingers and hope the playtest catches the most glaring ones. Even if it does, I am sure some will creep up as Wizards of the Coast releases new material. As long as most of the people I play with seem decent and none of the imbalances get too extreme, I'll accept them as the price for a flexible system.