Tyranny Of Fun

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The purpose of this thread is to address a problematic gaming trend that seems to be taking over in modern D&D. I've named this the Tyranny of Fun, as I'm not sure if it has any other name that I've seen.


What is the Tyranny of Fun?


In short, Tyranny of fun is the idea that all things that players do not like should be removed from the game. Things like getting removed from a combat by ghoul paralysis or knockout, or persistent injuries like energy drain or stat drain. Magic items are great, lets hand out a ton of those! PCs hate when their abilities get nullified, so lets have everything be vulnerable to sneak attack even if there's actually no weak spots to hit.

The Tyranny of fun is about trying to make the game nonstop fun, all the time.

Tyranny of Fun Elements in Next

-Word of Power healing
-Heal from zero
-Energy drain nerfed into the ground
-Hardly any means to remove a character from a combat
-No ability nullification (You can assassinate a genaltinous cube?)
-Super Clerics


What's wrong with Tyranny of Fun?


You may think: Well it's trying to be more fun? What's wrong with that?

Just because you're winning doesn't mean it's fun

This principle that comes from an episode of the Twilight Zone. In this particular episode, a compulsive gambler dies and wakes up in a casino. At first he wins and thinks: "I'm winning this must be heaven!" However, by the end of the episode he realizes that not only does he win, but he always wins, and concludes that he is in fact in hell, not heaven. I feel like D&D has started to resemble this more and more with each edition. It becomes increasingly less likely that the players lose. Even minor defeats, like having your magic sword sundered, getting energy drained or getting knocked out for a combat are largely a thing of the past.

But it's a game, it should be fun, right? Well not really. Games have their high points and low points. Anyone who has played anything remotely competitive knows that you can lose. And you can lose bad. Whether it was a game of basketball, Chess or Call of Duty Team deathmatch, you can get your ass kicked. And you know what, that probably wasn't very fun. That probably sucked, and sucked bad. But you wouldn't want to remove the possibility of losing entirely, because it would ruin those games. The victory becomes meaningless if the game is too easy and eventually people would just give up the game.

You need to challenge people and that means having memories of glorious victories and crushing defeats.

Monsters need identity

Monsters live and die on thier special abilities. If you want them to be memorable, they have to have bad things happen. I still remember the first time I ever fought a ghoul as a PC in 2nd edition, where you saw their ability to paralyze a PC for the combat. That was scary, that was really scary. I can't remember the first orc or goblin I fought. In fact I can't remember *any* orc or goblins I fought, because they were bland damage dealers. 

Now lets think of the memorable iconic D&D monsters: Mind Flayers, Beholders, Rust monsters, ghouls, wights, gelatinous cubes, Medusas. All those things had abilities that were going to screw you over, possibly even kill you. And these are monsters we remember in D&D. Think about that for a minute. We remember the energy drainers and the things with petrifying gazes, so much so that many of them become iconic parts of the game. Lets not lose that.

And this gets back to the first point. You were fighting fearsome opposition. PCs need to feel like brave heroes fighting against fearsome opposition, not high-powered bullies kicking puppies.
 

Fight till I'm dead!


A big Tyranny of fun trend is constantly being able to be restored to combat, even when you get knocked out or paralyzed or whatever. Whether it's a healer healing you from 0 with a minor action or just getting a new save every round to shrug off that hold person, you're never out of any fight. And you may think: Well what's wrong with that?

First, it's just stupid in many cases. Constant healing leads to a whack-a-mole sort of combat, where PCs are constantly popping up only to get dropped by the next hit.

Well think about it for a minute. When you're a threat even when you're lying face down bleeding, yet you're helpless, then the monster tactic to solve that problem is to straight up kill you before you can heal. Thus instead of a PC sitting out one battle, he now has a dead character. And that's exactly what happened with hold person when it had an inconsistent duration. When you know that the guy is only helpless for a short bit, there's a rush to go Coup De Grace him and remove him from combat entirely. You will go after him over attacking other enemies even because he's helpless. In other words, the effect is much similar to being able to fight while at negative HP. Yeah, it makes PCs more powerful, but it's all or nothing. The only way for a monster to stop you from getting back up is to kill you. Which means every battle you're going all-in. There's not much room for a capture scenario or anything close to it, because a character who is knocked out is one word of power from being resotred to a fully functional combatant.

The only other option is of course to play the monsters off as dumb AIs who can't react to what's going on and only attack standing PCs, because we all know chaotic evil gnolls have a sense of fair play, right? But you know, I mean we're playing with whack-a-mole style combat, so why not have the monsters act dumb too? Why are we straining verisimilitude?

Is it really that bad to have a PC sit out of a battle? No, of course not. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world.

How do I kill it? I stab it of course!

It's largely becoming a trend in making monster resistances/immunities less and less powerful, or in many cases nonexistent. Creatures like oozes used to be immune to sneak attack and similar vital strikes, but now they are not. Why? Because we don't want the rogue feeling bad because you tell him his sneak attack doesn't work.

Some oozes were immune to certain weapon types. Slashing weapons would cause them to split in half (to two functional oozes) instead of actually doing real damage. Incorporeal undead required a magic weapon to hurt them.

Why the change? Well presumably because people got upset when their main schtick didn't work. So the Fun Police come along and say "Well that can't happen, you can sneak attack anything, screw common sense!"

Why is this a bad thing: Well for one because it stifles creativity. If your basic tactic always works, then why bother ever coming up another. Necessity is the mother of invention. You have no need to ever invent anything if you don't need it. It was one of the main reasons 4E had such little improvisation, because your powers were just so good that you didn't need to improvise. They always worked, so really why bother trying to think of some innovative strategy when you can just Twin Strike until the thing goes away. The answer is you rarely do.

Having people's main abilities get shut down leads them to be more multi-dimensional characters and makes them more interesting. It also leads PCs to think more heavily. When your primary tactic gets nullified, now you need to think up some kind of back-up plan. Now you're doing cool stuff you never would have thought to try before and you end up with cool stories like, "Remember that time we lured that black pudding down to that unstable dungeon corridor and I used my horn of blasting to trap it? That was awesome!"

Nobody ever remembers the time they spammed twin strike for 5 straight rounds, because they're doing that all the time.


Playing the Healer is boring, so lets make him uber

Yet another trend is to buff up the healer class, typically the cleric to insane levels so people will want to play him. This is because it's felt that being a support character is boring, and instead of just rebalancing the game around not requiring  cleric, we try to make the guy playing one not feel like a mobile first aid tent while still dispensing the heals, so he gets to kick ass while dropping heal spells in the same turn. This makes healer types ridiculously overpowered naturally, but it's the only way someone can possibly have fun playing a cleric apparently.

But he's the cornerstone of your group, and why, becasue you need that guy who heals unconscious PCs and gets them back in the fight. So because of Tyranny of fun, you're married to the cleric.

If we didn't need unconscious people to come back mid-combat, we could pretty easily just make combat healing optional, allow people to use healing surges/potions/whatever between combat and then not have to worry about forcing people that really don't want to play a support class into playing support. Now we don't need the Tyranny of fun appeasment for clerics.

Conclusion

In closing, let me say that there's not anything wrong with trying to make the game more fun, however all things must be done in moderation. Just because candy is delicious doesn't mean you should eat only candy. 

In short, Tyranny of fun is the idea that all things that players do not like should be removed from the game. Things like getting removed from a combat by ghoul paralysis or knockout, or persistent injuries like energy drain or stat drain. Magic items are great, lets hand out a ton of those! PCs hate when their abilities get nullified, so lets have everything be vulnerable to sneak attack even if there's actually no weak spots to hit.
The Tyranny of fun is about trying to make the game nonstop fun, all the time.

If this is going to be your definition and these are going to be your examples, then I must say I love the "tyranny of fun".

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
The purpose of this thread is to address a problematic gaming trend that seems to be taking over in modern D&D. I've named this the Tyranny of Fun, as I'm not sure if it has any other name that I've seen.


i believe the term commonly used to describe the playing style you don't like is "badwrongfun"

That word would also adequately serve as the "tl;dr" version of your post.
In short, Tyranny of fun is the idea that all things that players do not like should be removed from the game. Things like getting removed from a combat by ghoul paralysis or knockout, or persistent injuries like energy drain or stat drain. Magic items are great, lets hand out a ton of those! PCs hate when their abilities get nullified, so lets have everything be vulnerable to sneak attack even if there's actually no weak spots to hit.
The Tyranny of fun is about trying to make the game nonstop fun, all the time.

If this is going to be your definition and these are going to be your examples, then I must say I love the "tyranny of fun".




i can't say i've been too chaffed by this dictatorship of good times either.
Your actual complaint, to the extent it's coherent, seems to be that the newer editions take away the possibility of losing meaningfully, and to have nothing whatsoever to do with "fun" however defined.

And the problem with that complaint is that, take it as a matter of empirical observation by someone who actually PLAYS Pathfinder, 4E and (briefly) Next - it is just flat-out false. Ask the characters in my 4E game if it's possible to fail, if you can find one that lives long enough. This "newer editions are too easy!" meme old-schoolers like to run with is Just. Not. True, and I say that as someone who is a lot more interested in OSR games than current-edition ones at the moment.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

Tyranny of Fun Elements in Next

-Word of Power healing
-Heal from zero
-Energy drain nerfed into the ground
-Hardly any means to remove a character from a combat
-No ability nullification (You can assassinate a genaltinous cube?)
-Super Clerics



So, other than the fact that I don't know what "super clerics" are, I LOVE all those elements. If that is what the tyrant of fun imposes, then sign me up as a willing member of his fun police! 

This "newer editions are too easy!" meme old-schoolers like to run with is Just. Not. True, and I say that as someone who is a lot more interested in OSR games than current-edition ones at the moment.


*high five!*
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
@OP: You're not making much sense Dwarf slayer.  One one hand you say that the ToF aims to remove bad things that happen to PCs from the game.  On the other, you state that winning all the time isn't fun.  Since the ToF's aim is to make the game more fun, and since the fun of winning lies in overcoming actual obstacles, the ToF cannot be doing what you say that it's doing.  It is a logical impossibility.

I would also like to point out that some of the things that you claim are being removed for the sake of the ToF (energy drain and ability drain) are actually huge PITAs to deal with at the table because of the mechanical cascade they cause, not because people ahve a problem with there being consequences for things that happen in the game.  Ciome up with a version of energy drain or ability drain that isn't a huge PITA to deal with as a mechanic during play, and we'll talk about it.  But, to say that people who don't want to deal with energy drain or ability drain just don't want bad things to happen to their characters is just you attributing a motivation to them without actually knowing or asking them.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I agree, to a point, with the content of your post.  I would call this more "the tyranny of simple=better".  Everything becomes straightforward, and move+attack becomes repeated ad nauseum in every encounter with little to no variance.

So many people seem to fight so often against anything getting too complicated.  I have seen it with CRPGs and TTRPGs alike.  

Problems (like a ghoul's paralysis) are not obstacles..... they are just problems... problems have solutions, and solveing those problems is what a game is all about. 
@MechaPilot

What is a PITA?  

@MechaPilot

What is a PITA?  



Pain in the ***

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

@MechaPilot

What is a PITA?  





en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pita


it also means pain in the ass.

(please don't clip my post) 
I think you're refering to the problem of "instant gratification" rather than the tyrany of fun.

If I understand well, I fully agree with you.
If you give your players everything they want, then the game has no meaning
if everyhting is handed, there is no feeling of accomplishment.
Things have more value if you sacrificed to get them in the first place.
 
That is more of a DM's problem than it is with the system though (unless "wealth by level" stays in the game) 
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
That is more of a DM's problem than it is with the system though (unless "wealth by level" stays in the game) 


By wealth do you mean "assumed gear?"  I've never actually had an issue with the wealth by level table as it's useful for creating PCs above 1st level.  Although, in a system like DDN where magic goodies aren't built into the math, the numbers on a wealth by level table should certainly be lower.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

@OP: You're not making much sense Dwarf slayer.  One one hand you say that the ToF aims to remove bad things that happen to PCs from the game.  On the other, you state that winning all the time isn't fun.  Since the ToF's aim is to make the game more fun, and since the fun of winning lies in overcoming actual obstacles, the ToF cannot be doing what you say that it's doing.  It is a logical impossibility.


Well the point is that the Tyranny of Fun philosophy is short sighted. It's simply removing stuff that players find bad, without actually considering if maybe they're good for the game. But Tyranny of Fun is simply "If a player complains about it, throw it out". That's not necessarily a good design philosophy because sometimes things that PCs dislike can still be good for the game. 



I would also like to point out that some of the things that you claim are being removed for the sake of the ToF (energy drain and ability drain) are actually huge PITAs to deal with at the table because of the mechanical cascade they cause, not because people ahve a problem with there being consequences for things that happen in the game.



Yeah, see that's a valid reason for changing something. Though I felt like 3Es negative levels were a fine compromise mechanically. It's not a case of "Well it's old so it's automatically better". There are plenty of flawed mechanics, and removing a level in the middle of a play session was certainly a bad idea, because it grinds the game to a halt.

It's not that I'm in love with the concept of level drain. The point was about lingering conditions in general. You can come up with lingering conditions using 4E status effects too. There's no reason you couldn't mechancially have something like Weakened or Slowed until a certain condition happens.  It's not so much the actual mechanic that is being used as a linger effect, more so the concept of long-term effects in general.
 

That is more of a DM's problem than it is with the system though (unless "wealth by level" stays in the game) 


By wealth do you mean "assumed gear?"  I've never actually had an issue with the wealth by level table as it's useful for creating PCs above 1st level.  Although, in a system like DDN where magic goodies aren't built into the math, the numbers on a wealth by level table should certainly be lower.



Yeah, the assumed gear part :P
sorry if I was unclear 
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
The purpose of this thread is to address a problematic gaming trend that seems to be taking over in modern D&D. I've named this the Tyranny of Fun, as I'm not sure if it has any other name that I've seen.



I believe "Monty Haul" is (at least part of) what you're looking for Wink

http://community.wizards.com/group/lgbt-gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

@OP: You're not making much sense Dwarf slayer.  One one hand you say that the ToF aims to remove bad things that happen to PCs from the game.  On the other, you state that winning all the time isn't fun.  Since the ToF's aim is to make the game more fun, and since the fun of winning lies in overcoming actual obstacles, the ToF cannot be doing what you say that it's doing.  It is a logical impossibility.


Well the point is that the Tyranny of Fun philosophy is short sighted. It's simply removing stuff that players find bad, without actually considering if maybe they're good for the game. But Tyranny of Fun is simply "If a player complains about it, throw it out". That's not necessarily a good design philosophy because sometimes things that PCs dislike can still be good for the game.


You're right that it's not a good design philosophy, but I'd like to point out that I've never actually seen this philosophy being used for across the boad design.  The only prominent systemic instance i can remember of it is the limited use of stuns in 4e because being stunned really isn't fun.  That being said, I do think there are other ways to have flavorful consequences besides stunning, so I really rather agree with limitng its use.


I would also like to point out that some of the things that you claim are being removed for the sake of the ToF (energy drain and ability drain) are actually huge PITAs to deal with at the table because of the mechanical cascade they cause, not because people ahve a problem with there being consequences for things that happen in the game.



Yeah, see that's a valid reason for changing something. Though I felt like 3Es negative levels were a fine compromise mechanically. It's not a case of "Well it's old so it's automatically better". There are plenty of flawed mechanics, and removing a level in the middle of a play session was certainly a bad idea, because it grinds the game to a halt.

It's not that I'm in love with the concept of level drain. The point was about lingering conditions in general. You can come up with lingering conditions using 4E status effects too. There's no reason you couldn't mechancially have something like Weakened or Slowed until a certain condition happens.  It's not so much the actual mechanic that is being used as a linger effect, more so the concept of long-term effects in general.


But 4e did have those kinds of effects.  Most specifically, through the disease tracks.  If you like to have nasty things happen to characters more often in 4e, disease tracks are definitely the way to go.  You can even have long periods of time (like months, or years if you want to get really nasty) between checks to advance or slip down the track.  Now, 4e didn't take as much advantage of disease tracks as they should have, but I can say that about skill challenges too.  That's just part of the "every edition has its flaws" thing.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Your actual complaint, to the extent it's coherent, seems to be that the newer editions take away the possibility of losing meaningfully, and to have nothing whatsoever to do with "fun" however defined.

And the problem with that complaint is that, take it as a matter of empirical observation by someone who actually PLAYS Pathfinder, 4E and (briefly) Next - it is just flat-out false. Ask the characters in my 4E game if it's possible to fail, if you can find one that lives long enough. This "newer editions are too easy!" meme old-schoolers like to run with is Just. Not. True, and I say that as someone who is a lot more interested in OSR games than current-edition ones at the moment.



The problem isn't so much one with difficulty, it's that every battle has to be the same. It's a hit point attrition war between PCs and monsters, and yeah, the monsters can just be numerically stacked to win that fight if the DM wants, but the fights still feel very similar.

And the reason for this is simply that beating PCs by any method short of beating the hit points out of them was considered "unfun" and had to be sanitizied of anything PCs might have found to be cheap tactics or unfun.

And lets remember that most of those "unfun" monsters are the iconic ones.

It just feels that we've lost so much in the pursuit of perpetual fun, and what we're left with is hardly no fun at all, because everything has to conform to this very similar mold, because not much is left after all the "unfun" bits have been chopped off.

Just because you're winning doesn't mean it's fun

"Winning" - that is, I assume, to successfully accomplish goals - is not tied to the mechanics of the game, and instead tied to how the DM implements those goals, how difficult they are to achieve, and what happens when a goal is not met, or only partially met. This is entirely about how the DM makes the campaign, and to say it another way, how the players want the campaign to go. It has been/is possible in any RPG that I have ever seen to fail.

In the meantime, you may be talking about the modern theory of "failing foward", but I don't think you are so I won't address why this is such a high point in game theory.
Monsters need identity

"This monster can easily kill your character due to a single bad d20 roll" is not an identity. A flavor, a good representation, a mechanic that just screams out "this monster" however is - no matter if that flavor is bad, really bad, or oh no I may have to re-roll.

If you feel as though you are fighting puppies, that is more likely a failure of the DM.

Fight till I'm dead!

If you think "John just died, one-shotted by the arch-lich; now he gets to watch us all play or go do something else" is more exciting than "John was blasted to the ground, he is dying! We have to do something quick, or we lose our friend/comrade/bag-of-hit-points!" then I don't know what to tell you. I guess you have your preferred flavor, but I would hope that you can at least see how more people would find that excitement more desirable than "Oh, you rolled lower on initative than the arch-lich that one-shot your character, want to run and fetch me some more mountain dew"?

How do I kill it? I stab it of course!

I will partially agree with you here - you should not be able to knock a snake prone. I think there should be more ephasis on the DM saying "yes" or "no" to certain things either making sense or not making sense. If this invalidates some of the basic things a player can do for a single encounter, that's generally okay, provided that this is the exeption and not the rule. For a rogue to not be able to sneak-attack undead, and walk into an undead crypt, means that rogue knows that a large mechanic of his chosen class will be useless. It actually can restrict the sort of games the DM will be able to run.

No reward for creativity? This has more to do with the DM then it does the system. A good DM will reward players for creativity more than they will reward a player for just using their daily power again. How well any certain game system rewards this is up for argument; I honestly think this is more in the DM's field than the game mechanics as a whole.

Killing things and taking their stuff is sort of the bread-and-butter of D&D though. If every player is expected to come up with an epic oh-my-goodness moment every round, then soon even those epic moments feel like just another drop in the bucket. Having something reliable to contribute to the game is not a bad mechanic in the slighest.

Playing the Healer is boring, so lets make him uber

This is bad game design; however I just don't see it in modern iterations of D&D (4e/D&DN). It should be noted that having a "healer" that can do something other than just cast heal spells every round, however, is not making them "uber".

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

Your tyranny is my democracy with the option to add it in if I want it.
i believe the term commonly used to describe the playing style you don't like is "badwrongfun"

That word would also adequately serve as the "tl;dr" version of your post.

Once again, Wrecan wininnates the thread.
"This monster can easily kill your character due to a single bad d20 roll" is not an identity. A flavor, a good representation, a mechanic that just screams out "this monster" however is - no matter if that flavor is bad, really bad, or oh no I may have to re-roll.


It's a monster that's memorable. It doesn't necessarily have to be lethal. Plenty of peopel survived mind flayers and ghouls and all the other "Too overpowered for modern gaming" monsters. But there were stories of the guys who weren't so lucky, and thus those monsters lived in infamy as part of D&D.

I can't really name many iconic monsters that weren't in some way lethal. Orcs are iconic from LotR, and not so much D&D, and the only time they're really iconic in D&D is used to describe the low level cookie-cutter "Orc camp" quest that DMs make low level guys run through that nobody really wants to do.


If you feel as though you are fighting puppies, that is more likely a failure of the DM.


That's a bit of a hyperbole, but I feel as though the monsters have lost a lot. They're all just damage dealers.


If you think "John just died, one-shotted by the arch-lich; now he gets to watch us all play or go do something else" is more exciting than "John was blasted to the ground, he is dying! We have to do something quick, or we lose our friend/comrade/bag-of-hit-points!" then I don't know what to tell you. I guess you have your preferred flavor, but I would hope that you can at least see how more people would find that excitement more desirable than "Oh, you rolled lower on initative than the arch-lich that one-shot your character, want to run and fetch me some more mountain dew"?


Well it doesn't have to be character death. It can simply be removal from the combat. Dominated, paralyzed, whatever. You don't have to literally kill the PC, in fact I later go on to explain that killing them is a bad idea. But removing them is good.

As far as exciting, yeah it is. Knowing you have to finish the battle two team members down is very exciting. You feel like the thing is going to come down to the wire. If another PC is bleeding to death, does someone want to run over and stabilize him, or do you want to keep trying to win the fight. There's notable pressure there. One one hand your friend might die if you don't treat him, on the other everyone might die if you give up your action just to stabilize him.  That's a tense choice that gets people into the game.

Super healers takes away all that, because you can just drop a minor action, stabilize him, get him back in the fight and still get your attack. There's no real decision making. You don't even have to touch him anymore, it's just a total no brainer and not exciting at all. Even in Final fantasy you had to use your entire action to drop a phoenix down on the guy and it was a choice of some kind.


No reward for creativity? This has more to do with the DM then it does the system. A good DM will reward players for creativity more than they will reward a player for just using their daily power again. How well any certain game system rewards this is up for argument; I honestly think this is more in the DM's field than the game mechanics as a whole.


Well the problem is that you rarely have need of creativity, whether the DM rewards it or not. Like the game gives you infallible tools that you never really need to think outside the box.



This is bad game design; however I just don't see it in modern iterations of D&D (4e/D&DN). It should be noted that having a "healer" that can do something other than just cast heal spells every round, however, is not making them "uber".


The DDN cleric is very powerful. He has better direct damage than the wizard even, gets full armor, better hit points, and gets an infinte amount of cure minor wounds that he can use while still using his weapon. I consider him very uber.

Also the whole "heal and take an action" paradigm is awful because it removes choice from the equation. It's actually a pretty interesting choice of deciding if you want to try to heal a badly injured companion or if you want to try to take down a monster, drop a buff, etc. But that choice was apparently too "unfun" so now clerics get to have the best of both worlds.
It's a monster that's memorable. It doesn't necessarily have to be lethal.

Plenty of peopel survived mind flayers and ghouls and all the other "Too overpowered for modern gaming" monsters.

I really think that you feel that a monster is memorable because of it's lethality. Otherwise your comments are quite contradictory. If you think a mind-flayer that stuns half the party and starts to suck the brains out of one of them is any more or less thematic than a mind-flayer that stuns half the party and instantly kills one, then again, I don't know what to tell you. Your preferred flavor I suppose.

That's a bit of a hyperbole, but I feel as though the monsters have lost a lot. They're all just damage dealers.

I don't feel it's hyperbole at all. I have plenty of monsters when I DM in 4e that are quite terrifying that do things other than "just take away hit points". Losing surges, knowing you're making saving throws to not be petrified, or even having monsters that outright take a character to 0 hit points on a certain condition do not just "hit and take away hit points". If this is a problem in D&DN-Core, well it's supposed to be a simple game, and not one that I plan on ever playing.

As far as exciting, yeah it is. Knowing you have to finish the battle two team members down is very exciting. You feel like the thing is going to come down to the wire. If another PC is bleeding to death, does someone want to run over and stabilize him, or do you want to keep trying to win the fight. There's notable pressure there. One one hand your friend might die if you don't treat him, on the other everyone might die if you give up your action just to stabilize him.  That's a tense choice that gets people into the game.

And I don't see this sort of action missing in 4e; I don't imagine I will see this action missing in (heavily moduled) D&DN.

Super healers takes away all that, because you can just drop a minor action, stabilize him, get him back in the fight and still get your attack.

Again, I don't see this happening in modern iterations of the game. Maybe in D&DN-Core?

Well the problem is that you rarely have need of creativity, whether the DM rewards it or not. Like the game gives you infallible tools that you never really need to think outside the box.

You can either reward creativity when it comes up, or you can punish for creativity not being used. You can, I suppose, do both, or either. Personally, I prefer to be rewarded, not punished, when I play a game.

Also the whole "heal and take an action" paradigm is awful because it removes choice from the equation.

The choice of "do I be a healbot, or do I not be a healbot" doesn't seem like one I want forced into the game. Leaders in 4e had other choices that were actually interesting - especially since their "minor action healing" was very limited.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

In short, Tyranny of fun is the idea that all things that players do not like should be removed from the game. Things like getting removed from a combat by ghoul paralysis or knockout, or persistent injuries like energy drain or stat drain. Magic items are great, lets hand out a ton of those! PCs hate when their abilities get nullified, so lets have everything be vulnerable to sneak attack even if there's actually no weak spots to hit.
The Tyranny of fun is about trying to make the game nonstop fun, all the time.

If this is going to be your definition and these are going to be your examples, then I must say I love the "tyranny of fun".



Ditto.

Games are supposed to be fun.  That's the blinkin' POINT of games.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Dwarfslayer, just awesome. I couldn't have said it better.
i believe the term commonly used to describe the playing style you don't like is "badwrongfun" That word would also adequately serve as the "tl;dr" version of your post.

Once again, Wrecan wininnates the thread.



Not really,  we already have a ready example of what happens when the "Tyranny of Fun" is used to design a game.

Go log in to Magic the Gathering Online and head for the constructed rooms,  count the number of times you see "No counters,  land destruct,  elves,  direct damage,  Goblins,  (Insert specific card names),  Card Draw,  Cards worth more than $20,  Tier 1 decks,  Tier 2 decks,  etc".

That's what happens when you start down the "Unfun" path,  all of a sudden you just end up with everyone dictating terms,  and basically outlawing everything but the simplest of actions.  The fastest way to make a type of game completely useless is to start cutting things out for "Unfun",  because people just run with it and use it as an excuse to make everyone play their way.   
i believe the term commonly used to describe the playing style you don't like is "badwrongfun" That word would also adequately serve as the "tl;dr" version of your post.

Once again, Wrecan wininnates the thread.



Not really,  we already have a ready example of what happens when the "Tyranny of Fun" is used to design a game.

Go log in to Magic the Gathering Online and head for the constructed rooms,  count the number of times you see "No counters,  land destruct,  elves,  direct damage,  Goblins,  (Insert specific card names),  Card Draw,  Cards worth more than $20,  Tier 1 decks,  Tier 2 decks,  etc".

That's what happens when you start down the "Unfun" path,  all of a sudden you just end up with everyone dictating terms,  and basically outlawing everything but the simplest of actions.  The fastest way to make a type of game completely useless is to start cutting things out for "Unfun",  because people just run with it and use it as an excuse to make everyone play their way.   


You can't really compare a collectible game where power is measured by rarity to a TTRPG.  BTW, do you have a TTRPG or D&D example?  The only example I know of from D&D is the limited existence of stuns in 4e.  And, let's face it, stun is hardly the most evocative/flavorful way to portray impairment.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I disagree with the OP. I think D&D at its core needs to be overtly fun and cinematic rather than realistic and brutal. I went and saw the Hobbit the other day, I knew they were all going to survive the first film, but I enjoyed it all the same. How the PCs prevail is the important part.

I think 4th ed did some smart things by making near death, ongoing damage, save or die effects a part of the gameplay rather than something that could be resolved after the fight. It is fun to see a party member going down because of spell effect and be able to do something within the time sensitive context of the actual game.

In particular I think conditions in 4th ed were are really important and challenging part of 4th which made 4th ed play and made the game more than trading numbers and attritting hp.

To be more pointed I think D&D has to be fun for it to compete with other forms of entertainment (films and computer games etc) that are fun and easier to organise.
i believe the term commonly used to describe the playing style you don't like is "badwrongfun" That word would also adequately serve as the "tl;dr" version of your post.

Once again, Wrecan wininnates the thread.



Not really,  we already have a ready example of what happens when the "Tyranny of Fun" is used to design a game.

Go log in to Magic the Gathering Online and head for the constructed rooms,  count the number of times you see "No counters,  land destruct,  elves,  direct damage,  Goblins,  (Insert specific card names),  Card Draw,  Cards worth more than $20,  Tier 1 decks,  Tier 2 decks,  etc".

That's what happens when you start down the "Unfun" path,  all of a sudden you just end up with everyone dictating terms,  and basically outlawing everything but the simplest of actions.  The fastest way to make a type of game completely useless is to start cutting things out for "Unfun",  because people just run with it and use it as an excuse to make everyone play their way.   


You can't really compare a collectible game where power is measured by rarity to a TTRPG.  BTW, do you have a TTRPG or D&D example?  The only example I know of from D&D is the limited existence of stuns in 4e.  And, let's face it, stun is hardly the most evocative/flavorful way to portray impairment.



I would say that most of the examples needed would be from D&DN.  Damage immunities gone.  Status effects missing (confusion madness feeblemind).  Bounded accuracy making everything pretty simple to hit even at high end.  No stacking penalties.  No energy drain effects.  No conditional class features like sneak attack.  Dragons without spells.  Balors without power words.  Gaze attacks that can be trivially avoided by just averting your eyes... and a penalty for doing so that can be easily countered.  Less control spells for the party AND for the DM.  Less utility magic and less need for diversity within the group, because every monster will fall prey to a sword in the face approach.

But its simpler... so its better right?   Missing is boring right?  and so are powerful enemies right?  Absurd damage scaling, a complete lack of threatening monster abilities and bounded accuracy all collude to water D&DN down into a bland mush of boring.  Take a look through that bestiary... you know what's threatening in there?  Damage.  Thats it.  And sure, damage can kill you, but its boring.

So I will say again.... this is the Tyranny of "Simple = Better"

Simple =/= Better  
I really think that you feel that a monster is memorable because of it's lethality. Otherwise your comments are quite contradictory. If you think a mind-flayer that stuns half the party and starts to suck the brains out of one of them is any more or less thematic than a mind-flayer that stuns half the party and instantly kills one, then again, I don't know what to tell you. Your preferred flavor I suppose.


Well I mean I don't consider ghouls or mind flayers necessarily lethal. They stun you or paralyze you but unless they get the whole party, they probably won't kill anyone. Now most of those monsters are dangerous, but they don't necessarily an instant kill.  And lethality doesn't always make something iconic either. A banshee for instance is unbelievably lethal, but it's not particularly memorable and didn't gain much traction in the game as an iconic undead.

A rust monster isn't lethal at all. Energy draining undead weren't necessarily all that lethal either. You'd rarely die to a wight ever.

And I'm just pointing out here what the iconic monsters of D&D are. Not so much a personal preference as just an observation.


I don't feel it's hyperbole at all. I have plenty of monsters when I DM in 4e that are quite terrifying that do things other than "just take away hit points". Losing surges, knowing you're making saving throws to not be petrified, or even having monsters that outright take a character to 0 hit points on a certain condition do not just "hit and take away hit points". If this is a problem in D&DN-Core, well it's supposed to be a simple game, and not one that I plan on ever playing.


The thing is that I've never had any of those progressive petrification conditions ever hit anyone. First they have to fail 3 savs, which is a slim chance as it is. Then even if they're close to that there are a bunch of powers that grant bonus saves to help people free themselves. So all in all in 4E, the onyl way I've ever killed people in 4E is straight up damage.

And yeah, status effects can be annoying, but they pretty much amount to "lose a turn", whch in 4E is sadly worse than getting paralyzed the entire fight, because I've had a single turn take more time than a whole battle in AD&D.

Again, I don't see this happening in modern iterations of the game. Maybe in D&DN-Core?


Well word of power is basicalyl a minor action heal. Granted it's a bit more limited, but you're still getting to attack, heal someone at range and move. So it's very close to what a 4E cleric can do.

You can either reward creativity when it comes up, or you can punish for creativity not being used. You can, I suppose, do both, or either. Personally, I prefer to be rewarded, not punished, when I play a game.



It's more a matter of forcing creativity. When your primary schtick no longer works, you have to find something else to do.


The choice of "do I be a healbot, or do I not be a healbot" doesn't seem like one I want forced into the game. Leaders in 4e had other choices that were actually interesting - especially since their "minor action healing" was very limited.



I do, because I don't want healbot to always be such an awesome action you have to do it. I want it to be a stylistic choice. Yeah, you can play a healer cleric, but you don't have to. You can just as easily play a buffing cleric, or a melee cleric. The wizard has to choose if he wants to cast a fireball or a haste spell, so why shouldn't the cleric?

As far as the 4E leaders being limited? Wow. I never heard anyone say that before. Minor action healing at range that would always heal someone from zero, so you're guaranteed to get people conscious. At higher levels you could toss it across even large rooms. The leaders were crazy good in 4E. It was the one role you seemed to always need. I suppose it's limited compared to the D&DN cleric, given that he can bring peopel who are dying back into battle as an at-will word of power. But clerics in 3E and before had much weaker combat healing. 

Well I mean I don't consider ghouls or mind flayers necessarily lethal. They stun you or paralyze you but unless they get the whole party, they probably won't kill anyone.

I guess I should say "instantly debilitating to the point of removal from combat" instead of lethal. I just think that having a Beholder with a Central Eye of Cone-Shaped This-Sucks, with various eyes that shoot lasers of "I really wish I didn't get hit by this effect" works. A Beholder that has a 1-in-10 chance of shooting with a beam that instantly kills or petrifies with only a single saving throw doesn't seem any more thematic than one that requires 3 failed saves to be totally removed.

The thing is that I've never had any of those progressive petrification conditions ever hit anyone. First they have to fail 3 savs, which is a slim chance as it is. Then even if they're close to that there are a bunch of powers that grant bonus saves to help people free themselves. So all in all in 4E, the onyl way I've ever killed people in 4E is straight up damage.

YMMV; personally, we just had 3 people out of 5 get petrified in the session before last. I've had it happen (not as often as I'd like) and I can agree that it should be a bit easier (I've often thought about raising those kinds of saving throws to a 15 DC instead of a 10 to make it a bit more...tense).

However I distinctly disagree that it should be single-roll-fail. Save or die/save or suck effects can be objectively argued to be bad.
It's more a matter of forcing creativity. When your primary schtick no longer works, you have to find something else to do.

"You can get creative or you suck" is a punishment for not being creative, not a reward for being creative. If that's what you prefer, okay, but I honestly think that the carrot is usually better than the stick.


As far as the 4E leaders being limited? Wow. I never heard anyone say that before. Minor action healing at range that would always heal someone from zero, so you're guaranteed to get people conscious. At higher levels you could toss it across even large rooms. The leaders were crazy good in 4E. It was the one role you seemed to always need. I suppose it's limited compared to the D&DN cleric, given that he can bring peopel who are dying back into battle as an at-will word of power. But clerics in 3E and before had much weaker combat healing. 

Again, I can't speak for D&DN-Core, but I can speak of (significant) experience in 4e.

Apparently I am unusual as a 4e DM because I honestly challenged my players. Two heals a combat is not enough for my combats (and I would gladly argue the same for combats as intended in the DMG) and I usually do most of my games in the Paragon tier. It's rare for any monster of mine to hit and do much less than a surge of damage (discounting high hit-point characters), so much so that my players are typically running very short on surges at the end of an adventure.

This has lead to a lot of hard choices for the healer, on who they want to heal and when, who they are willing to leave on the ground, who needs to use their second wind and when, and who needs the surge-less healing or temp hit points or saving throw worse.

I've killed characters, and not infrequently. I've had encounters where a player is on the ground with zero surges, so simply stabilizing them is the best the party could accomplish. What I have not done is simply instantly-killed or removed from combat a character for a single poor d20 roll.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I guess I should say "instantly debilitating to the point of removal from combat" instead of lethal. I just think that having a Beholder with a Central Eye of Cone-Shaped This-Sucks, with various eyes that shoot lasers of "I really wish I didn't get hit by this effect" works. A Beholder that has a 1-in-10 chance of shooting with a beam that instantly kills or petrifies with only a single saving throw doesn't seem any more thematic than one that requires 3 failed saves to be totally removed.


Yeah beholders are actually lethal monsters. Ghouls and mind flayers, not really so much. The thing is that back then in the older editions it wasn't necessary to immediatley coup de grace anyone who got paralyzed, because they didn't risk recovering, so yeah you got hit by a ghoul, you were out of the combat, but you weren't necessarily going to die, because the ghoul wouldn't finish you until all your companions died.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />However I distinctly disagree that it should be single-roll-fail. Save or die/save or suck effects can be objectively argued to be bad.


It doesn't necessariyl have to be, so long as the creature presents a unique sort of threat. A medusa doesn't have to insta gib you with a save or die, but it certainly needs to be dangerous enough that you close/avert your eyes to avoid the gaze. If you just fight it eyes wide open like any other monster, then it's a failure to me.

"You can get creative or you suck" is a punishment for not being creative, not a reward for being creative. If that's what you prefer, okay, but I honestly think that the carrot is usually better than the stick.


Well, I suppose if you want to phrase it that way, then yes, that's generally what I prefer. Simply because it forces creativity, where as the other method you're unlikely to ever get someone to try something creative.


..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Apparently I am unusual as a 4e DM because I honestly challenged my players. Two heals a combat is not enough for my combats (and I would gladly argue the same for combats as intended in the DMG) and I usually do most of my games in the Paragon tier. It's rare for any monster of mine to hit and do much less than a surge of damage (discounting high hit-point characters), so much so that my players are typically running very short on surges at the end of an adventure.


Well the problems I had with 4E was simply that the challenge was always just straight HP attritition and overwhelming force. You pretty much had to rely on draining the PCs healing by raw attrition, and that was it. And depending on your PC party structure the battles could be hard or easy. Generally the more healers they had, the easier things were, because combined with the ritual to trade surges, they wouldn't be likely to run out.


This has lead to a lot of hard choices for the healer, on who they want to heal and when, who they are willing to leave on the ground, who needs to use their second wind and when, and who needs the surge-less healing or temp hit points or saving throw worse.


I'm not sure what choices there are as healer, when someone is on the ground, it's always in your best interest to heal them first, simply because you're losing an action by leaving them there. So I would never under any circumstances ever see a healer not heal someone on the ground. The only time it remotely became a choice is if you have two guys down and you have to pick who gets healed.


I've killed characters, and not infrequently. I've had encounters where a player is on the ground with zero surges, so simply stabilizing them is the best the party could accomplish. What I have not done is simply instantly-killed or removed from combat a character for a single poor d20 roll.



I never managed to run the party out of resources like that in my 4E games, though that could be because the combats took too long so we didn't really strive for super long adventures. We tried to get things done in a night or two and that generally meant 3-4 combats for an adventure. The main issue with the attrition game was that it was simply really boring and slow.

I ran probably 10-15 adventures of 4E and played probably 6-8 as a PC, so I am moderately experienced, but hardly a veteran of the edition.
AWESOME BUTTON!!!

Apparently I am unusual as a 4e DM because I honestly challenged my players. Two heals a combat is not enough for my combats (and I would gladly argue the same for combats as intended in the DMG) and I usually do most of my games in the Paragon tier. It's rare for any monster of mine to hit and do much less than a surge of damage (discounting high hit-point characters), so much so that my players are typically running very short on surges at the end of an adventure.

This has lead to a lot of hard choices for the healer, on who they want to heal and when, who they are willing to leave on the ground, who needs to use their second wind and when, and who needs the surge-less healing or temp hit points or saving throw worse.

I've killed characters, and not infrequently. I've had encounters where a player is on the ground with zero surges, so simply stabilizing them is the best the party could accomplish. What I have not done is simply instantly-killed or removed from combat a character for a single poor d20 roll.



This is my experience of 4th ed. Our DM pushes us and as such the sense of danger and risk is everpresent. We have certainly started encounters with players on one or no surges. But we have only a few deaths in our 20 level campaign - far less than in previous editions.

That said 4th ed is not perfect. For one thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of healing spells and abilities and less spells that address ongoing conditions. And I have not seen many people fail 3 saves. So while I think the game has to be fun, I would agree that the danger in 4th ed could be tweaked upwards just  touch IMO.


I'll say a lot of nasty things about 4e, but from what I've actually experienced of it, it's not an 'always win' proposition.  My first introduction to the system ended with a brutal, brutal TPK  (Though part of that may have been the DM that effectivley punished us for evading an obvious trap).  The second time I gave it a whirl, with the red box essentials, I did find that 1st level characters had durability more akin to 3rd-level characters in 3.x... but if the monsters play smarter than the characters, they still have the ability to win.

In any edition of D&D, lethality is largely porportional to the 'softness' of your DM.  The only major differnece with 4th is that hp-bloat means first level characters (and maybe some of the more frail second level characters) are somewhat less likely to be murdered by a fluke

I think that the general perception of 4th being easy comes from two factors.  One is that enhanced durability at first level, where Tim the Wizard isn't going to fall down the first time a goblin shoots a bow at him.  It's harder to notice that HP bloat worked for both sides, and Bolg the Goblin will, compared to his 3rd edition incarnation, take more punishment than an M1 Abrams tank and get off far more shots at the wizard1.  The other is the fact that 4e attracted a lot of "new school" gamers, who think about characters in a very different way.  Instead of deriving fun from the challenge of survival, they derive their fun from the journey of existing.

A similar shift in player philosophy has occured in Video Games, in a very similar 90s-to-2000s sort of time frame:  Let's take a look at a popular Video RPG of the oldschool era: 1986's Might and Magic: Secret of the Inner Sanctum.  This game gives you a lot of freedom with your character(s), a decently sized world with numerous secrets, oh, and just beating it was considered enough of a challenge that you could send your score in to the company to get a certificate for beating the flipping game!  It's something most players were not expected to do.  If you won, you did amazingly well and deserved a pat on the back.  Sure, you could have fun and not win, but the prize was winning.

Cut to 23 years later and the start of a new PC Fantasy RPG franchise with Dragon Age: Origins in 2009.  Dragon Age gives you a lot of freedom with your character, a decently sized world with numerous secrets, and fully expects you to finish.  Compared to Might and Magic, it's also trivial to complete.  Bioware will not mail you a certificate if you finish.  You played the game, didn't you?  You're kind of expected to finish and see the ending.  Whether you won or not isn't the point, it's that you enjoyed yourself getting there.

The people who made Might and Magic were working under a different philosophy than the ones that made Dragon Age.  It doesn't make them (either of them) wrong, but it does make the point that some of the standard approach to challenge, winning, and Game Overs (TPKs) has changed since the TSR days.  It's easy to, without that frame of reference, look at these 4e (and to an extent, 3e) campaigns where everybody plays the same character from 1st to endgame, no one ever died that didn't get resurrected, and so on, and say... "That's got no challenge.  That wouldn't be fun.", when really it's not just the system that's changed, it's the players too.

Interestingly, in the tabletop market seems to be teetering on the brink of another change in its demographic.  OSR has gained more steam than I think anyone expected it would, but in retrospect it's no surprise.  D&D and its compatriots in the market are in indirect competition with Dragon Age, and World of Warcraft, and all their ilk -- and the Video Game Industry has got the "Have fun getting there" angle pretty well covered, alongside the "Super-in-depths system mechanics" angle they can take because they have, oh, a computer to do the background math... So among those who stick with tabletop, there's a drift towards elegance.  D&DN's playtest is some of the simplest D&D I've ever seen... especially the early packets were incredably clean: very unlike a computer game (or 3e or 4e) which indulges in its complexity.  There's also a drift, I think, towards the "Fight to win" mentality, and I'm not sure where I stand on that.  I, personally, like the risk of death.  I like the idea of SoD, Stoning, Enervation, and the like.  But, I'm still a man who was born after the release of Might and Magic.  I'm still, in some ways, part of the New School, and I know when I DM that I tend to pitch softballs that just look like they're hard2, like 3-step petrification 'chickatrices' in place of the CR 3 stoning cocatrice3.



1 Which is to the benefit of the PCs, despite being balanced, oddly enough.  A good rule of thumb is that anything that reduces randomness across the board, like everything having a higher hp-to-dpr ratio, helps the PCs while anything that increases randomness in a "Fair" manner, like more lethal crits, hurts the PCs.  This is because an average NPC is expected to have a combat life-span of one combat... 5 rounds was a good estimate in the sweet spot of 3.x.   In that time, they have to make a very finite number of rolls, and thus very few chances to have their lifespan brought short by a highly random event.  the PCs, on the other hand, are rolling so many dice or having so many dice rolled against them that by the law of large numbers, eventually the worst will happen.  Institute the popular "Triple-20-is-an-instadeath" rule in 3rd edition?  Sure, the odds of a PC getting it or a monster getting it are about even, but it will MATTER a lot more when the monster gets it, and the odds of any one PC getting hit by it are astronomically higher than the odds of any one monster getting hit by it

2 The opposite of a Softball is something hard, right?  I know nothing about baseball except that I'd rather watch golf.

3 The profanity filter doesn't like the 'trice to have it's full name.

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Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

OP: I disagree. Take into consideration that the gameplay is out of the hands of the designers, unlike other games, and it becomes difficult to see how they can make fun mandatory.


I see your points as interesting commentary but I don't think I'd actually try to change anything on the basis of what you're saying, and I hardly see the introduction of more tools and an effort to make the gameplay more reliable as a move into Alpha Complex.

I don't see the point of multiple saves?  The percentage chance of multiple saves can be collapsed into one single percentage roll.

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I don't see the point of multiple saves?  The percentage chance of multiple saves can be collapsed into one single percentage roll.



The point is to give the players a chance to respond and do something about it, rather than it to just happen.

The point is captured in the Alfred Hitchcock story about filmaking with regards to the difference between surprise and suspense, where throwing a grenade into a room of people sitting at a table is a surprise, while a bomb ticking under the table is suspense. The three saves is a way of building suspense.

My fondest experiences in 4th ed have been fights where somebody goes down, the prexisting plan goes out the window, and the scramble to save a party member begins.
I don't see the point of multiple saves?  The percentage chance of multiple saves can be collapsed into one single percentage roll.

The point is to give the players a chance to respond and do something about it, rather than it to just happen. 

The point is captured in the Alfred Hitchcock story about filmaking with regards to the difference between surprise and suspense, where throwing a grenade into a room of people sitting at a table is a surprise, while a bomb ticking under the table is suspense. The three saves is a way of building suspense.

My fondest experiences in 4th ed have been fights where somebody goes down, the prexisting plan goes out the window, and the scramble to save a party member begins.

If the point is to give players the chance to respond and do something about it, why not actually give them that chance instead of roll another save? Why not allow roleplaying or actions prompt extra saves as and when it's necessary?

I don't see the point of multiple saves?  The percentage chance of multiple saves can be collapsed into one single percentage roll.

The point is to give the players a chance to respond and do something about it, rather than it to just happen. 

The point is captured in the Alfred Hitchcock story about filmaking with regards to the difference between surprise and suspense, where throwing a grenade into a room of people sitting at a table is a surprise, while a bomb ticking under the table is suspense. The three saves is a way of building suspense.

My fondest experiences in 4th ed have been fights where somebody goes down, the prexisting plan goes out the window, and the scramble to save a party member begins.

If the point is to give players the chance to respond and do something about it, why not actually give them that chance instead of roll another save? Why not allow roleplaying or actions prompt extra saves as and when it's necessary?




You can use the heal skill. There are also spells, abilities and magic items that enable saves.