Legends & Lore: It’s Mathemagical! (July 29)

Ahh, well, that sounds better at face value.  Finally some interesting things to do; now to see how the Save DC's work out with each other.  If this is true though, it means the next version of Bestiary we get will likely also be closer to the final version so all the math problems -should- be open season.

Edit: I hope this means the new classes will be in also.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Okay, so... 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 for +1 to most rolls. Also, the probable feat levels. It makes those levels be even sweeter, but other levels dry out a bit. I'm looking forward to hacking apart subclasses to make my own. I think most folks on these boards want to play that way. I immediately wonder if they intend to balance cross-subclassing. That's dangerously close to unclassing things, I know, but it could make for some really cool character concepts.
I'm glad they're going to try to handle the math. I look forward to the math threads after that. It'll be fascinating to see if it works out in the end or not, since WotC haven't actually tried at that, yet.
I'm mostly just interested in seeing the next packet. Could be fun.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
It's familiar, so I suppose I'm cool with it. At least it puts everything on the same number progression again. I am forced to wonder why +12 was chosen for the cap as oppose to, say, +10.
 Look like they are cracking down on the math. 

Don't worry, we min-maxers will put the math to the math.  
Ahh, well, that sounds better at face value.  Finally some interesting things to do; now to see how the Save DC's work out with each other.  If this is true though, it means the next version of Bestiary we get will likely also be closer to the final version so all the math problems -should- be open season.

Edit: I hope this means the new classes will be in also.



From the article:

Over the course of a few meetings, we've plotted out some changes that you will see in the packet following the next one (we focused on character content before the math; our playtest data is showing that while people notice this issue, it isn't distorting the game as a whole)


 
So the new classes/subclasses will be in the next packet, but the update to the math won't happen until the packet after that, so probably like 4-6 months from now. Don't everyone get overexcited and start cracking down on the math just yet, especially since they just came right out and told us they are NOT worried about the math in the next packet, but they will be focusing on it in the one AFTER that.

At least we FINALLY have a statement from Mike that clearly indicates that they ARE going to focus on the math at some point, but they haven't reached that point YET. Not that it will quiet those who think the math should have been the first thing they worked on, but there's something to quote to those people to show that the math isn't being totally ignored, it's just taking a back seat to the general ideas. 
It's good to see that the developers realize the math is important.

I like what I am hearing in this article. If I am reading correctly, it seems that some fighter subclasses will be simpler, like the pre-4th edition fighter, and others will be much more like the 4e fighter, with maneuvers taking the place of powers. I'm cool with that.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

I can't wait to make my own sub-class.

My own sub-class for Cleric
My own sub-class for Paladin
My own sub-class for Fighter
etc..... 
And like folks were saying, you can't focus on math until you decide what you want a character class to look like. 

  • We're plotting out monster saving throw DCs by level so that lower level critters have lower save DCs than higher level ones. In other words, a creature's DCs play a big role in determining its level and XP value.



All for the love of a ghoul

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

We're instituting a consistent bonus progression for characters that ranges from +1 at 1st level to +6 at 20th level for attacks, checks, and saving throws.



  But we're going to keep Advantage which gives +5 because we haven't figured that out yet and still let players get it with stupid things like tripping, or with a feat on opportunity attacks or with class abilities if you move 20 feet before attacking.  Because moving 20 feet before attacking should be equivalent to the difference between a rookie and an epic veteran yo!

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

Ahh, well, that sounds better at face value.  Finally some interesting things to do; now to see how the Save DC's work out with each other.  If this is true though, it means the next version of Bestiary we get will likely also be closer to the final version so all the math problems -should- be open season.

Edit: I hope this means the new classes will be in also.



From the article:

Over the course of a few meetings, we've plotted out some changes that you will see in the packet following the next one (we focused on character content before the math; our playtest data is showing that while people notice this issue, it isn't distorting the game as a whole)


 
So the new classes/subclasses will be in the next packet, but the update to the math won't happen until the packet after that, so probably like 4-6 months from now. Don't everyone get overexcited and start cracking down on the math just yet, especially since they just came right out and told us they are NOT worried about the math in the next packet, but they will be focusing on it in the one AFTER that.

At least we FINALLY have a statement from Mike that clearly indicates that they ARE going to focus on the math at some point, but they haven't reached that point YET. Not that it will quiet those who think the math should have been the first thing they worked on, but there's something to quote to those people to show that the math isn't being totally ignored, it's just taking a back seat to the general ideas. 



Ahh, good catch.  I missed that 'packet after that' line.  Thanks D-A.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

We're instituting a consistent bonus progression for characters that ranges from +1 at 1st level to +6 at 20th level for attacks, checks, and saving throws.



  But we're going to keep Advantage which gives +5 because we haven't figured that out yet and still let players get it with stupid things like tripping, or with a feat on opportunity attacks or with class abilities if you move 20 feet before attacking.  Because moving 20 feet before attacking should be equivalent to the difference between a rookie and an epic veteran yo!




You don't actually like games, do you?
And like folks were saying, you can't focus on math until you decide what you want a character class to look like. 



You can't? Because I know a few games that put math before character specifics, it and worked out just fine for them. Of course, the last game I was contracted to work on saved its math until after all of its concept and "feel" were figured out.  Consequently, it had to push back its release date more than a year. I don't have any examples of the opposite being a problem though.
Ahh, well, that sounds better at face value.  Finally some interesting things to do; now to see how the Save DC's work out with each other.  If this is true though, it means the next version of Bestiary we get will likely also be closer to the final version so all the math problems -should- be open season.

Edit: I hope this means the new classes will be in also.



From the article:

Over the course of a few meetings, we've plotted out some changes that you will see in the packet following the next one (we focused on character content before the math; our playtest data is showing that while people notice this issue, it isn't distorting the game as a whole)


 
So the new classes/subclasses will be in the next packet, but the update to the math won't happen until the packet after that, so probably like 4-6 months from now. Don't everyone get overexcited and start cracking down on the math just yet, especially since they just came right out and told us they are NOT worried about the math in the next packet, but they will be focusing on it in the one AFTER that.

At least we FINALLY have a statement from Mike that clearly indicates that they ARE going to focus on the math at some point, but they haven't reached that point YET. Not that it will quiet those who think the math should have been the first thing they worked on, but there's something to quote to those people to show that the math isn't being totally ignored, it's just taking a back seat to the general ideas. 



Ahh, good catch.  I missed that 'packet after that' line.  Thanks D-A.



No problem. I almost missed it myself, so I made sure to pop over to the discussion thread and point it out ASAP.

I'm really looking forward to the math update myself. For all I talk about "math players", I actually hold the system math as a very high priority and am glad it'll finally get the attention it deserves. That said, I am glad they've put so much effort into finding the right feel before they spend a lot of effort on number crunching, because with pretty much every edition change we've seen that the feel is more important for many players than the specific numbers, to the point where people stick with the system they like the feel of over the system that arguably may or may not have more sound math behind it.
I'm generally on board, but there's one thing that did catch my eye as something that I'd rather not see:

"Thus, a high-level wizard has lower saving throw DCs for weaker spells and higher ones for stronger ones."

It's really, really not the end of the world if the game needs this design element in order to work. Like, it's not a deal-breaker or even a deal-bender for me. But it is something that if the game can work without, I'd rather the game does work without. I don't hate variable DCs based on spell level, but if it's possible to put together the spell system such that that's not necessary, I think it's a bit easier.

I'm really happy with the article overall, though, especially with "Since the gap doesn't grow too large, you don't have to rely on system mastery—your mastery of how to manipulate the game system—to make an effective character. You can make a better character (character optimization is fun for many gamers) but it isn't an 'I win!' card." Both the desire to keep the effects of system mastery non-crazy and the recognition that character optimization is a fun part of the game for a lot of people (and not some crazy force that can't be comprehended and that we should just pretend doesn't exist and/or shouldn't exist) are big smilemakers for me.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
And like folks were saying, you can't focus on math until you decide what you want a character class to look like. 



You can't? Because I know a few games that put math before character specifics, it and worked out just fine for them. Of course, the last game I was contracted to work on saved its math until after all of its concept and "feel" were figured out.  Consequently, it had to push back its release date more than a year. I don't have any examples of the opposite being a problem though.




Care to name names?
I'm a bit concerned that they are still aiming for scaling on HP (and by logical extension damage done per attack) as the ammount of HP that the characters (and monsters) have doesn't really seem to be scaling anywhere near fast enough. Basically it sounds like the horde of Crossbow wielding peasant farmers will still kick the ass of any great hero (or dragon).

The only way to solve this is to give out Damage resistance or massivly scale HP for both players and monsters but down that road lies the high level maths of 4th ed where the big bad hits for fighter for 63 damage taking leaving him with 134 hp and close to bloodied and you need well north of 1000 hp for an epic level dragon to be a threat.
And like folks were saying, you can't focus on math until you decide what you want a character class to look like. 



You can't? Because I know a few games that put math before character specifics, it and worked out just fine for them. Of course, the last game I was contracted to work on saved its math until after all of its concept and "feel" were figured out.  Consequently, it had to push back its release date more than a year. I don't have any examples of the opposite being a problem though.




Care to name names?



Sure, the most recent X-Com was designed with the action economy, action resolution mechanics, and comparable weapons/armor mathematically balanced first. Classes and character abilities were built afterward to tweek and interact with the strengths and limitations of the core system in mind. There were still some questionable equivalencies for some of the class features, IMHO, but I can't fault the feel and core mechanics of the game.

Now, the delayed game that I speak of I probably shouldn't specifically name out of professional curtesy to the other designers, and you know, an NDA. What I will say is that a lot of good work had to be abandonned when the original game mechanics proved unviable, and it caused a couple of the best artists and designers that I know to question their dedication to game development.

Edit: I should also mention that when I'm talking about X-Com's development process, I guess I technically mean the 3rd attempt at it. The first 2 attempts were sort of like D&DNext in that they spent years focusing on recreating the essential feel of the old game but kept finding out they'd designed themselves into corners. So they did have several years or mistakes, feedback, and experience to base the final design on.
Oh, computer games? Oh yeah, you can't even start programming if you don't have the math systems set up.  But even then, they start with a set of default assumptions and build from there. 

Designing a TTRPG requires a bit more assumptions to be played out, because the design space is so large and the math is so abstract.

Compared to a computer game, you're trying to build math that can be reappropriated for effectively infinite permutations. It requires a level of abstraction that would make a systems engineer weep.
Oh, computer games? Oh yeah, you can't even start programming if you don't have the math systems set up.  But even then, they start with a set of default assumptions and build from there. 

Designing a TTRPG requires a bit more assumptions to be played out, because the design space is so large and the math is so abstract.

Compared to a computer game, you're trying to build math that can be reappropriated for effectively infinite permutations. It requires a level of abstraction that would make a systems engineer weep.



Except that XCom's turn-based combat is an excellent comparison to many RPG game systems. While the narrative situations that TTRPG's create may be infinite, the mechanics with which they're defined and resolved are necessarily not. I find that it's actually easier to keep your design space "open" when you already have a firm grasp of how you're representing that game world. Besides, you shouldn't be attempting to design a RPG system that does everything, but one that best serves the scope of its conceptual purpose.
I'm generally on board, but there's one thing that did catch my eye as something that I'd rather not see:

"Thus, a high-level wizard has lower saving throw DCs for weaker spells and higher ones for stronger ones."

It's really, really not the end of the world if the game needs this design element in order to work. Like, it's not a deal-breaker or even a deal-bender for me. But it is something that if the game can work without, I'd rather the game does work without. I don't hate variable DCs based on spell level, but if it's possible to put together the spell system such that that's not necessary, I think it's a bit easier.

I agree.

I would rather the wizard's Save DC be determined by his/her level (plus primary Ability Modifier); then, maybe,  a bonus applied for any spell that is cast in a higher than normal spell slot.

Haven't read it yet, but this....

"With the classes rounding into form, we've turned our attention to the basic math behind the game."

...doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I mean, I'm glad after...what, a year or so, that they're finally getting into the foundational math of the game...you know, the math that should have already been worked on and ironed out first.
Is it just me, or did they just announce the return of 3E-style variable save bonuses, progressing to +6 for your bad saves and +12 for your good saves?

The metagame is not the game.

Personally, I'm a bit dissapointed that they droped Mike's Save DC set by target level that he tweeted a few weeks ago, I hate having different DCs+different bonuses, it's going to make rulling things on the fly a big headache for me.

Edit: in case anyone don't know what I;m talking about Mike's idea was that each character a save DC number on thier character sheet modefied by it's ability mods and when making a saving throw the player had to roll above the indicated number, so for example a lvl 1 fighter might have a base save of 17 and a +3 mod for streangth so for streangth savnig throws he would need to roll 14+ to pass.

As you go up in levels your base saving throw DC goes down, very much like we had in pre-3e.

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Personally, I'm a bit dissapointed that they droped Mike's Save DC set by target level that he tweeted a few weeks ago, I hate having different DCs+different bonuses, it's going to make rulling things on the fly a big headache for me.

Warder 


Well, see, he wouldn't have done it anyways.

After all, 4e had stuff scale by level, and 4e must be purged from everything, so out that goes.
Yeah, adding a bonus to all checks based on level is only in there because of 2e grognards!

O WAIT. What edition did that come from?  What was it? Lemme hear you say it.

Seriously, get a grip. 
Is it just me, or did they just announce the return of 3E-style variable save bonuses, progressing to +6 for your bad saves and +12 for your good saves?



No, I got that saves are typically max at +6.  However, with customization options, probably through feats, that could bring a specific save, skill or whatever up to +12.  
The problem is that now in order to get all these disparate systems (read classes, spells, and character options) to fit within their 'foundational math', they are effectively going to have to tear a lot of this out and start over.  This is especially true with saving throws since changing how the saves and save DCs progressess has secondary effects that echo throughout the entire game.

This is why (sorry Mike) YOU DO THE MATH FIRST.

-Polaris
I think my biggest concern would be the variable saves as well.  I like getting the "feel for the game" and all with some class features but when a game is adding variable saves, variable DC's, and save or suck abilities there can be a pretty big swing in the pendulum from token saves to useless powers.  Fingers crossed on that as we move from simple to more complicated.

It will be nice to see what is down with the damage and hit points math.

I do want to see more classes than more math so I'm not shocked that seemed important to others or the designers.

EDIT: I can easily see the point for scaling saves after the ghoul encounter.
It sounds a little bit too similar to 3rd/4th edition to me now.

Unified progression for all. +6 to +12 on saving throws. Scaling DC with spell level.

Not too enthusiastic about those numbers but I want to see how it works out before dismissing it immediately. 3rd edition saves didn´t work mainly because spellcaster DCs could be pushed too high.

I could imagine Spellcaster DC as 6+int+spell level. That may actually work. Lets see, how they do it.
And like folks were saying, you can't focus on math until you decide what you want a character class to look like. 



How do you express what a class "looks like" without math? Being able to attempt something isn't the same as being good at it, and that's clearly both important to how a class will play/"feel" and expressed in mathematical terms.

These, in the day when heaven was falling, The hour when earth's foundations fled, Followed their mercenary calling, And took their wages, and are dead. Playing: Legendof Five Rings, The One Ring, Fate Core. Planning: Lords in the Eastern Marches, Runequest in Glorantha. 

Scaling spell save DCs by spell level? Spell effects already scale by spell level. Hello Wizard2!
Yeah, adding a bonus to all checks based on level is only in there because of 2e grognards!

O WAIT. What edition did that come from?  What was it? Lemme hear you say it.

Seriously, get a grip. 



I'm a 4venger but I have to agree with you on this. The more they look at mechanics, the more 4e is quietly slipping in from the back door.

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Scaling spell save DCs by spell level? Spell effects already scale by spell level. Hello Wizard2!

not necessarily.

But something that must be closely watched.

A difference between 3e and next is the progression of wizard spells and low level spells not automatically scaling. And right now low level spells do a lot of damage compared to higher level ones.

The scaling save DCs make it easier to distinguish low level save or suck spells from higher level ones. Although i have to admit, with heightened spell metamagic being default for every wizard now, the lines are still blurry between low and high level spells.
So expect the next packet to be an even more jumbled mess because we have more classes and thus sub systems while the actual mechanical problems that are already known go unaddressed. Did it really take a year to figure out what they want the classes to do? I mean, is it that hard? Even without canned-roles we all know Wizards are weaklings who break reality by twiddling their fingers and muttering. Priests are the mortal hench people of gods/ideals that give them more buff/healing/protective power and less direct breaky nukes. Rogues skulk around, murder people/monsters, steal stuff and bypass hazards through cunning or charm. Fighters Fight. Boom, done, easy. If you've played any edition of D&D this holds ture, correct me if I am wrong. How did that take a year? Not that it matters... Without a way to express that in game (the system and math) it doesn't matter anyway. I can imagine platonic concepts all I want, until they are actualized in the terms of the system they are introduced to, they are pointless mental self-abuse.

Also, waving the bounded accruacy flag as a solution, while noting that min-maxers will be running at a +12 compared to a normal character's what, +6, before magical adjustments, items, ect...
Wait, is that even counting the ability mod?  Dear heavens tell me that's counting the ability mod.
If that doesn't count the ability mod, there's another potential +5.... 
The point being, a system with bounded accuracy, every single +1 becomes more, not less, significant.
I continue to like dis/advantage as it keeps the same range, while offering a noticable improvement/detriment to average, mean, median, and mode.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
Now, I've been away from Next for a while and I am not very familiar with all the spells and creature abilities. But it sounds to me there is a problem with some ghoul's paralysis effect: It effects high and low level characters equally, while they don't think it should.

The problem is not necessarily the DC, though. It's the fact that the "suck" part of the "save-or-suck" is the same for everyone. Why not make the "suck" part dependent on level or HP or something. Like old spells like sleep and the more dynamic cloudkill. This would fit better with Next, I think.
Also, waving the bounded accruacy flag as a solution, while noting that min-maxers will be running at a +12 compared to a normal character's what, +6, before magical adjustments, items, ect...
Wait, is that even counting the ability mod?  Dear heavens tell me that's counting the ability mod.
If that doesn't count the ability mod, there's another potential +5.... 

I do believe the ability mod is included as he mentions a Cleric's general wisdom check (and save?) being +6 while having +12 for wisdom based Sense Motive.
The problem is that now in order to get all these disparate systems (read classes, spells, and character options) to fit within their 'foundational math', they are effectively going to have to tear a lot of this out and start over.  This is especially true with saving throws since changing how the saves and save DCs progressess has secondary effects that echo throughout the entire game.

This is why (sorry Mike) YOU DO THE MATH FIRST.

-Polaris



This is why I enjoy reading the new playtest updates to see what they forgot to change to 
adapt to the new math. Being a min-maxer, this is the stuff that I look for. 

I can make a 11lv Cleric heal 60 hitpoints per turn up to 4 turns before start using healing spells. 
All can be done because of one single 3lv spell. This combo greatly extend her healing resources. 

This sounds like a wake up call to reality from the dev team - which after more than one year blue skying and fluffing around is a good thing.


Without going into details of the implementation they are proposing, they now recognize the need to have a mathematical baseline laid out to build the system upon. Because, in a way it's true: math doesn't really matter in the end, and that's why you need to work out the basics of it early on for your game and then move on to flash out the actual gaming experience. Otherwise math begins very much to matter, but as a problem you'll be constantly struggling against and will risk at every turn to compromise the game.