## Fixing the probabilities of D&D: mild alteration to balance the Core Mechanic.

31 posts / 0 new
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
I'm actually a big fan of probability, and enjoy working out values such as average damage, chance to succeed, and the like. I have a slight problem with the current system of the base mechanic, which is the following:

SRD wrote:
The Core Mechanic: Whenever you attempt an action that has some chance of failure, you roll a twenty-sided die (d20). To determine if your character succeeds at a task you do this:
• Roll a d20.
• Compare the result to a target number.
If the result equals or exceeds the target number, your character succeeds. If the result is lower than the target number, you fail.

I believe it should be changed to this

Revision wrote:
Whenever you attempt an action that has some chance of failure, you roll a twenty-sided die (d20). To determine if your character succeeds at a task you do this:
• Roll a d20.
• Compare the result to a target number.
If the result exceeds the target number, your character succeeds. If the result is equal to or lower than the target number, you fail.

Now before anyone says I'm just pulling semantics, let me explain that I'm doing this to correct the game's probability on an attack, for purposes of defending players, and I'll explain why. I have two major arguments for this change, and I'll explain them thusly.

• Currently, the system for calculating Saves and AC were as such "10 + modifiers" while the calculations for a check are "d20 + modifiers". With the current system, two characters with equal modifiers have unequal odds, with the advantage going toward the one who gets the die roll. This is due to the fact that the roller only requires a roll of 10. There are 11 sides on a 20 sided die with a number equal or greater to 10, giving the roller a 55% chance to succeed on any even test. This meant that on targeted attacks (one that rolled against an AC), the advantage was toward the attacker, while on effects requiring a save, the advantage was toward the defender.
The problem is that now all rolls are the attacker's job, which means he has the slight advantage all the time. If the attacker required to exceed the roll, he would now have to roll an 11. There are 10 sides of a die that exceed 10, which is an exact 50% probability. Even odds for both attacker and defender.
• Skill checks have a similar problem. A DC of 10 higher than your skill (in my opinion) should have a probability of 50%, while a DC of 20 higher should be impossible. Of course, if there are critical skill checks, even they have a chance, but my point is that it simplifies how the player will know his odds. Currently if he wanted to know what his odds of succeeding are, it would be "21 + modifiers - DC * 5" while my proposed system would be "20 + modifiers - DC * 5", which is easier to calculate in your mind (DC is 7 higher than my bonus, so I have a 35% chance). This would mean a DC of 20 is impossible unless you have at least a bonus of 1 to do the action (so, it's still challenging :D).

Obviously, not everyone will agree with me, so I'd like to see how this fares for people to read.
sphyre
Joined May 2003
1054 Posts
I think it'd be a lot easier to change target numbers by 1, than changing the target number.

The reason I say so, is because the target number is arbitrary, but by definition it is the target number.

If your target number is 20, why do you need to exceed 20 to beat it? If you roll exactly the target number, then you still hit the target, even if you didn't have room to spare. The wording implies you must reach that number, so it makes more sense to keep the target number the same, but increase all target numbers by 1.

If the chances should be lowered to 50% instead of 55% as a base mechanic, I think the DCs and such should all be 11+relevant modifiers rather than 10+.

But I don't see a problem with the base mechanic slightly favoring success due to the fact that it's fun when something happens, and more often than not, when you fail to reach your target number, nothing happens. A 5% advantage only means that the game is sped up 5%, by allowing 5% more successes.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
I think it'd be a lot easier to change target numbers by 1, than changing the target number.

The reason I say so, is because the target number is arbitrary, but by definition it is the target number.

If your target number is 20, why do you need to exceed 20 to beat it? If you roll exactly the target number, then you still hit the target, even if you didn't have room to spare. The wording implies you must reach that number, so it makes more sense to keep the target number the same, but increase all target numbers by 1.

If the chances should be lowered to 50% instead of 55% as a base mechanic, I think the DCs and such should all be 11+relevant modifiers rather than 10+.

But I don't see a problem with the base mechanic slightly favoring success due to the fact that it's fun when something happens, and more often than not, when you fail to reach your target number, nothing happens. A 5% advantage only means that the game is sped up 5%, by allowing 5% more successes.

I would also agree, that this wouldn't be a problem if Defenses were calculated as "11 + modifiers". One advantage to my version of the change, is it keeps every value even, and everyone likes even numbers.

Besides, 5% more successes help your enemies too, remember that. That means that your cleric has to heal you 5% more, and there's 5% more of a chance that they can hit you to death.

Just a thought.

Whenever you attempt an action that has some chance of failure, you roll a twenty-sided die (d20). To determine if your character succeeds at a task you do this:
• Roll a d20.
• Compare the result to a target number.
If the result exceeds the challenge number, your character succeeds. If the result is equal to or lower than the challenge number, you fail.

Changed the words "target number" to "challenge number" to emphasize that you aren't targeting the number, but challenging it (by trying to beat it).
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
Skill checks have a similar problem. A DC of 10 higher than your skill (in my opinion) should have a probability of 50%, while a DC of 20 higher should be impossible.

I actually understand how you feel about this aspect of the d20 system. I had the same feeling when I first read the rules when 3.0 came out. Now my feeling was yeah, it would be nice that with no modifiers on attack or defense, it would be nice that the chance of success was exactly 50%. However, after some thought about it, that 5% difference really doesn't matter that much.

First of all, when a player wants to know what he needs to roll (on a d20) to succeed in an action, it is more natural to say, "you need to roll a 10" than it is to say, "you need to roll more than 10." Also, the d20 rules unify the rules such that higher is better. If you need a 10 to succeed, you know that if you roll an 11, you also succeed. No one questions whether or not it is 10 or lower, or 10 or higher. You know it is 10 or higher.

This extra 5% is across the board for everyone so no one really gets a one sided advantage. Also, it is only 5% which is one unit on a d20. For the sake of simplicity an using 10+modifiers for DC, is this extra 5% chance of success such a big deal? I don't think so. I know it is there, but it doesn't bother me.

Currently if he wanted to know what his odds of succeeding are, it would be "21 + modifiers - DC * 5" while my proposed system would be "20 + modifiers - DC * 5", which is easier to calculate in your mind (DC is 7 higher than my bonus, so I have a 35% chance). This would mean a DC of 20 is impossible unless you have at least a bonus of 1 to do the action (so, it's still challenging :D).

Obviously, not everyone will agree with me, so I'd like to see how this fares for people to read.

In my 20+ years of playing D&D, I have never seen in a game where a player say something like, "I need a 17 on a 20? That's a 20% chance of success!" Most players just want to know that they need to roll in order to success. If a player wanted to compare two courses of actions, they don't calculate the percentages. They look and say with method A I need to roll a 12 and with method B I need to roll a 14. I go with method A.

Overall, I fail to see how making everything harder by 5% will really benefit the game for the majority of players. If you modify the rules to adjust things by 5%, it would more likely make things a little more complex for the general population. I'm sure that R&D looked at this when they were developing d20 and felt that the current system is better than making the 5% correction.

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\>tuntman

sphyre
Joined May 2003
1054 Posts
I would also agree, that this wouldn't be a problem if Defenses were calculated as "11 + modifiers". One advantage to my version of the change, is it keeps every value even, and everyone likes even numbers.

It's a trade off, even numbers vs even chances. Also add in the fact that you have to change the mechanic of hitting a target number to exceeding it, which is less intuitive than 11+a number.

When it's intuitive vs an even number, I think intuitive is the better choice.

Besides, 5% more successes help your enemies too, remember that. That means that your cleric has to heal you 5% more, and there's 5% more of a chance that they can hit you to death.

Not really. I said it's 5% faster result of what the end result is going to be. If everyone gets 5% more, allies and enemies alike, it moves the game along 5% faster. The reason being is that you deal 5% more damage, which means 5% of your foes fall faster, saving 5% hp that they could have dealt in the extra 5% time they would have been alive. Theoretically.

Basically they deal the same amount of damage within their life spans because while their damage is increased, their longevity is decreased, netting an equal damage during average life of a monster as compared to the proposed 50% system.

All the extra 5% does is speed the end result along, whether it's the players living or the players dying.
dragom
Joined Mar 2004
1523 Posts
All things being even, everyone has a 55% chance of success?

It does kind of sound fair and balanced. So does 50% and 45%, actually...
necromonster
Joined Dec 2007
178 Posts
All things being even, everyone has a 55% chance of success?

It does kind of sound fair and balanced. So does 50% and 45%, actually...

Even 5% would be balanced, tho massively annoying to the point of never playing with said system.
quelian
Joined May 2004
59 Posts
An important aspect to remember is failing isn't necessarily *fun*. I've never had a player be happy that their attack roll failed.

In general, failing makes the game move more slowly. Favoring success is usually a good thing.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
In my 20+ years of playing D&D, I have never seen in a game where a player say something like, "I need a 17 on a 20? That's a 20% chance of success!" Most players just want to know that they need to roll in order to success. If a player wanted to compare two courses of actions, they don't calculate the percentages. They look and say with method A I need to roll a 12 and with method B I need to roll a 14. I go with method A.

Overall, I fail to see how making everything harder by 5% will really benefit the game for the majority of players. If you modify the rules to adjust things by 5%, it would more likely make things a little more complex for the general population. I'm sure that R&D looked at this when they were developing d20 and felt that the current system is better than making the 5% correction.

Well, remember that thief skills were originally listed by percentage chance to succeed. Keeping track of percentages isn't anything new to the game, and I oftentimes do it in my head to see if an action is worth it.

Plus, if exceed only isn't as intuitive, then as Spyre said it'd be better to just put 11+modifiers on defenses, and leave skills as is. The only reason I wanted the modification was to provide balance between attacker and defender anyways.

Not really. I said it's 5% faster result of what the end result is going to be. If everyone gets 5% more, allies and enemies alike, it moves the game along 5% faster. The reason being is that you deal 5% more damage, which means 5% of your foes fall faster, saving 5% hp that they could have dealt in the extra 5% time they would have been alive. Theoretically.

Basically they deal the same amount of damage within their life spans because while their damage is increased, their longevity is decreased, netting an equal damage during average life of a monster as compared to the proposed 50% system.

All the extra 5% does is speed the end result along, whether it's the players living or the players dying.

I actually didn't mind this 5% differential before, primarily because while the attacker has the advantage when making attacks, the defender had the advantage while making saves. This differential is lost in the new system, however, and that gives all of the advantage to the attacker. Though as I said before, if no one has a problem with it....

All things being even, everyone has a 55% chance of success?

It does kind of sound fair and balanced. So does 50% and 45%, actually...

No, the attacker has a 55% chance to hit, and the defender a 45% chance to avoid. Meaning if you're defending, you basically have a -1 penalty for being hit, or at least being swung at.

An important aspect to remember is failing isn't necessarily *fun*. I've never had a player be happy that their attack roll failed.

In general, failing makes the game move more slowly. Favoring success is usually a good thing.

But neither is it fun getting hit by an attack. In 3.5, it wasn't so bad since defender got the advantage when the attack required a saving throw, but now that every roll is given to the attacker, he has the advantage in every attack he does (unless you have a higher bonus). That means to be on par (defensively) with your attacker (offensively), you have to have modifiers that total 1 higher than his.

Favoring success is fine and good, but should this 5% advantage be given for such things as area attacks? They already do half damage when the attacker fails. Save or die spells are gone, but I don't know about mind control, curses, baleful polymorphs, and other such spells. This 5% advantage always gives the attacker a 1-up on the defender, which I think somewhat unfair.
dragom
Joined Mar 2004
1523 Posts
The important thing to remember is thus:

He who is the defender right now, will be the attacker latter.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
The important thing to remember is thus:

He who is the defender right now, will be the attacker latter.

Add to that: if he survives.
necromonster
Joined Dec 2007
178 Posts
I don't see a real need to even things out between the defender and the attacker. The game does not know work like that and it's quite literally never been a problem.
dragom
Joined Mar 2004
1523 Posts
Add to that: if he survives.

Add to that triple HP at 1st level, Swift action Second Winds and the nerfing of save or die spells.

I expect PC's to be more durable now than in previous editions.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
I don't see a real need to even things out between the defender and the attacker. The game does not know work like that and it's quite literally never been a problem.

Yes, but as stated before, certain effects in 3.5 gave the advantage to the attacker (anything that required an attack roll), while others gave the advantage to the defender (anything that required a saving throw). The new system of doing things solely gives the advantage to the attacker in every instance of equal stance.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
Add to that triple HP at 1st level, Swift action Second Winds and the nerfing of save or die spells.

I expect PC's to be more durable now than in previous editions.

In a four on four match up of the party vs monsters, I still think that it's possible to die right away if you go last.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
Yes, but as stated before, certain effects in 3.5 gave the advantage to the attacker (anything that required an attack roll), while others gave the advantage to the defender (anything that required a saving throw). The new system of doing things solely gives the advantage to the attacker in every instance of equal stance.

That way, the PC spellcasters will have the same advantage as the PC fighters. In the old way, the PC spellcasters were screwed by 5%.

If you have a problem with it, I have a solution. Take your d20's and cross off the 2 on the 20. That way, the rolls are 0 to 19. A 0 always misses and a 19 always hits.

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\>tuntman

decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
That way, the PC spellcasters will have the same advantage as the PC fighters. In the old way, the PC spellcasters were screwed by 5%.

If you have a problem with it, I have a solution. Take your d20's and cross off the 2 on the 20. That way, the rolls are 0 to 19. A 0 always misses and a 19 always hits.

Spellcasters already had massive advantages over fighters as was. Area effects, save or partial, magic missile effects. Since at least the area effects are confirmed, I think it would be at least a little nice to throw people a bone, since even if the attack roll misses they're taking damage.
tequila_sunrise
Joined Feb 2006
1568 Posts
I don't think this change is necessary but I wouldn't mind if it happened and I don't think anyone else really would either.
Joined Mar 2007
61 Posts
In a four on four match up of the party vs monsters, I still think that it's possible to die right away if you go last.

If a 5% difference in the chance to get hit is consistently making the difference between life and death in the first round of combat, then the game is extremely precariously balanced. All signs point to combat moving away from characters getting killed without being able to do anything, so I seriously doubt this is a concern.

I think you might be succumbing to a desire for symmetry and order and building unfounded fears to justify it. The game, as it stands, has run with this core mechanic since inception, and it's worked fine.

There's no asymmetry in saves being moved to passive defenses. There might be a problem if the system just took the 3E numbers and switched them around, but I can guarantee that the designers have done their own statistical analysis and made the numbers fit the desired model.

To put it another way, if a character had a 55% chance to defend against a spell in 3E, they will almost certainly have a 55% chance to defend against a spell in 4E. If that requires raising all characters' save bonuses by +2 across the board, that is well within the designers' power. ;)
UngeheuerLich
Joined Oct 2007
991 Posts
I think, with the loss of a +1 BAB modifier on first level and the overall unitary
the extra 5% don´t matter anymore...

also, the attacking is the best defense, so what...

... for 3rd edition ia also thought, a base defense of 11 would come in handy, because improving your armorclass when you level up was a huge problem!

and the worst thing i could imagine what will happen is tripple hp for heroes and 1d4 hp for commoners... thats just ridiculous... why not doing following: All commoners are Level 0, have 10 hp (no con bonus), and characters start as commoners before they became heroes (thus having an extra 10 hp)... fair for everyone...
quelian
Joined May 2004
59 Posts
But neither is it fun getting hit by an attack. In 3.5, it wasn't so bad since defender got the advantage when the attack required a saving throw, but now that every roll is given to the attacker, he has the advantage in every attack he does (unless you have a higher bonus). That means to be on par (defensively) with your attacker (offensively), you have to have modifiers that total 1 higher than his.

Favoring success is fine and good, but should this 5% advantage be given for such things as area attacks? They already do half damage when the attacker fails. Save or die spells are gone, but I don't know about mind control, curses, baleful polymorphs, and other such spells. This 5% advantage always gives the attacker a 1-up on the defender, which I think somewhat unfair.

First, defenders getting the advantage on saving throws was always stupid. Casters failed spells way too often in 3E. Fighters after 10 almost never miss, but a wizard could easily have a spell resisted no problem by a monster of equivalent level. Now that fighters are getting 'powers' that allow them to do what was before the realm of spells, this disparity has to go.

Second, favoring success allows combats to be more action packed and proceed faster. It favors smart decisions on the player's part. It is more fun to succeed than fail. If an action fails, then nothing happens and you've wasted a few moments of everyone's time. If an action succeeds, then something occurs and interactions follow. Exceptions to this rule are rare.

See this comic:
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html

D&D is a game meant to entertain the people playing. It is more fun to hit and get hit than to play the "did you save? yes. Did you save? yes. Did you save? yes. Did you save? D'oh. /fail" game. Getting hit isn't necessarily not fun, it's scary.

Also, consider that PC's are almost always tougher than their opponents in an encounter. An even level encounter in 3E was supposed to drain 20% of the party's resources. Odds are that everyone getting hit 5% more benefits the PC's far more than it benefits the monsters.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
First, defenders getting the advantage on saving throws was always stupid. Casters failed spells way too often in 3E. Fighters after 10 almost never miss, but a wizard could easily have a spell resisted no problem by a monster of equivalent level. Now that fighters are getting 'powers' that allow them to do what was before the realm of spells, this disparity has to go.

Second, favoring success allows combats to be more action packed and proceed faster. It favors smart decisions on the player's part. It is more fun to succeed than fail. If an action fails, then nothing happens and you've wasted a few moments of everyone's time. If an action succeeds, then something occurs and interactions follow. Exceptions to this rule are rare.

See this comic:
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0456.html

D&D is a game meant to entertain the people playing. It is more fun to hit and get hit than to play the "did you save? yes. Did you save? yes. Did you save? yes. Did you save? D'oh. /fail" game. Getting hit isn't necessarily not fun, it's scary.

Also, consider that PC's are almost always tougher than their opponents in an encounter. An even level encounter in 3E was supposed to drain 20% of the party's resources. Odds are that everyone getting hit 5% more benefits the PC's far more than it benefits the monsters.

So it's okay to favor the attacker over the defender? Isn't that harsh against people who are built for defense, like the dwarven defender? Not favoring success doesn't lean away from making battles action packed, since most films have less than half of every swing or shot hitting anyways, especially between evenly matched an/protagonists. Usually, in most cases of the game, it favors the one with higher skill, while those of equal skill have equal chances (Opposed skill check ties go to the one with the highest mods, reroll if mods tie). Shouldn't those of equal defensive skill fare just as well against those of equal offensive skill? Why does one have to be favored over the other?

And you thought that the defender getting advantage on saves was foolish? Despite the fact that most major wizard spells were area effects that still did half on a miss (which they still do), or had very dramatic effect for failure (like save or die), it was mean to the wizard? If anything that was the only bone given to the defending player to a powerful spell. No one on these boards argues that spellcasters were at a disadvantage in 3.5.

And going back to a previous statement, I don't think it's any more intuitive to say a number to match then it is to say a number to beat. Especially since you shouldn't be telling them the number anyways (unless they already know). Instead of saying "roll a 10" it would simply be "beat a 10". Not any more confusing in any way, and it evens the odds for defensive and offensive-built characters.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
It seems that in 4E, they are trying to fix the discrepancy between weapon users and magic users that existed in 3E. I recall reading somewhere (or maybe it was a podcast) that there was some power that an axe user had that would deal half damage on a miss. I'm sure these changes will more than make up for the extra 5% a spellcaster will get to beat the save defense of an opponent.

I see no problem in encouraging offense a little more than defense in D&D. I've played many other games and I must say that the ones that encourage more offense were definitely more fun to play in general than those that encourage less.

I still think that it will be possible to build some type of defensive tank, one that can absorb a lot of attacks and remain standing for quite a while. As long as these types of builds are not so dominant that every encounter becomes whoever rolls more 20's wins.

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\>tuntman

sphyre
Joined May 2003
1054 Posts
that there was some power that an axe user had that would deal half damage on a miss

It was an ability that allowed you to deal your str modifier on a miss.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
It seems that in 4E, they are trying to fix the discrepancy between weapon users and magic users that existed in 3E. I recall reading somewhere (or maybe it was a podcast) that there was some power that an axe user had that would deal half damage on a miss. I'm sure these changes will more than make up for the extra 5% a spellcaster will get to beat the save defense of an opponent.

I see no problem in encouraging offense a little more than defense in D&D. I've played many other games and I must say that the ones that encourage more offense were definitely more fun to play in general than those that encourage less.

I still think that it will be possible to build some type of defensive tank, one that can absorb a lot of attacks and remain standing for quite a while. As long as these types of builds are not so dominant that every encounter becomes whoever rolls more 20's wins.

Well, currently an attacker has to work his way to a +8 Advantage to only be able to miss on a 1, while a well-built defender has to have a +10 Advantage in his AC or defenses to be only hit on a 20. I'd think that it should be an even discrepancy, since you are investing your feats and talents to get that high a value, when it really isn't. The defender already has the disadvantage of having 4 different defenses to watch, while a specialized attacker could build himself around one attack, and get talents and feats to supplement that style of attack. So a well-built defensive tank has 4 defenses to worry about, while also trying to come up with ways to raise them at least 1 or 2 higher than any offensive character, while a specialized striker only has to worry about one attack for bonuses, and he's already got bonus advantage in an even match as is. How is that fair?

I'm not even saying this because I think that having multiple defenses is jacked up, I just think it's kind of wrong that everyone is justifying giving the advantage to the attacker because it makes things fun, when the fact that some players make defensive characters is proof that not everyone feels the same way.

Leave the advantage to whomever deserves it: the one who's got the highest bonuses.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
I'm not even saying this because I think that having multiple defenses is jacked up, I just think it's kind of wrong that everyone is justifying giving the advantage to the attacker because it makes things fun, when the fact that some players make defensive characters is proof that not everyone feels the same way.

In my experience, the majority of people enjoy offense moreso than defense. By tipping the balance a bit in favour of offense is a good idea because it will appeal to more people, particularly newer players. Mind you this is not a big difference. In fact it is as small as you can get in the d20 system. Probably most people would not really notice the difference too much.

Leave the advantage to whomever deserves it: the one who's got the highest bonuses.

I understand that it leaves defensive-minded gamers (who are likely in the minority) feel a little abandoned. However, when designing a game, it is more important to make the game more fun to play to more people than it is to make the system mathematically balanced in every way.

You see the same thing in many professional sports. In hockey, fans did not complaine that Wayne Gretzky was scoring way too many goals in the 80's. In Major League Baseball, fans were not complaining when home runs were way up in the late 90's (except maybe Dick Pound). In the NBA, they banned zone defense for a time to encourage more offense and they already score so much. There's the old saying, "Defense wins championships." It does, but offense sells tickets and you make money by selling tickets.

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\>tuntman

decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
In my experience, the majority of people enjoy offense moreso than defense. By tipping the balance a bit in favour of offense is a good idea because it will appeal to more people, particularly newer players. Mind you this is not a big difference. In fact it is as small as you can get in the d20 system. Probably most people would not really notice the difference too much.

I just want to get it changed for those who do. Because those who won't notice the difference probably won't notice the change.

I understand that it leaves defensive-minded gamers (who are likely in the minority) feel a little abandoned. However, when designing a game, it is more important to make the game more fun to play to more people than it is to make the system mathematically balanced in every way.

You see the same thing in many professional sports. In hockey, fans did not complaine that Wayne Gretzky was scoring way too many goals in the 80's. In Major League Baseball, fans were not complaining when home runs were way up in the late 90's (except maybe Dick Pound). In the NBA, they banned zone defense for a time to encourage more offense and they already score so much. There's the old saying, "Defense wins championships." It does, but offense sells tickets and you make money by selling tickets.

The Dwarven Defender was a fairly popular prestige class, so I wouldn't say that defensive players are in the minority. Even if they are, offense already dominates the game, so why alienate them further with the odds? Name a defensive spell, and I'll name you 5 offensive ones. Compare the weapon chart to the armor chart and see which one has more diversity. I'd even go so far as to say compare the number of feats that increase AC to the ones that can increase Attack Bonus. Most of the game is built for offense, so why not throw defensive players a bone every now and then?

Besides, I don't know if sports are necessarily good examples of why balance isn't necessary. Wayne Gretsky earned his points, and was good at what he did. But in that same vein, you have goalies like Patrick Roy that prove that you can be good on offense or defense. If you go further back in time, you have Alex Connell, a goalie that averaged 1.91 goals a game. The Steelers' "Steel Curtain" was another good example of a famous defense. No Pittsburgh fan would complain about seeing them in action. There will always be exceptional people that can throw the paradigm of the times for a loop.

But that's the beauty of D&D, especially 4th Edition. You have the options to make whatever character you want, for any strategy you want to play, and it should be balanced and fair. You can create an offensive character, or a defensive character, or even a skill-based character with very few combat options... that's your choice. The game itself shouldn't play against you for that purpose, it should work with you.
decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
To add to my previous arguments, there are now a couple more reasons to use this system instead: the skills which DMs were normally suppose to roll for their players are now passive skills, and are treated the same as AC and defenses (modifiers + 10, as if you were just taking 10). This means that advantage goes to the stealthy one, rather than the one who is looking.

Unfortunately, this disadvantage will go to every passive skill in the game, which is a shame.
Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
I just want to get it changed for those who do. Because those who won't notice the difference probably won't notice the change.

In order to tweak the system so that the odds are even, you would have to change the defensive value to 11+ modifiers. This I think is the simplest way. I think the reason the designers in 3E chose the number 10 instead of 11 is that 10 is just easier for a beginner to remember than 11.

It is interesting that with Dispel Magic, they used 11+ mods because they wanted to make chances even. Still, I just feel that they could have just made it 10+ and gave the advantage to the dispeller. It will be interesting to see what 4E will be like. I just think that it would be simpler if everything were 10+ mods.

The Dwarven Defender was a fairly popular prestige class, so I wouldn't say that defensive players are in the minority. Even if they are, offense already dominates the game, so why alienate them further with the odds?

I just don't feel that that 5% is going to make defensive minded players feel alienated.

Name a defensive spell, and I'll name you 5 offensive ones. Compare the weapon chart to the armor chart and see which one has more diversity. I'd even go so far as to say compare the number of feats that increase AC to the ones that can increase Attack Bonus. Most of the game is built for offense, so why not throw defensive players a bone every now and then?

I think that a better solution is to provide better abilities for building a defensive character.

With regard to armour, there are already much easier ways to drastically improve your AC that to drastically improve your attack bonus. Slap on some chain mail and your AC improves by a whopping 5 points. Add a large shield and that's another 2 points on top. If you want to improve your chances of hitting, Weapon Focus gives you a measly +1. A masterwork weapon gives you another +1. You have to start looking at some really expensive magical stuff to get even more bonuses than that. Levelling up will give a fighter +1 per level, but a fighter with Improved Combat Expertise can trump that easily.

Besides, I don't know if sports are necessarily good examples of why balance isn't necessary. Wayne Gretsky earned his points, and was good at what he did. But in that same vein, you have goalies like Patrick Roy that prove that you can be good on offense or defense. If you go further back in time, you have Alex Connell, a goalie that averaged 1.91 goals a game.

Goaltenders have gotten much better in the past 20 years. Luongo should have won the Hart, but all of the eastern media are all asleep by the time he hits the ice here on the west coast. Anyway, goals and scoring chances are down and I'll tell you that more people are complaining now than when Gretzky was putting up 200 point seasons.

But that's the beauty of D&D, especially 4th Edition. You have the options to make whatever character you want, for any strategy you want to play, and it should be balanced and fair. You can create an offensive character, or a defensive character, or even a skill-based character with very few combat options... that's your choice. The game itself shouldn't play against you for that purpose, it should work with you.

Whether you play an offensive or defensive character, most combat encounters end when one side deals enough damage to the other. Even if you have a very defensive character, you still need to attack. Whether you give up AC to get better to hit or the other way around, someone has to be doing damage. The net effect of using 11+ vs. 10+ is that with 10+ battles end up a little faster overall because both sides get the 5% advantage when they attack.

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\>tuntman

Stuntman
Joined Sep 2001
3585 Posts
To add to my previous arguments, there are now a couple more reasons to use this system instead: the skills which DMs were normally suppose to roll for their players are now passive skills, and are treated the same as AC and defenses (modifiers + 10, as if you were just taking 10). This means that advantage goes to the stealthy one, rather than the one who is looking.

Unfortunately, this disadvantage will go to every passive skill in the game, which is a shame.

The advantage in game play is that the rules will be simpler. When you have actually humans doing the calculations and rolling the dice, simplicity is very important and I think it is more important than the 5% disadvantage for passive skills. If this were a computer game where the CPU can do all of the calculations, then you can sacrifice simplicity for a more complex system that gives you an exact 50-50 chance when all things are equal.

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\>tuntman

decivre
Joined Apr 2007
6177 Posts
I think that a better solution is to provide better abilities for building a defensive character.

With regard to armour, there are already much easier ways to drastically improve your AC that to drastically improve your attack bonus. Slap on some chain mail and your AC improves by a whopping 5 points. Add a large shield and that's another 2 points on top. If you want to improve your chances of hitting, Weapon Focus gives you a measly +1. A masterwork weapon gives you another +1. You have to start looking at some really expensive magical stuff to get even more bonuses than that. Levelling up will give a fighter +1 per level, but a fighter with Improved Combat Expertise can trump that easily.

The problem with armor was that there were far too many ways around it. Grapple-based characters only had to go for touch, as did all ray spells. Besides, the lack of accuracy with weapons was very much complemented by the (aformentioned) base attack bonus and the fact that weapon damage rose as well. If armor also increased hit points, it might be better balanced, but it didn't.

Whether you play an offensive or defensive character, most combat encounters end when one side deals enough damage to the other. Even if you have a very defensive character, you still need to attack. Whether you give up AC to get better to hit or the other way around, someone has to be doing damage. The net effect of using 11+ vs. 10+ is that with 10+ battles end up a little faster overall because both sides get the 5% advantage when they attack.

That's not necessarily true. A player in my group built a knight/dwarven defender that never really hit at all. He'd pump his BAB into his AC, use the knight's ability to provoke creatures into attacking him, and wade it out through the hits. Our cleric had feats to heal him at range, while our wizard and thief would whittle the enemies down. He didn't attack at all, and it made for a hilarious strategy.

Just because you don't see something in a strategy that anyone would enjoy, doesn't necessarily mean that there is no one who would enjoy it. I learned that when I saw someone make a half-orc wizard. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

But that still doesn't mean the game should be leaning towards offense, especially since balance is now the name of the game. Seems ironic that everything but this is getting balanced. Then again, I've heard nothing of it, so maybe it is (I hope so).

The advantage in game play is that the rules will be simpler. When you have actually humans doing the calculations and rolling the dice, simplicity is very important and I think it is more important than the 5% disadvantage for passive skills. If this were a computer game where the CPU can do all of the calculations, then you can sacrifice simplicity for a more complex system that gives you an exact 50-50 chance when all things are equal.

I still don't see what is so difficult about "roll higher to win" or "ties go to the defender". I've never thought that Risk was a complex game, and that's the way it's always done it. So long as it's emphasized that you have to "beat" rather than "meet" the DC, it won't be a problem. Even if that's so complex, as you've stated previously Dispel Magic had a +11 on it's target, so why not do that with all defenses and passive skills?