In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:55 am

Of the versions of D&D I've played in my life, I've spent the most time with AD&D. But, that was a long, long time ago. I spent my D&D gaming days almost as much with AD&D 2E. And, the only other D&D game I've played is 3.0/3.5. This last edition I've been learning over the last couple of years through the Conan RPG. D&D, no matter what version, always takes a long time to master, with all the books and if/thens and hidden pros/cons. When I say "master", I mean being able to play the game RAW without looking at the rule book often.

I'm finally starting to get to that point with my campaign, and I've got to say, of the three versions of D&D I've played, 3.5 has become my favorite. Both the other versions will always hold a place in my heart, but I do now think that 3.5 is the best version of the game I've played.

I've got one, big sticking point with 3.0/3.5, though. It's not something that I can't change as a DM, though. It's a playstyle thing.

That sticking point is this: 3.0/3.5 encourages players to roll dice to solve in-game problems rather than using their noodles and gray matter.

For example, let's say that a player has his character examine the quality of swords in a merchant's stall. Back in the old days of AD&D and 2E, the player would ask questions, and the DM would answer. Many times, this would errupt into a roleplaying situation, the DM playing the merchant.

Player says, "What does the sword look like?" And, as DM, I'd reply, "You see nicks in the edge. The blade is dry and badly needs oil. And, there's some rust near the handle and guard. Out of the corner of your eye, you see the merchant staring at you, smiling. He walks over. "Master," he says, "that weapon has been used to kill many foes. It is a soldier's weapon. Very serviceable. High quality. And, it seems to fit your hand perfectly! Shall we say...70 silver Farthings?"

Now, the player is into it. He replies, in character, "Nay! I can obtain a new sword, hot from the forge, for 70 Farthings. Look at the rust! Look at the nicks! Look--the handle needs to be re-wrapped! I'll give you 25 Farthings."

"TWENTY-Five Farthings!" The GM explodes, in character. "Will you take the food from the mouths of my children? That weapon is worth 50 Farthings if it is worth one, but I'll take a loss on it at 45 Farthings because you blessed me today by entering my humble shop."

See how the older rules promoted roleplaying? It's natural to get to this place using the AD&D 2E rules. But, with 3.0/3.5, it's a different story. Instead of roleplaying, rolling dice is encouraged. Instead of the player originally asking questions about the sword, back and forth, with the GM, the question is likely to be, "I want to roll an Appraise check. What's my DC?" And, once you give him the DC, he wants to know what his check told him.

I see this in a lot of aspects of the 3.5 game. The infamous example of finding traps has been brought up before. Old school players ask questions about where they suspect a trap to be. The DM answers those questions, usually telling the player what his character knows through his touch, feel, sight, hearing, and smell. The 3.5 player will roll on his Find Traps. Yeah, I know the AD&D has a Find Traps throw, too, but other character types don't. What you usually get, in an old school game, is a player pouring water from his waterskin to see if the water pools on the ground or slips between stones, indicating a possible trap. The old school player might use the end of his sword or a polearm to poke around. The 3.0/3.5 player just wants to roll some dice, find out the answer, and move on.

Even the combat example in the 3.0/3.5 PHB speaks of just rolling dice instead of relying on player questions and DM description.

Once I realized that a big, enjoyable part of the game was being neutered by the style of the game, I endeavored to change that in my game. Still, though, I find my players defaulting to "What my roll?" instead of asking what their character can see/hear/smell.

I think it's a game design issue. It's the way 3.0/3.5 was written. The 3.0/3.5 rules focus the game on a game board--a grid. Miniatures are encouraged for combat (where as, in AD&D 2E, no map and DM description was the focus).

And, sometimes, I find that I've drawn the game back to the old style of doing things only to irritate a player who has spent precious skill points on a skill but was denied the benefit he would get because a roll wasn't made.

For example, let's say a player has put a lot of his character's skill points into maxing out his Bluff skill, but half the time, the player never rolls that skill because he's roleplaying his character with the DM--and the quality of the roleplay determines the success of the Bluff.

I was running a AD&D 2E game one time when the players saw (random encounter) a pack of six gnolls on horseback coming down the trail towards them. I described the snarling, nasty beasts to the players as wearing armor and carrying polearms--and looking real mean.

I had six players at the time. Five of them moved off the trail to let the gnolls pass, but one of the players wouldn't have it. He stayed his horse, looked the leader gnoll in the eye, and did not budge.

I had the gnolls slowly ride by. There was tension at the game table. The players, especially the one that refused to move, were ready for a fight. They were banking on one. The four players that moved tried to avoid a fight, but they thought that the one player who stayed in the middle of the road would screw their efforts.

As the lead gnoll rode by the single player character, I had him stare at the PC and emit a deep growl. The player said, "I stare right back at him. I can't let him see that I'm afraid."

Then, I had the gnoll leader tip his head and lower his ears in respect. I figured that the gnolls were a warrior breed who respected other warriors. He'd piss on the other four, if he could, but this one stood up to the entire gnoll party. They rode on, and the players all let out a collective sigh of relief!

See, to me, moments like that is what D&D is all about. That happened years ago, and I still remember it. The player, of course, loved that night's session because of that single minute or so of game time. It was awesome. Not planned. Strictly impromptu. A D&D moment.

I don't see the 3.0/3.5 game encouraging moments like that in the game. I see the player wanting to roll his Bluff skill, and then the DM rolling the gnoll's Sense Motive.

It's not the same. The game doesn't "play" as well like that. Plus, if you play 3.0/3.5 the way I describe above, the player who did max out Bluff may feel like those skill points were wasted and better used on a skill that gets more dice rolling opportunities.

I really think this is a design flaw in the 3.0/3.5 game.

But, don't get me wrong. I do think that there is a place for rolling dice in the situations I've described above. It depends on the moment. It depends on the drama. A good DM, I believe, should shepherd his game in and out of dice rolling and roleplaying situations. Sometimes you just want to quickly see what rumors a character picked up using his Gather Information skill after a few days in town. And, sometimes, the DM wants to place the player at the entrance to the bar, describe the patrons and what the character sees, then play out the moments to see what will come.

It's just that the 3.0/3.5 rules don't encorage the latter.

I read once--I wish I could remember where--a very good piece of GMing advice: Never roll a die when roleplaying a situation would be more interesting--the only time you want to roll is when roleplaying won't work (like determining is a lock is picked) or when roleplaying would bog down the momentum of the game.

I think those are golden words for a DM.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:23 am

In my opinion, the time to roll the dice is when you need to determine if a character knows something that a player couldn't possibly know.

Take the example above I wrote of the PC examining the sword in the merchant's stall....
Supplement Four wrote:For example, let's say that a player has his character examine the quality of swords in a merchant's stall. Back in the old days of AD&D and 2E, the player would ask questions, and the DM would answer. Many times, this would errupt into a roleplaying situation, the DM playing the merchant.

Player says, "What does the sword look like?" And, as DM, I'd reply, "You see nicks in the edge. The blade is dry and badly needs oil. And, there's some rust near the handle and guard. Out of the corner of your eye, you see the merchant staring at you, smiling. He walks over. "Master," he says, "that weapon has been used to kill many foes. It is a soldier's weapon. Very serviceable. High quality. And, it seems to fit your hand perfectly! Shall we say...70 silver Farthings?"

Now, the player is into it. He replies, in character, "Nay! I can obtain a new sword, hot from the forge, for 70 Farthings. Look at the rust! Look at the nicks! Look--the handle needs to be re-wrapped! I'll give you 25 Farthings."

"TWENTY-Five Farthings!" The GM explodes, in character. "Will you take the food from the mouths of my children? That weapon is worth 50 Farthings if it is worth one, but I'll take a loss on it at 45 Farthings because you blessed me today by entering my humble shop."

See how the older rules promoted roleplaying? It's natural to get to this place using the AD&D 2E rules. But, with 3.0/3.5, it's a different story. Instead of roleplaying, rolling dice is encouraged. Instead of the player originally asking questions about the sword, back and forth, with the GM, the question is likely to be, "I want to roll an Appraise check. What's my DC?" And, once you give him the DC, he wants to know what his check told him.

Let's change the example a bit. Let's say that the sword, as shabby as it looks, is one of the Lost Swords of Blah-Blah-Blahbaaa. These swords can be identified by a small infinity symbol etched at the base of the blade near the guard. The DM could describe this to the player, but all that is going to tell the player that there is something special about this sword because of that symbol. (And, sometimes, that's a good way to go, setting up a mystery in the game for which the player is interested. It's a plot hook.) But, we're going to say that the Lost Swords of Blah-Blah-Blahbaaa are native to the character's home city-state. Because of this, there's a chance that the character knows of the Lost Swords and has heard of the symbol. A check is perfect for this type of thing (and maybe it's a Knowledge check instead of an Appraise check). The above example would start out the same but turn more like this...

Player says, "What does the sword look like?" And, as DM, I'd reply, "You see nicks in the edge. The blade is dry and badly needs oil. And, there's some rust near the handle and guard. But, on the base of the blade near the guard, you see a curious symbol. It's the sign of the infinity. Roll your appraise."

The player rolls and makes it as the DM continues, "Your eyes go wide when you see the infinity, for you know that this is one of the Lost Blades of Blah-Blah-Blahbaaa. There were nine of them, each said to lead their wielders to riches and glory. They were forged in your home city state of Blah-BAAA. Now, out of the corner of your eye, you see the merchant staring at you, smiling. He walks over."

"Master," he says, "that weapon has been used to kill many foes. It is a soldier's weapon. Very serviceable. High quality. And, it seems to fit your hand perfectly! Shall we say...70 silver Farthings?"

"Done!" Says the player. "I give him the coin, take the sword, and return to the inn with it."

This type of die throw I think should be used in the game, when appropriate. It's the type of throws such as the "DC 15 Appraise" tasks needed to determine the worth of a blade as shown in the first example that I question. I think a lot of those types of throws should be thrown out of the game replaced with Player/DM interaction.
rabindranath72
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 781
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:48 pm
Contact:

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:52 pm

In my experience, it's more a matter of how the DM presents the game to the players, rather than a design flaw. After all, skills-based games have existed since 1978 (RuneQuest was the first.) When I DM 3e (3.0) I will point out that it's the DM's job to ask the players to roll for skills, not for them to propose the use of skills.
Second, I will only ask for rolls in dangerous situations, or when something is at stake. I will also make plenty of use taking 10 and taking 20 implicitly.
--------------------------------------------------
Williams and Holland law:
"Everything can be demonstrated by statistical methods if you have enough data"
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:55 pm

Here's the rub with the 3.0/3.5 rules, though: We play out an encounter strictly with roleplay. Let's say the PCs have approached a town after sundown, and the town gates have closed. I describe the guard on the battlement that looks down at them. There's another in a guard tower with a crossbow. We play out the interchange between the guard that the PCs. It's fun. But, ultimately, the PCs don't convince the guard to let them inside this night. They'll have to spend the night in the wilderness then come back to the gate in the morning.

The roleplaying went that way, but then a player looks at his sheet and says, "Hey, I've got a 16 CHA, and I'm +11 at Diplomacy...I shoulda convinced that guard to let us in!"

But, he didnt'. When we roleplayed it out, although it was an enjoyable RP momemt. The players even laughed at my rendition of the guard. The juxtapositon of the characters stats and the outcome of the roleplay may not seem correct.

In my view, the character did what the character did as the player played him.

In a 3.0/3.5 view, it was an unlikely occurence that the character would roll so low as to miss the throw to let the PCs inside the town at night. The character could have Taken 10 and made the throw.

Thus, this is the problem I sometimes have with the game.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:35 am

There really is no easy answer to this issue.
I remember my ADnD days as this:
PCs enter dungeon chamber #22:
DM elaborately describes the whole room.
PCs say "We search the entire room"
DM says "How?"
PCs say move everything, lift up stuff, the usual, like we did in Chambers 1-21 and proceeded to find all the loot.
DM is forced to give up the hidden loot.
Stupid character (int 5 and Wis 4) had the same likelihood as the the smarty-pants PCs to find the loot, thus causing the mental attributes to be the stat dumps of the old ADnD.

So... Lazy DMing and Lazy PCs really wrecked the system.

With 3.5 there is a beauty to the skill concept, we all have various aptitudes and problem areas. The skill concept makes conceptual sense.
The tough part is that it is also detrimental to Roleplaying, using the "sweet-talk the guard"
scenario, no matter how hard you elaborate your roleplaying, your DIPLOMACY roll (RAW) will have the final say. This also brings laziness since it doesn't pay to waste your time telling the GM what elaborate story you are spinning, if it all rests on a roll.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:49 pm

I think what I like is a game that defaults to roleplaying, but if that roleplaying will bog down the game, then use dice throws. In this way, the GM keeps his finger on the pulse of the game. The GM must be a good story-teller, and part being a good story teller is knowing when to RP and when to roll.

If you RP, though, I think that should trump rolling. The DM should keep in mind the character's skills and stats, though, when RPing--meaning the DM should combine the player's RP actions with the knowledge that the players' character is a CHA 17, Diplomacy +15 Hyborian noble or a CHA 8, Diplomacy -1 savage Pict. No dice throws are used. The GM just as to imagine the character along with the player's role playing actions and allow the character's stats to skew the GM's impression of the RP.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:48 pm

I guess the only way to make it work would be to tell the PC to roleplay his "charm the guard" speech, and make the Diplomacy roll IN SECRET.
That way if he fails the GM can still fudge it.
The tough part is that most players want to roll the die themselves/ see the results. Once the cat's out of the bag that the GM is fudging numbers, then the GM's credibility is doomed.

I guess you could have a blanket rule like all players make combat oriented rolls but GM has control over skill rolls?
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:49 pm

Spectator wrote:I guess the only way to make it work would be to tell the PC to roleplay his "charm the guard" speech, and make the Diplomacy roll IN SECRET.
That way if he fails the GM can still fudge it.
The tough part is that most players want to roll the die themselves/ see the results. Once the cat's out of the bag that the GM is fudging numbers, then the GM's credibility is doomed.
Yeah, I don't like rolling secret rolls. I do it, when needed, but I prefer that the player roll his own dice.

I've decided to do it old school. Roleplaying trumps dice throws. I'm not going to do both (or, rarely will I do both). I want to take the game back to the player, not the dice. I want my players thinking and solving problems, not rolling dice.

So, whenever a situation pops up, the default is to roleplay it out. But, a good GM is a good story teller, and there certainly is a place for dice rolling. Therefore, default first to RPing the situation, but if that feels wrong, or the GM thinks this will bog down the game, then cover it with a dice throw and move on.

For example, the PCs approach the town at sundown. "Who goes there," asks the guard atop the battlements. We go straight into RPing the enounter. That's the default. No dice are thrown. The players are masters of their own fates.

The next night, and the night after that, the PCs find themselves in similar situations at each village. Well, it's just not fun to repeat a similar encounter so soon after the first. The players wouldn't enjoy that at all. Getting into the town at night becomes drudgery. The GM should know this and have the story-telling chops to just let the second and third nights be dealt with using Diplomacy checks. A quick dice throw, and the GM says, "It's a similar situation that you had at the last town, but you sweet talked the guard and got inside."

The GM guides the game between RP moments and dice rolling moments just as he does guiding the game between scenes and combat scenarios measured in six second rounds.





Yet...even when roleplaying, stats and skills will be important. They should skew the GM's RP even if no die throw is made. This way, you don't ever really have a CHR 5 Pict savage coming across as suave to a lofty, stuck-up, Hyborian noble, unless the character comes up with something extremely convincing in his roleplay. GM: "That's the way you came across in your head. And, if the recipient of your dialogue were somebody other than this stuck up noble, you might have half a chance at coming off as suave in spite of being perceived as an uncivilized savage. But, you were talking to this dandy, all he really sees is an uncouth, uncivilized freak of nature not worthy of his attention."

This way, I think both rolls of RPing and skill checks are served.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:14 am

The problem you will encounter (and so would I) is that the players will probably not put their precious skill points into Diplomacy if the default is to RP the encounter. If I had 6 skill points to burn, I would prefer to put them into something like stealth skills (hide/ move silently) or a myriad of other skills.
This is a toughie. There is no right answer, except that people who have Big Bad Barbarians from Hyperborea who could not charm a bush, now can be on equal (almost) footing with a hottie PC because it is the players making the impassioned speech to the guards, not the PCs skills.

I think it really has to be all or nothing, can you think of a way to prevent this from happening?
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:14 pm

Spectator wrote:I think it really has to be all or nothing, can you think of a way to prevent this from happening?
Yes, but what I said above. First, the RP will be skewed by a character's stat. If you've got a low stat, I'll make it more difficult for you to roleplay around it. If you've got a high stat, I'll be easier on you.

Second, you will still be rolling a lot on that skill. The default is to RP, but there will still be plenty of situations where rolling is used. Take my example above. The first time, with the gate guard, RP is used. But, the other two times, during the same game session, would be rolled.

Players will learn that they need their rolls just like they would if we never RPed anything. In that example, twice for rolling and once for RPing means two encounters determined by dice and only one by RP.

I'll have to point out to the players that rolling for things will still be important in spite of the default move to RPing situations.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:07 pm

To make this work, dont you need to keep the rolls hidden, i.e. the GM is making them?
A lot of Players hate when others roll the die or when they cant see the result!
Am I not getting it?
Or am I being too much of a purist?!?!
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:02 pm

Spectator wrote:To make this work, dont you need to keep the rolls hidden, i.e. the GM is making them?
A lot of Players hate when others roll the die or when they cant see the result!
Am I not getting it?
Or am I being too much of a purist?!?!
I think what you may not be "getting", as you say, is that I'm going to allow roleplaying to replace dice throws. I'm not going to roll the dice at all. I am going to consider the character's skill, but I'm not going to roll on it.

Remember, in the old days, someone would roleplay a suave character, and you'd look at the character's sheet and see that he's a 7 CHA Half-Orc speaking to an elf? You'd temper the roleplay because of the character's race and stats, but no dice throws are involved.

That's what I'm going to do in my game. I'm going to default to roleplay situations that are tempered by Skill totals, but there are no skill throws.

Now, that's not to say that I won't ever have any skill throws. I'll have a lot of them. I'm just saying that the default of a situation is to roleplay, and roleplaying trumps dice throws. But, there will be a lot of instances where dice rolling will still occur.

Take for example, the characters in the Conan RPG party are exploring a green stone ruin that they've discovered in the vast waste deserts of Shem. Inside a room, one of the PCs wants to look for traps. OK, we default to a roleplaying situation. But the GM looks at his PC cheat sheet to see what the Search skill is for the character. The GM will use that to temper his roleplay with the player.

GM: What are you doing to look for a trap?

Player: I'm going to take Amand's war spear and use the blunt end to start tapping on the floor, in various spots, to see if any of the stones depress.

GM: (Knowing that the PC has a high Search skill, he makes it easy for the player's idea to work). You tap and tap, here and there, until, yes, one of the stones starts to depress. Darts shoot from the sides of the wall. One impacts on the shaft of your spear. What do you want to do now?





See, we defaulted to roleplaying, not dice rolling, which engages the player to a higher level of immersion in the game. And, the character found the trap without rolling a single die.

Now, let's say we moved on from that room, and we've roleplayed a couple more traps. The GM is starting to feel that roleplaying each and every trap is getting old. It was exciting at first, but after the second go around, roleplaying the same type of situation is getting stale.

With furture situations where the player wants to check for traps, we still default to roleplaying first, but because of it getting stale, the GM decides not to use the default. So, we move to dice throws.

The next rooms, we simply dice them with Search checks and keep the game moving, fast.





The GM is a story teller, and I believe that the story can be told best through roleplaying. But repetitive situations, in novels and movies, are usually skipped over and assumed to be done. That's what I'm saying here. Add some purely roleplaying situations to the game when it is dramatic, but still use the dicing of situations to keep the game moving with roleplaying would hinder, not help, the game.

In this way, the game weaves in and out of roleplaying situations and diced encounters--hopefully always immersive and interesting to the player characters.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:08 pm

On another forum, a GM was saying that his party theif was attempting to steal a horse from its stable in a town. The horse was stubborn and wouldn't budge, so the theif shoved his hand into this big sack he carried and pulled out some jerky, holding it up for the horse to eat. The horse sniffed the jerky and turned its head away.

Well, you see, horses don't eat meat. This is something that the GM figured that the character knew but the player obviously didn't. So, the GM had the player roll a Handle Animal check, and on its success, reminded the player that horses are vegetarians.

I think this is a great way to handle the situation.

I also think it would have been good to just tell the player that the horse turned his head at the jerky, and it would be up to the player to figure out what went wrong and how to overcome the problem.

Either way is fine, and possible to happen, in my game.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:45 am

I think your system will work very well. I love roleplaying, after all, it is an RPG not a Dice-throwing-game. One of the things I loved about ADnD was that you really only threw dice in combat, after that it was all DM-Player interaction.
There is a beauty to simplicity.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:11 am

Spectator wrote:One of the things I loved about ADnD was that you really only threw dice in combat, after that it was all DM-Player interaction.
Yes, that's what I want to get back to. 3.0/3.5 has turned D&D into a dice throwing game. I want more of that DM-Player Interaction. We'll see how it goes.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:43 pm

One of the concepts I liked in the ADnD Oriental Adventures (and I think adopted in 2nd Ed ADnD) were non-weapon proficiencies. You could pick horsemanship, sailing, etc. and then you were pretty much golden when it came to most mundane and ordinary things involving that skill. Not a heavy load of Dice rolling unless the DM wanted to be a dick and have you fall off your horse.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:26 pm

Spectator wrote:One of the concepts I liked in the ADnD Oriental Adventures (and I think adopted in 2nd Ed ADnD) were non-weapon proficiencies. You could pick horsemanship, sailing, etc. and then you were pretty much golden when it came to most mundane and ordinary things involving that skill. Not a heavy load of Dice rolling unless the DM wanted to be a dick and have you fall off your horse.
Yeah, I don't remember when those first hit the scene. I do remember 1E's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide and Wilderness Survival Guide made extinsive use of them.

Your stats (I think it was your INT) limited how many NWPs you could have, and in 2E supplemental books, these were expanded to include battle maneuvers, like two-handed weapon style and the like.

I liked them, too.





Another "problem" (I guess I should call it "difference") I see between the AD&D way of doing things and how that was changed with 3.0/3.5 is when initiative is thrown.

In AD&D, a DM kept the game out of combat for as long as possible. When someone launched an attack, that's usually where initiative was thrown. In a lot of encounters, there was much time spent with enemies in sight, sometimes even interacting with the PCs, before initiative was thrown. And, sometimes, the situation never devolved into combat at all.

With 3.0/3.5, the encouragement is to roll initiative as soon as the enemy is spotted. Otherwise, the flatfooted rule makes no sense at all. And, even the examples in the 3.5 Player's Manual show combat initiatied as soon as one side sees the other--one example talks about counting rounds if no attacks are made!

The flatfooted rule means a character is caught not 100% ready to defend himself. He's slow, sluggish--just on that first round. Well, that makes sense if the first round of combat is also the first moments that an enemy is discovered.

But, if you play the game the old fashioned way, not rolling initiative and going into combat rounds until an offensive action is made, it could be some time before combat happens--a long time in 6 second combat rounds. Therefore, the flatfooted rule makes no sense. How can a warrior be caught that off-guard when he's been focussed on the enemy for a minute and 12 seconds so far (7 combat rounds)?

It's just a difference in focus between the two rule editions. AD&D and AD&D 2E are roleplay focused games. 3.0/3.5 D&D are board-war-game focused games.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:36 am

I have to say you really know your rules pretty well. That was really illuminating to see what you wrote about the flat footed stuff in 3.5.
I never really thought about it that much.
It is an interesting observation.
I think this all really came to fruition when me and someother poster mentioned we did not use hex grids and you pointed out how dependent this game is on the Board, as opposed to rolplaying.

The one thing I love about 3.5 is how unique your character can be, represented by his stats/skills/feats. No character is the same, where it is very easy to find characters in ADnD with almost no difference stat-wise e.g.: fighters will be simalar to other fighters in AD'nD more than anyother game.

Your two opposing 9th level fighters in ADnD will be similarly armed, have the same weapon proficiencies (remember those), roughly the same hitpoints and attack capabilities. It truly is an unknown on who will win, whereas in 3.5 you can have a tricked out Soldier vs. tricked out Thief (finesse fighter with uncanny dodge and striking cobra feat) potentially win over the soldier. If a fighter took on a thief in ADnD, then game over thiefy-boy.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Spectator » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:38 am

I think that lack of identity/ uniqueness that one felt in ADnD was expressed by the super-ordinary amount and nature of magical items that abounded. If you wanted a stealthy fight you got the Boots and Cloak of Elvenkind, or you changed careers into a thief.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3827
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: In Favor of 3.5, With One Reservation.

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:08 am

Spectator wrote:The one thing I love about 3.5 is how unique your character can be, represented by his stats/skills/feats. No character is the same, where it is very easy to find characters in ADnD with almost no difference stat-wise e.g.: fighters will be simalar to other fighters in AD'nD more than anyother game.

Your two opposing 9th level fighters in ADnD will be similarly armed, have the same weapon proficiencies (remember those), roughly the same hitpoints and attack capabilities. It truly is an unknown on who will win, whereas in 3.5 you can have a tricked out Soldier vs. tricked out Thief (finesse fighter with uncanny dodge and striking cobra feat) potentially win over the soldier. If a fighter took on a thief in ADnD, then game over thiefy-boy.
You're absolutely correct about this. One of the major things I marvel over is how the Conan RPG allows extreme individuals to be designed in spite of using a class-based system. To tell you the truth, I didn't think this kind of individuality was possible outside of a class-less, more skill based game. Conan really allows this kind of thing, to my surprise and pleasure.

And, you're right about the earlier versions of D&D (1E and 2E AD&D) making more cookie-cutter characters, with magic items determining individuality. Remember walking into a bar and taking note of which characters were wearing robes because you knew those would be the mages! You might as well put a sign on them! Hey! I'm a Mage!

That's not always true, now in 3.5 D&D, and it certainly isn't true in the Conan RPG. That dude under the robes is could be anybody.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests