Help support TMP


"Uncomplexificating D&D, some homegrown rules" Topic


17 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please be courteous toward your fellow TMP members.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Fantasy RPG Message Board


Action Log

05 Apr 2004 6:27 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Fantasy Discussion board
  • Removed from 18th Century Battle Reports board

Areas of Interest

Fantasy

Featured Hobby News Article


Featured Link


Featured Ruleset

BattleSworn


Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 


Featured Workbench Article

Iron Wind Metal's Boneyard Express

Our first video workbench!


Featured Profile Article

Report from ReaperCon 2006

Michael Cannon reports from last May's ReaperCon 2006.


1,367 hits since 3 Apr 2004
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Terrell Babb03 Apr 2004 10:51 p.m. PST


Somebody else did a d20 is too complicated post. I agree, and would have placed this post there, except that there are already 32 posts there, and many people would not see it, so here goes.

I agree that 3E is much more complex than all that comes before, and what most of us who loved D&D really liked was its simplicity. However, the complexity of 3E really is in the PCs. THis can be done away with by modifying three rules:

1. Prestige Classes:

Junk 'em. They don't add anything to the game, contribute to excess power-gaming, and focus the players attention too much on his character, rather than the adventure.

2. Skills:

Every character has all of his core skills at a level equal to his class level, all his cross-class skills at a level equal to half his class level (round up) and no other skills at all.

3 Feats:

These just translate into a number, equal to the number of feats the character would have on any level. They are used as follows: Any time the character really needs to accomplish something, he can expend one or more feats to represent a truly heroic effort on his part. Before he makes any die roll (for attack, damage, saving throw, skill check, or any other action taken by the character) he can declare the number of feats he is expending. Each feat allows one reroll, and the character can keep the best roll. He must declare ALL feats expended before the roll is made, and all feats so expended are lost, whether he needs the rerolls or not.

Each feat is usable once per day of adventuring.

Now, while this system has met considerable acclaim among my gaming group, I have heard two complaints about it:

1. What?! Without great cleave, power attack, et., my first level character can no longer cause 133 hit points damage per round! This bites!

To this one, I reply, tough. Go play d20 Munchkin.

2. This takes away the individuality of my character. Now I can no longer create him to suit my taste. It is also less realistic, as it makes all characters the same.

This complaint is more legitimate, but I still think it fails. For one thing, the individualization of skills is a pretty modern, Western phenomenon. In the 21st century, you pretty much go to college and study what you like, join the military service that you like, learn the trade that you like, etc.

For most of human history, things were very different. Knights in the middle ages did not learn to read. This was an unmanly "priest's trick." Peasants did not learn swordsmanship. This was a noble's weapon. When the peasant fought, it was with the glaive, bow, axe, etc. Clerics and scholars did not become rulers (except of particular clerical sees) they were advisers to rulers and lawyers.

What's more, there was enormous social pressure NOT to deviate from one's class. A noble who decided to take up shoemaking would be as much frowned upon by his peers as a shoemaker who took up fencing. God put you in a place, and you stayed in that place, and you pretty much learned and did what your class dictated.

This all was true in the European middle ages, which, ironically enough, had enormous vertical and horizontal mobility compared to the rest of the world. In India, when Arjuna balks at killing his relatives in battle, Krishna tells him not to worry about it, just do as his class is supposed to do, and he'll be fine. In Japan, the situation is even more extreme, where the Samurai can kill virtually anyone of lower rank for just about any reason or none.

In short, whether or not this is realistic really depends on the time and period in which you are playing. For the free-wheeling modern world, I'd say use a skill based system (and here, you're probably better off with GURPS than D20). For a more stratified society, a purely level based system works just fine.

Scurvy04 Apr 2004 5:26 a.m. PST

just play dragon warriors

much better game

Captain Darling04 Apr 2004 6:46 a.m. PST

I second that Scurvy...DW kicks D&Dīs ass any day of the week. Or play Pendragon...another much better alternative to D&D.

Peace.

mweaver04 Apr 2004 7:08 a.m. PST

Neither the skills system nor the feats system seem particularly complicated to me, nor do they seem broken, yet they do add a level of variety to the characters.

Prestige classes? Can't really say, since my group generally hasn't bothered with them much.

Never heard of Dragon Warriors. Who makes it?

Gaming Glen04 Apr 2004 7:13 a.m. PST

I'm glad I don't play in your group.

Re: Prestige classes - I do agree, powergaming crap as they are written. The concept is fine, as I think that works for specific worlds: such as Glorantha (Runequest), where characters can become Rune Lords or Rune Priests for various religious cults. I've started writing such up but the general lack of interest in role-playing instead of munchkin-playing has caused me to stop.

Re: skills - completely disagree with you. IMO, the new skill system is the best thing about D&D 3.+. And it does let characters differ and focus on specific aspects of development. I'd like to see more skill points for many classes (2 is just way too low).

Re: feats - I have no idea what you're talking about, but it does not even come close to what the feat system does. Feats could be dropped and I wouldn't miss them. Some are not worth a feat slot (i.e., Dodge) and some are worth much more than 1, but maybe not 2.


Fine, you don't like d20. Why not just have a player roll a d6 (or d8, or d10), add some number based on experience gained (could be "level"), and compare it to the roll the DM made for the opponent. Higher roll wins, that character gets to defeat the other.

Is d20 more complicated than original AD&D. Yes and no. It doesn't have that stupid THAC0 system, has 2 less saving throws, weapons have one listed damage (well, now back to 2 with weapons for the short people). It's also polluted with a lot of third party crap (and some good stuff). Stick to the 3 core books and you'll all learn the rules a lot sooner by not spending time learning about superfeats and uberclasses.


Get the Basic Role-Playing system from Chaosism. It's a small book ($5.95?), no levels, no classes, mostly a skills system.

Glen

Patrick R04 Apr 2004 7:46 a.m. PST

If you want to play an AD&D derivative, go get Senzar. Ignore the puerile crap and you'll find the very best non-D20 core game ever made. Logical and intuitive to use.

mweaver04 Apr 2004 8:25 a.m. PST

"Is d20 more complicated than original AD&D. Yes and no."

When I tried to teach Neotacha 2nd Ed., it was slow going. When 3rd Ed. came out, she picked it up very quickly.

Alpha Kenny One04 Apr 2004 11:41 a.m. PST

Gaming Glen

"I'm glad I don't play in your group. Re: skills - completely disagree with you. IMO, the new skill system is the best thing about D&D 3.+. And it does let characters differ and focus on specific aspects of development."

Evidently you completely missed the point of the original post. You arer making an argument that TB has already dealt with, and, I think, rather nicely. If you are playing in a more or less caste based society, than additional skills don't make any sense.

Still, the whole point is to simplify the game back to its roots, and yet allow people to continue to play D20.

Myself, I'm a professional, very busy, and have limited time that I can devote to gaming, so something like this makes perfect sense.

If you, on the other hand, are one of those guys who's most time consuming and strenuous act during the week consists of cashing his SSI check, and you have infinite time to spend on character development, then, by all means, play the system as it is.

DesertScrb04 Apr 2004 1:16 p.m. PST

Glen wrote: "Is d20 more complicated than original AD&D. Yes and no. It doesn't have that stupid THAC0 system, has 2 less saving throws, weapons have one listed damage (well, now back to 2 with weapons for the short people). It's also polluted with a lot of third party crap (and some good stuff). Stick to the 3 core books and you'll all learn the rules a lot sooner by not spending time learning about superfeats and uberclasses."

So does anyone here still play original AD&D? I don't know if it's better or worse than 3E, but it's what I learned way back when, and so there's a great nostalgia factor there.

Scurvy04 Apr 2004 1:20 p.m. PST

For those wondering about Dragon Warriors im putting a link to the PDF of all gamebooks in a new post with Dragon Warriors somewhere in the title.

Neotacha04 Apr 2004 2:53 p.m. PST

Thanks, Scurvy

Gaming Glen04 Apr 2004 2:55 p.m. PST

--------------------------------------------------
"I'm glad I don't play in your group. Re: skills - completely disagree with you. IMO, the new skill system is the best thing about D&D 3.+. And it does let characters differ and focus on specific aspects of development."

Evidently you completely missed the point of the original post. You arer making an argument that TB has already dealt with, and, I think, rather nicely. If you are playing in a more or less caste based society, than additional skills don't make any sense.
----------------------------------------------

So, you're telling me that a farmer, a baker, a warrior, a priest, and a noble have nearly the same level of skills, give or take a few points? Even in a caste-based society? A tobacco farmer is a lot different than a corn farmer than a rice farmer; and that's not even considering climate or livestock. Not every warrior knows the same level of court etiquette or the same lay of the land as every other warrior. Not all rogues are lock-picking-trap-finding thieves. Humans are not like ants or bees with their caste society, but are a lot more dynamic. What he suggested for skills is dumbing down the system. Maybe so they can play pen-and-paper Diablo? (I played in a game like this, was fun for about 2 sessions..now I wouldn't even bother)

-----------------------------------------
Still, the whole point is to simplify the game back to its roots, and yet allow people to continue to play D20.
-----------------------------------------

The game system IS simple, for me at least. Combat can get complicated, but what I've seen it is more due to lack of understanding or even reading the combat system by players; they rather read about uber feats and super classes. I think the combat system is more complex because it is trying to cover more situations that the original rules did not cover. I've seen several combat situations in AD&D 1 play that the rules did not cover and had to be fudged or ruled by the DM, sometimes leading to arguments.

As for the roots, they had rotted.


AD&D, version 1, had 3 rule books for quite a long time. No other rule books were around to read and clutter, or dazzle, the minds of the players.


Glen

Neotacha04 Apr 2004 3:02 p.m. PST

So far as character development is concerned, that's why some classes "pay" double the cost. If you're trying to keep some similarities to a "real world" society, just agree what groups could take what skills and don't sweat the costs.

Feats represent gains in knowledge based on experience. Yes, after surviving a certain number of battles, it makes sense that someone would sort of learn when it'd be good to duck. Use house rules to limit feats by class, if you like.

Please remember that in the society you're envisioning, the odds of having a mixed caste group are pretty slim unless you count the servants as part of your party. That being the case, I don't see where some of your arguments are particularly valid (but maybe I'm just not thinking things through all the way).

Of course, you could always just play 2nd edition, or even go back to the original. There's no law says you have to upgrade, just 'cause the game did. And lord knows, there are plenty of old modules out there that the mindless "D&D upgraded so I have to, too" sheep are off-loading.

General Incompetence04 Apr 2004 5:59 p.m. PST

Gaming Glen:

Relax pal. Nobody is telling you that you can't play 3E any way you want. In fact, that is the whole point of the discussion.

As for those of you who are saying "If you don't like it play Dragon Warriors [or insert your favorite small company FRPG here]." I think the response you will generally get is "What's Dragon Warriors?"

If this guy wants to play 3E (presumably because you can usually find people who will play it) but wants to play a simplified version, where's the harm? This sounds like a nice ""roll the character up in 15 minutes and get right down to the game" idea.

Personally, my first D&D character, from back in the early 1980s was on a 3x5 card, and YES, I do miss those days,

Scurvy05 Apr 2004 3:39 a.m. PST

"What's Dragon Warriors?"

much better game is what it is. Dungon bashing the way it should be.

General Incompetence05 Apr 2004 10:08 a.m. PST

Scurvy, come on man. This thread is about D&D. Plug your pet game system someplace else.

Janean05 Apr 2004 10:43 a.m. PST

"Better game" depends on what you want out of the game. Character development, puzzles and plot make my preferred game. I'd like to thank TB for sharing his experience with just trying to play the new D&D.

Scurvy05 Apr 2004 2:16 p.m. PST

Scurvy, come on man. This thread is about D&D. Plug your pet game system someplace else.

miles ahead of you General. ;)

One Day Without Boo Boo07 Apr 2004 11:41 a.m. PST

Gaming Glenn said "I'm glad I don't play in your group. Re: skills - completely disagree with you. IMO, the new skill system is the best thing about D&D 3.+. And it does let characters differ and focus on specific aspects of development."

Boy, if this ain't some kinda horse puckey here. Anytime anybody wants to play D&D a little differently, even today, in a time in which THE MANUFACTURERS THEMSELVES HAVE SAID YOU CAN PLAY IT ANY WAY YOU WANT, you still get attacked as a heretic if you deviate from the published rules.

Grow up Glenn. Gygax isn't running things anymore.

Weasel06 Oct 2004 10:07 p.m. PST

"It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, if it goes against the obvious intent of the game"

Gary Gygax, AD&D Dungeon masters guide. 1979


Did they change that recently or did I miss something ?

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.