Cast : Rob, Mike, and Art
Topics : Listener E-Mails inspire a discussions about various Editions of Dungeons and Dragons.
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Music : All music used with permission of Ghoultown

7 Responses to “Episode 191: Edition Comparisons”

elric

December 12th, 2011 - 8:25 am

alright, geez…sorry about that
 
but hey, was funny!

Fridrik

December 12th, 2011 - 12:02 pm

Quick thought about Mike wanting a bell curved DnD.
The simplest way to do that is to play your standard version of DnD, but use 3d6 in steed of a d20.  3 is a fumble and 18 a Crit.  You might have to shift skill difficulty by a point or two, but that will be it.  It gives a good bell curve with 10.5 in the middle.

XP-Nobody

December 14th, 2011 - 12:54 pm

When you take something like the name “Dungeons and Dragons” and make more incarnations of it you are doing it to build on the brand and attract the followers of the previous product. When you do that you are automatically opening the door for comparison
You comment that you can’t compare D&D to its self but you reference that each version of D&D is a different game. If they are different games then they CAN be compared and the masses WILL compare them to one another and there will be expectations from the players from the older editions that they want to see in the new editions.
Next, about the comment of disenchanting in 4E… you have a grievous error in your comment to Nathanel:
Disenchant item ritual:
When you finish performing this ritual, you touch a magic
item and destroy it, turning it into a quantity of residuum
valued at one-fifth of the item’s price. The item must be
your level or lower and must be something that can be created
using the Enchant Magic Item ritual.
So when you disenchant you DO NOT get the value, and IT IS the mark down value.
Furthermore I agree with his comment that most of the items don’t make sense in pricing. Why is an item that gives low light vision a 14k gp item (also it is said to be a common item so it is readily available… how is something SO EXPENSIVE so common)? That should be a low level item with a cheap price tag. I think it is more correct to say that assigned levels are completely arbitrary with no solid logic behind why something is what level. Someone just pulled numbers out of a hat, or assigned them that way “Just because”.
As far as the comment on crafting, what about the GM BUILDING an item, so that making new items and keeping the number and effect of powers in an item balanced. There are no construction rules for the GM reference, not even guide lines. Even if you try and reverse engineer the existing items it is an incredible pain in the ass, and it further shows that most of the magic items are arbitrary.
I especially didn’t like your comparison to the flaming weapons.  Anyone can look at the flaming property and see that is says any weapon. There is no conversion for that. However if I want to make a magic item that will give you 5 Damage resistance VS untyped On Going Damage… now what do you compare it to? There is no frame work for equivalency for their magic item’s powers. There is nothing to tell you what different powers like defenses, resists or other affects on items that don’t so easily translate to in value to one another.
I have to agree that over all magic items went from something of awe and wonder in the previous 3 additions to mere window dressing in 4e. I get the distinct impression that whoever was in charge of magic item creation at WotC hates magic items or plays far too much World of War Craft.

Jim Ryan

December 18th, 2011 - 11:06 am

Wow. You poked the bear!

Nathaniel

December 24th, 2011 - 5:07 pm

Bear Swarm,

I just caught your latest podcast. First thanks for responding to me, it was an unexpected spark of coolness. Next, 190 was AWESOME. And now for another wall of text.

Let’s start with a small note on the magic system of 3rd ed, your right. The power of melee vs. mage being inverted where melee become weaker and magic become stronger as the game progresses is a part of the game, not a good part but a part. Grappling, Turn Undead, and the other things wrong with 3.5 are all fair critiques as well.

Now we come to items; Items are a big part of the identity of a character. Robin Hood wouldn’t be Robin Hood without a longbow in his hand, King Arthur without Excalibur is just some peasant with an interesting back story, and Roland Deschain would be no less gunslinger without his fathers Sandalwood Guns they simply distinguish him from the rest of his gun toting brothers. Items add to a characters legend and make heroes stand out more then they would without them. This concept seems to be lost in 4e D&D.

Items are an integral part of your character. In 4e, they do not exist as a way to customize or better your character outside of the leveling treadmill. They exist as a way of keeping you poor and off balanced because if you don’t have the latest and ‘greatest’ magic items your falling behind the curve. Fall behind enough and any encounter become much more difficult and PC’s die more often.

In regards to deconstructing and reconstructing items to customize them…well…No rules, so here goes nothing.
Take for example the comparison between a +1 Flaming sword vs. a +2 flaming sword

And now, math.

Same effect only difference is the +X of the weapon
(lvl 1) +1 magic = 360 gp
(lvl 6) +2 magic = 1800 gp
(lvl 5) +1 flaming = 1000 gp – 360 = 640 Cost of Flaming
(lvl 10) +2 flaming = 5000 gp – 1800 = 3200 Cost of Flaming

So why does flaming now cost 2560 gp more from a +1 to a +2? It’s the same effect; the exact same effect. The ONLY difference is the +X. Add to that the fact that elemental typed weapons aren’t the same level; Frost starters at 3rd level where as Flaming starts at 5th.The only reason for this is that someone just decided that ongoing 5 fire was 2 levels better then 1d8 cold and slow until EonT. That decision placed the item on a scale not based on the cost of an effect.

This is just an example of the underlying problem with magic items in D&D 4th. No real justification of a cost of an item outside the scale. The item level scale is an easy way of cranking out garbage and then guessing as to its power level, without having to do any real math or balance.

Also of note, the Disenchant Magic Item ritual gives you 20% not 100% of the cost of the item, though I’m sure someone else has probably pointed that out to you already.

In regards to crafting items, that’s an NPC’s job. The customization is what I looked for and it’s gone. /tear

Finally, I hates me the d20. HATE. The 3d6 variation on the d20 is nicer, but you really need a large pool of dice to get a better sample size, a better chance of rolling average. Personally I prefer Exalted and Mage: The Ascension as my go to games for fun and awesome. Earthdawn and Shadowrun are good times as well though the step system of Earthdawn makes me want to kill small furry animals in large numbers. Every game system has its quirks and you take the good with the bad.

It’s about telling a story. That’s what this whole gaming thing is really about.

As always, my 2 cents.

[…] Nathaniel’s Wall of Text […]

Cthutube

December 28th, 2011 - 1:56 pm

Just got around to listening to this and heard you mention Cthutube. Thanks for the shout out guys and keep up the good work.

I love pimping good podcasts LOL

 Kyle FUBAR Sember

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