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Mulsiphix
01-17-2008, 11:47 PM
The inspiration for this thread can be found in the first four posts (http://url=http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4924&page=3) on this page. One of the top three reasons I have chosen GURPS over D&D is that I feel the D&D combat system is overcomplicated. So much so that I think it can bring a good RP D&D session to a screeching halt. It just takes too damn long to play. When I come to a dungeon I shouldn't be fearing how long it could possibly take to clear. At the same time, as a DM, I don't think I should have to minimize the amount of encounters or have fewer enemies present just so combat encounters don't take a long time to complete.

However, nothing with me seems to ever be set in stone though and I haven't started reading the GURPS rulebook just yet. Maelstrom suggested I start a new thread so he could set the facts straight. Maelstrom, and everybody that has an opinion (pro or con), I invite you to do so now.

fmitchell
01-18-2008, 12:01 AM
This title won't invite flames at all.

Having said that, I think D&D 3.5 has several warts, notably:


Attacks of Opportunity
Grappling
A number of special rules combined with Feats to ignore said rules

These are known problems, and D&D 4e will explicitly address at least the first two.

There's no reason you can't design a streamlined combat system around the d20 mechanic, on a par with GURPS, Basic Roleplaying, or any other system including PDQ. Star Wars Saga Edition and True20 have apparently done so, although I haven't played either to verify the claims.

Drohem
01-18-2008, 12:19 AM
eh, I've got no problems with it. I don't think it's overly complicated, and certainly not broken. I've got no problems with AoOs or grappling.

At high levels with multiple attacks, it can get a little bogged down if you don't stay on top of it; meaning you don't have all your relevant bonuses/penalties factored into a single attack and damage modified number beforehand.

For example, I have a 16th ECL Thri-Kreen named Pak'ca in my friend's Istys campaign who has 12 attacks per round (4 arms, high BAB, and Two-Weapon Fighting feats). If I had to add the numbers up in my head every attack, it would bog things down and get tedious. Fortunately, I have already done the math in a handy chart on his character sheet for easy reference. So all I have to add is any miscellaneous bonuses/penalties to my modified numbers.

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 02:11 AM
BattleTech had a lot of adding of modifiers but all you need were 2D6 to determine everything. Lots of rolling but the math was pretty easy to do in your head. With D&D it seems a calculator or scratch paper is very necessary in most cases. I was over at DMGenie and I read the following which I found quite scary:
Your PCs are in the middle of an exciting adventure. They've tracked the evil monsters down to their lair, deep in the dungeon, skillfully avoiding deadly traps. Suddenly, the monsters spot them!
Time to start a battle. You roll, roll, roll. Check the rulebook. Roll again. Another rulebook - where is it? Roll yet again. Meanwhile, your players are starting to get bored.
Combat finally begins. A PC makes an attack against an orc with 50% cover. Does he hit? The orc falls prone. What's his AC now? An evil wizard turned himself invisible. How does it affect his stats? A PC casts fireball on 3 goblins, 2 trolls and a level 5 wizard. Time to roll 6 saving throws. What is the wizard's reflex save bonus?

Drohem
01-18-2008, 02:15 AM
hehe...not at all. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to pull the numbers out of your arse :D

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 02:51 AM
True. Farcaster just explained the above quote to me. Not as complicated as it seemed but still a bit native to me. There are a couple other things holding me back from settling on either GURPS or D&D right now. However, so far I haven't posted about it because it will bring opinions out of the wood work that may not be to pleasant to hear. Bah I'll post about it soon. More of personal fears about DM'ing and players than about the game systems themselves. I'll link here when I finally post it.

gdmcbride
01-18-2008, 03:19 AM
D&D 3.5 is a complex RPG system. It takes three core rulebooks of approx. 300 pages each to describe the game. That is complex. Most other RPGs get by on a fraction of that page count.

Whether it is too complex or not is a matter of taste. You can overcome that complexity by memorizing rules. I find that no fun.

My biggest problem with the game is prep time. If I want to create unique monsters exactly to my taste, it takes forever.

Or I can just wing it as was pointed out. But a system you have to ignore to actually play is a system with a problem, in my estimation.

Gary

Maelstrom
01-18-2008, 03:56 AM
The thing is, you don't need to have every rule memorize to enjoy the game. If you are a maximalist that wants to understand the whole system before even trying a small part of it, then I can understand that D&D can be overwhelming.

When you build a 1st level fighter, what do you need to know? You have to calculate your initial ability scores (just a few rolls), pick out a feat, or two if you're human (at 1st level the list is limited to what you'd want to choose), choose a few skills (which are pretty limited for fighters), and you're pretty much set to go.

Certainly you can spend a lot of time figuring out what equipment to buy and calculating the encumbrance, figuring out every fighting option available to you and memorizing the appropriate rules, but the point is, the first goaround, you don't need to!

The same is true for a DM... you can spend years crafting a world, building up all the different connections between dozens of factions vieing for power, and statting out any NPC the players might possibly run across.

Or you could buy some Tiles or a battlemat, and make up a dungeon on the fly, only reading the rules you need to understand to make those basic goblins swing their shortswords.

After you've done that, you learn a little bit more. You get to understand the classes that the players have chosen so you know how to customize the challenge for them.

Here's an analogy... if you've ever wanted to write a computer program before, do you go and read about every last function available to your language of choice before you start writing some code? No, you look for that one function that will do what you want it to do. You start by writing something which only writes "hello world!" to the screen. And then you get a little more complicated, piece by piece.

What I like most about 3.5 over previous systems is that it takes the understanding of a few concepts (how do you make an attack roll, how do you calculate your armor class), and once you understand these in practice you are ready to branch out. 3.5 is very open and modular that way. There are enough options to give you freedom to create your ideal character, but those options don't require you to understand all of them to get started.

gdmcbride
01-18-2008, 05:16 AM
Maelstrom,

I really don't disagree with your post. A system so complex that you can't play it straight away and you must introduce levels of complexity in a staged learning environment clearly appeals to you. That is fine. There is nothing wrong with that.

But I can also see how that would be unappealing to many players. I know that d20's complex rules set (in particular conditions, spells and nonstandard attacks like grappling or disarms) really bogged down my last campaign. I wanted fast, furious action. What I got was sluggish meticulous combats. It was still a fun game, but my group was ready to try something else by its end.

The OP asked if D&D is Overcomplicated and/or Broken. My answer is clearly no to the second ... you can definitely play D&D 3.5.

To the first, I would say 'yes, it is overcomplicated for my tastes.'

Gary

Maelstrom
01-18-2008, 05:19 AM
Why were your combats meticulous? Did you have rules conflicts? Or were your players full of indecision?

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 08:21 AM
Maelstrom comparing a computer language to D&D isn't quite a fair analogy. They aren't even in the same league. I would argue that they aren't even in the same universe except that technically both can be learned so they share something in common. It is theoretically possible to learn every possible command for a programming language but I think such a challenge would prove near impossible to most human beings, minus the true genius that walk among us. Not to mention programming languages evolve on a very regular basis, much like computer technology. I have no interest in just learning enough to get by. My very first time out will be at the beginning of what I hope will be a multi-year campaign. I would never be satisfied just running an adventure or module I picked up, not unless that product had the potential to last me years. The only products I ever mention I am interested in are the super large products that meet that criteria; Ptolus, Wilderlands Of High Fantasy, The Bards City, The City Of Brass, etc...

I've been playing video games set in standard fantasy for the last two decades. While D&D is a different type of game the setting is something I am extremely well acquainted with. Before I learn D&D I want to make sure the base system isn't overly complicated. Once I have a firm understanding of the game system I can begin to house rule, variant rule, and alternative core content the system. While I love the settings I mentioned above I am really not interested in playing within them using the D&D core material. I want to use them as settings with content introduced, sole product - no mixing and matching between, the following; The Book Of Eldrich Might, Arcana Unearthed, Arcana Evolved, The Book Of Iron Might, Iron Heroes, The Book Of Hallowed Might, and even The Year's Best D20. Even when considering GURPS I primarily look at it as a system that will allow me to add role playing to my favorite wargames; BattleTech (entire product line), Warhammer FRP, Warhammer 40K, Heavy Gear, Exalted (fighting system only), Car Wars, VOR: The Maelstrom, and Starship Troopers.

Each game line (GURPS and D&D) offers me benefits the other isn't capable of providing, the same way each system provides me access to a particular genre far better than the other game system could dream of. The majority of D&D related gripes, on this board, that I have seen people mention have to do with the combat system of D&D 3.X. Other than fear of 4E, it is the only truly common occurrence that I see D&D'ers mentioning, regardless of the topic of any given thread. Because of this I am quite cautious learning the system. In the end it isn't so much that I don't think I can make due with whichever system I choose, but deciding which system I will most likely spend the next few years enjoying. Choosing a setting/genre, time investment, ease of learning, campaign creation time, difficulty of finding players, possible problems and limitations of a given system, and likelihood of system not being what I had hoped it would be, are all things I feel I need to consider before making a truly final decision.

While not the deciding factor, I am currently concerned with how complex the D&D combat system is. Regardless of whether I can tone down the rules if needed, I still will need to know all the rules well before I can start house ruling or modifying combat to make it more streamlined for my tastes. Combat alteration within D&D is inevitable if I go with it and the same can be said for GURPS. Due to my insatiable need to modify any given setting to truly suit my tastes, and this goes well beyond pen and paper gaming, being a maximalist is unavoidable. Before I can overcome the beast, I must understand its ways.

Maelstrom
01-18-2008, 08:50 AM
You have a much different approach to new games than I, perhaps diametrically opposite. My memory is short, so my tack is to learn what I need to to get by and practice. I could and have read the core through, but my retention is terrible, so reading through the whole system doesn't do me any good until I put it into action.

I can understand better why you could see D&D as overcomplicated. At its very core it is simple and intuitive, but if you want to understand the nuances and options available to high level characters from the getgo, D&D is daunting indeed.

For me, combat in D&D is a means to an end, the end being fun and challenge for the players. It is a tool to be used with just the right complexity for the situation at hand. The rulebooks are merely tools in the chest, to be taken out one by one and put back as needed. Your approach is completely different.

As far as the brokenness of combat is concerned, I know I can't speak for others, but a lot of the discussions that we've had is about the veterans lurking in this board griping about things that could be improved. You'll find that about any system anywhere, when you get enough old farts together :). The elements I have complained about haven't stopped me from thinking that D&D 3.5 with its flexibility and ability to incite fantastic realms is a really, really dang good fun game.

If you are interested in seeing how it has worked for me, I'll be happy to share more AARs about specific interesting combats and situations my players have been in, at the risk of boring everyone on this site...

DrAwkward
01-18-2008, 10:14 AM
Realize that D&D is a combat oriented game. The combat rules are meteculously defined, and I'd estimate 80% of the total material is combat oriented.

The core system is still pretty straightforward, in my mind. Roll to hit, add a bonus that you've pre-calculated and then roll damage. I encourage my players to color-code thier dice and roll all thier attacks and damage dice at the same time.

The quote you have from DMGenie is designed to scare you, because they want you to buy thier product. As I read through it, I was spitting out the answers to each question without having to think about it, and a little discouraged that the DM they describe wasn't prepared. If the combat starts with the DM doing a dozen rolls and looking up *anything*, the DM is doing it wrong. This applies to any game system.

I will admit, though, the special case rules of 3.5 were designed with an emphasis on "realism" and they sacrificed a little in playability by not making them consistant with each other. Most of them are ok, but there are a few of the uncommon ones where I think "why did they do it like that?"

Here's my secret for fast play; Player Alex does something unorthodox. I know there is a rule somewhere for it, but have no idea where. I say "Alex, I don't know that rule off hand. I'm going to wing the answer so we can move on. You are welcome to look it up after your turn is over, in case you want to ever do it again." 99% of the time, they are ok with it. That last 1% is the player saying "DM, I understand that we need to move this along, but this is a life-or-death call for my character, can we please look it up now?"

I've also noticed that the indexed SRD online is full of win and awesome for looking up rules quickly.

Drohem
01-18-2008, 10:52 AM
My opinions falls in line with Maelstrom and DrAwkward.

In my opinion, it's not broken or overly complicated. At it's core it's very simple. Although, it can be complicated if you're running a serious munchkin game. You don't have to have every rule memorized. Having a good knowledge of where to find a rule is priceless. ;)

Oh, and I liked Maelstrom's analogy- it fit for me. :)

MortonStromgal
01-18-2008, 12:00 PM
overly complicated - can be
broken - can be

what a horrible answer :D

InfoStorm
01-18-2008, 12:10 PM
I do not find the D&D 3.5 combat system awkward or broken at all in my playing, but I live by one simply rule: "Don't sweat the details." I've probably watered down grappling a little, but not much, AoO I keep, but just keep common sense alive too. In the end, one thing alone makes D&D combat take a long time at higher levels... HIT POINTS.

In GURPS (the version I know) and many other systems, you basically have XX hit points (related to Con) and they never go up or down at the character improves. This keeps the game just as deadly at level 100 as level 1, if not deadlier.

Other things I've done to keep things moving, only give players so long to choose their action. If they take to long I move their card farther down in initiative and move on to the next.

I've been in GURPS games where combat took forever too, but that may have also been the DM's fault (500 points, any book goes)

gdmcbride
01-18-2008, 12:16 PM
Why were your combats meticulous? Did you have rules conflicts? Or were your players full of indecision?

I can really find no fault in my players. They were as decisive as I could reasonable expect and most were fairly rules knowledgeable (thank god...if I had to try to keep up with their special abilities too...*shudder*). Those who knew nothing about d20 going into the campaign by Session 18 had basically mastered the game, at least their PCs involvement with it.

The game was meticulous because I knew precisely where every adversary and character was at any moment. Characters counted out squares. Movement is extremely precise (you always move the same number squares -- well adjusted for terrain and action type). I always knew who threatened who.

It definitely had a miniatures wargame feel. This isn't a bad thing. I love miniatures wargames. But for a week to week RPG, it is a bit much.

Compare that to the game that followed it, Evil Hat's "Spirit of the Century" a fast paced pulp action game of two-fisted adventure. Now that is an exciting RPG system. I can stat out the most complex villian, five minutes tops. And that's if I have to looking something up.

Gary

Farcaster
01-18-2008, 12:37 PM
Over-complicated? I don't think so, but then I have been playing the various forms of D&D for something close to twenty years now. The current edition may be different in many respects to the game of yore that I played, but at it's core there are a lot of similarities.

Don't let the sheer amount of material deceive you about its complexity either. There may be hundreds of pages of material to describe the game as gdmcbride points out, but a lot of those pages are dedicated to options for the players (feats, spells, equipment, etc) and DM (traps, world building info, magic items, etc). The core d20 engine and combat rules take up a smaller portion of the overall page count. For me, having so much pregenerated material to draw on is one of it's strengths over other systems.


My biggest problem with the game is prep time. If I want to create unique monsters exactly to my taste, it takes forever.

There are minimalist systems out there that will allow you to quickly create opponents with very little complexity, however, GURPS isn't one of them. Well, not at least if you are using anything beyond the lite rules. The sheer amount of options in GURPS weighs it down. D&D requires a lot of time to make custom opponents as well though. Probably just as much or more time if you are making them from scratch. But, there are also volumes upon volumes of existing monsters. In combination with advancing monsters by hit dice, class levels or applying templates, you have a vast array of opponents you can quickly put together.

fmitchell
01-18-2008, 03:41 PM
There are minimalist systems out there that will allow you to quickly create opponents with very little complexity, however, GURPS isn't one of them. Well, not at least if you are using anything beyond the lite rules.

It depends. For a major or important opponent, yes it's as complex as creating a PC. However, animals and monsters generally have the same stats per species, which you can tweak up or down as needed. Even for a minor sapient PC, you can fudge a bit by deciding on ST, DX, IQ, and HT, then give him or her a "Wildcard Skill" for whatever role he/she has in a scene.

While I can imagine "Anything Goes" GURPS would be a nightmare, most genres place a restriction on what advantages/disadvantages/skills characters can take. Most genre books include templates and "lenses" for the types (and species) of characters appropriate for the genre, if a GM doesn't have time to build his own. A GURPS GM has to set restrictions.

Which, veering back to the subject, is pretty much the same in D&D. A DM who lets in anything from any book anywhere invites massive complexity, and Pun-Pun-like screws to boot. At one of the Dallas RPG meetups someone told of D&D game where the PCs were flying half-dragon centauroids and similarly bizarre hybrids; a single combat stretched over three sessions with all the special feats, flight rules, and who knows what all.

Both D&D 3.x and GURPS try to cover every situation, and that's fine ... as long as they all don't crop up at the same time.

The question is, then, how complex do the rules get when they stray only a tiny bit from "I hit you, you hit me". From my experience with GURPS 3e, and based on reading GURPS 4e, not a lot. Same with the various incarnations of Basic Roleplaying. Spirit of the Century lets you do even bizarre things with only an opposed roll or two.

On the other hand, if you want to tackle or trip your foe instead of hit him with a big thing, you have to deal with the foe's Attack of Opportunity (unless you have a feat that says you don't); you then have to figure out his "touch AC" (different from his hit-with-a-big-thing AC), roll to hit that, then if you succeed make another grapple check, then endure Attacks of Opportunity from other foes around him, then compute your AC without Dex bonuses (not necessarily your "touch AC" computed above) for subsequent rounds.

Whew.

No wonder most D&D combats devolve into "I hit you, you hit me, we're all hitting in melee". Which make D&D combats so colorless and mechanical, and (at least to my mind) tedious.

Drohem
01-18-2008, 03:58 PM
Touch AC = no armor bonus
Flat-footed AC = no Dex bonus

hmm...I don't see the difficulty in computing those numbers; besides there's a place on the character sheet for those so they can be calculated in advance :)

It's all a matter of personal taste as to how much/how little you like in your games and combat.

fmitchell
01-18-2008, 07:48 PM
Touch AC = no armor bonus
Flat-footed AC = no Dex bonus

hmm...I don't see the difficulty in computing those numbers; besides there's a place on the character sheet for those so they can be calculated in advance :)


More numbers. Ever more numbers.

Compare to the BRP/GURPS method: Armor doesn't make you harder to hit, it absorbs damage points. (GURPS dropped "Passive Defense" in 4th edition.) So, to grapple someone, roll a skill contest, and if the defender loses he's grappling. There are a few complications -- countering with Grapple/Brawling vs. parrying with a weapon, etc. -- but that's basically it. (I'm too lazy to look up the details, so someone can prove me wrong.)

Honestly, I don't see what extra realism the d20 3.x Grapple rules bring, and apparently neither do the designers of 4th Edition.

Drohem
01-18-2008, 08:22 PM
3.X D&D grappling rules aren't that complicated at all. I never claimed them to be realistic; nor brought that subject up. Although, I suspect that wasn't directed at me and it was just a statement in general.

The 3.X grappling rules are an abstraction; just as all the combat rules for all RPGs. (Yes, I know some claim to be simulations, but IMHO they are all just abstractions ;)).

However, I respect your opinion that you find other systems more to your taste. :)

All I am saying is that I don't find it anymore complicated that some of the other mainstream RPGs out there.

I apologize if it came off the wrong way; that was not my intention. :)

rabkala
01-18-2008, 08:44 PM
Jane you ignorant ____! :D

Complicated, yes. Overcomplicated, no. Broken, no.

The system is complex, but not to the point that I find anything difficult. The numbers are easy grade school stuff that doesn't even cause a slow down in the thought process.

Things can be a bit more complicated when adding new supplements with which you are unfamiliar, but the combat system doesn't change. The same mechanics are still in play.

fmitchell
01-18-2008, 08:56 PM
Sorry if my last post was a little cranky.

As far as my "realism" crack goes, a lot of it was in my head. I think my point was that adding complication for the sake of "realism" was acceptable, but I didn't see any such thing in d20.

Really, it seems more like d20 started with this "Armor Class" abstraction that combines agility, armor, and combat experience into one number ... and then had to peel away some of those elements again for the grappling rules. Similarly, Attacks of Opportunity give defenders a last shot before attackers closed onto their square, and give attackers a free shot when opponents didn't seem to be paying attention ... but in practice it's yet another set of exceptions.

I have a definite bias in favor of skill-based systems with opposed die rolls and attack/parry combat mechanics, so I have a hard time seeing the appeal of d20 combat.

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 09:40 PM
WOW. Just WOW :o. Quite a bit has been posted since I visited this thread last. You've all helped me come to the conclusion though that BOTH D&D 3.X and GURPS can be very complicated in certain situations but are generally pretty simple as far as combat is concerned. I no longer believe D&D combat is overcomplicated, nor do I believe GURPS combat is "easy as pie". I now know both systems are absolutely broken. Just kidding :p. Thank you for the extensive amount of replies and detail. Once again, I pleasantly stand corrected and educated.

Drohem
01-18-2008, 09:55 PM
Sorry if my last post was a little cranky.
/snip/
...Attacks of Opportunity give defenders a last shot before attackers closed onto their square, and give attackers a free shot when opponents didn't seem to be paying attention ...

hehe...we're cool, no worries mang! :)

I just wanted to point out that's not exactly how AoOs work. You don't provoke an AoO when moving into a threatened square. You only provoke an AoO when moving out of a threatened square. This is a common misconception.

This is directly from the 3.5 D&D SRD:

Provoking an Attack of Opportunity: Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing an action within a threatened square.
Moving: Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes an attack of opportunity from the threatening opponent. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot-step and the withdraw action (see below).
Performing a Distracting Act: Some actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke attacks of opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle. Table: Actions in Combat notes many of the actions that provoke attacks of opportunity.
Remember that even actions that normally provoke attacks of opportunity may have exceptions to this rule.

http://www.wizards.com/d20/files/v35/CombatI.rtf

Not that it's probably a big deal for you ;), but I just wanted to clarify for others on the boards.

Cheers! :D

rabkala
01-18-2008, 10:25 PM
Sorry if my last post was a little cranky.
Don't think twice about it, I was just teasing a bit and you didn't seem that cranky. You play a very important role here, Frank. Good guys like you keep us honest and help expand our gaming horizon. This would be a very boring D&D lovefest without you guys.


As far as my "realism" crack goes, a lot of it was in my head. I think my point was that adding complication for the sake of "realism" was acceptable, but I didn't see any such thing in d20.
I do think the intent was 'more realistic', but just ended up with a sticking point for many players who didn't often use that part. I know the rules by heart, but the same can not be said of most players who seldom have to do it. It could be smoother in this area.


Really, it seems more like d20 started with this "Armor Class" abstraction that combines agility, armor, and combat experience into one number ... and then had to peel away some of those elements again for the grappling rules. Similarly, Attacks of Opportunity give defenders a last shot before attackers closed onto their square, and give attackers a free shot when opponents didn't seem to be paying attention ... but in practice it's yet another set of exceptions.

I have a definite bias in favor of skill-based systems with opposed die rolls and attack/parry combat mechanics, so I have a hard time seeing the appeal of d20 combat.
The armor class isn't just peeled away for grappling. It is more realistic that armor isn't going to stop somebody from grabbing you, nor is it going to stop a simple touch. A person can be surprised and caught unaware and is reflected more realistically there as well.
The attacks of opportunity are far more realistic than most game systems. Does it offer a lot to the game? That is debatable and a matter of taste.

I do understand the appeal of skill based systems for ease versus believable reality. D&D does have a greater emphasis on combat and needs a little finer detail as a result. Greater detail also puts less on the DM, which to many players is a plus. What some people see as work, others see as fun.

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 10:31 PM
What some people see as work, others see as fun.Well said indeed. I started out (coming from wargaming) thinking RP was a bunch of non-sense and now look at RP as the fun portion and the wargaming (in a RP world) as very necessary but often unwanted work.

MortonStromgal
01-18-2008, 11:17 PM
I just wanted to point out that's not exactly how AoOs work. You don't provoke an AoO when moving into a threatened square. You only provoke an AoO when moving out of a threatened square. This is a common misconception.



You know until I played with some serious D&D guys about two years ago I had the same misconception, since then I've been amazed at how many people get it wrong.

Grimwell
01-18-2008, 11:49 PM
Phenomenal conversation, the sort that makes me very happy to come to this site!
If I can crib in at this time and make just one small point, it's that almost every system is actually as simple as a dice mechanic against some difficulty number.

IF you remember that one core mechanic, you can fake what you don't remember until you can look it up later.

=)

The rest of the complications are all filler for theme and effect at the end of the day.

tesral
01-19-2008, 12:20 AM
It has warts, as mentioned. However I don't see it as over complicated. No system will be perfect. For that you need to mystically take on the abilities of your PC and duke it out for real. Dream Park hasn't been built yet. And as I recall from the book it wasn't perfect either.

D&D combat can be as complex or as simple and cinematic as you desire. Group of four we run a round of combat in two minutes tops. People know the system we are not waiting on someone to make up their mind or remember how it works again.

Also, combat doesn't turn into a sudden serious miniatures contest. The role-playing doesn't stop just because the dice come out.

Mulsiphix
01-19-2008, 12:56 AM
IF you remember that one core mechanic, you can fake what you don't remember until you can look it up later. The rest of the complications are all filler for theme and effect at the end of the day.This approach is what I had the hardest time wrapping my head around. I've been told things like this since I first started coming to this forum and it never really sunk in until today. On the first page of this thread an example was given that really put my mind at ease, courtesy of DrAwkward.


Here's my secret for fast play; Player Alex does something unorthodox. I know there is a rule somewhere for it, but have no idea where. I say "Alex, I don't know that rule off hand. I'm going to wing the answer so we can move on. You are welcome to look it up after your turn is over, in case you want to ever do it again." 99% of the time, they are ok with it. That last 1% is the player saying "DM, I understand that we need to move this along, but this is a life-or-death call for my character, can we please look it up now?"

Maelstrom
01-19-2008, 03:57 AM
Yup. If all else fails, have the players do an ability check with a target number you make up on the spot.

The PCs want to do some crazy manuver that I've not read a rule for? I never say no... I pick the skill closest to what they want to do, or if none exist I pick an ability score that makes the most sense, and have them do a skill/ability check. Depending on the difficulty of what they want to do, you come up with a number.

Easy: DC5 (difficulty class? Can't remember what it stands for, means which number w/bonuses they have to roll on a d20)

Moderate: DC10, Hard DC20, etc.

After the session you go look up the rule and any errata regarding it so you know for the next time how the guys with the big picture handle it.

Mulsiphix
01-19-2008, 04:39 AM
Yeah it stands for Difficulty Class. Very good advice ;)

Grimwell
01-19-2008, 12:08 PM
Learning the core mechanic is really wonderful once you manage to have it sink in! In the game I finally got going (session
#2 tonight!) we have a guy who has never played D&D. He made a character once, but that usually does more to confuse than help.

My constant advice to him is not to think about which skill/ability to use, but to just think "What do I want my character to do?" and I'll worry about that rule. He is struggling with it just a little because we make MMO's for a living and he's used to characters being very defined in what they can do, but he's getting there.

Let's say he wants to jump from one rooftop to another... does he really need to know in advance what the book lists as the rules, or does he need to know "That's about a five foot gap, *I* can do that on a run... I think!"

I'm breaking him in gently and walking through each rule he invokes (I'm a fool and have most of 3.X memorized for the rules) and explain how it works after the declaration. That way he can learn based on his instincts, instead of learning rules and then only trying to do what they support.

Mulsiphix
01-19-2008, 12:31 PM
That way he can learn based on his instincts, instead of learning rules and then only trying to do what they support.This is something many here speak of and I can never agree that is a good route to go. How can we plan for the future if we do not know the limitations of our universe?

Xaels Greyshadow
01-19-2008, 04:38 PM
OK, D&D 3.5 is only as complicated as A: The DM decides to make it or B: the Players decide to make it on the DM or C: a combination of the 2. Can any one person on this thread cite to me the Core book and page number where it says that all the rules in either of the 2 primary Core books MUST be used when playing D&D 3.5? If the set GUIDELINES as defined in the 3.5 CORE books are or seem to complicated, it is clearly stated that it's perfectly OK to redesign and devise something that will work for YOU either as a player or DM. Hence, I could run one game where all my players want all the rules minutea to wade through because that's the way they want it, so that's what they get and the RULES LAWYER remains gainfully employed keeping the DM on his/her toes. Another game where we want KISS so we fly right through combats regardless of AoA and what not. YOU! make the game. NOT THE BOOKS AND ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN THEM.:D Try this sometime. Take a ruled piece of paper, 5 six sided die's and make a character from the top of your head without using the PH. Have only the dies that you need to play D&D, and play with only what you know, no books for reference except a Core MM. See how much fun you have then. Try it without a Core MM and only your imagination, character, dice and story. It's like a challange, can you do it. If not, why? D&D is a game of pure fantasy. Design to have fun and use our imaginations. To much so now have we become wrapped around the axle about books and rules and systems and versions, we can barely play the game.:eek:

Maelstrom
01-19-2008, 05:03 PM
Well put, Xaels.


This is something many here speak of and I can never agree that is a good route to go. How can we plan for the future if we do not know the limitations of our universe?

Why must there be limitations? These are pen & paper games, not wargames or computer games. The limitations are only what we can imagine for our characters.

The future for these characters is as we make it to be. Nothing in the rules is going to tell you what your DM has planned, and nothing in the rules tells the DM exactly what to do next. Even in prebuilt adventures they almost always have a disclaimer that tells the DM to make the adventure their own, not just stick to the text.

Your mind is so close to being opened to the possibilities! Just open it that last crack! :D

Xaels Greyshadow
01-19-2008, 05:08 PM
Dungeon Masters Guide. Chapter 1. Page fourteen (14). Changing The Rules. Seems to me like lately this is either a haven't read it, don't remember reading that, or skipped chapter one (1) to attempt to move on to more important things. It pretty much should clear up alot of things and if you stop for a moment to think deeply about it, ponder why might we need a 4E? Simplification of combat, no problem. Simplification of pretty much anything, no problem. System seem broken, I fixed it.:eek:

MortonStromgal
01-19-2008, 05:22 PM
Kids today and expecting RPGs to work out of the box.
70s well that was the begining
80s we were happy when we got a index
90s we were happy when the art was decent
2000+ has to be perfect cus the people at the forge said so.

I'll admit the new rpgs out there are pretty tempting with the good art, clean mechanics and great layout. But the old RPGs need to keep some of the rules that the old timers grew up with or else its just not the same game anymore and we wont pick it up. Legacy code...

Drohem
01-19-2008, 05:41 PM
80s we were happy when we got a index

ROFLMAO...amen brother, amen!

fmitchell
01-19-2008, 06:58 PM
Dungeon Masters Guide. Chapter 1. Page fourteen (14).

As Gary said upthread, any game where you have to ignore the rules to make it work for you is not a good game. It's no credit to D&D if I borrow nearly all the mechanics from other games, and use D&D mainly for parts.

And yes, I actually know someone who did this. Once he transposed all the D&D classes, races, magic, and assorted fluff to another system, he said his games went much more smoothly. Another satisfied customer for D&D!

Mulsiphix
01-19-2008, 07:58 PM
I took the plunge and purchased the GURPS basic set books today. Ironically my very first campaign setting is going to be Ptolus, converted to GURPS. Not D&D to GURPS but a D&D setting being run with GURPS game mechanics. I don't plan to emulate D&D play either. I plan to make the game far more RP oriented and make the combat as "hack and slash" simple as possible. In the end D&D proved to be too combat oriented, by design, for my tastes. I love Ptolus so much that I couldn't let it go however. In two to three months I should be ready to start the actual campaign and will be sure to post oodles of information on the setting. The campaign will also be run online so just about every game session should be accessible for viewing (especially if I use Klooge as the client).

tesral
01-19-2008, 10:42 PM
For any test or action I have a simple rule.

The Rule of Yes: Unless there is a compelling reason to say no, say yes. A roll is not required for everything, even if a roll is required.

A compelling reason is combat, or doing "that" without a test would break the story. If someone want to do backflips and RP fancy moves, sure, roll to hit.

Maelstrom
01-20-2008, 06:55 PM
As Gary said upthread, any game where you have to ignore the rules to make it work for you is not a good game.

Every gamer has his or her own style... sounds like you wouldn't be satisfied unless a game's every released module meshed with your own style.

fmitchell
01-20-2008, 07:04 PM
Every gamer has his or her own style... sounds like you wouldn't be satisfied unless a game's every released module meshed with your own style.

No, I can pick and choose modules. When the core rules don't support my own style, then I reject the game and look for another one.

tesral
01-20-2008, 07:58 PM
No, I can pick and choose modules. When the core rules don't support my own style, then I reject the game and look for another one.

I just tie the thing down and beat it into submission.

Mulsiphix
01-20-2008, 08:03 PM
I just tie the thing down and beat it into submission.Or creep it out eh? Honestly though I have doubt you would beat it into submission. I wish I lived closer so I could experience your DM'ing first hand. Damn you DISTANCE, damn you to Atlas Hell! :mad:

tesral
01-20-2008, 08:10 PM
Or creep it out eh? Honestly though I have doubt you would beat it into submission. I wish I lived closer so I could experience your DM'ing first hand. Damn you DISTANCE, damn you to Atlas Hell! :mad:

I did it to AD&D, no system is safe. I rewrote the entire line of the core books, reformated, reprinted and bound same.

When I was running a bunch a post high school guys they would try and freak the old man. Silly boys. I am much older and considerally more jaded than were. I had also done things they hadn't even read about.

I'll spare people the details, but freak the old man never did work.

GBVenkman
01-21-2008, 01:30 PM
I think DnD has too many spells/feats/skills for far too many different triggers.

ie spot, listen, search; hide, move silently; remove blindness/disease/cure wounds/remove curse.

I think they try to make all of it useful by adding synergy bonuses, but I think if the average campaign doesn't use most of the basic rules or material, then there's too much crap.

I hope they streamline it as well as they did saga.


I just tie the thing down and beat it into submission.


Cool. I try to do the same, but it seems some people have a phobia about modifying core rules. IMO, game developers are people who, just like any other profession, may have some morons in their midist.

But to others, game devs are gods who "know better" despite having problems with logic. "Just trust them, they made it like that probably for a good reason!"

fmitchell
01-21-2008, 03:59 PM
I just tie the thing down and beat it into submission.

For me it's a matter of time and effort.

I once sat down and figured out how much of the 3.5 PHB I'd need to change in order to do "my sort of campaign". First I'd completely change the magic system, which is about half of the book right there. That would mean taking out half of the core classes: Cleric, Druid, Bard, Sorcerer, and Wizard, plus Paladin and upper levels of Ranger and Monk. (Ranger I could probably salvage if I gave rangers something else to replace magic use.) That leaves Barbarian, Fighter, and Rogue.

So, before I even got to my problems with combat and other rules, I'm essentially writing a new game under the OGL. I don't have time for that, and I doubt that players who expect a "D&D" game would stand for it.

I also looked at Iron Heroes and True20; Iron Heroes had the right spirit but too much complication, and I'd have to create new roles to replace Adept (which is actually more doable, with the True20 Companion).

Passages from Blue Devil Games has an ultra-streamlined d20-based game, but I'd have to transpose it to a fantasy or science-fiction context ... and I disagree with some of its design choices.

That's why I prefer games that support or even encourage tinkering with fundamental assumptions, like GURPS, Basic Roleplaying, FATE, PDQ, etc. I'd rather spend my (limited) time designing a world than writing rules.

DrAwkward
01-21-2008, 04:32 PM
I think they try to make all of it useful by adding synergy bonuses, but I think if the average campaign doesn't use most of the basic rules or material, then there's too much crap.


While I do have House rules (who doesn't?) I try to stick to the Core Rules. I find it makes it easier on the players if the rules match the books.

Mulsiphix -- If you want to see 3.5 in action, you are welcome to sit in on one of my Maptool games. You can lurk and listen, or even play if you want.

tesral
01-21-2008, 05:41 PM
I think DnD has too many spells/feats/skills for far too many different triggers.



Some would argue that this complexity equals more in game choices. I would be one of them. You can't get that complex with a video game and that is one of the things I like about PnP, you are only limited by the imagination of the people at the table.

Complexity is the necessity of the kinds of choices you have. If you want a game without complexity, yank a joystick around. A decent RPG is never going to be "simple". It's the open ended nature of the beast. If the game allows for me to do anything, it has to allow for it, not tell me that "anything" now equals five choices. Parchese is simple. RPGs are not. If you get an RPG down to say five options you are no longer playing an RPG but a board game. RPG = Complex.

Much of the complexity of the D&D system comes form the game designers attempting to cover everything, admittedly impossible. One often is reduced to stat rolls for stuff that you A: know there is no mechanic for or B: think there might be one but don't want to look it up.

underdarkshark
01-21-2008, 05:57 PM
Hmm. It's never been that complicated for me. I guess because while my friends and I played 3.5 we had the philosophy of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) If we all agreed a rule was stupid or needed tweeking, we either A. threw it out, or B. Fixed it.
Some people like to calculate to the last gp how much something weighs. Where as we (using common sense) Know the chest is just too heavy for the halfling thief to carry on his back, so we state, That the two Warriors will pick it up. Normally its genral knowledge that if attacked, the Warriors will drop the chest. (or throw it at the oger) eliminating a need for other crazy calculations and rules. hmm i wonder if my message has been lost or not..

tesral
01-21-2008, 06:02 PM
Normally its genral knowledge that if attacked, the Warriors will drop the chest. (or throw it at the oger) eliminating a need for other crazy calculations and rules. hmm i wonder if my message has been lost or not..

A little common sense goes a long way toward smoothing out the game. A loooooong way.

underdarkshark
01-21-2008, 06:21 PM
sorry for the double post, it seems the spellcheck thing is wacked. im also getting logged out everytime i blink.....

Mulsiphix
01-21-2008, 11:50 PM
Mulsiphix -- If you want to see 3.5 in action, you are welcome to sit in on one of my Maptool games. You can lurk and listen, or even play if you want.I'm actually very interested in this. I'm sending you a PM right now.

razada
02-07-2008, 01:07 PM
dnd take time to perfect, but even then i agree, it take too long to fight. to make a battle flow the dm has to do significant work before the game and than the fight is so short all that work is wasted.

What is GURPS? i have only been introduced to dnd 3.5 never anything else.

fmitchell
02-07-2008, 01:10 PM
What is GURPS? i have only been introduced to dnd 3.5 never anything else.

See http://www.sjgames.com/gurps, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS, and our own GURPS subforum (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=14).

razada
02-07-2008, 01:22 PM
thanks

Drohem
02-07-2008, 02:10 PM
You can dowload 4e GURPS Lite for free. It's a 32-page condensed version that will give you the basics of the GURPS system.

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004

tesral
02-07-2008, 02:27 PM
dnd take time to perfect, but even then i agree, it take too long to fight. to make a battle flow the dm has to do significant work before the game and than the fight is so short all that work is wasted.

An encounter is never wasted. I scrub the paint off and fix it up to use again.

As to complex combat it does depend on who is fighting. The more the DM has to juggle in terms of different kinds of critters the hander it is. 40 Orcs? A no brainer. 6 varied PC class types? Headache time.

Terrain also adds to the complication. If you have object, differing levels and so forth. We had a fight between two ships hand to hand and it took three hours. It also lasted well over ten rounds. Very complex terrain. The DM had a number of different monster types. There were traps, unusual things going on (people in the water) and more. Complex setting = more time spend on the encounter.

This will be true for any game system. As you add more people and more complication, the time to complete one combat turn increases geometrically.

rabkala
02-07-2008, 08:46 PM
Options take time. The more options a player has, the longer it will take. I guess you can go to simpler systems with less options if the players don't revolt. There are systems where the players just say whatever they want to make it sound interesting and either just compare skills for success or systems with simple one die resolution for everything. I'll take a little complexity over that any day.

tesral
02-07-2008, 09:40 PM
Options take time. The more options a player has, the longer it will take. I guess you can go to simpler systems with less options if the players don't revolt. There are systems where the players just say whatever they want to make it sound interesting and either just compare skills for success or systems with simple one die resolution for everything. I'll take a little complexity over that any day.

Flexibility means complexity. Complexity equals time. I'll take the flexibility.

D&D combat is not realistic. It is about as cinematic as a fight can get. But it is flexible, you can do nearly anything.

Digital Arcanist
02-07-2008, 10:29 PM
The system is fine. They have the Rules Compendium which I use all the time and the alternative rules in Unearthed Arcana to add realism.

tesral
02-08-2008, 09:50 AM
The system is fine. They have the Rules Compendium which I use all the time and the alternative rules in Unearthed Arcana to add realism.

I don't really want realism in my D&D combat.

Mulsiphix
02-08-2008, 07:05 PM
I think all of these threads eventually end on the same note. To each his/her own. D&D is both a wargame and a role playing game as far as I am concerned. Wargames in general are very time consuming things. It is hands down the most robust fantasy wargaming system ever created. If I was more into fantasy I think I would play D&D without hesitation. I'm more into cinematic fighting like that in Exalted. D&D, like many systems, is very good at what it was designed for.

rabkala
02-09-2008, 12:03 AM
D&D, like many systems, is very good at what it was designed for.
Which is... picking up the hotties. :rolleyes:

fmitchell
02-09-2008, 02:07 AM
Which is... picking up the hotties. :rolleyes:

No, you're thinking of Vampire.

Mulsiphix
02-09-2008, 11:52 PM
Which is... picking up the hotties. :rolleyes:


No, you're thinking of Vampire.

Your both thinking of Synnibarr :p

nijineko
02-11-2008, 05:49 AM
i don't think it's overcomplicated or broken. it's legacy. lots of the quirky things are holdovers from previous editions, or attempts to address things from previous editions. it's all a matter of taste. i've been able to adapt easily to both gurps and d&d. i find that it's easier to do some things in one system than the other, and vise versa. each has it's own quirks and loopholes. i can find gamebreakers in both systems. it all boils down to which set of challenges do you prefer facing, really.

one thing for gurps, though. it's better at cross story-setting roleplaying than any other system i've seen. d&d is internally compatible, so is palladium, but gurps is pretty close to being externally compatible with just about everything else. some tweaking here or there and presto! new setting. the only system i've seen that is more externally compatible than gurps is amber and the "settingless" games that are out there.

Mulsiphix
02-11-2008, 10:38 AM
One of the big things going for GURPS when I was deciding on a system was the cross-setting capabilities of the system. I was very interested in being able to switch settings during space or time travel. I knew D&D could handle the job but I personally thought it would be easier to achieve and more seamless if I did it with GURPS. Amber is actually something I am very interested in. I've yet to pick up the core book but it and Burning Wheel are two systems I am dying to get my hands on.

ElrikDarkstorm
03-20-2008, 06:40 PM
I have alway thought that the second edition was really good enough,you can start making it more confuseing and compicated,i always liked to keep it simple and fun

cplmac
03-20-2008, 07:33 PM
I have alway thought that the second edition was really good enough,you can start making it more confuseing and compicated,i always liked to keep it simple and fun


I would have to agree with you. It seams that with changes made in 3.0 and then 3.5, things only seemed to get more complicated. I guess that is part of the reason why I am partial to 2E also.

tesral
03-21-2008, 09:44 AM
Complicated certainly. I play a 3.5 game and run a 2.8 game. Combat by the round always takes longer in 3.5. It is quick and over with in my game.

Why? I use a lot fewer of the bits that complicate combat in 3.5. No feats, streamlined rules.