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View Full Version : Why do you like not having to use a Thaco roll?



cplmac
02-16-2008, 09:06 PM
Several of you have told me that with 3.5 not having to deal with the Thaco roll, that it makes the game better. How do you know if you have hit your intended target? What did you like the least about dealing with Thaco's? Finally, when 4e comes out, is there something you would like to see change from 3.5 or is it fine just the way it is (by not having to deal with a Thaco)? In your answers, please keep in mind that my background is with 2e, Thanks.

tesral
02-16-2008, 09:13 PM
Positive armor class. All armor classes in 3.x are postive numbers. Equal or exceed the AC you hit.

Maelstrom
02-16-2008, 09:28 PM
2e THaco required a couple extra caluclations with how you'd have to subtract the opponent AC. The more modifiers to attack rolls you had, the odder the caluclations became.

3.5e attack rolls require none of that... there is one target number to hit, the opponent's AC. You roll your d20 and add your +attack to see if you hit that target number. Easy to stack multiple modifiers.

4e is taking it a step further by having all attacks, magical and otherwise, having a single attack roll against a target number (saving throws by the target are reduced in number and complexity). Of all the 4e changes I've heard about so far, this is one of my favorite.

cplmac
02-16-2008, 09:34 PM
Positive armor class. All armor classes in 3.x are postive numbers. Eqaul or exceed the AC you hit.


I never thought that the negative numbers were that difficult. Guess it just depends on how much of a math background you have.

tesral
02-16-2008, 10:20 PM
I never thought that the negative numbers were that difficult. Guess it just depends on how much of a math background you have.

It hung a lot of people up, and frankly was an unnecessary step. The forward to AD&D mentions they considered going positive with AC, they should have then. Thac0 was just and extra layer of complication that isn't really needed. Now you only need calculate your bonuses to hit.

MortonStromgal
02-16-2008, 11:07 PM
I don't think it was the math that screwed people up as much as AD&D you had roll over and roll under depending on the test.

nijineko
02-17-2008, 12:55 AM
i know that i've understood how thac0 worked, yet i still have the feeling that i don't get it, depsite that knowledge.

cplmac
02-17-2008, 08:46 AM
Another question to add to the first ones. In 2e, -10 was the best armor class and 10 was the worst. Am I correct in thinking that in 3.x 1 is the worst armor class and 20 is the best?

Drohem
02-17-2008, 11:03 AM
In 3.5 D&D, it is assume that you're not going to roll for your AC so you have a base AC of 10 plus armor and Dex modifier. So, assuming you are not rolling your AC vs. every hit, then the worst possible AC is 10.

However, it is valid to roll your AC vs. hit, if you wished. In this case, then you would roll 1d20 + armor bonus + Dex modifier. If using this option, then it is possible to have a 1 AC vs. a specific hit.

The standard, or default, is not to roll your AC vs. every hit so the base AC is 10.

Examples: warrior with leather armor (+2 AC), buckler (+1 AC), and 14 Dex (+2 modifier).

1. Default method- his AC is 15 (base +10, Dex +2, shield +1, armor +2)

2. Rolled AC method- his AC would vary vs. each hit in combat, and his roll would be: 1d20+5 (Dex +2, shield +1, armor +2)

Maelstrom
02-17-2008, 12:37 PM
Anybody actually use the "roll for AC" optional rule? Sounds way too cumbersome, and bad luck would drive you to tears.

rabkala
02-17-2008, 01:42 PM
Another question to add to the first ones. In 2e, -10 was the best armor class and 10 was the worst. Am I correct in thinking that in 3.x 1 is the worst armor class and 20 is the best?
I didn't find thac0 that difficult, but there really isn't a need for the complexity. While I am now college educated with experience in calculus(etc.), many players start/started quite young with little math background.

There is no cap to the numbers in 3.x D&D. It is possible to have a worse AC than 10 and much higher than 20. A monster my group fought the other day, had a final AC of 7 due to a negative dexterity modifier and a negative modifier due to his gargantuan size. One of the characters in that group has an AC of 28 normally and 32 when buffed with a psionic power. Some gods have ACs in the 60's.

3.x is a very different beast than 2e in many aspects.

fmitchell
02-17-2008, 03:15 PM
I didn't find thac0 that difficult, but there really isn't a need for the complexity. While I am now college educated with experience in calculus(etc.), many players start/started quite young with little math background.

Well, I personally have trouble doing arithmetic in my head, although addition is easiest. Plus, any calculation during the game slows it down even a little, and I'd argue table lookups have the same problem; multiply that by number of attacks per round and number of rounds, and combats can crawl.

Comparing two numbers, on the other hand, is pretty fast.

rabkala
02-17-2008, 03:35 PM
Well, I personally have trouble doing arithmetic in my head, although addition is easiest. Plus, any calculation during the game slows it down even a little, and I'd argue table lookups have the same problem; multiply that by number of attacks per round and number of rounds, and combats can crawl.

Comparing two numbers, on the other hand, is pretty fast.
Very true. Streamlining and speeding combat are a definite bonus. While combat can be fun in itself for many, getting to the good parts quickly is important. Number crunching and ridiculous charts/tables should be left to tax accountants who like that sort of thing.

tesral
02-17-2008, 03:54 PM
Very true. Streamlining and speeding combat are a definite bonus. While combat can be fun in itself for many, getting to the good parts quickly is important. Number crunching and ridiculous charts/tables should be left to tax accountants who like that sort of thing.

It's one less thing to worry about and that is good. I'll take BAB over thac0 any day.

I also prefer the high is always good approch.

cplmac
02-17-2008, 06:24 PM
Very true. Streamlining and speeding combat are a definite bonus. While combat can be fun in itself for many, getting to the good parts quickly is important. Number crunching and ridiculous charts/tables should be left to tax accountants who like that sort of thing.


Fair enough, although I guess that I haven't mentioned that I have an accounting degree. Oh, guess I did.

rabkala
02-17-2008, 06:41 PM
Fair enough, although I guess that I haven't mentioned that I have an accounting degree. Oh, guess I did.
LOL :p

MysticalForest
02-17-2008, 11:29 PM
It's not that the calculations are difficult, it's that any calculation adds time. The fewer calculations, under any circumstance, the better.

DrAwkward
02-18-2008, 10:15 AM
Several of you have told me that with 3.5 not having to deal with the Thaco roll, that it makes the game better. How do you know if you have hit your intended target? What did you like the least about dealing with Thaco's? Finally, when 4e comes out, is there something you would like to see change from 3.5 or is it fine just the way it is (by not having to deal with a Thaco)? In your answers, please keep in mind that my background is with 2e, Thanks.

You have a number that is what you have to roll on the die To Hit Armor Class "0"
The DM tells you the AC of your target, and you add that to your THAC0 to get the number on the die you need to roll to hit.

Simple, no?

What if the DM doesn't think you should automatically know the exact AC of your target?
We have to reverse the math... AC you hit = THAC0 - 1d20.

For some reason, folks dislike subtraction. I always had a hard time getting around it. I knew the formula, but my brain always locked up when it came time to roll to hit. Always felt "there's got to be better way"

3.5 is all addition, which is more intuitive to me. I roll a d20 and add my bonus, I tell the DM what armor class I hit, and he tells me if that was good enough.

MortonStromgal
02-18-2008, 10:16 AM
Another question to add to the first ones. In 2e, -10 was the best armor class and 10 was the worst. Am I correct in thinking that in 3.x 1 is the worst armor class and 20 is the best?

Its 10-30 (roughly) the formula is (old AC*-1)+20=new AC. This isn't exaclty right as AC0 is now AC18 but its close.

If the DM is not telling the PCs the AC, the wording seams easier for some reason in 3.X to say I got a 23 (or whatever) rather than saying I made it by 10 or missed it by 3. However the second is "better" in the sense that even if the PC hits the whole group may still not know what is needed to hit.


Anybody actually use the "roll for AC" optional rule? Sounds way too cumbersome, and bad luck would drive you to tears.

I have, its a lot of fun if you want a swashbuckling type feel, but when we have we always used fixed damage to cut down on the rolling.

DrAwkward
02-18-2008, 10:21 AM
Anybody actually use the "roll for AC" optional rule? Sounds way too cumbersome, and bad luck would drive you to tears.

Statistically , the odds are in favor of the one that rolls.

"1d20+stat+bonuses" has a 5% advantage over "10+ stat + bonuses", all things being equal.

If I could see anything change for 4the Ed, it would be "11 + stat + bonuses" Wait -- I take that back. I don't mind that the attacker has a slight advantage, as it speeds up combat. I think this is why I'm so pleased with the defense saves. With the spellcasters doing the roll, it means spells will land a little more often -- speeding up combat.

DrAwkward
02-18-2008, 10:23 AM
Another question to add to the first ones. In 2e, -10 was the best armor class and 10 was the worst. Am I correct in thinking that in 3.x 1 is the worst armor class and 20 is the best?

You are correct about the contraints in 2nd Ed.

There are no upper or lower AC limits in 3.5.

nijineko
02-19-2008, 06:46 AM
In 3.5 D&D, it is assume that you're not going to roll for your AC so you have a base AC of 10 plus armor and Dex modifier. So, assuming you are not rolling your AC vs. every hit, then the worst possible AC is 10.

actually the worst possible ac is 6, assuming that your dex is the minimum of 3. if you manage to somehow get your dex down to 1, then your ac would be a 5. of course with situational modifiers, you can get the ac lower than that. for example, if you are helpless (paralyzed or sleeping, etc) and prone, then you get another -4 for each condition; a grand total of -8, which combined with your lousy dex of 3 nets you an ac of -5 or -6, depending on your dex. ^^

as far as best ac goes... i had one 16th level character who managed to swing an ac of 40+ depending on the exact circumstances. i double checked that math, for certain. but he had managed to carefully spend his money on items with a variety of bonuses that stacked. plus class abilities, and he was very tough to hit.

he would go defensive and taunt the enemy to lure them into range, and the rest of the party would open up from hidden positions. every so often, i would toss in some save vs stuff, or area effect, just to keep him on his toes. you should have seen the look on his face the first time they had to face incorporeal foes... and got smacked. =D (awww, your touch ac isn't quite so good? you should have thought of that when spending your money...)

well, i wasn't mean about it, he'd earned his stuff. i would just shake him up every so often.

Drohem
02-19-2008, 09:13 AM
Yes, I didn't specify that you could have a negative Dex modifier, or negative size modifier, or negative situational modifiers which could lower an AC below 10 if using the 'take 10' default AC use, or that an AC could be a negative number if using the roll AC method.

tesral
02-19-2008, 09:48 PM
(awww, your touch ac isn't quite so good? you should have thought of that when spending your money...)


Can you say "Warlock" boys and girls? I knew you could.

rabkala
02-19-2008, 09:57 PM
I think they are getting rid of the multiple AC's for 4.0. So, touch ac wouldn't mean much anymore.

tesral
02-19-2008, 10:06 PM
I think they are getting rid of the multiple AC's for 4.0. So, touch ac wouldn't mean much anymore.

I like the idea for the simple reason it better refects conditions. It's not like it takes a math degree to figure out either.

Another thing to not like about 4.

Drohem
02-20-2008, 10:03 AM
I like Touch and Flat-footed AC was well. It's not difficult to determine, and there's a spot for it on the character sheet so it can be calculated in advance.

Without these distinctions, spells and some special attacks would have diffculty hitting high ACs; usually because they person casting the spell or using the special attack has a low BAB.

Maelstrom
02-20-2008, 12:04 PM
Things like Touch/Flat Footed add complexity, which means more rules to remember and opportunities for dispute.

While I do like the concept of touch attacks and am somewhat sorry to see them go, if it improves speed and clarity of play elegantly I'll say farewell to the old and embrace the new. Jury's out, for another week.

cplmac
02-20-2008, 12:23 PM
Things like Touch/Flat Footed add complexity, which means more rules to remember and opportunities for dispute.


So are you trying to say that it was made easier by eliminating the Thaco, but in the end, It was about the same by the added complexity of Touch and Flat Footed?

Drohem
02-20-2008, 12:23 PM
In my opinion, Touch AC and Flat-footed AC don't add any complexity to the game. In fact, I view them as an enhancement to the game.

tesral
02-20-2008, 01:14 PM
So are you trying to say that it was made easier by eliminating the Thaco, but in the end, It was about the same by the added complexity of Touch and Flat Footed?

It is slight complexity, but the added play value is greater than the added complexity.

It's is always a balance. Complexity is not always bad, simple is not always good. You want simple combat? A coin flip, tails you win, heads yours falls off. There, it can't get much simpler than that. I don't see anyone liking a combat system that simple. You have a 50/50 chance you character dies.

For that sake we like our combat more complex. Complex means that more variable are covered.



Things like Touch/Flat Footed add complexity, which means more rules to remember and opportunities for dispute.

While I do like the concept of touch attacks and am somewhat sorry to see them go, if it improves speed and clarity of play elegantly I'll say farewell to the old and embrace the new. Jury's out, for another week.

New? What is new about going back to the AD&D method of doing it? More like everything old is new again.

Funny,m but I remember people praising variable AC because it was "new". "Fixed AC is old, this is new and much better."

Maelstrom
02-20-2008, 01:21 PM
New? What is new about going back to the AD&D method of doing it? More like everything old is new again.

Funny,m but I remember people praising variable AC because it was "new". "Fixed AC is old, this is new and much better."

Not new for the sake of being new, but new in the general thought process of 4th edition - exception based gaming : The same ruleset applies to every situation for clarity, but some exceptions apply for flavor.

It would only be THAC0 in the aspect that there is a single AC value. From what we've seen so far, it'd still have the characteristics of 3.5 (single number with multiple possible modifiers that can be pre-calculated easily).

I may hate it, I may love it. I'll have a better idea next week.

Your opinion is no less valid.

Farcaster
02-20-2008, 01:45 PM
actually the worst possible ac is 6, assuming that your dex is the minimum of 3. if you manage to somehow get your dex down to 1, then your ac would be a 5. of course with situational modifiers, you can get the ac lower than that.

Don't forget size modifiers! Presuming the worse possible DEX of 1 (-5) and a colossal size modifier of -8, you could have a touch AC that started at -3 before you even got into any conditional modifiers. At this AC, the target would actually be easier to hit than the broad side of a barn. What would be scary would be being around something so large and at the same time so clumsy!

Count Arioch
02-20-2008, 01:56 PM
I'm neutral about THac0 myself. What I don't like are all the people who go bragging on a message board about how they can understand it. "HURRR i cn understnad thaco beeter n u can lol!!1!"

tesral
02-20-2008, 04:25 PM
I'm neutral about THac0 myself. What I don't like are all the people who go bragging on a message board about how they can understand it. "HURRR i cn understnad thaco beeter n u can lol!!1!"

Everything old is new again.

I use to think in AD&D terms, I got better.

cplmac
02-21-2008, 04:57 PM
Everything old is new again.


So if that is the case, then Tesral is the same age as the rest of us. He just has more experience than the rest of us.:D

tesral
02-21-2008, 08:01 PM
So if that is the case, then Tesral is the same age as the rest of us. He just has more experience than the rest of us.:D

As long as I can ditch the accumulated damage.

"That which does not kill us makes it possible to know when it will rain."

Drohem
02-21-2008, 08:24 PM
Yeah, the wear and tear is a killer! :(

tesral
02-21-2008, 08:33 PM
Yeah, the wear and tear is a killer! :(

Eventually it gets every one of us.

"I don't want to be immortal through my work, I want to be immortal by not dying." --Woody Allen.

Jonathan Kwiat
02-22-2008, 02:08 AM
> I don't have an opinion about it honestly.

Its a game mechanic that's all.

A mathematical trick to pull something off. I've used it. I've lost it but I know younger people that hate it.

Drohem
02-22-2008, 09:36 AM
How long have you been up? Get some sleep. ;):D

Jonathan Kwiat
02-23-2008, 08:45 PM
How long have you been up? Get some sleep. ;):D

Had a cold and didn't want to take any cold medications.

But yeah the sleep did me good.

nijineko
02-23-2008, 11:36 PM
now get some game in you, and you'll be back to the top of your form. ^^

tesral
02-24-2008, 09:09 PM
Anything that can smooth out the mechanic is a good thing. Thac0 was, awkward, and that I believe is the worst thing that can be said for it, Awkward. BAB is more elegant and intuitive.

upidstay
03-06-2008, 07:52 AM
Well, I don't personally "Have a background in math". Frankly fail to see how having any sort of mathematicas background has anything to do with it. It was simple arithmetic. Not hard to do, just a royal pain in the glutes. My brother in law is working on his doctorate in advanced math at BU, and his checkbook is a disaster.
I am happy to see thac0 go. The old charts were easier and faster. And the new method is even better. You need to hit this number. If you don't you miss (unless it's a nat. 20)

cplmac
03-06-2008, 03:06 PM
Well, I don't personally "Have a background in math". Frankly fail to see how having any sort of mathematicas background has anything to do with it. It was simple arithmetic. Not hard to do, just a royal pain in the glutes. My brother in law is working on his doctorate in advanced math at BU, and his checkbook is a disaster.
I am happy to see thac0 go. The old charts were easier and faster. And the new method is even better. You need to hit this number. If you don't you miss (unless it's a nat. 20)

Still sounds the same to me. Your just using a different set of numbers.

tesral
03-07-2008, 06:41 AM
Still sounds the same to me. Your just using a different set of numbers.

BAB is more intuitive. Plus is always good, minus is always bad.

Example. AD&D if you have a +2 to your armor class of 1, you now have an AC of -1. Wait, what? If the potion gives you a -2 penality you now have an AC 3. the better your armor, the lower the number, into the negitives. But you still want to roll high to hit.

Result it reqires either charts or caculation from thac0.

D&D 3.x. A +2 to an AC of 19 is a 21. A -2 is a 17. To hit you equal or surpass the AC number on the d20 roll.

You don't need charts or even caculation. Combat flows smoother. The idea of combat is the same, the die roll is the same, but the BAB and all positive numbers makes for a quicker and smoother flow. That is the advantage.