Shrewd, Petty, and Evil

Erm. Right. Maybe I should stop taking these quizzes. Someone might realize they're right :P

You are a four-sided die, a d4. Otherwise known as a tetrahedron, a "Caltrop", or (to a lesser degree) "Ol' Pointy". This crap bores you, so I'll get to the point. Others tend to see you as petty, conniving, manipulative, argumentative, defensive, greedy, and needlessly antagonistic. You see yourself as focused, effective, efficient, influencing, shrewd, tactical, and direct. Both points of view are in fact correct. You always know the best way to get things done, a fact that never wins sympathy with others. Whenever you manage to gain control of a situation, your solutions are swift and brutal. Unfortunately everyone else is convinced that granting you such power is, "a bad thing" and often conspire to keep it out of your hands. Such short-sighted fools!
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Mar 18, 2007 1:53 pm by Samson in: | 23 comment(s) [Closed]
I took this one for one of the forums I'm active on (2nd Edition AD&D Chat - the link is on my web pages, so I won't list it here and get caught by your akismet again this time) and I scored a d6, but the write up on what that means really didn't sound much like me. :shrug:

As for you taking all these tests, well, it's your blog man, do what makes you happy. ;)

1. You know, that DOES fit you awfully well, in ways.

2. d4 this time, d8 last time.

3. Wow, people are still playing 2nd Edition?

3. Hey 2nd edition had some definite advantages. :)

Actually, I play 2.5 and 3.0, and have been considering getting a 1st edition game going for nostalgia sake. ;D

Oi. Went to 3.5, pretty much haven't looked back.

But I'm curious. What do you like about 2nd?

Well, I liked the diversity between classes, both mechanically and racially, for a start. ;)

Ah, so a fan of the whole "X race can't be X class" thing, then? Not a big fan of the presteige classes, guessing (biggest agents of class blurring, IMHO)?

<-- is really curious.

For myself, my group found 3e's flexibility to be exactly what we wanted (we'd been using a mishmash of the DMG "build your own class" rules and Skills and Powers for years), though there are a couple of things I do still miss from 2nd which are maybe a tad odd:

- I miss the old specialty priests, ala PHBR3 or the FR books. 3e's clerics...I see why they did it, and the way they did it kind of works, but I still consider clerics to be something of the uberclass. Mainly I just miss the degree of uniqueness.

- I miss 2nd's treasure charts, kinda. Where you could get cp AND sp AND gp, or gems AND art, or whatever. 3e did a lot of good things for balance here, but I've always hated that. It's a strange thing to miss, but I miss it.

It's really too bad none of us has the time to put into more of this kind of thing on Alsherok anymore. I think we at one point had plans to try and 3e as much of stuff as we could where practical. But it was going to end up being a rather involved task. So we're probably more like a 2.5e :P

Actually, I like the prestige classes better than the kits we had in 2nd edition, but you're right, the treasure tables were nicer.

THAC0 was something I'd really gotten used to, along with ability stat and AC limits. And I'm not so fond of the notion that advancement either ends or translate to 'epic' once your total of class combination levels hits 20.

But, yes, I am one of those who feels that the idea of certain races becoming certain classes just doesn't make sense. I mean, can you honestly picture someone fleeing in terror from the mighty raging gnome barbarian? Or perhaps you'd find it perfectly reasonable to encounter a happy go lucky half-orc bard at the tavern as the entertainment to accompany your meal? How about that cute little kender anti-paladin in the corner with his Aasimar psion buddy?

Now, on the other hand, I do think they got quite a bit 'right' in 3rd edition. XP is much easier to calculate, ToHit rolls make more sense (even if I miss THAC0). The three saves are easier than remember what used which of the five we used to have. DCs work. Feats are much nicer than WPs/NWPs were (though a bit more frustrating since you get so many skills and so few feats). The only reason I didn't move on to 3.5 after I bought into 3rd was monetary, those books are damned expensive, otherwise I think 3.5 appears to compliment what they'd done for 3rd rather well. Thus the reason I'm still playing both 2.5e and 3e. It's too expensive to move to 3.5, otherwise I'd be playing 2.5 and 3.5 at this point. (Part of it also has to do with having multiple groups involved as well.)

Now that Dwip and I have totally hijacked and derailed your blog, Samson, (and I really do apologize for that), I agree with you, if you'd had the time to move Alsherok to full 3e compliance (or at least as close as you could get within the D20 license), it would have been a huge undertaking but would've been really cool. As it is, calling Alsherok based on 2.5e seems reasonable, especially considering that it's predecessor, Smaug, was based on some sort of hybriding of 1st and 2nd edition. ;)

Alsherok is a strange beast. Based on some sort of bizzare SMAUG 1/2e, with some more 2e thrown in (mob xp owes a lot to 2e, I think, circa 1999), and a dash of 3e (player xp, mostly). Skills are their own special thing. Treasure is a bizzare hybrid of 3e and Diablo II.

IIRC, we got about as far as moving mob xp to a fully 3e model, and then everyone shot me down in flames for doing it. I got more hate out of the two xp model changes we did than any other single thing we ever did. I think we shelved the rest of the 3e conversion stuff at that point, despite discussing it fairly hard.

Still like to see a 3.5e MUD though. I also think that the Mechwarrior 3 RPG system would translate fairly well to a computer setting. But then, I always loved mechs.

As to our D&D discussion...

Kits. Great idea, but boy was the implementation broken a lot of the time. Of course, balance always pretty delicate in 2nd, which is one of 3e's best changes - an actual eye toward consistent game balance. That right there sold me on it originally.

Of course, 6 years of 3/3.5 books have given us a host of issues on that score, but by large it's much more inherently stable, which I appreciate.

As a DM, I kind of miss AC limits. Well, more what I really miss is some of the 2e progression scale. Too much platemail at level 1 or 2. You have to boost low-CR monsters to unrealistic levels to provide a challenge, or throw many of them out. But I play FR mostly, so I guess I get what I pay for.

I've never gone epic, but I've always felt that D&D gets fairly ridiculous at high levels. We usually cap out about 10th or 12th.

I can see your point on racial class limiting. I even kind of agree with it. To an extent, 3/3.5 take things too far (I loved my halfling barbarian, but...), and you can get fairly ludicrous pretty fast with the ability to make monster race PCs (a useful thing, on the whole, but). On the other hand, I always though 2e was a little too far in the other direction (no elven druids? Wha...? Paladins?). I think there's a happy campaign-by-campaign medium somewhere.

I do love the new saves, though I miss being able to tell people to save vs death or die. It had a certain ring to it. ;) Certainly, in general, the new trend towards modifying everything is really nice, especially with stats (hi 2e stat tables, I don't miss you at all, no I don't).

Feats are cool, though they WERE limited in 3e. 3.5 went a long ways towards fixing that, and is one of the best things about it, perhaps. I DO kind of miss the limited WPs from 2nd, though. I always thought it was a tad ludicrous to show up as a fighter knowing how to use every weapon ever. If I wasn't lazy, I'd figure out a grouped system, but I am.

I'm not sure we've reached a happy medium on XP yet. 2e was WAY too slow, 3e a little fast for my taste. As somebody who uses a lot of classed NPCs in fights, I pretty habitually drop CRs (NPC class count as 1/2 CR/level, PC classes get level-1), or else people level in one fight some days.

I paid out for 3.5, and don't regret having done so. In almost all respects, it's much better than even 3e was. The DMG in particularly is a fantastic book, one I wish I'd had ten odd years ago. About the only complaint I can think to make is the inclusion of small and large-sized weapons. On a certain level, they make sense. On another level, why can't we just call a small shortsword a dagger?

...I miss my 2e sourcebooks the most, though. With the exception of the FR Campaign Setting, I haven't really been all that impressed with the 3e crop.

And let us not discuss the travesty that is the 3e OA. 1st edition OA forever.

...what did this post start out as, again? :P

Conner, I don't mind at all if you guys discuss this here. I may not understand the gory details of it all but it's still interesting just the same.

Um. Dwip. I think this started off as me posting another randomly silly quiz result :P

Either way, don't let the fact that this is my blog stop you two from further discussion.

I don't think a session goes by that Cole or Dwip doesn't mention how much they disliked how complicated 2e was Thaco vs to hit same thing to me I dont' know I never minded it at all except a few things (treasure tables oh how I hate them!) 3.5 is a nice improvement however.

Of course every player has thier laundry list of things they would like to see changed. Mine has stayed the same from 2e to 3e

Mine deals with HP and Multiple opponent AC (If 20 people fire arrows at you and your standing in the open I want more than one of them to hit you even if you do have a High dex and some flimsy chain shirt on like every other pc in the game Or if you've got 20 orcs pounding at you with clubs/axes I don't care how good you are you can't block them all!) Hp though I see as a bigger problem It seems like everytime I start a campaign with higher level PC's I run into this "glass" cannon problem. It starts around level 5 and gets worse a munchkin fighter type (arn't they all?) will begin doing Massively more damage than he can take. The players crack out so much damage that virtually anything I throw at them dies in one to two rounds So if I throw something big enough at them to survive a few rounds One of the players is going to die and thats no fun for that player.

So thats my list

Damage output vs Hp
Mob attack bonuses
Monks Need to be outlawed FOREVER!!!

I'm hoping for 4 e ;p

3e was a bit better than 2e but still no great jump imo

I think both your issues have a lot to do with AC, and how easy it really is to get 20+ even at 1st level. From there it only gets worse for your low level mobs.

This is only compounded by how the stats for low level mobs suck, too. Even using the elite stat array helps. Or even 1 fighter level used properly.

Flanking kinda helped that out for melee, but there's nothing comparable for archery. You'd have to house rule something, which I know you're not adverse to. ;)

At least in 3/3.5 there are a lot more ways to take a PC down, though most of them are generally used by the PCs versus mobs - trip and grapple are both highly effective when used right.

There IS a glass cannon issue with high level D&D to be sure, though a lot of that is compounded in our games by everyone playing ECL races (more fragile), high dex types (a favorite of mine, but very fragile when hit), or just flat out playing dumb (some year, they won't all charge the front door, I swear!).

Monks really ARE kind of annoying. They don't bother me so much as a core class (though they'd have been better suited to a better OA than we got), but they stick them in the damndest places, like the western part of FR. Very strange.

One of the things I DO miss about 2nd is that the "let's put this in because it'll be K00L!" factor is much less than in 3/3.5, and yes spiked chain and dire flail, I'm looking at you guys, not to mention the double axe. I'm not opposed to double weapons (good idea for quarterstaves, double-bladed swords are even ok), but... This leaves aside much of the splatbook stuff, Just no. I learned THAT lesson with the 2nd edition PHBR series, of which the only one I really loved was the priest book.

I like to cast magic missile at the darkness.

I was thinking later, actually the solution to the glass cannon problem was solved clear back in the 80's by the early MUD's.... As well as the overall lack of fun for low level casters.... The fighter type stats balance out fairly nice in 1 vs 1 battles but when you get group vs group so much firepower gets concentrated on a single target that it makes a big problem......Thus they massively increased the healing output a cleric could produce by using a rapidly regenerating "mana" or "power" pool instead of the spells per day bs. It also worked great by allowing low level wizard types to actually join in all the battles instead of being forced to save up thier spells for the "final" battle.

Even DnD online the MMORPG that came out last year had to admit that Spells per day just doesn't work all that well and went with a power pool.

And the best part!!! You can fire magic missles at the darkness all day long!!!!

You know, Gormican, in 2nd edition (maybe it was 2.5) they introduced a solution to your concern about fighters being able to handily pick off dozens of attackers without being hit despite the odds, they called it overbearing. ;)

With regards to MUDs, I think it's kind of a tossup, really.

MUDs, in general:

- have way less save vs death or die action (only power word kill translates over, really, and it's not that great).
- also way less stat/level drain (well, Alsherok did. Shard, OTOH)
- much less high powered high level spells (mostly dice damage instead of autodamage or save or die effects)
- generally scale better, because you're spread out over 50 or 100 levels instead of 20.
- have much more in the way of hp buffs than D&D (there's, what, like 1 +1 con item in the game, and NO flat hp mods)
- have *shield and sanc, which are enormous playing field levelers for the PCs.

On the other hand:

- spell saves are a lot more humane now than in days of yore, and you really only need worry hard about very specialized caster builds.
- there's less level drain in 3e, too, and stat drain is way less of a big deal than it was in 2e.
- D&D high level magic is still kinda wrong, though, starting about the time Harm shows up. That's always been pretty inherent in the system.
- There ARE hp buffs spellwise, though. Bear's Endurance. The spell nobody uses, that can give you a bunch of hp. Cheap.

That having been said, the biggest difference is scale and timing.

- D&D fights are generally DM-instigated versus PC-instigated in the case of MUDs. Lot of effects from this.
- D&D fights, or at least ours, tend to be much larger scale than MUD fights. I've taken on 20 drow with a 5 person party in D&D before. Hard, but doable. Fights that big on MUDs tend to end in total party kills.
- Lots less invested in death on MUDs, too, except a bit of XP loss and maybe some eq. This actually increases the glass cannon effect when players kamikaze mobs.

That having been said, I think glass cannon is heavily reliant on two main things:

1. Almost all ECL races, with a few exceptions, are highly glass cannon. This is perhaps a flaw in the ECL system. (In general, I love the idea and dislike the implementation of it).

2. Group cohesiveness and tactical planning are enormous in 3e in a way they have never quite been before. This is something I've noticed playing between the Monroe and Corvallis group. We tend to win a lot of fights in the Corvallis group because we're very tactically minded. We use buff spells, flank both in general and to maximize sneak attacks, etc, etc. The Monroe group tends to charge in a lot, and doesn't work well as a group*, and so they get owned.

* - I'm thinking in particular of that slaver temple fight, where everyone went off by themselves to do whatever damn fool thing. It really made me sad.

You can be really damn effective as a group in D&D if you work at it a bit.

As to the mana pool thing...

I think this was a lot more of an argument back in the days of 2e, when your first level wizards shot their 1 magic missile (2 if they were specialists!) at the darkness and then were done. This is pretty much DOA in 3.5, where even a non-specialist, 11 Int 1st level wizard can cast 4 spells (albeit 3 of them 0 level). Sorcerers (already pretty much a mana pool class) are even worse than that. I've been a 1st-level sorc and been pretty much ok with it.

That having been said, I'm not opposed to mana pools, just that they have far more potential for abuse (and potential to make clerics, already halfway to being the uberclass, even worse).

There's also a vast philosophical difference between MUDs and D&D when it comes to combat, which is that in MUDs (and MMORPGs including D&D Online), the goal is to kill a lot of monsters, all the time (Oh, yeah, I've seen some MMORPG quests, but they're pale immitations of real RPGs and we all know it, though Alsherok's main quest would have broken that mold). D&D is a storytelling game where fights are only part of any given session (though how much varies - we fight more in Monroe than in Corvallis, frex). Being able to fight 24/7 would be flat out unrealistic (haha, I just talked about realism in FRPGs!), and probably fairly broken.

My main thing, though? Mana's ok to track in a computer game, when the computer does it FOR me. It's a pain in the ass in tabletop. Spells/day is so much SIMPLER, which works for me.

How is mana pool any harder to track than's just a number that you tick off a certain amount from depending on the action....

It's not about being able to fight constantly It's about running into the dragon and having it big enough to last more than 3 rounds while not being able to eat your big fighter in 3 rounds You know an Epic battle aught to be epic And ECL races really don't increase the glass cannon problem that much Even straight base races have the problem. It's also about being able to create a dungeon with 4 to 5 encounters that actually Challenge the players and them still being able to survive whatever is hiding at the end without having to stop and run back to town so the Cleric can regain his spells for the day......I always have images of the monsters going going Gosh sure was alot of death screams going on in the other room do you think we should go investigate? Nah lets just sit here and stare at the wall like we always do

Lol I was originally thinking of the last few dungeons we went through where we kept running back to town and resting when I suddenly remembered that Very first adventure we tried when we were like 9 where I had my characters go back multiple times with thier loot and buy giant fire lizard eggs and spend a few years raising them to adulthood before going back after the final boss....

The worst thing about D&D is that you have to worship the devil.

As for mana pool tracking: it's easier to track that then the power point system Psi's have had in place (albeit revised drastically each edition) since first edition.

Regarding devil worship: If we're going to spread that silly rumor some more, at least let's reference Aleister Crowley's Sexual Magicks at the same time. ;)

I claim first 20th comment. Gome.

I admit that the fire lizard thing seemed a lot cooler when we were 13 than it does now. OTOH, it's always worth a laugh. Another favorite is all those OA death matches we used to do.

We haven't yet had a dragon fight worth the name. Well, one. There was a white dragon once that gave you all a serious fight. That black that Koth, etc were on would've been a lot more hardcore of a fight had you all not kamikazed it with that carpet.

I admit to wrestling with how to provide reasonable single monster challenges to PCs. I'm getting better at it, or close to better at it. You just have to start at about +2 CR. In the case of dragons, if they're able to fly, that's a lot more hardcore, which Whir and the Corvallis gang can tell you more about.

Some dungeons were not meant to be completed in one run. Too, some players stock healing potions, wands, and the like. Novel I know. This is a DM design issue and not a system issue, for the most part.

On good days, the dungeon will react to the PCs. With a few exceptions (hi, fire lizards!), mine have done this for a while now. This may be to a greater or lesser extent, but. This is also a DM issue, not a system issue.

And let us recap, off the top of my head, some of the last few dungeons I either ran or was a part of:

1. Cole and I vs that cave in Dark Sun: Rampantly owned, because we were awesome, and because we planned well.

2. Dark Sun Tomb: We owned again, though not rampantly because of your foul stat draining undead.

3. Dark Sun Veiled Alliance Lair: To be sure, one fight, but we kicked its ass hard.

But that was munchkin Dark Sun. What about FR?

1. Y'all vs Hobgoblin Lair/Temple: This actually took 3 seperate runs with town trips between. This was by design. That dungeon was supposed to take a while, and it did. Due to the rather unique ecology, it didn't adapt itself much between visits.

2. Y'all vs Kobolds, etc: Let's see. 4th-5th level party vs about 50 kobolds and a CR 6 kobold sorc. Disconcerted efforts? Very much so, for the most part. And you came THIS close to getting killed because of it. Fortunately you had an entire army behind you for healing. However, it was only a CR 6 sorc and some kobolds.

3. It hurts me to talk about the slaver temple, because, seriously. Wow. That was, what, 6 different plans going on? Calling it mismanaged would imply that it was actually managed in the first place, which it wasn't. And so you guys got rampantly owned in fights that weren't that hard. And yes, the dungeon adapted itself each time you left to rest, as I think you found out.

However, fire lizards still own boss monsters. Just a tip here.

well for epic mobs I'm liking damage reduction currently it really helps I'm finding out.

In my defense there was one good plan going for the Slavers and the everyone else kept changing it!!! Like when I convinced Brian to start the fire as a distraction and to increase animosity between the factions......but nooooo he got bored and solo charged the base........ then there was the second scouting mission where I told Devon to wait while I went to get my dog but noooooo he blatantly ignored me and took off and later blamed me for leaving him...... Then everyone charged the gates and well that went alright I suppose Until Brian made Kyles character charge in and attack why oh why???

There was a dragon fight? I spent most of the time avoiding the other players for various reasons.

Not to mention, a cleric with a mace vs a flying blue dragon? If "futile" isn't in your vocabulary, go look it up.

I think it's right near level 10 where characters become xbox hueg damage and not enough health to survive. So whoever wins init usually wins the fight, regardless of tactics. I prefer playing 3-8th level PCs, personally. When you're part of 7s takes out a CR14 without losing anyone, you understand the game.

When Todd runs WLD, the CR3s kill the EL8 party.

DR really IS our DMing friend. Also miss chance. Blur, we love you.

It was sort of a dragon fight. Kinda. I mean, they fought the dragon, and the dragon fought them. Just...yeah.

It'll look sweet in the movie.

The slaver thing, man, I dunno. You guys kinda started with an ok plan, but then each and every single one of you kept doing utterly retarded things. Repeatedly. It made me sad. It made that time when everyone but you and the NPC charged the castle look smart.

I wanna play a high level 12+ game again some time.

I'm telling that part of me that's having Skills and Powers nostalgia to shut the hell up.

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