• shani66
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    3 months ago

    BG3 being less dnd and more larion is a major win. It’s the only reason it is when vaguely playable, imo. 5e is an absolute train wreck of a system.

      • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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        3 months ago

        Hahaha oh your poor soul you don’t know what you risk conjuring up with a question like that.

        I have to write this all out in a blog post so I can just link it one day.

        The core mechanic of 1d20+stuff produces flat probability. Every outcome on the die is equally likely. That’s ridiculous. Go throw some darts at a dart board. Do you get an equal distribution around the board? Just as many hit the floor as the bullseye? No. So the underlying math is kind of trash.

        The entire game is predicated on its rest cadence. You’re expected to have like 5-8 medium encounters and then take a long rest. This generates a ton of problems for pacing and balance. Chief among them, most people don’t want to play that way. Polls show people typically do like one fight per rest. Welp. Now all your long rest classes are over performing and your short rest classes suck.

        Don’t even start with “not every encounter has to be a fight”. Don’t even fucking start. Most people can’t consistently come up with interesting non combat encounters in DND that tax resources the same way fights do. There are no real social conflict rules, for example, as mentioned below.

        But even if you do somehow manage to do the suggested amount of encounters per rest, that severely limits the pacing of the story. There are so many hacks and variants to try to fix this. Gritty realism, sanctuary resting, heroic mode. They’re all bandaids on a poor foundation.

        The magic system is trash. It’s just fucking bad. It had no real internal consistency. Every spell is bespoke. What’s the difference between a third level spell and a fourth level? Fuck if I know. Can you make your own spells? Not really. Can you be creative with spells? Ehh kind of but they tend to be very specific about what they do, with few inputs.

        Also like the way magic works is boring. There’s no real flavor. You say you cast the spell and check off the box, and it happens. Maybe you need a material component. That’s about it. It’s shallow as heck. It’s also weird that rangers paladins wizards clerics arcane-tricksters all basically have magic that works the same way. You could do so much more.

        The social system I would say it was trash if it existed. You meet a pack of bandits in the pass. You want to fight them. The rules have a lot to say here. Hit points, armor, saves, actions and reactions, equipment, etc. Ok wait, you want to scare them off with your words instead. Well get fucked, the book has some vague guidelines that quickly turn into “the dm decides”.

        There are very few decisions to make about your character. Species and class. Maybe a feat or two depending on how long you play, but those compete with ASIs, and most games don’t even get to 8th level. Subclasses sometimes have a few things to pick, but sometimes you literally get zero choices.

        The skill system is extremely basic and you can’t really specialize unless you’re a class with expertise, and even then your options are kind of limited.

        Magic items also have no real internal consistency. Why is the flying broom a like uncommon item despite being extremely powerful? Who knows.

        Low level combat tends to also be very “I move and attack once”. Some DMs might give you bonuses for taking advantage of the environment, but that’s not well defined. It could be. It’s not. Also making a single attack that has a like 40% chance of doing absolutely nothing sucks.

        The main strengths of DND are brand recognition, and it’s shallow enough that you can’t really fuck up a character. Every human fighter is basically the same mechanically, which means your idiot 10 year old brother can play. But that also means you don’t really have much depth to explore.

        Pretty much every other part of the game is bad, under baked, or not suited for general purpose RPG stuff.

          • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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            3 months ago

            Pathfinder is the “we have both kinds of music: country and western” answer. I think pf 2nd edition is probably the best bet if you want to stay in the genre. I haven’t played it but I’ve heard good things.

            One thing I didn’t touch on in my rant is genre. If you are trying to do something that isn’t a dungeon crawl, probably don’t use DND.

            I personally really like Fate. It’s more in line with how I imagine RPGs should go. Very narrative, lots of creative freedom. If you want a really crunchy system with lots of rules, it’s not for you.

            You know how sometimes people talking about DND will be like “ah yes my character will really come online when I hit 7th level as a monk paladin bard”? That’s kind of nonsense. In fate if you wanted to be a righteous rockstar with a mean left hook, you could just write down “Rocker on a mission from God” as your high concept. If everyone agrees that’s cool and they get it, you’re done. Character works in session 1.

            DND also tends to make the players be very zoomed in on their characters. Some people like that. I prefer fate where it’s a little more zoomed out, and you’re expected to think about the scene and story. As a player you have input.

            That said, blades in the dark is also pretty popular. I don’t like it for much less severe reasons than the problems I have with DND. It’s not a bad game, I don’t think, but there are some choices it made that I don’t enjoy.

          • shani66
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            3 months ago

            If you want a dnd like experience Pathfinder is your bet, it’s got a lot more rules to it but if you read them you’ll understand why. You can read them for free on aonprd.com by the way. Pathfinder gives you far more creative freedom than 5e while still being relatively tight.

            My person recommendation for newbies to the hobby is Chronicles of Darkness. It’s way cheaper than 5e too, if you stick to a single splat, think something like a race expanded out into a full game; vampires, werewolves, mages, changelings, humans who hunt monsters, mutants, things like that. The games are narrative focused but don’t neglect combat (like 5e neglects narrative).

            • it’s got a more free form point buy system, instead of leveling up and all your dice rolls just get better you get to put experience into whatever skill/ability you want to be better at or perk you want to have.

            • it’s mechanics are genuinely simple, almost everything in the game is handled with the same kind of roll; you and your dm picks a skill (let’s say crafting) and an ability (like 5e’s ability scores, let’s say intelligence) for whatever you want to do then you roll however many d10s as points you have in those scores.

            • it’s setting is easier to understand, it’s just modern day earth with a magical underground, that makes it way easier to know how much any given thing would cost or where you gotta go to do something. There are lots of weird things going on, but a new player doesn’t need all of those and has plenty of information to be grounded otherwise.

            • it gives you lots of things to work with (like bloodlines for vampires or groups to join as anything else) but also explicitly encourages you and your dm to create new things with the base stuff as guidelines.

            A few other recommendations; world of darkness is my preferred game, so i gotta mention it. Gurps is the most open game I’ve ever played, you can do literally anything.

        • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          1d20 + a modifier is how you eliminate flat probability, because you’re adding the modifier. DCs are set so that you nearly always succeed at a task that you’re good at.

          What’s the difference between a third level spell and a fourth level spell? How many times you can feasibly use it. Or if you upcast, one die. This is probably the thing I like most about 5e compared to other systems.

          Giving you a move every turn keeps combat more interesting than incentivizing you to stay still by treating it as any other action, IMO.

          You’re not really selling me.

          • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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            3 months ago

            The modifier doesn’t make the probability less flat. You have an equal chance of getting every value on the die, so the worst and best outcome are equally likely. Compare to like 3d6. There’s only one way to roll a 3 [1,1,1], but a bunch of ways to roll an 8 ([4,3,1], [3,3,2], [6,1,1], etc)

            Go look at https://anydice.com/ . The default should be 3d6 and you see a nice curve. Change it to 1d20 and it’s flat. 5% for everything. Change it to 1d20+5 and it’s still flat, just with bigger numbers.

            Your odds of success change in that when you’re looking to roll a 15 you’re more likely to fail than when you’re looking for a 12, but at all times, for any check, you’re just as likely to get an extreme result as an average. That’s weird.

            What’s the difference between a third level spell and a fourth level spell? How many times you can feasibly use it. Or if you upcast, one die. This is probably the thing I like most about 5e compared to other systems.

            When you are creating a spell, how do you know what level it should be? How do you know what effects it should have? There’s some guidance in the DMG but it’s flimsy and not actually used by many of the canon spells. If you don’t care about being creative with magic then you might not care about this. To me it makes it feel very rigid and mechanical.

            There are so many other ways you could do magic.

            Giving you a move every turn keeps combat more interesting than incentivizing you to stay still by treating it as any other action, IMO.

            What? My complaint wasn’t that you can move and attack. It’s that that’s typically all you do. You move 30’ and make a single attack. Go read “create an advantage” in the fate-srd for a glimpse of how things could be different. Some DMs will let you interact with the environment, but that’s highly DM dependent and uncodified.

            At higher levels at least you tend to get more stuff you can do on your turn.

            I think pf2e also changed it so you get 3 actions.

            • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              You have an equal chance of getting every value on the die, so the worst and best outcome are equally likely.

              Yes, but only in a critical success and critical fail. If you’re supposed to always succeed because your character should be able to do the action successfully in their sleep, the DM isn’t even supposed to make you roll. The die may land on any value between 1 and 20, but if the DC is 10 and you have +7 to your roll, you’ve eliminated failures from 3-9 on the d20. I’m well aware of how the average chance of rolling a given number changes when rolling multiple dice, but I’m not sure why a 3d6 bell curve would be preferable to 1d20 when you’re only looking for a binary success or failure.

              When you are creating a spell, how do you know what level it should be? How do you know what effects it should have? There’s some guidance in the DMG but it’s flimsy and not actually used by many of the canon spells. If you don’t care about being creative with magic then you might not care about this. To me it makes it feel very rigid and mechanical.

              There are so many other ways you could do magic.

              You could raise this about any card in Magic: The Gathering as well, and I think the answer is just “balance”. I don’t know that I’ve found myself in a position where we needed a spell to be created. For me at least, some amount of rigidity is very much appreciated on my end when the fiction involves literal magic, because it breaks the rigid laws of nature by definition.

              What? My complaint wasn’t that you can move and attack. It’s that that’s typically all you do. … I think pf2e also changed it so you get 3 actions.

              Someone described the PF2e 3 action mechanics to me, and there are parts of it that I like, but at the end of the day, it incentivizes different behaviors and isn’t necessarily better or worse. What would you like to do on your turn other than move and attack (which also ignores class-specific options you get for your bonus action, as well as other types of regular actions you might take for one reason or another)? What choices do you make differently when movement is treated equally to attacking as opposed to movement being use-it-or-lose-it? It affects how it feels, and it’s great that there are other systems to mix things up, but I like how 5e handles it.

              • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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                3 months ago

                Yes, but only in a critical success and critical fail. If you’re supposed to always succeed because your character should be able to do the action successfully in their sleep, the DM isn’t even supposed to make you roll. The die may land on any value between 1 and 20, but if the DC is 10 and you have +7 to your roll, you’ve eliminated failures from 3-9 on the d20. I’m well aware of how the average chance of rolling a given number changes when rolling multiple dice, but I’m not sure why a 3d6 bell curve would be preferable to 1d20 when you’re only looking for a binary success or failure.

                I forgot to bring up in my rant that DND has no concept of “degree of success” outside of unique effects like the sprite’s poison. So that sucks, too.

                I would prefer rolls were weighted towards the average instead of “any result is equally likely”. Imagine you have a wizard and a fighter. They are trying to figure out some arcane riddle. The wizard rolls at +5 (16 int, proficiency). The fighter at +0. They’re looking to hit DC 15, a tricky but not excessive target.

                The fighter has a 25% to hit that. The wizard has like a 45% to just flub it. That feels weird to me. I want the wizard to have more reliable outcomes, and less zany “I rolled a 2 lol I can’t read today”.

                A dice pool gives you more consistent results.

                I also forgot to bring up DND has no concept of fail forward or succeed at a cost.

                And I forgot to bring up how insane it is to still have “16 strength is a +3 bonus”.

                You could raise this about card in Magic: The Gathering as well, and I think the answer is just “balance”. I don’t know that I’ve found myself in a position where we needed a spell to be created. For me at least, some amount of rigidity is very much appreciated on my end when the fiction involves literal magic, because it breaks the rigid laws of nature by definition.

                You’ve never wanted to create your own spell. That’s surprising. There are many spells to pick from, so I guess that could be.

                Even discarding the “make your own spell effects” for the moment, the fact that they all work basically the same is boring. Declare your action, check off the spell slot box.

                Off the top of my head you could do like

                • every spell cast in the scene has some effect
                  • increase failure rate
                  • increase potency
                • some spells have preconditions
                  • require specific actions
                    • spell C requires B and A to be cast first
                    • spell requires blood drawn from the victim first
                    • context (phase of moon, for example)
                  • spells must be made very specific for their targets and outcomes ahead of time. You don’t prepare fireball. You prepare “Blow up Carl”.

                You could build whole classes, whole games, around that shit, and I just popped that out without any real thought. DND magic by comparison is extremely bland, safe, and mechanical. None of that is how you would typically describe magic.

                Someone described the PF2e 3 action mechanics to me, and there are parts of it that I like, but at the end of the day, it incentivizes different behaviors and isn’t necessarily better or worse. What would you like to do on your turn other than move and attack (which also ignores class-specific options you get for your bonus action, as well as other types of regular actions you might take for one reason or another)? What choices do you make differently when movement is treated equally to attacking as opposed to movement being use-it-or-lose-it? It affects how it feels, and it’s great that there are other systems to mix things up, but I like how 5e handles it.

                I don’t know what I said that has you stuck on literal movement. I must have said “move” when I meant “take your turn” at some point. Moving in space isn’t that important.

                Anyway. First off, making a single attack is boring. Especially when you play with slow players. Especially when you miss and nothing happens. They should probably get rid of missing as a common possibility, come to think of it.

                You get like a minute of activity and then wait 10 minutes for everyone else to go. There’s not really much tactical or narrative depth. You don’t really get to decide much. Especially if you’re not using flanking rules.

                Something where you can make decisions and tradeoffs might be nice. Some sort of action point pool where you can decide how much goes into offense vs how much you keep for defense. Or something like fate’s “create an advantage” where you can do something to set up someone (maybe future you) for a slam dunk. Some sort of succeed at a cost mechanic, perhaps.

                Or even just giving multiple attacks earlier would help. The odds shift towards “maybe something will happen” then.

                I also forgot to rant about hit points. That’s a classic topic though you’ve probably read it before. But man, playing a game where health is constrained makes so much more sense to me. None of that “this bandit is fifth level so he can take 5 axe blows” weirdness.

                Let me know if I missed replying to anything important. Doing this on my phone is hard.

                • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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                  3 months ago

                  I want the wizard to have more reliable outcomes, and less zany “I rolled a 2 lol I can’t read today”.

                  But in that example, it’s not that he can’t read today, it’s that in this case, he failed to decipher the riddle, and you or the DM role play exactly why that is.

                  A dice pool gives you more consistent results.

                  Which is why damage works that way in 5e. It was a conscious decision. I don’t see what benefit there is for a consistent bump in the middle of your dice results when you’re looking for success or failure, other than the fact that d6 dice are far more common to have on hand than d20.

                  And I forgot to bring up how insane it is to still have “16 strength is a +3 bonus”.

                  This is one of the few things in 5e I’d actually say I have a problem with. I understand that PF2e flattened this, which is good.

                  You could build whole classes, whole games, around that shit, and I just popped that out without any real thought. DND magic by comparison is extremely bland, safe, and mechanical. None of that is how you would typically describe magic.

                  But predictable mechanics mean that I can plan tactically, and I like the tactical battle map aspect of RPGs. That goes in to your ability to miss an attack as well. You can’t guarantee success, but you can influence your odds in a bunch of ways and take critical chances when they matter most.

                  You get like a minute of activity and then wait 10 minutes for everyone else to go.

                  This may vary by DM, but I’m still actively engaged in deducing HP, AC, and any other relevant values about the things we’re fighting while it’s not my turn, and our DM accommodates us doing that.

                  • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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                    3 months ago

                    But in that example, it’s not that he can’t read today, it’s that in this case, he failed to decipher the riddle, and you or the DM role play exactly why that is.

                    That’s thin meat for roleplaying, and probably discouraging for the wizard who wants to be smart.

                    I don’t see what benefit there is for a consistent bump in the middle of your dice results when you’re looking for success or failure,

                    I like being consistently good at stuff. Every time I flub it on like a 5 I’m annoyed. Like, this is my character’s high concept why do I still have a huge chance of beefing it. With, again, little to no mechanics to succeed at a cost or fail forward.

                    I don’t feel the same way when a dice pool betrays me. If I roll [6, 2, 5, 4, 7] in Mage I can look at it and go “wow, I guess I fucked up”. Feels different when it’s just 1d20 comes out with a 3.

                    But predictable mechanics mean that I can plan tactically,

                    You can have understandable mechanics with the stuff I described. And about as predictable as regular DND, where people can pass or fail checks.

                    Some of what I described would open whole new tactical fronts. Like, if you have spell sequences, you’d want to consider how far to let an enemy go before you really need to deal with them. Or if you want to try to plan around your wizard using them.

                    Anything where the spell doesn’t fire instantly also opens new fronts.

                    I also forgot to complain how magic doesn’t get interrupted in 5e. You used to be able to interrupt casters by getting up in their face. I see why they removed it- players don’t like it, too hard, losing your spell sucks- but it removed an important depth.

                    All of this would kind of be dragged down by spells-per-rest, but that’s a separate topic .

                    You can’t guarantee success, but you can influence your odds in a bunch of ways

                    5e has vanishingly few ways of influencing the odds. No flanking. Expensive aid-another/teamwork. No situational bonuses. Few resources to dip into. I’m assuming a party that’s like levels 1-5 because that’s where most people play, and without a lot of magic items because that’s the default game assumption. Because the magic item rules are so thin, you can actually patch a lot of these problems with items. But that’s a patch.

                    This may vary by DM, but I’m still actively engaged in deducing HP, AC, and any other relevant values about the things we’re fighting while it’s not my turn, and our DM accommodates us doing that.

                    This is extremely metagamey, and not very interesting to me. Some DMs just tell you the numbers. And even so, that’s only so much you can do until you figure it out.

                    Compare Fate for example. You can defend someone else on their turn. Shit, I forgot, DND doesn’t even have this concept. But yeah, in Fate you’re engaged when other people are going because you might need to leap in to defend them, or spend a fate point to help them out. That’s engaging with the game a lot more than “I wonder what their AC is?”

                    I think at this point we might have to chalk this up to we want different things from games, and have different preferences. Some people like mayonnaise. That’s okay.

          • shani66
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            3 months ago

            Hold on, you’ve said a lot of stuff that just reads as wrong, uninformed, or overly generous, no offense, but there is one specific thing I’m zeroing in on here; you are just as likely to fail at something you are supposedly good at as you are to fail. The game is literally designed for that, the designers have gone on record as working to bake randomness in at the base level and prevent your character from being able to be genuinely good at something. The dice mechanics in 5e are terrible and indictive of why 5e is the worst game I’ve ever played (out of like maybe 10)

            I’m currently in a Pathfinder campaign that kinda discourages specialization in skills due to going for harder combat, but there are things my character is genuinely good at. I’ve got a better than even chance of success in those things, hell for some of them i can remove randomness altogether and some tasks are literally impossible to fail. That feels good.

            • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              You are not just as likely to fail as you are to succeed at a DC 10 check in a skill you have proficiency in, and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

              • shani66
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                3 months ago

                If there is a dc 10 check in your game then your dm is either a bad dm or is just giving you a chance to fuck around.

                • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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                  3 months ago

                  Or that the thing you’re trying to do doesn’t require mastery of a given skill to do…

                  • shani66
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                    3 months ago

                    Why are you seriously doing anything that requires you to operate on the lowest level? What possible reason does a great mage have investigating a lowly flame cantrip? Why is a skilled thief trying to pick the lock on a child’s toy? The things set at dc 10 are things you out grow once you reach your first class level.

      • shani66
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        3 months ago

        The economy is non-existent, actual balancing is literally impossible, you can’t make a character yours (reflavoring your eldritch blast doesn’t count), so many rules just don’t exist or are on some random designers Twitter account instead of the damn books. If you want to argue it’s a simple system; it isn’t, it’s stupidly convoluted for how little it actually offers.

        Edit: look at Pathfinder (chosen because it’s the closest comparison); it actually gives DMs a rough guide to how much money a player should be expected to have at any level, a decent idea of what players should fight in an encounter (2e even tightened that math up even more), a myriad of ways to customize your character on a real mechanical level, and all the rules are easily found on the same online resource. 5e doesn’t do any of that.

        • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          I don’t know that the economy is an important part of D&D or that I see it as a fault that it isn’t. It has a list of approximately what kind of adversary should be a challenge for you at a given level, but that seems like a totally different discussion than how much money that character should have. A soldier would do better in a fight than Jeff Bezos, but Jeff’s got more money.

          • shani66
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            3 months ago

            Economy is insanely important. How much gold should your players have at level 13? What magic items are they expected to have? What determines the availability of any random thing? If there is an imbalance between what is expected and what they have the game is either way too hard or way too easy. Economy is vital and is more than just money.

            5e does not have balancing. The chart they give you in the book is so stupidly off i have to wonder if the designers ever played their own game. If you go by that the players will never be engaged, it’ll just be wasted time.

            Those were two separate complaints, btw, no matter how well they feed into each other.

        • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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          3 months ago

          Look at you giving a short answer instead of rage typing twelve paragraphs about why DND is frankly not that good.

          • shani66
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            3 months ago

            And don’t get me started on bounded accuracy!!

            It’s been way too long since I’ve played or dm’d 5e for me to get into all the little details of why it sucks lol, a short answer is all i can muster now.

      • Cyberspark@sh.itjust.works
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        3 months ago

        it’s an aggressively mediocre system that’s had years of a huge community polishing it to a mirror shine.

        You can praise it for the community content, or go off-book like you can with any other system, but that’s applicable to any system with the same community size.

        Whatever you look for in it it’s lacking in comparison to another system. Tactical combat? PF2e. Rules light? Worlds without number.

        It’s a decent middle ground of a system only because of community hard work. But that’s only for the GM side. Players still need to deal with the poor character creation, unless they get a lot of support from their GM.

          • Cyberspark@sh.itjust.works
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            3 months ago

            Can you explain why? It’s fast, sure, but it’s simultaneously the most important character design choice you can make and also cripplingly absent of actual choices.

            • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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              3 months ago

              Rather than front-loading decisions in character creation, you get a bunch of more interesting choices to make at each level up, including an elegant multiclass system. In other systems, I feel like the only interesting things you get at level ups are just a few points here and there, and you already made all of your most important choices in the hours you spent creating your character. In 5e, just about every time I level up, I feel like I found a new gear to shift into. As a Fighter, for instance, there are tons of interesting choices to make at level 3 just within the Battle Master subclass, let alone other subclasses. The 5e rules sure aren’t perfect, and I definitely haven’t sampled every RPG system out there, but given that they all had old D&D rules to learn from and solve problems within, I think 5e solved a ton of them in really clever ways compared to others that I’ve tried. Character creation is just one of them.

              • jjjalljs@ttrpg.network
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                3 months ago

                Many classes do not get any choices at many levels. Sometimes the choices are thin.

                Also calling 5e’s multi classing system elegant is extremely generous. It works, some of the time, but it’s extremely prone to making weaker characters with the occasional high power interaction.

                Fate is an elegant system.

                Also class-and-level is only one way to make a game. You could just not do that and open up whole new worlds.

                • ampersandrew@lemmy.world
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                  3 months ago

                  Many classes do not get any choices at many levels. Sometimes the choices are thin.

                  True. But I’m also playing with Xanathar’s and Tasha’s, and with a choice of so many classes, you tend to gravitate towards the more interesting ones, so if one class is a dud, it doesn’t weigh too heavily on the game when there are more interesting choices available.

                  Also class-and-level is only one way to make a game. You could just not do that and open up whole new worlds.

                  You can, but it’s not an inherent downside to have classes like this either. The things they’re allowed to do and not allowed to do create some clear strengths and weaknesses.

              • shani66
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                3 months ago

                5e is incredibly front loaded. In Pathfinder you get so much more choice as you level up.

              • Cyberspark@sh.itjust.works
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                3 months ago

                In comparison to other games I’ve played I find this the opposite. Proficiency and ability scores basically never change after creation. And level ups allow for very very little decisions and distinction other than class.