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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


I think you have a fair point that should be considered closely. However please note that hoarding happens regardless of item rarity, it's simply easier when you have access to a potentially infinite supply of consumables, be that through dungeon grinding or other means. Maybe there is a healthy medium to seek, but it would need to be carefully balanced. I'm not a fan of PCs being able to grind out an immense amount of mechanical power but perhaps that's merely personal preference.

Last edited by ASlapForJoffrey, 8/19/2013, 7:37 pm


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


I'll have to devote more time to reading this all, but ultimately consumables better balance spellcasters and non-spellcasters than gear ever will. Better and better pieces of equipment will eventually lead to power-bloat; +3 just won't be enough and that pressure will fall on the DM's to start handing out +4's, +5's, and so on. If the focus falls on acquire better and better pieces of gear gold starts to lose its value.

There's going to be no suspense and no drama if death is impossible because you're wearing a Ring of Ironskin that gives DR 10/+5 and 50 AC from being decked out in +5 items you acquired a function of time. Gold will have no meaning.

If you only have so many Displacement and Stoneskin Potions, costing 450g and 700g a drink, chances are unless you grind religiously you won't be able to maintain the effects perpetually. But eventually they will run out and be dispelled - if the DM is gauging your party right - and you'll be fighting by the skin of your teeth, deciding where and when to use them.

Balancing around consumables and resources allows builders and DMs to say "Okay. In most causes people, whether low-level PCs using their very best, or high-level PCs with a lot of resources, will probably have an AC in the mid-30's and 10/+10 DR." And when it comes time for reward gold, and trinkets to maintain these needed effects become very desirable.

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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


TL;DR Version of the final section I just edited into my post on page 1:
*Items should be made with more strength the more specific their bonuses are. Avoid the EHP/DPS stacking problem by adding penalties and relegating certain properties to particular item slots.

*Consumables should follow this same model in their own way and last long enough to impact an encounter, but not so long that they last whole dungeons/make the decision to use them trivial.

*Magic must be altered to negate mages stacking EHP/DPS. Expensive spell slots and casting attributes do this, but lowering the duration of buffs (while increasing their power?) would help immensely.

*Healing consumables should go, or be very hard to acquire. Hit point recovery should happen naturally outside of fights at reasonable rate (so as not to interrupt the flow of fun) and status ailments should recover over time whether in or out of combat, taking longer depending on their severity.

*Healing kits should only work out of combat, hasten regeneration and status ailment recovery according to skill. They should also revive dead PCs, always at a penalty but less as skill increases.

*Healing spells return as viable things to use. Revival magic always outshines healing kits no matter how skilled the healer.



...And that's my two cents, more or less.

Last edited by ASlapForJoffrey, 8/20/2013, 3:11 am


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


Just as a side note, any changes to gear setup suggested in the post will have little to no effect on current characters unless the huge task of completely replacing all gear is undertaken. We have previously replaced some of the more overpowered old gear that allowed for extreme stat stacking (+4 cha rings, for example) but it has been a continual problem that older PCs simply are decked out in items that far exceed what any new player will ever likely receive (with the exception of DM drops). I don't say this to discourage change, but to time that would be spent in en-masse gear swapping would be better spent addressing more core mechanics.

The changes to the way healing consumables is intriguing, but I'm still wary of full removal. Perhaps a good balance point might be healing potions providing a temporary regeneration (non stacking) that increases in potency as the potion goes up in price. This would allow for healing in combat but would not suddenly reverse the fact that you just got stepped on by a dragon. It would hopefully encourage players to escape combat long enough for the potions to take effect, rather than chug chug chug while in melee.

Healing Kits being out of combat only I can get behind, with our current server difficulty setting they're simply better than potions in literally every way.

That said, I also worry such a change would make battle-clerics or combat-druids even more potent than they already are. Obviously, any server setup will have an optimized build and trying to prevent that may be impossible. I know part of the aim is to encourage healer characters to have more use, and I would like to see that as well, but I want to avoid a situation where a cleric (who doesn't need to pre-prepare a healing spell to cast it) is capable of healing, strong DPS, and strong damage reduction, whereas other classes are more limited in their ability to self-sustain.

Last edited by Totems, 8/20/2013, 4:38 am


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


The regeneration potion idea sounds like a healthy compromise. My suggestions are an extreme, but I feel would be very fun mechanically and encourage a lot of diversity. As for clerics being the intrinsic powerhouse class..they would still, to degree. But take the suggestion to remove healing consumables in the context that buff durations are reduced for casters and spellslots are prohibitively expensive to acquire (in mechanical terms, not just gold), and boosts to attributes, including especially those that contribute to spell power and slots. This together would keep cleric power down a bit.

Some change is better than none, IMHO. I like your thoughts.

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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


Ok, this thread has gotten to a size where it is very likely I'll have overlooked a detail or missed the point being brought up somewhere else. Apologies in advance. emoticon

With that said, here are my observations on the subjects covered:

Gear with clear pluses and minuses, and few or no universal bonuses.

While the intent is good, you will inevitably end up with the 'golf-bag' syndrome. People would not just run around with one pair of boots - instead they would collect boots for every possible situation, and switch between them as the situation demanded. This is kind of like the way magic weapons were changed from 3rd edition to 3.5, and most players I know regard this as a Bad Idea. Instead of one sword, you're golf-bagging a whole selection and picking the right one for the situation. This does add a layer of tactics in the sense that you chose the right tools, but it also decreases the expression of character through the weapons they use, what armor they wear, etc. Even worse, this would not decrease PC power on the server (since they would presumably be able to find the right gear given the situation), but it would increase the incentive to grind for gear. All the while adding a lot of overhead in combat, making sure that what takes the focus of players is tactics and equipment slots, not role-playing.

Consumables, potions and that jazz

Before discussing this, I'll quote ASlapForJoffrey (ASFJ) briefly:

»As mentioned above consumables should have a power that feels tangible and meaningful in combat but also a duration and availability that turns the use of them into a stategic choice.«

When using the word 'should' ASFJ is referring to his impression of how combat 'should' be. Allow me to differ, and offer a theory as to why PvE combat can be plenty of fun as it is. It largely comes down to player ability to optimize. When I go fighting a dungeon, I, as a player, am trying to optimize my gain vs. expenditure. This means that, as I repeatedly fight a type of creature, I will steadily learn which potions are the most cost-effective against it. I enjoy myself as I, very tangibly, see my net gain per fight increase. I enjoy meeting other new characters and sharing tip and tricks on how to most effectively combat a given foe.

Furthermore, as with the above point, when you make victory less assured, and more dependent on tactics in the field, you can be certain player attention will shift from the role-play to the game.

Healing and recuperation

On this point I somewhat agree. Dragon Age does this very well.

I will, however, dare to disagree on poisons. Making poisons less trivial to cure not only spoils player fun (for reasons I will cover in a moment) but also goes against what I understand to be ASlapForJoffrey's idea of encouraging strategic resource management.

Why it is less fun: Ever got stun-locked in a game? Personally, I think that sucks. This is not quite as bad, but you're still getting caught in a 'loop'. Poisons attacking CON or DEX very clearly become positive feedback loops, as decreased stats make it increasingly likely to got poisoned again. If anything poison duration should be shortened (to prevent the looping), unless...

Why the current poison system encourages strategic resource management: When bitten with a poison, the player makes a calculation. How much will this hurt me in the long run? How much does it increase the chance of getting poisoned again, given what I know of the dungeon? Is it cost-effective to pop a potion to solve it? The player can chose to handle the situation safely given a certain expenditure, or they can continue on, and run a risk that might eventually force them to use a lot of gold on healing potions - a lot more than the cost of a restorative potion.

Summary

It is clear that something is broken with DnD when trying to do actual role-playing with it across a great span of levels and no DM for every little adventuring party (not to mention their relative power levels). But some things work well for role-playing for reasons that are a bit surprising; for example the somewhat no-brainer combat (once you've popped your potions, of course) frees your mind to consider colorful prose or ways of characterizing your character's fighting style.

To change the way Neverwinter Nights plays would require a massive change of the very heart of the system, in that process also killing some of the things worth keeping, and from the thoughts I have read so far a lot of problems would linger in a changed form.

Some ideas of mine

The best potion system bar none that I have experienced has to be that of The Witcher. Built around the concept that potions are poisonous, each poison adds to a 'toxicity' meter. More than 33% toxicity has slightly adverse effects and your defense is slightly reduced. More than 66% toxicity and your defense suffers a lot. More than 80% toxicity and you will be having a tough time! Enemies frequently crit you, your attack bonus is decreased, and such. A toxicity of 100% or above means deadly consequences. The beauty of this system is that essentially instant-heal potions are still a viable tactic here-and-now, but your toxicity increases permanently until your next rest, preventing another buff potion down the line. This would perhaps be a good system, but I still think the tactical overhead decreases focus on what we're actually doing here: Role-playing, not chess.

In conclusion, I think ASlapForJoffrey's ideas are interesting, but seem to miss the point about limited human attention and mental resources (players focused on tactics vs. role-playing), and proposes that what he enjoys as intrinsic fun can be directly equated with what others enjoy (or 'should' enjoy) as intrinsic fun. They seem ideas geared towards a game that is played alone and with careful thought, rather than a game that works primarily as a highly glorified chat room. emoticon

Last edited by Eowomyrill, 8/26/2013, 4:02 pm


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


quote:

While the intent is good, you will inevitably end up with the 'golf-bag' syndrome. People would not just run around with one pair of boots - instead they would collect boots for every possible situation, and switch between them as the situation demanded.



In this instance unrealistic swapping would have to have a rule against it. It's just implausible that someone would change out their boots in the middle of a fight (without being murdered promptly). I would expect even now not to see players doing this, it's just implausible.


quote:

I, as a player, am trying to optimize my gain vs. expenditure ... you can be certain player attention will shift from the role-play to the game.



Optimization like that will still happen and be more prevalent given that right now the one optimal step is: Chug a ton of pots, since you can whore the permanent bonuses. Potions can be acquired infinitely and have long durations. The best option, always, for anybody with the capacity to run a dungeon is to quaff a ton of potions.

Tactics don't need to kill rp either. It's not hard to click the hotkey for a stoneskin potion even while rping. There's very little chance to emote during mechanical combat anyway. Typically this happens between fights. Again buff durations running out between fights is a concern in the current system. In the proposed system they wouldn't be because they only last roughly the span of a fight anyway.


quote:


Why the current poison system encourages strategic resource management...



This misses the point where curing the poison is always the correct option because gold is fundamentally infinite to the determined player. It's a trivial system. Poison isn't scary, it's just an annoyance wherein a player who has played more than a few weeks simply has to open their pack (or use a hotkey) and cure it.

quote:


To change the way Neverwinter Nights plays would require a massive change of the very heart of the system, in that process also killing some of the things worth keeping, and from the thoughts I have read so far a lot of problems would linger in a changed form.



Yet it can be changed and even if some problems linger and improvement is still an improvement. Perfection might be a good aim but should never be expected.

Last edited by ASlapForJoffrey, 10/18/2013, 3:29 am


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


I think, as a general rule, it's a bad idea to make rules against the most optimal way to play the game.

First of all, it punishes players for being clever. If the best way to beat an encounter is to swap gear on the fly, why wouldn't you? Verisimilitude/immersion? I personally only care about that when I'm roleplaying, not when I'm PVEing.

The second reason is that it's pretty impossible to enforce. Short of having a DM actively watching someone's inventory while they're fighting things, there's no way to tell. And DMs have much better things to do with their time than police single players at a time, I'm sure.

Last edited by Valyndyral, 10/18/2013, 3:32 am
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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


quote:

If the best way to beat an encounter is to swap gear on the fly, why wouldn't you? Verisimilitude/immersion?



Yes. This is an RP server, not an action server. Plenty of suboptimal things are done out of habit and enforced if necessary such as walking instead of sprinting and building mechanically sub-optimal characters to reflect in-character aspects of their person.

Like it or not your PCs gear and stats are a reflection (albeit roughly) of their in-character capabilities. Swapping out rings, boots, gloves, etc. in the middle of combat is extremely OOC.

quote:


The second reason is that it's pretty impossible to enforce. Short of having a DM actively watching someone's inventory while they're fighting things, there's no way to tell. And DMs have much better things to do with their time than police single players at a time, I'm sure.



On the contrary it's actually quite easy to tell what a player is doing on most occasions. Usually those who exploit this are quite obvious about to too, unwittingly or not.

Last edited by ASlapForJoffrey, 10/18/2013, 4:57 am


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Re: Andrunes Mechanics (And what might be good to change about them)


Swapping out boots isn't an exploit.

And as for this...

quote:

Swapping out rings, boots, gloves, etc. in the middle of combat is extremely OOC.



NWN is a videogame, not a tabletop campaign. If you want to purely roleplay, that's your choice. But I resent the insinuation that people who treat this as a more cohesive gaming experience, and enjoy all the aspects of NWN, are somehow lesser roleplayers. I'm a fantastic roleplayer. I'll also swap boots if I want to.

No, it doesn't make me a lesser roleplayer. The idea that gimping your character for the sake of immersion is a good roleplaying habit is a false idea, and honestly a logical fallacy to boot. Your ability to portray a character has absolutely nothing to do with the way you elect to distribute stat points, or what you do when you're not roleplaying (I.E., when you're fighting computer monsters).

Last edited by Valyndyral, 10/18/2013, 4:02 pm
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