Author Topic: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?  (Read 9153 times)

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Unbeliever

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #80 on: August 22, 2011, 03:42:53 PM »
Thing is, why wouldn't people who go out and risk their lives (and occasionally, souls) for a living choose the best options to keep themselves alive?

From what i have seen some people aren't really good at maths/don't bother with optimising. Some think that optimisation is akin to metagaming - you may know what the best combo is, but your character does not.

I demand that every one of those people explain right now why you improve your social skills, formal education, basket weaving and everything else by going out and getting hurt, and surviving the experience.  That, or come join me on the Suspension of Disbelief side of the room, where we don't dick over the players for some lame justification that we ignore every session otherwise.
I have to agree w/ Weenog on this.  I personally disdain the argument that the characters should use the most effective means available to them.  It's a story, and a fantastical one at that.  If I want my character to use a suboptimal flail just b/c I think it looks cool or b/c I, as the player, am personally sick of using swords, then that's fine.  For the same reason I might make a blasting wizard -- that's just what I want to play. 

I think the "It's a story" justification is a good one.  But, if you use it, then you can't also accuse the use of the game, or even knowledge of the system, as metagaming.  Or, you're in this weird space where your character would realistically use the most effective option known to him and god only knows how you are going to determine that.  "What, a longsword?  Never heard of it ..."

I don't really know what to say about the OP's gaming group, though.  This is something that just hasn't come up for me in years.  It seems that they are willfully against using the mechanics, the game aspect of it.  If that's the case, then I personally would just let them go w/ it.  So what if you murder the Paladin every other session?  If it eventually gets to bothering them, then maybe they'll finally decide that the mechanics are part of the game, too and not look so askance at you. 

The only practical thing I would say, though, is that while conceptually there might not be much space between DMM (Persist) Melee Cleric and Paladin -- both melee crusaders powered by divine faith -- from a player's experience there probably is.  Their abilities are different, are mechanically different in a lot of ways, and just playing a spellcaster of any stripe is probably a lot different than playing an archetypal melee warrior (unless he only paid attention to his persistent spells, which is an option).  I think if I were in that position -- and I often am (i.e., in the position of optimizing for my friends and gaming buddies, making their concepts more effective at the table) -- I'd probably have just tried to build the best Paladin-type that I could. I'm confident I could build one that could keep up w/ a straightforward Wizard, etc. 

glassgnawer

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #81 on: August 22, 2011, 05:39:36 PM »
Thing is, why wouldn't people who go out and risk their lives (and occasionally, souls) for a living choose the best options to keep themselves alive?

From what i have seen some people aren't really good at maths/don't bother with optimising. Some think that optimisation is akin to metagaming - you may know what the best combo is, but your character does not.

I demand that every one of those people explain right now why you improve your social skills, formal education, basket weaving and everything else by going out and getting hurt, and surviving the experience.  That, or come join me on the Suspension of Disbelief side of the room, where we don't dick over the players for some lame justification that we ignore every session otherwise.
I have to agree w/ Weenog on this.  I personally disdain the argument that the characters should use the most effective means available to them.  It's a story, and a fantastical one at that.  If I want my character to use a suboptimal flail just b/c I think it looks cool or b/c I, as the player, am personally sick of using swords, then that's fine.  For the same reason I might make a blasting wizard -- that's just what I want to play.  

I think the "It's a story" justification is a good one.  But, if you use it, then you can't also accuse the use of the game, or even knowledge of the system, as metagaming.  Or, you're in this weird space where your character would realistically use the most effective option known to him and god only knows how you are going to determine that.  "What, a longsword?  Never heard of it ..."

I don't really know what to say about the OP's gaming group, though.  This is something that just hasn't come up for me in years.  It seems that they are willfully against using the mechanics, the game aspect of it.  If that's the case, then I personally would just let them go w/ it.  So what if you murder the Paladin every other session?  If it eventually gets to bothering them, then maybe they'll finally decide that the mechanics are part of the game, too and not look so askance at you.  

The only practical thing I would say, though, is that while conceptually there might not be much space between DMM (Persist) Melee Cleric and Paladin -- both melee crusaders powered by divine faith -- from a player's experience there probably is.  Their abilities are different, are mechanically different in a lot of ways, and just playing a spellcaster of any stripe is probably a lot different than playing an archetypal melee warrior (unless he only paid attention to his persistent spells, which is an option).  I think if I were in that position -- and I often am (i.e., in the position of optimizing for my friends and gaming buddies, making their concepts more effective at the table) -- I'd probably have just tried to build the best Paladin-type that I could. I'm confident I could build one that could keep up w/ a straightforward Wizard, etc.  

Personally i think that fantasy stereotypes are here to blame. Usually, when people think of a wizard they do not see a GOD controller - they see a blaster. When they want to 'excel' at a melee, they wish to play a fighter - becouse hell, he even has it in his very name. By definition, all other fighting classes should be more specialised/flavorful versions of the base sword&board guy, but sadly, it don't work that way. For more 'oldschool' players, playing, say, a warblade wouldn't be the same - comparatively that class is more complicated, and has quite a weird flavor for a standard fantasy setting (it fits just fine into more cinematic/animesque one though). Nice example of that mindset is Roy from OotS webcomic - single-classed fighter, and proud of it.

Oh, and about my gaming group, don't worry - i used them as an example, i am perfectly fine playing WoD with them these days ;) I just don't want to make similiar mistake if i am ever to play d&d with different people.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 05:43:30 PM by glassgnawer »
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Unbeliever

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #82 on: August 22, 2011, 06:06:21 PM »
If it may help, I've introduced someone new to D&D recently.  And, I've tried to impress on him the real firm distinctions of fluff and crunch, and that the nice thing about (3.5) D&D is that you can really build a concept so many different ways.

I agree w/ you on archetypes.  I also think that the CO community tends to overstate things.  If the Wizard is lobbing fireballs rather than going all God-style (or even only occasionally doing so), I don't think he'll outpace the Fighter, assuming a reasonably well-built one, all that much.  I mean, take away Celerity, Abrupt Jaunt, etc. and things get less stark.  Sure, you still have Polymorph (which is a headache in and of itself), but if a Wizard goes the "iconic D&D route" -- fireball, cone of cold, evard's black tentacles, haste, etc. -- while he'll still have some really good spells, like Evard's, that gap strikes me as a lot smaller.

Now, all that assumes you have a reasonably well-built Fighter, Paladin, etc.  If you just take Weapon Focus and Toughness w/ all your feats, well ...  But, I don't think it'd be all that hard to get to the "reasonably well-built" plateau. 

Rejakor

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #83 on: August 23, 2011, 11:29:50 AM »
Player competence counts for a lot.  So does 'well built' and 'poorly built'.  Wizards scale well and then suddenly go exponential (more at higher levels, but even at lower levels) based on optimization.  Fighters scale okayishly and then plateau.  So obviously there is a sweet spot.

I also agree that a cleric and a paladin 'feel' different mechanically.  I'd have almost just added things to the paladin chassis (Holy Avenger, anyone?) rather than hand him a cleric, i'd have given him a crusader rather than a cleric... I understand the concerns, but if the character has spells, and doesn't use them, that... changes the character to someone else rather than if the character doesn't have spells but would use them if he could.

Thine Doom Be Had

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #84 on: August 26, 2011, 02:12:00 PM »
I say the OP should ask his group what isn't "min-maxed" for wizard or druid or other powerful class. If core is free game, well that's the fight won right there. If they say crap like blasting only and mage armor etc. it might be best to stop trying although there are other avenues to try.
Make it clear that your argument is that some classes are just stronger than others, usually noticeably so, even being able to do what their class is supposed to do then their class can do it, but better. Then use builds using only class features as others here have suggested, (no skills, no feats) using only spells, and wildshape if you got it. Both sides should not use magic items as those AREN'T class features (I wouldn't pit them up against an artificer because of this). If they start complaining that you min-maxed your CLASS FEATURES, the very thing that defines how a class is supposed to function AT ALL, tell them that you having nothing left while they get to keep everything of theirs, isn't really fair to you. It
4e is a fine game.  It is not, however, the same type of game as 3.5.  For those of us who really liked the type of game 3.5 was, 4e just doesn't cut the mustard.  Yes, I tried playing it.  I was bored.  So was the rest of my gaming group.  I know there are people who love it... good for them.  But in the end, calling 4e a sequel of 3.5 is like calling checkers a sequel of chess.

JaronK

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Re: How to explain in layman's terms why some classes are weaker then other?
« Reply #85 on: August 26, 2011, 02:17:31 PM »
It proves your point because they needed to take the one thing they needed from you to beat you, your class features, which ALL CLASSES NEED TO FUNCTION.

Sorry for the split post. I'm typing this all into my PS3 and it has a smaller text limit than these posts do.

Edit: Well it seems the OP has had his situation resolved, but I don't think it was a waste. This information could be used to enlighten others if need be.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 02:26:02 PM by Thine Doom Be Had »
4e is a fine game.  It is not, however, the same type of game as 3.5.  For those of us who really liked the type of game 3.5 was, 4e just doesn't cut the mustard.  Yes, I tried playing it.  I was bored.  So was the rest of my gaming group.  I know there are people who love it... good for them.  But in the end, calling 4e a sequel of 3.5 is like calling checkers a sequel of chess.

JaronK