View Poll Results: What level do you prefer?

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  • 1-5 (low level)

    36 16.59%
  • 6-12 (mid level)

    134 61.75%
  • 13-20 (high level)

    36 16.59%
  • 21-30 (epic level)

    7 3.23%
  • 31+ (high epic;godly)

    4 1.84%
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  1. #41
    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    Mid-High Level is my preference. I haven't seen a reason to go Epic. Most of the folks in my campaign started at 1st level, they are now pushing 8th - 12th. The NPCs keep pace.

    I very rarely use official modules and when I do, they are very heavily tweaked. I think we used maybe two scenarios from "Legend of the Hero Kings". I ran the Sword of Roele with major modifications. The other releases I used for occasional inspiration or for NPCs.

  2. #42
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:40 AM 4/17/2007, irdeggman wrote:

    >I don`t think the problem lies with "ranks" as much as bonuses.
    >
    >We seem to have come to the point where there are bonuses popping up
    >from everywhere.
    >
    >Ranks in and of themselves are pretty well handled, IMO, being set
    >based on character and class level. Character level +3 for class
    >skills and 1/2 of that for cross class skills.

    That`s true. It is problematic to come up with a system that
    addresses ranks, but not all the bonuses from weird, multifarious
    places.... I`ve been mulling over that issue, but not come up with
    much of a solution other than to simply eliminate the majority of
    them. That said, skill checks are usually most notably influenced by
    ranks rather than miscellaneous bonuses in my experience. One of the
    things I`m trying to address is the dramatic increase in general
    skill between high and low level characters where high level
    characters really represent a sort of super-hero scale of
    activity. That scale becomes more obvious at the epic level, of
    course, but the difference between high and low level characters in
    the standard D20 level system is so dramatic and improbable to me
    that I just can`t countenance it anymore, so the changes I`m talking
    about making to the way skill points translate into ranks is part of
    an overall toning down of the rules--a "levelling off of the level
    system" if you will.

    >Now I personnally was on the opposite side of the majority when we
    >"voted" on how to handle bonuses to skill checks for domain level
    >actions for the BRCS. I preferred them based on ranks while the
    >"clear majority" wanted them based on total bonuses.
    >
    >IMO basing them on +1 for every 5 ranks (instead of +1 for every +5
    >in total bonuses) kept things from getting "over the top", which is
    >what I think you are alluding to.

    I wasn`t actually referring to that, but now that you mention it....

    What I`d like to do is make a system in which a 1st level character
    could conceivable compete with a higher level character in an opposed
    roll with some possibility of success. Not to say that they`d be
    even by any means, but in D20 the difference between a few character
    levels is so dramatic that it just doesn`t really make sense to have
    a "low level" campaign setting in which any high level characters
    exist because the relative power levels means that in any legitimate
    appraisal of the relative advantages shows that the high level
    character is going to push the low level one aside almost immediately.

    My point in mentioning this issue here, though, is that I`m curious
    at what point people see skill checks being the "most fun" or "most
    realistic" or whatever standard they might want to apply. That way a
    skill system can be designed to hit that point and maximize the
    playability of the game.

    Gary

  3. #43
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Gary and irdeggman,

    I've certainly got a much better sense of the concerns you raise. Let me see if I can't state some of my issues in the same areas and see if we don't recognize these issues as mutual concerns. I think that the Birthright setting accentuates some of these issues.

    • Birthright has more multi-level action. My friends and enemies are not neccesarily within a level of me, and so with a five level advantage, I not only get +5 skill ranks, a new +2 synergy bonus, but a +1 core ability bonus, the wealth to purchase an ability item that will give me a +1, a feat that gives me +2 or +3, and suddenly we're talking about a gap of a dozen in the skill DC that I can top my little friend in an opposed DC.
    • The difference between low level and high level is so great, that a significant group of people slow or stop experience progression in the mid-level range so that we don't end up with characters who can single handledly defeat whole armies in combat, in diplomacy, or in crafting masterwork arrows while taking the hurried penalty.
    • The happy balance to be found is between enough articulation that you feel like you acomplished something for the experience of an adventure (which let's be honest is more expectation than reality) and stalemating every character with any other character. So at some point, a more experienced character can indeed do more, but any other character is at least a challenge.
    • Looking at the difficulty of encounter section, (pg 50, DMG) encounters lower than party level is "easy" and "the group should be able to handle an almost limitless number of these encounters." The game has been well balanced to make challenging encounters exciting without any contest. The encounter itself will provide enough drama because the risks are high enough and the power levels balanced carefully enough that a good encounter is exiting without context. But if you want to play with context (can we persuade Ghoere not to attack Roesone?) you're stuck with a mechanic that really only works if everyone is approximatly the same level?


    Am I on the right path?

  4. #44
    Kalien
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    Level 3-7 would be my preferred range. You get enough feats and skill points to have variety in character builds, your skill totals are good enough to achieve success enough to feel you are genuinely skilled without being able to take success for granted. You are tough enough to survive most minor events, but still vulnerable.

  5. #45
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Gary and irdeggman,

    I've certainly got a much better sense of the concerns you raise. Let me see if I can't state some of my issues in the same areas and see if we don't recognize these issues as mutual concerns. I think that the Birthright setting accentuates some of these issues.
    I think so.

    But there are very, very times where a character gets multiple bonuses due to synergy for ranks in the same skill. For example take the knowledge skills - in general they provide a +2 bonus due to synergy (note that this is not a bonus "type") to a related skill for having 5 ranks in the knowledge skill. It doesn't say for every 5 ranks.

    I agree with most of the rest.

    A low level character should have almost no chance against a much higher level character at almost anything. This core to the getting better as you advance concept of d20. In fact at a certain point a character will get no xp for defeating a much lower level (translated into CR) creature due to the "ease" of the encounter.

    There is always the "circumstance bonus" concept that a DM can apply to various situations - especially, IMO, diplomatic/interactive skill related ones.

    I have no issue with the rank system at all as I feel it reflects how characters who spend their time and energy getting better at something are better than those who do not.

    Should a 1st level character really be able to out sweet talk Prince Avan?

    The issue I have is with all of the miscellaneous bonuses out there and the fact that a relatively low level character can suddenly be much better at something than can a higher level character who doesn't have the "luck" involved in getting the other bonuses.

    In general a character can focus on one or two things and be really exceptional at them at the expense of other things.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #46
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 07:58 PM 4/18/2007, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >Am I on the right path?

    I think so. The big picture of what I`m looking for is a level based
    system that is recognizably D20 (though how loosely recognizable I
    could care less) but just doesn`t scale in the way most D20 systems
    do. That is, the 1st level "I`m so killable that we might as well be
    playing Call of Cthulhu" to the 20th level "I`m effectively a demigod
    compared to most any other system" dichotomy. High level characters
    should be demonstrably more powerful than low level ones, but just
    with a more scaled and reasonable progression.

    Ideally, such a system would peg its mechanics so that the "average"
    modifiers through levels 1-20 and beyond would be at the range that
    most people find preferable (most fun, most playable, most dramatic,
    most realistic, most whatever) hence my asking about it in the
    context of this thread. As you pointed out, the actual total of
    skill check modifiers can and often do range up to 12 (or even the
    teens) for low level characters, meaning that in standard D20 the
    differences between 1st level characters can already range by over 10
    total points on a check--more than half the random factor provided by
    the die, which IMO is inherently problematic since it makes
    randomness much less random, seems to strongly encourage characters
    to specialize and overall resulting in less dramatic and less playable action.

    What I`m thinking right now as a result of the opinions expressed in
    this thread is that the "ideal" level is about 7th. (That`s not the
    result of any polling, just a highly abstracted guesstimate based
    upon the ideas expressed more than the actual numbers people have put
    forth.) If we assume an average around other factors, and simple
    realities about the die roll that means a good "average" total
    modifier should hover around +10, plus or minus 5 or so.

    At 02:44 AM 4/19/2007, irdeggman wrote:

    >A low level character should have almost no chance against a much
    >higher level character at almost anything. This core to the
    >getting better as you advance concept of d20. In fact at a certain
    >point a character will get no xp for defeating a much lower level
    >(translated into CR) creature due to the "ease" of the encounter.
    >
    >There is always the "circumstance bonus" concept that a DM can apply
    >to various situations - especially, IMO, diplomatic/interactive
    >skill related ones.
    >
    >I have no issue with the rank system at all as I feel it reflects
    >how characters who spend their time and energy getting better at
    >something are better than those who do not.
    >
    >Should a 1st level character really be able to out sweet talk Prince Avan?

    D&D/D20 does assume that it should be very difficult for a 1st level
    character to sweet talk Avan on the average. Personally, I`m just
    finding that increasingly unrealistic and not-so-fun lately, so I`m
    looking for a way to change it. I think it makes as much more or
    more sense for higher level characters to be more generally skilled
    in a wide range of things rather than impossibly skilled in a
    proportionately smaller number. That way characters would become
    more versatile as they level up rather than more specialized, and
    adventure potentials increase. At least, that`s the goal....

    Gary

  7. #47
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    I was holding off posting again to see if anyone else had ideas on this subject, but a solution (or possible solution) hit me that seemed to elegant not to post (and I didn't want to forget it, since it hit me on the way to work).

    In many ways the difference between a highly skilled person (whether that means a lot of ranks or a high skill bonus) and the apprentice is not neccesarily what tasks can be acomplished. Certainly these exist. But for many tasks, the difference between the apprentice and the master is how long they take to acomplish. So that using an extended test mechanic, where I need to reach a cumultaive score, most folks can get there eventually, and some can get there faster than others.

    So some tests are not eligable to re-try, because the act is not repeatable, or because the stakes are high (perform and disable device come to mind, use magic device might be both).

    A task has three numbers to it, a DC (numbers above this contribute to success), a failure class (FC) (getting below this number means that you have screwed up the task), and a total cumulative score.

    DC functions pretty much as we know it.

    FC would be low on repeatable tasks, and pretty high (like DC-5) for non-repeatable tasks. Repeatable tasks may allow multiple failures, most non-repeatable tasks allow few if any failures (depends in part on how extended the task is).

    A total cumulative score tells you when you have completed the task. When the sum of all dice rolls over the DC equals this number, you are done.

    Suppose Haevis the Bard is composing a song. Its repeatable because he can judge the work before its complete. We set a DC of 15, a FC of 5, and a cumulative score of 30. That's gonna be a pretty impressive song when its done, but not so great it will be remembered for the ages. Haevis is a begining bard with a +8 skill bonus in the relevant skill. His average roll be be about 18, and so it will take an average of 10 attempts for him to compose this song. Perhaps 10 days. However, the DM allows only two failures before ruling that the song is not working out and the attempt was a failure. If Haevis fails twice before reaching a cumulative score of 30, he failed.

    Performing the song is a non-repeatable task. Listeners hear mistakes. The DC might be 18, the FC might be 13, and we don't allow any failures. You only get three rolls, because the song is as long as it is, you can't add a verse to make up for the verse you flubbed (well you can, but it doesn't correct the mistake).

    Its a bit more complicated, although not really if you have been using extended tasks already, and it might solve some of the realism problems.
    Last edited by kgauck; 04-21-2007 at 12:15 AM. Reason: needed a qualifying adverb

  8. #48
    Ehrshegh of Spelling Thelandrin's Avatar
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    That's an interesting idea, but I think it would only work in a specific setting (obviously!) or in a campaign what that focusses frequently, such as Craft checks in an Artificer party or Perform checks in a bardic group.

  9. #49

    ?

    Okay, excuse the lack of internet savy... Any who, I'd have to say I always liked levels 4-9 ish. No real reson... just seems to be the most hero, least B.S. for your buck range. I have to admit, however I have never play 3rd edition anything not to mention any 3.(x). So maybe the game has change a great deal.
    Meh.

  10. #50
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    Seems, I've missed the poll. My preference is very high (15+) to epic level and I'm a bit sad, that, apart from the Awnsheglien, so very few NPCs actually level 15+ are.

    I have no troubles to start with relatively low level (say 5), but I like to play campagnes of epic importance (kill the Gorgon needn't to be, but some lower Awnsheglien, why not). I'm of the opinion, that it's not really heroic to get rid of some goblins of the Spiderfell, but it's heroic to challenge the Spider. The last thing is nice, but if you're not at least high to very high level, you simply commit suicide
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

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