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A few D&D irregularities

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by The_Swordalizer, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. The_Swordalizer Gems: 4/31
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    Is it just me or is D&D littered with massive and obvious flaws? The whole game world and system seems to have several points that just jump up at me as being obviously plain wrong. I'll give a few examples:

    1: Hit points. It is a given fact that it is almost impossible to physically improve the amount of damage the human body can take beyond certain limits defined by your natural health ( CON). it is silly to think a high level fighter can take several swords through the chest. in 2nd edition D&D it explained hit points are a combination of luck and skill whereby a fighter avoids otherwise fatal damage until the last few hit points, the final thrusts, actually land and cause serious damage. however, hit points heal and are treated as physical wounds, taking weeks to heal?

    2: Cleric spells. Clerics get their spells direct from their god. as most D&D worlds have a pantheon of gods competing for followers, it seems unlikely that a god would allow his powers to be used on rival followers, but a cleric is free to cast his healing / blessings on anyone, including people directly opposed to the god! You would expect clerics to require at least a similar world view, but the lawful good cleric can merrily buff the Chaotic Evil fighter all he wants!!

    3: Raise Dead. This is an ability taken as a given by players, but used by almost no-one else. in a world where death wasn't permanent Kings would reign for hundreds of years, the powerful would live for hundreds of years and clerics, who can actually cast the spell, would be venerated as all powerful and all would bow down to them. yet in most D&D backgrounds there are hundreds of tales of "the king was slain" and "he died of a wasting disease" - hello? cure disease? heal?

    4: Levelling up. All abilities gain in equal amounts, and a mighty spellcaster or thief is automatically better at fighting. This means that a loyal old priest (Cleric) who faithfully worships all his life will end up either a killing machine (lvl 10) able to easily beat everyone in his village, or will die still able to cast just his one cure light wounds.

    It just seems strange to me that such a well established system has such glaring irregularities, and whilst i do enjoy D&D i wonder if anyone else has noticed these or any other wierd things we just accept?
     
  2. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    Yay! Someone else who recognises the problems with D&D!

    Now go play Pathwanderer :p
     
  3. Faragon Gems: 25/31
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    I completely agree. It's mostly the HP system that bugs me, but other things as well.

    As for the Goodaligned cleric buffing a CE fighter, that depends on what the stance between the two is. If I were the good cleric and I had seen the fighter commit one evil act purposely, I'd never buff or heal him if not attempt to slay him myself outright.

    Raise Dead in my opinion shouldn't be attainable for PC's. This is a power that only the gods and MAYBE their avatars should have. For the exact reasons you mentioned.

    Combat. Someone at 20 hp with 4 arrows in his chest still combats easily. You try and wield a sword with four arrows in your chest. You won't be able to, because you'll be lying on the ground bleeding to death. Personally, I'd like to see it that the lower you get on hp, the less skilled you become due to your wounds. Penalties because of wounds. This'll prevent the whole visual of "expertly wielding a sword, one last nick across the chest, now I'm suddenly unconcious" Perhaps one should assign CON saves before any action related to your wound. (Like wield a sword when you're hit in the arm) Or a concentration check.
     
  4. Mesmero

    Mesmero How'd an old elf get the blues?

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    There is indeed nothing in the rules preventing that a LG cleric heals a CE fighter, but I doubt many clerics will do this, out of a role-playing perspective.

    Even if this spell allowed the ressurection of natural deaths of old age, the person would still have the same age, and probably die again in a few years. Seen from the D&D side of things: there is a maximun age, which cannot be crossed.
     
  5. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    I can predict Oaz's comment now:

    'Oh, but we can't know what a level 20 paladin would do when they have 4 arrows sticking out of their chest, because there's no one level 20 in real life to compare to!' ;)
     
  6. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
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    The system of of a growing amount of HP bugs me, too. The whole damage system is just wrong.

    Raise Dead should not be allowed to players on such a low level (IIRC, it's a Level 5-Spell).

    Levelling up is one way to ensure that the PCs learn. But it is not really elegant.

    Fact is: There are better systems, but most are much more complicated.

    @Aikanaro: If you want an alternative, try "Hârnmaster". No Levelling Up, no growing HPs.
     
  7. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Aye, i agree D&D is a very unrealistical system.
    The thing that bothers me most is the whole hp thingy. First of all i once thought that this is really, really stupid and all. Just because i imagined the same thing as the topic starter. A fighter with 3 swords and dozens of arrows and bolts, looking like a hedgehog and fighting normaly. The thing is that even the definition of HPs in the Player's manual says what it really is. I'm too lazy to stand up and look it up, but it says something like it represents character's ability to avoid critical injuries. Like a swing that would chop a lesse fighter's arm off, the better more experienced fighter mostly dodges/blocks/avoids, so he sustains lesser wounds.
    In a way that is more realistical, but it still doesnt explain why the hell wouldnt a a fighter(or any warrior class) die in the night, sleeping and unaware by a succesfull stab in the back (without sneak attack as some other class may do it).
    It's just strange.


    Raise dead - Well Faerun is a place with lots and lots of magic in it. Personaly i like lesser magical worlds (anyone read the Song of Ice&Fire? - that's what i'm talking about). Though it still does seem rather easy to be a lvl5 spell.


    Leveling up is another thing i dont like with D&D. Sure it's nice to finaly levelup. But you may be living in a city, making errands around, and before you know it you suddenly know how to disarm people of their weapons. Sure this can be mostly solved by the DM - limitation of fighting feats exclusive to fighting experience. Or a smart rogue, talking and bluffing his way out of any danger. And he just gets slippery mind feat. *shrugs* awkward.

    I suppose i really should see some new systems. But D&D is most popular + ALFA uses it(NwN that is).
    *shrugs* rants
     
  8. Chevalier Mal Fet Gems: 13/31
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    Personally, I think these glaring irregularities exist in your own mind. I know some of these have been answered already, but I feel the need to add my perspective.

    1. Obviously this does not mean that a fighter can continue with four arrows in his chest better than a peasent could. He may be stronger and therefore more able to handle the injury, but the important point is that he has the skill to avoid actually taking the arrow full in the chest. That's what critical hits are for.
    A person being reduced to or below 0 hps represents being actually wounded, aka, arrow in the chest.

    2. As stated in Deities and Demigods, the act of granting spells is so simple for a deity that they do it practically subconsciously. A cleric need not even be a direct worshipper of said deity to be granted spells, as a cleric can simply follow an alignment or ideal.
    Therefore, deities in D&D are not necessarily omniscient or omnipotent, and therefore do not pay attention to their followers' every move.

    3. In most of the established D&D adventures and worlds I've seen, clerics with the ability to raise the dead are in fact quite rare. PCs are not meant to be just anyone. They are the exception.
    Characters of 10th level or so aren't all that common. And, of course, the point that you cannot raise a person who has already reached their time to die has already been made.

    4. Levelling up is somewhat awkward, since skills that should come over time are granted instantly at a certain point. However, this assumes that the skills granted are in fact the result of training/experience and therefore do not magically appear in a character's mind.
    There always has to be a point where a person goes from being unable to do something to mastering it. It is up to the DM to make this fit in realistically.

    D&D is the result of years of trial and error. Naturally, it is very difficult to make a system that perfectly follows the laws of our reality. But then, how many action heroes do you see in movies who do not do the impossible? Reality, true reality, is mundane.
     
  9. Jaganis Gems: 2/31
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    Coup de grace, PHB 3.5, page 153 ;) .
     
  10. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    Good points, Swordalizer. That's why I make low-Constitution characters and forbid resurrection in my games. (But the magick spells "Load Game" and "Restart Battle" are always acceptable, even in PnP.)
     
  11. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    HP is not health. It is an abstract concept; what it represents is shown in the PHB.

    A Lawful Good Cleric helping a Chaotic Evil Fighter slaughter a bunch of orphans is a Chaotic Evil act. Result? Loss of Cleric abilities and need of Atonement (the spell or otherwise).

    A Lawful Good Cleric healing a defeated Chaotic Evil Fighter may be an act of mercy (or just silliness). In that case, it's not evil.

    Go read the spell description. You can't raise anyone who's died of old age (even with the most powerful magic), and you can't bring back someone who doesn't want to come back. Let's suppose the king who died of a wasting disease just likes being in Celestia. Or maybe the old kingdom records show political intrigue by the King's advisor to prevent his being raised. Whatever.

    XP and levels are abstract concepts. It's a combination of skill, confidence, and favor by higher powers. If you want to totally rework the XP system to represent combat, spellcasting, and skills separately, no one's stopping you, but D&D is designed to keep levels and XP simple.

    A level 20 Paladin with 200 HP who took 100 points of damage from four arrows might have those four arrows sticking out of his chest. If he took, say, 10 points of damage, those arrows might just have grazed him, or perhaps the Paladin just shrugs it off, and pulls out the arrows and snaps them contemptously.

    Imagine a 20th-level Fighter with an attack of +40/+35/+30/+25. Given how skilled at combat we non 20th-level people are not, it is probably a bit difficult to imagine such skill. Now apply to HP; a 20th-level Fighter is basically so strong that he can take that dagger in the back, perhaps because of his sheer vitality, or because he managed to turn around in just a nanosecond so that the dagger didn't reach his heart. It could happen.

    ---

    In any case, I think that a big point to drive home is that D&D isn't a Role-playing Game; it's a Role-playing Game.

    That is, I think that there is more than one group out there who is too busy having fun to worry about such questions. Sometimes fun and a smooth session overrides the looming shadow of "realism".

    [ January 28, 2004, 01:21: Message edited by: Oaz ]
     
  12. Chevalier Mal Fet Gems: 13/31
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    Yeah, what he said.

    Also, all characters do not heal hp at the same rate. This further demonstrates the fact that it is, in fact, just a concept. The higher your level, the faster you regain hp. Make sense?
     
  13. Godofredo Gems: 1/31
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    [​IMG] I agree with all that The_Swordalizer said and I can still find other "mistakes".I think you should try LOTR:RPG, CODA system is much more realistic and no-nonsense than D&D, the problem is that there are too many rules, every time you open the book you'll find a new rule.I think all those "flaws" and "mistakes" you mentioned don't exist on CODA(although who ever uses the same fighter/barbarian with 18+ STR and INT,WIS & CHA 3- might hate the system).
    Decipher's website:
    http://www.decipher.com/lordoftherings/rpg/index.html
     
  14. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    I'm not sure that I can really be bothered arguing with Oaz, seeing how we've done it several times before. However:

    That may be so, but there are other systems which are Role-playing Games - that mix well both the role-playing and the gaming. The shadow of realism is not such, but more the shadow of believability. Such systems make it easier to believe that the great paladin is in a desparate battle to the death when an arrow slams into his leg, and further show his heroicness when he rolls successfully to over come the pain and continue fighting.

    So: Pathwanderer!

    *Goes to check on this Hârnmaster system*
     
  15. The_Swordalizer Gems: 4/31
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    Actually, its not so much the rules system that rankles, it's the way they've not really thought about how the world relates to it. A world where death wasn't permanent and warriors were almost indestructible is fine, but its not the "sub-medieval" world of D&D. I would imagine given the costs involved in most campaigns healing spells would be a preserve of the rich only, creating a long lived, healthy nobility and a disease ridden peasant class - after all why bother creating cures for the masses if you can pay for your family to become immune?

    If healing was only given to the devout you would expect a Theocracy, where powerful priest-kings ruled over the rest, giving the gift of life to those with greatest devotion to the cause.

    I think D&D could work fine as a system but it is riddled with "convenience" rules, there to help the flow of the game without really thinking about how they would affect the world. If know alignment was a common spell, it would be cast by wizards guarding major cities - watch everyone coming in and boot out the evil! you can't argue with your alignment! also a king would have know alignment used constantly on his courtiers - no evil vizier here, he'd be rooted out in a second.

    Maybe its just moaning but i think we've all got too used to these conventions - maybe a bit of a rethink would help shek things up a little...
     
  16. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    That all depends on what you think the "Healing" consists of. In any society, people of all walks of life have access to things that can cure their wounds and diseases (a bandage, some antiseptic tea tree oil, a nice lemon and honey drink, chicken soup etc). That doesn't mean that you can live forever and become powerful (because we've already seen - there are certain things that you can never be cured for - like old age).
     
  17. keldor Gems: 5/31
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    Swordaliser simply doesn't understand the rule concepts. This is *the* oldest argument in the history of D&D and only the most simplistic understanding of the rules would see HPs as 'the amount of damage a character can take'!
    Hit points *has* to be a measure of a character's ability to *avoid* taking damage. Thus, it is perfectly possible for a fighter to have been reduced from 200HP to 1 *without once being seriously physically harmed*! What *would* have happened is that he would have had to have made such demanding efforts to avoid being killed, such as diving and rolling, darting and dodging, that he is getting worn down, and battered and bruised. As this happens, along with the odd arrow in the arm and/or leg, the cut to the forehead etc., he gets worn down until he can no longer properly defend himself. *THEN*, when he goes to zero or less hit points, he has succumbed to an attack and been hit - actually physically hit, in a way that ends (or will shortly end) his life e.g. an arrow goes into his eye, throat, heart, etc.

    I can't find it right now but the thing about clerics and priest spells is clearly explained in the rulebooks. As I recall, it is to do with the level of *faith* of the priest i.e. anyone can pray, but not everyone has such *strength of faith* to deserve spells or face an undead abomination. Most normal people would have their faith tested *beyond their capacity* when faced with a mere living skeleton! The priest PC however laughs in the face of such pitiful foes of darkness because he has utter confidence in the power of his lord to sweep aside such an unnatural thing. This is why even high level clerics can fail to turn the most powerful undead - a lack of faith. A lich, for example, in the face of a priest who finds himself tested and who wavers before its unholy might, would scoff at the priest and his puny holy symbol! The mighty undead relish their unholiness and project it as the priest attempts to project his own faith. Thus, paladins can be turned by powerful evil priests, unable to bear the presence of such filth. It would undermine the whole concept of great faith being rewarded if the lowliest of believers got magic spells bestowed upon them simply because they attended church every day for 40 years! Priest PCs are so much more than this!

    Leveling up is also covered. DMs can, as an option, demand that players never ‘level up’ until they have had some time to reflect on their accomplishments. For example, he may insist the players emerge triumphant from an adventure and have had a chance to recount the tale of their deeds to others. Also, they can demand that players *train* before they improve. I wouldn’t allow a thief to add points to a skill he didn’t practice (and I would make this clear to the player so he had a chance to do so). To imagine that characters just ‘magically’ gain new abilities in a moment is simplistic and the P&P game just isn’t like that.

    Raise dead, as has been mentioned, is a power that priests wield with great care in a properly run P&P campaign. BG2 *could* have implemented this spell (and others) more true to P&P D&D but it didn’t. However, in P&P, such priests are relatively rare and have the characters over a barrel. They demand massive payments and even quests of the characters making the request. The certainly do not raise those who don’t attend the church or follow their faith! In any campaign of mine, players are advised to make regular contributions to a church at the very least!

    I imagine (and hope) that you ask this question from the perspective of one who has only had experience of the BG game series. That said, I’ve read many such posts from players who play P&P D&D so I know that it’s not at all uncommon for people to misunderstand the concepts involved particularly about hit points.

    [Edit] By the way, the rules cover instant kills - see the Dungeon Master's Guide. If a PC is caught unawares and an assassin slits his throat, he dies, period, no matter how many hit points he has. As I said, HPs aren't the amount of damage a PC can take! Hence weapons have different damage values; a dagger is easier to avoid death from than a double-handed sword.

    [ January 28, 2004, 16:08: Message edited by: keldor ]
     
  18. The_Swordalizer Gems: 4/31
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    So how come it takes weeks of rest to recover from being "worn down, battered and bruised"? surely a system where temporary damage was regenerated overnight, whilst more serious damage required healing spells or bed rest, would be more realistic, as is implemented in several other game systems. A "cure critical wounds" spell recovering a bit of exhaustion seems wrong.

    My point about levelling up was more to do with the fact that a high level priest couldn't have, say, normal hit points but a great store of spells, he has to have improved combat abilities aswell. Same for mages, an old lvl 20 mage has a great thac0 compared to the village strongman (lvl 2 fighter). This seems strange, but maybe 2 types of x/p, combat and class based, would be too much book keeping.

    With respect to raise dead i was commenting on the preponderance of rules in D&D that facilitate easy play ( My 8th level paladins dead! i wish i didn't have to reroll again...) without thought of how they would alter a world in which they were available. they don't have to be widespread, the fact they exist would be enough. If a sufficiently high level priest could resurrect x people PER DAY, as with raise dead spell, death wouldn't be viewed in the same way. If the possibility of your life or death rested on your faith, you'd expect priests to recieve utmost respect and religion to be the deciding factor in most peoples lives. this is not the case in most campaigns...

    I have to admit i haven't played D&D since 2nd edition rules were about, and a few of my points may be slightly misinformed, but i was commenting on fantasy campaigns in general. If people thought about the impact widespread magic use would have on a world it would create a lot more interesting games.
     
  19. Muumli the Wayfarer Gems: 7/31
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    In the vain (I hope thats the right vain) of HP being avoidance of physical harm, note that Constitution is not just heartiness, but bodily stamina, and while someone cannot increase his's ability to sustain harm, he can increase his physical fitness, a 'side effect' of a life of adventuring. Higher Constitution reflects a higher ultimate physical peak, in muscle tone, lung capacity, etc.

    On the subject of Raise Dead, in 2nd edition, being raised or resurrected cost a player a point of Constitution, not something to be toyed with lightly. The ravages of passing between the realms of living and dead take their toll on a mortal body. Not sure thats how it works in 3E, but I think it was a good idea.
     
  20. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    My point was that it's a game. So have fun. I don't think it's really worth complaining all that about each rule isn't "realistic". If you ask me, hit points are believable. So I'm comfortable playing with a system with hit points, and I assume that everyone else is too. The hit point system, in that case, doesn't rain on anyone's parade in the group.

    Raise Dead needs a big, expensive material component - a diamond. The point of raising dead characters was for the PCs, so they can have a believable way of continuing a slain character (but with a penalty).

    If you want to make death more serious (a lot more serious anyways), then just revise the rules on Raise Dead. Only super-duper big magic can do it. Jeez.
     
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