User talk:Tarkisflux/Rants/Breaking the RNG 2

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I agree with you for the most part on people being off the RNG as far as skills go (though I think that skilled people should have trouble with challenges higher than their level if Tome of Prowess is involved). We'll agree to disagree on the AC thing for primary melee/ranged combatants (and I've mostly ironed it out in the Grimoire system anyway), but one thing that resonated strongly with me in your post is the problem with saves.

In the current system, people can be wildly off the RNG on both sides of the spectrum as far as saves go, between multiclassing combined with high ability score and characters who don't multiclass with poor saves and low ability scores. Can you think of any way to standardize it?

One thought that came up, though I'm not too happy with it, is that all characters have a bonus to saves equal to their level, can choose one or two saves at first level to gain +2 to, and any changes to their abilities past first level don't affect their saves. Thus, let's say someone plays a character with 14 dex, 16 con, and 8 wis; they choose Ref and Wis for their +2 bonuses, and for the entire game their saving throws for Ref, Fort, and Will are +4, +3, and +1 respecitvely, adding their character level to each one. Worst case scenario (without taking racial modifiers into account) under standard point buy is a person taking 18 in their stat along with the +2 bonus (6+character level) while another person has 8 in a stat without taking the bonus (-1+character level). The difference between the two is 7--barely on there without running off the RNG. What are your thoughts on this, and do you have any better ideas as far as saves go? - Ghostwheel, February 26, 2010

This post largely ignores ToP, which goes out of its way to lock down bonus values and keep expected success rates in a very specific area (attribute mods not withstanding for reasons I attempted to explain in the rules section). In that setup I care A LOT about not giving people spell-similar abilities on an infinite use schedule a couple levels after the spellcasters get it, and expected success rates matter a lot to me as a result. I don't care if people fall off the bottom of the RNG for those though, because that just means they're not investing in the skills or have an ass attribute modifier and should probably have been doing something else anyway (like retraining).

I also specifically left attribute bonuses out of the equation here, because they're one of the fiddly bits that's hard to nail down. Having a +5 attribute bonus is not necessarily the same thing as having an unexpected or RNG pushing +5 bonus. In most games (at least that ones I imagine you and I play) getting a +5 wisdom bonus on will saves isn't as big a deal as having a -2 wisdom penalty on them, because the +5 is going to be much closer to what your opponent is using to generate his save DCs. In that respect, the +5 is closer to your expected bonus, and not really a big deal.

Side note: this is sorta skirting the fact that I just don't care if people fall off the bottom of the RNG for having negative or low attribute modifiers. It's what they're there for, to give your characters strengths and weaknesses that they can't just train away, and to attempt to differentiate characters of the same skill level who have varying degrees of natural talent. If you don't like that behavior you need to tighten the range of avaialable attributes or just eliminate them entirely.

I'm going to copy your save proposal to your talk page in a bit and we can discuss it more there, because you've made some scaling assumptions to keep people from falling off of the RNG that may lead to behavior you're not particularly happy with and is a bit beyond the scope of this blog. - Tarkisflux, February 26, 2010

I wanted to let you know, I read all this. I understood most of it too. But now my head is afloat in a sea of numbers and acronyms, and I think it best if I lay down for awhile. Haha... ouch. - Jay Freedman, March 2, 2010

I've said this on the talk page but I'll say it again, to the Abyss with scaling numbers, remove them from the system and most of these problems vanish, ability scores and weapon focus style feats matter more and the party is on a more even footing, allowing you to throw challenges at them that challenge all of them instead of just the ones with the lowest modifiers. As for skill ranks they could stay, but instead of granting a bonus they would allow you to use the skill for different things, much like in the ToP. - ThirdEmperor, March 2, 2010

No, these problems don't vanish. That setup takes the concept of expected success rate against equal cr opponent and tosses it right out the window. So aside from the part where you're giving out very strictly controlled increases your level basically vanishes, which is fine if you wanted a skill based game instead of a level based game (where you're generally increasing attributes instead of the skill numbers that make you up). You get a whole different set of problems in that setup, but staying on the RNG isn't even a concern anymore. - Tarkisflux, March 2, 2010