STAR TREK 2d20 02

Thread: Balance?

  1. #1


    ::Opinion piece::

    I am old, old school dnd player. Way back to its beginnings. I always loved playing as a kid with friends. It’s so funny how it’s now become “cool”, lol! Playing dnd when I was a kid was a fast track to social pariah!

    At this day and age, with 5e, I simply don’t get these “game balance” restrictions. Many of our characters at higher levels were walking around with so many magical items (not always), it took a bag of holding to carry, not including what was practically dripping off a character. No attunement required. We never had issue with “balance”. The CR was simply matched in accordance.

    I know I’ll probably get trolled for this, but in my worlds, creativity, imagination and good DMing solves everything.

    I simply don’t care for it. Thoughts?

    P.S. I remember when a ring of wizardry doubled your entire spell slot arsenal, not just one level!
    Last edited by Sazodeha; July 30th, 2023 at 13:31.

  2. #2
    Morenu's Avatar
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    50+ and played since Basic... and yes the 5e system annoys the piss out of me. too restrictive imo. we tried it for about a year and the DM had so many issues. moved back to PF1e/3.5 and are loving it. but thats also why there are so many systems, no one system will make everyone happy. and the DM is the real key piece of the puzzle.
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  3. #3
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sazodeha View Post
    At this day and age, with 5e, I simply don’t get these “game balance” restrictions....

    ...but in my worlds, creativity, imagination and good DMing solves everything.

    I simply don’t care for it.
    Then, maybe, use some of that creativity, imagination and good DMing to solve your problems with it?

    A lot of gaming groups don't have an in depth experience with a system, or even GMing in general, to be able to make a call on what is a suitable challenge for the players. I'm a very experienced GM and I always struggle with providing the right level of challenge I want in a situation for an RPG system I'm not that familiar with. I play multiple RPG systems, for multiple reasons; knowing how to provide entertaining situations for my players (for me that means challenging without being impossible) can be very difficult if the system doesn't have some means of helping me - be that balance, accurate challenge levels, points based encounter systems, whatever. It doesn't mean that my games don't have creativity, imagination or that I'm not applying good GMing to the game; it means that one aspect of the tasks needed to create an entertaining game for me and my players is made easier.

    But, every group is different - some things that you don't care for or don't get, other groups will embrace. If you don't care for something in a system, either don't play that system or house rule it. Ignoring any in-built balance in a system is probably one of the easier things for a group to do - as you say "The CR was simply matched in accordance." - there's nothing stopping you doing exactly that in D&D 5e. You can ignore attunement as well if it doesn't work for your group. I'm sure there were rules from back in the beginning that you ignored or changed - just do the same now, or if D&D 5e just isn't your cup of tea, play some other brand of D&D; there's enough adventures for old-school style out there to last a lifetime!
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  4. #4
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    If the players are dripping with magic items then you gave them those magic items and so have been hoisted by your own petard. If you are playing one of the published adventures then you don't need to be bound by the treasure parcels that are in it; you can make your own or edit the existing ones to remove or replace magic items or other treasures.

    5e does simplify things; it isn't anything like as complex as Pathfinder or AD&D; but the same 'problems' exist in all systems where too much loot is given out - especially to veteran players who know how to optimise things.
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  5. #5
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    So going back to Holmes, OD&D was a blast. But even then parts of it sucked, because it wasn't balanced. Remember how boring it was to play a wizard until they got to 5th level? "Ooh, yea, I get to throw darts!" Or later on I got to fire a light crossbow every round. And then as an Archmage I was a god. The martials in the party were only useful to make sure I did not get engaged before I could kill every BBEG on the map. And then in 2 & 3 ed meant that the party had to plan together. If half the party optimized and half did not, then half the party was ineffective.

    Sure, all those things could be managed by the players and the DM. But they could easily be broken by one poor player or a poor DM. Not that 5E can't be broken. It's just harder to break than previous editions. And for casual players and growing the player base, that's a good thing.

    The great thing about RPGs, there are thousands of different rules you can play by. With millions of different players to form a group with to play the rules that work best for everyone in the game. And that's what's awesome about FG, you can probably play all of them with FG.

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  6. #6
    Eh. What bothers me about D&D 5E balance isn't balance between parties re: magic items (or at least, items that focus on always-on effects), but balance between characters and on limited-use abilities.

    D&D 5E has serious balancing issues amongst player options, and it's very problematic for a DM if some of the players are very new players who gravitate towards trap options while others go for minmaxed crunchy builds. Like, if half the party is a battlerager barbarian and an assassin rogue, and the other half consists of a bladesinger and a hexadin... chances are the second half is going to feel a lot more useful and powerful than the first half. Weapon types are very imbalanced because related feats are very imbalanced, some subclasses are just much stronger or much weaker than others, there are trap spells, etc. This is rather problematic with a group of mixed experience.

    The other glaring issue is that there are specific abilities which can drastically affect the difficulty of an encounter (Forecage, Banishment, Twilight Sanctuary for some obvious examples) which complicate setting up encounters, because you might end up designing an encounter that is either way too easy if they do use such abilities; or much more difficult than anticipated if they don't use them when you thought that they would. Wouldn't want the GM to have to act as the party strategist with tactical advice during the battle.

  7. #7
    When I was 13-15 years old (over 30 years ago) my friends and I play dnd games were magic items poured down like rain.

    But our games were mostly goofing off and being ridiculous.

    Fast forward to “present day” (as movies would say) I prefer to make magic items rare in my games . I prefer story to matter FAR more than those games I played as a teenager.

    Why? First I’m an adult now and my players are also adults now. Need a little more depth than “you need to kill the bugbear captain and here’s your 12 magic items to help you .”

    But also it’s just common sense if things come to easily or to frequently they aren’t appreciated as much.

    Things feel much better when earned.

    I want my player to feel that “oh yeah!” Moment when they get that rare magic item, not “oh ok neat” because they already have 4 other rare items by session 10.

  8. #8
    Yep, that's why I play Dungeon Crawl Classics now. Several OSR games are well represented here on Fantasy Grounds. Take your pick and rekindle that old school feel however you like.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sazodeha View Post
    It’s so funny how it’s now become “cool”, lol! Playing dnd when I was a kid was a fast track to social pariah!

    At this day and age, with 5e, I simply don’t get these “game balance” restrictions.
    Game balance is one of the elements (but not the only one, mind you) that made it possible for D&D to become "cool". It's called accessibility.
    I'm another old school D&D player, although probably not as old school as you. Back in the day, a good DM could make any adventure be perfect and fun without a single drop of sweat, BUT a bad DM was not just bad, they were always terrible. Being a DM required creativity, imagination and skills in a high amount to make sure that the game was challenging but satisfying for everyone, not just for the wizards or clerics.
    The current edition of D&D simplifies the job to the DM, making it possible for more people to run a decently good adventure straight away, from their very first session. Yes, it's fairly restrictive for the players... but players are a dime a dozen, good DMs are hard to find. By making things simpler for the DM, more people can DM and give a decently fun experience to their players.
    Which in turns means that more people play D&D.
    Which explains why now it's become cool and it's not a fast track to social pariah, as you say.

    As bad as it might look to have a restrictive approach to game balance, ultimately it's one of the reasons why now so many people play the game; and having more people play the game means that more publishers are willing to publish stuff for D&D/5e/d20 and other publishers are more willing to throw out more competing rules systems (like Pathfinder) because the popularity of D&D has made the potential market grow so much that there's space for more systems than ever, which in turn means that we have more cool stuff to play, which is a great benefit compared to the old days of basic D&D/AD&D.

    So, for every time that I groan against 5e, I remind myself that like it or not its current approach to balance and accessibility has greatly benefitted the TTRPG community.

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