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Does anyone else share my dislike of d20?

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But doesn't the quality depend entirely on who is writing it? Be it a dm, teller or a developer.


I was raised by polar bears. I had to fight against blood thirsty wolves and rabid penguins to get my food. Those who were too weak to survive were sent to Sweden.

 

It has made me the man I am today. A man who craves furry hentai.

So let us go and embrace the rustling smells of unseen worlds

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I think I've just misunderstood. Continue.


I was raised by polar bears. I had to fight against blood thirsty wolves and rabid penguins to get my food. Those who were too weak to survive were sent to Sweden.

 

It has made me the man I am today. A man who craves furry hentai.

So let us go and embrace the rustling smells of unseen worlds

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Anyway, as much as I like Mystara, it's not without its own flaws.

 

It's pretty ridiculous, for example, to have Egypt/Arabian-inspired Ylaruam with its large deserts separated from the norse/viking nations of the Northern Reaches to the north only by a few miles of mountains. Ylaruam just doesn't fit into the geographical atlas of the Known World region at all and should never have been placed where it is.

 

They've tried to explain that away with excuses of how this was the will of the Immortals and background story. Some that is very good and interesing, since it forms the basis of Nithia, but it's still just an excuse.

 

Fans have argued that Ylaruam is a dry desert because Alfheim, the magical forests of the elves, simply drain away all the water that would otherwise have gone to Ylaruam. Also a good but utterly convenient explanation.

 

Since I play 2e Player Option rules, I even made my own excuse, which ties with the corruption of the Nithians (who were like the ancient egyptians). According to canon, Nithia was corrupted by the evil immortals Thanatos and Ranivorus and began embracing 'forbidden' practices. Eventually the other immortals intervened and destroyed the corrupted Nithians, though they saved a few uncorrupted ones and placed them in the HW. What the Nithians did that was so wrong has never been described in any particular detail, at least not that I have read, so I used or at least added to that.

 

In my campaign I like using the magic systems presented in the Player Option: Spells & Magic book, but I could never decide on one and so ended up with a compromise between all of them. One system is that of preserving/defiling, which is similar to that of the Dark Sun campaign.

 

In Dark Sun you have two types of spellusers - preservers and defilers. The idea is that magic is really just lifeforce (think the Force of Star Wars and you get the idea), and that to use magic is to drain lifeforce for your own benefits. You can either do this carefully, thereby leaving life around you unharmed, or you can drain it indiscriminately from your surroundings, thereby killing less powerful life to power your spells. The former is called preserving and the latter defiling. Preservers use magic pretty much the usual way in D&D, but defilers kill plant life and lesser beings around them. Really powerful defilers can kill truly powerful beings with their power and even direct - draining all life from a huge red dragon is possible for a defiler archmage, if he needs to power a spell quickly.

 

The Dark Sun campaign's world, Athas, is basically one huge desert drained of most life, due to huge wars between the defiling wizards over time. The world is rules by sorceror kings, who are basically the most powerful preservers and, especially, defilers in existence. But as a consequence, there are no trees, little livestock, minerals and so forth on Athas. Most weapons and armor are made from bones, for example.

 

Now, I didn't want to go that far, but I did like the defiling idea in my campaign, so for Nithia it was easy to introduce the idea that they had simply embraced defiling and so drained their nation of all life and turning it into the huge desert it is in the gazetteer era. The immortals wouldn't have this power run free, however, and destroyed the defiling Nithians.

 

This works will with the campaign, since the immortals actively prevent discovery of Nithia's fate. It is generally unknown that Nithia ever existed. An uncorrupted colony elsewhere called Thothia survived, but the immortals altered the memories of all mortals to think that they were never tied to the Nithians and then made them a part of the Alphatian empire.

 

Clues to Nithia's existence may yet be found in the sands of Ylaruam, but the immortals also created a magical item in the area that cause all who travel there to forget all about Nithia. This item is call the Bead of Oblivion or simply the Spell of Oblivion.

 

But it does tie the nature of defiling nicely into Mystara's background, I think. It's one of those little secrets I leave for my players to discover one day if they explore the matter. They're not going to like having their memories wiped when going close to the place in question in Ylaruam, but then you can't win them all... :sorcerer:

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Wow... I like that defiler/preserver explanation. Pretty cool, it explains why Ylaruam is the desert that it is in the current gameworld.

 

Any explanations from your campaign on how the ancient KW Nithians discovered how to drain life forces in order to use magic?


image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Wow... I like that defiler/preserver explanation. Pretty cool, it explains why Ylaruam is the desert that it is in the current gameworld.

 

Any explanations from your campaign on how the ancient KW Nithians discovered how to drain life forces in order to use magic?

 

Well, though that is a bit of a cop-out, the simplest explanation would be say that the Thanatos or Ranivorus told them.

 

That could be expanded on, though. For example, the evil immortals might pose as wise scholars prompting the Nithians to explore magic and giving them hints about powerful magic on Athas (the Dark Sun world).

 

Though nobody can reach Athas, that could get the wizards to explore this with spells that grant them insight, such as Contact Other Plane or Legend Lore or similar. With that knowledge they can then begin exploring the basics of defiling and, with two immortals subtly pointing in the right direction, learn it in record time. That way it would be a "true" discovery by mortals, which the evil immortals did not cause directly.

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I'm pretty sure that at one point or another, a few TSR/WotC people admitted that Athas is supposed to be Toril in the far future. All of the source material relating to Anauroch and the phaerimm seems to support that.

 

More to the point, I also dislike d20. I'm not a big fan of the rules-obsessive GURPS (even GURPS Lite is overkill) rules, but d20 is just strangely structured. For a while, I accepted the WotC line that d20 D&D was weird because they had to preserve certain D&D "sacred cows". The problem is that a lot of those goofy conventions are still found in d20 Modern.

 

One of the nice things about d20 is that it clarified a lot of really hazy stuff from 2nd Ed. Stacking rules are a good idea in theory, badly executed in d20. AoOs sound like a good idea, but really wind up becoming an un-fun, un-intuitive pain in the ass. I won't even go into the old sacred cows like Armor Class. Jesus.

 

I think 3E was better than 2nd Ed., but as with both of those editions, they quickly became worse with additional rulebooks. The problem is that settings make virtually no money in pen-and-paper. 2nd Ed. saw tons of new settings and TSR threw tons of support behind them. Almost no one played them. Most of the sourcebooks I bought were mostly for curiosity. No one else bothered to learn about the settings, so I never used them. Rulebooks, on the other hand, everyone wanted to use. So with 3E, we saw few new official settings and virtually no revivals of old settings (Polyhedron's sad attempts don't count). However, we did see a ton of splat books with wildly varying quality.

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WoTC was willing to let White Wolf revive Ravenloft and run with it. If Steve Jackson games wanted to revive say Planescape, or Dark Sun, I don't think WoTC would be too opposed.

 

I don't think they'll let anyone else run Greyhawk, as it still seems to be the unofficial default setting.

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WoTC was willing to let White Wolf revive Ravenloft and run with it.  If Steve Jackson games wanted to revive say Planescape, or Dark Sun, I don't think WoTC would be too opposed.

 

Perhaps, but unlikely. Don't forget that White Wolf supported d20 and did Ravenloft under d20 rules.

 

So it would depend entirely on whether Steve Jackson games would do so under the OGL/d20 structure and support d20 by doing it with d20 rules. I sincerely doubt that, since Steve Jackson games would then be supporting d20, an RPG that they don't own and which belongs to a competitor, instead of their own GURPS. They might do it, if they get to do it under GURPS, but then I it even more unlikely that WotC would allow one of their settings to support a competing RPG system, especially after stating their intention to make d20 the industry-wide standard and kill off as many competing RPG systems as possible.

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White Wolf was willing to support D20, despite having the Storyteller system. Who is to say Steve Jackson games wouldn't if it meant landing a nice intellectual property?

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White Wolf was willing to support D20, despite having the Storyteller system.  Who is to say Steve Jackson games wouldn't if it meant landing a nice intellectual property?

 

The Storyteller system was never intended to be a general RPG system, but was made spefically for White Wolf's own campaigns. GURPS, however, was intended from its inception to be a generic system, and WotC has declared that they have the same intent for d20 and even to smother most of the competition, if not all.

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And yet White Wolf has adapted their storyteller system to games like Trinity, Abberant, Adventure, Exalted, etc. I think the base mechanics can apply to most settings.

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WoTC was willing to let White Wolf revive Ravenloft and run with it.  If Steve Jackson games wanted to revive say Planescape, or Dark Sun, I don't think WoTC would be too opposed.

 

 

For the setting's sake, I hope that never happens.

*Ugh*.... I can't imagine playing Planescape under GURPS rules..


image002.gifLancer

 

 

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More to the point, I also dislike d20.  I'm not a big fan of the rules-obsessive GURPS (even GURPS Lite is overkill) rules, but d20 is just strangely structured.

 

How so?

 

For a while, I accepted the WotC line that d20 D&D was weird because they had to preserve certain D&D "sacred cows".  The problem is that a lot of those goofy conventions are still found in d20 Modern.

 

Some of those cows definitely needed to go. I was so disappointed that they stuck with the cumbersome and horribly outdated magic system that has got to be one of the most hated and limiting aspects of D&D. The 2e Player Option: Spells & Magic book was even beginning to change that a little by introducing a spell point system (not good, but better than the old thing). Since many of the Player Option rules were introduced into 3e (faster rounds, AoO, etc.), I really did expect 3e to embrace a different magic system as well, or at least offer one as an alternative. But nope - magic went back 20 years to the very inception of AD&D 1e rules :thumbsup:

 

One of the nice things about d20 is that it clarified a lot of really hazy stuff from 2nd Ed.  Stacking rules are a good idea in theory, badly executed in d20.  AoOs sound like a good idea, but really wind up becoming an un-fun, un-intuitive pain in the ass.  I won't even go into the old sacred cows like Armor Class.  Jesus.

 

Armor Classes definitely need to go. They may be simple, but you have to consider at which point a rule becomes so ridiculous that it's better to replace it with something that's more convincing. D&D players might not accept GURPS armor rules, but I dare say compromise between those two that takes both ability to dodge and armor penetration into consideration is possible.

 

I think 3E was better than 2nd Ed., but as with both of those editions, they quickly became worse with additional rulebooks.

 

Oh, I don't know... It's initial design might have been slicker and, as others have said it, more polished, but then 2e was a decade old and much better games had been released in the meantime, so 3e had better be better. Yet for a game that professes to cater to existing D&D fans, it sure did manage to alienate a large percentage of teh fanbase - it's really annoying when spells like Fire Shield or Stoneskin don't work the way you're used to anymore for no good reason - they completely lost the strategic edge they had before and just became dull protective spells with none of the deterrent that had made them strategically attactive before. What, the game designers just forgot that? And of course, 3e soon turned out to be just as flawed as it's predecessors...

 

The problem is that settings make virtually no money in pen-and-paper.  2nd Ed. saw tons of new settings and TSR threw tons of support behind them.  Almost no one played them.  Most of the sourcebooks I bought were mostly for curiosity.  No one else bothered to learn about the settings, so I never used them.

 

True enough, but then TSR were also terrible at handling and inspiring plots and characters that people might have liked. To force Salvatore away from Drizzt after he created him, claiming that they owned the character and knew better what to do with him than the author signifies stupidity and greed on a level that just scares customers away. It's the sort of thinking that earned TSR its "T$R" nickname... If they had inspired writers to do interesting campaigns and plots, then things might have been different. But instead they just recycled old AD&D 1e stuff and used it for the likes of Rod of Seven Parts and Return to the Tomb of Horror - not bad per se, but not terribly inspiring either...

 

Rulebooks, on the other hand, everyone wanted to use.  So with 3E, we saw few new official settings and virtually no revivals of old settings (Polyhedron's sad attempts don't count).  However, we did see a ton of splat books with wildly varying quality.

 

And it will end the same way as it did for TSR's 2e venture - once the customers realize that the market is flooded with endless cascades of superficial and boring material, they will stop buying... It's just too bad that it hasn't quite sunk in yet...

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WoTC was willing to let White Wolf revive Ravenloft and run with it.  If Steve Jackson games wanted to revive say Planescape, or Dark Sun, I don't think WoTC would be too opposed.

 

 

For the setting's sake, I hope that never happens.

*Ugh*.... I can't imagine playing Planescape under GURPS rules..

 

Nor can I, but it's not likely to happen. For one, WotC wouldn't allow it, since Planescape is supposed to be a D&D product. If Planescape wasn't compatible with Ravenloft (a demiplane) or the D&D cosmology, then it all goes out the window quickly.

 

Secondly, the fanbase would be screaming bloody murder - the established Planescape fans would never embrace Planescape with GURPS rules, and so why would anyone bother publish one?

 

Finally, if Steve Jackson Games wanted to do a fantasy cosmology/multiverse campaign, then why would they waste money getting rights to use D&D's? Surely they could come up with something fairly similar (even if that means stealing Planescape ideas with arms and legs) and not have to care about WotC or the D&D/d20 system at all.

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How so?

Are you asking about my opinion on GURPS, or on d20?

 

Armor Classes definitely need to go. They may be simple, but you have to consider at which point a rule becomes so ridiculous that it's better to replace it with something that's more convincing. D&D players might not accept GURPS armor rules, but I dare say compromise between those two that takes both ability to dodge and armor penetration into consideration is possible.

GURPS' passive/active defense numbers never seemed necessary to me. There should a value that determines how hard you are to hit and a number that determines how well protected from damage you are once you are hit. It's basically evasion and damage reduction. Pretty simple.

 

for a game that professes to cater to existing D&D fans, it sure did manage to alienate a large percentage of teh fanbase - it's really annoying when spells like Fire Shield or Stoneskin don't work the way you're used to anymore for no good reason

I think their extraordinary power in 2nd Ed. was a pretty good reason to tone them down.

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I think their extraordinary power in 2nd Ed. was a pretty good reason to tone them down.

It is so rare that the truly fix what is broken, that it is hard to believe that was their intention, though in this case I believe you are right.

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Are you asking about my opinion on GURPS, or on d20?

 

GURPS, but I'd actually like to hear both.

 

GURPS' passive/active defense numbers never seemed necessary to me.  There should a value that determines how hard you are to hit and a number that determines how well protected from damage you are once you are hit.  It's basically evasion and damage reduction.  Pretty simple.

 

Precisely.

 

I think their extraordinary power in 2nd Ed. was a pretty good reason to tone them down.

 

Why extraordinary? Yes, Stoneskin is completely unbalanced as written in 2e rules, and in my campaign we long since embraced costs for the diamond dusts needed (150 gp per casting that actually went down when listed as cheaper in Spells & Magic). We also accepted a maximum time limit for Stoneskin, though not for the wizard himself - his stoneskin could remain active for as long as needed.

 

Don't see why Fire Shield was extraordinary in 2e, though. It made the attacker take the same damage that he inflicted. That's not so bad, since he can just choose to not attack or used ranged attacks until the effect goes away. As such it served as a deterrent to hostile attacks against the wizard and so had a strategic value. This was already toned down from 1e, where attackers took twice the damage they inflicted! In 3e, however, it's reduced to "okay, I'll roll the dice and take my chances..." - so much for hailing the "good old days" of 1e in 3e, I guess :-"

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Even at 150 gold per casting, I think it would still be broken.

 

And to clarify, some people still seem to think I was suggesting Planescape go GURPS rules. White Wolf has their own system, yet got the rights to do Ravenloft. They did Ravenloft in D20, which was probably a condition of the license. If another developer (Steve Jackson being an arbitrarily random developer) were to pick up Planescape or Dark Sun, I'm sure they would be required to do the setting in D20 to keep the game compatible with the core 3E books.

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Even at 150 gold per casting, I think it would still be broken.

 

Why? That's actually pretty pricey. Especially if the group decides to protect themselves with it every battle. My players think long and hard before using the money on it. Besides, all it does is reduce damage to zero.

 

And to clarify, some people still seem to think I was suggesting Planescape go GURPS rules.

 

Well, I never thought you suggested that. My apologies if I gave you that impression. I just meant to address that as a possibility, which IMO meant discounting it, while we were on the subject.

 

White Wolf has their own system, yet got the rights to do Ravenloft.  They did Ravenloft in D20, which was probably a condition of the license.  If another developer (Steve Jackson being an arbitrarily random developer) were to pick up Planescape or Dark Sun, I'm sure they would be required to do the setting in D20 to keep the game compatible with the core 3E books.

 

Quite right. I don't see Steve Jackson Games doing that, however, for the reasons I have mentioned above - they would be about the last company to do it, methinks.

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I'm merely commenting that the possibility exists that another developer could pursue these settings since WotC doesn't want to do them.

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d20 sucks. Classes are really stupid. Theres only this that and the other class. Well what if I want to play a sex-slave or something like that? 'Oh well you cant be that, you'd probly have to be a thief/scoundrel/whatever' And there theirs the prestige classes where you have to get so many class levels before you get to be able to choose an advanced class... "What theres no Head-harem Girl?" lol d20 is dated, even with revisions, it needs to be retired.

 

I agree with everything that the originator of this post mentioned. While Im not a big fan of GURPS (it in itself is a bit clunky), but it is definitely a big improvement over d20.

 

And no, d20 wasnt made to be made to be easily reworked... have you looked at the millions of tables they have in those books? They have to have several different books, all of them near-dictionary size in thickness just to contain all the rules... where-as GURPS, WoD, and a couple others only have ONE book for the actual rules, everything else is setting supplements.

 

I think if youre gonna do a fantasy setting, or a scifi setting, the game engine for Exalted (white-wolf studios) is one of the best.

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I particularly like Exalted's stunt rule. If you attempt something particularly daring and clever, the Storyteller can assign you bonus dice.

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I think if youre gonna do a fantasy setting, or a scifi setting, the game engine for Exalted (white-wolf studios) is one of the best.

 

I've enjoyed playing Exalted myself, but I wouldn't say it's without its flaws, though it is certainly better than d20 to near-infinite degrees! For one thing, the difference between the usage of 'freebie points' during character creation and the use of xp during the actual game brings about an awful lot of min/maxing...

 

I don't find min/maxing bad in general, but we don't want the rules to encourage it. Cumbersome though GURPS might be, this is one area where it is better, since there is no "creation vs. play" conflict of point-usage - the costs during character creation are exactly the same as during play in GURPS, since you use the same character points in both instances. A very easy solution that many games forget.

 

d20 doesn't use character creation with point-costs, but that's not to say it doesn't have flaws there. No, one thing I really dislike in d20 is the way you must effectively decide your entire progression of abilities and particularly feats, if you're going to make the most of the rules. While planning ahead should always be rewarded in RPGs (and always will be), I don't need the system to encourage a philosophy, where I'm actually rewarded for effectively deciding my character's progression through levels 1 to 20+ during character creation. In d20 you earn xp and then buy whatever you want when advancing. I'd much rather have the skills you actually used in the last adventure improve, as they did in 5th edition Call of Cthulhu. Why should my wizard get better at hitting a troll with his staff, if all ever does is to lob spells at the monsters, and hasn't used his staff once in the last seven adventures? Peculiar idea...

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