Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Propaganda Depository => RPG Ghetto => Topic started by: Cramulus on November 28, 2010, 03:01:33 pm

Title: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 28, 2010, 03:01:33 pm
This is a series of posts from Dave Noonan's blog: http://nnnooner.blogspot.com/2009/03/so-where-did-these-roles-come-from.html

Dave Noonan was a D&D developer, and wrote some interesting thoughts on the origins of the tank / striker / healer combo that seems to exist in all RPGs.

So where did these roles come from, anyway: An Intro

I've been thinking a lot about how two of my favorite games (D&D and WoW) and, by extension, two of my favorite pastimes (tabletop RPGs and MMORPGs) wound up with character roles: abstract "templates" that describe a character's essential function in the action part of the game (fighting, usually). WoW (like most MMOs) has the basic triangle of tank, DPS, and healer. D&D has always had similar roles, and in 4th edition we defined them as defender, striker, controller, and leader.

(If you aren't familiar with both genres, suffice it to say that tank = defender, healer = leader, and strikers and controllers are two flavors of DPS.)

But the weird thing? There's nothing inherent to either game in the abstract that leads you inexorably to the specific roles we wound up with. So how did we get here?


I'm going to take a shot at answering that question in the next few posts. So call this a little blog series: "So where did these roles come from, anyway?"

But I'm going to start in a circuitous way. I think you can learn something about the emergence of those essential roles by looking not only at what a player picks as the role for the character he's actually playing, but also by looking at what a player picks for his next character--or (for MMOs) the character he's playing "on the side" in his spare time.

So let's talk about alts: alternate characters.

First: Warcraft Alts

Some of my best friends are WoW altaholics (people with multiple active characters). Once they get a character to the level cap, they start one or two others, and pretty soon they have a stable of decently-geared, max-level characters. I've always been sort of envious. Maybe it's because my main character is a level 80 feral druid (one of the game's better hybrids, and just plain fun to play), but I've never been much of an alt guy. I always have plenty of things on my main character's to-do list.

I have alts, of course.

• There's the undead rogue who was my first level-capped character. I stopped playing him only because I wanted to challenge myself with a PvP server (and thus my druid was born). I pretty much never play him anymore; he's stalled at level 61.
• I have a level 65 mage that I soloed up mostly to learn the Inscription profession and because I was taking a sabbatical from guild leadership and wanted to make myself scarce temporarily. He stopped at level 65 (the minimum to max out Inscription) and appears in Azeroth only to grab herbs out of the mailbox, turn them into ink, and (hopefully) make Noble Darkmoon cards.
• I've got a few low-level "experiments," pretty much one of every class. They're all between level 20 and 30.
• I recently started a Draenei paladin on a different server, mostly so I could enjoy the leveling-up process with a different set of quests than I'm used to. He's level 38 now, and I play him more than anyone else.
• And like pretty much everyone, I've got a few characters that exist solely to run between the mailbox and the auction house.

That sounds like a lot. But when I compare my arsenal of alts to the folks in my guild (which for obvious reasons tends to match my overall play style and available time to play), I'm just a piker. At least half of my guildies have at least two level 80 characters. For example, Broteas (resto shaman) has a mage alt. Shieral (bounces between boomkin and resto druid) has an enhancement shaman and a warrior that used to be our main tank. Divona (shadow priest) has a DPS death knight, a hunter, a holy paladin...and those are just her Horde characters.

And here's the interesting thing: Almost none of them have two max-level characters in the same role (except for a few delightful but clinically insane friends who have five or six level 80 characters). On one level, that isn't surprising: people are looking for a change of pace when they select their alts. Vive la difference, right?

But on another level, it's interesting that those altaholics are throwing away all those man-hours spent learning the ins and outs of a specific role. As a guy who plays a hybrid (in my case, bouncing between DPS and tanking), I feel like I'm doing new content when I'm tanking for the first time--even if it's a dungeon I've run several times as DPS. There's no question that someone who picks a different role for their alt is volunteering to learn the game all over again. That brings with it some inefficiency (but to be clear, some fun, too).

And there's supposed to be differences in player psychology that would make you gravitate to a specific role. More on that in a second.  


Second: D&D "Alts"

When you look at alternate characters for D&D players, it's important to realize an essential difference between the tabletop and the online experience: The moment of character creation is far more constrained at the tabletop. Of course you can sit there with a sharp pencil and a stack of blank character sheets and make up as many characters as you want (and unlike WoW, you can make 'em whatever level you want!). But to actually play the new character, you've got to "retire" (often through death) your existing character, or you've got to start a whole new campaign. You can't level up your ranger at 2 a.m. when you're alone in your dorm room--not really, anyway. The tabletop game exists as a consensual experience with your friends.

So look at the two times you get to make up a new D&D character: character "retirement" (oh heck, let's just call it "death") and campaign starts.

When your character dies, there's a strong incentive to roll up a new character in the same role as the old one. But where does that incentive come from? The other dudes at your table. It's an externality. Given your druthers, you might or might not choose the same role. But at the moment of character generation, you've got a table of buddies who are suddenly short a defender (or whatever). If you roll a leader instead, you hurt not only your new character's viability, but that of the whole table. The tendency toward "role persistence" is a function of the group's needs at the moment, not necessarily the individual's natural inclination.

In my long-running Thursday night game (spanning eight years and multiple campaigns, with long breaks when I was a new dad), the best example of this "role persistence" was my buddy Cameron, who was famous for a long line of "brave but lightly armored" characters. He played a lot of rogues and rangers, and, well, he died a lot. Cam plays aggressively and is a natural "instigator" in a good way; his characters actively seek out stuff to do, rather than waiting for NPCs to do stuff to him. Every DM wants a guy like that at the table. But the consequence is that Cameron's characters tended to be shishkabobbed, drowned, and/or stung to death by unusually venomous bees.

When Cam showed up with his next brave-but-lightly-armored character, it was a natural thing to think that he liked that striker role. But really, Cam was looking around the table, saying: "Leader? Check. Defender? Check..." and so on. Put Cam in the other character-creation circumstance--the start of a new campaign--and bingo! Role persistence evaporates. When the whole party died in late 2007 (due in no small part to Cameron's rogue pulling a lever that should have been left alone), everyone made up new characters and we fast-forwarded a thousand years. Unfettered by the needs of the table, Cam made a dwarf fighter that was the very essence of a defender.

I spent ten years at Wizards of the Coast, so I always had plenty of campaign-start opportunities, and I was lucky enough to play in multiple campaigns simultaneously. As I think back, almost everyone in those games--professional game designer or not--bounced around from role to role when a new campaign started and their role choice was unfettered. Rich plays a paladin in one campaign, then a sorcerer with delusions of godhood in the next. Toby replaces his warforged fighter (rest in peace, Hammer) with a wizard. And come to think of it, my barbarian gets replaced with a wizard, and in the campaign after that I'm a melee cleric, and in the 50 Fathoms campaign after that I'm functionally a defender. (Miss ya, Roo!)

Let's Talk Psychographics
Based on my personal experience (the best data I have), there isn't much role persistence among either WoW or D&D players, once you subtract out the "we need a _______" factor that happens a lot at D&D tables and sometimes in WoW guilds.

Yeah, my evidence is anectodal, but it's the best I have. I suspect that maybe WotC could tease better data out of the RPGA database (although organized, RPGA-style gaming is still something of a different beast than traditional "basement" gaming). And there's no question that Blizzard could extract more definitive data about how likely it is that a player prefers a specific role.

But here's the thing: Wizards R&D certainly believes that there are differences in player psychology that manifest themselves in role choice. In other words, some players are naturally drawn to play a leader, others a defender, and so on. I'm pretty sure that the Blizzard devs believe the same thing. And certainly some players are convinced that "you know, healing is really what I'm good at."

But given the proclivity of players in both games to happily change roles, I don't think the psych differences are that meaningful. And those psych differences are tenuous enough that I don't think you can say that roles emerged out of the psych differences in tabletop or online RPG players.

So the specific roles we wound up with--where did they emerge from? Maaaaybe from the source material: the broader fantasy genre. More on that tomorrow; I've got some offline writing to tackle first.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 28, 2010, 03:03:14 pm
part two! http://nnnooner.blogspot.com/2009/03/so-where-did-these-roles-come-from_11.html

Yesterday I made the contention that the character class roles...

• Tank/DPS/Healer for MMO character classes; and
• Defender/Striker/Controller/Leader for 4th edition D&D (and less overtly in previous editions)...

...came from somewhere, but they didn't inevitably emerge from player psychology. Players are all too happy to hop roles whenever they get the chance.

Stop! Sidebar time! It occurred to me that I should have explained something better yesterday. What I'm trying to get at the root of is why we wound up with the specific roles we wound up with. The fact that we wound up with roles at all...well, I regard that as inevitable, but it's interesting to ruminate on other role schemes we could have wound up with.

With that out of the way, let's get to it.

Another logical place to search for the root of the class roles is in the source material that inspired D&D and eventually Ultima Online, Everquest, World of Warcraft, and so on. Now, we aren't going to see lit characters called tanks, strikers, or whatever in the text. But we're looking for behaviors and attributes that match the character roles in D&D and MMOs. As we go on a role-seeking safari, here's what we're looking for:

• A really durable guy who occupies the attention of most of the opposition, yet provides only moderate "output" back at them.
• Conversely, someone who's more fragile but delivers most of the force applied against the opposition.
• Someone who heals other people. If that's insufficiently abstract, you can say "someone who rejuvenates others mid-battle," but really, if it's not actual healing, you're stretching.

For extra credit, you can look for examples of "crowd control," rendering the opposition temporarily unable to project its force (to borrow some good old maneuver warfare jargon). After all, that's (theoretically) an important distinction between strikers and controllers in 4th edition.

To start, let's go to one of my favorite places...

Hey, My Favorite Appendix! Appendix N!


Back when I was with Wizards, I wrote a bit about Appendix N of the 1st edition D&D Dungeon Master's Guide. You can find it here. Reread your beloved copy, or take it from me: You'll mostly search in vain for any sort of team-based exploits in those books. And you aren't going to see the roles except in contrast with each other. Elric and Conan just wade through entire hordes of enemy soldiers, but that doesn't make them tanks. Fafhrd is no less a striker (and no more a defender) than the Gray Mouser is. You'll see almost no battlefield healing--period--and precious little crowd control in the many fantastic battles in all those great Howard, Leiber, Vance, and Moorcock books.

Nor are you going to find those class roles in the literary influence that Gary Gygax always downplayed: Tolkien. As I've said before, Tolkien's greatest gift to tabletop and online RPGs wasn't dwarves, elves, and orcs. It was team-based adventures. But flip through Lord of the Rings. Gimli isn't tanking so that Legolas can do unfettered DPS. The more capable members of the Fellowship are trying to occupy the bad guys and keep the hobbits safe, sure, but their output is top-notch. Gandalf is no glass cannon, and he's not running around with d4 Hit Dice per level. When he mixes it up in melee, he's hardly fragile.

This shouldn't be surprising. Tolkien wasn't worried that every member of the Fellowship contributed equally yet uniquely to a battle. He wasn't sweating the intraparty balance issues; he had a novel to write!

You can make up D&D or WoW characters that look and behave like Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. But their in-game behavior is going to map to their class roles and they'll feel constrained compared to their in-book counterparts. (And the game versions of those three guys are going to need a healer--the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith aren't going to cut it.)

I really thought I'd find proto-tanks and proto-DPS lurking in the time-shrouded mists of 20th-century fantasy literature. But they're maddeningly elusive. You can find durable guys who like to stand in front of the bad guys and take punishment, sure, but they're usually swinging the biggest swords, too. Battlefield healing is almost nonexistent. And that's if you can find team-based battles at all; they're surprisingly scarce.

Let's Look Elsewhere

Some exploratory mining in other areas is probably warranted at this point.

• Superhero comics: The comic books of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s are a huge influence on D&D and gaming in general, mostly because gamers and game designers love 'em. And unlike most fantasy lit...hey! We've got teams! Lots of 'em!

Scratch the surface, though, and you don't get much evidence of tanks, DPS, and healers. All the pieces are right there for everyone to see (although healing is still hugely underrepresented), but the pieces aren't usually assembled into anything like gaming's class roles.

We've got lots of durable, armored, or otherwise invulnerable heroes, for example. They do an admirable job of attracting the attention of dozens of HYDRA mooks or whatever. Tanks, right? Nope--their output is usually top-drawer as well. It's just as accurate to call 'em freakishly durable DPS.

Try to apply the class role labels to superheroes, and you'll soon find yourself scratching your head. Some heroes are easy, but is Iron Man a tank or DPS? That's exactly the sort of question that'll launch a 20-page ENWorld thread. Take your pick among any of the invulnerable "tanks" in the Avengers: Hulk, Thor, Wonder Man. Same story--they're sitting at the top of the imaginary WWS meters. And where are all the healers?

(On the plus side, I'm giving myself ten points for working Secret Wars into this.)

It's worth noting that while I delved into my comic stacks to check this out, I can't claim to be comprehensive. But seriously, I found almost no consistent class-role behavior. Try it yourself! Take a two-year run of your favorite team comic and look at the big donnybrooks. Let me know whether you see a tank/DPS/healer strategy. Here's what I think you'll see instead. In a team-vs.-one fight, you'll see each good guy put in danger consecutively. A team-vs.-team fight will almost always evolve into a series of one-on-one or two-on-one matchups selected for dramatic reasons, not tactical ones. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

The City of Heroes MMORPG, where the players are superheroes, has class roles called archetypes, of course: Tanker, Blaster, Controller, Scrapper, Defender. (Sound familiar?) But that's a comic book game, not a comic book. More on how CoH fits into things tomorrow.

Star Wars: Another big influence on pretty much anything gamers or game designers did in the 1980s. Watch the movies, and you'll see the Jedi engaged in tanking and DPS duties (and a fair amount of crowd control) interchangeably. A Jedi will stand in harm's way and occupy dozens of those roger-roger guys. But that Jedi is also the output. It's hard to extract any sort of class-role prehistory out of Star Wars (and in any case, D&D is older than Star Wars).
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 28, 2010, 03:04:46 pm
http://nnnooner.blogspot.com/2009/03/so-where-did-these-roles-come-from_14.html

OK, so if you've been following along (or reading from the bottom, I suppose), here's where we are. I'm trying to figure out how we wound up with the class roles we wound up with in D&D and World of Warcraft. In other words, how come we wound up with defender/leader/striker/controller (D&D) or tank/healer/DPS (WoW) rather than some other scheme.

Do other schemes exist? Sure. The action-movie scheme is smart guy/big guy/face guy/wild card. (The A-Team! Exactly!) We could have wound up with something like that. There's nothing inevitable about tank/healer/DPS from player psychology or from the fantasy source material.

Here's my conclusion: We got the roles we got because Gary Gygax gave D&D magic-users d4s for Hit Dice.

In other words, the class role scheme emerged from the mechanics of D&D itself, not from the inclinations of the players or the source material. And the scheme was omnipresent when D&D-lovin' designers were working on the first MMORPGs, so they followed suit.

So You Wanna Be a Magic User
Let's look at original D&D and 1st edition D&D. This will be old hat for the D&D grognard, but if you weren't playing D&D in the late '70s and early '80s, you'll be amazed at how cruelly fragile the D&D wizard was.

The magic user class--what we'd call wizards nowadays--had four-sided dice for Hit Dice. Period. That means many of them should be running around at 1st level with 2 or 3 hit points. And this was back in the day when most players rolled dice (often 3d6 or 4d6-drop-the-lowest) for their ability scores. You had to have a really good Constitution to eke out another hit point or two; it wasn't like 3rd edition where a 12 Con is worth another hit point and a 14 Con is worth +2 hp.

Contrast those hit points--somewhere in the 2 hp to maaaaybe 5 hp range--with the damage from a single monster attack: 1d6 damage was typical, with some attacks greater or lower. Even the weakest pit trap dealt 1d6 damage. Get hit once, you might be dead. Get hit twice, you're almost certainly dead.

It gets worse. There was no negative hit points or unconscious state. Zero hit points means you're full-on dead. Monty-Python-parrot dead. Resurrection magic was a high-level affair, prone to failure, and you came back weaker each time.

But it's worse than that. No armor for you, either, Mr. Magic User. You had an Armor Class of 10 (the worst possible), and at 1st level you were unlikely to improve it with magic or a high Dexterity (because remember, you rolled those ability scores, and nothing short of a 16 Dex could get you an Armor Class improvement).

You know what? It gets still worse. Your saving throws--rolls to avoid various environmental and magical effects--weren't very good. You had few weapons to attack with, and your magic was the fantasy equivalent of a single hand grenade...if you were lucky and got a top-drawer offensive spell like sleep.

So go ahead, send that guy with 3 hp and AC 10 into the Caves of Chaos. He can't survive. Sooner or later, there's going to be an arrow with his name on it. It's the tyranny of math.

If you played a 1st-level magic user in the early 1980s, you could not survive enough encounters to reach 2nd level. The odds against are astronomical. If you did survive, here's why:

• Your table adopted house rules to be less cruel to magic-users specifically or less lethal in general. (Like positing a near-death state at 0 hp, giving magic-users more or better spell choices at the outset, and so on.)
• You were cheating.
• Your DM was cheating on your behalf. If he did a good job, you never noticed.

Now, the word "cheating," especially in the latter case, is more pejorative than I intend it to be. D&D is a cooperative game, after all, and whatever "cheating" occurs is often a victimless crime. Frankly, a DM fudging dice rolls to keep a 1st-level magic-user alive is an act of friendship.

The fragility of those magic-users, viewed through the lens of future D&D editions and computer games, seems to be an utterly baffling, counterproductive, and just plain bad design decision. Why on earth would Gygax set up an entire class to fail? I mean, anyone looking at 4 hp, AC 10 knows that it doesn't add up, right?

But Gygax was on the frontier of a whole new type of game, and so he was operating with a different mindset than most game designers. I believe that when he was building the magic-user, he was in simulation mode.

• Magic users had 1d4 hit points because they _should_ be scrawnier than thieves and clerics, and even scrawnier than a hobgoblin or an orc.
• Magic users had AC 10 because that's what ordinary peasants in tunics had, and there's no simulation reason for the game to treat magic users any better.
• You got one spell per day because Gygax figured that if Turjan (from the Dying Earth) could keep four spells in his head at once, then a beginner like you gets one spell in your head at a time.

Viewed through the simulation lens, all reasonable choices. It's only when you take those 3 hp into a dungeon that it falls apart.

Sherman, Set the Wayback Machine for 1982
Now imagine yourself in a basement starting your first AD&D campaign back in the early 1980s. Van Halen's Fair Warning is on the turntable and you've got your parachute pants on. Everyone is playing D&D by the book, and because 1st edition AD&D did a good job of obscuring the system numbers, nobody realizes that the magic user is doomed. The inevitable goblin arrow kills the magic user, and a pall falls over the table.

At this point, a couple of things probably happen. First, the guy playing the magic user probably rolls up another magic user or maybe an illusionist (same thing, pretty much). But the DM has better access to the game's underlying numbers, and it's probably dawning on him that the next magic user isn't going to be any more viable than the last one.

If the DM is really with it, he comes up with a house rule on the spot. But more likely, he starts cheating behind the screen to keep the new magic user from dying in the very next encounter. (Nothing wrong with that--if you're hanging out with your friends in the basement, you might as well have fun, right?) But the players don't know that the fix is in. Even the DM might not realize how far he's going to go to keep that magic user alive.

Independent of the DM, the players (probably subconsciously) change their tactics to keep the magic user alive. They're doing so not because doing so makes tactical sense. They're doing it just to keep their buddy Bob from getting bummed out because his D&D character died.

The other characters start standing in front of the magic user...and thus the traditional front-rank/back-rank tactic is born. More interestingly, the other characters start doing everything they can (attacks, verbal insults, silly/weird antics) to keep the monsters from focusing their attention on the magic user...and thus aggro management is born. If magic users were as durable as, say, the D&D thieves, I don't think either behavior would have become so pronounced.

So I think that's where our tanks came from. I need to make lunch for my kids, so expect part 3.1 soon, in which I'll explain that the healers came out of the same place--the early D&D game mechanics and Gary Gygax's urge to simulate.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 28, 2010, 03:13:59 pm
http://nnnooner.blogspot.com/2009/08/ok-lets-recap-theres-nothing-inevitable.html

OK, let's recap:



• There's nothing inevitable about Tank/Healer/DPS or Defender/Leader/Striker/Controller.

• You can't find good examples of those roles in the fantasy literature that inspired D&D (and thus MMOs). You can't find it in comic books or Star Wars, either.

• Tanks emerged because early D&D created a popular class (the magic user) that could not survive under ordinary circumstances.



Which brings us to...



Whither Healers?



I'll be brief here, because the healer role grows from the same root as the tank role, only more directly: Gary Gygax's simulationist streak.

The simulationist in Gary followed a very reasonable line of thinking: If you get stabbed nearly to death, it should take you days or weeks to recover.

What could be more reasonable than that? It makes perfect sense. But as anyone who has run a long-term campaign knows, long recuperation times can be hell on the ongoing narrative. It's no fun to clear out half a dungeon, then come back after a few weeks to find that the dungeon has realistically been reinforced.

It's worse if some players need to recuperate, but others don't; that's a recipe for splitting the party. And those long recuperation times wreak havoc with any sort of time deadline before the Great Evil Event happens. As a DM, you want that tool in your toolbox.

And it's just as bad on the NPC side. It's not exactly good drama for the PCs to nearly beat the Big Bad Evil Guy, then retreat, then come back a few days later and stab him as BBEG lies there in a hospital bed.

Gygax-the-simulationist wasn't going to allow unrealistic natural recuperation. But if magic is involved, then verisimilitude isn't threatened and all is well, right?

Thus, the cleric: A class that's mandatory not so much for in-battle healing as for its plot-saving fast recuperation. Even a single cure light wounds each day means vastly less time in the village and away from the action.

That's why for 35 years, having a cleric was pretty much mandatory (and even in 4th edition, having a leader makes life a lot easier). Without that healing (or a small fortune in consumables), you ran out of hit points, and then you ran out of fun. You had no other way of getting those hit points back quickly--in combat or between battles.

Gygax's desire for realistic natural healing yields a class (the cleric) that becomes mandatory because it keeps the plot from grinding to a halt for hospital time. MMOs pick up the healer role when they pick up D&D's role differentiation. And bingo! We have another role that seems like it's always been around, but really it's just rooted in a simple but profound design choice made back in the '70s. Had Gygax said, "Screw it--you get your hit points back after a turn (10 minutes) resting," you wouldn't have your leader role today.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Telarus on November 29, 2010, 01:31:59 am
Good stuff. Digesting now.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 02:51:17 pm
I found it super interesting - especially the last two articles. It's weird to think that if Gary Gygax didn't assign mages a d4 hit die, we probably wouldn't have the tank/dps/healer combo. And if D&D wasn't originally a simulation game, we might not have "healers".
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on November 29, 2010, 04:11:16 pm
 :lulz:

And this is why MMORPGs are bad. Kids grow up with them and then want to apply crap they learned from them to table tops games, which is how we end up with abominations like DnD 4th ed.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 04:35:21 pm
I don't understand your comment

the tank/dps/healer combo predated MMOs, they originally borrowed it from D&D
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Requia ☣ on November 29, 2010, 05:30:46 pm
I found it super interesting - especially the last two articles. It's weird to think that if Gary Gygax didn't assign mages a d4 hit die, we probably wouldn't have the tank/dps/healer combo. And if D&D wasn't originally a simulation game, we might not have "healers".

Those roles predate Gygax by a fair bit I imagine.  RPG roles are derived from wargaming roles.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 05:45:26 pm
Are you certain? I've only done a very small amount of wargaming but I don't recall anything like a "healer" or "tank" (in the aggro drawing sense).

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Golden Applesauce on November 29, 2010, 06:10:40 pm
Are you certain? I've only done a very small amount of wargaming but I don't recall anything like a "healer" or "tank" (in the aggro drawing sense).

You did have ranks of cheap infantry "tanking" for artillery, and cavalry/mobile units for drawing aggro (i.e., by charging directly into the enemies and stalling for time.)

(Disclaimer: I was not alive in the 70s-80s, much less playing wargames.)
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Requia ☣ on November 29, 2010, 06:28:16 pm
Are you certain? I've only done a very small amount of wargaming but I don't recall anything like a "healer" or "tank" (in the aggro drawing sense).



In the agrro drawing sense no, that doesn't show up till MMOs as far as I'm aware.  I was referring more to the guy with all the hit points and armor.  Healer... I have seen healers in wargaming, but very rare (though that could be because I'm playing 40k and not a high fantasy setting).  That could very well be original to RPGs, since healers aren't critical in wargaming the way they are in RPGs.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 06:36:25 pm
I dunno, I think it's a bit of a stretch...

cheap infantry are pawns, not tanks - they are not heavily armored
artillery arguably plays the DPS role, but it's not necessarily "squishy" like a rogue or wizard
Calvary could go either way - is it a tank or a DPS role?

I don't think the metaphor holds up for war gaming. Also, I don't think the original wargamers thought of their pieces in those roles.


So do you guys disagree with the genealogy presented in the above articles? Personally I think Noonan's points are more plausible than a wargaming origin.

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Requia ☣ on November 29, 2010, 07:30:21 pm
Artillery is usually *very* squishy, that's what makes it artillery and not a tank.  Though just as often the 'squishy mage' role is filled by an actual squishy mage.

But that isn't what I'm talking about, I mean people had these games with knights and mages and archers, and then they went off and made a different game with knights and mages and archers.  The stuff you're talking about, DPS and aggro drawing and so forth, those didn't exist in D&D either.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on November 29, 2010, 07:44:26 pm
They most definitely do exist in DnD now, I've seen it for myself.  I have to agree with a lot of the OP. 

I dearly wish that it was possible to have a combat system that could not be gamed or micromanaged, and had the fast, nonlinear pacing of actual combat.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 07:51:20 pm
Artillery is usually *very* squishy, that's what makes it artillery and not a tank.  Though just as often the 'squishy mage' role is filled by an actual squishy mage.

But that isn't what I'm talking about, I mean people had these games with knights and mages and archers, and then they went off and made a different game with knights and mages and archers.  The stuff you're talking about, DPS and aggro drawing and so forth, those didn't exist in D&D either.

what game, prior to Gygax, had knights and mages and archers engaged in team-based combat?  You assert that these roles have always been around - where? again, wargamers did not think of their pieces as falling into those roles, (there was certainly no "healer" in 1970s wargaming) and it doesn't seem to me like the healer/DPS/tank roles have clear analogues in wargaming. While he doesn't mention wargaming, Noonan makes a strong case that they evolved as a tactical answer to the simulationist vibe present in the first D&D editions.

D&D absolutely had DPS and aggro drawing and so forth -- it's described in detail in the above articles.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 29, 2010, 08:04:54 pm
I think its a legitimate origin story. Simply enough, if you're going to work with a 'Class' concept, then that kind of layout is to be expected. Magic users are unlikely to be fighters, fighters are unlikely to be healers etc.

However, I think that's a problem ONLY if you play D&D as read straight from the book.

In the current game I'm playing in, we have almost 0 'traditional roles'. Multiclassing, feat purchases, and our DM's "package" options tend to provide well rounded characters that fit as characters first rather than roles.

I'm a character who was being trained as a warrior, but sucked at it and found inborn magic which he would use to cheat in training combat, once he was caught he was moved to the military magic training. So that works out to be a Fighter and then a Warmage and eventually the Chaos Mage class... not because thats my 'class', but because those classes best represented the concept. Same for the rest of the party. We determined who our characters were, what they did, why they did it etc before we looked at classes. (we have no healers for example)

I think it depends on what kind of game you want to play. If you are into RPG as combat sim, then straight classes tank, DPS, healer make sense, because thats statistically the best combo to use in combat. If you are into RPG as story that also has combat, then it more likely that you'll spend points on skills that don't min/max or feats that help flavor over combat stats.

So I'd say that while this stuff is great reading and does a good job of laying out some potential issues... it also misses the control that games like D&D pass off to the DM and players.

Though to be honest, I feel that 4th ed tends to fit more with Noonan's assessment than 3.5 simply because the classes in 4th seem more directly tied to roles for combat, rather than types of characters.

And I am unaware of any games that provided the archer/wizard/fighter kind of system pre-D&D.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on November 29, 2010, 08:06:34 pm
However, I think that's a problem ONLY if you play D&D as read straight from the book.

:crankey:

TGRR,
Purist.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on November 29, 2010, 08:19:46 pm
what game, prior to Gygax, had knights and mages and archers engaged in team-based combat?  You assert that these roles have always been around - where? again, wargamers did not think of their pieces as falling into those roles, (there was certainly no "healer" in 1970s wargaming) and it doesn't seem to me like the healer/DPS/tank roles have clear analogues in wargaming. While he doesn't mention wargaming, Noonan makes a strong case that they evolved as a tactical answer to the simulationist vibe present in the first D&D editions.

D&D absolutely had DPS and aggro drawing and so forth -- it's described in detail in the above articles.

You ever played original DnD?


To add some additional points.

If you as a magic-user/mage/wizard/dude-wit-a-pointy-hat-and-staff were getting killed off very early in a campaign you were a BAD mage or your DM was a BAD DM. You were either being stupid or your DM was playing the monsters a little too intelligently.

I hate that this concept of aggro or hate or threat is permeating table top games. The great thing is I can totally ignore games that acknowledge this meta-concept.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 08:24:04 pm
yes
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on November 29, 2010, 08:49:41 pm
But on the same level, it would not be excessively intelligent for some goblins or whatever to be like "Okay I want our fighters to keep their fighters busy, and our archers to go after the first guy to cast spells."

But that's not aggro, that's just elementary strategy.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 29, 2010, 09:01:32 pm
You ever played original DnD?


To add some additional points.

If you as a magic-user/mage/wizard/dude-wit-a-pointy-hat-and-staff were getting killed off very early in a campaign you were a BAD mage or your DM was a BAD DM. You were either being stupid or your DM was playing the monsters a little too intelligently.


I disagree. Well, lets say I tend to disagree, but it depends on how the character Ability stats were made.

However, simply put, CON isn't likely to be a major ability for a Wizard/Sorc/etc So lets say they're lucky and have a CON Mod of 1... That's 5 HP for first level. Even a 1/2 challenge rating goblin can luck out  and kill something with 5 HP.

IMO - The real issue is that a 1st level character straight out of the book should probably not be on quests or combat unless they're playing the part of Frodo or Bilbo types. Any archer, fighter, wizard etc that is qualified to be an adventurer should probably be 3rd level at least.

That said, our party ran from 1st to currently 3rd and so far survived with no healers. And we're talking about two d4 HD, 2 d6 HD and a Barbarian.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Requia ☣ on November 29, 2010, 09:25:15 pm
what game, prior to Gygax, had knights and mages and archers engaged in team-based combat?  You assert that these roles have always been around - where? again, wargamers did not think of their pieces as falling into those roles, (there was certainly no "healer" in 1970s wargaming) and it doesn't seem to me like the healer/DPS/tank roles have clear analogues in wargaming. While he doesn't mention wargaming, Noonan makes a strong case that they evolved as a tactical answer to the simulationist vibe present in the first D&D editions.

D&D absolutely had DPS and aggro drawing and so forth -- it's described in detail in the above articles.

The guy is talking about 4th edition, but 4th is derived from MMOs, not the other way around.  DPS didn't exist in third edition, the concept wouldn't have worked, the offensive roles were broken down into 'very high damage for a short amount of time' and 'steady amount of damage, that never drops off.'  The idea of DPS character further breaks down since very few of the best ways to take out an enemy actually involve doing damage to it, save or dies are where powergaming was focused..  Tanks existed (though I never heard them called that till after MMOs hit), but tanks didn't draw aggro, a tank was just a guy with a lot of armor and hit points, and shield instead of a bigger sword.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 09:40:12 pm
The guy is talking about 4th edition, but 4th is derived from MMOs, not the other way around.  DPS didn't exist in third edition, the concept wouldn't have worked, the offensive roles were broken down into 'very high damage for a short amount of time' and 'steady amount of damage, that never drops off.'  The idea of DPS character further breaks down since very few of the best ways to take out an enemy actually involve doing damage to it, save or dies are where powergaming was focused..  Tanks existed (though I never heard them called that till after MMOs hit), but tanks didn't draw aggro, a tank was just a guy with a lot of armor and hit points, and shield instead of a bigger sword.

DPS-characters didn't exist in 3rd edition? ever play a rogue?

The author of the article is one of the designers for both 3rd and 4th edition, so I'm going to take his word that those roles exist in the games.  :p






If you as a magic-user/mage/wizard/dude-wit-a-pointy-hat-and-staff were getting killed off very early in a campaign you were a BAD mage or your DM was a BAD DM. You were either being stupid or your DM was playing the monsters a little too intelligently.

nah, it was easy as hell to die in 1st edition. there was no "death's door" - at level 1, you can flat out die from a stray arrow. This isn't a matter of playing "stupidly", it's something inherent to the way the game was designed. If you were a level 1 magic user and you were ever targeted by an attack, there was a good chance you were about to roll up a new character.



I think it depends on what kind of game you want to play. If you are into RPG as combat sim, then straight classes tank, DPS, healer make sense, because thats statistically the best combo to use in combat. If you are into RPG as story that also has combat, then it more likely that you'll spend points on skills that don't min/max or feats that help flavor over combat stats.

So I'd say that while this stuff is great reading and does a good job of laying out some potential issues... it also misses the control that games like D&D pass off to the DM and players.

the article isn't about whether the roles are good or bad. It's an analysis of where they came from.

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on November 29, 2010, 09:43:24 pm
It's interesting.

One thing that really bugged me is that he explains nowhere what "DPS" means. Google says it may mean Damage Per Second, is that right?

I only have experience with tabletop D&D (2/3/3.5 ed.), and from that perspective, I have to say I get the impression the guy is speculating a lot and his view of things is heavily coloured by the current day existence of online MMORPGS.

We played D&D for over 5 years with pretty much the same party and never did I hear about this "holy trinity" of Healer/Tank/Striker tactic until one of the guys (my flatmate) in the party started playing WoW and I had to ask him what "Tank" meant in this context. It took me quite a while before I understood that this term was part of a gameplay tactic and not just a name for a general type of character (like fire-mage or acrobat-thief or whatever). It also seemed like it would make the computer game even less fun (I don't know why I don't seem to like most computer games, sorry--LOGD is really fun so far, heh).

(I never even considered the "Controller" role before, actually. He's the guy that casts Hold Person, I suppose? What if it's not a spellcaster casting delaying/holding/slowing spells? Does one of those newer classes that do "crippling pain strikes" or whatever count to this?)

Come to think of it, if I look at most D&D parties I played in (also with other groups of friends) they follow the action-hero roles of the "A-Team" example a LOT closer, than any sort of Tank/Striker/Healer combo (well except the game pretty much forces you to have *somebody* able to heal or indeed the plot grinds to a halt):
- one or two wanting to be the funny crazy guy (often it's me), usually spellcaster or rogue/thief
- someone keeping track of the plot a littlebit more than the others, or that happens to hold the plot device or MacGuffin, the lawful-good dude that was tasked with carrying the rune scrolls to the Elders of Whatchamacalia, doing his best to keep the party from saying "fuck it let's start another Inn fight" because of personal honour
- someone who enjoys combat, doing loads of damage with melee (and some ranged) weapons, but is also tough as a nut
- the face/charmer, this is a psychological role because you need the roleplaying and social skills to pull it off. in my first party it was every NPC because it was the DM that enjoyed playing this. but in other groups there were some guys that loved picking some crazy half-demon (or something) race with insane high charisma, maxing their Diplomacy skills and smoothtalking their way through the high officials of every settlement, city or crime syndicate. (for some reason I can't pull off this role, after a while party-resistance builds up and my character gets nothing done anymore--then I usually revert to the crazy and occasionally charm commoners in order to prank my partymembers)

So all in all, I understand that you need the healer because of game mechanics in D&D.

That's why you don't really have a healer role in V:tM. At least not when I played it. But it was boring so we probably did it wrong. (Basically it felt like every character needed to be both the Face and the Smart guy in addition to whatever role you wanted to play--fucking politics)

But to be fair, I get the impression that the Tank/DPS roles are only really important in the computer game variants of RPGs. Because (at least I get the impression) they are 90% combat oriented, so having a decent combat strategy and tactics sounds like a good plan.

Maybe also in LARPing, but I have never seen this in tabletop RPGs. I agree with the need for a healer, but as the author of the article says, one or two Cure Light Wounds spells per day is already enough to keep the plot from stagnating. And if a party for some reason lacks a real big bad damage dude (rarely, but I've seen it happen), that usually means they got loads of skills in other areas to find other ways around the challenge, right?

While in tabletop RPG roleplaying the combat scenes often take a lot of time, they are only moments for some characters to shine and show off. Often enough my first wizard character, especially in his lower levels, emptied his offensive spells in the first two rounds and then proceeded to hide in the bushes, smoking a cigarette until the fight was over. No problem, my fun was in other parts of the game.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on November 29, 2010, 10:06:41 pm
Good points Trip :)

In V:tM you don't get healers unless you run across a Salubri... and then likely only in Dark Ages as most the remaining ones in the modern nights would probably just eat your soul. :)

But then in V:tM healing = "Pop the vein on that dude and chug"

Quote
the article isn't about whether the roles are good or bad. It's an analysis of where they came from.

Fair enough, it felt a bit negative toward the concept in the latter articles.

However, I think that maybe there's a bit of backwards viewing going on here... I keep coming back to DPS for example. Maybe some spells, but very very few... maybe some abilities like use poison or some weapon abilities (like the one that causes the opponent to bleed for several rounds can't remember the name now). But, there wasn't really a DPS class. Most magic offense tends to be one shot damage, or one shot negatives (curse song, some of the cleric spells that grant -x to enemy rolls)... but not really damage per second.

A decently built halfling scout with a sling might act like a DPS... but every round is a hit or miss, rather than a hit and damage continuing to roll over rounds.

As for tanks, sure we can call paladins and barbarians tanks, but  fighters specifically ought to be far better than just a tank. Hell, some of the best fighters I've seen are dex monsters that run around lightly armored using weapon finesse.

4th ed, on the other hand feels much more like WoW. Which is fine for people that want to play that kind of game :) its a hell of a lot faster for combat ;-)

So again, for 3.5 and before, his comments make sense for someone working straight from the book with no thoughts about how to tweak or build something different... but I disagree that the system forced these roles, PER SE.
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Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on November 29, 2010, 10:11:18 pm
The guy is talking about 4th edition, but 4th is derived from MMOs, not the other way around.  DPS didn't exist in third edition, the concept wouldn't have worked, the offensive roles were broken down into 'very high damage for a short amount of time' and 'steady amount of damage, that never drops off.'  The idea of DPS character further breaks down since very few of the best ways to take out an enemy actually involve doing damage to it, save or dies are where powergaming was focused..

DPS-characters didn't exist in 3rd edition? ever play a rogue?

Okay I think I'm going to need some extra background on the term "DPS" now.

Obviously it means Damage Per Second, this is something different than the fighter that chops with his +2 longsword? Does a DPS deal as much Damage Per Second for the entire fight, or just the first few rounds (like a fireball shooting mage) ? I never heard about DPS before this thread, so explain the tactic to me, please?

Quote from: req
Tanks existed (though I never heard them called that till after MMOs hit)

This is my experience too.

Quote from: req
but tanks didn't draw aggro, a tank was just a guy with a lot of armor and hit points, and shield instead of a bigger sword.

Quote from: cram
the article isn't about whether the roles are good or bad. It's an analysis of where they came from.

Yeah. Actually when my flatmate explained that (IIRC) in WoW the enemies have a kind of "aggro" meter, meaning if you do them a certain amount of damage they come after you (or something?) And you could actually see this aggro meter :)

It seemed highly artificial to me, and if anything, to me it seems that is where these roles came from. At least, the roles in the sense of a viable tactic, a tactic that you need to play or else you're going to be way down in performance compared to other players.

So in MMORPGs these roles are necessary as a tactic, while in tabletop RPGs, sure you can draw up characters that function in these roles, and you might get a very WoWesque game, but you can draw up any kind of characters, or use the A-Team, and usually your party will get by anyway, although it probably means that your party will lead different adventures than otherwise. But that's no problem, because you got a Real Live DM at the table, that knows the party never does what he expects them to. So he files away the sheets for the Big Bad Red Dragon because it'll be another 20 sessions, if ever, before they fight that, and draws up a bunch of different specific challenges more suited for the party, for next week.

It'd be easy now to say a MMORPG could never do that, but then I never played those, and personally I think the comparison between the two games is crooked. Even if the mechanics (numbers/ability scores/etc) are exactly the same, it's a completely different game. One is led by your buddy the DM and the other by a Big Game Corporation that requires you to voluntarily install a rootkit on your PC (eh, I digress), one is rendered on your screen and interacted with via your keyboard and mouse, and the other is represented by pieces of paper, miniatures, props, beer bottle caps and interacted with via your voice and a bunch of dice. To me it feels like a world of difference like comparing Super Mario Bros to Zork.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Telarus on November 29, 2010, 10:36:14 pm
Ok, time to jump in.

Trip, these roles existed, but were "unNamed" and not supported by overt rules/mechanics that cater to the roles (the porting of D&D roles to MMO allowed the MMO designers to finally Name, and clarify the roles in their own game, and yes, this has spilled back into the development of D&D4e). "Tanks" were just the player at the table who decided to "keep the caster alive", etc, etc.

Tosk, I totally understand that you're drifting the base 3.5 system a bit, but the system still informs your choices. SYSTEM DOES MATTER. It's the overarching framework that you've made these multi-class decisions in. Now, granted, you're making them based on character "development" in the narrative sense, and not the purely combat optimized sense. But, you still have to deal with "externalized magical healing", and "protecting/drawing fire from the vulnerable one". Both roles may be NPCs or whatnot. Or as you've done, you've blended roles in your character. He doesn't "need a tank" as much because he's carrying around a low level "tank" all the time.

I just went and looked at "Chainmail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainmail_%28game%29)" on wikipedia, found some interesting stuff relevant to the discussion:

Quote
The use of 40 mm Elastolin miniatures for medieval wargaming was promoted by Siege of Bodenburg[3] which appeared in Strategy & Tactics magazine in 1967. This motivated Jeff Perren to develop a few pages of his own rules for these miniatures. He introduced the rules to Gary Gygax and the LGTSA. Gygax expanded the rules to 16 pages[4] and published them in the newsletter of the Castle & Crusade Society.[5]

Pretty direct lineage recorded there. Let's check out how the original Chainail rules were set up:

Quote
In the core rules, each figure represents 20 men. Troops are divided into six basic types: light foot, heavy foot, armored foot, light horse, medium horse, and heavy horse. Melee is resolved by rolling six-sided dice: for example, when heavy horse is attacking light foot, the attacker is allowed to roll 4 dice per figure, with each 5 or 6 denoting a kill. On the other hand, when light foot is attacking heavy horse, the attacker is allowed only 1 die per 4 figures, with a 6 denoting a kill.

Additional rules govern missile and artillery fire, movement and terrain, charging, fatigue, morale, and the taking of prisoners.

No Mages there.

Then, in 1971, Gary introduced "The Fantasy Supplement":

Quote
..as the members began to get tired of medieval games, and I wasn't, I decided to add fantasy elements to the mix, such as a dragon that had a fire-breath weapon, a hero that was worth four normal warriors, a wizard who could cast fireballs, [which had] the range and hit diameter of a large catapult, and lightning bolts, [which had] the range and hit area of a cannon, and so forth. I converted a plastic stegosaurus into a pretty fair dragon, as there were no models of them around in those days. A 70 mm Elastolin Viking figure, with doll's hair glued to its head, and a club made from a kitchen match and auto body putty, and painted in shades of blue for skin color made a fearsome giant figure. I haunted the dime stores looking for potential additions and eventually found figures to represent ogres, elementals, etc. The players loved the new game, and soon we had twenty or more players showing up for every session.

There we go, WIZARDS. They're super-modible war-machine replacements, and were originally modeled directly after catapults and cannons. Now, Gary set it up so that "Each of the fantasy creatures are treated as one of the six basic troop types." The wiki doesn't mention which "troop type" the Mages got assigned, but all these Fantasy Rules where then bundled into the "1st Edition Chainmail" in late 1971. Here's a section from a Review on RPG.net (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10195.phtml):

Quote
The big draw to the old Chainmail rules for the history buff, of course, is the fantasy supplement. This section bears the closest resemblance to the D&D rules to come. There are just over eight pages of monsters and other fantastic beings drawn from folklore, J.R.R. Tolkein, Poul Anderson (specifically cited for his trolls), and...well, no one is really sure where the wizards came from. They seem to exist to be useful to wargame scenarios as opposed to resembling any wizards of folklore or literature. Indeed, none of the Jack Vance-inspired mechanics of spell-casting found in D&D can be found here. Although not refered to yet as Alignment, the monsters are divided into law, neutral, and chaos, reflecting the law vs. chaos theme prevalent in the works of Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock. Perhaps most important in the fantasy supplement, however, is the hero (and superhero). Although just a man, the hero has the “fighting ability of four figures” -- anticipating both the level and hit point system of D&D.

(Another interesting note, the "HERO" was worth EIGHTY footmen, or 4 firgures.)

Now, checking the rules to chainmail (I have access to a 3rd edition booklet), we find that Wizards are totally bad-ASS, but they're only "Worth 2 Armored Foot, or 2 Medium Horse, if mounted", and that they can "become invisible and remain so until they attack, see in darkness, affect enemy and friendly morale as a Super Hero, throw deadly missiles and cast terrible spells." They also "are impervious to normal missile fire (OOOH HERE'S SOMETHING INTERESTING), and must make a 7+ on 2d6 to survive the missile attack of another Wizard". Their "missile attacks" were Fireball and Lightning, choose 1 before play (as mentioned, modeled on the Catapult and the Cannon), and their spells were the basis of many 'in trope' D&D spells like Haste, Polymorph, Cloudkill, Protection from Evil, etc, etc.

Now, to compare, the catapult and cannon both require 4 "Crew" figurines to be considered "fully crewed". So a wizard is a unit worth half as many "hits" as a cannon or catapult, but more maneuverable and has tricks up his sleeve. These are "fully upgraded" wizards, not apprentices or anything.

Now, when we compare to OD&D, we immediately notice that Wizards are VERY susceptible to "normal Missile Fire" (and Gary bundled that ability into a higher level spell, Protection from Normal Missiles - MU lvl3). That _seriously_ changes the tactics around spellcasters, and pretty much requires a "meat shield" to be there to take up that role. "Draw Agro" was an in-caracter shouting and insulting the monsters to draw their attention away from the un-armored caster (notice that the Armor of casters changes from Chainmail to oD&D as well). This was not supported by rules until 3.5+ because Gary preferred social conflicts to be "him vs the player, roleplay it out" and not "character vs character, roll dice".

Great conversation!
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on November 29, 2010, 10:58:23 pm
:mittens: for that research, Telarus!


Okay I think I'm going to need some extra background on the term "DPS" now.

Obviously it means Damage Per Second, this is something different than the fighter that chops with his +2 longsword? Does a DPS deal as much Damage Per Second for the entire fight, or just the first few rounds (like a fireball shooting mage) ? I never heard about DPS before this thread, so explain the tactic to me, please?

the term came from MMOs, but it is also known as a "striker" in 4th edition

but the idea is way older than MMOs

basically, it refers to combat roles that do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Usually this is balanced by making them squishy, or only situationally useful.

For example the fighter does basically the same damage every round, unless he crits. He wears heavy armor and has good weapon selection. The rogue does the same basic job as the fighter (get up close to somebody and kill 'em with a weapon), but does it better... but rogues have to rely on stealth or flanking, and wear lighter armor, so they don't get the opportunity to do mega damage all the time.


Noonan was basically wondering how we arrived at these tropes - why doesn't conan backstab people? why does the party mage always need to stand next to the tough guy? Why do D&D parties have healers, even though there was no healer character in Tolkein or the other "appendix N" novels? If you look at the characters in the novels that gygax and arneson read, none of them act that way in the literature... Noonan thinks that there's nothing inherent about fantasy games that produces the tank/dps/healer trinity, it's something that evolved over time. He posits that if D&D 1st edition wasn't written the way it was (ie with such a high emphasis on simulation), we wouldn't have ended up with a healer role. And if we hadn't been sending mages into dungeons with 3 hp and AC 10 (another product of simulation, not solid game design), we probably wouldn't have ended up with the "tank" role that appears in so many games today.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Telarus on November 30, 2010, 12:00:23 am
One of my favorite reasons for playing Earthdawn. Even the 1st ed people @ FASA saw that Gary had included idiosyncratic rules that he and his gaming group had agreed upon, as well as "stock rules" from miniature war-gaming all through the rules he made.

They decided to change things, getting rid of the dedicated "healer" role by introducing "Recovery Tests", a burnable resource which is pretty much the pre-cursor to 4e's "Healing Surges". Casters all got minor spells that granted bonuses when characters spent recovery tests, or they could make Potions and other healing aids that granted a recovery test to some-one who was out. But the really cool powers, like in-Combat Healing went to the fighter classes (Warrior, Sky Raider, etc) because "players are all Adepts who can channel magic".

You really don't see the Healer/Tank/DPS trinity in Earthdawn as clearly cut as other games, and sometimes Players will just run with those roles because that's what they're used to. There are viable alternate classes/roles that can still hold their own and assist in combat, like the Troubador (social attacks at low Circles, at high Circles - Blade Juggle, FUCK YEAH), and the Weaponsmith (doesn't get crazy good in combat until Spot Armor Flaw, but +2-5 to all the parties weapon damage is nothing to shake a stick at in low Circles/Levels).

This is exactly why I want to run old oD&D scenarios with Earthdawn 3rd Edition, because in 3rd they've done more purging of unexamined D&D sacred cows. I want to see how differently a scenario might play out if the players have the option of playing a 2ft tall  Windling Scout or a Rock-man Elementalist who can use shields and swords.  :evil:
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on November 30, 2010, 12:18:23 am
Trip, these roles existed, but were "unNamed" and not supported by overt rules/mechanics that cater to the roles (the porting of D&D roles to MMO allowed the MMO designers to finally Name, and clarify the roles in their own game, and yes, this has spilled back into the development of D&D4e). "Tanks" were just the player at the table who decided to "keep the caster alive", etc, etc.

Hm I think you missed what I was trying to say (3rd time the new way of quoting bugs me btw, I just need *one* extra nested quote to preserve context) ah well.

I said, yes you can probably build D&D characters to play these roles, but they are among many different kinds of roles. Usually the "tank" which is supposed to just soak up damage in MMORPGs, in tabletop, it's just the fighter that deals both damage as well as soaks it, no?

Or maybe you played D&D differently than we did? Much more combat and strategy oriented?

as I said, no doubt you can play the game that way, but you didn't have to, nor did it make the game generally or specifically more fun. Unlike MMORPGs, where (as I got the impression from my flatmate) you basically can't finish a quest/adventure/cave/dungeon/thing if you don't follow those tactics, as well as you're forced to play those tactics, because all the other players do.

Again, I have never seen these tactics employed in tabletop RPGing. Sure it could be done, but then again, you can also play a cross-dressing half-orc.

Noonan was basically wondering how we arrived at these tropes - why doesn't conan backstab people? why does the party mage always need to stand next to the tough guy?

You're now conflating two things. As was Noonan, btw. First one is, why do these tropes exist.

But your second question is about tactics in combat.

And I dunno but in tabletop RPGs, next to the tough guy is a really bad place for the party mage to be, he's usually better on the edge of the fighting circle, since most of his spells are ranged anyway. Maybe the tactic is different for MMORPGs, however. Which is my point. I don't agree about the parallels he draws.

Quote
Why do D&D parties have healers, even though there was no healer character in Tolkein or the other "appendix N" novels?

His reasoning about the healer is spot-on, IMO. I have experienced the plot grinding to a halt with not enough healing power a couple of times myself, and yes. Either you heal shit at a fantastic rate automatically (like in the movies) or you gotta have healing spells or potions. Otherwise the plot halts and/or the party splits because one half is in the hospital.

I agree about the healers, but the stuff about the tanks and DPS (so that's a rogue?) and "controllers", well one it's heavily combat-oriented, which means it's really only about a small part of the tactics of tabletop RPGing, while it's 95% of what makes up the tactics of a MMORPG.

And I just don't agree with the reasoning, apparently healer+tank+DPS is a certain tactic people use in MMORPGs, why did that happen? Probably because the game mechanics of MMORPGs make that to be a successful tactic. Did it originate from tabletop RPGs?

Well in a sense the healer did, but he only explains why a healer needs to be part of any party, so only in the sense MMORPGs emerged from RPGs.

But if the healer+tank+DPS tactic came from table RPGing, then where is all the other stuff that is in tabletop RPGs but not in MMORPGs? Why are all the other tactics so unpopular in MMORPGs? That's the part what he's not answering, and that's the reason why I think it's a bit stretching to say this healer+tank+DPS tactic originated from tabletop RPGing.

So a tank is a character that just stands there with mega-armorclass to draw the anger of the enemy so the dps guy can finish off the enemy with as much damage per second? I have never seen this in a tabletop RPG?

Quote
If you look at the characters in the novels that gygax and arneson read, none of them act that way in the literature... Noonan thinks that there's nothing inherent about fantasy games that produces the tank/dps/healer trinity, it's something that evolved over time. He posits that if D&D 1st edition wasn't written the way it was (ie with such a high emphasis on simulation), we wouldn't have ended up with a healer role. And if we hadn't been sending mages into dungeons with 3 hp and AC 10 (another product of simulation, not solid game design), we probably wouldn't have ended up with the "tank" role that appears in so many games today.

I agree about the healer, but the other stuff, really, seems to originate a lot more from the mechanics of MMORPGs than oldskool tabletop RPGs than the author says. Even if he playtested the games.

For instance, how's the tank help a mage with 3HP and AC10 in a dungeon? A dungeon in a tabletop RPG doesn't just have monsters but also traps and whatnot. Traps kill a mage whether there's a tank next to him or not. (Usually it's the rogue that has to scout. But not because the rogue has these DPS sneak attack abilities, no, because they can scan for traps and they have high Dex.)
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on November 30, 2010, 04:28:21 am
But on the same level, it would not be excessively intelligent for some goblins or whatever to be like "Okay I want our fighters to keep their fighters busy, and our archers to go after the first guy to cast spells."

But that's not aggro, that's just elementary strategy.
I am going to assume that you aren't aware that most humanoids (goblins, orcs and their ilk) were generally just mooks, experience fodder and such. And at low levels you generally weren't going to be facing enough humanoids that they would be organized like that. Of course this is only anecdotal as I was not alive back then. I am going off of the implications I have read in my small collection of early 80's Dragon Magazine. There were also no articles discussing the best way for your paladin, barbarian or fighting man to piss of the monsters so your pointy hats could zap stuff with lightning bolt. By the point your party was advanced enough to be running into large masses of foes they had henchmen, hirelings and followers, which adds more things to shoot at.



And I think 000 hit it rather squarely. In highschool(3rd edition) we once convinced the new guy to go with this ridiculous dual wielding bastard swords fighter build. We called him our tank. Why? Because he had the highest AC and could, theoretically put out nasty damage, not because our squishies were planning on hiding behind him. Granted the entirety of that party were fighters and rogues, and it did end with most of the party committing suicide just as I was fixing on betraying them to the authorities. It wasn't even a very combat oriented game. Most of us who play heavily armored fighter types do so because armor looks cool, and so are big ass weapons.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on November 30, 2010, 04:34:11 am
I am aware that what you say is true of DnD.  I'm just saying it's silly and wrong.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on November 30, 2010, 04:37:27 am
I am aware that what you say is true of DnD.  I'm just saying it's silly and wrong.

I had a stupid. What exactly are you saying?

I'll probably figure it out tomorrow and feel more stupid.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on November 30, 2010, 04:42:40 am
I think I was vague.  I mean that if players are allowed to strategize and have each move be a well thought out decision, then mooks should be allowed some elementary strategies.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on November 30, 2010, 04:59:20 am
I think I was vague.  I mean that if players are allowed to strategize and have each move be a well thought out decision, then mooks should be allowed some elementary strategies.

Agreed. In fact that is something I got known for. PCs don't like being large caverns with poor illumination and mist when the baddies can wreath themselves in flicking shadows and don't have to use light to see.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on November 30, 2010, 07:22:35 am
It's no fun fighting things that act like they only exist to be killed.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 07:13:19 pm
It's no fun fighting things that act like they only exist to be killed.

very true. But lots of players don't agree, and it get's magnified in MMOs, which thanks to the feedback of certain table top games emulating MMOs can get worse.

And at the same time, when your group is starting out you can't be flinging crazy crap at them.

As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 07:32:18 pm
"creatures that don't want to die" doesn't sound that crazy to me.

maybe this is why I haven't bothered getting a game group started.  Most gamers have irritating assumptions.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on December 01, 2010, 07:33:11 pm
It's no fun fighting things that act like they only exist to be killed.

very true. But lots of players don't agree, and it get's magnified in MMOs, which thanks to the feedback of certain table top games emulating MMOs can get worse.

And at the same time, when your group is starting out you can't be flinging crazy crap at them.

As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

Check out Pathfinder.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on December 01, 2010, 07:33:52 pm
I think I was vague.  I mean that if players are allowed to strategize and have each move be a well thought out decision, then mooks should be allowed some elementary strategies.

If they don't, then your DM is a potzer.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 01, 2010, 07:34:22 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 07:36:35 pm
I think I was vague.  I mean that if players are allowed to strategize and have each move be a well thought out decision, then mooks should be allowed some elementary strategies.

If they don't, then your DM is a potzer.

Yeah, well.  Can't argue that one.  :lol:
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 07:55:53 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

Arcana Evolved/ Arcana Unearthed.http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?arcanaevolved
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on December 01, 2010, 08:03:40 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

Arcana Evolved/ Arcana Unearthed.http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?arcanaevolved

YIFF BULLSHIT.  GODDAMN BIPEDAL DOGS AND CATS AND LIZARDS. 

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on December 01, 2010, 08:08:44 pm
I think I was vague.  I mean that if players are allowed to strategize and have each move be a well thought out decision, then mooks should be allowed some elementary strategies.

If they don't, then your DM is a potzer.

Damn straight!
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 08:13:17 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

Arcana Evolved/ Arcana Unearthed.http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?arcanaevolved

YIFF BULLSHIT.  GODDAMN BIPEDAL DOGS AND CATS AND LIZARDS. 


:lulz: I usually find ways to scew the campaign so no one picks non-humans.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on December 01, 2010, 08:17:41 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

Arcana Evolved/ Arcana Unearthed.http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?arcanaevolved

YIFF BULLSHIT.  GODDAMN BIPEDAL DOGS AND CATS AND LIZARDS. 


:lulz: I usually find ways to scew the campaign so no one picks non-humans.

Doesn't help.

Also, while we're on the subject, the fastest way to get laughed out of my group is to ask to play a drow or some templated crap.

If you have to rely on a hackneyed cliche to make your character "interesting", then you are utterly without worth as a RPG player.  ESPECIALLY in Pathfinder, where you can tool your race and class...Besides the fact that there's a little something called FUCKING BACKSTORY.  AND CHARACTERIZATION.  Drizzle dorkdom has been done to fucking DEATH.

And assholes who play CN and then excuse their disruptive shit with "I'M ONLY PLAYING MY ALIGNMENT" are typically murdered and thrown in the nearest pit trap.  WHO CHOSE THE ALIGNMENT, FUCKWAD?

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 08:19:56 pm
FUCK chaotic neutral. 

And for that matter, CE, TN, and NE can also go to hell.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on December 01, 2010, 08:27:53 pm
FUCK chaotic neutral. 

And for that matter, CE, TN, and NE can also go to hell.

TN can be played two ways, and fuck the hippy version.

And no evil characters are permitted in my campaign.  WHAT PART OF "HERO" DO THESE PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND?  Evil people are for being chopped up in the final encounter.

Also, having tried my hand as a player, with the exception of Sister Fracture and Frank the Bastard, every DM in Tucson bites balls.

1.  Book rules or GTFO.  I don't care if you think the cleric is a broken class, work harder on your fucking encounters and fucking deal with it.

2.  LEARN TO USE THE EL/APL SYSTEM.  FFS.  NO, A WIGHT IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE ENCOUNTER FOR 1st LEVEL CHARACTERS.

3.  NPCs are for buying shit off of and plot line.  They are not there to do everything while your players watch in mute admiration.

4.  LET THE DICE FALL WHERE THEY MAY.  If someone croaks, they croak.  If the players own the fuck out of your bad guy, learn from it and drive on.  Fudging rolls is for sissies.

5.  Class abilities are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE REALISTIC.  The PCs are FANTASY HEROES, not cops in NYC.  No part of the "evasion" class ability says the rogue needs something to hide behind, etc, to avoid damage on a successful reflex save.  It just happens.

6.  No.  You did NOT roll 12 consecutive crits after a nat 20 on initiative, screen monkey.  You know it, we know it, and you're about to eat that screen you're cheating behind.

7.  MOST IMPORTANT:  PREPARE.  Do not "wing it".  We can tell.  If you don't have the time or the desire to put some preparation into your campaign, step aside and let the man go through, let the man go through.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 01, 2010, 08:29:09 pm
I ran this campaign last year in which the PCs made two characters, a low level one and a high level one

the low level PCs were trying to get into this guild, and the high level PCs were the highest ranking members and guild masters

(so they were essentially sending themselves on missions)


this one guy decided his high level character was going to be like 3 levels of paladin and then 10+ levels of templates. He was an angelic half-dragon minotaur or something crazy like that.

On the first day of game, the PCs arrived at their guild hall just as the sun was setting. Everybody's character said "Okay I go to bed, we'll start the quest in the morning." Except the fucking minotaur. Who told me he will take the fatigued status and stay up all night.

"Okay, what are you doing all night?" I asked him.

"Well, I can cast continual light twice a day as a spell-like ability. So I cast one on each of my horns."

"Okay..." I said skeptically. "Now you have golden, glowing minotaur horns."

"Then I use my angel wings to fly above the city, looking out for crime."

"Let me see your character sheet," I said.

He handed it to me.

I tore it up.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 08:31:56 pm
Agree wholeheartedly on #4.  DMs should obey dice too.  Mark it zero, as they say.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 08:35:33 pm


Doesn't help.

Also, while we're on the subject, the fastest way to get laughed out of my group is to ask to play a drow or some templated crap.

If you have to rely on a hackneyed cliche to make your character "interesting", then you are utterly without worth as a RPG player.  ESPECIALLY in Pathfinder, where you can tool your race and class...Besides the fact that there's a little something called FUCKING BACKSTORY.  AND CHARACTERIZATION.  Drizzle dorkdom has been done to fucking DEATH.

And assholes who play CN and then excuse their disruptive shit with "I'M ONLY PLAYING MY ALIGNMENT" are typically murdered and thrown in the nearest pit trap.  WHO CHOSE THE ALIGNMENT, FUCKWAD?



But I like CN. I can play it properly without being disruptive. :argh!: And the one time I fucked over a party while playing I was LN. :lulz: I decided the honorable thing to do was to sell out the rest of party as they were a bunch of back stabbing thieves and terrorists.

And templates are for the DM to make wicked shit for the PCs to fight. END OF STORY. No fucking templated PCs.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 08:36:13 pm
Agree wholeheartedly on #4.  DMs should obey dice too.  Mark it zero, as they say.

Agreed. If you don't want to abide by the dice then don't play a game that uses fucking dice.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on December 01, 2010, 08:36:30 pm
FUCK chaotic neutral. 

And for that matter, CE, TN, and NE can also go to hell.

TN can be played two ways, and fuck the hippy version.

And no evil characters are permitted in my campaign.  WHAT PART OF "HERO" DO THESE PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND?  Evil people are for being chopped up in the final encounter.

Also, having tried my hand as a player, with the exception of Sister Fracture and Frank the Bastard, every DM in Tucson bites balls.

1.  Book rules or GTFO.  I don't care if you think the cleric is a broken class, work harder on your fucking encounters and fucking deal with it.

2.  LEARN TO USE THE EL/APL SYSTEM.  FFS.  NO, A WIGHT IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE ENCOUNTER FOR 1st LEVEL CHARACTERS.

3.  NPCs are for buying shit off of and plot line.  They are not there to do everything while your players watch in mute admiration.

4.  LET THE DICE FALL WHERE THEY MAY.  If someone croaks, they croak.  If the players own the fuck out of your bad guy, learn from it and drive on.  Fudging rolls is for sissies.

5.  Class abilities are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE REALISTIC.  The PCs are FANTASY HEROES, not cops in NYC.  No part of the "evasion" class ability says the rogue needs something to hide behind, etc, to avoid damage on a successful reflex save.  It just happens.

6.  No.  You did NOT roll 12 consecutive crits after a nat 20 on initiative, screen monkey.  You know it, we know it, and you're about to eat that screen you're cheating behind.

7.  MOST IMPORTANT:  PREPARE.  Do not "wing it".  We can tell.  If you don't have the time or the desire to put some preparation into your campaign, step aside and let the man go through, let the man go through.

THIS! FOR THE LOVE OF GARY GYGAX THIS!

Except house rules are ok if they aren't major changes.

(For example, we have a house rule that a 1 on an attack will always result in a dropped weapon, broken bow string or if you are using fists, an AoO)

And to be fair on the evil bit... I was once part of an evil campaign. It was awesome and there have been five campaigns since then by Good guys to fix the horrible mess they left the world in.

Also, CN can be played entirely appropriately. It doesn't mean you're batshit crazy, it means you tend to do what's best for you, but if you like someone you might help them out.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 08:40:43 pm
Agree wholeheartedly on #4.  DMs should obey dice too.  Mark it zero, as they say.

Agreed. If you don't want to abide by the dice then don't play a game that uses fucking dice.

Besides, when the dice smile upon you it's a really big kick.  Like when you and your buddy bluff your way into an abandoned missile silo guarded by dozens of scary ass alien demons, waltz straight into their main chamber, fuck up their portal and climb out through the launch doors just as they realize how stupid you made them look, and make off laughing like bastards. 

Of course, if I wasn't luckier than hell, we'd be dead.  The GM said to us, I will kill you guys if you let me.  We didn't.  8)
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 01, 2010, 08:43:24 pm
Agree wholeheartedly on #4.  DMs should obey dice too.  Mark it zero, as they say.

Agreed. If you don't want to abide by the dice then don't play a game that uses fucking dice.

Besides, when the dice smile upon you it's a really big kick.  Like when you and your buddy bluff your way into an abandoned missile silo guarded by dozens of scary ass alien demons, waltz straight into their main chamber, fuck up their portal and climb out through the launch doors just as they realize how stupid you made them look, and make off laughing like bastards. 

Of course, if I wasn't luckier than hell, we'd be dead.  The GM said to us, I will kill you guys if you let me.  We didn't.  8)

And that is why I like dice.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cain on December 01, 2010, 08:46:01 pm
Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil are the alignments most likely to be picked by complete idiots.

I actually can pull off a fairly convincing Chaotic Neutral, it's just well...it's like Pinealists.  Pinealists have to show you how wacky they are.  Bad CN players have to show you how "chaotic" and "unpredictable" they are.

And then you have the Chaotic Evil team mate who decides it would be really chaotic and evil to stab his team mates in the back and ruin the whole game.

Lawful Good invariably devolves into either Lawful Stupid, or Stupid Good, unless in the hands of a decent player.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 08:48:33 pm
True.

No matter what alignment you play though, playing the alignment should come second to being a fun person to have around.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 01, 2010, 08:58:33 pm
True.

No matter what alignment you play though, playing the alignment should come second to being a fun person to have around.

yesssss, this!


remember Tiax from baldur's gate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLAatFzWeIg)? You were nervous to let him join your party because he was a CN berserker or something... but then everything that came out of his mouth was pure gold
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cain on December 01, 2010, 09:09:30 pm
"You have disturbed Tiax the Grand again! Such insolence! Tiax will place a mark of shame upon your forehead! All will know of your treachery!"

"It would appear that … the great and … mighty Tiax … has shrunk his undergarments … three sizes this day!  Excuse … the mighty Tiax … while he catches his … his breath … He will rule … later …"

As I recall, he was a Chaotic Evil Cleric of Cyric/Thief.  Edwin was also pretty awesome, despite being Lawful Evil.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Jasper on December 01, 2010, 09:45:34 pm
Tiax rules.  :D
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on December 02, 2010, 10:09:27 am
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

It's the sound players make, when during character generation, they roll up a low Consonant score.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on December 02, 2010, 10:24:26 am
Except house rules are ok if they aren't major changes.

(For example, we have a house rule that a 1 on an attack will always result in a dropped weapon, broken bow string or if you are using fists, an AoO)

Well it's your house rule, so your call, but that sounds like it would get real old, really fast. That's one in twenty rolls, so it would happen once or twice every encounter, at least! Of course, if the enemies follow the same rule, it's fair so maybe not so bad ... if you happen to like roleplaying a world where all the races have Parkinson.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 02, 2010, 02:30:07 pm
As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

what's ae/au again?

It's the sound players make, when during character generation, they roll up a low Consonant score.

 :lulz:

if you happen to like roleplaying a world where all the races have Parkinson.

OMG somebody make this a setting NOW
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on December 02, 2010, 03:20:00 pm
Except house rules are ok if they aren't major changes.

(For example, we have a house rule that a 1 on an attack will always result in a dropped weapon, broken bow string or if you are using fists, an AoO)

Well it's your house rule, so your call, but that sounds like it would get real old, really fast. That's one in twenty rolls, so it would happen once or twice every encounter, at least! Of course, if the enemies follow the same rule, it's fair so maybe not so bad ... if you happen to like roleplaying a world where all the races have Parkinson.


AHAHAHAHAHA  :lulz: s'Why I carry more than a single weapon ;-)

Ironically the only thing thats gotten me lately (this week  in fact) is when I failed my Orb of Fire attack on a Myconid... I didn't roll a one, I rolled an 8, but it was more than 4 off so I had to roll to see if I hit the monk who was hitting the Myconid...

2d8+2 fire on a third level monk... put him at -8 HP.

I had rolled a 1 on a melee attack the scene before and just dropped my weapon. The "miss by more than four in a ranged attack in melee" is a book rule not a house rule.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cainad (dec.) on December 03, 2010, 10:40:42 pm
It's no fun fighting things that act like they only exist to be killed.

very true. But lots of players don't agree, and it get's magnified in MMOs, which thanks to the feedback of certain table top games emulating MMOs can get worse.

And at the same time, when your group is starting out you can't be flinging crazy crap at them.

As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

I'm looking at running an Arcana Evolved game sometime in the future. What do you find good about it, and what do you do differently from the book?
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 03, 2010, 11:13:05 pm
It's no fun fighting things that act like they only exist to be killed.

very true. But lots of players don't agree, and it get's magnified in MMOs, which thanks to the feedback of certain table top games emulating MMOs can get worse.

And at the same time, when your group is starting out you can't be flinging crazy crap at them.

As an aside I don't even play 3/3.5, I use AE/AU with some crossover stuff from 3/3.5, all the spellcasters use at least d6 for hit dice.

I'm looking at running an Arcana Evolved game sometime in the future. What do you find good about it, and what do you do differently from the book?

Most of it pretty gold. I hate the exotic light/heavy weapon division, but I am all bitchy about how weapon proficiencies get handled in most games, which feeds into I lifted the weapon group proficiencies from Unearthed Arcana(not to be confused with Arcana Unearthed :lulz:). And if you haven't sit down and compare how AE differens from 3.5, some of the feats and skills differ in interesting ways.

Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on December 03, 2010, 11:36:59 pm
Oh, jesus! I am listening to Antony & the Johnsons, THANKS EOT and it makes my soul hurt. ALSO I THINK I LOVE CRAMULUS.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on December 03, 2010, 11:37:38 pm
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WITH AN ACTUAL DICK.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 03, 2010, 11:39:23 pm
Except house rules are ok if they aren't major changes.

(For example, we have a house rule that a 1 on an attack will always result in a dropped weapon, broken bow string or if you are using fists, an AoO)

Well it's your house rule, so your call, but that sounds like it would get real old, really fast. That's one in twenty rolls, so it would happen once or twice every encounter, at least! Of course, if the enemies follow the same rule, it's fair so maybe not so bad ... if you happen to like roleplaying a world where all the races have Parkinson.


That is also like just totally like OMG unrealistically punitive towards the players.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 04, 2010, 02:35:39 pm
it's probably actually worse for the DM - over the course of an average session, the DM makes more to-hit rolls than the PCs and will therefore experience more Parkinson's.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Don Coyote on December 04, 2010, 07:12:30 pm
it's probably actually worse for the DM - over the course of an average session, the DM makes more to-hit rolls than the PCs and will therefore experience more Parkinson's.

Aside from that adding more work for the DM, it is still adding what I would find to be an unenjoyable rule to combat which is punitive in nature to the players.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on December 04, 2010, 07:31:40 pm
I don't recall posting ITT.  :?
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Triple Zero on December 05, 2010, 01:13:22 am
I don't recall posting ITT.  :?

I was kind of wondering wtf you were on about, yeah. Prolly the food poisoning hallucinations thing, I suppose?
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on December 05, 2010, 01:23:42 am
I don't recall posting ITT.  :?

I was kind of wondering wtf you were on about, yeah. Prolly the food poisoning hallucinations thing, I suppose?

I'm guessing... I just washed the dishes and found that at some point I puked in the sink. I don't want to know what else I got up to.
Title: Re: So where did these roles come from, anyway?
Post by: Cramulus on December 06, 2010, 08:31:20 pm
[I split off the stuff about my campaign in case people are still interested in talking about class roles]