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Old 05-12-2007, 12:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
There's definitely a hack-and-slash mentality since you get XP for destroying anything and everything--that part I don't like. I'm just now reading WoD after playing VtMB (and deciding I really can't play that til the kids get older unless I can find a group here in town that plays). I like how they reward 'quests completed' instead of 'things destroyed'--that makes more sense to me. In fact, it took me awhile playing VtM to be comfortable with the concept 'hey, I don't _have_ to kill all these guys--I can sneak around them/lure them away'. With the XP In D&D there's no real incentive built into the game to solve a problem in a creative way, like finding a secret door to get to a room that bypasses the monsters. That's always been an issue for that game. Unless you have a good GM. In some of the published adventures the writers are now starting to say 'if they manage to make the monster happy and not kill him, give them the XP they'd normally get plus x amount for creativity'.
Heck, I'd give more xp than killing the monster would kill, since that's a greater challenge. Sometimes that means capturing the monster, which is definitely more difficult than just putting a sword in it.

I do give out xp for kills in my 2e game, but only for monsters, not for treasure claimed, because getting the treasure is a reward in itself. And 2e xp awards for killing monsters are horribly low. Good luck to anyone wanting to rise to high levels doing so in my campaign - it'll take a long time indeed.

Instead I give out story goal awards. In short, if the PCs are able to achieve a goal, especially if they can do it well, then they get extra xp for that. And those xp are much, much larger than anything they can get for monster-slashing.

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Why you'd want to have a fighter class and just pick 'scribe scroll' for the heck of it I don't know, so yeah, that skill would be useless. In some respects WoD is just as artificial--I have a decent dexterity, but that doesn't give me automatic knowledge of lockpicking or using firearms, and there are no skills outside the ones in the game (which admittedly are quite a few). Your clan does limit your choices somewhat--if you pick a Ventrue you're going to go for different skills than if you play Nosferatu, and in the computer game at least, since your disciplines are set, it does drive the skill levels you pick to a certain extent.
If Vampire or Werewolf are too dark, then I recommend Exalted:

It basically uses the same system, but the characters are all semi-gods in a japanese-inspired fantasy world similar to the anime-movie Ninja Scroll. There's a huge backstory to go through, but it's all very interesting and compelling. Sure, there are also some truly dark areas - like with the Abyssals - but you don't need to go anywhere near them as GM, if you don't want to - you just need to know as GM that they are there and why.

Of course, you could also do what I'm currently considering, which is running my existing D&D game world with GURPS Fantasy/Magic rules.

Your point about xp for achievements instead of monster-slashing is my point out 3.Xe/d20 being "outdated". Most RPGs have long since abandoned the idea that good role-playing is based on hack 'n slash, but with 3e, D&D seemed to insist on returning to the roots of monster-slashing and dungeon-crawling. 2e isn't that much better, of course, but 2e hails way back from the late 80s when tabletop RPGs were barely out of their infancy. And 2e tried purposefully to stay very close to 1e AD&D.

3e, however, makes a point of being a totally different game. That's fine, but for a new system that tries to not be a mere revision of earlier editions, it is incredibly inflexible and rigid for a game system released in the last decade. 2e Player Option rules had far more flexibility than 3e/3.5e has. And 3.Xe also insists on stupid and cumbersome rules like how spellcasters provoke attacks of opportunity if they cast spells near an enemy. That was not in there before. I particularly dislike that rule because it makes wizards more extreme while it also forces them to build the Concentration skill. A low-level wizard has always been puny in D&D - the worst and most limited character you could ever play. Now he's even worse. If the wizard went high levels, however, he was virtually godlike. Now he is even worse in that area, because he can probably concentrate his spells through any attack. That also was not allowed before. High-leveled wizards were already the most powerful characters in 2e. Now they are even worse at low levels and even more undefeatable at high ones.

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
All that being said, a good GM will work with the strengths and around the limitations of the game for the sake of creating a good story for his/her particular group. If you have a fighter who's picked up a funky skill, a good GM can work with that and capitalize on that to create opportunities in the game that s/he might not ordinarily have with a 'regular' character, even if the skill choice is really dumb. So yeah, some skills work better with some classes than others, but that doesn't mean they're always useless. Right now our family game has a party of 2 paladins and a rogue (Jimbo of course. ). Jimbo decided to cross-class as a wizard to add in some magic-using for the party. I'll probably use the tips in DMG 2 to create a prestige class for him to meet the needs of our particular campaign. I think there's one in the 'Complete Adventurer' already but I think with the particular set of skills in our party we'll end up needing something more tailor-made.
Decent rules are no substitute for a good GM. Heck, a good GM can make any game work, no matter how stupid the rules are. Because a good GM also know when to throw the rules out. I really don't care how many millions of hit points that fighter has - if he falls from a mountain for a mile onto sharp, pointed while wearing his platemail, then he's dead. Period! I don't care what the bloody rules say! And if you uber-Sith Lord is still aboard that stardestroyer when the rebels destroy it, then you're also dead - I don't care how powerful your character is or what force-powers he had!

I still run a campaign on 2e rules, which we all agree are highly inflexible and inferior to most other rules out there. But it doesn't matter because the campaign works and the characters are interesting. The first is my credits, since I run the campaign and its plots, and the second is to my players' credit, because they've made good characters with rich backgrounds. Sure, that ranger in my campaign might be so good with the bow that he can outshoot Legolas, but that's incidental - it's not the reason why the player will never forget the character.

A good GM can even make 3e work. The question is why he or she would want to? I run 2e because it's convenient to the campaign world I like. 3e, however, just recycles old campaign worlds like FR and GH, so unless it's something original like Eberron, there really is no need.

And for the record, yes, I have played 3e as both player and GM. I've even written adventures for 3e, even though I don't like the system (and no, I won't tell anyone where they can download those).

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