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[5e] Gloomhaven as a ttrpg?

capnzapp

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Spells need a complete new framework.

In Gloomhaven, you* set up "elemental infusions" that you then can use to "augment" your* abilities. There are six "winds of magic":
*) anyone really - allies and monsters included


Fire, Ice, Air, Earth, Light, Dark

Gloomhaven is considerably lower magic than regular D&D - high level D&D spells aren't really appropriate. On the other hand, GH is focused entirely on combat, so low-level D&D "social" and "exploration" spells would be welcome additions.

You would need to solve the "15 rounds to exhaustion" thing first however; in GH you don't really need any separate cost or restriction on magic (such as "mana points" or "spell slots").

The way you can "steal" the infusions that others do is an aspect of GH magic I would like to keep of course.
 
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Victim

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Holy shit, just saw the other thread where you talked about limiting spoilers... I don't see how you could talk about the overall context of whether or not the game is high or low magic without getting into spoilery bits for later missions and characters.

Spoiler: Show

Is GH lower magic than regular DnD? You can visit other planes through magic (although from an NPC), overpower a demon lord in their lair, and defeat a force responsible for previously destroying civilization. Event cards sometimes let magic using characters easily deal with large fires or temporarily tame raging rivers. One of the characters can be an avatar of a forgotten god. There are actions that are basically aoe instant kills, and some spells seem reminiscent of DnD's high level prismatic effects with the barrage of related elements.

Not all DnD type magic seems to be available, and character power level is not terribly consistent IMO. But the peaks certainly seem pretty high level in DnD terms. I mean, non-'magic' actions generally stay competitive from equally built up characters, so it's lower magic in that sense. And the game is designed with less automatic scaling essentially - even high level characters still need to properly manage their cards to do well; you can never really reach a point where raw stats will just trivialize enemies such that you can just instant win even while doing dumb stuff. But there's a high level Spellweaver card called Black Hole. That is not a low magic kind of thing.
 
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capnzapp

Registered User
Validated User
Holy shit, just saw the other thread where you talked about limiting spoilers... I don't see how you could talk about the overall context of whether or not the game is high or low magic without getting into spoilery bits for later missions and characters.
Then please do, just like Victim does here :)

Spoiler: Show

Is GH lower magic than regular DnD? You can visit other planes through magic (although from an NPC), overpower a demon lord in their lair, and defeat a force responsible for previously destroying civilization. Event cards sometimes let magic using characters easily deal with large fires or temporarily tame raging rivers. One of the characters can be an avatar of a forgotten god. There are actions that are basically aoe instant kills, and some spells seem reminiscent of DnD's high level prismatic effects with the barrage of related elements.

Not all DnD type magic seems to be available, and character power level is not terribly consistent IMO. But the peaks certainly seem pretty high level in DnD terms. I mean, non-'magic' actions generally stay competitive from equally built up characters, so it's lower magic in that sense. And the game is designed with less automatic scaling essentially - even high level characters still need to properly manage their cards to do well; you can never really reach a point where raw stats will just trivialize enemies such that you can just instant win even while doing dumb stuff. But there's a high level Spellweaver card called Black Hole. That is not a low magic kind of thing.
I'm not worried about what the cards say, but what they actually do.

I fully expect the basic fact that GH is a board game and how that means heroes are limited to influencing... a board, to be decisive in keeping it fairly low fantasy.

Background story elements (such as event cards) notwithstanding.
 

capnzapp

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Observations:

The number of combat turns between resting is almost identical in 5E and GH: about 5 or so.

If you consider each room of GH to be its own battle, and the immediacy of the next room as a boardgame conceat, you can map abilities almost 1:1

A D&D Brute class should: definitely have real tanking ability (a concept D&D has always* been weak on), should be able to strike through to the rear rank and/or do "double" or whirlwind attacks. In essence, the Brute is the warrior the Fighter has always wanted to be.

A D&D Scoundrel class would be a vast improvement over the Rogue in combat. In GH, playing the Scoundrel is an exhilariting experience - thanks to your ability to go first or last, and your superior movement, you feel almost as the party's leader - you're often the one setting the pace, opening the next door. In D&D, a Scoundrel class should remain squishy. Sneak attack should be refined: it shouldn't apply every round, but it should be devastating when you do apply it. You should gain some "untouchable" ability (since Invisibility is already an entrenched concept in D&D, I suggest a "meld into shadows" ability that drops you from the radar of enemies.) A Scoundrel should definitely be encouraged to enter melee, with abilities that allow hit and run attacks.

I could go on with more of the (starting) GH classes, but these two really put the spotlight on D&Ds washed-out roles. Especially for non-magical classes (soch as Fighter and Rogue). GH combat feels so much fresher, and really highlights how non-magical classes in D&D are held hostage by the "only magic can explain cool stuff, so only spellcasters should get cool stuff" crowd.

When thinking about developing a set of six starting D&D classes based on Brute, Scoundrel, Cragheart, Spellweaver, Mindthief and Tinkerer... what really strikes you is... how it really is the Brute and the Scoundrel that would be the real upgrades.

The Mindthief is mostly just complicated and cluttered, and the Cragheart's ability to affect "obstacles" feels boardgamey. (Doesn't mean a D&D implementation wouldn't be cool. Just that it doesn't feel like absolutely necessary) The Wizard is already a strong implementation of the Spellweaver; and I guess I can wait for WotC's implementation of Artificer for Tinkerer.

In contrast, D&D has always lacked a real Tank - i.e. someone who is not king of DPS, but still is the star of the show, by soaking or negating enemy attacks. And a real DPS striker - i.e. someone not saddled down with OOC concerns; one truly at home in the midst of combat, that truly is given alpha strikes that is the envy of everyone else.





*) I am invariably excluding 4E from my analyses
 
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