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NathanS

Active member
Banned
Validated User
I've found that the 3.5 games I've been involved in from both ends of the table tend towards intelligent, typically humanoid enemies instead of monsters. We're not fighting a bunch of hill giants or bulettes so often as we're fighting a carefully min-maxed quartet of elemental ninjas or a wizard conjuring up randomly-placed walls.
I fail to see how D&D 3.x does this any better then any other edition. Playing monsters smart is just that, playing them smart.
 

Armchair Gamer

New member
So my boyfriend finally finished reading this and had a couple of things to say on Si&Sp:
Another description for Si&Sp might be 'hard fantasy'--the magical equivalent of 'hard science fiction'. As your boyfriend notes, it is the style best suited to serious world building and exploration of the 'laws of nature'.

I've theorized that all flavors of D&D support exploration, it's just a question of what kind they emphasize. Dungeoncrawling & Demons is the classic dungeon delving, Knaves & Kobolds does that and also includes 'hexcrawls', Galactic Dragons & Godwars tends towards planar expeditions and awe-inspiring vistas, Paladins & Princesses to wonder, beauty and elaboration of history and legends, Misfits & Mayhem towards the bizarre, Castles & Cronies to political 'exploration' and resource-seeking.
 

Lizard

Global Village Grouch
Validated User
I fail to see how D&D 3.x does this any better then any other edition. Playing monsters smart is just that, playing them smart.
More tools for building opponents in a way that gets player buy-in.

"Wait, he hit me with a FOUR?"
"Yeah, he's got Str 20, Weapon Focus, a +2 sword, and a feat that gives him +2 when he's flanked."
"Oh, OK, then."

This sits better with me, and the people I play with, than "Yeah, he's an orc elite champion, he's got a bonus." It may be the opposite for you.
 

Pteryx

Simulator & Spellcaster
Validated User
Another description for Si&Sp might be 'hard fantasy'--the magical equivalent of 'hard science fiction'. As your boyfriend notes, it is the style best suited to serious world building and exploration of the 'laws of nature'.
And he and I devour that kind of thing. :D We have some serious deconstructionist and reconstructionist tendencies.

I fail to see how D&D 3.x does this any better then any other edition. Playing monsters smart is just that, playing them smart.
More tools for building opponents in a way that gets player buy-in.

"Wait, he hit me with a FOUR?"
"Yeah, he's got Str 20, Weapon Focus, a +2 sword, and a feat that gives him +2 when he's flanked."
"Oh, OK, then."

This sits better with me, and the people I play with, than "Yeah, he's an orc elite champion, he's got a bonus." It may be the opposite for you.
What Lizard describes is a familiar song and part of what I mean, though not the whole of it. I'm not talking about "playing monsters smart", I'm talking about sapient creatures as the favored type of enemy. While in combat this has the kinds of results Lizard describes, it also means different types of adventures out of combat. We have fewer rampaging monsters eating the farmers' cows and more urban adventures. -- Pteryx
 

Pedantic

Idealist
Validated User
What Lizard describes is a familiar song and part of what I mean, though not the whole of it. I'm not talking about "playing monsters smart", I'm talking about sapient creatures as the favored type of enemy. While in combat this has the kinds of results Lizard describes, it also means different types of adventures out of combat. We have fewer rampaging monsters eating the farmers' cows and more urban adventures. -- Pteryx
Urban intrigue dominates my campaigns as well. I can't remember the last time I used an evil humanoid race as just an evil humanoid race either. Generally I try to rework them to have coherent cultures that still put them in conflict with established civilization, or put them in service to someone with interests and influence beyond force of arms.
 
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medivh

New member
Banned
More tools for building opponents in a way that gets player buy-in.

"Wait, he hit me with a FOUR?"
"Yeah, he's got Str 20, Weapon Focus, a +2 sword, and a feat that gives him +2 when he's flanked."
"Oh, OK, then."

This sits better with me, and the people I play with, than "Yeah, he's an orc elite champion, he's got a bonus." It may be the opposite for you.
The most annoying thing ever is the +5 because I say so bonus. I tended to meet that a lot more in 3E than I now do in 4E because in 4E, you don't have to do so much book-keeping to get him +5 to attack.

(In 3E you must either give some magical bonus that the players will later loot or spend some time levelling the guy up, a fate worse than death.)
 

Eurhetemec

New member
Banned
"Yeah, he did. How about that?"
Exactly. Who even argues with that? I've literally never come across a player aged over 14 who tried to argue this (not that I'm accusing those who do, if they exist, of being juvenile - I've just never seen it). Players reminding me of penalties they imposed or situational AC bonuses or so on, and asking "Is that still a hit?" sure, but that's fine and expected, but I've never come across the situation Lizard talks about where I have to give a bonus-by-bonus breakdown on how the enemy came to hit the PC. I mean, that's kind of mind-boggling, to me.

More tools for building opponents in a way that gets player buy-in.

"Wait, he hit me with a FOUR?"
"Yeah, he's got Str 20, Weapon Focus, a +2 sword, and a feat that gives him +2 when he's flanked."
"Oh, OK, then."

This sits better with me, and the people I play with, than "Yeah, he's an orc elite champion, he's got a bonus." It may be the opposite for you.
That seems profoundly and totally unnecessary to me. Are you honestly saying that you have players who don't "buy in" if you can't explain, in detail and precision (as per the example), how an enemy came to hit them, numerically-speaking? It seems like that sort of thing is pretty deeply anti-immersive, despite it's obvious simulationist properties.
 

Pedantic

Idealist
Validated User
That seems profoundly and totally unnecessary to me. Are you honestly saying that you have players who don't "buy in" if you can't explain, in detail and precision (as per the example), how an enemy came to hit them, numerically-speaking? It seems like that sort of thing is pretty deeply anti-immersive, despite it's obvious simulationist properties.
I don't generally have to explain these sorts of things because either, I'm playing FC and we accept separate NPC creation rules as a cost of entry, or my players trust that I've done this properly. The point is that everyone is playing by the same rules.

The same sorts of conditions exist for say, spells. If it can be done magically, then the players could learn to do it. Whatever mystical defenses the evil archmage has, they are the same defenses available to anyone who put in the time and effort to put them up at his level.
 
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