Page 814 - Munchkin Defense

8th Oct 2016, 6:00 AM
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Munchkin Defense
Average Rating: 4.5 (2 votes)
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Newbiespud 8th Oct 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
It's sort of baked into D&D at this point that character creation is half the fun. Sometimes even more fun than actually playing them.

My first 4e campaign went on forever, but I vaguely remember being in the epic 21-30 tier as an illusionist Wizard and not being able to hit anything if I rolled lower than an 18, while the rest of the party was becoming literal gods of the battlefield. It wasn't a dealbreaker at the time because the DM was good at setting up challenges beyond just statting tough creatures, and my focus was on roleplaying anyway, but it's sort of stuck with me ever since. It might be why I like systems like Pony Tales and Wanderlust so much, where there's no to-hit roll.

37 Comments:

Boris Carlot 8th Oct 2016, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
I love chargen, which is fortunate 'cause I've only managed to get one character out of the Level 1-4 doldrums. Progression remains a theory, a myth, a beautiful dream.
Digo Dragon 8th Oct 2016, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I never had a D&D 3.5 character pass 4th level. I share your beautiful dream of obtaining 3rd level spells.
aylatrigger 8th Oct 2016, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
aylatrigger
The trick is to have your GM give levels out quickly. That way you get more play sessions in and levels before the inevitable death or distraction.
True Hitoare 8th Oct 2016, 8:42 AM edit delete reply
Could try starting a campaign above level 1?
Anvildude 8th Oct 2016, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
Although I like the idea of building a character with the story, I do find that it makes a LOT of things easier if you can start your journey with a somewhat experienced adventurer. It makes it so that you don't need to figure out why they're adventuring right away (it can be made-up backstory later!), it lets you start specializing so that you're less tempted to Jack-of-all-trades things, and with that specialization, it allows you to create or find a niche in the party a lot easier.

Level 5 tends to be a nice place, I think.
Digo Dragon 8th Oct 2016, 12:24 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
The trick is finding a group with a GM I can join. So far all the games I've been to have collapsed before 5th level. Two of them started at 3rd level.
Specter 8th Oct 2016, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
Specter
From a fresh character, our group never get's beyond fifth level. I remember because I was always one step away from the one thing I always wanted, Leadership.
Mykin 8th Oct 2016, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Mykin
Wait, wait, wait, wait. You guys are saying that there is such a thing as a "Level 5"?

I kid, of course, but only slightly. I think the only times I've ever gotten outside of the level 1 - 4 pit is if I'm making a character that is already starting out as a higher level than that. And even then, the idea of those characters ever leveling up once while I play them is a bit of a pipe dream for me. As much as I love the idea of having a character start out as level 1 and taking them all the way to, say, level 5, most groups I'm with tend to get bored too quickly to stick with their game for the amount of time necessary to accomplish that. Even with an accelerated xp gain set. The only group that doesn't have that problem is my FOE group and that game is ending soon... well, as soon as our GM manages to get a Saturday off from work so we can actually get around to ending it.
Digo Dragon 9th Oct 2016, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
The insult to my injury is that I've run many D&D 3.5 games and they've all gotten to level 12+ even when I start really low, like level 2.

I guess this is why I like level-less systems. It doesn't bring the old pain of never getting far with a character. Then again, my FOE character did reach level 7, so at THAT character is getting somewhere. Not sure how that translates to D&D, since it's not a d20 system...
Evilbob 11th Oct 2016, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
@Mykin: Don't worry. I'm a bit tired of low-level doldrums too. I plan on tying the gas pedal to the floor and gluing it there.

I mean, what's the worst that could happen?
Chrysalis 8th Oct 2016, 7:35 PM edit delete reply
It really depends on the GM being active, and keeping everyone to a date. They also have to be able to plan around eventual distractions, like a shift in schedules and all that.

I've had several DMs crap out quickly, but when you find the one good one that sticks to things and keeps the group coming back, it's a great thing. My best campaign saw me meteorically rise to level 17 Druid, with a level 13 Bard follower, thanks to the Leadership feet. It was great, the Druid was a caster base, with a secondary in wildshaping, while the bard was a Deathsinger, that kept things in a constant state of panic, if not outright fear the whole time. And it was the most rewarding, because we'd started out at level one, so I got to do the whole thing from the ground up.

Personally, I hate it when you start on a higher level, it never feels like you have the time to flesh out your character. I love to watch my characters not only grow in power, but to leave a story behind, as they go. As it is, my group's newer campaigns have constant throwbacks to those characters, like the ancestors of said heroes, or those inspired by their actions seeking their own glory much like they did.

I think the best thing that Druid did, was that it took a kingdom that had been completely ravaged and abandoned by the coming of an evil deity, layed claim to the whole thing as her reward, and founded a Natural Kingdom upon the foundation of the old, making it the first true Kingdom of the Druids. ;p Hehe, Applejack was a super fun character, and Pinkamena at her side was an absolute delight. ;p
Digo Dragon 9th Oct 2016, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I agree about the issue with starting off higher level. I like to start low (I'll go 1st level if offered) so that I can get a feel for the character's starting personality and growth by adventuring.
Crazy Tom 9th Oct 2016, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
Crazy Tom
Maybe my group is just exceptional, then. If we start a game, we almost always get to level 12+ (playing Pathfinder). My best was a game where we actually went all the way from 1-20, and at the end the players were so godlike and so intertwined with the world that I felt bad when it ended.

We had the kineticist who was casually throwing tsunamis around. The rogue who was a (sap) master with his kicks. The wizard who was actually related to the 'big bads' (they weren't really bad, but they were the villains), and ended up siding with them in the final confrontation. The ghostly bloodrager who became the herald of Pharasma.

Those were some fun times. The final boss fight was great, I threw four epic-level bards and an epic-level wizard at them.
Destrustor 9th Oct 2016, 11:55 AM edit delete reply
Destrustor
Yeah, my group also regularly goes into levels 15+ in our pathfinder games. I once had a character get to something like level 45 in D&D 3.5.

It's not all good, though; I think the main reason we stick with games is that we're a very small group (Usually a DM and 3 players max, sometimes less) so we don't have a lot of concurrent games to pick and choose from.

There's also the issue where we kind of want to finish campaigns (a lot of us are sick to death of games dying on us and never getting a resolution), so we rarely start new ones.

And I mostly personally don't like creating new characters. Offering me too many choices is the best way to make me pick none, and cracking open a brand new character is nothing but too many choices. There's also the fact that my roleplaying takes a fairly long time to develop, mostly by forging a personality around the past events of the campaign.

So yeah, I wouldn't call them long-running (a year-old campaign of one session per two weeks ended recently, at level 32+), but long-lived characters are my favorites since they're pretty much the only way for me to get a well-rounded, developed, comfortable character.
Winged Cat 9th Oct 2016, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I've had enough campaigns die quickly, that I watch for signs of it early on, and try to provide hints and help to the GM if I see it starting to happen.

The biggest problem is missed sessions that are not called out in advance. Occasional missed sessions happen, but everyone else needs to know beforehand so they can do other things with their time. A GM can blame RL for sudden skips all they want, but problematic ones never seem to realize even when it is pointed out in detail that the skips themselves are not as much of a problem as not telling people in advance.

If anyone knows of a way to explain this such that most GMs who suffer from this problem can understand, and will at least start telling players beforehand when a skip will happen, I'd like to know.

(Then again, announcing a skip requires forethought, and the refusal to plan ahead may be the issue most of the time, since said planning may also find ways to avoid a skip. There are several other GMly things that require advance planning too, so someone trying to GM who refuses to do this may be a warning sign in general.)
JSchunx 10th Oct 2016, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
I, as a DM, typically toss out a level anytime the party completes a significant quest, typically once per 2-3 sessions, though at one point it seemed like it was once a session, we were really crackin' down and making good progress.

In my brother's campaign, he's starting to lean in more to this idea as well, and the party's hit level 5 from starting at 1 over the course of about a dozen sessions or so.

Side note, in pathfinder it turns out summoners can get the haste spell at level 4, when they get 2nd level spells. I cannot overstate how useful that spell is, seriously. My summoner is the friggin' best.
HSDclover 10th Oct 2016, 7:49 PM edit delete reply
I once got a fresh character to level 30 (ok, there was a time skip in the mid 20s to thirty).

That game took all of highschool.
ANW 8th Oct 2016, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
She was on a roll, then ended up convincing herself.
Ever had you character do that?
Pablo360 8th Oct 2016, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
Pablo360
I've done that to myself, in a way. I've never shared the details with anyone before, and I don't think I will now, but I am a better person for it, because I managed to convince myself that a certain belief I held was wrong simply by trying to convince myself it was right, and it's all thanks to Dan Shive.
Guest 8th Oct 2016, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
Well now I'm going to be wondering all day which of the many potentially touchy subjects that come up in EGS you're referring to.
IceDrake 8th Oct 2016, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
Who else deliberately engineers problems into their character? I do it so that I'm not tempted to min-max.

"He's never going to be a perfect. I hereby give myself permission to make an flawed character."
Guest 8th Oct 2016, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
One time I made a half-orc cleric with a charisma of 1. The math said I could turn undead -1 times per day, so we decided that meant that the first time in a day we met undead, they got to roll to turn me. Also I had to wear a giant paper bag if we were in a town, because we house-ruled that any sapient creature outside of the party who saw me would automatically become hostile.

I may not have been taking this very seriously.
Digo Dragon 9th Oct 2016, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I engineer flaws because it makes for an interesting character. Something to overcome during the adventure.
Digo Dragon 8th Oct 2016, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I'm with you there, Spud. My FOE character isn't much in combat, but his medical and RP skills are really where he can shine. Especially when the GM will have NPCs acknowledge the value of an actually skilled doctor in a wasteland where legit medical services are almost non-existent.
Someone 8th Oct 2016, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
On the other hand though, Pony Tales combat is... Yeah.
Philadelphus 8th Oct 2016, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
Philadelphus
I'm with ya Spud, having only ever played Pony Tales, I'm not sure I'd have much fun with a roll-to-hit system. "Alright, it's been ten minutes since I last did anything, here comes my turn again, time to meaningfully affect the fight, and—*whiff*…nevermind, your turn."

Is it more "realistic?" Maybe. Is it less fun? Absolutely.
Digo Dragon 8th Oct 2016, 12:26 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
VERY less fun. While Pony Tales has lots of pretty overpowered combos and abilities, at least you know you can do something on your turn.

It just needs some balancing.
Xencarn 8th Oct 2016, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
Oh what's that? This character I built to be a top tier fighter can't actually hit anything... oh. oh that joke companion just killed everything for me before I got a hit in? Yay.. remind me why I do this again...
Godzfirefly 9th Oct 2016, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
That's part of why I like 4e D&D so much. It's really easy to build a character that isn't beholden to the d20 to do something in a turn. Even if you miss, there's a good chance that you can have some effect on the battle.
AProcrastinatingWriter 9th Oct 2016, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
I don't find it less fun at all, actually.

I've played D&D, Pony Tales, and several other tabletop RPGs, and I find the element of chance to be one of the primary things holding any tabletop together. If we didn't fail out of battle, then, well, we'd just look down at our sheets and see what we could or could not do with no chance of failure and, there you go. That's your character. No opportunity for more, no chance to roleplay less, no seeing what happens when not everything goes right, no risk-taking, no ... no fun.

It's the same in battle. The idea that you can miss - that you can fail - that your enemy can fail, too - holds the tension much more taut. It makes battle into a strategic give and take, with characters that can focus on giving others better die rolls supporting those who deal damage, instant death spells that can be avoided by a good roll of the die, the opportunity for critical hits, and - most important - the element of chance and variation that turns a fight from a mathematical prediction into something, well, fun.

Okay, it sucks that sometimes you miss. But that makes hitting all the better. That makes other people's turns matter more - makes you pay more attention - makes you more invested in their attacks, and by proxy, their characters. It gives you a sense of reward when you hit, and does so over several turns - as opposed to something like Pony Tales, which gets dry and repetitive and, frankly, doesn't make good memories or good stories.

Most importantly, it makes what you're playing feel less like a game and more like a world. Roleplaying games are, fundamentally, about creating stories, after all.

I'd argue that Pony Tales is infinitely less fun than taking the "more realistic" route, basically. It just doesn't feel like an actual game.
Cyborg7221 8th Oct 2016, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
I've grown quite accustomed to DMing, so character creation is, like, the hardest thing in the world for me. It's not the numbers, though; those are as easy as breathing. The really hard part is creating backstory for your OP hybrid builds. -_-
Robin Bobcat 8th Oct 2016, 1:53 PM edit delete reply
This would be why my preferred sterotype is the 'Dashing Rogue'. Sure, my rapier may not do much damage, but I am hitting with it every. single. turn. DPR only counts if you HIT with it.
Stranger 8th Oct 2016, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
And on the other side, you have people who min max a great to hit or skill bonus . . .

. . . and then their dice act as if Wil Wheaton is rolling them on camera.
Digo Dragon 9th Oct 2016, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Online RNGs love to whiffle on me.

95% chance to hit? I roll a 97. :3
It's annoying, but I try to make do with it. Maybe I'll weaponize it by making rolls to "help" the enemy. That way when the crit-failures roll in, I end up beating the enemy with my bad luck.
Akouma 9th Oct 2016, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
Akouma
One thing I love about the Smallville system is how your actual capacity in combat basically doesn't matter in a fight. Basically, every relationship your character has that's noteworthy (be it an NPC or another PC) can have a die rating associated with it from d4 through d12. If your reasons for doing something tie into one of those relationships, you can just add the relationship die to the roll. You have a d12 relationship with your character's girlfriend, and she's being threatened by the guy you're about to punch? Congratulations, the power of love just made you the best fighter in the room.

Also actually hitting lets whoever you just hit choose to instead roll back against you and he only takes the hit if he fails, and it goes on that way until someone misses. This is also how social encounters work since your character's emotional states have their own damage system that works the same as their health.
Cyborg7221 9th Oct 2016, 3:37 PM edit delete reply
My favorite thing about that system is that it actually gives you tangible gameplay benefits for staying in-character (plot points, Values). You don't see that a lot, so it's a real breath of fresh air. Also, character backstory goes hand-in-hand with mechanics, so it's really easy. :)
CrowMagnon 10th Oct 2016, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Applejack speaks for me. The whole way through.