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How much table is too much table?

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How much table is too much table?

Postby Proven Paradox » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:06 pm

So, I'm working on a big d20 project. (I'll request a subforum for it when it reaches a point where I can start really benefiting from user input: not there yet.) I'm trying a couple of things with it and want some input from the community on some general issues. For this particular thread:

Any class-based system is going to have a lot of tables. For the most part, this is a good thing: tables are a good way to organize a lot of information into an easily readable and reference-able format. However, is there a point where there is just too much table associated with a class? With DnD 3.5, we've got a column for level, BAB, 3 saves, and specials. In the case of martial adepts, maneuvers known/readied and stances. For spellcasters, spells per day. Spontaneous spellcasters, spells known. How much more can be added before one gets sick of it?
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby DragoonWraith » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:20 pm

I personally adore tables, and generally can't think of any instances in 3.5 where there were too many. Spontaneous spellcasters (i.e. 10 columns worth of Spells Per Day and another 10 columns of Spells Known) are probably the biggest - I might be OK with one more 20-level table like that, but more than that might be too much?

I think a lot of this has to do with layout, too. If the tables are broken up appropriately, that should help - I think?
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Fax » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:15 pm

The problem with tables is in how they're used, not in how many you have. If you're using a gygaxian randomized rolling system, it's bad. No one really enjoys rolling 10d100 and looking up the entry on a table. But a table you reference once in a while (when you level your character) or once, ever (when you make your character) is good.
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Gralamin » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:50 pm

You actually don't necessarily need that many tables - 4e is really played with five tables. One that describes the basic structure of all classes, One that describes combat actions in brief, one that gives XP, one that handles actions the rules don't, and one that tells the DM what is challenging.

That said, the number of tables should generally be enough that it conveys the necessary information, but not so much that it has details that can easily be dropped.
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby DragoonWraith » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:28 pm

Keeping it as limited as 4e requires having every class follow the same scheme as it does in 4e. That's one of the main things that I dislike about 4e, personally.
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Gralamin » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:40 pm

DragoonWraith wrote:Keeping it as limited as 4e requires having every class follow the same scheme as it does in 4e. That's one of the main things that I dislike about 4e, personally.

I'm not suggesting there should be as few as 4e, I'm just pointing out that the number of tables actually required is rather small.
Last edited by Gralamin on Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Proven Paradox » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:48 pm

I really dislike that aspect of 4e as well. If each class can be summed up in one table, there's a good chance each class ends up very, very similar. One table per class is a given for my project, but I've ended up adding a lot of columns to it (thus far: level, phys attack, mag attack, phys AC, mag AC, 3 saves, special, phys mantra, mag mantra, free mantra) and I'm concerned it's getting too big. I've split the mantra (analogous in many ways to spells known) to a different table for each class so far, and it seems readable to me, but I wanted to make sure.

Thanks for the opinions everyone, keep them coming.
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby DragoonWraith » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:45 am

If you have a Magic AC, why do you need saves?

It might help to consolidate things if you had just, say, and Attack table, and they were listed as X / Y for Phys / Mag. Assuming you aren't doing iteratives, anyway.

That does seem like quite a bit. Hmm...
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Fax » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:13 am

Well, isn't that the basis behind 4e's "Defenses" and Unearthed Arcana's "Players Roll All The Dice"?
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Re: How much table is too much table?

Postby Proven Paradox » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:21 pm

I strongly considered scrapping saves started (and still am, kinda: they may go away after I start writing powers), but my current design has it so that saves will be triggered as an extra effect on attacks. So, dude A hits you with a poison attack: if it meets your phys AC, you take damage and then make a fort save against an extra effect. At the moment I only have one line of general debuff powers that will go directly to saves: the rest have to hit AC first. There will also be a lot of physical attacks that provoke saves: this system is designed with something resembling ToB maneuvers from the very start, with a lot more of them inflicting conditions on their targets if they fail saves.

Another major motivation for keeping fort/ref/will saves is that they're a big part of what differentiates the classes from each other. By adding a 'medium' save progression, I've made it so that no two classes have the same save tables.

Condensing columns like that is a good idea though. Iterative attacks are silly and I've scrapped them entirely, so that will be an easy thing to do.
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