Game Balance

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DiceClown
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Game Balance

Post Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:45 pm

I have heard a lot about game balance in the recent weeks, partly due to the creation of supplements or new classes. I am huge on game balance, but I usually start out guns-a-blazin' at first. However, what really constitutes "balance? ". For instance, when I began playing RPGs I was harsh about staying to the original written game with NO room for personal creativity or creation. The thought of making up a house rule was absolute sacrilege. I have to be honest, I have not really taken the time, nor have I played enough of BFRPG to understand the standard guidelines for progression. I think it would be incredibly helpful to have a standard of what constitutes poor, average, good, excellent when it comes to bonuses to achieve success in a skill or a strike. Maybe I make no sense whatsoever..in that case, ignore my post. :roll:
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Game Balance

Post Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:48 pm

you want find one set rule for supplements. The only real rules are the one for the core rules and the final arbitrator on what gets in to that is Solomoriah.
DiceClown
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Re: Game Balance

Post Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:31 pm

Hywaywolf wrote:you want find one set rule for supplements. The only real rules are the one for the core rules and the final arbitrator on what gets in to that is Solomoriah.
I wasn't challenging anyone. Just asking if there was a standard. I understand what your saying, but was asking if there is a standard that was shared. I haven't played BFRPG long enough to know what constitutes poor/average/good or excellent
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Game Balance

Post Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:10 pm

I wasn't saying that you were challenging anyone. I am just saying that there aren't really any standards for supplements. Some people go the route of tiny changes that just give a different flavor and others throw the toy box at new classes. Both work. There are several versions of ranger and barbarian and I think of the Paladin. As the creator of a supplement you don't need anyone permission to make it what you want, but as a member of the community it is helpful to ask for comments and listen with an open mind ... then make it how you want. :)

My comment about Solomoriah was just stating that the core rules is his baby and the buck stops with him concerning the core rules.
seandon4
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Re: Game Balance

Post Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:34 pm

I agree with Hywaywolf. "Game Balance" is different for everyone.

In an attempt to address your question, though, based on what I've heard people say coming from D&D 3.x, "game balance" in the "modern" sense seems to mean "everyone has a fair chance of winning at every encounter." It's this idea of constantly adjusting encounters so they're not too hard...

Having said that, it's not something I've seen any "oldie" GM's care much about. Granted, my GM for a current LL game I play in on Sundays is always giving me ideas on new items I can buy in town, familiars and scrolls and rules, etc (it's a dungeon crawler style game); but I've died, been resurrected, and was even turned into a rat once. If the group encounters monsters that are too hard or too many, then sometimes we have to run, if not outsmart them.

My idea of "game balance" is like this: it's providing a bit of challenge and tension to the game (aka. "drama"): Poison is supposed to scary. If you're caught without armor with little light down some hole, it's suppose to make you feel tense. Having both positives and negatives to your characters abilities/personality helps make it interesting. Rolling that save you really need, is supposed to be a big moment. Zargon (from B4) got a few of my close friends to start worrying for sure. But if everything is easy, and nobody ever gets close to 0 hp, well, you might still have fun, but it's just not the same for me.

Granted I've had varying levels of success with this; it's not an easy thing to "balance", as TPKs can be a drag too IMO, if you go too far. On the other hand, some encounters just wind up being really easy for a group, which is OK sometimes too.

Just some thoughts.
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bobtheoldcrank
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Re: Game Balance

Post Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:41 am

I agree with Seandon4 that "game balance" is largely relative, and that "game balance" means a different thing to the current generation than it does to mine. I think that plays into the minor kerfuffle in which we found ourselves in the other thread, Diceclown.

The problem with any kind of balance is that it's hard to achieve. In a past career path I was a brewmaster. Balance is important in crafting fine beer. It's easy to go to either side, but a balance of malt, hops, and yeast flavors and aromas is damned difficult to achieve. Can you craft fine beers without balance? Heck yes! Look at things like Pliny the Elder and Westvleteren Quadruppel: The former is a nuclear explosion of hops and bitterness, where the latter is a malt-hammer. But more people find the beer more enjoyable if there's balance.

Moreover, each beer style has its own sense of balance, its own essential character. That's how we bring it back around to gaming. :D 4E D&D is "balanced" in the way Seandon4 describes. Rolemaster is "balanced" in that the d100 tables are brutally fair to everyone, friend and foe. Call of Cthulhu is "balanced" in that you are going to LOSE; you know that going in, so it's easier to take! :lol:

That BFRPG doesn't display the same "balance" as other games doesn't mean that it needs to be fixed with house rules. It means it's probably just fine! After all, the basic game design has been perking along for almost three generations, the d20 game engine is known to work without flaw, and the integration which is BFRPG has been exhaustively playtested. Practically speaking, that means your newbie urge toward purity was not entirely misplaced. :)

That's what I was saying - poorly - in the other thread. If you and your group think that "game balance" means that every player should have the ability to participate on a more or less equal footing in every encounter, that's just not how BFRPG works (in my experience). That's more like 3.x or 4E. That's not a value judgment, that's just how it is.

That's why, in my opinion at least, it's dangerous to house-rule too far beyond the basic rules. There comes a tipping-point, a datum beyond which you've house-ruled yourself into a totally different game. When you try to house-rule the game into something it's not, what you're doing is breaking the game you're actually playing in order to play the game you should be playing, that you really want to play. When that happens, the game you're actually playing is 99% likely to be hopelessly broken.

I suggest you find BFRPG's "balance" by playing it fairly straight for a while. My first time using it, I played it totally straight. And my players had a blast! :mrgreen: In my current campaign, I've added a new class of my own creation (see the Workshop thread if you'd like to have a look) and the Druid from the Supplements, and I've fiddled very slightly with how magic works. Those are purely in order to help bring my milieu to life. But that's as far as I've house-ruled, and I won't go further. Maybe in future I'll add a house rule or two, but probably not. The players tell me they're having fun, and *I* certainly am, so why fix what ain't broke?

Cheers,

Bob
seandon4
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Re: Game Balance

Post Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:45 am

I personally like the "humanoid" scale feel of BFRPG. It adds that "human vulnerability" aspect. Compared to D&D 3: the attack bonuses are less, the encumbrance scale is more realistic. As such I also try to keep house rules to a minimum... but BFRPG Core is solid, so you can definitely apply supplements and a few house rules and you at least will not "break" the core system.

I remember Tunnels & Trolls had an optional "race ability modifiers" which literally doubled some stats and halved others. Some worried that it made the race/classes "unbalanced", but I kind of liked that approach. It's OK for one character to be "the big guy", and another "the small guy", as this works out in role play. It made Dwarves especially strong, for example. It was not balanced in the "technical/numbers" sense, but you could use your imagination that Dwaves would have their own challenges despite their strength (being short, needing help jumping, needing help out of pits, etc.) Regards.
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Dimirag
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Re: Game Balance

Post Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:17 pm

Game balance is something that changes from gaming group to gaming group. I'm all in favor of "in-game" balance, which, to me, is that no class steps over other niche and that the rules don't favor one player over other. Newer games (compared to osrpg) tend to find "balance" in allowing all characters the same footing on every conceivable situation, and try to put the players on the same side as the gm.

Don't worry on game balance, if something unbalance the game, either by making a situation or character feel out of place, you, as the gm are entirely free to modify it or erase/replace with whatever you fell will work better.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Game Balance

Post Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:57 pm

Just make sure that your game has something for everyone. It doesn't do much good to have a great bonus if you don't get a chance to use it. In my opinion, balance in old school is about roles and playing wisely. The party needs every member in its group or it will surely perish. They aren't interchangeable. If a fighter goes down, you can't plug in a MU and keep going. You have to retreat and heal up or find a new guy who isn't dead. Balance is making sure that a campaign has something for every player, not necessarily must every night have even activity for each player, but if overall your campaign has 1 or 2 people doing all the talking and the action then it isn't balanced. If your MU is carrying 7 daggers it isn't balanced.

*****

MUs sometimes feel they must get into melee to be useful, but if you give them a chance to use the additional languages they get from their intelligence bonus or adding in some ways for them to use that bonus to determine if they have background knowledge to understand some of the clues/lore they are seeing in the dungeon, they may not perceive the need to be more offensively minded in melee situations. They carry the torch or lantern so it wouldn't be remiss if they had a few flasks of oil on their person. Also, when I was young, they were also the map drawers, but with online tabletop gaming map drawing is a dying art.

The thief has the role of scouting ahead, finding traps, etc as the party moves along. He likes to fight when he has the advantage - from behind his opponent or with a bow from behind the meat shields. If they never hear voices ahead, or running water or falling rocks, or find a hidden door or a pit trap, then they are just weak fighters and you might as well just have the meat shields walking first down the passage. If the thief is fighting in your front rank, he is probably over-powered.

The cleric can bring pain as well as heal it. He can also shine the light of goodness onto the dark and evil places and help the party get through it. They are very useful when fighting against undead - turning as well as carrying a bludgeoning weapon for skellies and such, so it doesn't hurt to throw in a few from time to time to help them keep the edge on their holy symbols. He is the liaison between the party and other clerics and temples when the party needs serious healing. They aren't just walking band-aids with a club. If you want to beef them up a little let them add their wisdom bonus to their turning roles.

The fighter is just that. He has trained his whole life to fight, to wear armor, fight on horse and use any weapon. His skills can't be matched by anyone else in the party. He is the beef that becomes the shield between the party and those that would do them harm. He is not an expert on ancient lore, he is not trap finder since he has been trained to face danger head on and thats is how he thinks. If your fighter is finding traps, asking questions about the history of some artifact they found (and getting accurate answers) then he is probably over powered and unbalanced.

*****

Now, its not impossible to have a party of just scouts or just MUs or just fighters, but the campaign would need to be written just for that scenario or the party will have lots of TPKs :)
DiceClown
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Re: Game Balance

Post Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:17 am

I appreciate the feedback, but I think I did not explain my question very well...

Original post " I have to be honest, I have not really taken the time, nor have I played enough of BFRPG to understand the standard guidelines for progression"

Here is what I am getting at - Considering class creation specifically. Let's take a fighting type class for instance. If this fighting class could pick one specific weapon that they could specialize in and they received a bonus to that weapon only (be it battle axe), what would be the appropriate progression of bonus increase that abides by the general rule of thumb for BFRPG?

Look at the basic fighter class. Unless you use the combat option of specialization, they only get one attack per round at 1st level as they would if they were 15th level?

Which ultimately brings me to this point - When making up a new class you would want to consider the "basic form" of that class that is provided in the core rules, which I think you should. Then work from there to make sure your not out of balance. However, I am finding that with BFRPG the new class creation is going to cause it to be out of balance no matter because the original classes are designed to be simplistically general. In short - new classes and any house rules will destroy the feel of the BFRPG as it was designed. Therefore, why do we even have option rules and class supplements or sub-classes?
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