Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

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tovokas
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Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by tovokas » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:02 pm

First off, I want to say how excited I am by the rules in general: love the tone, the art, the dangerous, unpredictable nature of magic - overall the vibe is awesome.

Two questions/observations:

First up is the apparent lack of balance between elves and wizards. Elves have better hit points, more weapon training, infravision, immunity to sleep and paralysis, heightened senses, better attack bonuses, better criticals, more flexible actions dice at 5th level, and more spells at first level (when you throw in the patron spells). Also they get the mithral gift at first level which I would guess is likely worth 10-20+ times what a first level wizard would start with. Against this trove of goodies, they suffer an iron allergy. ;) Am I missing something in the Wizard's favor?

Now if the point is: "Elves ARE better. If you're lucky enough to get one, and he survive the funnel, rejoice. He'll probably get killed anyway!" I'm fine with that. I just want to know if I'm missing something that might show up at higher levels.

Second, as others have mentioned, I'm wondering about the assumed way to transition elves and wizards from the "stumbling about in a smelly mob stabbing things with sticks" 0-level experience to first level, where wizards are assumed to have years of training, and elves have spent many human life spans acquiring knowledge and wealth. Other than that, I love the whole concept of the funnel.

Thanks!
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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by shadewest » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:20 pm

Aside from the required Patron Bond and Invoke Patron spells, elves get fewer spells per level, and a less favorable experience chart.
...unless the judge rules otherwise.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Harley Stroh » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:32 pm

Excellent catch! Two points:

Both wizards and elves start with Invoke Patron and Patron Bond for free. (Not listing it on the wizard chart is our error.)

Second, it has become clear in playtests that elves in armor are a blessing and a curse. The mithril chain hauberk seems like a huge boon until you start casting spells and figure in the armor penalty. Try it out in a playtest and you'll see the balance. Elves lose spells much more quickly than wizards, to the point that some elves insist on taking a round to remove their armor before casting.

At the same time, they are more squishy than true warriors, and can't stand the front ranks for very long.

I know it looks unbalanced on paper, but give it a shot in a playtest and I think you'll see the merits of elves, wizards and warriors.

//H
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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by shadewest » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:52 pm

I thought that Patrons were an option for Wizards, but not required. Has this changed from early drafts?
...unless the judge rules otherwise.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by kataskicana » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:56 pm

Wizards win the Luck comparison - A wizard adding his Luck to any corruption rolls and all mercurial magic rolls is a big plus for a lucky wizard. If you are gifted with a stat bonus is luck that is...

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Harley Stroh » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:57 pm

shadewest wrote:I thought that Patrons were an option for Wizards, but not required. Has this changed from early drafts?
Lol. Hrm. I might be the one referring to an early draft. I better check with the boss (my patron).

//H
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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Dionysos » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:12 pm

I actually came to the site to post about this very thing, so I am glad it is getting some attention. I don't necessarily think Elves and Wizards need to be balanced, but if they are not then the Elf needs to have a significantly higher experience point cost to level than it does now. It really is just a Wizard-plus at this point.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Michael Pfaff » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:38 am

Another consideration: there's also only a 10% chance you'll get an elf as an occupation at 0-level. Then, you have to worry about her surviving the funnel.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Dionysos » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:06 pm

I said above that I don't really mind if the Elf and Wizard classes remained more or less as they are, provided that the XP table changes to reflect their relative power levels. Now that I have more fully digested all of the character classes, however, I am increasingly coming to the view that a higher degree of balance actually does need to be attained between the Wizard and the Elf. I don't mind if the Elf ends up being a better character than the Wizard, all things considered. But the Wizard does need to have a few more things that edge out the Elf in some cases.

I say this because the other demihuman classes, the Dwarf and the Halfling, seem to exist in a more competitive state of balance relative to the human classes. For instance, the Warrior gets better speed than the Dwarf, as well as higher chances of critting, faster access to an extra action die and slightly higher hitpoints. The Dwarf gets the shieldbash action, darkvision, underground skills and slightly better saves. All in all, I think that the Warrior is just generally going to be a better, well, warrior. But a player with a Dwarf character is still going to feel like his character class offers some things that the Warrior doesn't get. Even if the classes aren't perfectly balanced, they both bring unique abilities to the table.

This is not really the case in the comparison between the Elf and the Wizard. Even if the Elf decides that his ability to wear armor is too much trouble to bother with and ditches it completely, that just pulls him even with the Wizard in the armor department rather than providing the Wizard with any sort of advantage. The Wizard's better Luck functionality will not be meaningful in many cases. Most Wizards will not have a luck bonus and many of those who do will have a +1, which will rarely make a difference. Indeed, if the Wizard has a Luck penalty, then his generally more applicable Luck functionality becomes a liability when compared with the Elf's more limited Luck function.

Some have said that, if you don't count the mandatory patron spells, Wizards have more spells known. But there is no real reason not to count those spells (they are spells, like any other), and if a Wizard wants to take the patron spells himself, then he has the exact same number of spells as the Elf without any sort of compensatory advantage. And of course, as has been stated, the Elf is just plain better in all sorts of other ways. It is very nearly the case that the Elf class contains the entire Wizard class, with some extra stuff on top.

It isn't as though this state of affairs would wreck the game if it remained like this in the final version. After all, someone pointed out that you only have about a 10% chance of being an Elf anyway. It would just be a bit disappointing, because the other character classes manage to be interesting, flavorful and powerful without copying and then enhancing the abilities of any other class. Keeping this sort of design aesthetic for all of the classes would be much more satisfying.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Harley Stroh » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:36 pm

Dionysos wrote:I said above that I don't really mind if the Elf and Wizard classes remained more or less as they are, provided that the XP table changes to reflect their relative power levels. Now that I have more fully digested all of the character classes, however, I am increasingly coming to the view that a higher degree of balance actually does need to be attained between the Wizard and the Elf. I don't mind if the Elf ends up being a better character than the Wizard, all things considered. But the Wizard does need to have a few more things that edge out the Elf in some cases.
This is a bit of a cross post, but if every class get a "Class Die," (ala the Warrior's current MDoA die) we could scale the wizard's so that it is a larger compared to the elf's. So while the elf is proficient at a lot, the wizard is the one who can get truly crazy results with the spells.

//H
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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by jmucchiello » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:08 pm

Harley Stroh wrote:This is a bit of a cross post, but if every class get a "Class Die," (ala the Warrior's current MDoA die) we could scale the wizard's so that it is a larger compared to the elf's. So while the elf is proficient at a lot, the wizard is the one who can get truly crazy results with the spells.
Not "if every class..." Harley, when! :)

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by Dionysos » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:03 pm

Very cool idea, I like it.

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by geordie racer » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:17 pm

Harley Stroh wrote: This is a bit of a cross post, but if every class get a "Class Die," (ala the Warrior's current MDoA die) we could scale the wizard's so that it is a larger compared to the elf's. So while the elf is proficient at a lot, the wizard is the one who can get truly crazy results with the spells.

//H
This idea would work, as the wizard should be the magic specialist. The elf would then have to invoke his Patron to attain more powerful magic. Nice one.
Sean Wills

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by abk108 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:07 am

hey, my first post here :D

First of all, i love DCC, and i'm about to start running a game soon.

Secondly, back on topic, I would suggest that having elves roll 1d16+(Double Caster Level -2) on spell checks. I will explain.

1. AT LEVEL 0 : While any 0-level human character with 13+ INT can become a good wizard, with a bonus on his spell checks for high INT, if you get to play an elf, i would say most of the time (5/6) your higher stat won't be INT. So maybe you'll have to play an elf with INT 11.

2. AT FIRST LEVEL : Even without exceptional intelligence (13+) a wizard would get to roll 1d20+1 for his spell checks (average 11.5), while an elf only 1d16+0 (average 8.5); also, the maximum result this elf can attain on the spell table would be 16. This makes elves quite a bit worse than wizards from the beginning

3. AT HIGHER LEVELS : With experience, the Elf will somehow catch up with the wizard.
... at level 2, they roll 1d16+2 (avg 10.5; max 18) and 1d20+2(avg 12.5; max 22)
... at level 3, they roll 1d16+4 (avg 12.5; max 20) and 1d20+3(avg 13.5; max 23)
... at level 4, they roll 1d16+6 (avg 14.5; max 22) and 1d20+4(avg 14.5; max 24)
... at level 5, they roll 1d16+8 (avg 16.5; max 24) and 1d20+5(avg 15.5; max 25)

you can see that the elf will by level 5 have just bested the wizard's average roll but will still be behind on the max result attainable.
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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by moes1980 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:02 pm

Maybe the balance is this, if you roll an elf, your stuck playing an elf despite your rolls! What I mean is, I had a level 0 elf in my playtest with an int of 4 or 5! So, when he reached level one, he had a horrible time casting spells, and was about impossible to cast a level one spell if he started to wear amor heavier than leather, and could never learn a spell higher than level one. He did survive the funnel proccess, and ended up being a character that sucked at both magic and fighting, and had crummy hit die! Was worthless for standing in the back to cast spells, and stunk as a front line fighter.

Now, if those stats had been rolled for a human, could have decided to play a cleric or theif and would have been a decent character.

As for this elf's fate? he spell burned almost all of his str to cast a sleep spell, and succeded, and than later spell burned almost all his agility to cast the same spell (cause he only knew one at level one because of his crummy int), and failed. He never hit with his bow except for the time that he burned 5 luck points, and did a whopping one damage, and then was killed by the party cleric that was affected by a word of command (and failed that dc11 luck check to see if he was still alive which he would have passed if he hadnt burnt 5 luck points earlier in the game). So, yeah, didnt feel so over powered to me....

when a wizard shows up it is likely that that wizzard will be much more optimized for spell casting then any elf (of course, the rare elfe that dose have aswome states will be pretty strong).

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Re: Elves, Wizards, Balance, Oh My!

Post by geordie racer » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:17 pm

moes1980 wrote:Maybe the balance is this, if you roll an elf, your stuck playing an elf despite your rolls!
.......when a wizard shows up it is likely that that wizzard will be much more optimized for spell casting then any elf (of course, the rare elfe that dose have aswome states will be pretty strong).
Yes, I agree, probably the simplest method to acheive some inherent balance without much extra rules tweaking.
Sean Wills

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