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 Post subject: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D source
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:52 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I suggest that the DCC Halfling is seriously short changed compared to the other classes:

DCC bases its characters on Basic D&D (Good decision) and other than having a D6 rather than a D8 hit points the D&D Halfling was as good at fighting as the Dwarf and the Fighter (The Dwarf and Halfling couldn't use a Long bow or 2H Sword but had underground and hide skills respectively) in fact with a bonus to initiative (& surprise), bonus to hit with missiles and armour class bonus (all to compensation for the D6 HP) you could argue the Halfling was more skilled. Generally these are accepted as 'balanced' classes.

So to DCC

The Warrior gets bumped up two even steps on his Hit dice (D8 to D12); everyone who isn't an arcane spell user gets bumped up one step (Dwarf D8 to D10, Cleric D6 to D8, Thief D4 to D6) except the Halfling who stays where he is. Halfling nerfed everyone else boosted

The Warrior and Dwarf get their deed die (A HUGE bonus), improved criticals and so on and the Dwarf gets a D10 melee weapon while the Halfling loses D8 weapons and is restricted to D6 weapons. The Halfling also loses his bonus’s to hit with missile weapons, a/c bonus etc. Halfling nerfed Warrior & Dwarf boosted

Warrior gets a bonus to initiative while the Halfling loses his initiative bonus and Warrior and Dwarf get an additional action dice before the Halfling gets his. Halfling nerfed Warrior and Dwarf boosted

And what does the Halfling get in compensation for this massive reduction in combat ability?

The Halfling can fight with two weapons as if he had 16+ DEX and can also crit on both (rather than one) and rarely fumbles and this is certainly a good thing but how good?

Well to start with if the Halfling already has 16+ DEX it’s not much of an improvement at all; no other skill has it's effect reduced in this way. Also a Warrior or a Dwarf with 16+ DEX can fight with two weapons almost as well as a Halfling (and do a LOT more damage) but the Halfling can never Sword and board or enjoy the Mighty deed mechanic etc.

So what are the numbers? well assuming 1st level and no STR bonus’s: action die D16+1 (avg 9.5) means he isn’t going to hit as often as anyone else and can only do D6 damage (avg 3.5 sometimes twice of course and those crits will be more common)

However compare this to the Dwarf’s Sword and board: One attack at D20+D3 (avg 12.5; much better than the halfling) to hit for D8 +D3 damage (avg 6.5 almost as much as if both Halfling attacks hit) and one attack at D14+D3 (avg 9.5 no worse that the Halfling) to hit for 2D3 damage (avg 4 points; better than the Halfling). The Dwarf attack is far better and the Dwarf does more and more damage with each level, the Halfling doesn’t. The Dwarf also enjoys the advantages of +1 a/c for the shield which the Halfling doesn’t. So not very good for the Halfling at all really. Yes the Halfling can crit twice but his crits are not as good as Dwarves & Warriors and yes he fumbles less but this isn't anywhere near enough.

Whichever way you cut it the Dwarf and the Warrior are far better than the Halfling.


As for luck it is good but as I noted earlier yet again this ability does not scale as the thieves luck and wit does and the Halflings ability to share is really a requirement to do so; it's a party skill rather than his alone. Also the Halfling may have a low luck score which would lessen the value of this skill quite a bit. So it's something but not enough to compensate for what is lost.

It is notable that all the Halflings abilities appear to be highly conditional or don't scale like everyone elses do: Luck skill doesn't improve (like the thieves or deed damage for the Warrior/Dwarf), stealth is only useful if in light armour which isn't an option because of few HP & no shield, Two weapon fighting is only a boon if you don't already have high DEX and you have enough armour and HP to fight at all.

Heck the Cleric is now a better fighter and also has good skills, weapons and magic to boot, even the Thief is almost as good (excellent crits, backstab mechanic, just a many HP's D8 weapons) and has a wide range of other abilities and a better luck mechanic too. Even the Halfling Stealth is arguably less significant now than it was especially compared to the Thief and when you can't backstab stealth is of far less use anyway?

I’m not manic about character balance particularly for Demi-humans but the Halfling was originally a slightly less robust Warrior but able and skilled and is now even less robust with little ability and one combat skill which only really partially compensates for his lack of damage causing potential otherwise and at the cost of using a shield. The Halfling is the only DCC class that is now weaker than it's D&D equivalent; a second rate fighter with a stealth skill he can rarely make use of.

Aside from this being disappointing to play compared with the other classes it forces only one way to play the Class: Halflings will all have two hand axes (D6 & can be thrown), heaviest armour they can afford (poor HP) and the stealth skill will be irrelevant because of the heavy armour. Against a heavily armoured opponent a Dwarf can ditch the shield for a 2H weapon and fight well; a Halfling can't.

One of the best acid tests is to ask, if it were a matter of choice, would you choose a Halfling and a straw poll among my players was yes, but only once.

I'm a big fan of this game, indeed part of the problem for the Halfling is that a superb job was done making the other classes all so interesting and capable, unfortunately the Halfling lost a lot and gained little.


I have written myself a whole raft of house rules for the Halfling and even with those, yes he is more interesting and can be played in several ways (which was my main aim) but he is still weak in combat compared to the other two 'Fighters' (Which is all he is really).

Maybe the Halfling being a lesser fighter is as it should be but not without some compensating abilities and being a lucky charm isn't enough IMHO


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:18 am 
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I haven't played a Halfling. I haven't seen a Halfling played 'live'.

...but there have been plenty of stories floating in here and elsewhere since the game came out that suggest the Halfling can be just as much fun to play as any other class, and pull their own weight in the game.

This game seems to also defy cold analysis. The extreme dependence on so many random rolls throws can throw numbers on a page in doubt. There have been lots of stories of people rejecting the entire game as not worthwhile until they actually played it and then changed their tune.

And in what context is he not very good at stealthy stuff? ...seems to have the same number as one or the other ability for Thieves and only slightly behind on the other...

That said, add something to Halflings if you see the need. Maybe a "hobbit tumbling" AC bonus.

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:17 am 
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Halflings can be quite fun to play, but you are right - they are seldom the star of the show. The ability to literally save others lives in the party by being a good luck charm is extremely rewarding, though. No, they are not great hand to hand specialists like warriors and dwarves, or even as good as clerics and thieves, but then again they probably shouldn't be since they have other abilities. You are looking at game balance in terms of damage productivity, but the idea, I think, is more about balance of fun and making each class unique in their own ways. They also seem to be quite a bit more survivable than they appear on paper, at least partly because the rest of the party loves to help them stay alive whenever they can.

But I guess if you simply MUST reduce it all to a spreadsheet, then there are a couple other minor things that it occurs to me that you should probably factor into your equation. First, they also have the advantages of infravision and the demi-human saving throws over the warrior, cleric, thief and wizard. Second, they are more likely to score a critical hit, even moreso than warriors. Halfling crit chance per round is 12.5% (with about 0.4% chance of scoring two crits), warrior chance is 10% per round and everyone else has a 5% chance. They also have the ability to fit into small places. I have no idea how you could quantify that, but unless the character is playing an adventure that is nothing but combat encounter after combat encounter, this could be another advantage.

Lastly, I would have to disagree with your assessment of the potential downfall of having no benefit for the two weapon fighting (because the character has a 16+ dex), or an ineffective Good Luck Charm because they have a poor Luck score. These are potential problems for all characters, especially the three demi-humans. The chances are the same that you end up with a dwarf who has poor Strength and/or Stamina, or greater that you have an elf with poor Strength and/or Intelligence and/or Stamina. In the end, I think it's a wash for all the demi-humans in this respect, and slightly better for the human classes (since you have the flexibility to choose something that caters to your character's scores).

Just some thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:59 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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GnomeBoy wrote:
This game seems to also defy cold analysis. The extreme dependence on so many random rolls throws can throw numbers on a page in doubt. There have been lots of stories of people rejecting the entire game as not worthwhile until they actually played it and then changed their tune.

And in what context is he not very good at stealthy stuff? ...seems to have the same number as one or the other ability for Thieves and only slightly behind on the other...

That said, add something to Halflings if you see the need. Maybe a "hobbit tumbling" AC bonus.


I agree cold analysis of DCC misses the subtlety of the whole package which I am mindful of and I don’t think I am falling into that trap. Neither do I think Halflings are not worthwhile but they are very restrictive as to how varied one Halfling can be from another aside from ability scores.

Other classes tend to have abilities which complement each other or at least don't contradict the purpose of the class but the Halfling whose primary purpose is combat has low hit points and a special fighting ability which precludes a shield which mean he needs armour yet his compensating factor for being a 2nd rate fighter is a stealth skill that works best if doesn’t wear armour; Hobson’s choice so to speak. Additionally stealth is useful to a Thief primarily to enable backstab but a Halfling cannot backstab so the skill is much less useful.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:55 am 
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cjoepar wrote:
Halflings can be quite fun to play, but you are right - they are seldom the star of the show. The ability to literally save others lives in the party by being a good luck charm is extremely rewarding, though. No, they are not great hand to hand specialists like warriors and dwarves, or even as good as clerics and thieves, but then again they probably shouldn't be since they have other abilities. You are looking at game balance in terms of damage productivity, but the idea, I think, is more about balance of fun and making each class unique in their own ways. They also seem to be quite a bit more survivable than they appear on paper, at least partly because the rest of the party loves to help them stay alive whenever they can. .

Surely some good points and the burly Warrior bellowing “Get your hands of our lucky charm” is enough to warm the cockles of any Hairyfoot.

cjoepar wrote:
But I guess if you simply MUST reduce it all to a spreadsheet, then there are a couple other minor things that it occurs to me that you should probably factor into your equation. First, they also have the advantages of infravision and the demi-human saving throws over the warrior, cleric, thief and wizard. Second, they are more likely to score a critical hit, even moreso than warriors. Halfling crit chance per round is 12.5% (with about 0.4% chance of scoring two crits), warrior chance is 10% per round and everyone else has a 5% chance. They also have the ability to fit into small places. I have no idea how you could quantify that, but unless the character is playing an adventure that is nothing but combat encounter after combat encounter, this could be another advantage. .

Yes I get the numbers although it’s not just about how often you critical but what dice and which table you are rolling on and yes they have 2nd rate infravision and good saving throws; it’s just not enough IMHO

cjoepar wrote:
Lastly, I would have to disagree with your assessment of the potential downfall of having no benefit for the two weapon fighting (because the character has a 16+ dex), or an ineffective Good Luck Charm because they have a poor Luck score. These are potential problems for all characters, especially the three demi-humans. The chances are the same that you end up with a dwarf who has poor Strength and/or Stamina, or greater that you have an elf with poor Strength and/or Intelligence and/or Stamina. In the end, I think it's a wash for all the demi-humans in this respect, and slightly better for the human classes (since you have the flexibility to choose something that caters to your character's scores).


Yes all characters are subject to fate concerning die rolls and the fact this is more impactive to Demi-Human’s is a great feature of the game but it doesn’t affect all classes the same.
Whatever stats a Dwarf has the advantages of Sword & Board will be the same; by comparison the marginal advantage gained by a Halfling for Two Weapon fighting is variable depending on his agility because what is does is grant an effect based on a certain ability which Sword and board does not.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:48 pm 
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Warriors are, of course, better warriors than halflings in the long run.

However, a halfling rolls two attacks at 2d16, and unlike other classes, scores a critical hit on a 16. That means he has just over a 12% chance of scoring a critical hit each round. The 1st level warrior has a 10% chance, and will eventually outstrip the halfling. He also auto-hits on a 16, unlike other classes. Even the warrior's auto-hit range does not increase as does his crit range; he only auto-hits 5% of the time. The halfling auto-hits 6.25% of the time with each of his two attacks.

On the other hand, the same halfling has a 1 in 256 chance of rolling 2 "1"s on 2d16, and thus will fumble far, far less than....everyone. This can have a serious effect on combats, as anyone who has rolled a good critical or suffered a bad fumble knows.

So, no, the halfling is not simply a lesser cousin of the OD&D version.

_________________
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:12 pm 
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Weisenwolf wrote:
...but the Halfling whose primary purpose is combat...


This is where the analysis is breaking down for me. I've not considered the Halfling to be 'primarily for combat'. They're good in combat, they can sneak around and take advantage of their height, and they are rather more lucky than the average human.

Sounds like a good package to me.

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:14 am 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
Weisenwolf wrote:
...but the Halfling whose primary purpose is combat...


This is where the analysis is breaking down for me. I've not considered the Halfling to be 'primarily for combat'. They're good in combat, they can sneak around and take advantage of their height, and they are rather more lucky than the average human.

Sounds like a good package to me.


In comparison to the Spells of an Elf or Wizard or the skill set of the Thief or the Whole Cleric package the Halflings Stealth isn’t of huge significance so if he isn’t primarily a fighter what primarily is he?

The two other most obvious classes for comparison are the Dwarf (both slow, similar dual attack skills, Demi-human sight etc.) and the Thief (Same hit points, both have luck & stealth, comparable combat skills etc.) and in both cases the Halfling is inferior as a package despite the relatively marginal advantages improved critical and fumbles provide (They do tie in very well with the ‘Lucky Halfling’ concept though; nice touch)

Incidentally as a side note; it seems absurd that a Halfling wielding only one weapon suddenly becomes more clumsy than if he were wielding two.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:24 am 
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Raven_Crowking wrote:
Warriors are, of course, better warriors than halflings in the long run.

However, a halfling rolls two attacks at 2d16, and unlike other classes, scores a critical hit on a 16. That means he has just over a 12% chance of scoring a critical hit each round. The 1st level warrior has a 10% chance, and will eventually outstrip the halfling. He also auto-hits on a 16, unlike other classes. Even the warrior's auto-hit range does not increase as does his crit range; he only auto-hits 5% of the time. The halfling auto-hits 6.25% of the time with each of his two attacks.

On the other hand, the same halfling has a 1 in 256 chance of rolling 2 "1"s on 2d16, and thus will fumble far, far less than....everyone. This can have a serious effect on combats, as anyone who has rolled a good critical or suffered a bad fumble knows.

So, no, the halfling is not simply a lesser cousin of the OD&D version.



The Halfling will critical with one of his weapons once every eight rounds and this is great but for the other 7 out of 8 rounds he will hit less often and will do a mere D6.

By comparison the Dwarf also gets to wield two weapons too and can add his deed dice to his D8 and D3 damage every round. He also still benefits from a shield, has mighty deeds, when he does critical the effect is greater, has more hit points and so on.

Yes not fumbling often is nice but then our Dwarf can burn luck to avoid fumbles completely :D


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:58 am 
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In DCC some characters are going to be better than others overall.

Remember...if you are rolling randomly then the fates decide who enters the funnel.
The stats you roll make a big difference in power too.
The hit points you roll as well.
The starting spells you roll as well...

This is a big factor in DCC game balance...it even says so in the book. I agree.

If you give out the same stats and match class against class then yes you will find some come out more powerful than others. You know what....I think that's okay. Don't sweat it.

Despite enjoying D&D 4e...one of the things that made our games stagnate was the feeling of too much similarity between classes and I think this was because the quest for predictable mathematical balance had become more important to the designers than....is it fun?

Another point to consider is that because this is a dangerous but level based game...it is highly possible that Mr.Lucky the halfling survives where the awesome Wizard, Elf, Dwarf fall by the wayside...which makes them more statistically powerful than the new Dwarf coming up the ranks.

It depends on play style as well and where you place the emphasis. If you random roll and funnel characters.,.getting a halfling going up the levels is going to be a rare, wonderful and precious thing too.

:)

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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:30 am 
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I'd care a whole lot more about "balance" if DCC RPG were a competitive war game, but it's not. Players have to cooperate to survive and the simple fact that Halflings regenerate Luck and give Luck to other characters makes them a hot commodity at my game table. Plus they sort of look like Bilbo or Samwise and the two ladies that play at my table think they're cute and actively like playing as Halflings.

Halflings are a lot like the Thief class; a "jack of all trades, master of none." By design they are at their best doing sneaky things and picking their spots in combat, they aren't meant to be front-line fighters standing shoulder to belt with warriors.

Furthermore, I think it's up to a judge to remember just how cute and inoffensive Halflings probably look to everything else in the milieu. Monsters might overlook them and underestimate them at times, guards might give a Halfling a sternly worded warning where they'd give an offending human a boot in the arse (or worse) and because of their small stature, I think it's important to create environments where they can use that small stature to their advantage: like passages that only they or somebody their size can traverse, Hiding places that wouldn't work for a human, etc.

In my game there have only been two Halflings that have survived the funnel to become player characters and one turned out to be one of the longest lived characters in my campaign. It's a small sample size, but the player who had this character seemed to have a good time and even though he wasn't the best fighter I can't remember how many times he negated some calamity by acting like a Luck battery.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:55 pm 
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Weisenwolf wrote:
...so if he isn’t primarily a fighter what primarily is he?

I'm not being flippant when I say: he's a Halfling, a Class with a unique-to-him mix of abilities.

IMO, all characters are more than what's in the book. And they should all be challenged beyond what their class says they can do. For some, role-playing is all about their "role" in the larger group ("I'm the skill monkey! What? No skills needed right now? I'll wait over here til you need me."). And that's fine -- but to me roleplaying is about stuff that is totally beyond what the stats and abilities of a class are. I kid you not, I played a cardboard box in an 8-hour game once and had a blast. The stuff on a character is just a suggestion to get you started playing...

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:38 am 
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Weisenwolf wrote:
Yes not fumbling often is nice but then our Dwarf can burn luck to avoid fumbles completely :D


You don't take into account that the dwarf is burning a finite resource.

If you had two PCs, one with 6 hp and the other with 24 hp, the one with 24 hp would look better if you didn't take into account that the one with 6 hp could heal damage, and the one with 24 could not....but might have some hp restored under circumstances he had no control over.

A halfling with 6 Luck who burns 3 points each adventuring day, to gain a total of +6, has done better than the dwarf with 18 Luck who burns it all after only three days. And the halfling has an extra oomph - still +6 worth of Luck - in the can. And he has more tomorrow.

_________________
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.


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 Post subject: Re: DCC Halfling only class that's worse than Basic D&D sour
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:00 am 
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i just know that my pcs are still pining for the halfling that died stupid and quite pointless death in the sepulcher of mountain god.


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