Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meanwhile, in Grognardia...


He will break you.  But will he learn from the experience?

A link to yesterday's post by James M was emailed to me yesterday evening.  I read it in the middle of the night, and I've been wrestling with it ever since.  On the one hand, my inner Ayn Rand is offended - hamstringing those who are naturally gifted, giving undeserved bonuses to second-handers, etc.  On it's surface, it Harrison Bergeron-izes D&D, strapping lead weights to the legs of the physically gifted and such. 

On the flip side, within the confines of James' example, it seems to make sense.  If you accept the precepts of D&D, that melee combat is a strength based affair - someone with massive strength wouldn't need to learn as much about fighting, they get a bonus to hit by virture of their muscles, and crush skulls when they connect.  You can even extend that example to Rogues and their Dexterity stat - for them, everything is all about their Dexterity, and a slower Thief would have to pick things up quickly in order to succeed.  Higher Dex = better AC, harder to hit, etc.

I think things break down, though, once you get to the Cleric and Wizard.  Until you get to 4e, while your Intelligence and Wisdom would have an impact on your progression through those classes, there wasn't as much of a direct correllation between the Stat and their abilities.  A low Intelligence could keep a wizard from casting high level spells, and a low Wisdom could cause Clerical spells to fail, but how do you draw a direct line from that to increased/decreased experience, like you do with a fighter?  In 4e I can see it, since everything is stat based, no matter what class you have, but in older versions of the game, you just didn't see that.

And yet...

And yet, I can't shake the feeling that there's something to this.  The game can really punish you for poor stats, as poor Torvalds found out, and this is something good to level out that sort of thing.  But it seems to run counter to the idea of Old School Lethality.

Needless to say, I am conflicted.

1 comment:

  1. First, wouldn't it be better to have a little of you in Ayn Rand, rather than a little Ayn Rand in you?

    Second ... actually there is no second, I just love that joke.

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